February 27, 2011

The examined AFL

If you follow AFL, this is required reading, if not, skip a beat and ... pop over there ... somewhere ...

So Ricky Nixon lives on while Brendan Fevola's carcass has at last been cut down. The contrasting outcomes delivered to these two prominent figures should not go unexamined.

A footballer has had his elite-level career effectively terminated, without reference to any specific offence, while a player agent has been allowed to keep plying his trade in the face of an allegation of outrageous impropriety.
Tim Lane makes much sense ... Football 'brand' is the big loser over Fev 

Meanwhile, lets not forget that the unseemly saga now embroiling Ricky Nixon is the (seemingly never ending) tale of a seventeen year old girl surrounded by older, and old, guys, all with money, all with power, and yet - YET - the continued implication is that this girl has taken unfair advantage of these powerful men and unfairly exploited social media for her evil ends. 

One young women and lots of wealthy men.  And still, the finger is pointed at the teenager, because she has a clevage and and iPhone. 

Give me a break.  Really.  Join the fucking dots people. 

They knifed Rudd, why again?

Rudd didn't listen to anyone.  Ignored cabinet.  Didn't play well with the other kiddies.

He whipped out a new mining tax and reneged on his promise to address what he declared to be the greatest moral test of our generation by pulling the plug on implementation of an emissions trading scheme.

The government had lost its way.

Bravely, Julia Gillard threw herself on the ticking bomb, for the sake of the country.

PM Gillard, even during the 2010 election campaign ignored her cabinet.  She went galloping off  in public announcing things that cabinet were pretty darned sure they had not agreed to do (like the off shore refugee processing option).  Now that she's ostensibly heading a minority government (Bob Brown is the leader:  all kicking, no accountability and no responsibility), Gillard is still at it, still ignoring her cabinet.  Supposedly she didn't bother to let caucus know about her new beaut carbon tax, the tax she promised the electorate only six months ago that she would not introduce. 

She was one of the kitchen cabinet who convinced Rudd to renege on the ETS, and one of the kitchen cabinet who got all skittish over the mining tax.

So, now we have a PM who doesn't consult her cabinet, and when she does, she leaves the room and does the opposite of what they believe was agreed.  She helped kill Rudd's commitment to an ETS, and is now bringing in a carbon tax that none of us voted for.  She kept the mining tax, but only after watering it down so as to make it almost pointless and at an amount of up to $100B loss to the ATO coffers over the next ten years - a sum that would pay for an awful lot of disaster repairs and rebuilding.   For this, the mining industry are very fond of her.

Now, why the fuck did Gillard and her henchmen get rid of Rudd?  Can someone explain it to me, because nearly a year later, and I'm more flummoxed than ever.

Had Rudd remained, right now, the ALP would be a majority government in power; Bob Brown would not be pulling the strings; and Abbott would have to pony up with the occasional policy position instead of singing "no, no, no, not going to rehab" every five minutes.  (Actually, Abbott would not be leading the Libs, some other bunny would be, as the Libs would not have done as well at the election if Abbott had been up against Rudd).  I can't help but believe we would all have been better off under this alternate scenario, even if Rudd was and is a bit of a prat, and was and is a bit of a prick.  Gillard and her caucus are something far worse, by which I mean:  far less.

February 26, 2011

Assange to face the music

London court agrees to Assange's extradition to Sweden.

Expect an appeal within seven days.

London court grants Swedish request to extradite Julian Assange

February 25, 2011

February 23, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom

Americans will put up with anything provided it doesn't block traffic.

Dan Rather

February 22, 2011

Urge already taken

This will be a monumental waste of campaign money.  The NSW Libs should save for a rainy day, or for their commonwealth counterparts.
The Opposition Leader, Barry O'Farrell, has urged voters to take ''a once-in-a-generation opportunity'' to change the state government ...
That's great Barry, but really, all you and your team need to do is spell your names correctly for the ballot papers, turn up, smile and wave.  That's it.  You're in. 

Libs launch campaign with pitch to Labor heartland

Party of senior dunces

Kevin Rudd has urged Labor's national executive to release the private sections of the ALP review and warned that the power of factional bosses must be eliminated if the party is to remain viable.

But the former prime minister's call was met with private derision by several senior party figures, who said yesterday the review was critical of Mr Rudd's leadership and lack of openness.
The private derision (oddly, made public) displays all the intellect and nutritional qualities of  moldy broccoli:
"If Kevin Rudd wants to know what went wrong, he should buy a mirror," said one MP.
Open ALP review, urges Rudd

Shock horror: TV station fails audience

A New Jersey television station (owned by Rupert) has been accused of failing its audience. 


WWOR-TV accused of failing it's audience

February 21, 2011

Thanks for that too

Better late than never, human rights organisations last week decided that terrorists might breach human rights.   Go bloody figure.

As acerbically reported by Christopher Hitchens:
Even in a week that concentrated all eyes on the magnificent courage and maturity of the people of Cairo, a report from Kabul began with what must surely be the most jaw-dropping opening paragraph of the year. Under the byline of the excellent Rod Nordland, The New York Times reported: “International and local human rights groups working in Afghanistan have shifted their focus toward condemning abuses committed by the Taliban insurgents, rather than those attributed to the American military and its allies.”

The story went on to point out that the Taliban was culpable for “more than three-fourths of all civilian casualties” and informed us that some human-rights groups are now so concerned that they are thinking of indicting the Taliban for war crimes. “The activists’ concern,” Nordland went on, “would have been unheard-of a year ago,” when all the outcry was directed at casualties inflicted by NATO contingents.

The story became more mind-boggling as it unfolded. One had to ask oneself what had taken the human-rights “community” so long.

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in the first place by indiscriminate violence, played host to al-Qaeda forces that murdered several thousand civilians in one day on American soil and for almost a decade has been employing systematic cruelty against civilians and fighting an undeclared war, without uniforms or formal command structure, against a force that is upholding a UN mandate for the rebuilding of the country. Moreover, during its period in power, it ran the country as a vast concentration camp, enslaving the female population and conducting a campaign of extermination against the Hazara minority. How is it possible to mention this enormity in the same breath as the forces that are opposed to it?

The turning point, in the mind of the human rights “activists,” appears to have occurred in late January, when a Taliban suicide-murderer killed at least 14 civilians in the Finest Supermarket in Kabul. Among the slain was a well-known local campaigner named Hamida Barmaki, whose husband and four small children were also killed. One wonders in what sense this was the Taliban going too far — women are killed and mutilated by them every single day in Afghanistan. Yet let the terror reach one of the upscale markets or hotels that cater to the NGO constituency in Kabul, and suddenly there is an abrupt change from moral neutrality.
Taliban reality finally dawns on human rights camp

Thanks for that

A bunch of retired pollies from both sides of the narrow divide heartily agree that Australian federal politics has become more stupid, thus alienating the electorate at large. 

I heartily thank the authoritative bunch of retired pollies for letting us know, and for offering their keen insights, because we, the voters, would otherwise not have figured this out for ourselves. 

ReallyThanks.  A bunch. 

As always:  ooh, ooh, there go the people, I must follow them, for I am (was) their leader.

Dumb and dumber: why Australian politics is broken

February 18, 2011

Libs doing a Labor

Are the Libs doing a Labor?   You know, because self destructing when you're on a straight line trajectory to a win worked so well for the federal Labor party last year.  (Rudd would have won it in a canter, regardless of his not playing nicely with the other children.)

If we needed more evidence - and I don't believe we had any such need -  that a bunch of dunces are our leading political lights at the federal level, we have it with the escalating bitch fight (over what, exactly?) in the Liberal party.

All those idiots need to do is sit still and say nothing for another two and a half years and they'll romp it in.  Easy.  But why do that when you can rip each others heads off to alleviate the boredom of the wait?

Last week saw a minor hoo-haa involving deputy leader Julie Bishop played out for days in the media (and not because she's wooden, barren and wears pearls, although she is all that, and more), while this week everyone is jumping in to have stake a share of an amorphous  hullaballoo. 

Now all we need is for the ALP to grow a pair, dump Gillard, and either reinstate Rudd or put Combet on an unseemly fast-track (not something the ALP is fond of doing, they have a silly and strict "wait your turn" procedure, unless you go by the name of Hawke).   If the Libs can play silly buggers, the ALP may as well jump too - they have nothing to lose; on the other hand, the Libs have everything to lose with their silliness.  And where is their great leader, Abbott, in this incoherent and decidedly non-cohesive party mess?  Not doing much of anything to steady the troops. 

It's not Allan Jones party but he'll cry if he wants to 

Senior Lib tries to defuse row 

Joe Hockey circus must end

Duck Friday

February 17, 2011

Andy still in uber-meltdown over his boy

The ideological bipartisan Andrew Bolt was - much to my astonishment - foaming at the mouth yesterday about the low and despicable tricks used to discredit Tony Abbott.

Even reading it on the interwebs, Andy's spittle can almost be seen and almost felt (ewwee):
Never have I seen such a wave of public revulsion and fury at the low tricks played by a political reporter, and no wonder.

It is a travesty of journalism, it is dishonest . . . (The real issue is) the media and the failure of so many press Canberra journalists to see that this is the biggest story -- the gotcha attempt and how the public has reacted . . . It has been the press gallery's very urgent business to turn it from what Channel 7 did to how Tony Abbott reacted.
Yep, he's still frothing about that story, the one from a week ago.

I hope he's ok and that someone gave him a Bex and a blanky.

Low, deceptive tricks by Channel 7 spark (Andrew's) fury

Monopoly, but not as we know it

Monopoly has been released in no end of flavours over the years, but now it's gone all twenty first century.  The board is still there, but no dice, no paper money, no chance or community chest cards, no rule book, almost no game worth playing, by the sound of it (although that's not what the new Monopoly computer thingy says).
This version, she said, seemed to be “less and less about financial awareness” — children do not need math skills in it— and more about social interaction. 

Yet “when you say you can’t cheat, it means that there’s no sense of being able to socially negotiate the rules,” she said. 

Joey Lee, who studies games as an assistant professor of technology and education at Teachers College at Columbia University, said cheating could actually be instructional. 

“I wouldn’t necessarily even call it cheating,” he said. “In many cases a gamer’s mind-set is coming up with new and novel approaches to winning, and to a certain problem at hand. That’s exactly the kind of mind-set we need as far as 21st-century skills.” 

“Being able to negotiate with others, make up your own rules, argue with other players, that, to me, is part of what makes it a successful social game,” he said. The tower is “more of that blind adherence to following orders, versus being able to figure out and learn the game for yourself.”
Though Hasbro is emphasizing social interaction with the game, some Monopoly players and academics said the new version sounded much less social — no arguing over whether a player could buy his neighbor’s “Get Out of Jail Free” card? 

“It takes away from the aspect of interpersonal negotiations if you have an electronic voice in the middle of the board telling you everything to do,” said Dale Crabtree, a finalist in the national Monopoly championships in 2009. “The first thing I said was, ‘The next thing they’ll do away with is the players.’ ” 
In Monopoly Live, a Computer Runs the Game

February 16, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom

A government could print a good edition of Shakespeare’s works, but it could not get them written.

Alfred Marshall

February 15, 2011

Now we'll all have to write to the Prime Minister

If once a year - or once a decade - something matters enough to warrant a keytap (or mousesqueak, as Geoff prefers), to the Prime Minister, this is it.

Click and tap to express your disgust to the Prime Minister and her Minister, and to demand immediate correction of their continued failure to provide urgently needed financial support to the pitifully funded Australian War Memorial.

As PM, Kev Rudd declined to give the Memorial an extra $5M per year.  Penny Wong has now declined a second request.  Meanwhile, the Memorial is having to fire specialist employees, the sort of brain-drain that can never be successfully reversed.

The Memorial operates on a tiny $38M a year. 

Suggestion from last year was that the Memorial should look at other funding options, such as charging for admittance - that should never happen!  No one should have to pay to enter the nation's War Memorial, not ever.

So, everyone get to it:  write to the PM and / or Penny Wong to insist that additional recurrent funding be given to the War Memorial immediately, and that it be given with no strings attached (no entrance fees, and no bureaucratic reviews to identify where they should cut corners in the future - there are no corners to cut, to suggest otherwise is insulting). 

Write to the Prime Minister - here

Write to Penny Wong - here

Gillard pays for pollies' perks but won't help War Memorial

Australian War Memorial 

February 14, 2011

How Ken lost his lump

Finally, the true and cheap story of how Ken Doll lost is nether bits:
Given that many Christian parents suspected The Big B was a Trojan clotheshorse for lasciviousness, it was critical that Ken's key attributes include boyishness and asexuality.

The penis issue also posed a serious dilemma.

"If his genitalia were included, some mothers would object," says former Mattel ad man Cy Schneider in Rand's book. "[But] if his genitalia were omitted, would he look like some wounded Hemingway hero?"

The solution was to have Ken moulded in a permanent set of jockey shorts with a lump in the appropriate spot, thus giving an approximation of anatomical correctness; the equivalent of Barbie's smooth, nipple-less boobs.

Sadly, Ken's groin suffered a fatal reconceptualisation when Mattel sent the test model to Japan for manufacturing. A supervising engineer decided that eliminating his modesty shorts would make him easier to produce, and that excising his genitals would cut a cent-and-a-half off the cost of production.

Ken was brought into a world a neuter. 
And all this time we thought Barbie was an emasculating bitch with a pink kombi van. 

The ultimate boyfriend lacks something ...

Stories that vanished

A few stories came and went within a blink during the last couple of weeks:

Tonergate:  In just three weeks - after being told that a finance cap would be introduced from October 1, 2009 - Liberal MPs ordered $267,288 of printer cartridge toner, according to documents obtained through Freedom of Information.

All  that ink and no one ordered paper? 

The ALP, with 18 more members at the time, managed to spend $127K on ink.  They didn't stock up on paper either.

Liberal MPs rort $300K of toner

Loose change:  Most creative defence of super-profits came from Ralph Norris, the boss of Commonwealth Bank.

"Rather than a $3.34 billion first-half profit, Mr Norris said the bank's latest result should be viewed as $3.35 - the price of a bus ticket or a takeaway coffee.
To illustrate, he said it would be better to value all the bank's assets at $900 - not the $900 billion of loans, shareholder capital and other funds it actually has under management.

''If you asked me at the end of six months and you have $3.35 rattling around in your pocket you'd probably say that didn't seem like a large amount of money in relation to $900,'' he said. ''When I talk about $3.35 billion - that's three dollars and 35 cents.''

 Which bank earned $3.35B?

Labor pork barreling:  "Labor faces fresh charges of pork-barrelling after conceding it decided to establish 28 taxpayer-funded GP super clinics without assessing existing medical services in the chosen locations.

In an admission that lends weight to opposition claims that the $650 million scheme has been used to benefit marginal seats, federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has revealed her department did not do any research on GP services before she chose the sites."

Super clinic sites chosen without study of services

Labor pork rots: "Two-thirds of Labor's pork-barrelling election promises to the bush during the Kevin07 campaign have not been delivered.

Most of the $178 million pledged for 106 projects through the Better Regions program was promised to marginal seats in rural areas, the Australian National Audit Office revealed in a report tabled in the federal parliament yesterday.

Just 35 projects - a third of the total - had been completed by September 30 last year, nearly three years after approval.

Administration of the scheme was so sloppy that one South Australian council was promised $275,000 for a business centre that had already won a similar grant from the former Howard government. The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government took 10 months to realise that the two Adelaide Hills business centres - each approved for $275,000 in funding - were one and the same."

Kevin07's pork rots on shelf

Labor's economic credibility grows more mold:   "Julia Gillard proudly repeated a line Wayne Swan has been misleadingly spruiking for months.

She said: "I want to reinforce this point, we have already made as a government more than $80 billion of savings since 2007".

Sounds impressive, right? The only problem is it isn't true. When the Prime Minister and the Treasurer talk of "savings", they include tax increases, dividends and levies, not just cuts in government spending.

The planned flood levy would be classified as savings. What a joke.

Here are some examples of what Gillard includes in her list of so-called savings. A one-off dividend of $150 million the government demanded from Australia Post, $555m from luxury-car tax rises, $402m from higher visa application charges and, in the most recent budget, $275m from more fuel taxes as a result of amending ethanol arrangements.

Added to that are billions of dollars from alcopops and tobacco tax rises. Even the yet-to-be-collected mining tax is included in the $80bn in so-called savings."

Julia's deception on 'savings' makes credibility a joke

February 13, 2011

Abbott can't stop making himself the story

The irony for Abbott is that his own staff's concern about the political impact of television pictures is the reason the Seven Network went after the Defence Department video in the first place. Abbott's visit to Afghanistan coincided with an attempt by Liberal spin doctors to make him appear more prime ministerial, less like a Boys' Own adventurer.

When he happily allowed himself to be filmed Rambo-like firing a Steyr assault rifle and a machine gun mounted on a light armoured vehicle, his then press secretary, Claire Kimball, was horrified.

So media outlets were given less than five minutes of bland material, and the rest of almost two hours of vision shot by Defence Department cameramen was withheld. The censorship prompted Seven to launch its FoI action.

And an attempt to suppress one set of images resulted in Abbott producing a bizarre television moment that was much more damaging.

What bewilders Liberal MPs and minders is why he handled it so badly.

We have had plenty of evidence that Abbott is not exactly quick on his feet when he finds himself in a difficult political situation. Rather than dancing out of trouble, he has a knack of making things worse.

His failure to disown the tacky Liberal fundraising attempt on the back of the flood disaster, for example, was compounded when he refused to concede that donating to flood victims was more important than donating to a political party.

But Abbott was given a couple of hours' notice of what Riley wanted to ask him about.
What viewers saw was not a political leader caught on the hop, forced to think quickly and falling short. It was a considered response.

"A dignified silence", Abbott called it, but it looked more eccentric than dignified on the screen. His minders would have cringed as much as anyone.
"Eccentric" is one way to describe it.

The power of the lens to shape image 

February 11, 2011

Mr Rabbit Rattles the Constitution

Abbott has been hankering for a constitutional crisis and/or an early election from the minute our much delayed federal election outcome was known in 2010.  He never had any intention of patiently sitting around on the wrong benches for three years.

He's been quietly huffing and puffing, clearly hoping that his negative nellie approach will see this parliament truncated, and a triumphant coalition taking the reigns sooner, not later.

It's quite risky, given that, globally, all serious studies show that voters do not respond well to negativity from pollies.  Voters like the future to be bright (even if it isn't) and for the sound bites to be perky (even if it's bullshit).

Abbott has always been on the nose with women, and his continuing bully boy image lose him more female votes as the weeks roll by.  That doesn't mean he couldn't win an election without the female vote, but it makes it more challenging if you have a goodly proportion of 51% of the population offside.

His colleagues are variously disturbed and bamboozled by Abbott.  They know he "did good" in the 2010 campaign, he very nearly won it for them, and did help win back many seats, but second prize in politics still puts you in opposition.  They were shocked that Abbott swung things around - come on, none of them believed he could do it, and neither did we - surely that glow of pleasant surprise is wearing off, right about now, and his cabinet are looking at him more askew than rose tinted.

Besides, Australians (at least those old enough to remember) can get a bit tetchy about constitutional upsets.  It's a risky path, but Abbott is an impatient man who believes the Lodge should have been his last year and he's intent on doing whatever it takes to change the current state of play.

Abbott concocts constitutional strife

Could be disastrous for Gillard

Infighting Libs give PM a free pass

Trouble in paradise

Julie Bishop has been an awful deputy leader for the Liberal party. 

She's not useless.  No siree.  Not when she pulls in much needed donations from the west.  Which is the only plausible explanation for why she has been the cumberband deputy (serving no purpose, other than decroative) for three years, clinging in the most unlikely of circumstances to every leader the Liberals have cycled through during that time.

Clock is ticking.  The Libs need to get a backbone and risk alienating their generous donors in WA.

Bishop ignites Liberal tensions

Duck Friday

February 9, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom

There is, of course, no reason for the existence of the male sex except that sometimes one needs help with moving the piano.

Rebecca West

February 8, 2011

Tuesday roundup

Julia cried when addressing the parliament.

Tony prayed, in suspended - furious - animation, for divine intervention so that he wouldn't pulverize a reporter.

All in all, an excellent start to the parliamentary year.

We're in good hands.  Nothing to worry about folks.

February 7, 2011

Being Mark Latham

Not infrequently, in daylight hours of oneiric quality, I ponder the world as it might have been if only Mark Latham had become our Prime Minister.   I gaze off into the distance imagining him conducting matters of international diplomacy, negotiating policy compromises with Mr Rabbit, consoling homeless people or counseling single mothers. 
In a scathing column for The Spectator Australia about Prime Minister Julia Gillard's performance during the flood crisis, Mr Latham wrote ''she is not a naturally empathetic person - displaying, for instance, noticeable discomfort around infant children''.

''the femocrats will not like this statement, but I believe it to be true: anyone who chooses a life without children, as Gillard has, cannot have much love in them''.
It has been six years since Latham imploded and left the stage; his production of bile, however, has no end and no bounds. 

Latham gets lashed

Federal ALP still clueless

Much like engaging an expensive consultant to tell you exactly nothing and write a lengthy report explaining the full extent of nothing, the empty options for addressing nothing and recommendations for actions that are never enacted, the Federal ALP has finished reviewing Labor's performance during the election campaign of 2010.  Steve Bracks, Bob Carr and John Faulkner have come up with a little bit of nothing.

There main findings are, apparently, that the PM should not be permitted to choose the cabinet (a practice initiated under Rudd), and that dumping the emissions trading scheme - an economically and ecollogically stupid policy, which has already been a monumental and expensive failure across Europe - was a big mistake. 

That's it guys?


Did we follow the same events during 2010; during the campaign? 

The executive have yet to meet, so no official findings released at this time.  What's the betting that knifing an elected PM and the ineffectual launch of a "real Julia" mid-campaign don't get a mention in the full report?

Life in Cuba keeps getting better

A former restaurant owner, on Cuba's tentative steps to encourage entrepreneurs:
"People can't get what they need to run a business. The carpenter has no wood. The electrician has no cable. The plumber has no pipes. Right now, there is no flour in the shops. So what are all the pizzerias doing? They have to buy stuff that is stolen from bakeries."
No mention from whom the bakers are stealing. 

Cubans savor working for themselves

February 4, 2011

Damn that global warming!

Chicago - February 2011

[Yes, yes, I know:  individual weather events are not indicative of the climate, unless you're Bob Brown (that would be Dr Bob, right?), in which case you get to blame individual cyclones on coal miners and you get to blame individual floods in flood plane areas on coal miners.  For the rest of us, we must refrain from latching onto every little weather event as evidence of anything, as it would only serve to show our ignorance of science.]

Believers won't put their money on it

If ecological overshoot alarmists are truly as alarmed and teary-eyed as they claim, it begs the question why they're not prepared to part with their money.  The federal Greens received a total of $12,500 in donations for 2009/10 (excluding the $1.6M from an individual, who paid for election ads).

What are they saving up for -  beach front houses, private jets, Armageddon?

Mining industry dug deep to shaft Rudd over tax

Duck Friday

February 2, 2011

This is how it's done

Anna Bligh has been ad-libbing for weeks, almost non-stop: pre-floods, during floods, post-floods, and for the last 48 hours, pre-cyclone.

She's magnificent.  She hasn't put a foot or word wrong (unless you count that silly "we are Queenslanders" thing, but she was playing to the home crowd, soothing and buoying them, not the rest us, so it was forgivable).

On and off she's had every hair out of place, no makeup, little sleep, no shower and probably minimal sustenance.  I like to imagine that one of her minions has thrown her the occasional ham and salad sandwich and forced her to sit down and eat it, including crusts.

Memo:  Christine Nixon & Co (yes, you're all out there somewhere)

Anna Bligh, for all her talk, all her press conferences, all the updates received from the highly able teams around her, did not and will not save a single life or property - none.  She turned up.  She's there.  She doesn't go away.  She is unrelenting in her efforts to provide clear, accurate and up to date information to the people in her state.  That's leadership.  That's accountability.   She also feels their pain.  And she's not faking it. 

Nowadays, underneath her perpetual white jacket, our Prime Minister must be a deep shade of green as she gazes with wonder at the ease with which another individual can convey authority, a steely will, deep knowledge and understanding, warmth and compassion - all at the same time, in the same sentence, without a script -  and then, to really stick the knife in, stated goals are achieved, pronto.  OK, so Bligh has an army - literally and figuratively - making sure things happen, but no one believes anyone other than the Premier of Queensland is running the show.

The preparations for and directives given to Queenslanders for the arrival cyclone Yasi have been unambiguous and comprehensive.   It has been a superb effort, and if no lives are lost, Bligh will rightly be given a lot of the credit.  If some lives are lost, she will be given credit for minimizing the worst of possible scenarios.   (Lessons to US officials ... pending coaching fee negotiations.)

It won't matter if Bligh is thrashed into retirement at the next election, no one will remember it. Her achievement, her shining hour is right now. She will be remembered for this.  It's a benchmark that other politicians will attempt, and mostly fail, to emulate in years to come, not least one Julia Gillard PM.

Wednesday Wisdom

To know all is not to forgive all. It is to despise everybody. 

Quentin  Crisp