Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Headlines Tuesday 26th October 2010

=== Todays Toon ===
Major General Peter Maurice Arnison AC, CVO (born 21 October 1940 in Lismore, New South Wales), was Governor of Queensland from July 1997 until July 2003.
=== Bible Quote ===
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”- Ephesians 5:19-20
=== Headlines ===
Harry Reid Aide Lied to Feds Over Sham Marriage
An aide to the Senate majority leader repeatedly lied to federal agents and submitted false documents to Homeland Security to cover up her illegal seven-year marriage to Lebanese national, left, who was the subject of an Oklahoma terror investigation, FoxNews.com learns.

Obama Panel Eyes Mortgage Tax Breaks
As the administration struggles to balance the budget by 2015, could the mortgage interest deduction and other seemingly untouchable tax breaks wind up on the chopping block?

Terror Leader Calls on Detroit Muslims to Act
American-born Al Qaeda leader releases video on terror websites urging Muslims living in the 'miserable suburbs of Paris, London and Detroit' to stage religiously motivated attacks on targets in Europe and the U.S.

Wiki Revolt Over Latest Document Dump?
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may be threatening the stability of the whistleblower website as former staffers and activists say his ego is driving the organization largely out of control after posting new classified documents about the Iraq war

Tiny Bee Brains Beat Computers at Complex Math Problems
While they seem to wander leisurely from flower to flower foraging for pollen, bees are actually solving complex mathematical problems that take computers days to computer, studies found. Researchers at Queen Mark, the University of London, and Royal Holloway have discovered that in their meandering, bees find the shortest possible route between the flowers they randomly discover. By doing so, the honey-lovin' insects are essentially solving the "Traveling Salesman Problem" -- despite having brains the size of a pinhead.

Animal activists jailed for intimidation, terror
FIVE animal rights activists have been jailed for waging a campaign of intimidation and violence against companies linked to an animal testing lab.

Mum hit for cash after kid vomits in cab
A NEW York City mother was left shocked after a cab driver called police when she refused to pay a spontaneous $120 cleaning surcharge after her child vomited.

Democrat candidate tells Obama 'shove it'
A DEMOCRATS candidate has told President Barack Obama to "shove it" after learning he would not be receiving the president's endorsement when the commander-in-chief travels to the Ocean State today.

Rowing champ dies after sudden illness
BRITISH Olympic rowing champion Andy Holmes diedon Sunday after a rare, sudden illness.

US police arrest dad of missing Zahra
FATHER of a missing 10-year-old was arrested on charges unrelated to his daughter's disappearance.

Now it's NSW facing hung parliament
AN army of independents is set to blitzkrieg the NSW state election in a grass roots, alll-parties revolt.

Rocky Point of dispute for Frank
PLANS for a building overlooking Frank Sartor's Sydney home were dumped after Mr Sartor - then planning minister - changed laws.

Speeding fines loophole closes
SPEEDING fines will be increased for companies which fail to nominate speeding drivers, the so-called "Max Markson" loophole.

Rusting jewel in Sydney's crown
IT'S the gateway to Sydney's magnificent Harbour but parts of Circular Quay are completely riddled with concrete cancer.

Ultimatum over Murray-Darling River
THE Gillard Government demands the Murray-Darling Basin Authority take into consideration the impact of cuts to water.

Cop says let Neddy Smith die in jail
THE cop who hunted down Neddy Smith says there is only way he should get out of jail - in a coffin.

Rachael Taylor confronts her demon
IT was the flush on her face and the tremor of her hands that gave away Rachael Taylor's turmoil.

Internet sleuth finds stolen laptop
DARREN Franklin turned do-it-yourself detective after his partner's stolen laptop popped up on his MobileMe online services account.

Bikies not all baddies, says magistrate
A POLICE squad set up to target outlaw bikies is under fire, with a magistrate ordering police to pay more $100K in costs.

Health staff demand lost wages
HEALTH workers have demanded the State Government coughs up the wages it owes them before chasing after the millions overpaid by its faulty payroll system.

Snakes alive as big wet bites
THE La Nina-driven wet spring is tipped to produce a big snakebite season as Queensland vets issued a warning to walkers and pet owners.

Yacht siege ends in drama
A LONE yachtie leapt into the Brisbane River in a final bid to extend the 16-hour siege that had crippled parts of the city.

Cyber eye to watch schoolchildren
EVERY Queensland school could be audited to ensure they have taken anti-bullying measures, including teaching cyber safety in the classroom.

Facebook jeopardises murder case
A MAN charged with murdering his girlfriend could have his case permanently stayed because of prejudicial information published on the internet.

No police to search for Morcombe
IF Daniel Morcombe had been reported as a missing person the day he vanished, the file would have gone to "an empty office".

Minimum sentences to fill jails
PLANS to ensure the state's worst offenders serve a minimum jail term could put strain on already struggling prisons, civil libertarians fear

Bligh sits on property goldmine
BY a stroke of good fortune, the State Government is sitting on a property portfolio worth millions because of resumptions made up to 40 years ago.

Dramatic end to yacht siege
THE siege at Eagle Street pier is finally over after police stormed the vessel shortly after 9pm and arrested a New Zealand man.

13 arrested in prostitution bust
THE new-look Gold Coast 600 motor race was promoted as family-friendly, but it proved too racy for officers from the police prostitution task force.

Toddler's killer is 'not sorry'
THE man who killed toddler Daniel Valerio is not sorry for his crime and remains a threat, according to an inmate who served time with him.

Heartbreak for Cup hero Harry
MELBOURNE Cup legend Harry White is facing the challenge of his life, battling illness and the pain of selling his farm.

Lindsay Fox wants to spread load
TRUCKING king Lindsay Fox has hit out at the traffic congestion in Melbourne and called for containers to be shifted out of the city.

Children lost in the system
SIX children in state care are being sexually abused every week in Victoria. Authorities also lose track of 13 children in their protection every day.

Grief, anger dogged Tyler
Tyler Cassidy had been expelled, played "chicken" on roads and had previously armed himself with knives before his shooting death, a court hears.

Asha's leg-up on a new life
ASHA Mundie had waited 10 years and flown halfway around the world for a chance to walk.

Pets pay their last respects
Dogs are being increasingly included in last rites on the wishes of masters and mistresses who pass away.

Curriculum row over Gallipoli
THE history of Gallipoli has become mired in a row over the new national curriculum for year 11 and 12 students.

Jail terms cut for MCG bomb plotters
SIX members of an organisation that plotted to bomb the MCG have had a total of 8 1/2 years knocked off their minimum jail terms.

Nintendo DS saved our lives - mum
CHRISTOPHER Miszkowiec's mum used to nag her son to stop playing his Nintendo DS, but she wouldn't dream of taking it away now.

Nothing new

Papers on Port dangers withheld
TWENTY-SEVEN documents relating to environmental contamination or explosion risks at Port Adelaide are being withheld.

No jobs for 500 new nurses
HALF the state's graduating nurses will not get positions with SA Health next year, figures show.

Scrap our archaic exams
UNIVERSITY written exams are archaic and should be scrapped, a leading science expert says.

Murray plan back on drawing board
WATER Minister Tony Burke has refused to back Murray-Darling Basin Authority chairman Mike Taylor, inviting the authority to go back to the drawing board.

Residents dig deep to farewell Harbo
LORD MAYOR Michael Harbison will celebrate the end of his reign at ratepayers' expense, throwing a $40,000 party for 370 invited guests.

More than just puppy love
THEY may be prone to scratching themselves in public and lolling about with their tongues hanging out, but these aged-care workers are award-winners.

Irrigators want water to flow
SOUTH Australia's downstream irrigators say they support a Murray Darling Basin plan and stand to benefit from it, in stark contrast to their interstate counterparts.

Time for youth to speak out
YOUNG people aged 12-25 have the opportunity to influence government policy by taking part in The Advertiser and the Office for Youth's SpeakNow survey.

Annesley saved - for now
A BAILOUT from the Uniting Church will not save prestigious girls' school Annesley College from potential redundancies and lesson-sharing with other schools next year.

Defence industry under attack
LUCRATIVE defence contracts in South Australia are at risk from the hung Federal Parliament, a new economic report warns.

Police hunt Midland knife robber
POLICE have released an identikit image of a man suspected of being involved in a knife-point robbery in Midland.

New desal plant for the Pilbara
THE Barnett Government has pledged $370 million for a seawater desalination plant to help low water supplies in the West Pilbara region.

Antarctic snowfall linked to drought
THE significant drought in our South-West may be linked to increased snowfall in the Antarctic over the past 30 years.

$90k fine for cyclone injuries
A CONSTRUCTION company has been fined $90,000 for failing to provide a safe workplace for two employees injured when Cyclone George hit a rail camp.

Teen inmate dead from 'medical causes'
A YOUNG man found dead in a Tasmanian youth detention centre apparently died of "medical causes", authorities say.
=== Journalists Corner ===
NPR CEO Vivian Schiller Confronted!
'The Factor' confronts NPR's president and CEO -- taking her to task over Juan Williams's termination! It's a must-see interview.
===
Crunch Time for Candidates!
As they gear up for the last week of campaigning, who's making big strides in the polls? Bret gets insight and analysis on all the big races.
===
CT Senate Candidate Linda McMahon Joins Greta
Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren take you inside the hottest races. And, don't miss insight from Senate candidate Linda McMahon.
On Fox News Insider
Muslim Congressman Calls Juan Williams "Un-American"
Courtney Friel: I Literally Almost Threw up on Phil Collins ...
Democrat Tells President Obama to "Take Endorsement and Shove It"
Troops Being Kept From Voting?
Please join us tomorrow, Tuesday, October 26, 2010, for a screening of This is my Witness, a powerful documentary about the women of Burma.

For decades, Burmese women and minorities have faced significant violations of human rights, including rape, torture, forced labor, arbitrary arrest, and even death, at the hands of Burma's military regime. Meanwhile, we have also witnessed the rise of leadership roles from courageous women from across the country, who brave harassment and persecution in order to bring peace, justice, and freedom to Burma.

We will kick-off the evening with a short screening of the documentary film put together by the Nobel Women's Initiative. It will be followed by a panel discussion led by Myra Dahgaypaw, Campaigns Coordinator from USCB and Phyu Phyu Sann from the Global Justice Center.
Event Details:

Event: Peace Fair-Women Preventing War, Promoting Peace-10th Anniversary of UNSC Resolution 1325.

Venue: 777 UN Plaza (E 44th St & 1st Ave corner) New York, NY 10017 (click here for map)

Date/Time : October 26, 2010, 5pm - 6pm


This event is open to public. So please bring your friends and family for an evening on Burma.

Hope to see you there,
=== Comments ===
My Thoughts on the NPR Situation
BY JUAN WILLIAMS

Political correctness, character assassination and intolerance at National Public Radio, that's the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."

As many of you know, after 10 years of being a loyal employee, NPR fired me for expressing the fear I now feel after 9/11 when I see people in Muslim garb getting on an airplane. This controversy is now front and center in the national discussion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Firing fallout: Juan Williams says he was just telling the truth about his fear of flying with Muslims, a confession that got him fired from NPR.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning. Making waves: National Public Radio under fire for canning news analyst Juan Williams. He says he was fired for telling the truth. Did NPR overreact? This morning, we'll hear from both sides.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Static on the airwaves: National Public Radio comes under heavy criticism after it fires news analyst Juan Williams for comments he made about Muslims on airplanes.


(END VIDEO CLIPS)

My comments about my feelings supposedly crossed the line. Some line, somewhere. That crossed the line?

But let me tell you what you can say on National Public Radio without losing your job:

Nina Totenberg wished that Sen. Jesse Helms and his grandchildren would get AIDS. I said would get AIDS. She's still working there. A so-called humorist on NPR said the world would be a better place if four million Christians evaporated. Hilarious. And calling millions of members of the Tea Party movement a sexual pejorative, tea baggers, won't get you in hot water either.

So it seems some opinions are more equal than others at NPR.

Laura Ingraham pointed out Thursday night on this show that any minority, but especially a black person, is not allowed to be anything but a liberal. If they stray off the farm, they are demonized, their skills are trashed.

I used to think the left wing was the home of tolerance, open-mindedness, respect for all viewpoints. But now I have learned the truth the hard way.

You see, NPR didn't just fire me. Its CEO, Vivian Schiller, also leveled a vicious smear against me on Thursday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VIVIAN SCHILLER, NPR PRESIDENT AND CEO: Juan feels the way he feels, that is not for me to judge -- to pass judgment on. That is really his feelings that he expressed on Fox News are really between him and his, you know, psychiatrist or his publicist or take your pick. But it is not compatible with a news analyst on -- with the role of a news analyst on NPR's air.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Have you no shame, Madam? You and your far-left mob fired me. Wasn't that enough for you? Do you have to try to assassinate my character, too?

For the record, Ms. Schiller issued a so-called apology to the press. Not a word to me. And that probably tells you everything you need to know about her.
===
CAN’T THROW, CAN’T THINK
Tim Blair
A limp effort from the shoe-chucking left:

===
WikiLeaks leaks all over the anti-war cause
Andrew Bolt
Is WikiLeaks just a curnning front for the American military-industrial complex?

First its latest document dump showed that Lancet exaggerated by 600 per cent when it published its notorious paper claiming the liberation of iraq cost the lives of 655,000 Iraqis.

Now it’s confirmed that Saddam Hussein did indeed have weapons of mass destruction - and the experts to resume production once the US backed down:
By late 2003, even the Bush White House’s staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

But WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal that for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins and uncover weapons of mass destruction.
(Thanks to reader Martin and many others.)
===
The sooner we get there, the less chance we’ll nod off
Andrew Bolt
Makes sense to me, especially given the vastness of this country:
Dr Ulrich Mellinghoff, the head of safety at German luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz, ... said drivers here should be allowed to travel faster on long stretches of road, mainly to fight fatigue.
(Thanks to reader John.)
===
Searching Ayers Rock for the “achievements”
Andrew Bolt

Progress is celebrated:
Anangu traditional owners are today celebrating the 25th anniversary of the hand-back of Uluru-Kata Tjuta in central Australia.

The hand-back of the iconic sites in 1985 is considered a key symbolic moment for Indigenous land rights in Australia, paving the way for joint management of the park…

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park chairman Harry Wilson says he is very proud of what has been achieved in the 25 years since the hand-back.
So what precisely has been achieved since the handover? Wilson explains:
Meanwhile, Mr Wilson says the community of Mutitjulu, which falls within the park boundaries, desperately needs infrastructure improvements.

He says there have been significant failings over past decades and it is time to turn things around.

“It’s the health and education wise, everything has failed us in the last 30-odd years and we’re trying to look forward and work with people, and even with government so we can move forward as a community,” he said.
Oh.

(Thanks to reader John. Note: the clip does not show Ray Martin but Mike Munro with former Aboriginal Affairs Minister Mal Brough.)
===
Just show us the $43 billion won’t be wasted
Andrew Bolt
Uh oh:
IT was described as “free” broadband by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy but only 18 customers in Tasmania have signed-up.

The zero-dollar offer was part of service provider Exetel’s plan to woo customers on to the nascent Tasmanian NBN.

It was a radical departure from the norm, with Exetel deciding to charge Tasmanian NBN users only $2 for every gigabyte of data downloaded and nothing else on a 12-month contract for its entry-level 25Mbps…

It gets worse as speed increases. Exetel chief executive John Linton confirmed that only three customers have opted for the 100Mbps package. This costs $50 a month and 75 cents per gigabyte of data downloaded... In total, Exetel has only 30 customers on the Apple Isle using the super-fast fibre network.

“We had no idea (what to expect) but it seems very low,” Mr Linton told The Australian.
Exactly how is this huge investment to be paid for?
Canberra’s own implementation study for the NBN predicts that only about a quarter of households are likely to want, or be willing to pay for, the 100 megabits per second available via the NBN, at least in the short term.
Only a government - and a particularly sloppy one - could bet $43 billion on a broadband network without troubling to check if it was worth that colossal amount of money:
The Business Council of Australia, which represents chief executives from top-100 companies, said a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of the (Gillard Government’s National Broadband Network) was needed and, subject to its outcomes, “alternative options for meeting the objectives of the government may need to be considered”.

Reserve Bank of Australia board member Roger Corbett backed the comments, saying the Productivity Commission should be asked to review it.

“I believe the NBN is a vast sum of money and should be subject to appropriate review,” the Fairfax chairman told The Australian last night.

“Laying cables in and between the major cities is one thing, but the cost of laying cable to secondary areas is enormous. Is it justifiable? So I am all for an independent assessment...”

Former prime minister John Howard yesterday branded the NBN a ”colossal waste of money” and said Communications Minister Stephen Conroy had undermined the project’s rationale when he said not everybody needed the network’s top speed of 100 megabits a second.
Kevin Morgan:
Like any Ponzi scheme the day will come when it’s demonstrable that the returns aren’t there and that consumers are actually getting their cheaper and faster broadband because of subsidies they are funding as taxpayers. But unlike a true free market Ponzi scheme the NBN won’t fold immediately; the government will keep tipping in taxpayers’ money.

Already the cost of the government’s high speed broadband plans have blown out nearly tenfold.
UPDATE

We may yet get that cost-benefit analysis that should have been done first:
MALCOLM Turnbull’s push for a cost-benefit analysis of the national broadband network is hanging in the balance, with the Greens indicating they may support him if terms of reference can be agreed upon.

The opposition communications spokesman yesterday tabled a private members bill calling for a Productivity Commission review into the network and requiring the government-owned NBN Co to release more financial information…

Greens communication spokesman Scott Ludlam said the party could support a Productivity Commission review if its terms of reference were broad enough to include the network’s social benefits, such as its potential impact on Aboriginal health in remote areas.
(Post rejigged with the latest update.)

UPDATE 2

Reader James explains the failure in Tasmania to the Gillard Government:
When someone looks at a broadband plan today they look at how many download GB of data they get for their monthly payment. People don’t look at the speed so much because this varies depending on how many people are using the service at any given time. On my current plan I get 150GB per month for $50. Using the Exetel figures in today’s Australian that would be $300 for the 25Mbps plan and $162.50 for the 100 Mbps plan plus any other fees. The cost crossover point between the NBN plans is at the $80, 40GB mark or twice the current TPG plan cost for 60GB.

So the lowest speed plan would cost me six times more for the same amount of data. It appears that people like Conroy don’t understand how people look at broadband plans, so they tout the wonders of being able to get fast, high data size content, and so higher monthly costs, with the NBN. Given that this is simple arithmetic, why is it that Conroy and Linton cannot “understand” about it?
===
Shoeless idiot demonstrates failures of the Left
Andrew Bolt

What is it with the Left and violence? But the Leftist who threw his shoes at John Howard also demonstrates the defning failure of his creed - to judge an action by the intentions and not the consequences. In this case, the audience’s cry of “get out!” and its applause of Howard’s grace suggest the shoeless wonder managed to discredit only himself.

UPDATE

Those aren’t the only stereotypes confirmed by the protester:
Oh, and then there’s the typical failure to foresee the unintended consequences:
The ABC said the shoe-thrower later asked at reception for his shoes to be returned. “We said no,” an ABC spokesman said.
UPDATE 2

If a man is best judged by his enemies, Howard on Q&A had nothing to worry about:
Earlier, David Hicks, who was held for more than five years in Guantanamo Bay before being convicted by US military tribunal for providing material support to terrorism in Afghanistan, appeared on video to ask Mr Howard whether he believed he had been treated humanely…

‘’Isn’t this a great country that allows an exchange like this to occur,’’ (Howard) asked. It wouldn’t happen in some other countries, he said, adding that Hicks had pleaded guilty to several offences.

Furthermore, Mr Howard said, offering no quarter, Mr Hicks had returned to Afghanistan knowing what had occurred in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US, and had trained with the Taliban. ‘’The idea that we should see him (Mr Hicks) as a hero is very misplaced,’’ he said...
UPDATE 2

And at 7:39 Howard neatly catches out Tony Jones deliberately trying to misrepresent his use of the word “elitist” in a passage in which he referred to Peter Costello.

UPDATE 3

And yet again I ask, what is it with the Left and violence?
FIVE British animal rights activists have been jailed for waging a campaign of intimidation, violence and terror against companies linked to an animal testing lab.

A judge at Winchester Crown Court in southern England sentenced the activists today to between 15 months and six years for targeting about 40 suppliers of Huntingdon Life Sciences, which conducts animal testing for the pharmaceutical industry.

Prosecutors said the campaign included abusive phone calls, threats, vandalism and hoax bombs sent to the homes of staff.

Some company directors had leaflets distributed near their home falsely accusing them of paedophilia, while others had “puppy killer”, “murderer” and “scum” daubed on their houses and cars.
UPDATE 4
Reader Nonna suspects there was more than one idiot in this particular village:
Can the audience on Q & A see the ‘tweets’ that come up on the screen?

On this from the Q&A;website, this message floats across the screen at 34:34 mins: “Will someone throw a shoe at this guy NOW.”

The ‘refugee from a fruit fly attack’ tosses his Doc Martins at Howard at 35:43 mins.Was this a contrived move between a ‘tweeter’ and a ‘twit’?
I’d also ask why a Q&A producer put that tweet on the screen, when it was clearly an exhortation to violence. The ABC needs to explain itself.

UPDATE 5

Reader Dave:
BTW the Hicks question was pre recorded by the ABC on either beta or TV production quality tape.So much for supposedly calling in with your “video” questions ...the whole show last night was nothing more than a beat up and a set up. The Libs should distance themselves from Jones and the ABC - they are beneath contempt.
Reader Gravelly:
The ABC’s Tony Eastley claims this morning that “Howard dodged the shoes”! Howard never moved, he didn’t have to!

Why does the ABC continue to lie, every chance it gets?! Come back John Howard, you leave the rabble on both sides for dead!
And then, just to confirm that the Left is the home of the modern barbarian, you see a Howard hater simulate masturbation at 54:43.
===
Bush turns on Labor
Andrew Bolt
Just one in three people vote Labor now - and the latest Newspoll shows the brand is becoming poison in the bush under Gillard:
The weekend survey, conducted exclusively for The Australian, found the opposition ahead of Labor for the first time since before the August 21 election, by a margin of 52 per cent to 48 per cent in two-party-preferred terms…

Newspoll chief executive Martin O’Shannessy said last night that Labor had suffered a six-point plunge in primary support outside cities. He linked the decline to the release of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s draft recommendation of large cuts in water usage, which have sparked angry protests in rural areas in the past fortnight…

Labor’s primary vote was on 33 per cent - down two percentage points from the October 8-10 survey and five points down from election day. The Coalition was on 43 per cent in primary terms - down from 43.6 per cent on election day - with the Greens on 14 per cent.
===
Howes: Can green jobs make up for the loss of real ones?
Andrew Bolt
Australian Workers Union boss Paul Howes calls out the great lie of “green jobs” as he questions the proposed cuts to water entitlements to Murray-Darling farmers:
PAUL HOWES: The Murray-Darling Basin itself is the heartland of AWU. It is where we are from. It is where we still have a bulk of our members who work in the horticultural and agricultural industries and we will work with those other organisations in those areas who have concerns.We are not going to jump the gun. We understand that this is a proposal from an independent commission. We are not going to be alarmist and we are certainly not going to play into the hands of the Opposition on this.But equally we are going to make sure that we live up to our responsibility which is to make sure that AWU members’ job security is protected and we are not going to be supporting or backing any proposal from the commission that would see even a single job of an AWU member lost.

BRONWYN HERBERT: What if jobs on the other hand are created perhaps looking after environmental assets?

PAUL HOWES: Yes, but Australia’s food bowl isn’t necessarily a gross negative and this reminds me of the debate over climate change as well. I mean some are arguing that the loss of jobs say in the coal or the aluminium or the steel industries would be offsetted by the creation of new jobs or through just transitions to new jobs in a greener industry. We are always very sceptical about these just transitions.
Perhaps the CFMEU, representing coal miners among others, could learn from Howes and start protecting its members from the great green scare.

(Thanks to reader Mark.)
===
Do amateur terrorists deserve a softer sentence?
Andrew Bolt
The Victorian Court of Appeal reduces sentences of members of a terrorist cell, in part on the grounds that they were starting their own terror cell from scratch rather than joining a more professional outfit:
554. In our view, the history of an organisation is relevant to both the objective seriousness of an offence of being a member of the organisation and the moral culpability of the offender.

555. So far as objective seriousness is concerned, the history of the organisation is relevant because it informs the nature of the organisation. The definitions of ‘terrorist organisation’ and ‘terrorist act’ are extraordinarily broad. Therefore, on the one hand, a ‘terrorist organisation’ may include anything from a rag-tag collection of malcontents whose commitment to terror never advances further than a conception that one day, some time, they will undertake a ‘terrorist act’ of as yet undetermined nature and scope. On the other hand, it may include a ‘terrorist organisation’, like Al Qaeda or Jema’ah Islamiah, with a proven record of committing the worst terrorist acts imaginable and, presumably, with more of the same in constant planning and preparation. Axiomatically, the activities of the former class of organisation are less likely to result in the commission of a terrorist act than the latter. Thus, other things being equal, the objective seriousness of an offence of joining the former kind of organisation is likely to be eclipsed by the objective gravity of subscribing to the latter.

556. So far as moral culpability is concerned, the history of the organisation is relevant because it may say something about the way in which prospective members are attracted to the organisation and, therefore, about their state of mind. For example, with an organisation of the former kind, it is possible that an offender may join the organisation in a state of uncertainty or confusion. They may thereafter have been seduced by a process of indoctrination to embrace the terrorist philosophy and objectives of the organisation. With an organisation of the latter variety, however, logic and common sense imply the probability that the offender will be committed to the terrorist philosophy and objectives of the organisation before being admitted to its membership, and so they go into it with their eyes wide open. Without wishing
to be prescriptive about it, we think the difference provides a basis to say that an offender of the former kind is less morally culpable than the latter.
557.
I can sympathise with the reasoning, but even a Keystone terrorist who gets lucky kills his victims just as dead. And the DIY terrorist does seem to have more initiative than the footsoldier who enlists in a going concern, and may turn out to be harder for law enforcement officials to see coming.

So I’m torn. Your own views?
===
China’s work on emissions indeed makes ours seem puny
Andrew Bolt
Victoria’s Greens demand the closure of one of Victoria’s biggest power stations:
Hazelwood Power Station operates on brown coal; the dirtiest coal source on the planet… The best time to close Hazelwood was yesterday but the next best time is today.
Labor goes a quarter of the way:
The Brumby government is committed to closing one-quarter of the coal power plant by 2014.
Global warming guru Ross Garnaut demands yet more be done. to match China’s efforts:
He said there was also a ‘’striking ignorance’’ in Australia about how much China had accelerated its climate policies over the past year. ‘’We have to do a lot more than we are doing now to just be an average performer compared to other developed countries and China,’’ he said.
Meanwhile reader Ray, reading the China Daily in a visit to Shanghai last week, catches up with China’s latest efforts - which do indeed make us look silly:
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