The economy vs. the environment:

D. John Hunwick writes: Re. “Drive your car, buy a new TV, save the planet” (Friday, item 6). The problem with the short-term preoccupation of the economy at the expense of the environment is that the climate change effects are not something that should be tackled over 100 years but immediately. The message from IPCC scientists and Ross Garnaut is that all modelling of climate change have UNDER-estimated the rate of CO2 in the atmosphere. The real fear – held by Biologists (and not so much by climatologists because of their background) is that there are “tripping” points out there that are starting to take effect and others about to be triggered. The combined effect will be BIOLOGICAL changes that will shatter ecosystems, their services, and human health and food production will rapidly spin out of control. That will happen at such a rate that no matter how much money is thrown at it, or how we figure the new economy, or rearrange trade talks, and the sale of coal, the effects will be irreversible. That means that at last human population control will take place, the basic cause of the present situation. It is not for nothing that real experts (like Jim Hansen) has called for Australia to cease selling coal and others are predicting a gigantic crash in human numbers (eg James Lovelock). While economists dicker around wanting to get the economy right the window of opportunity for real action to prevent irreversible damage is rapidly closing because they stupidly think we have plenty of time left – silly buggers.

NSW power privatisation an environmental disaster:

Ally Hauptmann-Gurski writes: Re. “NSW power privatisation” (1 May, comments). Crikey, I have to disagree. Any level of electricity privatisation in NSW is a disaster on the greenhouse front. The purchasers will obviously want to get a return on the billions they have expended and will stifle every innovation which could jeopardise that. Consumers will have to pay for carbon taxes and/or those billion dollar pipelines for carbon capture, while the introduction of hydrogen fuel cells which will deliver greenhouse gas free energy for households and vehicles will be lobbied against. Most of the electricity generating and the grid could very well become obsolete, even the retailing. The proposal by the University of NSW that every house can have solar driven hydrogen cells for their complete energy needs will render much of the infrastructure obsolete, but of course once everything is sold, the NSW government will be of help by not licensing fuel cells! The sell-off is ideology of old, although the requirement for privatisation can be fulfilled by letting householders produce their own energy. Surely they can put enough taxes on the fuel cells to make up for the tax shortfall from large scale energy generating?

Klaas Woldring writes: The NSW ALP Conference result suggests a major upheaval in Australian politics. Hooray, about time! The conservative media have tended to portray union leader John Robertson and the over 700 conference voters against power privatisation as yesteryear’s behaviour by “class warriors”. In reality this is a minor factor. There are very convincing economic and environmental reasons why the power industry should not be privatised. It is not just that the cost of electricity would go up, there are many other problems. The NSW Government’s argument that it should be sold to balance its books and provide money for several undoubtedly essential public services is inadequate to override the case against privatisation. Particularly at this juncture we should again reflect on the gross fiscal imbalance between federal and state incomes, and responsibilities. This privatisation state issue is in fact of great national importance and should be resolved at the national level rather than at the state level. We need the federal ALP Government to come to the rescue but NOT by supporting privatisation! Wrong Kevin Rudd, what about the massive budget surplus? The federal ALP is implicated by supporting the Iemma Government with this policy. This is a disservice to the economy, environment and Australia as a whole. Replacing the dysfunctional Australian federation with a new structure of governance, as the 2020 Summit favoured, is an urgent matter indeed. This conflict hopefully results in the formation of new political party that has system change as its principal policy. The need is obvious as the old parties are prisoners of an ossified and dysfunctional system.

Chris Graham writes: Re. Friday’s editorial. Great editorial regarding Sam Newman. I’ve seen plenty of cavemen on TV, but they’re not normally wearing suits. There’s a simple solution for people sufficiently angered by Newman’s behavior (and the moronic defence of it by the other panelists). Don’t watch Channel Nine. I certainly won’t be while-ever Newman et al remains on the network.

Vanessa Jackson writes: It is a very sad indictment on the state of society in Victoria today that someone of the likes of Sam Newman can rise to a position of prominence. His attitude toward women is disgraceful and has no place in Victoria circa 2008. His locker room humour is best left there in the locker room, he certainly should not be given a forum to spread his misogynous views on national television. Channel Nine should do the decent thing and retire him, just as they did with Wayne Carey. Enough’s enough.

Willem Schultink writes: I am intrigued by the blatant hypocrisy shown by your editorial on Sam Newman. Now I have no agreement with Newman, whose behaviour I do not regard very highly at all. But his carry on is just his own provocative show persona. He is provocative and insulting just to attract attention. That’s what he’s paid to do. Much the same as some Crikey writers, such as Bernard Keane, who are simply provocative and insulting to attract attention. To shake your head and tut tut over the provocative tripe that Newman utters and them publish some of the provocative tripe that Bernard writes is sheer hypocrisy!

Peter Garrett shows them arts policy in action:

Michael Jameson writes: Re. “2020 breakaway group itching to fight Garrett” (1 May, item 2). I keep hearing that hopeful types in the arts expect Garrett to be highly supportive of public funding. “They wouldn’t cut writers centres, not with good old Pete as Minister.” Ahem. Garrett was the lead singer of a commercially successful band, and I doubt the Oils got many Australia Council grants. Even though they had/have an ideologically pure reputation, Midnight Oil didn’t play for an effete elite. On the contrary, they made music you could bang your head to at the pub, and knew that was the bit most punters wanted first, politics second. I think Pete will be comfortable occasionally reminding artists that money is a lot easier to come by when you create something people want to pay for.

US gas tax policy:

Mark Freeman writes: Re. “US08: America falls off the roof” (item 6, 1 May). Guy Rundle quoted a suggested US petrol tax holiday as being a plan to “borrow money from China and then export it to Saudi Arabia.” In keeping with this new wave of a stupidity led recovery, George W Bush announced on Friday he’ll ask Congress for an extra $750 million for food aid to cover rising prices. So then the US taxpayer will be subsidising the main immediate cause of those price increases – corn to ethanol conversion and coughing up to subsidise the affected poor. And at a dollar or so per affected person, it’ll be a drop in the bucket anyway.

Troy Buswell and snedging:

Chris Johnson writes: Re. “That Troy Buswell is an awful snedger” (1 May, item 10). So Troy “Snedger” Buswell enjoys Brendan Nelson’s confidence and full support. Can Nelson say anything sillier? At a time when he’s leading the revival of a political party annihilated at a federal poll over its unbalanced IR polices, Brendan defends and encourages a bra-snapping pooner. You could shake the living gizzards out of him, really. And the snedger’s colleague, MP Barbara Scott, similarly needs a bollocking for ignoring the plight of the humiliated staffers to bemoan “the damage to the Liberal Party”. Do these MPs have a handle on human resource management or are they still all switched off on workplace relations? Brendan are you listening?

Pattie Tancred writes : The art/sport/perversion/pastime/hobby of snedging has an honourable literary provenance. See J P Donleavy –  The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B (published 1969):

“I’ll shout for Slouch”

“Do. He will never hear you. He is sniffing bicycle seats.”

S-xualisation and advertising:

Ingrid Cattley writes: Re. “Disney’s favourite daughter is a normal teenager shock” (1 May, item 16). Here is an advertisement from the late 1970s which is grossly inappropriate by today’s standards. I’m not sure whether there has been a recent increase in s-xualising of young girls in the media or whether community standards have risen and we are quicker to notice this kind of thing. Anyway, this image was perfectly acceptable to the print media 30 years ago.

There was a PM..:

Robin Wingrove writes: Re. Crikey’s subject line. I just love your message headers. This week’s compilation is a cracker.

There was a PM from Nambour
Whose fondness for cliché inspired awe
When he spoke on grog
The grammatical fog
Drove the kids to the fridge for one more

Just priceless.

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