Saturday, December 19, 2009

Headlines Saturday 19th December 2009

Budgies, bastardry and Nathan Rees

FRESH from becoming road kill in the bear pit of State Parliament, former premier Nathan Rees plans to spend his free time photographing wildlife.


Sen. Ben Nelson will play the role of Santa or the Grinch over the holidays — the only known Democratic holdout has the fate of reform bill in his hands.

Climate Deal... or No Deal?
Summit ends with non-binding agreement, as Obama admits progress will 'take some time'

France Slaps Google on Book-Scanning
Court rules that Google is breaking French law with book digitizing policy, handing Web giant $14,300-a-day fine

NFL Player's Death a Suicide?
Witness claims Chris Henry threatened to kill himself moments before taking fatal fall from back of pickup truck

Accused fraudster's amazing double life
A SUBURBAN wife is accused of spending $16 million of her employers money on pearls.

Deadly snake terror in kids' bedroom
AN angry snake refused to let a mum near her two sleeping toddlers in a terrifying ordeal.


Television networks will be forced to justify nudity, sex scenes and dirty jokes under a crackdown by the Australian TV watchdog next year

Another advertiser drops Tiger Woods
IT just gets worse for Tiger Woods with another high profile company set to dump him.

Jessica roars towards a wild Christmas
TEEN solo sailor Jessica Watson is using the Wiggles for Christmas cheer ahead of some wild weeks

Raging fire 'destroyed everything'
SALLY Jackson walked among the rubble that was once her home. It was only when she saw the great big old tree had been taken by fire that she wept.

Final hit for $25m rock star conman
SINCE August 2002, the courts have been graced with the presence of a rock star or, at least, a person posing as one.

Scientists discover dark matter
TANTALISING hints of dark matter, the mysterious substance thought to make up a quarter of the Universe, have been picked up for the first time in an American laboratory buried half a mile underground.
=== Journalists Corner ===

Trillions at stake, global power on the line, and allegations of faked research and a high-level coverup that question it all!
What's the truth about climate change?
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The Trillion Dollar Plan!
Good news for unemployment, the government has a plan to create jobs! The bad news? You can't have' em!
===
The Cake Boss!
The Governor bakes up some treats with the "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro!
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John McCain Exclusive!
He's leading the health care battle against Obama and the Dems. Now, the senator speaks out on the GOP strategy to fight back and stop reform!
=== Comments ===
President Obama Calls Out Howard Dean
By Bill O'Reilly
The former governor of Vermont is leading the charge against Obamacare because it is not socialistic enough. Dr. Dean wants the government to completely control the health industry in the USA.

He wants this because it is an excellent way to redistribute income. You take money from the wealthy through taxation, and you give it to the less wealthy through extended Medicare benefits and free health insurance.

President Obama knows that kind of thinking is rejected by most Americans, so Mr. Obama will settle for a new health care system that he believes provides some protection for working Americans but is not controlled by the feds.

At this point, President Obama needs to pass any kind of health care bill to avoid huge political damage. That is likely to happen in January.

But Howard Dean and his merry band of radicals is not going away quietly, thus we have an ideological war within the Democratic Party.

It's very similar to what's going on in the Republican Party. You have the committed right, the Sarah Palin crew, vs. moderate Republicans, the John McCain people.

Anyway, the polling on Obamacare is very interesting. The most recent Rasmussen poll among likely voters shows 56 percent of them oppose Obamacare, the highest level ever. Just 40 percent support it.

Ironically, at this point you have far left and conservative people both opposing Obamacare, as Sen. McCain pointed out:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: If you live long enough, all things can happen. I now find myself in complete agreement with Dr. Howard Dean, who says that we should stop this bill in its tracks, we should go back to the beginning and have an overall bipartisan agreement. Dr. Dean, I am with you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

"Talking Points" continues to be very skeptical of Obamacare. It fails to stop nuisance lawsuits against doctors. It fails to provide competition among health insurance companies by allowing them to sell across state lines, and it's basically a confusing hodgepodge of stuff nobody can understand.

With trillions of dollars in play, 56 percent of the American voters are correct. This is not a good piece of legislation.
===
Fmr. Australian PM on Global Warming

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," December, 17 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SCREAMING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: No, that is not reactions from viewers of this show. It's a Copenhagen ad. Copenhagen is a scream — that video kicking off the whole conference.

The Australian prime minister the latest person apparently playing the kid card.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN RUDD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: I fear that, at this conference, we are on the verge of letting down all of the little children of the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: Really? Are they using kids as props here?

Reaction now from the former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

What did you make of your successor's comments, that nothing comes out of this; they let down kids?

(CROSSTALK)

JOHN HOWARD, FORMER AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: I don't want to get into a slinging match with my successor, so I will leave any personal response aside.
===
RIO RETHINKO
Tim Blair
Like most major companies, mining giant Rio Tinto was spooked over the last decade into following a warmy line. But now they’re taking baby steps back towards reason:
Australian climate change policy and politics have dramatically and unpredictably changed in recent times …

In 2010 we are likely to fine-tune our approach, not radically change it - Globally we have been a strong supporter of emissions trading and market mechanisms, and there is little evidence to suggest there are substantially better ways to go …

An alternative language may emerge - There may be another dimension for us to consider. The US is beginning to recognise that the political language has to change if responsible legislation is to pass. However, it still avoids the critical issue; consumers will need to change their behaviours and pay more for certain goods and services if deep cuts in emissions are to be achieved. We also need to decide how to engage in this debate.
This is promising.
===
PRIORITIES SHIFT
Tim Blair
Previously dismayed by an increase in SUV sales, the SMH is dismayed anew:
New-car buyers are shunning environmental responsibility and belt-tightening and splashing out on cars that make a statement, according to new research.

A social analyst with Quantum market research, David Chalk, said the company’s latest AustraliaScan survey revealed a big shift in new-car buyer priorities …

Environmental responsibility had dropped off the radar with buyers, while growing confidence about the economy had also influenced purchase decisions.

“We restrained ourselves last year and we pretended we wanted to buy a Toyota Prius or Honda Jazz,” Mr Chalk said … “People are saying, ‘Why not buy a car that I enjoy?"’
Which, by definition, rules out anything eco.
===
PUSHED TO THE FRINGE
Tim Blair
“Copenhagen will mark a shift of tectonic proportions in political thinking around climate change internationally and in Australia,” claims Marian Wilkinson. She could well be right. But just when you think Marian’s finally wising up, it turns out she means the debate will shift towards warmenism. Here’s her next sentence:
Scepticism about the science is now pushed further to the fringe.
Which isn’t such a bad a place to be, considering where the climate change non-fringe is – generally wearing a costume, unemployable, shouting historic commie slogans and being an idiot:

If capitalism does indeed kill climate justice, then all strength to capitalism, I say.
===
WORK, PEOPLE
Tim Blair
“We’ve taken bold action at home … by putting our people to work.” If only that were true, Mr President. Obama’s Copenhagen speech was significantly lacking in hopenchangin’:

Not much red meat … er, beet tofu there for the carbon faithful. Still, Obama did bring nations together:
India and China have taken a united stand and walked out of the climate summit as Copenhagen talks fail.
They later returned, probably to pick up their whore badges. For genuine Copenhagen inspiration, turn instead to Carbie the Climate Clown:
As provost of the University of East Anglia’s cutting edge Centre for Climate Pantomimology, I work closely with multidisciplinary climate scientists, both within the University and in the clown science community at large. There can be no disputing the peer reviewed models that show the Earth’s temperature curving ever upwards, like the expanding tail of a tube balloon, propelled by mankind’s relentless exhalation of carbon dioxide. If we are to avoid the coming explosion, we must tie off the end of the balloon as soon as possible. Then we must carefully shepherd and shape the balloon as nature intended, perhaps as one of nature’s majestic balloon poodles.
Read on.
===
THAT WAS FAST
Tim Blair
Then:
Scores of environmental activists from five continents have begun a fast to put pressure on countries to agree a strong deal at climate negotiations in Copenhagen next month.
Now:
[Paul Connor] is one of three people around the world still fasting to raise awareness of climate change.
They just don’t care enough.
===
IT WAS BURGER KING, NOT McDONALDS
Tim Blair
New Zealand MPs debate matters environmental:

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Saving the Reef from alarmists
Andrew Bolt
Finally more scientists dare challenge the shameless apocalypse mongering over the Reef, comparing predictions to performance:
A SENIOR marine researcher has accused Australian scientists of “crying wolf” over the threat of climate change to the Great Barrier Reef, exposing deep division about its vulnerability.

Peter Ridd’s rejection of the consensus position that the reef is doomed unless greenhouse emissions are checked comes as new research on the Keppel group, hugging Queensland’s central coast, reveals its resilience after coral bleaching. Professor Ridd, a physicist with Townsville’s James Cook University who has spent 25 years investigating the impact of coastal runoff and other problems for the reef, challenged the widely accepted notion that coral bleaching would wipe it out if climate change continued to increase sea surface temperatures. Instead of dying, the reef could expand south towards Brisbane as waters below it became warmer and more tolerable for corals, he said.

His suggestion is backed up by an Australian Institute of Marine Science research team headed by veteran reef scientist Ray Berkelmans, which has documented astonishing levels of recovery on the Keppel outcrops devastated by bleaching in 2006.

As The Weekend Australian reports today, some of the corals on the Keppel outcrops are more thickly covered in coral than before bleaching in 2006, raising hope the living heart of the reef can acclimatise to spikes in water temperature through a remarkable process of algal shuffling…

“People say the reef is dying,” Dr Berkelmans said. “The Great Barrier Reef is 2000km long, with 3000 reefs. Are you telling me all of it is going to die?…

Professor Ridd said scientists who predicted corals would be mostly extinct by mid-century had a credibility problem because the Great Barrier Reef was in “bloody brilliant shape”.
And here’s the scientist with the greatest credibility problem of all on that score:
PROFESSOR Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, of Queensland University, is Australia’s most quoted reef expert.

He’s advised business, green and government groups, and won our rich Eureka Prize for scares about the Great Barrier Reef. He’s chaired a $20 million global warming study of the World Bank.

In 1999, Hoegh-Guldberg warned that the Great Barrier Reef was under pressure from global warming, and much of it had turned white.

In fact, he later admitted the reef had made a “surprising” recovery.

In 2006, he warned high temperatures meant “between 30 and 40 per cent of coral on Queensland’s great Barrier Reef could die within a month”.

In fact, he later admitted this bleaching had “a minimal impact”.

In 2007, he warned that temperature changes of the kind caused by global warming were again bleaching the reef.

In fact, the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network last week said there had been no big damage to the reef caused by climate change in the four years since its last report, and veteran diver Ben Cropp said this week that in 50 years he’d seen none at all.
And even Hoegh-Guldberg’s claim that the shells of shell-fish would have trouble forming has now been debunked.

Accountability time.
===
A wonderful farce in Copenhagen
Andrew Bolt
Every bit the farce I predicted and prayed for:
Last-ditch efforts by the UN to get the 120 world leaders to at least commit to hold temperatures to a maximum rise of 2C in the next century were failing, as a series of draft political agreement — each weaker than the last — were circulated among countries.

Versions of the overarching political text seen by the Guardian showed that profound disagreements between countries had not been resolved. Only weak, long-term aspirations for an overall global emissions cut of 50% by 2050 and an 80% cut by 2050 for rich countries. These commitments, and the 2C pledge, were assumed to be givens in any deal…

A financial package intended to raise billions of dollars to help poor countries to adapt to climate change and develop green technology was also in doubt as rich countries declined to guarantee the money, simply affirming that they “supported a goal of mobilising $100bn by 2020”.
The only thing that’s better than I expected is that the West may actually hang on to its cash. Let’s see if Kevin Rudd had the brains to keep our wallet in his pocket, too.
===
And another boat for Christmas
Andrew Bolt
When will Kevin Rudd scrap the changes he made that encouraged this renewed flood?
AUTHORITIES have intercepted another asylum seeker vessel, bringing the tally for the year to 56. HMAS Launceston intercepted the vessel about eight nautical miles northwest of the Ashmore Islands about 2.20pm today.Initial indications suggest there are 55 passengers and four crew on board… As of Tuesday, there were 1487 detainees on the island, including 82 in tents which were erected as temporary accommodation to cope with the growing asylum seeker population.
In less than a year, we’ve had 56 boats. Now compare: In the year before Rudd weakened the boat people laws in July 2008, just three boats arrived.

In fact, far more boats have arrived since Rudd weakened our laws than had in all the seven years since John Howard toughened them, and turned back the Tampa:


2001–02 19

2002–03 0

2003–04 3

2004–05 0

2005–06 8

2006–07 4

2007–08 3
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Climategate: Michaels on how it worked against him
Andrew Bolt
Pat Michaels, a former professor of environmental sciences, explains how the Climategate cabal worked:
People who didn’t toe Messrs. (Tom) Wigley, (Michael) Mann and (Phil) Jones ‘s line began to experience increasing difficulty in publishing their results.

This happened to me and to the University of Alabama’s Roy Spencer, who also hypothesized that global warming is likely to be modest. Others surely stopped trying, tiring of summary rejections of good work by editors scared of the mob. Sallie Baliunas, for example, has disappeared from the scientific scene.

(Geophysical Research Letters) is a very popular refereed journal. Mr. Wigley was concerned that one of the editors was “in the skeptics camp.” He emailed Michael Mann to say that “if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official . . . channels to get him ousted.”

Mr. Mann wrote to Mr. Wigley on Nov. 20, 2005 that “It’s one thing to lose ‘Climate Research.’ We can’t afford to lose GRL.” In this context, “losing” obviously means the publication of anything that they did not approve of on global warming.

Soon the suspect editor, Yale’s James Saiers, was gone. Mr. Mann wrote to the CRU’s Phil Jones that “the GRL leak may have been plugged up now w/ new editorial leadership there."…

The result of all this is that our refereed literature has been inestimably damaged, and reputations have been trashed. Mr. Wigley repeatedly tells news reporters not to listen to “skeptics” (or even nonskeptics like me), because they didn’t publish enough in the peer-reviewed literature—even as he and his friends sought to make it difficult or impossible to do so.
(Thanks to reader Tony.)
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Tax officials now rely on some faceless kid in pyjamas
Andrew Bolt
This is scary:
THE Australian Tax Office faces international embarrassment after it used the online site Wikipedia as a source for a ruling affecting the fate of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Wikipedia has been criticised for the quality of its information, but the ATO trusted it enough to use it for a definition of the business term “private equity”.

The ATO has acknowledged it referred to the online information source for the ruling, but denied it was a primary source.

A draft determination made on Wednesday said: “A key component of private equity as an asset for institutional investors is that assets are typically realised after some period of time, which will vary depending on the investment strategy.”

Wikipedia says: “A key component of private equity as an asset class for institutional investors is that investments are typically realized after some period of time, which will vary depending on the investment strategy.”
So who is now the most likely source for the ATO’s rulings?
Wikipedians (those who write and edit the info we find at the online encyclopedia) are ”80 percent male, more than 65 percent single, more than 85 percent without children, around 70 percent under the age of 30.”
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Snowing on Copenhagen’s warmist parade
Andrew Bolt

How marvellous a punchline for this farce of a summit, as snow settles on the globes erected to publicise our warming world:
...a Washington snowstorm is forcing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, to make an early departure from a global warming summit here in Denmark
In fact, there’s an endless supply of regional varieties of the same joke. Here’s one about Barack Obama at the same global warming summit:
The president had arrived in the Danish capital hours earlier, amid stiff winds and driving snow, and headed toward the convention center, where delegates had worked through the night trying to draft a climate document the world could agree to.
Or there’s the Scottish version:
Copenhagen isn’t only place having climate problems… Scotland was in the grip of a big freeze last night that disrupted travel plans and threatened the weekend’s sports fixtures… But heavy snow showers forecast for the weekend have raised hopes of a bumper start to the week for Scotland’s ski centres.
Or you can tell the Alaskan one:
All the experts says the effects of climate change will be felt most in Alaska, home of the ex-governor who contends climate change is no big deal. Good thing she wasn’t in Valdez this week when the citizenry got buried under a record snowfall…

We’re not talking about your ordinary little dump here. That was in Copenhagen, where world leaders were meeting to discuss what to do about global warming and the Bloomberg news service was warning that Barack Obama and the rest would “face freezing weather as a blizzard dumped 10 centimeters (4 inches) of snow on the Danish capital overnight.’’

Four inches overnight? Valdez got more than four inches per hour...
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You’d have to be madder than Rudd to believe his Defence promise
Andrew Bolt
But once again, the same question must be asked this time as it should have been at the collapse of Kevin Rudd’s other mad promises - whether to take over the hospital system, introduce FuelWatch, stop boat people, end reckless spending, implement the Ideas Summit’s harebrained ideas, slash our emissions or put Iran’s president on trial.

Why on earth did anyone take him seriously?

The latest example:
KEVIN Rudd’s ambitious defence plans may never be delivered, as a looming multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall is likely to force a major review of planned equipment for the army, navy and air force.

Budgetary pressures have already delayed the acquisition schedule for the RAAF’s $16bn joint strike fighter and are set to worsen as the government seeks to return the federal budget to surplus amid a tight clamp on departmental spending.

By some estimates, the defence budget shortfall could be as high as $3bn from 2011 to 2013 as real defence costs continue to soar well above the rate of inflation.

The immediate funding squeeze on defence has already caused the government to postpone consideration of several major equipment acquisitions including the planned $3bn naval helicopter and the army’s $500 million self-propelled artillery, along with the scrapping of a possible fourth air warfare destroyer.
Don’t buy any Rudd spin about unforeseen circumstances or the rest. From the very moment Rudd promised a huge building of defence (but why?) that he said would be financed by $20 billion in defence savings, his own department knew the promise was exactly as crazy as it sounded:
(The now-dumped Defence Minister) Joel Fitzgibbon and his staff were commiserating over drinks in their final moments in his ministerial suite. During a lull in the conversation, Fitzgibbon asked his staff a vital question that he had not dared ask while he was still minister.

The Rudd Government had declared that it would help pay for a big defence build-up by finding $20.6 billion in cost savings over 10 years. This had been greeted with scepticism among expert commentators…

It was the most obvious piece of fiction in the plan, so it was the very first question reporters asked Kevin Rudd as he stood on the deck of the destroyer HMAS Stuart to announce the defence white paper on May 2.

“We are confident we can deliver on this in the future,” Rudd assured.

Fitzgibbon wanted to know of his staff, most of whom were Defence department officials: “Does anybody think they’ll get the $20 billion of savings?”

The reaction was a gale of laughter all round, according to people who were present. Fitzgibbon joined in. The idea was plainly comical. And it was no longer his problem.
I’m not being wise after the event. Here’s what I wrote in May, just after Rudd made his plainly undeliverable promise - or, in plain speaking, told his lie:
Except there’s just this tiny question - the same I’d ask if my wife promised me that Ferarri. How are we going to pay for it all?… The last time I did the sums, saving $20 billion (how?) to pay for $100 billion of stuff still left you $80 billion short.
Rudd is a serial liar. It will just take time before the obvious is accepted as the uncontroversial truth. All that’s saving him is his uncanny ability to seem clinical and efficient, when he’s in fact impulsive, irrational and irresponsible. And not a little dishonest.
===
Never accept economic advice from a polar bear
Andrew Bolt
Never has a summit gathered so many of the witless and the graceless in a festival of intolerance:

Just how dumb – and self-indulgent – is this? On Wednesday morning the Copenhagen summit, widely seen as the last chance to stop global warming running out of control, stood – in boy wonder Ed Miliband’s words – at “four minutes to midnight”. Ministers from around the world had just arrived at the deadlocked talks in a last-minute attempt to rescue them. And green activists chose the moment to try to shut everything down.

Thousands of protesters, organised by Climate Justice Action – a worldwide coalition of grass-roots groups – stormed the conference centre, blocking its entrance as they tussled with police and stopping delegates from entering…

Environmental groups inside the centre, meanwhile, shouted and banged drums to try to drown out proceedings. Indeed, many did their best to disrupt things throughout: staging sit-downs in the cavernous, crowded Bella Centre, in which the talks have been held – hindering negotiators from getting to key meetings – and holding noisy protests… If I ever see another singing, dancing, sloganising polar bear, I shall do my best to melt its ice-floe…

In fairness, much of the blame lies with the Danish government and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which organised the summit. In an attempt to be inclusive, they accredited 46,000 people in a centre that holds 15,000. Most came from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), ranging from serious institutes to industry lobbyists, as well as the policy tourists.

Your future in their hands:

===
Is ignorance of our founding faith to be fostered instead?
Andrew Bolt
Tony Abbott is absolutely right, of course, and I say that as an agnostic. Yet in answering as he should, he’s fallen for a gotcha:
I think it would be impossible to have a good general education without at least some serious familiarity with the Bible and with the teachings of Christianity.
It seems unfair for that reasonable statement to be beaten up into this Mad Monk stereotype:
BIBLE classes should be compulsory so children have a fundamental understanding of Christianity on leaving school, federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.
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