Friday, February 20, 2009

Headlines Friday 20th February 2009

Landlords 'cashing in' on homeless bushfire victims
Dodgy landlords and investors have been accused of trying to cash in on the Victorian bushfire crisis....
Press sidelining criticism of inept Government
Divisions within the Federal Liberal Party have deepened overnight, with leader Malcolm Turnbull sacking junior Senator Cory Bernardi over derogatory comments aimed at a colleague....
Driver smeared with blood in horror bus attack
A female bus driver on Sydney's North Shore has been smeared with blood during a horrifying attack in broad daylight....
Extremely rare bird found... then eaten
A rare quail from the Philippines that was believed to be extinct, has been photographed for the first time before being sold at a poultry market as food....
Farr-Jones classes bearing fruit for Burgess
NSW Waratahs halfback Luke Burgess believes the help he has sought on his shaky passing game from Wallabies great Nick Farr-Jones is beginning to bear fruit....
V Australia handed final approval
International start-up airline V Australia has cleared a final hurdle as it prepares to launch flights to the US....
Seth Rogen to pose for Playboy
Seth Rogen is to pose for Playboy magazine....
Hockey, Swan face off in televised panel debate
Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has faced off with his new coalition opponent Joe Hockey for the first time, on live television.
Alleged ATM bandits arrested at gunpoint
Police believe they have caught two men about to blow up an ATM in the Sydney suburb of Punchbowl.
Slain chimp's owner: 'I didn't drug him up'
The owner of a 90kg pet chimpanzee that went berserk in Connecticut and mauled a woman is backtracking on whether she gave the animal the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.
Pizza Hut robbery foiled after knife fight
Bonus for employers rehiring apprentices
Public housing empty despite massive waiting list
Howard: Stimulus package a 'knee-jerk' response to GFC
Media chief masturbated in front of tourists
Report: Oklahoma City Police Admit Mistake in Pulling Over Man With Anti-Obama Sign
According to The Oklahoman newspaper, an Oklahoma City police officer pulled over a man last week because he had in his car a sign that said, "Abort Obama, not the unborn."
The Oklahoma City Police Department admits one of its officers made a mistake in pulling over a man last week for carrying an anti-President Obama sign in his car.

According to The Oklahoman newspaper, an officer pulled over Chip Harrison last week because he had in his car a sign that said, "Abort Obama, not the unborn."

The officer confiscated the sign and handed Harrison a slip telling him he was under investigation, even though Harrison argued that the sign only meant he wanted Obama removed from office.

The officer thought Harrison was threatening to kill the president, according to the article. But the department later explained that the officer misinterpreted the sign.

That didn't stop Harrison from getting a visit from the Secret Service. They interviewed him at his house and determined he was not a threat to the president, according to the report.
Rees backflips on Robertson's $500k refurbishment
NSW Premier Nathan Rees has performed a swift backflip, saying he is 'not happy' with a planned $500,000 refurbishment of minister John Robertson's office, only hours after defending the proposed spending.
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Tim Blair
Sometimes, you don’t need context to appreciate a news line:
When they did come on, Scooby Doo ended up wrecked and Batman caught on fire.
Tim Blair
Thursday Daily Telegraph editorial on NSW Public Sector Reform Minister John Robertson’s planned $500,000 office upgrade:
We’ve got an idea where public sector reform could start. Shelving a certain office refit for a senior public servant.
Friday Daily Telegraph story:
Former union boss turned minister John Robertson may be booted out of his ministerial suite before he even gets to enjoy it after Premier Nathan Rees yesterday ordered a review of a $500,000 planned refurbishment.
All credit to Telegraph state political editor Simon Benson.
Tim Blair
The top ten reasons President Barack H. Obama is nothing like Travis the chimp.
Tim Blair
She’s the world’s only non-ugmo economist:

Tim Blair
Grizzly bears don’t like getting their ears wet, which inhibits attempts to retrieve dead salmon from riverbeds. The solution: salmon football.
Tim Blair
Racist! Racist! Racist! The New York Post is accused of running a racist cartoon:
Beautiful Sunset
The monkey deal relates to a crazed Connecticut chimp incident. Prominent hucksters nevertheless take offence:
Civil rights activist Al Sharpton called the cartoon “troubling at best given the historic racist attacks of African-Americans as being synonymous with monkeys.”
In fact, recent history reveals that US Presidents are synonymous with monkeys. The Guardian‘s Steve Bell spent most of George W. Bush’s two terms portaying him as an ape – which, incidentally, the Post‘s cartoon doesn’t do to Obama.
Importing the unemployed
Andrew Bolt
Why is the Rudd Government running the biggest immigration program in our history just as the economy crashes?

AUSTRALIA’S record intake of temporary skilled migrants during the economic downturn could boost the number of Australian-born unemployed, as research suggests it is being used as a “back door” to permanent entry by low-wage workers.

The claim comes from Monash University population expert Bob Birrell, who said more of Australia’s permanent skilled migrants were being sourced from the 457 visa program, which was drawing on workers from low-wage countries in increasing numbers....

As the global recession worsens, Professor Birrell said it was time for the Rudd Government to rethink its record high migration intake.
This reckless spending must stop
Andrew Bolt
John Howard is right, of course:

We should not be panicked into fiscal profligacy and the burdening of future generations of Australians with huge amounts of debt.

We in the Liberal Party know that it took 10 years for Australia to repay the $96 billion of federal government debt left behind by Paul Keating. We can only contemplate the length of time needed to liquidate the $200billion of debt our nation now faces as a consequence of recent policy decisions.

Malcolm Turnbull and his colleagues were right to oppose the Government’s stimulus package. It needlessly plunges Australia deeply into debt with a poorly targeted spending spree.

Turnbull showed judgment and courage to oppose the package but has failed to properly argue Howard’s lack point - that the spending is properly targeted. He has pushed tax cuts, yes, but not enough the point that Rudd’s spending leaves us no more productive, and thus no better able to pay off our soaring debts.
No child is a curse
Andrew Bolt
A YOUNG woman, call her Ms G, was rolled into the Canberra operating theatre on November 12, 2003, hoping to be made pregnant at last.

“Are we going to implant two?” asked her obstetrician gynaecologist, Sydney Robert Armellin.

It was at that moment of her IVF treatment that Ms G, unknown to anyone else, changed her mind.

And from her hesitation came not just a twin girl she didn’t want, but an extraordinary court case that must surely now force our politicians to act.

Can we really have courts deciding that a child is such a curse that a parent like Ms G. should be paid $317,000 for the distress and the cost of raising it?

Can we really let judges put a price on a child’s head - counting the cost of even the food in its mouth, but none of the immeasurable gains in its life?

Let’s rewind. Ms G and her partner, Ms M, are Melbourne lesbians who decided to have a baby.
Rudd blinks as carbon plan hits fan
Andrew Bolt
This white elephant is limping badly. Just hope that when it crashes it doesn’t hurt too many of us:

THE Federal Government will pledge today to crash through on its emissions trading scheme even though the policy is in peril, as both the Coalition and the Greens harden their opposition and their supporters demand a radical overhaul.

The Climate Change Minister, Penny Wong, will tell a business lunch in Sydney the global financial crisis was no excuse for backing away from implementing the scheme next year.

And a sign of cluelessness and panic - not “resolve”:

To underscore its resolve, last night the Government scrapped a parliamentary inquiry commissioned last week to examine the scheme. The decision had been interpreted internally and externally as a sign the Government was getting cold feet and looking for an excuse to delay or water down the trading scheme. Senior sources maintained this was never the case and it was easier to scrap the inquiry rather than allow that perception to fester.

If people are so eager to Do Something about our gases, why worry about this silly “perception”? Let’s hope that Malcolm Turnbull and Greg Hunt drop their evangelism and pick up a bat, as Andrew Robb would seem to prefer:

The senior Liberal Andrew Robb said the Government was in disarray and he hinted emissions trading should be dumped altogether. Mr Turnbull, however, did not rule out a compromise, but not without major concessions.
Burning too little, too late
Andrew Bolt
THE Brumby Government is now taking credit for saving houses from Black Saturday’s fire, instead of accepting blame for dooming them.

Its Department of Sustainability and the Environment this week boasted of doing the fuel reduction burns around Bendigo that it had failed to do in the very places where most people died.

DSE’s fire and training investigation co-ordinator said his burns had saved 50 houses in Bendigo, and spared Malmsbury. Which I applaud.

So we know DSE agrees such burns save lives and must be done. But check the table. Why, then, did the DSE do so few of them in the public lands of Port Phillip, containing the towns of ruined Kinglake and threatened Healesville?
Dear victim: don’t upset the racists
Andrew Bolt
It’s years since police have issued warnings to women not to deter rapists by wearing short skirts. But Victoria Police now issue this advice:

INDIAN students will be taught not to speak loudly in their native tongue or display signs of wealth such as iPods when travelling on trains at night, as part of a strategy to crack down on violent robberies.

Some restrictions on their attackers may actually be a better strategy, but once again we find it’s easier to police the lawful than the feral.
Left stranded
Andrew Bolt
It seems Connex was right. Union bastardry is making life hell for rail commuters:

A UNION with close ties to Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky shut down a suburban train line for nine hours yesterday over an internal dispute, creating havoc for thousands of travellers.

Commuters on the Sandringham line were left stranded when a train with only minor faults was halted at Richmond at 8.30am. The train could easily have been shunted to nearby rail yards for repairs. Instead, a bitter dispute between train drivers and controllers, all members of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, left it stopped at platform one at Richmond for most of the day.

Other Sandringham line trains could not run because their only return path to the city was blocked until the train was finally moved at 5.30pm. At least 82 services were cut due to the dispute in the union, whose senior members are key supporters of Ms Kosky.

Connex had earlier claimed that up to 80 per cent of cancellations - including those during the heat wave last month - were caused not by bad trains but worse unions.

The union involved is of the Socialist Left.
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