Friday, April 18, 2014

Fri Apr 18th Todays News

It is Good Friday and so appropriate to look at what that means to others. To Anglican bishops around Australia it means they raise their voice demanding that Mr Abbott pursue an ALP policy of drowning people desperate to come to Australia and facilitating the activity of pirates. According to these people who care a lot about such things, Mr Abbott should listen to them because of his religion. But it calls into question their faith. About 1500 known drownings since 2008, the policy of the ALP was by far their most deadly, but not their most expensive. So in some ways, maybe, we see the Anglican Church's call as fiscally prudent as any of Judas'. By way of contrast, Hillsong, Orthodox and Catholics are focusing on the event known as the Crucifixion of Jesus and its' meaning to Christians. When asked about the day's meaning, the Anglican Archbishop replied it was about children behind razor wire. Maybe he felt it was better they were crucified? Note, 2014, Easter falls on the same dates for Western and Orthodox churches. Rumour has it Seventh Day Adventist Churches begin their observance on a Saturday (my apologies for the bad humour, Seventh Day Adventists are correct to have the Sabbath celebrated on Saturday, but Christians worship on Sunday due to Easter). 

Bolesław Chrobry became King of Poland on this day in 1025. He was not uniquely named, also having the title Boleslav IV, Duke of Bohemia. Born on this day, 1480, Lucrezia Borgia, Italian daughter of Pope Alexander VI. The observant might note this answers the chicken and egg question. 1518, Bona Sforza is crowned as queen consort of Poland. She is important for a recently discovered Leonardo portrait. 1521, Trial of Martin Luther begins its second day during the assembly of the Diet of Worms. He refuses to recant his teachings despite the risk of excommunication. In 1740 was the birthday of Sir Francis Baring, 1st Baronet, English banker. 1775, American Revolution: The British advancement by sea begins; Paul Revere and other riders warn the countryside of the troop movements. 1857, "The Spirits Book" by Allan Kardec is published, marking the birth of Spiritualism in France, note the book, like the recent movie Noah, is based on the Bible. In 1909, Joan of Arc is beatified in Rome, thus correcting what might have been an embarrassing mistake were it noticed.

For twenty two years I have been responsibly addressing an issue, and I cannot carry on. I am petitioning the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to remedy my distress. I leave it up to him if he chooses to address the issue. Regardless of your opinion of conservative government, the issue is pressing. Please sign my petition at https://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/tony-abbott-remedy-the-persecution-of-dd-ball
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Hatches
Happy birthday and many happy returns Noodle Won TonTri Tran and Vladimir Tochilkin. Born on the same day as David Tennant, across the years. He played Dr Who. And he could have been born on any day he chose. Be blessed.
Matches
Despatches
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Shadow men haunt Parliament

Piers Akerman – Friday, April 18, 2014 (6:23am)

FORGET for a moment the Grange, if you can, and concentrate on the underlying issue ICAC is wrestling with — the insidious power of unelected opportunistic lobbyists in both the NSW Labor and Liberal parties.
That’s the real importance of the parade of Obeid-related door-openers and gladhanders before the inquiry. And it hasn’t scratched the surface yet.
At the outset of this inquiry, counsel assisting, Geoffrey Watson, SC, warned the commission would be investigating corruption on a scale not seen since the days of the Rum Corps.
Not an exact parallel but certainly colourful and indicative of the gravity of the concern.
What we have seen so far is evidence certain individuals stood to make vast sums if political decisions were made in favour of companies they were associated with.
What has yet to be explored is the extent to which those who were lobbying for the decisions actually influenced the actual structure of the parties whose MPs and ministers they were begging for favours.
Michael Williamson, corrupt former Health Services Union boss, was also a national president of the ALP. That’s power.
Eddie Obeid, NSW Labor factional boss, pushed premiers around and usually got his way. That’s power.
Craig Thomson, former Labor MP and another corrupt HSU boss, had the backing of former prime minister Julia Gillard and the entire federal Labor Party because his vote was so critical to Labor’s survival. That’s power.
But the picture is just as unattractive from the perspective of the NSW division of the Liberal Party. Office bearers of the division are fighting long overdue reform because lobbyists still hold sway, despite Abbott’s own warning to them last October, a month after winning office.
With then premier Barry O’Farrell beside him, Tony Abbott declared: “I am determined to ensure that as far as the new Coalition government in Canberra is concerned that not only is it clean and fair, but it’s seen to be clean and fair. I’m determined to ensure you can either be a powerbroker or a lobbyist but you can’t be both.”
Conservative lobbyists Michael Photios and Joe Tannous resigned from roles on the state party executive within hours.
Photios never made any secret of his power within the Liberal Party, boasting to an interviewer in July, 2011: “We go from success in the morning to success in the afternoon when we roll out preselections.”
Insiders say the power of the lobbyists has not diminished and some estimate more than 60 per cent of state Liberal MPs owe their preselections to branches controlled by lobbyists’ agents.
Branch stacking is not solely the province of the ALP. Even now the Wentworthville Young Liberal branch is locked in legal action with the NSW division because head office suspended branch delegates.
Initially, the suspension meant delegates were prohibited from voting in the Parramatta federal electorate conference, the Granville state electorate conference and the Parramatta local government electoral conference.
That has now been modified but the action is still running and members of the branch are concerned head office is intent on preventing their voice from being heard when senate selectors and state council delegates are chosen — and most crucially — when the long overdue vote on party reform is held later this year.
The first test for Abbott will come when he receives the report on reform of the NSW division from the expert panel of eminent persons he moved to appoint under the chairmanship of former prime minister John Howard shortly after the last election.
Other members include Dr David Kemp, former cabinet colleague Philip Ruddock, along with former Liberal Party national president Chris McDiven.
The first test for the new Premier Michael Baird will be whether he reappoints O’Farrell nominee MLC Don Harwin to the state executive or whether he signals a fresh start and nominates a reform-driven candidate without any factional baggage.
Failure to do so would lead to the same disunity and instability which still dogs Labor.
GRANGE PROVES A FOLLY FOR POLLIES FROM BOTH SIDES
PENFOLDS Grange also features in Labor Party mythology.
Another former NSW Labor premier, Barry Unsworth, remembers accompanying Bob Hawke, then president of the ACTU, to South Australia in the late ‘70s during the days of the flamboyant Labor premier Don Dunstan and seeing a Port Adelaide publican get the better of the future Labor PM.
“We were on some sort of a worker participation tour and wound up in the Port pub favoured by Mick Young,” Unsworth relates.
Young, a former shearer and AWU boss, later secretary of the ALP, was credited with devising the successful “It’s Time” slogan for 1972 election.
According to Unsworth, Hawke was playing snooker with other delegates, including SA Labour Council secretary Bob Gregory when the publican opened a trapdoor in the barroom floor and descended to the cellar on a shaky ladder.
Hawke called out: “Any of that Grange down there?” The publican’s head reappeared, nodding. “How many are you after?” he asked, and clambered back up with a box filled with dusty bottles of various years.
Unsworth isn’t sure exactly how much the publican asked per bottle but he does say Gregory did the maths and reckoned that Hawke would have been able to buy the lot cheaper at the local bottle shop.
They flew back to Melbourne with Hawke taking both his snooker cue and the pricey case of red.
“That bloke stitched him up,” says Unsworth. Maybe Mick Young put him up to it.
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RATE THE GREENS

Tim Blair – Friday, April 18, 2014 (3:29pm)

Thank you for voting!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Total Votes: 1,694
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ANDRE JOHNSONLESS

Tim Blair – Friday, April 18, 2014 (3:19pm)

Think you’ve had a bad day? Think again.
UPDATE. For the unfortunate rapper mentioned above, life imitates art:

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THERE MAY BE ONE OR TWO MORE

Tim Blair – Friday, April 18, 2014 (12:44pm)

Today’s collection of typos from the Sydney Morning Herald‘s Richard Ackland
hand delivered plonk 
Should be: “hand-delivered plonk”. 
the same old cast of stagers keeps turning-up 
Should be: “the same old cast of stagers keeps turning up”. 
the Liberal’s money raising machine 
Should be: “the Liberals’ money-raising machine”. 
grog merchants lobby group 
Should be: “grog merchants’ lobby group,” 
alcohol fuelled mayhem 
Should be: “alcohol-fuelled mayhem”. 
the Liberal’s money raising efforts 
Should be: “the Liberals’ money-raising efforts”. 
The fact, that he was reminded by the media about the Grange three weeks or so before he was questioned about it by Geoffrey Watson SC, opens a fresh line of inquiry. 
Should be: “The fact that he was reminded by the media about the Grange three weeks or so before he was questioned about it by Geoffrey Watson SC opens a fresh line of inquiry.”
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MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS

Tim Blair – Thursday, April 17, 2014 (11:46pm)

An already-rich leftist journalist is paid $25,000 per month … to talk about income inequality.

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Dyson Heydon on the new racism of the intellectuals

Andrew Bolt April 18 2014 (10:42am)

We’ve seen the disgraceful attacks - some from Labor - on Tony Abbott’s Catholicism. We’ve seen reporters only too eager to portray the Catholic Church as little more than a sanctuary for pedophiles. We’re seen the vicious baiting and heckling of Cardinal George Pell. 
Former High Court judge Dyson Heydon, in a brilliant Acton Lecture on religion and freedom for the Centre for Independent Studies this week, notes this fashionable new intolerance:
Now there may be a new anti-Catholic movement, particularly among the intellectuals.  To adapt Windhorst’s aphorism, anti-Catholicism in Australia now might be called the racism of the intellectuals. 
This new anti-Catholicism may backfire as much as Bismarck’s Kulturkampf.  It is intolerant.  It is hypocritical.  It fails to recognise the extraordinary contribution of Australian Catholicism to education, to charitable relief, to the running of hospitals, to social progress of all kinds, to political life, and indeed to the life of the nation as a whole.  Without that contribution, Australia would not be the Australia we know.  The new anti-Catholicism may cause suffering, but it is suffering which may unify Catholics.  It may bring other elements of society in behind Catholics, for its programme is more than anti-Catholic.  Whether these desirable results flow depends on new Windhorsts and new von Galens.  The hard question is:  Where are they to be found?

In some ways Heydon’s appeal is much like that of Maurice Samuel in The Great Hatred, written in 1940 to warn the US that the fight against the Nazis was their fight, too. Samuel warned that the Nazi’s anti-Semitic program was likewise more than an attack on Jews:
We shall never understand the maniacal, world-wide seizure of anti-Semitism unless we transpose the terms. It is of Christ that the Nazi-Fascists are afraid; it is in his omnipotence that they believe; it is he that they are determined madly to obliterate. But the names of Christ and Christianity are too overwhelming, and the habit of submission to them is too deeply ingrained after centuries and centuries of teaching. Therefore they must, I repeat, make their assault on those who were responsible for the birth and spread of Christianity. They must spit on the Jews as the ‘Christ-killers’ because they long to spit on the Jews as the Christ-givers. 
And what in Christianity so threatened the Nazis?:
And so, as Samuel says, the Nazis’ hatred of Jews was actually a rejection of the most important Judeo-Christian message – that no person is too humble to be precious to God, and that all of us are called to the brotherly love of even strangers.
It was a rejection of the Judeo-Christian claim that the political machine exists for people, not people for the machine.
Christianity was the enemy of totalitarians then, and is so still. Ask the Islamists. Ask the Greens. Ask our university Marxists and the International Socialists; and isn’t it natural that such folk also hate Israel?
That remains the threat Catholicism poses to the merchants of new faiths that legitimise the totalitarian instinct. Christianity remains a defence against the enemies of freedom.
Heydon quotes an amazingly prescient warning from the past:
In 1843 Heinrich Heine wrote: “A drama will be enacted in Germany compared to which the French Revolution will seem like a harmless idyll.  Christianity restrained the martial ardour of the Germans for a time but it did not destroy it; once the restraining talisman is shattered, savagery will rise again … the mad fury of the berserk.”
Heydon in his lecture below says how right Heine was:

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'Dyson Heydon on the new racism of the intellectuals'
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The Bolt Report on Sunday

Andrew Bolt April 18 2014 (10:20am)

On the show on Sunday – Network 10 at 10am and 4pm....
It’s the cover-up, every time… Two urgent lessons from Barry O’Farrell’s fall.
Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Jamie Briggs on how to stop the usual cranks from blocking Sydney’s second airport.
The panel: Michael Kroger and Kimberley Kitching on scandals, Mike Baird, airports and Labor’s disgraceful hounding of Joe Bullock.
On NewsWatch - and to mark the weekend Marxism 2014 conference - my favourite Marxist, Brendan O’Neill:
Plus more, including Harrison Ford’s scary new God for Easter.
The videos of the shows appear here.
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Smear or fear? Jews targeted in eastern Ukraine

Andrew Bolt April 18 2014 (9:52am)


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Deeply sinister:
Jews have reportedly been told to ‘register’ with pro-Russian forces in the east Ukrainian city of Donetsk.
They were also told they would need to provide a list of property they own as well as being ordered to pay a fee or face the threat of deportation… Jews leaving a synagogue in the city of Donetsk were reportedly told they had to ‘register’ with Ukranians trying to make the city part of Russia.
United States Secretary of State John Kerry ... described the leaflets as ‘grotesque and beyond unacceptable’ ... The State Department says it is looking into who is responsible but takes the threat seriously no matter who is behind the leaflets…
[The leaflet] goes on to explain that the reason for this is that leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine supported Bendery Junta in reference to the leader of a nationalist group fighting for independence at the end of the Second World War.
The letter features the flag of the so-called Donetsk Republic, a self-proclaimed state declared earlier this month by several hundred activists who occupied the Regional Administration Building and the City Hall buildings in the city.
Denials - or not really:
Armed, masked men were waiting outside one synagogue, reports Ynet News, Israel’s largest news website, to hand worshipers the leaflets telling them to register with the forces who are trying to return the city to Russia....
The signature of Denis Pushilin, chairman of Donetsk’s temporary government, was on the leaflets.... Pushilin admitted the flyers came from his organization but disavowed the contents, which said that Jews were being ordered to register because of their support for the Bendery Junta, a reference to Stepan Bandera, the leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement that fought for Ukrainian independence at the end of World War II.
But the Times of Israel says Pushilin claims it’s just a set-up:
The flyers were official-looking documents that carried what was presented as Pushilin’s signature, but the news site tvrain.ru on Wednesday quoted Pushilin as denying any connection to the flyers, calling them a provocation.
The letter translated:
Independent Donetsk Republic, General Staff
Dear citizens of Jewish nationality:
Taking into consideration the fact that the leaders of Jewish community of Ukraine has supported banderovtsy’s Junta in Kiev, and have been hostile to Orthodox Donetsk Republic and its citizens, the General Staff of Donetsk People’s Republic has decreed the following:
All citizens of Jewish nationality who are older than 16 years-old that have been living within the territory of Sovereign Donetsk Republic should attend acting Commissioner for nationalities affairs in Donetsk Regional Government Department, office 514 for registration before 03 May 2014. The registration fees are 50 USD.
You should bring the amount of 50 USD for registration fees, passports for marking the confession of faith, documents showing family members, entitling documents for title to real property and transport facilities.
In case of attempts to avoid the registration, the subject persons’ citizenship will be revoked with their subsequent enforced deportation outside Donetsk Republic including the forfeiture of their property.

Yours People’s Governor – Denis Pushilin
..
(Thanks to readers PeterX and the Village Idiot (reformed).) 
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Selling the ABC’s global warming scare

Andrew Bolt April 18 2014 (9:42am)


The ABC gets a little help.
(Thanks to reader James. Via Jo Nova.) 
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Canada’s new race

Andrew Bolt April 18 2014 (9:16am)

Culture wars, The politics of race

It’s been ruled here that certain fair-complexioned Aborigines with ancestors of various ethnic or “racial” backgrounds had no choice but to identity with just one of those “races”.
In Canada, similar race-based thinking is leading to the kind of division - and public expense - I’d hoped we could be spared:
The Federal Court of Appeal has largely upheld a landmark ruling that could extend Ottawa’s responsibilities to hundreds of thousands of aboriginal people who are not affiliated with specific reserves and have essentially no access to First Nations programs, services and rights...
The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and several Métis and non-status Indians took the federal government to court in 1999, alleging discrimination because they were not considered “Indians” under a section of the Constitution Act.
A Federal Court upheld a ruling declaring Métis should be considered ‘Indians’ under the Constitution. (CBC)
They argued they have been denied certain benefits, which included:

— access to the same health-care, education and other benefits made available to status Indians; — being allowed to hunt, trap, fish and gather on public lands; and,
— the ability to negotiate and enter into treaties with the federal government.
The Métis and non-status Indians scored a major victory last year when the Federal Court recognized them as “Indians” under the Constitution.
The federal government appealed that ruling.
On Thursday, the appeals court upheld part of the decision. It ruled that while Métis should remain Indians under the Constitution, extending that recognition to non-status Indians should be done on a case-by-case basis since it is a separate issue.
The “Metis Nation of Alberta” describes the people it claims to represent:
The Métis are one of three distinct Aboriginal peoples of Canada, recognized under the 1982 Constitution....
The National definition of Metis ... states:
1.1 “Métis” means a person who self-identifies as

Métis, is distinct from other Aboriginal peoples, is of Historic Métis Nation ancestry, and is
accepted by the Métis Nation.
Defined Terms in National Definition of Métis
1.2 “Historic Métis Nation” means the Aboriginal people then known as Métis or Half-breeds who resided in the Historic Métis Nation Homeland .
1.3 “Historic Métis Nation Homeland” means the area of land in west central North America used and occupied as the traditional territory of the Métis or Half-breeds as they were then known.
1.4 “Métis Nation” means the Aboriginal people descended from the Historic Métis Nation which is now comprised of all Métis Nation citizens and is one of the “aboriginal peoples of Canada” within the meaning of s.35 of the Constitution Act 1982.
1.5 “Distinct from other Aboriginal peoples” means distinct for cultural and nationhood purposes
The word Métis comes from the Latin “miscere”, to mix, and was used originally to describe the children of native women and French men. Other terms for these children were Country-born, Black Scots, and Half-breeds.
The Métis quickly became intermediaries between European and Indian cultures, working as guides, interpreters, and provisionary to the new forts and new trading companies. Their villages sprang up from the Great Lakes to the Mackenzie Delta. The Métis Homeland encompasses parts of present-day Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
For legal reasons it would be too risky for me to discuss the stupidity and danger of such “racial” divisions, which I believe are an insult to our common humanity and the Enlightenment tradition. It is ghastly that such a profound challenge to that tradition cannot be freely discussed.
(Thanks to reader betapug.) 
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Blocked from Australia, refugees give Indonesia a miss. Not that persecuted, then

Andrew Bolt April 18 2014 (8:44am)

If they were real refugees they’d be glad to be safe in Indonesia:

AUSTRALIA’S hard-line strategy against people smuggling has reduced asylum-seeker registrations in Indonesia by more than 80 per cent this year.
Between late December and the end of last month, the number of asylum-seekers registering had fallen from 100 people daily to about 100 people weekly, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Indonesia representative, Manuel Jordao, said…
Another key indicator of asylum-seekers’ diminished capability to board boats to Australia was the “no-show rate” at the Jakarta office falling from 50 per cent a year ago to 2 per cent now. This was the rate of people reporting for registration but failing to return to UNHCR — authorities assuming most no-shows had boarded boats.
So who are those tens of thousands of people our officials accepted as refugees, fleeing danger and persecution?
(Thanks to readers Baden, Peter of Bellevue Hill and others.) 
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Actually, there is a difference between Obeid’s Labor and O’Farrell’s Liberals

Andrew Bolt April 18 2014 (8:20am)


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ABC presenter and university politics lecturer Waleed Aly demonstrates all the even-handedness for which both the ABC and academia are so famous.
The pocketing by a former union official (and then boyfriend of solicitor Julia Gillard#) of hundreds of thousands of dollars from employers and the alleged use of pre-selection power to steer government contracts to mates? Nothing to see here, folks:
...the complete non-scandal surrounding the Australian Workers Union and Julia Gillard’s time as a labour lawyer...
And Labor - in which Obeid and his crooked mates served as government ministers and made and unmade premiers as they rorted taxpayers sideways - is really not much worse than the Liberals, which just had a Premier quit over a $3000 bottle of wine he failed to declare:
No Liberal has been found corrupt, but this episode reminds us that the Labor and Liberal parties do not represent two different worlds. There are shades of difference but they are both ultimately similar machines directed at similar goals and subject to the same power plays and moral compromises… Eddie Obeid might have been Labor’s heart of darkness, but he was only ever a step or two away from the nearest senior Liberal.
True, this is not a contest between the evil and the pure. I suspect ICAC is about to expose more Liberals yet.  But if we can’t make finer moral distinctions than this between Obeid’s Labor and O’Farrell’s Liberals then jaywalkers are no better than killers. 
(# Julia Gillard insists she did nothing wrong. She advised her then boyfriend on the creation of his slush fund but says she did not know how he then used it.)
UPDATE

No difference?:
New South Wales Opposition Leader John Robertson has effectively admitted he should have reported a $3 million bribe offered to him when he was secretary of Unions NSW.
Mr Robertson told Lateline if he had his time over again he would have reported the offer - made to him by murdered businessman Michael McGurk - to authorities.
“...Hindsight is a wonderful thing,” he told Lateline host Tony Jones.
“If I found myself in those circumstances again I’d report it,” he said.
Mr Robertson is set to face a state parliamentary inquiry over his revelation to a newspaper last year that he was offered the bribe by Mr McGurk, who was later shot dead outside his home in Sydney’s Cremorne. Mr Robertson rejected the offer, which related to the sale of valuable union-owned land at Currawong in Sydney’s north.
Cut & Paste, 17 April:
Leo Shanahan, The Australian, July 12, 2011:

THE former Labor government’s purchase of Currawong … took place less than two weeks before the election, the property was bought from a company with ALP associations, who sold it to the state for $1.2m more than they paid only a month earlier when they bought it from Unions NSW. Established by Unions NSW in 1947, the Currawong site formerly served as a subsidised holiday resort for union members and their families. In 2005 then Unions NSW chief John Robertson put Currawong on the market and in December 2006 an option on the property was granted to Eco-Villages, owned by … Labor affiliate Allen Linz. Eco paid a $1m deposit by November 2007, but the final sale to Eco wasn’t completed until January 28 this year for $11m, $4m less than initially agreed. The unions had previously rejected another offer of double the price offered by Sydney standover man Michael McGurk, who was shot dead outside his home two years later. Linz was a business partner of fellow developer David Tanevski, who had been hired by Robertson to advise on the sale. Both Linz and Tanevski were generous donors to the Labor Party, their company KWC Capital contributing $45,000 between 2003 and 2007.
(Thanks to readers Peter of Bellevue Hill and Geoff.) 
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Baird has soft heart. Let’s see if he also has a hard head

Andrew Bolt April 18 2014 (8:05am)

There’s a lot to like about new NSW Premier Mike Baird, the more I like:
Guiding Mr Baird through his career are three role models whose portraits hang on his office wall in NSW parliament. Attached to each is a small silver plaque for each of his guiding principles — integrity, passion, and results.
For integrity, Mr Baird has William Wilberforce, the deeply religious British politician who campaigned to end slavery in the early 1800s.
For passion, he has a picture of Martin Luther King making one of his fiery speeches.
And for results, he has Roden Cutler, the longest-serving governor of NSW, who won a Victoria Cross for courage fighting in Syria in 1941.
However, there’s a living hero whose portrait is not on the wall that Mr Baird has spoken of privately. He has a brother who works with homeless people whom Mr Baird says is his real inspiration.
If he also has a hard head, he should be good.
But that “if” is the one question still needing an answer:
Mr Baird admitted that in hindsight he had made a mistake appointing Mr Di Girolamo – a Liberal part fund-raiser who spoke twice a month to Mr O’Farrell – to the State Water Board in 2012. Mr Baird said he and Mr Di Girolamo were “not friends” but Mr Baird said he had held two meetings with him as Treasurer.
And:
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Obeid deserves more than just bad headlines

Andrew Bolt April 18 2014 (7:04am)

Kate McClymont sure isn’t kidding:
The fact that Eddie Obeid is still tooling around town behind the wheel of his top-of-the-range Mercedes and enjoying the comforts of his $10 million palatial abode in Hunters Hill, is galling to many.
It is perhaps even more galling since the ashes of Barry O’Farrell’s leadership lie smouldering following his extraordinary self-immolation after he staked his premiership on the receipt of a $3000 bottle of wine.
Mr Obeid, 70, possibly the most venal politician this state has ever known, has featured in an unprecedented seven corruption inquiries.
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Steyn on the great shut-up

Andrew Bolt April 18 2014 (12:16am)

Free speech

image
In this week’s Spectator, always a must-read, the great Mark Steyn - fighting for a freedom too many Australians won’t defend:
These days, pretty much every story is really the same story: 
• In Galway, at the National University of Ireland, a speaker who attempts to argue against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) programme against Israel is shouted down with cries of ‘F..king Zionist, f..king pricks… Get the f..k off our campus.’
• In California, Mozilla’s chief executive is forced to resign because he once made a political donation in support of the pre-revisionist definition of marriage.
• At Westminster, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee declares that the BBC should seek ‘special clearance’ before it interviews climate sceptics, such as fringe wacko extremists like former Chancellor Nigel Lawson.
• In Massachusetts, Brandeis University withdraws its offer of an honorary degree to a black feminist atheist human rights campaigner from Somalia.
• In London, a multitude of liberal journalists and artists responsible for everything from Monty Python to Downton Abbey sign an open letter in favour of the first state restraints on the British press in three and a quarter centuries.
• And in Canberra the government is planning to repeal Section 18C — whoa, don’t worry, not all of it, just three or four adjectives; or maybe only two, or whatever it’s down to by now, after what Gay Alcorn in the Age described as the ongoing debate about ‘where to strike the balance between free speech in a democracy and protection against racial abuse in a multicultural society’.
I heard a lot of that kind of talk during my battles with the Canadian ‘human rights’ commissions a few years ago: of course, we all believe in free speech, but it’s a question of how you ‘strike the balance’, where you ‘draw the line’… which all sounds terribly reasonable and Canadian, and apparently Australian, too. But in reality the point of free speech is for the stuff that’s over the line, and strikingly unbalanced. If free speech is only for polite persons of mild temperament within government-policed parameters, it isn’t free at all. So screw that.
But I don’t really think that many people these days are genuinely interested in ‘striking the balance’; they’ve drawn the line and they’re increasingly unashamed about which side of it they stand. What all the above stories have in common, whether nominally about Israel, gay marriage, climate change, Islam, or even freedom of the press, is that one side has cheerfully swapped that apocryphal Voltaire quote about disagreeing with what you say but defending to the death your right to say it for the pithier Ring Lardner line: ‘"Shut up,” he explained.’
A generation ago, progressive opinion at least felt obliged to pay lip service to the Voltaire shtick. These days, nobody’s asking you to defend yourself to the death: a mildly supportive retweet would do. But even that’s further than most of those in the academy, the arts, the media are prepared to go. ...
I’m opposed to the notion of official ideology — not just fascism, Communism and Baathism, but the fluffier ones, too, like ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘climate change’ and ‘marriage equality’. Because the more topics you rule out of discussion — immigration, Islam, ‘gender fluidity’ — the more you delegitimise the political system. As your cynical political consultant sees it, a commitment to abolish Section 18C is more trouble than it’s worth: you’ll just spends weeks getting damned as cobwebbed racists seeking to impose a bigots’ charter when you could be moving the meter with swing voters by announcing a federal programmne of transgendered bathroom construction. But, beyond the shrunken horizons of spinmeisters, the inability to roll back something like 18C says something profound about where we’re headed: a world where real, primal, universal rights — like freedom of expression — come a distant second to the new tribalism of identity-group rights.
Read it all.
And don’t miss this Speccie event:
Joe Hockey, with Spectator publisher Andrew Neil
The ‘world’s greatest treasurer’ Wayne Swan bequeathed a whopping national debt and federal deficit. How will his successor tackle these challenges in his first budget on May 13?
Join the federal Treasurer Joe Hockey and Andrew Neil, publisher of The Spectator and BBC politics host, on Wednesday 23 April at the Doltone House, Hyde Park , Level 3, 181 Elizabeth Street, Sydney
Hit the link to book. 
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Please don’t hurt the cat. Loosen up....
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=== Posts from last year ===
4 her, so she knows how I see her






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Two brooms are getting married. 

Before the ceremony, the bride broom says to the groom broom, " I think I'm going to have a whisk."

The groom broom says, "How can that be possible ? We haven't even swept together ! "
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Photos: Mourners line streets for Margaret Thatcher’s funeral; Disgusting protesters: ‘Rest in shame’ ==> http://twitchy.com/2013/04/17/photos-mourners-line-streets-for-margaret-thatchers-funeral-disgusting-protesters-rest-in-shame/
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6 years after Joe McDonald was expelled from ALP, he's rejoined. Ms Gillard should stand by her word and block his return.
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HISTORY IN THE HEADLINES: During excavations relating to a road-building project earlier this month, a team of Israeli archaeologists uncovered a ritual bath dating to the Second Temple period, some 2,000 years ago. http://histv.co/YvytDN
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This cup I got from hoyts is cool cause its got a hidden compartment underneath. Lol love it!!! #thecroods #lollystash
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TIMES, THEY ARE A CHANGIN’ Larry Pickering

Thought of a cartoon but it’s too hard to draw so I’ll just tell you about it:

About 20 Kiwi rams all crawling over each others’ backs trying to get to a peep-hole in the hedge to see two ewes getting it off in the next paddock. That’s the way it works doesn’t it?

Anyway, I’ve got a better idea and no hope of drawing it.

I reckon if we drag Tasmania and New Zealand into Bass Strait and moor them both up to South Australia, we could fence the three of them off and forget about them.

They could then secede as ‘The Great Southern Land of the Marxist Tree-Hugging Homosexual’.

They could develop their own tourist economy, saving us the problem of supporting them.

Imagine it, Christine Milne dawn tours to view the almost-extinct Southern Bell Frog, the Spotted Tailed Quoll and the Forestry Industry.

[We could agree to restock them with some extinct species they have killed off themselves, like small businesses and Tassie Aborigines.]

Then off for a spot of latte with Bob Brown and his mate, toasting your own wholemeal bread over a log fire. Followed by a trip to the Julia Gillard Hall of Fame with the ever-popular Andrew Wilkie.

After a luncheon hosted by Penny Wong, an exhilarating rainbow hunt before viewing same-sex group marriages over at the NZ sector, finally returning to the boutique Islington Hotel where a sumptuous vegetarian quiche spread awaits, followed by the ever-popular Clitlickin’ Cowgirl and Cocksuckin’ Cowboy complimentary drinks.

Then it’s time to retire with strict segregation arrangements... blokes on the first floor and sheilas on the second.

Oh well, I’m starting to feel a bit left out being normal.

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A BOAT packed with 66 asylum-seekers managed to evade detection by border patrols and made it to the West Australian port of Geraldton.

Locals were stunned as the crowded fishing boat approached.

It is thought it came from Sri Lanka and had been at sea for around six weeks.

The boat's passengers were holding up a sign saying, ''We want to get to New Zealand”.

Mmmm. New Zealand eh? - Larry Pickering

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Mount Chocorest. Do you think you would make it to the peak?
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You have embarrassed us in front of the world.
He, not only clearly hates the American way...he also hates our closest friends....the British.

"Obama’s absence meant he was upstaged by the presence of F. W. de Klerk,former President of South Africa, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Italy’s Prime Minister, Mario Monti, and Poland’s Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, just to name a few state leaders who decided that Lady Thatcher was worth honoring.

The leading chief-of-state who attended today’s memorial was Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Today was the first time the Queen of Great Britain attended the funeral of a prime minister since Sir Winston Churchill passed away forty-eight years ago.

The Obama Administration did, however, send a formal delegation to the funeral of Socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who died last month."

(Jim)>

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April 18Good Friday (Christianity, 2014); Independence Day inZimbabwe (1980)
Damage from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake
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“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” - 1 Corinthians 1:18
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Ye are come to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."
Hebrews 12:24
Reader, have you come to the blood of sprinkling? The question is not whether you have come to a knowledge of doctrine, or an observance of ceremonies, or to a certain form of experience, but have you come to the blood of Jesus? The blood of Jesus is the life of all vital godliness. If you have truly come to Jesus, we know how you came--the Holy Spirit sweetly brought you there. You came to the blood of sprinkling with no merits of your own. Guilty, lost, and helpless, you came to take that blood, and that blood alone, as your everlasting hope. You came to the cross of Christ, with a trembling and an aching heart; and oh! what a precious sound it was to you to hear the voice of the blood of Jesus! The dropping of his blood is as the music of heaven to the penitent sons of earth. We are full of sin, but the Saviour bids us lift our eyes to him, and as we gaze upon his streaming wounds, each drop of blood, as it falls, cries, "It is finished; I have made an end of sin; I have brought in everlasting righteousness." Oh! sweet language of the precious blood of Jesus! If you have come to that blood once, you will come to it constantly. Your life will be "Looking unto Jesus." Your whole conduct will be epitomized in this--"To whom coming." Not to whom I have come, but to whom I am always coming. If thou hast ever come to the blood of sprinkling, thou wilt feel thy need of coming to it every day. He who does not desire to wash in it every day, has never washed in it at all. The believer ever feels it to be his joy and privilege that there is still a fountain opened. Past experiences are doubtful food for Christians; a present coming to Christ alone can give us joy and comfort. This morning let us sprinkle our door-post fresh with blood, and then feast upon the Lamb, assured that the destroying angel must pass us by.

Evening

"We would see Jesus."
John 12:21
Evermore the worldling's cry is, "Who will show us any good?" He seeks satisfaction in earthly comforts, enjoyments, and riches. But the quickened sinner knows of only one good. "O that I knew where I might find Him !" When he is truly awakened to feel his guilt, if you could pour the gold of India at his feet, he would say, "Take it away: I want to find Him." It is a blessed thing for a man, when he has brought his desires into a focus, so that they all centre in one object. When he has fifty different desires, his heart resembles a mire of stagnant water, spread out into a marsh, breeding miasma and pestilence; but when all his desires are brought into one channel, his heart becomes like a river of pure water, running swiftly to fertilize the fields. Happy is he who hath one desire, if that one desire be set on Christ, though it may not yet have been realized. If Jesus be a soul's desire, it is a blessed sign of divine work within. Such a man will never be content with mere ordinances. He will say, "I want Christ; I must have him--mere ordinances are of no use to me; I want himself; do not offer me these; you offer me the empty pitcher, while I am dying of thirst; give me water, or I die. Jesus is my soul's desire. I would see Jesus!"
Is this thy condition, my reader, at this moment? Hast thou but one desire, and is that after Christ? Then thou art not far from the kingdom of heaven. Hast thou but one wish in thy heart, and that one wish that thou mayst be washed from all thy sins in Jesus' blood? Canst thou really say, "I would give all I have to be a Christian; I would give up everything I have and hope for, if I might but feel that I have an interest in Christ?" Then, despite all thy fears, be of good cheer, the Lord loveth thee, and thou shalt come out into daylight soon, and rejoice in the liberty wherewith Christ makes men free.
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Today's reading: 2 Samuel 1-2, Luke 14:1-24 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: 2 Samuel 1-2

David Hears of Saul's Death
After the death of Saul, David returned from striking down the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days. 2 On the third day a man arrived from Saul's camp with his clothes torn and dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to pay him honor.
3 "Where have you come from?" David asked him.
He answered, "I have escaped from the Israelite camp."
4 "What happened?" David asked. "Tell me."
"The men fled from the battle," he replied. "Many of them fell and died. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead...."

Today's New Testament reading: Luke 14:1-24

Jesus at a Pharisee's House
1 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?" 4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way.
Then he asked them, "If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?" 6 And they had nothing to say....
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Knowing Him - An Easter Devotional

JUSTIFIED!

…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood–to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. (Romans 3:23-27)
It is hard to overestimate the power of this one word: justified. Over the past twenty centuries Christians have periodically rediscovered this important truth. We keep forgetting it because we are so inclined to think that we can earn God’s favor if we just try hard enough. But, like the love of a good parent, God’s grace is something that we can never earn. God gladly gives it.
Justification is a word from the law courts, and what it means in the New Testament is that God, who is both Father and Judge, has said that we could be acquitted at court because of the sacrifice of Jesus.
Have you seen a defendant in a courtroom receive a verdict of “not guilty,” and then walk straight out of the courtroom, entirely free? It’s decisive because it’s a decision by an authority about a change of status.
This passage teaches that because of Jesus, we can be acquitted in the court of God’s law (even though we are guilty of breaking it), and walk out as free people. We are guilty (3:23). And Jesus voluntarily took the penalty of the world’s sin on his shoulders. There is justice in it all, and God offers justification to people who ought to be penalized (3:26).
Ponder This: What do you have to say to God, having walked out of the courtroom of his justice, a free person?
WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Resources

About The Author - Mel Lawrenz serves as minister at large for Elmbrook Church and leads The Brook Network. Having been in pastoral ministry for thirty years, the last decade as senior pastor of Elmbrook, Mel seeks to help Christian leaders engage with each other. Mel is the author of eleven books, the most recent for church leaders, Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to Engagement.
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Lent=Devotions-Header
Today is Palm Sunday, when we commemorate Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The excitement of the scene is tempered by the fact that very soon, the same crowds that hailed Jesus as King would be calling for his death.

Today's Scripture Reading: The Triumphal Entry, Luke 19:28-44
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' say, 'The Lord needs it.'"
32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?"
34 They replied, "The Lord needs it."
35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38 "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
40 "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."
41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."
In the other Gospels

The Triumphal Entry is described in all four of the Gospels. The above account is from the book of Luke; the links below will take you to the story as it's described in the other three Gospels:
Something to Think About

Read the Triumphal Entry story in all four Gospels. How is each account distinct from the others?
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There is no new Lent reading today; today is a catch-up day. If you've kept up with the daily readings so far, congratulations! If you've fallen behind, here are the readings from the last week in case you want to go back and catch up:

Monday: 
John 1-2
Tuesday: John 3-4
Wednesday: John 5-6
Thursday: John 7-8
Friday: John 9-10
Saturday: John 11-12

Have a blessed Sunday!


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