Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Headlines Wednesday 14th April 2010

=== Todays Toon ===
Gough Whitlam (Still alive in his 90s) was a Labor Party Prime Minister of Australia in the '70s who knew lots about most things -- but (by his own admission) nothing about economics. His chief achievement was to overspend on madcap schemes to the point of giving Australia 19% inflation.
=== Bible Quote ===
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”- Romans 3:23-24
=== Headlines ===
After two-hour rescue, searchers find missing 11-year-old in one of Florida's most alligator-filled swamps

Obama: 4-Year Goal on Nukes
47 nations at Obama's Nuclear Summit agree to safeguard nukes, keep them out of terrorists' hands

How Much Are You Paying for TARP?
FoxNews.com's taxpayer calculator shows YOUR share of TARP program in Day Two of our series

Coach Accused of Abuse Back in Field
Football coach hired at Arizona high school — despite long-standing reputation of physical, verbal abuse

Experts work to clean up oil spilt after a bulk carrier ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef, as first pictures show the damage. Image: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - lol it'll grow back - ed.

Girl, three, taken with stolen car
A GOOD Samaritan has given chase to a man who stole a car with a three year old girl inside.

The home phone comes back to life
TELSTRA takes on iPad with touch-screen phone that plays videos and connects to Facebook.

Cough up $20 for packet of cigarettes
SMOKERS may end up having to foot the bill for Prime Minister's $18 billion health reforms.

Babies in the womb 'feel pain at 20 weeks'
A CONTROVERSIAL abortion law has been introduced to end foetal pain felt at the 20-week mark.

ABC Learning boss spied on me - ex-wife
FORMER childcare king Eddy Groves read ex-wife's email and forged her signature, court hears.

RailCorp under worker safety fire as cleaner killed by train
A CONTRACT cleaner working on railway tracks while trains were still running was hit and killed early yesterday - sparking a number of investigations and raising questions about RailCorp worker safety.

RTA chief stood down over F3 debacle
RTA boss Michael Bushby stood aside after motorists stranded for hours on a freeway on Monday.

Farmers cowed by a low act
THEY just struggled through a drought - now farmers will be fleeced an extra $10,000 a year to pay their power bills thanks to IPART's insulting price rise.

School axes cross-dressing fashion show
TEACHER ordered all her students - including young boys - to dress as women in show to honour Women's History Month.

Schoolgirl falls through hatch in bus floor
A SYDNEY private bus company is being investigated after a girl fell through a hatch above the vehicle's transmission on the way to school.

Marks & Spencer threatens granny for eating cookie
AN 86-year-old grandmother was threatened with being thrown out of a British supermarket cafe after she started nibbling a cookie she bought in the same store.
=== Journalists Corner ===
Outraged Americans are standing up against big government and saying, "NO to more taxes"!
Neil Cavuto is covering the protest with some of the biggest names in business and politics!
Coburn Knocks Fox!
Why did the spirited senator slam the most powerful network in news? Tom Coburn explains his explosive remarks!
===
Guest: Marco Rubio
Find out what his political strategy could mean for the future of the GOP!
===
Guest: Senator Ben Nelson
How did the state of Nebraska really benefit from the health care bill?
=== Comments ===
More Racism Charges From NBC News
By Bill O'Reilly
It all began when Newt Gingrich, speaking before a Republican group, said this about President Obama's basketball prowess:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH: Shooting 3-point shots may be clever, but it doesn't put anybody to work. And what we need is a president, not an athlete. We need somebody who actually focuses on getting people back to work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Well, after hearing that, NBC News correspondent Norah O'Donnell saw racism and presented her case to some colleagues:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NORAH O'DONNELL, NBC NEWS: I mean, this was largely a good speech, Gingrich's speech about not being the party of no. Let's be yes on this, yes on this. But I'm not sure what he means by this particular sound bite, and I think it's open to some criticism because it suggests that the president is an athlete. And some people may suggest, you know, because all black people are good athletes — I mean, that's what it sort of sounds like to me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, I didn't see that at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, I didn't get that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That went right by me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Norah, I will back you up because my eyebrow arched as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Mr. Capehart then went on to soften his remarks. But the fact that a Washington Post editorial writer would even consider racism in Mr. Gingrich's statement is absurd and points out just how far left some of The Washington Post people really are.

Now, I believe Americans have pretty much had enough of this bogus racism garbage. Not only when President Obama is criticized, but also in the elite media, which uses racism as a club to bludgeon anyone with whom they disagree.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton was hammered by charges of racism when he referred to Jesse Jackson in the South Carolina primary. By all accounts, Mr. Clinton was furious that the far left branded him with the r-word simply for giving a historical opinion.

President Obama himself is not guilty in this sad situation. He has often said that he is not a victim of racism and has made clear his disdain for people using that charge, even when defending him.

But — but — there is no question that some of the president's biggest supporters are the biggest offenders when charges of racism arise. It might be good for Mr. Obama to say publicly that they should knock it off.

"Talking Points" well understands the bitterness that is sweeping the country. The right sees the Obama administration as a threat to what they want America to be. The left sees the attacks on the president as vicious and personal. Therefore, they reply in kind.

All of this is destructive to the country. There are enough legitimate issues to debate without degenerating into personal attacks, especially where racism is invoked.

From now on, "Talking Points" will alert you to people trafficking in this. It's despicable.
===
IT GETS KNOCKED DOWN, IT GETS BACK UP AGAIN
Tim Blair
If it’s only going to take just 20 years for some squished coral to recover, what’s the problem? It’s not as though the coral was doing anything useful in the first place.
===
SUBJECT MASTERED
Tim Blair
The requirements to win a Pultizer Prize for Explanatory Reporting:
For a distinguished example of explanatory reporting that illuminates a significant and complex subject, demonstrating mastery of the subject, lucid writing and clear presentation, in print or online or both, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
And the prize goes to:
Michael Moss and members of The New York Times Staff for relentless reporting on contaminated hamburger …
(Via KP)

UPDATE. And in other food news:
When Christopher Hemsley tucked into a crayfish he’d caught during a trip to the Lake District, he thought he was doing his bit for the environment.

After all, the lobster-like American signal crayfish pose such a threat to native wildlife that they are high on the Environment Agency’s list of most wanted foreign species.

But yesterday his fishing trip landed the ‘active environmentalist’ with a huge fine after it emerged that he had instead caught and cooked one of Britain’s rarest crustaceans.
(Via Hal G.P. Colebatch)
===
It’s the green thought that counts
Andrew Bolt
A perfect policy for these Days of Seeming, Not Doing. The Queensland Government pretends to do something about something voters pretend to care about:
The state government’s carbon offset contribution scheme appears to be failing, with just 230 Queenslanders making the voluntary payments since its launch in November last year… Under the scheme, drivers pay half the total amount to offset their emissions, with the state government matching the contribution.
(Thanks to reader Ashley.)
===
How many billions has Rudd wasted?
Andrew Bolt
Reader Brett starts his list of Rudd Government waste. Feel free to add, subtract, criticise or comment:
Waste so far!

BER value rorted $6,000,000,000.00
School Halls over budget $1,700,000,000.00
School Computers over budget $1,200,000,000.00
Medicare overspend $1,400,000,000.00
Pharmaceutical overspend $1,800,000,000.00
Solar Panel Overspend $850,000,000.00
NBN Tender failure $17,000,000.00
Insulation $1,400,000,000.00
Stimulus Cheques wasted $40,000,000.00
TV Station handout $250,000,000.00
Grocery Watch $10,000,000.00
NT Housing program $45,000,000.00
2020 summit? $10,000,000.00
Copenhagen $1,500,000.00
Whaling Envoy $1,000,000.00
418 media advisors $50,000,000.00
Ambassador to Holy See $10,000,000.00
Fuel Watch $8,500,000.00
UPDATE

A small example, but how weird indeed is this waste:
The Australian Government-funded aid agency AusAID last month provided $308,000 for the development of AFL in South Africa, an allocation even ARL boss Geoff Carr described as “weird” given South Africa’s main sports are cricket, soccer and, ironically, rugby, in which the Springboks are world champions. Certainly it appears a weird allocation given that the AFL had an operating profit of $214m last year.
(Thanks to reader Mark.)
===
Scenes from the underclass
Andrew Bolt
Two children and no father:
A hoon driver was caught doing a burnout with his 10-month-old son in the car in Melbourne’s east last night, police say.

The 19-year-old’s vehicle was seized after the incident at the McDonald’s carpark in Ferntree Gully about 11.35pm.

A police unit from Knox allegedly saw the teenager do the burnout, however when police approached the VN Commodore it drove away.... Police said his baby son and 23-year-old girlfriend were in the car at the time.

The teenager’s vehicle was seized for 48 hours, however police say he could lose his vehicle for up to three months when he goes to court as it was his second offence.
I sometimes feel much like I imagine a Roman in the fourth century or German in the 1930s did, watching in despair as civilisation slowly crumbles.
===
The bigger the thug, the deeper the bow
Andrew Bolt
Barack Obama has bowed and bowed again to dictators, and now he just does it again:

But here’s Obama with the Prime Minister of democratic Canada:
Here he is with the Prime Minister of democratic Israel:
UPDATE

Other bows - to the leader of a police state and the leader of the Saudi autocracy:
===
Rudd spends millions to fix what he smashed with billions
Andrew Bolt
KEVIN Rudd spent his first two years in power smashing stuff.

Now, in this election year, he’s spending up to $1 billion of your money to fix the damage.

That’s right: Rudd is spending at least $1 billion to fix the havoc he’s unleashed by handing out free insulation, splurging on overpriced school buildings, relaxing boat people laws, letting in an unsustainable 300,000 people a year and more.

Oh, I know. You think I’m far too hard on a Prime Minister with the air of a particularly methodical Christian dentist. But one disillusioned day you will hear from many who now work with him that how Rudd seems is bizarrely different to how he is.

I don’t just mean that this publicly prissy churchgoer is privately a foul-mouthed, arrogant, paranoid and abusive control freak, but that many of his brightest ideas swiftly flop.

The truth is his uncanny skill at spinning has so far saved Rudd’s reputation as a manager.

But check the substance rather than the image and you find he already qualifies as possibly the most incompetent prime minister since World War II. And, no, I haven’t forgotten Whitlam.

Take Monday’s announcement that his Government will now spend another $14 million on a taskforce to tackle the massive rorting of its $16.2 billion school stimulus scheme.
===
The real wingnuts
Andrew Bolt
Laurie Oakes, like many journalists, was only too eager to believe the confected worst of the Tea Party movement:
WINGNUTS - people on the lunatic fringe of politics - are winning in America.. Can a whole country go crazy? It makes you wonder…

In the US, as Congress passed President Obama health reform legislation and in the aftermath, it was a very different story… Protesters hurled racist epithets at African-American members of Congress, and spat on them. At least 10 members of Congress who supported the legislation received death threats… Windows and doors in the offices of Democrat politicians were smashed.
No racist epithets, were actually recorded. No deliberate spitting was done. Some of the reports of broken windows were false,

But this is true, and I doubt Oakes will even mention it:
Allee Bautsch, chief campaign fundraiser for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and her boyfriend Joe Brown, were savagely beaten Friday night in New Orleans after leaving a Republican party fundraising dinner by a group of thugs who reportedly targeted the couple because they were wearing Sarah Palin pins.

Bautch’s leg was broken and Brown incurred a broken jaw and nose as well as a concussion....

And, here is another update on the protest that was sent to me today:
I am the photographer for the LA GOP and I was at the Brennan fundraiser. When I left about one hour or so after all 3 of the governors left the crowd of protesters had grown. The were very nasty, signs were vulgar using the “F” word. As I left the restaurant I was yelled at – there was a family visiting the restaurant with a baby stroller – they had nothing to do with the fundraiser and they were being heckled using the “F” and “MF” words.. A couple of them made comments to me.
Thanks, Eric
(Thanks to reader Loz.)

UPDATE

Michelle Malkin warns:

A cautionary note about the beating in New Orleans; Update: No Palin pins involved
===
Pay the dead wood more super
Andrew Bolt
Peter Costello doesn’t think paying politicians better super won’t attract better people. But it will help remove politicians better off gone. Take Latham and Turnbull…

(Thanks to reader BVMKingmaker.)
===
Cameron goes all Avatar - for a day, anyway
Andrew Bolt
James Cameron goes all Avatar (pics here) in the Amazon, inflicting on others what he pushed on film:
They came from the far reaches of the Amazon, traveling in small boats and canoes for up to three days to discuss their fate. James Cameron, the Hollywood titan, stood before them with orange warrior streaks painted on his face, comparing the threats on their lands to a snake eating its prey.

The Arara tribe, who live along the Xingu River in Brazil, are among the indigenous peoples who oppose a proposed dam. The Belo Monte dam could dry up part of the Xingu River.

“The snake kills by squeezing very slowly,” Mr. Cameron said to more than 70 indigenous people, some holding spears and bows and arrows, under a tree here along the Xingu River. “This is how the civilized world slowly, slowly pushes into the forest and takes away the world that used to be,” he added…

Then indigenous leaders set off on a dance of appreciation, ending at the boat that took Mr. Cameron away. All the while, Mr. Cameron danced haltingly, shaking a spear, a chief’s feathery yellow and white headdress atop his head.
Yes, Cameron returned to his comfortable life in California which is supported by precisely the kind of dams he opposes for the poor. But he has the faith, you see, even if not the determination to live it himself:
In the 15 years since he wrote the script for “Avatar,” his epic tale of greed versus nature, Mr. Cameron said, he had become an avid environmentalist. But he said that until his trip to the Brazilian Amazon last month, his advocacy was mostly limited to the environmentally responsible way he tried to live his life: solar and wind energy power his Santa Barbara home, he said, and he and his wife drive hybrid vehicles and do their own organic gardening.
His and hers hybrids is a sign of a light environmental footprint?
Now, Mr. Cameron said, he has been spurred to action, to speak out against the looming environmental destruction endangering indigenous groups around the world — a cause that is fueling his inner rage and inspiring his work on an “Avatar” sequel… Mr. Cameron is so fired up, in fact, that he said he was planning to go back to the Amazon this week, this time with Sigourney Weaver and at least another member of the “Avatar” cast in tow.

The focus is the huge Belo Monte dam planned by the Brazilian government. It would be the third largest in the world, and environmentalists say it would flood hundreds of square miles of the Amazon and dry up a 60-mile stretch of the Xingu River, devastating the indigenous communities that live along it.
Cameon, it seems, has now cast himself as Jack Scully, his own creation in Avatar:
Stopping the dam has become a fresh personal crusade for the director,… It was Mr. Cameron’s first visit to the Amazon, he said, even though he based the fictional planet in “Avatar” on Amazon rain forests. Still, he found the real-life similarities to the themes in his movie undeniable.

The dam is a “quintessential example of the type of thing we are showing in ‘Avatar’ — the collision of a technological civilization’s vision for progress at the expense of the natural world and the cultures of the indigenous people that live there,” he said… Mr. Cameron, 55, first encountered the cause in February, after being presented with a letter from advocacy organizations and Native American groups saying they wanted Mr. Cameron to highlight “the real Pandoras in the world,” referring to the lush world under assault in his movie.
But unexplored by Cameron or this New York Times puff piece is precisely why the Brazillian Government would be so mean as to build this dam. Here’s the reason:
Brazilian Environment Minister Carlos Minc revealed that those who win the bidding process to build and operate Belo Monte will have to pay millions of dollars to protect the environment and meet 40 other conditions… When it is completed, Belo Monte would be third largest hydro-electric dam in the world, after the Three Gorges in China and Itaipu, which is jointly run by Brazil and Paraguay. It is expected to provide electricity to 23 million Brazilian homes.
With Brazil’s economy continuing to show signs of growth, ministers say hydro-electric plants are a vital way to ensure power supplies over the next decade - and at least 70 dams are said to be planned for the Amazon region.
Some background:
There is a growing understanding that energy services play a crucial role in underpinning efforts to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and in improving the lives of poor people. Brazil remains challenged in regard to a number of social issues, notably poverty reduction in isolated areas, where access to electricity is as poor as their population. In the Amazonian region, most people have no access to electricity, or else have only a precarious supply. Due to several economic and technical reasons, many cities have old, inefficient diesel generators. In such a scenario, CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) can be an instrument both to mitigate climate change and to promote sustainable development in these remote areas, thereby contributing to the achievement of the MDGs in Brazil.
(Thanks to readers Paul and CA.)
===
Brumby says Rudd is in the ditch
Andrew Bolt
John Brumby doesn’t just think Kevin Rudd’s plan is bad, but (privately) that the Prime Minister is a prize prat:
THE Victorian Premier, John Brumby, has told his counterparts that Kevin Rudd has dug himself a ditch, that he should be left in it, and the state and territory leaders should not leap in after him.

Mr Brumby is understood to have urged the abandonment of the Prime Minister during a phone hook-up on Monday night of premiers and chief ministers which exposed deep divisions in their ranks over Mr Rudd’s health and hospitals reform plan.

Victoria and Western Australia flatly oppose the proposal to remove 30 per cent of their GST revenue to help fund the reforms, NSW has reservations and the other states support the measure.
Even some supporters of Rudd’s plan have cottoned on to the difference between targets and consequences - a key confusion with Rudd:
RICHARD Cracknell, whose department deals with 60,000 casualty patients a year, is a fan of the federal takeover, but reckons the four-hour target for emergency treatment in Kevin Rudd’s blueprint could be a disaster…

Under the plan for emergency departments, ... the government pledged to invest $500 million to help public hospitals ensure patients are admitted, referred for follow-up treatment or treated and discharged within a four-hour period…

“Time goals are so easy in the absence of any real measures of patient care,” [Cracknell, director of casualty at Liverpool Hospital,] said.

“That becomes the goal rather than quality and appropriateness of care and we . . . potentially . . . may see patients sitting in hospital beds with inadequate supervision and treatment. That is the risk. It’s terrible.”
UPDATE

Brumby is rightly astonished by the blackmail:
VICTORIAN Premier John Brumby has compared Kevin Rudd to the late Joh Bjelke-Petersen for “holding the states to ransom” during health funding negotiations…

Mr Brumby hit out at Mr Rudd for attaching what he called a “completely unacceptable” ultimatum to sweeteners announced late on Monday in a bid to encourage the states to sign on to his proposed hospital takeover.

In a reference to Bjelke-Petersen, Queensland’s controversial former National Party premier, Mr Brumby said: “I just made a point that it’s a long time ago that I can remember when a government or a section of the community was being held to ransom in that way—`unless you do what I say, patients won’t get money’.

“To say, as it would appear this document does, that if you don’t sign up to take the GST off your state, patients are going to be penalised, patients are going to be punished, I can’t accept that.”
UPDATE 2

A Labor hero is just as disgusted by Rudd’s spin:

KEVIN RUDD’S health plans are ‘’spin’’ and ‘’hype’’ and there is nothing in them that would improve hospital care or access, the Medicare architect, John Deeble, says.

Dr Deeble, once venerated in Labor circles, says the claims the states would collect an extra $15 billion are ‘’equally fictitious’’…

‘’The facts are clear, and Victorian Premier, John Brumby, is right,’’ Dr Deeble says of the arch opponent of the Rudd plan.

The promise of a $15 billion gain to the states over 10 years was shown by the Commonwealth’s own costings simply to be the extra amount the Commonwealth would have had to pay to maintain the average 8 per cent increase in spending over the past decade.

===
If only the panic had been kept to Twitter
Andrew Bolt
True enough:
THE internet had a disruptive impact on the handling of the swine flu pandemic by fuelling speculation and rumours, according to the World Health Organistion.

WHO influenza chief Keiji Fukuda told an inquiry that the internet had added a new dimension to public health alerts that became evident over the past year.

While it meant information about swine flu became more widely available, it also produced “news, rumours, a great deal of speculation and criticism in multiple outlets,” including blogs, social networking and websites, he said.
As we noted a year ago, during the height of the panic:
ForeignPolicy.com says Twitter is perfect for spreading fear - as it’s now demonstrating:
Unlike basic internet search—which has been already been nicely used by Google to track emerging flu epidemics—Twitter seems to have introduced too much noise into the process: as opposed to search requests which are generally motivated only by a desire to learn more about a given subject, too many Twitter conversations about swine flu seem to be motivated by desires to fit in, do what one’s friends do (i.e. tweet about it) or simply gain more popularity.
In situations like this, there is some pathological about people wanting to post yet another status update containing the coveted most-searched words – only for the sake of gaining more people to follow them…
Examples:
I’m concerned about the swine flu outbreak in us and mexico could it be germ warfare?…

Good grief this swine flu thing is getting serious. 8/9 specimens tested were prelim positive in NYC. so that’s Tx, Mexico and now Nyc…

Swine flu? Wow. All that pork infecting people....beef and chicken have always been meats of choice…
So so far I’m with what WHO says.

But here’s the problem. The media, rather than standing against this uninformed Internet-hyped hysteria, pandered to the very same fears - as did WHO itself:
“Swine flu ‘could kill up to 120 million’,” shrieks London’s Metro newspaper, quoting the giddy National Institute of Medical Research…

And the World Health Organisation issues a stage five (of six) alert, declaring: “All countries should immediately now activate their pandemic preparedness plans” because ”it really is all of humanity that is under threat in a pandemic”.
(Thanks to reader Chuck.)
===
South Africa’s new racists promise blood
Andrew Bolt

WE all know that racists - especially South African ones - are white.

We also know that ending apartheid in South Africa in 1994 was a happy-ever-after story.

Now welcome to the brutal truth. South Africa is sliding back into a new racial divide, perhaps even a new apartheid. And this time most of the racists and thugs are black.

What’s more, it is also sliding into an anarchy so terrible that already almost 20,000 South Africans are murdered each year - a killing rate three times higher, pro rata, than Iraq’s.

Between 1000 and 3000 of the dead were white farmers, who now number just 40,000 in a population of 47 million.

Eugene Terre’Blanche became one of them two weeks ago, and for once this murder made our news, since he was the South African racist from central casting, leading the Afrikaner Resistance Movement and being farewelled with Nazi salutes.

Police even said he’d been killed by black workers he hadn’t paid. Bastard.

This, too, fitted the script.

This week that story changed. Now it was leaked that Terre’Blanche had been killed while apparently trying to sodomise a boy.

This seemed an attempt to discredit not just him, but anyone who’d point to his death as a sign of something more troubling than the deserved death of a creep.

Yet it’s significant that just two days before Terre’Blanche’s killing, the leader of the ruling African National Congress’s youth wing, Julius Malema, performed at a rally the infamous apartheid anthem Shoot the Boer.
===
First the family unit crumbles, and then the army
Andrew Bolt
Why not, if Britain’s enemies will kindly agree to limit hostilities to between 9am and 5pm:
Army chiefs face the nightmare prospect of having to consider their soldiers’ childcare problems before giving them orders.

The devastating blow follows a successful sex discrimination claim brought by a single mother. Tilern DeBique, 28, says she was forced to leave the Army because she was expected to be available for duty around the clock.

She was formally disciplined when she failed to appear on parade because she had to look after her daughter.

She was told the Army was a ‘war-fighting machine’ and ‘unsuitable for a single mother who couldn’t sort out her childcare arrangements’.

Now she is in line for a payout of at least £100,000 for loss of earnings, injury to feelings and aggravated damages.
Mind you, the Taliban also have these child-care clashes, but they solve them slightly differently:
(Thanks to reader Albert.)
===
Save the planet! Starve the cowpea
Andrew Bolt

CO2Science shows the drastic effect that more carbon dioxide would have on the poor cowpea.

No wonder Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency has issued this health warning:
After a thorough examination of the scientific evidence and careful consideration of public comments, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that Greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people.
Cowpeas can be dangerous, you know.

(Thanks to reader Andy.)
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