Thursday, January 22, 2009

Headlines Thursday 22nd January 2009

White House pay freeze: President Obama gets to work
Barack Obama has got right to work on his first full day in the Oval Office, freezing White House salaries, banning lobbyist gifts and calling the leaders of Israel, the Palestinians, Egypt and Jordan. - he is getting to work by calling terrorists or people he will disappoint first. One notes he is talking to Hamas. One imagines he is abusing Israel. One also notes he didn't call Rudd. Or if he did, Rudd isn't telling .. this time - ed.
Strikes set to ground Australian flights
Flights could be cancelled nation-wide next month, as air traffic controllers threaten strike action. - thanks for the strikes, federal ALP - ed.
Woman arrested over $42,000 mailbox fraud
Police allege a woman charged with fraud offences in Sydney's west had rifled through the letterboxes of a unit block stealing details in residents mail to access their bank accounts.
Rents still rising in Sydney, but Darwin still top
It's almost $65 a week more expensive to rent a home in Sydney than a year ago.
Rudd to start big business 'crisis fund'
There are plans for a "crisis fund" allowing the Government to become a last resort lender to big business. - a crisis Rudd engineered - ed.
Police seize $5m art haul
More than $5 million worth of paintings have been seized from properties in Sydney's north-west as detectives investigate one of Australia's leading art dealers.
Firebug charged with starting Sydney bushfires
Obama tackles grim crises on day one - Obama is calling a terrorist or two to see what they think .. well tackled. - ed.
Obama takes first steps to closing Gitmo - the headline is a lie. In fact, Obama is running on the same spot in the hopes of looking active. - ed.
Nasty compter worm infects millions of PC's
Cleric says it's OK to rape, beat your wife
AN Islamic cleric says men can force their wives to have sex and hit them if they are disobedient.
Pawnshops win as economy sours
PAWNBROKERS report a spike in sales as buyers, stung by the global financial crisis, opt for cheaper, used goods
Consumers still hit the hardest as prices drop
Prices are dropping worldwide, yet the Reserve Bank is considering dudding Australian consumers by reining in interest rate cuts, writes Alan Jones.
Barack Obama’s actions must speak louder than flowery contrivances
Piers Akerman
WHILE it may seem uncharitable to be critical of a new US President on his Inauguration Day, it did seem rather incongruous that Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in by a US Chief Justice - John Roberts - whose nomination the former one-term senator had opposed. - In all truth I think Obama will not be judged on his actions until after he has failed as a President .. possibly for the second term. The liberal press sustained the attack on President Bush for 8 years over a phony Gore failing to behave responsibly .. in some ways, the problems the US has experienced are directly related to Gore’s divisive, wrong headed stance.
Let the healing begin, is the cry used by Obama supporters, but they are still backstabbing and they are still snubbing. I think the words of Obama are frequently fine. I think his actions despicable. Sadly, I think Obama has failed already .. the world just doesn’t see it, yet. - ed.

Tim Blair
A witness tells of events at last Sunday’s Nazi-enhanced Hamas rally in Melbourne:
The victory of Palestine/Islam (depending on who you were eavesdropping on) over the Jews (I didn’t hear anyone mention Israel) became the conversation topic that was floated about the most …
Which isn’t surprising, when you look at some of the protesters (photographed by Colonel Robert Neville):
Beautiful Sunset
Nice shirt, sir! Way to work that swastika right in there. The rally also featured Commies for Allah:
Beautiful Sunset
It’s good to see that communists have finally gotten over that religion problem of theirs. Now it’s apparently the Semtex of the masses. From another photographer:
Beautiful Sunset
Oh, sweet. Some retro Jew-pig hate. By the way, if you doubted that this rally was pro-Hamas (and some do) listen to one of the protest organisers: “The Palestinian people chose resistance when they elected democratically Hamas, and they were punished for it.” The audience cheers. Greens were there as well, and so was wicked Santa Jew:
Beautiful Sunset
He’s making a list. He’s checking it twice. A similar rally took place in Sydney on the same day, as Romeo Mike reports:
A whole eight seconds is all the ABC gave yesterday’s anti-Israel protest in Sydney, which is odd given how extensively they like to cover any dissenting congregation. A couple of Greens picketing the PM’s office? They’re there. A handful of socialist shriekers holding up traffic? It’s news. Three thousand turn out with Israeli flags bearing swastikas in place of the star? So not mentionable. However, the record requires it, so downplay it.
Also via Romeo Mike:
A gardener at Sydney’s Hyde Park has complained weekend protesters caused several thousand dollars worth of damage.

Thousands of people marched to the park yesterday to demonstrate against Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.

Sydney City Council’s head gardener for Hyde Park, Nathan Gray, says the demonstrators trampled over several flower beds and left rubbish around the gardens.

“There’s a fair bit of damage done,” he said.

“All the annual beds that we are probably supposed to have ready for the Australia Day celebrations have all been crushed …”

How perfectly appropriate.
Tim Blair
Former Age editor-in-chief Michael Gawenda on his old newspaper’s Michael Backman debacle:
I think the real question here is what publication of this article says about the prevailing journalistic culture at The Age. The apology is a non-apology really. It apologises for the hurt it caused some people, especially Jews. This is a clayton’s apology--the sort, for instance, that Wayne Carey once offered up when he apologied for grabbing a young woman’s breast.

The apology states that The Age does not hold the views expressed in the article. I assume The Age publishes many oped pieces that do not express the views of The Age.

What this apology seems to be aimed at doing is limit the damage to the paper from the publication of this piece. What I want to know is how it came to be published and how The Age has reached the point where racist rubbish like this gets published. And what the new editor in chief intends to do about changing this culture.

Good luck. Further thoughts from Liberal senator Michael Ronaldson:
In the world according to Backman, the true cause of terrorism is resistance to terrorism. I am reminded of Winston Churchill’s famous definition of an appeaser as “someone who feeds the crocodile in the hope of being eaten last”. And the columnist neglects to explain how Israel is supposed to befriend a Hamas government whose covenant incites the murder of every Jew on the face of the earth …

I have great respect for The Age, but in this instance an apology is not sufficient. Instead, Backman’s services must be terminated immediately.

I think we’re already past that point. Meanwhile:
A source close to staff at The Age said employees were “upset and amazed” the article had gone to print.
Except, one presumes, all the employees who were involved in its publication.
Tim Blair
Amused by a severe cold snap during this era of alleged global warming, Alaska’s Craig Compeau responds by unveiling a five-ton Al Gore ice sculpture:
Beautiful Sunset
The giant frozen Al, only slightly heavier than the real thing, will be displayed in Fairbanks as part of a hospital charity drive through March or “until it melts.” Gore’s support is melting at the same time:
Al Gore’s side may be coming to power in Washington, but they appear to be losing the battle on the idea that humans are to blame for global warming.

Forty-four percent (44%) of U.S. voters now say long-term planetary trends are the cause of global warming, compared to 41% who blame it on human activity …

In April of last year, 47% of Americans blamed human activity versus 34% who viewed long-term planetary trends as the culprit. But the numbers have been moving in the direction of planetary trends since then.
Tim Blair
It’s the most exciting commemorative plate collection ever:
Beautiful Sunset
These exciting times of change deserve to be commemorated with an equally exciting commemorative plate collection. Introducing the President Barack Obama Inaugural Commemorative Paper Plate!!

This plate is a treasured collectible work of art that can be proudly displayed on shelves, table tops, at the office or can be hung on a wall or even on the refrigerator!
Tim Blair
Tired of seeing all of its warming predictions be blown away, Britain’s Met Office takes action:
For the Met Office the forecast is considerable embarrassment. It has spent £33m on a new supercomputer to calculate how climate change will affect Britain – only to find the new machine has a giant carbon footprint of its own.

“The new supercomputer, which will become operational later this year, will emit 14,400 tonnes of CO2 a year,” said Dave Britton, the Met Office’s chief press officer. This is equivalent to the CO2 emitted by 2,400 homes – generating an average of six tonnes each a year.

They’ll get Britain hotter even if they have to do it themselves.
Tim Blair
Australia’s latest tourism campaign, reviewed by Washington’s Lee M.:
This morning I saw the strangest promotional spot I’ve ever seen or heard (or produced). A woman picks up the phone and a male voice advises, “You are not the woman I married.” And then ...

The woman starts to cry ...

A creepy little kid with an Australian accent appears from a dark void and tells the woman “Sometimes we have to get lost to find ourselves. Sometimes we gotta go walkabout” ...

Jump cut to crying woman and the child drowning in a dark pool. No, they appear to be swimming. Or drowning ...

Small graphics appear on-screen. I can’t read it. Damn, where are my glasses? Wait ... I don’t wear glasses. Why is the font so small? Is this a trailer for a Stephen King novel?

And then the word “Australia” burns in ... fade to black.

It was definitely a memorable promo, so much so that I looked for it on the internet. It appears to be one in a series of Tourism Australia promos under the title “Walkabout” --- though I would have slugged it “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

James Morrow recalls a tourism promo that wasn’t quite so … emo.
Tim Blair
The International Conservation Caucus Foundation didn’t exactly low-carbon it at Monday’s inauguration:
Roses will be flown in from Ecuador. Marinated beef is being flown in from Texas to Virginia, where it will be grilled and then trucked to the auditorium.

The organizers recruited the Boys Choir of Kenya to serenade the guests …

“We are not into symbolism,” David H. Barron, the caucus president, said unapologetically. “We are focused on a much bigger impact.”
And they’re achieving it. Even more impressively, the event was sponsored by Exxon Mobil.

UPDATE. Via David Thompson, a satellite view of the inauguration:
Beautiful Sunset
Oddly-shaped cricket ovals they have in Washington.
Tim Blair
“Are we done with green?” asks Kathleen O’Brien:
Now that money is tight, will environmentalism turn out to have been just a passing trend—the political equivalent of the pet rock?

Probably not, say the experts. While some consumers may have to put their concern for the planet on the back burner for now, they will likely resume their new-found green habits once the economy improves.
So to be excited about cutting emissions … we’ve got to generate more of them. Makes sense. New York Democrat Eric Massa recently demonstrated how this approach can work by driving an electric car to his swearing-in – even though DC was beyond his car’s range:
Massa drove one fuel cell car while a hybrid SUV towing an additional SUV followed along. Once he got half way, he switched to new fuel cell car. The empty fuel cell was then towed back by the first SUV. As he continued on his journey, the second SUV followed. Once Massa arrived in DC, the second SUV then towed the second fuel cell car back to NY.
Tim Blair
Kevin Rudd demands restraint:
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has issued an unprecedented call to Australia’s 10 million workers to put pay rise claims on hold to help the nation weather the global financial meltdown.
But in Rudd’s own office, a wonder boy is living large:
The Prime Minister has secretly paid two senior advisers - including his “boy wonder” chief of staff, Alister Jordan - special top-up payments to bolster their $200,000-plus incomes.

Despite calling on workers to defer pay claims, Mr Rudd intervened to have a salary bonus paid to Mr Jordan, his 29-year-old long-serving confidant.

Another senior adviser has also breached the Government’s official salary cap, boosting his “principal adviser” salary above the top level of $192,000.

Rudd’s re-election slogan: Do As I Say, Not As I Do.

UPDATE. More Rudd problems:
Controversial prison operator G4S will have its contract to run Australia’s immigration detention centres extended until at least July 31 despite Labor’s pre-election promise that the public sector would manage the centres.

And detention centres will remain in private hands for several years after the Government confirmed it would proceed with the retendering process started by the Howard government.
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