Tuesday, September 06, 2011

News Items and comments

ALP brand ruined by a bunch of Mad Men

Piers Akerman – Saturday, September 03, 11 (04:22 pm)

Fans of the Mad Men television show will recall the opening sequence - a series of caricatures falling in endless spirals through space.

Those computer graphics are a metaphor for the Labor brand today.

Gillard is the personification of the left, anyone that does not agree is not only wrong but flawed in character, regardless of whether they are in the press or the High Court

Gandalf of Gosford (Reply)
Sat 03 Sep 11 (04:59pm)
Leo Gere replied to Gandalf
Sat 03 Sep 11 (06:05pm)

“She’s as tough as (Craig’s) nails.”

DD Ball replied to Gandalf
Sat 03 Sep 11 (06:15pm)

Gillard is similar to any of many Labor luvvies over the years. Carmen Lawrence, Joan Kirner, Cheryl Kernot spring to mind. They don’t believe in anything. They feel they are pragmatic in taking actions that are left wing in nature, but they do it badly. So that health or education is ‘reformed’ which becomes code for saying that big pork barrels were rolled through them without touching constituents.

Gillard is also similar to Paul Keating. She is highly lauded and never achieved anything worthwhile. She is like Bob Hawke in being said to be someone who is a keen negotiator and seems to do so with her cards pasted onto her forehead.

I think what she has done has not been because she was made to do it, but because she has wanted to finesses it to make it appear her arm was forced. All of her achievements seem to be what she said she would do when she was a communist. It is seeming, not doing. It is time for this unseemly PM to go.

Winjan replied to Gandalf
Sun 04 Sep 11 (12:57am)

Gandalf of Gosford: Throwing the baby out with the bathwater isn’t constructive. Please don’t equate Ms Gillard to Keating, whose reforms put us in the position of prosperity to when John Howard took over. Also, Hawke was the pragmatic master negotiator that allowed consensus in the caucus. Not frightened rabbits with the cross hairs of a rifle on their forehead courtesy of Rudd.

Fast forward 1997. TV appearances on channel 7 sunrise with Kevin Rudd’s milky bar kid impersonation of all things wonderful for working Australians. Err, sorry about that folks, I’m really a millionare socialist and just wan’t to jet about the globe at your expense solving world problems that have nothing to do with.. err...YOU.

2010, Ms Gillard tells us that Kevin & the ALP had lost their way and she is going to rectify the last 3 years of something she was the chief architect alongside the gang of 4. Lindsay Tanner resign’s with his index finger down throat.

Summary, $40 billion dollar surplus gone, $200 billion accumulative debt, thousands of workers sacked because of grey suits and an unfair free trade agreement that other countries aren’t adhering to.

Look on the bright side. We have Julia & Tim in the lodge for 2 more years, wind turbines running at 30% efficiency with high maintenance cost’s negating their efficiency, power stations being de commissioned courtesy of Julia & Bob, green jobs that haven’t been explained except to school kids...chuckle...chuckle.

Finally, we have Parliament. The Labor front bench spewing out their vitriol & hate to the none believers in their fantasy world that the most imaginative comic writers couldn’t match with all of their collective minds.

No Mr Gandalf, don’t compare Ms Gillard, Roxon, Swan, Plebersick & Albanese to Keating or Hawke. This is just a moment in time that is a mistake............. excaim

deejay replied to Gandalf
Sun 04 Sep 11 (06:25am)

Well DD Ball, I have to disagree with you on one point about Keating. I hated that man with a passion, just as I hate gillard with a passion, but Keating did have the vision to implement the Superannuation Guarantee to force “savings for the future”, and whilst I was an employer and felt the pinch of the additional costs (I never built it into salary packages as some employers did), I believed then, and still do, that was Keating’s claim to fame. sp to speak.

Otherwise he was a foul mouthed, arrogant individual who, I thought, brought the parliament into disrepute.

A bit like the situationin place now. Labor never change.

Peter B replied to Gandalf
Sun 04 Sep 11 (07:14am)

Well said DD Ball. Labor are happy to implement the extreme Greens Socialist/Marxist Progressive agenda because Labor have also moved that far to the Left but they don’t want anyone to know it. When it all goes bad Labor will just point the finger at the Greens and say it is all thier fault. These political freaks are wolves in sheeps clothing and as Garrett said, “Don’t worry about what we say we will change everything once elected”. Lies, deceit, spin its business as usual for the disastrous Labor party.

Tony W replied to Gandalf
Sun 04 Sep 11 (07:15am)

Winjan, in a nutshell- thank you.
An experiment gone immensely wrong compounded by an immature group of individuals seeking to stamp their mark in the history books- they will- and for all the wrong reasons.

DD Ball replied to Gandalf
Sun 04 Sep 11 (04:40pm)

deejay, I get your point, but let me take it further. Keating also gave control of that Superannuation to Union groups so they get management fees and other benefits from the control of that superannuation. But it is true that the 9% was a good thing for the workers generally, and that is something Gillard would never do.

Gandalf replied to Gandalf
Sun 04 Sep 11 (05:58pm)

Winjan, I never emtnioned Keating, but since you bought it up I suggest you read MacFarlane’s Boyer Lectures. Keating and the left continue to act as if all the reforms were his, this is utter BS.

People power replied to Gandalf
Sun 04 Sep 11 (09:59pm)

The real Julia is a cartoon character staright out of looney tunes. Don’t go away mad Julia just go away People power

James replied to Gandalf
Mon 05 Sep 11 (09:47am)

You’re being too harsh, they’ve just lost their way.

...

Okay just kidding, I’m unable to say that with a straight face.

Peter replied to Gandalf
Mon 05 Sep 11 (11:29am)

Winjan You missed the the recessions, 20+% interest rates and over 10% unemployment. Leaving a debt of over 90 Billion Dollars you call constructive from Keatings. It was the savings that Howard and Costello made fixed our problems from Whitlam , Hawke and Keating era not counting Hawkes floating the dollar and dropping the tariff protectionism that we now find is a Anchor around the necks of our exporters.This it seem mining is being included with China looking else where for cheaper iron ore and coal , that is plentiful in other developing countries. Gillard / Rudd are no different then other Labor Federal and State Governments , ask any Queenslander. cool smirk

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Plotting class warfare

Miranda Devine – Saturday, September 03, 11 (04:11 pm)

Of all the toxic issues Julia Gillard has to contend with, education has been seen as her strong suit.

The Prime Minister has spoken in warm tones about education as “the foundation stone of opportunity”, being “central to my economic agenda”.

Her commitment to transparency via the My School website resonated with people while infuriating the powerful left-wing teachers’ unions.

But an own goal looms even in this friendly territory, one completely of Gillard’s making: a re-run of the divisive attempt to pit government schools against “wealthy” independent and Catholic schools.

Anything I say will be political because of who I am. If I point out that Boston was the Education Chief who seemed to initiate a smear campaign against me following the death of Hamidur Rahman from apparent school neglect. Boston had spoken at my graduation for a Dip. Ed. from Sydney Uni. His speech was dismal and uninspiring with lots of facts and figures. The fact that Australia needs private schools because they do an outstanding job teaching their students and their parents subsidise the education of the rest shouldn’t be forgotten.

I am also the son of Samuel Ball who championed independent and selective schools as a vital part of the community system. He took the reigns of the Victorian Board of Studies after they demolished their HSC under Kirner. He is dead now, but not forgotten. Bob Carr asked him to take charge of NSW Board of Studies too, but cabinet had other ideas, such are the vagaries of ALP politics.

If you value education you really want to vote for the conservatives. They aren’t opposed to community education, but the ALP are opposed to independent schools.

DD Ball of Carramar/Sydney (Reply)
Sat 03 Sep 11 (06:28pm)
BILLYBOY replied to DD Ball
Sun 04 Sep 11 (10:08am)

You have got to be kidding if you think that the current funding system is fair. I have heard nothing from the Labour Party that suggest they hate Independent Schools as a whole, just elements of it.

I had to choose a High School for my kid for next year and learnt a lot in the process.

1. Catholic Schools consistently receive about $9,500 per student from the Government, while Independent Schools of other relgioius denominations sometime receive close to nothing or generally less thab $6,500. WHY? More votes with Catholocs perhaps??

2. Many wealthy Independent Schools have aquatic centres, boat sheds and multiple sporting fields, and often require the parents to enrol their students as soon as they are born, such is the demand. Yet still they receive unrequired Government funding that is used to maintain immaculate lawns.

DD Ball replied to DD Ball
Mon 05 Sep 11 (03:58pm)

Billyboy, your understanding is limited, if those stats you quote inform you. Independent school kids get less than government kids from the government. The government cannot afford to make private schools all become government run. This means parents paying for private schools are subsidising government school kids. Anything else you hear is divisive rhetoric.

It is like ALP government neighborhoods and conservative run local councils. ALP may be heavily subsidized because their neighborhoods are poorer, but they waste much opposing graffiti and senseless damage. Meanwhile wealthy areas get parks and recreation with less money.

I can’t see one good reason why a portion of my taxes goes to private schools. They are all run by religious organisations and do nothing other than promote sectarianism and divisiveness. Why should I pay for Islamic, Jewish, Catholic, SDA etc schools? It is UNCONSTITUTIONAL for the government to establish religion and that is exactly what this funding does.

Bear in mind that there wouldn’t be a private school system in this country if it had not been for an argument over the “Book of Common Prayer” during the Governorship of Bourke in the 1830s! The Catholics wouldn’t agree to use an Anglican prayer book and we’ve had this sectarianism ever since.

Now, of course, the fastest growing “private school system” is the Islamic system and I can’t imagine them teaching the ideas of unity, democracy and the rights of women. Why should I pay for a bunch of 8th century religious zealots to train a cohort of children to hate the “infidel” - that is, all other Australians? Just try to enrol your kids in an Islamic School or a Jewish or SDA schools if you’re not a member of the “faith”. The Catholics aren’t much better as you now have to prove, in many places, that you are a practising Catholic to enrol your kids.

Generally I detest Labor and the Greens, but if they were to enforce the constitution and stop handing out my (and your) money to all religious organisations, then they’d get my vote.

It really is time for this country to become completely secular. Menzies made a terrible mistake and it’s high time it was ended. It is also time that all this BS chaplain rot and “ethics” classes were abolished as well. It is high time schools started teaching English, Maths and Science again and got out of the social engineering business.

About the most absurd thing I have ever seen was an old Nun and a Christian Brother teaching “sex education” classes and railing against contraception - and this by two people who had chosen the most effective contraception method there is i.e. celibacy! Given all the perverted thinking and taboos about sex in all religions, it just defies belief that such insane clowns are let loose on impressionable young minds. People should remember that on 11 September 2001 it was a gang of devout Islamic virgins who flew those planes into the WTC and Pentagon - in the mad expectation of going straight to paradise where they’d get to lose their virginity with 72 virgin houris! And I’m expected to pay for this sort of sick rubbish to be propagated!

Vulcan replied to Jack Richards
Sun 04 Sep 11 (11:17am)

And I begrudge paying tax for lazy layabout state schools with a far greater proportion of parents who don’t care. They envy what parents of private schools are willing to do. We live in a free country and the left want to stop that. Equality of outcomes; not opportunity.

Geoff of the Central Coast replied to Jack Richards
Sun 04 Sep 11 (12:05pm)

So you were twisted out of shape by the Christian Brothers?

Both my children attended public primary schools. My daughter attended a public high school; my son a private school.

Consequently, I can’t see one good reason why all of my taxes should go to public schools.

In my experience, at least on the NSW Central Coast, there is great ecumenity among the private schools.

I know of a Muslim family who sent their son to an Anglican school; I know an Anglican family who sent their children to an Adventist high school; I know an ordained Anglican priest sending her children to a Catholic high school.

The choices have all been made because of the quality of the education and the available programs. The children have all been accepted by the school communities and have have all received an excellent education.

As for the Islamic schools, Muslims erpresent about 1.7% of the population. So long as they do not receive any more than 1.7% of the education funding, I don’t see how we can object.

Private schools have been about choice.

The socialist system is all about the government insisting that they know better than their constituency.

So I agree, Jack, ‘It is high time schools...got out of the social engineering business.’

Sadly, that’s not the socialist way and there is no better example than Miranda’s previous column.

Sage replied to Jack Richards
Sun 04 Sep 11 (02:27pm)

Jack with respect - I wouldn’t equate Islamic with Catholic or Christian schools. You’ll lose that argument, since the oldest schools in Australia are Catholic and Christian, and the values they have taught have made us into one of the best countries in the world.

You can tell a tree by the fruit it bears. We are in the top ten in the world by measures which include freedom of opinion, freedom of religion, health (longevity), prosperity, and freedom from conflict and disease. We are also one of the happier, kinder, and more relaxed nations. Pretty good going, all up!

Our public education system, which Australian taxpayers agreed to introduce and pay for, permits children to have religious instruction (especially because a decent percentage are from those backgrounds). Public schools have also adopted many of the Catholic and Christian educational practices, as they were so successful. (Where these have been abandoned, there are problems.)

Re nuns: it was a valid occupational choice for women in those days - women who didn’t necessarily want to get married or have children, but had a spiritual outlook and wished to have a career in teaching. These women were mostly intelligent and had backbone. They were also in many cases ahead of their time in their opinions, knowledge-levels and thought-processes. Mary McKillop set up 117 schools, which offered education for the poor, working-class of Australia and gave them the headstart they needed. In some countries, the poor never got this chance, back then.

Maybe a more compelling argument you could advance is to say that the curricular material of the any Islamic schools in Australia could be required to reflect Australian long-standing values, (including high standards of education, and also the treatment of men, women and children according to Australian contemporary standards).

It is important to not muddle brainwashing by extremists with beneficial teachings about: being outreaching, loving fellow human beings, forgiveness, equal human dignity and the desirability of treating each other with respect, within a framework of discipline and high-quality standards.

(You rightly condemn brainwashing by extremists - which has been shown in many countries to be horrifically dangerous, not to mention detrimental to people’s standards of living and desire for freedom. And it also should be remembered that some of the most oppressive regimes in history have been secular-humanist, totalitarian ones. In short: extremism, of whatever nature, is the real enemy.)

DD Ball replied to Jack Richards
Sun 04 Sep 11 (04:51pm)

So Jack, you must be happy that independent schools get less from the government than government run schools. This means that parents who pay them are subsidising those government run schools .. that would be a good thing, right? Maybe there should be more independent schools. That way even less is spent by the government on education, allowing them to spend on important things like Thomson’s renovations.

Pete the gibberer replied to Jack Richards
Sun 04 Sep 11 (06:35pm)

Well if your post is an example of public education you’ve just lost the argument.

Catholicisnotadirtyword replied to Jack Richards
Sun 04 Sep 11 (07:32pm)

My taxpaying parents worked and saved hard to send us to private schools - partly because of religion/family tradition, but mainly due to a belief that they offered a better standard of education.

They were Catholic schools, and quite different from what you describe, Jack. I remember also learning about Hinduism and Buddhism - being encouraged to see different religions as just “different paths to the one God”. It made an impression on me as being quite ‘modern’ and ‘inclusive’, given Catholicism’s generally ‘bad rap’ in modern pop culture. Certainly far more ‘inclusive’ and ‘open-minded’ than my experience of the overwhelmingly intolerant Leftist dogma at university and some workplaces.

I remember nuns (who were sort of ‘on the way out’ at my school by then) patiently enduring mocking questions from the more outspoken girls, on issues such as abortion and contraception - there were no real ‘taboos’ that I was aware of. Of course it was much stricter in my mother and grandmother’s time: they were scared of the nuns and remembered them for their meanness.

What we all got out of Catholic education was a pretty solid grounding in the basics of reading and writing - the nuns were sticklers for correct grammar etc. And of course some semblance of the dreaded “V-word” - values.

I’m grateful to my parents for making the sacrifice. Especially given that, as taxpayers, they were already contributing towards government schools.

Christine replied to Jack Richards
Sun 04 Sep 11 (08:24pm)

“They.............do nothing other than promote sectarianism and divisiveness”.
This is not a true statement re Christian schools.
Many parents sacrifice to send their children to private schools, for a superior education, discipline, the teaching of values and, whether you like to hear it or not, in the expectation their children will not be mixing with the children of the growing underclass in our society. Parents cannot be blamed for wanting the above. If they sacrifice to pay for it, and are taxed for the education of public school students at the same time, they shouldn’t be criticised by the resentful and the prejudiced.

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Shovel Ready

by RUSS ROBERTS on SEPTEMBER 5, 2011

in STIMULUS

There is only one thing worse than having trouble finding shovel-ready projects when a Keynesian mind-set is afoot in the land. That’s having lots of projects that are easy to start. Here is an old (Feb 2009) New York Times article on what happened in Japan:

HAMADA, Japan — The Hamada Marine Bridge soars majestically over this small fishing harbor, so much larger than the squid boats anchored below that it seems out of place.

And it is not just the bridge. Two decades of generous public works spending have showered this city of 61,000 mostly graying residents with a highway, a two-lane bypass, a university, a prison, a children’s art museum, the Sun Village Hamada sports center, a bright red welcome center, a ski resort and an aquarium featuring three ring-blowing Beluga whales.

Nor is this remote port in western Japan unusual. Japan’s rural areas have been paved over and filled in with roads, dams and other big infrastructure projects, the legacy of trillions of dollars spent to lift the economy from a severe downturn caused by the bursting of a real estate bubble in the late 1980s. During those nearly two decades, Japan accumulated the largest public debt in the developed world — totaling 180 percent of its $5.5 trillion economy — while failing to generate a convincing recovery.

So maybe, just maybe, we’re lucky that there weren’t a lot of shovel-ready projects and that the so-called stimulus wasn’t twice as big.

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Bob Higgs’s latest blog-post is a must-read – one that deserves here to be singled out.

A slice:

Because of the great variety of ways in which government officials can threaten private property rights, the security of such rights turns not only on law “on the books,” but also to an important degree on the character of the government officials who administer and enforce the law. An important reason why regime uncertainty arose in the latter half of the 1930s, for example, had to do with the character of the advisers who had the greatest access to President Franklin Roosevelt at that time—people such as Tom Corcoran, Ben Cohen, William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter, and others of their ilk. These people were known to hate businessmen and the private enterprise system; they believed in strict, pervasive regulation of the market system by—who would have guessed?—people such as themselves. So, as bad as the National Labor Relations Board was on paper, it was immensely worse (for employers) in practice. And so forth, across the full range of new regulatory powers created by New Deal legislation. In a similar way, the apparatchiki who run the federal regulatory leviathan today can only inspire apprehension on the part of investors and business executives. President Obama’s cadre of crony capitalists, which he drags out to show that “business is being fully considered,” in no way diminishes these worries.

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Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

Even if everything Lord Keynes wrote about a capitalist economy is right, Nicholas Wapshott is wrong to write about Keynes that “we owe our understanding of how an economy works to him” (“Was Keynes a Keynesian? In theory.” Sept. 4).

Keynes contributed nothing to that most fundamental analytical tool used by economists still today: supply and demand. (That analysis was fully formed a generation before Keynes wrote.) Not surprisingly, then, Keynes added nothing to our understanding of the vital role of prices in allocating resources. Likewise, he added nothing to our understanding of competition, of the determinants of industrial concentration, or of the function of the entrepreneur. His contribution to international-trade analysis was minimal, as were his additions to our knowledge of economic history and of economic development.

The claim that “we owe our understanding of how an economy works” to Keynes is like saying that we owe our understanding of the way an automobile works to someone who famously explained only why automobiles sometimes run out of gas and what are the consequences of such a misfortune. Even if unassailable in every detail, such an explanation isn’t remotely close to being a “general theory” of how the mechanism in question operates.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

Hayek wrote in 1937 that “before we can explain why people commit mistakes, we must first explain why they should ever be right.” Reasonable people mightcredit Keynes with better explaining why people commit mistakes, but it is simply absurd to credit Keynes with playing a key role in explaining why and how economies work well enough in the first place ever to break down.

UPDATE (reflecting a comment that I just made to this post): If economics were automotive science, Keynes and the Keynesians can at most be credited with drawing more attention than pre- (or non-) Keynesians gave to the importance of keeping the automobile’s fuel tank filled adequately with gasoline. Yes, adequate fuel is important. The car doesn’t run without it. And Keynes and his followers also offered explanations for why the car’s fuel tank might become dangerously low on gasoline – explanations either regarded as special cases by non-Keynesians, or dismissed by non-Keynesians as wrong.

But even if Keynes’s and his followers’ explanations of why a fuel tank can get too low on fuel, and of what are (some of) the consequences of a fuel tank being too low on fuel, are compelling, such a focus says next to nothing about what makes the engine and transmission work. It says nothing about what the pistons do and how the pistons work in detail; nothing about how the energy produced by the engine is transformed smoothly into the rotation of the tires; nothing about steering; nothing about carbueration; nothing about braking; nothing even, really, about all the details of the mechanics of ensuring that the fuel is fed into the engine at just the right rate.

That is, even if non-Keynesian automotive engineers said too little (or too much that is mistaken) about the importance of keeping the fuel tank adequately filled with appropriately octaned gasoline – and even if everything Keynesians said about why and how the fuel tank can get too low, and about the consequences of its getting too low, is spot-on correct – the analysis offered by Keynes and his apprentice mechanics is not an explanation of how the car works. It’s no “general theory” of automotive engineering.

Not all – not even most – stalled or sputtering or herky-jerky or inadequately powerful automobiles can be fixed simply by adding more fuel to the tank. The problem almost always is something detailed, under the hood, in the ‘micro’mechanics of the engine, transmission, or some other non-fuel-tank part of the car. Simply creaming “add more fuel!” isn’t good automotive science even though there are situations in which adding more fuel is the correct remedy.

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The President’s Speech

by RUSS ROBERTS on SEPTEMBER 5, 2011

in STIMULUS, TAXES, THE CRISIS

What I’d like him to say is the same thing I wanted him to say in January of 2009. My druthers haven’t moved at all.

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Crumbling

by RUSS ROBERTS on SEPTEMBER 5, 2011

in STIMULUS

Whenever someone writes about infrastructure or bridges, they always use the word “crumbling” and say that we have neglected our infrastrucutre. We have to spend more, we’re told.

It is good to remember this picture from David Leonhardt’s November 2008 column on infrastructure that shows that federal spending on infrastructure as a proportion of GDP was actually higher in 2008 than it had been any time since 1981.

Here is Leonhardt’s assessment of the problem. This, of course, is before the stimulus passed. But Leonhardt was prescient about the problems:

The House recently passed a bill that would allocate $18 billion for new construction projects. Barack Obama has signaled that he will sign a version of that bill and probably ask for tens of billions of dollars of additional spending to create badly needed jobs and help fix up America in the process. Money is going to start flowing.

And yet when it comes to the nation’s infrastructure, money isn’t the main problem.

A lack of adequate financing is part of the problem, without doubt. But the bigger problem has been an utter lack of seriousness in deciding how that money gets spent. And as long as we’re going to stimulate the economy by spending money on roads, bridges and the like, we may as well do it right.

It’s hard to exaggerate how scattershot the current system is. Government agencies usually don’t even have to do a rigorous analysis of a project or how it would affect traffic and the environment, relative to its cost and to the alternatives — before deciding whether to proceed. In one recent survey of local officials, almost 80 percent said they had based their decisions largely on politics, while fewer than 20 percent cited a project’s potential benefits.

There are monuments to the resulting waste all over the country: the little-traveled Bud Shuster Highway in western Pennsylvania; new highways in suburban St. Louis and suburban Maryland that won’t alleviate traffic; all the fancy government-subsidized sports stadiums that have replaced perfectly good existing stadiums. These are the Bridges to (Almost) Nowhere that actually got built.

They help explain why our infrastructure is in such poor shape even though spending on it, surprisingly enough, has risen at a good clip in recent decades. Spending is up 50 percent over the last 10 years, after adjusting for inflation. As a share of the economy, it will be higher this year than in any year since 1981.

So if you talk to people who spend their lives studying infrastructure, you’ll hear two reactions to the attention that Mr. Obama, Nancy Pelosi and even some Republicans are now lavishing on the subject. The first is: Thank goodness. The second is: Please, please don’t just pour more money into the current system.

“The system is fundamentally broken. We send a blank check and kind of hope for the best,” Robert Puentes, the infrastructure maven at the Brookings Institution, told me. “We need an extreme makeover.”

We’re always being told that we need to spend more money to fix the problem. That is much easier than fixing how the money is spent.

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I agree with Joe Stiglitz

by RUSS ROBERTS on SEPTEMBER 5, 2011

in MONETARY POLICY

He thinks the Fed is corrupt. (HT: Seth Goldin) Too bad we don’t agree on what to do about it.

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… is from page 197 of Ron Chernow’s 1998 biography of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., Titan:

In 1875, Henry E. Wrigley, the head of the Pennsylvania Geological Survey, issued a doomsday warning that the state – and hence the world – production of oil had peaked and would soon experience a precipitous decline, aggravating fears that had overshadowed the oil industry since its inception.

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First thing we do…

by RUSS ROBERTS on SEPTEMBER 5, 2011

in LEGAL ISSUES, PODCAST

In this week’s EconTalk, Cliff Winston makes the case for deregulating the market for lawyers. The conversation is based on his new monograph with Robert Crandall and Vikram Maheshri, First Thing We Do, Let’s Deregulate All the Lawyers.

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If this is old news, why have two journalists been silenced?

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, September 06, 11 (04:59 pm)

Just what is everyone so frightened of?

First Glenn Milne has his entire column on Julia Gillard’s past relationship with a union conman pulled by The Australian, and is then dumped by the ABC as a commentator.

Now 2UE’s Michael Smith has been suspended for trying to raise the same issue and broadcast an interview with a former state president of the Australian Workers Union. Despite what Media Watch claimed last night, the decision to censor Smith’s broadcasts seems to have been based not on the usual legal grounds, because the interview and some subsequent material had been properly legalled. No, I suspect other considerations were behind it, and Media Watch should defend Smith, not slime him.

The issue isn’t so much whether you think this story is old news and a smear, or whether you think its relevant news about an issue that has never been fully investigated or properly answered.

The issue is whether you think the public should be allowed to decide such a thing for themselves, or whether you think government threats and a weak media should keep the information from it.

Again I should note that I make not the slightest suggestion that Gillard ever did anything underhand or remotely illegal. For me the issue was her judgment and the potential impact of the issue on her leadership. But now all that is as nothing compared to the issue now: a defence of a free press.

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Bring it on: Gillard to put her tax to Parliament next week

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, September 06, 11 (03:38 pm)

Labor has a choice to make: does it dump Julia Gillard alone, or the tax with her?

Everything suggests the tax be axed, too, but Gillard now ups the ante:

...the Government will introduce its carbon tax legislation into Parliament next week.

Lower house leader Anthony Albanese says parliament will start two hours earlier than usual next Tuesday in order for the 13 bills to be introduced.

How many of her successors want to be arguing for these bills today, only to dump when they take over?

Another reason to strike within the week.

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Why punish old workers?

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, September 06, 11 (03:12 pm)

Reader Professor Ashley W Goldsworthy (a former Liberal Party president) has a worry about our super rules:

1 I will be 76 in 8 weeks

2 I work full time as Chairman/CEO of 4 companies (one a not-for-profit employing 250 apprentices)

3 I have been a PAYG taxpayer all my working life and still am.

4 I manage my own DIY super fund.

5 Because of my age I am not able to make any contributions to my super fund.

6 Because of my age I face an increasing compulsory minimum withdrawal every year (even if I do not need the money because I am still working)

7 If the earnings of the fund are not sufficient to generate enough cash I then have to sell assts to meet the minimum withdrawal, and hence reduce the value of the fund.

8 Hence I have no way to further grow my super fund to support myself and family when I do retire. (I have four adult children all gainfully employed and 10 grandchildren)

9 I have never drawn a cent of welfare and yet am prevented from further ensuring I shall not be a burden on the public purse.

What is the logic in not allowing me to contribute superannuation while I am gainfully employed and why should I be forced to withdraw funds from my super fund, which can only have the effect of increasing the probability of one day relying on public welfare? Is it not to the benefit of the nation to encourage people to build their own super funds whilst still working (I am not arguing for large lump sum deposits)? I thought we were trying to encourage mature people to continue in the workforce? Why put disincentives in our way?

(No link to this email.)

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What Gillard crisis?

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, September 06, 11 (10:09 am)

image
image

Everything’s fine with Julia Gillard, and every Age reader should ignore any evidence to the contrary.

(Thanks to reader Joel.)

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Reopen Nauru, says Labor’s Bishop

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, September 06, 11 (07:12 am)

Bishop is right, of course, but Labor’s Left is now beyond such reason:

LABOR’S split over asylum seeker policy has deepened, with West Australian senator Mark Bishop becoming the first Labor MP to call unequivocally on the government to process asylum seekers in Nauru.

Senator Bishop declared it would be better for Labor to take some political pain to solve the problem properly…

Senator Bishop, from the right, said if the aim of offshore processing was abandoned, ‘’you encourage the boat people to go into overdrive. That will challenge the integrity of our immigration policy.’’

If Nauru came under the UN refugee convention - as it will later this month - ‘’you can have a proper office there doing the processing, staffed by Australian officials applying Australian law’’. It would not be significantly different to what happened when people applied to Australian embassies in other countries, Senator Bishop said.

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Thomson “wants to quit” but can’t

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, September 06, 11 (07:05 am)

It is illegal to offer a politician an inducement for his vote. Is it illegal to offer a politician $150,000 to stay in Parliament?

THE Labor MP embroiled in the union credit card scandal told confidants he wanted to quit politics but the party wouldn’t let him, sources claimed yesterday.

Close colleagues of former Health Services Union chief turned MP Craig Thomson said the scandal had all become too much for him, a source inside the party said.

“They have expressed the view he’d much prefer to go,” the source said. “It would be a lot easier with his family life, but he’s not allowed to.”

However, Mr Thomson said last night: “That is completely and utterly untrue and I am not resigning.”

Meanwhile, Labor is struggling to explain the payout even to its own members:

The claim comes after a heated meeting of Labor officials on Friday in which NSW Labor president Michael Lee defended the party’s decision to spend more than $150,000 on Mr Thomson’s legal bills. Party elder and former NSW MP Johnno Johnson is among those understood to have told senior party officials that the party would not be prepared to write a “blank cheque” for Mr Thomson, after it emerged the party had funded the legal fees to stop Mr Thomson becoming “bankrupt” and being forced to resign from parliament.

The money was paid after the defamation action Mr Thomson brought against Fairfax - over allegations that when he worked for the HSU he used his credit card to hire prostitutes - was settled.

Sources said Mr Lee told the administrative committee meeting: “We can’t afford a by-election. It would cost the party a lot of money, let alone the fact that we’d lose."…

But there is growing anger within the party at Sussex Street after it was revealed Mr Thomson had recently lodged a development application for a $100,000 extension to his Bateau Bay home…

Mr Thomson was telephoned by Sussex Street officials on Friday to establish why he had lodged the development application on his house, shortly after Labor agreed to pay his bills. He told the officials he had no plans to develop and simply lodged the DA so his property was worth more and he could borrow against it to pay down debts.

(Thanks to reader CA.)

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While the cat’s away, the mice will play

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, September 06, 11 (07:01 am)

I don’t know if this is a safe time for Julia Gillard to be out of the country for a few days:

A uniquely large number of world leaders are joining New Zealand’s John Key and Australia’s Julia Gillard at the Pacific Islands Forum summit that starts in Auckland ...

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Gillard stripped of another $900 million

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, September 06, 11 (06:56 am)

Another front opens in Labor’s war for survival:

PREMIER Barry O’Farrell will declare war on Julia Gillard in his government’s first budget today, announcing he will increase state mining royalties in retaliation for the Prime Minister’s carbon tax.

The decision will mean Ms Gillard will have to forego funds from her mining superprofits tax, putting the federal budget surplus of $3 billion for 2012-13 in jeopardy.

Under the PM’s deal with the mining companies, any state mining tax increase must be offset by the federal government cutting their tax by the same amount. A similar measure by WA Premier Colin Barnett earlier this year cost the federal government $2 billion…

Mr O’Farrell and Treasurer Mike Baird will argue NSW has no choice but to increase mining royalties unless Ms Gillard presents a compensation package for the more than $900 million the state claims its budget will be affected by a carbon tax over four years.

The first item of business for Gillard’s replacement: axe the tax.

(Thanks to reader CA.)

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Gillard was right: French is inconsistent

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, September 06, 11 (06:51 am)

Gerard Henderson says Julia Gillard was entitled to criticise Chief Justice Robert French:

In the wake of the Malaysia offshore processing case, the Prime Minister was entitled to express surprise that French’s judgment seemed inconsistent with decisions he made when on the Federal Court. Justice Dyson Heydon, in his dissenting judgment, cited two Federal Court decisions in which French found that the government had the right to send asylum seekers to another country…

Heydon cited six one-time Federal Court judges, including French, whose decisions he regarded as authority for the validity of the Gillard government’s proposed asylum seekers swap with Malaysia.

In his judgment, French did not address the decisions he made when on the Federal Court.

French was appointed Chief Justice of the High Court by the Rudd government in 2008 following the retirement of Murray Gleeson....

No one doubts French’s qualifications. However, the evidence suggests that - unlike Gleeson - French is heading up an activist High Court. In the Australian Financial Review which appeared on August 15, journalists Alex Boxsell, Samantha Bowers and Hannah Low cited experts as declaring that the French High Court “is gaining a reputation for striking down laws, frustrating contentious government policies and delivering novel and innovative judgments”.

University of NSW academics George Williams and Andrew Lynch, who are not opposed to judicial activism, have also reached a similar conclusion.

In a paper titled The High Court on Constitutional Law: The 2010 Term, the pair argue that the French court marks a “significant change” from the Gleeson court. Williams and Lynch depict the French court as taking on the Commonwealth and the states by a process of “undoubted constitutional creativity”. This is legalese for judicial activism.

All this is a worry, if true. But attacking French was bad politics. What’s more, it overlooks the point that five other judges agreed with his basic opposition to the Gillard Government’s plan.

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Rudd has a mate tell Gillard to resign

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

Phillip Adams once again takes dictation from Kevin Rudd:

JULIA, resign.... Resign, Julia. Resign yourself to the fact you’ve failed. Resign yourself to the fact nothing you do has a desirable political effect [What a Ruddish phrase - “desirable political effect” - Ed.]…

Resign yourself to the certainty that you’re leading your party to electoral slaughter…

Resign. You led the coup against Kevin Rudd… You were as responsible for his removal and humiliation as was John Kerr for Gough Whitlam’s. And it’s been a disaster....

While long pro-Kev I’m not blind to his shortcomings. He can exasperate, even infuriate.

But I’m persuaded [by Rudd? - Ed.] he’s learned lessons about being more courageous and collegiate. And let the record show that the excuses used by you and your fellow assassins were the policy failures that you Julia, you, pushed in both the full and kitchen cabinets. They were your policy failures as much as or more than his. [Er, wasn’t Rudd in charge, then? - Ed.]

At the same time you were blind to Rudd’s achievements, most importantly his tactical response to the global financial crisis mark I. It was fast, intelligent and successful. Few believe you can perform to his level for GFC II....

However, the most urgent issue is GFC II. Rudd is far better equipped to deal with it than you [Rudd choosing the most advantagous ground to fight on? - Ed.]

The same polls you used to justify his dismissal show voters would prefer him back in office.

Unless you want to reduce the parliamentary Labor Party to a rump, you must step down....Only with Rudd as prime minister will Labor have fighting chance against Abbott.

Resign, Julia. Resign.

Yesterday former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie suggested Rudd was again leaking against Gillard. Here’s his confirmation. oh, and some backgrounds: it was Adams who was granted Rudd’s first media interview after he was sacked as PM.

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Conroy has “grave doubts” about climate science

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, September 06, 11 (06:10 am)

In denying too glibly, Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy provoked someone to corroborate. Nikie Savva:

Last week Stephen Conroy strenuously denied the contents of a 2009 cable sent by the former US ambassador, Robert McCallum, saying that Conroy “cannot stand” Julia Gillard.

Perhaps McCallum misheard. Maybe one of my sources did too when he told me of another Conroy conversation which I reported recently as despair sinking to depression in Labor ranks.

A senior cabinet minister had confessed political life had become intolerable, acknowledging the carbon tax was destroying the government, yet they could not walk away from it; he admitted his grave doubts about climate change science, revealing himself as one more sceptic in the government, and effectively admitting the campaign on media bias was a diversion.

My source would not then allow me to name the cabinet minister. He changed his mind when he saw the WikiLeaks cable quoting Conroy, horribly inaccurately, of course. Conroy can also insist this conversation didn’t happen, just as he and his colleagues insist Gillard’s leadership is safe.

That Conroy is a sceptic of the theory that man is heating the planet dangerously is not news to me. Add fellow ministers Martin Ferguson, Gary Gray and even, some say, Craig Emerson and others.

But what concerns me is that Conroy, in his desperation to save the Government, could play with the “diversion” of a media inquiry to intimidate the press - an inquiry that, if left unchecked, could impose restrictings on press freedom. Like conniving at monstrous irrationality and irresponsibility of a carbon dioxide tax to “fix” a largely imaginary problem, it is putting politics above policy, and party advantage above the national interest.

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Newspoll disaster for Labor: 41 to 59

Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, September 06, 11 (05:46 am)

image

Newspoll is utterly devastating for Labor:

the Coalition has an all-time high two-party-preferred vote of 59 per cent compared with Labor’s 41 per cent.

For Julia Gillard personally, it is even worse:

Voter satisfaction with Ms Gillard ... fell six points to a record low of 23 per cent as dissatisfaction jumped seven points to 68 per cent. The only modern prime minister with worse personal support was Paul Keating, who had a satisfaction level of 17 per cent and dissatisfaction of 74 per cent in August 1993.

And we all know what happened to Keating when voters finally could get their hands on him, three years later.

Head to head with Abbott, it’s never been worse for Gillard:

Mr Abbott jumped clear to a nine-point lead over her as the preferred prime minister, with a rise in support from 39 per cent to 43 per cent. Ms Gillard’s support fell four points to a new low of 34 per cent.

This is Mr Abbott’s biggest lead over Ms Gillard ...

With Simon Crean and Bill Shorten unwilling to move openly against Gillard, the public sentiment is left to firm behind the man who actually helped to create this disaster in the first place:

Asked who out of Ms Gillard and Mr Rudd was the best candidate to lead the Labor Party, voters chose Mr Rudd 57 per cent to Ms Gillard’s 24 per cent.

And the Greens should feel humiliated, too. Labor has lost 10 points of its support, but not a scrap of its has gone to the Greens. Rather, these extremists have gone backwards, too:

...a two-point fall in Greens support from 14 to 12 per cent

UPDATE

Labor was doing much better than this when it decided its polling was so bad that Kevin Rudd had to go:

In the latest Newspoll survey, taken exclusively for The Australian last weekend, Labor’s primary vote was stuck at 27 per cent, eight percentage points below Labor’s primary vote on the weekend before Mr Rudd was removed… In June last year, Mr Rudd was nine points ahead of Mr Abbott, 46 per cent to 39 per cent, but last weekend Mr Abbott was nine points in front of Ms Gillard 43 per cent to 34 per cent.

UPDATE

Niki Savva has a sobering analogy as she writes off Gillard:

As gut-wrenching as it will be for Labor MPs to dispatch their second prime minister in a row, and to suffer all the bad jokes and gibes - including mine of Australia becoming the Italy of the Pacific, with four prime ministers in four years (Howard, Rudd, Gillard and Rudd?) - they have little choice. Gillard has shown she is not up to the job. Wayne Swan, who will also have to go when Gillard does, has described her as tough as nails. He’s right. One problem. Tough does not equal smart. She has made too many mistakes and shown a worrying inability to learn from any of them. Under her, Labor has fallen to its lowest levels ever…

No matter how much she wants to stay as prime minister, and her determination is formidable, it is now out of her hands. She has failed on policy, on administration, on credibility, on judgment and on presentation.

===

When cornered, blame Howard

Andrew Bolt – Monday, September 05, 11 (06:51 pm)

image

Mary Crock is billed by Radio National’s breakfast program as a “refugee law expert and professor of public law at the University of Sydney”. This expert refuses to believe that Kevin Rudd’s relaxation of the boat people laws in 2008 lured the boats, and tells a credulous Fran Kelly that John Howard is more to blame:

Incidentally the boat started coming from 2005, not 2008.

The Immigration Department is either telling lies, or Crock is spinning hard for Labor.

(Thanks to reader Michael.)

The music makes it what it is.
Source: www.youtube.com
TV commercial for the strongest cheese


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Election pledge. He didn't mean it.
President Obama didn't just find religion on deficit reduction during the debt-ceiling debate. Upon signing the stimulus bill, the president in February 2009 vowed to cut the deficit in half by the end of his term. But budget numbers released by the White House last week suggest he is not on track to meet that goal -- by a long shot.
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Liked on www.youtube.com
Natalie tells us all about the Asian Festival in her own not-quite-PC way!


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I want Palin to run and win
www.newsmax.com
Palin's Speech Seen as Hit on Perry 'Career Politician'


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Liked on www.youtube.com
If this Government believes it must put offshore processing beyond legal doubt by amending the Migration Act, then the Coalition is prepared to work constructively with them. http://www.liberal.org.au/Latest-News/2011/09/05/Tony-Abbott-Doorstop.aspx

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Thanks to abysmal federal ALP
A SENIOR al-Qaida leader believed to have been responsible for planning attacks on Australia, the US and Europe has been arrested in Pakistan, its army has announced.
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Smith admits there is no plan
IN A week that includes the funeral of the latest soldier killed in Afghanistan and the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, Defence Minister Stephen Smith has launched a new book on A...
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ALP are looking very tired
LABOR is bracing itself for two by-elections early next year, in a climate where the party's brand has been tainted at state and federal levels.
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I missed Wild Boys because Nat was on Generation. Some idiot programmer moved Camelot to another channel ..
SUNDAY was a great night for Australian TV, with more than 3.2 million viewers in the capital cities alone watching two home-grown dramas -- both based on real Australian stories.
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Public funding only goes to ALP supporters
WE expect a lot of artists. Actors in a play tread the boards eight shows a week, their lines perfect, entrances on cue. Musicians rehearse the thousands of notes in a symphony to play it two or three...
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It is a whole party thing.
THE demise of the Malaysian Solution has been shelved home personally to Julia Gillard, with new polling showing two out of three voters are unhappy with her performance.
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ALP policy is abysmal
FORMER mining and banking boss Don Argus has warned Australia's "woeful" productivity growth was threatening the nation, claiming future generations would look back in despair at the current political...
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ALP desperate for distraction
QUEENSLAND may have its own hung parliament with Bob Katter's new party poised to snare significant support at the looming state election.
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Pacific Solution is best and fairest
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard is preparing for a backflip on asylum seeker policy by signalling a deal with Tony Abbott which may revive the Malaysian Solution.
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He didn't drive like a responsible person
AFTER the heartbreaking task of nursing her dying mum, 17-year-old Jade Briggs then took on the role of caring for her little brother and sister when their mother died three months ago.
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They lied about the $90k too. It was actually $150k.
THE Labor MP embroiled in the union credit card scandal told confidants he wanted to quit politics but the party wouldn't let him, sources claimed yesterday.
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NSW Premier is responsible
PREMIER Barry O'Farrell will declare war on Julia Gillard in his government's first budget today, announcing he will increase state mining royalties in retaliation for the Prime Minister's carbon tax.
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They don't have X Men powers, but what they have is all in the genes.
The Jurassic is merely the stage in a new TV series from the Discovery Channel. In "Dinosaur Revolution," which premiers Sunday night, dinosaurs are characters with personalities that "act out" brief or even hour-long vignettes -- and it's all based on science.
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‎@BethanM190 ;D
Source: www.youtube.com
The second reel of Charlie Chaplin's silent movie short, filmed in San Francisco in 1915.


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From the Menzies House website:
Our Psychics Can Predict Your Favourite Movie!

Be honest and don't look at the movie list below till you have done the maths.

Try this test and find out what movie is your favourite.

It is a simple and amazing math quiz that can predict which of 18 movies you would enjoy the most.

It really works!

MOVIE TEST:

Pick a number from 1-9.
Multiply by 3.
Add 3.
Multiply by 3 again.
Now
www.menzieshouse.com.au
Menzies House is the leading Australian blog for conservative, centre-right and libertarian thinkers and activists.
· · · 22 hours ago
    • David Daniel Ball
      Now add the two digits of your answer together to find your predicted favourite movie in the list of 18 movies below.

      Movie List:

      1. Gone With The Wind

      2. E.T.

      3. Blazing Saddles

      4. Star Wars

      5. Forrest Gump

      6. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

      7. Jaws

      8. Grease

      9. The Gillard farewell speech of 2012

      10. Casablanca

      11. Jurassic Park

      12. Shrek

      13. Pirates of the Caribbean

      14. Titanic

      15. Raiders Of The Lost Ark

      16. Home Alone

      17. Mrs. Doubtfire

      18. Toy Story

      Now, ain't that something...?
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I deny the rumor that the ALP has apologized to me for what they have done.
www.news.com.au
APPLE is fighting off speculation it is about to launch its own line of television sets.


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