Ah, last day of summer holidays. It’s possible I’ll miss them when they’re not here everyday, I suppose.
We’re spending the day at home putting labels on books and ensuring that the school uniforms in their drawers are actually clean. I might even manage to get them to school on time tomorrow (but I also might not).
Good Sunday to all of you, and here are some links!
I do think that words matter – of course I do. I take care to choose them wisely so that I’m as clear as I can be and so that I don’t appear rude or uncaring. But can political correctness go too far? Nick Cohen points out that arguing over whether someone has used the ‘correct’ term, when it’s quite clear that the person has not meant to cause offence, is less likely to help diminish discrimination, and more likely to deter people from actually speaking out against it.
* * * * *
How exactly can we allow this to happen? Up to 40 000 farmers are being evicted from their land in Nigeria, making way for a US agriculture company called Dominion Farms to establish a rice plantation. The concern I have is that although this appears to have been signed off by the Nigerian government and the G8 as part of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa, it prevents smallhold and subsistence farmers from growing food for their families and local communities. This therefore means that the farmers not only lose their livelihoods, but it also decreases food security, since subsistence farmers play a vital role in providing affordable food for poor households.
* * * * *
It’s common knowledge that large companies such as Apple and Google use legal loopholes in order to pay less tax. Given that such companies earn many billions of dollars – Apple just posted the largest quarterly profit of any company, ever – it seems only fair that governments should ensure that these companies are paying taxes in the countries from where they’re operating, instead of where they pretend to operate. A senate inquiry will begin this month to investigate options, but as the authors point out, unless we have international cooperation (in particular, the US), any laws we put into place will be easily circumvented. I just find the whole thing so… unjust. And greedy.
* * * * *
Finally, reknowned and beloved Australian author, Colleen McCullough, died on Thurday, and The Australian newspaper royally stuffed up her obituary, stating: “Plain of feature and certainly overweight, she was, nevertheless a woman of wit and warmth.” Who does that? Who writes an obituary about a talented, intelligent person and makes the first – OR ANY – comment about her appearance? Needless to say, the reaction was disbelief, but also humour, and Twitter delivered brilliantly. I’ll just leave this here for your amusement.