Thursday, October 07, 2010

Headlines Thursday 7th October 2010

=== Todays Toon ===
Charles Wallace Alexander Napier Cochrane-Baillie, 2nd Baron Lamington, GCMG, GCIE (29 July 1860 – 16 September 1940) was a British politician and colonial administrator who was Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901, and Governor of Bombay from 1903 to 1907.
=== Bible Quote ===
“Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.”- Isaiah 26:4
=== Headlines ===
RETURN TO SENDER: Afghans Seize Explosives From Iran
Afghan police say they have intercepted 22 tons of explosives stashed in boxes marked 'food, toys and kitchenware' that were reportedly imported from neighboring Iran.

Teach-Through-Rap Program Postponed
Oklahoma City public school district is taking a second look at a plan to teach at-risk students using rap and hip-hop after receiving complaints over one lesson referring to the founding fathers as 'old dead white men'

Miller Denies Talk Of Rift With Palin
The Tea Party-backed Senate hopeful from Alaska downplays reports that there is tension between him and Sarah Palin over his unwillingness to endorse the former governor for president

Candidates On the Attack in Final Days
Mud is flying in states like Connecticut where candidates are painting increasingly unflattering portraits of their opponents, as midterm election season enters final stretch

Breaking News
Bank spares rogue trader over $7bn compo
FRENCH bank Societe Generale says it will spare rogue trader Jerome Kerviel from paying the full five billion euros of compensation awarded in a massive fraud scandal.

Good Samaritan rescues kidnapped girl
AN eight-year-old American girl, kidnapped from her frontyard by a stranger, was returned to her mother safe and well after a dramatic rescue by a quick-acting unemployed construction worker.

Snoring a sex life killer for Aussie women
AUSTRALIAN women say their partners' gasping and snorting is choking their love lives.

Prince Harry hostage drama 'unhelpful'
A DRAMA-documentary about what would have happened if Prince Harry was captured while serving with the army in Afghanistan is set to appear on British television this month.

Italy calls in army after bazooka threat
DEATH threat was made against a main investigator amid a crackdown on local mafia groups.

NSW/ACT
Quiz in hunt for 'Andrew Norris'
A MAN with an alias of "Cauliflower" was among 37 people named Andrew Norris identified as possibly being baby Tegan Lane's dad.

Tracking tourists lost in CBD jungle
FEW tourists to Sydney venture further than the CBD or Manly, according to a study that tracked sightseers using GPS technology.

Invention may stop locust plague
IT sucks, it slices and it dices - but wait, there's more. It could also be the answer to the locust plague. Check out the Locust Muncher.

Keneallys differ on pokie tax
PREMIER Kristina Keneally could be headed for a showdown with her club director husband Ken Murray over the proposed pokie tax.

Taser? Why, I'd have used my Glock
ONLY four complaints involving the use of Tasers by NSW police have been substantiated.

Property a saintly business
SOON-to-be saint Mary MacKillop was not just a humanitarian - she was a property entrepreneur.

Dogged pursuit of truth on bets
THE telephone records of Bulldogs and Cowboys players could be analysed by police as part of the investigation into NRL betting.

Rail commuters in gate danger
A METAL gate flew loose from a moving goods train and just missed commuters waiting on a platform, an investigation has found.

Sports agent ripped off mates
TOP sports agent Greg Willett cheated two of his off-field clients - one an old friend, the other a quadriplegic - out of millions.

Sun sets on the solar windfall
CONSUMERS face another electricity rise, this time to pay for a NSW solar blowout.

Queensland
Pups a-Twitter over social networking
PUREBRED Shih Tzu Missy Elliott (aka Muzzy) has a Facebook page, MySpace account and is about to join 160 million Twitter users thanks to the latest pet accessory.

Mum protests celebrity culture
AN EXPECTANT mother is staging a 100-hour protest condemning society's pre-occupation with celebrities and neglect of issues such as youth mental health.

Patient claims cancer test ignored
A WOMAN who claims her doctor failed for more than a year to tell her she had a positive test indicating bowel cancer is now suing for medical negligence.

Cooks see red over spicy ruse
IT'S the world's most expensive spice, but you may not be getting what you pay for.

Experts fear more QLD oil spills
QUEENSLAND'S coastline will suffer more oil spill disasters, an independent report into the grounding of the Shen Neng 1 has warned.

Even tow trucks are towed away
A TOWIE had his own tow-truck seized by a company at the centre of allegations of predatory and aggressive conduct against motorists at shopping centres.

Parents pay as kids miss school
PARENTS have welfare payments suspended and students could be banned from being served in shops during school hours in a truancy crackdown.

Criminal taped Laceys in jail
A VETERAN criminal advised the Lacey brothers in prison before secretly recording them for police, a Brisbane court has heard.

Car slams into Toowoomba pie shop
A CAR loaded with children slammed through the eating area of a Big Dad’s Pies in Toowoomba this afternoon, hitting a 19-year-old woman in the process.

Wheelchair drink-driver avoids jail
A SERIAL drink-driver has avoided jail for crashing his motorised wheelchair into a police car while almost five times over the legal limit.

Victoria
Granny's a Magpie for life
GOOD old Collingwood will forever be a part of this Melbourne granny.

Kennerley's stray comment fires up WAGs
FOOTY WAGs have hit back at scathing remarks by television queen Kerri-Anne Kennerley, who labelled women who mixed with high-profile footballers as "strays".

Cops' capsicum spray use on rise
POLICE are turning to capsicum spray more often as the number of youths carrying weapons increases, one of our top cops said.

Fight club for teen thugs
FIGHT clubs organised by guards have been run in one of Victoria's youth detention centre, according to an ombudsman's report.

Ambulance delays get worse
AMBULANCE response times in Victoria are at their worst in five years, with regional areas suffering the most.

Youth anti-violence bid wins funding
A NEW campaign to stem escalating street violence will be set up by young Victorians online and in schools.

Big Nikola was a stunner
WHEN Nikola Jovic was born, the nurses thought their scales were broken - weighing in at 6.22kg, it's a wonder they weren't.

Household bills sting to deepen
AVERAGE households are paying a staggering $900 in power, gas and water bills compared with 2005 - and it's only going to get worse.

Lonely, dusty tradies on $210,000
SPECIAL payments for dirty, wet and smelly work are among dozens of generous workers' allowances on major projects in Victoria.

Immigrants escaping detention
ALMOST two illegal immigrants on average escape each month from detention centres across the country.

Northern Territory
Nothing new

South Australia
Woman bashed to death
GREAT-GRANDMOTHER Beverley Hanley met a brutal end when she was bashed to death in her own home.

Let Murray fight begin
UPSTREAM states are already positioning themselves to challenge the key report of the new Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

Dirty restaurant inquiry
A PARLIAMENTARY inquiry will target dodgy restaurants.

Yes, drink to that
CHILDREN of mothers who enjoy the occasional alcoholic drink during pregnancy are less likely to have behavioural problems than those whose mothers did not drink.

Cotton-wool kids
PARENTS have distorted perceptions of stranger danger.

Pedestrian hit by tow truck
A WOMAN has been taken to hospital after being hit by a tow-truck at Norwood.

Man indecently assaults woman
A WOMAN has told police she was sexually assaulted by a man at Mawson Lakes last night.

Man charged with fatal crash
A PENONG man has been arrested and charged over the death of a man in a road crash on Eyre Peninsula.

Charges over city shooting
THREE people have been charged with attempted murder over the shooting of a gang associate in the city last Thursday.

Western Australia
Muslim school fraud trial begins
A TRIAL has begun in a Perth court for a man accused of falsifying student numbers at a Muslim college to fraudulently obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in government funding.

More Aboriginal towns ask for liquor ban
THE concern for families and children among Aboriginal communities in regional Western Australia is driving more townships towards imposing alcohol bans, the state government says.

Mother slams hostel sex accused
AN EMOTIONAL mother today hurled abuse at a man accused of sexually molesting two of her sons, just moments after he appeared in court as part of Redress WA.

Police attacked in courtroom rumble
A MAN has been charged with assaulting two police officers after a violent outburst in a Geraldton courtroom yesterday.

Man, 84, attacks girl, 7, in park
AN 84-year-old man has been charged with sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl in a Langford park, in Perth's south-east.

Teen charged over nightclub 'glassing'
A MUNSTER teenager has been charged with unlawful wounding after allegedly glassing a man in the face in a Claremont nightclub.

Rio-BHP Pilbara deal close to collapse
RIO Tinto's $US116 billion iron ore venture with BHP Billiton is close to collapsing after regulators objected to the deal.

Trio survive whale strike terror
THREE men who spent four hours in the water after their boat hit a whale and sank off the WA coast have been rescued by the crew of an oil rig tender.

Tasmania
New information in Yacht murder trial
POLICE have reinterviewed a witness who says he saw a dinghy attached to the boat where a missing medical specialist was last seen alive.

Man in desperate jail bid to avoid his ex
A MAN has robbed a store so he could return to jail and avoid having to see his ex-girlfriend.
=== Journalists Corner ===
Guest: Rand Paul
All Republicans want to cut spending ... Now, meet one who's NOT afraid to say how he'll do it. Senate candidate Rand Paul explains.
===
What's Miller's "Angle"?
Dennis gives his take on Nevada's race between Harry Reid and Sharron Angle.

On Fox News Insider:
Can Obama Keep His Promise?
Twice as Many Prefer Clinton Over Biden for VP
Too Much Teleprompter for the President?
=== Comments ===
The Midterm Election Is Four Weeks Away
BY BILL O'REILLY

The midterm election is four weeks away. That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."
There is no question the upcoming election is really about President Obama. Wherever his job approval ratings are low, Republicans are winning at least in the polls, according to RealClearpolitics.com, as it stands now. Democrats are likely to retain 49 seats in the Senate. The Republicans may get 47, but four races are too close to call.
They are in the states of Illinois, West Virginia, Washington, and Nevada. In Nevada, Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle has now pulled ahead of the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid 49 to 46. That reflects the Obama number in Nevada, 52 percent disapproving of the president's job performance, 44 percent approving.
Likewise in West Virginia, where 65 percent disapproved of the president, just 29 percent approve. So, Republican John Racey is leading Democrat Joe Manchin 48 to 43. Obviously, there is a pattern. On the other side, in Connecticut, the president has fairly good numbers, 48 percent approve, 46 disapproved. That's reflected in the senatorial race as well.
Democrat Richard Blumenthal now leads Republican Linda McMahon 52 to 42. Ms. McMahon is stepping up her personal attacks on Blumenthal. Laura Ingraham will analyze that strategy a bit later on.
Now, there's no question the Republicans are poised to severely damage the Obama administration. Even Congressman Barney Frank is worried. He's running against Sean Bielat, a former marine with a Master's Degree from Harvard. Frank leads in the internal polls, but the gap is closing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BARNEY FRANK, D-MASS.: He is helped by the right-wing media by Hannity, Limbaugh, by Fox News. They -- it's a fascinating thing. Because they are blaming us, me as chairman of the committee, for their errors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Now, as you know, Congressman Frank is not taking any responsibility for the economic collapse on his watch as he is the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Frank resides in a very liberal district, so blaming his troubles on Hannity and Limbaugh is absurd.
They are liberals there, why would they listen to Hannity and Limbaugh? It's his own record that's hurting Barney. "Talking Points" hates to say it, but Dick Morris may be correct. The Republicans may well win back the Senate. But it won't be easy, as the national media is now openly rooting for the Democrats.
By the way, be careful when you see polling. Make sure the sample is not skewed Democrats. That has been a charged against the ABC News/"Washington Post" poll, that far more Democrats than Republicans are asked questions in that survey, so you've got to really be careful.
Now, the coming election is one of the most important in nation's history. The Obama administration is governing from the left and is making no attempt to moderate. Our system has a check against ideological governance and four weeks from today that check, the election, will tell the tale.
===
What Dems Must Do If They Want to Hold the Senate
By Doug Schoen
With just a month left before the midterm elections, and with the Republicans leading by six points in Rasmussen Reports’ Generic Congressional Ballot, it has become increasingly clear that dissatisfaction with the Democrats is going to result in a swing to the Republicans this fall.

While it seems almost certain that the Republicans will take control of the House, the Democrats can still hold the Senate.

The GOP needs ten seats to take control of the Senate, and they are likely to pick up seven or eight seats at this point. Thus, it appears that control of the Senate will come down to three or four races in the blue states of California, Washington, Connecticut and to a lesser extent, New York. To maintain control of the Senate, the Party must put all of its resources in these races.

In Washington State, Democrat Patty Murray’s advantage over Republican Dino Rossi is that she’s running in a state that has consistently gone Democratic in statewide elections thanks to Seattle’s liberal-leaning King County.

However, while Murray has about a five-point lead over Rossi according to the Real Clear Politics Average, Rasmussen Reports’ most recent poll has Murray trailing by one point, 47% to 48%.

To win, Murray must steer away from her liberal voting record and emphasize the need for fiscal restraint, balancing the budget and reducing spending. Murray has criticized Rossi for saying he opposed the new Wall Street regulations; she should continue to do so, and emphasize his strong ties to corporate lobbyists and special interests, and his very conservative positions on gay rights, the environment and women’s rights.

California has also been a traditionally Democratic state, with even more Democrats than usual winning in 2006 and 2008 as the subprime mortgage crisis battered the state. Senator Barbara Boxer’s strong win in 2004 and Obama’s 61% to 37% win in California in 2008 led most to assume she would be relatively safe in 2010.

However, the bad economy has caused the state’s voters to turn on the Democrats. Boxer’s weakest support is in the Inland Empire and Central Valley, the areas hit hardest by the subprime meltdown. Further, Boxer’s liberal voting record puts her at odds with the current sentiments of the voters. As of July, her favorability had dropped to 42%, with 48% unfavorable.

Just recently as mid-September, the Real Clear Politics Average had Boxer in a dead heat with former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. However, Boxer’s lead has grown in the past few weeks to about seven points ahead of Fiorina.

While Boxer may be more liberal than voters in California, Fiorina is much farther to the right than the state’s political mainstream. Boxer needs to emphasize Fiorina’s extremely conservative positions on abortion, oil drilling, immigration and guns, and argue that she is too extreme for California, particularly for women.

Boxer particularly needs to continue to call out Fiorina’s opposition to abortion rights – not only has Boxer made this issue central to her career, but no anti-abortion candidate has won high statewide office in California in over 20 years.

Further, Boxer must tell Fiorina’s story as the failed CEO of Hewlett-Packard: she fired over 30,000 workers as CEO and shipped jobs overseas, while making $100 million and taking a $21 million severance package when she left. Fiorina’s failed business experience gives voters no reason to think she would be a good Senator.

Chris Dodd’s retirement in Connecticut has left his seat open for the first time since 1974. The Democratic nominee, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, has had relatively solid polling numbers, but his opponent, former WWE CEO Linda McMahon, won a well-run primary campaign that emphasized her experience as a woman turning a small enterprise into a multi-billion dollar business.

As a moderate Republican running during a time of anti-Democratic sentiments, McMahon turned this into a close race. Rasmussen Reports has Blumenthal leading by five points, 50% to 45%, and the Quinnipiac poll has Blumenthal’s lead at three points, 49% to 46%.

Blumenthal needs to make the case that McMahon’s business is built on human suffering and failings. McMahon did not provide health care for the wrestlers. Hundreds died of steroid abuse and there has been widespread drug addiction. Her story is not the American dream, but one of horror and failure..

Finally, in New York, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand has held onto a lead over Republican Joe DioGuardi, although a smaller lead than what is typical from a Democrat in a New York Senate race. The Real Clear Politics Average has her leading by almost 11 points, but the latest poll from SurveyUSA shows her ahead by just one point, 45% to 44%.

Gillibrand was able to avoid any serious primary challengers, thanks to her backing by the Democratic establishment, but her candidacy is not particularly strong and she has vulnerabilities. To make sure she wins, she will need the continued support of the Party.

Mostly, however, what the Party needs to win is a national message of fiscal prudence and discipline to help give these four key Democrats the cover necessary to win their races. The Party must advocate a bold, centrist agenda that focuses on fiscal discipline and fiscal stimulus initiatives that target the private sector and encourage entrepreneurship and job creation. They must be responsive to voters’ desires to curb spending and taxation, and reduce the deficit and the debt. If not, the Senate could fall to the Republicans too.

Douglas E. Schoen is a political strategist, Fox News contributor and author of the new book "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System" published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins.
===
Media Hypocrisy and the Feeding Frenzy Over Meg Whitman
By Christian Whiton
The mainstream media wants desperately to preserve California’s liberal establishment from the growing threats it faces. Retaining a state government designed primarily to serve lefty causes and public employee unions means stopping the gubernatorial campaign of Republican businesswoman Meg Whitman--especially her appeal to Hispanics.

Whitman committed the sin of pulling even in the polls with career politician and establishment icon Jerry Brown. Brown has been unable to effectively defend the liberal policies that have led the state to sky-high unemployment of 12.4%, underemployment over 20% and a perpetual budget crisis, the establishment and its media helpers are left with the fallback of a smear campaign.

In fact, a new USC UVote poll on Wednesday, October 6, “Republican candidate Whitman leads Democratic candidate Brown by 11 points among registered voters who had not yet reached a decision during the primary election season.”

And so it is with unbridled passion that mainstream news outlets have seized on hazy allegations of wrongdoing by Whitman in retaining a household employee.

The issue is Whitman’s former housekeeper, Nicky Diaz. Whitman hired Diaz through an employment agency in 2000. Unbeknownst to Whitman, Diaz had provided the agency with false documents and personal information to appear eligible to work in the United States.

Whitman retained Diaz until 2009, paying her nearly three times the minimum wage and withholding and paying all required taxes. When Diaz informed Whitman that she had lied on her application, Whitman ended her employment.

Most Californians who examine the facts will conclude that Whitman acted reasonably and prudently. But the left sees this as an opportunity to use emotion and misinformation to distract voters from the state’s liberal legacy. – Far better to talk about Ms. Diaz than depression-level unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, Sacramento’s war on business and the state’s half-trillion dollar unfunded liabilities.

Riding to the establishment’s rescue is the mainstream media. For example, as of October “Good Morning America,” which airs on ABC, had done no fewer than four segments on the Diaz story.

According to the Media Research Center, on a single day, "GMA" gave the story nine minutes of airtime. The network dubbed this the “story that won’t go away” and then fulfilled its own prophecy with lengthy coverage in multiple programs, even as indications surfaced that Diaz was being manipulated by a Democratic political operative.

The leftwing New York Times has already run no fewer than 4 articles featuring the story. Upon Whitman’s recounting of the facts regarding Diaz, The Times breathlessly reported “the Whitman campaign had lashed out at her claims.” Another story beat the Democrats to their own talking points calling the episode “a distracting embarrassment that has raised questions about Ms. Whitman’s credibility.”

Does the media afford the same scrutiny to Whitman’s opponent, and other Democrats in key political races this season? Don’t be silly. The mainstream media has ignored a report that Jerry Brown likely violated federal law when he traveled to Cuba in 2000--and used as a travel agent a former CIA officer turned Cuban spy.

The media has also largely ignored Brown’s earlier terms as governor from 1975-1983, during which unemployment soared and Brown’s incompetence and outlandish ideas afforded him the nickname “Governor Moonbeam.”

Other races, like those for the U.S. Senate in states like Delaware, Nevada and Kentucky, have also seen the mainstream media hone in on controversy surrounding Republican candidates while ignoring controversial statements and conduct by Democratic opponents.

Were the mainstream media doing its job in the California race, it would report the full story behind the smear against Whitman. And they would include the possible political motivations of Ms. Diaz’s lawyer, Gloria Allred, a Democratic activist and past donor to Brown.

The media might also note other indications that this this story and the timing of it is political mischief and not news. In any given election, Democrats lament that Republicans will launch an “October surprise” that will derail their candidate.

In fact, Democrats themselves are masters of the trick, by which a short-term emotional reaction can change the dynamics of a close race just long enough for the Democrat to win. The revelation of George W. Bush’s 1976 DUI on the weekend before the 2000 presidential election helped turn a small lead in the polls into a small deficit on Election Day.

In California itself, conservative Bruce Herschensohn was essentially tied with liberal Barbara Boxer heading into a 1992 election for the U.S. Senate. A Democratic official began ranting at a Herschensohn rally that the candidate frequented strip joints. The misleading allegation kept Herschensohn off message in the campaign’s final days and led to a narrow loss against Boxer.

As with the contemporary smear against Whitman, the claim against Herschensohn was made by a Democratic operative not on the campaign’s payroll, but whose claim that he was acting independently was dubious. -- Real journalists should wonder if history (or perfidy) is repeating itself.

Ultimately though, the mainstream media is not interested in journalism. Its mission is to preserve the liberal status quo. There is a great fear that Ms. Whitman’s pro-business plans to end economic malaise in California will appeal not only to traditional Republican voters but Hispanics and others as well, propelling her to the statehouse. And that doesn’t fly in mainstream newsrooms any more than in union headquarters.

Christian Whiton is a former Bush administration adviser. He is a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion.
===
5 Things Obama and Democrats Must Do to Save Themselves
By Richard Socarides
The election is a month away, and it's time for a serious democratic "course correction" (which is Washington-speak for "What we’ve been doing isn't working, so let's change strategy.") Rumor has it that since the summer the White House has been working on a super-secret strategy memo with a plan to turn things around. If I were still on the White House staff, these would be my recommendations:

1. Change the rules and change the players. President Obama's central promise to those of us who voted for him was that he would change the way Washington worked. Instead, he proceeded to do business with exactly the same people who had been there in past administrations, and more importantly, he allowed them to do business in exactly the same way. The bankers are still in charge of the banks, they are just different bankers. He needs to stop doing business with the same people in the same old Washington way. In order to have a successful presidency, he needs to go back and remember the core reason people liked him in the first place.

2. Appoint a new National Economic Council director who understands working people to send a message that they come first. The president seems to be taking Wall Street and media elite advice seriously that he must appoint someone from the business community (or someone who “understands” their concerns) as his next head of the National Economic Council to replace Larry Summers. In fact, he should do the exact opposite.

He should pick someone who understands the plight of working people and the unemployed, which would send a message that he gets it. My choice would be former Clinton Labor Secretary and University of California/Berkley economist Robert Reich, who says, “As long as income and wealth keep concentrating at the top, and the great divide between America's have-mores and have-lesses continues to widen, the Great Recession won't end -- at least not in the real economy.”

3. Pull Out of Afghanistan. Almost nobody thinks we can "win" this war -- certainly not by doing what we are now doing. It's a waste of money and of lives. We seem to be sticking around just to find a face-saving exit strategy. It's not worth it. There are better strategies for our war on terror -- and they are all cheaper. We can't afford the luxury of sticking around in Afghanistan just to save face.

4. End the discharges under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Obama promised he would do this and led us to believe he considered it a moral imperative. Even though only Congress can change the actual law, the president can place a temporary moratorium on discharges in the interest of national security. Even smarter would be to not appeal the recent Federal Court ruling declaring Don't Ask Don't Tell unconstitutional, and thus being done with this once and for all. Obama said that he would stand for individual constitutional rights and now seems more interested in placating a Pentagon timetable. His supporters are furious and have every reason to be.

5. Admit error, get angry and don't be above selling. It's time to admit that some mistakes have been made. People will appreciate it. Democrats are living in a dream world if they don't get this.

And the president needs to show some anger. Republicans have done a brilliant job distorting his policies. The White House sometimes acts if they believe they are "too good" to have to sell the merits of their policies. But that's what politics is all about. You can't be above selling. You need to be selling all the time.

Obama needs to make the argument that people should be with him because he has the right vision of our hopeful future.

Richard Socarides is an attorney and former White House Special Assistant to President Clinton.
===
THE HARD PART IS SQUISHING ALL THAT MEAT INTO A SYRINGE
Tim Blair
Via James Lileks:

===
LONE FAN FOUND
Tim Blair
Finally, a greenster is located whose instant response to 10:10’s child murder video was complete approval:
So funny, I had to watch it twice...
In fact, our old mate Graham Readfearn enjoyed the exploding so much he posted on it three times within two minutes, including this shout-out to the local wing of enviro-crank outfit 350.org:
@350Australia I’m sure you have, but in case you haven’t… no pressure
But 350.org guru Bill McKibben wasn’t amused. Nor were most of the envirofolk who contacted him:
There were emails from people all saying the same thing: “Have you seen this?”

“This" was a gross video making its way around Youtube, purporting to show people being blown up for not believing in climate change. It’s been “pulled” from YouTube by its creators, the British climate group 10:10, but of course nothing is ever really “pulled” from YouTube. If you want to watch it bad enough, I’m pretty sure you can find it.

Climate skeptics are going to make a big deal of this. The video represents the kind of stupidity that really hurts our side, reinforcing in people’s minds a series of preconceived notions, not the least of which is that we’re out-of-control elitists. Not to mention crazy, and also with completely misplaced sense of humor.
So revolted was 350.org that they’ve severed all ties with those 10:10 clowns:
We respect 10:10’s previous work to encourage companies, schools, and churches to voluntarily cut their carbon emissions 10%. Upon seeing the video, however, we have informed 10:10 that we can no longer remain partners on 10/10/10 or any other initiative.
The Independent‘s Dominic Lawson summarises the “cataclysmic misjudgement” of Richard Curtis and others involved:
When you try to satirise the critics of your campaign, and it turns out that those very critics embrace your film as demonstrating exactly what they find unbearable about the climate-obsessed eco-lobby, then you know that you have kicked the ball into your own net. Unfortunately, just as a star footballer who scores a spectacular own goal must now endure his foolishness being viewed endlessly on the internet, so Richard Curtis will have this hanging round his neck, like a stinking fish, for as long as he is successful enough to be worth mocking.
Oh, well. At least Graham liked it.

UPDATE. A comprehensive take from Ed Driscoll – featuring everybody’s latest environmental poster child, the arctic hanging girl.
===
JUST BUY A V8
Tim Blair
Take away the free money, and fewer people are sucked in by slo-mo hybrids:
Sales of Toyota’s Prius hybrid in Japan dropped for the first time in 17 months as government subsidies for green cars expired, an auto industry group said Wednesday …

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s No. 1 automaker, sold 27,249 Prius cars in September, down 14.2 percent from a year earlier.
In Australia, even substantial subsidies aren’t boosting hybrid sales.
===
TWITTER ROCKS
Tim Blair
Amy Coopes becomes the story:
Journalist Amy Coopes must be from the Catherine Deveny and Marieke Hardy school of twitterers. Deveny lost her column at The Age for offensive tweets and Hardy kept her various gigs for a tasteless (and unfunny) tweet about Tony Abbott’s genitals. Coopes is setting the bar even lower by insulting leading Liberals including Sophie Mirabella, who has been attacked in a highly personal manner.
Amusingly, Coopes’s defenders – in comments at this site and elsewhere – claim that her Twitter opinions should not be subject to criticism or review due to them being somehow “personal” or “private” and therefore in no way connected to her Agence France Presse role.

Three points. Coopes’s Twitter site – now deleted, along with her blog – prominently announced that she worked for AFP. Coopes posted her opinions on the Internet, which is the most public forum in human history. Coopes also sought to take her views beyond those who follow her site by forwarding them to cluster-Twits who obsess every week over Q & A and the like.

Coopes herself appeared (at 38:32) in the audience of last week’s Q & A. The subject? Dangerous ideas. Here’s a dangerous idea for Amy: grow the hell up.
===
SEA BITCHES
Tim Blair
Back in June, when their egomaniacal anti-whaling feud was just beginning, I looked forward to hearing “[Pete] Bethune’s current opinion of [Paul] Watson and Sea Shepherd.” At that point, Watson and his idiots had just expelled the former Ady Gil skipper while he’d been on trial in Japan.

Thanks to David Farrar, we now have Pete Bethune’s opinion:
The former captain of the Ady Gil, who was arrested (and later set free on a suspended sentence) after boarding a Japanese whaling vessel, has lashed out at the group — calling them “dishonest” and “morally bankrupt”.
Please click for much, much more. It’s all delicious, especially Bethune’s claims about Sea Shepherd lying to a gullible media. The fight has erupted just prior to the Antarctic whaley season.

UPDATE. Listen from 3:50 …

Here’s what they are talking about:

Bethune’s view:
A number of crew on the Bob Barker and Steve Irwin were discussing the alleged shooting of Paul Watson. In the first series of Whale Wars, Paul Watson was supposedly shot by crew of the Nisshin Maru. SSCS Crew present on that voyage argued strongly to me that the entire episode was faked. I was not on the campaign, so in fact I don’t know if it is in fact true or not. However given what I’ve witnessed in the last year, and my knowledge of the Japanese crew, I would bet $500,000 at odds of 10:1, that the event was staged.
(Via PD in comments)
===
Gillard doesn’t want to hear from the citizens, after all
Andrew Bolt
I’d thought she’d broken her ludicrous promise already, days after the election, but consider it really broken now:
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has ditched her election policy of a climate change citizens’ assembly.
The excuse?
“I thought it was important that we harness community members to rebuild a broad general public consensus on how to tackle climate change, how to price carbon,’’ she said.

“There is not one way of doing that. There is not one way of harnessing and involving community members. Obviously the multi-party climate change committee today is looking at going to work through ways of doing that.’’
Actually, there is one importance difference between the deservedly derided Citizens’ Assembly and this climate change committee that Gillard claims will do the same job of persuasion. The citizens’ assembly was intended to get 150 uninformed people holding different beliefs on global warming to come to a “concensus”. The climate change committee is intended to get half a dozen uninformed Labor, Greens and independent MPs all holding the same belief on global warming to come to a “consensus”.

Somehow the citizens assembly seemed to have more integrity to it.

(Thanks to reader John and Patrick.)
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ABC cleans up Gillard’s gaffe
Andrew Bolt

The transcript reveals that the ABC’s 7.30 Report covers up for Julia Gillard.

What we hear the Prime Minister say - five times - is that our soldiers in Afghanistan are fighting some enemy called the “Taliband”.

But the 7.30 Report’s transcript kindly airbrushes out the embarrassing “d”.

Which is when reporting slides into something else…
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Staffers desert a ship that may be sinking already
Andrew Bolt
It doesn’t seem as if Labor actually won, to judge from the wave of resignations:
It is understood Ms Gillard’s chief policy adviser John Whelan resigned this week to return to a private legal career…

But he is just the latest in an unprecedented exodus of staff to have hit the Gillard Government in recent weeks, with media and policy advisers leaving at a rate already eclipsing the evacuation under Kevin Rudd.

“You usually get this sort of thing when you lose government, not when you win,” said one of the staffers to have left.

The Daily Telegraph counted at least 20 staff resignations in recent weeks, many privately citing disillusionment with the new Government.

The most critical mass departure was from the office of Health Minister Nicola Roxon, who is known to be difficult to work for. Senior staff including Owen Torpey, Mark Ward, Ruth Kearon, Laura Ryan and Katie Hall have all recently resigned.
(Thanks to reader Allan.)
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Blame green madness for these bills
Andrew Bolt
The consequences of mad green policies are now being felt - and even social welfare groups are now complaining:
THE triple whammy of soaring electricity, gas and water costs follows years of financial pain already biting into budgets across the state. A Herald Sun investigation has found typical households are paying a staggering $900 more for the essentials compared with 2005…

And industry experts warn it will only get worse. Ben Freund, of price comparison service GoSwitch, said that electricity costs were set to explode over the next five years as governments forced companies to commit to more expensive forms of green energy such as solar and wind power, and homes overflowed with power-hungry appliances…

Water bills have ballooned because of the drought and major project costs including the Wonthaggi desalination plant… Increases of up to 10 per cent are locked in for next financial year to fund the State Government’s water infrastructure, designed to secure future supplies…

Victorian Council of Social Service chief Cath Smith said ... skyrocketing bills, especially for electricity, were hitting low-income households hard, along with pensioners and the jobless.
Why complain now at the consequences, when you never protested against the cause?

It was always insane to invest billions on unreliable and madly expensive green power? It was even more unforgivable to ban a $1.3 billion dam and spend more than $5 billion instead on a desalination plant that would give you just one third of the water - and charge us $1 million a day even if you didn’t use it.

Don’t like the bills? Then attack the green policies that produced them.

UPDATE

Where Victoria leads, NSW follows:
CONSUMERS and businesses face another rise in electricity prices, this time to pay for a blowout in the State Government’s solar-power scheme.

Panels are currently being installed at nine times the highest rate Macquarie St expected.
And:
SCHEMES that pay households to produce power using rooftop solar panels are costing about 25 times as much to cut greenhouse gases as a nationwide ETS…

In a confidential submission obtained by The Australian, the National Generators Forum has told the NSW government that its scheme is costing between $520 and $640 to reduce each tonne of carbon dioxide - compared with the $23 per tonne proposed in the emissions trading scheme shelved by Kevin Rudd…

The Australian Council of Social Service’s senior policy officer of energy and climate change, Tony Westmore, feared “a serious increase” in power bills and said “those people who have the cash to be able to put the panels on their roof will be subsidised by people who can’t afford their current bills”.
(Thanks to reader CA.)
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Oakeshott lobbied for donor
Andrew Bolt
I’m not sure Rob Oakeshott’s reputation is surviving the extra scrutiny he’s invited lately:
INDEPENDENT MP Rob Oakeshott lobbied Julia Gillard to give one of his biggest political donors preferential access to lucrative defence contracts during vital talks on who would become prime minister…

Mr Oakeshott, who is pushing for a squeaky-clean Parliament, admitted he raised Birdon’s name during high-level talks with Ms Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. He did not reveal the Port Macquarie-based contractor had donated thousands of dollars to his political campaigns…

Information referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption 10 days ago by the NSW Opposition includes claims Mr Oakeshott lobbied state and federal governments for projects that would have directly benefited Birdon.
Makes you wish for the old paradigm.

(Comments off for legal reasons. Thanks to readers CA and Pira.)
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What has the government got to hide?
Andrew Bolt
I’m astonished that anyone could dream of investing $43 billion in one technology among a fast-evolving mix without ever asking if it made business sense:
SOME of the nation’s most influential chairmen are urging the government to obtain a cost-benefit analysis into the National Broadband Network.

“...., I think the lack of a business case and full publicity of that business case is throwing a lot of doubt in people’s minds about the level of expenditure,” ANZ chairman John Morschel said. “Whether the right thing to do is to cable everyone’s house or use alternative technologies as most people do at the moment, we’re yet to see.”

Mr Morschel’s comments were made at The Australian and Deutsche Bank Business Leaders Forum where other high-profile captains of industry, including NAB and Woodside chairman Michael Chaney and Boral and Wesfarmers chairman Bob Every, voiced similar concerns about the lack of transparency surrounding the contentious NBN project.

“I’m not convinced, and feel it needs a cost-benefit analysis,” Mr Every said.
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Business leaders warn Labor threatens critics
Andrew Bolt
It is increasingly dangerous to speak your mind in Australia - if you are not of the Left:
BUSINESS leaders claim they are being threatened by “thin-skinned” politicians when they choose to speak out on policy issues

They also believe a culture of “consequence and retribution” has emerged in Australia that threatens free speech and could stifle reform…

“I have been amazed how thin-skinned some politicians are,” said Michael Chaney, chairman of National Australia Bank and of Woodside Petroleum.

“I have found that some politicians have been particularly spiteful about it and have gone around threatening people who have spoken out, which is pretty unfortunate because they are the same people who would extol the virtues of freedom of speech…

Reserve Bank board member and Brambles and BlueScope chairman Graham Kraehe said he, too, had been targeted after speaking out on key issue…
(Telstra chairwoman Catherine) Livingstone said there were “consequences and retribution” when executives disagreed with the government, while (ANZ chairman John) Morschel said “the retribution situation has been rather prevalent of late”.
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