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The Leftist censors have grabbed another social media site: imgur.com

Imgur.com is the biggest image-hosting site that there is these days.  It is very easy to use so has left other image-hosting platforms -- such as Tinypic and Photobucket -- for dead.  It also offers permanence. It says that pictures you have uploaded there will stay up.

But that has now fallen by the wayside.  Some pictures I have housed there have been replaced by an angry and unpleasant looking cartoon, presumably under the pretext that my pictures were "offensive"

One of the pictures I had up was of General Pinochet, who is/was a great Leftist boogeyman. He did solve Leftist terrorism in Chile by killing off a couple of thousand of the livelier Chilean Leftists. So I can understand his image being "disappeared".  But for most of the pictures no offensiveness is obvious.  A table of statistics that disappeared would seem inoffensive.  But it WAS a table of IQ statistics -- and IQ is as unpopular among the Left as General Pinochet.

But the deletion that really amuses me is that they have taken down a picture I had up of myself!  I make no claim to being  good-looking but I didn't think I was that bad!    They have also taken down images of my discharge certificate from my time in the Australian army and photocopies of my university degrees. So they have been rather systematic.

Anyway, I keep very comprehensive backups so have simply rehoused all deleted images on another site so all images I had up are now back up.

So the question arises of what to do about this latest transmogrification.  In my case, I can't see any form of protest as being needed.  It is simplest just to replace the lost images from backups.  And I do have archive copies of all my blogs online which already include self-hosted picture backups.  My practice of putting up backup copies of my blog entries has probably seemed like overdoing conservative caution but it has clearly now come into its own.

Nonetheless, I will have to think in future about where I house pictures online.  I will probably host the more incendiary ones on one or another of my own sites and use imgur for the more mundane ones

It is something of an irony that I have a regular blog -- TONGUE-TIED -- devoted to coverage of censored content -- only to be censored myself


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Why are Americans dying younger?

The following article confirms the overall decline and speculates that it is because of increased use of illicit drugs and more dangerous illicit drugs (such as fentanyl). I too would see that as the most probable cause. Note however that the overall decline was tiny -- .19 of a year or 69 days, which  could well not survive replication and is in any case of little practical importance.

It is however interesting that people with a college degree defied the trend and lived longer. My interpretation of that would be that the college people were smarter and hence more judicious in their use of drugs, so that drugs had little impact on their health.  They therefore experienced the normal growth in lifespan that is characteristic of recent decades. The dummies by contrast had a higher proportion of heavy drug users among them who largely killed themselves one way or another by their high drug use


Association Between Educational Attainment and Causes of Death Among White and Black US Adults, 2010-2017

By Isaac Sasson et al

Abstract

Importance:  There are substantial and increasing educational differences in US adult life expectancy. To reduce social inequalities in mortality, it is important to understand how specific causes of death have contributed to increasing educational differences in adult life expectancy in recent years.

Objective:  To estimate the relationship of specific causes of death with increasing educational differences in adult life expectancy from 2010 to 2017.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  Serial cross-sectional study of 4 690 729 deaths recorded in the US National Vital Statistics System in 2010 and 2017.

Exposures:  Sex, race/ethnicity, and educational attainment.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Life expectancy at age 25 years and years of life lost between ages 25 and 84 years by cause of death.

Results:  The analysis included a total of 2 211 633 deaths in 2010 and 2 479 096 deaths in 2017. Between 2010 and 2017, life expectancy at age 25 significantly declined among white and black non-Hispanic US residents from an expected age at death of 79.34 to 79.15 years (difference, −0.18 [95% CI, −0.23 to −0.14]).

Greater decreases were observed among persons with a high school degree or less (white men: −1.05 years [95% CI, −1.15 to −0.94], white women: −1.14 years [95% CI, −1.24 to −1.04], and black men: −0.30 years [95% CI, −0.56 to −0.04]). White adults with some college education but no 4-year college degree experienced similar declines in life expectancy (men: −0.89 years [95% CI, −1.07 to −0.73], women: −0.59 years [95% CI, −0.77 to −0.42]).

In contrast, life expectancy at age 25 significantly increased among the college-educated (white men: 0.58 years [95% CI, 0.42 to 0.73], white women: 0.78 years [95% CI, 0.57 to 1.00], and black women: 1.70 years [95% CI, 0.91 to 2.53]).

The difference between high- and low-education groups increased from 2010 to 2017, largely because life-years lost to drug use increased among those with a high school degree or less (white men: 0.93 years [95% CI, 0.90 to 0.96], white women: 0.50 years [95% CI, 0.47 to 0.52], black men: 0.75 years [95% CI, 0.71 to 0.79], and black women: 0.28 years [95% CI, 0.25 to 0.31]).

Conclusions and Relevance:  In this serial cross-sectional study, estimated life expectancy at age 25 years declined overall between 2010 and 2017; however, it declined among persons without a 4-year college degree and increased among college-educated persons. Much of the increasing educational differences in years of life lost may be related to deaths attributed to drug use.

SOURCE


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Gloom! Another attempt to demonize air pollution in the USA fails

They do not mention it in their conclusions below but I have put a rubric on the important finding: By the conclusion of the study, fine particulate air pollution (fine soot) was NOT associated with emphysema.

The pollution that Greenies rage about is fine particle (PM2.5) pollution in the atmosphere.  Such pollution is rather heavily emitted by motor vehicles and we all know what Greenies think of motor vehicles -- as they drive off in their Volvos or try to deny what is the major source of power in their Priuses.

And one of the nastiest forms of lung damage is emphysema. Emphysemics feel fairly well but struggle even to get up a flight of stairs, which is super frustrating.  So Greenies are certain  that America's polluted skies must cause emphysema.  But the study below says not so.  How frustrating!  It's actually heavy smokers who get emphysema


Association Between Long-term Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution and Change in Quantitatively Assessed Emphysema and Lung Function

By Meng Wang et al.

Abstract

Importance:  While air pollutants at historical levels have been associated with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, it is not known whether exposure to contemporary air pollutant concentrations is associated with progression of emphysema.

Objective:  To assess the longitudinal association of ambient ozone (O3), fine particulate matter (PM2.5), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and black carbon exposure with change in percent emphysema assessed via computed tomographic (CT) imaging and lung function.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  This cohort study included participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) Air and Lung Studies conducted in 6 metropolitan regions of the United States, which included 6814 adults aged 45 to 84 years recruited between July 2000 and August 2002, and an additional 257 participants recruited from February 2005 to May 2007, with follow-up through November 2018.

Exposures:  Residence-specific air pollutant concentrations (O3, PM2.5, NOx, and black carbon) were estimated by validated spatiotemporal models incorporating cohort-specific monitoring, determined from 1999 through the end of follow-up.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Percent emphysema, defined as the percent of lung pixels less than −950 Hounsfield units, was assessed up to 5 times per participant via cardiac CT scan (2000-2007) and equivalent regions on lung CT scans (2010-2018). Spirometry was performed up to 3 times per participant (2004-2018).

Results:  Among 7071 study participants (mean [range] age at recruitment, 60 [45-84] years; 3330 [47.1%] were men), 5780 were assigned outdoor residential air pollution concentrations in the year of their baseline examination and during the follow-up period and had at least 1 follow-up CT scan, and 2772 had at least 1 follow-up spirometric assessment, over a median of 10 years.

Median percent emphysema was 3% at baseline and increased a mean of 0.58 percentage points per 10 years. Mean ambient concentrations of PM2.5 and NOx, but not O3, decreased substantially during follow-up. Ambient concentrations of O3, PM2.5, NOx, and black carbon at study baseline were significantly associated with greater increases in percent emphysema per 10 years (O3: 0.13 per 3 parts per billion [95% CI, 0.03-0.24]; PM2.5: 0.11 per 2 μg/m3 [95% CI, 0.03-0.19]; NOx: 0.06 per 10 parts per billion [95% CI, 0.01-0.12]; black carbon: 0.10 per 0.2 μg/m3 [95% CI, 0.01-0.18]).

Ambient O3 and NOx concentrations, but not PM2.5 concentrations, during follow-up were also significantly associated with greater increases in percent emphysema. 

Ambient O3 concentrations, but not other pollutants, at baseline and during follow-up were significantly associated with a greater decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 second per 10 years (baseline: 13.41 mL per 3 parts per billion [95% CI, 0.7-26.1]; follow-up: 18.15 mL per 3 parts per billion [95% CI, 1.59-34.71]).

Conclusions and Relevance:  In this cohort study conducted between 2000 and 2018 in 6 US metropolitan regions, long-term exposure to ambient air pollutants was significantly associated with increasing emphysema assessed quantitatively using CT imaging and lung function.

SOURCE

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Leftist historical revisionism again.  As Orwell predicted

A small news review in Far-Leftist e-ine "New Matilda" under the heading "CPAC & The High Court: Fighting For Australia’s Future" caught my eye.  Below is its introduction:

"As the basic freedoms of all Australians are whittled away, conservatives met to chant ‘send her back’. Stuart Rees reports.

Two events in early August cast a shadow over Australia’s supposed fair go, human rights respecting democracy. The American Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held a meeting to fight to ‘protect the future’; and the High Court ruled that the federal government may restrict the right of public servants to express political views, thereby upholding a decision to sack a public servant for anonymously criticizing her employer, the Department of Immigration.

Speakers at the CPAC meeting included Fox News commentators, gun-owning enthusiasts from the US National Rifle Association, former PM Tony Abbot, One Nation state politician Mark Latham and Britain’s Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage. In Sydney in the wake of mass shooting in El Paso Texas and Dayton Ohio, the participants arrived following Trump rants about Congresswomen of the wrong colour going back to where they came from. Farage had been invited in the context of his support for English nationalism, racism and opposition to Europe.

Down With ‘Socialism’

Although advertised as fighting for Australia’s future, the conservatives’ future only emerged in comments concerning an agreed enemy, a mirage-like ghost called ‘socialism.’"

"I stopped reading at that point.  If the 20 million killed by Stalin in the Soviet Union and the 6 million killed by Hitler were a mirage, I don't know what real human beings look like.  Socialism is a dread malady of the human brain that seems to be forever lurking in the brains of a substantial number of the population.  It is no ghost. It is a dread enemy to be opposed at every step.

And Bill Shorten's range of proposed new taxes and regulations  was an unambiguous step towards it.  It was only the solid conservatism of my fellow-countrymen in North Queensland that blocked it.  In the recent Federal election, Shorten did not get one seat outside Queensland's Southeast corner. That was enough to sink him.  We sank Gough Whitlam in the same way. Shorten would have been a perfect Soviet apparatchik

SOURCE 


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Now chicken is bad for you

Everything is bad for you if you read the epidemiological literature for long.  I found the abstract for the report here and the full article here.

The article says that "All analyses were adjusted for socio-demographic, lifestyle and women-specific factors" but the article gives no details of that.  I am 99% certain that they did not adjust for income or social class and that vitiates their conclusions.  Poor people both eat more chicken and have worse health so it was a poverty effect that they found, not a diet effect


Eating chicken puts consumers at a higher risk of a rare form of blood cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, as well as prostate cancer in men, according to researchers from Oxford University.

The research involved tracking 475,000 middle-aged Britons over a period of eight years between 2006 and 2014. Their diets were analysed alongside the diseases and illnesses they suffered with.

Around 23,000 of them developed cancer.

'Poultry intake was positively associated with risk for malignant melanoma, prostate cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma', according to the paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The research that was carried out was an 'association study'.

This means that it only shows the correlation between eating chicken and the certain types of cancers, rather than investigating the reasons why.

There are a number of factors that could cause this link. It could mean that the meat itself contains a carcinogen but it could even come down to how the meat is cooked.  Up until now, chicken has been widely regarded as a healthy alternative to red meat.

Red meat is known to raise health risks including breast, prostate and colorectal cancer because of how the blood from the meat product is digested.

SOURCE

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Image hosting

I don't put a lot of pictures up on my blogs but I do put up some. I usually host the images on Imgur.com, the number one image host at the moment. An encouraging feature of their service is that in early 2015 they announced that all images will be kept forever and only removed if deletion is requested.

Someone must have requested that some of my images be deleted and Imgur has obliged, putting up an ugly and offensive replacement image instead of the original.  I keep pretty good records, however so I have replaced the lost images with backup copies hosted on another server.  I have so far noticed only about half a dozen affected images, however, so I would be obliged if people would let me know if they come across any other offensive images that I have not so far noticed.

We conservative bloggers are definitely under attack.  There was nothing egregious in any of the deleted images.  One was just a table of statistics.  Facebook has also banned all posts that link to my Greenie Watch blog. Questioning global warming is the unforgiveable sin. All my graphs and tables of statistics were in vain. There are a lot of things that the Left don't want to know about.

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An evangelical Christian conservative versus a Catholic conservative

There are probably as many flavours of conservatism as there are conservatives.  The attempt to categorize them is always going to be approximate. So the recent debates between David French and Sohrab Ahmari are interesting.  Both seem to feel that they represent the REAL conservatism. French is the evangelical and Ahmari is the Catholic.

I think both have good points.  The emphasis on civility and principle by French does indeed strongly distinguish conservatives from the abusive and unprincipled Left.

Ahmari thinks the times are too urgent to stand on such principles.  He thinks we are in a war which we could lose unless we go for the jugular.  He thinks we have to use every strategy we can if we are to win.  I am inclined to agree with him.  My own writings are pretty savage at times.

But I think the great mistake is to claim that there is such a thing as conservative politics.  In the last few hundred years all sorts of doctrines have been identified as conservative and many of them would get little respect from modern-day conservatives.  There are, for example, still some people concerned about the gold standard but not many.  And who even knows about the silver standard?

So conservatism is not an unchanging ideology.  It is a tendency.  And that tendency can only be described at the psychological level.  Liberals and Conservatives may agree or not about political policies but at the psychological level they are as different as chalk and cheese.

To put it most starkly, conservatives are the happy people and Leftists are the miserable people.  Stark as that sounds, it is actually repeatedly shown in surveys of happiness.  It is always the consevatives who are shown as happiest.  So what might seem as a vague psychological statement is actually something verifiable by empirical research

And another common finding of happiness research is that happiness is dispositional:  It changes little though your lifetime.  As even Gilbert and Sullivan saw, you tend to be born either a liberal or a conservative.  So the idea that a conservative is a constitutionally happier person is remarkably well grounded in the research.  Conservatives are happier and happiness is dispositional, genetic .

Most people, of course fall somewhere in between but the poles are the ones I have identified.  And it is the poles that we mostly encounter in political debates.

And given that psychological basis of politics, how those two types of personality play out in policy prescriptions will vary according to the time and place.  So on neither side is there a fixed set of principles from which all policies can be deduced.

And that suits Leftists very well.  They usually blame their unhappy feelings on things in the world about them rather than working on themselves. And because they are so unhappy, they want to tear down those things that they blame for their unhappiness. They think that if they could possibly get rid of that awful thing (e.g. Donald Trump) they would be happy or at least happier.

So they put great energies into their tearing-down activities.  And the psychological accompaniment of their wish to tear something down is hate.  Particularly if something resists being torn down, they come to hate it with a passion, as we see from the Leftist reaction to Trump.  They loathe every little thing about him.  Even his remarkably successful economic policies win him no praise from them.  Their hate has become obsessive.

Because they do not have a fire of unhappiness burning inside them, conservatives, on the other hand, can pay more attention to the full picture and note both the good and the bad in a particular situation or policy.  They see, for instance, that limited welfare for the poor is regrettable but also see that more generous welfare provisions would lead to "dole bludging": people who decide to live on the taxpayer's dime when they are perfectly capable of earning their own living.  So conservatives seek a middle way.  Just tearing down one side of the problem seems brain dead to them.

That is very much in evidence in America right now.  The Democrats see a degree of suffering among illegal immigrants held at the Southern border and simply wish to tear down the border as a solution.  No thought to how the USA would be overrun by people with little to contribute seems to occur to them. Conservatives, in the person of Mr Trump, take a middle way and say that only genuine refugees and not economic migrants will be accepted.

So that history leads up to where David French goes wrong and Ahmari is right.  The old principles of a liberal order have served well in the past but it is now time to move on.  New circumstances require new responses -- and conservatives are once again trying to be pragmatic and seek a middle ground.  As an example, Mr Trump has responded to the continuing onslaughts on Americans by Jihadis not by trying to keep all Muslims out of America but by keeping out people from particularly troublesome Muslim nations.  That was one of his first actions on coming to office.

I am particularly interested in Ahmari's comment on the First amendment.  That Amendment must be the most regularly butchered law that there is.  It has regularly been used to attack Christians when it says you must not do that and  has been regularly defied by speech restrictions on American university campuses.  So if the Left can regularly defy it, might not conservatives stretch it too?

I would pass Federal legislation to forbid any kind of political bias on campuses and allow speech and performances that offend public decency and morality to be banned whenever and wherever they occur. New circumstances can require new legal principles and that may possibly be done by modifying old laws.  Traditions can be powerfully useful and informative but they are not a straitjacket.

And I might perhaps note in passing that this idea of a middle way being desirable is very Catholic.  It underlay two encyclicals a century apart:  De rerum novarum and Centesimus Annus.  And, yes, I have read both of them, though not in the original Latin.

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Can Americans discuss race?

There is a Newsweek article here under the title 'FEEL HOW THAT FEELS' A young woman of color’s take on why the fight against racism has to start with owning it written by a black woman called Nadira Hira.  It starts from the view that we are all racists to some degree, a view long held by most psychologists.  She includes herself and other blacks in that. And she thinks we should talk about it.

The article is long and rambling so I won't reproduce any of it here but I think I can see a large problem in it. A large part of what she writes hinges on definitions.  There are many ways you can define racism and it matters. She strongly argues that whites normally define racism too narrowly -- as bad things done by bad people -- and that blacks tend to disown their racial biases also.  So she wants all of us to discuss openly the many ways we are racist -- in the view that we will make it less harmful by doing so.

But there is a big obstacle to that.  Leftists ALREADY define racism very broadly and, the way they do it, no dialogue will ever come out of it. Leftists call just about EVERYTHING they disagree with racist and condemn it sweepingly.  If she wants to get any dialog about race going, she has somehow to shut up the race-baiting Left. And that will be hard -- as the Left are so bereft of ideas that they would often be left with nothing to say if you took that robotic insult away from them.

So it's an essay that I mostly agree with but it is pissing into the wind.  The Left have effectively shut down almost all intelligent dialog about race in America. Just mentioning the word "race" will normally expose you to a tirade of abuse. And the claim that blacks are racist too will cause many of them them to go completely off their brains

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Australia: Primary school teacher sparks outrage after telling students the "Stolen Generations" were taken from their families because of poor parenting

Once again, the truth is "racist" and enough to lose you your job.  In this case a confection by Leftist historians is preferred to the facts.

There is absolutely no mention below of any actual events with Aboriginal children, just mention of some past laws.  There is no mention of what lay behind the laws nor is there any mention of how they were carried out.  There is no mention that, as today, Aboriginal parenting is often both abusive and neglectful towards children and that children were removed from their orginal homes by probably Leftist social workers to give them safer homes with white families.

There was no stolen "generation", just occasional rescues of mistreated children on a case by case basis -- under normal social work procedures


A primary school ethics teacher has sparked outrage after telling students the Stolen Generations were taken from their families due to bad parenting.

The volunteer teacher was discussing homelessness with a year-six class at Dulwich Hill Public School, in New South Wales, when the conversation turned to the mistreatment of Australia's indigenous people.

Stolen Generations refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who were forcibly removed by the government as children from their families between the early 1900s up until the 1970s.

The volunteer, believed to be in his 70s, allegedly told the young students what they had been told was false, and the real reason the children were removed was lazy parenting.

The volunteer teacher was stood down from his position after four pupils complained. A spokeswoman for the organisation that runs the program said complaints involved stereotyping and the ethics teacher is alleged to have voiced racist opinions. 

Kathryn Albany, the mother of one of the students, said she was proud of the students for arguing back.

'I'd always seen ethics as quite a good alternative to scripture,' she told the Sydney Morning Herald. 'But it's almost part of the problem because it's the same issue - these people are unregulated. Imagine if a teacher had responded like that? I would expect them to have pretty serious disciplinary action.'

Special Education in Ethics is offered as a secular alternative to special religious education.

A spokeswoman for the New South Wales Department of Education said the comments were unacceptable and the volunteer teacher has been replaced. An investigation into the incidents is ongoing. 

What are the Stolen Generations: 

The Stolen Generations refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who were forcibly removed by the government as children from their families between the early 1900s up until the 1970s.

The first Aboriginal Act was passed in Western Australia in 1905, and the Chief Protector became the legal guardian of every Aboriginal and 'half-caste' child under the age of 16.

Similar laws were soon passed in other states and territories, including the New South Wales Aborigines Protection Act in 1909, and in 1911 the South Australia Aborigines Act and the Northern Territory Aboriginals Ordinance.

From the time the first act was passed until 1970, between one in ten and one in three Indigenous children were removed from their families or communities.

In 1937 a Commonwealth/State 'native welfare' conference made assimilation the national policy.

'The destiny of the natives of aboriginal origin, but not of the full blood, lies in ultimate absorption ... with a view to their taking their place in the white community on an equal footing with the whites,' the policy stated.

By 1967 a referendum was held to amend the Australian constitution, establishing laws for Aboriginal people who were also included in the census for the first time.

Two years later, all states had repealed legislation allowing for the removal of Aboriginal children for 'protection'.

In 1975 parliament introduced the Racial Discrimination Act, making discrimination based on race unlawful regardless of state or territory legislation.

Eight years later the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle is established, ensuring indigenous children are placed with indigenous families when adoption is necessary.

On February 13, 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered a public apology to the Stolen Generations.

SOURCE    

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Marriage rates are on the decline because of fewer 'economically-attractive' men as women are focused to choose between remaining single or 'settling' for less successful partners

It is perfectly reasonable and utterly traditional for women to want a competent partner -- and economic competence is part of that.  And it is undoubtedly true that modern-day women experience a shortage of economically competent men. They have been complaining bitterly about it for some years now.  So how come?

It's all down to feminism.  Political feminism is largely anti-man and their destructive aims do have some fulfilment in various ways.  And the first way is that women are being pushed into traditionally male jobs. And for every woman who gets such a job a man is pushed out and may never get as good a job again.  So the woman can be pleased with her new job but will she be pleased with the reduced availability of appealing partners?

Another way feminism hurts women who want a normal marriage is the feminization of education from grade school on. That feminization tends to push men out of the education system and thus greatly reduces their job prospects.  A majority of graduates are now women. So again feminism damages the economic competence of men.  Once again feminism has hurt female marrige prospects.

Thirdly, feminist activism has created a minefield of politically correct expectation for men.  Normal male reactions to women -- even compliments -- are often deemed unacceptable and may lose the man his job.  And in such circumstance it may be very difficult to get a new job.  Smart men can navigate the verbal obstacles but average men who could be perfectly competent breadwinners in a more permissive age can easily be thrown on the scrapheap.  A considerable range of potential suitable partners will thus not make the cut.

In the circumstances, men can very easily get tired of women from their own ethnicity.  I have seen several high quality men go to the Republic of the Philippines for brides.  Asian women tend to have very little in the way of feminist hangups so very easily take men off the marriage market and promptly have children. Such relationships are not necessarily a bed of roses but the children keep them going, as they do in many Western families. So women who are less feminist lose out to foreign competition.

And Australia is an interesting example of that.  Australia is fortunate in that its largest ethnic minority is East Asian. About 5% of the Australian population is of Han Chinese ancestry plus there are significant numbers from Australia's other Asian neighbours -- Vietnamese in particular.  Where I shop in suburban Brisbane, about a third of the faces I see are Asian.

And the Han are mostly from Southern China, who are quite short in stature.  So the many young Asian females walking about must feel at times as if they are among a race of giants  Even the Caucasian females walking about are often 6' tall, against the S.E. Asian norm of about 5'.

So in their own minds the ladies concerned clearly become quite determined that their children will not be such shrimps.  But there is only one way they can have tall children:  They have to get themselves a tall husband.  But there are very few tall Asian males around.  But there is a plentiful supply of tall Caucasian men, including not a few over 6' tall.  So those determined little Asian ladies set out to get one of them.  And being generally smart they get what they want.  If you see a small Asian lady on the arm of a man where I hang out the man will normally be Caucasian, a tall Caucasian.  A couple where both are Asian is much rarer.  And even then the Chinese man concerned will be a TAll Chinese man.  There is no mistaking what is going on

And a major reason why the Chinese ladies snag a Caucasian man so readily is because when the man finds a well presented lady saying  nice things to him instead of feminist crap, it is like water on dry ground. How does "I will do anything for you" sound? It sounds very persuasive to any man. So again feminism has taken an eligible man off the market and feminist-inspired women can go whistle.

I gather that similar things happen in parts ofthe USA where there is a substantial Chinese presence, for instance in the universities.

But perhaps the greatest damage that feminism does is the unrealistic expectations it puts on men.  Women are taught that they should look for female virtues in men. They will often not find them -- particularly in economically competent men, who will usually be independent-minded.  So even if the man is actually economically competent he may well be rejected, producing an ever-shrinking pool of eligibles.

And once a woman has found a man who ticks all her boxes comes the big challenge, getting him to marry her. Thanks to Britain's savage feminist-inspired divorce laws, no well-advised  Englishman would ever marry, and many don't.  About half of all births in England today are ex-nuptial


Political feminism is the dire enemy of normal marriage-minded women.  Many women are feminist but to a much lesser degree than the political feminists -- but it is the politically active feminists who get the attention and dominate the culture



Marriage rates are on the decline due to a lack of 'economically attractive' men with steady jobs for single to women to meet

The study found that married men had incomes that were 58% higher and were 30% more likely to be employed than unmarried men who are still available

Researchers at Cornell University found that women may instead 'settle' for a potential husband or remain unmarried altogether

Black women and other minorities face serious shortages of potential marital partners, as do unmarried women, the study found

Marriage rates are on the decline due to a lack of 'economically attractive' men with steady jobs for single to women to meet, according to a study.

Researchers analysed data on recent marriages between 2007-2012 and 2013-2017 and concluded that there are fewer men with stable jobs and a good income available for unmarried women to match with.

The study from Cornell University examined characteristics of unmarried women's perfect or 'synthetic' spouses which were comparable to real life husbands of married women.

Authors found that so-called 'dream' husbands had an average income that was 58 per cent higher than the average unmarried man.

Women's perfect husbands were also were 30 per cent more likely to be employed and 19 per cent more likely to have a college degree than the average single American man, according to the study titled: 'Do Unmarried Women Face Shortages of Partners in the U.S. Marriage Market?.'

As a result, women may instead 'settle' for a match that falls short of their aspirations in a husband, the study suggests.

Women also may struggle to marry if they are of either a low or high socioeconomic status.

The study also found that women faced serious shortages of potential black or minority marital partners.

The authors also pointed to research which shows that the 'mass incarceration of black men' has depleted the pool of unmarried men in inner-city urban neighborhoods, which has greatly reduced the prospect of marriage for black women.

On average, black men are roughly seven times more likely than white men to be incarcerated.

Race remains a significant demographic dimension of national and local marriage market mismatches, especially as educational and income constraints are amplified within many low-income and segregated minority populations.

It concluded: 'This study reveals large deficits in the supply of potential male spouses. One implication is that the unmarried may remain unmarried or marry less well-suited partners.'

The study reinforced the commonplace view that women in modern society face new marriage trade-offs at a time when finding a suitable match has become more difficult.

Daniel T. Lichter, the study's lead author and researcher with Cornell University, said: 'Most American women hope to marry but current shortages of marriageable men—men with a stable job and a good income—make this increasingly difficult, especially in the current gig economy of unstable low-paying service jobs.

'Marriage is still based on love, but it also is fundamentally an economic transaction. Many young men today have little to bring to the marriage bargain, especially as young women’s educational levels on average now exceed their male suitors.'

Authors found that traditional patterns of mating have shifted, switching from a tendency in 1980 for women to 'marry up' in socioeconomic status to a current trend of 'marrying down.'

It found that women face overall shortages of economically attractive partners with either a bachelor’s degree or incomes of more than $40,000 a year.

They said the findings reiterated previous research finding that mismatches in the marriage market in the form of shortages of economically attractive men may exacerbate uncertainty and heighten disincentives to marriage.

They said this comes at a time of rising education and growing financial independence among American women.

One solution, the study states, is  that promoting good jobs may be the best marriage promotion policy rather than marriage education courses that teach new relationship skills.

Women who are highly-educated fare worse due to gender imbalances , as they will either increasingly remain unmarried or they will match with men of a lower social status both in education and financially.

The study noted that the average total income of married men is $70,000 compared with $35,000 for unmarried men. Nearly 40 per cent of married men are college graduates compared with only 25 per cent of unmarried men.

Although the difference is small in absolute terms, the relative difference in employment status is large.

About twice as many unmarried women are unemployed compared to married women. 

SOURCE

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Inside the remote Aboriginal community so dangerous that health workers need a POLICE ESCORT just to enter the town and shop owners fear for their lives amid theft and vandalism spree

When I was living in Cairns during my teens, Yarrabah was just across the water on the other side of Trinity Bay.  So we heard a lot about Yarrabah then.  I have also driven through it once a few years ago.  It was never a paradise but it was not remotely as lawless as it now is reported to be.

Why the change?  I think it is of a piece with morality and ethics worldwide.  The old Christian standards have largely been lost and the Leftist gospel that "There is no such thing as right and wrong" is widely preached.  At Yarrabah we see that gospel in extreme practice.  The unfortunate Aborigines tend to accept what the do-gooders tell them


The remote Aboriginal community of Yarrabah has been deemed so dangerous that health workers require a police escort when they enter the town and supermarket workers are in fear for their lives.

Youths in Yarrabah, east of Cairns, have attacked ambulances with rocks and fishing sinkers - and medics fear they will be set upon again.

Locals blame the violence on boredom arising from unemployment, and acknowledged that it made the area 'a miserable place to live'.

Footage of recent attacks showed gangs of children, some as young as six, brawling with each other on the street.

Paramedics Richard Murgha and Lavin Keyes Jnr were discouraged by the violence. The medics told Yarrabah News: 'We want to look after our community and people within the community to the best of our ability, and when these sort of things happen it's very disheartening.'

A long-term resident, that wished to remain anonymous, told the Cairns Post  the town had become 'a miserable place to live' since the fighting had escalated recently.

She said: 'Kids are fighting and instead of sorting it out, the adults are jumping in and getting involved.  'It's been going on for the three months with these families — they bring in extended family from out of town and it's just snowballing. 'All these kids are just sitting on the side of the road waiting for the next fight.'

Yarrabah supermarket owner Jason Lee, 35, who opened his business in the community five years ago, witnesses violence regularly.

'The vast majority are unemployed so they don't have a lot to do, so all it takes is for a kid to say something stupid [to another] and they brawl,'  Mr Lee told Daily Mail Australia.

Mr Lee has been assaulted on numerous occasions and his business had been broken into regularly, with 16 incidents between mid October and December 2018.

He said his attackers were mostly children, and some were as young as four or five.

The soon-to-be father said: 'They [children] know that they are untouchable and parents don't care.

'Kids will generally get banned from shops for theft or violence. They get upset and come back and throw things at the shop. Then their parents come and get aggressive because their children have been banned.'

The shopkeeper has also been attacked with a nine kilogram gas bottle on multiple occasions, had things thrown at him, and been beaten by metal poles.

He said the youths usually break into his shop through the roof and thrash the shop while stealing whatever they can.  Food items are left splattered across the shop floor and his ATM has been destroyed.

His car has also been smashed when parked outside the shop many times, with the most recent incident five months ago.

Queensland Police said officers had to escort workers into town to keep the medics safe. 'This is short-term measure being undertaken to increase safety and ensure the vital hospital operation continues without incident,' a police spokesman said.

'The small number of people, numbering two or four, involved in these incidents are usually motivated by family relationships or disputes and an attending crowd of supporters/onlookers not directly involved in the fighting.

'Police investigations are continuing, but four juveniles aged from nine to 14 are being dealt with in accordance with the Youth Justice Act and the support of their parents.'

Just last month Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service Aboriginal Corporation warned locals via Facebook that organisations would stop sending workers into the town.

'We are asking you to please talk to children about pelting rocks at cars and explain to them about how dangerous it is for the people in the cars, and that they can get into serious trouble with the police and also that some of the health services could be stopped,' the post read.

Yarrabah community and its leaders do not shy away from admitting they have problems, Mayor Ross Andrews says. 'We acknowledge there are challenges around dysfunction and we're honest with ourselves – we know we have a problem,' he said. 'There are only a handful of kids causing these problems but we do not shy away from these issues.

'We could put more dollars into the community to try to solve the problem, but that's not going to make parents accountable for their kids.

'How can we stop this cycle where we are trying to educate and occupy kids to stop them from ending up in a perpetual welfare trap – a job their parents should be doing, even though they are often stuck in the same trap themselves.

'As a Council, and with the Yarrabah Leaders' Forum, we are looking for legislative backing to make parents responsible, we need a collaborative solution between all levels of government, we can't fix this on our own.'

SOURCE 


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Sirach 44

A Roman Catholic Bible has a number of books that Protestant Bibles do not have.  The church calls them deutero-canonical books: ancient books of wisdom that do not have the same authority as the rest of the Bible. The acceptance of some of these books among early Christians was widespread, though not universal. Martin Luther considered these books very good and useful reading; John Calvin considered them as work of Satan.

They are clearly later than the generally accepted books of the Old Testament.  For a start, they have mostly come down to us in Greek, with only fragments extant in Hebrew.  They also recount events much closer to the time of Christ. -- such as the revolt of the Maccabees

For the first thousand years of Christianity, there was no general agreement about what books rightly belonged in the Old Testament.  The various church fathers all had their own lists and some of the deutero-canonical books were normally included -- though not always the same deutero-canonical books.

But when Jews formulated their Masoretic text -- ending in the 10th century -- their selection of books gradually gained authority.  Protestant Bibles are based on it. Since the deutero-canonical books were widely accepted among early Christians, however, they are clearly part of the Christian tradition and deserve respect for that.

I am not well-read in the deutero-canonical books but I rather like chapter 44 of Sirach. Below is an excerpt in a modern translation:

1 Now allow us to praise famous people and our ancestors, generation by generation.

2 The Lord created great glory, his majesty from eternity.

3 They ruled in their kingdoms, and made a name with their power, some giving counsel by their intelligence; some making pronouncements in prophecies;

4 some leading the people by their deliberations, and by their understanding of the people’s learning, giving wise words in their instruction;

5 others devising musical melodies, and composing poems;

6 rich people endowed with strength, living in peace in their dwellings—

7 all of these were honored in their generation, a source of pride in their time.

8 Some of them left behind a name so that their praises might be told.

9 For some there is no memory, and they perished as though they hadn’t existed. These have become as though they hadn’t been born, they and even their children after them.

10 But these were compassionate people whose righteous deeds haven’t been forgotten.

11 This will persist with their children; their descendants will be a good legacy.

12 Their descendants stand by the covenants, and their children also, for their sake.

13 Their descendants will last forever, and their glory will never be erased.

14 Their bodies were buried in peace, but their name lives for generations.

15 The people will tell of their wisdom, and the congregation will proclaim their praise.

It seems to me that this passage constitutes an exact repudiation of Leftism. Leftists want everybody to be equal and loathe success wherever they find it.  Far from praising and remembering great men, they mock them as "dead white males".  Leftists envy great men.  They do not honour them. As Gore Vidal said:  "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little"

But I agree with Sirach.  We SHOULD remember great men -- because we may be able to learn from them.  They represent excellence and we should aspire to excellence.  So the passage above is an emphatic expression of values that we may never hear so strongly put today but which should be part of a healthy scale of values.  It is wisdom from the Christian tradition.

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Charming Chalmers

Despite its quite Anglo name, Chalmers University of Technology is in Sweden.  It has a Centre for Studies of Climate Change Denialism -- the point of which appears to be an attempt to show that climate skeptics are nuts in some way. I reproduce their blurb below. They have really drunk the Kool-Aid. And you've guessed it: Climate skeptics are RACISTS.

I am greatly looking forward to seeing their research reports.  Survey research into personality characteristics is my long suit (See my list of published academic papers here) and I have every confidence that I will be able to drive a Mack truck through whatever they produce. Leftist psychologists have been trying to prove that conservatives are nuts since 1950 so I know how sloppy their research is and how easy it is to debunk.

They do list some recent publications that they think support their beliefs but they are a hoot.  Get a load of the Abstract below.  They don't even seem to know what an abtract does.  It is just a blurb with virtually no details of the research they are supposedly abstracting.  There are no details of the sampling, no reference for the measuring instrument and no details of its reliability and validity, and no tests of statistical significance.

It must be the most incompetent abstract I have ever seen.  An abstract should be full of hard data.  This one is full of waffle. On that precedent what we can expect to come out from the Centre for Studies of Climate Change Denialism will be fairly brain-damaged.

Cool dudes in Norway: climate change denial among conservative Norwegian men

Olve Krange et al.

ABSTRACT

In their article ‘Cool dudes: The denial of climate change among conservative white males in the United States’ the authors state: ‘Clearly the extent to which the conservative white male effect on climate change denial exists outside the US is a topic deserving investigation.’ Following this recommendation, we report results from a study in Norway. McCright and Dunlap argue that climate change denial can be understood as an expression of protecting group identity and justifying a societal system that provides desired benefits. Our findings resemble those in the US study. A total of 63 per cent of conservative males in Norway do not believe in anthropogenic climate change, as opposed to 36 per cent among the rest of the population who deny climate change and global warming. Expanding on the US study, we investigate whether conservative males more often hold what we term xenosceptic views, and if that adds to the ‘cool dude-effect’.1 Multivariate logistic regression models reveal strong effects from a variable measuring ‘xenosceptic cool dudes’. Interpreting xenoscepticism as a rough proxy for right leaning views, climate change denial in Norway seems to merge with broader patterns of right-wing nationalism.

SOURCE  ​


The blurb:

With Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, as a hub, the world’s first global research network looking into climate change denial has now been established.

Scientific and political awareness of the greenhouse effect and human influence on the climate has existed for over three decades. During the 1980s, there was a strong environmental movement and a political consensus on the issue, but in recent years, climate change denial – denying that changes to the climate are due to human influence on the environment – has increased which makes the case for understanding why this is so. 

The comprehensive project: “Why don’t we take climate change seriously? A study of climate change denial”, is now collecting the world’s foremost researchers in this area. In the project, the network will examine the ideas and interests behind climate change denial, with a particular focus on right-wing nationalism, extractive industries, and conservative think tanks. The goal is to increase understanding of climate change denial, and its influence on political decision-making, but also to raise awareness among the general public, those in power, research institutes, and industry.

Right-wing nationalism’s links to climate change denial are a relatively unresearched topic, but Environmental Sociology recently published an article where Hultman and his research colleagues show the connections between conservatism, xenophobia, and climate change denial, through a study in Norway.

Through the new research project, a unique international collaborative platform for research into climate change denial, Centre for Studies of Climate Change Denialism (CEFORCED), will be established, which will connect around 40 of the world’s foremost scientific experts in the area and pave the way for international comparisons. The platform builds upon the world’s first conference in the subject, which Hultman and Professor Riley Dunlap of Oklahoma State University organized in 2016.

An important foundation of the project will be a broad, interdisciplinary view of climate change denial, linking together different disciplines such as geopolitics, environmental psychology, technological history, environmental sociology, gender research, environmental history, energy policy, environmental humanism and technology and science studies.

“We do not dismiss climate change denial as something limited to, for example, powerful, older men with strong connections to the fossil-fuels industry – even if such organized groups do play important roles. Knowledge of climate change and its causes has been around for a long time, so firstly, we also need to understand the type of reactions and everyday denials that explain why we don’t take the greenhouse effect seriously – even when we see the consequences in front of our eyes.”

SOURCE

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The Misogyny of Climate Deniers (?)

The article below draws heavily on work by Chalmers university figures so I was interested to find out a bit about the quality of the thinking of people who think that climate skeptics are nuts.   The article is from TNR so is solidly Leftist.

It starts out with a huge diatribe against critics of Greta Thunberg, the autistic Swedish teenager who has become a sort of oracle to many on the Left.  Conservatives do not at all understand the devotion to Thunberg.  She appears to know nothing about climate science or much else so why has she made such an impression?

The answer is simple.  It is an example of the desperate Leftist search for alternatives to conventional Western wisdom. As part of that search, primitive religions are often glorified by the Left as some sort of alternative revelation to Christianity -- culminating in the risible reverence for the fictional Chief Seattle. Thunberg is just another example of claiming to find  wisdom that is outside conventional sources.

Anyway, the author below, Martin Gelin, is outraged at the mockery his Leftist goddess has attracted from the more rational end of the population and concludes that it can only be explained as the result of "misogyny".  That it might result from her being off her noggin, he does not consider.

I do not reproduce that part of his article below.  I start with his coverage of research from the Chalmers fraternity.

It is pathetic research.  Initially below Gelin refers to a paper by Anshelm and Hultman.  But that paper is based on a content analysis of speech in a focus group.  So what is wrong with that?  Just about everything. I have in my own research career worked with content analysis so know where the skeletons are buried.  The basic truth of content analysis is that it is highly subjective.

You can take all sorts of precautions to impose some degree of objectivity on your analyses but you are always up against the fact that different auditors will hear different things in the speech concerned.  And where the auditors have preconceived notions and theories about what is there, you will almost always confirm those notions and theories.  And since the Chalmers people clearly did have adverse opinions of skeptics, it was foreordained that they would find that skeptics are a bad lot.

Had they been even a pale mockery of scientists, content analysis is exactly the research method the Chalmers crew would have avoided -- on the grounds that their known biases would render their work worthless.  There are research methods -- such as Likert scales -- that are inherently less likely to be biased by  preconceptions and it is those methods which they should have used if they wanted any degree of scientific respectibilty

The second paper our TNR guy refers to is not paper at all.  It is a book chapter and not even an abstract of it is available  online. There is however a review of it here and from the review it would appear to be a work of theory only.

The final paper that our TNR guy refers to is one headed: "Men Resist Green Behavior as Unmanly"

Probably because it is.  It is emotional rather than logical.

Feminists routinely claim that the environment is a feminist issue.  There's a whole Wikipedia article on it.  So for the authors to have shown anything new, they would have to have established that there was no prior polarization between the sexes on environmental issues.  They did not do that, probably because they could not.

But describing something as feminine is a long way from condemning it.  It is a long way from misogyny.  A lot of men really like women.  I am one.

So on all grounds the accusation that climate skeptics are misogynists falls flat for lack of evidence.


In 2014, Jonas Anshelm and Martin Hultman of Chalmers published a paper analyzing the language of a focus group of climate skeptics. The common themes in the group, they said, were striking: “for climate skeptics … it was not the environment that was threatened, it was a certain kind of modern industrial society built and dominated by their form of masculinity.”

The connection has to do with a sense of group identity under threat, Hultman told me—an identity they perceive to be under threat from all sides. Besieged, as they see it, both by developing gender equality—Hultman pointed specifically to the shock some men felt at the #MeToo movement—and now climate activism’s challenge to their way of life, male reactionaries motivated by right-wing nationalism, anti-feminism, and climate denialism increasingly overlap, the three reactions feeding off of one another.

“There is a package of values and behaviors connected to a form of masculinity that I call ‘industrial breadwinner masculinity.’ They see the world as separated between humans and nature. They believe humans are obliged to use nature and its resources to make products out of them. And they have a risk perception that nature will tolerate all types of waste. It’s a risk perception that doesn’t think of nature as vulnerable and as something that is possible to be destroyed. For them, economic growth is more important than the environment” Hultman told Deutsche Welle last year.

The corollary to this is that climate science, for skeptics, becomes feminized—or viewed as “oppositional to assumed entitlements of masculine primacy,” Hultman and fellow researcher Paul Pulé wrote in another paper.

These findings align with similar ones in the United States, where there is a massive gender gap in views on climate change, and many men perceive climate activism as inherently feminine, according to research published in 2017. “In one experiment, participants of both sexes described an individual who brought a reusable canvas bag to the grocery store as more feminine than someone who used a plastic bag—regardless of whether the shopper was a male or female,” marketing professors Aaron R. Brough and James E.B. Wilkie explained at Scientific American. “In another experiment, participants perceived themselves to be more feminine after recalling a time when they did something good versus bad for the environment,” they write.

In the past year, young women such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the U.S. and Thunberg in Europe have become the global faces of climate activism, often with tremendous political impact. In the United States, Ocasio-Cortez has helped transform what was once considered a bit of fringe rhetoric—the Green New Deal—into a topic of regular conversation. Across the Atlantic Ocean, in a recent poll, one out of three Germans said that Thunberg has changed their views on climate change.

SOURCE

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Spice Company Says Republicans Are More 'Calculated' Than Nazis

Bill Penzey undoubtedly knows a lot about spices but his history is woefully lacking. That Hitler was a socialist seems to be unknown to him.  Whatever else he might be, Trump is no socialist. And that Donald Trump is as keen on deregulation as Hitler was keen on controlling all businesses also seems unknown to him.  So what is Left?  Whom has Trump gassed?  Nobody. Bill should stick to his spices.  He lives in his own little fantasy world where any mention of ethnicity leads directly to Auschwitz.  He would apperar to be a typical under-educated Leftist

He certainly would not understand why or how a conservative New Zealand blogger once started up a fake-Leftist site called Progressive Essays. The amusing part was that the content on the blog in fact consisted of recycled speeches by Hitler and various other Nazis and Fascists of history. Apparently no one spotted the difference. It was routinely linked as just another Leftist blog!
   
A Wisconsin-based spice company published a scathing attack on President Trump and the Republican Party — accusing them of leading the nation on a path towards “1930s German-style nationalism.”

“The reality of what America’s Republican Party has become stopped being deniable,” Bill Penzey of Penzey’s Spices wrote on the company’s Facebook page. He referenced the domestic-terrorist attack in El Paso.

“As the president’s intentional creation of fear and dehumanizing of Hispanic Americans turned into mass murder, what may well have been the last chance to turn the party away from the path towards 1930s Germany-style nationalism quite probably ended in the silence of Republican Party leaders,” he wrote.

Penzey, who has a history of using the company’s platform to attack gun-toting, Bible-clinging conservatives, called for an intervention.

“Yes, today’s republicans are not yet 1943 Nazis, but no one honest is denying the parallels between the two parties,” he wrote. “Today the only real debate is how far along the Nazi timeline republicans are. But as much as the 1930s Germany comparison is accurate, the value of the analogy is somewhat limited because no one in 1930s Europe had any successful idea on how to stop them.”

Penzey went on to suggest that Republicans are even more evil than the Nazis.

“Plus, for all the buffoonery of the president, the actual workings of the Republican Party in the age of unlimited political spending and targeted social media are far more calculated and far more sophisticated than anything the Nazis of eighty years ago ever dreamed of. We are up against something quite formidable,” he wrote.

Mr. Penzey and his company have every right to condemn President Trump and the Republican Party. But it should also be noted that President Trump and his supporters have every right to buy their spices someplace else.

And a personal note to Mr. Penzey — you might want to ease up on the smoked Paprika.

SOURCE 

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Another Leftist housing scheme fails

Leftist governments are always pledging to "solve" the housing shortage and build lots of "affordable" housing.  It is always a fiasco, with little housing built and virtually none of it affordable.  The latest example below.

Why are the Left so clueless about housing?  There was even a drastic shortage of it in the old Soviet Union, where they had their hands on all the levers.

It's because housing is intrinsically expensive so cost minimization is vital.  And only private enterprise can cut costs to the bone.  Once government gets involved everybody relaxes and does everything the bureaucratic way, which is slow, inefficient and costly.  Time is money -- but not to bureaucrats

And all sorts of Leftist policies add to the costs -- environmental and safety mandates for a start. Leftist governments CREATE high costs for housing. It is only where government mandates and regulations are minimized that costs can be slashed. It's the difference in regulations that makes housing in Texas half the price of housing in California

See also here for how NIMBYs use the laws to keep housing prices up


The New Zealand government has performed a spectacular mea culpa on one of Labour's signature election policies, walking away from a pledge to build 100,000 affordable new homes within a decade.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's government insists their commitment to low-cost housing remains, announcing on Wednesday a raft of changes to their "KiwiBuild" policy suite.

"KiwiBuild isn't working so we are changing it," Housing Minister Megan Woods said. "As a government, we have a commitment to not bloody-mindedly pursuing a policy because we said it a few years ago. "We're actually having the courage to call time on it, say it hasn't worked, and make the necessary changes. "When policies aren't working we are honest about that and fix them."

KiwiBuild is one of the Ardern government's flagship policies, and the prime minister is hopeful that today's "KiwiBuild reset", first announced in January, will change the course of the ailing $2 billion housing programme.

The ambitious goal-setting and spending, in partnership with developers, was aimed at helping first homebuyers crack the property market - as well as providing an economic stimulus and apprenticeships.

One year into the planned decade of house-building, just 141 houses had been constructed, well short of the first benchmark of 1,000

Targets of 5,000 by June 2020 and 10,000 by June 2021 have now been discarded.

"When I lifted up the hood and had a look at what was happening with Kiwibuild, the targets were providing some perverse outcomes," Ms Woods said. That included unsold properties and developers ignoring the needs of larger families.

Opposition Housing spokesperson Judith Collins lashed the changes as "a massive retreat".

While Ms Ardern embraced the KiwiBuild policy, the plan preceded her leadership by five years; first announced in 2012 by then-leader David Shearer.

Four Labour leaders and two elections later, Ms Ardern found herself in the position to implement it after building a coalition government with NZ First and the Greens.

Her first Housing Minister, Phil Twyford, was moved on from the role in June, leaving Ms Woods with the patch-up job.

Other changes announced on Wednesday include a reduction of the deposit needed for a government-backed mortgage and a requirement for small home buyers to live in those properties for just one year.

The Greens have also succeeded in shifting $NZ400 million of KiwiBuild funding into a progressive home ownership scheme.

SOURCE


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Why 'Joker' Is Being Called A 'Toxic Rallying Cry For Incels'

People seem to be universally condemning this film.  They also recognize however that there is a reality behind it.  There ARE incels (males unable to form heterosexual relationships) and they are often very angry.  It seems a pity the film has not become a stimulus for thinking about the incel phenomenon.

And it is not hard to see why the incel phenomenon has arisen so strongly in recent times.  There have always been socially incompetent males who become relationship failures just by reason of how they are made, but now that males and maleness are regularly denigrated by the dominant feminist culture, many more males than before have been cast adrift.

Strong, confident males will always do well.  They can scoff at at feminist idiocies and form healthy bonds with women.  But less assertive men will not be able to defy the abnormal expectations built up by feminist doctrine and will be forced into relationship failure.  Only a small minority of incels go on a killing spree but feminism bears much of the blame when they do.  The contempt that feminists have for normal maleness engenders contempt for the feminist values dominating society at large and a shooting spree is one way of expressing that.

Once upon a time incels suffered in silence, resigned to being life-long "bachelors" but the damage done by feminism has not only increased the number of incels but generated among them feelings of being unjustly treated -- and that is a time bomb waiting to go off


The Joker has been interpreted multiple times over the last 50+ years. First with Cesar Romero’s goofy portrayal in the initial Batman and Robin film, then Jack Nicholson’s more charmingly witty take in the 1989 Tim Burton film, and of course, the infamously cunning and maniacal depiction courtesy of the late Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.

Todd Phillips is the first director to take the character and devote an entire film to his origin story in Joker and if the early reviews are to be believed, comic book films ‘will never be the same again’.

The film, having premiered at the Venice Film Festival over the weekend, has already inspired millions (probably billions) of words to be written about it. Starring Joaquin Phoenix in the titular role, the film tells the story of Arthur Fleck, a clown for hire and aspiring stand-up comedian who still lives with his ailing mother and resents the fact that the world won’t pay him as much attention as he believes he deserves. Sound familiar?

The critics are divided on the topic of Phoenix’s performance, with some lauding him for a ‘career best’ turn and others claiming that he actually acts too hard in order to be able to take the film as seriously as it wants to be taken.

But while they disagree about the quality of his performance, what they are almost unanimous in is their assertion that the film is confused in figuring out whether it’s satire or propaganda of white men who, feeling rejected by the world, turn to violence and hatred as the answer to those problems. According to the early reviews, the film walks a thin line that could be potentially harmful if received in the wrong way. It doesn’t seem to handle the themes with the necessary caution it needs in order to avoid glorifying incels and their sometimes violent behaviour.

David Ehrlich of IndieWire called the film “a toxic rallying cry for self-pitying incels,” and believes that it “lacks the discipline or nuance to responsibly handle such hazardous material” in a world of Reddit trolls and maniacal Marvel fans.

Likewise, Jessica Kiang for Playlist wrote that it’s “a film so disturbing it feels almost dangerous: whatever about its hard-R rating, they should maybe think about background checks and a mandatory three-day waiting period at theatres.”

Continuing, she writes, “Joker, based on recognisable IP, and now given the seal of critical and possible awards-consideration approval too, is so aesthetically impressive, effective, and persuasive of its own reality that you see clearly how easily it could be (mis)interpreted and co-opted by the very 4Chan/Incel/”mentally ill loner” element it purports to darkly satirise.”

Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson opened his own review by noting society’s current obsession with dissecting and finding causation for the motivations of “disaffected white men who’ve turned violent”.

“Whether that violence is born of mental illness, isolation, the culminated rage of masculine identity, or all those bound together in some hideous knot, we seem certain that there is some salvable cause,” he writes, going on to explain that he himself couldn’t stop thinking about this obsession while watching Joker because of the parallels between those ‘disaffected white men’ and Arthur.

Likewise, in a damning review for TIME, Stephanie Zacharek writes that the film is a ‘prime example’ of the ‘emptiness of our culture’. “In America, there’s a mass shooting or attempted act of violence by a guy like Arthur practically every other week. And yet we’re supposed to feel some sympathy for Arthur, the troubled lamb; he just hasn’t had enough love,” she said. “He could easily be adopted as the patron saint of incels.”

With Oscar buzz already thrumming for Phoenix, this will no doubt only be the beginning of the discussion around the film and what it says about incels, masculinity, mental health and violence.

SOURCE


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Christ's last lesson

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do"

At the very end of his life Jesus said the above.  For him to say that displayed a remarkably insightful heart.  He thought of their motivations as well as their deeds and in thinking of those motivations could not condemn their deeds.  It is a lesson to us all.  We need to forgive because we may not know what was/is driving the other person. Even under the most grievous provocation, we must keep that in mind. It is a most powerful teaching indeed.  Could we have forgiven in his situation?

Forgiveness can be so powerful.  It is particularly good at restoring relationships.  I have been married and divorced four times.  But there has never been any anger in me towards the ladies concerned.  We have remained on good terms to this day.  I didn't consciously forgive any of them anything.  I just did not judge or condemn their motivations at all in the first place.  I accepted that they had a motivation that was right in their eyes.

I gained so much by being forgiving.  And the wonder of it is that it is contagious. Any anger that they had towards me faded away too.  Christian teachings work.


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Personal insults are free speech?

Not all personal insults rise to the level of defamation but they are in the same general category of speech.  They have never been protected free speech.

Reasoned criticism is another matter. That is protected.  But the young writer below cannot, apparently, see the difference between criticism and personal insult.  It is rather symptomatic of the vacant Leftist mind that they see insults as criticism. I hate to mention it, but it is possible to make political criticisms without insulting anyone personally. Conservatives do it routinely.

And the response by the conservative below is an example of that. He did not trade insult for insult but simply made some polite proposals. But it would appear that the Leftist concerned did not rise to that level of maturity.

But one can in a way understand the thinking of the woman below. Leftist discourse is so light on reason that insult has to substitute for rational argument among them.  Insults are often all they have got in defending their positions


When I saw a tweet saying that The New York Times newsroom might have bedbugs, I wasn’t especially surprised. The city says the problem is “increasingly common.” It seemed like a mundane inconvenience for the paper of record and joke fodder for its critics. I didn’t expect these jokes to end up infesting my Twitter timeline, but then conservative Times columnist Bret Stephens got involved.

Stephens, a vociferous defender of free speech, went full-on “I’m telling your manager” on a professor who tweeted, “The bedbugs are a metaphor. The bedbugs are Bret Stephens.” The absurd episode exposed, not for the first time and likely not the last, how the free speech double standard works for many intellectuals and politicians on the right.

Many people, including President Donald Trump and Republican politicians trying to crack down on the right to protest, are eager to crusade as champions of liberty and open discourse — until someone lobs the slightest criticism in their direction.

The Stephens incident is just one example. On Monday evening, Dave Karpf, an associate professor at George Washington University, tweeted the joke at the columnist’s expense. Later that night he returned to Twitter to share an email he said Stephens had sent him, with the university’s provost (Karpf's boss) on cc.

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Australia downgrades outlook for Great Barrier Reef to 'very poor'

OK. I guess I should say something about this rubbish, as nobody else is stepping up to the plate so far. For a start, note that this is prophecy, not a factual report. They are prophesying that the reef will deteriorate. Given the erratic influences on the reef (unpredictable cyclones, unpredictable starfish attacks, sea-level oscillations etc), this is simply a stab in the dark. Many things could happen and nobody knows which will.

Secondly this is not a report of any objective measurements. It is "based on a qualitative assessment of the available evidence."  Note: qualitative, not quantitative.  It is in short simply an expression of opinion from people with a vested interest in alarm

And pointing the skinger of forn at global warming is the silliest thing of all.  Where does the reef flourish best?  Where does it display the greatest biodiversity?  In the far tropics.  In the WARMEST parts of the reef waters. Corals LIKE warmth.  Global warming would be GOOD for the reef.  We live among madmen


Australia downgraded the Great Barrier Reef's long-term outlook to "very poor" for the first time on Friday, as the world heritage site struggles with "escalating" climate change.

In its latest five-yearly report on the health of the world's largest coral reef system, the government's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority singled out rising sea temperatures as the biggest threat to the giant organism.

"The significant and large-scale impacts from record-breaking sea surface temperatures have resulted in coral reef habitat transitioning from poor to very poor condition," the government agency said.

"Climate change is escalating and is the most significant threat to the Region's long-term outlook.

"Significant global action to address climate change is critical to slowing deterioration of the Reef's ecosystem and heritage values and supporting recovery," it said.

But the agency added that the threats to the 2,300-kilometre (1,400-mile) reef were "multiple, cumulative and increasing" and, in addition to warming seas, included agricultural run-off and coral-eating crown of thorns starfish.

The agency said the outlook downgrade from "poor" in 2014 to "very poor" now reflected the greater expanse of coral deterioration across the massive reef, notably following back-to-back coral bleaching events caused by sea temperature spikes in 2016 and 2017.

"The window of opportunity to improve the reef's long-term future is now," it said.

The conservative Australian government has faced criticism from environmentalists for favouring an expansion of its massive coal mining and export industry over action to curb climate change.

The United Nations had asked to receive the latest update on the reef's health by December so that it can determine whether the site can retain its world heritage status when UNESCO next considers the issue in 2020.

The reef is estimated to be worth at least $4 billion (£3.3 bn) a year to the Australian economy - serving as a magnet for tourists and emblem of the country.

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Why Republican Governors Are More Popular

The explanation offered below is that they make fewer promises that they have no way of keeping.  That is certainly part of the story.  It is an entirely political explanation. But, as ever,  the psychological level of explanation is powerful too.  As all the polls show, conservatives are simply happier people and that makes a much more pleasant and attractive personality.  As the proverb goes: "Laugh and the world laughs with you.  Cry and you cry alone"

The classic example of a pleasant conservative personality  was the Gipper. With his sunny personality he got amazing stuff -- including vast tax cuts -- through a Democrat-controlled Congress.  He made them feel good and they wanted to laugh with him.  And you will note that even Trump, who must have the most unlovable personality of any President ever, constantly uses feelgood talk. And he is loved for that, to the total incomprehension of Leftists.

Just two days ago, I put up the following quote from Trump:  "Our movement is built on love… We love our family. We love our faith. We love our flag and we love our freedom, and that’s what it’s about… We love our neighbors and we love our country."  Beat that for positivity!  People can overlook a lot in a man with that attitude.  Among his followers, he has a depth of popularity that other politicians can only envy


WHEN the pollster Morning Consult published its latest round of approval ratings for the nation’s 50 governors in July, it revealed a couple of interesting findings: Eight of the ten least popular governors were Democrats, while the ten most popular governors were all Republicans.

What explains this phenomenon? Clearly it’s not random chance. Does that mean conservative governance is really so much more popular than liberal governance at the state level? There’s something to that, but a closer look reveals the answer is not quite that simple. The ten most popular Republican governors can be separated into three categories: red states, blue states, and purple states. There are five red-state governors whose approval ratings of 57 percent to 59 percent and low disapproval ratings land them spots on Morning Consult’s top-ten list: Greg Abbott of Texas, Doug Burgum of North Dakota, Mark Gordon of Wyoming, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, and Bill Lee of Tennessee. They are all conservative governors working with conservative legislatures to give conservative voters what they want on fiscal and social issues.

The blue-state GOP governors succeed not so much by advancing conservatism as by tapping the brakes on their Democratic legislatures.

You might discount the popularity of Republican governors in red states: Is it really a big deal that Republican voters are happy with Republican governors? But then you must also ask: Why aren’t Democratic governors just as popular in blue states? One answer is that states are subject to greater fiscal constraints than the federal government, and those constraints mean that Democratic governors can’t really satisfy their voters the way that Republican governors can. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, “49 states must balance their budgets, with Vermont being the exception.” Even without a balancedbudget requirement, progressive dreams have been shattered in Vermont by cold, hard math. The state’s former Democratic governor signed into law a singlepayer health-care plan in 2011, but he had to abandon it in 2014 when he couldn’t figure out a way to come close to paying for it. The state has had a Republican governor since 2017.

Budget gimmicks are still possible at the state level, but states can’t simply rack up debt the way the federal government can. If schools can’t be funded and roads can’t be built with existing revenues, taxpayers are going to feel it very soon and blame their governors accordingly.

Republicans can also become unpopular by taking their own ideology too far: For example, steep tax cuts in Kansas resulted in budget shortfalls; those tax cuts were repealed by a bipartisan supermajority in the legislature in 2017, and the state elected a Democratic governor in 2018.

But overspending is much more typically the cause of a state’s budget woes. “Some states have consistently performed poorly, such as Connecticut, Illinois, and New Jersey,” the Mercatus Center reports in its latest ranking of state fiscal health. “They have experienced ongoing structural deficits, a growing reliance on debt to fund spending, underfunded pensions and other postemployment benefit liabilities, or some combination of these problems.” And, sure enough, the Democratic governors of Connecticut, Illinois, and New Jersey all showed up in Morning Consult’s bottom ten list.

It is, of course, possible to govern a state that is a fiscal mess and still be a very popular chief executive. And that brings us to the three deep-blue states where Republican governors have skyhigh approval ratings: Charlie Baker of Massachusetts (73 percent approval), Larry Hogan of Maryland (70 percent approval), and Phil Scott of Vermont (60 percent approval). These governors have a few things in common. Hillary Clinton won each of these states by 26 to 27 percentage points in 2016. Each governor is a social liberal or, in the case of Hogan, has promised not to alter the status quo on social issues. None of them support the sitting Republican president (Hogan publicly toyed with primarying Trump).

The blue-state GOP governors succeed not so much by advancing conservatism as by tapping the brakes on their Democratic legislatures. In Massachusetts, for example, spending has grown at 3.7 percent per year (down from about 4.5 percent under Baker’s Democratic predecessor), according to Boston Herald columnist Michael Graham. Baker, first elected in 2014, also vetoed a bill providing driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. Other than that, Graham contends, Baker has pretty much governed as a Democrat. Baker signed an $800 million– a–year payroll-tax hike to fund a paid-family-leave benefit in 2018, and Massachusetts still ranks 47th in terms of fiscal health, according to the Mercatus Center. But Baker’s approach has been good enough to win the support of Democratic and Republican voters.

In Maryland, Hogan described his approach as that of a “goalie” before he was first elected in 2014. “Right now it’s an open net. It’s just every single crazy thing that they want to get in just gets done,” Hogan told the Washington Times. “One major thing we can do is play goalie. There’s not going to be a huge offensive game. We’re going to be able to score here and there and we’re going to stop bad things from happening and continuing to drive our state into the ground.” As governor, Hogan has balanced the budget and used his executive authority to cut tolls, but his plan to cut taxes was blocked by the legislature in 2016. Earlier this year, Hogan vetoed a bill to create a minimum wage of $15 (more than double that of neighboring Virginia). Hogan offered a compromise at $12.10, but Democrats overrode the veto to pass the $15 minimum wage. Playing goalie is a difficult job when the opposing team has the ability to pull you.

In Vermont, Scott was first elected in 2016 and had some success playing goalie during his first two-year term. He issued 14 vetoes, according to the Burlington Free Press. Scott stopped bills to raise property taxes, establish a $15 minimum wage, and raise taxes to enact a paid-family-leave program. In 2018, the same electorate that sent Bernie Sanders back to the U.S. Senate by a 40-point margin reelected Scott by a 15-point margin. The bad news for Scott is that in 2018 Democrats and progressives achieved the supermajority necessary to override Scott’s vetoes.

Perhaps the most interesting popular Republican governors are the ones who have found success in the purple states. In New Hampshire, Chris Sununu’s 65 percent approval rating made him the third most popular governor, according to Morning Consult. The state voted for Hillary Clinton by three-tenths of a percentage point in 2016, when Sununu won his first two-year term by 2.3 points. In 2018, New Hampshire’s legislature flipped to the Democrats, but Sununu was reelected to a second two-year term by a seven-point margin. Sununu’s popularity can be attributed in part to the state’s economic success and his fiscal restraint. “We are the most probusiness state in the Northeast and we brag about that a lot,” Sununu tells NATIONAL REVIEW. “We’re lowering business taxes, we have no sales tax, we have no income tax.”

He says he vetoed the recent Democratic budget because it was structurally imbalanced and would have raised business taxes. He also vetoed a paid-family-leave bill that would have raised taxes and has instead proposed a public–private partnership. New Hampshire’s 2.5 percent unemployment rate is the fourth lowest in the country. Beyond the economy and the budget, another key to Sununu’s success is his accessibility. “I give my cell phone to everybody,” he says. Surely this is some gimmick, right? He must have two cell phones and hands off one to a staffer? Nope. “I have one phone, one number,” he says. “People are actually very respectful of it. Very rarely do I have people who are constantly calling me.”

New Hampshire’s geography and small population (with 1.3 million residents, it has about as many people as the city of Dallas) allows Sununu to operate more like a mayor than a governor. “We’re like the tax-free suburb of Boston,” he says. If Sununu were not pro-choice on abortion, he’d be a plausible GOP presidential candidate. He says the thought of running for president hasn’t crossed his mind.

Florida’s Ron Desantis’s popularity has surprised many observers. He won a bitterly fought first term in 2018 by less than half of one percentage point, but he is the tenth most popular governor on Morning Consult’s list, with 57 percent of Floridians approving and only 20 percent disapproving. “He’s recognized a lot of the challenges Florida takes on the environmental front. I think it surprised a lot of folks from the environmental left,” says Sal Nuzzo of the James Madison Institute, a conservative think tank in Florida. Desantis has taken climate change seriously but also focused on issues unique to Florida, such as blue-green algae and red tide. He’s also appealed to voters by enacting a large expansion of school choice.

Arizona’s Doug Ducey (with a 53 percent approval–29 percent disapproval rating) didn’t make the top-ten list, but given the political aphorism that “the only poll that matters is on Election Day,” his popularity also deserves mention. In 2018, Ducey won a second term when he defeated Democrat David Garcia by 14 percentage points at the same time that Republican Martha Mcsally lost the Arizona Senate race to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema by 2.4 points. “He’s been extremely good on dismantling the administrative state, particularly when it comes to occupational licensing,” says Victor Riches of the conservative Goldwater Institute in Arizona (Riches formerly served on Ducey’s staff). Ducey turned a billion-dollar deficit into a surplus with across-the-board cuts and has benefited from welcoming an influx of tech companies fleeing California’s high taxes and cost of living. He has taken a tough approach on border security but has also developed strong relationships with Mexican-government officials. He won 44 percent of Hispanic voters in 2018, according to exit polls.

All the popular Republican governors are worth watching to see what conservative reforms they can actually accomplish. With gridlock dominating Washington for the foreseeable future, the states are where real innovation may occur. But Ducey, Desantis of Florida, and Abbott of Texas deserve special attention because they are governing states that will be key battlegrounds in future presidential elections and are themselves the sitting governors who are the most plausible future Republican presidential nominees.

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