Latino racism

With the vigorous revival of racism in the form of Critical Race Theory, the Left have legitimated all sorts of racism. So we should not be surprised that Latinos have jumped onto the bandwagon. Racists have always given their racism some sort of respectable gloss but in any guise it is always obnoxious. There are all sorts of people in any race so it it the individual who should be the focus of attention

In a leaked tape, three members of the all-Democrat (plus one independent) Los Angeles City Council, along with a labor leader—all Latino—used racist, homophobic, anti-white, anti-Asian, and even anti-Mexican slurs as they plotted to redistrict the city council to increase “Latino power.”

LA is approximately 50% Latino, but Latinos control “just” 30% of the 15 council seats. For the party of diversity, inclusion, and equality, this is a problem. Worse, blacks, though less than 10% of the population, occupy 20% of the council seats. The three black council members preside over districts that are either majority Latino or where they make up the largest plurality. How dare Latino voters vote for black politicians!

Leading the parade of invectives was since-resigned City Council President Nury Martinez, herself a daughter of Mexican immigrants and whose rise in city politics was aided by a black mentor politician. Martinez—who has called former President Donald Trump “racist”—and the others directed much of their wrath against a fellow councilmember, Mike Bonin, a white man with an adopted black child.

They accused Bonin, whom Martinez said “thinks he’s f—ing black,” of using his black child as an “accessory.” Councilman Kevin de Leon said Bonin treated the child like a “Louis Vuitton bag” and Martinez described the boy as being “like a monkey.” As for Bonin, a gay man, Martinez called him “a little b—-.”

De Leon also took a swipe at both neighboring Orange County and the Los Angeles Times. He said Latinos need not fear “those crazies in Orange County who are pro-Trump. It’s the white liberals. It’s the L.A. Times.”

Another white man, the Los Angeles city controller, came under attack, as did the white colleagues on the council. Martinez said, “You need to go talk to that white guy [the city controller]. It’s not us. It’s the white members on this council that will motherf— you in a heartbeat.”

Martinez also attacked Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, but not for his soft-on-crime policies that many point to as a major cause of the rise in violent crime. About Gascon, Martinez said, “F— that guy … He’s with the blacks.” Apparently to Martinez, Gascon’s policies, which allow bad guys to remain on the streets where they disproportionately shoot and kill blacks, is being “with the blacks.”

In a discussion about whether immigrants from Oaxaca, Mexico, are part of Los Angeles’ Koreatown, Martinez said: “I see a lot of little short dark people. … I was like, I don’t know where these people are from, I don’t know what village they came [from], how they got here. They’re ugly.”

As for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s President Ron Herrera, he publicly supports black candidates for council, but on the tape says, “My goal in life is to get the three of you elected. We’re like the little Latino caucus of our own.” If this means diminishing black political power to do so, well, so be it.

In the hourlong meeting, the four uttered not one word about the city’s record-setting crime and homelessness. They said nothing about the poor urban K-12 government schools or about the city’s declining population, caused in part by the lack of housing affordability for the working and middle classes.

As for these liberals’ quest to increase “Latino power,” this raises a few questions. What is the left-wing Latino position on homelessness that differs from the position of the left-wing non-Latinos on City Council? What is the left-wing Latino position on reversing the population loss? What is the Latino position on crime, something that 77% of city residents say they are concerned about? What is the Latino position, compared to their non-Latino liberal colleagues, on how and why test scores of government schools in California are near the bottom when compared to other states, with the scores of Angelenos lower than the California state average?

Martinez and Herrera have resigned, while the two other council members, Gil Cedillo and de Leon, have been stripped of their committee assignments but have resisted calls for their resignation. Cedillo, however, lost his reelection bid, and his term ends in December. Tough to pin this on “white supremacy.” Was this the LA City Council or a KKK meeting?


Why Men Should Seek Out Older Women

The argument below is broadly reasonable but, like all generalizations, falls short of covering all the cases. I have twice had memorable relationships with women 5 years older than me and I once married a fine woman 11 years older than me. So I have been there and done that. And little of the characteristics described below applied to my much older wife.

My own view is that if you get on well with a woman and share interests that is the main thing. My present girlfriend is 6 years younger than me and the "ex" I see most of is nine years younger than me. So I see a large age range as being workable in relationships. Age should rarely be a big factor. It is the individual that matters

In the US and other parts of the world, women who date younger men are referred to as Pumas or Cougars. Pumas are women under age 40 who date men at least ten years their junior. Cougars are women over age 40 who date men much younger. Some celebrity examples are Cher, Madonna, Jennifer Aniston, Tina Turner, and Julianne Moore.

I find it interesting that women have these titles, but men do not. Like men, mature women are free to explore and date whoever they choose (if the partner is of legal age, of course). As I quickly approach age 40, I have become more confident, free-spirited, and open. I absolutely love who I am in my late 30s. I wear a lot less makeup and a lot more cheetah print (wink).

I have a 32-year-old friend who is currently dating a 58-year-old woman. Yes, she is 26 years his senior (a real Cougar — growl). Interested in his opinion, I asked why he enjoyed dating an older woman. Not surprisingly, his answers mirrored mine. Below I outline why men should seek out mature women to date, marry, or have fun with.

We are better in bed.

Older women are better at sex because we know what works and what we want. Older women are great teachers and lovers in the bedroom. We are not shy about communicating what we need to climax. Additionally, we are no longer faking orgasms. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Like our male counterparts, we have years of experience; we know what works and does not. If something is not working, we will let you know. If something is working, we will let you know. We know how to use our words. This is important for a pleasurable sexual experience. If you are tired of banging a dead fish, you might wanna get yourself a Cougar.

We are more refined.

Let me ask you a question. Do you prefer a wine that has been aging for 2 years or one that has been aging for 15 years? Women 40 plus are more refined, robust, confident, and bold. Like wine, women get better with age.

With age, our confidence grows, and we no longer need or desire the opinions of others for validation. We know who we are and do not turn to anyone for approval. This confidence is difficult to explain, but it is powerful and sexy.

We know what we want.

Unlike younger women, we know what we want and how to go after it. Like a Cougar in the wild, we snatch it up with confidence. We don’t play young girl games. We see it, we like it, and we go for it.

With this, we are very straightforward. If we want sex, a relationship, or marriage — we will inform you promptly. There is no need for guessing games. Women in their 20s are unsure of who they are, what they want, or where they want to be in life. We have been there, and done that.

Additionally, we are not as self-absorbed. Many women 40 plus have married, divorced, been in long-term relationships, or raised children. They are selfless, kind, and generous. This builds strong character and makes them more thoughtful and caring.

‘Reverse racism’: Fury as iconic Mount Warning hike closed forever

This was done under Leftist influence. The Left just love racial discrimination. Hitler put them off it for a while but it has roared back in the guise of Critical Race Theory in America.

Mount Warning national park is Crown land, the property of the Australian people as a whole. Giving control of it to some of the descendants of people who once lived there is a bureaucratic decision, not a constitutional reality. There is no obstacle to removing the exclusivity of use.

When will the Left learn that racial discrimination is obnoxious?

The decision to permanently close the iconic Mount Warning hike has prompted furious backlash and claims of ‘reverse racism

It’s been labelled Australia’s “next Uluru” and the decision to permanently close the famous Wollumbin/Mount Warning hiking trail has drawn widespread backlash.

The Tweed Valley tourism Mecca and its 1100m-high peak is the first place in the country to catch the day’s sunrise.

However those picturesque views and challenging hours-long hike are a thing of the past for visitors after the NSW government revealed on Thursday it would permanently close the attraction and even ban images promoting the famous mountain.

The site will be handed back to its Aboriginal custodians.

Representatives from the Wollumbin Consultative Group, which represents a range of Aboriginal groups and families with a connection to the site, say public access is not “culturally appropriate or safe”.

Despite already being closed since 2020, largely due to the Covid pandemic, the future of the Wollumbin/Mount Warning hiking trail remains a polarising issue. readers were torn over the future of the site, with 93 per cent voting they opposed its permanent closure, labelling it ‘reverse racism’ and a backwards steps toward inclusion.

Here is what both sides of the debate said:

Vanessa Alia said it’s time to respect the traditional owners of the land. “Heaven forfend we should actually respect anything about the culture of the people whose land we stole … because we’re a bunch of toddlers who think we’re entitled to anything and everything,” she wrote on Facebook.

Monica Dixon added: “I climbed Wollumbin many years ago. I didn’t know the cultural significance of the site. I’m glad that I know now, and I wouldn’t do it again.”

While agreeing with the handover, David Layt questioned if it could still remain open. “It is cultural land & should be with the indigenous custodians. But would be great if we can come to an understanding so all can enjoy.”

Tanique Brim used history in her case. “People forget before colonisation, we had a lore! And many sacred areas aboriginal people can’t go to unless approved by elders. just because it’s beautiful, you don’t need to be there! We are spiritual people who have the right to close any sacred area, it’s been like that since dreamtime. Government tried to erase our lands, language and culture.”

James S. Doyle wrote: “Anyone actually from the Tweed valley understands very well why its closed. It’s been completely over run by half wits from the city.

Before everyone gets all opinionated speak to some of the rescue staff who were having to go up there every night of the week at 3am and rescue fitness camp people who got into “trouble”. Not to mention the trashing it has got with garbage.”


Phillip Di Bella led the charge of those arguing that the closure would drive a wedge between communities.

“Totally disgusting and further building divide amongst all Australians! Woke taken to another level and unfortunately it won’t be the end!!!!”

Trish Jenkin agreed: “We are one. What utter rubbish. This is all division. We the white Australian has lost all rights to everything my Father fought for in WW2 and this is only the start. Australia Day and Anzac Day next. Watch this space.”

However Teresa said keeping it open would be the best way to produce a positive outcome: “Respect, yes. Close, no. By having it open, there are more opportunities to celebrate indigenous culture. I am pretty sure First Nations people climbed it for thousands of years.”

Brendan John backed her up.

“Surely keeping it open would allow visitors to become aware of the cultural significance closing it ensures the story is never told. Seems to defeat the purpose.”


$8.8bn blowout in NDIS budget

This Julia Gillard invention is an absurdity. "Disability" is a very loose term. I am in some ways disabled by my degree of autism. Do I qualify for government support of some kind?

At the very least, eligibility to the scheme should be based on visible physical disability only. Others should be expected to cope with the aid of the payments that all unemployed people get

Bill Shorten sees the problem, which is good coming from him, but his solution -- to pass the buck to other levels of government -- has zero chance of being taken up

Australia’s “disability safety net” has blown out by $8.8bn and needs a reset to remain sustainable for future generations of people with disability, NDIS Minister Bill Shorten says.

Mr Shorten has brought forward by a year a planned review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, saying the scheme, now forecast to cost taxpayers $50bn a year by 2025-26, needs “to be better than it is”.

“For too many people the scheme has developed into a source of stress and anxiety,” he said.

“We want it to do what it’s meant to do – to provide choice and control for people with disability. (We) want to make sure that our national disability safety net is strong and responsive, generous and reasonable.”

Mr Shorten said next week’s federal budget would reveal “an increase in projected costs over the next four years of $8.8bn” compared to the Coalition’s budget handed down just seven months ago, blaming poor management by the previous government.

The first Chalmers budget will show the cost of the NDIS is forecast to be $50.3bn in 2025-26, compared with $44.5bn in the last Frydenberg budget.

Mr Shorten called out waste, inefficiency and fraud as driving up NDIS costs, but also noted other levels of government had retreated from offering support and services to people with disability, leaving them to try to scramble their way on to the scheme.

“What we need is to have more support for people with disabilities outside the scheme. We need to make sure our school system is more responsive to kids with learning needs,” he said.

“We need to make sure that (in) community mental health … there are supports for people who wouldn‘t be eligible for the scheme.”

But he didn’t accept the NDIS’s own financial sustainability report, which forecast costs to reach almost $60bn by 2030.

“I’m sceptical about some of the out-year forecasts,” Mr Shorten said. “I don’t necessarily sign up to every 10-year number. I think that is more science-fiction and art than it is science and evidence.”

He said it was important to restore community trust in the NDIS, and the new review would investigate its design, operation, workforce and overall sustainability, including costs.

“I absolutely want to see this scheme be sustainable, I absolutely want to see what we can do to moderate the growth cost trajectory.

“(And) I absolutely want to minimise rent-seeking by people who are seeking to take money from the NDIS, which the taxpayer wants to get to people with disability.”

The NDIS currently provides support to 530,000 people with a permanent disability, ranging from physical to neurological and psychosocial.

The NDIS projects there could be more than 850,000 participants by 2030.

The independent review will be co-chaired by longtime disability advocate Bruce Bonyhady, the inaugural NDIS chair, and Lisa Paul, a distinguished bureaucrat. Professor Bonyhady said there were “important issues to address in order to ensure the scheme can be … the best disability system in the world”.

He said the review was taking place at a critical juncture, and warned about the focus on costs.

“There’s far too much talk about the costs of the scheme,” Professor Bonyhady said. “It needs to be balanced with a discussion about the benefits, and there’s no doubt there are many examples of the scheme transforming peoples’ lives.

“It’s essential this review is owned by the disability community and in particular people with disability and their families.”

Disability groups and unions welcomed the review being brought forward, but the federal opposition said Mr Shorten was now caught in a difficult position on scheme sustainability.

“Bill Shorten promised plans would not go backwards under his watch, but questions are now being raised over the NDIS’s future funding, so let’s see if Labor’s actions meet its promises around the scheme’s framework and viability,” opposition NDIS spokesman Michael Sukkar said.

People With Disability Australia president Samantha Connor said the disability community was “looking forward to seeing the application of a rights-based lens to the NDIS, an increased focus on choice and control for people with disability, and renewed efforts to make sure that people with disability are truly the authors of our own lives”.

Australian Services Union NSW secretary Angus McFarland said the review “should mean frontline workers are now that much closer to being properly valued”.

“Right now we just don’t have the conditions, the job security or the salaries to attract – or retain – a sufficient number of disability workers to the sector.”

A final report will be delivered by the end of October next year.


How more green space could narrow lifespan gap between rich and poor (?)

This study is an all-round joke. I have critiqued many others like it over the years so I will just make the most obvious comment here. How do we know that the causal arrow is not reversed? Could healthier people be better able to move into leafy areas? Healthy people presumably earn more than sickly people so can afford accomodation in more desirable areas.

Controls for income could have been attempted to rule out that possibilty but no controls of any sort appear to have been attempted. It's amazing the unscholarly rubbish that get into the academic journals these days

Greater levels of access to green spaces could have a sufficiently dramatic impact on people’s health that it could help reduce current lifespan gaps between the rich and the poor, new research shows.

A study examining various geographic areas, levels of wealth, and the proximity to private gardens and natural spaces such as woodlands, heathlands, and open water, found that each 10 per cent increase in access to private gardens and natural space is linked to a 7 per cent fall in the incidence of early death among those under 65 years old.

The research team, led by Dr Natalie Nicholls at the University of Glasgow, said their findings "could provide an additional public-health tool to reduce the large health inequities that exist for deprived populations, indigenous peoples, and other ethnic minorities".

While there is a large body of evidence already linking spending time in natural environments with positive health outcomes, the research is the first to explicitly examine whether access to nature protects against an earlier than expected death.

In order to assess whether this is the case, the team used the measure of "years of life lost" (YLL), and drew on YLL data from the 2016 Scottish Burden of Disease report, which recorded the gap between expected and actual lifespan for men and women under 65 who were resident in Scotland, UK, at time of death.

The team then mapped out various "datazones", which plotted geographical areas of between 500-1,000 households each, using physical boundaries and natural communities, which they said ended up dividing areas into units with broadly similar social characteristics.

Using Ordnance Survey mapping, they then assessed the inhabitants of each datazone’s access to natural space or private gardens, measured in square metres.

The researchers found that the areas with the highest income deprivation also had the lowest average percentage cover of natural space and gardens. People living in these areas had the highest levels of ill health.

Increased availability of natural space within local areas was also associated with a reduction in the disparity in YLL between the most and least deprived areas.

"Even moderate levels of natural space seemed to make a difference," the team said.

“In practice, not everyone can live in an area with a high percentage of green or natural space; however, this does not mean that even small amounts of such areas are not beneficial,” they said in the paper, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health – a title published by the British Medical journal.

But the research team cautioned that their observational study can’t establish cause and effect.

They also acknowledged that they didn’t have information on individual lifestyle behaviour and personal economic circumstances, or how much people used their local natural space or its quality, all of which may have influenced their findings.

Nonetheless, they said their findings echo those of other studies.


America’s problem is White people keep backing the Republican Party

Below is a black writer's racially-focused comment on the American political divide. I would have thought it a more informative and less racist comment onthe facts if he had headed his article "America’s problem is that minorities keep backing the Democratic Party".

But it's the Leftist way to be obsessed with race. The Ku Klux Klan were Democrats and Karl Marx despised Jews, even though he was one. And can we forget Democrat governors Orval Faubus and George Wallace? Wallace declared in his 1963 inaugural address that he stood for "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever". Democrats are now reviving that in some American colleges

A clear majority of White Americans keeps backing the Republican Party over the Democratic Party, even though the Republican Party is embracing terrible and at times antidemocratic policies and rhetoric. The alliance between Republicans and White Americans is by far the most important and problematic dynamic in American politics today.

Non-Hispanic White Americans were about 85 percent of those who voted for Donald Trump in 2020, much larger than the 59 percent of the U.S. population overall in that demographic. That was similar to 2016, when White voters were about 88 percent of Trump backers. It is very likely that White Americans will be more than 80 percent of those who back Republican candidates in this fall’s elections.

The political discourse in America, however, continues to ignore or play down the Whiteness of the Republican coalition. In 2015 and 2016, journalists and political commentators constantly used terms such as “Middle America” and “the working class” to describe Trump’s supporters, as though the overwhelming Whiteness of the group was not a central part of the story. In this year’s campaign cycle, recent articles, in The Post and in other outlets, have highlighted Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’s supposed weaknesses with Black voters. This is a strange framing. It is likely that more than 70 percent of White voters in Georgia will back Abrams’s Republican opponent, Gov. Brian Kemp, but fewer than 20 percent of the state’s Black voters will vote for the incumbent. If Kemp wins reelection, it will be because of White Georgians, not Black ones.

Republican voters are not just White people without four-year college degrees (a group Trump won by 32 percentage points in 2020), though that has been the common framing in much political commentary. The Republican Party is the preferred choice of White people who describe themselves as evangelical Christians (whom Trump won by 69 points in 2020), White people in rural areas (Trump by 43 points), White people in the South (29 points), White men (17), White Catholics (15), White Protestants who don’t describe themselves as evangelicals (14), White people in the Midwest (13), White women (7) and White people who live in the suburbs (4). (These numbers come from post-election surveys and analysis from the Pew Research Center, the Cooperative Election Study and Eastern Illinois University professor Ryan Burge.)

In contrast, the people of color in those demographic groups (for instance, Asian Americans without four-year degrees, Black Protestants, Latina women) mostly favor Democrats.

While the majority of White people with four-year degrees backed Democrats in 2020, about 42 percent of them supported Trump. He also won more than 40 percent of White voters in the Northeast and in the West. The main bloc of White voters that overwhelmingly opposes Republicans is White people who aren’t Christians. (Joe Biden won this group by about 30 points in 2020.)

After Trump did better in 2020 with Latino voters (gaining 10 percentage points over 2016) and Black voters (up two points in that period), there has again been an effort by some in the media and even some Democrats to play down race and suggest the Trump base is really one of Americans without college degrees or those annoyed by progressive views on gender and race. But the actual percentage of Republican voters who are Black (2 percent in 2020) or Latino (8 percent) is tiny.

Overall, Republicans win the majority of White voters (55-43 nationally in 2020) in most elections.

Being the party of White Americans has given and will continue to give the Republicans two huge advantages. First, White Americans are about 72 percent of the U.S. electorate, about 13 percentage points more than their share in the overall population. White adults are more likely than Asian and Hispanic adults to be citizens (not recent immigrants) and therefore are eligible to vote. The median age for a White American is higher than that for Asian, Black or Latino Americans, and older Americans tend to vote at higher rates. If the electorate mirrored the country’s actual demographics and those groups voted as they did in 2020, Trump would have won only about 44 percent of the national vote, three points less than his 47 percent two years ago.

Second, the electoral college and the Senate give outsize power to less populated states — which in America today tend to be disproportionately White.

The alliance between White Americans and the Republican Party has existed for decades. The last time a Democratic presidential candidate won the majority of White voters was in 1964, a year before Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act. The Republican Party spent much of the next three decades courting White Americans, in part, by casting Democrats as too tied to the causes of minorities, particularly Black people and Latino immigrants.

Through the presidency of George W. Bush and Barack Obama’s first term, however, Republican leaders generally distanced themselves from this style of politics — feeling that the old tactics were not only morally wrong but also would doom the GOP in a country with a growing non-White population. But Trump and his allies have brought anti-Black and anti-immigrant sentiments and a focus on White identity back to the center of the Republican Party’s electoral strategy.

Even when Republican politicians are not campaigning directly on racial issues, the party is organized around defending the status quo in America, which is weighted toward White Americans. Policies such as raising taxes on upper-income people and making college free would reduce gaps in income and opportunity between White Americans and people of color. By opposing them, Republicans in effect protect White advantages.

So it’s no accident that Republicans are winning the majority of White voters. It is in many ways the result of a successful strategy. It’s not that Trumpism brought White voters as a bloc to the Republican Party (they were already voting Republican) — but rather that it hasn’t scared many of them off.

Perhaps the best way to understand American politics is an overwhelmingly White coalition facing one that is majority-White but includes a lot of people of color.

Perry Bacon Jr.: Have Democrats reached the limits of White appeasement politics?

Democrats are doing a lot of White appeasement to address this Republican tilt: nominating White candidates in key races; moving right/White on racialized issues such as policing and immigration; trying to boost the economy particularly in heavily White areas where the party has declined electorally.

Some of that has worked; Democrats did somewhat better among White voters in 2018 and 2020 compared with 2016. But it is very likely that the majority of White voters will again vote Republican in 2022 and 2024.

And because White people are likely to be the majority of voters for at least two more decades, America is in trouble. Across the country, GOP officials are banning books from public libraries, making it harder for non-Republicans to vote, stripping away Black political power, aggressively gerrymandering, censoring teachers and professors and, most important, denying the results of legitimate elections. The majority of America’s White voters are enabling and encouraging the GOP’s radical, antidemocratic turn by continuing to back the party in elections.

It’s not, as much of our political discourse implies, that the Democrats have a working-class or Middle America or non-college-voter problem. The more important story is that America has a White voter problem. And there is no sign it’s going away anytime soon.


Hole in the ozone layer has grown for a 3rd year in a row — but scientists aren’t concerned

Greenies are good at distorted views of the facts. So their mention of the 2015 ozone hole is interesting. They admit but downplay the fact that in October 2015 the Antarctic ozone hole was at that time the largest it had ever been. And it is apparently still large.

How does that square with the supposed shrinking of the hole? Refrigerant gases that supposedly open the hole have been banned for decades. So what we should see on Greenie theory is a gradual shrinking of the hole. It's clearly not happening. All we actually see is natural variability: No progress in shrinking the hole at all

The ozone hole that forms yearly over Antarctica has grown for the third year in a row. At nearly 10 million square miles (26.4 million square kilometers), the ozone hole is the largest it's been since 2015.

But despite that growth, scientists say that the hole's size is still on a downward trend overall.

"All the data says that ozone is on the mend," Paul Newman, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's chief Earth scientist, told the Associated Press(opens in new tab).

The ozone hole was first observed in the early 1980s and reached its largest extent in 2006, according to NASA. This year’s ozone hole, which peaked on Oct. 5, was the biggest recorded since 2015. But scientists aren’t too concerned.

"The overall trend is improvement. It's a little worse this year because it was a little colder this year," Newman told the AP.


An "ex" gets Royal approval

Meaning that "exes" are now respectable. Many marriages these days have a third party: the former husband or wife of one member of the couple, the "ex". It's particularly common in Australia for former partners to remain friendly and continue to have some role in one-another's lives.

I am myself in that position. I regularly see an ex-wife and an ex-girlfriend. And I value both friendships greatly. My present girfriend grumbles about it, though. She says it does not happen in her home country in Southern Europe

As Harry and Meghan are 5,000 miles away in California, and Prince Andrew is banned from polite society, the King's vision of a 'slimmed-down' monarchy is looking too skinny.

So step forward a new member of 'The Firm'.

I can reveal that Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles carried out his first royal duty on behalf of the Queen Consort on Tuesday.

He formally represented his ex-wife at a funeral — and friends claim it could be the first engagement of many. '

Andrew is happy to do anything he is asked,' one of his friends tells me. 'He still enjoys a warm relationship with Camilla.'

The news was recorded in the Court Circular, the official record of royal engagements.

'The Queen Consort was represented by Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles,' it says of his attendance at the funeral of John Bowes-Lyon at the London Oratory. Bowes-Lyon, who died last month aged 80, was a second cousin of the late Queen.

Formally representing Camilla meant Parker Bowles, 82, was given a prominent pew at the Roman Catholic church.

He and Camilla, who married in 1973, have two children. They separated in the 1980s, finally divorcing in 1995, with a royal biographer once remarking: 'It is said that an English gentleman will always lay down his wife for his country and this was certainly true in the case of Andrew Parker Bowles.'

Camilla married Prince Charles in 2005, while Parker Bowles exchanged vows with Rosemary Pitman in 1996. She died in 2010.

Parker Bowles and Bowes-Lyon were cousins. Their great-uncle was the legendary roué Raymund de Trafford


Teachers turning to YouTube and Facebook to source lesson material, damning new report says

I am not at all sure I am on-board with the idea of government-provided lesson plans for teachers. It would certainly help if experienced teachers passed on their usual lesson plans to newbie teachers but having the government do that would reduced the already limited diversity in what is taught. It could make a lesson into not much more than a video.

There is a better option: The teacher could know her subject matter so well that no preparation is needed. The teacher could just look at the curriculum and talk about it. It's what I did as a teacher of High School economics. I just talked about what I found interesting or exciting about economic issues. That generated real student interest and my students did very well at exam time.

So subject knowledge should get heavy emphasis in teacher training. I had not one minute of teacher training but I have an almost missionary zeal to communicate the realities of economics

Teachers are relying on YouTube, Facebook and Pinterest to source classroom materials in a “lesson lottery’’ for students that will prompt a ­national review of curriculum planning.

Federal Education Minister Jason Clare said he would raise the Grattan Institute’s alarming findings of “rudderless teachers’’ at his next meeting with state and territory ministers in ­December.

He said teachers were working unnecessarily hard because they often had to plan lessons from scratch. “If we get this right, this has the potential to really reduce the workload on teachers,’’ he told The Australian.

“I am keen to talk to teachers about the findings in this report, as well as ACARA (the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority) and my state and territory colleagues when we meet in December.’’

The Grattan Institute survey of 1915 teachers and 328 principals across Australia reveals that half are interpreting the curriculum on their own to devise assignments and set lesson plans.

YouTube is twice as popular as education department websites for sourcing teaching mat­erial, with two-thirds of teachers accessing YouTube at least once a fortnight, compared to 31 per cent using government websites.

Half the teachers buy lesson plans from Teachers Pay Teachers – an online marketplace with more than 16,000 assignments, assessments and lesson plans for sale.

One in four teachers uses Facebook, one in five uses Pinterest, 12 per cent use Instagram and 5 per cent use Twitter to source assignments and lesson plans.

In contrast, one in five teachers used professional teacher association websites and 17 per cent used the Khan Academy website for inspiration.

Only 15 per cent of teachers have access to a common bank of high-quality curriculum materials for all their classes, the survey found.

A third of teachers have no access to common material for any of their subjects.

“High-quality curriculum materials are hard to find,’’ the Grattan Institute report states. “The internet is awash with options, but not a lot of detail about quality.’’

The survey found that a typical teacher spent six hours a week sourcing and creating mat­erials – and one in four teachers spent more than 10 hours a week planning lessons.

“Teachers are struggling with the curriculum planning load,’’ lead author and Grattan Institute education program director Jordana Hunter said on Sunday.

“Teachers tell us they often plan alone from scratch, searching social media to try to find lesson materials. This creates Australia’s lesson lottery – it undermines student learning and adds to the workload of our overstretched teachers.’’

The Grattan Institute estimates teachers would save three hours a week by sharing curriculum materials – adding up to 20 million teacher hours every year.

It found that a high school teacher with four subjects would need to spend 2000 hours to develop curriculum materials for all their classes if they had to start from scratch.

Ninety per cent of teachers surveyed agreed that sharing high-quality instructional materials would free up time to evaluate and respond to individual student learning needs.

“Great teaching requires classroom instruction based on well-designed, knowledge-rich and carefully sequenced lessons that build student knowledge and skills over time,’’ Dr Hunter said.

“Without a whole-school approach to curriculum planning, which carefully sequences learning of key knowledge and skills across subjects and year levels, even the hardest-working teachers will struggle to give their students the best education.’’

The Grattan Institute wants governments and the Catholic and independent education sectors to invest in high-quality, comprehensive curriculum materials, and make them available to all schools to adapt and use, if they choose.

“These materials should be quality-assured by an independent body,’’ the report states.

NSW has already announced it will build a library of syllabus materials for use in schools, while the Victorian government recommends a whole-school approach to curriculum planning to avoid repetition or gaps in learning.

Queensland’s Education Department provides lessons and assessment tasks through its Curriculum into the Classroom, or C2C, program.

The Grattan Institute survey found that only one-third of teachers agreed government-provided instructional materials were of high quality, with half saying the resources were hard to find.

Dr Hunter said teachers in disadvantaged schools were only half as likely to have access to a common bank of curriculum mat­erials as teachers in wealthier schools. “Many teachers and students get a losing ticket in the ­lesson lottery,’’ she said.

“The Australian curriculum and its state variants provide high-level direction only, leaving vast gaps for teachers to fill in.

“For too long, governments have underestimated the subject-matter knowledge, curriculum expertise and time required to bring the curriculum to life in the classroom.’’

The Grattan Institute criticises individualised curriculum planning as “hugely inefficient’’.

“In reality, teachers are struggling to fit the hours required into their working week,’’ the report says. “The current system wastes time and results in lost learning.

“Every school and teacher should have access to comprehensive curriculum materials that they can choose to use and adapt as required.

“As an immediate priority, governments should consider buying high-quality materials from overseas, and adapting them to the Australian context.’’

The Grattan Institute report notes that students can leap ahead in learning by one or two months a year when teachers use carefully sequenced, high-quality curriculum materials.

“Materials need to be specific about what knowledge students are expected to learn,’’ the report says. “(They) should include targeted assessments that enable teachers to accurately assess student learning of particular concepts, content and skills taught.’’

Half the high school teachers surveyed were teaching a subject for the first time, and 15 per cent of primary school teachers were taking on a new year level.


How Marriage Makes You Rich

Writing below, Renata Ellera Gomes has some unusually insightful observations. Her contempt for expensive weddings is a good example. I recently went to a wedding that must have cost in the many thousands. Yet the couple were economically fairly average.

I have never understood that sort of thing. My 4 weddings were all self-catered. The wedding breakfast for my most recent marriage was buckets of KFC -- eaten in my back yard. The kids present loved it! They understood KFC whereas French and Interntional cuisine would have baffled them.

I have been very successful economically so Renata has in me a perhaps extreme example of the sort of policy she favours

And my bride at the times saw things similarly. She also encouraged me to give her a cubic zirconia as an engagement ring. It looked like a large and expensive diamond but cost only $500. She felt that of you can't tell it from a diamond then it is as good as a diamond.

image from

The bride concerned

Another important point Renata makes below below is that an economically succesful father can give the son of a marriage good advice on how to get ahead. I remember taking half an hour once to tell my son how to invest successfully and safely in the stock market. I told him in half an hour what lots of people would give an arm to know. I simply told him what I did. He has not wholly followed that advice but he has done well economically anyhow. He already owned a large and beautiful house by the time he got married

Married people, especially men, are healthier and live longer than their single counterparts. A happy marriage can even increase your chances of surviving cancer.

Besides physical health, marriage seems to provide other layers of social protection, such as better economic prospects and a wider safety net.

Married individuals can acquire up to double the wealth of those who never marry. In the US, on average, young married men aged 28–30 make $15,900, and married men aged 44–46 make $18,800 more than their unmarried counterparts.

Married men also work more strategically towards higher salaries, are less likely to quit without having another job lined up, and enjoy either the advantages of a dual-income household or the benefits of having a stay-home wife.

In other words, marriage can make you richer than the average single person.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that marriage facilitates the acquiring of assets. As an institution, marriage was created primarily to solidify wealth and to guarantee its transfer to legitimate offspring, increasing a family’s prospects over time.

Marrying for love is a relatively recent idea. For most of human history, marriage was supposed to be a pragmatic decision. Companionship and respect between spouses were expected, but love was a bonus, a by-product of years of working together towards a common goal: survival and, if possible, the betterment of your family.

Now, for most people, the main point of marriage is not financial gain but happiness.

We expect marriage to provide us with a path to self-actualization. Marriage, as with all other aspects of our lives, it’s not about acquiring assets but about self-expression.

As we associate marriage with love and self-actualization and dissociate it with building and solidifying wealth, we make it easier for people to see getting married as optional. Finding a partner who can offer the kind of love we see in the movies and who can lead us toward self-actualization, after all, is incredibly hard. There are other ways to find happiness.

But there are not a lot of other ways to join forces with another adult in order to acquire assets and build wealth, and there’s a specific demographic that understands that too well: the rich.

Why the rich still get married

Marriage is another means through which the rich get richer and the poor, partially by not marrying, remain poor.

As overall marriage rates have declined in the US (as in other countries), from 72% of adults 18 or older in 1960 to 50% in 2016, we notice a different scenario when we sort the data by education.

In 1990, 60% of US adults with a high school diploma or less were married, in 2015 that number dropped to 50%. For college grads with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 69% were married in 1990, and 65% were married in 2015.

And higher education is positively correlated with higher earning potential.

When we take a look at class, more people in the top 10% are likely to be married than in any other economic tier. The explanation might be self-selection, meaning that individuals tend to marry inside the same economic and educational bracket. But what explains the fact that the wealthier and higher-educated continue to marry at the same rates as thirty years ago while marriage rates amongst the poor have dropped so dramatically?

Do married millionaires and doctors know something the rest of us don’t?

How the poor are discouraged from marrying

The poor are fooled into believing they have to be financially stable before getting married instead of using marriage as a tool to build wealth.

Financial illiteracy is partially to blame. Tax codes are extremely complex to navigate, and it often takes a small contingent of accountants and lawyers to take full advantage of the tax benefits offered to married couples (a resource the poor often can’t afford).

Our culture, however, is the biggest culprit. We have emphasized big expensive weddings over small celebrations, creating an illusion that getting married is expensive. We now believe a couple shouldn’t get married unless they can put a down payment on a house, a pre-requisite that’s not only unrealistic but sends millennials running for the hills (or to the nearest animal shelter to adopt yet another cat instead of looking for a mate).

Getting married used to be a mark of adulthood, now you have to be an adult to get married. And we have more prerequisites than ever before to “be an adult,” making that status harder and harder to obtain.

Stable two-parent households offer advantages to children, including higher grades and a higher chance of attending college in the future. College degrees are correlated with higher earning potential and a higher chance of getting married.

Throughout history, the rich have built and secured their wealth through advantageous marriages. Now, the primary motivation for marriage amongst the rich might not be existing family assets or political influence, but the rich still have the means and the inclination to teach their children (often by example) all about acquiring and expanding wealth as a couple.

In the long run, that knowledge can make all the difference, creating an even bigger class divide than what we have today.


Narcissism and Sam Vaknin

Vaknin is an Israeli with a considerable record of dishonesty and dubious scientific qualifications. He describes himself as a narcissist and purports to offer an understanding of that syndrome.

His descriptions of what narcissism is and the explanations he offers for its emergence in people are recognized as authentic and helpful by many who view his various videos

So what is the scientific status of his theories? From my viewpoint as a psychometrician, his theories have no standing at all. There is no objective measure of narcissism as he describes it nor is there any way of measuring degrees of it. So his generalizations are untestable. It is essentially waffle -- a theory so broadly specified that most people probably see something of themselves it, rather like horoscopes

My initial suspicion on reading Vaknin was that he was probably talking about a number of traits rather than a single trait. And the available scientific literature on narcissism bears that out. Sigmumd Freud was the effective originator of the idea of a narcissistic personality in 1914 so Vaknin comes rather late to the game. There are in fact a number of indexes of narcissism in existence so if there is a unidimdensional trait there, we should know of it.

And a 1991 study by Paul Wink was very informative about that. He combined three existing measures of narcissism, including the MMPI and CPI, and factor analysed the responses of a heterogeneous sample to them.

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

The statements surveyed would seem to be at least as comprehensive as the symptoms described by Vaknin but in the absence of a measuring instrument produced by him, we have no alternative source to analyse. So it seems likely that Vaknin's picture of the narcissist is fiction. The traits he describes do exist but they do not form the coherent syndrome described by him.

So Vaknin would seem to be a popular guru like Krishnamurti, Gurdjieff, Madam Blavatski etc. His pontifications make some sense to some people but he is essentially describing something that does not exist. Gurus have their place in helping people makes some sense of their world but their claims should not be regarded as scientific or reliable in any way.

Summary: Delusions of grandeur exist in both clinical and sub-clinical forms. What goes with such delusions is the issue. Vaknin is not alone in seeing many other traits associated with it but Wink's finding of strong separability between Grandiosity and Vulnerability has become widely accepted. Characteristics that co-occur in Vaknin himself may not co-occur in others.


TV presenter slams plans to introduce a smacking ban on kids in Australia

The claim that smacking/spanking has bad mental health outcomes is based on the old fallacy that correlation is causation. The bad mental health among some children who are smacked could be a CAUSE rather than the result of the smacking. Ill-behaved children are more likely to be smacked and mental health problems can cause bad behaviour. See here for an example of the research concerned

My father never laid a hand on me nor did I ever lay a hand on my son but both of use are quiet intellectual types not drawn to any kind of florid behaviour. But all children are not the same and some children do need pressure to observe boundaries. And smacking is a clear sign that a boundary has been transgressed.

Karl Stefanovic has furiously shot down plans to introduce a ban on Australian parents giving their kids a smack.

University of Melbourne Professor Sophie Havighurst supports the idea of making corporal punishment illegal, saying it 'has effects on children in a whole range of different ways'.

She referenced research from the Australian Child Maltreatment Study that found 61 per cent of young Aussies had been smacked at least four times in their life. 'We now know that that doubles their chances of anxiety and depression,' Prof Havighurst told The Today Show on Thursday morning.

But Stefanovic wasn't having any of it, saying there was no need for a law change. 'I don't want to see any more legislation around me as a parent, my head explodes,' he said.

'And the idea of parents being charged or going into court for smacking a child. I mean, come on, Sophie, give me a break, please.'

The professor said she wasn't seeking any consequences for those who use physical punishment on their children, but wanted the law to change. 'Any form of smacking or physical discipline has been found to have a negative effect on children,' she said.

Sixty-three countries around the world have made physical punishment against children illegal including Scotland, Sweden and Korea.

Prof Havighurst said the law change hadn't led to an increase in prosecution of parents who hit their kids in any of those countries. She said banning the behaviour would lead to a cultural and attitude change among Aussie parents.

The expert sympathised with Stefanovic's concerns parents would be charged for smacking their children, but said discussion around the topic was important. 'We all have times when we lose it ... but in New Zealand when they changed the law in 2007, they didn't get an increase in what you're fearful of,' she said.

'We don't want the government and police having more involvement in our family lives but we do know that law change can guide us to use other ways of parenting and that's really important.'

Australia's former deputy chief medical officer, Dr Nick Coatsworth also weighed in on the matter, saying the bottom line was that parents should not smack their kids - but that making the behaviour illegal wasn't necessary.

'My view is that governments should do their best to educate and make sure kids are safe,' he said. 'Criminalising aspects of parenting, even those aspects that are wrong, shouldn't be the direction the government should be going in, in my view.'

In Australia it's currently legal for parents to smack their kids but varying states have specific rules on the matter.

In NSW, the physical punishment should not be painful for more than a brief moment, and kids can't be hit on their heads or necks.

In Victoria, there is no legislation surrounding parents applying physical punishment to their kids while in various other states it must be considered 'reasonable under the circumstances'.


Harvard's Data Undercuts Its Affirmative Action Defense City

They trumpet inclusion and practice exclusion. They claim diversity while creating a monoculture. America's leading university has completely lost touch with their own reality. Poor reality contact is the leading sign of psychosis. With such incompetent intellectual analysis, have they forfeited any respect as a university?

Every year since 2013, usually during the first week of September, the Harvard Crimson publishes survey results profiling the incoming freshman class, including their political and social orientations. These feature-length reports have consistently shown that a dominant majority of Harvard’s incoming students identify as politically and socially progressive, with ever-fewer students identifying as conservative. This year, however, the Crimson didn’t publish the feature and didn’t reply to my inquiry about whether they would do so. Harvard may have good reasons for wanting to delay such a report, given an upcoming Supreme Court case.

In Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, the Supreme Court will reexamine a half-century-old justification for race-based university admissions—namely, that racial diversity generates viewpoint diversity on campus and contributes to the lively exchange of ideas. Past results of Harvard’s freshman surveys, which detail growing racial diversity but diminishing viewpoint diversity, discredit this justification. Of the Class of 2025, for example, only 1.4 percent identify as very conservative; only 7.2 percent identify as somewhat conservative; and only 18.6 percent identify as moderate. By contrast, 72.4 percent of freshmen identify as predominantly liberal. Yet this class is the “the most diverse class in the history of Harvard,” according to William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid.

Other survey responses drive the point home. Of members of the Class of 2025 who supported a candidate in the 2020 presidential election, 87 percent backed Joe Biden. Meantime, 82 percent said they supported the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, which resulted in at least $1 billion in damages and numerous deaths, while nearly half (49.8 percent) said that they supported defunding the police. This doesn’t sound like viewpoint diversity to me.

Without viewpoint diversity as a justification, race-based admissions—that is, affirmative action—may not survive. Since 2014, Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), a nonprofit group of more than 20,000 students, parents, and others, has argued that affirmative action violates Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, which prohibit public and private universities receiving federal funds from discriminating based on race, color, and national origin. This straightforward legal argument is likely to play well with a Supreme Court that leans toward originalism, but this doesn’t mean that the justices’ decision will rest on that philosophy alone. In fact, the Court’s jurisprudence on race-conscious admissions has centered predominantly not on the legality of the policy but on its implications for higher education.

In his landmark opinion in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, Lewis Powell argued that the use of race as a factor in college admissions ought to be permitted because it would (presumably) lead to greater student-body diversity. This was a laudable goal for a university, he said, for it would allow it to achieve “a robust exchange of ideas.”

Sandra Day O’Connor recapitulated Powell’s argument in her opinion for the Court in Grutter v. Bollinger, upholding the University of Michigan Law School’s policy of intentionally favoring applicants from certain racial groups over others with similar qualifications. O’Connor justified the decision largely by appealing to its supposed policy implications. She cited several amicus briefs submitted by left-wing academics, corporations, and professional organizations, all of which alleged countless studies showing that racial and ethnic diversity guaranteed greater viewpoint diversity and, in turn, increased tolerance of differing opinions.

But is this true? Has the use of racial preferences in higher education admissions achieved the “robust exchange of ideas” on which it was originally justified by the courts?

In an amicus brief supporting SFFA’s challenge to race-conscious admissions policies at Harvard and the University of North Carolina, the Legal Insurrection Foundation (LIF) says “no.” In the years since Grutter was decided, “the American university campus,” LIF argues, “has become less ideologically diverse and more intolerant of ideas challenging campus dogmas.” The group cites several nonpartisan surveys to support the claim. A 2021 survey of 37,104 students conducted jointly by the College Pulse, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and RealClearEducation found that more than 80 percent of students reported some amount of self-censorship.

Similarly, LIF notes that a Knight Foundation-Ipsos study released in January showed that 65 percent of college students felt today’s “campus climate prevents people from saying what they believe for fear of offending someone.” What’s more, less than half of all college students “said they were comfortable offering dissenting opinions to ideas shared by other students or the instructor in the classroom.” And 71 percent of students who identified as Republican “felt that the campus climate chilled speech.”

The Court now seems likely to strike down the use of race-conscious admissions in higher education next June. Given the originalist-bent of the Court’s majority, the decision will rely most heavily on the text of both Title VI and the Equal Protection Clause, which prohibit racial discrimination. But it may also have something to say about the faulty premise underlying race-conscious admissions all these years. Contrary to what O’Connor claimed in Grutter, affirmative action has not led to greater diversity of thought on America’s college campuses.


Seven Australian universities in Times Higher Education top 100

I have impressive pieces of paper from two of the universities listed below, plus I taught at a third. On a per head basis, Australian universities do very well. Consider that there are 300 million Americans and only 25 million Australians. Australia produces roughly twice as many top universities per head as the USA does. It's not a small difference

So why the difference? I know why but it would be vastly incorrect for me to spell it out so I think I should refrain from doing so. Let me just mention the undisputed fact that Australia has very few Africans

Australia now has seven universities in the world’s top 100 as ranked by Times Higher Education with the University of Adelaide joining the elite group. The University of Melbourne remains Australia’s most highly ranked institution, slipping to 34th this year from 33rd last year.

Monash University is next at 44th place, after rising from 57th last year.

The University of Queensland (53rd), the University of Sydney (54th), the Australian National University (62nd) and UNSW (71st) also make the top 100, along with the University of Adelaide at 88th, up from 111th last year.

The University of Adelaide said its success in entering the world’s top 100 universities was a significant milestone for higher education in South Australia. “A top 100 university is only possible with top ranked staff. They should be proud of their achievements,” said UA vice-chancellor Peter Hoj.

Times Higher Education chief knowledge officer Phil Baty said Melbourne was the city with bragging rights. “It now boasts Australia’s number one and number two universities, with Monash University leapfrogging ahead of Brisbane’s University of Queensland and pushing it into third place,” he said.

Monash University vice-chancellor Margaret Gardner said the results were a landmark for her university. “This achievement will inspire exciting opportunities to access new research funding, build new partnerships and attract additional students,” she said.

University of Melbourne vice-chancellor Duncan Maskell said the rankings reflected the global standing of Australian universities highlighting their contribution during the pandemic and their value to society.

There are signs that US universities are trending downwards in the Times Higher Education ranking. The number of US universities in the top 100 continues to fall, from a peak of 43 in 2018 to 34 this year.


Electric vehicles are exploding in Florida - country's second biggest EV market - because Hurricane Ian's water damage has caused batteries to corrode and catch fire

I mentioned this problem a little while back. I am reverting to it because of a story from where I live in Brisbane, Australia. Brisbane does sometimes get flooding in low lying areas and I hear of someone who got his small 2006 Kia van flooded recently. It went a fair way under so was not driveable after the flood had receded. As it was an old and humble vehicle, the owner decided to sell it for scrap.

So a scrap dealer arrived to tow it away. The dealer asked the owner if he had the key to it. "Sure", said the owner and promptly proceeded to put the key in the ignition and turn it. The vehicle started! It had just needed to dry out. A much preferable experience to what hit the Florida electic car owners. No car should be flooded but even a humble combustion car can survive it

Firefighters in Florida are dealing with a new problem in the wake of Hurricane Ian's damaging floods - explosive fires caused by waterlogged batteries in electric vehicles.

When EV batteries take on a large amount of water, they're at risk of corrosion that can lead to unexpected fires, according to a top fire official in the state - which is America's second largest EV market after California, with 95,000 registered vehicles.

'There’s a ton of EVs disabled from Ian. As those batteries corrode, fires start,' Florida's fire marshal and top financial officer Jimmy Patronis tweeted Thursday. 'That’s a new challenge that our firefighters haven’t faced before. At least on this kind of scale.'

'It takes special training and understanding of EVs to ensure these fires are put out quickly and safely,' he continued in a follow-up tweet. 'Thanks to [North Collier Fire Rescue] for their hard work.'

It's not clear exactly how many EVs were impacted by the storm's flood waters.


The Queensland government is clearly one of our very worst

It takes a woman to tear down another woman and Judith Sloan has risen well to that challenge below. She gets it pretty right but I think she should given more credit to Annastacia for unusually relaxed lockdowns during the pandemic. I was hardly bothered by them at all

We hang out a fair bit in Queensland. We bought a place over a decade ago and happily spend several months a year in the Sunshine State – that’s when we are allowed to.

We had been given an early glimpse of how bad the Queensland government was when we were buying the place. It was a legislated requirement to provide prospective buyers with an environmental assessment of the property for sale. (It had been the brainwave of the husband of Labor premier Anna Bligh who was a senior bureaucrat at the time.)

The form consisted of page after page of detailed questions that the property owner was expected to answer or attempt to answer. You see: ‘not applicable’ and ‘don’t know’ were acceptable answers. Quite a lot of forms we received had ‘don’t know’ to the question: is there a swimming pool on the property? Clearly many vendors were simply taking the piss. I should add that the real estate agents weren’t taking the government directive too seriously either.

Fast-forward a decade or so and it’s clear that the performance of the Queensland government has deteriorated further. I’m not talking here so much about its reaction to Covid – I’m pretty sure the wooden spoon goes to Victoria, with Western Australia not far behind.

Even so, it’s hard to erase the memories of those mindless observations of the then chief health officer, Jeanette Young – she is now Governor of Queensland!

Needless to say, there were various low points in Queensland during the times of Covid, including that memorable comment from the premier Annastacia Paluszczuk – now commonly referred to as Red Carpet Anna – that Queensland hospitals were for Queenslanders, thereby preventing some seriously sick people, including children, living in far north New South Wales from crossing the border.

And who can forget the bumbling, incoherent commentaries of the then health minister, Stephen Miles? On the basis of that performance, he is now deputy premier. (OK, I made that bit up; he is deputy premier because of some factional stitch-up.)

Of course, no one expected Red Carpet Anna to become premier; she was made the leader of the opposition as a sort of seat-holder at an Oscar’s ceremony because there were so few Labor parliamentarians after Campbell Newman stormed into office. But Newman managed to storm out of office just as quickly and the daughter of a former senior Labor politician and deal-maker got the top job because it would have looked tacky to remove her at that point.

To give you some examples of just how bad the Queensland government is, it’s hard to go past the current kerfuffle surrounding the government-run DNA laboratory. A part of Queensland Health, which is a disaster story in itself, at some point the ‘managers’ – I can’t call them real managers – decided that the cut-off point for testing should be double the international standard.

What this has meant is that baddies who might otherwise have been indicted because of forensic evidence were allowed to roam the streets because some ‘manager’ in Brisbane had decided that a new standard should apply which allowed the lab to get through the backlog and save money. Unsurprisingly, the first reaction of Red Carpet Anna was to cover it up, claiming there was nothing to see. Were it not for the dogged efforts of a journalist, this gross failing by a public agency would never have seen the light of day.

It’s also hard not to laugh at the Queensland government’s recent attempt to extend the land tax base for Queensland properties. The cunning minds at Queensland Treasury pondered how to extract more money from those well-heeled investors with properties in other states as well as in Queensland.

The Queensland treasurer, Cameron Dick – who is slightly more competent that his predecessor Jackie Trad – hoped to include the value of all investment properties for the purpose of calculating the land tax on Queensland properties. Sadly, NSW premier Dominic Perrottet refused to cooperate by releasing any details of investment property ownership in his state, which was a slight problem.

Of course, for anyone caught in this tax trap, an answer of ‘don’t know’ to the question about interstate properties could have done the trick. But in the end Red Carpet Anna was sufficiently embarrassed by the whole cack-handed exercise that she dropped the new tax.

Mind you, you wonder why the good folk at Treasury ever bothered given that the extension to the land tax arrangements was going to net a mere additional $20 million per year. Note here that the state has debt in excess of $100 billion, has more public sector workers per head of population than any other state and has a media department in the premier’s office whose staff wouldn’t fit in the newly constructed and unused (and paid for by Queensland taxpayers) quarantine facility in Toowoomba.

Then there’s the absolutely unconscionable proposal to amend Queensland’s industrial relations laws to exclude any competitors of registered trade unions. I guess it’s just a coincidence that currently registered unions happen to be affiliated, either directly or indirectly, to the Labor party and are also major financial contributors. (I’ve written about this before – it’s not too late. Queensland Speccie readers should contact their local member to express their outrage. The opposition has been slow to lodge its vehement objections.)

Aimed directly at the nimble and innovative Red Unions – their representation of nurses, in particular, has gone extremely well – the perverted (and completely self-serving) logic of the minister is that other unions can be established but they cannot represent their members industrially. Indeed, it will be an offence were they to attempt to do so under the amended legislation.

There is absolutely no doubt that the legislation is a violation of the ILO conventions on freedom of association and freedom to form associations, conventions which the Australian government has signed. But the Queensland government doesn’t care, claiming the amendment is needed to avoid ‘employers and employees being confused’. What, like being confused by choice at the supermarket?

Let’s face it, competition and choice are not the mantras of Red Carpet Anna who seems to prefer to spend her time with her new bariatric surgeon boyfriend attending gala events, often paid for by the Queensland taxpayer.

Perfect, she no doubt thinks.


The Rise of Lonely, Single Men

The article below has been much reproduced and much commented on since it first appeared a few months ago so I thought I might say a few words about it.

For a start, I think it is accurate as far as it goes but it fails to get to the bottom of what is going on. The basic problem is that traditional sex roles have altered. And a large part of the blame for that goes back to the schools.

Education has become very feminized and that tends to be uncongenial to men. As a result they tend to drop out before women do. But educational qualifications are still the highroad to many good jobs. So women tend to have more prestigious jobs and, to some extent, better pay.

So men have lost the occupational, educational and financial advantage they once had. They have, in other words, lost a lot of what used to be attractive to women. And women are therefore less likely to take an interest in them. So women look for other things in a man. And a major one is compatible values. But values tend to be influenced by your sex. There are intrinsic differences between male and female values. So when values become of over-riding significance for women, their own female values will be part of that. They will hope for some sign of female values in a man.

But that is an uphill requirement. Men will often be poor at providing such a value match, which will be bad for both parties. Neither the men nor the women will be able to find that they want. Neither the men nor the women are to blame. It is an educational and economic imbalance that has driven them apart.

What is to be done? I am afraid all I have to offer is that great old British solution: Compromise. Women have to stop expecting the impossible from men and men have to learn more respect for female values. It will not be easy for either party but to the extent it happens, both men and women will be happier.

The sad thing about it all is that the more desirable people will do OK anyway. It is the less desirable men and women who will need to change in order to find partners. And for some that will be really uphill. A major factor in interpersonal attraction is appearance and the factors there can be of stark importance. Good-looking men and women will find one another and be happy in a union but others will not. And, to be blunt about it, fat women and short men will fail to attract. Those are not the only factors in appearance but they are a big part of it.

Fortunately, appearance can be supplemented in other ways. The classic is short men who drive big cars and who are dapper in dress. They tend to be amusing to other men but women are sometimes impressed.

A less obvious example of a compensatory characteristic is a high IQ. I benefited from that. I have only ever been average in looks but my high IQ has been very attractive to one class of women: High IQ women. Women LOATHE being partnered with a man who is dumber than they are. So my arrival in the life of a high IQ woman tends to be very welcome. And I am not blowing smoke in saying that. I married fine women 4 times and, although I am now in my 80th year, I have recently acquired a very bright new girlfriend. And life is not fair. High IQ women tend also to be better looking. Terman and Oden noted that way back in the 20s. And my girlfriend is unusually good-looking for her age (in the 70s).

But both looks and IQ cannot be changed by wishing it. So other factors will have to be attended to in partnering. And there are a few of those. A dominant but polite personality is attractive to many women, for instance. But best of all is simply listening. Both men and women vary greatly in what they are and what they want so listening to the other party, finding out what they value, and trying to provide that will always be a leading way to satisfactory relationships.

Younger and middle-aged men are the loneliest they’ve been in generations, and it’s probably going to get worse.

This is not my typical rosy view of relationships but a reality nonetheless. Over the last 30 years, men have become a larger portion of that growing group of long-term single people. And while you don’t actually need to be in a relationship to be happy, men typically are happier and healthier when partnered.

Here are three broad trends in the relationship landscape that suggest heterosexual men are in for a rough road ahead:

Dating Apps. Whether you’re just starting to date or you’re recently divorced and dating again, dating apps are a huge driver of new romantic connections in the United States. The only problem is that upwards of 62% of users are men and many women are overwhelmed by the number of options they have. Competition in online dating is fierce, and lucky in-person chance encounters with dreamy partners are rarer than ever.

Relationship Standards. With so many options, it’s not surprising that women are increasingly selective. I do a live TikTok show (@abetterloveproject) and speak with hundreds of audience members every week; I hear recurring dating themes from women between the ages of 25 and 45: They prefer men who are emotionally available, who are good communicators, and who share their values.

Skills Deficits. For men, this means a relationship skills gap that, if not addressed, will likely lead to fewer dating opportunities and longer periods of being single. There's less patience for poor communication skills today. The problem for men is that emotional connection is the lifeblood of healthy, long-term love and it requires all the skills that families still are not consistently teaching young boys.
While there’s probably no chance of stemming the rising tide of unintentional single men, there is some good news.

The algorithms are becoming increasingly more complex on dating apps and other online platforms. One result is that great matches are on the rise. One dating app, Hinge, found through beta trials that 90% of users rated their first date positively, with 72% indicating that they wanted a second date.

How can men reap the benefit of the algorithms? Level up your mental health game. That means getting into some individual therapy to address your skills gap. It means valuing your own internal world and respecting your ideas enough to communicate them effectively. It means seeing intimacy, romance, and emotional connection as worthy of your time and effort.

Ultimately, we have an opportunity to revolutionize romantic relationships and establish new, healthier norms starting with the first date. It’s likely that some of these romances will be transformative and healing, disrupting generational trauma and establishing a fresh culture of admiration and validation.

Men have a key role in this transformation but only if they go all-in. It’s going to take that kind of commitment to themselves, to their mental health, and to the kind of love they want to generate in the world. Will we step up?


The Capitalist Origins of the Myers-Briggs Personality Test

I am putting up below the opening blast of a history of the MBPT.  It makes some useful points.  The curious thing about the MBPT is that it has intuitive appeal to a lot of people and many take its categorizations semi-seriously as applicable to themselvres.

That is rather a pity as the test is a psychometric disaster area.  It is not internally consistent and often fails to give the same answer twice when it is administered on more than one occasion.  It psychometrician's terms it lacks both validity and reliability.

There are now however now a lot of personality tests which do have good scientific credentials -- the "Big Five" etc.

I might declare an interest here. I have been a very active psychometrician. I suspect that I have had published more tests than anyone else. In just one article I published six different measures of six separate concepts -- all reliable and valid. Most of my work, however, was in the field of attitude measurement, not personality measurement. I did however make contributions to the measurement of anxiety, dogmatism and ambition (achievement motivation). See my categorized list of articles here. My measure of achievement motivation has proved particularly popular with other researchers

We tend to think of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as a frivolous internet distraction, akin to the hundreds of BuzzFeed quizzes that help us pass the time and think about ourselves in new (if not especially serious) ways. But in the mid-20th century, businesses used it as a powerful tool in hiring and management, changing the trajectories of many workers’ lives. What most of these businesses’ executives didn’t know was just how arbitrary the “science” behind the indicator was.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was the brainchild of a mother and daughter, Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. They had no formal background in psychology or statistics, but they did have a fervent belief that their experiences as mothers and wives had taught them all about the innate, immutable power of personality types. Born in 1875, Katharine Briggs had always been fascinated by the idea of personality. She became a minor celebrity in the 1920s while writing parenting columns about how she educated her daughter, Isabel. When Isabel left for college, Katharine fell into a deep depression. It was then that she discovered the writings of Carl Jung, whom she called her “savior,” her “maker,” the “author of her life.” Over time, Katharine developed a way of categorizing people’s personalities using a variation of Jung’s theory of psychological types: introversion/extraversion, intuition/sensing, feeling/thinking, and to this she added perception/judging.

Her system never really caught on until her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, developed it into a 117-question marketable “indicator” — never a “test,” since there were no right or wrong answers, no good or bad types. Myers sold it to Edward N. Hay, a family friend and one of the first personnel consultants in the United States. With the rise of the labor force during and after World War II, newly established consultancies like Hay’s were warming to the idea of using cheap, standardized tests to fit workers to the jobs that were “right for them,” a match made under the watchful eyes of executives eager to keep both profits and morale high.

Personality tests spoke for more than just an individual person or company; they represented an emergent culture of white-collar work.

From the end of World War II to the beginning of the arms race in the early 1950s, news of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator thundered through Pennsylvania, New York, and Washington, D.C. As men built bomb shelters and children practiced attack drills, Isabel picked up accounts, and these accounts began to double, even triple, in size. She took on large orders from colleges, government bureaus, and pharmaceutical companies; from Swarthmore, her alma mater; from her father’s longtime employer, the National Bureau of Standards; from the First National Bank of Boston, Bell Telephone, and the Roane-Anderson Company — a subcontractor for atomic weapons her father introduced Isabel to through his contacts on the Manhattan Project. She was not shy about asking for help or using her family’s connections.

Never one to miss out on an opportunity for self-promotion, Edward N. Hay wrote to his corporate client list on Isabel’s behalf, taking the credit for the indicator’s success despite his apparent lack of familiarity with its origins or the theory behind it. “The test is based on Jung’s Psychological Type-Mind,” he informed one client. “It was developed by Mrs. Isabel Briggs-Myers out of an experiment she did with me in 1942. I have used it in my consulting work quite a little.”

By the mid-1950s, Isabel’s clients were the largest utilities and insurance companies in the United States. They regularly spent upwards of $50 a year on test booklets and answer sheets. The Home Life Insurance Company of New York purchased it twice—first to determine whether an applicant would make for a successful life insurance salesman, and then to calculate whether a life insurance applicant should pay a larger premium on his insurance. (According to Isabel’s summary of her results, extraverted intuitive types — ENTPs and ENFPs — were more likely to exhibit risk-taking behavior.)

More here:

One of Australia's most prestigious universities to crack down on students who claim to be Aboriginal without ANY proof

About time. Malcolm Smith has a graphic commentary on the matter. I put up a similar gallery in 2020

One of Australia's most prestigious universities has been praised for a crackdown on students 'rorting the system' by falsely claiming they are Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander.

The University of Sydney has drafted a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Status Policy which means undergraduates can no longer simply sign a statutory declaration to prove they have a First Nations background.

Instead, the university may force students to supply a 'letter of identity' from a local Aboriginal Land Council and complete the Commonwealth Government's three-part identity test.

Radio 2GB host Ben Fordham praised the university for introducing the measures and called on others to follow suit.

'Other organisations should introduce stronger checks too, because what we're seeing is wrong and it's fraudulent,' he said.

The changes come after lobbying from Aboriginal land councils which allege there has been a significant increase in people applying for the benefits.

The latest Census results released in June 2021 found a 25 per cent increase in Australians identifying as Indigenous.

Indigenous groups said the way the current system is being abused is 'embarrassing'. 'It's open fraud. We say to academic students: can they pass a paper without citing a verified source?' Aboriginal Land Council CEO Nathan Moran told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Michael Mansell, Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania chairman, said poor white people were falsely identifying as Indigenous in a move he called 'identity seeking'. "They don't attribute any value to their identity as a poor white person in Tasmania, so they are searching to attach themselves to something that has greater value and I think many of those people believe that's in being Aboriginal,' he said following the release of the Census results.

Fordham said students abusing the system for places in courses or more affordable degrees was 'wrong and fraudulent'. 'They are attending schools, they're getting jobs and taking away opportunities from people who grew up Indigenous,' the 2GB host said.

'People are falsely identifying as Indigenous when they're not - there are Indigenous voices calling out a fraud, and we should be listening to them.

'Sydney Uni should be congratulated and other organisations should be following suit. Because it's wrong and it's fraudulent. Some of the so-called First Nations people receiving benefits are as genuine as a three dollar note.'

A spokesperson for Sydney University said its review was not motivated by fraudulently claimed scholarships, but the institution wanted to ensure its program was 'in line with current community expectations'.

'[The review] was initiated in response to multiple expressions of community concern, particularly in relation to the use of statutory declarations, rather than any specific concerns about fraud,' they said.

'We are seeking feedback and further input from members of our own and the broader community, representative organisations and other universities on this culturally significant matter.'

The university has an enrolment of 0.9 per cent Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islander students, which is below the national sector average of 1.72 per cent.

Students however believe the change in policy could result in at-need Indigenous people missing out on places because of the red tape around new enrolment.

'This new policy is likely to disproportionately affect Indigenous people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds,' a group of Indigenous students opposing the change said in a statement.

'In some circumstances students may come from abusive families, have been in foster care or for other reasons not be able to get family documentation to undergo the process that has been proposed.'


NYC judge rules polyamorous unions entitled to same legal protections as 2-person relationships

One wonders about the ramifications of this. A major privilege for married couples is concessional income tax rates. Will all parties in such a union get such a concession? And if they do, might it not encourage lots of people to claim being part of such a union? Given such considerations, a higher court could well overrule this verdict

An opinion from New York City’s eviction court has come down on the side of polyamorous unions.

In the case of West 49th St., LLC v. O’Neill, New York Civil Court Judge Karen May Bacdayan reportedly concluded that polyamorous relationships are entitled to the same sort of legal protection given to two-person relationships.

West 49th St., LLC v. O’Neill involved three individuals: Scott Anderson and Markyus O’Neill, who lived together in a New York City apartment, and Anderson’s husband Robert Romano, who resided elsewhere.

Anderson held the lease, and following his death, the building’s owner argued that O’Neill had no right to renew the lease because he was a “non-traditional family member.”

The attorney for the property owner said that O’Neill’s affidavit, in which he claims himself as a non-traditional family member, is a “fairytale.”

According to LGBTQ Nation, the case returns to court after further investigation of the three individuals’ relationship.

In her decision, Judge Bacdayan highlighted the importance of a previous case and asserted that the existence of a triad – no matter how they got along – should not automatically dismiss O’Neill’s claim to non-eviction protections.

In the case at hand, Bacdayan notes how changes since 1989 play a role, including changes to the definition of “family.”

She notes the law has rapidly proceeded in recognizing that it is possible for a child to have more than two legal parents.

“Why then, except for the very real possibility of implicit majoritarian animus, is the limitation of two persons inserted into the definition of a family-like relationship for the purposes of receiving the same protections from eviction accorded to legally formalized or blood relationships?” asked Bacdayan.

“Why does a person have to be committed to one other person in only certain prescribed ways in order to enjoy stability in housing after the departure of a loved one?” she continued. “Do all nontraditional relationships have to comprise or include only two primary persons?”

Bacdayan pondered whether a person who would not meet the requirements for succession to a rent-stabilized apartment after Braschi was decided could now be evicted when they may qualify – as was concluded in Braschi – under a more inclusive interpretation of a family.

The judge notes that the “problem” with cases like Braschi and the landmark Obergefell v. Hogdes – which held that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees the right for same-sex couples to marry and requires all states to recognize and issue marriage licenses for those couples – is that they “recognize only two-person relations.”

“Those decisions, however, open the door for consideration of other relational constructs; and, perhaps, the time has arrived,” Bacdayan said, citing a passage from Justice John Roberts’ Obergefell dissent.

“If not having the opportunity to marry serves to disrespect and subordinate gay and lesbian couples, why wouldn’t the same imposition of this disability … serve to disrespect and subordinate people who find fulfillment in polyamorous relationships?” Roberts wrote.