Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Feminist gets a man fired for free speech

What the man said was undoubtedly an offence under Australia's hate speech laws and it would be hurtful for most women to be so described.  But if this had happened in the USA, it is probable that the speech would be regarded as protected by the 1st Amendment.  Though a defamation action could succeed if the utterance were held to be a serious claim rather than mere abuse.

I am not too critical of the outcome for Mr Nolan, however. He should learn some manners and stop abusing people he disagrees with. He will now have learnt that lesson, I assume.  Users of foul language tend to reveal themselves as unpleasant people and Mr Nolan's employers would appear to have seen it that way. 

The amusing thing, however, is that they may have fallen foul of Australia's unfair dismissal laws.  Firing a man for a single offence without warning is not normally allowed.  If he puts in a claim Mr Nolan might end up a few thousand dollars in front.

I don't think Ms Ford is beyond criticism in the matter, however. I think feminists are insane.  Any claim that there are no significant inborn differences between men and women betrays a severe lack of reality contact. And a lack of reality contact is the defining feature of insanity. 

So if Ms Ford is a feminist in that sense, I claim that she is insane.  Is that as bad as calling her a slut?  Rather worse, I suspect.  But it is a serious and reasoned claim by a Ph.D. psychologist with extensive academic publications on mental health issues so it will be amusing if Ms Ford takes issue with it. If she does not however she would appear to have let the claim stand.

We are often told that fat is a feminist issue too so how is it that the pictures of her in the newspapers show a slim person (as far as we can tell) when her appearances on TV show a woman who is -- dare I say it?  -- FAT.  That seems to me to show a certain hypocrisy

A SYDNEY man as been fired from his job as a hotel manager after calling popular feminist writer and commentator Clementine Ford a ‘sl**’ on Facebook. On Friday, Ms Ford shared a screenshot of her interaction with Michael Nolan with her 80,000 Facebook followers and tagged Mr Nolan’s employer Meriton Apartments in the post.

“I wonder if the folks over at Meriton Apartments are aware that a man listing himself as a supervisor for their business likes to leave comments on women’s Facebook pages calling them sl**s. I wonder if they are also aware that he is a racist,” she wrote. Mr Nolan has posted several racist jokes and memes on his personal Facebook page.

In a statement to Ms Ford, Meriton Apartments said they do not condone Mr Nolan’s behaviour and he has since been let go from his job. “Michael Nolan was removed from the Meriton site on Saturday 28th November pending an investigation, and as of 2:30pm today 30th November 2015, he no longer works for the Meriton Group,” the statement read.

Ms Ford hit back against those who criticised her for getting Mr Nolan fired.  'To anyone who suggests I have caused a man to lose his job, I’d like to say this: He is responsible for his actions. He is responsible for the things he writes and the attitudes he holds. “It is not my responsibility to hold his hand and coddle him when he behaves in an abusive manner just because it might have consequences for him.


Paris climate talks: As world leaders open UN COP21 summit, Malcolm Turnbull rejects fossil fuel pledge

PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull won’t sign an international agreement to phase out fossil fuel subsidies amid concerns voiced by Nationals MPs it could jeopardise Australia’s diesel fuel rebates.

Mr Turnbull has opted out of signing the key fossil fuel subsidy reform communiqué at the international United Nations climate summit COP21 in Paris, a government spokeswoman confirmed.

The call to phase out the subsidies is being labelled the “missing piece of the climate change puzzle” and is led by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

More than 30 countries and hundreds of businesses have signed the communiqué calling for the ultimate elimination of fossil fuel subsidies, saying the cost should reflect both environmental costs and supply costs.

“The majority of fossil-fuel subsidies are also socially regressive, with benefits disproportionately skewed toward middle-and upper-middle income households,” the communiqué states. A partial phase out could generate 12 per cent of the emissions reduction needed by 2020 to be on the path towards limiting global warming to two degrees, it says.

However, Mr Turnbull won’t bow to international pressure and join the call after MPs back home raised concerns the agreement could harm diesel subsidies claimed by farmers and miners.

National’s MP George Christensen took to Twitter to vent his anger, saying the end of the rebate would cost jobs.

The Australian Conservation Foundation labelled the communiqué an early test for Australia at the major climate change conference.

“The diesel rebate is notorious because it means while Australian motorists pay 38 cents in tax on every litre of fuel they buy, some of the world’s biggest mining companies pay not a single cent in tax for the diesel they use in their mining operations,” foundation economist Matthew Rose said.

But National’s MP Barnaby Joyce maintains the diesel fuel rebate is not a subsidy. “Farmers and miners don’t use public roads, so why should they pay a public road tax?” he told the Australian newspaper.

The G20 and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group agreed to phase out inefficient fuel subsidies in 2009.


Paris climate summit: US hard line opens split on carbon

Deep divisions resurfaced ahead of last night’s opening of the Paris climate talks, with the US and Australia digging in to insist that developed nations’ historical responsibilities for carbon dioxide emissions be scrapped.

The issue has been a “red line” for developing nations led by India, which is pushing ahead with economic development to bring millions of people out of poverty.

A change to how historical carbon emissions are treated would require India and other nations to contribute more to future emissions cuts and climate finance.

A confidential “non-paper” discussion document issued by the US sets out the hard line that the US and Australia intend to take in the Paris talks.

Together with more than 100 world leaders, Malcolm Turnbull was due to address the Paris conference to outline Australia’s position early today.

Australia has pledged to cut carbon dioxide emissions by ­between 26 and 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

The Prime Minister has said tougher cuts may be possible in future and has supported a UN process under which country pledges are reviewed every five years and progressively tougher measures agreed.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has said he believes a deal is possible in Paris. “It won’t be a perfect outcome but I think it will be a critical outcome and it will be a success,” Mr Hunt said.

Big differences remain over whether a Paris agreement should be legally binding and how it will deal with the issues of historical ­responsibility for carbon dioxide emissions and who should fund and administer a $100 billion-a-year fund.

Underlining one of the major challenges to reaching a universal deal, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned last night that poor nations had a right to burn carbon to grow their economies.

Chinese intransigence on the issue of historical responsibility was largely blamed for the breakdown of the 2009 UN climate change talks in Copenhagen.

The US discussion paper brought the most contentious ­issues to the surface on day one.

At the previous round of ­climate talks in Bonn, Germany, last month, negotiators representing 80 per cent of the world’s population walked out when references to historical responsibilities were left out of the negotiating text.

They were subsequently ­reinstated, more than doubling the size of the text that has now made its way to Paris.

Leaking of the confidential US discussion paper has caused a ­furore in India, which has made keeping the issue of historical ­responsibility on global carbon ­dioxide emissions a condition of its agreement at the Paris talks.

US President Barack Obama and Mr Modi were due to share the stage at the opening ceremony of the Paris conference to announce new measures on ­research and development.

Behind the scenes, negotiators face significant hurdles in finalising a Paris text. A report in India’s Business Standard said that in the US discussion paper, the US said it wanted each country’s greenhouse gas reduction pled­ges determined independently by each nation rather than through a process of international negotiation.

The report said any move to remove the wall of differentiation between developed and developing countries would end any ­notion of historical responsibility.

The US position paper also wants developing countries to contribute to the climate funds in future and not just the developed countries as is required under ­existing UN arrangements.

Mr Modi issued his challenge as the 12-day conference opened.  “Justice demands that, with what little carbon we can still safely burn, developing countries are allowed to grow,” he wrote in the Financial Times. “The lifestyles of a few must not crowd out opportunities for the many still on the first steps of the development ladder.”

A spokesman for the ­Department of Foreign Affairs said Australia was aware of the US discussion paper.

“Like the US, we want a common platform for all countries to take action from 2020, moving past binary differentiation between developed and developing countries, and allowing for continuous improvement over time.”

In India, the US and Australian position is considered against the spirit of the UN negotiations. The existing UN convention distributes the burden of emissions reduction and other actions based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities, respective capabilities and national circumstances”.

Maintaining this position was fundamental to India agreeing to the Paris round talks. India claims it is not responsible for historical emissions and therefore should not be penalised in efforts to develop and alleviate poverty.

The US and Australia now wants the Paris agreement to focus only on existing economic capabilities of countries and their existing circumstances.


Around 1 in 10 teaching students fail trial numeracy, literacy exam

It's mainly desperates who would want to teach in Australia's chaotic State schools -- and you can't expect much of desperates.  The States would have to get a handle on classroom discipline if better quality candidates are to be attracted to teaching 

About 10 per cent of teaching students failed to meet required standards of literacy and numeracy, results from a trial exam show.

About 5,000 students sat the test, which is designed to ensure teaching graduates are in the top 30 per cent of Australians when it comes to literacy and numeracy.

Of the students who took part, 92 per cent passed the literacy test and 90 per cent passed the numeracy test.

The testing was conducted in capital cities, as well as in Albury in New South Wales and Ballarat in Victoria.

If the results from the pilot study were replicated nationally, potentially 1,800 teaching graduates last year would have failed to make the grade.

The test will be mandatory from July next year and students will have to pass before they can graduate and go on to work in a classroom.

The Australian Education Union said the results showed a need for a minimum entry requirements for teaching courses.

Union president Correna Haythorpe said the Federal Government should focus on how students are selected for teaching training.

"We have had concerns for a number of years that entry standards for teaching courses are too low," she said.

"Students need to be identified and supported at the beginning of their teaching course, not find out at the end that they have not made the grade.

"We believe if the Government is serious about attracting the top 30 per cent, then they need to ensure minimum entry standards apply at the beginning of a teaching course."

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the findings justified the Government's focus on teacher quality.

"Parents, principals, all stakeholders in school education should have complete confidence that graduates from our universities with teaching qualifications are among some of the best and brightest in the land," Senator Birmingham said.

"We are really putting it on the universities who are training our teachers to make sure they have confidence in the capabilities of teachers before they graduate.

"It's quite fair and reasonable that universities — as the providers of teaching graduates — should be providing teaching graduates that are of the highest possible standard."

From next year, it will be up to universities to decide whether to set the test as an entry requirement or to provide it during teaching training.


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