Tough asks   28/2/2011

In a brilliant piece, Tim Blair puts some awkward ones to Ju-liar:

* IF I announced on television that I was going to kidnap the federal Cabinet and put them through a series of deadly Saw-style torture tests, do you think I could avoid charges by asking the police to stop going on about “semantics” and “word games”?
* DO you have any experience in herding cats? This might be important during your coming 16 months of negotiations with the Greens, who you seem to have forgotten are completely insane.
* CONSIDERING Labor couldn’t run a simple grocery pricing website and Labor’s attempts to insulate houses ended up setting them on fire and killing people, what are the odds Labor can successfully run the country’s largest and most complicated tax regime?

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Mobile morons   27/2/2011

Ignorant bastards seen on mobile phones in the past week include: a jerk in the narrow Elizabeth St subway at Flinders St station during peak hour wandering aimlessly and stopping and starting, completely disrupting the pedestrian flow while conversing on his mobile; two young south Asian blokes sitting together on the train but talking loudly on their phones in their native language; a young punk, again on the evening train, telling his mother – and the whole carriage – ”I’m telling you Mum, I’m in a bad f—–g mood, so be careful”; and a young woman at a crowded function at my local pub, who parked herself in a cubicle in the men’s toilet for an hour while she had an abusive mobile row with someone.
So this doesn’t surprise in the least:

Whether it is texting during dinner, talking on a cellphone in a public restroom or using a laptop while driving, most people think mobile etiquette is getting worse, not better.

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Tusk, tusk   

Only The Sun could bring you an intro like this:

THIS horny Dumbo mounted a car he mistook for a mate leaving the passengers inside with a jumbo-sized problem.

Perhaps the car needed a service.

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Unusual Discovery   

Not what you normally expect to see from an airliner porthole.

Although I don’t think first sighting would go down too well among our fraternity of white-knuckled, buttock-clenching fliers.

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Ship ahoy   

G-Town had a bloody big visitor yesterday.

The Addy website has an excellent picture gallery.

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Angry nation   26/2/2011

In years of monitoring reader feedback, I’ve never seen white hot fury like this.

Steve of West Gippsland Posted at 7:34 AM February 25, 2011
All GIllard’s beloved carbon tax will achieve, will increase the cost of living. Of course, what would she know, she has never done an honest days work in her life. She was a lawyer after all !!! A carbon tax is Australia will do nothing for cleaner energy & will do nothing to affect Climate. It will keep her in power by brown-nosing to the greens, continue to destroy the fabric of this country, reduce our global competitiveness, further destroy our manufacturing industry, and increase our cost of living for no value. The Dictator Mubarek remained in power for 30 years. The Terrorist Dictator Gudaffi has been in power for 41 years. The wimp Gillard, with any hope, will not last 30 months. I woke up this morning happy, after reading this, I am very very angry. Maybe we need to follow in the footsteps of Egypt and Tunisia, and have a peoples revolt against this Government, before Gillard & her cronies destroy this wonderful country. And as for the rogue rural independents, show some spine and force this country back to the polls, before it is destroyed. Do the right thing by the country and withdraw your support for this lying and incompetent regime.
Comment 147 of 786

Almost 25,000 Herald Sun readers – 85pc of those who voted – were against the tax.
It was opposition echoed across the media and even taking into account ABC and Fairfax consumers, who would normally favour Gillard, the hostility was palpable.

Media Monitors Australia reports that just 38 per cent of the talkback calls nationwide on the subject, made by mid-afternoon yesterday, were favourable.
“Anything below 43 would generally be considered highly unfavourable,” group communications manager Patrick Baume explained. “It’s roughly equal to about the lowest point in Kevin Rudd’s personal standing.”
Mr Baume said the issue has provoked more fury than asylum-seekers: “This has already got more calls and much more anger in one day than the asylum-seeker funerals got in a week.”

But here’s the message that should keep Gillard sleepless:

“While they aren’t as heavily unfavourable, they are still unfavourable overall,” Mr Baume said. He said 53.2 per cent of ABC callers opposed the Prime Minister’s plan.
An online poll on the Left-leaning Melbourne Age website showed opposition for a carbon tax running at 57 per cent late yesterday.

It’s hard to know what pundits Laurie Oakes and Paul Kelly have been smoking but their opinions today seem hallucinatory.

Oakes:

But Gillard was looking and sounding more confident than at any time since she knifed Rudd and took his job last June. It was Gillard, not her media advisers, who decided she should face two of the country’s toughest talkback hosts – Alan Jones in Sydney and Neil Mitchell in Melbourne.
She acquitted herself well, particularly in the toe-to-toe with Jones, who increasingly acts as the Liberal Party’s godfather.
Suddenly Gillard looks like a leader with a plan, and she’s firing on all cylinders. Her performance in Parliament after Thursday’s announcement was devastatingly effective.

Kelly:

She can triumph against such obstacles only by redefining her political persona as an iron lady reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher’s strength and conviction. Nothing else will suffice. This climate change decision is driven by Gillard’s belief strong leadership is Labor’s only hope after the poll-driven equivocation of the Rudd era — witness her fiery interviews yesterday with 2GB’s Alan Jones and 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

I suppose they’ve been around long enough to know they can’t completely alienate their Labor readers with a dose of hard cold truth, so they dissemble as elegantly as they can. Iron Lady, indeed.
And how can such prominent commentators ignore the week’s most important finding in the whole climate change debate? In fact how could the entire commentariat, with two exceptions – Andrew Bolt and Christoper Pearson, miss it?

On the same day, the Institute of Public Affairs released the findings of a Galaxy poll it had commissioned. The poll was taken last week and replicated the results of another taken eight months ago. Only one-third of Australians think the world is warming due to human carbon dioxide emissions.

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Ju-liar Gillard or Julia Gil-liar   25/2/2011

Gillard did not have to lie about a carbon tax. She could have shown the courage and conviction of a Curtin or a Hawke and told the Greens to go jump. Instead, she kowtowed to this stinking mob of public-teat suckers, smelly old hippies and inner-urban ideologues. The Australian people are understandably livid, although they’re not, as they were with Paul Keating, on their front verandahs with baseball bat in hand. They have wrecking balls at the end of every street that is more than 10km from the inner cities and they’re set to roll at the first sight of a Labor or Green politician. Ask not Julia, for whom the ball rolls. It rolls for thee. Liar.

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Big spender   24/2/2011

This bloke brings to mind the late, great Georgie Best who, when asked where all his money had gone, replied that he’d spent much of it on drink, fast cars and even faster women. The rest, he said, he’d just wasted.

A MAN who won £9.7million ($15.5m) on Lotto has squandered it and is now an alcoholic, earning £75 ($120)-per-day as a painter and decorator

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Koch head   

The Ten Network boasts (gawdknows why) Australia’s Biggest Loser. The Seven Network has Australia’s biggest dill.

CHANNEL Seven presenter David Koch has admitted tweeting “… time to sleep like the dead” while covering the earthquake disaster in Christchurch was a “poor choice of words”.

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Pizza as health food?   23/2/2011

An elderly woman ate little but pizza for three years. You’d not be surprised if such a diet killed her.
But quite the opposite happened, actually.

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Multi-skilled   22/2/2011

The Ballarat Courier introduces readers to Kryal Castle’s new owners:

Mr Finch is the director and founder of Finch Industries in Brooklyn, Melbourne, and owns a house in Greendale, north of Ballan as well as other property investments.
Ms Alexander grew up on a farm in Western Victoria and is a renowned scientist and psychic.

A renowned scientist and psychic? She must have graduated from the Tim Flannery faculty.

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Utter failure   20/2/2011

The unintended consequences of multiculturalism as reported by Britain’s chief rabbi:

Last week the Community Security Trust, the body that monitors antisemitic incidents, published its annual report, showing that the figures for 2010 were the second highest since record-keeping began. Jews especially in London and Manchester have found themselves attacked on their way to and from synagogue, or abused by passers-by. Jewish students feel themselves so intimidated on campuses throughout the country that last week they were in Westminster lobbying their MPs, something I cannot recall happening before.
The Jewish community in Britain is small, and antisemitism only one form of hatred among many. But the Jewish story is worth telling if only because the re-emergence of antisemitism in a culture is always an early warning signal of wider breakdown. The alarm has been sounding loudly for some time.

It is crystal clear: The leaders of Britain, France and Germany are correct, multiculturalism has failed. Yet our hapless leaders fail to acknowledge the obvious. There are votes involved.
So what’s next? As with the manmade global warming scam, the multiculti hobbyhorse riders will refuse to debate and instead deal the “racist” card. Count on it.

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Crisis central   

This is the most disturbing read I’ve endured in a long, long time:

Alice Springs is a township fast spiralling out of control. All the elements for turmoil are present: deep, cold fury among the mainstream population, a reckless gloom among the young bush people loitering here, vast demand for marijuana and a limitless supply, bad, reactive politics, a lack of new ideas, a need for drastic measures and a refusal even to debate the reforms that might have a chance.
An Aboriginal ghetto has been long in the making in Alice Springs, if a ghetto of a strange, dispersed, archipelagic kind, centred on the awful town camps and the string of semi-permanent drinking places all round town.

God knows what the solution is. Or if there is one, other than to walk away and let nature run its course. Whatever, catastrophe looms.

UPDATE:
An interesting addendum to this issue is provided by a commenter at Andrew Bolt’s blog:

OK, I need to throw a little first hand knowledge into the discussion on the African immigrant situation in Alice Springs (I proudly call the Alice my home).
Almost to a man/woman, this group has become a backbone of the Alice Springs community. They have all found jobs (there is a negative unemployment rate in Alice for those who want to work), are unswervingly pleasant and affable, and that one “gang” car of which Nicholas Rothwell speaks (in an otherwise pretty accurate portrayal of town-although his portrayal of the mayor is both not true and unfair) usually contains one white guy as well and I’m pretty sure they are not trolling for “booty”.
The extent to which the Africans (or African Australians as many have proudly taken up Australian citizenship) have become a successful part of mainstrean community is evidenced by the epithet by that drunken aboriginals call them: black c**ts.
They have shown the underclass in this town that it is not racism which keeps them down, and the underclass don’t like it.
Francis Crawford of Lymond

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Keef – a protected specimen?   19/2/2011

On a sunny New Year’s Day I found myself beside the sea at Port Fairy with nothing to read.
So I wandered down to the excellent Ironbird Bookshop where I bought a copy of Keith Richard’s bio, Life.
It cost $50, probably $5 or $10 more than I’d have paid in a Melbourne bookstore. But hell, it was holiday time at a popular resort. What do you expect?
But I was taken aback a couple of days later when checking the book’s price online.
I could have purchased it from Book Depository for $18 and if I’d added another item to the basket to bring the total spend up to $25, it would have been shipped free.
So it’s no surprise to see the collapse this week of two major bookstore chains. Government-protected chains no less.
And even a hero of the protectionist Labor movement reckons it’s time for the coddling to end

It is an opportunity for the federal Labor government to resume the reformist mantle of Hawke and Keating and to say to Australian families: we believe there should be more books in your homes. We believe the price of books in Australian bookshops should come down. We think you should be able to buy more books for your kids. If you can’t win a case for economic reform with that argument, you can’t win any.

Not that anyone at the top is listening:

THE Gillard government has ruled out re-opening the debate about parallel importing of books, lashing the management of the country’s largest bookstore chain, Angus & Robertson, which blamed the import regime and online purchasing for the company’s collapse.

Oh, and Keef’s book is a ripper. He expounds on everything from his love life, his tumultuous relationship with Jagger, to his unique five-string guitar method and his drug use. He even includes his recipe for bangers and mash.

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Lifeblood pumps again   

For an erstwhile Murray riverbank resident, this was a delight to read:

LEAVES are sprouting from century-old river red gums long thought dead as the River Murray – the lifeblood of South Australia – returns to its former glory.
After a decade of crippling drought, water flows are peaking at levels not seen since 1993.
The denuded grey gum tree graveyards that lined the edge of the river for the past 10 years are now metres deep in the Murray, vibrant with ochre bark and deep green leaves.

But as an avid fan of the Weekend Australian, this was not a delight to read:

. . . flood waters in the Murray River National Park in western South Australia, . . .

As a fully paid-up member of the GOS (Grumpy Old Subs) union, I’m tired of muttering: “The buggers have Google map, wall maps, sat navs, degrees in journalism and supposedly the benefits of an advanced education system, yet when it comes to directions, they wouldn’t know their arse from their elbow”.
Suppose it’s a warning to never go bushwalking with a journo aged under 35.

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