Saturday salon 13/1

1. Dolly’s message

People all over the country were gutted when they heard that 14 year-old Amy Everett, known as “Dolly”, committed suicide after being bullied on social media. The father took to Facebook to suggest Dolly’s tormentors attend her memorial:

    “Please come to our service and witness the complete devastation you have created,” he wrote on Sunday.

Dolly had been the face of Akubra hats back in 2009:

This was the last drawing she left behind:

There has been much commentary, and we have diverse services to help, including the establishment of an eSafety Commissioner whose office, we are told, has ordered offending comment to be taken down 600 times.

Who honestly thinks there will not be more casualties?

People naturally look to the schools, where much of the bullying starts. Back in the 1990s when we were parents Queensland schools were meant to have anti-bullying programs as a matter of policy. One that didn’t was Buranda State School. There the principal, Lynne Hinton, said if the school had a behaviour management policy and taught philosophy across the school, which it still does, then anti-bullying was redundant. Her policy was to work with children, not on them so that they were routinely considerate of the feelings of others. Also they came to understand the ethical basis for action.

Buranda had certain advantages. One was that by and large the parents were not bullies. Child bullies often have parents who are bullies. A bully typically lacks self-esteem, but gets a temporary rise out of taking other people down. Bullies are often victims that need help.

When bullying occurs there is also often a pack effect. Children need to recognise this, monitor their own behaviour and learn appropriate strategies and skills, including intervention where possible.

Apart from that I have two suggestions. One is that personal and social development of children become a core task of schools, not just the promulgation of a core academic curriculum. In earlier days personal and social development was a large focus in early education, which has unfortunately been overwhelmed by the back-to-basics movement.

The second is that prospective teachers undergo a personality test to identify the bullies. Many teachers, including those who are promoted, have authoritarian attitudes that don’t help.

I also thought the suggestion that commenters on social media should by law have to supply a phone number, or a means of tracing them, so they can be held accountable had some merit.

2. Trump out-Trumps himself – again

You will recall that Trump has just tweeted that he’s a genius and “a very stable genius at that!” Seems his aides have been struggling over whether he is a “fucking moron”, an “idiot” or “dumb as shit” or just a “dope.”

    Everyone, in his or her own way, struggled to express the baldly obvious fact that the president did not know enough, did not know what he didn’t know, did not particularly care, and, to boot, was confident if not serene in his unquestioned certitudes.

Now he has:

    just interrupted an immigration meeting in the White House to tell a group of presumably surprised lawmakers that the United States was “having all these people from shithole countries come here.”

He’s suggesting that the US should stop admitting immigrants from Haiti and El Salvador and instead bring in more people from Norway.

No-one is surprised. The contention is that he won the presidency because of his xenophobia and racism and his willingness to say such things blatantly. It’s the core of Trumpism.

Meanwhile Slate has a piece on what Michael Wolff got right in his book.

Wolff thinks the sad fact is that Trump just wanted to shake things up a bit, gain celebrity, then complain that the system cheated him out of the job. He never expected to win, nor did he particularly want to. Now his schedule is arranged so he has plenty of time for golf, TV, phoning friends and tweeting.

So we have what we have.

Now Trump has claimed that he has been misreported, but I think no-one believes him. There were multiple people in the room. The WTF bloke who sends out an email every day cites an unnamed senator who claims Trump said the “shithole” word multiple times.

Also you should know that Michael Wolff has a reputation for stretching the facts, but no-one is saying he is majorly wrong this time, except the rusted-on partisans. He says he’s giving us a feeling of what the Trump presidency is like.

3. Peter Dutton sledges the judiciary and individual judges

Peter Dutton seems to think it his duty to sledge magistrates as civil libertarians and has labelled one Supreme Court judge, Lex Lasry, a “left-wing ideologue”.

Victoria’s Attorney-General, Martin Pakula, has appointed 10 of the 57 Supreme Court Judges, Associate Judges in Victoria, 17 of the 126 Magistrates, and 68 Country Court judges in the state. The question is whether Peter Dutton with his new home affairs ministry can contribute anything practical, or whether he’s there just to stir up fears and score political points.

4. Craig McLachlan

Craig McLachlan’s acting career has been put on hold as more accusations surface. First it was three members of the cast of the 2014 Rocky Horror production.

Then a man and a woman who were crew members approached the police, followed by new accusations relation to the Dr Blake TV production.

Now Germaine Greer has weighed in, saying she’s not happy with how McLachlan has been treated:

    “He hasn’t been proved guilty of anything,” she explained on the show. “Now it’s becoming if you’re in a position of power or influence, you can’t make a pass at somebody, because it will be considered to be inappropriate use of influence, force and so on. How do you express desire without putting pressure on people?”

    She questioned why society couldn’t have a “rational attitude” to sexual offences and even suggested there should be different degrees of gravity depending on the impact of the crime.

She’s all for women badly treated coming forward, but warns not all will win, and she’s concerned over what will happen to them. Powerful men will hire good lawyers.

By the way, she also told Radio National that Donald Trump as president was “working” for the USA. He interests her because “they” can’t control him.

Not sure how much all that helps.

59 thoughts on “Saturday salon 13/1”

  1. Germaine,

    Please try to keep up!
    The actor in question was not primarily accused of “making a pass” at an actress. It is alleged he groped her sexually on stage while her face was visible to the audience but other parts of her body, and the alleged groper himself, were hidden from the audience’s view. If true, not only a sexual assault, but a particularly sneaky and cruel one.

    If it really happened, it wasn’t a simple “expression of desire”, as far as I can tell from reports.

    Of course, the actor is entitled to the presumption of innocence. And you, Dr Greer, are entitled to the presumption of ignorance.

    Yes, Brian. I too have heard Mr Wolff described as reckless and prone to inaccuracy. Can we say, smoke and fire go together? Or is his whole book a tissue of lies??

    Meanwhile, over in Pakistan, Imran Khan has said that “he has had only spiritual relations” with Bushra Maneka. She is his faith healer. He has proposed marriage; she is divorced.

    BTW, he ended his second marriage by texting “I divorce you” thrice, to his wife of 10 months. Followed up by an email, and a phone call to his new ex by his chief of staff.

    Yes, that old story of “I divorce you” times 3, is true.
    And aren’t some husbands cowards!!!

  2. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for again hilighting the work of Lynne Hinton at Buranda Public school with the Conversation Audio link, and thanks also for extra link to Buranda Public’s on going commitment to teaching kids from their earliest school years to ask questions, to seek answers and to self teach through understanding.

    The benefits to society from this approach are so profound that I find it impossible to comprehend why this approach has not been adopted throughout our education system, particularly as there is zero additional cost to the education budget to achieve the increases in IQ, tolerance, and educational outcomes that are quantitatively proven outcomes.

  3. I’m more a Test cricket enthusiast but I’m trying to enjoy ODIs.
    I found and find their commentary far more enjoyable than 9 or ABC.
    The 20 lag behind the vision isn’t ideal but tolerable.
    Positives are the unPC approach that’s typically Londoner and the short jingles following any significant moment ( 4, 6, bowler or batsman change, etc )

    Their Ashes coverage was great.

  4. Seperately, Brian, I want to thank you for bringing up Lynne Hinton’s work in relation to bullying. Amongst the many advantages of the inquiring minds (I’ll use that term in place of philosophy as “philosphy” carries the notion of being taught what to think whereas the philosophy in primary schools is about helping kids to think for themselves) programme for kindergarten and primary schools is the it breaks down the barriers that create isolation amongst kids.

    When we ask questions from an early age we do not limit our direction to those who will give us the answers we want, at that age we have not developed that degree of pre conditioning to our thinking so automatically isolation is brushed aside.

    One of the properties of bullies, who routinely (though not

  5. …exclusively) go on to become the sociopaths sprtinkled through our society is that they seek out co dependent people to dominate. These people become their “gang” in the more developed expression of the charismatic bully/sociopath. I think the cyber bully is the internet version of that structure where a cyberbully builds a following though extreme expression and reinforces his/her dominance through vile attacks on unsuspecting vicitms who have become visible due to some thing that they have done the achieves some degree of acclaim.

    The problem with sociopaths is that “calling them out” achieves nothing. A sociopath believes that they are always “right”, and anyone who attempts to challenge that then becomes the target of their extreme rhetorical forcefulness.

    Psychologists say that the only chance of doing anything for the antisocially inclined is before the age of 5 years. It is only in the kindergarten years that the education system can identify anti social traits and flag those individuals for some the training techniques to aid the development of empathy.

    Once the antisocial person has grown to become an adult there is nothing we can do to change their behaviour. The only thing to be done is to be aware of those individuals and reduce their ability to dominate others.

    The only real divice we have to achieve that is to eliminate isolation. If this is built in from kindergarten through “inquiring minds” abilities then the isolation has the least chance of developing. It is most severe in the marriages where through pride a woman automatically attempts to manage her family environement and stepping out of the isolation would represent failure. I lost a cousin that way.

    I have a serious problem understanding how a cyber bully can drive a young person to suicide in a very short period of time, particularly one who is well balanced and happy in her own family. The only thing I can attribute it to is where a person allows themselves, either by choice or circumstance, to be isolated from the assistance and understandings of others.

    I fell so sad for Dolly’s parents family and friends.

  6. Ambi, with McLachlan I decided to step back in the post, but it was clear from the 7.30 Report interviews that there was a problem which went way beyond pranks in sexually charged production. McLachlan would be better IMO admitting he was an idiot and going off to have some high-priced therapy for ‘sexual addiction’ which I believe is available for around $25,000 for a course.

    The alternative would seem to be to spend even more than that on lawyers and still not have a career at the end of it.

  7. I am in no position to comment on the Amy Everett suicide case but if I was investigating it and asking the normal accident investigation summary question: “This suicide would not have occurred if:” my answers might have included things like:
    The bullying had been reduced both in terms of intensity and hours when it could take place.
    Amy had been trained how to handle bullying.
    Amy had people she was comfortable going to for support when things got tough.
    Teachers or friends had picked up that the bullying was getting out of hand and done something to reduce the bullying and provide more support Amy.
    One of the things that concerns me about modern society is that sometimes we focus on protecting kids from adversity rather than teaching them how to handle it.
    Some adversity strengthens people. Too much adversity breaks people. Different people will have different breaking points. The trick for parents, teachers and friends is get the balance right and know when and how to step in.

  8. The first and last words in character building on kids lay with parents.
    Too many are unwilling to use the social media, built in, anti bullying button.

    The big worry is parents that are persuaded the Teachers are better positioned to raise their kids than they are.

  9. BilB, one of the practices at Buranda was if a problem emerged in the school yard of people being treated unfairly, or whatever, they would bring the issue into the classroom and discuss it there.

    Too many schools ‘come down like a ton of bricks’ on bullies, which can make the problem worse.

    Seems an app was used to tell Dolly she should kill herself while remaining anonymous. The school seems to have closed ranks, is promising a team of counsellors and a memorial service when term begins.

  10. Hello “Brian” at 4.00pm.

    Are you new to this blog? I think you’ll find it very welcoming, informative, with a wide range of views.

    It is run by a remarkable bloke, who, by coincidence, shares his first name with you.


  11. Jumpy at 2.35pm

    “Character building” is not the start and finish of this sad story.

    John D is right to say that different people have different breaking points. And for an individual, I reckon that can vary from week to week, also.

    Suicide is a scourge: each such death can have deadly effects that ricochet around a family, the friends, the town, ……

  12. I’m not yet convinced cyber bullying + fragility = suicide in this case or any other.
    There could be other contributing factors that we’re all missing.
    Bloody tragic in any event.

  13. Yes, there may well be other factors.

    Whaddya reckon, Jumps?

    All this talk about cyber bullying just another way to hype up Facebook and the rest??

    “social media ” bah, humbug!!

  14. Ambi, I have to admit I felt a bit strange when I was told my comment was in moderation and I couldn’t do anything about it.

    Jumpy, I understand that in most cases when there is bullying in social media there is also stuff going on outside. But it is so easy for multiple people to pile on in social media, and the use of messages as shown in this article are especially egregious.

  15. I don’t wade into the filth of Facebook. I’ve got twitter for 1 sporting chat that I rarely use.

    I can’t see any value in releasing children into that environment.

    In this case the parents are blaming something they provided for their child.
    Their guilt must be overwhelming.

  16. Jumpy, of course they will blame themselves, but they don’t need you pointing the finger at them, especially when you don’t know the facts.

    No-one does, because you don’t walk in their shoes.

  17. So a 14 year old ( or younger when the social mediaing started, how young ? ) purchased a device and data contract on the sly.
    Yeah, sure.
    I’m only pointing out they provided social media to their child. That is incontrovertible.
    The level of guardianship they had over it, I don’t know.

  18. I read somewhere that 44% of married people met their future partner at work. Makes sense because it gives people a chance to know potential partners better than they would if they had met in a pub. The 44% would include people who were in the same team and/or where one of the people was the other’s supervisor.
    My concern is that people who married successfully after meeting at worked could be blocked by personnel depts trying to protect employers from being pursued for damages by employees whose relationships with fellow employees turned bitter and twisted.
    There is a need for some careful thinking about what limits should be placed on employee relationships and the circumstances where an employer could be sued for behaviour between employees should be more clearly set out.

  19. So a 14 year old ( or younger when the social mediaing started, how young ? ) purchased a device and data contract on the sly.

    I’m not saying that.

    From the little we know Amy (Dolly) seemed mature beyond her years and may have been seen as a leader and positive influence within her social set. Sometimes appearances can be tragically misleading.

    The family and the school will of course reflect on what has happened. Judgement and condemnations from outsiders are inappropriate and unhelpful.

  20. Ha ha Ambi you do crack me up at times, fancy welcoming ‘Brian’ to C+. But your “Amb’ al Jebr” sign off on the ‘LtG’ thread was pure genius.

    Dutton is a special kind of political evil. He spends every day talking about youth offending in Victoria because in his words ” it’s not happening in Qld or Nsw”.

    According to ABS (download table 19) :

    Youth offenders per 100’000
    Nsw – 2741
    Qld – 2632
    Vic – 1573

    So well played to the ignorant quick finger pointing brigade, in the established tradition of ‘children overboard’ by the ruling at all costs LNP.

  21. Brian, (Buranda) that is the Crocodile Dundee approach to solving problems. “If someones got a problem they tell Wal, Wal tells everyone else, no longer a problem”. Openness is the best approach I agree, I came close to having my face scratched off following this policy once, but it is still what I prefer. The current fetish with absolute privacy is problematic, in my opinion as it is used by some as a screen to hide evil behaviour.

    And that feeds to Jumpy’s claim that it is all about bad parenting. I disagree profoundly. Parents are all too often the last to know when their kids go off the rails despite their best efforts. There are bad and great parents who raise bad kids and there are bad and great parents who raise wonderful kids, I know examples of all of the possible combinations.

  22. On bullying.

    Thanks to Brian and all for your comments on this serious, difficult – and very costly – problem.

    *The method of Lynne Hinton, of Buranda State School, to work with children rather than on children seems to reflect the pioneering work of Johann Pestalozzi.
    Have we become so obsessed with curriculum and academic “body count” that we have forgotten the need to help develop the whole person?

    *Thanks BilB, for your summary of the bullying phenomena. I have to agree that calling out a bully doesn’t improve their behaviour – bypassing them does work quite well but it generally infuriates them and drives them to seek your ruin at any cost; they don’t like ”having their toys taken away” . Sadly, bypassing a bully is near impossible in some situations such as in a marriage/relationship or in the defence forces or in an isolated workplace.

    * There seems to be a lot of research on bullying but not much on those who have prospered – and avoided becoming bullies themselves – despite having been bullied for years.

    * How many more completely unnecessary suicides will there be before we realize that our current anti-bullying methods are failing? We do need a completely new approach.

  23. Ootz

    Thanks, mate.
    Unfortunately I can’t match your learning and profundity.
    Which I value.

    Repayment in flippancy is mundane, but there you go.


    PS al Jebr
    was unoriginal.
    It is suggesgted that “algorithm” and “algebra” derive from the author’s name and his book title:
    al Khowerezmi and “Al Jebr” (the balance) a book about maths written in what we might now call Iraq, many centuries ago.

  24. Dolly Everett attended the boarding school Scott’s College in Warwick. It is possible that with presumed nice middle-class students the school thought that early experience with social media was an advantage in learning to deal with the adult world.

    It’s not always easy for teachers and other supervisors to maintain an open channel into the culture created in this environment, and one of the problems here was that the social media activity evidently continued during the long break, when Dolly had returned to the family property in Katherine.

    I know that in Buranda, where my son went to primmary school, playground supervision was taken seriously, the kids really enjoyed their philosophy classes, and no doubt valued the processes open to them to solve interpersonal problems that arose. The school was small, it was 48 the day Lynne Hinton took over and grew rapidly as word got around, I think it was capped at a bit over 100, because the grounds were quite small. Queensland does not have zoning, so I drove past about 10 schools to take my son there.

    Yet there were problems that went under the radar, thankfully not with serious outcomes.

    For secondary schooling our son went St James College, where personal development was central to the program offered. There is lots more to say about how that was handled, but part of it was that the school had two counsellors with an enrolment of 450, and a philosophy of care and counselling that went right through the school.

    It was a wonderful melting pot with over 50 ethnicities from over 150 suburbs. The only group the didn’t have was the rich.

    There was a fantastic outdoor education program aimed at building personal skills (orienteering, camping, hiking with a compass off track, rock climbing etc) and resilience.

    Inevitably some bad stuff happened there too, but other people we knew paid big bucks to send their kids to elite schools where they were mercilessly bullied.

  25. World Media Struggle to Translate Trump’s Africa Insult:

    President Donald Trump’s vulgar insult of Africa was a puzzle for many foreign media organizations, which didn’t have a ready translation of his epithet for their readers or listeners.

    While meeting with senators on immigration, Trump had questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and “shithole countries” in Africa, according to one participant and people briefed on the conversation.

    Japanese media went with translations ranging from “filthy” to “dripping with excrement.” Chinese state media went with “fenkeng,” which means “cesspit.” And some African outlets decided to use a word meaning “dirty countries.”

    An editor at a Kenyan paper says there is a direct translation for Trump’s term in Swahili, but they didn’t use it. He says it would be “unprintable.”

    Thai-language media translated it as loom kii, literally a hole for defecating, or latrine.

  26. What a contrast: Mr Trump’s terminology “unprintable” (which some US news outlets concurred with, using asterisks or a euphemism); while Mr Keating had folk scrabbling for a dictionary when he called another PM “recalcitrant”.

    s***hole = 2 syllables
    recalcitrant = 4 syllables.

    4 legs good, 2 legs better: Eric Blair, the artist formerly known as George Orwell.

    Across the globe, satirists are nervously considering alternative employment. 😉

  27. Lifeline had this to say on suicide stats:

    Statistics on Suicide in Australia
    Suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44.
    The overall suicide rate in 2015 was 12.6 per 100,000 in Australia. This is the highest rate in 10-plus years
    The most recent Australian data (ABS, Causes of Death, 2015) reports deaths due to suicide in 2015 at 3,027
    This equates to more than eight deaths by suicide in Australia each day
    Deaths by suicide in Australia occur among males at a rate three times greater than that for females. However, during the past decade, there has been an increase in suicide deaths by females
    The suicide rate amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is more than double the national rate. In 2015, suicide accounted for 5.2% of all Indigenous deaths compared to 1.8% for non-Indigenous people
    For every death by suicide, it is estimated that as many as 30 people attempt to end their lives
    That is approximately 65,300 suicide attempts each year

    Black dog had this to say:

    Suicide has devastating impacts on families, friends and communities. Each year, more than 2,500 Australians die by suicide and over 65,000 people make a suicide attempt. It’s the leading cause of death for Australians between 15 and 44 years of age – but it can be prevented.

    Every year:

    around 400,000 Australians experience suicidal thoughts
    over 65,000 Australians make a suicide attempt
    around 35,000 Australians are admitted to hospital for suicide-related injuries
    more than 2,500 Australians die by suicide.
    Suicide as a cause of death
    Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between 15 and 44 years of age.
    Young Australians are more likely to take their own life than die in motor vehicle accidents.
    In 2014, the highest age-specific suicide rate for males was in the 85+ age group. The next highest was in males in the 40-44 age group and the 50-54-year age group.
    In 2014, about 75% of people who died by suicide were males and 25% were females.
    No matter who suicide affects, it has a devastating impact on families and the wider community. Most people don’t really want to end their life, they want the pain to stop.

    Causes of suicide
    The causes of suicide are complex. Factors that may contribute to suicide include:

    stressful life events
    mental illness
    physical illness
    drug and alcohol abuse
    poor living circumstances.
    There are also factors that make us more resilient, such as our connections to our family, friends and wider support network.

    Some people having suicidal thoughts might feel afraid to ask for help as there is a ‘stigma’ around suicide.

    Suicides often come in groups as one suicide inspires others to act. I wonder how many others will be inspired by the Dolly story to commit suicide – or seek help from the likes of Lifeline?

  28. BilB, I’m not claiming it’s all the parents fault.
    But the parents are pointing the finger solidly at cyber bulling, I’m not convinced that’s the only factor, that’s all.

    What I will say is this thing that is ” social media ” is a very new thing that a lot of parents had no idea about when they let their kids on it. In a lot a cases the kids were teaching the parents !!
    It wasn’t bad parenting as such but a result of ignorance of potential harm.
    The was no parental skills, lessons or rules to pass on.
    Facebook only took off in 04 and iPhones in 07.

    On the bright side most of today’s imminent parents will, in the main, have those skills, lessons and rules.
    But I think we’ll see the effects for a while yet, maybe 5 – 8 years.

  29. Jumpy: since the parents could not have known the dangers of social media (due to ignorance of potential harm) it looks as if the bullies are to blame for the girl’s untimely death.

  30. 6.0000 of 1.00000 and 0.5000 doz t’other.
    Your imprecision is worrying.

    BTW, Dr Greer is a famous former person of the ‘Sydney Push’.
    Perhaps by now, Push has come to Shove?

    I’m old enough to remember when Dr Greer was forthright in supporting the rights of women.

    Deary me!

    When I were a lad in t’ roadside drain, ‘n us kids scavengin’ fer cigarette butts, that Dr Greer ‘ld pull over in ‘er car, and shout out, “You boys, give yer sisters a fair go!!” [that were an Australian expression] ‘n then me ‘n Syd ‘n ‘orace ‘ld stop thoompin’ t’ girls fer a bit. Then she drove away, like.

    Strange lass, that Germy girl. Wonder what ‘appen?

  31. Yesterday I had a number of long phone conversations with family members. There is a fair bit going on at present. At present my brother and I intend to head west on Friday, returning on Tuesday next week.

    On the blog, I started a couple of days ago to write a comment on matriarchy/patriarchy. After reading a few links it became clear that it would have to be a post. I’ve found a few pieces of interesting information and it is hard to put it together into a decent structure. Last night I wrote about 150 words.

    I think I’m over the blockage and hoping for better tonight. However, heading west means I’m pretty busy during the day.

    Meanwhile RenewEconomy is back at work, and John D has pointed out that there is a lot of useful information there. they’ve started the year with a bang.

  32. Just heard a call on local radio from a woman who spends her time on educating children and parents on cyber safety.

    Seems that banning access to social media from a young age is probably unrealistic. Also for young people growing up the teenage years represent the stage Erik Erikson identifies as most concerned with establishing personal identity. As such the period through to the early to mid 20s represents a period of great vulnerability.

    She was emphasising communication/trust between parents and children, but by the late teenage time many young people are going to want develop an inner life that has some privacy.

    I know when my son was at St James secondary the school was very aware that at 18 young people can vote, enter legal agreements in their own right, and generally should be able to navigate the world with a high degree of autonomy.

  33. You Couldn’t Make Thus Up part 2042657.

    Wall Street Journalc claims Wendi Deng is a spy.

    “The Onion” says that Stormy D paid $130, 000 to deny having slept with The Donald.

  34. I remember foretelling that moons ago Mr A and being scoffed at.
    Old Eddy must still have some clout to get the other big hitters to pull out.

    Or maybe it’s an ” ** equalidy ” thing.

    ( ** Gillard pronounciation )

  35. What, scoffed at Mr J??
    Heavens forfend.

    Scoffing, cheap stabs; the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. But you are made of stern stuff Mr J and will doubtless take it in your stride.

    BTW “The Australian” newspaper also predicted the rise of KK. Did you draw your conclusion from their articles? ?

  36. Na, paywalled, never read it.
    Where did you hear the report emerge, if you don’t mind me asking, ABC ?

  37. The latest report?

    Probably Fairfax and “The Australian”, both online. Tend to skim the headlines. Seems two other contenders withdrew, as you mentioned.

    While Bennelong byelection was on, reports were that KK had said she would never wish to be a Senator.

    Yesterday’s reports claimed this Senate spot “belongs to” the ALP right faction.

  38. Sorry, I’ve been spending my time wrangling a new post on patriarchy/matriarchy. Bigger than I thought.

    Have only had time to skim the comments, so in no position to comment – except, the stats yesterday showed people, someone or more than one, accessed 17 posts other than the ones that attracted comments. I was pleased with that.

  39. I don’t know if it counts but I was snooping around looking for where I mentioned KK would be a Senator, and the replies. Not 17 though, more like 7 or 8.

  40. Ootz the Ogler.
    Vlad the Impaler.

    Youse Europeans are a Weird Mob

    with apologies to Nino Culotta.

  41. Ambi, it was a manner of speech and I have been naturalised. Nature is really the best artist and humblingly so. Take this stunning ‘Ring Nebula’ in the constellation of Lyra. This image is a combination of data from three telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope that’s currently orbiting the earth at around 27,000 km/h. It shows the remnants of a sun-like star, that has ‘exhausted its hydrogen fuel and shed its outer layers of gas to gravitationally collapse into a compact object.’ Taken by the acclaimed astrophotographer Robert Gendler/ Additional Credits: NASA, ESA, and C. R. O’Dell.

    Talking about exploding stars, Trump’s ghost writer for The Art of the Deal, wrote an insightful opinion piece in the Guardian.

    Trump has made fear the dominant emotion of our times. This, I believe, is his primary impact on the body politic after a year in office. He began his campaign by describing immigrant Mexicans as rapists, Muslims as terrorists, and more recently all black and brown people, and entire countries, as inferior. Trump skilfully exploited the fears of supporters who felt powerless and disenfranchised by presenting himself as their angry champion, even though the policies he has since pursued are likely to make their lives worse.

    Tony Schwartz then eloquently outlines the psychological predilections of fear, based on our understanding of Emotional Intelligence and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. It is well worth reading. I nearly wrote a comment along a similar line the other day with respect to the existential threats as posed by Climate Change and overconsumption. Schwartz finishes with:

    My personal commitment is to pay much less attention to him, and more to making a difference to others affected by his policies. Whatever happens, may the worst of Trump inspire the best in us.

    Amen to that.

  42. Thanks for that link, Ootz. Way way back in 1985 Mr Trump was merely a very influential and very rich businessman in New York. Plenty of front and BS, like most of his ilk, I suppose, but nothing remarkable.

    So what went wrong?

    Who knows?

    But something I read a few years back sums it up for me. It described the U.S. as a land of the thousand finest minds in the known universe – and 300 million simpletons.

    Just one example: the Yanks are obsessive about patriotism – yet they rejected three war veterans for president and elected – twice!! – a notorious unconvicted gangplank dodger, George W. Bush. ,

  43. Concerning bullying, this morning on local radio in the Focus program Emma Griffiths devoted the whole hour to the topic. I think that’s the link.

    It seems the problem is huge, endemic, and deeply embedded into our culture.

    Griffiths consulted two academics. One, the man, said that anti-bullying programs simply did not work, and normally resulted in further bullying, usually by bullying the bully.

    There were examples of teachers overtly bullying. A principal yelled at the victim’s parents, because she had written to the minister after she could not get satisfaction. The minister’s office simply passed the letter back to the school.

    The female academic told of being yelled at by principals after being invited to the school to help with their bullying issues. She said that current anti-bullying programs in fact reduced bullying by about 20 to 30%, which of course is not nearly enough.

    In most cases it seems the kid had to be transferred to another school.

    I think two things have to happen, which I think I said before. One is that teachers need to be screened before they start their professional preparation. Secondly, schools need to take social and personality development seriously. I think proscocial strategies have to be modelled and promoted.

    Emma Griffiths ended quoting a poster in her daughters school saying something like “let loving kindness be sprinkled like confetti”.

    It needs a bit more than that.

  44. BilB (Re: JANUARY 28, 2018 AT 10:53 PM):

    To be able to evaluate that which is true and that which is not begins with being able to analyse information in a fundamental way.

    For decision-makers who are unable, or unwilling to evaluate that which is true and that which is not has consequences.

    On CNN, Sep 2017, Neil deGrasse Tyson scolds cherry picking climate science here:

    00:22: So, what’s happening here is there’re people who have cultural, political, religious, economic philosophies, that they then invoke, when they want to cherry pick one scientific result or another. You can find a scientific paper that says practically anything.
    …the press will sometimes find a single paper: So, here’s a new truth, if this study holds. But… an emergent scientific truth, for it to become an objective truth, a truth that is true, whether or not you believe in it – it requires more than one scientific paper. It requires a whole system of people’s research, all leaning in the same direction – all pointing to the same consequences. That’s what we have with climate change, as induced by human conduct. This is a known correspondence. If you want to find the three per cent of the papers, or the one per cent of the papers, that conflicted with this, and build policy on that? That is simply irresponsible! And, what… How else do you establish a scientific truth if not by looking at the consensus of scientific experiments and scientific observations?

    The cultural, political, religious and economic philosophies are obstructing the objective scientific truths. Irresponsible behaviour, if it persists for much longer will likely disrupt many lives soon.

    03:05: I think there’s fifty inches of… I can’t even picture fifty – how many rain drops is that? Fifty inches of rain in Houston! This is… this is a shot across our bow – a hurricane the width of Florida, going up the centre of Florida – these are… these are shots across our bow. At what… What will it take, for people to recognise, that a community of scientists, are learning objective truths about the natural world, and that you can benefit from knowing about it? Ah… Even news reports on this channel, ah… talked about the fact that we had fewer deaths per hurricane. Why? Because you now know weeks in advance! We have models that have trajectories of hurricanes. In decades gone by, it was like: There’s a hurricane there – we don’t know – should I stay, should I go? And then you stay, and you die. OK? So, to cherry pick science – it’s an odd thing for a scientist to observe. And I don’t… I didn’t grow up in a country where that was a common phenomenon. We went to the moon, and people knew science and technology fed those discoveries. And the day two politicians are arguing about whether science is true – it means nothing gets done – nothing! It’s the beginning of the end of an informed democracy, as I’ve said many times. What I’d rather happen, is you recognise what is scientifically true, then you have your political debate. So, in the case of… of energy policy, whatever, it’s… You don’t ask: Is the science right? You ask: Should we have carbon credits, or tariffs? The right response!

    Will stupid, ill-informed ideologues get us and our families killed, as a consequence of their irresponsible, ill-informed decision-making?

  45. Brian: We had a Thai friend who came to Aus as a teenager and had trouble with the other kids calling her “smack”. When her step father and I found out about this we talked about how the Australian banter society was very different from many other societies. (In many societies you lose face if you don’t respond to insults. In the Australian banter society you lose face if you take insults seriously and are unable to laugh at yourself.)
    We advised her to respond to being called smack by replying “I am not smack, I am super smack and to laugh at herself.”
    She sounded as though she was a bit doubtful and wouldn’t try it. However, next time she saw us she was all enthusiastic because the advice had worked. She said that a bit after she had declared herself super smack one of the boys tried to pick on her and the rest of the class got stuck into him.
    I guess the point I am making is that part of dealing with bullying is teaching people strategies and skills that help them deal with bullies, teaching potential bullies what bullying can consist of and why it is undesirable as well as teaching people within a group that they can have a responsibility to do something when someone within a group is bullying.
    The other point I would make is that members of a group are more likely to be supportive if someone is trying.
    None of this says that there are not times when schools need to take direct action to deal with serious bullying but would suggest that indirect approaches like talking to kids about what bullying is etc. is a better way of fixing a problem. A way that doesn’t highlight who was complaining about the behavior of a specific bully.

  46. John, perceptive thoughts there.

    I’ve heard anti-bullying experts talk about making bullying a group issue within the school and the kids are taught intervention strategies, and if they are interested, taught conflict resolution strategies. Some schools also have a buddy system, where seniors are assigned to look out for a specific newbie at the beginning of the year.

    Lynne Hinton at Buranda was trying to positively encourage social skills to the point where bullying didn’t arise, but then brought the issue into the classroom if aggravation did occur.

    At St James where my youngest went to secondary school, they actually didn’t teach foreign languages but put extra staff resources into counselling as a conscious choice. If anyone wanted to do a language they arranged enrolment with the State Secondary Correspondence School.

    They were very prosocial across the board, but if there was an instance of bullying a counsellor would interview bully and victim and then bring the two together.

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