Open Thread

An Angel On My Shoulder

There we were – focussed on a political tsunami across South America and Chris B has to raise the subject of genetically modified foods.

Then our inimitable Kirribilli Removals (KR) throws in a rebuttal and Enemy Combatant (EC) throws a counter argument and things escalate (go figure). Thing is – there are multiple valid positions here.

Me? I appreciate food, I understand the construction of that instance when food enters you mouth and your brain takes a moment to pause – the ambient noise dissipates and for a few moments you recognise that while Italian opera is good, Italian cuisine is better. But KR is throwing up the lowest common denominator – the solution to feed the masses on GM based crops. KR is right – but if KR is right we are simultaneously selling our souls.

70 minutter, efter at have begået dem. Planter, Køb Kamagra Cialis og Viagra u… som besidder en lagdelt generic viagra ramme priser.

I like locally grown fresh vegetables (and I like British aged beef but that’s another subject). I like going to a restaurant that has a vegetable patch with 45 different vegetables on offer and 145 different varieties (and it happens to be a French restaurant in France). I like vegetables that are really fresh (and I’m talking hours from harvest). I love diversity – a cross between a Coz and a Buttherhead is just entertainment in the making.

What I don’t like is the feeling that the agriculture business is our next incarnation of an unregulated financial market. And I figure KR has a feeling for where this could be taking us to and I hoping EC is the angel on KR’s shoulder.

526 replies on “An Angel On My Shoulder”

Ferny, perhaps the four of us could see him at Joe’s Waterhole, Eumundi (great venue for his kind of talent) or BrisVegas next time he tours. Be great to say g’day again, been full months five since Obi’s election victory.

Ah, Kirri, sometimes you leave an opening that I just can’t resist. Just a quick jab though (bruising only guaranteed) before hitting the fart sack……

Howdy Cardster, @ 393 you say:

An acquaintance gave us some of his tree matured, organically grown apples over the weekend. They reminded me why I have eaten so many apples in my life. They were the apples of my long-ago youth.

Cult-Outer-General @ 395 by way of reply says:

“In other words, much (note: much) of the wonderful claims made for ‘pure organically grown’ food, are bordering on cult status too!
*It isn’t necessarily ‘better’, either in taste*
or nutrition, nor in energy use either.”

There you have it, Cardster, next time to wish to know how food in your own mouth tastes, you know who to ask. You lucky fellow you! Not everyone has the privilige of consulting a personal Taste Bud Whisperer.
Fair dinkum, Ticsters, I love youse all. G’night.

I’ll pull up the web page where Stephanie Alexander waxes lyrical about, wait for it, one grower’s hydroponically grown tomatoes!

In other words, when good varieties are grown well, in ANY technique, neither you, Cardster nor an expert foodie like Alexander could tell the difference.

I was NOT, repeat NOT, saying Cardster doesn’t know what a good apple or whatever tastes like.

I know you can write, eloquently, at times Ecky.

But ya comprehension skills leave a tad to be desired.

(When ya leave an opening like that, I just have to fill it!)

By the way, you NEVER did make a call on whether aspartame is harmless on the science. So is “Dr” Martini and her band of loops right, it causes a colossal list of scary ailments, or is the best science available right?

Come on, put your eloquent pen down, and use the other side of your brain. You know, the one that makes logical decisions based on factual evidence.

Franken Picks Up 87 Votes; Frustration With Coleman Grows.
The news keeps getting worse for Norm Coleman, with a counting of previously-rejected ballots on Tuesday only adding to his deficit and a growing number of Minnesota officials and even national Republicans warning against further legal appeals.

“I think it’s time for him to give up this fight,” prominent conservative, Ramesh Ponnuru wrote, rather succinctly, on the National Review’s The Corner.

The former Senator moved from 225 votes to 312 votes behind Al Franken after a three-judge panel approved 351 ballots that had been erroneously rejected — spurred by a Coleman lawsuit. As noted by one of the most devout followers of the Minnesota saga, Talking Points Memo’s Eric Kleefeld: “The only way for Coleman to overcome this lead would be to win an appeal against the election court’s prior rulings in favor of strict standards to let in new ballots, or to somehow win his much more far-fetched proposal to retroactively declare a number of absentee votes illegal and deduct them from the totals based on countywide averages.”

Read the rest of this article in The Huffington Post.

MSNBC Takes Michele Bachmann’s “Youth Re-Education Camp” Seriously.
At what point does the uptick in incidences of Michele Bachmann saying crazypants nonsense in front of reporters graduate from political-cultural oddity to area of concern? How about today, Tuesday, April 7, 2009, at approximately 9:22 a.m., maybe?

That’s when Contessa Brewer and Erin Billings dug into the latest Bachmann frenzy — her contention that the national service organization AmeriCorps was a dangerous front for youth “re-education camps.” What followed was an almost unbearably polite discussion of Bachmann. We are told that she has a knack for saying “certain things that incite attention.” We hear that she appeals to a “right flank” of the Republican party that is “enamored” of her. Attention is given to disputing the idea that she is a “darling of the Republican party,” probably because people in the Republican party — who don’t exactly go out of their way to repudiate Bachmann’s nonsense — will do the bare minimum of going to people like Erin Billings of Roll Call and telling her: “You know, this is off the record, but Michele Bachmann doesn’t really represent the Republican party.”

The right wing loonies are a great help to the Democrats. We just need to keep a very big eye on their constituents. Or the CIA does.
The Rest of the article and a video on The Huffington Post.

Fidel Castro Meets With US Lawmakers.
Signaling its willingness to discuss improved relations with the U.S., Cuba on Tuesday granted three visiting members of the Congressional Black Caucus the first meeting with Fidel Castro by American officials since he fell ill in 2006.

Caucus leader Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said she found Castro “very healthy, very energetic, very clear thinking” during his nearly two-hour session with the lawmakers. She said caucus members also visited his home and met his wife.

The surprise encounter came a day after the full delegation of six representatives spent more than four hours talking privately with Cuban President Raul Castro, his first encounter with U.S. officials since formally replacing his brother as head of state nearly 14 months ago.

And it comes as Washington discusses whether to warm up long-chilly relations with Cuba. President Barack Obama has ordered an assessment of U.S. policy toward the communist nation and some members of Congress are pushing to lift a ban on Americans visiting the island.

Wow! Already the world appears to be making great strides towards peace under Obama.
continued on The Huffington Post

I’ve just been watching Hannity on fox. It is hilarious watching how angry this guy is at the fact that the Democrats are now in charge. Eight years of suffering at least for these people. 🙂

The reason the Liberals never upgraded the Internet is that they were waiting for the latest technology to arrive. 😈

Kirri, very much appreciate you acknowledge that I had not made a call on aspartate, ‘cos I hadn’t. Being tagged as a “cultist” by association was where “the escalation” began but it was a secondary issue.

What gave me the shits at the time (and thank fuck we’re back to badinage—having cast aside inter-personal invective) was the tone employed in replying to a few of our gang who proffered beliefs/opinions that differed from your own. Simple as that.
Nothing to do with who is right or wrong.

Kirri, would relish an exchange with you on emotionally volatile issues such as GM/Big Pharma/who funds peer reviewed nutritional science etc. but would dig to do so, man, (you self-outed ol’ hippy 🙂 ) in a fashion that doesn’t freak our fellows out.
You’re a formidable Player: smart, passionate and possess an impressive battery of finely tuned bullshit detectors.

After the holiday break though, gotta pack for Byron before sundown.

Toonies later.
KR: So is “Dr” Martini and her band of loops right, it causes a colossal list of scary ailments, or is the best science available right?

Silk: Mr. Combatant, when did you stop beating your wife? 🙂

Ah, your fulgent pen strikes again Eckmeister! LOL

What you gotta know about me by now is I don’t get intimidated by nice rhetorical flourishes, I far and away prefer substance. When someone tries to pass off claptrap for science, I’m not one to let it go uncontested.

But refrain from verballing me and I’m much less inclined to bite back! LOL

Have fun with the dolphins, and watch out for aged hippies! (They fair dawdle over all over the road and ain’t nearly as spry as they used to be).

Eric Beecher blows the bugle for journalism that’s reputable:

“Public trust” journalism is an essential element of a functioning, informed democracy. It is just as important, in its own way, as the parliament or the judiciary.

By “public trust” journalism I refer to journalism that applies scrutiny, analysis and accountability to governments, parliaments, politicians, public servants, judges, police, councils, the military, NGOs, diplomats, business and community leaders and the recipients of public funding.

This journalism includes investigative reporting, analysis and feature writing, commentary, opinions, editorials, campaigns as well as the day-to-day reporting of parliaments, councils, courts, tribunals, wars, stock exchanges and all the other tentacles of the polity, the judiciary and the democracy.

Without the existence of well-resourced “public trust” journalism — the arm of democracy that attempts to keep the other arms open, honest and accountable — it is far more likely that custodians of democracy will be dishonest, deceptive or will abuse their positions of trust.


Which ironically, lands right into our recent experience with, yes, the aspartame debate.

Think to yourself, which reputable journal anywhere, has picked up the ‘deadly poison’ claim and run with it?



Because they’ve got staff at least able to research the best information available and they can see the mob who are making these claims are not credible. They can smell a cult, and they’re not going to ruin their careers with such a patently silly claim, even for a headline that would run around the world for a day.

Of course when study after study showed clear connections between tobacco and cancer, they did run those stories, they weighed the evidence and eventually pilloried and exposed the tobacco lobby’s attempts to disprove that black is indeed black.

Beecher’s fears are valid, if the aspartame example is anything to go by. “Counter Knowledge” (nice term, thanks DG) spreads like herpes, and gets such reinforcement from people who do not question it. There’s positive reinforcement of established biases, and the thing goes viral. If you already believe in witches then you’re ready to see anything as ‘evidence’ of who is one.

It’s like terrorism, very easy to start, and bloody hard to stop if there isn’t a reliable trade of inter-mediating writers who have skills and hopefully ethics. (Of course it all goes pear shaped when the rightwing press is up George Bushes arse, but the result of that convergence was Obama, so let’s hope, audaciously, that the pendulum swings back again.)

Buiter is pretty frank:

In a number of systemically important countries, notably the US and the UK, there is a material risk of a ’sudden stop’ – an emerging-market style interruption of capital inflows to both the public and private sectors – prompted by financial market concerns about the sustainability of the fiscal-financial-monetary programmes proposed and implemented by the fiscal and monetary authorities in these countries. For both countries there is a material risk that the mind-boggling general government deficits (14% of GDP or over for the US and 12 % of GDP or over for the UK for the coming year) will either have to be monetised permanently, implying high inflation as soon as the real economy recovers, the output gap closes and the extraordinary fear-induced liquidity preference of the past year subsides, or lead to sovereign default.

Pointing to a non-negligible risk of sovereign default in the US and the UK does not, I fear, qualify me as a madman. The last time things got serious, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, both the US and the UK defaulted de facto, and possibly even de jure, on their sovereign debt.

…and well informed enough to tell it like it is.

Washington, 14 February 2007

Please find enclosed a report on the findings and recommendations of the International Committee of the Red Cross following its visits to fourteen “high value detainees” transferred to Guantanamo in September 2006. The report covers the period during which these persons were held in the detention program run by the Central Intelligence Agency.

401 Ecky
“Ferny, perhaps the four of us could see him at Joe’s Waterhole, Eumundi (great venue for his kind of talent) or BrisVegas next time he tours. Be great to say g’day again, been full months five since Obi’s election victory.”

Perfect Ecky…sounds like the best company imaginable. Get on the phone again to Bruce and arrange it would you?!

Failing that, let’s get together anyway.

Yeah, nice to know that the Red Cross made sure no one got hurt while being waterboarded, isn’t it Catrina?

I mean, what else is the Red Cross for except such high minded humanitarian stuff?

KR- have you ingested a Pitbull gene perchance?
seems that it is hard for you to let go.

I heard it on radio today, but don’t seem to be able to easily see it in print, despite the hideous little GM/Segue toy getting more than enough press.

Today, in SA the Mitsubishi electric car, the MiEV was passed for sale later this year. Check the website of this all electric car, 160km per charge, and anything from a third to nearly a tenth the cost of a petrol vehicle (depending on the price of your electricity).

The future is arriving, from Japan.

Nah, Jen, I just eat pitbulls for breakfast.

I let go only when the prey is dead and stops thrashing around! LOL


My comments on the apples should have removed the words “organic”. They were wonderful because they were fresh.

Largely, processed food is made interesting to people by using too much of two ingredients that are known to be bad for humans if used in an undisciplined manner – salt and refined sugar. In the combination used by our friends in the food industry they seem to suppress our appetite control while making us want to eat more.

I like fruit and vegetables that look and feel fresh. If the organic guy’s stuff is off, I’ll try somewhere else – which seems to be over 70% of the time.

This is my point about the apples; I rarely get great fruit and vegetables from a source that puts profit above taste and freshness.

The tomato experience should warn us all. Most “fresh” tomatoes are grown from stock that values so-called shelf-life above taste.

One of the reasons why I am against open slather in GM foods is that Companies will breed for shelf-life that extends the time limit before a fungi attack occurs rather than including such silly parameters as taste and inherent health values.

Ferny, checked his website and he’s touring Nth America this year as far as his scheduling goes, till August. Min would love to catch up again too, so yes, let’s chow down anyway! Maybe a Brissy Vietnamese nosh (sfa decent on the coast) and a fillum we all reckon might be a bit of orright. Some time in May, eh? Will email you later in April to get details sorted. Little ripper!

Thanks, megan, my eldest daughter is trucking up from Sydney; very much looking forward to seeing her again. She’s 24 and reckons the line up at Byron is top notch. Pops is impressed with it too. Any music fest that holds such promise for a GenY and a boomah has got to be doing something right. Will do a brief wrap on performances etc. next week. Last year (true story) took a brief half stumble on the footpath on the main drag “downtown” before reflexes corrected what could have been an embarrassing situation. Quick as a flash and with a cheeky grin, an ethereally beautiful young flower child quipped en passant, oh…. far out trip, man! 🙂

And Kirri, shall look both ways before attempting to negotiate public carriageways.

Avagoodlongweegend, gang. See yez next week. Motor’s runnin’….

Cardster, couldn’t agree more, the whole food production and marketing system is driven by profit, which is driven by the lowest cost to the consumer. In other words, the consumer has settled for the ‘looks good, lasts longer, no flavour’ because we are so price sensitive and suckers for bigger, brighter.

It’s actually a two-way thing. Consumers, on the whole, except for curmudgeons like us, have voted with their wallets and not their palettes.

That leaves farmers markets and the like, as marketing channels for different varieties and fresher produce.

It might be a lot of money, but the governments announcement to build the fibre optic network we need this century (or become a digital backwater) has really set the pigeons flying.

First up Telstra gets pushed aside and it’s monoply destroyed, and secondly, the Opposition gets wedged with the rural rump’s Barnyard Joystick clearly unable to hide his delight at getting some service for his constituents. He’ll “talk”…you can bet on that.

It’s a pretty Bolshie call from the Ruddster, and everyone from the CEO of AAPT to JP Morgan is analysing the numbers and saying they don’t stack up, no other private players will pony up the other billions and the end users don’t need 100Mb/s.

Bandwidth will drive innovation, and I’ve little doubt that in ten years, when this thing is built, we’ll be wondering how we ever lived with dial-up and then ADSL or whatever.

It’s also likely the current plan will get some modifications, maybe Telstra will blink, and decide that a national carrier with cable to the home will kill them stone dead, so they’ll play, but by the sound of it, the government has decided that it’s time to shoot the rogue elephant that’s run amok in our telecommunications industry and kept us from having a vital utility built.

It’s a bloody amazing gambit, pity it’s going to give Turnbull even more nightmares though! LOL

Yeah, they blew it Gaffy. Beecher is right though, (and he’s one of the guys trying to build a new model, and so far succeeding), how will there be a model that’s got public trust? I guess it can only be built over time and with the likes of Crikey, picking up good writers who adhere to standards that we can all see.

Public broadcasting is the other route, and although Huffy seems to disdain it, we know it can work, and much better than she thinks. (I haven’t watched commercial TV news or listened to commercial radio for my entire life. I’m allergic to the banality of advertising and the lowest common denominator voyeurism that passes as ‘news’ on those channels!).

If we don’t protect our public broadcasting we will be diminished intellectually and culturally.

So how does private capital make a buck from ‘news’ (as opposed to shock-jockery), and keep some integrity in this new digital age?

Good question.

428 gaffhook Couldn’t agree more.

Alec Baldwin Has his say.

Why We Need the New York Times.
For many years, I was a devoted reader of the New York Times. An unusually devoted one.

I picked up the habit from David O’Brien, an actor who played my father on a soap opera I appeared on over 25 years ago. It was my first professional job, and I watched O’Brien as he passed his down time by scouring the paper from cover to cover and doing the crossword along the way.

I picked up the paper every day, back when many places ran out of the Times, and rather quickly, by late morning. I carried it with me everywhere, as so many other New Yorkers seemed to. In New York, someone else is usually doing the driving. In a cab or on the train, the Times and the time to read it were mine.

Television news had become less relevant in my life. I was rarely near a TV at 6pm to watch the classic network broadcast. CNN was good for breaking news and convention coverage. But salacious crimes and court cases seemed to predominate more than I could bear.

read the rest in The Huffington Post

I can’t wait for the day my grand nephew is sitting in the stand at the grand final and streaming it to me live via his Ruddnet transponder (mobile) whatever they call it then, rather than live with an hour delay and five thousand adds, and without the commentators.

If it is made possible for me to do it i will invest in it to help it get up.
Bring it on i say, the quicker the better, and fuck Roo and all his pay tv mates.

433 gaffhook Thanks for that, I meant to go back to it, but I forgot. Stewart, brilliant as usual. These wingnuts will be handy to have around for the election in 2010. As long as the CIA keep a firm eye on them. Then as the election get closer, all the Democrats have to do is keep baiting them. 😈

Which group will be the more dangerous to America, the terrorists or the right wingnut media inspired militias?

434 gaffhook With a bit of luck 16 free to air channels and 100 mbs Internet will help cable TV take a nose dive.

Stewart is in a class of his own. He IS class, and the dreary bunch of also-rans in the US media look like clowns next to this master of comedy. He is America’s court jester, the smartest guy in the palace, who can tell it like it is.

Love him.

Market is up nearly one percent and Telstra is down two and a half.

Bye bye Sol, and thanks for the fish.

(Punters who bought T2 and still hold must be totally pissed off!)

I don’t even mention the “T” word when my B in Law is here.
He has a nice little nest egg of T shares and i am quietly confident he will still be sitting on them when 100mbs is fully rolled out in about 8 years time.

Yep nothing like Jon Stewart;

Repugs are confusing the word “tyrany” with “losing”.

History’s most stupid comments:
“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” (Anecdotally misattributed to Charles H. Duell, Commisioner, US Patent Office, 1899)

“If God had meant us to fly he’d have given us wings”

“People won’t use automobiles so long as they have a good horse and buggy”.

“The Australian public have no need for broadband that speed” (Australian Opposition 2009)

Minchin did a manufactured smirk on ABC last night, when he said no one needed 100mb/s. But at the same time tried to say that mobile internet was going gangbusters and would suffice.

Boy, they’ve really been blindsided by this curve ball, and with Barnyard Joystick more than happy to stick it to Telstra, we’ve got a great political show…pass the popcorn.(Where have I heard that before? LOL)

Have just been down to measure up the local TAB and visualise how the layout should be in the extension i will have to build on to the house to accommodate all the new monitors i will need to keep up with the action.

The Libretards negative attitude reminds me of the late sixties when we were in consort with HMAS Melbourne flying off Ganets and Sea Vixens, the Poms were flying modern up to date Scimitars off their carriers, and I don’t know what the yanks were flying off the Constellation as they were going too fast to see.

You can’t even call him Malcolm in the middle, it will have to be Malcolm Noway.
I think he may have the shits because he had the first internet service, (Ozemail or whatever) and now he is being left behind.

A good walk through the numbers of the NBN:

…of course they don’t look good on a strictly commercial basis based on today’s services, but will the punters outside the major cities care? Will we move to a ‘nationalised utility’ model, and expect the payoff to be in increased productivity, or should we demand the government ‘makes a buck’ on the service?

I strongly suspect we’ll go with the subsidised nationalisation model, because so many feel dicked-over by the monopolistic power of Telstra.

Interesting question.

Given how many people hate Telstra, just the fact that building it will damage them seems to be a strong incentive, and cost be damned …

Yeah, Mr Market was expecting 25K, not 34K, so it’s retreating a bit, DG. Unemployment is where the rubber hits the road, but I really think the fiscal and monetary policy settings will dampen the worst of it and the punters will be persuaded that Rudd was acting in their best interests in hugely difficult circumstances.

Turnbull’s not going to look good, having refused to spend to hold up the economy.

I believe the punters will grab it with open alms.
At the moment i pay $70/month unlimited ADSL, $30.00 month telephone line rental plus price per call plus the associated costs of running a mobile. I have a computer at work and home.
I would envisage that i would easily be able to go to one really good puter and the phone line will be extinct with the mobile being some kind of PDA/ homephone/mobile etc which will give me VOIP or some kind of upgraded skype type of program. That is, stand near a parking meter or lampost and have instant connection from free hotspots etc.
I think the $100 is designed to cause a bit of fear as $100 to join Ruddnet will be a significant saving in my book. This would not include lots of other things which may not be free but will cost less to stream to the home as well as other new add-ons which will develop along the way.

It would be good to even catch up with Penang!

All that is not to say how many jobs will be created to install the infrastructure.
We saw all the bloviating hyperbole in the senate enquiry with the libretards lambasting the stimpacs because there was no catering for long term infrastructure and jobs.
How cute is the Ruddster? They wailed on and on in the senate about jobs being lost and now is their chance to support jobs creation for an 8 year period.
Now he has given them the perfect opportunity to support long term infrastructure and create jobs.
How silly will they look if they don’t support it.
Very clever Kevvy
With Balmyard Joycey treatening to walk the abyss it starts to take on the nature of a splinter/wedge the size of a gum tree.

441 Ferny Grover On Lateline they kept talking about telegraph and telephone network. Next thing they will announcing their new policy for smoke signals.

Big announcement by the Liberal Party. A man must walk ten paces in front of all cars carrying a red flag.

Moldovans outwit Communists with Twitter.
Young Moldovans have outwitted their Communist leaders with Twitter.

The social network came in handy after mobile phone networks went down and cable news television stations went off air as 10,000 people protested what they say were rigged elections. Some stormed Parliament and the offices of President Vladimir Voronin in violent riots that left more than 90 injured and led to 200 arrests.

Television stations around the world on Tuesday aired images of the violent protest, with the parliament and Voronin’s offices on fire.

But in Moldova, where press freedoms are weak, state television chose to broadcast a soap opera and another station showed images of dance routines.

So the pro-European protesters turned to Twitter and the internet to keep in touch.

more in The Age

How about carrier pigeons wearing radio transmitting collars? The birds can be released en masse during peak periods and increase the available bandwidth at just an hour’s notice! Sort of mobile towers! LOL

Really, Turnbull’s really walked into this one.

Got news for ’em: we don’t want ‘commercially viable’ when that means some Taco with a moustache can pluck the low fruit for a fat profit and tell the rest of the country to use carrier pigeons.

Ruddy’s the new Che, as in Cha-vez! He isn’t letting the filthy corporate industrialist imperial running dogs dictate what kind of digital backwater we’re going to be…no sir, he’s going to nationalise the network!

The People’s Republic of Fibre to the Home are going to be cheering in the streets, and Malbull’s sobs will barely be heard above the sound of keyboards clacking and download meters whirring.

The Great Leapfrog Forward (right over Telstra) is the new Digital Revolution, and the Cultural Revolution that follows will live for a thousand years.

Chairman Rudd! Chairman Rudd! The West is ready! The South is ready, the East is Ready and the North is Ready!

Long Live Chairman Rudd.

Senator Ted Stevens’ conviction has been overturned on appeal. An investigation into the prosecution has been ordered by the court.

I must have missed it due to blindness caused by consuming too much artificial sweetner.

David Gould

That’s the symptom just before your brain cancer bursts out of your ears, but not before you’re totally incapacitated by Multiple Sclerosis. Of course all of that’s like nothing compared with the epileptic fits you get first! LOL

This form the bottom of a negative article on the ABC site.

Unlike internet service providers such as Optus and iiNet, which have already signalled their intentions to invest in the joint venture, AAPT will almost certainly not be taking a stake.
“We couldn’t see the economics stacking up for a fibre-to-the-node, so we obviously don’t see the economics stacking up for fibre-to-the-home,” he said.
iiNet managing director Michael Malone has expressed more optimism, releasing a statement saying: “This is the best of all possible outcomes and will ensure Australians have access to fast, affordable and competitive broadband.”

read the rest on the ABC site.

Maybe Kevins use of $43 billion is to get Telstra to the negotiating table, to hand over the use some of their infrastructure.

Why Malcolm Turnbull wants you to drive on potholes

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull today slammed the Rudd Government’s $43 billion national road network.

The plan was announced by Kevin Rudd on Tuesday, after bids by state RTAs and toll road operators failed to adequately address congestion and road gridlock nationwide.

“No one else in the world has adopted this approach of a majority Government owned common carrier providing roads where the taxpayers carry the financial and construction risk,” he said, seemingly glossing over the vast majority of roads which are, in fact, government owned.

“The key questions are: how much will it cost for families to drive around? When will the roads be ready? Will there be enough demand? How will email, post and phone calls affect the viability of the roads?

Turnbull cited statistics showing phone call volumes in Australia were increasing at a rapid rate, reducing demand for a national road network. “Over the last six months, 108 million bus, train and ferry tickets were purchased, but a massive 650 million phone calls were made,” Turnbull said.

“The Government has not provided any evidence of the economic viability of this project. No evidence has been provided that there will be sufficient demand for this service at prices that will deliver a commercial return.

“This is a case of “build it and (hope) they will come,” Turnbull concluded.

Does that sound nutty to you?

Keane gets it Paddy. This is, like I said, the Great Leapfrog Forward, and it’s a decades old paradigm shifter.

Poor old Johnny Gone Lately will be rolling over in his pyjamas! All those years of tugging forelocks for Packer et al, gone.


In one 43 billion scoop! LOL

Chairman Rudd, may a million internet connections bloom!

That’s got flying pigs all over it Gaffy! LOL

First up, the Fed’s been monetising debt (ie creating money out of ‘thin air’ and then buying long bonds with it), while at the same time reducing the overnight rate to zero.

Nothing in living memory looks even vaguely like it, so extrapolations of some recent yield curves as ‘predictors’ is about as reliable as pulling the guts out of a chicken. In fact I’d recommend the chicken. At least you could cook it after you’ve divined the future with its entrails! LOL

Last night, South Park repeated the classic Easter Bunny episode featuring the vile, racist homophobe, Bill Donohue. It’s a holiday classic. In the spirit of the holiday, I won’t include the segment where Donohue is sliced in half (for which he called the South Park creators “whores and cowards”), but this clip captures the flavor:
Find the video on AMERICAblog

Another one of those damn fangled trendy lefty blogs.
Catrina better put a link to it.

464 GhostWhoVotes It took a bit to read but this is what is at the end:

Effectively, Turnbull is saying that unless you’re prepared to have your street paved, you should put up with potholes — which is fine for him and his mates, since fhe could afford to have his road lined with Italian slate tiles. But the rest of us quite rightly expect our tax dollars to go towards well maintained, sealed public roads, with a traffic system that allows traffic to flow smoothly as often as possible. Just as we should be able to expect the Government to build national broadband infrastructure.
P.S. For those who can’t be bothered reading the whole article — Malcolm Turnbull didn’t actually say anything about roads. He did, however, say much the same things about the Government’s broadband plan. In other words, it’s satire/opinion.

470 GhostWhoVotes Sorry, I thought you were asking a question when you framed the comment. 😳

Lets bring back Joe McCarthy.

Republican Rep. Bachus Makes List Of ‘Socialists’ In House Of Representatives.
Not too long ago, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was on Hardball, calling for the media to investigate her Congressional colleagues to “find out if they are pro-America or anti-America.” Well, it turns out that someone has taken up Bachmann’s call on a proactive basis! His name is Spencer Bachus and he has made a list — a secret list! — of the socialists in the House of Representatives. Or so he told the Birmingham News. Who are the seventeen socialists? That’s the secret part, apparently.

More on THe Huffington Post

You learn something new everyday.

Candace Gingrich.
Newt, you’ve really gone beyond the pale this time.

Earlier this week, as a guest on Greta Van Susteren’s show on the Fox News Channel, my brother referred to Harry Knox as “an anti-religious, left-wing zealot.” Newt was responding to Harry’s recent appointment to President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

I know Harry Knox. We work together at the Human Rights Campaign, where Harry serves as director of the Religion and Faith Program. He is a person of great wisdom who deserves his appointment.

More of this article in The Huffington Post

Oh. The Irony!

GOP govs get dose of stimulus reality.
The list of governors threatening to decline federal stimulus money last month read like a list of Republicans considering running for president in 2012: Governors Mark Sanford, Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin led the anti-stimulus charge.

But what began with a bang is ending with something closer to a whimper. All three of those governors have been forced to scale back their expectations, to varying degree, as the push of conservative philosophy gave way to the pull of political reality.

All three found that praise from the conservative movement in Washington meant nothing to furious state legislators of both parties. And in the end, along with other conservative Republican governors, the three submitted letters in recent days asking to be eligible for federal funds, a spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget confirmed.

“We’ve tried to compromise in a variety of different ways and now we’ve gotten to … a position well past the halfway mark,” Sanford told POLITICO in an interview, conceding that, “I got beaten up pretty bad on it.”

Sanford is still working to convince his state Legislature to find cuts to cancel out the new federal spending. Still, he has been attacked on his state’s top editorial pages, by activists occupying a tent city outside his mansion, and by the Republican chairman of the state Senate finance committee, who released a “chaos budget” designed to show the downside of Sanford’s plans. He responded to critics with a television ad Thursday, arguing that he was sparing his state’s children from future debt.

Find the rest of this article on Politico

Could a blowup doll beat Jim Bunning?
In his regular “Point of View” segment, which aired Tuesday, Lamb rips Bunning over a recent meeting the two-term senator had with some Kentucky broadcasters. While everyone else in the Kentucky congressional delegation made a good impression, apparently Bunning was not on his best behavior.

more on Politico

I mean they are giving the impression they are nice people. People might vote for them! Undermining the attack dogs from the GOP!


Washington Post: Assembly Rejects $125 Million for Expanded Jobless Benefits

RICHMOND, April 8 — A divided General Assembly narrowly rejected $125 million in federal stimulus money Wednesday that would have provided additional unemployment benefits to thousands of jobless Virginians.

The defeat was a blow to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who had pushed the matter as the state legislature reconvened for a one-day session.

A visibly angry Kaine berated legislators after the vote and hinted that he might try to find another way to accept the federal money. “There’s an awful lot of people who are hurting in Virginia, and the message to them seemed to be: ‘We don’t care. Fend for yourself,’ ” he said.

The GOP-controlled House of Delegates, a fiscally conservative body that has long opposed fundamental changes to laws that extend such benefits, killed the proposal after members argued it would translate into higher taxes for businesses once the supply of stimulus money was exhausted.

Fiji’s president takes charge

Fiji’s president has fired the judiciary and assumed control in a rapidly deepening political crisis in the troubled South Pacific nation.

President Ratu Josefa Iloilo announced in a nationally broadcast radio address on Friday that he had abolished the constitution, assumed all governing power and revoked all judicial appointments.

The move came one day after the country’s second-highest court ruled that the military government that took power after a 2006 coup was illegal, prompting armed forces chief Commodore Frank Bainimarama to say he was relinquishing his post as self-appointed prime minister.

Jen, Pell’s doing a good job of being the pontiff’s poodle, isn’t he?

Or, instead of Pell’s glib assumptions:

Culture of silence

Among the red flags signalling AIDS risks are a thriving commercial sex industry, low condom use, a growing community of injecting drug users, rising rates of sexually transmitted infections and increasing promiscuity.

The Philippines has 2,200 officially reported HIV cases and 676 AIDS cases, but the Department of Health and the World Health Organization estimate that 10,000 Filipinos were HIV positive by 2003, which translates into more than 7,000 unreported cases.

“We’re definitely not getting the right figures. Our surveillance system needs to be perfected,” said Dr. Dominic Garcia of the AIDS Society of the Philippines.

“There are a lot of Filipinos who are HIV positive but don’t know it. Some haven’t even heard of the disease.”

A conservative culture that is still strongly influenced by the Catholic Church is thought to deter thousands of sufferers from undergoing testing and reporting themselves HIV positive.

…and from what I can see on a quick review of the literature, the low rates of 2003 are on a fairly quick rise. There’s no intravenous drug user programmes for example.

Pell’s claims are typcial of the mumbo jumbo obfuscation variety.

Kirri and David G,

Don’t get me started on the Catholic Church or Pell. As one who was was indoctrinated in that “religion” (I think of it now as a cult) for several thousand hours in my childhood and adolescence, it never ceases to amaze me how un-Christ like the RC hierarchy appears to be. They never seem to ask the question “What would Christ have done?” the answer to which is “Do unto others what you would have the do to you” (if the situations were reversed.

What is it with the theists anyway? Logically, it defies belief that the way, the truth and the light was given by “god” to three people (Abraham, JC and M whose name must not be mentioned) who all found “him” within a few hundred kilometres of one another.

A cynic might consider the latter two as minor plagiarists, those same cynic might ask “Was it too much sun?” that got them to espouse what many consider nonsense. Or was it “hearing God’s voice”? Again, cynics would argue that many such people in today’s troubled times now have a tendency to wear aluminium foil hats when they don’t take there anti-psychotic medicine!

KR @ 485, the author of that article concedes the taste and nutrition benefits of free range pork however he considers the sterility of factory farmed meat as it’s great benefit. What the author fails to mention is that the sterility of factory farmed meat is more a result of the antibiotics used on the animals than the sanitary environment. YouTube is full of horror vision of factory farms, below are a couple of examples.

HW, I’m not claiming factory farming to be better, just be careful what you wish for!

To be honest, ANY industrial scale farming techniques must be a compromise of some sort. You want cheap pork? Then it’s farmed on scale, somehow, and whatever system is employed, it’s full of compromises with regards to hygiene and animal well being.

There’s just not a simple answer, but clearly from those test results, there are some nasties you sure don’t want to eat from ‘free range’ pigs. (And as the writer points out, the ‘free range’ is pretty darned artificial anyway).

Cardster, those guys in frocks are truly scary, and their constant obsession with sex, as in ‘you shouldn’t have any unless procreating’ is bizarre to say the least. You don’t have to look far in primate behaviour to see that sex is used for lots of things that have absolutely nothing to do with procreation, but in humans you’d have to say that 99.999999999999% of it is conducted with no intention of creating babies.

They are sick puppies, and yes, it is the biggest cult on the planet.

It looks like the economic downturn is hurting everybody.

Nicolas Cage is selling his Bavarian castle, Schloss Neidstein, and he says it’s because of the economy.

“Due to the difficult economic situation, unfortunately, I was no longer able to keep it,” the actor told German celebrity weekly Bunte. “Even if Neidstein castle is no longer in my possession, it will always have a firm place in my memory.”

He supposedly hasn’t visited in almost a year.

Cage bought the property in July 2006, which includes a 28-room castle on a hill in the middle of 395 acres of forest.

It needed extensive renovations, only some of which he completed.

News the Oscar winner was selling the castle surfaced last week. Cage reportedly sold it to his German advisor. Fortunately he still has another castle, Midford Castle in England, which he bought in July 2007.

Huffington Post: Nicolas Cage Sells Castle Because Of “Difficult Economic Situation” (PHOTOS)

Thought I better stick my head in in case you sent out a search party. 😈 Working on an instructive face book page for reading (one of my many other obsessions).

According to MACA (the Mid America CropLife Association) the White House is sending the wrong message with the First Lady’s potato patch:

First lady’s organic garden concerns chemical firms

“We live in a very different world than that of our grandparents. Americans are juggling jobs with the needs of children and aging parents,” the letter states. “The time needed to tend a garden is not there for the majority of our citizens, certainly not a garden of sufficient productivity to supply much of a family’s year-round food needs.”

So what – well, just look under the covers and see who is backing MACA – it’s (amongst others) Monsanto!

Apologies to KR.


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