No need to go. No people in their right mind would go to listen to a speech by Treasurer Wayne Swan to be spellbound by great oratory.

The only reason to turn up to an event like that today at the Queensland Media Club in Brisbane is because he might say something interesting or new. But because of the current spinners trick of giving a copy of political speeches to a selected journalist or two for publication before their delivery even that reason has disappeared.

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There it was in The Oz this morning, right down to describing it as being “sober” which I guess is a new way of saying boring. Boring it certainly will have been to anyone who read the papers before attending.

Blame Canada. All has now been revealed. That Standard and Poor’s assessment that the United States was on the verge of losing its AAA credit rating came from an analyst based in Toronto! So:

A clear case of northern hemisphere jealousy that should be ignored. Which it has been. Just look at the course of 10 year US Treasury note interest rates in recent days:

Going for the young vote. Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice-President Joe Biden, enlisted Rosita and Elmo on a visit to Sesame Street to tape Public Service Announcements asking all Americans to support military families.

Maybe the US Democrat administration has the political wives out campaigning because it plans to follow the example of Jozsef Szajer, a senior official from Hungary’s ruling conservative Fidesz party, and legislate to give mothers with small children additional votes in elections. Reports the London Daily Telegraph:

The proposed legislation, which would be a first for modern democracy, is inspired by a concept developed in 1986 by American demographer Paul Demeny, who argued that children “should not be left disfranchised for some 18 years”.

Mr Szajer said the law would give “mothers the vote on behalf of a maximum of one child”.

A variation on name and shame. I am always on the lookout for policy ideas that will help our political parties provide freshness to their election campaigning and there is no area more in need of innovation than that old standby of law-and-order. Before every poll — state and federal — Labor and Liberals compete to demonstrate their toughness towards crime concentrating on the same old “lock-’em-up-for-longer” rhetoric. It really has become very boring.

Imagine my delight, then, to find that in the United States Sherriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona has come up with a modern version of displaying felons in the stocks to give new meaning to naming and shaming. It is an idea that will surely be taken up in this country soon.

Welcome to the Mugshot of the day where we can all vote for our favourite felon. Choosing the most popular jail booking photos is Sherriff Arpaio’s way of highlighting the work of his employees. He also believes more crimes may be uncovered if the public can view the photos.

I particularly like the way we can choose our own type of offender. Today I offer you this assortment of sex criminals because I know that being tough on them is a very popular vote winner:

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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