Climate clippings 192

1. Thunderstorm asthma attack

Monday last week saw a thunderstorm asthma attack in Melbourne of startling magnitude. Hospitals struggled to treat 8,500 people, 20 to 40% of those affected had never suffered from asthma before. Six people have died, and three more struggle for life in intensive care. (Sorry, in late news it is now eight dead, with one remaining critical.) People queued at pharmacies for Ventolin and in places supplies were exhausted. Ambulance services were overwhelmed. Continue reading Climate clippings 192

Saturday salon 26/11

1. Australia trails only Switzerland in wealth table (pay-walled)

    AUSTRALIA’S lofty status as the world’s second richest nation remains intact, new figures reveal, despite household wealth stalling this year.

    In the seventh annual Global Wealth Report from Swiss bank Credit Suisse, the “lucky country” posted an average wealth of $US375,600 ($508,900) for every Australian, second only to banking hotbed Switzerland, with an average net worth of $US562,000.

Continue reading Saturday salon 26/11

A week to go, and what a mess!

I don’t know about you but my impression is that the Turnbull government is a chaotic mess! Aaron Patrick at the Fin Review says this week’s Newspoll, again 53-47 TPP to Labor, makes Malcolm Turnbull look like Julia Gillard in Liberal drag. That’s five Newspolls in a row.

    The Prime Minister is diligent, consensual and organised. But the government, without clear control of Parliament, struggles politically under a relentless attack from a ruthless Opposition Leader.

Sounds like 2013? It’s actually 2016. Continue reading A week to go, and what a mess!

ABCC: a better plan for union governance?

cash_michaela_image-20161121-4515-2juc76_250The Senate has passed the so-called ‘registered organisations commission bill’, with only Jacqui Lambi joining the Greens and Labor to vote against it (see also Michelle Grattan). Now the game moves to proposed legislation to restore the Australian Building Construction Commission, which I’ll examine below.

Essentially the government succeeded with the registered organisations commission bill by doing deals with The Nick Xenephon Team (NXT) and Derryn Hinch on whistle-blower provisions. Hinch reckons the whistle-blower provisions are the best in the world, and the Government has agreed to extend them to the corporate and government sectors by 2018. Continue reading ABCC: a better plan for union governance?

Climate clippings 191

1. Tesla solar roof cheaper than regular roof, with electricity “a bonus”

    Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk has again set tongues wagging, this time with his declaration last week that his newly launched integrated solar roof tiles could actually cost less to install than a regular roof – making the renewable electricity they produce “just a bonus”. Continue reading Climate clippings 191

Mob rule on the intertubes

There are a few topics I currently feel passionate about, and if I don’t do this one now it will slip off the list.


Last week Richard Fidler did a re-run of his interview with Jon Ronson on what it’s like to be publicly shamed and Ronson’s book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. Twitter and Facebook have become places where people can be mercilessly attacked and threatened. Many lose their jobs, are afraid to go outside, and their lives forever change. Some, says Ronson, commit suicide. Continue reading Mob rule on the intertubes

Saturday salon 19/11

1. Visions of infinity from Aboriginal women artists

I suspect that in 50 years time the best of Australian Aboriginal art will be seen as some of the most significant in the world during our time.

An exhibition of art by nine Aboriginal women, Marking the Infinite, is running at the Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University, New Orleans. This is from the blurb: Continue reading Saturday salon 19/11

Wallerstein on the consequences of Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Thursday, July 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Thursday, July 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Immanuel Wallerstein, the sociologist who gave us World Systems Theory, has devoted his latest commentary to the consequences of a Trump victory. (From the end of the month it will appear as Commentary 437 in the archive.)

Domestically he says it doesn’t matter how much he won by or whether he won the primary vote. He won.

What is more he won the trifecta – the Presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court. Continue reading Wallerstein on the consequences of Trump

Climate clippings 190

1. BoM says 260km/h winds knocked down network in SA blackout

    The Bureau of Meteorology says wind gusts up to 260km/h from a “supercell” thunderstorm and multiple tornadoes were recorded on September 28, destroying transmission towers and causing the state-wide blackout in South Australia.

That’s as strong as Cyclone Tracy, which flattened Darwin, and almost as strong as Cyclone Yasi. Continue reading Climate clippings 190

Saturday salon 12/11

1. Naomi Klein wins Sydney Peace Prize

From Green Left Weekly

    Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein accepted the 2016 Sydney Peace Prize on November 11, delivering a searing speech that reflected on Donald Trump’s presidential victory in the United States and the factors that allowed it to happen.

    “If there is a single overarching lesson in the Trump victory, perhaps it is this: Never, ever underestimate the power of hate, of direct appeals to power over the ‘other’ … especially during times of economic hardship,” said Klein, whose books include The Shock Doctrine and This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate. Continue reading Saturday salon 12/11