Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sat 26th Jan Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns Alex Duong. As Mae West said, "it isn't the men in your life, but the life in your men." She'd know.

January 26Tu Bishvat (Judaism, 2013); Australia Day (1788); Liberation Day in Uganda (1986)
Palomar Observatory





[edit]Holidays and observances



Tim Blair – Saturday, January 26, 2013 (4:03am)

Controversial magistrate Pat O’Shane yesterday ended a career that has been anything but light-hearted by quoting Bugs Bunny.
“As Bugs Bunny says ‘That’s all folks’,” Ms O’Shane said. 
The magistrate is mistaken:



Tim Blair – Saturday, January 26, 2013 (3:28am)

The Sydney Morning Herald is embarrassed by Australia’s flag:


More embarrassing: not being able to spell “embarrassing”. As for new flag proposals, how about designers come up with something that doesn’t look as though a spaceman has vomited in the sky?


How could an Australian government be this authoritarian?

Andrew BoltJANUARY262013(9:19am)

The Gillard Government plans laws against free speech so absurd and so draconian that they unite David Marr, the IPA’s James Paterson and Sue Cato in opposition. (But Marr seems not to realise how broadly the word “intimidate” can be defined by a willing and creative judge.)


Fairfax columnists celebrate Australia Day

Andrew BoltJANUARY262013(8:58am)

You know it’s Australia Day when Fairfax newspapers run opinion articles violently attacking Australia’s:
flag ("You can’t believe in multiculturalism and support a flag that asserts the primacy of the Anglo race."}
history ("The wind-stench of bodies burned in bonfires hangs heavy upon the nation’s conscience and in the clouds.")
- constitutional monarchy ("The democratic and egalitarian assertion of our national sovereignty provoked during Bodyline and the Great Depression continues to serve us well on Australia Day 2013. I believe that reflecting on those events will eventually hasten the approach of an Australian republic..."}
Meanwhile, happy new arrivals - little daunted by our flag, history or monarchy - celebrate their adoption by this great land:

Happy Australia Day.
(Sydney Morning Herald blurb via Tim Blair, who has more.)


Happy Race Riot Day from Labor

Andrew BoltJANUARY262013(8:41am)

Christopher Pearson marks the anniversary of a vile and degrading new form of political warfare: 
APART from its usual theme of understated patriotism, Australia Day this year has a new resonance. It is the first anniversary of a race riot fomented within the Prime Minister’s office.

In the aftermath, the junior staffer most directly involved lost his job. But John McTernan, the former aide to Tony Blair who was recruited as Julia Gillard’s director of communications, remains her chief spinmeister. He is widely credited with having authorised inciting the crowd at Canberra’s Tent Embassy. It was done by wantonly misrepresenting Tony Abbott’s remarks on the role of the embassy in a radio interview that morning.

McTernan makes no apology for his approach to politics. He’s on the record saying: “If you get to senior positions, you have to be able to kill your opponent. It’s not pretty; it’s not pleasant, but if those at the top can’t kill, then those at the bottom certainly cannot. High politics demands very low political skills too.”
Interest in Mr Hodges’ travels and work over the past year appeared to touch a sensitive nerve in the prime minister’s office with Ms Gillard’s media director John McTernan asking “Why are you trying to contact Tony Hodges?’’

“A man nobody has ever heard of, doing a job nobody knows what it is,’’ Mr McTernan said.??"It is not a story, that’s all I am saying. My staff are not stories. My former staff for sure aren’t stories. I think it is ridiculous. I don’t want to keep that to myself.

“Tony Hodges is not a story. Tony Hodges is a private citizen, an Australian working abroad.’’
Ross Fitzgerald, although no conservative, has had enough of this unprincipled form of politicking:
A recent federal government brochure mailed to every household in every marginal seat in Australia highlighted tax cuts, schoolkids’ bonuses, teenagers’ bonuses, cash for training, pension increases, carbon tax compensation, dads’ leave, paid parental leave, income support, household assistance and so on. As the Greeks have discovered relatively recently, cash for all is a great strategy until the money runs out.

The Gillard government starts the year with its surplus promise in tatters and deep questions about what Labor truly stands for. The proud party of Curtin, Chifley, Whitlam, Hawke, Keating, Beazley and even Rudd now sells itself as little more than a political ATM, offering cash withdrawals to what it considers to be the most useful voting groups…
The decapitation of Kevin Rudd, the carbon tax betrayal, the protection of Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper, and the scandal-plagued NSW branch have left the Labor brand toxic.
Federal Labor has eight months at most to repair the damage. It can do so only if it goes back to its foundations and becomes a party of values again…

It means you don’t attack the Leader of the Opposition for fighting a bushfire, or call him a misogynist because he thinks Slipper is no longer fit to be Speaker of the national parliament. Everyday people don’t do that.


Shock: Aborigines don’t like being patronised by white woman

Andrew BoltJANUARY262013(8:17am)

Julia Gillard’s “captain’s pick” of a celebrity Aborigine to replace an unhelpfully white Senator doesn’t seem to have impressed exactly the kind of people it was meant to: 
INDIGENOUS ALP members are considering flooding Labor’s national executive with preselection nominations in protest at Julia Gillard’s “captain’s pick” of Olympian Nova Peris to head the party’s Northern Territory Senate ticket.

The protest is being considered as some members of Labor’s national executive consider splitting and voting for dumped senator Trish Crossin, who will be a candidate in Tuesday’s contest.
However, Ms Peris is assured of overwhelming victory, with the Right faction backing the Prime Minister’s request for the former athlete to be preselected and other elements of the Left also locked into the decision.

On Thursday, Ms Peris was forced to issue an extraordinary denial to combat “malicious and unfounded rumours” about her time at the NT Education Department, explicitly rejecting any misuse of departmental assets, or that she had ever been questioned over furniture at two girls’ academies.
As I argued on Thursday, dumping Crossin for Peris was a racist decision - and Adam Giles is not surprisingly offended by the implied insult to genuine Aboriginal political talents such as him:
A RISING Aboriginal Northern Territory politician Adam Giles has ... accused the Prime Minister of making a choice based on race rather than merit and suggesting Ms Peris would be a “pet Aborigine” in the parliament.

Mr Giles, the Minister for Local Government, Infrastructure and Transport in the Mills government, told The Weekend Australian: ... “It is not about just having some sort of token or pet Aborigine in parliament. People want representatives based on merit, not on race.

“I think it is quite obvious to everyone that Julia Gillard has picked Nova based on her race rather than on her merit—and I’m not reflecting on Nova.”
Giles even suggests Aboriginal voters are less racist than the Prime Minister - as in more inclined to judge people as individuals than as representatives of some “race”:
He said it was wrong and “disrespectful” to suggest that Aboriginal people would vote for Ms Peris because of the colour of her skin.
Prominent Territory indigenous figure and Labor Party member Tracker Tilmouth said the Territory election had taught Aborigines their votes mattered. “Unfortunately, this hasn’t been able to be properly read by the Prime Minister,” he scornfully declared. ”Probably the last time she saw a real Aborigine was when she was licking a postage stamp.”
If I’d said that, what hell would break loose?


Australians drive bored Muslim men to violence

Andrew BoltJANUARY262013(7:35am)

An astonishing spate of shootings in Sydney seems largely the work of one ethnic group, identified only deep in this Sydney Morning Herald report. Yet the only culture blamed is the Australian one: 

There has been more than one public shooting every three days in Sydney in [2012] and the target is increasingly becoming human life. Among the 135 recorded incidents in the past 12 months, eight men have been shot dead and dozens more injured.
It was the late 1990s when the city began to be exposed to ‘’young men doing things with guns’’ that they had not done before, the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research director, Don Weatherburn, says…
Tensions between rival crime groups in the late 1990s fuelled problems around Cabramatta, while drive-bys and shootings hit another peak as gangs around Telopea Street in Punchbowl erupted and the infamous Darwiche and Razzak families fought out bloody gun battles believed to have been sparked by two marriage breakdowns, drug turf and a spat in a Bankstown cafe…
The young men turning to guns across south-western and western Sydney are a product of a downtrodden society, their communities say. They are often unemployed, bored, frustrated, discriminated against and highly disaffected, with little else to do.

Albert Darwiche, whose family was involved in an eight-year conflict with the Razzak family that ended with five people dead and numerous houses shot at, says many of those involved in this wave of shootings are second-generation Middle Eastern men.

Their parents’ generation lived with strict family hierarchies yet many of these men have been ‘’Australianised,’’ Darwiche says, ‘’and have lost the custom of listening to and respecting their parents...”
So the more “Australian” they become, the more likely they are to shoot -= as few Australian men actually do? This is actually an Australian thing?
Can’t we instead discuss (which this long Herald article doesn’t) how Middle Eastern culture - and specifically Lebanese Muslim culture - might hinder integration and license violence?
Answer? No:
The president of the Lebanese Muslim Association, Samir Dandan, says the government has left western Sydney behind.
Oh, just a problem of governance, not culture. 
And watch out, those who dare try to argue otherwise. We have laws against that kind of frank talk.

CONTROVERSIAL anti-Islamic Dutch MP Geert Wilders will face protests from Muslims and others in Melbourne next month.
The Baillieu Government has also warned that Mr Wilders could fall foul of the state’s hate speech laws if he incites tensions.
Mr Wilders had been due to visit Australia last year but had to postpone the trip following delays in processing his visa.

He opposes the “Islamisation” of the Netherlands and has called for the banning of the Koran, which he equates with Adolf Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf.


So much for peak oil and a “clean energy future”

Andrew BoltJANUARY262013(6:59am)

The announcement that shatters two popular green myths:

Brisbane company Linc Energy yesterday released two reports, based on drilling and seismic exploration, estimating the amount of oil in the as yet untapped Arckaringa Basin surrounding Coober Pedy ranging from 3.5 billion to 233 billion barrels of oil.
At the higher end, this would be “several times bigger than all of the oil in Australia”, Linc managing director Peter Bond said.

This has the potential to turn Australia from an oil importer to an oil exporter.
So what now for this green myth, as promoted by Fairfax: 
PEAK oil and climate change are on parallel paths. Both are inextricably linked and can only be solved together, requiring a shift away from a reliance on fossil fuels into what is now called the “post-carbon economy”....

International Energy Agency chief economist Faith Birol warns that the output of conventional oil will peak in 2020 if demand continues… [A] German military think tank report strategically leaked online warns that peak oil will occur soon [and] could threaten democracy… It also warns of market failures, huge tax rises, food shortages and widespread rationing…

To tackle peak oil, the government needs to implement the Henry review’s recommendations to change the fringe benefits tax formula for company cars that potentially encourages drivers to clock up mileage, and introduce road congestion charges. It will also have to invest more in public transport, promoting alternative fuels and subsidised infrastructure for electric cars… Peak oil might provide governments with just the excuse they need to make tough calls on climate change.
And what of this second green myth, promoted by the Prime Minister:

I see a great clean energy future for our great country… This decision, to put a price on carbon, is a major reform to build a clean energy future… To act on climate change. To cut carbon pollution. To build a clean energy future. 


From Tahrir Square, a message for Obama

Andrew BoltJANUARY262013(6:45am)

President Hosni Mubarak did not even wait for President Obama’s words to be translated before he shot back. 
“You don’t understand this part of the world,” the Egyptian leader broke in. “You’re young.”
Mr. Obama, during a tense telephone call the evening of Feb. 1, 2011, had just told Mr. Mubarak that his speech, broadcast to hundreds of thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo, had not gone far enough. Mr. Mubarak had to step down, the president said.
Minutes later, a grim Mr. Obama appeared before hastily summoned cameras in the Grand Foyer of the White House. The end of Mr. Mubarak’s 30-year rule, Mr. Obama said, “must begin now.” With those words, Mr. Obama upended three decades of American relations with its most stalwart ally in the Arab world, putting the weight of the United States squarely on the side of the Arab street.

It was a risky move by the American president, flying in the face of advice from elders on his staff at the State Department and at the Pentagon, who had spent decades nursing the autocratic — but staunchly pro-American — Egyptian government. ’
And now:

Tens of thousands of demonstrators descended on Tahrir Square in Cairo, two years to the day since the protests began that eventually led to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s dictator of 30 years.
They were led by liberals and leftists, secular political activists who claim the revolution has been hijacked by Islamists, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohammed Morsi who together eventually triumphed in the country’s first free elections.

They accuse him of reverting to Mr Mubarak’s authoritarian style, as well as moving Egypt backwards with a restrictive Islamist constitution.
One of those protesters sends Obama a message: 
Britons and all other westerners were told to leave the Libyan city of Benghazi on Thursday after diplomats received warning of an “imminent” terror threat in the wake of the Algerian hostage siege…

There have already been several reports of links between Libya and the Algerian hostage takers.
The weapons used by the kidnappers were said to have come from the country, while some of the militants who took part are also reported to have been involved in last year’s attack on the US consulate in Benghazi…
Thursday’s warning is a serious blow to Libya’s post-revolution credibility and raises fears of a dangerous “security vacuum” in the country in the wake of the Nato-backed uprising which toppled Colonel Gaddafi.

Michael Aron, Britain’s new ambassador to Libya, told The Daily Telegraph that he now feared terrorists could use the country as a base in future to attack Britain. 
After all the Gillard Government did to drive Gaddafi from power, and this is our reward?
AUSTRALIA has joined Britain, Germany and The Netherlands in urging its citizens to immediately leave Benghazi after London warned of a “specific and imminent threat” to Westerners in the Libyan city where the US ambassador was killed in an attack.


Japan drops out of the carbon race

Andrew BoltJANUARY262013(12:20am)

The Climate Commission assured us Australia was far from alone: 
In terms of reductions in emissions from their ‘no further action’ growth path,Australia’s 5 per cent emissions reduction targets are broadly comparable in emissions reduction to the targets of the United States, Japan, Europe and China, which together make up more than 50 per cent of global emissions.
Targets are, of course, very different to achievements - especially in China’s case.. And now this: 
Japan will rethink its international pledge to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Thursday, indicating the nation may have to lower its goal.

Suga told a news conference that Tokyo will set a new target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions because the Fukushima nuclear crisis has made the original goal difficult to achieve.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to instruct Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara on Friday to rethink the 25 percent cut target and work out new measures to curb global warming during a ministerial meeting on reviving the economy.

“We have argued that a 25 percent reduction is an unattainable target,” Suga told reporters.
Shows, among other things, how important nuclear power is to going green. And how much on its own the Gillard Government increasingly is in its warming crusade.
(Thanks to reader John.)




A new analysis of hundreds of fossilized teeth from across North America shows there may have been three times as many species of tiny, flesh-tearing dinos roaming the United States and Canada than previously believed.


As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant.

It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners... he is a joy to be around.."

His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."

His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."

Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class."

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper That he got from a grocery bag Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume.. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to." After the children left, she cried for at least an hour.

On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets.."

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling* her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer.... The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you Mrs. Thompson for* believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference."

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you."

(For you that don't know, Teddy Stoddard is the Dr. at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.)

Warm someone's heart today. . . pass this along. I love this story so very much, I cry every time I read it. Just try to make a difference in someone's life today? tomorrow? Just "do it".

Random acts of kindness, I think they call it?

"Believe in Angels, then return the favor."



Beloved, today, when you are caught in a situation and you don’t know what to do, who do you look to? 

Joseph in the Bible knew that God was the source of his wisdom. When Pharaoh said, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it,” Joseph immediately replied, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace” (Gen 41:15–16).

Have you noticed that Joseph was not looking to himself to provide an answer? He was looking to the wisdom of God. When Joseph gave Pharaoh the interpretation, Pharaoh saw that the Spirit of God was in Joseph and that there was none who was as wise and as discerning as Joseph. And Pharaoh placed Joseph in charge of the whole of Egypt (Gen 41:38–41).

Today, stop looking to yourself for the answer. Ask the Lord for wisdom. The Bible tells us in James 1:5 that if any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach. Beloved, Jesus is the source of your wisdom and the answer to every difficult situation you face.


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Hi everyone! Here's the newsletter for January 25th. Enjoy!

From the Blog

Rotten to the core (Part 2): Readin’, writin’ and Deconstructionism

The Washington, D.C., board of education earned widespread mockery this week when it proposed allowing high school students — in the nation’s own capital — to skip a basic U.S. government course to graduate...

Meet ‘Mr. Climate’

Politico is running a lengthy article about the outgoing senator and incoming Secretary of State entitled “John Kerry: Mr. Climate”...

Joe Biden’s gun tip of the day: You don’t need an ‘assault weapon’ for home protection — just get yourself a double-barrel shotgun

Sheriff Joe Biden held what was billed as a Fireside
Gaffe Hangout today on gun control...

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