Monday, February 13, 2017
I really hate it when a large organization gives you a phone no. only to contact them. It often means waiting on "hold" for half an hour or more before you get through. Why not supply an email address? Beats me! But it is very common.
GoDaddy tried that caper with me but my patience soon ran out. So I sent them a nicely printed letter by snail mail. I sent it to their Texas HQ as they had carefully hidden their Australian geographical address.
The letter was never answered. Here it is:
I am one of your Australian customers -- 121058135. I am writing to you in Texas because I can find no other address for you and I have long given up waiting on the line to your phone helpline.
I have received an email from you informing me that you intend to debit my account $131 for one year of internet access. I forbid you to do that. I did not sign up for that.
When I signed up, I made a single payment covering both a domain name and internet access. So when I received a bill for $42 a few weeks ago, I assumed that I was again making a single comprehensive payment. That was not so apparently. I now gather that the bill was only for domain name support. The amount seemed passable at the time so I paid it.
I believe that you should accept that payment to cover internet access as well. You will get no other money from me.
I am dissatisfied with your deceptive marketing tactics and am thinking of writing to the Australian regulators about them
But thanks to the ANZ bank, I got my money back. I told them it was an unauthorized debit and they clawed the money back off GoDaddy. FU GoDaddy!
Secret shame of domestic and family violence among LGBTI community
The report below is from Australia but there have been similar reports from the UK and the USA
ONCE Russ Vickery came out as gay at the age of 42, it didn't take long for him to meet an "absolute charmer" and fall into his first same-sex relationship.
Looking back Mr Vickery realises he met his partner at a time when he was not quite on top of this game, coming out of a 17-year marriage and dealing with custody issues.
"Looking back ... it was very typical of a DV type of situation," he told news.com.au. "This knight in shining armour comes in and makes life look fantastic. "None of the real violence started probably until six months in."
Domestic violence within same-sex relationships is not often talked about, among Australians generally or within the gay community.
Like many others in the LGBTI community Vickery had no idea domestic violence happened at the same rate in same-sex relationships as in heterosexual relationships. "It's not something within the community that's actually talked about a lot," he said.
Mr Vickery said his partner took advantage of his newness to the gay scene, telling him "arguments happen" and the behaviour was typical of two blokes living together. "I had nothing to gauge that on," Mr Vickery said, adding deep down he felt something was wrong but wasn't sure.
"I had three kids ... and he would say things like `you're really lucky to have me, if I wasn't around nobody would be interested in you'.
"Looking back at it, you realise how silly you are but because it's your everyday life, you just don't know any different."
He said the first sign of trouble happened the night of his ex-partner's birthday. "He told me that he had never had a birthday cake or any form of celebration so of course I go out, get him a cake, take him to a silver service restaurant for dinner."
Afterwards Mr Vickery said his partner wanted to go and have some drinks with his mates at the local pub but because he had to work the next morning, Mr Vickery decided to go home early.
In the middle of the night Mr Vickery was woken up in a fright after his partner came home drunk and dived on to the bed. "I told him to p*** off because he scared me, but he started ranting and raving," he said.
When Mr Vickery tried to calm him down, his partner lashed out. "He smashed me in the face, he broke my nose," he said.
Amid his shock, he remembers trying not to let his blood drip all over the white carpet while he made his way to the bathroom.
"My nose was across my face ... I didn't have the courage to try and straighten it and he was at the door saying `I'll fix it' and `sorry', that it would never happen again.
"I couldn't go to work, I had two black eyes and a broken nose, that was the beginning of it. There were many others."
Mr Vickery was in the relationship for five years and endured many other violent incidents including the time his drunk partner grabbed a knife and held it at his throat for an hour.
The 58-year-old said he finally decided to leave the abusive relationship after one particularly shocking incident when his partner threw him down the stairs in front of his children.
"I broke bones and was in hospital for two operations and that really was the culmination of the relationship," he said.
Even after it was over, Mr Vickery said he was self-harming and one night he almost committed suicide, sitting down with a bottle of valium and vodka. "You start doing the work for them," he said. "The only thing that stopped me was I looked up and saw a photo of my kids."
Mr Vickery said he didn't want his children find him that way in a couple of days time. "That was the bottom of the barrel but there's only one direction to go from there and that's up."
Mr Vickery managed to deal with his past and has now developed a cabaret show The Other Closet with new partner Matthew Parsons, exploring the issue of domestic violence within gay relationships.
Mr Parsons, who has also experienced domestic violence and is a research officer specialising in LGBTI domestic and family violence at La Trobe University, said studies had shown same-sex couples experienced violence at similar rates to heterosexual couples.
But there are specific myths that get in the way of people recognising abuse within the gay community. "When things do come to light, it turns out (the abuse) was disclosed to multiple doctors, teachers and others," Mr Parsons told news.com.au.
In one case, Mr Parsons said the children had told many people they were being locked in a closet while their mother was being abused, and the woman had also told a number of professionals, but because she was in a lesbian relationship, no action was taken.
"There is this pervasive myth that when it's two women it's not that bad," Mr Parsons said. "When it's between two men, there's this pervasive myth that a real man would stand up for himself, and surely both men would be abusive towards each other.
"When it comes to trans relationships, there's lower expectations about what trans people should expect from life, that if they are in a relationship at all, they should feel lucky because who would love someone like that? There's a lot of disgusting (views)."
There is also a reluctance on the part of LGBTI people to reveal what is happening to them. "There's this idea that we've spent so long as a community getting people to see our relationships as valid and legitimate and that we're not mentally ill people," Mr Parsons said. "To say that our relationships are sometimes toxic, just like yours (is difficult)."
It can also be harder for those in same-sex couples to leave relationships as they may not be able to rely on support from family members who disapprove of their lifestyle.
Many in the community are also reluctant to talk about domestic or family violence while the same-sex marriage debate is in full swing. Mr Parsons had even seen publicity for The Other Closet used on promotional material to support the arguments of those against marriage equality.
"They see it as proof of why we shouldn't be able to get married, but (domestic violence) happens in much greater numbers among the heterosexual community and they're not questioning why they get married," he said.
Mr Parsons said addressing violence was difficult when homophobia seemed to be ingrained in the community and stopped things such as same-sex marriage being accepted.
When it comes to family violence, Mr Parsons said young people's reports of being assaulted by family members were sometimes ignored because it was accepted that parents were entitled to have traditional views.
While it's not yet clear how prevalent this type of family violence is, Dr Philomena Horsley of La Trobe University said LGBTI people could be at greater risk of assault from family members due to entrenched homophobia.
"Anecdotally, many people in the community, of different ages, have reported that coming out to family is a potential trigger for family-related violence," she said.
Victorian research suggests that young LGBTI are more likely to be homeless than other young people. "This finding suggests a greater proportion of young LGBTI people face violence at home and have to leave, or are rejected and need to leave, or are kicked out when they disclose."
Helping LGBTI people to recognise and reject domestic and family violence is one thing Mr Parsons and Mr Vickery hope to encourage through their show The Other Closet. "I'm prepared to expose myself on the stage so that other people can recognise those feelings" Mr Vickery said.
Interestingly, when the show was staged in Sydney, heterosexual women made up half the audience. "After we did the show, we know of six people who left relationships, those are the ones we know about."
Mr Vickery said nowadays people did have more access to services and were more confident about seeking them out, but there still weren't many specific services for LGBTI people.
"It's getting better but needs to get a whole lot better," he said.
Forget the fads and flapdoodle
Teachers need to understand best practice and reading research so they are not influenced by ineffective methods, expensive educational fads, and meaningless jargon like 'neuroplasticity'. The Australian Education Union appears to be under such influence.
The AEU Victoria is hosting and promoting an event with Barbara Arrowsmith, the 'Woman Who Changed her Brain' -- and, some say, her bank balance. The Arrowsmith program claims to address specific learning difficulties through strenuous written, visual, auditory, computer and cognitive exercises, or brain training. Unfortunately research has shown that brain training skills do not generalise to other situations, even if they are similar.
Alarmingly the Arrowsmith program has been around for over three decades, and has no published, independent empirical data to support its effectiveness.
Public and private schools alike have been seduced by its claims, and are using their education funding to buy an Arrowsmith license, and then charge parents thousands in additional fees for their children to participate.
Billions of dollars in increased funding over 10 years has seen little improvement in Australia's literacy performance, yet still unions demand more money for schools. If unions, schools, and teachers can be taken in by expensive programs that lack evidence to support its claims, it's no wonder we are not getting bang for our educational buck.
However, we can dramatically improve Australia's literacy performance if we utilise the years of scientific reading research that has consistently found systematic phonics instruction is highly effective in helping to prevent reading difficulties amongst at-risk learners, and in helping to remediate reading difficulties in disabled readers.
Phonics is a vital key to early literacy instruction and must be explicitly taught alongside phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Unlike the Arrowsmith program, the proposed phonics check is based on sound research on reading, it has been tested for validity and reliability, is quick to administer and cost effective.
Teachers have an essential role in identifying students who may struggle with reading and offer appropriate intervention early when it is most effective. Preventing reading failure saves money, saves teachers time and energy but most importantly saves students from potentially devastating lifelong effects of illiteracy.
Immediately after Federal Education Minister announced the members of an expert advisory panel to help drive the government's educational reforms -- including the phonics check -- the AEU criticised the check by essentially saying "schools need more money, not a test".
Before the Federal Government commits funds, they need to know that it is going to be invested wisely in resources that will produce much needed results, and not on, what Professor Pam Snow refers to as educational 'neuroflapdoodle'.
West Australian Leftists back down on "renewable" energy target
The power outages in "green" South Australia are giving them jitters. Any hint of going down the South Australian path would paint a target on their backs
WA LABOR is attempting to climb down from a 50 per cent renewable energy target committed to in October, which Liberal ministers have swarmed upon as evidence of its economic vandalism.
Recordings have emerged of Labor energy spokesman Bill Johnston telling the National Environmental Law Association State conference in October the party had a clear target for the proportion of energy it intended to derive from renewable sources.
“The Labor Party’s target is at least 50 per cent by 2030,” Mr Johnston told the conference during a Q and A session.
“We don’t believe that that is going to push up prices because we believe it will be done on a competitive basis and, as I say, I think setting a target leads to policy action and I think there are a lot of policy actions that are required.”
The emergence of the tape comes as renewable energy leader South Australia, grappling with a heatwave, is hit by more widespread power outages in the latest of a series of rolling blackouts.
The State endured a complete blackout in October which prompted furious national debate over its near-met target of 50 per cent renewables and its ramifications for secure energy supplies and household electricity prices.
WA Labor released a statement on Thursday quoting Mr Johston saying it “will not introduce a State-based renewable energy target”
“We aspire to have more renewable energy,” the statement said. “After the election, we will sit down with industry and the community to see what is achievable and affordable.”
The statement said WA Labor would “co-invest to develop a diverse economy and new jobs” in coal mining town Collie and other regional communities.
Energy Minister Mike Nahan said Labor was clearly “ideologically driven” towards the 50 per cent RET by 2030, which would devastate WA’s economy.
“In WA we are an energy-intensive State, we process minerals, we have hot weather, we have air conditioning and we live in a modern society where we rely on energy for almost everything we do,” he said.
Dr Nahan said the Liberals had overseen uptake of about 13 per cent renewables driven mainly by solar power, and was committed to a COAG target of 23.5 per cent by 2020. “But at the same time going forward we will commit to our coal industry, and large gas,” he said.
Dr Nahan said wind was unreliable as an energy source because it often dropped during hot weather, when electricity consumption was highest.
Malcolm Turnbull yesterday lumped in WA Labor’s plan for a 50 per cent renewable energy target with his broader warnings about the threat to electricity prices and reliability of supplies posed by reliance on wind and solar power.
He pointed to Wednesday night’s black out in South Australia as the product of favouring ideology ahead of efficient and objective management of energy.
“Labor is drunk on Left ideology on energy and they are putting Australians’ livelihoods, their businesses and their households at risk,” the Prime Minister said.
Social Services Minister and former WA treasurer Christian Porter told 6PR WA Labor’s plans would be “a disaster for WA business and households”.
“It will have the only and inevitable outcome of ratcheting up household electricity prices and making business very difficult to run in WA,” he said.
“A 50 per cent RET from State Labor is a political millstone that will sit round their neck this campaign. I’m astonished they would even contemplate going there.”
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