First salmagundi of 2014

From Roget’s Thesaurus:

A collection of various things: assortment, conglomeration, gallimaufry, hodgepodge, jumble, medley, mélange, miscellany, mishmash, mixed bag, mixture, olio, patchwork, potpourri, variety. Slang grab bag. See collect/distribute.

ABC’s coverage of New Year’s Eve

I’ll have a go. Sure, great images of the fireworks themselves, but I am one of the many – apparently – who thought the four hours was pretty bloody ordinary, and that was when it wasn’t just plain embarrassing!

It is hard to tell exactly what went wrong; suffice to say that almost nothing went right as the nation tuned in to watch Lawrence Mooney and Stephanie Brantz attempt to wrangle the annual harbourside celebration into something new, fresh and interesting. It was – in case you missed it and have only your own embarrassments to contemplate today – like watching a Quentin Tarantino remake of The Sound of Music.

Oh dear! But I have never been all that impressed by Lawrence Mooney: I find Dirty Laundry barely watchable.

Local with a cricketing tinge

Yes the 5th Ashes Test starts today. The Illawarra Mercury has a couple of good New Year galleries at the moment. The first one starts with a picture of a great cricketer of the recent past, and a local link I was unaware of.


That is linked, so do explore the rest of the gallery.

The second gallery has ten shots from 2013.

Holiday quiz

The Sydney Morning Herald includes a regular quiz during what used to be called the silly season. Here is a question from Boxing Day:

7. Sydney’s most famous divorce case came in 1901 when the entrenched colonial forces of bigotry and sectarianism congealed as an Australian test cricketer claimed his wife had committed adultery with a Catholic priest who was secretary to Australia’s first cardinal, Patrick Moran. Who was the cricketer?

a) Victor Trumper
b) Fred Spofforth
c) Arthur Coningham

The link will take you to the answer and the rest of the questions.

Today’s quiz is on Border Security. I got most of it right! Very informative, but not online at this stage. One question asked which Australian magazine proclaimed “Australia for the White Man” on its masthead from 1908 to 1961. Well, that was easy:


That image I took from a blog entry of July 2013 The exception that proves the rule by Danu Poyner. Sadly the blog has apparently ceased new publication – a pity as I really liked much I have read there in this my first visit.

I don’t often take an explicit position on this blog, but let me be absolutely clear on this point — Australia’s asylum seeker policy is shameful, illegal and offensive and I condemn Kevin Rudd’s latest update to it in the strongest terms.

Rudd announced on Friday that any asylum seeker who arrives by boat will have ‘no chance’ of being settled in Australia and will instead be resettled in Papua New Guinea as part of a new arrangement with that country.

This puts the capstone on a policy story that has been building since the Howard years. The story is that people coming by boat are a threat to Australia’s borders and so we need to stop them coming. All subsequent policy has been understood through this frame — Rudd has simply taken it one step further and simplified it. No chance. Get lost.

I’m not going to discuss the policies here — plenty of other people have done a better job of that already. I’m not going to rail against the politics of it or the politicians themselves either. They are of course disgusting, but this situation is Australia’s fault, not just that of our leaders.

How does a story like this get traction at all? It’s easily provable by fact that asylum seekers arriving by boat pose no threat whatsoever to Australia, but this is about the story rather than the facts. Nevertheless, even the facts of the story are easily disproved. There is no queue to be jumped. The arrivals are not illegal. It doesn’t matter how they arrive. Categories like ‘economic migrant’ and ‘asylum seeker’ are themselves constructions of language so that we can avoid calling such people ‘refugees’, because that classification carries legal responsibilities which we would prefer to shirk and foist onto our poorer neighbours instead. More than 9 out of 10 of the people we detain end up being classified as refugees eventually anyway.

But the facts don’t matter. Neither does the cost, which is astronomical….

A footnote to Hotting up in 2013–but my blogs have been a bit tepid…

I see a pair of articles in The Age, a typical example of striving for “balance” on climate change and thereby lending weight to a serial unbalancer.  The two articles are Maurice Newman’s flat-earth thinking ignores climate change facts by David Karoly, a climate scientist, and Lack of accountability clouding the climate change debate by John McLean, a man with a large bonnet packed full of bees. See also John Cook (2010) McLean, de Freitas and Carter rebutted… by McLean, de Freitas and Carter and Climate Misinformer: John McLean. Thus is your average Joe or Susan persuaded that there is a discussion or uncertainty where, other than at the margins and subject to science always self-correcting, there is none. And see McLean’s connections: the so-called Australian Climate Science Coalition and the inappropriately named Galileo Movement. How boringly predictable!

Coincidentally Ross Leigh has posted Take you clothes off and Trust Me I’m A Doctor… Of Geology! (Cigarettes to follow).

…“The Age” then gave us John Maclean’s credentials for such a conclusion:

John McLean is the author of three peer-reviewed papers on climate and an expert reviewer for the latest IPCC report. He is also a climate data analyst and a member of the International Climate Science Coalition.

All much more impressive than Andrew Bolt’s “I write a column and I once went to university and they didn’t realise that I know everything, so I dropped out” qualifications. Apart from his peer reviewed articles, he is a member of the International Climate Science Coalition. Now that’s an impressive sounding institution!

So, I looked them up, and I found that their core principles were stated as following:…

Right, that’s it for today. I’m off to form my International Society of Experts. One of our core principles is that alcohol never did any harm (who cares what doctors say, they’re just part of the global disinformation campaingn). So we’re meeting at the pub every Friday, and by closing time our expertise on every subject will have grown in direct proportion to the quantity of alcohol imbibed.