Monthly Archives: November 2016

Fidel’s death, Trump’s rise make Cuba hard to predict

I spoke with a local reporter about Fidel Castro's death yesterday. You can read some of my comments in Fidel’s death, Trump’s rise make Cuba hard to predict.
Trump’s election as president could actually be the bigger deterrent to normalized relationships, University of Scranton Political Science Professor Michael Allison suggested.
“Had (Hillary) Clinton been elected, there was a good chance Raul would have moved political and economic reform ahead at a faster pace,” Allison said. “From what we understand, Fidel did not want reform, did not want normalization.
“But we have a new president coming into office who seems to throw a new variable into the situation,” he continued. Though Trump, as in many cases, has not offered specifics, he “seems to want to take a much more difficult line and to have (Cuba) give more in terms of political and economic reform before the U.S. continues its end of the deal.”
One of the interesting exchanges that comes later in the article is when I was asked to respond to Senator Cruz's comments that lifting the embargo simply means that we are providing a lifeline to the regime. I said that's been our policy for two decades.

While the US has had an embargo against Cuba for many years, "wet foot / dry foot" migration policy, policies to allow Cuban Americans to travel to Cuba and send remittances to family members left behind, and billions of dollars worth of food exports from the US to Cuba, have all worked to prop up the Cuban government. There are good reasons why the US has adopted each of the policies. However, each undermined the stated goal of the embargo.

Australian Politics 2016-11-30 15:57:00

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When does physical discipline of a child become unlawful abuse?

This highlights something I have long said.  Some, perhaps most, children are tractable enough to diverted from undesirable behaviour without spanking.  But others are so unruly that no control of their behaviour can be achieved without corporal punishment.  All men are not equal nor are all kids equal, difficult to understand though that seems to be for Leftists.

In the case below, a man used very violent behaviour in an attempt to control extremely violent behaviour by two out of five kids in his household.  What else was he to do?  Shut the kids out on the street?  He was in fact being responsible in trying to teach them restraint.

The judge apparently saw that, pointing out that the behaviour was illegal but  taking a very mild view of the matter.  He ruled that the father could have access to his own untroubled son but cut off access to the violent children, who are now in state care anyway. Rather a Solomon-like verdict, I think



The question arose in the case of a father who had beaten his two eldest children with a cricket bat, but who argued he should still be allowed to see his six-year-old son.

The boy lives with his mother, who opposed her estranged husband having any contact with their boy.

Both she and the father had previously smacked the boy, the Family Court in Newcastle heard. But the mother claimed he was at risk of physical abuse if left with the father, because of the way the man punished his older sons from a previous relationship.

Under the NSW Crimes Act, the defence of lawful correction permits a parent, or someone acting with their authority, to punish a child with physical force. But the force must be reasonable in light of the child's age, health and maturity, as well as their alleged misbehaviour. Force applied to any part of the child's head or neck, or elsewhere on their body in a way likely to cause harm "for more than a short period", is not considered reasonable.

The court heard that from around the time they were aged aged six or seven, the father hit his two eldest sons with a cricket bat and once left them with bruises and welts after beating them with a broken broom handle. In what judge Stewart Austin called a description of "cruel brutality", a sibling recalled hearing the boys beg for mercy and scream with pain, saw the bat used with such force it broke and saw welts on the boys' bottoms.

The boys are now in their early teens and in state care. The three other children in the household had not been abused by the father.

In determining the case, Justice Austin said it was necessary "to differentiate between physical 'discipline' and physical 'abuse'".

"Despite modern society's changing opinion about the morality of corporal punishment of children, the law of NSW still envisages the legitimate administration of physical discipline by an adult to a child, subject to certain constraints," he said. "It is only when the discipline transcends those constraints that it becomes abusive and ceases to be lawful correction."

Justice Austin described the two older boys as "very troubled children", throwing objects, damaging property and "using weapons like knives, broken glass, hammers and loaded spear guns to threaten people".

But the fact that their behaviour "presented an extraordinarily difficult parenting challenge was not an excuse for the severity of their treatment", he said. Their punishment amounted to abuse and "criminal assaults".

However, the judge granted the father unsupervised visits with his six-year-old son, ruling it was in the child's best interests.

The father was not "so unfit as a parent that he is utterly incapable of safely caring for the child for short stints", Justice Austin said. He noted that the father had undergone parenting courses and the little boy was unlikely to be as challenging as his older stepbrothers.

SOURCE




African migrants at heart of daycare scandals

Another triumph of multiculturalism

Family daycare operators and teachers from non-English-speaking backgrounds are being targeted by state authorities in a bid to crack down on abuse and bending of rules that have cost taxpayers more than $1 billion in two years and put children at risk.

Senior departmental staff and Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones have confirmed a trend in rorting and noncompliance among ethnic communities, which has resulted in scarce investigative resources being focused on new services and migrant groups. Analysis of state government enforcement action in the past six months reveals family day care services slapped with conditions, suspended or cancelled were almost exclusively run by migrants from Africa, most from Somalia or Sudan.

Sudanese migrant Aluel Mawiir provided false and misleading information and failed to meet service conditions for her Victorian business, Dombai Family Daycare.

In one West Australian case, Sudanese woman Anyieth Makuei had her approval to run her Zebra Family Day cancelled on May 19 because she provided fake documents to the regulator regarding the first aid and asthma training of her staff. Weeks later Ms Makuei lost her ability to be a supervisor in the same industry because, according to the state, she “persuaded family daycare educators to produce false documents and provide false information at the interview” with the state government.

In Victoria, Milky Way Family Day Care, which lists its directors as Ethiopian-born Jale Tujuba and Adnan Yusuf, was put on notice by the Victorian government for providing false and misleading information, not meeting service conditions and failing to run required educational programs.

Family daycare providers fall under the National Quality Framework, introduced by the previous Labor federal government in 2012, and attract federal government child care subsidies.

Queensland’s Acacia Ridge service Maka Family Day Care Scheme has been suspended until Christmas Eve because “there was an immediate risk to the safety, health or wellbeing of children being educated and cared for”.

Family daycare services have grown 61 per cent in the past two years, compared with just 7 per cent for ­centre-based childcare operators.

The hike in activity, which has been higher than 300 per cent in some regions, has placed pressure on state governments, which are responsible for making sure the businesses meet stringent rules and regulations under the quality framework.

Ms Jones said Queensland was now rejecting 60 per cent of new applications. “Queensland has put in place the toughest regulation process in the country for family daycare approved providers,” she told The Australian.

“In addition (to approval rejections) there are strict conditions on approvals and ongoing monitoring and compliance checks.”

Of the 15 most recent compliance crackdowns across the nation, all but one of the services are owned and operated by African directors, with six from Sudan and another six from Somalia.

The Australian revealed the case of Sudanese migrant Ruben Majok Aleer Aguer who received $1.6 million in federal funds over just 16 months to run a network of family daycare educators which authorities could not confirm were officially employed by him.

Nor, during at least 17 inspections, did any of the ACT department staff confirm a single child was ever in care.

Sharing of regulatory responsibility between Canberra and the states means the federal government only investigates fraud offences when it ­suspects money has gone missing. The largest proven case of family daycare fraud ended last week when Albury-based 29-year-old Melissa Jade Higgins was found guilty of stealing more than $3m from the federal government.

Victoria has moved to take the heat out of the market by increasing inspections and investigations.

The family daycare sector in Victoria represents 10 per cent of the total childcare pool but ­accounts for almost 80 per cent of enforcement actions taken by the state. Services have grown by 341 and 339 per cent respectively in Melbourne’s highly multicultural western and northern suburbs.

SOURCE





Australian students are worse at maths and science than children in KAZAKHSTAN

Thanks to "modern" (Leftist) ideas in the classroom

Australian students are worse at maths and science than students in countries such as Kazakhstan, Bulgaria and Serbia.

The latest results from the four-yearly Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), shows Australian students have gone backwards as other countries have improved.

The study looked at how well Year 4 and Year 8 students have mastered maths and science lessons, asking questions like how many legs an insect has, which animals lay eggs and what the angles in a triangle add up to.

The Australian Council for Educational Research, which reports on the study, said it should be a wake-up call.

The council's Sue Thomson said the long tail on results was of particular concern.

Between a quarter and a third of Australian students are still not meeting the proficient standard.

'In terms of children in classrooms, that's probably seven or eight students in your average 25-student classroom,' Dr Thomson told AAP.

'That is a big worry and it's not something that's changed over the last 20 years.'

But Dr Thomson says the results only reveal the problem, not solutions.

It could be that Australia has not set its sights high enough, with the 'proficient' standards here set just above the TIMSS intermediate level.

'Since TIMSS 2011 we haven't really put in much that would lift performance at those lower benchmarks so nothing really has happened,' Dr Thomson said.

She highlighted the huge role socio-economic background - measured by the number of books at home - played in a student's success.

If just the results from the richest students were used, they would be among the top eight countries in the world, whereas those from poorer families are within the bottom quarter.

'I'm not necessarily going to relate it to funding, however we're back at the table insofar as school funding goes and we're still finding that disadvantaged students from disadvantaged schools are those who are not achieving well in these sort of tests,' Dr Thomson said.

'They're the ones we need to be targeting to try and improve their achievement.'

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the fascination of some with how much money was being spent in schools came at the detriment of examining its distribution and what would actually boost results.

He will use the maths and science results as a key part of his mid-December discussions with state counterparts about a new funding agreement.

But Labor said it was disingenuous to use the TIMSS results to say Gonski funding hadn't made any difference because students were tested in 2014, when less than 10 per cent of the total money had gone to schools.

'(The results) show governments must act immediately to break the link between poor performance and disadvantage,' Labor's education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said.

'Both Liberal and Labor state governments know the positive difference extra needs based funding is making in their schools - that's why they have put politics aside to campaign together against Malcolm Turnbull's cuts.'

SOURCE






A big win for Australia

Malcolm Turnbull has hailed Senate approval of the government's plan to restore the building industry watchdog as a vital reform that will benefit every Australian family.

At the same time the prime minister took a swipe at Labor, accusing the opposition of being nothing more than apologists for the militancy of the construction union.

"This is a great day for Australian families - this is not union busting, this is economy boosting," Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

"It is backing the rule of law, it is backing Australians to get ahead."

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, who guided the legislation through the Senate, said the government was restoring law and order to the construction sector.

"Under Labor, with their mates in the CFMEU, this was an industry that was marred by bullying, intimidation and thuggery," she said.

Labor fought passage of the legislation all the way through the parliament, Senator Cash said.

"They continue to put their heads in the sand and deny, despite royal commissions, despite Federal Court judgements, that there is something wrong with the building construction industry," she said.

Mr Turnbull rejected suggestions the concessions the government made to secure passage of the bill meant he was a "hollow man, horse trader".

"We feel pretty good about it, I have to tell you," he said, conceding the negotiations with cross benchers had been "a slog".

"We have always said this is a parliament where we will set out to ensure it works."

Senator Cash dismissed criticism the amendments to the original legislation meant the ABCC was a watchdog without a bite.

"This is all about cultural change within the building and construction sector," she said.

SOURCE





NSW: Ethanol mandates costing motorists $85m

Why do Greenies want ethanol in motor fuel?  It just combusts to give off small amounts of CO2 the way other fuels do.  It makes no sense
 
MOTORISTS in NSW are spending up to $85 million more on petrol due to the state government’s push to force service stations to sell ethanol-laced fuel, according to the competition watchdog.

In its latest petrol market report, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says the NSW Government’s ethanol mandate has led to less choice and higher costs for Sydney motorists.

Introduced in 2007, the ethanol mandate requires service stations to sell at least 6 per cent ethanol as a proportion of their sales. E10 fuel is a mixture of 10 per cent ethanol and 90 per cent petrol.

Earlier this year, the Baird government ramped up its ethanol push by introducing harsh new penalties of more than $500,000 for service stations that do not stock E10 fuel. Manildra Group, the monopoly provider of ethanol fuel in NSW, is a major donor to state and federal branches of the Liberals, Nationals and Labor.

Former NSW Upper House whip Peter Phelps, who quit in March out of protest against the ethanol fuel laws, told the ABC earlier this year that it was “literally the worst piece of legislation NSW has introduced”.

According to the ACCC, the reduced availability of regular unleaded petrol (RULP) has led to higher sales of premium unleaded petrol (PULP) and E10. In 2014-15, PULP made up 54 per cent of total petrol sales while E10 made up 36 per cent. Nationwide excluding NSW, PULP sales were 23 per cent and E10 just 4 per cent.

The ACCC calculates that as a result of the ethanol mandate, Sydney motorists have spent between $75-$85 million extra on PULP, which averaged 11.5 cents per litre more expensive for 95 octane and 18.5 cents per litre for 98 octane than RULP in 2015-16.

“While the use of E10 may be better for the environment, the ethanol mandate has reduced consumer choice and cost Sydney motorists up to $85 million,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims. “It has also boosted Sydney retailer’s profits due to the higher margins on premium fuel.”

Mark McKenzie, chief executive of the petrol retailer peak body ACAPMA, said government interference in motorists’ choice of fuel was unwanted and created “perverse economic effects”.

“Simply put, people are making a choice as to what product they put in their car and really are thumbing their nose at the government,” he said. “We’re talking about a mandate that’s been around for seven years. People have tried E10 and have fled from it.

“The issue here is the arrogance of the Baird government. They think they can make policy to suit themselves and their mates, when there is a broader community they’re supposed to be serving.

“Our view is the choice of fuel is that of the motorist and the government has no place interfering in a core product.”

NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said while it was true people were buying more premium fuel, there had been a lot of “misinformation” about E10 and it was “demonstrably not true” that it was bad for engines.

“The majors are advertising premium fuels quite heavily. People can buy regular fuel or E10 but they’re buying 98 octane and paying upwards of 30 cents per litre more for no real benefit,” he said.

“About three-quarters of the NSW fleet can run on E10. The remaining that can’t are either cars built before 1986 or they are high-performance vehicles that are mostly imported. The manufacturer will specify if a vehicle must run on premium fuel.”

Mr Khoury also disagreed with the ACCC’s finding that regular fuel was harder to find. “There is plenty of regular out there,” he said. “When we quote petrol prices we’re talking regular, not E10. People are buying it all over the place.”

Queensland is set to become the second state to introduce an ethanol mandate from January. Queensland Biofuels Minister Mark Bailey told The Australian many NSW motorists “wrongly assumed” their car could not use E10 because the NSW government did not roll out a consumer education campaign.

“Our ethanol mandate from January is set at a level that will ensure fuel retailers continue to offer a broad range of fuel grades,” Mr Bailey said.

NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello said the ethanol mandate had been a bipartisan policy since 2007.

“The government made changes to the legislation earlier in the year that will boost competition in the marketplace and provide consumers with greater choice,” Mr Dominello said.

“The reforms ensure the mandate is focused on the bigger petrol station operators while providing appropriate exemptions for smaller operators.

“Consumers are encouraged to use the government’s FuelCheck website which empowers them to find the cheapest fuel by publishing petrol prices in real-time for every service station across NSW.”

SOURCE

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




The Evolution of U.S. Median New Home Sale Prices

We're well into what might be described as the third phase of the second U.S. housing bubble.

That might seem like a bold statement, but it's something that really becomes evident when you track the trailing twelve month averages of median new home sale prices against median household income in the U.S. on a monthly basis.

Trailing Year Average of U.S. Median New Home Sale Prices vs Trailing Year Average of U.S. Median Household Income, 2000-12 through 2016-10

The primary factor fueling the decoupling of median new home sale prices and median household income in the United States away from its long term relationship is a shortage condition for homes in the U.S., particularly in regions that have adopted policies that have largely closed access to meaningful real estate development within them.

[Note: If you follow the links in the above paragraph, you'll find they point to posts at Kevin Erdmann's Idiosyncratic Whisk blog - he will have a book capturing much of his analysis on the topic coming out sometime in 2017!]

As for being in the third phase of that second housing bubble, you can see where we're at in the following chart that illustrates the three main trends for the trailing year average of reported median new home sale prices in the U.S. since July 2012.

Trends in Trailing Twelve Month Average of U.S. Median New Home Sale Prices, 2012-07 thru 2016-10

The initial inflation phase was kicked off by major investors who snapped up properties as fast as they could in the period from July 2012 through July 2013, which saw median new home prices rise at an average rate of $2,476 per month. The second phase came as a number of the investors behind the first phase began seeing less opportunity to realize easy gains, which resulted in their slowing their activities - that phase ran from August 2013 through September 2015, where median new home sale prices in the U.S. rose at an average rate of $1,511 per month.

The third phase began in October 2015 and has continued to the present, which has more closely resembled the kind of transactions that defined the established trends for new home sales in the U.S. before the onset of the first U.S. housing bubble in November 2001. During the third phase, median new home sale prices have been rising at an average rate of $1,034 per month.

With home prices rising by $5.32 for every $1 increase in median household income, this third phase may qualify as a post-bubble trend, although we recognize that this rate of increase is somewhat faster than the $3.60-$4.07 rate that median new home sale prices went up for every $1 increase in median household income in the 32 years from 1967 through 1999.

Finally, we should note that to really be a "bubble", median new home sale prices would have to fall significantly at some point in the future, since a bubble itself has two main phases by definition - an inflation phase where prices escalate and a deflation phase where they collapse. Since July 2012, we've only seen median new home sale prices escalate in what we're calling the second U.S. housing bubble, so whether it is a true bubble has yet to be determined.

References

Sentier Research. Household Income Trends: October 2016. [PDF Document]. 29 November 2016. [Note: We have converted all the older inflation-adjusted values presented in this source to be in terms of their original, nominal values (a.k.a. "current U.S. dollars") for use in our charts, which means that we have a true apples-to-apples basis for pairing this data with the median new home sale price data reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.]

U.S. Census Bureau. Median and Average Sales Prices of New Homes Sold in the United States. [Excel Spreadsheet]. Accessed 29 November 2016.

Australian Politics 2016-11-29 15:41:00

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Another shriek about bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef

This is just a repetition of a story that has been going on for a year or more.  Previous claims of this nature have been shown to be highly exaggereated so a repetition of the claims from the same people as before has no credibility. 

I was born and bred in an area close to the reef and have been hearing cries of alarm about the reef for 50 years.  But somehow the reef still seems to be there.  It has always had episodes of retreat but coral is highly resilient and bounces back quite rapidly.

One thing we can be sure of is that the problems were not caused by anthropogenic global warming.  Why?  Because that theory says that warming is caused by increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.  But the latest readings show NO increase in CO2 during 2015 and 2016

There WAS warming up until recently but that was caused by the El Nino weather cycle, not CO2. Once again we had the chronic Warmist problem that CO2 levels and temperatures do not correlate.  Below is a picture of the El Nino effect on global temperatures.  You see it peaked late last year and has been falling ever since.  So if warmth was the cause of the reef problems, the reef should soon start to recover




Two-thirds of the corals in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef have died in the reef’s worst-ever bleaching event, according to our latest underwater surveys.

On some reefs in the north, nearly all the corals have died. However the impact of bleaching eases as we move south, and reefs in the central and southern regions (around Cairns and Townsville and southwards) were much less affected, and are now recovering.

In 2015 and 2016, the hottest years on record, we have witnessed at first hand the threat posed by human-caused climate change to the world’s coral reefs.

Heat stress from record high summer temperatures damages the microscopic algae (zooxanthellae) that live in the tissues of corals, turning them white.

After they bleach, these stressed corals either slowly regain their zooxanthellae and colour as temperatures cool off, or else they die.

The Great Barrier Reef bleached severely for the first time in 1998, then in 2002, and now again in 2016. This year’s event was more extreme than the two previous mass bleachings.
Surveying the damage

We undertook extensive underwater surveys at the peak of bleaching in March and April, and again at the same sites in October and November. In the northern third of the Great Barrier Reef, we recorded an average (median) loss of 67% of coral cover on a large sample of 60 reefs.

The dieback of corals due to bleaching in just 8-9 months is the largest loss ever recorded for the Great Barrier Reef.

To put these losses in context, over the 27 years from 1985 to 2012, scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science measured the gradual loss of 51% of corals on the central and southern regions of the Great Barrier Reef.

They reported no change over this extended period in the amount of corals in the remote, northern region. Unfortunately, most of the losses in 2016 have occurred in this northern, most pristine part of the Great Barrier Reef.

The bleaching, and subsequent loss of corals, is very patchy. Our map shows clearly that coral death varies enormously from north to south along the 2,300km length of the Reef.

The southern third of the Reef did not experience severe heat stress in February and March. Consequently, only minor bleaching occurred, and we found no significant mortality in the south since then.

In the central section of the Reef, we measured widespread but moderate bleaching, which was comparably severe to the 1998 and 2002 events. On average, only 6% of coral cover was lost in the central region in 2016.

The remaining corals have now regained their vibrant colour. Many central reefs are in good condition, and they continue to recover from Severe Tropical Cyclones Hamish (in 2009) and Yasi (2011).

In the eastern Torres Strait and outermost ribbon reefs in the northernmost part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, we found a large swathe of reefs that escaped the most severe bleaching and mortality, compared to elsewhere in the north. Nonetheless, 26% of the shallow-water corals died.

We suspect that these reefs were partially protected from heat stress by strong currents and upwelling of cooler water across the edge of the continental shelf that slopes steeply into the Coral Sea.

For visitors, these surveys show there are still many reefs throughout the Marine Park that have abundant living coral, particularly in popular tourism locations in the central and southern regions, such as the Whitsundays and Cairns.

Darkspots

The northern third of the Great Barrier Reef, extending 700km from Port Douglas to Papua New Guinea, experienced the most severe bleaching and subsequent loss of corals.

On 25% of the worst affected reefs (the top quartile), losses of corals ranged from 83-99%. When mortality is this high, it affects even tougher species that normally survive bleaching.

However, even in this region, there are some silver linings. Bleaching and mortality decline with depth, and some sites and reefs had much better than average survival. A few corals are still bleached or mottled, particularly in the north, but the vast majority of survivors have regained their colour.

What will happen next?

The reef science and management community will continue to gather data on the bleaching event as it slowly unfolds. The initial stage focused on mapping the footprint of the event, and now we are analysing how many bleached corals died or recovered over the past 8-9 months.

Over the coming months and for the next year or two we expect to see longer-term impacts on northern corals, including higher levels of disease, slower growth rates and lower rates of reproduction. The process of recovery in the north – the replacement of dead corals by new ones – will be slow, at least 10-15 years, as long as local conditions such as water quality remain conducive to recovery.

As global temperatures continue to climb, time will tell how much recovery in the north is possible before a fourth mass bleaching event occurs.

SOURCE





'It's not good enough': Pauline Hanson says there is no definition of 'Aboriginal' people - and claims anyone can give themselves the label if they marry an Indigenous Australian

Pauline Hanson has said there is no definition of an Aboriginal person while calling for changes to race-hate laws.

The One National leader told Andrew Bolt on Sky News on Monday she believes there is no definition, and has been asking for one for years.

'If you marry an Aboriginal you can be classified (as one), or if the community or the elders accept you into that community you can be defined as an Aboriginal,' she said.

'That's not good enough because then if you make a comment about it, well what are you? Are you an Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal?'

'I think that people need to toughen up a bit, we've all become so precious.

'We've stopped freedom of speech - to have a say to have an opinion and I remember when I was a kid sticks and stones may break your bones and that was the old saying.'

Senator Hanson made the remarks while defending calls for changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.

The firebrand senator says she had previously raised issues about 'equality' over the years about the definition of 'Aboriginal'.

'I think the whole lot needs to be opened up on this, a big debate on this.'

She believes people have become increasingly precious but it should be up to the public to judge controversial comments, including from her or indigenous leader Noel Pearson.

SOURCE






W.A. Police will be able to ram dangerous drivers off the road using the PIT manoeuvre if Labor is elected

DANGEROUS drivers who lead police on wild high-speed chases should be rammed off the road before they can hurt innocent people, Opposition Leader Mark McGowan claims.

Mr McGowan said that if Labor was elected in March, his Government would support a trial of the what is known as the "PIT manoeuvre" on WA roads to enable police to end chases quickly before they got out of the hand.

The manoeuvre is used widely in America, Canada and Britain where police use their vehicles to force fleeing cars into an uncontrolled spin.

But the manoeuvre is controversial, often resulting in serious injury or death to the fleeing driver.

The WA Police Union has been pushing for the PIT to be used in WA, but the idea does not have the support of the Police hierarchy.

Mr McGowan said strict controls would be introduced around when and where the PIT could be used, but he believed the prospect of causing injury to a dangerous driver was a preferable outcome to an innocent family losing their lives.

"I have seen some of those chases on the television and all you want is that car to get off the road before they kill someone," Mr McGowan said.

"I think extreme cases deserve extreme action and the people putting the public at risk like that... deserve everything they get."

SOURCE






'See you in court': Student rejects Labor MP Terri Butler's apology and vows to continue lawsuit

A stoush between a Queensland law student and Labor frontbencher Terri Butler over claims of a "racist smear" is bound for court after he bluntly rejected her apology as a "sham" and vowed to press ahead with a $150,000 defamation lawsuit.

Ms Butler announced at the weekend she had apologised to 25-year-old Calum Thwaites after repeating on national television allegations levelled against him in a case brought under controversial section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Mr Thwaites was one of three Queensland University of Technology students accused of causing offence in a series of Facebook posts about an Indigenous-only computer lab. Mr Thwaites vehemently denied he used the phrase "ITT niggers" and the case against all three men was thrown out of the Federal Circuit Court this month.

On Q&A, Ms Butler implied the allegations had never been tested and said of Mr Thwaites' denials: "He would say that, wouldn't he?" Mr Thwaites elected to sue for damages of up to $150,000, claiming he had been traduced as a racist, bigot and perjurer.

In her letter of apology, sent on Sunday, Ms Butler wrote: "There should be no suggestion that you were responsible for the Facebook post [or] that you are racist, or bigoted. I offer you my unreserved apology for enabling those meanings to be conveyed."

But in a reply released by his lawyer Tony Morris on Monday, Mr Thwaites outright rejected Ms Butler's apology, telling her that to accept it would turn him into her "unpaid publicist". "You will not be surprised to learn that I have no intention of doing so," he wrote.

Mr Thwaites told Ms Butler that her subsequent comments - including suggesting to Fairfax Media that his lawsuit was "hypocritical" - meant that "your so-called 'apology' cannot be regarded as an 'apology' at all".

He also rejected her invitation to discuss the matter further by phone or in-person, saying he would see her in court. "I am sure that we will have an opportunity to meet at the trial of the defamation action," he said.

Mr Thwaites signed off the letter: "P.S. Happy 39th birthday."

Ms Butler - Labor's spokeswoman on equality and universities - has hired law firm Maurice Blackburn, where she was formerly a principal before entering politics in 2014, and is due to file her defence by December 23.

In his letter to Ms Butler, Mr Thwaites outed himself as a former Labor supporter, saying he had "until now" believed the ALP to be "the good guys" of politics. Since effectively becoming a pin-up boy for reform to section 18c, he had been embraced by Coalition figures including the "unreformed right-wing warhorse" Eric Abetz, he wrote.

Ms Butler said the letters spoke for themselves and had no further comment.

SOURCE

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




What Derailed the U.S.’ Recovery from the Great Recession?

We're going to ask a question today that has many answers. But before we ask it, consider the following chart, which shows the sales (or revenues) per share of the firms that make up the S&P 500 index for each quarter from 2000-Q1 through a preliminary estimate for 2016-Q3.

S&P 500 Sales per Share, 2000-Q1 through 2016-Q3

Here are some things to consider about the information shown in the chart:

  • The post-recession revenue (sales) per share trends shown are both linear and parallel to each other.
  • Share buybacks by S&P 500 firms since 2009 have reduced the number of outstanding shares over time, which would tend to boost the sales per share figure indicated in the chart above so that it is progressively higher than it would otherwise be if the number of shares for the S&P 500 were held constant.

Now for the question: What changed after 2012 to cause the outcome of stalled-out growth for the sales per share of the firms of the S&P 500?

References

Standard & Poor. S&P 500 Index Earnings. [Excel Spreadsheet]. Accessed 28 November 2016.

National Bureau of Economic Research. U.S. Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions. [Online Document]. Accessed 28 November 2016.