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"I’m Not As Okay With Being Gay As I Thought I Was"

Below is an excerpt from a homosexual who reports that he has on many occasions experienced disapproval for being homosexual. I believe him. He had become rather inured to that but has now been shaken by the debate over homosexuality that the same-sex marriage plebiscite has aroused.  The many public comments about same sex marriage being wrong have upset his self-confidence and repose.

But who is to blame for that?  It is the frenetic demand for sexual licence from the Left.  They never shut up about homosexuals and they have kept up the pressure for legal recognition of homosexual marriage for years now.

Conservatives could see the case for giving homosexual couples  legal rights similar to heterosexual couples and in most places enacted civil partnership laws to achieve that.  That should really have been the end of the argument.  Nothing tangible is achieved by going any further.

The Left were however not satisfied with compromise.  They go for total victory.  It is their intransigence that led to the plebiscite.  They alone are responsible for it.  So they alone should be blamed for the pain caused to the writer below

The ironical thing is that Leftists often warned that moves to allow homosexual marriage would ignite a debate that could upset homosexuals -- but they still went on with their campaign anyhow.  Rather than drop their campaign because it might harm those they were allegedly "helping", they just kept up the pressure.  So that is yet another demonstration that beneath the ostensible Leftist desire to "help" lies a hunger to hurt


For many people of my generation, the same-sex marriage postal survey is our first taste of active state-sanctioned discrimination. We’re dealing with this whilst still coming to terms with our identities, and what it means to be queer.

“If any of you boys came home and told me you were gay, I’d probably disown you,” says Mum casually as we are watching the Sydney Mardi Gras on TV, her brow furrowed in mild disgust.

I am 13 and think I might be gay; her words are like a bomb going off, the ringing in my ears drowning out the TV.

“We love you, no matter what. And who knows? Maybe it’s just a phase.” My grandfather embraced me after I told him I was gay.

“What?” Mum’s eyes widened and her hands jerked the steering wheel of the car, sending us swerving. “I’m never going to have grandchildren…” she later cried.

“Faggot!” someone screamed from a passing car. I pretended I didn’t hear, but thought about it for weeks after. Sometimes I still think about it.

“Since when did you start sounding so gay?” my best friend laughed, having not seen me for a few months.

“I don’t like him – he’s a poof,” quipped my brother about a boy he doesn’t like at school. “What’s wrong with being a poof?” I quipped back.

“Marriage should be between a man and woman! Being gay is unnatural!” reads a comment on an online article. I clicked on the woman’s name, and discover she lives in my hometown.

She’s Facebook friends with members of my family.

I had probably been with Mum down the main street as they smiled at each other in passing.

“You can never be too careful,” said a boy I dated once, after he snatched his hand from mine as we were walking down the street.

“I’m not as okay with being gay as I thought I was,” admitted the boy I like, my shoulder wet with his tears.

He’s been out for less than a year. His mother, for religious reasons, is voting “no” in the marriage survey.

He loves her, and I have no doubt that she loves him. It’s complicated.

Above are a just a few of the words said to me over the course of my life. They hold a prominent place in my history in that ambiguous way certain words said at certain times do.

SOURCE

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No, Free Speech Is Not Threatened By The Right

Libellous speech from the Left is frequent but is always claimed as "free speech" by the Left.  But libel and defamation have never been protected free speech.  The Left have just got away with political defamation for so long that they expect no consequences from it.

It is about time that changed.  Just the charge of "racism" is a grievous and very damaging accusation and innocent people are entitled to be protected from such accusations.  And Mr Trump has a record with blacks and Jews that would give him an easy victory in court over such an accusation

And the now common accusation against almost any conservative that they are a "white supremacist" both really ups the stakes and exposes Leftists to a high burden of proof in court -- thus seriously exposing them to an adverse judgment.

When an addled black broadcaster made libellous and grossly untrue statements about the President, that should have been dealt with by a libel action only, not by any demands to fire her.  But whether the matter went to court or not, the remarks were still not protected free speech


ESPN host Jemele Hill calling President Trump a “white supremacist” is the latest battle in America’s grueling cultural war.

After Hill received backlash from right-wing media and became a fixture of news coverage, the White House was asked to weigh in on the subject at Wednesday’s press briefing.

“That is one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make and certainly something that is a fireable offense by ESPN,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders answered. (RELATED: White House Says ESPN Host’s Comments About Trump Are A ‘Fireable Offense’)

With that statement, the outrage over Hill was redirected towards the president. What Sanders said was interpreted by the media as the White House demanding a private company terminate one of its employees; an apparent sign of encroaching tyranny.

Soon thereafter, concerns of right-wing political correctness rose again to the fore of national discourse. And many of those railing against conservative “snowflakes” were respectable conservative pundits, such as National Review’s David French.

“Snowflake Republicans are no better than snowflake progressives. Respect free speech. It’s not that hard,” French angrily declared. The National Review writer admitted that ESPN has ridiculous double standards when it comes to the political views of its commentators, but he argued that that is no reason for conservatives to insist on hoisting the sports network by its own petard.

Instead, conservatives should just “rebut bad speech with better speech,” according to French.

In a perfect world, that’s all we would need to do. However, we don’t live in that utopia and ESPN is effectively saying that it will only punish conservative speech of its employees while allowing the most ridiculous left-wing comments to be aired.

In spite of that development, the result of this controversy is further reinforcing the faulty view of liberals and some conservatives that right-wing outrage is just as much of a threat, if not more so, than left-wing political correctness.

This idea is already ridiculous just taking ESPN as an example. The network has a very long record of punishing its talent who engage in right-leaning commentary or political incorrectness, but is fine with their stars comparing the tea party to ISIS.

Hill herself faced no consequences for her actions as she wasn’t even taken off the air during the uproar. Moreover, she became a martyr to the Left as numerous pundits and commentators rushed to claim that calling Trump a “white supremacist” is merely a statement of fact.

Powerful institutions in America such as media and universities are still overwhelmingly progressive, and conservative backlash against the ludicrous statements of their representatives only leads to awareness of the problem.

It is not stopping any liberal or leftist from continuing to share their opinion in the public sphere, a contrast to the situation for rightists who have to live with the knowledge that their views could cost them their job and physical safety.

After a week where it cost over $600,000 in security to ensure Ben Shapiro could talk about his relatively tame brand of conservatism at the University of California – Berkeley, only hacks and fools could believe free speech faces a serious threat from the Right.

SOURCE

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More nonsense from the Ivory Tower

Is rising CO2 making food less nutritious? It may be.  Increasing the supply of one nutrient without increasing the supply of others would seem logically to dilute the proportion of those other nutrients in any plant.  But the idea that this is a problem is laughable.

In our technological world that the Greenies hate, the problem is OVER nutrition, otherwise known as obesity.  Individual foods may be less nutritious but we have and eat lots of them.  There is no nutrition shortage.  Glut is the besetting problem in the supply of food basics and there is no end to that in sight


Irakli Loladze is a mathematician by training, but he was in a biology lab when he encountered the puzzle that would change his life. It was in 1998, and Loladze was studying for his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. Against a backdrop of glass containers glowing with bright green algae, a biologist told Loladze and a half-dozen other graduate students that scientists had discovered something mysterious about zooplankton.

Zooplankton are microscopic animals that float in the world’s oceans and lakes, and for food they rely on algae, which are essentially tiny plants. Scientists found that they could make algae grow faster by shining more light onto them—increasing the food supply for the zooplankton, which should have flourished. But it didn’t work out that way. When the researchers shined more light on the algae, the algae grew faster, and the tiny animals had lots and lots to eat—but at a certain point they started struggling to survive. This was a paradox. More food should lead to more growth. How could more algae be a problem?

Loladze was technically in the math department, but he loved biology and couldn’t stop thinking about this. The biologists had an idea of what was going on: The increased light was making the algae grow faster, but they ended up containing fewer of the nutrients the zooplankton needed to thrive. By speeding up their growth, the researchers had essentially turned the algae into junk food. The zooplankton had plenty to eat, but their food was less nutritious, and so they were starving.

Loladze used his math training to help measure and explain the algae-zooplankton dynamic. He and his colleagues devised a model that captured the relationship between a food source and a grazer that depends on the food. They published that first paper in 2000. But Loladze was also captivated by a much larger question raised by the experiment: Just how far this problem might extend.

“What struck me is that its application is wider,” Loladze recalled in an interview. Could the same problem affect grass and cows? What about rice and people? “It was kind of a watershed moment for me when I started thinking about human nutrition,” he said.

In the outside world, the problem isn’t that plants are suddenly getting more light: It’s that for years, they’ve been getting more carbon dioxide. Plants rely on both light and carbon dioxide to grow. If shining more light results in faster-growing, less nutritious algae—junk-food algae whose ratio of sugar to nutrients was out of whack—then it seemed logical to assume that ramping up carbon dioxide might do the same. And it could also be playing out in plants all over the planet. What might that mean for the plants that people eat?

What Loladze found is that scientists simply didn’t know. It was already well documented that CO2levels were rising in the atmosphere, but he was astonished at how little research had been done on how it affected the quality of the plants we eat. For the next 17 years, as he pursued his math career, Loladze scoured the scientific literature for any studies and data he could find. The results, as he collected them, all seemed to point in the same direction: The junk-food effect he had learned about in that Arizona lab also appeared to be occurring in fields and forests around the world. “Every leaf and every grass blade on earth makes more and more sugars as CO2 levels keep rising,” Loladze said. “We are witnessing the greatest injection of carbohydrates into the biosphere in human history―[an] injection that dilutes other nutrients in our food supply.”

He published those findings just a few years ago, adding to the concerns of a small but increasingly worried group of researchers who are raising unsettling questions about the future of our food supply. Could carbon dioxide have an effect on human health we haven’t accounted for yet? The answer appears to be yes—and along the way, it has steered Loladze and other scientists, directly into some of the thorniest questions in their profession, including just how hard it is to do research in a field that doesn’t quite exist yet.

SOURCE


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New online

I have just put online the last article I ever had published in a learned journal.  It was published in 2004 but I had lost my copy of it.  But I recently did a big clean-out of my library and found then that which was lost. It is Ray, J.J. (2004) "Explaining the Left/Right divide". Social science and modern society.  41(4), 70-78 .

The first half of the article does a brief survey of the last 1500 years of history and shows that a concern for individual liberty and a distrust of government has always been central to conservatism.

The second half looks at the various theories about the psychological underpinnings of conservatism.  I think all the theories discussed there do reduce to my more recent formulation that conservatives are the dispositionally contented people. For more on that formulation, see here, here and here

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We've turned our unis into aimless, money-grubbing exploiters of students (?)

As an economist, Ross Gittins often has substantial things to say.  But as a Leftist he is also a compulsive moaner.  So the points he makes below are cogent but most of them are disputable.

The one area wherein I agree wholeheartedly with him is his condemnation of relaxed assessment standards for overseas fee-paying students.  This practice is, I think, still a minority one but will surely be a big negative eventually when our universities send home to Asia students whose knowledge and skills don't match what is on the pieces of paper we give them.  It devalues our degrees.

Gittins may also have half a point in saying that Lecturers are poorly paid.  In my day we were paid well above average and there does seem to be some slippage from that.  But with salaries closing in on $100,000 pa it's still a long way from  poverty.  Many junior software engineers get about that and they are undoubtedly bright sparks.

And Gittins again has half a point in saying that tenure is now harder to get.  I was appointed with tenure, a rare thing nowadays. But there has to be a balance.  Tenure protects divergent thinking but it also promotes laziness. Once you can't be fired, why work?  I suspect that the delayed granting of tenure that we now see is not a bad balance.  It ensures that for at least a large part of one's academic life we do some work.

But his other points are contentious.  Recorded Lectures are bad?  I would think they are wholly good.  They relieve students of the pressure to take notes, though they can still take notes if they want or need to.  There was only one course I did in my undergraduate days in which I took notes.  Otherwise I concentrated on listening instead. And I am sure I learnt far more that way.  My grades certainly did not suffer from it.

"Overcrowded" lecture halls?  I don't know what he is talking about.  A lecture hall is not a high school classroom.  In my academic career I often fronted up to a lecture in an auditorium with 1,000 or more students in front of me.  And I was able to allow students to interrupt with questions.  So I would think it was a poor lecturer who couldn't handle that.

He says that universities put too much pressure on academics to do research.  I would say that they do too little.  There are now whole tertiary institutions which devalue research.  And many lecturers in all institutions do little of it. But it is only by doing research that you get a real hold on knowledge in your selected field.  You cannot be at the cutting edge without doing your own research.  Otherwise you are just reading the conclusions of others.

But in the end, Gittins's big beef is that the present system of running our universities amounts to a sort of "privatization", which is of course anathema to Leftists.  I think he should throw off those ideological blinkers and look at what is actually happening.  He looks at that so far only "through a glass darkly"


Of the many stuff-ups during the now-finished era of economic reform, one of the worst is the unending backdoor privatisation of Australia's universities, which began under the Hawke-Keating government and continues in the Senate as we speak.

This is not so much "neoliberalism" as a folly of the smaller-government brigade, since the ultimate goal for the past 30 years has been no more profound than to push university funding off the federal budget.

The first of the budget-relieving measures was the least objectionable: introducing the Higher Education Contribution Scheme, requiring students – who gain significant private benefits from their degrees – to bear just some of the cost of those degrees, under a deferred loan-repayment scheme carefully designed to ensure it did nothing to deter students from poor families.

Likewise, allowing unis to admit suitably qualified overseas students provided they paid full freight was unobjectionable in principle.

The Howard government's scheme allowing less qualified local students to be admitted provided they paid a premium was "problematic", as the academics say, and soon abandoned.

The problem is that continuing cuts in government grants to unis have kept a protracted squeeze on uni finances, prompting vice-chancellors to become obsessed with money-raising.

They pressure teaching staff to go easy on fee-paying overseas students who don't reach accepted standards of learning, form unhealthy relationships with business interests, and accept "soft power" grants from foreign governments and their nationals without asking awkward questions.

They pressure academics not so much to do more research as to win more research funding from the government. Interesting to compare the hours spent preparing grant applications with the hours actually doing research.

To motivate the researchers, those who bring in the big bucks are rewarded by being allowed to pay casuals to do their teaching for them. (This after the vice-chancellors have argued straight-faced what a crime it would be for students to be taught by someone who wasn't at the forefront of their sub-sub research speciality.)

The unis' second greatest crime is the appalling way they treat those of their brightest students foolish enough to aspire to an academic career. Those who aren't part-timers are kept on serial short-term contracts, leaving them open to exploitation by ambitious professors.

However much the unis save by making themselves case studies in precarious employment, it's surely not worth it. If they're not driving away the most able of their future star performers it's a tribute to the "treat 'em mean to keep 'em keen" school of management.

But the greatest crime of our funding-obsessed unis is the way they've descended to short-changing their students, so as to cross-subsidise their research. At first they did this mainly by herding students into overcrowded lecture theatres and tutorials.

An oddball minority of academics takes a pride in lecturing well.

Lately they're exploiting new technology to achieve the introverted academic's greatest dream: minimal "face time" with those annoying pimply students who keep asking questions.

PowerPoint is just about compulsory. Lectures are recorded and put on the website – or, failing that, those barely comprehensible "presentation" slides – together with other material sufficient to discourage many students – most of whom have part-time jobs – from bothering to attend lectures. Good thinking.

To be fair, an oddball minority of academics takes a pride in lecturing well. They get a lot of love back from their students, but little respect or gratitude from their peers. Vice-chancellors make a great show of awarding them tin medals, but it counts zilch towards their next promotion.

The one great exception to the 30-year quest to drive uni funding off the budget was Julia Gillard's ill-considered introduction of "demand-driven" funding of undergraduate places, part of a crazy plan to get almost all school-leavers going on to uni, when many would be better served going to TAFE.

The uni money-grubbers slashed their entrance standards, thinking of every excuse to let older people in, admitting as many students as possible so as to exploit the feds' fiscal loophole.

The result's been a marked lowering of the quality of uni degrees, and unis being quite unconscionable in their willingness to offer occupational degrees to far more people than could conceivably be employed in those occupations.

I suspect those vice-chancellors who've suggested that winding back the demand-determined system would be preferable to the proposed across-the-board cuts (and all those to follow) are right.

The consequent saving should be used to reduce the funding pressure on the unis, but only in return for measures to force them back to doing what the nation's taxpayers rightly believe is their first and immutable responsibility: providing the brighter of the rising generation with a decent education.

SOURCE

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Ms Zuckerberg regrets



There is a rather strange article here by Mark Zuckerberg's Leftist sister under the title "How to Be a Good Classicist Under a Bad Emperor".  In it, she claims to have the "right" ideas about classical literature but never says what they are.

She rightly recognizes that serious conservative thinkers tend to be impressed by the classics of ancient Greece and Rome and find some inspiration in them.  Some of us even study the classical languages -- as Sean Gabb does. And VD Hanson's references to antiquity are both frequent and well-known.

But she deplores the ideas that conservatives take from antiquity and refers to a group of Leftists classicists -- of whom she is one.  I presume she refers to what is taught these days in the classics departments of major universities.  How the poor souls in those departments manage to reconcile modern Leftist victim culture  with the robust values of antiquity must be quite a challenge but Ms Zuckerberg clearly likes what she hears there. So she is saying: "The classics are ours.  Hands off!".

The curious thing is that Leftist classicists exist.  History for most members of the Green/Left seems to start yesterday.  Learning from the past is not their scene.  Green/Left writers, for instance, treated the recent hurricanes as if there had never been such things before, when it is perfectly easy to document even more severe storms in the past.  And how come anybody believes in any form of socialism these days?  From Robespierre, through Stalin, through Hitler, through Mao through PolPot and many others, the lesson of history is that socialism rapidly degenerates in to ghastly tyrannies once they gain full power.  Leftists can't afford to know history.

But against all logic there are apparently some Leftists who do study history.  And I have seen something of what they say.  Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" typifies the approach.  In accord with the great Leftist tradition of cherrypicking, they find all the disreputable bits in the history of a time or place and ignore the admirable bits.  Leftists never even attempt balance.  They don't think they have to.  Just to show bad bits gives them a glow and the glow is what they seek.

So Ms Zuckerberg is trying to defend an intellectually disreputable Leftist tradition from those who really want to learn from the classics.  And she is right in seeing lots of such people on the political Right.  I had read most of the Greek canon by the time I was 18 and greatly enjoyed my Thucydides.  And all the other writers I have encountered who quote Thucydides have been conservatives.  The twisted little tales told  by Ms Zuckerberg and her clique will simply never interest us, if we note them at all.

And it seems that she regrets that.  The subtext of her article seems to be that she is not getting enough recognition and support:  A very Leftist preoccupation. Maybe she just wants to get laid.

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Contentment

In 1974 I had a book published under the title "Conservatism as Heresy".  It is now online here.  The very title was a challenge to the dictionary definition of conservatism, which refers to support for the status quo or opposition to change.  And it was obvious that the definition had problems. It was before the era of either Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher but there were already rumblings from conservatives of dissatisfaction with the status quo and a desire for change.  And not long afterwards Thatcher and Reagan upset the status quo comprehensively -- to cheers from conservatives.

So what, then, IS conservatism?  There has not been much discussion of that.  In their usual deaf and blind way, the Left insist on sticking to the dictionary definition despite all the evidence to the contrary.  So they don't debate what conservatism is.

Roger Scruton wrote a book in 1980 called "The meaning of conservatism" and he summasrizes his thinking here. He has many valuable insights but he is more a reactionary than a conservative. Is there ANY American -- conservative or not -- who would agree that "the future is the past"? That is Scruton's summary of a core conservative outlook.

And there have of course been a variety of conservative philosophers and intellectuals who have offered their definitions.  I summarize them one by one here.  Of them all I like Ronald Reagan's comment best: "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.... The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom" And that definition is by now mainstream among conservatives themselves.

But Trump has come along and upset that applecart.  Trump is no libertarian.  Restrictions on trade and immigration are the antithesis of libertarianism.  And a concentration on national greatness is unknown to libertarians.

But we should not have been be surprised at Trump's irruption onto the scene.  The libertarian party has been standing in American elections for many years and getting nowhere.  It is a outrider in American politics, not a main player.  Libertarian ideas do help conservative thinking but they are not the whole of it.

And yet Trump has gained wholehearted support from a majority of conservative voters, first in the primaries and then in the presidential election.  And despite his ups and downs most of those voters still support him.  People who had found their only refuge in the wishy washy Republican party suddenly found a new champion who was much more after their own hearts. The previous GOP offering to Trump in a presidential election was Mitt Romney.  Need I say more?

So I think the GOP old hands will have to accept it sooner or later that Trump has taken conservatism back from the siren of libertarian and Leftist ideas and given it new heart.  Trump has redefined conservatism.  And non-establishment conservatives love him for it.  I do.

But after such an upheaval someone is going to have to pick up  the pieces and define the new core of conservatism.  And I want to add a few thoughts in that direction.  And I hope in what I say that I can point to an underlying core theme that explains all the ideas that have been and are described as conservatism.  That is a big ask but I think I can get most of the way there.

For a start, there can be little doubt that conservatism is NOT a selection of political policies.  The policies that conservatives have espoused over the last 200 years or so have been all over the shop.  Finding a common theme among them could only give something impossibly vague.  No.  We have to go down to the psychological level to explain conservatism.  And Scruton and many other conservatives over the years have been agreed on that. I am not being at all innovative is saying that.  What I hope to do is to zero in on exactly WHAT psychological trait separates conservatives from others.  And I obviously have to explain Leftism too.  The great opponents of Left and Right obviously cannot be understood by themselves

And my proposal for the psychological trait that ties all conservatives together is in the heading of this essay.  I believe that conservatives are dispositionally contented. They are not contented with everything nor are they contented at all times but contentment is their natural state.

And that contentment leads to some obvious policy preferences.  They like their traditional religion and don't like to be told it is wrong (about homosexuality, for instance) and they don't like new laws that might upset arrangements they are content with.  They are for instance comfortable with the age-old division of labor between the sexes so don't at all see the point of setting quotas for the proportion of women in business management or politics.  And they see no reason why their normal descriptions of people as "fat", "short", "retarded" etc. have to be changed.

And, in the normal human way, they like best people of their own kind and that extends to groups of people as well as individuals.  They are proud of their ancestors and proud of their country. They are happy to be what they are and happy about how they got there.  The constant Leftist need to denigrate their ancestors and their fellow countrymen as "racists" just does not feel right to them and makes no sense. They like their country and want to make it great again.

My own 1974 claim that conservatism was heresy reflected the fact that, already at that time, the political consensus had settled around policies that tended to disturb conservative contentment. In particular, Australia had just come out of a long reign (1949 to 1972) of somnolent conservative governments into an era governed by a Leftist Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, who seemed determined to upset everything he could.

I could go on from there with more examples of the role of contentment but I think other examples of conservative policies springing from a contented disposition are pretty easy to think of.

So what is Leftism?  Leftists are the discontented people.  They dislike heaps in the society around them and want to tear down as much of that as they can.   And there is more to it than mere  discontentment.  They are also angry and hostile most of the time.  Their natural inclination is to be angry with everything. They probably are never really content.  They are always looking for ways to destroy anything that provokes their anger.  They often achieve their policy aims but that does not content them for a moment.  There are always new "injustices" to attack.  They are insatiable.  They never reach a state that they are remotely happy with.  They somehow think that there is a new Eden around the corner but they can never seem to get anywhere near it.

For example, they think homosexuality should not be illegal.  They get that.  Then they want homosexuals to be broadly accepted socially.  They get that.  Then they want homosexuals to be able to enter into a form of marriage,  They get that.  Then they want all criticism of homosexuals, including Bible criticisms, to be stigmatized as "homophobia".  And they are mostly there with that. And just around the corner "homophobia" will be illegal.

So we see why there will always be a fierce political polarity.  Leftists have had many triumphs in destroying existing arrangements and they want more.  Although conservatives would rather  be left alone to enjoy their friends, their families, their church, their sports or their national identity, they will always have to gird up their loins and try to block Leftist destructiveness.  Though sometimes the Left sabotages itself, with the implosion of Obamacare being a good example of that.  Leftists are so angry that they usually can't think straight.  They overlook important realities and thus generate "unexpected" outcomes that destroy what they set out to achieve.

It may be noted that the account I have given of conservatism is not a  million miles from the old claim that conservatives oppose change and support the status quo.  Where my account differs is that it takes note of what conservatives have to face.  The idea that conservatives oppose ALL change is absurd.  They oppose destructive change. There is always a torrent of actual and proposed Leftist changes that have to be opposed to prevent chaos and preserve order.  Leftists think their changes are so obviously right that conservatives could only oppose them through an ornery disposition to oppose ALL change.  The idea that conservatives might have good reason to oppose their changes they just cannot consider.  The idea that conservatives oppose all changes whatsoever is just Leftist propaganda.

My claim that contentment is an enduring psychological disposition does imply that it is hereditary. And the evidence that the level of happiness/contentment in us is substantially pre-set is strong. See here.

And all the general population surveys show conservatives to be happier. Pew, for instance, reports that: "Some 45% of all Republicans report being very happy, compared with just 30% of Democrats and 29% of independents. This finding has also been around a long time; Republicans have been happier than Democrats every year since the General Social Survey began taking its measurements in 1972"

Leftists hate that finding. In their usual projective way, they think conservatives should be miserable.  So there have been innumerable attempts to explain it away -- even going to to the lengths of measuring the crinkles around the eyes of congresscritters!  You couldn't make it up.

I put up an earlier version of this essay a year ago.  It has some points additional to those above.



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In Praise of New Zealand

As we all know, New Zealanders hate Australians -- just as Canadians hate Americans and Scots hate the English.  Big brother is rarely popular.  But I forgive them.  They can't help it. So I am going to perhaps make them feel a little better.

For a small population, they have done remarkably well in business.  Take wines.  Australia has long had a lot of success in selling wines to the world.  The Poms buy twice as much Australian wine as French. So the idea that anybody could sell much wine to us is improbable. Yet the Kiwis have done it.  Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region is now a big seller in Australia.  The one I sometimes buy is under the "Giesen" label.

And New Zealand chocolate?  Not Belgian, not Swiss?  Yes.  For a long time Whittakers of NZ used to export small bars of milk chocolate filled with nuts to us.  Then they managed to get a big order from Australia's biggest supermarket:  Woolworths.  Now they have on offer everywhere a great range of all sorts of choolate.

And New Zealand cheese?  Australia has many dairies that make cheese but more or less forever New Zealand has been selling us a cheese called Epicure.  It was what you bought if you wanted a strong-tasting cheese.  Then a few years back they started selling us "Mainland" cheese in a number of varieties.

But here's the latest.  Australia is a big market for pre-sliced cheese.  And the odd thing is that sliced cheese is the only cheddar cheese that you can buy.  Presumably cheddar slices more easily.  The "national" Australian cheese is "Tasty".  From the look of the supermarket shelves "Tasty" is what 80% of Australians buy.  Lots of dairies make it.  It is basically a cheese that is made as sharp in taste as possible without becoming crumbly.  It is a compromise cheese and, true to their British heritage, Australians like to compromise.  It's less hassle than the alternative.

So when I was looking yesterday for a pack of sliced cheese I saw a newcomer there, a brand called "Hillview" that was cheaper than any other.  Being born frugal, I bought it.  When I got home I tried it and found it to be perfectly good so I wondered why it was so cheap.  So I studied the pack.  And there in small letters was, "Made in New Zealand". They have now invaded our big market for sliced cheese!  They will do well.

UPDATE: My trip to the supermarket this morning yielded a big surprise.  Hillview has really invaded the market. Today there was a big new display of Tasty cheese by them.  They have obviously stitched up a good deal with Woolworths and are here to stay.

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Animation reveals the global sea level 'fingerprints' that show how climate change is affecting Earth

The report below repeatedly links sea level variations to global warming but offers no proof of that.  It's all just assertion.  Natural factors can and do affect sea levels -- such as isostatic uplift, El Nino etc.

And we do well to note Morner's demonstration that most of the sea level changes are the product of "adjustments".

And even after the adjustments (upwards) we are still talking about a stunningly trivial 7 hundredths of one inch in sea level rise per year.  That is obviously a statistical artifact.  The available measurements are not nearly that precise.  There are those pesky things called waves which make all sea level measurements very rough


NASA researchers have reported the first detection of sea level 'fingerprints' that show changes in sea level variability around the world.

They result from changes in water storage on Earth's continents and in the mass of ice sheets. .

The ocean observations, called sea level 'fingerprints,' allow researchers to determine how much the sea level will rise at any point on the global ocean due to glacier melt.

As ice sheets and glaciers undergo climate-related melting, they change the Earth's gravity field, leading to sea level changes that are not uniform around the planet.

For example, when a glacier melts and loses ice mass, its gravitational attraction is reduced.

As such, ocean waters nearby move away, causing sea level to rise faster far away from the glacier.

This resulting pattern in sea level change is known as a sea level fingerprint - and certain areas, particularly in Earth's middle and low latitudes, are hit even harder, and Greenland and Antarctica contribute differently to the process.

For example, sea level rise in California and Florida caused by the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet is up to 52 per cent greater than its average effect on the rest of the world.

To calculate these sea level fingerprints associated with melting ice sheets, glaciers and changes in land water storage, the team used gravity data data collected by the twin satellites of the US/German Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) between April 2002 and October 2014.

During that 12-year period, the loss of mass from land ice and from changes in land water storage increased global average sea level by approximately 0.07 inches (1.8 millimeters) per year.

43 per cent of the increased water mass came from Greenland, 16 per cent from Antarctica and 30 per cent from mountain glaciers.

The researchers verified their calculations using reading of ocean-bottom pressure from stations in the tropics.

'Scientists have a solid understanding of the physics of sea level fingerprints, but we’ve never had a direct detection of the phenomenon until now,' said co-author of the study Dr Isabella Velicogna, UCI professor of Earth system science and JPL research scientist.

'It was very exciting to observe the sea level fingerprints in the tropics, far from the glaciers and ice sheets,' said lead author Chia-Wei Hsu, a graduate student researcher at UCI.

The findings are published today in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The research project was supported by UCI and NASA’s Earth Science Division.

SOURCE

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Does poverty cause suicide?

That it does is the implicit message below.  And it is true that the poor suicide more.  But is the poverty the cause of the suicide?  In the case of the person highlighted below it would seem to be an hereditary depressive illness.  Many close relatives to him had suicided too.

From my reading of the literature, social isolation and loss of important relationships are the main cause of suicide. We need connectedness with others. So how do we explain the correlation with poverty?

I think we need to see poverty not as a cause but as an effect.  many things can lay you low financially, including mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.  And there is also extravagance, monetary incontinence. If you repeatedly blow all your money soon after you get it, you are going to be long-term poor. And extravagance in turn can reflect deficient impulse control, which is again a mental weakness.  

And a major correlate of poverty is IQ.  Some people just cannot cope with modern work requirements.  Jobs have become more complex as time has gone by.  Digging ditches manually was so simple anyone could do it but few jobs are that simple anymore. So the low IQ person is more likely to be unemployed, often for long periods.  And unemployment is depressing in a host of ways.  And it is ultimately a depressive state of mind that leads on to suicide.

So a more measured and detailed look at people at risk of suicide is what is needed for prevention purposes. Just blaming poverty is irresponsibly simplistic and unlikely to help.  The most officialdom is ever likely to provide is anti-psychotic and anxiolytic medication.  The churches will be the major source of social and emotional support. Neither governments nor Leftist organizations have any track-record in that function.


I was standing inside a tacky “instant cash loan” place in main street, Dandenong, I had just applied for a $200 loan.

“Sorry love we can’t help you today,” the Eastern European lady at the loan shop I’ll call CASH NOW EXCITING WOW said.

I was broke and living on a friend’s couch. I went to three other “instant cash loan” places who said no to giving me a loan that day. Plus I’d been into Centrelink and asked for a cash advance — I got rejected for that too.

I also had a bad back and was losing my battle with the insurance company. I’d just borrowed money from a friend earlier that day — she needed it by the next morning for her daughter’s school excursion. CASH NOW EXCITING WOW’s final rejection meant I realised I couldn’t repay her by that night like I promised.

Twelve months earlier I had a well-paying, high-status job; I’d been on TV, the radio, I wrote for magazines — everyone took my call when I was a journalist — most people wanted to be my friend.

After CASH NOW’s rejection I felt disconnected, life seemed pointless; broken beyond repair. I walked for hours plotting ways to die. I eventually followed one street all the way to Dandenong Hospital’s emergency room and told them I wanted to kill myself.

It wasn’t the first time I’d been suicidal. But it was the first time that financial despair had driven me to it.

And the experience turned out to be illuminating in more ways than one — years later, I would start reading and find what is rarely talked about: The link between being on a lower-income and suicide.

Not that long ago terms like “affluenza” and “cashed-up bogans” were freely thrown around. Yes we know that “money doesn’t make you happy”, but being dirt poor can drive you to despair — male suicide in Australia was at the highest in the 1930s Great Depression.

Many studies show the link between unemployment and suicide: unemployed men suicide about 4.62 times the rate of employed men in Australia according the latest research by the University of Melbourne.

The latest available ABS figures show Australia’s annual suicide rate is 12 per 100,000 — the highest in 10 years. We know men are more at risk, so too LGBTI people and the indigenous. But since 2002, ABS data hasn’t recorded occupation or income (currently it looks only at age, race, gender) of those who have taken their own life — when it did it showed the unemployed, tradies and labourers were the ones most likely to suicide.

Contemporary figures showing the link between income, class and suicide proved hard to find. But the suicide rate for trades people is 21 per 100,000 and for labourers it’s an astonishing 34 per 100,000 (nearly triple the national average).

Compare that to the suicide rates of male managers of 7 suicides per 100,000, and middle-class professionals of 13 per 100,000.

There are a few aberrations including veterinarians and those working in the medical profession, who have high suicide rates, but otherwise the trend appears relatively clear.

“The main drivers of suicide are disconnection, and a loss of hope and purpose,” Alan Woodward Director of Lifeline Australia told news.com.au.

“We know financial struggles and personal indebtedness is a factor that can lead people to feel suicidal ... if you are unemployed there is a strong chance your social network will reduce and you may experience some loss of a sense of contributing to the community.”

“Some occupations have some features, less control of the nature of their work, less fulfilment, job satisfaction, possibility to exposure to unsafe areas.

And of course — most of those jobs are male-dominated. “Traditional masculine behaviour and attitudes have been found to relate to reduced and delayed help-seeking for mental health problems,” he said.

When I reflect back on the day my financial crisis led to suicidal ideation, I do think about the lack of meaning in my life right then. I had tried to do everything right: I had been studying law, I’d spent most of my life climbing the socio-economic ladder just as my parents had lifted themselves out of their parents’ poverty. There I was — begging for money.

My Dad is on a disability support pension after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder 10 years ago. He has attempted suicide a few times. His Dad had schizophrenia and suicided. My Dad’s brother also took his own life, so did my cousin.

Back at Dandenong hospital the day I was completely broke and suicidal, I ended up speaking with a great psychiatric nurse, who gave me a very good counselling session, an antipsychotic and a bed for the night.

While it didn’t solve my problem, it did help me deal with these issues with a clearer head the next day.

And while mental health is clearly not just all about the individual, I did need to get my head together initially to work out how to solve my problem.

I’m extremely grateful for the help and cherish the fact I have gone to live another seven fulfilling years.


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It is impossible for homosexuals to form a true marriage

They can at best impersonate a real marriage

In Australia we are currently having a nation-wide postal survey on Australian marriage law in order to determine whether the definition of marriage should be changed to include homosexual relationships. https://marriagesurvey.abs.gov.au/

There is currently a lot of talk about same sex marriage being marriage equality. But is it?  It will in fact always remain fundamentally different

As I see it, by nature, a man and woman are different not equal.  Equality does not enter into it. And that difference brings a diversity of capacities to the marriage -- a diversity that a homosexual union cannot usually have.  No doubt there are, for instance, some homosexual men who are good with children but homosexual men in general cannot give the near-guarantee of being good with children that a heterosexual woman can give.  The diversity of the parties in a normal marriage gives the marriage as a whole a nearly double range of strengths and possibilities.  What one partner cannot do the other might, making the partnership as a whole more versatile.  Division of labour will be much more effecrtive.

And it is presumably specialization and division of labour that have caused men and women to evolve differently in the first place.  A partnership that has far fewer possibilities for division of labour is flying in the face of evolution and can rarely if at all be as strong and effective.

Men and women are necessary to each other, and only in that sense are they equal to each other.  A half plus the other half equals the whole. But a half plus the same half merely equals the same half.

A man and a woman are two halves that make a whole. A man and woman together become one, make life, become part of the ongoing flow of nature. A man and a man, and a woman and a woman, cannot do that without the assistance of the other sex, so their marriage is not equal to the marriage of a man and woman.

But it is no business of the government to ask what anybody does with their private bits.  It is only when the Left asks government to describe something as what it is not that an issue arises.  But in the great spirit of Anglo-Saxon compromise,  there would seem to be no objection to issuing homosexual couples with a certificate naming them and headed: "Homosexual marriage certificate".  That would make clear that the marriage is a special case and not a true marriage -- JR

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Italian versus Anglo mothering

Below is an extreme but accurate portrait of a culture clash.  It should remind us that what is "correct" in one culture can be incorrect in another culture.  I grew up with a lot of Italians around so I am aware of the generality of what the author describes.

I am myself a reserved, undemonstrative and independent Anglo -- which has large implications for family ties. French sociologists such as LePlay and Emmanuel Todd find the English family incomprehensible.  They see it as chaotic.  Where people in  Latin cultures keep up close family ties, the English can easily go for years without seeing close relatives.  The English family seems impossibly non-existent to Latins.  It is as if family is everything to Latins, but nothing to those of us of English descent. Germans too are much like Anglos in that respect.  It does seem to be a racial thing.

And I am a pretty typical Anglo.  Up until recently, I had gone for a couple of decades without seeing my quite gorgeous and vivacious kid sister -- even though she lives only a half-day train-ride away.  I can't help being what I am but I do nonetheless admire the Italian approach to life and am rather resolved to try to be more like them.

I do rather agree with Nonna Gemma below


My mother is the doyenne of Australian etiquette, June Dally-Watkins. My mother-in-law is an almost illiterate farmer from the mountains of eastern Tuscany. Both are formidable, wise women.

But their mothering styles are biting opposites. One is a successful Australian businesswoman whose life's work has been her career, the other a humble Italian woman who has dedicated her life to her family. Trying to glean child-raising tips from both has pretty much done my head in.

It might even be time to give up trying to be a good mum – or as my kids would say, mom. Or maybe mamma. Now 18 and 16, my children are half-Australian and half-Italian. They speak English with American accents and Italian with Florentine accents, and they flow easily between one and the other depending on their company.

With such inherent cultural diversity, they don't seem to suffer too much identity confusion. Whereas my maternal compass – born and raised in Australia, with one culture and one language – is frazzled. For 20 years I've been travelling between Sydney and my home in Florence, trying to work out which culture has the best parenting principles for my polyglots.

Striving to be a good mum, mom and mamma by reconciling my birth culture with my new culture, I've naturally looked to my mother as a role model. But while navigating the choppy waters of my children's teenage years, I observed my mother-in-law, too.

Nonna Gemma on daily life:  "Never let your husband see you idle. When the working males return home, the women must not be seen relaxing. Men must believe their women are constantly on the move, cleaning, cooking, washing, ironing, keeping house with rigour and determination. You are a signora. Ideally, you won't have to work outside the home."

My mother: "Work. Get a job. He might leave you so you must have a career to fall back on. Look fabulous at all times. When at home, wear casual clothes and look even more fabulous."

Nonna Gemma on cooking: "Always make something the grandchildren love, something they've eaten many times so that your food will not fail to disappoint, a reliable, heart-warming dish using a well-worn recipe of lasagne, or roast chicken with roast potatoes. Pasta should be home-made, chicken hand-reared and potatoes home-grown."

My mother: "Cook something no one has ever tasted or heard of. Use a new recipe adapted to what's in the fridge."

Nonna Gemma on raising children: "Never let the children do sleep-overs. One never knows what other families do when they're in their own homes."

My mother: "Let your children go. Trust them to make their own decisions, and the right decisions."

Nonna Gemma on raising teenagers: "Give them lots of cash. Buy them clothes because they are the family's mascot, our representatives when out and about. Repair their clothes with a fully kitted-out sewing box."

My mother: "Make children get a job to learn the value of hard work and money. Clothes are birthday and Christmas presents. There might be a hotel sewing kit in my cabin luggage bag."

Nonna Gemma on school lunches: "Nothing beats a container of pasta with a tomato sauce made from scratch with garlic, basil, olive oil and parmesan cheese. In a second container add chargrilled chicken with salad."

My mother: "A sandwich made with white sliced bread and last night's chicken and lettuce should do it."

Nonna Gemma on university education for their grandchildren: "Why should they leave home for university? Why have babies if you're only going to send them away? At 18, they're still children."

My mother: "The world is their oyster. Make them international people. Let them stand on their own two feet. Send them away."

Nonna Gemma on table manners: "There are none."

My mother: "Put your knife and fork together to show you've finished. No. Not like that, the blade must be facing inwards towards the fork. No. The plate is like a clock and the handles must be at six o'clock."

The only way to tackle such opposing child-rearing advice is to try to mix and match their guidelines until the balance between Italian "smother love" and Australian "tough love" is just right, like one of my mother-in-law's recipes.

Anglo-Saxons show their children they love them by teaching them how to do everything for themselves. Italians show they love their children by doing everything for them. Trying to be a good mum, for me, is about harmonising that while focusing on how I feel. Most people in bicultural families live in the present, look to our children's future and try to honour the past. Finding the best child-rearing process in the middle of all that cultural identity can be hard, especially with such wildly different matriarchs.

Both women are contradictory in every way, but hearing their opinions opens up different worlds for me as a mother. Neither way is right, just as neither way is wrong. There are two lifetimes of insight in their approaches, and there is value in learning from both. If only I could fathom how.

Maybe it's time to stop trying so hard, to stop judging, comparing, choosing and balancing. Perhaps if I keep my kids close, while trusting them to make the right decisions, I'll succeed in being a good mum as well as bringing their grandmothers' attitudes into alignment. There is only one thing I know for sure about motherhood, and it applies regardless of where you come from: children thrive on love, no matter what the language.

SOURCE

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Hooray!  I have been censored

I was beginning to feel neglected.  I frequently write relentlessly factual things about race, IQ and social class -- and they must be the big trifecta of political incorrectness.  If those topics don't get me censored what would?  Actually there IS one thing more likely to get me censored:  Praise for Donald Trump.  And I do a lot of that.  I am as Trumpian as you can get.

And I think that is what lies behind the ban that has been placed on me.  I spend more time than I should reading the questions and answers on Quora.com.  Most of the questions there are puerile but some of the answers are interesting.

The answers I have myself been putting up there have all however been very brief, usually only a few words.  For instance, in answer to the question "What would you do if someone threw a basketball to you?" my answer was "Dodge". And in answer to "Who is the most influential person in history? Why?", I wrote "Hitler. People will never get over him".  And in answer to "If first contact was established with aliens, what one person, dead or alive, would you use to represent the human race?", I answered "Trump. He speaks in simple sentences"

And in my answer to "Why does Ernest Adams hate social conservatives so much?" I wrote "He was born that way".  And that seems to have torn it.  That answer was apparently so incorrect that I was banned from putting up any more answers or asking any questions.

For background Adams is a Quora heavyweight and a very supercilious Leftist.  He is absolutely full of himself and conservative Quorans do criticize him for that at times.

So why was my answer so bad?  It is a common research finding  that political dispositions are highly hereditary so my answer was highly factual.  It's not the political opinions by themselves that are inherited so much as the underlying psychology that determines those positions. Basically, conservatives are the contented people and Leftists are the angry people.  And that has a big impact on your policy preferences.  Leftists want to attack whatever they are angry about and conservatives want stability.

And where you stand on the happiness/contentment scale has repeatedly been found to be very much inborn.  Some people will be happy no matter what and some will be miserable no matter what.  So both the actual opinions and the underlying psychology have been found to be hereditary.

So Quora penalized me from giving a scholarly and well informed comment.  To them it was so wrong that it couldn't be right.  I have no idea of the details of their angry thinking but I suspect that their objection was really a pretext.  My constant praise of Trump would undoubtedly have jarred them.  It was that which really lay behind my banning, I suspect.  It is a very Leftist site.

I won't protest my banning. Matthew 7:6 tells you why.

Footnote:  If you doubt that Leftists are the angry people and conservatives are the contented people, just ask any Leftist what he thinks of Mr Trump!  And if you doubt that conservatives are the contented people ask yourself why the Congressional GOP has done so little to give Mr Trump the changes he wants.

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How bureaucracy destroys research in U.S. hospitals

There is a long article here which gives a blow by blow account of a doctor trying to get permission to do a research study -- a study that seemed to need doing.  He spent years dealing with the bureaucracy only to be defeated by all the nitpicking in the end.  He was not able to do a perfectly reasonable study.

The article had a particular resonance to me because what he wanted to do -- a questionnaire survey -- was something I did many, many times in my research career.  And I never asked ANYBODY for permission.  I just did it.  So how come the difference?  Several possible reasons:

I did my research in the '70s and '80s.  Things may have tightened up more by now.

I also did my work mostly in Australia, a much less uptight country than the USA.  Many of my fellow academics, including the head of school, would have had a pretty good idea of what I was doing but trying to rein me in would have needed effort and they just could not be bothered with that

But perhaps the key factor was that I did not ask. I did not set the bureaucratic machinery in motion. The bureaucracy just did not know of me. I was below their horizon. I had not foolishly set their rumbling machinery into motion. "Just do it" was an old piece of Hippie advice from the '60s and I was there in the '60s.

So with my experience I read with great horror what this guy experienced.  But he makes the correct point that bureaucracy does that.  The job of the bureaucracy is to say "No" to anything that might conceivably be dangerous in some conceivable world and it takes a lot to get around that.  And sometimes you can't.

And the end result?  I had 200+ academic journal articles published whereas this guy had none.  What a waste!

I think his final comments are worth reproducing:


"I sometimes worry that people misunderstand the case against bureaucracy. People imagine it’s Big Business complaining about the regulations preventing them from steamrolling over everyone else. That hasn’t been my experience. Big Business – heck, Big Anything – loves bureaucracy. They can hire a team of clerks and secretaries and middle managers to fill out all the necessary forms, and the rest of the company can be on their merry way. It’s everyone else who suffers. The amateurs, the entrepreneurs, the hobbyists, the people doing something as a labor of love. Wal-Mart is going to keep selling groceries no matter how much paperwork and inspections it takes; the poor immigrant family with the backyard vegetable garden might not.

Bureaucracy in science does the same thing: limit the field to big institutional actors with vested interests. No amount of hassle is going to prevent the Pfizer-Merck-Novartis Corporation from doing whatever study will raise their bottom line. But enough hassle will prevent a random psychiatrist at a small community hospital from pursuing his pet theory about bipolar diagnosis. The more hurdles we put up, the more the scientific conversation skews in favor of Pfizer-Merck-Novartis. And the less likely we are to hear little stuff, dissenting voices, and things that don’t make anybody any money.

There are so many privacy and confidentiality restrictions around the most harmless of datasets that research teams won’t share data with one another (let alone with unaffiliated citizen scientists) lest they break some arcane regulation or other. Closed access journals require people to pay thousands of dollars in subscription fees before they’re allowed to read the scientific literature; open-access journals just shift the burden by requiring scientists to pay thousands of dollars to publish their research. Big research institutions have whole departments to deal with these kinds of problems; unaffiliated people who just want to look into things on their own are out of luck.

SOURCE

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Give Max the boot?

Max Boot has some record as a conservative but his writing below shows him as a typical Leftist. As a NY Jew that is no surprise. American Jews voted overwhelmingly for Obama. Again as a Leftist, he has no respect for the truth at all. He does the typical Leftist trick of misrepresentation by omission. It would be tedious to fisk his whole outpouring but let me mention a few of his misrepresentations.

He mentions that he received some antisemitic abuse recently and probably hopes to persuade us that antisemitism is now common in America and that it comes from conservatives.  He offers no proof of either of those things.  It is true that in the last decade or two there has been a gradual upwelling of antisemitism in America -- from the Left.  Many Leftists joyously particpate in the BDS movement, for instance, which aims at eradicating the State of Israel.  No matter what spin they put on it, it's essentially modern-day Nazism.  Max mentions none of that.

He says:  "Trump came to office vilifying Mexicans and Muslims".  He did no such thing.  He advocated more control of illegal immigration and immigration from terrorist infested nations.  Most Muslim nations were NOT subject to his restrictions.  Max is quite simply lying -- deliberately ascribing motivations to certain actions without any evidence that such motivations were in play.

Max says that Trump praised the Charlottesville protesters.  He did not.  He said of both the marchers and their attackers that they included good people on both sides.  He gave no blankret approval to anyone.

Max criticizes the pardoning of Sheriff Joe, without mentioning that Sheriff Joe was simply doing his job despite obstacles to immigration control created by Obama.  Obama was by far the real lawless actor in the matter.

But what seems to have set Max off is the withdrawal by Trump of the DACA regulations promulgated by Obama with no legislative authority. That Trump is simply reasserting the rule of law that Obama undermined he does not mention.

Max could well mislead less informed people by his lies so we conservatives do need to combat them but it is a weary task. Lies just seem to flow out of every pore of Leftists. Lies are essentially all they've got.


I am white. I am Jewish. I am an immigrant. I am a Russian American. But until recently I haven’t focused so much on those parts of my identity. I’ve always thought of myself simply as a normal, unhyphenated American.

Ever since I arrived here, along with my mother and grandmother, from Russia in 1976 at age 7, I have been eager to assimilate. And I’ve done a pretty good job of it.

Last year I experienced the first sustained anti-Semitism I have ever encountered in the United States. Like many other anti-Trump commentators, I was deluged with neo-Nazi propaganda on social media, including a picture of me in a gas chamber, with Herr Trump in a Nazi uniform pulling the lever to kill me. This was accompanied by predictable demands that I leave this country to “real” Americans and go back to where I came from — or, alternatively, to Israel.

At one time it was easy to dismiss such sentiments as the ravings of a handful of marginal losers. That’s harder to do now that the president of the United States has embraced the far-right agenda. Trump came to office vilifying Mexicans and Muslims. As president, he has praised the protesters who marched with neo-Nazis in Charlottesville as “very fine people” and come out against taking down Confederate monuments, symbols of white supremacy. He has pardoned former sheriff Joe Arpaio, who became a symbol of racism and lawlessness for locking up Latinos, in defiance of a court order, simply on the suspicion that they might be undocumented immigrants. And now Trump has set in motion the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which prevents 800,000 law-abiding people from being deported because their parents brought them to the United States illegally.

SOURCE

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Amusing:  Warmists outdo 20th century dictators

When 20th century dictators -- Communist or otherwise -- wanted to boost their legitimacy, they would hold an election and announce that somewhere between 97 and 99% of the population had voted for them. Such a consensus was routinely denounced as phony in real democracies.

But Warmists can out-phony that. Naomi Oreskes in her unreplicable study announced that 100% of climate scientists supported global warming.  Her study was however very slapdash and open to critisism so the Hayhoe and others have recently got together to repeat the exercize in a more opaque way.  We find an article titled: "Those 3% of scientific papers that deny climate change? A review found them all flawed".  Isn't that fabulous?  Informed dissent is completely eradicated.

I have of course no intention of reading the claims.  With old stagers like Dana Nuccitelli, John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky involved, I know that I can expect mere propaganda in lieu of real scholarship. I have no doubt that the debunking will readily be debunked.  Knowing how Warmists treat modelling results as gospel, if something a skeptic said diverged from some model results, I am sure that that alone would invalidate a claim to a Warmist.

But the whole enterprise is wrong-headed.  The origin of the 97% claim lies in John Cook's famous paper.  Cook merely collected up all the papers he could find  that bore on global warming and classified them (very arbitrarily) as for or against global warming. What he found was that only one third of the papers took any stance at all on global warming. Only one-third expressed an opinion on global warming.  And it was 97% of that one third who became the great comforter for Warmists.  In typical Green/Left slipperiness, the result of the survey is routinely quoted as "97% of climate scientists agree" -- when the actual finding was that only one third of climate scientists agreed.

So the present study seems to be of 3% of one third, which surely tells us little.  Even more to the point, most of the papers were not specifically designed to prove or disprove global warming.  They just expressed an opinion on it.  So showing that they did not disprove global warming is no surprise and is completely trivial.

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Climate Change Is Driving These Cute Mountain Critters Out of Their Homes



More dubious climate "science".  Let me dissect it.  If global warming is affecting animal populations in the Lake Tahoe region, the temperatures in the Lake Tahoe region should also be warming.  But are they?  The propagandists below are on top of that.  They point out that mean summer temperatures have risen at the Tahoe City weather station over the last 100 years.

But the mean temperature includes cooler periods of the day and night so doesn't tell us much about events distressful to the pikas. What you need is an account of MAXIMUM temperatures.

And the graph below is of MAXIMUM summer temperatures at Lake Tahoe.  And we see that maximum temperatures in the Tahoe area were markedly higher in the 1920s and 1930s.  Tahoe summers as a whole have been COOLING long term. Temperatures at Tahoe have in fact become LESS distressful to pikas over the long term.



You'll never get the whole story about anything from the Green/Left. They can't afford it. Reality just does not sing their song



The chirps of the American pika have gone silent in a core portion of their habitat in California.

New research finds that the pika (Ochotona princeps) disappeared from a 64 square-mile (165 square kilometers) section of the Sierra Nevada mountains north of Lake Tahoe between the 1950s and the early 1990s. Pikas are tiny mammals, related to rabbits, that live on mountain slopes. They're known for making hay while the sun shines, harvesting grass all summer to dry and store for winter sustenance (they don't hibernate). They're also known for their distinctive, high-pitched alarm cries, which frequently greet hikers and backpackers picking their way along rock fields in pika habitat.

But pikas are struggling in the face of climate change, as highlighted by the new study, published online today (Aug. 30) in the journal PLOS ONE.

Pikas are adapted for cold weather — they even have fur on the bottoms of their feet, said study leader Joseph Stewart, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Santa Cruz. They must climb to higher elevations when it gets warm to avoid overheating. They also rely on winter snows to blanket and insulate their dens, lest they freeze to death. Global warming has buffeted pikas from both sides by boosting summer temperatures and shrinking winter snowpack, Stewart told Live Science.

Stewart started doing pika surveys around northern Lake Tahoe in 2011 after conservation groups petitioned to list the small mammals as endangered under both California and federal law. He and his colleagues focused on 14 sites in a triangular-shaped area bounded by north Lake Tahoe, the Truckee River and Highway 267, a region they called the "Pluto triangle" because it encompasses the 8,617-foot-tall (2,626 meters) Mount Pluto. They visited the triangle sites multiple times between 2011 and 2016, searching for pikas, pika fecal pellets and hay piles and listening for pika calls. They also compiled survey information from 24 areas nearby but outside the triangle.

Using radiocarbon dating, which measures isotopes of carbon to determine organic matter's age, the researchers were able to determine that the pika droppings from the Pluto triangle dated back from before 1955 all the way to 1991. In other words, while pikas vanished from some areas before 1955, the total disappearance of the species from this region was more recent.

"All signs point to climate change" as the cause, Stewart said.

Temperatures measured at the nearby Tahoe City weather station reveal an upward march of temperatures in the area, with an average increase of 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit (1.9 degrees Celsius) between 1910 and 2015, the researchers reported. Winter snowpack in the area has also declined, they found: Before 1955, there was not a single year on record with less than 0.8 inches (2 centimeters) of snowpack. After 1955, 34 percent of years had snowpacks lower than that level.

Pikas still persist in the Sierra Nevadas outside the Pluto triangle, but their future is precarious. Today, the animals have about 469 square miles (1,214 square km) of land with suitable climate in the greater Lake Tahoe area where mean summer temperatures stay below 57.5 degrees F (14.2 degrees C), the level above which pika survival becomes precarious, Stewart said.

By modeling projected temperatures, Stewart and his colleagues found that suitable habitats in the right temperature range will decline 77 percent from its current area by 2030, and by 97 percent by 2050. That would leave a mere 13 square miles (33 square km) of land with suitable climate where pikas could survive year-round near Lake Tahoe.

The pika's story, though, is one of variability, said Johanna Varner, a biologist and pika expert at Colorado Mesa University, who was not involved in the study. In some regions, particularly in the more isolated mountains of southern Utah, climate change has hit pikas hard. In other areas, like the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, pikas manage to live quite happily at practically sea level, thanks to short winters and cool under-rock refuges, Varner told Live Science. Some subpopulations seem to be able to adapt behaviorally, perhaps by reducing their foraging time during the hottest parts of the day.

"In some places, they seem to be doing OK," she said. But in others, the pikas don't have much resilience because less time spent foraging in the summer means starvation in the winter, she added: "There are some places that the outlook doesn't look very good, particularly in these really isolated low-elevation places where the pikas just don't have a lot of refuge to get away from warm summer temperatures."

The Pluto triangle is relatively low elevation, Varner said, so though it's a large area, it's also not entirely surprising that pikas living there might struggle with warming temperatures.

SOURCE



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America's melting pot and America's Muslims

Jeff Jacoby notes below that in opinion surveys American Muslims are very tolerant and pro-American.  He draws much comfort from that. Although their religion is very authoritarian -- preaching Islamic supremacism -- Jeff believes that they are peaceful pussies.

I spent 20 years doing opinion surveys for academic purposes so I think I can offer an informed perspective on that.  I will start out by making a very old comment:  "Deeds, not words". What people say in response to surveys is often not what they think and is certainly not what they do.  The attitude/behavior discrepancy is a well-known problem in psychology.  I am one of many who have researched it.

Let me give a glaring example.  Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian. Even Friedrich Engels (co-author of Karl Marx) recognized that.  Let me quote him:

"A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists"

The whole point of Leftism is to change society and you can only change society by changing what people do. Leftists proceed from a perception of fault in the world to a conviction that they are entitled to abolish that fault.  They think, for instance, that inequality is wrong and proceed from that to think that they have the right to abolish it.  Conservatives, by contrast, are much more humble.  They see inequality too but have no fantasy of their right or ability to change it.  They just try to work around it  -- by charitable giving, for instance.

Leftists of course are not always able to implement their plans and wishes.  It is only when a society is in a very disordered state -- due to war or some other cause -- that they can seize complete power.  You then see how authoritarian they really are.  As Engels foresaw, they then have to become practitioners of terror and mass murder.  And, sadly, a large part of the world's  population has experienced that:  Russia, China etc.

In the USA and the Anglosphere generally, democratic traditions obstruct what Leftists can do so they have to be content to nibble at the edges of society -- as we saw from the torrent of destructive regulations that emanated from the Obama regime.  But in all cases Leftism is about forcing change upon society. And if that is not authoritarian, what would be?

From all that, one would expect Leftists to have very authoritarian, pro-authority attitudes.  They should enthusiastically proclaim the wonders of government power. They should exult in the subordination of the many to the few.

But they do not.  I did many surveys of authority attitudes during my 20 years as an academic researcher and I routinely found that Leftists were no more likely to express acceptance of authority than anyone else.  Their attitudes to authority were completely compartmentalized, to use Freud's term.  They could reject authoritarianism in their attitude statements while also voting for it and working towards it.  It was the same in Engels' day.  His fellow revolutionary Leftists were condemning authority while also being prepared to exercize it to an extreme degree. His essay on the matter is well worth reading to this day

So if attitude statements tell you nothing about Leftist behaviour, why would we think that attitude statements tell us anything about Muslim behaviour?  And we do know about Muslim behaviour. Like Leftists who get full power, they are mass murderers of the innocent.  That goes on all the time in the Middle East and other Muslim lands.

And it goes on on our countries too.  Muslims have very little power to change anything in our countries so it is only a small minority who can achieve authoritarian Muslim aims -- usually by sacrificing their own lives in a shooting or bombing spree.  And even Muslims are wary of sacrificing their own lives so it is usually socially marginal Muslims who go on such sprees. They feel that their lives are useless so why not give up that life for Allah?

So I think Jeff Jacoby below is totally naive.  What Muslims say is no guide to what they really think and may well do.  They are a dangerous element in a our society and should be sent back to their ancestral lands where they can vent their violent urges  onto one-another.

Just to expand a little on that last point:  The Left erupt into a febrile rage about largely imaginary white supremacists but completely ignore Muslim supremacism. You just have to read the Koran or listen to Muslim preachers to be left in no doubt about the supremacist nature of Islam.  Is it only imaginary threats that the Left can deal with?  Do real threats simply have to be blocked out?  It would seem so.  What might be called "cognitive management" seems to be essential to Leftism


THE STORY of American pluralism began with the migration of Puritan separatists, who came to the New World seeking a haven where they could practice their faith as they saw fit. The Puritans didn't show much tolerance toward subsequent newcomers practicing other faiths, such as Quakers and Baptists. But those religions put down roots, and the intolerance evaporated over time.

That became the pattern. Though religious diversity is one of the hallmarks of American life, believers from less-familiar traditions typically start out facing resentment and mistrust. After a while, however, those minority creeds and churches grow accepted and comfortable and become part of the nation's religious and cultural mosaic.

We don't often think about it, but it's an amazing phenomenon. In a world torn by religious bitterness, the United States has repeatedly managed to assimilate clashing faiths. It was true for Quakers and Baptists in the 18th century, for Catholics in the 19th, and for Mormons and Jews in the 20th. It is proving true yet again in this century for American Muslims.

The Pew Research Center recently released the results of a detailed survey of Muslims in the United States — the third it has conducted since 2007. It is no secret that many Americans, especially since 9/11, have come to regard Muslims with fear or suspicion. During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump fueled that animus, decrying the "great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population" and demanding a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the United States.

Yet for all that, the Pew surveys make clear, US Muslims are replicating the age-old trajectory of religious minority communities: They adopt American values, reject fundamentalism, and form ties of friendship and love across religious lines.

In the latest poll, an overwhelming 92 percent of Muslims agree with the patriotic statement "I am proud to be an American." When asked how much they feel they have in common with most Americans, 60 percent of Muslims say "a lot" and another 28 percent say "some." Only 36 percent say that all or most of their friends are fellow Muslims, a striking drop from the 49 percent who said so in the 2011 survey — and far less than the 95 percent of Muslims who say so in other countries.

Islamist fanaticism and terror have been among the world's intractable problems for decades; the scholar Daniel Pipes has estimated that as many as 15 percent of Muslims worldwide support radical Islam. There is no simple solution to the problem of militant Islamist extremism, and too many Americans — from Boston to Fort Hood to San Bernardino to Orlando — have been among its victims.

But as the Pew data show, the Muslim community in America is the most religiously tolerant and socially liberal Islamic population in the world. And Muslims in America, far from sanctioning deliberate violence against civilians, are actually more likely than the general public to oppose it in all circumstances.

In Pew's latest survey, 59 percent of Americans overall said that targeting or killing civilians for a "political, social, or religious cause" can never be justified. Opposition among US Muslims, however, was 17 percentage points higher — three-fourths of Muslim respondents opposed such killings. The Cato Institute's David Bier suggests that American Muslims are so strongly opposed to religion-based terrorism for the obvious reason that Muslims worldwide are its most frequent victims.

Perhaps it is for the same reason that Muslims in the United States are considerably more likely to reject fundamentalist or monolithic interpretations of Islam.

While many U.S. Muslims attend mosque and pray regularly, majorities say that there is more than one way to interpret their religion and that traditional understandings of Islam need to be reinterpreted to address contemporary issues.
About 43 percent of US Muslims say they attend religious services at least once a week; 65 percent say religion is very important to them. For US Christians, the numbers are comparable — 47 percent say they go to church at least weekly, and 68 percent consider their religion very important in their lives. Contrary to the popular view of Muslims as dogmatic, however, a large majority of those living in America take a latitudinarian approach to Islam and the Koran. Pew found that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) "openly acknowledge that there is room for multiple interpretations" of their religion" and just over half of all US Muslims agree that "traditional understandings of Islam must be reinterpreted to reflect contemporary issues." Polls of Muslims worldwide have found overwhelming majorities supporting a literal interpretation of the Koran; in America, less than half of Muslims do.

Similarly, a majority of Muslims in this country reject the view that Sharia should be a source (let alone the source) for national legislation. In France and Britain, by contrast, majorities of Muslims insist that Sharia should be the primary law of the land. When asked if there is "a natural conflict between the teachings of Islam and democracy," 65 percent of American Muslims say no.

All this is a wonderful affirmation of the power of the American melting pot — E Pluribus Unum. It is a reminder of the fundamental difference between the blood-and-soil nationalism that prevails in Europe and the American conviction that nationhood is grounded in equality and natural rights.

During the debate on independence in 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declared that liberty in America must be universal, embracing "the Mahomitan [Muslim] and the Gentoo [Hindu] as well as the Christian religion." The potency of that embrace has not diminished. Immigrants of every faith still come to America, and become Americans.

SOURCE

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Sales of powerful vacuum cleaners banned in EU

This is total nonsense, a re-run of the dishwasher fiasco. "Ecological" dishwashers just did not clean well so it became common to wash every load twice -- thus INCREASING electricity use.

It will be the same here.  When I switched from a 1,000 watt cleaner to a 2,000 watt one, everything was easier and quicker.  I now don't have to go over and over pesky patches.  The "savings" on electricity under the new rules will be entirely delusory.  The weaker cleaners will have to be used for quite a bit longer, thus using more electricity -- not to mention the cleaning time they waste.

A lot of cleaning is done commercially these days, so how about factoring in the cost of cleaning time?  That would make the stronger machine definitely more economical


Sales of vacuum cleaners producing more noise and heat than suction are restricted under EU rules from today.

Vacuum cleaners using more than 900 watts and emitting more than 80 decibels will be banned when stocks run out.

Some anti-EU campaigners say homes won't be properly cleaned if people have to buy lower wattage machines.

But energy experts say the best low-power appliances clean just as well as high-wattage machines.

They say some manufacturers deliberately increased the amount of electricity their appliances use because shoppers equate high-wattage with high performance.

'Widespread misconception'

The European Environment Bureau (EEB) said: "Power doesn't always equal performance, though the misconception has become widespread.

"Some efficient models maintained high standards of dust pick-up while using significantly less energy - due to design innovation."

Vacuum cleaner salesman Howard Johnson, who works in Coventry, told BBC News: "People want a more powerful vacuum cleaner but they can't see that more power doesn't mean more suction.

"The lower power machines are perfectly adequate, and better for the planet".

The EU's own website says: "With more efficient vacuum cleaners, Europe as a whole can save up to 20 TWh of electricity per year by 2020.

"This is equivalent to the annual household electricity consumption of Belgium.

"It also means over 6 million tonnes of CO2 will not be emitted - about the annual emissions of eight medium-sized power plants."

And the UK Climate Change Committee says that since 2008 electricity demand is down 17% (despite all our gadgets) and gas demand is 23% lower, thanks to tougher standards on energy efficiency in homes and appliances.

This, it says, has helped keep bills down.

SOURCE


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A typical Leftist whine that ignores crucial facts

It's just amazing how an argument from the Left NEVER covers all the relevant facts.  It's only by leaving out half the story that they can justify their complaints.  The undoubtedly correct claim below is that one mainly white Mississippi school offers a better standard of education than a mostly black school not far away.  But why?  The article shows no curiosity about that but any Leftist reader would fill in: Racism!

But is that the reason?  There are in fact quite clear other reasons.  Like money.  The mostly white school is in an affluent mostly white area.  And by way of things like local taxes and parental involvement, affluence filters through to the schools nearby.  Rich people can afford to be generous donors and providing facilities and other help to your kid's school is one of the major ways in which generosity will be expressed.

Another beef (or lack of beef) below is that the black school delivers much poorer educational results.  So what else is new?  The black/white "gap" in average educational achievement is universal in America.  And for many years now Leftist educators have turned themselves inside out trying to remedy it.  But nothing works.  They all refuse to acknowledge that the cause of the gap is the sharply lower average black IQ.  But denying that well-documented fact will not make it go away.  It will just stop blacks getting the sort of education they can use.

And a final beef is that the teachers don't stay long in the black school.  And why would that be?  Would it have to be a response to badly behaved black students?  What teacher who really wanted to teach would want to spend most of the day just trying to get the pupils to sit down and shut up?

Much of the bad behaviour of the black students undoubtedly  results from them being given educational tasks that are not suitable to them and which they can't do.  So they rebel by behaving badly.  If blacks were given an education appropriate to their needs, abilities and interests, much of that problem could vanish.  But that would be "segregation", of cousre.  So what do people think they have got now?

And here's the funny bit:  The SPLC thinks a lawsuit can fix those problems!  Typical leftist obtuseness and unwillingness to face the real problems


Two summers ago, Indigo Williams couldn’t have been more thrilled to send her son off for his first day of school.

Her home was zoned into Madison Station elementary school in Madison, Mississippi, an “A” rated school and district where her son JS, then five, quickly dove into Kindergarten with enthusiasm. JS was taking Taekwondo lessons and was served fresh fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria. He had access to tutoring.

But when Williams and her children moved just a few miles away before the start of the following school year, her home was instead zoned to an elementary school in the Jackson, MS school district. She was horrified to see just how dramatic the difference could be.

Now attending Raines Elementary, Williams says Jonathan’s environment “feels more like a jail than a school. Paint is chipping off the walls. They’ve served him expired food in the cafeteria,” she said.

“There are no extracurricular activities available for my son, no art or music class or even afterschool tutoring. There are not enough textbooks for him to take home or even for students to use in the classrooms, and the books that are in the classroom are outdated,” Williams added.

She worries that JS is growing bored with his classwork, and that the school doesn’t have the resources to challenge him or make learning interesting. “I’m afraid he’s falling behind other kids in better schools,” Williams said.

But Williams hasn’t just sat by and watched as her son’s quality of education deteriorated. She – and three other black Mississippi mothers – have put themselves and the Raines Elementary at the centre of a lawsuit that argues the state has reneged on 150 year-old promise to offer a “uniform system of free public schools”.

The lawsuit, filed by Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of the mothers, is about quality of education, but there is also a broader context reflected in the make-up of the student population in the two schools that JS has attended. The pupils at Raines School pupils are 99% black. The pupils at Madison Station school are 70% white. And in a state where, in the years after Brown v Board, the landmark 1954 US Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregation in schools, public officials in Mississippi considered shutting down public schools all together to avoid integration, race is never far from view.

By virtually any metric you choose, Mississippi has among the worst education systems in the US. In a July study, researchers using a 13-point quality rubric ranked the state 49 out of the 50 states and Washington DC.

Mississippi is also, by both median income and poverty level, the poorest state in the country.

This is no coincidence, of course. Because US public school are almost exclusively funded by state and local tax dollars, the amount of resources any given school has is almost wholly a function of how wealthy the people who live nearby are.

The Madison Station elementary school where JS began his student career is, by car, about 20 minutes north of Raines – but it is a universe apart. Elaborate gated mansions with circular driveways dot the road to the school which passes through expansive stretches of verdant green Mississippi pasture. Near the end of the school day, a fleet of immaculate saffron and black buses pull up to the building.

The environment mirrors the performance. In 2010 Madison Station was a National Blue Ribbon School, a Department of Education designation made to high performing schools. Some 72.6% of students are proficient in reading and 70.5% are proficient in math – well above the state average. In 2013, less than 9% of the school’s teachers were in their first year of teaching.

Down the road at Raines, 20% of teachers are in their first year. Only 11% of students are proficient in reading and just 4% in math.

SOURCE