Open Thread

Kissing our arses goodbye?

The Australian Federal Government has just released a white paper detailing a proposed carbon emissions reduction target of between 5% and 15% by 2020 relative to 2000 levels. The 5% target is described as unconditional whereas the 15% target is described as subject to global agreement where all major economies commit to substantially restrain emissions and all developed countries take on comparable reductions to that of Australia.

The white paper goes on to argue Australia’s unique position in the global war on climate, citing a per capita impact of between 34–41% below 1990 levels, in effect demonstrating that Australia’s proposed commitment is ahead of the Europeans (per capita reduction is projected at 24-34%) and ahead of our cousins (projected 25% per capita sacrifice).

The report argues that Australia’s particular national circumstances (a strong population growth projection, heavy reliance on fossil fuels, etc.) make for greater structural adjustment when compared with many other developed nations.

However, what I don’t see in the report is a sufficient connection to the bigger issue:

Kirribilli Removals – 15 December 2008:

If permafrost melts across the vast areas of Russia and Canada, then we can kiss our arses goodbye

385 replies on “Kissing our arses goodbye?”

Bristol Palin’s future in-law arrested
Sherry L. Johnston, the mother of Bristol Palin’s fiancé, was arrested Thursday night on drug charges.

Johnston was arrested at her Wasilla home and charged with six felony drug counts. Alaska state troopers then searched the Johnston home for further evidence of narcotics. She was charged with second-degree misconduct for allegedly manufacturing narcotics and a fourth-degree misconduct related to possession.

She has been released from the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility on a $2,000 bond.

It seems that Bush has finally done something effective to ease tensions in the Middle-East…

In the West Bank village of Bilin, Palestinians hurled shoes rather than the usual rocks at Israeli soldiers in the weekly Friday protest against the Israeli separation barrier, which slices through their fields.

295 296

Would have upstaged em all if he got the Rude Pundit to prevail. LOL.

“First of all i would like to thank “Tubby” the preacher for……………..

Long article in the NY Times about the history of Madoff’s business and just how global it had become. Wow, talk about incredible, but he had agents all over Europe, Asia, the Middle East, luring in investors at all levels. And of course, for years he could get away with it, until of course he couldn’t.

It’s a great read:

Like you said earlier Kirri, you just could not make it up and tell it like that.
What is that line? A fool and his……………

The Madoff madness just keeps giving and giving:

In the meantime, the issue for investigators is how and whether such a crime could have been committed by just one man. “Speaking as a Jew on Christmas, I would be less shocked if Santa Claus showed up to my house than if Bernie Madoff pulled off this fraud alone,”
Ron Geffner, a partner at law firm Sadis & Goldberg told Fortune magazine. “It’s hard to imagine that given the amount of assets that he managed that people would not have been aware. If nothing else, employees, no matter what floor they were on, would have known that somewhere within the firm money was being lost.”

…you get the feeling that this story will go on for years and years.

Sat Dec 20:;_ylt=ApfPApypP12HqmTEM1cn_U5X_b4F

Sat Dec 20:;_ylt=AsweDveMbPcRX5h11GJ_yvJX_b4F

Sat Dec 20:;_ylt=AkxnBWrDh2qE0yld5bgJdXXXj5Z4

ABC Online:

…….The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) says this Christmas will not be a disaster for retailers, despite the global financial crisis.…..”

“AUSTRALIAN shoppers are expected to spend about $700 million more this Christmas than last, an increase helped by big-spending consumers in NSW.”

Economic Depressions only ever happen to other people over there. We’re Australians.
Bethlehem then……..

And now……. (Tanks made in U.S.A.)

Morning all. Well it’s such a lovely day here in the depths of sunny Gippsland that I thought I’d do a little surfing around the subject of the US auto industry.
Goodness me….they don’t half do a good imitation of “denial” in Detroit do they?
I particularly enjoyed this gem.

Chrysler discontinued its only hybrid model earlier this fall. It is relying on Nissan of Japan to develop its small cars.

And, at a briefing for journalists this week, Chrysler showed future models that included more new Jeeps, including an electric one, new pickups and muscle cars, according to, a Web site that follows the industry (and whose term for the crisis in Detroit — “carpocalypse” — is catching on in the industry).

Friggin hell!!! *Muscle cars*????
While “carpocalypse” is yet another atrocity committed on the long suffering English language, by those awful American journalist/bloggers. It actually might be fairly descriptive. 🙂

Meanwhile, as an acknowledgment that there are some fine American writers out there.
I humbly tender the following (completely OT) evidence to the court of ticster opinion.

Is This The Greatest Craigslist Car Ad Ever Written? Yes.

Satyajit Das has a funny conclusion to a very good article about why the ‘chimera’ of wealth was kept in place with a form of ‘vendor financing’ where the exporting nations kept their currencies low against the US dollar by buying US debt. This game has come to a savage and abrupt stop, and lots of ‘wealth’ has disappeared:

There is an apocryphal story about a disgraced rock star who ended up in bankruptcy court. When asked what happened to his fortune of several million dollars, he responded: “Some went in drugs and alcohol, I gambled some of it away, some went on women and the rest I probably wasted!” Financial markets have “wasted” a staggering amount of money that ironically probably did not “exist” in the first place.

…it’s a very interesting read, and basically says that the gig is up for the Seppos, they can’t do it without countries like China pumping in trillions to give them the illusion they are wealthy.

They aren’t.

Thanks for that excellent Das link Kirri.
He’s always refreshingly clear (and blunt) when it comes to describing the archane business of international trade etc.

I love his description of the process as “a gigantic vendor financing scheme.”
Really sums it up well.

I was also a bit shocked and surprised to read that

Russia’s reserves, which rank third after China’s and Japan’s reserves in size, have fallen $122.7 billion, or 21 percent, since August 2008. The reserves, including oil funds that exclusively act as a safety cushion for the budget, stood at $475.4 billion on November 2008.

For some reason, I’d always assumed that the middle east oil states would rank third. Ah well, whoever ranks wherever……
It’s obviously going to be a bumpy ride in 2009 🙁

Anyway, time I got outdoors and enjoyed the sunshine, while I can still afford the petrol for a drive to the beach. 🙂

Franken Takes the Lead in Minnesota

Democrat Al Franken has taken the lead in the Minnesota Senate recount by 252 votes as of the end of counting yesterday. However, both parties withdrew some challenges which could yet be reinstated. The effect of withdrawing and then reinstating challenges is hard to oversee but the Star Tribune is predicting that Franken will hold a 75-vote lead when all the challenges are resolved. However, there are still 1600 absentee ballots to deal with. Absentee ballots in Minnesota tend to skew Democratic but we won’t know for sure until they are counted. The Minnesota state supreme court ruled this week that absentee ballots that were potentially incorrectly rejected must be examined again so that every legitimate vote is counted.

even more..

Obama’s Cabinet: A Diverse Center-Left Team, Picked Quickly.

Even since President Bill Clinton vowed in 1992 to appoint a Cabinet that would reflect the American public, presidents have been acutely sensitive to race, gender and regional balance when selecting their inner circle.

In choosing his Cabinet, President-elect Barack Obama successfully navigated the diversity gauntlet, judging from the generally positive comments that followed the near-daily news conferences he held during the past two weeks to introduce the nominees. If he erred in any respect, it was in over-representing one particular demographic: current and former members of Congress.

It’s a great idea Ecky, except for one *little* problem.
The average American wouldn’t even fit in that car.
Much less be able to close the doors. :mrgreen:

Just completely off topic and a little pathetic, I want to tell you all of my new addiction – it’s the series “Mad Men”. I’ve just watched series one on DVD and I think it’s amazing – up there with The Sopranos. Actually the guy who wrote it was a writer on The Sopranos. The writing is brilliant and it looks beautiful – the production values are great.
It starts in 1960 – and it’s set around an advertising firm. It’s main male lead, Don Draper (John Hamm) is drop dead gorgeous, and can be a complete asshole. But like Tony Soprano, he’s just so likeable. The show is terribly hard to watch at times – the men are incredibly sexist, the women are either doormats or sassy mistresses, and everyone seems to have such empty, sad lives.
So I think you could do worse than if Santa brings you a dvd of Mad Men. Highly recommended.

Barack Obama, family in Hawaii for pre-inaugural vacation.

Hawaii — The beachfront estate that will serve as the holiday-season headquarters for President-elect Barack Obama and his entourage should offer all the comforts of home—and then some.

Workers on Saturday were busily preparing the property for the future president, his family and a group of friends from Chicago, in advance of Obama’s arrival in Hawaii during what was Saturday evening on the U.S. mainland.,0,7654156.story

The Recount: No hanging chads, but plenty of hang-ups.

An end to the recount seems so close, yet resolving the issue of rejected absentee ballots is far off.
With just two weeks left before a new Congress convenes, Minnesota’s Senate recount has reached Florida-grade levels of confusion and controversy. Want proof?

On Wednesday, State Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson bristled at a lawyer’s comparison of Minnesota’s situation to the famous presidential recount meltdown in the Sunshine State. By Thursday, Anderson was dissenting from his own court’s recount ruling and noting as a bright spot his belief that the court’s order is only a “preliminary skirmish” in “an extended legal contest.”

Katielou, how would you rate “Mad Men” against the recent Pommy series, Absolute Power, with Stepen Fry as the PR bullshit artistissimo?

paddy, it’s the E-V power plant that matters, mate, chassis sizes can be manufactured to accomodate varying commuter morphologies. Apart from biospheric considerations, what I’m looking forward to most about our next “runabout” is each time I/we(Min & me) cruise silently by a Big Carbon fuel stop shop, we’re gonna get a special thrill.

Might even lash out for designer rego plates:


Won’t be happy till all un-necessary Big Carbon & Allied consumers are cursed with the mark of Commuter Cain. On an “it’s the only planet we’ve got basis” basis, my stance on the issue is hardline. For the benefit of all who come after us.

Ground Effect

Euclidian Moral Geometry—-SEC-style

EC – I only watched a couple of episodes of “Absolute Power”, so I can’t really rate them. I would expect they’re too different to compare. My guess is also that Mad Men focuses more on interpersonal relationships and development of self, than the issue of power itself. Mad Men is more about people than advertising. As I said before, I think it’s on a simliar level to The Sopranos, which I think was pretty incredible.

Mike Connell was the bloke Spoonerman was lining up to give evidence about the Diebold voting in 2004.
He will not be giving evidence now.

I don’t usually reveal sources, but I think this is incredibly important. Michael Connell died in a plane crash last night. He was a key witness in the Ohio election fraud case that I have been reporting on. More importantly, however, he had information that he was ready to share.

Is another one about to bite the dust? GE Madhoff!!!!!!

The virtual crash in its stock price indicates that there is something seriously wrong with GE. The stock reached $53 at its peak in 2000. It closed below $17 this past week, the lowest level since the mid-1990s. CEO Jeffrey Immelt, who took over from icon Jack Welch in 2001, has made his mark by managing the company to a 68% decline in its stock price. You will not see anyone on CNBC take a hard look at GE’s financial statements or ask the CEO tough questions, because Mr. Immelt signs their paychecks. While shareholders have taken a bath, Mr. Immelt, a Harvard MBA, raked in $72.2 million of compensation between 2002 and 2007. A company that is known for its pay for performance mantra evidently does not hold its CEO to the same standards.

Like you said Kirri the Madhoff scheme gets madder and madder.

Uncle Sam may be looking at a big tax refund for his investors and they are trying to find insurance schemes that may pay out on it. That is if they have not already gone Rsup. LOL

Investors who lost their fortunes in Madoff’s alleged Ponzi scheme will end up paying far less in taxes and may even be eligible for refunds, according to accounting experts.
By some estimates, the Internal Revenue Service could be out as much as $17 billion in lost tax revenue.,1,3489928.story

Olberman gives the Imbecile and Cheney a bit of a kick in the guts to keep the pot boiling.

As the departing Bush administration frantically attempts to shore up its place in history, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann stands ready to kick the props out from under it again. A renewed claim that “no one could have anticipated” the attacks of 9/11 attracted his scorn in particular on Thursday’s Countdown.

Get your Abbacus around this lot.
Should we buy now?

Folks…it’s not going to matter how able Barak Obama is at turning a phrase or being a politician. The St Louis Federal Reserve numbers say it all in a single picture……………….

So, by March, 2009, if the world hasn’t informed us in no uncertain terms that we are in for a ride that will make the Great Depression a footnote in most history texts, we can declare ourselves extremely fortunate, indeed, because there has NEVER been a mess created like this EVER before. Ever. We’re all pioneers on an icy road headed straight to hell.

Things look positive for Franken

Franken Expects to Win by 35-50 Votes
Democrat Al Franken has announced that he expects to be elected senator by 35-50 votes. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has estimated Franken will win by 75 votes, so Franken was actually being a bit modest. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) has not made a prediction. Counting will resume tomorrow.

More Losses For Senate Republicans?

Democrats could pick up seats again in 2010 — if Obama’s second-year approval ratings are high.

After losing a total of 13 or 14 seats (depending on the outcome in Minnesota) in the nightmarish 2006 and 2008 Senate elections, Republicans must be fantasizing about 2012, when 24 Democratic and just nine Republican Senate seats will be up for grabs.

Why is the fact that this guy died on a solo flight more suspicious than if he had died in a flight with many other people?

Bad weather in Ohio at this time of year. And it had been raining, with the surface temperature around two degrees. Not the best time to be flying a small plane.

But I guess when it is discovered by investigators that pilot error combined with bad weather conditions were the cause of the crash, that will simply prove how far the conspiracy reaches …

342 David Gould “Why is the fact that this guy died on a solo flight more suspicious than if he had died in a flight with many other people?”
It’s no more suspicious to me. The fact that he was due to testify in a Diebold case makes it very suspicious.

342 David Gould David If I wanted to bump off someone without raising suspicion, the time to do it would be in bad weather. Another way not to raise suspicion, would be look to have a look at their medical history and see if they had a bad heart or a drug problem.

You don’t want it to be too easy to pick out a conspiracy. There would be a lot of people around with that sort of experience. Do you remember the cold war?

Chris B,

People involved in stuff die all the time. This is because people are … people. And they have a much higher risk of dying when they fly small planes in bad weather conditions. Occam’s razor: do not multiply entities unnecessarily. All that is needed for a plane to crash is poor weather and pilot error. It does not need a vast right-wing conspiracy willing and able to commit murder.

Conspiracy theorists and theists are very similar. They both believe that many unrelated and random events are connected through some grand plan. The main difference is that theists tend to believe that the grand plan is benevolent, while conspiracy theorists tend to believe that it is malevolent.

The ability to see patterns everywhere is in many instances a good thing – it has been key to humanity gaining more and more control over its environment. But it can also be a bad thing, as we have a tendency to see patterns where none exist.

Chris B,

But it was easy – you guys spotted the conspiracy just like that. You saw the pattern without any problems whatsoever.

But that is because the pattern is in your heads and you fit events to it, rather than the other way around.

As an example of the problem with conspiracy theories, the population of the US is around 300 million. Around 2.5 million Americans die every year. Let us be generous and say that there are 2 deaths for every 400 people. That means for every 200 people there will be one death every year.

A court case such as this one is likely to involve around 20 witnesses, plus five lawyers, plus some plaintiffs. But let us say only 20 people are involved. The case has run for at least two years now. Assuming it is just two years, that gives us close to a 20 per cent chance that one of the 20 central people involved will have died over that time period.

I wish for all ticsters an uneventful Christmas. May it be quiet and lazy, or noisy and fun is OK too, just so long as it is drama free for you all. That’s my idea of a good Christmas.

Then how come it’s mainly people with left wing views that seem to be very high on the mysterious death lists and right wings are not? If the statistics worked the same way for both groups OK. But they don’t. Statistically speaking both groups should have about the same number of accidental deaths.

For instance soccer players travel the world, in all sorts of weather INCLUDING bad weather. There is only one major accident, that is the Manchester United team that was almost wiped out.

Chris B,

Can you point me to the statistics that show that people with left-wing views are more likely to die than people with right-wing views? I very much doubt that such statistics are kept anywhere. I think that you may well be a victim of confirmation bias in this regard.

Further, have you read the ‘Clinton death lists’ circulated by the right? These are people associated with Bill Clinton in some way who have – supposedly – died mysteriously. The implication is that Bill had them all killed.

Just a few examples to think about, Chris:

The Torino F.C. side known as Il Grande Torino that dominated post-war Italian football was lost in an air crash at Superga in 1949

The 1989 crash of Surinam Airways Flight PY764 killed a group of Surinamese players known as “The Colorful 11”, whose members played professional football in the Netherlands

18 members of the Zambia national football team died in a 1993 air crash

In 1987, the entire roster of Peruvian football team Alianza Lima died in an air crash

Taken from:

Think we might have to wait till after Xmas for any decent political story. It’s a slow news week unless a soccer team has a plane crash.

OK David, I will do a list of Musicians, Movie stars and Politicians with left wing views. You do a control group of cricketers, basketball players and soccer players and see who gets the most. Note: A group of soccer players in a single plane or bus crash counts as one crash.

Um, there are far more musicians, movie stars and politicians of any note than there are cricketers, basketball players and soccer players for a start.

The only way this would work is if we got two populations of similar size that travelled by air the same amount over the same time period.

To find such groups would take a heck of a lot of research.

I will also point out that you were the one who made the specific claim. Thus, you are the one who should do all the work to demonstrate it. 😉

Thinking about it, politicians are probably not too bad. Given that at any period of time, roughly half of the politicians are ‘right-wing’ and half are ‘left-wing’ as defined by their party affiliation, it would not be a subjective exercise to classify them, either.

David Gould at a bunch of places on this page …

You have convinced me that there is an American lead conspiracy to wipe out the only true football game (a.k.a. soccer) from the face of the planet.

Nicholas J. Begich Politician 6-Apr-1932 16-Oct-1972 Congressman from Alaska, 1971-72 DEMOCRATIC
Hale Boggs Politician 15-Feb-1914 16-Oct-1972 Congressman from Louisiana, 1941-72 DEMOCRATIC
Ron Brown Government 1-Aug-1941 3-Apr-1996 US Commerce Secretary 1993-96
Mel Carnahan Politician 11-Feb-1934 16-Oct-2000 Dead man, still defeated John Ashcroft
George Washington Collins Politician 5-Mar-1925 8-Dec-1972 Congressman from Illinois, 1970-72
John Heinz Politician 23-Oct-1938 4-Apr-1991 US Senator from Pennsylvania, 1977-91 REPUBLICAN
Mickey Leland Politician 27-Nov-1944 7-Aug-1989 Congressman from Texas, 1979-89 DEMOCRATIC
Jerry Litton Politician 12-May-1937 3-Aug-1976 Congressman from Missouri, 1973-76 DEMOCRATIC
George S. Mickelson Politician 31-Jan-1941 19-Apr-1993 Governor of South Dakota, 1987-93 REPUBLICAN
DeLesseps S. Morrison Politician 18-Jan-1912 22-May-1964 Mayor of New Orleans, 1946-61 DEMOCRATIC
Donald G. Nutter Politician 28-Nov-1915 25-Jan-1962 Governor of Montana, 1961-62 REPUBLICAN
Larkin Smith Politician 26-Jun-1944 13-Aug-1989 Congressman from Mississippi, 1989 REPUBLICAN
John Tower Politician 25-Sep-1925 5-Apr-1991 US Senator from Texas, 1961-85
Paul Wellstone Politician 21-Jul-1944 25-Oct-2002 US Senator killed in plane crash

This is a list that I have found online: nine Democrats, five Republicans.

However, given the switch over in the 1960s, it would probably be hard to argue that, for example, that a Democratic mayor from New Orleans in the 1940s and 50s would have been left-wing. And there are a couple of other like that.

So, unfortunately, there is still some subjectivity there. 🙁

Catrina @ 366

You should not have posted that. Now we … I mean they know that you suspect …

After considerable statistical analysis of those figures, the mathematical rule seems to be: don’t be a rock star if you want to live a long time.

There are only 22 deaths by air crash there. And there is no breakdown for political views. However, we can apply this general rule of thumb: if you were a rock star and you died before you were 40, the chances are that you were left wing all your life …

Even religious sites can provide useful statistical data. After all, as all these rock stars are in Hell they must have had left wing political views. This confirms the thesis.

I’ve only just discovered a group called the Bar-Kays. A number called Soul Finger. Now I find out the died in a pane crash. I’ll go soon, for listening to their music.

Thanks Paddy! Inspiring words.
Does anyone else find this whole Yuletide thing a nightmare???
i know it’s meant to be about fun and good times but I find it an endless stream of spending time with people I’d rather not and very little with the people I actually like!

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