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Swings and Roundabouts

Over the last several weeks Dick Cheney has been doing the political talk-show circuit. A couple of weeks ago on Face the Nation Cheney took what appeared to be a cheap shot at Colin Powell by suggesting Powell is no longer a member of the Republican party. As night follows day, Rush Limbaugh was quoted as saying that “Colin Powell represents the stale, the old, the worn-out GOP that never won anything” (source CNN). Even Bill Clinton jumped in with a brief comment linking Cheney and a need for target practice in the same sentence. Enter stage left – one General Colin Powell.

With 17 mins. on Face the Nation Powell delivers a message wrapped up in some serious statesmanship and just a touch of diplomacy (part 1/2, part 2/2).

And now things get interesting with the release of a CNN poll:

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, released Monday, suggests that 70 percent have a favorable opinion of Powell, who was Secretary of State during President George W. Bush’s first term, and who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Persian Gulf War. Only 30 percent of those polled have a favorable view of Limbaugh, the popular conservative radio talk show host, with 53 percent saying they hold an unfavorable opinion.

In poll numbers released Thursday, 37 percent say they have a favorable opinion of Dick Cheney, with 55 percent indicating they hold an unfavorable view of the former vice president.

Among Republicans, it’s a different story. The poll suggests that 66 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of Cheney, 64 percent give Powell a thumbs up, and 62 view Limbaugh in a favorable way.

One has ask the question – will Powell be the man to lead the GOP out of the wilderness? All of a sudden the minority party just got interesting (and just maybe Time Magazine have an answer).

661 Responses to “Swings and Roundabouts”

  1. 501
    Flaneur says:


    …this article by the ABS…

    That article is referred to in the Debtwatch article that KR quoted.

    But what you conclude seems correct (that by using the methodology they always have, the ABS determines a growth in GDP of 0.4%) and there was no change in methodology to produce a desired income. However…

    What the Debtwatch article is saying is that one should ignore the imports part of the GDP equation, thus taking 2% from the official GDP figure and getting a contraction of 1% to 2%. Why they didn’t just say “minus 1.6%” is not obvious to me.

    There is a lot of hand-waving about the inaccuracy of the exports figure, but then they go put a bullet through imports. Rewrite after the ABS response, perhaps?

    In short (oops, too late), their argument is that the economy is in bad shape. The inference that there was some “cooking” going on is not argued.

    The Rooster is still in the yard. ;-)

  2. 502
    Flaneur says:

    Of course, …produce a desired income should be …produce a desired outcome.

  3. 503
    Flaneur says:

    jaundiced view:

    This the joint Flaneur?

    That’s the place. Didn’t know they had “FOX Sports”. I’m sure we can avoid it.

  4. 504
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    496 GWV

    What you CAN say is that whenever you have an unprecedented collapse in commodity prices there should have been a f%cking big asterisk on the exports number to say that this figure is way wrong this time.

    Under ‘normal’ price fluctuations this would not be so big an issue, but when you are dealing with a colossal collapse in prices, treating the numbers in the time honoured way is disingenuous at best and deceitful at worst.

    By any sensible metric, we are in recession, the figures should have been adjusted to reflect reality, and we have been conned.

  5. 505

    501, 504

    Given all that, I expect that the exported tonnage of commodity exports probably fell significantly across the board in the most recent quarter, and the recorded increase was an anomaly.

    This explains the “huh” factor of the very next day’s announcement that we had gone from a substantial trade surplus to a deficit. How does that tally with the “increase” in exports in the GDP figures? The trade deficit is the dollar value of exports minus the dollar value of imports–there is no “price deflating” going on.

    How does that tally, he asks? Simple, the trade deficit occurred in April! The trade surpluses for January, February and March, were $970M, $2109M and $2484M respectively for a quarterly total of $5563 Million.

    Now since he is arguing that the different methodologies in determining the value of imports and exports for the monthly trade figures and the quarterly GDP figures is what caused the GDP growth to remain positive, that requires that the trade results be substantially different from the GDP results. Since they however are not, that means that his argument is wrong.

    Now the reason he has decided to ignore imports is because he believes that he is adjusting for a mistake in the figures. However since the error is in fact his, the decision to make the adjustment is also wrong.

    Note that since the trade figures reflect current prices and are similar to the GDP figures, this also disproves the argument that changes in the value of the commodities not being counted in the GDP figures made the difference between the GDP being positive or negative.

  6. 506
    Chris B says:

    I thought someone (anyone?) maybe interested in what I have been doing. I have registered, and got up and running a new website, with ten pages so far. Still a lot more to do and a long way too go. I have also started up a blog related to that web site. So if anyone is slightly interested. The site is Top 100 Hot Sexy Prom Dresses and the blog is http://top100hotsexypromdresses.blogspot.com Hopefully their might by something interesting for someone.

  7. 507
    Jen says:

    Well CB- explains the RSI :wink:

  8. 508
    megan says:

    Hi Ticsters, have been ensconsed in country “land of the long white shroud” for over a week now, enjoying sun (surprise) and quiet (predictable), and a wee bit nervous that I’ll return with that accent after 6 weeks!! :)
    It really is a different world here!!
    Am loving Obama’s first book and so impressed by his insight and ethics that I am feeling more confident than ever that he will set the stage for enormous social justice improvements.

  9. 509
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    GWV, as Bill Evans puts it in the business spectator:

    Australia’s national accounts for the March quarter emphasise how difficult it has become for the authorities to assess Australia’s current economic performance. There are three large distortive forces – the collapse in AUD and commodity prices in the second half of 2008 which has made it difficult for the statistician to calculate trade volumes from nominal data (note the 3.9ppt’s contribution to GDP growth from net exports over the last two quarters). Imports are estimated to have collapsed by nearly 15 per cent while final demand slowed by only around 1 per cent – very suspicious indeed!


    Are we to believe that there was a rise in export volumes in the first quarter? Really?

    During a global recession, with manufacturing collapsing for our major trading partners we were exporting raw materials at a furious pace?

    Or, the statistical method of calculating exports based on a previous year’s prices produces some eyebrow raising ‘anomolies’?

    Take ya pick! LOL

  10. 510
    Catrina says:

    Worth watching …
    NBC Dateline : “Inside Iran”

  11. 511
    Chris B says:

    507 Jen :twisted:

  12. 512
    Chris B says:

    Does that explain why I am going blind too Jen?

  13. 513
    Jen says:

    possibly Chris.

  14. 514
    Jen says:

    Hi Megan – wondered where you had got to. Glad your back – we seriously need to take Catrina in hand – (little matter of an eating diorder she has been keeping from us.)
    And totally agree – Obi’s writing inspires immense hope – as does his inclusive approach to dialogue with those who have despised the West…as well as ech other.
    It seems as if he is starting a process that has never happened before, so the possibilites are unlimited. In theory at least.

  15. 515
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    Steve Fielding has been hanging out with the carbon industry paid climate change sceptics and has returned to tell us that an old and disproved theory for climate change is worth a look:

    Family First Senator Steve Fielding says increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere might not be causing global warming.

    He has been at a climate change conference in the United States where he heard that solar flares could be linked to temperature change.

    The Government wants the Senate to vote on its carbon reduction scheme this month.

    Senator Fielding says he wants to talk to government scientists about his concerns before he will be able to vote on the scheme.

    …oh dear, solar flares.

    Here we go again! LOL

    Unrepresentative swill just loves the limelight, eh?

  16. 516
    Jen says:

    Oh Come On Kirri !
    – Stephen is an intellectual giant amongst men.
    If he says that global warming has nothing to do with carbon emmissions then it must be true – cos he would have got it straight from God. Probably in a special langauage that only he could understand to prove it even further.

  17. 517
    Jen says:

    And virtually holding the Balance of Power at 1.8% sure as fuck represents Something.

  18. 518
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    Yep, his influence is in inverse proportion to his percentage of the vote.

    Dontcha just lerv dumbocracy?

  19. 519
    Chris B says:

    517 You mean he doesn’t even represent the full troglodyte and troll population in Victoria?

  20. 520
    jaundiced view says:

    KR & Jen
    That mob who organised the show Steve F went to in the US last week is the Heartland Institute.
    [Heartland’s publications make the following assertions about climate change:

    “Most scientists do not believe human activities threaten to disrupt the Earth’s climate.”
    “The most reliable temperature data show no global warming trend.”
    “A modest amount of global warming, should it occur, would be beneficial to the natural world and to human civilization.”
    “The best strategy to pursue is one of ‘no regrets’.”]

    I especially like the strategy of ‘no regrets’ – what a classic. I bet 1.8% of Vistorians have many regrets about how they voted!

  21. 521
    Jen says:

    yep – delivered us GB – twice.

  22. 522
    Chris B says:

    Steve Fielding obviously accepted the scientific evidence about aircraft when he flew to the USA.

  23. 523
    Jen says:

    no way Chris- it was the prayers that got him there.
    Shame he managed to get back really.

  24. 524
    Jen says:

    “I especially like the strategy of ‘no regrets’ – what a classic. I bet 1.8% of Vistorians have many regrets about how they voted!”

    nah- they’ll always want God in parliament .
    It’s the poor saps who voted Labor and then had their preferences directed to the jerk.
    The Greens scored a few converts out of that little performance.

  25. 525
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    JV, the Heartland mob are all ex fossil fuel ‘scientists’ and it is funded by the industry.

    What a surprise (not).

    Fielding is a fool of the first order to be doing its bidding in our ETS debate, since it is such a tainted body, its claims well refuted and its credibility zero.

    But what should we expect from a guy who says he believes in the Big Sky Daddy?

  26. 526
    jaundiced view says:

    That’s right – the ALP must self-flagellate regularly over that disastrous preferencing decision.

    Absolutely – But at least the MSM seem to have picked up on the shonky credentials of the people feeding Fielding his lines. I hope he is left in tatters over his recent search for retrospective backing for his idiocy.

  27. 527
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    At least the ABC bothers to refute his nonsense, JV, but will the commercial press?

    Like most things, they’ll probably just repeat his claims, “quote” his concerns, and leave it hanging. That’s what the press in general does. They are really players in stirring up a debate that just does not exist scientifically, but hey, if they can stir the political pot, why not? In other words, there ain’t a lot of ethics in the commercial press, they aren’t doing us any favours, and the quicker they die the better IMHO.

  28. 528
    Flaneur says:

    Friends don’t let friends vote above the line!

  29. 529
    jaundiced view says:

    KR – someone linked an article on the Fairfax site about the blatent climate-change-sceptic line The Australian runs under Mitchell. It makes your hair stand on end, it’s so obvious. Worth finding – you’ll have to trawl up the current PB page to find it – I haven’t got time now.

    See you on Saturday Flaneur & EC & Ferny. I’m off into the wild blue yonder now, to work up a Belgium-sized thirst!

  30. 530
    HarryH says:

    Fielding had an indignant air about him the other day when he reported that Obama’s people practically laughed him out of their office when he reported to them “what he had learnt” at the Heartland conference.

    Most indignant was Steve. LOL

  31. 531
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Best of luck with your stunning new online frock shop, Chris. Orders will soon flow from Frisco, L.A., N.Y. and Paris, no doubt. Did you do any of the designing yourself?
    Those threads are Ab-Fab, sweetie! :)
    No doubt you’ve already pegged it, but in these dodgy economic times, maximum exposure to niche markets whose punters have higher disposable incomes might be worth considering. If you can fudge your way past the Swiss Guards, could be worth knocking on a few sacristy doors topside Vatican City.

    Ah, megan, grand to have thee back. As Jen noted, Cat’s gone all Corpse Bride on us. We’re gonna have to set her up with a decent feed cos she’s fading fast. Blew all her hard-earned on those Trois Chapeaux Michelin joints in Europe. Dead-set maxed-out The Platinum. And now Madame has been barred from her local soup kitchen for rowdy behaviour and has taken to reading 19th Cent. English novels of quiet desperation. :mrgeen:
    A Layperson’s Guide to “The Wit and Wisdom of “Flares” Fielding”

  32. 532
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    Very funny story HH! How is Fielding so witless? It really needs a special kind of disability to be that stupid, but like I said, he’s outed himself as a Big Sky Daddy believer, and that takes a very big suspension of the intellectual faculties, especially the near fundamentalist brand his lot profess.

  33. 533
    Chris B says:

    531 Enemy Combatant Yes I ran them up on the sewing machine out the back between blogging. :twisted:

  34. 534
    Chris B says:

    We need the Chaser boys to feed off Fielding a bit.

  35. 535
    Chris B says:

    Maybe even Good News Week need to show him up. Just in case anyone thinks him credible. Oh hang on, Sarah Palin got publicity like that! Maybe not!

  36. 536
    Catrina says:

    Largely unreported … some of the moves and shakes in the Middle East over the last few days. Perhaps more important than the Cairo speech.


  37. 537

    Wowie, Chris, your own “Personel Sweat Shop”!
    Are you a bastard of a boss to youself or have you adopted a more union-orientated approach?
    Seriously, all the best with with your venture, like the name a lot.

  38. 538

    Cat, the MSNBC Dateline about Iran was instuctive on a couple of counts,

    1/ The voiceover taked about how the CIA helped to overthrow the legit govt. of Iran in 1953 to install the Shah. Most Ticsters know that, but few of the audience, one hazards, would be wise to the History. Great to see it aired in America.

    2/ A Jewish hospital in Tehran mostly treating local Arabs as well as the 2000 Jews who live there and trace their ancestry in the immediate region back ~2000 years. That really stopped me more than the State-funded sex change operations.

  39. 539
    Catrina says:

    EC at 538
    What tweaked my interest is the choreography of events leading up to the Cairo moment…
    * MSNBC doing a profile which must have been a couple of weeks in the making
    * King Abdullah of Jordan visiting the UAE a few days before
    * Elections in Iran this weekend
    And probably a lot more. The more I’m digging the richer it gets. One thing is clear … anyone figuring this was a good speech and waiting to measure things based on action don’t need to wait – things have been happening right under our noses. Bugger – it’s a left wing conspiracy for global peace in our time!

  40. 540
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    After watching an SBS doco on Pakistan and its rising level of Taliban militancy, it struck me that Obama’s call for a better place for women in Islamic countries is actually central to beating the malignant growth of the fundamentalists. But also, without some serious economic prospects for men, this is unlikely to occur.

    Essentially, the Taliban is fueled by angry ‘lads’. It takes young boys from impoverished families, ‘trains’ them in the rote learning of the Koran, and then bends them to any hideous misinterpretation because they are not allowed to read anything else. Talk about brainwashing. It’s a cynical and calculated indoctrination, and because they can pay the families some cash for handing over their sons, they get a modicum of community support.

    The rest is straight fascism. Terrorise the civilian population with some public beheadings and a few floggings, announce arbitrary and draconian measures over the local radio, kill a few public officials, and hey bingo, you’ve got a terrified and compliant population. And all the while blame things on the infidels, (who of course oblige by bombing wedding parties from drones). What a perfect strategy.

    And of course, demolish all the girls’ schools and drive them into their homes.

    It’s a strategy that worked quite well until recently in Swat. It really is Islamo-fascism and any claim that it represents the Koran is utterly without merit.

    So, Obama’s call for women to get more freedom is an important part in beating this ugly form of fascism, and it’s ironic that a filmed flogging of a young girl in Swat produced a very strong reaction against the Taliban in Pakistan.

    For most Pakistanis, who do not live in tribal areas, all this Taliban stuff is anathema, and it’s ethnically driven by a minority. But as we’ve seen in Iraq until recent times, a minority can assert a reign of terror with violence quite successfully if allowed to gain that power.

    Let’s hope that Obama’s administration realises the opportunity to assist the bulk of Pakistanis and not just hand over billions to its military as Bush did, or this place could turn very, very ugly.

  41. 541
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    Cat, I was always of the opinion that the message in Cairo was for Iran and timed for its coming election.

    Just look at what happened in Lebanon this weekend for example. Hezbollah did not do well this time and there’s clearly a shift going on in the region. If the Iranian public picks up on Obama’s message we could see a beautiful example of American ‘soft power’ exerting a positive influence, rather than being used as the demon for the religious ratbags to hold onto their power.

  42. 542
    gaffhook says:

    This is like watching “Getaway” without Katriona. Some brilliant photography of lots of parts of our planet and a real strong message.
    We really have sat back and let this shit happen for the sake of the $.
    Highly reccommended for your mates Gouldie.

    There is a link to the movie on the page.

    Awesome, beautiful film and simultaneously a wake-up call that we are destroying the habitability of the planet, not that most of us don’t already know this, but we just don’t want to admit it fully. Some don’t want to admit it at all.

    This is a must see-type film for all who seek to preserve the livability of the Earth, Gaia, Mother Nature, however you want to label our common home! Pass this amazing video on to others.


  43. 543
    Catrina says:

    Kirribilli Removals at 541

    Cat, I was always of the opinion that the message in Cairo was for Iran and timed for its coming election.

    I could not agree more. But the thing is – I’m bothered by the MSNBC report. On one hand I could go the conspiracy theory route and view MSNBC as a media organisation in Obama’s pocket. On the other-hand I could look at this as MSNBC dancing to the tune of what the majority wants to hear. Either way, it isn’t the reporting I want. What I wanted was MSNBC pushing balanced and substantive content way back when it mattered.

  44. 544
    Catrina says:

    gaffhook at 542
    Link to the movie below (1h33m):

  45. 545
    OzFrog says:

    Interesting article from The Age about Bob Brown:


    Greens leader Brown faces Senate expulsion
    June 8, 2009 – 6:37PM

    Australian Greens leader Bob Brown may be expelled from the Senate if he doesn’t pay more than $200,000 in court costs.

    Senator Brown could be forced into bankruptcy if he doesn’t pay Forestry Tasmania $240,000 in court costs following a legal dispute over logging in the Wielangta Forest.

    The Federal Court upheld Senator Brown’s claim in 2006 that logging in the eastern Tasmanian forest threatened endangered species including the Wedge-tailed eagle, Swift parrot and Wielangta stag beetle.

    However, the ruling to stop logging in the area was overturned on appeal and Senator Brown was ordered to pay court costs to defendants, Forestry Tasmania.

    The clerk of the Senate Harry Evans has advised Senator Brown that he would be disqualified from the upper house and his seat would become vacant if he doesn’t pay the money and is declared bankrupt.

    Senator Brown said he was appealing for donations to help settle the debt.

    “I’ll be putting out a letter to people who have supported the case … and we’ll see,” he told AAP on Monday.

    But he wasn’t optimistic that even the support of the public would be enough.

    “It takes quite a long while to get an appeal letter out and get a response and I don’t expect it’s going to go anywhere near paying the $240,000 by the 29th of June,” he said.

    Senator Brown said he launched the action independently of the Greens and would not be dipping into the party’s campaign reserves to make up the shortfall.

    While he wasn’t exactly sure how he would find the money, he said he would do what it took to avoid being expunged from his Senate seat.

    “I expect to pay because I do not want to vacate my seat in the Senate and nor do the people who voted for me in Tasmania,” he said.

    “And of course nor does the much wider electorate that’s concerned about the fate of Australia’s wildlife and not least to Wielangta Forest.”

    Senator Brown said the costs of his entire legal bid to stop logging in the forest totalled almost $900,000 over five years.

    Much of that had been paid for by him personally as well as through “lots of small donations” from the public, he said.

  46. 546
    Jen says:

    OzFrog- does this surprise you?
    What better way to silence the opposition than to neuter your opponent. However, I also have no doubet that teb support to stop these practices is far more widespread than just Greens members and they may be in for a surprise.

    And Kirri – “the hand the rocks the cradle rules the world”… as women become better educated they are far less likely to allow their children to be sacrificed for some ridiculous testosterone- driven ideaology which basically boils down to Get off My Soil Or I’ll Kill you …like over the fence ( :wink: )
    Works every time.

  47. 547
    HusseinStWorm says:

    The Swedish Pirate Party has won at least one seat, probably two, in the EU parliament. The Pirate Party received 7% of the total vote and with a 19% share, it was the most popular party among voters aged under 30.



  48. 548
    Chris B says:

    Very disappointing results in the EU elections. They turned right. Doesn’t make sense when the right wing governments are causing the problems. Interestingly enough when the USA finally gets its act together Europe heads of in the other direction. Go figure!

  49. 549
    Catrina says:

    More diplomatic back-chatter coming out of Obama’s Cairo speech – this time from the Europeans:

    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A day after President Barack Obama told Israel its key ally would no longer tolerate building settlements in the West Bank, the European Union was considering using its trade clout to bolster U.S. pressure, diplomats said.

    The EU is the Jewish state’s biggest trading partner and one option it may have is to crack down on fruit, vegetables, olive oil and other farm produce grown by Israeli settlers on occupied Palestinian land.

    And as if the last week wasn’t enough – one more directive from the POTUS:

    Gen. Ray Odierno, accepted a videotaped order from President Barack Obama to shave Colbert’s head.

    Stephen Colbert Iraq Show: Gen. Odierno Shaves His Head


  50. 550
  51. 551
    Jen says:

    here’s why Bob Brown might be sued… and guess who was behind it.

    “He went to the Federal Court to claim that logging in Tasmania’s Wielangta Forest threatened the endangered wedge-tailed eagle, the swift parrot and the Wielangta stag beetle.

    The Federal Court’s Justice Shane came down on Senator Brown’s side, requiring logging to be halted. The ruling, hailed by environmentalists, had implications for logging across Australia because it held that regional forest agreements were subject to overriding environmental protection legislation.

    However, the environmentalists’ celebrations turned out to be short-lived.

    Within three months, Forestry Tasmania appealed to the Full Federal Court, and the Howard and Tasmanian governments intervened on behalf of Forestry Tasmania.

    Then prime minister John Howard and Tasmanian premier Paul Lennon, in response to the initial Wielangta judgement, agreed at about the same time to amend the Tasmanian Regional Forests Agreement.

    The section in which the state agreed to protect endangered species from logging was rewritten.”

    The Age

  52. 552
    HusseinStWorm says:

    Much ado about nothing, Jen. Bobby’s already been flooded with cash.


  53. 553
    Jen says:

    Good news Hussy – they’re a pack of bullies.

  54. 554
    Jen says:

    and Fielding gets a drubbing from scientists.

  55. 555
    Enemy Combatant says:


    The rage comes because we have constructed massive military bases, some the size of small cities, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Kuwait, and established basing rights in the Gulf states of Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The rage comes because we have expanded our military empire into neighboring Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. It comes because we station troops and special forces in Egypt, Algeria and Yemen. And this vast network of bases and military outposts looks suspiciously permanent.

    The chances of the US going gung-ho for baseload home-grown renewable energy while simultaneously getting the hell out of the M.E. appear slim.
    Unless of course Obi’s Cairo U. sweet talk changes everything. Sure, change we can believe in takes time. Unfortunately our biosphere doesn’t exactly have a lot of sweet time left before we reach “tipping point” on global heating, if we’re not there already.

    (btw, wonderful clip, gaffy)

    As Snowball Pig, once the brains of the outfit on Animal Farm, grunted from exile in his hideaway Mexican hog haven….

    U.S. BASELOAD GOOD…. U.S. BASES BAD</blockquote

  56. 556
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    Ecky, I’m not so sure that “The chances of the US going gung-ho for baseload home-grown renewable energy while simultaneously getting the hell out of the M.E. appear slim.”

    When you consider that:

    Consumers last summer were pulling $1.5 billion a day from their wallets to fuel their vehicles. By January, as oil prices collapsed, they were spending only $600 million a day. But now they are back to daily spending of around $1 billion, Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, said.

    (NY Times)

    With shortened hours, cuts in pay, and rising unemployment, those kinds of numbers do really hurt and will keep the pressure on for alternatives to ME oil permanently. (If we assume Peak Oil is near or just passed, then I can’t see this situation reversing. Ever.)

  57. 557
    Chris B says:

    Hmm! Four people on this site have looked at my site. Big brother is watching you. Actually, I was just using the Google tracking program Google Analytics and saw that I and visitors from politic 101.
    What I can’t get over is that in a period of about 6 – 9 months the huge amount of free software Google and others are providing to help you with all sorts of things for the Internet. They also now have Google webmaster TV, which helps you with your web site.

  58. 558
    HarryH says:

    Hat tip to Dick Smith

  59. 559
    Enemy Comatant says:

    Geez, Kirri, hope your’re right.
    Btw, Krugman (@Huffy) reckons that The Recession is showing signs of ending in September despite the expected unemployment rise, although The Liar’s Poker guy isn’t do convinced.

    Jun 8:

    Jun 8:

    Jun 9:

  60. 560
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    Ecky, just who would I be to question the Krugmeister? But just one bit of news which should give pause to anyone swooning over those ‘green shoots':

    Even as the pace of job losses slowed during the month, the unemployment rate surged to a 26-year high of 9.4%. Banking regulators that devised the stress tests had said in their most “adverse” case scenario that the jobless rate would hit 8.9% in 2009.

    …so the ‘stress test’, on which sooooo much hangs, was, even on its own terms, a tad soft.

    Yes, the rate of decline in employment has slowed, but they are going well into double figures before it turns around, so what does that do to impaired bank balance sheets? How many credit card, small business (and big business that depends on their spending) and auto loan/student loan losses does this add to the unstressed camel’s back?

    If it becomes an elephant on the seriously lame camel we are not even close to being out of the woods (or the desert for that matter! LOL)

  61. 561
    Jen says:

    indeed. Good old Dick.

  62. 562
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    I know that you’ve been following US bond prices with fervid attention and will know the recent drop has been written up as the market anticipating the Fed’s reversal on interest rates later in the year.

    Well, if you thought ‘bollocks’, you’d be pretty much right. Bloomberg has just put out what 15 of the 16 primary dealers think.

    Yep, they think it’s bollocks too, what a surprise you might say.

    They reckon the Fed will not be raising rates any time in the near future for all the obvious reasons, the economy being cactus being the main one. LOL

    So, a rally in bond prices anyone? If equities stall now, then probably yes, as the money will be fleeing to ‘safety’ (go figure!), and commodities are already overcooked.

    Watch this space, as they say.

  63. 563
    Jen says:

    you know Kirri- being an amateur business woman I was always a tad uncomfortable with the : “why use you own money when it’s cheaper to use theirs?” ethos.
    Always seemed a bit risky to me. So .. I have no debt, and no money either, but I won’t be defaulting on anyone. I know it’s all very domestic and unsophiticated but I won’t lose anything (nor will I take anything, but WTF).

  64. 564
    Jen says:

    So in fact I’m better at this than General Motors CEO’s. :mrgreen:

  65. 565
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    And Jen, you probably wouldn’t be so gauche as to turn up in your private jet to ask for billions in handouts either! LOL

  66. 566
  67. 567
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    The opposition to Ahmadinejad came out in force yesterday, and filled the streets for miles in something not seen since the Revolution.

    The natives ARE restless…for change.

    Let’s hope it doesn’t get squashed in its crib.

  68. 568
    Catrina says:

    Am I reading too much into this or is Joe Scarborough preping for 2012?

  69. 569
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    566 Catrina

    Sarah Palin is the chk-chk-boom girl of the USA.

  70. 570
    Wakefield says:

    With Fielding showing an inquisitive interest in sun spots and the need for more science – can I suggest we fund an expedition so he can visit said sunspots and report his findings.

  71. 571
    Catrina says:

    Wakefield at 570

    can I suggest we fund an expedition so he can visit said sunspots and report his findings



  72. 572
    Wakefield says:

    Catrina – Sunspotting might be the next big thing for the people with a fascination for events in the heavens.

  73. 573
    Chris B says:

    567 Kirribilli Removals I saw a poll somewhere tonight where the moderates had a lead of somewhere between 12% to 15% maybe more. Sorry I can’t find it again.

  74. 574


    Morning Joe needs to switch to decaf. He will not become President of the United States.

  75. 575

    Huffington Post: Dem Defections Give GOP Control Of New York Senate

    ALBANY, N.Y. — Republicans and two dissident Democrats took control of New York’s Senate on Monday after the two New York City renegades voted with the GOP to throw the fledgling Democratic majority out of power.

    The decision by senators Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens to join the coalition gave Republicans a 32-30 voting edge on hastily introduced measures that changed the leadership structure. Neither Espada nor Monserrate changed party affiliation.

    Democrats held the Senate for barely five months after being out of power for four decades.

    Shortly after the coup, Republicans named Espada temporary president of the Senate and Republican Dean Skelos of Nassau County vice president and majority leader. Skelos was majority leader in 2008.

  76. 576
  77. 577
    Catrina says:

    Bugger … it was just a few days ago that I punched up a comment extoling the virtures of the USofA. And now this …

    One month after successfully tucking an amendment into the credit card reform bill that expanded gun rights, a small number of Senate Republicans are looking at the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act as another chance to score a victory for the Second Amendment. The possible plan — to add an amendment that would allow gun owners to carry their weapons from one state to another in accordance with concealed carry laws. The possible rationale — to defend gay rights.

    “It makes sense for a group of people who would be protected by hate crime legislation to support something that would let them defend themselves before or after the crime,” said one Republican Senate aid familiar with the discussions. “It’s relevant, and we want to work together with gay groups to get the message out.”

    Go figure …
    Pro-Gun Gay Groups Take Aim at Hate Crimes Bill

  78. 578
    Jen says:

    Wakefield – capital idea.
    Although we should really be grateful that St Stephen is so on the ball – we might have started making unnecessary cutbacks on emissions if he hadn’t have galloping in at the last moment with his stunning findings that has set the science world on it’s ear. If only they’d thought of it sooner…
    what a dope.

  79. 579
    Kirribilli Removals says:


    “is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just preparing yourself for a hate crime?”

    It doesn’t have a ring to it, does it?

  80. 580
    paddy says:

    Morning all. Well I got well and truely sucked in by a book last night. Couldn’t put it down!
    For those who haven’t read it yet, Guy Rundle’s account of the US election, “Down to the crossroads” is an absolute cracker.

    It was quite a trip down memory lane and involved lots of rolling on the floor laughing, alternating with plenty of teary moments.
    Highly recomended.

  81. 581
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    The hall of mirrors school of economic navel gazing:

    A key measure of Australian consumer confidence has soared 12.7 per cent in June, the biggest monthly rise in 22 years, as the nation celebrates its fortune in dodging a global recession.

    …so a ‘rubbery’ figure, which all economists agree needed a LOT of qualification, is used to justify a colossal rise in ‘consumer confidence’. (A new definition of a ‘confidence trick’?)

    OK, let’s assume the Chinese stockpiling commodity binge actually did hold us above the line in the first quarter, will it do so again next quarter. What about the one after that?

    Two things: steel production numbers out of China aren’t hugely growing, and electricity production is down, which tells you that their economy is very soft. So it’s safe to assume they are stockpiling iron ore, and therefore there’s a physical limit to how much they’re going to keep up this buying. Production of stuff to export is still way down and without major demand centres recovering that won’t change anytime soon.

    So, with the Chinese stimulus the only thing keeping us technically above water, what’s the possibility we’ll stay that way?

    Personally, I wouldn’t bet on it.

  82. 582
    paddy says:

    From today’s Crikey:

    The new Defence Minister’s first visit to Russell Hill.

    Venue: Foyer of Building R1, Russell Hill
    Time: Last week after Senator the Hon John Faulkner appointed the new Defence Minister

    Scene One, Act One:

    Senator Faulkner arrives at Defence HQ, Bld R1 at Russell Offices. He is met and escorted to the foyer by the Australian Federal Police (AFP). There is no “official party” to meet him.

    The Senator looks at the AFP officer as if he should let him pass through the security check-in turnstiles and give him building access, but the officer can’t do this under current protocols. Looks are exchanged. The contracted Serco security guard asks if there is someone he should call? Glances are exchanged between the parties!

    This is not going well! Then all of a sudden, Angus Houston, the CDF, runs into the foyer and blames a broken lift for his tardiness. Not a good start and, fortunately for all parties, the press weren’t there to record it. It was a moment that will be much commented on in R1 and R2 for some time to come.

    And as if that wasn’t enough….
    Firstdog has finally sniffed out the awful truth about our shiny new minister for defence.

  83. 583
    Jen says:

    The Pundit appears to agree with the postion that Obi is just biding his time to bury Bush and the Other Bastards by moving slowly… adn he puts it so delightfully :twisted:

  84. 584
    Jen says:

    – still on the floor!

  85. 585
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Stone The Crows: the Mad Monk is Un-Australian!!

    Fair suck of the old sav, he’s a deadset drongo that Mad Monk. The best he can do to try and land leather on Tin-Tin is to slag Tinters over his use of ridgy-didge Aussie slang.
    The fucken tosser does a stretch at Oxford, then comes back cringing and ashamed of his homeland. Mad Monk Superior then proceeds to look down his nose at Australians who draw verbally from our rich cultural heritage.

    What a deadshit!

    Mightn’t take the shine off him in a largely aspirational electorate like Warringah, but you could bet London-to-a-brick-on he wouldn’t have dared bung on a turn like this if he was member for a bogan marginal.

    Abbott: “The prime minister was “desperately” trying to connect with the Australian people by using phrases such as “fair shake of the sauce bottle”, the Liberal MP said on Wednesday.”

    Pixie grew up on a bloody farm at Eumundi, Tony, you wanker! He can access it any time he wants to because he’s earned the right to do so, withhout snobbish judgement from galahs like your “kiss-up, kick-down” self.


  86. 586
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    The Mad Monk might denigrate the vernacular Ecky, but he’s quick to tell us what the latest bit of Latin dogma is! LOL

    Let’s all send him a used franger with a note about how young South African’s use of them has now slowed their huge AIDS infection rate.

    Will he recoil in horror because we used the vernacular? Or explain how letting them die from AIDS is Big Sky Daddy’s punishment for them engaging in coitus?

    Detestable ring kisser.

  87. 587

    “Detestable ring kisser.”

    Yeah, especially Big George’s.

    D’accord a 581, aussi, Monsieur Demagements.

    Righto, paddy, at your learned recommendation, shall give “Crossroads a burl.

    Jen, Rude Pundit makes his point well in this politely put para:

    “Again, it’s the way Obama governs, for the most part. Very deliberately, with gathering momentum. It’s the way he operated his campaign. It’s what he’s doing with gay marriage and other issues. You render the unusual quotidian so that nobody notices that change has occurred until it’s pointed out to them. Rather ingenious in its own reluctant way, mitigating political opposition and building support for a policy by dint of its ordinariness and obviousness.”

    With reference to RudePundit’s Rabelaisian analology, one awaits with long-frustrated anticipation a more uptempo performance from a President clearly polished in the Keatingesque art of doing opponents slowly.

  88. 588
    Jen says:

    Ec ky – you left out the good bits :wink:
    and yes- PJK would be in accord no doubt.

  89. 589
    Catrina says:

    Palau To Take Uighur Detainees

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand ♣ The remote Pacific island nation of Palau said Wednesday it has agreed to a U.S. request to temporarily resettle up to 17 Chinese Muslims now held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center on Cuba.


  90. 590
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    I’ll bet the poor buggers being dumped in Palau are really happy they didn’t make it to Australia were there at least some other Uighurs living.

    St Kevin of Rude (Patron Saint of the Sauce Bottle), couldn’t upset Beijing by taking a few poor sods who just might overthrow the PRA…now, could he?

  91. 591
    Catrina says:

    KR at 590
    Spot on!

  92. 592
    Jen says:

    well they’re obviously terrorists. Because ..they were in Gitmo, so they must be.

  93. 593
  94. 594
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    An excellent (as usual) piece by Juan Cole on the Lebanese election, how Obama played a small part, and the intricacies of the religious factions within it:


    Now, let’s see how Iran’s election goes.

    By the way, one ME commentator on the 7.30 Report pointed out that in Farsi the three sounds of O-ba-ma mean: ‘he’s with us’ and a lot of the country’s young population seem to be thinking it’s true.

  95. 595
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Exit Jerk McAuliffe…..he coulda been a contender.
    SoS once thought so to. That’s why she’s SoS.

  96. 596
    Catrina says:

    KR at 594

    Now, let’s see how Iran’s election goes.

    Chances are we’ll be watching that one unfold this weekend.

    Presidential elections will be held in Iran on June 12, 2009. It will be the 10th presidential election to be held in the country. The current incumbent is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is running for re-election. The Iranian reform movement has attempted to unite behind a single candidate. Former President Mohammad Khatami had been the leading opponent to Ahmadinejad until he left the race and endorsed former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi.[2] Former Speaker of the Majlis Mehdi Karroubi, another Reformist, is also running, as is former Commander of Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Mohsen Rezaei, a Conservative.

    Wikipedia ♣ Iranian presidential election, 2009

    But that’s not all!

    We have a major policy speech from Netanyahu scheduled for Sunday (maybe Monday our time) which will probably take into consideration a shifting political landscape in Iran. What gets really interesting here is how Netanyahu plays the cards Obama is dealing out to the Middle East.

    JERUSALEM (AP) ♣ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he will deliver a major policy address next week laying out his proposed road to Mideast peace, after coming under stiff U.S. pressure to freeze West Bank settlement construction and endorse Palestinian statehood.

    Associated Press ♣ Netanyahu plans major policy speech next week

  97. 597
    Chris B says:

    Should Iran be won by the moderates. It will make Obama’s job so much easier in the Middle East. It may even speed up the exit if Iraq!

  98. 598
    Chris B says:

    WASHINGTON — An elderly gunman, said by authorities to have a violent and virulently anti-Semitic past, stepped inside the crowded U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Wednesday, opened fire with a rifle and fatally wounded a security guard before being shot by other officers.

    The assailant was hospitalized in critical condition, leaving behind a sprawling investigation by federal and local law enforcement and expressions of shock from the Israeli government and a prominent Muslim organization.
    The Huffington Post

  99. 599
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    I mentioned US bond prices the other day because, hey, I just know how the subject gets you all excited!

    Well, they’re still sinking like a stone and the ten year bond is about to push through 4%.

    Up go mortgages and the cost of money. Just what a depressed and shattered economy needs like a hole in the head. I’ve not had a chance to find out what happened last night (probably some Treasury sales didn’t do well), and see who is not buying (probably the Chinese), but this is a really bad development for Seppo land.

    Ah, a quick look:

    The broad stock market was more or less flat until a 10-year Treasury note auction just after 1 p.m. EDT sent rates on that government debt to a seven-month high.

    …over the past few days rates have been on a rocket and this is really going to scare the horses over in the sharemarket.

    If the US can’t sell it’s debt without high rates (as one should expect) and the Chinese get cold feet about taking on more (as they have), then we indeed in ‘interesting times’. “Interest” being the operative word.

  100. 600
    Jen says:

    Ha! The bullies get started down…

    “Senator Brown said he had been overwhelmed by the response to his public appeal for help earlier this week and will now be able to get back into the black.

    He said over 1,000 people had made donations to his cause, mostly small amounts between $10 and $100.

    However, there was one $10,000 donation he knew about and he also sold one of his artworks for $20,000 to help fund the legal battle.

    “It really just shows how strongly people are concerned about the forests and the wildlife in them,” Senator Brown told ABC Radio on Thursday.

    “A lot of them are saying they’re not Green voters but they didn’t like the way that Forestry Tasmania were threatening my seat in the Senate.”