Monday, June 15, 2009

Headlines Monday 15th June 2009

NSW Budget to include ban on 'made in China' goods
The NSW Government is imposing a ban on goods imported from China in an effort to protect Australian jobs.

Smith slams Rees's 'made in China' ban
The Federal Government has rejected a State Government policy to ban 'made in China' goods, which......

Peter Costello eulogised by both parties
Peter Costello has ended years of speculation about his leadership ambitions by announcing his retirement from politics at the next federal election. - Peter may still contribute much in his future, as he is a very capable person. He has already been the greatest treasurer Australia had .. which must concern those who are wondering what will happen now Rudd has spent so much. His loss to politics is devastating and entirely due to Rudd's populist win. - ed.

Fielding takes on Wong over climate
Senator and climate change sceptic Steve Fielding is taking on Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and the country's top scientists at a meeting in Canberra. -Fielding spoke brilliantly on Sunday for the ABC's Insiders. Cassidy asked the ridiculous question spawned by Rudd "Maybe we don't know what's happening, but should we do something if it is important?" I have every confidence in Fielding as he faces two highly lauded professional scare mongers on his own. - ed.

Des Moran shot dead in Melbourne
The brother of Melbourne gangland figure Lewis Moran has been shot dead in broad daylight, the city's first underworld killing since 2006.


Sharks investigate Tony Zappia over dying fan donation
Former Cronulla Sharks boss Tony Zappia reportedly asked a terminally-ill fan who wanted to set up a foundation for the club to send money to his home address.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorses Palestinian state, with conditions
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed for the first time the creation of a Palestinian state, provided it's demilitarised.

Riots as Ahmadinejad decalres victory in Iranian election
The incumbent Iranian president won Saturday's national election, amid rumours it was rigged.

Bungle: TB patient on Qantas flight
Health authorities are monitoring passengers and flight crew from a Qantas flight between Cairns and the Torres Strait for symptoms of tuberculosis after a patient was mistakenly placed on the flight.

'I took bribes': RailCorp employee
A RailCorp employee has told an ICAC inquiry he actively sought bribes from potential contractors. Jess Pelliccione is there.

England knock out Twenty20 champions India
The holders India are out of the World Twenty20 after they lost a thrilling match to England by three runs at Lord's on Sunday.

CBA not selfish - it's a chicken
Everybody is "furious" and 'upset" at the "selfish" Commonwealth Bank for putting its variable housing rate up 0.10% on Friday (which applies from today). And yet all this confected rage has missed the point.

Reznor says Bonnaroo last US concert
Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor said their performance on Sunday at the Bonnaroo Music Festival was their last in the US.
=== Comments ===
BOWE FINDS BALANCE
Tim Blair
Racing driver John Bowe – shown here winning in 1992 and here in a 1980 race of champions – hit a wall of misery when he retired. His subsequent battle with clinical depression will be illuminating for many, and is a warning to those who live solely for their work.
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MAHMOUD LISTENS
Tim Blair
Jimmy Carter on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s dodgy re-election:
“I think this election has bought out a lot of opposition to his policies in Iran, and I’m sure he’ll listen to those opinions and hopefully moderate his position.”
Thirty years after the Iranian hostage crisis began, Carter still hasn’t worked Iran out. Observe the listening:

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GLOBE COVERED
Tim Blair
In winter, the Snuggie:

And in summer, the Wearable Towel:

There. All your domestic clothing problems are now solved. Unless you want to get into the dangerously balkanized Snuggie/Freedom Blanket/Slanket/Blankoat debate …

UPDATE:
I’m also starting to get notes from Snuggie fans in Australia, clamoring to be the first there to do a Snuggie Pub Crawl.
Paul Fussell’s thoughts on this would be fascinating.

UPDATE II, the growing menace of Snuggie crime:
Snuggie-wearing Newton teen accused of trying to break into store
Go read the comments.
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Wong calls in reinforcements
Andrew Bolt
Penny Wong calls in two alarmist scientists to put her case:

Family First Leader Senator Steve Fielding will sit down with Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, the Chief Scientist, Professor Penny Sackett and Professor Will Steffen to discuss questions raised by a series of experts which question the main driver behind climate change.

Shouldn’t Fielding be allowed to bring in his own scientists so both sides are argued before him?
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It’s the violence that’s the real issue
Andrew Bolt
Another Indian attacked in Melbourne, confirming “our” racism:

Sunny Bajaj, 20, said he was taunted and punched by two men as he was about to get into his car in Boronia on Friday night… He said his attackers were in their 20s, one was white, while the other appeared to be of African descent.
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If Costello is moving…. UPDATE … and he is
Andrew Bolt
Nice profile on the (perhaps) next member for Higgins. I suspect, however, that Peter Costello will make the impressive John Roskam wait. - Bolt is both a friend of Costello and a long term supporter of the ALP. Bolt has been on the side of commentators that have been wrong about Costello all his career. Costello is the greatest treasurer Australia has ever had, and he can still contribute much in his future .. which is not going to be PM. - ed.
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Alarmists denounce alarmism
Andrew Bolt
It must be Hypocrites Week:

THE consumer watchdog has been asked to investigate whether big business is scaremongering about the costs of tackling climate change. The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and the Australian Climate Justice Program have lodged a complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACF complaining about climate “exaggerations”? The same ACF that writes this:

Without fast and strong action, Australia stands to lose the Great Barrier Reef and our alpine ecosystems. We face more frequent and severe droughts, floods and bushfires. Temperature-related deaths are projected to increase substantially… Low-lying countries like Bangladesh and our pacific neighbours are at real risk of much greater floods and inundation by the sea. With a 3 degrees Celsius warming, 3.3 - 5.5 billion people may be living in places experiencing large crop losses. Over three billion additional people could be at risk from water shortages with the same level of warming. Beyond the human and environmental costs, a study by Munich Re and the UN Environment Program has estimated the economic impact of climate change at over $300 billion annually by 2050.

The biter is begging to be bitten. Bite ‘em hard, Graeme.
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News flash: Negus asks alarmist hard question
Andrew Bolt
SBS host George Negus belatedly remembers he’s a journalist who should now and then ask climate catastrophists a tough question. Sure, he didn’t ask Nobel Prize alarmist Wangari Maathai why, when our emissions are rising, temperatures now are actually falling, but what he did finally ask was enough to tell us she actually hasn’t a clue about about the science:

GEORGE NEGUS: You talk about the 2,000 scientists who’ve taken us in the direction we’re now on, but how do you feel about the fact that very recently 31,000 scientists in America actually put out a statement as a result of their deliberations expressing serious doubts about climate change and saying that America should actually withdraw from the debate and not take any part in the Copenhagen forum that’s coming up?

PROFESSOR WANGARI MAATHAI: Well, I can tell you it is a matter of this word against this word, and for many of us, I think what we will eventually have to rely on is what we observe. Unfortunately, by the time some of these observations are made, it may be too late.

GEORGE NEGUS: The guy who runs the Weather Channel, which is now seen throughout the world, John Coleman, argues that climate change is the greatest scam in history. Now, that is pretty scathing scepticism, isn’t it?

PROFESSOR WANGARI MAATHAI: Well, it is, indeed, it is, indeed.

GEORGE NEGUS: To call it a scam is …..

PROFESSOR WANGARI MAATHAI: Well, I personally want to say that I want to do the right things - I want to plant trees, I want to make sure that the indigenous forests are protected because I know, whatever happens, these are the forests that contain biodiversity, these are the forests that help us retain water when it rains and keep our rivers flowing, these are the forests that many future generations will need.

Of course, Negus goes on to liken sceptics to those who denied the earth was round…
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Iran at war - with itself
Andrew Bolt

The BBC reports from an Iran that’s on the brink of bloodshed after the re-election of Islamist president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

As demonstrations against the Iranian election result continue, the situation in Tehran is becoming unpredictable and potentially explosive. Throughout Sunday, crowds gathered in a number of areas. Often they were not organised protests.... Many Iranians came out on to their roofs to shout “down with the dictator”.

It has become a challenge not just of an election result, not just to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei himself. That means it is, in effect, a challenge to the whole basis of the Islamic Republic.

For two years I have watched as young, ambitious Iranians go about their lives with growing frustration. They feel the system stifles their aspirations. Now they feel that their intelligence and their pride has been insulted by an election result many Iranians believe is blatantly fraudulent.

I don’t know if the elections were a fraud or not (although they sure were ”managed” by a system which bans many government critics from standing and punishes media dissent). I do, however, note that Ahmadinejad’s victory rally had a huge turnout, and yet:
A moderate clerical body, the Association of Combatant Clergy, issued a statement posted on reformist Web sites saying the election was rigged and calling for it to be canceled, warning that “if this process becomes the norm, the republican aspect of the regime will be damaged and people will lose confidence in the system.”

It may well be that the election was fair but that the country is irreparably torn between a powerful religious “Right” (or fascists) and the more secularist and pro-Western urban elite:

Whether his 63 percent victory is truly the will of the people or the result of fraud, it demonstrated that Mr. Ahmadinejad is the shrewd and ruthless front man for a clerical, military and political elite that is more unified and emboldened than at any time since the 1979 revolution.

Judith Miller:

There are two equally appalling explanations for what happened in Iran’s presidential elections on Friday: Either the election was stolen, or it wasn’t. Either scenario leads to the same conclusion: This is a truly sad day for Iran… Now more than ever, President Obama must not appear over eager to engage Iran after what may turn out to have been a rigged election.
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Memo to advertising department: Please rewrite
Andrew Bolt

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Our $45 million outside chance
Andrew Bolt

Some readers are already bagging Kevin Rudd’s appearance in this ad for Australia’s bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, but I find it both funny and appropriate.

Less appropriate, though, is the bid itself - a $45 million gamble on what’s even optimistically a real outside chance:

Australia is bidding against England, Russia, Indonesia, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, the United States, Mexico and joint bids from Portugal and Spain and the Netherlands and Belgium for rights to host either the 2018 or 2022 finals.

Let’s check who has been chosen to host the World Cup so far:

1930: Uruguay (Uruguay)
1934: Italy (Italy)
1938: France (Italy)
1950: Brazil (Uruguay)
1954: Switzerland (West Germany)
1958: Sweden (Brazil)
1962: Chile (Brazil)
1966: England (England)
1970: Mexico (Brazil)
1974: West Germany (West Germany)
1978: Argentina (Argentina)
1982: Spain (Italy)
1986: Mexico (Argentina)
1990: Italy (West Germany)
1994: USA (Brazil)
1998: France (France)
2002: South Korea and Japan (Brazil)
2006: Germany (Italy)
2010: South Africa
2014: Brazil.

Europe has hosted at least every second World Cup since its start - until now, with Africa and South America winning the rights to the next two. This, and the economics, tells you that Europe must and will host either the 2018 or 2022 Cup, and the hot money is on England - almost certainly for 2018.

The question then is, who in the rest of the world will get the 2022 rights? Which rival bid will deliver enough votes to England (or Belgium-Netherlands, Portugal-Spain or Russia) to get the votes it needs in turn to win in 2022?

Under FIFA’s new only-once-a-continent-in-three-rounds rule, Europe and South America cannot host in 2022. That leaves the bidding to countries from Asia-Pacific or North America. In that battle, the cash, the time-zone advantage and the potential market for soccer’s growth make the US the favorite, especially if Barack Obama, symbol of change and international brotherhood, pushes hard his country’s bid.

Australia still lacks some half dozen real soccer grounds of international standard, and is fighting Japan and, more intriguingly, Indonesia - as well as South Korea - for the Asian vote. Its win would also give Anglophone countries two Cups in a row. An Australian win is not impossible, but…
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Gillard has no choice but to do a Thatcher
Andrew Bolt
The election of the Rudd Government seems to have been a green light to union thugs:

CRIMINAL and thuggish behaviour on building sites has soared to record levels as militant unions engage in a campaign of fear and intimidation. As the Federal Government prepares for a stoush with union leaders, a record 69 cases of unlawful activity are being investigated by the industry watchdog. Police are also investigating union threats against Australian Building and Construction Commission staff – including claims of racial, sexual and physical assault.

This makes Julia Gillard’s determination to keep tough laws against building unions not just admirable or a useful chance to reposition the former militant Leftist as a new Margaret Thatcher:

A LABOR senator has accused Kevin Rudd of treating building workers like terrorists or organised criminals under new legislation to crack down on alleged building industry thuggery. Former union official Doug Cameron last night demanded the Rudd government scrap powers that allow authorities investigating criminal activity in the building industry to coerce evidence from workers…

As union leaders converged on Canberra yesterday to lobby MPs for an 11th-hour rebellion, Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard bluntly declared: “That debate has been had, and it’s over.”

This increase in thuggery also becomes a problem which could hurt Labor if it isn’t stamped out fast. Gillard actually has little choice but to defy the CFMEU, both to escape her past and to guarantee the future of Labor and its next leader. - Bolt is keen for Gillard to be competent .. but there is no sign she ever will be. - ed.
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Save the planet! Terrorise humans
Andrew Bolt
How many of us would be safe in their more “moral” world?

AN international eco-terrorist outfit is being investigated for threats against the chief executive of a key Victorian power plant. The extremist Earth Liberation Front secretly visited the eastern suburbs home of Hazelwood power station boss Graeme York and hand-delivered a menacing letter…

“Your property will not remain safe so long as Hazelwood continues to pollute at such an inexcusable level, swallow millions of litres of fresh water every hour and cough out hydrochloric and nitrogen acids in return.”

UPDATE

ELF clearly believes in burning the village in order to save it from the emissions:

Their website shows photos of a burnt-out SUV dealership, a torched Hummer and wrecked earth-moving machinery.
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The Guantanamo madrassa
Andrew Bolt
Christopher Hitchens warns that the US - and Barack Obama - are making a mistake in treating extreme Islam as the norm:

On my visit to Guantanamo, I was given a list - admittedly containing only 11 names - of former Taliban militants such as Abdullah Mehsud, detained in February 2002 and released in March 2004, who later killed himself rather than surrender to Pakistani security forces. If it is an offence to justice to hold people who may have been victims of mistaken identity or of vendettas by other factions, then it is also an offence to justice to release psychopathic killers who believe they have divine permission to throw acid in the faces of girls who want to attend school.

Yet if we think it probable or possible that a man would mutate into such a monster only after undergoing the Guantanamo experience, then I can suggest one reason that may be. Nothing prepared me for the way in which the authorities at the camp have allowed the most extreme religious cultists among the inmates to be the organisers of the prisoners’ daily routine. Suppose you were a secular or unfanatical person caught in the net by mistake. You would still find yourself being compelled to pray five times a day (the guards are not permitted to interrupt), to have a Koran in your cell and to eat food prepared to halal (or sharia) standards. I suppose you could ask to abstain but, in such a case, I wouldn’t much fancy your chances.

The officers in charge were so pleased by this ability to show off their extreme broad-mindedness in respect of Islam that they looked almost hurt when I asked how they justified the use of taxpayers’ money to create an institution dedicated to the fervent practice of the most extreme version of just one religion. To the huge list of reasons to close down Guantanamo, add this: It’s a state-sponsored madrasah, or Muslim religious school.
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If it was that bad, we’d be dead
Andrew Bolt
Either a ludicrous exaggeration or a flu whose dangers have been been ludicrously exaggerated:
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Where the English used to live
Andrew Bolt
Changing Britain. David Lloyd on the England-India game at the ICC World Twenty20:

India have more supporters here at Lords...

UP TO one-third of Victorians could now be infected with swine flu, an expert said yesterday...
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