Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tue 26th Feb Todays News


Coin featuring bust of Valentinian I

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Events

[edit]Births

[edit]Deaths

[edit]Holidays and observances


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Milne shows spineless hypocrisy

Piers Akerman – Tuesday, February 26, 2013 (4:39am)

IN a display of breathtaking hypocrisy and spinelessness Greens leader Christine Milne has demonstrated the hollow farce played out during last week’s childish break with Labor.
Challenged in the Senate by Liberal Eric Abetz to support a no confidence motion in the handling of the mining tax – not the tax itself nor the government – Milne went into primal shock.
Government leader in the Senate, Stephen Conroy understood what the Coalition was doing and scuttled across the chamber to give Milne her script but even with prompting from the government Leader in the Senate, she looked ridiculous and her performance was laughable.
Just a week ago the Milne had used her platform at the National Press Club to cite Labor’s mishandling of the mining tax as grounds for breaking their agreement with Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Yesterday she showed that the divorce is a sham.
She couldn’t bring herself to vote for the softest possible condemnation of the government though she didn’t waste her words before the cameras last week.
With the Oscars being awarded in Hollywood, she was acting her heart out in Canberra.
Tearing up the agreement with Labor over the mining tax was always a con because the Greens had voted for it.
Even though the sole Green in the Reps, Adam Bandt, claimed that the mining tax was the final straw that broke the camel’s back, the Greens are still as one with the government on the issue when it comes down to a vote.
The Greens are the party of losers.
They claim to have principles, they have none.
They claim to be the honest brokers in the Senate but they are there only to block the Coalition at every opportunity.
During the days when the Coalition under Prime Minister John Howard had the numbers to control the Senate, the government used the guillotine in the Senate to force through perhaps 30 Bills.
Labor and the Greens, acting in concert, have guillotined through more than 150 Bills – including the mining tax which the Greens claim to have latterly had so much trouble with, just not enough to declare they lack confidence in the government’s handling of it.
Milne is an object of derision and should be publicly ridiculed whenever she appears after her performance Monday.
What a pathetic caricature of a leader she is – but when one looks at the rabble she leads, perhaps she fits the role.

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CONGRATULATIONS, WORLD!

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 26, 2013 (9:34am)

We’re above average! All of us deserve credit for this, whether we’re building prosperous middle classes in India and China, celebrating the annual Hour of Power, or simply having a new pair of glasses delivered by jet aircraft.
The important thing is to keep the warmth coming.  Please record in comments your personal vows for maximum carbon dioxide generation in 2013.

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A HOTEL ROOM IN ROOTY HILL

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 26, 2013 (3:17am)

Fairfax’s Phil Coorey reports
Prime Minister Julia Gillard will forgo her harbourside residence of Kirribilli House for a hotel room in Rooty Hill next week as part of a five-day blitz of western Sydney designed to lift Labor’s plummeting support.
With internal and external polling showing Labor in dire trouble in western Sydney, Ms Gillard will spend the entire week in the area, including sleeping there …
Typically, Ms Gillard would campaign in western Sydney and return to Kirribilli, the Sydney residence for the prime minister.
By staying in the area, Ms Gillard is seeking to make a statement, those close to her say. 
People are paid to come up with these ideas.
(Via CL, whose email includes the phrase “safari of fail”.)

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ABBOTT PREFERRED

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 26, 2013 (2:56am)

All polls point in the same direction
Tony Abbott has a clear lead over Julia Gillard as preferred prime minister for the first time since July last year, as Ms Gillard’s personal support collapses and Labor’s primary vote languishes at a seven-month low.
Voter satisfaction with the Prime Minister has plunged to its lowest since August last year.
According to the latest Newspoll survey, taken exclusively for The Australian over the weekend, Labor’s primary vote is just 31 per cent and the Coalition’s is 47 per cent, virtually unchanged since parliament resumed at the beginning of this month … Based on preference flows at the last election, the Coalition has a two-party-preferred lead of 55 per cent to the ALP’s 45 per cent. 
To Labor’s latest wound, add sodium chloride: 
After formally breaking away from Labor, the Greens’ primary vote rose from 9 per cent to 11 per cent. 
At least one of our leftoid parties is securing its base, which brings us to Greens cheerboy Mike Seccombe
Gillard won government promising there would not be a carbon tax. The reason we have one now is that the Greens forced one on the Prime Minister as part of the marriage dowry.
You can argue about whether this was a good outcome or not, but you cannot dispute the fact that the Greens came out looking very much like a party of government. 
You can, however, dispute the carbon tax’s origins
Industry and Innovation Minister Greg Combet … said Labor came up with key environmental policies, such as the carbon tax, without input from the Greens. 
So either the Greens or Labor are responsible for a policy that currently seems likely to doom both, and they’re fighting to claim credit for it. Do continue.
UPDATE. Remember when Laborites used to love polls? Back in 2007, I think it was.
UPDATE II. A 2008 Newspoll.

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AND IT’S GOOD NEWS

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 26, 2013 (2:27am)

Achewood creator Chris Onstad has news.

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WELCOME RELUCTANCE

Tim Blair – Tuesday, February 26, 2013 (2:08am)

An entertaining interview with Clive James, who notices a change among the superheated climate community: 
Until very recently, all the mainstream media sources on the alarmist wing of the global warming theory were apt to agree with one another no matter what, but now, at last, when somebody announces that the oceans will soon be 30 feet over the heads of our grandchildren, there is a welcome new reluctance to accept the mere assertion as evidence in itself. Getting a bit frail in my old age, I never thought I’d live to see the day when the Guardian told the BBC to stop cooking the books. But it happened. 
Here’s to Clive living long enough to hear a Flannery correction.

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A job application from modern Labor

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY262013(1:52pm)

image
Denise Allen is the former Labor MP for the Victorian seat of Benalla. Nice Denise has been a professional conscience as a ”social justice campaigner” and member of the Disability Reference Group for the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
FORMER state MP Denise Allen is looking to resurrect her political career as Labor’s candidate for Indi.
Here are some recent thoughts of Nice Denise, the social justice campaigner.
Your husband, along with his bunch of feral shadow ministers and many on his backbench, have turned the political discourse in this country into the obnoxious, wretched, ugliness it is today.
Are you proud of him? I’m sure you are. You must be, because you have now come out and said what a wonderful, loving, decent man he is! To say that — you must agree with everything he says and does! Otherwise you would have the courage to say there are some things you don’t agree with him on....
Quite frankly, it disgusts me..
He may love you and the girls and his mother – and Peta Credlin – but that’s where his affinity with women ends.
So get over yourself, Margie Abbott.
Your husband is one of the most vicious Opposition leaders in this country’s history — and as he would say: “It’s just politics!”
It’s about time the decent women and men of this nation fought back against your husband’s ugly persona.
So … if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen!
If your husband will let you, that is.
But when you roll out such personal information – information usually kept private between a woman and her partner, and perhaps few sympathetic confidantes – you, Ms Credlin, should be rightly condemned for using your IVF procedures as a blatant political tool. For using this emotive issue to sway the public into sympathetically thinking your boss doesn’t “have a problem with women"…
Which makes you a pretty unpleasant person in yourself. You will go to any length and stoop down into the lowest gutter to get your rotten boss over the line at the next election....
Even using your own personal tragedy as a lever for sympathy. What a disgraceful woman you are.
Like jackals baying for blood, these neo-hacks ram their personal opinions down the throats of either the unsuspecting (often so aghast they are shell-shocked), or of the insatiable – the scandal hungry – devouring biased information as if it was their last meal…
I cannot remember a time when the mainstream media have been more in the gutter and more hateful than it is now — and they have the hide to disparage politicians for not being ‘honourable”.
Once I thought someone spiteful, personally abusive and shrill had no future in politics.. But today I suspect Nice Denise will fit right in with Gillard Labor.
Oh, and if you are surprised a professional conscience could be so nasty, I must remind you again of the words of Bertrand Russell:
Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.

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An important announcement from the Foreign Minister

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY262013(1:48pm)

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Newspoll: Labor 45 to 55, and Gillard sinking

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY262013(7:03am)

 Politics - polls
Labor’s support is virtually unchanged, but Julia Gillard’s one last hope - that voters still prefer her as Prime Minister - is gone:
According to the latest Newspoll survey, ... Labor’s primary vote is just 31 per cent and the Coalition’s is 47 per cent, virtually unchanged since parliament resumed at the beginning of this month.
After formally breaking away from Labor, the Greens’ primary vote rose from 9 per cent to 11 per cent. Based on preference flows at the last election, the Coalition has a two-party-preferred lead of 55 per cent to the ALP’s 45 per cent
On the question of who would make the better prime minister, Ms Gillard’s support also fell dramatically, from 41 per cent at the beginning of this month to 36 per cent, her lowest rating since July last year when Mr Abbott was last in front as the preferred prime minister.
The reversal on leadership preference was almost entirely a result of Ms Gillard’s loss of support… Mr Abbott’s preferred prime minister support rose just one point to 40 per cent...
And Kevin Rudd is unlikely to save Labor:
According to a Newspoll survey, ...  a total of 24 per cent of voters said they would be more likely to vote Labor if Mr Rudd became leader before the September 14 election… But 13 per cent of those surveyed said a switch back to Mr Rudd would make it “less likely” they would vote Labor. The strongest support for a switch to Mr Rudd is among voters who are already committed to voting Labor. But, among voters leaning to the Coalition, who Labor needs to win over to secure re-election, 16 per cent would be more likely to vote for Labor under Mr Rudd but 13 per cent would be less likely…
Newspoll chief executive Martin O’Shannessy said: “Newspoll’s ‘on balance’ view is that a change to Kevin Rudd may slightly improve the Labor primary vote but this would come largely from Green and other party votes that would have flowed, via preferences, to Labor in any case. This would limit the net benefit to Labor available from the change.”
Denis Shanahan:
The attack on Tony Abbott as a negative misogynist has backfired and left him as preferred prime minister…
Announcing the election date seven months early has only cemented people’s preferences at disastrous levels for Labor.
Trying to use a blame game against the Coalition-governed states over health and education funding is only making federal Labor look mean, tricky and economically inept.
And, finally, the carpet bombing of Kevin Rudd could well have wiped out any last desperate advantage in restoring the deposed Labor leader.
UPDATE
Don’t tell Kerry-Anne Walsh I wrote this. She has a strange thing about poll reports - at least those in Murdoch publications with bad news for Gillard: 
WALSH: Your newspaper would be very pleased we’re discussing (Newspoll) before it’s even published. And then all day tomorrow it will feed into the eternal question of leadership, derail the government for another day - fabulous opportunity for doorstops for Tony Abbott. All for what? Because The Australian has a great marketing tool ... it’s a political intervention tool on behalf of The Australian and frankly the obsession with opinion polls is just bordering on the obscene.

Speers: A political intervention by The Australian?

Walsh: Yes, absolutely. They write these polls up continuously ... You have commentators, you have analysts saying that this now, yet again, spells the end for Gillard; this is what’s going to come out tomorrow.
Savva: It’s not like it’s something new ...

Host: What, then, was the Nielsen poll put out by Fairfax last week?

Walsh: The Nielsen poll, if you recall when it was carried that day, there were five of its journalists who interpreted it carried the death knell for Labor.

Speers: So they’re all intervening in politics as well?

Walsh: I think The Australian’s journalists and commentators are far more forceful about their opinions and about their use of Newspoll and always have been than the Nielsen, the Fairfax journalists.
The link shows that Walsh, so fretful about Gillard being destabilised by nasty media reporting of polls, had no trouble reporting other poll figures.
(Thanks to reader Peter.) 

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Not the droughts the IPCC predicted

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY262013(6:27am)

 Global warming - dud predictions
I’ve asked why Tim Flannery is still our Chief Climate Commissioner after predicting the rains would never again fill our dams and river systems.
12.5.6. Drought
... Using a transient simulation with the NCAR CCMO GCM at coarse resolution (R15) (Meehl and Washington, 1996), Kothavala (1999) found for northeastern and southeastern Australia that the Palmer Drought Severity Index indicatedlonger and more severe droughts in the transient simulation at about 2xCO2 conditions than in the control simulation…
A global study by Arnell (1999), using results from an ensemble of four enhanced greenhouse simulations with the HadCM2 GCM and one with HadCM3, show marked decreases in runoff over most of mainland Australia, including a range of decreases in runoff in the Murray-Darling basin in the southeast by the 2050s of about 12-35%. HadCM3 results show large decreases in maximum and minimum monthly runoff. This implies large increases in drought frequency
With a change in climate toward drier conditions, drought policy probably would follow a similar path.
Application of the CSIRO (1996a) scenarios, with their wide range of rainfall changes as a result of inclusion of both the older slab-ocean GCM and the more recent coupled AOGCM simulations, suggests a possible combination of small or larger decreases in mean annual rainfall, higher temperatures and evaporation, and a higher frequency of floods and droughts in northern Victorian rivers (Schreider et al., 1996). A study of the Macquarie River basin in NSW indicates inflow reductions on the order of 10-30% for doubled CO2 andreduced streamflows if irrigation demand remains constant or increases…
Studies by Kothavala (1999) and Arnell (1999)—using results from the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Climate Model (CCMO) GCM and the HadCM2 and HadCM3 AOGCMs, respectively—showincreases in drought across eastern and southern Australia. Kothavala found that the Palmer Drought Index showed longer and more severe drought in northeastern and southeastern Australia. Arnell (1999) found marked decreases in runoff over most of mainland Australia but some increases over Tasmania. For the Murray-Darling basin, he found decreases in mean flow by the 2050s ranging from about 12 to 35%, with decreases in the magnitude of 10-year maximum and minimum monthly runoff.
Now compare that 2001 prediction with what has since happened.
Here is the rainfall in eastern Australia: 
image
Here is the rainfall in southern Australia: 
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Here is the rainfall in the Murray-Darling basin: 
image
Farmers in northern NSW are switching to recovery mode after the weekend’s flooding. But there are flood warnings still current for the majority of coastal rivers and further destructive wind and rain is expected this week in some areas.
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More of those predictions to snow us

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY262013(5:46am)

 Global warming - dud predictions
2000 - a prediction from the centre of global warming alarmism:
According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.
“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.
2000:  a prediction from Professor Mojib Latif of Germany’s GEOMAR Heimholtz Centre for Ocean Research:
Winters with strong frosts and lots of snow like we had 20 years ago will no longer exist at our latitudes. 
2008 - another prediction: 
A study of snowfall spanning 60 years has indicated that the Alps’s entire winter sports industry could grind to a halt through lack of snow.... In some years the amount that fell was 60 per cent lower than was typical in the early 1980s, said Christoph Marty, from the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research in Davos, who analysed the records.
“I don’t believe we will see the kind of snow conditions we have experienced in past decades,” he said.
But hauntingthelibrary has dug out from the snowdrifts some more worth quoting:
First off, let’s refresh our memory on what Uber-Greenie Mark Lynas told us in 2004: 
. . . snow has become so rare that when it does fall – often just for a few hours – everything grinds to a halt. In early 2003 a ‘mighty’ five-centimetre snowfall in southeast England caused such severe traffic jams that many motorists had to stay in their cars overnight. Today’s kids are missing out . . .
Many of these changes are already underway, but have been accelerating over the last two decades. Termites have already moved into southern England. Garden centres are beginning to stock exotic sub-tropical species, which only a few years ago would have been killed off by winter… 
Winter is no longer the great grey longing of my childhood. The freezes this country suffered in 1982 and 1963 are – unless the Gulf Stream stops – unlikely to recur. Our summers will be long and warm. Across most of the upper northern hemisphere, climate change, so far, has been kind to us…
And of course, there’s The Independent‘s fatuous warning ... from December 2006. This somber editorial admonished us that the lack of snow was evidence of a “dangerous seasonal disorder”:
The countryside is looking rather peculiar this winter. It seems we have a number of unexpected guests for Christmas. Dragonflies, bumblebees and red admiral butterflies, which would normally be killed off by the frost, can still be seen in some parts of the country . . .
Some might be tempted to welcome this late blossoming of the natural world as a delightful diversion from the bleakness of this time of year. But these fluctuations should be cause for concern because it is overwhelmingly likely that they are a consequence of global warming
. . . all this is also evidence that global warming is occurring at a faster rate than many imagined…
In a [2007 BBC] “One Planet Special” entitled with ominous finality ”It Seems the Winters of Our Youth are Unlikely to Return” presenter Richard Hollingham ... speaks to climate scientists to get their views. Their conclusion? In the words of the BBC, they all give ”predictions of warmer winters, for UK & [the] Northern Hemisphere”...:
Richard Hollingham: Now those of us who grew up with very cold winters, who tell our children that winter’s not what it used to be, we’re right, aren’t we?
Brenda Ekwurzel [Union of Concerned Scientists]: Yes, absolutely. It has changed. 
Summing up, Hollingham reviews the evidence of the people he’s interviewed...: 
Sitting here at the BBC, leafing through my old photos, I can’t help feeling nostalgic for proper winters. This year we had just one day of snow in southern Britain. Mind you, it still brought the roads, railways and airports to a standstill, and shut the schools. But as most people in London, Moscow, Washington, Beijing or Oslo will testify, a cold, crisp winter’s day with snow on the ground is infinitely preferable to the mild, damp miserable winters many of us are having to get used to. And it seems the winters of our youth are unlikely to return…
[A 2007] Western Mail (Wales Online) ... article, entititled ”Snowless Winters Forecast for Wales as World Warms Up” quotes one of the global warming movement’s key figures, Sir John Houghton, former head of the IPCC and former head of the UK Met Office:
Former head of the Met Office Sir John Houghton, who is one of the UK’s leading authorities on climate change, said all the indicators suggest snowy winters will become increasingly rare
He said, “Snowlines are going up in altitude all over the world. The idea that we will get less snow is absolutely in line with what we expect from global warming.” 
Now, of course, climate scientists are trying to dig themselves out of snow that’s kept falling: 
Looking back at 65 years’ worth of statistics, Environment Canada’s senior climatologist David Phillips noted that since 1948, winter temperatures in the prairie regions have increased by an average of four degrees Celsius…
“As we warm up, we may see more moisture, we may see more moist air masses, and therefore we could very well see more snow rather than less snow, because the air masses are going to be more moist and so therefore you’re going to be able to wring out more snow than you would be if it was dry air,” Phillips said.
(Thanks to reader fulchrum.)

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More from the union which props up Gillard

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY262013(5:41am)

In case there was any doubt about who pulls the strings of the Gillard Government:
A UNION deal delivered Labor preselection to a former country mayor for the Gillard government-held central Queensland seat of Capricornia despite his rival, a factional ally of Kevin Rudd, convincingly winning the rank-and-file vote on the weekend.
Former state MP and lawyer Paul Hoolihan, who won 64 per cent of the branch members’ vote in the Rockhampton-based federal seat, lost in the face of Australian Workers Union opposition in the electoral college ballot following a factional deal over campaign support and future division of state seat endorsements.
(Thanks to reader Jeff.)

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Why is such a sacking the business of any tribunal?

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY262013(5:06am)

Why is a university’s right to fire - and set some standards - second-guessed by some third party with no skin in the game? 
The University of Newcastle dismissed Jesse Sheng Jin in February last year for alleged serious misconduct following an investigation into his use of Australian Research Council grants…
Commission deputy president Greg Smith, in his judgment, said Professor Jin genuinely believed ...  many of the expenses were consistent with grant guidelines, and the discretion in the way he spent the money was “consistent with the exercise of academic freedom"…
Mr Smith said he was not persuaded the expenditure was appropriate…
But ...he could not agree they constituted serious misconduct...
UPDATE
More third-party meddling. Nick Cater reports:
Canberra’s Alexander Maconochie Centre is the first modern prison in Australia to be designed by do-gooders. Late last year it also became the first prison in Australia to be raided by police investigating a child pornography ring. Designing a model prison is the easy part; finding model prisoners is another matter altogether. What’s the criminal class coming to when you can’t give them a laptop and an email address without them getting up to no good?…
Let’s hope ACT Human Rights Commissioner Helen Watchirs has better luck with the needle exchange program likely to begin soon, despite opposition from prison officers. As Watchirs sees it: “To deny protection against disease transmission in such a high-prevalence and closed population in prison may be viewed as inhumane.”
Illegal drugs are, of course, illegal, even if administered within prison walls. Before ACT detention centres were made human rights-compliant, prison officers strip-searched prisoners after every visit, since experience showed that illegal substances did not just materialise out of thin air. They would search cells at random and make prisoners pee into bottles.
These barbaric practices are frowned upon by Watchirs who, for reasons best known to the ACT government, seems to have an inordinate influence when it comes to running prisons, or “centres” as she prefers to call them. Strip-searching and urine-sampling are “intrusions into privacy”, says Watchirs, and inmates find them “inherently degrading”. Prisoners subjected to random cell searches “were unhappy that their belongings ended up strewn in a messy pile, sometimes on the floor”...

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Greens and Labor disagree on which conspiracy I’ve joined

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY262013(4:21am)

The Greens leader accused News Limited of influencing Ten because the companies co-operated on the Meet The Press program and a program hosted by Andrew Bolt, a columnist on News Limited newspapers.
She’s only twigged to half our plot. She’s missed News Ltd secretly influencing hundreds of thousands of Australians into watching the show that last year beat the ABC’s Insiders for total audiences.
See, it would have exposed us terribly if we’d simply forced 10 to put on a show no one watched.
[Last year Communications Minister] Senator Conroy said it had been reported and not denied by Ten that [mining entrepreneur Gina] Rinehart demanded conservative News Limited (publisher of The Weekend Australian) commentator Andrew Bolt should have a show on the network.
“Clearly she is seeking to exert her influence, but is she breaking the law by exerting her influence? No. Do we need stronger laws in this area? Yes,” Senator Conroy said.
Labor fears my show is a Rinehart plot and wants to stop her. The Greens fear it’s a Murdoch plot and want to stop him.
Meanwhile I hope viewers decide it’s not a plot but a welcome alternative, and tune in on Channel 10 at 10am on Sunday for our first show of this election year. 

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Cardinal sin

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY262013(4:18am)

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the top Catholic official in Britain, is stepping down a day after publication of reports of ‘‘inappropriate’’ behaviour in his relations with priests working for him.
O’Brien, an outspoken critic of gay rights, is alleged to have made unwelcome advances against priests reporting to him, the BBC reported.
The Vatican announced on Monday that Pope Benedict XVI had accepted Cardinal O’Brien’s resignation.

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If she really cared, wouldn’t she live there?

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY262013(4:11am)

What is that statement exactly? That Gillard is so desperate she’d even stay at Rooty Hill? That she’s so doomed she’s decided to get used to life on the scrap-heap? 
Prime Minister Julia Gillard will forgo her harbourside residence of Kirribilli House for a hotel room in Rooty Hill next week as part of a five-day blitz of western Sydney designed to lift Labor’s plummeting support.
By staying in the area, Ms Gillard is seeking to make a statement, those close to her say.
It’s so symbolic of Labor’s addiction to, well, symbols. Not a single person other than some Rooty Hill hotel owner will be better off from Gillard’s gesture.
Also strange: Labor’s spinners now announce how wildly they spin?
UPDATE
Reader enkl is puzzled to read Julia Gillard will stay in “a hotel room in Rooty Hill next week as part of a five-day blitz of western Sydney designed to lift Labor’s plummeting support”.
If was only last month that Gillard said this:
I guess Gillard next week isn’t governing. 

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And the Oscar for the Left’s best president goes to…

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY262013(3:59am)

Why did Hollywood have Michelle Obama announce best picture at the Academy Awards? Would it have given Laura Bush that honor? Or Nancy Reagan, who, like her husband, was at least a former screen actor?
Jennifer Rubin on the mutual back scratch:
It is not enough that President Obama pops up at every sporting event in the nation. Now the first lady feels entitled, with military personnel as props, to intrude on other forms of entertaining (this time for the benefit of the Hollywood glitterati who so lavishly paid for her husband’s election). I’m sure the left will holler that once again conservatives are being grouchy and have it in for the Obamas. Seriously, if they really had their president’s interests at heart, they’d steer away from encouraging these celebrity appearances. It makes both the president and the first lady seem small and grasping....
Still, it would have been grand if the lefty-maligned “Zero Dark Thirty” (which showed the nasty interrogation techniques her husband deplored) had won Best Picture. Unfortunately, that sort of perfect karma happens only in the movies.

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Spelling out failure

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY262013(3:41am)

Somewhere in Julia Gillard’s announcement last Friday was a good idea buried in another $1 billion of unfocussed promises:
SCHOOLS will be asked to deliver a back-to-basics reading blitz for one million children as a condition of Julia Gillard’s education reform plan.
The program may be centred on the teaching of phonics, which involves sounding out letters to children to help students develop basic reading skills… 
But there are concerns the initial investment will be just $1 billion to lift falling standards at struggling schools - far less than the $6.5 billion proposed by the Gonski review of school funding.
Schools will be asked to identify at-risk students and implement an early intervention plan using expert teaching methods and involving parents wherever possible.
The Prime Minister and Schools Minister Peter Garrett justify Canberra’s increasing involvement in school education by citing the success of programs such as the $540 million National Partnership Agreement on Literacy and Numeracy (LNNP).
But as noted in the Auditor-General Audit Report No 41, the program has had little, if any, positive effect. The report states, “analysis of NAPLAN data from 2008 to 2011 indicates that the LNNP is yet to make a statistically significant improvement, in any states, on the average NAPLAN results of schools that received LNNP funding, when compared to schools that did not receive funding”.
Gillard also refers to her government’s national curriculum… But while the national English curriculum includes occasional reference to “phonic knowledge” the dominant model is whole language, based on the mistaken assumption that learning to read is as natural as learning to talk. It asks teachers to immerse children in a so-called rich language environment where they are asked to guess the meaning of words by their context or by accompanying pictures and graphics.
As Tasmanian reading researcher Byron Harrison noted, the national curriculum ignores phonics. “There are no specific instructions on how to teach letter sounds, no talk of tracing or consolidation by practice. I find no mention of blending sounds into syllables or syllables into multisyllabic words...”
Gillard’s rhetoric does nothing to remedy the major obstacle to higher reading standards; that is, teacher training. Attempts to remedy Australia’s poor literacy performance - our Year 4 children were ranked 27th in a recent international reading test - have no chance of success until teacher training is reformed…
Yet none of our undergraduate teacher training institutions provide teachers with any basic training in teaching of reading using a phonics approach.
Note that Gillard is spending $1 billion for better teaching after spending $16 billion for better school buildings.
No wonder Labor’s Building the Education Revolution - a massive misallocation of resources - had education standards falling, not lifting.

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Least spent, soonest mended

Andrew BoltFEBRUARY262013(3:33am)

In general terms, an Abbott government must appreciate that every federal government suffers from a major failing - a propensity to buy into every issue. Each minister in the incoming government must learn this phrase: “Previous governments have tried and failed (insert silly idea), we do not intend to waste your money making the same mistakes.”
Climate change policy - trying to stop the world warming - is an obvious example.

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A Red Tail Hawk flies in front of El Capitan at Yosemite.
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Published on Sep 6, 2012
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Shooting more car ads today bahaha #fleet #national #capital #motors #rawr #instadaily
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"Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them." ~Paramahansa Yogananda
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There was a nice low cloud base over El Capitan this last Saturday and the monolith was also forming clouds off it's face earlier. That made for some fantastic drama. I had a great time with the Aperture Academy once again… it's always a fun time getting to show others how to get images like this one… in fact some of the students plain ol' outdid me! — at Yosemite National Park.
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Quick Pix: Myrna Loy

http://independentfilmnewsandmedia.com/quick-pix-myrna-loy/
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Tasteless: The Onion calls 9-year old actress Quvenzhané Wallis a c**t ==>http://twitchy.com/2013/02/25/tasteless-the-onion-calls-9-year-old-actress-quvenzhane-wallis-a-ct/
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Both the United States and rest of the global is now suffering through below average temperature. Early data shows a drop in global temperature for the month of February.

-Global temperature below average in February
-Arctic Sea ice approaching "normal"
-Antarctic sea ice still above normal (over 1 year above average), with no sign of abnormal melt.

Thanks goes out to Joe Bastardi and Dr. Ryan Maue at weatherBELL

Image credit: http://www.weatherbell.com/

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A photo of Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains today taken by Polair 5. Polair was in the area with the Police Rescue Squad (PRS) looking for stranded bush walkers.
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If something in your body or your life has broken down, go to Jesus. He can make all things new in your life (John 1:3)! Check out today's devotional. Be sure to click "like" to help spread the word! Thanks, all!http://bit.ly/X6b632
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4 TMN
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Chuck Hagel is Up for a Vote on Tuesday
Through our NoToChuck.com effort, Patriot Voices members and friends have sent over 60,000 emails to their senators telling them to vote NO on Senator Chuck Hagel's nomination to be Secretary of Defense. This has been incredible! 
Because of this tremendous grassroots opposition to Senator Hagel, we were able to successfully delay the vote on his confirmation.  But the time has come that he will now get an up or down vote on the Senate floor this Tuesday, so please make one more call to your senators at 202-224-3121 and ask them to vote NO on Senator Hagel's nomination.  Hagel's record is one of being tolerant to the Iranian government and organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and he has shunned our closest ally in the Middle East, Israel.  He must be defeated and the most effective way to make that happen is by calling your senators one more time.
New Patriot Voices Radio Show
Patriot Voices Radio will air its third show tomorrow, February 26th! You can listen live to the broadcast at noon ET atwww.patriotvoices.com/radio or on your phone at (347) 857-3462.  We'd love to hear from you on Patriot Voices Radio.  Please call our "Shout Out Line" anytime day or night to leave a message, and we might play your message during the show.  The number for the "Shout Out Line" is(512) 827-0033.  If you miss the live broadcast, you can listen to past shows "on-demand" on our site. 
Host an "Our Sacred Honor" House Party
Patriot Voices is getting organized at the county level and you can help! We invite you to start a Patriot Voices chapter in your community byhosting an "Our Sacred Honor" House Partyduring the month of March. Sign up now!  

Connect with Us
In addition to Patriot Voices fighting for our conservative values on the national level, we are equally committed to building a grassroots force at the local level.  If you want to be a part of Patriot Voices in your community, I encourage you to visit our site to get connected with your state leadership.
You can also stay connected with us on our social channels. Please like us onFacebook and follow us onTwitter.
Must Reads
I hope you'll read my latest column in World Net Daily about what President Obama's economic policies are doing to middle income families.  And last Fridaywhile in Michigan I hosted a meet and greet so folks there could learn more about Patriot Voices. Please read the article in the Detroit News about the event. 
Help Patriot Voices carry out our mission
Your financial support is critical to ensuring that Patriot Voices can carry out its mission of fighting for faith, family, freedom and opportunity in America. Help us in our efforts by making a contribution of $25, $50, or $100 so we can keep fighting for our conservative values.

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Hi everyone! Here's the MichelleMalkin.com newsletter for February 25th. Enjoy!

From the Blog

Parody video: Evolution of Liberal Dance

Hey, who needs Saturday Night Live?!

Nuclear option: Sequester could force Congress to fly… ::gulp:: commercial

There are plenty of scare scenarios being planted in the heads of the taxpaying public, but there’s one in particular that may be targeted toward certain members of Congress...

NYC businesses begin receiving brochures about how to comply with Bloomberg’s soda ban

New York City Mayor Michael “I have a responsibility not to force anybody to do anything” Bloomberg is forcing people to do something again...

More From the Right Side of the Web

Featured Video

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Friday night, Michelle's spoke to the Lane County Republican Party in Eugene, Oregon. Here's a clip from the speech.

Michelle's Top Tweets

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And ... Our Hate Tweet of the Day

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Gotta love Mondays.


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