1. 2021 in graphs
Peter Martin has assembled 10 graphs from articles he has edited in 2021.
Each tells a powerful story. For example, it is clear that sooner or later something will have to be done about JobSeeker when it is forecast to become a mere fraction of the old age pension, which is miserly by international standards. Remember around a third of pensioners already live in poverty. Continue reading Weekly salon 12/1
That title is from Susan B Glasser’s New Yorker article The Trümperdämmerung Is a Fitting End to 2020
The title is, of course, a reference to Götterdämmerung, the final opera in Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung cycle, normally translated as Twighlight of the Gods. Continue reading Trümperdämmerung: Trump’s POTUS twilight chapter
If you want a complicated story, go to FiveThirtyEight and play with the variables. Overall, however, the simple picture is clear – Biden has steadily opened the gap, and now is a 90% chance of winning: Continue reading Trump’s last stand?
1. How did Malcolm Fraser lose his trousers?
With all the terrible stuff going on in the world, I thought I’d try to investigate an important part of our history.
How did Malcolm Fraser lose his trousers in a seedy hotel in Memphis on 14 October 1986?
Wikipedia tells us:
On 14 October 1986, Fraser, then the Chairman of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group, was found in the foyer of the Admiral Benbow Inn, a seedy Memphis hotel, wearing only a pair of underpants and confused as to where his trousers were. The hotel was an establishment popular with prostitutes and drug dealers. Though it was rumoured at the time that the former Prime Minister had been with a prostitute, his wife stated that Fraser had no recollection of the events and that she believes it more likely that he was the victim of a practical joke by his fellow delegates.
The Daily Telegraph tells the story more vividly: Continue reading Weekly salon 17/10
Dripping with snideness, vibrating with rage, and gleaming with clarity—a deeply satisfying read.
That’s from the Kirkus review of Mary Trump’s book on Uncle Donald in her book Too Much And Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man:
Her mission in the book to be published on 28 July by Simon & Schuster is to take down Donald Trump. Continue reading Trump: The world’s most dangerous man?
Here the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People on January 28 in Beijing, with appropriate distancing. Dr Tedros later commented that Xi had a surprising mastery of the detail of what was going on. Two days later the WHO declared the novel coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. People have made up stories about this meeting and the sequence, but it seems to me an orderly progression of events, coming 10 days after China had alerted the world to a person to person highly infectious novel coronavirus, then sealing off and locking down Wuhan on 23 January. Continue reading We need to talk about China
1. Anzac Day
I guess I’ve never been big on Anzac Day. I grew up in a settlement of farmers of German ancestry. My Dad taught in German in primary school in the Barossa Valley until they changed the rules. He was too young to enlist when WW1 broke out, but could have joined a bit later. Being a third generation Australian, I’m sure he would have fought for his country. The tradition in Europe was that you fought for whoever ruled you at the time. Frederick the Great invaded Saxony so that the Saxons would be fighting for him rather than against him when he picked a fight with Maria Theresa’s Austria. However, Napoleon found that 30,000 Bavarians swapped sides when they saw what they were up against in the Battle of Leipzig.
As it happened, my mob were fingered as German during WW1 and not to be trusted. Continue reading Weekly salon 25/4
1. Is it Biden vs Sanders?
Not long ago Slate was blaming Biden for messing up the selection of a Democratic Party presidential candidate in The “Establishment” Probably Could Have Made a Regular Democrat the Nominee if It Hadn’t Gotten So Stuck on Biden.
Some senior Democrats are going ballistic about Sanders comparing his Nevada win to Nazi Germany’s successful invasion of France, for example. The article says that if you thought Sanders was electoral poison:
what should you have been doing for the past year to actually prevent the socialist from winning the nomination? Probably finding and supporting a nonsocialist nominee who’s shown themselves ready to run a dynamic general-election presidential campaign, right? Perhaps one like Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, or even Elizabeth Warren?
Continue reading Weekly salon 2/3
1. Trump’s trade deal will make us collateral damage
Kevin Rudd’s AFR article Trade deal will not stop US and China drifting apart gives us the lowdown. From the URL his heading was probably Trade war truce a symbol of the US unhinged. Seems Trump banged on for an hour about incoherent nonsense at the announcement while the head Chinese trade negotiator stood patiently by.
Rudd says intellectual property theft will be criminalised in China for the first time. Good in principle, but you will need to make your case in Chinese courts. Continue reading Weekly salon 20/1
1. Can Richmond save Australia
Unless you were living under a rock, or in hospital in an induced coma, you would know that:
Richmond has swept to victory in the AFL grand final, extinguishing GWS hopes of glory with a dominant 89-point win at the MCG for the club’s 12th flag.
GWS was hoping to complete a fairytale finals turnaround to win the flag from sixth but after the Giants kicked the first goal of the day, they then conceded the next 11.
Out-tackled, out-performed, out-scored — it was a dirty day for the Giants, as a terrific Tigers outfit made it two flags in three years with a 17.12 (114) to 3.7 (25) victory.
Continue reading Weekly salon 29/9
1. Two views of Bojo
This is how some people see Boris Johnson:
Continue reading Weekly salon 16/9
1. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, PM
Martin Fletcher in the New Statesman says that Brits have given a con man the keys to the kingdom:
Boris Johnson’s arrival in Downing Street as prime minister signals the end of the UK as a serious country.
Continue reading Weekly salon 11/8