Rob Johansen writes: Re. “If you had $335m to spend on making Australia greener…” (yesterday, item 16). I hereby offer to buy all the Toyotas, compact fluorescent bulbs and flow restrictors that Thomas Hunter needs if I can keep half the money I can save on his behalf. 89 new cars ($3.8m each?) or 421,384 compact fluorescent bulbs ($795 each?) or 507,575 flow restrictors ($660 each?). Much more expensive than at my local.
John Parkes writes: Thomas Hunter suggests ways in which $335 million could be used to help save the earth. He says that with the money we could buy 89 Toyota Prius cars for the use of Ministers. That would mean we would be paying $3,764,044.94 per Prius. He then suggests buying 421,384 fluorescent light bulbs with the money – a price of $794.99 EACH. Spending money like that I suspect Hunter should be a Minister – he’d be good at it.
Matt Hardin writes: Re. “If you had $335m to spend on making Australia greener…” (yesterday, item 16). In the interests of correct numbers, (from the Australian Greenhouse Office site: “A laptop computer used five hours each day generates around 40 kilograms of greenhouse gas each year. Desktop computers used the same way can generate between 200 and 500 kilograms. More than half of this is from using the monitor.” Note this is very different from Thomas Hunter’s figures which suggest that computers produce more greenhouse gases per minute of use than cars. Careless use of numbers like this really undermines the credibility of those working to mitigate climate change effects.
John Roskam, Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs writes: Re. “Tabcorp board – too few doing too much” (yesterday, item 27). Stephen Mayne, my erstwhile colleague yesterday described the Institute of Public Affairs as “right wing”. We are many things – but “right wing” is not one of them. Any combination of free market, liberal, conservative (on some issues), liberal/conservative, (even) libertarian (on occasion), would be an appropriate description of the IPA – but not right wing. Since when has being in favour of small government, lower taxes, and less government been “right wing”?
Karen Cassidy, Deputy Convenor, Australian Greens writes: Your report on the Australian Greens National Council meeting in Brisbane at the weekend was largely wrong (Wednesday, item 7). The facts are these: National Council held a closed session. Everything else in your report is incorrect. Like all major political parties, a robustly contested preselection comes along with our growing profile and popularity. I hope that in the future you ensure your contributors verify the accuracy of their stories.
Debbie Turner, Channel Seven, Brisbane, writes: Re. “Media briefs and TV ratings” (yesterday, item 23). A correction for yesterday’s edition of Crikey is that Today Tonight won Wednesday night’s ratings in Brisbane ahead of A Current Affair.
Keith Thomas writes: David Wawn (yesterday, comments) thinks he can do a better job at State of the Planet than Crikey. He suggests you should have referenced a NYT/SMH article, but this article is more about the denialist state of mind than biophysical reality. It achieves its impact by sleight of hand. To take just one example, US NASA scientist Jim Hansen is quoted in a way that indicates he is with the “sceptics”. On the contrary, what Jim Hansen actually thinks is well expressed in an email he sent to US colleagues on 27 February in which he writes: “What can be called … ‘fast feedback’ climate sensitivity is now well-established … We will begin to notice these additional feedbacks now, as we have entered the period of significant almost-monotonic global warming with isotherms moving poleward … We do not know what long-term level of CO2 constitutes ‘dangerous human-made interference’ … but it has become clear that it is not greater than about 450 ppm, and may be considerably lower … the US will continue to be primarily responsible for the human-caused climate change for many decades into the future. So, unless we begin to act responsibly, we will leave a tremendous moral burden, and perhaps a legal burden, for our children and grandchildren (and ourselves: some effects are going to be obvious soon enough)… The greatest obstacle to solving the climate crisis is the ‘special interests’.”
Adam Rope writes: I suspect, David Wawn, the reason Crikey’s daily State of the Planet section didn’t run William Broad’s SMH/NYT story, “This news is not so convenient, Mr Gore”, because it had already been exposed as typical disinformation from the Global Warming Sceptic brigade. It had been debunked on the admittedly partisan Huffington Post by David Roberts, whose own article contains many links through to other sites exposing the mendacity of the original. Try reading up on the “scientific” qualifications of those quoted, or maybe even do some background checks on the deliberate distortions and falsehoods used as “evidence” in the article. By all means let’s have a balanced debate, but lets use real scientific evidence, instead of “hype”, for a start.
Terence Hogan writes: Re. “Santo Santoro, Family Council and CBio: a timeline” (yesterday, item 12). Let’s get back to basics here … when a parliamentarian is given a cabinet portfolio to look after one would think that among the very first things they would do is make an appointment with their financial adviser to ask this question – “I am now the Minister for Whatever so please tell me what I own that might be problematic”. Setting up that appointment should be right near the top of the list, maybe even before arranging lunch with the Family Council or whoever to celebrate. But it seems that he felt secure enough to not even bother checking, it probably never occurred to him because for members of the current Government these sort of concerns haven’t been worth the bother for some time. The subsequent obfuscation about some “charity” is just part of the same arrogant mindset. But times are changing.
Trevor Nowak writes: I thought with all the mudslinging going on this quote was gold. Adlai E. Stevenson: “He who slings mud generally loses ground.”
Michael Frisk writes: Since I have to correct an error in yesterday’s Crikey, a comment first on yesterday’s editorial in which you said: “Has the brute power of incumbency in Australian politics come to this – a post-mortem ten days before the death?” Please, can we give this “brute power of incumbency” cliche a rest. I know it has become a fallback for political hacks everywhere, but where is the evidence? Just because incumbent governments have won a string of elections, it does not logically follow that they won because of incumbency. How about the “brute power of incompetence”? Look back over the opposition to those same governments – Latham’s Labor, Flegg in Queensland and now Debnam in NSW. When an incompetent government comes up against first-rate opposition and still wins, then this second-rate theory might have legs. Until then, it’s empty journalese and parroting it endlessly won’t make it true. As for that correction, before the Crikey Army gets too excited, or dismayed, at the thought that veteran Middle East reporter Robert Fisk has joined their ranks – the name you put on my note in comments yesterday is wrong – my name is Michael. No relation.
Geoff Coyne writes: Re. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed confessing to all those terrorist activities around the world over many years. Clearly he was not tortured long and hard enough, to get him to also admit he was responsible for the 1997 Asian Economic Meltdown, the 2000 Tech Wreck, and Global Warming.
John Addis, a Crikey shareholder who avoids Qantas if at all possible, writes: Re. “Peter Morgan rips into Qantas management conflicts” (yesterday, item 6). Stephen Mayne is wrong to say that Qantas don’t fly from the Gold Coast. You can see their red tails on flights to Sydney at 6am and 11.15am each weekday morning. But if you want to fly in the pointy end it will cost you at least $600 one way, whilst Jetstar charge less than half that for a fully flexible fare. That’s a lot of extra dough for a bigger seat and a newspaper.
Ian Smith writes: Re. “No broken English: Petro speaks” (yesterday, item 9). Well all you good folks at Crikey, I have to report that if I was tested for Australian Citizenship on such items of National Interest as cricket (full of bullies and louts) or any code of football (full of drunks, drug-takers and serial s-xual offenders) I would be proud to fail. This is yet another example of a paranoid Government and a lick-spittle Opposition and I want no part of it!
Geoff Penaluna writes: A letter arrived yesterday with a Tax Office type logo and the words Your Tax Bill printed next to the logo. On opening along the perforated line with “cut your tax bill here”. I was interested to see that it was a letter from Colonial regarding the one off opportunity to invest $1m in super this fiscal year. Personally, I think it is deceitful if the intention is to trick you into thinking it is a tax letter. Most businesspeople are familiar with the ATO logo and probably more inclined to open it than you would if it mentioned Colonial on the outside of the envelope. Colonial must be aware many people wouldn’t bother opening their mail.
Ian Woodward writes: Re. “A game of manners – Sunny shines, Ponting pouts” (yesterday. item 22). Heartfelt congratulations to Charles Happell for his superb summation of why I’ve lost interest in (modern day) Australian cricket.
Margaret van de Ruit writes: If you go back in your records you will see that the Australian team made a guard of honour for Alex Stewart when he retired from cricket. I remember seeing it. They also gave the then Zimbabwean player Neil Johnson an ovation as he left the field when he got his century against them at the 1999 World Cup. I also say give them a break. They are not the only ones who behave badly on the field but they are the most watched and criticised. They may not be modest winners but they are very good losers and just get on with the job of winning again rather than having a slanging match in the media about how hard done by they are.
Russell Bancroft writes: Is this the same Sunil Gavaskar who stormed from the MCG in 1981, dragging his fellow batsman with him, because he didn’t like being given out?
The soon to be happily hatted, Michael Frost, writes: Jim Hart wrote yesterday (comments), “But no way could that be May 1967 – those are definitely summer bikinis. Anyway it’s such a famous photo, surely our National Library could be more precise than just “sometime between 1960 and 1967″.” On the bikinis, that’s another reason why it’s more likely the photo was from the set of publicity shots Holt had done in summer 65/66 anticipating Menzies’s resignation. In defence of the National Library, the “sometime between 1960 and 1967” line was from their website summary of the details of the photo. The site did note that more detailed information was available but I didn’t pursue it given the timing limitations of the competition.
Ross Fitzgerald writes: Good to see that Crikey has overturned Stephen Mayne’s absurd ban on accepting advertisements from the Eros Foundation. Readers of my column in The Australian may remember that the explanation offered at the time by Stephen’s wife Paula was that “My husband is a prune”. As I pointed out, this was quickly altered to “My husband is a prude.”
Yesterday’s typo (house pedant Charles Richardson casts an eye over the howlers in the last edition of Crikey): Item 18, “All of which is sensible, but as the furor has demonstrated, not as simple as it sounds.” No, American usage is “furor”, but standard Australian is “furore”. If spelling standardisation has gone, I’ll go back to logical spellings for “honor”, “color”, “harbor”, etc., which previous editors have changed to the illogical but plainly Australian standard “-our” endings.
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