Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Headlines Wednesday 29th April 2009


Sweeping new quarantine powers approved
Governor-General Quentin Bryce has consented to sweeping new quarantine powers for health officials in response to the global outbreak of swine flu.

22 Australians exposed to swine flu
Four NSW residents missing after coming into contact with swine flu have been contacted via phone and email.

World swine flu fears sharpen into panic
Airlines and tour operators have suspended flights to Mexico, as worldwide fears over a new deadly strain of flu slip towards panic and new cases are confirmed in various countries.

Suspect NSW flu sufferers could be detained against their will
People suspected of having swine flu could be detained against their will under strict new quarantine powers decreed by the NSW government.

Richard Pratt dies, aged 74
Billionare businessman and philanthropist Richard Pratt has died, aged 74.

Bird guilty of glassing, lying to police
Former Cronulla league star Greg Bird has been found guilty of smashing a glass into his girlfriend's face and blaming the attack on his flatmate.

Labor powerbroker has conviction quashed
Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid has had his conviction for talking on a mobile phone while driving......

Woman jailed for noisy sex sessions
A woman has been jailed for breaching court orders to stop her screaming during sex, enacted after......

Doctor arrested over perving pen-cam
Police said on Tuesday they have arrested a doctor they suspect of using a pen camera to secretly......
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ABC concocts global warming
Piers Akerman
THE ABC, the megaphone for every fashionable cause, is not giving up on its advocacy for global warming.
On Lateline last night reporter Margot O’Neill made the following statement in relation to the success of Professor Ian Plimer’s new book Heaven + Earth: “ The claim that global temperatures have dropped since 1998, thus disproving a warming trend, is one of many rejected emphatically by one of the world’s climate scientists, David Karoly.”
Karoly, of the University of Melbourne, then tried to dump a bucket on Plimer saying: “Temperatures have dropped a very small amount since 1998, both in surface temperatures and in atmospheric temperatures measured from satellites. But that doesn’t mean that global warming has stopped. The temperatures, if we average from 1998 to 2008, they’re warmer than the previous 10 years, or the 10 years before that, or any 10-year period over at least the last 150 years.”
But logic dictates that the drop in global temperatures is not a “claim”, as O’Neill said, it is a scientific fact.
Dropping temperatures would indicate a cooling trend, not a warming trend, which O’Neill and the ABC are hoping for in order to push the Green policies of the ALP, and its political partner, the Australian Greens.
Karoly’s remark has nothing to do with science, it is a personal political view, purely speculative and absolutely meaningless until temperatures start to rise again.
That’s Your ABC spinning as fast it can.
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NATION DEBUGGED
Tim Blair
That’s my daddy, destroying the precious Australian environment with toxic chemicals some time in the late 60s.
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IT’S ALL ABOUT FUEL
Tim Blair
A detailed and accurate artistic depiction of an early fuel injection system:

Looking more closely, I think what we have here is a decades-old product of the pioneering Hilborn company, still active in fuel delivery research and manufacturing to this very day.
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THE ENGLISH JOB
Tim Blair
Jules Crittenden catches a killer quote from the great Michael Caine:
“The Government has taken tax up to 50 per cent, and if it goes to 51 I will be back in America,” he said at the weekend. “We’ve got 3.5 million layabouts on benefits, and I’m 76, getting up at 6am to go to work to keep them.”
By the way, we ended up winning that ABC poll on an Australian 50 per cent tax rate. Caine should move here.
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TREE WHISPERER
Tim Blair
A Canadian headline:
Quebec astrophysicist to speak for forest
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PATRIOT NETWORK
Tim Blair
As John Kerry would say, dissent is the greatest form of patriotism.
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EARTH HOUR 2010
Tim Blair
Reader John emails:
Whilst in Hong Kong recently, I noticed some buses advertising Earth Hour (a couple of months after the event).

I can’t vouch for how seriously Hong Kong took the hour, but it seems to take a diametrically opposed half-hour VERY VERY seriously – every night:

A significant tourist attraction that operates every night at 8pm is the Symphony of Lights. This wunderfest of lighting, lasers & music represents how I’d like my house to be lit for the next Earth Hour.
This is an excellent plan. Although other options are also enticing:
Residents of a small southwest Nebraska town have a question for state officials: You’re not doing anything with that old electric chair, are you?
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JET PHOTOGRAPHED
Tim Blair
This must be one of the most successful photo opportunities ever. Global coverage!
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Rudd’s cash: buy now, pay much more later
Andrew Bolt
You’ll pay for Rudd’s free money, warns Peter Costello:

A typical family of mum, dad and two children would by now have received two $1000 bonuses - one for each of the children - and $900 if dad’s income was below $80,000. That’s $2900 since October last year: enough to get a pretty nice home entertainment system.

And there’s no repayment? Well, actually, the Government borrowed this money so it will have to make the interest payments to the lenders. And since it gets all its money from taxpayers, it’s the taxpayers who will foot the interest bill. In the next two years the Government will increase net debt from zero (the position it inherited in 2007) to about $200 billion. In round figures, that’s $10,000 for each of our citizens and $40,000 for our family of four. At today’s low interest rates, that’s a bill of about $2000 a year for our typical family…

Today’s one-off payments of $2900 are going to look feeble compensation against an interest bill that could last for 10 or 20 years.
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Feral alert
Andrew Bolt
A very modern story of manners:

A WOMAN has assaulted and broken the nose of another woman who asked her to stop smoking on a train station platform. Police say it happened on April 22, when a 53-year-old Coburg woman asked one of two women to stop smoking on a platform at Melbourne’s Parliament railway station.

UPDATE

The most shocking detail of many in this case is the price allegedly charged to cause this harm to some stranger drinking at a bar:

According to a police summary tendered to Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today, Mr Yang was offered $200 to “seriously assault or slash’’ the intended victim.
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A crack but no melting
Andrew Bolt
A bigger split than this is needed, but it’s a start, I guess:

A SPLIT over global warming has emerged in Kevin Rudd’s cabinet after it was revealed that a 13-month-old photograph was published this month to support the view that a catastrophic melting of Antarctic ice was imminent.

Federal government sources said Climate Change Minister Penny Wong was disappointed with the way her ministerial colleague, Peter Garrett, weighed into the debate about global warming, claiming sea levels could rise by 6m as a result of melting in Antarctica. Senator Wong yesterday pointedly refused to indicate whether she supported Mr Garrett’s view.

“The impacts of climate change are being seen in many ways, from sea level rise through to extreme weather events,” Senator Wong said yesterday… Senator Wong declined to nominate potential levels to which seas could rise.
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The 10 Warming Myths
Andrew Bolt
IT’S snowing in April. Ice is spreading in Antarctica. The Great Barrier Reef is as healthy as ever.

And that’s just the news of the past week. Truly, it never rains but it pours - and all over our global warming alarmists.

Time’s up for this absurd scaremongering. The fears are being contradicted by the facts, and more so by the week.

Doubt it? Then here’s a test.

Name just three clear signs the planet is warming as the alarmists claim it should. Just three. Chances are your “proofs” are in fact on my list of 10 Top Myths about global warming.
And if your “proofs” indeed turn out to be false, don’t get angry with me.

Just ask yourself: Why do you still believe that man is heating the planet to hell? What evidence do you have?
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Democrats forget they approved this “torture”
Andrew Bolt
A powerful defence by Porter Goss, worth reading in full:

Since leaving my post as CIA director almost three years ago, I have remained largely silent on the public stage. I am speaking out now because I feel the American Government has croLssed the red line between properly protecting our national security and trying to gain partisan political advantage…

A disturbing epidemic of amnesia seems to be plaguing my former colleagues on Capitol Hill. After the September 11, 2001, attacks, members of the committees charged with overseeing our nation’s intelligence services had no higher priority than stopping al-Qaeda. In the autumn of 2002, while I was chairman of the House of Representatives’ intelligence committee, senior members of Congress were briefed on the CIA’s “High Value Terrorist Program,” including the development of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and what those techniques were…

Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as “waterboarding” were never mentioned. It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of the September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience…

I do not recall a single objection from my colleagues…

The suggestion that we are safer now because information about interrogation techniques is in the public domain (released by President Obama) conjures up images of unicorns and fairy dust. We have given our enemy invaluable information about the rules by which we operate… Our enemies do not subscribe to the rules of the Marquess of Queensberry. “Name, rank and serial number” does not apply to non-state actors but is, regrettably, the only question this Administration wants us to ask. Instead of taking risks, our intelligence officers will soon resort to wordsmithing cables to headquarters while opportunities to neutralise brutal radicals are lost.
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Look for a German with an aunt in New Zealand
Andrew Bolt
These lists are so subjective as to be meaningless. For instance, this one seems compiled by a Europhile with an unusual love of German culture, but an intolerance of Latin freewheeling:

SYDNEY has beaten Melbourne in a list of the world’s top cities, but both have been beaten by our New Zealand neighbours.

Sydneysiders enjoy Australia’s best quality of living, rounding out the top ten in the 2009 Worldwide Quality of Living Survey conducted by Mercer consultancy firm…

European cities dominated the top 10: Vienna (1), Zurich (2), Geneva (3), Vancouver (equal 4), Auckland (equal 4), Dusseldorf (6), Munich (7), Frankfurt (8), Bern (9), Sydney (10).

What are the odds that a list of the world’s top 10 cities include six in which German is spoken?
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Howard speaks, not spins
Andrew Bolt
John Howard is interviewed on America’s NPR on Iraq and Obama - and losing the election. He is glad that President Obama is more responsible than Candidate Obama.

The lack of spin comes as such a relief in this climate.
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Plimer finds overheating - at the ABC
Andrew Bolt
Professor Ian Plimer cuts through the mockery of ABC warming alarmist Tony Jones - and Jones’ repeated attempts at a nit-picking gotcha - to treat Lateline viewers to a primer on how shonky is the theory which has generated such a gigantic scare.

Cool sense is such a relief - and so unmistakable - when inserted into a debate dominated by hyperbole, abuse, exaggeration, assumption, wind-baggery, appeals to authority and hairshirt evangelism.

As far as I can tell, Jones managed only to identify one error - that NASA had corrected figures for US temperatures, not world temperatures, as Plimer had written (pp 98-99). This makes Plimer’s claims that the 1930s were hotter false - at least when he extrapolates from the US to the world. But it does not falsify Plimer’s claims that temperature measurements by the world’s four most reliable sources agree the world has cooled over the past decade, and that the world has been warmer in the past. Note that short though this period is, global warming theory is itself based on just 25 years of alleged man-caused warming - from around 1975 to 1998, as Plimer explained.

As is typical on the ABC, the interview was preceded by the ringing of a lepers’ bell over the heathen sceptic. Three of the usual global warming suspects were trotted on to denounce Plimer with vague allegations - none explained or substantiated - of sloppy work and ignorance. Not one supporting scientists was interviewed. And in that pooh-poohing there was this mistatement by the reporter of an “error” that’s actually confirmed seconds later even by one of Plimer’s critics:

MARGOT O’NEILL: The claim that global temperatures have dropped since 1998, thus disproving a warming trend, is one of many rejected emphatically by one of the world’s climate scientists, David Karoly.

DAVID KAROLY, UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE: Temperatures have dropped a very small amount since 1998, both in surface temperatures and in atmospheric temperatures measured from satellites. But that doesn’t mean that global warming has stopped.

Even when a warming activist confirms the truth of what Plimer says, the Lateline reporter hears it as a denial. And what Plimer actually deduces from the drop since 1998 is also true - that this is not consistent with the alarmists’ predictions or theory that the ever-increasing amounts of carbon dioxide emitted by man is causing ever-increasing warming.

No wonder Plimer’s sceptical book - Heaven and Earth - is an instant and deserved best-seller.

Question: does Tony Jones try this hard to disprove any alarmist he invites on his show, no matter how clearly exaggerated are their fears? Check here and here.

Note with those last two links that Jones introduced his interview with the alarmist IPCC chairman by running a clip featuring three scientists who strongly agreed with him. But last night Jones introduced his interview with a sceptic by running a clip featuring three scientists who strongly disagreed with him. Balanced?

UPDATE

Apologies. I was working on this without realising I’d already posted it. Hence the changes to the original post.

UPDATE 2

Sceptics are bobbing up everywhere. Now it’s New Zealand journalist Ian Wishart, who has issued his own book and gets a decidedly different interview here.

UPDATE 3

Watch for Tony Jones going at Robyn Williams, who claims the seas could rise 100 metres this century, in their discussion of “mistakes”. Oh, not there? Instead, we see Williams dismiss a great climate scientist (and sceptic) on the grounds that he smokes. I kid you not.

But more particularly watch Michael Duffy nail the Jones technique.

(Thanks to readers Trent and Ivan.)

UPDATE 4

Reader Rudd is Zelig:

Unfortunately, Lambeck and Brook provide neither reason nor evidence of any error on Plimer’s part. Lambeck commits the fallacy of arguing from authority, attempting to dismiss any criticism of the consensus view from a disciplinary base that is no broader than Plimer’s. Brook’s qualifiactions are in biology, but (like fellow biologists Flannery and Schneider) presents himself as a ‘climate scientist’, whatever that means.Understanding climate as a whole requires several disciplines, and geology is arguably as, if not more, important than biology - especially on the relationships between the various elements in the past.

The important question to ask of the various ‘climate scientists’ is what is theirexpertise. It is not unusual to find Brook, for example, declaiming on the movement of the Antarctic ice sheets as he did recently (Weekend Australian 18-19 April p19).There is much that is uncertain in climate science. Good example, and a key uncertainty: doubling CO2 from pre-industrial levels gives a 1°C rise in global temp, but the effect decays logarithmically, so that most of this (0.7°C) has already occurred. Apocalypse from the models depends on the presence of a positive feedback mechanism involving water vapour, and the theory of the evidence for this is highly contentious to say the least.Plimer’s fundamental point - that the Earth changes - is correct. Stability, harmony, etc exist only in our belief systems and are unachievable.
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Hear again from a no-spin Prime Minister
Andrew Bolt
John Howard unplugged - part two of his NRO interview. This time refreshing straight-talking on multiculturalism. You don’t realise quite what a brain-flattening zone of spin we’ve entered until you hear Howard reminding you of a not-so-distant past.

Howard also argues that colonialism brought Aborigines not just suffering - but opportunities. And that mainstreaming is the best hope to end Aboriginal dysfunction. And could a Rudd ever dare say that - or this?

China is a communist dictatorship.

No spin.
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Rudd closer to China than to the Liberals?
Andrew Bolt
I’d be interested in the answer, too:

The Federal Opposition has called on the Government to explain why Chinese authorities have been briefed on Australia’s new defence blueprint before the Coalition. The lead author of the Government’s defence white paper, Michael Pezzullo, has been sent to China to discuss the document ahead of its release.
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Nationals back sceptic Plimer
Andrew Bolt
What interesting people to be helping to launch Professor Ian Plimer’s Heaven and Earth - a book showing why global warming theory is so dodgy:

Senator Ron Boswell will be holding the Brisbane media launch of Ian Plimer’s book ‘Heaven and Earth: Global Warming - The Missing Science’. The details of the media launch are as follows:

Date: Tuesday, May 19th
Time: 12 noon

Venue: Pineapple Hotel, Function Room 2nd Floor, 706 Main Street, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane

Senator Barnaby Joyce will be holding the evening launch of Ian Plimer’s book. The details of the evening launch are as follows:
Date: Tuesday, May 19th

Time: 7 pm

Venue: Pineapple Hotel, Function Room 2nd Floor, 706 Main Street, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane

That’s sure a statement from the Nationals. Pity that some Labor politicians involved in helping to publicise this book haven’t had the same courage to come out.
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Swine flu softens brains
Andrew Bolt
Truly, we have more to fear from fear itself - and from the conspiracy kooks fear unleashes. No, I’m not taking about global warming this time but swine flu, and the program put out last night by America’s Coast to Coast, which boasts 3 million weekly listeners:

George Noory hosted a special edition of C2C with examination and analysis of the recent swine flu outbreak. 2nd hour guest, Dr. Gary Ridenour suggested that this virus could further mutate and ... in a worst-case scenario, 5-15 million people could die. He estimated there was a 40% chance that the new virus was man-made, and was released either accidentally or intentionally.

Appearing in the latter half of the show, Alex Jones and Stephen Quayle both agreed the new swine virus was not natural. It’s a “genetically altered bioweapon,” possibly being “beta-tested in the field” to target specific races, Quayle contended… Quayle suggested the virus may be part of a global plan to reduce the population, and that the mysterious deaths of microbiologists in recent years could be connected to this outbreak-- scientists who could help stop a pandemic were taken out.

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The paragraph that cost Warhaft her job
Andrew Bolt
Caroline Overington explains how Sally Warhaft got the boot as editor of The Monthly. Short version: Warfhaft wouldn’t let Robert Manne squelch a debate yet again with yet more unctuous praise of Kevin Rudd:

Although the May edition (of The Monthly) has not yet been printed, The Australian understands the cover story is called “Was Rudd Right?” It’s not one story so much as a collection of essays by various “thinkers”—economists, historians, economists—responding to a now-famous, 8000-word essay by Kevin Rudd.

The Prime Minister’s essay, published in The Monthly in February, blamed “extreme capitalism” for the world’s economic woes. For a while, it seemed everybody was talking about the Rudd essay—was he right, or deluded, or a closet communist, or what?

The Monthly was pleased with the attention. It decided to follow up by getting a group of thinkers to reflect on it. Warhaft wanted to write the introduction to those essays; after all, she was the editor of The Monthly.

Trouble was, Melbourne academic Robert Manne, who is chairman of the The Monthly’s editorial board, a dear friend of the publisher Morry Schwartz, and one of the most prominent contributors, also wanted to write the introduction.

Warhaft initially ceded to Manne, but when his introduction came in, she didn’t like it. She thought it should be a plain introduction, that the writers should be allowed to speak for themselves, but Manne’s piece was full of praise for Mr Rudd.

Warhaft, as editor, wanted to change it, make it more neutral. He wouldn’t let her, and so it was on, and it ended with her leaving.

I had a vaguely similar journey with Manne. I began by admiring him, and edited his column for many months at The Herald. It took some time for me to admit to myself that Manne was not as careful with evidence as I had supposed, and not as immune to the herd instinct as I’d hoped. Worse, he seemed to me a prophet in anxious search of the popular moral cause of his time - more for the platform and the power than from a deep need to right a real wrong. I got to learn of his (inm my opinion) vindictiveness in debate shortly after deciding to contradict his claims - to this day unsupported - that tens of thousands of Aboriginal children were stolen from their parents just to destroy Aboriginal culture and keep Australia white.
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Brutalizing America
By Bill O'Reilly
A new low has been reached in media attacks on the USA. Take a good look at the cartoon The New York Times printed Sunday. It shows the Statue of Liberty holding a whip, ready to strike. Just look at this atrocity and tell me that newspaper is a fair media outlet.
The two men responsible are Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and editor Bill Keller. These guys are on a jihad to define America as a gulag nation, a country that tortured helpless captives.

The Times is aided and abetted by General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and NBC boss Jeff Zucker, who allow their commentators to push a hateful far-left agenda.

Finally, ACLU leader Anthony Romero and far-left billionaire George Soros are pouring money and legal challenges into telling the world that America is indeed a nation that abuses human rights.

These six men are doing an enormous amount of damage to this country, but why. What is the real goal here?

A liberal president is now in the White House, and Barack Obama has already reversed many of the Bush anti-terror policies. So why are these guys continuing to whip their own country when they know the alleged torture stuff is harming our image all over the world.

The reason is really quite simple. If show trials for the Bush administration happen, they will marginalize the Republican Party, National Security hawks and conservative thinkers for decades. It doesn't matter how the trials turn out, if they even take place. The far left gets a big win.

And it's getting worse. The Obama administration will soon release photographs of military investigations into prisoner abuse. The pictures were taken in order to gather evidence in criminal cases against Americans, but that's not how the photos will be spun.

The ACLU, which sued to get the pictures released, wants to inflame the world against the USA. That, of course, will put our troops and diplomats in even more danger and make it harder for the Obama administration to get cooperation from other countries. Does the president understand that?

Right now, few in the media are rebutting the scandalous charge that America is a torture nation, even though the facts say that is bull. The following men are on record as saying the tough interrogation methods saved lives and were done responsibly in the context of a direct attack on the United States: Former CIA Directors George Tenet, Michael Hayden and Porter Goss, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, and President Obama's director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair.

On the other side, FBI Director Robert Mueller dissents, saying no worthy intel was gleaned. But Mueller is obviously vastly outnumbered here, so President Obama is making the correct decision by not pursuing investigations.

It is bad enough the world has to see this kind of garbage, and I hope some reporter asks the president about it. Yeah, we have a free press in America, but right now it is absolutely appalling. And all of us should hold these America-haters accountable.
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