Philip Ruddock:

Katherine Stuart writes: Re. Yesterday’s Editorial. Crikey wrote: “The Howard Government ruthlessly exploited mandatory detention as a critical component in its campaign to secure political advantage by exploiting anti-immigrant sentiment. Its efforts to exploit and demonise asylum seekers (legitimate and otherwise) were unremitting. In doing so, it locked up children, who suffered serious psychological injury from the process of incarceration.” It’s worthwhile remembering that political advantage could only be gained from this because of the attitudes (or perceived attitudes) of the Australian voting public at the time.

Andrew Lewis writes: Kudos to the author of yesterday’s editorial. Indeed Philip Ruddock should feel regret for locking up children in detention centres, but it’s all too late now. Our national character is stained by the period. The team, who wrapped themselves in the Aussie ethic of the fair go, displayed the most appalling cynicism in public policy — I won’t forget.

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Peter Costello:

David Hand writes: Re. “The Costello Memoir Part 1: the last Howard Budget” (yesterday, item 1). Your relentless pursuit of Coalition ex-ministers as typified by yesterday’s piece on Philip Ruddock, followed by that stupid inane and unfunny “excerpt” of Costello, makes you look more and more like a juvenile leftie student blog rather than an alternative media organisation that wants to be taken seriously. I subscribe to Crikey as a way of supporting alternative media channels against a concentration of a few powerful moguls. My politics are right of centre and I accept that some of your writers, your editor for sure and many of your readers are left of centre. But come on guys, surely you’re not going to inflict “he’s whiny, he’s sneaky, he’s smirky, he’s got no balls, he’s got no ticker” joke send ups as item one all the way through to the Costello memoir release? Please no. Even the latte sippers among you will get bored eventually. Or are you really that scared of him?

Beryl Permewan writes: You lot are so anti Peter Costello it boggles the mind that you could consider yourselves objective journalists!

The Olympics:

Christian Kent writes: Re. “Memo China: this is bordering on the tragic” (yesterday, item 9). There’s was a lot of confected outrage yesterday about the generated video sequence inserted into the Opening Ceremony telecast last Friday. The footage of the fireworks across the city, tracked by a helicopter, was clearly designed to be nothing more than a fancy piece of title sequence leading up to the main action, since it quite visibly had only 25 frames per second, betraying its computer generation, unlike the 50 fields per second from all the live cameras. This was just an obvious artistic augmentation by the TV directors and wasn’t meant to fool the world into thinking Beijing had choreographed a long set of fireworks with a helicopter and a live broadcast.

Eugene Wong writes: Re. “Spinwatch: China is grinding the life out of the Olympics” (yesterday, item 10). Just writing in relation to the articles by Charles Happell and Trevor Cook on the tone-deaf and joyless spirit of the Beijing Olympics. I completely agree with both authors, but we must remember that there are two agendas at play: international and domestic. In the CCP’s ideal (and doubtless tightly controlled) reality, the Beijing Games would be acknowledged by the developed world as China’s coming of age — but even if they fail in this regard, the CCP will be more than satisfied with pictures of assembled crowds throughout the mainland waving PRC flags and cheering with nationalistic fervour every time a Chinese competitor medals.

Mitchell Holmes writes: Re. “Coles and Red Rooster lead Olympics cash in” (Tuesday, item 17). Here in Cairns, in addition to the advertising spots for Coles, KMart and Red Rooster, we have been returned to the Olympic coverage with messages like, “This Seven Olympic coverage is brought to you by… (Coles, Kmart or Red Rooster)” with the appropriate company slide on the screen. If Channel Seven is the official Olympic TV broadcaster in Australia, are they not in league with these non-Olympic sponsors in the “ambush”? Channel Seven certainly has the power to accept or refuse the advertising. I would think that the AOC/IOC may have more of an issue with Channel Seven in its failure to “protect” official Olympic sponsors.

Xenophon and Fuelwatch:

Alan Kennedy writes: Re. “Xenophon flip flops on Fuelwatch” (yesterday, item 12). Bernard Keane speculates on Nick Xenophon filling a vacuum in the Senate. After listening to Xenophon and detecting no signs of intelligible life is this the first time a vacuum has filled a vacuum? After a few months of Nick I predict even the Libs will be screaming for a double dissolution.

The ABC:

Adam Schwab writes: Karen Ingram (yesterday, comments) claimed that “the ABC has as much right as any other media organisation to defend its copyright, and I’ve no doubt Crikey would do the same in a similar situation. Being the national broadcaster doesn’t mean the ABC should have to surrender its copyright so that another party — this time Crikey — can show ABC footage, without paying usage fees.” Comparing ABC to Crikey is absurd. The ABC is owned by all Australians, otherwise known as the taxpayers who fund its operation. Why would it waste money to prevent the Australian public (i.e. those very taxpayers) from viewing its content? Crikey by contrast is a private enterprise owned by shareholders — it is not funded by the taxpayer. The ABC’s role is to produce content — how Australian taxpayers view that content should be of no concern. Instead of wasting money on lawyers, perhaps it should be concentrating on producing entertainment and news services.

David Lenihan writes: Re. “Crikey vs. the ABC” (yesterday, comments). If anyone still seriously thinks the ABC is a non commercial organisation, they are in lala land. It’s time the obvious was stated and the pretence ended. No one is fooling anyone.

Dick Pratt:

John Richardson writes: Re. “Pratt has more than one avenue to legal safety” (yesterday, item 25). I’m somewhat bemused by Robert Richter’s assertion that poor Dick Pratt was “entrapped” by the ACCC and that he is somehow the defenceless victim of “a serious and egregious abuse of process”. Richter’s pleadings seem like an apt description of what Pratt acknowledged having done to all Australians when he plead guilty in response to the ACCC’s cartel action, with the resultant $35million fine being very small change indeed alongside his $5billion plus fortune. Whilst a majority of Australians have grown cynical over the years on a diet of botched investigations, phoney enquiries, rigged commissions and theatrical courtroom charades, the irony is that the jury of public opinion usually reaches a more just and timely verdict well ahead of those actually charged with that responsibility. In the words of Balzac: “Behind every great fortune, there lies a great crime.”

Of science and corn chips:

Matt Hardin writes: Mike Smith (yesterday, comments) is correct, science is about floating theories and these deserve reasoned comment but crucially these theories need to take into account all of the facts and show some understanding of the physics. The Crikey tip on vents implied that they were directly under the Arctic and melting the ice, investigation of the cited research (as used as evidence by the contributor) showed that they weren’t and this was pointed out. Heat moving to the surface as a result of the gradual cooling of the Earth has occurred since the Earth formed. Ultimately, of course, the energy from all of these vents and volcanoes will be moved by convection across all of the oceans and the whole planet. A quick look at the literature gives figures from 10-60 milliwatts per square metre for volcanic energy (averaged across the whole planet). The energy from the sun is on average 1.3 kilowatts per square metre or about 20 000 times more energy. Carbon dioxide presently accounts for about 1.5 watts per square metre of warming, about 100 times the energy from volcanism. It is probably safe to neglect volcanism as a major source of energy for climate change. People who write in tips that are thermodynamically equivalent to saying the moon is made of green cheese add nothing to the debate and make people who have bothered to check the numbers cranky.

Julian Gillespie writes: Crikey! In these environmentally sensitive times when every corporate citizen is meant to be reducing their carbon footprint, can someone please tell the makers of potato chips (and corn chips, Twisties etc) that they should once and for all give-up selling us bags of chips that are only half filled — I’m sure that honest packaging will reduce their carbon footprint, save them nearly half the cost on their packaging, reduce their contribution to garbage waste and land-fill by nearly half, and free up valuable shelf space for supermarkets (which is particularly important since supermarkets started shrinking a number of years ago) — so to all of you makers of potato chips (and corn chips, Twisties etc) can we please just have the chips and no more packets of thin air?


David Wootton writes: Re. “Media briefs: Live streaming shmeaming, news according to Rooters” (yesterday, item 21). I have recently bought an apartment in Glen Iris, a relatively inner city suburb of Melbourne. Optus were unable to provide me with a fixed line home phone, ADSL or cable internet, nor Foxtel HD. I work with someone who lives in the same block who does have Optus fixed line home phone and ADSL connected. I queried Optus on three separate occasions and never received a full answer, but the most plausible was that they were unable to get new lines from the Telstra controlled exchanges. So I am now the proud new owner of a Telstra home phone line, a Bigpond cable internet connection and Foxtel HD. Why? Because I had no choice. I have been an Optus mobile phone customer for 11 years and been reasonably happy, if only Telstra now offered me a decent incentive to change that also I probably would (but having just signed a new 24 month contract with Optus for an iPhone, it won’t be soon). Five million customers migrating, Sol? Should not be too hard if my experience is anything to go by.

Epic fail:

Gabriel McGrath writes: Re. “Corruption, autocracy and democracy. Again. Again.” (Yesterday, item 18). What? I kept re-reading each paragraph of Guy Rundle’s piece… in case there was some point – or a clear joke – somewhere. Nope. “Epic fail”.

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