Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Headlines Tuesday 5th May 2009

Happy Birthday, Cathy (for tomorrow)

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Almost all school teachers have been bullied: study
Almost all school teachers have been bullied in the workplace, often by senior staff or the principal, a national study reveals. - As a former full time teacher I can confirm this, and raise my concern over the treatment of Hamidur Rahman's death which I feel has not been properly investigated and which may have resulted from such bullying which hadn't been directed at the student. - ed.

ETS delay a 'humiliating back down': Turnbull
The Rudd government is defending its decision to delay the introduction of its emissions trading scheme, despite previously pushing for an early start date.

Eczema treatment refused, baby dies
In the last months of her life, baby Gloria Thomas suffered such terrible eczema her skin would weep and peel, sticking to her clothing when she was changed.

Point to point cameras to target NSW
Point to point speed cameras will soon target heavy vehicles on NSW’s roads.

Activists blamed for deadly booby traps
A state Labor MP says anti-logging protesters in Tasmania are laying deadly booby traps - putting lives at risk.

Man killed deaf boy's dog as revenge
A man who sought revenge on his de facto partner by bashing her deaf son's dog so violently the pet had to be put down, has been jailed for more than a year.

Reward to find dead father's attackers
A $100,000 reward is being offered to help find who bashed a British man in a senseless and vicious attack in central Sydney.

Turnbull fails to push what oppn stands for: Bishop
Liberal backbencher Bronwyn Bishop has taken a swipe at Leader Malcolm Turnbull for failing to give Australians a clear line about what the Opposition stands for. - It is really easy to hit the Liberal party and have it reported, but very hard to criticize the ALP and have it reported. So that when Rudd abused a hostess it was noted that many previous instances of his abuse had not been reported even though they had occurred, at times, to the journalists themselves. As Mr Howard said, the Liberal Party is a broad church (Reagan called his Republicans a big tent in much the same vein). Not everyone who agrees on 80% disagrees on 20%, or rather, they disagree, but accept the conservative agenda within the broad church. lefties all think and act the same, but conservatives have ideas, thoughts, scruples. Turnbull is doing a good job, IMHO. Rudd is appallingly bad as leader or PM. - ed.
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Security curtain has been left wide open
Piers Akerman
THE decision to let the Chinese Government build an antenna network for the CSIRO virtually adjacent to a top-secret joint US-Australian intelligence and operations base has left military chiefs dumbfounded. -This is not the first Rudd blunder, or the first ALP one involving black ops and bad judgement.
Whitlam’s engagement with China resulted in the rapid evacuation from Vietnam, so that supplies left behind for the south were captured by the communists and became a threat to Aus security. Whitlam’s solution was to give Timor to Jakarta and prevent the sale of Vietnamese weaps to communist Timorise. A tragedy that still hasn’t completely unravelled to this day. Rudd may have involved himself with the possibility of a good headline in a black op gone sour with the killing of Alfredo Reinado.
Not many survived to the end of the Long March of Mao. Where will Rudd lead us on his long march?

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PRUDENT PAIN
Tim Blair
At 27, Carol Gould began planning for her future. The US-born, Britain-based TV producer joined an employee pension plan, then bought the flat she’d been renting and signed up for a couple of financial endowment plans.

By the time she was 30, Gould had made all the sensible financial decisions those of us now in our mid-40s wish we had made at the same early age. None of her investments were risky.

“Had anyone looked at my life at 30,” Gould wrote last week in online journal Pajamas Media, “they would have said I was the most prudent young woman.”

Gould is now 55. She is broke.
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CLIMATE CHANGERS CHANGE
Tim Blair
The NYT reports:
The problem with global warming, some environmentalists believe, is “global warming.”

The term turns people off, fostering images of shaggy-haired liberals, economic sacrifice and complex scientific disputes, according to extensive polling and focus group sessions conducted by ecoAmerica, a nonprofit environmental marketing and messaging firm in Washington.
Another term that turns people off: “nonprofit environmental marketing and messaging firm in Washington”. Still, let’s hear them out:
Instead of grim warnings about global warming, the firm advises, talk about “our deteriorating atmosphere.” Drop discussions of carbon dioxide and bring up “moving away from the dirty fuels of the past.” Don’t confuse people with cap and trade; use terms like “cap and cash back” or “pollution reduction refund.”
These people are geniuses. Their wily wordsmithing can’t possibly fail. Why, “cap and cash back” has the word “cash” in it! Rubes will line up for miles around! All of this linguistic fussiness is due, as the NYT admits, to an increased shunning of enviro-alarmism:
Environmental issues consistently rate near the bottom of public worry, according to many public opinion polls. A Pew Research Center poll released in January found global warming last among 20 voter concerns; it trailed issues like addressing moral decline and decreasing the influence of lobbyists.
Especially global warming lobbyists.
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MARGARET THE GREAT
Tim Blair
Mark Steyn salutes Margaret Thatcher:
Thirty years ago this month, a grocer’s daughter from the English Midlands became Britain’s female prime minister – not because the electorate was interested in making (Obama-style) history, but just because nothing worked any more. The post-1945 socialist settlement – government health care, government automobile industry, government everything – had broken down: Inflation over 25 percent, marginal taxes rates over 90 percent, mass unemployment, permanent strikes. The country’s union leaders were household names, mainly because they were responsible for everything your household lacked …

Margaret Thatcher was a great leader, who reversed her country’s decline – to the point where, two decades later, the electorate felt it was safe to vote the Labour Party back into office. And yet, in the greater scheme of things, the Thatcher interlude seems just that: a temporary respite from a remorseless descent into the abyss.
Perhaps, but the abyss also loomed in 1979, prior to Thatcher’s election. Sometimes it only takes one person of sufficient will …

UPDATE. Further from Steyn:
Mrs Thatcher privatised British Telecom, British Airways, British Leyland. But we still have a nationalised British political culture – the reflexive gripe that, if something’s wrong with your local hospital or your local school, it ought to be fixed by some secretary of state in a Whitehall department.
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ZINK AVOIDS CLINK
Tim Blair
Killer academic George Zinkhan remains on the loose, although police have located his Jeep – and, within it, his passport. Unlikely that it lists his current occupation, however:
Accused murderer George Zinkhan III now is one of America’s Most Wanted.
The big time! Reader Michael recalls Zinkhan as a bearded glarer:
When I was doing academic marketing research at U Texas I knew George Zinkhan. Not pals per se, but first name basis. He invited me to give a couple of talks at the University of Houston where he was teaching at the time, and we corresponded about doing some research projects about a newfangled thing called the internet. After I left academe I lost touch with him, along with most people in that biz. In any case, except for his trademark villain beard nothing really alerted me to “potential murderer.” After seeing the news I think my first reaction was, “Yeah, I guess he really did glare a lot.”
But he doesn’t fly so much:
The University of Georgia professor suspected of killing his wife and two men a week ago did not attempt to use a plane ticket to Amsterdam on Saturday.

Federal agents waited at Hartsfield-Jackson-Atlanta International Airport to see if George Zinkhan III would show, but the Delta Airlines jet apparently took off Saturday afternoon without him.
And that’s where matters stand, at least for now; as this report observes, “Zinkhan has seemingly vanished, taking with him his unfathomable motives.” Not that motives are much of an issue:
As for the police hunting Zinkhan, their first priority is not to understand what drove Zinkhan to kill – they just want to know where he is.

Police build profiles when they don’t have a suspect for a crime, explained Athens-Clarke County Police Capt. Clarence Holeman.

“I have no thoughts about his mindset or any profile on him. We don’t need a profile on him, because we have three murder warrants,” Holeman said.
Excuse the aside, but this point about routine policing will come as a shock to Robert Fisk, who for years has bitched about the need to investigate a 9/11 motive:
Then [Fisk] was back again to his gripe that no one wanted to ask the motives behind the 9/11 killings. If the police show up, he tells us, the first thing they do is look for a motive, but not on 9/11.
Didn’t need it, Bobby. Ask any cop.
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LIKE A TASER, BUT FURRY
Tim Blair
First aim your dog, then fire:

Police pup gallery here.

UPDATE. The sheer athleticism of these cop dogs is remarkable:

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ANDREW WANTS DETAILS
Tim Blair
Regional Trigblogging champion Andrew Sullivan continues his Ahab-like pursuit of Sarah Palin and the Great Alaskan Mystery Baby:
For the record, she says that she kept her pregnancy secret for seven months because there were “neanderthals” out there who would have refused to believe that a pregnant woman could handle her public duties as governor, and because of her own conflicted feelings about having a Down Syndrome child at the age of 44. She does not explain the bizarre circumstances of the day-long labor on various airplanes. But, hey, maybe at some point, she will. When she does, I will do my best to bring it to you. Maybe one day - who knows? - a journalist might even ask.
There’s only one reason anyone would ask any such questions, and that would be if there was some doubt over Palin being Trig’s mother. Otherwise, what on earth would be the point?
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PUSHERS PUNISHED
Tim Blair
Retailers have been warned not to profiteer from a plastic shopping bag ban which starts today.

Responding to Woolworths’ launch of its new reusable bag range, which will sell for up to $4.99 for the deluxe model, Environment Minister Jay Weatherill has warned his office will monitor the cost of reusable bags to the public …

“We will guard against people making windfall profits.”
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Plimer: on being slimed
Andrew Bolt
Professor Ian Plimer sums up the three weeks he’s had since he released a book sceptical of man-made global warming:

IN Heaven and Earth - Global Warming: The Missing Science, I predicted that the critics would play the man and not discuss the science. Initial criticism appeared before the book was released three weeks ago.

Well-known catastrophists criticised the book before they actually received a review copy. Critics, who have everything to gain by frightening us witless with politicised science, have now shown their true colours. No critic has argued science with me…

Despite having four review copies, ABC’s Lateline photocopied parts of chapters and sent them to an expert on gravity, a biologist and one who produces computer models. These critics did not read the book in its entirety. The compere of Lateline claimed that he had read the book yet his questions showed the opposite…

In The Age (Insight, May 2), David Karoly claims that my book “does not support the answers with sources”. Considering that the book has 2311 footnotes as sources, Karoly clearly had not read the book. Maybe Karoly just read up to page 21, which showed that his published selective use of data showed warming but, when the complete set of data was used, no such warming was seen.

Capital city ABC and newspaper media outlets have treated the public with disdain. They have used arrogant pompous scientists who talk down to the public and yet these scientists forget that the public employs them. My critics are never asked: Who funds them? What have they to gain by following their party line? Why have they ignored a huge body of contrary science? What are their political associations? What unelected groups support them? Yet I am constantly asked these questions.

UPDATE

Meanwhile Plimer’s book is in its fourth reprint.
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Were they spinning or lying?
Andrew Bolt
Until yesterday, we could not wait a day longer to do something useless to stop a warming that’s stopped already.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in September, 2008:

WE must prepare for a low-carbon economy. To delay any longer, to stay in denial as the climate change sceptics and some members opposite would have us do, is reckless and irresponsible.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong in December, 2008:

SOME have argued - in Australia and elsewhere - that the global financial crisis is a reason for delay. I want to emphasise to you here today that this is not the view of the Australian Government… The Australian Government’s view remains that delay is deferring what we know we must do; delay will simply increase the costs.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett in 2007:

It’s simply not good enough for Australia and for our environment to wait a day longer. In fact, it’s just dangerous… There’s no time for excuses. For the long term future of our economy, our environment, for our children and their kids, we must act now.

Treasurer Wayne Swan in July, 2008:

The longer we wait to take action on climate change, the sharper the adjustment to the economy will be when we are forced to act. The Australian economy simply can’t afford to wait.

Rudd’s climate change advisor, Ross Garnaut, in September, 2008:

There is a chance, just a chance, that humanity will act in time… Time is an essential element ... we have very little time … very great time pressures on us… The awful reality is that we’re too late to avoid some impacts from dangerous climate change… Delaying now is not postponing a decision; to delay is to make a decision. It is to choose not to reduce the risks of climate change to acceptable levels.

Now every one of the above says we can wait, after all, and the Government’s emissions trading scheme has been delayed a year and weakened. Why would you trust a single thing these people say?

UPDATE

As for these craven apologists…

The Australian Conservation Foundation, the Climate Institute and the WWF put aside reservations to back the changes…

UPDATE 2

The carpetbaggers of the Business Council of Australia and Australian Industry Group back Rudd’s scheme, too, and demand it be supported in the Senate. They are turkeys who welcome the postponement of Christmas and demand Thanksgiving be celebrated instead.

UPDATE 3

Annabel Crabb nails the con:

The start date of 2010 (for Rudd’s scheme) was originally chosen, it seems pretty clear, mainly for the fact that it was a year earlier than the date chosen by John Howard for his emissions trading scheme, and not because there was anything especially feasible about it.

Everything is spin, not substance, with Rudd.

UPDATE 4

Terry McCrann:

KEVIN Rudd’s postponement of the emissions trading scheme is utterly and entirely cynical. It has no other substantive purpose than to postpone the real and serious pain to be inflicted - completely pointlessly - on every Australian until after the election.

As for the business turkeys, here’s McCrann again:
The Business Council though was almost beyond pusillanimous. Opening its statement with its recitation of the climate creed… It’s particularly sickening coming from a body that once put both its credibility and its shared interests on the line in the fight for real, creative reform to benefit all Australians.
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Taliban threat to Pakistan’s nukes
Andrew Bolt
Like bin Laden with nukes:

FACED with a surge of Islamic militant activity in Pakistan, the US Government is increasingly concerned about the potential vulnerability of Islamabad’s nuclear arsenal.

Concerns include the potential for militants to snatch a weapon in transport or to insert sympathisers into laboratories or fuel-production facilities.

The US does not know where all of Pakistan’s nuclear sites are located, and its concerns over the arsenal have intensified in the past two weeks since the Taliban entered Buner, a northwest district 110km from the capital.

The question isn’t just what the Taliban would do with such weapons, but how India would defend itself. Iraq will be as nothing compared to what Pakistan may become.
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Rudd backs losers
Andrew Bolt
June 2008:

TOYOTA will receive federal grants of $35 million and a similar figure from the Brumby Government to produce hybrid Camry vehicles in Melbourne.

May 2009:

Sales of Toyota’s Camry and Aurion sedans, which are built in Melbourne, were down about 50 per cent on a year earlier. The result puts increasing pressure on Toyota’s Altona manufacturing plant...

Same story at Holden.

December 2008:

The federal Government will give Holden $149 million over three years from its $1.3 billion green-car fund, after the company meets certain milestones. The South Australian Government has promised $30 million over four years.

May 2009:

GM HOLDEN ... scaled back its production from 620 to 310 cars per day in light of falling domestic and export sales, putting the bulk of its 3150 factory workers into a day-shift week-on, week-off schedule...
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Reporters salute their president
Andrew Bolt

Are reporters more deferential to President Obama than they were to President Bush? Stand up, those who think “yes”.
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How we must pay to rescue the most helpless
Andrew Bolt
Reader Sue on the illegal immigrants - and a better way to help those who need it:

We are the very proud parents of two wonderful children welcomed through intercountry adoption. We get pretty cross about illegal aliens arriving on our shores. We’re not racist - heck we have two terrific kids - one from South Korea and one from China - but we do get mighty cross about people who can’t obey a legal process.

To welcome our children, we had to pass through a rigorous process - one which we do not challenge. It’s right that we are determined to be fit and proper people to parent. That process is long and expensive - very on both counts! Then, once successful, we have to have our file sent to our country of choice - more fees and charges to the relinquishing country and the start of many fees and charges to the Commonwealth Government (and we’re LOCALS).

Below are the fees and charges to the Queensland Government, China and the Commonwealth government. These fees were paid relating to our daughter’s adoption in 2002… We are not wealthy people and it was expensive but this is the way we have made our family and we would change nothing. It’s even more expensive now.

Application fee - higher since July 2002 (Qld - now $100) $53.00
Assessment Fee - higher since July 2002 (Qld - now $5000 changed by the Bligh Govt) $705.00

Medicals (initial - Qld) $76.00

Medicals (for China) $76.00

Birth and Marriage Certificates - originals for Qld $65.00

Bridge of Love Translation (China) $364.00

CCAA Application Fee (China) $663.00

Chinese Embassy Authentication $610.00 (Costs linked to number of pages)

DIMIA Binding $20.00

Finger printing - Police - both (Qld) $240.00

Notarising (here) $100.00

Airfares and airport taxes plus building fees (China) $3664.00

(NOTE: You have to travel to the relinquishing country to receive your child. 2 adults, 1 child, 1 bassinette for home leg)

China Women’s Travel Service - accommodation, breakfast, facilitation, entry fees $4200.00

Panel doctors for DIMIA medical $400.00

Provincial Civil Affairs (China) $380.00

Compulsory Orphanage Donation $6000.00

Notary - in China $1500.00

Passport (China) $300.00

Visa application - translation fees $12/page (Australian Consulate) $72.00

Translation of Allocation Documents (Qld) $520.00

NSW courier of docs $40.00

Gifts - camera photo, toy etc to China - postage $43.00

Translation of post placement reports - 2 @ $60.00 (Qld) $120.00

Citizenship cost - application Form 124 $120.00

TOTAL $20,331.00

When we welcomed our children through adoption we were were advised of the long process - we asked why we could not just jump on a plane and go - we were cautioned against going to the country, adopting the child and just coming home. We were told in no uncertain terms that we would be told to return the children to his / her country of birth… We’re ‘John and Jane Citizen’ conservatives and did it all ‘by the book’.

Why should we then accept that ‘the book’ does not apply to these boat people? Don’t tell us that the circumstances of life in a Chinese orphanage were so good that she could just wait - visit one and you’ll know waiting is not a desirable option… We do not accept that the needs of the boat people are greater than those of children waiting in orphanages all over the planet. If they want to start rubber stamping the jumping of queues, then let’s start with these children for whom no one speaks.

Sue sent me pictures of the orphanage from which her daughter was taken. I can’t reproduce them because the children are indentifiable. Needless to say, if we kept the children of asylum seekers in these conditions, lacking even sheets, we would rightly be criticised.
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Green car crashes
Andrew Bolt
Yet another false solution to a false alarm. American Thinker reports:

Environmentalism is suffering a crisis of both image and reality. Two news stories highlight this trend. The first story is on the reality of electric cars .

“The German branch of the environmental group World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) has conducted a study together with IZES, a German institute for future energy systems, on the environmental impact of electric vehicles in Germany.”
In the “best case” scenario, “overall national carbon dioxide emissions would only be cut by 0.1 percent.” In the “worst case,” the electric car would be worse than gasoline-powered ones.
“An electric car with a lithium ion battery powered by electricity from an old coal power plant could emit more than 200g of carbon dioxide per km, compared with current average gasoline car of 160g of carbon dioxide per km in Europe.”

UPDATE

A public symposium in Melbourne on natural climate change you may wish to catch:

1 pm (sharp) to 5 pm, 24 May, 2009, Lecture Theatre, South 1, Monash University, Clayton. (Near Alexander Theatre, parking nearby)

From the email alert from Professor Lance Endersbee AO, former dean of engineering at Monash:

This is to be a scientific symposium, open to the public, directed to explaining the natural driving forces that cause natural climate change. It will be shown that the earth has recently completed a natural warming phase, and has now entered a natural cooling phase.

William Kininmonth, former Head, National Climate Centre, Bureau of Meteorology,
Richard Mackey
Ian Wilson, PhD.
David Archibald.
Professor Robert Carter, Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University.
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How will Garrett spin this?
Andrew Bolt

Remember this Peter Garrett commercial for Labor from 2007?

Most Australians of all ages and from all walks of life are now aware that global warming is real, and that climate change needs our urgent attention....

It’s simply not good enough for Australia and for our environment to wait a day longer. In fact, it’s just dangerous… There’s no time for excuses. For the long term future of our economy, our environment, for our children and their kids, we must act now.

What’s changed, Pete? How come your government can now wait not a day, but a year longer to bring in its emissions trading scheme? How come there’s now time for excuses? How come for the long-term future of the environment, we shouldn’t act now?

Were you spinning then, or are you spinning now?

False choice, actually. Our Environment Minister was spinning then and is spinning now. This was always a fake fix to a fake crisis, with a fake deadline but very real costs..
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Imam Costello
Andrew Bolt
Yes, another Right-winger, banging on about Muslims and multiculturalism:

‘I will give £5 to anyone in Britain who wants to live under Sharia law,’ he declares. ‘It will help pay for their ticket to Sudan, Yemen, Pakistan, or wherever it is customary to live under Sharia law.

‘Please, please go and leave us alone. This is Britain, not 10th century Arabia!’ …

‘(Multiculturalism) is the biggest disaster to happen to Britain since World War II,’ he says. ‘It has given the extremist mullahs the green light for radicalism and segregation. We have to, we must, adjust to British society...”

Er, “we”?

Sorry, I forget to mention who the speaker is. And, no, it’s not that wicked Peter Costello or his British like.
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Kim gets his bomb
Andrew Bolt
A frightening admission which I missed last month:

“North Korea has nuclear weapons, which is a matter of fact,” the head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, said this week.
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Rudd delays ETS
Andrew Bolt
Kevin Rudd goes cool on saving the planet:

The Federal Government is today expected to announce that it is delaying the introduction of its emissions trading scheme by a year.

The ABC understands that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is about to announce that the scheme will be delayed until 2011… The Government is also understood to be considering other changes, including a lower cap on the price of carbon.

Forget now setting the world an example. Forget now this kind of cant, which Rudd was still preaching less than a month ago:

The Government’s climate change strategy is being implemented step by step, recognising the urgency of the environmental and the economic imperative for action… The Government believes that the economic cost of inaction on climate change is far greater than the cost of action and that sustained inaction imperils our economy and the global economy.

Now Rudd still claims the world is heating to hell, thanks to man, but perhaps we can wait, after all.

Rudd should be pilloried for promising an urgent fix we couldn’t afford and a scheme that wouldn’t work to a problem that isn’t there and which he said couldn’t wait, only now to drop it for a year - or almost certainly longer.
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Manne and the missing doctor
Andrew Bolt
Professor Robert Manne deploys his typical weapons of choice in debate, with this patronising, petty, deeply personal and evasive attack on a former colleague:

I HAVE been involved in many public controversies. None, however, has been quite as nasty and unnecessary as the recent one following the end of Sally Warhaft’s editorship of the magazine The Monthly.

During the negotiations, The Monthly and Sally agreed that both sides would remain silent. It was obvious that if there was a public brawl all participants would be damaged (and) far more damage would be done to Sally than to us. (I apologise for this informality; I cannot call a former friend Dr Warhaft.)

Since Manne feels so free to speculate (nastily) about Warhaft’s motives, let me speculate in turn. In this piece, Manne seeks to portray Warhaft as a flighty, emotional, hysterical young lass, out of her league and needing forever to be rescued by her male colleagues:
(Monthly publisher) Morry (Schwartz) not only appointed Sally, he treated her always with greatest generosity. He also appointed young women as the chief executive officers of both The Monthly and Black Inc… I helped Sally find employment at La Trobe University… When Sally was feeling overwhelmed by the job, Chris and I offered to commission the book reviews… Sally became increasingly secretive… Sally reacted with fury… A Sally-initiated one-hour row occurred.

I do not doubt that Warhaft can be needlessly tribal, rude and aggressive, given her regular appearances in debates on 774 ABC. Yet, Manne’s attempt to belittle her may offer a better explanation of why he refuses in his piece to refer to her as “Dr Warhaft”. Why draw attention to the fact she actually has a doctorate, while Manne does not? Why elevate young sobbing Sally to an academic equal?

Should you think this a rather far-fetched and mean accusation to make of Manne, bear in mind that I have seen up close and personal his unprofessional and ungallant conduct in other debates, which have turned me from an admirer into a deplorer. Just one example of what I’ve experienced is here. Those of the left who backed him in that dispute may well now wonder if they paid him altogether far too much credit.
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Flu fizzles out, Rudd still feverish
Andrew Bolt
After so much fear-mongering, so many apocalyptic warnings and so much devastation to Mexico’s tourism industry:

MEXICO says its swine flu epidemic has peaked and is now in decline… The number of confirmed deaths from the virus was unchanged at 19...

Add to that the tragic death of a toddler in the US, visiting from Mexico City, and the total world-wide death toll of this “pandemic” is 20.

But the Rudd Government will be damned if it lets a good crisis go to waste, without it Doing Something:

AUSTRALIA has so far dodged the swine flu but the deadly virus is likely to come to our shores at some stage, Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said... The Government will this week launch a radio and TV campaign encouraging people to wash their hands, cover when they sneeze and look after themselves.

Total number of swine flu cases in Australia: zero.

UPDATE

Empire building to blame?

THE World Health Organisation has “cried wolf”’ over swine flu, a leading US researcher says. An expert in epidemiology from Stanford University, Shelley Salpeter, said that recent changes in the World Health Organisation’s influenza pandemic guidelines had exaggerated the risks of swine flu, which has infected fewer people than normal strains of influenza.

A World Health Organisation representative confirmed that, following the avian flu outbreak of 2003, the threshold for pandemic alerts was lowered so people would be better prepared for a serious outbreak… Under the new guidelines, the WHO moves to its second-highest alert level if two countries in a global region reported human-to-human transmission of the disease… But a WHO spokesman admitted that under the guidelines many normal strains of flu would also be “pandemics”.

This has been like the great global warming scare pushed by the IPCC, another UN agency, but mercifully played out much, much faster.

UPDATE 2

More politicians decide not to let a good crisis go to waste:

Egyptian riot police have clashed with stone-throwing pig farmers who were trying to prevent their animals being taken away for slaughter as part of a nationwide cull… Egypt began the cull of the nation’s 250,000 pigs on Saturday, despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) saying there was no evidence the animals were transmitting swine flu to humans.

The authorities are calling the slaughter a general health measure. No cases of swine flu, or influenza A(H1N1), have been reported in Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab world.

Egypt’s pigs mostly belong to and are eaten by members of the Coptic Christian minority. Islam bans the consumption of pork for the majority Muslims.
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Democrats Not Practicing What They Preach?
By Bret Baier
Democrats who accused the Bush administration of letting energy lobbyists write national policy have turned to their own lobbyists to help draft climate legislation.

The Washington Times reports that a group of environmental agencies and corporate giants known as the U.S. Climate Action Partnership has provided language included in the bill. It bars construction of new coal-fired projects for up to 15 years until clean coal technology is developed. It also gives a member of the lobby, Duke Energy Corporation, an exemption on a coal plant it is currently building. House Energy and Commerce Committee Deputy Republican staff director Larry Neal says: "the U.S. Climate Action Partnership companies must be delirious over the freebies that they've received after writing the blueprint for the House draft bill."
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