Saturday salon 11/10


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention last week.

1. Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi win the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize

At 17, Pakistani education rights activist Malala Yousafzai is the youngest-ever winner of the prize. She first came to global attention in 2012, when a Taliban gunman attempted to assassinate her on her school bus. After surgery and rehabilitation in the UK, she has become an international advocate for access to education, in particular for girls who are denied opportunities to learn.

Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi, who shares the prize with Yousafzai, is the founder of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan movement. The organisation, which Satyarthi formed in 1980, campaigns against child labour and human trafficking in South Asia.

2. Dr Catherine Hamlin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

The Ethiopian Government nominated 90 year-old Australian doctor Dr Catherine Hamlin for the prize in recognition for her work with women suffering obstetric fistula during childbirth. The hospitals she helped establish treat over 2500 women each year. She travelled with her late husband Dr Reg Hamlin to Ethiopia 55 years ago to train midwives and stayed on.

Would you believe, other nominations included Russian president Vladimir Putin, who was nominated earlier this year for his role in dismantling Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles.

3. Saudis crack down on political dissidents

The new laws have largely been brought in to combat the growing number of Saudis travelling to take part in the civil war in Syria, who have previously returned with newfound training and ideas about overthrowing the monarchy.

To that end, King Abdullah issued Royal Decree 44, which criminalises “participating in hostilities outside the kingdom” with prison sentences of between three and 20 years, Human Rights Watch said.

But the laws go beyond those concerns to anything which could “harm public order”. This includes defining atheists as terrorists.

4. Dozens of anti-Muslim attacks as Islamic leaders warn of community fear

There have been at least 30 attacks on Muslims – mainly against women wearing the hijab – in the three weeks since the police anti-terror raids and threats by Islamic State put relations between the Islamic community and mainstream Australia on edge.

Muslim community leaders are compiling a register of religiously motivated incidents, which includes reports of physical and verbal assaults, threats of violence against senior clerics and damage to mosques.

Escorts are being arranged for women to go shopping.

Queensland has the highest rate of personal assaults and threats to mosques, according to the list.

5. Feral cats rewrite the Australian story

There are between 15 and 23 million feral cats in Australia. Each night they chomp their way through about 75 million native animals.

Campaigns to eradicate foxes have backfired where they have been tried. Initial success has been followed by an explosion of the feral cat population leaving native wildlife worse off.

Other predators include the dingo and the Tasmanian devil.

6. Phillip Adams’ favourite interviews

To coincide with Phillip Adams’ induction into the Melbourne Press Club hall of fame, the host of RN’s Late Night Live has assembled a list of some of his favourite recent interviews from his ‘little wireless program’, featuring everyone from Magda Szubanski to Oliver Stone.

17 thoughts on “Saturday salon 11/10”

  1. I would just like to congratulate John Davidson on his truly excellent piece of work titled “Is harassing the unemployed justified”. I think you have surpassed even the efforts of Eva Cox and Greg Jericho in this area.

  2. Hockey’s unfair budget is is even worse than I thought According to the ABC,

    A couple with children in the lowest income quintile will, on average, lose 6.6 per cent of their disposable income by 2017-2018 while a top quintile family will actually gain 0.3 per cent.

    SG: Appreciate the compliment. It was a post written with feeling.

  3. That’s good jumpy, I’m glad your mob are doing well!

    John D that’s scandalous! Hockey is doing Bill Shorten’s work for him, according to some commentators. The Liberal Party has noticed according to Laurie Oakes.

  4. Thanks Brian.
    Thing are still very patch, but as usual, from now until Xmas it ramps up.
    Jan/Feb is traditionally slow, so we’ll see.

    The graph only shows growth from the previous month and we’ve had such a long period of decline that the point we’re at is still very low.

    Optimistic that the trend continues though.
    We’ve got a long way to go before it’s overcooked.
    As for any talk of skill shortage, the mining sector drained plenty but they’re drafting back, so no problem.

  5. The good news first:
    I was delighted to hear that Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyathi had become co-winners of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize – that’s enough to restore anyone’s faith in human nature.

    And now the bad news:
    Whilst I am angered at women being abused for wearing religious garb and disgusted at a cancer patient being abused because she was wearing a turban or the like to cover her hair loss – I am also annoyed at Selective Alarm and Fashionable Outrage over the reactions to women wearing religious garb. Like thousand of my fellow Viet Nam War veterans, I had to endure decades of abuse, insults, neglect and nastiness; many, many veterans succumbed to all that ill-treatment and committed suicide – nobody came rushing to our aid. Similarly, a few of my friends became single mothers back in the days when it was still unfashionable; they, too, had to endure nastiness, insults and abuse too – nobody stood up to defend them either. Likewise, some years ago, a decent Athiest family who did no wrong nor harm whatsoever were subjected to malicious gossip, ostracism, abuse and vandalism – nobody stepped forward to shield them from viciousness. It is no wonder then that I regard most of the present confected Fashionable Outrage as nothing more than showing off, tinged with a broad streak of hypocrisy.

    And sheer amazement too:
    Feral cats, cane toads and guinea grass (still loved by some graziers despite the availability of dozens of better and less damaging substitutes) are the three most destructive pests ever introduced into Australia. Heck, humans don’t even make it into the top ten; prickly-pear and the bunnies are no longer the severe threart they used to be. Why on earth has next to nothing been done to eliminate these three destructive pests?

  6. Good points Graham.
    There are a few lists floating around the net of violence ( verbal right through to the ultimate physical, death ) to young muslim raised woman for not wearing these garments in Australia.
    Also for choosing who to marry, being gay, having another faith…..
    Almost always committed by close family.

    No media outrage for them.

    As for feral environmental pests, I know many nice people that spend their weekends reducing the numbers of these destructive introduced animals ( cats,goats, pigs, rabbits, dear, dogs…..) at quite large cost to their wallets.

    They’re made feel like criminals for doing so.

    One little game like to play when looking a large demonstrations or rallies is a variations of the ” match ” card game we played as kids.
    Only the placards are the cards and you match up totally opposing statements.

  7. Yeah, Jumpy. I definitely do not like to see the public being hoodwinked by “our(??)” news media into believing there is the one and only type of Islam and that is the malicious Wahhabist version – especially since most of the other versions of Islam allow and even encourage devout Moslem women to take an active part in society and to lead fulfilling lives.

    As for devout Moslem women being insulted, attacked and killed by their co-religionists: the closest parallel I can find to self-censorship on a serious issue in “our(??)” news media was its self-censorship regarding blatant corruption, organized crime and massive fraud in Queensland prior to the Fitzgerald royal Commission.

    I like your Match game on placards carried in rent-a-crowd demonstrations. 🙂 By the way, did you see the small item in the news this week where a Pastafarian (worshippers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster) was denied a driving licence because he refused to remove holy headgear (a pasta strainer or colander) from his head for the licence photo?.

    Thanks, too, to all those unappreciated weekend preservers of Australia’s unique fauna.

  8. Ah! The Flying Spaghetti Monster!

    On a more serious note, have almost finished reading Ziauddin Sardar’s Mecca. The Sacred City.
    You should read it, Jumpy. It will clarify some of your many misconceptions about Islam. Its a very balanced account of some aspects of Islamic history from a Muslim point of view. Warts and all, as they say. Its definitely no whitewash.

  9. According to the ABC Campbell Newman is openly proposing to use the proceeds of his asset sales (sorry very long term leasing) to buy votes by using some of the money to reduce power costs similar to those he promised and didn’t deliver at the last election.

    Queensland’s LNP government says it will reduce the price of electricity by at least $100 a year if it is re-elected.

    Premier Campbell Newman said the State Government planned to remove the cost of the solar bonus scheme from electricity prices.

    He said the $3.4 billion Strong Choices Cost of Living Fund would be used to ensure Queenslanders would not have to subsidise the cost of solar through their power bills.

    The money came from the Government’s recently backed $37 billion leasing asset plan, which it said it would take to the next state election.

    “We’re going to take the obligation of paying the 44 cents out of the electricity network businesses, bring it back to the Queensland Government, fund the obligation to pay for those people who have got the solar panels from the $3.4 billion fund, and take the burden off all electricity consumers,” he said.

    “If given a mandate to act on our Strong Choices lease plan, we will have the funds available to take 6 per cent off retail electricity prices in 2015/16.”

    It is a blatant misuse of money that was supposed to be used to reduce the debt that Newman used to think was a problem.

  10. The solar council has, qite rightly accused Newman of demonizing solar to boost asset privatization. In effect, Newman is promising to subsidize the power industry so that he can sell the states power industry assets so that he will have the money he needs to subsidize the power industry. Even by LNP standards this is claoks and mirrors gone beserk.

    Solar Council chief executive John Grimes said the strategy was flawed and Mr Newman’s comments were “outrageous”.

    “He’s using solar families in Queensland that have entered into a government scheme in good faith as political pawns to try and create pressure and vilify them, so he can sell off the electricity assets and get top dollar for them,” he said.

    “What the Premier is trying to do is basically demonise solar, say that solar PV really is the reason for electricity prices being so high in Queensland and for eroding the value of the electricity assets.

    “Premier Newman should start to tell the truth – the cost of electricity increases in Queensland have been because of gold plating of the infrastructure, the poles and wires in Queensland.

    “Our own research shows that the more solar you have on the grid in Queensland, the cheaper electricity prices become for everybody.”

    Federal MP Clive Palmer today criticised the State Government’s privatisation agenda on social media, labelling the move a broken promise.

    Mr Grimes said the business model of the major electricity retailers was broken, yet the State Government had chosen to champion that model.

    “They’ve chosen to side with the vested interests of the big power companies, the existing status quo, and against the community – and that’s really dumb politics,” he said.

    “The community see clearly what’s happening and they’ll react accordingly.

  11. Paul Burns,

    Jumpy. It will clarify some of your many misconceptions about Islam.

    Oh?, which misconceptions might those be Paul ?
    Always happy to clear them li’ll varmints up, dagnamit !

  12. This week and next I will be spending a fair bit of time proofing a mathematics thesis, which for me is hard, slow labour, given my dim knowledge of the subject!

  13. John @ 11:
    According to my bilingual dictionary:
    Lower electricity prices = Higher electricity costs to households..
    Job creation = (1) More sackings, (2) More 457 visa holders.
    Better roads = More tenders for my pals.
    More schools = Less teachers.
    Assets leasing = Fire sale of assets.
    Investment = Plunder.

    See? Easy, isn’t it? Confusion usually arises because the words sound so much like English but are, in reality, Politicalese, one of the daughter languages of straight English. I’ll see if I can find you a copy of that bilingual dictionary.

  14. Jumpy @ 12,
    Just read the book. Jumpy. I’m not in the business of doing other peoples’ thinking for them.

  15. Jumpy @7: There are lots of reports of non-muslims killing their spouses as well as those reports about honour killings conducted by some Muslims.
    In terms of people in other cultures being pushed around by spouses etc. there is enormous variation about exactly who has control of what. It is not simply about one or other spouse being the boss.
    For example, in our house I never tell my wife what to wear even though she can get very insistent about what I wear when we go out.
    It is easy too to assume that all women who wear face coverings are doing so because they are forced to. In many cases the reason will be that they feel more comfortable wearing the face covering in public. My wife has Muslim friends who started to wear the Hijab after they came to Australia despite their husband’s objections.

  16. Paul Burns @15
    Jumpy @ 12,

    Just read the book. Jumpy. I’m not in the business of doing other peoples’ thinking for them.

    I don’t have the time Paul, I run a Business and thinking for other people is very time consuming. You made this statement :

    It will clarify some of your many misconceptions about Islam.

    I asked you in a very polite ( and humorous I thought ) way to back that up.
    Either do or don’t, but save the condescension till you’ve earned the right.

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