=== Todays Toon ===SLB's Birthday
I was recently baptized, and I thank her for her faithfulness in God.
=== Bible Quote ===“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”- Philippians 1:6
=== Headlines ===Oil Gushes as BP Prepares to Swap Containment Cap
Oil spews freely from damaged undersea well in the Gulf of Mexico as BP prepares tighter cap to plug oil disaster.
'Silent Raids' Firing, Not Deporting Illegals
ICE audits of companies hiring undocumented workers have led to thousands of illegals losing their jobs, but allowing them to stay
Equal Opportunity, Or Playing Politics?
Largely overlooked provision thrown into Wall St. bill by Rep. Maxine Waters is raising charges that Dems are trying to politicize the Fed
Soccer Star Arrested in Ex's Gruesome Murder
Top Brazillian soccer player is accused of strangling his ex-mistress before police say he fed her body to a pack of dogs
Businessman who once dated pop star Rani denies checking into "kinky" New York hotel looking for sex, adding he merely rebuked maid for snooping. Picture: New York Post
Election call at any moment
GILLARD'S office has moved into campaign mode and ministers have begun clearing the decks.
I feel sorry for Kev, but he had to go
BOB Hawke has been drafted into a Labor boot camp to fire up candidates for the upcoming poll. - same with Gilard - ed.
Taxpayers fund $40m payout for MPs
HERE'S the bad news for voters lining up to kick the State Government out at next March's election - dumped Labor MPs will collect a combined $40 million in lifetime pensions which you'll be paying for decades. Thanks to 16 years in power and an obscene, outdated parliamentary superannuation scheme, up to 20 Labor politicians stand to get an average golden handshake of $100,000 a year, every year, for the rest of their lives.Those with tickets on the gravy train include discarded ministers, ineffective parliamentary secretaries and backbench nobodies who were elected to Parliament before 2007 when the scheme was belatedly reformed. Based on the latest Newspoll, Labor is facing the loss of up to 25 MPs in March because of years of infighting and mismanagement, among them 15 who qualify for the old pension scheme. They include Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt, former ministers such as Grant McBride and long-serving backbenchers like Marie Andrews. Although they enjoying more secure seats, controversial powerbrokers Joe Tripodi and Eddie Obeid are not expected to see out the first term in opposition after years of enjoying the fruits of government. They too stand to collect annual six-figure pensions. Other beneficiaries will be retiring MPs such as former Speaker John Aquilina.
Fallen Digger's last gift to his girlfriend
NATHAN Bewes the 17th Aussie soldier killed in Afghanistan and the sixth in the past month.
Teacher claims $400K for yelling damage
LARYNX allegedly injured trying to control unruly class that included students with special needs.
The spacecraft Rosetta has snapped shots of a huge "potato-shaped" rock in a move that may help protect Earth from rogue asteroids.
Young women put Facebook before toilet
A THIRD check their Facebook page before brushing their teeth or going to the toilet in the mornings.
Why MasterChef is a giant, tasty con
TV HIT a massive try-on by a bunch of clever people who know exactly how to push our buttons.
Strapped families feel financial pain
FAMILIES are hurting more now than at the height of the global financial crisis, drastically cutting back on spending.
Retail is grinding to a halt
FAMILIES are hurting more now than at the height of the global financial crisis. A special report by The Sunday Telegraph has revealed the true, brutal state of our economy, where households have been forced to drastically cut back on spending, stores are empty despite unprecedented sales and the property market is dire, with 40 per cent of auctions in Sydney last week resulting in no sale. At the heart of the country's precarious financial position is western Sydney, where residents have told - in more than 200 in-depth interviews - that they owe more on their credit cards and have less in their pocket than at both this time last year and at the 2007 election. Retailers are slashing prices by up to 70 per cent to entice customers, but, as The Sunday Telegraph visited shopping centres across Sydney, idle retail assistants were struggling to sell stock.
New cameras deliver a fast buck
DRIVERS are about to be whacked by mobile speed cameras tipped to reap over $100 million.
=== Comments ===New PM is a dud like Rudd
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard’s giddy rush to hoist the Mission Accomplished banner has blown up spectacularly in her picture-perfect face. -
Gillard has, in the past two weeks, performed infinitely worse than anyone could ever have predicted.I predicted this. I was writing about this while Gillard was campaigning in ‘07. I waited a fortnight before posting my new take when she became PM.
It is a fortnight since Gillard rolled Rudd, surprising her own party who desperately wanted something to assure them that the poll results they were reading were wrong. Media analysis had ignored the situation, and so the public were surprised by the desperation of the act. It is accepted wisdom that Rudd was the worst PM Australia has ever had, but it was hoped inertia would be sufficient to keep the ALP in government. Indeed, in January 2010, the current position seemed impossible. But Gillard has failed to seize an initiative, and now looks like hesitating over when to call the election, instead of temporizing. She has backflipped, but failed to change policy direction on issues that matter, and so the ALP are set to do worse than when they had Rudd in charge.I thank you Piers for your consistently outstanding journalism that has kept you on top of these issues as they arise. - ed
RETRACT THE RETRACTION
Christopher Booker exposes an IPCC source:
Last week, after six months of evasions, obfuscation, denials and retractions, a story which has preoccupied this column on and off since January came to a startling conclusion. It turns out that one of the most widely publicised statements in the 2007 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – a claim on which tens of billions of dollars could hang – was not based on peer-reviewed science, as repeatedly claimed, but originated solely from anonymous propaganda published on the website of a small Brazilian environmental advocacy group …This could be even more hilarious than it looks. Anthony Watts explains why:
Fire in the Amazon, it turns out, was not a “report” or a scientific paper but, as the WWF now acknowledges, a “text published by IPAM… on its website in 1999”. It was merely a brief, anonymous and unreferenced note on the exposure of the forest to fire risks, posted in February 1999 and taken down four years later. Here, at last, is the sole source for the statement later published by the IPCC.
There’s been lots of whooping and celebrating by the warmist crowd lately over the retraction by the Sunday Times Jonathan Leake story about Amazongate …(Via observa)
The Sunday Times piece (now retracted) was originally headlined “UN climate panel shamed by bogus rainforest claim”, though this headline was later changed on the website version. It said the 40% destruction figure was based on an “unsubstantiated claim by green campaigners who had little scientific expertise”.
That headline and claim has been borne out by facts. The Sunday Times should put the story back up, and retract their retraction. Leake had it right …
KNOW YOUR ENEMY
Commit to memory all details of the six Ford wagons and associated equipment to be used across NSW from July 19 in a $100 million revenue grab.
UPDATE. What a coincidence:
The Roads and Traffic Authority is considering plans to reduce the amount of leeway given to speeding motorists to as low as 4 km/h, according to senior police.UPDATE II. As it happens, I have in front of me a $146 fine from my last visit to Victoria … for doing 105kmh in a 100kmh zone. Now a similar tyranny is planned for NSW. Welcome to hell, people!
UPDATE III. Video.
Bangladesh has beaten England in a cricket match for the first time.
I will be Foreign Minister, declares Rudd
Barrie Cassidy on the ABC’s Insiders says Kevin Rudd is telling journalists he’s determined to be Minister for Foreign Affairs after the election.
Another sign that he should not be. He is curiously unable to read the rules of human interaction, and, by extension, of political interaction. I doubt a single Cabinet minister would welcome back to their inner sanctum a man with such an overdeveloped sense of entitlement and such a disordered sense of his place in not just Labor but the universe.
“Famous” bin Laden: teaching children our fear of terrorism is racist
What an offensive corruption of our curriculum. Children are to be taught the fabled best of Islam and the imagined worst of Australia to blind us all to the real challenges Islam poses even to a country that’s peacefully integrated the many more Buddhists here:
EVERY Australian school student would be taught positive aspects about Islam and Muslims - and that Australia is a racist country - under a proposal by an education think tank.It says “most texts used in Australian English classes still have a Western or European perspective”.
The plan is outlined in the Learning From One Another: Bringing Muslim Perspectives into Australian Schools booklet, published during the week by the Australian Curriculum Studies Association and the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Excellence in Islamic Studies.
It says there is a “degree of prejudice and ignorance about Islam and Muslims”, and Australian students must be taught to embrace difference and diversity.
The booklet refers to the al-Qai’da of Osama bin Laden as “a famous name” synonymous with the traditionalist movement in Islam. It makes no reference to terrorism.
How impudent for a largely immigrant community, comprising a very small minority, to demand English classes now be taught more from their perspective rather than the communal perspective of the country to which most chose to come - a communal perspective that reflects the values and institutions that have made this country worth coming to in the first place. It is particularly offensive in that the host nation is demonised as racist while the very real and in some cases lethal challenges posed by the newcomers are glossed over.
This National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies document is the well-meaning - but dangerously foolish and deceptive - work of Dr Eeqbal Hassim, a former research fellow in Islamic Law at the University of Melbourne, and Jennet Cole-Adams, director of Curriculum Services at the Australian Curriculum Studies Association.
Most tellingly, it has only passing and vague references to Islamic terrorism, which is the key explanation for Australia’s alleged “racism” towards Muslims - something that might in many case might be more properly described as a natural caution, and one limited to Muslims here than to Buddhists or any other largely immigrant group that seems curiously immune to our “racism”. There is no mention at all of the Islamist killings of some 100 Australian in Bali, or of the Muslim terrorist plots in Australia itself, which have seen 20 people jailed.
Here is the document’s reference to Islamist terror groups, suggesting that Islamist terrorism is created by Western arrogance more than any sickness within Islam itself or Arabic cultures:
The rapid nature of this change has seen the Muslim world struggle to cope with modernity at times. The decline of Islamic influence has been met with two broad responses from the Muslim world. The first has been to adapt Islam to modernity, the approach of those we generally call the ‘modernists’ or ‘moderates’. The second has been to oppose it, an approach labelled, correctly or incorrectly, ‘traditionalist’ or ‘fundamentalist’. The first group focus on the inherent harmony between Islam and scientific progress, regardless of who is leading that advancement, and are not generally in conflict with the West…And that’s it. Oh, and the Crusades are presented largely as noble Muslims defending holy lands from barbaric Christians. You’d never guess that Christians thought they were recapturing holy lands from Muslim armies that had overrun them militarily.
The second group believe, in general terms, that the West has always tried to subvert and gain ascendancy over Islam. Their focus is on giving Islam global dominance once again. Some famous names synonymous with this movement are the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwanul-Muslimin) of Syed Qutb and Hasan al-Banna, and Al-Qaeda of Osama bin Laden.
After the Oil Boom in the 1970s and the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the 1980s saw an Islamic revivalism that reflected the second response. This revivalism has exacerbated tensions between Islam and the West. The mutual distrust between the Islamic and Western worlds is nothing new; it was evident during the Crusades. Often, this mistrust is caused by, and/or coupled with, ignorance and prejudice. The current tensions, particularly concerning Arab-Israeli relations, the oil trade, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and terrorism, are constant reminders of this distrust.
Then there is this pious assertion, claiming an overwhelming public rejection by Muslims of Islamist terrorism that very few, if any, Australians would have actually heard:
On the contrary, most Muslims are outspoken in their criticism of terrorism, regardless of the perpetrator. This is because Islam only allows for a just war as outlined above. It cannot be denied, however, that some Muslims condone terrorism in the name of Islam. From their perspective, the ‘enemies of Islam’ are the terrorists and they are the warriors of the faith.Well, at least the authors admit some Muslims here do indeed condone Islamist terrorism, which is precisely why many Australians are so jittery about the people they’ve invited here.
Nor is this the only grudging and muted acknowledgement of the difficulties we will have in integrating Muslim students here, and not because we are racist. In fact, the difficulties are of the kind and extent that suggest to me that in many cases we will fail to integrate Muslims, and perhaps to our cost.
Examples from this teaching guide for schools (and note the blameshifting from Muslim culture to Australian racism):
Forgive Labor for doing what those nasty Liberals forced it to
AWU boss Paul Howes helped to install Julia Gillard as Prime Minister and is now upset she’s apeing much of the boat people policies of the wicked Liberals. But note how Labor is forgiven for following the Liberals’ lead, apparently on the grounds that craven hypocrites who knowingly do evil are more moral than those who act from conviction:
Unfortunately, the shrill low-rent politics of people like Tony Abbott shrieking about “stopping the boats” as though there’s entire flotillas just off the Australian coastline does strike a chord with many in the electorate.(Thanks to reader Jane.)
And so I must accept that, so far, people with views such as my own have failed. We have failed to better articulate that “boat people” make up a tiny and insignificant proportion of all migrants to our shores… (W)e have failed to stop the kind of dog-whistle wedge politics that Abbott specialises in.
It’s deeply disappointing to me that we haven’t managed to move the border-protection debate along since 2001, when Howard lied, manipulated and exaggerated the issue of refugees to his benefit electorally. I have certainly tried, as have many others. But Australians just aren’t there yet.
People shouldn’t read this as a surrender of my principles. I intend to continue to work with others to hopefully change this debate over time… But while I find the current debate to be dispiriting, I don’t believe that one principle, however firmly held, is worth giving up government to Tony Abbott.
Hawke accuses Richardson over “inappropriate” approach to tycoon
What is Bob Hawke hinting at in this extract of a new book written by wife Blanche d’Alpuget, in which he tells why in 1990 he refused Graham Richardson the job of “Minister for Mates” - Minister for Transport and Communications:
Hawke, other than his suddenly cold demeanour, gave Richardson no reason then or later as to why he could not have the job he coveted.- That comment about Federal's being clean is too generous, and discounts the Rudd administration. - ed.
This was a blunder and arose from embarrassment: Hawke was trapped by a promise he had made to Sir Peter Abeles (then chief executive of transport giant TNT) to keep confidential something Abeles had told him.
Hawke said, “While I did not believe Peter would lie to me, and he had absolutely no reason to do so in this matter, I could not have the same confidence about Graham - an assessment with which I think Graham would agree.”
He added, “My duty as Prime Minister was clear. I could not risk the Government’s reputation by giving him the job he wanted.”
Instead he gave Transport and Communications to a man of peerless good character, Kim Beazley.
While state and local politics throughout Australia have frequently been known to be corrupt, there has rarely been the suggestion of corruption at the federal level.
Despite years of speculation by journalists, who are always passionately interested in the media and obsessive about media bosses, it was not the communications side of the portfolio that influenced Hawke’s attitude to Richardson, but the transport wing.
Abeles had told Hawke that Richardson, already boasting he would be the minister if the Government were returned, had asked for a meeting in Abeles’ Sydney office.
Richardson arrived for the appointment dressed in a manner that TNT staff found astonishing for a Cabinet minister. He was wearing a suit and tie - and a shirt of royal blue satin.
His reason for meeting Abeles turned out to be, in the latter’s view, as inappropriate as his shirt. Abeles rebuffed him.
Transport was a tough and highly competitive industry. Abeles told Hawke that other transport companies in Australia would be willing to oblige a minister in virtually any desire.