Sticks and stones break everyone's bones


...A former SAS commander and a leading light of the Australian Christian Lobby, Brigadier Jim Wallace, saw maleness as the essence of fighting spirit: ''Armies throughout the world that fight best come from a culture which has a strongly ingrained male bonding in the culture . . . You can read it right throughout Australian military history, that the reason Australian troops have fought so well is because of the strength of mateship in our culture, carried into our army.'' Then there's mere physical strength. Speaking by phone to a breakfast radio program, Wallace observed: ''My wife just handed me a jar that she couldn't open and I opened it. You know, I rest my case.'' Ah, the marmalade jar test....

Climate, tax, deficit... now a fight with the army


MacArthur was revered by the American public for his leadership in the Pacific War and his removal as commander of the Korean War saw Truman's public standing plummet. The president sacked the hero for his repeated, public questioning of the civilian leaderships conduct of the war. The General wanted to attack China when it entered the war on the North Korean side; the president believed this would be disastrous. In the short term things looked bad for the president. On his return to the United States MacArthur was greeted with ticker-tape parades and invited by Republicans to address Congress on the conduct of the war. Truman was booed at a baseball game and his enemies called for the president's impeachment.

Is there a place for religion in our schools?

City News

“Freedom = the distance between church and state” reads a bumper sticker that makes its way around Canberra.

Gillard's carbon hopes up in smoke


The Gillard government's plans to put a price on carbon have suffered a body blow, with key unions demanding exemptions for industry that are unacceptable to the Greens. With his own job under threat from a hostile membership, the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, Paul Howes, demanded yesterday that the steel industry be given a complete exemption from the carbon scheme and that there be generous compensation for the aluminium, cement and glass sectors.

Woolworths revealed to own more pokies than the Adelaide Casino

Woolworths is the state's biggest pokie baron, operating more machines than Adelaide Casino. The Woolwors machines alone are set to rake in $60 million this year. An Advertiser investigation has revealed major corporate organisations, including Woolworths and Coles, have led a consolidation of the state's pokie sector and own an increasingly large slice of the machines. The Australian Hotels Association, leading a $20 million mass advertising campaign against reforms to limit problem gambling, counts the supermarket giants as members and includes Woolworths representatives on its executive.

Educating bigots

Eureka Street

The problem with freedom of speech is that some people broadcast to a willing constituency, and others are effectively silenced. Syndicated columnists have the ear of millions. Unpopular minorities preach to the small ranks of the converted. The ideal remedy for targets of vilification and incitement to hatred is, surely, to give them the resources, support and opportunities to counter and contradict and 'speak back' to the vilifier, in a way that validates their experience and increases their confidence, competence and conversational presence in the community.

Bill Allowing Religious Groups to Deny Gay Adoption Killed in Committee

Christian Post

A bill that would allow religious child welfare organizations to turn away adoption and foster care applications by gay couples was shot down by an Illinois Senate commitee Wednesday. The Senate Executive Committee rejected the bill by a narrow vote, 7 to 6, after gay rights groups fiercely lobbied against the legislation. The bill, an amendment to SB1123, would have protected the right of a child welfare agency that is religiously affiliated to reject gay couples seeking to adopt or be a foster family if acceptance meant violating its religious beliefs. Religious agencies that do not accept applications by same-sex couples would be required to refer the party to the Department of Children and Family Services to obtain information on other local child welfare agencies.

Youth vote splits as young desert Labor

The Australian

Labor's youth vote is diving under Julia Gillard, with young voters close to being evenly split between the Coalition, the ALP and the Greens. Tony Abbott has defied commentators who claimed he would have a problem with young voters by stabilising youth support for the Coalition on a primary vote of 31 per cent. But an analysis of Newspoll surveys over the past decade shows Labor's youth vote has been hemorrhaging, with many of their young supporters defecting to the Greens since March 2002.

Kobe Bryant fined $100,000 for gay slur

The Age

The NBA fined Kobe Bryant $US100,000 on Wednesday for using a homophobic slur after he was slapped with a technical foul in the Lakers 102-93 victory over San Antonio on Tuesday. ‘‘Kobe Bryant’s comment during last night’s game was offensive and inexcusable,’’ NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement. ‘‘While I’m fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated. Accordingly, I have fined Kobe $US100,000.

Keep your moralities away from our bodies


In a relatively subdued fashion in Australia, and far more dramatically in the US in the last week, the issue of abortion, or rather who determines the dominant ideological position on abortion, has again been the subject of heated debate. In the US, the topic of abortion almost brought about a federal government shut down, when Republicans negotiating budget cuts fought for the de-funding of Planned Parenthood, an organisation that provides women’s health services such as cervical cancer screenings, contraception, breast exams, and some 4 million treatments a year for sexually transmitted diseases. The call for de-funding was justified by Republicans and prominent Tea Party supporters such as Sarah Palin as necessary to prevent taxpayers’ money being used to provide abortions. Palin tweeted that “the country’s going broke, we can’t AFFORD cowboy poetry and subsidised abortion.”