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77 responses to “Saturday Salon”

  1. Terry

    Judith Sloan is pretty angry at Joe Hockey’s decision on Graincorp. Meanwhile, open warfare between the NSW Libs and Chris Pyne over Gonski and education policy.

    If I recall correctly, it was not until 2009, and the health policy reforms, that things got edgy between Kevin Rudd and Labor state premiers, at least publicly.

  2. Salient Green

    I thought it was a good decision and if Judith Sloan is angry, now I know it.

  3. mindy

    I was surprised Terry, I thought Hockey would sell it off for sure. I wonder what stayed his hand?

  4. Terry

    Two words: Alan Jones.

  5. Terry

    At Crikey, Barnard Keane and Glenn Dyer see the Graincorp decision as a retreat to the pre-Keating era of protection all round.

  6. Terry

    An interesting opportunity presents itself for Chris Bowen as Shadow treasurer, to position himself as the intellectual heir to Paul Keating’s legacy, rather than simply as the successor to Wayne Swan.

  7. Terry2

    The Australian continues today with its war on the ABC with Sarah Martin still banging on about salaries at the national broadcaster and Greg Sheridan, rather confusingly, saying that the Snowden leaks to the Guardian and then to the ABC should not have been taken up by the ABC as this somehow impinged on their credibility:

    “The ABC did not behave as a credible media organisation. Credible media organisations do not act as handmaidens of competitor news organisations to amplify and dramatise their competitor’s scoops”.

    So, it appears that, according to Sheridan, the ABC should have reported on the Guardian’s scoop but not ‘amplify or dramatise’ the content of the scoop ; sounds like hair splitting and sour grapes from News Ltd to me.

  8. Terry

    There is a different tone at the Australian Financial Review, where there are eight articles/columns/editorials condemning the Graincorp decision. Geoff Kitney argues that the Abbott government are neo-nationalist populists, and that the intended influence of people like Joe Hockey is being completely overridden by that of Barnaby Joyce and Alan Jones.

  9. Fran Barlow

    Terry 2 (quoting):

    The ABC did not behave as a credible media organisation. Credible media organisations do not act as handmaidens of competitor news organisations to amplify and dramatise their competitor’s scoops”..

    Yes. I feel confident that Sheridan would have been appaled if #theirABC had laundered/rehabilitated something from News Ltd for leftish audiences. That would just be so irresponsible — not that #theirABC would ever do that or act as a loyal member of Team Murdoch.

    😉

  10. Fran Barlow

    oops appalled

  11. Graham Bell

    Mindy @ 3:
    Even though selling off Grainco will be political suicide – sold off it surely will be. They just can’t help themselves.

    All that has happened is that the price of the …. (ahem) …. “inducements” have gone up and the implied invitations have gone out to potential rival bidders. This is likely to be one of those rare occasions when the Australians are likely to get a few crumbs from the flogging-off of a productive asset …. it will make a nice change from the usual situation where the Australian citizenry either get nothing at all or end up owing money following the “sale(??)” of productive assets.

    Terry @ 4, 5 &6:
    Neo-nationalists? Alan Jones? Retreat to Protectionism? That’s risible.
    Barnaby Joyce is another matter – I don’t blame him at all for trying to avoid being hanged or necklaced by a lynch mob.

    I’ll bet all the “Lower Dollar!” fake farmers and other shills are keeping a low profile at the moment too. Once the jubilation of the real farmers has died down, these corporate front-men will be performing on-camera again, explaining why handing out generous gifts to foreign corporations will bring all of us boundless wealth, jobs everywhere and endless joy too.

  12. philip travers

    Got a horse,got a sheep,got me a good nights sleep…….

  13. Graham Bell

    Gentlefolk:
    Just in case you haven’t heard about the Middlemount Post Office being evicted from a shopping centre – over the display of a sign criticizing a coal mining company. Here is an update: http://www.themorningbulletin.com.au/news/anglo-denies-claims-middlemount-housing-tax/2100703/

    Two things I find worrying here, on the limited information I have so far:
    1. Censorship backed up with corporate bureaucratic power.
    2. Our taxes at work.

    No doubt we will be overwhelmed by spin “informing” us that the two perpetrators are thoroughly “mistaken in their beliefs” (xltn = they’re bad, we don’t like them and our legal goons are going to whop them); further, that they acted entirely on their own and have little or no community support.

  14. Paul Norton

    I have spent Sunday morning thus far educating myself about the Worker-Communist Party of Iran and its founder Mansoor Hekmat. I blame Skepticlawyer for this.

  15. Fran Barlow

    oops … spam trap (forgot “left|st”) {Please delete all priors}:

    Paul Norton:

    I note this:

    Major split in August 2004:

    The leadership debates eventually led to the exodus of more than half of the members of Central Commititee and most of the Kurdistan Committee in August 2004. The defectors chose the leadership of Koroosh Modaressi, who was then Chairperson of the Political Bureau. This move was supported by the leadership of the Worker-C0mmun|st Party of Iraq. Together they formed a new party called the Worker-C0mmun|st Party of Iran-Hekmatist. They claim to be closer to the ideas of Mansoor Hekmat, though this is denied by the leadership of the WPI, who declared themselves to be the real followers of Hekmat’s ideas.

    The conflict between the two parties is still ongoing and the WPI leadership sometimes sarcastically refer to the WPI-H as ‘anti-Hekmatist’. In return the WPI-H claim that WPI represents a retreat to the “traditional left” and is a “populist” party.

    and

    Left|st Worker-C0mmun|st Party of Iraq (LWPI) which was formed in 2004 after the major split in the WPI. It is a sister party to WPI. LWPI Current Leader, Osam Shukri is a member of Central Committee and politburo of WPI.

    Hmmm … I’d like to resist Life of Brian reduxes, but absent any detailed comparative analysis, I’m struggling.

    Mods: Could the preview contain a warning of pre-moderation, perhaps highlighting the “naughty” words? At Quiggin’s site and here (presumably it’s an ozblog thing) the strings “tab0o” and “s0ma” (both with an “o” rather than a zero) which is weird, and in the first case, also ironic. A whole country is ruled out by the second!

  16. tigtog

    Fran, the preview is not that configurable for us mere blog admins. Presumably ozblogistan’s tyrant Jacques could add something like you suggest, but it would be network wide, not blog-specific, so that would probably not be that useful.

  17. Fran Barlow

    Tigtog:

    Presumably ozblogistan’s tyrant Jacques could add something like you suggest, but it would be network wide, not blog-specific, so that would probably not be that useful.

    Why would being network-wide make it less useful?

  18. Paul Norton

    If you want to know what’s wrong with Quadrant magazine, and with much of the intellectual Right in the English-speaking world, it’s most instructive to read one of their film, theatre or fiction reviews. Exhibit A is Steve Kates’ review of Les Miserables (28 December 2012) in which he critiques the film (and by extension the play and the book) for not conforming to the Mont Pelerin Society line in the debate on working class living standards during the Industrial Revolution. This is, to borrow from George Orwell, a classic case of a gramophone mind playing the disc of Marxist-Leninist “Socialist Realism” backwards.

  19. Paul Norton

    After all, how seriously would we take a review, written by a hack from the CCP’s propaganda department, of a film, play or novel based on the Tiananmen Square events of 1989 that criticised it for not reflecting the statistics on Chinese economic performance since the 1978 reforms?

  20. Terry

    Paul @ 14, I have been more interested in the Workers’ Institute of Marxism – Leninism – Mao Zedong Thought, apparently the owners of 13 properties in and around Brixton, South London.

  21. Paul Norton

    Terry @21, communist organisations are often surprisingly adept at owning and managing capitalist private property – the CPA had some $4 million in assets in various parts of Australia at the time it dissolved.

  22. philip travers

    No doubt,Uncle Karl Marx or was he a Granddad with hair colouring!? Had some interest in volcanic activity with another fairly large display,[or earthquake,if no-one has snooped around the bottom of the ocean],off Indonesia.My how time is like blowfly eyes.I did but see them passing by,and I wonder when they will have mascara dropping in and fly!

  23. Terry

    The Party Formerly Known as the Socialist Workers Party also used to have some pretty valuable real estate

  24. Graham Bell

    Gentlefolk:
    Why the surprise? It is almost axiomatic that the second generation of radical or reforming groups will acquire both property and a taste for the good life …. not just communists, socialists, fascists and the like …. but religious groups too.

    It happened to St Francis of Asisi and the Franciscans – in his own lifetime.
    The pioneering Renaissance reformers and the first Protestants may have been burnt at the stake as heretics or lived in penury – but none of that inconvenience and discomfort and frugality for the next generation of Protestant leaders: no way in the wide world!
    And we all know what happened after the American Revolution and the French Revolution.

    The 19th and 20th Century Lefties had plenty of role models.

  25. Katz

    Dependable Murdoch megaphone Greg Sheridan chops logic:

    But this investigation consisted of nothing more than giving the Guardian website its email address so the Guardian could send it the documents.

    The Guardian newspaper in Britain has received a vast trove of secret intelligence documents stolen by Edward Snowden from the US National Security Agency. Snowden was a contractor for the NSA who worked as a systems administrator. The documents he stole represent one of the greatest assaults on Western intelligence in modern history. They are savagely damaging to the interests of the US and of its allies. They are particularly damaging to Australia. And The Guardian is apparently sorting through this vast amount of material and passing the Australian-related documents to the Guardian website in Australia.

    What the ABC has decided to do has nothing to do with journalism as conventionally understood. Instead the ABC has decided to turn itself into the Australian broadcast arm of the Snowden/Guardian axis, to use every relevant part of its vast government-funded resources to promote The Guardian’s scoop. This is not an act of journalism. This is an act of ideological commitment. It is an act of propaganda.

    1. The Guardian is the ONLY source of this information. No story is possible without the alleged Snowden materials. The Five Eyes refuse to confirm the genuineness of the documents. (Though, clunkily, Andrew Robb did. D’oh!)

    2. Knowledge of the fact that this material was released is clearly in the public interest.

    3. The ABC sought, and got, Indonesian responses to this revelation. This is surely journalistically appropriate.

    4. The fact that the ABC accurately reported the publication of Snowden’s revelations vitiates the charge of propaganda. The ABC never asserted that Snowden’s leaks were genuine documents.

    5. The fact that Indonesian authorities accepted Snowden’s documents as genuine has nothing to do with any action of the ABC. Therefore, allegations of endangerment being caused by the ABC are fatuous.

    But we already knew that Sheridan’s stock-in-trade is inveterate fatuousness, didn’t we.

  26. Paul Norton

    I have visions of a student party in Newtown or Glebe or Surry Hills in inner-city Sydney in 1978 at which left-wing activists from the Sydney University SRC are discussing their political adversaries, and one of them lightheartedly says “You know, I reckon that in 35 years time Tony Abbott will be Prime Minister, and he’ll be proposing that Australia adopts the same paid parental leave policy as the comrades in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and he’ll outflank Labor on their left,” at which point everyone will fall about laughing and will say “I don’t know what she’s been smoking, but I’d like some of it!”.

  27. Katz

    Godwin Grech prised open one of the more fateful sliding doors in Australian history.

  28. Paul Norton

    Sometimes the cunning of history is a little too cunning.

  29. Graham Bell

    Terry @ 1:
    The Oz is paywalled so I had a look at Judith Sloan’s piece at http://catalaxyfiles.com “I’m all out of love” about ADM and Graincorp.

    Three things there stuck out like the proverbials:
    1. monopolies: The assumption that monopolies are evil whereas competition is good. Yeah? So competitors for the Australian Defence Force or for our Courts of Law would do us all a power of good, would they? Whether monopolies are useful or harmful depends entirely on the prevailing situation and on how the monopolies are operated.

    What harmed and hindered government monopolies and government enterprises in Australia’s former mixed economy was definitely not any inbuilt inefficiencies, it was a combination of blatant cronyism, where insider drunks and duds were appointed to Boards and to managerial posts, and probable deliberate sabotage which may well have been the result of high-level corruption. Look at what happened to Trans Australian Airways or, worse yet, what happened to the various state government railways.

    2. lack of capital for rural industries. Yeah? Really? Wonder if she has ever wandered into a pokies venue, for example, and noticed all the loose money that is sloshing around in the economy? Or taken a glance at all the homeless capital there is in Australia. There is no lack of capital at all, there is only a lack of direction for the mountain of capital that exists already.

    3. lack of infrastructure, especially railways Well, whose fault was that? (No, don’t answer that. We don’t want to waste time fending off a swag of “defamation(??)” cases for telling the truth, do we?). Given all the advances in technology, we can build new railways and upgrade surviving ones in months, not decades, using the aforementioned loose money – at the cost of outraging those few making huge fortunes out of misdirected money. All that is needed is the will to take firm action.

  30. Fran Barlow

    Paul Norton

    I have visions of a student party in Newtown or Glebe or Surry Hills in inner-city Sydney in 1978 at which left-wing activists from the Sydney University SRC are discussing their political adversaries,

    I’m pretty sure I was at that party. Newtown/Camperdown IIRC. A woman of earnest feminist disposition was dancing topless with friend and while lactating sprayed me in the neck with warm mothers milk. Nostalgia — you can’t beat it.

  31. paul burns

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/02/revealed-australian-spy-agency-offered-to-share-data-about-ordinary-citizens

    Help! Our government is spying on us. 🙂

    Maybe now we might think the Guardian and Aunty aren’t the baddies?

    Hands up how many people on the left (or the extreme right, for that matter) have not heard our internal security agencies inexpertly listening on our phones or perhaps even stuffing around with our computers.

    I have to say this chat about detailed interception of those Aussies considered The Enemy Within is not very reassuring in tregard to privacy.

    You can always see the James Bond gleam in our parliamentarians’ eyes the moment they know they’re going to be allowed a peak inside the intelligence club.

  32. Ambigulous

    Cathy McGowan, MHR (Indi) is scheduled to give her maiden speech in the House this afternoon.

    A great day for rural Australia, independent voices and women.

  33. Helen

    Paul, here in Victoria we used to have bonus spying courtesy of Marn Ferson. Don’t know if he still bothers now that he’s retired.

  34. GregM

    Helen, what spying did Marn Ferson do on Victorians?

  35. Graham Bell

    Paul Burns @ 31:
    What would be amusing would be of the private thoughts of American spookery when Australia’s wannabe James Bonds rushed off to dob in those Australian evil-doers taking direct orders from Moscow: the Vietnam Veterans Action Association (which later changed its name to the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia). Gotta watch them barbecues, they might be hiding Soviet missiles in them. 🙂 .

  36. paul burns

    Helen,
    What on earth was Marn getting up to? Unaware of this so I’d be delighted to know.
    Graham,
    Ah, that explains the Queensland bikie crack-down then. 🙂

  37. Fran Barlow

    This is interesting:

    http://www.salon.com/2013/12/02/chimps_seeking_freedom_sue_for_legal_personhood/

    As someone from Salon pointed out, in the US corporations assert the right to personhood, but chimpanzees are mere chattel.

    Indeed, I’d add that a corporation can own a chimpanzee, but a chimpanzee can’t own a corporation. Well a guy in a monkey suit might, but he’d be a fake 😉

    Apparently the idea of personhood for chimpanzees is incipiently hazardous to humans but personhood for corporations — not so much.

    Ah mass culture — the lack of introspection is breathtaking.

    The proponents of the suit for chimpanzees argue for imprisoned primates to be accommodated in a primate sanctuary. It sounds fair to me.

  38. Paul Norton

    @34 and @36, I don’t have the details to hand but I think it was to do with surveillance of climate change and anti-fossil fuel activists.

  39. paul burns

    Gawd! You mean everybody I know in Victoria?

  40. jungney

    When it comes to surveillance of anti-coal networks, or unnatural gas, keep your eye out for Pinkerton’s security, which operates in Australia and has a venerable US history of union busting and murder on behalf of the corporations, sorry, the wealth makers.

  41. jungney

    Yeah, here it is:

    THE Resources and Energy Minister, Martin Ferguson, has secretly pushed for increased surveillance by federal police intelligence officers of environmental activists who have been protesting peacefully at coal-fired power stations and coal export facilities.

  42. Helen

    Jungney @41, I googled up that article but Ferguson actually had a houseful of student cubicle-farm worker types in Box Hill or somewhere like that. My google-fu didn’t find it.

  43. Helen

    Oh here it is. yes, it was NOSIC, a private surveillance organisation. Stands for NOSIC – National Open Source Intelligence Centre – (monitors social media – Oh Hai Nosic guys! *Waves*).So that’s on top of any AFP and ASIO spying on environmental activists.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Martin_Ferguson

  44. paul burns

    Obviously he hasn’t looked himself up on Wikipedia for a while. If he had that last bit would’ve been deleted.

  45. jungney

    Oh, there out there alright, the spooks. A couple of years ago I had a chat to some anti-coal activists about how to spot the infiltrator and agent provocateur after which, to my delight, they did. She was a fit looking, pony tailed blond who claimed to be enrolled at Syd. U in the sciences but about whom there were no records at all beyond a student id. Nada, and we tapped into records keeping at the Uni to check. A front, for sure. They were alerted by the fact that no-body knew her or of her.

  46. faustusnotes

    Some wag in the party room today suggested Sophie Mirabella for ABC managing director…

  47. Terry

    The AEC released the final 2PP data on the 2013 Australian Federal election. One interesting observation is that a higher percentage of Socialist Alliance voters preferenced the Liberal-National parties ahead of Labor (19%) than did Greens voters (17%).

  48. GregM

    Terry the reason that the Socialist Alliance would send their preferences towards the Liberals in greater numbers than the Greens is that as the vanguard of the revolution they know that a critical mass of reactionary power in place (the Liberals) will inevitably lead to the uprising of the proletariat to sweep them into the dustbin of history.

    This is not mere tactical voting by members of the Socialist Alliance. It is strategic voting.

    Even as we contemplate this we can be sure that their leader is standing by at a train station in Zurich to take him (hermetically sealed like a bacillus, as someone once remarked of another socialst revolutionary) to the Finland Station in Petrograd Central Station in Sydney from where he can proclaim the beginning of the Revolution.

  49. paul burns

    47, 48,
    I suppose I should respond, but I can’t be bothered.

  50. paul burns

    Feeling tired.

  51. paul burns

    Have been several times directed to a Captcha security check when I commented on LP. Afyer which my comment appears. Have run a full Microsoft virus check on my PC and it appears to be virus-free. So what’s going on? 🙂

  52. Brian

    Terry @ 47, WA and QLD were terrible for Labor but Labor actually won in the ACT, Tasmania and Victoria.

  53. Graham Bell

    Paul Burns @37:
    Nah, pestering the Yanks about the noisy but respectable VVAA was back in the early ‘eighties.

    The Vietnam Veterans’ Motorcycle Club is another matter; that farce was only several weeks ago. Mind you, the VVMC has always upset the fuddy-duddies: long hair, unshaven, badges in the wrong place, regimentally undressed …. it’s obvious they’re something to do with commynism or alkaselza or something …. get a policeman to stop your daughter talking to them, you never know where they’ve been. 🙂

  54. Terry

    Brian

    A quick note to observe that the Tasmanian result is a more complicated one, as the vote for Independent Andrew Wilkie in Denison was huge, and was largely achieved through swings away from Labor and the Greens. So the need to crunch such figures into 2PP data creates some anomalies.

    But, yes, correct on ACT and Victoria. I’m a bit surprised there was not a swing to Labor in the ACTm, given public service anxieties about the likelihood of a Coalition government.

    But there will not be a change of government unless those figures in QLD and WA start to change. 8 out of 44 seats in those two states are currently held by Labor (Griffith pending).

  55. Fran Barlow

    At the time PMKR (v1.0) uttered the phrase “detailed programmatic specificity” people laughed at the verbosity and pretentiousness. For my part, I thought the word “detail” would have served equally well and without offering grist for parody.

    At the moment however, I daresay we could use a bit of “detailed programmatic specificity” out of Canberra. Maybe Rudd was onto something.

    😉

    It seesm to me that we need a new term to describe the excuses and evasions of the new(ish) regime — bafflegab — which as I now define it describes syntactically complex and contrived verbiage aimed at mystifying the provenance of a problem in circumstances when the utterer of the verbiage seeks to avoid responsibility.

    Footnote: I know the term, bafflegab already exists — describing semi-opaque jargon, but I’m repurposing it. I do like the coiner of the term’s definition (apparently Milton A Smith) though:

    multiloquence characterized by consummate interfusion of circumlocution or periphrasis, inscrutability, and other familiar manifestations of abstruse expatiation commonly utilized for promulgations implementing Procrustean determinations by governmental bodies.

  56. Helen

    On hipsterism and gentrification: Melbourne’s got Brunswick, NYC has Bushwick!

    http://nypost.com/2013/12/02/new-hipsters-fight-old-hipsters-over-luxury-bushwick-digs/

  57. Paul Norton

    GregM @48, the analogue for Petrograd in contemporary Australia is not Sydney but either Canberra (as the official capital) or Melbourne (as the most cultured and liberal city in the nation). Sydney more accurately maps onto Moscow.

    But seriously…

    A more prosaic explanation of the figures Terry mentions is that the more conservative element of the Greens vote from previous elections was purloined by the Palmer United Party and, to a lesser extent, various single-issue parties. My own research shows a statistically significant positive correlation between the size of the PUP vote in each seat and the size of the swing away from the Greens.

    It could also be conjectured that one consequence of the Labor-Greens alliance in the last Parliament is that the voters who stayed with either of those parties would be those who were most favourably disposed toward the other.

  58. Casey

    I deactivated my Facebook. It feels strangely liberating. I wonder if it will last? As of this morning, I can’t believe we all sit on a site and share photos of asylum seekers and Tony Abbott with his pants on fire, over and over. Who are we trying to convince? Any objectors stopped objecting long ago and it is taken for granted that we all agree with each other. Probably won’t last. Probably go back on. I hate Facebook.

  59. paul burns

    Casey,
    I check my Facebook page when and if I get an e-mail. And I did friend a new person last week. (Friend as a verb. What teh internet has done to the English language.) I’d known her for years and we see each other at least once every 3 weeks, and neither of us realised the other was on Facebook.
    You are right, of course. There is absolutely no point to Facebook. But I have no idea how to deactivate my account. (I fear I’m still on MySpace somewhere.)
    Rather stick to LP.

  60. Fran Barlow

    I’ve never had a Facebook page and can’t imagine why I’d author one, unless for some reason, I decided to go into business.

  61. faustusnotes

    I use Facebook quite constructively actually:

    1. I follow God. God is great. You should follow him.
    2. My role-playing group has a facebook page and we also have a “general chat.” It is always open and someone from amongst the five of us is always on there talking shit. Often someone will just appear there and say “good morning” and the convo continues. It’s really good.
    3. I keep in touch with friends in Australia via Facebook. Before Facebook I would have kept in touch with them but not had a sense of the general day to day flow fo their lives. Now I see what’s happening in their lives much more closely, and it helps me to stay connected.

    I try really hard to keep facebook from being politicized. I don’t start political discussion on facebook nad I rarely join it. I want it to be like a cafe space, not some kind of serious debating club. Provided I keep it at that level I find it really useful.

  62. Helen

    I use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family and to organise some parts of social life. I do touch on political stuff, but I figure anyone in my IRL circle who doesn’t like it knows what they’re dealing with.

  63. Helen

    …Oh, and upcoming gigs, it’s great for that. But still do the bulk emails, so use technology both ancient and modern!

  64. Chris

    I can’t believe we all sit on a site and share photos of asylum seekers and Tony Abbott with his pants on fire, over and over.

    Speak for yourself – I use it to share photos and videos of cats and kids 🙂

    Like others here limit myself pretty strongly on political topics. The people I’m connected with have a very diverse range of political and religious views and I don’t really want to get into a fight with any of them. Only really participate when I know its with people who won’t take anything too seriously.

    Anyway I find it a great way to keep in touch with friends who live interstate and overseas who I otherwise would probably have little to no contact with. Never was a fan of bulk emails. Google+ I use mostly for technical/work related discussions, facebook for day to day life stuff.

  65. Graham Bell

    Fran Barlow @ 55:
    Bafflegab? You little beauty! The one word that defines this government.

  66. Ambigulous

    Nelson Mandela has died.

    A giant of the 20th century: showing strength, quiet dignity; favouring reconciliation, always with that resolve….

    Cry, the beloved country

  67. Paul Norton

    What Ambigulous said.

  68. Helen

    It’s very sad to see footage of Mandela on the TV and mentally compare him to the intellectual and ethical pygmies on our Government front bench today. (Yes, I know, I know, different countries. But still.)

  69. Fran Barlow

    Yes, it’s sad Helen that Mandela has died. Although I am someone who resists putting individuals on ethical pedestals — it sounds incipiently inegalitarian and disempowering — there’s no doubt that (along with many others — Steve Biko comes straight to mind) he was an inspirational figure in the struggle against injustice.

    I would prefer that when making comparisons, we didn’t use the term “pygmies” as a term of cultural derogation. It seems to me that if we are going to lambast our elite for their ethical and intellectual shortcomings, we need not drag in identifiable marginalised communities in Africa.

  70. Katz

    Yes. He made it tough to use the term “terrorist” with a straight face.

    Though that old ham Ronald Reagan managed that feat.

  71. Helen

    Yes, that’s true, Fran, sorry.

  72. paul burns

    I’m sitting here crying at my computer. God bless him.

  73. Fran Barlow

    Helen

    Yes, that’s true, Fran, sorry.

    Not a worry. It’s easy to do — especially when we’re a little fired up. Count it as a minor contribution to the LP style sheet.

    Note also: These days, the term “eskimo” is deprecated.

  74. Helen

    Wherever did I use the word “eskimo”?

  75. Helen

    Here’s a much-loved harbinger of Christmas: the first “Pee Cee War On Christmas!! Eleventy!!11!1! article in a News Ltd paper.

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/south-east/readers-back-casey-councils-calls-to-celebrate-christmas-and-easter-with-decorations-and-religious-themes/story-fngnvmhm-1226776029619#

  76. Katz

    Abbott and Morrison should lobby for Herod displays to foster understanding his attempt to prevent the Holy Family to travel illegally to Egypt.

  77. Fran Barlow

    Sorry Helen … I didn’t mean to imply that you had used it. The usage occurred to me while composing the post and I just thought I would squeeze that one in — because again, it could possibly be used by someone posting here in good faith without considering that it was now deprecated.