Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Headlines Tuesday 20th July 2010

=== Todays Toon ===
American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon today in 1969. Space junkies can launch their own interactive moon landing mission here.
=== Bible Quote ===
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”- Isaiah 41:10
=== Headlines ===
CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Official Didn't Help White Farmer 'Full Force'
Days after the NAACP clashed with Tea Party members over racism allegations, video surfaces showing Agriculture Department official regaling NAACP group with story about how she withheld help to a white farmer facing bankruptcy.

OIL FLOW: Ruptured Well Cap Leaking
Obama's spill chief says situation is not yet a major concern, but if pressure quickly rises, they would have to open the well immediately to keep from creating leaks deep underground

TERROR BLOG: FBI Finds Al Qaeda Links
Popular website that hosts more than 70,000 bloggers was shut down suddenly after the FBI informed its chief technology officer that the site had links to Al Qaeda material

BORDER VIOLENCE: U.S. Offers Mexico Help
Immigration officials are working with Mexican authorities after a string of deadly attacks rocks one Mexican region that's been seeing a spike in drug-related violence.

Bowls of Human Fingers and Teeth Found in Mayan Tomb
A well-preserved tomb believed to be the final resting place of an ancient Mayan king has been discovered in Guatemala, scientists announced last week. The 1,600-year-old tomb was discovered on May 29 beneath the El Diablo pyramid in the city of El Zotz. It is packed with of carvings, ceramics, textiles, and the bones of six children, who might have been sacrificed at the time of the king's death. However, much more work is needed before the scientists can piece together all the clues about the tomb's owner. "We still have a great deal of work to do," said Stephen Houston an archaeologist at Brown University in Rhode Island. "We've only been out of the field for a few weeks, and we're still catching our breath after a very difficult, technical excavation. Royal tombs are hugely dense with information and require years of study to understand."

(Breaking News)
Kindle sales 'higher than book sales'
ONLINE retail giant Amazon said overnight that sales of electronic books for the Kindle have overtaken hardcover book sales.

Nobel climate scientist dead at 65
A SCIENTIST who served on the international research panel which shared the 2007 Nobel Prize has died.

'Political unknown' contests Rudd's seat
THE Liberal National Party will stand a political unknown against former prime minister Kevin Rudd in his Brisbane seat of Griffith

Crane drives off Queensland bridge
A TRUCK-mounted crane has driven off a bridge in Queensland, injuring the driver

Media mogul Conrad Black granted bail
JAILED former newspaper magnate Conrad Black has been granted bail by a US federal appeals court.

Police investigate late night shooting
ADVANCED life support paramedics found a man lying in a gutter at the scene of a shooting this morning

Man ditches son on road to teach him lesson
A DAD abandoned his son, 14, on a highway 450km from their home after an argument, authorities said

Mad Men actress poses for Playboy
MAD Men's Crista Flanagan is making the most of her TV persona with a new retro pictorial in the August issue of Playboy

Man detained after 18 hidden monkeys found
CUSTOMS officials today detained a man carrying 18 baby monkeys, including two which had died, hidden under his clothes

Blackberry rejects Apple's signal claim
BLACKBERRY maker Research in Motion has fired back at Apple over its claim that all smartphones suffer signal loss.

NSW ACT (Where prices and accidents are a result of Global Warming)
Hunt on for vindalunatic arsonist
POLICE fear a "curry war" is heating up, with a fire-bomb targeting a popular Indian restaurant.

State Labor plans to counter Greens
THE State Government made a brazen bid to stem the flow of votes to the Greens, with Kristina Keneally announcing a "greenway".

Drivers snappy over speed cameras
ANGRY motorists protest new mobile speed cameras as police says lead-foots were playing "Russian roulette" with their lives.

Manager 'declared pies, not boat'
A MANAGER at an inner Sydney council allegedly declared four meat pies gifted to him by a contractor but failed to mention a boat.

New Chicken Twister in lawsuit
A FATHER suing KFC for over $10 million over a Chicken Twister he says left his daughter brain damaged says she'd eaten other chicken meals that week.

Europe exec blames Australian Army
A TOP European helicopter executive has tried to blame Australian Army pilots for the grounding of a fleet of brand new choppers.

Last lost Digger finally buried
AN unknown soldier killed in Australia's bloodiest 24-hours - and then abandoned for a century - was finally reburied with dignity.

Broke batt mountain of tears
HUNDREDS worked in this factory making pink batts until the Government pulled the plug on its disastrous insulation scheme.

Queensland (Rudd came from here, but he got lost)
Crane drives off Queensland bridge
A TRUCK-mounted crane has driven off a bridge in Queensland, injuring the driver.

Finance manager takes on Rudd
A 30-year old finance manager will take on Kevin Rudd in his seat of Griffith for the LNP.

Escapee stays active on Facebook
A PRISONER on the run since escaping in Townsville last Thursday has been active on Facebook again, confirming 24 new friends.

Prentice agrees to take leave
LNP candidate Jane Prentice has bowed to pressure and will forgo her City Council pay while she campaigns in the federal election.

Gillard denies pork barrelling
JULIA Gillard has denied Labor's $2 billion regional infrastructure fund will be used to pork barrel. - can she provide substance to back up that assertion? - ed

Trainee officer died during physical
THE death of a trainee prison officer midway through a gruelling physical test has sparked calls for an overhaul of the assessment.

Tax slip hits student doctors
MEDICAL students who have committed to work in rural areas have been slapped with massive unpaid tax bills because of a bungle with their scholarships.

Bank manager - and $3m - missing
MILLIONS of dollars are missing from a north Queensland bank branch as police investigate the disappearance of the manager, last seen a week ago

Higher rates for PO box owners
MORE than 7000 Gold Coast ratepayers whose mailing address differs from their property's location have been deemed renters and hit with rate increases.

Road crashes claim two lives
TWO people have died in separate road accidents in Queensland, bringing the state’s road toll to 130.

Victoria (Better under Kennett)
Nightclub glassing victim 'wrong man'
A YOUNG man was "glassed" in the face with a beer bottle in a case of mistaken identity inside a popular city nightclub, a court has heard.

Hunt for hatchback after shooting
UPDATE 8.15am: TWO attackers were seen fleeing a shooting in a hatchback this morning, leaving a man in hospital.

Electric blanket link to fatal blaze
UPDATE 8.58am: POLICE believe a faulty electrical blanket triggered a fire that killed an elderly woman as she tried to escape.

Jury considers Farquharson verdict
THE jury in the trial of accused killer dad Robert Farquharson has retired to consider its verdict.

Abuse leaves teen ump in tears
A FIRST-year umpire was left in tears after an under-11 football team booed him off the ground and a club official abused him.

Teacher seeks bullying payout
A MELBOURNE school has been investigated by WorkSafe after a series of violent incidents.

Attacks took toll on Nixon
INTENSE criticism of Christine Nixon's actions on Black Saturday took its toll and forced her to reconsider her role, her husband said.

We'll take boat people
A SMALL community in Victoria's far west wants to become home to an asylum seeker processing centre.

Love has no price
NO cost was ever going to be too much to save crossbred Jetta.

Drunk lap top driver's 148km/h bust
UPDATE 7.10am: POLICE were stunned to catch a drunk woman caught speeding at 148km/h listening to music on a laptop.

Northern Territory (Chose not to be a state)
Nothing New

South Australia (Former home of David Penberthy and Gillard)
Great Debate v. MasterChef. No contest?
AUSTRALIANS are set to be given a stark choice on Sunday night - watching a debate between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott or the final of MasterChef.

Adelaide Casino lunch lock-in
ADELAIDE Casino is "locking in" pensioners for four hours as part of cheap meal and free bus deals.

Fire damages gas cylinder business
A FIRE at a Lonsdale gas cylinder company was successfully contained last night.

Greens not always good for you
A CRUCIAL decision by South Australian Greens members to opt out of a national deal to swap preferences with the ALP has dealt a major blow to Labor's hopes.

Coffin Bay a pearl of fine dining
IN mid-winter, the swirling waters of Coffin Bay are bitterly cold as Brendan Guidera and his crew go about the daily grind of bringing oysters to the tables of Australians.

Famed coolies shows shut down
A WILD and uncontrolled event in which dogs bit at least three people could spell the end of the legendary Norm's Coolies show.

Developer 'livid' at secrecy allegations
PROMINENT developer Theo Maras has weighed into the debate over the city's planning regime, accusing the Adelaide City Council of guerrilla warfare tactics.

Desal plant 'had all-clear' before death
A FEDERAL Government safety audit gave the all-clear to the desal plant construction site a day before a man was killed there, a union says.

5000 hoons escape the crush
POLICE impounded or clamped more than 5000 hoon cars in the past financial year, but not one has been crushed.

'Doomsday cult' man sentenced
A MEMBER of the Agape Ministries "doomsday" church has learned his fate on firearms charges - and it's not the end of the world.

Western Australia (Remember when corruption and incompetence was never a problem under the ALP)
Cousins the AFL's sexiest player
BEN Cousins has earned his stripes in the hunk-of-spunk stakes, being named the sexiest AFL player.

Fee cuts threaten medical services
AFTER-HOURS medical services may become financially unviable as early as mid-2011, when the government starts withdrawing incentive payments.

Police flood house to end siege
A SIX-HOUR siege ended today when 20 TRG officers used batons and a fire-truck hose to storm a house and rescue an 11-year-old boy.

Cane toad discovered in Broome
A CANE toad has been discovered inside a shed in Broome, sparking calls for drivers to keep a look out for the toxic invaders hitchhiking a ride

Fishing nets still killing WA dolphins
DOLPHIN deaths from trawl nets appear to have halved in the past few years, but research suggests some kills are literally slipping through the net.

Dangerous asbestos litters bush track
PEOPLE'S health is being put at risk because of bureaucratic buck-passing, which has allowed asbestos to lie on tracks used by the public.

Violent Trigg carpark robbery
A WOMAN has been rushed to hospital after she was violently attacked in a Trigg carpark by a group carrying baseball bats.

Kite surfer missing off Lancelin
WATER police are searching for a 46-year-old woman who went missing while kite surfing near Lancelin, north of Perth.

Man charged for Busselton death
A 40-year-old man has been charged with Dangerous Driving Occasioning Death and Driving Under the Influence, after striking a pedestrian with his car.

Tasmania (Unless you vote for Libs, you get ALP)
Tasmania to end bromide fumigation
FORESTRY Tasmania says it will no longer fumigate its logs with methyl bromide in Tasmania, after over a shipment that departed Burnie last week.

Heavy fog to blame for 14-car pile-up
AT least 14 cars have been caught up in a multiple-vehicle crash in Tasmania's North this morning
=== Journalists Corner ===
Hillary Clinton Sits Down With Greta Van Susteren
It's a must-see interview! Fighting the war on terror and easing tensions with Pakistan - What's the administration's plan? Greta goes one on one with Hillary Clinton!
===
'Your World'
Will extending unemployment extend unemployment? Why some say the Senate's plan is killing new jobs! It's a big job, but Neil breaks it all down.
===
'Hannity'
Is Newt Gingrich eyeing a run at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Forget the pundits and the polls ... Sean asks Newt.
===
On Fox News Insider
VIDEO: U.S. Troops Caught in Firefight in Afghanistan
Dems to Make "Shocking" Win in November?
Al Greene Delivers His First Remarks: What Do You Think?

=== Comments ===
Megyn Kelly on Black Panther Story: It's About Fidelity to Law, Not Panthers
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT FROM "THE O'REILLY FACTOR," JULY 16, 2010. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Now for the top story tonight: Megyn Kelly is mentioned in that Newsweek article as one who is driving the [Black Panther] story unfairly. She joins us now. All right. We'll get to the Newsweek thing in a moment. But why do you feel so passionately about the Panther story when there's only eight Panthers? It's a very minuscule organization.
Click here to watch the segment!
MEGYN KELLY, ANCHOR, "AMERICA LIVE": Yeah. It's not about the Panthers. I got involved in this more seriously, more extensively once the DOJ whistleblower came on…
O'REILLY: Came on your show.
KELLY: …and gave us…
O'REILLY: Adams.
KELLY: …his first television interview.
O'REILLY: Right.
KELLY: And the reason that I'm passionate about this case and this story, Bill, is because I believe in fidelity to the law. And I feel like your viewers know that about me. It doesn't matter whether it's left or right, conservative or liberal, I try to follow the law. I try to give you an honest interpretation of what the law requires, whether it's from defending Justice Ginsburg to defending those crazies from the Westboro Baptist Church and their free speech rights. And it's not always popular, but I try to see honestly what the law requires. And what this whistleblower is alleging is that there is not fidelity to the law at the Department of Justice right now.
O'REILLY: But remember, according to Newsweek, he's a Bush guy.
KELLY: Well, that's the thing. OK, so they try to discredit J. Christian Adams…
O'REILLY: Right.
KELLY: …by saying he's a conservative, which apparently he is. So that's fine. So that's what you've got. He's a conservative. Based on that, and the fact that he was hired at the DOJ at a time where they tended to hire more conservative people, they dismissed his sworn testimony. They besmirch a lawyer of 18 years.
O'REILLY: Well, it doesn't matter. If he's a Bush guy, he's lying, of course.
KELLY: OK, so, but the viewers can make their minds about whether they believe…
O'REILLY: No, I'm being facetious. All right.
KELLY: But I'm just saying…
O'REILLY: So let me stop you here.
KELLY: So that's fine. They can make up their minds one way. But the question is why isn't there an investigation? Why don't people actually want to get down to the truth?
O'REILLY: OK, but I'm more interested in you and your passion here. OK, so you are saying that because in your opinion from what you've heard and seen on the videotape, there was an illegality that took place in the Philadelphia polling…
KELLY: Yes, because what people forget to say, they always say, oh, nobody actually testified to voter intimidation. No. 1, that's not true. I've read the testimony, unlike almost everybody who comments on this case. And it wasn't just Bartle Bull. It was another guy named Chris Hill, who testified that in particular there was a black poll watcher there who was very shaken up, who was visibly upset, who demanded that the police be called, because he was called…
O'REILLY: And the police were called.
KELLY: He was called a race traitor…
O'REILLY: Right.
KELLY: …and told him if he stepped outside, there would be hell to pay. That was a black poll watcher. Plus, they testified at least three voters turned away.
O'REILLY: OK, all right, so there is enough evidence, and I've said that on "The Factor" from the jump.
KELLY: And even attempt at intimidation is…
O'REILLY: …to go and prosecute. All right, so we believe, Kelly and O'Reilly both believe and even maybe Ruth Bader Ginsburg would agree with us, maybe, all right, that there's enough evidence to go forward to prosecute the case, but it wasn't prosecuted.
KELLY: Right.
O'REILLY: But the real atrocity is the attorney general blew it off and didn't even explain why. He's just hiding.
KELLY: Well, that's the thing.
O'REILLY: OK.
KELLY: OK, go ahead.
O'REILLY: So that's the fact. Enough evidence, attorney general of the United States doesn't feel that the American people deserve an explanation of his behavior. So it's a big story. But Newsweek…
KELLY: Well, he's come out and said the facts in the law weren't there.
O'REILLY: But that's bull.
KELLY: But that's the problem.
O'REILLY: That's bull. If he doesn't know they're there, then he doesn't deserve to be attorney general because they certainly are there.
===
MICHELE BACHMANN: Why I Called for a Tea Party Caucus
By Michele Bachmann
George Washington once said, “The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.”

Sadly, it seems today that the Constitution is no longer at the forefront guiding Congress if the reckless runaway spending, expansive government overreach, and excessive amounts of debt we have piled on our future generations are any indication.

I called for a Tea Party Caucus to bring members’ attention to the cries of everyday Americans who are asking for a return to the fundamental principles contained within our nation’s greatest document, the Constitution.

Americans from all locations and backgrounds have united through Tea Parties to spread the timeless messages of fiscal responsibility and limited government.

And I have talked to many people who felt discouraged because no one in Washington, D.C. seemed willing to listen. This caucus will change that sentiment and ensure the voices of the people are carried through the halls of Congress.

Republican Michele Bachmann represents Minnesota's 6th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
===
ELECTION 2010: THE BIG DOUBT
Tim Blair
A Townsville tyke seems dubious:
Similarly, certain LibWimps turn away from their leader:
Liberal MPs are airbrushing Tony Abbott from their campaign material amid concerns the Opposition Leader is a turnoff with some voters.
Division is death, ladies. Meanwhile, Labor ducks debates and policy – on a couple of fronts – while sending a pale warrior in to battle:
He’s probably the Labor tough guy who forced the Greens into a preference deal. Today’s Daily Telegraph editorial:
For a mob that makes so much noise about its opposition to backroom political deals, the Greens are proving remarkably flexible. Yesterday the Greens surprised even some of their supporters by announcing an extensive election preferences deal with the Labor Party.

Just three years ago, the Greens were resolutely against such arrangements.

“When Parliament resumes I will move to abolish preference deals,” said Greens leader Bob Brown, who yesterday took pains to divorce himself from negotiations conducted by his very own party: “I don’t like backroom preference negotiations with other parties. In fact I’m sick of it.”

This deal could influence the result of the 2010 election, yet Brown deliberately dodged any involvement.

“I’ve got enough to do without sitting at tables discussing preferences,” he said.

What a very strange little bunch the Greens are. Is there any point in them actually having a leader?
Imagine them in charge of the senate.

UPDATE. This is good:
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott announced a Coalition government would make a further $1.2 billion in Budget expenditure cuts, saying debt and deficit will be the key issues of the election campaign.
UPDATE II. The arts community rises up against Peter Garrett.
===
LESSONS IN WHEEL LIFE
Tim Blair
Sports stars aren’t really role models, despite general insistence. Children are supposed to be influenced by the off-field antics of footballers and such, but even the dullest kid can usually work out that athletic ability has little relationship with moral choices.

Quite the opposite, in fact, judging by all the cheating in the World Cup. Some of those dives were both athletic and magnificently fake. Soccer is just pro wrestling except with Europeans and a ball.

Yet some athletes are capable of providing positive life lessons. Former AFL star and Sydney Swans coach Ron Barassi, for example, lives by an ethical code so simple and decent that it probably should be included in our Constitution.

Now 74, Barassi recently gave evidence in the committal hearing of a young man accused of punching a woman during a street dispute. “If you see a woman being belted up, you step in,” Barassi said after the incident. “It’s like when a kid is being bashed. It’s not right.”

Barassi pursued the fellow, allegedly received a kicking for his trouble. During the hearing, a defence lawyer suggested that Barassi was overly-aggressive and had charged down the accused with “some velocity”. Not so, Barassi answered. If anything, his speed was “not enough – because the [alleged attacker] was still conscious.”

Speed-wise, another helpful athlete comes to mind. Formula One drive Mark Webber is possibly our nation’s best instructor in how to deal with a hostile workplace environment.
===
GOVERNMENT SMOKED
Tim Blair
The Labor government delivers nought but unintended outcomes. Lately it increased the price of cigarettes, which has led to … cheaper cigarettes:
Coles is importing cigarettes from Germany and selling them at discount prices to lure low-income smokers into its supermarkets.
The grocery giant has priced the “home-brand-style” packs of 25 cigarettes at around $11 – almost $4 a pack less than Australian-made Winfield and other leading brands.
In fact, at $11 a pack they’re more than $6 less than some leading brands. They’re also cheaper than cigarettes prior to the Labor price hike. As for quality … we may need some volunteer inhalers.
===
DIRECTION DIRECTIVE MISDIRECTED
Tim Blair
Reuters reports:
Indonesia’s Muslims learned on Friday they have been praying in the wrong direction, after the country’s highest Islamic authority said its directive on the direction of Mecca actually had people facing Africa
(Via s_dog, your primary Australian twitterzone)

UPDATE. A recent New York Times editorial “mentions that honor killings are becoming increasingly common in Asia and even Europe. It contains no reference whatsoever to Islam or to the fact that Islamic honor killings are becoming increasingly common in the U.S. and Canada.”

UPDATE II. More dog trouble in Britain:
Blind passengers are being ordered off buses or refused taxi rides because Muslim drivers or passengers object to their ‘unclean’ guide dogs …

George Herridge, 73, a retired hospital maintenance manager, told the Daily Mail he was ‘stunned’ to be twice asked by bus drivers to leave their vehicles because of his guide dog Andy, a black Labrador.

Mr Herridge, who lives with wife Janet, 69, in Tilehurst, Reading, said that on the first occasion two years ago, he got off at the request of a Muslim driver because some Muslim children on board were ‘screaming’ because of the dog.

He found himself in a similar scenario in May last year, when a Muslim woman and her children became ‘hysterical’.
Well, they are terrifying.

UPDATE III. The Daily Telegraph‘s Sarrah Le Marquand – not exactly a right-wing culture warrior – joins Virginia Haussegger and Elizabeth Farrelly in opposing Islam’s freedom sack:
There is something profoundly disturbing about women having to cover their faces.

What is there to celebrate in a garment designed to strip its wearer of her identity? An item that suggests only by fully shielding herself can a woman feel free to venture outside without illiciting unwanted attention from men. A piece of clothing that seeks to reinforce the apparent subservience of one half of the population.

You can spin it however you want – and plenty have tried – but it remains a symbol of oppression, pure and simple.

===
CHANGE CHANGED
Tim Blair
Stuck with Obama? Freedom is just a scrape away:

(Via Fapo)
===
SHORT ITEM
Tim Blair
Among many reasons why Rene Van Oorschot finds cricket superior to soccer:
Fewer psycho ginger midgets
UPDATE:
Pygmy peoples issue warning on climate change
Another few millimetres in sea level rise and they’re done for.
===
TRILOB
Tim Blair
More to eat:
Capt. Joey Ciaramitaro has seen all manner of life on the docks of Gloucester, but he had to pinch himself Saturday when a triple-pincered freak of nature was delivered to Captain Joe & Sons wholesale lobster company.

“We’ve had blue lobsters before, half-albino lobsters before. It’s the first triple-pincer I’ve ever seen,” said Ciaramitaro, who videotaped the 2-pound lobster flexing its all-you-can-eat noncomformity for his blog ... which is now hosting a crustacean oddity show.
The beast has since been freighted for consumption.

UPDATE. Crap legs cost extra. No word on additional pincers.
===
JUMP SEAT
Tim Blair
Modern road cars are equipped with energy-absorbing crumple zones that quickly arrest momentum following a collision. Competition cars, however, are reinforced with roll cages and such – so they just keep bouncing and rolling and twisting and jumping …

No spectators or marshalls were injured. The driver seemed a little weary, though.
===
Big boat comes in to spoil Gillard’s spin
Andrew Bolt
Let’s talk again about Julia Gillard’s brilliant plan to stop the boats that her own party lured in, bringing a smorgasboard of people from around the world:
HMAS Leeuwin has delivered 84 asylum-seekers and three Indonesian crew to Christmas Island, swelling the detention centre’s population to 2598 people. The asylum-seekers who arrived this morning are thought to be from Vietnam, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan
You know her plan - to one day build a centre somewhere she can’t find. That’s sure to deter people one day, years from now.

UPDATE

I see this being described by the Sydney Morning Herald as a stunt that went “pear-shaped” because it involved a “much-maligned” (by whom?) boat person.

But let’s check the details with The Australian:
VIETNAMESE refugee Hayden Tran doesn’t agree with Tony Abbott’s border protection policy, but thinks he will vote Liberal anyway.

Mr Tran did not take up the chance to discuss asylum-seeker policy when Mr Abbott lent him a hand today in his Melbourne fruit store…

“He did a good job placing the oranges with the stickers placed upwards in a nice and uniform way,” said Mr Tran, 34, who fled to Indonesia from Vietnam and spent time in a refugee camp before being selected to come to Australia in 1986.
So Tran sailed to the first country that gave him refuge, applied for refugee status and was accepted under our normal offshore refugee program which Abbott fully supports. He didn’t sail to our shores, he was fleeing real persecution, and he’s made a go of it here. What’s more he even votes Liberal.

So this is a gaffe how...? I smell a pack attack by the gotcha brigade.
===
The Liberals finally attack
Andrew Bolt

Two days too late, and it doesn’t mess with “moving forward”. But at least it attacks. Does it work for you?

(Thanks to reader Still Rudderless, and to Luke, who says it does.)
===
Queen of the bogans
Andrew Bolt

As the 7.30 Report’s Kerry O’Brien discovered yesterday, something ghastly has happened to Julia Gillard. A woman once warm and jokey has morphed into a humorless spin-machine that’s treating him and the rest of us as utter morons, dumb enough to hear the most vacuous spin and think it profound.

Here’s just a flavour of that insult of an interview last night:
KERRY O’BRIEN: I know that political parties, modern political parties feel naked without their slogans, but don’t you think Australians deserve better in this campaign than party-generated slogans and cliches like “moving forward” and “hard-working Australians” and whatever else Labor pollsters come up with from the previous night’s polling. Is that what political leadership really should be about?

JULIA GILLARD: ...moving forward… moved forward ... future ... best days of this nation are in front of it ... future… moving forward ... future.

KERRY O’BRIEN: But is it really necessary to be so full of repetition? Paul Keating’s speechwriter Don Watson says the way you’re already endlessly repeating slogans is treating voters like imbeciles, trying to train them like dogs. It happened under Howard, it happened under Rudd. Don’t you want to be a leader that tries to break the mould, that isn’t just seen like every other leader in the relatively recent past as trying to manipulate voters with spin?

JULIA GILLARD: ... this nation’s future...this nation’s future… moving forward… moving forward ... going forwards ... the future of this country… the future for our population… opportunities of the future
Then there’s this mixture of cowardice and evasion:
KERRY O’BRIEN, PRESENTER: First of all, only one debate?

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER: Well we’ve obviously left these arrangements to our party secretaries, to Karl Bitar from the Labor Party, but, Kerry, I’ve debated Tony Abbott a fair bit in the past. We’ve routinely debated each other on TV and other places.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Well, Kevin Rudd was prepared to consider at least three debates.

JULIA GILLARD: Well the party secretaries are working on this and as I understand it the debate is likely to be Sunday night, but I’ve debated Tony Abbott a lot of times.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Yes, but not in an election campaign where you were Prime Minister and he was aspiring to it. Is this good or bad news for you that this will be up against probably one of the biggest rating nights in a long time?

JULIA GILLARD: I can understand the fascination with cooking and eating, so I know many Australians will watch that show, but I think Australians too will pay some regard to the debate and to the election campaign and what’s said in it.
That’s right. Gillard is not only cutting the three debates to just one, but has chosen to hold it on the very night of the Masterchef final, to guarantee a small audience.

And more evasion, when nailed on her deceitful pretence to have long held positions she in fact adopted only yesterday, on the suggestion of pollsters:
KERRY O’BRIEN: We’re suddenly hearing a lot from you about your commitment to a sustainable population in Australian cities. Is there any evidence on the public record that you ever had that kind of concern before you became Prime Minister, or again, is it only because polling has exposed serious public concern about Kevin Rudd’s big Australia? In other words, how sincere are you?

JULIA GILLARD: Kerry, I live in Melbourne’s west. My electorate covers two growth corridors: Wyndham and Melton. They grow every year. They grow spectacularly… So as a local member of Parliament, I’ve seen the benefit and the burdens of growth - the congestion, the pressure on services, and I understand that we can’t, for the future of this country, just keep pouring more people into places like Melbourne’s west or places like Sydney’s west. I think we can do better, planning a whole population strategy…

KERRY O’BRIEN: But when previously have you expressed concern about those things publicly?

JULIA GILLARD: Well, as a local community representative, I would talk to people about these things all the time and if I didn’t talk to them, Kerry, they’d be cantering up to me in Wotton Street, Werribee and saying, “What about the fact that it now takes us so much longer to get over the Westgate Bridge and to get into town? What about the fact we can’t get to see a GP when we ring up as a new family in the suburb? We can’t even get on the books of a GP.” Those issues have been with me as a member of Parliament. That’s why I’m such a big believer, so passionate, about making sure we’ve got good quality services.

KERRY O’BRIEN: So, when Kevin Rudd talks about being very much supportive of a big Australia, did you express your concerns to him? Did you tell him, “Kevin, I think we’ve gotta be careful about this”?

JULIA GILLARD: Well, my - Kerry, I’m not gonna go through confidential conversations - Cabinet ...

KERRY O’BRIEN: No, no, I’m not - you always say - you and other - always plead this business of cabinet confidentiality. I’m not asking you for the detail. You know what I’m asking you. I’m asking you did you ever express concern in any term, broad or otherwise, to Kevin Rudd about his enthusiasm for a big Australia?

JULIA GILLARD: Well, Kerry, you might say politicians plead cabinet confidentiality, but of course it’s the core of our system of government, so I’m not gonna go to internal discussions. But I am concerned, Kerry, when we look across this country, I am concerned about water, how we’re gonna have water security in the future for our population. I am concerned about the quality of our soils. I am concerned about urban congestion.
This is shameless, utterly shameless. But the terrifying thing is that enough voters are probably stupid enough to buy it.

All the more reason for the wise not to acquiesce in the verdict of the mob, but to defend integrity, accountability and just plain intelligence.

UPDATE

Labor says it won’t have Sunday’s debate go directly against the Masterchef final.

UPDATE 2

Of course, there was a time when Gillard thought it contemptible to do exactly what she’s doing now:
JULIA GILLARD: Well, I don’t think Mr Howard can afford to refuse our challenge to three debates.

TONY JONES: Well, he can. He’s the incumbent. That’s his right. He doesn’t have to appear at any debate. He’s going to have a debate on Sunday. Kevin Rudd will either be there or not be there. Will he be there?

JULIA GILLARD: Well, Mr Howard, I think, has to consider what Australians are going to think if he dogs out of debates because he doesn’t want to have them, and in particular dogs out of them in circumstances where he’s too afraid of the worm to turn up at the same time that the worm does.

I mean, this is a man who is apparently seeking a mandate because he says he’s got more to do. Well, what is it that he’s got more to do? He’s got more negative ads to launch? He’s got more anti-union slogans to parrot? What is it that he wants to do for this country? Why isn’t he prepared to have that exposed and tested in a debate on more than one occasion?
(Thanks to reader Paul.)
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That’s $10,000 a car of our money so far
Andrew Bolt
So many millions, so little return. But that’s usually the way when governments start trying to pick winners - and buy off unions:
(Victorian) Treasurer John Lenders has written to Toyota to reassure it of the Brumby government’s continued financial backing of the company’s plan to produce 10,000 hybrid Camrys a year at its Altona plant…

Mr Lenders’ letter was prompted by an opposition attack on Premier John Brumby’s decision to back the Camry project with an assistance package believed be worth up to $35 million.
Can you believe they’re keeping secret how many millions they splurged of taxpayers’ funds?

Opposition manufacturing spokesman Ryan Smith last week branded the hybrid Camry ‘’experiment’’ a failure.

Mr Smith said only about 3000 had been sold since the petrol-electric car went on sale in mid-February, despite heavy government subsidies and ‘’a climate of booming car sales’’.

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Gillard’s boat people plan going nowhere
Andrew Bolt
Calling the election has allowed Julia Gillard to hide her joke of a “solution” to the wave of boat people that her 2008 “reforms” unleashed. The fact is her proposal is going nowhere very fast:
NEGOTIATIONS for an offshore refugee processing centre in East Timor appear to have stalled.

Although talks are continuing, The Australian understands they are severely restricted by caretaker provisions during the election and no deal can be reached until after the poll…

In East Timor, opposition is hardening against the plan, described by (East Timorese Deputy Prime Minister Mario Viegas) Carrascalao as “neo-colonialist” and one that is uniformly opposed by the country’s parliament.
But, gee, Gillard’s campaign ads promising tough action look good.

UPDATE

John Pasquarelli says that judged just by her winks and nods, Gillard is channelling his old boss, Pauline Hanson:
Remember Hanson on how she had the right to invite who she wanted into her home and the famous “we are in danger of being swamped by Asians” statement?

Labor’s polling has obviously shown that ordinary Australians are mightily concerned about these issues more than ever and in a breathtaking act of gross hypocrisy, Julia Gillard has dumped Rudd’s Big Australia, as well as veering away from his asylum-seeker policy…

Gillard’s brazen echoing of Hanson has her encouraging mainstream Australia by exhorting it to debate issues such as border security and the boatpeople without fear of being labelled racist and intimidated by the agents of political correctness.

Calling for openness in public debate to be a mark of her prime ministership as long as people spoke with goodwill and were not critical of other’s race or culture tells me that after all her clever and too-smart plagiarism of Hanson, Gillard fails to understand that it is cultural incompatibility that is the root of all the problems connected with refugees and migrants, the element that hinders us bringing in, in her words, “the right type of migrant”.

It was suggested to Tony Abbott months ago that he should embrace the mainstream by encouraging people to debate all those issues connected to multiculturalism and immigration via dedicated postal and email addresses, but nothing happened and now Gillard has gazumped him.
I’m not so sure Abbott has actually been as gazumped as all that, provided he has the courage to be as specific as Gillard is not - and more specific than he was on MTR yesterday. In fact, one of Abbott’s few remaining hopes now is to throw off the shackles and express himself by saying what’s too long been unsayable. Speak about community cohesion, multiculturalism and identity, and, yes, “the right kind of migrant”. How do we once more create a community, rather than tribes?

The honesty will at least be a refreshing change from Labor’s spin.
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Labor’s hype will cost us power
Andrew Bolt
Labor’s hype about setting a “price on carbon” threatens to turn off the lights very soon:
A new survey has found electricity generators have slashed capital spending on power stations by $10 billion because of uncertainty over carbon policy.

The finding has fuelled business concerns about the adequacy of energy infrastructure and likely further price rises.

The new survey by the Energy Supply Association of Australia has found that ... the energy sector will need to find more than $94.1bn for refinancing over the next five years to replace ageing networks, connect new wind farms to the grid and service a growing population.

Electricity generators now plan capital spending of $4.7bn on existing power stations and $3.5bn on new power stations over the next five years—down from the total $18bn forecast a year ago—and the plunge is “overwhelmingly” because of uncertain future carbon policy…

The generators have to refinance $9.4bn in debt and raise a further $3.9bn in debt over that time, but they fear they may not secure it because investors and lenders are spooked by uncertainty over climate change and the state of the financial markets.
One day we’ll look back and wonder at how easily we talked ourselves into cutting our own throats.

UPDATE

Terry McCrann puts a price on Labor’s lunacy:

… a carbon tax would lead to power shortages and blackouts. It would kill any prospect of the new coal-fired power stations that are the only - the only - way to provide the increased power needs of a bigger population Australia....

So exactly how much extra would we have to pay for our electricity? ...

According to calculations by the Institute of Public Affairs’ Alan Moran, a $40 a tonne carbon tax would pretty much double the cost of power.... But a really meaningful carbon tax would have to be more like $100-$125 a tonne. That would at least triple your power bills. The $1000 cost would become $3000....

And I haven’t begun to detail what that would do to jobs, to investment, to all your basic living situations, such as access to healthcare and schools. You just need to look at Spain which has embraced so-called renewable energy more than any other major country and has a 20 per cent jobless rate and is teetering on a Greek-style financial meltdown....

(Yet) if we reduced our emissions to zero, it would make absolutely no difference to the world’s climate. Today, tomorrow, ever.

===
How Labor uses your taxes
Andrew Bolt
First they waste your billions, then they pinch a little extra to trick morons into talking about the Opposition Leader’s bathers instead:
JULIA Gillard is under pressure to censure or sack a Labor campaign officer after he accosted Tony Abbott in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs yesterday while wearing a pair of red bathers.

The incident could prove an unwelcome distraction for the Prime Minister’s election campaign because Labor sources said the man’s salary was paid at least in part by the taxpayer under a secret deal between the ALP and its Victorian state MPs.

Political and other sources last night named the ‘’Speedos streaker’’ who confronted the Opposition Leader at Knox City shopping centre as Conrad French.

Mr French is believed to work at the ALP’s Victorian headquarters, in a group of election campaign organisers whose salaries come from a ‘’pool’’ created from the taxpayer-funded electorate office allowance of state Labor MPs.

As Mr French and federal and Victorian Labor campaign leaders went to ground last night, an ALP insider ...said the Liberals could use photographs of the stunt in their election advertising under the headline: ‘’Your taxes at work - for the ALP.’’
(Thanks to readers Raymond and CA.)
===
Not just racist Christians who ban burqas
Andrew Bolt
Yet another government reveals its Islamophobia by banning the burqa:
The Syrian minister of higher education has prohibited the entrance of veiled female students into universities and colleges throughout the country, news agencies reported Sunday.

Dr. Ghitath Barakat explained that the donning of face veils, which cover everything but the woman’s eyes, “opposes the morals and values of the academy”.
(Thanks to reader Mark.)
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New Scientist protests: check the Climategate science
Andrew Bolt
Even the warmist New Scientist is protesting at the whitewash of the Climategate scandal:
IS CLIMATEGATE finally over? It ought to be, with the publication of the third UK report into the emails leaked from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU). Incredibly, none looked at the quality of the science itself.
The MPs’ inquiry - rushed out before the UK general election on 6 May - ducked the science because the university said it was setting up an “independent scientific assessment panel” chaired by geologist Ron Oxburgh.

After publishing his five-page epistle, Oxburgh declared “the science was not the subject of our study”. Finally, last week came former civil servant Muir Russell’s 150-page report. Like the others, he lambasted the CRU for its secrecy but upheld its integrity - despite declaring his study “was not about… the content or quality of [CRU’s] scientific work”.

Though the case for action to cut greenhouse gases remains strong, this omission matters. How can we know whether CRU researchers were properly exercising their judgment? Without dipping his toes into the science, how could Russell tell whether they were misusing their power as peer reviewers to reject papers critical of their own research, or keep sceptical research out of reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?
(Thanks to reader Berfel.)
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We’re being scared into stupidity by this IR hype
Andrew Bolt
True:
A RESERVE Bank board member has joined leading retailers in calling for the Coalition and Labor not to walk away from further changes to federal workplace laws, as Tony Abbott stumbled while selling his industrial relations policy.

Employers warned that the Opposition Leader’s pledge not to change the Fair Work Act during the next parliament was unrealistic, and the Coalition was unlikely to achieve its plan to scrap minimum-hour requirements for young workers without legislative change.

Brambles and Bluescope chairman Graham Kraehe said there was a need to address flaws in Labor’s Fair Work Act, and criticised the government and the Coalition for not committing to changes during the life of the next federal parliament.
But what is Tony Abbott to do when his honest admission that he cannot rule out changes even to regulations, even if the Fair Work Act stays, is seized upon not just by Labor but sympathetic political reporters who then write alarmist nonsense like this:
Mr Abbott must prove he is not sliding or concealing dark plans to strip your penalty rates.
The irony is that the IR laws - drawn up by Julia Gillard - that these journalists and their Labor friends defend are already costing Australians not just penalty rates but their jobs. For example:
RETAILERS have warned of job losses for school students in country towns after the Fair Work tribunal rejected an appeal against three-hour minimum shifts for teenagers...

The high-profile sacking of two teenagers at a hardware store in Terang, Victoria, after the new national award required they work at least three hours was leapt upon by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in February. Mr Abbott said he would scrap the minimum-hours rule for young people.

However, the publicity also prompted a crackdown by the Fair Work Ombudsman, enforcing minimum shifts. The old Victorian award had required students work at least two hours. In New South Wales the minimum was always three hours, but many retailers had been ignoring workplace awards and hiring school students for 1.5 hours in towns where stores typically closed at 5.30pm.
Let’s not repeat Labor scares, shall we, children, but focus on what Labor has actually wrought.
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