Off to war we go, ho ho   27/4/2008

Who said the entertainment industry lacked sensitivity?
Promo email from Village Cinemas on Thursday invited subscribers to celebrate Anzac Day by taking advantage of half-price movie tickets.

And I bet ABC TV was peppered with pedants’ complaints after a graphic scrolled across a promo for their Anzac Day cover declaring “We will remember . . .”

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Idiots on parade   

It’s been rather demanding on the job so blogging has been light of late. But I couldn’t let Krudd’s gabfest slip into the ether of irrelevance without referring to the funniest column published this year.
The author is not known usually for humour writing but this has now all changed. And he did it by employing that once-common journalistic practice, reporting his subjects’ utterings directly. And letting them be hoist on their own petard.
Here are some excerpts from Bolt’s withering summary of the “Brightest and Best” shining forth. Gawdelpus!

Nicola Roxon presents another idea: opening stairwells in high rise buildings for exercise; training children to help their friends stop killing themselves; designing all jobs to have 30 minutes of exercise. This is mere lint in the navel of genius.

Maxine McKew thanks that session she helped to co-chair – “the magnificent Red Brigade!” I assume she means without the guns. She says she wants the parliament of 2020 to look “much like the people in this room”. I bet she does. She has a vision of a new “Yarralumla eco-lodge” by 2020. She embarasses herself by a long fantasy of politics in 2020 in which people like those in the room have a parliament that doesn’t have hot debates. Debates are bad, apparently, which must be why this summit was arranged to exclude them.

Bolt reveals that some of the ideas were racist:
Prominent indigenous West Australian Shirley McPherson suggested certain seats in parliament and spots in government should be put aside for indigenous people.

Others were elitist:
To tie one per cent of federal funding allocated to each government department to the arts.

And others were just so damned stupid that any attendees who really did qualify as “best and brightest” would have been embarrassed to their bootstraps:
… a “fat tax” on junk food

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That’s our best and brightest??!!!!!   18/4/2008

One original sensible idea and one point worthy of extended discussion and resolution. That’s the upshot of a double-page spread in the Herald Sun that canvasses the positions of team leaders at this weekend’s Krudd gabfest. It is difficult to imagine a bigger barrage of banality masquerading as imaginative vision.
The single practical, useful suggestion comes from former deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer, a rural dweller who recognises every shade of bullshit. Here’s Tim:
Here is one small idea. It costs the Royal Flying Doctor Service an extra $1 million because there is no standard track width for ambulance stretchers, most notably Victoria versus South Australia.
So when the Adelaide RFDS aircraft turns up at Mildura, the Victorian ambulance has an out-of-gauge stretcher, creating delay when the patient might be in critically ill. Surely we can sort it out.

Realistic, modest and achievable. There’ll be precious little of that gushed at the weekend if the rest of the 10 leaders’ offerings are any indication.

Cate Blanchett – arts: I believe cultural vitality and real engagement are central to many.
Yada, yada et al translated as: Oiks must give more money to elitist artistes.

Michael Good – health: The large indigenous populations in urban and regional centres also have poorer health than average.
And we didn’t know that. And aren’t there programs in place to belatedly deal with it?

Roger Beale – climate: Not even worth summarising as he believes in something that has not been proven

David Morgan – Future of our economy: Our governments should only intervene in the economy using taxpayers’ money where there are clear and achievable objectives. Er, here’s an idea, David. Government takes less taxpayers’ money so they (taxpayers) can intervene themselves in the economy with clear and achievable objectives. Are brains of mush the first sign of a past use-by-date capitalist?

John Hartigan – governance: Raises one aspect of modern society that should be the subject of a national debate. Equally, there are calls for a return to greater personal responsibility.

Michael Wesley – Security and Properity: AUSTRALIA’S security and prosperity depends on its relations with the world. As China and India become stronger, their interaction with the US and Japan will be perhaps the most important factor shaping Australia’s future environment. A true champion at stating the bleeding obvious. I suspect he will find tough competition in Canberra, though.

Tim Costello – Communities, social inclusion: As Australians we pride ourselves on our love of a drink and a punt.
Crap, Tim. You’re a Baptist parson.

I’m off for the weekend to Walkerville in South Gippsland to spend a couple of days with two dear old pals. Hopefully, wining, dining, beach walking, reminiscing and grumpy old men stuff will hold our attention away from Krudd’s wonderland of windbaggage.

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Just collect the garbage   13/4/2008

Clever, risk-taking people in regional cities are so busy making a real difference in theirs and their families’ lives, you don’t find too many taking on roles in local government. Unfortunately. Increasingly, those positions are filled with party hacks and public servants whose careers can be advanced by a stint on the council. Our local council, for instance, is pretty much a collection of medium-sized flatheads in a small pond who are easily pushed around by empire-building officials and political party apparatchiks.
Local journalist Peter Farago has scanned the recommendations a local, politically-appointed “summit” will forward to Krudd’s gab-fest and doesn’t like what he sees. The “summit” was convened by the City of Greater Geelong and as for its recommendations, a more mind-numbingly visionless pile of bureaucratic goobledook would be hard to imagine.
The summiteers, many of whom must be cringing at the outcome of their efforts as they’re not all Labor Party number-crunchers, recommend “regionally responsive governance partnerships for the implementation of sustainable growth principles”.
Farago continues: Another jargon jumble begs the question of who’s after a job: “Foster local communities as a resource through the establishment of self-employed and paid co-ordinators who carry out the wishes of local groups”.
But there are some sodas like “include incentives and remove disincentives to personal and business growth”, “emphasise value adding, in particular support innovation, enhanced assistance to exporters to develop markets and give further incentives to businesses to train and invest in research and development” and “implement a national education system”.
There’s no doubt that regional summits like Geelong’s last week will stir up some great items for debate. But if this communique is an example of what Mr Rudd’s Australia 2020 Summit is going to churn out, then it’s going to turn into a nightmare for the government.
Getting the best and brightest to put up ideas is one thing but reinventing the wheel and calling for whole-of-government solutions won’t create a new Australia for the 21st Century.

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Simple cure?   

Occasionally, along comes reports of a promising set of test results that you can only hope will lead to the end of suffering for millions. This is such a case:

An injection that dramatically relieved the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease within minutes would qualify as the discovery of the decade. That is exactly what was claimed yesterday for an experimental treatment being tested in America.
Scientists at the Institute for Neurological Research at the University of California have treated around 50 patients at a private clinic by injecting an anti-arthritic drug, etanercept, into the spinal column in the neck and then tilting the patients to encourage the drug to flow to the brain.
They claim 90 per cent respond to the treatment, usually within minutes, and have released videos of patients to prove it.

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You don’t say   

Barack Obama has had his “don’t mention the war” moment. The US Democratic presidential aspirant opined that many small town Americans had missed out on the economic bounty enjoyed by big city elites and were “bitter” and turned to distractions like guns and religion for a sense of purpose.
Pretty close to the bleedin’ obvious, I would have thought.
But the first rule of US politics is the truth hurts, so avoid it like herpes.
Here’s Reuters upshot report:

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama tried to quell a political furor on Saturday over his comments about small-town Pennsylvanians, saying he used the wrong words to describe their mood.
Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate John McCain kept the heat on the Illinois senator for his comments that small-town residents were bitter over job losses and turned in frustration to religion, guns and anti-immigrant sentiments.

And here’s how Exurban League blog sees Obama feeling rural-dwellers’ pain:
Clampetts

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Six-year-old sex offender   

Mark Steyne reveals the most worrying aspect of nanny-state controls: those who get to enforce them are dolts.

Is American public education a form of child abuse? A week ago, the Washington Post’s Brigid Schulte reported on a student named Randy Castro who attends school in Woodbridge, Va. Last November at recess he slapped a classmate on her bottom. The teacher took him to the principal. School officials wrote up an incident report and then called the police.
Randy Castro is in the First Grade. But, at the ripe old age of six, he’s been declared a sex offender by Potomac View Elementary School. He’s guilty of sexual harassment, and the incident report will remain on his record for the rest of his schooldays — and maybe beyond. Maybe it’ll be one of those things that just keeps turning up on background checks forever and ever: Perhaps 34-year-old Randy Castro will apply for a job and at his prospective employer’s computer up will pop his sexual-harasser status yet again.

Further evidence that suggests if kids are leaving school stupid, it has much to do with the idiots running the institutions:
A Texas sergeant and his son recently found themselves separated not only by an eight-hour time difference, several bodies of water, hundreds of miles and a war, but by a high school official who suspended the boy for answering his dad’s call during class.

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Some still remember the 70s   12/4/2008

From the more things change, the more . . . dept.

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The Age rage   

A common but wrong accusation from lefties is that News Corp editors and journalists are commanded from the top to publish the company line. Such a claim is never directed at the luvvies’ preferred news outlets.
Thus, there was a certain smugness in News offices this week when the left-preferred opposition was caught disseminating propaganda.
Will it make Media Watch, though?

In a statement accompanying the resolution, staff said the Earth Hour partnership placed basic journalistic principles in jeopardy: “Reporters were pressured not to write negative stories and story topics followed a schedule drafted by Earth Hour organisers.”
Staff said Jaspan’s decision to participate in the 2020 summit, along with a senior deputy editor, breached the journalistic principle that the reporter and observer cannot be a participant without affecting objectivity.

Woo-hoo, showdown looms at the Spencer Street Pravda:

MANAGEMENT at The Age is on a collision course with the Melbourne newspaper’s journalists after defending editor-in-chief Andrew Jaspan from allegations that he had allowed commercial partnerships to compromise editorial independence.

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Bitter truth   

Regardless of the veracity, it’s uncomfortable to have the worst of your home town exposed to the masses. However, it’s some consolation if the revelations are as artfully scribed as this brilliant exposition by Roger Franklin of Geelong’s underbelly.

What the trial transcript doesn’t begin to answer is how a father of four pays with his life for calling another man a poofter — the “crime” of being an annoying loudmouth.
Nor does it explain why Strain took such umbrage.
And finally, the trial never directly addressed what is going on in Geelong, where the papers in the town once known as Sleepy Hollow are now peppered with reports of assaults and shocking violence.
What we do know is that in and around Geelong’s CBD on the evening of October 11, 2006, the fools were out in force.
McFadyen was the first to hit the streets when he set out to pay a call on his younger mate, Allan William Howell.
McFadyen, who was 34, must have looked like a clown when he rode up with his knees about his ears on a BMX kid’s bicycle, but Howell was soon firing up a bong to celebrate his recent release from jail.
There were some pills, too, washed down with bourbon and colas while the mates had “a bit of a yarn”, as Howell recalled, mostly about getting dope without paying for it.

This is what you get when socialist feather-bedding and victim creation turns the working class into an under-class.
In the past, when jobs dried up for the semi-skilled they moved to where there was work. They had no other choice. Now, we bring in migrants for the hard, dirty and distant jobs while the local unskilled wallow in dole payments, drugs and depravity.
Well done, central planning. You can be guaranteed matters such as this will not be an issue at Krudd’s yak-fest.

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Liar, liar   6/4/2008

Hillary Clinton must have a woeful memory. She keeps getting caught telling fibs.
There was her bulltish story about being named after Sir Edmund Hillary, who didn’t become known outside his NZ village until Clinton was four years old.
Then there was the landing under sniper fire in Bosnia which was revealed last week as another Clinton blowie.
Now she’s been caught out again being cavalier with the truth.

I’ve heard Hillary Clinton tell the story many times in speeches, and it rarely fails to bring a horrified gasp from the crowd: An uninsured and pregnant Ohio woman, working for minimum wage at a pizza parlor, is turned away from a hospital because she can’t come up with $100. The baby dies, and so does the woman. Clinton talks about how this woman haunts her, and how stories like this show the moral imperative–and the urgency–of fixing a badly broken health care system. (You can see a video here.)
Except, it turns out, it didn’t happen–at least, apparently, not the way Clinton said it did. There was indeed a tragedy last August in Athens, Ohio, in which a woman, Trina Bachtel, gave birth to a stillborn baby and subsequently died herself. But the New York Times reports this morning that the hospital involved says Bachtel had coverage,and received treatment.

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Glitch in computer pledge   

You could have put the house on this. Krudd’s “no child shall live without a computer” pledge has turned into a great big smelly steamer.
This deserves to be all over the TV news tonight. It certainly would be if it applied to the previous government.

However, school principals now fear the “revolution” is foundering before it even begins, with the states also refusing to co-operate after they learned last week they would have to contribute up to $3 billion in funding – co-funding that wasn’t mentioned by the Prime Minister or Ms Gillard during the election campaign.
School heads are also concerned it now appears there will be only one computer for every two students, rather than the 1:1 ratio promised during the election campaign.
One principal, in a letter to Ms Gillard, warned of “alarm, uncertainty and confusion at the local school level” surrounding the program.

Looks like working families will be toiling a bit longer for those free computers.

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Shock horror: Globe to cool   

What the . . .?!!! Headline at the notoriously left BBC’s news website:

Global temperatures ‘to decrease’

No, the BEEB has not been staggering along the road to Damascus. It still has an alarmist from NASA to say the big chill is temporary and due (with fingers crossed, I bet) to La Nina.
Whatever, this scare has been around for 20 years and not one disastrous event has occurred that can be laid at the door of manmade global warming.
So when can we expect catastrophe? And again, coastal property prices showed no sign of plummeting at yesterday’s auctions.

UPDATE:
In fact, the lack of natural disasters could well mean an increase in household savings (thanks to Tim Blair for the link).

Lloyd’s of London warned yesterday that an absence last year of natural disasters or man-made accidents was putting pressure on firms to reduce premiums in 2008.
The world’s oldest and biggest insurance market said that though the lack of major disasters had allowed firms to push up profits 5% in 2007, underwriting margins were being squeezed.

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Marine McCain   

Here’s a dimension to John McCain I was unaware of. It certainly won’t do him any harm in the upcoming presidential election. It’s from the NY Times.

Mr. McCain did not bring cameras or a retinue. Instead, he brought his youngest son, James McCain, 19, then a private first class in the Marine Corps about to leave for Iraq. Father and son sat down to hear more about Ms. Flanagan’s brother Michael Cleary, a 24-year-old Army first lieutenant killed by an ambush and roadside bomb.
No one mentioned the obvious: in just days, Jimmy McCain could face similar perils. “I can’t imagine what it must have been like for them as they were coming to meet with a family that …” Ms. Flanagan recalled, choking up. “We lost a dear one,” she finished.

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Don’t let them eat cake   5/4/2008

Ever wonder what type of people turn reasonable societies into joyless nanny states? My theory is they are the modern day equivalent of those sour wowsers who once populated dreary tribes like the Methodist Church. Their simplistic puritanical approach to matters indeed suggests childhoods devoid of fun and friendship. How else could you explain this nonsense from the Shakey Isles?

WELLINGTON (AFP) — A New Zealand school is to ban children sharing birthday cake as the government introduces new guidelines to restrict unhealthy food being sold to pupils, a report said Friday.

OK, so they ban slices of cake at school. Are they planning to ban kids from the fish and chips shop, the pizza parlour, the Mr Whippy van . . .?
And who’s to police the bans? The Fat Controller?
I know common sense is a strange phenomenon to nanny-staters, but here’s some advice for nothing: mount a national campaign that stresses the responsibility for diet lies with individuals and parents. Apart from the horrendous matter of state intrusion on the most basic of individual acts — eating — what makes these dickheads think the state can deal with this issue, or anything else for that matter (apart from defence and policing. Ed: my addition) , better than those directly involved? They obviously don’t use public transport.

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