Thursday, August 12, 2004


I have taken a week away from my usual haunts to spend in my ancestral place. All four of my grandparewnts were born and bred in tropical North Queensland and I was too. I am at the moment blogging from Cairns -- the tourist hub of the Far North. I have been to a few tropical tourist destinations in my time -- Fiji, Hawaii, Singapore and Thailand -- and I think North Queensland is as good as or better than any of them. And I do definitely wonder why people go to third-world tropical destinations when they could enjoy every tropical experience in the safety and convenience of a modern Western country like Australia. Because I was born amid magnificent tropical scenery I am very hard to impress when it comes to scenery. I used to think that there was no scenic drive in the world better than the Cairns to Port Douglas road but these days I will concede that a drive through the Western Highlands of Scotland in the summer rivals it.

The Asians have discovered Cairns big time and the Japanese are everywhere. So that parts of Cairns remind me a lot of Asia -- with all the crowded vibrancy that that entails. So if you want to see Asia, come to Cairns! But outside the tourist bazaars, there is no crowding. So forget about tropical islands. Cairns has everything they do. Anyway, for me it is a trip home.



Two Americas: "It is hard to argue that Senator Edwards is incorrect. We do live in two Americas. One of the Americas features twenty five thousand dollar a plate fundraisers, the belief that most of this nation's social problems are exacerbated by a lack of enough government. This America believes that while the average taxpayer contributes approximately half of their income in federal, payroll, state, local, property and sales taxes, more is required."

Your new boss? "That was cute when Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry started his acceptance speech by snapping a salute and saying he was 'reporting for duty.' Cute, but not quite truthful. If he becomes president, we will be expected to carry out his commands. It's only in democratic folklore that government is the servant and the people the master."

Kerry's fragile Vietnam myths: "Presidential nominee John Kerry is working overtime to blunt growing criticism of his Vietnam service and simultaneously reassure uncommitted voters that his acts of alleged heroism as a Swift boat officer-over 30 years ago-far outweigh his antiwar history. He has made his medals-a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts-a central focus of his candidacy. He has made a colossal mistake. No surprise, then, that Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, an organization unaffiliated with any political party-whose members were no strangers to Lieutenant Kerry 30 years ago-last week began airing a dramatic, highly effective TV spot that flatly disputes Kerry's claims, and, worse for Kerry, his integrity."

A good summary: "In Kerry's insistence that the commitment of our allies -- British, Italian, Polish, Ukrainian, Dutch, Australian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Japanese, Thai, Danish and others -- adds up to a big fat zero in a 'unilateral' American adventure, he has shown himself bereft of all diplomatic smarts. Talk about Ugly American. Only this one speaks perfect French." --Diana West (Link via Prairie Pundit)

Amusing: A Canadian newspaper is criticizing Kerry for not being Leftist enough.

Yuk! The British Conservative party has so lost its balls that it is considering a new name for itself. There are some excellent suggestions for a new name here.

Hopeful policy from the Australian Left: "Labor will reveal a "courageous" tax and welfare policy aiming to break down barriers that discourage people from working and simplifying the welfare system. Party strategists believe the Federal Government's failure to address the high effective tax rates - the disproportionate loss of benefits when extra income is earned - facing people who move from welfare to work has given Labor a political opening.... The policy is expected to "consolidate" myriad welfare payments into a simpler system, reducing distortions that discourage welfare recipients to find work. A senior Labor figure promised the long awaited package would be "courageous"."

An excellent summary of the voucher education record here. Excerpt: "Critics of school choice often argue that private schools have an unfair advantage because, unlike government schools, they can select the "cream of the crop" and expel disruptive students. But St Adalbert's experience has decisively disproved this view.... More than two-thirds of her students have come from families below the poverty line. Yet, thanks to a solid core curriculum, minimal bureaucracy, and disciplined and structured classrooms, St Adalbert's has seen more than 90 per cent of its pupils go on to post-secondary education or to paid jobs."

Sharia law officially sanctioned in Canada: ""It's shocking to see the seeds of an Islamic republic being sown here in Canada," one young woman shouted to vociferous applause at a recent Toronto rally, organized to denounce the practice of sharia in Ontario. "Sharia doesn't work anywhere else in the world. Why does the government believe it will work here?"

In defense of "deadbeat dads": "It is difficult to understand what is accomplished by imprisoning such nonviolent fathers. It is easier to understand what releasing them accomplishes. Quite apart from humanitarian concerns, the correctional system -- especially the prison system -- cannot sustain its current growth rate. The DOJ estimates that in 2001, '2.7% of adults in the U.S. had served time in prison, up from 1.8% in 1991 and 1.3% in 1974.' Now the estimate is 3.2 percent. Even if society could accommodate the soaring rate of imprisonment, the prisons themselves cannot."

More Moore lies: "As a former green beret, who is still involved in that tight-knit community, I was "shocked and awed" when I saw Michael Moore during an interview at the DNC actually say that "Bush did not have Special Forces on the ground in Afghanistan for more than two months after 9-11." That was laughable; it was such a stupid, bold-faced lie. Many, many green berets and ex-green berets know that two A-detachments were on the ground in Afghanistan within forty-eight hours of the 9-11 attacks".

Carnival of the Vanities is up again with its usual big range of good reading.

For more postings, see GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH and GUN WATCH. Mirror sites here, here and here


Leftists acclaim "diversity" yet say "All men are equal". Figure that one out.

Why can those who claim to understand the dangers of meddling with a complex ecosystem like the natural environment, not understand that government interference with a complex system like the economy is perilous too?

The conflict between conservatives and Leftists is not usually a conflict between realists and idealists. Mostly it is a conflict between realists and people who will say anything to win applause

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