Friday, September 02, 2011
AD and BC ruled out of date for national curriculum
This is just going to force kids to learn two systems instead of one. Most reference works use BC and AD so will be incomprehensible to the kids unless they learn both systems
CHRISTIANS are outraged that the birth of Jesus Christ will no longer be cited when recording dates under the new national history curriculum.
High school students will not use the terms BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini) when referencing dates.
Although history dates won't change, with textbooks still using the birth of Christ as the change point, they will use the neutral terms BCE (Before Common Era), BP (Before Present) and CE (Common Era).
Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen said yesterday that removing BC and AD from the curriculum was an "intellectually absurd attempt to write Christ out of human history".
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"It is absurd because the coming of Christ remains the centre point of dating and because the phrase 'common era' is meaningless and misleading," he told The Daily Telegraph. It was akin to calling Christmas the festive season, he said.
A spokesman for the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, responsible for developing the national curriculum from kindergarten to Year 12, said BCE and CE were to be introduced because this was an increasingly common standard for the representation of dates.
The little known term BP (Before Present) will be used when dealing with "very ancient history and archaeology, and allows for the teaching of more sophisticated understandings of representations of time".
In anticipation of the curriculum change, textbooks for student teachers such as Teaching And Learning In Aboriginal Education, by Neil Harrison, were already using the term BP.
Federal Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne said: "Australia is what it is today because of the foundations of our nation in the Judeo-Christian heritage that we inherited from Western civilisation.
"Kowtowing to political correctness by the embarrassing removal of AD and BC in our national curriculum is of a piece with the fundamental flaw of trying to deny who we are as a people."
The curriculum was to have been introduced next year but has been delayed.
Another political correctness absurdity
JUST when we thought political correctness was on the way out, ridiculed to death by South Park and Borat and a cynical Generation Y, back it comes stronger than ever.
The resurgence of culturally mandated conformity creeps up on you unawares, like when you don't take the full course of antibiotics for an infection.
The virulence of the PC disease was seen this week in the Radike Samo blackface furore, which made headlines around the world.
The treatment of the two Wallabies fans who donned afro wigs and painted their faces black in honour of their favourite player, who was born in Fiji, serves as a cautionary tale for anyone who believes we live in relaxed times.
Cultural wowsers went feral on Twitter after rugby sponsor Qantas posted a picture of the two dressed like Samo and declared them the winners of a competition for supportive fans.
Qantas, being a typical lily-livered company, issued an abject apology. The young men were publicly shamed as "racists", despite the fact Samo loved their tribute to him and posed for pictures with them.
"These guys were actually paying me a tribute," he said. "I don't know why anyone's getting worked up. That sort of reaction is just silly."
Yes it is silly. But it is also sinister that a reflexive flexing of muscles by troublemaking, self-righteous busybodies should be so rewarded.
Another storm erupted a few days earlier when Channel 9 presenter Karl Stefanovic made a bawdy joke about colleague Richard Wilkins in a speech to launch his memoirs. "I know three things about Richard Wilkins: great bloke, big hair, massive c . . k," was his opening line to media types in a Kings Cross club.
The joke may have been a bit off-colour for polite company, but Wilkins didn't mind. The crowd roared with laughter, but then the tut-tutters began to make trouble. Calls were made for Stefanovic to explain himself. To his credit, he refused. "Mate, I'm not going to stop having a good time in life. I just hope we're not turning into a society of wowsers." Good for him.
Wowsers have always existed just under the surface of this former penal colony, and emerge when political and social conditions are right, as they are now under the Green-Gillard coalition.
The state is jumping in too, with Victoria's charter of rights one official method of paying lawyers $13.5 million of taxpayers' money to enforce political correctness.
The control freakery is not just about correcting behaviour. It's about using language to correct people's thoughts.
For instance, a friend studying education was astonished to find in a textbook that the new national history curriculum is to require people to use the term "BP", rather than the traditional "BC".
BC, of course, was the historical term used to denote the time "before Christ". This is now deemed an offensive idea, which must be erased from the minds of Australian children. So instead we are to replace it with the nonsensical BP, which stands for "before present", in an effort to stamp out Christ in the curriculum.
History is ripe for politically correct redesign, as we saw in Sydney City Council's rewriting of all its official documents to insert the term "invasion".
And, as the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks looms, there is even a quarrel over whether Muslims should be mentioned.
Never mind that the men who flew planes into New York's twin towers were Islamist terrorists bent on jihad against the satanic West. Those inconvenient facts must be sanitised from a colouring book for children, which has drawn the ire of America's PC brigade. The book We Shall Never Forget 9/11 states that "freedom-hating radical Islamic Muslim extremists" attacked the US because they "hate the American way of life", which is a pretty accurate statement of the terrorists' motives. But the Council on American-Islamic Relations has joined a chorus slamming the sentiment as "dangerous". The book hasn't yet been banned.
The executive producer of the ABC Sunday night British drama Midsomer Murders wasn't so lucky. Brian True-May lost his job after he told an interviewer the series was successful because it represented "the last bastion of Englishness" and suggested it wouldn't work as well if the cast were more ethnically diverse.
True-May's employers ITV immediately suspended him for these "inappropriate" comments and announced he would leave the show at the end of the current production run.
Embracing homosexuality in all things, especially marriage, is another cultural imperative of the wowsers. It is now "homophobic" to say a child is entitled to a mother and a father, as a questioner on the ABC's Q&A recently put it.
And woe betide anyone who objects to the push to get Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie to have a gay wedding.
It used to be just the "N-word" in Huckleberry Finn or Enid Blyton's Gollywogs that were verboten. Now it's "faggot" coming under fire, with the Dire Straits song Money For Nothing banned from Canadian radio by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, because in it the word appears three times.
Even bogans are sacred cows, with a three-minute Tourism Queensland ad attacked for poking fun at "Aussie bogans, hicks and hillbillies".
Social media has amplified the wowsers' power and control. You can't make a joke without the twitterati taking it out of context and maliciously using it to make trouble.
This is why so many people loved Charlie Sheen, who was wild and reckless enough to snub his nose at all conventions because these days the most powerful establishment is the one that enforces political correctness.
Wowsers have replaced the churches as guardians of morality - only theirs is a chaotic set of vaguely defined mores with no obvious benefit to society. They just trap the unwary and force everyone to become more guarded.
High dudgeon is encouraged. Overblown outrage is the order of the day. Taken to its extreme, the new wowserism becomes a form of totalitarianism, which punishes people for "thought crimes".
NSW renewable schemes face axe
THE state government has flagged the winding up of renewable energy schemes in NSW if the federal government introduces a carbon tax, which it concedes is all but inevitable.
It also warned the state relies too heavily on electricity and gas from other states. The Energy Minister, Chris Hartcher, is keen to boost gas supplies in NSW.
The government is also studying a report outlining how to merge the three state-owned distribution companies - Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and Essential Energy - into two, which is expected to result in the loss of hundreds of jobs. This merger is to be in place by the middle of next year.
An inquiry into the electricity industry being undertaken by Justice Brian Tamberlin is expected to recommend the sale of the distributors when it reports to the government next month.
While warning about over-reliance on renewable energy, Mr Hartcher indicated existing programs will need to be reviewed.
"Once the carbon tax comes into force, it's certainly going to come into force, I don't think there is any doubt about that, there's going to be a need for a reassessment of the various programs," he told a business lunch yesterday.
"The carbon tax is designed to do only one thing . to force up the price of electricity from coal-fired power and, if that's the case, how you implement other renewable energy targets needs to be subordinated to it."
Buying too much energy from interstate is leaving NSW exposed to disruptions, he said, referring to the period in February when electricity demand peaked at 14,820 megawatts, and NSW was forced to import 12 per cent of the total from other states.
"What happens when there are simultaneous midsummer heatwave demands in the eastern states, and what may that mean for NSW businesses and households?" he said. "The impact could be exacerbated by unplanned generation outages or transmission failure. This would see us managing blackouts."
Gas-fired power generation in NSW is forecast to triple over the next two decades with around 7000 megawatts of new peaking gas generation, 700 megawatts of new baseload gas generation and 400 megawatts of renewable generation to come on line, he said.
This will occur as gas supplies from both the Cooper Basin and Bass Strait are in decline. "It is prudent NSW develop a gas industry to support its needs locally - both for energy generation - and for household use," Mr Hartcher said.
As a result, the state government was to launch a gas industry development plan to ensure its evolution, both as a fuel source for electricity generation, as well as industrial and residential uses, he said.
Storm brews as Maccas' coffee rated best
This will cause heartburn among the McDonald's-hating snobs
A STORM is brewing in the nation's coffee chains after McDonald's top-scored in a battle of the baristas.
The fast food giant better known for fries and burgers beat specialty rivals to snatch best coffee house honours in a consumer survey.
McCafe trumped Gloria Jean's, Hudsons, Muffin Break and The Coffee Club, according to the Canstar Blue poll.
The tick comes just three months after McDonald's apologised for the sorry state of its coffee and promised to improve.
McCafe got top marks for overall satisfaction and price, tied with Michel's on service, and came equal first with Perth-based Dome for taste.
The survey revealed 10 per cent of Australians find coffee withdrawal symptoms worse than going without cigarettes, and have tried unsuccessfully to give up their caffeine habit.