Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Headlines Tuesday 26th May 2009

Swine flu outbreak on Pacific Dawn brings Aust cases to 23
Thirteen people on board a cruise ship at the centre of a swine flu outbreak have been admitted to hospital with flu symptoms. - and still people in government care are more likely to be chewed by mice than die from swine flu in Australia. - ed.

NSW Health Minister John Della Bosca refuses to intevene in Sally McCarthy Prince of Wales case
A senior hospital manager, accused of ignoring nurse pleas for help on a day at least one patient died, still has the support of the NSW Health Minister. - As with the death of Hamidur Rahman, Della Bosca won't ask the important questions because he doesn't have to. Professional indemnity being what it is there is no way that any anti corruption body could lay a glove on him so long as he is incompetent. Della Bosca can do a lousy job and maintain support from other ALP leaders because if he doesn't do the hatchet job he is doing he can spill the beans on them too. The only way to clean the state is to have an election after an informed media campaign .. something media seem reluctant to participate in. - ed.

Austrian toddler dies after sex abuse
The mother of a 17-month-old boy who died in November last year after sustained sexual and physical abuse has been sentenced to 12 months in prison in a case that has horrified Austria. - I asked Rudd how many other children in Australia must die from such neglect before he would do something effective to prevent it. He looked at me and said "Billions." - ed.

Sol Trujillo slams Australia: It's "like stepping back in time"
Former Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo has slammed Australia as racist and backward during a BBC interview. - he didn't slam Australia, he slammed Rudd. Rudd probably does not understand what he did wrong, having done nothing which Zelig would not have done. - ed.

I'm not racist, I thought Aussies would get it: Clare Werbeloff
VIDEO: The woman at the centre of the Chk-Chk Boom internet phenomenon, Clare Werbeloff, has confirmed she fabricated her non-PC eye witness account of a Kings Cross shooting but insists Australians will "get" the joke. - I wouldn’t despise Clare, she has the excuse of being young. Anthony Albanese made the fatuous claim in parliament that Clare’s effort was planned, which is absurd. Rudd’s con job was planned, and his Zelig like performance might be the product of a sick mind, but Clare’s was mere opportunism coupled with the exhuberance of youth. Anthony’s statement that Clare planned and staged the event, then is a misleading lie. In fact, Anthony has no evidence supporting his lie to parliament, and if he had he should present it to the police .. as Clare did as soon as they asked her.
Remember, Rudd was lauded for telling the Chinese in China that Tibet was theirs. Rudd is a studd in Scores, and an apologist to his wife. He loves a drink among Aussies. He is a Christian when he is in Church, and he believes in ‘something’ when he is among the new age spiritual. Among atheists, Rudd has hard headed practicalities. The only difference between Rudd and Woody Allen’s Zelig is that Zelig was a fictional character who had a mental disease. So what is Anthony Albanese’ excuse when he supports the stupid leader of his party with stupid lies? - ed.

Campese one of eight Origin debutants for NSW Blues
Canberra star Terry Campese won the hotly-contested NSW five-eighth jersey as selectors named eight debutants to face Queensland next Wednesday.

OECD says record 2.1% contraction in Q1
The sharpest economic contraction on record for the OECD grouping of rich countries struck in the first quarter of this year, the body said on Monday, in its latest gauge of the worldwide downturn.
=== Comment ===
Our cocked-up and loaded leadership
Piers Akerman
THE chk-chk BOOM phenomenon has made Clare Werbeloff a household name, courtesy of the internet.
Tim Blair
The New York Times misses a scoop:
Mr. Smith rushed back to The Times’s bureau in Washington to repeat the story to Robert H. Phelps, an editor there, who took notes and tape-recorded the conversation, according to both men. But then Mr. Smith had to hand off the story — he had quit The Times and was leaving town the next day to attend Yale Law School …

So what happened to the tip, the notes, the tape? Were they pursued to no effect? Simply forgotten?

“I have no idea,” said Mr. Phelps …
It wasn’t much of a scoop anyway.
Tim Blair

At first I thought he was a typical ALP supporter - ed.
Do as Cate says, not as she flies
Andrew Bolt
Cate Blanchett flies to Copenhagen to tell 700 other people who flew to Copenhagen that the rest of us should use less carbon-based power:

Speaking at the World Business Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Blanchett—who won her best gong for The Aviator, the biopic of air travel pioneer Howard Hughes - said the low carbon economies of the future had to come into being right now… Among the gathering’s 700 participants were the heads of some of the world’s biggest companies, including Siemens, Pepsico and Ericsson.
What’s German for “spin”?
Andrew Bolt
Kevin Rudd excuse for blocking the appointment of a diplomat who stood up to him comes unschpunn:

THE senior diplomat whose appointment as ambassador to Germany was blocked by the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, purportedly on the grounds that he did not speak the language well enough was proficient in German…

Mr Rudd, asked yesterday why he stopped the appointment, said his preference was “to have people in positions who spoke the language well”....

Mr Borrowman until recently headed the international division in the Prime Minister’s Department. He also had studied German, and was described on a press release announcing his appointment to Stockholm as having “qualifications” in German - something that only occurs, the Herald understands, if the official has a “proficient language capacity”.

And Rudd hasn’t always been this picky:

The position of Australia’s top representative in Berlin is not a “language-designated” posting that would require a “level three” strong working level proficiency.... Figures obtained from the Department of Foreign Affairs show that of the seven heads of mission appointed by the Rudd Government to positions that were “language designated”, only four actually had the required language proficiency.
Not a joke to Sol
Andrew Bolt
Sol Trujillo actually has a point - which he then stretches mightily:

Former Telstra boss Sol Trujillo has taken a parting shot at Australia after his controversial reign at the telco, labelling the country racist and backward.

The point he has is that some of the teasing to which he was subjected, playing on his Mexican heritage, could indeed be seen a racist. It’s also true, though, that much of that teasing actually came from commentators and cartoonists who are not, to my knowledge, the kind of people who actually think less of a person because of their particular ethnic heritage.

And to use that isolated teasing, from people fundamentally well-meaning, as evidence that the whole country as racist? Well, that’s .. racist.

We might well ask how a country could be said to be fundamentally racist, harboring “a belief that only a certain people are acceptable versus others”, when it actually appointed Trujillo to head one of its biggest and most iconic companies and gave him $31 million to run it. Racism doesn’t usually come in such a luxury version.

I suspect that contributing to the teasing was the sense that Trujillo remained defiantly an outsider as many newscomers do not. His contempt for the Australian political and business culture was clear, and his methods of pushing Telstra’s interests seemed culturally inappropriate, if not counterproductive. And, of course, he left the instant his work at Telstra was done. I think Trujillo is complaining in part of being seen as the outsider he was and is.
Save the planet! Check termite farts
Andrew Bolt
Atttach “global warming” to any scientific topic, however obscure, and you have a grant:

The Australian Government’s effort to comprehensively account for all greenhouse gas emissions has now turned its attention to the tiniest of creatures - termites.

A CSIRO project in the Top End of the Northern Territory is measuring methane emissions from mound-building termites.

University of Melbourne Phd student Hizbullah Jamali says early results show termites emit very little when compared to animals like cows.

Would never have guessed.
Windy stories from Denmark
Andrew Bolt
Greens leader Bob Brown says we should learn from Denmark and slash our wicked greenhouses gases just as it does:
Denmark’s wind generation industry already employs 9000 people, will nicet (sic) 10% of electricity demand by 2000, and is growing at 20% per annum. It’s a major export earner.

In fact, Denmark’s climate minister was in Australia last week, urging us to copy it, too. But then Terry McCrann checked the facts behind Denmark’s wind-powered fairy tale:

First, Denmark is only able to get as much as 30 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources, mostly wind, because it is hooked up to the grids of Sweden, Germany and Norway. Because when the wind don’t blow, it’s got to get power from somewhere… But the power from Sweden and Germany comes from nuclear and coal…

The second inconvenient truth is that with all its energy purity - for all that power from wind - Denmark has cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by all of . . .?

Well, actually, it hasn’t. The latest data from the European Energy Agency (EEA) - no evil right-wing climate sceptic - shows that in 2006 Denmark’s GHG emissions were 1.7 per cent above its base year emissions. Denmark has some work to do to get to the 21 per cent reduction over the 2008-12 period, it committed to under Kyoto.

And, of course, Danish householders must now pay the highest prices for power in Europe.
Free cash, pink batts, school halls - and debt, debt, debt
Andrew Bolt
Oh, really? I am surprised:

RESERVE Bank director Warwick McKibbin has warned that global government spending to stimulate the economy is being dominated by political agendas that will saddle future generations with debt and slow economic growth…

The Rudd Government has spent more than $60 billion on stimulus… Professor McKibbin said he was not passing comment on the Australian stimulus spending, although he said he stood by the criticisms he made before the Senate earlier this year that cash handouts were not an effective use of taxpayer funds.

Actually, the only surprise is that more experts haven’t spoken up against this colossal and disastrous spending of money we do not have on things we do not need.
Keating to Rudd: Hands off super
Andrew Bolt
Paul Keating is right - Kevin Rudd has no right to treat private superannuation as if it were a gift from government:

PAUL Keating and Bill Kelty, joint architects of Australia’s compulsory superannuation system, have strongly warned against any move to raise to 67 the age at which people can take their benefits…

The minimum age at which people can draw on their super now is between 55 and 60, depending on their year of birth. The Henry tax inquiry has recommended gradually aligning the access age with the Government’s proposed new pension eligibility age, which will be 67 by 2023…

Mr Keating said longevity in developed countries had risen markedly so it followed that the age of retirement would also rise. It was not unreasonable for the access age to the public pension to also rise.

“But privately paid-for superannuation is altogether a different thing… Were superannuation to be seen simply as some kind of substitute for the public pension, then the essence of it, the salary sacrifice in it, would be pointless,” he said. “This is why the superannuation access age is already lower than the pension age of 65… It should stay as it is. It provides people with flexibility...”
How Rudd spins the gallery
Andrew Bolt
Media Watch details one of Kevin Rudd’s trickiest techniques of spin - telling senior reporters of press conferences too late for them to attend and ask him awkward questions:

It’s a recurring pattern, the bureaux tell Media Watch. Specialist political reporters, and their pesky questions, aren’t welcome at the PM’s photo-opportunities.

In fact, Rudd will even refuse to bring along a pool reporter to cover a pretty-pictures press stunt he’s announced last minute at the other end of the country:
Once again, one TV channel in Perth - this time Ten - was told there were seats on the PM’s plane for a camera operator and a sound recordist. Ten said it didn’t need a soundo. Could it send a pool reporter instead? The answer was no. Ten camera operator Claire Leeman tells Media Watch:

There was at least one spare seat on the plane.
Then there’s Rudd’s technique of making big announcements to divert attention from reports that might be critical:

… media people from the PM’s office have taken to dropping round to the press gallery at around 10am to find out what stories they’re working on. If the office doesn’t like the news agenda, it quickly finds a new story to feed the chooks. The ABC’s Political Editor Chris Uhlmann told us:

The PM’s announcements are driven not by policy but by the media cycle.
So are the dreams of a David Marr being realised? Have we got a more open government now that we’ve got rid of that tyrant Howard who “cowed his critics, muffled the press”? Could a Marr still dare to claim that “Howard’s Government has been the most unscrupulous corrupter of public debate in Australia since the Cold War’s worst days”? In fact:

But the TV networks - and we spoke to all five - believe it’s getting harder than ever for them to do their job. Some typical comments:

It’s getting worse than with Howard… They are worse than the previous government… It’s disgraceful...
I note that only Uhlmann, though, put his name to this criticism. Some critics are still cowed.
Warming! No, cooling! No…
Andrew Bolt
Global warming in Melbourne!
Melbourne had its warmest May night on record. The overnight minimum of 18C degrees at 7.32 a.m. passed the previous record of 17.8C degrees, which was set 62 years ago… Weather Bureau spokesman Peter Blake ... said that record-changing events were becoming more common and last May one evening had also approached the 1947 record.

Global ... er .. cooling in Cooktown!

THE Far North’s cold snap has broken a 113 year record in the Cooktown region north of Cairns and smashed six other records for May… (The) temperature (was) 1.3C lower than the coldest May day on record since 1896 on the property southwest of Cooktown.
Obama’s diplomacy delivers with a bang
Andrew Bolt
This was Barack Obama’s promise:

Obama and Biden will ... negotiate a verifiable global ban on the production of new nuclear weapons material to curb the spread of nuclear weapons. Barack Obama will pursue tough, direct diplomacy without preconditions to end the threat from Iran.

So, how’s all this negotiating and diplomacy (such a refreshing change!) working out? Let’s check news reports from just the past few days:

Iran is clearly moving closer to acquiring a nuclear weapons capability..., Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said...."Most of us believe that it is one to three years (away from acquiring nuclear weapons), depending on assumptions about where they are right now. But they are moving closer clearly and they continue to do that,” he said.


North Korea said it staged a successful and more powerful underground nuclear test Monday than its previous test in 2006, followed later Monday by the apparent launches of three short-range missiles.

I think Iran and North Korea agree that Obama is a very nice man, who speaks beautifully.

You might also think that Kevin Rudd’s new disarmament body isn’t having any measurable success, either:

Kevin Rudd has selected former foreign affairs minister Gareth Evans to be Australia’s head of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Commission, which he hopes will coordinate international talks ahead of a review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2010.

But we shouldn’t ignore the fact that one country is cutting its nukes program, although you may well wonder if it’s really the country that should:

Obama’s new budget plan includes a little-noted sea change in U.S. nuclear policy, and a step towards his vision of a denuclearized world. It provides no funding for the Reliable Replacement Warhead program...


Is Obama Another Jimmy Carter?

That’s the fear of Bahukutumbi Raman, formerly of the Indian intelligence service, who warns:

Jimmy Carter took a little over three years to create the image of the U.S. as a confused and soft power. Obama is bidding fair to create that image even in his first year in office. The North Korean defiance is the first result of this perceived soft image.
How desperate are these people?
Andrew Bolt
Climate scientist Ben McNeil says if I use sunscreen I must believe in catastrophic man-made global warming.

True. Such is the state both of warming alarmism and our universities.
Defending the honor of stewards of dysfunction
Andrew Bolt
Rights insanity #1:

THE Salvation Army has apologised over an advertisement published in newspapers today which has outraged sex workers.

As the Army band trumpeted, sex workers with placards and red umbrellas stormed the launch of its Red Shield Appeal in Sydney.

The Australian sex workers association, the Scarlet Alliance, was protesting over the Salvos’ ad in newspapers which drew attention to its rehabilitation efforts. The ad told the story of ‘Rick’, saying: “To get Rick out of prostitution, we had to resort to smuggling.’’

Scarlet Alliance president Elena Jeffreys said the Salvation Army had exploited the sex worker involved and was encouraging community discrimination against legal prostitution.

Rights insanity #2:
The Commonwealth’s threat to compulsorily acquire Aboriginal town camps in Alice Springs breaches international law, a prominent lawyer says.

The Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin, says “the time for negotiation is over” after the Tangentyere Council rejected a $100 million Government bid to lease the camps for 40 years in exchange for new infrastructure development....

But lawyer George Newhouse, who is representing several town camp residents over a separate matter, says the forced resumption of leases would go against the Government’s commitments to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination…

“There is no other group or people in this country that has to give up their land to get basic government services… This action is going to cost the Government hundreds of millions of dollars...”
Rudd says “billion” - but only on the ABC
Andrew Bolt
He says it!

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull began question time today by asking Mr Rudd to express “in a sum of money’’ the maximum amount of Government debt the Budget would create… ”Gross debt peaks at around about $300 billion,’’ Mr Rudd replied to cheers from the Opposition benches.

But Grahame Morris, former chief of staff to John Howard, notes on Sky News that Rudd dares say it in Question Time because the ABC-provided footage cannot be used in political advertisements by the Liberals.
Downer to Australians abroad: grow up
Andrew Bolt
I’m with Alexander Downer, who says what he didn’t dare when Foreign Minister:

After about 10 minutes as foreign minister I was a little surprised to learn I was “responsible” for miscreant Australians who got into trouble in foreign countries.

No, no, no, don’t get it wrong - drug traffickers, drunks, kleptomaniacs and fraudsters weren’t responsible for their own stupidity - I was.

It’s about time that great nanny in Canberra, the Federal Government, turned around and told people they are responsible for their own decisions.
May I borrow your church?
Andrew Bolt
The man wants to borrow the pulpit provided by the church, but without paying the church its most basic due:
Richard Holloway says the worldwide Anglican Church has made room for “happy clapping” evangelicals, bells-and-smells Catholics, women priests and, in the United States, openly gay clergy and even practitioners of other faiths. So surely, he argues, it can find room for people like him - Christians who don’t believe in God.

Holloway, contrary to popular belief, has not left the Episcopal Church, as Scottish Anglicanism is known. He may have taken early retirement as Bishop of Edinburgh but the writer remains an ordained priest and consecrated bishop, who still preaches from the pulpit, performs baptisms and weddings and even presides at communion.

Naturally, this is precisely the kind of taking-the-Christ-out-of-Christian bishop the Sydney Writers Festival gives a pulpit to as well.
'Obama-nomics': Where Are the Jobs?
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 25, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: Well, it has been three months since President Obama signed the stimulus package into law, but is there any evidence that this $780 billion bill is actually helping Americans? Stimulus projects going into effect around the country. Signs like these mark road and highway projects around the nation that have been paid for with your tax dollars. And yet unemployment continues to rise, up to 8.9 percent in April. And it was 8.5 percent in March. So what is going on?

Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal is my guest now. Stephen, thanks so much for being here.


KELLY: Thanks for coming in on Memorial Day. All right, so, you know, we're looking at...

MOORE: No problem.

KELLY: ... the numbers, and you know, Barack Obama certainly claims that he's had some success turning around the banking industry, but we're talking now about that economic stimulus. And we've got unemployment at some shocking rates. I want to ask you. He told us that with the stimulus, that we would be in April at around a 7.8 percent an unemployment rate, around 7.8 percent, and that without the stimulus, it would be 8.5 percent. It's already at 8.9 percent, so it's higher than he predicted it would be if we had no stimulus at all! What does that tell you about the president's plan?

MOORE: Well, it tells me, Megyn, that this -- what I call the Argentina strategy of economic recovery, of borrow and borrow and borrow and then borrow some more, hasn't worked very well. We have lost -- we've been averaging about 500,000 new lost jobs every month now for the last four or five months. It's a dismal record. Not all of that, of course, Megyn...

KELLY: But it's even...

MOORE: ... can be blamed...

KELLY: ... than that, isn't it? Steve, let me just interrupt you. Isn't it -- the weekly jobless claims are over 630,000. We do this on my morning show when the numbers come out, and every week, it's another 630,000, another 630,000, another 630,000.

MOORE: Right.

KELLY: We've got over six million people in this country who are unemployed now.

MOORE: That's right. I mean, we've seen a massive (INAUDIBLE) as you say, about six million lost jobs since the recession started. Now, of course, that started before Barack Obama was president.

The problem is that the borrowing isn't causing the economic growth that we hoped for, Megyn. You know, we've been spending and borrowing a billion dollars an hour. The hour that you're going to be on TV tonight, we'll borrow another billion dollars at the federal level. These numbers are so huge, about $30,000 of borrowing per family in America -- and you know what? When you borrow like that and then you tax and you spend, you just don't get a robust recovery.

Now, the good news, Megyn -- I'm going to predict that I think we are going to see a bit of a recovery this summer. I think those large numbers of unemployed that you talked about -- I think we're going to see that coming down. There are some indications that have come out in the last couple weeks that are showing some progress with respect to consumer confidence coming back. The banks are making more credit available. Business inventories are falling.

But you know, the question is whether it's going to be a sustainable expansion. I don't think you create a sustainable expansion with massive amounts of government borrowing. And as you talked about in the last segment, who's borrowing -- who's taking out all these loans? It's basically the Chinese government.

KELLY: And not even them anymore. But let me ask you this...

MOORE: That's right!

KELLY: ... Stephen, because you know, the concern a lot of people have when they see this mounting debt, not to mention deficit, and they see these unemployment numbers, and the Federal Reserve came out last week and said, Our forecast says it's going to be a lot worse than we thought it was -- then you see all these plans, these aggressive plans that Barack Obama still has in place, laudable perhaps on paper, but -- but big questions about how we actually pay for them, not just education reform and environmental reform and health care reform, which is a huge number...

MOORE: Right.

KELLY: ... for which he's not getting the funding, his plans to pay for that...


KELLY: ... to cap your charitable donation deductions and to reduce your mortgage interest reduction -- those are being blown off my lawmakers (INAUDIBLE) So there's still big questions about how he's going to pay for that. But now we learn...


KELLY: ... that Social Security is running out of money at a faster rate than predicted. Medicare is running out of money faster than predicted. So where -- where does all the money come from?

MOORE: Well, this is the real crisis. I mean, you put your finger on the problem. I mean, we just found out in the last couple of weeks that the big entitlement programs, Medicare and Social Security, have much bigger deficits than we ever thought possible. In fact, social Security spent more money than it took in this year for the first time in 25 years.

And if you have a big problem where you've got, you know, huge amounts of debt with the national debt, and then Social Security and Medicare are both in debt, the last thing you want to do is create a new entitlement program that you can't pay for. But what's going to happen in the next couple of weeks right out here in Capitol Hill? They're going to try to pass a $1.5 trillion expansion of the entitlement programs with no way to pay for it!

KELLY: All right, then, on that note, we say good night to Stephen Moore, our guest. Thank you so much for coming in, with The Wall Street Journal. Steve, we appreciate it.

MOORE: See you, Megyn. Take care.
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