More stimulating if Rudd’s gift was sound
NO-ONE begrudges pensioners and carers, and other less fortunate members of the community a Christmas bonus but the rationale for the Rudd Labor government’s hand-out deserves serious examination.
After all, half of the $20 billion surplus left by the former Howard-Costello Coalition government is being splashed around.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, formerly an avowed economic conservative is showing himself to be anything but now.
At the beginning of the year, Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan were hyping the inflation genie solely to discredit their predecessors’ strong economic record.
And they did a great scare job. They convinced the Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens to hike interest rates to levels that had evaporated with the Keating government in the first half of 1996.
So fixated were they in denigrating the prosperity the Howard years had left the nation however, they ignored the economic tsunami that former treasurer Peter Costello warned about in the months before last year’s federal election and that current Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull focussed on earlier this year. - I'm not one of the Rudd targets. But I don't wish to be either. I view it as a waste. I view it in the same terms as I viewed the $50 back to school allowance of NSW fame, now gone. Never worth as much as it cost, always possible to be replaced with something better until it is spent. A gimmick. Rudd is not father Christmas, but the result of his tenure will look like that of the Grinch. - ed.
Save that green whatchamacallit
Control the words, and you control the thoughts:
Oxford University Press has removed words like “aisle”, “bishop”, “chapel”, “empire” and “monarch” from its Junior Dictionary and replaced them with words like “blog”, “broadband” and “celebrity”. Dozens of words related to the countryside have also been culled.
The publisher claims the changes have been made to reflect the fact that Britain is a modern, multicultural, multifaith society.
That said, these deletions seem intended more to follow social changes, than to push them.
But note another trend to be detected in this deletion and addition of words of the OUP Junior Dictionary…
Jackman does Australia, and does it good
From 1:55, hear Hugh Jackman explain the “stolen generations” to Americans - linking us even to Nazi Germany.
Hugh, name just 10 such children.
Change you can’t believe in
It’s not often that I’m glad a politician delivers the opposite of what he’s promised:
On a range of issues, from Kosovo, China, Russia and Nato’s eastward expansion, and the Middle East, former White House officials and leading analysts are disappointed at how quickly the president-elect has moved to the centre ground since his election just a month ago.
Our gases mean nothing
Good sense from Garnaut:
CLIMATE change adviser Ross Garnaut has warned that developed nations will be unable to avert global warming by simply setting exemplary emissions targets in the hope that developing nations will follow, saying China and India must join a global action plan from the start if there is to be any hope of success.
And that’s assuming the warming is actually happening now, that it’s caused by man, that it’s bad, that we can stop it and that it’s actually worth the pain to try.
Caste privileges asserted
A New York Times columnist demands that working people be licensed before they write books - and probably not even then.
Not freedom fighter, but killer
David Burchell says writers of the West have a sick need to romanticise and aggrandise terrorists like the captured Pakistani who was taught to hate and murdered so many in Mumbai:
(T)he young terrorist’s name is in reality Mohammad Ajmal Amir Iman… And he’s neither a hardened militant, nor a glamorous Ocean’s Eleven-style saboteur, nor evidently a high-quality anything.
Born to a snackfood cart driver and a downtrodden housewife in a dirt-poor rural community in southern Punjab, young Iman was booted out of the family home at an early age, and took to a life of petty crime. While shopping for a handgun in a Rawalpindi bazaar, he was handed a pamphlet advertising the political wing of the Pakistani-based jihadist group Lashkar-e-Toiba, and, lured by the prospect of professional weapons-training, he decided to join.
A year or so afterwards young Iman ... discharged several AK-47 magazines into the crowds at Mumbai’s historic railway station, randomly killing as many as 55 people. Among his victims were six hapless members of a Mumbai Muslim family, the Ansaris, on their way to a village holiday ceremony. (Their five-year-old boy, Firoze, still asks for his parents.)
In short, Iman is that most familiar of figures from the supposedly fervent, intense, highly strung world of jihadist extremism. He’s the gullible patsy, the man who does the dirty work.
In the Lashkar training camps in rural Pakistan they feed the raw recruits on a diet of weapons training and pseudo-Koranic sermonising: the same stuff David Hicks faithfully regurgitated to his mum about the need to kill all the Jews before Judgment Day, when even the rocks will cry out “There’s a Jew hiding behind me!"…
Look! Behind Winslet’s body!
Critic Charlie Finch has created a pre-Oscars controversy by declaring himself repelled by the film of The Reader:
Based on a bestselling novel, The Reader begins with Kate Winslet, as a 1950s German bus conductor, deflowering a horse-faced German lad, with lots of groaning, full nudity front and back and bathtub play… Every time they have sex, the Winslet character asks the kid to read to her from the classics, Dickens, Homer, Shakespeare. Anyway, the kid grows up to be a law student ...and, in 1966, his professor takes him to a trial. Who should be on trial but Kate Winslet, who it turns out was a concentration camp guard who burned 300 Jewish prisoners to death.
The evidence of the trial turns on whether Winslet wrote the report about the atrocity, and, rather than admit that she is illiterate (that’s why she had the kid read to her), she confesses to writing the report and gets 20 years behind bars. Those under her get four years, all of the sentences seeming rather light…
Winding up the welfare state
When even a British Labor Government contemplates this kind of reform - like that endorsed in the US by Democrat President Bill Clinton - you know what an utter disaster the Left’s post-60s welfarism has been:
A SHAKE-UP in British welfare will force almost all benefit claimants to look for a job or prepare for work if they want to continue to receive state handouts.
Boo the audience, not the film
Jim Schembri pointed out in his blog that Australian audiences were giving Australian films the big swerve, despite having been good enough to lavish truckloads of grants on their makers:
After 35 years and an investment of around $1.5 billion taxpayer dollars, Australian cinema still occupies only the very margins of the marketplace - something starkly reflected by the “major” films nominated for this year’s AFI Awards.
Up for best film and best director are The Jammed, The Black Balloon, The Square and Unfinished Sky. These four films had a combined box-office of about $3.9 million…
For a far more disturbing gauge of the film industry’s peril, however, compare that four-film box-office figure against the $7 million budget for the Australian film The Tender Hook, a period film set in Sydney during the jazz age. It’s a film almost nobody has heard of. And no wonder. Its take at the ticket counter? Less than $40,000!
For Schembri, and even big players in the industry, the fault lies precisely where you’d expect - with the filmmakers, and especially the scriptwriters:
A big part of the industy’s malaise has been the prevalence of audience-averse doom-and-gloom themes.... The Black Balloon dealt with a family living with an autistic child. It was the most successful of the crop, taking $1.5 million in five weeks - about the same as what the coarse teen comedy Sex Drive made in two.... (T)he film’s 11 nominations is a triumph of feel-good emotion over good judgment. The film is strewn with glaring inconsistencies, story holes and poor characterisations, yet it is also up for best original screenplay along with the appalling teen flick Hey Hey It’s Esther Blueburger.
Both films demonstrate how the decades-old problem of script development still dogs the industry.
At least Turnbull earned his
Michelle Grattan and Brendan Nicholson of The Age play a game of stereotypes, but in mono:
SPEND spend spend.
That’s the urgent advice Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is delivering to 2 million families and 4 million pensioners who will from today receive the largesse from the Government’s $10 billion stimulus package… While Mr Rudd was calling on people to spend, Opposition Leader and self-made multimillionaire Malcolm Turnbull urged a more cautious approach.
Welcome mat out
Yet another boat of illegal immigrants is lured in:
The 44 passengers and three crew were intercepted by Customs and taken in groups to detention on Christmas Island yesterday.
The arrival of their small boat - the sixth since temporary protection visas were abolished by the Federal Government in August - immediately sparked a political brawl about the state of Australian border security.
The Opposition claims the arrivals off Western Australia’s north coast proves Indonesian people smugglers now see Australia as a soft touch.
Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus blamed the increased people smuggling activity on “seasonal activity” and said the Government had already increased its border patrols.
A deadly trade may have resumed, thanks to Labor’s “kindness”:
The International Organisation for Migration chief-of-mission in Indonesia, Steve Cook, ... warned of a dangerous shift in tactics, with people smugglers increasingly favouring smaller, more fragile boats in an attempt to avoid detection. (Immigration Minister Chris) Evans predicted this would cost lives.
Stopping this dangerous trafficking in queue-jumpers by criminals was called cruel. Tempting it to restart was hailed as kind.