all right

Occasionally adding corroborative details to add verisimilitude to otherwise bald and unconvincing,
but veridicous accounts
with careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discrimination.

26 August, 2013

Fast Lies and Not Very Fast Trains

Hon. Anthony Albanese, the Deputy PM and Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, today claimed that all continents—including, he helpfully explained, Europe and Asia—have high-speed rail.
That was a lie.
In Africa, Morocco, Algeria and South Africa are planning to have high-speed rail systems.

In South America, Argentina had plans to have
high-speed rail; Brazil is constructing high-speed rail.
In North America, the USA has high speed rail only if we define high speed as not much above 60 mph—i.e., not very high speed at all.
Only in France and Japan, by the way, do enough passengers use high speed rail to make it profitable.

If Mr. Albanese were to give the $52,000,000 which he’s promising a proposed HSR-investigating authority* to me instead, I can safely promise him that I’ll be able to teleport people between the cities by transporter beam within twenty-five years—with as effective a guarantee as he’s promising high speed rail to the electorate. 
Of course, the Government’s silly proposal proves that the Government hasn’t quite listened to its own NBN propaganda; within twenty-five years no-one will need to travel because 120% of the population will be working from home, seeing their employers or clients on their monitors, having their medicines prescribed online, printing all their technological devices on their 3D printers, growing all their soylent green hydroponically in their basements, and going on holidays in their surround-sound holo-chambers. 

to “finalise station locations and to develop a business case”. 

(Originally posted, piecemeal, to Catallaxy Files.) 

UPDATE I:  at a projected cost of $114,000,000,000, according to the Government, and assuming that the HSR averaged a thousand full fare-paying passengers a day all year (and also assuming—ha!—that the trains cost no more to run after that substantial investment), to pay back 10% of the investment annually, fares (in today’s value) would have to be over $30,000 each.  Currently, a cheaper fare for a trip by aeroplane from Melbourne to Brisbane can be procured for $147.

Yet Another Good Idea 

Though we’d travel more
quickly and far more cheaply
by an aeroplane,

the latest grand plan
from Rudd and Albanese:
a very fast train!

How could such a scheme
ever make any profit?
They cannot explain.

Evidently, the
PM and his deputy
are not very sane.

22 August, 2013

Bully for the PM!

A make-up artist, Lily Fontana, reported on her Facebook page that the Hon. Hevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia—well known as a rude, imperious, demanding, short-tempered, conceited, self-important, egotistical and perhaps even psychopathic, petty tyrant—was a bully:
Oh boy, I have [n]ever had anyone treat me so badly whilst trying to do my job.
 Subsequently, after a swift campaign of harassment, the woman deleted her post.  Ben Packham of The Australian reported that “Rudd has no hard feelings as make-up artist removes post”:
“Didn’t think my personal page/opinion of my day would get so much attention. What a lesson to learn. I’ve removed the post & regret making the comments I did,” she said.
Mr Rudd said he wasn’t happy about having make-up applied at the best of times, and had been “in the zone” when he encountered Ms Fontana ahead of his clash with Mr Abbott.
“I think a misunderstanding has occurred,” he said.
Ah, yes, it was all misunderstanding, because he was “in the zone”.  Let’s try making that excuse next time we’re up before the beak:  “Yes, your worship, I did kick that pusillanimous PM in the orchestras but I have an excuse.  You see, I was in the zone when he passed me and, well, I think a misunderstanding had occurred.”
Ms Fontana regretted posting her remarks after she was abused, bullied and calumniated—by the bullying supporters, henchmen and minions of the man who once promised that he’d never silently condone abuse of women:
Australian men need to take responsibility for changing the behaviour that leads to violence against women and children, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says.
It is time to end the silence which indicates a tolerance of violent behaviour affecting 350,000 women every year, at a cost to the nation of $13.6 billion, he said.
“Because for too long, silence has been seen as a form of tolerance,” Mr Rudd said in a speech in Canberra on Wednesday.
“And our national resolve must be zero tolerance. Zero tolerance when it comes to violence against women and violence against children.”
We have, for the next couple of weeks—but haply no more—a bullying, duplicitous, hypocritical coward for a Prime Minister.

The PM’s “In the Zone” Example

Kevin Rudd, whilst having his make-up
done, acts as though he has a snake up
his arse. Perhaps we should all take up
his lead, and be mad, arrogant pricks.
This PM earns a “grabs the cake” cup
for spite, and badly needs a shake up;
the voters, I say, ought to break up
his rotten regime with well-aimed bricks.

Our dear PM chatting with his make-up artist.

UPDATE II (23 August):  adding a rather reasonable, heart-felt comment to your own Facebook page could be perceived by the media, alas, as a “precious” rant; see “Cracks now appearing in Kevin’s make-up”, by Simon Benson:
Whether Ms Fontana [were] justified in posting a rant about Rudd becomes an irrelevancy, however, in the face of the monstering she received in social media by the Labor hit squad.
No wonder her post was withdrawn.  The Labor luvvies took to Twitter like hounds to a hare, claiming a Liberal conspiracy.  A former State Labor MP said she was about to get on the phone and sort her out.
Rudd’s mood, if indeed he was in one as the Coalition was swift to suggest, may not have been helped by an event at the Broncos earlier in the day.  Officials at the club were bunkered down since morning, waiting for their own spray from Rudd.
The Prime Minister is the number one ticket holder of the Broncos, by virtue of his title presumably.
So it’s understandable that he may have had his nose out of joint when on the morning of the debate, Tony Abbott turned up at the club to make an announcement with the Premier of Queensland Campbell Newman.
The club has been lobbying for help to build a new training facility on neighbouring land.  Newman got up to announce he would give the land to the Broncos for free.  Abbott got up and said an elected Federal Coalition Government would give the club $5 million to kick start construction.
Rudd was in Brisbane on the same day and had been kept in the dark.  When he found out, he reportedly “lost his shit” according to a source.
An official of the club had told several attendees that they had their hard hats on, waiting for the backlash to come.  But to Rudd’s credit, he never made the call.
Hang on, it’s to the PM’s credit that on one occasion he didn’t furiously over-react?  So we ought to praise him for acting with the sort of common courtesy which is rightly expected from ordinary people as a matter of course?
[H]is office told the club they understood the political realities involved.
But the fact that people live in anticipation of Rudd throwing a wobbly when he doesn’t get his way says a lot about whether people believe he has changed.
UPDATE II (23 August)an example of Kevin Rudd’s famed courtesy towards women: 

UPDATE III (25 August):  Miranda Devine, in “Character is destiny, Kevin”, refers to Lana Fontana’s “bombshell comment”:
It was […] devastating because it was so believable.  It crystallised underlying character assessments of both men that have slowly been forming in the electorate.
Despite his genial, cheery persona, here was a glimpse of the other Rudd we have heard about, a nasty, volatile man.
Before Fontana was harassed into deleting her Facebook post on Thursday, fellow Brisbane make-up artist Abigael Johnston added a comment:  “I second this Lily.  I have had a very similar experience!  Must run in the family as Mr Howard and Mr Costello were gentlemen with a capital G.  Mr Abbott is following in their footsteps.
“The other, I could not even Facebook how he treated the crew.  Just abhorrent!”
We have enough circumstantial evidence to say that Rudd treats people he regards as lower status as insignificant and unworthy of courtesy.
This is why Fontana’s observations were significant.  Kevin Rudd has form.  […]
A former soldier, Arthur, on duty at Kabul International Airport one wintry day in 2007, remembers Rudd’s first visit to Afghanistan as PM.
It still hurts to recall the bags of eagerly anticipated Christmas mail due on the plane.
Before Rudd landed, a senior officer warned the troops there would be no mail.  Rudd had “insisted his entire entourage fly with him on the same aircraft so they offloaded all the mail”, says Arthur.
One of the Diggers broke the silence:  “Johnny would have brought the mail.”  As in Howard.  […]
Three years later, Arthur was on his way out on leave when his plane was diverted to Tarin Kowt to pick up a VIP whose plane had broken down.
It was Tony Abbott.
Once airborne, the Opposition Leader walked to the back of the plane and told the troops:  “I just want to apologise for stealing your aircraft and holding you up.  I know you all have somewhere you would rather be.”
Arthur remembers Abbott took time to speak to each person in the cargo hold.  Reputations are built up bit by bit, through chance encounters, small connections, word of mouth.  But once they jell, it is impossible for even the cleverest spin doctor to supplant them.
Character is destiny.
UPDATE IV (28 August):  see “Rudd family hurt by rudeness claims”, by Lanai Scarr and Gemma Jones:
Kevin Rudd denies he has a rude personality and says anyone who has known him long would know he doesn’t.
Following reports last week that Mr Rudd was rude to a make-up artist at a forum in Brisbane, the Prime Minister defended himself.
He said such commentary hurt both him and his family.
“It knocks you around a bit, that’s the truth of it, because we are all human beings,” Mr Rudd told the [astonished] Seven Network [which, thitherto had believed that Mr. Rudd and his family were demigods or alien, astral beings].
“Anyone who has worked with me closely for a period of time will have a conclusion that is vastly different to what is run in Liberal Party political advertisements.”
Some of the people who worked most closely with the PM might beg to differ.
Nicola Roxon:  “He was very difficult to work with […].  It wouldn’t be good for the country to have Mr Rudd as prime minister again.
Tony Burke:  “And the stories that were around of the chaos, of the temperament, of the inability to have decisions made, they are not stories.”
Stephen Conroy:  “Kevin Rudd had contempt for the cabinet. Contempt for the cabinet members. Contempt for the caucus. Contempt for the parliament. Ultimately what brought him down ... was the Australian public worked out that he had contempt for them as well.
Stephen Smith:  “If you wanted one sentence why the cabinet and the caucus and the party moved away from Kevin, it was because it became increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to work difficult issues through with him.
Alan Ramsey: Kevin Rudd is what I call a PPP – a prissy, precious prick.  One with a glass jaw, a quick temper and, when he loses it, a foul tongue.  And don't imagine I’m the only one who thinks so.
A brief excerpt of the PM trying to film a polite response to those who call him rude: 

UPDATE V (28 August)Louis XVIII is supposed to have said, “l’exactitude est la politesse des rois”; whilst punctuality is the politeness of princes, tardiness is the discourtesy of insolent leaders.  See “Abbott’s dirty tricks? Consistency and class”, by Miranda Devine:
If you measure a candidate by the logistical execution of their campaign, then so far, according to the travelling media pack, the Abbott camp wins, hands down.
“Chaos” and “late” are the two words most frequently used to describe Rudd’s campaign.
On Monday afternoon for instance, camera crews were told to assemble at Circular Quay for a Prime Ministerial picture opportunity.
After waiting more than 90 minutes, during which time Rudd conducted an interview with the ABC’s youth radio station Triple J, the waiting crews were told he would not be arriving.  No explanation.
No one expects sympathy for the media.  But there is talk of other, far less forgivable delays, such as Aborigines in Arnhem land kept waiting for three hours for Rudd to arrive for a brief stump speech, soldiers in full kit in Townsville languishing for two hours in 35 degree heat.
The delays are chronic and inexplicable, often involving Rudd sitting in his VIP RAAF jet.
There are stories of RAAF crews and AFP officers left cooling their heels on tarmacs all over the nation, delays which play havoc with rosters.
Even the one night Rudd put on media drinks at a pub in Townsville, he didn’t arrive till 10.30pm, by which stage some of the media, who had been up since 5am, had given up waiting and gone to bed.
Rudd’s tardiness has become such a hallmark of his campaign that one photographer created an online video called Waiting for Kevin, showing people standing around, just waiting.
These may seem like small quibbles in the context of an important federal election, but the logistical differences between the two campaigns are a clue to each candidate’s temperament and leadership style.
UPDATE VI (2 September)Thérèse Rein, the wife of our incompetent prime minister, relates how Kevin Rudd can’t be trusted to perform simple tasks correctly:
“I want to introduce a husband who was sent to Bunnings for a mozzie candle—one mozzie candle.  He comes back with Roman flares, Blu-Tac, an extension cord, potting mix, a step ladder, secateurs, but no mozzie candle.”

Thérèse Rein is a woman, by the way, whom her husbands’ friends in government sent to help unemployed and disabled people but returned, not with a sterling record of successfully assisting anyone, but with a couple of hundred million dollars appropriated from taxpayers.

UPDATE VII (2 September):  at Labor’s campaign launch, the PM said:
To those who say that Mr Abbott has already won this election, I say this:  never, ever, ever, underestimate the fighting spirit of the Australian Labor Party.  I have been in tougher spots before and come back from behind.
When, however, has the PM been in tougher spots?  When, because of his growing unpopularity and remarkable incompetence, he was sacked as PM by his own party and felt obliged to engineer his return “from behind” with a three-year campaign of destabilising his own party and Government?  Oh.

UPDATE VIII (3 September):  on the ABC’s “Q & A”, the Kevin Rudd mocked Christians and attacked a pastor, who asked a general question on the PM’s good faith, on the PM’s recent support for same-sex “marriage”:
Pastor Matt Prater:  I’m just curious, for you, Kevin, if you call yourself a Christian: why don’t you believe the words of Jesus in The Bible?”
Hon. Kevin Rudd:  Well, mate—well, mate, if I was gonna have that view, The Bible also says that slavery is a natural condition. [Wild applause.]
So, he’s not a Christian, then.

Rudd used to argue—just like [Pastor Matt Prater]—“marriage is between a man and woman” and “it’s just been our traditional, continuing view”.  Was he then a gay-hater?
But with a convert’s zeal, Rudd showed no respect for the opinion he used to hold or for the pastor.  He sought to win an argument by bullying, not persuading.  Hasn’t that been Labor’s way?  To denigrate people for holding opinions Labor itself once held or has since adopted?
Remember how Labor abused as “racists” those of us warning its lax border laws were luring boat people here?  See how Labor has since decided, too late, its laws were indeed too soft?
Remember how Labor branded as “misogynists” those of us warning Julia Gillard was incompetent, preaching division and hatred?  See how Labor has since admitted Gillard was too divisive?
Remember how Labor vilified as “deniers” those of us warning the carbon tax was a useless fix to a global warming that's paused?  Remember how we were abused, but never answered?
This is the most important lesson from Rudd’s attack.  Given the chance to persuade even a fellow Christian, Rudd abused him instead and insulted his faith.  He made an enemy of Christians who could have been his allies.
“I thought he was a bit rough,” Prater later told The Australian.
“I was a bit shocked because I feel we have to have a reasonable rational discussion about this.”
Yet Rudd’s camp thought this his finest moment, wife Therese Rein retweeting, “You were bloody brilliant tonight Kevin”.
No, he wasn’t.  And until Labor realises why, it’s finished.

19 August, 2013

Another Reason to Celebrate on Election Day

To celebrate the forthcoming the World Beard Day on 7 September, here are some excellent beardy songs from The Beards:

UPDATE (4 October):

04 August, 2013

A “Black Black Black Black Blackety-Black Black” Mark

The cover of a new DVD has irked some racists, apparently, because only a few weeks ago I was admonished by various commentators that, at least for spectators at an Australian football match, referring to people with Aboriginal ancestry as “black” was despicably racist.  In “Furore over ‘sexist, racist’ Sapphires DVD cover for US release”, by Karl Quinn, we read:
London-based American blogger MaryAnn Johanson wrote on her site on Tuesday that the artwork [for the cover of the US DVD] “is a problem”, suggesting Anchor Bay had both “dick-washed and whitewashed The Sapphires”.
“The women are Aborigines,” she wrote. “They are black black black black blackety-black black.  Not blue.  Oh, and they’re women.”

Just a thought but, maybe, the women were coloured blue because sapphires tend to be blue.
No-one seems to have been irked by the claim, on the cover of the region 1 DVD, that the film was “based on the incredible true story”.
Candice Chung, in Chris O’Dowd recast as The Sapphires star”, joins in the fun:
what’s outrageous about the Saphhiresgate is that it has not only (quite literally [!]) pushed the women out of the spotlight, but in doing so – also whitewashed [!] the film by featuring a better known white male star.
Australian director, screenwriter and playwright Briony Kidd highlighted the problematic approach on her blog, “If there’s a ‘name’ involved who’ll pique people’s interest, why wouldn’t you emphasise that?  But there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed ... there are also political and cultural sensitivities to be considered.”
In this case, the irony [?] is made even more painfully acute as the film is based on a true story – at a time where indigenous voices, particularly that of women’s, were stifled by significant social and political injustices.

As Kidd noted: “Given that the film itself touches on issues of racism in Vietnam War-era Australia, when it was hard for young women like these to gain the recognition their talents warranted, it’s egregious.”
Are the four women who star as “The Sapphires” in that film noticeably “blackety-black”?  Judging from various pictures, they don’t look as if they are extremely dark, as some might expect from learning that the film is based on the story of two Yorta Yorta women, from northeast Victoria.  Deborah Mailman has both Bidjera, from Queensland, and Māori heritage.  Jessica Mauboy’s father is of Indonesian descent, and her mother is an Indigenous Australian with Native American and English descentThe father of Shari Sebbens was of English descent, and her mother, from Broome, is of Jabirr Jabirr and Bardi heritage.  Miranda Tapsel once explained: “Mum is indigenous, from the Larrakia people of Darwin […] and from my father I get his Irish, English and Czech background.”  All four of these women, I notice, appear to have no ancestral or cultural ties to Yorta Yorta people, and none of them seems to have a family resemblance to one of the other three.
By the same process whereby someone with only one indigenous great-grandparent chooses to identify as Indigenous, the four singing stars of “The Sapphires”, if they felt the need, could choose to identify as, say, Māori, Indonesian, English and Czech.
In 2004 Tony Briggs—co-writer of the film, and author of the play whereon the film is based—explained that “The Sapphires” was loosely based on the real story of two sisters, his mother and his aunt, who toured Vietnam:
he says he found it liberating as a writer to expand the number of characters.  There were four women in the group originally, but only two were available to go to Vietnam.
Perhaps we need an Indigenous Australian elder to explain authoritatively who may rightly refer to Australians of mixed ancestry as “black black black black blackety-black black”, and where and when, and who may not.  Perhaps we also need to consider that many tales which people relate may not be true so much as based on a true story.

UPDATE I (5 August):  see “Original members of The Sapphires singing group slighted by ‘racist' US DVD cover of film based on their career, by Tristan Swanwick:
The original members of Aboriginal singing group The Sapphires have protested the “racist” US DVD cover of the film based on their career.
Naomi Mayers, Beverly Briggs, Lois Peeler and Laurel Robinson have joined a chorus of condemnation over American distributor Anchor Bay’s alteration of cover art for the hit Australian film.
The indigenous women, whose defiance of racism in 1960s Australia inspired the movie, have written to powerful US lobby the National Association for the Advancement of Colored (sic) People asking them to support a campaign to have the original art reinstated.  “As I’m sure you can appreciate, the treatment of people of colour in Australia mirrored much of the trauma to which people in the United States were subjected,” the group say in a letter written on their behalf by Sol Bellear, the chairman of the Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service.
“That trauma – and much of that treatment – remains alive and well in Australia today, as I know it does in the United States.”

“The US cover of the DVD completely misses this point, and in fact reinforces precisely the sort of bigotry that Naomi, Beverly, Lois and Laurel fought so hard against.”
“We’re hopeful that the NAACP – with its long and proud history of advocating strongly for the interests of people of colour – will add its significant voice to calls for the DVD cover to be changed.”
These “people of colour in Australia” fail to notice that the NAACP cares about only one sort of people of colour, those whom the organisation now calls “African Americans”.  Nonetheless, the NAACP, for some reason, has not decided to rename itself the NAAAA.
However, star Jessica Mauboy said she wasn’t bothered by the controversy.
“It doesn’t cross my mind; we all had a part and all had a moment and we all loved it,” she said.
A social media backlash began last week against the redesigned cover, which features Caucasian [!] actor Chris O’Dowd dominating the foreground over a blue-wash faded picture of his Aboriginal co-stars including Deborah Mailman and Jessica Mauboy.  An online petition calling on Anchor Bay to restore the original cover art had attracted more than 8000 signatures.
UPDATE II (6 August):  we’re invited to sign a petition by Lucy Manne:
“The Sapphires” is a wonderful film based on the true story of four young Indigenous Australian women who formed a singing group that traveled to Vietnam in the 1960s to entertain the troops.
It’s about to be released on DVD in the US, which is great.  Not so great is the sexist, racist cover for the DVD that’s been chosen by the distributor, Anchor Bay – which features a huge photo of a male supporting character, with the female stars of the show relegated to the background (in a weird blue monotone effect that disguises their skin colour, just to add insult to injury).
In the words of film blogger MaryAnn Johanson, “Movies about women are rare enough.  Movies about black women are even rarer.  And now we’re gonna pretend the movies about women, whatever their color, aren’t even about them at all?”
Disgusting.  Tell Anchor Bay to change their cover ahead of the DVD’s release next week.

01 August, 2013

Ban It, Then, If It Be So Bad

Australia’s hypocritical and sanctimonious PM, Hon. Kevin Rudd, has decided to increase taxes on smokers with two contradictory aims in mind: first, he hopes to increase revenue in order, inter alia, to bribe voters to support his incompetent but spendthrift government; second (he asserts), he wants people to quit smoking—though that would lead to a substantial reduction in governments’ revenues.  If smoking tobacco be so dangerously evil, the Government could proscribe tobacco products altogether but that, of course, would mean forgoing thousands of millions of dollars of revenue annually.  See “Smokers hit $5.3b to patch Budget black hole”, by Phillip Hudson:
Smokers will cough up an extra $5.3 billion in tax to help the Rudd Government plug a huge new hole in its Budget.
The unusual election-eve notice of a tax grab, adding $5.25 to the price of a pack of 20 cigarettes over four years, is being sold as a step up in the war on smoking-related cancer, which kills 15,000 people a year.
Treasurer Chris Bowen will today announce staged 12.5 per cent tax increases, starting on December 1, aimed both at deterring young people from taking up the habit and helping to repair the Budget.
To “stop kids smoking!” is their claim, to boost the budget is their aim; as bribing voters is their game, they’re totally devoid of shame.
From today, smokers and drinkers will also face a $50 million tax slug.  […]
The Government’s nicotine fix will be a key part of an economic statement to be delivered in coming days.
There has been an estimated $20 billion deterioration in the Budget since it was delivered in May.
The razor gang has been looking at spending cuts and tackling tax breaks.
Mr Bowen said the tobacco tax rise would be on top of regular indexation.
“It provides funds for cancer-related health services; it deters young people from taking up smoking; and of course, it alleviates some of the revenue impacts on the Budget.  There is not a family in Australia that hasn’t been touched by cancer caused by smoking.”
That is untrue: my family hasn’t been touched by any cancer caused by smoking.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who said his mother was a non-smoker who died from passive smoking, said it was a leading cause of preventable death and disease.
Mr. Rudd provides no proof that his mother died “from passive smoking”.
Three years ago Mr Rudd imposed a 25 per cent increase in tobacco tax, adding about $2 to a pack’s price.
Meanwhile, a product which is smoked by millions of Australians—cannabis, in the form of marijuana—is untaxed because it is proscribed.  Unfortunately, the ban on all cannabis products means that hempseed—the most nutritious of all foods—and medicinal cannibis—which may cure many cancers—are also thereby prohibited.

UPDATE I:  see “Own up Mr Rudd. What’s the true cost of smoking?” by Nick Cater:
How much does smoking cost the country?  Hundreds of millions, as the Prime Minister told us yesterday?  $31 billion, as the ABC told us on the news last night?  Is it a staggering $31.5 billion as reported?  Or about $35 billion as Latika Bourke told us at ABC online?
The beauty of shockonomics is that no figure is ever too large to persuade a gullible reporter that is time to get serious about a perceived social vice.
In fact if every smoker gave up smoking today it would cost the government billions of dollars in lost revenue, which far exceeds the expense of health care for smoking-related diseases.
UPDATE II:  of course, when Mr. Rudd holds court to ambassadors, be doesn’t mind the idea of a smoke:
Being told that the Cuban ambassador was out of town, the Prime Minister said to his deputy: “Tell him to bring me back some cigars.”
UPDATE IIIaccording to the Labor-loving journalist (as well as former speechwriter for Australian Labor Party leader Bill Hayden, and member of the board of the Whitlam Institute), Alan Ramsey, in his book, The Way They Were: The View from the Hill of the 25 Years That Remade Australia (Sydney, 2001; p. 42), Kevin Rudd’s mother “died of Parkinson’s disease in 2004”.

UPDATE IVperhaps our duplicitous PM thought that Parkinson’s disease might be caused by passive smoking.  K. Tanaka et al., in their epidemiological study, “Active and passive smoking and risk of Parkinson’s disease”, conclude that “No significant association” with Parkinson’s disease “was detected for passive smoking exposure”; however, “[e]ver having smoked cigarettes was associated with a reduced risk” of developing the disease.

UPDATE Vsee “Active drinking passive smoking”, and comments thereon, at Catallaxy Files.  Mrs. Margaret Rudd, the PM’s mother, m
ore likely died—with sad prescience—of the lamentable effects of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming and worrying over the certain influx of climate refugees.

UPDATE VIsee “The mother of all shameless spinners” by Philippa Martyr at Quadrant Online.

UPDATE VIIthough the Government allegedly wants Australians to smoke fewer cigarettes but pay more for them, it forks out well over a million dollars of taxpayers’ funds on tobacco products for “asylum-seekers” and other immigration detainees; in October, 2011, Simon Benson reported:
the company that manages the detention centres, Serco, has spent, on average, $1.4 million a year on tobacco products for detainees since the 2009-10 financial year.
UPDATE VIII (2 August)the many sides of Kevin Rudd:
at the Heart Foundation (which he addresses as “Heartos”)

The heart attacks which killed my mum

had an evil cause, I think:

at burger bars she’d fill her tum,

so I’ll tax junk food and drink. 

at the Parkinson’s Alliance (which he addresses as “Parkos”)

My mother died of Parkinson’s

such a nasty, bad disease.

I’ll find a way to raise you funds

from new taxes, dues or fees.

at the Lung Disease Foundation (which he addresses as “Lungos”)

Mother’s health had been declining;
she coughed her diagnosis—
phthisis why I hate all mining—
she died from asbestosis.

at the Cancer Council (which he addresses as “Cancos”)

My dear mother was a dancer

who would shine at ev’ry ball,

but she later died of cancer

though she’d never smoked at all.

She was murdered by tobacco—

from her smoking passively.

(I have no proof but yet I know;

and my experts will agree.)

We shall raise tobacco’s levy—

add more taxes, raise the cost—

and with penalties so heavy,

no more mothers will be lost!

UPDATE IX (4 August):  revenues from alcohol and tobacco compared with related heath-care costs, from Nanny State Taxes: Soaking the Poor in 2012 by Julie Novak:

(by way of Catallaxy Files)

UPDATE X (5 August):  see Tim Blair’s “When the Going Gets Weird the Weird Call an Election”:
Perhaps the PM simply has a trick memory. Speaking of which, Rudd’s wife Therese Rein told an interviewer in 2009 how she coped with negative media attention.  “All that stuff goes straight to the Forgettery,” Rein said, explaining that the “Forgettery” is a tradition in the Rein family:  “My mother has one.  I think her mother had one.  Stuff that actually doesn’t matter goes in there.  Stuff that’s not important, stuff that if you carried it with you would be a burden.”
Bizarrely, later in 2009 Rudd claimed to share exactly the same family tradition, saying that he inherited from his own mother her “enormous ability not to take things too personally.  If people slighted her she’d feel it but she wouldn’t take it in.  There’s a family term we used – she had a very good ‘forgettery’.”
That would be your wife’s family, Mr Rudd.
Rudd mentioned his mother again last week in the context of the government’s latest tobacco tax increase, which is driving the cost of cigarettes towards $1 per smoke.  “I’m the son of a woman who never smoked in her life and she died of lung cancer, we assume through passive smoking,”  Rudd said, which is an astonishingly precise diagnosis for a woman who lived to 84.
Medical science can’t pinpoint most causes of lung cancer in the elderly.  Rudd not only has that ability, but uses it to inform his taxation policies.
As other commentators have noted, Rudd is very dependent on family history when it comes to government decisions.  He’s previously cited his wife’s difficulties in obtaining a locally-built hybrid car for the government’s funding of so-called green technology.  Who needs a cabinet?  Indeed, who needs a whole party when the Rudds are an instant and on-call focus group?