Archive for January 26th, 2014

The Sunday Bits for January 26, 2014

Happy Australia Day, and welcome to the first Sunday Bits for 2014.

Australian Flag

If you watched the tennis last night then you probably saw Billie Court sing the national anthem before the match. Normally I am not a fan of the public performances of Advance Australia Fair as it is a beautiful and important song, but most singers are just not capable of performing the song with the respectful gusto which it deserves. In fact I believe that Julie Anthony is almost the only person who has ever done a good live rendition (and excellent recorded version) of it…but last night I was very pleasantly surprised by Billie Court who did an absolutely fantastic job.

Being Australia Day I had hoped to provide you with Billie Court’s rendition of Advance Australia Fair from last night, but I can’t find it. I did, however, find her rendition of it at the cricket a few years ago. The picture quality is a bit dodgy, but the song is excellent.

If I can get my hands on last night’s rendition, I’ll post it for you.

In This Edition
*A change of format
*Best wishes to Ian Ross
*Socialised medicine kills
*Kevin Andrews’ interest in marriage counselling
*Impending deflation
*Aliens running America?
*Upcoming climate change discussion
*Obama administration has been covering up Benghazi from the start
*The war on Christianity is alive and well
*The electric chair is making a comeback


A change of format
A quick note before we delve in to more interesting subjects. When I started The Sunday Bits it was supposed to be a quick summary of things which I either couldn’t get to during the week or were interesting but didn’t really deserve their own blog post. Unfortunately I found myself effectively writing a dozen full blog posts in one blog post, and spent over an hour on it. It was unworkable and didn’t really fit the intended purpose. To correct this I have changed the format a tad by introducing a word limit of 1,000 words, with a target of 750-800 words. WordPress (the software behind this site) keeps a word count as I write, so it’s count will be used for this purpose. Due to the room taken up by this note, I’m giving myself a little bit of extra room this week.


Best wishes to Ian Ross
I’d like to take a moment to wish former television newsreader Ian Ross all the best after it was revealed yesterday that he has pancreatic cancer and has been told he only has five months to live. Ian was a great credible newsreader on multiple networks. He has opted not to undergo chemotherapy and try alternative treatments. Here’s hoping Ian sees much more than five months in relatively good health.


Socialised medicine kills
It might be for the best that Ian Ross is not undergoing chemotherapy, especially as a public patient. A news article today shows something which is plainly obvious.

MORE than 840 people – 16 a week – died waiting for surgery in Victoria in the past year.

The revelation comes as the length of time patients spend on elective surgery waiting lists continues to grow.

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws show almost 841 people died on hospital waiting lists in 2012-13, an increase of 246 – or 41 per cent – in three years.

(h/t Peter Mickelburough of the Sunday Herald Sun)

Sadly it’s common sense really. Government-managed systems are ultimately controlled by a finite government budget sourced from finite tax revenues. As such they can only afford to perform a maximum number of operations in a year, which results in rationing and waiting lists. This is a problem which a market-driven (not highly-regulated like here in Australia) private system doesn’t have as competition between insurers and consumers helps to ensure people can be seen quickly. There have been cases of Australians on a surgery waiting list going to the US and ending up in hospital for unrelated treatment, only to have the US hospital treat the waiting list condition there and then (I wish I could find the link I had to such a story) and have it covered by the medical component of their travel insurance, and save Australian taxpayers a motza in the process.


Kevin Andrews’ interest in marriage counselling
Earlier this week I expressed my concerns about the federal government’s mooted scheme to hand out $200 marriage counselling vouchers to newlyweds. Larry Pickering has come up with some interesting information about the minister responsible for the scheme:

More concerning is that the holier-than-thou Minister Andrews and his wife also run a Catholic marriage guidance counselling company.
He maintains he has not actively done so since the latest election but his marriage guidance web page tells a different story.
“He is advertising group sessions at $240 per couple”

Hmmm, I do hope this scheme, silly as it is, has more behind it than ministerial self-interest.


Impending deflation
I pay to subscribe to a few U.S. talk radio shows, including Coast To Coast AM. Coast specialises in some very odd topics and often the shows are of little interest to me, so I don’t usually listen to the live show, but it usually has a couple of interesting shows each month which I listen to after they’ve aired. Recently it had a very interesting show in which demographic economist Harry Dent explained that he thinks the world’s economy is about to hit a tipping point where the number of newly-retired baby boomers will cause a crash and long-term deflation. He believes the markets will climb until May, and then a large crash and deflation will hit. He doesn’t expect recovery for at least five years.


Aliens running America?
Later in that episode a discussion was held about a bizarre revelation from a recent Edward Snowden NSA leak. According to PC Tech Magazine’s summary of the leaked reports, a bunch of tall white aliens are in control of the US government and were also responsible for the rise of Nazi Germany. Worryingly, some other aliens apparently favour Russia and oppose the tall white aliens.

Make of it what you will.


Upcoming climate change discussion
In an upcoming edition of Coast To Coast AM which I will be listening to live (many radio stations stream it live if you wish to join me) on Thursday afternoon (Wednesday night/Thursday morning US time), Space historian Robert Zimmerman will be on for the shows first two hours (5pm – 7pm Canberra time) to “discuss the fraud and dishonesty which has permeated the sciences of climate and environmental studies including how scientists at NASA and NOAA have consistently manipulated the temperature records”.

Sounds good.


Obama administration has been covering up Benghazi from the start
The Obama administration has to take a lot of the blame for the lethal attack on the American consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. It has tried to deflect blame and cover up the truth. Fox News is one of the few places where the truth has not been in short supply on the subject, but even they’ve had a hard time reporting it. Noel Sheppard at the Media Research Center’s website explains the lengths the Obama administration has gone to in an effort to avoid the truth from getting out, including omitting Fox and only Fox from multiple briefings and press conferences, and even trying to get a friend of Fox anchor Greta Van Susteren to silence Fox reporter Jennifer Griffin. Despicable, but typical of Obama and friends.


The war on Christianity is alive and well
I read a story the other week (no link, sorry…I didn’t think I’d need to keep the link) where somebody tried to claim that there is no war against Christianity in popular culture and public institutions. They took particular umbrage with Todd Starnes who relentlessly reports on the subject. I wonder then, what that person makes of these stories?
First grader, while telling her class about a family Christmas tradition, as was the task at the time, told she was “not allowed to talk about the Bible in school” and was prevented from telling the class about her family’s tradition of remembering the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas.
Detroit 8-year-old told he can’t bring a Bible to school after reading it, quietly, in a free-reading period.

There mightn’t be any missiles or bullets, but there is definitely a cultural war happening here.


The electric chair is making a comeback
The electric chair is set to become the primary method of death penalty executions in Virginia. Ironically this change in method, which is undoubtedly more painful than lethal injection, is being brought about by the producer of the lethal injection drugs trying to be nicer.

European pharmaceutical companies last year stopped selling the three-drug mix used for injections on ethical grounds, forcing several states, including Virginia, to consider alternative methods to carry out lethal punishment.

(h/t Fox News)

A Democrat is complaining about it being a barbaric way to kill someone (oddly he hasn’t proposed a firing squad which would be as quick, effective and “non-barbaric” as a lethal injection), but I don’t see a problem with it. The electric chair never went away and was always available upon request to death-row inmates…and we should not forget that people on death-row have been convicted of the most barbaric of crimes themselves. It seems fair, in my view, that they receive an unpleasant sentence. It’s certainly a better option than an alternative lethal injection method which was tried in Ohio earlier this month in which it took 26 minutes for the convict to die. The electric chair works, is a real punishment, and gives the family of the victim some comfort in seeing with their own eyes that the assailant is not getting off lightly. I’m all for it.


That’s all for today. Have a wonderful Australia Day. I hope your day of celebration is a good one for the anniversary of the fantastic day on which the First Fleet landed at Sydney Cove and started the process which eventually created our great nation, and equally I hope your day is not sullied by that annual countdown done by that communist taxpayer-funded radio station.


6 comments January 26th, 2014 at 10:01am

Some recommended weekend viewing

Just after the beginning of the year, C-SPAN Book TV’s “In Depth” program spent their monthly show interviewing author, constitutional lawyer, and radio host Mark Levin. This show sits down with a non-fiction author each month to discuss their books, subjects related to their books, and a little bit of the personal life of the author.

Peter Slen interviewing Mark Levin on C-SPAN Book TV's In Depth programMark Levin has written a number of best-selling books on the current state of U.S. politics, governance, and society, and on his ideas for solutions to the problems facing America. In Mark’s most recent book “The Liberty Amendments” he proposes a few amendments to the U.S. constitution which he believes would address some problems by making government more closely resemble what the framers of the constitution envisaged, and in the process make society freer. The book goes in to some details as to how Mark’s proposals fit in with the historical writings of deliberations of the Framers. As this is his most recent book and also his most solution-filled book, Book TV made it the “book of the month” for their book club and more time is spent on this book in the interview than any of the others.

Mark has also written a more personal book titled “Rescuing Sprite” which is a story about a dog (Sprite) which Mark and his family rescued from a shelter…the book details how they dealt with some of the health issues which arose from abuse and neglect which Sprite received prior to being rescued and how they overcame some of these issues. The book also, quite candidly, deals with the difficult subject of having to put Sprite down, as well as some details about some of the other dogs in Mark’s life. I read this book a few years ago (and have read most of Mark’s other books) and found it difficult to read emotionally, but also quite comforting in helping me deal with Nattie’s death last year. I was pleased to hear Mark say during the interview that, when he retires, he would like to permanently work rescuing dogs from abuse and neglect.

The interview goes for three hours. There are no commercial breaks although the interview does stop for a break roughly each hour, in which time they run some pre-recorded packages about Mark. The first roughly 40 minutes is conducted as a straight interview, and after this the interview continues but also contains callers asking Mark questions. It is a very worthwhile three hours of viewing and I found it to be very interesting and thought-provoking.

The interview (minus about the last minute) is available on YouTube as embedded above, although it should be noted that the YouTube version was uploaded by a third-party and contains some video glitches. There is a much cleaner version available on the C-SPAN website (and the Book TV website), but it can not be embedded here as they have disabled that function. It can, however, be purchased from the website in DVD or Audio CD format…I enjoyed the interview enough to purchase it on DVD.

I hope you find it as interesting as I did. I had already planned on taking some of Mark’s books with me to read on my US trip (along with some other books) but after this interview I plan on taking another one along as well as there were a few points raised in the interview which made me want to revisit some of Mark’s earlier work…but that’s a story for another day.


January 26th, 2014 at 12:19am


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