=== Todays Toon ===Happy independence day, USA!!
=== Bible Quote ===“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”- Proverbs 14:34
=== Headlines ===Massive Oil Skimmer 'A Whale' on Scene to Test Gulf Cleanup
World's largest skimmer arrives in the Gulf of Mexico to run tests in hopes that it can scrub millions of gallons of oil-tainted seawater through its giant jaws.
Biden Makes Surprise Holiday Visit to Iraq
Vice President Biden arrives in Baghdad with his wife Jill to spend Fourth of July weekend with U.S. troops as Iraqi leaders struggle to seat a new government
Steele Tries to Quell Uproar, Calls to Quit
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is under increasing pressure from within his own party to step down for saying the nine-year old U.S. military conflict in Afghanistan is a 'war of Obama's choosing'
Pentagon Cracks Down on Media Interaction
Defense Secretary Robert Gates imposes new rules on U.S. military's rules of engagement with the media in the wake of Gen. McChrystal's ouster
Gang escape with just a handbag and kill security guard Kesley Burgess after he dared to confront the men who were armed with knives, machetes and an axe
Election will be 'before December'
A GILLARD government frontbencher has hinted the federal election will be held by the first weekend in December.
As speculation mounts that an election will be called in the next few weeks, Stephen Smith has set a date - before December 5.
The Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister mocked Opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey as "Sloppy Joe" for saying the election would have been called by now. It hasn't been. Prime Minister Julia Gillard is not in Canberra on Sunday so it appears Australians will have to go at least a few more days before knowing the poll date. Some insiders are tipping a late August election, which would be called in the next three weeks. But Ms Gillard could wait a few more months. "I think the best thing to do is for people to draw a circle around the first Saturday in December and work back from that," Mr Smith told the Ten Network on Sunday.
Rudd's removal 'upset' Queenslanders
KEVIN Rudd's removal from the prime ministership by his own Labor colleagues caused "distress" says Premier Anna Bligh.
Letter bomber wins compensation
MAN who sparked reign of terror after sending packages of hate to 28 victims will receive a year's pay
Shamed DJs boss found hiding out in US
DISGRACED Mark McInnes has been spotted alone in the rehab capital of the world.
A man has been arrested over the knife attack on Blue Mountains bushwalker Alison Foster who was allegedly stabbed, chocked and punched during the assault
Tradies' dogs put the bite on the taxman
TAX office confirms many Aussie workers can now claim their pets as a legitimate deduction.
Son of ex-Wallaby star 'fighting for life'
TEST star Brendan Cannon is devastated after accidentally running over toddler at home.
Pressure cooker Marion is feeling the heat
MASTERCHEF favourite says long filming days and extra competition have left her exhausted.
New Zealander Phil Goff's daughter arrested with drugs in bra
THE daughter of a New Zealand politician has appeared in court in Australia after being arrested with drugs stashed in her bra, the Sunday News reported. The leader of NZ's Labour party, Phil Goff, confirmed to the newspaper that his daughter Sara, 25, appeared in a Sydney court earlier this year after being busted with four ecstasy tablets outside a New Year's Eve celebration in North Sydney. She reportedly entered a written guilty plea to the charge and was convicted and fined $500, plus court costs, but on appeal the conviction was dismissed.
'I'm not PC' - Gillard moves to end boats
PRIME Minister said it pays to be honest when discussing Australia's asylum seeker problem. - at last, she is admitting she was wrong for all those years in opposition, and in government when she claimed the Pacific Solution wasn't the best around. - ed.
Rape case fast-tracked
POLICE fast-tracked DNA analysis in a case involving the family of a prominent Aboriginal leader.
School teachers before the ICAC
DOZENS of public-school teachers and principals have been referred to the NSW corruption watchdog, accused of a range of offences including sexual misconduct and fraud. The Sunday Telegraph can reveal the NSW Department of Education has referred 73 employees to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) over alleged misconduct last year. The department's own investigations into the 73 staff found 22 were guilty, resulting in the sacking of 11 teachers. The other 11 employees were either cautioned or demoted. Of the three teachers reported for accessing and/or distributing pornographic material, one was found guilty but kept their job and was ordered to take counselling.Another two employees were investigated for sexual misconduct, but the allegations could not be proved. Of the 21 teachers accused of theft and making fraudulent claims, nine were found guilty. A further six employees falsified records. Two of them were sacked, two others were cautioned, one was ordered to resign and another had their casual teaching approval withdrawn. - they still ignore the case of Hamidur Rahman. - ed.
Mum sues Starbucks after tea scalds baby
WOMAN sues coffee giant after she dropped a boiling hot cup of tea on her infant son, leaving him with severe burns.
Indian official brought girl to US to work as personal slave
AN Indian government official responsible for championing women's rights illegally sneaked an underage girl into the US to serve as a personal slave for herself and her husband, it is claimed. Neena Malhotra and husband Jogesh allegedly forced the girl to sleep on the floor of their apartment inside the Indian Mission to the United Nations in between waiting on them hand-and-foot 16 hours a day, seven days a week, a new suit by the New York Post charges. Shanti Gurung, now 21, claims her drudgery included giving daily massages to her mistress, who ironically headed a 2008 initiative against domestic abuse while serving as a Manhattan-based consul responsible for "women-related issues." Ms Gurung also handled cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands and chores - often until 3am following frequent parties in the couple's Manhattan home, her suit says. The Manhattan federal court filing - which seeks unspecified damages for three-plus years of "slavery and peonage" - says the Malhotras starved Gurung, with Neena once berating her for eating a slice of bread without permission.
=== Comments ===A taxing question
THE federal Labor Party is hoping that its strategy of change the leader, change the game, will appeal to the voting public and new Prime Minister Julia Gillard is certainly going at it with gusto. - Gillard is not in charge, neither was Rudd. She is able to shift things to suit her purposes, and so the name change of the dumb tax has occurred. Maybe she will change the name of illegal migrants to asylum seekers, or some such, but the facts remain the same.
I like migrants and want more, but I feel compassion for them, and do not believe that drowning them is compassionate. Neither is forcing them into the hands of pirates. I am appalled at how the UN runs its refugee camps, but that is not the Australian government’s fault. The ALP are leaving many asylum seekers in limbo, possibly for eternity. That is not fair. Gillard will not do anything worthwhile here. I am really concerned that the public is not roused on this issue. Jason Clare, in his first term in Blaxland has been conspicuously silent while ALP rorts erode further the conditions of the working families in his electorate. Clare is called future ALP PM material, and his cowardly stance certainly seems to deserve that appalling indictment.
Gillard sells her tax which now is revenue poor, and so mining companies can’t be bothered to oppose it, and so the Libs seem foolish for opposing it, except it is a bad tax and deserves to be opposed. The numbers given are wrong, but then none of the budgets provided by the ALP have been correct.
Gillard could have dumped the tax, reinstated the Pacific Solution and gone to the polls as an honest broker. Instead she has renamed the tax, lied about the figures and is leaving many desperate people in limbo. I have read in many places this makes her special as an ALP PM. She isn’t worse than Rudd, but she isn’t competent either. - ed.
Factional 'brutes' brought Rudd down
By CLAIRE HARVEY
LABOR MP Maxine McKew has lashed the factional warlords who destroyed Kevin Rudd, accusing them of time-wasting and playing "brutish" politics.
Declaring her full support for Julia Gillard, Ms McKew, a former Rudd loyalist, also said she wanted a ministry if Labor was re-elected this year, saying she was "as ambitious as anyone". She added: "I know I could play a senior role in a re-elected Labor Government."
But Ms McKew vowed she would never join any Labor faction to get ahead, despite being pressured by senior figures in the powerful NSW Right to be part of their dominant grouping.
"I've always said I won't be part of any faction; I will be part of the Australian Labor Party," she said. "As soon as I got elected, one member of the NSW Right rang me and said, 'Come on', and I said, 'No. I won't be joining any faction'.
"And I have to say, when I look at some of the factional heavies, they spend a lot more time doing politics than they do on their work.
"And if they spent a bit more time on their jobs, we'd all be better off."The former ABC journalist dispatched Prime Minister John Howard in 2007 by winning his seat of Bennelong in Sydney's northern suburbs. Now she is facing Liberal celebrity candidate John Alexander, a former tennis star and businessman who has already knocked on 3000 doors in the electorate.
Mr Alexander said voters were angry about local over-development and transport problems as well as federal issues, including Labor's mining tax plan and flaws in its home-insulation and school-building programs.
He said many voters were disillusioned with Ms McKew - but he described her as "a great campaigner ... Maxine holds the seat, and it's got to be won off her".
There was no return compliment from Ms McKew, who attacked Mr Alexander for living just outside the electorate's boundaries and accused him of turning to Bennelong only after being rejected for pre-selection in the seat of Bradfield.
"Bennelong's his second choice and there's something a little bit opportunistic about that," she said. "I don't think he's demonstrated any commitment to public service."
On Ms Gillard's ascendancy, Ms McKew said having a female PM would not make politics kinder or gentler.
"I think it's self-evident that we have actually a brutish political landscape and that's something that crosses gender," she said.
"There are gentle male souls in the federal parliament and gentle female souls."
Little had changed since the days of Henry VIII, when failed politicians were hanged, drawn and quartered, she said.
"I'm reading Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, which is about Thomas Cromwell, set in Tudor England - if you want to read about brutish politics," Ms McKew said.
"What's changed is the penalty for political failure is a different kind of humiliation - in those days it was shocking things that would tear your body apart."
'Hockey Stick' Climate Scientist Found Innocent of All Charges
By Jeremy A. Kaplan
Michael Mann, the author of a notorious scientific study that is a tent pole of global warming public policy, has been found innocent of charges of improper conduct.
Mann's seminal work was a 1998 climate study that showed a sharp, hockey-stick-shaped increase in the world's temperatures based on an analysis of age rings in trees. Despite ongoing criticism, the study formed the backbone of global warming theories -- until leaked e-mails from top climate scientists cast fresh doubt on Mann's methodology and integrity, notably "the trick" he used to make his data so compelling.
A group of six of Mann's Penn State colleagues found him innocent of 3 out of 4 charges on February 3, but the investigative panel requested a deeper, more thorough look into whether his conduct deviated from standard scientific practice.
So the panel asked Mann five questions, spoke with his boss, and interviewed three other climate scientists. Case closed. (more at the link) - It is kind of disturbing that he was dramatically wrong in all aspects of his so called scientific study. - ed.
OH MY GOD
Via Jimmy Kimmel, the funniest video in the world.
Alan Didak’s tight-angle goal inspires a superb compound metaphor from Foxtel’s Dwayne Russell:
He threads the eye of a needle in a haystack!
Who let him in the Lodge?
A devastating portrayal - now that he’s gone - of the strange man who was our Prime Minister. How did Labor ever come to put the country in his hands? Just one excerpt:
WHEN a light aircraft carrying 13 people, including nine Australians, went missing deep in the treacherous Owen Stanley Range on its way to the Kokoda Track last August, our High Commission in Papua New Guinea knew exactly what to do.(Thanks to many readers.)
Staff, including a large military deployment, swung into action on the ground. An operations room was set up in Canberra to co-ordinate with the families.
In question time, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said everything was being done to locate the Twin Otter turbo-prop.
But no one had reckoned on Kevin Rudd. As the day wore on, officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade began hearing that ships and planes were being redeployed around the region.
Without their knowledge, the prime minister had launched one of the nation’s biggest overseas search-and-rescue efforts.
HMAS Success, with a Sea King helicopter aboard, two Black Hawks, a Caribou short take-off and landing plane and a search and rescue aircraft from the Australian Maritime Authority had been called in, even though the advice from PNG was that there were unlikely to be survivors.
Around midnight, Rudd called senior DFAT and military brass to the Lodge. The Prime Minister was in shirtsleeves, standing over topographical maps of the Owen Stanley Range.
Rudd had famously walked the Kokoda Track a few years before. Now he was planning the routes for the rescuers. It was, says one source, an extraordinary example of his micromanagement.
And of Rudd’s belief that he was the smartest guy in the room.
Obama may mean to win in Afghanistan
William Kristol suspects that Barack Obama may actually be in the Afghanistan war to win it, after all, and is backing off his July 2011 deadline for the start of the pull-out.
(Thanks to reader l.) - maybe, maybe not. We don't really know. -ed.
Labor’s boat sails in
This farce really is on Julia Gillard’s to-do list:
With Ms Gillard nominating tackling the asylum seeker issue as her next priority in the lead up to the poll, another new boatload of asylum seekers reached Christmas Island last night. Locals reported the boat sailed into their harbour with no sign of any naval interception.And once that’s seen to be “done” ...
Authorities confirmed the boat, pictured below, contained 34 people from Afghanistan, with two Indonesian crew. They were being processed overnight.
With election speculation swirling, bookmaker Centrebet yesterday suspended betting after getting ‘‘heavy mail’’ that the campaign could be called as early as today for an August 14 election…UPDATE
A senior government source dismissed suggestions the election could be called today, saying ‘‘anyone betting the election will be called on Sunday will be losing their money’’.
But preparations for an election are under way, with newspapers being warned by the government to get ready to suspend any government advertising, which is illegal once the campaign begins.
Glad to hear Labor say this at last - just weeks before the voters get their own say, and after up to 170 people have already been lured to their deaths under this Government’s policies:
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard is preparing to announce a more “effective” policy on asylum seekers this week, declaring she understands the concerns of people who see boats looming on the horizon.UPDATE 2
“There’s nothing humanitarian about people being on boats and potentially at risk of losing their lives at sea,” she said in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Herald Sun.
In comments that appear to prepare the ground for a strong policy statement, Ms Gillard said people who were concerned about asylum seekers were not racist or intolerant and that political correctness should be “swept out of the way” in such sensitive national debates.
Thanks to Labor’s “more compassionate” border laws, largely drawn up by Gillard herself, Australia now has more people in detention than John Howard ever did:
And the difference is this - Howard fixed the problem, and Labor unfixed it, announcing its new “compassionate” laws in July 2008, marked by my red dot on this Department of Immigration graph.
Gillard, as she is
It’s back to the drawing board for the Liberals’ advertising department, now that we have a new Prime Minister. Does this first effort work?
A kind of endorsement from Maxine McKew, who seems bent on losing her seat:
LABOR MP Maxine McKew has lashed the factional warlords who destroyed Kevin Rudd, accusing them of time-wasting and playing “brutish” politics.UPDATE 2
Declaring her full support for Julia Gillard, Ms McKew, a former Rudd loyalist, also said she wants a ministry if Labor is re-elected at this year’s election, saying she is “as ambitious as anyone. I know I could play a senior role in a re-elected Labor government”.
But Ms McKew vowed she would never join any Labor faction to get ahead, despite being pressured by senior figures in the powerful NSW Right to join their grouping....
“I won’t be joining any faction. And I have to say when I look at some of the factional heavies, they spend a lot more time doing politics than they do on their work, and if they spent a bit more time on their jobs, we’d all be better off.”
It’s the kind of legal trouble a Liberal candidate would like to have:
IT’S the big, pink election stunt that’s been causing a stir in the northern suburbs - and now Liz Davies’ batt-mobile has landed her in a heap of legal trouble.Wonder who tipped Fletcher Insulation off?
For the past three months, the Liberal candidate for the federal seat of Makin has been driving a campaign van decked out with pink batts and a sign reading “Rudd and Zappia’s Dodgy Home Insulation Program” around the electorate, parking it outside elected member Tony Zappia’s office to annoy him.
But the Battmobile - which now has the “Rudd” references replaced by “Gillard” - has landed Ms Davies in hot water, triggering a legal letter from NSW insulation manufacturer Fletcher Insulation which owns the Pink Batts brand.
Their NSW-based lawyers, Middletons, have sent Ms Davies a letter demanding the car be stripped of its Pink Batts, and calling on her to “cease conduct immediately.” They say they have given her until 4pm on Thursday to comply or they will “take the matter further”.
The letter states Fletcher Insulation is a reputable company which is not affiliated with Labor, and that the car suggests Fletcher Insulation provides deficient or defective services.
(Thanks to readers Marg of Nambour, N None and Potemkin Villager.)