Friday, 5 February 2010

FRIDAY RAMBLE: Print ‘em out for the weekend [updated]

Time for another ramble through a few sites and sounds that caught my eye this week and last, beginning with . . .

  • . . . the shock news of the week for most NZers: Jobless rate rise shocks markets, puts back rate rises
        Of course, the revelation that the economy is still in the toilet and 276,000 NZers are out of work and looking for the start was only a shock for those who believed that GDP figures can tell you when you’re out of recession, and who thought we were. That we are. The fools.
      The big shock really should have been for the real morons who are still talking about hiking minimum wages at a time when minimum-wage laws should be abolished—abolished so that the labout market can clear. 
        Not for those morons any reflection on the news that “The increase in unemployment was particularly marked among youth, with the unemployment rate for 15 to 24 year olds rising 6.4 percentage points to reach 18.4 percent,” or that “the unemployment rate for Maori is 15.4 percent, for Pacific people it is 14 percent, while just 4.6 percent of the European ethnic group were unemployed.”  No, those same morons who refused to believe Paul Walker when he told them “minimum wages reduce employment of low-skilled workers” still refuse to believe the evidence in front of their own eyes—and continue to damn those low-skilled workers to being low-skilled non-workers instead.
        Morons, thy name is The Standard.
        Like Paul says, they need to be smacked with a textbook. Paul and Eric Crampton deliver a good first serve:
    Econ 101 and the minimum wage – ANTI DISMAL
    Posts on Minimum Wages – OFFSETTING BEHAVIOUR
  • In fact, the high unemployment figures “are actually surprisingly low,”says Peter Osborne.
    Big Government = High Unemployment – Peter Osborne, LIBERTARIANZ
  • And I’ve been disparaging about John Key’s government imposing an Emisssions Tax Scam on us all, so what then about the declaration to which he’s finally signed up: “to take on a responsibility target for greenhouse gas emissions reductions of between 10 per cent and 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, if there is a comprehensive global agreement” including both developed and developing countries.  Given that there isn’t a snowball’s chance in Hades of such an agreement being reached, does that just leave Australia “like a shag on a rock, boldly promising to slash emissions hard, regardless”? 
    In other words, have we been saved?
    Appendix I - Quantified economy-wide emissions targets for 2020. Annex: Parties – UNFCC
    Rudd leads world in climate stupidity – ANDREW BOLT
  • Herald columnist Jim Hopkins has purloined an unauthorised excerpt from IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri’s raunchy work of fiction.  And I’m not talking the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report here. It’s so hot it could melt a polar icecap. Here’s several inches of the inconvenient truth:
        “’Oh, sir, is that a hockey stick graph in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?’
        "’Both, my angel,’ he cried, as their lips crashed together like waves on a drowning atoll's shore.”

    Scientist's racy novel turns up the heat – JIM HOPKINS
  • “Waitangi weekend is a good to stop and appreciate what a deeply weird country we are,” says the Dim Post.  Best you go visit to see what he means. It’ll only take a minute.
    Jamais vu – DIM POST
  • “Some sectors of American culture have not gotten the message yet: [that] Ayn Rand was more than a grumpy ignoramus with no friends who couldn't write.” Latest evidence in chief, a tawdry hit job by Theodore Dalrymple, aka Anthony Daniels, well dissected by the Fun With Gravity blog.
    Why, oh why, do so many lies have to be told about Ayn Rand simply in order to smear her?
    Ayn Rand In The New Criterion – FUN WITH GRAVITY
  • 108229181_full When I was a kid I remember reading C.S. Forester’s Hornblower books (based on my father’s enthusiasm for them, as I recall), and had forgotten all about them until this week when a friend lent me the Hornblower mini-series on DVD.  I can unreservedly recommend it.  Heroic, courageous, tautly written and utterly uncynical—the books are faithfully transferred to the screen in as un-post-modern a production as you could hope to see.
    Hornblower on TRADEME
  • ( As a bonus, can you remember which American president committed a nomination speech blunder in which he called Hubert Horatio Hornblower “a great man who should have been President, who would have been one of the greatest Presidents in history.”? Answer here.)
  • The Cato Institute’s ‘Unbound’ blog has been examining Ayn Rand and her contribution this month.  “Ayn Rand has been dead for 27 years, but the influence of the iconoclastic novelist and philosopher shows no sign of flagging. . . The time would seem ripe, then, for a reappraisal of her ideas.”
    Sadly for that project however, wanting to do something is not the same as doing it. Perhaps they should have invited contributors who know a little more about their subject?
    What's Living & Dead in Ayn Rand's Moral & Political Thought – CATO UNBOUND
  • Put aside 40 minutes sometime this weekend to watch George Reisman offer a pro-free market program for economic recovery: the cause of the collapse, and its cure.  Sheer brilliance that everyone affected by the economic downturn needs to understand—which is to say, all of you.

_quote The issue is not slavery for a 'good' cause versus slavery
for a 'bad' cause; the issue is not dictatorship by  a 'good'
gang versus dictatorship by a 'bad' gang.
The issue is freedom versus dictatorship."


  • If stalking MPs is your thing, then your thing is going to be the new Watching Your MP website, which invites readers to post sightings of your employees out and about around the country. Lots of low-level stuff—Simon Bridges spotted in a Gull Service Station in Mt Maunganui—lots of odd sort of stuff—Paul Bennett spotted at the AC/DC concert in Wellington—but this has the potential to at least keep the MPs’ alibis honest.
    Watching Your MP
  • Bookmark this one for your Sunday reading and more: James Valliant takes on and demolishes the anti-historical notion that Christianity is what underpins civilisation; that “the history of the West is the history of Christianity”; and that “as Christianity declines, the greatness of the Western world follows."
    Bollocks, says Valliant.  But he says it masterfully.
    Gimme That Old Time Religion!SOLO
  • Nelson Mail-2A British man’s castle can’t be his home, poor bastard. Sayeth the bloody bureaucrats [Hat tip Roger W.]
    UK man's castle won't be his home, court says – YAHOO
  • Some more poor bastards here, on the right another example of the hard-heart of the welfare state: A German family who moved to Nelson looking for a new life, but who have lost their employment, have been told by Immigration to get the hell out, and (not being allowed to be citizens, or even residents) cant even get their tax money back, and are now reliant on donations to survive. Another example of the welfare state’s inhumanity to immigrantsThe Welfare State is a killer for open immigration, and a killer for many immigrants.
    Global crunch [and the NZ immigration department] upsets family dream – NELSON MAIL
    [PS: If you’d like to help this family out, email Janett at janett dot peter at ]
  • Some people think those “dumb Chinese” are going to keep bankrolling America for ever.  How many times have you heard, on the one hand, that it doesn't make sense for China to keep buying US government debt, but on the other that they will keep right  on buying it?   Check your premises. [Hat tip Sovereign Life Blog]


  • Considering the many blunders that make up the rich tapestry of history, it would be a brave newspaper indeed that made up a list of history’s fifteen greatest mistakes.  Which is what the Telegraph has done.
    History's 15 great mistakes – TELEGRAPH
  • “Glenn Beck can be both illuminating and infuriating,”  says Brian Phillips. His latest infuriating populism?  Suggesting that that the states of the United States have a “right” to institute universal health care, hand out free cars, etc. if enough citizens of that state want such thing.
    Conservative Populism - HOUSTON PROPERTY RIGHTS
  • Here’s QI’s John Lloyd.  The write-up says “nature's mysteries meet tack-sharp wit in this hilarious, 10-minute mix of quips and fun lessons, as comedian, writer and TV man John Lloyd plucks at the substance of several things not seen.” Whatever the hell that means. There is a point, even if you can’t see it (and yes, that is a pun).

  • I betcha George Washington’s State of the Union would look a little different to the ObaMessiah’s.
    President George Washington's First State Of the Union Address – WORDS BY WOODS
  • Anybody else remember that great British TV programme Connections in which James Burke showed all sorts of exciting and frankly bizarre connections between great events, and great discoveries. John Drake remembers—including a special memory of a special episode discussing the connection between the ideas of philosopher Immanuel Kant and the career of Adolf Hitler, via a once-famous environmentalist. The story overlaps both these videos (the first of which starts, unfortunately, with a mistaken paean to mercantilism):

  • Tom Utley reckons Republicans could learn a lot from Ron Paul. See:
    Republicans could learn a lot from Ron Paul – IT’S MY BLOG
  • "How long before some of Cuba's laws are enacted under Obama?" wonders Sandi Trixx.
    Digging Che – SANDI TRIXX
  • I love Paul Hsieh’s little philosophical quiz. Three views on building a shelter; three on choosing what food to eat; three on knowledge; and three more on happiness. Can you spot the similarities?
    A Few Parallels From Shelter, Food, Epistemology, and HappinessNOODLE FOOD 
  • Hat tip for these last few, by the way, to this week’s Objectivist Blog Roundup over at Kelly’s place.
  • And a big hat tip to Jazz On The Tube for this historic Louis Armstrong performance recorded in Ghana.

Enjoy your weekend!


  1. Robert Winefield5 Feb 2010, 18:09:00

    Hornblower is excellent.

    The take on Glenn Beck is wrong. He definitely does rail against problems in individual States - especially on his radio show. But the Federal government is everybody's problem. You can always move between states. Compare that to immigrating FFS!

    He's a fan of the constitution and believes that the Feds need to return to that.

    FYI Each State has their own constitution. Changing them in the manner that your commentator wishes would require an even greater degree of public awareness than is required to fight Obama and his Progressive pals.

    Has it escaped your commentator that Beck invites Yaron Brook onto his show?

    What more do you damn well want from a non-Objectivist, Mormon Libertarian who is constantly re-evaluating his political beliefs?

    Yeah, that's right... his views are evolving.

    Compare that to Sean Hannity or Michael Savage or Bill O'Reilly -- Conservatives who are every bit of the myopic Tory's that your commentator bemoans.

    We can't spare this man. He fights. Which is more than I can say for sundry Objectivists and Libertarians who take him to task but do bugger all else.

  2. Well, in defence of the good Mr Phillips, who's taking Mr Beck to task this time, he's been in the forefront of the battle to keep zoning out of Houston--so on that basis I'd say he's a fighter, and he's earned the right to criticise.

    And yes, Hornblower is excellent (thanks Mark).

  3. Robert Winefield6 Feb 2010, 06:30:00

    Well, then well done Mr Phillips. I should have looked into his background.

    Beck does have flaws. But he strikes me as an honest dealer and someone who gives his microphone to intellectual activists who argue for the same things that Mr Phillips, You, and me believe in. That's more that I can say for his contemporaries on the 'right' Hannity, Limbaugh, Savage, Levin, Ingram, O'Reilly etc.

    I've never heard Ayn Rand or von Mises mentioned on PBS or Air America. And when the stars do align, the major networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC etc.) and never portray them in a flattering light.

    So why take Beck to task and not mention how sodding awful Hannity, Limbaugh and O'Reilly are? Each one is more popular in Radio or TV format. If you are holding Beck up as the poster-child for all the ills of the Conservative movement, why aren't the former three being mentioned?

    They've been on air far longer are more popular and are far more rigid in their views. O'Reilly advocates Anti-trust legislation and price controls on the Evil Big-Oil companies FFS!

    As for his point that the States and individual city governments are just as bad as the Fed. I accept that. Only the Fed has control of everyone. But when this Union was founded the forth leg in the separation of Powers was to have the individual states run themselves.

    The obvious consequence would be that the city or state government that ruled the best (by ruling the least) would attract the most populace etc. and lead by example.

    That isn't going to happen if Barrack ends up (to borrow Tolken's line) acquiring the 'one ring to rule all others.'

    The Feds are the biggest threat. Beck only has five hours a week and the Federal Government is moving at light-speed to send this country into the abyss.

    He's taking on the 500lb gorilla in the room and Mr Phillips is complaining that he hasn't left time to deal with the fact that the family dog has shat on the couch?

    I'm sorry but if you want to call out someone in the Conservative movement for criticism, Beck is waaaaay down on the list.

  4. Robert Winefield8 Feb 2010, 10:21:00

    An example of Glenn Beck on the states of the individual States is this past Friday's program.

    He is discussing the difference between states with progressive legislators and those with conservative ones. He himself isn't getting to the nub of the issue, but the guests he is interviewing are.

    California is such a mess because the budget is not entirely controlled by the legislator. 80% of their budget is set by mandates and budget initiatives that avoid budgetary controls. To remove them from the budget, you need to repeal those budget initiatives. This is a systematic problem whose cause lies in their constitution.

    Contrast this with Texas whose constitution forbids a personal income tax.

    I do not learn these things from Obejectivist websites. I do not learn these things from O'Reilly/Hannity or Limbaugh. I did not learn these things from ABC/NBC/CBS.

    I got it from Beck's show. The value of this man is that he has a fresh eye for issues. He cuts his own path and interviews folks who everyone else considers to be lepers.

    Yes, he isn't an objectivist. So f--king what? He ~interviews~ Objectivists. He ~interviews~ Libertarians. He ~interviews~ economists from the CATO institute and von Mises institute.

    Other than PJTV and the internet where else do you get to hear from these experts?

    Mr Phillips is dead wrong.

    And seeing as Beck is receiving fire from every quarter on the left and from the Republican parties, it pisses me off that people who should know better are joining in the bombardment just because the guy doesn't meet their standards for broadcasting perfection.

    Christ, I just read folks on Yaron Brook's Facebook page complaining that John Stossel ~DELAYED~ his special on Atlas Shrugged.

    WHERE ELSE would such a special be shown?

    Thank everything that is holy that we don't have to wait for the approval of Objectivists to attempt to fix this country.

  5. I agree with Robert Winefield here. It is only Glen Becks that has consistently brought the attention of millions of americans to the libertarianism ideology. No one has. No one is perfect, but being part or half full is much better than nothing. Beck has had guest appearances on his show from individuals at the Cato Institute such as Dr. Brook. To the best of my knowledge, people from Cato have never been interviewed or appeared in major TV channels in the US, CNN, CBS, etc,... So, people never knew what the fuck libertarianism is all about.

    The reason that libertariansism is being held back, is that the belief in utopian that everything must be complied 100% to its ideology, not 40%, 70% and not even 99%, it must be 100% , period. In reality, that 100%, is (well) impossible. It is better to work around with what you have (even if it's only half full), then dream of things in its' entirety when it is realistically impossible to achieve.

    Some say, that Beck is a christian fundamentalist, so what?

    It is not the color of your skin or belief, but your characters. Beck is an advocate for less government and to keep the government out of running people's private lives. That's good characters and his belief is irrelevant. I think that Martin Lutherking would agree, if he is to be resurrected today.


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