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Some things are worth remembering:

I guess that’s what happens when you treat half your students like delicate little wallflowers, and the other half like criminals.

Mizzou will be closing the Respect and Excellence halls (ironic names, given the circumstances) in order to utilize dorm space “in the most efficient manner” to keep costs down.

In March, the university announced that it saw a sharp drop in admissions for the coming school year, and will have 1,500 fewer students. This will lead to a $32 million budget shortfall for the school, prompting the need to close the dorms in order to save money.

“Dear university community,” wrote interim chancellor Hank Foley in an email to the school back in March. “I am writing to you today to confirm that we project a very significant budget shortfall due to an unexpected sharp decline in first-year enrollments and student retention this coming fall. I wish I had better news.”

The school announced a 5 percent cut “to all annual recurring general revenue budgets” and an “across-the-board hiring freeze for all units on campus.” The dorm closures are only the latest cost-cutting measures.

I can hardly wait! Stephen Strange is my all time favourite comic book character. I have a large collection of Dr Strange comics including some fairly rare series, so the movie will be a treat for me. If it is any good. If it is not, it will be very, very annoying!

A bird watching spot across the road from my work in American River on Kangaroo Island.

Bird hide

The fate of an Australian mother and a TV crew embroiled in a botched child recovery mission in Lebanon will be decided today with the start of a hearing for 10 people facing charges of kidnapping, harm and disrespect for authorities. Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner will front Babda Palace of Justice in Mt Lebanon in Beirut alongside high-profile news reporter Tara Brown and her Channel 9 film crew, three local men and two Britons.

Ms Faulkner and the nine others including the Channel 9 crew were charged over the failed attempt to snatch her kids, three-and-a-half-year-old Noah and five-and-a-half-year-old Lahela off a main street in Beirut as they waited for their school bus with a nanny and grandmother who was pushed to the ground and hit on the head during the scuffle.

60mins

“It is a big mess, a really big mess, 100 per cent,” the children’s father, Ali Elamine, told News Corp Australia.
“The children are good, they are in good health and that is all that matters not the media not what happened, but it (CCTV of the botched operation) is for everyone to view.
“But the children, I’ve calmed them down as much as I can. It was a bit rough and tough. The manpower … it went wrong in places.
“It is a mess, all of it. She (the children’s mother Sally Faulkner) could have gone about it in a different way, not like this.
“What happened shouldn’t have happened and the kids should not have been put in a situation where someone could have been harmed; the kids should not have been dragged into this.”

On his 69-year-old mother Ibtissam Berri, who was slightly injured in the botched snatch, he said: “She is coping, but it wasn’t great for her.”
Ms Berri described the operation as violent.
“I was holding Noah’s hand, while my maid was with his sister Lahela waiting for the school bus,” she told local Lebanese television.
“Assailants then attacked us and snatched the children.”

I have little sympathy for the 60 Minutes crew, especially if, as is now being claimed, they paid the kidnappers/child recovery contractors a fee of over $100,000.

University students in Massachusetts who were upset by an image of a Confederate flag sticker on another student’s laptop were offered counseling services at Framingham State University.

The offer came after the university’s “chief diversity and inclusion officer,” Sean Huddleston, described the display of the small Confederate flag sticker as a “bias incident.”

Observing that students on campus in general may have suffered a traumatic reaction from seeing an image of the Confederate flag, Huddleston continued, “We recognize that bias incidents are upsetting for the entire campus community, but especially for the target(s) and witness(es) of these incidents.”

A traumatic reaction. Oh dear.

I guess the “Don’t like the Confederate flag? Don’t stick one on your laptop.” argument doesn’t work here…

Walmart as an example:

“…  while the company’s revenues seem high, Walmart’s profit margin is far from fat: a mere 3 percent. The company has billions in expenses every year—so significant that in a 31-day month, all its sales in the first 30 days go toward paying expenses. Only on the 31st day does the company actually turn a profit, assuming nothing goes wrong during that month—like an unexpected jump in wages.

Just like any other firm, Walmart employs individuals who will earn the company revenue. After pay increases early this year, the average full-time Walmart employee will earn $13.38 per hour, well above the industry average of $10.29. With other benefits, including short-term disability and paid time off, the company’s actual cost per employee is significantly higher.

That Walmart pays an average of $13.38 an hour plus benefits means it expects the average employee to earn the company more than that amount. While a jump in pay of just a few dollars may seem trivial, for a company that employs 1.4 million domestic employees, it is positively massive. This is not to mention the additional costs associated with taxes paid for each employee. With such thin profit margins, Walmart cannot afford to ignore these costs.

As the cost of employing workers increases, Walmart has to decide whether its current workforce is worth the price. For example, if a worker’s hourly wage plus benefits is $30 per hour, but he or she generates only $25 in revenue, the company loses money for every hour the employee works. Under those circumstances, it would benefit the company and its shareholders to lay off workers. It has nothing to do with “corporate greed.” It’s business. Firms can’t operate at a loss.”

It really is simple. If the government forces employers to pay workers more than those workers make for the company, the company will either stop employing them or go broke. There’s no point whining about reality. No one owes you a job. If you don’t want to work for yourself, get a job by proving to an employer that you will make more than you cost.

Very, very sad. But surely this is not a surprise to anyone?

The mother of toddler Sanaya Shaib has been charged with murder after she confessed to killing the 13-month-old infant.

sanaya

Two legends, great guitar, great words:

Really? I mean, really?

5note

If it was play money, no one would want to play with it.

Purported Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull intends to spend $1 billion of taxpayer money to stop climate change. Given that the climate has been changing ever the earth has had an atmosphere, this may seem like a tall order. But Malcolm is undeterred.

The Prime Minister says clean energy is a vital part of his plan to boost innovation and create jobs beyond the mining boom.

Experience shows that every “green” job comes at the cost of 2.2 real jobs. That is, 1,000 jobs in clean energy means 2,200 jobs lost in farming, mining, small business. Areas where people are employed to create value; to create prosperity for themselves, their employers, and the wider community.

Nah. Let’s spend more money on windmills and solar panels that don’t produce any net energy over the cost of their manufacture, transport, installation, maintenance, and the cost of enabling the grid to cope with their wide fluctuations in production day to day and even hour to hour.

In further rampant nitwittery, Mr Turnbull has proposed a fast rail link between Sydney and Melbourne. Like we haven’t heard that before. He says it would be self-funding, because easier, faster access to the centre of those cities would dramatically increase land values near stations along the way.

An anonymous writer at Quadrant Online, someone who writes like Roger Franklin, gives this the walloping it deserves by pointing out the bleeding obvious. If the train stops at stations every fifteen minutes along the way, it won’t be a fast train. If it is not a fast train it won’t make access to city centres any easier. If it doesn’t make access to city centres easier, it won’t increase property values.

I have pretty much gotten to the point that whenever I see news of a hate crime committed against blacks, gays or muslims I assume it is a hoax.

There is a long. Very long. And growing. List of hate crimes that featured in the mainstream media and were subsequently shown to be false.

A Syrian refugee has admitted to setting fire to a German shelter where he was staying, spray-painting swastikas on the walls to make it look like a political crime. The asylum seeker said the arson attack was in response to poor conditions at the shelter.

I guess he was used to much better food and accommodation at home ….

And no, this doesn’t speak to a larger truth. Lies don’t. They are just lies.

An ISIS supporter has been charged after allegedly carving “e4e” — representing “an eye for an eye” into the head of an Australian Digger he was sharing a cell with. The former soldier, who served in East Timor, (and was) deemed a low security inmate, is fighting for his life following the alleged attack inside Kempsey prison on the state’s Mid North Coast.

It is believed the 18-year-old attacker choked the 40-year-old and carved ‘e4e’ into the front and back of the victim’s head. The teen then allegedly placed a towel over him and poured boiling hot water on him.

The former Toowoomba-based soldier was rushed to the Port Macquarie Base Hospital and put in an induced coma, believed to have suffered a broken sternum and severe wounds to his neck, head and face.

Senior prison sources said the 18-year-old attacker was a known supporter of the terrorist group and had been previously caught sending graphic images of beheadings via internal mail to other ISIS extremists housed in Goulburn’s Supermax.

Bourhan Hraichie has now been charged with causing grevious bodily harm with intent and intentionally choking a person.

Sources said the teen was also previously found to have a hand-drawn ISIS flag inside his cell, as well as having carved one into the wall. Hraichie had been isolated from other inmates previous to the alleged attack because he was being “disruptive”.

The pair were in the same cell for just a few hours before Thursday’s alleged attack inside the prison’s maximum security section. Authorities were alerted when a medical alarm system, known as a “knock up” was activated.

ISIS is known to use the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” mantra when inflicting their brutal torture. It is understood the teen allegedly used a razor blade to etch the slogan, but prison authorities would not confirm it.

NSW Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin confirmed the attack, saying it “appears to have had a strong fundamentalist element to it” and that the teen had “clearly identified himself as a radical”. “I am appalled that these two inmates were placed in the same cell,” Mr Severin said.

The general manager of the prison, Greg Steele, has since been stood down from the role.

From the always useful New English Review.

This is simply getting to the point of absurdity. We have to start taking what these people say about their own beliefs and intentions seriously, or more and more ordinary people are going to be hurt.

luton1

A couple of days after that advertisement appeared, Tanweer Ahmed, a Sunni Muslim, traveled 200 miles in an Uber car from Bradford in England, to Glasgow in Scotland, where he waited for Assad Shah to leave the convenience store where he worked, then stabbed him 30 times, stamped on his head, and sat on his chest waiting for him to die, which he did later that night.

“Mr Shah’s family, originally from Pakistan, are members of the Ahmadiyya Islamic sect, which preaches ‘love for all, hatred for none’, but is seen as sacrilegious by orthodox Muslims.” Family members now fear they will be Islamic murderers’ next targets.

The UK Daily Record quotes a source who says that “The hardline Sunni Muslims call Ahmadiyya Muslims kafir. They say they are non-believers.”

87 percent to 90 percent of all Muslims, or about 1.5 billion people, are Sunnis. Additionally, “the majority of modern Muslim scholars continue to hold the traditional view that the death penalty for apostasy is required.”

via Newsbusters

Two articles from the Financial Review, both warning about Australia’s debt levels.

The first about the National Australia Bank’s concern that further debt increases will risk Australia’s AAA credit rating – meaning higher interest rates, and a less attractive business and investment environment, which in turn means higher unemployment and lower tax revenues.

Treasurer Scott Morrison says the coming budget will ensure the government lives within its means: “It means you don’t make promises for which there is no money. It means that you keep your expenditure control tight”

All well and good, but the NAB is not convinced, and neither am I.

“However, NAB’s Mr Jolly expressed unease that the looming federal election and next month’s budget may see both sides of politics ease up on budget repair efforts to maximise votes.

He also pointed out that debt levels are well above the average of the past 36 years, hitting 15 per cent of GDP last year and on the way to 18 per cent over the next two years. That’s about three times greater than the last time S&P cut the credit rating to AA in 1989.

Mr Jolly said that keeping the ratings agencies happy would require demonstrating “ongoing restraint”, thereby continuing the likely drag on economic growth of recent years.

“With a general election at some point over the next six months, where the government and opposition will be releasing policy initiatives and making promises, a question for investors is whether fiscal restraint will continue.”

In January, S&P warned that Australia’s AAA rating was based on an expectation of ongoing budget restraint that would result in “consistently narrowing deficits over the forecast horizon, maintaining the general government debt near or below current levels”.

The agency cautioned that there was a need for “strong” government savings to offset the exposure caused the offshore borrowings of Australia’s banks.”

Then there are similar concerns expressed by Forbes Magazine, which says Australia is the second most likely country in the world to suffer a debt crisis within the next three years. The most likely is China. And of course, if China suffers a debt crisis, it won’t be buying our resources, which means we will be in trouble too. If China falters, so do we.

We just cannot afford generous welfare schemes or refugee resettlement programmes, or health and education systems to which those who benefit directly make no meaningful contribution, nor trendy but pointless projects like fast rail systems. We must return to a system where those most in need are cared for, and at the same time, every member of society is expected to make a contribution.