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Weekend reflections

July 11th, 2009

It’s time again for weekend reflections, which makes space for longer than usual comments on any topic. As always, civilised discussion and no coarse language.

Categories: Economics - General Tags:
  1. Hermit
    July 11th, 2009 at 12:22 | #1

    Rudd has been less than impressive on his climate talks. He and Merkel said Australia and Germany would show the way. Don’t think so based on results to date. Then he gave the lead speech on how clean coal would save us. If he is referring to carbon capture and storage the reason it can’t scale up is because it uses a lot more coal for the same net output and the stored CO2 will need special conditions requiring a greater volume of space than the original coal. Therefore he and fellow leaders are either grasping at straws or trying to buy time. I’ll wait for the Macquarie Dictionary to explain Rudd’s new term ‘programmatic specificity’.

  2. Chris Warren
    July 11th, 2009 at 13:39 | #2

    Just as an idle weekend activity. Can anyone find any reportage in Australia of Israels use of M825A1 white phosphorus shells.

    This was reported widely in the international media, including Janes, but I suspect never in Australia.

    http://www.bing.com and http://www.google.com either do not cover Australina news outlets very well or there was no report.

    http://www.bing.com is very impressive.

  3. Michael of Summer Hill
    July 11th, 2009 at 14:19 | #3

    Crikey John, Janet Albrechtsen doesn’t mince her words describing O’Farrell as cocky and the NSW Libs as blundering and devoid of both common sense and principles, and of selling out Liberal Party principles and showing no commitment to core Liberal Party whose values are a sham. Janet we all love you keep up the good work.

  4. Alice
    July 11th, 2009 at 14:37 | #4

    Albrechtsen – Michael, what did you expect? She is in with Murdoch and the uppity in crowd of economic messer upperers.

    Barry is more moderate and more like liberals of old. He is actually just what that party needs but the uppities just cant see it. They need to clear away those silly autocratic uppities before all their old time moderate conservative boomers start passing away. I cant see them getting great swathes of the new youth to go for the far right pitch – can you? Too busy looking for jobs.

    Michael – you are a bit biased. State Labor hasnt a chance and they are truly woeful. If Ofarrell is a cocky, Rees is a galah. Ill probably look to others. A vote to turn the electorate marginal. A green or independent vote.

  5. Michael of Summer Hill
    July 11th, 2009 at 15:57 | #5

    Jon, if I may reply to Alice by saying read between the lines for O’Farrell is not a wet Liberal but a scheming politician who is committed to asset stripping NSW public assets. The only difference between Right-Wing Labor and the Liberals is that the Libs will have in place a representative and a financial expert overseeing and monitoring the use of funds realised from any sale.

  6. Alice
    July 11th, 2009 at 16:08 | #6

    Well…thats why I dont trust either Michael entirely. They (State Labor and Lberal) need to get their collectively stupid heads back in the policies of the fifties when government investment as distinguished from government welfare was a bigger part of the economy …they are so far off track, both the NSW state parties and federal govts although Rudd is at least rectifying some of the miserly mistaken years now.

  7. Michael of Summer Hill
    July 11th, 2009 at 17:01 | #7

    John, if I may reply to Alice by saying O’Farrell has not been straightforward with the public and for this reason I’m tempted to take the juicy odds of Labor winning the next election with Rees at the Helm.

  8. July 11th, 2009 at 17:06 | #8


    I write about detailed programmatic specificity on my blog. It’s my most popular article by far. So there are a lot of people who want to know what this Ruddism means. My translation is: nothing concrete will come from the Major Economies Forum on climate change. And I speculate about Rudd and language.

    I’m interested in the Productivity Commission Key Performance Indicators on Aboriginal Disadvantage and the fact most haven’t changed (relative to non-Aboriginal Australians) since the last report and some have worsened.

  9. Freelander
    July 11th, 2009 at 18:38 | #9

    Terry McCann piece reminds me of how self-important journalists are. Let’s face it, many journalists and opinion writers are simply famous for being famous (to the extent that they have any fame). They are not well known for having done anything. In this way they are just Paris Hiltons with opinions. There are a few who shouldn’t be disparaged so — those who can really write, like Mark Twain, Christopher Hitchens or Phillip Adams. But for the most part all journalists have to offer when they go beyond reporting is a frequently uninformed opinion of no greater quality than that provided by the average stranger in the average pub. This may be the reason why people increasingly turn to blogs for opinion (and for the news).

  10. Donald Oats
    July 11th, 2009 at 19:32 | #10

    There are journalists of the media-motor-mouth variety, classic examples of which are Nut-and-Bolt, JAbs, and many others too numerous to parody. Then there are the calmer, quieter, and intellectually curious variety; perhaps, MeglaGenius, Lenore Taylor, and a few others hiding away in the morass of Murdoch media. They used to make the newspapers a worthwhile read, on balance. Now though, at the library or the coffee shop I might peruse a Murdoch parallel-reality-inhabiting newsrag; with random exception, the experience is stultifying rather than edifying.

  11. July 11th, 2009 at 20:53 | #11


    I must be a heretic. I buy the Australian to see what the rabid wing of conservatism wants. Know thy enemy. But it infuriates me to read the Opinion pages and letters pages so maybe I don’t actually learn that much about them. For me, the AFR is a much better gauge of bourgeois thought and the debates they are having. (Sorry JQ).

  12. SJ
    July 11th, 2009 at 22:30 | #12

    Michael of Summer Hill Says:

    John, if I may reply to… by saying…

    I dunno about anyone else, but I find this affectation of yours really annoying. Cut it out, please. Just say what you want to say, which you do anyway, without the pretension.

  13. Jill Rush
    July 11th, 2009 at 22:51 | #13

    John Passant,
    You are only encouraging the Oz editor by buying the Australian. Visit an office building in any city and there is likely to be a giveaway. That way if you must feed your morbid fascination you aren’t actually directly contributing to the profit line and lifeststyle of the Murdoch clan. They need your money less than you do. I also recommend avoiding Albrechtsen online as this only encourages her and keeps her in a job. If no-one read her or responded to her outrageous remarks in the blogs or letters page she would be unemployed. I would say the same about McCrann but I didn’t realise that anyone still read him until this week, when he responded so negatively about a review of the financial system. I guess change is challenging to anyone who thinks it is all about other people and then suddenly has fears that the system could change to reduce their slice.

  14. Alice
    July 11th, 2009 at 23:12 | #14

    I always suspect the letters to the editor are heavily censored anyway. They have the most mindnumbling boring letters for the most part.

  15. Donald Oats
    July 12th, 2009 at 01:50 | #15

    Oh, Alice, I hope my letters to editor are in the exception 🙂

  16. plaasmatron
    July 12th, 2009 at 06:16 | #16

    I agree with the comment on not reading articles by JAbs etc online, as a click is a click and will be counted by the advertising agency, whether you agree with the content or not, and whether you read it for two lines or until the last full stop. Vote with your mouse and avoid these windbags’ soapboxing.

  17. Alice
    July 12th, 2009 at 08:51 | #17

    LOl Donald..yours are probably the rare exception!

  18. Salient Green
    July 12th, 2009 at 09:29 | #18

    I don’t always agree with Michael of Summer Hill but I have always thought of him as a gentleman with a polite deferment to the owner of this blog.

    Unless ‘SJ’ personally knows Michael of Summer Hill, I would have to judge the comment at #12 as crass.

  19. July 12th, 2009 at 11:49 | #19

    John you might like to take a look at this http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/07/12/2623385.htm?section=justin
    and comment. I am reminded of your exchange with Tim Lambert “I spot 7 lies” “I can only see 6”. This one seems to have at least 7.

  20. Michael of Summer Hill
    July 12th, 2009 at 16:21 | #20

    John, many will agree with Tim Andrews that the NSW Opposition’s stance on school league tables has become a national joke and O’Farrell must take responsibility for his actions and do the wright thing.

  21. Hermit
    July 12th, 2009 at 16:25 | #21

    @David Horton
    It’s like the fox saying I need a chicken or two to give me strength to guard the hen house. I believe brown coal generators get 90% free permits til 2015. The coal industry bloke seems to contradict Rudd by saying carbon capture and storage won’t arrive til 2025 which really means never. CO2 charges of $20 a tonne would add about 2.5c a kilowatt-hour to the cost of brown coal fired electricity. The idea is that by then people will have more house insulation, solar hot water and smart meters to save electricity. That stuff will be largely paid for by the CO2 revenue.

  22. BilB
    July 12th, 2009 at 19:59 | #22

    Here is a Quiggin worthy essay


  23. robert
    July 12th, 2009 at 20:16 | #23

    Frank Devine – the Sydney-based columnist and former editor who died recently after a protracted illness which he bore with stoic courage – was a far more interesting figure than the mindless neocon robot whom Janet Albrechtsen and her myrmidons have, in their obituaries, held up in the optimistic hope of our admiration. (I cherish the sheer imbecility of the Spectator article which likened him to other great “conservative” “thinkers” such as, wait for it, Tim Blair and Gerard Henderson. The idea that neither Blair nor Henderson has ever been a conservative’s bootlace had clearly never occurred to our blithe columnist.)

    Many people who were just finding their feet in Australian intellectual life after university (I was one of them) have kind memories of Frank providing them with helpful comments and hospitable encouragement. This should not be overlooked in any assessment of what Frank achieved.

    But something happened to him late in life, something that I can neither explain nor willingly contemplate. How was it that a man of better-than-average literary talents, and firm (though not sanctimoniously expressed) moral principles, became a stooge of Red Rupert Murdoch’s pornocracy? How was it that he continued to be a stooge long after Red Rupert himself had treated him like dirt and conveyed to him that he was far more readily dispensable than was the cleaning lady in his office? A variant of the Stockholm Syndrome seems to have been at work here; perhaps a future historian with training in psychopathology will be able to account for it better than I can.

  24. July 12th, 2009 at 21:36 | #24

    And you haven’t forgotten that he fathered Miranda Devine have you?@robert

  25. Chris Warren
    July 13th, 2009 at 06:38 | #25

    Recession over?


    Unfortunately I do not think you can fix a recession by hurling nice-sounding surveys at it.

    Anyway – time will tell.

  26. smiths
    July 13th, 2009 at 16:55 | #26

    heres something like compass,
    just in case you are not sure who is running the show,

    The penthouse at the top of the building, with its magnificent view of Basel, is decorated for the annual dinner, the nuclear shelter in the basement is swept out and the wine cellar is restocked with the best wines. At the BIS’s private country club, gardeners prepare the tennis courts as if a Grand Slam tournament were about to be held there.
    “Central bankers can sometimes be prima donnas,” says former BIS Secretary General Gunter Baer. He remembers the commotion that erupted at one of the annual events when it became known that a certain vintage of Mouton Rothschild was unavailable.
    Central bankers, proud of their independence, are intent on holding themselves above all partisan influences while taking all necessary measures to keep the global economy healthy.

    These traits make the BIS one of the world’s most exclusive and influential clubs, a sort of Vatican of high finance. Formally registered as a stock corporation, it is recognized as an international organization and, therefore, is not subject to any jurisdiction other than international law.
    It does not need to pay tax, and its members and employees enjoy extensive immunity. No other institution regulates the BIS, despite the fact that it manages about 4 percent of the world’s total currency reserves, or €217 trillion ($304 trillion), as well as 120 tons of gold.
    Central bankers are not elected by the people but are appointed by their governments. Nevertheless, they wield power that exceeds that of many political leaders.


  27. Michael of Summer Hill
    July 13th, 2009 at 17:35 | #27

    John, contrary to what the polls are saying ‘three-bus Barry’ does not have the necessary experience to run NSW and the State would be better off under Rees.

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