The camera doesn’t lie? Well it certainly can distort. Take this unflattering effort yesterday from the website:

To my pictorially untutored eye it is the deliberate result of some strange kind of lens or something. Whatever the reason it was enough to make that preview of this morning’s Newspoll the winner of the daily Chunky Bits Daily Leadership Beat-Up Award.

The Oz wakes up. And on that poll, it’s as if those that matter at The Australian have finally woken up to Kevin Rudd returning to the prime ministership being a real threat to their crusade to see a Liberal-National government in Canberra. Plenty of page one coverage of the dismal results for Labor from the latest Newspoll but barely a mention of it creating the circumstances for a leadership switch. Instead this attempt to play down the significance:

“Newspoll chief executive Martin O’Shannessy said: ‘Newspoll’s ‘on balance’ view is that a change to Kevin Rudd may slightly improve the Labor primary vote but this would come largely from Green and other party votes that would have flowed, via preferences, to Labor in any case. This would limit the net benefit to Labor available from the change.’

So the PM’s going west. Prime Minister Julia Gillard will forgo her harbour-side residence of Kirribilli House for a hotel room in Rooty Hill next week, the Australian Financial Review reported this morning, as part of a five-day blitz of western Sydney designed to lift Labor’s plummeting support. I wonder. From my googled dictionary this morning:

go west: to become useless; to be destroyed — I’m afraid this jacket has finally gone west; That’s all hopes of winning gone west.

That upward blip for the Greens. I will be watching with interest to see how Newspoll’s finding of an upward movement in support for the Greens is fitted in with the prevailing wisdom of the commentators that the party is on the skids and losing relevance.

Don’t write off populist comics. The man with the hat will take comfort from the Italian election result. Comedian Beppo Grillo and his Five Star Movement were written off by the political pundits at the start of campaigning just like Bob Katter and his Australia Party. The Italian newcomers have come from nowhere to become of their country’s biggest vote getting party.

Credit where it’s due. Full marks to the weather forecasters for this prediction made nearly a month ago:

Just before noon today (eastern time) the BOM warned:

“VERY DESTRUCTIVE winds with gusts to 195 kilometres per hour are likely to develop in coastal parts between Whim Creek and Pardoo during Wednesday as Severe Tropical Cyclone Rusty approaches the coast.

“This is a large tropical cyclone and its slow movement is likely to result in an extended period of destructive winds near the track, with rainfall that is heavier than that associated with a typical system. During Tuesday and Wednesday widespread very heavy rainfall is likely to lead to MAJOR FLOODING in the De Grey catchment. Significant flooding is also likely in the Fortescue catchment and in Pilbara coastal streams.

“Severe Tropical Cyclone Rusty’s intensity, size and slow movement is also likely to lead to a VERY DANGEROUS STORM TIDE as the cyclone centre nears the coast. Tides are likely to rise significantly above the normal high tide mark with DAMAGING WAVES and VERY DANGEROUS COASTAL INUNDATION.”

News and views noted along the way.

  • It’s for your own good! –“The United States is facing a series of serious disputes about the boundaries of paternalism.”
  • The golden ages of Jewish Austro-Hungary — “The evidence, suggests that it was above all members of the cultivated Jewish bourgeoisie who enhanced the grandeur of the Ringstrasse, purchased the products of the Wiener Werkstätte and the Secession, attended Mahler’s and Schoenberg’s concerts, shopped in the most fashionable stores and had their dreams analysed by the best man in town.”
  • What the dog knows — “This week … the Supreme Court made a rare linguistic turn: the repeated use of the word ‘sniff’. The reason: dogs were the focus of the case –Florida v. Harris, a test of the reasonableness of using a detection dog’s behaviour as probable cause for a search.”