A Lerve Story For The Ages.

Sometimes we need a bit of love to lighten our darkened and dreary days.

There are no words. Well, actually, there are.

Major hat tip to Pixy Misa for making me laugh so hard I nearly coughed up a lung. Now I've got to go back and finish reading the comments.

Media Bias in Australia

The ABC's partisan preferences are not limited to Australian politics

The taxpayer-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) occupies a position in Australia similar to that enjoyed by the BBC in the United Kingdom. The ABC runs two free-to-air national television channels, four national radio networks, nine metropolitan radio stations in major cities, 51 radio stations across rural and regional Australia and a range of Internet and subscription services. No Australian commercial network approaches the ABC in terms of reach and, arguably, influence. It is well-funded, amply staffed and under more or less constant criticism for projecting a left-wing take on just about every aspect of Australian life that it touches.

Grahame Morris, a chief of staff to former conservative Prime Minister John Howard, once described the national broadcaster as, "our enemies talking to our friends." The recently retired presenter of ABC TV's national gardening show was a former member of the Communist Party. The ABC, you see, takes no chances. Even when you were invited to tiptoe through the tulips, the ABC provided an ideologically reliable guide.

Obviously, the political and cultural disposition of the national broadcaster, as it sucks up taxpayer dollars, is an important and legitimate area of public debate. The left does not see it that way. Conservative criticism of the national broadcaster's political and cultural perspectives is usually brushed off by the ABC and its friends as an attack on the "independence" of its journalists, producers and managers.

But an obligation to provide balance and diversity of opinion is enshrined in the ABC's charter; and the corporation's editorial policies and style guide set out rules for news and current affairs journalists in an attempt to ensure that the obligation is met.

The ABC's partisan preferences are not limited to Australian politics. Consider this comment in the lead up to the 2004 U.S. presidential election from Red Symons, the presenter of one of its prime time radio programs:
"774 ABC Melbourne is, of course, supporting Senator John Kerry in his endeavor to become President of the United States. We can't take sides in Australia, but I've had it from management we can take sides elsewhere in the world. We want Kerry to win."

The Australian chapter of Democrats Abroad would have been chuffed to know that.

There are broadcasting codes that can be used to try to hold the ABC accountable to its charter. The process is far from satisfactory because, in the first instance, the ABC itself is the arbiter of complaints made about it. So between 2005 and 2008 the Howard Government attempted to use the Senate Estimates Committee process to take the problem of political bias straight to the corporation's managing director.

Over the three-year period, the Government tabled more than 1,000 examples of ABC journalists violating the organization's editorial guidelines and style guide?its rule books for providing fair and balanced reporting. The examples were extracted from a very small part of the network's output?the program transcripts that the ABC makes available online?and thus represented only a very small percentage of the total network programming. Unquestionably, a complete analysis of ABC output would have yielded thousands more.

A particularly egregious example of ABC mischief had occurred in February 2003 when Prime Minister Howard visited then Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri in the lead up to the war with Iraq. In a meeting with Mr. Howard, the president of the world's largest Muslim nation gave an undertaking that her Government would explain to the Indonesian public that a war on Iraq would not be regarded as a war on Islam.

However, ABC News, broadcast across Australia and beamed into Asia, that evening reported, "Well, there's support for Iraq tonight from the world's largest Muslim nation. Indonesia claims a war on Iraq would be a war on Islam." The ABC was forced to run a correction the next day, but the damage to the national interest had been done.

The Howard Government's efforts to modify the behavior of the ABC resulted in a number of smoke-and-mirrors efforts to address the issue of bias in its current affairs broadcasting. However, one year ago, the 11-year-old centre-right Liberal-National coalition of John Howard was defeated in a federal election by the centre-left Australian Labor Party (ALP) led by Kevin Rudd.

On election night, the ABC's TV anchor and network icon Kerry O'Brien, on air live from the national tally room, declared that there had been a big swing "to the ABC" in Bennelong, the electorate of Prime Minister John Howard. The gaffe, if O'Brien's comment had, indeed, been unintended, provided an eloquent metaphor for the symbiotic relationship between the ABC and the ALP. Maxine McKew, the ALP candidate who went on to win Bennelong from the prime minister, had been a 30-year veteran journalist and presenter at the ABC. She left the network at the end of 2006, laughing off suggestions that she intended to stand as a Labor candidate in the federal election.

Two months out of the ABC, McKew joined the office of Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd; and one month after that she announced her intention to contest Bennelong for the ALP.

Kerry O'Brien, the election night anchor, presents a 30-minute national current affairs program four nights a week on ABC TV. In the 1970s, O'Brien himself was on the staff of a Labor Party leader. On Sunday mornings, ABC TV presents "Insiders," a national review of the week in politics anchored by Barrie Cassidy. In the 1980s, Cassidy served as press secretary to Labor Party Prime Minister Bob Hawke. ABC Radio National has Phillip Adams, another former member of the Communist Party, covering politics and current affairs for about seven hours a week. One of his regular guests is Bruce Shapiro, contributing editor to The Nation.

The gratitude of one Labor prime minister for the election-time efforts of the ABC is recorded in the Cabinet diary of a former minister: "The ABC deserves a decent go because it has done well by the ALP in the last two elections," Labor's Paul Keating said in 1992.

The Rudd Labor Government has promised to restore a staff member to the ABC board of directors, a position that was abolished by the Howard Government. It has also said it will depoliticize the ABC board; which really means it will stack it with its own ideological allies and friends. The ABC, after almost 12 years of confrontation with a conservative foe, once again has in Canberra a government that many of its foot-soldiers are happy to believe in.


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

Yeah, change you can believe in

FOX News - A former adviser to Barack Obama's presidential campaign who once called Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton a "monster" is now working on the transition team for the agency that Clinton may lead. State Department officials said Friday that Samantha Power is among foreign policy experts the president-elect's office selected to help the incoming administration prepare for Clinton's anticipated nomination as secretary of state. ......During the Democratic primary campaign, Power called Clinton "a monster" in an interview. She then resigned, calling her remarks inexcusable and contradictory to her admiration for Clinton.
Didn't President Hussein waffle a lot about how he was tired like everyone else and would 'change' things (status-quo or something) in Washington? Maybe he really meant that he was just physically tired and needed a new bedtime or something.

While I'm on the subject of people who say one thing, sort of bang on and on about it and then later do something quite different.
FOX News - U.S.-led coalition troops killed a Taliban commander dressed as a woman during a raid in southern Afghanistan, officials said Saturday. Soldiers killed four Taliban fighters in Friday's operation, including the Taliban commander named Haji Yakub who was dressed as a woman to evade capture, the U.S. military said in a statement. Yakub directed roadside bomb and suicide attacks against Afghanistan's government and coalition forces in Ghazni province, according to the statement.
Thank you troops, in case you didn't know, there are Afghani women out there who are much better off thanks to you bringing about the hasty demise of this cowardly cross-dressing wanker. I'm also pretty sure there will be some farm animals quietly grateful for what you did. Well done, good job and thank you.

St. Andrew's Day

As most Scots will be aware, today (30th) is St. Andrew's Day. Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and St. Andrew's Day is Scotland's official national day, although Burns' Night is more widely and lavishly celebrated. It is a "bank holiday" in Scotland. So I have just hoisted the Saltire of St. Andrew on the flagpole at the front of my house. I encourage others with Scottish loyalties to do likewise. I am also hoping that I will be having something Scottish for dinner tonight. I seem to be out of haggis but I do have some Forfar Bridies in my freezer -- to be had with tatties, of course.

Below is one of the great Scottish patriotic songs. Play the music, read the words and sing along:


1). Hark when the night is falling,
Hear! hear the pipes are calling,
Loudly and proudly calling,
Down thro' the glen.
There where the hills are sleeping,
Now feel the blood a-leaping,
High as the spirits of the old Highland men.

Chorus: Towering in gallant fame,
Scotland my mountain hame,
High may your proud standards gloriously wave,
Land of my high endeavour,
Land of the shining river,
Land of my heart for ever,
Scotland the brave.

2). High in the misty Highlands
Out by the purple islands,
Brave are the hearts that beat
Beneath Scottish skies.
Wild are the winds to meet you,
Staunch are the friends that greet you,
Kind as the love that shines from fair maidens' eyes.


3). Far off in sunlit places
Sad are the Scottish faces,
Yearning to feel the kiss
Of sweet Scottish rain.
Where the tropics are beaming
Love sets the heart a-dreaming,
Longing and dreaming for the hameland again.


4). Hot as a burning ember, (This verse is not always sung)
Flaming in bleak December
Burning within the hearts
Of clansmen afar!
Calling to home and fire,
Calling the sweet desire,
Shining a light that beckons from every star!


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

The flow of "Boat people" has resumed

Kevvy's new softer policy was noticed immediately. A problem that Howard solved is back again

Indonesian and Australian police have stopped 14 boats laden with asylum seekers from travelling to Australia this year, including at least three in the past six weeks, as people-smuggling activity accelerates across the archipelago. Four boats have made it to Australian waters. On Thursday, one of them, with 12 Sri Lankans aboard, became the first boat in two years to reach the mainland, near Shark Bay in Western Australia. Government sources said the arrivals, who were being transferred to Christmas Island, would have access to Australian law should they claim asylum.

The previously undisclosed figures on people-smuggling disruption, confirmed by Australian Federal Police, highlight the success of the joint operation combating human trafficking. But the data also points to a spike in asylum seekers trying to come to Australia, a politically sensitive issue for the Rudd Government. This year, the Government softened its policy towards illegal immigrants and has allowed the navy - which intercepts boats - to stand down for two months over Christmas due to a manpower shortage.

"We have a lot of problems with this smuggling," Paulus Purwoko, deputy chief of criminal investigations at Indonesian National Police, told the Herald. He said the number of boat crossings to Australia had increased, particularly in recent months. "They transit first through Malaysia, then from Malaysia to Indonesia. We believe it is organised by a syndicate. "When they get to Indonesia, they try to make a deception to the Indonesian police. They throw away their passports. They get a UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] letter of recommendation or ID. Some of them have originals, the rest have fakes."

The Australian Federal Police has played a critical role in combating human trafficking by providing intelligence. But Mr Purwoko said it was difficult to keep tabs on smugglers due to Indonesia's long coastline and because the boats were leaving from different places each time. He expressed grave fears for the asylum seekers, saying the syndicates use the flimsiest of boats to save money, creating huge risks for their human cargo. The worst time to attempt the crossing is over summer, when the seas are roughest. It is also when the navy will be undertaking limited operations.

Indonesian police have made numerous arrests, including Afghan, Pakistani and Indonesian nationals. Many of the asylum seekers are from Afghanistan, reflecting the deteriorating security there and rise in persecution against ethnic minorities as the Taliban exerts more control. Others have come from Iraq, Somalia and Sri Lanka, all countries besieged by violence.

The Herald interviewed two Afghan asylum seekers this week in Jakarta. The men, who cannot be identified because it would jeopardise the safety of their families, said people-smuggling syndicates are paid up to $US12,000 a person. "They promise they will arrive in Australia or some other country like Britain," said one of the men. They said asylum seekers wanted to come to Australia because it was "safe".


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

Mumbai terrorists linked to Britain?

FOX News - Commandos who stormed the headquarters Friday night of an ultra-orthodox Jewish group found the bodies of six hostages inside, Indian and Israeli rescue officials said. The discovery of the bodies brought to a tragic end the two-day effort to rescue the Jewish hostages from their Islamic terrorist captors. The New York-based Chabad-Lubavitch movement confirmed Friday that a New York rabbi and his wife were among the dead.

Daily Mail - As many as seven of the terrorists may have British connections and some could be from Leeds and Bradford where London's July 7 bombers lived, one source said. Two Britons were among eight gunmen being held, according to Mumbai's chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. At least nine others are reportedly dead. The eight arrested were captured by commandos after they stormed two hotels and a Jewish centre to free hostages today.

Despite the Indian authorities' assurances that the situation was under control, the siege continued at the Taj Mahal hotel and explosions could still be heard in central Mumbai. One security official said: 'There is growing concern about British involvement in the attacks.' But Gordon Brown has urged caution. He emerged from a conversation with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to say there was no suggestion of a British link.
Yeah, that's just too premature folks. No, there possibly can't be any link, no way, not in Britain. Usually the sources of Islamic extremism, intolerance, violence and evil are from places like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Palestine etc. Never the western world itself, no way! Besides, the left have been running Britain for the last decade or so. They'd never allow such a thing to happen, would they?

Women preachers at moderate mosque ‘urge faithful to kill gays’.
The preacher of hate and his pal the terrorist: How Abu Qatada is free to walk the streets with car bomb extremist.
Muslim council chiefs ban ALL members from 'tea and sandwiches' in meetings which take place during Ramadan.
Three muslims charged over plot to kill Gordon Brown.
Britain grapples with role for Islamic justice.
3 Muslim Men Charged in Plot to Attack Book Publisher, Jewel of Medina, Martin Rynja.
UK's youngest terrorist jailed for 2 years, Hammaad Munshi.
Britain Adopts Islamic Law, Gives Sharia Courts Full Power to Rule on Civil Cases.
College bans 'Christmas' and 'Easter' from calendar for fear of offending ethnic students.
BBC Ignores racist attacks on whites.
Third of Muslim students back killings, Radicalism and support for sharia is strong in British universities.
Non-Muslims 'must wear hijab', Madani High School in Leicester.
All state pupils may be taught Islamic traditions as part of compulsory citizenship lessons.
Brother of 7/7 bomber gets a free trip to Pakistan 'to improve relations'.
Schoolboys punished with detention for refusing to kneel in class and pray to Allah.
America's fury as Hamza smuggles hate messages to Bin Laden's No 2... From UK jail cell, maximum security.
Christian preachers face arrest in Birmingham.
Bin Laden's 'right-hand man' set for life on British benefits after judges rule deportation would breach his human rights.
Muslim sex offenders could opt out of treatment programme 'because it's against their faith'.
Muslim is spared a speeding ban so he can drive between his two wives.
Vicar attacked for 'being a Christian' by yobs who claimed his church 'should be a mosque'.
Outcry as Lebanese extremist is allowed to tour Britain to 'promote violence'.
Muslim school 'that taught pupils from race hate textbooks made photocopies after order to shred them'.
Multiculturalism is making Britain 'a soft touch for terrorists'.
Islamist extremists 'have penetrated to the heart of Britain'.
Report: Sharia Courts Already Operating in England.

This is just from this year alone. Britain now a source of Islamic terrorism? What! Where would you get that idea from?

Update [news.com.au] - MAHARASHTRA state chief minister said there was no evidence of British citizens being involved in the attacks in Mumbai.

Obama supporters were ignoramuses

Just 2% of voters who supported Barack Obama on Election Day obtained perfect or near-perfect scores on a post election test which gauged their knowledge of statements and scandals associated with the presidential tickets during the campaign, a new Zogby International telephone poll shows. Only 54% of Obama voters were able to answer at least half or more of the questions correctly.

The 12-question, multiple-choice survey found questions regarding statements linked to Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his vice-presidential running-mate Sarah Palin were far more likely to be answered correctly by Obama voters than questions about statements associated with Obama and Vice-President-Elect Joe Biden. The telephone survey of 512 Obama voters nationwide was conducted Nov. 13-15, 2008, and carries a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points. The survey was commissioned by John Ziegler, author of The Death of Free Speech, producer of the recently released film "Blocking the Path to 9/11" and producer of the upcoming documentary film, Media Malpractice...How Obama Got Elected.

"After I interviewed Obama voters on Election Day for my documentary, I had a pretty low opinion of what most of them had picked up from the media coverage of the campaign, but this poll really proves beyond any doubt the stunning level of malpractice on the part of the media in not educating the Obama portion of the voting populace," said Ziegler.

Ninety-four percent of Obama voters correctly identified Palin as the candidate with a pregnant teenage daughter, 86% correctly identified Palin as the candidate associated with a $150,000 wardrobe purchased by her political party, and 81% chose McCain as the candidate who was unable to identify the number of houses he owned. When asked which candidate said they could "see Russia from their house," 87% chose Palin, although the quote actually is attributed to Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey during her portrayal of Palin during the campaign. An answer of "none" or "Palin" was counted as a correct answer on the test, given that the statement was associated with a characterization of Palin.

Obama voters did not fare nearly as well overall when asked to answer questions about statements or stories associated with Obama or Biden -- 83% failed to correctly answer that Obama had won his first election by getting all of his opponents removed from the ballot, and 88% did not correctly associate Obama with his statement that his energy policies would likely bankrupt the coal industry. Most (56%) were also not able to correctly answer that Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground.

Nearly three quarters (72%) of Obama voters did not correctly identify Biden as the candidate who had to quit a previous campaign for President because he was found to have plagiarized a speech, and nearly half (47%) did not know that Biden was the one who predicted Obama would be tested by a generated international crisis during his first six months as President.

In addition to questions regarding statements and scandals associated with the campaigns, the 12-question, multiple-choice survey also included a question asking which political party controlled both houses of Congress leading up to the election -- 57% of Obama voters were unable to correctly answer that Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate.


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

An old-fashioned responsible father: Good to see

Boy, 5, made to walk two-and-a-half hours to school

A NORTHERN TERRITORY man has been making his five-year-old son walk two-and-a-half hours to school every day, after he was kicked off the school bus. When Jack Burt confessed that he'd been banned for five days for hitting the bus driver in the head with an apple core, dad Sam thought he should learn the hard way. He and Jack last week were getting up at 5.10am for the dusty 13km-hike from the Darwin rural area of Herbert, all the way to Humpty Doo. Mr Burt also took the wheels off Jack's bike so he couldn't be tempted to ride to school.

At the end of the old-fashioned punishment, Mr Burt, 38, took out a public notice in the Northern Territory News. "Jack Burt and his dad wish to thank all the kind people who stopped to offer them lifts in the past week," the ad read. "It's good to see a number of good people in the community. Jack hopes to be allowed back on the bus on Monday."

But in the battle of wills between tall and short, the smart money's on Jack. "Shame it didn't work," Mr Burt told the Northern Territory News. "He got back on the bus Monday, and within three stops he was in trouble again. I couldn't believe it. "I don't understand - he's good at school, he gets awards all the time."

However, a breakthrough might be in sight. When Jack this week said he didn't mind walking - because it made him strong for fighting - he was told if he started fighting he might have to walk home in the afternoons too. Jack's eyes got a little teary. He said he might not get home before dark. Mr Burt told him not to worry - they'd leave the key out for him.


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

Don't know much about history--Public officials edition

US elected officials scored abysmally on a test measuring their civic knowledge, with an average grade of just 44 percent, the group that organized the exam said Thursday. Ordinary citizens did not fare much better, scoring just 49 percent correct on the 33 exam questions compiled by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI)....

Among the questions asked of some 2,500 people who were randomly selected to take the test, including "self-identified elected officials," was one which asked respondents to "name two countries that were our enemies during World War II." Sixty-nine percent of respondents correctly identified Germany and Japan. Among the incorrect answers were Britain, China, Russia, Canada, Mexico and Spain.

Forty percent of respondents, meanwhile, incorrectly believed that the US president has the power to declare war, while 54 percent correctly answered that that power rests with Congress.

Asked about the electoral college, 20 percent of elected officials incorrectly said it was established to "supervise the first televised presidential debates." In fact, the system of choosing the US president via an indirect electoral college vote dates back some 220 years, to the US Constitution.

The question that received the fewest correct responses, just 16 percent, tested respondents' basic understanding of economic principles, asking why "free markets typically secure more economic prosperity than government's centralized planning?" ...

I think they have blundered into an explanation of liberalism. It requires an ignorance of history and economics to survive. As the recent Zogby poll indicated Obama voters were even grossly ignorant of facts related to the election campaign. What is really strange about this is that liberals tend to think they are the smartest people in the room. Go figure.


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

Muslim terrorists again...

FOX News - Indian commandos liberated some hostages and recovered a few bodies on Thursday as they continue rescue efforts at a luxury Mumbai hotel attacked by terrorists. Dozens of people are still trapped or held captive, nearly a day after teams of heavily armed gunmen invaded two five star hotels, a popular restaurant, a crowded train station and a Jewish center, killing at least 101 people in coordinated attacks on India's commercial center.

Police and gunmen were exchanging occasional gunfire at two luxury hotels and dozens of people were believed held hostage or trapped inside the besieged buildings. Pradeep Indulkar, a senior official at the Maharashtra state Home Ministry said 101 people were killed and 314 injured.

Among the dead were at least one Australian, Japanese and British national he said. Officials said eight militants had also been killed in the coordinated attacks on at least 10 sites that began around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. Gunmen also seized the Mumbai headquarters of the ultra-orthodox Jewish outreach group Chabad Lubavitch. Indian commandos surrounded the building Thursday morning and witnesses said gunfire was heard from the building.

MK - Pray for them folks. Pray that no more are murdered. Pray that the commandos aim is razor-sharp and the terrorists is as bad as can be. Pray that no more are lost to these terrorist scum. Pray for our soldiers and their families too, for it is a bad day for us.

LiveNews - An Australian soldier has been killed in Afghanistan, the Australian Defence Force has confirmed. The Australian Defence Force said an incident had taken place in Oruzgan province earlier on Thursday. "There have been a number of casualties," Defence said in a statement.

Vice Chief of the Defence Force Lieutenant General David Hurley said members of a Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) were on foot, conducting an operation against Taliban insurgents. An explosion occurred and an Australian soldier was killed, he said.Lieutenant General Hurley said the Australian soldier was killed after an improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated.

Huge government transport bungle in Sydney

Even at a cost of billions of dollars, building just 19 kilometres of railway was too difficult for them. The contractor did as it was told but the things it was asked to do were half-baked. Governments should never attempt anything "innovative". You need close involvement for that -- not bureaucratic inertia and indifference

Serious defects have emerged in the $2.3 billion Epping to Chatswood Rail Line that could threaten its long-term reliability and have the potential to increase dramatically the cost of running the still unopened railway. A secret Government report, obtained by the Herald, has exposed thousands of flaws in the way the tracks have been fixed to 19 kilometres of concrete slabs. It details the widespread failure of the epoxy, which was often water-affected or contaminated with slurry, the use of incorrectly tensioned bolts and clips, and cracks in the sleepers.

The line was meant to open in 2006, but it has been repeatedly delayed. Full operation of the line was again deferred after revelations in the Herald last month that noise levels inside test trains were equivalent to a Boeing 737 coming in to land.

The latest report, commissioned by the State Government's rail-building agency, the Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation, raises grave questions about the long-term cost of maintaining the line. "Any assurance of reliable track performance remains presently 'out of the question' until action to solve the thousands of track component defects, currently being uncovered and listed, can be accomplished," the document of March this year says.

There is already a feud between the Government and the contractor, Thiess Hochtief, over the noise problems, which will cost $29.5 million to fix. The Government is now demanding the contractor also pay to repair the latest problems. A TIDC spokesman, Peter Whelan, told the Herald that "95 per cent of the track has been lifted and fully inspected", as part of its "quality assurance and audit process". "The issues noted [in the report] were identified by TIDC and were required to be addressed by the construction contractor at its cost," he said.

But the Herald understands that senior RailCorp staff consider the long-term maintenance risk to be so serious that they have begun their own work on how to fix the problem. "Some concerns have been raised [by RailCorp] and are being addressed," Mr Whelan said.

Unlike traditional railways, the multibillion-dollar line uses more than 54,000 "Delkor Eggs" as sleepers - these are oval-shaped rubber mats designed to absorb vibration. At the core of the problem is the lack of reliable bonding between these eggs and the concrete slab. "It would, in this author's view, be a grossly irresponsible and negligent act to certify as to the suitability of the ECRL track structure reliability prior to the above conclusion items being satisfied," the report finds. "Such action would constitute grave compromise of professional integrity of those individuals involved in my opinion."

The document questions whether the problems may also stem from an incorrect concrete mix being used to lay the slab: "The presence of slab cracks and prevalence of voids under [base plate] pads suggests some level of variance from design and placement requirements for ECRL." But Mr Whelan said there was no problem "with the integrity of the concrete slab".

The report reveals that the failure of individual eggs increases the pressure on neighbouring eggs, eventually buckling the tracks and causing "ride discomfort". This accelerates the wear on the track, increases the cost of routine rail grinding, reduces longevity and can only be repaired as effectively as "the integrity of the initial track construction provides", the report says.

The problem was first revealed by the Herald in February. But for several months before that TIDC and Thiess Hochtief carried out works to try to solve the problem. At first, attempts were made to squeeze more epoxy under the baseplates - but this only made things worse, the report reveals. The problem's persistence led to the independent site inspection that formed the basis of the leaked document. "It is considered possible that RailCorp will decline to accept handover of [the] project on the basis of inadequate assurance available for future system reliability," the report concluded.

But Sue Netterfield, a Thiess Hochtief spokeswoman, said the problems had "been rectified". "Having met all the contract requirements, the joint venture is in the process of handing the project over to the client and is not aware of any outstanding issues."


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

Gun control, hard at work

LiveNews - Sixty people have been killed in gunfire at Mumbai's main railway station, part of an apparent series of firing incidents in the city, the Press Trust of India news agency says, quoting police. At least 200 people were injured in firing outside the city's main Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station and the nearby Leopold restaurant, a popular tourist haunt in the Colaba district, television channels said.


Abhijeet Singh [Gun Ownership in India] - To trace the roots of India's anti-gun legislation we need to step back to the latter half of the 19th century. The British had recently fought off a major Indian rebellion (the mutiny of 1857) and were busy putting in place measures to ensure that the events of 1857 were never repeated. These measures included a major restructuring of administration and the colonial British Indian Army along with improvements in communications and transportation. Meanwhile the Indian masses were systematically being disarmed and the means of local firearm production destroyed, to ensure that they (the Indian masses) would never again have the means to rise in rebellion against their colonial masters. Towards this end the colonial government, under Lord Lytton as Viceroy (1874 -1880), brought into existence the Indian Arms Act, 1878 (11 of 1878); an act which, exempted Europeans and ensured that no Indian could possess a weapon of any description unless the British masters considered him a "loyal" subject of the British Empire.

An example of British thinking in colonial times:

"No kingdom can be secured otherwise than by arming the people. The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave. He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms. But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion." --James Burgh (Political Disquisitions: Or, an Enquiry into Public Errors, Defects, and Abuses) [London, 1774-1775]

And thoughts (on this subject) of the man who wanted to rule the world:
"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed the subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty." -- Adolf Hitler (H.R. Trevor-Roper, Hitler's Table Talks 1941-1944)

The leaders of our freedom struggle recognised this, even Gandhi the foremost practitioner of passive resistance and non-violence had this to say about the British policy of gun-control in India:

"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest." -- Mahatma Gandhi (An Autobiography OR The story of my experiments with truth, by M.K. Gandhi, p.238)

"A system of licensing and registration is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeoisie." -- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

More on the emotional difference between Leftists and Rightists

What Thanksgiving has in common with Eton College!

A few days ago, I put up a post which characterized Leftism as the politics of rage. But all I said about conservatives was that they are cautious. But caution is not really an emotion. It is a disposition and some emotions have to go with that but I think I should say a little more about what those emotions are.

What I did mention is that conservatives are always shown in research as being happier than Leftists and that leads into what I think is important. Because conservatives are NOT full of rage, they feel free to enjoy whatever is around them. And one of the great satisfactions in human life is fellowship: Feeling part of a group of people whom you like or respect. So instead of screaming "racism" at every sign of group loyalty, conservatives can simply enjoy their group loyalties. They are untroubled patriots, for instance.

So American conservatives can feel warm inside to be Americans and they can greatly value the fellowship they find in their church. And where conservatives diverge most strongly from Leftists is that they can also feel a sense of fellowship and belonging with their ancestors and forebears. We often see this very strongly expressed among American conservatives when they talk about the "Founders" of the nation and the wisdom the founders bequeathed in the Constitution etc. And such thoughts are of course often to the fore on Thanksgiving day.

And another common expression of solidarity with the past is of course the great respect that conservatives pay to those who have died in war in the service of their nation. In my country, Australia, that day of remembrance (which we call Anzac day) is our only really solemn national occasion. Leftists have tried to laugh at it from time to time but it goes from strength to strength, with young people as well as old participating in the services of remembrance.

And there is no doubt that the army is always one of the most solidly conservative bodies of people that exists in any community. And the degree of fellowship in the army must be very close to maximal. If you pass a member of your old army unit in the street, you always stop to say a few words at least. There is a lasting bond between men who have fought together that outsiders can only dimly understand. My time in the Australian army was most undistinguished (though very fondly remembered) but I was an army psychologist so perhaps I have a little more awareness of what the army is about than most. I am certainly pleased to say that I have worn my country's uniform.

All these sorts of fellowship that conservatives feel are generally felt pretty strongly. There is often a swelling of pride and gratitude associated with such feelings. And the poor sad old Leftist is basically left out of all that. Their hate and rage bars them from feeling some of the most basic human emotions.

And I now want to give a vivid example of that: Something that Leftists will hate viscerally but which most conservatives should understand and enjoy. I reproduce below the Eton Boat Song. Eton is of course Britain's most elite school and British private schools are famous for fostering a sense of fellowship among their pupils. And you will see that vividly below. Listen to the music as you read the words and I will add a few comments afterwards. The song refers of course to competitive rowing regattas:

Jolly boating weather,
And a hay harvest breeze,
Blade on the feather,
Shade off the trees;
Swing, swing together,
With your bodies between your knees.

Rugby may be more clever,
Harrow may make more row:
But we'll row forever,
Steady from stroke to bow,
And nothing in life shall sever
The chain that is round us now.

Others will fill our places,
Dressed in the old light blue;
We'll recollect our races,
We'll to the flag be true;
And youth will be still in our faces
When we cheer for an Eton crew.

Twenty years hence this weather
May tempt us from office stools:
We may be slow on the feather,
And seem to the boys old fools:
But we'll still swing together,
And swear by the best of schools.

I went to a totally undistinguished school in a small Australian country town but that song does tend to bring a tear to my eyes. It is a powerful expression of being part of something bigger and better, and something that transcends time. I hope some of my readers get that powerful feeling too.

And note that is also a humble song. It talks of pride in a great identity but without any thought of dominating others -- which is the Leftist preoccupation. It talks of the singers as being "old fools" sitting on "office stools". There is no Fascist aggression there at all. In characteristically English style, it actually spends quite a lot of time talking about the weather! No egotistical "Tomorrow belongs to me", "We are the people we have been waiting for" or "Yes we can" there.

Yet it is a song that expressed a powerful feeling. British officers in World War I were known to go "over the top" in the dreadful charges of that war singing the Eton Boat song. That to me is a sort of nobility which I know that no Leftist egotist will ever understand.

Leftists do of course still have the normal human need for fellowship so when they do at last find an outlet for it that passes muster with them we get the completely over the top hysteria of Fascism, Nazism or Obama-worship. (Anybody who has been conned into believing that the National Socialist Hitler and the Marxist Mussolini were Rightists should read here and here)

Note: The above is a slightly expanded version of the original post

Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

The Old Dart still loves us

A LEADING British newspaper has pleaded with Australians living in the UK not to head home amid concerns a looming recession and plummeting pound are fueling an exodus. The Times praised the cultural contribution of famous Australians who have made Britain home, including Barry Humphries, Clive James and Germaine Greer as well as the generations of Antipodeans who have flocked to the "old country''. But in its editorial yesterday, the Rupert Murdoch-owned daily voiced alarm at new figures showing record numbers of Antipodeans are leaving Britain and its economic gloom for better job opportunities back home.

"This is largely a vote of no confidence in the old country,'' The Times said. "As the recession bites, the lure of home, with unemployment at a 33-year low and the Australian dollar at an 11-year high against sterling, is very tempting.''

According to the paper, Australian Immigration Department figures show an average of 2700 Australians are leaving the UK each month, up from 1750 a month in 2005. In the 12 months to June, 13,062 Australians applied for working holiday visas compared with more than 27,000 two years ago. Online readers blamed more than the economy. "The weather, bad schools and healthcare and poor infrastructure will not keep highly educated and mobile workers. not to mention the rising tax on 'the rich' ," wrote j of London in the paper's online comments. "Ever get the feeling the whole place is going to pot?" asked Jez W, of Leeds.

But not everyone was sure about the weather in Australia. "The sun doesn't always shine. My colleague has just come back from Brisbane where there was TEN INCHES of rain overnight!", wrote Ben Foster of Wokingham.

A strong pound, the chance to travel widely and superior job opportunities - particularly in London's financial sector - had enticed thousands of professional Australians to the UK in recent years. But with mass redundancies, a falling currency and the poor economic outlook, there is an exodus from the City of London.


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG comments on the "achievements" of one year of Rudd.

Posted by John Ray.

The tolerant church

It is a commonplace for non-Catholics to portray the Catholic church as narrow and dogmatic. By contrast, I am sometimes amazed at how broad and tolerant the church is. It certainly does not insist on strict theological conformity among its clergy. The very different views of Hans Kung, who rejected the infallibility of the Pope, did eventually lead to him being barred from teaching theology but he is still a priest within the church.

And there is here a close look at the writings of Australian priest Fr. Peter Dresser, which reveals a man who could hardly be more heretical. He clearly denies the divinity of Christ, which is central to all major Christian denominations. Even the Sydney Methodists put Ted Noffs on trial for heresy over similar views. Rome, however, seems content to let Fr. Dresser ramble on.

Fr. Dresser would however make a good Anglican. Bishop Robinson, author of "Honest to God" said that God is "the ground of our being" back in the 60s and Bishop Spong also seems to have similar vaporous beliefs.

Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

Political correctness in action

Daily Mail - A mother shocked by seeing two half-naked men having sex while out walking the dogs with her daughter was told by police to take a different route in future. ......The men seen by Miss Cragg and her 18-year-old daughter Jessica were stripped from the waist down and carried on with their activities even after they knew they had been spotted. ......The encounter happened on a public footpath where Miss Cragg was walking the family dogs, Molly and Ruby, near their home in Penwortham, near Preston, last week.

It follows a briefing last month by the deputy chief constable of Lancashire, Mike Cunningham, in which he called for police to turn a blind eye to outdoor sexual activity. ......But Mr Cunningham, who is also a spokesman on homosexual issues for the Association of Chief Police Officers, argues that offenders should only be prosecuted as a last resort because of the potential impact on their lives of making their activities public.

Daily Mail - Muslim prisoners at a maximum security jail were treated to £3,500 of takeaway curries to mark a religious festival. Some 200 inmates at Whitemoor prison near March in Cambridgeshire had meals worth around £18 each after complaining about the quality of jail food. Staff, who also tucked into the meals, drove 40 miles to pick them up from a takeaway in Peterborough. ......The meals were bought at the end of October this year to celebrate Eid, a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

......A Prison Service investigation is to now look at the 'unacceptably' high costs of the meals. It is also likely to look into reports that standard security checks to ensure weapons or contraband were not being smuggled in with the dishes were not carried out in case the meals got cold. The prison houses 458 of the most dangerous men in the country, including one third who are Muslim. Among them are al-Qa'eda terrorists.
Ain't political correctness great, for minorities that is. Wow, you can head off to the local park and carry on like a bunch of animals to your hearts content. Those who don't like it can shove off and find another route to use. If you say anything or do anything to the homos while they're doing their thing, you'll be branded homophobic and charged with some sort of hate-crime.

As for the muslim prisoners, note how the investigation is focusing on why so much was spent, not really that any money was actually spent. If you're a white thief or belong to some sort of political party that the elitist scum in the country don't approve off and end up in jail, you think they'd go out and buy you a nice roasted chicken/turkey for Christmas? You think they'd be bending over backwards to make your life as easy as possible in what's passes for jail in 2008?

Incidentally, note that one third of the inmates in that jail are muslims, so is one third of the population in Britain muslim? Can we draw any conclusions based on that, you know common sense would tell you, there might just be a teeny-weeny problem if one bit of the glorious multicultural utopia that we live in sort of looks like they might be committing a wee bit more crime than the others. Heaven forbid anyone were to say something or draw any conclusions given some of them are angling to blow the rest of the population to pieces.

Then you'll be branded islamophobic and I'm sure someone somewhere will be angling to charge you with some hate-crime as well.

That's political correctness for ya folks, allows the minority to lord over you and make you choke your outrage, your beliefs and your sense of justice down. But guess what, they do it because you let them. You are still the majority and you still have the power, you just have to muster the will to take it back.

Greens do some good for once

Greens could block plans for internet filter

The Australian Greens won't be supporting plans to introduce compulsory internet filters. The Federal Government wants to introduce filters to stop people accessing X-rated material, child pornography and inappropriate material. The plan is being opposed by the internet industry which says it opens the door to censorship of other material, including political views.

"We're very, very concerned that there's going to be a unnecessary clamp down on the internet and it has to be watched," Greens leader Bob Brown told the ABC today. His colleague Scott Ludlam has been lobbying against the changes. "He's working very hard with community groups in Australia to oppose the current proposals by the Government," Senator Brown said.

The Government needs the support of all seven crossbench senators - including the five Greens - to have draft laws pass parliament against coalition opposition.


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

Wow! A piece of psychological research that favours Christians!

In the report below, it was found that Calvinist Christians were more perceptive. But I doubt the speculative explanation of that given below. So let me meander towards what I think is a more likely explanation. I had a Calvinist upbringing myself, though not a strict one.

I suspect that the real explanation has something to do with the type of people who are capable of being Calvinists. There are a lot of restrictions inculcated (on gambling, alcohol etc.) in that and in other strict Protestant religions. But I took to it like a duck to water. I became a VERY strict Protestant in my teens. I suspect that I am a born Calvinist, even though I am an atheist these days. I still occasionally pop in to a service at my old church -- which was originally "Wee Free", a very strict sect (No dancing, no "graven images" etc.).

So I am inclined to think that you are to a considerable extent BORN a Calvinist (or some similar strict Protestant religion). Calvinists and other strict Protestants are perfectly at home with Matthew 7:14. Note that the word there is "strait", not "straight". Maybe I am still a dour old Calvinist at heart, though I do have rather a weakness for Mr. John Walker of Scotland these days. But I still don't gamble! Bottom line so far: It is a lot more demanding to be any sort of strict Protestant than to be an atheist and perhaps that shows up in a general mental superiority among strict Protestants. Heh!

In case my reasoning above seems obscure, let me offer an Irish contribution to the discussion: In Ireland they always ask (if they don't know you) whether you are a Protestant or a Catholic. And if you say that you are an atheist, they ask you: "But are you a Protestant atheist or a Catholic atheist?" Which is a PERFECTLY reasonable enquiry. It is an enquiry about one's origins and background. I am a Protestant atheist, and delighted to be one.

The idea that there could be a genetic difference underlying religious differences will of course seem preposterous to many but, as revelations about genetic influence pile up in both the medical genetics and behaviour genetics literature, the more one tends to throw up one's hands and exclaim: "EVERYTHING is genetic"!. Read here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here just for starters. And note that among the research revelations is a strong genetic influence on political orientation. And there is in fact specific confirmation of a genetic influence on religion.

And if one looks at the distribution of religions in Europe, the Catholic/Protestant divide is still very largely a North/South one -- with the native populations of the most Northerly (Scandinavian) countries being something like 98% Protestant (though mainly nominally so these days). And there are also clear North/South racial differences. Inhabitants of Naples and inhabitants of Oslo tend to look and behave very differently. Clearly, genetics is not the whole of it but I am still inclined to the generalization that Protestantism is a form of Christianity that the Northern Europeans evolved to suit their own natural inclinations. Luther survived where Savonarola did not because Luther's surrounding population were immediately sympathetic to his views -- and that included his King (Frederick the wise of Saxony) -- who zealously protected Luther from all those who wished him ill. And in another largely Saxon country (England) the Lollards long preceded Henry VIII.

I write at great length about apparent Teutonic (Northern) psychological differences here
It might be cliched to say that religious people see the world differently, but new research finds that Dutch Calvinists notice embedded visual patterns quicker than their atheist compatriots.

Culture has long been known to distort visual perception, says Bernhard Hommel, a psychologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands who led the new study. For example, one previous experiment found that Asians tend to dart their eyes around a photograph, while North Americans fix on specific people. To see if religious differences might skew perception, Hommel's team tested 40 Dutch atheist and Calvinist university students, who, religion aside, had similar cultural backgrounds.

On a computer screen, Hommel's team showed participants a large triangle or square made of either smaller triangles or squares. The volunteers had to focus on either the big object or its component shapes, and indicate whether they were square or triangular. Both groups recognised the large shapes more quickly than small, embedded ones, but the Calvinists picked out the smaller shapes 30 milliseconds faster than atheists, on average - a small, but significant, difference.

This could reflect a greater focus on self than external distractions for Calvinists, says Hommel. He suggests it may even be a cognitive consequence of their religion and speculates that Calvinists might be more inward looking than atheists because they have lived their whole lives with an emphasis on minding their own business.

In the future, Hommel plans to give the same test to Catholics, as well as Muslims and Jews, but he must first figure out how to eliminate other cultural differences that could mask any insights. "It doesn't make any sense to compare Iranian Muslims with Dutch atheists," he says.

"This is a thought-provoking study," says Ara Norenzayan, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia. "Their finding is consistent with the literature on cross-cultural cognition - that cultural traditions involving independent view of the self, such as Calvinism, encourage a more feature-based processing style."


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

Red tape in government hospital denies dying boy a chance

Power-mad bureaucrats again

A SIX-year-old boy with only half a heart is dying as red tape prevents Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital surgeons giving him an operation and a chance to save his life. As well as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Nathan Garcia suffers from scoliosis - a condition that has deformed his spine and now places so much pressure on his arteries and lungs he is unable to undergo life-saving surgery to re-rout his half a heart before it stops beating.

Royal Children's orthopaedic surgeons had planned to place a new type of metal rod in Nathan's back to ease his scoliosis, improve his heart and lung function, and hopefully make him healthy enough to undergo the heart surgery. However, the hospital's New Technologies Committee has refused permission for the operation. It says processes have not yet allowed it to evaluate and approve the French-designed Phenix Rod for safe use, and instead Nathan has been placed in palliative care.

Nathan's distraught mother, Monique Garcia, said her son would be dead or too crippled for the operation before the red tape cleared, and was appealing for the decision to be reversed for a one-off operation. "They say it might be OK to use in a few months, but I'm terrified he'll be dead in two months," Ms Garcia said. "Normally I would accept the process of approval, and it is warranted, but it doesn't have a place in this situation - he is going to die anyway. "We have a surgeon who is wanting and trying to save his patient's life, but on the other side we have red tape, and I don't think anything should get in between a doctor and the welfare of their patient. He will die if he does not have this operation - and soon."

Royal Children's orthopaedic surgeon Dr Ian Torode and director of cardiac surgery Dr Christian Brizard met the Phenix Rod's inventor, Arnaud Soubeiran, in Paris last month to discuss Nathan's case.

Royal Children's spokeswoman Julie Webber said the committee was examining the use of the Phenix Rod and a decision about its suitability as a treatment for Nathan would be made in his best interests. "The decision will be made around what is in the best interests of the child," she said. [Dying is in his best interests?]


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

Breast implants a touchy topic

We read:

"A Spanish nightclub has scrapped plans to stage a raffle for breast enlargement surgery after an uproar over the event. The Pacha nightclub in the Mediterranean city of Valencia said it "apologised to all people and institutions which may have felt offended by this initiative", adding that "at no moment did it intend to disrespect anyone".

Adverstisements for the event called "Pretty Woman" that had been set for December 5 featured a picture of a woman with firm breasts who appeared to be holding a scalpel. Tickets had been set at 20 euro ($30) with the prize said to be worth 4500 euro. "A tribute to women. Buy your ticket and take part in the raffle for breast enlargement," the club said on its website.

But Health Minister Bernat Soria said on Wednesday that he had launched an investigation into the planned event. The minister said cosmetic surgery was regulated by health authorities and he expressed concern that minors would be able to participate. The official in charge of health in the Valencia region, Lourdes Bernal, meanwhile voiced her "indignation as a woman and as a health official" at the raffle, "which is an affront to the dignity of women".


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

Teacher quality the 'focus of education revolution'

What a lot of bosh. Good teachers are born, not made. But Leftists can never accept that anything is inborn, of course (homosexuality excepted). But if the four-year courses that teachers now undergo (one year used to be enough in the past) still turn out lots of ineffective teachers, more of the same will not do any good.

While teaching is a bottom-of-the barrel choice for smart people, teacher quality will always be low. Better discipline among the kids is the main thing that would improve teaching -- if only by restoring teaching to the attractive profession that it once was. Another improvement would be larger class sizes, so that the dud teachers can be fired and the abilities of good teachers put to wider use. Heresy! But there are in fact decades of research showing that large class sizes work well. See here and here and here and here and here

The so-called education revolution will have a new focus on improving teacher quality, Education Minister Julia Gillard says. The federal government will use next Saturday's Council of Australian Government's (COAG) meeting in Canberra to push its education reform agenda. Improving teacher quality and lifting investment in disadvantaged schools will be key to the discussions, Ms Gillard said on Sunday.

"I'd like to see us next Saturday at the Council of Australian Governments put new investment into teacher quality, new investment into disadvantaged schools," Ms Gillard told ABC Television. "Quality teaching is the thing that makes the biggest difference to a child's learning outcomes," she said. "If you want to lift quality, you need to lift teacher quality."

Labor had already made a significant investment in education via its computers in schools program, the introduction of new trades training centres and steps to introduce a national curricula.


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

Baby P - The injustice continues

I posted about this baby about a week ago and many of you were sickened by the savagery and evil that was done to this poor baby.
SMH - [Britain] Two men have been convicted of causing or allowing the death of a toddler who suffered a broken back and more than 40 horrific injuries during a campaign of domestic violence even though they were on a council's "at risk" register. Although 17-month-old Baby P was seen regularly by doctors and social workers in the London borough of Haringey, he was used as a "punch bag" and by the time of his death in August last year resembled a car crash victim, the Old Bailey has heard.

One of the detectives involved in the case said the little boy had more than 50 injuries - 15 of them around his mouth. ......Baby P was covered in sores and bruises, had missing finger tips and nails, had bite marks on his head and would have been paralysed from the waist down due to his broken spine. The court heard that his back had been broken by slamming him down over a bent knee or a bannister. ......The three all face up to 14 years in prison.
Well guess how the baby's mother who is facing 14 years in jail for this is going to be treated after she is released from jail in probably 5/6 years time. In case you didn't know, she has apparently given birth to another child in jail. Sorry, I don't know if that child has been taken away from her and will be put up for adoption. You'd think so, but you folks didn't come down in the last shower so you know you can't be sure of that. Coming back to this wicked, worthless parasite.
Daily Mail - The taxpayer faces a multimillion-pound bill to give the evil mother of Baby P a new identity when she leaves prison. Amid the widespread public revulsion at the case, lawyers will use human rights legislation to claim that the 27-year-old's life is at risk. They are believed to be already drawing up a list of demands to ensure that she receives permanent 'protection' from the public.

It would involve a new home, name and round-the-clock police protection for the woman. In addition, it is likely that her legal team will request a lifelong court order - banning anyone from identifying her or her whereabouts. Similar orders have been granted for other notorious convicts - including the Soham murderer's girlfriend Maxine Carr, child killer Mary Bell and the boys who murdered toddler James Bulger.
Yes, people will be outraged, upset, shocked and all that over it. We can point at Britain and say, isn't it terrible what they are allowing to happen. But folks, if the same thing happened in New Zealand, Australia or most other western countries, it will most likely be the same deal. Please, show me that I'm wrong. I know just recently in Australia some pedophile was given protection because the people wanted to 'sort him out'. I know they get protective custody if they're considered under threat in our jails.

And unfortunately, it comes back to us. We don't have the stomach to take those that did this to Baby P out and hang them from the tallest tree. Sure, some of us do, but not enough of us. Now, I'm not saying that we need some mob justice, but we really need to make our politicians & law-makers put our outrage and revulsion into some action.

In my opinion we need to bring back capital punishment, because not only is it justice, it serves as a deterrent and it's also proven to save other innocent lives. I understand that many of you might not want to go this far for various reasons, and instead prefer life-in-jail-till-death for such scum. That is still better than this. If we have at least actual life-in-jail, then there will be little need for mob justice, police protection and all that.

But we are still not demanding this from our politicians and whoever else has been put in charge of administering justice for the victims. We have to tell them in no uncertain terms that we don't care what needs to be done, we don't care how many laws have to be changed, we don't care what has to be re-written, that we are sick and tired of platitudes, promises and excuses.

Those who brought baby P into this world murdered him, so he looks to the rest of us for justice. You don't need fancy degrees, judicial experience and whatever else to know that justice is NOT life with police protection, a new identity, a new home and welfare till the end of her wretched days.

I read this a while ago and it seems apt in this situation for those of us who believe in God.
Numbers 25 - 1 While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, 2 who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate and bowed down before these gods. 3 So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor. And the LORD's anger burned against them. 4 The LORD said to Moses, "Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the LORD, so that the LORD's fierce anger may turn away from Israel."

5 So Moses said to Israel's judges, "Each of you must put to death those of your men who have joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor." 6 Then an Israelite man brought to his family a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 7 When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand 8 and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear through both of them—through the Israelite and into the woman's body. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped; 9 but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.

10 The LORD said to Moses, 11 "Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites; for he was as zealous as I am for my honor among them, so that in my zeal I did not put an end to them. 12 Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him. 13 He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites."
They worshipped other gods and they indulged in sexual immorality and his anger burned against them! And that burning anger was turned only when Phinehas drove a spear through the man and the woman. Folks, I'm no expert on these matters, just a peasant speaking as best he can, but I think it's safe to say that we don't want to face his burning anger.

Read it again, they broke him, a little baby, they took him and they broke him. And now he is dead. When the day comes, do we think that, life with police protection, a new identity, a new home and welfare till the end of her wretched days, will be atonement enough to turn away some of that burning anger?

Plausibly Deniable Plumber Update

Time for a follow-up on the abuse of power by the liberalite thugs in Ohio.

Not just ONE party hack violated Joe the Plumber's private life, but EIGHTEEN separate "investigations", with not just a couple (they've got to admit to SOMETHING) but at least EIGHT of those rights violations were "done without any legitimate business purpose".

So what did they do to the koolaid-swillin' obamaniac that pulled this crap?

Suspended for a month.

Well, powder my butt and gimme a bottle - I feel SO much more warm and fuzzy about those guardians of the public trust now...

Don't you?

Gee, looks like as long as you've got friends in high enough places - particularly if they're in positions to have given the (untraceable, plausibly deniable) orders - then you can break laws and "investigate" civilians who have the audacity to ask the questions the lap-dog media should have been asking for the past two years...and your only worry is what to do with a month's worth of free time.

...oh, without pay.

No gettin' fired.

No jail time.

No criminal record.

And these are the same jackass liberalites who piss themselves because we wiretap terrorist calls into America.

For a final thought: eighteen "investigations", eight of 'em bad, and only ONE sacrificial goat?
Yeah, right....

Want mustard on your irony sandwich?

Do the Obama crowd really love Europe?

I reproduce below a small part of a very erudite essay by John Fonte headed: "The World is My Constituency. Are liberals rejecting the liberal-internationalist tradition?". Fonte claims, rightly, I think, that the Democrat elite these days don't really like Europe very much after all. They want to build an entirely new world system and Europe plays only a small part in that.

What I think Fonte misses is WHY the Donks have that focus. It is simply that they are anti-American. Europe served for a while as an alternative model to the USA, just as the Soviet Union did in earlier times. But in the end the USA and the EU are too similar. France has done a lot of privatization, Germany always was very capitalist and there is more school choice in Sweden than there is in the USA. And one part of the EU (Britain) even speaks English!

So what the Democrat elite propose instead is a system that is altogether new -- something very different from anything that has gone before -- a "new world order" (to use a much abused phrase). They want an internationalized world where all local or national loyalties are gradually erased or made irrelevant. The outlines of this new global system are of course vague and it is truly amazing that the one part of such a system that actually exists right now -- economic globalization -- somehow does not seem to be part of the deal. Expecting consistency from Leftists is too much to ask, of course.

But in the most basic way, they ARE consistent: Their focus is really on the USA as it exists today, not on anything outside it. "Non-American is good" is their underlying theme. And since the USA is a major player in economic globalization, their hostility to economic globalization is perfectly consistent. So in the end they are typically American, whether they like it or not. As Fonte also notes: "The same Harris poll asked: "Do you think of yourself more as a citizen of the U.S. or a citizen of the world?" The result among registered voters: 83 percent American citizens".

So the Donks are just as America-focused as any other American. It is just that their focus is negative. Instead of loving America they despise it -- and anything non-American will do in a pinch as an alternative. The "global" ideal is just a vague version of extreme anti-Americanism.

They cannot openly acknowledge the depth of their anti-Americanism, of course. Americans are overwhelmingly a patriotic people so to set out openly how much they despise America would be electoral death. But Leftism just IS hatred of the status quo and America is a very large lump of the status quo.

It is interesting that right up to JFK, the Democrats were vocally patriotic. They were less extreme in those days. In those days they hated only some parts of the prevailing system. Now they hate just about all of it. And Sarah Palin embodies all that they hate. That they hate her there is no conceivable doubt and that she also embodies traditional America is also clear.
`We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy," declared Barack Obama in accepting the Democratic nomination. Is that still true? Peter Beinart analyzed the liberal-internationalist tradition in the summer issue of World Affairs, arguing that Wilson and FDR's optimistic vision of liberal internationalism, grounded in collective security and collective peace, confronts a rival Republican vision that he correctly describes as "conservative internationalism" rather than isolationism. The Republican internationalist tradition, from Henry Cabot Lodge to Reagan to McCain (as opposed to the more anti-interventionist Borah-Taft-Paul school), sees the world as a dangerous place. It is less optimistic about human nature and focused more on military alliances than on international institutions, Beinart tells us. Fair enough.

The problem with Obama's oratory and Beinart's thesis is that the traditional framework of liberal internationalism is dying. Liberal internationalism is first of all inter-national, concerned with relations between sovereign nation-states. As practiced by Wilson, FDR, and Truman, liberal internationalism meant American leadership while working with other nations in alliances and in creating new international organizations to promote peace and collective security, such as the United Nations. While they were unquestionably internationalists, those Democrats were also nationalists, pursuing American interests and willing to use force to secure them. While they were mostly Wilsonians, to borrow Walter Russell Mead's formulation, they were also quite willing to employ Hamiltonian (which is to say, economic) and defense-oriented Jacksonian means. Mead specifically mentions the World War II bombing of Japanese and German cities as a Jacksonian turn. In sum, they were national progressives, not transnational progressives.

Today, in the major precincts of mainstream American liberalism, the merely international is passe; the transnational, or global, is ascendant. As John Ruggie of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government puts it, "Postwar institutions including the United Nations were built for an inter-national world, but we have entered a global world. International institutions were designed to reduce external friction, between states; our challenge today is to devise more inclusive forms of global governance."

Typical of leading law-school opinion is a comment in May 2008 by the dean of Georgetown University Law School, Alexander Aleinikoff, who was general counsel of the immigration service under Clinton. Aleinikoff envisions new transnational political authorities above and beyond American constitutional democracy. He writes that we should expect the "development and strengthening of other political institutions - regional, transnational, some global . . . exercising what will be perceived as legitimate legal and coercive authority. . . . That is, a decline in citizenship in the nation-state is likely to be accompanied by new kinds of citizenships associated with `polities' that tax and spend, organize armies and police, establish courts, and promulgate what are perceived to be binding norms. There is no reason that standard accounts of citizenship that link governance and a people cannot be stated at the appropriate level of abstraction to apply to new forms of political association." Aleinikoff's account may be read as both predictive and normative, an indication that American elites not only believe that our constitutional democracy will be subordinated to global authorities but also desire that this come to pass....

All indications are that an Obama administration will move beyond traditional liberal internationalism of the Wilson-FDR-JFK variety to transnationalism. Ultimately this means that the evolving norms of international law would trump the U.S. Constitution.

A Harris poll taken for the Bradley Project on America's National Identity (I participated in the project) asked: "When there is a conflict between the U.S. Constitution and international law, which one should be the highest legal authority for Americans?" Sixty-six percent of registered voters preferred the Constitution, 16 percent put international law first, and 17 percent were undecided. The same Harris poll asked: "Do you think of yourself more as a citizen of the U.S. or a citizen of the world?" The result among registered voters: 83 percent American citizens, 12 percent global citizens, 4 percent not sure.

Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here