Monday, August 30, 2010

Confessions of a young monarchist

From The Punch:

When I was in my first year of university I consented to attending some forum where politicians talk to young people about politics and spirituality. This was achieved through a combination of hassling by my parents, and an idea that I may be able to pick up some attractive young female leader type impressed with my attendance at such a deep thinking event.

Isn't he just dreamy? Prince William in Australia last year
Isn't he just dreamy? Prince William in Australia last year

Having entered the room and scanned through the earnest polar fleeced mini-lawyers, I quickly realised this was an asexual event more concerned with signing up for the Liberal or the Labor Right, and as such, planned to quietly head back down to the bar where the demarcation between male and female was more obvious and less sober. Unfortunately I was spotted by a friendly tutor who was happy one of his students had turned up, so I stuck around and we were introduced to that week’s guest speaker: Tony Abbott MP.

I can’t remember much of what was said, except for the fact that afterwards at dinner Tony and I got into an argument about the prospect of an Australian republic.

It was only a year since the failed referendum of 1999 and it was still something students would bother talking about. Abbott was impressive as much for the fact that he wasn’t condescending when arguing with a student - he just let you have it like he would anyone else.

Abbott’s arguments for maintaining a monarchy in Australia haven’t changed over the years. They are best summed up as “if ain’t broke don’t’ fix it.” At one point Abbott said to me: “I’m a Manly fan, becoming a republic makes as much sense as switching the team I go for.”

Besides wanting to point out that Manly are team for tossers, it struck me that Abbott’s argument for not becoming a republic also summed up this man’s brand of conservatism. I disappeared into the night, smug in the assessment that my support for a republic was evidence of a more open mind.

But ten years on I am really having doubts about my desire for a republic, and if yesterday’s Fairfax poll is anything to go by, so are most people.


Full article here.


Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The greatest green scam of them all

The UK Telegraph’s Christopher Booker on the greatest green scam of them all:
This is a scam so glaringly bizarre that even the UN and the EU have belatedly announced that they are thinking of taking steps to stop it. The essence of the scam is that a handful of Chinese and Indian firms are deliberately producing large quantities of an incredibly powerful “greenhouse gas” which we in the West – including UK taxpayers – then pay them billions of dollars to destroy …

Even greenies have become so outraged by this ridiculous racket that the Environmental Investigation Agency has described it as the “biggest environment scandal in history”. Two weeks ago the UN announced that it is suspending payments to five Chinese firms pending an investigation, with a view to a major reform of the system.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The local food movement now threatens to devolve into another one of those self-indulgent do-gooder dogmas

On vacation in Massachusetts, I reel from frequent arguments from lefties. (I vacation right between a home owned by the late Howard Zinn and one owned by Joe Sibilia, CEO of CSR Wire). I also rage at the NYTimes, which I unfortunately now have time to read.

It is then such a relief to stumble across a rare bright spot on the Op Ed page, like this one by Stephen Budiansky.

What a joy too when the latest group of silly people, the locavores, have their myths punctured in their own "paper of record."

"[T]he local food movement now threatens to devolve into another one of those self-indulgent — and self-defeating — do-gooder dogmas. Arbitrary rules, without any real scientific basis, are repeated as gospel by “locavores,” celebrity chefs and mainstream environmental organizations...

[I]t is sinful in New York City to buy a tomato grown in a California field because of the energy spent to truck it across the country; it is virtuous to buy one grown in a lavishly heated greenhouse in, say, the Hudson Valley...

One popular and oft-repeated statistic is that it takes 36 (sometimes it’s 97) calories of fossil fuel energy to bring one calorie of iceberg lettuce from California to the East Coast.... It is also an almost complete misrepresentation of reality... Shipping a head of lettuce across the country actually adds next to nothing to the total energy bill.

Eating locally grown produce is a fine thing in many ways. But it is not an end in itself, nor is it a virtue in itself. The relative pittance of our energy budget that we spend on modern farming is one of the wisest energy investments we can make..."


Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Friday, August 27, 2010

Oh dear, Crikey apologising to Tim Blair again (and Andrew Bolt this time)

An immediate and complete correction to a Guy Rundle item in Crikey helps avoid expensive legal processes:
A line contained in Wednesday’s item “Assange and the Wikileaks fallout”, misrepresented the views of Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt. References to them were offensive and indefensible. Crikey regrets this and apologises.

Crikey‘s previous editor wasn’t so alert. The correction is appreciated.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Black rice - the latest example of the idiotic "superfoods" religion

I'll reproduce the last paragraph of the media article, as pointed to by the Food & Health Skeptic, who comments himself "Just the antioxidant religion again."
Victoria Taylor, senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation, said: 'In reality, it's unlikely there's a single food out there that will have a great impact on lowering your risk of heart disease. Healthy eating is about a balanced diet overall. 'It's great if you can eat more of some groups of healthy foods, like having five portions of fruit and veg a day, but there is still no conclusive evidence that 'super foods' alone make a real difference to your heart health.'

No doubt this will not worry the true believers, but the fact remains that there is no evidence to actually support the absurdly inflated claims about the benefits of so-called antioxidants, despite them first being mooted over 50 years ago.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

From Botswana - the only way to play guitar

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On the misunderestimating of Mr Abbott

Germaine Greer, (who, you ask? Um, oh, never mind), is simply the latest in a long line of quite smart people who not only never bothered to try and get to grips with the real Tony Abbott and what he believed in and stood for, but actually wilfully preferred the fantasy one of their own imaginations' creation.

Even as the Coalition's desperately dire position under Malcolm Turnbull, (who had made the Coalition a bigger laughing stock than it was under Brendan Nelson), immediately began to improve under the leadership of Mr Abbott, the "smart" opinions did everything possible to find another reason for this because, well, as they believed so emphatically, he was after all unelectable. Everybody down at the new and oh so trendy cafe said so.

So even on Saturday night we saw the woman on Channel 9's panel who was Julia Gillard's biographer assert that taking 13 to 14 seats off of a first term government, and coming within a hare's breath of winning a majority, was somehow a bad result for Mr Abbott.

You could see what was going on; the cognitive dissonance so clearly on display - but everybody at the cafe, (you know, that really cool new one that's just opened up in a converted inner-city brothel, with the girls' "working" clothes on the walls - so daringly transgressive!), said that far-right "christianist" madman could never be elected. Anyway, we all read that he was quite mad in The Age or The Sydney Morning Herald, so it must be true.

I'm forever amazed at the capacity of otherwise clever people to use their intelligence to delude themselves.

From Andrew Bolt:

Janet Albrechtsen:

TONY Abbott is “unelectable”. He will “reduce the party to a reactionary rump”. “No one thinks Abbott can win in 2010; he would be doing well if he held the line.” The Liberals’ choice represents the “spirit of kamikaze fundamentalism”. The Liberal Party has chosen “the least electable” candidate. The Liberal Party will likely face “a lengthy period in the wilderness of opposition”....

The Opposition Leader has confounded them all. Even if the Coalition fails to form a minority government, this election is about the rise and rise of an eminently electable Abbott, and the demise of brand Labor.


When the facts change, it’s sometimes wise to change your opinions, too: 

Laura Tingle in The Australian Financial Review, December 2, 2009:

VETERAN pollster 
Rod Cameron says simply of Tony Abbott that he is “unelectable”. ”This is a description I reserve for a very small group of politicians,” he adds.

Cameron tells Paul Kelly in The Australian on March 3:

I STAND by my earlier view that Tony Abbott is unelectable, but the government is doing everything possible to prove me wrong.

Tingle in the AFR, April 23:

ANOP pollster Rod Cameron thinks that “until a month ago, even two weeks ago, Kevin Rudd was in serious trouble, not because of Tony Abbott but as a result of his own work”.

Lenore Taylor in The Sydney Morning Herald, June 12:

CAMERON believes that with almost any other leader the Liberals would now be almost assured of victory.

The Australian, July 22:

VETERAN pollster Rod Cameron of ANOP Research Services believes that “the hard heads” in the Coalition recognise Mr Abbott is deeply vulnerable with women voters.

Tingle in the AFR, July 30:

THE pollster for ANOP Research Services, Rod Cameron, agrees with the assessment that Gillard won the leaders’ debate but Abbott may have got more out of it since the expectations for his performance were so low.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Yes We Canberra - It's funny because it's true

William Connolley, chief climate change gatekeeper at Wikipedia, may be out

Yes We Canberra's ad for the Labor Par...sorry, GetUp!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Taiwan's 3D news channel covers the Aussie election. Hilarious!

You've got to watch this!

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Next 4 Corners - so it was government intervention, not the evil banks, that caused the financial crisis? #ausvotes

Monday's 4 Corners program:
Next on Four Corners "Overdose" - the story of the greatest financial crisis you will ever see, the one that is on its way.

Have you maxed out your credit card? Bought shares with borrowed money? Taken out a large home loan believing that prices always go up? Then you may be living on borrowed time. Filmmaker Martin Borgs takes a provocative look at the events leading up the Global Financial Crisis and asks if the attempts to avoid a ruinous collapse of banks and other major finance houses may set the world on the path to an even bigger meltdown.

 When the world's financial bubble blew, the solution was to lower interest rates and pump trillions of dollars into the sick banking system. On the face of it this seemed the only way to deal with impending disaster, but was it?

"The solution is the problem, that's why we had a problem in the first place ," Economics Nobel laureate Vernon Smith says. For him, the Catch 22 is self-evident. Interest rates have been at rock bottom for years, and governments are running out of fuel to feed the economy. He asks:

"The governments can save the banks, but who can save the governments?"

Forecasts predict many countries will see their debt reach 100 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product in the near future. Greece and Iceland have already crumbled, who will be next?

The storm that would rock the world began in the United States when congress pushed the idea of home ownership for all, propping up those who couldn't make the mortgage down payments. The market even coined the term NINA loans, meaning "No Income, No Assets, No Problem!" Enter FannieMae and FreddieMac, privately owned, government sponsored mortgage houses. "Want that vacation? Wanna buy some new clothes? Use your house as a piggie bank!" People began to ask:  "why earn money to pay for your home when you can make money just living in it?" With the government covering all losses, you'd have been a fool not to borrow.

The years of growth had been a continuous party. But when the punchbowl ran dry, instead of letting investors go home to nurse their hangovers as usual, the Federal Reserve just filled it up again with phoney money. For analyst Peter Schiff, the consequence of the spending binge was crystal clear:

"We're in so much trouble now because we got drunk on all that Federal Government alcohol ."

If he and other experts are right, then the worst is yet to come as governments struggle to pay the debt they now owe as a result of their bank bailouts and bad investment decisions.

"Overdose" goes to air on 23rd August at 8.30pm on ABC1. It is repeated on 24th August at 11.35pm . It can also be seen in the same week at 10.15pm Friday and 1.15pm Saturday on ABC News 24.

Available on ABC iView for two weeks only.

Oh dear. To all those who have been saying that it doesn't matter how much debt the current government has racked up, it's at least lower than other peoples', think again.

And finally, the truth is getting out - the mess the world's financial system is in isn't primarily due to unrestrained capitalism and lack of government regulation.

Quite the opposite. It's because governments decided they knew better than markets and fiddled with the banking and financial systems to pursue "social" policy ends.

There would have been no sub prime crisis in America if American Democrats (read Labor Party in Australia) hadn't moved to force banks to lend to people who had no hope of ever repaying a mortgage.

And why? Because they decided that because so many of those with no jobs and no incomes were black and Latino, then the "obvious" reason why banks wouldn't lend to them wasn't because they could never repay the loan, it was because the banks were racist.

Thus the critical amendments to the Community Reinvestment Act were passed by the Democrat controlled Congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1995. These required banks to prove that they had made sufficient mortgages available to mandated zip codes that covered poor and disadvantaged communities.

The rest is sad (if fucking predictable) history.

Kevin Rudd, you arrogant and stupid fuck, it wasn't neoliberalism that caused the problem. It was politicians like you who thought they knew better than anybody else and who thought they could intervene in the market without perverse and unintended consequences.

Fuck you. Fuck Labor.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Did Tony Abbott overcome his problem with women during the campaign?

This tweet suggests he may have:

All the Mums at mothers grp reckon Tony has run a great campaign. They shifted from loathing to respecting.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Leading physicist labels Satellitegate scandal a 'catastrophe' Will the Greens finally honestly face up to this?

"NOAA Proven to have engaged in Long-term Cover Up". It's not only Britain's UEA that has been crooked

By John O'Sullivan

Respected American physicist, Dr Charles R. Anderson has waded into the escalating Satellitegate controversy publishing a damning analysis on his blog.

In a fresh week of revelations when NOAA calls in their lawyers to handle the fallout, Anderson adds further fuel to the fire and fumes against NOAA, one of the four agencies charged with responsiblity for collating global climate temperatures. NOAA is now fighting a reargaurd legal defense to hold onto some semblance of credibility with growing evidence of systemic global warming data flaws by government climatologists.

NOAA Systemically Excised Data with ‘Poor Interpolations’

Anderson, a successful Materials Physicist with his own laboratory, has looked closely at the evidence uncovered on NOAA. He has been astonished to discover, “Both higher altitudes and higher latitudes have been systematically removed from the measured temperature record with very poor and biased interpolated results taking their place.”

Like other esteemed scientists, Anderson has been quick to spot sinister flaws in official temperatures across northern Lake Michigan as revealed in my earlier articles.

Full article here.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Greens caught stacking calls to talkback radio #ausvotes

The Greens stack talkback to bail out flailing Bob Brown:
THE Greens have been caught red-handed trying to ‘’stack’’ calls to talkback kings Neil Mitchell and Jon Faine with pro-Bob Brown messages. The Age has obtained internal emails showing the Greens’ Victorian media officer, Tom Maclachlan, urged members to hit the phones as Senator Brown did interviews with Faine on ABC Radio and then Mitchell on 3AW.

At 9.19am on July 21, Mr Maclachlan emailed supporters saying: ‘’Well done everyone - 30 positive texts for Bob on Faine. Don’t forget to call in too.

‘’Now on to 3AW, where Bob will take on Neil Mitchell, an even harder taskmaster. Please let everyone know again (this seems to be working).’’..

The leaked emails show senior Greens were concerned Senator Brown sounded extremely uncomfortable in his interview on 3AW about the party’s backroom deal with Labor under which the minor party agreed to direct preferences to the ALP in 54 lower house seats across the country.

At 10.25am on July 21, the (Greens) candidate for the marginal outer Melbourne seat of McEwen, Steve Meacher, wrote: ‘’If any of you are listening to 3AW this morning you will be aware of Bob’s extreme discomfort at the shady preference deal with Labor and the fact that, as party leader, even he doesn’t know which 54 seats were sold out - not a good look for the Greens.’’
Much more detail from Andrew Landeryou.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

When you go to your public school to vote just remember... #ausvotes

...that the new shade shelter outside cost more than your house.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Clive Hamilton reveals more about the Greens by an appeal to Plato than maybe he thought

I must say the same thought crossed my mind. Plato was no friend of democracy.

Professor Clive Hamilton, the Gaian and former Greens candidate, has already suggested a ”suspension of democratic processes” to impose his green ideology. Yesterday he made clear his totalitarian instinct - or possibly just his ignorance - by citing Plato as his guide:
Indeed, it may be said that the Australian Greens are the party of Plato, the original philosopher of the West...
Today The Australian’s readers explain why Hamilton’s guru tells us all we need to know about the Greens:
CLIVE Hamilton has assured us that the Australian Greens are the party of Plato…

Those who have actually studied Plato will recognise the ultimate source of philosophical nihilism in the Western tradition. That barren philosophy which negates all sense of value or consequence in human life, and which rejects the possibility of the existence of a meaningful universe.

Plato was an anti-democratic contrarian whose legacy provided the underpinning rationale for modern totalitarianism, in the form of Nazism and communism, through the patronising notion of rule by “philosopher kings”; those “precious few” among us who are sufficiently intelligent, rational and “dedicated to wisdom”.

Is this really the desired self-image of the Greens? It certainly makes sense of Hamilton’s erstwhile call to suspend democracy, so as to let the “Brights” rid of us carbon emissions and, given half a chance, probably religion and capitalism to boot. Thank you, Clive, but no thanks, all the same.
James Miller, Sydney, NSW

CLIVE Hamilton says that the Greens are the party of Plato. I can see what he means; Plato’s formula for a republic, governed by a class of know-all guardians who would ride rough-shod over the rest of us if given half the chance, certainly sounds like what might happen if the Greens get the balance of power in the Senate.

Also, having read Karl Popper’s masterful demolition of Plato’s heirs as the enemies of the open society, I find that the idea scares the tripe out of me.
Terry Jessop, Gordon, NSW

I HAVE no doubt that should the Greens have the balance of power in the Senate, Plato’s spirit will indeed come alive. The ignorant masses will be advised to mind their own business and let the green philosopher kings get on with their ruling.
Michael Kottek, Ocean Grove, Vic
This is not just a gotcha debating point. As I wrote two years ago, Hamilton’s Greens truly are the latest manifestation of something sinister, stretching back to Plato:
What Solzhenitsyn described was, of course, just the latest appeal to the totalitarian instinct that has tempted intellectuals from Plato to Marx. But with Marxism now dead, at least outside universities, what new ideology now tickles that temptation? ...

The great philosopher Karl Popper asked why so many clever people so often fell for ideologies that aimed to replace open societies with tyranny - some new cult of the tribe…

“I am inclined to think that the reason is that they give expression to a deep-felt dissatisfaction with a world which does not, and cannot, live up to our moral ideals and to our dreams of perfection . . .

“(T)he revolt against civilisation may be . . . a reaction against the strain of our civilisation and its demand for personal responsibility.” ...

Which is why my hackles rise to read the latest from Clive Hamilton, former head of the Left-wing Australia Institute and now a Professor of Public Ethics.

The freedoms of capitalist society, he now claims, “makes us slaves of our passions” and he detects in us (how? where?) “a deep anxiety” over our “internal decay”.

“There is a need - more pressing by the day - to question the value of the economic, political and personal liberty that has been won.”

Here’s what I think is a clue. Why is Hamilton so strongly drawn to the global warming crusade? Why is it so many former Marxists and almost everyone of the Left is so attracted to the cult of man-made warming, with its call to force us into eco-virtuous lives? ...

Again and again we now see the budding totalitarians of global warming demand individuals be sacrificed for this latest cause.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

How the greenshirts destroyed a man, his business and his reputation

From Mr Bolt:
Miranda Devine describes how the lovely new greens destroyed a business, a planned pulp mill and the reputation of John Gay, since dumped as chairman of the Tasmanian timber company Gunns:

But the international green movement and the Australian Wilderness Society fought a relentless campaign to bring the company to its knees and destroy Gay.

They let loose violent feral protesters who chained themselves to trees and sabotaged logging equipment; protesters with placards picketed the ANZ Bank, which had undertaken to finance Gay’s proposal for a pulp mill in the Tamar Valley, but pulled out at the last minute.

And they had environmentalists in suits successfully traduce Gay to cowardly institutional investors who earlier this year dumped Gunn’s shares, halving the value of the company in a week.

Greenies in suits also went to Japan, destroying Gunn’s markets for its woodchips, threatening - in an oh-so-reasonable way - companies which used pulp sourced from Tasmania’s forests to make paper.

Afraid their brands would be trashed, Gunns’ Japanese customers dropped Tasmania like a hot potato.

His wife was spat at in the supermarket and the Tasmanian media sat on the fence as a good man’s reputation was destroyed.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Oh, here comes that really fast wireless broadband!

I've said it before to the naive idiots entranced by Labor's proposal for the National Broadband Network, and I'll say it again - technology is racing ahead so fast from so many different directions that anything built by government is almost certainly going to be obsolete before it is even built.

The days of massive government infrastructure projects like the installation of the copper wire network belong in the last century. The pace of change back then, being so much slower, made these projects sensible even given the natural inefficiency of government bureaucracy.

Not today. Not in the 21st Century.

The Gillard Government insists there’s no option to its plan to bet $43 billion on delivering fibre optic to every house:
The Coalition’s “grab bag of policies” on broadband was too heavily reliant on wireless technologies that cannot deliver the speeds and capacity needed for future healthcare, education and business applications, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says.
No sooner is this asserted, then we hear of another tecnological breakthrough that promises cheaper, handier and almost as fast wireless - delivered not by government but the private sector:
Satellite companies have been the also-rans of Internet providers… Their services can be painfully slow and cost twice as much as high-speed broadband.

But two companies, WildBlue and HughesNet, are now in a race to change all that. Both plan to launch satellites in the next couple of years that will dwarf their predecessors in space.

WildBlue’s alone will have 10 times the capacity of its three current satellites combined. Such behemoths, the companies say, will enable them, at prices similar to what they now charge, to provide Internet service at speeds many times faster than they now offer — as fast, in some cases, as fiber connections. Further, the companies argue, satellites can provide service more easily and cheaply per subscriber than their earthbound cable and phone company competitors… As to satellite’s potential in rural regions, “clearly, there’s an unserved market,” Mr. Slekys said.
And another announcement of wireless speeds to match those of Gillard’s $43 billion fibre optic network - without having to be tethered to a cable on the wall:

WiMAX 2 finalizing soon with 100Mbps speeds
Intel’s upcoming WiMAX 2 standard should be much faster than the existing standard in practice, the WiMAX Forum’s marketing lead Declan Byrne said this weekend. Existing WiMAX often tops at just 3-6Mbps according to estimates from Clear and Sprint, but the new 802.16m version should provide average speeds over 100Mbps, Byrne told Computerworld.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

GetUp! hides Labor's broken promises

From Mr Bolt:

Months ago GetUp! promised to update its list of Labor promises broken. Must have been hard work, because just when we’re asked to judge Labor’s performance before casting our vote, this Labor front still begs for more time:
This site list of promises made by Kevin Rudd during the 07 election campaign.

But right now our team is working at updating the content.

We’ll have the content back online asap.
What’s more, the list of Labor’s promises has been taken down, so you can’t check them for yourself.

Honesty of a kind at last I suppose. At least it is clear now that GetUp! is nothing more than a campaigning arm of the Labor Party.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Robert Carlyle's Johnnie Walker whisky video

More even, but Abbott perhaps wins again #ausvotes #rootyq

A more even result in the town hall meeting in Brisbane tonight. Tony Abbott got a few more nasty, even arrogantly abusive, questions from the audience including at least one from a Labor plant, reading out almost word for word Labor’s attack line of today. Another gleefully recounted the sneering dismissal of Abbott made by the permanently embittered John Hewson, who should be hounded out of any Liberal gathering. Nevertheless, Abbott again kept his equanimity, other than to denounce as “lies” Labor’s advertising. But in summing up at the end, he cracked a little, noting that some in the room clearly didn’t like him but he would fight until the election. He made none of his campaigning points, finishing lamely. But until then he was good, and effective.

Julia Gillard didn’t repeat the mistake she made at Rooty Hill, and this time addressed the crowd from the floor. She even worked the room heavily before going on stage. She tried to moderate that lecturing tone, and holding the mic cut down on those exaggerated hand movements. No gaffes, just as there were none from Abbott. But while she’s better at spinning than Abbott, she’s more transparent in dodging questions - and she had some to dodge, not least a question twice asked and not answered about when she last spoke to Kevin Rudd. Some five questions where thrown at her about her knifing of Rudd, including a zinger about how she, as one of the “gang of four” running the country with Rudd, could sack him for going off the rails, then praise him as a man of “great achievements”, and still dodge responsibilty for disasters she must have been party to.

So evens, or a narrow win to Abbott. But even a draw helps him. Odd, how Gillard struggles more with voters than with reporters.

A STRAW poll of the 200 undecided voters attending tonight’s forum gave the contest 83 to Julia Gillard over Tony Abbott’s 75 votes.
Reader Rosemary:
I was suprised at the sheer number of young women, and the high proportion of teachers and students who were chosen to ask questions. Yes, I agree, the majority of the questions were very hostile…

There was one woman who started pulling some really odd faces during Tony Abbott’s response - not a good look and very disrespectful to him. I noted that one lady who asked a question of Tony Abbott and who said she was a small business owner, wore a white t-shirt with the slogan ‘Make Poverty History’ on the back. Independant and swinging I don’t think so - more likely an activist
Notice that not a single person asked Gillard about global warming? The “greatest moral and economic challenge of our times” has become ho hum.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Angry Anderson enters the election campaign

He's, um, angry.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

One line sums up the election for me

Tony Abbott: "We'll try to make our government tighten its belt so the Aussie people don't have to"

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

The chocolate merrygoround again: Good for you. Bad for you and so on ad infinitem.

The Health & Food Skeptic comments:

The finding makes no sense. Why do small variations in the amount eaten make a big difference? The finding looks like data dredging. They just picked out of a whole lot of data one small bit that tended to justify their nine years of work.
Article at the web site.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

More than half of Britain's wind farms have been built where there is not enough wind

It's not exactly rocket science – when building a wind farm, look for a site that is, well, quite windy. But more than half of Britain’s wind farms are operating at less than 25 per cent capacity. In England, the figure rises to 70 per cent of onshore developments, research shows.

Experts say that over-generous subsidies mean hundreds of turbines are going up on sites that are simply not breezy enough. Britain’s most feeble wind farm is in Blyth Harbour in Northumberland, where the nine turbines lining the East Pier reach a meagre 4.9 per cent of their capacity.

Another at Chelker reservoir in North Yorkshire operates at only 5.3 per cent of its potential, the analysis of 2009 figures provided by energy regulator Ofgem found. The ten turbines at Burton Wold in Northamptonshire have been running for just three years, but achieved only 19 per cent capacity. Europe’s biggest wind farm, Whitelee, near Glasgow, boasts 140 turbines. But last year they ran at less than a quarter of their capacity.

The revelation that so many wind farms are under-performing will be of interest to those who argue that they are simply expensive eyesores.

Michael Jefferson, the professor of international business and sustainability who carried out the analysis, says financial incentives designed to help Britain meet green energy targets are encouraging firms to site their developments badly. Under the controversial Renewable Obligation scheme, British consumers pay £1billion a year in their fuel bills to subsidise the drive towards renewable energy.

Turbines operating well under capacity are still doing well out of the scheme, but Professor Jefferson, of the London Metropolitan Business School, wants the cash to be reserved for the windiest sites. He said: ‘There is a political motivation to drive non-fossil fuel energy, which I very much respect, but we need more focus.’

He suggests that the full subsidy be restricted to turbines which achieve capacity of 30 per cent or more – managed by just eight of England’s 104 on-shore wind farms last year. Those that fall below 25 per cent should not be eligible for any subsidy. Professor Jefferson said: ‘That would focus the mind to put them in a sensible place.’

Britain has 2,906 wind turbines spread over 264 sites. But a further 7,000 are planned for the next 12 years to meet European targets on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Nick Medic, of Renewable UK, which represents the wind industry, said talk of efficiency was ‘unhelpful’. He added: ‘Other types of energy, from hydro to nuclear, operate at 50 per cent efficiency at best due to factors including maintenance shut downs and fluctuating demands.’


Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Costello flays the lot of them - Gillard, Latham, Oakes and McKew #ausvotes

Peter Costello settles some scores, first, with jourmalists generally and Laurie Oakes specifically:
In a dull campaign, Mark Latham’s report on 60 Minutes was one of the more interesting. I know the media canned it. Before it aired, Laurie Oakes told us Latham had “crossed a line”. Nothing upsets journalists more than the idea that outsiders can do their job.

Who knows where that could end? The public might realise there is nothing special about the insights of political journalists - a group of people who consider themselves expert on something they have never done.
Then on former ABC host Maxine McKew:
Every so often a journalist chances their arm in real politics. Maxine McKew is one. Her underwhelming parliamentary career shows how much harder it is to do than it is to pontificate.
On Mark Latham and Julia Gillard:
We could write him off as a madman but let us remember that Labor convinced 5½ million Australians to vote for him to be prime minister two elections ago.

Julia Gillard declared “Mark Latham has made a real connection with Australians” and “Mark’s the one who is putting forward a vision for Australia”. She said “he’s got the capacity to govern”. I never agreed with Gillard about this. I never thought much of his judgment nor hers. If you want an example of Gillard’s judgment remember she believed Latham would make a good prime minister.
On Oakes and Gillard:
In an interview with Oakes on Sunday, Gillard stated “voting for me is voting for … a budget in surplus”. She claimed over and again that Abbott would cut the surplus. Never once did Oakes ask her which particular surplus she was imagining.

This Labor government has never delivered a surplus. Abbott’s task will not be to cut a surplus, but to cut the deficit - forecast by Treasury to be $40 billion this year.
On Gillard and Latham:
Gillard the warrior of the Victorian Socialist Left has now been recast as the stern ma’am of balanced budgets and cuts to company tax. You’d have to be madder than Latham to believe that is genuine.
I think Costello enjoyed writing that. Nice writing style, by the way.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Tony Abbott is an unusual politician. Let me give an example. #ausvotes

Some years ago I was invited to join a delegation to cabinet ministers about the unfair impact on judicial pensions of a particular Howard government proposal.

Tony Abbott saw us alone, without the usual cast of advisers who take notes to use against media exposure and whose presence is essentially to ensure that nothing a minister says is of any consequence. Instead he spoke openly and honestly.

About the same time a friend told me he had seen Tony on a 389 bus in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. He wondered why he wasn’t using a ministerial car.

Politicians normally only go on public transport or use bicycles for a photo opportunity.  I recall the current British Prime Minister David Cameron when he was in opposition being filmed cycling to the House of Commons. One mischievous media cameraman was nasty enough to film the official car following him.


Tony has been consistent in not using his community involvements for political advantage.  Until he became Leader and the media then followed his every move, few people knew that for many years he was both a fireman and a lifesaver.


And to those who are strangers to the surf, the swimming costume he wears is what lifesavers normally wear. 


Full article here.


Posted via email from Garth's posterous

"Junior" miners YouTube video goes viral

From - basically the Sunday Times.

As an aside, I can personally recommend Julie and the Food Store in West Perth. Especially the chocolate brownies! To die for.
ANGER over the mining tax has boiled over to the internet as Fortescue chief Andrew Forrest offers an invitation to the Prime Minister to an open discussion of the tax.

A YouTube video has gone viral, two days after specialist media consultant Nicholas Hayes pulled together several people working in a variety of industries to tell of how the Labor government’s proposed minerals resource rent tax (MRRT) is already affecting their business.

Featured on the video are two of the mining sectors more vocal critics of the MRRT, Atlas Iron’s David Flanagan and BC Iron’s Mike Young, plus a small business owner, a sales executive and a chief executive of a mining services company.

Mr Hayes told PerthNow that with all the escalating buzz and spin over election commitments coming from the major political parties on traditional media formats, the mining tax issue had been set aside.
Full article here.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Something nice - 10 year old Jackie Evancho on America's Got Talent YouTube Special

Tonight's run-in with Kerry O'Brien has shown how Abbott has grown into his role #ausvotes

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has most certainly grown into the role, putting in a series of deft performances since the Battle Of Rooty Hill. As I wrote earlier, his performance on the hostile territory of Q&A yesterday was assured, and many of the press pack at the National Press Club today failed to rattle him, despite the uncivil scorn and editorialising from the Paul Biongiornos. (Michelle Grattan was an honourable exception.) In fact, Abbott’s courteous and even witty response forced even Bongiorno to applaud the answer to his sniping.

Now for tonight’s 7.30 Report, once treacherous ground for Abbott, thanks to the rank hostility, patronising tone and absurd gotcha questioning from Kerry O’Brien. I once advised Abbott to toughen up against O’Brien, rather than treat him as someone who could be won over by sweet reason or even confessed to as some elder statesman.

Abbott tonight maintained his impressive equanimity at even smart-arse questions that deserved to be shoved back down O’Brien’s throat. Fancy the hypocrisy of O’Brien, berating Abbott for debating over a debate, and then proceeding to do just that himself. Fancy demanding Abbott spend more time debating, and then wasting five minutes of debating time asking him to debate more. And for a third time, O’Brien sought to replay his first gotcha moment, when Abbott confessed that - like everyone - he at times went beyond the strict facts in the heat of debate. Yet again, O’Brien revisited old hunting grounds by question Abbott on positions he’d changed, seeking less to engage than embarrass.

To all this Abbott stayed cool, even turning some arguments smartly back on O’Brien. Only at the last did he make the psychological break and give Liberal supporters some blood to cheer, directly rebuking O’Brien for his sarcastic smile at a straight answer. Excellent. It was an even more pointed counter than the one he gave Q&A host Tony Jones the night before, when he suggested Jones would approve of his parental leave scheme if it were proposed by Labor.

We have had the privilege in this campaign of witnessing a serious and self-doubting man rise to his new responsibilities and find an inner strength.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans: no statistically significant acceleration in sea level rise in last 100+ years

A paper published yesterday in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, confirms other studies of tide gauge records which show that there has been no statistically significant acceleration in sea level rise over the past 100+ years, in contrast to statements of the IPCC and Al Gore. Sea levels have been rising naturally since the peak of the last major ice age 20,000 years ago, and the rate of rise began to decelerate about 8,000 years ago

Full post here.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Monday, August 16, 2010

History as Phillip Adams imagines it

Well, I suppose at least these days he is no longer ripping off The New York Review of Books and passing it off as his own work.

Andrew Bolt:
The ABC’s Phillip Adams visits New Orleans to wallow in his Bush hate:
Take a trip to Tremé, or the other low-lying areas where the levees broke, drowning 5000 … Black survivors tell me of gazing up in helpless fury as Bush flew over them in Air Force One while they suffered in a Superbowl turned into a cesspit.
Tim Blair already counts four errors - and then there’s the gratuitous implication of racism, too.  Nor does it stop there....

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

OMG! 10 whole minutes to download a movie? Oh the humanity! #NBN

Malcolm Turnbull, co-founder of OzEmail, lists the eight reasons Labor’s broadband plan will be a white elephant.

The above link requires free registration. This one does not, but Turnbull’s eight reasons have been edited down to seven.

THE headline in our paper yesterday said it all: “At 10 minutes to download a movie, experts slam Coalition broadband plan.”

Oh my God! Rush out and spend $43 billion immediately - something like $4000 per pop to connect every house and office in the land - lest we have to put up with that. Clearly, the nation will be reduced to a wasteland if we can’t download movies in one or two minutes.

Somewhat inadvertently, these ‘experts’ captured the recklessly wasteful pointlessness of the Government’s National Broadband Network. That the only real point of it is to be able to download movies in a flash.

For everything else, the speeds the Opposition plan will deliver across almost 100 per cent of the population are more than fast enough. At perhaps one-seventh the cost.

Like I've said, I want faster and better quality porn on the internet as much as anyone else, but at taxpayers' expense?

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Labor push polling against the Greens and the Libs? #ausvotes

Reader Wayne warns us to look out for this research:
I had two phone calls from Strahan Research last night push polling against The Greens and Libs, (I Live in the city) the questions were not research questions but push polling ones along the lines of “Are you concerned about the greens eliminating the health rebate”, “are you concerned that the Liberal Party are giving their preferences to the Greens and that means” etc etc. “Are you concerned that the liberals will not proceed with the national broadband and will put thousands of people out of work and cause businesses in Australia to be non-competitive?”.

These are not normal research questions, they are highlighting negatives in association with voting intentions.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Create full employment by expanding the public sector. And you thought the Greens were nuts!

Try the Communist Alliance.

Though, the vision of her walking down a street bearing the red flag almost made me nostalgic.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Oh dear, Labor spin merchants caught out over Julia's "off the cuff" campaign launch speech

Julia Gillard's speech on the lectern at the Australian Labor Party campaign launch at the Brisbane Convention Centre.
Julia Gillard's speech on the lectern at the Australian Labor Party campaign launch at the Brisbane Convention Centre. Photo: Andrew Meares

It was supposed to be delivered without anything more than a few dot points and without the use of a teleprompter.

Tony Wright from The Sydney Morning Herald is less than impressed with this latest example of how totally addicted the modern Labor Party has become to spin:
This, we were assured before Prime Minister Julia Gillard climbed to the stage to deliver her speech to officially launch the government's plea for re-election, was the real Julia, unplugged.

There would be no auto cue. No written speech, either.

She would rely on nothing but a few dot points, her press secretaries solemnly assured the media gathered in the wings at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Within seconds, hardened hacks were tweeting this development.

The point, of course, was that a week before in the same place, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had used during his campaign launch an auto cue, a device his mentor John Howard described disparagingly as "wing mirrors".

Gillard's minders wanted to convey the message that she was braver, more spontaneous and capable of speaking directly to the electors without the limiting filter of a speech carefully prepared for her.

Ah, but the distance between myth and reality, as ever during election campaigns, proved as wide as Lake Eyre in flood.

As Gillard took the stage, a thick sheaf of typed papers was discreetly placed upon the podium by a stagehand crouching almost out of sight. A video camera and The Sydney Morning Herald's chief photographer, Andrew Meares, captured the moment when the staffer slipped the papers into place.

When Gillard had finished speaking and the audience was agog at her ability to deliver an unscripted address (indeed, Gillard herself described it as "from the heart"), Meares turned his camera on the papers lying strewn upon the lectern.

Even a cursory glance showed it was a written speech. A closer inspection showed it was the very speech she had delivered, word for word.

It was a near faultless speech, barely a stumble - and the Prime Minister hardly glanced at her notes, giving the impression she has a near-photographic memory.

But so much for Julia unplugged. A case, you might think, of too much spin. No one would have cared a fig if she had read the whole thing ... if only we hadn't been hoodwinked into believing this was a free-form plea from her soul.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

One tweet sums up the economics

Summing up ALP's economic mgt is easy - "sorry but we pissed all the cash up against the wall & have nothing to show for it"

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Oh my God, one of our hemispheres is missing!

Via CCNet:

NoTricksZone, 13 August 2010

The earth’s southern hemisphere is now in the winter season, and it is proving to be a severe one. There have been many deaths of people, animals, fish, and crops. But you haven’t heard about that from the northern hemisphere media.

As far as the media is concerned, there is no southern hemisphere. All the media coverage is about fires in Russia, Arctic ice melting, glaciers calving icebergs, heat waves on the U. S. east coast, and other “weather” occurrences up north. So let me bring you up to date on the highlights from down south.

June 17, 2010, “500 African penguins freeze to death in South Africa”.“Nearly 500 rare African Penguins have died in the past 24 hours as a result of extremely cold weather in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.” Here

July 19, 2010, “South Africa, Freezing Cold destroys several 100 (sic) Solar Thermal Systems”. Here

August 5, 2010, “Snow in Brazil, below zero Celsius in the River Plate and tropical fish frozen”. Here.

August 6, 2010, “Chilly in Chile: South America Hit by Cold Snap”. Here,Here, and Here
Temperatures in eastern Bolivia fell to 0° Celsius. Fish in rivers that normally flow at 20° C froze to death in water temperatures down to 6° C. Millions of fish, turtles, reptiles, and birds have died, the river waters are undrinkable, and the government closed them to fishing for at least a year. Normally these winter cold snaps last for a few days at a time. This “Surazos” (a cold wind from Argentina) lasted for 8 days.

The total death toll among people and animals across Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and southern Brazil is rising. A meter of snow across Patagonia and along the Andes is hampering communications. Many people have died across southern South America, and the livestock toll is in the millions. True numbers won’t be known until the snow melts.

Citrus and avocado crops in Chile have been damaged by frosts, and fruit exports may be reduced by 40%.

August 9, 2010, “Australians shiver through the coldest winter morning in 30 years.”
“Sydney was blanketed in frost on Wednesday as the city shivered through the coldest June morning in nearly 30 years, with temperatures at just 4C (39F).” Here

Meanwhile, the Southern Ocean ice cover is 1.3 million square kilometers above the mean value (1979 to 2008, since measurements began), and growing. This balances out the Arctic ice cover, giving us a global ice cover of almost 20 million square kilometers. See WUWT Ice Page Here.

These reports are from local sources. The mainstream media rule seems to be “If it doesn’t support our agenda, don’t report it.” For their practical purposes, the globe stops at the equator. Not only do they shut out scientific dissent, but also the cold hard facts from half the globe.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

In Britain, economy first puts decarbonisation on hold; while in Germany climate change now a "loser topic"

Ah, reality starts to break through!
Allegra Stratton, The Guardian, 16 August 2010

The coalition is watering down a commitment to tough new environmental emissions standards, raising the possibility of dirty coal-fired power stations such as Kingsnorth going ahead.

Green groups are aghast that a flagship policy called for in opposition by both Lib Dems and Tories, and which they last year tried to force on the Labour government, will now not be implemented in the coalition's first energy bill to be published this year.

P Gosselin, NoTricksZone, 15 August 2010

The German European Institute For Climate and Environment (EIKE) brings our attention to a report by the publicly funded NDR German television news show Panorama concerning the state of climate science and politics today in Germany. If you’re a climate activist, things just couldn’t be worse.

NDR Panorama report on Germany”s mood with regards to climate change (in German).

In summary the topic of climate change in Germany has gone far beyond its shelf-life. It is used up and no longer draws a bit of interest from the public. As the clip shows, the German public has grown tired of the constant barrage of climate alarmism, and is now über-bored by it. Editors have since taken climate news off the front pages. The public doesn’t want to hear it anymore, the editors fret.

At 0:36 of the clip, normal citizens are asked about climate change. The reaction:  they couldn’t care less about it. Indeed some even say warmer is better. Climate change? No worries at all!

The depth of public apathy has left climate activists and experts like Professor doom & gloom Hans Joachim Schellnhuber frustrated, depressed and resigned. Schellnhuber at the 1:39 mark:

Just a few years ago it was so that when a meteorological extreme occurred, the phones would be ringing off the hook. Today hardly anyone calls; climate change has quasi become taboo.

Nobody wants to talk about it. And after the disaster that was Copenhagen, neither do the political leaders. In Schellnhuber’s view, the optimism of achieving a climate treaty is gone. That was clearly visible at the recent UN Climate Conference in Bonn. Says Karsten Sach, leader of the German Negotiating Delegation:

Everyone knows we’ve reached a dead-end.

The media has lost interest in reporting on the constant failure by policymakers. At the 3.56 mark, accompanied by gloomy music, a chart shows how the number of reports on climate change appearing in three major centre-left newspapers has dwindled. The hype is over. The public is fatigued, fed up, and disinterested.

Editor Dagmar Dehmer of Berlin’s Der Tagesspiegel says somberly:

Editors know the topic is important, but it’s not topic no. 1 at the moment. Climate is no longer on the front pages, and is not viewed as an earth-moving topic.

The video clip then moves to a car-tuning meet, where one auto-tuning enthusiast says:

Nobody cares about it.

And what about Chancellor Angela Merkel? Climate change has become a thorn in her side. She associates the issue with failure and hopelessness. Says Tagesspiegel editor Dagmar Dehmer at the 5:38 mark:

Climate change has become a loser topic. And Angela Merkel wants nothing to do with it.

Yet, Merkel’s minister of environment insists that climate change is an important topic for the future.

For the future, yes.  But not for today. The report ends with relaxed vacationers chuckling when asked by the journalists about the threats of climate change.

Via CCNet

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

As consumers increasingly move to wireless internet, does a fibre network make sense? #NBN

Very interesting article from Christopher Joye. Interesting and very worrying because, as it seems likely, the current government will be returned on Saturday and will press ahead with spending tens of billions of dollars on a national braodband network.

Joye sets out just how suspect are the assumptions underpinning the financial viability of the project, (such as the ones that assume that the NBN will earn significantly more than what Telstra currently does and that it will be able to increase its prices every year indefinitely):
There is probably a good reason why proper cost-benefit analysis has not been undertaken on the NBN: the benefits are so uncertain and difficult to quantify, and the opportunity costs of spending this money so great, that once you discount the potential returns you would find that its awfully hard to justify spending $43 billion. This is precisely why the government’s own advisors slashed the expected private sector contribution by more than half from the initial estimate of $38.3 billion to just $17 billion employing what are rubbery assumptions that seem unlikely to pass muster with conservative third-parties.

To get a feel for the economic risks, ponder a few of the flaws identified by technology expert Grahame Lynch in the NBN financial modeling carried out by KPMG and McKinsey (note, this was not cost-benefit analysis).

The assumptions relating to take up of the service by consumers appear to be equally heroic.

And then, perhaps the most heroic assumption of all!
Possibly the biggest disruptive threat to the NBN’s business is wireless. Around 30 per cent of all internet connections are now wireless and growing at a double-digit rate. Consumers are increasingly shifting towards mobile devices, such as iPads, Blackberries, and laptops. And this trend will only strengthen through time as smart-phone penetration increases and wireless speeds improve. Yet the NBN’s business plan would have us believe that wireless broadband growth will slow, not accelerate.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Lateline's dodgy story about Roman Catholic archbishop & paedophilia escapes Media Watch's attention

Just how useless is Media Watch? The fact that so many people still seem to take it seriously has been a source of bemusement to me for some time.
The report in question was compiled by Holmes's "close friend" Suzanne Smith. It alleged that Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson, the man tipped to become the next archbishop of Sydney, knew or should have known about child sex abuse in the Catholic Church in NSW in the 1970s.

Heavily promoted by the ABC, the "expose" was broadcast on Lateline in May and began with these words: "The Catholic Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, is under increasing pressure tonight to explain what he knew about sexual abuses by priests."

The story went on to claim that Wilson, as a young priest in Maitland, had turned a blind eye while 12-year-old Peter Gogarty was abused by pedophile priest James Fletcher.

The story claimed the abuse took place in a house shared by Wilson, Fletcher and other priests. Wilson, the report alleged, had seen Fletcher marching Gogarty upstairs to a bedroom on numerous occasions, but did nothing about it.

To emphasise the point, a still photograph of Gogarty at age 12 was shown throughout Smith's report. But there was a serious problem with Smith's research.

First, Gogarty turned 12 in 1972, but Wilson did not become a priest until 1975.

Second, Wilson did not live in the Maitland house with Fletcher until 1982, by which time Gogarty was 20.

Enter Media Watch, which was tipped off about the concerns and began investigating.

You can find out how fearlessly Media Watch pursued this story here.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

SMH's Paul Sheehan - Our Prime Minister is a liar. A serial liar. #ausvotes

Our Prime Minister is a liar. A serial liar. Brazen. We shall detail some of the more preposterous lies presently but I don't think this will deter the electorate from returning Julia Gillard's government to office next Saturday, for all the wrong reasons. Labor will harvest the votes of the Australian pie-eaters, whose numbers are great and growing.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Voting for Greens 'hits Aboriginal rights' says Marcia Langton

A VOTE for the Greens is a vote against indigenous rights, says Aboriginal academic and community leader Marcia Langton.

Professor Langton told The Australian the Greens could not pretend to support indigenous rights while they supported Queensland's Wild Rivers laws.

And she accused the environmental movement of displaying a "distinctly Australian form of environmental racism".

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Journalist twitters invent an anti-Abbott joke. Newspaper changes story to include false "fact" #ausvotes #boatphone

I saw this happening myself last night on Twitter. Indeed, I tweeted at Samantha Maiden and SBS's Karen Middleton complaining that their comments ran counter to the actual substance of the story, because unlike so many others, I'd bothered to follow the link and read the bloody thing.

All it said was that as prime minister Abbott would make the final decision about boats following advice from the navy. there was nothing about a "boatphone" or a "hotline."
Phillip Hudson tweeted the following at 12.17am; no “special boatphone” mentioned in my story. Perhaps people should read it first…
Disgraceful and unprofessional journalism. But the fact that the Daily Telegraph changed its story later to incorporate the false boatphone element is especially disturbing.

I wonder how many people voting against Tony Abbott this coming Saturday will be voting against not the real man, but rather the cartoon cutout caricature created by biased and unfair media reporting like this?

Want a lesson on how the media can twist a perfectly sane proposal from Tony Abbott into an invitation to ridicule?

Here, first, is what Herald Sun political reporter Phillip Hudson wrote after an interview with the Opposition Leader:

“In the end, it would be a prime ministerial decision,” he told the Herald Sun.

“It would be the government’s call, based on the advice of the naval commander on the spot.”

Mr Abbott said the phone call from sea would come to him, and it would be his call whether to turn a boat back, if it was safe to do so.
Reader Matthew explains what happened next:
#boatphone went crazy on twitter a bit before 11pm aest… after about 90mins of every journo in the country trying to appear clever on twitter by making jokes about it, they quietly withdrew when phillip hudson’s piece went online at the hun and the daily tele about midnight, showing no mention of any such thing.

Interestingly though, at about 12.40am, the daily tele piece suddenly had the twitter initiated term ‘boatphone’ inserted into the article, complete with a new headline including, ‘holy smoke asylum seekers, its boatman...’ - another circulated ‘joke’ on twitter. see here…

While i personally have issues with such a policy, my concern for now is how easily/readily a story is manipulated to cater for the ramblings of twitter users.

Phillip Hudson tweeted the following at 12.17am; no “special boatphone” mentioned in my story. Perhaps people should read it first… Yet about 20mins later, the daily tele (or even hudson perhaps) had inserted the #boatphone reference, changed the headline and added a pic on the mainpage of abbott as a superhero ‘boatman.’anyway,

I just find myself a bit uneasy about the whole thing. annabel crabb, samantha maiden etc all piled in to the issue before the story was released, which caused a twitter meltdown, then suddenly the story is changed to reflect something other than was in the original.
The Twitter page of the ABC’s Crabb shows the joke becoming the story, despite Hudson’s attempts to defend the facts:
News breaking in newsltd tabloids: Abbott says he will have a special phone with which to turn back boats via navy
about 7 hours ago via TweetDeck

last tweet was not a joke by the way. Oh my stars.
about 7 hours ago via TweetDeck .

Here is the daily tele version: to the boat mobiles!
about 5 hours ago via TweetDeck .

RT @PhillipMHudson: Abbott never mentioned a special boatphone. Accurate version of my story is on Herald Sun website.
about 5 hours ago via TweetDeck
Jen_Bennett @annabelcrabb A Boat Phone? Will there also be a special spotlight that beams the silhouette of a pair of speedos into the night sky?
about 8 hours ago via web in reply to annabelcrabb

mpbowers @annabelcrabb gives a whole new meaning to phoney Tony
about 7 hours ago via web in reply to annabelcrabb

domknight The only way Abbott’s #Boatphone could be more ridiculous is if it was answered by a Citizen’s Assembly.
about 7 hours ago via web

sabinewolff Can we please get #boatphone trending? I feel it’s important that it does.
about 7 hours ago via Tweetie for Mac

And, indeed, the facts were changed to suit the Twitter joke. Here is the Daily Telegraph rewrite:
Holy asylum seekers! Tony Abbott to take charge of boat people hotline

TONY Abbott will personally make any decision to turn around boats carrying asylum seekers if he becomes prime minister…

Mr Abbott said the phonecall from sea would come to him - on the boatphone - and it would be his choice whether or not to turn a boat back if it was safe to do so.
AAP grabs the invented hotline with both hands:
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says he will personally decide whether to turn around boats carrying asylum seekers if the coalition wins the election.

Mr Abbott has pledged to set up a hotline for Australia’s border patrol forces so they could call him to ask if they’re allowed to turn the boats back, News Ltd reported on Monday.
No, Abbott has not pledged to set up any such hotline. Pure invention, and by journalists who are the first to protest they are in the truth business.

I’m told that Maiden, for one, was re-tweeting comments on the Daily Telegraph ”hotline" angle already inserted in its country edition, rather than making presumptions on Hudson’s report.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous