EXCLUSIVE? How EXCLUSIVELY silly can you get? It's just news, or just jolly good news if you like)
What a great way to kick off a Tuesday, with the news that one of the world's leading climate scientists is heading off to Rome.
Rome's loss is Sydney's gain, with the Pellists losing their figurehead to the world stage.
Sydney's and the pond's gain, the Vatican finance ministry's and the world's loss ...
Or some such thing, as you can read in Cardinal Pell named by Pope Francis to head Vatican finance ministry.
It's devastating news for the Sunday Terror - presumably there'll be no more Pellist tracts and homilies - and for climate science, but somehow the world will struggle on.
Meanwhile the Fairfaxians are continuing their pursuit of the clap happy speaking in tongues Minister for Gulags:
If you read Mark Kenny's Scott Morrison knew he was wrong on brawl death (forced video at end of link(, you cop this as an opening par:
Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed he knew a week ago his initial statements about a fatal brawl at the immigration detention facility on Manus Island were likely to have been wrong but has refused to say why he waited to correct the record until Saturday night.
And Kenny also offered up Tony Abbott's plain speaking on Scott Morrison descends into nonsense, (forced video), wherein he argued being a strong man might not be the best characteristic for a man given to zealotry.
Oh come on Mr Kenny, it's well known Mussolini made the trains run on time, and never mind a few policy slip ups along the way.
...did Mussolini really do it? Did Il Duce, in his 20 years of absolute power, really manage to make the railway service meet its timetable? The answer is no.
Like almost all the supposed achievements of Fascism, the timely trains are a myth, nurtured and propagated by a leader with a journalist's flair for symbolism, verbal trickery and illusion.
In 1936 the American journalist George Seldes complained that when his fellow-countrymen returned home from holidays in Italy they seemed to cry in unison: 'Great is the Duce; the trains now run on time]' And no matter how often they were told about Fascist oppression, injustice and cruelty, they always said the same thing: 'But the trains run on time.'
'It is true,' wrote Seldes, 'that the majority of big expresses, those carrying eye-witnessing tourists, are usually put through to time, but on the smaller lines rail and road-bed conditions frequently cause delays.' (and more here on how Mussolini and the Italian war effort stumbled over the reality of the railway system)
Oh dear, distracted once again, and Tony Wright's 'No Wimp' Morrison a man of few words in Manus death climb-down (forced video)
Wright makes the point that the hapless Richard Marles and the opposition are impotent because of their own grubby behaviour - to the point where the blustering bully could threaten to get them involved in the blame-sharing game - which leaves it to others to point out the quiet irony of the likes of Kevin Andrews and Tony Abbott lashing the ABC and its relationship with words like "what goes around comes around"(forced video).
Yep, karm's a bitch, and it's funny how the righteous flinch when the lash of "constructive criticism" is applied to them.
Naturally in the tough times, it's time for the tough and the strong to get into the kitchen and handle the heat, and what better knob polisher and hagiographer could be found than Greg Sheridan?
What a stout-hearted trooper the man is. And how predictable. As reliable in his logic as an Italian train.
Hmm, how about the task at hand? Well blaming the victim is always a reliable gambit, and if you head behind the paywall to read Sheridan's Calls for minister to resign are just absurd, you'll see how to do it in spades:
Whenever people are held in custody against their will, there is some danger. There is a particular danger in the case of asylum-seekers because among their number is a very tough group, substantially though not entirely Iranian, which is determined to make the centres unworkable and break the government’s will, in just the way that the will of the Gillard and Rudd governments was broken by riots at Australian detention centres.
Yes, and don't you go worrying about whether the danger turns out to be inside or outside the gulag. Petty irrelevant details.
It turns out that the Iranians are part of an Australian conspiracy:
They are well schooled by their friends and supporters in Australia about the exact political effect of their efforts. Indeed, their Australian supporters make such incidents more likely by their hysterical reaction. The desire is to polarise Australia to the extent that the Abbott government’s policies become unsustainable. The highly personalised attacks on Morrison are part of this.
It's hagiography at its best, a gem of the finest water, which takes in the Yes Minister excuse of "I am advised" and washes away any suggestion of blood on hands, and never mind any actual blood on hands.
Blame the victims, blame anyone who might care, and adopt a high horse stand denouncing absurd and morally offensive and unrestrained and cynically opportunistic rhetoric that demeans the entire situation.
Unlike the cynical idea of publishing a clarification in the dead quiet of a Saturday night.
And then comes the comedy kicker, the one you always want if you're building up to a cascade gag:
However, there are still some lessons in this whole business for Morrison.
What a great Colonel Blimpism.
A riot and a death and serious injuries? Why that's this whole business. Could the pond suggest on the hagiographer's next outing it be improved? "Damned nasty business, wot wot, with those bloody Iranians an intractable lot, wot wot".
You see a possible murder is just impossibly tedious. People do go on, oh how they make a fuss and clamour, and yet:
...this was a minor communications error and a million miles from a cause for resignation.
Naturally the pond felt an overwhelming desire to promote Comrade Sheridan to Knight garter in the order of lap dogs, while awarding him equerry status in the lickspittle guard, and medal with bar for services to running dogs ...
What else this Tuesday morning?
Well not all the hagiographers and knob polishers are cheerful. It seems that Dennis "the bouffant one" Shanahan needs an ostentatious visit from a self-glorifying Jeff Kennett blue bus as he sees the May budget looming and scribbles Tough changes to test Tony's resolve (inside the paywall to test your resolve to google).
It's going to be tough for everyone going into the May budget, the bouffant one muses.
The Coalition is riding into the valley of polling death as it prepares the ground for a tough budget that could hit its staunchest supporters and has raised the spectre of a further change and charge to Medicare.
Just as Tony Abbott and the Coalition were beginning to settle down after a clunky beginning - even winning voter endorsement for a tough line on not handing taxpayer-funded payments to troubled manufacturers - tough-talking Joe Hockey’s message is beginning to have an effect.
Apart from destabilising talk about party leadership, the next issues that are most likely to have an immediate impact on polls are suggestions of a change to Medicare to introduce a means-tested co-payment, and a scare campaign over possible changes to pensions or retirement.
This is the beginning of the test of the Abbott government’s resolve to actually make the tough changes it says are necessary to restore economic growth to 3 per cent and beyond.
Oh dear. Quick grab your silk ties and fine wool suits while you can ...
But really there's no need for gloom, because today we have Nick Cater ready to fix up everything in the trucking game, by celebrating Campbell Newman and casting gloom on the federal government's national scheme, which apparently is all the fault of Chairman Rudd.
This will come as a surprise to those who thought the Ruddster departed the scene many months ago, and is now heading off to Harvard University as a senior fellow researching United States-China relations. Yep it's Harvard's, the USA's and China's loss, and Australia's gain ...
The Caterists are in top form in Delay ahead: Rudd truck regulator's road to ruin, and what makes it most exceptional (inside the paywall because you need to keep the Caterists from having to do an Ayn Rand and go on social security).
What makes it exceptional is the way the Caterists so neatly sidestep sordid stories of the new federal government actually being in charge of operations. Sure Albo might tweet from the sidelines, and things might have started rolling under Rudd, but what part of 'gone, left the building, no longer with hands on the wheel' don't the Caterists understand?
And how sweet to ignore the trucking industry's own lax behaviour, of the kind recently highlighted in stories like 'Plenty of fuel' left in Victoria after Cootes trucks grounded (outside the paywall to encourage the panic buying of petrol).
Of course the pond would never hope that the odd Caterist was hit by an out of control Mack truck with faulty brakes, but it would keep the irony level at a healthy quota.
Meanwhile, that first class clown George Brandis has crept back into the headlines.
The competition for clown of the month is hotting up, with only a few days to go.
Brandis distinguished himself with Second George Brandis bookcase costs $15000 after first was too big to move, but the pond most admired his maintenance of a cult of furtive secrecy in George Brandis refuses to back up claim that Snowden put lives at risk.
Could it get any better? Well yes, there's the bizarre Chris Mitchell sending a legal letter to Media Watch and threatening it with ACMA, and in the very same breath acknowledging that the lizard Oz isn't making a profit. (Media Watch here)
Naturally it called to mind that old joke "What kind of loss-making woman do you think I am?" and the response "We've already established that. Now we're just haggling over the size of the loss". (And if you want more of that, head over to Quote Investigator for "Now We're Just Haggling Over the Price").
Weird times in Murdoch la la land, but thanks to George Brandis, it's time to mention David Pope, who has a fine Brandis cartoon this morning, available here before tomorrow it heads down the rotating lands of his faraway tree gallery.
The Pell-free Pope noted, it seemed to the pond that David Rowe caught the mood in hagiographer land. By golly has he caught that sneering, sinister, motley crew in oils or what? As always, more Rowe here.