Tuesday, June 21, 2011

News items and comments

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

Thomas Geoghegan’s outburst against Boeing’s plan to operate a factory in South Carolina is a swirl of disingenuous, illogical, and economically laughable assertions (“Boeing’s Threat to American Enterprise,” June 20). To the extent that one deciphers this zany mess, Geoghegan’s argument boils down to this: by taking advantage of a less-costly source of labor, Boeing undermines its own quality and America’s industrial might while discouraging young people from going to college.

Nonsense.

Firms remain vibrant in a competitive economy by constantly reducing their production costs. And switching production activities from high-cost workers to lower-cost workers is no less effective a means toward this goal – and no more unusual or ominous – than is switching production activities from high-cost workers to lower-cost machines.

Would Mr. Geoghegan argue that Boeing’s consistently increasing mechanization of its operations over the years promoted American industrial decline? Would he support government efforts to force Boeing to destroy all of its computers and have its aircraft designed instead by armies of engineers equipped only with slide rules and pencils? Would he want Boeing’s production-line workers to use only 1950s-era (or, better yet, 1920s-era) hand tools? Does Mr. Geoghegan think that returning to such labor-intensive methods of aircraft design and production would improve the quality of Boeing’s operations and products while simultaneously promoting America’s industrial might and encouraging young people to go to college?

The head aches just to pose the questions – and aches worse to realize that his ‘arguments’ imply that he’d answer ‘yes.’

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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Munger on exchange and power

by RUSS ROBERTS on JUNE 20, 2011

in PODCAST

Mike Munger is this week’s guest on EconTalk. It’s superb. Maybe his best ever. Full of interesting insights into why some people judge certain transactions as unacceptable even though both parties are made better off. Check it out.

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JULIADOZER

Tim Blair – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (05:49 am)

The big surprise of the last 12 months isn’t that the Labor government has turned out to be so bad. It’s that Julia Gillard has turned out to be such an ordinary politician.

After all, we knew going into the last year that Labor wasn’t up to much. Past is prologue, and so on. But Gillard was sold to Australia as Labor’s best parliamentary performer, a whipsong speaker whose tactical kung-fu would confound her leaden conservative opponents.

Moreover, Gillard’s personal style and story made her easier to warm to than the Chinese-speaking Christian curiosity she replaced. Daughter of immigrants, hard working, not a hint of snobbery. Residents of her unpretentious western suburbs electorate enjoyed meeting Gillard at the shops. Frequent hairstyle changes suggested an endearing eccentricity rather than self-obsession.

And, importantly, she’s a she. If you had to design an ideal modern Labor politician, an everywoman for everybody across every issue, you’d come up with someone very similar to the member for Lalor.

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379 DAYS UNTIL LABOR’S OMERTA TAX

Tim Blair – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (05:44 am)

A carbon tax code of silence in Queensland:

Crisp’s Coaches owner Russell Crisp said he was struggling to find information on how his business would be affected, saying often people were scared to open up.

“They don’t want to say too much in case they say the wrong thing and they definitely don’t want to write anything down because it leaves a paper trail,” he said …

Mr Crisp admitted one thing he knew for sure was “any carbon tax will be passed on to the consumers”.

There’s the great certainty Labor keeps talking about.

Rose City Shoppingworld manager Jason Gard said the tax was “just another expense for people to be incurring” and would hit the pockets and confidence of consumers.

“The cost of simply living is going to get more expensive and people are going to have less disposable income,” he said …

Chamber of Commerce president David Littleproud said the tax could delay recovery from the floods.

That’s three more entities for the big list. Incidentally, if you’d like to see your business included, just identify it and list your concerns about the tax in comments. Gerard Henderson:

Labor’s dilemma is that a carbon tax/ETS upsets its traditional supporters in the suburbs and regions, who are worried about power bills and secure employment, while not satisfying the inner-city left, who are relatively secure financially and want to see most or at least some of Australia’s coal industry phased out. Needless to say, such a position does not go down well in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, the Hunter and Illawarra regions in NSW, Victoria’s La Trobe Valley or in Western Australia.

This is a story that some journalists miss. In December 2009 The Age’s Tim Colebatch predicted that Abbott’s position on the ETS was “the worst threat to Coalition unity in our lifetime”. In fact, when Malcolm Turnbull led the Coalition, Labor looked good. But Abbott’s ability to strike at the contradiction in Labor’s support base is causing considerable harm. Gillard Labor’s essential problem is policy.

Many journalists thought the carbon tax would boost Labor. Seriously.

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MISSED THE MARK

Tim Blair – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (04:29 am)

Saturday’s Australian ran Mark Steyn’s excellent “all bumps, no road” column.

That’s good.

But in both print and online editions, the Mark Steyn they used for the photo byline was this fellow.

That’s … not so good.

(Via the Weekend Libertarian)

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Recall the recall option

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (07:03 am)

It would be much better for democracy and stable government if NSW simply went back to unfixed three-year terms instead:

A PANEL of constitutional experts will investigate introducing California-style recall elections in NSW to give voters a ‘’safety valve’’ to dump unpopular or corrupt governments.

The Premier, Barry O’Farrell, yesterday announced he had appointed David Jackson QC, constitutional expert George Williams and politics academic Elaine Thompson to report on the issues around introducing recall provisions…

Mr O’Farrell proposed examining recall elections last year as voter anger with the former scandal-plagued Labor government intensified but there was no mechanism to force an early general election.

How would Julia Gillard survive if we had a recall provision federally?

Four year terms are simply too long. Oppositions get demoralised, and have trouble finding people prepared to commit their most productive years to waiting around for so long just for a crack at power. Governments can cruise for too long before feeling the hot breath of the voters on their necks. Accountability can be so delayed that the voters forget the sins that needed punishment on election day.

Go back to three year terms. The recall option just makes any firm decision making too politically risky even on day one, encourages too much populism, and threatens to put governments in permanent re-election mode.

For the first time Liberal governments have these four year terms. I would like to see what they make of it. I know the ALP failed with them, but the ALP failed with any government.
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Just the kind of protest to confim the fears

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (06:48 am)

image

Worried about Islam in Australia? The burka? The growing them vs us tribalism of some immigrant groups?

Well, plenty of people will kindly explain you just need to become more tolerant, while other people will demonstrate you should also become deaf and blind:

A MUSLIM woman sentenced to six months’ jail for making a deliberately false statement that a racist policeman tried to forcibly remove her burka has been freed on appeal.

Judge Clive Jeffreys said he was not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt it was Carnita Matthews, a 47-year-old Muslim woman from Woodbine, NSW, who accused the police of racism because the person who handed in the complaint to police was wearing a burka at the time.

To reach the level of proof of identity to prove the case, it appears Mrs Matthews would have been required to identify herself by lifting her burka at the police station to prove her identity - which is what started the uproar in the first case.

More than a dozen Muslim supporters linked arms and began chanting “Allah Uh Ahkbar” as they stormed out of Downing Centre, Sydney, with Mrs Matthews concealed behind them.

Tempers soon rose and they began jostling with police after several members of the group began attacking TV cameramen.

Mrs Matthew’s lawyer Stephen Hopper defended them, saying: “They are obviously happy with the result and are expressing it in a way that is culturally appropriate to them”.

I did not know that taking in immigrants, including refugees, required us to accept “culturally appropriate” ways of expressing pleasure that involved fighting police and attacking journalists. If this deal had been explained front-up, I rather suspect Australians would have voted to slam shut the door.

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Rudd: the Lodge is now “boganville”

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (06:27 am)

Nikki Savva confirms what I’ve heard - that Kevin Rudd runs down Julia Gillard as a woman of no class or intellectualy curiosity:

Rudd ... apart from privately calling the Lodge boganville, refers to her with a string of expletives deleted.

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Kroger: Gillard will resign

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (06:27 am)

Michael Kroger thinks Julia Gillard will be gone before the election - and perhaps even by Christmas:

To put Gillard’s disastrous polling performance into context, should Saturday’s polling result be repeated at a general election, Tony Abbott’s majority would be 74 with the Coalition ending up holding 112 seats, Labor 35 and Independents three…

None of this is to say that Gillard will face a challenge to her leadership. The power brokers who brought Gillard to power and saved Labor from defeat in last year’s election are politically exhausted ...

The likelihood is that Gillard will resign the leadership between now and the next election…

Who then would lead Labor in expectation of a Gillard resignation? It is fair to say that Labor will want the 2013 leader to lead it to the 2016 poll and therefore it would have to pick someone who is assured of winning their seat. Given that the current swing against Labor is 9 per cent, that rules out Wayne Swan (on a margin of 3.2 per cent) and probably Stephen Smith (5.9 per cent)… Bowen’s disastrous handling of the Immigration portfolio probably rules him out of the leadership anyway and Rudd will never return to his former glory for all the reasons his caucus colleagues know. This leaves Greg Combet (12.7 per cent) and Bill Shorten (16.8 per cent) as the likely candidates.

My guess is that after having had two disastrous dalliances with Left leaders (Nathan Rees in NSW and Gillard), the Right of the Labor Party won’t really want to try that trick again.

The likely outcome therefore is Shorten as leader and Combet from Labor’s Left as his deputy.

Nikki Savva thinks there’s still one step to go before Gillard is gone:

the minute that people start to feel sorry for her is the minute which will mark the beginning of the end...

There was a twinge, a momentary pang of pity at the press gallery’s midwinter ball when the comedian Julia Morris had to introduce her twice because the first time there was barely a smattering of applause, especially embarrassing given probably 300 of the 600 there were Labor ministers, MPs, staff and former staff…

There is nothing about her demeanor now… that would allow her enemies to feel sorry for her because she is finished, nor so diminished that her friends want an end to the misery.... Anyway, it’s hard to feel sorry for someone so unwilling to admit mistakes, usually a prerequisite for repeating them which is what she does.

But the only survival strategy Savva can report from Labor involves dumping the carbon dioxide tax that’s killing the party - which, however they may deny it, means dumping Gillard with it:

Right now at least three cabinet ministers hope the tax collapses. They can’t dump it without dumping Gillard, so the next best option would be if the Greens and or the independents did their dirty work for them. You could be forgiven for thinking the government was trying to engineer this, first by infuriating the Greens and independents in prematurely announcing a $12 million advertising campaign, and then by offering the same compensation package which the Greens rejected when it was part of Rudd’s scheme.

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We may only vote if we vote Green

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (06:21 am)

Bob Brown is all in favor of a vote, provided the vote goes his way:

Let the people decide. Bob Brown, ABC’s 7.30, January 21, 2010:

LET Australians have a say now. It’s a very simple thing, a plebiscite, indicative, it doesn’t lock governments in, but says, “yes” or “no”, to the prospects of Australia becoming a republic.

Or maybe not. Bob Brown on Radio National Breakfast yesterday:

TONY Abbott’s call for a plebiscite on a carbon price - is that a good idea?

Brown: No . . . It’s a waste of public money for an indicative plebiscite, which would be binding on no one.

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Stockdale whacks Reith

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (06:14 am)

Peter Reith has badly overplayed his hand, and the Liberals get a distraction that’s not useful:

THE battle for the federal presidency of the Liberal Party has turned nasty, with incumbent Alan Stockdale accusing his opponent, Howard government minister Peter Reith, of running a “ruthless” public campaign against him that is damaging the party.

In an email sent yesterday to 114 members of the party’s federal council, which will decide the presidency on Saturday, Mr Stockdale, who was treasurer of Victoria in the Kennett government, also takes aim at another Howard government minister, Amanda Vanstone, who wrote in support of Mr Reith’s candidacy in the Fairfax press yesterday… Ms Vanstone ... warned that the Liberal Party was “heading for the cemetery” if it did not embrace change.

In Mr Stockdale’s email, which was leaked to The Australian, he .... says Ms Vanstone’s article “illustrates one of the main dangers of Peter’s candidacy” and accuses her of “a deliberate campaign tactic that is strongly against the interests of our party” because it “tends to create the public impression that Liberals themselves believe our party is moribund"…

“The style of campaign Peter and Amanda are running gives you, as a member of the federal council, a very clear choice about the type of president you want - whether you want a collaborative, consultative president who works within the party or . . . a combative, high media profile president who sees the party as incompetent and requiring a public shake-up over a series of radical proposals.

“Nothing could better illustrate the dangers of Peter Reith’s being elected president than the fact that Peter and his supporters have deliberately chosen to run their campaign in the media and to make it newsworthy by attacking the party,” Mr Stockdale added.

Stockdale is wrong if he doesn't think it a mistake to not use IR reform as an issue.
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Labor is now unsellable almost everywhere

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (05:46 am)

The latest polling figures from South Australia show that Labor’s brand is bust almost everywhere:

The latest Newspoll, conducted exclusively for The Australian from April to this month, has the Liberal opposition still well ahead, 54 to 46 per cent on two-party-preferred terms, 15 months since the Rann government won re-election for a third term…

The Liberals, on 40 per cent, retain a comfortable primary support lead over Labor, on 30 per cent. The Nationals remain on 1 per cent, the Greens on 14 per cent and other parties and independents on 15 per cent.

A primary vote of just 30 per cent?

Does Labor understand how fatally it’s split its base between urban “progressives” and blue collar voters, particularly with its global warming obsession - a cause that would sacrifice the poor to the pagan earth gods of the pampered?

Check Labor’s results around the country:

Federally

Newspoll has Julia Gillard’s Labor at a dreadful 45 to 55 of the two-party preferred vote. Nielsen says it’s even worse - 41 to 59 per cent, with Labor pulling just 27 per cent of the primary vote.

Queensland

Newspoll in May had the LNP with a huge 60-40 lead over Anna Bligh’s Labor.

Tasmania

Tasmanian polling outfit EMRS in May had the Liberals on 48 per cent, Labor on just 25 per cent and the Greens on 22 per cent. The Greens could even replace Labor as the major party of the Left.

Western Australia

April’s Newspoll had Labor miles behind Colin Barnett’s Liberals, 43 per cent to 57 after preferences.

New South Wales

The state election had Labor winning just 36 prer cent of the preferred vote, to the Liberals’ 64.

Victoria is the only state where Labor remains vaguely competitive, but even there it lost last year’s state election - by a single vote.

UPDATE

Gerard Henderson:

Labor’s dilemma is that a carbon tax/ETS upsets its traditional supporters in the suburbs and regions, who are worried about power bills and secure employment, while not satisfying the inner-city left, who are relatively secure financially and want to see most or at least some of Australia’s coal industry phased out. Needless to say, such a position does not go down well in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, the Hunter and Illawarra regions in NSW, Victoria’s La Trobe Valley or in Western Australia.

This is a story that some journalists miss. In December 2009 The Age’s Tim Colebatch predicted that Abbott’s position on the ETS was “the worst threat to Coalition unity in our lifetime”.

Colebatch was absolutely right, with the exception of just a single word. It’s Labor unity that is now destroyed. Proof, incidentally, that journalists too often confuse the world as they believe it should be with how it actually is.

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A chink of workplace freedom

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (05:39 am)

It is utterly absurd that we have a law and a bureaucracy that could meddle like this in the first place:

EMPLOYERS have claimed victory in their long-running quest to inject more flexibility into the Gillard government’s workplace laws after Fair Work Australia overturned contentious employment restrictions and ruled that students could be employed after school for as little as 90 minutes.

My God, but do we have an army of fingerwaggers out there.

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Just harden up

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, June 21, 11 (05:28 am)

I am very grateful that Professor James Allan was one of the speakers last night in what was quite an overwhelming event for me:

LAST night nearly 600 people in Melbourne paid to attend an evening in support of free speech. The audience and speakers were also there to support columnist Andrew Bolt who has been taken to court for an opinion he voiced in the Herald Sun. The legislation that allows that sort of speech-stifling action is terrible legislation in my view, and so I was happy to be one of five invited speakers.

The gist of my remarks were that the fight for free speech and the liberty to speak up on public issues - issues not excluding who we want to receive affirmative action or group rights-type benefits that attach only to a special few in society - is a fight that will never go away....

And those who attended were not just supporting Bolt but freedom of speech and of liberty more generally. Because let me blunt. In my view this Racial Discrimination Act, the part amended by the Racial Vilification Act that gives us section 18C and in some circumstances makes hurting someone else’s feelings, is awful.

Think about it. Someone’s subjective sense of being offended or humiliated has been made determinative of whether an unlawful act has been committed, subject to a few exemptions in section 18D.

That’s a terrible statutory provision. It ought to be repealed. Now…

The only sort of free speech that matters is the sort that offends some people somewhere… I think that in any well-functioning democracy it is incumbent on all citizens to grow a thick skin. If you’re offended, tell us why the speaker is wrong. Tell us why he or she is misguided or has defective moral antennae. Don’t go to court and seek a court-ordered apology, or orders prohibiting publication of views you find offensive, or some two-bit judicial declaration.

And as a legislator under no circumstances pass statutes that allow for the creation of this mutant, half-baked right not to be offended. The very fact that people can be dragged through the courts - whatever the ultimate outcome - has a massive chilling effect on free speech. I know it. You know it. And our legislators ought to know it too, and do something about repealing this terrible piece of legislation.

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No respite for Labor: another 45 to 55 poll

Andrew Bolt – Monday, June 20, 11 (03:10 pm)

Essential Research has Labor’s 2pp support at the same terrible low recorded last week by Newspoll: 45 per cent to 55 per cent.

Even Greens voters prefer John Howard’s Pacific Solution to Julia Gillard’s Malaysian deal, and sceptics outnumber warmists by four to three.

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Latham had Rudd's number. Oakes too has his number.
THERE are two ways to deal with dumped political leaders. They can either be accommodated or destroyed. The fatal mistake the Labor Party made when it knifed Kevin Rudd last year was that it tried to ...
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No reason to assume his guilt. But he is French. I suspect he is classier than what he has been accused of by a left wing keen to balance accounts
A FORMER French minister has been arrested over rape claims that drove him to resign last month, sources said.
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More death threats from global warming scientists
POLLUTION and global warming are pushing the world's oceans to the brink of a mass extinction.

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Sounds like something terrorists would do.
PAKISTANI cops have said a nine-year-old girl was strapped with a bomb and told to blow up a police checkpoint.
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I have heard those scientists threaten the world with destruction for no good reason, but I am unaware of any threats made against them.
MEMBERS of the scientific community are receiving death threats as debate over Julia Gillard's carbon tax intensifies.
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The ALP parasites are hurting the sickest as a budget measure. Then spending $50 billion on pork barrels
SOME of the biggest names in Australia's consumer health industry have joined forces to pile pressure on the federal government to have crucial medicines subsidised.
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Gillard promised it. She can pay for it.
NSW is the latest state to refuse to pay for aerial repairs for all pensioners living in public housing as part of the switchover to digital television, leaving many caught in the increasing stand-off...
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Sounds great. I might begin to enjoy nights out.
HOTELS and clubs will lose their licences if they allow drunk people, drug dealers or violent conduct on their premises as few as six times over a three-year period, under new laws to be introduced by...
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Cool
FORGET ferries, hovercraft could revolutionise the way commuters get to work on Sydney Harbour.

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Let us hope the Greens don't get their way
LORD Mayor Clover Moore has found allies in the NSW Greens who want to spend almost $1 billion on bike paths over four years.
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A new tax on poor people. Thank you Gillard
FAMILIES will be slugged another $65 a year for gas because major retailers refuse to absorb rising network costs.
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She has a lot of contempt for her constituents.
HAVING lost the state's top job and with her once all-conquering party now a shell of its former self, it has been a tough year for dumped premier Kristina Keneally.
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She was a person, not cheap breeding stock. If he wanted to father children with her, he should have married her.
ONLY months before she disappeared without a trace, Amber Haigh told her family the father of her childwanted to use her as a surrogate mother, an inquest heard yesterday.
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NZ model of ETS is a failure which also exempted agriculture and is strangling mining pushing her into recession. That could be Australia's future
IF you think paying $1.50 a litre for petrol in Sydney is bad, try $2 a litre in New Zealand under its emission trading scheme.
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We know Oakeshott's plans include timing out the plebiscite by talking a lot and then bowing to the ALP
BETWEEN them they gained just 40,000 votes to get into Parliament - now three independent MPs will decide whether millions of Australians get a say on a carbon tax in a national plebiscite.
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I don't blame teens of today. But I would crucify the thugs that made those creatures.
MINUTES after being beaten by a gang of three youths, bloodied World War II veteran Bob Setter pulled himself to his feet.

David Daniel Ball I believe in teaching. In raising children. I get it that there are people who are bad, but they can't form groups unless it is the raising that is bad. The kids belong in detention and later in jail. But there will be more of them unless the community sorts out its issues.
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The judge is an ass. T
THE Muslim woman accused of lying about police trying to tear her burqa off has avoided jail - because her identity couldn't be proven.
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because he promised inaction and more of the same
www.foxnews.com
More than five months after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head, the White House has yet to take any new steps on gun violence, even though that's what President Obama called for in the wake of the shooting.
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This is Gillard's compassionate policy at work.
www.news.com.au
THE brother of an Indonesian teenager currently held in a Perth jail on people smuggling charges says the 16-year-old is confused about why authorities think he is an adult.
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It isn't supposed to be that dangerous to be a cop
www.news.com.au
THE boss of slain Gold Coast police officer Damian Leeding has been stabbed during a violent drug raid.

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I already do that under federal legislation as a tutor
www.news.com.au
RETAILERS have won the right to cut minimum shift lengths worked by young employees to just one and half hours a day.
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He wasn't Taliban. He was a coward who died before being arrested
www.news.com.au
THE Afghan soldier who murdered army cook Lance Corporal Andrew Jones has been shot dead.

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Happy birthday master
www.icompositions.com
It was on Valentine's Day in 1989 that I was able to get the core of the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra (LucasFilm) to come record an orchestration of my little piano solo REVERIE. With the miracle of Logic, I have been able to re-EQ the performance this week, adding also subtle pizzicato, bassoon, a



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