04 July, 2015

Thinking of Linking

This week, I have been mostly reading...

Australia:
Listen up: democracy means even jerks get a say

Children cast as ‘demon spawn’ in Abbott’s vaudeville anti-terror play

Hazelwood owner issues ‘call to arms’ against coal

Abbott has given up on debt and deficit reduction, but few have noticed

Joe Hockey wins $200,000 from Fairfax in 'Treasurer for sale' defamation case

Time to tell the truth before I'm gagged: Australia's detention centres ruin lives

Open letter regarding the Border Force Act 2015

Won’t someone please help poor Erica?

Q&A episode another outburst of government creep

Abbott government's rebadged Medicare Locals tied up in legal stoush over name

Australian climate policy paralysis has to end, business roundtable says

The Coalition is engaging in double talk on climate policy – it has no other option

Libertarians aren't our allies in building a progressive Australia

Same-sex marriage: even if Abbott wins, he loses

MPs claim almost $10,000 in travel expenses for Pollie Pedal fundraiser 

Tony Abbott is firmly in 'Dubya' mould but the Liberal party is open to change

Sydney siege: Tony Abbott's office knew Julie Bishop had misled Parliament three days before correction

US:
Why Donald Trump Isn’t A Real Candidate, In One Chart 

Activism fomented by Koch brothers turns against them

5 things Republicans would call treason if Democrats did them

Media:
When Malcolm Turnbull makes excuses for bad journalism, democracy suffers

Short and not very sweet

Joe Hockey's defamation victory may yet turn to disaster

When Malcolm Turnbull makes excuses for bad journalism, democracy suffers

Meet Peter McEvoy, the faceless man behind the Q&A scandal

Q&A head formally warned

World:
A Unified Theory of Pope Francis

Zimbabwe is paying people $5 for 175 quadrillion Zimbabwe dollars

NZ parliament passes motion on Nauru

The Guardian view on the Greek referendum: hard to imagine a more dismal choice

Europe’s Many Economic Disasters

Music:
Bowie tribute artist Jeff Duff: a skinny white guy with a soulful voice

Science:
The impact of vaccination heterogeneity on herd immunity

Tech:
Microsoft details how it will upgrade users to Windows 10

The secret, hidden cost of your smartphone

Food:
Where to Get the Best American Food in Melbourne

History:
Did The Soviets Build A Better Shuttle Than We Did? 

Vale:
Nicholas Winton, Man Who Quietly Helped Hundreds of Children Escape From Nazis, Dies at 106

Sir Nicholas Winton: saviour, people smuggler, hero?

The least boring photo on my camera roll:


27 June, 2015

Thinking of Linking

This week I have been mostly reading...

Australia:
Citizenship could be stripped for damaging commonwealth property

TAFE job cuts in NSW more than double what State Government initially flagged

Victorian Liberal Party uses terror threat to raise funds for Tony Abbott 

Whistleblowing and other new crimes

National security? How about some national maturity first?

Asylum-seeker policy a dark spot in Australia’s history

Tony Abbott's federal election preparations

Gambling with education

A Plague a' Both Your Houses 

Pension assets test changes worse than claimed says Industry Super

Julia Gillard: the timid ABC is rewarding Tony Abbott 

Julia Gillard on the moment that should have killed Tony Abbott's career - but it didn't. What does this tell us about the electorate?

Don’t believe Abbott stands for lower taxes

It's a slippery slope if we enact laws based on fear rather than reason - Ricky Muir

'Caught red-handed': How Tony Abbott's national security push is being used for political gain

US:
How Jim Obergefell became the face of the Supreme Court gay marriage case

Is it time for the Confederate flag to be as taboo as the Nazi swastika?

World:
Al-Jazeera journalist arrested in Germany

Speed, the 150-year-old tortoise dies in US

Media: 
Zaky Mallah: ABC cowers in the face of Q&A fallout

Zaky Mallah, Q&A, and the media at its worst

Furore over ABC's Q&A mishandled

To ABC attackers: Three strikes and you're out 

Food:
Culinary comeback: it's time to reheat instant noodles

I got stupid on me and I need to wipe it off on you:
Rick Perry calls Charleston church shooting an 'accident' 

The least boring photo on my camera roll:


20 June, 2015

Thinking of Linking

This week I have been mostly reading...

Australia:
House prices: is the ground beginning to shift at last?

Abbott's green light to people smugglers

Treasurer Joe Hockey's gaffes on housing have put more lead in the federal government's saddle-bags

U.N.: Australia paid migrant smugglers to turn boats around

Indonesian police documents detail boat turn-back and alleged payments to people smuggling crew

People smuggler cash: Stacks police say were paid to send asylum seekers on a 'suicide mission'

Winter wonderland in the Red Centre as hail transforms desert

'Totally trashing the tradition': Former Speaker Anna Burke hits out at successor Bronwyn Bishop over Q&A appearance

Turnbull breaks ranks on citizenship, declaring constitution cannot be compromised How far gone are we when this is considered a maverick position?

If Labor wants a shot at the next election it needs a leader who is not Bill Shorten

Moral compass follows the votes for Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten


US:
The Charleston Shooter: Racist, Violent, and Yes – Political

It’s not about mental illness: The big lie that always follows mass shootings by white males 

World:
Pope Francis blasts global warming deniers in leaked draft of encyclical

The Pope has put Catholic climate sceptics on notice

Why Conservatives fear Pope’s Climate Letter: A Radical Attack on the Logic of the Market

Music:
An interview with Harry Williams, Bowie collector Also one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.

Media:
How one man destroyed the Food Network: Guy Fieri has made culinary TV into a viewer’s hell

Humour and satire:
Piss-Stained Cardboard Box In Sydney Sells For $590,000

Mental health:
I am fighting alcohol - and losing 

Faith:
A few thoughts on Laudato Si   Part 2

Clickbait of the week:
Left behind, boy's stuffed tiger goes on big adventure at Tampa International Airport

The least boring photo on my camera roll:

19 June, 2015

Yes, it is about race

There really is a tragic predictability about the aftermath of yet another mass shooting.

Whether you agree or disagree with that first sentence, I’ll predict that by now, at least you’re not shocked about it. And that in itself is shocking – that we have reached a point where there can be no rational objection to the expression, “yet another mass shooting.”

What’s tragically predictable is two phrases that will be used. The first is, “Now is not the time to talk about gun control.” Of course it isn’t. It never is. The only time opponents of gun control feel is the right time to discuss gun control is not now, whenever “now” may happen to be.

The other phrase is, “Let’s not make this about race.” We can see why. The (alleged) killer is not a radical Islamist, nor black petty criminal – the kinds who make certain people call for racial profiling as a perfectly good idea. No, he is a pathetic young white male. Or, if I may say so, yet another pathetic young white male. It’s curious that this detail, which features in so many similar acts, is something that so many are asking us to ignore.

It turns out that white people are uncomfortable about being associated with horrific crimes just because of their ethnicity or cultural identity. It makes them feel resentful and defensive to have their background and culture mentioned alongside murder.
And that’s entirely fair enough.

Now let’s join the dots, shall we?
  
 

13 June, 2015

Thinking of Linking

This week I have been mostly reading...

Australia:
Tony Abbott's rhetoric is causing unease among voters who want stability 

Lazy, sneaky or both: what were you thinking, Prime Minister? No Amanda, what were you thinking expecting any better?

Abbott government sought no security advice on kidnap fears before protecting wealthy from tax disclosure What? You mean they're just making this shit up as they go along? I'm shocked I tells ya!

Joe Hockey’s Message To First Home Buyers: “Get A Job That Pays Good Money” 

Hockey’s ‘get a job’ comments an insult: opponents

Itchy trigger fingers: human rights president in the gun

House prices: is the ground beginning to shift at last?

How Malevolent Buffoonery Became The New Normal Of Australian Leadership This is brilliant. More like this please.

Why George Brandis could be the first man overboard

Tony Abbott's complaint about Rottnest wind turbine is the island's first ever

People are buying Ferraris, Joe Hockey – that doesn't make them affordable

Terrorist blueprint based on ‘mistake’

Music:
Spotify Founder Reacts To Industry Criticism or "Why are artists so mad we pay them nothing?"

History:
Hockey takes 'Rudd' on Canberra tour - Joe Hockey in no way playing the man

Literature:
5 Famous Books Saved from the Dumpster

Mental health:
What's going on in there? How anxiety feels.

Science:
The meta-frog: CT scan reveals frog inside another frog

Media:
Martin Sheen to star in new Anne of Green Gables TV movie It better be good.

'I want the photos deleted', Credlin confronts photographer at media event In which Peta Credlin completely fails to understand the Streisand effect.

Humour and satire:
Joe Hockey’s 6 Tips For First Home Buyers

People Smuggling Now Best Way To Crack Sydney Property Market

I got stupid on me and I need to wipe if off on you:
Interview: Pete Waterman "The Beatles were successful because of their use of British chords like Am7" Um, WHAT???

Vale:
Jack King, NASA's 'Voice of Apollo,' Passes Away at Age 84

The ‘Voice of Apollo’ falls silent: Remembering Jack King

The least boring photo on my camera roll:
 


09 June, 2015

Advice for Joe Hockey

Just in case you thought we weren’t governed by out-of-touch trolls (and if you did, then welcome back from Mars), Treasurer Joe Hockey today offered his perspective on housing prices.

First, he suggested that if housing were unaffordable then nobody would be buying it. Well that makes perfect sense. If certain people, however wealthy they may be, or whatever other sacrifices they make, or however much debt they plunge themselves into, can buy something, then it is ipso-facto, affordable, right? Simples!

Then he outdid himself by advising young first home buyers that “the starting point for first home buyers is to get a job that pays good money.”

See? Now why didn’t YOU think of that? Just go and get a good job that pays good money. I had always wondered why so many people work awful jobs for low pay. It turns out it was because nobody told them to get something better. Nobody knows how he expects everyone to do this without further inflating the market and how it squares with one of Australia’s biggest industrialist’s suggestion that Australians are paid far too much.


Of course, such questions are the natural product of thinking things through, something the treasurer obviously didn’t do.

My advice to Joe Hockey:
If you’re going to deliver economic advice based on Pink Floyd lyrics, leave the album going and listen to the next song.



06 June, 2015

Thinking of Linking

This week I have been mostly reading...

Australia:
Greens slam Labor’s gay marriage bill

Asylum seeker boat crashes onto reef after being turned back by Australian ship: Indonesian police

Returning terrorists can reveal the horrors of IS with more credibility than anyone else. So why strip their citizenship? "A secular act of excommunication." Waleed nails it. Again.

Tony Abbott: Is he the “selfie” Prime Minister?

Kirribilli House lifestyle blinds Tony Abbott to the cost of Australia's housing bubble

Rain on Uluru a stunning sight for lucky tourists

The Melbourne teenager going to school while living under a bridge

Doctors say Nauru refugee boy could be disabled without urgent surgery on arm One day, there will be a Royal Commission into this.

Political advantage matters more than policy success to governments in trouble 

Wayne Swan's focus on wages

Doctors and teachers gagged under new immigration laws  Remember all that guff about free speech? Well, funny story... 

Music:
Open Call for 33 1/3 Proposals 2015

David Bowie's 40 Greatest Songs - As Decided By NME And Friends

Noel Gallagher: 'If Paul McCartney writes an Oasis comeback single, then we'll talk'

How Well Can You Hear Audio Quality? I have to admit, I only got 2 out of 6.

Media:
Is it really brave to face the world from a position of wealth and material comfort? This pretty much nails how I feel about the whole Caitlyn Jenner thing.

Society:
Love locks are the shallowest, stupidest, phoniest expression of love ever – time to put a stop to it

Hexadecimal in a Binary World

Science:
This Tiny Self-Folding Origami Robot can Walk, Swim and Degrade

Celebrating Oliver Sacks' romantic science and a life now ending

Humour and satire:
Nation Shudders At Large Block Of Uninterrupted Text

I got stupid on me and I need to wipe it off on you:
Man raises eyebrows carrying rifle through Atlanta Airport

Santorum Wants The Pope To Back Off Talking About Climate Science

Despite leaks, citizenship wrangle a fillip for fragile Abbott Of course it is. Run along.

Coalition says kidnap risk means wealthy need tax reporting exemptions Seriously? This is their best argument? Surely any competent kidnapper would just pick anyone who qualified for the exemption.

Vale:
Promoted to an impossible job as Premier, Joan Kirner made tough decisions 

Joan Kirner never given credit for starting reforms

The least boring photo on my camera roll:
My Friend the Chocolate Cake, Caravan Music Club, Oakleigh, 31 May