September 15, 2015

A Tribute to Tony Abbott, Schengen falling apart? Kim Davis back at work and unlikely alliances?


Today’s Pnut is dedicated to Tony Abbott (see below) who was so unpopular as PM of Australia that he was ousted by his own party… at least he can still launch a swimwear collection.



EU Facing Biggest Test To Its Existence Since Last Week

Europe saw the most severe tightening of its borders since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, as Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Netherlands and Hungary tightened their borders to deal with a huge influx of refugees. Technically all of these countries are part of the visa-free Schengen zone which guarantees freedom of movement. The move underscores how the crisis is threatening key tenets of the EU project.

What now?
It is unclear how Europe will figure it’s way out of this storm. Some quick wins would be to decide who can and cannot be deported, how and where people can register for asylum and how to safely move people around the EU. After that will be the long struggle of figuring out how to integrate these refugee communities and solving the crises at their source.  

PHOTO ESSAY: Refugees trek through Europe in search of a better life


Kentucky Clerk Promises To Try And Do Her Job 

Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis has finally agreed to uphold US laws (her job) and allow same-sex marriage licenses to be issued by her deputies, although she still refuses to sign them herself on “religious grounds.” Davis, who correctly stated that she “is no hero,” will not have her name anywhere on the licenses. Meanwhile, the band Survivor is threatening to sue Davis for improper use of their song, “Eye of the Tiger,” when being released from prison.   

Google About To Unleash Wave Of Robocars

Self-driving cars (like this one) might be here sooner than you think given that Google now has a new “self-driving car CEO.” John Krafcik, former head of TrueCar, the TripAdvisor of cars, has been slated for the job. Krafcik, an old Detroit insider, “can’t wait to get started.” Google’s driverless cars (aka gumdrops on wheels) are becoming more frequent in Mountain View and Austin… can’t tell if we are excited or anxious.     

Russia Holds Most Glorious Free Elections

“Let the Americans try to hold such clean elections,” challenged Vladimir Churov, Russia’s election chief after regional polls saw some pro-Putin governors win over 90% of the vote. Parnas, a liberal opposition party, only got 2% of the vote in the one district it could contest. Some creative tactics, including doctoring graphic gay photos of opposition candidates, were used to discredit the opposition… very clean elections.     

#pnut4prez: Trump And Bernie In Unlikely Agreement?

Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump would make for a strange alliance, but on some level allies are exactly what they are. Both men are relatively political outsiders whose chances at capturing their parties’ nominations seemed remote but now are plausible. Both men also take populist stances against the rich (despite the fact that Trump is rich, really really rich, as he likes to point out).

Sanders took his “populist message” to Liberty University, making a moral case against income inequality. Trump attacked CEO pay and crony governance in companies… perhaps there might be a bipartisan consensus after all.  

Keeping Our Eye On…

  • China Slowdown: While Chinese Premier Li Keqiang claims everything is A-OK, the “second-largest economy” in the world continues to falter and affect global investment.
  • Delta State Shooting: The university was on lockdown yesterday as police search for the shooter of a history professor, 39. The suspect, thought to be another professor, is believed to have killed a woman earlier in the day.
  • Britain’s New Opposition: Jeremy Corbyn, the newly-elected hard-left leader of the Labour party, began his first day yesterday and formed his shadow cabinet. Cue chaos, U-turns and Corbynmania.


Tony Abbott: A Special Tribute To A Special Man

Australia continued its tradition of booting out prime ministers with the ousting of Tony Abbott yesterday. Malcom Turnbull, a member of Abbott’s “Liberal” party (which is actually a conservative party), will succeed Abbott as the nation’s 29th Prime Minister. Abbott, whose French was almost as bad as his leadership, was voted out due to fantastically low popularity ratings. When researching today’s Pnut, we Googled “Tony Abbott gaffe” and got 366,000 hits. We then Googled “Tony Abbott offensive” and got almost half a million hits. Sifting through them was a challenge but here are Tony’s shining moments:
  • Not realizing a mic was on when joking about how rising sea levels will affect Pacific Island Nations. 
  • Saying “sh*t happens” when talking about a dead soldier in Afghanistan.
  • Boring a school boy so much he “head desks” in front of him.  
  • Fighting climate change regulations so that he could help Australian housewives “do the ironing.”
Australia will now have its fifth Prime Minister in eight years.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Tony Abbott, President of the USA of Australia (HBO)
Tribute to Tony from Last Week Tonight
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