Monday Message Board

It’s time for the Monday message board, where you are invited to post your thoughts on any topic. Civilised discussion and no coarse language please. Feel free to give predictions and comments on the US election.

23 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. With the news that fundamentalists in Fallujah have threatened to use chemical weapons against Coalition troops if they invade the area, should our commanders enforce the use of protective equipment or rely on the judgement of UN weapons inspectors?

  2. Robert Manne provides a very interesting analysis of the post-election political landscape in todays Age (at and Sydney Morning Herald (at

    I largely agree with Manne’s analysis and prescriptions, subject to some qualifications which don’t materially affect the point I wish to make. This is that, if Manne is correct in arguing that Labor must move to the right in order to remain electorally viable, and if the advocates of causes associated with the liberal and radical left need to give priority to extra-parliamentary activism in civil society, what is left of Labor’s traditional identity and purpose, what new identity and purpose could Labor adopt as a result of it, and the left, adopting Manne’s prescriptions, and what reason would there be for capable young people with progressive values to join such a party?

  3. This appears to be a false dilemma, Observa. From the Oz report

    The weapons involved would be pre-1991 artillery rockets filled with sarin, or their damaged remnants – weapons that were openly declared by Iraq and were under UN control until security fell apart with the US attack. They are not concealed arms of the kind President George W. Bush claimed Iraq had, but which were never found

  4. Is anyone else irritated by the Halloween promotions and hype we now seem to suffer every October 31st? Yes, I know, ancient Celtic traditions, All Hallows eve and all that: but is it really culturally appropriate in Australia to adopt the cutesy pie Hollywood version with costumed kids trick-and-treating, pumpkins etc.? It didn’t happen when I was a kid…(OK, OK, boring old person comment!!). Never let it be said commenters here are afraid to plumb the depths of the unimportant issues of the day.

  5. Paul, one of the problems with Manne’s analysis is his defeatism. I made some observations about a previous column of his in the same vein in a post at Troppo.

    For Manne’s analysis to hold water, two conditions are necessary:

    1. That the ALP had been actively campaigning on issues such as reconciliation, refugees, gay rights, etc. before the election.

    2. That it is impossible to persuade blue-collar voters that a more compassionate approach to these issues is a good thing.

    The first is untrue, and the second, in my opinion, untested. Whatever Keating’s virtues, he wasn’t much of a persuader and I don’t think he was even trying towards the end.

  6. I’m quite peeved at Aussie Halloween or Samhain as it is derived from BC, especially since it was six months ago in this hemisphere.

  7. Marking essays by my students on issues including the power of advertising to influence children, I came across the following gem.

    A five year old boy was asked, if he could have his parents buy him just one thing he’d seen advertised, answered “a Tampax”.

    When asked why, he said “Because if I had a Tampax I could swim, I could ride a horse, I could do anything!”

  8. The second par of my post should have read:

    ‘A five year old boy was asked, if he could have his parents buy him just one thing he’d seen advertised, what would it be. He answered “a Tampax”.’

  9. For those who are interested, I have added some review comments to last weeks’ thread on the How to Kill a Country book. The lack of objectivity in the book is quite funny. Here’s the thread.

    We wish to be clear-eyed in our appraisal of the evidence. It is easy to adopt a stance of ‘bashing’ multinational pharmas and indeed, they invite such abuse with their unsavoury and often fraudulent practises … (p 60)

  10. Stephen, I lived in the US as a child and have very fond memories of Halloween. But I can’t imagine what’s going on in the heads of people who think we should adopt it here holus bulus, complete with Jack o’lanterns. Sending kids to knock on doors of victims who are not prepared for it or not even sympathitic to the practice, is cruel to both kids and victims. If they really want to dress up and play tricks, why can’t they just organise a party for themselves and like-minded neighbours?

  11. Mr Healy, I am unaware of your expertise but I plan on reading your paper in relation to open source in due course.

    However I was wondering what you thought of Bob Katter’s comment recorded in the Hansard that

    In the 80s they [the americans] signed the WTO agreement to reduce agricultural support levels by 30%. According to the OECD Ag outlook report, they have increased them by 1%.

    If this holds true, can we really trust the US to fulfil their end of the bargain?

  12. Since I was completely wrong with my federal election predictions, I feel that anything I say on the result of the US election will be wrong.
    Therefore, I say Bush by a few extra states and hope to be wrong.

  13. I’ve always thought that Halloween is never gonna cut it in Oz due simply to the lack of pumpkins.

    It’s a harvest festival, and we are just planting down here.

    The sight of pumpkins on display up & down Manhattan is one of the most beautiful I’ve witnessed in a ‘burg.

  14. Vee, that’s an interesting comment on agriculture and I don’t know the answer. I am ambivalent on the FTA as a whole.

  15. Christopher Hitchens in Slate on why he has now decided to vote for Kerry:

    Subjectively, Bush (and Blair) deserve to be re-elected because they called the enemy by its right name and were determined to confront it. Objectively, Bush deserves to be sacked for his flabbergasting failure to prepare for such an essential confrontation.

    That took me by surprise. Have Hitchens’ columns of the last eighteen months been a chronicle of flabbergasting failure, or is this a last-minute attempt to salvage some credibility?

    Apologies if this has already been discussed.

  16. I think there are many
    indicators of a very strong resurgence of the Democrat vote in the USA. Masses of new voters,an energised Deocratic Party,a big increase in registrations to vote by the young, by blacks and Hispanics.All this should help the Democrats. In addition the US economy has under-performed in many of the “swing” states,and there I think Kerry will win by a wide margin..that is to say a lead of perhaps 80 or so votes in the Electoral College ..and a small absolute majority of votes nat

  17. The lawyers will be the winners of the US election – that this is a country exporting democracy when UN observers are required would make me cry if I wasn’t so cynical about men, money and power in the US.

  18. Halloween would be worse than Mother’s Day and St Valentine’s rolled into one culturally derivative fest. Why don’t we just have a “Thank You America for Sending us Your Civilisation” Day?

    February 30th would be a beaut date.

  19. I’m not the least sympathetic towards Halloween; but we’ve had far more damage done by our headlong rush into adopting the worst features of American education without complaint, so after that, I guess I shan’t find it too difficult to live with Halloween?

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