Kindle winners:

Crikey writes: As if a subscription to Crikey isn’t inherently valuable enough, there’s a reasonable chance you could pick up your very own Amazon Kindle 3G+Wi-Fi, too. We’re giving away 10 over the next 10 days. Tuesday’s winner is David Duncan — congratulations. Eight to go — get your entry in today.

Asylum seekers: the solution

John Blakefield writes: Re. “More sloppy thinking on asylum seekers” (Monday, item 2) It seems to me the crucial underlying issue to the debate about offshore “handling of refugees/asylum seekers/illegal arrivals” is that all parties want to “break the business model” of the people smugglers.

It seems to me that the only sure way to do that would be to send a large cruise ship to a convenient port in Indonesia offer the people passage at the equivalent of the 10 pound Pom. The sorting of deserving and the undeserving could be done on board on the way to Darwin. No profit  for the smugglers, no danger of being drowned and Christmas Island can go back to anonymity.

Hold the applause

Gavin Greenoak writes: Re. editorial (yesterday) The journalistic coverage of politics in Australia over the past year, taken together, would surely, and not surprisingly, be quiet on the applause meter. This is echoed in the polls regarding our country’s leadership, and behind that the indecisive election results.  While there is reasonable agreement that good leadership is essential to the prosperity of any enterprise, there is at the same time agreement that we do not enjoy such leadership politically. This is to say generally that politicians in Australia are perceived to be better able at exploiting issues than resolving and directing them in constructive ways towards compelling agreements. When a business leader reminds us that this condition is not good for business, isn’t this obvious?

Fox fallouts

Michael Hughes writes: Re. “Fox News stirs for America’s next class war” (yesterday, item 2) Dick Morris has been a shill for Fox as a go-to-ex-Dem for the past 10 years … Morris famously falling out with the Clintons when they were in office (and remembering the revelation that Morris let prost-tutes listen into calls between Clinton and himself). Indeed Morris runs one of those them thar super PACs Colbert’s been making fun of and Morris is on Fox every second they will let him on so he can spruik for it. He is the ultimate rat as far as party loyalties are concerned.

And as for Fox and its mantra of class warfare, this little refrain has been happening pretty much since Obama got it. Witness the Orwellian references to the wealthy as “job creators”. Seriously, creators. As opposed to destroyers given the destruction of the middle class in the same past 10 years. It’s only going to ramp up now.

Fox is the bizarre lovechild of Ayn Rand and Jerry Falwell. Childish, tantrum prone and logic defying (taxes and regulations are what’s hurting America!). Witness Fox and Friends attack on the Obama Jobs Plan … where they actually did a bit — they think they’re funny — on the bulldog clip used to keep the plan’s pages together. Not the substance of the plan … but the physical characteristics of the plan itself.

FOX is like something from a horrid dystopian future where an aged billionaire owns much of the English speaking world’s media and has undue influence on the body politic and … oh … wait … it’s happening now.

Keep working on labour productivity

Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Australia’s OECD productivity freefall” (yesterday, item 1) Bernard Keane’s commentary on labour productivity is laboured but unproductive. So Australia’s productivity hasn’t changed in 20 years relative to other countries in the OECD (whatever that is).  And absolute productivity growth has slowed in the past decade, around the world.

But what’s the reason for this global slowdown?  An obvious explanation is that the early ’90s recession ushered in a decade of labour productivity growth.  Businesses that had laid off workers resisted rehiring, trying to do more with less.  The recession due in the early noughties failed to register, apart from a few spectacular corporate collapses (Enron etc).  Hence there was a decade of relative prosperity and high employment — and low productivity.

The good news is this teeny recession is a real big one.  Businesses globally who downsize now are likely to stay trim and taut even when markets recover.  The bad news is Australia might miss out on this bonanza of misery if it continues its recalcitrant prosperity.  And you know what this would mean?  That’s right.  The horror of horrors: a lower OECD ranking!

Partisan media

Ian McKendry writes: The comments (yesterday),  concerning “Partisan Media” reminded me of a recent frustration with the ABC — specifically the ABC’s great iView service.  I was in the US and attempted to watch an episode of Judith Lucy in iView, but was frustrated by the message that this was not possible due to copyright restrictions.

Sort of misses a major point of such a service: allowing travelling Australians to keep up with favourite ABC shows.

I wrote to the ABC, suggesting that this was overkill; the baleful influence of IP lawyers destroying yet another aspect of our interconnected world.  I concluded by pleading with the ABC to tell the lawyers to take a walk on this matter and to please provide a full service to travelling Australians.

Matthew Galvin for ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs replied a while later:

Thank you for your email regarding accessing ABC programs overseas.

As you are aware, iView is not available for people located outside of Australia. This is due to programming rights management, which prevent us from making this content available in markets other than Australia.

I am sorry that I do not have better news on this occasion. Thank you for taking the time to write to the ABC.

Pretty blanket restriction.  Surely some work-around — pre-registration of a computer perhaps?– is possible?

Rundle versus Slattery

Zachary King writes: I do love these little journo v journo spats, I really do (Luke Slattery, comments, yesterday).  I can’t decide whether journos really are so incredibly self-absorbed and filled with the grandiose self-importance of their work, or it’s just that they have the ability to express it, but I don’t really care.  It’s always so very entertaining.

As bright as bright can be

Kim Lockwood writes: Re. “Power Shots” (yesterday, item 14) “Rudd’s happy little jar of Vegemite baffles the world”. And, as the paragraph said, it has attracted a lot of attention from the American media. Well, of course it has. They own it. (Kraft.)

Matthew Powell writes: I write regarding today’s article, Rudd’s happy little jar of Vegemite baffles the world. Please see attached Venn diagram … it speaks a thousand black, greasy, salty, repulsive words.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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