Category Archives: Sundries

Posts on sundry matters of life the universe and everything: Culture, Environment, Life, Politics & Government, Science, Social Science and Society, Technology etc.

Weekly salon 28/2

1. The cost of debt

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and PM Scott Morrison have been telling us that we need to contain debt, and that is why those on JobKeeper must return to poverty. Frydenberg in particular has been praising himself for his fiscal bravery, and the size of his COVID-19 rescue package.

Greg Jericho has identified how much the extra debt has cost. The answer is – nothing. See The government is stuck in the fallacy of debt and deficit while ignoring the climate crisis:

    The PBO estimated that in the December quarter last year debt interest repayments were $4.1bn – the same amount it was in December 2016 when total debt was half the current level.

Continue reading Weekly salon 28/2

Canberra bubble explodes

Samantha Maiden’s story about Brittany Higgins’ alleged rape on the couch in Minister Linda Reynolds’ office shortly before the 2019 election has undoubtedly been the story of the week.

Higgins was just 24 years old, was less than a month into her new job, and it was just weeks before PM Scott Morrison called the 2019 election. Continue reading Canberra bubble explodes

Weekly salon 16/2

1. Trump acquitted??!!

Trump is back in town having been exonerated from impeachment by the Senate.

The ABC has a detailed account of what went down and why. It seems the Republican Party is cowed by Trump with only a few willing to show dissent. The article ends with this:

    Finally, Mr Trump claimed exoneration from a “witch-hunt”, maintaining his reputation as the Teflon president.

    “Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun,” Mr Trump said in a statement issued just moments after the Senate vote.

    “In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people.” Continue reading Weekly salon 16/2

From besties to whipping boy: our China relationship

I’ve had a draft post on our China relationship in the works since 17 December 2020, with over 800 words and lots of links. I decided I had started in the wrong place.

Here I’ll highlight two links. First, Tom Switzer on his ABC RN show Between the Lines interviewed Peter Hartcher, political editor of the Sydney Morning Herald and Kishore Mahbubani, distinguished fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Asia Research Institute in Can Australia and China learn to get along? Continue reading From besties to whipping boy: our China relationship

Weekly salon 24/1

1. The problem with democracy

Clearly the big problem is the people, the electors, although candidates can be an issue also.

Last November popular Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow resigned over a perceived indiscretion.

Next problem was that the Queensland government had just passed a law saying that when a mayor disappears through death or resignation, the candidate with the next highest number of votes should automatically take over.

It happens that on this occasion the next in line was a bloke known Pineapple (Chris Hooper), who commonly rides a pushbike barefoot around town carting signs about saving the world: Continue reading Weekly salon 24/1

Changing of the guard

“Out of many, one” is what the Latin E pluribus unum means on the Seal of the President of the United States which only reached its final design in 1945 when President Truman adopted it by executive order, with extra stars added for Alaska and Hawaii in 1959 and 1960.

However, it is similar to the Great Seal of the United States, the principal national symbol of the United States, which was first used in 1782. The national motto is “In God we trust” in the “land of the free and the home of the brave” as the National Anthem tells. Continue reading Changing of the guard

Temperature pushes Great Barrier Reef to tipping point

In this post we find that the 2020 global average surface temperature was 1.25°C hotter than pre-industrial, equal first with 2016, according to The European Copernicus Climate Change Service. This is important for the Great Barrier Reef, because in a little known report in 2013 scientists found that 1.2°C is the warmest compatible with the Reef remaining a coral-dominated system. Focus recently has been on the emergence of annual severe bleaching (ASB) when the affected reefs are effectively dead. Climate change action of the type we are engaged in will only delay the emergence of ASB on average from about 2034 to 2045. Continue reading Temperature pushes Great Barrier Reef to tipping point

Weekly salon 5/1

1. Sawatdi bpi mai kap!

That is a Thai new year’s greeting I got from Mark that I posted two years ago. It means:

    May you find compassion, loving kindness and equanimity along your paths over the next year!

From a Jacquie Lawson ecard sent by my brother-in-law, we need:

    More co-operation, mutual care and love, a safer and happier world!

And more civilised politics. Continue reading Weekly salon 5/1

Seasons greetings 2020

Last year around mid-December the blog fell apart and did not re-appear until 2 January. Eventually I posted a Belated season’s Greetings on 4 January which was based on a Christmas newsletter I had distributed with cards.

This year we were quite overwhelmed during December with one thing and another, so I did close to nothing about cards, newsletters etc. This newsletter is a belated offering. Continue reading Seasons greetings 2020