Monday, May 11, 2009
Headlines Monday 11th May 2009
Howard to blame for horror budget: Swan
The previous coalition government was at least partly to blame for the horror budget to be delivered on Tuesday, Treasurer Wayne Swan says. - Mr Howard made some tough calls, Rudd promised ALP would give. So far, the ALP has spent a lot on itself, and a lot on others, but made no tough calls. Mr Howard led a responsible government that allowed all of Australia to prosper. Rudd has led Australia into a proverbial ditch. - ed.
Former MP wants the case re-opened
A NSW Labor MP has urged Premier Nathan Rees to re-investigate claims made against him by a former staffer which led to his sacking from the ministry. - I would like the smears made about me by the ALP investigated too. A child has died, through no fault of my own, but through apparent neglect on the part of the Department of Education and it is apparently being covered up. The parents of the boy have been blamed. The Ombudman's office won't investigate because they seem to feel it is an employer employee dispute. The ICAC don't seem to feel it warrants investigation as they couldn't see themselves charging anyone for the apparent negligence or the apparent cover up. The police can't investigate because the Coroner failed to adequately investigate the death and the Department of Ed. harassed a whistle blower who they had labeled as being disabled. Then two ministers of the Rees government threatened the whistle blower and bragged about it to the senate. - ed.
Aust military in 'Afghan cover-up'
There are calls for a special inquiry into whether military personnel covered-up an incident in which Special Forces soldiers allegedly killed and wounded civilians in Afghanistan. - It would also be worth checking if Rudd were involved with the death of Alfredo Reinaldo in Timor. - ed.
Parrot threatens 1,000 jobs in NSW
Almost a 1,000 workers in the timber industry are set to lose their jobs from an unlikely cause.
Sydney teen fights off sexual predator
A teenage girl has fought off her attacker after being sexually assaulted in a park in Sydney’s west.
Austrian hotel bans Jewish guests
A hotel in Tyrol that said it does not accept Jewish guests has caused shock in the local media and tourism industry, the daily Tiroler Tageszeitung reported on Sunday.
Syd buses racking up over a million kilometres
A quarter of Sydney's bus fleet has travelled more than a million kilometres.
Access forecasts $58b budget deficit
Massive government spending in the boom times means the federal budget will be deep in deficit well......
Hospital turns away woman in labour
Health officials have been slammed as ''disrespectful'' after Katoomba hospital turned away a......
Appeal for help on Socceroo-dad's death
Former Socceroos player Sean Babic is appealing for the occupants of a white car who may have......
WHEN THE GENERALS SQUAWK
This harmless-looking Garrett Parrot could cost hundreds of jobs:
CENTURY OF WRONG
The LA Times doesn’t get Australia now and neither did the New York Times way back in 1910:
Football, as it is played in Australia is not dangerous, is of great athletic benefit, and an accident is a rare occurence, says Consul Baker at Hobart, in an account of a game which he sends to the Bureau of Manufactures.
The Australian game, devised to eliminate accidents, the Consul says, requires a field oval in shape and at least 180 yards from one goal post to the other. The players at the start are ranged along the edges of the field, down to the centre.
As the science of the game is to keep the combined method of play open, the game never closes up, and the teams never engage in personal struggle.
In 1910, Collingwood happened to defeat Carlton in the VFL Grand Final. An account of events:
Numerous brawls erupted in the final quarter, with Carlton’s Jack Bacquie and Percy Sheehan and Collingwood’s Les Hughes and Tom Baxter reported for striking. All eventually were found guilty and suspended for various periods.
Collingwood, despite everything Carlton threw at it over this final quarter, held steady and won by 14 points to take its third flag. The Argus described the final quarter’s play as “unsavory”.
Another report described that last quarter as “the most disgraceful scene ever witnessed in a Melbourne football final.” By contrast, the NYT’s 1910 headline: “HERE’S HARMLESS FOOTBALL: Australian Game Lacks Every Element of Danger to Players”.
JUDAICS STRIKE AGAIN
Brendon O’Connell’s hate videos have been deleted, possibly due to the continuing Jewish grapefruit conspiracy.
Tell a judge that you were in possession of illicit drugs due to anxiety over underwater Japanese military bombing your Bondi apartment and you’d be talking yourself into a psych ward.
Timing is important in the courtroom excuses caper. The old sea-Japs gambit might’ve worked in 1942, but not today. In 2009, only one line is going to play.
An example of the quality verse presented during last month’s Earth Day Poetry Slam in Washington, DC:
This is why it’s hot: global warming, no denying it
Destroying the environment, we’re poisoning the climate
Spend billions on Iraq, but this war is on our own ground
Look at how Hurricane Katrina hit my hometown
Now I know what you’re thinking: hurricanes happen
But hurricanes are strengthened because of our actions
Industrial pollution, vehicular emissions
Can’t take the heat? Better get up out the kitchen
“Denying it/climate”, “ground/town”, “emissions/kitchen” … any chance of an actual rhyme here? The near-rhymes continue in the second … well, I guess you’d call it a verse:
If you think we lost the war on drugs, you ain’t the only one
‘Cause every last American’s addicted to petroleum
Acid rain makes a storm feel like a sauna
Guess we won’t be happy until Gaia is a goner
Like Al Gore said, the truth is inconvenient
And we can all see it but refuse to believe it
And this is why it’s hot
Refusal to believe in global warming creates heat. Interesting. Props, though, for this perfectly paced line: “Guess we won’t be happy until Gaia is a goner.” It sings. Then the chanting commences:
… This is why it’s hot
Fahrenheit a hundred on the dot
... It’s gon flood
It’s gon flood
It’s gon FLOOD!
Unless I’m mistaken, the author is predicting a localised rapid-onset water surplus. And our author is Drew “Droopy” Anderson, a hip hop artist and high school teacher with a science degree:
Droopy the Broke Baller
There’s brave, and then there’s crazy brave, and then there’s crazy psycho off-the-scale rabid weasel brave. And then there’s Sydney art dealer Ron Coles:
Coles had an arrangement with one of Australia’s most feared bikie gangs: it delivered large sums of cash to his door; he legitimised it through investment art.
Coles held on to the art, promising he would sell it for the bikies at a profit. But he has vanished with their paintings and cash.
Ominously, the unnamed gang is reportedly not interested in “making a formal complaint”. Other methods of complaint may be imagined. Factor this into your thinking: the money involved is in excess of $1 million.
UPDATE. Coles offered big returns only last year:
Dealer Ron Coles, who runs an investment gallery, says he can get a return of 10-15% per annum if you invest in blue-chip artists like Brett Whiteley, Arthur Streeton and others. He specialises in superannuation funds, which have a bizarre tax ruling: “if you buy art you cannot hang it on your wall as it is for investment purposes, not enjoyment, and must be out of sight”. To get around this loop he offers to store the painting for you.
He’s fulfilled the “out of sight” requirement on several levels.
TWICE AS THICK
History’s most pointless Arctic strolling tour continues. The latest from Christopher Booker:
Up in the Arctic, after yet another delay for bad weather, the hapless Catlin trio, sponsored by an insurance firm which hopes to make money out of alarm over global warming, continue their painful progress towards the distant North Pole, measuring the ice with an old tape measure and assuring Prince Charles by satellite telephone that it is “thinner than expected”.
When the Catlin trio heard a passing aircraft, which they hoped was bringing much-needed supplies, they little realised it was a DC-3 carrying an international team of scientists, using the latest electro-magnetic induction equipment to discover rather more efficiently that the ice was in fact “twice as thick” as they had expected.
The Catlin trio – not to be confused with the Barb Catlin Trio – have been out there now for 70 days and still aren’t even halfway to their destination. Less ice would make for an easier trip.
UPDATE. In other greenoid travel news:
An expedition team which set sail from Plymouth on a 5,000-mile carbon emission-free trip to Greenland have been rescued by an oil tanker.
Comedian Wanda Sykes gets President Obama’s relationship with the media:
They never catch you smoking, but they always catch you with your shirt off.
Another good line, on the VP:
God forbid if Joe Biden falls into the hands of terrorists. God forbid if there’s ever a hostage situation. We’re done. Oh, they won’t even have to torture him. All they have to do is go: “How’s it goin’, Joe?” They’ll get stacks of information.
“What did you do? Did you waterboard him?”
“No, I actually said: ‘Nice weather.’ He’s still talkin’. I can’t listen to him anymore.”
The rest of her routine … well, let’s just say it trails off a little. Enjoy what there is to be enjoyed.
RUMOUR PERSISTS, DAMAGE DONE
The Sun-Herald‘s Conrad Walters on Joe Rosenthal’s celebrated photograph of the landing at Iwo Jima:
The original photo, which was later revealed as having been staged, inspired a memorial statue in Washington and was central to the 2006 Clint Eastwood films Flags Of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima.
Rosenthal, who died three years ago, spent more than half a century defending that image. It wasn’t staged, as this 1995 Associated Press piece tried to make clear:
The man responsible for spreading the story that the picture was staged, the late Time-Life correspondent Robert Sherrod, long ago admitted he was wrong. But still the rumor persists.
In 1991, a New York Times book reviewer, misquoting a murky treatise on the flag-raising called “Iwo Jima: Monuments, Memories and the American Hero,” went so far as to suggest that the Pulitzer Prize committee consider revoking Rosenthal’s 1945 award for photography.
And just a year ago [in 1994], columnist Jack Anderson promised readers “the real story” of the Iwo Jima photo: that Rosenthal had “accompanied a handpicked group of men for a staged flag raising hours after the original event.”
Anderson later retracted his story. But the damage, once again, had been done.
AUSSIE LOCATES KILLER PROF
Killer academic George Zinkhan has been found – dead. Weird to the end, Zinkhan apparently attempted to bury himself prior to suicide:
The body of George Zinkhan, who killed his wife Mary Bruce and two male friends on April 25, was covered in brush and dirt, offficials said.
Curiously, there’s an Australian angle. Neighbours are relieved but unimpressed:
“We’ve been a little uneasy,” said Robert Adams, whose family lives across the street from where the Zinkhans lived. “It’s good to know it’s over. But we hate that he did it like a coward.”
Little more to Littlemore than to Marr
Australian Conservative runs the marvellously entertaining - and revealing - footage that was unaccountably not included in the 20-year retrospective of Media Watch last week.
One thing it reveals of Stuart Littlemore is what I’ve noted very much in debating David Marr on Insiders - that they are far, far more impressive and convincing when given 15 minutes of unchallenged time on air to criticise others than they are when their own agendas and “facts” can actually be challenged on camera. The ABC should take note and beware.
Prima donnas wanted
Opera Australia misses an opportunity:
Opera Australia’s Chief Executive Adrian Collette announced today that the national opera company will undertake a public Australia-wide search for participants to join the Moffatt Oxenbould Young Artist Program in 2010… The final audition will take place in front of an audience in the Opera Theatre of the Sydney Opera House at 7.30pm on July 19, 2009. A selection panel including internationally renowned opera singers Yvonne Kenny and Peter Coleman-Wright as well as Opera Australia artistic and music staff Tony Legge, Ian McCahon and Andrew Greene will determine who will join the Moffatt Oxenbould Young Artist Program in 2010.
Why didn’t it make this search a reality TV show, rather like this and this?
I don’t say this glibly, even though the chances of doing a Susan Boyle are, I know, remote. But I was frustrated to see so few young people in the audience of OA’s Magic Flute in Melbourne, when the all-Australian cast itself was quite young and clearly very talented. That said, the challenge for opera is, above all, to create the new work that engages as Verdi, Wagner and Puccini engaged in their day, and Lloyd Webber in ours.
This bird wants your job
Pollie Garrett gives polly parrot a whole lot more than a cracker:
A PARROT is about to cost 1000 workers their jobs because the Federal Government has ordered a NSW timber industry to shut to protect the bird…
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett’s department issued a stop-work order to the State Government 10 days ago, a move the industry claims could wipe out the entire southern NSW town of Deniliquin.
It ordered it cease all clear felling of red gum in the Central Murray Darling region - timber used mainly for firewood and railway sleepers - due to concerns over the future of the superb parrot. Sometimes referred to as the green leek parrot, the social bird nests in the hollows of the red gums and is nationally listed as vulnerable…
A Forests NSW briefing note obtained by The Daily Telegraph warned 11 sawmills would be forced to close overnight and 800 people would lose their jobs along with the closure of an industry worth $60 million to the NSW economy.
The NSW Government is already following 11 protection strategies.
NSW taxpayers taken for long, long ride
A better advertisement for Mercedes than for the NSW Government:
A QUARTER of Sydney’s buses have travelled more than a million kilometres and at least four buses still on the road have made the equivalent of two return journeys to the moon, official documents reveal.
The documents, obtained by the NSW Opposition transport spokeswoman, Gladys Berejiklian, show that in the past three years the proportion of buses with more than a million kilometres on the odometer has risen from 15 per cent to 26 per cent of the Sydney Buses fleet… More than a third of all buses are also beyond the optimal 13-year length of service that the Ministry of Transport specifies for private buses.
Saudi seminars on domestic violence should be more “don’t do” and less “how to”:
A Saudi judge has told a seminar on domestic violence that it is OK for a man to slap his wife for lavish spending...
UN aids pedophile
Of all the injustices in all the world, the United Nations busies itself with this one, from New Zealand:
The Government is considering a United Nation’s Human Rights Committee ruling it breached the rights of a repeat child sex offender in the handling of his parole application.
Kiwiblog, astonished, notes that the injustice that most engages this descredited UN committee is the last on this resume of Allan Dean’s career as a pedophile:
In 1959 indecently assaulted a youth in the dark
In 1960 indecently assaulted a soldier
In 1964 indecently assaulted a 15 year old boy in a cinema
In 1966 sentenced to jail and warned of preventative detention if he reoffended
he then reoffended six months after being released
In 1970 sentenced to eight year’s jail for three indecent assaults on boys aged under 16, and warned of preventative detention if he reoffended
He then reoffended seven months after being released
In 1993 sentenced to jail and warned of preventative detention if he reoffended.
He reoffended three months later after being released
In 1995 indecently assaulted a 13 year old boy in a cinema by fondling his crotch
Admitted in 1995 that his offending was much more regular than his convictions indicated
Finally given preventative detention in 1995
The UN feels Dean should have been allowed to argue for his release from that detention three years earlier than he was finally allowed to. Now it seems he’ll earn a payout.
BILL SHULER: Ten Prayerful Thoughts About Moms on Mother’s Day
By Bill Shuler
Pastor, Capital Life Church, Arlington, Virginia
At the conclusion of the Civil War, Julia Ward Howe, author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” became convinced that there was one unique group who had the power to end all wars…Mothers! Her logic was that only mothers knew what it meant to bring forth life and thus had the moral authority to unite and exert their influence to call an end to death. As America honors its mothers, the following are ten thoughts about Moms:
1. “All I am I owe to my Mother.” — George Washington
2. “I remember my Mother’s prayers and they have always followed me.” — Abraham Lincoln
3. “Do not forsake your Mother’s teaching.”– Proverbs 1:8
4. Mom’s heartbeat was our very first affirmation that we were not alone.
5. Although we made our debut wrinkled, squished and screaming, Mom thought we were the most beautiful sight she had ever seen.
6. A mom’s love can be found in the beauty of adoption and the wisdom of counsel.
7. The cord was cut at birth but the heartstrings are attached forever.
8. When God thought to describe his love for us he said, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.”
9. There was a time when Mom mended scrapes and tended to bruises –- now just the thought of her brings healing.
10. She made you feel like your first play was Shakespeare, your first game – the World Series, your first painting – Michelangelo.
Amidst dying on the cross, Jesus made certain to instruct those present as to the care of his mother. Whether she birthed you, rescued you by adoption or filled a role that was vacant in your life, now is the time to honor her in word and deed.
Thugs In the White House
By John R. Lott, Jr.
Senior Research Scientist, University of Maryland/Author, Freedomnomics.
So much for any hope that the government would uphold rules and abiding by contracts. Instead, we keep getting examples of something else – that when President Obama fails to persuade firms to follow his wishes, he does not hesitate to use threats of financial destruction.
Cliff Asness, the co-founder of the $20 billion hedge fund AQR Capital Management, laid bare the latest attacks with an open letter on Wednesday:
“The President screaming that the hedge funds are looking for an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout is the big lie writ large. Find me a hedge fund that has been bailed out. Find me a hedge fund, even a failed one, that has asked for one. In fact, it was only because hedge funds have not taken government funds that they could stand up to this bullying. The TARP recipients had no choice but to go along.”
This is just the latest in a string of intimidating tactics starting with threatening costly public audits to get compliance. Then there were the threats of firing CEOs who had the audacity to oppose government plans. The very latest is threats to use “ the full force of the White House press corps [to] destroy [the firm Perella Weinberg's] reputation” if it resisted the government stealing their money, according to Thomas Lauria who represented the firm up until last week. ABC News’s Jake Tapper reports that Mr. Steven Rattner, the head of the auto task force, made the threat.
The White House has been pushing hard to nationalize the automobile companies. While bondholders and the government have loaned similar amounts each to GM and Chrysler, the White House feels that the government should get 50 percent ownership of GM and the creditors about 10 percent.
The Wall Street Journal reports that unions are also being given stock that should be going to the creditors – 39 percent of GM and 55 percent of Chrysler.
Most of the financial institutions holding these bonds have gone along with Obama’s nationalization of the car companies for a simple reason – the government has already nationalized them and they do the government’s bidding. As ABC News and the Wall Street Journal note: JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs have been given up to $100 billion by the government. The irony is that the feds gave these financial institutions money because they were hemorrhaging financially and now the government orders these same institutions to throw away money and take loses that no private company would voluntarily do. Not surprisingly, with this waste, there is talk that Citigroup may need another $10 billion from the government.
As I and others have previously pointed out, the government only obtained ownership of many financial institutions through threats of imposing unnecessary costly public audits and either threatening to replace or actually replacing disobedient CEOs and boards of directors with political cronies willing do Obama’s bidding.
Yet, there are financial institutions that the government still has not gotten control over, and they are fighting this wave of nationalization. So how does the Obama administration control these financial institutions that have avoided being forced to take government bailouts? Why, of course, their standard method: threats. According to lawyer Thomas Lauria in an interview with Frank Beckman on WJR radio, one of his former clients “was directly threatened by the White House and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under the threat that the full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight. That’s how hard it is to stand on this side of the fence.”
Not surprisingly, as the financial institutions did not cave in, President Obama then followed through his promise and attacked these creditors. During his announcement of Chrysler filing for bankruptcy, he warned, “While many stakeholders made sacrifices and worked constructively, I have to tell you some did not.” Despite the financial institutions offering to give up 50 percent of their bonds value, Obama claimed: “They were hoping that everybody else would make sacrifices, and they would have to make none.” The New York Times and other media have joined in on this attack.
One consequence of the president singling out these creditors is that The Detroit News reported on Monday that some have received death threats and that the threats has been turned over to the FBI.
Finally, we can’t help note that Rattner seems the perfect person to play the enforcer role. In April, The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Rattner’s former private-equity firm, Quadrangle Group, is the target of a long-running pay-to-play investigation. Mr. Rattner wasn’t named in the SEC complaint, but The Journal reported that Rattner was “the senior Quadrangle executive the complaint identifies as meeting with a politically connected consultant about a finder’s fee, which Quadrangle later paid after receiving an investment from the New York fund.”
Of course, the administration denies that it has threatened Chrysler’s creditor. This from an administration that denies Obama bowed to the Saudi King despite it being on video tape.
Some creditors, such as Perella Weinberg Partners, have already given in to the president’s threats over Chrysler. But breaking contracts through thuggish threats makes investment riskier and increase the costs as much as any big tax increase. Driving investment overseas is not the way to make America wealthier.