Borders does not control Gloria Jeans marketing:

Marketing manager of Borders Asia Pacific, Josy Shaw, writes: Re. “Borders passes the hat for anti-gay, pro-life charity” (14 November, item 2). Your item is way off the mark. Gloria Jean’s has 400-plus stores in Australia and is a sub-tenant in 18 Borders stores. Borders does not control or have any involvement in Gloria Jean’s marketing, promotional or charitable campaigns and our staff therefore obviously do not promote Gloria Jean’s charity programs. It is not appropriate for Borders to explain or represent Gloria Jean’s Mercy Ministries charity program, given that we’re not involved in the program in any way. The Borders workforce encompasses many different cultural backgrounds and ideas. We encourage diversity of thought and freedom of opinion within our team and customer base. Accordingly, we have a very diverse range of products in literature and reference books. We don’t censor and we track purchase behaviours to ensure our range matches customers’ needs. We would appreciate you setting the record straight on this matter.

The electoral act in the new millennium:

Rob O’Connor writes: Re. “Are Liberal Facebook ads in breach of the Electoral Act?” (Yesterday, item 1). Here’s a question for the new millennium: does the pre-election electronic media blackout extend to paid-for material on the Internet? What happens to all those MySpace, Facebook and YouTube bits at midnight tonight? I’ve check the information on both the ACMA and AEC web sites, but I’m no clearer. Although it was interesting to see that the AEC considers at least some aspect of the Electoral Act to apply to information on the Internet, even though this has yet to be tested in the courts.

David Williamson:

Katherine Stuart writes: Re. “David Williamson: Howard, morning walks and the ghosts of 1969” (Monday, item 1). Thanks for putting it all so succinctly Mr Williamson. I’m just too young to remember 1969 but do remember 1972. A deep sense of relief. Breaking out of the crushing cultural cringe. A growing sense of national identity healthily based on truth, not lies, and thus the freedom to start looking to the future. And then returning last year after being away for all of the Howard years to a country that for the first time ever, I no longer recognise as mine. Profound shock at how acceptable lying has become – well why not when the PM does it with impunity? Us versus them, win-lose, kowtowing to the US and a largely blind eye turned to the ideas and innovations coming out of rest of the world, leaving Australia dangerously backward-looking and isolationist in its thinking, its policies and strategies, in an increasingly globalised forward-looking economy. Lies are, among other things, what people do to maintain (their) status-quo. With the pressing need for change due to climate change if nothing else, Australia puts itself in a very precarious position if it elects again a government that is clearly terrified of change.

Climate change, Playboy and Christian ethics:

Tony Barrell writes: Re. “Climate change: Playboy called it in 1980” (yesterday, item 20). References to the greenhouse effect predate Playboy 1980. In fact, a British TV “mockumentary” made in 1977 called Alternative 3 was all about how there were three choices to avoid it: blast holes in the atmosphere, go underground, or leave the planet altogether. The investigation was originally intended for broadcast on 1 April, but was delayed. It supposedly discovered a secret plan was already in operation to remove people to the dark side of the moon for later transshipment to Mars. An “astronaut” was interviewed who claimed to have seen it. The whole thing was a fake of course, but then again, you can find all kinds of websites which say it was actually true and that the people who made it had to dress it as fiction otherwise they would never have been allowed to make it. Conspiracy theory daftness yes, but in 1977 the greenhouse effect must have been a known quantity to be taken seriously by spoofers. Or then again, maybe that’s why it wasn’t taken up by anyone that mattered.

Ernie Biscan writes: For historical reference, and to put the greenhouse story in context, can Crikey reveal who got their gear off in the February 1980 edition of Playboy?

Donald Dowell writes: Allan Lehepuu (yesterday, comments), the main reason the earth’s human population has risen from possibly ten million 17,000 years ago, to today’s 7 billion, has been the remarkably steady climate (give or take some minor fluctuations), it has enjoyed since the ending of last major glacial period some 9 or 10 thousand years ago. What do you think would happen for instance in the Indian Subcontinent, with a projected population of 2 billion, if a worse case scenario of a 5 C degree increase of global temperatures towards the end of this century occurs, causing a much more severe drought than ever before experienced, lasting decades not years. Already two of the countries have nuclear weapons; no doubt their arsenals will increase in numbers and range. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to spend some “treasure” on research for clean energy sources, rather than adjust and crack lame jokes about sea-side properties and the motives of scientists.

Eric Lawson writes: Our dear leaders make a great show of being good Christians – yet where are their Christian ethics in their response to global warming? Australia is the worst atmospheric polluter on a per capita basis and we are also among the world’s wealthiest countries, yet our governments (and also largely the opposition’s) response is to apply the Jack system: we won’t do anything significant to reduce global warming unless you do. Shouldn’t their Christian principles dictate that we should do whatever we can to avoid the coming catastrophe for the good of the rest of the world, especially our impoverished neighbours? Maybe even make some small sacrifices? If there is a God I’m sure she would approve that sort of action.

Last minute voting:

Andrew Lewis writes: Re. “The Kevin conundrum” (yesterday, item 2). Christian refers to studies that suggest up to 1 in 5 voters make up their mind in the last few days of a campaign. I’m calling this BS. The studies are real, I just don’t believe them. This is one of those intrinsically skewed polls. Respondents may wish to appear open-minded, a swinging voter, or even a highly rational calculating machine desperately weighing the pros and cons to the finest degree. Self delusion and lying will also play a part. If it isn’t bollocks, every poll taken prior to those last days would be fatally inaccurate, and history suggests otherwise. The ANU’s Ian McAllister suggests that the undecided voters tend to be swayed by policy decisions and make rational calculating decisions. That’s just what they would like you to think. Myriad studies have shown that big decisions are made by gut reaction, not cold calculation, and it is more likely that very few people are genuinely undecided.

John Ward writes: Re. Last minute voting. When Jack Lang was rejected by the electorate in the 1930’s, he spoke at a rally on the following day at the Domain behind the NSW Parliament House. Some way through the proceedings a voice from the crowd cried out “Give us guns Jack, give us guns” he replied “I gave you pencils yesterday, and you did not know how to use them”!

Misuse of taxpayers’ money:

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re. “Alan Moran: Misuse of taxpayers’ money for electoral advantage is criminal” (yesterday, item 5). Comrade Alan Moran’s, Director of the Deregulation Unit at the Institute of Public Affairs article, was an excellent article but… he now has to go on and comment on the whole question of business welfare and the cost to the community or will that lead to a drying up of corporate donations to the IPA?

Admiring John Howard:

Frank Golding writes: Re. “Errington: Five things to admire about the PM” (yesterday, item 11). Whatever could Wayne Errington have been thinking of when he described immigration as one of the five things to admire about John Howard? Children in detention? Real Australians in detention? Sri Lankans on Nauru? Successive bungling Ministers? A Department out of control? 457 visa scams? Christmas Island white elephant? Africans excluded on racist grounds? Immigration might be Howard’s “dog that didn’t bark”, but it sure knows how to whistle.

Universities and pork:

Damian Leach writes: Re. “Universities and pork: Has the Coalition played favourites?” (Yesterday, item 14). Curtin University is actually in the marginal ALP seat of Swan held by Kim Wilkie not the safe Liberal seat of Pearce held by Judi Moylan.

A selfish society:

Nathan Johnson writes: Re. “Essay: Whatever happened to moral leadership?” (Yesterday, item 6). Denis Muller’s item hits the spot. My jerk of a neighbour, who lives directly opposite our house on the other side of the street recently called the fire brigade when he noticed that our visitors car (parked out the front of his house in the street), started to slowly and sparingly drip petrol from the petrol cap (the tank was a little overfilled). Any decent and neighbourly Australian would have simply knocked on my front door, said “G’Day” and pointed this out to me. I would have got some sand or dirt to soak it up off the road and moved the car. No, not this bloke. “Less practised in the social bonding” and “Self centered” as Muller beautifully describes. This bloke showed no “self reliance” in this instance. P.S The fire brigade had a good laugh, as did I.

Howard, Costello and Today Tonight

Mark Hipgrave writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. I couldn’t believe it but Anna Coren could’ve/should’ve but didn’t ask the most obvious question on Monday night: “Why, if they are such good mates, and their working relationship is like an enduring marriage, haven’t the Howard’s asked the Costello’s over for a meal, a BBQ or even just a few beers and a pizza to watch the State of Origin at least once in the past ten years?” Maybe this question was off-limits?

John Mair writes: Have to say one thing about your editorial comment on the subject today: I would call it the acne of commercial current affairs rather than acme.

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