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.

Saturday salon 26/5

1. The sad case of Carolyn Flanagan

    Carolyn Flanagan was like any mum – all she wanted to do was to help her daughter with a loan to buy a business.

    “I’d have signed anything for her, love,” she told counsel assisting the banking royal commission, Michael Hodge, QC. “If you can’t help your children, who can you help?”

That wasn’t exactly what Michael Hodge QC wanted to hear from the elderly lady who went guarantor for $165,000 for her daughter in 2010 to invest in a business that went bust. Westpac demanded her Sydney house with vacant possession, so they could get their money back. That was in 2014. Continue reading Saturday salon 26/5

Will Labor’s budget dream team prevail?

Chris Bowen’s has a copy of Paul Keating’s After words in his office, signed by PJK with the words “I write with faith and hope in your public life.” That is not a trivial endorsement, according to Peter Hartcher in Bowen seizes the chance to make history.

Keating says Bowen is “first and foremost a rationalist. He is a rationalist more than he is an ideologue.” Continue reading Will Labor’s budget dream team prevail?

Bowen articulates Labor’s budget plans

In his Budget Reply Address to the National Press Club Peter Hartcher in a piece Bowen seizes chance to make history reckons Labor’s plans amount to a trifecta:

  • First, it has promised a tax cut almost twice as big as the government’s for lower and middle income earners, $928 a year against the government’s $530.
  • Second, Labor has promised to spend more on its “inclusive growth” agenda centred around education, skills training and health care.*
  • Third, it has promised to return the budget to a bigger surplus than the government’s planned $2.2 billion for 2019-20, and to press on to a surplus of at least one per cent of GDP.

Continue reading Bowen articulates Labor’s budget plans

Saturday salon 19/5

1. Glyphosate shown to disrupt microbiome ‘at safe levels’, study claims

I’ve been aware of this one for a while and would like to investigate it further. Some say it is bigger than asbestos by far, with glyphosatye found in beers imbibed at the Munich beer festival. Meanwhile a new study has found that glyphosate disrupts the biome at ‘safe’ levels of application.

The study found disrupting effects on sexual development, genes and beneficial gut bacteria in rats.

    “Disruption of the microbiome has been associated with a number of negative health outcomes, such as obsesity, diabetes and immunological problems.”

Continue reading Saturday salon 19/5

Budget 2018 – a fair and decent society vs small government, ideology and sloganeering

The ABC election team on Budget night suggested that the purpose of the 2018 budget was to generate talking points that the government could use in the forthcoming election campaign. It has been going on for a while. Turnbull ScoMo and all reckon they offer “jobs and growth” whereas Shorten is going to hit you up for $200 billion extra in taxes, and simply can’t be trusted to run anything.

Shorten says Labor is going to “bring the fair go back into the heart of the nation.”

To me the nation is at a cross-roads. One way offers a small-government straight jacket with firmly embedded tax provisions that permanently reward success. The other seeks to provide the necessary infrastructure (human, services and physical) for everyone and the nation to become the best they can be, and to take care of those on the fringe. Continue reading Budget 2018 – a fair and decent society vs small government, ideology and sloganeering

Saturday salon 5/5

1. Macron – everyone’s friend

French President Emmanuel Macron came and went.

Andrew Tillett in the AFR reports that analysts do not think that Macron’s drive for an Australia-France-India “strategic axis” for the Indo-Pacific will amount to much in the long run. You can surge but it is harder to sustain. Realistically France is peripheral to what happens in the Pacific. Continue reading Saturday salon 5/5

Approaching crunch time on Liddell

The AFR reports that Alinta is finalising its bid for Liddell, energy minister Josh Frydenberg says by the end of April, so any day now. That was in response to the announcement by AGL the day before that it will build the 252-megawatt gas-fired plant near its Newcastle Gas Storage Facility, completing construction at the end of 2022, for the cost of $400 million:

Above is an artist impression of a similar facility in South Australia.

Frydenberg was not impressed. Continue reading Approaching crunch time on Liddell

Villers Bretonneaux comes to prominence

I’ve been wondering why on Anzac Day we celebrate a failed attempt tp invade another country. Australians did show great valor and bravery, as they did three years later to the day in 1918 Australians in the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux:

    After the Anzac Day counter-attack, British and French commanders lavished praise upon the Australians. Brigadier-General George Grogan, a witness, later wrote that it was “perhaps the greatest individual feat of the war” for troops to attack at night, across unfamiliar ground, at short notice and with no artillery preparation.[32][3]

    These factors had proved essential to the Australian success.[9] Foch spoke of their “astonishing valiance [sic]…” and General Sir Henry Rawlinson attributed the safety of Amiens to the “…determination, tenacity and valour of the Australian Corps”.

Continue reading Villers Bretonneaux comes to prominence

Saturday salon 21/4

1. The inequality paradox

A New Scientist article by cognitive scientist Mark Sheskin of Yale University (pay-walled) says we should aspire to ‘fair inequality’ rather than ‘equality’ or ‘unfair inequality’, and most people would be happy with that.

Confused?

He’s saying if you force people to choose between complete equality and high levels of inequality, most choose the latter. Given an open choice, however, people will choose moderate inequality. Continue reading Saturday salon 21/4