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On Monday March 7th Tim Blair alerted his readers to the work of blogger Alene Composta.

Andrew Bolt picked up the story the following day.

Alene’s writings were a mixture of demented rantings about current political debates, meditations on her state of mental health, and personal attacks on people who disagreed with her.

So naturally she was immediately invited by the ABC’s Unleashed editor Jonathon Green to write a guest post for ABC online. After less than a day, that post was removed from the ABC website. It is still viewable through Google’s cache.

Alene’s article is a wildly paranoid take on Sean Nicholl’s story in the Sydney Morning Herald about a single New South Wales Liberal (conservative) Party member’s description of the coming NSW election day as ‘moose day.’

Right from the start there was speculation on Tim Blair’s blog that Alene Composta was a hoax.

Yesterday Gavin Atkins noted that a commenter on Tim’s blog had found that Alene Composta’s publicity photo actually came from another blog with very few posts. The subject of the blog is Wartrol, a purported treatment for genital warts. It belongs to someone called Marian Roldans.

There really is a treatment called Wartrol. War troll? It sounds like Crikey and the ABC already. Also, it’s homeopathic so it doesn’t have any active ingredients, or do anything useful. Another similarity.

At very least, Alene Composta’s photo is a fake. Or Marian’s is. Or both. I suspect the latter.

Alene Composta is one of the best thought-out and most amusing hoaxes for a long time.

Alene is a Dutch name, incidentally, related to ‘alleen’ – ‘alone.’ It could also be Celtic, in which case it means a revealing light.

Roldans? Well, there is a basque story called Roldan’s Bugle-horn, which tells of a terrifying adventure and a horn which when blown causes rocks to break and mountains to catch fire.

And Composta? How did the ABC fall for that? She might as well have been called Ophelia Bullshit.

So, a Dutch name, manure, bugle-horns and genital warts? More than fairly played by Tim and Andrew, and well done!

Update:

JF Beck points out that Alene Composta is an anagram of ‘moose placenta.’

This just gets better and better.

I have a 700 word piece about the proposed National Curriculum on Quadrant Online.

I agree with Kevin Donnelly of the Educational Standards Institute that the National Curriculum is a fluffy and disconnected mess.

I suggest that this may in fact be a good thing, because it may encourage more parents and students to consider independent schools.

However, I note that even independent schools are required to implement the Curriculum as a condition of continued Commonwealth funding.

At first, this appears to be (and probably is) an attempt to limit the autonomy of independent schools, and the range of choices available to parents.

In some states, South Australia, for example, independent schools are already required to teach the State curriculum.

Yet independent schools in South Australia do offer real choice in teaching syles and content, because funding agreements cannot prevent them from teaching more than the approved curriculum requires.

Despite efforts to make them conform, independent schools around Australia will do the same.

Dallas Primary School in Broadmeadow, Victoria, went from well below national standards in the 2008 NAPLAN test to well above in 2010. How?

Former education department bureaucrat John Nelson said the Dallas results were ”gobsmacking”. Despite a large migrant population and low socio-economic status, year 3 students were reading, spelling and understanding grammar and punctuation at significantly higher levels than the national average for year 5 students. In grammar and punctuation, the school’s year 3 students outstripped its year 5 students, by a score of 596 to 522.

The students’ improvement from year 3 in 2008 to year 5 in 2010 was enormous, putting year 5 students at near year 8 levels.

 But:

In the 2010 test last May, only 74 per cent of Dallas Primary students sat the test; 20 per cent were ”withdrawn” and 7 per cent ”absent”. The national average attendance was 96 per cent.

Leading to suggestions that children who were struggling may have been told to stay home, or not allowed to take the test.

Other Victorian principals are suspicious. Doug Conway, principal of the western suburban Kings Park Primary School, believes the ”lowest-performing kids were told to stay at home”.

”If you did that at my school, the low SES, high non-English-speaking background children, we’d get a colossal spike,” he said. ”I think the pressure on schools has led some schools to have lower participation rates than they should have.”

The school says this is not so. But they have refused to talk about what methods they used to achieve such a massive jump in academic performance.

Mr Nelson, who quit his Education Department job because he thought a departmental investigation into Dallas was ”a whitewash”, asked: ”What did they do that took a kid in Broadmeadows from the bottom 10th or 20th percentile and put them in the top percentile? Whatever they did needs to be copied by everybody, so why hasn’t it? Why didn’t they celebrate their methods?”

 Indeed.

Dallas Primary, if you did get it right, if you did achieve this miracle, please share your methods so children in other schools can benefit too.

Dyson Freeman is probably the most important 20th Century scientist not to win a Nobel Prize, and more important than many who have. He is certainly the world’s leading theoretical phycicist.

James Delingpole reports today on a correspondence between Dyson, the scientist’s scientist, and the notoriously alarmist UK Independent.

A couple of samples:

First, the computer models are very good at solving the equations of fluid dynamics but very bad at describing the real world. The real world is full of things like clouds and vegetation and soil and dust which the models describe very poorly.

Second, we do not know whether the recent changes in climate are on balance doing more harm than good. The strongest warming is in cold places like Greenland. More people die from cold in winter than die from heat in summer.

Third, there are many other causes of climate change besides human activities, as we know from studying the past.

Fourth, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is strongly coupled with other carbon reservoirs in the biosphere, vegetation and top-soil, which are as large or larger. It is misleading to consider only the atmosphere and ocean, as the climate models do, and ignore the other reservoirs.

Fifth, the biological effects of CO2 in the atmosphere are beneficial, both to food crops and to natural vegetation. The biological effects are better known and probably more important than the climatic effects.

Sixth, summing up the other five reasons, the climate of the earth is an immensely complicated system and nobody is close to understanding it …

I am saying that all predictions concerning climate are highly uncertain. On the other hand, the remedies proposed by the experts are enormously costly and damaging, especially to China and other developing countries.

On a smaller scale, we have seen great harm done to poor people around the world by the conversion of maize from a food crop to an energy crop. This harm resulted directly from the political alliance between American farmers and global-warming politicians.

Unfortunately the global warming hysteria, as I see it, is driven by politics more than by science. If it happens that I am wrong and the climate experts are right, it is still true that the remedies are far worse than the disease that they claim to cure.

Just a few things.

1.  I note that Channel Ten newsreader Ron Wilson is under attack for suggesting that some parts of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras were an exploitation of sexual imagery, and crossed the line between colourful and disgusting.

I wouldn’t have thought Ron’s questions were all that controversial. The Mardi Gras is deliberately provocative. It provokes by using openly sexual imagery, and by mocking anyone who may be offended by this, or who holds different views about human sexuality or the public display of sexuality.

Ron’s two ‘offensive’ questions came in the context of eight minutes of positive coverage of the Mardi Gras. But this seems to be one of those subjects where there is zero tolerance for diversity of opinion. You can be a supporter of gay rights (as Ron is) but any questioning whatever, of anything, ist verboten. Ron has been forced to apologise.

The outraged demand for an apology is the behaviour of spoilt teenagers, not responsible adults. And given that Mardi Gras participants take it as their right to offend and belittle anyone who disagrees with them, it is also monumentally hypocritical.

2.  People tend to believe in global warming when it is warm, and to be sceptical when it is cold. So lots more people in the Northern hemisphere should be coming over to the side of evidence and reason right about now.

3.  I thought this was amusing:

How Does Solar Power Work?

From Mitchieville, whose motto is “Think globally, act locally, and demand handouts.”

4.  40 Days for Life runs through Lent – from the 9th of March to the 17th of April.

Being pro-life means being committed to the value of all human life – people are people, and valuable, even if they look different, or are smaller, or less intelligent, or less aware. If a society abandons this insight in relation to the unborn, it will soon abandon it in relation to others.

Via Australian Conservative.

I have finally finished my teen fantasy novel Jennifer Jones and the Corridors of Time.

It will be published under the pen name Wynford Wilde.

Now begins the process of finding an agent!

This is the blurb:

When Jennifer Jones stepped off the footpath to help a friend, she expected a few moments of inconvenience. She did not expect to be catapulted behind the curtains of the universe, to the inner workings of time itself.

As Jennifer and her friends try to escape, they accidentally release an imprisoned monster, ancient and cunning. When they learn the creature has kidnapped a small child, Clare, they make up their minds to follow it, and to try to rescue her.

Their journey leads them through the corridors of time, where doors lead to infinite worlds and times. They are determined to succeed, and return home.

But how can four children stand against a destroyer of worlds?

This is the first in a planned series of five self-contained novels tracing the adventures of Jennifer Jones and her friends in the corridors of time, and the worlds to which they lead.

Here are the first five chapters of Jennifer Jones and the Corridors of Time I hope you enjoy them. Any suggestions about a suitable publisher or agent would be welcome!

Mardi Gras means fat (or big) Tuesday. It is the day before Lent.

It is also called Shrove Tuesday because it is a day to be shriven, that is, to confess your sins and ask for absolution so you can enter into the season of Lent with a clear mind and heart, and the determination never again to do anything contrary to the will of God. Mardi Gras because Christians fast during Lent, and luxury foods like eggs and meat are to be finished off on that day – even if there is plenty. So it is a day both to reflect and to feast.

Tonight is the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney. It’s the Saturday night before Shrove Tuesday, not Shrove Tuesday itself. But this has to be just about the most egregious appropriation of a religious festival in human history.

Christians may find the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras offensive. I certainly find some aspects offensive. The sisters of perpetual indulgence, for example, a group of self-obsessed morons who mercilessly belittle and abuse the group, Roman Catholic nuns, who do more on the ground work to relieve AIDS suffering than any other. 

But Christians being offended doesn’t matter. We will go out of our way not to be offensive in return. We certainly won’t subject those who offend us to physical violence.

If the gay and lesbian population really want to make a stand for what they perceive as their rights, why not hold this festival at a time or in a place when it is confronting to a culture that regards them as less than human, which decrees that gays and lesbians should be hanged, stoned or beheaded?

How about the Ramadan Gay and Lesbian Festival? Held in Lakemba?

No?

A clear majority of Australians, including me, believe that gays and lesbians should be treated equally under the law. Not subject to sanctions, and able to register long-standing partnerships for tax or pension or bequest purposes.

But where the heck do they get the idea that a clear majority of Australians believe two men or two women should be able to marry one another?

Marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman. Nothing anyone says is going to change that. And nothing anyone says is going to change the fact that most Australians believe the law should reflect what marriage really is, not whatever passing trends claim it should be.

And no, you can’t marry your pet dolphin.

Well, bickering mums really.

Bonds Baby Search, an online competition to find babies and toddlers suitable to model Bonds brand of babywear, has been rocked by the discovery that not all babies, and not all parents, are cute and cuddly.

Some parents don’t think that some other parents’ babies are all that attractive. This is apparently not allowed. All the babies are gorgeous, even the ugly ones. And no one is allowed to say otherwise.

But why would you enter your baby in a competition where the whole point is that people make judgements about your baby’s appearance, if you are going to get distressed when people make judgements about your baby’s appearance?

And then there’s the race row. Oh dear. A race row.

Actually, of over 50,000 entries and half a million visits to the site, one person (one, 1, uno, a single person) left a mildly racist remark about an asian looking baby – ‘Bonds Australia, not Asia.’

You might think if you had a baby competition in Malaysia, to find a baby to represent a Malaysian brand, that it was quite appropriate that the baby be ethnically Malaysian.

But that is not the way we do things in Australia. And rightly.

Everyone who comes to Australia legally is as much an Australian as anyone else. Any baby in Australia is an Australian baby. It is wrong to suggest otherwise.

But this was one comment, from one person, out of over half a million visitors.

That is not a race row.

I noted last August that people seemed to be confused about how much carbon dioxide there was in the atmosphere. Some people thought that CO2 made up half of all the gasses in the atmosphere.

One of Jo Nova’s readers recently asked 100 people questions about the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, and came up with similar results.

The actual amount is about 380 parts per million. Or 0.038%. Or not quite four one hundredths of one percent.

Human contribution to this total is about 3%. No one knows for certain because there is no way of telling human produced CO2 from natural CO2.

In the past there have been much larger natural variations in CO2 levels without any human input.

For example, when many modern green plants developed in the Cretaceous period, CO2 was aprroximately three times its current level. Coral reefs evolved and thrived during the Mesozoic Period, when atmospheric CO2 levels stayed above 1,000 parts per million for 150 million years and exceeded 2,000 parts per million for several million years, compared with 380 ppm now. Any influence of human activity is minor compared with past natural changes.

But we know that human use of fossil fuels does contribute something to current CO2 levels. Calculations (necessarily very approximate) of the amount of CO2 produced by all human activity as a proportion of what we think we know at the moment of the normal natural carbon cycle, gives a figure of about 3%.

So the influence of human CO2 production on atmospheric gasses is about 0.038 x 3% = 0.00114%

Australia’s share of human produced CO2 is 1.5%.

So Australia’s share of the impact of human CO2 production on atmospheric gasses is 0.038 x 3% x 1.5% =  0.0000171%

The Greens/Gillard plan to tax CO2 is intended to increase prices and reduce production so that CO2 output is reduced by 5%.

So the anticipated change to atmospheric gas composition if this plan is successful is 0.038% x 3% x 1.5% x 5%, or 0.000000855%

Australia’s Carbon Tax will change atmospheric gas composition by less than one molecule in 100 million.

Even on the most exuberant alarmist guesses about the impact of CO2 on climate change, the impact of Australia’s Carbon Tax on climate change will be zero. Nothing.

Just to be clear, the only way a CO2 tax can reduce CO2 output is by making corporations and people change their behaviour. It does this by increasing the cost of energy so that energy usage is reduced.

Increasing the cost of energy means more expensive production and therefore reduced production. It means travel and transport are more expensive. This means everything from food to electricity to sleeping bags to tractors, will cost more.

The cost to selected major corporations is already estimated to be over $10 billion. These costs will be passed on to ordinary Australians in the form of price increases. When other companies and costs are factored in, it is likely that the total cost of the Carbon Tax will be well over $25 billion per year.

This is about $1,250 for every Australian. Or $5,000 for every household. To achieve nothing.

Again, $100 per week cost to the average household, to achieve nothing.

Human CO2 production is growing at approximately 3% per year. Australia’s CO2 output is 1.5% of the total. Even if Australia instantly stopped all CO2 output – that is, if we stopped producing anything, driving anywhere, turned off every appliance and all the lights and stopped breathing – the world would have caught up in just six months time.

An Australian Carbon Tax will have no impact on climate whatever.

The only possible reality based argument for the introduction of a carbon tax in Australia is that of leadership. For this argument to hold water, you have to believe the following things:

  • The world is getting warmer at an alarming rate.
  • This warming is caused by human activity, specifically human production of CO2.
  • Reducing CO2 output to pre-industrial levels will stop the warming.
  • Less costly mitigation or preparation for climate changes will not work. The warming must be stopped.
  • Failure to act will be disastrous.
  • If Australia takes the first step, even if it substantially reduces our standard of living, other nations will follow.
  • When the whole world acts, the world will be saved.

If even one of those points is refuted, the whole argument fails.

Jamie Larcombe was a quiet, decent young man from a hardworking and honest family.

He lived on Kangaroo Island, as I do.

Jamie was a sapper (military engineer and infantryman) in the Australian army. He was killed by insurgents in Afghanistan on February 19th. He was 21 years old.

1,000 people attended his funeral in Kingscote on Friday.

Jamie was known and well liked for his openness, sense of humour and commitment to his community through sport and as a CFS (Country Fire Service) volunteer.

There is a sense of loss in the whole KI community. There is also thankfulness for Jamie’s courage, and for his willingness to undertake duties for his country which were demanding and dangerous.

Prime Minister Gillard said that in honouring Sapper Larcombe she honoured all engineers for their critical work.

“Jamie Larcombe knew why he was in Afghanistan and he did not resile from the job. Australian forces were working under a United Nations mandate, taking the fight to the insurgents, to assist with building governance and capacity, and of course to train the Afghan national army. Jamie Larcombe died doing these three things.

Sapper Larcombe’s loss was not in vain. We best offer his sacrifice by maintaining our resolve and backing his mates as they continue to do the job until the job is done.”

She is right.

Jamie believed in what he was doing. If we believe in it too, then we must not falter in our resolve to continue to help the people of Afghanistan build a safe and stable society.

There is a long way to go.

The Karzai government is duplicitous, lazy and corrupt. The South and East of Afghanistan are still largely controlled by the Taliban, and Western forces struggle to gain the confidence and trust of the local Pashtun people.

But despite the difficulties, there has been extraordinary progress over the last ten years.

According to the World Bank, in 2000 Afghanistan was in the lowest percentile in all six key areas of governance the bank tracks: accountability, rule of law, control of corruption, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, and political stability.

Average income was less than 50c per day, making Afghans amongst the poorest people in the world. Infrastructure, never good to begin with, had collapsed. Roads were not maintained, medical care and educational facilities were almost inoperative.

Only a third of Afghans were able to read or write, and few girls were enrolled in any form of schooling. Over the previous twenty years, as many as fifty percent of Afghans had been killed, wounded or displaced. Less than one fifth of the population had access to clean water.

After the UN (in reality the US and a few key allies like Britain and Australia) intervened following the 9/11 attacks, life for ordinary Afghans began to improve dramatically.

In October 2004 the country held its first ever presidential election. In September 2005, the first parliamentary election since 1973.

GDP increased by 29% in 2002, and averaged 14% growth per year from then to 2009.

By 2008 children were being immunised against diptheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus at a higher rate than anywhere else in South Asia, and at rates comparable to Western democracies.

School enrolments went from 1 million in 2001 to nearly six million in 2008, and the proportion of female students rose from 2% to nearly 40%.

Roads were repaired, and hospitals opened. Most Afghans now have access to sanitation and clean water.

All of this, the most dramatic growth and improvement in any state and economy since Europe’s post World War 2 recovery, has been a result of the courage and commitment of ordinary men and women like Jamie Larcombe.

Rest in peace, Jamie. And thanks.

Let’s be clear about this.  Most Muslims are decent people.

That does not mean there is no problem with Islam.

Consider some of the brutal attacks carried out in the name of Islam over the last few days. These are not crimes which just happened to be committed by Muslims.

Christians, Hindus and Buddhists commit crimes. These were crimes perpetrated by people who claimed that these acts were justified or commanded by their faith – that they were following the example of Muhammed:

2nd March 2011 (Islamabad, Pakistan) – Taliban gunmen kill Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian in Pakistan’s cabinet.
2nd March 2011 (Frankfurt, Germany) – Two US airmen are killed and two civilians wounded when Arif Uka, a 21 year old islamist, fires into a bus.
1st March 2011(Mardan, Pakistan) – Nineteen are injured when the Taliban throw a grenade into a girl’s school.
1st March 2011 (Bara, Pakistan) – Islamic militants behead a civilian and dump his head and torso in separate areas.
1st March 2011 (Miranshah, Pakistan) – Four villagers are abducted and executed in captivity by Sunni fundamentalists.
28th Feb 2011 (Srinagar, India) – An engineer and father of three dies from shrapnel injuries suffered from an Islamist grenade attack at a market.
28th Feb 2011 (Baramulla, India) – A shopkeeper is murdered by Mujahideen gunmen.
28th Feb 2011 (Dabwak, Nigeria) – A Christian mother and four of her children are slaughtered in their home by Muslim militants.
27th Feb 2011 (Landi Kotal, Pakistan) – A tribal elder is abducted and murdered by suspected Lashkar-e-Islam.
27th Feb 2011(Pattani, Thailand) – A 54-year-old salesman is shot to death by Muslim militants.

And in the latest ‘nearly’ scare, on March 1st islamic militant Rajib Karim was found guilty of plotting to blow up a BA passenger jet. Karim had moved to the UK from Bangladesh in 2006.

He was “committed to an extreme jihadist and religious cause” and was “determined to seek martyrdom”, jurors were told.

These are examples from just the last few days.

If Christians started behaving this way, and saying they were doing so in the name of Jesus, I, and every Christian leader in the known world, would be saying as loudly and clearly as we could that such actions were repulsive and utterly incompatible with Christianity.

But Muslim leaders, even those who claim to be moderate, do not do this – or at least, not clearly and consistently.

Watch this video from France:

OK, so that’s France. This is Australia:

So tell us please, Mr Wilkie, how does being concerned about this make someone a racist?

I have written a couple of times about the JBC stock trading – stock market – share price prediction scam.

Nearly two years later, and after many complaints to regulatory authorities, they still seem to be in business.

JBC Global, CFS Live, and anything associated with them, are an outright fraud.

Some of the names given by its ‘senior analysts’ (telephone con agents) are: Paul Harvey, Chris Wallace, Mike Boyd, Bruce Jones, Scott Brennan, David Moore, Adrian Mathews, Gareth Hughes, Philip Duiker, Chris Davis, Danny Cook.

It is likely that these names are invented, as is the ‘senior analyst’ title.

JBC’s website is still active, but is now pretending to be wider than merely stock trading software. It claims to be a comprehensive business development group, offering software development, employment services, and project management. No matter where you enter your details on this site, you will receive a phone call offering to send you a brochure outlining JBC’s services.

This will be an impressive looking, professionally designed and printed brochure intended, like their website, to give an impression of wealth and stability. You will then receive a follow up phone call, offering you one of a very limited number of licenses. If you express doubts, you may be directed to scam websites which appear to review other, legitimate home business or investment packages, and which give glowing reviews, or even awards, to JBC’s program.

All of this is true of CFS cfs-live.com (I am not giving them a link). The same professional website, the same professional looking brochure, the same skanky con-men on the phone.

I suspect that cfs-live is simply a re-badged version of the JBC share price / stock prediction / share trading scam.

There are plenty of these swindlers around. The PCA (position cost averaging) system is another one, complete with its own fake independent review site at stocktradingeguide.com.

JBC and CFS are the stock trading scams which seem to be most active in Australia.

I am not sure why regulators and police seem unwilling or unable to do anything about these thieves. But as long as they continue to operate, ordinary Asutralians are losing their savings.

I intend to get in touch with A Current Affair or Today Tonight and suggest they do a story on JBC and CFS.

If you have been contacted by these groups, and would be willing to share your story, please add a comment using your correct email address (not visible to the public), or contact me – see my profile page for my email address.

Update:

CFS is definitely still active in Australia. I have received emails from a gentleman who spent $8900 in January to buy their programme. For $8900 he got a disk and a booklet, and a folder to put them in.

From his descriptions, the CFS package is identical to the JBC programme.

The software gives a points value to different stocks.  You are supposed to look at the points value and decide what to buy and sell.

The points value appears to be based on sudden movement of stocks up and down. For example if a stock has been stable for a long time and then suddenly drops, it will get a high points value – that is, a buy recommendation – on the basis that it is likely to come back up again just as quickly.

These are frequently very bad recommendations.

The recommendations are bad because the programme has no idea what is going on the real world. A stock that suddenly decreases in value usually does so for a good reason.

Stefan left this comment at one of the earlier JBC / CFS posts:

I’ve been contacted by a chris of cfs. He was trying to sell cfs end of day trading software. he gave me the websites gfmo.org homebusinessprofessionals.biz which have reviews of their software but the net has no links to these sites or to cfs which means they are all probably a bit dubious. His phone number was 1300 441 355.

GFMO and homebusinessprofessionals are  fake ‘independent’ websites, set up by JBC/CFS to reassure prospective buyers.

Referring prospects to fake sites to give an appearance of legitimacy makes it clear that the JBC or CFS packages are not  products offered in good faith.

Don’t fall for these scams!

Dear Mr Wilkie,

I have been disappointed by your claims of racism in the Liberal party.

As far as I am aware, no Liberal or National Party member of Federal Parliament has made disparaging claims or remarks about any group or person on the basis of race.

Some members of the Liberal Party have expressed concerns about the willingness of some members of a particular religious group to accept Australian law and values.

Concerns about a religious group are not racism.

Those concerns are shared by many Australians.

Australians in general do not have the same level of concern about other religious groups such as Hindus or Buddhists or Lutherans.

If you believe concerns about Islam to be unfounded, then I suggest you counter them with facts showing that Islam genuinely is a religion of peace, that Muslim attitudes to women and homosexuals are compatible with those held by mainstream Australian society, and that Muslim leaders in Australia are consistent in their denunciation of violence and terrorism, and supportive of Australian values and alliances, eg with Israel and the US.

Claims of racism are factually incorrect. They are dishonest.

They will win you temporary headlines.

But Australians are not stupid. False accusations of racism will not distract from this government’s incompetence and broken promises.

Sent this morning. I am guessing I will receive a form reply consisting of a list of imagined Liberal Party offences, and no attempt at all to respond to community concerns with facts.

Um…

An Australian surgeon who amputated a trapped man’s legs in Christchurch, using only a hacksaw and a multi-purpose tool, is “doing okay” despite her harrowing ordeal.

Speaking in Sydney on Friday, the president of the Urological Society of Australia, Dr David Malouf, said the amputation took place 30 minutes after Tuesday’s quake in a confined space under difficult circumstances.

“I’ve spoken with the individual, she’s doing OK,” he said.

Well that’s great. I am sure she did a great job. And it cannot have been a pleasant thing to have to do.

But I suspect it was even more harrowing for the man whose legs were removed. How is he going, I wonder?

Update:

The man’s name is Brian Coker. He is doing well, and is thankful for the intervention which saved his life.

Brian Coker's Legs Were Amputated After the Christchurch Earthquake

He seems a brave and decent man:

… acknowledging his life would never be the same, he said his thoughts were focused on the people of Christchurch as the traumatised city is rattled by constant aftershocks, particularly those who had lost loved ones.

“My heart goes out to them,” he said. “I have colleagues who are injured and colleagues who are missing and my condolences go out to their families.”

Isolated protests have broken out in North Korea.

South Korea has dropped 3 million leaflets into North Korea. The leaflets are about pro-democracy protests in other parts of the world. South Korea has also been sending rice, medicines and radios in baskets attached to balloons.

All good.

But what really caught my eye was this complaint from North Korean authorities: ‘When such an incident took place in the past, people used to report their neighbours to the security forces, but now they’re covering for each other.’