Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Headlines Wednesday 25th March 2009

Dead bikie caught up in bitter love triangle: Rebels
A veteran Rebels Motorcycle Club member says yesterday's double shooting in Canberra was the result of a bitter love triangle, not an explosion of gang violence....
Killed bikie linked to police stabbing
Anthony Zervas, the man murdered in the Sydney Airport brawl is believed to have been involved in the stabbing of a police officer at in Sydney's south two days earlier. ..
Man crushed, four injured by falling steel
One man has been crushed to death and four others seriously injured in a major industrial accident in the Hunter Valler overnight.
Rudd, Obama reaffirm close ties
US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd reaffirmed the close Australia-US alliance during a 70-minute meeting at the White House....
AAA rating in doubt but voters will understand: Nathan Rees
The NSW Premier Nathan Rees says NSW is in danger of losing its AAA credit rating, but he said is certain voters will understand it is not the government's fault....
First home buyers expected to continue heating up market
Activity in the NSW property market is expected increase over the first half of 2009 as buyers return tempted by lower interest rates and government grants, an industry body says....
Sex scenes with Clive Owen were 'hideous': Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts found doing sex scenes with Clive Owen, in their new movie "hideous"....
Harry Potter stars receive special invite from Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson has invited stars of the 'Harry Potter' films to the opening night of his 'This Is It' shows....
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Justice for Pauline Hanson seems unlikely
Pauline Hanson has been treated appallingly by the media, culminating in the ridiculous nude photos claim. But it's still unlikely she'll receive real justice, according Alan Jones. - sad but true, Alan. For Pauline to have had justice she would have needed to have been born in Bangladesh, Afghanistan or North Korea - ed.
Tim Blair
Even atheists will pray if they’re in a troubled aircraft. But you don’t generally expect the pilot and co-pilot to join in:
An Italian court has jailed a Tunisian pilot who paused to pray instead of taking emergency measures before ditching his plane, killing 16 people.

A fuel gauge fault was partly to blame for the crash off Sicily in 2005 but judges convicted Chafik Garbi of manslaughter, jailing him for 10 years.

Six others, including the co-pilot and head of the airline Tuninter, were jailed for between eight and 10 years.
That BBC report declines to name the co-pilot. An aviation site is more informative:
A court in Palermo, Sicily, has sentenced Capt. Shafik Al Gharbi and copilot Ali Kebaier Lassoued to 10 years in prison for failing to take adequate emergency measures before crash landing their Tuninter ATR 72 turboprop into the sea …

The court said Al Gharbi and Lassoued prayed instead of trying to land the airplane …
Neither man is identified by Reuters.
Tim Blair
Further trouble for Marcus Einfeld:
Police are considering laying more charges against disgraced former Federal Court judge Marcus Einfeld after he was pictured in an ABC documentary, not wearing a seatbelt in the back of a chauffeur driven car.
Maybe it was someone else.
Tim Blair
You’ll eventually have to turn the lights back on, warns Earth Hour non-enthusiast Teh Suj:

You’ll eventually have to turn the lights back on. on

I’m going to sneak into someone’s house and hide in their shower. With a knife.

Whoa! To avoid unpleasant homicides, simply leave your lights on this Saturday night and celebrate the Hour of
Power instead. That way nobody gets hurt.

UPDATE. Annoying children, second-tier celebrities, United Nations drones and the disembodied head of a language-capable alien all support Earth Hour.

Makes it even easier not to.
Tim Blair
George Monbiot – recently inclined to give up on global warming and accept whatever nature throws at him – now fears the introduction of India’s Tata Nano:
What it represents, however, is more ominous. This marks the beginning of mass private transport in the world’s second largest population. India’s carbon dioxide emissions per capita — at 1.2 tonnes — are just 12% of the United Kingdom’s.

A hulking Nano looms ominously yesterday

But that is changing rapidly, as the middle class expands and economic growth continues to barrel along at gobsmacking rates. For years, environmentalists have speculated about what would happen if consumption in the poor world matched consumption in the rich, talking of the number of planets that would be required to sustain us. Now the great experiment has begun.
The “great experiment” – of providing cheap personal transport to the masses – actually began in 1909. Lately, Monbiotic revisionists have been critical of this, too. From their offices in Manhattan.
Tim Blair
It’s the border-hopping game that anyone can play:
The United States has unveiled an unlikely weapon in its battle against drugs gangs and illegal immigrants at the Texas-Mexico border – pub-goers in Australia.

The drinkers are the most far-flung of a sizeable army of hi-tech foot soldiers recruited to assist the border protection effort …

So far, more than 100,000 web users have signed up online to become virtual border patrol deputies, according to Don Reay, executive director of the Texas Border Sheriffs’ Coalition, which represents 20 counties where illegal crossings and drugs and weapons smuggling are rife.

“We had folks send an email saying, in good Australian fashion, ‘Hey mate, we’ve been watching your border for you from the pub in Australia’,” he said.
Tim Blair
Happy Earth Hour! Now die:
Jonathan Porritt, one of Gordon Brown’s leading green advisers, is to warn that Britain must drastically reduce its population if it is to build a sustainable society.

Porritt’s call will come at this week’s annual conference of the Optimum Population Trust, of which he is patron.

The trust will release research suggesting UK population must be cut to 30m if the country wants to feed itself sustainably.
The current UK population is 60 million. Four of them at least are Porritts, including two daughters. Who survives?
Tim Blair
By James Morrow, a brief history of the brief Obama presidency – now entering sad mode. Which, who knows, could turn out to be brief.
Tim Blair
Lee Mossel happens to believe in human-caused global warming. It’s just that he doesn’t think it matters:
Man’s contribution looks to have only “sped up” the earth’s natural cycles by a few decades. Obviously, a “few decades” are significant to the earth’s current human population but not in terms of impacting the earth’s climate history. If this speeding up process began with the first burning of petroleum 150 years ago, man’s activities have affected 0.000003% of the earth’s history; 0.0065% of man’s history; and 1.5% of the time since the end of the last ice age …

If all of man’s “contribution” were to cease immediately, the net effect, measured in geologic time, on the earth’s natural warming and cooling cycles would not be measurable.
Earth’s a big boy. We can’t hurt him. But at least we can try, during this weekend’s 3rd Annual Hour of Power.

I’m thinking some illuminated signage hung off the front of the house might be good this year. Or maybe a festive light forest in the yard. Then again, a solitary Lamp o’ Destruction on the balcony would also look sweet.

UPDATE. Professor Ross Garnaut cranks up the environmental excitement. (Via cuckoo, who asks: “Is it just me, or does Ross sound like Spike Milligan’s impression of a doddery, dithery old uncle?")
Give Ray a big hand
Andrew Bolt

A bloke from Adelaide makes a video for Youtube. It goes viral, and its various versions get some 1,500,000 hits. Within days he’s booked for David Letterman. Career takes off. Performs for the Queen. What a wonderful world.
Obama’s fans crushed
Andrew Bolt
Roger Simon:

Barely two months after the inauguration, the mainstream media has its proverbial knickers in a twist over Obama’s ineptitude in office. Even Thomas Friedman - that most conventional of all purveyors of the conventional (except David Gergen - and he’s been straying off the reservation too) - is now complaining the onetime Messiah is not taking the financial crisis seriously enough, “getting in trouble cracking jokes on Jay Leno comparing his bowling skills to a Special Olympian.” Meanwhile, CNN is appalled the President pushed through a skillion page skillion dollar stimulus bill no one seems to have read.

Hello, children, you elected this guy. Take some responsibility!

No, don’t go complaining the people did that. You did it. Obama is your man, your hero. You never vetted, never examined him in any depth at all, even though the candidate had hardly any experience other than running for office.

Jonathan Martin at Politico:

The leading liberal voices of the New York Times editorial pages all criticized—and, in some cases, clobbered—President Obama on Sunday for his handling of the economy and national security. . . . The sentiment, coming just two months after the president was sworn in, reflects elite opinion in the Washington-New York corridor that Obama is increasingly overwhelmed, and not fully appreciative of the building tsunami of populist outrage.

Terry McCrann - no Obama fan - is just as pessimistic about this “solution”. And elsewhere he adds:

Geithner is no longer the boy genius. He’s grown up. Into a boy.
How bikies fed on our weakness
Andrew Bolt
WE’VE backed off from the bikies for too long. And not just from them, we’ve grown so timid.

The anger over the slowness of police to react to the deadly fight between bikies at Sydney airport on Sunday is understandable, but a distraction.

Here are the four hard questions we should be asking instead.

How did these gangs get so violent that we have a bikie boss murdered in Geelong, a good Samaritan lawyer shot dead by a Hells Angel in Melbourne’s CBD, bikie shootouts at Adelaide nightclubs, bikie clubhouses bombed in Sydney and Melbourne, and a dozen shootings in two weeks in Sydney?

How did these gangs learn such disrespect for us and our laws that they now feel free to bash a man to death at Sydney airport - one of our best-guarded sites, and in front of at least 50 witnesses and four CCTV cameras?

From which sub-cultures do these gangs recruit such low-life - such violent and disconnected men?

And are these bikie wars really the only symptom that something in our society has gone savagely wrong?

The answers all have one thing in common.
Save the planet! Ban Woodstock
Andrew Bolt
The next Woodstock will be different, says organiser Michael Lang:

From August 15, 1969, an estimated 400,000 people battled through epic traffic jams to reach Max Yasgur’s dairy farm near Bethel, New York State. .. (T)his time round Mr Lang wants to put on a “free and totally green event”.

Solution? Don’t come.
Einfeld honestly lies in the modern manner
Andrew Bolt
MARCUS Einfeld, the lying judge and human rights blowhard, is the perfect symbol of our time.

He is, he says proudly, an honest liar. And that makes him a member of a big and fashionable new club.

It is true, Einfeld admits, that “I told a lie” - perjuring himself in court by claiming that the person driving his car too fast in 2006 was an American friend who had been dead for three years.

That is the crime that had Einfeld, a former Federal Court judge, jailed last week for at least two years.

But asked on ABC’s Four Corners this week if his repeated lying - to police, courts, journalists - to escape a $77 fine meant he was dishonest, Einfeld bristled.

“That’s a bit offensive and I don’t think I’m in the slightest bit dishonest. I just made a mistake ...”
Who can he blame this time?
Andrew Bolt
As I say above, why would he think the laws of mere mortals apply to him?

DISGRACED former judge Marcus Einfeld is being investigated over another traffic offence, this time for not wearing a seatbelt while travelling to court… A new police investigation was launched after he appeared on ABC’s Four Corners program last night… Footage screened appeared to show him not wearing a seatbelt while travelling to court in the back seat of a car.

“Appeared”? Clear as daylight that he didn’t.
Open theory, secret practice
Andrew Bolt
John Faulkner, the Rudd Government’s special minister of state, says it well:

A recognition has come that the best safeguard against ill-informed public judgment is not concealment but information… There is a growing acceptance that fundamental to democracy is the right of the people to know: whether a government’s deeds match its words, what information it holds about them, and the information that underlies debate and informs decision-making.

I’d love to hear Faulkner explain how this fits in with his excellent thesis:

SENATOR Barnaby Joyce has launched an online petition as part of a push to torpedo China’s grab for a bigger share of the mining giant Rio Tinto. The petition comes after it emerged that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd held private talks with China’s fifth most powerful man - Li Changchun - on Saturday. Chinese state-owned media were told about the visit at The Lodge involving the propaganda chief of the Chinese Communist Party but Australian journalists were kept in the dark.
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