I CAN’T understand why councils insist on putting high growing plants on roundabouts.
Recently I felt that I was tempting fate trying to drive through the roundabout on the corner of Cowper and Kokera streets, Wallsend.
You cannot see traffic approaching from the Newcastle side of the roundabout and as the roundabout is small, the cars come around very quickly.
I was under the assumption that roundabouts were designed to assist traffic flow, not increase the likelihood of accidents.
Surely councils can plant lower growing plants that would enable full vision of approaching traffic.
Terrence Chedzey, Rutherford
HARBOURING A DIRTY SECRET
LESS than three weeks until the influx of thousands of tourists to watch the Supercars event in Newcastle. This morning I walked along Honeysuckle Drive and Wharf Road, following the same route that most tourists will walk, from the new transport interchange to the event in Newcastle East. Last year this same route was a non-stop conga-line of out of town visitors every single day of the event.
I witnessed dead and dying trees, overgrown weeds, unkempt gardens, multiple broken tree protection frames, litter and tree branches scattered in gutters. Footpaths on roundabouts and most sections of pathways were black with mould.
In many cases it was obvious that the accumulation of rubbish and general filth wasn’t the result of not being cleaned this week or month. I found it abundantly clear the area has had little attention for over 12 months or more.
Newcastle City Council needs to hang its collective heads in shame. Can’t we do better than this?
Andrew Vercoe, Newcastle
A BRIDGE TOO FAR
IN REPLY to Henry Wellsmore (Short Takes 3/11), you are correct when you say that bridge and chess are the only ‘mind sports’ recognised by the Internatioinal Olympic Committee. However, you did not go on and explain that they were not eligible for the main Olympic program because no physical activity was involved.
In October 2017 the British High Court ruled against the English Bridge Union, finding that bridge is not a sport under a definition of sport as involving physical activity. The European Court of Justice also ruled that bridge is not a sport. This decision came due to taxation regulations: the English Bridge Union, which organises team-based bridge matches, argued that it should not be charged tax on entry fees to its tournaments because bridge is “a card-based mind sport”.
The European court sided with the British Tax Authority because bridge did not involve much physical exertion and it was not a sport because it was characterised by a physical element which appears to be negligible. I rest my case. Now, let’s eliminate the results from the sporting details of our local newspapers.
Stan Spink, East Maitland
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE
AS THE festival season approaches, the question has been asked: was Jesus gay?
He never married and lived with his parents until he took to the road as a preacher. He liked the company of men and chose 12 to be his disciples. Did he have an aversion to women, much like Orthodox monks today who ban women from their monasteries?
Then there’s the cryptic reference in the fourth Gospel to “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, though the Greek translator was careful to render the term agape (unselfish love) and not eros (sexual love). In the first Gospel there is a discussion on being an eunuch, but since castration was forbidden by Jewish law the term is best understood symbolically and from the Aramaic as ‘single life’, especially as the controversy occurred in relation to the subject of divorce.
So, was Jesus gay?
We don’t know, and even if he was it would not have been broadcast as homosexuality was condemned by the Torah.
If he was gay, he was gay. What difference does it make except that the churches may have to do some rethinking on the subject?
Neville Aubrey, Wallsend
KISSING OUR ASSETS GOODBYE
FURTHER to John Pritchard's suggestion (Letters, 3/18), the federal government compete with energy companies to keep prices in check, I'm afraid the horse has long bolted. Governments, both federal and state, have sold all major income-producing assets for expenditure such as Sydney motorways, which are then on-sold to private enterprise who profit by charging tolls.
They con us into believing that competition between private companies will keep price increases low. When this doesn't transpire, they enact legislation together with bureaucratic and costly administration to enforce it. We are slugged on both counts.
I can see nowhere this approach has been successful. The best and least expensive form of legislation is a publicly-owned enterprise. It can set a benchmark and be operated with minimal profit, thus forcing competitors to be competitive.
Perfect examples are Commbank, Medibank, Telstra and energy providers to name a few.
Am I the only one sick of comparing prices every 12 months to get the best deal? The worst of it is that we mostly have to compare apples with oranges. Furthermore, what else have the private enterprises done for us than hike prices to reward executives with bonuses for ever-increasing profits and higher share prices? Staff reductions and depressed wages for workers.
Zenon Woloszyn, Rutherford
A REASONABLE SIMILARITY
KEVIN McDonald (Letters, 5/11) would have schools stress “the basic principles of philosophical ethics” – honesty, reason, compassion and love – rather than the 'make-believe world' of religion.
Aren’t honesty, compassion and love Christian principles or virtues? Do not steal, do not bear false witness, the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son?
If they are the basic principles of philosophical ethics, why did ancient societies (Greece, Rome) which gave us philosophy remain so barbaric until the coming of Christianity?
As for 'reason', as GK Chesterton noted, it is actually a matter of faith just like religion. Reason cannot explain itself, or why it can tell us true things about the world. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.
I agree with Mr McDonald though that death as the end of any kind of existence is a comfortless creed, and that is why it will always remain a hard sell.
Peter Dolan, Lambton
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