Monday, February 04, 2013

Mon 4th Feb Todays News


Happy birthday and many happy returns David Dung Trieuand Benjamin Legrand. Born on the same day, across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
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Constantin von Tischendorf

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Events

[edit]Births

[edit]Deaths

[edit]Holidays and observances


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Polls show nation is waking up

Piers Akerman – Monday, February 04, 2013 (8:23am)

The two polls released overnight reveal that at this moment, the Australian electorate has tumbled to Julia Gillard’s disgraceful leadership.
A majority of voters do not believe her reasons for announcing the 227-day run-up to the unofficial “this is not a campaign” election date.
Voters have flipped from their views recorded during the January holiday period.
No-one should ever have bothered with those figures.
The Australian newspaper’s Newspoll puts Labor’s primary support at 32 per cent - a wipeout of the six-point gain recorded between December and January - as the Coalition’s support rose four percentage points to 48 per cent in the past three weeks.
With the Greens steady on 9 per cent and “others” going from 9 per cent to 11 per cent since the poll in January, the two-party-preferred figure has the Coalition back with a huge election-winning lead of 56 per cent to 44 per cent.
Labor’s primary vote is back to the level it was at the end of the parliamentary year in December, and the Coalition’s primary support is the highest since July last year. On a two-party-preferred basis, using preference flows at the 2010 election, the Coalition has its biggest lead since July.
The Galaxy poll published in The Daily Telegraph and other News Limited newspapers today puts Labor’s support at 35 per cent and the Coalition’s at 48 per cent.
That gives a two-party-preferred lead for the Coalition of 54 per cent to 46 per cent.
Apart from the party votes, the Newspoll reveals the biggest shift in sentiment in the past three weeks has occurred on the question of who would be the better prime minister, with Gillard’s clear, six-month lead over Opposition leader Tony Abbott coming to end as she announced the election.
Gillard’s support as preferred prime minister fell four percentage points from 45 per cent to 41 per cent, while Abbott’s support rose six points from 33 per cent to 39 per cent.
The two-point lead in Gillard’s favour is the closest the two leaders have been since September last year. Gillard’s 41 per cent is the lowest since August last year and Abbott’s 39 per cent is the highest he has had since July last year.
The national phone poll of 1015 voters shows that Labor’s primary vote is at 35 per cent - down three points from the 38 per cent achieved at the 2010 election.
Support for the Coalition has climbed from 43.6 per cent at the last election to 48 per cent. The Greens, facing their first poll under new leader Christine Milne, have dipped from 11.8 to 10 per cent.
Which is all good news for those anxious to see the back of this Labor-Green-Independent minority government.
Today, Gillard will traipse to Yarralumla for a photo session with the Governor General and to watch nine new ministers and parliamentary secretaries get sworn in.
Her presence in the photo will be a reminder of the shambolic government Australia has endured since the 2010 elections.
Politics is in a state of flux.
Each week, if not each day, there will be a reminder of union corruption, Labor’s ties to the union movement, and the many failures of the Gillard government.
The polls have shown the direction the nation is taking.

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KEEP RUNNING

Tim Blair – Monday, February 04, 2013 (8:06pm)

Azahara Abdou Maiga offended Timbuktu’s vengeful Islamists
She sometimes failed to cover her face when venturing out. Most heinously of all, she carried pictures of Western pop stars, notably Celine Dion, on her mobile phone. 
For these crimes, the 20-year-old was whipped, jailed and then raped by five Islamist psychopaths.
When French forces turned up in the city last week, however, the Islamists held out for mere hours. Then they ran away.

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THEY’RE ALL OUT TO GET HER

Tim Blair – Monday, February 04, 2013 (4:50pm)

When Christopher Pyne said yesterday that “this government is starting to resemble a scene fromDownfall,” he was right on the money
Julia Gillard has accused her own MPs of trying to destroy her Government from within as she addressed a shattered caucus ahead of the resumption of Parliament tomorrow.
A source inside the caucus told The Daily Telegraph that the PM said she was aware that MPs had been leaking to journalists with the intention of backgrounding against the Government. 
It gets better: 
Ms Gillard then claimed that the source for her claim of backgrounding MPs was a journalist. 
The hunt begins. Who might this double agent be?

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BLUNDERDOME

Tim Blair – Monday, February 04, 2013 (1:00pm)

CBS commentators quickly mentioned that there was no public safety risk during Superbowl XLVII’s big lights-out. That’s no small matter in New Orleans, where things can get a little bloody in the dark. The place is even stranger during a Superbowl week.
UPDATE. We’re coming up to 30 minutes of no play thanks to banks of lights shutting down. It’s thegreenest Superbowl ever!
UPDATE II. “Beyond belief,” emails US reader Dan F. “That’s our green future. By the way, what the heck is Beyoncé’s carbon footprint?”
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2013 IS NOW PERFECT

Tim Blair – Monday, February 04, 2013 (12:17pm)

Good news: former Sydney Morning Herald senior political correspondent Margo Kingston is no longer retired. Great news: she’s still the same old Margo … 
The Prime Minister has made a bold, perhaps revolutionary decision that has already flummoxed the MSM and will be fascinating to watch play out this election year.
She’s detached herself from the 24 hour news cycle. 
Gillard’s apparently done this despite several press conferences in the past week. The woman is magical. 
That’s why she looks grounded. Settled. Real. Her stridency has gone. She can even shed a tear in public, as she did today at her farewell press conference to two minister friends. 
Just as well Gillard merely lost a couple of parliamentary pals. If the Attorney-General and the government’s Senate leader had quit, she might be in trouble. 
I reckon she began moving into this new phase of her leadership after the public’s overwhelmingly positive response to her misogyny speech compared so starkly to the Press Gallery’s overwhelmingly negative one. Despite the powerful media forces determined to crush her, lots of Australians hadn’t heard their narrative, or at least hadn’t been smothered by it. They were frustrated too, and their sense of release hearing her speech released her too. 
Released her from where? 
In the two months I’ve been watching politics again I’ve seen her relax into the practical consequences of this moment of clarity. She has begun making public statements on twitter, cutting out the so-called messengers. 
Gillard has been on Twitter since 2010, and writes nothing newsworthy
She began the year with her controversial captain’s pick, wore the yucky flak, and then made a huge captain’s call by completely freaking out the Press Gallery in her first public set piece. Election date set … She also chose that moment to begin wearing glasses in public. 
Do they match the yucky flak? 
They symbolise her psychological detachment and her physical shield from the lemming-like ADHD madness of a media in existential crisis. 
I wear glasses for the same reason. Also to read. 
After the Thomson arrest, she again traumatised the MSM by not rushing in to comment on or spin it. She’d been busy with Bundaberg flood victims, she said, and really, this was a matter for police. Which it is. So they reported she’d ‘deflected questions’ on Thomson … 
Which she did. 
She wore it, and she’ll keep wearing it. 
Are we talking about the glasses or the yucky flak? 
Did you notice at today’s press conference that she gritted her teeth and set her jaw as the usual inane questions lobbed from journos? Contempt and endurance. 
The same qualities are needed to get through this column. By the way, these repeated press conferences … how do they square with someone who is detached from the 24 hour news cycle? 
She’ll keep showing up to Press Gallery press conferences and take all the questions ... 
Well, not all the questions: “While Ms Gillard ducked reporters questions at the event …” 
She will because she wants to keep proving to Australians that she’s up for it. Unlike Abbott, whose speech to the Press Club was designed to make the media like him, she’s transcended that tawdry goal. 
Absolutely. Margo is several steps past “like”. She hasn’t been this infatuated with a politician since her adoration of Mark Latham and Pauline Hanson. 
Julia Gillard is going to do this year her way. Yes folks, she’s real and she’s free and she’s talking to us, not them. Weird. 
You got that right, Margo. Welcome back.

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WAKE IN FRIGHT

Tim Blair – Monday, February 04, 2013 (3:40am)

Simon Benson reports: 
The private confession of one Labor MP over the weekend could sum up the mood of the caucus as it meets today.
“I am now to be known as the man who is afraid to wake up,” the MP said. “I live in constant fear of what new disaster tomorrow will bring.” 
Today brings polls, firstly from Galaxy
With a two party preferred vote of 54/46 in favour of the Coalition – a 4 per cent swing against the government since the 2010 election – Labor could expect to lose at least 14 seats …
The Coalition’s primary vote remained at record highs of 48 per cent, while the Greens dropped back to 10 per cent, and Independents and others still at 7 per cent …
Treasurer Wayne Swan quashed suggestions he was considering retirement and confirmed he would contest the seat of Lilley in September. 
Wayne Swan confirms things all the time. Over at Newspoll – skittish in recent months – today’s result is even worse for the government: 
Labor’s primary support has plunged six points to 32 per cent with that of the coalition strengthening four percentage points to 48 per cent in the past three weeks.
This gives the coalition a massive 56 per cent to 44 per cent lead in the two-party preferred figure ...
Ms Gillard’s support as preferred PM fell four percentage points from 45 per cent to 41 per cent, while Mr Abbott gained six points from 33 per cent to 39 per cent. 
At least children have their government laptops. At a cost of $2505 per unit.

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Is Gillard too weak even for a Kim Carr? UPDATE: Gillard attacks own MPs

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY042013(4:32pm)

A weak excuse is offered for Julia Gillard’s announcement of two resignations on Saturday. She was too weak to even risk a no-hope challenge by Rudd-supporting Kim Carr against Gillard-supporting Steve Conroy: 
JULIA GILLARD chose to announce the resignation of two senior ministers just days after naming the date of the federal election, in part to stop a battle over the top Senate job becoming a proxy for still simmering leadership tensions.

Senior government sources said that announcing the resignations of Nicola Roxon and Chris Evans earlier would have risked a protracted factional fight over Senator Evans’s replacement as leader of the government in the Senate.
Ms Gillard’s strategists were particularly concerned about a ballot possibly pitting Gillard backer Stephen Conroy, who now appears set to take the job unopposed in a caucus vote on Monday, against the Rudd supporter Kim Carr.

It was the timing, rather than the content, of Ms Gillard’s ministerial reshuffle that drew criticism even from some of the Prime Minister’s supporters, many of whom thought that with plenty of warning about the resignations she should have announced them before naming the election date seven months early.
Not much in that explanation seems convincing. So if it really is what motivated Gillard, heaven help Labor.
UPDATE
Most voters didn’t accept even Gillard’s first explanation for calling the election date, according to Galaxy:
Re-enforcing the view that the PM has a significant battle ahead of her to restore trust with the community, 53 per cent of voters said they didn’t believe her explanation. Only 41 per cent accepted the PM’s claims.
Gillard’s word really doesn’t count for much.
UPDATE
Signs of panic from Gillard:

A source inside the caucus told The Daily Telegraph that the PM said she was aware that MPs had been leaking to journalists with the intention of backgrounding against the Government.
In a clear sign that Ms Gillard and her backers are concerned about another challenge being mounted against her leadership, the PM said that marginal seat MPs would be the only ones to suffer from the continuous leaking.

While talk of Kevin Rudd has been revived following today’s disastrous poll results, the former PM was a noticeable absence from the meeting. Mr Rudd was said to be unwell.
UPDATE
Chris Uhlman on 7.30 confirms the attack by Gillard on white-anting Labor MPs.  Nicolo Roxon says Gillard was really just giving a “pep talk” and reminding MPs to “pull together”.
Gillard, desperate to show the government at work rather than at each other’s throats, invites TV cameras into Cabinet to show her making decisions.
UPDATE
7.30 host Leigh Sales to Nicola Roxon, who quit as Attorney-General:
How has Labor so comprehensively botched things?
(Thanks to Waxing Gibberish.)

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Brown blames Queensland coal - again - for the floods

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY042013(4:17pm)

Repeat offender Bob Brown and a Greens candidate blame coal exports for Queensland’s floods and demand the $40 billion a year export industry be restricted:
Former Greens leader Bob Brown joined Queensland Greens’ federal election candidates in Brisbane today to demand a stop to the state’s massive coal export expansion.

Dr Brown said coal was a major contributor to global warming that eminent scientists around the world (see http://www.foe.org.au/articles/2013-01-14/lets-talk-about-coal ) were blaming on extreme weather events like those Queenslanders faced this week and two years ago.
He joined the Queensland Greens lead Senate candidate, Adam Stone and candidate for the seat of Brisbane, Rachael Jacobs to highlight the need for drastic action to avoid more human suffering in the quest for the mighty dollar.

Mr Stone said coal was Australia’s biggest contributor to climate change and Queenslanders were suffering its impacts now.
Brown,Jacobs and Stone should demonstrate what difference stopping further coal exports will make to global temperatures and what difference that in turn will make to floods in Australia - floods which have in fact been a permanent feature of our climate.  They should then show us how any damage then averted outweighs the damage done by crippling a massive industry that provides jobs and wealth.
But I guess that’s too brain-hurting for a Green…
So is looking up the records to see if global warming (which has paused for more than a decade) can actually be said to have made Queensland floods worse. In fact, Bureau of Meteorology data suggest no increase in floods for Brisbane:
image
Yes, there is seems a small increase in Queensland rainfall, but I doubt farmers would complain:
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Has Brown explained to farmers that he has a plan for less rain?
(Thanks to reader anon. No link to Greens press release.) 

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Manufacturing the great polar bear scare

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY042013(2:28pm)


Remember when the polar bear was the symbol of the global warming movement?
My humble plan was to become a hero of the environmental movement. I was going to go up to the Canadian Arctic, I was going to write this mournful elegy for the polar bears, at which point I’d be hailed as the next coming of John Muir and borne aloft on the shoulders of my environmental compatriots ...

So when I got up there, I started realizing polar bears were not in as bad a shape as the conventional wisdom had led me to believe, which was actually very heartening, but didn’t fit well with the book I’d been planning to write…

There are far more polar bears alive today than there were 40 years ago. ... In 1973, there was a global hunting ban. So once hunting was dramatically reduced, the population exploded. This is not to say that global warming is not real or is not a problem for the polar bears. But polar bear populations are large, and the truth is that we can’t look at it as a monolithic population that is all going one way or another.
Unger still worries about bears and warming, but he describes some of the outrageous scaremongering he came across here. An example: 
Rocky was referring to a series of reports, sprawling over more than 400 pages, that [bear researcher Steven] Amstrup had written for the U.S. Geological Survey. One single factoid had been catnip to the press, reported and re-reported in every media outlet on Earth. One typical headline read “Scientists: Most Polar Bears Dead by 2050.” ...

AROUND THAT TIME, polar bears transitioned from being merely interesting to being the subject of an outright frenzy. Al Gore’s movie, a re-creation of his favorite moments on PowerPoint, had its most dramatic moment with an animation of a drowning polar bear.
... up to that point, no species had been put on the Endangered Species list as a result of climate change.... Until finally, in May 2008, [President George Bush’s Interior secretary, Dirk] Kempthorne… launched into his press conference. “Today I am listing the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.” ...
I wondered how many people on the tourist buses that roll across the tundra around Churchill knew that polar bears were probably doing better today than 30 years earlier. ..
And then ... I was granted a sudden audience with Steven Amstrup…
I figured the best place to start was with what had led me—and everyone else—to the story in the first place: cannibalism. Amstrup’s paper had hit the world like a hammer. The idea that bears were so hungry that they were devouring each other was too horrifying to ignore.
image
And yet the intense focus on this single story bothered me… It was only a frozen moment, an anecdote…
[Amstrup] looked me over coolly and said, “The important thing with regard to those sorts of snapshots is—are they consistent with what we might expect to see in a changing environment where the animals are becoming nutritionally stressed?…
“There’s no way that you could put your finger on it and say, ‘Well, that’s the fingerprint of climate change, or that’s caused by global warming.’ It happened that the sorts of observations that are reported in that paper were things we hadn’t seen before… That doesn’t mean that they never happened before...,” he continued…

When I asked whether he was bothered by how the media used his findings, Amstrup’s response was pitch-perfect. “Scientific credibility suffers because of that,” he said. “The point is that you have to present it in a careful fashion and if the media takes it and embellishes it and spectacularizes it, then you lose the scientific connection … “
But what went furthest toward restoring my faith was that Amstrup never used the word zero.... When I asked Amstrup point blank whether the polar bears would go extinct, he was quick to demur. The consensus was that for a long time there would be ice somewhere in the high Arctic. And where there is ice, there will be bears.... “There are likely to be small pockets of bears,” Amstrup said…
Which is why I was so surprised to see Amstrup… on TV the next day.... I was shocked ... The anchorman assumed his most portentous voice, describing a bleak tableau of starving polar bears, despite the fact that this had been a relatively fat year. “They’re under stress,” he said, his voice heavy, before turning to “Dr. Steven Amstrup,” who has “joined me on our Tundra Buggy to explain the evidence behind the decision to list the polar bear as threatened. Evidence like cannibalism.”
Cut to Amstrup… “Large adult males that were clearly stalking, killing, and eating other bears,” he said. “...That sort of thing we just hadn’t seen in all the years I’d been there.”
Wait a second. Hadn’t Amstrup just finished telling me that the cannibalism thing was getting too much play by a bloodthirsty media? ...

Amstrup continued: “The projections that we developed last year ... suggest that polar bears are going to be absent from the Beaufort Sea of Alaska by the middle of this century.” Absent. There it was: the zero… Nothing was said [on the TV show] about the subpopulations of polar bears that were holding steady or increasing.
Indeed:
Polar bear numbers as estimated in 2009 by the Polar Bear Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission: 20,000 - 25,000.
Polar bear numbers as estimated in 2012 by the Polar Bear Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission:  22,600 - 32,100.
(Thanks to reader Michael.)

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Grattan quits Age

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY042013(10:58am)

Michelle Grattan is leaving The Age:

She will take on a diverse role which will include teaching and research projects in politics and political communication, lecturing, public commentary and strategic advice.
It is understood Grattan has told colleagues that she is in talks with management about when she will leave Fairfax to begin her new job.

According to a statement issued by the university, Grattan will continue as a practising journalist, joining The Conversation as Associate Editor (Politics) and Chief Political Correspondent and commenting in radio and television, alongside her academic role.
I do not doubt Grattan is a good appointment for the University of Canberra, but note only that it’s far, far easier for Leftist journalists to find a home in academia than for conservative or Right-wing ones. Will students be offered a balance?
Second, the Conversation is a taxpayer-funded site in direct competition with the Fairfax ones. With the taxpayer-funded ABC websites also cannibalising Fairfax, we are likely to see the private-sector media - especially on the Left - subsumed by state-patronised media.
I do not think this healthy.

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Not Downer

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY042013(10:55am)


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Green bans, green bans

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY042013(10:26am)

Greens will celebrate. Other Australians will be poorer: 
THE Gillard government has bowed to pressure from environmental groups by moving to restrict the oil and gas industry’s activities near the Rowley Shoals, a spectacular marine area off Western Australia’s Kimberley coast…

Environment Minister Tony Burke stopped US energy giant Apache from conducting seismic surveys near the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef off the West Australian coast last month and ordered a delay to oil exploration by Canadian-owned Bight Petroleum near Kangaroo Island, off the South Australian coast…

The chief executive of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, David Byers, said the industry had safely conducted exploration activities off WA for more than four decades and the region underpinned Australia’s energy and economic security.
How many people snorkel at Rowley Shoals anyway? 

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Garnaut admits carbon trading prices too low to work

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY042013(9:33am)

Labor hired Professor Ross Garnaut to help draw up its carbon dioxide trading system.
Now even Garnaut admits carbon trading systems overseas - to which the Gillard Government has linked us - have crashed so badly that they are next to useless:
We should acknowledge that trade in emissions entitlements has struck some large practical problems. Within the European emissions trading system, the many regulatory and fiscal interventions are forcing much larger reductions in emissions than carbon pricing. These together with slow growth in economic activity and the realisation of unexpected opportunities for low-cost abatement have caused permit prices to fall to levels that are well below the economic cost of emissions and the value of abatement.

The low prices raise questions about the effectiveness of the emissions trading system… Low European and CDM [Clean Development Mechanism] prices would, if uncorrected, introduce low prices into other emissions trading systems with which Europe is linked, notably Australia from 2015. Already New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme has prices close to zero…

The contemporary problems of uneconomically low prices in domestic and international trading schemes can therefore be seen as a threat to achievement of long term global mitigation goals.
And how will the Government be able to pay for compensation pegged at $23 a tonne when the tax to raise that cash actually falls to, say, $10?
(Thanks to reader John.)
UPDATE
Weather is not climate - something many alarmists forgot when reporting a heat wave and fires last month.
For those people, this news from Britain:
TRAVELLERS are being warned to brace themselves for snowy weather across much of the country with 15 metre waves off the north coast as forecasters predicted this could be the coldest February in almost 30 years.
In the US:
WGN-TV Chief Meteorologist Tom Skilling says today marks the coldest February open in Chicago in 17 years.
In India last month:
Delhiites on Wednesday shivered under intense cold as the national capital recorded its coldest day in 44 years.
In Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald this morning urges sceptics not to gloat:


SYDNEY may have shivered through its coolest February weekend in 19 years but it won’t be long before the mercury jumps back above normal. 
That last was from the paper’s “carbon economy editor”, who last week pounced on a spell of hot weather to talk climate change:
Nationwide, the January average maximum temperature anomaly was 2.28 degrees, “a substantial increase” on the previous record of 2.17 degrees set in 1932…

Some climate change signals are clearer than others, and there is no reason to ignore the direction most indicators are clearly pointed, said Andrew Ash, director of the climate adaptation flagship at the CSIRO. 

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Taught to be Green

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY042013(9:02am)

According to the latest census, almost 2500 residents in Fitzroy North, in the Greens-held seat of Melbourne, studied humanities or creative arts after leaving school. That is handy if you want to nip next door to borrow a copy of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, but it is a bugger if you need a tap washer changed on a weekend; only 7 per cent of the suburb’s labour force works in a trade.

On the other side of Flemington Racecourse, in the neighbouring federal seat of Maribyrnong, they are a much more practical lot. There are more than 7000 trade workers, and thousands more machine operators, drivers and labourers, but if you’re looking to hire a sociologist in Moonee Ponds, you can forget it. Four out of five of Bill Shorten’s constituents do not have a degree of any kind and almost half did not finish Year 12.

Until 2010, both seats had returned Labor MPs for as long as anyone could remember...

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Three Ministers say they are staying

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY042013(8:10am)

Which minister will next jump the sinking Labor ship? It’s telling that ministers are now obliged to announce which of them is actually staying: 
Treasurer Wayne Swan quashed suggestions he was considering retirement and confirmed he would contest the seat of Lilley in September.
On ABC Radio National this morning, Simon Crean said he’d stay, too.
Another announcement, but a little short of a promise to stand again:
DEFENCE Minister Stephen Smith has rejected reports he is considering switching from federal politics to lead Labor in Western Australia. 
That’s three....
(Cartoon by Andrew Fyfe.)

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The chaos Gillard says she can’t see

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY042013(7:38am)

I’M stupid, or maybe the Prime Minister is. See, I thought the question she got at Saturday’s press conference made sense.
Journalist: What do you say to people who are saying this looks like a government in chaos...?
Julia Gillard: Well, why on earth would anybody say that?

Why
? She doesn’t know?
I am sick of repeating why I think Gillard is the worst prime minister in my lifetime, damaging not just our economy but our culture.

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Labor crashes

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY042013(7:31am)

Newspoll says Labor has crashed: 
The poll puts Labor’s primary support at 32 per cent - a wipeout of the six-point gain recorded between December and January - as the Coalition’s support rose four percentage points to 48 per cent in the past three weeks.

With the Greens steady on 9 per cent and “others” going from 9 per cent to 11 per cent since the poll in January, the two-party-preferred figure has the Coalition back with a huge election-winning lead of 56 per cent to 44 per cent. 
Julia Gillard’s lucky glasses - and her calling of a September 14 election - seem to have helped only Tony Abbott:
Ms Gillard’s support as preferred prime minister fell four percentage points from 45 per cent to 41 per cent, while Mr Abbott’s support rose six points from 33 per cent to 39 per cent.
A Galaxy poll confirms Gillard is going nowhere but down:
This would put Mr Abbott’s party in line to win the election by 54 per cent to 46 per cent on a two-party-preferred basis, if preferences flowed in a similar way to the last election.
UPDATE
All that said, I must again note how strangely volatile the Newspoll is, this time plummeting from a unbelievable neck-and-neck contest: 
image
Essential Research has been far more consistent: 
image

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First Carr. Maybe Iemma. And now perhaps Bracks

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY042013(7:19am)

Nothing wrong at all with the genial and experienced Bracks (other than his position on global warming), but it will seem Labor is a retirement home for retired politicians - or simply desperate:
We’ve already had former Premier Bob Carr parachuted into Parliament, and he may be joined by a successor:
Former NSW premier Morris Iemma is mulling over a move to federal politics which could see him run for Robert McClelland’s south Sydney seat once he retires.

No one actually knows if Bracks actually wants the seat. But someone else does:

Senator [David] Feeney, who occupies the No. 3 position on Labor’s Victorian Senate ticket, is seen as unlikely to be re-elected, given Labor’s standing in published opinion polls.
Under the terms of an alliance joining his right-wing faction with the dominant Labor Unity faction, Senator Feeney was promised a safe lower house seat, allowing him to remain in Parliament.

Since the deal, however, Senator Feeney is said to have ‘’fallen out with a lot of people who used to be his friend’’.

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Dreyfus determines to take offence

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY042013(7:03am)

New Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus plays the absurd more-offended-than-thou game that’s helped to give us Labor’s sinister new proposals to limit free speech:

Coalition frontbencher Christopher Pyne earlier today said the Federal Government is unravelling like Hitler’s Third Reich in the movie Downfall. 
The trouble is Dreyfus is a hypocrite who feels perfectly entitled to himself make comparisons with Nazis:
Abbott’s wildest claim is that he is running a ‘’truth campaign’’. Leaving asidethe Goebbellian cynicism of labelling a scare campaign a ‘’truth campaign’’, I think it shows Abbott’s contempt for the Australian electorate.
Just to demonstrate how out of touch Dreyfus is with his manufactured outrage over a reference to the Downfall video, note how many spoofs have been made of it.
Would Dreyfus perhaps like to ban them all?

(Thanks to reader the Old and Unimproved Dave.)
INCOMING attorney-general Mark Dreyfus has expressed personal concern about the risk to freedom of speech from legislation that encourages people to sue each other for invasions of privacy…

“Legislating in an effective way to protect privacy while at the same time not unduly affecting freedom of speech has proved to be a very difficult task,” Mr Dreyfus said. 
Sadly, it’s one step forward but a hundred back: 

Mr Dreyfus’s remarks ... come at a time when the government is considering a range of other measures on free speech, including: 
• The future of criminal sanctions on public servants who reveal government ineptitude and wrongdoing to the media.
• Proposals to create a statutory regulator to police media content.
• The future of federal “hate speech” laws that impose legal liability for statements that offend and insult people because of race…
Mr Dreyfus ... is taking office just days after concerns about the threat to free speech led Ms Roxon to abandon some of her proposals for federal anti-discrimination law…

Mr Dreyfus, who will now take carriage of the consolidation project, has drawn a line on extending the backdown to federal laws against racial vilification, which have long penalised speech that people find offensive and insulting because of their race. These provisions were used in the Federal Court against columnist Andrew Bolt, who was sued over articles he wrote about light-skinned Aborigines. 
UPDATE
Worse, Dreyfus on ABC radio this morning suggests there would not be laws against giving offence in “the private space” and “ordinary conversation”. The clear inference is that saying offensive things should possibly be against the law in public spaces.

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A shot at White House spin

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY042013(6:19am)

Barack Obama wanted it known he really isn’t an anti-gun extremist, after all:

Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time...
“All the time”? That seemed news to his press sec: 

“Why haven’t we heard about it before?” Carney was asked.
“Because when he goes to Camp David, he goes to spend time with his family and friends and relax, not to produce photographs,” Carney said.

Obama is accompanied almost everywhere by at least one White House photographer. 
After hunting around, Carney finally produced one picture of Obama allegedly skeet shooting - but firing strangely low: 
image
Obama never mentioned skeet shooting prior to that interview. The White House photo released Saturday is dated Aug. 4, 2012.

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In 1959, Hanif Mohammad made history by scoring 499 - the highest first-class score. 35 years later, Brian Lara smashed his record, scoring 501*.

One man witnessed both innings, live....http://es.pn/CricketCoincidences
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Swans and snow
Stunning photograph captures man and nature in perfect symmetry===
Why I’m optimistic about Christianity’s future===

Super Bowl Monday? A new petition on the White House We the People page is trying to make the day after the Super Bowl a national holiday.http://oak.ctx.ly/r/25kk
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Did you know? Tel Aviv has its own American Football team. In honor of Super Bowl Sunday, meet Lt. Asaf Katz, IDF platoon commander - and linebacker for the Tel-Aviv Pioneers! Read more: http://goo.gl/9p8IE 
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Addressing the Western Sydney Rally, Lidcombe Tony Abbott
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Anna says she arranged girls for athletes during the big game weekend, among other times.

http://bitly.com/MomMadam
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Photo: Show who you <3 by creating a new cover photo at http://kkre.me/VilFAR
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The San Diego Zoo's panda cub Xiao Liwu is getting buff, despite his pudgy appearance, according to his vets. http://oak.ctx.ly/r/25of
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One day when I was studying God’s Word, the Lord told me, "Son, study the children of Israel from the time they came out of Egypt until they reached Mount Sinai. Not a single one of them died though they murmured. And that is a picture of pure grace.” 

When I heard that, I turned to the Bible feverishly to check—as if to prove to God that someone did die! Until then, I had never heard anyone preaching about this! And indeed, I could not find any record of anyone who died before the law was given at Mount Sinai.

You see, God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt and provided for them, not based on their goodness, but based entirely on His goodness. Similarly, because we are under the new covenant of grace, God’s blessings and provision for us are based not on our performance, but entirely on HIS goodness! http://josephprince.com/

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On Religious Freedom Day, Pastor Saeed has been largely been abandoned by the American government, to remain in Iranian prison for his Christian faith. 

Share why the U.S. government must take action to defend this U.S. citizen: http://bit.ly/XF4hGC
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PURIM IS IN THE AIR: The first sign of the approaching festival of Purim are Homentashen (Hebrew: oznei haman) in bakeries, three-cornered cookies with different fillings like poppy seed (the oldest and most traditional), prunes, nut, date, apricot, chocolate, dulce de leche, or halva. What is your favorite filling?
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