Wednesday, 30 April 2008
It's a little like turning the Titanic around. If there is not a great deal of deliberate hard steering from the bridge, the ship will stay comfortably on its old course.
Take, for example, a recent speech by the Minister for Immigration, Senator Chris Evans. In an otherwise humanitarian speech, sensitive to the human rights of persons caught up in migration and refugee determination issues, he said this on border security:
Did Evans really understand what he was saying, or did he just uncritically accept a departmental draft? Does he understand that under Howard, terms like "strong border security" and "tough anti-people-smuggling measures" were policy cover under which the AFP and Immigration mounted questionable covert people smuggling disruption operations in Indonesia? Under which Defence intercepted boats and was in no hurry to rescue people at risk of drowning on crippled, sinking vessels?
Sydney Morning Herald - Sydney,New South Wales,Australia
Opposition treasury spokesman Malcolm Turnbull said the government will be able to achieve that figure without really trying. "I think that is baked-in, ...
ABC Online - Australia
Treasury spokesman Malcolm Turnbull says any cuts may have a more dramatic effect than intended, because they could compound the effect of a slowdown in the ...
Tuesday, 29 April 2008
His interview with Four Corners just before the invasion could have been scripted by Rumsfeld. Wallace is the Managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby. I wonder if he agreed with George W. Bush's initial metaphor for the war on terror as a "crusade". I do not recall any occasions on which Wallace's militant christianity was mentioned when explaining his credentials as an expert commentator on the war.
Well, we were all just waiting for it weren't we?
You can't cobble together a summit born out of a media sound byte without quickly throwing around money to smooth the way.
* $60,000 to the wife of a ministerial staffer for the family company to handle summit media relations
* $284,5000 to Melbourne University for the loan of Professor Glyn Davis as summit convenor
* $71,000 for Australia 2020 website design and development
Rudders is walking around Canberra with a load of manure adhering to his heels.
Good one, mate. Really let's us know that the economy is in good hands, and that transparency and accountability are still the order of the day.
And Ernie Bennett demonstrates why NSW Nationals should not gain government in the next decade
The Tweed Daily News shows that Nationals Ernie Bennett is on his pet hobby horse again - the abolition of the states and the creation of 20 NSW super councils, with his favorite scenario being one fiefdom which stretches from Clarence to the Tweed containing advisory boards mirroring existing local government boundries.
Enrie obviously hasn't done the maths on any annual revenue required to support a super council.
With all the pressing issues that face the coast it is a pity that he is wasting his time as president of the Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils in this way.
Monday, 28 April 2008
If you are dropping a line in the water over the next 12 months and catch one of these fish, please carefully return it to the river, creek or stream in which you found it.
Do your bit for declining coastal fish stocks.
Sunday, 27 April 2008
In The Daily Telegraph last Thursday.
Saturday, 26 April 2008
Barak Obama's field director in Kentucky now tells the world that Our campaign has already generated incredible enthusiasm throughout Kentucky -- in towns from Paducah to Pikeville, thousands of people have turned out for registration drives, office openings and festivals to show their support for Barack.
Here is last Thursday's cheer team effort after missing out in Pennsylvania, including the usual 'show me the money'.
Last night, Senator Clinton used up her last, best chance to cut appreciably into Barack Obama's elected delegate lead.
She came up short.
In fact, she barely made a dent. At most, she picked up a net gain of 12 delegates
-- less than our gain, for example, in Colorado (where we gained 17) or Kansas (where we gained 14). Her gain in Pennsylvania was less than half of our gain in Virginia, where we added to our lead by 25 delegates.
But there is one measure by which her campaign's gains are real.
The Clinton campaign claims they've raised $3.5 million dollars since the polls closed yesterday.
We can't afford to let that go unanswered.
Please make a donation of $25 today to support this campaign:
Grassroots support from people like you has the Democratic nomination in our sights.
Here's how it breaks out:
After Pennsylvania, we have a lead of at least 159 elected delegates earned through all of the primaries and caucuses so far. We have a total of at least 1493 pledged delegates.
Meanwhile, we've been rapidly gaining ground among the so-called superdelegates (elected leaders and party officials who get a vote to choose our nominee), cutting Senator Clinton's lead from more than 100 early this year to less than 25. We have a total of 238 publicly committed superdelegates.
The total number of delegates needed to secure the nomination is 2,024. That means we are only 293 delegates away from securing the nomination.
In less than two weeks, we'll square off in the key battleground states of North Carolina and Indiana, when there will be as many delegates at stake as there were last night in Pennsylvania.
To grow our significant lead and close out this race, we must remain competitive in these contests and the 7 others that will follow.
Barack needs your support right now to finish this contest:
Pennsylvania was considered a state tailor-made for Senator Clinton -- she was always expected to win, and we trailed by as much as 25 points in the weeks leading up to the election.
But thanks to people like you, Barack gained support among key voters in the face of long odds and unrelenting negativity from Senator Clinton, and kept the margin close enough that her delegate gain was insignificant.
Indeed, the only surprising result from Pennsylvania is how much Barack was able to improve his standing among key voter groups since the Ohio primary.
Among white voters, Obama narrowed the gap by 6 points. Among voters over 60, he nearly cut the gap in half, from 41 points to 24 points. Meanwhile, we continued to run strong where we have all along -- for example, winning voters ages 18-24 with over 65% of the vote.
Barack campaigned hard in Pennsylvania. He talked about his plans to stand up to the special interests and bring people together so that we can change Washington to turn our economy around, make sure that every American has quality health care, and bring this misguided war to an end.
Your donation of $25 can make sure we grow our lead and finish this race in the final 9 contests:
Obama for America
Well, that's what Professor Ian O'Connor of Queensland's Griffith University must think.
The Weekend Australian reports that O'Connor lifted information straight from online encyclopedia Wikipedia and confused strands of Islam as he struggled to defend his institution's decision to ask the repressive Saudi Arabian Government for funding.
In September, The Australian revealed that the Queensland university had accepted a grant of $100,000 from the Saudi Government. Last week, it was revealed that Griffith had asked the Saudi embassy in Australia for a $1.37million grant for its Islamic Research Unit, telling the ambassador that certain elements of the controversial deal could be kept a secret.
Griffith - described by Professor O'Connor as the "university of choice" for Saudis - also offered the embassy a chance to "discuss" ways in which the money could be used.Professor O'Connor denies that by lifting sentences from Wikipedia he has breached his university's guidelines on plagiarism. The Griffith University council, of which Professor O'Connor is an ex-officio member, considers plagiarism an example of academic misconduct.
It gives an example of plagiarism as "word for word copying of sentences or paragraphs from one or more sources which are the work or data of other persons (including books, articles, thesis, unpublished works, working papers, seminar and conference papers, internal reports, lecture notes or tapes) without clearly identifying their origin by appropriate referencing".
Professor O'Connor yesterday tried to distance himself from the university's standards. "It was not as a piece of academic scholarship, therefore did not follow normal citation methods used in academic publications," he said.
On Wednesday, Professor O'Connor published a full copy of his opinion piece on the Griffith website. Yesterday, the university added references to Wikipedia as footnotes.Read The Weekend Australian article here.
Global warming hysteria is steeped in politics and a strange collection of bedfellows. Along with sincere environmentalist true-believers are the camp followers who embrace this as a quasi-religious calling.
Then there are the watermelons: green on the outside, red on the inside. They embrace ecological arguments to achieve ideological goals, exploiting fears of enviro-Armageddon to regulate and control evil capitalists and redistribute world income and wealth. Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, recognizes the signs. "As someone who lived under communism for most of (my) life," he warned, "I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning."
It is time to reintroduce price fixing to stop the greed of our large supermarkets and also the greed of our banks.
Up to 1000% mark up is just not on. After the war it was 331/3% and the country managed. People could budget and live comfortably. Now that things are getting out of hand it is time to get rid of the middle man as he is not needed and let the profits go to where they belong namely, the producer.
Economists will disagree but if the situation can't be corrected by present day practices new drastic measures must be undertaken to rectify the situation.
Fair go for all, not just the rich and the greedy.
* Guest Speak is a North Coast Voices segment allowing serious or satirical guest comment from Northern Rivers residents
Friday, 25 April 2008
The mushy quality of the Big Ideas that came out of the summit - the cliches, vague motherhood statements and the bleeding obvious - was not the fault of the summiteers but these management consultants.
Of the 10 facilitators, seven were professional management consultants, at least three formerly with McKinsey & Company. It is their business to turn concrete ideas into gobbledygook, and they did not disappoint.
Amid a flurry of paper, whiteboards, marker pens and Blu-Tack, clear ideas were churned up in the management jargon-generator and spewed out as empty slogans, "priority themes" and concepts worthy of little more than a PowerPoint presentation. It took until mid-afternoon on Saturday for a woman in our group, the media "substream" of the governance "stream", to cry: "I'm sorry but I don't get the difference between a concept and a theme."
This prompted a storm of pent-up fury from exasperated summiteers.
As The Economist journalists John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge wrote in their book on the lucrative management guru industry, The Witch Doctors, such facilitators have infiltrated corporate life, and are the "new, unacknowledged legislators of mankind".
Their language is "remarkably flatulent … If you buy the argument that the lingo of management theory is the language by which … people run companies and governments run countries, then it's no small thing when that language doesn't make sense."
In Canberra, it was the journalists, creatives and doctors who were most peeved their good ideas had been "lost in translation". The business streams didn't seem to notice.
Exasperated with his recalcitrant mob on Sunday, the governance group facilitator, Tim Orton, a Rhodes Scholar, former McKinseyite and founder of The Nous Group management consulting firm, told them their Big Ideas needed to be reduced to a "slogan on a T-shirt by 4pm". It was close to the truth."
Hence, one has to ask why the national broadcaster, the ABC, did not see fit to provide a live television broadcast of a service.
Surely, it's not beyond the ABC's capacity to cover at least one of the services. Pay TV provided coverage of the service conducted in Sydney's Martin Place, but the vast majority of persons who may have been keen to watch a service don't have pay TV.
Photo: Penny Bradfield (The Age, 25 April 2008)
34th Battalion Australian Infantry A.I.F.
Aged 23 years and 2 months
Killed in action between 3rd and 5th of April 1918
Resting forever in an unknown grave, Villers-Bretonneux, France
Lest We Forget
Thursday, 24 April 2008
Speaking at the Sydney University's Young Women’s Leadership Academy, Crabb said she was talking to Rudd in New York when he was Opposition foreign affairs spokesperson, and he went into a menswear store to buy some new clothes. She walked in at just the wrong moment, and nicknamed him ‘Calvin Rudd’.
This story has come to light thanks to Great Lakes College student Alisha King who attended the Academy.
Speaking to The Great Lakes Advocate, King said she can’t keep a straight face when she sees the Prime Minister on TV, and she blames Sydney Morning Herald political writer Annabel Crabb.
The Advocate reports 16-year-old King was one of only 22 girls accepted from more than 1000 applicants statewide for last week’s Young Women’s Leadership Academy.Crabb revealed she's seen the PM in his underwear after King asked if she had any funny stories.
Now, for the best part of The Advocate's report:
The tale of the PM in his CKs rather turns the tables – he’s a better known observer of New York stripteases than practitioner – but the Leadership week was about more than gossip.
Leadership is a slippery thing to define, but Alisha discovered it can be simply knowing when to take a back seat.
“We learned leadership is about listening to everyone else and then making a decision,” she said.
“Most of the girls were really smart and worth listening to. They all had different talents like debating, drama and the piano.”
Alisha’s rap sheet suggests she’s also worth listening to.
The year 10 Great Lakes College student is a science prodigy, specialising in marine technology.
She tops history, geography and phys ed, plays A grade soccer, state touch football and stars in Les Miserables and Mr Zarbouvray in her spare time.
Of course, you’ve got to know how to walk.
“One of the sessions was about walking and making your presence felt,” Alisha said.
“The best way is chest out, shoulders back. It’s about symmetry, so if you dress and carry yourself in a symmetrical way you have presence.
“One of my tasks was to walk in and get everyone’s attention without saying anything, and I did it pretty well.”
It was a schedule crammed with pilates and yoga in the morning, courses with names like ‘Utilising the first ten seconds: Impact and Influence’ in the afternoon and treats like Tom Stoppard’s political comedy Rock ‘n’ Roll at night. There was a trip to the art gallery for the Archibalds exhibition. But the best part for Alisha was the diverse roll call of speakers like Crabb, academic luminary Catharine Lumby and 2007 Young Australian of the Year Tanya Major.
“Tanya was my favourite speaker,” Alisha said.
“She told us how we can achieve anything, and we should take every opportunity.”
The Academy was a chance to learn from talented women and weigh up future options; the business world didn’t impress Alisha with its 90 hour weeks, but Earth sciences did. And there might be some new friends.
“We all got each other’s emails, and everyone was crying at the graduation,” she said.
“It was amazing the bond we formed after just a week.”
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
I searched all over the Internet looking for an email address for Senator Obama as a Presidential candidate, but I could not find one. I chose ethics concerning this email because it was the closest topic to what I would like you to pass on to the Senator ASAP. Several months ago, I emailed Mr. Obama and gave him many suggestions concerning his approach and how I thought he should become more aggressive and passionate in his speeches about certain things. He may have received the email because he seemed to become more aggressive, but unfortunately, not more passionate. I listed a number of skeletons in Senator Clinton's closet and backed them up with facts and references. This will be my last email.
I have been a supporter of Senator Obama since he first announced his candidacy. I feel strongly that he has integrity and would by far the best President in the November elections, but I think he is still leaving himself wide open for Hillary Clinton's "throw the kitchen sink at him" as she has done throughout the campaign and which took its toll on him in the Ohio election, like it now will probably take its toll on him in the Pennsylvania primary next week. I tired of the media saying that both candidates are "slinging mud" while Mrs. Clinton has slung 95% of the mud. If she wins Pennsylvania big, it will give her momentum and I can just hearing her saying "I keep getting back up after I get knocked down, while the theme to "Rocky" plays in the background. I watched the debate last night on ABC (April 16th) and I was disgusted for several reasons. The moderators were terrible and brought up long forgotten issues about Mr. Obama and good old Hillary just kept piling on, especially when she spoke about his speech in San Francisco last Friday and she used his most damaging word "clinging" over & over again. At that point Senator Obama should have become passionate and fiery (like Martin Luther King-I suggested this before to Mr. Obama) and said with fire in his voice "O.K. Senator Clinton, enough is enough. You have been beating this same dead horse for six days now. Stop the mud-slinging and the distractions and the dirty politics that has been your strategy for the last 15 months and let's talk about the real issues." I think the audience would have given him a standing ovation and been amazed to see that he does have a backbone and is strong enough to stand up to Senator Clinton, and more importantly take on John McCain, who has so many liabilities, its hard to imagine that he is neck-to-neck with both Clinton and Obama. It is unthinkable that any Republican can win the White House in 2008 (even if former Republican President Regan was healthy and running for President, and he was a great President because he was not afraid to say the things he had to say in simple tough language). As an aside, Bill Clinton's Presidency was a disgrace not only with personal issues, but also with a number of law breaking irregularities. The man should have been impeached and disbarred for committing perjury. I was surprised that Mr. Obama brought up President Clinton's pardon of 2 criminals. It was the only time that he showed any strength all night. In general he was perceived to be a human punching bag who did not know how, or would not counter punch. He is not doing himself any favors.
Please pass along these suggestions to Mr. Obama ASAP if he wants to beat Mrs. Clinton and then Mr. McCain to become our next President. If he does not already know it, and I am sure he does, Senator Clinton, like her husband is unscrupulous, secretive, polarizing and she specializes in dirty politics. What the American people want is an honest person to run this country, and person who can bring about change and follow through on their campaign promises. Also, like in 1979 when the American people lost their pride in America, they desired a strong President (like President Regan who made me and all Americans proud of our country and of him.) Mr. Obama is an eloquent speaker, now he justs needs the passion and fire of Mr. Luther King when he speaks on certain issues, or about Mrs. Clinton. He should not be so quick to gracious when he speaks of her. Our country wants a President who is strong and tough enough to deal with all of the tough issues facing the next President, like the Iraq War, nuclear armament by Iran, ElQuida in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the tension in the Middle East, the constant threats to Israel, our strongest, and probably only ally in that region of the world, the housing and foreclosure crises and the crises in America's economy. I believe that Senator Obama is the person for the job, but he must show much more strength. He doesn't have to play dirty politics, like Mrs. Clinton. He can still be a gentleman and forcefully challenge her, which he has not done. When she says that she has 35 years of experience, he should strongly ask her to do the arithmetic for Americans. She doesn't have anywhere near 35 years experience. When she portrays herself as a common person who knows what the common Americans want. He should challenge her. The Clintons made 109 million dollars last year and their net worth is between 125-150 million dollars. When was the last time her and Bill (millionaires rubbed shoulders with the common people). When she says that she will be strong enough to stand up to rich interest groups, he should challenge her about her last campaign running for re-election as Senator for New York which was largely financed by millions of dollars in contributions by special interest groups such as the insurance and drug industry, part of which she then used to fund her Presidential campaign, or he should ask her about the approximately 100 million dollars that her and her husband had invested in Wal-Mart stock (which she accumulated as a Wal-Mart Board member), oil company stock, insurance company stock, drug industry stock, etc., that was held in a blind trust so their names could not be associated with their investments and which they divested themselves of shortly before she announces her run for Presidency. The next time she talks about how she is promising millions of new jobs for Americans and how a person can go to Hillary.com (she mentioned her website so much last night it made me nauseous), he should remind her of the promise she made to the people of upstate New York during his last campaign of 50,000 new jobs, with the net result of a loss of 20,000 jobs in that region. The people of upstate New York still have not forgiven her for that, especially when she was questioned about that unfulfilled promise, she flippantly and with that raucous laugh that she has (which she always uses when she lying) answered "Oh, I guess I was a little over-exuberant." It exactly the ways she reacts about her lie about sniper fire. The next time she says that she honest and her life is an open book, he should ask her why her husband, former President Bill Clinton still refuses to this day to release the names and the contribution amounts that he took in during his last campaign for President, or why of the 2 million pages of her daily journal as the First Lady, only a fraction of them were released (1,100 pages) and why in those 1,100 pages released there were numerous deletions. The next time she uses her extensive experience, he should again remind her of her vote for our entry into the IRAQ War, and suggest that they compare apples to apples, and even use John McCain in the comparison. This long 15 month campaign that the 3 of them have been involved with is by far the most complex process that any of the 3 of them were in charge of. Senator Obama has unequivocally done the most outstanding job of the three. He has run the most efficient campaign of all 3. There has been no in-fighting like in Mrs. Clinton's camp, he has raised by far the most in campaign contributions (none from special interest groups), Mrs. Clinton had to loan her campaign fund 5 million dollars from her own personal assets because her campaign funds had run dry, and the amount of money that Senator McCain has raised is unbelievably low. Mrs. Clinton says when she's President she is going to empower her staff, while according at the same time, hew own campaign staff says that she does not provide any leadership, nor does she empower them, rather she has abdicated her authority and left them to their own designs.
Senator Obama needs to create more space between himself and Mrs. Clinton in terms of delegates and the number of votes, so that the Democratic leadership will step in by June 3rd to drop out of the race because she is only being divisive and giving Senator a huge head start in the race for the Presidency.
Please pass along these suggestions to Senator Obama because no American wants to see Mrs. Clinton close the gap between them (even though it is almost mathematically impossible for her to catch him) and then leave the Super Delegates (whose votes should never have been part of any Presidential process) choose the candidate. That is damm near un-American. Tell Mr. Obama her can still be a gentlemen and be forceful and strong and use passionate and fiery language at the same time. America wants change, but it is also looking for a strong tough person to run this country. Assure Senator Obama that he will not be playing dirty politics or using smear tackics. Rather, he will be forcefully holding Senator Clinton "accountable for the truth" in what she is saying and in what she claims she has done. Also I just finished reading an article in the April 21, 2008 edition of US News and World Reports entitled "Obama's Finishing School" which was excellent and provided details about Mr. Obama's role as a community organizer, community leader and his many achievements during his early years in politics. I was extremely surprised, but Senator Obama should provide these details when dealing his experience issue that Senator Clinton keeps harping on. I am sure that most Obama supporters do not know these details. He has got to do a better job and provide these details to the American people each opportunity the he gets. If he does, he will attract even more voters to his side. Also, please ask Mr. Obama to start wearing the Presidential Flag pin. That has been a thorn in his side for 15 months and besides he should be proud to wear the American flag. And lastly, please ask Mr. Obama not to be so gracious, forgiving ("I'm sure she didn't mean that') and so quick to compliment her and her qualifications. When he does that, he portrays himself as a lap dog. I was very sorry to hear that he has decided not to participate in the April 19th debate in North Carolina against Mrs. Clinton, especially when he is the one who suggested it and she reluctantly agreed. It makes him look like he is afraid to debate her again because he did not handle himself well last night in the Philadelphia debate. Besides, it would have given him a chance to lick his wounds and then show Americans that he can be tough and can confront her. Again, please pass along these suggestions to Senator Obama and tell him I am in his corner and I will pray for him. Thank you.
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
But then Joshua appears to be a fully-employed (probably tenured), professional male under 50 years of age and, so hasn't lived through as many societal and political cycles as most on the NSW North (Graying) Coast.
The fruits of our labour are now on the 2020 website in the Initial Report produced at lightning speed. How could this be done? Well, by not really incorporating the final consensus of ideas (at least from our group). For instance, the goal of raising R&D enough to maintain international competitiveness was supposed to be something more specific such as raising private and public R&D to at least double its current level by 2020. And on the ideas our push for a revamp of the maths and science curriculum right from early learning was meant to be encompassed as an idea to hold a national level review of curriculum but got left as having one national curriculum (a very different and hardly consensus possibility that was never discussed). And then there was stuff that came out of nowhere such as "Innovation Australia" that we all did agree to strike in favour of promoting a National Innovation Agenda through COAG (thank you, John Brumby) and also exploring the ideas of having PhD Centres of Excellence along the German model (thank you, Bryan Gaensler). But I am going to leave to a future post how I think a consensus view of the Productivity Stream would look.
For me, the best experiences of the Summit were interacting with people outside of my own stream. I had breakfast with one of Australia's foremost climate change scientists, talked about governance with some folk, engaged in my usual arguments with Telstra on broadband, and discussed how we could make our health system work better with some doctors. It make me want to take part in what was going on in other streams but then again I had a job to do where I was.
And I wont lie to you, it was really great to be roaming Parliament House when so many famous faces were around. There is something unique about debating about where we were going to sit to eat our boxed lunch and decide the floor would do because Lachlan Murdoch was already down there. Mandawuy Yunupingu, the lead singer of Yothu Yindi, sat down next to me during one session. But, of course, rather than ask him about his ideas all I could think to do was revert to being star struck and tell him how I had imported his band's CDs to the US when I was studying because I missed Australian music. I got to see who I was taller than and fatter than. I caught a glimpse of Cate and the baby and decided not to bound over a bunch of chairs to introduce myself to the Prime Minister. And I was around when Hugh Jackman told the Summit of his 7 year old son's idea: "to speed up archaeological digs before they build all over them and it is too late." (On that score, thank goodness they invited the entertainers, it really livened up one of the main sessions).
In the end, for me I will get just what I expected, a bunch of new connections and hopefully friends who share a common interest in wanting to make things better. I think the Government will get some more ideas, but importantly, will be held to account by those who spent considerable energy in trying to make things better. In the relative disorganisation of the Summit agenda and process, they have formed a coalition of the "best, brightest and now restless" who will not want to let things just be. It will be up to them how they engage with that coalition.I'm glad you enjoyed yourself, Joshua, and I wish you well.
I'll even forgive the fact that you saw nothing wrong with being blatantly used in a government attempt to form an elitist consensus with which to beat the electorate over the head - economists were never known for an understanding of the ordinary citizen.
Monday, 21 April 2008
Ghost writers causing 2020 summit initial report to grow and grow into a little bit of Kevin on Earth?
The copy I downloaded last night was 38 pages long in a 40 page PDF format.
So did the News journalist make a simple counting error 47 pages in length or is the Rudd Government supplying the media with a padded document containing ministerial spin?
Will the final version of the summit report due out next month bear any resemblance to the collective views of those little summit mouseketeer groups?