Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nipping Crime In The Bud

Capping off a week in which a 15 year old with a history of carrying a knife was arrested at school following threats to staff comes this warning of things to come:

OUT-OF-CONTROL four and five-year-olds are being suspended from Prep classes in a crackdown on school violence involving attacks on teachers. Education authorities say they have been forced to suspend the pint-sized problem pupils to protect teachers from being kicked, bitten and hit.
At the same time, a generation of children who have never had their egos curbed protest against an attempt to instill some little modicum of discipline:

STUDENTS at a Gold Coast high school are openly revolting against a new headmaster who is enforcing a dress code they say bans coloured bras. Elanora State High students used social networking site MySpace to organise a protest yesterday which was crushed by teachers. Hundreds of rowdy students massed on the school oval at morning tea but were herded back by visibly stressed and angry teachers... "He's banned coloured bras, piercings, dyed hair, and rat's tails (hairdos)," one said. "No one is happy about it. All the chicks wear make-up and everyone has piercings. It's way over the top and old-fashioned - that's why the protest was organised."
The school's P&C Association supports the principal's efforts to enforce the school dress code but some don't think there's any point in trying to shape children's behaviour:

Social commentator and The Courier-Mail columnist Dr Karen Brooks said the students were "just voicing their opinion". "They have the technology to be able to organise a protest like this and I don't think we can stop it."
Really? One supposes not; after all, 'they have the technology' so what's the use?

In Britain, they look nostaligically back upon some old technology:

One in five teachers believe the cane should be reintroduced in schools to restore order in the classroom. More than 20 years after corporal punishment was banned in state schools, many teachers said it was acceptable to hit children "in extreme cases". The majority of those backing the cane said it was needed to crackdown on bad behaviour in British schools.

It follows a Government-backed study last year which found many parents believed discipline had deteriorated since the cane was abolished... One supply teacher told researchers: "Children's behaviour is now absolutely outrageous in the majority of schools. I am a supply teacher, so I see very many schools and there are no sanctions. There are too many anger management people and their ilk who give children the idea that it is their right to flounce out of lessons for time out because they have problems with their temper. They should be caned instead."

And a primary teacher, said: "There is justification, or an argument, for bringing back corporal punishment, if only as a deterrent. I believe some children just don't respond to the current sanctions."
However, the pro-caners are soon put in their place by those who know better:

John Dunford, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "Thankfully, corporal punishment is no longer on the agenda, except in the most uncivilised countries. I am sure that this barbaric punishment has disappeared forever."
Meanwhile, back in Queensland:

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg has promised an extra 1000 police across the state within three years under an LNP government... "Safer homes and safer streets is going to be a core priority of an LNP Government', he said.
They is, is they? Mr Springborg obviously needs to get back to school and not just to correct his English.

Here is a radical idea for law and order - bring back the cane and effective discipline in schools, backed by laws protecting teachers from being sued by parents who are as self-entitled as their offspring. Then order the State magistracy to make their sentencing recommendations reflect community expectations.

Curbing crime in its infancy - pun intended - is what is required as a long term solution, not 1000 extra police.

That's like whipping up extra nurses to apply bandaids without asking why so many people are getting cut in the first place.

-- Nick

Wendy Richard

Wendy Richard made her career as a TV actress playing mouthy women. Just two of them.

After her 20 years on the BBC soap EastEnders, she may be recalled as the rather haggard Pauline Fowler. I'd prefer to remember her as the brash and sexy Shirley Brahms in Are You Being Served:

Miss Richard died this week.

There was a lot to like about the actress. Not only did people find her delightful in person, she knew where to draw the line between entertainment and propaganda:

When she left EastEnders she said she was doing so because she objected to some parts of the storyline and script. At one stage, Richard was reportedly given a script which included a vicious tirade against Margaret Thatcher. She refused to perform this sequence, accusing the scriptwriters of using the series as a soapbox for their political opinions.
-- Nick

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Short Attention... thingies...

It's an observation many have already noted with regard to overexposure to television. Neuroscientist Susan Greenfield puts web-based social networking sites in the frame as well:

Social networking websites are causing alarming changes in the brains of young users, an eminent scientist has warned. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Bebo are said to shorten attention spans, encourage instant gratification and make young people more self-centred... Computer games and fast-paced TV shows were also a factor, she said. 'We know how small babies need constant reassurance that they exist,' she told the Mail yesterday. 'My fear is that these technologies are infantilising the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment.'

-- Nick

Apology Awaited

I've asked it before and I'll ask it again after this:

Adrian Nisbett, 59, who taught English at the private school for three decades, was arrested today and charged with sex offences against three boys between 1976 and 1990. Two other teachers - one retired, and one current staff member - are already before the courts charged with sexual assaults on students in the 1980s... Police do not believe the men charged so far acted together, although some alleged victims were common to all three.
When does the education industry intend to apologise publicly for the institutionalised sexual abuse of children?

-- Nick

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's The Will Of God And You Can't Do A Thing About It

An Islamic revolutionary gets hit with a cluebat in this UK Telegraph piece:

Yet the Islamic Republic created by Mr Yazdi and his comrades failed to live up to the dreams of a Muslim democracy, in which sagacious ayatollahs would stand as guardians of the democratic wishes of the people.

"What is happening now is a disaster," says Mahmood Delkhasteh, one of the first young soldiers to heed Khomeini's call to desert the Shah's army and join the revolution. "Many people regret participating."

Within months of the revolution, the euphoria had evaporated as the rival factions began a brutal battle for control of the country, which ended with a repressive state that imprisoned and executed thousands of political prisoners – including many of the revolutionaries themselves.
But he and his fellow revolutionaries remain distinctly Islamic in thinking:

Now, 30 years wiser, Mr Jalaiepour acknowledges the terrible price paid for the revolution and says that gradual change is more effective. "Reform is better than revolution, but sometimes revolutions just happen (emphasis added)," he says.
It's an expression of what's been dubbed Inshallah fatalism:

If in every second phrase, you use that term, and if you really believe that at any moment Allah can come in, and exercise his will or his whim, and if all things are decided by him, well then -- to the extent that that is truly believed, you are less likely to strive.
... as well as:

...mental submission, which Islam encourages. It encourages it because the whole basis of the Total Belief-System is not reason, but authority: you accept what Allah does, without questioning. You follow the human example of Muhammad, without questioning. If Muhammad "marries" little Aisha when she is nine, no need to question that or to question, therefore, the Ayatollah Khomeini when, as virtually his first act, he lowers the marriageable age of girls to nine.
Speaking of Khomeini, the Telegraph article reveals a further cluebat blow for useful idiots among the dhimmis:

...BBC reporter John Simpson... was on the plane taking the ayatollah back to Iran.

"I'd interviewed Khomeini in France, where he was pretty cold and fierce, but he was at least very polite," says Simpson. "But when we went forward to talk to him in the plane, he took no notice of us at all. I asked in my best polite Farsi if he would answer some questions and he just looked out of the window. We had served our purpose during all the interviews he gave before leaving France (emphasis added)."
However, they're not useful because they're bright. Simpson likely still doesn't have a clue.

-- Nick

Looking Before Leaping

A British home renovation store has been forced to withdraw do-it-yourself wind turbine kits after they failed to live up to claims:

The study, which tested different types of turbines in different locations, showed the worst performing devices provided less energy than needed for a conventional light bulb.
It's another blow to knock the wind from the sails of wind power, which is possibly the worst of all alternative energy sources:

Turbines are hopelessly ineffectual. The amount of electricity they deliver is derisory. The total power generated by all the 2,300 turbines so far built in Britain — covering hundreds of square miles of countryside and sea — averages just over 600 megawatts in a year, less than that contributed by a single medium-size conventional power station.
And it further compounds the lack of wisdom in repeatedly running headlong into green 'solutions' for the perceived evils of traditional methods in everything from refrigerants:

Hydrofluorocarbons or 'HFCs' have been increasingly used in the last decade or so as an alternative to ozone damaging CFCs in refrigeration systems. Unfortunately, though they provide an effective alternative to CFCs, they can also be powerful greenhouse gases with long atmospheric lifetimes.
...that are:

...4,000 times more powerful in causing climate warming than carbon dioxide. energy-efficient light bulbs:

...the bulbs are extremely energy-efficient... (but) contain mercury, a neurotoxin that can cause kidney and brain damage. The amount is tiny — about 5 milligrams, or barely enough to cover the tip of a pen — but that is enough to contaminate up to 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe drinking levels...
...that require hazmat handling:

The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window prior to vacuuming. Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.
-- Nick