Friday, September 19, 2008

Headlines Friday 19th September

Children at risk from every angle
Alan Jones
We need to reflect on the dreadful story of a young 19-year-old woman being raped in a taxi in November last year, twice indecently assaulted as she drifted in and out of sleep.

The young lady woke to find the cab stopped in a side street in Beverly Park. She was forced into the back of the taxi and raped.

Justice has prevailed and the taxi driver, 22-year-old MD Kawsar Ali, will be sentenced in November.

Then a nine-year-old girl is the latest victim of a reported child abduction attempt in Sydney in the past month. And this at a time when the Safety House network has been disbanded last year without public debate.

The Stranger Danger programme has gone. And the police presence.

You tell me how often you see a policeman or a woman on the beat. If we can't afford that, we can't afford anything.

Well may parents wonder how safe their children are on the streets. And lament the seeming inability of society to protect the innocent.

But tragically parents may face the same concerns in the nation's classrooms. Not through physical violence, though that occurs as we know through unchecked bullying, but through intellectual assault.

Consider this: Mr Rudd has appointed Professor Stewart McIntyre and a literary researcher, Peter Freebody to his National Curriculum Board. And they're going to draft documents outlining the content of history and English in a national school curriculum.

Professor McIntyre is a former member of the Communist Party. He's been accused of advocating a theory of history described as "history from below", that is excluding national achievement and focusing instead on victim groups. This is the sort of history which characterises white settlement of Australia as an invasion.

The other bloke, Peter Freebody is a literacy researcher. He doesn't even believe that the definition of being literate is being able to read and write to a required level.

He says, wait for it, that literacy is "a moral, political and cultural decision about the kind of literate practices that are needed to enhance people's agency over their life trajectories and to enhance communities' intellectual, cultural and semiotic resources in print/multimediated economies."

How's that rubbish for Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard's education revolution and back to basics curriculum?
Police 'too slow on abductions'
AN incident where two women tried to snatch a young boy comes as Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione is under pressure to release prompt crime details.
North West Metro a waste of time and money
By Rhys Haynes

THESE people are costing taxpayers at least $11,000 a day on a bogus rail project that could be dumped within weeks.
Beautiful Sunset
Labor can't attack Malcolm's money
Alan Jones
The story of the week - apart from the financial rout on the world's stock markets - is the rise of Malcolm Turnbull to be Australia's alternative Prime Minister.

This is a remarkable ascendancy, given that this time four years ago Mr Turnbull wasn't even in the Federal Parliament. And his election this week has obviously struck fear into the government, because whatever else might be said about Mr Turnbull, he's bright and he's successful and he's run and been involved in big business.

And what Australians want, given that they all want to do well, is someone running the joint who knows how to do well and clearly has a history of doing just that.

Malcolm Turnbull fits that bill.

In the light of that, and the extraordinary personal attacks that immediately cascaded over him from his Labor opponents, an editorial in yesterday's Australian newspaper is instructive indeed.

It talked about the Government playing the silvertail card. It talked about the bare-faced hypocrisy of attacking an independently wealthy Opposition Leader when the Prime Minister's family is worth several million dollars. But it then said, "The deeper problem for Labor is that the politics of envy are out of step with the times," and said "Today's Labor voters don't despise wealth, they aspire to it".

And the editorial went on, "The reputational danger for Labor politicians who refuse to drop this tired old rhetoric is that they end up looking like jungle-bound Japanese soldiers who haven't realised the war is over".

It said, "The politics of envy represent an invidious form of class warfare that should have died a natural death last century".

But expressing the hope that Labor has transformed itself, the editorial argues, "Not a bit of it. As Labor's spurious defence of the luxury car tax shows, today's ALP is ready to play the jealousy card whenever it suits".

But then, describing this as a short-sighted tactic, it said "An attack on wealth is an attack on the aspirations of Labor's core constituency. It pre-supposes a zero sum economy, pitting winners against losers in which one man's good fortune is another man's bad fortune".

The editorial described this as alien to the entrepreneurial can-do culture on which this nation was built.

It talked about people in the Australian community "sick and tired of being battered by class war rhetoric".

The editorial said, "Politics today has transcended class. Labor's rusted-on supporters are tertiary educated, well-heeled professionals from the inner cities. Labor's softest support is in the blue collar outer suburbs.

"Mr Turnbull's opponents are making a big mistake if they think that attacking a toff with a silver spoon is just a bit of harmless fun. It is their reputation that will be damaged, not Mr Turnbull's".
Vatican Official Defends Evolution Against 'Useless' Creationism
VATICAN CITY — A professor at a Vatican-sponsored university expressed dismay Tuesday that some Christian groups reject the theory of evolution — implicitly criticizing the literal interpretation of the Bible.

Further emphasizing the official Catholic stance, a Vatican official restated the Church position that evolution is not incompatible with faith.

Both men spoke at a press conference ahead of a March event aimed at fostering dialogue between religion and science, and appraising evolution 150 years after Charles Darwin's landmark "On the Origin of Species."

The forum is being organized by Rome's prestigious Gregorian Pontifical University, which is highly influential in Vatican circles, and by the University of Notre Dame in the U.S. state of Indiana.
People That Are Slow To Recognize Danger Vote Politically Liberal
By Jeanna Bryner
Fierce individualists, Americans figure that we choose our own political beliefs — but actually it could come down to biology.

Individuals who are more easily startled by threats are more likely than others to support protective policies, such as military spending, the Iraq War and the death penalty, finds a new study.

Researchers over the years have put forth several factors to explain a person's political beliefs, including religion, culture, genetics and everyday experiences.

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