Friday, July 23, 2010

Headlines Friday 23rd July 2010

=== Todays Toon ===
Reds under, in and above the bed!
The Labor Party will be given Greens' preferences in most lower house seats, in exchange for Labor giving its preferences to the Greens in the Senate
Clearly Senator Bob Brown was not that sincere with his previous statements about just how much he hated preferential voting deals because now he has grasped this opportunity with both hands because he thinks that he and his loony Green Party are on a winner with the Gillard Government retaining power.
The pay off for him and his party of left wing maniacs is ofcourse nothing more than power in the Senate to get through laws that will legitimise the continuing madness of anthropogenic climate change and the cure to this lie being an Emissions Trading Scheme, that will tax us all back to the stone age.
"This Greens preference deal is probably one of the sleaziest and shonkiest deals," Mr Abbott told Macquarie Radio today. And he is correct. The combined ideology of Bob Brown and Julia Gillard is very sinister indeed and will result in far left, anti christian, anti family and anti Australian sentiment in everything that their government will consider.
The back room deal down between the Reds and the Watermelons needs to be transparent to all voters and the fact that it is not will be warning enough to all voters that this is a very important election and dangerous time in our history.
Seems that the old Richo line of " Whatever it takes" applies to not just the ALP anymore, eh Bob!- ZEG
NB, The Watermelon comment is related to the Green Party, Green on the outside, red on the inside, and is not a racist slur as it may be translated elsewhere. - ed.
=== Bible Quote ===
“But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”- Matthew 16:15-16
=== Headlines ===
Future of Cap-and-Trade Unclear After Reid Abandons Plan
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveils a narrow, limited energy bill that contains no cap-and-trade plan after a wall of bipartisan opposition to placing a price on carbon.

Tropical Depression Heads for Oil Spill
Feds begins evacuating oil spill cleanup vessels in the Gulf as newly formed tropical depression churning over the Bahamas threatens to thwart recovery efforts

Tea Partiers Wary of Congressional Caucus
After members of Congress plant the Tea Party flag on Capitol Hill, members of the Tea Party movement are cautious, warning lawmakers not to attempt a takeover

Rangel Slapped With Ethics Violations
House investigative panel announces multiple ethics charges against the Dem Rep. who stepped down as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee for separate charges in March

Breaking News
Belinda Neal unsure of political future
DISENDORSED Labor MP Belinda Neal says she has not yet decided if she will contest the Federal Election as an Independent.

Labor's climate policy attacked
LABOR'S new climate change policy has been dismissed from both the left and the right, even before it has been unveiled.

Girl, 6, jabbed by needle at Maccas
PARENTS worried as used needle lodges in six-year-old's thumb in McDonald's play area.

Teen kills family, torches home in suicide
A TEEN slashed his two sisters' throats today, then set his home ablaze - killing himself, his mother and brother, 2.

Coming soon ... jailbird masterchef
A NEW reality cooking series this time involving Queensland ex-prisoners is to be made by Channel 7 and set in Brisbane.

Amazon second quarter profit jumps 45pc
AMAZON.com says its second quarter income has jumped, helped by shoppers who spent more even as consumer confidence fell overall.

Hospital 'tested drugs on patients'
EAST Germany's communist regime used patients for drugs tests for Western firms, says a TV producer of a programme on the scandal.

Woman 'defaced Facebook tribute page'
A WOMAN has been charged with defacing an online Facebook tribute page for Sunshine Coast murder victim Justine Jones.

Keep your legs shut, eatery boss tells mums
A RESTAURANT owner fires off at a mums' group, telling one she has "saggy tits" and another a "floppy c***".

Microsoft reports record high sales
MICROSOFT overnight reported a profit of $5.16 billion on record-high fiscal fourth-quarter revenue and high Office software sales.

NSW/ACT
(A Land which can barely support a fun theme park)
Drama as fire rips through factory
FIREFIGHTERS battle for three hours to douse searing flames at dilapidated factory.

Last free voyages of Labor's damned
FRANK Sartor leads a suite of ministers on overseas trips before Labor's expected loss.

Wife-killer was 'a greedy devil'
THE cliff-plunge murder of Janet Campbell by her husband was "almost akin to a contract killing".

Possum's rescue turns to heartbreak
TRAFFIC stopped and even the monorail ground to a halt as "Kevin" the possum got stuck in a tree. But his injuries proved too much.

Vision rises of an island of doomed
IT could be the answer to all our worries about climate change and rising sea levels - just build giant dam walls and start digging.

Councils refuse to allow more homes
ANOTHER 6600 homes planned for northern NSW will now not be built because roads to the new subdivisions cannot be funded.

$7.5 million for hit-run teen
A $7.5m settlement to provide the treatment and care Georgina Woods will need for the rest of her life has been confirmed.

Sydney's lost fort declared open
A LOST fort, overgrown and hidden from view, has been opened to the public after 200 years.

A grieving mum asks for change
ORGAN donor laws should be changed to make anyone who dies an automatic donor unless they expressly desire not to, says one mum.

Singing Sydney steals ARIAs jewel
THE ARIA Hall Of Fame ceremony has been snatched from its home in Melbourne to be staged at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion.

Queensland
(The aquatic symbol of the state is Barrier Reef Anemonefish.)
Stab accused has done it before
A MAN charged with stabbing a teenager at a train station walked free from court nine days ago, after pleading guilty to an identical attack.

Queensland oil clean-up declared over
SIXTEEN months and more than $4 million later, the clean-up from the Pacific Adventurer oil spill disaster in Queensland is about to be declared over.

Harley rider killed by Camry
POLICE are baffled by a fatal motorcycle crash in which a 35-year-old riding a Harley Davidson was killed turning into a driveway.

Facebook use could undo fugitive
THE internet technology being used by a prison escapee to taunt police about his freedom could be his undoing.

Tara murderer denies knowing of gun
ONE of four people convicted of murdering a Western Darling Downs father expected to take part only in a bashing, a court has been told.

Child abuse reports soaring
MORE than 12,000 reports of child abuse were made by Queensland school staff over the past year but only 858 were substantiated.

Missing banker may be in hiding
MISSING banker Colin Carleton may still be alive and on the run, as police yesterday officially upgraded his case to a fraud investigation.

Noosa prints its own money
NOOSA retailers are so desperate for customers they've started printing their own money "Hastings Street Dollars'' which customers can use as cash.

Coming soon: Jailbird masterchef
A NEW reality cooking series this time involving Queensland ex-prisoners is to be made by the Seven Network and set in Brisbane.

Facebook hate page creator charged
THE woman believed to have created a Facebook hate page aimed at 22-year-old Sunshine Coast murder victim Justine Jones was today charged by Gympie detectives.

Victoria
(‘The Story of the Ned Kelly Gang’, made in Melbourne in 1906, is recognized as the first feature film of the world, running to five reels.)
Burst water main triggers flood
A BURST water main has caused chaos in a bayside suburb, flooding underground car parks and leaving an 8m hole in a road.

Banned motorist drove from court
A MAN who allegedly drove away from a Melbourne court promptly after a magistrate suspended his licence was nabbed moments later.

Eccentric local gives thumbs up to PM
JOHN Morrow likes a woman on top.

Myki too expensive to dump
MYKI is considered such a dud the State Government seriously considered dumping it.

Guilty verdicts condemn evil dad
TYLER Farquharson should have turned 12 yesterday.

Water bans to ease as dams rise
HOUSEHOLD water restrictions are almost certain to be eased after extra water was returned to rivers ahead of schedule.

Millionaire's gift to Cats
GEELONG FC chief executive Brian Cook was left $250,000 cash and the club was given $250,000 in the will of a millionaire.

War vet's land gift to sell
THE daughter of a World War I Digger says she is insulted the land he donated for a war memorial is to be sold to make way for a carpark.

Flavour in hands of maker
IT'S enough to make a coffee purist cringe, but a cuppa from a chain cafe can be a good brew.

'The system failed us'
THE family of a woman stabbed to death by a psychiatric patient say the health system has let them down.

Northern Territory
(Darwin was named after a scientist)
Keep your legs shut, eatery boss tells mums
A RESTAURANT owner fires off at a mums' group, telling one she has "saggy tits" and another a "floppy c***".

Violent boyfriend tracked, abused lovers
MAN gets 13 years' jail for his tyrannical abuse against two women which drove one into a psychiatric ward.

South Australia
(The colony of South Australia was proclaimed in 1836 by an old gum tree.)
Ruling gives hope to the abused
A WOMAN robbed of her childhood by her step-father's sexual and emotional abuse says his 26-year sentence gives all victims hope that justice will be done.

The bird that had a city in a flap
A FUGITIVE parrot which is afraid of heights had his Adelaide Zoo handlers in a flap for more than 24 hours as they chased him from tree to tree around the city.

Rann backs up his battling Treasurer
PREMIER Mike Rann has swung his full support behind Treasurer Kevin Foley aimed at heading off speculation he was about to be dumped from his portfolio.

Sex law reform on agenda - again
A NEW move to legalise prostitution - the last one in 2001 ended with MPs sobbing in the corridors when it failed - will be made later this year by a group of Labor MPs.

United war on vuvuzelas
THE vuvuzela - so popularly annoying in the FIFA World Cup - has been banned from Hindmarsh Stadium.

Creepy truth of life in the fast lane
COUNTRY drivers are the biggest creeps on our roads. A secret survey reveal 32,000 of 33,820 drivers exceeded the speed limit in one week in one town.

More cash for safer bikeways
BICYCLE "black spots" around the state will be made safer, thanks to a $1.3 million funding increase.

Victims want say in plea bargains
VICTIMS of crime want the right to criticise in court the secretive plea-bargaining processes that allow criminals to receive reduced sentences.

Rann asks for ideas on SA plan
IN THE first step to honour his election pledge of listening to the people, Premier Mike Rann next week will invite comment on the State Strategic Plan.

There's no place like our parks
FROM the roar of the waves to the intricate web-like pattern on the wings of a tiny dragonfly - it's a showcase of South Australia's natural wonders.

Western Australia
(Perth the capital city of Western Australia, is the most isolated capital city in the world.)
Man stabbed in Nollamara
A MAN is undergoing surgery at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital for stab wounds following an argument with another man in Nollamara overnight.

Port Hedland man missing
DETECTIVES launch public appeal to find a 48-year-old man who went missing after a domestic argument on Sunday.

RedHotPie added fake women to date site
THE owner of one of Australia's biggest dating sites has been caught adding 1371 fake profiles.

Bumbling burglar trapped in roof
A WOULD-BE burglar spent eight hours trapped in the roof at a Kelmscott business after a botched robbery attempt yesterday.

Food training cultivates a fresh idea
THE availability of fresh food in remote indigenous communities will be boosted by a unique training program.

'Chaotic' shop hours hit tourism
THE Australia Indonesia Business Council says WA tourism is suffering as a result of WA's "chaotic'' shopping laws.

Tasmania
(Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka.)
Nothing happened here today

=== Journalists Corner ===
Exclusive: ConocoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva on Your World
Big oil is coming together to stop the spills in the gulf. Now, ConocoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva lays out the strategy behind their billion dollar bid. Will it work, and will it be enough to regain government and consumer confidence? Neil gets answers in an exclusive interview!
===
Tonight on O'Reilly
The Shirley Sherrod controversy! Laura Ingraham and Megyn Kelly with the latest developments! Plus,the "Culture Warriors" versus Calvin Klein!
===
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Fires Back!
So what's her plan to get the government's immigration lawsuit shot down? The governor opens up on the legal battle.
===
On Fox News Insider
Gulf Oil Spill: Will Transocean Take the Fall?
When Will Obama Call Sherrod?
The AZ Immigration Court Battle Begins

Congratulations -- You did it! Because of your phone calls, emails and letters to your Senators and Representatives, the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act passed both Houses of Congress with more support than in any other year!

Today the Bill passed in the Senate 99-1!

A record number 68 Senators cosponsored this important piece of legislation -- and that's because of your extraordinary commitment to the struggling people of Burma and your determination to see democracy in action.
What does this victory mean for Burma? Before this legislation was introduced 7 years ago, US trade with Burma allowed American money to fund the Burmese military and its cronies. But once again, hundreds of millions of American dollars will be kept out of the hands of the military regime for another year.

Thank you for doing your part by calling or emailing your Senator and/or Representative -- you helped ensure this historic passage!
===
GREAT JOB to everyone in New Jersey -- thanks to your phone calls and letters, Senator Lautenberg has decided to sign the letter calling for a Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity in Burma! However, Senator Menendez has not yet signed on.

Please keep calling Senator Menendez and ask him to sign on to the Dear Colleague letter calling for a Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity in Burma. We have received a time extension for the letter, which means that we have one more week (until July 28th) to get our Senators to sign on.

Support for an investigation into the regime's crimes against humanity is the first step towards ending sexual violence, forced labor, and the killing of innocent civilians. If we don't shed light on the regime's crimes they will continue with impunity.

This is why Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Gregg (R-NH) have sent a letter to their fellow Senators asking them to join them in sending a letter to Secretary Clinton to support UN action to investigate the Burmese regime's crimes against humanity.



Democratic governments such as the United Kingdom, Australia, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia already support the call for a UN-led Commission of Inquiry on Burma. Now, we need the United States government to get on board and be a strong voice supporting the establishment of an investigation into crimes against humanity in Burma.



Without the backing of the United States, the Special Rapporteur's call will go ignored! Tell your Senator that the U.S. must support a UN Commission of Inquiry into the regime's war crimes and crimes against humanity. Do not let this opportunity pass by!



With your help, this would be an important step in holding Burma's generals accountable for their crimes against humanity.

Please call Senator Menendez to ask him to sign this important letter. (More instructions below).



The Senators only have until July 28th to sign the letter so please call now!



Burma's regime is attacking, killing, raping, and destroying the homes of ethnic minorities. Although these crimes have persisted for decades, the situation has received almost no international attention because the military regime keeps media and international observers away from the areas of attack. These crimes perpetuated by the military have gone on for too long. 
(Read more about crimes in Burma here.)
DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS:



1) Call your Senator using the information we have provided you in the box on the top right.



2) WHAT TO DO WHEN THE RECEPTIONIST ANSWERS

When a receptionist answers the phone, ask to speak to the foreign policy staffer by name.

• "Hi my name is [your name] from [name of your state], may I speak to [name of the foreign policy staffer]?" 



Tell the receptionist that you live in the Senator's state and that you want to speak to the staffer about the letter regarding crimes against humanity in the country of Burma that is being circulated by Senators Feinstein and Gregg. Be sure to be polite, and say something like:


• "I'm calling because I would like to ask [staff person's name] if Senator [Senator's name] will sign onto a dear colleague letter about crimes against humanity in the country of Burma that is being circulated by Senators Feinstein and Gregg."


3) WHAT THE RECEPTIONIST WILL SAY



At this point the receptionist will either:



A) Transfer you to the telephone of the staff member. If this happens see section "A" below. or

B) Transfer you to the voicemail of the staff member. If this happens see section "B" below. or

C) Say that the staff member is busy, and ask to take a message. If this happens see section "C" below.



4. WHAT TO DO ONCE YOU ARE TRANSFERRED / LEAVE A MESSAGE



A) IF YOU SPEAK DIRECTLY TO THE STAFFER



Thank them for speaking with you and tell them why YOU think they should sign the letter.



Tell them why you called. Here is a suggestion of what to say:



* "Hi my name is _______ I am from [your State]. I am very concerned about the human rights abuses and crimes against humanity that Burma's military dictatorship continues to commit against innocent civilians in Burma. I am calling because I would like to urge Senator __________ to sign the dear colleague letter regarding crimes against humanity in the country of Burma that is being circulated by Senators Feinstein and Gregg. The crimes against humanity in Burma should not continue with impunity."



* Give them some facts about Burma. "Burma's regime has destroyed over 3,500 villages in their campaign against ethnic minorities, their use of rape as a weapon of war has been well documented and so is their use of child soldiers."

*Your senator represents YOU and they want to know why YOU care. If you have traveled to refugee camps on the Thailand-Burma border, know Burmese people, grew up in Burma, or care about human rights, be sure to let the staff member know.



* You may also want to tell them that the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma, Thomas Quintana, the leading expert, urged the United Nations and its member countries to set up an investigation into crimes against humanity in Burma, known as a Commission of Inquiry. So far the United Kingdom, Australia, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia have all pedged their public support for establishing this investigation, but the US Government has yet to support the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity in Burma.



Offer to email them the letter; there is a good chance that the staffer may not have seen the letter yet. To do this, cut and paste the letter from this website: http://uscampaignforburma.org/coi-letter-clinton-2010-senate

Finally: Ask if your senator will sign the dear colleague letter.

It is likely that they will not give you an immediate answer because they need to ask your Senator. If that is the case, ask them politely when you will know about the final decision and how you can be informed.




To Sign on to the Letter:



Ask them to contact the following staffer, based on their party affiliation:
Democrats: Richard Harper in Senator Feinstein's (D-CA) office
Republicans: Brian Miller in Senator Gregg's (R-NH) office



Ask them when you can call back to follow-up.


B) IF YOU LEAVE A VOICEMAIL

Hi, my name is______, I am a constituent of Senator --------. I am very concerned about the human rights abuses and crimes against humanity that Burma's military regime commits against innocent civilians . I would like ask the Senator to sign on to a dear colleague letter calling for a UN investigation into crimes against humanity in Burma that is being circulated by Senators Feinstein and Gregg. As you may know, Burma's military regime has destroyed over 3,500 villages in their campaign against ethnic minorities, their use of rape as a weapon of war has been well documented and so is their use of child soldiers. I hope you take this action to help. 



Be sure to leave your phone number so they can follow-up.

C) IF YOU LEAVE A MESSAGE WITH THE RECEPTIONIST




Follow the instructions for the voice mail. Call back the next day to follow-up.

After you call, please send us a quick email at mikejen@uscampaignforburma.org and let us know how your call went!




All the instructions you need are right here. It often only takes a few persistent calls to bring this issue to your Senators' attention.



Thank you for taking action on Burma. We truly appreciate your commitment.

=== Comments ===
Here is today’s news - an ABC of bias
Piers Akerman
LAST night, the left-leaning taxpayer-funded ABC moved to strengthen its hold on the news-viewing public with the launch of a brand new 24-hour digital television news channel. - Yes, Piers, this situation is not tolerable. I am running for government and sacrificing much so I can address this issue. But the problem does not go away easily because it neither begins nor ends with the ABC. It exists over the world. To give a similar example, Fox News was beaten up by a commentator recently over a US official who resigned when an earlier anecdote of their racist past was aired. But the whole anecdote was not aired, and it looked misleading .. and the reactionary Obama administration knee jerked into sacking the official who had used the anecdote to show how they had been mistaken in their past and grown. So the commentator beat up Fox for airing the news item and causing the resignation. Thing is, Fox only aired that the official had resigned .. in the US, as here, the news service is skew to the left, wildly so.
Another example is the treatment of the death of Hamidur Rahman. Hamidur's parents were blamed by the Coroner who was not informed of exonerating testimony after an apparent cover up. As a whistle blower, I have had to give up work, a dual citizenship, life savings and endure smears so that I might run in one of the safest ALP seats against a future ALP PM so that I might bring this story to national attention and have the parents given some justice for the loss of their son. But the ABC won't report that, possibly because they don't feel that something which so indicts the ALP doesn't need to be known by the public. FYI, I am running for the seat of Blaxland against Jason Clare. - ed.

===
Who Is Shirley Sherrod and Why Was She Unjustly Fired by the Obama Administration?
BY BILL O'REILLY
This is a fascinating story with all kinds of political and media implications.
On Monday night, "The Factor" ran a tape of Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod speaking to a group of NAACP people last March. Ms. Sherrod's speech was more than 30 minutes long, and we used just a small portion of it in which she said that years ago, as an administrator in Georgia, she did not help a white farmer with aid as much as she could have because he was white and she thought he was talking down to her.
After hearing that statement, I said Ms. Sherrod should resign from the USDA. And Secretary Vilsack felt the same way, so the woman was fired.

What I did not know at the time was that Ms. Sherrod told the farmer's story in order to make this point:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHIRLEY SHERROD, FORMER USDA OFFICIAL: I've come to realize that we have to work together and, you know, it's sad that we don't have a room full of whites and blacks here tonight, because we have to overcome the divisions that we have. We have to get to the point where, as Toni Morrison said, race exists, but it doesn't matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
So I owe Ms. Sherrod an apology for not doing my homework, for not putting her remarks into the proper context.
Since the exact same thing happened to me a few years ago on the despicable Media Matters and NBC News took my words out of context about Sylvia's restaurant in Harlem, I well understand the need for honest reporting.
But the story does not end there.
Wednesday afternoon, Secretary Vilsack announced Ms. Sherrod would be hired back by the feds, but in a different job.
However, that could be problematic. In her speech last March, the speech you just saw there, Ms. Sherrod said a number of other things that need explanation. For example, she said this about helping the farmer by taking him to a white lawyer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERROD: So I figured if I'd take him to one of them, that his own kind would take care of him. That's when it was revealed to me that, y'all, it's about poor vs. those who have and not so much about white -- it is about white and black, but it's not, you know, it opened my eyes because I took him to one of his own.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
One of his own? Would that be another American, Ms. Sherrod? If a white public servant referenced his own kind or one of his own when speaking about an African-American, that white person would be fired on the spot.
Now, Shirley Sherrod is a longtime liberal activist, who actually sued the Department of Agriculture and won $13 million for her organization, including $300,000 for herself and her husband. Even knowing that, the Obama administration hired Ms. Sherrod in 2009, which is very unusual.
In that same speech to the NAACP, Ms. Sherrod defined her politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERROD: I haven't seen such mean-spirited people as I've seen lately on this issue of health care.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
SHERROD: Some of the racism we thought was buried – didn't it surface? Now, we endured eight years of the Bushes, and we didn't do the stuff these Republicans are doing because you have a black president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
So here we have blatant partisanship publicly put forth by Ms. Sherrod, also very unusual for an appointed public servant and a possible ethical violation because, according to the Hatch Act, federal employees are forbidden to endorse political parties while on duty.
That being said, Ms. Sherrod's entire situation should now be reviewed by the Obama administration, because she may have well been treated unfairly. Certainly she thinks so.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERROD: The thing that Fox has done is a total lie. They misrepresented a story that I told to a group to try to bring people together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MEMO TO SHIRLEY: Using phrases like "his own kind" is not a good "bringing people together" strategy, although we all make mistakes. And I don't think she had any malice there.
As mentioned, the NAACP also called for Ms. Sherrod to be fired and then recanted, blaming Fox News for "snookering them." Well, since Ms. Sherrod made her speech in front of that organization, maybe their own incompetence snookered them.
And then there is NBC News howling with left-wing indignation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, "TODAY" SHOW: I don't know who to blame here, Ms. Sherrod. I mean, the activist who put forward this garbage in the first place has an agenda. We shouldn't be surprised by that. The cable news network that played this garbage on and on and talked about it has an agenda.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: This is what Fox News does. This is how they are different from other news organizations. Just like the fake ACORN controversy, Fox News knows that it has a role in this dance. That's not new. That's not actually even interesting about this scandal. Fox does what Fox does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Which is kick your network's butt every single night, madam. And you have to be kidding with this fake ACORN scandal stuff. Unbelievable. Do you live in this country?
One of the few honest brokers on NBC's cable news arm is Chris Matthews, a Democrat who says what he believes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST, "HARDBALL": Here's Bill O'Reilly last night on Fox. I think Bill -- knowing Bill is going to correct this tonight, I really hope he does. I think he will. But here he is operating in the same rash judgment that the White House operated in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Not so much rash, but I did not analyze the entire transcript. And that was unfair to Ms. Sherrod, as I've said. She does deserve to be treated fairly.
But on the matter of her world view, "Talking Points" believes it is quite clear Ms. Sherrod may very well see things through a racial prism and did make political statements under the USDA banner. Should she be doing the people's business with that kind of resume? I don't think so. She should be in the private or charity sector.
===
THIS GOVERNMENT IS INSANE
Tim Blair
We’re already spending $90 million per year running a Climate Change Department that has nothing to do. Despite those hundreds of underemployed public servants, Julia Gillard now plans to outsource climate policy:
A “citizens’ assembly” of rank-and-file Australians will decide the fate of Labor’s climate change measures, Prime Minister Julia Gillard will announce today.
Brilliant! The great moral challenge of our generation is now to be solved by … well, we don’t know. Could be you. Could be me. Could be Jason Akermanis. And our decision will be binding:
If a 12-month investigation by the group rejects the need for an emissions trading scheme, a Gillard government will proceed no further.
It’s only the future of Australia’s economy we’re talking about. Why not hand it over to random punters?
The 150 members of the citizens’ assembly will be volunteers selected through the census data and electoral rolls by what Ms Gillard will call “an independent authority”.
This is so monumentally childish that it makes Kevin Rudd’s 2020 Summit look like Churchill’s war cabinet. Also:
The Government would create an “independent, properly credentialled source of information” to be called the Climate Change Commission to report on progress in international action.
Australia’s government is evidently so tiny that it can’t manage this task without additional assistance. The opposition is unimpressed. I can’t imagine anybody, on either side of the issue, who would be; and they’re not. Meanwhile, the whole exercise remains pointless as well as stupid:
If you want to “control” CO2 emissions, you absolutely must include China. And that is just not going to happen.
Maybe one of Gillard’s Climate Change Commissioners will alert her to this. In other not-going-to-happen news, moves to cap US emissions are beautifully stalled:
Senate Democrats had already scaled back their plans to pursue limits on greenhouse gas emissions, like those in a bill approved by the House last year. Instead, Senate Democrats had said they would seek a cap on carbon emissions only for power plants. But even that proved overly ambitious.

“We know where we are,” [Nevada Democrat Harry] Reid said. “We don’t have the votes.”
You got that right.

UPDATE. A greenist is enraged:
Police tackled a protester who attempted to gatecrash Julia Gillard?’s anticipated speech on climate change in Brisbane this morning …

He was shouting “coal and gas have got to go’’ and struggled with security before being escorted downstairs to the courtyard.
No “citizens’ assembly” for him.

UPDATE II. Sky News presenter David Speers:
Who’s smart idea was it for the PM to launch this climate policy on a uni campus?
That would be the citizens’ assembly again. They’re an unpredictable bunch.

UPDATE III. Leftist academic Jason Wilson:
I guess it’s refreshing to see some actual political activity on a university campus. Increasingly rare these days.
UPDATE IV. The protester wormed it:
Even though it took several seconds for the security guards to restrain the man, Bradley Smith, he continued to force himself forward on the ground towards Ms Gillard, shouting continuously.

Mr Smith, 26, is a member of the Friends of the Earth environmental organisation.

===
NATION INSULTED
Tim Blair
Australia’s cultural domination of New Jersey is threatened, emails Mr Bingley:
My bride and I don’t know how to break this to you gently, so I’ll just be blunt: we went to the Outback Steakhouse last night and they no longer serve the Toowoomba Pasta.

I’m so sorry.
Oh, you will be. This rebuff won’t stand. Prepare for further Rudd invasions.
===
GREENS IN CHARGE
Tim Blair
Thanks to a deal with Labor, the tyrant pixies of Australian politics are poised to claim the balance of power. What might this mean?
Tens of thousands of voters will have to pay up to $1500 a year more for private health insurance …

University students face a $250 levy to cover the cost of campus childcare and sports services.

The Greens also want the Government to impose a $23 a tonne carbon tax to combat global warming.
In response, Australia’s miners – having already squished the government’s resource super profits tax – are now considering further use of the stomping boots.
===
LET THE OIL FLOW
Tim Blair
Bryan Pick emails: “As the US federal government scrambles to shut down drilling with a moratorium – not because they know other drillers have been taking similar risks but on the pretense of an uncertain threat – Australia has some solid advice.” Indeed we do:
Australia, which had suffered its own major blow-out and spill just months before the Deepwater Horizon accident, was unmoved.

Martin Ferguson, Australia’s resources minister, said: “Shutting down the industry and putting the nation’s energy security, jobs and the economy at risk does nothing [to ensure safe oil exploration].”
As Bryan writes, this is “a reasonable point that the Obama administration either doesn’t understand or is ignoring for political convenience.”
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THE STING
Tim Blair
Park manager Ken Loughlin finds a teachable moment at Wallis Beach:
“The lesson to be learned here is, ’Don’t piss off a big jellyfish,’” he said. “He’ll really make you pay.”
Advice to live by. On the subject of screaming children and general horror, my appearance yesterday on the ABC’s new 24-hour news channel was in high definition. Some viewers found the best way to cope was to remove their glasses, or otherwise turn away from the screen and treat it as an audio broadcast. A safer low-def version is here.
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Yarra flushed with water meant for humans
Andrew Bolt
You know how Melbourne doesn’t have enough water for humans, so had to impose water restrictions these past seven years?
THE health of Melbourne’s Yarra River will be given a boost with the allocation of 10 billion litres of environmental water.
Opening our dams to water the fish.

(Thanks to reader Michael.)
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The lie in Gillard’s population spin
Andrew Bolt
JULIA Gillard is running the most dishonest election campaign we have seen in our lifetime.

She is promising with winks and nudges what she now admits she has no intention of delivering.

The Prime Minister’s key election promise so far is that she’ll cut net immigration, now running at an out-of-control 270,000 people a year.

Or so a straphanger on the peak-hour sardine service would take her to have meant.

And why not? Take this, for example: “I do not believe in a big Australia.”

A voter would assume Gillard meant that she believes in a smaller one, right?

Or take this: “I don’t believe in simply hurtling down a track to a 36 million or a 40 million population (by 2050).”

Our gullible voter would again assume our nice Prime Minister meant she’d at least cut our net immigration to 180,000 a year just to stop us from going over that 36 million figure the Australian Bureau of Statistics says we’re already hurtling to right now.

Indeed, Gillard urges voters to think just that: “I say this: let’s slow down, let’s take a breath and let’s get this right.”

And if our voter had any doubt that by “slow down” Gillard meant slow down immigration, she’d have ended it with this: “If you talk to the people of western Sydney or western Melbourne or the Gold Coast growth corridor in Queensland, people would look at you and say ‘Where will these people go’?”

You may be surprised to hear such Hansonite talk from Gillard, who’d never given a hint she felt this way.

But as Labor’s polling tells it, people in poorer suburbs of our biggest cities are now sick of the growing crush, as well as growing ethnic tensions, and Gillard, our most on-message politician, is telling them exactly what she knows they want to hear.

Trouble is, she has no intention of giving them the policies they want to get.

The proof that Gillard is effectively lying about Labor’s plans came this week, when she was asked whether she truly would cut immigration.

Her answer: “I don’t believe this is an immigration debate.”

Pardon? So what is it instead? A debate about sterilising more women? Compulsory euthanasia?

Former Labor leader Mark Latham was rightly scathing: “If it’s not an immigration debate, it’s no debate. And I tell you what it is; it’s a fraud.

“It’s an attempt to con people in western Sydney that she’s going to do something about congestion.”

For the Government, this should involve cutting immigration, which is most responsible for causing our population to grow faster than ever, and faster than we can take.
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Why check the water bill only after it’s paid?
Andrew Bolt
I AM no financial genius, so must be missing something about these clever politicians in charge of our water supplies.

So correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t they have done a cost-benefit analysis before they spent billions on a wild new way to make water, rather than now when it’s too late and our dough’s gone?

Apparently not in these never-mind-the-cash-feel-the-vibe days, because I read the following in the newspapers on Thursday.

“The Productivity Commission will investigate the financial and environmental impact of Australia’s desalination plants, which will supply nearly a third of capital city water supplies within two years.”

As the inquiry’s chairwoman, Wendy Craik, explained: “We will be looking at the costs and benefits of desalination plants and the impact on prices.”

Obviously, it’s a great idea to check whether it really is worth spending, in our case, $3.5 billion for the plant promised by the Brumby Government.

As I’ve warned for years, such a plant would in fact cost three times more than what we’d pay for a new dam on Gippsland’s fast-flowing Mitchell, yet would give us only a third of the water.

What’s more, we’d then have to spend another $1 per thousand litres or so on electricity (already running scarce) to drive this monster.

Had the Brumby Government ever done such a cost-benefit comparison of a desal plant and a dam, it would have considered this choice a no-brainer - at least on economic grounds.

As The Australian reported, citing data from desalination plants now planned or built around the country, householders will be slugged 10 times more for using this manufactured water instead of the stuff that just drops from the sky. Seen how your bills are already going up?

But here’s the mad thing. This Government never did this most fundamental check before deciding to give us one of the most expensive new forms of water, rather than a new dam.

It made its decision not on the maths, but purely from its green faith - a faith that damns dams as evil and prompted this giddy Government to turn the dam reservation on the Mitchell into a national park instead.

And so the Productivity Commission will only now, after state governments have already committed $9 billion to desal plants, tote up the figures to see if it makes any sense.

This will not be to warn us against making a dumb decision, but to tell us how dumb we’ve already been. This is how we are governed today.
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What will Gillard and Brown’s red-green coalition give us?
Andrew Bolt
Business academic Kenneth Wiltshire smells a wider deal behind the preference agreement struck this week between Labor and the Greens:
As the situation now stands, the preference deal and the leverage it will give the Greens after the election would see a blending of Brown’s green and Gillard’s red. This rainbow coalition could well give Australia a revived mining super profits tax, a carbon tax, softer border protection, more power to the unions and gay marriage, among other Green policies.
As I said yesterday (and against the objections of Sky’s David Speers on Agenda), Julia Gillard’s compromise on the mining tax is now dead with the Greens certain to have the sole balance of power in the Senate:
Greens leader Senator Brown said his party would not set out to block legislation in the Senate but would try to negotiate improvements issue by issue… . For instance, he said his party would be demanding Labor increase its mining tax if it wins the election.

“The backdown by Julia Gillard is going to cost taxpayers something like $4 billion per annum.”
What’s the deal, Julia?
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Gillard hands our future to some people she picked off the street
Andrew Bolt
Julia Gillard is surely joking - or treating us once more as fools:
ABOUT 150 ordinary Australians would be randomly chosen to develop the nation’s response to climate change under a re-elected Gillard Government.
Why not pick Paul the Octopus instead? At least he’s cheaper. This is pandering of the most craven sort to the fantasies of the collective, that the true wisdom lies in the uninformed masses. But I suspect her motivation is far more cynical:
Julia Gillard will today pledge to set up a Citizens’ Assembly to spend 12 months examining the evidence on climate change, the case for action and the consequences of putting a price on emissions.
Twelve months? So this allows her to delay until after the election having to make any decision on a carbon tax - which she knows will actually savage the economy and frighten voters (especially the poorer ones). But don’t we already have a “Citizen’s Assembly”, and isn’t it called Parliament? At least those MPs are elected, accountable and moderately well-informed.
In a headland speech in Brisbane, the Prime Minister will try to convince voters that she has learnt from Kevin Rudd’s mistakes.
But she hasn’t. This smells of Rudd’s classic spin, Rudd’s paralysis by analysis and especially his farcical 2020 Summit.
She will say she will lead the debate and Labor is committed to revisiting a price on carbon pollution but not until at least 2012.
So this “Citizens Assembly” may say what it likes about dodgy science, futile gestures and an economy-wrecking tax, but Gillard has already decided we’re getting the tax anyway? So it’s just a time-buying charade, after all.
First she wants to take the community along and build a nationwide agreement ``like the kind of consensus we have about Medicare’’.
What’s the definition of a “nationwide agreement”? Does it include the Liberals? Does it include sceptical scientists such as Professor Bob Carter and Professor Ian Plimer? Does it include me?
In an important development designed to give business certainty over future investment decisions, big pollutors would be encouraged to start cutting their emissions now.
But wait. Wasn’t Gillard’s “Citizen’s Assembly” first going to look at the science, so see if there really was a problem worth addressing? If Gillard already insists there is, what’s the point?
About 150 community representatives from a range of ages and backgrounds would be randomly chosen to take part in the 2020 Summit-style panel.
Random? As in just as likely to include sceptics? Or as heavily tilted to the Left as was Rudd’s 2020 Summit, whose 1000 delegates included 118 members of the hard-Left activist group GetUp?
``They would be voluntary participants, but selected through the census/electoral roll by an independent authority,’’ Ms Gillard says.
But who appoints this “independent authority”? Who’s most like to volunteer, and how does this skew the results? And who selects for them the experts they will then consult to form their views? Who controls the agenda? And here is where we get to the nub of Gillard’s stunt.
``If I am wrong, and that group of Australians is not persuaded of the case for change, then that should be a clear warning bell that our community has not been persuaded as deeply as required about the need for transformational change.’’
In truth, the true comparison here is not with the 2020 Summit but the 1999 ”deliberative poll” staged in Parliament House in Canberra by The Australian to see how ordinary Australians could be talked into a desired belief - which in this case was an Australian republic. More than 350 ``ordinary Australians’’ were ``randomly chosen from all walks of life’’ to go to Canberra and listen to approved experts explain all the pros and some of the cons of the republican referendum which we were all about to vote on. After two days of solid nagging, these ``ordinary Australians’’ backed the republic by an overwhelming 73 per cent. Just one month later the rest of the nation voted on the same proposal at the referendum—and rejected it in every state.
But she says she will not allow the nation ``to be held to ransom by a few people with extreme views that will never be changed’’.
Like Bob Brown? Penny Wong?
The process could draw comparisons to Mr Rudd’s 2020 Summit.
Not “could” but “do”, and it’s not flattering. There, too, we saw a “citizens’ assembly” brought in to present the Labor Government will a barrage of ideas, almost every single one of which it ignored to pursue instead it’s own agenda.
An independent expert panel, a Climate Change Commission, would be set up to review the science of climate change.
This could, if done with integrity and open-mindedness, actually be very useful. But I do not trust this Government. How “independent” are these experts? Who picks them, and will they include sceptical scientists?
Businesses would also be rewarded for taking early action on reducing pollution. Industry would be marked against their 2006-07 emissions levels, so those reducing pollution between now and when a carbon price is introduced would receive more industry assistance.
And so the great handout hunt begins, as accountants and engineers in factories around the country figure ways to manage their reported emissions to suck out more of your billions on a gesture that will not alter the world’s climate by a jot. This is gesture politics at its most obscene.
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Play ball, Labor tells Rudd. Or else
Andrew Bolt
Leaking Rudd is messing with their minds:
KEVIN RUDD’S prospects of becoming foreign affairs minister if Labor wins the election would be boosted if the former prime minister could bring himself to support Julia Gillard publicly, his colleagues say…

Concerned that Mr Rudd was depriving Ms Gillard’s campaign of oxygen, senior colleagues said yesterday an emphatic statement of support in the mould of Ms Clinton’s would help his chances of securing the foreign ministry.

A senior source said internal polling showed Labor, since changing leaders, had not made up as much ground in the crucial state of Queensland as it had hoped for. A show of support from Mr Rudd would help, he said.
UPDATE

Rudd reacts badly to more free advice:
While dining with an Australian friend in (Washington’s) Cafe Milano, Pat Michaels, the climate change warrior named in the East Anglia climate scandal emails as the man some scientists wanted to punch on the nose, spotted the former prime minister heading into the men’s room and went in hot pursuit…

The senior fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington asked the man washing his hands in the toilets if he was indeed Kevin Rudd—and started in on an emissions trading scheme and the scientific conspiracy on climate change as soon as it was confirmed....

“You can talk about this in think-tank land, but put yourself in my shoes,” Mr Rudd is reported to have said to Mr Michaels. “All my scientists at CSIRO are telling me this (climate change) is a terrible problem. What could I do?”

The exchange turned colourful, according to witnesses in the restaurant, as Mr Rudd resorted to some well-worn expletives...
(Thanks to reader Keith.)
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East Timor warns: Gillard’s plan has ceased to be
Andrew Bolt

There are actually three issues here:
EAST Timor has warned Australians not to believe claims by Julia Gillard that negotiations are under way to build an asylum seeker processing centre in Timor. ”If Australian people believe it, it’s up to them,” Deputy Prime Minister Mario Carrascalao said. “If it’s true, they should tell us with whom they’re negotiating.

“If they’re talking to someone, it’s not at the senior level of government.”

Mr Carrascalao claimed Canberra already knew a processing centre would never be built in his country.

“It’s not going to happen,” he said. “A resolution against the processing centre was passed by the Parliament, and it was supported by all parties in the current Government. There is not one single minister in favour of that proposal.”

The Deputy PM is a member of the Cabinet, and a member of East Timor’s powerful council of ministers. He is also acting Foreign Minister.

“We are not even talking about it,” he said. “It is no longer the concern of this Government. Everybody has said no.”
Issue one is that Gillard’s one solution to the boat people flood she herself helped to unleash is now dead.

Issue two is that Gillard was extraordinarily sloppy in proposing a solution without the most cursory checking of whether it could in fact be achieved.

Issue three is that Gillard continues to spin the fantasy that a dead proposal is alive.

(Thanks to reader Arthur McArthur.)

UPDATE

Gillard has a problem with the spin here. What’s the difference between locking them up in Indonesia or locking them up on Nauru, when neither country has signed the UN refugee convention?
AUSTRALIA might be asked to fund detention centres in Indonesia to help Jakarta deter asylum-seekers from using the nation as a staging point.

Jakarta’s plan, which would lock up all asylum-seekers currently free in the community, comes amid pressure from Julia Gillard for a regional solution to the politically explosive problem.

The Australian has learnt that Indonesian officials are considering a plan that would end the country’s practice of allowing asylum-seekers who have been assessed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to live in the community, where they have easy access to boats that will take them to Australia to seek asylum.
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How could Gillard have permitted Rudd’s disdain for our security?
Andrew Bolt
Kevin Rudd at times entrusted his most profound duty of defending our national security to his unelected, inexperienced, inexpert 31-year-old advisor. Chris Uhlmann reports
Questions are being asked about the chance of former PM Kevin Rudd being given a ministerial position if Labor is re-elected, after revelations about the way he administered national security…

The National Security Committee of Cabinet is where the gravest decisions of government are made, from the conduct of war to the protection of the borders.

The prime minister chairs the gathering of ministers and senior officials. The inner circle includes the chief of the defence force, the secretary of foreign affairs and the Australian Federal Police commissioner.

The heads of Australian intelligence agencies are also there.

Senior government officials say John Howard was scrupulous in attending the meetings.

But Commonwealth officials and cabinet sources have told the ABC that, as prime minister, Mr Rudd showed a casual disregard for the national security committee, at a time when Australia was engaged in a war and wrestling with its border security policy.

The ABC has learned that several times the then prime minister allowed his 31-year-old chief of staff Alistair Jordan to deputise for him on the committee, when Mr Rudd was late or did not attend at all.

On those occasions the meetings often started because Mr Rudd had kept the departmental heads waiting for more than an hour.

Commonwealth officials were appalled and some complained because they believe it compromised the work of the committee.

Other government sources have told the ABC that Mr Jordan, or another senior staffer, sometimes stood in for Mr Rudd on the Strategic Priorities and Budget Committee of Cabinet: the so-called gang of four that made many of the major decisions in this Government.
Absolutely astonishing. And two questions in particular must be asked:

First, why the hell did Rudd’s most senior ministers - Gillard in particular as his Deputy Prime Minister - allow this dereliction of duty to occur? Did none protest?

Second, how can Rudd be possibly be considered for any role, such as Foreign Affairs Minister, requiring close attention to national security?

This does, though, help us to understand the utter chaos of the Rudd administration.
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