Thursday, April 23, 2009
Headlines Thursday 23rd April 2009
Global recession 'the worst since Great Depression'
The International Monetary Fund is describing the global recession as the deepest since the Great Depression after issuing another dire forecast.
Man dies after concrete smashes into car
A man has died in hospital after a lump of concrete smashed through the windscreen of his car in inner Sydney.
Townsville model takes Miss Aus title
A Townsville model has beaten 32 other contsetant to take the Miss Australia title, after a model scout convinced her to enter the competition, promising she would be "bigger than Jennifer Hawkins".
Getaway car links string of ATM blasts
Police are investigating whether the same thieves are responsible for this morning's ATM robbery at North Sydney and an attack at Lane Cove last week after a similar car was seen fleeing both blasts.
Colossal space blob baffles scientists
Astronomers are baffled by the appearance of a massive and mysterious gas blob, dubbed Himiko, which could be the first sign of an emerging new galaxy.
Gang daughter charged over pub slashing
The daughter of gangland widow Wendy Peirce is the latest person charged over a meat cleaver attack in a Melbourne hotel.
Assault victim may lose an eye
Pub cleaver attack 'mistaken identity'
Top Tamil Tiger rebels surrender
Two key Tamil Tiger officials surrendered as Sri Lankan troops pressed a final offensive against the rebels despite an international outcry over the fate of trapped civilians.
Googling yourself gets less embarrassing
Nazis nabbed at Hitler birthday party
Noncommittal ninja in sword robbery
Zuma Zuma - democracy’s fast track to a certain death
THE election of ANC boss Jacob Zuma as South Africa’s president will push the country further down the slippery slope towards the failed nation status of Zimbabwe. - Sharp and salient, Piers. I wanted to find some material that might suggest something worthwhile about this character, who seems to have a lot less charm than Tripodi or Della Bosca. In many ways, he strikes me as being a talentless party hack, except for the fact that he has reached high office, and so he must have powerful friends who feel he can be properly manipulated. Much like Hitler had. People who vote for him will be voting for the party and the cause .. and the race. - ed.
15 MILLION SURPLUS AUSTRALIANS
Sustainable Population Australia president Sandra Kanck suggests the Chinese Solution:
Australia should consider having a one-child policy to protect the planet, an environmental lobby group said.
Sustainable Population Australia said slashing population was the only way to avoid “environmental suicide”.
Ms Kanck tilts for depopulation
National president Sandra Kanck wants Australia’s population of almost 22 million reduced to seven million to tackle climate change.
And restricting each couple to one baby, as China does, was “one way of assisting to reduce the population”.
Our population was last at seven million way back in 1940. Father of three James Morrow rejects Kanck’s crankery.
UPDATE. Warming sceptic Ian Plimer’s new book seems to be selling in reasonable numbers, despite certain debates being over:
The presses have started printing the third run of 5000 copies, after the first 10,000 sold in two days.
SECOND TAKE ON A PLANE
See if you can detect the subtle script alterations in the television version of this famous movie scene:
IT’S THE MINERAL COMPOUND THAT EXCITES THE STARS
Talkin’ bauxite with singer Peter Garrett and actor Russell Cro
NEXT STEP: THE MENU
The New York Times is down to underclothing and sandals:
At the current rate of cash consumption, assuming no one-time expenses (highly unlikely), we estimate that the company will max out its current borrowing capacity in 4 quarters. At that point, it will owe about $1.2 billion in debt. This estimate does not include any payments on the company’s $600+ million pension and benefit obligation, of which $181 million is due next year.
A comment following the linked article asks:
how could this happen?
they are the smartest people in America!
Barack Obama: “I was a constitutional law professor.”
The ABC: “[Obama] taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago.”
Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs: “You’re incorrect that he taught on constitutional law.”
UPDATE. Barack Obama doesn’t believe in gay marriage. Neither does Miss California. But according to Perez Hilton, only one of these beauty show contestants is a dumb bitch.
The first four weeks are pretty dull, but then the action really cranks up inside the dry-ageing room.
Beats me how this works, but the government’s emissions trading scheme will apparently give us cheaper fuel. It’s one of the finest unintended consequences ever:
Caltex’s government relations manager, Frank Topham, told a Senate committee hearing on climate change in Sydney that, by Caltex’s calculation, the fuel tax reduction measures meant emissions from cars would rise in the first 15 years of a trading scheme, rather than fall.
They’re wearing hats, scarves and sunglasses, but Fremantle Dockers Andrew Foster and Clayton Hinkley somehow find themselves in a Ku Klux Klan kontroversy:
Lucky no chickens were involved, otherwise the AFL would’ve cancelled the entire season.
AFL UPDATE. Caroline Wilson reports:
Collingwood has been undermining umpires all season …
Keep that up for another 50 or so seasons and we might be almost even.
A Rudd apologist’s excuse
Age reporter Michelle Grattan excuses the media’s bias - and her own:
I DO think that there has been a welcoming in many sections of the community, and that includes large sections of the media, of the Government’s changes to detention policy and allied issues. And probably that is feeding into how this story is treated.
But, nevertheless, it is a different situation (from) the various scandals and outrages and problems that were associated with the treatment of asylum seekers over many years (by the Howard government). This (is a) very short period, one tragic and dramatic incident, but still only a trickle of boatpeople, although it’s obviously building up. If this story goes on, with many more boats coming - and another one is expected pretty soon - then I think that the coverage will build up.
From other Age journalists today:
THE seventh boat of asylum seekers to reach Australian waters this year has been intercepted and an eighth is believed to be coming, putting more pressure on the Rudd Government over border protection.
Pressure from whom? Not from Grattan, that’s for sure.
Too much ice for warming doom
Antarctica is home to 90 per cent of the world’s ice, so I guess claims that global warming will drown us might be just a tad overdone:
SEA ice around Antarctica has been increasing at a rate of 100,000sq km a decade since the 1970s, according to a landmark study to be published today. The study by the British Antarctic Survey, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, says rather than melting as a result of global warming, Antarctica continues to expand.
When will the ABC’s chief science presenter admit he’s been preaching apocalyptic nonsense by claiming the seas could actually rise by 100 metres this century?
Put the rocket under Flannery
And I thought Sir Richard Brazen set the standard for global warming hypocrisy:
Australia’s most famous environmentalist, Tim Flannery, has lent his name to a scheme by the world’s most infamous self-publicist, Richard Branson, to burn untold tonnes of greenhouse gases so rich people can become space tourists. Flannery yesterday defended his new role as an “environmental consultant” to Branson’s Virgin Galactic venture, which aims to sell space trips to civilians.
Brazen is at least making money from his hypocrisy. What’s Flannery’s excuse?
I shouldn’t be so surprised, of course.
Worse than most
No sign of superior management:
THE Australian economy will shrink faster than the global average this year, the International Monetary Fund said last night, foreshadowing another dire batch of revisions in next month’s budget… It predicted Australia’s economy would go backwards by 1.4 per cent this year and unemployment would hit 6.8 per cent, rising to 7.8 per cent in 2010.
But Kevin Rudd’s real failings will be shown up not by the failure of his attempts to stop the economy from shrinking, but by the harm his debt will do to our recovery.
Calma keeps ugly company
Why did our top racism policeman go to an anti-Israeli hate-fest?
AUSTRALIA’S Race Discrimination Commissioner Tom Calma is attending the controversial UN anti-racism conference in Geneva, despite the Rudd Government’s decision to boycott the event because of fears it would become a platform to attack Israel.
Where’s our “commission for the people”, Premier?
This smells of stage-management:
CENSORSHIP fears have been raised over the bushfires Royal Commission with government ministers required to vet all submissions made by public servants and other government staff.
The views of firefighters and public servants across government departments and agencies must be signed off by the minister in charge before being lodged. And the Premier can decide to have the final say or refer the submission to cabinet for approval.
The rules are outlined in a 2002 Department of Premier and Cabinet document, Guidelines for Submissions and Responses to Inquiries....
Last month, the Government was accused of gagging public servants by restricting the various arms of government, including the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), to one legal counsel.
And there was this:
Victoria’s peak forestry body, the Victorian Association of Forest Industries (VAFI) said today it was dumbfounded that it will not be allowed to appear before the Bushfire Royal Commission, and has called upon the Commissioner to explain and reverse his decision.
A lawyer representing 30 individuals and communities said their applications to give evidence in person had all been rejected. Speaking after the commission’s first public hearing, Mat Tinkler said the applications were rejected without their barristers even getting the chance to put their case.
THE Victorian Farmers Federation has been excluded from appearing before the Royal Commission into February’s fires. VFF President Simon Ramsay said the Federation was shocked and disappointed with the decision given the key role farmers play in land management and fire prevention.
The commission’s list of those granted leave to appear includes the Australian Workers Union, the Municipal Association of Victoria and and local council.
So which part of the promise that Permier John Brumby made to Parliament on February 24 is being kept?
This commission is open to all Victorians. It is open to people in fire areas who have a point of view, it is open to people in communities who have a point of view and it is open to those who have a point of view about fire safety, fire resources and fire planning. This is a commission for the people. This is a commission which will allow Victorians from every walk of life to have their say and to make a submission. There are no restrictions and no controls.
Bimbo beats bozo
Tolerance flows only one way at the Miss USA pageant:
Miss California Carrie Prejean… fielded a question during Sunday night’s pageant from celebrity blogger Perez Hilton about whether every state should legalize same-sex marriage.
Prejean replied that she is opposed to gay marriage, and her answer may have cost her the crown. She finished second to Miss North Carolina Kristen Dalton.
”She lost it because of that question,” Hilton said Monday. “She was definitely the front-runner before that.”
Hilton is gay. It was very tolerant to have him judge this cheesecake competition. He repaid that by proving intolerance is actually fashionable in the censorious Left.
Oh, and another hallmark of the censorious Left is abuse:
On a video blog on his website Hilton said, “She lost not because she doesn’t believe in gay marriage, she lost because she’s a dumb bitch!”
I guess this means Barack Obama will never be Miss USA:
I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage.
Prejean said just what Obama said, but with even more delicacy:
Well I think it’s great that Americans are able to choose one way or the other,” 21-year-old Prejean said.
“We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage,” she continued. “You know what, in my country, in my family, I do believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offence to anybody out there. But that’s how I was raised and I believe that it should be between a man and a woman. Thank you.”
But to Hilton Prejean is a “stupid bitch” while Obama ...
President Barack Obama has inspired millions with his words and actions.
Bingo! That’s the Left’s trifecta - intolerance, abuse and hypocrisy.
The clips, the issues and another bigot - and no, it’s not Bill O’Reilly:
I thought the Left had actually demanded laws to criminalise discrimination on the grounds of political belief.
Please don’t kill the ferryman
First Kevin Rudd calls people smugglers worse than pedophiles:
People smugglers are the vilest form of human life… (T)hey should rot in jail and in my own view rot in hell.
Now fellow Leftist and Fairfax columnist John Birmingham suggests:
Why not detail a few agents to kill, say, half a dozen smugglers?
Erk. But why such vitriol for smugglers bringing in such nice people, fleeing such terrible danger?
Frankly anybody with the strength of will to make the journey here from some benighted shit hole like Afghanistan or the Swat Valley would probably make a pretty decent citizen and since ninety percent of those arriving by boat are found to be genuine refugees, even under the Howard regime, let ‘em stay.
Something doesn’t quite fit.
The 14th boat
How many more now to come?
BORDER Protection Command has intercepted a boatload of 32 suspected asylum seekers, the 14th arrival since the Rudd Government announced a series of changes to Australian law aimed at softening the treatment of refugees.
And how much longer can the Government ignore the link?
Save the planet! Force the pregnant to abort
If save-the-planet greens ever ran the earth, pity the humans on it:
Australia should consider having a one-child policy to protect the planet, an environmental lobby group says.
Sustainable Population Australia says slashing the world’s population is the only way to avoid “environmental suicide”.
National president Sandra Kanck wants Australia’s population of almost 22 million reduced to seven million to tackle climate change. And restricting each couple to one baby, as China does, is “one way of assisting to reduce the population”.
This is how China “does” its own one-child policy.
A Kancky creed: Planet suicide bad, human suicide good.
And reef won’t die
The ice won’t melt, and now the reef won’t die. Curses! The reef-is-doomed climate alarmist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg is foiled again:
Marine scientists say they are astonished at the spectacular recovery of certain coral reefs in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park from a devastating coral bleaching event in 2006… However, a lucky combination of rare circumstances meant the reefs were able to achieve a spectacular recovery, with abundant corals re-established in a single year, says Dr Guillermo Diaz-Pulido, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) and the Centre for Marine Studies at The University of Queensland.
But Ove still butts in to but-but-but:
“Coral reefs globally are increasingly being damaged by mass bleaching and climate change, and their capacity to recovery from that damage is critical to their future,” explains Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of CoECRS and The University of Queensland.
Giving Rudd a lift
Reader Andrew Mc wonders if the ABC ever covered buses with such flattering pictures of John Howard.
Rudd’s plan will cost us all
Kevin Rudd’s $43 billion broadband would come with Ferrari prices for consumers, according to a Concept Economics analysis:
An economic analysis of the likely costs of the planned National Broadband Network suggests that end retail prices would have to exceed $200 per month for the project to return its costs and pay standard capital returns… If take-up was just 40%, the national price rises to $380.
I smell an elephant. A white one.
A sacked miner stays a sacked miner
Exploding the green jobs myth - a new study faces the facts:
A rapidly growing literature promises that a massive program of government mandates, subsidies, and forced technological interventions will reward the nation with an economy brimming with green jobs. Not only will these jobs improve the environment, but they will be high paying, interesting, and provide collective rights. This literature is built on mythologies about economics, forecasting, and technology.
If I were a miner, I’d ask my union - the CFMEU - why it’s pandering to a global warming alarmism that now threatens my job:
The last pathetic excuses for not building a dam
It’s taken me eight years, but Melbourne Water has finally been goaded into defending its disastrous refusal to dam the Mitchell River as Melbourne runs out of water.
Once it merely waved away arguments for a new dam with this deceptive green mantra:
New dams do not create any new water. They simply take it from somewhere else - either from farmers who currently rely on it or from the environment.
But who says the “environment” needs that water more than do humans? Who says the “environment” would even mind a dam, even if it could decide such things? Sheer New Age blather, not backed up with a single study - just a green faith. Had Melbourne Water’s philosophy applied in the 1970s, the city would not have built its largest dam, the Thomson, and would now have not a drop to drink.
As it is, Melbourne Water’s philosophy - or, more correctly, the Labor Government’s philosophy - does apply. And as a result, Melbourne indeed now faces running out of water. It’s been a quarter of a century - and a million extra citizens - since the Thomson dam was built, with a million more people to come within the next 15 to 20 years. Yet not a single large new water supply has been completed, and new dams have been banned. The Government and Melbourne Water have relied instead on green inspired, expensive and damaging water bans instead.
Worse, the Government’s two panicked “solutions” to Melbourne’s immediate crisis - a pipeline to take irrigation water from the Goulburn, and a desalination plant - are still at least two years
from completion, and one already is in deep trouble.
VICTORIA’S controversial north-south pipeline is expected to deliver dramatically less water to Melbourne in its first years than previously predicted by state authorities.
Even if both projects are on time, and produce the water as planned, growing Melbourne will need yet another new source of drinking water, as even Melbourne Water’s chairman admits. And as other water executives concede, the cheapest and cleanest alternative would be a dam, almost certainly on the Mitchell.
Melbourne Water still refuses to even commission a comprehensive study to check the feasibility and cost of such a dam. But now its silence on a Mitchell dam has at least been broken with a preposterous entry on its Internet site. Let’s go through it to see how desperate are Melbourne Water’s objections:
The Mitchell River is located in Victoria’s east, near Gippsland. It has often been cited as logical place for a dam, but there are key reasons why Melbourne Water doesn’t support this:
Climate change - while the Mitchell has flooded recently, investing billions of dollars in another rainfall-dependent water source in the face of rapidly changing climate patterns is very risky.
Actually, “risky” is what Melbourne Water and the Government have been, constantly ignoring warnings and misjudging our need for more water, leaving this city critically low on water and praying now for rain. In fact, the Mitchell floods regularly and has flows three times that of the Thomson, which fills our main dam. Even the warming-alarmist CSIRO admits the Mitchell is in a region least likely to be affected by changes in rainfall caused by global warming. There is nothing risky in relying on dams, provided you have enough of them, with enough capacity, to tide you over the inevitable dry periods. That’s how Melbourne has got through the past century. And I haven’t even mentioned the evidence that global warming in fact halted a decade ago...
Gippsland Lakes - these lakes include Ramsar listed wetlands and to a large extent rely on the Mitchell for the health. They already suffer from blue-green algae outbreaks, so damming the Mitchell River could have serious consequences for the health of the lakes and industries that rely on them.
Where’s the studies? Why can’t the water releases be timed to prevent the blue-algae blooms, which occur already? After all, when the river runs naturally dry, a dam can provide the flows that stop the algae. And what about the industries that will be hurt by a lack of cheap dam water? And the ones - like irrigation in the Murray Valley - that would benefit from a new dam? Give us a proper cost-benefit analysis, please - because this one was just sucked from an anti-dam zealot’s thumb.
Time - it could take 10-15 years before a new dam could even be built. Because of the rapid decline of rainfall and runoff into existing storages, Melbourne needs 240 billion litres by 2012.
So start digging today. It was eight years since I first wrote about this looming disaster, so why wasn’t the work started then? What’s more, even after the scarily expensive desalination plant comes on line, even Melbourne Water’s chairman says we’ll need to find yet another supply. We will still need a dam, and we cannot wait - especially not if these lead times are even remotely true.
Other considerations include the farms and towns that would be flooded as a result of damming the Mitchell.
A furphy. The Mitchell area was a dam reservation. The only two towns that would be affected - Dargo and Tabberabbera - are very, very small. We’d need to compensate at most just some 200 to 300 people, including children, by my guess.
The Mitchell itself has Heritage River status and is Victoria’s last, largely untouched major river.
Wait. I thought you said the Mitchell dam site was chockers with people so it couldn’t be flooded. Now you say it’s an “untouched” wilderness, so can’t be flooded. Someone’s playing games here - just as the Brumby Government did by deliberately turning the dam reservation into a national park to stop any dam, and then passing this heritage river laws just to be absolutely sure the water couldn’t be touched.
The bungling of Melbourne’s water supplies has been one of the most dangerous, expensive and shameful failures of public policy in this state. Melbourne Water’s latest excuse making is a pathetic testimony to how indefensible it is.
Great story, shame about the facts
But the vibe was correct:
THE ABC last night said it stood by its award-winning program on the conviction of political assassin Phuong Ngo after NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos described it as “garbage”.
Ngo, 50, was sentenced to life at his third trial in 2001 (for ordering the murder of Labor MP John Newman in 1994)… The inquiry into his conviction was ordered by NSW Chief Justice Jim Spigelman in the wake of the Four Corners program, which aired in April last year… The program, made by Debbie Whitmont and Morag Ramsey, won the Walkley for best television documentary (more than 20 minutes), with the judges remarking it “uncovered several serious anomalies in the process”.
But Mr Hatzistergos said ...”You give people Walkley awards for this sort of garbage. What that program did ... was seriously tarnish confidence in the judicial process, attack the credibility of some very fine prosecutors and police officers with what I believe were baseless means of pursuing such allegations.” ..
(Retired judge David) Patten’s report did not specifically criticise Whitmont, but he adopted the words of counsel assisting the inquiry, Andrew Colefax SC, that there was “very offensively couched criticism of the trial judge John Dunford” in emails between Whitmont and former state MP Peter Breen…
Yesterday, the ABC and the trustee of the Walkleys—the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance—said the outcome of the inquiry did not affect the merits of the program.
Of course not! Just as the facts did not affect the merits of this prize-winning Four Corners program either:
There were inaccuracies and some misrepresentation of facts in ‘Lords of the Forest’. The program often, though not invariably, presents only the ‘anti-Lords’ (anti-logging) version on disputed issues of fact. It frequently casts doubt on the credibility of the ‘Lords’ (logging industry) and their supporters, but scarcely ever subjects their opponents to the same treatment… The emotive language of the program invalidates the claim that every effort was made to bring balance to the production. Perhaps justified as isolated individual and contextual descriptive phrases, the frequent use of pejoratives leaves the reasonable viewer with the impression that the program is anti-logging i.e. seriously lacking in balance and fairness.’
More change than Obama could believe
Can’t pick ‘em, can’t keep ‘em:
President Obama is losing a member of his press shop just shy of his first 100 days in office. Ellen Moran, White House communications director, will become chief of staff for Commerce Secretary Gary Locke…
Mr. Locke, the former governor of Washington state, has been in the post less than one month. He was Mr. Obama’s third nominee for Commerce after two previous nominees withdrew from consideration. The agency is understaffed.