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132 responses to “Saturday Salon”

  1. BilB
  2. darin

    WTF? All that talk about renewal for the labor party and the need to widen the candidate pool, then they pick Jackie Trad to replace Anna Bligh?

  3. MH

    I hate to sound like Tim Blair, but I do find the language in this AFP piece on the ABC website rather questionable:
    Fanatics, freak, “Catholic outpost”. I am not sure I have ever heard Indonesia described as a “Muslim outpost”.

  4. Eric Sykes

    This is worth a read, Eltham continues to be the only “arts journalist” in Australia that doesn’t spend most of his time writing about all those (complimentary) shows he’s been to:


  5. jumpy
  6. tssk

    We’ll find out in a few months Jumpy when Tones is in office.

  7. BilB

    When you have read all of the words, not just the ones near the pretty pictures, you will see that the study has proven, based on a global study, that the Antarctic ice core evidence is an anomaly of timing.

    “The results show that while temperature increases around Antarctica appear to have led increases in atmospheric CO2, the picture globally was the opposite – CO2 increases paved the way for temperature increases”

    The initial trigger to get the process underway was a tilt in the earth’s axis, but one the process of change started it was driven by increases in global CO2 levels.

  8. jumpy

    And to think, all the times he’s been belittled on blogs, newspapers, TV ( Q&A) as homophobic[sic], he never once used his sister for political points scoring ( worth maybe 2 points in the polls).

    If the Top Job is all he cared about,this revelation before or during the last Fed election campaign would have given him it.

    But he remained silent, any guesses as to why?

  9. jumpy

    Bilb, wrong fred.

  10. Fran Barlow

    Jumpy, citing the story about Abbott’s gay sister observed:

    Seems Tony Abbott doesn’t hate gay folk.

    This is an equivocation fallacy. Most avowing christians claim not to ‘hate’ gay people. This is part of their doctrine. They claim that it’s their lifestyle choice to which they object.

    Im unconvinced that that is a defencible dichotomy, but allowing for the sake of argument that it is, it is moot in any event. If you deny a whole class of people a right given to everyone outside the class it cannot be gainsaid persuasively that you are acting in a discriminatory fashion. Unless there is a compelling reason for the discrimination, that is a form of hatred to the group, if not its individual members.

    So Tony Abbott must hate gay people in the collective sense even if he does not hate every individual gay person. The imprecision of Jumpy‘s specification is an attempt to defend Tony Abbott by recourse to equivocation.

  11. jumpy

    “I think there are lots of terrific gay relationships … but I just don’t think that ‘marriage’ is the right term to put on it,” he replied.

    Who do you think said this?

    (Oh,if you want me to understand you comments you’re gunna have to dumb it down a bit, ta)

  12. Chris

    Eric @ 4 – wow, why are they even still printing CDs now? Much cheaper and get a wider audience if they do digital distribution. And I’d question what value any label is really adding now.

  13. Mercurius

    [Abbott] never once used his sister for political points scoring ( worth maybe 2 points in the polls)…But he remained silent, any guesses as to why?

    That’s easy, he was too busy using his wife and daughters for political point scoring, and a gay sister doesn’t fit with the suburban, male heterosexual, action-man, head-of-family image (worth maybe 5 points in the polls) he was chasing.

    Moreover, your question presupposes that Abbott is the one who has the choice about this…it’s his sister’s life, and she is the one who has the prerogative to make herself into a public figure or not…of course your question presupposes that Abbott makes those choices on behalf of the women in his life (RU486, anyone?), and it’s not surprising you try to make a virtue out of how Abbott uses the women in his life.

    Also, between praying for her soul to be rescued from eternal hellfire, it’s a bit much to expect her to be wheeled out for an interview too.

    I would try to dumb this down for you, but it would be better all round if you smarten up.

  14. Terry

    If you deny a whole class of people a right given to everyone outside the class it cannot be gainsaid persuasively that you are acting in a discriminatory fashion. Unless there is a compelling reason for the discrimination, that is a form of hatred to the group, if not its individual members.

    So Tony Abbott must hate gay people in the collective sense even if he does not hate every individual gay person.

    By this criteria, Julia Gillard would also “hate gay people in the collective sense”, as would about 50% of the Australian population.

  15. Katz

    Indonesia isn’t a “Muslim outpost” in part because it borders Malaysia, which is also a Muslim country.

    It could be said that Bali is a Hindu outpost in that it has no Hindu neighbours.

    Using the same principle, the Philippines could readily be described as a “Catholic outpost” in Asia.

    I think that “fanatic” is a fair description of any flagellant or nail fetishist who voluntarily endures physical mutilation for whatever purpose.

  16. jumpy

    and it’s not surprising you try to make a virtue out of how Abbott uses the women in his life.

    I didn’t because he doesn’t.

    I would try to dumb this down for you, but it would be better all round if you smarten up.

    No no, your @13 was adequately dumbed down, thanks.

    It appears that his ” integrity level ” rising the eyes of the wider electorate has caused you to become a little tetchy. Calm down, it’s a beautiful day.

  17. Katz

    “I think there are lots of terrific gay relationships … but I just don’t think that ‘marriage’ is the right term to put on it,” he replied.

    Perhaps Abbott equivocates by using “terrific” in its original meaning. After all, he is on record as saying that he feels “intimidated” by homosexuals.

  18. tssk

    The Craig Thompson case is pretty depressing. I’d rather the ALP actually do something to help this process along rather than digging in their heels.

    I know the consequences but as far as I’m concerned “Fiat justitia ruat caelum”.

    “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”

  19. AT

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Gillard has been at pains to never make any positive statements about gay relationships. She gives me the impression that she is always carefully prioritising the courting of a conservative segment of the voting population. Abbott may be clumsy, but he somehow manages to appear much warmer on gay rights issues, his own opposition to gay marriage notwithstanding. Gillard should watch her “cold opportunist” mien, but as “cold opportunist” appears to be the “real Julia” she probably can’t change it. Bring back K Rudd!

  20. Mercurius

    Gillard has run an administration that thumps the tired old political drums of marginalising gays (through silence) and refugees (through demonisation). She has completed the ALP’s transformation into a centre-right party. All the while her government has quietly tried to implement some marginally less inhumane policies and procedures at the margins (community release of detainees), but they wouldn’t want to “ruin” their image by talking them up –> and they went for a big inhumane Malaysia solution to provide cover.

    They got rid of the one guy who attempted to inject a note of positivity into the national narrative, and appeal to the better angels of our nature. And even he too caved when faced with reactionary push-back against environmental reforms and a mining super-profits tax.

    All this moral cowardice and they’re still scratching their heads wondering why their vote is in the cellar.

    With Abbott, the electorate knows exactly what they’ll be getting: and his personal approval/disapproval deficit is also vast, especially with women.

    There is a big opportunity here for any progressive politician with the guts and spine to be, actually, you know, progressive. Any takers?

  21. tssk

    Bob Brown.

    But he’s such a dangerous commo that News Limited have publicly declared they’ll do what they can to negate the Greens.

    After the way the media and his own party destroyed Rudd I can’t see any progressive short of Jesus Himself that would put themself up for that sort of treatment.

  22. el gordo

    ‘Any takers?’

    Smith for PM.

  23. Fran Barlow

    Terry @ 14 said:

    By this criteria {criterion: FB}, Julia Gillard would also “hate gay people in the collective sense”, as would about 50% of the Australian population.

    That’s entirely plausible though IIRC support for gay marriage rights is closer to 70% (see the Roy Morgan poll of July 2011)

    As noted, the term ‘hate’ can have a variety of meanings. It’s hard not to say you hate someone that you want to deny some right that would not be prejudiced by its extension to a wider group.

    It’s analogous in some senses to attitudes to asylum seekers. Few people would admit that they hate individual sea-based asylum seekers. Few people admit to xenophobia or [email protected] They may even believe they don’t have those sentiments. Yet about half the population believe that they should be locked up indefinitely merely because they are culturally different and/or have come by boat. One suspects that if they met these people individually, most would be uncomfortable explaining why they should be punished for seeking asylum and ceratinly deny hating them.

    Cognitive dissonance and compartmentalisation is something humans do regularly, but it can’t change the underlying nature of an attitude or behaviour.

  24. Fran Barlow

    Smith is not a progressive, oh large one

  25. BilB

    Jumpy @ 9

    And what is your professional qualification, Jumpy, that would make your opinion more believeable than the team of scientists who did the study to prove that CO2 leads Climate Change?

    We know that you can read short sentences. Have you got anything stronger than that?

  26. Eric Sykes

    tssk @ 18

    “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”

    Oh yes indeed. So we must expect and demand that, as my post @4 links to, Richard Alston rorting millions of dollars of tax payers money will be fully investigated the moment “Tones” gets the big gig?

  27. tssk

    lol Eric, of course not. It’s a trivial matter. Otherwise the press would be all over it yes?

  28. Mercurius


    And what is your professional qualification, Jumpy, that would make your opinion more believeable than the team of scientists who did the study to prove that CO2 leads Climate Change?

    ahh Bilb, your question is futile.

    You see, there’s this weird thing that goes on with intelligence, that you don’t see much of when it comes to other attributes that people possess. That is, people who should know better (which is the problem, really) frequently look to match it in intellectual waters where they are out of their depth, and just don’t realise how far out of their depth they are.

    When this happens with other scenarios, the ill-judged mismatch of ability is so obvious to onlookers and usually to the participants, that nobody even takes up the challenge. It’s like when a puny guy suddenly gets it into his head to take on a room full of Maori bouncers: he so obviously looks foolish that often the bouncers don’t even take the bait, and in any case, everyone can see he’s gonna get creamed.

    And in other fields of endeavour, people generally know when they’re outclassed and outmatched. I mean, I’d know in a heartbeat that I can’t compete with skilled painters, or yachtsman, or gymnasts, or comedians, or mechanics, or marathon runners. And I’d look a right tit if I tried. Occasionally some people who don’t have any real skills nevertheless maintain a conceit that they can do it better, faster, harder, stronger, than the acknowledged masters — those people are known as cranks — but it’s a continual effort of self-deceit, and it fools nobody but the fool themself.

    Furthermore, it’s also obvious that socially it’s completely inappropriate to presume one’s ability matches that of a great cellist, or carpenter, or sculptor, or surgeon –> that even the attempt to do so usually attracts sufficient censure and ridicule that people just don’t do it very often. If I tried to loudly, repeatdely and bombastically insist that I’m better at astronavigation than Buzz Aldrin, I’d be shown up in an instant for being a crank and either a self-deluding fool at best or a charlatan at worst.

    But, for some reason, in matters of intellect, these social restrictions seem to apply far less, and a lot of people who just aren’t up to snuff nevertheless do try the equivalent of taking on the room full of Maori bouncers. And maybe because the blows aren’t physical, they just don’t register how beaten they are, and there’s no way to convince them. Perhaps because the quality being tested is intellect itself, this explains why they can’t register their own failure.

    BTW, I’m not asserting a heirarchical relationship in which intellect is some sort of apex skill. Far from it, all skills and all abilities are valuable, necessary and essential for society to work. It’s just than a lot of people seem to assume that intellect is, if you like, a fungible commodity, when in fact you can succeed or fail at using it just as surely as you can succeed or fail at sailing to Hobart.

  29. tssk

    Actually I shouldn’t be so flippant. I tend to be harsher on ALP corruption because it harms the left. I don’t think ‘complex business deals and accounting’ hurt the Libs too much.

    Damn interesting link though!

    Supporting the arts or a small label ‘hacking’ the funding system? Hard to say isn’t it.

  30. Fran Barlow

    All too true Merc, and Dunning Kruger has a bit to say about this.

    I always gasp inwardly when I come across some random person writing to their local rag or some blogsite who asks whether climate scientists know that water vapour is a greenhouse gas or whether they’ve considered TSI or GCR variance.

    If they stopped for just a tiny moment and asked themselves how likely it would be that the entire scientific community could have missed the bleeding obvious while some semi-tutored twerp copying the latest rant from some delusional corner of cyberspace had spotted the flaw, they’d probably feel a need to button their metaphoric lips. After all, they are only coppying someone else, so they must know they weren’t first. If they were at all curious and sceptical they might set themselves the task of finding out who first had that idea and what happened to it.

    But no — they feel the need to open their mouths and reveal their utter and irredeemable stupidity to anyone who wanders past their copy and paste rant.

    It’s just so sad. Sometimes I wonder if this is the real plan by the folks orchestrating this second-hand stupidity — to convince those of us who can reason from observable reality that humanity’s cause is hopeless — that the stupid will always get its way.

  31. BilB

    Nice discourse there, Merc. I was just reading a little about the Higgs Boson and attempting in my scientifically infantile way to get some handle on what it means. Then reading your piece I see a correlation in the way that intellect interacts similarly with the way sub atomic particles interact.

    I routinely stroll into the room with the bouncers and scurry around their ankles, and I do so to learn. Periodically I throw out a theory or two, not with the expectation of being right necessarily, but to test my thinking against the pool of knowledge. Occaisionally I encounter supposed experts who are clearly wrong, but a team of specialists with years of study in a particular body of evidence can only properly be challenged by an equally qualified team of specialists to be believeable.

    But what we are about here is rhetorical chess. So when a rhetorical pawn moves beyond its reach it really needs to crushed by a rhetorical Castle. So thanks for doing that.

  32. Fran Barlow

    Religion: It makes you lie, even over the small things

    In what it described as a “blunder,” the church admitted that an official photograph of Patriarch Kirill, the leader of Russia’s Orthodox Christians, was doctored to show him without the expensive Swiss-made Breguet timepiece, The (London) Times reports.


    When journalists brought attention to it, the patriarch said he only wore a cheap watch given to him by outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev and any pictures of him wearing the Breguet must have been faked.

    The mystery then deepened when a photograph – with said watch clearly visible on the patriarch’s wrist – was found on the church’s own website. In an apparent attempt to spare the patriarch’s blushes, staff quickly did some photo-editing to “remove” the watch.

    The effort backfired however, with the watch’s reflection remaining clearly visible on the surface of a polished table at which the patriarch was sitting. A video of the meeting also emerged, clearly showing the Breguet.

    The airbrushing out of inconvenience has an interesting history in Russia. Trotsky was airbrushed out of this photo by Stalin’s henchfolk. Stalin, as people know, started his political life in a Georgian Orthodox seminary, where he also got his name. Stalin learned a thing or two about orthodoxy.

    Now the Russian Orthodox Church describes Putin’s 12-year reign as a “miracle of God.” More airbrushing will be required.

  33. Wantok

    Whilst Tony abbott has said that his opposition to gay marriage and his refusal to give his shadow front bench a conscience vote on the subject is maintaining consistency in LNP policy, am I alone in sniffing hypocrisy in the air ?

  34. David Irving (no relation)

    I don’t think so, Wantok @ 33: Abbott and hypocrisy are kissing cousins.

  35. Geoff Henderson

    Mercurius @29 you made me wince a little, cringe almost because my perception of my self is not one of being a towering intellectual, or an outstanding wordsmith as clearly some contributors to LP are.
    Yet there are times when I would like to speak, and not be so shy to show that I am perhaps not in the same league as some others in the argument. I claim a right to be involved as a participant, albeit with patience and courtesy from the others in the group.
    There was a time when I thought I was smarter than a god, and held lesser people in contempt. One day I worked out that if I was so smart, how come I could not understand those I thought to be so stupid. Rather sobering.
    My experience is that even the not-so-smart sometimes hold really good concepts, but fail to articulate them skilfully, and/or are discouraged by others from speaking out.
    Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem”chorus:’

    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.

    [my italics]

    For me, there is an important place for the dissident and yes, those folk who cannot yet articulate in Churchillian tones their point of view. Good discussion IMO seeks to explore facts and logic, not destroy or belittle the other participants.

  36. Nick

    tssk: “Supporting the arts or a small label ‘hacking’ the funding system? Hard to say isn’t it.”

    Eltham: “In common with many, if not most Australian independent record labels, Melba’s catalogue supports artists who are generally not superstars or even making a full-time living from their music.”

    A standard independant recording grant of $10,000 would involve 5-10 people being paid for their time and effort.

    Many of Melba’s recordings are full orchestras…there might be 60-100 people paid to rehearse and perform.

    The $250,000 or so they spend per album is distributed more equitably than you might think.

    The front page of their site features recordings by the MSO, SSO, QSO, Orchestra Victoria etc…all available for digital download in cd quality for $10-13 each.

  37. Mercurius

    100% agree Geoff. But it’s possible to dissent, to mis-step, to show some spunk, to wade a little out of one’s depth, to test one’s boundaries; and yet to show humility and grace at the same time.

    I’ll extend my analogy a little: an apprentice carpenter who first observes, listens, then has a go, then takes correction from the master, improves, takes a step forward, a step back, but who never presumes to be better than s/he is, may one day indeed far eclipse the master with innovations and improvements that the master would never have thought of.

    But an apprentice who struts in one day one, demands to use the master’s tools and sit in the master’s chair, snorts derisively at the master’s work, insists they can do better when all they can make is mud — well, they get a swift clip about the ears and sent packing, as they should.

    Intellectual apprenticeship, in any field, is no different…

  38. jumpy

    [Moderator Note: When somebody else brings up stuff that belongs on another thread into the Salon thread, that is when others should gently redirect them back to the appropriate thread. It is not acceptable to continue the inappropriate intrusion onto the Salon thread. Comment content has been deleted.]

  39. PatrickB

    Here Jumpy, have a look at this. It should clarify the christian position for you:

  40. jumpy

    Patrick B
    That’s the go, lighten the mood, brilliant thanks.

  41. faustusnotes

    At xmas I wrote a blog post on what kind of undead Jesus is. Since Friday it has been receiving a huge number of hits (for my blog, that is – 60 or 80 each day) from web searches like “jesus undead,” “jesus is a lich” or “jesus lich.”

    Interesting what people are thinking at Easter …

  42. via collins

    There seem to be several points wrt Melba Recordings Nick.

    I agree with your maths on grants, but the $5,000 ($10,000 is rather stratospheric an amount for rock bands) recieved by a band is, on the whole, for a group attempting to make a career out of their work.

    $250,000 for an album recording session in 2012 is so far out of practical scales of economy for niche music that it’s not funny. So much more chamber music/chamber orchestras working these days because…..it makes sense. See Naxos under same heading. Yes, orchestras are larger, but they are musicians for hire being paid on a pro-rata basis I assume. $250,000 for a session?

    The annual Australia Council grants to support music generally cover (from memory) 50 – 70 applicants, and I’d be surprised if the money granted these applicants combined even reached the amount that Melba has been funded to.

    They are the parts of the equation that I get. The ways and means of the process I’ll have to defer to journalists and bloggers who have spent time and money investigating. Does it all look fair and above board to you?

  43. Nanalevu

    BilB that certaily was a neat graphic technique showing population change in US. Led me to wonder at the population increase in North Dakota – due to shale oil exploitation. And with that comes the fracking http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mindy-s-lubber/fracking-in-north-dakota_b_1388117.html
    “Fracking has opened up previously inaccessible oil fields in North Dakota, Texas, California, Colorado, Ohio and several other states, and flaring isn’t limited to North Dakota. Goldman Sachs recently forecast that the U.S. is on a path to become the world’s top oil producer in the next five years — a position it last occupied in 1973. Nearly all of this increased production would come from shale oil fracking.”

  44. Nanalevu

    Gunter Grass has a new poem out. Here is an English translation. All of it needed to be said I reckon.

  45. Ootz

    BilB, in real chess, when a pawn moves beyond its reach (end of the board) it turns into a queen. To stay with the chess metaphor though, me thinks jumpy is close to shut the trap in a classic scholar’s mate.

    Mercurius, take some advise from St. Anthony the Abbott, the patron saint of swine herders, butchers, epilepsy, amputees, shingles, bacon, gravediggers, hermits, lost items and Canas Brazil, just resist the temptation. Nor get overwhelmed by the surreality of it all.

  46. Nick

    “I agree with your maths on grants, but the $5,000 ($10,000 is rather stratospheric an amount for rock bands)”



    “$250,000 for an album recording session in 2012 is so far out of practical scales of economy for niche music that it’s not funny.”

    It would be expensive, yes. It’s the figure I arrived at trying to work out where their yearly budget is spent.

    80 musicians @ $120/hr (totally guessing, my percussion teacher was paid $90/hr for performances in the early to mid 90s).

    2 x 8 hr sessions (totally guessing…) = $192,000

    Which would leave $58,000 for admininstration, venue hire, transport, catering, technical staff, studio hire and everything else.


    It doesn’t sound dramatically unreasonable to me…if so, by how much?

    “So much more chamber music/chamber orchestras working these days because…it makes sense”

    With a more modest budget, yes. I’d be surprised to find that a chamber orchestra album cost any more than $30,000 to produce.

    “The annual Australia Council grants to support music generally cover (from memory) 50 – 70 applicants, and I’d be surprised if the money granted these applicants combined even reached the amount that Melba has been funded to”

    Then push for more Australia Council grants to support music generally. Just because the dinosaurs like something is no reason to take it away.

    If you support art, you support art. Where’s the sense in paying to educate these people to play in these orchestras, and then not recording them?

    Fair and above board? I don’t think Eltham’s article established that either way. An ex-minister of arts being appointed to the board of a classical music foundation?

  47. Mercurius

    BilB, in real chess, when a pawn moves beyond its reach (end of the board) it turns into a queen.

    How apposite. The hardest part is telling its parents. 🙂

    To stay with the chess metaphor though, me thinks jumpy is close to shut the trap in a classic scholar’s mate.


    ….St. Anthony the Abbott, the patron saint of swine herders, butchers, epilepsy, amputees, shingles, bacon, gravediggers, hermits, lost items and Canas Brazil,

    Just trying to join the narrative dots here, it sounds like he led a life that resembles the plot of a European rom-com. Sort of Chocolat with the part of Johnny Depp played by Rodney Dangerfield.

  48. Terry

    Will Julia Gillard be the last person in Australia to acknowledge that there may have been wrongdoing at the Health Services Union between 2004 and 2007?

  49. Eric Sykes

    Nick @ 46

    I don’t have an issue with the amount per se. That’s another much more complex arguement about equity, art form, class and culture.

    However we do have a major issue with transparency here. Large amounts of arts dollars going into a foundation and there are no public records whatsoever of those transactions? This stinks to high heaven, because small to medium scale arts orgs have massive (that’s massive) amounts of scutiny put around their use of very small amounts of public funds. Here we have millions going into something over years, and we have no records of that, at all, anywhere, to view.

    “Melba’s original “grant application” was only for $500 000, though somehow they ended up with $5 million without any of the usual rig moral that goes in to normal grant applications. In applying for this grant they originally bypassed not only the Arts Council when but also the Minister for the Arts – going straight to the Treasurer (at the time Peter Costello).”


    And to touch on the “form” issues…only western classical art form organisations in Australia can do this: go directly to source. No other art form even gets close to this kind of lobbying power. And yet apparently its all that contemporary art that’s just so elitist and a huge waste of tax payers money.

  50. BilB

    Good point, Ootz. If successful, it would be a cheap mate with no substance. On the other it was all in Anthony’s head, so he eventually succummed to the allurement of the woman with wings.

  51. Fran Barlow

    Santorum to pull out of Repug Race?

    There now seems a real prospect that in addition to having no notional possibility of overtaking Romney (who has 655 of the 1144 needed, to Santorum’s 272) Santorum won’t even win his home state — Pennsylvania. He may need to pull out simply to avoid being beaten on his home turf, while Romney can afford to pour in resources to embarrass Santorum. Were Santorum to lose in Pennsylvania, his future political prospects would probably be at an end.

  52. Fran Barlow

    America … what can one say?

    In the course of the last week or so, two more spree killings, the most recent in Tulsa Oklahoma in which five African Americans were gunned down by the classic “white man in a white van”. The victims appear not to be related to each other so the resultant police task force has been called “Operation Random Shooter“, which I think is nice. It’s one you can recycle again and again.

    This follows the Christian College shooting in Oakland California last week in which 7 died.

    That 2nd Amendment is really working to protect random Americans.

  53. FDB

    A quick scan through Melba’s online catalogue suggests only a third or so of their recordings feature more than 3 musicians, they are often not Australian musicians, and they are usually not performing Australian works.

    Some are for solo piano, some solo instrument or voice with piano accompaniment.

    So for the majority of their recordings, they’d need (and I daresay they own outright anyway) 2-4 nice Cherman mics with an entry-level Protools rig, a piano and the services of a professional tuner every couple of months.

    In any case, why the assumption that the label is paying to hire the orchestra even when they do record one? Each ensemble would have its own funding in place, and the recordings may well be a joint-venture. With so little transparency though, who can tell?

  54. tssk

    Finally someone from the Bush team gets charged over the policy of torturing prisoners.

    Let’s have a look at the detail.


    An ex-CIA officer John Kiriakou has been indicted under the Espionage Act for disclosing classified information to journalists.

    John Kiriakou was the first U.S. government official to publicly confirm that the Bush administration’s used torture while interrogating al-Qaeda suspects.

    Um….er….not what I expected. As someone later in the thread points out

    so, people who out undercover agents to journalists for political purposes are a-ok, but whistleblowers are traitors?

  55. Eric Sykes

    FDB @ 53

    Thanks for that, I can’t bring myself to visit them, the whole thing makes me feel ill enuff already! But I suspected as much. It’s really a shame that really good Australian contemporary classical musicians are cut, and leave Australia altogether(http://elision.org.au/ELISION_Ensemble/ELISION_Home.html) while Melba just gets handed money for nothing.

  56. BilB

    And in that land of “extreme” democracy one will soon need to fight to get to vote…


  57. Fran Barlow

    Some Easter fun …

    British Ignorance of Easter Myths

    Only around half of those quizzed – 55 per cent – were able to correctly name Judas Iscariot – or at least “Judas” – as the betrayer of Jesus.

    One of those taking part, Alexis Smith, 30, from Huddersfield, said Jesus had been betrayed by “Judas Priest” – the name of a heavy metal band – while Paige Johnson, 19, from Water Orton, Warwickshire, said it had been Christ’s brother. Other responses included Peter, Moses, “Nazarus” and “Judas Escargot”.

    {all of these are fun answers … but for mine, Judas Escargot gets the prize}

    Around a fifth – 21 per cent – were not able to say what happened on either Good Friday or Easter Sunday. Jack Davison, 22, from Rubery, Worcestershire, thought the events of Good Friday were “something to do with rabbits”, and also said that the events of Holy Week took place in Rome.

    {Nice … perhaps with a little work, we could have made this one really silly. Perhaps a government grant from the Ministry of Silly Religious Stories}

  58. David Irving (no relation)

    Christ on a bike, Fran! Even my kids (who were raised atheist) know more than that.

  59. Geoff Henderson

    Hmm I wonder, mischievously of course, how different the outcome if Christ had been betrayed by Ms Judasette?
    ‘Not trying to upset anyone, sorry in advance if the concept does pique someone’s sense of proper.

  60. jumpy

    Or if Judas had betrayed Jezette of Nazareth, daughter of God, would that have such notoriety ? ( in a similarly mischievous tone)

  61. Katz

    Or if it were Jesesse…

    “She’s not the Messiah. She’s just a girl!”

    “No, we don’t want Woger. We want Jesesse! Show us your tits!”

    St Paul would have stayed on his horse because there’d be no Christians to persecute.

    God would have said, “Next time, I’ll send a bloke.”

  62. joe2

    “This is something for the kids on Easter”

  63. Ian Milliss

    [email protected] I regard this as a sign of progress.
    [email protected] Atheist are commonly known for superior religious knowledge, as the saying goes religion is born out of ignorance and atheism is born out of knowledge. Bit like the old saw about always ask a canadian if you need to know something about US history.

  64. faustusnotes

    wow! If I released the names of people who submitted to a research project I was running, I’d probably lose my job.

    Journalists are unethical scum, aren’t they?

  65. Nick

    FDB @ 53, it goes without saying that a solo performer or trio is cheap to produce.

    What irked me about Eltham’s article (and why I quoted the line I did) is he set out to paint Melba as ‘just another boutique label’…those solo and trio performers were exactly the examples he used.

    He completely elided that they also record symphony orchestras.

    Why the assumption that the label is paying to hire the orchestra? 1) Because that’s what labels traditionally do. 2) Because it was an exercise (lacking greater transparency) in trying to find out how the $750,000 a year was spent…

    The two-thirds of their releases you cite that are smaller groups of performers – if you want to cut their funding for those, and make those artists apply through the same channels as everyone else…fine. No problem with that. How much would you be cutting from their budget – $50,000 a year?

    Let’s put this in perspective. Just say we hadn’t made that abominably large flop, Australia.

    With that kind of money, we could have instead locked in 100 years of classical music funding…and made it clear that from now on it’s to be used solely for recording large orchestras and the kind of projects that would be impossible to achieve otherwise.

    Then all of that Australia Council money every year for the next 100 years could have gone to support independent art and artists…

  66. BilB

    Very chuckleworthy, Katz.

  67. FDB

    “Let’s put this in perspective. Just say we hadn’t made that abominably large flop, Australia.”

    Melba’s funding arrangements aren’t as bad as Hitler either.

    Doesn’t make ’em good though, does it?

  68. FDB

    Look we’re not really talking about all that much money here anyway. The main issue for me is what it highlights about the priorities and processes of Arts funding.

    Melba can do what they like as far as I’m concerned. The vast majority of their programme is of no interest to me, but good on them for lobbying so successfully for a decent wad of cash. And they manage it without even achieving their stated aims! Machiavellian brilliance is at work here, make no mistake.

    I just want a system with VERY different priorities, and processes which are harder to subvert to the (IMHO) stale and moribund agenda of the silvertails.

  69. CMMC

    425 Free Online Courses from Top Universities


  70. David Irving (no relation)

    To continue joe2’s evocation of the Easter theme, this.

  71. Nick

    “Melba’s funding arrangements aren’t as bad as Hitler either.”

    I compared the funding of one artistic work versus others in terms of opportunity cost, and you want to Godwin that comparison?

    “The vast majority of their programme is of no interest to me”

    The vast majority of people aren’t into alt-country or electro-acoustic either. Those musicians in those orchestras have just as much right to receive money from the government to make their art as anybody else. Let’s fund all the cupcakes and not the bigger ones too?

    It’s one thing to want artistic funding. It’s another thing to take it away from someone else to get it.

  72. Fran Barlow

    Ian Milliss said:

    [email protected] I regard this as a sign of progress.

    Oh very much so, though one should always exercise caution in these matters. It is The Telegraph.

    Some explanations:

    1) Late April Fools Day troll
    2) Conservative strawman troll — there’s a link to a religious bongo making the same claim in 2010
    3) People joking — the escargot pun implies cultural knowledge which contraindicates lack of insight That could still be progress of course.
    4) Sampling error — only 100 samples claimed.

    It would have been interesting to have tested acceptance of key christian claims:

    1) Did Jesus literally rise from the dead?
    2) Did he literally turn water into wine?
    3) Did he literally raise Lazarus from the dead?
    4) Did he literally walk on water?

    and so forth, in a larger poll.

  73. Fran Barlow

    I was listenting to #theirABC’s NewsRadio this morning. The newsreader announced that “one of the world’s most popular golfers, “Bubba Watson” had won “the US Masters” or something.

    Now I don’t know how one works out who the most popular golfers are, but I doubt the newsreader could defend her claim by citing some salient data. I’d have been interested if she’d given it a go. Instead, she flickpassed to someone else blithering about golf.

    Here’s how I’d have liked her to introduce the story:

    Apparently, someone called, if you can believe it “Bubba” Watson has won some bif golfing thingy in the US. Let’s listen to some people who are interested in golf talk about it …

    Honesty in announcing … too much?

  74. FDB

    I wasn’t really trying to Godwin you Nick, just saying that pointing to a bigger waste of Arts funds doesn’t really address the Melba criticisms.

    And whether it’s of artistic interest to me is, as I said myslef, irrelevant.

    In fact, if Melba were actually achieving their stated aims I’d care far less that they’d been so apparently devious in securing the funding:

    The Melba Foundation produces, records, distributes and markets over 50 CD recordings. The catalogue includes world premiere recordings designed specifically to interest the international market.

    With CD sales revenue in the tens of thousands, I think we can conclude this is not working.

    The Melba Foundation is taking Australian music culture to the world and creating a legacy for future Australians. The beneficiaries of this initiative are Australia’s musicians, artists, orchestras and performing arts organisations.

    [my emphases]

    It’s not really doing either of the emphasised things, is it? I mean, if Australian Music Culture is “striking new interpretations of Bach, Mozart, Schubert and Britten” then we’re probably better off keeping it to ourselves, aren’t we? And the “artists” mentioned are (from what I can tell) literally ALL performers and conductors. Virtually no Australian-composed material recorded.

    It’s not hard to fit this attitude to “Australian Music Culture” comfortably within the good ol’ cultural cringe, is it? Hey, look World! We can do that stuff too! Y’know, that stuff you people wrote years ago?

    When I saw this in their catalogue I thought “oh well, sure it’s Mozart but at least they’ve got a Australian orchestra on the bill, and an Australian quartet named after Percy Grainger”.

    Sadly no. They’re from Bournemouth, they’re named after an English luthier, their website is in Comic Sans, and they’re available for weddings, parties, anything.

    It’s all a bit depressing to me.

  75. FDB

    available for weddings, parties, anything

    …although not to play Weddings, Parties, Anything of course. At least not within cooee of a Melba microphone.

  76. jumpy

    [email protected]

    Bubba Watson is the one in the blue denim ” bib and brace”( ? not sure if that’s the correct term?) in this video.
    He is obviously one of the best golfers in the world (16th before this win), but his amicable personality without pretentiousness,arrogance or aloofness make him very popular amongst golf fans and commentators around the world.

    Anyhoot, I give you The Golf Boys ( In view of the above comments on perception of the value of individual musical presentations, I still regard this one as crap)

  77. Fine

    Was ‘Australia’ an abominably large flop? How much Arts funding actually went into it. I’m really not sure. Also bear in mind film funding is different than Oz Council funding. Perhaps you know what its international box office return was and how much ended up in the coffers of Australian arts funding. I suspect it did badly in the USA and well in Europe. Perhaps you also know much was spent on Australian crew and facilities.

    I do know it got $4 million out of Tourism, not
    Arts. I also know that it’s the 2nd highest grossing Australian film ever. I also know that the bulk of it’s fInancing came from Fox. So, what are the figures and what’s the ROI?

  78. jumpy

    On Bubba Watsons popularity,what’s not to like?

  79. Nick

    “In fact, if Melba were actually achieving their stated aims I’d care far less that they’d been so apparently devious in securing the funding:”

    FDB, you’re confusing stated funding aims with an ‘about us’ marketing statement on their web-page.

    I’m yet to see how they’ve been devious?

    CD sales are not the only form of income from music, and shouldn’t be seen as a measure of artistic value in the first place.

    You might not like what they do with their money (if I haven’t made clear, I’m very interested in knowing what they do with it), but you’re going down the wrong path to try to create a negative political campaign against other legitimate cultural forms. It’s unnecessary to demonise music funding recipients in order to change things.

    They’re wasting the money! On something that’s not Australian, and that I think sucks! So everyone reckons they could waste the money better…on what, their version of faux-Australiana? But there’s no shortage of that around.

  80. Nick

    Fine, we may have a slightly different idea of what a ‘flop’ is…but how can a film that ‘bombed’ overseas be good for tourism?

  81. Fine

    I’m not arguing that it’s good for tourism, or anything else. I’m just asking for a few facts, instead of assumptions, is all. Do you have any answers to my questions?

  82. Nick

    Fine, with respect, those questions are irrelevant to anything I was arguing for or against. I ask no more that Australia have turned a profit, than any other art work we fund.

    Abominably large, meant abominably large. I wasn’t describing the extent of its commercial failure, or otherwise.

  83. Fine

    Sorry. You make no sense to me. Art works often don’t turn a profit. That’s why we have the Oz Council, in fact. . And you haven’t shown me that ‘Australia’ hasn’t turned a profit. Facts? Figures etc? What are you basing your argument?

  84. Nick


    It was a $40 million dollar investment from Tourism Australia, not a $4 million investment…


    It grossed $211,342,221 at the box office, and perhaps $35 million in DVD sales…

    So what?


    Eltham on Australian film financing…

    “In fact, a close reading of the review suggests that the effect of the new funding arrangements is far less positive than the minister and the department claim. Much of the extra money?—?$169 million, in fact?—?has gone to foreign movie studios in the form of international production subsidies, though that’s not a fact that the review chose to highlight.”

  85. Fran Barlow

    Welcome to the 1950s …

    Wisconsin Repeals Equal Pay Law

    Yes, you read that correctly. Fresh from going after public sector employees, Wisconsin Repug Governor Scott Walker has repealed the states equal pay law, which allowed people to sue if they were being underpaid relative to others on the basis of race, sex, disability or any other head of discrimination. The main targets of this are women and broadens the Republican cultural attack on women that has hitherto focussed on controlling the usages attending sex.

    To bring a suit under the law, a plaintiff first had to go through a state-level administrative process to prove discrimination. It was rigorous enough that in the two years the law was in effect, not a single equal-pay lawsuit was filed. Still, the law’s supporters believe it has been effective in spurring businesses to pay women more fairly. Thus by 2010, the state had climbed to 24th in the national gender-parity rankings, with women making 78 percent as much as men, compared to 77 percent nationally. “Since the law was put into place, employers actually took notice and were very conscious of the fact that they had to follow this law or they were at risk of a lawsuit,” Sinicki argues.

    One of the supporters of the repeal of the bill, Repug. Glen Grothman observed:

    You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious. To attribute everything to a so-called bias in the workplace is just not true.

  86. Fran Barlow

    Trenton Oldfield, an Australian ex pat, interrupted the annual boat race between Cambridge and Oxford.

    As information on his motives was sparse, I tracked down his manifesto.

    It’s in serious need of an editor, so I’d recommend skimming unless you have time to burn. There are some quite silly and impractical ideas in it, some of which would simply get those silly enough to take them up into trouble, with little prospect of any equitable upside.

    That noted, he does seem at least to be passionate about social justice, which in my book puts him on the right side of public policy.

    Apparently he went to “Shore” in Sydney before going onto Bradfield College, and came from an upper middle class household. Reportedly, when he was about 15, he objected to Sydney’s Gay Mardi Gras. Plainly, he has moved on.

    This goes to show that even a poor start in life is no bar to the beginnings of insight. He has annoyed the British upper crust without hurting any important public interest. He has repudiated his own privileged background and invited howls of scorn from powerful people in demanding equity in public policy. That takes some character.

    On that basis alone, I’m ready to wish him well. If all the graduates of Shore had taken that attitude with them, Australia would have been a better place.

  87. Nick

    Sorry Mods, can you please fish me out for too many links…

  88. furious balancing

    Interesting that SA Labor increased the amount for the Premiers literary award this week. Heh.

    So, I had an actual proper weekend! Went to town yesterday (no stabbings witnessed). Went to the art gallery – there’s a nice little exhibit of French drawings and prints, that I really enjoyed. I also checkd out the biennial. I thought it was interesting to disperse some of it through the permanent collection, but those fecking humming machines meant that I couldn’t stand to spend time there. There is an exhibit (that wasn’t working) that warned that people who are sensitive to bright light and loud noises to be wary…I’d rather loud noises than the god-awful hum in the first four galleries, no one else seemed to even notice it. My friends all think I’m somewhere on the autism spectrum, which is possible, I suppose it fits – funnily enough I was drawn into enjoying art because art galleries usually offer sanctuary from noises with weird frequencies – even crappy galleries tend to have quiet lighting.

    Anyhow, I escaped and went to the botanic gardens, and then met up with others later for a movie (The Artist). I’m happy to report that in the city of Adelaide – the gardens, the art gallery and the cinema all had more people than the shops did. Art ‘n’ nature was kickin’ the arse of commerce yesterday at least!

    Today I did some gardening. The first saffron crocuses flowered – so pretty – it always seems a shame to destroy them to harvest the stamens. I also collected my very first macadamia nuts.

  89. furious balancing

    Also, noticed the bright green cable that is the NBN creeping in the direction of my place. Hooray! Totally over slow and expensive wifi from mega-corp-international and will look forward to signing up with an Adelaide based ISP.

  90. joseph.carey

    Trenton Oldfield is a legend. Thanks for the statement and the entertainment, sir, and well done.

  91. David Irving (no relation)

    Apropos link’s (I think) comment on the Last Post about Dawkins v. Pell on Q’n’A, I disagree completely.

    I thought Pell was well out of his depth intellectually, and that Dawkins treated him quite gently. I’ve seen Dawkins be a lot grumpier than that when provoked by wilful ignorance and stupidity.

  92. mediatracker

    Agree that Pell was out of his depth but he was much more successful in diverting attention away from himself and his answers. He was arrogant in the extreme and probably did his subject more a disservice by his slippery language and inability to adequately argue his position without resorting to his modus operandi of “You have to believe me because I am the Truth”.
    The selection of audiences for Q&A also does need to be reviewed – last night the audience of what seemed to be mainly young believers were obviously Pell recruits and he played to them quite eagerly.
    Goodness knows how we’ll all fit into the MCG come judgement day with his belief that we will all retain our earthly forms when we die.

  93. Jules

    Pell wiped the floor with Dawkins. Probably cos he has much better skillz at public speaking and debating.

    Dawkins biggest problem is how easily he gets flustered. Pell took advantage of that. Dawkins struggles to get his ideas across when he speaks in an uncontrolled environment. Which is a pity.

    If he’d had his wits about him he’d have commented on the contribution the Catholic Church made to increasing the number of HIV sufferers worldwide, perhaps in the hope of giving them someone to care for. Pell’s got some nerve going on about how his church cares for HIV sufferers and ignoring its attitude to condoms.

  94. David Irving (no relation)

    Jules, I think you must’ve been watching a different show to the one I saw. Dawkins never got flustered, unlike Pell, and (again unlike Pell) he was making sense most of the time.

  95. Jules

    David @ 94

    Most of what Dawkins said made sense.

    Cept when he went on about the “truth”. Which is playing on Pell’s homeground anyway. Science isn’t about truth, its about refining descriptions so the continually fit the available evidence, not the other way around.

    Jules, I think you must’ve been watching a different show to the one I saw.

    Quite probably.* I read the transcript earlier today and was quite surprised that Dawkins made much more sense than I remembered him making last night. I don’t think much of his ability to speak in public or his recent opinions tho. He’s a great writer when it comes to describing darwinism, The Blind Watchmaker is a brilliant book imo. It probably had a bit to do with my brief flirtation with atheism back in the day.

    (* I was probably watching the show with my preconceptions as well as my eyes.)

    But he just struggles (imo) when he’s arguing or debating, or talking about religion. There were times on that doco (The root of all evil? or The Enemies of Reason) he did when I couldn’t tell the difference between him and the Fundies he was arguing with. The content of what they were saying may have been different but how they both argued was the same.

    Maybe I had too much of that baggage when I was watching him.

    I really thought Pell had the better of him tho, which is annoying in itself. Pell had prepared himself by at least doing a bit of research and anticipating the stuff Dawkins would say. I think Dawkins just thought he could argue using the facts alone so he wasn’t prepared for Pell’s gotcha’s and they got him.

    You may have missed them but I assume Dawkins was preaching to the converted when it comes to you DI(nr). You are probably sympathetic to his views and where he is coming from. So his arguments probably make sense and Pell’s bullshit seems obvious. But there is a whole audience out there (and in the studio) who are looking at Pell as someone with an intellect and authority.

    He said some stupid things that Dawkins didn’t challenge and that was irritating to me. Especially that bullshit AGW denialist stuff: “I grew up in Ballarat and the weather in Melbourne…” The thing with Neanderthals – he didn’t handle that well, cos it should have been a win to Dawkins hands down. Then Pell even tried to suggest that Darwinian evolution may be flawed, tho in a way that when you examine it … he’s not really saying there’s no such thing as evolution just not committing to it. From what I understand of Catholicism, Darwinian evolution is an accepted part of Gods creation.

    Basically I felt after the show last night that another skirmish in the war against science had just been fought and probably won by the forces of anti science. I was disappointed.

  96. David Irving (no relation)

    You are probably sympathetic to his views and where he is coming from.

    Not so much. Although I’m an atheist, I often find Dawkins really fucken annoying (and was expecting to last night – I even had a supply of small objects to throw at the TV). I was pleasantly surprised by him, and not even slightly surprised by Pell.

  97. tssk

    In other news


    Mr Howard was today made a Doctor of Letters honoris causa in a business and economics faculty ceremony at Macquarie University.

    In his citation this afternoon, Macquarie University Vice-Chancellor Professor Steven Schwartz paid tribute to Mr Howard’s lifetime of public service.
    Advertisement: Story continues below

    “Whether you agree or disagree with his politics, it is difficult not to agree that John Howard served his country with unflagging commitment. He truly showed the value of persistence in achieving his goals,” he said.

  98. tssk

    And one last link from me


    THE pokies war is over.

    The poker machine industry has claimed victory and has called off its controversial $40 million campaign that targeted worried Labor MPs in the Government’s most marginal seats.

    Sweet, sweet democracy. That’s what it’s called when industries with money can successfully use it to crush popularly-supported reforms, right?

    So long good night and good luck.

  99. Jacques de Molay

    Pell wiped the floor with Dawkins. Probably cos he has much better skillz at public speaking and debating.

    Unfortunately I kind of agree with this. Dawkins looked and sounded like he didn’t know why he was there. I lost a fair bit of respect for him with his “Why ask what existed before the big bang” thing. Clearly he like everyone else doesn’t know and he didn’t want to be seen admitting that. Pell surprisingly admitted he couldn’t explain why a God if it exists allows so much suffering.

    Performance wise it was the unfortunate combination of the worst I’ve ever seen of Dawkins vs the best I’ve ever seen of Pell.

  100. alfred venison

    dawkins fails to deal adequately with faith, honest faith. he doesn’t ever get under the skin of the believer. dennett is way better on religion & society, more a philosopher than a polemicist.

  101. Paul Norton

    Fran @72:

    It would have been interesting to have tested acceptance of key christian claims:

    1) Did Jesus literally rise from the dead?
    2) Did he literally turn water into wine?
    3) Did he literally raise Lazarus from the dead?
    4) Did he literally walk on water?

    and so forth, in a larger poll.

    Claim 3 was the source of much perplexity among my colleagues at the Baptist Sunday School I attended as a child, because not long before we had a lesson about this passage of scripture, we had a guest preacher give a sermon about the evils of alcohol which climaxed with him very theatrically pouring the contents of cans and bottles of alcoholic beverages all over the church car park, and the idea that Jesus would turn innocuous water into such an evil substance taxed our ethical imaginations to breaking point.

  102. Ootz

    alfred, do agree with you (again 🙂 ) on your assessment/comparison of dawkins and dennett. I have read dennett since the minds i which he coauthored with hofstadter. It was an eye opener and made me appreciate dennetts approach. He does have a habit of methodically fence in the seemingly intangible, while dawkins is like a bull at the gate of the plaza de toros and gets accordingly played by toreros and banderilleros of fancy cloth.

    BTW where is your good-self going to hang around after the curtain goes down on this show?

  103. alfred venison

    dear ootz
    i don’t know where i’ll go for a quiet one in good company when they close down this pub, how about you? still, there’s until the end of april to think aloud on the way to finalising things like that. ah, hofstadter and dennett, i remember that book well – just got rid of my hardcover copy to the friends of the public library, hope it found a good home; probably got marshall mcluhan in exchange. i’ve kept back godel escher bach for a while longer.

    dennett helps me to understand in a way dawkins doesn’t. if i was not at the latter half of a lifetime of non-belief i might be moved by dawkins’ polemic but i learn nothing new from him. there was a good documentary series on atheism a few years back that had interviews with dennett among others.

    have you read about john shelby sponge? hotly denounced by jensen in sydney yet defiantly invited by queensland anglicans to commune with them. here’s his wiki page, i’d like to see him up against pell or jensen, let alone dennett or dawkins:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/john_shelby_spong
    let’s keep in touch in the coming weeks & maybe swap pub locales
    alfred vension

  104. David Irving (no relation)

    alfred, my copy of Goedel, Escher, Bach is just about falling apart. Even if I wanted to give it away, no-one would have it!

  105. Jules

    I would.

  106. David Irving (no relation)

    Pry it from my cold, dead hand, Jules.

  107. Ootz

    The eloquent banter of Achilles and Tortoise in the eternal golden braid surely deserve a cult following. In The Mind’s I Hofstaedter and Dennet transfered the same concept to explore consciousness, hence the byline in the title of Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul. Rarely have I come across a collection of profound essays by distinguished authors pondering profound questions, which kind of deflect the polarised positions re religion. That book more than any other confirmed and cemented my position as an agnostic. If I want to take my ‘Self’ seriously then I also have to seriously consider significant other self constituting entities, even possibly an entity that enables such constitutions, as an alternative to a line of turtles all the way down.

    Alfred, I have had a quick look around, we could partake in the brew up over at the Cafe Whispers there are some familiar names over there. And I gather you already found Doug Evans excellent Earthsign. He probably would appreciate some commentary and feedback. Although I may have to polish up my behaviour a bit as I tend to be quite grumpy and diffuse at times due to my chronic health issues, including pain and ‘foggy brain’. I thank the LP crowd for putting up with me and my occasional outbursts. I appreciated the company, as I hardly venture out off line anymore. You did allow me to feel comfortable to be myself here.
    Cheers Ootz

  108. Jules

    The Minds I was a rocking book too Ootz. I wanna get that latest one “I am a strange loop” too. Although it’ll probably be a v minor disappointment.

    I doubt it’ll have impact and density of that first book – I’ve spent 20 years thinking about some of the ideas Hofstadter introduced me too. (Sometimes after 20 or 30 cubensis mushrooms, which seemed to help.)

    Lately I’ve been thinking of that essay (is it Dennett’s?) where the guy is driving the robot on the bottom of the ocean when something happens and he is suddenly back in his control room somewhere. And drones.

    Its been a long time since I’ve read either of those books – I think I need to find myself another copy of each.

  109. Meeee

    So, no chance of re-visiting the Heiner Inquiry?

  110. David Irving (no relation)

    It all sounds a bit vague, Meeeeeeee, hedged about with ifs and buts and maybes.

  111. Ootz

    Do we really want to turn the light out on the last Salon with the Heiner Inquiry?


  112. Patrickb

    Forget about your 1. I’d like some evidence that the messiah actually existed. The extant accounts are very, very thin on detail. Of course that’s the strength of it and that’s where the likes of Pell need to be attacked, right in the interpretive sources. Just about all current Catholic doctrine was developed centuries after the original, revelatory events allegedly took play. Pell is molded from the archetype of the pompous, medieval church official, to destroy him you need to go back to and look at how the original pompous twerps sunk into irrelevant ignominy.

  113. alfred venison

    interpretive sources, interpretive sources. official sources, underground sources. i like how pier paolo pasolini’s 1964 film “the gospel according to st. matthew” makes the star into a communist firebrand, without changing a word or shifting a scene of the original. talk about hot potentiality, in the “wrong hands” – no wonder guys like ratzinger & his congregation for the doctrine of the faith (the inquisition in modern drag) strive so hard to crack down on movements like liberation theology. needless to say, the church didn’t appreciate pasolini’s offering. its old & getting rare, now, and not likely to screen on tv or movie-house, you can’t rent it, either, which is how, i guess, “they” like it; i got myself a copy through amazon.

    jean-luc godard’s “je vous salue, marie” (hail mary), when premiered here in 1986 (gosh, i’ve been in australia a long time) provoked fred nile, catholics, and sydney muslims to protest together, on the same side of the box office. some clergy here & overseas, who actually saw the film, were positive about it. naturally, i had to see it, i love godard. it was ok but i like stuff like “weekend” & “alphaville” better. haven’t scored a copy from amazon, yet, but, if i sense it too start to drop off the radar, you can bet you asp, cleo, i’ll get one for sure.

    i haven’t seen a film version of dostoyevsky’s “the grand inquisitor” yet, though there seem to be a few “essays” around. that’s an interpretive source that could do with a wider circulation, too. but not the fiennes family, please.

  114. alfred venison

    dear friends
    planet under pressure is closed so i’ll share this here. it seems we are not alone in australia when it comes to gov’t using state resources to harass green activists.
    this story from australia:-
    and this today from canadia:-
    alfred venison

  115. Ootz

    Lo and behold, the struggles of renewal – to preserve the essence of humanity in timeless ancient stories, hamstrung by pressing temporal issues.

    Makes you appreciate the decision to pull the plug on this gig, you would not want to end up like this…..

    Alfred, you know we’ve got to stop this? At least here that is.

  116. sublimecowgirl

    As LP hurdles toward the finish line, an article this morning recalled ‘scaring the children’ thread of last year:)


    Who’d a thunk it?

  117. Fran Barlow

    I think that’s “hurtles” Ms MacGill (cryptic cricket allusion)

  118. sublimecowgirl

    Lol, dyslexic till the end (seriously). x

  119. Ootz

    Bob Brown resigned after 16 years service!!! Christine Milne elected as parliamentary leader of the Greens.

  120. Fran Barlow

    Just heard Ootz …

    Very sad indeed. His contribution to our party is hard to overstate. Christine Milne has a big job ahead of her to keep up that standard.

  121. Fran Barlow

    Perhaps he can tour the country soon so we can all have a chance to thank him personally for lifting the bar for ethics, reason and humanity in Australian politics.

  122. adrian

    Oh shit! The world’s going to hell in handbasket.
    And nowhere purple to complain about it!

  123. adrian

    Great idea, Fran, but I think he’s far too modest for something like that.

  124. tssk

    A victory for News Ltd I think 🙁

    I second Fran’s feelings, his resignation is a great loss to Australian politics as it used to be. Hopefully they will not disappear like the Democrats did.

  125. alfred venison

    oh dash it! i always wondered what they’d do after brown. now i’m going to know. i’m glad milne’s capo now – she’s got brains, class, appropriate gravitas & gritty determination. have they nominated the next greens senator from tasmania; i know there’s a process & people to choose from, but i wonder who it’ll be.

  126. Jules

    What Fran @ 121 said.

    Its a sad loss for Australia, but I guess it was good to have some intelligent leadership while it lasted. Hopefully he’s leaving his party in good hands.

    I don’t think its a victory for News tho. The guy is in his late 60s. He’s leaving “on top” when his party is in a position to really move into the mainstream if it plays its cards right.

    There’s nothing worse than old men hanging on to power cos they don’t know how to let go.

  127. Ootz

    The public is looking for renewal.


    And here was I @115, commenting this morning about the struggles of renewal.

    Great response by Bob in the media scrum re Murdoch.

    Dear tssk, are you not being overly anxious again? Have you ever come across CBT, it is evidence based and works a treat for me. 🙂

  128. adrian

    Careful Ootz, when I googled CBT I got a wikipedia entry on ‘Cock and Ball Torture’.
    I guess it could work for some.

  129. tssk

    Yeah what are you talking about Ootz?

    Haven’t heard his speech yet…I’ll listen tonight and toast him from my keyboard. What was the comment about Murdoch?

  130. Eric Sykes

    Brown has been the only rational voice, so often, on so many things. I particularly remember his words during the run up to the Iraq war and how he spoke so well for so many whose voices were drowned out in a sea of the most ugly jingoism.

    The Senate later censured Prime Minister John Howard on Tuesday Oct 7 2003 for misleading the country about the reasons for going to war against Iraq. The motion to censure the prime minister was put by Brown, who said Howard misled Australians by claiming Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that posed a threat to Australia, and that Howard was involved in an unprecedented deceit of the nation and deserved censure.

    Brown will be remembered I suspect as one of Australias greatest progressive leaders and while I am sad to see him go I celebrate his career, his choices and his right to enjoy himself now.

    Thanks Bob, thanks very very much.

  131. BilB

    I agree, Eric Sykes.

    I am also thrilled to have Christine Milne as leader for the Greens. She is the ultimate spokesperson for Climate Change Action. Certainly solidly a future Prime Minister for this country.

    I think that Julia Gillard will have the very best team working to achieve the demolision of the Coalition Lie Machine coming into the next election. Christine Milne does not suffer fools of Abbotts calibre.

  132. adrian

    Well said Eric Sykes.