Monday, February 02, 2009
Headlines Monday 2nd February 2009
'It's killing me': Federer beaten by new king of tennis
The coronation is complete, with Rafael Nadal confirming his status as the undisputed new king of tennis with a gripping victory over Roger Federer in Sunday's night's blockbuster Australian Open final.
Pope hits out at euthenasia during coma case
Pope Benedict XVI has rejected euthanasia as a "false" answer to suffering, while opposing an Italian father's push to take his daughter off life support after 17 years in a coma....
Aussies crumble to fourth consecutive one-day loss
New Zealand overcame two controversial dismissals to grab a thrilling two-wicket victory over Australia in the opening game of the one-day cricket series....
Two stabbed to death in Sydney bar brawl
Police are looking for a group of men accused of stabbing to death two men outside a nightclub in Sydney's south west.
Uninvited sister beats up bride at wedding
A woman who wasn't invited to her sister's wedding reception showed up anyway and attacked the bride, pulling out clumps of her hair, police said.
Bong bust: Michael Phelps admits to 'regrettable' behaviour
Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps admitted on Sunday that he had engaged in "regrettable" behaviour and "demonstrated bad judgment" after a photo was published that appeared to show him smoking cannabis.
Take fat kids from parents, says Sydney doctor
A leading doctor has called for extremely obese children to be taken away from their parents.
Israel to strike Gaza again after Hamas rocket fire
Israel has vowed to strike back at Hamas following renewed rocket fire from the Islamists' Gaza stronghold two weeks after the end of a bloody war in the battered Palestinian territory.
Massive train delays despite $1.8b 'solution'
Lightning sparks fires in NE Victoria
Afghans protests after US raid kills two
Bushfires burn as high temps hit NSW
Nadal and Federer: greats, but not the greatest
Rafael Nadal and Roger Feder last night proved they are among the greatest players in tennis history, but it's still too early to compare them with Australian greats Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, writes Alan Jones.
YOU ARE HIM - HE IS YOU
“See Obama in yourself – and take a photo for our gallery,” invites the Detroit Free Press. “You can help build our gallery of faces from people who see a part of President Barack Obama in themselves.”
A certain part of Obama has clearly been in the Detroit Free Press. Repeatedly. Jonah Goldberg thinks the whole exercise borderline grotesque, but let’s not dismiss this hideous display of groaning Obama-worship without examining the results:
Those are … interesting. Can we do better? With a little help from the New York Times, why, yes we can!
ALSO AVAILABLE IN APPEASEMENT PINK
CNN presents the t-shirt of authority:
THE WEAKER SEX
A man later assessed to be in an “acute psychotic state” kills his daughter, leading to this judgment from Adele Horin:
As Australia and the world struggle to understand the tragic death of Darcey Freeman, age-old questions are being raised about men’s emotional frailty and propensity for violent response under pressure.
The cases of Susan Smith and Andrea Yates come to mind. Age-old questions are being raised about Horin’s intellectual frailty and propensity for idiocy under pressure.
UPDATE. A mother killed both herself and her 18-month-old baby at Melbourne’s West Gate bridge – site of the death to which Horin refers – just seven months ago. As Bridgit Gread notes: “This was a tragedy of similar proportions but it received little attention.”
Friends of Hamas can’t decide if they’re for Nazis or against them, writes Phyllis Chesler:
Today, we have grown used to seeing Palestinian and Hamas supporters goose-step, Nazi-style, shoot out their arms as they deliver the Hitlerian “Sieg Heil” salute. They also chant and scream: “Jews to the ovens,” “Hitler did not kill enough of you,” “Jews to the gas chambers.”
We’ve seen similar in Australia. The piece continues:
This is raw, rank, Jew-hatred or anti-Semitism; that much is clear. But we are also faced with a major paradox. These same Palestinian and Hamas supporters routinely hold signs that accuse Israel of being a “Nazi” state.
As we’ve also seen in Australia. Chesler has various theories about why Hamasites accuse their opponents of Nazism while simultaneously rejoicing in it, but the easiest explanation is probably that these people are stupid.
UPDATE. On the subject of stupid, Hamas supporter ("its democratic legitimacy is undeniable") Antony Loewenstein recently addressed Sydney’s Imam Husain Islamic Centre:
I thought it was important to gently chastise the Muslim community for their …
… for their acceptance at rallies of terrorist or Nazi symbols? For their reluctance to rid themselves of toxic community leaders? For their default victim stance? No:
… for their often-disorganised attitude towards public debate and journalists.
Nice priorities you’ve got there, Antony. Gotta fix that disorganised PR department.
It was a respectful event, as evidenced by the long question and answer session (I spoke for over two hours).
Whoa! Antony is answering questions now? That’s a change.
A volunteer told me after the event that he would love to invite a Rabbi who thought like me to address the centre.
Good luck finding a Rabbi who thinks like Antony. The boy’s insanely inflated ego is again evidenced:
I was literally mobbed after the event …
Lead them, Antony. Lead them to paradise.
HE BRINGS WEALTH
Visitor numbers usually decline over the Christmas/New Year period, but traffic here actually increased; much thanks to everyone for dropping by and to Barack Obama for getting inaugurafied, which might have something to do with it. They’re happy at Fox News, too:
When the most recent ratings came out, they probably popped a bottle of champagne at Fox News and toasted our new Fearless Leader. The number one news network’s ratings have soared since Obama was inaugurated.
Is as though the oceans are rising for some reason.
UPDATE. He also brings wealth to unemployed climate modelers. (Via Saint.)
UPDATE II. In the tradition of colourful Presidential siblings Donald Nixon, Billy Carter and Roger Clinton:
George Obama, the half brother of U.S. President Barack Obama, has been arrested by Kenyan police on a charge of possession of marijuana, police said Saturday.
Inspector Augustine Mutembei, the officer in charge, said Obama was arrested on charges of possession of cannabis, known in Kenya as Bhang, and resisting arrest.
No help from Obama in this particular case.
THE AUDACITY OF MUGS
Obama inauguration coffee mugs, now available from the New York Times:
The great thing is, when you buy two, they kind of look like him.
Thank God they help
A despised minority - regularly damned by atheists and journalists as dupes and reactionaries led by pedophiles - turns out once again to make better neighbors than their critics:
More people are volunteering, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal, but most volunteers are Christians and/or women… People who were part of a non-Christian religion were less likely to do charity work, although the ABS noted this could be a result of a language barrier.
MEANWHILE, in Britain:
A nurse has been suspended from her job for offering to pray for an elderly patient’s recovery from illness.
Kevin Rudd blames this economic crisis on the “greed of epic proportions’ unleashed by “neo-liberalism”. Yet it seems the “greed of epic proportions” of Democratic regulators may in fact have had a lot to do with our trouble, too.
Hero PM holds ankle
The Prime Minister helps to rescue a parishioner who fainted in church:
“The Prime Minister did a great job and it was great that he had his staff around to help,” (another) parishioner Matthew Newhouse said.
Here’s Rudd doing that great job of holding the man by an ankle:
Not sure where his staff are, but they’re helping, too.
Save the planet, kill the kids
From Britain, currently suffering its coldest winter in 13 years:
Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the government’s Sustainable Development Commission, says curbing population growth through contraception and abortion must be at the heart of policies to fight global warming.
But good news for Porritt. His suggested baby cull might not be necessary, now that the bitter cold is bumping off pensioners:
(C)oncerned listeners of an Icelandic radio station rallied to help British pensioners struggling to cope with energy price rises and the bitter winter weather. Listeners to the Bitid morning radio show, on the Bylgjan station, donated garments made from Icelandic wool after hearing a warning from the National Pensioners Convention that one in 12 British pensioners could die this winter.
I hope Porritt is doing his best to stop the shivering pensioners from getting their Icelandic woollens. It would be bad for the planet if they survived.
Rudd: From mini-Howard to Chavezman
Last April, Kevin Rudd thought our regulatory system was “working well”:
OF course there are different views on the current financial crisis, and whether it represents a significant market failure or simply a market-based re-pricing of risk. Either way, the crisis has highlighted the challenge of ensuring that regulatory frameworks keep up with the innovations in financial instruments. In Australia we have found during the credit turmoil that our regulatory framework is doing its job. Our regulatory arrangements are working well.
Now Kevin Rudd thinks our regulatory system was a “neo-liberal” disgrace:
THIS crisis has become one of the greatest assaults on global economic stability to have occurred in three-quarters of a century. As others have written, it “reflects the greatest regulatory failure in modern history” ... The Liberals, embracing the neo-liberal tradition of anti-regulation, seek to reduce the agency of the state in private markets as much as possible. This ideology has not served Australia well in preparing for the current crisis.
That’s sure some revision of judgement. Then again, a year ago Kevin Rudd said he was an “economic conservative”, but now reveals he’s a “social democrat” foe of “neo liberalism” who demands a “new contract for the future” that makes “the role of the state ...fundamental” in the economy.
So what’s happened? Check the first link to see how closely Rudd’s words match those of Hugo Chavez and Noam Chomsky. Who’s been reading naughty books in his holidays, then?.
Housewatch a dud, too
Yet more disappointment for people who couldn’t see a difference between a stunt and a reform:
ALMOST a year after his apology to the Stolen Generations, Kevin Rudd has been accused of failing to deliver on the centrepiece of his speech that day, a bipartisan “war cabinet” to solve the crisis in Aboriginal housing… The Australian understands the commission has met just four times since it was established. One of those meetings was conducted via teleconference.
Some war cabinet. Dunkirk would have been lost.
Speaking of stunts that have so far gone nowhere, remember the 2020 summit of 1000 of our “best and brightest” whose invaluable ideas Rudd promised to respond to by the end of last year?
The Government has delayed the release of its final report from the 2020 Summit, which enthusiastically backed a republic.
Such is the delay that a summit of big spenders, meeting during a boom, finds its ideas - such as they were - being considered during the grip of a recession.
Dumbest green blogger in Australia?
Green blogger Graham Readfearn - showing all the abusiveness of his breed - attacks 4BC host Michael Smith as perhaps “the dumbest radio host in Australia’’ for being a sceptic of apocalyptic man-made warming. The case for the prosecution:
Smith swallowed the bogus “31,000 scientist” petition, he swallowed the ageing arguments from bearded botanist David Bellamy and then he swallowed that erroneous claim that temperatures peaked in 1998.
That is a charge sheet that raises the question - is Readfearn the dumbest eco blogger in Australia?
Here is the petition, which seems genuine enough to me. Readfearn offers no evidence - just more abuse - to suggest what precisely he objects to from Bellamy, a trained botanist, other than that he has a beard. And as for doubting that temperatures peaked in 1998, here’s the proof:
Less abuse, Graham, and more research and reason might suit you better.
99.997 metres to go, Robyn
Gee, the way the seas have been rising off the coast of Victoria these past 18 years, we face being drowned up to our ankles by 2100.
The National Tidal Centre has checked its sea level monitors, and its heavily qualified report - warning against reading too much into records so recent, when so much can change from year to year - says the seas have risen at the following rates at the following places (figures adjusted for land movements):
Portland, Vic. (since 1991) - 2.8mm a year, or 22cm a century
Lorne, Vic, (since 1991) - 1.7mm a year, or 17cm a century
Port Kembla, NSW (since 1991) - 1.8mm a year, or 18cm a century
Burnie, Tas, (since 1992) - 1.7mm a year, or 17cm a century
Darwin, NT (since 1990) - 7.1mm a year, or 71cm a century
Port Stanvac, SA (since 1992) - 4.6mm a year, or 46cm a century
Not much sign there that the ABC’s Robyn Williams is right, and the seas could rise 100 metres this century. Only 99.997 metres to go since you said that, Robyn.
Note also that the latest sea levels are high because of a temporary El Nina event:
Between July 2007 and June 2008 higher than normal sea levels at stations along the northern and western Australian coastline were observed in association with La Niña climate conditions.
Oh, and, yes, the Bureau of Meteorology does indeed claim this is consistent with IPCC forecasts.
You’d assume Professor Stephen King knew what he was talking about.
After all, he is dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at Monash University. Before that he was a member of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. And what he failed to add in the piece below was that he was for more than two years on the Victorian Infrastructure Planning Council - overseeing some of the infrastructure that in fact crumbled this week. That omission is one you may find significant.
Speaking of infrastructure, King is cross with my article last week in which I argued that the State Government had failed to make critical infrastructure - power, water and transport - keep pace with a fast-growing population. Nor had some of it been tooled to cope with the heat we saw last week, despite the Government fervently believing global warming would give us more such days.
So King’s objections to what he sneers is my “rant”? ,
Blowing cold on wind
A growing revolt in France against the hideous wind farms now despoiling the countryside:
The opposition is coming from villages in the northern Picardy region and from the east and the west, where wind farms have been growing fastest. A dozen local mayors led a demonstration of about 800 people in Paris last month. They carried banners with slogans such “Wind farm lobby are murderers” and ”No to the swindle of industrial wind farms.”
The figurehead of the resistance is Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, who was President of France in the 1970s…
“France’s landscapes have inspired a good number of painters and poets. It’s important to protect this heritage,” he says in today’s Parisien. “These pylons are not only polluting the landscape. They are interfering with bird migration and disturbing the lives of those who live near them.”
Giscard makes the following arguments: As an electricity exporter with plenty of carbon-free nuclear power, France does not need to clutter the landscape with clunky hardware. The green lobby is being fooled by windfarm companies who are pocketing subsidies from the taxpayer. Impoverished villages are being tempted by the leasing income to sign up for wind farms. The machines are inefficient, consume a lot of raw materials and energy to produce and sit idle for 80 percent of the time.
Rudd stimulates foreigners
Not all of Kevin Rudd’s $8 billion pre-Christmas stimulus package went on booze, toys and pokies:
UP TO $81 million of the Rudd Government Christmas bonus to pensioners - designed to strengthen the Australian economy - has gone to people living overseas… The biggest winner was Italy which, according to a parliamentary inquiry, had nearly 18,000 Australian pensioners resident in 2003. Its economy was boosted by up to $25 million.
How does stimulating the Australian economy involve handing foreigners $81 million? Rudd’s package grows more laughable by the day.
But what about the kids?
So what’s on the Australian Education Union’s agenda at the start of this school year? School standards? More effective teaching? Let’s check its first E-letter to members for 2009. Highlights:
Two-thirds of the public believe the Rudd Government is not spending enough on public schools, according to a nationwide poll of 1000 people…
The AEU is backing an appeal by Union Aid Abroad–APHEDA to help rebuild Gaza and provide medical aid following three weeks of bombing and invasion which devastated the strip and left 1,300 dead (sic) and thousands wounded…
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex trade unionists will once again rally under the union banner at this year’s Pride march…
The AEU international committee meets twice a term to discuss and campaign on global social justice and environmental issues…
RMIT has launched two postgraduate programs in Applied Human Rights at the Australian Centre for Human Rights Education (ACHRE) ...
March 21 is Harmony Day and Victorian schools are being urged to use the occasion to celebrate the cultural diversity in their classes and communities....
Iraq votes, no one killed, no news
A very small story in today’s papers:
IRAQ concluded provincial elections overnight without recording a major attack anywhere...
Democracy in a country that just six years ago was let by a genocidal dictator. No major attacks on voting centres in a country that journalists gleefully wrote off as a battlefield in a civil war just two years ago.
No wonder this isn’t big news.
Raising Cain and his mates
It’s not just anecdotal - brutality is on the rise in Victoria. The latest evidence:
POLICE were forced to “lock down” 52 schools that had descended into anarchy last year. The revelation is contained in a document obtained under Freedom of Information laws that paints a shocking picture of widespread violence, drug use, sex attacks and deliberately lit fires in our schools…
The dossier shows:
1308 reports last year of aggressive behaviour including fighting and bullying - up from 982 in 2007.
1067 reports of anti-social behaviour including graffiti and property damage - up from 960 in 2007.
And an example from last night:
(A) group of youths allegedly beat a young man unconscious in front of hundreds of people in the city. Families and couples looked on in disbelief as the victim was set upon and left fighting for his life on Elizabeth St, outside Flinders St Station.
Rudd gives us red
The way the Government has splashed out our cash, I’m not surprised:
THE global downturn means a budget deficit is inevitable, Treasurer Wayne Swan said today.
No, can Kevin Rudd ease up on “stimulus packages” that stimulate little and leave us with nothing to show and no framework for recovery?
Falling into California’s hole
Remember when - only a couple of months ago - journalists wrote this kind of thing in praise?:
The great thing about visiting California is that it gives you a sense of where Australia is probably headed. In the context of the climate change debate, this assertion stands, only more so…
Now, as Kevin Rudd prepares to impose his cap-and-trade scheme to cut the emissions he claims are killing the earth, we have every reason to fear that we are indeed following California:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was all smiles in 2006 when he signed into law the toughest anti-global-warming regulations of any state. Mr. Schwarzenegger and his green supporters boasted that the regulations would steer California into a prosperous era of green jobs, renewable energy, and technological leadership. Instead, since 2007—in anticipation of the new mandates—California has led the nation in job losses.