Saturday salon 25/10


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. Jacqui Lambie refuses an invitation to visit a Sydney mosque

“I’m a Catholic; I’m religious,” she said.

“It’s not my moral upbringing. I’m Australian. I simply believe in the church.

“… I wouldn’t be comfortable with that.”

No comment!

2. $4 billion hit to Queensland schools

Queensland schools are set to take a $4 billion hit to their revenues over the next decade due to cuts announced in the federal budget in May, according to the state’s education department.

Education Queensland’s analysis, obtained by the ABC in a Right to Information request, revealed Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek was advised that over the 10 years from 2014, state schools would be $1.66 billion worse off.

Non-government schools fared worse, with cuts totalling $2.284 billion.

The revenue reduction formed part of $80 billion in savings announced by the Federal Government in the areas of health and education.

Other states would be similarly placed, and comparable cuts in health funding are in the budget.

The good news is that the cuts apply from 2017 and there will have to be an election by 2016. So we’ll get what we vote for!

3. New York doctor diagnosed with Ebola

A harlem doctor returning from Guinea has contracted Ebola.

He took several trips on the subway in the past week, visited a bowling alley and took a cab before he began to display symptoms. His fiancée and two friends have been isolated.

Questions arise, I think, as to whether precautions were adequate. He was taking his temperature twice each day.

Contra the article, I heard on the radio that New Yorkers were calm, trusting their public institutions.

4. New president of Indonesia

Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s new president, is a reform-minded technocrat who will need to make tough decisions if he wants to realise his grand ambitions to improve Indonesia’s creaking infrastructure, healthcare and education systems, analysts say.

He seems a man of principle who will take no nonsense. I wonder how he will view the funny games we play with asylum seekers.

I believe Al Jazeera has been airing an investigative report into the horrors of Australian offshore detention of asylum seekers.

5. Run silent, run deep in Canberra’s naval battles

The AFR has been severely hollowed out in Fairfax’s effort to make a buck, but Laura Tingle is still there. Recently she took a look at how we are going about acquiring submarines.

She reckons the politics wavers between regional concern for jobs and wanting to be mates with the Japanese. When senior LNP politicians were spruiking the possibility of saving billions by buying Japanese subs off the shelf, she says the subs were too slow and lacked the range to be useful in our context. Apparently there is no such thing as an off-the-shelf sub.

She has the impression that while the political talk “wobbles wildly” the Defence technocrats are moving “stealthily but relentlessly forward based on assessments of the best option from a Defence perspective.”

That’s a mercy, say I, once a bureaucrat!

6. Interesting houses

Via Mark’s Facebook, Los Angeles 1960:


From the road:


“Heliotrop”, University of Stuttgart’s “sunflower”-house which produces energy using a large photovoltaic sail on its roof:


16 thoughts on “Saturday salon 25/10”

  1. Thanks Geoff. I like it. Don’t like the price (however, shall buy a lottery ticket).
    I would need something more that a real estate agent’s reassurances about its ability to withstand cyclones – a structural engineer’s assessment of its ability to survive gusts of 350~380Km/hr and an airframe engineer’s opinion on the roof (which looks to me as though its registration letters might start with “VH-“) would do just fine.
    Would definitely add two stainless wire and turnbuckle safety lines above the present verandah rail so that overimbibing guests do not add to my insurance costs.
    How much can I get for those confounded mirror doors on that wardrobe? Gardening might be a challenge – or a blessing. Having gone to all that trouble and cost, I suppose there are solar panels on the roof too. .

  2. If it that doctor survives and anyone else fatally contracted ebola because of him, I expect him to serve many years in prison for murder.
    Possibly mass manslaughter.
    If anyone should know and mitigate the risk of spreading this disease it’s him.
    Disgraceful negligence.

  3. Strange as it might seem, I do agree with Jacqie Lambie’s declining an invitation to visit a mosque. She is entitled to her own religious feelings – though I myself have visited mosques and would do so again.
    Naturally, the Ministry Of Hate And Loathing will crucify her for not rushing off to visit a mosque – and if she did make a respectful visit a mosque today, tomorrow’s headlines would scream “Lambie Insults Moslems: Flaunts Bare Toes In Mosque Invasion” as well as “Lambie Hates Pope Frank. Enters Mosque“.

  4. I recon Lambie is showing a great deal of restraint on this.
    I half expected her to front up at a mosque with a mohammed cartoon singlet, Drummer Rigby hat and eating a double bacon and cheese McMuffin.
    Coz one can still do that in Australia, for now, right ?

  5. Finally finished reading Robert Service’s biography of Trotsky. I can’t help thinking that a lot of the time Trotsky was somewhat dull.
    Now reading Andrew Roberts’s huge Napoleon the Great.

  6. Coz one can still do that in Australia, for now, right ?

    One has made a habit of doing that, has one?

  7. One has made a habit of doing that, has one?

    No, not yet, my choice one way or the other.

    But that’s the beauty of a freedom loving Australia* over islamic countries.

    (* less and less with the passing of each season unfortunately)

  8. I’ve been stricken with the most God-awful gastric upset. Really a shocker!

    I’m only sitting up because my back is killing me lying down!

  9. I’ve been stricken with the most God-awful gastric upset. Really a shocker!

    I’m only sitting up because my back is killing me lying down!

    My Mums cure :- Flat, room temp lemonade and dry toast.
    She used that for everything.

  10. Vomiting for about 7 hours yesterday. Stomach has settled, but I slept about 12 hours last night and still sleepy today. Should be right soon!

  11. Brian: Keep mending.

    BTW Palmer has agreed to support direct action bill in return for LNP support for a “review” of his ETS proposal.

    My attitude is that the LNP version of direct action be given a trial.
    Optimistically we may find that the auctions will attract very low prices per tonne CO2 abatement and that the $2 billion will in fact have a large impact.
    On the other hand we may find that all it does is pay a lot of money for changes that were going to happen anyway. It should be obvious which way it is going by the next election.
    I have argued in the past that a process like Greg Hunt’s auction system (and exchanged emails with him on the subject) so perhaps I am biased. However, I am still inclined to encourage governments to try something that may reduce emissions as long as they don’t want to shut down something like the RET that is actually working.
    I also think that the logical way to finance direct action is a carbon tax. You get a double whammy with this approach.

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