04 December 2003

Living up to a name

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France is considering quietly retiring their new nuclear powered aircraft carrier and joining with Britain to buy a new carrier of British design. Actually, the French had planned to built a second nuclear powered carrier, but they are having so many problems with the first one that they are quite reluctant about building another one. Britain is building two 50,000 ton conventionally powered carriers, at a cost of $2.5 billion each. France would order a third of this class, and bring down the cost of all three a bit. The new French nuclear carrier “Charles de Gaulle” has suffered from a seemingly endless string of problems. The 40,000 ton ship has cost over four billion dollars so far and is slower than the diesel powered carrier it replaced. Flaws in the “de Gaulle” have led it to using the propellers from it predecessor, the “Foch,” because the ones built for “de Gaulle” never worked right. Worse, the nuclear reactor installation was done poorly, exposing the engine crew to five times the allowable annual dose of radiation. There were also problems with the design of the deck, making it impossible to operate the E-2 radar aircraft that are essential to defending the ship and controlling offensive operations. Many other key components of the ship did not work correctly, and the carrier has been under constant repair and modification. The “de Gaulle” took eleven years to build (1988-99) and was not ready for service until late 2000. It’s been downhill ever since. So the plan is to buy into the new British carrier building program and keep the “de Gaulle” in port and out of trouble as much as possible. The British have a lot more experience building carriers, and if there are any problems with the British designed ship, one can blame the British.

I’m not saying anything, because I’m trying to kick the France bashing habit. But it can be so hard sometimes.

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THIS JUST IN: Jobs create wealth for workers

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STEPHEN LONG: Craig James of Commonwealth Securities has analysed official figures on wealth from the Bureau of Statistics and the Treasury. They show that on average, Australians have never been richer […]

BOB GREGORY: The distribution of wealth is widening and it’s been widening very quickly recently because of the house price inflation, so that those people who own houses have gained wealth relative to those who don’t. And that’s affected wealth distribution much the way you’d imagine, namely that there’s been a big distribution, redistribution towards older people because they’re the ones who own houses. There’s been a big distribution across suburbs, towards wealthier suburbs, and there’s been a big distribution towards those with jobs because those with jobs are the sort of people who can accumulate wealth through working and saving, and thereby own houses.

Imagine that! Having a job is likely to make you better off financially than not having a job! Luckily we have an Australian National University professor like Mr Gregory to point that out.

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Hey, that's what they're there for

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[O]ne film in particular stood out. This was of a recent clash with a Hamas squad spotted as it moved into action near an undisclosed location this past month. An IDF sniper was able to hit one gunman and the others, one toting a heavy machine gun, quickly brought in a cart drawn by a donkey to evacuate him. To prevent further attacks on the squad, they also brought with them two children as human shields.

“It was clear they were terrorists, but we didn’t fire at them because of the two kids,” said a senior officer.

Isn’t this in violation of the recent UN resolution? Ooops, my mistake! That resolution calls on Israel to protect Palestinian children. There’s no obligation for the Palestinians to protect their own children. How could I have thought such a thing?

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I'm sure that he meant to say that


Here’s another fake Lincoln quote: “There’s no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There’s nothing good in war except its ending.” Attributed to Lincoln by anti-war protesters earlier this year, the statement actually was made by an actor portraying Lincoln in an episode of “Star Trek.”

Hey, if you’re a logo-realist, then the fact that Lincoln was portrayed as saying it is good enough!

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