Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Headlines Wednesday 1st April 2009
Thousands stranded by NSW flood waters
Rain continues to fall on the battered NSW mid-north coast but roads have been re-opened as flood waters ease.
Rudd gives warning on shrinking economy
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has told a business meeting in London the world economy could turn out to be a lot worse than forecasts released by the OECD.
Doctors propose Medicare safety net cut for births, IVF
Doctors want the Medicare Rebate for pregnant woman to be slashed, as part of moves to address a blowout in costs.
$900 payments hang in the balance on third day in court
The Rudd government's $900 cash bonus to millions of taxpayers hangs in the balance as the High Court challenge against it enters its third day.
'Sexting' teens don't need behavior class: judge
A US judge said that three teen girls who posed semi-nude for pictures distributed via cellular phone could not be forced to attend behaviour classes as a prosecutor demanded.
Newsreader Brian Naylor's son cut out of will
Revered Melbourne newsreader Brian Naylor, killed in the Black Saturday bushfires in February, has left estranged son Greg nothing of his $20 million estate.
Scientology and Atheism unite, ‘sexy’ worldwide demonstrations scheduled
Over 3,000 properties without power in Sydney's inner west
Latham's narcissism 'led to downfall' while Rudd untouched by his own
God help us in a terrorist attack if we can't handle a blackout
If our farcical response to the blackout is any guide, Sydney is nowhere near prepared for a terrorist attack, according to Chris Smith.
A brightly-illuminated sign above Sydney’s Botany Road: - hmm, is this an april fools? - ed.
Labor laws to make even a Labor Minister worry
Former Labor Minister Bary Cohen now runs a small business - which is why he’s alarmed by the Rudd Government’s new workplace laws:
I’m amazed the Government doesn’t recognise the burden it is placing on small business by not allowing them to employ whoever they wish. It claims unfair dismissal laws will not increase unemployment. It is deluding itself. Any employer with close to 15 employees will think long and hard before employing new staff.
Michael Stutchbury says these are laws which could shut your local chemist on weekends.
Dog of an animal rights group
PETA, the animal rights extremist group, is busier protesting for animals than actually helping them:
PETA’s “Animal Record” report for 2008, filed with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, shows that the animal rights group killed 95 percent of the dogs and cats in its care last year. During all of 2008, PETA found adoptive homes for just seven pets.
Just seven animals—out of the 2,216 it took in. PETA just broke its own record.
So emblematic of the modern Left, which so often judges on seeming, not doing.
More hot air than hot air
Professor Phillip Stott says the hot air is going out of the global warming balloon:
Yesterday, a mere 35,000 protesters [by contrast, between 60,000 and 80,000 folk participated in the Peterloo protests of August 16, 1819] took to the streets of London to shout about - er, well - everything, from evil bankers to ‘global warming’ and the urgent need to support motor-car manufacturing. To say that the protest was both inchoate and incoherent would be to understate its naivety. Moreover, it took no fewer than 150 separate organisations, from trade unions to charities, to muster the 35,000 souls. Meanwhile, some 70,000 diehards trekked to Wembley to watch a fairly boring friendly match between England and Slovakia (at least England won 4-0). By contrast, in 2002, the Countryside Alliance persuaded over 400,000 people to march in defence of hunting the fox and country living, a figure confirmed by the Metropolitan Police; and just think of those 1819 Peterloo statistics when adjusted for relative population size. Moreover, the ‘global warming’ contingent yesterday was, as usual, a small, if rather noisy, runt....
Sadly, I think that neither our politicians, nor the mainstream media like the BBC and The Times, have quite yet grasped how few people are convinced by the ‘global warming’ panic. I speak to many groups around the country, and I am constantly amazed (and encouraged, I might add) by the level of scepticism I encounter.
Stott explains the five big challenges to the global warming scare.
Bryce too much for Rudd ministers
Malcolm Colless says not all Kevin Rudd’s ministers think the Governor General is their political equal - let alone their master:
In fact a number of ministers are known to be not just concerned but angered by Governor-General Quentin Bryce’s involvement in the affairs of government… Attention is at present focused on Bryce’s 10-nation, 19-day lobbying tour through Africa to drum up support for Rudd’s push to gain a non-permanent seat for Australia on the UN Security Council. But ministers are still bristling over the unprecedented private briefing she ordered in February from the heads of the departments of Foreign Affairs and Treasury and the head of the defence forces, Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston…
But after media reports about the meetings at least one other senior minister issued a blunt instruction that any request from Yarralumla for departmental briefings should be unambiguously declined.
So much for vowing to keep out of politics. Yet another African journalist gets the impression - not surprisingly - that Bryce is speaking as a Rudd Government minister, or even leader, as she tours Africa, offering aid as she drums up support for Kevin Rudd’s bid for a Security Council seat:
Australian Governor-General Ms Quentin Bryce has urged Kenya to take advantage of her country’s new Africa Strategy aimed at enhancing engagements with the continent… Ms Bryce expressed her Government’s commitment for continued partnership with Kenya through Australia’s investment in development, security, opportunity and human rights.
Ms Bryce said on Sunday that she was impressed with Zambia’s policies to provide for the underprivileged in society and that her government was ready to help.
Australian Governor General Quentin Bryce expressed the wish of her government to assist Namibia in achieving the Millennium Development Goals...
Visiting Australian Governor General, Quentin Bryce, on Sunday said that her government is eager to support efforts of improving maternal health in Zambia.
After the discussion held at the Office of the Prime Minister, the Governor General expressed her country’s readiness to work together with Africa on various issues of common interest, ENA wrote. She said Australia is keen to bolster cooperation with Ethiopia for the same cause… The two parties also discussed as to how to enhance the existing Ethio-Australia cooperation in the areas of education, health, agriculture, and capacity building sectors.
In fact, Bryce has so forgotten her obligation to be apolitical that she can’t even stop meddling in Kenyan politics:
Visiting Australia Governor-General Quentin Alice Louise Bryce on Monday lauded Kenyans efforts towards gender equity but said more has to be done in the area of girl child education.
Bryce has fatally comprised her independence. Observers of her African tour are in no doubt she is spruiking for the Rudd Government, on a tacky and highly politicised mission to swap aid for votes. She should resign and stand for election instead.
Is McCain still dodging blame?
I don’t think Sarah Palin can count on John McCain in 2012 like he could count on her in 2008. - this article is symptomatic of Bolt's worst. McCain is as gracious as ever, and he would have had to have been a fool to have endorsed Palin so soon, so long before the next election. McCain is not a fool. Not like former secretary of state Colin Powell who endorsed Obama prior to the last election. - ed.
Will there actually be a Holden to bail out?
I did warn that this seemed an awful lot of money for very doubtful returns:
HOLDEN will receive more than $180 million in government subsidies to build a new fuel-efficient, four-cylinder car at its Adelaide plant, a decision Kevin Rudd presented as a vindication of his $6.2 billion car plan… The Prime Minister said the decision was evidence the Government’s industry policy was working...
GM Holden workers in Australia face a nervous wait as parent company General Motors fights for its survival in the United States. Job cuts at Holden are a possibility. The company is yet to reveal the timing or extent of any losses. Some assembly line staff have already been hit with reduced wages after Holden moved to cut production this year...
Obama vs the scientists: who you gonna believe?
Few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change.The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear.
With all due respect Mr. President, that is not true.
We, the undersigned scientists, maintain that the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated. Surface temperature changes over the past century have been episodic and modest and there has been no net global warming for over a decade now. After controlling for population growth and property values, there has been no increase in damages from severe weather-related events. The computer models forecasting rapid temperature change abjectly fail to explain recent climate behavior. Mr. President, your characterization of the scientific facts regarding climate change and the degree of certainty informing the scientific debate is simply incorrect.
Now all right to laugh at Obama
Mockery of Barack Obama finally goes mainstream. Jay Leno on The Tonight Show:
PRESIDENT Obama said this week that things will get worse before they get better. That’s something you never hear before the election. “Let me tell you, if I’m elected it’s going to get a lot worse.” (He) has announced a taskforce to review the tax codes.
He’s concerned there are too many loopholes and too many people manipulating the system to avoid paying taxes. And that’s just in his administration.
Crims break into your TV
Underbelly is only the underbelly of crime on TV:
Viewers can sit through a whopping 25 crime shows on the free-to-air networks and, if all that bloodshed isn’t enough, a whole network is devoted to it (the Crime & Investigation Network) on Foxtel....
That will continue while crime shows pull big ratings. Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities is the highest-rating Australian drama ever with more than 2.2 million viewers each week. NCIS had more than 1.4million viewers last week, Criminal Minds more than 1.3 million and Crime Investigation Australia and City Homicide about 1.2 million…
‘‘We are escaping to a world where people break laws and have no social justice,’’ (Psychologist Dr Janet) Hall says...‘‘The trouble with being saturated with crime TV is that our boundaries start to blur. Suddenly things that should be obvious no-nos in real life can be justified.’’
No wonder they stopped talking about it
The NextRight is right:
This exit poll statistic is a candidate for most underreported fact of the 2008 election.
Those who said race was an important factor voted 55 percent to 44 percent in favor of Obama.
Now they tell us
So why did Labor offer this man as Prime Minister?
MARK Latham was a “narcissistic loner” whose political brilliance was blunted by destructive rage and paranoia, his former chief of staff says.
And what’s Kevin Rudd’s excuse?
Rudd stacks what he said he wouldn’t
Kevin Rudd before the election promises not to stack the ABC board with political mates:
He said he was determined to block “frontline cultural warriors” from taking up senior appointments at the ABC.... Mr Rudd said the time had come for a new appointments process “because there has been too much of a culture in the past, from which ever side of politics wins the election, to import its own people into these sorts of positions”.
A FORMER head of the Sydney Opera House and the editor of Griffith Review will today be announced as the first new ABC board members since the Rudd Government promised to depoliticise the appointment process. The appointment of Michael Lynch, currently chief executive of London arts hub the Southbank Centre, and journalist and publisher Julianne Schultz follows a five-month vetting process that considered more than 330 applications.
So how “depoliticised” are these two appointees?
Here is Schultz in what might as well be her application form for the job:
It’s easy to be cynical. More than anything else John Howard’s leadership of Australia has taught us this. We were supposed to be relaxed and comfortable, but instead trust in the political process has been eroded; we suspect motives, don’t believe what we hear....
There are many whose hearts have been broken by the Prime Minister’s approach to reconciliation, race, immigration, education – the soft issues that define the soul of a civilised society. Informed, intelligent, thoughtful people who for months have been telling pollsters they won’t vote for the government.
As for Lynch:
Mr Lynch said he had no time for accusations against the ABC of left-wing bias.
Cue howls of protests from David Marr, Robert Manne, Sally Warhaft, John Pilger....
No more ethnic scapegoating
IT took Hossein Adibi, the sociologist and “Islamic philosopher”, to finally convince me enough was enough.
Yes, enough with the racial scapegoating. Enough with bashing the same old ethnic group.
Adibi, a Queensland University of Technology researcher, has released a study on why our Muslims are twice more likely to be jobless.
Said AAP: “Dr Adibi found that Muslims were disadvantaged due to four main factors: racism, discrimination, media bias and the lack of Muslim representation in decision-making bodies.”
But how convenient: each one of those reasons involve Muslims being picked on or ignored by non-Muslims.
Why Fitzgibbon must quit
IF China were no threat, our Defence Minister might not have been so secretive about the Chinese gifts he’d pocketed.
Nor would our Prime Minister be just as secretive about his own ties to this Communist autocracy.
In fact, it’s precisely because China’s rising influence here is a security threat that Joel Fitzgibbon should now resign and Kevin Rudd should stop hiding.
When dealing with such a regime, our politicians must come clean.
Yet Rudd is still playing absurd games, secretly meeting China’s top security and propaganda chiefs in private, but asking the BBC this week not to film him sitting next to the Chinese ambassador in public.
Fitzgibbon’s secrecy is the more culpable, of course, even if Rudd’s may have the more serious consequences.
Turned on by the switch off
Twitterers marked Earth Hour not (just) by turning off the lights, but turning on the computers.Shaun Ewing, Chief Technology Officer of web service company AussieHQ, checked:
A post on NANOG prompted me to check our network graphs. Our network utilisation in Earth Hour actually went up (not down)
George Browning yet again embarrasses himself - and thricely. He turns a church ceremony into a celebration of a pagan faith. He uses a sermon to preach politics. And, against all scientific evidence, he suggests the Black Saturday fires were caused by global warming. No wonder he was flown into minister to Kevin Rudd:
A top Australian Anglican also used the London service for Victoran bushfire victims into a debate on climate change. Former bishop George Browning said he was proud that Kevin Rudd’s government had “a significant commitment” to reducing carbon pollution.
Browning is an embarrassment to his church, and proof of the decline of reason.
Here’s to a One-Term President Obama
By Richard Miller
Author, “In Words and Deeds: Battle Speeches In History”
On Monday, the president of the United States, a man who never had to meet a payroll in his life, fired the chief executive officer of General Motors. Obama did so because he didn’t like General Motors’ reorganization plan–it was reportedly not tough enough on the bondholders. In Old America, GM would have gone into bankruptcy and been forced to sit down with bondholders, shareholders, unions and other creditors and worked it out. But no more. Obama, having failed to deliver on card checks to his union constituency, wasn’t about to let established bankruptcy procedure resolve the problem possibly at the expense of unions.
Welcome to the New America.
What should we call this place? Lately, on the right, and in various Tea Parties held across the country, the word “socialism” has cropped up. But this doesn’t quite fit.
New America’s Managerial State has not been that programmatic. There’s no wholesale nationalization or expropriation. Instead, these statist elites seem to be operating more episodically, accumulating power in increments large and small, and here and there — to what cumulative end none can say.
But it’s not too early to label what to call this New America: Authoritarian. At the moment, it’s a mild authoritarianism, not too burdensome, more conceptual than actual.
Sound too paranoid? Perhaps. But consider some recent troubling events. Congress passes a 400 page, $780 billion dollar budget without bothering to read it! – If this happened in a country called Nicamala, we’d smile and call it a “rubber stamp” legislature; then, when President Obama gets caught including AIG bonuses in that budget — an tax subsidized organization with suspiciously close ties to the president’s resume and campaign — he helps deflect attention by sponsoring menacing visits to the homes of AIG executives. Meanwhile, paid political hacks and presidential surrogates are sent forth to attack radio talk show hosts, TV stock gurus, all the while whispering “Fairness Doctrine.” If this happened in a country called Venezil, we’d call it political thuggery and figure that one can’t expect any better from banana republics. Obamistas?
Meanwhile, the private sector is breathlessly hyper-focused on Washington rather than building a better mousetrap. The irony of all this is that owing to voters’ bad judgment and stupidity (yes, I’ll be among the first to publicly say it), we’ve elected a man to find us jobs who has never had a real job and a guy with no corporate experience to straighten out our largest companies.
As my father used to say, there are reasons why state governments don’t let 11-year-olds drive cars. There are also reasons why Americans have generally not elected neophytes to high office. But to paraphrase another old saying, if you’re having bad presidency, make it a short one.
Here’s to a one-term President Obama.
Spain Insults the USA
By Bill O'Reilly
A Spanish court has begun steps to open a criminal investigation against some members of the Bush administration for alleged crimes involving the War on Terror. Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith and Justice Department lawyer John Yoo are three of the Americans being targeted.
Now we're used to this kind of stuff in the far left here in the USA, but the Spanish action raises the bar. And Spain must be held accountable for that. The action is being driven by a man named a Gonzalo Boye, radical left lawyer in Madrid.
On Sunday, The New York Times reported Boye's beef, but did not report this. Boye served almost eight years in a Spanish prison for collaborating with terrorists. He was sentenced in 1996. Now that seemed to be a mighty big omission by The New York Times, does it not?
We called the Spanish ambassador in Washington, Jorge Dezcallar to appear with us this evening. The ambassador says he cannot comment, which of course is loco — of course, he can comment.
So here's the deal of Spain: If this action goes forward, you'll be insulting America, implying we are the problem in the terror war. You're also diverting attention away from the true evil: Islamic fundamentalist killers who have attacked your own country.
Finally, unless this action is condemned by Spanish or Prime Minister Zapatero, then I am not going to that country. And I'm not optimistic that Zapatero is will do the right thing. He's a socialist. And Spain has not been a big supporter of the USA. In fact, once Zapatero took over from Prime Minister Asnar, a good guy, that country began imposing tougher sanctions on Iran for example and is Iran's third biggest trading partner. Isn't that nice?
Spain also has been soft on Hamas and Hezbollah. And while it's true Spain has 800 troops in Afghanistan, is part of the NATO force, it has rejected President Obama's calls to send more troops, preferring to let the USA do most of the fighting.
Are you getting the picture here?
A few years back, The Factor called for boycott of France because the corrupt President Jacques Chirac was doing back-door deals with Saddam Hussein. When President Sarkozy was elected, we lifted the boycott because he's a terror warrior and doesn't hate the USA.
So for now, the Spanish prime minister needs to step up and stop the madness. And the ambassador in D.C. needs to get out from under his desk.