What is the point of teaching English?


I greatly enjoyed my experience of English classes over 60 years ago. I got heavy exposure to the literary greats, both in poetry and fiction. It was a pleasure that I would wish on others but I know that the silver cord has been loosed and the the golden bowl is broken. More details on what has been lost here:

Only in the world of English teaching could you leave an industry conference feeling more confused about the purpose of your discipline than when you arrived. This conference was held in February by VATE (The Victorian Association of Teaching English) bringing secondary English teachers and department leaders from across Victoria to Deakin University. The dark cloud hanging over the industry, in this case in the form of a national teacher shortage, did not dissuade the typical good-natured banter and cheerful complaining between the mutually fatigued. Teachers became students as the day was divided into several sessions broken by recess and lunch. Those from the Grammar schools made comparisons between who had done a better job of gaming their median study score the previous year through tactical enrolments and expulsions, while those from public schools looked over in envy before turning to each other with tall tales of wrangling delinquents and plucking gems from the great unwashed masses. Scattered throughout the room were a few fearful whispers of ChatGPT. As a teacher who is two years into their career, I was here to learn how to better teach English – but what is teaching English?

English is often considered the beating heart of a secondary school’s academic life. This is partly out of necessity because most states require students to complete an English subject at Year 12, which ties a school’s ranking to its English proficiency. This is also caused by the more material fact that success in English predicts positive effects in other subject areas. English is also unique within the traditional core subjects (Science, Mathematics, English, History) as the only subject that has art, and the appreciation of art as art, at the centre of its classrooms. The only serious encounters with art that many Australians will have in their lives will be had within an English classroom.

Despite its importance, the purpose of English is a contentious issue among politicians, parents, journalists, and academics, let alone among teachers and students. There is a general consensus among English teachers that we are sick of being at the whim of Culture Wars, though I will posit that this is only another way of saying that we wish our culture would win already. For we know that the business of English teaching, whatever it is, is important. And woe to the civilisation which fails to realise this.

Returning to the conference… I was about to see first-hand the confusion surrounding the purpose of English. With an acknowledgment that Deakin had stolen the land it stood on (and with no sign that it would be giving it back anytime soon), we launched into the morning session. We delved into functional grammar and effective feedback, everything was grounded in objectivity as we looked into ‘the mathematics of English’ as the speaker put it. We poured over punctuation, syntax, spelling, and how best to teach them. Cast in this light, the goal of my profession, above all else, seemed clear: to teach students to accurately understand the world around them and, in turn, be understood through clear communication. But where exactly did that leave the beauty of the literature we studied? Was this beauty merely a utility that authors used to better communicate? Perhaps we would find out in the next session.

The next session focused on the new VCE unit featured in the senior year levels, Crafting Texts (Year 11) and Creating Texts (Year 12) with our speaker being one of its designers. As our speaker explained, the senior text lists are increasingly including shorter texts and anthologies of short stories as opposed to the traditional novel or play. This has been done to keep English engaging in light of our population’s diminishing attention span and a general lack of interest in reading books. In what is a step further in this direction, students will no longer be required to read whole texts, short or long, but rather a collection of excerpts called Mentor Texts centred around a generalised topic. Examples of these topics include ‘Futures’ or ‘Nature’ or perhaps, ‘Food’ – the choice of which is left with the school, as are the Mentor Texts. What is concerning here is not really the unit itself – which exposes students to a variety of writing techniques and approaches to a topic – but rather the line of thinking behind it. The conclusion of this sort of pandering to the lowest common denominator will eventually mean the expulsion of books altogether in favour of short-form media. How short? If we take the most popular media application with teens as an example, TikTok, then about 15 to 60 seconds. We are kidding ourselves if we think this change is a natural evolution of artistic tastes and that we, as English teachers, need to somehow keep up with or bow down to. Are we meant to believe nothing would be lost by reducing Shakespeare into bite-sized snippets or as if anything bite-sized could aspire to anything like the depth of a work by Shakespeare?

Part of the issue is that many educators have given up on taking an active role in the development of their students, taking a descriptivist role rather than providing any sort of prescription. In other words, we are stuck teaching students to appreciate what they are already interested in, cursed by the hangover from the academic fads of whole language approaches and process writing that taught English teachers to only ‘facilitate’ the organic development of language and not to provide rules that would obstruct that natural growth. While these approaches have rightly fallen out with academics they live on in schools and in curricula, drawing us ever closer to the day we begin teaching Emoji 101. It is from these educational trends that I was given the impression that English teaching is not about grammar but is about, above all else, facilitating the self-expression of our students. As the University of Melbourne academic, Raymond Misson wrote, ‘English teachers are not on about teaching single truths, they are on about capacity building, giving students the capacity to create their own set of values and their own hierarchy of truths suitable for dealing with the diversity of the texts they come across and the diversity of the world they live in.’

Though it may seem ridiculous to those outside of the teaching world, there are indeed teachers who happily celebrate the death of the novel and play as the predominant text forms studied in English. ‘Down with Shakespeare, down with Dickens!’ they cry. For it is often their view that the form of traditional literature, as well as the content, is contaminated by the slew of likely -isms, racism, sexism, colonialism, et cetera. In their view, the length of the novel or play amounts to textual mansplaining. The same teachers when forced to teach classics typically set students activities that gloss over the depth of these texts, by getting them to write and perform rap songs loosely connected to Hamlet or create blackout poetry by vandalising a page out of Bleak House. That students walk away from these texts feeling like they are irrelevant is often the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy held by these teachers that the classics are old, stuffy, and boring – even though the boredom is rather the result of poor teaching due to a lack of familiarity with these texts and their milieus. And thus the TikTok-isation of English appears to them as revitalisation. As for some, this pandering is a cathartic release from fears that they could bring more into their classrooms than merely a highly detailed knowledge of the Harry Potter universe. A release from fear that if they had used a fraction of the time they have spent arguing Dumbledore’s sexuality on online forums with familiarising themselves with the Western Canon that their classrooms would become portals to exploring truly different worlds rather than indulgent playgrounds populated by the inoffensive. It is these teachers that have raised our most recent generation to require the censorship of Roald Dahl’s use of ‘horsey face’, ‘idiot’, and ‘fat’.

These new senior English units based around short mentor texts are then a double-edged blade. In the right hands, it can be an engaging way of viewing a topic from multiple viewpoints across different time periods. It could also give students a cursory survey of many texts they could choose to read in full later on (unlikely, but possible). However, there is the danger that in the absence of a single authorial voice, or at least the absence of an artistic effort unified into a single text, students could be exposed to a shallow reading of texts cherry-picked according to agendas held by our more dictatorial teachers. This leaves the passing down of literary tradition vulnerable to being strangled, so to speak, in its crib. It is no coincidence that Adolf Hitler read in a manner similar to the process set up by these mentor text units – Hitler would skim read while choosing passages to literally rip from the books after first reading through the contents and the concluding pages to check it was suitable according to his own political ideology. It was this functionalist method that allowed him, for example, to make selective analogies from Carlyle’s biography of Frederick the Great to match his own circumstances. This approach could be seen not just in Hitler’s reading habits but also in the wider efforts of his regime, such as in the selective reading of the Bible that led to the creation of an antisemitic New Testament featuring an Aryan Jesus who hated the Jews. These tyrannical hermeneutics are common to all dictatorships, not to mention being increasingly found today festering around our schools and publishing houses. Therefore, in the teaching of these mentor text units, we would be wise to heed Pope’s famous warning: A little learning is a dangerous thing / Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.

With the mentor text units explained, we had a brief lunch and shifted to the third session of the conference on the ethics of selecting texts. This session largely followed the party line that I had been hammered with over my two-year Master’s degree at the University of Melbourne. For while the error of over-prioritising self-expression has largely subsided in the academy, another has arisen around the role of English in the cultivation of morals. Thus, I was reminded in the third session that the actual purpose of English teaching is, above all else, creating a just and equitable society. In this session, our sixty minutes of hate featured one of the usual suspects that we as English teachers need to combat by putting the right books in the right hands. Whether it is the patriarchy, heteronormativity, settler-colonialism, or white supremacy the story always ends the same way and rests on the same erroneous propositions about English teaching and the nature of literature. The first error is always the reduction of the artwork to a sociological artefact or political chess piece, whether it’s a reduction of the content of the book or of its authorship. This attitude has long been entrenched in the discipline, as Paul de Man wrote in the 80s, English departments have become ‘large organisations in the service of everything except their own subject matter’. Hence, as we unwrap English teaching from these erroneous propositions let us make use of its own subject matter; namely, literature.

It should be no surprise then that merely teaching about the economic conditions of 19th-century England will not give students the same experience found in reading Dickens’ Hard Times, nor will instruction in Catholic theology give students the same experience as reading Dante’s Divine Comedy. Similarly, when we reduce a play like Macbeth to a solely feminist reading we are robbing our students of the full experience the text offers, and again not heeding Pope’s warning on the dangers of ill-digested books. Bringing ‘theory’ into our English classrooms may prove useful in illuminating the tenets of feminism – however, it ultimately fails in opening the text to a reader. It is particularly fraught in these ideologies with strict social programs. The students who are interested will soon find more straightforward propaganda and those who are not interested will walk away with a poor impression of what books can offer, either because they have been taught a good book in a shallow way or taught a shallow book.

The chief reason that our text lists are bloated with mediocre books is because of a preoccupation with author identity and apprehension to teaching books authored by ‘dead white males’. This has led to many texts being introduced on the virtue of their creator’s identity rather than on the text’s quality. This prejudice is merely a mirror image of the one it is aiming to solve and often results in a vicious circle where fresh prejudices form amongst students who are forced to read mediocre books studied merely because of the author’s identity. Ultimately, this attitude to text selection largely stems from exaggerated self-victimisation. As my University of Melbourne professor told my fellow teacher-candidates and me in a tutorial, ‘There are no First Nations authors on the text list this year so effectively Aboriginal viewpoints have been banned from being studied.’ Following this logic, we can find not only evidence of systematic racism against First Nations people in the text selection process but also Estonians since there were no Estonian authors, not to mention the Innuits, and all the other categories of persons not included that year. But of course, under the tenets of Wokery, certain kinds of oppressed peoples are more equal than others. For example, even the womanhood of Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, has done nothing to protect her from the charge of being white and writing about black experiences in America. Indeed, the classic book has now been labelled racist by critics calling for it to be removed from English syllabi. Ironically, the nuance of the characters within To Kill a Mockingbird teaches the exact lessons about human nature that would benefit those obsessed with identity politics. That Atticus Finch can see the goodness in the mean-spirited and racist Mrs Dubose and call her ‘the bravest person [he] ever knew’ simply does not compute with a fanatical mind. Then again, perhaps it is nuance itself which offends.

Even if we imagine the social programs promoted by these ideologues were not so wrapped in fanaticism and hypocrisy, there are still a number of issues that plague the prospect of treating English as moral cultivation. For even when the right books are put in the right hands there is no guarantee that students will take away the intended message. There is no guarantee our students will automatically identify with the Aboriginal cause in watching Rabbit Proof Fence and go on to further the process of reconciliation. We can observe this in the attempted moral betterment of A Clockwork Orange’s Alex DeLarge, where despite giving the impression to the prison chaplain that he has taken to Christianity he actually enjoys reading the Bible to imagine ‘helping in and even taking charge of the tolchocking and the nailing in, being dressed in a toga that was the height of Roman fashion’.

But we need not be an Alex DeLarge to have monstrous thoughts while reading. As academic Joshua Landy has written, there is not always a one-to-one correspondence between our everyday beliefs and those we take on in reading a book. When watching a monster film, we often find ourselves taking some satisfaction when the rationalist character is brutally killed (the one who is stoutly closed-minded to the existence of the monster until it is too late), despite the fact our everyday beliefs concerning monsters are more likely aligned to the rationalist character than any other. Even the prospect of improving a general moral faculty like empathy is dubious and more often than not a reader may rebel, as Oscar Wilde did regarding Dickens’ moralistic tale The Old Curiosity Shop, writing: ‘One must have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing.’

Despite these points, a proponent of the moralist approach to English might shelter behind an aestheticist position that students engaging with the artistry of writing is a good in itself. However, in reality, there is nothing preventing the fruits of eloquent writing from being used for evil ends. For instance, the use of euphemisms to conceal or distort ugly truths can be observed through the language used by the mafia (‘we took him on a one-way ride’), the military (‘significant collateral damage’), journalists (‘anti-choice politicians attack female reproductive rights’) or real estate agents (‘this cosy cottage is a renovator’s dream’).

I reflected on this and more as the teaching conference came to an end and we streamed out of Deakin University. Specifically, I tried to fit together in my mind the three answers I had received while trying to discern the purpose of my vocation. It was a difficult task since each member of this trinity appears to be incompatible with the others. They are also inadequate if they solely form the basis for discipline. If it’s based on grammar, then English is too dry and does not comprehend beauty. If it’s based on self-expression, then English becomes hopelessly solipsistic and forces teachers to pander to the whims of popular culture. Finally, if English is based on do-goodery it devolves into a study of propaganda at worst, or ineffectual moral development at best.

Yet there is hope. A harmony between the different aspects of English is possible because there once was such a harmony in the traditional trivium of rhetoric, logic, and grammar which once filled the educational role for society that English now does. In the trivium the objective, subjective, and ethical concerns of the language arts were balanced against each other. However, there is yet another trinity that underpinned and allowed this harmony to exist, and that is the trinity of the transcendentals – the true, the good, and the beautiful. Our secular society has given up the transcendental nature of the good, the true, and the beautiful and so there is no longer any social credence behind the idea that beauty is the splendour of truth, or in those famous words by Dostoevsky that: ‘Beauty will save the world.’ It is a return to transcendental truths that could bring a unified and purposeful direction back to English and save the discipline from disintegration. Or at the very least, save me from a life of teaching the art of the euphemism to future real estate agents.

https://www.spectator.com.au/2023/05/what-is-the-point-of-teaching-english/ ?

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Australian building approvals hit 11-year low in blow to hopes of solution to rental, housing crisis


There is actually no rental housing shortage in Australia. Huge numbers of dwellings have been taken out of long-term rental and advertised as holiday lettings, via AirBnb and the like. If all the holiday lettings were transferred into long term availability, the rental shortage would vanish. Governments are aware of that but cannot do much about it.

They need to ask WHY owners are putting their houses into a high-maintenance and intensive management situation. Why are owners making more work for themselves? There is only one main reason for that. Holiday lets escape the onerous regulations on long-term letting. It follows that replacing all the long term regulations with the same low level of control that prevails for holiday lets would rapidly see lots of dwellings back in the long-term market.

But governments love their extensive "pro-tenant" regulations so no change is likely. The rental shortage is goverment-created, not a deficiency in housing supply



Australia’s building approvals have hit an 11-year low, in a fresh new blow to hopes of a quick solution to our housing crisis.

According to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics: “the total number of dwellings approved fell 8.1 per cent in April, in seasonally adjusted terms, following a 1.0 per cent decrease in March”.

That April figure is the lowest monthly figure in over a decade.

“Total dwellings approved fell to the lowest level since April 2012,” Daniel Rossi, ABS head of construction statistics said. “The overall decline was driven by a fall in approvals for private sector dwellings excluding houses, which fell 16.5 per cent, to the lowest level since January 2012

Rising interest rates and inflation are affecting the number of new home builds. Picture: Brendan Radke

“Private sector house approvals also continued to decline, falling 3.8 per cent in April, following a 3.7 per cent decrease in March.”

The slowing rate of construction is likely to exacerbate Australia’s housing and rental crisis, at least in the short to medium term.

Master Builders Australia said the slowing rate of construction would “impact Australia’s ability to meet its housing target”.

The Albanese Government has pledged to build one million homes over five years from 2024.

“The reverses in new home building approvals come in the aftermath of twelve months of rising interest rates and inflation at its highest in over 30 years,” Master Builders Australia Acting CEO Shaun Schmitke said.

“The biggest drops were in higher density home building approvals and home renovations falling 16.9 per cent and 26.6 per cent respectively.

“Although demand for medium and high-density housing is surging, the pipeline of new stock is rapidly diminishing.

“The fall in new builds will exacerbate pressures in the rental market at the worst possible time with media reports today showing the portion of income needed to pay rent lifting to the highest level since June 2014

“To ensure we continue to supply enough homes to house all Australians, governments need to look at what impact their regulations and policies have on the cost of building homes and on the cost of building social infrastructure.”

Record high immigration is also set to put further strain on Australia’s housing market.

According to the PropTrack New Homes Report – May 2023: “While the government has committed to increasing housing stock, construction industry headwinds and fast population growth may hamper plans to provide a prompt solution to the housing crisis”.

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Revolutionary Leftists are narcissists and psychopathic but not soft-hearted


My heading above is a plain language version of what two very careful Swiss researchers found in a study of American attitudes. Their study is notable for its high degree of methodological care and caution so withstands most criticisms that might be aimed at it. It is high quality research.

As I have long argued that Leftism is in general psychopathic, I have no quarrel with their conclusion there. Their finding about narcissism is also one I agree with. I have in the past put forward that claim on behavioural grounds but not as a result of attitude surveys.

It has long been my contention that excess ego is at the root of a lot of social problems: Crime generally, for instance. The criminal thinks that what he wants transcends the rights of others.

When (on October 30, 2008) Obama spoke of his intention to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography. He was talking about transforming what he thought American people can and must do. He thought he knew better: Clearly egotistical.

So what I was talking about there is undoubedy a facet of narcissism

The definition of narcissism is however a matter of contention. Our Swiss authors took a very broad view of it but I think the findings of Paul Wink give us a much sharper view of it

He combined three existing measures of narcissism, including the MMPI and CPI, and factor analysed the responses of a heterogeneous sample to them.

The sample responses showed no such thing as as unitary trait of narcissism. Varimax rotated eigenvectors revealed two distinct and uncorrelated traits underlying the "narcissism" questions: Vulnerabiliy and grandiosity.

Freud's seminal article on narcisissm claimed that those two traits covaried but on Wink's results Freud's picture of the narcissist is fiction. The traits he describes do exist but they do not form the coherent syndrome described by him. So much talk of narcissism seems over generalized and confused. I would have been happier if our Swiss authors had used a good measure of grandiosity rather than a more widely dispersed account of narcissism. It would have given clearer results.

My other grumble is with their use of the absurd SDO measure. Its correlates are built into it. More on that here

But despite the limitations I have mentioned it is still a first class study of attitudes with highly defensible conclusions. It does convincingly show some thoroughly discreditable attitudes among extreme American Leftists.

Abstract of the Swiss study below:

Understanding left-wing authoritarianism: Relations to the dark personality traits, altruism, and social justice commitment

Ann Krispenz & Alex Bertrams

Abstract

In two pre-registered studies, we investigated the relationship of left-wing authoritarianism with the ego-focused trait of narcissism. Based on existing research, we expected individuals with higher levels of left-wing authoritarianism to also report higher levels of narcissism. Further, as individuals with leftist political attitudes can be assumed to be striving for social equality, we expected left-wing authoritarianism to also be positively related to prosocial traits, but narcissism to remain a significant predictor of left-wing authoritarianism above and beyond those prosocial dispositions. We investigated our hypotheses in two studies using cross-sectional correlational designs. Two nearly representative US samples (Study 1: N = 391; Study 2: N = 377) completed online measures of left-wing authoritarianism, the Dark Triad personality traits, and two variables with a prosocial focus (i.e., altruism and social justice commitment). In addition, we assessed relevant covariates (i.e., age, gender, socially desirable responding, and virtue signaling). The results of multiple regression analyses showed that a strong ideological view, according to which a violent revolution against existing societal structures is legitimate (i.e., anti-hierarchical aggression), was associated with antagonistic narcissism (Study 1) and psychopathy (Study 2). However, neither dispositional altruism nor social justice commitment was related to left-wing anti-hierarchical aggression. Considering these results, we assume that some leftist political activists do not actually strive for social justice and equality but rather use political activism to endorse or exercise violence against others to satisfy their own ego-focused needs. We discuss these results in relation to the dark-ego-vehicle principle


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British voters want more immigrants but less immigration

This article is too clever by half.  It ignores the distinction between illegal and legal immigration. Britons want more SELECTED immigrants, not people who arrive uninvited.  They want economic contributors, not more welfare clients.  What is incoherent about that?  

The writer below is just operating from the old Leftist idea that all men are equal --  and in the process ignores important and obvious distinctions:  Rather moronic. Leftists are incapable of dealing with anything but the broadest distinctions between people.  "The Economist" was once better than that but now seems to be in the hands of "progressives"


The biggest lie in British politics is that voters want honest debate. Whenever a policy problem emerges, sensible types call for the trade­offs to be laid out before an informed voting public who will carefully weigh the options. Anyone who has sat through a focus group or gone canvassing with a politician knows this is nonsense. When faced with an either/or question, British voters usually give a decisive answer: “yes”.

Nowhere is this more true than immigration. A majority of voters think migration is too high, according to most polls. Almost nine out of ten Conservative voters think this; a plurality of Labour voters agree. At the same time, British voters say they want more nurses, doctors and fruit­pickers. Carers, academics, computer whizzes and students are welcome, too. Big­hearted Britons thought the country was completely right to let swathes of refugees from Ukraine and Hong Kong into the country. Britons may not much like immigration, but they are keen on immigrants.

If so, then the Tories have come up with an impeccably botched policy response. A Conservative government that has pledged to cut immigration at the past four elections has instead overseen an increase to a record level. Net migration hit 606,000 in Britain last year, according to figures published on May 25th, as people took advantage of a more liberal post­Brexit immigration regime. The British government has thrown open the country’s doors while complaining about the people who walk through them. It is utterly incoherent. But when it comes to immigration, so are voters.

Public opinion on immigration was not always so confused.

Attitudes used to move in lockstep with numbers. In the 1940s and 1950s Britain accepted workers from across the Commonwealth, who could enter the country as they pleased. By the 1960s eight out of ten people wanted lower immigration; hard­nosed and rather racist legislation followed. Likewise, when immigration increased during the 1990s and 2000s, so did concern. This trend reached its apex in 2016, when, with just a month to go until the Brexit referendum, the government announced a then­record net influx of 330,000 people. Britain voted to leave the EU, with immigration cited as one of the main reasons.

This tidy relationship has broken down. Immigration has increased sharply since the Brexit vote but concern about it has, if anything, gone down in the past decade. In 2012 a quarter of voters thought immigrants boosted Britain’s economy; half thought immigrants harmed it, according to British Future, a think­tank. Now those proportions have reversed. The number of people who cite immigration as the number­one problem facing the country has plunged, while issues such as lousy health care and high inflation top the worry­list.

Attacking immigration was once an easy win for politicians. In 2015 almost 70% of voters wanted immigration reduced. Now, only 42% do. At the same time, a hard­core minority of people now want migration to increase. In 2015 only one in ten wanted this. Now about a quarter do. James Dennison and Alexander Kustov, a pair of academics, label this phenomenon a “reverse backlash”. Politicians have tried to placate voters tempted by anti­immigrant populist parties and ignored others in the process. Once­silent liberal voters have started demanding to be heard. (Intriguingly, about half of people think the British public has become less tolerant overall, even though most polling points to the opposite; when discussing immigration, Britons think in irregular verbs: “I am tolerant; you are prejudiced; he is a complete bigot.” )

Conservatives are split on how to deal with this change. For some, the increasingly liberal views of British voters when it comes to immigration should be seized on. Dominic Cummings, the architect of the Vote Leave campaign in 2016, argued that voters would be happy with high levels of immigration as long as it was controlled. Judging by the positive shift in attitudes on immigrants, he was right. If the government can stop people crossing the English Channel in small boats (some 45,000 arrived last year in this manner) voters will not care about the larger numbers of migrants arriving through official channels. There are few benefits of Brexit. But Britain’s immigration policy could be one.

For other Conservative advisers—including those currently in Downing Street—immigration simply must come down if the government is to have any chance of surviving. In their view, the liberal turn is a mirage. When voters eventually notice that immigration has, in fact, hit an all­time high they will be furious. People have mistaken a drop in salience with an increase in liberalism. This hypothesis is about to be tested in real life: if voters want control rather than reductions, what if more than half a million arrive every year? Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, thinks he knows the answer to that question, and has pledged to reduce the numbers. Welcome. Now get out

Taking numbers down a little is easy. Unless another war breaks out in Europe, there will be fewer refugees next year. Bringing them down a lot is harder. If the British government wants fewer people to come, it can change the law and suffer the consequences. Suella Braverman, the home secretary, has already tightened rules on the number of international students who can bring dependents, even though voters are broadly comfortable with people coming to Britain to study and universities rely on their fees. The government could crack down on fruit­pickers, but farmers in Lincolnshire would scream. Few voters would thank a government that turns away nurses. Cutting immigration comes at a cost that voters show no willingness to pay.

Rolling out the welcome mat and then shouting at anyone who wipes their feet on it may be an imperfect approach. But from the government’s point of view, it will have to do. Voters do not want to live with the consequences of their opinions. When voters are hypocrites, politicians must be too.

https://www.economist.com/britain/2023/05/25/british-voters-want-more-immigrants-but-less-immigration

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I Dated an Andrew Tate Fan — and Loved Every Second of It

Derya Y.

There is a possibility that this is satire but it has the ring of truth.  What it reports is consistent with Tate as a champion of traditional values.  Certainly in his personal life he does appear to be respectful of women in at least some ways.  He has women in his life who defend him.  His public pronouncements may be little more than clickbait.  So the story below may show that aggressively male attitudes may not be "toxic" at all

A small caution:  "Derya" is a Turkish name and some of her attitudes seem to reflect that origin.  What if Tate males and Westernized Turkish women are generally compatible?  Tate is at present in Romania, which is quite close to Turkey.  Although Turkey is a Muslim country, Kemalist traditions have made them  quite Westernized in many ways



It’s no secret that Andrew Tate fans have a bad reputation. As one of the leading mascots of the manosphere — a curated corner of the internet dedicated to masculinity and, in most cases, misogyny — Andrew Tate popularized the “alpha male” phenomenon.

In short, alpha males focus on money, women, and muscles. For Testosterone Kings™, these are essential, encapsulating what manhood is all about. Anything beyond these (e.g., hobbies, relationships, a life) is a mere nice-to-have.

Needless to say, I’m not a fan.

At a party once, I’d overheard a known Tate fan (a proud student of Tate’s Hustlers University) criticize one of his friends for not “fuckin’ the bitch.”

Apparently, his friend had “wasted his fuckin’ time” by spending three hours conversing with a girl without sleeping with her. For a quick refresher, Tate views conversations with women as useless unless you sleep with them. Because, let’s be honest, what do women have to offer besides sex? Nothing, duh!

On top of that, this friend had made the grave mistake of heavily investing in this woman. He bought her a $10 drink! And he didn’t get sex in return! What a money-hungry gold digger!

As per Tate’s scripture, three hours of conversation and a $10 drink should grant men full access to a woman’s orifices. I say orifices because I’m not sure these men would know which hole to put it in if they, indeed, “fucked the bitch.”

After hearing that interaction, I sternly concluded all Tate fans to be depraved scoundrels that litter the world. And for the most part, I still believe that. Most self-proclaimed alpha males are the embodiment of pathetic. They may as well walk around with a neon “Do Not Engage” sign on their forehead.

One man, however, created a (previously unfathomable) grey area, proving that men can agree with some of Tate’s views while still being decent human beings — and spectacular dates, at that.

Let’s call him Jeff.

Jeff and I met on a dating app — yes, I know, the start of all great love stories.

He was extremely handsome in his pictures — so much so that I thought he was a catfish. But I didn’t overthink it. Worst case scenario, I could at least write an article about my catfishing experience.

One swipe and a couple of eloquent paragraph exchanges later, we decided to meet. Mind you, up until this point, neither his profile nor our conversation indicated any Tate-ist beliefs. So I took a leap of faith.

For our first date, he’d organized drinks and dinner at a restaurant on the nice side of town, sending an Uber to come and get me. A true gentleman, I thought.

Nudged by my little prayer beforehand, I got in the Uber and hoped for the best — just as most women do before meeting strangers off the internet.

When I got there, I saw him. He looked just like his picture: Attractive and built like Popeye after 12 spoonfuls of spinach.

He opened all my doors, took my coat off, and pulled my chair out for me — all unprompted!

With the increasingly anti-chivalrous dating sphere, this was a glimmer of hope. But I composed myself, silently noting the brownie points he had earned right off the bat.

Almost straight away, we started discussing male-female dynamics in relationships.

Him coming from Western Europe, and I from Eastern Europe, I was curious to see his thoughts on polarity in relationships. I prefer traditional relationship dynamics, so I needed to understand his thoughts beforehand, lest I’m bullied for my “backward thinking,” as an Englishman once called it.

As our conversation continued, we entered a flow state, continuously nodding in agreement with each other.

He believed in taking accountability as the man in the relationship, and I believed in reveling in the feminine.

As our trance of nods went on, and we discussed our mutual desire for a serious relationship, my ears perked up as I heard some manosphere jargon: “High-value woman,” “territorial,” “masculine energy,” and “protecting and providing.”

Was I…was I dating an Andrew Tate fan? Surely not. Surely I would’ve picked up on it earlier. Granted, his bald head and massive muscles were dead giveaways, but I chose to be oblivious. I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Perhaps he picked up these beliefs during some spiritual retreat in Bali?

Maybe he was into Chinese philosophy — particularly the yin-yang model?

Or was this what he saw growing up, modeled by his parents?

As I picked these scenarios apart, trying to get him to disclose which one of these was the culprit, I eventually had to dismiss them all.

When he muttered the words “red pill,” I got my answer.

And there I was, having a wonderful, chemistry-fueled date with an Andrew Tate fan. Oh, God.

Did he expect sex on the first date? Following the other Tate fan’s rationale, not only did I have to sleep with Jeff right after, but I probably had to do three backflips, one somersault, and four cartwheels while I was at it. It was dinner and drinks, after all.

What had I gotten myself into? I had to shut down any expectations.

At the end of the date, I blurted out my truth bomb — a truth bomb I knew most men wouldn’t want to hear after a fantastic first date. Half expecting he’d never want to see me again after this, I told him I was celibate, abstaining until I met the one.

He looked at me. I looked at him. And he got upset — but not for the reasons I thought he would.

He was upset that I thought my celibacy would put him off.

He was disappointed I didn’t believe what he had said on our date: That he was dating intentionally and actually looking for ‘the one.’ And it was true — up until that point, I hadn’t. I thought they were sweet nothings, a pick-up artist method meant to lure me into bed.

But he was genuine — and completely supported my celibacy.

So I stood there like a fool; half in awe, half questioning whether I fell in love on a first date.

The next few months with Jeff were magical: I was treated like a princess from start to finish.

Not only did he plan the most thoughtful, swoon-worthy dates, but we had the same long-term goals, a compatible sense of humor, and fantastic chemistry. Our conversations were never-ending, exciting, and full of passion. I had fallen head over heels for him.

And despite some of his questionable beliefs, I never felt any “toxic masculinity” lingering in the air. He made me feel safe, protected, and cherished with his empathy, self-awareness, and devotion — three things I could never imagine in Andrew Tate.

Perhaps, it is possible to cherry-pick at Tate’s red-pill ideology, taking whatever serves relationship polarity while ditching (read: burning) the ‘loverboy’ methods he espouses.

Unfortunately, Jeff and I have since broken up; circumstances beyond our control took their toll on us. But I stand firm in my belief that if anything is meant to be, it will be. Even if that means ending up with a red-pilled Andrew Tate fan.

https://medium.com/illumination/i-dated-an-andrew-tate-fan-and-i-loved-every-second-of-it-9508d267fd42

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Leftism is fundamentally incompatible with what universities do


So it is a considerable tragedy that universities are a great bastion of Leftism

The besetting fault of Leftists is that they propose solutions to problems without first making much effort to understand the problem.  Their ego makes them sure that they know it all without effort.  Sadly, their ignorant solutions often make the problem worse

I have just come across a classic example of that.  It appeared in the glossy magazine put out by my alma mater, the University of Queensland -- and was written by a UQ academic. For details, see:

https://stories.uq.edu.au/contact-magazine/2023/australias-housing-crisis-is-deepening/index.html

To understand how brain-dead the article is you need only to know that there is a great shortage of rental accomodation in many advanced countries  -- including Australia and the UK.  Many people are not in a position to own their own homes so rely on what they can rent.  And all governments -- including Soviet-style ones -- are very poor at providing housing. Even welfare housing is usually only a small fraction of the available rental housing

So in Australia, the UK, and elsewhere, it falls on private landlords to provide most of the rentals.  But at the moment there are just not enough rentals to go around.  People end up living in their cars and in the streets.  And some groups cram six people into an apartment built for two.

So amid such a dire shortage of rental housing, you would think that governments would be going all-out to encourage  more people to go landlording, would you not?  But that is logical -- too logical for short-sighted Leftists.  Instead, they are doing their level best to DISCOURAGE private landlording.

They seem to think that they can give tenants more rights without reducing the rights of landlords.  But that is in fact a zero-sum game.  A right for a tenant is a restriction on rights for a landlord. 

A good example:  Mandating that tenants must be allowed to keep a pet restricts landlords from forbidding pets.  And landlords do usually want to forbid pets -- for good reasons.  When a pet-owning tenant moves out, the piss and shit that has fallen on the landlord's carpet makes the carpet so stinky  that the property is unlettable to new tenants.  So the landlord has to spend thousands replacing the carpet.  As a former landlord, I have been there and done that.

And making it compulsory for landlords to allow pets has actually been done where I live.

So the first two things listed as needing to be done for tenants in the UQ magazine are solidly aimed at advantaging tenants -- without the slightest evidence of thought about how landlords might respond to that.  Real estate agents have already warned that new rights being contemplated will cause owners to withdraw their properties from the rental market.  So the reforms that would supposedly "help" tenants are  likely to leave more of them on the streets

Apartments and houses are being sold for very high prices at the moment so it will be very tempting for landlords to sell up.  One despairs for our universities.  Deep thought has become alien to them

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Climate change could trigger gigantic deadly tsunamis from Antarctica, new study warns


This is all just theory but in any case the prehistoric events they are using as a model took place when the oceans were 3 degrees warmer than today. At the minuscule rate of global warming today, we are a long way off getting that far. Global warming at the moment is in fact stopped. Nobody knows if it will resume

Climate change could unleash gigantic tsunamis in the Southern Ocean by triggering underwater landslides in Antarctica, a new study warns.

By drilling into sediment cores hundreds of feet beneath the seafloor in Antarctica, scientists discovered that during previous periods of global warming — 3 million and 15 million years ago — loose sediment layers formed and slipped to send massive tsunami waves racing to the shores of South America, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.

And as climate change heats the oceans, the researchers think there's a possibility these tsunamis could be unleashed once more. Their findings were published May 18 in the journal Nature Communications.

"Submarine landslides are a major geohazard with the potential to trigger tsunamis that can lead to huge loss of life," Jenny Gales, a lecturer in hydrography and ocean exploration at the University of Plymouth in the U.K., said in a statement. "Our findings highlight how we urgently need to enhance our understanding of how global climate change might influence the stability of these regions and potential for future tsunamis."

Researchers first found evidence of ancient landslides off Antarctica in 2017 in the eastern Ross Sea. Trapped underneath these landslides are layers of weak sediment crammed with fossilized sea creatures known as phytoplankton.

Scientists returned to the area in 2018 and drilled deep into the seafloor to extract sediment cores — long, thin cylinders of the Earth’s crust that show, layer by layer, the geological history of the region.

By analyzing the sediment cores, the scientists learned that the layers of weak sediment formed during two periods, one around 3 million years ago in the mid-Pliocene warm period, and the other roughly 15 million years ago during the Miocene climate optimum. During these epochs, the waters around Antarctica were 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) warmer than today, leading to bursts of algal blooms that, after they had died, filled the seafloor below with a rich and slippery sediment — making the region prone to landslides.

"During subsequent cold climates and ice ages these slippery layers were overlain by thick layers of coarse gravel delivered by glaciers and icebergs," Robert McKay, director of the Antarctic Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington and co-chief scientist of International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 374 — which extracted the sediment cores in 2018 — told Live Science in an email.

The exact trigger for the region's past underwater landslides isn’t known for sure, but the researchers have found a most-likely culprit: the melting of glacier ice by a warming climate. The ending of Earth’s periodic glacial periods caused ice sheets to shrink and recede, lightening the load on Earth’s tectonic plates and making them rebound upwards in a process known as isostatic rebound.

After the layers of weak sediment had built up in sufficient quantities, Antarctica’s continental upspringing triggered earthquakes that caused the coarse gravel atop the slippery layers to slide off the continental shelf edge — causing landslides that unleashed tsunamis.

The scale and size of the ancient ocean waves is not known, but the scientists note two relatively recent submarine landslides that generated huge tsunamis and caused significant loss of life: The 1929 Grand Banks tsunami that generated 42-foot-high (13 meters) waves and killed around 28 people off Canada’s Newfoundland coast; and the 1998 Papua New Guinea tsunami that unleashed 49-foot-high (15 m) waves that claimed 2,200 lives.

With many layers of the sediment buried beneath the Antarctic seabed, and the glaciers on top of the landmass slowly melting away, the researchers warn that — if they’re right that glacial melting caused them in the past — future landslides, and tsunamis, could happen again.

"The same layers are still present on the outer continental shelf — so it is 'primed' for more of these slides to occur, but the big question is whether the trigger for the events is still in play." McKay said. "We proposed isostatic rebound as a logical potential trigger, but it could be random failure, or climate regulated shifts in ocean currents acting to erode sediment at key locations on the continental shelf that could trigger slope failure. This is something we could use computer models to assess for in future studies."

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New push to lower speed limits for SUVs and other high-emission vehicles in Australia to combat climate change

Lowering the speed limit for larger vehicles must seem easy for an academic but would be murder for drivers. A less onerous policy might be to make the registration costs so high that only those who need big vehicles for work would buy them

A top professor has called for Australia to lower motorway speed limits for SUVs and other high-emission vehicles to combat climate change.

Australia's love for dual-cab utes, large SUVs and older vehicles is making the country one of the biggest petrol consumers in the world, a new report by The Australia Institute found.

Professor Lennard Gillman from Auckland University of Technology said one way to drastically reduce petrol consumption and carbon dioxide emissions is to drive slightly slower.

He believes Australia should introduce differential speed limits for high-emission and low-emission vehicles so cars that put out more pollution are forced to drive slower to reduce their environmental impact.

'Lowering the speed limit for high emission vehicles has the double effect of cutting emissions but also incentivises people to buy low-emission cars,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'In a vehicle like the Ford Ranger V6 you'll be expending 260g (of fuel) per kilometre. That's more than twice as much as a Toyota Corolla.'

He believes Australia should introduce differential speed limits for high-emission and low-emission vehicles so cars that put out more pollution are forced to drive slower to reduce their environmental impact.

'Lowering the speed limit for high emission vehicles has the double effect of cutting emissions but also incentivises people to buy low-emission cars,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'In a vehicle like the Ford Ranger V6 you'll be expending 260g (of fuel) per kilometre. That's more than twice as much as a Toyota Corolla.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11856779/New-push-lower-speed-limits-SUVs-utes-Ford-Ranger-Toyota-Hilux-Australia.html

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Rolf Harris


There are very many articles currently in the media about the late Rolf Harris -- and all of them excoriate him for his pedophilia, which consisted mostly of non-violent sexual relationships with teenage females.

It seems to me however that we should consider that a man who was a beloved entertainer for most of his life was not wholly bad. I myself was no follower of his but I always wondered at his improbable  skill with a large paintbrush.
 
So what should we  think of him as an artist?  Predictably, his art has been scorned by critics but I disagree.  I just want to make the single point that his portrait of the Queen  was exceptionally good.  I have seen innumerable pictures and portraits of the queen but, in my view, the  Harris portrait best captures her essence, which is the normal goal of portrait painters



The arty-farty establishment will never be able to find in themselves any praise for that picture.  They will probably call it "chocolate-boxy". But that is their problem.  Much that they praise seems moronic to me.  But we are both entitled to our opinions.De gustibus non disputandum est

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ABC fears for Indigenous staff as ‘evil’ comments on the rise in lead-up to voice referendum


The abuse that Stan Grant and the ABC copped over their coronation coverage was to be expected. Such hate-filled commentary was totally inappropriate to the occasion and deserved replies in kind. Hate elicits a return of hate but the Left can't take that. Hate should be their sole prerogative, they seem to think

And criticism of the ever-whining Grant is well overdue. As a man who has achieved success and prominence in white society, he does not have much to complain about. And he deserves real ridicule for his heavy use of fake tan these days. He was originally only light brown in skin colour. One wonders how much more of him is fake

image from https://www.themonthly.com.au/sites/default/files/styles/featured_essay/public/HR-STAN-GRANT-21.jpg

Picture from 2016


The ABC is worried about its Indigenous staff in the run-up to the referendum on the voice to parliament, managing director David Anderson has told parliament.

“I’m worried about Stan [Grant] but I’m also worried about our other staff,” Anderson said.

“I’m worried about our First Nations staff as we head towards a referendum on the voice to make sure that they are sufficiently protected.”

Grant recently stood down as Q+A host after receiving racist abuse that worsened after he spoke about the impact of colonialism in the lead-up to King Charles III’s coronation.

The ABC told a Senate estimates committee that Grant had taken eight weeks’ leave.

Anderson said the ABC had protective measures in place for staff, including blocking emails and turning off notifications, but “evil” comments still got through and were increasing.

Radio presenters who were live on air had watched their chat stream – a radio text line – fill up with racial abuse, Anderson said he had been told in recent days.

The ABC’s news director, Justin Stevens, revealed that every time Grant appeared on television there was a “particular spike” in the amount and volume of the racial vitriol received. The volume had increased since he appeared on the pre-coronation panel earlier this month.

Stevens said the ABC wanted to do more to support staff and to champion Indigenous perspectives, and one recent move had been the creation of the Indigenous reporting team led by Suzanne Dredge.

“She’s a fantastic journalist and editor who I’ve also appointed to my executive,” Stevens said.

Anderson and Stevens were asked why they invited journalists from News Corp on ABC shows such as The Drum, Insiders and Q+A when the company was a major critic of the public broadcaster.

They said they would not censor journalists or put a “blanket ban” on anyone who works for News Corp, despite earlier singling out the company out for its “relentless campaign” against the ABC.

On Monday Stevens accused News Corp of targeting the ABC because it was “trying to chip away [at] people’s sense of trust in what we do because we threaten their business model”. News Corp Australia has denied it played a part in Grant’s decision to stand down from hosting Q+A and has accused Stevens of misleading and unsubstantiated claims.

Stevens said the Murdochs employed some good journalists who had gone on to work at the ABC, including political reporter Nour Haydar, RN Breakfast host Patricia Karvelas and Insiders host David Speers.

“It’s not the journalists who work for these businesses who are necessarily making the decisions,” Stevens said.

Anderson confirmed the ABC had received 59 editorial complaints about the coronation coverage which would be investigated by the ABC ombudsman but he stood by the decision to have the discussion panel on the day of the coronation.

Grant along with lawyer and Indigenous writer Teela Reid, Liberal backbencher and monarchist Julian Leeser and co-chair of the Australian Republic Movement Craig Foster were invited to discuss the relevance of the monarchy and the impact of colonialism. The panel discussion lasted 45 minutes in the lead-up to the coronation and was over hours before the event itself.

Anderson said some “good faith” complaints had said it was “not appropriate to have the discussion”.

“It just was not what they were expecting, really reflecting that we hadn’t set the audience expectation about this,” Anderson said.

Anderson said the ABC received 169 “good faith” responses from viewers, 59 of which have been referred to the ABC ombudsman for a possible breach of editorial standards.

However, “hundreds” of others were racist attacks on Grant, he said.

The total number of audience contacts about the eight-hour coronation broadcast was 1,832 but 1,663 of those were discarded because they were comments not requiring a response – such as criticism of a presenter’s outfit – or they were “racist, abusive or insubstantial”, according to ABC figures.

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Special report: There has been a modernization of the financial system, which has already satisfied many citizens in Australia

This appears to be the latest scam.  The site looks like it is a legit ABC site but is in fact from a one-page address in Spain. Definitely too good to be true
 
Aussies call this event a "revolution of their lives", but only 1% of them are familiar with the opportunities that modernization has brought and use it to pay off their debts.

The big banks are concerned, because the government has made a move against them with financial modernization. In addition to monetary reform, the parliament, having broad powers, made drastic changes, they decided to pay attention to the cryptocurrency and launched a project based on blockchain technology called "Immediate Edge". The goal of the launch was to support the economy, but this project also had an impact on the lives of citizens. Many people have "made money" due to the Immediate Edge project.

Immediate Edge is a governmental platform that automatically recoups on the fall of the currency by buying cryptocurrency at the most favorable rates. In simple words, it plays on the "cryptocurrency boom".

According to political experts, all members of parliament unanimously voted FOR this project, it will not only help the economy, but also replenish state reserves. While the project is completely under the control of the state, trial launches are currently underway about reduced requirements for participants for up to 90 days. Then a limited number of people will be able to participate in the project.

The requirements are very simple, the prospective applicant needs to make an initial deposit of A$ 390 to become a full-fledged participant of the project, the government considers it a very reduced tariff, it is assumed that it can grow. After making a deposit, the applicant becomes a full-fledged participant on the Immediate Edge platform

Immediate Edge is a program that has artificial intelligence, it analyzes the markets itself, self-learns, predicts to get to the exact time of the decline of bitcoin for its profitable purchase. It determines when to buy cheaper and sell more expensive. The user, as a third-party observer, observes the transactions and makes a profit from the transactions. 

Financial experts are whispering behind their backs, saying that in Australia everyone can become a millionaire due to the Immediate Edge platform in 4 months, the forecasts are impressive! The banking sector is perplexed, because it may lose its customers. Banks have always known about the project, which the government put on ice, but the times have come when the state and its citizens need financial support.

https://clinicales.es/?subid2=660003631856&subid3=www.livescience.com&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIj8zZkNCU_wIV78xzAR3CDwztEAEYASAAEgL9ivD_BwE

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Prominent Black Poet Laments ‘Ban’ on Her Inaugural Poem by Florida School


One problem with the poet’s claim — it isn’t true. Poems are a dime a dozen anyway. There are fat books full of them. Only one in a million is widely memorable

A prominent American poet, Amanda Gorman, has riled up liberals across the country by falsely claiming that the poem she read at President Biden’s inauguration in 2021 has been banned by an elementary school in Florida.

In a public letter posted to Twitter, the 25-year-old Ms. Gorman — the youngest poet to ever read at a presidential inauguration — claimed that a book that features one of her poems, “The Hill We Climb,” was banned by an elementary school at Miami Lakes, Florida. “I’m gutted,” Ms. Gorman wrote. “Robbing children of the right to find their voices is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech.”

Ms. Gorman posted a copy of the complaint that led to her poem being banned, which was filed by an unnamed parent in late March. The handwritten complaint stated in broken English that a book containing the poem was “not educational” and carried “indirect” hate messages.

“Unnecessary bookbans like these are on the rise and we must fight back,” Ms. Gorman said. “And let’s be clear: most of the forbidden works are by authors who have struggled for generations to get on bookshelves. The majority of these censored works are by queer and non-white authors.”

She ended her screed with a plea for people to donate to PEN America, a free-speech nonprofit based in New York that has been fundraising in recent months to fight what it believes to be an epidemic of book bans across the United States. As of Wednesday morning, Ms. Gorman had raised more than $50,000 for PEN America.

The social media post generated howls of protests from very online liberals and spawned dozens of headlines in American media outlets repeating her claim that the poem had been banned by the school. In an appearance on MSNBC, PEN America’s chief executive, Suzanne Nossel, blamed Governor DeSantis for creating an “enabling environment for book bans” in the state of Florida.

“There’s an election on the horizon and there’s a notion that certain people can get energized and motivated by this and they are going to play to that segment and rile them up and it’s up to us to mobilize the rest — the majority,” she said.

The only problem with the narrative being pushed by Ms. Gorman and other activists, however, is that it isn’t true. After the uproar, the Miami-Dade school district released a statement saying that it felt “compelled to clarify that the book titled, ‘The Hill We Climb’ by Amanda Gorman was never banned or removed from one of our schools. The book is available in the media center as part of the middle grades collection.”

The district explained to the Miami Herald, which first reported the incident, that following the parent’s complaint a panel consisting of teachers, administrators, a guidance counselor, and a library media specialist at the Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes decided that Ms. Gorman’s book and a handful of others were more appropriate for middle-school-aged students than elementary ones and were placed on a different shelf in the same library.

On Wednesday morning, the mayor of Miami-Dade County, Daniella Levine Cava, extended an invitation to Ms. Gorman to visit South Florida. “Your poem inspired our youth to become active participants in their government and to help shape the future,” she said in a post on Twitter. “We want you to come to Miami-Dade to do a reading of your poem.”

Following the uproar, Ms. Gorman also attempted to explain the discrepancy between her original complaint and subsequent reports about the ban. “A school book ban is any action taken against a book that leaves access to a book restricted or diminished,” she said. “This decision of moving my book from its original place, taken after one parent complained, diminishes the access elementary schoolers would have previously had to my poem.”

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How Climate Change and 'Heat Islands' are Killing Black People


There are some failures of logic here. The author acknowledges several reasons why blacks experience more hot weather but attempts no analyis of the quantum due to climate change. As the temperature change has been minuscle to absent in recent years, the effects of climate change would likely be nil.

If the late Marvin Gaye could add climate change to his ecological masterpiece “Mercy, Mercy Me,” he might ask: Where did all the cool nights go? Heatwaves in the ‘hood, no shade from the sky, no AC to keep grandma from dying.

Why might the late Motown crooner sing that? Because on Wednesday, the World Meteorological Organization announced that Earth will almost assuredly see its warmest average temperature yet over the next five years. To that end, there is a better-than-even chance that one of those next five years will see the planet temporarily breach limits set by the Paris climate accords to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change. The Paris Agreement recommended that nations reduce greenhouse gas emissions to hold Earth’s warming to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) over preindustrial levels.

The heat is already on this year, with the onset of summer still a month away. Las Vegas had a record day of 93 degrees in April. Seattle and Portland, which broke summer records two years ago with 108 and 116 degrees respectively, set new May records in the 90s. Globally, new spring records up to 114 degrees Fahrenheit were set across Portugal, Spain, Morocco Algeria, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.

Temperatures like that mean death. Extreme heat kills more people in the United States annually than any other weather-related event, such as hurricanes, floods, or tornadoes. In North America, the most recent searing evidence of that was the more than 1,400 deaths under the “heat dome” in 2021 that suffocated Oregon, Washington state, and western Canada.

Because of the demographics of that part of North America, most of the victims of that historic heatwave happened to be white. But close attention to the key factors associated with the deaths in Vancouver, British Columbia, Portland and Seattle, reveals threads all too common with the day-in, day-out conditions of many African Americans. Typically, the victim was a socially and materially deprived elder, had underlying health conditions, and possessed no air conditioning in neighborhoods lacking the cooling effects of greenspace.

Black people share those conditions to the level of being disproportionately sealed under the dome of a hotter world, with dire consequences likely if the nation does not fight climate change. According to a 2021 study of the nation’s 175 largest urban areas, people of color in the U.S. were more likely than white people to live on what are called “heat islands.” This is the modern term for the “concrete jungle,” referring to parts of cities where the concentration of buildings, roofs, roads, sidewalks, and parking lots relentlessly absorb and radiate the sun’s heat. Such neighborhoods are often marked by a lack of trees, parks and ponds, creeks, and lakes that naturally cool and moisten the landscape.

Black people, according to the study of 175 cities, have the highest surface urban heat island exposure of any racial or ethnic group, with Hispanics coming in second. It is not an issue of poverty. The nation’s history of redlining and many other forms of housing discrimination in neighborhoods that white interests see as cooler—figuratively, and now, literally—have resulted in Black people being marooned on heat islands regardless of their income.

No one yet knows what that means in actual number of deaths. The federal government says about 700 people die annually in the U.S. from heat-related illnesses, but a 2020 study estimated that number is much closer to approximately 5,600 deaths a year. A Los Angeles Times analysis calculated that California alone suffered 3,900 heat-related deaths from 2010-2019.

What we do know is that Black people are being disproportionately affected. In New York City, where the health department says 370 people die annually from heat-related causes, Black people are twice as likely to die from heat stress than their white counterparts. A 2021 New York Times story found a 35-degree difference on a blazing day in August between the 119-degree sidewalk temperature on a tree-less section of the South Bronx and the 84-degree sidewalk temperature on the thickly-treed Upper West Side near the urban forest of Central Park.

In California, racial disparities have been bubbling up like lava from a volcano. From 2005 to 2015, the rate of emergency room visits for heat-related illnesses soared by 67 percent for African Americans, 63 percent for Latinos, and 53 percent for Asian Americans. It should be noted that the rate of Black emergency room visitors was more than twice the 27 percent increase for white Californians.

Technically, these disparities in heat risk are not new. In the 1995 Chicago heatwave that killed more than 700 people, Black residents had an age-adjusted death rate that was 50 percent higher than white residents. The highest risk was for Black seniors, who had a death rate nearly double that of white seniors.

Worse, it’s not like Black people don’t know they are in the crosshairs of a sizzling climate. A 2020 poll commissioned by the Harlem-based WE ACT for Environmental Justice and the Environmental Defense Fund found that 52 percent of Black respondents were “very concerned” about heatwaves, nearly double the 28 percent of white respondents who were very concerned.

The question is this: Will the part of our nation that enjoys the cooling cross breeze under an oak canopy ever sweat enough to care about climate change? Or even hear the S.O.S. from our blistering heat islands? Mercy, mercy me. Things ain’t what they used to be. What about this overheated land? What more abuse from man can she stand?

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Current climate policies will leave more than a FIFTH of humanity exposed to dangerously hot temperatures by 2100, study warns


The prophecies never stop but nothing much ever happens



But the article is an amusing one. Very old-fashioned in its way. It examines -- wait for it -- "numbers of people left outside the ‘human climate niche’—defined as the historically highly conserved distribution of relative human population density with respect to mean annual temperature. We show that climate change has already put ~9% of people (>600 million) outside this niche." -- https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-023-01132-6

Fortunately, as a retired academic I can understand academic gobbledegook. More simply put: Heat is bad for you

It can even be regarded as racist to claim that climate has any effect on human beings but they are gaily doing just that. They imply that the tropics are lightly populated because heat is distressing and global warming will put more people into distressingly hot situations.

As someone who grew up in the tropics, I completely reject that. I loved my home in Far North Queensland and dream of going back there. Warmth is comforting and relaxing. You drink a lot of cold beer there but that is pretty good. It is cold that is threatening.

So why are the tropics lightly populated? I know why but dare not say it. Let me simply point out that most of the lightly populated tropical areas are in Africa



Current climate policies will leave more than a fifth of humanity exposed to dangerously hot temperatures by 2100, a study has warned.

Led by scientists at the University of Exeter, the study found that the legally binding measures currently in place will result in global warming of 4.9F (2.7C) by the end of the century.

This means two billion people - around 22 per cent of the projected end-of-century population - will be exposed to dangerous heat, with average temperatures of 84.2F (29C) or more.

At these high temperatures, water resources could become strained, mortality could increase, economic productivity could decrease, animals and crops could no longer flourish, and large numbers of people may migrate.

Globally, there are 60million people already exposed to this heat.

However, the researchers suggest there is 'huge potential' for decisive climate policy to limit the human costs of climate change.

They say the forecasts show that limiting global warming to 2.7F (1.5C), in line with the Paris Agreement, would mean five times fewer people are exposed to extreme heat.

The study, which was in association with scientists from the Earth Commission and Nanjing University in China, also found that the lifetime emissions of 3.5 average global citizens today would expose one future person to the dangerous conditions.

And in the US, this was even more concerning, as it was found just 1.2 US citizens' emissions would have the same result. This means that for almost every average person in America, their individual contribution to climate change over their lifetime could result in another person living in dangerous heat in the future.

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‘Verdict first, trial later’: rule of law under threat, says Bruce Lehrmann’s lawyer Steven Whybrow SC


The disgraceful way feminism can pervert justice. If feminists get a man in their sights, he is in great danger -- innocent or guilty

The presumption of innocence and the right to due process have been dangerously warped by the #MeToo movement, Bruce Lehrmann’s lawyer Steven Whybrow SC has claimed, in his first interview since Mr Lehrmann went on trial over Brittany Higgins’ rape ­allegations.

“This was ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Sentence first or verdict first, trial later,” Mr Whybrow says of the pre-trial publicity around the case.

“There was so much material out there that was just simply ‘he’s guilty’ and we’ve just got to go through this process of a trial. I saw that as a significant undermining of the rule of law and the ­presumption of innocence and due process.

“We all know this happens all the time: this guy’s been accused of this, so therefore it happened. And along the way, anybody who tried to argue the contrary narrative was treated as somehow morally deficient.”

Mr Whybrow said that if there was to be a debate about the presumption of innocence or whether an accused person should not have a right to silence, “those things should actually happen in an ­informed way publicly, rather than this insidious suggestion that ‘that’s what the system is’”.

“But it’s not good. It’s not right,” he added.

Mr Whybrow’s comments came as Mr Lehrmann revealed for the first time that when he tried to get legal assistance for his ­defence, Legal Aid ACT insisted it would not allow Ms Higgins to be challenged in court as a liar, but simply “perhaps mistaken about versions of events”.

Mr Lehrmann told The Weekend Australian he sacked Legal Aid ACT after the agency demanded he adopt a conciliatory defence strategy that was ­completely at odds with his account of the events that occurred in senator Linda Reynolds’ ministerial office in the early hours of March 23, 2019.

Mr Lehrmann said a solicitor at the agency told him “it was up to the CEO of Legal Aid in terms of the broader tactics of the case and he was going to say that she’s not a liar but was mistaken about aspects of the version of events”.

Mr Lehrmann said the agency also rejected Mr Whybrow as “too aggressive” to take on the case.

The solicitor told him the agency would not fund Mr Whybrow as his counsel in the trial because “Legal Aid didn’t like the way Mr Whybrow practices or the way he operates”.

Mr Whybrow ultimately took on the case pro bono after Mr Lehrmann refused to accept the Legal Aid conditions.

A spokesperson for Legal Aid ACT declined to comment.

“Bruce was just horrified that they’re not even going to run his defence, which was: she’s lying, she made it up, this did not happen – and to just say, ‘oh no, you misunderstood, you were mistaken’,” Mr Whybrow said. “So he became very distressed.”

The former Crown prosecutor pursued a forceful approach at the trial, describing Ms Higgins as “unreliable” and someone “who says things to suit her”.

Mr Whybrow told jurors she had lied about seeing a doctor to “make it more believable” she had allegedly been sexually assaulted.

He outlined a number of instances when Ms Higgins was forced to concede she had given wrong evidence, including the length of time a white dress was kept in a plastic bag under her bed and a three-hour panic attack on a day she later conceded she had been having a valedictory lunch for former politician Steven Ciobo.

“The person bringing the allegation is prepared to just say anything,” Mr Whybrow told jurors.

The jury had been deliberating for five days, unable to agree on a verdict, when the trial was abruptly aborted after one of the jurors brought research material into the room.

Mr Whybrow told The Weekend Australian he had been concerned that, because of the pre-trial publicity, the defence would struggle to get 12 unbiased, unaffected jurors.

“In some respects, that was borne out by the number of people in the jury pool who quite properly, when the chief justice asked that anyone who thought they might have some pre-existing bias, either for or against the complainant or the accused, or had attended the March4Justice, or subscribed to particular views about sexual assault, or even had had own experiences, that meant that they could not bring a fair mind to the role of a juror to come forward.

“And a lot of people did, but we were never able to be sure that some of the people who didn’t come forward may have had strongly held views and were going to not come forward because they wanted to ensure justice – as they perceived it – would be done.”

Mr Whybrow expressed strong concerns over the role of ACT Victims of Crime Commissioner Heidi Yates, who often accompanied Ms Higgins to court.

“The problem in this case – and it’s not just my perception, it’s one that I know a lot of people have shared – is that by walking next to Ms Higgins into court every day as the statutory office holder of the position of the Victims of Crime Commissioner – and that would be videoed every morning, it would be in the papers and the news that night – it carried with it a less-than-subtle and a less-than-subconscious inference that Ms Higgins was in fact a victim.

“It was about as subtle as if Ms Yates had walked in wearing a T-shirt, saying ‘Bruce is guilty’, Mr Whybrow said.

“This case has demonstrated, in my view, an insidious and underappreciated issue, which is this conflict and this tension and this slow bracket creep between the presumption of innocence on the one hand, and ‘believe all women’ – or in a sexual assault case, ‘people don’t make anything up’ – that is undermining a presumption of innocence.”

Ms Yates declined to comment on Friday, and a spokeswoman for the ACT Human Rights Commission pointed to a previous statement in which it welcomed the set-up of the Sofronoff inquiry.

Mr Whybrow said he took on the case pro bono after Legal Aid ACT refused to hire him because “I wanted to be part of an attempt to at least give this man a fair trial in the face of what I and many other people had considered was such adverse publicity that he could never actually get a fair trial”.

Mr Lehrmann originally approached Legal Aid for help after his first lawyer, John Korn, was forced to withdraw for medical reasons.

Legal Aid also refused to fund the solicitor Mr Korn had recommended, Kamy Saeedi, saying it would assign an in-house lawyer.

Mr Lehrmann said he was stunned that the agency was demanding he accept a defence strategy that contradicted his account of what occurred in Parliament House after a night out drinking with colleagues in Canberra. Mr Lehrmann has consistently maintained, including in his statement to police, that there was no sexual contact of any kind with Ms Higgins and that after they got to Senator Reynolds’ suite, he went left and Ms Higgins turned right, and he didn’t see her again.

“It was basically Kamy who said to me, right, just fire them – he helped me write a letter firing them,” Mr Lehrmann told The Weekend Australian.

Mr Saeedi agreed to take on the case pro bono.

“This is a winnable case if we just do it how we need to, not how the Legal Aid wants to do it,” Mr Lehrmann recalls his new lawyer saying. “He was concerned that I’m being led up the garden path and that they’ve got no idea, because they’re all so woke in Canberra,” Mr Lehrmann said.

“So he just said, I’m just going to do it pro bono now, let’s not worry about the money.”

Mr Whybrow also then agreed to act for Mr Lehrmann pro bono.

“It was, you know, we’ll keep an account going and you will likely never pay. We know that if you’re in jail we’re never going to get paid,” Mr Whybrow said. “And even if you’re acquitted, unless you win Lotto, we’re never going to get paid. But we will act for you.”

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The Nazi boogeyman


The Left are trying to show that anybody who opposes their views is a Nazi-sympathizer. There certanly are in Australia people with antisemitic views. I have good friends with such views, even though I myself am a firm supporter of Israel.

But it has yet to be shown that people with such views have any political influence. They may be among those who support various conservative causes but political causes commonly gain support from a variety of people. What is implied but not shown below is that antisemites influence others to their views.

My intensive studies of neo-Nazis years ago showed them to be thoroughly marginal and I can see no change since. See:

for details


Melbourne’s far-right are agile and adaptive at spreading their message of hate

Though small, they practise a nimble strategy to develop support, concealing their activities in encrypted channels, leapfrogging from issue to issue as they attempt to insert their antisemitism and white supremacist view into conservative movements.

First it was multiculturalism, then the pandemic and vaccine mandates, now trans rights.

Deakin University extremism expert Dr Josh Roose explains it’s a process called “breadcrumbing” – where a person drops nibbles of interest with the aim of engaging with someone else – and it’s effective in both polarising the debate and growing the far-right movement.

On Thursday, Roose joined a confidential meeting of more than 100 council representatives and police, all of them desperate to understand how to manage the hate manifesting at their meetings and drag queen story times.

The briefing was convened to cope with “threatening and unpredictable” behaviour that mayors across Melbourne had seen in the past few months, and Roose was up in the middle of the night on a work trip to Denmark to provide advice and skills to protect democratic norms now under siege.

For the last few years, most prominently since the Reclaim Australia movement emerged in 2015, far-right activists have targeted particular issues in an attempt to surreptitiously introduce their beliefs into public discourse.

These conversations, buried deep in encrypted Telegram channels, happen every day – some explicit, others implicit – and attempt to draw people already in thralls of conspiracy into a community of violence.

Inside the Melbourne boxing gym with a neo-Nazi underbelly
Roose says the far-right members participate in online debates about hot topics and slowly attempt to introduce extreme ideas with the aim of eventually shaping the debate and “increasing the pool of potential recruits”.

“They continue to have a base due to their presence on social media and encrypted messaging apps: skilful tactics to gain media notoriety and anger and alienation amongst at least some of the community,” he says.

Almost 24 hours before the meeting, on Wednesday afternoon, a demonstration petered out against a drag story time celebration at Eltham Library, in Melbourne’s north-east.

Far-right activist Jimeone Roberts posted a message in a Telegram channel called MyPlace, warning people about “medical experiments”, deriding vaccine mandates, and making comments pejorative of rainbow activists campaigning for trans rights, according to screenshots collected by researchers from the White Rose Society, which tracks neo-Nazis online.

MyPlace, a fast-growing anti-government group targeting councils across Victoria, is a forum of mixed purpose.

There are some who use it to sell organic meat and vegetables; others complain about vaccine mandates and plug holistic medicine retreats; and several share their political aspirations, discussing ways to animate and organise voters in Victoria they believe share their views.

There are now more than 100 MyPlace groups throughout Australia, 49 of them in Victoria. Not all MyPlace groups or members are from the far-right or neo-Nazis.

But the rise in the number of MyPlace groups is an example of what researchers and police have been observing for years, the tendency for far-right activists to target groups with strong views on conservative subjects.

Entertainer Dean Arcuri, who dons his alter ego drag queen Frock Hudson for story time at suburban libraries, has been a target of demonstrators this week.

“It’s insane to think that this harassment is happening. And then someone says the word Nazi, and you just think … what? It is absolutely surreal,” Arcuri says.

Felicity Marlowe, the Rainbow Families manager at LGBTQI+ support service Switchboard Victoria, says the group’s Zoom meeting last week was gatecrashed by protesters who posted vulgar comments in the chat.

Roberts, who has a swastika Hakenkreuz tattooed on his chest, wasn’t the first National Socialist Network (NSN) member attempting to steer the conversation inside the MyPlace network. In early April, Stefanos Eracleous, a former Young Liberal and also a member of the NSN, more pointedly asked members to begin exploring the encrypted channels popular among neo-Nazis and the group’s leader, Thomas Sewell.

“Add yourself to an active Aussie chat for Australian patriotic discussion and freedom rally updates,” said a message on April 4. It was forwarded from a group called “Australian Meditations 51?, the 51 being a figure celebrated by the group because it is the number of people killed in the Christchurch massacre.

More recently, the actions of a group of neo-Nazis spilled onto Melbourne’s streets. They gatecrashed a Let Women Speak rally in March and two members were arrested during an anti-immigration protest in the CBD last Saturday, when police used capsicum spray. On both occasions, the group members wore all black and most concealed their identities while doing the Nazi salute.

The topics the far-right use to steer their message has varied depending on the political issue of the day, says Dr Mario Peucker, an associate professor at Victoria University, and depends on what they believe is strategically useful.

Peucker says that during the moral panic around Islam in mid-2010, the far-right organised around anti-Islam messaging. A few years later, it was the “African gang” panic. Then, for a short time, they organised around bushfires and climate crises before the pandemic emerged as their dominant theme.

“Now that this has been exhausted, neo-Nazi groups, probably inspired by white supremacy groups in the US, saw a new opportunity in targeting LGBTIQ+ friendly events,” Peucker says, “and most recently they seem to have moved to the issue of housing crisis in combination with relatively high levels of immigration.”

The Andrews government has announced it will ban the Nazi salute but is unsure how far away the legislation is. Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said this week it was not a straightforward process as it collides with free speech issues.

Other countries, including Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland – all of whom have far-right movements – have banned the salute.

In the meantime, though, it means police have limited powers to act. Assistant Commissioner David Clayton, who attended the online forum with councillors on behalf of Victoria Police, summarised the dilemma succinctly: “Some of this stuff is awful, but it’s not unlawful.”

Police confirmed they monitor the activities of the far-right but couldn’t comment on operations specifically, except to say that they were appalled by recent events.

“Everyone has the right to feel safe in our community regardless of who they are – hate and prejudice have no place in our society.”

Flanked by two security guards on Wednesday, Arcuri was invited to Parliament House for a short reading with Premier Daniel Andrews before being ferried out to Eltham.

It was a nervous arrival. He didn’t know, of the people attending, who was there in support, or to disrupt. “People were making jokes on Wednesday going, it’s like a Beyonce moment. And I’m like, well, that sounds more fun than the experience I had,” he says.

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