Tag Archives: people

Black calls the kettle Rupert

It is difficult to think of anyone less likely to offer an objective assessment. Conrad Black on why Rupert Murdoch is a “great bad man”. “Although his personality is generally quite agreeable, Mr Murdoch has no loyalty to anyone or anything except his company. He has difficulty keeping friendships; rarely keeps his word for long; […]

An eminent economist

“After a distinguished career that has seen significant contributions to public policy formulation through more than three decades, Garnaut finds himself, at 64, more pivotal than ever. As he grapples with his responsibility it is worth observing he lacks one quality also missing in every other economist: infallibility” Extract from “A brilliant career, but certainly […]

Twitterton (on the Potomac)

Or “Fucknutsville” according to the President’s Chief of Staff. An intriguing story of dysfunctional, trivialising, momentary, partisanship in American government. Broken government? Maybe… The point of this long Vanity Fair essay seems to be that “no-drama” Obama is the man for his times; angling to resurrect enduring victories for good government from beneath the treacherous […]

Monckton Lecture, Melbourne Feb 1, 2010

Christopher, Visount Monckton, Melbourne Public Lecture Details

A number of people have asked for these details:

Monday, 1 February 2010, 5:30 pm
Ballroom, Sofitel Hotel (25 Collins St Melbourne)

Entry by $20 ‘donation’ at the door (no reservations).


p>Christopher, Viscount Monckton is a serious analyst and good fun: he has mastered the art of keeping it simple and exaggerating (a little bit). So I expect a big crowd, a great atmosphere and some clever, convincing, talk.

Carbon tariffs, permits and subsidies

Gary Horlick, Washington trade attorney, former senior official of the Commerce Department and a very fine analyst of WTO law, sets out some of the impossibly tricky technical questions in plain langugage

“Perhaps the biggest international trade challenge — and one on which a lot more work needs to be done — is how the mechanics of international trade will work if each of the hundred and ninety countries (or even 10-15 regional groupings) has its own individual climate change implementation. What if some of them have border taxes, some require permits for imports, and others instead offset the costs for their domestic industry. Or each country has a cap- and-trade system with different limitations on the permits?” Extract from testimony to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee

A short paper that asks the right questions (to which there are few, if any, satisfactory answers). Thanks to Simon Lester for finding this.

The life of Robert McNamara

McNamara and Lyndon Johnson

Dead at 93 years of age. The last survivor (? I’m pretty sure) of Kennedy’s clever, risk-taking, technocracy of the early 1960s.

A man who, like Lyndon Johnson, struggled with the terrible consequences of the wrong choices he helped to make in Vietnam, but unlike Johnson survived them. His unlikely translation to the World Bank from the U.S. Defense Department was (in contrast to the recent Wolfowitz debacle) a remarkable success, expanding the role and scope and intelligence of the Bank during the classic era of ‘industrializing’ development while pushing it strongly toward preferential support for the poor.

Plimer’s Heaven + Earth


I have finally finished reading and skimming Ian Plimer’s thick book Heaven + Earth. I found it admirable for being a comprehensive and intelligent account of relevant evidence on climate change. I did not like it so much for the writing, or for the organization of ideas in some places, but that’s a quibble in light of the book’s strengths.

Prof. Plimer’s book looks like a text book (and weighs about as much), but in reality it is a piece of rhetoric. He has collated a very strong argument, based on the record of scientific enquiry, for rejecting the case—already flimsy on the grounds of common sense—for climate alarm.