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Essential Reading

Alternate reality

wind turbineJo Nova on the RET:

"We’ve been sold the idea that if we subsidize 'renewable' energy (which produces less CO2) we’d get a world with lower CO2 emissions. But it ain’t so. The fake 'free' market in renewables does not remotely achieve what it was advertised to do — the perverse incentives make the RET good for increasing 'renewables' but bad for reducing CO2, and, worse, the more wind power you have, the less CO2 you save. Coal fired electricity is so cheap that doing anything other than making it more efficient is a wildly expensive and inefficient way to reduce CO2. But the Greens hate coal more than they want to reduce carbon dioxide. The dilemma!"

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Team Lepanto

lepanto smallPope Francis' call for military action to against ISIS -- if that is the only thing that can stop the barbarians -- has prompted Quadrant contributor Hal G.P. Colebatch to take up the verse of G.K. Chesterton  and recall another Pontiff.

The Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the Kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross ...

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Teacher's pet words

teacherThe news that NAPLAN scores for writing have gone down will surprise few employers, who see the results of our education system in every fresh batch of job applications. Take this one-sentence example, lifted intact from a letter to Quadrant Online that accompanied the CV of a recent graduate, the proud owner of a newly minted degree in journalism:

"...its (sic) an ocupation (sic) that I have studied for hard and earnt (sic) the bear (sic) academic insights that a job will se (sic) blossom..."

As Quadrant is a small shop and we don't need another office cleaner, the hopeful applicant was advised to profess a fierce faith in global warming, the wisdom of bureaucrats and the martyrdom of Julia Gillard and advised to seek employment with Fairfax, where semi-literate reporters can save the subs a lot of work in their ongoing efforts to make poor copy absolutely and irredeemably wretched.

So how does someone who has completed primary school, high school and university manage to put together such an inept sentence?

A hint might be found in the opinion column published today by the Sloppy Morning Herald. It appears beneath the name of Robyn Cox, president of the Primary English Teaching Association of Australia:

"... a teacher will have, at some stage in our early school life, taught us how to decode language into sound symbol relationship and fit that understanding into the world. That is called learning to read. That same teacher will likely have taught us how to build up from those very same sound symbol relationships through word level, clause level, sentence level to text level and compose a text we might be proud to publish or share. That is called learning to write ...

The pedagogical and linguistic focus begins at the text level prior to moving through the layers of the linguistic system to word level. Young children are taught to consider the purpose for their writing and hence the "text type" before thinking carefully about the individual word or word group choices that they might use to produce a text which fulfils its purpose – which might be to report; entertain; instruct or even persuade."

The column purports to be a response to that NAPLAN slippage. It might be better read as a "text level" argument for home schooling.

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Disney's Tomorrowland

disneyQuadrant is neither advocate nor financial supporter of the Australian Press Council, which means we are spared its meddlesome chairman, Professor Julian Disney, whose former job was fronting the Caring-Industrial Complex as head of the Australian Council of Social Services. Distributing government money while lobbying for the employment of more social workers is a peculiar business, as there is no pressure to declare a profit and success tends to be calibrated on the scale of practitioners' appraisals of their own worth and achievements. Peculiar, too, in that the number of "urgent" social problems in need of funding and remediation seems to grow in lockstep with the latest drafts of graduates looking for work.

Lately, as Peter Fray notes in The Australian, the Press Council has adopted a broader view of its duties and responsibilities, frequently upbraiding journalists and news organisations for covering stories in ways other than a social worker might approach them. If, for example, a newspaper were to note in passing that Adolf Hitler was a nature-loving vegetarian and anti-tobacco zealot, recent rulings suggest the writer and editor would be rebuked for not granting space in which The Greens, fellow nature-loving vegetarians and anti-tobacco zealots, could assert that they have no plans to invade Poland and must not therefore be tarred with the same brush.

One of the Press Council's latest endeavours sees it probing Fray's paper for publishing on its front page a tactfully blurred picture of Khaled Sharrouf's young son, shown holding the severed head of Muslim formerly belonging to a branch of the faith for which the Sydney-bred fanatic has little time and less patience. According to a companion article

"THE Australian has been asked to respond to a Press Council complaint lodged over the publication this week of a photograph of a seven-year-old boy, the son of Islamic State terrorist Khaled Sharrouf, holding the severed head of an Iraqi.

The Press Council suggested publication of the photograph might have been a breach of APC principles relating to 'discretion and causing offence'."

Well, because Quadrant can, here is the same photo once more. If someone was offended by its initial publication, let that person be offended a second time. It is called free speech, and Quadrant can indulge that endangered concept because we have not made ourselves captives of the Press Council's edicts, ideology and regulatory caprice.

allah's younger set

There are rumblings that News Corp, The Australian's publisher, is poised to abandon its support for the Press Council, as The West Australian has already done. If so, good. Let the next severed head, metaphorically speaking, be that of Professor Disney.

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A suitable case for treatment

bombheadIf only the penal system had been more sensitive to the needs of Khaled Sharrouf during the short-ish period he spent behind bars for his part in the Pendennis Plot, which aimed to give infidels in Melbourne and Sydney an explosive dose of what was good for them, his young son might not now be at risk of muscle damage and skeletal distortion as a consequence of lifting those heavy severed heads. The SMH reports:

Sydney jihadist Khaled Sharrouf's mental health issues were left untreated for almost all of his four-year incarceration and would only have worsened while he was in jail for terrorism offences, the psychiatrist who treated him says.

A shocking failure in service provision left Mr Sharrouf languishing in jail until just before his release in 2009 and exacerbated the mental issues that a judge said drove him to radical Islam.

Psychiatrist Olav Nielssen goes on to explain that Sharrouf was the untreated victim of "depression, acute schizophrenia, paranoia and hallucinations."

That's the appraisal of one head-shrinker, who has perhaps not familiarised himself with the view of another specialist in mental disorders, Iranian dissident and apostate Muslim Ali Sina, who sees such deficiencies of character and perception as having been part and parcel of Islam for a very long time

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Lonely loudmouth has keyboard

twitter echoesAn endemic symptom of journalism's decline is the oft-seen line that some or other flap has sparked "a Twitter storm". After noting such an eruption, the business of re-writing press releases is temporarily suspended for the bulk quoting of the latest 140-character messages on whatever topic has set the social-media set to thumb-typing its collective thoughts.

At the Fairfax papers, where incompetent management and editors who don't edit continue to foul what was once a left-but-sane news organisation, quoting Twitter and Facebook posts is a daily exercise, which isn't hard to explain. As senior, experienced journalists have been replaced by cheaper and largely unsupervised hip-dude kiddies, it is hardly surprising the newsroom perspective would frame social media as an accurate reflection of majority opinion. The twitterverse is, after all, where young reporters encounter social circles of the like-minded -- not to mention their activist J-school professors --  so it must represent real-world passions and sympathies, right?

Not so, says Darren Davis of Clear Channel Networks, the broadcaster which syndicates US talk-show titan Rush Limbaugh, who has been the object of many notably unsuccessful, activist-inspired boycotts for, amongst other things, mercilessly lampooning the left. As Davis explains:

"We have found that 70% of the attacks are coming from just 10 people. Ten people around America - and we know who they are -- sit at their computers all day sending out tweets, then use computer technology to amplify them.…"

Someone should tweet a link to Davis' thoughts. Fairfax's remaining editors -- that would be the ones bereft of mate or spouse to land them jobs at the ABC -- might then believe it to be true.

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The Howard Era

Edited by Keith Windschuttle, David Martin Jones and Ray Evans

Essays by Tony Abbott, James Allan, Chris Berg, Ian Callinan, Sinclair Davidson and more.

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