Sunday, May 14, 2006

Absurd bureaucratic attack on church music in Left-ruled Australian State

When the Reverend Warwick Cadenhead, the minister at Paddington Uniting Church, tallied the costs of hosting live music at the 130-year-old sandstone pile he knew it must be a test. "My God," he said, "There has to be a better system." There is not. For the price of a temporary council-issued place of public entertainment authority - required for any performance on church grounds, even the singing of hymns - there was not much change from $30,000. "We had to pay Sydney Council for the development application, and for acoustic and traffic engineers to conduct reports - it's taken four months," Mr Cadenhead said.

Under the Local Government Act, every NSW church is required to have an authority for live music, which includes singing by congregations and choirs. But councils apply the law inconsistently, and in most cases they require churches to comply only when noise complainants make a fuss. In Balmain the Campbell Street Presbyterian Church, founded in the 1840s, has cancelled a Mother's Day concert planned for tomorrow because a one-off authority from Leichhardt Council could cost more than $5000. The church's minister, the Reverend Ivan Ransom, said the complaints started about a month ago when a new resident moved into the neighbourhood. "There are lots of churches around here that are considering defying the council," he said.

When applying for the last 12-month permit from the City of Sydney, Mr Cadenhead had to lay out more than $200,000 to soundproof Paddington Uniting Church. "I'm not suggesting that churches should get special treatment, but surely this is extreme." However, in pubs and clubs the State Government exempted big screen TVs, jukeboxes and poker machines from needing the authority...."




Inquiry sought on 'tipping' of border group locations: "Congressional leaders Thursday called on the Department of Homeland Security to investigate reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has given information to the Mexican government about the locations of U.S. civilian border watch groups. California Reps. Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, and Darryl Issa, R-Vista, along with Texas Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, sent a formal letter to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff asking for a full investigation into all circumstances and events related to civilian border observation groups and the Mexican government. The letter was in response to a story published in Tuesday's Daily Bulletin, which reported Border Patrol officials shared civilian groups' locations with the Mexican government when illegal border crossers were detained and at the request of the Mexican consulate, among other things".

Organ socialism: "Congress passed the National Organ Transplantation Act in 1984, making it illegal to buy or sell human organs. That law funded organ procurement organizations, which find organ donors, acquire organs, and ship them to transplant hospitals. It also created the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. It made the Secretary of Health & Human Services responsible for outsourcing OPTN's operation. HHS hired the United Network for Organ Sharing. People who need transplants can only be put on the waiting list by government-approved transplant hospitals, and only if they pay UNOS a listing fee. Transplant patients pay hospitals for the donated organs they get from organ procurement organizations. How's this system working? Over 6,000 people on the transplant waiting list died waiting in 2005. Another 1,800 left the list because they became too sick for surgery. They'll die soon -- if they're still alive. The waiting list has doubled in ten years to over 92,000 people. Most people on the list will die waiting."

U.S. as biggest foreign aid recipient: "Which country receives the most in total foreign aid from all donors? The official numbers show Iraq at the top with $3 to $18 billion in aid (depending on how you define 'aid') and all the other recipient nations of the world at less than $3 billion per year. However, if you look at which nation benefits most from foreign subsidies, the U.S. would come out on top by a very wide margin. Yes, I did just say that the U.S. is the world's largest recipient of foreign assistance. Other countries are not sending official government 'aid' dollars to help the U.S. but are doing things that have the same effect. For instance, China provides the biggest single subsidy to the U.S."

Gas tax a bonanza for state: "Oil companies aren't the only ones raking in the money because of rising prices at the fuel pump. The coffers of state and local governments are seeing big gains as a result of increased revenue generated by the sales tax that consumers pay on gasoline. Sales tax receipts from the gas pumps in the fourth quarter of last year grew by nearly $100 million from the same period the year before , according to the latest figures available. And that was when California's average price for a gallon of gas at the pump, which includes state and local sales tax along with fixed state and federal excise taxes, was at $2.56. Since 2002, sales tax revenues on gas have been growing annually by $300 million to $400 million to reach $2.86 billion in 2005, according to the California Board of Equalization. And with fuel prices at the pump already well above $3, the gas tax boom will likely continue for state and local governments."

Massachusetts gets real on gas taxes: "Motorists in Massachusetts would save 21 cents a gallon for gasoline this summer under a bill filed yesterday by House minority leader Bradley H. Jones Jr. that would eliminate the state gas tax for three months. ... With the summer travel season approaching, the bill, backed by Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey and legislators from both parties, would be in effect from Memorial Day through Labor Day, giving relief to businesses who need tourism dollars to thrive and to working families who want to travel, Jones said. ... Chances of the bill's passage appeared slim yesterday, given the criticism from a key Democratic lawmaker and other observers. The critics said the tax cut would endanger spending on other state initiatives, such as education and healthcare. The supporters estimate the cut would cost the state $187 million in revenue. They propose using up to $200 million of the state's $1.7 billion budget reserves to make up for the loss."

The "Peoples Cube" satirists are having a shot at Muslims now. See here. As with all good satire, it's not far from the truth.

Wicked Thoughts has just put up an exceptionally funny collection of kid stories.



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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