Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Headlines Wednesday 18th February 2009
Thousands isolated by NSW floodwaters
Thousands of residents on the New South Wales mid north coast remain isolated this morning, despite the deluge of rain easing overnight....
Boy's remains found in crocodile
Remains found in a crocodile caught near where a five-year-old went missing in the far north Queensland Daintree River are those of the youngster....
'Sex slave' teacher guilty of indecent act on boy
A Melbourne teacher has been found guilty of committing an indecent act on a child under 16 but has been cleared of a charge that she had sex with the student....
Dentist on sex charges against teen girls
A Sydney dentist has been charged with sex offences against two teenage girls....
Obama signs massive stimulus package
US President Barack Obama has signed into law his $US787 billion stimulus bill, a rescue plan designed to create millions of jobs and boost consumer spending....
Lily Allen hates selfish bedroom buddies
Lily Allen hates men who are "selfish in bed" and claims most men only think about their own needs.... - if she only knew who they were, she could dump them - ed.
Homeless pair guilty of bashing Aussie tourist
Two homeless men have pleaded guilty to the horrific bashing of Australian tourist Robert Schneider that left the surfer with severe burns, a fractured skull, broken wrist and cuts to his face and body.
Woman held captive in nappy, Bible read to her
A man held a woman captive in handcuffs and an adult nappy for three days while he read Bible passages to her in the US state of Ohio, police said.
Pension relief for self-funded retirees
Self-funded retirees will no longer be forced to draw out of their superannuation accounts, with the government removing the requirement until the end of the financial year.
12,000 more US troops to Afghanistan
President Barack Obama has authorised the deployment of 12,000 additional US troops to Afghanistan in the coming months, a US defence official said.
Firefighter killed by falling tree
A firefighter has been killed, but another man was spared, when a tree branch fell on their car near the devastated Victorian town of Marysville.
Woman to stand trial for selling pierced cats
Controversial Facebook changes spark protests
CLOCK TICKING FOR NASSUR
It’s the deadliest job in showbiz. Pioneers of Tomorrow churns through shrieking, one-note hosts (four since 2007) even faster than Media Watch (five since 2000). The Hamas TV children’s show is reducing the biodiversity of giant anthropomorphic Gaza-area hate-muppets so quickly that an environmentalist intervention might be needed
POWER OF THE ONE
President Barack Obama will tour a solar panel installation atop the Denver Museum of Nature and Science tomorrow before signing his landmark $787 billion economic stimulus bill in front of a crowd of 250 Colorado renewable energy and political leaders …
Blake Jones, CEO of Boulder-based Namaste Solar, will lead Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on a walking tour at the museum before the bill signing.
So how’s the whole stimulus thing working out for Namaste Solar?
ON THE OTHER HAND, IT STOPS PEOPLE DYING IN WINTER
NASA warmenoid freak James Hansen:
Coal is the single greatest threat to civilisation and all life on our planet. The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.
Raining on BoM’s parade
The Bureau of Meteorology says we’ll get hotter over the next 25 years, thanks to global warming:
The most comprehensive assessment to date of Australia’s climate was jointly released today by the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO… “By 2030 we expect temperatures will rise by about 1ºC over Australia compared with the climate of recent decades,” says one of the report’s authors...
That’s interesting. But let’s see how well the Bureau can predict not 25 years ago, but two months. Here’s its prediction from last month:
The chance of exceeding median rainfall over much of central and northern Queensland are between 20 and 40%, which means that these areas have a 60 to 80% chance of being drier than normal.
As for NSW:
… the chance of exceeding the February to April median is between 45% and 60%. This means the chances of being wetter than normal in these areas are about the same as the chances of being drier
Less than a month later, we see this:
After years of drought, farmers in many parts of the country are now dealing with flooding rains. In Queensland’s gulf country, a number of towns have been shut off for more than six weeks and are running low on supplies. And in New South Wales, a number of towns in the north and west of the state are also under water, and more rain could be on the way.
Paying even more for snake oil
Kevin Rudd’s emissions trading scheme just got even more expensive, thanks to the collapse of the international price of carbon credits:
Compensation for households, trade-exposed industries and high-polluting coal-fired electricity generators was expected to be drawn from auctioning carbon credits, which the Government estimated would initially generate $12 billion a year.
But the assumed price of carbon — $25 a tonne — is now under threat because the Government’s proposal allows polluting businesses to offset an unlimited proportion of emissions by buying international credits.
With the international carbon price hovering around $15 a tonne, carbon trading analysts ...said it raised the prospect of the Government dipping into the budget pay for the household compensation package targeted at low to middle-income earners.
But you don’t think the finger-waggers who are inflicting this ruinous plan to cut our gases actually believe in the cause themselves, do you:
KEVIN Rudd has been called a climate change hypocrite after it was revealed senior Labor advisers had chosen gas-guzzlers over fuel-efficient cars…
About two-thirds of 38 government staff eligible for taxpayer-funded cars drive 4WDs, high-performance and luxury vehicles. Only four opted for the low-carbon Toyota Prius—which the Prime Minister said he was switching to, as he chased green votes in 2007.
To help is sick
Sydney Morning Herald columnist Ross Gittins is disgusted that so many Australians have been so keen to help the victims of the fires:
The outpouring of public concern over the terrible Victorian bushfires, the rush to give blood, the huge amount of donations, the efforts of governments to do all they can to help, the way business has swung behind the appeal for assistance - it makes you proud to be an Aussie.
Is that how you feel? I don’t. I find it all strangely disturbing and distasteful.
And you know the people who’ve lined up to donate blood, or offered accommodation to the homeless, or organised fundraisers, or fed the firefighters, or raised collections for the orphaned, or sorted the donated goods, or counselled the bereaved, or pitched in to rebuild?
And it’s served to strengthen my suspicion that the community’s reaction to natural disasters is exploitative, voyeuristic, unfair, self-gratifying and even pathological.
Phillip Adams in charge of fresh ideas?
PHILLIP Adams, the acclaimed ABC broadcaster and long-term columnist for this journal, has been appointed by South Australian Premier Mike Rann as the foundation chairman of the Australian Centre for Social Innovation, an intellectual think tank to be based in Adelaide.
Hockey fires at listing ship
Joe Hockey opens well-directed fire as the Coalition’s new shadow treasurer:
JOE Hockey has moved to refocus the Opposition’s economic message by accusing Kevin Rudd of being panicked by the global recession into wanting to stifle business with needless over-regulation. The Opposition’s new Treasury spokesman yesterday warned the Prime Minister against putting “handcuffs on capitalism”, delivering an impassioned defence of the ability of the free market to provide solutions to economic problems.
Crowing over the fires
GLOBAL warming preachers have been crowing over the bushfires in ways not just despicable but dangerous.
Just hours after the first bodies were being recovered, Greens leader Bob Brown was already on television, lecturing us on our sins against the planet.
Rather than confess that green activists had been desperately wrong to oppose fuel reduction burns, Brown was eager to boast that this catastrophe had instead proved them right. About global warming, you know.
“(The fires are) a sobering reminder of the need for this nation and the whole world to act and put at a priority the need to tackle climate change.”
Well, actually, Bob, the fires were a sobering reminder of the need to help the victims first, and to fireproof our houses and towns after that.
But Brown was soon to be trumped by far louder crows.
Freya Matthews, a La Trobe University “ecological philosopher”, wrote in The Age that there was no doubt these fires were caused by our gases: “This is climate change.”
ABC presenters religiously took up this lesson of the day on radio and television and declared—falsely—that never had it been this hot. Never had fires burned so fiercely. Global warming was here.
And—sure enough—former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery, another preacher with no formal training in climate science, outdid all his previous exaggerations by directly blaming our gases for these 200 deaths.
“Let’s hope that Australians ponder the deeper causes of this horrible tragedy, and change our polluting ways before it’s too late,” he thundered.
Or as historian Jonathan King put it hysterically, again in The Age: “We humans started this war and now the environment is fighting back.”
Really? If so, I wonder whose side of this war these preachers are on?
Preaching green sermons over the dead is vile enough, of course, especially when forest experts insist that green policies on forest management helped to kill so many in the first place.
Hard to panic and yet be confident
Turns out that screaming ”fire” and pouring billions of dollars into the gutters isn’t quite the stuff to give consumers the confidence to start spending again:
Following Congressional passage of the economic stimulus bill, consumer confidence has fallen to another record low.
The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures consumer confidence on a daily basis, fell two points on Sunday and another point on Monday to 55.7. This is the third time in February that the daily Consumer Index has fallen to a record low.
Odd that. Although, in fairness, plenty of economists did warn that Ruddernomics, including the Obama brand of it, was a hoax.
Dodson was “dishonest”
The Northern Territory News reports (no link):
TERRITORY Aboriginal leader Mick Dodson should not have been made Australian of the Year because he was once branded dishonest by a Supreme Court judge, a retired lawyer said yesterday. Geoff James said a simple Google search on the internet would have returned details of the court case.
``The people who accepted his nomination for this high honour have made a serious mistake,’’ he said. Mr Dodson, who was named Australian of the Year by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Australia Day, was director of the Northern Land Council when he appeared in the NT Supreme Court as a witness in 1999…
In his judgment against the land council (for wrongful dismissal), Justice David Angel said of Mr Dodson: ``He lacked a memory for detail, was not as conscientious as he might have been and, I regret to say, on occasions, did not give honest answers.’
The Supreme Court judgment here. You’ll find that Dodson was, among other things, berated by the judge for in effect shielding influential Labor MP Warren Snowdon.
Reader Mike Rogers says a charity fund has been set up to help Hannah, Lukas and Amber Nilsson, who lost their parents in the fires at Marysville. It’s being run by museum director Maudie Palmer:
A bank account has been set up at the National Australia Bank in the name of Hannah, Lukas & Amber Nilsson Account number 083-153-833710947. Please make a direct debit to the account or send a cheque to Hannah, Lukas & Amber Nilsson c/o Maudie Palmer, PO BOX 295 Box Hill 3128