Saturday salon 4/4


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. Birthdays!

Three birthdays to mention.

Larvatus Prodeo was born at Easter 2005, so would be 10 years old if still alive. I started blogging there about three months later.

Secondly, I turned 75 just over a week ago.

I usually don’t make a fuss over birthdays, reasoning that I’m just one day older than the day before. So every day is new. My cardiologist is very happy with me, and I can tell you that since my triple bypass in 2000 he’s the main man!

Third, Climate Plus was born a year ago tomorrow. Some 318 posts later we are still here. It has been an experience – some surprises, some disappointments.

For the foreseeable future I plan to carry on. Political posts are more than twice as popular as climate posts, but our main reason for being here is climate. My aim is to keep the lay reader abreast of important developments in a brief and digestible form.

Feedback is more than welcome.

2. Vale Betty Churcher (1931-2015)


Betty Churcher died during the week, aged 1984. As an artist, as a teacher, as an arts administrator, and as a human being she excelled and attracted nothing but praise.

As a woman she had several firsts, most notably in 1990 she became the first woman at the helm of the National Gallery of Australia, where she was director for 7 years.

While there she earned the nickname “Betty Blockbuster” for presiding over 12 international blockbuster exhibitions, which in turn led to a corresponding growth in the gallery’s attendance numbers and revenue. She also initiated the construction of new galleries for large-scale temporary exhibitions, gave the gallery its current name after dropping “Australian National Gallery” and acquired Arthur Streeton’s Golden Summer, Eaglemont, 1889, for $3.5 million.

Image courtesy of the ABC.

3. Selling ugly produce at low prices

Every year Canadians waste some 40% of their food. A large part of the problem is that “ugly” food, misshapen or marked, is thrown out. Now one large retailer is selling this food at a discount in Ontario and Quebec.

Should happen here.

4. UK elections

The UK election campaign started in earnest. Here’s a prediction of the outcome.

According to that it could be a coalition of Labour, the Scottish National Party and what’s left of the Liberal Democrats.

Ed Miliband seems to have come through the leaders debate OK.

5. Jacqui Lambie starts her own party

Jacqui Lambie has applied to register The Jacqui Lambie Network as a political party.

She’s also got something else to think about.

A PUP statement released on Wednesday threatened to spend up to $3 million on legal fees in a bid to recover $2 million and $7 million from Senator Lambie and Senator Lazarus respectively.

Senator Glenn Lazarus quit the Palmer United Party earlier this year.

Senator Glenn Lazarus quit the Palmer United Party earlier this year.

PUP claims those are the amounts spent helping Senator Lazarus and Lambie get elected under the party’s banner at the 2013 election.

Both senators have since abandoned PUP and are now sitting as independents.

Lambie says he promised not to sue.

6. Goodnight Goodluck Jonathon

President-elect of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that he plans to aggressively fight corruption that has long plagued Nigeria and go after the root of the nation’s unrest.

For the first time in Nigeria’s history, the opposition defeated the ruling party in democratic elections.

Buhari defeated incumbent Goodluck Jonathan by about 2 million votes, according to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission.

The win comes after a long history of military rule, coups and botched attempts at democracy in Africa’s most populous nation.

Jonathon’s main contribution seemed to be making many billions of oil revenue due to the state magically disappear.

9 thoughts on “Saturday salon 4/4”

  1. Happy birthdays, Brian.

    Thanks for your efforts with the blog. Even though climate clippings do not induce a lot of comment at present, I think this is function of the present futility of the Australian situation, and the reality that at present we are in a wait and watch status as both global warming consolidates, and the global climate action movement crawls, slowly but determinedly, into life. But being progressively informed of climate changes is vital, which for me Climate Clippings is a central part.

    I think that the climate action damage Abbott has managed to achieve will be short lived, but will mean that when the Australian public is next motivated to take action on climate change, conviction will be unanimous and measures undertaken will be fully effective.

  2. Suing Lambie and Lazarus for leaving PUP would set a very bad precedent. If it succeeds, the implication would be that a rich donor who provides money to help get a candidate elected has some legally recognized control over what that person does once they become a member of parliament.
    Not a good look.

  3. Thanks, BilB.

    Climate change policy should be a major point of difference between the major parties at the next election, so here’s hoping. I have met Mark Butler, briefly, and he impressed as committed and well informed. It depends, however, on the commitment of the heavies in shadow cabinet, and I’d be reasonably sanguine on that point.

  4. John D, I think there’s a lot of difference between a free-standing wealthy donor and a wealthy leader of a political party. I have some sympathy for Palmer’s position, though he loses people consistently at such a rate as to indicate that he has some responsibility in what has happened.

  5. Brian: I would not be happy if someone I had campaigned/donated for suddenly decided to switch to the LNP after they have been elected. So yes i can understand why Clive is not happy a happy leader.
    However, none of this means that I support the idea that Palmer or anyone else should be able to contractually bind a candidate to belong to a particular party or support some legislation after they are elected. It gives even more political power to the rich than they have now.
    The parliament should pass retrospective laws making it illegal to sue someone for leaving a party or not supporting a piece of legislation.

  6. I. Happy Birthday Brian!
    The coming of that remarkable site, Larvatus Prodeo, was indeed well worth celebrating.
    So too is the coming of Climate Plus …. but, Brian, what are the disappointments and what would you like us to do to correct them?

    ii. Yes, vale Betty Churcher. She was also a great teacher whose greatness exceeded that of many of the graphic artists about whom she spoke.

    iii. Making ugly food fashionable? That can never be allowed to work! To do so would be to attack the heart of the multi-billion dollar marketing racket – which depends on mugs with money demanding only “perfection(??)”.

    vi. For all his faults, I am still sorry to see Goodluck Jonathan go. I do hope Mohammed Buhari does have the moral strength to resist the temptations of a return to military government and of an erroneous loyalty to false fellow Moslems.

  7. Graham, probably the biggest disappointment is that many if not most of the people at LP who urged me to start a blog are not in fact here.

    Secondly, I hoped to have a couple more post writers on board.

    Other than that, no serious problems!

  8. Yeah, Brian, that type of disappointment is quite understandable. Just think of yourselves as pioneers – when reality bites harder and harder, there’ll be standing room only. Cheers! 🙂

  9. Thanks Graham. I’ve had a few conversations that go like this:

    “That’s a great blog you have there, Brian.”

    “Thanks, but do you read it?”


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