Australian Federal election: Top high school graduates to be given $12k if they study teaching under Labor plan

This is pretty dumb.  Teaching has long been known as an option of last resort for high school graduates.  Getting the brighter graduates with more options into it is going to be a rarity.  

It seems, though, that you only have to do a teaching degree to get the money.  You are not obliged actually to teach.  That might attract some takers.  A teaching degree is notorious for low standards but it is probably no more futile than an Arts degree.  

Some jobs (mainly in the government) require ANY degree.  That's where Arts graduates go at the momnent.  A teaching degree could end up the same

Anthony Albanese will on Monday announce the $146.5m plan, saying the incentives will lead to a “brighter future” for students and the nation.

“We want to make sure our kids get the best education they can,” the opposition leader said.

“That means we have to make sure they get the best quality teaching.”

If elected, 1000 students a year who obtain an ATAR of 80 or above will get $10,000 to study an education degree.

They would also get a bonus $2000 if they complete their placements at regional public schools.

Graduates who cash in could reap almost $50,000 over the course of their degree, typically four years, to spend how they please.

Only 3.3 per cent of students with an ATAR over 80 choose to study teaching.

The five-year scheme aims to double the number of high achievers becoming teachers to 3600 a year over the next decade.

Labor’s education spokeswoman, Tanya Plibersek, said lifting teaching standards would help stop the slide in students’ results.

“I want students competing to get into teaching like they do to get into medicine or law,” Ms Plibersek said.

“If we want a better future in Australia, we need a smart, skilled workforce so we can compete for jobs and growth with our neighbours.”

Bob Katter: A Lebanese Aborigine?

Bob is very popular in Far North Queensland -- where I also come from.  All four of my grandparents were  born up that way, as I was. In my memory, the Far North was a very conservative place.  Views that today identify me as very conservative were simply normal during my early life in North Queensland.   It is my "spiritual" home.

It is over 30 years since I spent much time back up there, though I did have a couple of holidays there, with the last such being in 2004.  So I have often wondered if my old home is still as conservative as it was.  My impression is that not much has changed

And Bob's great popularity up that way confirms it.  He too is very consrervative. So I am rather pleased with his views and what he does. As a member of Federal parliament he represents the North well

But I don't like his claim to be Aboriginal. He bases that claim on once having been "adopted" into an Aboriginal tribe.  And under current Australian law, if he "identifies" as an Aborigine, he IS an Aborigine.  I am critical of that rule in general so I deplore Bob using it for political advantage.

In fact he is, if anything, Lebanese, though he fiercely denies it.  He grew up in a clothing shop run by his Lebanese grandfather.  It is a curiosity of North Queensland that there are or were in many towns a men's clothing shop run by Lebanese immigrants -- with surnames like Mellick and Malouf.  I remember them well.

The surname Katter is most common among Americans of German origin.  In German, a "Kater" is a tomcat

Bob Katter has declared his people made a 'big mistake' 250 years ago by letting in whitefellas, and that's why Australia should keep borders shut to asylum seekers ahead of Saturday's federal election as he prepares for his 10th win.

A surprising little-known fact about the controversial Queensland MP is that he identifies as Aboriginal, but Mr Katter recently spoke candidly about the subject during a TV appearance when addressing foreign policy and the plight of refugees.

'I come from Cloncurry, and I'm dark - I'm one of the Curry mob, you know?' Mr Katter said on ABC's Q&A.

'We made a hell of a bad mistake 150 years ago, letting you whitefellas in. I don't know that we should make the same mistake again.'

Why Do Men Date Younger Women?

Jillian Richardson says below that men are  keen to date younger women because older women are more inflexible.  She puts a kinder spin on it but that is what it amounts to.  

And she is right.  Young women leap into relationships with greater alacrity than older ones do.  But it is  only a matter of degree.  Women of all ages want relationships, with women in their 30s pretty keen too.  That biological clock promotes great flexibility.  

And my current girlfriend and I have formed a warm relationship despite meeting in our 70s.  And it certainly took a lot of flexibility for us to get there.  We both made large compromises to form our relationship. So flexibility is undoubtedly a help but it is not a monopoly of the young.  

I am afraid that it is all simpler than Jillian admits.  It's about looks.  Youth is beautiful. And men, like everybody else, go for that.  Women battle it energetically but their looks deteriorate as they get older.  

And I am not at all disrespecting older women. I in fact appreciate older women.  I once married a lady 11 years older than me and two others of my significant relationships were with women 5 year older than me. Though most of my relationships have been with women younger than me.

So I personally think that age has little to do with the matter. I have found fine women of all ages.  If the woman is  good enough she will find a good partner.  Looks do matter but age need not be a barrier.  Looks are only one factor in attractiveness.  

I prioritize brains myself.  And that has a perhaps surprising benefit.  High IQ women also tend to be better looking.  Life is not fair.  All three of my ladies that I mentioned above have been  good looking.  And Zoe, my present partner, is readily taken for much younger than she is

This week on Instagram, I saw a video where actress Paulina Porizkov said that most men don’t want to date a woman in her 50s or 60s.

Her comments really hit my heart. Recently, I’ve been feeling very connected to the Jillian who is in her 40s and 50s. I think about how, if she is single, most of my male friends of the same age wouldn’t date her. (Context for people who are reading this and don’t know me — I’m in my twenties.)

I shared this in my Instagram stories, along with this commentary: “To every man reading this, if you’ve never dated a woman your own age, why? If you almost always date younger women, why?

Because here’s my knowing (trigger alert):

Whether you recognize it or not, older men usually date younger women because they have fewer boundaries and expectations. They’re easier to control. And you as a man cannot handle the power of a woman your age.

This is something I have been talking about and reflecting on a lot, but never posted on social media because I want everyone to like me. And this is something that men probably don’t want to hear. But I’m working on being ok with people not liking me so… I said what I said.”

What happened next absolutely blew my mind. I’ve never received so many DMs from people. Almost 100 women said that they would join for a conversation on this topic.

Clearly, this discussion stirred people’s emotions. You can see it in my stories highlights here. I include (with permission) tons of messages that people sent me.

This morning I was doing a guided meditation, and the voice asked: “What gift do you want to give people?” I thought about it and started to cry. Because this week, I want to give women the gift of knowing that they’re lovable, desirable, and worthy at any age — regardless of the feedback that they’re given. I want women to feel that in their soul.

When the governing elite ignore the people

Large majorities  of the population in countries like the USA and Australia consistently say that immigration needs to be cut back -- particularly immigration from Muslim and Third world countries. The governing elite simply ignore that wish.  

So it is pretty inevitable that there will be some people who attempt to do what the elite will not.  Such people have no power to expel those they disapprove of so do the one thing they can do:  shoot

The Buffalo supermarket killer says he was driven to kill by the ‘great replacement theory’ which claims white people are being driven to extinction by migrants.

Payton Gendron’s 180 page Google Drive document detailed his twisted reasons for carrying out Saturday's massacre at the Top Market supermarket, killing 10.

A large part of the manifesto focused on the 'great replacement theory'. IT claims whites are being deliberately outnumbered in the US by migrants from other countries to skew elections in favor of the Democrats. 

The manifesto said that he'd been radicalized entirely by the internet - rather than anyone he'd met in real life - and added that he’d been inspired by Brenton Tarrant. 

Tarrant is a white supremacist who live-streamed himself murdering 51 Muslims at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019.

Gendron said: 'The truth is my personal life and experiences are of no value.' 

Gendron said Tarrant ‘radicalized him the most’ while discussing what had spurred him to shoot 13 people, 10 of them fatally. 

Police said 11 of the people he shot were black, with the other two white.

The rejected soulmate lady again

I originally commented on this story on 9th. But the Daily Mail has now picked it up. And they have added a whole lot of comments from readers about the story. The opening of their story:

"A mother-of-two has gone viral on social media after writing a memoir about leaving her husband of 14 years to pursue a stranger who she thought could be her 'soulmate'.

Amanda Trenfield, from Sydney, explained that she spent 20 years building a 'somewhat predictable life' with a career in the financial services alongside caring for two young children and her marriage.

In an extract from her new book, published by The Sydney Morning Herald, Amanda said that she was hoping to reconnect with her husband during a three-day conference in Margaret River but found herself drawn to another man, Jason, at the event due to the 'strong and raw' electricity between them"

None of the comments showed much understanding of what the woman reported so I am glad that I was able to add a supportive voice to the discussion.

At one level what she reported was a teenage "crush" very late in life but I thought that there was more in it than that. I have actually had similar experiences at a somewhat lower intensity. So I thought it might be appropriate for me to tell a bit about how it once went for me quite recently -- in 2022 -- with me in my 70s

In my story the lady is the one who was conflicted. We both felt right to one-another from the beginning but a circumstance made a relationship impossible. She knew that she should see nothing of me after our first meeting but for a while she just could not let me go.

We got on very easily during our initial meeting over morning tea but there was a large age gap between us. I was 77 and she was 64. We both saw that as a problem so all I could offer her was friendly dinners.

It turned out that my offer was attractive to her. And we did subsequently enjoy one another's company a lot over many dinners -- mostly on Saturday nights. Except for the age problem we would have formed a lasting relationship to see us through our remaining years.

Despite recognizing that we were not going anywhere together, she still wanted to see rather a lot of me. She too saw us as being of a related "type"

We never did have stable arrangements. A couple of times my physical unsuitability would get to her and she would email me breaking it off between us. Come the next Saturday night, however, she would relent and ask me to take her to dinner. I was happy to oblige. A friendship is less demanding than a sexual relationship.

Saturday is of course the big "going-out" night in our culture so that was significant. You usually see your "significant other" on that night

So on one such occasion we went to a nearby Burmese restaurant where we had a very good dinner and where we got on well. We watched some operetta back at my place after dinner.

Later on on a Sunday I had a breakfast at my usual haunt with her. She picked me up from home in her large Toyota Camry hybrid. We got on famously. Our breakfast lasted 3 hours, the latter half of which we spent back at my place! We discussed a remarkable range of things, including some quite intimate details of our pasts.

On a later date, she said she had been celebrating her 64th birthday with her family all the week so needed a special dinner on Saturday night. So I took her to the Persian restaurant, which always impresses. As I usually do, I ordered the the platter for two, which is actually two large platters plus a smaller platter, all three covered with enticing food. She was suitably impressed.

I had intended to bring a bottle of champagne but forgot. So she offered to walk down to the nearby drive-through to pick up a bottle. I gave her a $20 for the purpose. She asked me what I wanted and I said: "Just some cheap champagne". She was quite tickled by that. She kept repeating "cheap champagne"! She knows I am well-off so was surprised that I would drink such a thing. I just smiled. Anyway she came back with a rather impressive-looking $30 bottle of French champagne. French wine has got a lot cheaper in recent years. She said "I don't do cheap champagne". She is the ex-wife of a well-off professional man so is probably a bit spoilt. What she bought was a reasonable drop.

She and I normally dined together on Saturday evenings. Last Saturday, however, she was away for the long weekend ending on Monday. She obviously missed our Saturday, however, as she texted me on Tuesday morning (6th), asking if we could have breakfast together. I got the text a bit late for that so I took her to the "Buncha Buncha" North Vietnamese restaurant at Stone's corner that night.

On the way home, we picked up a dessert from Aldi-- Mango sorbet. We took it back to my place. First we had a cup of tea then the dessert. After that we watched part of an operetta on DVD. We were both a bit tired before we had watched much of the operetta so called it a night at that stage: a very pleasant night

Later: I had a particularly nice time with her at my place that night. She brought over champagne and some excellent pizza and drank rather a lot of the champagne. We mostly talked about relationships. We have both had a few

So for a while she and I had been having some good Saturday night dinners. And we got steadily closer as dinner followed dinner. We found a lot in common in our thinking.

So on another Saturday we had another good dinner together at a local restaurant, followed by dessert at my place, which was as pleasant as usual. But this time there was a sequel

Next day she turned up to meet me for breakfast as well. Dinner only with me was not enough this week. And after breakfast we did a Sunday drive to Wynnum. So I now seemed to have a definite new friend, which pleased me greatly. We did have lots of laughs while we were together

But something came up in her life that alerted her to where we were going and she knew that the age gap between us would be a long-term problem for her so she finally broke it off with me.

My present relationship is in some ways similar. I rapidy got on well with Zoe but there was not the compelling initial feeling like I had with the lady above. There does seem to be a strong draw to me for her, however. We both are aware of great differences between us and she often comments on them. She is for starters a Serb with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Belgrade. So much for a common culture! And she has often declared it "off" between us because of our differences. But she kept coming back to me and we now have arrived at a warm relationship between us. I think she is gorgeous. See her below -- JR

UPDATE: Zoe has now read the above story. She commented that she too initially thought that I was not right for her but she too found that she could not leave me alone

Crazy love

The strength of the attachment that some women develop towards a man never ceases to amaze me. The story below is an  enormously sad example of that.  

We all know that women tend to like tall, well-built  men but what if the man is 6'9" tall?  For one lady, a 56-year-old widow, it produced a love so strong she sacrificed everything for the chance of being with her man.   But her love was obstructed by his circumstances.  He was in jail for murder.  

So there was no real hope that she could ever live with him.  So she tried a desperate gamble and when that failed she suicided. She could not live without him.

The love of a woman can be an amazing thing.  What women put up with from their men is a never-ending wonder: A very sad wonder in this case.  She was attractive and resourceful but her love betrayed her. A terrible waste

In an obscure Indiana town on the banks of the Ohio River, the 11-day manhunt for escaped convict Casey Cole White and his jailboss girlfriend Vicky White came to a crashing end.

The Alabama fugitives, who’d been in a “jailhouse romance” for nearly two years before Vicky broke Casey out of the Lauderdale County jail on April 29, were found hiding in plain sight at a dingy, roadside motel some 300 miles away on Monday.

With cops hot on their tail, they fled the Motel 41 in Evansville and led police on a chase that ended later that afternoon when members of the US Marshals Service rammed into the couple’s latest getaway car, sending it careening into a ditch.

The pair had planned to end their time on the run in a bloody blaze of glory by starting a shootout with police — but instead, Vicky turned the gun on herself the moment cops closed in, while Casey surrendered.

Infidelity is not always a bad thing: How having a romance on the side can be considered 'self-care' that can actually prolong a marriage

This is all very well but it overlooks a major reason why infidelity is normally condemned: The person dating outside the marriage may find that they like the new lover better than their normal partner. It often happens. And that mostly leads to a marriage breakup

I did myself for a long time allow the lady in my life to do as she wished as long as it did not reduce her time with me.  And she did have a number of affairs. And after living for 14 years under that arrangement, I thought we would continue on our customary way indefinitely.  

But the unexpected (to me) did happen.  She ended up deciding that she liked one of her alternative partners better than me and prioritized him thenceforth.  So a romance on the side may be allowable for various reasons but it may lead to the loss of a valued partner

The old way has its reasons. 

My policy of tolerance did however pay off in one way.  The lady's new partner was disappointed when she informed him that she would continue to see me on a part-time basis.  She has done so.  She is a good catch so he puts up with that

Infidelity need not ruin a marriage and having a secret affair may be a form of 'self-care' that can benefit all participants and prolong the union.

That is the contentious viewpoints of Isabella Mise, the Communications Director at Ashley Madison - a dating platform created for married people who want to have discreet affairs, and believes.

The 36-year-old told Daily Mail Australia members are looking to form connections with other like-minded people.

'Monogamy works for a lot of people, but it doesn't always work for everyone long term,' Isabella said.

Isabella said Ashley Madison members usually feel happy in their marriage but seek something the relationship lacks.

Some are wanting to feel desired by someone new, while others are seeking an emotional connection rather than sexual pleasures. 

'I've spoken to members who have been married for 20 years or people who married their high school sweethearts and haven't slept with anyone else; no two marriages are the same,' Isabella said.

Isabella said Ashley Madison members usually feel happy in their marriage but seek something the relationship lacks.

Some are wanting to feel desired by someone new, while others are seeking an emotional connection rather than sexual pleasures. 

'I've slowly realised that infidelity is not always what you think and isn't what you see in movies.'

During lockdown married people reported feelings of boredom, isolation and loneliness 

Some believe infidelity was a 'reliable form of self-care' as their overall mood improved

In most cases the dating platform 'has helped preserve marriages'   

Over the past two years, Covid lockdowns and restrictions have put relationships to the ultimate test. 

'No one anticipated they would spend 24 hours with their significant other handling working from home, home schooling and living in such close quarters,' Isabella said.

'Affairs aren't the key to happiness in a marriage, but an outlet for many couples or married people wanting to date again.

'It can be a form of self-care - something people do for themselves that allows them to return to their primary relationship feeling less stressed or anxious.'

Proof that beauty is not everything

Paige Spiranac has it all:  An exceptionally pretty face in an extremely sexy body.  Yet it took her a while to find a partner who suited her. She is now aged 29 and has been married for five years but before that she had a lot of boyfriends.  I cannot imagine that any of those boyfriends would have let her go willingly so think that she must have been the one to break off the relationships concerned.

She does admit to being very tyrannical about how her men have to look and dress.  And she does use CNB -- a Marijuana extract -- to get to sleep.  So it would appear that she is fairly uptight.  She has missed out on a relaxed personality, which must be stressful at times.  She is exceptional physically but only about average mentally. Anyone with the gift of contentment -- which includes many conservatives -- would have a happier life than her  -- JR


Less than a month after I met my soulmate, I ended my 14-year marriage

The story below by Amanda Trenfield reads like chicklit but is apparently a factual report about something that happened to her.  It has aroused a lot of comment.

I have some idea of what she is talking about. On rare occasions I do encounter a woman whom I recognize immediately as one of "My" women.  We may have only the slightest opportunity to communicate but I feel immediately that I know her of old and I in particular know that we would be completely at ease and happy with one-another in a relationship. It is a wonderful experience

The obvious question  has to be why such a recognition occurs. One posibility is that a lot of the things one likes in other people are suddenly there all in one person. But how do we know that? As far as I can tell it is a combination of very subtle behaviours,  something to do with way the lady looks at me, particularly.  But what is conveyed is for me a recognition of a common culture.  This person has a range of beliefs and attitudes and responses that remind me of people I have been most familiar and at ease with in the  past.  No real idea why.

In my case the recognition is usually reciprocal.  The lady feels the same way about me.  It may in fact be the lady who speaks to me first.  I must sound like I am imagining things but for me as for the lady below it is quite a powerful feeling

I wasn’t expecting a formal dinner with cheerful conference attendees in the beautiful West Australian town of Margaret River to turn my life upside down. I had a good life. I wasn’t looking to upend it – or was I?

I had decided only the week earlier to attend the three-day event with my husband. It wasn’t in the family holiday plan and we had to arrange care for the children, but I saw it as a perfect opportunity for us to reconnect, as we had become quite distant. I believed that time away from the stress of everyday life was the perfect remedy to reignite our relationship.

We entered the magnificent oak-panelled dining room, taking our seats at a long, elegantly laid table. My husband sat to my left and quickly engaged another couple in conversation.

As I settled into my seat, I looked up and immediately lost my breath. When our eyes met there was an instant familiarity that ran deeper than water-cooler chat. These eyes had locked before. Twelve years earlier. His name was Jason. I hadn’t forgotten.

Throughout the dinner, I was my usual animated and conversational self. I was, after all, in sales. The group chatted happily, all of us enjoying an excellent degustation of West Australian delicacies cooked with attention and pride.

As the entrée was served, Jason offered me a sip of his wine to taste the robust old-vine shiraz. After a little banter and coaxing, I accepted.

Over the course of the evening, my attraction to Jason developed. I soon became aware of his every breath and I unconsciously mirrored his pace. I caught myself, embarrassingly, looking at his chest through his slim-fitted white evening shirt. Yes, he had a fit, toned and attractive body, but was it his chest I was drawn to?

When dessert was served, he offered me a sample of his decadent and oozy chocolate pudding. I declined, but he scooped up a generous spoonful and fed me across the table anyway. He displayed a level of familiarity normally reserved for close friends or lovers. If anyone had been watching us, they would have been at least curious as to the nature of our relationship.

By the time the group left the restaurant late in the evening, all my senses were on high alert. It was abundantly clear that the energy between Jason and me was somehow charged. I instinctively understood, though, that this was more than just lust, something I had felt many times before. I also understood that it was more than simply physical attraction, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

At the hotel bar, Jason bought me a glass of my favourite rosé. We looked into each other’s eyes – his dark and mysterious, mine big and brown – and clinked glasses. The electricity between us was strong and raw. It travelled to my core. It was so intense I needed to break eye contact. He. We. The energy. It was electric. My body was completely charged. I was completely “on”.

He displayed a level of familiarity normally reserved for close friends or lovers.

I had to determinedly fight the continual pull to his side that I felt. As we moved around each other throughout the evening in various conversations, though, we were always aware of one another’s location. When we locked eyes across the room, the intensity of our stares magnified, becoming bolder as the night progressed. We held our gaze longer. Our connection deepened.

I loved talking with him. I felt warm, relaxed and safe in his presence. I felt I could truly be myself, at a level I wasn’t familiar with. I realised that it was a feeling I hadn’t enjoyed in a long, long time – perhaps ever. Sure, we were laughing and joking like old friends but the deepening connection through our eyes was undeniable.

My behaviour that evening was uncharacteristic. I stayed out way longer than I normally would; I’m usually an early-to-bed, early-to-rise type. But this was no ordinary evening. I was in no hurry to lose our connection. In fact, I wanted time to stand still. I wanted to remain in the energy, our energy, forever.

The bar called last drinks, and the evening (now the early morning) came to an end. The goodbye was overt, open and revealing of our mutual affection. We enjoyed a body-hugging embrace where I whispered into his ear, “This isn’t over, I need to see you again.” He put his hands tightly on my waist and pulled me close. “Yes,” he replied. It was all I needed to hear.

As I danced back to my room feeling vulnerable but also unexpectedly whole, I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. I had never felt anything like this before. I had never experienced this sensation. I didn’t understand the energy. It was like an out-of-body, or perhaps an “in-body”, experience.

I now know without hesitation, without question, without any doubt in my mind, my body or my heart, that the energy we experienced that evening was our souls connecting. I left Margaret River a different woman.

I knew in my heart, in my soul, in the very fabric of my being that I had profoundly changed. I couldn’t articulate the feelings, the sensations, the experience. The connectedness I experienced with Jason was at a level impossible to describe. All I knew for certain was that this one encounter, in the most unlikely of places, under the most unusual of circumstances, had dramatically altered my life.

The next few days were a complete blur. I couldn’t make any sense of my feelings. I couldn’t escape unrelenting thoughts of Jason. I certainly couldn’t fathom how I’d resume my normal life: a full-time career in financial services, the care of two young children, household chores, social engagements, being a wife. What I did understand was that the successful, comfortable and somewhat predictable life I had spent 20 years building was now of no consequence. I simply didn’t care.

I’d just met my soulmate. What could possibly be more important than that?

Less than a month after meeting Jason, having had no communication with him since our time in Margaret River, I ended my 14-year relationship with my husband.

The woman who had always been so careful, so planned, so organised and so clear about the path her life would take, had just made the most dramatic decision of her life, one affecting those dearest to her – her family.


Youth crime out of control in the Northwest of Western Australia

I am old enough to know the background of this problem.   The "youth" concerned are Aboriginal youths and they are a problem nationwide.  Ever since the missionaries were eased out of running Aboriginal settlemrents, civility in those settlements has steadily declined.  

I remember elderly Aborigines who grew up under missionary supervision.  People who know only the present crop of young Aborigines would be amazed at how Westernized they were.  They behaved  in a way that was remarkably similar to white expectations. So Aborigines can  be adaptively socialized,  given good examples of how to behave.

And nobody has come up with a management strategy which is remotely as fruitful as what the missionaries offered. The strategy mentioned nowadays is basically a strategy of desperation.  They hope to get aboriginal youth away from the cities and back into the countryside within existing Aboriginal communities.  Getting the problem out of sight is the proposed solution.  

Accommodation in Aboriginal communities is normally these days provided by some government body  and providing more of that in the "bush" communities is proposed.  How you are going to incentivize the youth to return to their communities is not explained.  A lot more than housing is needed to socialize problem youth.  A whole-of-life management programme is needed to civilize them.

But such treatment would be "paternalistic" so cannot now be contemplated. Dysfunction among Aboriginal youth will continue

The WA Government has announced a $40 million package to address youth crime. Community leaders are divided about whether it will deliver tangible change. There are calls for more than one on-country residential facility as an alternative to detention

"It was a beautiful town when I came here, everyone got on well with each other, but over the last two years, the crime rate has just grown and grown, it seems to be out of control," he said.

"The last one [break in] was pretty serious, they actually damaged a whole door…we had to close for a whole day so we lost a day's takings…the overall cost will be major."

He said there was an urgent need to find an answer.  "It seems the youth are running the streets," he said. "Everyone in town is scared."

Mr Moore's business is one of a growing number of businesses in the Kimberley caught up in a spate of property damage and crime being blamed on young people.

The WA Government announced a $40 million package on Tuesday aimed at addressing escalating youth crime in the region. 

The announcement included increased funds to expand the Target 120 program – which supports young people who are at risk of becoming lost to the criminal justice system – to nine more locations across the state.

The package also includes $15 million for a new dedicated residential facility to house at-risk youth on-country, a measure that community leaders have lobbied for over many years.

It's a move that's been welcomed by Social Reinvestment WA — an Aboriginal-led coalition of 25 not-for-profit organisations.

Coordinator Sophie Stewart said the package was a start in addressing underlying root causes of the offending and more effective interventions.

"We do need an alternative to incarceration for young people in the Kimberley and for that matter also in the Pilbara," she said.

"With the reports of the alarming conditions and human rights abuses at Banksia Hill, we're really glad to see the state government prioritising initiatives that will keep children out of prison."

Ms Stewart said keeping children close to country, community and culture would be a key part of the solution.

She said close consultation at the grassroots level would be key to the success of the new measures. "What we know is that whatever the facility ends up looking like it needs to be a therapeutic space that provides opportunities to build pathways for their future," she said.

She said there needed to be an opportunity for a job, further schooling and training as well as a therapeutic and rehabilitative space for young people living with trauma.

"For these initiatives to be successful the state government has to work in partnership with local communities and lived experience people in the design and the delivery," she said.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan has flagged Myroodah Station as a possible site for the new residential facility.

Pandanus Park resident Patricia Riley said basing the new facility in a remote area was "a great approach". Ms Riley said getting children out of major towns such as Broome and Kununurra would ease some of the challenges being faced on the ground.

"These parents go out into town and they end up staying there and then dragging their family into town, the kids get bored and get up to mischief…these poor kids they just want attention," she said. "They've got no choice but to be in town because of their parents, so it's a good idea to take these children out back onto country.

She said communities needed programs and employment delivered properly to address what people needed.

Wyndham-East Kimberley shire president David Menzel said the government should consider developing more than one on-country residential facility in the region. 

"I'm not sure whether that's singular or plural at the moment but it needs to be plural," he said. "There needs to be several options to get people out of some of the chaos that is their normal life.

"Give them somewhere where there's a bit of a breather so they can get a bit of time out, have some support systems around them to work through some of the issues."

While the package has been welcomed by some in the community as a step in the right direction, others were concerned it wouldn't be enough to address the region's complex and deep-rooted juvenile crime problem.

Nirrumbook Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Joe Grande aid the government was 'following chicken feed' instead of working with the community to tackle core issues.

His Aboriginal-run capacity building organisation mainly derives its membership from the Dampier Peninsula region, north of Broome.

"What about the money they've already spent?" he said.  "The reality is that until we all collaborate, real collaboration, true collaboration with government, then we're all going to be working in isolation from one another."

Broome Shire Deputy President Desiree Male said it remained to be seen if the programs would be enough. "Having this not work is not an option," she said.


Autism Speaks, and It’s Telling Others to Shut Up

<i>I reproduce below the opening salvo of an article about autism by an autistic person.  It is a very angry article.  It is not clear how autism manifests itself in his case but he clearly perceives that he is badly treated by others and basically would prefer it if nobody ever identified him as autistic.

But it ain't necessarily so. He rightly says that all autistics are diferent but takes no account of the fact that some autistics can be reasonably happy with their condition. He particularly fails to take note of the fact that there are often some positives to autism.  Autistics often have great "gifts" in certain areas.  They may be very good at mathematics, music etc.  And that can be very life-enhancing in some cases

And because there are a reasonable number of autistics around, it is a lively possibility that one might find oneself attracted to one.  I am myself a high-functioning autistic who is at present in a relationship with another high functioning autistic and that does to a degree ease communication between us.  But most of my relationships over the years have been with high-IQ normal women. 

But my three relationships with fellow autistics have been very positive -- experiences I have enjoyed greatly.

And one rather advantagrous thing is that autistics tend to be "glued on" to certain things and behaviours.  And that can in some cases mean that an autistic woman is "glued on" to her man. The man will often be pretty happy about that.  He will not be worried about her "straying".

So in summary, being autistic can be a rather happy experience, and one that the autistic person will happily talk about.  I am regularly forgiven some of my sins because people can see that my sins are just one aspect of my autism.  It helps people to understand me, which is always helpful</i>

Good morning, everyone! It is April 6th and I am already sick to death of Autism “Awareness” Month.

First of all, “awareness” is a ridiculous concept. The vast majority of people have heard of autism. If anything, we’d prefer a whole lot less of this particular brand of awareness.

Now, let’s talk allistics. An allistic (“person with allism”, for those of them who prefer person-first language so much) is a person who is not autistic. #TurnItDownTaupe for the poor allistics.

But really, allistics, let’s chat. You love to chat. Y’all will absolutely not stop talking during the month of April, and I have had it.

At this point, I’ve had the same conversations so many times that I have an intro like I’m in Autistics Anonymous. Hi, my name is Jo, and I’m an autistic. Yes, I’m really autistic. No, my ability to write sentences does not prove that I’m not autistic. No, it’s not a “different type” than your nephew in Wyoming. Yes, I do “seem normal”, because autism is normal.


National Character and the Quality of Peoples

Jacob Fraden below has below a discussion of national character that is unusually sophisticated.   He rightly sees any characterization of a whole nation as intolerably simplistic.   There is a great variety of personalities in any given population so lumping the whole of any population into one will simply be wrong.

What he proposes instead, however, sounds suspiciously like a traditional  social-class structure.  He says that there are three divisions of any population and each division has its own characteristics.    That  is however also a simplification.  All the members of any given population segment will not be the same.

Such a simplification may nonetheless be useful.  In my big study of social class, I found that people can readily assign themselves to a particular class and that class membership did tend to go with other attributes.  The point from that being that there can be a significant central tendency within a particular group, even if not all members of that group share the particular tendency.

So what we have to question in his class divisions is how useful they are.  Are lower class people more common in Russia and is there a central tendency among them that explains  the subservient character of the Russian population as  a whole?  Is there something in a major subgroup of the Russian population that explains the repeated subservience to tyranny that we observe in Russian history?

He offers no real proof of his claims, just his own observations.  He is just offering a proposal about what explains Russia's history of  tyranny.  He leaves a search for evidence to others.  Will research by others reveal that there is an unusually large and brutal segment at the economic bottom of the Russian population?  We will have to wait and see but it is a proposal with some promise.

It is not however the only explanation of Russian history.  It is not the place here for me to expound other explanations but Russia's long night of Mongol domination and the difficulties of surviving the severe Russian winters are two possibilities that may be worth alluding to

Many years ago, I happened to read the book Russia in 1839 by the French traveler and literary man Marquis de Custine, and there I found some interesting judgments about the Russian people:

"The Russian people are a nation of mutes. Everything is there, the only thing missing is freedom. That is, a life."

"Everyone there is too miserable to complain."

"To live in Russia, it’s not enough to hide your thoughts. You have to pretend."

"The Russians have a slave mentality, but not without an arrogance."

"The government in Russia lives only by lies, for both tyrant and slave fear the truth."

"Human life has no value there."

"Russia is a country of facades."

"The Russian people should have been completely destroyed and then created anew."

The main idea here is that compared to the Western countries, the quality of the Russian people has always been quite low. This quality has its deep roots in history, back to the 13th century, in the times of the invasions of the Mongol khan Batyi.

Yet, it was not foreign invaders who enslaved the Russian people and gradually formed its slave mentality, as the wise Marquis pointed out, but the main oppressors were the Russian princes and noblemen who paid tribute to the Mongol Horde, and who treated their own subjects as ruthless occupiers.

By way of contrast, back in 1215, the Magna Carta was adopted in England, granting liberty and protection from the Crown, while in Russia serfdom was abolished only 650 years later! Emancipation was greeted by the lower strata of society without much enthusiasm and was even accompanied by peasant revolts. Over the centuries, the slave mentality became so ingrained in the flesh and blood of the Russian people that the former serfs did not want freedom — they preferred to continue living in the yoke.

Today, 160 years after the freedom granted from above (then taken away again by the Bolsheviks), the quality of the Russian people remains hopelessly low and continues to decline. The army always reflects the character of its country, and so the war with Ukraine has brought Russia's true face to the world through its army, which turned out to be a horrible horde of murderers, rapists, and marauders.

The appallingly low moral level of the majority of the Russian population seems at first glance to be at odds with what we know of the great Russian culture, especially that created over the last 200 years. How can we reconcile the shameful behavior of a large part of the population with the highest level of what Tchaikovsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Shostakovich, and many other great Russians gave to the world?

Why did the superb Russian culture pass by the people, not ennoble it, not improve its character?  Why did all its great achievements have almost no effect on the Russian mentality?

It is appropriate here to also remember Germany 80-90 years ago — how at the time of Nazism the people of the grand German culture descended into medieval barbarism.

Why is there such a gap between the cultural heights and the behavior of people?  And what about other countries? Why did the Polish and Ukrainian peoples display in the past such ferocious and violent anti-Semitism? Why were the Lithuanian, Latvian and Belarusian peoples so ruthless toward Jews during the war? How can we explain the immoral behavior in World War II of the French, a nation of great scientists and artists? How is it that the Spanish, the people of Cervantes and Velázquez, were so cruel to the American Indians? How could the Turks have committed genocide in Armenia in 1915? Why did the Japanese, a nation of sophisticated culture, exterminate six million civilians during their occupation of China?

Looking back at the histories of different nations, one must conclude that culture has never been an antidote to evil. Every nation, even one that has created a great culture, under certain unfavorable conditions can turn into the devil and will be capable of incredible cruelties.

The moral difference between nations is in the degree of quality of people, that is, in the ratio of decent people to trash.  One nation has less trash, another has more, but no one is without sin. After many years of living in America, I have concluded that even among the kind and compassionate American people there is plenty of trash. For example, Americans are natural snitches; they are happy to snitch and inform on other people. Therefore, under very unfavorable conditions, e.g. if fascism would arise in the U.S., it would lead to very unfortunate results.

Fortunately, I must point out, fascism in the classical sense is impossible in the USA since there must be a strong element of Nazism (the idea of the superiority of one nation or race over all others). However, in America, which is made up of a large number of ethnic groups, any kind of Nazism is simply out of the question — nowadays there is not a single dominant race here.

But back to our topic. In a human soul, there are always dark and bright sides and, under certain external conditions, it’s only necessary to set in motion a specific psychological mechanism so that one of these sides comes out. People of low quality have larger dark sides that are manifested more clearly and come out much easier.  So, from such people, one can expect more trouble.

The Three-Layered Pie

In light of today's events, many people ask questions about the influence of culture on the quality of the people, but no one can find an answer. I think this problem has no solution for the reason that people and their cultural overlayer don’t mix in any way, but like water and oil coexist separately, affecting each other only to a small extent. To clarify why culture does not influence the masses, the population of any country can be represented as a three-layer pie: at the bottom, there are the uncultured plebs with low intelligence and primitive needs — a kind of amorphous mass, which according to the ancient Roman definition for a happy life needs only bread and circuses. It is this stratum that is capable of committing the worst crimes and because of its low intelligence is easily influenced and controlled by propaganda. The lower stratum is the most numerous and makes up from 40 to 90% of the population in different countries. It seems to me that in Russia the bottom layer of plebs is quite large: somewhere around 65-70%.

On the other hand, at the very top of the "pie", there is not even a layer, but rather a thin shining film of the creative intelligentsia — artists, scientists, writers, and poets. This group is the country's intellectual elite. Even in the best countries of the world, the share of а cultural layer-film probably is no larger than 1-2% of the population.

Between the lower and upper layers is what I call the "moral" layer, which consists of people capable of independent thinking and thus less influenced by propaganda. A small portion of this layer includes “consumers of culture,” of which, by the way, there are quite a few in any country. It seems to me that of the 145-million of the contemporary Russians there are hardly a million people who have read Chekhov or Tolstoy or who know who Shostakovich or Ravel are. Nevertheless, all people of this stratum are strongly influenced by cultural heritage and therefore have higher moral standards. The thickness of the moral layer varies from 10 to 50% in different countries, and it is this layer that determines the quality of people. The more massive the moral layer, the higher the quality.

According to my estimates, in Russia, this layer is somewhere around 25% of the population. If you use my estimates and apply the formula for the quality of people (a ratio of the moral stratum to the lower stratum of plebs), the coefficient of quality of the Russian people will be quite small — about 0.37. I present the reader with an opportunity to estimate itself the coefficient of quality of other nations.

All three layers do not mix and exist as if independent of each other, although sometimes individuals can migrate up and down along this "pie," from one layer to another and even exist simultaneously in two layers. The two upper layers (cultural and moral) are completely unrelated to the lower layer of the plebs. Thus, since there is no mixing of strata, what influence of culture and morality on the lower stratum, that is, on the majority of the population, can we expect? And on the contrary, the slavish amorphous mass of the lower stratum can occasionally have a negative influence on the uppermost cultural stratum.

Cultural Ostracism

In our troubled times, when Russia with incredible cruelty is waging a war in Ukraine, the rejection of everything Russian arose all over the world. Something similar to that happened during the first decade after World War II when Germans were ostracized and everything German was rejected despite their great cultural heritage. It was a natural reaction to the disgusting behavior of the masses of Germans who were part of the bottom stratum during the Nazi times. So is it any wonder that after the whole world saw how the Russian people (those fighting in Ukraine and those supporting the war) behaved, everything Russian becomes untouchable, like a shameful disease?

Unfortunately, one seldom can see the difference between the three separate layers: the large barbaric mass of the Russian people, the smaller moral layer, and the very thin upper cultural layer. Therefore, without even trying to see the difference, today everything that in any way relates to Russia is rejected en masse. In the Western countries, vigilant zealots of "justice" remove paintings by Russian artists from museums, cancel ballets and concerts by the Russian dancers and musicians, and even cut Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky from their symphony programs. It seems that the rejection of everything Russian will continue for a long time, at least until (and unless) the Russian people embark on a path of sincere public repentance, in which I have little faith — the Russian tradition has always been not to atone but to look outside for the guilty.

Russian culture has become one of the victims in this shameful war. Creative people are fleeing Russia, and therefore the already thin cultural layer is gradually disappearing, which will inevitably lead to the complete degradation of the country and its disintegration. Without culture, no nation can exist for long.


The Power of One Man over a Slavish People

Jon N. Hall seems to say below that Putin has power because of the character of the Russian people.  So Napoleon ruled because of the character of the French people?  That is clearly too simplistic.  

Putin, Napoleon, Hitler  and Trump were all influential because they made their people feel good about their country.  There was nothing in their national character that was unique

The European Health Spa was a modest gym situated in Kansas City back in the old days. It was a preposterous name because the establishment was neither European nor healthy nor a spa; they didn’t even offer mud baths. In any event, between exercises one night in the mid-1970s, a Russian expatriate named Lev asserted that the Russians are “a slavish people.”

That assessment might have been intended as an insult due to Lev being a Jew. Anti-Semitism was rife in imperial Russia, and Jews continued to suffer the occasional pogrom in their shtetls even after the commies took power. But regardless of how Lev meant it, there must be something rather slavish about a people who would think positively, as many Russians did, of a monster like Joseph Stalin.

Slavery in Russia mainly took the form of serfdom. People were bound to the land they worked. So if one inherited a farm, people came with it. There were a number of reforms and tweaks to Russia’s system of servitude going back to Peter the Great. But the serfs were finally given their “freedom,” such as it is in Russia, by Tsar Alexander II in 1861. That happens to be an important year for slavery in America. And imagine: manumission (freedom) by royal decree. How very different from what it took to free America’s slaves: a conflict between brothers that is still our bloodiest war.

Lev didn’t go into any detail about just why the Rus continue to be a slavish people, but one thing about slaves is that they take whatever is given to them. It doesn’t occur to your average slave to ask for more, as they might be beaten.

Russians had an opportunity to remake their nation back in 1991, but they failed to do so. The world, too, failed the slaves of the old Soviet Union, and that includes not only Bill Clinton but also Papa Bush as well. Before a decade had passed, Vladimir Putin had risen to power and, over the last month, it seems like the world has been thrown back to the 1940s.

Claus von Stauffenberg was a German colonel who in 1944 attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Senator Lindsey Graham recently asked if there might be a “Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military,” adding that the “only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out.” Stauffenberg, however, was an aristocrat, not a slave. The Bolsheviks pretty well got rid of Russia’s aristocrats a century ago.

If you’re a thug, perhaps a KGB agent, and you simply must be the top dog of your piece of turf, the first thing you must do is surround yourself with an inner circle of like-minded thugs, unscrupulous men willing to do anything. With an inner circle of thugs, a thug can be safe. And with an inner circle of thugs, a thug can control a population that still thinks like slaves.

If Putin were to be taken out by the military, it’s doubtful that it would be by the inner circle, the generals. It would have to be done by the rank-and-file, those the generals have thrown into “meat grinders” like Afghanistan and Ukraine. But how likely is a mutiny of grunts and conscripts that have been kept in constant fear of being shipped off to the gulag?

On March 20, the Wall Street Journal ran “Russian Withdrawal Isn’t Enough” by retired Colonel Bing West, USMC:

If Russian troops withdraw from Ukraine but Mr. Putin is still in charge in Moscow, it will be a severe defeat for America. In his meeting with all 30 NATO nations, Mr. Biden must cross his Rubicon. He must declare that the sanctions crippling Russia will remain in full force, with no exit ramps, as long as Mr. Putin remains in power. America’s objective isn’t a return to the status quo ante; it requires removing Mr. Putin[.]

With respect to Col. West, that also “isn’t enough.” Vlad Putin can’t be allowed to retire to his dachas with the billions he’s stolen from the Russian people, not after what he’s done to Ukraine. Putin is today’s Hitler, Putin is the Nazi, and Putin needs to be brought to justice for war crimes (and possibly for genocide) in today’s equivalent of the Nuremberg trials.

But even that isn’t enough: Russia needs to pay reparations to Ukraine. At least half of Russia’s oil revenue should be paid directly to Ukraine to rebuild her destroyed cities.

A complication in bringing Putin to justice is that his inner circle and elements of his military are also war criminals. So in order for Putin to be relieved of his “responsibilities,” and handed over to international authorities for trial, it may be necessary to grant immunity to those handing him over. For this to happen, Ukraine cannot lose this war.

Sunday, April 10 on Fox News, Steve Hilton interviewed attorney Gregg Jarrett on The Next Revolution about how best to prosecute Putin. Jarrett strongly advised against relying on the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and instead recommended a “special tribunal” under the auspices of the United Nations, as was done with Slobodan Milošević.

If Putin stays in power, then the West should not allow Russians to travel abroad in their countries. Let it go back to the status quo ante, the good old days of the USSR, when Russians were not only slaves but prisoners as well, in their own country.

How is it possible that one lone man, decidedly small in stature (5’5”), can intimidate an entire nation? That such a thing exists should be proof positive that Lev was right about the “slavish soul” of Russians. It’s time that Russians throw off their shackles and become a decent free people with a decent head of state. Hand over Putin.

Climate change increases cross-species viral transmission risk

Bliss! The climate tyrants and the virus tyrants get together. The elite have now got twin cannons aimed at the rest of us, each justifying tyranny over us.

But there is some logic to it. Warmer environments are better for all life and virus life should be part of that. But since the warming is trivial the effect on viral life should also be trivial.

Colin J. Carlson et al.

At least 10,000 virus species have the capacity to infect humans, but at present, the vast majority are circulating silently in wild mammals1,2. However, climate and land use change will produce novel opportunities for viral sharing among previously geographically-isolated species of wildlife3,4. In some cases, this will facilitate zoonotic spillover—a mechanistic link between global environmental change and disease emergence. Here, we simulate potential hotspots of future viral sharing, using a phylogeographic model of the mammal-virus network, and projections of geographic range shifts for 3,139 mammal species under climate change and land use scenarios for the year 2070. We predict that species will aggregate in new combinations at high elevations, in biodiversity hotspots, and in areas of high human population density in Asia and Africa, driving the novel cross-species transmission of their viruses an estimated 4,000 times. Because of their unique dispersal capacity, bats account for the majority of novel viral sharing, and are likely to share viruses along evolutionary pathways that will facilitate future emergence in humans. Surprisingly, we find that this ecological transition may already be underway, and holding warming under 2 °C within the century will not reduce future viral sharing. Our findings highlight an urgent need to pair viral surveillance and discovery efforts with biodiversity surveys tracking species’ range shifts, especially in tropical regions that harbor the most zoonoses and are experiencing rapid warming.


‘I make men take an IQ test – if they don’t pass, I ditch them’

image from

Candice Kloss

As a Mensa member who once married a very pleasant fellow Mensa member, I think I am in a good position to comment on this report. And the first thing that surprises me is that she needs test results to gauge IQ.

My Mensa wife

I have had relationships with many women over the years and know very soon after having met one whether she is bright enough. I ask her if she has a favourite piece of music by J.S. Bach. If she is completely flummoxed by that question, I know she is very unlikely to be satisfactory to me.

Mind you, if she says she prefers the music of Palestrina that answer is even better.

Having a bright partner can have some problems, however. Zoe, my present girlfriend, is clearly very bright. And it means that I cannot ever put one over her for long. I never lie to women but I do not always give all the information I could. That does not wash with Zoe. She draws correct conclusions about me amazingly quickly

An interesting footmote: High IQ people tend to be better looking as well as bright. The lady above is an example of that. Zoe is too.

New Yorker Candice Kloss – who hit the headlines last year after revealing men find her intelligence “intimidating” – has shared the extreme lengths she is willing to go to in order to find “Mr Right”, The Sun reports.

She gives prospective partners a written IQ test to take on their first date.

The model, who has 109,000 followers on Instagram, doesn’t want to “waste her time” with “idiots”.

“I want to make sure that it’s worth it to go on a second date with them,” Candice, who has been a member of Mensa since she was 17, told Jam Press.

“There are a lot of men that are attractive but if they aren’t intelligent it takes away from good looks. “How can you enjoy time with someone if you can’t connect over conversation?”

Those who pass will still have to stay on their A-game, as the model expects them to stay up-to-date on current affairs and be able to entertain her with their knowledge of maths, finance and science.

“Some people don’t care to keep up with current events, which can be a turn-off,” she said. “It’s attractive if someone picks up on things quickly, as well as emotional intelligence and a quick wit.

“Behavioural economics is my favourite topic, but it’s a lot of fun to hear anyone talk about something they’re experienced [with] and enthusiastic about.

“Growing up, I was a huge science and math nerd and still love maths.”

The college dropout is nearly considered a “genius” by Mensa standards.

According to the IQ scale, a score of 120-140 is classed as “very superior intelligence” – whereas anything over 140 is considered a “genius”.

Candice falls just short of the latter, at 136, and is in the top 2 per cent of the population for intelligence.

So, what IQ number do men need to date her?

“They need to be above average on the scale,” she said. “You don’t have to be a math whiz but you should be able to hold a conversation and be exceptionally smart in at least one subject.

“I’m attracted to intelligent (book-smart but also street-smart) men who have a good sense of humour, and are adventurous, straightforward and fun.”

Candice is often “underestimated” by men who assume she’s stupid because of her looks and modelling career.

But, she says it doesn’t bother her – in fact, she uses it to her advantage. “It’s better to be underestimated at first – I love to prove men wrong,” she previously told Jam Press.


The mystery of the Greeks

We read in our history books that the ancient Greeks were largely the foundation of our civilization. Athens and Jerusalem were the twin fountainheads of how we think to this day. Athens provided the science and Jerusalem provided the ethics. As historian of the Greek world Sean Gabb puts it:

The first lecture in the course makes a case for the Greeks as the exceptional people of the Ancient World. They were not saints: they were at least as willing as anyone else to engage in aggressive wars, enslavement, and sometimes human sacrifice. At the same time, working without any strong outside inspiration, they provided at least the foundations for the science, mathematics, philosophy, art and secular literature of later peoples

So there is a mystery there. If the Greeks of today are exceptional for anything it is indolence. Where did their ancestors get their novel ideas from?

People so far have mainly been content to see ancient Greek genius as a sort of bolt from the blue. The ancient Greeks were amazingly modern and very inspiring and that is just the way it is. There is very little enquiry about how the ancient Greeks got to be that way. It seems unlikely that some sort of genetic accident produced the ancient Greeks so so there is no obvious line of enquiry into what produced them.

But I think at least a skeleton of an explanation for their emergence has opened up. And I think the key lies in what archaeologists call the Vinca culture. I think the Greeks did have precursors in wisdom and that the precursors were nearby in Europe, in what is now often called "old Europe".

Vinca is a well documented excavation site around the modern-day Serbian village of Vinca, which is in turn close to Belgrade, the capital of modern Serbia. And the culture that is revealed there was actually widespread in South central Europe. Vinca may well not have been its focus or original source, which is why the basic culture concerned is often more generally called "old Europe". There is a considerable range of sites in which similar artifacts to those at Vinca have been found, mostly northward from Greece. We read:

As early as the 6th millennium BC, three millennia before Dynastic Egypt, the Vinca culture was already a fully fledged civilisation. A typical town consisted of houses with complex architectural layouts and several rooms, built of wood that was covered in mud. The houses sat along streets, thus making Vinca the first urban settlement in Europe, but being far older than the cities of Mesopotamia and Egypt. And the town of Vinca itself was just one of several metropolises, with others at Divostin, Potporanj, Selevac, Plocnik and Predionica.

Archaeologists concluded that in the 5th and early 4th millennia BC, just before its demise in east-central Europe, 'Old Europeans' had towns with a considerable concentration of population, temples several stories high, a sacred script, spacious houses of four or five rooms, professional ceramicists, weavers, copper and gold metallurgists, and other artisans producing a range of sophisticated goods. A flourishing network of trade routes existed that circulated items such as obsidian, shells, marble, copper, and salt over hundreds of kilometres.

The central issue in evaluating "Old Europe" is chronology. The source above places "Old Europe" as a very early phenomenon. It was for a time said to be much later but radiocarbon dating has pushed back its origins to a time at least as early as the Mesopotamian civilizations. It could even be earlier. Concerning the dating of some Vinca tablets found in Romania, we read:

Radiocarbon dating on the Tărtăria finds pushed the date of the tablets (and therefore of the whole Vinča culture) much further back, to as long ago as 5,500 BC, the time of the early Eridu phase of the Sumerian civilization in Mesopotamia. This finding has reversed our concept of the origin of writing, and it is now believed that the Sumerians inherited a Vinca tradition of 'magical' or 'meaningful' scripture, probably following the collapse of the Vinca homeland c. 3,500 BC.

That the Vinca culture was long thought to be much later than the Mesopotamian civilizations explains why virtually nothing about it appears in our history books. Depending on your chronological conclusions, it is just a minor archaeological footnote or the very origin of civilization itself.

I am taking what I think is a middling position: that "Old Europe" existed in Serbia and places North of it over a long period, with knowledge from it first being revealed to history as what we now know as ancient Greece.

I am submitting that we know so little of "Old Europe" primarily because we have no stories from it, even though some of their writings do exist. There ARE writings that have been recovered from "Old Europe" sites but we have no key to interpreting them. The writings that we have from sites in "Old Europe" do in fact resemble rather strongly the famed Cretan "Linear A" writing but we have no key to that either.

So what I think happened is that it was the wisdom preserved from "Old Europe" that suddenly popped into view in ancient Greece -- and it popped into view when the Greeks started to use an alphabet, an alphabet that is an adaptation of the Hebrew/Phoenician alphabet, an alphabet that arrived in Greece by way of Phoenician traders. Phoenicia is of course only a short sailing journey from Greece and Phoenecians were for a very long time known as dedicated marine traders.

So it is to me rather wonderful that we do know something of what our most ancient European ancestors thought. It was Greek thought.

Many of the new working class are college-educated -- and they don't like it

In the days when America used to make things, people used to think of the working class as workers on a factory assembly line.  Many jobs in new industries such as Amazon and Starbucks are however just as routine, with the wrinkle that such jobs are usually more poorly paid than the old factory jobs.  So worker dissatisfaction in such new workplaces has become widespread and that has generated the same old pressures towards unionization.

The NYT of course implies below that unionization will be helpful, even though unionization is more likely to lead to more automation and unemployment, as companies hit back. The reality is that such jobs will still exist and still be poorly paid regardless.

So is there a better solution to the problem available?  Probably not.  Such jobs will always  be unattractive and poorly paid for many of those who work in them.  They always have been and always will.

Only a big societal change in likely to change the situation.  Only  a reversal of credentialism is likely to help.  The unending pressure on people to get higher and higher educational credentials is a large part of the problem. Only a change in those pressures is likely to change things in the workplace.  

Much of the dissatisfaction driving the  move to unionization originates in people being made the false promise that more education will lead to better jobs.  For many it will not.  For them it would have been better NOT to undertake ever higher levels of education.  They are right to be angered by the false promises that have been made to them.  Disillusionment with college education seems now to be catching on.  One can only hope that it continues

Since the Great Recession, the college-educated have taken more frontline jobs at companies like Starbucks and Amazon. Now they’re helping to unionize them.

Over the past decade and a half, many young, college-educated workers have faced a disturbing reality: that it was harder for them to reach the middle class than for previous generations. The change has had profound effects — driving shifts in the country’s politics and mobilizing employees to demand fairer treatment at work. It may also be giving the labor movement its biggest lift in decades.

Members of this college-educated working class typically earn less money than they envisioned when they went off to school. “It’s not like anyone is expecting to make six figures,” said Tyler Mulholland, who earns about $23 an hour as a sales lead at REI, the outdoor equipment retailer, and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. “But when it’s snow storming at 11:30 at night, I don’t want to have to think, ‘Is the Uber home going to make a difference in my weekly budget?’”

In many cases, the workers have endured bouts of unemployment. After Clint Shiflett, who holds an associate degree in computer science, lost his job installing satellite dishes in early 2020, he found a cheaper place to live and survived on unemployment insurance for months. He was eventually hired at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, where he initially made about $17.50 an hour working the overnight shift.

And they complain of being trapped in jobs that don’t make good use of their skills. Liz Alanna, who holds a bachelor’s in music education and a master’s in opera performance, began working at Starbucks while auditioning for music productions in the early 2010s. She stayed with the company to preserve her health insurance after getting married and having children.

“I don’t think I should have to have a certain job just so I can have health care,” Ms. Alanna said. “I could be doing other types of jobs that might fall better in my wheelhouse.”

These experiences, which economic research shows became more common after the Great Recession, appear to have united many young college-educated workers around two core beliefs: They have a sense that the economic grand bargain available to their parents — go to college, work hard, enjoy a comfortable lifestyle — has broken down. And they see unionizing as a way to resurrect it.

Support for labor unions among college graduates has increased from 55 percent in the late 1990s to around 70 percent in the last few years, and is even higher among younger college graduates, according to data provided by Gallup. “I think a union was really kind of my only option to make this a viable choice for myself and other people,” said Mr. Mulholland, 32, who helped lead the campaign to unionize his Manhattan REI store in March. Mr. Shiflett and Ms. Alanna have also been active in the campaigns to unionize their workplaces.

And those efforts, in turn, may help explain an upsurge for organized labor, with filings for union elections up more than 50 percent over a similar period one year ago.

Though a minority at most nonprofessional workplaces, college-educated workers are playing a key role in propelling them toward unionization, experts say, because the college-educated often feel empowered in ways that others don’t. “There’s a class confidence, I would call it,” said Ruth Milkman, a sociologist of labor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. “A broader worldview that encompasses more than getting through the day.”

While other workers at companies like Starbucks and Amazon are also supportive of unions and sometimes take the initiative in forming them, the presence of the college-educated in these jobs means there is a “layer of people who particularly have their antennae up,” Ms. Milkman added. “There is an additional layer of leadership.”

That workers who attended college would be attracted to nonprofessional jobs at REI, Starbucks and Amazon is not entirely surprising. Over the past decade, the companies’ appetite for workers has grown substantially. Starbucks increased its global work force to nearly 385,000 last year from about 135,000 in 2010. Amazon’s work force swelled to 1.6 million from 35,000 during that period.

More here:

Study: Uber and Lyft Drivers Don’t Like Picking Up Black People Either

Now why would that be?  Would it be because of the high levels of violence among black males?    I am a former cab driver and I know how dangerous that job is.  Drivers will be very aware of possible danger and the plain fact is that there is more to fear from black than white riders.  I never refused a fare because of the race of the rider but I can understand those who do.  Women drivers are very game to do that job at all.  Some do but mainly in daylight hours

An academic report published Monday has found what many Uber and Lyft users already know firsthand: Both apps have instances of drivers declining to pick up their black fares.

According to the New York Times, researchers studied around 1,500 combined trips in Seattle and Boston, with both African Americans and white test subjects hailing separate rides with both services.

“We found that African-American travelers in Seattle experienced statistically significantly longer delay waiting for a trip request through UberX or Lyft to be accepted,” said the researchers, from the University of Washington, M.I.T. and Stanford.

“We theorize that at least some drivers for both UberX and Lyft discriminate on the basis of the perceived race of the traveler.”

This spells big trouble for the two services, both of which largely built their brands on the premise that their apps would eliminate the possibility of such bias.

Instead, passengers with black-sounding names were found to have their trips cancelled by drivers twice as often as passengers with white-sounding names. When the riders are men with black-sounding names, the number jumps to three times as often.

Uber and Lyft drivers see information about potential fares in different ways. Uber drivers don’t have any information about their riders before accepting them, but they can cancel them once their names become available; Lyft drivers, on the other hand, have access to names and photos before accepting, meaning they can opt out of picking up whoever they want.

Researchers also found that drivers took longer to accept ride requests from black men using both apps, though total wait times were the same for both races using Lyft. On Uber, wait times were longer for black men.

Similar instances of discrimination have have plagued Airbnb, where people with black-sounding names found it harder to book apartments and rooms. But Airbnb took swift action to curb racism in its services, instating a strict anti-discrimination statute that includes a bias-detection team, less-obvious personal photos, and the company hiring a more-diverse staff. The site also committed to helping users who experienced discrimination find new accommodations at the last minute. But Uber and Lyft have the additional roadblock of operating in an industry known for racism.

While the outcome of the study certainly isn’t positive, neither is the reality when it comes to street hails. As quoted in Slate:

The first taxi stopped nearly 60% of the time for white RAs, but less than 20% of the time for African American RAs. The white RAs never had more than four taxis pass them before one stopped, but the African American RAs watched six or seven taxis pass them by in 20% of cases.

Writing for Medium, Jenna Wortham saw presciently this problem coming, even in the heady days of 2014 while everyone was still lauding the rise of ride-share apps as the anti-discrimination savior we’d been waiting for.

“It’s also not entirely clear that Uber’s system is completely foolproof,” she wrote. “Because drivers can reject riders for any reason, you have no way of knowing whether it’s because of your rating, your name (from which race can often be inferred), or the neighborhood you’re in.”

Troublingly, though, neither Uber nor Lyft have yet hatched any plan to address the issue of racist drivers. Rachel Holt, Uber’s head of North American operations, told the Times there was “no place for racism on the company’s online platform,” though it has no plans to alter how it functions.

“Studies like this one are helpful in thinking about how we can do even more,” she told the paper vaguely.

Lyft similarly offered a flat statement about how the company does not “tolerate any form of discrimination.”

Amazing how a problem just vanishes when you simply deny its existence

My husband and I sleep in separate bedrooms — here’s why

I am pleased to see this story online. I am such a light and restless sleeper that I have always had to sleep separately from any partner.  There are very few women who understand that, though.  I do know what I am missing as I do enjoy lying cuddled up together at other times.  Zoe is slim and only 5'1" tall so her small body fits very neatly into my cuddle

Influencer Taylor Paul shared a video revealing the reasons why she and her husband sleep in separate bedrooms.

Paul first explained that multiple times, her husband would search around their room at night looking for a shirt.

When he would go to another room to search for it, she suggested that he just sleep in the guest room so that she could go back to bed.

She explained that the nights he slept in the guest room, she would end up having a really good sleep.

“He also sleepwalks, sleep talks, and does some creepy s**t, so this just happened to work out,” she said.

Paul also said that she likes to sleep in warmer temperatures but her husband prefers it to be cooler.

Similarly, she likes to sleep in silence, yet he likes to use a white noise machine.

“I feel like this is the best situation for us,” she said.  “We have a really healthy marriage, we get good sleep, and we both love our separate rooms.”

Giving her followers a tour of their separate rooms, she showed off her stunning bedroom, with perfect decorations, a large television, and a bathroom.

She laughed while showing off her husband’s much messier room, which had laundry thrown on the floor and his bedsheets stained from spray tans.

The couple has two children together and they believe that this sleep setup is the most beneficial for their marriage.

Viewers were split on the topic, saying: “I would never be able to!! I sleep better when he is next to me,” said one viewer, while another said: “We sleep in separate rooms because my husband snores so loud and I’m such a light sleeper.”

Housing: The election issue no one wants to talk about ahead of Federal election

<i>There is a good reason why the parties do little about this.  Governments are the cause of the problem, not the solution.   Get government out of housing and the problem would largely vanish.  

Both to buy and to rent housing is costly because the supply is legislatively restricted.  Landlord and tenant laws keep investors out of rental housing provision and land use restrictions -- "zoning" -- limit how many houses can be built.</i>

A shocking number of the most vulnerable Australians are being left out in the cold by both major parties this election, new figures reveal.

While wages have remained close to stagnant for more than a decade, rental prices in every corner of the country have climbed at an increasingly rapid rate.

The annual housing affordability survey by Anglicare found that for most low-income earners and those on welfare finding suitable housing was almost impossible.

By taking a snapshot of 45,992 rental listings from one weekend in March this year, the study found just 720 – or roughly 2 per cent – were considered affordable for someone earning a full-time minimum wage of $772.60 per week.

Those on the age pension could afford just 1 per cent of listed dwellings and for someone on a disability support pension, youth allowance or JobSeeker, the figure dropped down to zero per cent.

Affordability was measured by a person paying less than 30 per cent of their salary on rent, a long-established metric beyond which financial stress can be expected.

Some of those on higher payments could consider share housing as an affordable option; however, this may be unsuitable, particularly for older Australians.

For those on youth allowance, even a share house was above their affordability threshold.

One JobSeeker recipient from Wollongong in NSW told Anglicare that they received $580 per fortnight in payments but were paying $520 each fortnight in rent – leaving just $60 for all other expenses.

“I can‘t buy phone credit, I can’t pay my internet bill, I can’t buy money to put on my travel card. There’s just no way to stretch it to cover everything,” they said.

The report found there was not a single affordable rental or share house option for a person on JobSeeker in the Illawarra region.

With 950,000 people on JobSeeker and other unemployment payments, advocates say the issue should be front and centre of this year’s election.

“We keep hearing that this election is about living costs, but housing is the biggest cost facing Australians,” Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said.

“Voters are desperate for action. Instead, parties are promising more of the same. At best they are offering grants that overheat the market. At worst they ignore the problem,” Ms Chambers added.

Both major parties have largely shied away from even mentioning housing affordability in the early weeks of the campaign.

Scott Morrison received a swift backlash for suggesting in one interview the best way to help renters was for them to buy a house through the Coalition’s expanded first-home buyers’ support scheme.

The government's plan to relieve housing stress also includes an additional $2bn in low-cost financing aimed at delivering 29,000 more homes through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC).

Since 2018, the scheme that the Prime Minister devised during his time as treasurer has helped create around 15,000 social and affordable homes through loans to community housing providers.

Labor says it will establish a $10bn Housing Australia Future Fund to deliver 30,000 new social and affordable homes over the next five years, also through the NHFIC.

The Greens revealed that as well as committing $21bn towards building new dwellings they would remove tax breaks for those with two or more investment properties.

Ms Chambers said the situation called for 500,000 new social and affordable rentals across Australia, saying investing in housing is the “most powerful” way to make the market more affordable.

Australian Council of Social Service chief executive Dr Cassandra Goldie said she would also like to see JobSeeker payments increased on top of “a substantial boost to social and affordable housing stock and reforms to tax settings like negative gearing and the capital gains discount to address its structural causes”.

“People on low incomes are caught in crushing pincer movement of rising rents and stagnant incomes. They have long been priced out of major cities and, increasingly, from many regional areas,” she said.

“Without major housing policy changes, this situation is likely to continue to deteriorate.”