This is transparent nonsense. It included ALL Queenslanders when it is only middle class parents who can afford it. What people think who cannot afford it is irrelevant. Around 40% of Queensland teenagers go to a private school so there are plenty who think it is worthwhile, almost the whole of the middle class, one surmises.
I sent my son to a private school and thought nothing of the fees. I got value for money in several ways -- including orderly classrooms and some male teachers
I am also sponsoring a very bright lad in Scotland to the tune of $33,00 a year. With my help he is going to a top private school so that his opportunities in later life will be commensurate with his abilities. What school you went to is immensely important in Britain
What happened to global warming? Global warming caused by increasing levels of CO2 was said to explain the droughts. So have CO2 levels dropped? They have continued to rise – so can they cause opposite effects? In the dream world of the Greenies maybe they can. But nobody can say how
The old truth that Australia is a place where “droughts and flooding rains” naturally alternate is what is really going on but the Greenies don’t want to know that
Minor flood warnings have been issued for the Bulloo, Thomson and Barcoo, and Diamantina rivers.
It comes as Australia braces for a La Nina summer, the same weather event that brought drenching conditions to Queensland between 2010 and 2012.
Graziers Andrea Curro and Peter Magoffin said over 80mm of rain has fallen on their property southwest of Longreach since Friday, forming vast flooded areas. Aerial pictures show vast areas of their property now inundated.
It’s the most rain they’ve seen in over a year, and is potentially drought-breaking for them. “It went from literally being a barren wasteland to 3.5 inches of rain,” Ms Curro said. “We’ve had nothing since January.”
“For a couple of days it just looks like an ocean,” she said. “It sets you up for summer,” she said.
It comes as the Bureau of Meteorology predicts a La Nina for Australia’s east coast over summer, bringing the possibility of rainfall well above average.
Bureau of Meteorology mapping shows rainfall totals of between 50 and 100mm of rain fell across vast areas of Queensland’s interior, with the system expected to impact the state’s southeast corner later today.
Longreach resident Jenna Goodman said the rain was “quite heavy at times.” “I think outside of town got more than we did in town which is nice,” Ms Goodman said. “Not a flood by any means, but hopefully we get some good follow up rain!”
Uncle Ben’s Rice No Longer Has a Black Man on the Box Because That’s Racist
A black man is not good enough to appear on a rice packet?? So it would seem
The message was surely that uncle Ben was a good cook and that his methods were embodied in that packet of rice. So it was a message that praised a black man and his cookery. It is surely bigoted and racist to oppose such a message
Ever since a black man named George Floyd died in the custody of a multiracial group of Minneapolis police officers, America has learned a lot about what is and isn’t racist. Just to name a few examples: The phrase “master bedroom” is now racist, because it has the word “master” in it. Refusing to yell “Black lives matter” on command is now racist, because Jimmy Kimmel wants to keep working in Hollywood. Hiring a white person to do the voice of a black cartoon character is racist, because… I dunno, it just is. Rather than trying to list all the things that are now racist, you should just assume that every single thing you do and say is racist until you’re instructed otherwise.
For example, have you bought any rice lately? Did it have a picture of a black man on the box? Well, guess what?
Noah Manskar, NY Post:
Mars Inc. has renamed its Uncle Ben’s rice products “Ben’s Original,” making it the latest food producer to ditch a brand steeped in racist imagery.
The Virginia-based company is also scrapping the portrait of a white-haired black man that has adorned its rice boxes for decades — an image that’s long been criticized as a racist stereotype…
The Uncle Ben’s brand was established in the 1940s and originally named for a “legendary” Texas rice farmer, according to an archived page on its website. The portrait long used on the box was that of Frank Brown, the maitre d’ of a Chicago restaurant who agreed to pose for the brand, the page says.
That’s right: A rice company used for its logo a portrait of a living, breathing individual human being, a person who actually existed on this planet in real life, and now that’s racist because George Floyd is dead.
“Over the last several weeks, we have listened to thousands of consumers, our own Associates and other stakeholders from around the world. We understand the inequities that were associated with the name and face of the Uncle Ben’s brand and as we announced in June, we have committed to change.
We will change our name to Ben’s Original™ as well as remove the image on our packaging to create more equitable iconography. This change signals our ambition to create a more inclusive future while maintaining our commitment to producing the world’s best rice.”
If you know what “more equitable iconography” means, please let me know.
Look, I don’t even like rice, and I don’t spend much time worrying about what Uncle Ben’s — oh, sorry, Ben’s Original — puts on the box. But the idea that somehow the old packaging is evidence of “systemic racism” and “inequities” and other buzzwords is nonsense. They make rice, man. That’s it. They didn’t do anything to anybody. It’s rice. Okay, so there’s a picture of a black guy on the box. You eat the rice, you don’t eat the rice, whatever. How is it hurting you? The worst that can happen is you’ll get fat from all the carbs.
What happened to representation and diversity and all that stuff? What’s the point of demanding more black faces in movies and on TV, while erasing black faces from grocery stores and kitchens?
The Observer [Leftist] view on Boris Johnson’s environmentalism
Boris is pretty sane so he can be expected to do mostly tokenistic things. He relies on Northern seats for his government and they are a rather cynical lot. Greenie righteousness is probably one of the things that put them off the Labour party
But Boris does seem to have been damaged by his encounter with the Coronavirus, which may explain why his leadership has been weaker than expected. And that could also make him less able to resist the constant pressures to be “Green”
Much has been made of Boris Johnson’s purported green credentials. They are in his blood, it is claimed. His father is an environmentalist, he says, while his brother Leo is a sustainability expert. At Oxford he even introduced himself as “a green Tory”, it was alleged in the Times last week. It sounds impressive, though it remains to be seen how well Johnson’s passion for protecting the environment and for combatting climate change will serve him over the next few weeks. His green badge of honour faces a testing time.
First on this agenda is the setting fire to British peatlands, an issue that we highlight in today’s Observer. Peat bogs are burned to encourage the growth of new heather shoots and so maximise the availability of food for grouse. It is good for the grouse (until the shooting starts) but bad for the environment. Our peatlands hold about 400m tonnes of carbon, according to the RSPB, and burning these reserves releases plumes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It also destroys lichens and mosses and plays havoc with the habitats of waders and otters. The government’s Committee on Climate Change says peat burning should be halted and the environment minister, Zac Goldsmith, agrees. However, the move is being blocked by the environment secretary, George Eustice, who is keen to protect grouse estates that would otherwise have fewer birds to shoot and so lose business.
It is an unedifying spectacle in which privilege, as exemplified by the owners of shooting estates and by those who pay to kill grouse there, has used its influence to help halt action urgently needed to help the UK cut its carbon emission. It is only one of many other environmental headaches that lie ahead for our prime minister, however.
Next year, Britain will host one of the most important international summits ever staged. In November, in Glasgow, delegates will gather for the Cop26 climate meeting to debate how different nations will introduce strict emission cuts in order to implement the 2015 Paris agreement, which aims to keep global warming at a relatively safe level. That concordant has been under constant attack by Donald Trump who claims it is “ridiculous and extremely expensive” and harmful to industry. Johnson has uttered not a single word of defence against this invective despite the fact it is intended to undermine the summit Britain will be hosting. Johnson has a duty to do all he can to ensure Cop26 succeeds. His silence is an ominous warning that he does not accept such responsibility and is more interested in appeasing Trump.
The government’s position over environmental concerns has been further undermined by the recent decision to appoint the Australian climate sceptic Tony Abbott as a UK trade ambassador. The move has provoked a furious reaction with the UK’s former climate chief Claire O’Neill – who was sacked by Johnson earlier this year – describing the move as “a particularly bad decision” that erodes government claims to support green causes.
Last week, the Japanese conglomerate Hitachi announced it was abandoning plans to build a new £20bn nuclear power station at Wylfa in Anglesey. The reactor would have supplied 6% of Britain’s electricity and should have played a key role in replacing the nation’s network of ageing atom plants without building new oil or gas power stations. Britain once planned to build up to six new nuclear plants to provide the nation with electricity – alongside wind and solar power plants – in the 21st century. Today only one is under construction, Hinckley Point C, which is currently running almost £3bn over budget.
Johnson is expected to unveil a vision of how to ‘build back green’ after the coronavirus crisis has abated
Nuclear power plants are expensive, with high front-end construction costs, and that often leads to projects being axed. Nevertheless, the shrinkage of UK nuclear aspirations has not arrived abruptly. Plant cancellations have been accruing over the past decade with little sign that the government appreciates the impending crisis. Now it has arrived. It remains to be seen how Johnson will deal with it.
These grim tidings arrive at a time when it has become very clear we face a real chance of having to live with an unstable, overheated climate. Last week five separate tropical cyclones developed over the Atlantic for only the second time in history; wildfires continued to devastate Oregon and California; while summer Arctic sea ice coverage has reached its second-lowest level on record. All these events are linked to global heating caused by continued increases in fossil fuel consumption. We urgently need to end this addiction.
In the past, Britain has played a key role in the battle against climate change but our influence has waned and we look increasingly isolated and ineffective as an international player. This point was underlined last week when the EU and China concluded a leaders’ conference at which they agreed to establish a high-level environment and climate dialogue to pursue ambitious joint commitments to help combat global warming. Thanks to Brexit – which was so energetically pursued by Johnson – the UK was not involved in those talks.
Government sources say Johnson is planning to make a major speech on the environment in the next few weeks and is expected to unveil a vision of how to “build back green” after the coronavirus crisis has abated. Given the catalogue of green bungles and lost opportunities that have unfolded during his premiership, his words should make interesting reading.
SCOTUS Showdown: A Case for Nominating Barbara Lagoa
It has got to be Lagoa. Collins and Murkowsi are the weak links in the Senate. Both have said they will not vote for any candidate at this juncture. But will they be able to resist voting against an Hispanic woman? It would look very bad for them. And Lagoa is Cuban so should be pretty solidly conservative. And even Leftists might find it hard to oppose a woman
The alternative is Amy Coney Barrett, who is solidly against the baby killers so will attract real fury from the Left. Leftists love deaths — of others. So where Collins and Murkowski might relent and vote for Lagoa, they will not have the fortitude to stand up for Barrett and be forever branded as pro-abortion.
Not that Murkowski and Collins are totally needed. Lagoa could still get through with the aid of Pence’s casting vote
President Trump will select a Supreme Court nominee to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg within a matter of days. We know that it will be a woman. And based on multiple reports, the top two potential finalists are Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the Seventh Circuit, and Judge Barbara Lagoa of the Eleventh Circuit. A law professor at Notre Dame, Barrett was confirmed 55-43 (nearly exactly along party lines) to her current post in the fall of 2017, following a contentious process. To be clear, I believe Barrett is a brilliant and capable jurist and would be thrilled if President Trump picks her. She’s young (48), smart, and rock solid. She is the frontrunner for good reason.
That being said, it’s simply a reality that this nomination will be the subject of a pitched battle no matter who is named. And against that backdrop, I am coming around to the view that Judge Lagoa might be the more strategically savvy choice under the present circumstances — and should at least get a very serious look for the top spot on the list. Consider:
(1) Lagoa’s credentials are strong. Like Justice Ginsburg, she’s a graduate of Columbia University’s law school. She began her career on the bench as a lower court judge in Florida starting in 2006 (appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush) after serving as an Assistant US Attorney. She was elevated to the Florida Supreme Court by Gov. Ron DeSantis (who takes the issue of the courts very seriously) in January 2019, serving in that capacity for most of the year, until she was plucked from the state bench by Trump. The president nominated her for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Her resume practically screams “well qualified” — which is how she was unanimously rated by the left-leaning American Bar Association.
(2) Her personal story is also compelling, which is — like it or not — a relevant factor in an era of identity-focused politics. Lagoa is the daughter of Cuban-Americans who fled their homeland during the Communist revolution. She is young (she’ll turn 53 the day before the November election), the mother of three daughters, and is said to have a vivacious personality. If confirmed, this “wise Latina” would be the second-ever Hispanic member of the Supreme Court and only the fifth woman (the latter would also be true of Barrett). Democrats are likely to be extremely aggressive in opposing this nominee (just look at their outrageous conduct during the Kavanaugh nomination), but the optics of beating up on a Latina would be less than ideal — especially at a moment when Democrats are anxiously watching President Trump over-perform among Latino voters in the polls.
(3) Did I mention she’s a Floridian? I’ve heard that state is a pretty important one.
(4) Chuck Schumer famously once said, “I always use the word ‘extreme'” to discredit conservative ideas or nominees. Democrats will undoubtedly play that card against whomever Trump taps for this seat, but their go-to moniker would ring especially hollow if deployed against Lagoa. Why? She was overwhelmingly confirmed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals late last year. The final tally was 80-15 in favor. Senate Democrats voted to confirm her by nearly a two-to-one margin. The following Democratic members of the judiciary committee supported her confirmation: Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Pat Leahy (D-VT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). That’s right, the four most senior Democrats on the committee voted Yea, as did Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate. The only Democratic member of the committee who voted against her was Mazie Hirono (several others who were busy running for president did not vote). Also, every GOP senator voted in the affirmative, including Collins and Murkowski. Democrats will stomp their feet and say “but the Supreme Court is different!” Fine. But it’s awfully hard to frame a nominee as dangerously radical and extreme when a large majority of your own party recently backed her confirmation to another powerful federal court. This is a serious asset for Lagoa. Her nomination could be framed as a more consensus and ‘moderate’ pick, which could raise the odds of a successful confirmation under difficult, high-pressure conditions.
(5) A conservative source who’s long known Lagoa attests that her conservative credentials are strong, despite a relatively thin record on hot-button cases. Conservatives often fear David Souter-style betrayals, and for good reason. This source says there is “zero chance” Lagoa, whom the source likens to Clarence Thomas, is a risk to become an Anthony Kennedy, let alone a Souter. She is said to have won the confidence of several very strong conservatives who are very familiar with her work. But let’s say for the sake of argument that she could end up becoming, say, a John Roberts, who disappoints conservatives, sometimes seriously, on occasion (I have no reason to believe this would be the case, and it merits a mention that Lagoa has been involved with the Federalist Society for years). That would still be an immense ideological upgrade from Justice Ginsburg. Which is to say, I’m less fixated than I typically would be on the demonstrable philosophical bona fides of this particular nominee at this particular moment in time. Republicans will need to thread a needle, given the timing of this vacancy. A huge strategic consideration, under these conditions, must be making opposition as difficult as possible. A Barbara Lagoa nomination could present some real optics landmines for Democrats, and it would align with the Trump campaign’s aggressive courtship of voters of color at the Republicans’ August convention. In other words, it would play to Trump’s instincts and strategy.
I’d like to see more assurances about the underpinnings and consistency of her judicial philosophy (I’ve spoken to some plugged-in conservatives I trust who at least have questions about the depth of her commitment to conservative jurisprudence) — and it’s especially crucial that she’s totally buttoned up from a vetting perspective. Yes, she just passed through a very recent confirmation process with flying colors (some of the conservative doubters ask why she received 80 votes, including the support of some extremely liberal Senators). But SCOTUS is a different beast with different stakes. Just ask Justice Kavanaugh. But time is of the essence. If Lagoa is determined to be a sufficiently vetted and conservative jurist, I believe she may be an ideal candidate for the position, in light of all the emotionally-charged and politically-fraught dynamics at play. And if not ideal, she’s at least worthy of a very, very serious look.
Anti-lockdown protesters swarm a suburban park in Melbourne before being chased off by police on horseback as several are arrested during a tension-filled ‘Freedom Rally’
It is notable that many of the rebels are young people. Lockdowns interfere with the mating game. Most young people probably do not have a regular partner and are in search for one. And social events are a major way of finding a partner.
And there are also single people in later age groups. So there will be ever-increasing pressure on Chairman Dan to drop the restrictions. Any restrictions that go against the sex drive are facing a powerful foe and must crumble sooner or later
Up to 150 people gathering at Elsternwick Park in Brighton dispersed to Elwood when faced with a long line of officers at the site, 11km from Melbourne’s CBD.
Protests were announced by rally organisers about 10.30am on Saturday – half an hour before kicking off at the State Library, and a second closely following at 12pm.
Shouting about Premier Daniel Andrews and coronavirus restrictions was heard throughout the disjointed protests.
The protests were described as ‘chaotic’, with one photographer saying there was ‘a lot of running and not much protesting.’
Some protesters continued to scatter through backstreets, even jumping fences into private property.
One arrested by police was filmed by Nine News telling officers: ‘Wake up, I know you already know this is wrong.’
In video captured of the event, protesters can be heard yelling ‘disgraceful’, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong’, ‘no violence’ and ‘peaceful’ as officers stand nearby.
A man can be seen being arrested as he questions: ‘Officers, why are you doing this. I’ve never done anything wrong in my life. Please, this is enough. It’s only going to get worse. Who is going to fight for you.’
Premier Daniel Andrews said the protest was selfish and irresponsible.
The Facts About Climate Change and California Fires
The article below is generally sensible but at one point the author did not feel safe to deny global warming orthodoxy. He writes:
“It stands to reason that as the planet warms, the American West will become drier and states’ wildfire seasons will be longer. ”
That does NOT stand to reason It is often asserted but ignores basic physics. The oceans in a warmer would evaporate off more water vapor and that would come down as more rain. A warmer world would be a WETTER world
Despite some progress made by heroic firefighters, wildfires continue to tear through the West. Tragically, the fires have taken more than 30 lives (with many more missing), destroyed thousands of structures, and burned millions of acres.
Here are answers to some of the commonly asked questions on causes for the wildfires and obstacles that stand in the way of solutions.
What caused the wildfires?
At least several factors. At the end of August, a storm with a lot of lightning and little rain struck. An estimated 11,000 lightning strikes hit California over a three-day span, sparking fires throughout the state.
More recently, two of the fires started because of hot soot from a car tailpipe and a family using a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” for a gender reveal party. One man in Oregon has been charged with arson.
Investigations continue into the causes of some of the fires. In the past, campfires, discarded cigarettes, fallen power lines, and arson have been the culprit.
Despite accusations that extremists on both the left and right set certain wildfires, neither has been the case. In fact, false rumors have served only to spread resources thinner and detract from serious investigations.
The more than 3.2 million acres burned thus far in California are the most in recorded history.
According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, data over the past 30 years shows that the number of fires is on a downward trend while the number of acres burned is on an upward trend.
However, as Mother Jones reports, ecologists and fire scientists estimate that prehistoric fires were worse, burning between 4.4 million and 11.8 million acres per year.
On a national scale, data from the National Interagency Fire Center shows a downward trend for both fires and acres burned from 1926 through 2019, though reporting methods differed before 1983.
California is a hot and dry place. The winds can be fierce this time of year and the steep slopes of the topography can make them practically unstoppable. Although the winds come every year, they’re also unpredictable.
Alexandra Syphard, an ecologist at the Conservation Biology Institute, noted that “wind-driven fires are the ones most associated with catastrophic losses” because of their difficulty to contain and propensity to reach places where people live.
Then there’s the fuel load. Without proper management, whether prescribed burns or timber harvesting, California is a tinder box comprised of dry trees, grass, and shrubs. Invasive species, including grasses and shrubs, also contribute to worse wildfires because they dry out and have a higher likelihood of burning than native plants.
Better land management long has been understood as a necessity to reduce the severity of fires. Malcolm North, of the U.S. Forest Survey, says: “Climate dries the [wood] fuels out and extends the fire season from four to six months to nearly year-round. [B]ut it’s not the cause of the intensity of the fires. The cause of that is fire suppression and the existing debt of wood fuel.”
Timothy Ingalsbee, executive director for Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology, told ProPublica: “We need to get good fire on the ground and whittle down some of that fuel load.”
If controlled burns and thinning forests are effective, why are they so hard to do?
California’s fuel load has been a long-standing, worsening problem and a top priority for ecologists and land managers who want to reduce the severity of wildfires.
Jon Keeley, senior scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Western Ecological Research Center, said: “We ought to be much more concerned with ignition sources than a 1- to 2-degree change in temperature.”
Prescribed burns (see photos here) are an effective, non-controversial way to reduce the fuel load and consequently reduce the destruction caused by a wildfire. Fires also help to control pests, to remove non-native plants, and to provide nutrients to trees and other vegetation.
As the narrator says in this National Geographic video: “Giant sequoias depend on fire to reproduce. The heat opens their seed cones, their seeds are released, the flames clear the earth for their germination. While lesser trees blaze around them, the giant sequoias stand virtually unscathed by the flames.”
Studies have shown that these prescribed burns do not harm the ecology of the forest. California has implemented controlled burns for an average of 13,000 acres from 1997 to 2017. But a February article in the journal Nature Sustainability suggests that California needs about 20 million acres burned.
Controlled burns are by no means a silver bullet, but an overwhelming consensus exists among land managers that such burns are the most immediate and effective action to take.
As for why that hasn’t happened, the same article in Nature Sustainability breaks it down to three categories: risk, resources, and regulation.
Some have concerns about the smoke from controlled burns, and that the fires may get out of control; others have concerns over liability should that occur. Even so, the practice largely has won public acceptance.
Another barrier is presented by weather and location. Controlled burns take into account ideal humidity ranges, as well as wind direction and speed. Some controlled burns occur where there are power lines or pipelines, which require additional attention. COVID-19 postponed many of the prescribed burns.
Regulation presents a major obstacle. Prescribed burns go through a lengthy approval process. Securing a permit can take up to 18 months. These burns are subject to the National Environmental Policy Act and must meet federal, state, and local air quality standards.
Of course, the pollution and air quality is much worse from the wildfires than from a controlled burn. Even when a plan seemingly checks all the necessary boxes, it still may be held up in the courts. Although some progress has occurred to expedite the process, more needs to be done.
Another solution is timber harvesting, which helps thin the landscape and put those resources to productive use.
What is the role of climate change?
It stands to reason that as the planet warms, the American West will become drier and states’ wildfire seasons will be longer. The planet has been in a warming period for the past 160 years, and part of that warming is a result of human activity.
One study out of UCLA estimates that the number of days with extreme fire weather in the fall has more than doubled over the past 40 years. Another study in Earth’s Future found similar results for warming’s effect on fuel drying, but noted that a changing climate has not affected wind or precipitation patterns:
In fall, wind events and delayed onset of winter precipitation are the dominant promoters of wildfire. While these variables did not change much over the past century, background warming and consequent fuel drying is increasingly enhancing the potential for large fall wildfires.
Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, emphasizes that even without the warming that is occurring, fuels are “plenty dry enough to burn already.”
Soil moisture is another factor that can determine how severe a wildfire might be. Last year, in a very mild season, soil moisture in California was 40% above average for most of the state and even higher in some parts.
Droughts can be both bad and good. Droughts obviously create a dry climate for vegetation to burn, but extended droughts can result in less fire because, as NASA’s Ben Cook points out, “the vegetation will not grow back as vigorously, and you may run out of fuel to burn.”
Some parts of California, such as the area where the Camp Fire wildfire occurred in 2018, saw no discernible trend in fuel moisture or precipitation, but the winds were strong enough to dry out the vegetation anyway.
Which brings us to another point of the discussion: how climate change affects wind patterns. California is known for intense winds, such as the Diablo winds in the north and the Santa Ana winds in the south.
Several studies show that warming actually could reduce the frequency of the Santa Ana winds and potentially weaken the pressure of Diablo winds. If precipitation patterns change, however, that merely might push the wildfire season from the fall into the winter.
That’s to say that the link between climate change and wildfires exists, but it also is quite complex.
What about where we live, and housing policies?
Residents of the West are moving to more fire-prone areas. The New York Times podcast “The Daily” explains that this is called the Wildland Urban Interface, where development meets wild vegetation.
People choose to live in more rural areas for a host of reasons. They may want to be closer to nature and where houses are more affordable. The higher number of homes and businesses in these areas also increases the likelihood of a human-induced fire and puts more lives and structures at risk. These threats as they pertain to the Wildland Urban Interface are not specific to California, but exist in many places around the country.
Housing policies also contribute to the decision by some to move to the Wildland Urban Interface. A homelessness problem plagues California and home prices are high, particularly in the cities.
The combination of the difficulty in expanding housing in the cities, the ease of building on green space, and state and local incentives to build in more remote locations encourages development in places that are at higher risk for wildfires.
Both state-subsidized housing (140,000 units in the Wildland Urban Interface) and local subsidies result in more houses than otherwise might be there. Also, because subsidies for building are still there, not to mention that a town’s budget and operations are paid for through property taxes, a strong incentive exists to rebuild.
And yet another piece of this puzzle is insurance. Insurance prices can be the great arbiter of accepting a certain amount of risk, whether that’s accepting the insurance premium of a sports car or purchasing a home in a flood- or fire-prone area.
A major part of the problem, however, is that the government can distort that risk by socializing it among taxpayers, or, in the case of California, banning insurers from refusing to renew fire insurance policies they deemed too risky. At the same time, some of the state’s housing policies encouraged expansion of homes and businesses to these more remote areas.
It’s understandable why homeowners are frustrated at the prospects of not being able to have insurance, but these policies skew the actual risk of living in these areas.
Alternative, market-based risk models are cropping up in parts of the country to better assess the risk and deploy fire- suppression resources where they’re needed most.
When the risk is accurately assessed, it should incentivize more prescribed burns, timber harvesting, and installation of fire- resistant materials on homes and other buildings. But even then, it is challenging because most often reducing the fuel load is out of the hands of the home or business owner.
The Western wildfires are tragic and devastating. A nearly universal consensus exists that prescribed burns can measurably reduce the risk of future fires.
Now is the time for the political will to make it happen, so we’re not writing and reading the same story a year from now.
Cathy Freeman’s iconic Olympic moment shows the racism Indigenous Australians face
This do-gooder article below is a good example of lazy thought. It casually accuses Australians of racism towards Aborigines but makes no attempt to enquire why that racism exists.
And it does exist. Australians rarely encounter Aborigines as anything but dirty and drunkedn layabouts and beggars and it is undoubted that they dislike ALL drunken layabout beggars. So that is the simple explanation for why Australians have a low opinion of Aborigines.
And the high rate of intermarriage beween East Asians (mainly Chinese and Filipinas) and Anglo-Australians shows that looking different and coming from different cultures does not of itself normally elicit prejudice. In the Bogardus social distance scale, marriage is the most non-racist category of behaviour. The almost total absence of any friction between Anglos and our large population of East Asians is surely evidence that Australians are NOT racist in general
It is of course true that what is true of the group is not true of all individuals within it. But it is a universal human habit to categorize, as the psychological literature (See here and here) clearly shows. But that literature also shows that once a person becomes known as an individual, the category judgments fall away.
My own father, who was a man of his times, had an Aboriginal friend — solely because the Aboriginal was a hard worker in my father’s trade (“lumberjack”) of cutting down forest trees. He was perfectly friendly to Tommy even though he had the usual negative view of Aborigines in general prevailing at that time. My father greatly respected hard manual work so his friendship with Tommy was an expression of his values
So the human tendency to categorize may be regrettable but it does not generate immovable attitudes. So Freeman received a lot of acceptance and admiration once she became known as an individual. But up to that point the assumption about her was that she was a discreditable type of person. She was judged as a member of her group. That is how the human mind works. It is nothing to do with Australians in particular
Call it racism or call it stereotyping but categorization is a basic human survival mechanism. It enables prediction
Twenty years ago Cathy Freeman stopped the nation not once, but twice in the space of 10 days.
All of Australia watched as Freeman won the 400m in front of 110,000 people at Sydney’s Olympic stadium on September 25, 2000.
Ten days earlier she was unveiled as the secret final torch bearer to light the Olympic cauldron inside the stadium.
It was something Freeman – who had the race of her life just 10 days later – was reluctant to do.
“It wasn’t until I got to Sydney, in those days before the Opening Ceremony that I started to think, ‘OK I have to be in this moment’.”
It was an iconic moment in not only our sporting history but the history of Australia.
Twenty years ago Indigenous Australians were fighting for an apology to the Stolen Generation. Just months before the Olympics 250,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians had marched across the Sydney Harbour Bridge for reconciliation.
And here was a proud and outspoken Indigenous Australian on the world stage representing Australia.
It’s easy to look back at that moment with rose-tinted glasses. A moment that shows how accepting white Australians have been of Indigenous Australians.
But I have vastly different memories of that opening ceremony.
At an 18th birthday party in country NSW, the family whose daughter was turning 18 had moved the TV outside so everyone could watch the ceremony.
But despite it being a huge moment in our history, there are only two things I remember from that event.
The first was when a young Nikki Webster entered the ceremony surrounded by Aboriginal dancers.
A partygoer – who would have just been 17 or 18 – yelled out that Nikki wasn’t safe with so many Aboriginal men around her.
It was a disgusting comment that shows just how acceptable it was to be openly racist 20 years ago. Sadly, it’s probably still acceptable in some circles today.
When the torch bearers reached the stadium it was a parade of former Australian Olympians who did the final legs. Then it was Cathy’s moment. No one knew she would light the cauldron.
But the decision to use Australia’s greatest athlete at the time didn’t please everyone at the party.
People started to boo as Cathy took the torch and started the final run before lighting the cauldron surrounded by water.
You could just say this was a group of teens who didn’t understand the importance of this moment. They didn’t understand how racist it was to boo a prominent Indigenous woman during one of the biggest moments in her career.
But that would be ignoring how much Freeman had to fight during her whole career.
Like how Australian Commonwealth Games official Arthur Tunstall said Freeman should have been kicked out of the 1994 Commonwealth Games when she carried both the Australian and Aboriginal flags during her victory lap after winning gold in the 200m.
Or when Freeman was just a girl and didn’t receive a trophy after winning a race, instead watching non-Indigenous girls who finished behind her receive them.
“What did upset me at time was my parent’s reaction; they were more upset than me,” Freeman said years later.
It’s easy to look back at Freeman winning the 400m gold in Sydney or lighting the cauldron and forget the racism she faced.
She was even warned in the lead up to the 2000 Games she could be stripped of her medals if she celebrated with the Aboriginal flag. There were concerns it would breach an Olympic rule by being seen as a political gesture. But when she won the 400m, she carried both flags proudly.
The 20th anniversary of Freeman’s gold medal should rightly be celebrated this month as a moment that brought Australians together.
But it should also be a reminder of how much more Indigenous Australians have to fight to be accepted in Australia. And that it’s a fight that still continues.
Australia singled out for mammal extinction in UN's dire global biodiversity report
LOL. The good ol' Bramble cay melomys again: A small rodent that has actually gone extinct in recent years. The Greenies love it so we keep hearing about it.
The whole thing is a beat up. It is only the Melomys on Bramble cay that has gone extinct. There are tons of them on the nearby mainland.
And their extinction has NOTHING to do with global warming. One of the cyclones that bedevil the far North blew most of the vegetation and a lot of the sand away that formed its habitat. Any that survived the big blow died of starvation, not of any temperature rise
The Greenies will of course say that the big blow was caused by global warming but that is nonsense. Big blows have always been a frequent occurrence in the Far North. Where they hit is random however. Bramble cay and its inhabitants just got unlucky on one occasion
The extinction of Australia's Bramble Cay melomys has been singled out for criticism in a United Nation's report on the state of biodiversity across the world.
The fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook, released last night, warned that biodiversity is declining "at an unprecedented rate [while] the pressures driving this decline are intensifying".
Australia was named alongside Cameroon, the Galapagos and Brazil as countries having suffered at least one extinction in the last decade.
The Bramble Cay melomys — a native rodent found on a coral cay in the northern Great Barrier Reef — was officially declared extinct by the Australian Government in 2019, although it was last seen in 2009.
It is believed to be the world's first mammal extinction due to climate change.
Today's report is an update on the world's progress with the Aichi biodiversity targets — a set of 20 conservation targets set out in 2010 to be achieved by 2020, and signed off on by 194 countries including Australia.
Those targets include the elimination of "incentives, including subsidies harmful to biodiversity", and halving "the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests".
"At the global level, none of the 20 targets have been fully achieved," the report stated, "though six targets have been partially achieved."
Strengthening and enforcing environmental protection laws is outlined as a key lever to help stop the loss of biodiversity — a warning that Australian Conservation Foundation spokesperson Basha Stasak said the Government needs to pay attention to.
"The Australian Government's own report to the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity in March 2020 revealed the Government failed to meet or measure the majority of its [Aichi] targets," Ms Stasak said.
"Yet the Morrison Government is trying to further weaken nature protection in rushed changes to the national environment law due to be debated in the Senate next month."
Australia's environment laws have come under scrutiny since the interim report into the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, released in July, found that the Act is failing to curb our loss of habitat and species.
The report's recommendation for an independent "cop" to oversee the enforcement of environment protection laws was rejected by the Government.
Instead the Government is moving to introduce changes to the EPBC Act which would shift environmental assessments for major development projects to the states — a move critics say will further weaken an already failing system.
In a statement to the ABC, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment said that the Government was aiming to strengthen environmental protection.
"The Government continues to work on delivering both short- and long-term change that will make the Act more efficient and result in clearer, stronger protection for the environment," the spokesperson said.
Australian species at risk of extinction without change
Australia currently has 21 species listed as critically endangered on the IUCN red list — a globally recognised database of flora and fauna conservation status.
A further 24 Australian animals are listed as endangered, with 19 of those having decreasing populations.
One of the biggest failings of our environment protection laws is the self-assessment criteria, according to David Chapple, who heads up Monash University's Evolutionary Ecology of Environmental Change Laboratory.
Under the self-assessment guidelines, people are required to decide for themselves whether they think their activity needs to be referred to the Federal Government for approval.
Yet, researchers have found that 93 per cent of the over 7 million hectares of threatened species habitat cleared since 1999 (when the EPBC Act came into effect) were not referred for assessment.
More than 3 million of that 7 million hectares was koala habitat.
"Self assessment and whether you actually refer yourself to the Act in the first place is an area where there's a lot of improvement to be made," Dr Chapple said.
"The [EPBC report] recommendation for an independent panel to oversee the Act is one thing that most conservation biologists think is a key element to [improve] it."
In research published earlier this month, Dr Chapple and colleague's assessed the conservation trajectory of just lizards and snakes in Australia.
They found that there are at least 11 species of lizard and snake at significant risk of extinction by 2040.
The biggest driver of species loss in Australia and globally is habitat loss, according to Associate Professor Chapple.
He said he wasn't surprised by the poor outcomes in the UN's report today.
"There wasn't anything in there that surprised me. It's a reinforcement of what we already know," he said.
"In terms of the Samuel's review of the EPBC Act, it's very timely. It remains to be seen how many of those things [the Government] do take on."
A Department spokesperson told the ABC the Government has made "significant progress" across its Aichi targets.
"The Australian Government is investing in dedicated threatened species strategies, national environmental science programs, practical on ground action to reduce threats from feral predators and pests and $200 million in bushfire wildlife and habitat recovery strategies that focus heavily on threatened species impacts."
The Myth of Voting One’s Pocketbook
I don't entirely follow the reasoning below but I think he comes to the right conclusions. The author is obviously right that many poor white Americans are not deceived by the promises of a better deal from the Democrats. Being poor does not always make you a Leftist
I did quite a lot of research on just this question during my research career and it was true in both Britain and Australia at that time (70s and 80s) that around a quarter of the working class voted Tory instead of voting for "their" party, the Leftists. But at that time the Tories were the party of the elite. Rich and influential people tended to be conservative. And a large part of that was fear of the Soviets. In a Soviet takeover of America, all the rich people and most of the other elites would lose their lives. So it made sense for rich people to be anti-Soviet and hence conservative.
The Soviet threat is now however long gone so other influences have shaped the political scene. And that has come to a head in the age of Trump, where patriotism has become the big issue, with Trump being a most explicit champion of that. And, as Roger Scruton has pointed out, patriotism and conservatism are intimately associated. What conservatives want and value is very much the same as what patriots want and value.
And patriotism has a very powerful emotional appeal -- which is why Trump came from behind in the polls to get the Republican nomination, with policies at considerable variance from the Republican establishment. Wanting to protect traditional industries is pure conservatism and pure patriotism but it completely ditched the established Republican attachment to free trade. Trump reminded us that there are more important things than dollars and cents.
And as Lipset and others have pointed out the working class is basically conservative and patriotic so Trump has become the idol of the working class. They love him. But there are patriots in all levels of society so that gave Trump his majority.
The Left, on the other hand, have always been anti-patriotic. They dislike much about the society they live in so would gladly see it all overturned. They displayed that in the Soviet era by supporting in all sorts of ways that brutal regime and opposing all efforts for America to build up its military defences. And they display it today by refusing to rein in the destruction being wreaked by the rioters in Portland, Seattle and elsewhere.
So the big political divide these days is between those who love their country and those who despise it. And neither side is much motivated by their pocketbooks. Trump in fact is supported by people who stand to be made worse off by his trade policies and China policies. China has done nothing significant to harm America but picking at China plays well among patriots. China did originate the coronavirus but they themselves were hit hard by it so it was clearly beyond their control
Lipset, S.M. (1959) Democracy and working class authoritarianism. American Sociological Review 24, 482-502.
Do Americans “vote their pocketbooks?” This near-ubiquitous cliche seems at first to pass the test of common sense. Why wouldn’t people vote for the candidates under whom they’ll do the best financially? A wealthy voter should favor the candidate who will lower their taxes. A chronically unemployed voter should support the candidate promising lavish government handouts.
In the most basic economic terms, however, this logic falls apart. If one votes, for example, to maximize the present value of their future income, the answer is to not vote at all. Given the vanishingly low probability of breaking a tie, voting isn’t worth the gasoline used to drive to one’s local fire station and cast a ballot.
Perhaps this critique says more about the limits of economic modelling than it does about voting. Slogans like “It’s the economy, stupid” and “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” suggest a bigger-picture view people can take when voting their pocketbooks. But once again, this view fails to hold water.
The concept of “voting one’s pocketbook” frequently causes partisans who don’t understand the other party’s voters to make strategic errors. It also perpetuates the destructive idea that different groups of citizens are playing a zero-sum game against each other. Finally, and perhaps most insidiously, it creates the myth that the right politician can make our pocketbooks grow.
The Seduction of Joe Sixpack
In late 2004, after voters delivered four more years of George W. Bush, my parents and their progressive friends were abuzz about George Lakoff’s book Don’t Think of an Elephant. Lakoff urged earnest lefties to get more politically savvy. To summarize the book, John Kerry had lost because of those crafty Republicans who through use of buzzwords like “pro-life” and “tax relief” had mesmerized Joe Sixpack into voting against his economic interest. A couple of years later came Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter With Kansas?–similar in its cringeworthy myopia though subtly more scolding to Joe Sixpack himself in tone.
Unwilling to part with the idea that the GOP was fueled exclusively by the rich getting richer, progressives needed expert analysis and suburban book clubs to tell them why such a large fraction of the non-rich might be on board. The great irony is that most of the head-scratching about white working-class voters going against their economic interest was being done by upper-middle class progressives who wear their own votes against lower tax rates as a badge of honor.
These prosperous-but-perplexed progressives in turn expose the mirror-image fallacy held by Republicans–that voters on the left just want “handouts” or “free stuff.” The vanguard of socialism, progressivism, and welfare-statism has always come from relatively well-off intellectuals. Rather than wanting free stuff, they want to see themselves as the givers of free stuff.
Economic outcomes and political narratives don’t play nicely together, and the results increasingly harm more than just the two parties’ strategic efforts to win converts. A 2019 study from The Wall Street Journal and the Brookings Institution characterizes the current landscape as “Two Parties, Two Economies.”
The study clearly and effectively presents the divergence of different types of voters over the last decade. Democrats are more concentrated in highly-educated urban areas that depend on professional and information-economy jobs; Republicans from rural areas built on manufacturing and agriculture. The differences have grown more stark with time.
The authors conclude that:
For at least the foreseeable future, therefore, the nation seems destined to struggle with extreme economic, territorial, and political divides in which the two parties talk almost entirely past each other on the most important economic and social issues, like innovation, immigration, and education because they represent starkly separate and diverging worlds. Not only do the two parties adhere to very different views, but they inhabit increasingly different economies and environments.
There’s an implicit idea here that, while the authors don’t explicitly endorse, I wish they would explicitly reject. The concept of two opposed and diverging economies suggests to many that government policy can help one economy prosper, albeit at the expense of the other. This is plainly false.
President Trump’s anti-trade policies, for example, have hurt the entire economy, including manufacturing, and even including the hand-picked industries he myopically sought to “protect.” Meanwhile, the Covid-19 lockdowns enforced by both parties but more enthusiastically on the left have been especially brutal on urban economies.
The political drama captured by the WSJ/Brookings study is indeed driven by economic forces. The decades-long shift in the composition of American labor demand–driven by globalization and a revolution in information technology–is likely the most important economic story of our time and defines this conflict. But the only path to resolution is an understanding that free, connected people unencumbered by the smoke and mirrors of politicians “favoring” one type of economy over another prosper together rather than at each others’ expense.
“People vote their pocketbooks” is a misleading and potentially insidious approximation of voter behavior. A better approximation for modern times is “People vote for the candidate or party that provides a better story about themselves.” That can be problematic itself, but when we bring economic performance along for the ride the problems only multiply. Putting our economic fortunes in the hands of politicians is a recipe for division and stagnation, every time.
I Hate Men is the title of a young woman's new book which officials tried to ban as an incitement to hatred - but the author (a French bisexual blogger) is a mass of contradictions who happily makes brownies for her mild-mannered husband
Let's face it: The penis is a love machine. Once a woman has sex with a man, she will be open to a relationship. And that comes naturally to all women, feminists included. And there will be some regret if a relationship is not offered.
Feminist convictions may of course create difficulties in a relationship but most of the time they can be negotiated away. The convictions are mostly nothing more than a wish for kind and considerate treatment and if that is forthcoming a shell of convictions may remain but it will do no harm to the relationship. Kind and considerate treatment will triumph over most other things. As we probably see in the story below
In my own long life I have been struck by how little I have encountered anything but vague feminist convictions and they have certainly never blocked the path to bed. Women can in fact be remarkably flexible and tolerant if they really like the man. As just one instance, I was for a while in the position of sleeping with two different women most nights -- with both women aware of it. And both were desirable ladies.
Feminists tear your hair out.
It is the clarion cry of many politically active young women: ‘Down with the patriarchy!’ But for Pauline Harmange, a 25-year-old, bisexual French blogger, the call to arms has had more far-reaching consequences.
Her decision to wade into the gender wars by writing a book entitled I Hate Men has sparked a fierce debate not only about the differences between the sexes but also about freedom of speech.
The book is actually more a tub-thumping pamphlet, in the tradition of Paris’s bohemian and outspoken Left Bank, the haunt of great feminist philosophers such as Simone de Beauvoir, Colette and many others.
It is a passionate denunciation of men, of their violence and oppression and entitlement.
It opens with a quote from poet Sylvia Plath: ‘The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way.’
Harmange deplores the role of men in society. ‘I witness every day the immense indifference of men towards women. I witness the sh*t about rape, harassment, feminicides, debates on social media, conversations from men I meet or interact with.’
Despite being distributed by a tiny publishing house run by volunteers called Monstrograph, her 96-page essay attracted the attention of a ‘mission manager’ at France’s Ministry of Women and Men’s Equality, named Ralph Zurmely. To him, it was clear. The title of the book, Moi Les Hommes, Je les Deteste, was an obvious incitement to hatred.
You can see his point: if any racial group had been substituted for the word ‘men’, there would have been uproar.
Mr Zurmrly said: ‘This book is obviously an ode to misandry [hatred of men]. I would like to remind you that incitement to hatred on the basis of sex is a criminal offence! Consequently, I ask you to immediately remove this book from your catalogue under penalty of criminal prosecution.’
He might have expected congratulations for rooting out ugly, divisive hate speech – the kind of thing online social media sites are being urged to stamp out.
Instead, something else happened. Mr Zurmely found that he had misjudged the public mood. The first edition of I Hate Men has sold out and the book is now being reprinted.
Is it that France had decided it hates men or that it likes freedom of speech more?
On the other side, Harmange is feeling the wrath of many men and women who detest her opinions.
She is accused of vicious prejudice against a group of people who are not commonly considered society’s victims – the entire male population.
Harmange, who describes herself on Instagram as the ‘harbinger of the feminist storm’, appears a little unsettled by the ferocity of the tempest she has whipped up and has retired to her home in Lille, in northern France.
Her publisher Colline Pierre, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Pauline is taking a step back at the moment.
‘There are a lot of issues and offers surrounding her book. And sometimes violent reactions.’
A tempest is not a bad thing for sales, of course.
Before Harmange went into hiding, she gave an interview assuring men that their existence was not under threat, merely their entitlement. ‘Eradicating men is not my aim,’ she said, generously.
‘Ideally, the book would help bring men down to a normal position alongside the rest of us, and at the same time liberate women from the weight of that all powerful patriarchy.’
There is another tantalising aspect to this story of our times. The term ‘lived experience’ these days often prefaces political and social argument. It has Marxist roots and emphasises the importance of ‘personal knowledge about the world gained through direct, first-hand involvement in everyday events rather than through representations constructed by other people’.
In other words, you have the right to talk about sexism or racism or classism or ageism, for example, only if you have experienced it.
Harmange says that working with rape victims has coloured her rhetoric.
The number of cases of domestic violence in France is high. But her own experience contradicts the All Men Are Rapists notion.
This is what she says in her book about men: ‘Even as they dump us, rape us and kill us... boys will be boys. Girls, on the other hand, will become women and learn to cope with being hit, because there is no escaping our narrow view in the crystal ball of patriarchy.’
She may hate men, but it is nothing personal, as she coyly adds: ‘Come on, I’m going to confess: I detest men. All, really? Yes, all of them. By default, I hold them very low in my estimation. It’s funny because I apparently have no legitimacy in detesting men.’
And then the knockout admission: ‘I chose to marry one anyway, and to this day, I have to admit that I love him very much.’
A scroll through her Instagram page shows something close to domestic bliss. Harmange is happily married to Mathieu, 29, who appears in a series of notably unthreatening poses on her Instagram feed. More often than not, he is asleep.
Indeed, Harmange’s Instagram generally is an idyll of contentment, and cats.
Her pictures are of calm sunsets, hot water bottles, knitting, coloured pens, home-baked bread and jam, cakes, yoga mats, and masses of cats. Her fierce rhetoric is matched only by her childlike pleasures.
She is reading Sylvia Plath, but also Harry Potter. She posts a notice that ‘injustice demands revolution’ but then settles down to making advent calendars and painting her fingernails. A tattoo on her arm reads Myself, a statement of defiance but also the solipsism of being 25 years old.
She has pictures of flowers and wedding dresses. She quotes the French writer Albert Camus, who was not known for his chivalry towards women.
Her husband, when awake, is pictured drinking coffee or curled up in corners – or just curled up with the cat. He does not display a tyrannical bone. Even his tattoos look like William Morris wallpaper.
There is a further plot twist: as well as being devoted to her husband, Harmange is bisexual. She says: ‘This choice is not devoid of all context. As a bisexual woman, who can say what my life would be like today if I hadn’t been confronted early on by the homophobia in society and those around me.’
For me, the key to understanding Harmange is not merely that she is young, but that she is very French. Her approach to the relationship between men and women is based on philosophy – which is almost more of a national sport across the Channel than rugby.
Harmange’s cri de coeur echoes one of the tenets of the original Women’s Liberation movement: the fear that men are strong enough to kill you.
She fears and loathes men as a species. She loves individual men.
She does try to address the discrepancy: ‘Although I love my partner and do not consider parting for a second, I continue to think about and claim my fairness to men.’ In other words, she has mastered the art of reconciling two incompatible truths: the empirical (based on experience) and the emotional. How very French!
France is a country of magnificent contradictions: a place of liberty and revolution that has resorted to heavy-handed state powers; a country that ordered Muslims to remove their hijabs at work and now tells everyone to cover their faces with a mask. Swift to worship women, slow to understand the importance of the #MeToo movement.
It is the home of the femme fatale and ‘le cinq a sept’, that golden happy hour when the British go to get two drinks for the price of one, but when French go to lie down with their loved ones – before going home to their spouses.
She is pulling down the temple of patriarchy to rebuild a new society. At the same time, though, she is cooking brownies for herself and beloved ‘enemy-husband’ Mathieu.
It is what we call in plodding old Britain ‘having your cake and eating it’.
This curious, wholly French row should revive the spirits of a country cast down by Covid and castigating Britain over Brexit.
What better than a young woman blazing rhetoric and yet with a playful demeanour?
Her defence is that hating men is a philosophical construction rather than a hate crime.
Of course, I Hate Men should not be banned. It is not bigotry but a cry against the Establishment by a young woman who is part of a generation who are seeking cultural latitude instead of demanding power. They are much less aggressive than my generation, despite the furious words. They hate men but they love cats.
And Harmange has stumbled upon a greater cause. Hers may be a generation that is quick to take offence but she has come to represent the fundamental right to give offence.
Freedom of speech is of profound constitutional significance in the land of Voltaire and it is also in peril in this country.
BBC One viewers left 'terrified' by Sir David Attenborough's new documentary Extinction: The Facts
Sir David is a talented entertainer and he is good at using that to worry people. The loss of species to extinction is his big concern, particularly furry species that we can relate to. Most of our pets are furry and it seems likely that in our recent evolutionary past we too were furry
To my knowledge he has never shown concern about species such as cockroaches. Yet cockroaches are an important lesson in extinctions. Mankind has attacked them furiously yet they thrive. So a species can be very hardy. Modernity and mankind generally may have little effect on a species.
So the science in the Attenborough show is slight. The basic scientific fact is that species differentiate and go extinct all the time. On some estimates over 98% of all the species that have ever lived on earth are now extinct. You do not see dinosaurs wandering around these days.
It is of course sensible and congenial to make efforts to conserve species we admire but nature has its own way in these things, so we are unlikely to do much that will change its trajectory. The fittest will survive. Others will not.
Sir David claims that species loss is higher now than it once was. But that is unknowable. To prove that you would need to have good data on species numbers over a long period of time. Yet we have no firm numbers on how many species there are right now. It is entirely possible that human conservation efforts have SLOWED the rate of extinction. So Sir David's claims are pure propaganda with no basis in science
And as for his claim that global warming has been detrimental to species abundance, the reality is likely to be the opposite. Warmth is generally helpful to life.
My favourite example of that is Australia's Great Barrier Reef, a reef that stretches over a thousand miles North to South along the Australian East coast -- from cool subtropical waters in the South to near equatorial temperatures in the Torres Strait (Yes. Strait, not straight). So where on the reef are species (fish, corals, algae, invertebrates etc.) most abundant along that stretch? In the cool South or the equatorial North? I think you know the answer. Warmth is GOOD for life
Sir David is a likeable character but in the end he is just another bullsh*tter
BBC One viewers have been left 'terrified' and 'angry' by Sir David Attenborough's new documentary Extinction: The Facts.
The hour-long programme, which aired tonight (September 13), saw the legendary natural historian and fellow experts investigate the devastating effects of climate change and habitat loss on wildlife and plant life, and how it's also impacting humanity and the planet.
Disturbing scenes saw Attenborough detail how a million different species are at risk of extinction due to the biodiversity crisis, which is also putting us at greater risk of pandemic diseases like COVID-19.
While it all might seem like doom and gloom, the documentary did end on a hopeful note, as we revisited the forest slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes in Rwanda, where Attenborough had a memorable encounter with a group endangered mountain gorillas over four decades ago.
Back in 1978, there were just 250 of the gorillas left, but thanks to the conservation and protection of their habitat over the last forty years, their population now exceeds 1000.
"It just shows what we can achieve when we put our minds to it," said Attenborough.
"I do truly believe that, together, we can create a better future. I might not be here to see it, but if we make the right decisions at this critical moment, we can safeguard our planet's ecosystems, its extraordinary biodiversity and all its inhabitants.
Biden's radical climate change plan could be far reaching
It's just a desperate play for attention and relevance. It would need the co-operation of both houses of Congress to happen so it's just not going to happen. Congress is a notorious lead weight on change of any sort
If he did get some part of it through Congress, its destructive results would soon become obvious and there would be a massive loss for the Donks at the mid-terms, possibly enough to override a presidential veto to corrective legislation
The article below is from a Leftist source. Even they can see the risks
The fire season has just begun in the United States and already it has left the nation staggered by its ferocity. In California alone almost a million hectares have burnt so far, though conflagrations are being fought in 12 other states.
This week the temperature reached an all time record of 49.4 degrees in one Los Angeles suburb and the skies of San Francisco darkened to blood red throughout long hot days. News reports are full of clips of horrified residents saying that they thought they knew the risks of wildfires, but that nothing prepared them for this.
Asked if he had ever witnessed such conditions, the renowned climate scientist Michael Mann said during a radio interview this week: “Yeah, well I was on sabbatical in Sydney during what they now call the Black Summer fires… and it had that same sort of haunting orange hue. And it is the same phenomenon; unprecedented heat and drought last summer gave them unprecedented fires.
“We’re seeing the same thing happen in California, as we warned - as we have long warned - we would see if we continue to warm the planet by polluting the atmosphere with carbon pollution.”
In another time this might have prompted the sort of searing national debate over the need to properly tackle climate change that broke out here in Australia before the rolling catastrophes of 2020 diverted our attention.
But the US is not only battling a pandemic and the consequential economic collapse but relentless civil strife supercharged by a poisonous election campaign.
As a result, Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s adoption of what some consider to be the most ambitious climate change action plan ever put forward by a major party of a major nation has attracted far less attention than it probably deserves.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee, one of many on the party's left who had opposed Biden on environmental grounds and who have now embraced his candidacy, described Biden’s plan as visionary.
“This is not a status quo plan,” he told The New York Times in July. “It is comprehensive. This is not some sort of, ‘Let me just throw a bone to those who care about climate change'.”
At the heart of Biden’s climate change package is a determination to decarbonise the nation’s electricity system by 2035 before reaching net-zero carbon emissions for the entire economy by 2050.
To achieve this Biden would spend US$2 trillion on research for new green technology, new clean infrastructure and retrofitting existing buildings across the nation for energy efficiency.
He would direct all government procurement towards green technology, including electronic vehicles, and fund a Civilian Climate Corp similar to the Works Progress Administration established as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal", established to help the nation lift itself out of the Great Depression.
By comparison, after the 2008 financial crisis the Obama administration secured $90 billion for renewable energy in what is so far the largest single piece of climate change legislation passed in the US.
And Biden’s ambitions go beyond US borders. The plan would see him integrate climate policy into US foreign trade and national security strategies. According to policy documents, the US under a Biden presidency would lead an effort to “to get every major country to ramp up the ambition of their domestic climate targets”.
So significant is the potential for the plan that the global energy research consultancy Wood Mackenzie recently published a paper saying that a Biden loss would end any chance the US has of decarbonising its economy by 2050.
According to its analysis the plan would see “capital investments in renewable energy and energy storage assets top US$2.2 trillion through 2035. Utility-scale solar demand will soar to over 100 GW/yr, while battery storage capacity will surpass 400 GW - nearly 40 per cent of the total installed power generating capacity of the US in 2020. Coal-fired generation will exit the market in its entirety”.
Wood Mackenzie research director Dan Shreve believes the plan is so ambitious that it “teeters between achievable and aspirational but the backing of energy sector giants could tip the balance and once again establish the US as a leader in the fight against climate change”.
Either way, its scope would upend the US energy sector, and players wishing to thrive in it would need to plan for possible partnerships with - and acquisitions of - upstart storage providers, renewable energy developers and green hydrogen technology suppliers, says the Wood Mackenzie paper.
The international implications of the plan are equally significant says Matto Mildenberger, a University of California professor of political science who specialises in climate policy.
He notes that on their own either China, the European Union or the US has the power to drive down technology costs and shift markets through their sheer market size and force. Operating in concert that process accelerates.
So will it happen?
Mildenberger notes that Biden would not only have to win the White House, but Democrats would need to take the Senate, and then Biden would need to make climate change action central to his first-term agenda.
Mildenberger believes that the will within the administration might be there, as the climate change package is as much an economic stimulus policy as it is an environmental one.
The echoes of Roosevelt's 'New Deal' are no mistake, and much of the plan has been repurposed from the Green New Deal proposed by left-wing congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Indeed one of that plan’s chief architects, Julian Brave NoiseCat, is one of many on the left now backing Biden as a result.
It appears clear that Biden is seeking to use his climate policy as a vehicle to unite his party before the election and tackle compounding social, environmental and economic crises after it.
“When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is ‘hoax',” Biden said in a speech last month. “When I think about climate change, the word I think of is ‘jobs'.”
Mildenberger, who has written at length about global and Australian climate politics, believes that a Biden presidency would immediately change the tone of climate diplomacy because Trump’s lack of action has given cover to interest groups and politicians seeking to derail climate policy around the world.
He says Trump has given the Morrison government "cover" to this end just as the Howard government "hid behind" George W. Bush.
This international reset could prove to be critical as the world prepares for next year’s delayed United Nations climate meeting in Glasgow, known as COP26 (the 26th meeting of the UN Conference of Parties). At that meeting nations are expected to reveal more ambitious emissions reduction goals in keeping with scientific advice on the volume of reductions required to keep global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius.
Australia's former top climate diplomat, Howard Bamsey, who led negotiations at a number of COPs, says that Australia would already have been under pressure from the UK, which is determined to host a successful meeting. That pressure will only be increased by a climate activist White House.
But he notes that Australia has proved willing to pay a diplomatic price for its recalcitrance on the issue in the past.
Bamsey, now a professor with the Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute, says he does not believe that the world would change suddenly for Scott Morrison should Biden win in November, but that pressure for increased Australian ambition would slowly mount over the year leading up to the Glasgow meeting.
Australia would not only feel pressure to increase its ambition from a Biden White House, should he win, says Bamsey, but from the UK which would be determined to host a successful COP meeting.
Perhaps even more significantly, Mildenberger says that should Biden win there is a chance that China and the US could resume co-operation over the issue, a partnership that was crucial to the success of the Paris agreement. (Bamsey is sceptical on this point.)
But even if all that was to fall into place he is no longer convinced that an orderly decarbonisation of the world’s economy is now possible.
“We needed to act 10 years ago for that,” he says. “But the Biden plan offers real hope that we can prevent the worst of climate change.”