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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

News yesterday that an Israeli judge refused to sentence an Arab teenager to jail for throwing stones at a police car.

The judge disqualified the youth from driving for two years, ordered that he pay approximately $1300 in damages, and sentenced him to 200 hours of community service.

The judge refused the jail time requested by the prosecution because he said he believed there was a double standard in the way Arab and Jewish youths would have been treated by police in the same situation.

I am not in a position to know whether this is true or not, whether it is fair to the police concerned, or whether Jewish youths throwing stones at Israeli police cars is a major problem.

But ask yourself this:

Is there any Arab country in which a young Jew throwing stones at state offcials and property would be released because the court found that that his arrest was probably a result of anti-semitism and double standards in law enforcement?

You could quibble about the headline.

By tough love, the ABC reporter means parents setting boundaries and sticking to them. Children don’t seem to be smarter, just more resilient, more confident, more capable. And setting consistent rules is raising children, not breeding them.

But it is an interesting story.

9,000 families were studied over eight years.

Children treated with warmth, and given clear consistent guidelines, followed up by clear, consistent discipline, were much better at developing life skills including self-control and empathy.

Before you start thinking that this is as much of a headline as Britney’s lip-synching, let me tell you what I think is interesting.

The study claims that clear rules and firm discipline are more important to a child’s self-esteem and future success than any other factor, including household wealth, single or both parents, etc.

But it also notes that discipline is likely to be firmer and more consistent in families with average or better income, and in families where both parents are involved in raising children.

Why might this be?

Raising children is emotionally exhausting. Children are hungry, energetic, rude, thoughtless, constantly testing the boundaries. It is often tempting to give in. Having a loving and supportive partner makes it easier to say no, to stay in charge and in control.

But why should a good income make it easier? The answer, I think, is that it is not the income that makes it easier, but the skills and self-discipline that are the usual pre-requisites to earning a good income.

If you are capable of saying no to yourself, capable of making sacrifices, capable of managing your time, and see the value of work and study, you are more likely to take the harder road of firm, fair discipline in raising your children.

Teacher friends have frequently confirmed this, telling me it is generally (but not always, obviously!) the children from two parent families on reasonable incomes who are more considerate, more creative, better workers, with more confidence in themselves and the world, and consequently more chance to succeed.

But if all of that is true, and I think it is, how do we in Australia begin to address the huge problems facing young people from groups where confidence in the world around, and consistent, positive, active parenting have been lost?

There has been a lot about the Fort Hood shooting on news sites and blogs.

I haven’t commented till now, because I really hoped that the fact that Major Nidal Malik Hasan was a muslim was irrelevant to his murder of  thirteen of his fellows.

I was wrong.

Malik shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ as he shot his friends and colleagues.

He had previously told other army doctors that unbelievers should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats.

Why was nothing said or done? ‘One Army doctor who knew him said a fear of appearing discriminatory against a Muslim soldier had stopped fellow officers from filing formal complaints.’

Even in the aftermath of the shooting, official opinion seems to be that what we really need to be concerned about now is an army/community backlash against muslims.

Jeffrey Goldberg comments on a number of media stories which either do not mention Malik’s beliefs, or claim they were irrelevant.

Meanwhile, other US muslims rejoice in this latest victory against the infidel.  “This took place in the belly of the beast…  This was a military target… ”

This is scary.

A referendum in the US state of Maine has rejected homosexual marriage.

There are five states in the US in which homosexual couples’ co-habitation can legally become a marriage. In the majority of those, the necessary changes to the law have been a result of court decisions.

Wherever the people have had a say, the answer has been no.

California and Maine were probably the best chance to get the nature of marriage changed by a popular vote. There is intense disappointment and anger amongst gay lobbyists at the Maine vote.

Does this mean that the majority of people in the US are anti-gay? I don’t think so.

The best man at my wedding, one of my best friends, is gay. One of my brothers is gay, as is my brother in law. I love them dearly, and want them to have stable, long lasting relationships in which they can find security and happiness.

But those relationships are not, and cannot be, a marriage. Marriage is between male and female.

That’s it. That is the way it is.

The word itself does not matter. You could have a law which decrees that homosexuals are entitled to be ‘married.’ The law could define any relationship in which two or whatever number of people of whatever gender who have made a public commitment to one another, as a marriage.

But then you would need to find, and people would find, another word for real marriages.

Because they simply are different, and changing the word won’t change the reality, whatever Wittgenstein may say.

A twelve year old girl has given birth to a baby boy after having become pregnant to her fifteen year old live -in boy friend.

Live in boyfriend? Yes. The girl lives with her mother, who was apparently unconcerned by the ongoing statutory rape/molestation of her daughter.

The girl’s father was concerned, and repeatedly asked DOCS to intervene. Nope. Too busy. And anyway, he was only her father.

What is most alarming about this is not just another appalling mess which DOCS was too ideologically blinded or too lazy to address, but the comments from DOCS minister Linda Burney which make it clear that nothing will change:

“I’m treating this very much as a private matter… the role of community services is to make sure that the young girl and her baby and her mother are getting all the support that they need.”

Actually DOCS has another role, which includes acting on complaints of child sexual abuse, and taking steps to ensure children are not repeatedly raped in their own homes.

And the girl’s mother? How much can her care be relied on to ensure this new baby’s safety and well-being?

The more hope fades, the happier I will be.

Alas for the alarmists, ‘dark clouds are gathering over Copnhagen’ despite an apparent majority of political leaders being committed to ‘take action to tackle the threat of climate change.’

I feel more threatened by their idiotic plans to spend vast sums of money to tell the weather it is not allowed to change.

Dr Marty Herzberg has written a brief overview of the nonscience of ‘global warming science’. That link will download the article in Word format.

Number one point (in my view) – the absurdity of calling CO2, the basis of photo-synthesis, and therefore of all plant and animal life on Earth, a pollutant. 

Dr Herzberg notes that the science is very thin indeed to be the basis of such far-reaching and expensive policy decisions. So why are such policies being implemented? Who benefits?

Viv Forbes at the Carbon Sense Coalition suggests the answer is not hard to find – huge amounts of money have been spent on global warming research and bureaucracy, and if the ETS or RAT scheme is implemented, more vast amounts of money will be made.

All at the expense of ordinary tax-payers, of course.

A long haired Australian removed a shoe and lobbed it at former Prime Minister John Howard at Cambridge University last Friday. Mr Howard was speaking on Leadership in the Twenty-first Century.

This from the ABC News website:

Jonathan Laurence, who organised the event as the president-elect of the Cambridge Union, said he found the incident quite surprising because shoe-thrower made his move at the start of the talk.

He described the man as a “long-haired Australian” who shouted at Mr Howard, telling him to go home and accusing him of being a racist.

“John Howard said I am not racist and I’m going home on Tuesday,” Mr Laurence said.

“There was a pause, and then he got up and tried to throw a shoe but it was the weakest throw in the world.”

“I mean it shows why you lot lost the Ashes, if you don’t mind me saying.”

Speaking to ABC Radio’s Red Symonds, Mr Laurence said Mr Howard had not said anything to prompt the outburst and he continued the speech with “good grace”.

“The best part of the story is that the person who threw the shoe then later got one of his friends to ask for it back. You know, he couldn’t even walk home with one shoe,” he said.

“He just left immediately afterwards.”

What a loser. And I don’t mean Howard.

Interesting figures here from the Pew Research Center on declining faith in the religion of global warming apocalyptic, with only 36% of those surveyed agreeing there is good evidence the world is warming because of human activity.

As Watts Up With That notes, this is about the same as the number of people who believe in haunted houses. Pity they weren’t asked the two questions at the same time – I’d be interested to see the extent of overlap.

And you might like to visit the UK Science Museum’s website to make it clear you want to be ‘counted out’ of efforts to convince the government to sacrifice jobs and industry while implementing polcies which will not change climate by one tenth of one degree, and to sign up to the Copenhagen treaty.

So far, despite the museum’s manipulative wording to try to get people to agree the science is settled, 6070 so far want to be counted out, compared with 967 wanting to be counted in.

I hope the government is listening.

Update:

As at Monday 9th November, the realists are still ahead on the museum’s vote, but the haunted house crowd are catching up. Rationalists please go and vote!

Nothing is free. ‘It’s free’ just means ‘Someone else has paid for it.’

‘It should be free’ means ‘Someone else should pay for it.’

The question to ask is always ‘Why?’ Why should somone else pay for it?

I have discussed this before in relation to public transport and daycare.

No one minds helping people who are genuinely in need get on their feet. The very poor may need temporary assistance with housing or medical costs.

Fair enough. I am happy to put in my share to help those in real distress.

But such free (transport, daycare, health care, whatever) schemes cost everyone vastly more that if people simply paid their own share. Every ‘free’ scheme has huge compliance, provision and record-keeping costs in addition to the cost of the service provided.

‘Free’ universal health care simply means ‘When I get sick, someone else should pay for my treatment, even though it costs everyone much more to make this happen.’

Why?

Like it or not, Tim Lambert is one of Australia’s leading left wing bloggers.

I don’t like it, because Lambert’s approach to debate is so often simply to mock or belittle  people with whom he disagrees. His ongoing vicious attacks on Professor Ian Plimer, including repeated accusations of plagiarism, are a perfect example. So while Lambert cannot be ignored, I link to him as little as possible.

His snide remarks about Janet Albrechsen’s carefully expressed concerns about the proposed Copenhagen Treaty fit the Deltoid pattern perfectly.

Instead of answering Albrechtsen’s questions by saying, for example, ‘No that’s not what this says,’ or ‘I think you have misunderstood this section,’ Lambert’s response is essentially to say, well, she’s an adiot, and so is anyone who agrees with her.

No thinking person minds their views being challenged. I would be glad to see a carefully argued leftist response to Albrechtsen and Monckton’s concerns.  But I could be waiting a long time.

The draft Copenhagen agreement can be downloaded from Watts Up With That. Andrew Bolt points out that if we sign, it commits us to handing over a minimum 0.7% of total GDP – at least $7 billion per year.

It is worth repeating Albrechtsen’s questions:

What exactly are the powers of the overseeing body to be set up by the Copenhagen Treaty?

And why has there been no media or parliamentary discussion of the Copenhagen treaty and its potential impact on a: climate (zero) and b: Australia’s economy (dire)?

I visit leftist blogs and news sites fairly regularly.

I can’t remember who it was who said ‘If you only read one paper, read the opposition’s,’  but it was good advice. If we only read the opinions of people who agree with us, we run the risk of arguing with what we imagine our opponents’ arguments are, instead of what they really are.

But visits to leftist blogs are trying, because they are so often simply nasty.

Tim Lambert’s recent treatment of Ian Plimer is a perfect example.

Ian Plimer is Australia’s most respected earth scientist. His book Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science is a densely packed book of over 500 pages and 2,000 footnotes.

Lambert is almost bursting with glee as he announces that Professor Plimer has plagiarised Ferdinand Engelbeen’s work on CO2 levels. And furthermore that Plimer deliberately misrepresented the evidence, and did not cite Engelbeen because if he had done so he would have been forced to admit that Engelbeen’s work undermines his (Plimer’s) view of changes in atmospheric CO2.

Engelbeen does not believe in catastrophic global warming, but he does believe human activity has lead to measurable increases in atmospheric CO2.

It is true that some of the figures in a paragraph in Plimer’s book are identical to figures used by Engelbeen, that Engelbeen appears to have published these figures first, and that there is no attribution to Engelbeen. There are numerous possible reasons for this. Possibly Plimer and Engelbeen discussed these figures informally. Possibly they both sourced them from somewhere else. Or perhaps Dr Plimer forgot a footnote.

One footnote out of 2,000 forgotten! And not only is this enough to cause a gloating leap to call Professor Plimer a plagiarist who should be sacked, but Lambert tells us he has worked out the real reason the footnote is missing, and it is because Plimer is dishonest. I’m surprised Professor Plimer hasn’t sued for defamation.

Then, of course, and tediously, Plimer’s integrity is called into question because he has (shock, horror) done some consulting work for mining companies.

Never mind that whatever income Professor Plimer may have received from mining companies is entirely unrelated to, and unaffected by, his research and opinions on climate change, whereas the IPCC bureaucrats’ employment, and the lecture income of Al Gore and Tim Flannery depends completely on maintaining the global warming scare.

Lambert’s isn’t the only offensive misrepresentation of Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science.

Michael Ashley’s review in the Australian is extraordinarily vindictive.

There are more off the cuff charges of unattributed use of data.

Accusations of plagiarism can destroy someone’s career. Claims like this are serious. They should not be made lightly, and especially not in public by another academic, who understands what their consequences can be. Doing so is a sign of malice, or irresponsibility, or both.

Ashley then picks two very minor points, neither of which impacts on the main argument of the book, and claims that because Plimer has those wrong, there is no science in his book, and the whole thing can be disregarded.

The two points are about minor local changes in CO2 concentration, and the composition of the sun. Ashley’s comments about the first seem to me to misrepresent the point Professor Plimer was making. I am not in a position to judge the second. But really, even if Ashley is right in both cases, it seems to me to be verging on the desperate to dismiss the whole of a substantial and tightly argued book bceause you have found two minor errors.

Finally, Ashley claims that all the points in Plimer’s book have been answered by the IPCC (they haven’t) and says that if Plimer had anything worthwhile to say, he would have published it in a peer reviewed journal, because that is the way science advances. Since he wote a book instead, he obviously has nothing real to offer.

Professor Plimer has a substantial list of peer reviewed articles. He is clearly not shy about subjecting his research to the critical judgement of his academic peers, or of the public.

The IPCC’s work, by contrast, is not properly peer reviewed.

But Ashley (again) misses the point completely. Heaven and Earth is not about presenting new research for the first time. It is a comprehensive and accessible summary of the massive body of peer reviewed research relating to climate change, which has so far not been easily available to the general public.

Plimer’s work is not always easy to read. He is clearly a scientist rather than a writer. But he and his book deserve better than the carping and vindictive treatment they have received at the hands of leftist academics and journalists.

The key points of the book are that there is no discernible human impact on global climate, that changes over the last century are well within the normal range of natural change, and that they are almost certainly due entirely to natural cyclic changes which we are only now beginning to understand.

There has been no challenge to Professor Plimer on these points.

I was in Adelaide yesterday to do some buying for my shop, and was interrupted in my travels about the city by about 100 scruffy-looking characters on bicycles. Some of them had painted the number 350 on their clothes and some were wearing costumes with bits of green ribbon hanging off, so they all like looked like a bunch of overgrown kindergarteners on their way home from a very bad fingerpainting and dress-up party. They were shouting about something, but I couldn’t hear what it was, and anyway, I was in a hurry to get what I needed done in time to get back to Cape Jervis to catch the last ferry home that night.

When I got home I googled 350. I was assuming the scribbles had some meaning – which of course might not have been the case. But I found this: 350.org

What a dismal, dishonest, self-important little website it is.

A ‘ring of hope’ around the White House, with a banner claiming its bearers are against pollution and poverty. They are not. They are against the use of cheap energy which has extended our life span, reduced infant mortality, and given vast numbers of people the biggest and quickest ever boost out of poverty. More like a ring of grim ignorance which would, if their policies were implemented, keep life in developing nations nasty, brutish and short.

A photo of a nibble of nerds in a burnt out piece of Victorian forest, with the entirely dishonest suggestion that those fires were the result of anthropogenic climate change.

Do any of these people read or think?

Do any of them realise there is no correlation whatever between human production of CO2 and changes in climate? Do any of them know or care that increased CO2 will reduce desertification, increase agricultural production and therefore reduce hunger, and make the world a greener place?

The Western world has been taken over by zombies.

Well maybe not. Adelaide is a city of just over a million people. If only 100 or so turned out for the world day of climate dumbness, then only 0.0001 percent of the population of Adeladie is zombies.

The problem is that zombies seem to be running the media. In Australia it is quite possible the politicians are going to do what the zombies tell them. This means implementing an appallingly stupid RAT (Ration and Tax) scheme to reduce CO2 emissions. Or rather to send CO2 emissions off-shore. That is, to send industry and employment off-shore.

As Blind Freddy could see, this will have no effect at all on climate (and wouldn’t even if the climate disaster predictions were true) but will radically increase the costs of operating Australia’s major industries and transport.

I have a friend who is a bit left-leaning. A lot left-leaning actually. Bosses exploit the workers, socialism is a fairer system, etc, etc.

Then she opened a shop. Of course, it is one of those trendy organic food, fair trade coffee, home made soap type places, but I respect anyone who risks their own money and puts in the massive time and effort it takes to get a business started.

She is doing quite well. Well enough to need to employ someone. That lasted two weeks.

When I asked her what had happened, she told me she had gotten fed up with paying her employee twice as much as she was earning, for doing half the work. And, she added indignantly, her employee hadn’t even put any money into the business.

I couldn’t help a little snicker.

Seriously.

I wrote earlier this year about the Kangaroo Island Council’s decision to partner with the Federal Government in a scheme to subsidise the installation of solar panels on houses on the island.

About 200 households applied for and will receive grants of $8,000 for solar panels which will produce about 100 watts of electricity per hour. During daylight hours. On a good day.

So taxpayers have paid about $1.6 million to generate enough electricity on Kangaroo Island to run an extra 200 lighbulbs (or globes if you prefer) while the sun is shining.

Does anyone seriously think this is the most efficient way we could spend money and resources to generate electricity?

Total PC Gaming Magazine reports in issue 22 that the 11 million World of Warcraft players around the world, including individual players’ computers, servers, and data transmission, use about 6.6 gigawatts of electricity each day. About the same amount of power each day as was generated by solar panels worldwide for the whole of last year.

That does not mean that WoW players are a selfish bunch of wasters. It just means that solar power is an expensive toy, and will never be a realistic alternative to fossil fuel, hydro-electric, or nuclear electricity generation.

President Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Well, I’ll be stuffed, as Phar Lap said.

Obama was nominated after twelve days as president. He must have done something pretty darned impressive in those twelve days, right? Check his schedule for yourself. It includes skipping church, releasing funds for abortions in developing coutries, partying, and taking the day off.

The Nobel peace Prize has no credibility at all. Some people said this after Yasser Arafat won. But at least then the committee had some reason to believe, or at least, it might have thought so at the time, that Arafat had renounced the use of terror, agreed to Israel’s right to exist, and committed to helping Israel to establish secure borders.

Of course that was all nonsense. The terrorism continued, and Arafat continued to get rich off aid money.

Perhaps the selection process was something like this (Via Hyscience) :

Obama Wins!

Obama Wins!

The Saturday Night Live skit mocking the award has Obama say ‘I won the award for not being George Bush.’ An interesting change of pace for SNL. What makes this funny (or tragic) is that it is probably true.

Gateway Pundit lists some geniune achievements by GW, including liberating millions from one of the most vile and violent regimes in modern history.

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