Friday, April 30, 2010

Headlines Friday 30th April 2010

=== Todays Toon ===
Earl Grey as painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence, ca. 1828.
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, KG, PC (13 March 1764 – 17 July 1845), known as Viscount Howick between 1806 and 1807, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 22 November 1830 to 16 July 1834. A member of the Whig Party, he backed significant reform of the British government and was among the primary architects of the Reform Act 1832. In addition to his political achievements, Earl Grey famously gives his name to an aromatic blend of tea.
=== Bible Quote ===
“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.”- Job 19:25
=== Headlines ===
Outrage as U.N. Picks Iran For Women's Rights Seat
U.N. elects Iran — a nation that condones lashings for 'immodest' women — to its human-rights monitoring Commission on the Status of Women

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declares state of emergency as U.S. official says massive oil slick is expected to reach the Mississippi River delta tonight.

States Backing Arizona Immigration Law
Politicians from Minnesota to Georgia are lining up and throwing their support behind Arizona's controversial law

Deadlock in Palin E-Mail Hacking Case
Federal jury reaches unanimous decisions on three counts, but tells judge it is deadlocked on one charge

Pauline Hanson has been forced to take her million-dollar property off the market following a backlash against her decision not to sell to Muslims. Picture: David Sproule

Williams 'was no psycho killer'
CARL Williams was demonised and society never saw "the best of him", his ex-wife will tell mourners. - I'm sure he thought long and hard about who and how to kill -ed.

Female sailor faces sex grope charge
HMAS Success sailor accused of publicly groping her male colleagues in new scandal.

Death crash dad 'trapped in nightmare'
MAN who killed his wife and child in horrifying smash pleads guilty to dangerous driving, reveals grief.

Yes, you're the world's worst tennis player
ROBERT Dee lost 54 matches in a row - without winning one set - but he didn't think he was that bad. - he is a better player than I - ed.

Jennifer Aniston is pathetic - Brad Pitt
ACTOR allegedly calls his ex wife "desperate" for appearing on the cover of his favourite magazine.

Rise in 'untreatable' gonorrhoea cases
FEARS the sexually transmitted disease could become untreatable as warning issued for Australia.

MPs travel on world's tax dollars
GLOBETROTTING MPs have turned to other nations' governments and community groups to fund their travels - and community groups are pitching in.

Not enough cash so lover dumped, Janet Campbell murder trial hears
ACCUSED killer Des Campbell dumped his English girlfriend at the airport just a day after she told him her divorce settlement was less than expected, a court was told yesterday.
=== Journalists Corner ===
His choices have been criticized for being radical & anti-establishment.
So, who will Obama choose for the open supreme court seat?
Holy Crist!
A Florida election bombshell! Was it only poll numbers that made him drop out of the GOP? We've got the facts, the figures, and the fallout!
===
On the Fence!
Is Arizona's immigration law really the right course of action? Karl Rove reacts to the controversial border battle!
===
Founders' Friday
He failed at collecting taxes, but succeeded in founding the nation. We explore the life of Saumel Adams!
=== Comments ===
Rudd promised the world but has delivered nothing
Piers Akerman
IT is hard to believe that the climate has changed so radically for Kevin Rudd since he signed up to the Copenhagen Accord last December, let alone since the 2007 election. - The ETS was a dog of a scheme with no benefits for Australia and Australians. But Rudd held on tight to it for one reason, and when that reason went, he dropped it. Some will quibble with the assertion that the ETS has been dropped, when it has been delayed for implementation to 2012. But remember that Rudd is a bureaucrat and something that is delayed will never be implemented. It was delayed because it is a dog of a policy. But Rudd has been so gung ho over it for political reasons, he cannot drop it now, even though he cannot use it. So it is being delayed until just before another election, when it will not be implemented.
Some call the ETS a tax on everything, but that isn’t the value of it to Rudd. It is a pork barrel. Rudd, with such a pork barrel can bankroll an election campaign and another round of election promises. He can do so without extending the already significant debt appearing on Australia’s books because he can claim the expenditures are paid for by the ETS slush fund. This was going to be popular with the support it had been given by international lobbyists that Rudd had declared his support for it in rolled gold terms, describing it as the great moral challenge of our age.
In opposing the ETS, the conservatives (and greens) have severely limited Rudd’s access to the slush fund. However, Rudd was able to use the lobbyist support to hound the conservatives over the issue. This initially had impacted to roll Dr Nelson and then Mr Turnbull from the leadership of the Liberal Party. However, with the ascension of Mr Abbott and the new policy that was getting popular support, Rudd had a policy on his hands which wasn’t going to be politically useful to him. But it was still going to be a slush fund and Rudd needed that money.
Then came another source for a significant pork barrel. It wasn’t painted in those terms, but then neither was the ETS. The new slush fund was the health policy which took 30% GST from the states. This was not going to be of interest to any state, but any state might be able to use the loss of ready cash to leverage a slush bucket for themselves. Which is what NSW proudly claimed when Kenneally said what it was that got her to give support for the pork barrel. Kenneally faces an election in the first half of 2011. Victoria is due for an election soon too, but the pretend argy bargy was also useful in leveraging Western Australia, who will never profit from such a deal as they will not get a slush fund for their next election and there is no benefit for them in giving away their GST take.
Rudd has lost his need for an ETS with the health deal, and so bad policy will be delayed for the short term. But the ETS can be resurrected in the future if the ALP need a new slush fund and if somehow it becomes popular again through international lobbyist efforts. But really, it has been dropped, and good riddance.
nb The last chapter (for now) of my autobiography has been published at amazon.com. I don't know how long I will be able to keep it up for. I am expecting fake challenges regarding the subject matter. I went to substantial effort to keep it focused on me and my major issue, Hamidur Rahman's unjust treatment after death by the ALP who seem bent on covering up what happened.
I have been severely tested in bringing the matter this far. Soon, it will be three years between jobs when I had never been unemployed before. I have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars and there is no way I will get those back, but I am not doing this for me. I am doing this because I believe God wants me to.
At the moment, the book is in seven chapters, I am working to combine them as it will be cheaper to buy that way (Amazon gets $2 for each purchase). - ed.

===
Illegal Immigration: What Would Jesus Do?
Los Angeles cardinal blasts Arizona's tough new law - O'Reilly factor
===
RISING SEAS MONITORED
Tim Blair
Al begins a watching brief at the ocean’s edge:
Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, have added a Montecito-area property to their real estate holdings, reports the Montecito Journal.

The couple spent $8,875,000 on an ocean-view villa on 1.5 acres with a swimming pool, spa and fountains, a real estate source familiar with the deal confirms. The Italian-style house has six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms.
Greg Pollowitz writes: “Can’t wait for someone to tally up the carbon buttprint of this one.”
===
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Tim Blair
Slate‘s Christopher Beam examines Mexican immigration laws:
Scientists, athletes, artists, and other people with special abilities are given preference. So are investors who want to start a business in Mexico. The country makes it easy for Americans to retire there by waiving tariffs when they move their belongings. (The United States sends more immigrants to Mexico than any other country does.) It also incentivizes immigration from other Spanish-speaking countries—Latin America, Spain, and Portugal …
“Portugal speaks Spanish?” emails Tom R. (Also: Latin America is a country?) “Please insert a correction sometime before installment #627 of Slate‘s ‘How Dumb Is Sarah Palin?!’ series.” Meanwhile:
Amnesty International called the abuse of migrants in Mexico a major human rights crisis Wednesday, and accused some officials of turning a blind eye or even participating in the kidnapping, rape and murder of migrants.

The group’s report comes at a sensitive time for Mexico, which is protesting the passage of a law in Arizona that criminalizes undocumented migrants.

===
RESPECT THE BEASTS
Tim Blair
The Guardian reports:
Wildlife documentary makers are infringing animals’ rights to privacy by filming their most private and intimate moments, according to a new study.

Footage of animals giving birth in their burrows or mating crosses an ethical line that film-makers should respect, according to Brett Mills, a lecturer in film studies at the University of East Anglia.
I do not quite know what to say.
===
Nixon to tell all she knows about managing catastrophes
Andrew Bolt
It could be a shorter lecture next week than the Australian and New Zealand School of Government has advertised:
3.30—5.00pm Lecture and discussion
Catastrophic risks and effective management systems —Christine Nixon
I admire her hide.

(Thanks to reader Leigh.)

UPDATE

That first link has gone dead, so I guess the talk is now off. But the ANZSOG is still offering this equally timely lecture:
Taking action: problems of sequencing; where to intervene?—Christine Nixon
Answer: between the hairdressers and the chat with your biographer, and, actually, probably not even then. Any questions?
===
The media should ask why it, too, backed this policy dodo
Andrew Bolt
James Patterson on Kevin Rudd’s retreat on a policy which the media almost unanimously assured him was a winner:
Political editor of the Age, Michelle Grattan, wrote on Wednesday that the Prime Minister’s credibility had been ‘undermined’ by his ETS backflip. Grattan wasn’t the only one to say so. Journalists in nearly every paper quoted Rudd at length on the issue he once called ‘the greatest moral challenge of our time’. With barely disguised glee, members of the press, including Paul Kelly and Lenore Taylor, lined up to dump a bucket on Rudd for his Herculean about-face.

While it was undoubtedly deserved, ... the media seemed somewhat less enthusiastic about reviewing their own ostentatious rhetoric on the ETS.

This was Michelle Grattan on 25 November 2009: ‘It is in the Liberal party’s interests to vote for the ETS and get the climate change issue as much off the election agenda as possible.’ Earlier, she described resistance to an ETS among Liberal MPs as ‘ill-judged’ because ‘Turnbull’s instinct in wanting to help the government get the legislation through is correct’. After Minchin appeared on Four Corners to air his concerns, Grattan labelled him ‘unhelpful’ and accused him of engaging in ‘audacious behaviour’.

On 16 November, Lenore Taylor said there was a clear ‘political advantage’ in passing the ETS so that the Coalition could return to campaigning on the economy. Later, Taylor declared conservative Liberal MPs opposed to the ETS as having ‘lost all connection with rationality’ and accused them of ‘tearing apart their own party’.

Paul Kelly said on 3 October that voting against the ETS would ensure ‘that Labor would be returned with a larger majority’. He went on to describe ETS opponents as on a ‘political suicide mission’ who would lead the Liberal party down ‘the road to ruin’.

Laurie Oakes ... went even further in a later column, calling Minchin an alien ‘from another planet’ because of his climate change scepticism. Minchin is no alien, but his actions in relation to the ETS certainly demonstrated Oakes’ poor political judgement — which may explain the personal attack.
UPDATE

Reader Michael wonders who Australia’s Most Influential Public Intellectual will vote for next, having already drifted from the Liberals to Labor…
I went to the book launch of Rob Manne’s new neo-liberal/climate change/we’re all doomed screed/book on Wed. night, and during the Q&A, he said, explicitly and unambiguously, Rudd and his Gov. had lost his support due to the ETS and his lack of political courage.
UPDATE 2

Is GetUp! just an unpricipled Labor front, or will it attack Kevin Rudd as it attacked Tony Abbott for the very same policy?

(Thanks to reader Jeff.)
===
Iran, the UN’s new guardian of women’s rights
Andrew Bolt
Beyond parody:
Without fanfare, the United Nations this week elected Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women, handing a four-year seat on the influential human rights body to a theocratic state in which stoning is enshrined in law and lashings are required for women judged “immodest.”
(Thanks to reader Paul.)
===
Masterchef serves up some tart lessons
Andrew Bolt
MASTERCHEF is again teaching us more than how to grill a fish in a lotus leaf.

And not all these lessons are as comforting as George Calombaris’s fantastic moussaka.

Take Wednesday’s episode, which showed that the person who puts his head up is often the first to get shot.

Jonathan Daddia had already proved he was one of the more talented cooks on the show, and was picked as one of two team captains for a cook-off.

True, he was picked not for his cooking but for his prickliness, with rival captain Alvin Quah, who had the choice, figuring Daddia wouldn’t be able to make his team work as one.

Daddia’s team indeed struggled, and lost, but he nobly took responsibility for its worst failing - choosing a menu too ambitious for a full restaurant, even if the results were superb.

Others in his team also had their failings, with one crying as she confessed to having let Daddia down. He refused to let her take any blame.

Others had played only bit parts as their team fought gamely to beat Quah’s, failing only narrowly.

Yet the MasterChef judges singled out Daddia as one of only two individual losers that round to compete against each other to stay in the competition.

Fine, as my column above suggests, leaders must be accountable for the performance of the whole. But would Daddia conceivably have been a loser had he been left to merely set the tables and take orders? Fly high, fall further.

There was another unsettling moment as Sarah Carmichael had a meltdown when told no one in the kitchen could read the orders she was taking at the tables, leading to chaos.
===
Not a leader when we needed one
Andrew Bolt
HAS Victoria so run out of true leaders? Are we really now led by buck-passers, media tarts and paper-shufflers?

The bushfires royal commission this week could only add to our despair.

And only add, too, to the possibility former police commissioner Christine Nixon could face being charged with perjury.

Black Saturday was a day that should have seen our leaders lead. It was the crisis for which true leaders are born. For which some secretly dream.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and all that. No war, no Churchill.

Instead, the hour cameth, and the leaders went. To hairdressers and dinner. To their private business. To their farm. To their Bendigo home.

And meanwhile the state burned and 173 people died.

This week it was the turn of Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe, a respected officer, to have his reputation as a leader shredded, and even his truthfulness questioned - or at least put in need of defending.
===
Abbott calls for lower immigration
Andrew Bolt
It’s wise, as far as it goes, even if it doesn’t actually go far enough:
TONY Abbott has fired a new shot in the population debate, declaring the nation should aim for a long-term target of 29 million people.

That’s seven million fewer than the 36 million Treasury prediction for 2050…

Yesterday, the Opposition Leader said Australia was growing too fast, at the rate of one extra person every 70 seconds, and was on track for a population of 42 million by 2050 under the Government’s policies. The current population is 22 million…

Mr Abbott said that a Coalition government would set a target range, based on expert advice, for population growth taking into account infrastructure, water, energy, food and environment concerns. He suggested the immigration intake would also be reduced.
Perhaps understandably, but unfortunately, Abbott doesn’t discuss the stress that high immigration is putting on our sense of community.

UPDATE

Clearer still:

“The current immigration numbers are utterly unsustainable,” Mr Abbott said. “What we are saying with certainty is that we cannot continue to take 300,000 people a year.”
===
Where beasts come to drink at sunset
Andrew Bolt
All in just one Mebourne bar in just two years, which makes you wonder just how many ferals now live among us:

TWENTY sickening episodes of violent and drunken behaviour at one strip joint are exposed in a secret police dossier that could prompt the wholesale shutdown of notorious city nightspots…

Alleged violence includes:

A FEMALE constable being karate-kicked in the face while trying to subdue a thug.

A WILD brawl among 150 alcohol-fuelled men in April last year.

BOUNCERS kicking out Mick Gatto’s nephew Daniel Gatto and his friend Bassem Jurdi in September 2008 after the pair allegedly assaulted a man.

A POOL cue used to knock a man’s teeth out.

A PATRON dragged out of range of surveillance cameras and held against a tree as a bouncer punched him twice in the face and broke his nose.

A DRUNK smashed in the head with a beer glass after he urinated on the back of another man in the toilets.

The dossier also reveals police once found so many drunks at Bar 20 they didn’t have the manpower to arrest them all.

===
So much to say, so little done
Andrew Bolt
The policy paralysis is now near-complete:
KEVIN Rudd appears to have shelved action on another policy promise—reform of the electoral system, including possible caps on political donations and election spending by political parties.

Despite having initiated a push for electoral reform after taking power, the Prime Minister yesterday refused to commit to producing before this year’s election a government response to discussion papers prepared by his administration in December 2008.
Dennis Shanahan explains Rudd’s humiliating retreat on his emissions trading scheme:
Rudd has oversimplified the answer to climate change for public consumption and concentrated on empty symbols, short-term political gains and grand international accords. The decision to dump the CPRS - and that is what it is, despite talk of extending its implementation to 2013 - is the culmination of a series of tactical and strategic errors. These include exaggerating what could be done, playing down the economic cost, over-politicising the process, failing to systematically explain what was involved and then suddenly capitulating.
All true, but. as with so much commentary, Shanahan fails to discuss a few key factors that made Rudd’s failure almost inevitable. For a start, the public could not stay scared for so long without eventually noticing that the predicted warming wasn’t happening and the predicted disasters hadn’t hit.

Never underestimate the role facts play in turning assumptions.

UPDATE

Tim Wilson warns that Kevin Rudd’s latest poll-driven idea, to demand cigarettes be sold in plain packaging, will go the way of so many Rudd brain-snaps:

During the government’s announcement of plain packaging for cigarettes, Rudd and Health Minister Nicola Roxon celebrated it as a world first because no other government has taken similar action. But other governments haven’t done so because of the risks involved.

Only last year the British government rejected plain packaging, arguing that “no studies have shown that introducing plain packaging of tobacco would cut the number of young people smoking"…

Even with strong evidence about the efficacy of plain packaging, the British government could have exposed itself to legal claims by tobacco companies for expropriating their property rights. The Rudd government has ignored this message.

Under Australia’s Constitution and international trade agreements, the government cannot strip or devalue property without compensation on “just terms”, and that includes intellectual property rights such as trademarks…

Although the cost of Rudd’s reckless move is unknown, rough calculations by the Institute of Public Affairs show that taxpayers may be required to fatten the profits of tobacco companies by up to $3 billion a year.

===
Gore bets the seas won’t drown his new ocean-view home
Andrew Bolt
Alarmist Al Gore, who wants the rest of us to have a small carbon footprint, is gambling he’s wrong about global warming drowning us in rising seas:
Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, have added a Montecito-area property to their real estate holdings, reports the Montecito Journal.

The couple spent $8,875,000 on an ocean-view villa on 1.5 acres with a swimming pool, spa and fountains, a real estate source familiar with the deal confirms. The Italian-style house has six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms.
(Thanks to readers Deadman and Leigh.)
===
Brown out
Andrew Bolt

By calling a voter a “bigot”, Gordon Brown has produced not just an electioneering calamity for Labour, but one of the great headlines.

Janet Daly on why Brown’s sneer was so deadly:
What Gordon Brown did was to insult a quintessential Labour supporter for expressing opinions that are probably held by three quarters of the white working class core vote.
UPDATE

The NT News tries a memorable headline of its own about its own less memorable politicians:
Holy crap ... CLP passes a motion
(Thanks to reader Watty.)
===
Queensland could be our Greece
Andrew Bolt
Henry Ergas says the financial meltdown in Greece and Spain is a warning for Australia, too:
Without the euro, Greece would have paid far more for its loans, and would have had great difficulty indebting itself so heavily. Equally, the euro allowed Spain to have twice the wages growth of Germany without facing a severe balance of payments crisis…

But it would be foolish to assume we are immune to the problems the eurozone is experiencing…

Under the Australian constitution, the central government got the bulk of the revenues while the states retained far-reaching expenditure obligations, even in the face of economic shocks. Meeting those obligations required borrowing…

Yet it was also soon clear that default (or likely default) by any one state would affect the terms on which other Australian governments could borrow, and that (as an authoritative government report concluded in 1936) “the commonwealth is ultimately responsible for state debts, and is bound to meet all interest under pain of itself defaulting”....

But (the Commonwealth Grants Commission) uses opaque formulas to shift GST revenues to states that are judged to suffer from “disabilities”. Inevitably, this fiscal socialism creates myriad perverse incentives.

These incentives have been accentuated in the commission’s latest report, which introduces an entirely new basis for redistribution, namely net financial worth. The mechanics are complex, but the results are not: a state that allows its financial position to deteriorate relative to the average can gain by so doing, so long as it can attract a growing population. At the same time, the adjustment causes a deterioration in the financial position of a state with a better than average balance sheet when its population expands.

The incentive, therefore, is for Western Australia’s government (to which the commission only allocated 68c of its per capita GST dollar) to allow its solid fiscal stance to more closely resemble debt-laden Queensland’s (which got 91c in the GST dollar).
(Thanks to reader CA.)
===
Who says the marmoset didn’t want to be a star?
Andrew Bolt
I guess we can’t eat them, either:
Wildlife documentary makers are infringing animals’ rights to privacy by filming their most private and intimate moments, according to a new study.

Footage of animals giving birth in their burrows or mating crosses an ethical line that film-makers should respect, according to Brett Mills, a lecturer in film studies at the University of East Anglia.
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