Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sat 16th Feb Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns Andrew Danger NguyenKevin Buakaw TranFavour Erumse and Aldous Cavanagh. Born on the same day, across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
God will deliver you from all your troubles and make sure that no evil can touch you (Job 5:19). Check out today's devotional. Be sure to click "like" to help spread the word! Thanks, all!

Mask of Tutankhamun





[edit]Holidays and observances



Tim Blair – Saturday, February 16, 2013 (4:36pm)

Before it is abolished forever, the Department of Climate Change should issue one final warning.



Tim Blair – Saturday, February 16, 2013 (3:13pm)

Independent Rob Oakeshott received 40,061 primary votes in 2010. It’s time to ask …



Tim Blair – Saturday, February 16, 2013 (3:09pm)

Labor introduces two new taxes, and still can’t achieve a surplus
New figures show the Federal Government’s overall budget position at the start of the year was more than $2.4 billion worse than expected.
The underlying cash balance for the financial year to date shows a deficit of $22.3 billion. Treasury had forecast that figure would be $19.8 billion.
The monthly financial statement also reveals the carbon tax has raised $3.8 billion since July and is on track to bring in the forecast $7.7 billion this financial year. 
Well, at least they’ve fixed the weather. Laurie Oakes
Wayne Swan talked and talked in parliament this week. And the more he talked, the worse he looked.
The disappearing mining tax - the tax that raises no revenue - has become a running joke. The butt of the joke is the Treasurer. 
Who, incidentally, looks like a flounder – which I only mention because flounders are notoriously incompetent financial managers. Lenore Taylor
This was the week Labor’s hope seemed to snap. 
Yet someone seems happy. He’s even getting along with airline staff these days.



Tim Blair – Saturday, February 16, 2013 (2:08pm)

“Cats are an ideal pet for today’s lifestyles,” says RSPCA NSW chief veterinarian Dr Magdoline Awad. “Cats are compact.”
Maybe. But they’re not as compact as an owl.


Hugh, about the politicising of volunteer work…

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY162013(3:50pm)

Hugh McDermott - academic (sic) and president of NSW Society of Labor Lawyers - yesterday mocked Tony Abbott’s record of voluntary service as a volunteer firefighter, life saver and aide in Aboriginal communities.
McDermott claimed on Sky News it was just for show.
Today, a little weaseling: 
So now he’s not questioning Abbott’s work as a volunteer firefighter, just his alleged politicising of it.
So how does that square with this same Hugh McDermott, aspirant to parliament, using his own ”Committee for Hugh McDermott” website to advertise for political advantage his work as ... a volunteer firefighter: 
Do the residents of western Sydney really want to be represented by a personally abusive hypocrite?
(Thanks to reader David.)


Nothing, nothing, will make Emerson admit his error

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY162013(3:35pm)

 Global warming - propaganda
I was wrong. Emerson simply says something else that’s false: 
It is shocking that a Minister of this government, presented with the evidence and the clearest explanation possible of his error on a matter of critical government policy, nevertheless refuses to retract a patently false claim. To add to his shame, he chooses instead to smear and jeer and make further false claims.
This now goes beyond a judgment of Emerson’s intellect. It also invites a judgment of his character.


Unlike warming, a real danger from the heavens

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY162013(8:53am)

If warmists are so addicted to apocalyptic alarms about the end of the world, here’s something more concrete to fret over:
A meteorite streaked across the sky and exploded over central Russia on Friday, raining fireballs over a vast area and causing a shock wave that smashed windows, damaged buildings and injured 1,200 people…
A local Emergencies Ministry official said meteorite storms were extremely rare and Friday’s incident may have been connected with an asteroid the size of an Olympic swimming pool that was due to pass Earth.
But an astronomer at Russia’s Academy of Sciences, Sergei Barabanov, cast doubt on that report and the European Space Agency said its experts had confirmed there was no link.
Friday’s unexpected strike highlights the need for better searches for dangerous asteroids, and a global strategy to deal with any that are seen.
Astronomers feel confident that they know the whereabouts of every asteroid larger than 30 kilometres. Such space rocks have been the priority because they have the potential to cause global catastrophe and mass extinction events should they hit us. None are known to pose a threat.
Go down to objects sized one kilometre and astronomers think they know about 90-95% of them. However, at 50 metres, ... the uncertainties really begin. Astronomers estimate that they know only 2 percent of these.
There could be hundreds of thousands of these smaller asteroids waiting to be discovered. Were something of this size to strike the Earth, it would devastate an area the size of larger than London.
On 30 June 1908, something roughly this size hit Earth. It exploded in the air above the Tunguska region of Siberia and flattened forests across an area of hundreds of square kilometres…
The object that struck above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk on Friday morning was smaller still, probably just 10 metres across. Yet, it has injured many hundreds...
Spending billions on rockets to intercept meteorites would probably be better insurance than our $10 billion “clean energy” fund.
Asteroid 2012 DA14, which will be passing over our heads on Friday, is about the same size as the asteroid that devastated Siberia’s Tunguska region. . . .
The chance of another Tunguska-size impact somewhere on Earth this century is about 30%. ... Unfortunately, that headline could be about the destruction of a city, as opposed to an unpopulated region of Siberia. . . .
The chance in your lifetime of an even bigger asteroid impact on Earth—with explosive energy of 100 megatons of TNT—is about 1%. Such an impact would deliver many times the explosive energy of all the munitions used in World War II, including the atomic bombs.
The Village Idiot (Reformed) speaks for many readers:
The IPCC, in conjunction with the University of East Anglia, together with the CSIRO, believe that asteroid strikes on Earth may become more prevalent. They hypothesize that this could be caused to due to geater CO2 in the upper atmosphere. Whilst little is known about proton and neutron reactions in that region, it may be that asteroids are attracted by mutated protons.
Further reaseach is required. A grant application has been lodged with Ms Gillard. We are us, she said, and it is time to do the right thing. We must protect ourselves from global warming and asteroids. The science is settled. More asteroids have struck the Earth this year, than in previous years.
Readers Boonarga and Jack say, sadly, it’s not quite a joke: 
We want to bring in our science guy, Bill Nye, and talk about something else that’s falling from the sky, and that is an asteroid. What’s coming our way? Is this the effect of, perhaps, global warming?
Reader AP:
Let’s have an asteroid tax. It can save us from catastrophe.


Age imagines starvation in India

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY162013(8:29am)

The Age publishes yet another global warming scare: 
The seeds of conflict take root.
This is one of the scenarios Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, presented today to members of the United Nations Security Council in New York to show the connection between climate change and global security challenges.
This fantasy has been peddled by warming alarmists for more than a decade. Here’s the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2001:
Acute water shortage conditions combined with thermal stress should adversely affect wheat and, more severely, rice productivity in India even under the positive effects of elevated CO2 in the future.
In fact, India’s wheat crop this year is only the first in eight years not to set a record:
Seven years of record crops have expanded state wheat stockpiles to about 31 million tons as of Feb. 1, spurring the government to increase exports
Country’s foodgrain production is estimated to decline by 3.5% to 250.14 million tonne in 2012-13 crop year as poor rains have hit rice and coarse cereal crops, but the government said the output will be enough to meet the demand.
The foodgrain production was a record 259.32 million tonne in 2011-12 crop year (July-June).
It’s telling that none of the reassuring data on India’s crops are included in a global warming scare story which starts “Imagine India...”
Facts vs imagination. Sceptics vs warmists. 


A good time to sell some hope and vision

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY162013(8:07am)

Nobody says Abbott should release all his policies now but it is a brave call to say Howard’s advice is wrong and that Abbott should not engage directly and concertedly on economic policy to buttress his confidence and credibility.
When is the best time to do this? Later in the year? No. During the campaign leaders’ debate? No. The best time to do this is now. During the past fortnight Labor’s fiscal and tax integrity have taken a battering, and if Abbott feels unable to project his economic credentials in this climate then that invites its own commentary. The risk is that Abbott fiddles all year with variations of a small-target tactic and finds it leaves him exposed in the campaign.


Bias? What ABC bias?

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY162013(7:52am)

Chris Kenny considers how the ABC fudged and dissembled over some well-founded complaints: 
The accusation was that the ABC deliberately shunned serious claims about the Prime Minister but joined a feeding frenzy over a flimsy allegation against the Opposition Leader.
AN examination of briefing notes prepared for ABC managing director Mark Scott’s appearance at Senate estimates last year provides a rare insight into the national broadcaster’s attitude to claims of political bias. The strategy seems to be simply to deny there is an issue.


Economic vandals

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY162013(6:21am)

The promise: 
JOURNALIST:  If you don’t make a, get the Budget back in to surplus in 2012-2013, this is a question to both of you, the cameras are on – will you resign?
PM:  (laughs) The Budget is coming back to surplus, no ifs no buts it will happen
Moderator David Speers: I think, Prime Minister, that Peter is seeking some sort of guarantee if you don’t get the budget back into surplus in three years, what happens? Do you sack the Treasurer, do you take personal responsibility?
Julia Gillard: It’s happening, David. Failure is not an option.
Speers: If it doesn’t? If it doesn’t?
Gillard: Well, failure is not an option here and we won’t fail.
The delivery: 
LABOR is at risk of posting a deficit of more than $10 billion this year as it seeks to fight an election on economic management, with new figures revealing a $5.2bn blow to revenue…
Senior economists cited the figures as a further sign of sluggish growth and forecast the deficit would come in between $10bn and $15bn.
The latest figures - showing a $22 billion deficit in the first six months of the financial year, albeit with stronger receipts still expected to come in the second half:

As for the Government’s excuse of falling revenue:

Coalition finance spokesman Andrew Robb rejected the government’s explanations on the grounds that while the figures were less than expected, tax collections were still higher when compared with the previous year.
So we face another deficit of more than $10 billion even though:
- the Government is collecting more tax than ever.
- we’ve had years of steady growth, albeit now falling.
- we’ve had a mining boom, albeit now slowing.
- Defence spending has been slashed to a fraction of GDP not seen since before World War 2.
- the Government fiddled the books to try to create a surplus this year, bringing forward spending meant for this year into last year, when it posted a massive $44 billion deficit
And still to come: Labor promises on education and welfare estimated to cost $15 billion a year.
This is economic vandalism on a staggering scale.
(Graphic from Professor Sinclair Davidson.)
And worse to come:
The Reserve Bank of Australia has cast fresh doubts over Labor’s mining tax, warning that iron ore prices may tumble over the next three years to levels where it won’t generate any revenue.


Another $1 billion for another Labor disaster

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY162013(6:13am)

 Boat people policy
Another Labor bungle, another $1 billion lost:
The Daily Telegraph can reveal the five-year contract with the private firm Serco to run the majority of the country’s detention centres until 2014 has blown out by a further $700 million.Contracts for providing public health services have also been revised up by $200 million and the cost of providing residential homes will rise by $50 million.
The total contract cost for Serco to just run the centres is now five times the estimate of the original contract of $279 million in 2009...
Labor’s solution? To reward boat people by rushing them out of detention and into the community:
A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor, who has been in the job just two weeks, also said the policy of releasing people on bridging visas would bring down costs.
Well, no, it won’t - not if it lures yet more boat people here.


Labor’s bitter theme: we’re hopeless, but Abbott’s a bastard

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY162013(5:36am)

Peter Hartcher says Labor has just one theme left to campaign on:’s to be a campaign on “values”.
In particular, Labor is portraying itself as the party of fairness for the worker and the average family. It will try to present the Liberals as the party of the rich, the bosses and the multinational corporations...It’s a concept based on division, pitting the rich against the rest, dividing the boss from the worker, alienating big business from the consumer…
In short, Labor is seeking an old-fashioned, populist, left-wing fight based on envy and resentment…
So why is Labor reverting to an antediluvian model of socialist politics as its electoral theme? First, it doesn’t have a lot of options. It can’t very well campaign on competence…
And it can’t expect to win an election on trustworthiness, after the betrayal of Rudd, the broken promise on carbon tax, and, once again, the trail of broken promises on budget surpluses and the mining tax.
So it will pursue a furious campaign against Abbott as a man who can’t be trusted to look after the interests of the ordinary worker, the “modern family”.The implicit Labor message: “We may be incompetent and untrustworthy, but at least we’re on your side.”
(Thanks to reader Peter.)


Swan abuses when he should listen. UPDATE: Talk of dumping Swan

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY162013(4:53am)

There is a pattern here.  When errors are pointed out to Treasurer Wayne Swan, he responds with abuse: 
More than a year later, John Murray, the BDO partner who crunched the numbers and issued what now appears to be a prophetic warning about the design flaws of the tax, describes the impact of Mr Swan’s public attacks on him as “horrific"…
He told The Weekend Australian he was still affected by Mr Swan’s attacks on his credibility and maintained he was simply trying to warn the Treasurer that he should not commit billions of dollars in spending from revenues that would never be raised....
Same story when miner Twiggy Forrest pointed out the very flaw that turned Swan’s mining tax into a dud: 
WAYNE Swan has accused mining magnate Andrew ‘’Twiggy’’ Forrest of trying to avoid paying tax, describing as ‘’bunkum’’ new analysis suggesting the world’s biggest miners would get a free ride under Labor’s mining tax…
‘’We have been through a comprehensive process and there are some that are unhappy about it because the truth is they don’t want to pay any tax.’’…
Mr Forrest said new analysis by accounting firm BDO revealed Treasury forecasts of an $11 billion budget boost from the MRRT were an ‘’absolute fiction’’.
Same again, when Swan is warned his carbon tax will hurt the economy without changing the climate:
The man who has managed the Australia’s multi-billion dollar Future Fund for six years has delivered a stinging broadside to the Government’s carbon pricing scheme, calling it “the worst piece of economic reform” he has ever seen.
David Murray ...this morning told Radio National that the carbon tax is “very bad” for the Australian economy…
Treasurer Wayne Swan says the carbon pricing scheme is “world’s best practice”.
Same deal when Swan was warned high costs and red tape here was driving mining investment to low-wage countries overseas:
In a video posted on the Sydney Mining Club’s website, [mining entrepreneur] Gina Rinehart highlighted how Australia was becoming a high-cost place to do business because of the mining and carbon taxes, red tape and high wages…
Mr Swan ... seized on the latest comments.
“The only Australian not getting sick and tired of this almost-daily pearl-rattling from Gina Rinehart is her loyal servant Tony Abbott,” he said.
Stories abound about his extreme sensitivity to real or perceived slights. A couple of years ago one business leader delivered an innocuous speech setting out areas for reform including tax, skills, infrastructure and regulation.
This newspaper led with the story, saying the speech reflected concerns in the business community about the pace of reform. That morning, a senior member of Swan’s staff rang the businessman’s offsider to inform him: “I had to peel the Treasurer off the roof after he read The Australian.”
Often the Treasurer makes his precious-petal phone calls himself and, combined with his deeply personal attacks on individuals, they have muffled public criticism.
The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer recognised abuse as the very last trick of person whose arguments have collapsed. In his essay on rhetoric, recently republished as The Art of Always Being Right: Thirty Eight Ways to Win When You Are Defeated, he lists such sliming as tactic 38:
A last trick is to become personal, insulting, rude, as soon as you perceive that your opponent has the upper hand, and that you are going to come off worst.... But in becoming personal you leave the subject altogether, and turn your attack to his person, by remarks of an offensive and spiteful character. It is an appeal from the virtues of the intellect to the virtues of the body, or to mere animalism.
I don’t think it’s safe to have as Treasurer a man who abuses people who are right. Who abuses especially people who are right.
(Thanks to reader Peter.)
Talk is on - even among Gillard supporters - of dumping Swan. But if Gillard thinks she can dump Swan to save her own job she really is delusional:
Labor MPs also agree Julia Gillard will not and cannot shift him from Treasury because they are “joined politically at the hip” and he would not shift if it damaged the Prime Minister’s leadership and helped the revival of Kevin Rudd. But as one Labor figure said yesterday: “The political calculation may now be different and a shift for Swan may help Julia Gillard and hurt Kevin Rudd.”
While saying it was unlikely, others have confirmed the only way for Swan to shift would be to tell the Prime Minister he was moving as Treasurer and allowing another Gillard supporter to move into the job.
One barrier once said to be in Rudd’s way is that several senior Labor Ministers would quit rather than serve under him again. Since then one of those Ministers, Nicola Roxon, has quit anyway. If Swan were also to go, a Rudd return would be even more seamless.
Compare the achievements of Keating and Costello with Swan’s tenure as Treasurer. Undisciplined spending, failure to implement sensible tax reforms, handouts to industries such as the car industry that have no future, spin and non-delivery of core promises. He has been much more concerned with redistribution than increasing the size of the economic pie.
Swan will go down as the Treasurer who was gifted an amazingly strong fiscal position, only to blow it on Labor follies. His term as Treasurer has coincided with the highest terms of trade in living memory - dizzying heights that have persisted for several years - and yet there is little to show for it.
He has failed to achieve any significant microeconomic reforms, has ignored the states and has added layers of regulations to doing business. His relationship with the business community is sour and unproductive. The Australian economy is much less competitive than it was five years ago.


The Human Rights Commission on why it sold out free speech

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY162013(12:10am)

 Free speech
Shadow Attorney-General George Brandis this week had a brilliantly illuminating conversation about free speech with the head of the agency that was supposed to defend it.
Here is just some of his examination of Gillian Triggs, head of the Human Rights Commission, in Senate estimates hearings - and I urge you to read it all at Catallaxy Files i to understand why you suddenly have less right than ever to speak your mind.
First, we learn the Commission is more into the complaints industry than the freedom business:
Senator BRANDIS: Professor Triggs, I want to focus my questions on a broad issue about the commission’s priorities… What has the commission done to promote freedom of speech and expression in the last year?
Prof. Triggs : Thank you, Senator. As you are aware, we have a comprehensive complaints system and we receive about 17½ thousand inquiries, 2,600 of which gel into formal complaints. Approximately, I believe, three a year concern political opinion. So it is a very tiny part, in answer to your question, of the complaints function of the commission.
Senator BRANDIS: But you are not purely a complaints driven organisation—
Prof. Triggs : No, so if I could go on to complete my answer to your question. We inevitably take some lead from the kinds of complaints we receive, because we obviously want to reach as wide a range of Australians with concerns about human rights as we possibly can; so the emphases tend to lie in the very questions that Senator Fifield has raised in relation to disabilities or sex and race discrimination…
I think perhaps I have two answers to your question. One is the role we can play in complaints, which has been small, but, in the public arena and in the educational context and the programs that we have for education, we very much support and talk about the right to freedom of expression, but we do so in the context of attempting to understand what the limits are in relation to racial vilification, particularly in the context of media, the internet and Facebook.
There is a third point I might make, and then I will finish this rather long answer. You might recall that, at our Human Rights Awards in December last year, we invited the Hon. Jim Spigelman to be our guest speaker, and he took up the question of what the proper limits are and how the balance is to be established between freedom of expression and the current racial vilification provision in section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. That sparked, through our Human Rights Awards, a very significant public debate, which you have been actively engaged in, Senator. We take some credit at least for having promoted public discussion in this area through our Human Rights Awards, although we would not want to take too much credit for that.
It turns out Triggs is taking credit for an almost entirely accidental defence of free speech by a guest speaker: 


Coming to a garden very near me

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY162013(12:09am)

In the mail from Tesselaar, a good Dutch company. (And, yes, I paid full price.)
Reader Gopher preys on my deepest fears:
The possums are circling, nom nom nom...


Wicked mining turns good Labor men bad

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY162013(12:09am)

Amazing. Ben Eltham, writing for the ABC, says the ICAC hearings are exposing an evil.
No, that evil is not the crooked culture of the mate-mate-maaaate NSW Labor party. It’s not the Left at all. They are just Adams in Eden, with miners as the snake.
That’s right. The true sin is mining. Oh, and conservatives - people like Gina Rinehart - who might plunge us into anything, even civil war: 
In economics and government studies, the peril a big resources boom poses to democracy and good governance is known as the “resource curse”. That’s because a big oil strike or a diamond mine can all too often lead to corruption - even civil war - as rulers and warlords find it easier to steal resource wealth than to develop their national economies.
In Australia, we’ve been complacent about the risks of resource corruption until now. The hearings underway at ICAC show us that we need to be more vigilant. Wealth brings power, as well as temptation. Mining may be damaging more than just our manufacturing sector.
I guess BHP and Rio must be the Mafia, then, and Andrew Forrest any day now will be found laying dynamite under Parliament House.  And all those mining billions paying for pensions, tax cuts, roads and hospitals - that’s the curse. The snake’s apple.
Not all on the Left are so keen to blame evil mining for turning good Labor men bad.
The event was a farewell for Luke Foley, ... who was leaving his post as the party’s assistant state secretary and migrating to the state upper house.
Foley was taking the place vacated by Ian Macdonald, who’d been forced to fall on his sword - finally - by then premier Kristina Keneally over an overseas travel rort exposed by the Herald…
The left stalwarts gathered that evening were expecting a paean of praise for Foley, one of their rising stars. They were not expecting the other half of [Senator John] Faulkner’s message - a ringing condemnation of his own faction for having bred and nurtured Macdonald over decades.
‘’It [Macdonald’s rise] reflects well on none of us in the Left,’’ Faulkner chided, in remarks previously unreported outside the party… 
(Thanks to reader Marcus.)


Why did three ABC hosts think Gillard’s sin was Abbott’s?

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY162013(12:04am)

The weird thing is that so many ABC presenters of the Left (are there any other kind?) all make the very same baseless charge against Tony Abbott:

Michael Rowland, ABC News Breakfast, February 11:
I want to ask you about the fact that Tony Abbott has scrapped his weekly appearance on a certain other breakfast program, and he hasn’t done a decent TV interview since his encounter with Leigh Sales on 7:30 about six months ago. Why is Tony Abbott avoiding scrutiny?
Tony Jones, Q&A, February 11:
I’m not saying the Today Show necessarily is a higher level of public debate but we haven’t seen Tony Abbott in many places… Not here for example. Not on the Sunday programs and very rarely on long format interview programs.
Barrie Cassidy, Insiders, February 10: 
But apart from that commitment, what interviews has he done since the Leigh Sales interview? Almost six months ago that went so badly wrong?
Odd. Same accusation. Same reference points.
And, of course, the same lack of substance, as figures from Abbott’s office demonstrate:
In 2012, Tony Abbott did more media interviews than Julia Gillard.
In 2012, Tony Abbott did more television interviews than Julia Gillard.
In 2012, Tony Abbott did more radio interviews than Julia Gillard.
In 2012, Tony Abbott did more Sunday programmes than Julia Gillard.
In 2012, Julia Gillard appeared on Insiders once, Meet the Press twice, and Australian Agenda once. The Bolt Report never.
In 2012, Tony Abbott appeared on Insiders once, Meet the Press once, Australian Agenda once, and the Bolt Report four times.
This week Tony Abbott did seven radio interviews and one press conference.
This week, Julia Gillard did no media interviews.
The real question was: why is Gillard hiding from interviews?
We know why, of course, but what we don’t know is why three ABC presenters all thought it was Abbott instead who needed criticism.


Deficit blowing out fast

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY152013(9:06pm)

The Gillard Government seems set to post a deficit that will stain Labor’s reputation for economic management for many years to come: 
The Australian government’s monthly financial statement ... showed a $3.85 billion shortfall in underlying cash receipts in the six months to December, compared with the budget update, while spending was $1.414 billion less over that period…
The government originally forecast a $1.077 billion surplus for 2012/13.
Don’t expect a fast recovery:
That’s so far an $22 billion deficit with half a year to run to pull that back towards the once promised surplus of $1.1 billion. The Government says the real blowout, measured against the year-to-date projections of last year’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, is $2.4 billion - due not just to a lower tax take than expected (thanks in part to Swan’s dud mining tax) but also to Gillard’s handouts.
As the Government itself puts it: the blowout is in part due to ”higher personal benefit payments”. Can you believe this incompetent Government is putting us deeper in debt by borrowing to pay for more welfare?
Amazing. Frightening.


Sky’s Abbott-Abbott-Abbott

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY152013(9:06pm)

A deep new low today for Contrarians, the Sky News show hosted by political scientist Dr Peter van Onselen.
The panel, comprising three Abbott-haters, ridicules the Opposition Leader, which is odd enough in a week when the Government is surely what merits scorn, being so mired in its own colossal incompetence that Wayne Swan’s position looks shaky, Julia Gillard’s hold on leadership seems about to slip and the Budget is blow through the floor.
But worse, far worse, was the pathetic abuse. Abbott’s decades of community work were sneered at as just for show, and Labor lawyer Hugh McDermott - with Dee Madigan nodding - accused Abbott of using botox.
This is serious political debate? This level of personal invective?
I’ll tell you one thing it is. It’s hypocrisy. Can you imagine the uproar if I’d had a panel discussion on the Bolt Report devoted to calling Julia Gillard’s good deeds - such as they are - a mere sham and a con, and her looks the result of botox?
Sexism! Misogyny! Personal abuse! Wicked, wicked conservatives.
I see I’m far from alone in my disgust.
We discussed this on our 2GB show tonight (listen here), and played the offending grab from around 44:00.
Note: I have not heard the entire Contrarians show, and cannot believe panelist Greg O’Mahoney, despite being tribally pro-Labor, would have gone alone with the worst of this. He strikes me as fairer than that.
Who to trust for an assessment of Abbott’s motives for volunteering as a surf lifesaver, community work in Aboriginal communities and fire service volunteer? Some vindictive Labor lawyer in a TV studio - or those who serve with Abbott fighting fires? 
Shoalhaven RFS division commander Group Captain Ross Gates said the volunteers respected Mr Abbott’s efforts.
“Mate, he’s a legend,” Captain Gates said.
He’s out here doing what we’re doing. He’s putting in time as a volunteer to help his neighbours, basically. The rest of us volunteers know the commitment he’s put in and we’ve got to respect that.”
Davidson RFS Captain Brendan Malone, a 12-year veteran, and his predecessor Warren Cree, who has nearly 25 years service, were initially reluctant to speak about their friend and fellow team member to a member of the media…
“When we come to the fire shed, we leave our regular lives at the door,” Malone said…
“If there is a job to be done, Tony is just as likely to be doing it, whether it is cleaning the toilets or anything else...”
Malone continued: “I, personally, like him. He is just one of the boys, he just gets on and does it. He’s what I call a real person…
“There is that satisfaction of doing something that actually matters, contributing to the greater good.
“I know Tony draws a lot from that, too.”
Reader Joe Blow says if I’d see the whole show I wouldn’t be so critical of van Onselen. And I was right to think O’Mahoney wouldn’t have liked the slagging:
Andrew, to be fair Greg O’Mahoney was quite horrified and on several occasions said that Hugh Nobody was out of line. It was actually so out of line that Dee Maddigan was backing away from it in the end.And I bet Shorten will be so pleased that Hughy was boasting about how he and Bill were great mates - what a referee.Great pay back line from Van Onselen though - something about Tony volunteering for the firies and surf lifesaving, while Julia has been also been known to do voluntary work .... for the AWU!
Reader John Mc agrees if I’d seen the show I’d be nicer about van Onselen:
I watched the whole show. It is not as you say. Peter van Oscillate started with a blistering critique of Wayne Swan. All three panel members agreed that Swan looked stupid. Peter van then moved on to the prospect of a Rudd challenge in the not too distant future. All three panelists agreed that was probable.Whilst the two Labor acolytes stuck to their apologist guns, Peter van has done a 180 Oscillation - at least today he was withering toward Swan, Gillard and labor.I really enjoyed the show - and my assessment of Gillard is about on a par with Anthony Mundine, In fact after it finished I mentioned to my wife it was like watching a mirror image of Insiders. Yes, there was a slur about Abbott and Botox, but Peter van Oscillate really was on song today. I wish he did so more.
Reader notes that panelist Hugh McDermott - so sure he can spot a phony in Tony Abbott - has a CV which boasts of helping to get elected the Member for Dobell - Craig Thomson. Not that Thomson is mentioned by name, of course:
Hugh is a practicing Barrister and Senior Lecturer in Law Enforcement at the CSU Australian Graduate School of Policing & Security, Sydney. He has served in senior roles on numerous ALP policy committees, election campaigns, state and federal government committees and was a member of the AWU NSW State Executive. Hugh was a NSW ALP Senate Candidate in 2010, working full time in the Dobell and Robertson Federal Campaigns. During the 2011 NSW State Campaign he was the ALP Campaign Director for Parramatta.



Exclusively announced on – the First Doctor's last adventure, 'The Tenth Planet', will be fully restored for DVD release with animation. Find out more and check out a gallery of animation stills here:


Sydney University Dramatic Society or SUDS is the society at the University of Sydney dedicated to all things theatre. We love it so much that we stage a new show every second week of the University calendar and have staged readings or rough cut nights three Tuesdays per semester. Each year we also have one major production at a professional theatre in Sydney and also tour some of our shows to theatre festivals including Sydney Fringe Festival and the Festival of Australian Student Theatre.

Whether you're interested in acting, directing, producing, set and costume designing, stage managing or being a light/sound technician, we would love for you to get involved!

Find out more at

The proposed The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill will destroy our right to free speech, by making it illegal just to offend someone! Contrary to some media reports, this proposal has NOT been dropped. Visit for more information and to TAKE ACTION! Contact your MP TODAY and help save Free Speech in Australia!



We think it's about time Facebook installed a 'Love' button...

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went and then it dawned on me.

Before the Meteor Shower we had a splashing good show at sunset.

Things were festive for Chinese New Year in Chinatown this afternoon -- Gung Hei Fat Choy!
Another great win by the great mare, Black Caviar, at Flemington today. Congratulations to Peter Moody, Luke Nolen, owners, strappers, racing team, and of course, Black Caviar herself.


Hello, folks

Although this picture does not exactly do justice to it, shown here is the most amazing fire ball that I have ever seen fall from the sky. Green wake, a big flash as it went through the clouds, and then a few more flashes after disappearing behind the horizon line, leaving us in awe.

Plus, it was a great night in Indian Peaks, cold, but not too much. Very dark skies, though you can see some of the light pollution reflected on the rolling clouds. 1 AM to 2:30 AM it was windy and stormy, but before and after that it was great.



{Quick Tip} Not sure how to get that melted candle wax off the carpet ? Here's a tried and tested trick :
You will need :
A brown paper bag - butter knife - warm iron : next remove as much hard wax as you can with your butter knife , place the brown paper bag over the affected area and slowly press the warm iron. Repeat until all the wax is transferred to the brown paper bag. It's so easy and works a treat , goo luck :) #savvyspaces #hometip #domesticdiva


Aussie flies are fast. I just finished sprinkling the chocolate on my cappuccino, turned around to throw away the old pods, turned back and two flies are swimming in it

It’s been a year and a half since a Florida jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. Today, Casey's former defense attorney, Jose Baez, shares what he says he wants the public to know, but couldn't say during the trial.


This week's audio and video podcasts are now available! Subscribe to or download Joseph Prince's podcasts today!

Amazing photos and video: Hundreds injured after meteor lights up the sky over Russia ==>

Where is this guy when you need him?
Beloved, grace—the unearned and undeserved favor of God—makes us grateful and thankful people. 

When we try to deserve the good things in life by our own efforts, we’ll end up bitter and frustrated. However, when we see everything that we have—our families, jobs and friendships—as blessings from the Lord, not because we deserve them, but because He paid for them 2,000 years ago by His sacrifice on the cross, we will live lives full of thanksgiving, peace and joy!

One last day to vote for your favorites in the fan based Bible Over Sunset billboard competition! Vote here:



Blatant UN bias and an outright, knowing reliance on false and distorted reports are consistently, with relentless pursuit and specific to targeting Israel. Why? 

Human rights groups, certain church denominations, Leftists, so-called 'do-gooder' activists, all with apparent blind-eyes on current Egyptian torture, and this, today on Morsi's clock. Whilst death tolls rise in Syria, Hamas demolishes again, homes in Gaza City, continued calls for global Islamism and the BBC has downgraded Hezbollah on the heels of the EUs steadfast and cowardly refusal to designate it a terror organisation. Where is truth and logic’s manifestations? – Allyson, 15 Feb 2013

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Hi everyone! Here's the newsletter for February 15th. Enjoy!

From the Blog

Democrats heart medicare fraudsters

Hey, remember when President Obama crusaded against Medicare fraud and vowed to crack down aggressively on scammers who’ve bilked the program out of an estimated $90 billion? Like Archie and Edith Bunker used to sing: Those were the daaaays...

Tom Harkin: The country can’t be broke because we still have some checks left

That’s not exactly how the outgoing Iowa liberal phrased it when he became the latest politician to insist the government doesn’t have a spending problem, but it’s what I heard...

Preschool on break this week re-opens for Obama visit

Among the many programs President Obama called for during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night (spending proposals that “won’t increase the deficit” ::pause for laughter::) were more “investments” in early education...

More From the Right Side of the Web

Featured Video

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It's déja vu all over again!

Michelle's Top Tweets

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And ... Our Hate Tweet of the Day

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Somebody wasn't feeling the Valentine's Day spirit.
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