Monday, July 12, 2010

Headlines Monday 12th July 2010

=== Todays Toon ===
Gerald Strickland, 1st Baron Strickland, 6th Count of Catena, GCMG (24 May 1861 – 22 August 1940) was a Maltese and British politician and peer, who served as Prime Minister of Malta, Governor of the Leeward Islands, Governor of Tasmania, Governor of Western Australia and Governor of New South Wales.
Strickland was born in Valletta, son of naval officer Walter Strickland and Louisa Bonici Mompalao, the niece of a Maltese count who later succeeded to the title of Count of Catena. He was educated at St Mary's College, Oscott, and Trinity College, Cambridge.
=== Bible Quote ===
“Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”- Jeremiah 32:17
=== Headlines ===
Pile-On: Holder May Slap Arizona With Racial Profiling Suit
On the heels of a federal lawsuit over Arizona's controversial immigration law, attorney general floats the idea of more legal action on the grounds of racial profiling.

Oil Spews Freely as BP Prepares New Cap
Relentless amount of crude oil flows into Gulf of Mexico as BP plans to roll out new, tighter plug

Will Medicare Boss Bring U.K. Approach?
Top White House adviser fends off criticism that incoming Medicare, Medicaid chief Dr. Donald Berwick will implement British-style practices

End of the Trail for The 'Barefoot Bandit'
U.S. teen fugitive, dubbed the 'Barefoot Bandit,' behind bars after 2-year crime spree that included thefts of cars, boats and airplanes

A goal in the last minutes of extra time has secured Spain's first ever World Cup win, 1-0 against the Netherlands.

Church accepts child rape liability
CATHOLIC bishop's admission of legal liability over abuse opens the door to massive payouts.

More pain ahead as power bills set to soar
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard's refusal to set a carbon price will cost Australians $2bn a year.

Brain infection mistaken for pregnancy
TEENAGER suffers heart attack and almost dies after doctors refuse to give her a brain scan.

Dead man found in lotus position after fire
POLICE said it appeared the man "zoned out" while meditating when a blaze broke out in his home.

My-er big plans to marry and start a family
FORMER Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins reveals what she has in plan for the next five years.

Robot shortage 'puts soldiers at risk'
AUSTRALIAN soldiers claim they are under-equipped to deal with deadly explosive devices. - if we won't equip them we must take them home. - ed.

Woman's body found on beach
POLICE are investigating the discovery of a young woman's body at Cronulla beach in Sydney's south.

Cocaine and ecstasy laced with poison in Australia
HIGHLY dangerous batches of cocaine and ecstasy pills have hit the Australian market, with drug experts and police warning they had been bulked up with pesticides and lethal chemicals. An international drug conference heard a worldwide shortage of MDMA had led drug manufacturers to turn to other chemicals to keep up the supply of ecstasy pills. The same is occurring on Sydney's streets, with police detecting dangerous chemicals such as the de-worming pesticide levamisole - deemed too dangerous for human consumption. At the same time, cocaine use was spiking. Drug squad head Detective Superintendent Nick Bingham said officers were arresting greater numbers of people for possessing the drug. It, too, was being been "cut" with chemicals. Overseas testing had shown that toxic chemical MCPP was being used in cocaine to bulk it out. The chemical is used to induce severe migraines and headaches to test the efficacy of medications.

Voters punish PM for boat bungle
JULIA Gillard has bungled the asylum seeker issue, with voters upset, exclusive polling has found. - not yet they haven't - ed.
=== Commenst ===
Another Sneaky Obama Move
By Phil Kerpen
President Obama has circumvented the Senate and the American public by using a recess appointment to install Dr. Donald Berwick at the helm of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It not only confirms the president's disregard for the legitimate legislative process, but also exposes the frightening big government extremism of the president’s health care agenda.

The same president who, throughout the health care debate, dismissed concerns about rationing of care as a crazy right-wing “death panels” claim, has now bypassed the Senate to appoint a man who is a strong proponent not just of rationing care, but of politicizing all health care decisions.

Berwick supports the rationing of medical care using the British National Health Service as a model, and is now in a position to experiment with rationing of care in the Medicare and Medicaid programs Obama has unilaterally empowered him to run.

In an interview last year, Berwick said: “The decision is not whether we will ration care. The decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.”

The inevitability of rationing – that is, government deciding, instead of patients and doctors, what treatments will be available – would come as a shock to anyone who listened to the president explain how his plan would boost the availability of care. (more at the link)
===
JAWS OF DEATH
Tim Blair
A mild prediction from the Age‘s Paddy Manning:
The jaws of death are opening wider for Australia, ensuring maximum economic damage when they finally snap shut, crocodile-style.
Our fate is sealed, according to Manning, because we’ve failed to tax a component of the atmosphere:
In the past fortnight we’ve been overtaken by New Zealand (a limited ETS with carbon priced at $NZ12.50 a tonne) and India (coal levy, as a prelude to a carbon tax, set at 50 rupees a tonne, to fund clean-energy projects).
They’ve overtaken us by the surprise tactic of imposing new costs on their own citizens, which is apparently – in Manning’s world – a good thing. Yet how come so many Indians are moving to Australia? Don’t they know we’ve been overtaken? Maybe migrants will flee once they learn about Australia’s latest shame:
As author Guy Pearse observed in his recent ‘’King Coal’’ essay for The Monthly magazine, Australia will soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading carbon exporter.
Bring it on. My royal robes have been waiting for this moment. Aside from that great news, Manning’s piece is remarkable for the fact that it rails against coal for 1,127 words, but mentions nuclear power not once.
===
CLOSER, CLOSER …
Tim Blair
Labor hangs on:
The government is clinging to a narrow lead over the opposition with the latest Herald/Nielsen poll confirming the shift to Julia Gillard has restored Labor to a competitive election position …

With Ms Gillard trying to decide when to call an election, the poll finds Labor leads the Coalition on a two-party-preferred basis by 52 per cent to 48.
Interestingly, the previous Herald poll had Labor’s primary vote at 47 per cent over the Coalition’s 42 per cent. But now:
The latest poll finds Labor’s primary vote ‘’fell’’ 8 points in a fortnight to 39 per cent, the Coalition’s was unchanged at 42 per cent …
This “fall” is explained by the previous poll being too ‘’too close to [Rudd-removing] events to get a clear reading’’. Others may view it as a rapid Gillardmania decline, although a rightward leap seems to have stalled the decline:
An exclusive Galaxy poll for The Courier-Mail finds the new Prime Minister’s jump to the right on border protection has won support from two-thirds of voters …

“There is overwhelming approval within the electorate for Julia Gillard getting tough with asylum seekers ... those in favour outnumber those opposed by more than two to one,” Galaxy chief executive David Briggs said.
Galaxy’s primary vote figures are the same as the Herald‘s:
Labor’s primary vote has dipped by two points, down to 39 per cent, since Ms Gillard took over as leader …

The Coalition’s primary vote remains steady on 42 per cent.
Base locked up. Swing vote wild.
====
SPAIN v HOLLAND
Tim Blair
The World Cup of vuvuzelas is soon to begin. An octopus and a parrot both predict Spanish victory, which is good enough for me. Spain 2-0. Live blogging to continue until other members of the animal kingdom make a more compelling case, or until we have an actual result.

UPDATE. Spain clearly wins the traditional pre-match handshake.

UPDATE II. Equaliser! Holland wins the anthem-singing. This match is too close to call. (Those vuvuzelas were noticeably silent during the anthems, by the way.)

UPDATE III. Hmm. Spanish and Dutchish royal chicks are of fascinating proximity hotness-wise. The game is now underway.
===
ALL EQUAL IN THE GRAVE
Tim Blair
Equality – a goal that has dug more graves than all the gods in history combined.
===
PAULINE FOR PROGRESSIVES
Tim Blair
American leftists launch a new grassroots coalition:
The creation of this new national, multi-issue coalition may be the year’s biggest news for those interested in building a strong progressive movement.
Its name – One Nation – may be familiar to Australians.
===
WHEN THE GENERAL TALKS
Tim Blair
General James Mattis is nominated as the next leader of U.S. Central Command. He’s an impressive choice:
He is a jokester in person and also blunt. In the spring of 2003, in the first of his meetings with recently defeated Iraqi military leaders he famously said: “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes … ”
For the brilliant conclusion of that quote, and several others, please click.

(Via Brat)

UPDATE. Leftists seem upset for some reason.
===
SOCAL SO COLD
Tim Blair
Accused masseuse hunter Al Gore recently bought an $8.8 million mansion in southern California. Naturally, the Gore Effect quickly followed, with temperatures at LAX now hitting an 84-year low.

UPDATE. Melinda Henneberger recalls a heated Gore moment:
A journalistic colleague I had no reason to doubt told anyone who would listen that Vice President Al Gore had tried to stick his tongue down her throat out of nowhere at a New Year’s Eve party in the mid-90s, when all she’d been expecting was a friendly peck.
As Byron York notes, this behaviour “seems neither sarcastic, nor droll, nor hardball.”

(Via Correllio)
===
East Timor kills Gillard’s plan
Andrew Bolt
Again we ask Julia Gillard: What’s your plan B?
East Timor’s government has passed a resolution in parliament rejecting Australia’s proposal to establish a centre for asylum seekers there.
Australian prime minister Julia Gillard has said she is interested in coming up with a regional solution to asylum seekers, with the possibility of establishing a processing centre in East Timor.

East Timor’s parliament passed the resolution unanimously.
It’s astonishing that Gillard’s proposal for a regional centre in East Timor collapsed within a week. Now she must specify which of the other signatories to the UN refugee convention (a condition she’s set) might host her centre instead. Here’s the choice:
Papua New Guinea (which says it’s not interested)

New Zealand (too rich to deter)

Tuvalu (small, and doesn’t Labor claim it’s drowning?)

Solomon Islands (which we’ve had to send peacekeepers to)

The Philippines (a bit far)

Samoa (far away and sounding too much like a resort)

Fiji (hates our guts and is unstable).
Which one, Prime Minister?
===
Gillard looks set to lose another MP - and probably his seat
Andrew Bolt
What, he’s quitting? The Labor member for Flynn, a Queensland marginal seat, has been a strong Kevin Rudd supporter, and today issued this press release (no link):
12 July 2010

Trevor to Declare his Future

Federal Member for Flynn Chris Trevor will hold a media conference outside his electorate office at 10:30am on Tuesday 13 July 2010.
His local Gladstone paper says:
Reports have been circulating in the media for the past few weeks about Mr Trevor’s intentions for this coming Federal election, after Kevin Rudd stood down from being leader of the Australian Labor Party and stood down from the Prime Minister role.

Mr Trevor was selected by Mr Rudd to run as the ALP candidate in the 2007 election, for the newly formed electorate of Flynn.
His margin of victory in 2007 was very narrow, but a redistribution since pushed it out to 2 per cent, and suggests his would be the fourth Queensland seat to fall if there were a decent swing back to the Liberals.
===
Timing tip: Gillard cancels Melbourne function on Sunday
Andrew Bolt
Here’s a tip that the election may well be called this weekend, for August 21. Reader Doug writes:
Julia Gillard’s office on Thursday night cancelled her opening of the new Holocaust Centre in Melbourne next Sunday, 18 July. This has been arranged for some time, so it’s quite a move.

If she is to call the election on a day, she has to be where the G-G is (but she’s leaving for overseas Friday) or the senior Governor, who would be the NSW Governor, and that would be in Sydney.

My guess is that she has decided to go to Sydney that day so as to be able to call the election.
The other thing to factor in is that Labor’s relationship with the Jewish community has been very rocky lately, after Kevin Rudd’s overreaction both to Mossad’s use of false Australian passports and to the bloody confrontation with the Mavi Marmara.

UPDATE

More signs of not just a rush to the polls but a rush-rush approach to government that has got this lot into so much trouble - and red ink:
The ALP is desperately pulling together policies to win voters’ approval. Every minister was last week ordered to prepare a policy document outlining a priority policy, what it would cost, and who the policy would appeal to.

Federal Families Minister Jenny Macklin was placed in charge of the process, with ministers told their policy documents had to be with Ms Macklin’s office by Friday morning.

The ministers were given a “policy template” and told to write a policy overview of three sentences outlining their proposals. They were also told to detail who their target group would be, the mechanisms for how the policies would work, and how much the plans would cost.
UPDATE 2

More hints that it’s August 21 or August 28:
The Governor-General’s office has told The Australian Online Ms Bryce changed her travel plans in light of the election speculation. She had planned to leave the country on Thursday but will not fly out until Saturday. Her planned 10-day trip has been slashed to just five days and she will return next Wednesday.
(Thanks to reader Arthur McArthur.)
===
Workplaces chained up again
Andrew Bolt
Andrew McIntyre says Julia Gillard’s reregulation of the economy could - or should - be an election issue. If she’s not ripping part-time jobs off students:
A LEGAL challenge by two Victorian country town teenagers to keep their jobs has been rejected by the industrial umpire.
She’s making us pay too much to foreign sailors - and the companies shipping stuff here:

JULIA Gillard faces demands to wind back the Fair Work Act for businesses reeling from an explosion in shipping costs.
===
Libya taunts Israel
Andrew Bolt
This could get ugly:

A Libyan ship carrying aid and activists is heading for Gaza in a mission that Israel has described as an “unnecessary provocation”.

The Israeli navy is monitoring the vessel’s progress and preparing to intervene if it continues on a course to Gaza…

The ship, Amalthea, sailed from Greece at the weekend. It is carrying up to 15 activists and 2,000 tonnes of food and medicine, according to the organisers, a charity chaired by a son of the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

===
Obama may inflict Rudd on world
Andrew Bolt
Not a great judge of character:
Just before he phoned Julia Gillard to congratulate her on ascending to the prime ministership, Barack Obama called the man she’d just assassinated to take it…

Obama said he appreciated everything they had done together and he hoped they could continue their friendship and their partnership in working on international challenges…

Obama evidently formed the impression that Rudd might be interested in some sort of international job, and he hastened to offer support. He said he would be favourably disposed towards working with Rudd in any future areas of international interest.
How did Obama form that view?
===
Labor still ahead, but again those worries about delivery
Andrew Bolt
Voters approved of what Julia Gillard says about boat people, even though her delivery has been spectacularly bad:
VOTERS have backed Julia Gillard’s tough stand against asylum seekers, despite thinking the Prime Minister’s plan lacks detail.

An exclusive Galaxy Poll for the Herald Sun reveals 63 per cent of people approve of Ms Gillard’s position on asylum seekers, while only 26 per cent disapprove.... However, as Ms Gillard stumbled over the detail of the policy and whether asylum seekers would be sent to East Timor or somewhere else, the poll found that 59 per cent said her plan had not been well thought out....

The Galaxy Poll of 1009 voters taken on the weekend found Labor’s primary vote has dropped two points to 39 per cent in the first fortnight since Ms Gillard toppled Kevin Rudd as PM. Those votes have gone directly to the Greens, who are up two points to 14 per cent…

It still leaves Ms Gillard and Labor in an election-winning position, with Galaxy saying a preference flow similar to the 2007 election would result in a two-party preferred lead for the ALP of 52 per cent to the Coalition’s 48 per cent.
I think the Coalition will feel the news is not as bad as it had feared, even if the odds seem against them. Labor could still be vulnerable to a competency argument.

UPDATE
The latest Nielsen poll in Fairfax newspapers, and News Ltd’s Galaxy poll both show Labor leading the coalition by 52 per cent to 48 on a two-party preferred basis.

Labor’s support was down three points according to the Nielsen poll, but remained steady in the Galaxy polls since the last surveys, which were taken late last month after Ms Gillard assumed the leadership from Kevin Rudd.
UPDATE 2

Peter Brent:

If these votes were repeated at an election, Labor would win comfortably, probably with around the 52 percent of the two party preferred vote both pollsters estimate.

But 52 percent after preferences was also ...

... Kevin Rudd’s final published poll number - the Newspoll the weekend before his party cut him down. And across all polls, the Coalition’s primary support is, if anything, a little higher under Gillard than it was under Rudd.

Normally you would favour a first term government entering a campaign with four point two party preferred lead. But normally that government would have the buttress of new incumbency… It makes the government the serious, no frills but safe option. Whatever voters think of them, they reckon they know how to run the country. The opposition by contrast is gimmicky and untried and risky…

The ALP threw away incumbency when it toppled Rudd… Gillard operates in the media narrative, the limelight, releasing quickly thought out policy and avoiding scrutiny. Voters know she’s clearing the decks for an early election; everybody’s in on the game, wink wink nudge nudge, everybody loves Julia.

All this un-prime ministerial behaviour makes the prospect of Tony Abbott as prime minister less scary… In every published poll I’ve seen under Gillard, Abbott’s net approval rating is higher than it was under Rudd…

If the campaign returns to the economy - with voters asking which alternative will most likely see them remain employed and prosper - usually the main ingredient of a campaign, what then? Government debt, the issue a tongue-tied Rudd government allowed the Coalition to make hay with, still worries voters. Are Gillard and Swan able to talk about that? ...

This government is making a mess of re-election, trashing its advantages and playing to its weaknesses. Gillard needs to stop the circus and become a prime minister, which means delaying the poll for several months.

===
Will warmists offer the apology they demanded from the sceptics?
Andrew Bolt
Warmists were this month jubilant. One of the IPCC’s wild claims about global warming disaster that had been denounced as false was true after all. The Sunday Times had apologised for the slur and sceptics everywhere should be ashamed, too.

The Sunday Times claim was that the IPCC has relied on dodgy, non-peer reviewed claims from a green group to assert that the Amazon was particularly vuilnerable to global warming since “up to 40 per cent of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation”.

Turns out the Sunday Times had nothing to apologise for, after all. Christopher Booker and Watts Up With That have the story.
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