Abbott praises Liberal hopeful's talent, rootability - 10 Things

Your daily news all rounded up, like cattle to the abattoir…

The Treasury has redone its pre-election numbers (the PEFO, or Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook, to give it its full, majestic name) as per the sulky demands of Abbott and Hockey, and they're sure to be happy that they've demonstrated that… um, the government's position is actually $209 million better than they thought, given new growth estimates. And now Hockey gets to explain where the massive cuts to services - sorry, "savings" (which Finance and Deregulation minister Penny Wong has claimed amount to $70bn, although that's also what those in the adding-up-numbers game call "a lie") is going to appear from. Our guess: pulled from the same arse that contained the suppository of wisdom. Honestly, that one line just sums up the 2013 election so damn perfectly. Thank you, Tony. Thank you so much.

On the plus side, the Liberals have a candidate who might well be smart and capable and the best placed person to represent the Sydney electorate of Lindsay, but that's all beside the point because, as Abbott has made clear, she's totally boneable. The Man Who Wants To Be Your Prime Minister told the press yesterday that Liberal hopeful Fiona Scott, like her Lindsay predecessor Jackie Kelly, is "young", "feisty" and has "a bit of sex appeal" - because that's the thing that matters in our elected representatives, and is why Parliamentary Question Time is second only to repeats of Baywatch in Most Masturbated Over Programmes On Television. Reports that Abbott assured the press that Scott is also "a whiz in the kitchen" and "is only in politics until she lands a husband" couldn't be confirmed at press time, although ABC 2 have reported that the controversial Sizzling Royal Commissionz: 2 Hot 4 Prime Time! is set for launch in 2014. 

US attorney general Eric Holder has signalled a bizarre and dangerous new philosophy that is set to plunge the nation into a hellscape of brutal lawlessness akin to that of Mad Max (or, more likely, that of the little-seen Salute of the Jugger, filmed in glamorous Coober Pedy and starring Rutger Hauer, Joan Chen, Vincent D'Onofrio and Beau from the Beaurepairs commercials). Holder has announced that the US will no longer be locking up people for minor drug offences since there is, to use a technical legal term, absolutely no fucking point doing so. "Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no truly good law enforcement reason," he said in his speech to the American Bar Association. "We cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer country." This is terrible news for the for-profit private prison industry, who've been relying on drug arrests to keep their numbers up in the face of falling crime rates in the US - especially since half (literally HALF) of the people locked in federal prisons are there for drug offences, of which an estimated 45% are there for low-level offences like possession. But the War of Drugs has only had five decades to demonstrate any sort of value, Holder - we just need to give it more time!

Speaking of drugs, you know what aren't drugs? Supplements. See, drugs are made from chemicals which are bad and unnatural and evil, while supplements are natural and made from love and pixie dust and the joyful tears of dolphins. That's long been the argument used by your auntie to justify her use of homeopathy, but it's failed to prevent Essendon Football Club being charged with doping their players with performance enhancing drugs - which might yet see them stripped of their premiership titles and kicked out of the 2013 competition. Maybe they need some St John's Wort to help cope with the stress? Or hey, how about some of those magnetic balance bracelets!

Russian authorities feel differently about the whole drugs thing, which is why they were kinda miffed when it turned out that the doctor they'd employed to remove packages of heroin from an arrested drug mule was then swiping some of the packages himself. There's not a lot of detail in the report, other than that the unnamed doctor was drunk when arrested (well, it's Russia) and that he's facing a possibly 15 years for theft and possession. 

Speaking of Russia, with the International Olympics Commission whistling nervously and changing the subject whenever people ask "so, Russia's threat to jail anyone being openly gay at the Winter Olympics: sounds a bit humany-rightsy-abusey and against the charter of the Games themselves, wouldn't you say?" and "any thoughts on how to protect the gay athletes that are attending the Games, what with the being illegally gay and all?", a bunch of them have decided to call bullshit on the whole thing. Like US figure skater Johny Weir, who is looking forward to competing ("Would the Olympics be in Saudi Arabia, in Palestine, in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Mars, I would go because that's what I'm trained to do and that's what I've devoted my life to"), and has absolutely zero intention of pretending that he's into chicks while he's there. "Like anyone I'm afraid of being arrested but also I'm not afraid of being arrested," he told CBS news. "If it takes me getting arrested for people to pay attention and for people to lobby against this law then I'm willing to take it." Your move, Russia.

Miracles are, by their very nature, miraculous - and so when a Crape Myrtle tree outside a church starts dripping with water - water which is the "tears of God", obviously - then it's clearly beyond human comprehension. Congregants of Fresno's St John's Cathedral know it, and that's why they're anointing themselves in the magical holy liquid because it is absolutely God manifesting his glory to the faithful, and definitely not the shit of tree lice. And that's fortunate, because tree lice infest all sorts of plant species during the Californian summer to feed on the sap within, excreting a watery honey-poo which, in turn, leaks out of the plant and onto any group of religious people wiping bits of themselves on it - as is happening in the aforementioned tree, and a bunch of others in the area (including an identical one across the road, mysteriously not beside a church). The parishioners are, unsurprisingly, not impressed by your explanation, science, and are sticking to their faith. Literally, in this case.

Israel, you really know how to nail this whole "peace talks" thing with Palestine. With the first negotiations in five years scheduled to begin tomorrow, the playful Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu confirmed the release of 26 long term Palestinian prisoners (12 get to go back to the West Bank, the remainder face deportation), and then follow it up by announcing that Israel are sticking another 1200 homes in the West Bank and Jerusalem because fuck you. It's a bold move, basically invading the place you're supposedly about to negotiate with in good faith, but at least it means the delegates will have something to chat about when they get together.

The thing that makes web filters work so well is that they only ever block out the bad stuff, as UK author Mark Forsyth discovered when he was checking a quote from Hamlet via the wi-fi in the British Library only to discover that the play was blocked by the library's content filter for its excessive violence. Shamefully, the library has assured the BBC that you can now access the greatest play ever written in the English language at the nation's premier repository of literature, meaning that obviously this sort of thing can't possibly happen all the time from here on in. However, we're now terrified that this means that impressionable children - our children! - will be encouraged to attempt to avenge their father's death by killing their uncle, faking their own insanity, and inadvertently leading to the death by drowning of their beloved before being slain in a fixed duel with their would-be brother-in-law. And don't get us started on The Merchant of Venice: do we really want our impressionable babies considering involvement in the Italian financial sector these days? This Shakespeare dude sounds like an EU stooge if you ask us.

And finally, if you haven't seen the latest episode of Breaking Bad then have an early Happy Wednesday… but for the rest of us, have you seen the animated version of Badger's Star Trek script? It's here, it's awesome, and it appears to be getting taken down left and right for copyright violation so enjoy while you can (and happy Wednesday)… 

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