Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Headlines Tuesday 10th March 2009
Manly to ban alcohol after Stewart allegations
Manly is expected to implement the toughest alcohol rules in NRL history as Brett Stewart faces sexual assault allegations.
Obama lifts restrictions on stem cell research
United States President Barack Obama has lifted his predecessor George W Bush's curbs on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
Nice new trains but no power: CityRail's $1bn bungle
Taxpayers will reportedly have to fork out an extra $1 billion after it was found there is not enough power in the network to run CityRail's fleet of new trains.
Police push for Taser in every patrol car
Every NSW police patrol car will soon have a stun gun, under a plan being pushed by the Police Minister.
Tibet locked down on uprising anniversary
Authorities closed the last window into a restive Tibetan region, tightening its security cordon on the eve of the 50th anniversary of a failed uprising.
GG refuses to talk about upcoming Africa visit
Easy escape? Man claims seeing inmate stroll out of jail
Rudd's s-*storm was fair dinkum: Munro, body language expert says Rudd is really that inarticulate and dumb
Canberra man forced to evict break-and-enter roo... in a headlock
Respect for women? Try canning NRL's perve-fest
If the NRL really wants to clean up rugby league's attitude towards women, it should start with one of its tackiest traditions, according to Chris Smith.
Why attack Turnbull for stating the obvious?
Malcolm Turnbull's decision to point out the obvious has somehow been twisted into him making a personal attack on Kevin Rudd's family, Jason Morrison writes
PM’s spear-chucker is woefully off target
GOVERNOR-General Quentin Bryce is rapidly becoming the Rudd Government’s Sweeney Todd. As in the Cockney rhyming slang for Flying Squad. - The GG has shown appalling judgement on this issue. She is compromising her position so that should she ever be called on to dismiss the government, as Kerr had to do, she would not be able to. Or, if this government loses the next election and a Liberal government comes into place, should she dismiss that government the constitutionality of her action could be questioned because she isn’t impartial.
I have no problems with giving aid and comfort to third world nations. I object giving weapons and resources to tin pot dictators. I will have nothing to do with bullies who hate jews, or any other religion. I even support the existence of Islam, although, as a Christian, I don’t hold that faith.
I am bitterly disappointed that so few in the press have taken the GG to task for her poor judgement. - ed.
THEY ONLY CUT OFF HALF YOUR HEAD
There’s something about the phrase “moderate Taliban” that doesn’t quite work for me.
Poetry may be endangered, but painting – particularly involving Barack Obama – is thriving:
THEY WROTE DIRTY WORDS
George Galloway – previously attacked by friendly Presbyterians in the UK – now finds himself under fire in Egypt:
A convoy led by the maverick MP George Galloway carrying supplies for Gaza has been attacked in Egypt, apparently injuring several people travelling in his party.
The convoy, carrying aid worth £1 million, was pelted with stones and vandalised with anti-Hamas slogans after it stopped overnight in El-Arish, a small town around 28 miles from the Rafah border crossing with Gaza.
Look who else was riding the peace train:
“It’s an absolute disgrace,’’ convoy organiser Yvonne Ridley told the AFP news agency. “The power was cut. Under cover of darkness members of our convoy were attacked with stones.
“Vandals also wrote dirty words and anti-Hamas slogans. Several people in the convoy were injured in the attack.”
Nice to see all those parking fines going to a good cause:
Sydney councils splashed thousands of dollars on Christmas celebrations, with City of Sydney spending $100,000 on a staff party and barbie, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.
As Australia was spiralling towards recession, Ashfield council held a $10,000 Harbour cruise, Waverley spent almost $4000 on a single boozy dinner while Warringah spent $17,480 on gift hampers alone.
Waverley council’s dinner cost is remarkably low considering all the hungry folk in that area.
A TREE TOLD HIM
Another tipping point draws near:
The Prince of Wales is preparing to tell the world we have “less than 100 months to act” before the damage caused by global warming becomes irreversible.
And then he’ll return to his private jet for the next leg of his lifelong holiday.
Phillip Hughes – the Roebuck-scorned Australian opener – last night became the youngest batsman in Test history to score two centuries in a match.
Most openers build their games around defence. Hughes (who was barely seven years old when current captain Ricky Ponting played in his first Test) builds his around opportunistic and unconventional attack, with defence as a desperate fallback option. Yes, his technique is flawed – no coaching manual advises drives off one knee – but the problem for bowlers is that Hughes scores so quickly before those flaws bring him down. They still haven’t stopped him in Durban, where he’s presently 136 not out.
Exporting our stimulus
A stimulus package for Thai resorts and Chinese clothes factories:
OVERSEAS holidays are at the top of the shopping list for many Victorians determined to splash their cash when the Federal Government hands out its $950 bonuses next month. While new clothes, car parts, and mortgage repayments were high priorities for many Victorians surveyed by the Herald Sun, cheap overseas travel deals were a popular spending choice.
At least we’ll be rested and well-dressed when our billions are gone.
Does your job really seem safer under Labor?
Just when employers are already too scared to hire:
THE Rudd Government’s new industrial umpire will be handed considerably enhanced powers to rule on workplace grievances, after Julia Gillard proposed a late round of amendments meant to appease business and union complaints.
Under proposed changes the Deputy Prime Minister hopes will woo support from Greens and independent senators, Labor’s umpire, Fair Work Australia, will have the power to determine a woman’s right to flexible working hours after the birth of a child if an employer objects.
Fair Work Australia will also get stronger powers to check that all employees pass a “better off overall” test in wage agreements. If disputes arise over union bargaining, the umpire will decide if employees involved are “fairly chosen”.
The Australian is right:
FOR all the talk about protecting employment, for all the billions spent to save jobs, the Government seems set on destroying the careers of many Australians to protect those of a few… (Gillard’s plan) is very good for union officials, who will have increased access to workplaces and in low-paid industries such as childcare, cleaning and hospitality the power to impose industry-wide negotiations on business. But it is very bad for workers whose poor productivity puts their employment at risk in an environment where employers are seeing sales decline as labour costs rise.
It’s now been more than a year since Kevin Rudd was elected. Where are all the horror stories since that prove bastard bosses need reining in with these laws?
Titanic captain in charge
Charles Moore is afraid. The people who didn’t predict the financial meltdown are in charge of fixing it - with the kind of Ruddernomics he remembers only too well:
In March 2004, the president of the New York Federal Reserve, Timothy Geithner, declared that a “great moderation” had come to economics and finance. Thanks to financial innovation, he said, the system could handle shocks. Since then, the system that Geithner praised has all but collapsed under the biggest shock ever administered. But today he is the US Treasury Secretary, in charge of President Barack Obama’s recently announced $4 trillion budget.
And Gordon Brown, who as Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer debauched public finances, is now Prime Minister…
It has been decided that we face a crisis of capitalism, when actually it is a crisis of the regulation of capitalism. The consequence of this misdiagnosis will be that the Government will recover control over our wallets, our jobs, our industries and our lives in ways which you have to be almost 50 years old to remember. Being 52, I do remember, and I quail.
How not to report on warming sceptics
Could The Age publish a more grudging, snarky report on a conference of world-ranked scientists and political leaders sceptical about apocalyptic man-made warming? It starts with a headline implicitly linking sceptics to Holocaust deniers:
Deniers rain on climate change
Then follows the report, seeking whereever possible to belittle, and to portray eminent scientists as enemies of science, rather than practitioners of it:
...a guest list that included a hurricane forecaster, a retired astronaut and a European president… naysayers… this week’s conference in New York sets out to escalate its confrontation with the scientific establishment… vocal critics of the scientific consensus, which maintains that climate change has been caused by human activity and that rising temperatures are now so dangerous to people’s existence as to warrant urgent action… There is also a strong contingent of free marketeers and conservative commentators....climate change denial, although the view of a minority, has damaged efforts to introduce policies to tackle the changes....the lobby opposing climate change action gave work to 2430 Washington lobbyists in 2008, a 300 per cent increase over the past five years....The Heartland Institute was funded by ExxonMobil until 2006.
This is not reporting. Age readers are being treated as idiots, best protected from information.
Obama would be sweeter if Britons were bombers
It is astonishing that Barack Obama could treat the Prme Minister of America’s greatest ally with such contempt.
BRITISH Prime Minister Gordon Brown thought long and hard about what gift to bring on his visit to the White House last week. The Prime Minister gave him an ornamental desk pen-holder hewn from the timbers of one of the Royal Navy’s anti-slaving ships of the 19th century, HMS Gannet. Even more appropriate, in 1909 the Gannet was renamed HMS President. The president’s guest also presented him with the framed commission for HMS Resolute, the lost British ship retrieved from the Arctic and returned by America to London, and whose timbers were used for a thank-you gift Queen Victoria sent to Rutherford Hayes: the handsome desk that now sits in the Oval Office. And, just to round things out, as a little stocking stuffer, Brown gave President Obama a first edition of Sir Martin Gilbert’s seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill. In return, America’s head of state gave the Prime Minister 25 DVDs of classic American movies.
Which is the kind of thing you could pick up for a couple of hundred dollars over the Internet.
The Telegraph continues the inventory of slights:
British officials, meanwhile, admit that the White House and US State Department staff were utterly bemused by complaints that the Prime Minister should have been granted full-blown press conference and a formal dinner, as has been customary. They concede that Obama aides seemed unfamiliar with the expectations that surround a major visit by a British prime minister…
The real views of many in Obama administration were laid bare by a State Department official involved in planning the Brown visit, who reacted with fury when questioned by The Sunday Telegraph about why the event was so low-key. The official dismissed any notion of the special relationship, saying: “There’s nothing special about Britain. You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment.” ..
Mr Obama rang Mr Brown as he flew home, in what many suspected was an attempt to make amends.
I guess Obama has different priorities - not pleasing allies but enemies.
Is that all there is?
Not two months into his first real job of running stuff, Barack Obama is already tired - which his aides claim is the reason for the fiasco of the Gordon Brown visit:
Sources close to the White House say Mr Obama and his staff have been “overwhelmed” by the economic meltdown and have voiced concerns that the new president is not getting enough rest...Allies of Mr Obama say his weary appearance in the Oval Office with Mr Brown illustrates the strain he is now under, and the president’s surprise at the sheer volume of business that crosses his desk.
A well-connected Washington figure, who is close to members of Mr Obama’s inner circle, expressed concern that Mr Obama had failed so far to “even fake an interest in foreign policy”....
A Democratic strategist, who is friends with several senior White House aides, revealed that the president has regularly appeared worn out and drawn during evening work sessions with senior staff in the West Wing and has been forced to make decisions more quickly than he is comfortable.
If he’s this tired and bored already, how will he feel after the next 46 months of his term?
Two legs good
Could have been ugly, having a bastard boss on the comrades’ plane:
WHEN Pacific Brands chief Sue Morphet flew from Melbourne to Sydney yesterday, she found herself on the same flight as Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Industry Minister Kim Carr. On the day Kevin Rudd went on national television to say Pacific Brands’ treatment of its workers “absolutely stinks”, there could have been an awkward confrontation.
Fortunately however, Strewth’s in-flight informant tells us the CEO and the pollies were seated at opposite ends of the aircraft. Morphet was at the back while the workers’ champions flew business class.
When engineers have pets
It’s not true that no one saw this financial crash coming, The Times names 10 prophets who did - but it had to cheat. - President Bush also forewarned of this crisis prior to the first election, but he was derailed by 9/11. - ed
Going cool on poetry
Matter of fact, I tend to agree - but not because I share Mr Abdi’s apocalyptic views on the decline of poetry:
The deterioration of poetry is just as dangerous a phenomenon as global warming, a researcher claimed on the fourth day of the Dubai International Poetry Festival (DIPF) on Saturday. Dr Mohammad Weld Abdi, a cultural consultant based in Abu Dhabi, said poetry was a “basic pillar of civilisation and an expressive device that allows us to discover humanity and the meaning of brotherhood”.
Israel wins in another war
Israel beats Sweden in a Davis Cup tie that Muslim immigrants and the far-Left tried to disrupt - sometimes physically. But Israeli player Andy Ram is bitter, and describes what it is to be an Israeli player in modern, anti-Semitic Sweden:
Never in my career as an athlete have I encountered such hatred and such blend of sports and politics. Up until the last moment, the protestors attempted to prompt the cancelation of the David Cup match between Israel and Sweden. After we already landed here, their leader met with Swedish team captain Mats Wilander and asked him to call off the contest.
The Swedish players actually understand us and are quite embarrassed by what is happening, yet these events have completely changed my perception of Sweden, and it is doubtful whether I’ll want to come back here ever again.
The feelings within the Israel team are very grim. All the innocence that prompted us to play tennis has disappeared, and this match, which was supposed to be a beautiful moment of sports, has become completely worthless. Nothing here is reminiscent of the Davis Cup; what we have is a war atmosphere, tension, and the feeling that something very bad may happen at any moment.
I have never seen the kind of security that we are receiving here; not even in Dubai, where I played a few weeks ago. At any given moment, we are surrounded by police vehicles, undercover police officers, and anti-terror forces. Every morning, they take us from the hotel to the stadium via another route, through an underground parking lot, with part of the ride being undertaken in armored vehicles.
This wasn’t just an argument about Israel’s foreign policy:
FOR DECADES, Sweden has allowed demagogues like Ahmed Rami , whose Radio Islam is a 22-language flagship of Holocaust denial, Jew-hatred and demonization of the State of Israel, to poison the well among the nation’s Muslim minority.
Over-the-top vilification anti-Israel rhetoric is a hallmark of a large swathe of the Swedish political establishment.
“Israel is an apartheid state. I think Gaza is comparable to the Warsaw Ghetto… I’m surprised that Israel… can do the exact same things the Nazis did,” charged Ingalill Bjartén, the vice-chair for the Social Democratic Women in southern Sweden. “I don’t think Israel is a democracy worthy of the name. It’s a racist apartheid state,” said the Left Party’s Hans Linde, calling for a boycott of Israel. A leading Social-Democrat, Urban Ahlin, deputy chair of the Committee of Foreign Affairs, implored Stockholm to encourage the EU to suspend its cooperation agreement with Israel.
Key measures for survival
There is an alternative to Ruddernomics - to splashing billions on free-money “stimulus” packages that don’t work.
“We don’t tell New Zealanders we can stop the global recession, because we can’t,” says Prime Minister John Key… “What we do tell them is we can use this time to transform the economy to make us stronger so that when the world starts growing again we can be running faster than other countries we compete with.”
That idea—growing a nation out of recession by improving productivity—puts Mr. Key and his conservative National Party at odds with Washington, Tokyo and Canberra. Those capitals are rolling out billions of dollars in stimulus packages—with taxpayers’ money—to try to prop up growth. That’s “risky,” Mr. Key says. “You’ve saddled future generations with an enormous amount of debt that then they have to repay,” he explains. “There is actually a limit to what governments can do…
Mr. Key’s program focuses first on personal income tax cuts… For now, the prime minister is focusing on chipping away entrenched regulations that drive away foreign capital—a contrast to the U.S. and Australia, which are reregulating their markets… His government is revising legislation meant to protect New Zealand’s pristine environment from private-sector development but misused by greens to stymie all stripes of business plans. Big government is also coming under the gun… The Key government also is wary of climate change orthodoxy.
Maybe Key knows no better than does Rudd how to fight the slump. But his approach has one golden advantage - it at least doesn’t plunge New Zealand deep into a mineshaft of debt. And it might just be that Key actually does understand finance just a little better:
Mr. Key earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Canterbury… That kicked off a career as a foreign-exchange trader, with postings in Singapore, London and Sydney—most recently at Merrill Lynch.
The city of no water
With Melbourne fast running out of water, this is a disaster:
THE project meant to secure Melbourne against water shortages is facing a crisis: a money shortage because of the global credit squeeze.
Premier John Brumby’s $3.1 billion desalination plant, the cornerstone of his plan to drought-proof Melbourne, appears to be in trouble as major project finance dries up around the world.
Banking sources say the project faces a funding gap of between $1 billion and $2 billion. Some in the infrastructure industry say a mere $300 million to $500 million is available from banks for all major projects across the country.
One thing it means, of course, is that the Government is over a water barrell. It must and will pay anything to get this project going. This will cost us plenty.
The other thing it means is that the Government was beyond foolish, beyond reckless, not to consider building a dam instead. For just $1.35 billion, it could have had a dam on the Mitchell that produced three times the water - and without the need to generate so much power. Indeed, even at this late stage this may still turn out to be the best option.
Sacrificing black children for a myth
As I’ve warned for years, the “stolen generations” myth has bred such racism that we now do not protect black children the way we would if they were white. And finally even “stolen generations” believers are facing up to that tragedy:
ONE of Australia’s leading Catholics has questioned the child welfare policies of state governments, claiming at-risk Aboriginal children are often being placed with relatives, some of whom were dysfunctional themselves and ill-equipped to care for the youngsters.
The Catholic Archbishop of Perth Barry Hickey said child protection workers did not appear to be applying the same stringent standards to indigenous children as they used when placing non-Aboriginal children in foster homes in Western Australia.
There is a “Father Christman” defence of the “stolen generations” - that saying sorry for something that didn’t actually happen at least makes people feel good. But the evidence is instead that this myth is making some Aboriginal children feel very bad indeed.
Barack Obama is betting a lot on meekness being seen not as weakness. His latest moves:
BARACK Obama has embarked on a radical reversal of Washington’s approach to the Middle East..
*The US military said last night that 12,000 American troops would leave Iraq by September, marking an acceleration of the timetable for US withdrawal.
* Mr Obama flagged negotiations with some of the Taliban tribes in Afghanistan;
* Ms Clinton invited Iran to participate in a regional conference as part of a strategic review of the situation in Afghanistan;
* The White House dispatched two envoys to hold talks with Syria yesterday;
Then there’s this:
The White House has moved to ease some travel and trade restrictions as a cautious first step towards better ties with Havana, raising hopes of an eventual lifting of the four-decade-old economic embargo. Several Bush-era controls are expected to be relaxed in the run-up to next month’s Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago to gild the president’s regional debut and signal a new era of “Yankee” cooperation.
And a memo goes out:
The answer just arrived, in the shape of a leaked memo dated March 2 from Jennifer Janin, head of the Urdu service at the Voice of America… Addressed to the Urdu radio, television, and web teams, as well as to the director and program manager of VOA’s South Asia Division, her diktat insists on no connection being drawn from Islam to politics. In gist:
Islamic terrorists: DO NOT USE. Instead use simply: terrorist.
Islamic Fundamentalism/Muslim Fundamentalists: AVOID.
Islamist: NOT NECESSARY.
Muslim Extremists: NOT NECESSARY. Extremist serves well.