1. Hurricane Irma
Having just finished with Harvey, Hurricane Irma, said to possibly be the biggest and meanest on record in the north Atlantic basin, looks set to make landfall in Florida by Sunday, but flanked by Hurricane Katia and Hurricane Jose.
James Hansen worries that, given what happened during the Eemian, the last time we had temperatures roughly this high, all hell could break loose. Maybe it’s happening.
Here I want to talk about the impact Harvey, Irma el al could make on the US budget and immigration policy. Seems Trump may be bypassing the Republicans to do a deal with the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling.
At the same time Trump has:
- ended a policy that has shielded nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation – but has called on Congress to pass legislation to let the so-called ‘Dreamers’ stay in the US.
These are people born in the USA who have never seen Mexico or points south.
I’ve heard on radio two salient facts. First, if the Dreamers go the construction industry ceases to operate. Secondly, Trump has piggy-backed building his Mexican wall with hurricane aid.
So I’m not sure where any of this is going to end up.
Last weekend we went to see the Bangarra dance performance of Bennelong. We’d seen them once before and heard that this was simply the best production they had ever mounted.
Don’t know about that, but it was stunning – awe-full, if you like. The portrayal of death by smallpox was truly agonising. And, from this review, the ending powerful:
- Bennelong finishes on one of the most poignant and shocking endings I’ve seen in dance: in a symbolic and literal imprisonment, he is, panel by panel, entrapped and encompassed in a shiny mirrored box.
There may have been artistic licence, I don’t know, but the impact of first contact was so powerfully portrayed that I feel it is just a matter of time until we will be celebrating our national day on a different date.
- It was not until 1935 that all Australian states and territories had adopted use of the term “Australia Day” to mark the date, and not until 1994 that the date was consistently marked by a public holiday on that day by all states and territories.
I think change will come slowly, one local council at a time. Eventually I’d suggest we make it the first Monday in February, to mark the end of the festive season and the beginning of business as usual. I’d suggest the last Monday in January, except sometimes it would fall on 26 January
3. Capitalists behaving badly
Four Corners again exposed capitalists behaving badly, this time in the building industry. The program Combustible:
- Across Australia, governments, councils and the building industry are grappling with a problem so large, it almost defies belief.
“It’s unquantifiable…” Senior Fire Officer
Residential buildings, hospitals, shopping centres and commercial buildings, have been built with flammable aluminium cladding, posing a potentially serious fire risk.
The cladding is the equivalent of having five litres of petrol in every square metre.
The reason? Architects like the look of it, and it’s cheaper than the stuff that doesn’t burn.
It’s against regulation, apparently, but industry practice was to use it any way. There were suggestions that it could be “used safely” on low-rise buildings, even though those buildings do not have sprinkler systems. Building inspection has been privatised, and the implication was that building inspectors “want repeat work”.
I suspect it is being used in some of the single story monstrosities appearing in our street.