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End of year reflections

December 21st, 2007

It’s the end of the working year for me, and I’ll be taking a break in January, so posting will be unpredictable (probably light, but maybe I’ll get bored and produce a mammoth post or two). Anyway, this thread will be open for a while, so post away. No real length constraint, but I’d appreciate it everybody would get into the spirit of goodwill towards all, and particularly fellow-members of this little community.

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  1. Paul Walter
    December 21st, 2007 at 14:30 | #1

    “…the spirit of goodwill toward towards all…”.
    Shucks, I wasn’t going to write a long post, but now you have me feeling benevolent the kindest thing I feel I could do, would be to bequeath a long, windy, verbose, grammar and syntax-deficient load of opiniated ill-informed prejudice, descending to prolix, up to you and your readers.
    Whaddya reckon?!

  2. SJ
    December 21st, 2007 at 14:58 | #2

    Merry Christmas John and everyone else. Time for a beer, I reckon.

  3. melanie
    December 21st, 2007 at 20:22 | #3

    Have a good break! I’ve enjoyed your blog immensely this past year. Thanks.

  4. Hamish
    December 22nd, 2007 at 04:20 | #4

    You have a great blog here,John. This year the posts that you and Tim Lambert did about the links between DDT and Tobacco blew me away. Riveting stuff.
    I hope you have a good break and spare a thought for the unemployed eg. John Howard.

  5. gandhi
    December 22nd, 2007 at 07:13 | #5

    Thanks to all who offer their thoughts, including Prof Q, and a happy, Howard-free New Year to one and all.

  6. pablo
    December 22nd, 2007 at 12:46 | #6

    ditto

  7. Ken
    December 22nd, 2007 at 16:04 | #7

    We have moved from a Gov’t that spent too much of it’s time in office avoiding or outright denying the biggest global issue of our time to one that at least acknowledges it. More support for renewables, from R&D to implementation seems likely. Given that some major developments from Australia have gone offshore, e.g. Ausra’s solar thermal system to California, UNSW Centre for Photovoltaic Research’s Crystalline Silicon on Glass to Germany, Vanadium Redox batteries to Canada, I have some hope they might find future Gov’t policy conducive to returning at least part of their operations here. Anyone know if Ausra’s (aka Solar Heat and Power) Liddell project got completed? Policies that actually restrict the use or sale of coal, the no.1 biggest source of extra CO2, look a lot less likely. Actually very unlikely. Senator Brown’s call for developing a plan to phase out coal within 3yrs was misrepresented in the popular press as a call to actually phase it out in that time. Don’t think any of them corrected this. And don’t expect PM Rudd to be any more keen to develop that plan than Howard. Meanwhile our new Gov’t is more likely to try and sell as much as possible as quickly as possible, if only to help keep the coffers full from royalties. Closer to here, Pr Q assures us that he won’t post on denialist nonsense anymore – reducing one ongoing source of amusement in our future. Still, he’s probably right to do that – none of them have had anything new to say in a long, long time and there’s always Deltoid for that kind of fun.
    Anyway, have a good Xmas, let’s hope the new year is a good one.

  8. observa
    December 22nd, 2007 at 22:12 | #8

    To leftys:

    Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

    And the rest of us:

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  9. observa
    December 22nd, 2007 at 22:15 | #9

    Actually it was to ‘Democrats’ and ‘Repubs’ where I filched it from.

  10. observa
    December 22nd, 2007 at 22:31 | #10

    And we look forward to the future with peace on earth http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22962169-1702,00.html
    and goodwill to all men
    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22962175-1702,00.html

  11. Ernestine Gross
    December 23rd, 2007 at 07:53 | #11

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to All.

    May the as yet unknown turkeys of the New Year turn out to be pigeons.

  12. Ikonoclast
    December 23rd, 2007 at 08:34 | #12

    I wish you all a Happy Materialness since we are material beings. Yet we are conscious beings also. How does consciousness arise from matter? One is tempted to ask this of oneself. A materialist should never shy away from questions that make him (or her) materially uncomfortable.

    There is a supposition (of causation) in my question so I guess it is the wrong question philosophically speaking. Perhaps we would do better with Tolstoy’s “Laws” approach rather than a “Causes” approach. (Refer to Tolstoy’s philsophical epilogue on history and causation at the end of War and Peace.)

    With a “Laws” approach we would simply observe that matter and consciousness both exist. Then we would seek to derive the laws that relate the two.

    Remember, don’t stop thinking just because it is the Season of (excessive) Materialness. :)

  13. Hermit
    December 23rd, 2007 at 13:18 | #13

    Will history be kind to Tony Blair? He banned foxhunting but encouraged the US to use UK bases to bomb Iraq, with many innocent victims. During his tenure the UK went from an oil exporter to a net importer having squandered North Sea reserves that might have lasted a couple more generations. Now he seems to be aiming for sainthood http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7157998.stm

    Let’s hope our Kev doesn’t disappoint the same way. I’m pleased he didn’t go gung ho with the visit to the troops.

  14. Jack Strocchi
    December 23rd, 2007 at 19:26 | #14

    Pr Q,

    I thought this years blogging was your most interesting, although not your best. That was your first year when there were plenty of low-hanging intellectual fruit to be harvested and the issues were a lot hotter.

    The reader interest came from the relentlessly partisan stance you took to the Howard government and all who sailed with it. Blogging as a gladitorial spectacle is certainly much more engrossing than on-the-one-hand on-the-other pontificating.

    You certainly drew blood from the auld enemy. I’m not sure its the kind of thing you would have wanted on your hand, at least when the Muse gets round to writing things up.

    Happy Christmas

    Jack

  15. December 24th, 2007 at 09:33 | #15

    Have a good Christmas everybody.

    As for the new year I’ll be keenly following what happens to Ron Paul in Iowa and New Hampshire in the presidential race.

  16. Jill Rush
    December 24th, 2007 at 10:06 | #16

    Thank you Prof Q for a blog which is diverse and informative. It is a great service to the community to have matters examined authoritatively from your perspective.

    Best wishes to all for the Christmas season which is a celebration of the miracle of birth combined with consideration for others. Although the snowflakes and reindeer are questionable there are important pieces of social glue in the rituals.

    The omens are promising for a great 2008.

  17. crocodile
    December 24th, 2007 at 10:12 | #17

    Happy Xmas

  18. observa
    December 24th, 2007 at 10:21 | #18

    And a Happy New Year to the nanny staters and their new laws from a German restaurant owner dealing with their new smoking bans.
    http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/0,5538,PB64-SUQ9Mjc1MDQmbnI9Mw_3_3,00.html
    The symbolism says it all.

  19. joe2
    December 24th, 2007 at 20:23 | #19

    Merry Christmas Prof Q.

    And thanks for on line bravery over the past year.

  20. fool of a took
    December 25th, 2007 at 22:50 | #20

    Thank you Professor Quiggan for your thoughts and links to others over the past year – it has been one hell of a ride

  21. fool of a took
    December 25th, 2007 at 22:52 | #21

    sorry – it’s Quiggin!

  22. Ian Gould
    December 26th, 2007 at 20:48 | #22

    Terje: “As for the new year I’ll be keenly following what happens to Ron Paul in Iowa and New Hampshire in the presidential race.”

    You shouldn’t be.

    Personally I’m hoping that he’ll attract 5-10% of the vote (although I doubt he will) and be encouraged into running a wrecking far-right third party campaign which helps sink whatever chances the Republicans have left.

    Even if he does well (relatively speaking) in those first two contests it’ll be essentially meaningless.

    Both parties have drastically shortened their primary seasons and are running something approaching national primaries on Super-Tuesday.

    That’s designed to make it virtually impossible for any challenger to beat the two national front-runners – Clinton and Guliani.

    National electronic advertising is going to be vital to compete on Super Tuesday and Clinton and Guliani have massive leads in terms of money and in the support of local party bosses.

  23. December 27th, 2007 at 14:26 | #23

    Actually the Ron Paul campaign has a lot of money and evidence would suggest that they can expect a lot more. He has the cash to stay in the race even if he does badly early on in the primaries.

    And whilst the following polling is not scientific in a statistical sense it is still amusing:-

    http://news.aol.com/political-machine/2007/12/21/straw-poll-dec-21-jan-4/

    As is the following:-

    http://www.ronpaul2008.com/straw-poll-results/

    However polling may not matter much. Bill Clinton won the Democrat nomination (and then became president) despite being at 2% in the opinion polls before the primaries kicked off. What matters is being able to get out the vote.

    If you want a full outline of my bias in this regard then the following is a good start:-

    http://alsblog.wordpress.com/2007/12/14/giuliani-the-ron-paul-people-are-all-over-the-country/

  24. December 27th, 2007 at 16:01 | #24

    Oh and for those that think the bookmakers know the real odds this one is also interesting:-

    http://www.ogpaper.com/news/news-01507.html

  25. Ian Gould
    December 27th, 2007 at 16:51 | #25

    “Actually the Ron Paul campaign has a lot of money …”

    Define “a lot”.

    At the end of the third quarter he had $5 million against $7 million for Thompson, $9 million for Romney and $16 million for Giuliani.

    In practice Romney is funding his campain out of his own pocket and has several hundred million more to draw on if necessary.

    Despite stunts (getting people to defer making contributions so the campaign can set single day records), Paul has been pulling in less cash than Giuliani and Romney.

    If he’s really lucky, he might go into Super Tuesday only $10 million behind Giuliani.

    Meanwhile Clinton has $50 million and Obama has $36 million.

    what do those figures tell you about where the lobbyists are putting their money? (Suitably laundered, of course.)

  26. December 27th, 2007 at 19:44 | #26

    At the end of the third quarter he had $5 million against $7 million for Thompson, $9 million for Romney and $16 million for Giuliani.

    Yes the full details are here:-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundraising_for_the_2008_presidential_election#4th_Quarter_2007

    But whilst republicans like Romney and Giuliani have seen contributions decline each quarter, Ron Paul has seen his rise each quarter. And when all is done and dusted in the fourth quarter Ron Paul will have collected a further $20 million.

    http://www.ronpaulgraphs.com/

    If Giuliani collects the same in the fourth quarter as he did in the third quarter then he and Ron Paul will square off with roughly the same amount of money in the bank on January 1st.

    Even if Ron Paul does not have enough money in the bank today to win the nomination there is more coming and he already has enough to remain in the race irrespective of poor result in a way that Thompson, McCain or Huckabee simply can’t afford to do. And other than Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul is the only credible anti Iraq war candidate. Unlike Hillary Clinton he used his position in Congress to vote against the invasion and he did so for very principled reasons.

    Of course a Ron Paul win will be against the odds. However it remains a very interesting race to watch.

  27. December 28th, 2007 at 07:08 | #27

    Dear John

    Yes, this is a great blog and a good forum for ideas. Dropping our guard and going on holidays is a bit of a luxury we can’t afford – unfortunately:

    1. The people of the USA will continue going the process/motions of choosing a new President. They need our support and encouragement in making better decisions this time. If we had another worst-ever President like the present one this planet will end up as a burnt-out shell.

    2. The Rudd government seem to be making some moves in the right direction (Reconciliation etc) but will need to be watched closely lest they try to imitate the discredited Howard government. John Quiggin was quick off the mark on the silencing of scientists.

    3. The Queensland state government cannot be left unwatched either. Transport Queensland is sending out Vehicle Registration Renewal Notices with invitations from Citibank to refinance your credit cards with them at lower interest rates. This cosy relationship with government is improper and unsafe. See my letter to Premier Anna Bligh asking for this practice to end: http://getthelaborialstotellthetruth.blogspot.com/

    4. If all this was not enough, Queensland faces its first global warming local government election in March 2008. That is just weeks away! Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman has led the way in returning Brisbane to the darkest days of 1960s Los Angelisation and threatens to saddle the next generation of ratepayers with the hidden costs and over-runs for his tunnels, bridges and wrong- infrastructure-for-ever. We now discover that his rubbish recycling system is a fraud. It seems that the carefully separated items are re-mixed with general rubbish in the trucks that collect our rubbish. Thank goodness there is a Greens Lord Mayoral candidate.

    Regards for a very busy 2008
    Willy Bach

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