Sunday, February 22, 2009

Headlines Sunday 22nd February 2009


Australia unites to farewell Victorian bushfire victims
Church bells will toll across Australia as the nation unites for a day of mourning to remember the victims of Victoria's bushfires.
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U.S. Officials Outraged at U.N. Over Hamas Letter to Obama
Sen. John Kerry will not be visiting Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal during his trip to Syria Saturday and U.S. officials in Jerusalem are furious at the United Nations Relief and Works agency for its handling of the letter.
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Aussie author back on home soil after 'six-month nightmare'
Melbourne author Harry Nicolaides is back on Australian soil - and thankful for it.
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Aussie soldiers too fat to fight?
Doubt has been cast over the fitness of the Australian Defence Force with one in seven soldiers deemed overweight.
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Rosemeadow estate's $20m 'renovation rescue'
The notorious Rosemeadow housing estate in Sydney's south-west will undergo a $20 million refurbishment in an attempt to control crime in the area.
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Pope to canonise 10 new saints, Mary MacKillop still in line
Pope Benedict XVI has announced the creation of 10 new saints in the coming year, the Vatican says.
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Australian missing at Japanese ski resort
Police in Japan hold grave concerns for an Australian man who has gone missing at a popular ski resort.
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Doctor may have used octuplets mum to boost fertility clinic stats
Iraq reopens Abu Ghraib prison
Model announces own death on Facebook
Parents wracked with guilt after daughter dies of dentist phobia
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Wrangle exposes Turnbull weakness
Piers Akerman
OPPOSITION Leader Malcolm Turnbull has been given a wake-up call he cannot afford to ignore. - Well read Piers, but I am a little hesitant about ascribing fault to Liberal members on any of these issues. It is true that these issues, or some similar, could derail an election campaign. However, the threat is overstated. There was a perception prior to the last election that fair press deserted the Libs on issues such as misinformation in election pamphlets and leadership succession. In fact, inflations will always be over riding so long as they over ride.
Turnbull is not perfect. However he would make a fine Prime Minister. To say that he is making experience mistakes is to ignore the fact that anyone can .. but Turnbull can learn from them, whereas the ALP never did in opposition, and Australia is paying a high price now because the ALP never reformed in opposition.
Costello could be a stumbling block, but then Costello will probably just be an effective parliamentary performer who was the greatest treasurer in Australia’s history. There is no need to start at shadows. The Liberal party can adjust itself, as it did this week. Bishop had not made a mistake .. despite press driven perception. The truth is I don’t really care who is Liberal Prime Minister. I don’t think the ALP have anyone capable of the job. - ed.

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POINT MADE
Tim Blair
An unusually direct opening paragraph:
The millions of well-intentioned Australians turning off light bulbs, installing insulation in their ceilings and solar panels on their roofs, cycling to work or buying low-emission cars are wasting time and money.
It has the added feature of being accurate.
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HE’S FIRED UP
Tim Blair
Warmenist zombie James Hansen rouses anti-coal forces for a March of Somnolence upon the US capital:

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Green ship stormed
Andrew Bolt
The law may be upheld at last:

AUSTRALIAN Federal Police have raided anti-whaling flagship the Steve Irwin, seizing records and videos that could help Japan to prosecute the activist Sea Shepherd group.

An armed squad seized 157 of Discovery Channel’s raw videos, and navigational records from the ship in Hobart. The videos show the Sea Shepherd’s clashes with Japanese whalers and may be given to the Japanese Government. A federal agent said yesterday’s raid resulted from a formal referral from Japanese authorities and that police were undertaking preliminary inquiries into this summer’s Southern Ocean confrontation.

This Age report was written by the paper’s pro-Sea Shepherd correspondent, Andrew Darby, who writes - true to form - as follows:

Ships collided and objects were thrown between the vessels as the anti-whaling group tried to disrupt the Japanese fleet’s operations in the Ross Sea.

Ships simply collided - mysteriously - and “objects were thrown” by hands unidentified. Gee, such a puzzle it is, trying to work out who might in fact have questions to answer:
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Why did we fail to keep them cool?
Andrew Bolt
What kills is not so much the heat, but the failure to keep the frail cool - by not building a 21st century power supply, for instance:

JANUARY’S brutal heatwave may have killed 100 Melburnians - and more than 200 people across south-eastern Australia - an ‘‘invisible tragedy’’ now the subject of investigations by the Department of Human Services and the Coroner’s Office…

Mr Holman said the heatwave’s impact was sharpened by the loss of power, and therefore lack of air conditioning, in parts of the state and concern that some hospitals would have to be evacuated.

The deaths of people because of our inadequate electricity infrastructure must be investigated, because I suspect a scandal.

And for the warming alarmists, a reminder that cold is the real killer - even when compared with the highest Melbourne temperatures in 150 years:

Peter Hunter, Alfred Health’s director of aged care and rehabilitation, said demand during the heatwave was as high as during the winter peak.
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Blackmail and the Wilders banning
Andrew Bolt
Mark Steyn says Britain’s banning of Dutch MP Geert Wilders confirms what it pretended to deny:

Among the growing population of Yorkshire Pakistanis is a fellow called Lord Ahmed, a Muslim member of Parliament. He threatened “to bring a force of 10,000 Muslims to lay siege to the House of Lords” if it went ahead with an event at which the Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders would have introduced a screening of his controversial film “Fitna.”

Britain’s Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, reacted to this by declaring Wilders persona non grata and having him arrested and returned to the Netherlands.

Smith is best known for an inspired change of terminology: last year she announced that henceforth Muslim terrorism (an unhelpful phrase) would be reclassified as “anti-Islamic activity.” Seriously. The logic being that Muslims blowing stuff up tends not to do much for Islam’s reputation – i.e., it’s an “anti-Islamic activity” in the same sense that Pearl Harbor was an anti-Japanese activity.

Anyway, Geert Wilders’ short film is a compilation video of footage from recent Muslim terrorist atrocities – whoops, sorry, “anti-Islamic activities” – accompanied by the relevant chapter and verse from the Koran. Jacqui Smith banned the filmmaker on “public order” grounds – in other words, the government’s fear that Lord Ahmed meant what he said about a 10,000-strong mob besieging the Palace of Westminster. You might conceivably get the impression from Wilders’ movie that many Muslims are irrational and violent types it’s best to steer well clear of. But, if you didn’t, Jacqui Smith pretty much confirmed it: We can’t have chaps saying Muslims are violent, because they’ll go smash the place up.
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Yes we can’t
Andrew Bolt
The change you can believe it turns out to be a change for the worse:

The election marked a turning point. Investors looked forward to the economic policies crafted by Democrats in Congress and the White House. More pointedly, they wanted decisive, well-crafted action on the banking crisis. Hence the Dow soared 6.5% Nov. 21 on news that Timothy Geithner, the highly-respected head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, was Obama’s pick for Treasury Secretary.

Yet, from Nov. 4, 2008 through Feb. 12, 2009, the DJI [Dow Jones Index] overall fell 18% — a larger drop than during the Sept-Oct plunge. In January, when the Obama plan, promising far greater deficits than the two much smaller “emergency stimulus” plans signed by Pres. George W. Bush in 2008, was unveiled, the market tanked – the worst January performance in 113 years.


Watch the Dow sink since Obama was sworn in.

(Via Instapundit.)

UPDATE

You mean Obama was just playing opportunist politics before, when he didn’t have the responsibility for safeguarding US lives?

US president Barack Obama’s administration has sided with predecessor George W Bush on the rights of detainees at Bagram air base in Afghanistan, saying they cannot challenge their detention in US courts.

Cue all the protests against Obama that were launched against Bush.
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The Democratic Brand Is In Trouble — And It Doesn’t Even Know It Yet
By John Tantillo
Marketing Expert

Too much pride in oneself or in any accomplishment inevitably leads to a fall and there’s an even bigger fall coming if you are proud for all the wrong reasons — especially when those reasons include mistakenly thinking that someone else’s accomplishments are your own.

This is the biggest problem facing the Democratic brand today: taking credit for President Obama’s success.
Brand Obama’s accomplishments are Brand Obama’s. They are not the Democratic Party’s. If anything, for Candidate Obama to become President Obama, the Democratic Party was as much, or more, of a stumbling block than John McCain. The fact is, when Obama was railing again Washington on the campaign trail, the Democrats were in charge on Capitol Hill and part of that railing was directed at them (and the people loved it).

Brand Obama knows the difference between his brand and the Democratic Party. As a consummate brand manager you can bet that he’s going to take every opportunity to underscore that difference.

In fact, he did exactly that this week.

When President Obama signed the massive new stimulus package into law this week, he held the signing in Colorado not Washington. Now that’s a message that the Democrats had better not ignore –the stage wasn’t cluttered with politicians.

Brand Obama is proclaiming (just like Brand Reagan did) that he is not of Washington and that he is taking action with the people and for the people. He’s saying “It’s not about you politicians in Washington; it’s about us folks in the heartland and what we need.”

(That said, he’s got something else big in his favor. If this stimulus fails, he can throw Congress under the bus by blaming them for originating it (”I had to sign it because we had to do something!”), but if it succeeds, he’ll get the credit.)

That street runs only one way. The Democrats are not Teflon, Obama is.
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