Thursday, June 02, 2011

News items and comments

I heard him on the 7:30 report. He was claiming it wasn't possible to judge him by the same standards he judged the Howard administration. I think he believes he got away with it. Knowing ABC balance for what it is, I suspect he did.
LIFTING productivity is essential to the nation's prosperity, despite the economy shrinking in the first quarter of 2011, Treasurer Wayne Swan says.
From understanding others' moods and judging character to having an amazing aptitude for math, and dance, babies are amazing. Here are some of their brainy abilities.
‎@1965DAZA Lol, you created multiple accounts just to post here? That indeed is a waste of time.
Speculation on Guevara's whereabouts continued throughout 1966 and into 1967. Representatives of the Mozambican independence movement FRELIMO reported meeting with Guevara in late 1966 or early 1967 in Dar es Salaam, at which point they rejected h...

Gillards legacy would have been greater had she released more and better information. Instead she is using it to play political games
NO wonder underperforming schools and militant teachers' unions oppose the NAPLAN tests, which measure student achievement - or the lack of it.
Penny may stop reading in protest
A NOBEL Prize-winning author declared that female writers are "unequal" and criticised their "sentimentality".
He won't do it again
FORMER Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic has been given two days to prepare to appear before UN judges.

Syria lies a lot
SYRIA has denied opposition activists' claims that a 13-year-old boy died under torture by security forces.

I want Palin to be president
SARAH Palin's flirtation with a US presidential run continued as she visited the Statue of Liberty and shared a pizza with Donald Trump.
ALP promising sex
STATE MPs will vote before the end of the year on law reforms that would decriminalise prostitution.

Maybe she is acting precious, but generally fit and well people don't understand
A SEVERELY obese woman claims constant taunting by hospital staff has robbed her of her dignity.

Bad management costs
AUSTRALIA is facing the possibility of a recession after the economy suffered a sharp contraction in the first quarter but experts warn that home-owners are unlikely to be spared further interest rate...

Melbourne is a better city. Historically the ALP have mismanaged Sydney worse.
CHANNEL 9 has reignited the Sydney versus Melbourne feud, promoting national program A Current Affair by trashing Sydney as out of touch with the rest of the country.

Prayer works. These wounds will scar and need healing.
POLICE have uncovered human remains near the Cairns suburb of Machans Beach, believed to be those of missing far north Queensland teenager Declan Crouch
Some bills are inexplicable and their size is outrageous when the service is considered.
TELCOS will be banned from using terms like "cap" and "unlimited" in changes recommended by ACMA.

This is horrible and will expose a gender divide bigger than a parliamentary Miaow.
MOBILE phone users may be at increased risk from brain cancer and should use texting and hands-free devices to reduce the threat, the World Health Organisation's cancer experts warned yesterday.
Victimless crime?
AN urgent review into the management of female inmates has been launched after five prison guards were caught using CCTV cameras to covertly watch a prisoner undress before she took a shower.
Good luck. Recent festivals have been boring left wing inspired tripe
BELGIAN Lieven Bertels is to succeed Lindy Hume as director of the Sydney Festival.

Journalist is overstating issue to make it sound bad
THE Premier's office was "hot to trot", putting pressure on public servants to change laws to allow Rockdale MP John Flowers to remain in parliament despite the fact that he was on a disability pensio...
Maybe deny them a driving license for a year?
FOUR teenagers have been arrested after allegedly taking a shopping buggy for a 10km joy ride.
What are the amendments?
PREMIER Barry O'Farrell appears close to a deal to have his public wages reform passed by parliament today.

It will take years to remove ALP waste
THE Labor government's failed transport ticketing project continues to cost taxpayers, with the bill to remove more than 1000 unused smartcard stands and cables from CityRail stations expected to exce...
ALP tried to put me on DSP
MORE residents of NSW are now on the disability support pension than the total number of Australians injured in 127 years of warfare.
All this because a 22 yo wanted to date a 15 yo girl.
THE steady sobs of a grief-stricken mother captured the tragedy of teenage stabbing victim Brandon Faanunu Siaa's death.
Gillard isn't doing anything effective. She is doing 'something' so that she isn't noticed as doing nothing effective
CLUBS are calling Andrew Wilkie and Julia Gillard's deal on mandatory poker machine pre-commitment a "dead duck", claiming the cost of introducing restrictions is $1.6 billion and it cannot be done by...
ALP are mismanaging the economy and it is costing us all.
THE last time Australian economic output dropped by as much as it did for the three months to March was 1991 - when stone-washed denim and stirrup pants were hot and mortgages were 10.5 per cent.
I won't accept fatalism. Either support them so they can do their work or remove them.
AUSTRALIAN special forces soldiers and their Afghan comrades have stepped up the hunt for the rogue Afghan soldier who shot dead army cook Lance Corporal Andrew Jones from the safety of his guard towe...
The ALP and it's supporters like power and money and laugh at the suffering of others.
SO refugees are caned in Malaysia. Who would have thought it? The very people who caned John Howard over treatment of asylum seekers in Australia's humane, well-run, sanitary detention centres are now...
I like people and welcome such refugees. Gillards cold and heartless immigration policy is costing lives it is so dangerous, and expensive. Because it is costly it becomes harder to accept refugees.
VAN Thor wants his three children to have what he could not. After years of struggling to make ends meet, he has almost fulfilled his dream. His family has preliminary approval to enter Australia.
ALP scams us through Unions all the time.
WESTERN Union admits it is targeted by scammers but believes it does all it can to protect its customers. Australia regional director Chris Cruzado said the $40 million that the money transfer company...
It costs so much that there aren't savings. We are missing out on building infrastructure, like a Bradfield scheme, in favor of waste.
THE stand-in boss of the federal government-owned National Broadband Network yesterday claimed the company had driven down construction costs but would not say by how much.
Gillard doesn't care. She likes money and power.
THESE four men have a message for Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and the federal government - copping a caning as a refugee in Malaysia is real.
It is sad for the world that Obama is so weak
The Iranian regime is determined to acquire a nuclear bomb. This is a messianic regime that truly believes it is their duty to Allah to destroy Israel and America. They believe it is their calling to bring about and to create the needed circumstances for the reappearance of the last Islamic Messiah.
I might be wrong. But are you willing to work out how or why?
Pepper an impassioned debate with those five words with someone you’ve previously denounced as a heretic or traitor to the cause and an amazing thing happens.
The casting couch does not lead to success.
Casting Couch Nightmares: What Does it Take to Make It in Hollywood?

Free trade leads to prosperity. It could help Obama, although he is dragged kicking and screaming.
Before President Obama's choice to head the Commerce Department could even get the official nod Tuesday, a Senate GOP leadership aide reminded that nearly the entire conference announced, back in March, that any Commerce Department nominee would face a blockade of 44 Republicans until the Administra
Thing is, the budget was in deficit by $50 billion. That is a re election budget. The ALP are claiming they will find $50 billion in budget cuts before the next two budgets are in. That is unbelievable. They will not want to run another $50 billion budget, so the election should take place in the year.
House of Representatives Speaker Harry Jenkins considered resigning after a ruling he made to eject an MP from Parliament was defeated this afternoon.


Garnaut’s report based on humbug to support Gillard’s lie

Piers Akerman – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (10:40 am)

It has not been enough for Julia Gillard to go through an election on a lie, to maintain her fiction she now must rely on a report based on outright falsehoods.
It is a painful but obvious truth that Gillard promised before the election that there would be no carbon tax under a government she led.
She leads the government and she is now promising a carbon tax. That is the big lie in Australian politics today.


The 2nd question on the pop quiz was this:

Suppose that engineers at BMW invent a new machine that dramatically increases BMW’s efficiency at producing automobiles and, thus, causes BMW’s production costs to significantly fall. As a result, BMW expands its output and lowers its prices. But also, BMW patents this new machine; only BMW can use it. What is the most likely consequence of this particular invention on the prices that General Motors, Ford, Toyota, and other auto makers charge for the automobiles they produce?
a. no change in the prices of non-BMW automobiles
b. the prices of non-BMW automobiles will fall
c. the prices of non-BMW automobiles will rise
d. there’s insufficient information to answer this question


The correct answer is b – the prices of non-BMW automobiles will fall.

Even though BMW invented the new, cost-reducing machine and even though BMW patents it (and, hence, BMW alone is allowed to use this machine), because BMW automobiles are substitutes in many people’s minds for automobiles produced by companies such as G.M. and Toyota, G.M., Toyota, and other automakers will have to reduce their prices in response to BMW’s lower prices.

The economic rule in play here involves that of substitute goods, which states that good B is a substitute for good A if, as the price of good A changes, the demand for good B changes in the same direction. So if B is a substitute for A, if the price of good A falls, the demand for B will fall, causing the price of B also to fall.

When the price of A falls (in this example, because of a cost-reducing new technique used by A‘s producer), the quantity demanded of A rises; consumers buy more units of A than they did before the price of A fell. With consumers shifting into A, they shift away from buying other goods and services; those goods and services whose demands noticeably fall as a result of the fall in the price of Aare substitutes for A.


Cato’s Dan Ikenson explains some of the craziness of “antidumping duties.

In my most recent column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, I ponder what I might say were some college foolish enough to ask me to speak at its undergraduate commencement.

The Institute for Justice identifies one source of slow job growth.

Arnold Kling’s idea of PSST – Patterns of Sustainable Specialization and Trade – deserves much more attention. It makes worlds of sense.

Regime uncertainty. (HT Mark Perry)

I just discovered – to my delight – that this paper by my GMU Econ colleague Dan Klein and UC-Santa Barbara history prof John Majewski on turnpikes and tollroads in 19th-century America is available on-line.


Who cops a caning this time?

Miranda Devine – Thursday, June 02, 11 (11:31 am)

So refugees are caned in Malaysia. Who would have thought?

The very people who caned John Howard over treatment of asylum seekers in Australia’s humane, well-run, sanitary detention centres are now proposing to outsource the job to a third-world country renowned for its cruel treatment of illegal entrants.

Why aren’t Julian Burnside, Tom Keneally and co sewing up their lips in protest, or whipping effigies of the prime minister, Julia Gillard and her immigration minister Chris Bowen, as they most certainly would have done if the Howard government had dreamed up such a half-baked scheme.

The government’s plan is to send 800 unauthorised boat people to Malaysia and take 4000 bonafide refugees in return to resettle in Australia, a five for one swap paid for entirely by us.

But the Daily Telegraph’s Geoff Chambers has uncovered evidence of whippings regularly meted out to illegal immigrants in Malaysia.

Despite assurances from Bowen that asylum seekers we ship there won’t be ill treated, he can provide no guarantees.

How will he protect them from caning once they have left Australia? You can’t put no-caning stickers on any asylum seekers who have come into contact with Australian authorities. Why would Malaysia rattan-wielders care what Chris Bowen says, anyway?

Our report shows that Malaysian authorities ignore the “community cards” issued by the UNHCR, so why would they care about Australia’s wishes.

The bright spot in the whole dismal policy is the joy of the 4000 Burmese refugees who will be welcomed to Australia with open arms. But Chambers has found their lives in Malaysia have been a daily hell.

And what was wrong with Nauru, apart from the fact that processing illegal boat arrivals there under the Pacific solution was a successful Howard government initiative?

The government ‘s excuse was always that Nauru was not suitable because it had not signed the UNHCR refugee conventions promising humane treatment. But neither has Malaysia. Clearly.

- I like people and welcome refugees. But the policy of Australia under the ALP since the dumping of the Pacific Solution I feel is appalling. I felt the Pacific Solution was fair and the best policy at the time. Following from it is an expensive regime that is unsustainable. The result will be that fewer refugees will come to Australia and be welcome. Because appropriate infrastructure is not being built people like Dick Smith are able to claim they have a point in saying that Australia has to cut its addiction to population growth. But Smith's position is also arrant foolishness. We can have a fair and substantial migrant intake. But not with the abysmal ALP policy as it stands.

The worst of it, for me, is that the ALP were lauded for their cold and heartless policy while they were in opposition. But while they were in opposition their policy had the virtue that no sane person would try to implement it. - ed



Tim Blair – Thursday, June 02, 11 (05:23 am)

Julia Gillard urges calm:

‘’The day after carbon pricing starts in this country, people will realise just how silly those claims were and I hope at that point that there’s a bit of an apology from Tony Abbott and his friends for going around and trying to scare people.’’

Tell us again about global warming, Prime Minister. While you’re at it, tell us how your carbon tax will simultaneously be virtually unnoticeable and also make consumers change their behaviour.



Tim Blair – Thursday, June 02, 11 (04:53 am)

Carbon tax capers with our local Laugh-In hosts, comedy duo Jonesy and Joycey. Act I – A Straight Answer:

TONY JONES: I’m asking you about what you’d do about it if you got into government, since you’ve promised - well let’s work this out.

BARNABY JOYCE: Well I’ll give you a straight answer.

TONY JONES: No, first of all: how will you ...

BARNABY JOYCE: OK, I won’t give you a straight answer.

TONY JONES: OK, well give me a straight answer on that.

BARNABY JOYCE: Straight answer is of course we’ve said from the outset that we would not introduce a tax and we’ll repeal it if it comes in, and of course if you’re repealing the tax, you’re repealing the mechanisms that go with it.

Act II – The Point About Cate:

BARNABY JOYCE: My point was that Cate Blanchett is a marvellous actor and this is another form of acting. It is putting forward a message that the Labor Party wants. Using their words, “Just say yes”. I mean, I’m glad they’re not talking about the death penalty. You know, “Just say yes, just say yes”. It’s what they’re always saying, it is part of the process supported by the ACTU, GetUp!, which is basically, as far as I’m ...

TONY JONES: She is an actor, yes.

BARNABY JOYCE: Yes, we agree on that.

TONY JONES: But she appears to believe what she’s saying. Are you saying that she can’t make that point because she’s out of touch with average Australians?

BARNABY JOYCE: I’m saying that the overwhelming feedback that I get is fervently against the carbon tax because it makes them poorer.

TONY JONES: But what was your point about Cate Blanchett being an actress?

Act III – The Knowledge:

TONY JONES: So should Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart, for example, being billionaires, both be excluded from the carbon tax debate?

BARNABY JOYCE: Well, I absolutely believe that if Clive Palmer or Gina Rinehart were to go out there advocating a carbon tax then I would just like ...

TONY JONES: They’re advocating against the carbon tax.

BARNABY JOYCE: Well, I don’t know.


BARNABY JOYCE: Well, congratulations.

A little more work on their timing, and these two will be ready for a show with an audience.



Tim Blair – Thursday, June 02, 11 (02:32 am)

And the latest winner of the Sydney Peace Prize is … Noam Chomsky!



Tim Blair – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (04:52 pm)

Kevin Rudd explains Julia Gillard’s carbon tax lie:

“I believe that she has been clear-cut in being explicit about the change in her position subsequent to the election.”

Thanks for clearing that up, Kev.

(Via Alan R.M. Jones)



Tim Blair – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (01:05 pm)

This is beyond hilarious. And so is the second comment at the post, which besides offering the racist view that only someone with indigenous blood could have written “something so exquisitely in touch with the Land”, gives this support:

I have never been so moved, so deeply moved in my life.

Another Cate fan in the same thread turns to Haiku:

Thermometer rise
Blanchett pleads, we all plead too
Abbott holds us back



Tim Blair – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (11:54 am)

A little earlier than most people would have expected, former Brisbane premiership player and Western Bulldogs forward Jason Akermanis enters the carbon tax debate:

Defending the Dogs is as predictable as poor government policy on carbon tax.

The whole thing’s become a non-stop Punch and Judy show.


How dare a conservative defend the working class betrayed by the Left?

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, June 02, 11 (10:22 am)

Journalism lecturer David McKnight, former editor of the Communist Party’s newspaper, finds he doesn’t like class-war talk after all - or not now that he’s on the wrong side of it:

Two academics, Sean Scalmer and Murray Goot of Macquarie University, examined several Australian newspapers, focusing especially on tabloid columnists such as The Daily Telegraph’s Piers Akerman and the Herald Sun’s Andrew Bolt.

Anti-elite culture warriors, they found, resorted to Australians’ well-known sympathy for the underdog. This was the basis for a rhetorical trick that portrayed a distorted image of the liberal-left as an extraordinarily powerful and all conquering force. Its critics, often rich and right-wing, were painted as embattled and intimidated.

Apart from allowing powerful voices to play the victim, this populist discourse had a sinister side, they said. It debated issues with extreme and violent language. Those with different opinions were enemies, not adversaries in debate. Scalmer and Goot argued that ‘’the differences between adversaries are tactical; those that separate enemies are moral. Enemies … are evil. Unlike adversaries, they cannot be tolerated, only destroyed.’’

Today, this political rhetoric is fostered by the US Tea Party and climate deniers worldwide.

To those with a long memory, the seizure of anti-elite rhetoric by the right has a funny, familiar ring. Simply put, it is a distorted echo of old-style Labor rhetoric, which strongly identified with the underdog and challenged big business. The right’s rhetoric is the result of a clever ideological smash-and-grab raid on the rhetoric of the left.

To compound his hypocrisy, McKnight, with his talk of corrupt deniers and his baseless smearing of the Tea Party as the inspiration of an assassin, is also guilty of precisely the demonisation that he perceives and denounces in his ideological foes.

Someone, please give that man a mirror.


Could be anyone

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, June 02, 11 (07:14 am)

I don’t know who:

TWO senior Labor MPs have unloaded on Julia Gillard, openly admitting to Coalition MPs at a function that she did “not have what it takes to be Prime Minister”.

(Thanks to reader Steve.)


All reported rapes in Oslo by foreigners: police

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, June 02, 11 (06:33 am)

From a UNHCR summary, news of a culture clash with terrible consequences:

A report released by the (Oslo) police on Wednesday states that all assault rapes during last year were committed by men with a non-Western origin. All the reported rapes during the last 5 years are done by men with a foreign origin. Police inspector Hanne Kristin Rodhe says the perpetrators often are unemployed, have been asylum-seekers during the last five years and come from a traumatized environment. She adds that their perception of women can be one of the motives behind the rapes.

The same pattern seems to be continuing this year:

Another woman reported a sexual assault during the night in Oslo, just two days after four women were raped in Oslo during a five-hour period on Saturday night. Police are investigating whether the same rapists may be involved in all four of Saturday’s cases… In all four cases, the assailants spoke broken English or Norwegian, or both.

Australia has not reported any such marked pattern. But we have had cases which illustrate a clash of cultures that disturbs a small minority of immigrants has proved so traumatic to a number of Norwegian women. From Melbourne this week:

A FOREIGN student who sexually assaulted seven victims claimed he was upset at the way Australian women dressed and behaved, a court has heard.

Libyan masters student Almahde Ahmad Atagore, 28, was this morning jailed for at least three years over the assaults in August and September last year.

He had been in the country only a month, on a sponsorship funded by his government.

But County Court Judge Margaret Rizkalla said Atagore wasn’t prepared for the cultural differences and felt isolated and depressed… Judge Rizkalla said he struggled to adapt to Australian life, without a mosque nearby and with little support…

But Sen-Det Dion Achtypis said outside court that Atagore’s nationality was not a factor in his crimes.

‘’There are many, many overseas students in this country who are law-abiding citizens,” he said.

Please remember that last line in discussing this.

(All racist and abusive comments will be ruthlessly dealt with.)


Prize conservatives

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, June 02, 11 (06:30 am)

Attention all young conservatives with a keyboard:

Menzies House is excited to announce our newest competition: $750 for 750 words!

That’s right, we are offering a prize of $750 for what we deem the best blog post written by a young centre-right Australian that is submitted to us in the next two months. But wait, there’s more! In addition to this, we will also be awarding a $250 prize for a People’s Choice award for the best submission - voted upon by you, our readers!

Details at Menzies House.


A tax that will hurt, not help

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, June 02, 11 (06:01 am)

Too low to actually cut emissions, too high to spare business:

JULIA Gillard’s key climate change committee is working on a carbon price of between $18 and $23 a tonne - a level that will deepen rifts with business groups demanding a starting price of no more than $10… Labor’s climate change adviser Ross Garnaut has recommended the price start at between $20 and $30 a tonne and increase by about 4 per cent a year…


Unfortunately, my own freedom to speak is constrained

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, June 02, 11 (12:02 am)

Not my instigation, and I am under my lawyer’s instructions to limit what I say. Which probably is the point of the evening:

Andrew Bolt: Freedom of Speech in Australia

Date: June 20, 2011

The Institute of Public Affairs is pleased to present Freedom of speech in Australia with special guest Andrew Bolt.

Other speakers on the evening include:

- Paul Howes - National Secretary, Australian Workers’ Union
- Dr David Kemp - Federal cabinet minister 1997-2004
- Michael Kroger - Leading political commentator
- Professor Jim Allan - University of Queensland

There will also be an exclusive video message from Mark Steyn on the evening


501 Bourke Street
Melbourne, Victoria

Start Time: 6:00 pm
End Time: 7:30 pm

To book, go here. I understand it’s already filling up fast, so if you’re interested, best skedaddle.

Needless to say, I am extremely grateful to those behind this event, and contributing to it. For someone more accustomed to feeling an outsider, it seems rather unreal.


Does a meow make a man a pig?

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (06:40 pm)

Stupid and offensive. But while it’s something someone would say to a woman rather than a man, does that in itself make it a sexist attack?

During a fiery Senate economics committee hearing this morning, Senator Wong clashed with Coalition senators and at one point, Liberal Senator David Bushby gave an audible “meow’’ in her direction and accused her of being sensitive.

Senator Wong fired back: “You meow when a woman does that ... that’s a good idea. It is just extraordinary.

“The blokes are allowed to yell but if a woman stands her ground, you want to make that kind of comment. It’s sort of schoolyard politics, mate.’’

Senator Bushby this afternoon released a statement apologising for his behaviour.

Would it not have been sexist if Bushby, the father of three girls, had insulted Wong using other language?

Nastier still, I thought, was to use one slip as an opportunistic smear of all:

During Question Time this afternoon, Social Inclusion Minister Tanya Plibersek accused Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and his senior frontbenchers of “sexist language”.

“There is room for humour… there’s room for rough and tumble. I think we all know that politics is a business where there’s a degree of conflict but what I am tired of and what so many woman are tired of is that whenever there is conflict we have the Leader of the Opposition and his senior ministers reverting to this sort of sexist language,” Ms Plibersek said.

As Opposition MPs screamed back in protest, Speaker Harry Jenkins appealed for calm and for the “temperature” in the chamber to be lowered.


And that promised surplus?

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (11:14 am)

A warning that all may not be well with the Budget forecasts, either:

THE Reserve Bank could hold off raising interest rates next week, with the economy likely to show its biggest contraction in two decades after the string of natural disasters took a greater financial toll than expected.

If there really is an economic contraction, the difficulty of selling a carbon dioxide tax rises.


The economy shrank by 1.2% per cent in the first three months of the year, as the blow to commodities exports caused by the Queensland flood triggered the first contraction since the December 2008 quarter.


Gillard feels a chill

Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (10:18 am)

Steven Goddard:

Canberra Has Not Warmed Over The Last 100 Years.

No wonder Julia is hysterical.

(Thanks to reader Another Ian.)

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