The great thing about a Sydney fog is that it calms the traffic and teaches the planes a lesson, and for a moment - until the third runway surges back to life - there's a hint of peace.
If only there was a natural fog available for the commentariat, especially the screeching emanating daily from the News Ltd parrots ...
What on earth is the pond to make of this epically banal splash by one Greg Melleuish?
Having children is a fact of nature? Who'd have guessed?
Why Melleuish is right up there with the thoughts of Mao:
Though Mao, being inclined to the psychotic, was inclined to change his mind later in life:
Chairman Mao Zedong: Do you want our Chinese women? We can give you ten million.
U.S. National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger: The chairman is improving his offer.
Mao: We can let them flood your country with disaster and therefore impair your interests. In our country we have too many women, and they have a way of doing things. They give birth to children, and our children are too many.” (here, taken from Harpers)
Yes, it's all there in Children a private and public good (behind the paywall so you need never know).
Oh won't someone think of the mothers and the children, and what do you know, it turns out that these days people can only have children ... with the help of government ... as Melleuish explains in a dispassionate way how distraught he is that the baby bonus has been dismissed as middle class welfare. Why there are even dark Greens - muttering darkly in dark corners as women come and go talking of goo goo - who dare to suggest that having children should be discouraged:
For any dispassionate observer there seems to be an element of madness in all of this. Surely, given that human beings are mortal creatures and will cease to exist as a species if they do not have progeny, one of the primary functions of any government is to ensure that the future generation comes into being and that its mothers are provided with such assistance as they require. If, as Edmund Burke put it, there is a contract existing between the dead, the living and the yet-to-be-born, it is in all our interests to ensure that the "yet-to-be" are actually born.
Uh huh. The very survival of the species is at stake. Sex drive and the nesting drive is no longer enough. Governments must act!
Yep, now it's a primary function of government to ensure breeding takes place. Is it wrong of the pond to propose high intensity breeding farms, heavily subsidised by government? Not quite factory, ersatz free range will do ...
Way back when, of course, Melleuish was one of the prim small government brigade:
From our history, one can discern those liberal principles that should guide Australia in the twenty first century. These include individualism, limited government based on a sound constitutionalism and a positive internationalism that encourages Australians to engage with the world. (here)
Who'd have thunk sound constitutionalism involved splashing the cash because people can't manage a pregnancy without the help of government ...
While we're on the subject of sound constitutionalism, Melleuish offers up this doozy, bemoaning Gonski, and celebrating motherhood:
These priorities reflect in a vivid fashion how politics operates in 21st-century Australia. Children count only when they are linked to a powerful lobby group. Mothers, especially those who do not work, count for very little. Sometimes I tell people that perhaps every Australian should be given the vote at birth, and that the mother should exercise it on behalf of her child until that child turns 18. Many are horrified; this would mean giving extra votes to the wrong sort of person.
Uh huh. This chimes with the pond's notion that it should be given the votes of the mentally impaired.
Enough of this nonsense about one person one vote one value for the vote. The pond will take care of Greg Melleuish's vote, and put it to good use, until he promises to stop this sort of idle blathering as a way of promoting his new book.
Let's face it, he hasn't been blessed in the way Nick Cater was blessed by the parrots squawking in the fog-bound trees ...
Meanwhile Janet "Dame Slap" Albrechtsen also recants regarding the role of government this morning in Zealots forget the epidemics (behind the paywall for public health reasons).
For once the pond agrees with the slapping Albrechtsen dishes out, having seen first hand the damage a polio epidemic can do ...
And what joy it is to see a member of the commentariat affirm a key role for government, and talk of public health, without once mentioning how a baby bonus is vital to secure the future of the species.
Why it turns out there's a public and lordy, lordy, there might even be a society:
Indeed, let's go further still. We have rules that cover just about every facet of our daily lives, from the minimum distance between a sink and a power outlet to 40kmh speed limits around our schools. Yet modern society is too supine to make a clear moral judgment, to say unapologetically that public health requires that parents vaccinate their children. Well, that time has come too.
Indeed. Society ... public health ...
Sorry Ms Thatcher, it seems Albrechtsen is for turning, when it suits ...
Now let's go further still, and let Albrechtsen write a fervent column about the ratbaggery that has since hysteria whipped up around wind farms, which has seen both sides of politics display an unseemly amount of gutlessness in the face of a few spectacularly ill-informed and ill-advised lobbyists doing their worst ...
Meanwhile, the pond awards a special prize to the lizard Oz for maintaining the rage about the NBN and finding yet another angle for fear and loathing and never mind the amount of asbestos to be sighted throughout the inner west and always ready to be disturbed by a tradie treading on the roof or grubbing in the ground:
Why that's front page material surely:
Oh yes, well played.
And now a couple of brief asides.
Things are heating up in Tamworth, and by golly it's fun as Tony Windsor applies the blowtorch to Barnaby "Barners" Joyce by proposing a Gina Rinehart connection, as you can read in the Northern Daily Bleeder, Joyce denies Rhinehart donation. And there are still some sceptics who fail to understand Tamworth is the centre of the universe ...
What fun this sideshow will be in the run up to the election.
And in another universe, the Christian Brothers, having spent more than a million bucks defending an alleged paedophile, have suddenly discovered $1.1 million or so they can spend in private settlements for his victims.
Whatever else it's done, the Victorian inquiry has helped the church to realise the errors of its past ways, as you can read in Church victims win $1m.
Why isn't this on the front page of the lizard Oz, as it is on The Age?
Why because the lizard Oz has NBN axes to grind, and amazingly they manage to drag pink batts into the routine ...
The company's startling admission of sloppy work practices prompted comparisons between the NBN rollout and the Rudd government's disastrous pink-batts scheme, which was beset by botched installations and linked to four deaths and almost 200 house fires before it was dumped.
What's startling is the nakedness of the lizard Oz's obsessions ...
It's one thing to be in favour of safe work practices and the treating of the risks of asbestos with caution (yes the pond had relatives who worked in an asbestos mine near Attunga).
It's one thing to demand safety in a roll out, and then not to complain about delays in the roll out if safety is a concern and a consideration. But it's completely another thing to compare the NBN to pink bloody batts ...
Does the rag really think issues involving asbestos will be avoided by the roll out of Tony Abbott's and big Mal's cheap-arsed version of the NBN? Or that it isn't already an issue in Telstra maintaining its aged asbestos-lined and copper saturated facilities?
Time to retreat to The Guardian and David Marr reporting on Cardinal Pell at that Victorian inquiry, George Pell: everything except his testimony spoke of power.
The down under version is still bedding down - the video accompanying Marr's story is feeble, and it's strange to read an alleged Australian-orientated edition which looks like an identikit of the British format, but at least the pond senses a chance to avoid being sent into a frenzy by the lizard Oz's relentless crusading ...
(Below: sssh, don't mention copper, mention pink batts instead)