Camped at Eagle Nest near Sharks Bay WA

You can just see the glow of my laptop where I was working on a clients web sIte in Tassie hosted through Rumcorps.net servers in Dallas Texas. As good an office as any!

Whales off the NW Coast

A pod of about 20 whales come fast from astern and passed either side of the yacht, frightening hell out of us.

Fire on the road

No flames apparent so I hardly slowed down until I had travelled a hundred odd meters with no visibility. About the time I started to panic I came out the other side.

Have a good one

 

Blackhawk Down

Eight survive chopper crash in Queensland.

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PILOT error is suspected as the cause of a Black Hawk helicopter crash which left six soldiers injured and the $25 million aircraft destroyed near Amberley RAAF base southwest of Brisbane yesterday.

The army helicopter with eight on board was on a training exercise when it reportedly clipped trees and ploughed into a cow paddock at Mt Walker, 12km southwest of Amberley about 10.30am.

The press release condemns the Trainee Pilot who after recovering from the crash will most probably be a trainee landrover driver.

A trainee pilot, 23, and his instructor, 33, were at the controls with four other trainees and two loadmasters in the cabin.

It is not clear whether the instructor or his co-pilot had control of the helicopter at the time of the crash.

Update:

From Defence Media

Of the eight persons on board, six members suffered injuries. The current status of the injuries as of this morning is:

– One member suffered a spinal fracture and will undergo surgery over the weekend.
– One member suffered breaks to his wrist and knee and is recovering from surgery.
– Two members received minor injuries and are being held for observation at Amberley Base medical facilities.
– One member sustained minor injuries and is being held at Royal Brisbane Hospital for observation.
– One member sustained neck trauma similar to whiplash and is being held at Princess Alexandra Hospital.
– The other two members are being held for observation at Enoggera Army Base Hospital

Super Deal

Latham calls it and Howard looks and agrees. Some will call it a flip-flop but they’re wrong. Howard never said No. He said I’ll look at it. If Super isn’t on the agenda next week then Howard and the country have won and Latham will be wondering how it all happened. Still that’s what Oppositions should be all about – force the issue…change for the better.

News.com flags it well. PM smothers super grenade

The Power of Suggestion

Clearly Dennis Shanahan and The Australian want an investigation into WMD Intelligence Assessments.

This article, headed ‘Spy agencies to face new WMD inquiry’ is very long on suggestion and very, very short on facts.

AUSTRALIA’S spy agencies can expect..

The Howard Government is expected to agree to an independent inquiry..

..a recommendation for an independent inquiry is expected.

Pressure has grown for an independent inquiry ..

..the external inquiry into Australia’s intelligence assessment is not expected to include politicians.

It is also likely to be more secretive than the US inquiry..

Dennis has based an entire article on the passsive ‘expected’. Nowhere is there a ‘will’, ‘is to’ or ‘are going to’ statement. The entire article is based on the fact that Dennis thinks there should be an inquiry.

Hang on. Dennis does actually quote someone rather than rely on conjecture

Mr Howard has refused to order an external inquiry until the findings of a parliamentary inquiry, due to be released in March, are made public.

Keep up the good work Dennis but I feel that by March the electorate will have
other things to occupy it’s mind. For example, by March the public could well be running a book counting Flip-Flop’ Latham’s policy reversals.

To make the article more confusing the on-line editors have grafted a part of another article about Bill Gates and Microsoft security into the middle of ‘the I want an enquiry’ article..Confusing but so is the whole article particularly when it ends with this.

But both the Opposition Leader and Mr Rudd have fallen short of demanding such an inquiry until the parliamentary committee reports. Yesterday the Coalition and the ALP joined forces in the Senate to block a Greens motion to hold a judicial inquiry into the intelligence agencies.

Most people understand, some need telling, that Intelligence work is not as precise as maths. Never was..never will be. It is always based on assumptions and unless you have operators on the ground, in the enemies HQ, then you can only assume.

The Left and other Howard haters will push this Intelligence issue for all it’s worth but all it’s worth is not very much.

One for Vietnam Vets

Kerry wins big in Maine caucus and questions Bush’s Vietnam Service.

Mr. Kerry took the opportunity to highlight his background as a decorated Vietnam veteran and questioned whether President Bush had fulfilled his Vietnam-era commitment to the National Guard.

Mr. Kerry insisted that he was not making a political issue of Mr. Bush’s Vietnam-era service, saying he had no trouble with the “many people” such as Mr. Bush who served in the Guard to reduce the odds of seeing combat in Vietnam.

Kerry VVAW.jpg

True, Bush didn’t serve in Vietnam but then he didn’t serve for both sides either.

Pic from fellow Vietnam Vet Peter Munro.

Update:

For more info go to the Vietnam Vets against John Kerry website

Defence Expenditure

‘Projects axed to fund spy planes’ is the spin at The Australian. Not hard to find a negative spin if you want but defence expenditure is a difficult game and like a battle plan must remain felxible when it comes in contact with the enemy (or reality).

“The ground-based air defence system for the army was a missile system that was going to replace the Rapier surface-to-air missiles and that’s dropped out,” Australian Strategic Policy Institute analyst Aldo Borgu said yesterday. “So there’s a question mark over whether there’s adequate air defence cover of our troops when they are deployed.”

Could someone remind me of the last time Aussie troops were attacked by air. World War Two, I think. I’m not saying our troops don’t need air defence cover but if we have to opt for Global Hawks, new tanks and ships over air defence missiles then I’d go for the former group every time.

The cuts have been made to pay for the $1 billion purchase of up to 12 US-made Global Hawk unmanned spy planes, up to 100 new main battle tanks for $600 million and extra ships worth up to $3.5 billion to transport troops to areas of conflict.

The Global hawks will replace the Orions operating out of South Australia and will do an exponentially better job. The Orions have been around for nearly as long as I have and like me, can only be described as ‘tired’ old technology.

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Read all about the Global Hawk here.

Likewise the tanks need replacing and I’ve argued for decades that we need efficient, modern ships to take our troops and all their support to conflict areas.

It may have escaped some commentators notice but defence has had huge changes in it’s expected role of late. While we still must be prepared to fight a conventional war we have been increasingly involved in conflict that is anything but conventional. Rapier missiles would not have helped at the WTC, Bali or Iraq, but Global Hawks were very useful in Iraq and new ships to transport troops to conflict areas with their guns and modern tanks will always be needed in any type of conflict.

I tried to get info from Defence.gov.au but it’s not loading. Must be the RAAF’s turn to run it and they’re all busy celebrating not having to fly long, lonely, boring recon patrols .

Good idea, I reckon. Go for it.

US, Australia sign trade pact

The most interesting aspect of the trade deal will be the medias interpretation. Already different commentators are taking different approaches.

Latham says it’s bad and rushed so both Howard and Bush can get political mileage. Well he would say that wouldn’t he? With both the US and Australian elections some months away I just can’t see that as relevant. Negotiations have been going on for some time already.

News.com puts a negative spin on the deal quoting Latham in both articles

The Age reports it as it is and lists benefits to the US and Australia.

I tend to think a trade deal is better than no trade deal and there seems to be plenty of advantage to both parties. Vaille and his team have worked hard and the fact that most goods will enter the US duty free can only help.

The Left wing and Howard haters will scream and push sugar and the yet to be announced variation to the Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme down our throats for some time yet but most will see the benefits.

Kids names

After the article about the Nerd calling his son Ver 2.0 we now have a little light humour on the subject from my mate Paul

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“We met on the Internet. These are our kids: Control, Alt and Delete.?

Offensive Art

In Melbourne comes a story depicting the level of debate the Howard haters love.

A PAINTING mocking the relationship between Prime Minister John Howard and American President George W Bush has been labelled offensive by the Victorian Liberal opposition.

Aboriginal artist Gordon Hookey’s Sacred nation, sacred nation, indoctrination, theme is on display at the Ian Potter Gallery in Federation Square

The painting includes a line that states: “John Howard and Australia are so far up George Dubbah Yah Bush and the USA’s arse that we’re in the s—. We’re kept in the dark and it stinks.”

How indescribably tasteless. He might think he’s clever but the majority of Australians will think he’s fouling his own nest .

You are in the dark, old son, and you stink.

Bill Leak’s cartoon yesterday that depicted thre Ostriches, two with UK and US flags adorning their feathers have their head in the sand while the third, with the Aussie flag, has it’s head up the US birds fundamental orifice.

You are so clever, Bill but the only people who would have laughed are the grade three boys my son teaches at Yepoon. Oh, Ok some lefties would have laughed as well but their sense of humour is based on grade three anyway.

Grade three humour, Grade three art.

Upgrade: Reader James Riley has come up with more info on Hocking and his Grade three scribbles and daubles here and herethat links to the offensive painting, “Fuck’n Our Land. Should you wish to send the gallery an email complaining of this gutter art then click here

Yobbo also picked up on event.

Time is the essence

My daughter Liz sent me this pic. She thinks its fake, I’m not sure.

Can any US or local readers comment?

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Capt Christopher Strickland ejects from a USAF ‘Thunderbirds’ F-16C less than one second before it hits the ground at Mountain Home Air Base Idaho, on Sep 14th 2003.

Update:

Wallace from Big Gold Dog says it’s true and who am I to argue with a Texan. See comments.

I hope it’s true!

Four youths from Canberra, Australia, pulled off a trick of breathtaking bravado in order to gain revenge on a mobile speed camera van operating in the area. Three of the group approached the van and distracted the operator’s attention by asking a series of questions about how the equipment worked and how many cars the operator could catch in a day. Meanwhile, the fourth musketeer sneaked to the front of the van and unscrewed its numberplate. After bidding the van operator good-bye, the friends returned home, fixed the number plate to their car and drove through the camera’s radar at high speed – 17 times. As a result, the automated billing system issued 17 speeding tickets to itself. Go Aussies!!

Now that’s a ‘feel good’ story courtesy of a SASR forum.

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