Thursday, June 08, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG comments on the Leftist attack on Andrew Bolt

MPs urged to provide energy certainty

There is a poll result referred to below which should be taken with a grain of salt.  The most pro-Warmist statement was read out first to respondents, with more skeptical statements  being read later.  That tends to generate a primacy effect, with subsequent responses tailored to the initial one.  Good survey practice would have been to present the three statements in random order but there is no mention of them doing that in their methodology section.  It's another example of how to lie with statistics -- a Greenie artform

Australia's treasurer has urged MPs to put aside ideological differences and embrace an energy policy in the interests of giving investors certainty.

Scott Morrison, who earlier in the year waved a lump of coal around during question time, said on Wednesday for far too long parliament has not come together to resolve energy issues.

Policy uncertainty had turned into a big risk for investors.

"There's a very big national interest here and it's for all parliamentarians I think to focus on that regardless of which party they're in or what ideological perspective they have on this issue," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

"Until we can get to that certain place on energy policy, then we really are putting a lot at risk."

Renewables attracted record levels of investment in 2016 but that came off the back of several sluggish years while the Abbott government reviewed and cut the renewable energy target.

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel will brief the prime minister and state leaders on his review of the national energy sector at a meeting in Hobart on Friday.

He's widely expected to recommend a low emissions target - similar to the existing renewable energy target but taking a technology-neutral approach by mandating a percentage of power each year be generated from sources below a certain emissions level.

The approach is firming as the new focus of federal climate policy with the Nationals flagging support and Labor not ruling it out.

Energy experts say the LET would be a "third-best solution".

"This mechanism is well behind an emissions intensity scheme and an economy-wide price on carbon, and won't discriminate against really dirty coal over more efficient coal," ANU Energy Change Institute director Ken Baldwin said.

However, his colleague Paul Burke said it was a smart alternative given the government had already ruled out any mechanisms that price carbon pollution.

"Solar and wind power are increasingly cheap, and an LET would help to ensure that the required investment takes place to replace retiring fossil-fuel generators," he said.

Greens energy spokesman Adam Bandt said reports Dr Finkel could recommend rule changes to mandate new renewable projects have storage attached were troubling and could lock storage companies out of participating in the market in their own right.

It would be better to create a new energy storage target or have other non-market incentives to integrate storage, he said.

A Lowy Institute poll, released on Wednesday, found four in five Australians thought the government should focus on renewables, even if they needed more investment to make the system more reliable.

Nearly three in five ranked climate change as a "critical threat" to Australia over the next decade.


Political violence against conservative broadcaster backfires when "protesters" get some of their own back

CONTROVERSIAL columnist and TV personality Andrew Bolt has “clobbered” a group of masked protesters who set upon him in Melbourne yesterday.

On his TV program last night, Bolt explained how he was about to launch a book on US President Donald Trump at a restaurant in Carlton, in the city’s inner north, when a woman asked to take a selfie with him.

Before they could take the photo, two masked protesters set upon Bolt, spraying his face and suit with what he described as “sticky liquid with glitter and dye”.

The protesters may have got more than they bargained for because Bolt quickly retaliated, punching one of the attackers repeatedly.

“Bad luck for them, of course; I don’t do running and hiding,” he told his viewers on his Sky News program The Bolt Report on Tuesday night.

The conservative columnist screened security camera footage of the altercation on his show, freezing on the faces of each of his attackers as well as a third man who filmed the ambush.

“Police are now looking for this young man, who will have a big bruise on the left side of his face and another bruise between his legs, for which I apologise, I guess, but I don’t really fight nice if I’m pushed too far.”

On his popular blog, Bolt described the protesters as members of the “fascist Left”.

“Watch the fascist Left attack me and get clobbered. Luckily the cameras do not capture me kicking one between the legs. I cannot have my children see me acting like a thug,” he wrote.

Bolt was at Il Gambero restaurant in Lygon St to launch the book The Art of the Impossible: A Blog History of the Election of Donald J Trump by economics academic Steve Kates.

Bolt encouraged anyone who recognised the attackers to phone North Melbourne police on 03 8379 0800.


BOOK LAUNCH of The Tyranny of Tolerance, by Peter Kurti

From the Centre for Independent Studies, Greg Lindsay writes:

It gives me great pleasure, on behalf of Connor Court Publishing, to invite you to the release of The Tyranny of Tolerance by Peter Kurti. I am delighted to announce that we are holding launch events in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne over the coming weeks.

Kurti exposes a grand deception: the tolerance and diversity brigade cannot tolerate diversity of thought. — Nick Cater

It was a confident expectation for more than a century that religion — its beliefs, doctrines and institutions — would atrophy in the face of growing secularisation. But not only has traditional Christianity survived in liberal western societies; other faiths, most conspicuously Islam, have increasingly become a perceptible presence. This evolution gives rise to many questions about the place of religion in liberal democratic society.

Register Free; Sydney, 22 June with remarks by The Hon. J Dyson Heydon AC

Register Free; Brisbane, 28 June with remarks by Professor James Allan

Register Soon; Melbourne, July with remarks by Dr Jennifer Oriel

Please register via or via email to or by calling Sydney 9438 4377.

The Reverend Peter Kurti is a Research Fellow co-ordinating the Religion and Civil Society program at The Centre for Independent Studies. The program examines the implications of a liberal approach to religion in civil society and investigates the capacity of that society to maintain freedom for expression of religious values.

In defence of grammar pedantry: 'Grammonds' should be celebrated, not vilified

By Roslyn Petelin, University of Queensland

This week, the financial press reported the downfall of a high-profile grammar pedant, Professor Paul Romer, the World Bank's chief economist, who was hoist(ed) on his own pedantic petard.

He is being replaced as head of the bank's research arm after he demanded that his colleagues write succinct, clear, direct emails, presentations and reports in the active voice with a low proportion of "and's".

Professor Romer will remain the bank's chief economist.

In fact, he had threatened not to publish the bank's central publication, World Development Report, "if the frequency of 'and' exceeded 2.6 per cent".

He had also cancelled a regular publication that he believed had no clear purpose.

Why, you may ask, did the economists who work in the World Bank's research department take exception to these strictures? Who wouldn't want the corporate report that was a flagship publication of the bank to be narrow and "penetrate deeply like a knife"?

Professor Romer's 600 colleagues, that's who. But why? It seems that, while he was encouraging his staff to avoid their customary convoluted "bankspeak" and consider their readers, he failed to follow his own advice. He was apparently curt, abrasive and combative. The troops refused to fall into line and he was ousted.

Such a shame, Professor Romer, because we need more pruning of the muddy prose that is endemic in so many institutions, particularly banks.

We can only imagine how Australia's four big banks are readying themselves to obfuscate their documents in response to the recent budget measures.

The various shades of pedantry

There are two kinds of people in this world: pedants and everybody else.

Pedantry isn't confined to grammar, of course. Pedantry can be found in architecture, cooking (for example, Julian Barnes's lovely little book The Pedant in the Kitchen), geometry, music, philosophy, politics and science.

Think Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory, the most popular show on American television.

It depends on what kind of pedant you are.

Do you practise your pedantry privately by just "thinking" corrections at other people when they write "bunker" instead of "hunker" down?

Or do you practise your pedantry publicly and thereby subject yourself to taunts of "peevish prescriptivist", "nit-picking, hair-splitting pedant", or the more arcane and colourful "pettifogging pedant"?

This sort of abuse rained on Bryan Henderson, the American software engineer who had removed 47,000 instances of "comprised of" from Wikipedia by the end of 2015.

BBC journalist Jeremy Paxman was quoted in The Guardian in 2014 as saying:

"People who care about grammar are regularly characterised as pedants. I say those who don't care about it shouldn't be surprised if we pay no attention to anything they say — if indeed they are aware of what they're trying to say."
Pedants anonymous

I am a fervent believer that grammar provides writers with analytical tools to choose and combine words felicitously into English sentences to a set of professional standards that serve utilitarian needs and provide intellectual pleasure.

However, aware from long experience that it's rare to be thanked for pointing out a solecism that has made me wince, I attempt to shield the newly minted graduates of my grammar course at The University of Queensland from the potential consequences of sharing their knowledge with those less grammatically alert.

To this end, I lead a discussion about their stance on grammar in the final class of the semester.

Things you were taught at school that are wrong

What if you were told there are lots of so-called grammar rules that we've probably been getting wrong in our English classrooms for years?

Anne Curzan, a grammar maven who contributes to the Lingua Franca blog on The Chronicle of Higher Education, favours "grammando"; but I prefer the much less warlike "grammond" (modelled on gourmand, "one who has a refined palate for grammar and savours it at its best).

That "linguifier" Stephen Fry begs us to abandon our pedantry, but he confines his admonition to non-professional contexts and admits that "it's hard not to wince when someone aspirates the word 'aitch' and uses the genteelism of yourself and myself instead of you and me."

He says that "context, convention, and circumstance are all".

And this is what Professor Romer forgot. What we need to abandon is not pedantry. After all, its etymological origins are in teaching. It is peevish, condescending, and competitive pedantry that is the culprit.

We could take a lesson from the Bristol engineer who has for 13 years used his specially designed long-handled apostrophiser and step-ladder to remove aberrant apostrophes and plant missing ones on buildings in Bristol and managed to remain anonymous.

The wonderful parodist Craig Brown's solution may be an even better choice:

"It's always pleasant to go carol-singing, or carols-singing, with the Pedants' Association, formerly the Pedants Association, originally the Pedant's Association," he said.

"I first joined 10 years ago with the long-term aim of attracting the requisite number of votes in order to change its title to The Association of Pedants, thus rendering the apostrophe redundant."

I'll leave the uses and abuses of "and" aside for another day.


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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