Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Headlines Wednesday 28th January 2009

Rudd not on Obama's must-call list
BARACK Obama has phoned several leaders since taking office, but our PM is still waiting.
Dad shot dead in road rage horror
A MAN is dead after being shot twice in the back in a shocking outbreak of road rage.
Officer filmed video of drunk Aborigine
A POLICE officer has been reprimanded for making a drunk man sing and dance on camera.
Woman gives birth to eight babies
A CALIFORNIA woman has shocked doctors by giving birth to octuplets, believed to be only the second set born in the US.
Jellyfish appears to be immortal
Jellyfish usually die after propagating but Turritopsis is capable of rejuvenating itself and reverting to a sexually immature stage after reaching adulthood.

Theoretically, this unique cycle can repeat indefinitely, rendering it potentially immortal.

Marine biologists and geneticists are researching how the jellyfish essentially reverses the ageing process.

It is thought that the creature's cells can actually transform from one type to another.
Would you eat this? Virgin boss gets a serve over flight food
Virgin boss Richard Branson has thanked the author of an email tirade, currently circulating the internet, which describe the food on his flight as "culinary journey of hell".
Third arrest over Sydney gangland murders
Police have arrested a third person in their seven year investigations into a string of murders linked to underworld activity in Sydney.
Racism difficult to stamp out: Rees
People should speak up against racism, but the problem will always be difficult to stamp out in Australia, NSW Premier Nathan Rees says. - Mr Rees, if the issue is too difficult for you, stand aside for people who can do better. - ed.
Sarah Palin starts 'building America's future'
Alaska Governor and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has launched a political action committee to help support candidates for federal and state office.
More troops in Afghanistan may be needed
Doubling Australian troop numbers in Afghanistan will make no difference if other coalition force nations are not prepared to do more, Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon says.
Sacked father shoots wife, five children dead
A father who may have recently been fired from his job has shot dead his wife and five young children, police in Los Angeles say.
Don't bring Symonds back, says Chappell
Recalling cricket bad boy Symonds to the Australian side would provide the team with an "enormous distraction" given their current on-field woes, says former Test captain Ian Chappell.
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Billion-dollar stimulus package not the answer
The Government has plenty of ways to help the economy before it needs to start wildly spending taxpayers' money, argues Alan Jones.
Gore on ice
Andrew Bolt
They have to thaw Gore to let him speak. From the Drudge Report:

Al Gore is scheduled before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday morning to once again testify on the ‘urgent need’ to combat global warming.

But Mother Nature seems ready to freeze the proceedings. A ‘Winter Storm Watch’ has been posted for the nation’s capitol and there is a potential for significant snow… sleet… or ice accumulations.

“I can’t imagine the Democrats would want to showcase Mr. Gore and his new findings on global warming as a winter storm rages outside,” a Republican lawmaker emailed the DRUDGE REPORT. “And if the ice really piles up, it will not be safe to travel.”
Rudd’s phone won’t ring
Andrew Bolt
I’m sure it’s simply because Barack Obama is too busy. And yet it will hurt Kevin Rudd not to have the access to him that John Howard once earned with George Bush:

BARACK Obama began his presidency last week with telephone calls to leaders in the Middle East. He has since placed calls to the prime ministers and presidents of Britain, Russia, France, Germany and Canada.

But almost a week after his inauguration, the new president is yet to pick up the phone to Kevin Rudd, the leader of America’s most steadfast ally…

The talks came amid the fall-out from The Australian’s publication of an account of a telephone conversation between Mr Rudd and then president George W Bush. US officials denied Mr Rudd’s account of the conversation.

Rudd’s problem, of course, is that Obama will not need Rudd as Bush needed Howard. For a start, he is a multilateralist, and in that game we’re small beer. What’s more, Obama does not stand short of (largely fair-weather) friends at the moment, so we’re at the back of a long queue. Third, of course, is Rudd’s chronic leaking of private calls.
Green faith means puce faces
Andrew Bolt
Make your children sweat for the planet:

THE South Australian Government is urging people not to use their air conditioners as the state swelters in three days of 40C-plus temperatures…

The department said its advice was intended to minimise greenhouse emissions.

Someone should now check the offices of these Versace Hairshirt wearers to see if the aircon has been turned off there, too. What’s the betting?
Obama may be imprisoned by Guantanamo
Andrew Bolt
How easy to repeat the Left’s street slogans on Guantanamo Bay. How much harder once you are president and must face the consequences of closing a jail that houses such extremely dangerous men, many beyond the ability of a domestic court to wisely try:

PRESIDENT Obama’s plan to close Guantanamo Bay within a year appears to be unravelling with the emergence of former inmates on terrorist websites, fierce opposition in the US and a lukewarm response to taking detainees from the European Union.

After signing an executive order last week to close the US military prison, Mr Obama has been confronted with myriad obstacles that are making his ambitious pledge look unrealistic.

It reminds me that a critical difference between conservatives and the Left is the willingness to consider the consequences of fine-sounding plans, and to judge those plans by them.
Model spending on greenhouse scare
Andrew Bolt
Wow, isn’t global warming alarmism a wonderfully stocked gravy train? Barack Obama’s new $850 billion stimulus bill has been loaded up with yet more incentives to scientists to get on board:

For an additional amount for ‘‘Procurement, Acquisition and Construction’’, $600,000,000, for accelerating satellite development and acquisition, acquiring climate sensors and climate modeling capacity, and establishing climate data records: Provided further, That not less than $140,000,000 shall be available for climate data modeling.

Slight hitch with that last item, though, as David Kreutzer points out:

This raises the question of how many unemployed climate modelers are out there pounding the pavement.

When presented with that question, last Friday, Pat Michaels, former president of the American Association of State Climatologists stated “I don’t know one unemployed modeler.”

Whether or not another $140,000,000 for climate data modeling is a good idea, it is hard to see an immediate, economy-stimulating impact from this item. What’s the rush? Maybe they need to get all their modeling done before another cool year highlights how bad the models are.
Godfather of Grievance
Andrew Bolt
IT was obvious we had to be given - for the eighth time - an Aborigine as our Australian of Year.

But why, oh why, did it have to be Mick Dodson?

Why pick this Godfather of Grievance, whose first speech as our new Top Bloke was typically divisive, attacking January 26 as a “day of mourning” for “our” people and demanding Australia Day be shifted?

Good question, indeed, because Dodson, an ANU professor and co-chair of the misnamed Reconciliation Australia, clearly did not win this honour because of any astonishing ability to bring Australians together.
Obama praised for Bush’s words
Andrew Bolt
PEOPLE whose business is words love Barack Obama. Worship him, actually, just for speaking well.

Prof Michael Eric Dyson, even cried in The Sydney Morning Herald that “words crackle and sentences simmer or sing in his mouth”.

Not like that boor George Bush.

In fact, adds Prof Simon Jackman of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre: “Obama’s dazzling capacity for rhetoric has been . . . , and will continue to be, one of the cornerstones of his power.”

Academics, journalists and other wordspeople say this to praise the new US President.

Words are their currency, you see, and Obama flatters them by using their coin. But so enchanted are they that they miss one thing. They’ve heard these words before. From Bush.
Take Obama’s inauguration speech last week, which the ecstatic Age said used “refined” and “restrained” words, “tugging at listeners’ hearts” and revealing Obama as “thoughtful”, “sophisticated” and “intellectual”.
Cash looking for hate
Andrew Bolt
Yet another campaign to fight racism?

THE Federal Government will be able to respond more quickly to ugly flare-ups such as the Cronulla riots with a new anti-racism campaign to be announced today.

The Diverse Australia Program will replace grants by the Howard government to promote “living in harmony”, after an internal review found the need for a stronger focus on racial tolerance.

Add that to our Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, the state human rights bodies, the anti discrimination tribunals, the state multicultural commissions, Harmony Day, the appointment of migrants and Aborigines to honors such as state governer or Australian of the Year, the vilification laws, the anti-discrimination laws, the criminal law and, most importantly, our study good sense. And note also that we actually have remarkably little racism in this country in the first place.

This one, of course, will hand out lots of grants. Has anyone ever bothered to discover if they actually do any practical good at all? I mean, what are the chances of this working?:

The parliamentary secretary for multicultural affairs, Laurie Ferguson said the anti-racism campaign would target outer suburbs with high migration levels, such as Rosemeadow, the scene of a recent brawl.
Ruddsters wanted
Andrew Bolt

Naturally, a Sinophile PM wants his own Rudd Guard:
Beautiful Sunset
PM KEVIN Rudd wants to recruit an army of young volunteers to help the elderly, feed the homeless, and clean up the environment.


The Government’s briefers are claiming this is a “big” idea that came out of their 2020 summit last year (making it the first the Government has bothered to take on in a year since that farce):

The plan is believed to be one of about six big ideas from the 2020 summit to get the green light.

But reader Scooter says that idea was first raised in Parliament in 2002 by .... the Liberals. And guess what the then Labor Opposition thought of it then:

The Federal Opposition says a proposal for university students to get HECS fee discounts by doing community work is a distraction from the debate over the Government’s higher education overhaul. Liberal Senator for Victoria Mitch Fifield used his maiden speech last night to promote his plan for students to do volunteer work in exchange for HECS discounts....

Labor’s Education spokeswoman Jenny Macklin says the scheme is designed as a distraction from the Government’s higher education reforms.

“Let’s get real, going out and doing a bit of community work is not going to turn around the latest 25 per cent fee hike,” she said.

But some questions:

- How can this be called “community work” by “volunteers” when in fact it is paid labor, with these “volunteers” receiving HECS discounts?

- Are they really giving back to the community, when in fact this plan allows them to escape paying for their own higher education?

- Will this paid “volunteering” actually weaken the willingness of real volunteers - already too scarce - to give their time for nothing?

- Should the Government’s “volunteer” corps really aim to do services that real volunteer community groups are doing already? Check the suggestions given in the news story above. You’ll find there are already volunteer bodies doing firefighting, meals on wheels, tree planting and nursing home visits.

- Is it healthy for a Government to draft youth into its own corps, to work to its own agenda of what is worthy?

- Can we actually trust the Government to run any “volunteer” corp?
Israel will be blamed, which is why Hamas kills
Andrew Bolt
If Hamas is really the peace-loving victim of Israel’s “disproportionate” violence, as the Left loudly claims, why does it want to keep fighting?

ISRAEL carried out an air strike on the Gaza Strip overnight after Palestinian militants killed a soldier in a bomb attack, as the fragile ceasefire between the two sides stood on the brink of collapse.

It strikes me that the Hamas benefits from the same Pavlovian response of the Left that so many Islamist terrorists, especially in Iraq, have found so useful. The Left says nothing when these extremists kill Jews or Americans or even other Muslims, but it then savagely attacks the inevitable attempts of Israel or the US to defend their citizens and friends.

Which is why Hamas will keep killing.
Tim Blair
The problem for Hamas is, sometimes the sleeping cat fights back:

Another problem for Hamas: some lions don’t live in cages.
Tim Blair
Here come the arts moochers:
As the Obama administration tackles the challenge of shoring up the economy through infusions of capital and job creation, cultural leaders are urging the president not to forget arts institutions, which are also reeling from the market downturn.
Arts institutions aren’t the only ones forgotten. Resume the whining:
“We wanted to make sure arts were not left out of the recovery,” said Robert L. Lynch, president of Americans for the Arts, a national lobbying group. “The artist’s paycheck is every bit as important as the steelworker’s paycheck or the autoworker’s paycheck.”
Such solidarity! Still, reverse that thought – “the autoworker’s paycheck is every bit as important as the artist’s paycheck” – and imagine how many artists would agree.
Arts groups, meanwhile, are urging federal departments like Transportation or Labor to factor culture into their financing. A transportation enhancement program, for example, could pay artists for related public artworks; through the Labor Department displaced arts professionals could receive new training to stay in the work force.
Try the steel industry or something in the automotive field. Every bit as important! Here’s a good idea:
[Then-candidate Obama] called for a young “artist corps” to work in low-income schools and neighborhoods; affordable health care and tax benefits for artists; and efforts at cultural diplomacy, like dispatching artist-ambassadors to other countries.
Against their will, if necessary. Moldova needs artist-ambassadors.
But what arts executives are most eager for, they say, is additional direct financing …
There’s a shock.
Arts professionals sense that the Obama administration is “open and desirous of partnering with the arts community,” said Jesse Rosen, president and chief executive of the League of American Orchestras.

“That bodes well for what will happen next,” he said. “It’s important that our voices be heard.”

So speak. It’s free, you know.
Tim Blair
“The simple answer is that Aborigines are real motherf----- bastards. They’re simply assholes who should stop playing the bloody victim games.”

If someone prominent in debate over Aboriginal issues ever wrote that, the author would likely be removed from his or her place of employ. And forget any Parliamentary conferences. But if you make identical comments about a certain other group:
The convener of a conference on justice for Palestine, to be held at State Parliament tomorrow, has apologised for making anti-Jewish comments despite having earlier defended them as “private conversation”.

Maqsood Alshams … who was once nominated for the National Human Rights Award, wrote in private emails obtained by the Herald that Israel had overshadowed the Holocaust in its treatment of Palestine and that God hated Jews.

“The simple answer is that you the Jews are real motherf----- bastards,” he wrote in an email to Richard Benkin, a human rights activist based in Chicago.

“You guys are simply assholes … Stop playing the bloody victim games.”

Maqsood then apologised: “I am ashamed to say they were made at a time when I was intoxicated and angry. Of course, there is no excuse for such remarks.” Problem solved. The conference – supported by the University of Technology, Macquarie University and the University of Sydney – will proceed.
Tim Blair
Time‘s Joe Klein experiences his first moment of disappointment in President Messiah Lightbeam Operfect:
I was disappointed that President Obama even acknowledged the existence of Rush Limbaugh …
Klein’s magazine has ignored popular conservative voices for years, which is one reason it’s losing so many readers.
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