The Dog’s Bollocks

Truth is like a dog’s bollocks – pretty obvious if you care to look.

Zimbabwe introduces $100 billion note

Zimbabwe, grappling with a record 2.2 million per cent inflation, has introduced a new 100 billion dollar bank note in a bid to tackle rampant cash shortages, the central bank has said.

Zimbabwe introduces $100 billion note – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Looks like Zimbabwe’s economic disaster may well do for Robert Mugabe what an election didn’t.

Unbelievable stupidity in the cause of personal vanity.

Filed under: Ass Hattery,

Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis – Two Men With The Blues


YouTube – Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis – Two Men With The Blues

Willie Nelson is one of the all-time old-school legends. His career took off in Nashville in the late 50s when he wrote Crazy for Patsy Cline and a string of other hits such as Elvis Presley and You Were Always on My Mind. In the mid-60s, Willie’d had enough of Nashville and left for Austin, Texas where he recorded Red Headed Stranger with his road band and established himself as one the original musical rebels and founded the genre now known as alt country. The Anti-Nashville (someone once called Garth Brooks the Anti-Hank).

At 75 years of age, he’s been on and off the road again ever since. He’s had multiple marriages and gone broke three times, but he keeps on keeping on. His Green Room habits led Melbourne Band The Dead Livers to write and record a song called I’d Love to Have a Joint with Willie which they played over the PA at one of his concerts.

I caught The Daily Planet on an urgent dash out of town today and heard Willie and Wynton Marsalis playing a live version of the Hogey Charmichael classic Startdust.

NowSure enough, in Colac, I found the CD and it’s just magic. The collaboration came about when Natalie Cole had to cancel a series of shows with Wynton’s band at the last minute and somehow Willie stepped into the breach. Willie meets N’yorlans.

One of the last of his kind and a true musical legend.

Filed under: YouTube, , , ,

Is Pell exercising his Primacy of Conscience?

In stating that he is a climate change skeptic, is Cardinal Pell exercising the Primacy of Conscience in defiance of Papal Infallibility and the authority of Benedict XVI’s warning that climate change and abuse of the environment is against God’s will?

Or is he just indulging in a bit of the old secular relativism?

Filed under: Religion, ,

Joshua: A Parable for Pell

Cardinal George PellI have been reading Joshua – A Parable for Today by Father Joseph Girzone. My son left it here on a recent visit, as is his way. It is a parable of what might happen if Jesus appeared among the residents of conservative small town America. An engaging story for anyone with theological bent. Some might say it’s a little obvious, but hey, we are talking the life of Jesus here so you can’t deviate too far from the script. And anyway it is one priest’s insight into the mores of contemporary Christianity, and as such his fictional portrayal of Joseph is both insightful and reverential.

As Joseph becomes known and loved by all the people he meets, the Catholic Bishop is Joseph’s first unpleasant run-in with clerical authority. Given the media’s current obsession with the Catholic LoveFest in Sydney at the moment, and the unfortunate profile of Cardinal Pell, tonight’s reading was serendipitous indeed.

Joshua was visibly angry. “They are not your people,” he said sharply. “They are God’s children, and as God’s children they are free.

It is shepherds like you who have stripped God’s people of the freedom and joy they should experience as the children of God and returned them to the status of slaves, no longer free to follow their own consciences, or to listen to their inner voices, or even the voice of God.

It is shepherds like you who are so taken up with your own authority that you resent people even talking to others about the things of God without your permission.

It is men like you who have destroyed the good name of Jesus’ message and have bound up people’s lives in shackles and fear of punishment, not because you care for people, but merely to protect your authority.

Jesus taught his apostles to love and to serve, but you have never loved your people because you cannot love in the normal way men love. You rule them and force them to serve you instead.”

Couldn’t have put it better myself.

Joshua: A Parable for Today

Amazon.com: Joshua: A Parable for Today: Joseph F. Girzone: Books

Filed under: Religion, , ,

Global cooling wishful thinking is melting away

Damn it! Just when Global Warming Denialists thought they getting somewhere with the global cooling theory, the polar ice caps just keep melting away.

It might be the depths of winter in Antarctica but scientists say they’re seeing more signs of global warming on the frozen continent.New satellite photos show the Wilkins Ice Shelf is even closer to breaking from the peninsula. Experts say the effects of warming there now look irreversible.

Antarctic ice shelf ‘hanging on by a thread’ – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Russia is on the hunt for a lucrative slice of the Arctic. Moscow plans to use international law to ask that a huge section of the Arctic Continental Shelf be recognised as Russian territory.

It’s the latest move in a new rush to claim the enormous natural resources believed to be under the ocean, now accessible due to the melting ice cap.

A new report by a Russian parliamentary committee says the ice cover has shrunk by almost 25 per cent since 2005.”The north in general is more sensitive to the climate changing than lower attitudes,” parliamentary committee member Yury Vorobyov said.

“So scientists, politicians and industrialists should focus their attention on climate change.”

Arctic fever: Russia races against time to stake claim – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Filed under: Environment, ,

Marohasy pwned on ‘Climate Change Delusion’

Jennifer's press photoJennifer Marohasy’s blog yesterday reported on a 17 year old male inpatient admitted to the Psychiatric Unit of the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. With an 8 month history of depression, the boy ‘had visions of apocolyptic events’ and had ‘developed the belief that, due to climate change, his own water consumption could lead within days to the deaths of millions of people through exhaustion of water supplies.’

Co-contributor Paul Biggs, who works in medical research at Birmingham University, was responsible for the post and suggested that ‘psychiatrists are treating a 17-year-old tipped over the edge by global warming fearmongers?’

I happened to be the first to comment (what else are you going to do on a wintry day during school holidays?):

Well Jennifer – this takes the cake and sets a new low for even your blog’s standards. Clearly, the 17 year old was suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Paul would have us believe that this boy’s condition was brought on by ‘global warming fearmongers’.

I’m convinced.

Of course, I was immediately taken to task for my lack of evidence about the boy’s diagnosis and for being a deluded global warming alarmist, and in manner typical of the comment threads at this site, the discussion went off all over the place.

I was challenged by one commenter as to whether I’d read the actual journal article and he ‘kindly’ provided the link. The article was a ‘pay-per-view’ which I wasn’t about to cough up for. Turns out the challenging commenter hadn’t read it either. Never mind that my objection was about the scurrilous and unscientific manner in which this story was being being used to score a cheap cynical point, not the content of the journal article.

Despite being asked, Paul didn’t post the text of the article. Eventually another commenter provided the full text which allowed me a final comment on the whole hilarious saga:

“The final diagnosis was major depressive disorder with psychotic features. ”

So the boy was having a psychotic episode…

“This case provides another fascinating illustration of the cultural and environmental specificity of manifestations of psychosis.”

And the ‘climate change delusion’ was a manifestation of the psychosis with nary a mention of causality or suggestion of a mechanism by which the psychosis resulted from being ‘tipped over the edge by global warming fearmongers?’

See first comment. QED.

It’s very rare to score a point on these kind of blogs, so in a self-congratulatory kind of way I thought I’d share the moment here.

As resident environmental skeptic for the IPA, Jennifer values ‘evidence-based’ science. In the case of Paul Biggs, she may want to exercise a little more editorial rigour. Otherwise her blog is slowly but surely descending into the realms of Bolt and Blair, complete with a handful of loyal and faithful rabid winged monkeys.

Filed under: Ass Hattery, Blogging, ,

Economic opportunity and the ETS

Spooner - The AgeMalcolm Turnbull gave a creditable performance on Lateline last night as he stabilised the Opposition’s hitherto shambolic stance on climate change and an emissions trading scheme. Turnbull has returned the Opposition to its policy stance enunciated during the death throes of the Howard government – with the caveat that they’d like to delay it another year.

Turnbull wholeheartedly endorses the need for an ETS, so the remaining quibbles concern when it should be introduced and the rate at which it kicks in once it’s started. 2012 is probably soon enough, according to Turnbull, who repeatedly reminded us that an ETS is ‘very complicated’. In other words, he is trying to buy time and concessions on behalf of the big emitters in the Australian economy. As I’ve said before, an ETS can’t be that difficult. As suggested on last night’s premiere of The Hollowmen, you can go the full policy monty in 18 months, so 2010 is definitely do-able.

The Opposition is ever keen to focus on the costs imposed by an ETS, as if there will only be negative impacts for the economy – ‘we don’t want to get too far ahead of the pack’. While details remain to seen, it is likely that the initial imposts for the individual will be in the order of a few hundred dollars a year – less than the impact of a tax cut foregone – which the electorate is largely prepared to wear, as long something is done. The biggest losers will be the extractive and fossil fuel industry Corporations, and even they will either be given generous concessions or pass the costs on to consumers wherever possible. It is this interest group that Malcolm is representing with the ‘hasten slowly’ warnings.

Yet this week’s G8 meeting gives symbolic encouragement to the notion of Global action on emission reduction. One likely outcome of the 2008 US Presidential election will be a commitment to a US ETS which will be legislated sooner rather than later, whomever wins. Last year the Global ETS market was worth about $64bn, according to the World Bank, more than doubling from $31bn in 2006. That value would soar to more than $3,000bn a year by 2020 if the US introduced carbon trading.

The world is moving closer to a global ETS. With the US on board, it will become increasingly difficult for India and China (who are both signatories to the Kyoto Agreement) not to do likewise, especially in the face of their customer economies imposing carbon tariffs on Chinese products.

So where does all this leave Australia? If there was the likelihood of a rapidly expanding global market for say, coal or iron ore, our businesses would be gearing up for it post haste, years in advance, in order to cash in on the boom. Yet the Opposition want us to drag our feet until we see what everyone else does first. At the least, there will be massive profit opportunities in the Carbon market for our market traders, but more significantly there will be a booming global market for carbon-neutral technologies (even ‘clean’ coal). Given our history of innovative invention – carbon-neutral technology is an ideal economic opportunity for Australian businesses to prosper, which might also go some way to ameliorating our worsening trade deficit.

That is the misfortune of all this dithering, dallying and delaying on behalf of the fossil industries. Australia is missing out on transformative opportunities presented by the inevitability of a global ETS. The sooner we get on with it, the better off we’ll be as a nation. We don’t hear the Liberals, the self-appointed proponents of business and the economy, talking about the opportunity costs involved in further delay.

But then again, we never were really that good at the entrepreneurial side of business – unless it involved digging stuff up, growing stuff or chopping stuff down and selling it the highest bidder with as little effort as possible. Value adding? Down-stream processing? What’s that??

Filed under: Big Picture, Economics, Environment, Politics, ,

Cherry picking with Jennifer Marohasy

You can learn all kinds of amazing scientific things at Jennifer Marohasy’s Politics and Environment Blog. Global warming alarmism is causing paranoid psychosis in our young people and water policy reform for the Murray Darling Basin isn’t going to end the drought!

Not that there really is such a thing as ‘drought’. It’s more a Cyclical Rainfall Deficiency kind of thing. We don’t really need water regulations depriving corporate cotton and rice of valuable profits and destroying the economy, we just need more rain! Not that ‘drought’ is caused by climate change or global warming, mind you, because Jennifer is always able to find modeling that shows the planet is actually cooling. In fact, we’re probably heading for an early Ice Age even as we speak.

On the other hand, any climate modelling which predicts global warming climate change is clearly flawed and treated with the contempt it deserves. And only expert climate scientists are allowed to argue the merits of the global warming case. And conversely, anyone can argue against climate science with authority, even if one isn’t a scientist at all!

Carbon emissions are of no concern. They may even help to improve agriculture in Greenland and that’s clearly a good thing. Not that the climate is actually warming, mind you, but if it were. And the world food crisis? That’s the fault of food crop demand for the biofuel industry caused by those hypocritical Greenies and their environmentally destructive hybrid vehicles. Anyway, Jennifer has a simple solution to the world food crisis. Monsanto™ GM crops! Too easy.

Jennifer reinforces her credentials as a concerned environmental scientist with regular posts about the wonderful and strange creatures found in rainforests and cute stories about endangered species. Not koalas, though. Nor polar bears, for that would suggest that the Arctic Ice cap is disappearing when actually it’s probably increasing.

After about a decade of field work, Jennifer Marohasy is now a Fellow at the IPA. Jennifer has worked for the Queensland sugar industry and Murray Irrigation Limited. She helped establish the Australian Environment Foundation – ‘a different kind of environment group in that it is evidence-based, solution focused and works from a basis that environmental protection and sustainable resource use are generally compatible.’ A quick perusal of their website includes illuminating evidence-based articles such as:

  • Feeding the world
  • Are environmentalists on the road to Damascus?
  • The Greens: illogical and treacherous
  • Fighting for Red River Gums
  • Red Gum Lock-up is not the Solution
  • Global warming zealots are stifling scientific debate
  • The Great Great Barrier Reef Swindle
  • Climate recantation: IPCC models don’t predict and are unscientific
  • High price for load of hot air – climate change hysteria is costing us billions
  • GM: debate the science not the values

Jennifer says she is motivated by her interest in the environment – ‘how it can be farmed, mined and harvested for food, fibre, timber, minerals and energy and also how wildlife and wilderness areas can best be protected.’

Given that her employer, the conservative (but not Right Wing) Liberal Party thinktank, the Institute of Public Affairs receives funding from special interest groups, including Murray Irrigation Limited, Visyboard, Telstra, Western Mining, BHP Billiton, the tobacco industry, Gunns Limited and Monsanto, I suspect she came in through the Overton window.

Ok that’s my annual Jennifer Marohasy (Mahr oh hassee – the first ‘a’ is long and the second ‘a’ is short) rant. I will try not to read anymore of this dissembling pseudoscientific nonsense. I promise…

Filed under: Ass Hattery, Environment, Politics, ,

Free trade failure

Spooner's ViewFrom the early 1970s until now, we have participated in an economic experiment that was intended to create an international economy without barriers, says Martin Feils. Apparently it’s not working. Who would have thought that selling agricultural produce and raw materials to the rest of the world, and buying back their manufactured goods on credit wasn’t a sustainable or viable economic strategy?

It is instructive to read the dialectic of the past 30 years. We were to create internationally competitive, outward-looking industries. The winners Garnaut picked in 1988 were sustained export expansion of non-primary commodities, education and tourism.

This was the sort of language used by the economic rationalists who morphed into free market economists. The rusty sheds are long gone. But so has most of our manufacturing capacity. We have watched our manufacturers sell their brand names and move their businesses to Asia. The services industries have not filled the exports shortfall.

Our foreign debt has been increasing by $50 billion a year for the past three years, despite the mining boom. We owe $600 billion to the rest of the world. We owed $180 billion 12 years ago. We owed nothing in the ’70s.

The grand experiment hasn’t worked. We were supposed to create outward-looking industries that could compete on even terms with the rest of the world. This didn’t happen.

A lot of people have a vested interest in fighting to ensure that our economic policy continues on its present path. They are the winners who have created careers, power and wealth from the evolution of Australia into a barrier-free economy that focuses on selling services within Australia, selling agricultural produce and raw materials to the rest of the world, and buying their manufactured goods.

Change will only occur if we acknowledge that what we have done in the economy has not been the most successful economic strategy we could have devised.

Changing course a must for Australia | theage.com.au

Filed under: Big Picture, Economics, Ideology, Politics, ,

You’ve got no shame: Howard to Rudd

Former prime minister John Howard has accused his successor and his government of having no shame, and no theme.

If anyone knows about having no shame and no theme, Howard is undoubtedly an expert. However, Rudd has one thing that Howard doesn’t – government.

Get over it, John.

You’ve got no shame: Howard to Rudd | theage.com.au

Filed under: Federal Election 2007, ,

The Dog’s Bollocks

What they say

The Dog's Bollocks: "Bollocks" is one of my favourite words, and this is now one of my favourite blogs and I've only been reading it for five minutes. – John Surname

This is the person who tried to analyse Hayek. This is actually a person who needs a shrink. – JC

Shut up slim. You’re an idiot.
Just you stay honest and keep that thinking cap on. – GMB

Insightful perspectives on politics and discussion of matters epistemological? I’m sold! - Bruce

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