Friday, May 01, 2009
Headlines Friday 1st May 2009
Five dead after Dutch Queen's Day attack
Queen Beatrix looked on in horror, as five people were killed when a car slammed into Dutch festival goers on Thursday, in an attack on the royal family.
Obama aide infected with swine flu
An official in the Obama administration who recently travelled to Mexico is believed to have caught swine flu.
Macquarie Bank halves annual profit
Macquarie Group has halved its annual profit, after booking $2.5 billion in writedowns on the value of assets, because of the global financial crisis.
Stockpile supplies for two weeks: govt
A federal government pandemic plan suggests Australians should be stockpiling enough supplies to last two weeks, on the back of an increase in the swine flu alert level.
NSW facing $2 billion budget black hole
The New South Wales budget has suffered a massive blow, with government revenue taking a battering from the financial crisis.
Fed govt probes nursing home mice plague
The federal government has demanded an investigation into a state-run nursing home in southwest Queensland where elderly residents have been badly bitten amid a plague of mice. - is this a sign of the election promise of cooperation between federal and state governments? Thank you Rudd. - ed.
Power bills to soar to fund upgrade
Power bills will soar by at least $75 a year, to fund the upgrade of the NSW power grid....
Businesses urged to close door to bikies
A Liberal state politician says South Australian businesses should close their doors to Rebels......
Target introducing plastic bag ban
Department store Target will stop giving customers plastic bags at the checkout from next month, a......
Rudd sacks the people he promised to employ
First Kevin “Doing Something” Rudd hands out $23 billion of free cash in two handouts to “create jobs”. Then, having actually lost jobs and run out of money, he sacks people:
ONE in 10 jobs is expected to be slashed from the Immigration Department in this month’s federal budget. Despite the recent surge in boat arrivals, about 700 jobs will be cut from the department, which has 7000 staff in 100 locations in Australia and worldwide.
We’re in great hands.
Fear alert - update
Total of confirmed deaths so far from swine flu: 12 in Mexico, and a toddler on a visit to the US. Non-Mexicans killed so far: none. Australiams confirmed ill from swine flu: none.
Yet there is no fear so ill-founded that Kevin “Do Something” Rudd isn’t on hand to offer totally unnecessary advice designed to make you worry more, not less:
Wash your hands, PM says
Pious, lecturing, stern, warning and simply Doing Something, no matter how unproductive - it’s Rudd’s unmistakable style.
Other ministers noisily take up the theme, inflaming what they claim to be calming:
The Minister for Health, Nicola Roxon, announced last night the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, had consented to new powers allowing health officials to detain and disinfect people suspected of having the swine flu.
And authorities have a “fortress Australia” plan ready for a worst-case scenario that would see overseas planes and ships turned away, schools and childcare centres shut and sports events, church services and other large gatherings stopped.
And now it’s getting utterly ridiculous. From the front page of today’s Age;
AUSTRALIANS have been advised to stockpile food and water after the World Health Organisation raised its swine flu alert to phase five yesterday, indicating an imminent pandemic. The Federal Government’s pandemic plan, a 132-page manual issued to medics, media and the public, insists that once the world reaches phase five, Australians should stock their pantries with food and bottled water to last 14 days, check on elderly neighbours and put emergency numbers by the phone.
SHOPS are running out of surgical masks, with people panic buying amid fears of a swine flu outbreak
Yes, the Government must take precautions. But it’s stepped way over the line and is exploiting the fear it should be calming.
GOD, save us! We’re all going to die all over again, and from yet another foreign virus.
“We could have a billion people dying worldwide,” warns the US National Centre for Disaster Preparedness.
Oops, I misread my notes. That claim is actually from the great bird flu scare of 2005, which in the end killed just 257 people.
“Apocalypse bug!” cries CNN. “Killer virus,” howls a Newsweek cover.
Oops again. Those headlines are actually from the great Ebola scare of 1995, which actually killed just 800 people, all in Africa.
No, the killer virus stalking us this time is swine flu.
So here’s the swine flu warning from the US Health, Education and Welfare Department: “The projections are that the virus will kill one million Americans.”
Damn. Wrong again.
Pole axes Brown
Hmm. Have times changed for the worse or better when the head of a formerly communist nation must tell British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to curb government spending?
On a visit to Poland, (Brown) had to listen to its Prime Minister pointedly criticise countries that tried to spend their way of recession.
Howard unplugged: part 3
John Howard discusses India and China on NRO:
China is an overwhelmingly authoritarian country.
True, but how would Rudd put it?
Howard endorses in large part Rudd’s recent decision to spend more on defence, despite the recession.
Does Revlon sell it?
What has made Michelle Obama more beautiful than she was last year, when she didn’t make the grade?
US First Lady Michelle Obama scored a rare accolade for a political spouse by being named on celebrity magazine People’s annual list of the world’s 100 most beautiful people today.
Obama praises in Rudd what he deplored in Howard
Obama thinks 450 soldiers from Kevin Rudd is a substantial offer:
US President Barack Obama has called Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to express his thanks for the extra Australian troops being sent to Afghanistan. Mr Obama says he personally thanked Mr Rudd for what he is describing as a substantial troop contribution.
Obama thought 20,000 soldiers from John Howard would be barely enough:
I would also note that we have close to 140,000 troops in Iraq, and my understanding is Mr Howard has deployed 1400, so if he is ... to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest that he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them to Iraq.
Dems Fail to Impress in First 100 Days
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 29, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: President Obama promised to change the way Washington works. It has been 100 days, and many of us are still waiting for him to clean up the nation's capital.
The National Review's Jim Garrity pointed out that an astonishing number of the Democratic Party's old fixtures are embroiled in scandals that the president has done very little to clean up.
Tonight, we give you the grand tour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
All right, believe it or not, we aren't the only ones marking the president's first 100 days in office.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now is the time to act boldly and wisely.
HANNITY: In a new television ad, the DNC is claiming that the president has laid a "foundation for change." But if you take a good look around the Democratic Party, you won't see too much change. You won't even the foundations for it.
Rather, you will see some political scandals that have been festering for far too long. And I'm sure that you'll be shocked to hear that the majority party has done surprisingly little to get its own house in order.
Now, first, we go to Connecticut, where you can thank poor, old, scandal-plagued Christopher Dodd for including a provision in the stimulus that allowed your tax dollars to pay for the bonuses of those AIG executives.
In the midst of that crisis, Senator Dodd did what any responsible adult would do. He shifted blame.
SEN. CHRIS DODD, (D-CONN.): As many know, the administration, among others, was not happy with the language, wanted some modifications to it.
They came to us, our staff, and asked for changes. And the changes at the time did not seem that obnoxious or onerous. None of us, I certainly didn't have any idea about AIG and these retention bonuses.
HANNITY: And don't forget that we're still waiting for Senator Dodd to come clean about that VIP treatment that he received from Countrywide Mortgage.
Now, he promised to release documents to support his claim that he really, truly, honestly did not benefit from being on the Countrywide's "Friends of Angelo" VIP list. But guess what? We're still waiting. Meanwhile, in this time of financial crisis, Mr. Dodd continues to serve as the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.
But that's not the only scandal brewing. Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Charlie Rangel is being investigated by the House in not one, not two, but four areas.
REP. CHARLIE RANGEL, (D-N.Y.): One thing we know for certain. This is not going to happen again.
HANNITY: Way to go, Charlie. That's quite an accomplishment.
Congressman Rangel's alleged ethics violations include his failure to report income taxes on a Caribbean villa and his use of four rent-controlled apartments in Harlem, New York. But don't worry. He was all class when questioned about these issues.
RANGEL: Why don't you mind your goddamn business.
REP. JACK MURTHA, (D-PENN.): I have said for two years we should close down Guantanamo. They are no more dangerous in a prison in my district than they are in Guantanamo.
HANNITY: And then there is the liberal lion Jack Murtha, who is the subject of a federal investigation for funneling over $250 million in federal earmarks to the clients of a lobbying firm founded by a former Murtha aide.
That firm, by the way, was recently raided by the FBI. Congressman Murtha miraculously received nearly $143,000 in campaign contributions from that lobbying firm and its employees. Now, I'm sure it was just a coincidence.
This administration has seen so many of its nominees derailed that it's understandable if you had not forgotten about good old Bill Richardson.
GOV. BILL RICHARDSON, (D-N.M.): As you all know, I have asked the president-elect not to move forward with my nomination at this time it.
HANNITY: Well, the feds certainly haven't forgotten about him. Governor Richardson remains the subject of a federal grand jury investigation for his role in a pay-to-play scheme.
After donating $110,000 to Governor Richardson's campaigns, the California-based CDR group, run by an enthusiastic Richardson supporter, received $1.6 billion in business from the state of New Mexico.
I am sure the two events were totally unrelated.
And who could forget Rod Blagojevich, Blago, or Tom Daschle, or Kwame Kilpatrick, William Jefferson, Jesse Jackson Jr., tax cheat Tim Geithner, and the rest of the classy bunch?
I think it was Nancy Pelosi who said she just could not wait to tackle the culture of corruption in Washington. And, of course, the anointed one of all that change who said this —
OBAMA: You understand that in this election the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result.
Change happens because the American people demand it, because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.
America, this is one of those moments. I believe that is hard as it will be, the change we need is coming.
HANNITY: You know the funny thing about all of that change that you promised, Mr. President? It looks an awful lot like just more of the same.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Critique of Obama's Press Conference
By Bill O'Reilly
The president opened with remarks about the flu, the economy and the hard work his administration is doing. Then the questions began.
Question No. 1 was on the flu. The president said the government is doing everything it can and the Mexican border does not need to be closed at this point.
Question No. 2: What about the auto industry? The president said he is hopeful. His goal is to get out of the auto business.
Question No. 3: Is waterboarding torture? The president said yes, it is, and pointed to Winston Churchill in Great Britain as a country that refused to torture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Churchill understood you start taking shortcuts, and over time, that corrodes what's best in the people. It corrodes the character of a country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well, just one problem with that answer, Mr. President, with all due respect here. I'm not trying to nitpick. The British government uses very, very rough techniques on captured terrorists. Ask the IRA. And the SAS is an extremely feared force all over the world. I don't want to Monday morning quarterback, but maybe Britain was not the best example.
Question No. 4: Did waterboarding save American lives? The president would not say directly, even though he says he has read the memos Dick Cheney called for. But the president called rough interrogation, as you heard, a quick shortcut that he will not take.
Question No. 5: What about Pakistan with the Taliban threat? The president said he is confident that nukes will not fall into the hands of terrorists.
Question No. 6: What about Iraq? The president said there is serious work to do.
Question No. 7: What about Arlen Specter and possible one-party rule by the Democrats? The president said he thinks highly of Arlen Specter.
Question No. 8: What about abortion?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED HENRY, CNN: At one point in the campaign when asked about abortion and life you said that it was "above my pay grade." Now that you've been president for 100 days, obviously, your pay grade is a little higher than when you were senator. Do you still hope that Congress quickly sends you the Freedom of Choice Act so you can sign it?
OBAMA: You know, the — my view on abortion, I think, has been very consistent. I think abortion is a moral issue and an ethical issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well, with all due respect, Mr. President, that's obvious. The question is will you push for the Freedom of Choice Act? The president did not directly answer the question.
Question No. 9: Has anything surprised him in the first 100 days? That was a softball question. The president said he's proud of his kids for handling the transition, and that there are so many things in play at one time, it is mind-boggling. He's also grateful to the military and humbled by the office and the challenge.
Finally, question No. 10: What about immigration reform? The president says he's going to work hard to get that accomplished.
Now there were three other questions, 13, just like the last press conference, but you have got the major points.