Saturday, April 23, 2011

News Items and comments

Liked on Using wikis and digital fabrication tools, TED Fellow Marcin Jakubowski is open-sourcing the blueprints for 50 farm machines, allowing anyone to build their own tractor or harvester from scratch. And that's only the first step i...
about an hour ago via YouTube · ·
    • David Daniel Ball nice idea but this isn't the chief problem in the US and Australia where bad federal governments make profitable farming difficult.
Liked on Pioneering surgeon Susan Lim performed the first liver transplant in Asia. But a moral concern with transplants (where do donor livers come from ...) led her to look further, and to ask: Could we be transplanting cells, not whol...
about an hour ago via YouTube · ·
Failure fueled by abysmal policy.
ENJOY todays cartoon in high resolution right here on your Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph iPad app.

I don't think two people would fit in that suit. But it might be fun to try.
RUMOURS of secret experiments to test sex and weightlessness in space have been denied by Russian cosmonauts.
Gotta love social networking.
A BRITISH teenager faces jail after he was caught confessing to a damaging library flood on Facebook.

Obama has handled this badly.
MISSILES fired in a CIA drone attack have killed at least 26 people in the latest series of unpopular US strikes in Pakistan.
A misunderstanding. A possible tragedy that masks a greater one.
A LITTLE boy found wandering late at night was trying to get to his mother's home 18km away. The five-year-old could only tell police his name was Calvin.
It isn't their fault. It is the result of abysmal policy. Until now they have profited from law breaking and violence.
RIOTING asylum seekers have swapped the plasma televisions they torched at Villawood Immigration Detention Centre for no-frills prison cells.
It sounds like the child never stood a chance.
IN their own words, the state's top homicide investigators described Kiesha Abrahams' death as "one of the most horrific murders we've ever dealt with".
This council sounds as if it is as overrun by activists as Marrickville.
ELDERLY people would be bussed to cold rooms in a bold proposal to prevent people from dying during heatwaves across Sydney's west.
Gibson is better than the negative press gives credit for. His greatest work is better than most films ever made, or more popular. But when drunk he is someone I would not want to meet.
FALLEN movie star Mel Gibson gives his most intimate interview ever as he candidly talks about fame, depression, his legal battles and THOSE leaked tapes.
Irony of one neglectful leader visiting a disaster area the day Abraham's parents visited grave.
JULIA Gillard will this morning fly by military chopper into Sendai as the first invited world leader to see for herself the devastation caused by the Japanese tsunami.
The extra numbers look good in unemployment terms.
A RECORD number of Australians are now enrolled in universities, with more than 480,000 undergraduate places being filled this year -- a 10 per cent rise since 2009.
I thank god for this day.
FROM devastation rises hope -- that is the Easter message from the nation's Christian religious leaders.

If it were true, as the headline goes, then it would stop a record haul.
PARENTS are fighting the flab by buying toys rather than chocolate eggs for kids this Easter, but that won't stop Australians feasting on a record haul of chocolate.
It might not have been SIDS
HE has fathered two children -- but Christopher Weippeart has outlived both of them.

Perhaps her encouragement got the parents to visit that grave.
SHE is the woman who stood by Kristi Abrahams and Robert Smith in the dark days after Kiesha went missing.
This looks like thorough, excellent police work. I like to think they had a mobile phone that gave away their movements.
KIESHA Abrahams was killed during an assault by her mother and step-father in their Sydney unit, her body left for three days before it was buried in a bush grave, police will allege.
Happy Easter, Piers
Piers has been one of The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph's best-read columnists since 1993. One of the nation's most respected journalists he has worked in New York, London, Washington and Los Angeles.
16 hours ago · · · Share
    • David Daniel Ball
      I have been searching through microfilm of Frank Devine's old That's Language column's of the '90s. I am up to '96. Just like your search for fish in some of the world's best sailing places, I am finding it hard to track down my prey.

      I am looking for a quote from Mr Devine. I remember reading it, but I am not sure if it was in that column, or a editorial for the Australian midweek. I remember him writing about condom/aids posters in Africa (or Timor?) and how specific education from those posters was wasted aid money when compared to general education. I recall him referring to the "old adage that if you give women control of their minds they will take control of their bodies." He referred to western democracy birth rates and high female education attainment and third world birth rates with low female education achievement.

      The Australian is supposed to have those articles online and searchable, but I cannot seem to access them. So I have learned to use the microfilm. Four days and and twelve hours of searching later and I have found two quotes from '95 which suggest it is something he could have said. The first being from the 21st of January '95 in the column headlined "Agenda Specific" in which he said it was incumbent on both sexes to take a stand on the issue of gender neutral assault language. The other quote is from the 4th of February '95 "Hark the Herald" in which he wrote "it is surely desirable that everyone be educated to a level of literacy measured for literacy's sake alone rather than calibrated to the rudimentary needs of employment in warehouses." And yes I am drawing a long bow there.

      Have you any suggestions as to how I may improve my search? I am sorry I can't help you with the fishing. You know I would if I could.

      Happy Easter to you and the crew, may the lord bless you mightily.
It is too generous to call outright deceit merely 'fuzzy math'
A leading panel of budget experts estimated Thursday that President Obama's latest spending plan does not save as much money as the White House initially claimed and is about $1.5 trillion more expensive than the Republican plan.
Todays news and conservative views
Iowahawk’s 2011 Earth Week Cruise-In is luring a spectacular assortment of beautiful carbon-generating speedcraft, all celebrated in gleefully affectionate terms by their various drivers and pilots.
Why is he resigning? Who supports him?
ACTING Police Minister Bernard Finnigan has resigned from Cabinet and will not be replaced.

Too late. They have promoted terrorism and are now hoist on their own petard.
SYRIA'S president has signed a decree to lift five decades of emergency rule, but more protests are planned.

Libya also claimed it was committed to a ceasefire.
LIBYA said its army was not to blame for the deaths of two Western newsmen.

I can't. I'm unemployed ..
BUSINESSES expect a spike of sickies next week because the chance to string together 11 days out of the office could prove irresistible for some slackers.
Part of living for your children is to be married. But I gather the tragedy here involved an abusive partner.
POLICE have charged a 42-year-old man with murder following the violent death of a woman, believed to be his estranged partner.


Tim Blair – Saturday, April 23, 11 (05:29 am)

Laurie Oakes:

As Sydney’s Villawood Detention Centre burned on Wednesday night, the last remnants of the Gillard Government’s credibility on asylum seeker policy went up in flames with it.

And Labor MPs were in despair. Focus group research had already made them aware of a growing view among voters that “everything they do goes bad”.

Now here was more damning evidence to feed the perception of a government that can’t seem to get anything right.

Can’t run a grocery website, can’t run a government. As previously noted: “Nothing this mob does ever works. Big or small, within the party or outside, they always stuff it up.”



Tim Blair – Saturday, April 23, 11 (05:13 am)

When you’ve lost barley, you’ve lost the nation:

Barley Australia has jumped into the world of politics for the first time, joining the campaign against the Federal Government’s carbon tax.

“A carbon tax will impact on farm inputs, especially energy, with the resultant increases in farm costs affecting the export value of malt, with knock-on effects on jobs, the demand for malt and the demand for barley,” Barley Australia said in a statement last week.

The barley industry body usually confines its public comments to barley classification and accreditation issues.

Business Council of Australia wimps aside, others in the commercial sector are also rising up:

[QBE chairwoman Belinda] Hutchinson said she had returned last weekend from two weeks overseas and had seen a distinct increase in the preparedness of business to criticise the proposed carbon tax.

“Two weeks ago I would have been in the minority of people in business speaking up publicly against the carbon tax,” she said.

“Today, we have a situation where everyone is talking about a carbon tax.”

Ms Hutchinson said the business community had been trying to find out details of the tax and had been trying to negotiate quietly on the issue behind closed doors. But now it was prepared to speak out more strongly against the tax.

So too might ratepayers:

A carbon tax is likely to drive up council expenses and rates, according to the local government association.

“There is no doubt a carbon tax will have a cost impact for councils,” Municipal Association of Victoria president Bill McArthur said last week.

“If the carbon price is set at $25 per tonne, rate increases in excess of 3 per cent are likely.”

And for no measurable environmental benefit at all.



Tim Blair – Saturday, April 23, 11 (05:04 am)

In 1990, the first time I flew to the US, I was allowed to smoke in the sky. Subsequent flights were more prohibitive, as were subsequent visits. The fall of New York to anti-smoking regulators was a particular tragedy; I don’t want to wake up in a city that never smokes. And the sadness spreads:

By 2020, every state may have bans on smoking in restaurants, bars and the workplace, federal health officials predicted Thursday, based on the current pace of adopting anti-smoking laws.

The number of states with comprehensive indoor smoking bans went from zero in 2000 to 25 in 2010.

Mexico. That’s the place to be. They probably even let you smoke in hospitals.



Tim Blair – Saturday, April 23, 11 (04:10 am)

Confess your earthly sins!

(Via Randy V.)



Tim Blair – Saturday, April 23, 11 (03:43 am)

Fired Obama green goon Van Jones leads his followers in prayer:

Jones appeared on a bill alongside Al Gore, Lisa Jackson and old crazy eyes himself, Bill McKibben. Tough competition, but Jones’s speech seems to be the stand out:

Jones said the United States is powering a civilization on death itself that’s both detrimental to our health and the environment, because the fuels we are using are from dead organisms. That is why coal, oil and natural gas are all called “fossil fuels.”

“We burn death in our power plants without ceremony, and then we act shocked when having pulled death out of the ground and burned it,” Jones said.

“We acted shocked when we get death from the skies in form of all the warming and death on our oceans in form of oil spills, and death in our choked lungs in the form of asthma and cancer. Let’s stop fueling our society based on death and destruction.”

I agree. Instead of burning dead fossils, let’s burn live animals. Choose life!


Warmists hijack Easter

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, April 23, 11 (09:42 am)

Cardinal George Pell is one of the few religious leaders in Australia who well understand that the global warming movement represents a new religious movement, inimical to Christianity. Meanwhile in the US:

Some Catholics are concerned with what they see as an attempt by environmentalists to hijack Easter for their own Earth Day purposes.

In a letter dated April 1 to churches across the country, the environmentalist group Earth Day Network encourages priests to remember Earth Day Sunday, even though Easter is that same Sunday.

“This year we again invite you to celebrate Earth Day Sunday and share with your parishioners a story of creation care that will impart to them the importance of protecting a nurturing the planet that was provided to us,” the letter reads…

The letter does add that if priests want to celebrate Easter instead, they could consider delivering a climate change sermon on the following Sunday. Michael Voris of REAL Catholic TV, however, is not buying it, calling the campaign a push for a “pagan takeover of Easter”.

(Thanks to reader Old Fellah.)


Cowardly BCA backs down, but others finally stand up

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, April 23, 11 (09:04 am)

Terry McCrann on the humiliating backdown of the Business Council of Australia over a tax it knows will kills jobs without doing a skerrick to cut the world’s temperature:

THE exchanges between BCA president Graham Bradley and the Prime Minister last week were instructive, revealing and ultimately depressing. And also humiliating. For Bradley.

They were initiated by a letter to the PM from Bradley. It was tough, even aggressive. But it was substantive, very detailed, and sensible. It laid out precisely the very large number of major concerns with the government’s unilateral move to impose a carbon tax. In sum, it demonstrated why the proposal made no sense—even in its own environmental and business and economic terms. It led to only one possible conclusion. There was no way the BCA could support this carbon tax or any conceivable modified version of it.

The response from Julia Gillard was a combination of conventional political form, a completely unknowing statement of the bleeding obvious that destroyed any logical foundation for her tax, and a barely disguised threat. And a mistake that was incidental, but also very illuminating, and actually, if of course unintentionally, a statement of what would be the right policy approach.

The response from Bradley was at best embarrassing. He and his fellow BCA members folded like a pack of cards.

Read it all.

But Tim Blair notes the latest round of criticism of the carbon dioxide tax by groups which will no longer stay silent - this time the Municipal Association of Victoria, QBE and Barley Australia..


The dingo made me do it

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, April 23, 11 (08:52 am)

O there I was, negotiating with a million ants over where I could put my pavers, when Skippy called to complain my fence was too high.

No, wait. University of Western Sydney academic John Hadley grumbled yesterday I wasn’t taking his idea seriously.

So let’s see if Hadley can make it less ridiculous. He wants to give native animals property “rights”, so they can protect their habitats.

I asked him how, say, a bunch of bandicoots could instruct a lawyer.

No problem. Certain animals would get a “guardian” who’d just know what they want.

That is help my dog Ralf could sure use, since the dopey thing always goes inside out when I get home, frantically undecided between getting his back scratched or belly tickled.

But still I’m puzzled. Hadley reckons these guardians would then enforce the rights of their beastly clients against property developers after their land or creek.

Already he’s working with a bunch of dingoes, by which I presume he means the animals and not the developers.

But, again, what if those dingoes are like Ralf, eager to please a human? If I asked Ralf if I could dig up his bone spot for a pool for the kids, he’d bark “Of course!”. Nothing’s too good for Mistress Missy and Master Dom!

It wouldn’t surprise me if dingoes were just as happy to tell a developer to take whatever, in exchange for nothing more than a dead sheep once a month.

See, I’m thinking of the kookaburra found last year who was too fat to fly, having gorged on sausages tossed to him by picnickers at a Mosman park.

If you were a kookaburra, and a developer asked if he could build a hamburger joint near your billabong, wouldn’t you laugh, “Ha ha yes!”

What would you rather—being fed fast food for life as you lolled on your branch, or having to dive each day into a dank pool for a raw fish?

Yet I bet the guardians the dingoes or kookaburras would get, unasked, are anti-development activists who hate even a fish’n’chip stand or a string of open-air barbecues.

Which brings me to my question. What makes green thinkers like Hadley so sure they speak for our wildlife?

Isn’t the truth that his guardians would represent not the “rights” of animals but agendas of their own?


Amazing footage of a kangaroo radioing his legal guardian about the devlopment of a landing strip on his native bouncing land:


The torching of Labor’s deadly “compassion”

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, April 23, 11 (08:49 am)

AND this week the Villawood detention centre went up in flames, too.

Nine rooms destroyed, as rioting asylum-seekers cheered.

Enough. For pity’s sake, enough.

If we wanted to pick the Gillard Government’s most embarrassing, most public and most needless failure—and its deadliest—its boat people policy would win from a crowded field.

It is also the failure with the most contemptible cause: sheer pride.

It’s hard to believe now, but until 2008 we did not have a boat people problem.

It had been solved, painfully, by Liberal prime minister John Howard, who granted only temporary protection visas to asylum-seekers who’d barged in while we waited to see if their homelands could become safe enough to return to, as has indeed since occurred with Sri Lanka, after the ending of its civil war.

More importantly, Howard devised the “Pacific Solution”, which meant boat people were never allowed to set foot on Australian soil or in an Australian court.

They were shipped off instead to Nauru or to Manus Island in Papua New Guinea in an unmistakable signal that to pay $20,000 to a people smuggler to get here was to do your dough.

Of course, we kept taking in real refugees, but the trade in boat people stopped almost dead. In the six years before 2008, we got on average just three boats a year, so that by 2007, just 158 asylum-seekers were left in detention.

This meant that by 2008, we had no problem left that needed solving. Here was a case that screamed out to leave well enough alone.

But prime minister Kevin Rudd, a man of infinite vanity, with an equally infinite hunger for flattery, could not resist courting the applause of the Left for his alleged “compassion” and so scrapped Howard’s “Pacific Solution” and ushered in a much softer regime, largely designed by Julia Gillard herself.

Oh, how the media applauded. The Age declared that “yesterday a stain was removed from the soul of this nation” and “Australia began the process of restoring some of its lost humanity”. The Australian’s Mike Steketee hallelujahed that “Australia at least has a policy it can justify in terms of basic humanity”.

There was just one small hitch. Correction: one huge one. Within weeks—and just as Indonesia and the Australian Federal Police had warned—the boats started to come once more.

As one Afghan in Indonesia explained to The Australian: “I know Kevin Rudd is the new PM ... I have heard that if someone arrives it is easy.”

There may still be some who glory in all this, luxuriating in their own compassion. But see what such “compassion” has wrought.

We now have not 158 people in detention, but 6535—so many, that some must live in tents while new centres are opened in Darwin, Queensland, Western Australia, the Adelaide Hills and now near Hobart.


How long it’s taken Laurie to see Gillard is finished

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, April 23, 11 (07:41 am)

I put the question on November 12 last year:

Is Julia Gillard finished? ... I’d tentatively conclude that Gillard is right on the cusp. One more bad poll and the drums will really start beating. But even now the early signs are that her trajectory is downwards, and dangerously so.

But Laurie Oakes, even as late as February 25, still thought Gillard could save herself with - of all suicidal things - her carbon dioxide tax:

Gillard - the leader accused so often of standing for nothing - now has something to fight for. A cause....

Gillard was looking and sounding more confident than at any time since she knifed Rudd… Suddenly Gillard looks like a leader with a plan and she’s firing on all cylinders.

By March 9, I was certain:

JULIA Gillard is finished. It seems she’s lied too brazenly and nothing in her erratic performance suggests she can recover.

But on March 19, Oakes was still clinging to hope - and that carbon dioxide tax:

So last Monday - again in dire trouble and desperate to turn things around in the carbon tax battle - Gillard faced the Q&A audience again. And again it paid off.

Gillard did what she should have done when she launched the policy. She acknowledged that she had walked away from an election promise and tried to explain why… She also tried to explain in understandable terms how her carbon tax and emissions trading plan would work and why she believes it is necessary. Again something that should have been done more effectively from the start, but better late than never.

The performance at last gave some direction to the Government’s botched campaign to sell the policy.

Or as Oakes had tweeted on March 14:


Agree with her or not,this is a pretty impressive performance.

#qanda8 hours ago

I must have been watching a different Julia on a different Q&A, because as I wrote on March 15, this was a leader who looked dead on her feet:

How gone is Julia Gillard? Last night she got a pasting from Tony Jones and his Left-leaning Q&A audience - mainly for being not Left enough, true, but more tellingly for being laughable, even to them. The vast majority of questions were hostile, bar a few about “shock jocks” calling her “Ju-liar”. The tone was derisory.

As a cultural marker, it was as significant as the Q&A session in which Kevin Rudd was badgered by school students and lectured them in anger - finally revealing even to a Q&A audience that she wasn’t half as popular as thought, and twice as nasty personally as assumed.

Today even Oakes finally gives up on Gillard:

AS Sydney’s Villawood Detention Centre burned on Wednesday night, the last remnants of the Gillard Government’s credibility on asylum seeker policy went up in flames with it.

And Labor MPs were in despair. Focus group research had already made them aware of a growing view among voters that ”everything they do goes bad”…

A political miracle is required to save Julia Gillard and her Government from sure defeat at the next election,” said John Scales, of polling company JWS Research....

Scales, who monitors voter opinion through regular focus groups, gave me a copy of a report he has produced based on that research....

“Gillard and Labor have sunk so far in esteem that initial voter response to Labor initiatives and pronouncements is now to ask critical questions and to look for independent supporting evidence of the claims as a guide to the ‘truth’,” the research shows.

“There is very little ready acceptance of Labor’s claims."…

He said voters simply did not trust Gillard and ”once the electorate loses trust it is akin to a death knell for a leader”…

The way Scales sees it, Labor must now be so desperate that—behind the scenes—”all options would be up for consideration”.

Oakes still doubts Labor will replace her. I still insist that it must.


No comment

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, April 23, 11 (07:15 am)

I’m afraid I cannot comment on this article from the Deutsche Presse-Agentur or this editorial in The Australian. My right to free speech is best upheld by saying nothing. Nor can I allow you to comment. Such are our laws. About which, again, I dare not speak.


Nor, extraordinarily enough, dare I comment on the Liberals’ foolish offer of support for this race-based group, with its unlikely leaders:

THE opposition declared yesterday the newly elected Aboriginal national congress had a “bleak future” after co-chairman Les Malezer signalled he would fight against the Northern Territory intervention.

Coalition indigenous spokesman Nigel Scullion said the opposition wanted to offer bipartisan support for the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples....

Aboriginal leader Lowitja O’Donoghue on Wednesday slapped down a proposal by Mr Malezer to rid the organisation of its joint male and female leadership. She also urged him to spend more timefighting for Aboriginal rights within Australia rather than on the international stage.

Mr Malezer, who is a full-time delegate to the UN Committee on Indigenous Issues, seeks to end the emergency intervention, which suspended the Racial Discrimination Act to combat alcohol and drug-induced domestic violence and child abuse in 73 remote NT communities.

The congress announced on Tuesday that Mr Malezer had been elected co-chairman alongside co-chairwoman Jody Broun in a national ballot. About 600 people voted out of a 2000-strong membership.

Senator Scullion reversed the Coalition’s opposition to a government-funded, democratically elected indigenous body, arguing that the nation needed a group that consulted with and spoke for indigenous people.

The bold indicates aspects of this article which I’d like to comment on were I free to do so.


It’s possible that I could find a way to comment on this news story, too, but forgive me if I feel too gun-shy at the moment:

WITH floodwaters from Queensland’s Gulf Country expected to turn South Australia’s remote Lake Eyre into a waterbird paradise over the next month, there is still no breakthrough in the dispute over sailing rights that is dividing yachties and Aborigines.

Lake Eyre Yacht Club commodore Bob Backway yesterday accused the local Arrabuna people of running a “greedy mafia-like organisation” that was stifling tourism to the area.

He said he was “making a stand” by flouting state regulations and sailing on Lake Eyre.

The South Australian government was “too quick to pander to the traditional owners”, Mr Backway said…

National parks regulations say permission is needed to sail on Lake Eyre for cultural reasons.

Arabunna man and native title claimant Reg Dodd, who runs tours that allow tourists to swim in the lake, said the issue was not water rights but respect for Aboriginal people.

This is not about native title, it’s about our heritage and identity,” Mr Dodd said.

Again, the bold indicates passages on which I have an opinion I’d like to express.


I dare not comment on this provocative Noel Pearson article, either, whether on its many excellent parts or on those few passages with which I disagree.

All I will allow myself to say, and I’m really pushing it here, is that when I consider Pearson, a most admirable man, I can’t help but think how the one-word label applied to him - “Aboriginal” - obscures what I think is a key element of not only his identity but his political outlook. He is also a Lutheran, with a Lutheran father. When I hear him praise the virtue of work and study, or condemn sit-down money, I think not “Aboriginal leader” but “Lutheran”.


More where the Villawood rioters came from

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, April 23, 11 (07:15 am)

Another boat arrives to top up the burned-out detention centre at Villawood:

Yesterday, 22 detainees involved in the rioting - during which detainees threw roof tiles at firemen trying to extinguish blazes in four buildings, allegedly set alight by inmates protesting at lengthy waits in having their refugee claims processed - were transferred to Silverwater Correctional Centre in Sydney’s west to be questioned as part of separate investigations by the NSW police and Australian Federal Police.

The transfer came as a boat with asylum-seekers, believed to be 70 Sri Lankans, was intercepted in Australian waters near the Cocos Islands.

And why would they be scared of making their case very forcefully once they got here?

After the December 2009 riot on Christmas Island, 11 boatpeople were charged. Of these, eight had their charges dismissed; three were convicted, two being placed on a good behaviour bond and one fined. The Immigration Department yesterday confirmed all three were granted visas late last year.


Paul Kelly says the Gillard Government looks weak - and is weak in punishing rioting asylum seekers:

(Immigration Minister Chris) Bowen’s problem is that in relation to criminal records, the Migration Act essentially requires a prison sentence for more than 12 months for the character test to be applied. That is, being a criminal is OK; the problem arises only if you are a serious criminal.

The same constraint will apply at Villawood. It will be hard to get convictions. It will be hard toget convictions beyond a 12-month sentence. Therefore, it will be hard for Bowen to say such criminal behaviour rendered theVillawood asylum-seekers ineligible for Australian residency.

It has been reported that as many as 100 people were involved in the riots and violence. This seems a high number. The point, however, is that the history of such riots and the operation of the Migration Act leave no basis for confidence that the criminal behaviour, in its own right, will make the individuals ineligible for a visa.

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