Labour gets it right, sometimes

The Australian - PEOPLE aged under 20 who are not working, studying or training will lose the Youth Allowance under a goverment push to set the nation up for a strong recovery from the ongoing recession. And the tighter eligibility standards on the Youth Allowance will also apply to Family Tax Benefit Part A, meaning the parents of young people who are not at school or in training will no longer be eligible for the benefit. Kevin Rudd and state premiers meeting at the Council of Australian Governments today agreed to use the economic downturn to lift the nation's emphasis on training, rather than allowing young people to languish on dole queues.
Good, there is work out there and young people should be working if they're not doing anything else. If they can't find work themselves the government will find it for them, what ever it is, nothing wrong with good honest work. The alternative is simple, don't like the government telling you what to do, then don't take our money.

Remember the Gurkhas that Labour in Britain hung out to dry, the ones they betrayed in their hour of need.
Daily Mail - Gordon Brown is under overwhelming pressure to scrap 'offensive' rules barring Gurkhas from Britain after Labour rebels dealt him a crushing Commons defeat. He paid a heavy price for attempting to introduce guidelines preventing thousands of veterans who had risked their lives for this country settling here with their families. In a sign of his faltering authority, a total of 27 Labour MPs rebelled, including a ministerial aide who quit. Following a heated two-hour debate called by the Lib Dems, MPs voted to scrap the rules by 267 to 246.

The result was symbolic as it is not binding on the Government. But it sent out an unmistakable message to Mr Brown that he urgently needs to rethink the Home Office guidelines amidst widespread public anger. The result was announced amid shouts for Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who is responsible for immigration rules, to resign. The Labour rebels included Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz, ministerial aide Stephen Pound and former cabinet minister Andrew Smith.
It's good to see at least some Labour members can be shamed/bullied/cajoled into doing the right thing. Even though this isn't the end of the matter, Gordon is finished if he refuses to fold. Even better, they're calling for that useless pustule Jacqui Smith to resign. She won't, some are incapable of being shamed into doing the right thing you see, but I think she is also finished if she sticks around. I hope our British readers can confirm/elaborate on this.

Politically correct "beauty"

The usual Leftist abuse of words:

"Michelle Obama has been included in US magazine People's list of 100 most beautiful people, alongside cancer survivor, actor Christina Applegate, and Twilight heart-throb Robert Pattinson.

The First Lady, who has achieved celebrity status and wowed the world as a fashion icon, made the list for the first time.

Applegate, 37, the star of the TV show Samantha Who?, won admiration for going public last year about her breast diagnosis and later underwent a double mastectomy.

Also included on the list in a "Barack's Beauties" section were White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and others.


The Left seem to have made "beauty" into an empty word. What makes hustler Rahm Emmanuel or Timothy Geithner beautiful? And the most esteemed female appearance in most of the world is blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin. How does Michelle Obama fit into that? She is just a huge over-inflated ego as far as I can see.

Am I allowed to say that a black person has a large ego? I guess we shall see. For the record, there is a large body of psychological research stretching back decades in which blacks have been recorded as having on average very big egos. See e.g. here. Low self-esteem is certainly not their usual problem. So if what I say is "hate speech", so is a large body of academic research.

That I am myself a much-published academic psychologist does come in handy sometimes. Much more truth is allowed in the academic literature than in popular publications. Some academic publications even publish data which contradict global warming!

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

Mice attack disabled veteran in government nursing home

What Green/Left government leads to

A BEDRIDDEN war veteran was found on Anzac Day with bloody ears, hands, face and neck after being "severely chewed" by swarming mice at a southwest Queensland nursing home.

Opposition MP Ray Hopper said Queensland Health had been slow to respond to a mice plague at the Dalby Hospital, which includes a nursing home, leading to the attack on the 89-year-old man.

The man's daughter said staff found her father bleeding from bites to his head, neck, ears and hands on Anzac Day, Mr Hopper said. "The top of his ears were severely chewed and he had bites to his head and neck,'' Mr Hopper said. "His hands were covered in blood because he was trying to get the mice off him. "We are talking about a health facility overrun by vermin. It's atrocious.''

Mr Hopper said the man was so distressed that doctors had put him on morphine to calm him down. He said it was normal to see an increase in mice in Dalby and the Darling Downs at the onset of winter, and the problem was handled with chemical sprays. "But the bureaucrats said no sprays this year because it uses agricultural chemicals, and that's not allowed to happen at a health facility,'' he said.


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 results of Hussein polishing Euro ass

FOX News - After privately asking European officials to take some freed Guantanamo Bay inmates, the U.S. Attorney General is making a public appeal for help in closing a detention facility for terrorism suspects that has been widely condemned abroad. Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in Germany early Wednesday after visiting London and Prague to talk about Guantanamo, extradition agreements and international investigations.
I don't get this, if hussein considers them innocent and so must be set free, why is he not letting them into the U.S? If he believes they are not innocent, then why is he trying to make them someone else's problem? And if they are innocent, why is he letting them go in the first place?
......For years, European leaders have urged the United States to close the U.S. naval detention facility in Cuba, but they have been much cooler to appeals by the Bush and Obama administrations to take some of the detainees themselves. ......On Tuesday, Holder received encouragement from Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer, who told The Associated Press he believes some European nations will accept Guantanamo detainees. Langer was quick to say his own country would not.
Funny that eh, so easy to sit in their various armchairs and waffle about social justice and how America must do this and do that, how American must bow down to the European gasbags intelligentsia. But when it comes down to practicing what they pompously preach, the Europeans reveal themselves to be just varying sizes of bags full of gas.

When he asked for more troops for Afghanistan, they waffled and he got little. Now when he asks for them to take a few of those they championed to score points, again they waffle. Hopefully Hussein will learn the folly of polishing Euro ass. It's a waste of time and only makes you look like a fool.

I doubt very much that he will though, most in the western world don't see it either. Apart from America, much of the western world is full of paper tigers. The rest are just clowns who think that holding a meeting and squabbling over what to say at the end of it is the answer to a world where the number of nasty men with hard power is growing, but I digress.

British court rules that environmentalism is a religion

A former executive of a top property company has been told he can claim at a tribunal that he was sacked because of his "philosophical belief in climate change".

In the landmark ruling Tim Nicholson was told he could use employment law to argue that he was discriminated against because of his views on the environment. The head of the tribunal ruled that those views amounted to a philosophical belief under the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations, 2003. The case is the first of its kind and could open the way for hundreds of future claims to be made in the same fashion, the newspaper reported.

Mr Nicholson, 41, was made redundant while head of sustainability at Grainger plc, Britain's biggest residential property investment company, in July last year. He is now suing his former employers for unfair dismissal, arguing that his beliefs on the environment prompted clashes with other senior executives at the firm, and led to his sacking.

Mr Nicholson told the tribunal that he clashed with other executives over the way it adopted its policies on the environment and corporate social responsibility. He said he tried to get the company to act in a more environmentally responsible way, but was obstructed by senior company executives. Mr Nicholson said that his frustrations were exemplified by an occasion when the company's chief executive, Rupert Dickinson, "showed contempt for the need to cut carbon emissions by flying out a member of the IT staff to Ireland to deliver his BlackBerry that he had left behind in London."

At a pre-hearing review at an employment tribunal in London, tribunal head David Sneath ruled on a point of law that: "In my judgment, his belief goes beyond a mere opinion." The full employment tribunal is now set to take place from June 4. Grainger might consider an appeal against the ruling, the company's lawyer said.


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 is critical of the surge of illegal immigrant arrivals under the Labor government's new "soft" policy.

Posted by John Ray.

Congratulations to all Israelis on their independence day

Their return to the land of their fathers is a modern miracle and their achievements are a beacon of light amid the stygian darkness of the Muslim lands that border them.

Posted by John Ray.

Why the lenient sentences for egregious criminals?

I documented long ago how great the gap is between what the courts deliver and what the public want. Nothing seems to have changed. Note the latest episode: "A driver who veered onto the wrong side of the road and killed a motorcyclist while tuning his car radio has walked free from court". I think many will see no reason why negligence causing death should be treated any differently from murder yet the courts are completely indulgent of such episodes

I reckon the judiciary has a magisterial disdain for what you and I believe is justice. They certainly talk the talk. Judge Felicity Hampel thundered at stalker and nasty child pornographer Ross Andrew Sargent that he was predatory, and his secret toilet videos were a gross violation of the women and girls he filmed - then slashed his jail sentence to two months.

Judge Margaret Rizkalla had similarly harsh words for Matthew James Vernon, one of Victoria's worst sexual offenders. He raped an 11-year-old he was babysitting, and the poor girl had Vernon's child, an unimaginable physical and psychological trauma. "The complainant is now torn between the world of being a mother and the world of being a child,'' Rizkalla observed. "It cannot be overlooked, but the child will be a constant reminder (of Vernon's shocking and selfish crime),'' she said sternly - before sentencing him to a fraction of the decades he could have received.

Judge Roland Leckie was on to serial killer Peter Dupas's shortcomings 25 years ago. Sentencing Dupas in 1985 for a knife-wielding rape - and knowing his violently dark past - he told the convicted man, "there is a strong possibility of your reoffending'', and then let him serve relatively light sentences, concurrently, as well. Tragically, Nostradamus had nothing on the prescient Leckie. So far there's been lots of talking, but not much walking.

Last week there was more talk around killer-driver Brett Franklin, whose sentence for claiming the lives of sisters Glenda Thomson and Michelle Hurst, and seriously injuring Glenda's daughter Tara, has been reduced on appeal to just 5 years. It was a lenient sentence to begin with. The work of young, drunk, irresponsible drivers is one of the bigger issues in the community.

"We will catch you,'' warned Assistant Commissioner for Traffic Ken Lay on television and in billboards across the state over Christmas. And in Franklin's case they did get their man, if the young bloke can ever be called one. Franklin had previously lost his licence for speeding. On the night he killed Glenda and Michelle in a TAC ad come to life, he was about three times over the legal limit and friends begged him not to drive. Franklin knew better and, showing off doing burnouts and fish-tailing, his V8 lost control.

His original sentence would have seen him behind bars for only seven years, not much when you plead guilty to charges that could see you cop 20 years each on the two main counts - and you have form. Franklin also pleaded guilty to two charges of negligently causing serious injury. Now things get interesting, Judge John Smallwood complaining that the five-year maximum sentence for this too low.

That was a coincidence. Six days earlier Judge Joe Gullaci had dealt with a Brendon James Healey. Healey, driving drunk, had hit and almost killed Jordynne Wilkie, 6, along with her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. JUDGE Gullaci said it had been a miracle that Healey, who jumped bail and fled overseas, had not wiped out four generations of the same family. He also commented that the five-year maximum sentence for negligently causing serious injury was inadequate - but then gave Healey a minimum sentence of four years when the bloke pleaded guilty to four of the offences, and why don't we chuck in speeding, skipping bail and exceeding .05 for bad measure?

Attorney-General Rob Hulls was listening. As shadow attorney-general he had pledged he would review sentencing laws, aware that we wanted tough penalties for serious offenders. In 2007, Hulls wrote to the Sentencing Advisory Council seeking advice on the maximum penalty for negligently causing serious injury, later doubling it from five years to 10. The Government was "committed to ensuring that adequate maximum sentences are in place'' he was reported saying at the time.

But that's just talk. You can increase as many maximum sentences as you like, but if the judiciary won't apply them, or anything getting near to them, then it's just legislation taking up shelf space. According to figures compiled by the Sentencing Advisory Council, the number of people jailed after being convicted in the higher courts of causing injury intentionally or recklessly is extraordinarily low, about one in five. Another one in four receives a ``wholly suspended sentence'' - ie, they walk. MANY others get community-based orders. Gee, I can feel that soggy lettuce thrashing the backs of my legs right now.

So what about the more serious culpable driving - you've killed someone and it's your fault? The Sentencing Advisory Council says of those convicted of this between 2001 and 2006: "Imprisonment terms ranged from one year to 12 years and three months, while the median length of imprisonment was five years.'' That should break your heart. More than 100 drivers have killed more than 100 of us for a median penalty of five years' jail. The worst offender received about 60 per cent of the possible maximum. That's why you might not be safe on the roads. If a bunch of those drivers was serving the 20 years behind bars, the Brett Franklins and Brendon Healeys of this world might think twice. We should be outraged. To the maximum. It's time to help judges see things our way

THERE are few more acute moments in the life of a democracy than when one person sits in judgment on another. It is a burdensome responsibility in which those we appoint must rise above any petty reactions of the aggrieved and look beyond simple biblical punishments that remain popular, but are these days mostly meted out drunkenly in pubs. We no longer take an eye for an eye, but we have turned the other cheek too far.

Our judiciary acts without prejudice or bias, and is objective. But our judges and magistrates go easy on lawbreakers and, I believe, are failing us with sentences that do not reflect community attitudes and that too often are well short of what their authors expected. Too often, criminals receive quite light sentences, appeal them, and are further rewarded with even lighter sentences. The Sunday Herald Sun reported earlier this month that our Court of Appeals had slashed 116 years of jail time off killers, rapists and drug dealers in the past 16 months. Those precedents further damage our faith in the system because they become part of "current sentencing practices''.

I would like to see every judge and magistrate's performance recorded and constantly updated. We should be able to look up their sentencing records. Legal fraternity insiders know the hanging judges and those who go easy - so why can't we? Why doesn't every sentencing decision record what percentage of the possible maximum has just been delivered? It would shock many people to know how infrequently a robust sentence is handed down. Each of those percentage figures should be filed against a name. Soon, an insightful profile of the sentencing inclinations of judges would emerge and we could deal with any anomalies.

We have a right to know the judges whose decisions are most regularly challenged in the Appeals Court. We have a right to know which judges' have the most decision overturned. Let's put an end to concurrent sentences. They are not sentences at all.

LET'S have no time off for good behaviour. Add time for bad behaviour, and plenty of it.

Finally, given how out of touch so may magistrates and judges seem to be, let's learn from the successful Operation Beacon, in which all operational police, more than 8000 of them, were retrained throughout 1994 after a series of unnecessary shooting deaths sparked public uproar. Almost immediately, the shootings stopped and the reputation of Victoria Police recovered.

We need an Operation Beacon for the Victorian judiciary in which every magistrate and judge is "retrained'' - familiarised once more with the contours of common thought, the great aggregates of opinion held by the society in which they work. Judicial life is privileged, exclusive and too often isolated. We can fix that. We should.


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

Labor shafts those they were meant to help

During the last federal election, our prime minister reached out to the youth of this nation, he was presented as young and hip, the cool guy, on Youtube and the internet. His campaign was received favorably in the nations various touchy-feely women's magazines and I'm sure he and his lackeys received the bulk of the young and the female vote.

As many of you will know, when it concerns the left, those they purport to help will somehow get the shaft. I don't know if they do this intentionally or it's simply because most things leftist's touch or meddle with turn to crap, but that's what is most likely to happen here as well.
Gerard Henderson - ......Last week, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development released "Jobs for Youth: Australia", which focused on the impact of the global financial crisis on youth employment. ......But the report contains a warning about possible adverse effects on employment due to the junking of the Howard government's Work Choices legislation and the introduction of Labor's Fair Work legislation.

......Youth and adult unemployment is increasing - primarily due to international economic events. But the OECD is concerned that [Labor's] industrial relations reforms might make a bad situation worse. It speaks the unfashionable truth here: "The gradual decentralisation [Introduced by old Labor and carried on by the Conservatives] of wage-setting arrangements since the early 1990s, with the introduction of individual contracts [the Australian Workplace Agreements] … is likely to have increased the labour market competitiveness of low-skilled youth".

......The OECD is not uncritical of Work Choices [Introduced by the previous Conservative government] but it has a warning for Rudd and Gillard. It believes "care should be taken to avoid discouraging bargaining at the workplace level and pricing low-skilled youth out of entry-level jobs". It is particularly concerned about young women. ......Unfair dismissal legislation is a particular disincentive to small businesses considering jobs for young men and women - young people do not have work experience.
This legislation is being pushed by the left who are in charge of this country. The left here and elsewhere simply won't get that, the harder you make it for business to fire people, the fewer people they will actually hire. I hear of more and more people who are getting the chop. I hear business owners telling us they are letting people go and don't plan to hire the same number of people if things pick up again because of this governments unfair dismissal legislation.

But back during the campaign, there was a concerted effort, even in the media, to keep painting the previous Conservatives Work Choices policy as leading to many losing their jobs or working for peanuts and under terrible conditions. Well, now people are finding out that they're still being fired or working for less. Oh and that overtime rates, your fancy 'rights' at work and weekend penalties all count for squat if you don't actually have a job. But wait, apparently the above OECD report is only scratching the surface.
The Australian - ......An extra 34,000 teenagers have become unemployed over the past year, lifting teenage joblessness to 141,400 or 16.4 per cent. The prospect it will rise well over 20 per cent underlines last week’s warning from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development that rolling back John Howard’s Work Choices will make it harder for young Australians to get a foothold in the job market. ......The OECD clearly hasn’t looked at the Fast Food Industry Award that the IRC will impose from the start of 2010.

It hasn’t picked up the threat to the youth-employment business model of the fast food industry, from franchise chains such as McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, Domino’s, Subway and Eagle Boys Pizza to thousands of small business takeaway food outlets. Since the 1970s this sector has evolved on the edges of the federal award system, based on casual employment and minimal or no evening or weekend penalty rates.

But the IRC’s award “modernisation” would force it to pay part-time student workers the sort of high casual loadings and penalty rates that it seeks to standardise across the workforce. This would reverse the labour market liberalisation that allowed the jobless rate for those aged under 25 to fall to three-decade lows of 8.7percent by the end of the latest boom. As the OECD notes, Howard’s individual work contracts - or Australian Workplace Agreements - are “likely to have increased the labour market competitiveness of low-skilled youth”.

But these individual contracts are being abolished just as the recession hits young Australians the hardest. Many will be seeking work for the first time just as business decides that the new unfair dismissal rules make it riskier to hire young people with no employment history. And those young people with jobs are likely to be the first to be laid off during the downturn.
The sad thing is that, as Gerard Henderson notes, much of the media that helped their fellow lefties into power are unwilling to let the youth of this nation know of this. You won't hear questions being raised on the evening news or the kinds of media the youth listen to. They'll have to figure it out the hard way when they're struggling to find work.

The "Four Scorners" come unglued

We see once again the bias and lack of ethics we have come to expect from Left-leaning public broadcasters. It is now completely clear that nothing they say should be taken seriously

Nick Kaldas specialises in assassinations. It was not his intention, it just worked out that way. He is on leave from his job as Deputy NSW Police Commissioner to head the investigation by the United Nations Special Tribunal into the assassination of a former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafiq Hariri, and several related murders and murder attempts.

Kaldas has also served in Iraq training the new police force, which routinely deals with political murder. His expertise in such dark matters began back in 1994, when he led the investigation into Australia's first political assassination, the murder of the NSW Labor MP John Newman. A local Labor politician and Vietnamese community leader, Phuong Ngo, was convicted in 2001 of orchestrating the killing.

Eight years later, to the distress of Kaldas, he has had to deal with a different kind of assassination - character assassination. It began on April 7 last year, when ABC's Four Corners broadcast a program which questioned whether the conviction of Phuong Ngo had been a miscarriage of justice, based in part on sloppy conduct by Kaldas.

The Four Corners program was loaded with suppositions such as this one, by a former Labor politician: "I don't think they [Phuong Ngo's accusers] had anything else to go on. I think just because he was Vietnamese." Friends of Ngo, such as the refugee advocate Marion Le, were quoted claiming there had been "a miscarriage of justice".

The report was based in part on the work of two academics from the Australian National University, Hugh Selby and Don Greig. Soon after the program went to air, both men made submissions to the Chief Justice of NSW, James Spigelman, calling for the murder case to be reopened. On the basis of these submissions and the public claims made in the Four Corners program, Spigelman ordered a judicial inquiry into the case. This was highly unusual. On the same day, the NSW Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos, issued a press release dissociating himself from the decision. [Spigelman was a far-Left student in his university days]

The Chief Justice ordered the inquiry without seeking advice from the NSW Police, the Director of Public Prosecutions, or the NSW Crime Commission. The matter had been exhaustively examined by hearings of the NSW Crime Commission, a coroner's inquest, a committal hearing, three Supreme Court trials (one aborted, one resulting in a 10-to-one hung jury, and one which led to the conviction of Ngo), an appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal, and an appeal to the High Court of Australia, which declined to give leave to hear the case.

The inquiry went ahead. The cost to the taxpayer was $770,000. When it was over, the judicial officer who conducted the inquiry, the retired judge David Patten, issued a devastatingly comprehensive rejection of the accusations that had been regurgitated on Four Corners and put by Ngo's supporters in submissions to the inquiry, including a former independent member of the NSW upper house, Peter Breen. To quote from Patten's report, released last week:
"Not one scintilla of evidence points to any wrongdoing or improper activity by Mr Kaldas … despite a number of allegations by various supporters of Mr Ngo there is no evidence that the investigation of Mr Newman's murder was conducted otherwise than professionally and competently …

"[The] material put before the inquiry increased rather than diminished the strength of the Crown's case at trial. Moreover, Mr Ngo's own evidence, which was not before the jury at the trial where he was convicted, was, I believe, very destructive of his claim of innocence …

"Regrettably, the strength of the evidence available against Mr Ngo was virtually ignored by his supporters in their submissions to the inquiry. Unsupported allegations of gross impropriety were substituted for analysis of the facts … Mr Selby's submission to the Chief Justice … lost all significance, in my opinion, when scrutinised at an open hearing …

"I find that nothing in the matters raised by Mr Selby [and] nothing which has come before me [suggest] the investigation into Mr Newman's murder was conducted otherwise than thoroughly and competently by police officers dedicated to the task."

During the preparation of the Four Corners report, Kaldas declined to be interviewed on camera because, he told me last week, he had come to the view that the ABC reporter, Debbie Whitmont, was biased against the Crown case. He did, however, agree to go through the trial evidence with Whitmont, in detail. He took notes of these meetings. When the Four Corners program went to air he found that not one of the points he had made to Whitmont was mentioned.

Unusually, the accusations made on Four Corners were subjected to forensic scrutiny and the report by Patten found the inquiry had "increased rather than diminished" the strength of the Crown's case. He criticised Ngo's supporters for their "lack of objectivity", "intemperate language" and "making allegations of fraud, perversion of justice, and improper conduct … without a shred of evidence".

Yet all this was the basis on which the two ANU academics and Four Corners based their claims. Debbie Whitmont submitted the report for a Walkley Award. And won.

Last week, Four Corners issued a statement standing by its report. No acknowledgement of error. No acknowledgement of distress caused. No hint of admission that the program contained innuendo, omission, supposition, false accusation and a preconceived outcome. This is exactly the sort of case another ABC program, Media Watch, should examine, but it is the last thing it would touch, because the opinionated Media Watch actually operates as Ideology Watch. Such is the ethical rigour at our ABC.


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


Recent research announcement:

Our lab has just published a new paper in PLoS ONE, detailing the interactions of coral and algae on the Great Barrier Reef, and uncovered just how resilient some reefs can be following coral bleaching events. The southern end of the Great Barrier Reef was exposed to extended periods of high sea surface temperatures in the end of 2006, resulting in extensive coral bleaching across the Keppel Islands throughout January 2006. Following the bleaching event, a single species of fleshy macro-algae (Lobophora) overgrew the coral skeletons, causing high rates of mortality throughout the second half of 2006. But, by February 2007, corals were rapidly recovering due to an unusual seasonal dieback of the macro-algae, and astonishing regenerative capabilities of the dominant branching Acroporid corals - almost twice the rate of offshore corals on the northern Great Barrier Reef.

What is unusual about the Keppel Islands story is threefold: first, that corals recovered within months to years (reversal of macro-algae dominated reefs often takes decades), second, recovery of the corals occurred in the absence of herbivory (traditionally assumed to be the 'driving factor' in macro-algal phase shifts), and third, that corals recovered through asexual (regenerative) capacities rather than reseeding of reefs by larval recruitment. Understanding the processes that drive recovery following disturbances is critical for management of coral reefs, and the Keppel Islands example shows that managing local stressors (overfishing and water quality) helps reefs bounce back from global stressors such as coral bleaching events. PLoS One is an open-access journal, so the article is free to read - click on the link below, and feel free to rate and comments on the paper. Congratulations Guillermo et al!

Guillermo Diaz-Pulido et al. (2009) Doom and Boom on a Resilient Reef: Climate Change, Algal Overgrowth and Coral Recovery. PLoS ONE 4(4): e5239


NOTE: Hoagy (Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg), Australia's no.1 coral doomster, was among the joint authors of the paper. I wonder will this slow him down any?

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 left - Pushing and shoving Britain down the toilet

Daily Mail - Pupils as young as 11 will be taught about homosexuality and civil partnerships in compulsory sex education classes. All secondary schools - including faith schools - will have to teach children about same-sex relationships as well as traditional families. Previously, heads could decide to opt out of teaching the controversial subject.

Daily Mail - Harriet Harman came under fire from business leaders today after introducing a controversial new bill giving women greater rights in the workplace. The new laws would mean that employers could be allowed to choose female candidates ahead of equally qualified men because they are women. ......'Coupled with the 50% tax rate, this sends a poor message about doing business in the UK.'

......Ms Harman said the rules could also benefit firms with male-dominated middle management. 'If you have got two equally qualified candidates, you might actually want to have the woman because she is a woman. 'Now at the moment, if you choose her because she is a woman, you could face a sex discrimination case. ......She said the same rules would apply to candidates from ethnic minorities.

The hope and change of Hugo Chavez

El Universal - In a tour of the Synthetic Timber Socialist Manufacturing Plant located in Guacara, central Carabobo state, Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez said on Friday that his government will continue seizing the lands of central Aragua and Carabobo states "for the people and production." "They have take ownership of the best lands in the Aragua-Carabobo hub; for this reason, we have intervened thousand hectares and will keep on doing it, because there is plenty of wasteland."
What next Hugo, communes and production quotas? They tried that elsewhere in the world a long time ago Hugo, a roaring success that was, for the left. So many dead, so many physically and spiritually broken, never to recover. See here, Chavez is working on their spirit and I doubt very much that much will be left of them once he's done with his unique brand of hope and change.

Meanwhile their neighbors are getting on with the job - In the face of a global crisis that has cut the demand of exported goods; turned the financing tap off in the international market and evaporated foreign investment, the governments that command the main Latin American economies, except for the Venezuelan government, have embarked upon a number of policies to circumvent recession and mitigate its impact on people.

The medicine applied by Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru to keep the economic engine running is based on cutting taxes, increasing public expenditure in investment programs and incentives for job creation.

Chavez is out of ideas and will soon be out of others' money - ......The administration of President Hugo Chávez, according to the Finance Minister, has about USD 50 billion available in savings. Thus far, they have just announced actions aimed at matching the government accounts with falling oil revenues. In this way, most of the measures can be summed up as follows: budgetary restrictions, rising taxes and borrowing in the domestic market.

While President Chávez's government has a number of social programs labeled as missions, it should be noted that according to the latest progress report of state-run oil holding Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa), contributions have diminished. A comparison of the first nine months of 2008 with the same term in 2007 found that Pdvsa's outlays for missions sank by 65.3 percent. González said that coverage of such missions should be also noted, as it is far from encompassing all the poor.

Duncan Currie on how Chavez is grinding that country into the dirt, another one the lefties can be proud of.

Milton Friedman co-worker Anna Schwartz on the present financial problems

Yet isn't Bernanke a disciple of Friedman and Schwartz? He publicly refers to them as mentors, and, thanks to their scientific breakthrough, he has famously declared that "the Great Depression will not happen again." Bernanke is right about the past, Schwartz says, "but he is fighting the wrong war today; the present crisis has nothing to do with a lack of liquidity." President Obama's stimulus is similarly irrelevant, she believes, since the crisis also has nothing to do with a lack of demand or investment. The credit crunch, which is the recession's actual cause, comes only from a lack of trust, argues Schwartz. Lenders aren't lending because they don't know who is solvent, and they can't know who is solvent because portfolios remain full of mortgage-backed securities and other toxic assets.

To rekindle the credit market, the banks must get rid of those toxic assets. That's why Schwartz supported, in principle, the Bush administration's first proposal for responding to the crisis--to buy bad assets from banks--though not, she emphasizes, while pricing those assets so generously as to prop up failed institutions. The administration abandoned its plan when it appeared too complicated to price the assets. Bernanke and then-Treasury secretary Henry Paulson subsequently shifted to recapitalizing the banks directly. "Doing so is shifting from trying to save the banking system to trying to save bankers, which is not the same thing," Schwartz says. "Ultimately, though, firms that made wrong decisions should fail. The market works better when wrong decisions are punished and good decisions make you rich." She's more sympathetic to Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner's plan, unveiled in March, to give private investors money to help them buy the toxic assets, but wonders if the Obama administration will continue to support the plan if the assets' prices turn out to be so low, once investors start bidding for them, that they threaten the banks.

What about "systemic risk"--much heard about these days to justify the government's massive intervention in the economy in recent months? Schwartz considers this an excuse for bankers to save their skins after making so many bad decisions. "The worst thing for a government to do, though, is to act without principles, to make ad hoc decisions, to do something one day and another thing tomorrow," she says. The market will respond positively only after the government begins to follow a steady, predictable course. To prove her point, Schwartz points out that nothing the government has done to date has really thawed credit.

Schwartz indicts Bernanke for fighting the wrong war. Could one turn the same accusation against her? Should we worry about inflation when some believe deflation to be the real enemy? "The risk of deflation is very much exaggerated," she answers. Inflation seems to her "unavoidable": the Federal Reserve is creating money with little restraint, while Treasury expenditures remain far in excess of revenue. The inflation spigot is thus wide open. To beat the coming inflation, a "new Paul Volcker will be needed at the head of the Federal Reserve."

Who listens to her these days? "I'm not a media person," she tells me. She rarely grants interviews, which distract her from her current research: a survey of government intervention in setting foreign exchange rates between 1962 and 1985. Never before have these data been combined to show what works and what doesn't. In her nineties, she remains a trendsetter.


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

Appalling black-run grocery stores in black communities

More Federal intervention? John Howard might have done it but Rudd and the Queensland Labor government will just talk

In one Queensland community, a packet of pasta costs $4, a kilo of tomatoes is worth almost $9 and deodorant is sold for more than $10. But the food is often out of date and the store is unclean.

In a damning submission to a federal parliamentary inquiry into indigenous community stores, Lockhart River residents say people have fallen ill after eating poor-quality food from a local store. The submission - compiled by Royal Flying Doctor Service employees on behalf of Lockhart River residents - accuses the community store of stocking "mouldy" bread, "rotten" fruit, frozen vegetables which have been defrosted and refrozen and meat that tastes like "cardboard" when cooked. The submission complains about a lack of healthy quick meal options, no pricing on some goods and a filthy store environment.

A comparison of prices shows Lockhart River residents pay up to seven times more than shoppers in Cairns for some common items. Tomatoes, for example, cost $2.45 kg in Cairns, but $8.66 kg at Lockhart River. The cheapest pasta in Lockhart River costs $4.02 for a 500g packet, but the same product could be bought in Cairns for 59c.

A submission from the Kowanyama community on Cape York says its store also sells out-of-date foods with prices up to three times those in Cairns. It says complaints are generally ignored. Supporting those submissions, the Australian Red Cross has told the inquiry such "exorbitant" prices are unjust. "The poorest people in the country are forced to endure the highest prices in the country," the submission says.

According to the Red Cross, the situation has directly contributed to malnutrition and chronic disease in Australia's indigenous population. The inquiry will hold public hearings in the Northern Territory this week.


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

Another Day In Sydney.

Well, not exactly the City centre, but near enough for the rest of us.

Fewer police...

THE police force has revealed a secret proposal to amalgamate commands, six months after it denied those plans were afoot.

The number of commands will be cut from 80 to 70 - all believed to be in Sydney - but the force has refused to reveal further details.

Commissioner Andrew Scipione said no stations would close but that it would "reduce management numbers", "increase flexibility" and "put more police on the street".

His spokesman would not answer further questions as to which commands would be amalgamated or when the process would start.

Former police commissioner Peter Ryan tried to amalgamate the commands in 1999 but came under heavy criticism with the plan aborted by then police minister Michael Costa in 2001.

The force revealed the latest attempt last week during pay negotiations with the NSW Police Association.
"Under their plan they will lose 50 Inspectors, whose positions will be taken up by constables.

"We are bitterly disappointed that … the best the government can come up with are a series of mean and crude cost-cutting measures."

Shadow police spokesman Mike Gallacher said the reduction in commands was simply about cutting costs and would reduce the service to the community.

"This adds to the public servant positions they've already cut from the NSW Police Force in the last 12 months, placing additional pressure on our cops to perform duties normally conducted by civilian personnel.

"But there is no way in the world they can cut the number of Commands without cutting service levels at the same time."

Youths loving the ganglife...

GANG life was the theme of his MySpace page and "gangland" would be the style of Hilel Merhi's death at a friend's 21st party.

He was shot several times from close range with a handgun after two hooded men crashed the party at Merrylands.
A woman who was among the 100 guests said there didn't appear to be any argument.

"They just shot him and ran out before everyone started screaming," she said.

The victim, 26, described himself on his MySpace page as a "straight, single and athletic hustler, earning $250,000 a year".

Considering that some groups here in Australia don't believe in fighting one on one, this is not a surprise, either:

A YOUNG father was stabbed and savagely beaten to death with a baseball bat by a mob of up to 15 people who turned on him in Sydney's south-west yesterday.

Wayne Boyce, 23, from Bonnyrigg, was set upon in Trevanna St, Busby, just after 3am.

The father of two infant boys had driven to the address after a friend, known as Joel, called him for help when the angry group turned up at his house, The Sunday Telegraph reports.

Neighbours said they awoke to the sound of smashed windows, as members of the group shouted for Joel to "come outside".

A car parked in the driveway was also badly damaged by the men, who had allegedly come after Joel for reasons which are still unclear.

It is understood he had called Mr Boyce, a long-time friend, who at first dismissed the problem, saying he should just tell the men to "go away". Eventually the dangerous situation became clear and Mr Boyce rushed over from his home in Bonnyrigg.

His brother-in-law, Mohammed, said the moment Mr Boyce arrived at the Busby address and got out of his car, the group turned its anger onto him.

He attempted to escape, but was stabbed in his lower back and fell to the floor where his killers continued to bash him with bats and metal poles.

Paramedics were called and attempted to revive him at the scene, but he died a short time later from his injuries at Liverpool Hospital.

Police yesterday formed Strike Force Harney to help track down his killers, who had fled the scene, and forensic officers and local detectives later secured evidence.

Authorities said the trouble had occurred as a result of an altercation between "two groups of men" outside the home.

Friends and family gathered at the home of Mr Boyce's parents, just metres away from where the attack occurred, to offer support.

His girlfriend, Casey Tyrell, 19, was too distraught to speak yesterday, but her mother described him as a beautiful soul who should not have died in such a senseless way.

"Wayne loved my daughter and my daughter loved him," Sharon Tyrell said.

"She loved him so much."

She said it was incomprehensible why he had to die.

"It was just a fight - they didn't have to bloody stab him," she said.

Police continue to appeal for witnesses to come forward with information or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

I have no doubt that footage from this scene will appear on liveleak or youtube at some stage, complete with poorly spelled gloating.

Of course, with the police having arrested two suspects, I'm sure that there will be a huge buzz, and with much fanfare, sfa will probably be accomplished.

The offenders, or perpetrators, may be formally charged, may go to trial, and may get off with a slap on the wrist for affray.

The idea that some cultures amongst our multicultural paradise might be partial to violence of the terminal kind is not to be spoken of because that doesn't quite fit the preferred paradigm, and heaven help those who might speak out against it.

Shock/Horror - Shooting at pirates works!

SMH - The captain of an Italian cruise ship carrying more than 1500 people, including 74 Australians, whose Israeli security guards fought off marauding Somali pirates, said the attack had felt like "war". ......"It was as if we were at war," Pinto told Italy's ANSA national news agency as he described the clash in which his ship - carrying 991 passengers and 536 crew - sustained smashed windows and bullet holes in the hull and a lifeboat.

Six men on a speedboat and armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles attacked the cruise ship, Pinto said. "After four or five minutes, they tried to put a ladder on the bow," Pinto said. However, security guards on the ship "opened fire, and when they saw we were shooting, they abandoned their effort and went away".
Who would have thought it ey, we were led to believe that guns and bullets are like sooooo old-fashioned in today's world of softly-softly, social-justice and blame-whitey for everything. But here we have it, armed Jews shot at the naughty, misunderstood pirates and they ran away. Wouldn't it have been great if all those people had guns and they all opened up on those savages.

Maybe even a .50 cal, rat-tat-tat-tat, gather in sharkies, feeding time! So long savages!

From the news reports I heard and read, the Israelis shot in the air or something, so none of the pirate savages were killed. That's too bad, but I guess those security guards are well aware that if they killed or wounded any of the pirates, there would definitely be some liberal scumbag waiting to sue them for not reading the pirates their rights, providing a lawyer, a fair trial and free healthcare.

For you know, the savage can never just be a piece of crap savage, whitey had to have committed some injustice against the noble savage and made him this way. It's an understandable reaction to the Jews infringing on their ancestral pirating waters or some such crap.

Fear of the truth

Leftism thrives on ignorance. The least well-informed members of society -- minorities and the poor -- are their voter base. But the Leftist elite are not stupid. They know that the policies they preach sound good but will in the end be destructive to society. Hatred of the status quo is their motivation and their policies regularly deliver destructive and impoverishing results, mostly in the form of high taxes and a myriad of rules and regulations that stop people and businesses from doing perfectly reasonable things that they want to do. "By their fruit ye shall know them".

But there is one place where maintaining the ignorance that is needed to get Democrat votes is hard: Universities and colleges. The kids there tend to have open minds and are well able to assimilate the full facts about what Leftist policies will result in. So what the kids are told has to be heavily censored -- and heavily censored it is. The faculty give very incomplete facts in what they teach and the small cadre of far-Left students also do their best to demonize conservatives. Between the Leftist students and the faculty it is almost impossible to get a conservative speaker onto campus. Even very occasional readers of Tongue Tied should recall many instances where far-Left students have violently prevented conservative speakers from giving talks on various campuses (e.g. here)

If students got to know even the simplest of historical facts their Leftist indoctrination could be seriously disrupted. What if students got to know that the full name of Adolf Hitler's political party was: "The National Socialist German Workers' Party"? That would be very dangerous knowledge indeed. Who has ever heard of a socialist workers' party that was anything but Leftist? Many students might rightly begin to doubt one of the central elements of their indoctrination: That Hitler was "Right-wing". Even the fact that Hitler led a political party would be news to many, I think. So you can see that the Left have much to fear from people gaining a knowledge of the whole truth.

The strategy of censorship is contemptible enough in the universities but it even extends to Congress itself. With the Democrats in charge there now, great efforts are made to see that speeches against Global Warmism are not made or not heard. Warmism is a huge opportunity to shackle the country with a myriad of new and impoverishing rules and regulations so the Democrat leadership just love Warmism and don't want people to know the full facts about climate.

And they showed that vividly very recently. Last Friday there was a Congressional hearing on global warming scheduled for the House Energy and Commerce committee. The Democrats had invited a "special guest" to appear so the GOP did the same. The Donk guest was Al Gore and the GOP invited Britain's Lord Monckton, an extremely knowledgeable man about climate, right down to the tiniest scientific details. He would of course have wiped the floor with Big Al. He would be able to follow up each and every one of Gore's misrepresentations with the actual scientific facts. So what did the Donks do? They refused to let Monckton appear. They were afraid of the facts that he would put before them. The truth is poison to them.

Fuller details of the censorship here. I have also put up a remedial lesson in 1930s German political history here.

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

Check this out folks...

Once in a life-time shots.

Australian computer shops

There does not seem to be a lot of interest in the news today. No doubt most journalists are still getting over Anzac day. So I thought I might put up something a little different. I reproduce below a small memoir I wrote in the late 1990s about computer shops. My son tells me that many such shops are just as bad these days so I think the memoir still has relevance

Computer people are generally held to be pretty bright but my experience with computer shops has left me wondering.

For instance: Around 1990 I had been told that Amiga computers have very good software for helping pre-schoolers to learn to read and write etc. So I tried to buy an Amiga for my then three-year-old son, didn't I? Naturally, as computers are complicated things, I wanted to see the use of the software demonstrated before I bought. So I went into the computer shop of one of our better Department stores (Grace Bros. in Sydney) and asked for a demonstration. I found that they could indeed demonstrate two teenage-type games to me. They could not, however, demonstrate anything else as "We cannot open the packs".

So I sought out a specialist computer store didn't I? Now I already had an IBM-type computer so I knew this was not likely to be a joyous experience. I seem to be invisible in such shops. As far as I can see, in computer shops everyone always seems to be on the phone and customers in the shop can just go hang. And those phone conversations are long. They just seem to be so much more interesting than the boring business of actually selling to a customer.

So I walked into a rather big example of such a shop at what should have been a quiet time of the week in the hope that maybe there would be one person there who was on the ball. But no, I turned out to be invisible again. This time, however, the worm turned. I wandered out the back to what seemed to be the boss's office and asked the man there (who was, of course, on the phone), "Is anybody selling here?" His response? "Just wait out the front and someone will serve you". I said, "But I have already been waiting for some time and no-one has said anything to me." His reply? "What do you want?" I said, "I want to buy an Amiga." "Don't sell them", he then said and returned to his phone call with evident relief. He did not want to be bothered with a piddling $1,400 sale, did he? (At that time the average male gross wage would have been about $350 per week).

So next I went to a small computer shop in the hope that a small firm might be keener. Again, of course, I was invisible until I asked someone if anyone was selling here but I did then get some attention. Yes, he did sell software for pre-schoolers and the Amiga was indeed ideal for that but he had no software for pre-schoolers at all in stock at the moment so try him again next week. So by that stage I still had not managed to buy an Amiga.

Eventually I found a small retailer with a heavy foreign accent who was so keen that he offered the lowest prices AND even delivered the Amiga 500 to me at home. He actually travelled for over an hour through Sydney traffic from his shop at Campbelltown (outer Sydney) to Lewisham (Inner Western Sydney) to make the sale. Funny that he was foreign! (Northern Italian, it turned out).

Now let me tell what happened when I first decided to buy an Atari ST computer: I knew virtually nothing about Ataris but I did already have a 286 (i.e. an Intel machine) and an Amiga so I knew a bit about computers generally. One thing I certainly knew was that the big expense with computers is not the machine but the software. So when I rang up the main computer firm that dealt in Ataris (United Computers) to enquire about Atari prices, one thing I wanted to know was how easily I could get public domain software for Ataris. I was put on to the firm's apparent Atari "expert" to discuss this.

I said that I knew that some Bulletin boards had Atari software and asked how I could get such software onto Atari disks. If I downloaded it on my IBM machine would the Atari read my IBM disks? If not, would I have to buy an Atari modem program to download the Atari files direct onto Atari disks? I was told: NO you will need to buy an expensive program to enable an Atari to read IBM disks; and: YES you will need to buy an expensive Atari program in order to use your Atari for modem work.

Both these answers were of course bare-faced lies. Ataris read IBM disks as easily as they read their own and the commonly-used Atari modem programs, like Amiga and IBM modem programs, are mostly in the public domain or shareware. Anyway, their lies just ended up costing them business. I concluded that since the software was going to cost me such a lot I had better economize on buying the machine. So I bought a secondhand Atari rather than a new one and United Computers lost a sale.

The same firm also sold Amigas and on a later occasion quoted me outrageous prices for Amiga disk drives -- around twice what other people were charging. They also tried to sell me a box of high-density 3.5" disks for $55 -- then normally available for $20 and later available for $10 or less. Needless to say, on both occasions I walked out of the shop with my money still in my pocket!

And what about the time I tried to buy a complicated piece of software off them? They tried to demonstrate it for me but could not get it to work. I offered to buy it anyway on condition that I be allowed to return it for refund if nobody I knew could get it to work either. They refused my offer! "But you could just copy it and then return it", they said. Maybe. But the fact that the software concerned was on CD-ROM should be mentioned. The CD was going to cost miles less than a hard drive of similar capacity would have cost me. Anyway, I once again walked out with my money still in my pocket.

And then there was the time I got a secondhand copy of the game "Dungeon Master". As it was copy-protected, it had not been backed up but had just been used straight out of the box. The original buyer did the right thing and relied on the retailer to provide any backup needed. By the time I got the game, however, it had died, so I took the disk, box and manual to United Computers and asked for backup service. They undertook to provide this at a charge of $5. Quite reasonable -- at first. I then waited -- and waited -- and waited.

After two months or so I gave up, asked for the stuff back, obtained a Blitzcopy cable and re-copied the game courtesy of another owner of it. United's excuse for the delay? "The game was out of production and our supplier had to write to America for a copy". But if this begins to sound half reasonable remember that Dungeon Master was at the time arguably the most popular computer game ever. Could they really not find another copy of such a game? They were obviously not even trying. They sure knew how to encourage software piracy! Or didn't they WANT to sell software?

I mentioned above how when you walk into almost any computer shop all the staff are on the phone. Occasionally there is a receptionist there who knows nothing about computers and whose only function is to ask you to wait but that is about as good as you get. The only exceptions seem to be when the shop is run by Asians. When you walk into one of their shops you find them on the phone too but they immediately say something which must be the Cantonese (or Urdu) equivalent of, "A customer has just walked in. I will call you back." They then get up and serve you promptly.

The only way I ever found of getting reasonably prompt attention from non-Asian computer shop staff was to say, "Excuse me. I want to buy a 486". Since the 486 was at the time the top-of-the-line IBM-type machine and cost accordingly, they then put the phone down and paid some attention to me. It was amusing to see their faces when I told them that I did not really want to buy a 486 but just said that as it seemed to be the only way of getting served.

Mind you, with firms like United Computers (who of course eventually went broke) even that trick may not work. I know someone (Jason Marianoff) who once went in there to ask seriously about buying an Amiga 3000 (the top-line Amiga at the time). The staff were too busy playing a computer game to answer his questions properly! He too left their premises without putting his hand in his pocket. He then went into business on his own account as an Amiga retailer and did such a superb job at it that he ended up as the only surviving Amiga retailer in Brisbane.

So computer firms at least should think about the company they keep. If they want to sell machines they would do well to cease relying on lackadaisical and typically Australian firms like United and try instead to sign up a few small Asian retailers. They would sell a lot more gear that way. Why? Because charging like the Light Brigade puts everyone except pretentious people off and pretentious people buy Apple Macs anyway. And NOBODY -- pretentious or not -- likes to be treated like a bad smell when they go to buy something. And if a potential customer DOES get treated like a bad smell, it is very easy for him/her to go elsewhere and buy a rival product instead.

And then there was the time I wanted to get a computer monitor cable copied by a firm that specialized in such work (Qld Connectors and Cables). The firm did the job and got it wrong. The copy cable did not work -- for a rather obvious reason. Rather than listen to me when I politely asked to tell them where they had got it wrong and how to fix it, they insisted on giving me my money back instead. They would rather lose money than listen to a customer! Customers who complained, no matter how politely or with how much justification were just not to be dealt with any further. Rather British, really, but quite incredible by Japanese or American standards.

And it is not even as if the service the firm concerned was offering was anywhere near irreplaceable. Anybody can buy all the connectors they need from a Tandy or Dick Smith store and then solder them on to a bit of cable themselves if they want to. It takes little skill and less brains when all you have to do is copy the example in front of you.

Another offended shopkeeper was in a way even more amusing. I wanted to replace my 486 with a machine running a Celeron chip in late 1998. I found the cheapest Celeron being advertised in the paper (by a firm called Global Computers) and rang up and ordered one. When I arrived I asked to test the machine to see that it worked, only to find that the computer was nowhere near ready for use. All they had done was put it together. They had not even formatted the hard drive. So I had to partition and format it myself (warned by past experience with computer shops, I "just happened" to have a DOS boot disk in my pocket) plus set up access to the the CD drive plus set up the soundcard -- all of which took me about 20 minutes while the salesman just sat on his behind staring into space.

At the end I found that the sound did not work and pointed this out. He asked his technician about it and was told that a special piece of software would be needed to get the sound running. I asked if he would like my phone number so he could let me know when the sound was running. He did not seem to want to be bothered so I just walked out the door with my cash still in my pocket. As I walked out he said: "Thanks for wasting my time". He was angry with me because I would not buy an inoperable machine!

So I then rang someone I had long known ("Game Dude") and asked him for a quote. He charged $1321 -- about $200 cheaper than what the moron was charging. And when I went to Game Dude he had everything all set up. I just had to walk in, test it and hand over the cash! Shopping around can make an amazing difference. Game Dude was of course an owner/operator of his business.

Australia contrasts greatly with Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, the retailer seems to think that it is his/her job to ensure that you walk out with less money in your pocket than when you walked in. And he/she does what it takes to bring that about. He/she actually makes an effort either to give you what you want or convince you that you want something else. The retailer actually gives the impression that he/she wants to make a sale! There are no invisible customers in Hong Kong.

But Hong Kong capitalism is closer to us than you might think. When I took my train to work in Sydney of a morning (in 1990), it was not uncommon for around half the faces in the carriage to be Asian. And that is already beginning to show up in the shops. And everyone knows what it is like in a Chinese restaurant. You no sooner sit down than there is a menu in front of you. You have no sooner made your selection and closed your menu than there is someone by your elbow waiting to take your order. In other restaurants it can take half an hour just to get a menu! I wonder why I mostly eat out in Asian restaurants?

At any event, it has already happened in Britain. Polite brown people from the Indian sub-continent of Asia now seem to run almost all the small businesses in Britain -- from laundrettes and grocery shops to Post Offices, small hotels and electrical goods shops. Australia's Asians might come from a different part of Asia but they will do a similar justly deserved takeover in due course. "Old Australian" businessmen will just end up at the beach and on the dole, where they generally seem to belong -- modern-day Pacific islanders. Australia is, after all, the largest Pacific island.

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

A thirst for death?

LifeNews - A Texas state Senate committee has approved a bill that would create Choose Life specialty license plates. State motorists can purchase the plates at the Department of Motor Vehicles when they renew or obtain plates and part of the fees will go to pregnancy centers that provide women with abortion alternatives.
Good on ya Texas, for signing up to this fine idea. This is great isn't it folks, people who don't believe in killing off the unborn can display their choice and they can support non-killing-off alternatives financially. But no, oh no, that's just too much for some, yep you guessed it, the same old diseased vermin have put up their heads to whine about it. You'd think that these spawn of vermin would be happy that hussein was taking taxpayers money and giving it to them and that it would be enough, think again folks.
Abortion advocates strongly objected to allowing motorists the chance to purchase license plates supporting adoption and helping pregnant women. "What we are discussing is neither adoption nor abortion — it is about free speech and this bill's potential to stifle that right," Dotty Griffith of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas claimed, according to a Houston Chronicle report.
Ah the ACLU, what a nest of evil vipers ey, you exercising your right to display your pro-life stance is somehow choking the pro-death message. What's the matter dotty, can't get enough people to display your 'kill unborn' plates? Bit worried that more people might figure out that maybe, just maybe, being adopted and raised into this world might just be better than having your skull cracked open and your brains sucked out and your little corpse thrown in the trash?

American civil liberties for non-American terrorists, criminals and other assorted murderous scum but not a single one for the unborn Americans. A vile pox upon you and the terrorist murderers you love.
NARAL also opposed the bill with erroneous claims that pregnancy centers provide women with inaccurate information on how abortion yields mental health and medical risks. They are also complaining because the bill stipulates that none of the funds can go to abortion centers.
Only leftist vermin have the gall to demand that even more money be stolen from those who don't support killing off the unborn. Heavens above, is there any limit to their shamelessness and evil ways? Is there a limit to the amount of funding these vermin want to end human life, how much is enough for them, 10 trillion, 400 trillion? How many babies need to be killed off before their thirst for death is quenched?

Speaking of death, questionable characters and organizations.
LifeNews - ......Thank heavens (yes, that was sarcasm), euthanasia advocates plan “to sell barbiturate-testing kits to confirm that deadly drug cocktails are, in fact, deadly.” The kits debut in Britain in May for $50. The “seriously ill” don't want to mess around when they're trying to kill themselves, says Dr. Philip Nitschke. “They want to know they have the right concentration of drugs so that if they take them in the suggested way, it will provide them with a peaceful death.” “Someone needs to provide this knowledge, training or recourse necessary to anyone who wants it, including the depressed, the elderly bereaved (and) the troubled teen."

......Nitschke is not alone. Dignitas is a euthanasia clinic that operates in Switzerland. Earlier this month, its founder, Ludwig Minelli, a human-rights lawyer, stated clearly that there should simply be no limits on suicide. “It is without conditions,” he said. “A human right is without any conditions except capacity.” ......Minelli is currently working to help a Canadian woman kill herself alongside her husband. George has heart disease, and she wants to avoid the heartache of losing him.
The article is actually about a pro-euthanasia article in TIME magazine. Thanks heavens above I cut my subscription to that fancy toilet paper years ago. I thought the euthanasia movement was about helping those with incurable, terminal, painful diseases to end their constant suffering. As always, the devil is in the detail and the slippery slope is far steeper than you think.

At their core, it's not just the terminally ill and suffering, it's anyone and everyone. Suffering from depression, tired of life etc, there ya go, kill yourself. Boyfriend or girlfriend dumped you, there ya go, kill yourself. Made a mistake, feel bad, there ya go, kill yourself. Wife left you, kill yourself. What next, encouraging those who are old to kill themselves, doing it for them perhaps?

What's coming in the future, an abortion and euthanasia center all in one, come to kill off your unborn baby and if you feel terrible about it, hey look, you can kill yourself to make up for it, half price! Even better, get the taxpayer to fund the whole thing, it's good for the environment too, yay, every one wins.

Something ain't right folks, all this promotion of death, ending of human life. Is this the world we want, one where it's real easy to kill yourself or those you don't want.

Eating disorders hitting five-year-olds

This is appalling. The only reasonable explanation for this recent upsurge is the recent upsurge in government persecution of "incorrect" eating: The "obesity" war. As with so many government programs, the unintended consequences are dire. Government should butt out of what people eat as weight is mostly genetic anyway.

EATING disorders are biting deeper into childhood, an expert has warned after conducting a study which included a five-year-old with the potentially fatal condition. Sloane Madden says demand for critical care beds at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, in Sydney, has surged over the past 12 months for children who were severely malnourished because of an Early Onset Eating Disorder (EOED).

The condition commonly linked to teenage girls was now becoming increasingly prevalent in Australian girls, and boys, aged 10 to 12 and even younger, he said. "Our own experience at the children's hospital, we have had a 50 per cent increase in demand for beds, and we haven't seen that increase in demand in hospitals looking after older adolescents with eating disorders,'' Dr Madden said. "At the moment, we have eight children in the hospital where we normally take six and we've got another five waiting for beds. "What we are seeing clinically, and what is being reported anecdotally around the world is that kids are presenting in greater numbers at a younger age,'' he said.

It was not just a case of the children being fussy eaters, said the Westmead-based child psychiatrist, as speaking to the children revealed a desire to be "thinner''. "They certainly will tell you that they believe that they are fat, that they want to be thinner, and they have no insight into the fact that they are malnourished and they are literally starving themselves to death,'' he says.

"And the parents when they see us are really quite terrified but they are extremely grateful that someone is finally taking their child's illness seriously.''

Dr Madden says children are often "medically unstable'' when brought to hospital with very low blood pressure, heart rate and temperature which "basically is putting them at risk of dying''. They often needed to be tube-fed, and placed on anti-depressant or anti-psychotic medication, but if treated early their chance of full recovery was were good.

However, Dr Madden's study of all Australian children with EOED from 2002 to 2005 shows there is a trend to late diagnosis diagnosis, meaning children being hospitalised with more more physical complications. "It makes us very concerned that these children are being misdiagnosed, or they are being diagnosed late and not being referred for appropriate care,'' he says.

Of the 101 cases of EOED uncovered by the study, there were 74 girls and 25 boys aged five to 13 (gender was not specified in two cases). Extrapolating this data, Dr Madden estimates Australia's incidence of EOED now stands about 1.4 cases for every 100,000 children aged five to 13 years. Of those, 1.1 cases would require a hospital intervention, according to the research published in the latest edition of the Medical Journal of Australia.

The number of cases is expected to rise, Dr Madden says, unless there is a change in the media's obsession with fat and weight. "I think that there needs to be a move away from this focus on weight and numbers and body fat, and a focus on healthy eating and exercise,'' he says. "You can see that in current (television) programs like The Biggest Loser, where it is all about numbers and weight, it's not helpful for those people and it's certainly not helpful for this group of kids.''


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

Betrayal of Gurkhas continues

Daily Mail - They were ready to lay down their lives for Britain - and have been rewarded with an act of treachery. Thousands of Gurkhas were yesterday shut out of the UK in what was described as 'shameful betrayal' by the Government. Immigration Minister Phil Woolas claimed changes in the rules would allow 4,300 more former Gurkhas to settle here out of the 36,000 who served in the British Army before July 1997.

But lawyers battling for the Gurkhas said they believed only around 100 would benefit. Hundreds of former rank-and-file soldiers will face deportation while thousands more will be barred from entering the country. Under the new rules, former Gurkhas must prove they have either served more than 20 years or have won one of the top four medals for gallantry: the Victoria Cross; the Distinguished Service Order; the Distinguished Conduct Medal; or the Military Cross.

......Campaigners said it was virtually impossible for ordinary Gurkhas to meet those conditions. The vast majority - 98 per cent - are rank-and-file soldiers who are permitted to serve for only 15 years. Only officers are allowed to serve for longer. Top-level gallantry awards are given to a tiny minority of soldiers. Only one living Gurkha would qualify for entry on the basis of his medal alone. Lawyer Martin Howe said that of more than 2,000 Gurkha veterans refused entry to Britain, only Military Cross-holder Lalit Bahadur Gurung would be eligible. Mr Gurung, 81, who was awarded the cross in 1964, was refused entry to Britain for medical treatment last year.

......Lawyer David Enright said: 'It's an absolute betrayal of the Gurkhas, who have been told they are not welcome in this country. It is shameful. This Government has welcomed 600,000 Eastern Europeans, and tens of thousands of asylum seekers every year. 'But these men, who have fought for us in our darkest hour and in the worst parts of the world, are not welcome. It is a scandal and an outrage.'

That's the leftist government of Britain for you, if you spat upon these soldiers, if you worked diligently to undermine the Britain, if you are a criminal scumbag, they'd move heaven and earth to take care of you. But God help you if you actually fought for these bastards.

A painful pox upon these scumbags in government is too kind for them.

We remember them

They who fought for us so long ago, so far away from home.

They who fell so far from home, they who rest so far from home.

We remember them.

Video thanks to koalsa69.

Another small meditation on antisemitism

I can't help myself, can I? I can't leave Die Judenfrage alone. I can never quite free myself from the dangerous delusion that my goodwill towards Israel in particular and Jews generally should permit me to speak freely about why I think Jews have the horrendous problems that they do have.

There has been much said about Ashkenazi IQ and I think that there is no doubt about a substantial Ashkenazi advantage in that regard. Much less noted is something that I think is equally important: High Ashkenazi drive. By that I mean motivation to "succeed" in various ways. And the combination of high drive and high IQ does put Ashkenazim into society's prestigious positions with great frequency -- a frequency which enraged Hitler and has enraged many others before and since.

It would be easy to say that the drive to succeed and grow rich is a natural response to persecution: Because of their horrendous past, Jews feel a need to "make up" for that past somehow or protect themselves in the event of a new Pogrom. And I think there must be an element of that. But I think, for what it is worth, that there is a genetic component too. There is plenty of evidence that personality is strongly inherited genetically so that is a fairly safe conclusion. The environmental influences that selected for high IQ could well have selected for high drive too. Jews should be brimming over with energy, and I think many are, from what I see.

What I now want to ask is whether that drive is safe. How do other people respond to finding that large numbers of people in positions of influence in their society are Jewish? I think that to ask the question is to indicate the answer: Lots of people resent having "aliens" telling them what to do and think. And while a significant subset of Jews retain a distinctive identity with distinctive practices Jews WILL be seen as aliens. So should Jews ignore that resentment? Maybe. German Jews once did. But I think it is very unsafe to ignore it. Germany was once the most cultured, enlightened and civilized society on earth with a large Jewish elite and look where it ended up.

Advice is the world's most oversupplied and useless commodity but I will venture some anyhow. I think Jews should ease up -- relax more. Among the Goyim there are many high IQ people who work happily away as butchers, mechanics etc. Their friends and family are their rewards in life. Could it be the same for Jews too? Fame and fortune may not really be as good as they are cracked up to be. They might just make you a more prominent and more resented target one day. There is no doubt that antisemitism is once again on the rise worldwide -- even in Japan, amazingly enough.

And achieving that fame and fortune may entail sacrifices that are not worth it. Take, for example, England's Susan Greenfield (ancestrally Gruenfeld, presumably). She is an academic neurologist so is clearly a smart lady. And she has certainly fulfilled what many would see as a dream. Britain's Labour Party government has made her a Baroness! She is a member of that august body, the House of Lords.

But how did she manage that? By becoming a sort of intellectual prostitute. She has used her academic position to propagandize in favour of many things that Britain's Leftist elite believe in -- such as the belief that the workers spend too much time in front of TV and entertaining themselves with computers. You can see an example of that here where I look at her latest attempt to justify medically that belief in the evils of computers. What she writes is sheer drivel -- pure speculation without an ounce of proof behind it. It is a very low place for a scientist to end up in. I personally think that scientific integrity would have become her better, even if fewer baubles came with it. One hopes that she eventually will come to that conclusion too.

Just for purposes of illustration, let me describe a high IQ, high drive Goy whom I know. I will call him "S". S is in his early 40s, has a beautiful wife and two attractive children. He has recently had a large and airy house built for himself and his family that is specifically designed for entertaining. He is as happy a man as any I know. I am sure he is not perfectly happy. Who is? But I am sure he is at least as happy as (say) Susan Greenfield. From the available online biographies of her I gather that she is divorced and childless. S has been in the military for all his working life and has risen through the ranks but not to a position of any great distinction. He recently served in the Gulf so is no chocolate soldier. As befits a military man his hobby is fighting -- martial arts -- and he is as a result very fit and healthy -- and his hobby is also a good outlet for any surplus energies. So he has lived a good life, greatly appreciated by his friends and relatives but entirely out of the public eye. So he is happy with no need for fame and fortune at all.

I am sure that the life S has chosen would not be attractive to many Jews -- though Greg Sher is remembered with great honour -- but I think it shows clearly that fame and fortune is not the only way to a good life.

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

When the great orator speaks!

Christian Science Monitor - It didn’t take long for the president to speak before Summers zonked out. In fact, it was almost as though the sound of Obama’s voice put Summers to sleep — instantly. The White House pool report provides the play-by-play.

Hat tip Andrew Bolt.

Just One Problem....

It's always interesting when something about the War On Terror has a direct link to my home state - sadly, it's usually when one of our finest is brought home in a flag-draped box - but in this case it is something really different, and disturbing.

Seems that the town of Hardin, Montana - southeast of Billings, on the highway to Crow Agency and Sheridan, Wyoming - had a private company build a 400+ capacity jail to bring some high-paying jobs into the area.

Problem is, they haven't found contracts for it, and so are looking to possibly house displaced IslamoFascist terrorists from the proposed closing (so the Sacred Sock Puppet says) of Gitmo.

Terrorist whack-jobs locked-up just a couple hundred miles from my home?
From my wife and kids?
I don't have a problem with that...we've got guns in the house and they know how to use 'em.

What I very much DO have a problem with is the simple fact that once the murderous scum are allowed on U.S. soil, then there will be bleedin'-assed "progressive" lawyers pissin' all over themselves in their rush to FILE APPEALS for them jackals in AMERICAN civil courts, under a leftist Attorney General and a fascist Administration.

If some of them get off on a technicality - which the ACLU will absolutely push for and possibly even succeed in getting! - then what happens next? Will they be given a new suit, $20 and a bus ticket to the nearest town, like what we used to do with released prison inmates not that long ago?

A small part of me almost hopes they do.

Vigilantism used to be a fact of life in Montana, back in the late 1800's, and decorating a couple trees with some terrorist corpses might help balance the spectacularly spineless message being sent to thugs around the globe by the current tenant of 1600 Pennsylvania in Washington, D.C.

3-7-77 FOR 9/11

Perhaps the world would see that there's still some Americans who believe that just because a slimy lawyer gets a rabid dog released on a technical detail, it doesn't change the fact that you still gotta kill that mutt before it bites someone else.

And if the "progressive" wimps who think that playin' nice and kissin' the ass of the bad guys will suddenly make the IslamoFascists put down their guns and go back to fornicating with their goats, I'd suggest that they make the trip to have tea with the head-hunters of the tribal areas in Waziristan and give it a whirl.

Them liberalites don't like to use their heads anyways, so most of 'em might not even notice the loss....