Miranda Devine – Sunday, April 03, 11 (05:51 pm)
Wow - look at the extremists. Some photos from Sydney’s Carbon Tax protests on Saturday. Let’s see the Left try to spin this:
A message from steelworkers:
Tim Blair – Monday, April 04, 11 (06:09 am)
A friend once worked as a subeditor at the New York Post, writing headlines for one of the world’s great newspapers.
It wasn’t easy. Remember, the Post is the paper that 28 years ago came up with “Headless Body in Topless Bar”, so subs there are tested every day against a tradition of tabloid excellence.
At least the pay was good. Or so my friend thought, until he ended up drinking one night with a high-flying advertising copywriter.
Tim Blair – Monday, April 04, 11 (05:37 am)
There is something missing from this video report on Sydney’s new $7 million bicycle lane. The absence is most obvious during the two minutes that bicycle lane advocate Clover Moore is shown right in front of the bicycle lane, talking about how great the bicycle lane is.
Tim Blair – Monday, April 04, 11 (05:27 am)
• In Texas, a truck.
• In Nelson, England, a Liverpool shirt.
• In Mudgee, asbestos.
• In Washington, two espresso stands.
• In Zanzibar, the Peace and Love bar.
• In Tripoli, posters of Barack Obama.
• In Ontario, a marsh.
• In Miami, a koran.
• In India, a mobile phone tower.
• In Kentucky, a couch.
• In Shropshire, an Audi.
• In Victoria, a prison.
• In Pakistan, four NATO oil tankers.
• In Ireland, a speed camera.
• In Ghana, the office of the National Democratic Congress.
• In South Carolina, a kitchen.
• In North Carolina, a hotel room.
• In Belize, a teenager.
• In Stoke-on-Trent, two council homes.
• In Pennsylvania, a Lutheran church.
Tim Blair – Monday, April 04, 11 (05:22 am)
This is only the known amount:
Welfare cheats, tax rorters and crooked public servants are ripping off more than $600 million a yearas part of a fraud epidemic across the nation.
That’s almost another ABC.
In a stunning snapshot of national crime, more than 800,000 incidents of fraud were recorded by Centrelink, Customs and other government agencies in 2008-09.
The government promises a crackdown. Let’s see if it’s similar to the bludge-busting campaign about to begin in the UK:
Some 500,000 people who currently claim sickness benefits are fit to start work immediately, a government minister has claimed … [Minister for Employment Chris Grayling] said pilot studies had showed that half a million people were likely to be found fit for work when the three-year nationwide drive begins tomorrow …
The crackdown, seen by many as the most ambitious drive for reform of the welfare system undertaken for decades, will see up to 10,000 people “reassessed” every week, with a process that can involve tough new medical tests.
Note the scheduling: it’ll take three entire years.
Tim Blair – Monday, April 04, 11 (04:50 am)
People smugglers have duped 128 Afghan asylum seekers by dropping them off at a tiny Indonesian island they were told was Australia’s Ashmore Reef …
This is the fourth time smugglers have dropped asylum seekers on the island after telling them they had reached Australia.
Indonesian police have taken the 128 Afghan men by boat to Rote Island. They will be transferred to Kupang in West Timor.
Hope they didn’t lose their passports. Could make future travel difficult.
Tim Blair – Monday, April 04, 11 (12:24 am)
What sort of economics experts assist the likes of Bob Brown and Julia Gillard as they invent their carbon tax? Here’sone of them:
Meet Bob Brown’s economics adviser Naomi Edwards – or should that be “Dolly Putin”.
That’s the name Ms Edwards uses in her other role as a part-time comic, who boasts that her “services are not available to corporations except where they demonstrate a commitment to the environment or to ethical behaviour”.
And her comedy act has included a pig named after former Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone.
A pig? But … but … that would be sexist!
Earlier this month, Senator Brown railed against a banner held up at an anti-carbon tax protest that referred to Julia Gillard as “Juliar, Bob Browns Bitch”.
He demanded Tony Abbott apologise for the “offensive” banner, despite the fact the Liberal leader had no idea it was being held up behind him by a protester as he addressed the rally.
But Senator Brown has adopted a more relaxed approach to Ms Edwards’ comedy act that included a pig called Amanda, even appearing in Dolly Putin’s shows, which include Me and Mr Brown and Dolly Goes Down on the Farm.
A 2006 review: “The combination of Bob Brown and transvestite comedian Dolly Putin was pretty damn good, apart from Bob looking extremely nervous and wooden. Dolly made up for it with slick, pacey jokes and a few Kath & Kim references.”
Tim Blair – Sunday, April 03, 11 (07:19 pm)
In northern Burgundy, a once-fashionable bar is closed and up for sale:
(Via Andrew R., who emails: “Tant pis, as they say over there.")
Tim Blair – Sunday, April 03, 11 (07:00 pm)
Kevin Rudd spares no expense in his quest for UN glory:
Taxpayers forked out for dozens of business-class flights to bring United Nations ambassadors to Australia in the latest splurge to try to win a UN Security Council seat.
A delegation of 23 ambassadors – from Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific – quietly slipped into Australia earlier this month for a 10-day junket costing at least $300,000.
They were flown business class from New York and enjoyed five-star hospitality in Sydney, Hobart and Canberra, meeting with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd.
But not at the same time, presumably. All of this is in aid of Rudd’s battle with Luxembourg, of all places, to secure that UN seat.
While the visit’s theme was “sustainability”, they did not meet either the Sustainability Minister Tony Burke or Climate Change Minister Greg Combet.
Sustainability needn’t always be environmental. In this case, Rudd is attempting to sustain something else. Meanwhile, more advanced governments are wising up to the UN’s pointlessness:
In a stinging rebuff to the United Nations and its anti-poverty efforts, Eritrea, one of the poorest countries in Africa, has told the world body that it wants out of its long-term development agreement because the U.N. makes the problem worse, not better.
The reason, given in a January 26 notification letter from the country’s powerful Finance Minister, obtained by Fox News, is that “aid only postpones the basic solutions to crucial development problems by tentatively ameliorating their manifestations without tackling their root causes. The structural, political, economic, etc. damage that it inflicts upon recipient countries is also enormous.” In other words, the government argues, U.N. aid does more harm than good.
So Kevni invites them here. Well done, Ruddman.
Tim Blair – Sunday, April 03, 11 (03:33 pm)
If convicted, he faces up to a year in jail:
Geert Wilders, the far-Right Dutch MP, will face trial on charges of incited hatred and discriminations against Muslims, after a judge rejected a request to dismiss the case.
Mr Wilders was charged with insulting Muslims by comparing Islam to Nazism.
It is fashionable in certain circles to deride Bolt; to quote just a few of the descriptors of recent days, he is ‘’a moron’’, ‘’a madman’’ and ‘’an idiot’’. But watching him up close this past week, he is none of those.
He is intelligent, occasionally charming, and a master rhetorician.
And that, some might argue, is precisely what makes him so dangerous.
What a very extraordinary thing to say.
UPDATE. Mark Steyn:
As some of us said over the free-speech wars in Canada, if a multicultural society is not to descend from soft totalitarianism into naked thuggery, its citizens need to grow thicker skins: We need not sensitivity training, but insensitivity training. Instead, the Euro-Aussie-Canadian model thinks things will all work out if only we tiptoe ever more daintily on multiculti eggshells.
Tim Blair – Sunday, April 03, 11 (03:27 pm)
Paul Daley reports:
In some parts of the NSW Greens, Brown is viewed as a sell-out who is best avoided.
I’m guessing this is coming from the Greens’ emergent Hamas wing.
UPDATE. In other splitter developments:
Besieged federal independent Rob Oakeshott admits his conservative-minded electorate has turned against him, but blames the media for it – not his decision to back Julia Gillard.
The National Party turncoat, who says he has no regrets about supporting federal Labor, fingered radio host Ray Hadley and national broadsheet newspaper The Australian for turning his supporters against him …
“The electorate bought the line that I am a person who sold out the electorate, and I blame shock jocks such as Ray Hadley and faceless media barons such as (The Australian’s editor-in-chief) Chris Mitchell for vilifying me and for running that line,” he told The Sunday Telegraph.
Mitchell is a baron now? Excellent. By the way, Rob, a really good way to reclaim the affection of your voters is to tell them that they’re a bunch of easily-led yokels.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, April 04, 11 (07:38 am)
A terrible indictment of our schools and the politicians who oversee them:
AUSTRALIA’S international competitiveness is under threat because up to eight million Australian workers don’t have the reading, writing or numeracy skills to undertake training for trade or professional jobs.
The nation’s 11 Industry Skills Councils will today call for a new campaign to tackle endemic numbers of workers with poor reading and writing skills, launching a report detailing the problems being faced by industry training bodies.
The bodies say they are confronting inadequately prepared school leavers, an ageing workforce struggling to cope with technological advances and overseas-born workers with English as a second language…
(Their) report says “the situation looks as if it could be getting worse, not better” in terms of the language, literature and numeracy skills of workers.
“International studies have shown that over the past two decades, Australia’s literacy and numeracy skill levels have stagnated while those of other countries, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, have improved.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, April 04, 11 (07:19 am)
Andrew Bolt – Monday, April 04, 11 (07:19 am)
Once again, anti-nuclear fear-mongering proves more deadly than nuclear power itself:
The 64-year-old from Sukagama, 65km from the reactor, hanged himself because his crops could no longer be sold....
A relatively elderly nuclear plant was in an area struck first by one of the five most powerful earthquakes in 110 years, and then by a 12m tsunami. The result has been partial meltdowns and radiation contamination well beyond levels declared safe. Even so, and despite this combination of catastrophes, it looks highly unlikely that leaked radioactivity will be great enough to cause serious long-term risk to human health. That compares with more than 10,000 people killed by falling buildings or in the tsunami…
There’s more. Looking back on past nuclear accidents, it is now apparent that the effects on human health - although sometimes appalling - were considerably less than predicted at the time. I recall the grim warnings after Chernobyl of tens of thousands of deaths. A recent UN report on the 1986 Ukrainian fire estimated that perhaps 2000 people developed thyroid cancer, having drunk contaminated milk, of whom a score or so died from it. Apart from those killed in the explosion or on site, the report found no evidence of other fatalities or adverse health effects.
The same was true of the much less serious accident at Three Mile Island in 1979. It was true, too, of the radiation effects of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. In other words, we are far more scared of radiation from nuclear accidents, or events, than the evidence justifies. The same UN report into Chernobyl argues that the psychological effects of the disaster, and the imagined radiation, were very significant....
You know why the Unnamed Farmer really died? Not because anyone would actually have been killed by his spinach - they would have had to eat tonnes of it to become ill - but because sales were stopped, just in case. That’s where the Merkel-Ashdown logic gets you.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, April 04, 11 (06:58 am)
The previous time I appeared on Insiders, a few weeks ago, Canberra public servant Greg Jericho resolved not to watch:
Let my daughters keep watching Hi5 or switch over to Bolt on #Insiders? Pretty easy choice - go for intelligence. Hi5 stays on
about 5 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone
Unfortunately, as with so many who tell the ABC they will never watch when I am on, he promptly broke his resolution:
Oh fuck. Just switched over to see #insiders give bolts bullshit about Bono credence. What a joke news program. Pathetic.
about 4 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone
Oh fuck. The hatred for Gillard on this program is disgraceful #insiders
about 4 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone .
Geez Niki Savva must be so pissed she missed out on an invite to this hatefest #insiders
about 4 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone
Yesterday it happened all over again, with the potty-mouthed Jericho once more pretending to boycott a program which allowed one conservative voice onto a panel of the Left:
(Bolt) was back today. Thankfully for the sake of my day, I didn’t bother to watch most of it – I only tuned in just in time for Mike Bowers and Talking Pictures. The Twitter commentary was actually more antagonistic towards Bolt than even usual, and so it was with great trepidation I watched the replay on iView.
Jericho, who works in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, thinks I so ruin Insiders that he no longer watches some episodes - except, curiously, for precisely the ones on which I actually appear:
It is boring, it is pointless, and it is killing a show which oddly Bolt decided to make reference to its 10 year run at the end of today’s show – oddly because it seemed again to be more about his appearing on the show for 10 years than the actual show’s length.
It is all very sad because I used to absolutely love the show – even when Bolt was on. Back then I would never miss an episode. Now as a rule I record the show, sleep in and watch it later – if at all. Last week’s I totally skipped.
I should thank Jericho. He proves a theory the ABC has explained to me: that the sanctimonious critics of the Left who send Insiders outraged missives demanding the purging of conservatives like me from the show are among the first to switch on when we’re on. They actually find debate more compelling than they claim, and the real thing bothering them is that it’s a debate they are losing.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, April 04, 11 (06:29 am)
Julia Gillard blows a whistle:
The Greens will never embrace Labor’s delight at sharing the values of everyday Australians, in our cities, suburbs, towns and bush, who day after day do the right thing, leading purposeful and dignified lives, driven by love of family and nation.
I heard it:
BOLT: There has been some criticism of Julia Gillard for attacking the Greens. You’re hearing it here. I wonder how that would have been expressed if Tony Abbott had said, the Greens don’t share our love of family. You know what they’d say? They’d say, this is code for Bob Brown is gay. This is the dog whistle. Why are you giving Julia Gillard the benefit of the doubt? What do you think that line was doing there?
Taylor: I think it was a silly line.
Bolt: No, what do you think it was doing there?
Taylor: Well, if I could finish my sentence, I’ll tell you what I think it was doing there. I think she was differentiating herself from the Greens by nonsense rhetoric. I don’t accept that it was any kind of dog whistle about the fact that Bob Brown is homosexual.
Bolt: If [it was] Tony Abbott you certainly would have said that. You’d be jumping up and down.
Taylor: I certainly would not, Andrew. I certainly would not.
Bolt: You certainly would have. I’d bet a dollar on that.
Taylor: Piss off.
I didn’t hear Taylor say “piss off”, actually. But I did hear her deny what I think is a very plausible proposition. If you doubt it, consider this from Josh Gordon of The Age during the last campaign:
There has been argument about whether Tony Abbott has been unfairly targeting Gillard’s childless status by appearing with his wife and daughter and talking about how he understands the challenges of modern families.
Or consider how Abbott was construed to be a Catholic authoritarian, preaching at all Australian women, after simply saying this:
Asked what advice he would give his three daughters on sex before marriage, he told the (Women’s) Weekly: ‘’I would say to my daughters, if they were to ask me this question … it is the greatest gift you can give someone, the ultimate gift of giving and don’t give it to someone lightly.’’
Said Gillard then:
These comments will confirm the worst fears of Australian women about Tony Abbott. Australian women want to make their own choices and they don’t want to be lectured to by Mr Abbott.
And if you want evidence that many political journalists, Taylor included, hold Abbott to far higher standards than Gillard, consider, for instance, their contrasting reactions to Abbott’s admission of occasional hyperbole in debate and to Gillard’s outright lie.
I had the tape played to me on MTR 1377 this morning, and “piss off” is there, all right. Gosh, had I said that instead…