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Good news

John Winston Howard will fight the next election. Not everyone is rejoicing. It seems to me that Mr Kim Beazley is finished politically.

War’s horrors

A horrifying picture from The Australian. According to Israel’s PM the village of Qana had been the source of hundreds of Hezbollah rockets directed at Israel. The residents he claims had been warned beforehand to leave town but local police said many were too poor to afford the journey to larger towns. In all at […]

Violent peace demonstration

The peace activists who launched a violent attack on PM John Howard in Perth today because of his support for Israel deserve contempt not tolerance. They are not participants in a ‘debate’ and nor are they taking advantage of democracy to ‘express views’. They are violent, immature thugs. Some were Australian-Palestinians and Australian-Lebanese, the latter […]

Smoking, mortality and social disadvantage

Smoking is a modern scourge. The WHO global burden of disease study suggested that, in developed countries, 26% of male deaths and 9% of female deaths can be attributed to smoking—the single most important risk factor.An article in the Lancet (synopsis only) points out a distinctive feature of the scourge of smoking – its equity […]

A $30 wage claim

The ACTU claim for a $30, or 6.2%, wage growth claim for the 20% of Australia’s workforce on minimum wages will give Australia’s macroeconomic managers the horrors. It is this type of claim – not once-and-for-all banana or fuel price increases – that raise the prospect of reemerging inflation. The claims that workers have had […]

Vivisector

Motivated by Laura at Sarsparilla, I’ve bought a copy of Patrick White’s longest novel, The Vivisector . I will read it before September when a group blog (organised by Laura) will discuss it. A review of the novel is here and another here – I’ll collect further background material as I read. A Patrick White […]

Marketing junk foods to kids

The Age today discusses the spread of disinformation about junk food by advertising agencies.Economists routinely argue that information is a public good underprovided by markets. It is more accurate to say that, when selling products is involved, the information that is provided is inevitably unreliable. This is particularly the case with food products.

Fast food […]

Higher interest rates imminent

The strong CPI increase in the June quarter of 4% annual (and the CPI increases of around 3% for the previous 3 quarters) are the highest inflation rates for the last few years. This moves the RBA out of its inflation ‘comfort zone’ of 2-3% and, coupled with the employment of an extra 52,000 Australians […]

Happy birthday John!

Prime Minister John Winston Howard turns 67 today. He looks really fit and intellectually at his full strength – more like someone likely to fight on for a fifth term than someone about to retire as an aged pensioner.

If JWH stayed on and completed another term he would be 71 – the age that […]

Defeating Iran

A short though insightful discussion of Iran’s contribution to the current Middle East horrors is provided by Leanne Piggott. She sees the current conflict between Israel and Iran’s proxy in Lebanon (Hezbollah) as an event that could transform global politics for a generation.Iran is seeking a regional hegemony in the Middle East and is led […]

Tiger Woods

I was touched by the scene of Tiger Woods winning his second successive British Open Golf Tournament. As he sunk the final winning putt he was in tears. His recently deceased, and greatly-loved, father was not there to celebrate his victory. Tiger of course wanted the money, the fame and all those things – but […]

Gambling becomes a Victorian political issue

The pokies in Victoria have been a social disaster for low-income Victorians. Should pokie use be discouraged? The issue is whether the interests of the many ‘responsible’ gamblers should be sacrificed because an ‘irresponsible’ minority become compulsive players who destroy their own lives as well as the lives of their families. I think the damage […]

Muslims on Islam

This provocative articulation, by a prominent Muslim, of problems in Islam was picked up by Tim Blair:

Let us, Muslims, be brutally honest.

We have inherited a culture of denial, of too often refusing to acknowledge our own responsibility for the widespread malaise that has left most of the Arab-Muslim countries in economic, political, […]

Skilled immigrants help Australia out

Australia’s Department of Immigration and Multicultural affairs have published two recent reports on skilled migration. Skilled migration is now by far the most important component of our migration program – in 2005/06 about 70% of migrants were skilled.Bob Birrell et al, Australia’s Net Gains from International Skilled Movement (May 2006) (140KB PDF file). Australia’s Net […]

Deaths dive

The Sunday Age presents a dramatic picture of the decline in heroin-induced overdose deaths. Deaths were 359 in Victoria in 1999, 39 last year and 9 so far this year. The reasons:

Education about overdoses, including a big campaign this year via syringe programs. Substitution away from heroin may be in favour of amphetamines. The […]

Weekend reflections

A freezing cold day in Melbourne today. After taking my son to a music lesson I spent the rest of the day reading the Weekend Australian and the biography of Harry Harlow, Love at Goon Park by Deborah Blum. During Harlow’s life the ‘animal rights’ movement didn’t have much of an impact so the sorts […]

Toyota’s low profit is interesting

I bought a Toyota Camry a couple of years ago and it is a great medium-large sedan. It is economical to run and reliable. If fuel prices ever fall, and one of my stock market speculations proves more than a bit profitable, I would like to buy a Toyota LandCruiser and tour outback Australia. Toyota […]

Super-snivellers?

Piers Akerman in The Daily Telegraph has labelled Lebanese-Australians whinging about the claimed slackness of the Australian Government’s effort to remove them from the war zone in Lebanon as ‘super-snivellers’.

THE latest Middle East conflagration has flushed out a new class of dual nationality super-snivellers who believe mere possession of an Australian passport guarantees […]

Voice of the Bard in Brisbane

I was delighted to read that the University of Queensland is now hosting the VIII World Shakespeare Congress and that Professor Anwar Ibrahim is one of the many engaging speakers at this six-day event.

Professor Ibrahim was jailed by Dr Mahathir on trumped-up charges. Dr Ibrahim read the complete works of Shakespeare four times during […]

Denialists continue to deny

Global warming denialists continue to deny while supporters of the global warming hypothesis display irritation with the denialists. Clearly global warming is a debate not a scientific fact. In my view there is a reasonable possibility that anthropogenic global warming is a reality that will have significant harmful consequences in the not-too-distant future. Hence I […]