22/3/18: The Fed is boldly going where it was going before

My article on yesterday's Fed meeting is now up on Business Post page: https://www.businesspost.ie/opinion/fed-boldly-going-going-412191.

And a handy chart from Bloomberg on the relative size of the U.S. Fed's balancesheet, compared to other major Central Banks:

My key takeaway from the Fed meeting:

On the net, the Fed opted to continue underwriting the complete lack of fiscal discipline sweeping Washington these days. Since taking office, the current Presidential Administration has embarked on two major fiscal stimuli, involving the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017 and the Government funding agreement that was delivered to the Congress late Wednesday night. The latter amounts to $1.3 trillion of new spending, $700 billion of which will flow to Pentagon. The new Bill will push projected 2018 U.S. fiscal deficit beyond $1 trillion mark, up on $665 billion last year. In January, President Trump has promised a third stimulus - the proposed $1.5 trillion infrastructure development plan - to be delivered later this year. By committing to continue slow deleveraging of the Fed’s  $4.4 trillion balance sheet, and by holding steady on small-step rates increases through 2018, Powell is de facto sustaining financing support for the swelling Federal deficits.

With calm and poise, the Fed’s new Chairman delivered no surprises, no dramas, a little dose of bitter medicine, and a lot of hopes. Unsurprisingly, dollar fell back 0.77 percent against the basket of major currencies, stocks slipped by less than 0.2 percent, and yields ended the day lower, following some volatile trading, while the yield curve flattened in the wake of the Fed’s decision. Like the FOMC projections for economic growth, the markets’ reaction to the Fed’s musings lacked conviction.

Australian Politics 2018-03-22 15:49:00


Scientists say Australia is getting so hot people could DIE just going outside - and warn the nation could be hit with more violent storms and disease

This is just prophecy from people who have never got a prophecy right yet, so deserves no attention.  It is in any case absurd as Australia has a huge North to South reach so you can always choose your place of residence to get the temperture range that suits you.  In Tasmania the climate is like England -- but with less air polution in Hobart than there is in Muslim-run London

It's true that Darwin is already very hot but I have lived there and people simply use air-conditioning.  The "itinerants" (Aborigines) who live there use natural air-conditioning by camping on the beach

Deaths from "heat waves" are unknown in Australia.  We are acclimated to hot summers.  Temperatures that cause mulitiple deaths in Europe are just another hot day for the average Australian.  In much of Australia, every summer is a "heat wave" by European standards

The number of days that Darwin has reached temperatures of over 35C has increased to 20 days a year in the last five years, according to the Australia Institute.

That figure is up from 5.6 at the beginning of the 20th century.   This temperature, paired with 70 per cent humidity, is considered dangerous.

Darwin sees a considerable number of days with that level of humidity.

The report detailed that between March 2017 and February 2018 in Darwin there was a total of 60 days with 70 per cent humidity before 3pm, with 46 of these days falling in the first three months of the year.

This weather would result in more heat-related deaths, avoidance of general life tasks and interrupted sleep.

Environmentally it would create harsher storms, more rainfall and change the way diseases spread.

The Australia Institute, the think tank who released the paper, referenced the fact that places such as Russia, India, Europe and Pakistan 'have all experienced heat waves resulting in mass death events where thousands of people died sitting in their homes'.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation projects that if there isn't a drop in greenhouse gas emissions Darwin's 35C days each year will hit 132 by 2030.

Liz Hanna, from the Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at Australian National University, told NT News: 'This puts a real challenge on how people function. Can we work in a world as we know now in terms of going out shopping, working, picking up the children without putting lives at serious risk?'


A father has posted an open letter on Facebook accusing Myer of racial profiling

OK. I'll mention the elephant in the room:  Aboriginal children are lightning-fast sneak thieves.  Only top alertness will catch them.  So all shop staff have every reason to be nervous of them.  In the unusual circumstances of this case, staff were right to wonder what was going on

A FATHER in Western Australia has posted an open complaint letter to Myer on his Facebook page, detailing an “embarrassing” experience at the Perth store last week.

The letter written by Shem Garlett and addressed to the Myer Perth store manager, begins by explaining he often shops at the Forrest Chase store as it is close to his work.

“My son Jaylen, 16, will be attending his upper school formal this weekend and I am extremely proud of the young man he’s become,” he writes.

“On Thursday 8 March at 4.30pm Jaylen and I were looking for a shirt and accessories to go with his suit which we bought from another shop. The lady helping us was extremely helpful and provided us great customer service. She helped match his shirt and accessories to his suit all within 20 minutes.”

“While my son was trying on shirts I needed to use my phone to contact my girlfriend who was meeting us afterwards. The phone reception was bad so I made my way to the escalator area and allowed Jaylen to continue trying on shirts in the fitting room with the assistance of [the original shop assistant].

“While I was texting I heard a call over the intercom calling for security to attend the men’s formal wear fitting room. Since my son was in the fitting room I made my way there to see if he was OK. As I neared the fitting room the staff from the nearby service desk had gathered. I asked the lady at the service desk if everything was OK. She told me that there was a boy unaccompanied in the change rooms that didn’t have anything to try on so she called security.”

He went on to explain to the service desk staff that his son was waiting unattended in the change room as he was waiting for the original shop assistant to bring back another shirt for him to try on.

“She seemed stunned so I asked her why she called security for my son,” he continues.

“She told me that last week a purse was taken from the service area, expecting me to understand. I asked what this had to do with my son, but no response ...

“I then explained to her that this is not the first time he’s had security called on him and it is for this reason I don’t allow him to shop in Myer or David Jones alone. I suggested that she was racially profiling as the only thing she would have noticed was a young Aboriginal man, in her mind, appearing to be in the wrong place. This is not grounds to make a panicked call for security over the intercom. She did not witness any crime being committed. There were at least 10 staff including security in the area within 30 seconds.

“Everyone looked confused and embarrassed when they saw [the original shop assistant] accompanying us to the other service desk to finalise our purchases. We spent more than $200 on a shirt and accessories but I was tempted to just walk away. I thanked the original shop assistant for her assistance and explained that she was the only reason why I didn’t take our business elsewhere.”

Mr Garlett told ABC Radio in Perth that he became “quite upset and embarrassed” during the incident, “especially with the scene and the other customers looking at me.”

He tells news.com.au that Jaylen remained calm as the situation was unfolding, as “he saw I had it under control”.

Despite that, he says this isn’t the first time something like this has happened to Jaylen, and security has been called on his young son “on several occasions in different stores”.

Another commenter offered an alternative reason for security being called:

“It might not be that your son is Aboriginal but merely that he is a teenager,” wrote Dael Harvey.

“They face all manner of discrimination from shop assistants and security when they’re simply trying to purchase something. As a white man, as a teenager I was frequently accused of trying to shoplift for just browsing in stores looking to buy things. It’s a poor response but I don’t see shops changing it because most people won’t stand up for age-based discrimination.”

When contacted by news.com.au for comment, a spokesman for Myer said “Myer is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion across our stores and workplaces and we want our customers to feel welcome and safe shopping with us irrespective of gender, background or sexuality.

“Myer has looked into this matter, which came about due to a misunderstanding between team members when the customer entered the change rooms without any clothing items. There were no other factors involved.


Greens claim Dutton has ‘racist’ views on white Sth African farmers

The Green/Left run over with sympathy for disadvantaged minorities -- unless the minority is white.  In that case no abuse is off the table towards anybody who wants to help the minority concerned

The Greenie spokesman said minister Dutton is racist for wanting to rescue endangered white farmders in South Africa while making no effort to help the Rohingya.  But the Rohingya are largely illiterate Muslims and nobody wants them.  Even in their ancestral homeland of Bangladesh nobody wants them

Liberal Democrats leader David Leyonhjelm has slammed comments from Greens senator Nick McKim, who claimed that the Liberal Party “still has a White Australia policy”, and accused Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton of being “racist”, “fascist” and “regurgitating speaking points from neo-Nazis”.

Mr Dutton has sparked controversy and diplomatic tensions when he last week argued the “persecuted” farmers needed help from a “civilised country” like Australia, following disturbing reports of extreme violence, land theft and murders.

Senator Leyonhjelm said Senator McKim was “living in the past”.

“South Africa used to be a thoroughly obnoxious, racist society,” he told Sky News.

“I lived there for a little while and I saw it. It was totally abhorrent, but it’s not any more, and it’s a multicultural society, it’s not racist at all, it has an anti-racist constitution, and yet here we have a group of people who are being persecuted, murdered, chucked off their farms because they are white.

“That is racism. That is plain and simple racism. The fact that the racism used to work the other way 20-odd years ago does not justify racism in the opposite direction today.  “(Nick McKim) is totally up the creek on this whole issue.”

Greens leader Richard Di Natale meanwhile defended Senator McKim.  “What we do know is he certainly holds, I think, racist views,” Senator Di Natale said.

“We’ve got 700,000 people fleeing the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh at the moment, this crisis that is the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people, and yet what does Peter Dutton say about any of those things?

“He doesn’t say anything about the crisis in Myanmar, no, he goes in to bat for South African farmers. What’s the difference here? The difference is that they are white and that the other communities who are suffering, and we’re talking about an ethnic cleansing in Myanmar right now, that they’re not white.”

Asked whether he believed it was reasonable to suggest the Liberal Party “still has a White Australia policy”, Senator McKim stuck by his claim. “Absolutely. It’s naked, and it’s transparent and it’s out in the open,” Senator McKim told Sky News.

“I mean basically we’ve got Peter Dutton who is regurgitating speaking points from neo-Nazi or Nazi or fundamentalist white nationalist websites around the world who are now out there bragging that they’ve captured Peter Dutton and they’re very happy that he’s repeating the speaking points that they’ve been putting on their websites,” he said.

“You’ve got Mr Dutton and others supporting him now nakedly and clearly suggesting that Australia’s immigration policy should be conducted on the basis of the colour of somebody’s skin, and it’s a simple reversion to the White Australia policy which was actually adopted by both the Labor and Liberal Parties back in the day, and I thought we’d gone past that and I think most Australians thought we’d gone past it.”

Senator McKim claimed Australia’s offshore detention policy was motivated by skin colour. “Of course it’s got things to do with skin colour. I’ve been to Manus Island many times as you know and I can assure you there’s no white people locked up on Manus or Nauru,” he said.

“Those people are exclusively from races and countries that they’re non-white people.

“I can be absolutely certain that if a South African person arrived by boat to seek asylum in Australia, they would not end up on Manus Island and Nauru under Peter Dutton’s regime. I can give you that guarantee 100 per cent.”

Asked whether he was accusing Mr Dutton of being a “closet neo-Nazi”, Senator McKim said he had “exhibited racism right through his public career”.

“When he boycotted the apology to the stolen generation and walked out of the house of assembly in a huff just before that apology was given, his regime in terms of Manus Island and Nauru is clearly race based, and he’s also exhibited some of the things that we know through human history are associated with fascists, I mean for example, setting up an enemy to try and scare the Australian people, and he’s done that with Muslim people, and then seeking to undermine the rule of law on that basis,” he said.

“I’m mean it’s fascism 101 that we’re seeing from Peter Dutton.”

Asked whether he was disputing that white South African farmers were being violently attacked and murdered, Senator McKim said: “I don’t know the issue on the ground. I’m not the one advocating on their behalf.” “I’m not saying they shouldn’t be accepted,” he said.

“I’m saying let’s assess them on the basis of need and let’s prioritise on the basis of need in a way that doesn’t take into account the colour of somebody’s skin.”

‘ABC lefties are dead to me’

Peter Dutton earlier said he was staring down fierce criticism from “crazy lefties” at the ABC as he pushes on with plans to bring white South African farmers into Australia.

The Home Affairs Minister said he was unperturbed by “mean cartoons” and negative media coverage.

“I think the ABC and others report these things how they want to report them, and how they want to interpret them,” Mr Dutton told 2GB. “Some of the crazy lefties at the ABC, and on The Guardian, Huffington Post, can express concern and draw mean cartoons about me and all the rest of it. They don’t realise how completely dead they are to me.

“We just get on with making decisions that we need to.”

Mr Dutton said he was blind to skin colour and would continue to bring in migrants based on the national interest.

“It concerns me that people are being persecuted at the moment — that’s the reality — the numbers of people dying or being savagely attacked in South Africa is a reality,” he said.

Mr Dutton likened the latest backlash to the reaction over his comments on African gangs in Melbourne over summer. “Stick to the facts and you’re on safe grounds so all of the criticism over the last week has meant nothing to me,” he said.

“We’re looking at ways we can help people to migrate to Australia if they’re finding themselves in that situation.”


Sydney university lecturer cancels a class due to be held in church in case it offended his gay students

Just an attention-seeker

A university lecturer has cancelled a class due to be held in a church for fear it would offend his LGBTQI students.

University of Technology Sydney communications lecturer Dr Timothy Laurie emailed his students two days before lectures were due to begin saying class was cancelled due to 'the suitability of a church as a venue'.

St Barnabas Anglican Church in Ultimo, inner-city Sydney, was a temporary venue the university turned to during planned construction.

'We welcome religious pluralism at UTS, [but with] the heated political climate… around the marriage equality postal survey and the Safe Schools Coalition has meant that we need to redouble our support of the LGBTQI community at UTS and Beyond,' Dr Laurie said.

'[We must] recognise instances where this may come into conflict with specific religious institutions.'

One of Dr Laurie's students questioned his decision and slammed it as 'political posturing'.

'I am happy to learn in a church, a mosque, a temple, a lecture hall, a museum and have the utmost gratitude for any institution willing to offer me such services,' they told The Daily Telegraph.

Dr Laurie said a make-up class was scheduled in a different building and the students did not miss any teachings. 


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

Rising Homelessness Among Working Californians

In California, the rising number of homeless people are not who you may think they are. The Los Angeles Times editorial board recently drove home that point by personalizing what it means to be homeless in the United States' second-most populous city in 2018.

Many people think of homelessness as a problem of substance abusers and mentally ill people, of chronic skid row street-dwellers pushing shopping carts. But increasingly, the crisis in Los Angeles today is about a less visible (but more numerous) group of “economically homeless” people. These are people who have been driven onto the streets or into shelters by hard times, bad luck and California’s irresponsible failure to address its own housing needs.

Consider Nadia, whose story has become typical. When she decided she had to end her abusive marriage, she knew it would be hard to find an affordable place to live with her three young children. With her husband, she had paid $2,000 a month for a three-bedroom condo in the San Fernando Valley, but prices were rising rapidly, and now two-bedroom apartments in the area were going for $2,400 — an impossible rent for a single parent who worked part time at Magic Mountain.

Nadia and her children are among the economically homeless — men, women and, often enough, families, who find themselves without a place to live because of some kind of setback or immediate crisis: a divorce, a short-term illness, a loss of a job, an eviction. In many cities across the nation, these are not necessarily problems that would plunge a person into homelessness. But here they can. Why? Because of the shockingly high cost of housing in Los Angeles.

Perhaps the most important thing that anyone should take away from Times' editors' take on Nadia's situation is that she is functional adult who is more than capable of improving her lot. Later in the editorial, the LA Times' editors disclose that she was able to get her family into a homeless shelter and that she has been able to secure a full time job doing data entry at an insurance company, where only a few of her co-workers know of her homeless status.

Nadia is far from alone in Los Angeles.

Estimates of People Experiencing Homelessness in Los Angeles City and County, 2012-2017

Meanwhile, north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara is one of the wealthiest cities in California. There, the New Beginnings counseling center has made arrangements to allow up to 150 Californians who are either living in their cars or in recreational vehicles to be able to park them overnight in the otherwise empty parking lots of local churches and government offices.

The clients can park after 7 p.m., but have to clear out as early as 6 a.m. The benefit is that the vehicles are no longer parked on city streets, which riles some residents and merchants. And because the lots are monitored by New Beginnings, the clients, who all go through a screening process, can at least feel safe while they sleep.

Santiago Geronimo works in the kitchen of a high-end Santa Barbara restaurant and until recently, he, his girlfriend and her son Luis lived in a two-bedroom apartment shared by four adults and three kids. But the girlfriend, Luisa Ramirez, lost her retail clerk job because of a back injury, and they've lived in a Ford Explorer since September. Their new home is a church parking lot on the Goleta border.

There is a common element among many of California's employed homeless, in that many were living in apartments or houses until one of their household's members experienced a job loss. Beyond that, many were employed with relatively good incomes until they lost their jobs, where they soon found that their available employment options were limited to low-paying jobs that weren't enough to pay their rents or mortgages.

Then the evictions came, and they became homeless. All across the state.

Estimates of People Experiencing Homelessness in California, 2012-2017

Steve Lopez, a LA Times columnist, asked a good question about why California's working population doesn't move to where housing is cheaper:

You might ask why people of lesser means don't head to less expensive areas than Santa Barbara — it's a fair question, and I've written about people who eventually did make such a move. In Santa Barbara, the answers I got were the same ones I've heard elsewhere in coastal California. People hold open the option of leaving, but many are connected to specific places by history, family and employment connections, and they're not quite ready to give up on a turnaround, move to a place they don't know, and start over from scratch.

Besides that, local economies rely on those of lesser means, so where are they supposed to live?

"You know," said Phil, "there's a huge Hispanic population that does all the damn work around here. Every restaurant you go into, you can watch them slaving away. And they're taking care of people's gardens and everything else, and they wind up with eight or 10 people living in a one-bedroom place."

Until that doesn't work, as Santiago Geronimo found out.

The truth is that many Californians have tried to move to greener pastures, as many have from California's economically-distressed Central Valley, where that region's oil industry has yet to recover from the decline of oil prices from July 2014 through February 2016. According to Moody's, for every job lost in the oil and gas industry, an additional 3.43 jobs may be lost in other sectors, creating a negative deficit that other, more strongly growing sectors of the economy must be in overdrive to overcome, just to get to the point where any positive economic growth may be recorded. California's Central Valley lost thousands of oil and gas industry jobs during the downturn, where some of the impact of those losses are also being felt in other communities throughout the state's interior.

In Bakersfield, in Kern County, where many of the state's oil and gas industry jobs are centered, the city's homeless shelters were forced to turn away Californians seeking shelter earlier this year because they ran out of space to accommodate them during a short cold snap, when having to sleep outdoors became too intolerable.

Some of the economically displaced from California's Central Valley have migrated to where jobs are available in the state's thriving metropolises, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, where they've run into the same situation of excessively high rents. Consequently, they've joined the ranks of the employed homeless.

Others are fleeing the state altogether, paradoxically seeking to escape the "prosperity" of the state's coastal cities, with the housing shortage-driven soaring rents and declining quality of life in those cities becoming a primary motivation for their flight.

All these things together would appear to have set California on a very different course than the rest of the United States. At the very least, where the trends for homelessness are concerned.

Estimates of People Experiencing Homelessness in the United States, 2012-2017

For his part, the state's governor, Jerry Brown, refused to declare the state's homelessness crisis to be an emergency in 2016, which denied the state's counties and cities any additional resources to combat homelessness. The state's data for homeless in 2017 shows the results of that decision, where at the national level, if not for California, the trend for homelessness in the U.S. would have improved.


U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress. [PDF Documents: November 2012, November 2013, October 2014, November 2015, November 2016, and December 2017].


In 2014, the Point-In-Time (PIT) estimates from 2007–2013 were revised to be lower than the figures originally reported in previous AHARs, where the reduction reflects an adjustment to the estimates of unsheltered homeless people submitted by the Los Angeles City and County Continuum of Care during these years. The adjustment removed: 20,746 people from 2007 and 2008, 9,451 people in 2009 and 2010; 10,800 people in 2011 and 2012; and 18,274 people from 2013. A similar, but smaller downward adjustment was made to the estimates from 2007-2014 in 2015, reflecting an adjustment to previous estimates of unsheltered homeless people submitted by the Los Angeles City and County Continuum of Care and Las Vegas Continuum of Care. The figures we've presented incorporate these adjustments.

Meanwhile, in Modesto, the city's police took action to ensure that city's homeless population count for 2018 would come in lower than it did in 2017....

Losing my gang (religion)

Sarah Esther Maslin gives a nice overview of how some gang members have been able to "leave" Salvadoran gangs via religion in Can religion solve El Salvador’s gang problem?
El Salvador is a country of volcanoes dotted with coffee plantations and valleys filled with sugarcane fields. It is also a country of barbed-wire fences, security guards with guns, and neighbourhoods where visitors must roll down the car windows so that the gangs’ teenage postes can see who goes in and out. The Colonia Dina is one such neighbourhood, a jumble of working-class houses decorated with plants and Christmas lights, and sheet-metal shacks surrounded by rubbish and muddy chickens.
At the bottom of a hill under a drooping almond tree stands the Eben-Ezer church, a yellow concrete building barely distinguishable from the houses on either side. A small congregation gathers three times a week in a high-ceilinged sanctuary with rows of plastic chairs, a platform for the rock band that accompanies the Pentecostal service, a podium for the pastors and little else. Down a staircase in the back left corner, in rooms normally used for Bible study, former gang members bake bread by day and sleep on thin mattresses on the floor by night.
At first glance, the church’s leaders make an odd couple. Nelson Moz is Eben-Ezer’s official pastor, a baby-faced man in his 50s with glasses and a thick moustache. Early last year, he opened his doors to Wilfredo Gómez, a 41-year-old gangster-turned-preacher with twinkling eyes and a mystical church named the Last Trumpet. The two pastors acknowledge that they’re trying to do what many consider impossible: spirit away members of El Salvador’s powerful gangs. But they believe this is the country’s only hope.
There's not much new in the story for those who follow El Salvador closely but it's still a good read. Finding religion is one of the few ways that members can calm down from Salvadoran gangs. That doesn't mean, however, that the State or society will accept your new life. And by calming down, that doesn't mean that the gangs won't call you back to active duty or call on you to do small favors for them. I'm all in support of providing opportunities for young people to withdraw from the gangs but that does not seem to be the Salvadoran government's concern.

Although a few years old at this point, you might want to check out Homies and Hermanos: God and Gangs in Central America (2011) and Wresting the Devil: Conversion and Exit from Central American Gangs (2014) by Robert Brenneman. Exit via religion does occur but it does not seem to have been all that successful for anyone involved.

Australian Politics 2018-03-21 15:48:00


Minneapolis cop who shot dead Australian yoga instructor in her pajamas after answering her 911 call is charged with murder

This is the thing -- a refugee from Africa -- that shot a lovely Australian lady.  He already had multiple complaints against him.  He was still working only because he was black

A Minneapolis cop who shot dead an Australian yoga teacher in her pajamas after he answered her 911 call has been charged with murder.

Officer Mohamed Noor turned himself in Tuesday morning and is being held on murder and manslaughter charges for gunning down 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk Damond on July 15 while she was engaged to be married.

He shot Damond in the stomach when she approached his squad car minutes after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home.

Damond's family said in a written statement they are pleased that Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman decided to bring charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

They say they hope a strong case will be presented and Noor will be convicted.

Their statement says justice 'demands accountability for those responsible for recklessly killing the fellow citizens they are sworn to protect'.

A statement from the Ruszczyk and her fiance, Don Damond, said: 'While we waited over eight months to come to this point, we are pleased with the way a grand jury and County Attorney Mike Freeman appear to have been diligent and thorough in investigating and ultimately determining that these charges are justified.'

Damond was unarmed and had called 911 caller to alert police to what she believed may have been a rape taking place in the alley behind her home.

Noor told friends he was 'startled' by his victim seconds before he opened fire.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one friend said the officer had opened fire when an unidentified figure emerged from the dark and ran towards the vehicle.

The officer said he was not sure what the person was carrying and momentarily opened fire through his driver-partner's open window.

It was confirmed that Damond's cell phone was found alongside her during the tragedy.

Noor told associates it was dark and the situation was already tense as the caller had been 'panicking' when making the 911 call reporting an assault in the alley beyond where Damond lived with her fiancé and his son.

The squad car, driven by his partner Matthew Harrity traveled hastily down the unlit alley between Washburn and Xerxes avenues south from West 50th Street toward West 51st Street.

Neither officer's body camera was switched on, and there is no video of the shooting.

Crucially, the vehicle did not have its lights on and this may have been so as not to give any suspect notice that police had arrived and buy precious time to apprehend the target. That the car was unlit was disclosed by Harrity to the BCA.

Both Noor and the BCA's version of events agreed on the car's lights being off. 

According to Noor's version when they reached the end of the alley, they came across a waiting, panicking figure.

It was dark, and the figure was moving around and approached their vehicle.

Noor said he did not know whether the figure who rushed towards their vehicle was the 911 caller or even if it was a man or woman.

He his weapon through Harrity's open driver's window hitting his victim once in the abdomen.

Both he and Harrity gave CPR to the victim before help and back up arrived, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

The charge of third-degree murder carries a maximum of of 25 years in prison, although the presumptive sentence is 12 years.

The second-degree manslaughter charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison, and the presumptive sentence is four years.

Noor's bail is set at $500,000, according to jail records.

The 'twin cities' of Minneapolis and St Paul have been rocked in recent years by police shootings, putting the community and law enforcement on edge.


Queensland train drivers earning nearly $200,000

What an aggressive union can get you -- at the expense of the fare-paying public

LOOKING for a new career? The salaries of Queensland’s train drivers have been revealed, and they are truly mind-boggling.

QUEENSLAND’S top-paid train driver took home nearly $76,000 in overtime alone last financial year, nearly an entire full-time Australian salary.

The eye-watering pay packets of Queensland Rail drivers have been revealed by the State Government as it scrambles to fill 200 positions to avoid a repeat of the October 2016 timetable disaster.

In 2016-17, the median base salary for full-time drivers was $95,351.32, with the total pay rising to $130,022.05 including overtime and allowances — nearly 60 per cent higher than the Australian average of $81,531.

Citytrain drivers clocked an average of 6.45 hours of overtime per week, amounting to an extra $511.98, according to the figures released by Transport Minister Mark Bailey in response to a question on notice from the opposition in the Queensland Parliament.

The top-earning driver worked 952.65 hours of overtime last year and was paid a total of $193,507.59. The top five drivers each took home total pay packets of greater than $180,000 for collectively working a total of 4061.34 hours of overtime — more than 169 days between them.

“Queensland Rail’s first priority is safety and all rostering arrangements are in accordance with relevant fatigue management requirements,” Mr Bailey said.

The Strachan Commission of Inquiry into the 2016 fiasco, which resulted in network-wide delays and the cancellation of 167 services over several days following the opening of the Redcliffe Peninsula Line, recommended Queensland Rail hire an additional 200 drivers and 200 guards to ensure a structural surplus of crew to reduce the reliance on overtime.

Mr Bailey said since October 2016, 69 drivers had been added with another 77 in training, while 168 guards had been added and a further 51 were in training.

“Queensland Rail is working hard to recruit additional train crew and has already reduced the level of overtime for train crew,” he said. “In addition, Queensland Rail has opened train crew recruitment to external applicants, which is critical to boosting train crew numbers and increasing Queensland Rail’s services.”

Mr Bailey said more drivers would commence training this year alone, than under the entire term of the previous LNP government.

“Train drivers and guards are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of up to 1000 customers at any one time,” he said.

“They are required to work weekends, public holidays and shift work and are remunerated accordingly for this time away from family, when most people are at home or enjoying time off.

“There is an expectation that they are resilient and adaptive, with the ability to problem solve during unplanned disruptions, critical incidents and emergency situations, however it is not mandatory to work overtime.”

Opposition MP Steve Minnikin told the ABC the figures were unacceptable. “Whilst commuters are cramming into packed trains or being left stranded on the platform, Queensland Rail drivers are counting their cash,” he said.

“Some drivers are earning more than $65,000 a year in overtime alone with their total remuneration almost reaching $200,000 a year. Labor’s train driver shortage means more overtime for union drivers, paid for by taxpayers.”

Earlier this month, the Queensland government was left red-faced after it emerged that it may have to pull $4 billion worth of new trains off the tracks because they were basically illegal.

The Canadian-designed, Indian-built fleet of New Generation Rollingstock (NGR) trains failed to meet minimum legal standards, with multiple problems including failing air conditioning, issues with braking and disabled toilets inaccessible by wheelchair.

At the time they were ordered, the former LNP government boasted that the trains were about half the price of similar designs.

The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads said “some compliance issues have been identified” with the trains. TMR said the fix would take 18 to 24 months and would involve removing toilets from some trains, adding extra toilets to others and rearranging the seats.


Green/Left governments want us to use public transport

But that puts us in the hands of bureaucrats who don't give a sh*t about us.  The story below is from the Australian city of Brisbane.  The Brisbane train system is actually one of the best in Australia's capital cities.  Sydney commuters have it much worse.  So it is interesting to see what counts as a good system below.  Nobody gives a sh*t in Brisbane either

SCHEDULED maintenance has caused public transport chaos on the night of Ed Sheeran’s first concert at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

Passengers leaving from the city on the Caboolture/Sunshine and Redcliffe lines were being moved on to buses at Northgate station and being told to expect delays of up to an hour on their journey.

Buses replaced trains between Northgate and Petrie stations for the remainder of the evening.

As reported by The Courier-Mail, TransLink announced the works – maintenance on overhead powerlines – two months ago, warning commuters that buses would be used from 9.30pm onwards, before tracks reopened in the morning. That particular maintenance work was only scheduled for last night and will not impact tonight’s show.

Concert goer Katherine Lameree didn’t arrive home at Dakabin until after 1am due to the maintenance work. The gig finished at 10.30pm. Ms Lameree said it took her 30 minutes to reach the station.

Ms Lameree and her partner got off the train at Northgate where they were forced to join the que to the waiting bus.

“The lines were up the ramp for the overpass to get to the busses,” she said. “There was one waiting and they couldn’t keep up with the demand.”

Ms Lameree ended up calling a friend from the station and instead got a lift home, but was left disappointed that the maintenance went ahead despite the event.

“They knew the event was on, they were partnered with it offering free transport. Surely it could’ve waited until Thursday or be done in off peak during the day,” she said.

“A lot of people voiced it (frustration) on the train… but we all were like do we expect any better from Queensland Rail.”

A TransLink spokesman last week told The Courier-Mail last week of the track closure from Northgate to Petrie affecting the Redcliffe Peninsula and Sunshine Coast lines, encouraging Ed Sheeran fans to plan ahead. They did not give a reason as to why the closure was scheduled for that particular night.

Despite the warning many Ed Sheeran fans were angry TransLink chose the night of a major Brisbane event to conduct the maintenance.

In a Facebook comment, concert goer Ashley Darrenkamp called Queensland Rail “utterly ridiculous” for scheduling maintenance on the same night as the the 52,000-capacity sellout gig.

“They really messed up! I had to end up finding another way home, costing heaps of money!,” she wrote.

“Having to wait for buses to then stop at every station then to catch another train... very upset. I was fully aware and expecting delays due to high volumes but this was unacceptable.”

Another fan, Jessica Hopwood, said she too was also caught off guard by the maintenance.

“Traffic to Roma street station from the concert took 40 minutes then been told at the platform to get off the train at Northgate, then waiting in line for 20 minutes for a bus,” she said.


University of Sydney debating club determined to discriminate on race, class and sex

One would have thought that the best way to stop discrimination would be to stop discriminating

The politics of race and gender have arrived at the University of Sydney’s oldest debating club, which this year will field teams of debaters comprised mainly of “non-cis-males, wom*n, and persons marginalised by white ­supremacy” as opposed to the best debaters they can find.

The University of Sydney Union, which describes itself as “one of the best debating ­institutions in the world”, says its affirmative action policy will ­ensure that teams heading to the Australian Easter Debating Championships (or “Easters”) for novices next month will include more “persons of colour” and others from “minority ethno-cultural background” as well as born-women, and others who don’t identity as “cis-male”.

(A cis-gender person identifies as the sex they were assigned at birth. Wom*n is used to include females, trans women and anyone who identifies as a woman).

There are quotas for people from non-elite public schools too, who get in on the grounds that they are “disadvantaged in debating ­opportunities”.

The union, which boasts of being an equal world record ­holder when it comes to making the finals at the world debating championships, will also employ “equity officers” to attend the tournament to assist those who find debating “intensely competitive and stressful”.

“This can intentionally or ­unintentionally lead to people feeling victimised,” the union says. But the equity officers will ­provide “safe avenues” to voice concern.

Sydney University student Nina Dillon Britton praised the ­initiative, saying affirmative ­action policies had fostered a ­diverse and inclusive environment. “I’m a female debater and it created a culture where more women were able to put themselves forward,” she said. “We have to recognise sub­conscious bias and stereotypes, which mean women and people of colour are disadvantaged when they speak.

“We shouldn’t just be happy with only allowing privileged ­people; we should be encouraging as much diversity as possible in ­debating.”

However, Sydney University Liberal Club president Joshua Crawford criticised the quotas, saying they were “an affront to fairness and merit”.

Mr Crawford said it was a ­“disgrace” that some students, “who have worked tirelessly to ­become some of the university’s top debaters” would be prevented from being on the team because of their gender.

“It is equally abhorrent that there will be female debaters, who have every right to be on the ­debating team by their own ­merits, who will now have the legitimacy of their position ­questioned.”

Media personality and former Sydney University debater Adam Spencer said that if the community overwhelmingly wanted the changes, “then good luck to them”. But he argued that the ­selection for the world debating championships should continue to be merit-based.

“You should send your very best team at any given time to the world championships, which is the jewel in the crown of debating,” he said.

Spencer won the world’s best speaker award in the 1996 world championships.

No union officer was available to comment on the diversity requirements when contacted by The Australian yesterday.

The Australasian Intervarsity Debating Association, or AIDA, which this year chose the University of Sydney as host for the Australian Easter Debating Championships, was not available to comment either.

AIDA president Stephanie White said the conveners of the Easter tournament — that is, the University of Sydney’s Easters 2018 team — were best placed to answer questions “and they will be in touch”, but they were not.

The affirmative action guidelines are complex, and may prove difficult to implement in some circumstances.

For example, the proportion of debaters who identify as non-cis-male across all teams attending Easters must be no less than 50 per cent. One third of tournament adjudicators must also identify as non-cis-male.

In addition, each of the top three teams must also have “at least one debater who identifies as being a person of colour, from a minority ethno-cultural background, or marginalised by white supremacy”.

Teams must also include ­debaters who attended “a school meeting the criteria listed in section 5.6.8 of the regulations” which basically means a disadvantaged public school, as ­opposed to a private school.

The University of Sydney Union expects to send 11 teams of three speakers each, and 11 ­adjudicators.

The union pays the fees, which are as much as $380 per person, but the union will fund only those teams where the “proportion of non-cis-male, wom*n-identifying people” reaches 50 per cent.

“At least four non-cis-male women-identifying people must be selected in the top three teams,” the guidelines say.

There must be “one non-cis-male women-identifying person in each funded team.”

At least one third of ­adjudicators must be “women-identifying”.

It requires some juggling because the various rules must also be applied in a way “that does not disadvantage” those people who have already been included on the basis of gender, racial and socio-economic discrimination.

“The proportion of people who identify as being a person of colour, from a minority ethno-cultural background, or marginalised by white supremacy … must be at least 25 per cent,” the guidelines say.

“At least one person who identifies as belonging to one or more of the aforementioned groups must be selected in the top three teams.

“At least half the quota (must) be filled with people identified as non-cis-male (rounding up).”

Teams must also include ­students from “high schools that are recognised as being disadvantaged in terms of debating opportunities” and 15 per cent of places must be from a reserved for student from a comprehensive school.

In addition, “the minimum number of non-cis-male identifying adjudicators sent shall be equal to the number of adjudicators sent divided by three”.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here