Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Headlines Tuesday 8th December 2009


Billionaire adventurer Richard Branson to reveal the latest in space tourism — the first-class space tourist's wonder machine at the core of Virgin Galactic's suborbital fleet.

GOP: Climate-Gate's Enough To Put a Stop to EPA Warning
Republicans blast EPA finding that greenhouse gases are a danger to public health as U.S. envoy calls e-mail scandal a 'small blip'

Huddle on Afghan Game Plan
Obama to meet McChrystal, Eikenberry and Biden to get them on the same page on Afghanistan strategy

Senate to Confront Abortion
Lawmakers to debate health care bill amendment that bans taxpayers from paying for abortions in gov't programs

PM promises to repay ETS costs
FAMILIES to pay little or nothing for Labor's emissions trading scheme, Kevin Rudd pledges.

Dad 'boasted about killing teenager'
FATHER told son he "did the job" after allegedly murdering girl for spurning his advances, court told.

Little help for horror car crash family
A FAMILY killed in a car smash have no relatives to bury them and no money for a funeral.

Golden parties as Aussies cash in
IF you have any old gold jewellery lying about, you could well be sitting on a small fortune.

Warning fuels royal wedding speculation
QUEEN'S call for privacy sparks rumours Prince William is planning a Xmas engagement.

Lesbians live in fear of 'corrective rape'
LESBIANS are being dragged off the street and raped to "correct" them, it has been claimed.

Parents hit with $110 childcare hike
FAMILIES face a possible $110-a-week jump in under five's childcare costs under improved staff ratios approved yesterday.
=== Journalists Corner ===

Frosty Gone Wild!
Did CBS turn the Christmas classic into a holiday "CRASS-ic"?
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The Health Care Battle!
As the debate heats up, Greta has the latest war of words from the Hill!
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Dick Cheney Exclusive!
Why he says the president's making dangerous decisions & leaving America's security exposed!
=== Comments ===
Doomsayers drowning in a rising tide of deception
Piers Akerman
ELEVEN months ago The Sydney Morning Herald and the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change urged readers to take photographs of an expected king tide as part of the general global warming scare campaign being conducted by Al Gore and other science deniers. - Some of the scientists falsifying data also manipulate the results shown on Wikipedia. If you examinee the talk columns on the articles on ‘Global Warming’ and ‘Climate Change’ you will see how some editors willing to express doubts are sidelined by so called authorities on the issue. Then, counter to Wiki philosophy, the debates are removed and sent elsewhere and new people debate the same issues again. One recurrent editor claimed only peer reviewed science would be considered on site. When they were presented with a peer reviewed paper or seven, they replied ‘those scientists are idiots’ or ‘those journals are substandard.’ I pointed out this balloon would burst over a year ago and unless the editors chose a more skeptical position they would be seen to be fools. But I was wrong. In fact, they are corrupt, and the skeptical position is wrong. Global Warming is not happening - ed
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COLLECT YOUR BETS
Tim Blair
The old guy is out:
A man who has been on a hunger strike in protest against a lack of action on climate change will be admitted to hospital after losing 20 per cent of his body weight.

Sixty-one-year-old Michael Morphett has been camped for more than a month on the lawn outside Parliament House in Canberra, and will be taken to hospital to treat dangerously low blood pressure and for observation.
And on the first day of Holy Copenhagenmass, too. Shame. Still, he beat that piker Marcella.
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GO TO HELL
Tim Blair
So much for media diversity:
Today 56 major newspapers in 45 countries speak with one voice on climate change ahead of the Copenhagen summit.
But not every outlet approached to join this mass whine was supportive:
One US paper’s response: “This is an outrageous attempt to orchestrate media pressure. Go to hell.”
And look who had second thoughts:
Both the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age dropped out of the project after climate change convulsed Australian politics, demanding, they felt, a more localised editorial position.
Dropped out, eh? That’s not how the Age tells it:
The Age was invited to take part in the global editorial but declined.
UPDATE. Rita in comments: “Leading climate change scientist Wil Anderson was using his Facebook page to bemoan the fact that no Australian paper was brave enough to be part of this enlightened collective. If only he realised that it was the funniest thing he has ever written.”
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HOLD ME
Tim Blair
Apparently the internet is “a place where most conservatives fear to tread, or wouldn’t know where to tread.”
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GREAT BIG NEW TAX IS GREAT
Tim Blair
Melbourne Age economics editor Tim Colebatch:

Abbott’s denunciation of emissions trading as ‘’a great big new tax’’ ignores the reality that what comes into government as taxes goes out as benefits to people.
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HOPENCHANGEN LOVENHUGGEN
Tim Blair
A Copenhagen eco-celebration:

• The last day is upon us, according to Gordon Brown’s October 19 prediction. Spend it with your families.

• Bruce Bawer: “Well, here I am at the Vatican in Rome, where thousands of pilgrims from every corner of the earth crowd St. Peter’s Square, their eyes trained on the glorious basilica within which the College of Cardinals is gathering in secret conclave to settle the all-important question: Who will stand in the shoes of the fisherman?

“Oops, sorry, I got a little confused there for a second. In fact I’ve just arrived in Copenhagen.”

• A denialist in denial!

• Due to be unveiled at Hopenchangenfest, the Copenhagen Diagnosis has a problem. It “relies on data from the Hadley Centre of the UK meteorological office and the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia University – two bodies that may now need to set aside the data altogether and start over.”

• A group of US physicists is similarly concerned.

• There just aren’t enough limousines for all these environmentalists.

• Another happy poll: “Nearly half of Britons believe there is no proof that global warming is caused by humans, a poll revealed yesterday.”

• The Lone Voice probably shares that opinion.

• Roger Simon: “Could it be that by pushing back his appearance Obama was just buying time so that, if things go really awry, he doesn’t have to show up at all?” Let’s hope not. Kevin Rudd has already planned his Obama kiss-up schedule three times already.

• New Zealanders are so cute: “[Prime Minister] John Key is preparing to attend the Copenhagen summit, with tickets provisionally booked and an announcement set to be made this week.”

• By-election catastrophe Clive Hamilton resents dissent: “With the rest of the world pledging to cut emissions, Australia risks becoming a CLIMATE BLUDGER, free-riding on everyone else.” Hey, Clive? Tell the rest of the world to bring emissions down to our national level.

• In the lead-up to Copenhagen, warmy activist William Connolley has been going nuts on Wikipedia.

• Steve Hayward wonders at the wit of those Copenhagen-derailing CRU emailers: “How is it possible for a group of smart people to write over 1,000 e-mails over the course of a decade without a single shred of wit or humor in any of them? There isn’t the tiniest hint anywhere that any of these guys ever grin. It jives with my experience of environmentalists for 20 years now that they are the single most humorless slice of humanity on the planet.”

• A moment of perspective: Taliban maniacs have killed more than 2,600 people in Pakistan over the last couple of years. Let’s talk about carbon!
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OPEN AND SHUT
Tim Blair
Two studies in transparency, involving Barack Obama:
It’s hardly the image of transparency the Obama administration wants to project: A workshop on government openness is closed to the public.
And Sarah Palin:

Largely due to Ms. Palin’s celebrity, and the certainty that information about her foray into the media lion’s den would leak, the Gridiron Club dropped its longstanding tradition that its dinners be off the record.
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“I said Holy @#&!”Andrew Bolt

The 10 strangest Jesus sightings of 2009.
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Soon no one will admit they were once a warming dupe
Andrew Bolt
Scepticism is rising not only in Australia.

In the US:
AMERICANS who think global warming is caused by human activity, including vehicle and industrial emissions, are now a minority for the first time in nearly two years, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.

Only 45 per cent of the 1041 adults surveyed on December 2-3 believed global warming was a proven fact and mostly caused by human activity, down from 56 per cent in October 2007.
In Britain:

Almost half of people in Britain believe there is no proof that global warming is caused by humans, according to a new poll.
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Climategate: Nothing to worry about, except for everything
Andrew Bolt
The Science Show of Robyn Williams starts with the guest saying Climategate is no big deal. Oddly, as the interview goes on the apologist being interviewed, an environmental consultant with The Economist, then thinks of one thing after another that does, on reflection, worry him, actually. Like hiding data. Like censoring seceptics. Like…

And that’s even without discussing the Climategate scientists’ own admissions and the rage of some at the fliddling of others in their cabal.

But never mind, Williams ends by stating that the “future of civilisation” is actually at stake. And his guest defends the “big picture” of climate doom.

All that said, Williams has to his credit covered a controversy that some ABC colleagues will not out of principle, loosely defined.
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Flannery flogged
Andrew Bolt
Terry McCrann on the exaggerations and distortions of climate hysterics. For instance:

Arguably our greatest national hysteric, certainly at least an archbishop in the First Church, Tim Flannery, angrily denied that he’d become a `climate sceptic.’

Such a claim was “outrageous.” He laid the blame for the outrage at the feet of our (the Herald Sun’s) Andrew Bolt.

How did Bolt “twist” the truth? Simply by quoting what Flannery had said on the ABC’s Lateline.

And I quote again: “So when the computer modelling and the real world data disagree you’ve got a very interesting problem . . . Sure for the last 10 years we’ve gone through a slight cooling trend.”

That was it. Bolt pretty much just recorded Flannery’s concession on temperature. He didn’t accuse him of being a sceptic. He wouldn’t have been that generous.

I’m not. Flannery revealed himself as a mathematical dunce. And I’m going to do the dastardly trick of quoting him directly again from his Age article.

The “overall increase (of the earth’s temperature) since the industrial revolution of 25 per cent—from 15 to 20 degrees . . .”

Actually Tim, that’s a 33.3 per cent increase. And these are the sort of people who ask us to take as gospel—that word is used advisedly—the accuracy of the most complex mathematical calculations.

Mathematical ineptitude aside, the utterly unqualified statement of the temperature increase self-announces Flannery as a fool or a fraud or most probably both.

So the world’s temperature around the time of the industrial revolution was 15 degrees? Not 14.5 or 15.5 or even 14-16? But 15, exactly and unqualified?

Presumably the global temperature came from readings from those 17th century satellites, with the data then fed through the computers at the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia university.

With exactly the same integrity of all the other data from the CRU, which is the single most important research driver of the Copenhagen dynamic.
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Copenhagen: delegates warned against abusing children
Andrew Bolt

The United Nations warns Copenhagen delegates that their ludicrous scaremongering - claiming even global warming even causes earthquakes - is giving children nightmares.

I think that’s the message. Either that, or they’re barking mad.

(Thanks to many astonished readers.)

UPDATE

Tim Wilson, blogging in Copenhagen, explains how the opening sessions was stacked with green supporters. And, good heavens, how many of them flew to this great religious gathering to demand we cut what they just blew out the back of their jets:

According to a helpful UNFCCC assistant registered NGO observers exceeds 20,000 and is so large that the UNFCCC Secretariat didn’t have time to enter them all into their computer system.
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Climategate: manufacturing consensus
Andrew Bolt
Climate scientist Michael Schlesinger threatens a boycott of New York Times reporter Andy Revkin for reporting the views of sceptical scientists Roger Pielke (snr and jnr) and poking fun at Copenhagen:
Andy:

Copenhagen prostitutes?

Climate prostitutes?

Shame on you for this gutter reportage. This is the second time this week I have written you thereon, the first about giving space in your blog to the Pielkes.

The vibe that I am getting from here, there and everywhere is that your reportage is very worrisome to most climate scientists. Of course, your blog is your blog. But, I sense that you are about to experience the ‘Big Cutoff’ from those of us who believe we can no longer trust you, me included.

Copenhagen prostitutes?

Unbelievable and unacceptable.

What are you doing and why?

Michael
A small insight into how the Climategate scientists build “consensus”.
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Save the planet! Don’t breath out
Andrew Bolt
Doesn’t this give Barack Obama the formal power to regulate even the breathing of each citizen?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency formally declared that greenhouse gases endanger human health on Monday, allowing President Barack Obama to show his commitment to act as a major climate change summit opened in Copenhagen.
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Abbott sharpens attack
Andrew Bolt
It’s not at all the conservative coup suggested, though, and I’m not sure Bronwyn Bishop, an Abbott mate, should have been preferred to the younger guns the Liberals will need when they finally get into office:

TONY Abbott is promoting conservative MPs, including Howard government minister Bronwyn Bishop and Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce, to sharpen the Coalition’s political attack on the Rudd government and reflect the conservative majority of his backbenchers…

(T)he new Opposition Leader has appointed the less conservative Scott Morrison, a Turnbull supporter, as the spearhead of a renewed campaign against Labor’s border protection policies…

Senator Joyce, who is expected to be finance spokesman, will be an additional Nationals’ appointment to the Coalition front bench…

Julie Bishop is expected to keep her role as foreign affairs spokeswoman, Christopher Pyne is keeping education and his role as manager of opposition business in parliament. Joe Hockey will keep the Treasury portfolio, and Greg Hunt is expected to remain as environment spokesman and to pick up climate change.

Sharman Stone, who was criticised in recent months for failing to pursue the government over boatpeople, has been dropped from immigration and citizenship and appointed to childcare, women services and youth.

Conservative Liberal Victorian regional MP Sophie Mirabella, has been promoted, as has former Peter Costello adviser Tony Smith.

Queensland frontbencher Peter Dutton, who was mooted as a deputy to Mr Hockey if he became Liberal leader, is likely to retain his health portfolio, and Senator Minchin is expected to become defence spokesman.
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Climategate: smears and jeers
Andrew Bolt
Already a leader of world significance:
Abbott fuelling sceptics: UN
Meanwhile the UN, on almost zero evidence, smears the messenger:
UNITED Nations officials have suggested that computer hackers who pilfered thousands of emails and files from a British university were probably paid to undermine the Copenhagen climate change summit…

‘’If you look at that mass of emails a lot of work was done, not only to download the data, but it’s a carefully made selection of emails and documents that’s not random at all. This is 13 years of data and it’s not a job of amateurs.

‘’It’s very common for hackers in Russia to be paid for their services,’’ he said.
That evidence actually suggests a more likely scenario: that the work is a of a whistleblower, normally beloved of the media.

Indeed, Anthony Watts has checked the organisation and configuration of the leaked files and concluded:
Occam’s razor concludes that “the simplest explanation or strategy tends to be the best one”. The simplest explanation in this case is that someone at UEA found it and released it to the wild and the release of FOIA2009.zip wasn’t because of some hacker, but because of a leak from UEA by a person with scruples.
Why did the UN not suggest that instead?

UPDATE

Speaking of vested interests - and of Kevin Rudd’s campaign to become UN secretary general with your money:
(IPCC chairman Rajendra) Pachauri described Mr Rudd, whom he met last month during the Prime Minister’s lightning trip to India, as a “remarkable leader and an experienced politician"…

During his India visit Mr Rudd pledged $70 million in funding for a host of new joint agriculture and energy research projects, several of which involved India’s top environmental organisation, TERI (The Energy Resources Institute), which Dr Pachauri also heads.
What a coincidence.
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Brazen hypocrisy
Andrew Bolt

Sir Richard Brazen, the only global warming crusader to own an airline, says he in particular must cut emissions:
Because I’m in one of the dirty businesses, I have all the more responsibility to do something.
And here’s his latest “something” on emissions:
Virgin Atlantic has unveiled the world’s first commercial passenger spaceship… The company hopes the winged, minivan-sized SpaceShipTwo will rocket tourists into zero gravity beginning within two or three years.

“This will be the start of commercial space travel,” Virgin Atlantic Airways founder and billionaire Richard Branson ...
And who is Brazen’s partner in this gassy green crime?
Australia’s most famous environmentalist, Tim Flannery, has lent his name to a scheme by the world’s most infamous self-publicist, Richard Branson, to burn untold tonnes of greenhouse gases so rich people can become space tourists. Flannery yesterday defended his new role as an “environmental consultant” to Branson’s Virgin Galactic venture, which aims to sell space trips to civilians.
It continues to amaze me that anyone still takes these characters seriously.

But what matters is seeming green, not actually doing it. And Brazen does his best to do that seeming:
He told the students sustainability continued to be a major part of business, but urged more big companies to follow his lead… “I try to do a lot about it.” As part of his environmental efforts, he said his company had recently succeeded in making a bio-fuel made from coconut oil which was capable of keeping a commercial airliner in the air.
So how are his coconut oil plans working out? Well, not so good, actually:
More to the point is Branson’s airline, Virgin Atlantic… Its website says its carbon dioxide emissions are currently approaching 4.8m tonnes. This is up from 4.2m tonnes five years ago…

Virgin Atlantic has a “flight plan in place to reduce our impact on the environment”. But this does not include cutting emissions. It means a “30% improvement in the fuel efficiency of our fleet between 2007 and 2020”. Which of course would be neutralised by a 30% increase in flights, something that, on recent trends, is likely to be an underestimate
You see, Brazen is all hot air:

Remember his last great green initiative - a new resort for warmist believers?
Branson said the eco-resort’s buildings would capture cool thermal airflows, eliminating the need for air conditioners. The guests’ food would come from an organic orchard, and beach buggies would be powered by biofuels.
The catch? Brazen’s resort is in the Caribbean. At the end of a gassy plane ride.
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SHE SEEMS SURPRISED
Tim Blair
New Crikey editor Sophie Black realises that her readers are universally dull:

just going through Crikey caption comp. Hundreds of entries. all of them are… deeply unfunny.
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The fall of Manne
Andrew Bolt
Gerard Henderson on Professor Robert Manne, once voted Australia’s ”most influential public intellectual” but now drowning in the new green faith:
In a bizarre article in The Australian on Friday, Robert Manne, a politics professor at La Trobe University, canvassed not only a victory for his friend Hamilton but also “the destruction of the Liberal Party” this week. Manne acknowledged some of his views were “fantasy” but it was difficult to work out what part of his article was fantasy and what was academic analysis. Most teachers would fail a paper like this if it were presented as a university essay.

Manne also made his position clear on the Liberals, referring to the party’s “troglodyte-denialist wing” and Abbott as the “troglodyte-in-chief”. Such language seems acceptable in the La Trobe University politics department..

There is also an unpleasant double standard here involving Tony Abbott’s Catholicism. On Friday Manne wrote that “very many Australians will not vote for a Catholic party leader whose religious convictions fashion their politics”. Manne was the chairman of The Monthly when it ran Rudd’s essay on the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer in 2006, and enthusiastically endorsed Rudd’s religious convictions at the time. The views of Rudd and Abbott on social issues are not far apart. Yet it seems, according to Manne, Rudd’s religious convictions are acceptable while Abbott’s are not.
How much of the Old Testament messianism has now overtaken the never sturdy good sense of Manne? Judge by this from his Australian essay:
But if the Greens can achieve a breakthrough in the by-elections being held on Saturday, and if something even approximating to my fantasy about the consequences of such a breakthrough does indeed take place, the few days that separated the destruction of the Liberal Party from the opening of the Copenhagen conference might come to be seen as a turning point in the moral history of this country and as the moment when the politics of climate change in Australia could no longer reasonably be described as dirty.
It’s instructive, incidentally, to note how Manne’s once sparse prose has degenerated in tandem with his politics.
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