Wednesday, June 01, 2016
A self-inflicted death by crocodile
To go swimming late at night in an area famous for crocodiles and full of warning signs about them, that is truly a self-inflicted death -- for which little sympathy is appropriate. Reading between the lines, she was probably drunk at the time. In any case it was a Darwinian end. Nature deals with maladaptive behaviour.
Pebbles Hooper got into trouble for referring to death from folly as "natural selection", so it will be amusing to see if my note here will get any reaction. I think that what Pebbles said was a reasonable comment -- but obviously too dispassionate for many.
Do we always have to pity folly? Can we not sometimes speak of it objectively? Unless we can, there will undoubtedly be more of it
A woman who went missing after she was taken by a crocodile during a late-night swim was on holiday to celebrate the end of her childhood friend's cancer battle.
Cindy Waldron, 46, was swimming with her friend, Leeann Mitchell, at Daintree, north of Cairns, about 10pm on Sunday.
Ms Mitchell, from Cairns, had just completed a bout of chemotherapy and Ms Waldron, from Lithgow in New South Wales' east, was in north Queensland to support her friend, the New Zealand Herald reported. There are crocodile warning signs on the side of the Daintree River near where the attack took place
Following the attack, federal MP Warren Entsch said the attack must not spark a hysterical debate about crocodile management in his electorate.
'You can't legislate against human stupidity,' he told AAP on Monday.
'This is a tragedy but it was avoidable. There are warning signs everywhere up there.'
'People have to have some level of responsibility for their own actions.'
Safe Schools funding lost if offensive Commo stays
One of the most influential backers of the Safe Schools program has threatened to withdraw future financial support, unless the founder of the program, hard-line Marxist Roz Ward, steps down over her comments denigrating the Australian flag.
Beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett yesterday called for Ms Ward to resign from the role, saying her “extreme political views” rendered her “ineligible to be involved in any program …. in schools”. Mr Kennett, whose charity has provided almost $600,000 over the past two years to La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, which administers the Safe Schools program in Victoria, added: “You don’t want extremists in there. Her behaviour and her statement clearly indicate a belief which goes well beyond the conditions of which I am prepared to have this subject taught in schools.”
While Ms Ward’s Marxist leanings have been a matter of public record for some time, last week’s post to Facebook, in which she called for the “racist Australian flag” to be replaced with the red ensign favoured by socialists, appears to have been a step too far for her supporters within Victoria’s Labor government.
Ms Ward was forced to resign from a state government education advisory role as a result, while La Trobe University announced an investigation into her role as manager of Safe Schools Coalition Victoria, which is funded by the state government.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham yesterday called for Ms Ward to step down from the national steering committee for Safe Schools Coalition Australia, which has recently severed ties with the Victorian branch.
“Given Ms Ward saw it fit to resign from her appointment with the Victorian government, I would expect that she do likewise for any remaining role associated with the National Safe Schools program,” Senator Birmingham said. “Her extreme views have done a grave disservice to this program and are anathema to the vast majority of Australians.”
The Australian understands that Ms Ward’s role on the steering committee has come under scrutiny in recent months, with several members approaching chairman Anne Mitchell to discuss her “ongoing involvement in the program”.
The approaches stemmed from “concerns that Ms Ward’s activities had unnecessarily politicised the program” and reports about her, sources said.
The British-born academic has become the face of Safe Schools, an anti-bullying program geared at gay and transgender youth, which has been criticised for promoting the idea that gender and sexuality is a “social construct” rather than biological.
Ms Ward, who did not respond to requests to comment yesterday, has previously admitted that the program was about gender and sexual diversity, rather than preventing bullying, and has spoken at public events about Safe Schools being part of a strategy to change society.
Mr Kennett said that while he could not speak for his entire board, he could not personally support funding further research conducted by the university if Ms Ward continued to be involved. “As chairman of the board I would oppose and argue against funding any research of which she was a contributing researcher,” Mr Kennett said. “She has done so much damage to the cause it’s difficult to accept.”
According to ARCSHS’s latest financial report, Beyondblue contributed $166,000 last year and $413,000 the year before, largely to fund research into mental health and the LGTBI community.
The La Trobe research centre received more than $1m in funding from the Victorian government last year — about one-fifth of its overall budget — of which $272,700 was to administer Safe Schools.
The government recently announced that it would kick in a further $200,000 to $300,000 a year to plug the funding shortfall left by the federal government, which has ordered that the program be overhauled, including a ban from primary schools, opt-out rights for parents and the severance of links with controversial third-party groups.
That is in addition to a further $1m announced in the state budget for the compulsory roll out of the program across all Victorian secondary schools.
Australian of the Year finalist and transgender military officer Catherine McGregor, who recently revealed she turned down an invitation to be an ambassador to the program, said Ms Ward’s position should be terminated.
“She shouldn’t even have to be asked,” Ms McGregor said. “Her reputation has become a menace to what has the potential to be a good program.”
Victoria’s opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling joined calls for Ms Ward to resign, saying her position was “untenable”.
Australian wind farm companies going broke
In the hard-hitting Danish docu-drama, Follow the Money, the Armani suited executives of Energreen play a game of cat and mouse with the Fraud Squad, pumping up the value of their wind farm ‘assets’, while erasing anything from their books that investors might reasonably conclude were liabilities. Some viewers might call it ‘creative accounting’, others good old-fashioned ‘fraud’.
The apparent purpose of Energreen’s book keeping shenanigans is to lure in a steady stream of gullible investors to keep the whole circus afloat, long enough for those at the top of the Pyramid to line their pockets and set up bolt-holes in Brazil (or any other sunny place without an extradition treaty).
In terms of duping creditors and investors Energreen’s on-screen exploits aren’t that far from the truth. Wind back the clock on the story of Australia’s most notorious wind power outfit, Infigen and its ‘Phoenix’ rising start and the parallels are uncanny.
In 2009 Infigen magically emerged from the ashes of Babcock & Brown (which took creditors and investors for a lazy $10 billion). Despite its ashen origins Infigen hardly set the world on fire, managing to destroy $millions in shareholder value, in a matter of months.
Drowning in debt, it was forced by its financiers to offload its US wind farm ‘assets’ in a fire sale last year. Hoping to pocket over $500 million from that sale, it collected a little over half that – adding further to its balance sheet’s woes.
It then went on to lose another $304 million last year – blaming its dwindling revenue on, of all things, the WIND! That dismal result took its total losses to a lazy $448 million, since 2011.
However, for all the delusional confidence exuded by Miles George & Co about Infigen and its wind power ‘assets’, it seems that its owners are hell-bent on getting out before yet another Ponzi scheme collapses.
Much more HERE (See the original for links & graphics)
The Brazen Left’s Bid to Kill Quadrant
One by one, the institutions have been colonised and brought to heel: the press, schools, universities, public broadcasters, even police and armed forces. That same agenda demanded Quadrant's independent voice be defunded and silenced. It cannot be allowed to happen, but we need your help
The Australia Council’s decision to not approve the funding application of Quadrant — the nation’s oldest and leading conservative magazine of ideas and opinions — is a sign of the increasingly intolerant times. From Safe Schools to The Greens’ unholy war on religious freedom, the cultural space conservatives are being permitted to operate within is being shrunk to enforce politically correct conformity.
There is debate about the merits of public funding of the arts and letters, but that is separate to the issue of even-handed distribution of funding free of political bias.
The decision to leave the Quadrant bereft of taxpayer-support for the first time in 60 years is a grossly politicised act. It is designed to try to eliminate one of the few cultural institutions that allows dissenters to challenge Leftist thinking — despite a genuine contest of ideas being essential, or else the quality of the national debate and the resulting political and policy outcomes will suffer.
The breeding ground of the new intolerance is, of course, the universities, through which the Left has long marched and captured since the 1970s. Humanities academics across all fields present themselves as champions of diversity in everything from race to gender. But the vast majority have no time for the kind of diversity that really matters in a democratic society — political diversity.
They also like to think of themselves as pluralistic, and as critical and reflective thinkers open to new and challenging ideas. But in these circles, daring to think for oneself, to question the prevailing groupthink, is a recipe for alienation and marginalisation. The political is personal. Deviation from the charmed circled of allegedly enlightened opinion is punished with non-person status — with social and professional death
These attitudes are foreign to the culture of Quadrant and its long track record of discussing taboo subjects and disputing orthodox pieties. While its stance is broadly conservative, Quadrant hardly serves a partisan cheer squad toeing party-political lines. The real focus of the magazine and its website, Quadrant Online, is on collecting and collating heterodoxies across various of subjects. Political ‘purity’ tests therefore don’t apply, which allows for contributions to be made by writers with genuinely diverse perspectives.
Keith Windschuttle: The Australia Council’s Revenge
Take Quadrant’s influence on Indigenous affairs. This isn’t just the magazine that has published Keith Windschuttle’s work on frontier conflict and the Stolen Generations. It also published the pioneering 1994 article The Five Fallacies of Aboriginal Policy by the eminent Australian historian, John Hirst, which initiated the modern debate about the flaws in indigenous policy. Quadrant was also where Noel Pearson’s searing revisionist account of the source and nature of Indigenous disadvantage was published.
The stock standard Left view is that Indigenous disadvantage persists in Australia due to the failure to address the legacy of racism dating back to the original sins of colonisation. If we believe this, then the answer to overcoming Indigenous disadvantage is achieving symbolic reconciliation via the Recognition and Treaty movements. But this gets history the wrong way round. The true sources of the worst Indigenous disadvantage lies in the impact of the policies of Aboriginal Self-Determination of the 1970s. These policies were specifically designed to address the historic wrongs of dispossession by enabling Aborigines to live in the ‘homeland’ communities. But the result has been that these communities have become bywords for the welfare dependence, social dysfunction, and appalling gaps in health and welfare outcomes.
The real answers to Indigenous disadvantage lie in practical reconciliation — and in heeding the central message of the work of the ‘Quadrant school’ of revisionists, which includes not only Hirst and Pearson, but also, among others, Gary Johns, Helen Hughes, Anthony Dillon and Kerryn Pholi.
The broader question to consider: where would the Indigenous debate be if the Left is able — as it wants — to get away with shutting down alternative points of view. The answer is that the wrong solutions to the wrong problems would be pursued, at the expense of the perpetual suffering of the most disadvantaged Indigenous people.
Genuine political diversity is the only way to ensure error is detected and corrected, especially when the stakes are so high for the nation. The de-funding of Quadrant will make the task of correcting Leftist error even harder. Intellectual life in this country must consist of more than just a festival of Lefties talking to themselves in furious agreement.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here