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Sandpit

June 17th, 2013

A new sandpit for long side discussions, idees fixes and so on.

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  1. Ikonoclast
    June 18th, 2013 at 09:58 | #1

    I am going to go out on a bit of a limb here. Some recent events, particularly crimes of serious violence against women, have convinced me that tougher sentencing is required for violent crimes. This is not so much for the deterrent effect (dubious) as for the prevention of recidivism. Repeat offenders of serious violent crime should get mandatory life, no release until certified in need of high care in an aged persons facility. By repeat offenders, I mean they do it twice and they never get out. No parole. The first offence ought to attract a minimum of at least 20 years.

    Our prisons should be designed such that serious violent offenders never have contact with other prisoners ever. There should be no shared areas for these offenders. If these prisoners do not wish to go on living under these conditions they should be offered suicide by painless, self-administered lethal injection.

  2. Jim Rose
    June 18th, 2013 at 18:30 | #2

    the late Robert Fogel has an interesting life that contrasts with that of John Rawls.

    • Rawls was sick as a small child with diphtheria and then with pneumonia.
    • In each case, a brother caught the disease from him and died.
    • Rawls spend his life wrestling with the arbitresses of good fortune and bad luck.

    Fogel went down with chickenpox as a small boy in 1932. The city health department quarantined his family’s apartment within 2 hours for the next few weeks.

    In the early 1950s, Fogel’s son contracted chickenpox.
    • He contacted the family doctor full of fear based on his childhood.
    • The doctor was calm and routine aboit it, saying said it was a mild year for chickenpox.
    • His son was back in school within a few days

    Fogel made a second career studying the economics of physiology and how much healthier and long-lived people have become because of the industrial revolution

    Rawls made no similar positive contribution to remedying the blights of his childhood and explain what institutions made them a relic of history.

  3. Sancho
    June 18th, 2013 at 19:21 | #3

    Wouldn’t be easier to say “I don’t like John Rawls” instead of contriving such a meaningless comparison?

    Like Fogel, I had chickenpox as a child. Following that I played ice hockey as a youth, but Fogel made no similar contribution to ice sports. Boo, Fogel! I win!

  4. Paul Hunt
    June 18th, 2013 at 21:34 | #4

    Re your recent comment piece in the UK Guardian, you may be interested in this comment:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/17/australia-electricity-prices-queensland#comment-24408238

  5. June 18th, 2013 at 22:00 | #5

    I am going out on a limb too.

    Maybe we should organize citizen assemblies, starting with street meetings, demanding the next government should do everything in its power to address climate change, starting with the formulation of a global and national plan to abate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next forty years.

    A global plan for a global problem, may stimulate others to develop similar contingency preparations. This would open up discussion between nation states and create a move toward common and coordinated endeavours.

  6. crocodile
    June 18th, 2013 at 23:02 | #6

    wmmbb, I don’t believe that will achieve much. At the moment all this climate change stuff appears to be somebody else’s problem so let them fix it.

  7. June 18th, 2013 at 23:50 | #7

    Interesting assumption. The very act of planning both nationally and globally will change awareness and set the stage for intense conversation, both about responsibilities and options. And then there are those young people alive today whose children and grandchildren will suffer consequences if either nothing or too little is done.

  8. Jim Rose
    June 19th, 2013 at 09:58 | #8

    wmmbb :
    I am going out on a limb too.
    Maybe we should organize citizen assemblies, starting with street meetings, demanding the next government should do everything in its power to address climate change, starting with the formulation of a global and national plan to abate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next forty years.
    A global plan for a global problem, may stimulate others to develop similar contingency preparations. This would open up discussion between nation states and create a move toward common and coordinated endeavours.

    another option is to win at the election later this year but that would require the sudden appearance of a credible plan for a low carbon economy at a low cost.

  9. Tim Macknay
    June 19th, 2013 at 11:29 | #9

    Fogel made a second career studying the economics of physiology and how much healthier and long-lived people have become because of the industrial revolution

    Rawls made no similar positive contribution to remedying the blights of his childhood and explain what institutions made them a relic of history.

    What a strange comment. I would rate Fogel’s and Rawls’ careers as roughly equivalent. Both made substantial names for themselves as public intellectuals – Fogel in economic history, Rawls in political philosophy.

    Fogel’s work on the historical improvement in human health may have been interesting, but it’s difficult to see what it had to do with “remedying the blights of his childhood”. Childhood diseases were brought under control by medical researchers and public health professionals, not economic historians.

  10. June 19th, 2013 at 11:47 | #10

    I agree – that comment by Jim Rose is just an outright nonsensical and weird comparison.

  11. J-D
    June 19th, 2013 at 14:51 | #11

    @wmmbb
    If you organise a meeting in your street, please let us know how it goes.

  12. June 19th, 2013 at 17:07 | #12

    Who imagined, the actual practice of democracy was easy, especially when there are no third parties involved? Climate change is especially difficult, because it strikes at cultural paradigms that are understood implicitly. However, doing nothing is not the best option.

  13. Jim Rose
    June 19th, 2013 at 19:48 | #13

    @wmmbb in 2008, both U.S. presidential candidates support a carbon price and carbon trading. mccain did far, far more than obama did as a senator on the issue too.

    by 2010, both had lost all interest in the issue. obama had the congressional majorities to pass a bill but was unwilling to risk the political consequences at the ballot box.

    the reason was clear: the inability to deliver a low carbon economy at a low cost.

  14. crocodile
    June 19th, 2013 at 20:51 | #14

    wmmbb :And then there are those young people alive today whose children and grandchildren will suffer consequences if either nothing or too little is done.

    Precisely, that is the truth and why it is somebody else’s problem. The motivation to do anything about it does not appear to be important enough for the greedy majority. Unfortunate, but true.

  15. June 19th, 2013 at 22:13 | #15

    If true, and I have no way to know, that suggests the description, “unconscionable”. I know that I may have to make some tough choices, if out of self interest in the relative short term.

    I notice that the PM avoided Adam Brandt’s question relating to keeping coal in the ground, to attack the Opposition’s position of Carbon Pricing. So much for the “great moral issue of our time”.

  16. June 20th, 2013 at 04:06 | #16

    Not wishing to sound dogmatic, I though I should mention there is an alternative view of climate system reality.

    For example, there is this fine example of rhetoric from Alan Moran:

    The Coalition would reduce the $20 billion a year funding on carbon madness by a half to two-thirds. Not a bad start to ridding us forever of the cruel and pernicious impost introduced at the behest of green guerillas, well-funded business lobbyists, gullible politicians and public servants creating career options.

    This inverts the morality, if not the facts and the science. Internal disagreement can be expected within the incoming LNP Government, and among their supporters. However, the moral issue does not disappear, because they arise from what is true based on the evidence, even if that is subject to uncertainty.

    Furthermore, it is immoral and contemptuous of the electors, for those who presume to form government not to explain in appropriate detail and clarity their beliefs and intentions in relation to all critical issues, including climate change.

  17. J-D
    June 21st, 2013 at 12:37 | #17

    @wmmbb
    I don’t imagine that doing nothing is the best option, and I also don’t imagine that the actual practice of democracy is easy. That’s why I’d like to hear about a meeting in your street, if you organise one.

  18. June 21st, 2013 at 15:19 | #18

    It is doable J-D, whether I am the person to organize it is another matter.

    We could do this by identifying a common problem. We have the potential for dangerous bush fires. We were not ready last summer and I suspect we won’t be ready again. I did not understand the warning.

    This issue presents individual and common concerns. At the same time bush fires are related, among other variables, to long term patterns of weather and climate change. So it involves personal, social and political issues.

    So I will just start talking about it, and go from there. I have begun here.

  19. Hermit
    June 22nd, 2013 at 09:18 | #19

    By September 14 we should have a good idea whether needed spring rains will materialise, needed for example for wheat growing and hydro which is ~60% of our renewable energy. If it looks grim that may affect voter in intentions the way it did in the Ruddslide of 2007.

    A point about the January 2013 fires is that they were so widespread in southeastern Australia that ground crews and water bombers were stretched thin. It took up to a week to discover bodies in burnt houses. Will this be the new normal? If so it is a kind of climate adaptation we’d prefer not to have. OTOH without spring rain there will be less to burn albeit with more expensive food.

  20. Jim Rose
    June 22nd, 2013 at 11:34 | #20

    see http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/gillard-launches-gender-inquiry-20130621-2oo81.html

    The Gillard government is to launch an inquiry by the Australian Human Rights Commission into the treatment of women in the workplace.

    the gift that keeps giving: mind you, few, if any political commentators mentioned that Gillard’s blue ties speech would cost her votes among men. most political decisions have a downside, but few mentioned a male backlash against over-the-top wedge politics as one.

    most of all, labor has less support among men than women as a long run trend. labor should be seeking their votes, not commenting on their ties.

  21. June 22nd, 2013 at 23:57 | #21

    I suppose this fits into “idees fixes”:

    “Project For A New American Century (2009)”

    Watch this.

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