I’ll have a taste of that   30/11/2012

Here’s a chance for the Punter to enjoy one last generous collect. Sportsbet is paying $5.50 for a Ricky Ponting century in his last Test.

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Taxing times   29/11/2012

A lesson in unintended consequences for the envious and irresponsible:

Almost two-thirds of the country’s million-pound earners disappeared from Britain after the introduction of the 50p top rate of tax, figures have disclosed.
In the 2009-10 tax year, more than 16,000 people declared an annual income of more than £1 million to HM Revenue and Customs.
This number fell to just 6,000 after Gordon Brown introduced the new 50p top rate of income tax shortly before the last general election.
The figures have been seized upon by the Conservatives to claim that increasing the highest rate of tax actually led to a loss in revenues for the Government.

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Evasion   28/11/2012

Gillard again in question time is refusing to answer questions about the slush fund scandal. And, because of a hopeless speaker, she is getting away with it.
There’s only one reason Gillard refuses to answer: if she gives the correct answer she’s guilty at least of incompetence and unprofessional conduct; if she gives the answers she’d like us to believe, she’s guilty of misleading the House.
Whatever she says, it will not win her any support. She’s playing the schoolyard bitch, clawing into deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop. It’s a repulsive look and fair-minded women loath it. And that horrible fishmonger’s wife voice – fingernails on blackboards are symphonic in comparison.

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State of success   

The result would be interesting if this survey was applied to Australian states.

Every year, 24/7 Wall St. conducts an extensive survey of all fifty states in America. Based on a review of data on financial health, standard of living and government services by state we determine how well each state is managed. For the first time, North Dakota is the best run. California is the worst run for the second year in a row.

Tasmania would probably take the ”worst state” mantle here. But which would be best? WA, Queensland?

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Show goes on   

Rock it man. Elton John is taking on the forces of unreason.

A Malaysian Muslim political party is demanding that Elton John be barred from performing in the country later this week because he is homosexual.
Nasruding Hassan Tantawi, head of the youth wing of the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic party (PAS), said the concert “must be cancelled”.
“Artists who are involved in gay and lesbian activities must not be allowed to perform in Malaysia as they will promote the wrong values,” he said.
Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia, where almost two-thirds of the 28 million population are Muslim, and is punishable by caning and up to 20 years in prison.

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Comms conned   

Further proof that humour is unknown territory to many on the hard left:

BEIJING (AP) — The online version of China’s Communist Party newspaper has hailed a report by The Onion naming North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as the “Sexiest Man Alive” – not realizing it is satire.
The People’s Daily on Tuesday ran a 55-page photo spread on its website in a tribute to the round-faced leader, under the headline “North Korea’s top leader named The Onion’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2012.”

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Incompetence personified   

Like Bart Simpson, Julia Gillard repeatedly, and unconvincingly, pleads she did nothing wrong.
Maybe, maybe not. But, tell you what, if one were in need of lawyering up, she’d be last on my list of go-visiting.

Ms Gillard has repeatedly and strenuously denied any wrongdoing. She admits providing legal advice to help set up the association, which she later described as a “slush fund” for the re-election of union officials, but says she had no knowledge of its operations.
Legal documents, property searches and bank records show that about $100,000 was siphoned from the association to buy the Fitzroy house in 1993 as a home for Mr Wilson to use in Melbourne. Ms Gillard, who attended the auction with Mr Wilson, provided a power of attorney so he could purchase the property for $230,000 in the name of Mr Blewitt.

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Sourpuss sledging   

With a deft touch, Janet Albrechsten skewers whining Winnies who find sexism at every turn.
When will the keepers of academia clear the cloisters of ideological deadwood and replace them with open, intelligent minds that welcome opposing views and delight in humourous commentary on the human condition?

In any case, don’t underrate the Bond girls. Full of humour, they radiate a delightfully modern mix of confidence, arrogance and sexual liberation. Who can forget Pussy Galore, the lesbian pilot, or Plenty O’Toole and Holly Goodhead? Pick any Bond girl and I’ll find something more legitimately feminist about her than the Moaning Myrtles who cry sexism each time the latest Bond movie hits our screens. And then there’s that Bond woman M, head of MI6, who routinely puts 007 in his place. As other women my age have remarked, when you grew up in the late 1970s watching repeats of Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, the Bond girls were a refreshing break from Samantha and Jeannie.
Instead of whining that the latest Bond movie is sexist, spare a thought for the poor blokes who could air a bigger grievance. They can never hope to be Bond. Not in the 21st century, where revealing even the smallest hint of the alpha male is pounced on by puritanical feminists as a sign of uncontrolled machismo and sexism. Maybe women like me love 007 because he is the antithesis of the metrosexual men who surround us.

Confession time. The beloved’s maiden name was O’Toole which meant copping the sobriquet ”Plenty” for quite a period.

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Net attack   27/11/2012

The best thing about the internet is its borderless freedom. Ideas, observations and news reports can circulate the globe untouched by oppressive governments.
That freedom is under challenge as the dysfunctional United Nations ponders ways to take control of the worldwide web.
Dow Jones executive and digital media expert Gordon Crovitz writes that in a bid to send the freewheeling digital world back to the state control of the analog era, China, Russia, Iran and Arab countries are trying to hijack a U.N. agency that has nothing to do with the Internet.

Having the Internet rewired by bureaucrats would be like handing a Stradivarius to a gorilla. The Internet is made up of 40,000 networks that interconnect among 425,000 global routes, cheaply and efficiently delivering messages and other digital content among more than two billion people around the world, with some 500,000 new users a day.

Bet communications minister Conroy is taking keen interest in this, given his inept handling of a multi-million dollar fiddle – the National Broadband Network.
Fortunately, even Conroy recognises the political damage support for the UN proposal would entail.

Although Australia supported the idea of a review of the ITR treaty when it was announced back in June, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has increasingly voiced concerns over the direction it is headed.
“We don’t believe the existing system needs any significant or radical change,” he told the ABC’s AM program. “We don’t believe a case has been made at all.”

UPDATE:
Our neighbours are opposed to the proposed takeover:

New Zealand will vote against a move by the United Nations to take control of the internet.

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On the case   26/11/2012

Bolta hasn’t missed a beat in the latest slush fund developments:

Breaks press conference short to go to Question Time, protesting this is just a smear campaign and no one has evidence she did anything wrong.
Except, of course, she helped to create a deceptively named Australian Workers Union Workers Reform Association knowing it was actually a private slush fund for her boyfriend, not the union itself, and was also not a non-profit for promoting workplace safety. And she kept that secret from her partners and the rest of the AWU, even when her boyfriend was already exposed as having rorted another slush fund. I consider that behaviour improper.

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Straight answers required   23/11/2012

This looks increasingly likely to end in tears.

VICTORIA Police said today its fraud and extortion squad is assessing a file on alleged misappropriation of union funds, as a former AWU bagman was interviewed by detectives about a slush fund scandal linked to Julia Gillard.

All three Melbourne dailies front-paged the scandal today, and the ABC has finally decided there could be a story here:

CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Prompted by the renewed coverage of the issue, today Nick Styant-Browne, now a lawyer in Seattle, decided to give his first television interview to reveal what he knows about the slush fund saga. He’s provided 7.30 with documents that he says shed new light on Julia Gillard’s involvement in a key transaction associated with the fund: the purchase of this house in Kerr Street, Fitzroy. One document is a previously unseen excerpt from an interview between Ms Gillard and her superiors at Slater & Gordon in which she told them she had first learned about the mortgage on the property in 1995. Another document is a Commonwealth Bank fax addressed to Ms Gillard which refers to the mortgage details in 1993. Nick Styant-Browne says the documents raise important new questions.

Styant-Browne is not vacillating:

Mr Styant-Brown said that while there was a ”spectrum” of views across the firm’s partnership, there was ”deep disquiet” about Ms Gillard’s conduct.
”There is absolutely no doubt that Ms Gillard not only knew of the Slater & Gordon mortgage in March of 1993, but was specifically involved in taking steps to facilitate that mortgage,” he said on 7.30 on Thursday night.

Gillard has just told a press conference that she could not be expected in 1995 to remember handling the slush fund mortgage two years earlier.
That roar across the nation? The non-delusional majority cranking up a mighty ”OH YEAH!!!!”

And the hacks were told ”it’s a smear campaign” repeatedly. Of course AbbottAbbottAbbottAbbottAbbottAbbottAbbottAbbottAbbott got a run. Gawd, this mob are predictable. They could bore for Australia.

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Precious pack   

Erin shows Arlo where his mum and dad went on one of their first dates – Mt Buller summit.

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Confused roles   15/11/2012

Cripes, imagine the outrage from the eternally aggrieved when this becomes common knowledge:

WHEN she’s not running his bath, fetching the newspaper or blowdrying his hair the Opposition Leader’s wife, Margy Abbott, is often flopped on the couch at The Lodge watching him in parliament.

Oh, the misogyny of expecting the little woman to be available at all hours to tend to his every need.

When Mr Abbott returned home very late that night Margy was asleep but she says she woke up and drew him a bath.
“Obviously he’d had a big day,” she said.

But Margy tries so hard to be relevant:

At home she behaves like a very caring and solicitous partner, delivering the busy Opposition Leader his morning paper and helping with an early morning blow wave for the television cameras.
“Then I have to recover during the day and sit on the couch and watch parliament which usually puts you to sleep . . .,” she said.

Wonder which press gallery member will be first to point out the staggering hypocrisy revealed in this article? Don’t hold your breath.

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Fun police attacked   14/11/2012

Janet Albrechsten launches a withering attack on neo-wowsers who would drag society down to their own humourless, unintelligent, belligerent level.

DID you hear the joke about the earnest politician who proposed banning all jokes whether told publicly or privately about matters deemed untouchable by a committee of self-appointed moral guardians? Of course, you didn’t.
Were it a joke, we couldn’t get to the punchline without being labelled sexist or racist or some such other dreadful tag by the unofficial joke police monitoring our conversations. More likely you haven’t heard this joke because maybe it’s not a joke at all. We are fast becoming a humourless, sanctimonious society where the growing lack of civility is a symptom of our failure to grasp the importance of humour.
Without humour, civility cannot flourish. The tendency to label every joke or passing comment we consider to be in poor taste as something more, something sexist, misogynist, or racist is a sign of a New Puritanism taking hold.
This New Puritanism was inadvertently exposed in Sydney’s The Sun-Herald when on Sunday it reported comments made by a Sydney barrister at a St John’s College dinner in September. A respected lawyer, Jeffrey Phillips SC, gave a dinner address at the residential college at the University of Sydney to more than 250 students, staff and guests. The theme of Phillips’s speech was the importance of people being tolerant and respectful of each other. Phillips, who attended St Johns College in the 1970s, didn’t try to gloss over the recent appalling events at the college, which included a first-year student suffering a bleeding stomach after a dangerous and stupid initiation night for freshers. The barrister said that “contrition is truly shown by having learnt from the experience and making sure that such mistakes don’t recur. Only a knave or a fool fails to learn from one’s mistakes,” he said.
Uninterested in this thought-provoking subject, The Sun-Herald splashed a full page of self-righteous indignation about the first sentence of Phillips’s address. Doing what most good speakers do, Phillips tried to inject some humour into the start of the evening. He paid tribute to the “traditional custodians of this place, the Benedictines who came from the great English nation”. Many at the dinner laughed. Who among us hasn’t listened to robotic, insincere tributes to the traditional owners of our land?
Some didn’t find the joke funny. Fair enough. But the response from some of our more lemon-lipped moral guardians suggests something is seriously out of kilter. The Sun-Herald journalist, Eamonn Duff, found a furious Aborigine, Mark Spinks, who said he was “outraged” and “disturbed” and “almost speechless”. Alas, not too speechless. And, unsurprisingly, feminist Eva Cox was offered a chance to express her moral outrage. “It’s just an indication of how far the rot goes,” she said. The journalist also reported “senior staff” of Johns saying an indigenous student at the dinner remains “deeply traumatised”. Phillips, by the way, sent a letter of apology to the offended student.
It’s also worth noting that Northern Territory MP Bess Price this week questioned whether welcome to country ceremonies were meaningful to traditional people. “We don’t do that in communities. It’s just a recent thing,” Price said in response to a $6 million damages claim brought under section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act by Aboriginal man Shane Mortimer. Former University of Canberra vice-chancellor Don Aitkin attended a welcome to country ceremony by Mortimer. Aitkin later blogged that Mortimer “looks about as Aboriginal as I do”. Mortimer says he wants money for being offended. This ludicrous law sanctions an offence-taking industry.
Unless different rules apply according to one’s skin colour, if Price can criticise a welcome to country ceremony surely Phillips can gently mock the traditional custodians acknowledgment. Here is a sample of emails he received: “You are a disgusting person for playing this racist game.” “You make me sick.” “You are clearly not a fit and proper person to be engaging in legal practice.” “You owe the indigenous people an apology.”
Alas, rational, cool-headed analysis is anathema to the New Puritans. And just as the 17th century Puritans were not always consistent in their “dour prudery”, our New Puritans are also inconsistent when it comes to taking offence.
For example, in the same edition of The Sun-Herald it was entirely acceptable for the resident comic, Peter FitzSimons, to mock Mitt Romney for his Mormon beliefs. Equally, it’s called entertainment when the ABC’s Chaser boys poke fun at the Archbishop of Sydney and the Catholic Church as they did recently on The Hamster Wheel.
Declaring a joke or a comment in poor taste is one thing. Confecting outrage for an ulterior motive is altogether another thing, which is what the New Puritans do when they selectively find offence and discrimination.
Their purpose is entirely predictable: to censor words that challenge their beliefs.
The consequences of this humourless, stifling atmosphere are neither minor nor momentary. The Australian’s Bill Leak said it best in a recent email to me. Without breaching any private confidence, Leak said: “Civility and mutual respect thrive on humour, just as they wither and die without it.”
We tend to think of humour in a sophisticated society as akin to icing on a cake, making an already good life sweeter. Leak explains it is much more than this. “It’s no coincidence that the most intelligent people are also the funniest,” he wrote during our email exchange. “Great humour is as much a by-product of civilisation as great art, and without it we don’t have civility. I’ll bet that bloke who punished that 14-year-old (Pakistani) girl for wanting to go to school by shooting her in the head isn’t a very witty guy. Probably rather quick to take offence too, I’d say.”
Leak’s point is that humourless societies suffer from more than just a lack of laughs. To be sure, Australia is not Pakistan. But the yawning absence of humour in some quarters may deliver its own set of calamitous consequences for civility.
It’s bad enough, says Leak, that many of our political cartoons aren’t funny because cartoonists take themselves too seriously. What matters more, he says, is the lack of humour in the present political discourse.
The Australian’s brilliant artist is referring, of course, to the humourless girl-power government of Julia Gillard. While lack of humour infects both sides of politics, the Labor girls in particular need to loosen their pigtails.
Where is the sharp wit and genuine civility of former politicians such as Fred Daly, who said he had never made an enemy he could not be friends with? In Canberra today, there are far too few Fred Dalys and far too many Tanya Pliberseks. Beyond Canberra too, many are enforcing the New Puritanism in preposterous circumstances. And ironically, those who speak most about the need for more modern-day civility are the same people discouraging the best solution. We could all laugh a little more. Especially at ourselves.

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Separate states   9/11/2012

Oh, the irony of it: A welcome to country ceremony before the First Test against South Africa.
UPDATE:
Welcome to country ceremonies are a recent phenomenon for highly regarded Aboriginal MP Bess Price:

The member for Stuart said welcome to country ceremonies were not particularly meaningful to traditional people anyway.
“We don’t do that in communities. It’s just a recent thing,” Ms Price said.
“It’s just people who are trying to grapple at something that they believe should be traditional.”

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The boys   8/11/2012

Son and grandson enjoy each other’s company.

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Worrying signs   

Might be time for a visit to the financial adviser.

Investors cast their own vote on the presidential race Wednesday, and the result was a landslide rout that could have lasting repercussions beyond Tuesday’s results.

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Vote holds up   

Every vote counts:

An armed masked man who robbed a Warren convenience store on Tuesday also told the clerk at gunpoint to vote for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

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Still odds-on Libs   

Media know-alls would have you believe that a Federal election would be a neck and neck proposition.
It’s a view still not shared by the smart-money folk.
Centrebet has the Coalition at $1.34 and Sportsbet quotes $1.40. A Labor win is paying $3.18 at Centrebet and $2.80 at Sportsbet.
In early September, Centrebet had a Coalition win returning $1.28 for a $1 investment and Labor $3.60. The amalgam odds offerer, IASbet, squeezed the Libs into $1.25 and Labor $3.50.

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Commos correct for once   7/11/2012

Lefties forever rant about how dumb Americans are, ignoring obvious monuments to the advance of civilisation such as virile democracy, ever-increasing prosperity and world changing innovations and inventions.
Regrettably, I must for once agree with the lame-brained left when it comes to almost half the US voting population.
Eastern Europe rejected socialism 20-odd years ago, the Euro nations are seeing how socialism has turned their economies into basket cases and Australians will soon send packing a socialist mob of idiots who know nothing about real achievers.
Yet, the dummies of America’s big cities use their vote to embrace socialism and ensure a downhill slide for everything that once made their nation the brilliant light of modern civilisation. Knowing that rationals will be able to say “told you so”, almost from the outset, is meagre consolation.

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