Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Headlines Tuesday 24th February 2009


Vic threat looms again: 500 firies battling Daylesford blaze
About 500 firefighters are battling to contain a 2,800 hectare bushfire burning northwest of Melbourne....
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Brit walks free after four years of Guantanamo 'torture'
A British resident detained at the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay for more than four years returned to Britain on Monday alleging he had been "tortured in medieval ways"....
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11-yr-old accused killer charged as adult
A prosecutor says he had no choice but to charge an 11-year-old boy as an adult in the killing his father's pregnant girlfriend....
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Boy killed by exploding office chair
A young Chinese boy has died after an office chair he was sitting on exploded, according to reports....
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Australian car industry 'needs to reinvent itself'
Australia's car industry must use the global economic crisis to reinvent itself, GM Holden chairman and managing director Mark Reuss says....
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Hugh's Oscars performance dazzles US
Some US TV critics may disagree, but Hugh Jackman's performance as Oscar host has received a big thumbs up from the American public....
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Third arrest in Knox Grammar child sex investigation
A third man has been arrested as part of an investigation into child sexual abuse at Sydney's elite Knox Grammar School.
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one third of voters unsatisfied with Rudd: Newspoll
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Labor continue to dominate Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull and the coalition, the latest Newspoll reveals.
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Bligh enters election campaign with minor swings threatening seats
Premier Anna Bligh will enter the Queensland election campaign with a healthy lead after Labor suffered a recent fall in popularity, a Newspoll reveals. However the smallest of swings would see her lose seats, and government.
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NSW tunnels plan shelved over feared 'voter backlash'
Drive-by victim shot in kneecaps
Egypt arrests three over deadly bazaar bombing
Heath's "quiet determination" honoured by family, peers
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New train is far from free
It's being touted as a free service, but the Epping to Chatswood is anything but, according to Alan Jones.
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CHANCES IMPROVE
Tim Blair
The beheading of Aasiya Hassan opens a window:
“This is a horrible tragedy, but it gives us a window,” said Abdul-Ghafur, editor of the anthology “Living Islam Out Loud: American Muslim Women Speak.” “The next time a woman comes to her imam and says, ‘He hit me,’ the reply might not be, ‘Be patient, sister, is there something you did, sister? Is there something you can do?’ The chances are greater the imam will say, ‘This is unacceptable.”
It’s a breakthough!
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PRIORITIES SHIFT
Tim Blair
Trees-first policies might get the chop in the wake of Victoria’s fires:
Laws governing the clearing of native vegetation are under review as part of the Brumby Government’s response to the bushfire crisis.

Following strong public debate on being able to clear vegetation near homes following Victoria’s devastating bushfires, the State Government has begun talking to building and local government groups on possible changes to the laws.
This is potentially good news for rock shifters, dozer borrowers and burn stoppers, all of whom have faced stupid local government laws in recent times. Meanwhile, fires erupt again near Melbourne.
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HE’D KNOW
Tim Blair
Require some insightful opinion on the NY Post‘s monkey cartoon? Why not ask the guy who described Condi Rice as President Bush’s house nigga.
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CHANGE IS THE ONLY CONSTANT
Tim Blair
Reader Becky M. notes a climate change … change:
I was forced to have lunch with two repulsive and rabid environmentalists the other day.

A most unpleasant experience, but I did learn something.

The correct terminology for the phenomenon formerly known as global warming and later as climate change is now to be referred to as ”climate disruption.”

By using “climate disruption,” one effectively blocks the “knuckleheads who point to headlines about ‘record cold,’ etc.”
They’ve already ditched “climate crisis”, then. And extreme weather. Can’t these clowns make a brand stick? Perhaps we should offer a superior, enduring title – “weather” might work – in comments. Otherwise we’re going to be hit with New Coke versions of global warming until the End of Days.
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HUNGRY HUNGRY HYBRIDS
Tim Blair
If you’re going to shift hybrids, you’ve got to corner the snob market:
Perhaps summing up the direction of a new era of environmentalism, the [2010 hybrid Camry] is targeted at the higher end of the market, designed to set owners apart as environmentally responsible leaders, without “polarising them” as greenies.

In short, to make them feel “they stand out, but not too much”.

“They still get a sense they’re driving something different, but they’re not different in the sense of ‘peculiar’, they’re different in the sense that they’re almost leading the market,” [Toyota corporate manager Paul] Beranger said.
Leading the market will make up for being behind all the other traffic. The latest hybrid Prius is also soon to creep into local showrooms:
Cutting CO2 emissions to less than 100 grams per kilometre travelled through its dual electric-petrol powered engine, the car also features plant-based interior features on seats and door liners.
Toyota hopes to expand the use of this plant-based plastic, possibly using seaweed, to exterior surfaces of the Prius by 2020, predicting its use will help reduce the car’s weight to one third that of the current model.
Gotta be an error; the company is probably aiming to trim weight by one third. Anything’s possible with some kind of seaweed-based panel structure and bamboo wheels, I guess, but so far the Prius has only gained weight. When it was introduced in 1997, the first Prius weighed 1250 kilograms (2750 pounds). By 2004 the Prius was up to 1313kg (2890 lbs). Next year’s model is estimated to come in at 1352kg (2975 lbs). What are these Gore wagons eating?
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RIDICULE WELCOMED
Tim Blair
Irfan Yusuf claims:
Personally, I really don’t care about what people say about any religion. If you wish to criticise or even ridicule religious teachings, be my guest.
Let’s hope Irfan is telling the truth. Lies make baby Mohammad cry.
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POLITICAL MECHANICS UNDERSTOOD
Tim Blair
Queensland political expert Mark Bahnisch, five days ago:
It seems that the ALP still can’t lift a political finger in Queensland without the press wizards at The Australian heralding it as a sign of an imminent election … One has to wonder about the depth of understanding of political mechanics and political logic required to write this stuff.
The election was announced today. Queensland votes on March 21.

UPDATE. Bahnisch previously slammed The Australian over this line:
The rapidly deteriorating economic conditions in Queensland will put pressure on the Bligh Government to hold an early election.
And lo, the early election came to be. Queensland lefties don’t have a great record when it comes to The Australian; click and scroll for an item on Wayne Sanderson.

UPDATE II. The Australian‘s Mike Steketee:
There is one reason and one alone that the media were predicting an early election with increasing confidence in recent weeks: Labor, by its lack of unequivocal denials and by its actions, like Bligh’s new website and advertisements attacking Lawrence Springborg, was egging on the speculation.

Having created the speculation, Labor has used it as an excuse for an election. It’s an old trick but one that Labor obviously thinks it can put over voters again.
Well, it’s already worked on someone.
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HOMICIDAL LUNACY RECONSIDERED
Tim Blair
Al-Qaida founder Sayyid Imam al-Sharif trashes his pals:
Sharif, who is serving a life sentence in a Cairo prison, recently wrote a book in which he said, “every drop of blood that was shed or is being shed in Afghanistan and Iraq is the responsibility of bin Laden and Zawahiri and their followers.”

The Al-Qaida figurehead also said called the September 11 terror attacks immoral and counterproductive.

“Attacking America has become the shortest road to fame and leadership among the Arabs and Muslims,” wrote Sharif, who also goes by the nom de guerre Dr. Fadl. “But what good is it if you destroy one of your enemy’s buildings, and he destroys one of your countries? What good is it if you kill one of his people, and he kills a thousand of yours? That, in short, is my evaluation of 9/11.”
Hang on … Arabs were behind 9/11? The truthers will be furious. And there’s more:
Sharif also criticizes Muslims who move to the West only to perpetrate terror attacks in their adopted countries. “If they gave you permission to enter their homes and live with them, and if they gave you security for yourself and your money, and if they gave you the opportunity to work or study, or they granted you political asylum” wrote Sharif, then it is “not honorable” to “betray them, through killing and destruction.”
Just as well al-Sharif is safely in jail. Saying those sorts of things can get you in trouble.
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GIVE THAT MAN A PRIZE
Tim Blair
Penelope Cruz just described the Academy Awards as “a moment of unity for the world.”
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Bligh bets voters are mugs
Andrew Bolt
Mike Steketee nails this bunch of cyncial political opportunists:

Only (Queensland Premier Anna) Bligh has the experience and ability to steer Queensland through the tough times ahead, she said. She forgot to mention that it was this ability that lost the state its AAA credit rating.

Voters will see through her second excuse, too, and realise that Labor is rushing to an election before things get much worse… If for no other reason than treating voters as mugs, she deserves a good kick in the electoral shins.
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The Department of Dark Greens
Andrew Bolt
Lessons are being learned fast - and one is that the green movement has an unsustainable grip on the Department of Sustainability and the Environment:

LAWS governing the clearing of native vegetation are under review as part of the Brumby Government’s response to the bushfire crisis....

The Urban Development Institute of Australia’s Victorian executive director, Tony De Domenico,...suggested during a meeting with Planning Minister Justin Madden on Friday that ”native vegetation ought to be taken away from the Department of Sustainability and Environment and put in the Department of Planning”.

He said the Government seemed to have taken on board “quite seriously” his ideas.

Control over our water supplies must also be taken away from DSE before disaster strikes. No department has fought harder against the dam we clearly need.
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Wanted next: Conservative Kerrys
Andrew Bolt
If only the ABC were as eager to get balance in front of the cameras, too:

WANTED: Coalition supporters to sit in the studio audience for the ABC’s live panel show Q&A on a Thursday night. It’s not a Liberal Party branch stack, but the ABC’s desperate bid to have a politically balanced audience.

The national broadcaster has taken its search for Liberals beyond a failed appeal to political parties and MPs for help. It has been searching inside accounting firms such as Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers and among the ranks of the Australian Union of Jewish Students for Coalition recruits.

The ABC managing director, Mark Scott, said the broadcaster had gone to extraordinary lengths to make sure the Q&A audience was balanced after the Liberal senator Eric Abetz last year complained it was biased against the Coalition. The show’s producers also appealed to the Sydney Chamber of Commerce, Sydney University Politics Society and Facebook groups such as Don’t blame me I voted Liberal.
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Fewer jobless to be let in
Andrew Bolt
It’s taken nearly a year, but the Rudd Government didn’t want to look completely stupid by changing its mind any sooner on an immigration program that was stupid even to start with:

THE Rudd Government is poised to announce a major cut to the nation’s immigration intake to protect Australian jobs.... A record 190,300 migrants were allowed in this financial year because of the rapidly growing economy. But unemployment is tipped to hit 7 per cent midway through next year, pushing 300,000 Australians on to the dole queue.

“The economic situation confronting us at this next Budget will be almost the reverse—reducing inflation, reducing demand for labour,” (Immigration Minister Chris) Evans said. “I expect the numbers of our program to drop next year . . . as a reaction to economic circumstances.”
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Carbon permitted
Andrew Bolt
It’s written as a criticism, by an eco alarmist - and it’s true that the collapse of Europe’s emissions trading market makes the Rudd Government’s own planned scheme seem stupid:

Set up to price pollution out of existence, carbon trading is pricing it back in. Europe’s carbon markets are in collapse…

A year ago European governments allocated a limited number of carbon emission permits to their big polluters. Businesses that reduce pollution are allowed to sell spare permits to ones that need more. As demand outstrips this capped supply, and the price of permits rises, an incentive grows to invest in green energy. Why buy costly permits to keep a coal plant running when you can put the cash into clean power instead?

All this only works as the carbon price lifts. As with 1924 Ch√Ęteau Lafite or Damian Hirst’s diamond skulls, scarcity and speculation create the value. If permits are cheap, and everyone has lots, the green incentive crashes into reverse. As recession slashes output, companies pile up permits they don’t need and sell them on. The price falls, and anyone who wants to pollute can afford to do so. The result is a system that does nothing at all for climate change but a lot for the bottom lines of mega-polluters such as the steelmaker Corus: industrial assistance in camouflage.

In fact, the fall of the price of the emission permits is probably a safety valve in a sharp downturn. Do you really want to kill your biggest businesses completely just when you most need jobs?

Oh, you do?
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Sharpton gets last laugh from cartoon
Andrew Bolt
Al Sharpton was very cross with a New York Post cartoon that he falsely claimed likened Barack Obama to an ape. But it turns out that Shaprton may have been even crosser with an earlier New York Post article that exposed him as a professional race baiter:

Anheuser-Busch gave him six figures, Colgate-Palmolive shelled out $50,000 and Macy’s and Pfizer have contributed thousands to the Rev. Al Sharpton’s charity. Almost 50 companies - including PepsiCo, General Motors, Wal-Mart, FedEx, Continental Airlines, Johnson & Johnson and Chase - and some labor unions sponsored Sharpton’s National Action Network annual conference in April.

Terrified of negative publicity, fearful of a consumer boycott or eager to make nice with the civil-rights activist, CEOs write checks, critics say, to NAN and Sharpton - who brandishes the buying power of African-American consumers. In some cases, they hire him as a consultant.
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Dear Mr Rudd: cool it
Andrew Bolt
The Australian Environment Foundation of Jennifer Marohasy is inviting you to sign a petition to be presented to Parliament by Dennis Jensen, co-winner of this blog’s Best Politician of 2008:

This petition of certain citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the House the fact that:

We live on a dynamic planet; natural climate change occurs all the time.
As a nation we need appropriate infrastructure and planning to protect against climate change including long-term warming or cooling and severe weather related events such as cyclones, droughts and bushfires.
Global temperature increased slightly in the late 20th century and has been decreasing since 1998. Neither the warming nor the cooling is of an unusual rate or magnitude.
Cutting carbon dioxide emissions in Australia will result in no measurable change in future climate. Australia contributes less than 1.5% of global emissions.
The introduction of a Carbon Trading Scheme represents a major economic intervention that will drive Australian industries and jobs overseas.
Petitioners therefore ask the House to ensure that the Government:

Invest appropriately in measures to ensure that Australia is well prepared for climate change and severe weather events including drought and floods.
Not attempt to stop global climate change by introducing a Carbon Trading Scheme.
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Gillard goes grubby
Andrew Bolt
Julia Gillard loses her dignity with a very low attack in Parliament on Christopher Pyne, the new manager of Opposition business, while comparing him to Tony Abbott:

In a choice between a macho and mincing, I would have gone for macho myself.

No class. Had she been a Liberal man making the same attack on, say, ... Well, I’ll leave it there.
Beautiful Sunset
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ABC chief disowns Rudd spin
Andrew Bolt
From Nick Minchin’s latest press release:

Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Nick Minchin today in Senate Estimates told the ABC that it was factually incorrect for its on-air presenters to describe carbon dioxide as a pollutant, which was at odds with the Rudd Government’s own official list of air pollutants.

Senator Minchin alerted ABC managing director Mark Scott to the fact that the Government’s own list of air pollutants names carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone particles and sulphur dioxide, but not carbon dioxide…

Senator Minchin said based on the Government’s own documentation, carbon dioxide was not an air pollutant and therefore it was factually wrong and “grossly misleading” for the ABC to describe it as such in reporting and commenting on the current Australian debate.

Mr Scott agreed that carbon dioxide was “a gas vital to life” and acknowledged that describing it as a pollutant might not be consistent with the Government list of air pollutants Senator Minchin referred to.

Mark, you know carbon dioxide is not a “pollutant”, and that ABC staff who describe it as such so are merely echoing - if not endorsing - the crudest and most deceitful Government spin. Now, can you get your staff to stop it? To say something both untrue and biased must surely be against the ABC charter.
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And you thought she was joking to Gervais
Andrew Bolt
Kate Winslet’s strategy worked:

The Best Actress Oscar went to Kate Winslet as a former concentration-camp guard in “The Reader,”...

She outlined her secret plan a couple of years ago on Extras. See from 3:20:

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Wind dies in a heat wave - and wind power, too
Andrew Bolt
Tom Quirk discovers that South Australia’s wind farms couldn’t produce power just when the public needed it most - to keep cool during the January heat wave
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Making monkeys of their readers
Andrew Bolt
The Age publishes a falsehood:

Black American community leaders are demanding the head of controversial Australian journalist Col Allan after his New York Post published a cartoon depicting President Barack Obama as a monkey.

No, the Post did not publish a cartoon depicting Obama as a monkey. The bill being satirised was in fact the prime responsibility of the Democrat leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate - Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid:
Beautiful Sunset
Only a fool would not know that, and only a race-baiter would pretend not to. For the information of The Age and AP, which wrote the piece, this is what depicting a president as a monkey actually looks like, when done by professionals of the Left at a time when they were not quite so tactically sensitive:
Beautiful Sunset
Beautiful Sunset
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Spare change you can believe in
Andrew Bolt
Barack Obama’s promise:

When I arrived in Springfield a decade ago as a state Senator, people said it was too hard to take on the issue of money in politics… When I arrived in Washington eight years later, the need for change was equally clear. Big money and lobbyists were clearly drowning out the aspirations of the American people… That is why on my very first day as President, I will launch the most sweeping ethics reform in history to make the White House the people’s house and send the Washington lobbyists back to K Street… Third, we will institute an absolute gift ban so that no registered lobbyist can curry favor and build relationships with members of my administration based on how much they can spend.

Barack Obama’s delivery:

Barack Obama has been embroiled in a cronyism row after reports that he intends to make Louis Susman, one of his biggest fundraisers, the new US ambassador in London…

Mr Susman’s reputation for hoovering large amounts of cash from deep pockets saw him nicknamed “the vacuum cleaner” when he raised more than $240million for John Kerry’s White House bid in 2004. He was one of Mr Obama’s biggest campaign cash “bundlers”, fundraisers who collect contributions from hundreds of others. He also gave $300,000 to the president’s inauguration fund.

Change you can’t believe in, after all.

(Thanks to reader Stanley.)

UPDATE

First Barack Obama orders the Guantanamo Bay prison closed, without having figured what he’d do with the suspected terrorists it holds. Only then does he ask Pentagon experts to tell him if, indeed, the prison is an abuse of human rights, after all:

A Pentagon review of conditions at the Guantanamo Bay military prison has concluded that the treatment of detainees meets the requirements of the Geneva Conventions...
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