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 9/12

1. War gaming Brexit – seven scenarios

A House of Commons vote on Theresa May’s Brexit plan is due on Tuesday, 11 December, if she doesn’t postpone it.

Katy Balls at The Spectator has delineated seven scenarios as to how the Brexit saga will play out. Rule out the first, I think:

    Theresa May squeaks over the line after convincing Brexiteers that it was her deal or no Brexit — and Remainers that it was her deal or a no-deal Brexit.

There would be consequences:

    The DUP then rains on May’s parade. Seething over the backstop, it declares that the confidence and supply agreement is over for good.

Continue reading Weekly salon 9/12

ScoMo makes it personal

PM Scott Morrison’s government has just been rated by voters polled in Newspoll at 45-55 TPP against Labor, which would translate to a 20-seat loss if an election were held today.

You can’t beat Labor on policy, that’s the lesson Michael Kroger took from Victoria, so ScoMo has decided to make it personal, telling Bill Shorten the election is ‘between you and me’:

Continue reading ScoMo makes it personal

Weekly salon 25/11

1. Go Victorians!

It was like watching a rugby league State of Origin match when we are 30 points ahead. Pure joy, and you know it’s never going to be this good again!

Daniel Andrews said “they [the voters] have, in record numbers, rejected the low road to fear and division.” There are still votes to count, and we need to wait at least another day to see something close to the final result, but Labor have won the state election in a landslide. On latest figures it looks as though Labor has gone from a majority of one to a majority of near 30. Continue reading Weekly salon 25/11

Weekly salon 17/11

1. ScoMo on skates

He’s certainly on something. Paddy Manning in The Monthly has an article ScoMo-tion demise: The accidental PM appears accident prone:

    As it limps towards the end of 2018, the Morrison government is gradually establishing its own grand narrative – one of staggering ineptitude as it lurches from one self-inflicted crisis to another. On decisions from Jerusalem to Foodbank, there is no overarching purpose here, there is no direction or strategy, there are only missteps and backdowns, seemingly born of the blinkered pursuit of base political advantage, which never materialises. For a PM schooled in marketing, these are textbook fails. For the federal Opposition, the coup against Malcolm Turnbull has proved the gift that keeps on giving.

    Today we read, in a Fairfax Media report that has not been denied, that former trade minister Steve Ciobo has privately advised the Indonesian trade minister that there is only a 5 per cent chance that Australia will relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. It is hard to see how the prime minister could have made more of a mess of this: Australia will have managed to offend everybody concerned, to no end.

Continue reading Weekly salon 17/11

Weekly salon 11/11

1. ScoMo’s magical bus tour to the deep north

PM Scott Morrison took a special bus tour up the Queensland Coast, except he flew in a plane because the bus was too slow, and the rest of the time he wanted to talk with Queenslanders, who weren’t to be found in the bus. Then he drank lots of XXXX beer and chomped on pies to show he’s a regular, fair dinkum guy bloke. Junkee has more, lots more:

Continue reading Weekly salon 11/11

Final US election update

On Wednesday about lunchtime we should get news of the first results of the 2018 US mid-term elections. Some have characterised it as a referendum on the presidency of Donald 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)

In fact it may represent a step to make The US more democratic, as well as more Democratic (see Governors and democracy below). Continue reading Final US election update

Weekly salon 4/11

1. Has Australian politics jumped the shark?

“Jumped the shark” is not a usual phrase for me, but Urban Dictionary says:

    The beginning of the end. Something is said to have “jumped the shark” when it has reached its peak and begun a downhill slide to mediocrity or oblivion.

Here’s Mark David’s take on Scott Morrison post the Wentworth by-election:

Continue reading Weekly salon 4/11

Weekly salon 28/10

1. Glyphosate one of the safest farm chemicals – Ben Selinger

On ABC RN’s The Science Show Robyn Williams spoke to Kate Hughes, Research Assistant in the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney, and Ben Selinger, Emeritus Professor at ANU (transcript available) in the light of the ABC Four Corners program The Monsanto Papers.

Kate Hughes lives in a valley in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area. The decision is simple. Either you use glyphosate to counter the Chinese false bamboo, or you have a valley choked with the weed. Continue reading Weekly salon 28/10

Brazil election climate alert

    In Brazil’s first-round election on October 7, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro outperformed what polls predicted to win 46% of the vote — less than 5 points short of an outright victory. His top rival, left-leaning Fernando Haddad, earned 29%. The two will face each other in an October 28 runoff.

That’s from AS/COA Poll Tracker.

According to Megan Darcy at Climate Home News, Bolsonaro plans to gut forest protections and open the Amazon to exploitation, while Haddad is promising to install half a million solar rooftops a year. Continue reading Brazil election climate alert

Wentworth a tipping point?

Cartoonist Mark David shows how Scott Morrison applied his proven skills in the Wentworth by-election:

Many commentators including Laura Tingle, talking to Phillip Adams, said the numerous own goals from the Coalition prior to the election turned enough votes away from the Liberal candidate David Sharma and towards Kerryn Phelps for the latter to win. The latest count shows Phelps ahead 51/49 two party preferred, with Phelps coming from a first preference count of 29.1% as against Sharma of 43.2%. Continue reading Wentworth a tipping point?

Weekly salon 21/10

The Wentworth by-election is still a thing, but interesting and perhaps important things happen elsewhere.

1. Spain lost all its men in an ancient invasion

The time was about 4500 years ago. Spain was invaded from the east by a group that stemmed from the Yamnaya herders on the steppes north of the Black Sea, the group responsible for founding the Indo-European language group. A genetic study led by David Reich of Harvard Medical School has found that the local male line disappeared instantly with that invasion (New Scientist, pay-walled), never to be seen again. After the invasion the resulting population had 40 per cent Yamnaya ancestry and 60 per cent local ancestry. However, the Y-chromosome of the male line changed completely to the Yamnaya line.

It means the local males were either killed or enslaved, according to the article. Continue reading Weekly salon 21/10