Thursday, February 26, 2009
Headlines Thursday 26th February 2009
Govt admits stimulus failed as manufacturers struggle
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the government did everything it could to avoid the Pacific Brands job cuts but has now warned there could be further massive shedding to come, as the clothing industry struggles.
Man won't get $1.5m kidney payout from wife
A court has rejected a surgeon's claim that he should get $US1.5 million ($A2.31 million) in his divorce settlement because he donated a kidney to his wife.
Teen killed in school 'Fight Club'
A high school fight club is being blamed for the death of a teenage boy in Sydney's south west.
Pension going to 'millionaires'
Thousands of millionaires are claiming the aged-pension, prompting calls for an urgent overhaul to the system.
Vic firies dig in as horror day looms
The fight to control Victoria's bushfires has turned overnight in a battle to hold hard-won ground ahead of horror bushfire conditions predicted for Friday.
Plane crash in Amsterdam kills nine
A Turkish Airlines plane carrying 135 people slammed into a muddy field while attempting to land at Amsterdam's main airport, killing nine people.
Eight children found living in drug houses
Brutal gang bashing captured on film
Nine dead in Turkish Airlines crash
ACA journo to be charged over hidden camera
Biting the hands that cleaned up the Harbour
SHARKS are as Australian as flies but in the past couple of decades they’ve been given their own affirmative action program and now they’re biting the hands (and occasional leg) of the public, even though feeding them was not part of the Save Our Sharks plan.
READING ARE DIFFICULT
As usual, Crikey gets it wrong:
It’s a bit late for Blair to now claim that anonymous leftists are leaving offensive messages on his blog.
Small problem: I didn’t make that claim, as the link obviously reveals. If Crikey correspondent Irfan Yusuf can’t understand a simple sentence, it’s probably best not to trust him on more complicated matters of interpretation and analysis.
UPDATE. Irfan’s latest:
Mahatma Gandhi once said: “Be the change you want to see”. But in George W Bush’s so-called “war on terror”, the extreme opposite applied.
The extreme opposite … “Be the see you want to change”? “Be the same you want to not see”? ”Don’t be the change you want to see”? Got me beat.
Each and every account I have read from former Guantanamo detainees describes some of the most gruesome (or, as recently released Briton Binyam Mohamed describes it, “medieval") forms of torture. In Mohamed’s case, the torture took place in Pakistan, Morocco, Afghanistan and Guantanamo over a period of seven years. Being some six feet tall, Mohamed lost one quarter of his body weight. He now weighs a mere 57 kilograms.
By an amazing coincidence, that’s one quarter of Irfan’s body weight.
Lateline host Tony Jones to Barnaby Joyce:
You know, amongst the eco-totalitarians or fanatics would presumably be members of your own frontbench.
Tragically, Jones is right. The list starts with Malcolm Turnbull. In other Lateline news:
An ABC television crew from Lateline hosted by Tony Jones has been arrested inside the restricted zone of Kinglake on suspicion of breaching the Coroner’s Act.
Also facing legal action: A Current Affair‘s Ben Fordham and producer (and mate) Andrew Byrne. They expect to be charged tomorrow over some kind of listening devices allegations.
A gentle sea kitten capers playfully with his friend the sky bunny. Trained kitten wranglers are then deployed to collect various bunny components distributed throughout the area.
IT’S PROBABLY SOMETHING TO DO WITH RACISM
Barack Obama’s approval rating is down to 59 per cent. Disapproval is up to 25 per cent, and 16 per cent vote “present”.
So why spend so much on so little now?
So we had time to spend wisely, after all:
AUSTRALIA faces a longer period of low growth, higher debt and higher unemployment than predicted just four weeks ago as the wave of job losses gathered strength, with clothing manufacturer Pacific Brands axing 1850 staff across the country....
Reserve Bank director Roger Corbett said the global situation looked “very dangerous”. “I think the situation is a lot more serious than it was at the end of last year, and I think it will be well into 2010 before we see any significant recovery,” Mr Corbett said…
Speaking in Canberra yesterday, (Treasury secretary Ken) Henry said ... the intensity of the downturn was testing Treasury’s long-standing practice of preparing thorough economic forecasts for no more than the next 12 months while relying on projections that it would grow at the long-term trend rate of about 3 per cent a year beyond that. “We all know that is not how the economy will behave,” he said.
Dr Henry said the forecast that the Government’s debt would grow to no more than 5.2 per cent of gross domestic product by 2011-12 was built on these optimistic projections.
This suggests several things:
1. It is mad for the Government to spend all our savings at once, when we’ll need them for a battle that will last years.
2. We actually have time, after all, to spend those billions on productive investments such as rail, airports, internet, ports and tax cuts, rather than the quick-quick sugar rush of pink batts, public housing, free cash handouts and school halls.
3. Our debt is now likely to be much more significant that the Government claims, leaving us with much less to show for it than it hopes.
Start your own
It says something about the emptiness of the New Age faiths that so many of its priests need to hijack real churches:
The Socialist Alliance posters outside St Mary’s Catholic Church in Brisbane said it all. “Dump Intolerance, not Father Kennedy.” “Who would Jesus sack?” The father in question is Peter Kennedy, the 70-year-old Catholic priest who is being forced out of the church he has turned into a green-leftist New Age drop-in centre…
Footage of Mass - or whatever it is - at St Mary’s on ABC-TV this week showed a pony-tailed man - not a priest - in a bright shirt waving around a giant Communion host in a haphazard way, while people sat on the floor at his feet. It looked more like a yoga session, with meditation and lay people taking to the pulpit to give “sermons” which have nothing to do with the Bible.
A weekend newspaper report recounted the “sermon” at one St Mary’s service which consisted of a reading from a letter from a supporter of Kennedy’s: ”I don’t come to St Mary’s because it is a Catholic place of worship. I come because it has everything I seek in my own life - love, truth, authenticity, integrity, justice, unity, compassion, openness and friendship.” Quite a smorgasbord. The only problem is that St Mary’s is a Catholic place of worship - and has been since 1864.
Warming dissent: Emperor has no kimono
From Watts Up With That:
Japan Society of Energy and Resources ... is the academic society representing scientists from the energy and resource fields, and acts as a government advisory panel…
Three of the five leading scientists (in the JSER report) contend that recent climate change is driven by natural cycles, not human industrial activity, as political activists argue.
Kanya Kusano is Program Director and Group Leader for the Earth Simulator at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science & Technology (JAMSTEC). He focuses on the immaturity of simulation work cited in support of the theory of anthropogenic climate change. Using undiplomatic language, Kusano compares them to ancient astrology. After listing many faults, and the IPCC’s own conclusion that natural causes of climate are poorly understood, Kusano concludes:
“[The IPCC’s] conclusion that from now on atmospheric temperatures are likely to show a continuous, monotonous increase, should be perceived as an unprovable hypothesis,” he writes.
Shunichi Akasofu, head of the International Arctic Research Center in Alaska, has expressed criticism of the theory before. Akasofu uses historical data to challenge the claim that very recent temperatures represent an anomaly:
“We should be cautious, IPCC’s theory that atmospheric temperature has risen since 2000 in correspondence with CO2 is nothing but a hypothesis. ”
Subsidising the menace
Britain is crazy. It bans a Dutch MP for warning against the very thing that British taxes subsidise:
Several men considered by MI5 to pose a grave threat to public safety are receiving Job Seeker’s Allowance, according to figures from the Department of Work and Pensions. Other terror suspects are being paid benefits including incapacity benefit and income support.
Control orders are imposed on people whom the Government says are too dangerous to be at large but who cannot be prosecuted in an open court…
A total of 15 control orders are currently in place. Of the 15 subjects, nine are receiving some sort of welfare payments. Seven of them are receiving Job Seeker’s Allowance, which is worth £60.50 a week to people over 25.
And, no, we don’t really need to be told what cause these people are believed to serve.
Defence Minister turns into a human bomb
I’d overlooked this issue, assuming it was mere bureaucratic bungling that would be instantly fixed. Stupid me. Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon is struggling so badly in his answers in Question Time again today that a case of stupid petty-fogging accountancy is fast turning into a land-mine right under one of Rudd’s keenest supporters:
OPPOSITION Leader Malcolm Turnbull continued to target beleaguered Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon in question time this afternoon over the SAS pay bungle as the Liberals sniff blood.
Members of the elite special services squad have been hit with debt recovery notices of up to $50,000 for overpayments of allowances.
The soldiers have also been threatened with disciplinary action and warned of expulsion from their unit if they complain about the bungle.
Astonishingly, Fitzgibbon still did not know in Question Time today how much the soldiers had been docked. A censure motion is now on.
As Turnbull asks, how could the families of the men fighting on the frontlines in Afghanistan find that their paypackets had been docked by as much as the entire amount of their wages? And how the hell is it that Fitzgibbon still doesn’t know how much they’d been made to repay - four months after the issue was first raised in Parliament? Four months after Fitzgiibon gave a “guarantee’’ that this would be fixed?
What makes this even worse for Fitzgibbon that sloppy bureaucracy is precisely the kind of thing that would enrage his Prime Bureaucrat most.
Turnbull is on fire:
Soldiers on the frontline, (their) families on the breadline..
He’s too incompetent and slovenly to hold his job.
Fitzgibbon’s reply for the first five minutes is to sook that the Opposition made this public, rather than come to him quietly. Yes, really. The debts, he says, have been extinguished.
Warming panic not so cool
Steven Hayward reviews nine of the latest green books, and detects the beginning of the end of eco-alarmism:
“On what principle is it,” wondered Thomas Babington Macaulay in 1830, “that when we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?” Environmentalism didn’t exist in its current form in Macaulay’s time, or he would easily have discerned its essential pessimism bordering at times on a loathing of humanity. A trip down the environment and earth sciences aisle of any larger bookstore is usually a tour of titles that cover the narrow range from dismay to despair…
Yet some cracks are starting to appear in their dreary and repetitive story line. Although extreme green ideology won’t go away any time soon—the political and legal institutions of the environmental movement are too well established—there are signs that the public and a few next-generation environmentalists are ready to say goodbye to all that…
Opinion surveys show that the public isn’t jumping on the global warming bandwagon despite a multi-million dollar marketing campaign and full-scale media hysteria. More broadly there are signs that “green fatigue” is setting in. Magazine publishers recently reported that their special Earth Day “green” issues generated the lowest newsstand sales of all issues published in 2008.
The National’s Barnaby Joyce is sure doing his bit, despite having to contend with an interviewer far keener on kicking the policy of the out-of-office Liberals than examing the imminent job-killing scheme of the actual Government::
BARNABY JOYCE: Well, global - there’s no argument that if global warming is a threat, there is a debate and conjecture about what we can do about it. But there’s no debate at all, Tony, that what Australia is proposing will do nothing, nothing to reduce global warming. That is a fact. Five per cent of 1.5 per cent is 0.0075 per cent - three fifths, five eighths of nothing. Yet for that, for that political statement, we are going to be tossing Australians out onto the street and out of work....
TONY JONES: OK, earlier this year you did use the term “eco-fanaticism”. What did you mean by that exactly?
BARNABY JOYCE: I mean that this debate to try and corral people, what has happened, Tony, as you well know, it’s become a thing that if you dare doubt you are a heretic, you are a denier, all this sort of emotive language that has been sort of foisted on people so that they don’t dare step out of line. So that they are corralled without reason. And I find that dangerous, irregardless of what the subject is. That there should always be the expression of an ability to debate. And this is an issue on climate change that should be open to debate. It is not something that should be in the same vestige as a religious debate. It’s a debate about science, it’s a debate about effect, it’s a debate about government policy. And let’s make sure that it stays at that level, and not put some sort of laurel on it that doesn’t belong there.
Read the full transcript, and admire.
(Thanks to readers David. Owen and Chris.)
Meanwhile reader Warren writes in exasperation to the ABC’s Jon Faine, a warming believer, suggesting a better way to interview his next global warming alarmist. It involves requesting from the guest an audit of of their own emissions before they lecture us on ours. Read on:
Health claim alcopopped
You’re astonished, aren’t you, that the $1 billion-a-year tax on alcopops may not be quite the health measure the Rudd Government brightly claimed:
The (industry-funded) Access Economics report found hospital treatment rates for alcohol-related harm among 12- to 24-year-olds in May and June last year were higher than in previous years.
“If anything, hospitalisation rates of young people due to acute intoxication and harmful use of alcohol worsened in the months following the Government’s tax increase on ready-to-drink products,” report author Lynne Pezzullo said.
She said the analysis showed young people who moved away from premixed drinks, such as vodka and lemonade or rum and Coke, to other alcohol could end up buying more standard drinks for $20 than before they switched.
With Family First threatening to withdraw its support for the tax, the Government may have an even deeper hole in its Budget than it’s so far dug.