Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Headlines Wednesday 15th September 2010

=== Todays Toon ===
William Philip Sidney, 1st Viscount De L'Isle and 6th Baron De L'Isle and Dudley VC KG GCMG GCVO KStJ PC (23 May 1909 – 5 April 1991), was the 15th Governor-General of Australia and the last one who was British. He was a descendant of King William IV by his mistress Dorothea Bland.
=== Bible Quote ===
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”- Philippians 2:1-2
=== Headlines ===
Politicians May Brush Off Housework to Continue Campaigning
Days after returning from summer recess and 16 days before a new budget year begins, House lawmakers may bolt Washington early to save their jobs.

Iran Releases Ailing American Hiker
Sarah Shourd, who has been behind bars in Iran for more than a year on charges she was spying for the U.S., greets her mother in Oman after $500G bail was posted

Reggie Bush Forfeits His Heisman Trophy
New Orleans Saints running back says he would give back the award that he won in 2005 while he was at Southern California — the first time college football's top award was returned by a recipient

Survivor Testifies in Grisly Conn. Killings
Dr. William Petit describes his brutal beating at the hands of two thugs accused in the gruesome murder and sex assault of his wife and two young daughters

'Extinct' Bird Found, Caught -- and Killed
An endangered bird once thought to be extinct has died after being caught on a longline commercial fishing hook in Alaska.

Breaking News
Police interview fourth Pakistani cricketer
BRITISH detectives interviewed a fourth Pakistani cricketer, Wahab Riaz, today as part of their ongoing probe into spot-fixing allegations.

Brick thrown at Lego trademark bid
DANISH toy giant Lego began building a case to trademark its famous bricks in Europe more than a decade ago, but the European Union's top court knocked it down today.

Explosion at flare manufacturing plant
AT least three people were critically injured today following an explosion at a Tennessee plant that manufactures flares for military use.

Student slashes college dean's throat
A STUDENT at a Kansas City college slashed the throat of a college dean just before the state governor was due to hold a press conference there.

Eiffel Tower evacuated in bomb scare
FRENCH police evacuated the Eiffel Tower and the park surrounding the Paris landmark today after a bomb alert.

Man in court over gorilla porn
A BRITISH man allegedly hoarded over 79,000 indecent images on his computer - including a picture of a person having sex with a gorilla.

Child critical after house fire
A TODDLER is in a critical condition in hospital following a house fire in Kelso, near Bathurst in the state's Central Tablelands..

US hiker freed from Iran
FAMILIES and friends of three US hikers held at a Tehran jail for over a year welcomed the overnight release of Sarah Shourd but urged Iran to release her two companions.

Eating watercress 'can prevent cancer'
THE tangy taste of watercress might not appeal to everyone, but UK scientists said overnight that eating the salad leaves could prevent breast cancer tumours from forming.

Trapped miners celebrate a birth
THE 33 Chilean miners trapped deep underground for weeks have something to cheer about after the birth of a worker's youngest daughter.

NSW/ACT
Sisters are digging up the dollars
WOMEN who swap the corporate world for the coalfields are raking in more money than females in the rest of Australia. See why.

Horror day as five die in crashes
IT was a day of carnage on NSW roads yesterday with five people killed in three separate crashes. Police investigations continue.

Last flicker in a field of dreams
STANDING on the edge of town, overgrown with paint peeling away, the old West-View drive-in theatre is not much to look at these days.

Vandals' senseless rampage
IT took four thugs with a hammer just minutes to smash every glass window and door of 19 shops yesterday.

Lane Jury tours 'tryst site'
A JURY has toured a block of flats where Keli Lane claims she conceived her baby Tegan.

Out in force for William Crews
POLICE Commissioners from every state and territory will attend William Crews' state funeral.

Kristina Keneally is pro Bono
KRISTINA Keneally will host a box at the U2 concert where donors will pay $3500 a head to spend a night with the Premier and Bono.

Big ticket scramble over Oprah
SUCH is the demand for Oprah's Sydney shows, tickets will be offered in a ballot. Oprah video

Back to work as cardigan war ends
A BUREAUCRAT sacked for complaining about the air-con has won his job back - with a warning to always have a cardigan handy.

Where is Cathy catsuit?
SHE got drenched lighting the Olympic Flame but Cathy Freeman kept smiling 10 years ago today.

Queensland
Treasurer lets rip over Sour 16 list
TREASURER Andrew Fraser has accused the Opposition of adopting a "microwave oven" approach to politics and doing nothing to present an alternative agenda.

QR National float back on track
THE Bligh Government has scored another victory for QR National as it pushes ahead with plans to float the rail freight operator later this year.

ATO accused of stealing data
A GOLD Coast shipwreck hunter and a fugitive rogue banker are at the centre of a sensational Federal Court battle in Brisbane.

Airport Link row leads to inquiry
AN investigation has been launched into around-the-clock surface construction work on the $5.6 billion Airport Link project after tormented residents in Brisbane's inner north took their complaints to the Queensland Ombudsman.

Mines bring big wages to regions
THE mining boom is delivering massive wages to central Queensland towns with Gladstone now ranked just below Sydney and Melbourne's blue blood suburbs.

Body lay in city park for 5 months
FOR more than five months the body of a man lay in a busy Brisbane northside park and nobody noticed.

'Cold case' accused walks free
A MAN accused of a role in a 23-year-old murder case which rocked Bundaberg has walked free due to unreliable evidence.

Govt fails to act on notorious pub
PUB where man was stabbed to death reported 3000 violent or illegal incidents in a year, but despite government recommendations to sanction the venue, nothing has been done.

Murals to be saved from graffiti cops
BRISBANE City Council will launch a mural database to prevent commissioned street art from being painted over.

Charging bull attacks elderly farmer
A 75-YEAR-old central Queensland man was left with possible spinal injuries after he was charged by a bull this afternoon.

Victoria
Brother joins outcry
THE brother of Daniel Valerio says killer Paul Leslie Aiton does not deserve to be granted parole at a hearing today.

Score it another loss to progress
TIME has run out for the clock and scoreboard at Victoria Park, which will be demolished within months.

Digging for tragic truth
POLICE believe convicted paedophile Raymond Kenneth Jones may have got away with murder 35 years ago.

Melbourne's swankiest suburbs
PRAHRAN is Victoria's big salary suburb, according to figures released yesterday.

Grieving parents seek justice
THE parents of dead toddler Gurshan Singh Channa say they won't be able to think about moving on until they are parents again.

Stabber can be paroled
A THREE-year jail term imposed on a drug addict who plunged a knife into a 60-year-old man was too harsh, two appeal judges ruled.

Hitched a ride to death
TERRY Floyd played a blinder for the Maryborough Rovers under 15s on June 28, 1975, and disappeared later that day.

Face of the future
A HIGH-rise building bearing the image of an Aboriginal leader is set to become one of Melbourne's most dramatic landmarks.

Peace, but at a price
DARYL Floyd says he will not rest until he knows what happened to his older brother Terry, who disappeared in 1975.

Pervert was on same highway
A LEADING forensic psychiatrist warned in 1975 that paedophile Raymond Kenneth Jones had the propensity to murder.

Northern Territory
Murder charge in desert camp settlement
A MAN, 20, has been charged with murder following the death of a man who was assaulted in central Australia on September 2.

Sailor dies aboard HMAS Launceston
A SEAMAN, 28, has been found dead on board a Navy Patrol boat, docked at the Larrakeyah Naval Base in Darwin.

South Australia
Tide of joy for river folks
SPIRITS are rising faster than water levels along the drought-stricken River Murray.

Second youth held over murder
YOUTHS regularly threw rocks at the home of murder victim Pirjo Kemppainen for months before her battered body was discovered on Saturday.

Virus hits nursing home
A VIRULENT stomach bug swept through a nursing home in August, making almost 150 residents sick.

2000 on disability waiting list
ALMOST 2000 people are on a disability services waiting list for State Government help, including more than 1300 at risk of harming their children or themselves.

Razor gang cuts leaked
CLOSURE of schools, police stations, hospitals and raising mining royalties to achieve the Government's savings target, are among its razor gang's recommendations.

Adventure park under water
FLOODS have closed parts of Greenhills Adventure Park for several days.

Redmond vows to block Arkaroola mining
OPPOSITION Leader Isobel Redmond has declared her party will block any future moves to allow uranium mining in the Arkaroola Wildness Sanctuary.

Western Australia
Asylum numbers swelled before riot
CHRISTMAS Island detention centre numbers had swelled leading up to a riot between Afghan and Sri Lankan detainees, a court has been told.

Travel agent reneges on cheap fare
A $6000 fine imposed by a court on a travel agent who misled a customer about airfares is a warning to the industry, Western Australia's consumer protection watchdog says.

Surfer rescued off Garden Island
A SURFER involved in a dramatic sea rescue after his boat capsized 300m off Garden Island returned to the water moments later to continue surfing.

WA detention centres 'a powder keg'
CRAMMING hundreds of single men into remote immigration detention centres could spark a ``powder keg'', resulting in riots and break-outs, West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says.

Man bashed in 'cowardly attack'
A 24-YEAR-OLD man has told how he feared for his life after being struck in the head with a piece of concrete in an unprovoked attack earlier this month.

Death row dog snatched from pound
A DANGEROUS dog on a death notice remains at large after being stolen from the City of Stirling Animal Care Facility.

Man charged with city sex assault
A 28-YEAR-OLD Dianella man has been charged with indecently assaulting a teenage girl in the city yesterday.

Watchdog warns against logging
CLIMATE change is causing major problems in Western Australia's iconic southwest forest area.

Greens fight Labor on uranium
THE Greens have threatened to use their historic alliance with Labor to stop planned uranium projects in WA from securing government approval.

Tasmania
Nothing new

=== Journalists Corner ===
These "Young Guns" Are ... FIRED UP!
The new generation of GOPers tells Sean about plans to get their party back on top.
===
Complete Coverage of the Primaries
As America votes in important primaries, we take you inside the critical races with late-breaking results, sharp insight and smart analysis -- only on a powerful 'Special Report'!
===
Controversial Connections for Ground Zero Imam?
Tonight, it's a 'Factor' follow-up. Bill goes inside the Ground Zero Imam's connection to a radical Muslim 9/11 truther. Is it ammunition enough to stop the mosque project from pushing forward? Crowley, Colmes and Krauthammer have the latest.
===
On Fox News Insider:
Using Justin Bieber to "Get Out the Vote"?
Bill O'Reilly on His New Book & the Latest NYC Mosque Controversy
Fast Facts: Iran-Released American Detainee Sarah Shourd
VOTE NOW: Would You Renew the Bush Tax Cuts?
=== Comments ===
Evidence Ground Zero Mosque Imam Associated With Radical Muslim
BY BILL O'REILLY

Some who oppose the Ground Zero mosque fear that the Muslims behind the proposed community center have radical ties, and evidence shows that fear may be valid.
The point man in the controversy is Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who continues to put forth that he is a man of peace, a moderate Muslim who wants only the best for his own country, America, and the Muslim world.
But Imam Rauf has a troubling association.
Assistant Imam Faiz Khan believes the 9/11 attack was not generated by Al Qaeda, but was an inside job orchestrated by the United States itself.
Documents uncovered by the Investigative Project on Terrorism show that in a blog posting, Khan said: "The prime factor for the success of the criminal mission known as 9/11 did not come from the quarter known as 'militant Islam,' although the phenomenon known as 'militant Islamic networks' may have played a partial role … perhaps the role of patsy and scapegoat."
Khan is part of a crew called truthers, who deny Muslim extremists started the war on terror. Khan was also a close associate of Imam Rauf.
In 1997, Khan, Rauf and Rauf's wife founded the American Society for the Advancement of Muslims. The three were on the board of directors.
So there is no question that the truther Khan has a relationship with Rauf, and that was not made public by Rauf, a major mistake for a man under so much scrutiny.
So what's going on here? We asked both Rauf and Khan for comments. They declined.
That is simply unacceptable and should be enough to table the project until clarification is forthcoming. If Imam Rauf wants to explain his relationship with Khan, we are willing to listen.
But let's stop this nonsense about the community center being simply a monument to peace. The truth is we don't know what the project is a monument to. Again, Imam Rauf has some explaining to do.
Finally, let's listen to Mr. Khan:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAIZ KHAN: I've been involved in the 9/11 truth movement since September 12, 2001. We're all saying that this mainstream explanation is completely false, and there's compelling evidence to suggest not only is it false, but it was some form of inside job. We can all agree with that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
That guy shouldn't be allowed within 10 miles of Ground Zero.
===
Wishful Thinking, Not Strategy Is Driving Obama's Plan In Afghanistan
By Mitchell Reiss
As we approach our ninth year of war in Afghanistan, the United States has more troops on the ground than ever before, our finest military commander leading the fight and a battle-tested counter-insurgency strategy that has previously helped stabilize Iraq. Yet it appears that the Obama administration's goal is not to defeat the Taliban militarily, but to hope that a "mini-surge" will drive the Taliban to the bargaining table and allow the United States to negotiate an honorable exit from Afghanistan.

The problem is that the Obama administration has not created the conditions that could make such a negotiated solution possible. Its approach is wishful thinking masquerading as strategy.

No government can hope to win at the negotiating table what it cannot defend on the battlefield. Insurgents need to understand that they cannot defeat or outlast the government's forces. The intended purpose of the additional 30,000 American troops was to take the fight to the Taliban and secure the population. But these troops were well below the number initially requested by U.S. military commanders. So far they have been unable to prevent the Taliban from making advances across southern, eastern and even northern Afghanistan.

Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has admitted that reconciliation in Afghanistan is only possible "from a position of strength. And we're not there."

Further, in his December 2009 West Point speech, President Obama stated that U.S. troops would start coming home in July 2011. By setting this artificial deadline, the president has made withdrawal easier for our NATO allies who are eager to leave the field as well. And it has granted important bargaining leverage to the Taliban. With one foot already out the door, we have signaled that we lack the stamina to sustain the fight. With every soldier we withdraw from Afghanistan, we lose ability to influence the negotiations. So why should the Taliban negotiate?

The Obama administration has also been unable to establish a single diplomatic framework for talks to take place. Currently, at least four other countries -- Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE -- are talking to Taliban officials. Pursuing their own agendas, they are meddling in the country's internal affairs, undermining the central government and efforts to secure and stabilize the country. These separate and uncoordinated forays have sent mixed messages to the Taliban; they have not always supported U.S. policy preferences.

A related problem is that America's partner, the government of President Hamid Karzai, is seen as erratic and massively corrupt, with little legitimacy or popular support after last year's widespread election fraud. Earlier this year, Karzai embarked on a risky reconciliation effort with senior Taliban commanders that has been poorly coordinated with American-led efforts to reintegrate lower-level "dollar-a-day" Taliban foot soldiers.

The ad hoc nature of these disjointed engagements reflects another complicating factor: To negotiate with an insurgency, a government needs first-rate intelligence. Yet the Taliban is not monolithic. The movement consists of a loose amalgam of different tribes and criminal networks fighting under the same banner. By its very nature, these groups pose very difficult intelligence targets. They often have their own dialects, they are tight-knit and they are very hard to infiltrate. Yet the United States faces enormous challenges to its ability to peer inside these different Talibans, to grasp their organizational structure, and to evaluate their leadership and actions.

As General David Petraeus has said, you can't fight your way out of an industrial-strength insurgency. A corollary is that you need to distinguish between those groups who want to reconcile and those who do not. Without the benefit of solid intelligence, we cannot judge whether any of the Taliban may have more limited grievances that can be addressed without compromising core U.S. interests. Too often in Afghanistan, we are flying blind. We don't have a good sense of which Taliban officials can speak with authority, bring along their supporters and implement a peace settlement.

Finally, even if we could somehow unify the diplomatic process and invite the Taliban to the negotiating table, it is not clear that they wish to engage seriously with us. Some Taliban representatives have said that the organization has no interest in talking to anyone until all foreign fighters -- meaning U.S. and NATO forces -- leave the country. This past June, CIA Director Leon Panetta confirmed that, "We have seen no evidence that they are truly interested in reconciliation, where they would surrender their arms, where they would denounce Al Qaeda."

Obama's hope of engaging the Taliban cannot succeed without a changed approach. The Obama team needs to increase American leverage and revise the Taliban's calculations. This means allowing Petraeus more time to be successful, which in turn will depend on Obama reminding the American people, as he did when running for president, why prevailing in Afghanistan is important to U.S. national security.

It also means developing a negotiating strategy with Pakistan, who has the military presence, strategic patience, and control over the Taliban to bring it to the bargaining table. The United States can then help Kabul and Islamabad craft a settlement that honors Afghan sovereignty, eliminates safe havens for Al Qaeda and helps stabilize Pakistan.

Over a year and a half ago, President Obama stated that the United States would talk to the Taliban. Now he needs a plan for making these talks worthwhile.

Mitchell Reiss, is president of Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland and the author of the just published Open Road E-Riginal ebook, "Negotiating with Evil: When to Talk to Terrorists." For more information, click here. (At the link)
===
School Choice Missing In Obama's Address
By Lindsey M. Burke
Students and teachers at Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School began the school year with the ultimate back-to-school pep rally on Tuesday. President Obama delivered a speech to students at the highly-ranked Philadelphia magnet school, which was named a 2010 national "Blue Ribbon School."

Last year, the president delivered a back-to-school speech about the importance of staying in school and the merits of education, topics he reprised in this year's address. Last year's protocol included a letter from Education Secretary Arne Duncan to schools nationwide, complete with lesson plans for teachers. Of course, the lesson plans created a firestorm of backlash from critics, and we haven't seen a repeat this year.
Even absent federally-crafted lesson plans, however, the Obama administration's larger plans for reshaping the country's education system are worrisome. In fact, if the administration has its way, schools across the country will soon be required to teach according to a set of national education standards and tests.

National standards and tests would be a significant federal overreach into states' educational decision-making authority. But through the administration's $4.35 million “Race to the Top” competitive grant program, which provided grants to 11 states and the District of Columbia to implement prescribed education reforms, states have already begun adopting national standards.

To be in contention for a Race to the Top grant, states had to indicate that they would move toward adopting national standards and tests. And with most states facing severe budget shortfalls, the chance to win hundreds of millions of dollars in new grant money was enough for many to sign on to the proposal.

But several states have refused to sign on to the standards, which were developed by the National Governor's Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. But for the states not enticed by a RTT grant, the administration has indicated that they will tie access to Title I money for low-income schools to adoption of the standards.

If they succeed, the administration will have orchestrated a significant federal overreach into what is taught in local schools. They will have done so without a single vote in Congress, bypassing normal legislative procedure, and without input from parents and taxpayers.

If national standards and tests become reality, parents will lose one of their most powerful tools when it comes to directing their children's education: local and state control over academic content and standards. As if a distant bureaucrat in Washington knows what's best for -- or is significantly vested in -- the educational well-being of individual students.

The kind of data national standards and tests will make available will be far more useful to bureaucrats than to parents. What parents need most is transparency about all the existent data that’s collected, and, most importantly, the power to act on it.

We won’t gain educational opportunity and accountability by further centralizing educational power in Washington. This has been the trend for the past four decades, with little if anything to show for it. Despite decades of increasing federal control over education and a tripling of per-pupil expenditures, reading achievement has flat-lined, and graduation rates are the same today as they were in 1970.

If the president were truly interested in raising academic achievement and providing educational opportunity, he would have told students today how he plans to empower their parents to make the educational decisions that will lead to a future full of opportunity.

Sadly, President Obama's track record thus far on school choice is dismal. He is phasing out the most successful school voucher program in the country -- the D.C. Opportunity scholarship Program -- because powerful special-interest groups, such as teachers' unions, oppose it. For scholarship students in Washington, D.C., listening to the president's speech may well have been a painful reminder that in most parts of the country, school choice is still an option only for those who can afford it.

The administration certainly deserves credit this year for encouraging states to lift caps on charter schools and to have open discussions about merit pay and tenure reform. But for those students in Philadelphia, and across the country, not lucky enough to enroll in a Blue Ribbon school (such as the one where Mr. Obama made his speech), the best back-to-school message they could hear would be one that encourages equal opportunity through school choice.

Lindsey M. Burke is an education policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation.
===
Standing Up to the EPA's Power Grab
By Phil Kerpen
I wrote here on June 10 about a crucial Senate vote on blocking the EPA’s backdoor efforts to impose global warming regulations under the 1970 Clean Air Act. That vote, unfortunately, failed.

However, the Senate can make another attempt with an appropriations rider that would defund the EPA’s global warming efforts. A vote on just that was expected in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, but the Democratic leaders -- who feared it would pass -- have now delayed it indefinitely. We need to keep the pressure on.

To recap, the EPA’s global warming regulations were originally devised by White House climate czar Carol Browner in the 1990s, when she was EPA administrator. It was a strategy to circumvent Congress and force through unpopular regulations without a vote.

The tactic of shoehorning global warming regulations into the 1970s Clean Air Act seemed far-fetched until the Supreme Court opened the door for it with their decision in Massachusetts v. EPA in 2007. That 5-4 decision instructed the EPA to decide whether or not to pursue global warming regulation based on the language of the statute.

A reasonable EPA would have reacted to the Court by citing the enormous administrative burden and absurd results of trying to stop global warming using a 40 year-old law designed for very different problems and deferred to Congress on the issue. But the Obama EPA, under the watchful eye of Climate Czar Browner (she couldn’t officially get the EPA administrator job she had under President Clinton because her service on the board of the Socialist International Commission on World Governance would have made her unconfirmable by the Senate) is moving full steam ahead.

The EPA has decided to apply the full force of the Clean Air Act to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and simply ignore the inconvenient requirements of the law. The first regulations are set to take effect for power plants next year. The impact, like cap-and-trade, is designed to lead to skyrocketing prices so people won’t be able to afford to use as much electricity.

Two days before the June vote it looked like it would pass. The White House, however, launched a massive counter-offensive, including a veto threat and direct strong-arming of several key energy-state senators. Harry Reid ultimately had no choice but to promise a future vote on a two-year delay of EPA regulations proposed by Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. Even so, all 41 Republicans and 6 Democrats voted to stop the EPA. The 47 votes were just 4 shy of the 51 needed for passage.

This week the Senate Appropriations Committee was set to vote on stopping the EPA by passing an amendment to the Interior-EPA Appropriations bill to defund the EPA’s global warming regulations. Because appropriations are an annual process, it would be only a one-year ban. But appropriations riders can often be renewed annually for a long time, and at the very least it would buy us needed time to revisit the issue in a more balanced Congress next year.

A look at a list of the Senate Appropriations Committee members shows this would be a winnable vote. All 12 Republicans are likely yes votes, just as all 41 Republicans voted for Murkowski’s permanent solution in June. Of the 18 Democrats, there are three who voted for Murkowski—Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Unless they flip-flop, that makes a 15-15 tie. Two other Democrats on the committee, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Tim Johnson of South Dakota, are co-sponsors of Rockefeller’s two-year delay, and so unless they flip-flop they should put the one-year funding ban over the top. It would also be a tough vote for other Democrats on the committee from energy and manufacturing states likes Jon Tester of Montana, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

Democratic leadership apparently saw the same thing. We just got word that they’ve pulled the bill from consideration because they feared the amendment would pass. But sooner or later the Senate will have to get around to funding the EPA and the Interior Department. When they do, they should use it as an opportunity to stand up to the EPA’s power grab and take responsibility as the legitimate legislative branch of government.

Mr. Kerpen is vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity. He can be reached on Twitter, Facebook, and through www.PhilKerpen.com.
===
NEWS BRIEFLETS
Tim Blair
• An accurate name for an electric car.

• It’s the blog he can’t ignore!

• Over 80 and over 160kmh. Oh, and there is also a “younger secret lover”.

• “You simply must read Leon Wolf’s review of Meghan McCain’s recently-published book,” advises s_dog. “It is a thing of beauty.”

• Off-his-Facebook: a Mountie demounted.

• Good news from the River Murray: “Recent rains have lifted water levels in some areas by more than half a metre in the past month. Irrigators are predicting bumper harvests for the first time in years.”

• “One should not leave his prayer unless he hears sound or smells something.”

• John Kerry is at it again.
===
LESSON LEARNED
Tim Blair
Ahead of today’s midterm primaries in the US, the New York Times noticed renewed enthusiasm for conservatives running as conservatives:
“We need to prove to the Republican Party that we need to move it to the right, that we need to move back to good basic values and the Constitution,” said Lynn Brannon, a leading Tea Party activist in Delaware. “I will have a little bit of regret, but the Republicans need to learn their lesson: that we want things to go back to the right.”
Indeed they do. Further from Instapundit.

(Via reader Smike in New Hampshire, who emails: “The dynamics of this sleeper of a race changed after last week’s televised debate. My own vote solidified over the weekend away from the unlikely winner but nice guy Jim Bender, who really should set his sights on Governor for 2012, to Lamontagne. I’ve always been suspicious of Ayotte; an Olympia Snowe clone in the US Senate. And BTW, your Monday column affirmed my switch. Thanks.")

UPDATE. On a similar theme, Julia Gillard struggles to find her party’s point: “We have to articulate what Labor’s purpose is.”
===
FEAR THE UNBELIEVERS
Tim Blair
The Guardian‘s Leo Hickman – a man previously frightened by hamburger signs – warns of a new terror:
You might want to find yourself an indelible marker pen and draw a large black circle around 3 November – it could be the morning the world wakes up to discover that the US Senate is now controlled by climate sceptics.
Or you could just remember the date, it apparently being so significant and all. Another eco-milestone looms tomorrow:
International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer - 16 September 2010
Please record your International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer festivity plans in comments. Bear in mind this year’s theme:
Theme for 2010: “Ozone layer protection: governance and compliance at their best”
Enjoy being compliant, everybody. See you at the wheatgrass juice stand.

UPDATE. In other crucial atmospheric news: “The bobolink is suffering from global warming.” I repeat: The bobolink is suffering from global warming. Make peace with your God. Our time is nigh.
===
TV ME
Tim Blair
The usual mumbling and stumbling during yesterday’s Drum broadcast. This is why I’m a print journalist. One or two passable lines, perhaps.
===
KEVNI KONTROLLED
Tim Blair
Think of Labor, think of stability:
When Kevin Rudd agreed midway through the election campaign to bury the hatchet and actively campaign for Labor, there were concerns about whether the former prime minister could really be a team player.

So much so that the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, personally phoned Mr Rudd’s former senior press secretary Lachlan Harris, to ask him to mind his old boss for the duration of the campaign.
But those days are gone, and now Gillard’s government is sworn in:
The occasion seemed to proceed without incident, barring the occasional excited squeal of a child.
It wasn’t Lachlan, as Phil Coorey reports:
Mr Harris returned to his private life after the election.
Still, Harris may have been useful yesterday, as his former boss suffered a misery moment:
There was just a moment when one of the faceless men, Bill Shorten, was sworn in that Kevin Rudd looked unspeakably sad.

The lip quivered. The former prime minister, alongside more convivial colleagues Simon Crean and Stephen Conroy, looked straight ahead …

It was there again when another of his political kingmakers turned killers, Mark Arbib, was sworn in. Rudd’s chest rose, and there was a deep, slow exhale …

Governor-General Quentin Bryce, who is, of course, Shorten’s mother-in-law, reserved her sternest expression for the father of her latest grandchild, Clementine.

Shorten looked like he might burst out laughing at this theatre of the absurd and couldn’t wipe the grin off his face.
Can’t see any problems ahead for these comrades.
===
MAN COULD TALK
Tim Blair
Pro-guns, anti-militant Islam, opposed to teens getting knocked up … Malcolm X – as others have noted – was quite the conservative:

An impressive speaker, X was murdered in 1965. The third of his convicted killers secured prison release earlier this year.
===
DISSENT SHOWN
Tim Blair
You think your job is tough? Try being a speed camera in Italy:
Vigilantes in the city of Montelupo, Italy pelted a speed camera with rocks just four days after it had been installed.

“These acts were accomplished repeatedly by adults who want to show their dissent from the administration’s decisions,” Mayor Rossana Mori told La Nazione.
Also, they probably wanted to drive fast. It will eternally be the Italian way.

UPDATE. Outside of Italy, Europe still sucks. Especially when it comes to devices that actually should suck:
First it was traditional light bulbs, then it was plasma televisions. Now European bureaucrats are targeting the nation’s vacuum cleaners as part of plans to cut energy use in the home.
Eurotrash is one thing. Eurodust is quite another.

(Via Nilknarf)

UPDATE II. While Eurofolk are fussed about vacuum cleaners and such, left-wing terrorism is on the march.
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