Don Murchland, Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs Manager, Futuris Corporation Limited, writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (Friday, item 8). Crikey, whoever provided the tip regarding the “new Futuris boss sacks 400…” could have done a little simple fact checking before they published this alarming but completely unfounded rumour. First, there is no new Futuris boss. Les Wozniczka, the company’s CEO has resigned effective upon the appointment of a successor. However the recruitment process is still in progress and Les remains Futuris CEO, a position he has held since 2003. Second, there are not 400 jobs going at Futuris. We can only imagine your tipster might have heard something related to the Elders Rural Services restructuring program under new boss Mike Guerin. However even then Mike’s program involves the creation of approximately 100 rural and regional Australia management positions to replace the approximately 100 State capital city positions that are being relocated to 20 new regional offices around the country as Elders moves its management decision making closer to its customers.

The Olympics:

Les Heimann writes: Re. Friday’s Editorial. Too right! When we don’t win, or at least die trying, it’s just not good enough. Spend more money, do something — just give us our pride. Allow us to swill our beer and chew our peanuts whilst gazing fixedly at our plasmas. SBS have allowed me to catch up with some great coverage of handball and soccer played by countries about as relevant to Australia as Jupiter’s 5th moon…

Helen Ellis writes: Well I am one person in all the millions who watched nothing, except what was force-fed during news bulletins, during the Olympics. God, it’s been so boring! Well I watched the opening ceremony which at least was a spectacle, albeit a cold, anally perfect one. Where was the hype? The catchy jingle? The happy crowds partying? I don’t care who got eleven thousand medals or whether they were gold, orange or puce. I don’t watch Channel Seven so thank you ABC and the wonderful showing of Keating — the Musical the other night. Fabulous.

Ken Lambert writes: Its 9.30pm on Friday and Seven’s Olympic coverage has had softball on for the past 30 minutes. Softball — SOFTBALL! In prime time! No track and field highlights for those who work during the day and go to bed before midnight. No pole vaulting, high jump, long jump, discus, hammer throw, javelin — the traditional Olympic field events — just softball! Seven wins the gold for the worst Olympic coverage on record — a Kochie, Mel and Sonia style insult to Olympic sports lover who wants to see the best field sports once every four years.

Phil Amos writes: I’m watching Channel Seven’s late Saturday afternoon coverage of the games (around 5:30pm). Presumably the games are continuing, although Seven’s coverage is a curious mix of replays of last nights sprinting and Steve Hooker’s gold medal pole vaulting. So much so it actually threw me when Seven inserted live coverage of the gold medal winning K1 500 paddle of Ken Wallace into the never ending replays. But the “play of the day” has to be Seven’s replay of Steve Hooker on Yum Cha which featured Steve Hooker watching a replay of his own winning pole vault — a replay of a bloke watching a replay of himself winning a gold medal! Seven’s coverage has finally disappeared up its own (Olympic) ring!

John Parkes writes: Julian Gillespie (Friday, comments) and New Scientist magazine suggested one reason why there may have been a lot of records established in the swimming at this year’s Olympic Games. Some years ago on ABC TV’s The Games they put up the story line that their 100 metre track, for political and commercial reasons, was in fact only 90 metres long — but the 200 metres was a different track so that was really 200 metres. A joke perhaps, but did they hit on something without knowing it? I know it sounds like a silly question, but has anyone actually run a tape measure over the various pools, tracks etc.? If your answer is “yes, of course they have been checked” please name the person who actually held the tape.

Joe Biden:

Martin Gordon writes: Re. “Rundle08: Agonisingly slow, boring VP striptease continues…” (Friday, item 3). No doubt the media will be full of US Democrat Party convention coverage for the next week or more. No doubt there will be blow by blow focus on opinion polls which always show a bounce for whoever is running their convention at that time. The Republicans will have the same bounce in the coming weeks too.

Joe Biden at age 65 is experienced (a Senator since 1972, but has had health problems), but of virtually every polar opposite position to Obama within his party. His criticisms of Obama when he ran for President in 2007 will no doubt be seen regularly on McCain ads. He has foreign policy experience but is from the tiny state of Delaware so does not draw votes to them as a team. He has also made quite flattering comments on John McCain.

If we do have President Obama, let’s hope Biden can talk him out of these silly protectionist impulses which would adversely affect Australia. For Obama with little experience he may seem sound choice, but all younger US Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Ulysses Grant all were in varying combinations either former governors or had substantial military backgrounds. Obama is quite light on having neither or any real legislative experience but is a gifted orator. The question is whether Biden might expose rather than compensate for these weaknesses?


Chris Johnson writes: Re. “Costellogists mull over latest non development” (Friday, item 11). All too baffling why the Liberal Party wants to resurrect Prince Peter of Malvern. He’s a past Treasurer, with a now marginal seat whose benched himself in a fit of the piques to publish his memoirs. That’s dying meteor stuff. So the natural progression is to leave him as a ghost from the past, signing books and reflecting on what might have been had the cards, the electorate even the King… been kinder.

The Prince himself has made no effort to appeal to the populace or the press with Princess Tanya only last week standing outside the palace gates to jot down names of the media rabble. All too obvious the pair thinks they’re royalty. And that’s certainly not what a modern Australia is looking for… another royal family.

NSW politics:

Barry McMillan writes: Re. “Iemma’s SOS to the NSW Opposition: Save me” (Friday, item 13). Morris Iemma is adamant that privatisation is essential to maintain our generating capacity into the future. Rather than give away our infrastructure and independence, has it occurred to Morris and his advisors, that a simple thing such as inviting potential investors to construct power stations and offering a guaranteed market and a reasonable return for each kilowatt generated could achieve the same result without selling the farm. If, after all, I can already sell excess energy generated by my solar array back to the grid, the equation should not be so difficult.

David Begg writes: Alex Mitchell wrote: “Incidentally, the recently-appointed Nationals state director is Ben Franklin, who has spent the past four years working for Country Energy, one of the power instrumentalities which is on Iemma and Costa’s chopping block.” Franklin hasn’t spent anytime over the last four years working for country energy. I appreciate that Alex Mitchell is an old styled Trot – nice to have them around still, as they can be reminded of Hungary in ’56 and Czechoslovakia in ’68 — but please let’s get a check on the facts BEFORE publishing.


Tracey Henderson writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (Friday, item 8). Crikey published a tip saying: “The moment Virgin have the US flights going, I’ll be contacting them to see if they’re interested in taking on my domestic and international custom…” Don’t get too excited about dumping Qantas when Virgin picks up the US route — I recently had to cancel a flight to Queensland and received a credit less $40 — I could only use that credit if I made the booking over the phone, and I was charged and extra $15 because I didn’t make the booking via the internet. Grrrr…

A Charities Commission:

John Goldbaum writes: Re. “Crikey Essay: Churches, tax and deniability” (Friday, item 17). Max Wallace is right to call for a Charities Commission but leveling the playing field for commercial enterprises and proper disclosure of the source and destination of charitable funds is insufficient. Australia should re-visit the Charitable Uses Act of 1601 (known as the Statute of Elizabeth) and decide afresh whether the advancement of religion should remain a charitable purpose. It is easy to see the charity involved in the alleviation of poverty and suffering but where is the charity in offering prayers and proselytising? Teaching children and natives the truth would seem more charitable.

Buckle up:

Stephen Martin writes: Re. “And the Wankley Award goes to … Killing Colin and journo hoons” (Friday, item 18). Maybe A Current Affair‘s Nick Coe should take Tracy Grimshaw’s advice, pipe down and just keep his “eyes on the road.” Wearing a seat belt might help too!

Dora the Explorer:

Ricky Bryan writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s political bite-sized meaty chunks” (Friday, item 12). Richard Farmer wrote: ” There are reports … that the media giant Viacom, in its never ending search for profits, is considering making changes to Dora the Explorer.” Mess with Dora and feel the wrath of my five year old daughter. May the Lord have mercy on their souls!


Alice Nixon writes: Re. Video of the Day (Friday, clickthroughs). An interesting coincidence or does First Dog on the Moon know his musical theatre stars? The song Popular that accompanies the closing shots of Peter Costello in Friday’s First Dog on the Moon video is sung by Kristin Chenoweth on the original Broadway soundtrack of Wicked. Ms Chenoweth also played Annabeth in the last two seasons of The West Wing where her character’s job was to make over the public images of Toby as stand-in Press Secretary and later Leo as Vice President.

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