Tag Archives: Open Threads

Weekly salon 15/12

1. Can democracy survive?

Using democracy against itself: Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (left) with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and US president Donald Trump at the White House in Washington. Kayhan Ozer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Shaun Crowe has written an excellent review article on Can democracy survive?, based on the following books: Continue reading Weekly salon 15/12

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

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

Climate clippings 228

1. Unsubsidised wind and solar now cheapest form of bulk energy

That is the case in all major economies except Japan, according to BNEF. From RenewEconomy:

    The latest report says the biggest news comes in the two fastest growing energy markets, China and India, where it notes that “not so long ago coal was king”. Not any more.

    “In India, best-in-class solar and wind plants are now half the cost of new coal plants,” the report says, and this is despite the recent imposition of import tariffs on solar cells and modules. Continue reading Climate clippings 228

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

Climate clippings 227

1. Bill Ferris: Coalition can’t stop energy shift

That was the headline in the dead tree version of the AFR. Bill Ferris is the outgoing Science and Innovation Australia chair. He says he didn’t find the Coalition government’s rewriting of the ACCC report to support coal-fired power a helpful signal, but:

    what I am seeing – and you see it in the US as well – is that business and state governments are getting on with alternative energy sources, mainly renewables and storage,” said Mr Ferris, a veteran venture capitalist.

    “That ain’t going to stop and it won’t stop because a government is concerned about the electoral impact. Continue reading Climate clippings 227

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

Climate clippings 226

The last Climate clippings was on July 2. Time to get back on the bike. Unfortunately this edition is not full of good news, apart from the prospect of eating the carcasses and droppings of bacteria feeding on hydrogen (see # 5). Next time I’ll try to catch up with some climate action.

1. Global Temperature in 2017

How warm is it now? The simple answer is that it is warmer than the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C told us, and it’s looking a bit like a fix. The Arctic News post IPCC keeps feeding the addiction tells how the baseline point for measuring warming has been cherry-picked and altered. And queries why they stopped at 2015, when the 2016 and 2017 temperatures were known. Continue reading Climate clippings 226

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