1. “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die”
Two problems here. The first is that the above quotation is not found in the bible or Shakespeare, it’s a conflation of Ecclesiastes 8:15 and Isaiah 22:13, plus you could throw in Luke 12:19.
The second problem is more serious. It’s true – kind of. Comprehensive research has shown that if you drink more than five drinks a week every extra glass of wine ‘will shorten your life by 30 minutes’.
In case you think five glasses are OK, they found this:
- “This study makes clear that on balance there are no health benefits from drinking alcohol, which is usually the case when things sound too good to be true.”
There are some benefits from one glass five times a week, but also some negatives.
Some will say, however, that if you don’t drink your life will not only be longer, it will seem longer, much longer.
That’s the opinion of Peter Lewis, who runs the Essential Report poll. This weeks report sees the gap widen from 52-48 to 53-47 in favour of Labor. Whereas Bill Shorten’s approval is on 35, which is where it was in 2014, Turnbull’s has sunk from 59 in December 2015 to 39 now. Lewis points out that Turnbull has now lost 80 Essential polls in a row. Lewis looks for why Turnbull has disappointed so many:
- Australians got Turnbull all wrong. He was never a conviction politician. He was only ever a lawyer arguing the brief in front of him. You catch it now and again when he addresses parliament, bashing the unions or defending the coal lobby – the dead look of a man paid to argue someone else’s brief for a living.
And right now Malcolm Turnbull is an advocate with the toughest of briefs: Malcolm Turnbull.
That may be near the mark. People paid out on Barnaby Joyce when he suggested that Malcolm Turnbull should resign if polling doesn’t improve by Christmas. Various scribes in the Oz were saying the same thing when the 30th losing Newspoll arrived. I think it was Peter van Onselen who suggested that Turnbull stand aside to save the ‘transaction costs’ of having to tip him out.
Maybe there is some positioning by Peter Dutton and Julie Bishop. Who knows?
Meanwhile Turnbull has really upset the Chinese. Turnbull is saying there is no problem, but “Twiggy” Forrest would not be trying to fix a problem that wasn’t there. The only minister getting into China is Steve Ciobo. Twiggy had one minister invited. The Chinese said OK, but then somehow they couldn’t get her visa processed in time.
Funny that. I don’t think it is going to change any time soon. Business is worried and are saying so.
3. Folau furore
Star rugby union player Israel Folau has upset many by saying on Instagram that gay people were destined for hell “unless they repent of their sins and turn to God”.
He was asked a question about God’s plan for gays and gave a straight answer in line with his religious beliefs. I understand he grew up as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and later switched to an Assemblies of God fellowship (Pentecostals).
He was called in by rugby bosses to discuss his ‘anti-gay’ post, but gave no commitment to change his social media use. Rugby Australia does not plan to discipline him for his remarks. Raelene Castle, the Kiwi woman who is CEO of Rugby Australia, said:
“We are in a negotiation with Israel to extend (his contract) and we would really like him to stay in rugby, that’s hugely important to us. He is a great player, he has delivered some great outcomes for us and has been a really strong role model in the Pacific Islander community and we would like to see he stays in rugby,” Ms Castle said.
She said he could have expressed himself more respectfully, but is not asking him to change his beliefs.
Folau feels he has a duty to bear witness to his beliefs even if that causes him grief. He has quoted Matthew 5, including verse 10:
- Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
His captain Michael Hooper says Izzy is in a good head space. It is also clear that he is not alone in his beliefs within the team.
Nevertheless Castle has sponsors breathing down her neck, including Qantas, with proudly gay CEO Alan Joyce, expressing concern about Folau but happy to have a commercial relationship with Emirates airline.
ABC’s Emma Griffiths devoted an episode of Focus to the issue, where views varied from those who say it was ‘hate speech’ and should be punished to one caller who said Folau was motivated by love.
Folau is not pushing the issue, he was asked a question and gave an honest answer. I’d say leave him alone. During the same-sex marriage debate Folau said he would vote “No” and explained on Twitter:
- I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. but personally, I will not support gay marriage.✌❤🙏
I think we should return his respect, and not make a fuss about it.
BTW here is Folau scoring a try in State of Origin when he played rugby league as the youngest ever to represent the state and Australia:
He’s an incredible athlete, and generally presents as a mild-mannered, gentle person.
4. Commonwealth Games
Most commentary was positive about the Commonwealth Games opening, but not Pauline Hanson. She didn’t like this kind of stuff at all:
- Asked what she thought of the opening ceremony, Senator Hanson said the “20 minutes” devoted to indigenous culture was “absolutely disgusting”.
- “Our country is not based on the Aboriginals. Our country is what it is because of the migrants that have become here,” Senator Hanson said.
“It was over the top.”
I think we should be proud of Australia’s 65,000 year heritage. It’s time for Ms Hanson to give up this “us and them” stick, but she won’t because it’s all she’s got. There’s more on the opening here,including Charles and Camilla, who seems quite out of sync. Nevertheless Charles’ tour seemed quite successful.
We watched late every night when the swimming and cycling was on, and there were many performances to enjoy. It is always good to beat England, and New Zealand, and South Africa, and India and… When the USA, most of Europe China and Japan are not there we can seem quite good at sport.
These three women won big time although they were unplaced in the race:
Celia Sullohern, Madeline Hills and Eloise Wellings waited about four minutes at the finish line to congratulate Lineo Chaka from Lesotho. The other athletes had long disappeared.
Generally the Games appear to have been held in a good spirit. I was sceptical about the whole concept because the Gold Coast has been a notorious graveyard for sporting teams. Crowds were good, but the shops were empty. The Gold Coast has a population of some 638,000 people, the sixth biggest in Australia. It was school holidays, so the residents probably went somewhere else for a break. And the holiday makers who usually come at that time made other arrangements because they thought the place would be over-run.
Still, I think Brisbane changed from being a big country town around the time of the 1982 Commonwealth Games, and the Gold Coast may also find this a turning point.
Integrating the para events into the main games for the first time was simply brilliant.
5. Comey’s revenge
Most think that Trump’s sacking of FBI chief James Comey was a mistake. Comey has now had time to write a book, due out in the coming week, but The Washington Post has published a preview.
Comey took detailed notes of meetings at the time. Trump comes across as a congenital liar, a self-serving bully, demanding total loyalty, surrounding himself with bullies and liars, presenting a persona reminding Comey of his earlier career of prosecuting the Mob.
Interacting with Trump, Comey writes, gave him “flashbacks to my earlier career as a prosecutor against the Mob. The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth.”
Comey … ruminates on the psychology of liars in an apparent nod to the current occupant of the Oval Office.
“They lose the ability to distinguish between what’s true and what’s not,” Comey writes. “They surround themselves with other liars. . . . Perks and access are given to those willing to lie and tolerate lies. This creates a culture, which becomes an entire way of life.”
The FBI have also raided the office of Trump’s private Attorney, Michael Cohen.
Trump thinks they are coming after him, and he’s probably right. You get the feeling that sacking Robert Mueller at this stage would only make things worse.