Monday, August 15, 2016

Cruelty to dogs

Woof woof! I can never understand it when people are cruel to dogs.  Dogs are such friendly creatures towards their owners that they are a major source of comfort and companionship to a lot of people.  I have not myself owned a dog for years now but I was once a registered dog breeder.

I always think that a man who is cruel to his dog reveals himself as a depraved human being.  Being cruel to a creature that gives you so much love reveals you as a very dangerous and undesirable person.  It's a lot like the way Muslims give hatred to Western societies who give them homes, sustenance and refuge when they are fleeing their own depraved societies -- a towering  ingratitude that makes them just the lowest of the low and barely human.

It is my view that crimes against dogs should be treated as if they were crimes against people.  In both cases innocents suffer because a basic part of being human was missing in the offender -- JR.

Leaked crisis memo shows ABS officials were worried about the census months before disastrous meltdown

Seems that the reason why ABS did not provide enough resources was that they did not have enough funding.  So instead of cutting back on bureaucracy they just crossed their fingers and hoped that the available resources would be enough.  I note that they are still blaming mysterious "hackers" -- diverting attention from their own failures

Officials with the Australian Bureau of Statistics were concerned about the success of the 2016 census months before hackers crashed the website for two days, a leaked memo has revealed.

Program manager Duncan Young wrote in an email to his colleagues in February: 'As most of you are aware, the census program has alerted its steering committee and board that is has assessed its status as RED,' according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

'This means that we have assessed that the program will not be able to deliver on the current scope, timetable and/or budget. This status is as a consequence of both budget reductions since program commencement and program delays during 2014,' he said. 

Mr Young offered up five suggestions on how to cut back on the Census' budget, including asking fewer questions or less people. 

ABS boss David Kalisch proposed his own solution called 'Project Arthur,' which would postpone the census to every 10 years instead of five years, freeing an extra $200 million in the ABS website to upgrade their office computers.

Some of the ABS computer's code is up to 30 years old. 

It comes as it experts say the cyber-attacks which halted the census website on Tuesday were the work of by amateur 'hacktivists', rather than advanced organisations.

Cyber security insiders have formed theories about the origin of the 'denial of service' attacks which prompted authorities to shut down the website.

Others have suggested an organised cyber-crime gangs which offer attacks for payment were using Australia's census to showcase the havoc they can wreak, reports Sydney Morning Herald.

Tobias Feakin, a cyber-security expert with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the crises indicated a lack of preparation from the ABS.

'My gut instinct is it's some sort of hacktivist group not at a terribly high level. The most serious issue in my view is there was an apparent lack of strategies in place. This is all about Australia raising their game.'

Gideon Creech, a lecturer with the Australian Centre for Cyber Security at the University of NSW, said they could be using the attack as a testament to their cyber attacking power.

'It shows everybody they've got this massive weapon. The world's talking about it.'

On Thursday Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull warned there will be 'serious consequences' for those who failed to prepare and prevent cyber attacks which halted the census website on Tuesday.

 Mr Turnbull admits there were 'serious failures' with the national survey, which was conducted on an opt-out online basis for the first time by the Australia Bureau of Statistics, costing taxpayers $272 million in operational costs.

'There is time for a review and an inquiry. There are lots of people out there trying to find out who's to blame and which heads should roll and so forth,' Mr Turnbull told 2GB on Thursday.

'My calm demeanour on your radio program is disguising the fact ... that I too am very angry about this. I am bitterly disappointed about this.''

The 'denial of service attacks' that caused the census website to crash were 'absolutely commonplace, highly predictable' and inevitably going to happen, Mr Turnbull said.

'Measures that ought to have been in place to prevent these denial-of-service attacks interfering with access to the website were not put in place. That is a fact.'

The failure of prevention measures was compounded by hardware problems, he said - pointing to 'big issues' for the ABS and IBM - which was contracted to carry out the census.

Mr Turnbull's comments come after it was revealed the census hacking disaster was covered up for up for nine hours while the government advised Australians to continue lodging their forms online.


Outspoken Tony Abbott flies the flag for conservative reform agenda

Signalling the role he will play in the new parliament, Tony Abbott delivered a message yesterday to Malcolm Turnbull and the nat­ion, saying the coming parliamentary term must tackle a strong reform agenda of budget repair, federation renewal, prod­uctivity and tax changes.

Excluded from cabinet by the Prime Minister, Mr Abbott will raise his voice in the public arena to identify what he believes are necessary and aspirational tests for the government, a process that will delight some Liberals but infuriate Mr Turnbull. After listing reforms he believed were essential this term, Mr Abbott said they “can’t stay in the too-hard basket for the whole term of this parliament”.

“We can’t take our strength and prosperity for granted,” he said. “Every day we need to ask how we can be better, smarter, stronger, and adjust as circumstances require.”

Mr Abbott intends this parliament to act as the advance guard for the economic reform cause. His underlying political message is that Mr Turnbull must not be intimidated out of bold actions by the difficult situation he faces in parliament after the election.

Having been excluded from cabin­et, Mr Abbott will become a public force asking the government to do better.

In a reflective speech to the Samuel Griffith Society’s annual conference in Adelaide last night, he admitted responsibility for two failures he identified from his time as prime minister — his inability to reform Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act in the cause of free speech and to achieve “the beginnings of federation reform”.

In a remarkable concession, Mr Abbott also admitted he may have been at fault in opposing so strongly the Gillard government’s Malaysia deal on asylum-seekers. While he still doubted the scheme would have worked to halt the boats, letting it stand “would have been a step back from the hyper-partisanship that now poisons our public life”.

Mr Abbott’s purpose in reflecting on his own failures and urging the Turnbull government to be bold is to project the idea that the nation and the Coalition government needs to do better.

This speech is the first post-election signal of how Mr Abbott interprets his mission as a ­banner-carrier for the conser­v­ative wing of the party.

On reflection, he said his ­effort to reform Section 18C might have “fared better” if his ­initial bid had been merely to drop “offend” and “insult”, while ­“leaving in place prohibitions on the more serious harms”. He ­lamented that there was still “no real prospect of change” even though several Queenslanders now faced “official persecution for questioning reverse discrim­in­­ation on social media”.

Making clear he would ­continue the campaign for ­reform of this section, Mr Abbott complained that the Australian parliament “prefers to tolerate an over-the-top prosecution than to upset thin-skinned activists”.

With the Turnbull government having abandoned the ­federation reform process, Mr Abbott is putting the idea back on the agenda. He wants a federation that allows “different levels of government to be more sovereign in their own sphere”.

He has defended his government’s decision to reduce federal funding support to the states for the Rudd-Gillard spending agendas on schools and health.

“Our idea, the constitutionally correct idea, was to have the states and territories that run public schools and public hospit­als take more responsibility for funding them,” he said.

“The commonwealth can’t be the states’ ATM if our federation is to work. Government can’t continue to live beyond its means.

“I did make these points, but not often enough or persuasively enough to bring about the changes I sought. You won’t be surprised that I have been reflecting on my time as opposition leader as well as prime minister.”

His main concession on this front was to say that while the Malaysian deal negotiated by the Gillard government involved only 800 boatpeople to be returned, he felt there was a political argument for allowing Labor in office the opportunity to implement its policy.

This reappraisal is driven by the highly partisan and destruct­ive climate of current politics and involves a degree of self-criticism on Mr Abbott’s part.

He said the current imperative for economic reform meant “the sensible centre needs to focus even more intently on what ­really matters to middle-of-the-road voters”.

Mr Abbott said: “We have to keep reform alive, because it’s the reforms of today that create the prosperity of tomorrow.”

Yet the agenda he proposes would be very difficult for Mr Turnbull — it is hard to imagine the Prime Minister going beyond his election tax agenda based upon corporate tax cuts. Federation reform is currently off the table. And productivity reform is typically a hard political ask.

It is apparent Mr Turnbull’s decision to keep Mr Abbott on the backbench guarantees that the latter will increasingly promote his own reform agenda.


The top university degrees that could leave you jobless

THEY take a whole load of brainpower and several years of study, but a new report reveals a series of top science university degrees could leave you jobless.

Science and IT are the courses business people and politicians tell students to study, but they just might be blinding them with science.

Only half of those who graduated with science degrees in 2015 found fulltime employment within four months: 17 per cent below the average for all university graduates, the Grattan Institute’s Mapping Australian Higher Education 2016 report found.

They found it a struggle to find work when compared to fellow-students in other science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) disciplines.

And despite increasing demand for Stem skills, IT graduates also have patchy prospects in the job marks.

The findings have prompted a warning from one of the report’s authors, Andrew Norton, that extra courses might be needed to increase graduates’ job chances.

“Students thinking about studying science need to know that a bachelor science degree is high risk for finding a job,” he said.

“Often students need to do another degree to improve their employment prospects.”

The report added that while recent science graduates struggle early on in the jobs marker “things improve over time”.

“For 2011 bachelor degree science graduates, their fulltime employment rate four months later was 65 per cent, but three years later, in 2014, 82 per cent of those who were looking for fulltime work had found it,” the report notes.

“While this is a considerable increase, it is below the 89 per cent rate for all graduates.”

The early employment prospects fly in the face of the demand for science courses, which continues to grow. And the number of science graduates is up — with more than 15,500 graduating annually — 4000 a year more than in 2009.
Post-study employment slump: Graduates are often surprised to discover they don’t find a job quickly. Picture: iStock

Post-study employment slump: Graduates are often surprised to discover they don’t find a job quickly. Picture: iStockSource:istock

IT graduates also seem unable to take full advantage of job growth in the IT industry.

While there’s no shortage of IT jobs relative to the number of graduates, IT students still find the going tough initially — with a third of recent graduates unable to get fulltime work.

The report says that’s due to “weaknesses in IT university education, and strong competition from a globalised IT labour force”.

Engineering jobs are in decline, but new engineers have good job prospects compared to other graduates.

And overall, despite the slower moves from university to career, the report found unemployment rate for all graduates remains low.

Over their working lives, graduates on average earn significantly more than people who finish their education at Year 12. The median male with a bachelor degree will earn $1.4 million more over his lifetime compared to the median male with no higher education past Year 12. For women, the figure is just under $1 million.

Other findings in the report, which is based on unit record data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey were:

 *  For domestic students, humanities and commerce are still the most popular fields of study. Health and science enrolments have the fastest growth.

 *  Graduates with bachelor degrees in health, education and law had the highest rate of professional and managerial employment — all above 80 per cent.

 *  The most common average mark reported by students is between 70 and 79 per cent, with domestic students doing better than international students.


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

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