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Sorry, Julie, I don’t Agree

I like Julie Bishop. She has been a loyal and hard working deputy leader of the Liberal Party under three different leaders. It is not often I disagree with her.

But she said today that she thought it was important that Australia support India’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games.

No. It’s not.

Or at least, it is less important than the safety and health of athletes and other visitors.

India has had seven years to prepare for the games. The games begin on October 3rd – a week from today. But athletes are arriving to filthy conditions, collapsing beds, non functioning taps, toilets and other basic amenities.

National teams could stay in hotels in the city, at substantial additional expense. But it would not be safe for them to do so. The Indian government has said it cannot guarantee the safety of visitors outside the games village and games venues.

I’m surprised they think they can guarantee a safe location anywhere.

There have been at least fourteen major terrorist attacks in New Delhi since the year 2000. Hundreds of people have been killed.

There have been clear threats from islamic terrorist groups to kidnap athletes and other games visitors. These threats are not new. They have been made by al-Qaeda for the last several years.

Given the high level of risk to games visitors, it is simply inexcusable that India does not have adequate facilities in place a week before the games, and as athletes are arriving.

The Rising Tide of Stupid

Over forty morons were arrested in Newcastle in New South Wales today.

It is not that stupidity is illegal in Australia. In fact the government relies on it for lottery income.

These particular morons, repesenting ‘Rising Tide Newcastle’ broke into an area of the Port of Newcastle where coal is stored, and climbed up coal piles, loaders and terminals with banners protesting climate change. They managed to shut down the operation of the world’s largest coal port for most of the day.

No one denies that sea level has risen. It has been doing so for the last 10,000 years. The rate of increase has slowed rather than risen over the last three decades.

John Daly, sadly missed, made this submission to an Australian Federal Parliamentary joint committee on the Kyoto Protocol.

In it, he notes that there are myriad reasons for local sea level rise and fall, and that records showed that there had actually been a slight decline in sea level at Newcastle over the period for which data was then available.

Changes in sea level are not correlated to short term changes in climate, just as changes in atmospheric or ocean temperature are not correlated to preceding changes in atmospheric CO2.

But hey, why let an annoying detail like the facts get in the way of a good protest?

Incidentally, seaframe measurements of sea level over the last eighteen years show virtually no sea level rise in the South Pacific, including for the supposedly ‘endangered by climate change’  Kiribati and Tuvalu.

No rise in sea level in the South Pacific
No rise in sea level in the South Pacific

Some People Disagree With You. Get Over It.

The BBC website featured a picture of that silly old bugger Sir Ian McKellen protesting against the Pope.

Sir Ian was wearing a T-shirt that said ‘Some people are gay. Get over it.’

I am fairly confident, Sir Ian, that Pope Benedict is fully aware that some people are gay. He is faced with almost daily demands to apologise for, and make reparations for, the behaviour of a small group of predatory homosexuals over whose actions he had no control whatever.

And, Sir Ian, when was the last time the Pope turned up at an event featuring you, and publicly demanded you change the way you think?

Never?

So what makes you think anyone would be interested in your turning up uninvited to tell the Pope how to think?

But that’s the problem with these diversity loving liberals. They can’t stand anyone having an opinion that diverges from theirs.

Eda Anderson is a perfect example. She turned up to protest as well. ‘I think it is unacceptable for the UK government to part-fund the visit of a man who does not represent me or my beliefs,’  she said.

Oh. Right then. Before any future visits from heads of states are agreed to, we’ll just send the Prime Minister around to your place to check that the opinions of the proposed visitor are perfectly in accord with yours, shall we Eda?

More of this inclusiveness except of anyone they disagree with was seen this week in Sweden, where thousands of morons turned out to protest the fact that some poeple voted for a party they don’t like.

‘I’m not sure what should be done,’ said twenty one year old Thomas Zebuehr, ‘But something has to be done.’

The funny thing is, these loons complain that those who have the unspeakable bad taste to disagree with them are Nazis, racists, sexists, right wing extremists, or whatever other terms they think will cause the most damage. But they, the compassionate leftists, are always the ones who seem to want to shut people out or shut them up, or just get rid of them.

And I won’t even get started on the greenies’ calls for the suspension of democracy so that anyone not suffering from global warming derangement syndrome can be forcibly silenced and sent for re-education.

Educating the Educators

GK Chesterton said ‘Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.’

That is not my favorite Chesterton quote. He also said ‘A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.’

Both are apposite when thinking about contemporary government-run education.

Last year my wife completed a post graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education.

The theme of every unit in this diploma was that the little blighters educate themselves. All you need to do, as an educational facilitator, is to provide them with a rich learning environment.

In particular, you shouldn’t think of teaching them anything, or of directing their learning in any way. This may harm their self-esteem, curiosity and creativity. Children will absorb the numeracy and literacy skills they need as they need them. Their learning should be self-directed.

Apart from being complete and utter bollocks, what struck me most about this course was how carefully structured it was.

By the time you get to post-graduate level, you have a pretty good idea of how to study, and of the gaps in your knowledge. Of course, as Donald Rumsfeld remarked, there are also unknown unknowns – things you don’t know you don’t know, and this is where a good teacher comes in handy.

But in this course, every student had to read the same articles in the same order, and was expected to come to the same conclusion. Namely, that education works best when it is unstructured.

The lecturer, being a humourless left wing git, saw no irony in this at all.

Post-graduates can be expected to take most of the responsibility for their learning. Kindergarten and primary children cannot. The whole world is unknown unknowns to them. They have no way of knowing what they need to learn, or how to go about learning it.

Sadly, most primary teachers in Australian state schools, never having been educated themselves, cling to the romantic ideal of student directed learning.

The one area where this does not seem to apply is political/environmental issues.

At government schools around the country, students are regularly subjected to emotionally laden, reason-free, questioning forbidden, programmes of indoctrination on matters environmental.

One recent example is is the ghastly consequences of palm oil farming. Single-minded and empty headed guest speakers are inflicted on the students, who are also obliged to watch heart-rending videos of forest clearing followed by pictures of sad looking orang utans and little elephants.

They are then encouraged to act globally by telling other people what to do.

For example, students may wish to write to Australian companies which use palm oil, threatening not use their products unless they cease to do so. Or they may write to the Indonesian ambassador expressing their dismay at Indonesia’s apparent disregard for the welfare of its endangered species.

The arrogance is astonishing. As is the complete lack of concern for the families whose livelihoods such actions will destroy.

Students then file home in a bored but confidently self-righteous fashion, leaving a trail of litter, and perhaps bashing a few penguins to death along the way.

Believe me, it happens.

The end result is listless and resentful students, whose self-esteem really is damaged because they know very well that they are not achieving or learning anything worthwhile.

But teachers, in a frenzy of rose tinted delusion, return to the staff room to congratulate themselves on what a wonderful job they are doing, oblivious to the consistently appalling behaviour, and equally appalling academic results.

Why We Can’t Make Good Cheese

OK, so this is hardly a burning issue. And Australia does make OK supermarket, frozen food cheese.

But exceptional cheese requires unpasteurised milk. Because like good wine, really good cheese is complex. That complexity requires a variety of cultures.

The question is, should Australian producers be allowed to make, and Australian consumers allowed to consume, cheese made from raw milk?

‘Allowed to?’

Yes. We are presently not allowed to. Because a committee has decided the health risks are too great. And members of that committee naturally claim that those who question it are motivated purely by greed.

There are some very minor health risks. In modern manufacturing these risks are almost non-existent for harder cheeses, and only marginally more for soft cheeses like Brie.

But Australian consumers are babies. So even if cheesemakers label their products as being made from raw milk, the government still won’t let you make the decision to buy them.

Muslims Have More Rights

And are safer in Western countries than in any Islamic country.

So says Muslim woman Raheel Raza, formerly of Pakistan:

The Pakistan ambassador gets up and leaves in obvious annoyance that a woman should be allowed to speak to him in this way. It would never happen in Pakistan!

She makes the same point, that she would not have the same freedom of expression in her country of birth.

Nor are Muslims victimised in the West. So, she says, they should stop whining and get on with being responsible citizens.

Incidentally, I am thoroughly fed up excuses for muslim violence which are based on claims of oppression and provocation by the West.

The simple fact is, the Koran and the example of Mohammed both encourage violence against unbelievers.

The usual response to this fact from islamic leaders and appeasers is to deny that it is so.

Then when examples from the life of Mohammed are given, and verses from the Koran and the Hadith, the claim is made that it is not fair to point the finger in this way, because the Koran and the Bible are morally equivalent since the Bible also includes verses which incite violence.

This is either dishonest or ignorant.

The Bible tells the story of God’s revelation of himself to a small desert tribe, who initially undertood him through their own culture and modes of thinking and acting, which were typical of the time.

Gradually, as the Jews understood the nature of God better, and the nature of their relationship to him, they were led from ‘an eye to an eye’ (meaning measured and comparable response to injury – already an improvement on existing law) to ‘Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who insult you and persecute you.’ (Matt 5:44)

In the Bible, the later verses of love and forgiveness overwrite the harsh verses of a thousand years earlier.

The Koran is exactly the other way around. It takes a small group of desert dwellers, and leads them from the savage temperament of their time, into even deeper savagery and cruelty.

The later verses of violent aggression overwrite the early verses of reluctant tolerance.

The Koran undoes the Bible. They are not morally equivalent.

Gillard: What I Said Before, Forget About It

Julia says things are different now. And they are. She doesn’t need you to vote for her anymore, and won’t for the next three years, by which time you will have forgotten. So bye, bye promises.

Also, Julia says the Opposition should stop acting like an opposition, and just be nice. By being nice she means they should agree with everything she says.

Apparently, now is not the time to be disagreeing about stuff. We should all agree about stuff. Like a carbon tax, and the National Broadband Netwreck.

But the job of the Opposition is to oppose. To pick holes, to ask questions. To try to ensure that legislative and executive decisions made by the government are in the best interests of the country.

Which may not always co-incide with the best interests of the ruling party.

But Julia wants to keep a light burning:

“With restraint and civility we can put aside the empty rancour of partisanship and seek to work together,” she said.

“We can strengthen opportunity for all Australians and build an enduring legacy for future generations.

“That is how we will honour Ben Chifley and keep the Light on the Hill burning bright.”

At yesterday’s Liberal conference, Mr Abbott says Ms Gillard’s admission that several election promises will be broken due to the hung parliament is an example of why she cannot be trusted.

“The more we see of Julia Gillard, I’ve got to say, the better Kevin Rudd looks,” he said.

“I never thought I would say that, but Kevin Rudd looks strong and principled by comparison to the current incumbent.

“We have Prime Minister Gillard saying that she has a blank cheque to break promises.

“What an outrage. If the Prime Minister did not believe that she could put her election commitments into practice she should not have accepted a commission from the Governor-General.”

Hear that Julia? If you did not believe you could put your election commitments into practice, you should not have accepted a commission from the Governor-General.

Unwarranted Assumptions

It turns out unwarranted assumptions are the largest single source of renewable energy.

Take for example the Zero Carbon Australia, 2020 report which claimed that all of Australian energy could com from renewable energy sources by 2020. Ted (F.E.) Trainer, a well known Australian energy theorist pointed to some of the plans flaws,

To summarise, my back of the envelope impression is that when the foregoing points are added the ZCA conclusion is out by the following factors:

i. The efficiency gain assumed for electric vehicles should be perhaps halved.
ii. The assumed proportion of travel that can be transferred to electric vehicles is too high, in view of how well people and freight can be got to intended destinations by light vehicles and public transport, and in view of what people will accept.
iii. The embodied energy costs of plant might be much more than 10 times as high as has been assumed.
iv. Far more storage for solar thermal needs to be assumed, perhaps 96 hours, as distinct from 17.
v. The amount of solar thermal capacity might need to be trebled I am right about the peak vs average issue.
vi. Very optimistic assumptions and estimates have been made throughout, including regarding costs.

Trainer was not the only critic of the ZCA plan to point out its unrealistic optimism.

Dave Burraston has offered fact based critiques of the ZCA plans assumptions about wind implementation time, and solar facility construction times Martin Nicholson and Peter Lang, offered a long and detailed critique of the ZCA plan. They note, BZE make a number of assumptions in assessing the electricity demand used to calculate the generating capacity needed by 2020. In summary these are:

1. 2008 is used as the benchmark year for the analysis. BZE defend this by saying “ZCA2020 intends to decouple energy use from GDP growth. Energy use per capitais used as a reference, taking into account medium-range population growth.”.
2. Various industrial energy demands in 2020 are reduced including gas used in the export of LNG, energy used in coal mining, parasitic electricity losses, off-grid electricity and coal for smelting.
3. Nearly all transport is electrified and a substantial proportion of the travel kmsare moved from road to electrified rail including 50% of urban passenger and truckkms and all bus kms. All domestic air and shipping is also moved to electric rail.
4. All fossil fuels energy, both domestic and industrial, is replaced with electricity.
5. Demand is reduced through energy efficiency and the use of onsite solar energy.

Thus the net effect of these assumptions is to reduce the 2020 total energy by 58% below the 2008 benchmark and 63% below the ABARE estimate for 2020. The plan thus assumes that over 50% of energy demand will simply disappear by 2020 because of efficiency improvements.

The Nuclear Green Revolution site from which that comes is a left-wing climate alarmist site. But their analysis of the costs and practicality of so called renewable power is spot on.

If the whole disastrous anthropogenic global warming scary monster thing were true, and if reducing CO2 production by 20% would really do something to stop it (it isn’t and it wouldn’t), it would be possible to do so. But not with ‘renewable’ engery.

Reducing CO2 and other greenhouse emissions by 20% could be done if the pointless NBN was cancelled, and the $45 billion planned to be wasted on that was instead spent on nuclear power and the introduction of fuel cell technology for most land transport.

And that wouldn’t be a bad idea anyway.

Tough Love

In an address by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk to members of the Nicean Club at Lambeth Palace a couple of days ago. (The Nicean Club is a group of Anglicans who seek to strengthen relations between Anglicansim and the Orthodox churches.)

Why do the Churches, both East and West, still remember the Fathers of the Nicean and later Ecumenical Councils with such gratitude? Why are the great theologians of the past, the opponents of heresy, revered in the East as ‘great universal teachers and saints’ and in the West as ‘Doctors of the Church’?  Because throughout the ages the Church believed it to be her principal task to safeguard the truth. Her foremost heroes were those confessors of the faith who asserted Orthodox doctrine and countered heresies in the face of new trends and theological and political innovations …

All current versions of Christianity can be very conditionally divided into two major groups – traditional and liberal.  The abyss that exists today divides not so much the Orthodox from the Catholics or the Catholics from the Protestants as it does the ‘traditionalists’ from the ‘liberals’. Some Christian leaders, for example, tell us that marriage between a man and a woman is no longer the only way of building a Christian family: there are other models and the Church should become appropriately ‘inclusive’ to recognize alternative behavioural standards and give them official blessing. Some try to persuade us that human life is no longer an absolute value; that it can be terminated in a mother’s womb or that one can terminate one’s life at will. Christian ‘traditionalists’ are being asked to reconsider their views under the slogan of keeping abreast with modernity …

… we feel that many of our Anglican brothers and sisters betray our common witness by departing from traditional Christian values and replacing them by contemporary secular standards. I very much hope that the official position of the Anglican Church on theological, ecclesiological and moral issues will be in tune with the tradition of the Ancient Undivided Church and that the Anglican leadership will not surrender to the pressure coming from liberals.

It is a longish address, but well worth reading. I doubt many Anglicans will.

What’s Wrong With Machete

I like a good action movie.

I suspect that the action movie demographic is primarily us rednecks.

Liberal hippie types seem to like nancy movies like The English Patient. I watched that. I even tried to like it. But for heaven’s sake…

Then there was Sex and the City, Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, Steel Magnolias, etc, etc, etc, ad infinitum. Meaningful stuff, apparently, about relationships and stuff.

Us blokey conservative types like movies where things actually happen, where there is a story.

So Machete, which features Danny Trejo and Robert de Niro, should be a must on the viewing list. Maybe not a blockbuster, but a solid box office performer.

Nope.

Unfortunately, Machete is another example of a Hollywood director forgetting why people pay money to go to the movies.

To be entertained. Not to be lectured.

I’m not the only one who thinks so:

“Machete,” which opened nationwide Sept. 3, is as politically charged as a film can be without the words “Michael” or “Moore” attached. It doesn’t just argue in favor of letting illegal immigrants become U.S. citizens. It paints politicians who support enforcing the borders as cold-blood killers, sub-humans we should squash like insects.

And that’s … OK. My biggest beef with the film is that it’s borderline awful. Being a right-leaning film critic means you get used to absorbing film messages that clash with your own principles. You see it, note it, and then move on.

Yep. There are lots of well made films with political messages I don’t like. There are even video games with messages I don’t like, but still play.

I love Flower, for example. That is about as nancy a game as you’ll ever find. You are a petal, floating about bringing colour to tired landscapes, setting windmills in motion, etc. But it’s fun.

But no film can be fun when everything grinds to a halt every few minutes so one of the characters can nag you about how dreadful America is, and how it should let anyone in who wants to come, granting them full benefits and rights of citizenship.

Note to Australian directors: If you want people to watch your films, stop nagging!

She Wants to Look Attractive

She goes out of her way to look attractive. Her employers reward her for looking attractive.

But woe betide any man who finds her attractive.

NFL security officials are investigating the conduct of New York Jets players after complaints by Reporter Ines Sainz that players wolf whistled and hooted at her when she interviewed team members in their locker room.

This is she:

Ines Sainz Annoyed at Men Looking at Her

So let me get this straight.

A woman who goes out of her way to look attractive to men goes into a locker room where men are getting changed, having showers, etc, and then is outraged and her feelings hurt because some of the players whistle at her?

This comment from Lori Ziganto:

She chooses to look attractive. She wants to look attractive. Being attractive is, in fact, part of her image and it is actively pursued by her employer and Sainz herself. Yet, we are to be outrageously outraged – when men find her attractive? Here’s an estrogen-insider secret for all the politically correct, totally aghast at human nature people: most women want to feel pretty and they want to hear you say it. Hence, her clothing that accentuates all her, um, “positives.” It doesn’t make men evil and it doesn’t somehow magically remove the woman’s ability to do her job.

Teachable Moment: If you truly don’t want to be ogled and whistled at, don’t, you know, go into a male locker room sporting a camel toe.

This Dude For Minister for Foreign Affairs

Cor!

Language warning:

He is right to be angry. Why aren’t more people?

There is plenty to be angry about.

Sorry about another horrific video. This is sickening.

But when the world is appalled by the pastor of a tiny church threatening to burn a few copies of the Koran and then not doing so, and when even talking about doing so is enough to cause riots in which people are killed, and yet this kind of monstrous cruelty goes unremarked, we are in deep trouble.

Common Sense a Sticking Point at Peace Talks

Benjamin Netanyahu has said that any long term peace agreement must include the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

It sounds a reasonable enough request.

After all, Israel is only about one sixth of one percent of the land of the Middle East. The Jewish people have a longer association with that land than any other ethnic or religious group. For most of the last four thousand years, Jews have been a majority of the population there.

Being a Jewish state has not stopped people of any other ethnic or religious group from having full and equal rights under Israeli law. It is the only country in the Middle East where such equality under the law can be taken for granted.

Israel is surrounded by countries which describe themselves as Arab nations and muslim nations. No one, including Israel, suggests this is inappropriate, or that such states do not have the right to exist.

So how can Israel’s request that its neighbours recognise it as a Jewish state possibly be a deal breaker in peace negotiations?

But The Crime Was Stopped!

A bloke who had been trying to break into a neighbour’s house with an axe is in a critical condition after being shot in the neck.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crimestoppers.

But as one commenter to the Courier Mail story points outs, why contact Crimestoppers? The crime was stopped.

The article is worth reading for the comments alone.

Let’s just say the burglar, if you can call someone who tries to break down your door with an axe a burglar, gets no sympathy at all. And nor do limp wristed ‘Oh dear you poor thing, no wonder you felt you had to bash that old lady’ family therapy type judges.

Maybe the judiciary is a bit out of touch with community standards?

Of course we don’t know the whole story. Maybe the guy was just coming over to help the kids with their homework, and it was all a misunderstanding.

But I  have to admit, if someone was breaking into my house with an axe and I had a gun handy, I don’t think I’d spend much time meditating on the moral or legal issues involved in using a weapon to defend my home and my family.