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Archive for the ‘Current Affairs’ Category

Just got back from Adelaide where Kathy and I visited my sister Amanda in hospital.

On every second bus shelter there seemed to be a poster exhorting us to put an end to child labour. It had a picture of a (black) child in a museum type enclosure, sorting some kind of grain. Children working for pay, it seemd to be saying, should be a thing of the past, remembered with horror, like the use of child miners and chimney sweeps in Britain two centuries ago.

The child was a model, of course. Real starving children don’t hang about in plastic boxes in museums.

But doesn’t that mean the child was being paid for work?

I agree children shouldn’t have to work in order to provide for themselves the basic necessities of life – food, clothing, basic education and medical care.

Although that view is probably a fairly recent one. Until a few centuries ago it was simply taken for granted that most children would contribute to family income as soon as they were able to do so – working in field, home or factory.

Sticking up posters on bus shelters in Adelaide is not going to make any contribution to the structural economic changes which will make it uneccessary for children to work to gain the basic necessities of life.

Supporting business, trade, industry and resource development will, because these things build the real wealth which enables families to free children for education and leisure.

Crop circles with an appealing Mayan theme have appeared in Wiltshire. On second thoughts, I’m not sure that the phoenix is part of Mayan mythology (it’s Persian).

Phoenix Themed Crop Circle

Phoenix Themed Crop Circle

But the whole ‘The Mayans believed the world would end in 2012’ thing is too cool to pass up.

Actually the Mayans don’t seem to have believed that, it is just that their calendar ticks over then, like an odometer.

But there are some odd references to gods returning then, so who knows?  Well, one reference. And it’s fragmentary. But that probably just means someone tried to hide it. Or something.

This is an even more interesting circle:

Pi Crop Circle

Pi Crop Circle

It is a geometric representation of the first ten digits of Pi.

Whatever else all this means, it certainly means that there are some people in Wiltshire with mathematical and artistic talent, decent lawnmowers, and plenty of time on their hands.

Last week India passed legislation decriminalising homosexual acts between consenting adults. This has not been entirely popular.

The world’s most popular guru, Swami “Baba” Ramdev, (he has an international TV audience numbering about 85 million) has said a number of things that the gay community will not like. Particularly, that being gay is a defect.

Homosexuality is a curable disease and that sufferers could seek a cure. “It can be treated like any other congenital defect. Such tendencies can be treated by yoga, pranayam and other meditation techniques,” he said.

The legalisation would have a “negative effect” on the young, while increasing the prevalence of HIV/AIDs. “These are unnatural acts not designed for human beings. The decision of the High Court, if allowed to sustain will have catastrophic effects on the moral fabric of society and will jeopardise the institution of marriage itself. This offends the structure of Indian value system, Indian culture and traditions, as derived from religious scriptures.”

I pretty much agree with him. Except maybe about homosexuality being curable through yoga.

Homosexual desire, expecially if a person is only attracted to members of the same gender, is an ‘objective disorder.’

I know many gay men and women find such a view offensive.

Gay men and women should not be judged for their disorder. We are all disordered in some way. But it is still a disorder.

I have often heard arguments along these lines: ‘This is who I am’ (well, life is pretty tragic if your identity comes from only or even primarily from who you want to have sex with). ‘I can’t help these feelings, I didn’t choose them’ (quite possibly so, but neither do pedophiles or habitual gamblers choose to have the feelings they have). ‘I was made this way, so these feelings are natural, and because they are natural, they are good.’

Not necessarily. Natural is not always good. We live in a fallen world. Even for a non-Christian, knowing this is true is simply a matter of looking at the natural world.

That falleness affects all of us in different ways. It affects all of us. We are all less than we could be. So it behoves us not to judge others if they are tempted in ways we are not.

But that does not mean we should not be clear about what is right and what is wrong, or settle for saying that wrong is right.

Tasmania is Australia’s smallest state, with just 500,000 people.

On Friday, nine people were killed in twelve hours on Tasmanian roads.

Many roads around the state are again covered by ice and frost this morning. Acting Sergeant Scott Bailey is again urging motorists to drive to the conditions.

A picture has been circulating around the web over the last few days which seems to show President Obama stealing a longing look at a 17 year old girl’s rear end.

I don’t think Obama is a good or capable leader. But it is important to be fair, and a fair assessment of what happened is probably that it was pure co-incidence that Obama happened to be looking in that direction when Mayara Tavares walked by.

It certainly wasn’t co-incidence that Nicolas Sarkozy was looking her direction, however.

Well, almost. World leaders have decreed global temperature must not increase by more than 2 degrees over pre-industrial levels.

How realistic this is depends what they mean by ‘pre-industrial.’ Generally that term would be taken to mean the time prior to the industrial revolution. That is, before about 1780. That is, about the time of the Dalton minimum.

The Dalton minimum was a period of low solar activity, low temperatures (one German station recorded a fall of 2 degrees in 20 years), and the ‘year without a Summer’ (1816).

Given that solar activity is at similarly low levels now, and that global mean temperatures have been steady or declining over the last ten years, our beloved world leaders may find they don’t need to do anything at all to achieve their tide holding back ambitions.

However, according to a paper by Wilson, Hendy and Reynolds, published in Nature in 1979 (279, pp315-317), temperatures in New Zealand during the medieval warm period (which is definitely pre-industrial) were about  .75 degrees warmer than the very brief late 20th Century warm period. So we’ve still got 1.25 degrees to go!

The climate’s been changing for billions of years, and there’s no evidence anything humans have done has changed those natural cycles.

Here’s what Buzz had to say (from the Telegraph, via Watts Up With That):

.. while trying to spread the word about the possibilities of space, Dr Aldrin said he was sceptical of climate change theories.

“I think the climate has been changing for billions of years,” he said. “If it’s warming now, it may cool off later. I’m not in favour of just taking short-term isolated situations and depleting our resources to keep our climate just the way it is today.

“I’m not necessarily of the school that we are causing it all, I think the world is causing it.”

While you are thinking about this, why not visit the fascinating, detailed and illuminating surfacestations.org?

There is a useful collection of graphic evidence that the urban heat island effect has made a significant contribution to supposed rising surface temperatures in the last half of the twentieth century.

This story about the ernormous cost (over $1,000 per taxpayer) of the US’ proposed fast rail system is a few days old. And I like trains. Oh, I said that.

But even so, it is more proof of my view that anything that needs to be subsidised probably shouldn’t be.

That certainly includes wind power, and the arts. Or is that a tautology?

Anyway, governments subsidise things because otherwise they would not be successful. If they would not be sucessful without subsidies, they won’t be successful for long even with subsidies.

In the meantime, they cost you money even if you don’t use them, and cost jobs as well.

Not in Iran, obviously, even though that election was almost certainly rigged, hundreds of protestors have been killed, arrested or simply ‘disappeared,’ and British embassy staff are to be tried on trumped up charges of stirring up revolt against the government, because the government of Iran is made up of nutjobs who simply refuse to believe that their own people would protest on their own intiative.

Well, why would you meddle ? Everything’s cool there. These are new times. We are speaking a new language of co-operation.  This is change you can believe in.

But get your meddling shoes on and head down to Honduras, baby, cause somethin’s going on down there.

Yes. What went on down there was that the process of law stopped a would be dictator from bending the rules to extend his power and time in office.

In other words, the processes of democracy and law worked.

It can’t be allowed. Something should be done. Or that’s what BO seems to think.

Maybe she is looking ahead to the 2012 presidential election. Good luck to her if so. She has vastly more experience of real life and of running things, making decisions and managing budgets that work than the present astonishingly inept incumbent.

Or maybe she has just had enough of the fountains of filth directed at her and her children. She deserves to be raped for not being a nice liberal lass, they deserve to be raped because they are her children, having a Down Syndrome baby instead of an abortion means she wants to breed a nation of retards, etc, etc, you get the idea. 

Left wing organisations respond to news of her resignation with (take a minute, guess…) attacks on her children.

These, of course, are from people who support the new, changed, more inclusive and compassionate leadership of the great BO.

Ha, ha.

I don’t know who invented this word, noted here by Michalle Malkin, but it describes some of the mainstream media perfectly.

Except prostitutes only sell their bodies to make a living. Many journalists seem to sell their minds and hearts.

Prostitution harms those who do it, their clients and their families. Presstitution harms the truth, and with it, families, policies, communities and nations.

It is no wonder daily papers have lost huge numbers of readers. Mot ordinary people are sensible enough to work out when they are being screwed.

Frank Devine, Christian and journalist, is dead at age 77. Frank was born in New Zealand (as I was) but was a genuine Australian.

Like his adopted country, he was dry, beautiful (for his character and his writing), harsh (sometimes) and big of heart.

I looked always forward to reading his next column, and will miss them, and his warmth, honesty and intelligence. I am grateful, too, for his unashamed expresssions of love for his wife Jacqueline, and his championing, from his own experiences, of the value of marriage and of faith.

A heart-felt tribute here from Peter Coleman. Andrew Bolt records a similar expression of thanks and regret from former Prime Minister John Howard.

He was a man of faith and integrity. May God grant him rest with the saints, and joy everlasting.

One by Dennis Prager on the cowardice of Hollywood, and why you should go and see The Stoning Of Soraya M.

And one by Christina Hoff Summers (and yes the articles are related) on the entrenched dishonesty of contemporary academic feminism.

Numbers can prove lots of things. But not in the case of supposed election fraud in Iran.

Bernd Beber and Alexandra Scacco’s  Washington Post story of statistical anomalies seems at first read to prove the Iranian election was a fraud. I would have been happy to have been convinced. Sadly (because having that proof would have made complaints of a lack of concern for democracy against the government of Iran much stronger) the numbers prove nothing of the sort.

John Graham-Cumming explains (from a statistician’s point of view) why the Washington Post’s analysis is faulty. I found his article hard going in places (I did stats at university when I studied psychology, but only one semester).

Hannah Devlin’s article on Times Online is a bit easier to follow.

This doesn’t mean the election was OK. I still think it probably was not. It just means statistics based on oddities in the count are not going to give us a definitive answer.

Possibly the most monumental piece of economic lunacy ever proposed by any government anywhere (and I include the collectivisation of farms in Stalinist Russia) has passed through the US Congress.

This despite the fact that members of congress could not have read the bill for the simple reason that no complete, updated copy existed at the time of the vote. (Via Hyscience). As David Freddoso points out, global warming is apparently so urgent that politicians do not even have time to know what they are voting for.

Senator James Inhofe is not a brilliant speaker. But he is a clear thinker who does his homework. This video of his speech to the US senate illustrates the horrifying cost of this utterly pointless scheme. His criticisms apply  equally well to Australia’s equally disastrous proposed Cap and Tax legislation:

In related news, Polar Bear expert Mitchell Taylor has been told by the global warming alarmists preparing for the Copenhagen conference that because his research does not support the cause, his views are not helpful, and he is not welcome.

Copenhagen is not a science conference, it is a religious revival meeting.