GREG RAY: New name for crazy

THE War on Terror has a new dimension: “lone wolf terrorists” on the streets of London. In days gone by a couple of nasties who chopped people up with meat cleavers would have been called criminals or crazy. Criminals were charged, tried and jailed. Crazies were charged, tried, found to be mad and put away somewhere. The judge would recommend more money be spent on mental health facilities and nothing would happen. Again. But when the nasties rave something about Islam, then it’s time for another squillion dollars to be channelled into the War on Terror. Does anybody feel safer?

League’s tough-guy image took a hammering this week, when a couple of first-grade players accused a girl of assaulting them, forcing them out of a house and locking the door on them. Details of the allegations are unclear and conflicting, but by some accounts the girl bashed a footy player with her eye socket and a shoe, sending him scurrying. It’s a man’s game.

Meanwhile, debate raged among politicians over whether gambling has intruded too far into television broadcasts of league. Speculation is raging over whether the government might move to outlaw some of the more allegedly over-the-top practices of sports bookies. Top sports betting firms have offered short odds on the prospect of legislative action. Care to bet on the outcome?

The Ford Falcon, that icon of middle-of-the-road Aussie motoring, will soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a decision by Ford to stop building cars in Australia. The company said it would shut its manufacturing plants in 2016, putting at least 1200 people out of work.

Holden’s Commodore, meanwhile, is set to soldier on for at least a little longer, even though the only cars most people buy these days are SUVs and 4WDs. You’re not taking the Commodore. Not just yet, anyway.

The Australian government this week announced that the resources boom had officially passed its peak. The timing couldn’t be lousier, with tax receipts down and the manufacturing sector shedding jobs almost as quickly as the mining support sector.

Looks like Australia may be a late arrival at the global economic slumber party.

The Hunter coal industry declared this week that most of the black stuff being shipped out of Newcastle was being sold at a loss.

This was all the fault of: (A) unions and workers getting too much pay, (B) unreasonable environmental rules delaying mine approvals and (C) people taking mining for granted. Expect to see at least two of those problems fixed in the near future.

The leader of the NSW opposition, some bloke called Robbo, showed his credentials by fronting an enviro meeting in the Hunter. Somebody asked him about the future of coal and he said his party was working on a policy to phase it out. Of course he was “set up” by one of those sly geniuses in the green movement. Cough. He really meant that he totally loves all mining, everywhere, all the time. Maybe next time he could say coal is extremely important at present, but because it can’t last forever we need to start thinking beyond it. Would it be legal to say that?

The blazing meteor that was the career of mining dealmaker Nathan Tinkler may, like the boom itself, have passed its zenith, if the BRW rich list is any guide. Tinks, who now lives in Singapore, tumbled out of the top 200, shedding a comet-trail of dollars and leaving many fond memories in his wake.

Wanna buy a house?

The Aussie dollar took a bit of a tumble, again, following some murmurings by that lost soul Ben Bernanke, who runs the United States Federal Reserve. Every time poor Ben suggests that, sooner or later, the money-printing might have to slow down or stop, the markets instantly panic. He’s like Casey Jones, shovelling IOUs into the boiler of the American Express. Except the train isn’t moving. It’s just blowing smoke, steam and sparks into the air to baffle everybody.

I’m definitely baffled.