Archive for the ‘Big Questions’ Category

‘The problem with any ideology’ — Bill Clinton

I heard this in Bill Clinton’s interview with Jon Stewart 20 Sept 2012 talking about finding solutions for economic challenges. ‘The problem with any ideology is it gives you the answer before you look at the evidence. So you have to mould the evidence to get the answer that you’ve already decided you got to […]

Using predator drones for futile vengeance

This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking article by an ex-soldier about the increasing use of unmanned military drones to kill people … Highly recommended. Drone warfare’s deadly civilian toll: a very personal view by James Jeffrey writing in The Guardian. Political theorist Hannah Arendt described the history of warfare in the 20th century as the […]

Fear of ‘the other’ exemplified

via Andrew Sullivan, read this huge read at The Atlantic. Wow. Fear of a Black President by Ta-Nehisi Coates As a candidate, Barack Obama said we needed to reckon with race and with America’s original sin, slavery. But as our first black president, he has avoided mention of race almost entirely. In having to be […]

Please read this post

This one: ‘Everything we know about you guys is wrong‘ Sometimes I feel I can’t improve on a thought, or how I expressed it first. – P

Wow. That’s intriguing …

One of the more formative books (‘most formative? Hmpf, doesn’t sound right) I’ve ever read was an eye-opening (and subsequently controversial) tome called The Origins of English Individualism: the family, property and social transition by Henry McFarlane … The Origins of English Individualism is about the nature of English society during the five centuries leading […]

Hard news for our country

Given my own very recent experience tearfully welcoming back loved ones from duty in Afganistan, I actually cried out when I heard this news on Morning Report today. Oh, god. – P

Can we learn WITHOUT the experience?

A wee media brushfire was sparked by mother-of-one MP Maggie Barry’s silly interjection that MP Jacinda Ardern’s not having children somehow reduced her credibility when discussing laws aimed at supporting parents. The kerfuffle sparked a hilarious twitter trend #maggiebarrystandingorders which merrily mocked the dumb idea that MPs need direct experience of whatever it was they […]

Untangling from emotional habits

Reviving memories of Edie Brickell got me thinking about her, how happy she seemed, and how she seemed to disappear after marrying Paul Simon. Here’s a line from a Jan 2011 AP interview ‘Edie Brickell releases records full of joy‘ talking about how her long-awaited 2011 CDs, the eponymous “Edie Brickell” and “The Gaddabouts”. Both […]

Assange allegations deeply fishy with dangerous undertones

I’ve always said the allegations (not actually criminal charges) against Julian Assange seemed like a jack-up and a smear campaign. What do you think?: 2) The process by which Assange was accused, cleared, and then re-accused of these incidents beggars belief. Two women went to a Stockholm police station one Friday afternoon in August 2010, […]

‘A loathsome piece of filth’

That’s actually something I said about somebody. And I meant it, as harsh as it sounds. I didn’t say it to them, I didn’t say it publicly, nor did I post it online here or elsewhere. It was my personal opinion at the time, provoked by their actions. They stand out in my mind as one of […]

David. Clever, but kinda creepy…

Similar in concept to Kara (right) here’s David … Clever marketing. But kinda creepy. via Christina Warren

Deliberately cryptic

What about a blogger’s? — What defines the public interest? … It’s an important principle that can be used to defend journalistic activities that go beyond what is normally considered acceptable behaviour – such as the use of subterfuge – to obtain a story, where complex moral and legal arguments are at stake. However, it […]

Line in the sand, flip-flop, litmus test, lightning rod? Same sex marriage.

I don’t know if President Obama’s announcement today that he personally supports the right of same sex couples to marry will help or hurt him electorally, but from my point of view, it is absolutely the right call. And I’m not gay. Glenn Greenwald, who is, credits Obama’s actions, regardless of their motivation. I agree. […]

An entertaining discussion of privacy and name suppression

I like Tory MP Louise Mensch. I think she’s bright, articulate and beautiful (as we have discussed.) I’m quoting her in another context elsewhere, but came across this appearance, where she featured on the BBC’s Have I Got News For You, 22 April 2011 adding her bit to the campaign to discredit the UK ‘super-injunctions’ […]


Two people I care very deeply about are serving in Afghanistan this ANZAC Day and, like their parents, I am holding on, hoping, expecting, ‘praying’ for their safe return from dangerous duty a long way from us. They seem to me, as they did two years ago, implausibly young, impossibly young to be caught up […]