March 20th 2010

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: Rudd's hospital scheme: spin before substance

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Rudd lays groundwork for health referendum

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Tony Abbott's faux pas alienates allies

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Can SA's Liberals topple Labor's Mike Rann?

FOREIGN TRADE: Australian shareholders suspicious of China's motives

GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS: Gathering crisis engulfs the European Union

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Australian force in East Timor reduced

OPINION: Labor unconcerned about Australia's debt explosion

DIVORCE LAW: Family Law's unending war on fatherhood

MEDICAL RESEARCH: Cannabis causes psychotic disorders in young users

UNITED NATIONS: Aid for Haiti delayed by condom shipments

OPINION: Eight arguments for school voucher funding

CIVILISATION: The politicisation of modern education

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Couple nurture virtual child as real daughter starves to death; Staring into the chasm; French intellectual victim of hoax

CINEMA: Suspense-filled American war thriller - The Hurt Locker, rated MA15+ (for war violence and language)

BOOK REVIEW: GOING ROGUE: An American Life, by Sarah Palin

BOOK REVIEW: WEDNESDAY WARRIORS: Doing it for the Jumper, by James Gilchrist

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Couple nurture virtual child as real daughter starves to death; Staring into the chasm; French intellectual victim of hoax

News Weekly, March 20, 2010
Couple nurture virtual child... and let real baby daughter starve to death

A computer-addicted couple let their real life baby starve to death while they raised a virtual daughter online, [Korean] police said today.

The couple spent 12 hours a night at internet cafés while their three-month-old daughter was left home alone at their apartment in Suwon, South Korea. They were arrested today.

Police said they had become hooked on living online and were raising an avatar daughter through their profiles on a Second Life-style game called Prius.

The multi-role playing game allows users to choose a job, interact with others in the virtual world and earn an extra avatar to nurture once they reach a certain level.

Father Kim Yoo-chul, 41, and mother Choi Mi-sun, 25, called police when they returned from one overnight, 12-hour session and found their daughter dead.

"They called in last September to report that they found their daughter dead after coming back home in the morning," Detective Chung Jin-Won of the Suwon Seobu Police Station said.

"They had spent 12 hours, all night at a PC bang (a Korean internet café)."

Officers became suspicious of how severely dehydrated the child was and have charged the couple with child abuse and neglect.

An autopsy confirmed she died of malnourishment.

Extract from: "Couple nurture virtual child... and let real baby daughter starve to death", Daily Mail (UK), March 6, 2010.


Staring into the chasm

US Congress this year will spend US$1.6 trillion more than it collects in revenue, with the largest outlays in that FY 2010 budget for defence at $719 billion and Social Security at $721 billion.

Thus, if the US Government on October 1, 2008, had shut down the Pentagon and furloughed every soldier and civilian here and around the world, and announced that it would not send out a Social Security check for a full year to any of the 50 million retired and elderly, we would still be $160 billion short of balancing the budget. If you zeroed out federal benefits to veterans for a full year, that, added in, would bring us close.

Such is the magnitude of the fiscal crisis facing the country.

To balance the budget this year would require a 43 per cent across-the-board cut in every category of federal spending - defence, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Homeland Security, highways, etc. - or, if one used taxes alone, a 72 per cent increase in federal tax revenues.

Budget cuts of that magnitude are impossible. They would cause a revolution. And any attempt at tax hikes of that magnitude would drain off all available consumer capital and hurl the economy into another Depression. ...

That is the hole we are in.

Extract from: Patrick J. Buchanan, "Pitching for America", The American Cause, March 5, 2010.


French intellectual victim of hoax

A fine example of intellectual nonsense comes right now from Paris.

Bernard-Henry Lévy is perhaps the foremost public intellectual in that city, with an opinion about everything and eager to sound off all day long. He's not really a bad fellow the way Sartre or other French intellectuals were, just totally and unforgettably pleased with himself.

In a recent television show with discussion of the Enlightenment philosopher Kant, he thought to win the argument by quoting one Botul, who had a theory known as Botulism - you'd have thought that word might have given pause for thought, since botulism is a specially nasty form of food poisoning.

Anyhow, it turned out that some clever journalist had written articles inventing Botul simply as a spoof, and Lévy had fallen for it.

Extract from: David Pryce-Jones, "Surrender to barbarism", David Calling: the David Pryce-Jones blog, February 25, 2010.

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