Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Headlines Wednesday 20th August

AND IT’S STILL GOOD ADVICE
Tim Blair
Michael Gorey, editor of the Mount Gambier newspaper that gave us one of the best opening paragraphs ever written, reflects on how his paper’s lawnmower story has spread. He’s got a good attitude; protective of his town, but at the same time alert to the chance of a whipsong intro.
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TILT SISTERS
Tim Blair
From the Age‘s internal email newsletter:
Beautiful Sunset
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TAKE THE SLAVOJ TEST
Tim Blair
We’ve seen how a Marxist academic copes with 32 questions from a British newspaper. Now it’s your turn to take the Slavoj Zizek test:

1. When were you happiest?

2. What is your greatest fear?

3. What is your earliest memory?
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INABILITY EXPLAINED
Tim Blair
Only racists vote against Obama:
Struggling to explain Democratic candidate Barack Obama’s inability to dominate his Republican opponent John McCain in the polls, Americans have started to think about the unthinkable: the race factor …

“It’s the right question to ask: why doesn’t Obama have a much larger lead?” University of Maryland politics professor James Gimpel said yesterday. “I think the race thing is there. It has to be.”
Why, given Obama’s experience, consistency, modesty and impeccable background, it can’t possibly be anything else.
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SYDNEY BURNS
Tim Blair
The SMH previews Nine network warmer-drama Scorched:
Its premise is scarily plausible: Sydney has just weeks of water left in its dams and rain hasn’t fallen in more than 200 days.
Plausible? Really? Sydney’s longest recorded dry spell is 47 days (13 years ago), yet 200 days without rain is plausible somehow? As for “just weeks of water left”, Sydney’s dams are currently at 66 per cent of total capacity – leaving us with a mere 23 years of water at this month’s rate of loss.
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CITY OF SCORCHES
Tim Blair
Tim Flannery five months ago:
The water problem is so severe for Adelaide that it may run out of water by early 2009.
Thereafter was delivered upon Adelaide a great downpouring:
Adelaide had its coldest August fortnight in 30 years ... It’s been damp in the city too. For 15 days straight from July 30 some rain fell, its longest stretch of rain-days since June/July 1891.
Water levels in the city’s dams presently stand at 61 per cent. At current daily consumption rates, Adelaide won’t run out of water – even if no rain falls – until August 21, 2010.
Beautiful Sunset
FLIP FLOP FLAB
Tim Blair
John Kerry was for Michael Moore before he was against him, according to Moore himself:
I remember poor John Kerry not even being able to admit, when asked by Larry King, if he had seen Fahrenheit 9/11. “No,” he said, “I haven’t. . . . I don’t plan to, right now.” But he had indeed seen it. I sat there watching him say this, and I just felt sorry for him and for the election he was about to lose.
That little piece of information should do wonders for Kerry’s VP chances. He even lies about the movies he’s seen.
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MAMDOUH BURGERED
Tim Blair
International cleaning business tycoon Mamdouh Habib has to pay the man:
Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib has been fined in a Sydney court for swearing and offensive behaviour at a McDonald’s restaurant.
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HOPE EXPRESSED
Tim Blair
An Australian soldier discusses Iraq with a left-wing Australian student:
RICHARD SHARPE: No soldier loves war. We are far too close to it to be caught up in the idea of romantic heroism. We do what we do because there are some real bad people out there. There are also good people who need our help.

We are not saints. There will always be someone who spoils it for the rest. Most of what we do we do for each other. The bigger picture really only snaps into focus in an instant and gets just as quickly buried under the minutiae of operational life. Those brief moments though, the kid smiling as you drive past, seeing a school open for the first time in years, watching the women walking to the markets safe from murder and rape, help you understand why it is sometimes necessary to inflict violence in order to prevent it.

You also gain an understanding of why it is the free western democracies on which this burden falls, not out of an imperialist drive to subjugate lesser peoples, but to give them the chance to strive for the way of life that people like you take for granted.

PETER JONES: Well Richard Sharpe,

I can only hope that you are blown up by a roadside bomb.

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Australia is falling short and bowing out
By Wayne Smith
The projected final medal count for Australia and Great Britain in Beijing.
AUSTRALIA is heading for its worst Olympic medal tally since the 1992 Barcelona Games as it struggles to match the spending and sporting muscle of the present and future host nations, China and Britain.
For the first time, chef de mission John Coates conceded yesterday Australia might not figure in the top five nations on gold medal rankings in Beijing, although he is hopeful a top-five placing in terms of overall medals is still realistic.

Coming into Beijing, he was optimistic Australia could defend its fourth placings from the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Games. But pre-meet Australian Olympic Committee predictions of 44 medals were beginning to look a little overblown when the Australian team was becalmed for most of Day 11 of the Beijing Olympics, the first day Advance Australia Fair didn't get an airing in the Chinese capital.

"We're marginally off," said Coates, realigning his sights. "I think it could be somewhere between 40 and 42."

Everything is relative, of course. For a nation of 21 million, Australia punches way above its weight, leaving a host of major countries in its wake - Germany, Japan, Italy and France to name a few.
Who really has the most medals?
Tim Brunero
So you thought China and America were top of the medal count? Well, you were wrong.

In fact they’re coming 44th and 32nd respectively – in the Medals Per Capita count that is.

You see, there are four ways you can measure a medals tally. -Another possibility is to consider the number of contestants per medal. We train our athletes as much as the US does, but we don't perform anywhere near as well as they do. It reminds me of that old saw "There are 10 types of people in this world. Those that get binary numbers and those that don't." or "I taught my dog to whistle, but it just won't learn."- ed.
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If the snow had vanished instead, what would they say?
Andrew Bolt
I blame global warming:

Mt Ruapehu is claiming the biggest snow base ever recorded for a New Zealand skifield with over 4.5m of snow on the ground.

UPDATE
Beautiful Sunset
GetUp! has to RugUp for its protest against global warming:

Climate change may be THE hot international issue of the moment but enthusiasm for the cause clearly wanes on a freezing Friday afternoon when the campaign moves to a mountain top where the wind chill factor is below zero.
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Importing people to do what jobless locals should
Andrew Bolt
How bizarre is that the Rudd Government wants to import 2500 fruit pickers from the Pacific Islands into an area where there is high unemployment, especially among Aborigines?

TONY Abbott says Aborigines will feel cheated when they see Pacific Islanders being paid to pick fruit in rural communities while they languish on welfare. The powerful Kimberley Land Council agrees, describing the federal government plan as “shameful”.
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If only sceptical Emerson fought as he talked
Andrew Bolt
Small Business Minister Craig Emerson, a secret global warming denier, lashes out at the greenshirts:

The message is clear: irrationality sells and any questioning of spurious environmental claims is an act of heresy. It’s time for an Australian Enlightenment, where once again reason and facts prevail over mysticism and ignorance.
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Where is the Left on Georgia?
Andrew Bolt
Richard Littlejohn:

Pity I was away last week. I must have missed the march through London against the Russian invasion of Georgia. What a magnificent sight it must have been - half a million protesters standing firm against tyranny and supporting freedom and democracy.

I’d have loved to have heard Red Ken denouncing the bloodthirsty gangster regime in Moscow, George Galloway comparing Vladimir Putin to Hitler and Tony Benn declaring it was all about oil.

What’s that you say? There was no such rally? I suppose they must all have been too busy demonstrating against Chinese oppression in Tibet and demanding a boycott of the Beijing Olympics.

Or perhaps not. Funny how the Not In My Name crowd always overlooks aggression by Communist or ‘former’ Communist regimes.

There’s no such reticence when it comes to portraying George W. Bush as the new Hitler or daubing swastikas on the Israeli flag.
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Greer’s fans are the real worry
Andrew Bolt
Beautiful Sunset
IT’S not what she says that makes Germaine Greer a worry. Every society has its ratbags, after all.

No, it’s the applause she gets once she’s said it that should scare you.

The louder the applause, the more irresponsible the audience. And from the cheering right now—mainly from women, dare I note—you can tell we’re far more infantile than is healthy.

The cheers are for the worst of Greer—an essay, On Rage, which perfectly captures her unreason, her racialism and her spectacularly ignorant worship of the Noble Savage.

Here is a manifesto of irresponsibility, cheered by the roars of the irresponsible.

Greer’s thesis this time is that Aboriginal men are gripped by a rage caused by the humiliation of 200 years of white settlement.
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It’s the policies, not the warming, that will kill us
Andrew Bolt
One of the most powerful reasons to doubt man is heating the world to hell is the need of the prophets to exaggerate what’s actually happening. Take Henry Derwent, chief executive of the International Emissions Trading Association, writing today in The Age:
First, remember that climate change is, over time, a killer for Australian growth… Cleaning up typhoons, depopulating inhabited coastal areas and building flood defences is going to seriously divert the growth of Indonesia, Vietnam and China on which much of Australia’s recent prosperity has depended.
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Running for the regime
Andrew Bolt
Beautiful Sunset
China’s regime establishes how the media should report on the shock withdrawal from the 110 hurdles of Chinese superstar Liu Xiang - and dictates, too, just what such athletes are competing for:

The supportive tone of virtually all media was guaranteed after Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping telegraphed a message of sympathy for China’s most famous track star. “We hope that after he recovers, he will continue to train hard and struggle harder for the national glory.”
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Never mind the books, check the flash black skivvy
Andrew Bolt
You don’t actually have to produce great literature to become UNESCO’s City of Literature. You just need to fund arts administrators and give them swish new offices:
Three days before the opening of the Melbourne Writers Festival, UNESCO has named Melbourne as its second City of Literature. Edinburgh became the first in 2004.
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Another day, another wild warming scare
Andrew Bolt
The creativity of these alarmists is admirable:

CLIMATE change could threaten the safety of blood used for life-saving transfusions, Australian experts have warned.
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Feeling cold, thinking hot
Andrew Bolt
Philip Stott, Professor Emeritus of Biogeography at the University of London, wonders how much longer the media can ignore what’s really happening with our climate:

I must ask a very serious and urgent question of our media. Why do you continue to talk glibly about current climate ‘warming’ when it is now widely acknowledged that there has been no ‘global warming’ for the last ten years, a cooling trend that many think may continue for at least another ten years? How can you talk of the climate ‘warming’ when, on the key measures, it isn’t?…
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Why sceptical scientists do it tougher
Andrew Bolt
Another scientist tackles the global warming orthodoxy - but not before he’s had to clamber over some interesting barriers:

Is the sun driving our weather? Robert Baker thinks it might. For a decade, he’s been observing that the fluctuations of the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) can be forecast with reasonable accuracy using the sun’s magnetic cycle.

And the barriers?

Not everyone shares Dr Baker‘s enthusiasm for a potential sun-SOI link. Climatologist Dr Blair Trewin, editor of Australian Meterological Magazine, said last year that the statistical analysis behind Dr Baker’s theory is “significantly flawed”.

Trewin, a believer of the AGW theory, refused to publish Baker’s analysis, which has now been accepted by the (peer-reviewed) journal, Solar Terrestrial Physics, for December 2008 publication. Nor is getting published the only hurdle Baker has faced
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