A most impressive world record.

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Fantasy land   

I read this the other day and The Castle’s marvellous rebuke for unrealisable fantasies sprang to mind: Tell him he’s dreamin’, I muttered.

AT Australian Development Strategies, we think that Labor’s Darren McCubbin has a pretty good chance of winning Gippsland.

Um, the actuality:
The National Party has declared victory in the Gippsland by-election.
MP Darren Chester was declared the winner of the Victorian seat just a few hours after the polls closed.

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Don’t go there   

The US Democrats and a compliant media would have you believe all is just peachy between the Clintons and Barack Obama.
Not quite so, it seems.
The Telegraph has learned that the former president’s rage is still so great that even loyal allies are shocked by his patronising attitude to Mr Obama, and believe that he risks damaging his own reputation by his intransigence.
A senior Democrat who worked for Mr Clinton has revealed that he recently told friends Mr Obama could “kiss my ass” in return for his support.

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Worrying times ahead:
A former head of Mossad has warned that Israel has 12 months in which to destroy Iran’s nuclear programme or risk coming under nuclear attack itself. He also hinted that Israel might have to act sooner if Barack Obama wins the US presidential election.

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What an honour   

As the kids say — WTF! Organisers of Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday party really showed their appreciation of the old revolutionary when they put drug-ridden skank Amy Winehouse on the bill.
And didn’t Mandela bring out the sodden lettuce leaf to belt Robert Mugabe when he described the murderous tyrant’s reign as “a failure of leadership”? It’s a wonder he didn’t produce the left’s favourite non-judgemental term: “inappropriate”.
English colleague raised a chuckle the other day when he recalled how back in the days of the fight for Rhodesian independence an English peer would refer to Mugabe as “Ee-ba-goom” — a close approximation of his name pronounced backwards.

Business as usual in Zimbabwe.

A baby boy had both legs broken by supporters of President Robert Mugabe to punish his father for being an opposition councillor in Zimbabwe.

And when the hell is someone from Australian media going to confront Malcolm Fraser on the monster he helped create?

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Jackie earns a deener   26/6/2008

Rafe, a regular commenter here, has brought to mind the great Australian Sir John Monash.
In turn, mention of Monash always brings to mind a wonderful book of poems, AnniVersaries, by the sublimely talented Timoshenko Aslanides which carries a poem for every day of the Australian Year. This, from February 10, is my favourite:


Noon and heat: Jerilderie. Dust drifts like sheep.
A crow swears high behind a boy’s left shoulder,
then slides offensiveness glissando down to silence.
A horse is slow, shuffles its hooves and stops.
‘What’s your name, my boy?’ The presence, and question, commanding.
In the time it takes to take one’s time to speak,
Edward Kelly dismounted around his chestnut mare,
and bridle in hand, presented it to the lad.
‘Jackie Monash, Sir,’ looking up and eyes
and beard and breadth; two smiles refresh the day,
He grips the bridle in his right, without needing to look,
and runs his left along the horse’s neck.
‘Her name is ‘Mirth’, the big man says, talking down
without talking down, ‘can you hold her half an hour?’
and tapping his horse’s flank at K reversed on E,
he turns to attend to letter, bank and myth,
‘Ned Kelly’, he said, shaking then filling the child’s hand.
Jackie spent the shilling; could never spend the story.

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Spanscape   22/6/2008

Here’s another new feature on the Geelong landscape: the ring road bridge over the Moorabool River at Fyansford.

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Met observation   

Dammit! Yet more highly convincing proof of manmade global warming.

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Love is in the air   

Mastering the heart of cloud formation over Mexico. A photo essay from the Daily Mail.


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Roaring mouse   

Here’s our windmill tilter of the day:
LONDON (Reuters) – The owner of a tiny island off Scotland declared its independence from the United Kingdom on Saturday, saying he wanted the territory, population one, to be a crown dependency like the Channel Islands.
In a declaration on his Web site, Stuart Hill, who owns the 2.5 acre island of Forvik in the Shetland Islands in the North Sea, said he no longer recognised the authority of the government or the European Union, and cited a centuries-old royal marriage dowry deal as the basis for his claim.

Here’s more about Forvik from Stuart Hill’s website. It sounds like a very progressive place.

There will be no income tax, VAT, council tax, corporation tax, or any of the other taxes instituted by the British government. The only tax is a contribution by every citizen towards the cost of running the state – the old Nordic scat. This will be initially set at a level of one forvik gulde per year – about £55 sterling at current gold values.

Now, that’s a tax I could live with.

Jeez, I might even become a citizen.

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Credibility crises   

They were racist!
Er, who exactly?
They were. And I’m a victim.

They will be racist.
Er, who exactly?
They will be. And I’ll be a victim.

Pathetic, isn’t it?

But that’s the way they play it.

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Chaos central   21/6/2008

Here’s the first boulder to follow those pebbles observed here a fortnight ago.

TO the top ranks of the public service, the episodes are symptomatic of Kevin Rudd’s disdainful attitude towards the bureaucracy. To others, they merely display the increasing level of chaos that reigns inside the Prime Minister’s office.
Last month, Rudd kept two of the nation’s most senior officials – Australian Defence Force chief Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston and the secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Michael L’Estrange – waiting for hours outside his office.
He accused the public service staff of leaking and not working hard enough.
And there are increasing reports of an arrogant and inexperienced team advising the Prime Minister – one that last year felt it was appropriate for a 28-year-old flack to dress down ill frontbencher Tony Burke because he would not do a media interview.

John Lyons reveals that with all his other faults, Rudd is a disrespectful arrogant megalomaniac.
And he has made the mistake of covering his flanks with bullies from the self-esteem generation. You know the type: Twenty and 30-somethings who think they should run the corporation although they can’t keep a secret; who think lack of spelling ability should not deny them the editor’s job; who believe “whatever it takes” is the paramount piece of political advice; and who have never done anything without self-interest being the primary motivation.

Insiders say that barely a day seems to go by when the Prime Minister’s office is not derailed by an ultra-sensitive leader who abandons his program at a whim.
The lack of experience around Rudd is becoming an issue.
Jordan’s only experience before joining Rudd six years ago was to work for “a Queensland MP”; his official CV doesn’t even identify that MP. Yesterday, Harris did not know who the MP was.
Harris’s CV says that as well as working in Labor headquarters in the 2004 election campaign and briefly for Robert McClelland and Swan, he has worked “for other community-based campaigns”.
One senior government staffer said: “You’ve got no idea of the level of paranoia in Rudd’s office at the moment. Kevin doesn’t know half of what’s going on.”
So besieged has the office become that it took several attempts to even receive confirmation that Jordan and Harris are 28. Their ages do not appear on their CVs.
Apart from growing anger from the public service, the Prime Minister’s office is also alienating sections of the Canberra press gallery, particularly some of the women who believe they are being poorly treated.

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Don’t you just love ‘em   15/6/2008

Another day, another alternative energy dream. Whatever drives the passion in these Gyro Gearlooses would propel a rocket to Mars.

He means bugs. To be more precise: the genetic alteration of bugs – very, very small ones – so that when they feed on agricultural waste such as woodchips or wheat straw, they do something extraordinary. They excrete crude oil.
Unbelievably, this is not science fiction. Mr Pal holds up a small beaker of bug excretion that could, theoretically, be poured into the tank of the giant Lexus SUV next to us. Not that Mr Pal is willing to risk it just yet. He gives it a month before the first vehicle is filled up on what he calls “renewable petroleum”. After that, he grins, “it’s a brave new world”.

One Mr Pal is worth a squillion whining, back-to-the-caves, myth-believing eco-religious cranks.

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Left silent   

That silence out in left field? That’s Malcolm Fraser, Nelson Mandela and all the other lefties who’d have you believe they would stand up to right wing totalitarian tyrants. Except if such action caused other totalitarian tyrants to brand them neo-colonialists.
In the meantime, the monster Mugabe that Fraser and the emotionalist left propelled to power, threatens even more terror and brutality against his people.

With the MDC leadership under constant harassment, voters being beaten and killed and what amounts to a curfew in some MDC rural strongholds, the likelihood of the 27 June run-off taking place in any meaningful way seems remote.

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Politics of nice   

The great writer and thinker proven correct again.

George Orwell once wrote that politics was closely related to social identity. ‘One sometimes gets the impression,’ he wrote in The Road To Wigan Pier, ‘that the mere words socialism and communism draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, nature-cure quack, pacifist and feminist in England’.

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Magic man   

Tiger Woods arguably has just played the three best holes ever in six holes of golf to take a one-shot lead in the US Open with a round to play. He’s plonked in two monster eagle putts and a chip from a greenside bunker. And he’s carrying a knee injury that has him grimacing on any shots longer than a chip and run.
Utter brilliance.

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Mo no go   14/6/2008

Not bally likely, old chap. It’s like a spare set of wings for the old kite.

An RAF pilot has been ordered to trim his handlebar moustache by an American General who took offence at its length, but the British serviceman was not prepared to lose his whiskers without a fight.

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Just add water   

Yet another reason for more dams in these parts.
Hmmm, if it seems too good to be true . . .

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Now, just hang on a tick . . .
A man whose heart had stopped beating woke up just as surgeons were about to remove his organs for donation, it was disclosed yesterday.

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Gloves off   

Only early days, but the US presidential election race is already down and dirty.

What makes this threat to kill me all the more mysterious is that it appears to have been sent through Barack Obama’s official campaign website – barackobama.com – the website that sends me official announcements of Obama’s campaign comings and goings.

Obama has support from a surprising quarter:

With the nomination of Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate clinched, large sections of the white supremacist movement are adopting a surprising attitude: Electing America’s first black president would be a very good thing.


Spot of homespun wisdom on the Free Republic website:

While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old Texas rancher, whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man.
Eventually the topic got around to Obama and his bid to be our President.
The old rancher said, ‘Well, ya know, Obama is a ‘post turtle’.’
Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a ‘post turtle’ was. The old rancher said, ‘When you’re driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that’s a ‘post turtle’.’
The old rancher saw a puzzled look on the doctor’s face, so he continued to explain.
‘You know he didn’t get up there by himself, he doesn’t belong up there, he doesn’t know what to do while he is up there, and you just wonder what kind of a dumb ass put him up there!.’

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