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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

According to the Australian BOM the last decade has been Australia’s hottest since record keeping began.

Even if this were true, this in itself is no reason to jump to the conclusion it is all our fault and the world is going to hell in a handbasket. No matter what the ever amusing Minister for Rabbits Peter Garrett has to say.

In fact, as I noted a couple of posts ago, there is no evidence this is the case at all.

But the BOM’s clams are doubtful for a number of reasons.

I’ll say more about this tomorrow, but for today I just note that not one Australian temperature record, high or low, has been set in the last ten years:

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

Highest Recorded Temperature:

 Canberra  42.2 C  (108.0 F) on the 1st February, 1968

Lowest Recorded Temperature:

 Canberra  -10.0 C  (14.0 F) on the 11th July, 1971

NEW SOUTH WALES

Highest Recorded Temperature:

 Wilcannia  50.0 C  (122.0 F) on the 11th January, 1939

Lowest Recorded Temperature:

 Charlotte Pass  -23.0 C  (-9.4 F) on the 29th June, 1994

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Highest Recorded Temperature:

 Finke  48.3 C  (118.9 F) on the 2nd January, 1960

Lowest Recorded Temperature:

 Alice Springs  -7.5 C  (18.5 F) on the 12th July, 1976

QUEENSLAND

Highest Recorded Temperature:

 Birdsville  49.5 C  (121.1 F) on the 24th December, 1972

Lowest Recorded Temperature:

 Stanthorpe  -11.0 C  (12.2 F) on the 4th July, 1895

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Highest Recorded Temperature:

 Oodnadatta  50.7 C  (123.3 F) on the 2nd January, 1960

Lowest Recorded Temperature:

 Yongala  -8.2 C  (17.2 F) on the 20th July, 1976

TASMANIA

Highest Recorded Temperature:

 Hobart  40.8 C  (105.4 F) on the 4th January, 1976

Lowest Recorded Temperature:

 Shannon  -13.0 C  (8.6 F) on the 30th June, 1983

VICTORIA

Highest Recorded Temperature:

 Mildura  47.2 C  (117.0 F) on the 10th January, 1939

Lowest Recorded Temperature:

 Mt Hotham  -12.8 C  (9.0 F) on the 13th August, 1947

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Highest Recorded Temperature:

 Mardie  50.5 C  (122.9 F) on the 19th February, 1998

Lowest Recorded Temperature:

 Booylgoo Springs  -6.7 C  (19.9 F) on the 12th July, 1969

Figures from an amateur site on world temperature extremes. Some readings not yet verified.

I have ‘un-stickied’ the article about the Easy Guide to the Politics and Science of Global Warming.

You can still find it by clicking on the link.

Rasmussen Reports finds that 45% of voters surveyed believe people chosen at random from the phone book would do a better job than current members of the US Congress.

A commenter on Don Surber’s blog agrees – as long as the names are chosen from the yellow pages ‘At least they can run a business.’

Some business experience is certainly desirable. Someone who has run a successful business knows about cost control, profits, how people are employed and why, where taxes come from, etc, etc. Their ideas about the economy are based on experience, and they have views about economic management which have been shown to work – otherwise they would be out of business.

According to a report published on Forbes.com, the current US administration has the lowest ever percentage of high level appointees with business experience:

Private Sector Experience by Administration

Given the economic power the US government wields, and the infuence the US economy has on world financial systems, this is worrying.

It would be interesting to see a similar graph showing business experience in Australian Federal cabinets over the last century.

And it would be interesting to see how many Australians think people picked at random from the yellow pages would do a better job than the Rudd government.

US Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano claimed ‘the system worked’ in relation to the near miss bombing attempt on Northwest flight 253 on Christmas Day.

It did, but only to the extent that once the plot was foiled by courageous passengers, the threat was communicated to other planes, airports and travellers.

The ‘system’ did not work to stop the attack from occurring – that was purely luck.

So I can understand Obama’s angry claim that “We dodged a bullet, but just barely. It was averted by brave individuals, not because the system worked and that is not acceptable.”

Obama Points The Finger

Obama Points The Finger

Obama said he would not tolerate any finger pointing amongst security staff. Again, fair enough.

What is less fair is Obama’s vehemently and publicly pointing the finger at those same security personel, making it clear he blames them for this failure.

It is less fair not only because it was rude and unneccesary, but because clear policy directives from the top have made it virtually impossible for security staff to do their jobs.

If staff are forbidden to profile on the basis of race, forbidden to profile on the basis of religion or nationality, what are they to do?

Rely on second hand information? Well yes, to some extent.

As Napolitano points out, Abdulmutallab was on a ‘tied list,’  on the basis of such information. But there are over half a million people on that list.

And whatever US security staff did would not have mattered anyway.

Abdulmutallab was checked in and boarded the plane to Detroit in Amsterdam. Increased check-in security procedures in the US, increased information sharing, or even race/religion/country profiling, would not have made any difference.

So what exactly were Obama’s security staff getting blasted for?

I’m sure I don’t know. But it certainly made him look as if he was serious.

There’s no reason why we should tolerate litter, or domestic violence, or falsification of scientific data, for example.

What do we need to tolerate to be a civilised society? What do we need to refuse to tolerate?

Some thoughts from a commentator at The Guardian.

Climate changes all the time.

How do we adapt to these changes in a way that assists the most vulnerable – that is, the poor?

One way is to adopt policies which will assist poorer people to develop the resources and strategies they need to buffer them from  rapid climate change.

Another is to make sure we know what is going on, so we can make plans to cope with the changes that are actually occurring.

Because so much data has been lost/manipulated, etc, we have very little idea what has really happened over the last fifty years.

One thing is for sure. it isn’t getting any warmer.

There are record low temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere, from the US and Canada to the UK to China and Siberia.

Bitter Winters in the Andes can no longer be described as an anomaly. Growing numbers of children – hundreds in some small rural districts – are dying each year from cold.

 It’s time we stopped playing global warming computer games, and started dealing with real world changes, and the real world needs of  people who cannot, as Al Gore can, squander 200,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year.

One of the worrying things about the cherry-picking, data fudging, distorting, lying, fund-grabbing behaviour that has characterised global warming alarmism over the last two decades, is that we now have no idea at all what the climate has been doing.

Much of the original temperature data seems to have disappeared, leaving only value-less ‘value-added’ data.

What data we have, when the Urban Heat Island Effect  is taken into account, along with the fudging and cheating, shows little or no warming, or even cooling.

Climate changes can be and have been devastating in the past, rapid cooling far more so than gradual warming.

There is nothing we can do to stop natural climate change.

We can prepare for it. And that preparation may save millions of lives.

There is no doubt that next major change will be towards a cooler world.

Let’s hope we can quickly get past the hiatus in real climate science caused by well-funded claims of non-existent anthropogenic global warming, and find real world data that will give us real world answers.

In the meantime, it is a deadly cold Winter in the Northern Hemisphere:

A Cold Winter in Europe

A Cold Winter in Europe

There were widespread reports yesterday that the death of an unborn child had brought Victoria’s Christmas road death toll to 12.

Quite right. The child was a person, and its death is a tragic loss.

But what makes this child a person, and another child at the same stage of development an object which is inconvenient, and which can be destroyed and disposed of?

There is no difference in the child – just in the parents’ attitude to it.

Is that all it takes to make one a person, and one not?

I’m with Horton – a person’s a person, no matter how small.

Indonesia – Give These People the Same Special Deal

People Smugglers – Hear, hear!

Failing to acknowledge the crisis caused by its changes to Australia’s immigration policy, the Federal government is steadily digging itself into a very deep hole.

Most Australians want:

  • Everyone who comes or wants to come to Australia to be treated with dignity.
  • Preference given to people who are in genuine need, or have some clear benefit to offer (the two are not mutually exclusive, of course).
  • Preference given to people who don’t try to push their way to the front of the queue.
  • Overall immigration controlled in a way that takes note the of availability of infrastracture and environmental resources.
  • Overall immigration controlled in a way that maximises opportunities for immigrants to integrate without excessive stress for them or for their new communities.

It can no longer seriously be denied that the Labor government has implemented a group of policies which encourage queue jumpers and those who prey on them.

60 boats carrying illegal immigrants have been intercepted on route to Australia in the last 12 months, compared with 18 boats in the previous six years.

The Christmas Island detention centre is overflowing.

Resources re-directed to illegal immigrants are stolen from people in greater need – people who follow the rules, wait in refugee camps, who do the right thing.

Why should they bother?

Our neighbours are asking us to think again, and to take responsibility for the difficulties caused not only to ourselves, but to them.

But still the mess caused by Labor’s new ‘compassionate’ policies has not dented the teflon brain of Prime Minister Kevin (Special Deal) Rudd.

I for one was grateful for China’s new assertiveness at Copenhagen.

I am less impressed by the combination of insecurity about its internal politics and disregard of world opinion that is increasingly evident in China’s represssion of dissent, and limiting of its citizens’ access to news sources.

The eleven year sentence imposed on 53 year old professor of literature, Liu Xiaobo, for ‘subversion’ has drawn widespread condemnation from world leaders.

This has been ignored. Chinese leaders clearly believe (and rightly) that they have more to be worried about from their own citizens than from the current rash of limp wristed leftist Western leaders.

Yemen has conflicts with Al Qaeda in the South, and Al Houthis (a Shiite separatist group) in the North.

Neither group has widespread support in Yemen. Al Qaeda is seen as a threat by the West, because it has links to terror organisations around the world. But Al Qaeda has little popular support in Yemen, and appears to have no political ambitions other than destruction of anything and any regime associated with the West, and with the US in particular.

Al Houthis has political ambitions in both Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

Jumana Al Tamimi of Gulf News writes:

“Al Qaida has no popular base, no political horizon and no alternative to the existing regime. They consider the state an enemy because of its alliance with the US,” Yemeni political expert Fares Saqqaf said.

At the same time, “Al Houthis are newly formed, as their first confrontation with the state was in 2004. They are close to people, and are followers of a certain Shiite sect (Yemen is prediminantly Sunni).

Yemen is the poorest of the gulf states, with limited oil supplies, and chronic water shortages.

Without US support against Al Qaeda, and Saudi support against Al Houthis, Yemen may well be in serious trouble.

The catch is that dependence on US aid may reduce Yemen’s credibility amongst other Arab states, and may increase the likelihood of attacks in the US.

WSJ reports about the attempted bombing on a Northwest Airlines plane yesterday:

The suspect, Nigerian-national Abdul Mudallad, said he received instructions and training from al Qaeda operatives based in Yemen ahead of boarding the Detroit-bound flight Friday, according to U.S. law-enforcement officials.

These officials said they couldn’t confirm Mr. Mudallad’s claims. But the purported bombing attempt came as Yemen’s security forces intensified military operations against al Qaeda forces, with significant U.S. intelligence support.

The US has provided nearly $70 million in counter-terrorism aid to Yemen this year, compared with nothing in the previous year.

Nearly half the terror suspects currently held by the US are Yemeni nationals.

1. I had occasion to visit the regional hospital in Geraldton a couple of days ago. Staff seemed competent and concerned for their patients. So far, so good.

Ouside the main entrance was a vendng machine for syringes and needles. This is a photo of the machine, and of my $3.00 worth of needles and syringes:

Needle Vending Machine Outside Geraldton Hospital

Needle Vending Machine Outside Geraldton Hospital

Needles From Hospital Vending Machine

Needles From Hospital Vending Machine

I know there is a view that the best way to help intra-venous drug abusers is to make their drug use as easy as possible.

That is a view not well-founded in research, but it is at least motivated by good-will. Well, I assume it is. It is not clear how implementing or continuing policies which have been shown to do more harm than good can really be motivated by a desire to help, but let’s give the hospital administrators and drug policy people the benefit of the doubt.

Maybe they are so busy they don’t have time to read.

What I don’t understand is how putting a vending machine in a public place so any five year old with $3.00 can get a supply of syringes and needles is helping anyone.

2. I bought some very good fish and chips yesterday evening. On the shop notice board was an advertisement for the ‘Murdoch University Chiropractic Clinic.’

Murdoch University teaches chiropractic. It runs chiropractic clinics.

How is it possible to have any confidence in the academic integrity of a university which offers PhDs in quackery?

It is a bit like Oxford offering a degree in tea-leaf reading, and running a tea leaf reading booth at the local shopping mall.

The university website tells potential students:

We are excited that we are now entering a time where more emphasis can be placed upon generating research relating to chiropractic.

They could just take note of the century of existing research, which shows that the only thing chiropractic can do is provide temporary relief of some kinds of minor back pain – about the equivalent of taking two aspirin, and that other chiropractic techniques are not only useless but harmful.

The website goes on:

In September, 2006 Murdoch University School of Chiropractic was informed by the Council on Chiropractic Education Australasia Inc. that its program had become fully accredited.

So if you decide to do a course in chiropractic at Murdoch, you can be assured that the piece of paper they give you will be accepted by quacks and charlatans around the world.

Congratulations!

The Christmas Island detention centre is so full that 30 illegal immigrants have transported to Melbourne. Another 35 have been taken from Christmas Island to Darwin.

When I was about 12, I asked my Mum what it meant to be grown-up. She thought for a minute as said ‘Taking responsibility for your actions.’

The importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions is probably the single principle that did most to move me away from the leftism of my university days.

It is a principle that seems completely to escape leftist politicians and activists.

For example, if you (this list from John Stone’s article ‘The Origins of the Crisis in Immigration Policy’ Quadrant December 2009):

  • Announce that illegal immigrants will not be subject to lengthy stays in detention, but will be allowed to live in the community.
  • Introduce a system of ‘Temporary Bridging Visas’ for people who have illegally overstayed the terms of their original visas.
  • Abolish Temporary Protection Visas and announce that anyone who is given refugee or Special Humanitarian Program status will be granted permannent residence, full access to welfare benefits, and the right to invite family members to live in Australia.
  • Weaken citizenship tests.
  • Announce a 24.5% increase in immigration.

Then it should come as no surprise that you have made Australia a much more attractive target for illegal immigrants and people smugglers.

There have been 54 boats this year, compared with a total of 18 in the previous six years.

The present Federal government told the world that people who arrived in Australia illegally would be treated more compassionately.

Some of those who have come to this country illegally this year have specifically said that they did so because they believed they would be more likely to succeed in obtaining permamnent residence than under the Howard government.

Yet Mr Rudd refuses to acknowledge that the massive increase in the number of illegal immigrants to Australia in the last twelve months has anything to do with the policies and announcements listed above.

This an outright refusal to accept responsibility for the consequences his actions.

Compassionate policies are those which result in a reduction of suffering. These ‘compassionate’ policies have resulted in a huge increase in suffering. And some deaths.

Genuine compassion, or even any concern whatever for the safety and well-being of others, would lead to acknowledgement that the policy changes have not worked, and the immediate implementation of plans to reduce the number of illegal immigrants.

But that would mean taking responsibility.

I guess we we can always hope.

This is both funny and tragic because the words put into Obama’s mouth are true, and the plan would work. But it will just never happen.

Imagine the posibilities, the hopenchangen. But, instead, real hope, and real change.

Darn. The more I think about it, the sadder I feel.

From Scott Ott’s Scrappleface:

Delegates to the global climate conference in Copenhagen sat in stunned silence today as President Obama solved the global warming crisis with a single 25-minute speech.

“While the challenges we face may seem insoluble,” the Nobel laureate said, “the solution is actually quite simple. It’s historically reliable. It works every time it’s sincerely tried.”

“Basically, the problem is that poor nations are broke,” Obama explained, “and rich nations don’t want to throw their money down a totalitarian rathole, into the hands of tyrants who see this treaty as a gold mine and who have no intention of reducing carbon emissions. Since we need trillions of dollars to fund development of speculative green technologies, the only answer is for the poor nations to get rich fast.”

Obama said the broad outlines of his plan included having poor nations “adopt the time-tested Protestant work ethic, free-market capitalism and equal justice under law.”

“Once you see your vocation as a calling from God,” he said, “you work diligently toward excellence, to bring glory to your creator. If your property rights are guaranteed under law, you work to improve yours, and to acquire more, by serving others. Under my plan, within half a century, the less-developed nations will go from being pathetic dependents to equal trading partners.”

While skeptics said the president’s plan would put off a solution until the world’s coastlands were under water, Obama said, “Free men and women solve problems for profit, for accolades and for inscrutable personal purposes … but they do solve problems. If, in five decades, there’s still a climate crisis, we can all get together, kick in an equal share per capita, and hire someone to fix it.”

via Australian Conservative.

During the years of the Howard government, the funding of left-wing magazines like Meanjin and Overland was never reduced.

The Literature Board of the Australia Council has just reduced Quadrant’s grant (which is used entirely to fund literary content) from $50,000 to $35,000 per annum.

Quadrant publishes ten times per year. Meanjin and Overland, which publish quarterly, receive annual grants of $50,000 and $60,000.

Have a look at the list of journals supported by the Literature Board, and judge for yourself whether literature expressive of the whole spectrum of Australian political thought is funded on an equal basis.

The Board’s view seems to be that whatever its literary merit, a magazine which publishes short stories, reviews and poetry which are not consistent with the Board’s opinions is not deserving of the same level of funding.

Why not email the Board, and let them know you think justice and transperency in grant administration are important for their credibility, and for the future of Australian literature?

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