The Crikey F-ckability Index:

Jenny Morris writes: Re. “The Crikey F-ckability Index: We rate TV people on the Westacott scale” (yesterday, item 4). What are you people on? Tony Jones gets two stars, Ian Henderson three and Kerry O’Brien four? I demand a recount. If only Tony made Lateline house calls… sigh.

Fi McClintock writes: Oh dear – have the good people in WA been left off again? What about Alicia Gorey – she is the drop dead gorgeous (according to my son) newsreader at the ABC in Perth. Russell Wolf is the weatherman at the ABC and both my girls think he is very cute and cuddly.

Steven Stanley writes: Where the hell was Lateline Business’ Ali Moore? More of Moore I say! And what about Emma Alberici? Both very attractive women with business smarts to boot – nothing I enjoy more than watching Ali nail some squirming Exec with tough questions who, despite being a hard businessman, has nothing to offer in the face of her smiling charm. You can tell they enjoy it too, lucky bastards… even Gerry Harvey cracked half a smile once… Once. Love your work.

Evan Willis writes: How could you have missed Tom Petrovski, the cyborg from the planet Commsec with the Lego soldier hair?

Samantha Palmer writes: Spare a thought for those who want to scroll past the high school humour – please choose a smaller image in future for rating scales.

Centro and chief executive bonuses:

Steve Martin writes: Re. “Centro fails on continuous disclosure and debt disclosure” (yesterday, item 1). We have been told that the huge salaries and bonuses that have become the norm in recent years for chief executives are the result of market forces and competition for outstanding talent. The present problems stemming from the US sub-prime fiasco give the lie to this nonsense.

The credit crunch fallout:

Cathy Bannister writes: Re. “From Kevin07 to Kevin recession?” (Yesterday, item 9). Max Walsh has worn an “end-is-nigh” sign since roughly 2001 when it became fairly clear to anyone with half a brain that credit was too cheap and that a crunch must be due sometime. Peter Costello predicted a potential housing crash in the lead up to the 2004 election, and an economic downturn in the lead-up to this year’s election. Whenever he did so, he was both off-hand and quiet enough not to scare the horses. If and when the sky does eventually fall, he will be able to refer back to his predictions, gloat and snatch the Liberal leadership, and then go to the following election looking shiny while Labor is weak, despite the fact that Costello’s own management help fuel the fire. If Labor is to counter this, they need to immediately pin the economic condition on the Howard government, citing extravagance, laziness and complacency, and emphasising the role of Costello himself. They have to mention every instance where the previous government encouraged spending and borrowing, especially the tax cuts and the First Home Owners’ Allowance, which surely was almost criminal in a housing boom. Whether or not there is a recession or worse, Swan and Rudd must forget this conciliatory stuff and stomp on the Howard economic legacy fast. Given the unprofessional way Howard and Costello ran the joint, it would be well deserved.

Noel Pearson:

Vincent Burke writes: Re. “Time for Noel Pearson to tone down the rhetoric” (yesterday, item 15). Thank you, Alex Mitchell, for your comment about Noel Pearson. For several years, I was impressed with his “we need to sort ourselves out” approach to indigenous affairs. I respected his courage in telling some home truths, but he lost me along the way over the last year or so. I was appalled by his self-serving association with Brough and Howard and his bucketing of Rudd. I now classify him with his equally pompous namesake on The Australian, Pope Christopher. Now, I rarely read beyond the headline of either of their weekly articles.

Chris Hunter writes: Alex Mitchell is caught in a similar trap. Yes, Noel’s quick-draw-metaphor argument has many admirers. Over the years he has been a stunning rhetorician, a craftsman, stylish without losing the plot. But, like Alex Mitchell’s critique, the whole pain industry thing has worn thin. Words will not save aboriginal Australia, even if uttered in great eloquence, or screamed in anguish. The only way out of the trap is for non-indigenous Australians to let go. To get over being the miserly, rabid, control freaks that we obviously are. Every non-aboriginal has a theory about what to do with the blacks. Ask about, ideas abound. Only aboriginal Australia should control and develop aboriginal Australia. Some of the vast wealth that has been stolen from them over the years should be returned to facilitate this “new” autonomy. Why are we all so afraid? Noel Peason is just one of many proven aboriginal leaders. And who are we anyway?

Flint and Bali:

Richard McGuire writes: David Flint has certainly copped some bagging for his demolition attempt on the Bali climate change conference (yesterday, comments). Bagging Flint is the easy bit. More difficult is taking on the recalcitrant rump of contrarian scientists, some of whom tried to gate crash the Bali meeting. A letter signed by 103 of them addressed to the UN Secretary General, raised the following points, “the climate change occurring is natural and we must adapt to it”, “CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change”, “there has been no net global warming since 1998”, and “it is irrational to apply the precautionary principle”. Believe it or not, many of the scientists who put their name to this letter hold prestigious positions in areas like earth sciences and physics, in universities around the world. Which raises the question, what duty of care do these people have to the rest of humanity? What professional code of ethics do they operate under? The denial industry would not survive, but for these people. None of the universities these people work at would tolerate having a Holocaust Denier working in their History Department. Why do they tolerate climate change sceptics working in their Science Faculties?

Martin Gordon writes: The coverage of the Bali meeting on climate change is fading away. If the US was not there to attack I suspect some critics would need to invent the US to criticise as a distraction, because apart from the posturing very little has actually being achieved. The contribution of Al Gore at the conference is odd too, or cynical as he was part of the Clinton administration that would not sign Kyoto in the beginning. Kyoto (which took a decade to conclude) has the same faults as the Montreal protocol dealing with chloro-fluoro carbons (CFCs) in that it largely leaves out the developing world. It’s not surprising to get about 180 signatory countries when about 140 have to do precisely nothing! Kyoto will see global greenhouse emission of about three times 1990 levels in the year 2100; the only gain is a deferral of about six years in the level of emissions reached. The entire triangle of emissions growth coming from the 140 or so countries that have to do nothing. Bali does not impose any real targets on the developing world major polluters principally China. The more one reads of actual achievements the more farcical Bali appears. I would like to see a projection of greenhouse gas emissions over the next century that arises from Bali; I suspect that the projections have not changed much at all. When in 2012 the next climate change regime comes into operation, the more apparent this failing may be.

Maxine and Bennelong:

Peter Hill writes: Re. “Maxine may be special, but her victory wasn’t” (yesterday, item 13). All this talk about swings, roundabouts, whatever, reminds me of Disraeli’s third kind of lie – statistics. Here’s another two numbers, which, like talking about swings, are entirely without context. They just happen to be true. First, Howard received more formal primary votes (39,551) than McKew (39,408). Surprised? I was. Whose preferences won it for McKew, that’s what I wanna know. Alas, the full distribution of preferences for Bennelong are not final, but I would guess McKew owes a favour or two to Peter Lindsay. Second, despite obtaining fewer votes than Howard, McKew obtained 16.18% more formal primary votes than the Labor candidate for Bennelong in the previous Federal election. That’s pretty good as a stat too, but … meaning what? The Bennelong enrolment was 97,573. Compare this with the enrolment figure in December 2005 before the redistribution: 85,444. So, for an electorate with 14.2% more enrolled voters than before, what does a swing of 5.53% actually mean, if anything? Indeed, if the new part of the electorate was carved out of a Labor-held one (was it?) was there indeed a swing to be swung? But wait, there’s more pesky stats. Of those 97,573 eligible voters, a staggering (to me) 10.9% either did not vote (4,873 voters) or did vote but not correctly (5,764). Then I skimmed across other electorate results and 10% seems about average. But what I’d really like to find out is the comparison with the Bennelong voting results from the last election. Was the protest vote then and there against all politicians higher or lower? After all, Bennelong endured a 6 month campaign, not a 6 week one. Those and a raft of similarly singular statistics all primed for being take out of context, can be found on the AEC website. Swing away!

Rudd and Hicks:

David Nolan writes: When I read, Fran Harris (yesterday, comments) and her remarks regarding “Rudd takes the cowardly way out on Hicks control order” (Monday, item 13), I called my wife to the screen and asked her if I had changed in any way that she noticed. Ms Harris’ words were so like my own that we both had another drink, and were amazed. More power to you, Ms Harris, and shame on Rudd’s start in government.

NSW transport:

Niall Clugston writes: Matthew Weston and Tom McLoughlin (yesterday, comments) exemplify the point I made about the transport debate. I never defended the NSW government, but I did suggest community groups need to take responsibility too. This, for them, is unthinkable. At least McLoughlin acknowledges the role of community movements in stalling projects, but he says in the case of the Bondi link the protesters were absolutely right and in the case of the Lane Cove tunnel they were just a ‘narrow splinter’. Either way, it’s the government’s fault. Both Weston and McLoughlin heap all the blame on Carr and Iemma, ignoring the preceding thirty years of governments which did nothing about rail. But why would a government do anything? All these criticisms and protests come from governments trying to do something! The same applies to Sydney’s second airport…

Andrew Scott:

Patrick O’Sullivan writes: Re. “From Yannon, to meat deals – meet the Scott brothers” (yesterday, item 2). I think you will find that your statement that Andrew Scott of Centro is the brother of Peter Scott of Coles is seriously incorrect. Although they both worked at CML they are not brothers. Peter Scott did have a brother at CML but not Andrew. His brother was also in supermarkets.

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