Queensland commuters may get free rides on trains, buses and ferries if they travel at off-peak times, says Qld Minister for Transport Rachel Nolan.
This is being considered because public transport is overloaded at peak hours and under-utilised at other times.
What made that news story of interest to me was that Rachel Nolan noted that the state government subsidises the cost of public transport by $3-$4 for every dollar spent by commuters. I guess the figure would be similar in other states.
In other words, if someone pays a dollar for his or her train fare, the taxpayer pays another $3-$4. Every time.
I’d like to know that there has been some sort of evidence based, not just wishful thinking based, study that shows that this level of subsidy for public transport is a reasonable and cost effective investment. In other words, that the benefits to the wider community outweigh the cost, and that tax payers would not be better off if this money was spent somewhere else.
If that is the case, then I don’t mind paying for other people’s bus tickets.
Ban Ki Moon described Imanutjob’s speech and the subsequent walk out by the few civilised nations still at the Geneva racism conference as a “very troubling experience for me as a Secretary General.”
Oh, please. Spare us.
Every one of the nitwits now complaining that gosh, they had no idea Imanutjob was going to be so nasty, and gee whiz, if they’d only known, etc, etc, is telling porkies.
When addressing the conference, Ahmadinejad criticised the creation of a “totally racist government in occupied Palestine” in 1948, calling it “the most cruel and racist regime”.
Durban I was a rascist hate-fest. Mr Imanutjob has repeatedly asserted that the Zionist entity should be wiped from the face of the earth. He claimed as he was on the way to Geneva for Durban II that the ‘Zionist ideology and regime are the flag bearers of racism.’
It is just a nonsense for Ban Ki Moon or any other UN official now to act all innocent and dismayed. They knew exactly what was coming.
Can’t wait for this CBS made for broadcast movie to be shown in Australia.
As a Polish Catholic social worker in the early 1940s, Irena Sendler created and led a conspiracy of women who moved in and out of Warsaw’s Jewish Ghetto disguised as nurses employed by Warsaw’s Health Department. Though they worked under the guise of merely attempting to prevent and contain the spread of Typhus and Spotted Fever, Sendler and her brave cohorts emerged each time with the children of consenting Jewish parents. The children were sometimes sedated and hidden inside boxes, suitcases and coffins as a means of rescuing them from their imminent deportation to death camps. They were given new identities and placed with Polish families and in convents. Sendler kept a hidden record of their birth names and where they were placed with the hope that they would some day be reunited with their own families.
In 1943, the Nazis discovered Sendler’s daring and dangerous ruse and arrested her. She was tortured by Gestapo agents and suffered broken feet. On the day of her scheduled execution she was rescued by “Zegota,” the underground network with which she worked to save the Jewish children.
As a result of Sendler’s efforts, approximately 2,500 children were smuggled to safety. Not a single child she rescued was ever betrayed or discovered by the Nazis.
A real-world test performed by the Dutch province of Zeeland (a very windy place) confirms that small windmills are a fundamentally flawed technology. Twelve wind turbines were placed in a row on an open plain. Their energy yield was measured over a period of one year (April 1, 2008 – March 31, 2009). The average wind velocity during these 12 months was 3.8 meters per second (slightly higher than average). Three windmills broke.
The others produced some energy. But at outrageous costs compared with traditional methods of power production.
Financial payback time is much longer than their life expectancy and in urban areas they will not even deliver as much energy as was needed to produce them.
I’m sure larger wind turbines have the same fundamental flaws – high cost, high breakdown rates, energy used to produce, install and maintain them is out of proportion to the energy they produce, and other methods of energy production need to built anyway, because wind power cannot be relied on for consistent supply.
Via Small Dead Animals.
Eric at Big Hollywood writes about real beauty – the kind Susan Boyle has, and real ugliness, the kind Janeane Garofalo has.
I won’t say much more – it’s worth reading the whole thing.
But I share his frustration at the view expressed by Garofalo and others that the only possible reason any one could disagree with Barack Obama about anything is because he is black.
Worried about tax policy? No you’re not. You’re a racist redneck.
Worried about where money for massive ‘stimulus’ spending is going to come from? No you’re not. You’re a racist redneck.
Worried about Obama’s foreign policy? No you’re not…. You get the idea.
One of the convenient things about that kind of thinking is that you never have to bother engaging with people’s concerns or answering their questions. You can just dismiss them because they are, you know, racist rednecks. But given the kind of nonsensical nastiness Garofalo apparently believes, a lack of further engagement with her is probably a good thing.
And aren’t rednecks ordinary working people, the kind the Democrats were supposed to represent?
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — who has called for Israel to be “wiped off the map” and described the Holocaust as a “myth” — arrived in Geneva late on Sunday as one of the few heads of state attending the conference.
Setting off for Switzerland, Ahmadinejad , who is seeking re-election in June, was quoted by Iran’s state broadcaster as saying ‘The Zionist ideology and regime are the flag bearers of racism.’
Various UN and human rights organisations have claimed that by not attending the Durban II conference the US, Australia and others are ‘turning their backs on victims of racism.’ Rubbish.
They would have a lot more credibility if they told Imanutjob to shut up and tidy up his own back yard.
How can anyone with a shred of decency or intelligence attend a conference where Imanutjob and others dominate proceedings, whose countries routinely hang or behead gay men, stone women who have been raped, and permit the marriage of girls as young a six to much older men, or, as in the case of Burma and Sudan, are carrying out systematic murders of any of their own citizens who are not the right race or religion?
The whole thing is just an bloody, expensive, embarassment.
Miss North Carolina Kristen Dalton won the Miss USA title earlier today. Good for her.
But trouble started after runner-up Carrie Prejean (Miss California) was asked this question: ‘Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalise same-sex marriage … do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?’
Carrie said: ‘We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offence to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.’
Some in the audience obviously agreed. But many others booed her.
She was asked her opinion. What was she supposed to do – lie?
But no, it’s not good enough. No one is allowed to doubt the all encompassing beauty of gay marriage, far less actually voice such a repugnant opinion.
‘It’s ugly,’ said Scott Ihrig, a gay man, who attended the pageant with his partner. ‘I think it’s ridiculous that she got first runner-up. That is not the value of 95 percent of the people in this audience. Look around this audience and tell me how many gay men there are.’
Yes there are lots of them, so they must be right, and no one is allowed to think any different.
Fights then broke out in the lobby. Something is ugly here, but it isn’t Carrie.
Because both global warming alarmists and creationists care more about defending their entrenched positions than they do for the evidence.
In comments on another blog I was recently accused of being a denialist because I pointed out that the world was not getting any warmer, and that there was no correlation between human production of CO2 and changes in global climate.
Science is about asking questions. It is not denial to look at the evidence.
Saturday’s Australian has another surprisingly fair story about Professor Ian Plimer – Australia’s best known geologist. A couple of excerpts below:
While an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide theoretically may contribute to temperature rise, Plimer says there is no evidence to show this and plenty of proof, if you choose to look for it, to the contrary.
Climate changes are cyclical and driven by the Earth’s position in the galaxy, the sun, wobbles in the planet’s orbit, ocean currents and plate tectonics. When he peers back in time, there were periods when atmospheric CO2 was much higher than it is now yet produced no disastrous shift in the climate.
To reduce climate change to the single variable of carbon emissions abandons “all we know about planet Earth, the sun and the cosmos”, Plimer says, and that is a leap of faith no self-respecting scientist should take.
“The science is now based on consensus, and we have thousands of scientists who have got everything to gain by saying the world is going to end. We have lost the tie to evidence. So I make a great comparison … between the way creationists operate and the way some of the rabid environmentalists and global warmers operate. The parallels are quite similar.”
Everything transferred over quickly and easily.
The new layout needs some tidying up. I will do this over the next few days.
If you notice any bugs or have any suggestions, let me know. Comment, or email me (address is on the profile page).
Posting back to normal this afternoon.
Over the next day or so (Monday in Australia) we will be moving to a new server, and making some changes to our site layout to make it easier to read.
The transfer should be painless. But it probably won’t be. There may be few new posts, and older posts, pictures and files may get lost for a while.
The whole process should only take a couple of hours. I hope.
I wrote about the effect of condom use on HIV infection rates in general terms about three weeks ago, but Andrew Bolt’s post this afternoon titled Pell’s Killer Argument has prompted me to add some more detail.
I noted last time that the only people whose behaviour is likely to be influenced by Catholic theology are Catholics. It is simply silly to suggest that the Catholic Church does not have a right, indeed an obligation, to advise the faithful on morality.
Second, I pointed out that the more likely people are to disobey the Church’s teaching in one area, the less likely they are to be troubled by breaking the rules in others. In other words, encouraging Catholics to ignore Catholic teaching on the use of artificial contraception is also likely to encourage them to ignore Catholic teaching on chastity. And that, of course, will encourage, not discourage, risky behaviour.
Finally I suggested that it is simply silly to believe that someone who is deliberately going to commit a mortal sin by stealing from his family to pay a prostitute or by having sex with another man in a public toilet is at the same time going to be so constrained by his conscience that he will refuse to wear a condom out of a desire to act in accordance with the faith.
All of the above seems to me to be simple common sense. Common sense may be mistaken. But as Cardinal Pell has noted, actual research seem to confirm that the Pope and the Catholic Church are right.
For example, Edward Green, writing in the Washington Post on March 29th, said:
In theory, condom promotions ought to work everywhere. And intuitively, some condom use ought to be better than no use. But that’s not what the research in Africa shows. Why not? One reason is “risk compensation.” That is, when people think they’re made safe by using condoms at least some of the time, they actually engage in riskier sex.
He also noted that when early studies found this to be so, organisations like United Nations’ AIDS programme simply refused to acknowledge or publish them. But more recently, a succession of studies published in journals such as Lancet, Science and BMJ have confirmed that promoting the use of condoms simply has not worked as an AIDS prevention programme in Africa. This is despite millions and millions of dollars being spent on publicising condom use and making condoms easily and freely available.
Note that Edward Green is not a Catholic, and supports the use of condoms. He believes that condoms have worked in places other than Africa (I do not – there are other factors at work in the Asian countries he mentions, and very low HIV infection rates in the Catholic Philippines is a strong counter-argument). But he acknowledges that what works best is faithfulness.
So when Pope Benedict, Cardinal Pell and the wider Catholic Church say that chastity outside of marriage and faithfulness within marriage is right for spiritual reasons and is also the healthiest choice, the evidence is on their side. It is not on the side of the wholesale condom sellers.
At the last possible moment, Australia has been done the right thing and said it will not be sending delegates to the UN’s Geneva Conference for Racism and Anti-Semitism (commonly called Durban II).
The conference is due to start on the 120th anniversay of the birthday of Adolf Hitler.
This means our illustrious leaders will miss words of wisdom from planned speakers like Iranian President Imanutjob.
Australia will join the US, Italy, Germany, Canada, and a number of other countries.
Some in the US have complained that by not going, President Barack Obama is losing a chance to show leadership. The truth is exactly the reverse.
Well done Obama. Well done Kevin.
Despite the extraordinary vindictiveness of the attacks against her and her family during the presidential election campaigns, Sarah Palin kept her dignity throughout.
She spoke in Illinois a few days ago. On the stimulus programme, no shots at Obama, just : ‘This isn’t free money folks.’
That’s common sense. We need more of it.
But I am still gobsmacked by the suspended sentence and sympathetic hearing given to Iranian refugee Kayvan Zarei after he punched a woman in a car park and then splashed a witness with petrol and tried to set fire to him.
Zarei pleaded guilty to two counts of assault and one count of endangering life. He was given a two year suspended sentence. In other words, there was no punishment for his behaviour at all.
In his non-sentencing remarks Judge Rauf Soulio (Silly-O to his mates) said the incident had a “significant impact” on the witness and was also a “frightening experience” for the woman.
But all of that was outweighed by the fact that some people might not have been quite as nice to Zarei as he expected since he had been in Australia. Some people might even have gone so far as to ask him where he was from, or whether he was a Muslim. As a consequence he had become a depressed drug addict.
Refugee Council of Australia chief executive office Paul Power said racial discrimination was built on fear and misunderstanding. It was crucial for people to learn about other groups. Pardon?
If society is given the message that refugees (or anyone else for that matter) who behave threateningly or violently will not be given any appropriate consequences for that behaviour, and therefore no incentive to stop that behaviour, then it is perfectly reasonable to be mistrustful and afraid.
Are these do-gooders completely nuts?