Sunday, April 11, 2010

Headlines Sunday 11th April 2010

=== Todays Toon ===
This cartoon depicts the repeal of the Stamp Act as a funeral, with Grenville carrying a child's coffin marked "born 1765, died 1766".
George Grenville (14 October 1712 – 13 November 1770) was a British Whig statesman who rose to the position of Prime Minister of Great Britain. Grenville was born into an influential political family and first entered Parliament in 1741 as an MP for Buckingham. He emerged as one of Cobham's Cubs, a group of young MPs associated with Lord Cobham.
=== Bible Quote ===
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”- Romans 5:6-8
=== Headlines ===
The plane that crashed, killing Polish President Lech Kaczynski and some of the country's highest military and civilian leaders, ignored Russian air traffic control's instructions, officials say. - this is a tragic loss of a fine conservative leader. - ed.

Political Panic in Poland
Polish politicians scramble to regroup after president, his wife, and other leaders die in jet crash that left no survivors

Court Battle Could Derail Obama Agenda
Battle over replacing Justice Stevens during election year all but guarantees legislative agenda will grind to a halt

Indiana School Digs In for Prayer Fight
In a rare decision, high school prepares to take on courts to keep tradition of student-led prayer at graduation

Navy in High Seas Pirate Battle
USS Ashland captures 6 suspected pirates after being fired upon near Africa in 3rd confrontation in 2 weeks

Obama continues to hurt Israel
The White House disputes a report from Israel that claims Obama is denying visas to Israeli nuclear scientists

After 175 days at sea, Jessica Watson is just weeks away from completing her record-breaking journey as the youngest person to sail around the world solo / Lincoln Baker

Four dead in 'murder-suicide'
THREE children and a man found dead in a Melbourne home in suspected murder-suicide.

More boat people after Rudd U-turn
KEVIN Rudd's attempt to buy political time on asylum seekers as the election draws is failing.

Woman gives birth but can't remember
A 31-YEAR-OLD woman with Alzheimer's disease is tragically indifferent to becoming a mum.

Facebook to blame for divorce boom
FACEBOOK may help to build relationships but it can also throw marriages into turmoil.

Cruise ship in bridge drama
PASSENGERS on a ship that stopped just 70m from a bridge pay tribute to the captain who saved them from disaster.

Shroud of Turin goes on display
THE Shroud of Turin, believed to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, went on public display for the first time in a decade.
=== Comments ===
That’s 100 failures by Julia’s logic
Piers Akerman
‘ANOTHER boat on the way, another policy failure,” is how deputy prime minister Julia Gillard characterised the flow of people smugglers’ vessels when she was in Opposition on April 23, 2003. - I support migrants. I am happy for Australia to accept more of them. I am unhappy with the cold and heartless policy of Rudd, Gillard and the ALP of calling migrants to come through people smugglers. I liked Mr Howard's Pacific Solution because it meant that fewer migrants would die coming to Australia. It meant that migrants could come to Australia and be welcomed and have confidence that they would be part of Australia's future. Instead, many migrants are openly despised on radio and blogs and decried by politicians (mainly of the left, but also the far right) who make fatuous claims about Australia's ability to support people, when really the space and resources are there, but need to be developed.
Rudd did not change his scheme because he was concerned about people dying or because he was shocked by the conditions desperate people were held in. Rudd was moved by some internal polling. It is incumbent on voters to remove Rudd and the ALP on election day, and important that those elected to parliament hold Rudd and the ALP to account as best they can until we do.
--- --- ---
On a related matter, I have finally been able to get my story to break into the public arena. I will be releasing my autobiography (Thief!) chapter by chapter on over the next few months. The first chapter will appear in a few days for Kindle, four short stories (horror fiction) are already available. - ed.

Obama Should Turn His Focus to Border Security -- Now!
By Bradley Blakeman
In light of the escalating violence we have seen on our southern border including, kidnapping, robbery and murder, it is imperative that our government take swift and permanent action to immediately secure our nation’s borders.

President Obama pledged during the campaign, and after taking office, that he would work on immigration reform during his first year. Well, a year has come and gone and he has nothing to show for any accomplishment on immigration and specifically border security. Over 1,000 illegal immigrants flood across our southern border with Mexico every day.

When President Bush tried to advance comprehensive immigration reform in his second term in office, he was soundly rebuffed because the American people wanted our borders secured first and foremost before any broad reforms were tackled.

Now, in light of the escalating violence we have seen on our southern border including, kidnapping, robbery and murder, it is imperative that our government take swift and permanent action to immediately secure our nation’s borders.

If the president wanted an issue where he can get true and meaningful bipartisan support for an important national interest then he is wise to advance an all-out effort to secure our borders.

The United States should immediately seek to beef up our border security with personnel and advanced technologies that cross government disciplines. It means utilizing the Border Patrol, U.S. Customs, other Homeland assets, the FBI, CIA, Justice Department, and even the Department of Defense, all in a coordinated and defined mission.

If we can send troops and deploy unmanned Predator Drones to secure the borders of foreign lands, then we can surely deploy them to help secure our own.

Although governors have the power to deploy National Guard they do so at their own states cost and expense. Securing our nations borders are NOT the responsibility of the governor of a state, it is the obligation of our president and commander-in-chief.

All the president need do is sign a presidential order authorizing the deployment of troops to aid civilian and law enforcement agencies in the mission of border security.

For the past year, governors from New Mexico, California, Arizona and Texas have requested military to assist with border security, however, the Calvary never showed up. As a result of non-action, violence has escalated and more and more illegal immigrants cross into our country with impunity.

We need a military-style precision operation to effectively secure our borders. It is not about “militarizing” our borders, which our president finds offensive. It is about keeping America safe.

The president took an oath to “preserve, protect and defend” the mation. He better start preserving, protecting and defending our borders from those who seek to do us harm by using all the assets available to do so.

Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University. A frequent Fox Forum contributor he is president of Kent Strategies LLC.
Tim Blair
There are already one or two laws against messing with the environment. But that’s not enough:
A campaign to declare the mass destruction of ecosystems an international crime against peace – alongside genocide and crimes against humanity – is being launched in the UK.

The proposal for the United Nations to accept “ecocide” as a fifth “crime against peace”, which could be tried at the International Criminal Court, is the brainchild of British lawyer-turned-campaigner Polly Higgins.
Polly’s Law won’t stop at mere ecocide:
Supporters of a new ecocide law also believe it could be used to prosecute “climate deniers” who distort science and facts to discourage voters and politicians from taking action to tackle global warming and climate change.
“Ecocide is in essence the very antithesis of life,” says Higgins.
No. That would be “death”.
Sexists defend Nixon
Andrew Bolt
When fools attack you for what you didn’t say, you know they can’t rebut what you in fact did.

Take Claire Harvey, who claims that my objection to Police Commissioner Christine Nixon’s desertion of her post during the deadly Black Saturday fires, when she first hid in her office doing paperwork, and then left for dinner after being told lives were in mortal danger, is due to her being a “girl”:
Melbourne Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt saw Nixon’s strife as the police’s comeuppance for sending a girl to do a man’s job.
Actually, Harvey’s piece does reveal sexism at play here. If Nixon were male, would her extraordinary failure to fulfill her statutory responsibility to lead the bushfire fight that night have been defended by Harvey, former Premier Joan Kirner, The Age or Age writers?

Then there’s this bizarre defence of Nixon by Sunday Age crime writer John Silvester, who seems to say she shouldn’t be attacked for going out to dinner instead of co-ordinating the emergency response because she never was good at policing anyway:
The dinner debacle is not some aberration, not a once-in-a-lifetime blunder. It is entirely in character. Nixon was never a lead-from-the-front police chief. She is a Harvard-trained MBA chief executive who relies heavily on committees and advisers. Policy and networking are her strong points. Practical, hands-on crisis management is not.

When appointed chief commissioner in 2001 after 28 years in the NSW Police Force, she had only three years’ experience as a regional commander. The government decided her management skills and outsider’s perspective outweighed her operational weaknesses.

Nixon was smart enough to know her limitations and chose to delegate to those she believed could deal with specific problems.
So we have someone who can’t actually do one of the most critical jobs of a Chief Commissioner, and cannot fulfill her responsibilities under the state disaster plan. Did Silvester ever write that before? Did he ever warn that Nixon was in fact incompetent in one of her key responsibilities?

But let’s see what Silvester claims is Nixon delegating her role as the head of the emergency response on Black Saturday:
On the night of Black Saturday, it was the calm and measured Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe, a more experienced operational police officer, who gave updates as the potential disaster turned to actual catastrophe. Like many others, Walshe personally lost relatives in the fires but continued to do his duty.
Here’s what Silvester curiously fails to add. As the Royal Commission found, Walshe was not rostered on duty that day, either, and did not leave his own home until 7pm to drive to the emergency headquarters, which he reached long after Nixon had left and when Marysville and Kinglake had already burned. What’s more, he was there primarily to give a media conference.
While Nixon was notionally in charge on the night, no one was in a position to alter the course of events.
Pardon? No one could have issued any warnings? Coordinated any evacuations? Supported fire services? Found out from their people on their ground where the fires actually were? Rushed in any extra help? Heavens, why didn’t the whole State Emergency Response Co-Ordination Centre staff just pack up, too, and go to dinner with Nixon?
If she had stayed and had a ham and pickle sandwich at the command centre rather than wild mushroom risotto at the Metropolitan Hotel, nothing would have changed. Not one life would have been saved.
Did Nixon know that at the time? Does Silvester know that even now? And is that really relevant when the key issue is whether the woman co-ordinating an emergency response should do her duty or quit her post?
What Nixon did was delegate - not desert.
In fact, she did not delegate. She did not do anything at all. And she deserted. Even she - and Silvester himself, in his very next paragraph - concede that:
She has said that in hindsight it was an error of judgment not to have stayed. In reality it was spectacularly stupid. A key role for a chief commissioner is to be a flag bearer at a time of crisis. It is a duty that cannot be underestimated.
Then there’s the sound of goalposts being shifted:
But it is in the aftermath of Black Saturday that Nixon should truly be judged. She headed off in the early hours of Sunday to the first of many crisis points. With the fires still burning, she visited exhausted emergency services workers, wounded civilians and shattered survivors. She worked 20-hour days and travelled thousands of kilometres.
Sorry, but giving big hugs may be nice, but her primary job is to ensure there are as few people as possible that will need hugging. She was the head of police, not the head of warm fuzzies.
Her judgment can be questioned. Her compassion and commitment can’t.
The authentic voice of these times. She seems compassionate, so who cares if she was incompetent.
On the afternoon of Black Saturday, in the hours before reports began to filter through that the fires were out of control, I considered driving in to the office to help out the Sunday Age just in case it all turned deadly. Instead I opened a Crown lager and cranked up the air-conditioner. In hindsight, it was an error of judgment
It’s hard to believe Silvester offers this as a serious analogy. For a start, a closer analogy would be that Silvester’s editor refused to call in to work on the day of Black Saturday - a failure that I guarantee would have them out the door.

And even then, the difference is stark. Nixon was specifically tasked to head the emergency response on such a day, and, with dozens of people dying, she deserted her post. To compare that to some journalist not filing a story, or some editor goofing off…
They’re also in jail to reform
Andrew Bolt
This would need court oversight, but jail is indeed meant not only to punish and protect, but to rehabilitate:
THE state’s worst murderers and violent criminals will be kept behind bars after their sentences have finished under a radical plan by the NSW government that will target prisoners who resist rehabilitation.

Premier Kristina Keneally will today order Corrective Services to begin an audit of the 750 ‘’worst of the worst’’ prisoners in NSW.

Prisoners refusing rehabilitation programs or judged not to have taken responsibility for their crimes will be detained indefinitely under new powers. The plan will build on the Crimes (Serious Sex Offenders) Act, which provides for the extended detention and strict monitoring of rapists and sexual offenders.

Extended Supervision Orders would be expanded to keep murderers and violent criminals caged in the same way as sex offenders.,,

It is thought more than 50 inmates could expect to be locked up beyond the end of their sentences after the review is completed. Ms Keneally said: ‘’This is about sending a message to the worst prisoners: ‘If you don’t do the rehabilitation, you know what? You won’t get out.’
The NSW Government will have to show how indefinite sentences will be imposed by judicial bodies, free from political pressure. We cannot have crooks given extra punishment just to get the mob off the back of some struggling politician, or to pay homage to some panic of the passing times. I’m also concerned that “taking responsibility for their crimes” can be a nebulous concept.
Teacher union fails the test
Andrew Bolt
Vandals and shirkers of duty:
THE Victorian Government could be forced to hire more than 6000 independent supervisors at a cost of $5 million if the education union votes tomorrow to boycott national literacy and numeracy exams.

The Australian Education Union is almost certain to follow through on its threat to instruct members not to take part in the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy test because it is central to the federal government’s controversial My School website.

The union has for months been demanding that federal Education Minister Julia Gillard overhaul the website, including using copyright powers to prevent the publication of so-called league tables ranking schools, which the union says will entrench disadvantage.
And, of course, expose bad teachers.

I’d like to see a survey of teacher attitudes to My School and national testing to see if excellent teachers were as hostile to it as bad ones. I’d suggest good teachers in the state system would actually like their efforts and talents to be better identified, better recognised - and (deservedly) better rewarded.
Climate alarmism is the greater danger
Andrew Bolt
Climate scientist Professor Richard Lindzen:

To a significant extent, the issue of climate change revolves around the elevation of the commonplace to the ancient level of ominous omen. In a world where climate change has always been the norm, climate change is now taken as punishment for sinful levels of consumption. In a world where we experience temperature changes of tens of degrees in a single day, we treat changes of a few tenths of a degree in some statistical residue, known as the global mean temperature anomaly (GATA), as portents of disaster…

The IPCC claim that most of the recent warming (since the 1950s) is due to man assumed that current models adequately accounted for natural internal variability. The failure of these models to anticipate the fact that there has been no statistically significant warming for the past 14 years or so contradicts this assumption. This has been acknowledged by major modeling groups in England and Germany…

Clearly, the possibility that warming may have ceased could provoke a sense of urgency. For those committed to the more venal agendas, the need to act soon, before the public appreciates the situation, is real indeed. However, the need to courageously resist hysteria is equally clear. Wasting resources on symbolically fighting ever-present climate change is no substitute for prudence.

Are they deterred yet?
Andrew Bolt
Another boatload doesn’t believe Kevin Rudd’s as tough as he now claims:
A boat carrying 40 people has been intercepted off the north-west coast of Australia… It is the second boat to be intercepted in 24 hours, taking the total number of unauthorised boat arrivals to 108 since August 2008.
(Thanks to readers Pira and Mum of 5.)
Damned out of his own mouth
Andrew Bolt
The promise:
Australian home owners have now been hit with their ninth interest rate rise in a row, the fifth since the last election… Housing affordability is now at a critical level… I’ll ... keep the budget in surplus on average over the economic cycle and implement policies to fight inflation, all designed to keep interest rates low.
The delivery:
The major lenders have moved quickly to pass on the Reserve Bank’s interest rate rise… This is the fifth hike since October and takes rates to their highest in 14 months.
MORTGAGE rates are predicted to hit a horror 10 per cent within the next two years as the Reserve Bank hikes rates to prevent runaway inflation.
Mr Swan’s appeal for restraint comes as housing affordability in Australia’s state capitals - particularly Melbourne - approaches its worst levels in history because of immigration and a chronic lack of supply.

The ...Labor government has forecast a record $57bn deficit for the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, or 4.7 per cent of gross domestic product, with a return to surplus expected in 2015-2016.
If he’s not on the stage, he won’t watch
Andrew Bolt
A rcommendation from the 1000 “best and brightest” at Kevin Rudd’s 2020 Ideas Summit:
Overtly value arts and artists at the federal government level: this will ensure that politicians attend arts events...
Add that to all the other ideas Rudd had no intention of heeding:
Kevin Rudd has not attended a single arts event during his prime ministership...
Actually, that’s not strictly true:
Mr Rudd yesterday made a whistle-stop visit to Cate Blanchett’s Mater Hospital bed in Sydney - keen to congratulate the star attendee at the 2020 Summit on the birth of her third son.
Let’s see if these Fairfax papers print a correction
Andrew Bolt
Yesterday I noted how Wikileaks had distributed a video showing wicked US troops in Iraq killing two Reuters journalists - without informing viewers that they were among a band of terrorists, some carrying AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades, who were in the middle of a firefight.

Today, though, both The Age and Sydney Morning Herald not only swallow the already-discredited lie, but publish an extraordinary hagiography of the man who spread the smear:

Julian Assange, one of the founders of WikiLeaks, (is) an Australian who rarely makes public appearances and shuffles around the world with little more than a rucksack and a laptop… Lean and tall with a handsome, distant face, long grey locks and dressed in a a dark suit, Assange, in his late 30s, is a commanding presence.

He has a deep broadcaster’s voice and gave measured, drum-tight answers about the blow he had just dealt the US military with WikiLeak’s release of footage of an American helicopter gunship killing Iraqi citizens and two Reuters journalists on a Baghdad street in July 2007.

The video, shot from the helicopter, includes the voices of soldiers urging a gravely wounded Reuters photographer to pick up his weapon (they apparently did not realise it was a camera) so he could be lawfully finished off with the aircraft’s deadly 30mm cannon. When a beaten-up van slithers to a halt and its passer-by occupants tumble out to aid the wounded, they too are gunned down. Only two maimed children survive…

He didn’t need to say more; by week’s end the video had been viewed 4.8 million times. Its impact upon the reputation of US servicemen in Iraq is devastating.
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