Talking Points for July 1

Good morning, it’s Priya here with a few ideas for what we might discuss on today’s programme. Thanks Brett for looking after the blog overnight.

There are a number of debates already simmering away on the blog. Do you want to hear one of them on the programme?


The danger of Israel attacking Iran increased over the weekend. We want to hear from Israelis and Iranians about it, and you too. You can continue posting here, but, given the subject matter, please stick to the topic and remain civil, this is a conversation not a shouting match.


I wrote about this last week: major Western oil companies being given short term contracts in Iraq. How should Iraq’s natural resources be dealt with? By whom?


We have talked about Zimbabwe a fair amount over the last few weeks. Mugabe won the election in which only he stood. The world has condemned him. Yet yesterday, at an African Union summit in Egypt, condemnation from his fellow african leaders was muted. There were, as one newspaper put it, hugs for Mugabe. African leaders such as Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Omar Bongo refused to condemn him, perhaps unsurprisingly since both have ruled their respective countires unchallenged for decades. Single candidate ‘elections’ are nothing new for Africa.

Equally unsurprising was strong condemnation from Kenyan PM, Raila Odinga, who still believes his own Presidential victory was stolen from him back in December.

So can Africa ever escape the curse of undemocratic ‘elections’ and leaders who refuse to share power? Or does Africa deserve it’s leaders?

79 Responses to “Talking Points for July 1”

  1. 1 Julie P
    June 30, 2008 at 19:40

    I saw this over the weekend and died laughing. I would also like to remind these people Jesus can’t be president. He’s not a US citizen.


  2. 2 Brett
    June 30, 2008 at 19:43

    @ Julie:

    Wow, quite the interesting story. I’d like to hear more about the veggie oil bus though! lol

    As a side note, on the BBC World Service (I think that was the programme I heard it on) a week and a half ago, I recall hearing of deceased candidates who were put on tickets and actually voted into office over their competition. It was wild. I sat through the programme thinking to myself “Wait…. What?!”

  3. 3 Mark from kansas
    June 30, 2008 at 19:50

    I live down the street from a shop that converts deisel engines to vegie oil, and other green modifications from what I hear. Neal young tools around here from time to time. The city bus goes by a few time a day belching out thick smoke. Hopefully my city can get on the same page and maybe stop at this shop instead of driving by. Unfortunately my street lacks the french fry smell, I was so looking forward to.

  4. 4 steve
    June 30, 2008 at 20:20

    I brougth this up over the weekend, the woman trying to sell her house nad herself on ebay:


    Just as I suspected, there was more to her story:


  5. 5 Shirley
    June 30, 2008 at 20:20

    Hi, Brett
    I posted this on TP30Jun, but it might be interesting to see people’s thinking develop on it here.

    A former head of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, has said that in the course of the next year Israel has to make a decision – destroy Iran’s embryonic nuclear programme or face the risk of nuclear attack.

    I feel that such a comment by a higher-ranking intel officer lacks intellect and foresight. What does Iran have to gain by dropping a nuclear bomb in a region where the radioactive fallout would severely negatively impact Iran’s allies? With Quds Day being something of a national holiday (I think), why would Iran want to essentially decimate the Palesitnian people and render their homeland useless forever as a Palestinian home? It does not take a genius to determine that the chance of a nuclear attack against Israel by Iran is about nil, unless Iran feels suicidal. I think that this is mere warmongering posturing that is designed to increase the tenseness of the situation in preparation for an invasion and occupation by Western forces. My question is what econoic gain could be got by Western nations who would be interested in such a move, since invasions and occupations of resource-rich countries are rarely for the benefit of the invaded peoples. Perhaps there are more oil fields to de-nationalise?

  6. 6 Julie P
    June 30, 2008 at 20:26


    I’m sorry, I just can’t get passed all of the silicone and bleach. It just screams: Fake! Fake! Fake!

  7. 7 steve
    June 30, 2008 at 20:30

    @ Julie P

    Well she’s also a dishonest person and a criminal, and doesn’t pay her obligations.

  8. 8 Will Rhodes
    June 30, 2008 at 20:39


    You really should read my blog, Julie! 😛

  9. 9 Will Rhodes
    June 30, 2008 at 20:42

    @ Brett

    The current gas prices are not having the desired effect because the people of North America are waiting for the new oil pumping stations coming on line from the off-shore drilling rigs up and down the US coast – John McCain has said “In the short-term” these oil drilling platforms will help ease gas prices etc.

    What he forgot to tell people is they won’t be online before 2012 at the least!

    Hey – hope is a good thing.

  10. 10 Katharina in Ghent
    June 30, 2008 at 20:48

    @ Steve:

    “Best offer so far: $102.50” – That sounds about right!

    @ Brett:

    The high gasoline prices have not really made an impact in my region, as far as I can tell from the traffic. Personally I made the decision about two and a half years ago to reduce how much I drive, but my impression is that I stand rather alone with this. Everybody’s complaining, though.

  11. 11 portlandmike
    June 30, 2008 at 20:53

    It seemed most people I encountered and spoke with on my trip were unhappy about the rise in the cost of fuel, but were just as determined to travel and vacation. They simply cut back on other expenditures and luxuries in their life to better afford the travel.
    My sense of the effects of gasoline prices rising so much is that we are about a dollar away from seeing a 30% drop in driving habits. Out west, where distances are greater, I think they are probably already driving much less.

    Also, these higher prices are going to have effect on the cost of just about everything, because everything is transported, and those costs must be passed on to the consumer.

    I find it a hoot though that conservatives and liberals in the U.S. are trying to blame the oil price rise on “speculation,” and “speculators.” Just like you noticed with the huge SUVs, and RV’s, America is hooked on their big heavy (dare I say FAT) life styles, that have been financed by cheap oil (for a hundred years!), and cheap labor (from all of those countries to the South). Are there ANY “legal” Americans picking vegtables and fruit in the country? Or taking out the trash or washing dishes in ANY restaurant, or doing the nightwork in office buildings, or cleaning those sparkling bathrooms in the hospitals from coast to coast?

  12. 12 Julie P
    June 30, 2008 at 20:58


    There are cons all over the place. They have a way of giving themself away. I knew a man once who tried to pass himself as an international jet setting millionaire, complete with villa in Hafia overlooking the Mediterranean. He loved to flash a wad of cash in front of me, and his Armani labels. The story goes on, but I had a friend at the county D.A. office look into him. He was a con artist. It sure wasn’t long after that I never saw Mr. Armani agian. What tipped me off was the flash. It screamed fake, or too good to be true. That’s what I was telling you. They try too hard. It screamed from her.

  13. 13 Julie P
    June 30, 2008 at 20:59


    I have read your blog, just not today. I’m on to it!

  14. 14 Pangolin- California
    June 30, 2008 at 21:01

    @ Fuel Crisis- “The majority of these vehicles were new trucks and SUV’s”

    The critical word in that sentence is ‘new.’ The rest of the US, all of those people who drive used cars or who keep their cars until they become used are dropping out of the economic picture everywhere but the grocery store and the gas station. Outside of the ‘happy talk’ promoted by commercial media stores and houses are being boarded up, lines are getting longer at food banks and emergency rooms are crowded with people who used to go to their family doctor.

    In much of the US it’s simply not possible to get to work, get food, and get your kids to school without owning a car. If you own the car you tend to keep it even if you are homeless and it’s the LAST thing you own. A homeless person with a car, or better, a minivan is much better off than those that are on the streets.

    People are going to cling to the car culture long after it makes no sense.

    @ Bleached Blondes- That lady has been selling the same thing since high school and it’s well past it’s due date. A man with a spare $500k can easily find a mail order bride in her 20’s.

  15. 15 Brett
    June 30, 2008 at 21:10

    @ Pangolin:
    The rest of the US, all of those people who drive used cars or who keep their cars until they become used are dropping out of the economic picture everywhere but the grocery store and the gas station

    Great point! It makes sense that those able to afford new trucks and SUV’s pay the higher price of fuel, are also those who are more able to afford the travel and the vacation. With those on the more restricted end of the economy (either through choice or chance) already largely out of the luxury travel picture, what happens when the last resort of the tourism industry (the middle class and rich) begin to cut back? What are those industries going to do then? Evolve? and if so how? Whither and die?
    How do you think local, state, and federal governments will address this issue (if at all)? Tourism is a HUGE part of revenues for many cities and towns.

    My vacation was a chance happening. It was a sum of money left from a deceased relative that was used as funding for the first family reunion in 10 years. I would not have been able to afford it had my flight and accommodations been paid for. Hence, I wouldn’t have even been in the picture to go. It’s far out of my budget, and looks like it will only get further off.

  16. 16 Will Rhodes
    June 30, 2008 at 21:16

    People are complaining here in NB about the cost of fuel, but you are seeing a lot of smaller cars being driven.

    Some are buying older, second-hand cars with much smaller engines in them – but, as business is business, the price of used cars is on the rise.

  17. June 30, 2008 at 21:18


    “In much of the US it’s simply not possible to get to work, get food, and get your kids to school without owning a car.”

    The developing fuel crisis can very well be fatal to the United States. I believe people are underestimating the gravity of high oil prices. The lack of public transport in the US is appalling and will lead some local economies to grind to a halt as oil approaches $200 a barrel.

    There must be a three-pronged approach to this issue.

    1. Reduce the levels of driving, make more fuel efficent cars and increase investment in public transport significantly.

    2. Shake up the OPEC cartelles and coerce them to produce more oil.

    3. Invest in efficent non-oil based fuel for our cars, not that ethanol crap.

    Of course to do this, the US will need a lot of political will which at the present momemnt it does not have. However, in the midst of a crisis such as the one potentialy brewing at the moment, that political will may quickly be summoned by terrible circumstances.

    It’s always like this. Even the USSR didn’t get itself in gear until it was invaded in ’41. I hope something as catastrophic does not have to happen to the US for it to realize the necessity of commiting itself to solving this crisis, but it very well may take exactly that.

  18. 18 Zainab
    June 30, 2008 at 21:23

    Hi Brett how are you, you are our host today, i wish you the best luck.

    How are you all?
    I have this classification of Presidents of the world:

    1- Arab president: One who came to power by a revolution, and refuse to give up presidency until his death. Like Saddam Hussain is in power since 1979 and died in 2007, Husni Mobarak is in power since 1981 and still, “Colonel” Moammar al-Ghadafi is the big surprise he is in power since 1969 and still…etc.

    2- African president: It is said that in Africa the first person who wakes up early in the morning can announce himself the president of the country. And of course he will not be removed untill someone else wakes up earlier than him. Which will be too hard or impossible, cuz the president in fact does not sleep.

    3- American president: The big heart of the world, is the one who came to power through a right, clean and transparent election 😉 . Like George W Bush he won both terms of his presidency MYSTERIOUSLY.
    The election process in the US continues for more than a year, spending millions of $ to end in choosing the president of the USA, who does nothing different from the one who was before him.
    (I’m sure McCain will be the US president, because this is democracy 😉 isn’t it??!!!

    4- Hidden President: the one who is unknown to anybody. What is his name? how did he come to power? where is he? Like president of Italy, and of Germany…etc.

    5-Loving-power president: the one who can’t be a part from power, even if his term is finished, he chooses to be anything in the government. Like Vladimir Putin.

    6- New president: who came with an occupation authority, and claimed himself a president, though he know nothing about his country, I bet that Jalal TALABANI doesn’t know where Sadr city lays.

    Of course there are other types. You can add to this classification.

    yours truly,
    Zainab from Iraq

  19. 19 nelsoni
    June 30, 2008 at 22:10

    hi every one

    i would like to ask, why does the international media never report stories to a logical end?

    there are some many cases but i will jsut pick a few

    the cyclone in burma: in the weeks after the cyclone, it was prime time on all news neworks, how the general refused to allow aid come in and all that.. now the world has forgotten about burma because the international news media has moved on

    the xenophobic attacks in south africa: those affected by the violence how have they being assited, what are the conditions in the refugee camps? no one talks about that any one yet the real issues are still there?

    Now the whole world is focussed on Zimbabwe very soon, very soon the international news media will move on, leaving the issues behind.

    we just jump from one news story to another
    I think that the International News Media’s relationship with News is like an infatuation, it becomes very exciting at first but it becomes boring as it goes on

  20. 20 Count Iblis
    June 30, 2008 at 22:31

    Shirly, I agree about your comments on the Iran. I just read this text. Although it was not meant to apply to foreign policy, it can be applied to Israel and the US too. 🙂

  21. 21 steve
    June 30, 2008 at 22:36

    @ Ros

    I don’t really drive much. I’ve put on 3,000 miles in my car since August ’07. I am driving up to Long Island for the 4th of July weekend, and I’ve calculated it will cost me about $78 round trip, not including any driving which I do while on Long Island. The beach is probably 12 miles from the hotel I’ll be staying at.. Back when I lived on Long Island and would go back to DC to visit my parents, gas was probably $1.15 a gallon, so the round trip would have cost less than $20 for the gas used.

  22. 22 Jens
    June 30, 2008 at 22:36

    jesus stands no chance, even if he would have been born in jesusland, eehh ‘merica.

    he is a liberal dark skind palestinien, who had revolutionary ides.

    do you think the right-wing religiouse nutjobs could vote somebody like him.

  23. 23 steve
    June 30, 2008 at 22:42

    @ will

    I think you’ll like the latest post in the “has feminism failed?” WHYS.

  24. 24 steve
    June 30, 2008 at 22:53

    Israel is releasing a Lebanese child murderer for corpses of Israeli soldiers. Has Israel ever had a POW returned alive from the arabs?


  25. 25 Count Iblis
    June 30, 2008 at 23:12

    Steve, I think this is part of the negotiations Israel is conducting with Syria. Israel wants Syria to stop supporting Hamas and Hezbollah and Syria wants the Golan back.

    I think that Syria has promised to Israel to use their influence to reign in Hezbollah and Hamas as soon as all the problems between Israel and these groups are cleared up. That means that Israel has to ageee a cease fire with Hamas. This indeed happened a few days ago. Also, Hezbollah and Israel must exchange prisoners. This is also happening now.

    The next step will be Israel handing over the Shebaa farms to Lebanon and the Golan to Syria.

  26. 26 nelsoni
    June 30, 2008 at 23:32

    @ steve, In military circles, there is a common saying ” no one is left behind”. So may be the israeli’s have that in mind. Besides, there is no official confirmation that the soldiers are alive or dead. You do have point have point. The arabs always get a living person, while the israelis always gets corpse(s) or body parts. Hezbollah and co seem to have a BIG problem keeping israeli POW alive for reasons best known to them.

  27. 27 Pangolin- California
    June 30, 2008 at 23:42

    @ Count Iblis- While Israel may be feeling Hamas and Hezbollah like a nail in the shoe that irritates but does not impale she is not ready to toss the shoe that is Golan Heights and walk barefoot on the road. Feeling the gravel of the road with every step as the Palestinians do is not on the Israeli game plan.

    The whole point of being the chosen people of God is that the rules of others are not supposed to apply to you.

  28. 28 Luz María from Mexico
    June 30, 2008 at 23:44


    Your comment made me laugh a lot!

    You are completely right, the right-wing would never vote for someone who defended the poor, the underpriviledged, the sick, the “unworthy”, the “different”.

  29. 29 Shirley
    June 30, 2008 at 23:47

    Presidential Classifications:
    the Paranoid President; the Megalomaniac President; the Democratically Elected President for Life
    Who would fit those categories? Living? Dead?

    Victim Bully: GW?

  30. 30 Count Iblis
    July 1, 2008 at 00:26

    Brett, you should move the off topic comments on the Israel/Iran thread here.

  31. 31 Shirley
    July 1, 2008 at 00:34

    Pentagon announces charges in USS Cole bombing (AP, 30 Jun) WASHINGTON – The Pentagon said Monday it is charging a Saudi Arabian with “organizing and directing” the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole — and will seek the death penalty.

    Terrorists, oil, no invasion? Their government must be too allied with the U.S. government and economy to merit an invasion or regime change.

  32. 32 Tino
    July 1, 2008 at 00:37

    “I’m sure McCain will be the US president, because this is democracy 😉 isn’t it??!!!”

    Yeah I sure hope he is. PS if he wins that does not mean it isn’t a democracy. Sorry, but a president you do not personally agree with may be liked by others…

  33. 33 Justin from Iowa
    July 1, 2008 at 01:06

    In the vein of the weekends “WHYS discussions from days of yore”

    “Where to settle jewish refugees? We analyze the Pros/Cons sheet for the land surrounding Jeruselem on today’s WHYS special!”

    Makes you wonder what them there allies was a mixin into their pipe tobacco.

  34. 34 Justin from Iowa
    July 1, 2008 at 01:23

    Admiral Ackbar, your #2 needs to be struck off the list. We don’t need more oil. If they pump more oil, there goes all the danged incentive to actually develop new tech and better vehicles and transportation!

    Dangit, I want opec to CUT oil production! If I’ve got to pay 6 dollar gas for this damned country to pull its collective head out of its butt, then I’ll pay $6.00 gas!

    And here’s some food for thought. Even when alternative fueled cars become available, it will be FIVE TO TEN YEARS before a large portion of the US public has access to them, because they cost lots of $$ which people don’t have.

    So every year that our government doesn’t get its act together, and every year the automotive industry puts off pushing through a REAL breakthrough in car tech, that’s not 1 year, that’s 10 years we’ve put off getting on the right track.

    And how long does rail, or other forms of transportation take to set up? Decades as well.

    And ethanol… Ethanol was never meant to do anything other than A) Stretch fuel reserves a little bit and B) provide a profitable means for American agriculture to dump its excess corn so corn prices didn’t drop so far government supports couldn’t even support the ag industry.
    The current ethanol explosion is pure stupidity. Its not sustainable. Throw out all the food issues revolving around it, and the relatively low energy provided compared to what is expended, the sheer amount of WATER that ethanol productions uses makes it unsustainable.

    I don’t know about the rest of the world, but America is burning down around us, and its people and government are playing the part of Nero on the Roof!

  35. 36 Amy
    July 1, 2008 at 03:18

    Here in Portland, we have a great (in my opinion) mass transit system that a lot of people take advantage of. The agency that runs it (Tri-Met) is also taking steps to reduce it’s emissions and go green:


    I know that my family tries to use it whenever we can and we use my husbands car a lot more (Toyota Scion xA vs. Honda Odyssey mini van) to cut down on our costs and emissions. My daughters and I are going to be flying to Wisconsin next week and the cost of the tickets is outrageous. The only way we can afford it is for my mom (who we are going to see) help with the cost. Since she HATES to fly, she says it is worth it.

  36. 37 Vijay
    July 1, 2008 at 03:20

    In India
    Petrol with additives costs
    Rs 59.49 per litre($5.61 per US Gallon),
    Diesil with additives costs
    Rs 36/L($3.37 per US Gallon)
    Electric scooters are becoming popular and so are lpg and cng vehicles.
    There is a government agency that promotes and subsidises solar powered devices.

  37. 38 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 03:42

    G’morning all!

    I doubt that high oil prices will significantly change the AMOUNT that people drive, at least in the short to medium term. There simply aren’t viable alternatives for the vast majority of journeys In the vast majority of locales, it would take huge investment in public transport to make a dent in car use–and I see little or no evidence of this investment.

    Alternatives like bicycles have been mentioned but, as most of my trips our are for shopping and involve a 3 year old child along, pedal-power isn’t realistic for me. (And, being practical, it also involves some very steep hills and, with my abused knees (I’m waiting for my second replacement operation) I couldn’t do it.

    What may well happen is a change in car-buying habits, with the sort of small car popular in Europe making more impact in the USA. However, you need only to look at the “tax cars off the road” policy prevalent in the UK for years. Despite fuels costs far higher than they’ve ever been in the USA, car use continually goes up, not down.

  38. 39 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 03:55

    @ nelsoni

    i would like to ask, why does the international media never report stories to a logical end?

    Putting on my “cynical old git” hat for a moment….

    It’s because most of the stories you mention don’t have a “logical end” in prospect. The Burmese generals will continue to block outsiders getting to where aid is needed…and make communication difficult.

    Migrant workers will continue to be victimised in South Africa.

    Mugabe will continue to drive his country into the ground and use violence to control opposition.

    …and that’s the problem. Unless something new happens to change the status quo. the reporters run out of things to say. As a rule of thumb, any time you hear a headline or report that uses a phrase like “XXXXX continues to happen in Bobland as the deathtoll from YYYY continues to mount” you can be pretty sure that you’re going to stop hearing about that story soon.

    I’m not sure what the solution is. The news media can’t really run down a daily checklist of problems: “Burmese Generals, still bad. South African migrants, still victimised, Mugabe, a bit worse than yesterday” but I agree it seems callous to stop reporting. However, with each news bulletin only lasting a few minutes, what else is there to do?

  39. 40 Julie P
    July 1, 2008 at 04:09

    Morning, Bob.

    Good luck with the knee replacement. I have a friend who underwent having a knee replaced. It looked painful. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. It took my friend a long time to recover. We went to London a year after her surgery and did a lot of walking. I could see that she was having problems keeping up with me. We frequently had to stop, so she could rest her knee. I wish you the best on your second knee replacement surgery.

    I just had a friend’s son come back from five months in Brisbane. He loved it there. He was very jet lagged when I saw him earlier tonight. 18 hours on a plane can wear a person out.

    I have noticed people breaking out the motorcycles and scooters here. I am seeing more and more on the road. That may be an immediate response. My brother has bought a scooter to get to and from work instead of using his car. I think there will be a change in consumer behavior in the immediate future concerning gas prices. I did read an article where a guy burned his Mercedes in Germany because he could no longer afford to drive it given gas had gotten $2.50 a liter. The things people do!

  40. 41 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 04:28

    Thanks for the good wishes, Julie! My first “bionic knee” has actually been a great success, the only problem being that the extra mobility has just shown up the problems on the knee they didn’t do. Without going into the gory details, the second knee needs a slightly different operation and, for once, I’m considered a bit young for it since the artificial joints only last 20 years of so. They’re trying to put off the operation as long I can tolerate the problems to avoid complications in my later years.

    We’re about an hour outside Brisbane, up a steep escarpment, so we tend to get slightly more temperate weather and lovely views. However, we have children in Brisbane so get down there fairly often…this is a nice part of the world!

    It’s interesting you mention motorcycles and scooters. I haven’t noticed any dramatic increase in their numbers on the roads here–even though you’d think our Aussie weather would be ideal for them. Unlike the UK, we don’t have six months of the year on wet, sometimes icy, slippery roads!

    However, it occurs to me that the big issue with so many alternative means of transport is carrying things, both passengers and bags of shopping etc. Few of my journeys are done solo and the vast majority result in having to carry 5 or 6 heavy shopping bags (well, I have to support the Australian wine growers!) on the return journey. Frankly, a small electric car with limited range would be fine, keeping the gas guzzler for occasional trips to Brisbane. However, there would have to be a big change in the financial model to make the use of two vehicles economic. Maybe that’s something that needs working on!

  41. 42 Vijay
    July 1, 2008 at 04:33

    One of the talking points on the BBC Worldservice feedback programme Over to You for the last couple of weeks is the treatment of Coleen Mcloughlin(Mrs.Wayne Rooney ,an English soccer superstar)by the World Today(news programme),they with disdain, gleefully mocked her accent and even dubbed her comment using a non native english speaker.
    Their sneering and snide attitude reminded me of the George Bernard Shaws quote
    “It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him”
    Will ,Bob any ex pat insight?

  42. July 1, 2008 at 04:33

    @ Jesus for president.

    A few month back I entertained this Idea. Jesus Would Never Get Elected and Heaven is Run By a Communist Government

    The liberal leaning idealist won’t vote for him because Jesus advocates religion in school, abortion, and homosexuality. The conservatives would not vote for him due to his stance on guns, taxes, welfare, and the nuclear bomb.

    Nobody who talks about tolerance, forgiveness, and personal responsibility is going to have a chance at getting elected.

  43. 44 Julie P
    July 1, 2008 at 04:39

    She told me the same thing about her knee having 20 year life cycle. That would put her in her early 70’s for a replacement for that one. Ouch! I’ll say an ouch for you too when the time comes.

    My brother lives in Wisconsin, which has hot, humid summers, but the winters can be pretty brutal. He and wife have consolidated their trips for grocery shopping, etc. Living in Atlanta the weather will allow for more motorcycles/scooters for commuting it’s hot and humid here. It’s kind of like living in a wet sauna. The winters are mild and seeming to get milder. You are right about the needed space for hauling groceries and passengers, but we will find a way. Necessity is the mother of inventions.

    He didn’t spend much time talking about his five months in Brisbane. He could barley keep his head up. I’m sure the next time I see he won’t quit talking. We’re 14 hours apart in time zones, and 18 hours in travel time away. On that note…I’ll talk more with you on the weekend. It’s a school night and I need to get to bed. I stayed up for your response.

  44. 45 Amy
    July 1, 2008 at 04:59


    Best of luck with the knee. I also have knee problems. I have had 3 scopes done and have been putting off going back to the doctor. I’m 39 now but they wanted to do a full replacement when I was 17. I said no, I’d live with the pain. This is my punishment for being a competitive figure skater in my youth. Please keep us updated on how it goes.

    One of my best friends is from Brisbane so I’ll have to see if she knows the area you are in. I’m sure she does.


  45. 46 Vijay
    July 1, 2008 at 05:39

    WHYS might consider doing a programme or two from the Royal Agricultural Show,Stonleigh Park,near Birmingham,UK. July 3rd – July 6th 2008.
    Farmers ,agri professionals,politicians ,corporations and development charities(stakeholders) from around the world will be present.

  46. 47 Katharina in Ghent
    July 1, 2008 at 06:20

    Happy Canada Day everyone! (Okay, at least to the Canadians on the blog…)

  47. 48 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 06:29

    @ Vijay

    I didn’t hear either the original “World Today” item or the comment on “Over to You” so I can’t offer anything but a very general comment.

    Many of the wives and girlfirends of British football players have played a dangerous game of self-publicity, in effect becoming famous for being married to a sports personality. The tabloid press have coined the acronym “WAGS” for them…”Wives and Girlfriends”. Their exploits, going shopping, going to nightclubs, etc. are covered incessantly by the paparazzi.

    McLoughlin has taken this “fame by association” about as far as possible and has her own magzine columns, TV shows and numerous media interests.

    Having said all that, I’m at a loss to know what she might have done to be featured on a supposedly non-tabloid show like the World Today. Hopefully somebody who heard the item can enlighten us!

  48. 49 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 06:36


    In my case it was rock climbing/mountaineering/skiing that did my knees in and they lasted well until into my 40s but have deteriorated quickly since then! However, when you do get around to the operation, grab it. My experience with the first one was that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected–and the improvement in mobility was within weeks.

    When you talk to your Brisbane friends you can tell them I’m in a place called Toowoomba–it’s a university city of about 100,000 so hopefully she’s heard of it!

    To try and drag this into a WHYS-worthy topic, I wonder if there’s a programme in talking about all the mechanical enhancements that modern medicine allows. We’re not quite at the bionic man stage yet, but the number of replacement joints out there (and how well they work) was a surprise to me!

  49. 50 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 06:51

    @ Ros

    I just noticed your comment about cravings for dill pickles and ice cream and thought I should congratulate you on your pregnancy! Slightly surprising but I guess on WHYS anything is possible!

    Regarding tourism, my region of Queensland has a large tourist industry and it IS being hit by high fuel costs. In our case, the coastal resorts are heavily dependent on customers arriving by air rather than car and passenger levels are so far down (and costs so far up) that the airlines have actually stopped flying to some popular but small destinations. The lack of flights (announced only recently) is having a disasterous effect on some areas. The state government has announced some subsidies for advertising to try and ameliorate the situation but I’m a bit puzzled how ads are going to help if there are no planes to bring in the tourists!

    Even the city I’m in has been affected–it’s a fairly popular daytrip/weekend destination for people from Brisbane and the coast and, according to the local papers, visitor numbers are well down with the downturn being felt by motels and restaurants.

    (Just for comparison sake, petrol here is about half the price you pay in the UK…but not far off double the American cost.)

  50. 51 viola
    July 1, 2008 at 08:09

    I asked a local who works at the museum in town if the number of travelers is down on the Alaska Highway from last year (they keep statistics) and she said no, and she has heard that in many cases it is because tourists figure the gas prices will go nowhere but up. It therefore makes sense to take that dream trip now before it gets worse.

    Shirley, it makes no sense to me that Iran would try to nuke Israel, either, but I seriously doubt anyone contemplating such a move cares what people like you and me think.

    And, tongue in cheek once again, I offer my all-purpose solution to the oil crisis, the global warming crisis, and traffic congestion. Simply make it illegal to drive any kind of automobile in a city or town or suburb. It wouldn’t be long until there would be excellent rapid transit systems all over. Permit only delivery trucks and long haul trucks on highways. And it should apply the world over, not just in North America.

  51. 52 Pangolin- California
    July 1, 2008 at 08:50

    @ Bob- It sounds like your needs might be met by what we in the US call a ‘neighborhood electric vehicle.’ (Wiki ) These are essentially beefed-up golf carts with optional hard cases that have limited range (45 km) and speed (56-72 km/h).

    If you strapped a small honda generator on the back you could probably get some extended range and boost getting back up the escarpment. As your weather is a bit closer to ours here in California I think it might be a reasonable option.

    If your gas price is double ours then you would be paying $9/gal US. To understand the impact of this a local chain of nine motor home (caravan to you) dealers has announced that they are liquidating all stock and closing. Despite the happy talk things are going from bad to worse here economically.

    For those of you still interested in bicycling there are new lines of freight bikes out designed to carry six bags of groceries and a kid. They are referred to as ‘longtail bikes’ with the Xtracycle being the most common seen in the US. (disclosure: I’ve got one of these and I carry insane loads. A case of apples, 2 watermelons, 10 lbs of assorted other fruits and vegetables and flowers)

    Electric bicycles are sold by the millions in China and Vietnam and electric assist kits are available to attatch to your existing bike. There is one local little old lady that rides around in an electric assisted tricycle. The fact that most westerners have no idea that these things are available shows how deeply we are in trouble.

  52. 53 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 08:53

    Rapid transit is very good at moving large numbers of people all travelling to the same place but I wonder if it can ever replace some form of “personal transport” (I won’t say “car”) in modern towns and cities and with modern lifestyles.

    When I lived in the UK I used the rail system for my daily commute into London. However, for my local shopping needs, I was pretty much forced to use a car. The only shop within walking distance was a “convenience store” with a very limited range of goods. The nearest sizeable shopping area was possibly walkable to get there, but certainly too far to carry a week’s worth of shopping home–and travelling to work by train more or less forced me to do a “main shop” at the weekend.

    The situation is similar here in Australia–except that the nearest shops to me are even farther away and less accessible without a car. The bus system is reasonable–but aimed more at getting commuters downtown that shoppers to the supermarket. Even if the buses could be re-arranged to get people to the shops, buses are not really designed to get people home with a week’s worth of food.

    I mention all this not to try and justify the continuing use of oil-burning cars–that is unsustainable. Public transport has a big role to play but my point is that unless there is a major change in both lifestyle and urban design buses and trains can’t do it all. There will still have be some form of personal transport capable of carrying extra people and bags. Cue a return to some earlier WHYS discussions where we talked about new battery (or fuel cell) technology for electric cars–and renewable sources of energy to charge them up.

  53. 54 Pangolin- California
    July 1, 2008 at 09:27

    @ Cars for shopping- The obvious solution to lack of local market to do the weekly shopping in is to make more local markets. Weekly shopping is wasteful to start with as items like meat, dairy, fruits and veg tend to be consumed in greater proportion if they can by purchased closer to the date of eating. Think of all the wilted greens and last cups of sour milk in the jug.

    Of course groceries will be more expensive but that will be offset by a lesser percentage of unemployed as small shops mean more shopkeepers. The other thing nobody mentions in the US is that we actually go on vacation to places where the small shop still dominates the local economy. These places are better places to be and satisfy something deep in our genetics.

    The Giant Box retailer is going to be hammered by people running bootleg grocery stores in their three car garages. If it costs you $10 to drive to the store Walmart or Tesco aren’t going to save you any money.

    @moderator- I seem to have lost a post on electic vehicles. Several links to Wiki in there so perhaps it got booted to spam.

  54. 55 Bob in Queensland
    July 1, 2008 at 10:05

    @ Pangolin

    First off, I found your electric cars post in the “Spam” trap (it seems to get picky where there are lots of links) and have moved it for you.

    More local markets is the sort of “lifestyle change” I was alluding to–and we try to buy fruit and veg (most of which is locally produced) but that would be a long term change. A second issue is hours of business–the markets around here are great for the “early to bed, early to rise” set but tend to close before people working normal hours (much less the evening/night work I do) can get there. Again, another social change needed, especially since the “stay at home, ready to shopping daily” doesn’t exist.

    Finally, thanks for the links on the electric cars which I’ll have a read through.

  55. 56 Mohammed Ali
    July 1, 2008 at 10:12

    I agree with you on the reckless statement made by the former senior intel officer of the Mossad. These are statements that are basically fueling conflicts in the middle east. Ok, Israel has nuclear weapons and nobody is talking about bombing their nuclear sites. I think peaceful negotiations are the best solutions in these nuclear crises. We saw it worked in the case of Libya and now it is working in North Korea. I think diplomacy must be given the chance and not war. A war with Iran will basically harm the middle east and the world also will be affected.

  56. 57 Mohammed Ali
    July 1, 2008 at 10:21

    Wa’alaikum salam. What a great description of presidents you have given. I should like to add that there are some similarities between African and Arab presidents. Some African presidents come to power through revolutions and don’t leave until they are botted out brutally. Samuel K. Doe of Liberia is an example.

  57. 58 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    July 1, 2008 at 10:32


    You ask, “What does Iran have to gain by fropping a nuclear bomb” on Israel. I don’t know. Your question would be better directed to the government of Iran, whose presdient has promised to “wipe Israel off the map” and which is amassing enriched fissile material toward that end.

  58. 59 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    July 1, 2008 at 10:33


  59. 60 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    July 1, 2008 at 10:34

    and “fropping” = dropping!

  60. 61 Mohammed Ali
    July 1, 2008 at 10:45

    Israel vs Iran, a real explosive topic that will generate substantia and controversial debates. I will go for discussing it on air.

  61. 62 Jonathan (sanguine San Francisco)
    July 1, 2008 at 11:00

    “Explorisve topic” — that’s pretty funny. To a call-in radio show, though, it might be a “radioactive” topic.

  62. 63 steve
    July 1, 2008 at 14:09

    Doesn’t the smoking ban in the Netherlands go into effect today? If so, are coffeeshops exempted or is this the end of the marijuana business there? Or if the socialists I have grown to know and love, only covered tobacco smoke in their ban? But don’t people mix pot with tobacco there anyways?

  63. 64 Dennis
    July 1, 2008 at 14:18

    Good Morning…1ST July…for most of the world…Good afternoon, evening and night to the rest.

    Thanks Priya..for the morning talking

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  64. 65 Roberto
    July 1, 2008 at 14:21

    Israel vs Iran, a real explosive topic

    —— Why does it have to be couched in war terms?

    Why can’t the topic be presented in the diplomatic format?

  65. 66 Tino
    July 1, 2008 at 15:09

    “If so, are coffeeshops exempted or is this the end of the marijuana business there? Or if the socialists I have grown to know and love, only covered tobacco smoke in their ban? But don’t people mix pot with tobacco there anyways?”

    They are exempted. Marijuana is still legal inside the coffee shops. Mixing tobacco, however, is now illegal.

  66. 67 Shirley
    July 1, 2008 at 15:10

    Israel continues to invade various Palestinian cities in clear violation of international law. Monday, they invaded Bethlehem. Tuesday, they invaded Jenin, a village near Hebron, another near Ramallah, and two near Nablus as well as Nablus itself. Among other invasions, they have assaulted community centres in Jenin and Nablus, looting and vandalising property. Israeli soldiers are still shooting at people near the border in Gaza. Palestinians in Gaza have launched a fourth rocket. Israel still has the border sealed.

    An official confirmation of what leftist pundits have been saying for years: Israel has been abusing Palestinian water resources. And apparently, Israeli troops can freely kill Palestinian children, as they are rarely convicted of any wrongdoing. It will be more difficult for Palestinian Israelis to be elected to the Knesset now that travel to certain countries has been banned. An Iranian Israel spy up for capital punishment. And on a non-political note, there could be an earthquake in the region soon.

    If both the border shooting and the rocket launch are added to the U.N. truce breach count, it would constitute 9 Israeli violations and 2 Palestinian violations. Last week, Israeli forces killed three Palestinians and wounded 18. Palestinians have launched five rockets into Israel since the commencement of the truce. No injuries or deaths were reported. We don’t hear of Palestinians going unpunished for plastering Israeli children with bullets. We don’t hear complaints from Israeli citizens of insufficient water or water gone sour. Considering the Israeli assaults against Palestinians as compared to Palestinian attacks on Israelis, it is obvious who has the power in this situation and whose responsibility it is to take the moral high ground of initiating change for the better, especially in terms of abiding by international law.

  67. 68 Shirley
    July 1, 2008 at 15:11

    AU summit (Reuters, 30 Jun) African leaders “unlikely to punish [Mugabe’s] government.” An AP article describing the “cozy relationship” between Mugabe and other African leaders also mentioned that “Tsvangirai wants the African Union to send in peacekeepers.” The U.S. is feeling the pressure to appear as if they are doing something, so Washington weighs new US sanctions on Zimbabwe. So now Zimbabweans get to suffer as did Iraqis? How lovely. The latest diplomacy from Zimbabwe to the West: “Go Hang.”

    Obama and faith-based programmes. Political upheaval in Turkey. 4,113 U.S. soldiers dead in Iraq.

    Iraq invites robbers to 8 oil fields. Or maybe 6. Meanwhile, the Iraqi people still want justice. Good luck: Maher Arar already found that technicalities can kill cases against the government. And while a UN official says that Gitmo trials are unfair, I doubt that the U.S. plans to respect that. The U.N. official cited detainees’ limited access to defense attorneys at the remote U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba, as well as rules that allow hearsay and coerced evidence to be presented in court.

  68. 69 steve
    July 1, 2008 at 15:15

    @ Tino

    Typical liberals. Ban one kind of bad for you, but not the other. The harmful substance in smoke, is tar. And ALL smoke contains tar, yet they only ban tobacco? Classic, classic liberal. I DON’T LIKE THIS SO I WANT IT BANNED!! Don’t the dutch mix hash with tobacco anyways? What will they do now? Must be a huge dilemma for the socialist who like banning everything they don’t like.

  69. 70 Shirley
    July 1, 2008 at 15:58

    Viola, your idea on fuel and autos is awesome. A clarification, though, on my Iran statement: what I meant is that they are highly unlikely to carry out a nuclear strike on Israel, not that I didn’t think that they should. Of course, I do not thinkk that they should, either. It is a breach of moral ethics according to Shia Islam and human reasoning.

    Jonathan, you had to remind me that he is still Pres, didn’t you? Isn’t there some island off the coast of Antartica for him and Dub? (poor penguins) Does ayone know how Ahmedinijad’s popularity ratings are doing these days?

  70. 71 steve
    July 1, 2008 at 16:05

    @ Shirley

    Do you ever talk about the bad things Palestinians do, such as killing homosexuals for being homosexual? That’s related to one of the topics going on today. I have a link up there. Something tells me that Islamist run areas, such as Gaza, probably doesn’t treat homosexuals very well. But I realize they aren’t Israeli, hence shouldn’t get criticized. So while Palestinians murder people for being gay, we should focus all of our criticism on Israel, becuase they want to stop insane zealots from killing them.

  71. 73 Shirley
    July 1, 2008 at 17:16

    When ‘I Do’ Is an Order, not a Choice: a US News & World Report article on forced marriages. Focuses on Britain.

    The New Face of Islam: a Newsweek article about the move away from extremism. I like, but it still lacks a grip on what true Islamic teachings are and what are so modernist as to have broken away from Islam. example: gives thumbs-up to shaykh who questions requirement for women to be accompanied on journeys. I as a Shia Muslim woman have not encountered said requirement, but it is still a mainstay of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, with qualified backing from legitimately Sunni sources. two pages; second page link.

    both interesting reads. I got them in the real mags and Googled the online versions.

  72. 74 Shirley
    July 1, 2008 at 17:44

    As long as there are plenty of people out there who are more than happy to point out the wrongdoings of Palestinians and glaze the mideeds of the Israeli government with honey and NO2, I don’t feel any grand pressing need to spend the same energy condemning every little error by Palestinians. I do not see it a “duty” of mine to condemn Israel from one side of the mouth and then use the other side to condemn Palestine. Not my job. Like I said, plenty of others are more than happy to do so, and it seems to me that their voices dorwn out by far the voices who point to the sufferings of the Palestinian people.

  73. 75 Tino
    July 1, 2008 at 17:59

    “Can this story possibly be real?”

    If Islam is behind it, nothing is impossible. They also got piggy banks banned from some bank in Britain (and the netherlands apparently) a while ago:


    You shouldn’t be surprised anymore Steve, I am not. More dog related nonsense also:


    “POLICE sniffer dogs trained to spot terrorists at railway stations may no longer come into contact with Muslim passengers – after complaints that it is against the suspects’ religion.”

    They didn’t win that one, though: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1029887/Muslims-searched-sniffer-dogs-despite-religious-objections-say-police.html

  74. 76 Tino
    July 1, 2008 at 18:00

    “it seems to me that their voices dorwn out by far the voices who point to the sufferings of the Palestinian people.”

    How do you come to this conclusion, when nearly every single article is about Palestinians and their self-caused problems?

  75. 77 Shirley
    July 1, 2008 at 18:40

    A Look at the New Geopolitics of Energy: A 27 June Democracy Now interview with author Michael Klare and independent journalist Arun Gupta. Featured music by Nina Simone. Amy Goodman asked Arun, “[T]he oil companies, Chevron, Enron, Exxon Mobil, the others, mak[e] more money than they ever have in history. How do you explain that?” Arun’s response: That has to do with the rising prices. I think there are other factors at play, supply and demand are somewhat of an issue, but speculation is an enormous issue. One of the most important concepts to understand is what’s known as the reserve to production ratio. There’s also the factor of U.S. foreign policy that in 2003, what is known as the excess global capacity. Michale Klare commented, [T]here is more oil in the world, but it’s of the tough oil variety, extremely hazardous and difficult to produce. [A]ny crisis that emerges…is fueling this speculative frenzy that everyone has been speaking about.

    Democracy Now also did a piece on drilling on public lands for oil

  76. 78 Philip
    July 2, 2008 at 14:54

    This assumes that the so-called State of Israel has a right to exist. This is no more the case than the apartheid state of South Africa had a right to exist. The only difference between the two is that, in the former, the privileged group seeking to cling to its privilege (by whatever means are necessary) are Jews who have been historically among the most oppressed people in the history of the Western World and in the latter, those fighting to retain their privilege did not belong to any identifiably-oppressed group. The lesson the western world has yet to learn is that having a history of oppression does not confer the right to oppress others. Until we’ve learned that lesson, the Middle East will continue to be in chaos.

    In 1948, Britain (with the acquiescence of its allies) gave away a piece of inhabited land (Palestine) over which it had control but no legitimate sovereignty to foreigners (Jews, initially at least, those most oppressed by Nazism and other European anti-Semiticism) so that they could colonize this land. This was against the wishes of the inhabitants of that piece of land. We are all now reaping the results of that unjust response to WWII allies’ guilt at not intervening to save Jews from the Nazis earlier than they did.

  77. 79 steve
    July 2, 2008 at 14:57

    @ Philip

    For being a “so-called” state, Israel surely knows how to beat the living cr&p out of its enemies on the battlefield. And while you’re at it, singling out Israel for criticism for being created, can you name me ONE arab nation that was not created by a european nation?

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