Saturday salon 16/1: late edition

1. Essendon players pinged

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld WADA’s appeal of the AFL anti-doping tribunal’s Essendon verdict, with 34 past and present Bombers players banned for 12 months, which means they will miss the entire 2016 season.

The key thing in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) system is that the individual athlete is finally responsible for what goes into his or her body. That runs counter to the ethos of how teams operate.

Daryl Adair at The Conversation explains how the ‘court’ is set up. There appears to be no appeal. This was the appeal, but new evidence was also admitted.

The events occurred in 2012 and only half of the original 34 are still playing.

Adair points out that the players are in this pickle because at Essendon they wanted to clear their names. The Cronulla players took a deal where they admitted guilt and got three weeks.

From Jack Kerr at The Drum:

    The AFL signed up to the WADA code under pressure from the Howard government, and the threat of funding cuts. The league’s reluctance stemmed, in part, from its own preferred harm-minimisation approach to recreational drugs.

    Now it has discovered how cruel WADA sanctions can be in a team-environment.

2. Jakarta attack

The deadly suicide bombings and shootings in Jakarta killed at least seven people, including the five terrorists, and have been claimed by Islamic State (IS). The Conversation provides a Q & A.

Scott Edwards, Doctoral Researcher in International Relations, University of Birmingham, sees some hope that the contamination of the region is not widespread and has some confidence that the region can look after itself.

John Blaxland, senior fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre in the Bell School of Asia pacific Affairs, College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University, is of a similar mind and suggests we could learn a bit from the Indonesians about how to counter radicalisation.

Greg Barton says that jihadis in Indonesia may be small in number and this attempt was pretty much botched, but they’ll be back.

3. President Obama does “State of the Union” for the last time

I heard most of it, and thought it a mighty fine speech, in the circumstances. The ‘moonshot’ moment was announcing that the US would find a way to cure cancer. He’s serious and has put Joe Biden “in charge of Mission Control”.

Certainly he defended his record, but he was also forward-looking, positive and optimistic about the country and its place in the world. It was almost back to the “Yes we can!” of his first election campaign.

But he regrets “that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better” during his presidency. He was blunt about the politics needing to be fixed. Presently deciding electoral boundaries is done in a partisan way, and elections are administered by states rather than an independent authority. As a result the administration of elections has become a partisan battleground.

He promised to “travel the country” making his case for electoral reform, given that it would only happen if the American people demanded it, giving rise to this comment from The Economist:

    As so often, he is right and admirable in his diagnosis. Still, it is hard not to be dismayed by the image he left hanging in the divided House, of the president, once the change politician, reduced to wandering America like a mendicant preacher, appealing forlornly to its better nature.

4. Vale the man who fell to earth

Vale David Bowie, who clearly deserves the accolades he’s received. He always looked as though he’d come from another planet.

Brendan O’Neill says died well in terms of how he managed the period when he knew he had a terminal disease. His dignified death was a reminder of the sanctity of private life.

Introduction to Saturday salon

Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.


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.

16 thoughts on “Saturday salon 16/1: late edition”

  1. The key thing in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) system is that the individual athlete is finally responsible for what goes into his or her body. That runs counter to the ethos of how teams operate.
    That may be, but it should have been clear ever since the Shane Warne “My Mum gave me the tablets” fiasco, that the athlete herself (or him) is responsible.

    Shane played in a team, did he not?

    His incident had such wide publicity, that most Australian citizens – let alone professional athletes – must have been aware of the general principle…..

    Perhaps, at long last, the AFL will accept that there are worldwide standards of sportsmanlike behaviour – at least in regard to performance enhancement by ingestion or injection?

  2. Ambi, welcome!

    Yes, the Shane Warne thing was a memorable fiasco. But there was no team management pressure on him to take slimming pills. The group and management pressure in an AFL or NRL team must be quite significant where fitness and stamina are crucial. I actually feel a bit sorry for the blokes.

  3. Not one positive test result for anything illegal.
    Had ASADA been allowed to sit tight, monitor and compile evidence I’m sure this drawn out mess would have been avoided.
    But no, Kate Lundy needed a distraction from ALPs terrible polling and Gillard from Rudds white anting.
    So Lundy pressured ASADA ( a government bureaucracy ) and the 2 major rent seeking sporting codes ( heavily reliant on taxpayer funding ) to break it open prematurely, putting the kibosh on any change of a clean, successful investigation.

    Now, I can excuse Lundy because she’s only a grade 10 graduate cum union activist with no knowledge of Law and it’s processes but Gillard has no excuse.

  4. The group and management pressure in an AFL or NRL team must be quite significant where fitness and stamina are crucial.

    Yes, you’re right Brian, I’m sure. (As so often before) you show more compassion and empathy than many of us can muster.

    As for drugs and supplements, the responsibility rests with each player, as they must know.

    I admired James Hird very much as a player. His reputation is poor indeed now.

    If these penalties don’t send a strong message to both AFL and NRL players, I’m not sure what could?

    Thanks for your welcome, and good to see comments from some of the veterans “in the other place” such as Paul Burns and Graham Bell.


  5. One account is that Hird wanted to clear his name and continue his career. On this view he has taken the payers down with him.

  6. There was a long interview on the radio this morning with a journalist who has written a book on the Essendon affair.

    He confirms that there was no direct evidence of anything illegal being administered, or even purchased. Dank’s record-keeping was sloppy or non-existent. Dank is saying nothing.

    But Dank himself is taking legal action and the saga won’t be finally over until all that works its way through the system.

    Jumpy, on blaming Gillard, remember she had 28 ministers answering to her. A PM doesn’t have much head-space for issues of this complexity and detail. The same is true for Di Natale and GM crops.

  7. I only caught a little of the Hird interview, on the other ABC channel. The bit that caught my interest was the claim that these injections were given to deal with possible arthritic/rheumatic problems of players after retirement. Did I mishear, and if not, what do people think of this justification?
    I don’t blame Lundy or Gillard for starting this. Apparently sport, especially the various kinds of football are such a big thing for the presumed majority of Australians, they were damned if they did, and damned if they didn’t. I think a Coalition Government would have reacted approximately the same way, for fear of the consequences of not acting.

  8. Hi, Ambi. Good to hear from you.
    If you don’t mind this plug, Brian, nowadays I’m a regular commenter on books over at Tips, Links, Suggestions on the Guardian Culture Page (for bookworms only , not politicos or other ideologues.) If anybody’s interested.

  9. On a different note, I found out late last night that No.2 Son was shopping at Sarinah Mall in Jakarta the day before the terrorist attack.
    He and his vessel left in the morning and he had no idea anything happened till we chatted last night.
    It surprise the bejeebus out of him.

  10. Thanks Paul.
    He’s a big red head that stands out like a sore thumb over there.
    He was also saying he hasn’t seen more polluted water than there, you could almost walk on the plastic.
    Played havoc with the ships cooling intake.

    This Port.

  11. Jumpy, glad your son is OK.

    Back in the 1980s I was down in the gym and heard a bloke from the Ag Dept telling his mate that he’d nearly been blown up or shot at at least three times, from memory, on an overseas study tour, in London (IRA) in the Netherlands, and in Africa.

  12. Aah. That’s better. Don’t know why I couldn’t post here yesterday; perhaps living in an occasional one-bar service area might have been the reason.

    Anyway, I think Obama’s greatest legacy will be the continued unity of the United States. Look at the mess he inherited from the failed Emperor George II The Foolish: the U.S. was well on the way to imitating the U.S.S.R. with economic chaos and social break-up a real possibility.

  13. Graham, unfortunately Obama has had to use regulation not dependent on Congress to do much of what he has been done. A new president could reverse anything done that way with the stroke of a pen. But yes, he has held the joint together, and I think has positioned the US appropriately in international terms, recognising the limits of US power and that others need to take responsibility.

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