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129 responses to “Saturday Salon”

  1. FDB

    May the comments not to do with the ALP spill commence!

  2. Terry

    [leadership contest content redacted by moderator]

  3. Sam

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  4. Terry

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  5. Terry

    [leadership contest content redacted]

  6. Ambigulous

    Good to see PM Gillard celebrating the prospective pay rises for welfare workers, yesterday.
    Benefits to
    * low-paid
    * mainly women…
    and indirectly to those assisted by welfare workers.

    That’s the kind of result we elect Labor governments to support.

    [disclaimer: two of my close family work in welfare jobs]

  7. Sam

    [leadership contest content redacted]

  8. furious balancing

    Hey FDB, how’s your garden doing? This year for me is the year of eggplant, I’ve found a really nice variety. Can collect seeds if anyone wants some.

    Also, have a caper-bush going really well, I haven’t had time to look up how to preserve the capers (also the flowers are so pretty it seems a shame to pick them before they’ve burst) so I think I might pickle the caper-berries instead.

    Hot here today, so Im going to be doing paperwork. I always forget the February BAS statement until its nearly too late.

  9. akn

    To Mindy and su: when I asked, threads ago, “why would women care what men think?” I was neither trolling or attempting to gratuitously upset the marsupial. You both replied with words to the effect that men’s views are important because we dominate all of the important public spheres and recommended that I go back to Fem 101.

    What I’m wondering is how much do men’s views as allies in a liberation struggle count to you? Moreover, I’m wondering whether you feel that you even need men as allies in struggle for democratic equality?

    I’ll offer a starting point from
    Jenny Turner’s TLS review essay

    More prevalent, however, was what Didion called a ‘studied resistance to the possibility of political ideas’ – who, in any case, ever heard of a radical-feminist movement taking its understanding of historical change from a man? The entire Marxist tradition was repressed, leaving a weird sinkhole that quickly filled up with the most dreadful rubbish: wise wounds, herstory, nature goddesses, raped and defiled; sisters under the skin, flayed and joined, like the Human Centipede, in a single biomass; the fractal spread of male sexual violence, men fuck women replicated at every level of interaction, as through a stick of rock.

    And so Women’s Liberation started trying to build a man-free, women-only tradition of its own….

    Se concludes that second wave feminism has lost its critical political capacity. Almost.

  10. Bill Posters

    [leadership contest content redacted]

  11. Terangeree

    Cross-cultural and bilingual romances can be entertaining…

    To settle a misunderstanding, I told the beloved via telephone that I would be prepared to adopt her children after the wedding.

    Her response: “A dog?”

    “No,” I said. “A-dopt.

    “Wakarimasen” (I don’t understand).

    “I’ll spell it for you. A.”


    “No. A.”




    I thought I’d give up before we went through all of the consonants and half of the bestiary…

  12. Paul Burns

    Recently I have taken to making salad rolls of crisp lettuce, Bega cheese, sliced tomato, sliced and chopped Spanish onion and/or roast beef or shaved ham topped with either mayonnaise or wholegrain mustard. Good stuff.
    Watched Miss Fischer etc last night. I knew I’d enjoy it, but I liked it even more than I thought I would. Also liked the new Luther. Spring-heeled Jack – now there’s a character. If he existed at all and is not just Victorian mythology.

  13. joe2

    This is worth a read for more than one reason….

    Heartland emails show ease in which Gleick accessed sensitive files…


  14. joe2

    Anybody watch Portlandia?

    Available on iview. Not sure how aunty managed to grab this one. It was hilarious in the first episode, anyway.

  15. Sam

    [leadership contest content redacted]

  16. Nanalevu

    [leadership contest content redacted]

  17. Mercurius

    @fb, I realise you didn’t ask me directly, but 2012 is the year of the Potato in my neighbourhood. Dug up 12kg from a small patch seeded by one spud in October, haven’t looked at the next patch, but expecting maybe another 6kg from it.

    One thing that threw me — the spuds were huge and elongated. One measured 24 cm long. I always wondered where chipperies managed to get their super-long fries from, and I guess it must be the variety I’m growing. Instead of polite little round nuggets, I’m getting plate-sized almost rectangular shapes!

  18. WallyTheDog

    [leadership contest content redacted]

  19. furious balancing

    Very impressive Mercurius, I wish I could say the same for my spuds. Mine started out well, but unfortunately I was away when we got a day or two of early, hot weather, and the tops got the wilts and never really recovered. The small spuds I managed to salvage were the tastiest ever though. I planted Kipfler and Nicola as they are expensive to buy at the market, I don’t think either variety is very prolific. My mum’s community garden planted Dutch Cream and they also got some that seemed fit for the chippers and a very bountiful crop. I reckon I might pant some next season.

  20. Mercurius

    Ermm, is there any chance that we can keep the leadership spill comments over in the leadership spill thread, and leave this Salon thread for people who would like to discuss more important matters, such as potatoes?

  21. furious balancing

    well actually, I wont pant them……that sounds pervy. I might plant them though.

  22. WallyTheDog


  23. Dave

    A couple of days ago I downloaded from the internet (what a magnificent invention) a video of Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in Bruckner’s 9th symphony. For more than a hundred years since Bruckner’s death, this symphony has been played in three movements because Bruckner died before he completed the last movement (he was only about 80 per cent done). However, for the last 20 years musicologists have been putting out competing reconstructions.

    Finally, one of those reconstructions is good enough for a great orchestra like the Berlin Phil to play and, I must say, very humbly, it is magnificent. Bruckner always regarded Wagner as his master and the last movement contains some big quotes from Wagner. So every time I hear those quotes (one great master near the end of his life paying tribute to another great master) the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

    Anyway, it looks like, finally, it can almost be said that Bruckner wrote nine complete symphonies.

    Certainly makes the Gillard/Rudd stoush seem pretty small.

  24. su

    @akn: you have confused me with Fine, I didn’t respond to your question. You trolled me with the “what about Lee Rhiannon” question, though I am still not quite sure as to the purpose? And since that is twice now people have confused us, and since I have been confused with Link as well, now is a good time to reiterate that women are not fungible commodities. That is only partly tongue-in-cheek.

    I didn’t get far with that essay because it seems to start with one huge non sequitur. A young woman is caught up in the riots and commits a crime and then suddenly “this is the problem with feminism, young women losing their heads etc”. I mean, WTF! I may get back to it and try to give it a more thorough reading but I can tell it will be agonizing.

    As a general point, when I feel really pissed off with contemporary feminism it is usually because I feel it does not take issues of class seriously enough but those occasions are vastly outnumbered by the number I am times that I feel progressive politics is not only marred by sexism but completely undermined by a complete absence of awareness of its own oppressive practices and attitudes towards women. I am aware this is not an answer to your question, I may get back to you if I finish the essay.

  25. Dave

    [leadership contest content redacted by moderator]

  26. Dave

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  27. Cartesius

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  28. Terry

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  29. Paul Burns

    I wuz asked by my community nurse (who does my eye-drops) if I was tweeting politicians re ALP leadership stoush.
    Ages ago I got a tweet account, never tweeted, got one follower, lost my tweet password and hence have never used it.
    I yam a victim of modern technology.

  30. Dave

    [leadership contest content redacted by moderator]

  31. Occam's Blunt Razor

    @29 Paul, get into it. It’s marvelous fun.

  32. David Irving (no relation)

    St Furious, there’s caper-related stuff here.

  33. Dave

    [leadership contest content redacted by moderator]

  34. faustusnotes

    akn, I’m too hungover to read that essay now but I’m a little dubious about the idea of feminism being all adrift theoretically just ’cause it cut off marxism. Not only is marxism no panacaea, but there’s whole streams of modern feminism – the post modernist stuff, for example – that actually have a quite solid framework, that’s not marxist or kooky in the sense Turner seems to be implying, with practical implications that can be drawn from the theorizing.

    I agree with su that sometimes feminism can be a little weak on class stuff and I also think a lot of modern feminist theory really could benefit from some post-colonial input, but I don’t see much evidence that as a movement it is trying to build up a man-free theory of its own. Rejecting marx doesn’t mean you’re rejecting all political theory – just the crap and dated bits.

  35. furious balancing

    Thanks David. I was given some info on how to preserve them when I bought the plant, but I can’t seem to find it right now. The plant I have is meant to be some you beaut cultivar, which I think may be the same as the one the growers on that site you linked to use.

    Have you got some growing up at the doomstead? They should do pretty well up there, but it seems like you’d need to be there to pick them almost daily as they bud. I really don’t have time for that at the moment, hence decision to preserve the caper berries this year.

  36. akn

    Yes, ok then faustusnotes. My motivation in posting the link was not to score or even necessarily make a point; it was about opening a reasoned discussion. However, you’d have to point me in the direction of who/what you mean by valuable pomo feminist thinking. Notwithstanding that, Turner does seem to imply that the absence of class analysis depoliticises women’s liberation leaving a feminism that generates not much more than a generalised sense of grievance deriving from a frustrated sense of entitlement. Hence the role of young women in the recent display of extreme shopping in England.

  37. akn

    su @ 24: the Q re Lee wasn’t a ‘trick’. I was genuinely wondering what you thought of her given your staunch advocacy of JG and given that the only press that Lee gets condemns her for her Stalinist background and that your a member of the Greens whose internal democratic practices surpass the wildest dreams of ALP reformers.

    BTW: I never express views about Israel/Palestine as I find most people don’t have enough historical background to understand the issues so I don’t engage. It’s not an issue for me and I despair whenever it is raised as emblematic of anything for Australian public life. It has so little to do with Australia that I find it distasteful that anyone without a direct stake in the resolution should adopt a position in relation to Israel/Palestine – they often do so like others barrack for a footy team.

    I’m sorry I’ve contributed to your online identity crisis. Perhaps that confusion derives from my inability to differentiate your comments from Fines.

  38. Jacques de Molay

    All you Melvins fans on here should be excited that they’re about to release a new EP on the 13th March called ‘The Bulls & The Bees’ which will be available to download for free through Scion A/V.

    Pitchfork are streaming the track ‘The War on Wisdom’ from the EP and it’s a cracker:


    Also the ‘Melvins Lite’ version of the band (without Big Business & with Trevor Dunn on bass) are finally releasing a studio recording called ‘Freak Puke’ on the 5th June via Ipecac.

  39. David Irving (no relation)

    St Furious, my son (from whom I bought the Doomstead after he and my daughter-in-law moved to Mt Gambier) suggested I grow capers, and sent me the link I gave. I haven’t planted any yet (and various other things) precisely because they need daily attention. It’s certainly part of future planning.

    As an aside, I reckon I could grow cumin up there as well. I don’t know if there’s much of a market for it though.

  40. su

    Ok, thanks for letting me know akn. I’m a member but because of my responsibilities at home, I don’t attend meetings, I only get a copy of the minutes. This has been a perennial problem over the years: all meetings for activist groups etc tend to be at night or at the weekend, which makes complete sense for the average person who will be employed and either childless or have access to childcare of some description. I can only attend things that occur in school hours, I can’t use regular childcare because of the nature of my youngest son’s disability. A webinar format or something similar would really improve the inclusiveness, there must be many people in similar circumstances.

    The Stalinist stuff I simply ignore, apart from its inaccuracy, the idea that we should hold people’s youthful explorations of politics against them is risible. I had a stab at canvassing the two most recent controversies in the NSW Greens because I wasn’t sure what you meant by the question, not because I thought Israel/Palestine was the most burning policy issue.
    And as it happens, on both those controversies, I don’t agree with Rhiannon, though perhaps the hope is that the Unions will challenge the Donations bill in the High Court? And then? I imagine if it is struck down, O’Farrell will use it as an excuse for not reforming campaign donations at all.

  41. AT

    [leadership contest content redacted by moderator]

  42. Jacques de Molay

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  43. Cartesius

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  44. Brian

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  45. Mercurius

    Cartesius, I know you’re doing your bit for the Gillard camp, but even staffers need to take a break some time.

    The hours you are putting into posting personal calumnies against Rudd would lead anyone to think that there’s a psychopathic, chaotic, rage-fuelled, slave-driving, dysfunctional, bullying, arrogant, angry, mentally unstable, foul-mouthed, short-tempered, media-obsessed boss in charge of your blogging crusade.

  46. Cartesius

    [leadership contest content redacted]

  47. Mercurius

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  48. Roger Jones

    45 v 46


  49. Roger Jones

    egads – failed numeracy: 46 v 47.

    still heh!

  50. Terangeree

    Meanwhile, there will be no trains running between Gympie and Maryborough for at least three or four days due to the rain.

    Yes, it has nothing to do with Rudd v Gillard, but as there are about 548.76 separate posts on LP devoted to that issue at the moment, I thought it might be nice to read about something — anything — else.

  51. Cartesius

    [leadership contest content redacted]

  52. Paul Burns

    I got into a discussion about King’s Cross in the 60s and 70s with my community nurse this morning.

  53. akn

    I’ve been walking the common for several months and so far, apart from an abundance of birds, the score is one platypus, a small mob of pretty face wallabies, eastern grey roos, the occasional western red (although how they get here I cannot figure out) and one immense echidna about the size of a small wombat.

  54. Mercurius

    Nice one PB! Those community nurses are living saints, wouldn’t you say!?

    Cartesius, your one-note anti-Rudd symphony is getting reeeeeally boring and predictable. If you can’t or won’t vary the tune a bit, you’d be well advised to go and find something more pleasant to do with what remains of your weekend. Take a hint, or take a hike.

  55. Cartesius

    So you run the blog?, Mercurius.

    [leadership contest content redacted]

    [MODERATOR NOTE: Mercurius is one of LP’s moderators. So am I. Please read our comments policy. ~ tigtog]

  56. Cartesius

    [leadership contest content redacted]

  57. Fran Barlow

    I agree with Mercurius. It’s one thing to have strong feelings on a subject. Repeatedly iterating them in slightly different form in a very short space of time is trolling.

    [leadership contest content redacted]

  58. Helen

    Hey, guys, this is getting a bit tedious. We have a Labor Leadership thread which has eaten the blog, pretty much. Can we not have a spare corner away from Julia Rudd/Kev Gillard?

  59. Terangeree

    Japan Times reports that a 60yo worker at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant who died last May after one day on the job was officially classed as having died from “overwork“.

  60. zorronsky

    PB @ 12 There was a character, a boxer, Hop-Harry Stone who would shadow-box a moving tram in Swanston st while dancing backwards. My Aunty had a boxing troupe she sold to Sharman in the forties and her husband fought through welter to heavyweight . Great stories of early fighters they could tell.

  61. Cartesius

    An open thread where, at your weekend leisure, you can discuss anything you like …

    (Prefer to join a more focussed discussion?

  62. tigtog

    Yep, unless a moderator points out that there are already three focussed discussions on one particular issue so that it would be very nice indeed for the Salon thread to not also become dominated by that particular issue.

    This is not rocket science. This is simple netiquette and thread hygiene. Take a bloody hint.

  63. Terangeree

    Cartesius, although I am not a moderator, there are at present what feels like 5,743,689? different posts and discussions about the Labor leadership challenge/spill on Larvatus Prodeo.

    Why don’t you drop your pearls of wisdom regarding Kevin Rudd MHR on one — any — of them?

  64. Helen

    Currently typing from my Bro’s wi-fi connection in South gippsland. Checked the warnings before I drove out, because it’s just next door to where the Churchill fires were. But fire danger was just listed as “very high”, which isn’t even the second highest rating. Bro is just in the process of joining the CFA 🙁

    Mercurius and FB – his spuds are King Edwards. Mirboo North / thorpdale is Spud Central. We had some last night just out of the ground – delicious. We also had some curly kale which yielded a spider as big as a saucer. It’s not all sweetness and light in the country!

  65. Cartesius

    I don’t read minds, only words, and the words of the open invitation are clear so maybe they need editing to reflect the real policy.

  66. tigtog

    Well, it’s something that old skool LP commentors seemed to grok organically, Cartesius. However, the post has now been edited to explicitly make clear what courteous folks have always naturally understood about how conversations in groups work.

  67. furious balancing

    I haven’t understood the fire danger ratings at all this year, Helen.

    I’m quite jealous of the platypus and wallaby sightings. I can only report red-bellied black snakes.

  68. David Irving (no relation)

    St Furious, You’d love my paddock, then. I do have snakes, but I’ve also got quail, rosellas, lizards of all shapes and sizes, and, in my 5 acre short forest, a couple of euros, a fox (whose days are numbered) and some hares.

    There are also some hawks of some sort in the area who’ve learnt to exploit agricultural equipment – they follow me around when I’m slashing, in the hope of pickup up a startled meal.

  69. furious balancing

    David, you wouldn’t be in the part of SA where there are still pygmy blue-tongues would you, or maybe that is further towards Burra? Euros are cute, I always feel like I’m out of the city properly when I see my first Euro.

    My summer has been all about swamps so the snakes are on my mind, I’ve had some disconcerting close encounters in the last week. I do see yellow-tailed black cockies most days, and there were a couple of wedgies gliding around last Tuesday.

  70. David Irving (no relation)

    Dunno about the pygmy blue tongues, St Furious – I wouldn’t recognise one. I had a spiny devil sunning herself on a fence post a couple of years ago, though.

    I reckon the euros spotted the only decent-sized bit of scrub in about a million acres of wheat’n’sheep, and thought, “Yep. That’ll do nicely.” Part of the reason I had it planted in the first place was to attract and shelter native animals (also a wood lot), and I’m pleased that it’s been so successful.

    Burra’s only about 30 km up the road, btw.

  71. furious balancing

    The pygmys are very rare, thought to be extinct until they were discovered again fairly recently, they are a grassland species that use the burrows of wolf-spiders as their accommodation.

    You’re making me nostalgic for the north. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been through that country. I’m planning a road trip to the desert to coincide with the transit of venus in early June. Hopefully work wont be too crazy-busy and I can take my time.

  72. faustusnotes

    Terangeree, that’s a strange case of overwork – one day of working!? I wonder if “Overwork” here is a way for companies to blame workplace deaths on individuals and avoid having to pay compensation for dangerous work practices. Sounds like he shouldn’t have been given those responsibilities (night work in heavy gear at 60yo!) to start with.

    I have heard rumours about the involvement of yakuza with the clean-up work at the plant (it’s “dirty, dangerous, difficult” work, which yakuza often are involved in recruiting day labourers for, is the story). But even if they’re not, the workers going there show a sad and sorry side of Japan’s social order: men who have lost their jobs and/or their families and have fallen on hard times, often homeless (in a sense), moving from prefecture to prefecture to do day labour wherever it presents itself. You see them sleeping in the railway stations in the cities most nights. Fukushima is in many ways a godsend for these men, because it pays so much more than other similar “dirty, dangerous, difficult” jobs, so gives them a chance to get ahead a little.

    Many of these men are older and were shaken out of the salaryman system after the crash of the 90s. Before the bubble, people will tell you this kind fo system didn’t exist and there’s a real concern her about the long-term social equality implications of the temporary work/day labour system. It existed before Fukushima of course but Fukushima gives a very public representation of the kinds of work these men have to do.

  73. zorronsky

    Sniffing smoke from a 1000 hectare fire back near Ararat. Hill country with some woodland. They’re saying it’s under control in one breath and it could get out of control again if the wind picks up.
    I did the fruit and veg run for old Jack Paley at the east-end market every second tues between my Sydney-Perth fridge truck run. The stores were from Burra to Peterborough.. from memory Mt Brian Hallett Whyte Yarcowie Terowie..that was ’63. during the 4days I had off while my off-sider had his turn to Melb Sydney and back.

  74. Chris

    Faususnotes @ 72 – that overwork claim is by the family lawyer i’d guess in preparation of a lawsuit. The man died of a heart attack which might not otherwise be covered.

  75. furious balancing

    geez, zorronsky, that’s a good memory. I was up there two years ago and I couldn’t even the remember the name of Mt Brian, though I was trying to. there’s a little grassland conservation park called Mokota on the Mt Brian side of Burra that I was having a look at, and you could see the Hallett wind farm from there too.

  76. furious balancing

    also, based on todays conditions in Adelaide, there is cooler and calmer weather on the way to you soon, so hopefully that fire won’t get too fierce.

  77. zorronsky

    Funny about memory loss fb, or mine anyway, 2 seconds ago’s gone, 2years ago is a problem, and a decade ago is difficult, before that’s a snap. All the old stories told too many times to forget.

  78. akn

    furious balancing: I’m amazed about the platypus. The common, while extensive and just on the edge of town, has been heavily used and is relatively degraded. Just goes to show that every little remnant is worth fighting for. I’ve got a few projects under way: a social history of this common, a commons ‘user’s group’ because the local council hasn’t maintained the commoner’s list ; this is with a view to reviving a landcare group to remediate the commons. Lots of potential.

  79. furious balancing

    I’ve never seen a platypus at all. ever. The nature dork in me would not be able to contain herself should I just happen to see one on an evening stroll. My brother alleges he has platypus on his property in Tassie, but I suspect he’s just trying to lure me down there for weed work.

    That’s great about the commons too. Good luck with the restoration. Coincidentally, putting info together about the social and environmental history of my area has been something I’ve been exploring too.

  80. Katz

    German retired tax collectors volunteer for duty in Greece.


    “Just like 1940, but zis time, no more Mr Nice Guy.”

  81. Mindy

    @akn – sorry I only just saw your comment, I was too busy this weekend with birthday parties and an assault on the strange smell coming from the pantry to be online much.

    For those of you enjoying vast potato crops – for the love of potatoes do not let one go off in your pantry. Trust me on this.

    Now back to feminism – akn I am a fan of male feminists. I think we need more of them. But like any situation where you are trying to be supportive (not just feminism, any situation) you need to remember that you aren’t directly experiencing it and that sometimes you need to accept what someone else is saying is true, even if it doesn’t seem like that to you. But as I say, this is true of everyone not just male feminists.

  82. LJS

    The odd sly potato that rolls to the back of the cupboard/pantry – and there slowly liquefies – is the stuff of olfactory nightmares. What’s worse is that the liquefaction is often contained by the potato’s jacket, and so it waits for a decent bump or the grasp of a questing hand, before exploding it’s rotten core of slimy filth.

    We could never wholly remove the smell from the pantry of one house I lived in. Bleurgh.

  83. Fran Barlow

    Recall Mamdouh Habib?

    Habib’s Victory Against The Shock-Jocks

    One of the most maligned figures in the Australian media, Mamdouh Habib, has won a long-running legal battle against some of his prime antagonists — securing a defamation payout from the employers of three of Sydney’s most popular radio shock-jocks. Coming down the steps of the District Court in Sydney on Friday, just moments after being awarded a total of $176,296 in damages from Radio 2UE and 2GB, Habib said he felt vindicated by the decision. “It’s not about the money, it’s about the dignity,” he said.

    In his ruling the judge found that the comments made about Habib by John Laws and Steve Price from 2UE, and Ray Hadley from 2GB, were “extreme, strongly expressed, exaggerated, unjust, irrational … and also violent”. The tone and content of John Laws in particular was “clearly spiteful and laden with ill-will towards Mr Habib, as well as being intentionally aimed at ridiculing the plaintiff”.


    the comments at the centre of this case had nothing to do with the reason Habib came to be subject to such furious media attention in the first place — his alleged terrorist connections. (He has never been charged with any terrorist related offence.) Rather, the shock-jocks were accusing him of committing another great Australian crime — being a welfare cheat.


    That morning a journalist in the Daily Telegraph had run a story about Habib taking part in the City to Surf fun run the previous weekend. The article alleged that Habib was also trying to claim a disability pension. The talk-back hosts were outraged. Over the course of that day they let loose on Habib in a collective roar; how could a man fit enough to run 14 kilometres claim a pension?

    Steve Price said, “I wouldn’t call him a terrorist, I’d call him a bludger… a leech on Australia, a social security professional”.

    John Laws poured scorn on the idea that Habib was damaged by his experiences as a prisoner. “He claims he was physically tortured by US soldiers during his time in Camp X-ray, but, ahh, obviously it hasn’t done him a whole lot of harm… because he was looking as fit as a fiddle to me … He beat 40,000 people and yet he wants a disability pension?”


    The nastiest exchange of the day came when Steve Price called into the John Laws show and said “… I don’t mind at all whether he gets his umm this disability payment … providing we can organise someone to go out and give him a disability”. John Laws laughed, and said “Yeah.”


    During the trial Habib was compelled to authorise the release of all his Centrelink files. The judge found that these files showed no evidence Habib had ever been dishonest with Centrelink, that at the time of the broadcast he was not receiving a disability pension, nor was he trying to claim one.

    (Habib was ineligible for government assistance because he’d received a $140,000 payment in February 2005 from Chanel Nine in return for an exclusive interview.)

    So, stripping away this story to its bare facts, and all you have is a highly traumatised man trying to run his demons away, without the benefit of any government money. Suddenly, Habib’s fun run doesn’t seem so outrageous.

    It’s a very good thing that Mr Habib has had some recompense for the malicious slander he suffered from those who lie for public amusement over in radioland. It’s just a pity that their are not criminal penalties for such outrageous misuse of public airspace.

    Thanks New Matilda for bringing this story to us.

  84. Fine

    I feel like calling those shock-jocks pigs. But, then I remember that pigs are really nice animals. There are no words, really.

  85. Helen

    After reading John Laws’ “Poetry”, yes, he really is a sadist.

  86. Fran Barlow

    Indeed that’s true Fine. Pigs have had a bad rap because of the way in which humans have dealt with them.

    I’m not quite sure that any animal deserves to stand for them — though perhaps some sort of parasite — ticks, aphids or some such. Aphids are interesting because they are protected by some species of ants who fight off some other predators for them so that the ants can feed on their output.

    Then again, seeing the shock jocks as akin to pathogens feeding off a potentially healthy host community has much to recommend it.

  87. Mercurius

    @81-82 — ahh indeed, be nice to your potatoes, and they’ll be nice to you.

  88. GregM

    Can we fire up another Queensland election roundtable? The last one has been overtaken by other events and is stale.

    The other business is behind us now but we have the election before us and it deserves comment.


  89. Fran Barlow

    SkyNews Fail:

    Struggling India ‘desperate’, says WarneSky News Australia – ?4 minutes ago?

    Struggling India ‘desperate’, says Warne Updated: 21:40, Monday February 27, 2012 Australia batsman David Warner

    Oh dear …

  90. tigtog

    GregM, if you start commenting on it again, that thread will show up in the sidebar. Why don’t you try that?

  91. Jacques de Molay

    Anyone else watch the debut of Danger 5 on SBS tonight?

    Hilariously brilliant.

  92. Fran Barlow

    I’m shocked, really.

    Rich people more likely to take lollies from children: study

    People from wealthy backgrounds are more likely than poorer people to break laws while driving, take lollies from children, and lie for financial gain, a United States study says.


    For instance, drivers of expensive vehicles were observed to be more likely to break the rules at four-way intersections, and were more likely to cut off pedestrians trying to cross the street than drivers of cheaper cars.

    In another test using a game of dice, given the opportunity to win a prize, people who self-reported high socio-economic status were more likely than the rest to lie and say that they had rolled higher numbers than they actually had.

    “Even in people for whom $50 is a relatively small amount of money, cheating was three times as high,” said lead author Paul Piff of UC Berkeley.

    “It really shows the extreme lengths to which wealth and upper-rank status in society can shape patterns of self-interest and unethicality.”

    And when given a jar of lollies that they were told was for children in a nearby lab – though they could take some if they wanted – the richer people took more lollies than anyone else.

    Even Dr Piff, who has studied the impact of wealth on people’s morality and charitable giving in the past – finding that rich people tend to give less to charity than poor people – was surprised to see them taking sweets from kids.

    “I was astonished,” Dr Piff said. “On average, people in the upper rank condition took two times as much, so it was a pretty sizeable effect.”

    Also, in that particular study, researchers conditioned some of the subjects first to think of themselves as of a higher social rank by asking them to compare themselves to others with less.

    The exercise showed that people could be trained to think more highly of themselves, and that they would in turn act with more greed and less ethicality, demonstrating that status drives greed.

    “We also got them to increase their likelihood of saying ‘I’d do all these unethical things,'” such as keeping the change without saying a word if a coffee shop cashier returned them too much money.


    According to Dr Piff, people with more money tend to look more positively on greed and rely less on family and friend networks for support in times of need, and this elevated status tends to disconnect them from society.

    “It is that very different level of privilege in your everyday life that gives rise to this independence from others, this reduced sensitivity to the impact of your behaviour on others’ welfare, and the prioritisation of your self-interest,” he said.

  93. su

    Fran, I have to use the Pacific Highway to drive from my house to the nearest set of village shops and the intersection is in a 60km zone, with the highway traffic having slowed from 100 to 60 within a relatively short space. Needless to say, the majority of people aren’t going at 60km/hr when they pass the intersection and quite a lot are still going 100+. My favourites are the people who not only fail to slow when they see you turning onto the highway 300m or more ahead but make sure to enact a dramatic show of headlight flashing and tailgating with a little horn for added effect. Invariably these are people in expensive 4wds but the prize goes to the young woman in a mercedes who in addition to all of the above swerved onto the verge in a cloud of dust in order to pass by. In none of these cases is there the least danger of a collision, the headlights begin flashing at least 100m out, it is sheer naked rage and entitlement.

  94. Fran Barlow

    Exactly Su. My own personal “love” is the relationship between the new sticker price of cars and their tendency to be found parked on the ends of the aisles in shopping centres, even when there would have been reasonably close and available legal parking bays. In three decades shopping at my local centre, the cars parked illegally available new for less than 1 year on average wages and are rarely less than 2-years-old.

    The wealthy often complain about the tendency of those well into the bottom half of the distribution to put their hand out for welfare, but in my experience, few can match the unapologetic sense of entitlement of the people well into the top half of the distribution.

  95. faustusnotes

    Helen, I have also read John Laws’s poetry, and its profundity left one particular line stuck in my head for all time:

    someone bring me a tissue, for my heart has caught a cold

    Truly, there is no area of cultural enterprise in which that man could not excel.

  96. jumpy

    Anyone mentioned “The BLOGGIES ” yet ?

    I wonder if the results will , by sheer weight of comment numbers, cause the ” LP powers that be” to dedicate a thread.

    Having seen the results, it’s doubtful, best ignored here.

  97. su

    So I see that Gillard is still Prime Minister. Around Australia, men in white coats are sadly advancing, to two minutes to midnight, the hands on the dudepocalypse clock.

  98. tigtog

    @jumpy, perhaps if LP had been sporting a big sidebar badge for the last few months saying “Vote for me in the Bloggies!1!11!” like some other blogs have been doing, readers here might find the results of that particular online voting tally relevant to their interests/expectations. That is not, however, the case.

  99. jumpy


    men in white coats

    What? Women don’t wear white coats? How sexist, take it back.
    It’s people like you … bla. bla… blar….

    ( annoying much?)

  100. jumpy


    I happen to remember when “Sceptical science ” won some award, it was a big deal (can’t recall a dedicated thread though ) , just thought bloggers may be interested in da BLOGGIES tis all.
    And threads of disgust and condemnation appear popular hereabouts. 🙂

    ( BTW , which category would you have liked LP to have won, if you cared, which you don’t, obviously )

  101. jumpy

    And if that comment gets through, 100, i raise me bat woohooo!!!

  102. Helen

    I was unaware that blog awards still existed. I thought they were a Thing in the noughties and then everyone lost interest. When I checked out the Bloggies I saw why – *eyeroll* they’re just a melange of self promoters, and the Australian ones skew heavily to far-right cc denial. Even a thank-you to Christopher Monckton from one of them. No wonder the really good bloggers can’t be bothered with such a farce. Who the hell reads “Woog’s World”? And one of the “Australian” blogs is from NZ.

  103. Chris

    su @ 93 – I’ll probably get shot down for this, but I think that driving 4WDs in city situations is inherently inconsiderate. Much more dangerous for pedestrians and reduces visibility for other drivers.

    Helen @ 99 – heh, even I’ve heard of Woog’s world. Pretty high profile in the “Mummy bloggers” in Australia. But yes, the awards are more a measure of popularity rather than quality.

  104. su

    I feel the same way, [email protected] We have nose in parking in town and it is impossible to see around them when backing out. And aside from those driven by National Park rangers, 4wds should be banned from beaches, they kill the microcrustaceans and other fauna.

  105. joseph.carey

    Was Angelina Jolie’s crooked leg pose at the Academy Awards meant to be satirical?

  106. Terangeree

    There are many different types of 4wd nowadays, and many “car-size” vehicles have four driven wheels.

    National Park ranger-driven 4x4s also kill microcrustaceans and other fauna, although there are far too many privately-owned recreational 4x4s cluttering beaches and have been doing so for at least 35 years.

  107. Chris

    Terangeree @ 106 – yea I should have been more precise – its the size (especially the height) of the vehicles which is the problem, not whether its 2 or 4 wheel driven.

  108. Adrian

    4wds in the city or beaches are indicative of the stupidity of those that drive them.

  109. David Irving (no relation)

    Indeed, Adrian. There should be a Stupidity Tax on those who choose to drive SUVs in town.

    As an aside, I’ve been to a lot of remote places in the NT, and there are very few of them that you can’t get to in an early model Holden. (Those ones usually need a helicopter.)

  110. Chris

    Anyone else see the 7:30 report Tuesday night? It seems like Australia has totally moved from an attitude towards the Olympics of being about participation to one of winning is the most important thing. Where in athletics they won’t send someone they don’t think has a chance of getting a medal. Even more reason for decreasing athlete funding I think….

  111. faustusnotes

    Doesn’t Fran Barlow have an SUV?

  112. Fran Barlow

    faustusnotes asked:

    Doesn’t Fran Barlow have an SUV?

    Short answer, no. I’ve never had an SUV, or any similar vehicle. Nor has anyone in my family. Currently, none of us has a vehicle under 7 years old. Hubby and I have vehicles with 1.5L and 1.8L engines respectively. Neither vehicle would sell privately for more than $10,000, and possibly quite a bit less.

  113. Chris

    The government is scraping the bottom of the barrel in order to make their surplus target next year. Cancels the solar hot water rebate


    Unfortunately this is the latest example of the government encouraging boom/bust cycles in environment related industries. Have to wonder sometimes if this a deliberate strategy to discourage investment in environmentally friendly industries 🙁

  114. Fran Barlow

    Have to wonder sometimes if this a deliberate strategy to discourage investment in environmentally friendly industries

    I think this improbable, at least in this case. I’m as willing as any here to accept the government’s tilt in favour of resort to fossil HC, but in this case I see this as likely to be cost-driven. The government (quite wrongly in my view) has committed itself to realisation of a budget surplus in 2012-13. This program was always slated to end and indeed, there was a money figure put on the program. Had I been in charge, the process of claiming the rebate would have started with registration of the solar HW purchase and a unique number in the scheme. Depending on how much the rebate was in each case, the remaining number of available registrations would have been adjusted accordingly. This number would have appeared in near real-time on the website so that everyone — potential consumers, retailers and manufacturers — could have been in no doubt as to the currency of the program. The website could have given projected dates at which the program would have been fully subscribed.

    The process can be criticised for not being set up this way, but I don’t think the premature end of the program is itself malicious.

    One can argue that the subsidy was money well spent (I’m not so sure it was) and thus that the program should have been extended, but that’s another claim entirely.

  115. Terangeree

    I drove a 1976-vintage Toyota Land Cruiser until recently, though. 🙂

    It isn’t so much the vehicle that is driven (in the city or on the beach), but the attitude and competence of those that drive it.

    4x4s look different from the “normal” vehicle, and thus they and their drivers are a target for comments. People say similar things, for example, about taxi drivers and about motorhome drivers and people who tow boats and caravans. Does that mean we ought to ban taxis, motorhomes and all types of trailers from the roads?

    What about motorbikes? And bicycles? Should they be banned from the roads, too? They are different from the norm, after all. And they either hold up traffic or they slip between the gaps in a traffic jam and get in front of all of us who have been waiting forever to get past that next intersection.

    If one’s objection is over the sheer size of a 4×4, then one ought to argue that any vehicle heavier than three tonnes ought to be banned from urban areas — although that would mean that deliveries and things like garbage collection would be very difficult to make, and non-taxicab public transport would disappear from our roads.

    In Brisbane at least, many tradesmen (builders, plumbers, &c.) use 75-Series Landcruisers or similar 4x4s as their work trucks. At a guess, this is because they are more robust and capable as a work-truck than the “traditional” Holden or Falcon ute which of late has metamorphosed into a quasi-sports car.

    The way I see it, those who complain about 4x4s and how they should be banned from cities are really saying that they don’t like anyone who dares to drive a car that is in any way different from their own.

  116. furious balancing

    With all of the solar schemes, I would have much preferred the government pay for free solar PV and solar HW for low income households, to stimulate growth in the sector, and left the middle and high income earners to purchase unaided by subsidies, but incentivized by feed in tarrifs.

    Outcome: low income earners would have had some protection from energy price increases. Growth in the sector would have lead to greater competition and a lowering of prices overall. Whereas rebates have inflated prices for solar – it was poor policy to begin with.

  117. Chris

    Terangeree @ 115 – the problem is with the increasing popularity of 4WDs replacing cars of much lower height. So the frequency at which a driver of a normal car has much lower visibility is higher, as is the probability that a pedestrian will be hit by a 4WD instead of a car in an accident. The occasional bus or truck is not a big problem. Being surrounded by 4WDs in traffic does become a problem.

    And there’s lots of misconceptions out in the public about them – eg people believe they are safer and so you end up with families with kids buying them because they believe their children will be safer.

    I don’t really have a problem with them being used as work vehicles if they are more appropriate. However taking my child to various activities I see them primarily being used as oversized people movers. And there are alternatives which are much more friendly to other road users and pedestrians. Seriously, sometimes I think I’m the only one taking my kid to activities not in a 4WD 🙂

    I’m not saying we should ban them, but we do require larger vehicles like trucks to pay a lot more for road rego so this is one route. As we move more towards congestion taxes for CBD and inner suburban areas this would also be another solution.

  118. Chris

    Fran @ 114 – yea its more likely incompetence rather than malice. A gradual reduction in rebate over a number of years would be better too rather than a sudden cut off. Its not like it should not have been fairly reliably predicted too – its not like people change their hot water system for fun.

    fb @ 116 – yes Solar PV and HWS for public housing would be a great initiative. The government could have some offset by not having to pay utility subsidies too. For whatever reason both state and federal governments have chosen not to take that route. I despair at the state of some of the old public housing stock – eg people in Canberra who can’t afford curtains (or don’t realise how much they’ll save) and so end up with much higher heating costs.

    The Solar HWS subsidy originally came in because the pay off period was so long. It is fairly short now, but unfortunately people have very short term thinking and hot water service replacements come at very short notice so people choose the option with the lowest capital cost.

    Perhaps its not so much of a problem these days given I think its illegal now to install pure electric systems except under fairly specific circumstances.

  119. adrian

    As I’ve said elsewhere, axing of the solar hot water scheme is political ineptitude of the highest order.

    Re 4WDs. It’s pretty simple really. They don’t belong in cities, serve no purpose except to give their occupants the illusion of invulnerability, and consume too much fuel.
    Plus they invariably seem to be driven by dickheads.

    As Chris says, the answer is to tax them in a way that reflects their negative impact on the environment.

  120. su

    It isn’t so much the vehicle that is driven (in the city or on the beach), but the attitude and competence of those that drive it.

    I’m afraid you have missed the point about beach traffic. Researchers have demonstrated that heavy ORV traffic in the littoral zone turns it into an ecological desert with massive decreases in the numbers of benthic fauna seen. I am not an ecologist but I have read enough to know that the littoral zone is part of an essential cycle and that denuding this zone has larger consequences (one of the reasons, incidentally, that large scale harvesting of kelp and other seaweed that has washed ashore is actively discouraged).

  121. Terangeree


    A Suzuki Jimny is a “proper” 4wd (high- and low-range transfer box, decent ground clearance) and uses less fuel than most “normal” cars. You can import one from Japan with a 660cc motor, for pity’s sake.

    Then there are the Subarus, Audis, and various other small “standard” cars with all-wheel drive.


    I agree with you on the use of recreational 4x4s (and even 4x2s) on the beaches. If one is driving it as a part of your job (two that come to mind are NPWS rangers and commercial fishers of the type that used to work from North Stradbroke Island from the 1950s to the early 1980s (with 12′ open boats)), but if it is as a part of your recreation, then there is no need. I can recall seeing, back in 1978, about 60 4x4s parked on Cylinder Beach at Straddie, and there was bugger-all room left for people to walk or sit on the beach.

    My point was that the idiot drivers you see in 4x4s are more visible than the far more common idiot drivers in Mazda 3s, Falcons, Commodores, Camrys and other “normal” cars. The type of vehicle isn’t the problem — it’s the competence and attitude of the motorists that is the problem.


    If larger commercial vehicles get higher rego charges (which they do already) and higher taxes so they can access urban streets, then are you prepared for those charges to be passed on to you in the form of higher rates (so the 10-tonne tare International ACCO can come around and collect your rubbish) and higher charges for groceries, petrol, and other items?

    On the matter of safety, my old Land Cruiser did provide better visibility when reversing than does my 2004 Commodore. And (but this is a matter of an old car versus a new car) I tended to drive a lot more carefully in the old truck, knowing that I was sitting on top of the petrol tank, had a full steel dashboard in front of me, with no airbags, no headrests, and a solid ladder chassis that had no crumple zones. Yes, in an accident, an old 4×4 will cause more damage to the other vehicle than a modern smallish car — but it will also cause a lot more damage to those unfortunate enough to be in the old 4×4.

    New (large) 4x4s aren’t all that much different.

    And, to digress slightly, 4x4s and “people movers” being used to collect the children from school might very well be the only type of vehicle available with enough seats to legally carry all of the family once booster seats &c are installed (and children under a certain age are not permitted to ride in the front, due to the airbags in the dashboard).

    So if your children want to bring a mate or two with them (or if you have more than two or three children), you’re going to need three rows of seats in the car — and so you are going to have to get a people mover or largish 4×4.

    When did children stop walking to school? It’s dangerous? It was “dangerous” in the 1970s and 1960s and 1950s, too — so the kids tended to walk home in the company of a group of classmates who lived in the same direction.

  122. Helen

    Terangeree, come to inner Melbourne and watch the tanks SUVs ooze or attempt to ooze along our narrow little Victorian streets. They’re just not appropriate to city life (or even country life, for many of our country towns and properties – the farmers I knew as a child didn’t have them, they had station wagons.) As for kids and their child seats, perhaps it’s the extra seats in the back that provide the selling point and the sedan/station wagon makers should get off their behinds and compete, so the rest of us don’t have to manoevre around the tanks, sorry, SUVs.

  123. Fran Barlow

    I largely share Terangeree’s attitude to SUVs. If there is a good reason to have one other than mere style, then I’m not going to condemn them. I do find the business of making a sharp right hand turn when someone in some hulking monster is on my left (turning left) completely obscuring my vision left. If they don’t turn promptly, it’s especially irritating.

    Personally, as I’ve said a number of times here before, I believe that almost all vehicle related charges should be usage-based, with allowance for variables like accident profile of the vehicle, TARE, life-cycle emissions (not just CO2), vehicle dimensions relative to standard road lanes (width and height) and of course the driver-related variables, including traffic intensity. A really large SUV is much less of a nuisance in off-peak traffic or on a country road.

    Chris said:

    If larger commercial vehicles get higher rego charges (which they do already) and higher taxes so they can access urban streets, then are you prepared for those charges to be passed on to you in the form of higher rates (so the 10-tonne tare International ACCO can come around and collect your rubbish) and higher charges for groceries, petrol, and other items?

    For me that would be fine. Declaration: I’m a tenant, but it would be OK if I were paying the rates directly.

  124. Chris

    Terangeree @ 121

    If larger commercial vehicles get higher rego charges (which they do already) and higher taxes so they can access urban streets, then are you prepared for those charges to be passed on to you in the form of higher rates (so the 10-tonne tare International ACCO can come around and collect your rubbish) and higher charges for groceries, petrol, and other items?

    It’d be pretty easy for the government to distinguish between vehicles used for commercial purposes and those used for personal use when it comes to road taxes.

    On the matter of safety, my old Land Cruiser did provide better visibility when reversing than does my 2004 Commodore.

    Yes it probably does, and when you’re sitting much higher than the rest of the traffic you get better visibility forward. But that comes at the cost of everyone else in a normal sized car having much worse visibility because your extra height blocks the view they have of other cars.

    And, to digress slightly, 4x4s and “people movers” being used to collect the children from school might very well be the only type of vehicle available with enough seats to legally carry all of the family once booster seats &c are installed

    People movers tend to be a lot more reasonable for other road users than big 4WDs as they don’t need to be so high off the ground for those people who do actually take them off-road. And depending on their design can be a lot more friendly to pedestrians than 4WDs as they don’t have the dual purpose of being able to drive straight through random wildlife that might wander across the road.

  125. su

    My niece has been at ADFA for five weeks now, so this makes me more than usually despairing. Both her parents are/were in the services and were really not happy at her chosen path but have been trying to pull off a tricky balance between preparing her for what was to come and informing her of the ways the defence force can become a trap while being supportive of her ambition. They are driving down to see her for the first time since induction and I’m sure they will want to drag her out of there, I know I do.

  126. Terangeree

    Chris @ 124:

    Actually, I was referring to visibility through the rear windows when reversing. Commodores, Falcons, Camrys and many other modern sedans have a high boot lid that creates a very big blind spot behind the car — hence the increasing commonality of reversing sensors and reversing cameras on ‘standard size’ sedans and wagons. The old Landie’s blind-spot was actually surprisingly small.

    Many full-size 4x4s (even today) trace their lineage back to the WW2-era Jeep, which was roughly the same height and size as a standard car of that era.

    It’s not that the 4x4s have got taller: it’s just that the standard vehicle has got lower and lower over the last 70 or so years.

  127. Helen

    Goodness me, it’s a different story when it’s a man who’s mocked at the HUN. Options on the Vote button (“Were comments made on Channel 10 about Victoria Cross winner Ben Roberts-Smith in bad taste?”) are
    “Yes, he’s a national hero and doesn’t deserve that” (92.3%) and “No, it was just a bit of fun, calm down” (7.6%). How much do you bet that in a similar choice the answers will be reversed when the HUN commentariat get to the topic of the ADF facebook page, because “it was just a bit of fun, calm down” looks very, very familiar.

  128. akn

    I’m in the process of buying a used 4wd because the shire roads are so bad that they are shakin’ my old car to pieces. As well there are plenty of rough tracks, fords, clay roads etc that actually need a jacked 4wd. About one in three of the vehicles locally are 4wd. Many farmers drive steadily but plenty of tradies and contractors who are in the mines drive ’em like there’s no tomorrow. Way over the speed limit and way over what the road conditions can take safely. The local roads go from good stretch to hell-crater-pot-hole-alley and the change usually occurs on the apex of a corner on a crest.

    So it appears to me that the big shiny new two tonners produce a sense of invulnerability that is only shown to be false when the truck ends up on its roof. Which they do around here with regularity.

    They are a problem in the bush, even where necessary, usually because of the bad drivers. That can be dealt with personally when you see the mug who scared you pulled up at the local. In the city, where they simply occupy too much space, they need to be taxed via e-tags. This won’t scoop all of them but it will tax a lot of them and it would be a start.

  129. Chris

    Terangeree @ 126 – yes, my comment about visibility was more about the tradeoff between improving conditions for yourself, but at a sacrifice for others. In a two car crash you’d want to be in the vehicle with the most mass, but its an arms race that doesn’t get any overall improvement.

    I’d guess that cars today can be a lot lower than cars of 70 years ago because road conditions are much better. However as someone who has only been driving for 20 years, I think there’s been an increasing number of personal vehicles that are higher and cause visibility issues (and makes things like poorly adjusted headlights worse because they are already mounted higher).