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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Minister Gillard, where are the league tables on doctors, lawyers on public money? Politicians?
Mood:  lazy
Topic: aust govt

In our view school league tables are Deputy PM Gillard's way of pushing her big business "choice" credentials in her overall campaign to be first female prime minister. Whether they have educational merit or not we leave to others, and there seems to be some compelling criticism of one size fits all type politicking.

The first hint of Gillard's pandering ambition was revealed when she adopted the McDonalds food chain 'M for maths' computer programme about a year ago.

Here's McDonalds leveraging a NSW public school reported previously on SAM here:

Criticisms of league tables are apparent from the US and UK experience, as per the clip from the respected The Wire HBO series season 3 above off youtube. Ken Boston similarly former NSW education chief on NSW stateline in 2009.

Gillard's pandering ambition is also revealed by the fact there are no web league tables for other professions proposed like doctors (GPs or specialists like surgeons) all highly subsidised by the taxpayer, or lawyers on legal aid subsidy.

The obvious answer is that a league table is nonsense in these cases because it doesn't relate to the clients of said doctor, surgeon or lawyer : Are they the tougher cases, the smokers, the quixotic legal crusades? The proverbial Charlie Teo brain surgeon who only takes the "hopeless" cases? 

Same with children and schools each in their own unique socio economic circumstance? Which school is in a pollution plume? Which school has NESB?
Which school just had local steel factory close? Uranium mine just open up (proposed for Alice Springs)? One really does wonder.

Nor do we trust Gillard's ambition to address the inherent crudity in a league table.

What about league table on the web of politicians? Metrics like:

 - how many constituents did you and your office meet (both)?

- how many concerns resolved?

- how many days did you attend sitting in parliament?

- how much payment of extras compared to other MPs?

 and so on.

Don't hold your breath with this last example. It sure looks like appeasing big business wanting children churned out as the proverbial widgets with the 3 R's (reading writing arithmatic) and nothing else? Better to be kept in their socio economic place as factory fodder?  A classic boomer control agenda of the younger generations?

Does the current diagnostic test of children test their ability to google? Probably a better measure of future learning capacity in the 21C?


Here is the Green Party media release here in NSW, we have just noticed after writing the above:

Gillard's website will damage all NSW schools

Media release: 26 January 2010

NSW Education Minister Verity Firth should revisit her decision to
hand over school test results after her federal colleague Julia
Gillard said that they could be used by parents to attack teachers.

Commenting on a story on page 1 of today's Sydney Morning Herald
('Tell off deficient teachers: Gillard',
http://tinyurl.com/smh100126), Dr Kaye said: "The years 3, 5, 7 and 9
literacy and numeracy tests were not designed to rank students, let
alone teachers or schools.

"The tests are crude measures of accomplishment in spelling, reading,
grammar and maths.

"The results say nothing of the quality of teaching in these areas or
achievements in the rest of education.

"The federal government's website will undermine confidence in schools
that have low scores, even though many of them are doing an excellent

"It will force teachers to sacrifice time spent on other important
curriculum areas to boost scores.

"Julia Gillard is apparently unaware of the realities of schools. She
is telling parents to attack teachers for low school scores, even
though the test is conducted in the first half of the year before many
teachers have had their full impact on a class.

"She apparently does not know that in many schools there are several
teachers in one grade year and that the test is a statistically
unsound measure of educational progress.

"State and territory ministers allowed their federal colleague to
indulge her obsession with name-and-shame websites and reducing
schools to a set of numbers.

"Handing over the state's school test results to the federal
government has pushed education to the brink of a crisis.

"NSW Education Minister Verity Firth should take a look carefully at
what she and her colleagues are about to do to schools, students and
communities," Dr Kaye said.

Posted by editor at 9:14 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 January 2010 9:48 AM EADT
Monday, 25 January 2010
Is James Woodford a compromised, moral light weight?
Mood:  sad
Topic: big media
What the green movement in NSW actually thinks of author James Woodford  free of the Syndey Morning Herald moderator...
Sent: Monday, January 25, 2010 6:41 PM
Subject: Re: [chipstop] Mumbulla koala story in SMH today

Thanks, ...I am sure that his lack of interest in logging issues would have nothing to do with his wife being ex-Forests NSW officer.

At 04:17 PM 25/01/2010, EcologyAction wrote:
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, January 25, 2010 4:17 PM
Subject: Re: [chipstop] Mumbulla koala story in SMH today

Notice James Woodford has an opinion piece on philosophy of greeness taking a decidedly apathetic and casual line, with nothing to day about ... logging of rare koala habitat on his own NSW south coast. What's the bet there is nothing on his web blog either. The 'real dirt'.
That's what I call blatant careerism, making his money out of the environment movement as an environmental reporter with access into the green movement then forgetting his roots. Big time.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, January 25, 2010 1:50 PM
Subject: Fw: [chipstop] Mumbulla koala story in SMH today

Well done to all those involved in the development and lobbying that went on to get this article up in the SMH. There was a front page "lead in" to this article on page 5 of this paper as well.


Logging plan poses threat to precious koala colony


January 25, 2010


There is  now a facebook group following the far south coast koalas plight:

Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 11:00 AM

Subject: [chipstop] Save the Mumbulla & Five Forests Koalas on Facebook

Hi all
I have set up a cause on Facebook:

Save the Mumbulla and Five Forests Koalas from logging. http://apps.facebook.com/causes/438225?m=10453d7c Please sign up if you are on Facebook. If we get a good number of members, it will add strength to our campaign to save the forest.

Please pass on to anyone you think may be interested.


Between 2,500 and 3,000 trees from SE NSW and East Gippsland are cut down every working day to supply the Eden chipmill
CHIPSTOP campaign against woodchipping the SE forests, 02-64923134, PO Box 797 Bega NSW 2550 Australia, http://www.chipstop.forests.org.au
CHIPSTOP on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CmofsL8xhg

Posted by editor at 10:33 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 January 2010 9:53 AM EADT
Pengo Appreciation Society inaugural posting
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: local news

We have discovered a free download of Pengo onto PC format, first discovered around 1984 at our university residential college as a video table game. 

It actually requires a retro joystick via USB socket to really appreciate (not available in any modern computer store it seems). We have been madly teaching our selves the directional keys of a standard keyboard to kill those carnivorous snow bees. And we even played around with some home made toggle assemblies but its just not responsive enough.


It's a superior maze game for so early in the arcade genre. For those new to the experience, kick the wall, it freezes the snowbees temporarily. Kick the blocks around. Kick a block to crush it. Extra points for squashing multiple bees with one block. 10K bonus for 3 diamond blocks in a row. 5K if on the side. 

Just think of them as politicians.

We are pleased to see one Australian fellow Rodney Day, whom we recall as Dimmy way back at Ursula College, Australian National University, in the official wikipedia entry as the world record holder at 1 million points plus. Given we are struggling to get 20K on said keyboard set up that's a big score.

PS Special note for Mr First Dog OTM - we know there is no such thing as real snow bees.

PPS Curious that freeware Linux operating system developed around 1991 also features a ... penguin as the hero. Could these disparate factoids be connected?


Posted by editor at 10:37 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 25 January 2010 11:14 AM EADT
Monckton twit polluting the airwaves, like a true whingeing pom
Mood:  irritated
Topic: globalWarming

Lord Twit is here to 'teach' us about the science of global warming.

Hello, we have our own Nobel prize winners and world class scientits. Lord Muck apparently is a mathematician.

Hello, we are talking about the geological record and climatology led by NASA's Professor James Hansen. You know the guys who do rocket science, not puzzle games for a living.

The ABC gave the twit a platform earlier this morning on Sydney radio and he oozed sophistry and dishonesty about glacier melt - given Kilimanjaro is disappearing yearly. All cheap shots about a typo in the IPCC report.

Monckton makes Prince William, son of an avowed greenie, look like an angel of sunlight and truth, and this twit a slippery cur from the other place.

Posted by editor at 9:31 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 25 January 2010 10:53 AM EADT
Bernard Tomic 17 gets it right - 2am is not a 'professional' sport
Mood:  rushed
Topic: local news

Precocious talent and upstart tennis player Bernard Tomic says it's "rediculous" to be playing competitive tennis at 1 or 2 am in the morning during the Australian Open. 

Bingo. You are so right young talented Mr Tomic. You may be a brat. You may be loud. You may be a star.

But children say many true things. The emperor has no clothes: Professional tennis and camp followers want us to believe that tv driven tennis events are in the category of ocean yacht racing, and mountaineering, where the sport dictates night time action. (Yachting because there is no clock off in the middle of the sea, and mountaineering because the ice is more stable and safer in the cold of night, less avalanche danger).

Every other sport, Olympic, World Cup, AFL football here, and so on  don't do this. No one schedules for the middle of the night. Get over yourself Big Tennis.

What a joke. Tomic gets our vote. It is rediculous. And the big media who joined in the press conference scorn are w*nking and honking like gooses.

Don't you love democracy. Now the accusation has been levelled by 17 year old Tomic the words can't be unspoken, mainly because its true.

We did get on talk back radio and suggest it's agist and bad form to be promoting 17 year olds up at 2 am in the morning, but on reflection comparison with other world sports tells the real story.

Posted by editor at 9:12 AM EADT
Big business racket behind high level immigration via money politcs?
Mood:  blue
Topic: aust govt


We noted Dick Smith a popular millionaire adventurer here on abc 702 radio this morning: We wrote on a crikey.com.au string similarly (after) earlier today re Indian folks here copping a crime backlash, or so it appears.

The lunar right have got a run up on white power nostalgia because our immigration policy lacks integrity - it’s a big business racket to ensure structural shortage of rental property and structural unemployment. Causing all kinds of low level insurrection now including the crime statistics.

It’s not the immigrants as individuals the racists should be worried about, these students etc being innocent pawns in a money/donor politics dynamic, but the grossly excessive immigration policy of both major parties, combined with stingy humanitarian intake.

Dick Smith outlined the situation, close to my analysis above (though he mentioned environmental unsustainability, not big business rackets) on abc 702 radio this morning 25 January 2009 - a line I’ve been explaining for a while now, all absent the racist streak.

What’s the bet decouple the developer donor funding model from major parties, and the high immigration policy evaporates, as do the racist white power crime frictions and pravalence?

Keepin in mind that Harry Triguboff (Meriton Apartments), Frank Lowy (Westfield shopping malls) who strongly advocate about 100 million population level for Australia. Meanwhile Dick Smith suggests 9 out of 10 people think a 35M population for Australia by 2050 is "too much".



Posted by editor at 8:59 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 25 January 2010 10:15 AM EADT
Australian GST payers take a bow, you are The Australian of the year
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: local news


Who gives USA press baron Rupert Murdoch permission via The Australian to decide our annual honours? No one. Just as no one here gives the house of Windsor the right to call themselves royalty.

It's all hierarchical nonesense and chutzpah. So why not join in the fun here at SAM micro news? 

On the weekend The Australian pictured PM Kevin Rudd as "Australian of the year" for amongst other things preventing Australia from falling into recession after the Global (really western) Financial Crisis (as per Gittins economics editor Sydney Morning Herald).

Trouble is Rudd was just doing the bidding of Treasury Secretary Ken Henry who has more economic credibility than any minister in the federal govt including Rudd himself: Hence the personalisted targetting of Henry by the coalition Opposition. So Rudd as choice is gross sycophancy by a broadsheet on the media policy make - not least a future 24 hour ABC news service which will further cramp their influence.Even if it must have caused Rudd's rival Tony Abbott to groan with heartburn at the front page last Saturday.

No the real heroes of 2009-10 are Australian taxpayers and by this we mean all goods and services tax payers from the unemployed to the rich mansion dwellers. Because it's that regressive 10% impost on most, but not all, consumables that has boosted the public coffers from 1998 or so putting the federal budget in good shape. Yes over the same time we have seen major increase in private debt (along with economic expansion) even as public debt was slashed but crucially it provided the funds for the huge stimulus #1 and #2. And this prevented widespread social pain and suffering.

So Australians who go shopping and pay GST this last 10 years - take a bow. You saved the economy in Oct 2008-Jan 2010. Only the structural unsustainability of affluenza remains and there can be no more big stimulus payments, not for another 10 years of GST payments anyway. Meanwhile the structural debt burden is right now not 10 years away.

Posted by editor at 8:13 AM EADT
Friday, 22 January 2010
Howard the nuke weapon candidate for international cricket body?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: peace


Picture: Recent article 14 Dec 2009 in the Murdoch conservative press of choice here, regarding a future nuke weaponised Australia - contrary to current Govt settings. Always a covert agenda of the former Howard Govt via dual use energy reactor policy. An agenda rejected by the Australian people in the 2007 federal election where Howard himself lost his own seat.

Oh no say it isn't so. Ex PM John Howard, arguably Iraq war criminal, touted for an international sports job in cricket. With adverse reaction here too by cricket expert Peter Roebuck:


Do the ICC international body realise this is the candidate whose soul still dwells in the 1960ies? Who wanted to expand dual use nuclear power across Australia before ejection in the 2007 election here?:

Picture: image relating to this: Lateline - 20/04/2007: PM describes new reactor as a triumph, before this: Lucas Heights to stay closed till 2008 - ABC News (Australian ... 25 Oct 2007 ... Lucas Heights to stay closed till 2008. By Sabra Lane ... Australia's new $400 million nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights, in Sydney, ...


A media release from that election campaign by the now Govt of Australia:  

Joint Media Release, Ziggy blows Howard's nuclear cover

Today, at Newport Park on Port Phillip Bay, Anthony Albanese and Nicola Roxon reiterated Labor's opposition to nuclear reactors in Australia.

"John Howard must immediately reveal his promised nuclear legislation and reveal his list of sites for his 25 nuclear reactors. The Head of the Prime Ministerial Taskforce on Nuclear Energy, Dr Ziggy Switkowski, made it very clear today that a re-elected Howard Government would develop 25 nuclear power stations in Australia, and Newport has been identified as a potential site. “John Howard is trying to hide his nuclear reactor plans until after the election, but Ziggy Switkowski has blown his cover" said Anthony Albanese.

 On 30 January 2007, the Australia Institute identified Newport on Port Phillip Bay as a potential site for a nuclear reactor due to its proximity to seawater for cooling, and easy access to electricity and transport infrastructure. John Howard is committed to build 25 nuclear reactors across Australia, and Port Phillip Bay's coastal location and access to the electricity grid and transport infrastructure may make it a prime site for one of John Howard's nuclear reactors.

In response to a Parliamentary Question on Notice, John Howard has specifically refused to rule out the Electorate of Gellibrand as a site for one of his 25 nuclear reactors. To ensure nuclear reactors can be imposed on communities, John Howard pledged on 28 April 2007 to repeal current Commonwealth laws which prohibit nuclear reactors. On 30 May 2007, John Howard stated the Commonwealth should legislate to over-ride State laws blocking nuclear reactors.

"The next federal election will be a referendum on nuclear reactors. The Australian people will face a stark choice between Kevin Rudd's vision for solar power and clean energy, and John Howard's plan for 25 expensive and dangerous nuclear reactors" said Anthony Albanese. "Here in Gellibrand, the community is united in opposing a nuclear reactor at Newport on Port Phillip Bay, but the Howard Government continues to push its agenda for 25 nuclear reactors across Australia" said Ms Roxon. "Hobsons Bay has recently been declared nuclear free and the Victorian State Government has consistently opposed nuclear power generation in Victoria."

The Prime Minister needs to listen to the local community and rule out a nuclear power station in Newport, or anywhere else in Melbourne' s west. Friday, 28 September 2007

 For further information/comment: Antony Sachs (Albanese)  Sarah Toohey (Roxon)

in Joint Media Release, Ziggy blows Howard's nuclear cover [pdf]


Howard surely would have thrown the switch to nuke weaponised aircraft carrier Australia if he had been elected. Howard always admired former war veteran Sir John Gorton and his aggressive posture on nuke weapons:

PM visits Gorton in Sydney hospital

Prime Minister John Howard has visited his former Liberal counterpart Sir John Gorton who was admitted to hospital in Sydney yesterday.

The 90-year-old former prime minister was taken from his Vaucluse home to St Vincent's Hospital suffering from pneumonia yesterday.

Sir John, who was prime minister from 1968 to 1971, is expected to remain in hospital for at least another day for tests.

A hospital spokesman says Sir John is alert and feeling much better today and exchanged jokes with Mr Howard.

Sir John appeared frail at his last public appearance last month to launch his book.

at http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200204/s543515.htm

Howard whose ideology was to go soft on Rhodesia and South Africa's Nationalists? Just as Hollywood cranks feel good movie Invictus on Rugby World Cup in South Africa under Mandela?

John Howard on Gorton's death in 2002, in his own words, and note the strong theme of science (ie nuke technology) and defence including navy in the Gorton life story, which Howard who never served presumably envied:

Statement from the Prime Minister, John Howard

John Howard, Prime Minister May 20, 2002 - The death of Sir John Gorton, Australia’s nineteenth Prime Minister, marks the passing of a proud Australian nationalist and a very distinguished Australian.

John Grey Gorton was born on 9 September 1911 and educated at Geelong Grammar School and Oxford University.

After bravely serving his nation in the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II, he served in Local Government in Victoria and was then elected to the Senate as a Liberal Senator for Victoria in 1949. He remained a Senator until 1968 when he was elected to the federal House of Representatives seat of Higgins, a seat he held for the Liberal Party until his retirement from Parliament in 1975.

He held a number of important ministerial portfolios in the Menzies and Holt Governments. He was the longest serving Minister for the Navy (1958-1963), a fact he proudly reflected on in his later years. Additionally, he assisted the Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1960-1963, was Minister in charge of the CSIRO from 1962-1968, Minister for Works (1963-67), Minister for the Interior (1963-64), Leader of the Government in the Senate (1967-68), Minister for Education and Science (1966-68)(the first federal Minister for Education), and later Minister for Defence in 1971.

............[at http://www.australianpolitics.com/news/2002/05/02-05-22a.shtml]

Can the ICC be so stupid? A recently picture here of Howard lifted off SkyNews in Dr Strangelove uniform ... at the cricket dreaming of a nuke weapons return to empire?



Posted by editor at 10:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 22 January 2010 10:58 AM EADT
Thursday, 21 January 2010
White power sticker spotted in Melbourne CBD 11 Jan 2010
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: human rights


In our post 3 stories back we refer to a 7 day visit to Victoria, specifically Melbourne, to Warrnambool and back through Melbourne again home to Sydney. The purpose was a school reunion of the class of 1981.

On the swing back we wanted to make our own private pilgrimmage to the scene of a wicked murder of a brilliant classmate, lawyer, Brendan Keilar. Not knowing the area at all, reportedly corner of Flinders Lane (a significant street) and William St, we wandered around every block. After asking a parking officer, office workers, we finally found the plaque erected by the city that we had heard about.

But what we didn't mention in our report was finding a "White" power sticker about 10 cm x 6 cm. We tend to find these thing quite abhorent and decided to tear it off leaving a smear of glued paper. We could have taken a picture and we probably should have - for evidence for the authorities. But we didn't.

It seemed significant to us the sticker was in the vicinity of the infamous King St beer and skin joints, just adding to the menace, from where the thug who killed Brendan emerged after a night of drugs, 2 years ago.

Posted by editor at 9:40 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 21 January 2010 9:43 AM EADT
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
Abbott's green 'army' policy angle has form
Mood:  sharp
Topic: aust govt



We commented recently on a crikey.com.au string about the Abbott green army opposition policy announcement - latest in the never ending PR war, with PM Rudd responding with is children's Australia Day book.

Battle of the moral pygmies stuff really. We had to laugh too at the brilliant David Rowe in the AFR Tuesday 20th Jan 2010 showing Tony Abbott like Toni Collette altered states of Tara theme. Green Tony, Pious Tony, Sexy Tony and so on. Brilliant stuff.

Anyway here below is the deconstruction of Big Tony's green army and it's a fascinating traverse in summary of 20 years of green politics. The reference to Cubby is an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald by Ben Cubby. Also there was another comment in the string which didn't make it through - to the effect about 35% of global greenhouse emissions are shared by tiddlers like Australia all about 1% or less but alot in combination - so if affluent Australia can't cut emissions then neither will the other 34% which is just wrong.


My comment just now on Cubby opinion piece in the SMH reacting to same news:

1. TA references on 7.30 last night to outdoorsy interests is recreation not conservation. So first fallacy.

2. There is nothing practical - Howard or TA - in woodchipping mature wet forests 1996 to present. Shameful, wildfire promoting landuse policy.

3. TA is seeking a reverse wedge just as Howard did on 1996 $1B Telstra sale heritage trust fund. It worked on ACF and TWS sitting on their hands back then.

4. ALP wedged back in 2007 using climate, which also worked. But now Coalition has more to play with like business friendly WWF at peak level, to offset ACF and TWS. [ALP has annexed Garrett and ACF despite protestations.]

5. Both Coalition and ALP are wrong footed by Hansen/NASA, IMF, McKibbon etc calling for a carbon tax, not cap and trade. Only Greens have the intellectual framework right so far as science bears down us all.

6. Greens and indy senators Troeth and Boyce can make glorious changes if Rudd shifts ground towards Greens for a majority vote on climate. Ironic.

7. Abbott’s green corp 1998 was always about pre empting the ‘Jabiluka express’ phenomenon where hundreds of the cream of Oz youth [bused up from SE Aust and] blocked a U mine in NT in alliance with traditional owner Yvonne Margarula. And similar forest blockades of the 90ies [which helped changed state govt in NSW in 1995].

The gambit was to harvest and re-direct youth. Cynical? Soon after Jabiluka infusion to society up there, NT state referendum defeated, ALP elected first time in 30 years in NT. Ouch. No wonder he wants a youth busy painting rocks.


Oh a couple more things after a closer read:

a. In holiday mode pollies talk about green stuff, so it has to be read down a bit, just as press run a natural history story every Monday because folks have been out and about. It’s trade work rather than sincerity as such.

b. Hepburn is right but he got active after Jabiluka above, if memory serves. Freudenberg too, though recall WWF were very pragmatic when Howard exploited their ambition in 1996 to step up into the peak level of national affairs, preface to current oil industry refugee leader now. (Head of Greening Australia (nsw?, previously national?) was ex WWF CEO in 1996.)

c. Never forget only 10% or so of farmers were card carrying members of Landcare pioneered late 80ies by National Farmers (umbrella group to state bodies) and ACF (again more umbrella than numbers?). Sincerity is very limited in our society when it comes to sustainability.

d. note similarly Rural Fires Service in NSW claims some 60K vollies but a captain said to a public meeting last year really about 15K or so! Ouch!

e. Ironic that TA is virtually parading the Turnbull agenda - irrigator efficiency in MD basin, confronting his own side of politics about the environmental policy framework. On a live blogging by TA on SDT I wrote but was omitted, “Saul, what’s it going to take for you to fight for your planet?” referencing to Paul/Damscus, but also Rural Fire Service tv adverts last month for bushfires ‘what will it take for you to fight?”.


Lastly, I noticed TA on 7.30 biblical reference to ‘not hiding his bushell’. So is he Tony or Saul? Every year the Green Party vote trends up by 1% just as the rate of change in sea level goes up (on a J curve).

.......................[end crikey publsihed comment string Friday 15 Jan 2010]



Posted by editor at 10:09 AM EADT

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