Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Leftist wants someone to loathe

Australian Leftist columnist Phillip Adams often writes in a rather ironic way but the article by him excerpted below does seem to be a clear confession of the hate that drives him -- as it does with so many Leftists. That they hail the slightest negativity emanating from conservatvies as "hate" shows how urgent is their need to project their own failings onto others. Adams is commenting on the likely defeat of Australia's conservative government at the next election -- due later this year. Adams is a millionaire so his hate is not born of "poverty". And, yes, that poster he has on his library wall is who you think it is

For God’s sake don’t tell Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins, but despite a lifetime’s atheism I have, over the past decade, been driven to prayer. My increasingly desperate appeals have been addressed to Jehovah, Yahweh, Allah, Thor, Ra, Vulcan and sundry totems, jujus, graven images and idols - entreating one or more of them to end the Howard Government....

But nothing happened. To be perfectly frank the disappointing lack of response considerably added to my religious scepticism. But now, suddenly, the gods are acting! The various almighties are finally showing him the door! And I’m suddenly getting a bit worried. How will I get on without him? .... Just as Mum needed Kennett to give meaning to her existence, I may well be sustained by Howard hating. How will I get through the day without the prospect of the six o’clock news when I can, in the family tradition, yell at the screen?

The world faces a similar problem with George W. Bush. The most unpopular president since Harry Truman at his nadir - and as Jimmy Carter rightly says “the worst president in US history” - will soon be banished from the political stage. For nigh on seven years - though it seems almost an eternity - countless millions have loathed the man. He has increased the blood pressure of not only hapless Democrats but also a large majority of my fellow Australians and pretty much the entire population of Europe.... Where will all that hatred go when he’s gone? What will people do with it?

For 11 years John Winston Howard has been my central focus, my obsession, my bogeyman, my nemesis. To be without him might answer those prayers. But as has been wisely said “Beware the answered prayer”!

More here

Dangerous "Green" car

The shocking image of this tangled wreck of what was a Reva all-electric car has prompted road safety authorities to keep it off Australian roads. The wreckage of the Indian-built car is the result of a simulated crash at just 48 km/h.

The crash test dummy at the wheel of the Reva has its legs crushed, and hangs limply and exposed out of the door, its head having taken the full force of the disintegrated bonnet and windshield during the crash. Watch the crash test below:

But the man who wants Australian metropolitan commuters to go green in the Reva, says the shocking crash test has little relevance and that he knows the car is not as safe as other vehicles on our roads. Adrian Ferraretto, general manager of The Solar Shop in Adelaide, has been pushing for trials of the Reva here for years, and yesterday defended its safety record on the basis that it is allowed on roads elsewhere under the classification of a heavy quadricycle.

"We know the car's not as safe as say an S-Class Mercedes Benz or a Hummer or other passenger cars, but it has a different application," Mr Ferraretto said. "It's for low-speed city motoring. I don't think (the crash tests are) relevant. While it's not as safe as other passenger cars, it's safer than a motorbike."

The test on the Reva was conducted by UK motoring magazine Top Gear. It prompted road authorities in Britain to conduct their own crash tests and re-examine the road laws which allowed it on the roads there. Footage from the test was shown at a recent Australian Transport Council meeting of state and federal transport ministers. At the start of this month, as an outcome of that meeting, the Reva all-electric car was banned from use on Australian roads as it had failed a frontal crash test and did not comply with safety standards. An application by the West Australian Government to trial the Reva, an automatic two-door hatch, was rejected by the Australian Transport Council.

In Britain, however, the Reva - known as a G-Wiz - is classed as a heavy quadricycle and therefore has not had to meet the same safety standards as a car. Australia has no such vehicle category.


Mass desertion of public hospitals

So many operations and other treatments are done in private hospitals, doctor's rooms and private clinics that public hospitals can no longer train junior doctors in the skills they need. Doctors say bone surgery, gynecology, dermatology and psychiatry are areas where specialist trainees -- known as registrars, and currently trained in public hospitals -- can no longer learn the surgical and other procedures they will need to perform later in their careers. The Australasian College of Dermatologists has had to extend its training course by a year because its registrars are no longer getting enough experience in common skin conditions in public hospitals.

Figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show private hospitals conducted 45 per cent of all same-day operations in 2004-05. The national conference of the Australian Medical Association in Melbourne at the weekend heard that doctors training to be orthopedic surgeons in public hospitals were now more likely to treat complex and urgent cases such as road crash victims.

Geoffrey Metz, clinical dean and director of education at the private Epworth Hospital in Melbourne, told the conference the situation was made urgent by the planned doubling of medical student numbers, expected to soar from about 1500 graduates a year to 2900 by 2011. "If there's no increase in the number of beds in traditional teaching hospitals, trainees will be fighting each other over the same number of patients," Associate Professor Metz said. Epworth Hospital, run by the Uniting Church, already takes trainees, he said. "We need to do part of our training outside the traditional teaching hospitals."

Psychiatry registrars training in public hospitals were mainly exposed to patients with psychoses, whereas doctors in private practice saw a lot more patients with anxiety and depressive disorders, Associate Professor Metz said. In gynecology and pathology, there were also big differences between the types of cases registrars saw and the problems of private patients.

Sending trainee doctors into private hospitals might prove tricky, as one of the vaunted benefits of private hospital treatment is that it allows patients to choose their preferred doctor. Delegates at the AMA conference backed a resolution that a position statement be developed to guide registrar training in the private sector, with a stipulation that the arrangements "must respect patient choice by ensuring that all patients treated by trainees are informed about the role of trainees in their medical care, andfreely consent to this".

The federal Government has committed $60 million through the Council of Australian Governments to expand medical training into the private sector. But Associate Professor Metz said this "can't be seen as anything other than seed funding" because of the large number of extra trainees due to come through the system.

Omar Kharshid , who completed his specialist training to become a qualified orthopedic surgeon last year, told the conference trainees in public hospitals were now more experienced in treating road crash victims than patients with common complaints such as bunions.

Health Minister Tony Abbott said the Government would "do its bit" to expand training into the private sector, but details of how the $60 million would be spent had to be finalised.


WHO WE ARE: A column about Australia by David Dale

David Dale is the author of "Who We Are -- A snapshot of Australia today". He gets it pretty right

Here's what happened: a few weeks ago a travel magazine in Singapore asked me to write an article about the Australian character, apparently because I had produced a book called Who We Are: A snapshot of Australia today. Singapore is one of our fastest-growing sources of tourists (22,000 a month), so this was quite a responsibility. But the more I thought about it, the more I grew annoyed about the way this country has been promoted overseas this year.

So this was how I started the article: "The tourism authorities will kill me for saying this, but I'm not at all comfortable with their latest international advertising campaign, built around the phrase 'So where the bloody hell are you?' "They're pleased with the way the ad agency included The Great Australian Expletive in a slogan, and with all the free publicity this has generated. My concern is not with the alleged rudeness of the word. It's with the attitude implied in the statement. There's an arrogance there, a sense of entitlement, that is not characteristic of the Australia I know and like.

"The quality I admire most in my compatriots is modesty. We know we have exported some pretty good actors, directors, cricketers, swimmers, musicians and models. And we know we have some pretty spectacular scenery, even if it's too widely separated for comfort (try seeing the Barrier Reef, Uluru, Monkey Mia and the Tasmanian wilderness in one week and you'll need a holiday when you get home). But we still don't think of ourselves as particularly worth a journey.

"The statistic that five million people visit us every year comes as a surprise to most Australians. A more realistic slogan to represent our attitude to international tourism would be 'Why the bloody hell would you bother?'. "The tone of the campaign is alien to my sense of the Australian character -- aggressive and aggrieved rather than calm and cheerful (an approach implied by the expression 'she'll be right, mate')."

My article went on to discuss a theory of John Carroll, Professor of Sociology at Melbourne's La Trobe University, that in their relaxed approach to life Australians resemble their native animals, according to. "Peoples, like individuals, take flight into ideology, dogmatism and ranting when they feel under inner threat," Carroll said in the Deakin lecture of 2001. "It is a leading mark of Australia as a political culture to have always and without exception been sceptical of idealism, hostile to extremists, innately drawn to the moderate, the sensible, the unassuming. It points to a fundamental security of being.

"Special warmth has grown for the kangaroo, koala, platypus, and echidna that is more than the cuddly toy sort. The marsupials set a tone, in their way of being. In part it is their lack of aggression, except when cornered. The quiet way they go about negotiating their habitat has affinity with the way the people respond to bureaucratic controls. The kookaburra reminds humans, prone to taking themselves seriously, that they are easy to laugh at."


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