Fairfax:

David Mackay writes: Re. “Symeing off: Fairfax finally merges its Canberra bureaux” (yesterday, item 21). In Don Churchill’s memo on the merging of the Fairfax Bureaux, there’s a glimpse of why Fairfax’s web presences are struggling — he appears not to be familiar with most of his URLs.

smh.com, for example, is not the Sydney Morning Herald but instead the Sarasota Memorial Hospital; age.com.au is a domain name registrar; and age.com is a squatter site peddling “ageing resources”.

Not a good look, really, and hardly a demonstration of his familiarity with the online part of the business…

Kim Lockwood writes: Much has been made of the Fairfax board’s lack of expertise — or even interest — in newspapers and journalism, but I don’t recall anyone remarking on which century they live in. Not the 21st, no, but not even the 20th. Did you read the revered Mr Don Churchill’s memo to staff yesterday? If so, did you notice “bureaux”? (How could you not?)

I look forward to future examples: tableaux, aviatrix, typiste, formulae, aquaria…

The Costello/First Dog conspiracy:

Jackie French writes: Re. “First Dog on the Moon” (Monday, item 7). Was First Dog on the Moon’s “Oh No Not Costello” cartoon personally responsible for tipping Costello’s towards resignation? Cartoon emerges at 1.25pm on Monday. Costello’s resignation: 1.40pm…

Journalism in a Twitter:

Justin Templer writes: Re. “The revolution will not be televised — it will be twittered” (yesterday, item 15). Your radical idea of reproducing lists of tweets covering complex subjects is ground-breaking.

I have avoided wading through column inches of turgid analysis by simply reading Crikey’s incisive tweet-analysis — examples:

azarnoush[Shiraz] I am hearing people shouting from their roofs: “Allaho Akbar”, “Down with Dictator”. It’s 22:45. #iranelection

azarnoushMy 6 years old girl is singing ” AhmadiNejad give our votes back” 🙂 #iranelection

[email protected] No Arabik. I also know that they come question me after this. 🙂

No wonder newspapers are dying.

Personal bankruptcies:

Julian Gillespie writes: Re. “Good news, bad news, but IMF takes a sober line on the US” (yesterday, item 26). The doom and gloomers have been forecasting the follow-on bust in the US credit card market for some time ever since the sub-primers hit the wall back in 2007.

On Monday, Capital One — a Fortune 500 company and the US’s largest mass marketer and provider of credit cards, auto loans and saving products (“your credit approved in 15 minutes!”) — announced a company record of a 9.91% charge-off rate — a 20% increase over the last 12 weeks.

In lay speak that 9.91% figure represents credit card holders who over the last 12 weeks couldn’t meet their repayments that Capital One have written-off completely, and where Capital One will be actively pursuing each and everyone of them into bankruptcy.

With personal bankruptcies in the US rising to record levels, one has to ask how these same credit card and consumer loan companies hope to grant credit to consumers in later boom years (some day) when they concertedly ensure their customers receive bad credit reports by bankrupting them today?

All very twisted when one notes that Capital One was also a US government bailout recipient, pocketing over US$3.5 billion of taxpayer (their own customers’) money.

Jumps racing:

Sandra Jorgensen writes: Re. “Jumps racing resumes so where’s the high horse?” (Monday, item 25). I’ll tell you where the high horse is Ralph Horowitz; it’s the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the legislation that is the rock we stand on as a society to control our immoral behaviour. I suggest Ralph gets a copy of the Victorian Act and learns what the definition of cruelty is — it is alarmingly broad which is why jumps racing is banned under the New South Wales Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

The Senate Select Committee into aspects of animal cruelty in the racing industry in 1991 recommended in its report that jumps racing be phased out by relevant State governments over the next three years because “there is an inherent conflict between these activities and animal welfare”. Unlike Racing Victoria Limited which has a vested interest in continuing jumps racing, the Senate Select Committee was unbiased, democratic and thorough in its process before it reached this decision.

There may have been no further deaths in public since Warrnambool, but there has still been plenty of cruelty suffered by jumps horses. On Saturday alone, Pentiffic, through no fault of his own, catapulted his rider into the air when he clipped the heels of the horse in front, who appeared to make a faulty jump, hit his nose on the ground and came back to the enclosure with blood in both nostrils.

Wheel the Lead crashed heavily head first into the ground when he fell at a hurdle then crashed and fell to the ground again when he collided with the wing of the last fence while riderless. I suppose innocent animals who have never given their consent to participate, smashing themselves into obstacles is compelling entertainment is it Ralph? Only for sadists! Brookton Mist came back to the enclosure bleeding from either the mouth or nose or both and sprayed blood all over his strapper.

Mazzacano might have got around in one piece but he very nearly dumped his rider, sheer luck that he won the race.

Joan Hazelhurst writes: To suggest that jumps racing should be tolerated because there are far worse practices happening (e.g. the process in knackeries) is missing the point. What degree of cruelty is acceptable? We are fighting all cruelty — and jumps racing certainly comes under that banner.

Gerard Henderson:

Mike Carlton writes: Was my email system going nuts, or did I actually read yesterday that you intend to inflict Gerard Henderson’s barmy media rant on Crikey subscribers? Please, say it ain’t so.

The man is a self-lubricating prat, obsessed by fantasies of a hydra-headed left-wing conspiracy seething in the bosom of the ABC. It’s the same old stuff over and over and over, tedium ad nauseum.

If you do insist on foisting this tripe on your punters you should, for reasons of probity, require Henderson to reveal who finances his silly little “Sydney Institute”.

Bet you he won’t, though.

Peter Fray

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