December 8th 2007

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: After the landslide: the challenges ahead

CULTURE: Dealing girls a raw and racy deal

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Has the Liberal Party any future?

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Can Australia avoid an economic downturn?

WATER: Vehement opposition to permanent water-trade

QUARANTINE: Horse flu inquiry exposes AQIS's abject failure

NATIONAL SECURITY: We have met the enemy, and he is us

STRAWS IN THE WIND: The WHY and HOW of Labor's victory / Now for the Delphic Oracle ...

CULTURE: Dealing girls a raw and racy deal

SCIENCE: People will marry robots, scientist predicts

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: Abortion link to pre-term birth and cerebral palsy

MEDICINE: Dolly's creator abandons therapeutic cloning

OPINION: William Wilberforce's lessons for us today

Bad economics (letter)

Ten points for Kevin Rudd (letter)

DLP resurgence (letter)


BOOKS: PRINCE OF THE CHURCH: Patrick Francis Moran, 1830-1911, by Philip Ayres

BOOKS: CONJUGAL AMERICA: On the Public Purposes of Marriage, by Allan Carlson

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News Weekly, December 8, 2007

Our Gadarene generation

The phenomenon that characterises our age more than any other, and one that returns us to the primitive state of our superstitious ancestors with their witch hunts, [is] the global scare.

From [about 1982 on] all hell broke loose, with an unending sequence of "disasters" - killer eggs, listeria hysteria, mad cows and human CJD, E. coli, The Millennium Bug, Satanic abuse, speed kills, lead, passive smoking, asbestos and finally the big one - Global Warming.

There were so many factors that were common to these outbreaks, not least in the consequences. There was draconian legislation, the mass closure of viable productive businesses, multiplication of officials supported by the taxpayer, the enrichment of lawyers, stepwise erosion of human liberty etc., all based on little or no evidence.

Have no doubt about it: scares have robbed this generation of the age of prosperity and freedom that was their birthright, for which their forefathers fought and died....

Global warming is unique in that economic failure is not just a by-product of the scare; it is the whole raison d'être. It is promoted by interests who oppose everything that would enhance the economic well-being of mankind...

It is typical in employing all the manoeuvres that have sustained the previous, less durable scares; i.e., selecting favourable data while ignoring more credible adverse data, practising overt and covert censorship, mounting ad hominem attacks on opponents, recruiting "scientists" to serve its purposes with public funds, while without evidence gratuitously accusing critics of receiving handouts from hated industrial sources, putting the frighteners on ill-informed ordinary people and so on.

Scientifically this scare is dead in the water; even the measurement evidence of any warming occurring at all fades away on examination. But the weaker their case becomes the more fervently the faithful cling to their belief and the more bitter the bile they direct at infidels.

- from John Brignell, in Number Watch (UK), November 2007.




Family-friendly cities

Married people with children tend to be both successful and motivated, precisely the people who make economies go. They are twice as likely to be in the top 20 per cent of income-earners, according to the US Census, and their incomes have been rising considerably faster than the national average.

Indeed, if you talk with recruiters and developers in the nation's fastest-growing regions, you find that the critical ability to lure skilled workers, long term, lies not with bright lights and nightclubs, but with ample economic opportunities, affordable housing and family-friendly communities not too distant from work.

Pat Riley, president of Alan Tate company, a large residential brokerage in Charlotte, North Carolina, says: "They [the parents] want to be somewhere where they don't miss their kids growing up because there's no time."

There is a basic truth about the geography of young, educated people. They may first migrate to cities like New York, Los Angeles, Boston or San Francisco. But they tend to flee when they enter their child-rearing years. Family-friendly metropolitan regions have seen the biggest net gains of professionals, largely because they not only attract workers, but they also retain them through their 30s and 40s.

The evidence thus suggests that the obsession with luring singles to cities is misplaced. Instead, suggests Paul Levy, president of Philadelphia's Center City district association, the emphasis should be on retaining young people as they grow up, marry, start families and continue to raise them.

Mr Levy's organisation has worked closely with local public and private schools, church and civic organisations to build up the support structures that might convince today's youthful inner city urbanites to remain as they start families. "Our agenda," Mr Levy says, "has to change. We have to look at the parks, the playgrounds and the schools."

Such a shift in emphasis could mark a new beginning for many long-neglected urban neighbourhoods across the country. It's time to recognise that today, as has been the case for millennia, families provide the most reliable foundation for successful economies.

- from Joel Kotkin in Opinion Journal (The Wall Street Journal), November 27, 2007.




Bureaucrats, Leaguers and Muslims

Here's a little story from the Italian press that people may have missed. Apparently there are 7,000 Muslims in or around the city of Padova - Padua to English-speakers - and they have a mosque, but want another one.

The so-called Northern League are opposed to this. In general terms, the League are either seen as local nationalists, or a bunch of semi-fascists. A document described as 5H4HID.b9 (rev1154) offers guidelines on building mosques - nobody can possibly say that the bureaucrats who devised, drafted and now implement such a procedure are not earning their salaries.

Studying the issue for purposes of blocking it, some Leaguers teamed up with a nearby farmer to loose a pig over the ground marked out for the mosque, in the full knowledge that the animal and above all its droppings would make the area unclean for ever. So it proves - no mosque here.

The act is unworthy of Padua, complains the mayor. A spokesman for the Muslims is quoted going further: "They must choose between the Prophet and prosciutto. Islam is very peaceful, but when we are insulted we will turn everyone into sausages."

Bureaucrats, Leaguers, Muslims, readers - who exactly has the last laugh?

- from the David Pryce-Jones Blog, November 18, 2007.


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