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Monday Message Board

April 14th, 2008

It’s time once again for the Monday Message Board. Please post your thoughts on any topic. Civilised discussion and no coarse language, please.

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  1. Highlander
    April 14th, 2008 at 22:53 | #1

    What do people think of the threats to boycott the 2008 Olympics? To me, it just seems unfair to the athletes to force them not to attend an event they’ve trained their whole lives for on the basis of the event’s location.

  2. 2 tanners
    April 15th, 2008 at 08:56 | #2

    I think the suggestion of boycotting the opening ceremony, or turning backs during key sections, may carry a stronger message – I don’t think many are proposing a games boycott. The Dalai Lama isn’t, nor is our PM.

  3. smiths
    April 15th, 2008 at 12:23 | #3

    i agree with max hastings

    “During my last trip, I met several academics who are bitterly critical of the Beijing government. Yet not one advocated a western boycott of the Olympics. Most suggested that the games might be a force for at least some small good.”


  4. jquiggin
    April 15th, 2008 at 19:06 | #4

    I don’t think there’s much support for a boycott of the sporting event. As regards the opening ceremony it depends a fair bit on whether you see the Olympics as an inspiring celebration of global unity or as an exercise in nationalist grandstanding or, again, as a commercial extravaganza.

  5. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    April 15th, 2008 at 21:16 | #5

    I’ll be boycotting the boring bits, same as always. When we had Earth Hour a short while ago I was going to boycott that also but instead I taped it on the trusty VCR and intend watching the highlight some time down the track when time permits. Maybe during the opening ceremony of the Olympics. 😉

  6. April 15th, 2008 at 22:22 | #6

    I recently downloaded Belloc’s The Servile State, and I was interested in the many contrasts between how things are now and the state of play then (the world Belloc was extrapolating from, in the full knowledge that things could well turn out differently). In particular, I was struck by the contrast between current US contortions over what is torture and a passing illustration of Belloc’s, that took it as given that people would be concerned about how to eliminate torture:-

    “It is always possible by establishing a cross-section in a set of definitions to pose the unanswerable difficulty of degree, but that will never affect the realities of discussion. We know, for instance, what is meant by torture when it exists in a code of laws, and when it is forbidden. No imaginary difficulties of degree between pulling a man’s hair and scalping him, between warming him and burning him alive, will disturb a reformer whose business it is to expunge torture from some penal code.”

  7. Thersites
    April 17th, 2008 at 16:42 | #7

    Up here in the Far North the current issue is the State decision to sell Cairns Airport and link this to funding for a required expansion of Cairns Hospital and it would seem to me this is the kind of issue where you frequently take a non-conventional approach?

    There is an argument that the Airport sale should be justified on its own grounds rather than the sale of one specific piece of regional infrastructure being linked to provision of other essential regional service infrastructure?

    There is also some disappointment of the decision to redevelop on the current site rather than build a new hospital at a new location. This leaves Cairns with all substantial (public and private) hospital facilities near the foreshore and potentially subject to cyclone inundation.

    Additionally a chunk of the proceeds from the Airport sale for a land acquisition for a possible new hospital at some time in the future (likely at least 10-15 years+ if it happens) and also to relocate and resolve carparking constraints at the current location to enable the actual medical facilities expansion.

    I’m not convinced the decision that has been made is a sound long term decision but what principles should be used to assess this? I’m also not convinced that the state of current credit markets makes it a great time to be flogging such public infrastructure assets to maximise value?

  8. April 20th, 2008 at 22:21 | #8

    Okay it is Sunday not Monday but can somebody report on what they were Smoking in Canberra over the weekend.


  9. Thersites
    April 22nd, 2008 at 13:47 | #9

    Smoking indeed may be an explanation and frankly the JQ coverage here seems somewhat reserved almost to th extent of belated ‘arse covering’?

    The ‘yartz’ session was just a rort for extraordinary narcissism? Maybe it should be an annual event …. the Canberra Narcissism Festival?

    Being form FNQ anything on indigenous affairs without any input from Noel Pearson just doesn’t cut it sorry …..

  10. jquiggin
    April 22nd, 2008 at 14:27 | #10

    #9 Noel Pearson was at the summit, and despite a claim from the SMH that he boycotted the second day, I’m fairly sure he was there for part of it.

    And the support for boarding schools seems pretty clearly to be influenced by Pearson as was the discussion of indigenous stewardship programs in our water session.

  11. Thersites
    April 22nd, 2008 at 16:42 | #11

    Still no response to #7?

    The Courier Mail, which as lost all credibilidity in regional Qld, stood out for extraordinary sycophancy?

    Narcissism was still the order of the day out here in the real world?

  12. jquiggin
    April 22nd, 2008 at 17:02 | #12

    #7 is too big for a comments thread response. I’m hoping to do something substantive on the state fiscal strategy and you’ll have to wait until then.

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