Friday, 14 May 2010

Friday Morning Ramble: The “dinner” edition

Welcome to another ramble round the interweb, another week in which the politicians won while we were all done over like a dinner.  Here are the links and larks from around the ‘net I’ve dug out for you this week:

  • R-150-982555-1265622562KiwiPolitico makes a meal out of John Key’s unfortunate quip yesterday.
    Summary of joke news coverage -
  • “It isn't that the joke was unfunny. It was that he would even think to joke about Tuhoe after just causing them so much pain. That was thoroughly and dismally revealing.”
    John Key, Tuhoe and trust - LINDSAY MITCHELL
  •     “John Key’s fears of being a hangi-filler for the people of Tuhoe pale into insignificance next to the ongoing cannibalism of taxpayers by a multitude of freeloaders, including those moochers currently riding the Treaty of Waitangi gravy train…
        “Maori tribalists are not the only cannibals. Any New Zealander who believes their need constitutes a claim on the life of other innocent New Zealanders accepts the premise that it is right that some humans be consumed by others.”
    Tribal Predators Cannibalise Taxpayers – RICHARD McGRATH
  • Seems like a good time to re-read Paul Moon’s opinion piece from 2008, at the launch of his book on cannibalism in early NZ, This Horrid Practice.
    Cannibalism too unpalatable for some – Paul Moon
    Tales of Maori cannibalism told in new book – NZ HERALD
  • Song of the day really has to be the venerable Puha & Pakeha by Rod Derrett, a “missionary” from a less PC past (kindly pulled out of the ether and dusted off by Keeping Stock)

  • With all the trumpeting last week about the 25,000 “seasonally adjusted” drop in the unemployment rate, no-one seems to have spotted that around 14,500 more people who can't find work and would otherwise have been on the unemployment benefit are now receiving student allowances instead. That is, no-one spotted it until Lindsay Mitchell did.
    Student allowances up 63 percent since 2006 – LINDSAY MITCHELL
  • Let’s have some Q&A on the disastrous. Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
    1.  Who should pay for the clean up?
    Answer:  BP
    2. Should government regulate the transportation and extraction of dangerous goods?
    Answer: No.
    3. Is it proper for the government to oversee activities that represent the potential of mass devastation?
    Answer: No.
    Still, Baby, Drill – YARON BROOK at PAJAMAS MEDIA
    Comment: "There is a mistaken premise in your questions..." – GALILEO BLOGS [hat tip Thrutch]
  • “Instead of moving the debate on energy policy forward, the spill is being used to grind preexisting policy axes. Unfortunately, those axes were none too sharp to begin with, and the grinding now in play does more to confuse than to enlighten.”
    Gulf oil spill: same old arguments - Jerry Taylor & Peter van Doren , L.A. TIMES
  • “It is vitally important that BP, and the oil industry generally, learns lessons from this accident. But it is wrong to overstate what has happened, and it is especially wrong to use this accident as an example of why mankind should stop ‘interfering’ with nature in his various risky ways. Yes, it would be a major step forward to find clean, reliable and economic replacements for the oil we use today, but for now, we’ve got to keep drilling.”
    The low Horizons of modern society: The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is bad, but it is not a warning from nature about mankind's hubris – Rob Lyons, SPIKED
  • Jeff Perren looks over the judicial record of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Turns out there’s not much to see, and what there is of it is not very good.
    Elena Kagan, Free Speech Foe – SHAVING LEVIATHAN
  • The death of young James Webster of alcohol poisoning is a tragedy. But a reality check is required for the wowsers: There is no law on earth that you could pass that would have saved his young life.
    Can't Legislate Against (Teenage) StupidityCACTUS KATE
  • Speaking of wowsers, we know that with an intellectual black hole in the Beehive he's incredibly influential, but when exactly did Geoffrey Palmer become "the fourth branch of government”?
    Geoffrey Palmer: the fourth branch of government – MEDIA LAW JOURNAL
  • Another reality check: John Key’s War on (Flu) Drugs is going the same way as every other War on Drugs and every other Prohibition has gone: “Obtaining methamphetamine may be getting easier despite a Government crack down on the drug, a report says.”
    Futility  - NO RIGHT TURN
  • “So how do we get out of this hole?” asks Eric Crampton. “I know! We'll dig our way out! . . . Guys, you've got to dig up, remember?”
    The 'plan' against P – OFFSETTING BEHAVIOUR (October 2009)
  • Speaking of the failing War on Drugs, Radley Balko updates the story on the video featured around the place last week: “It's heartening that nearly a million people have now seen the Columbia video. But it needs some context. The officers in that video aren't rogue cops. They're no different than other SWAT teams across the country. The raid itself is no different from the tens of thousands of drug raids carried out each year in the U.S….”
    Balko on the War on Drugs -  OFFSETTING BEHAVIOUR
  • c4d72d1e96dc981c4eb1 That video is just one demonstration that the War on Drugs leads inexorably to a war on basic freedoms.  The Key Government’s move to enact a complete ban on the NORML News magazine is another.
    Freedom of Speech: Up In Smoke – LIBZ
  • “Why as a society are we determined to stop people hurting themselves?  Part of life is learning to take responsibility when your own choices and actions hurt you – having a government act in a paternalistic way to stop this, and make it harder for people to learn about individual responsibility, seems dangerous to me.”
    Drugs and anti-paternalism – THE VISIBLE HAND IN ECONOMICS
  • In your face, IPCC. The Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) is now up and running.
    Climate Change Reconsidered: The Website of the Non-Governmental Panel on Climate Change
  • Medical researcher (and regular here at NOT PC) Dr Shaun Holt criticises Chiropractic quacks  in the wake of the landmark libel case brought by them against Simon Singh being thrown out. Listen here: Radio Live interview on chiropractors - AUDIO
  • Richard Dawkins explaining how science would work if it was like religion:
  • The head of Australia’s biggest mining company Rio Tinto is urging a shareholders revolt at K.Rudd’s iniquitous resource profits tax—and points out something that Rudd and Treasurer Swan don’t seem to grasp: “He dismissed Kevin Rudd's assertion that the nation would have raked in an extra $35 billion in tax in the past decade if the resource super-profits tax had been put in place… [because] $38bn invested in Australia by Rio since 2000 would not have been spent if the RSPT had been in place.”
    Rio Tinto boss urges shareholder revolt – THE AUSTRALIAN
  • Fact is, “the federal Treasurer does not understand the fundamentals of capital management that drive large-scale commercial investment.”
    Swan doesn't appreciate the impact of tax – THE AUSTRALIAN
  • More evidence on that score: “Treasury believes that if miners do make good on their threats to shut projects or expand overseas rather than in Australia, it would help address the problems of managing a two-speed economy. In particular, Treasury believes a slowdown in the resources sector would reduce the need for the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates.” Or, in other words, shoot the more productive and you’ll somehow “fix” the economy.
    Mining delays 'not all bad': Treasury – THE AUSTRALIAN
  •     “As if … the ‘Pink Batts fiasco and the school’s building scandal’ [weren’t enough], we now have the Resource Industry Super Tax Slug.
        “It would appear that our Prime Minister has declared war on anyone who saves and invests in Australia, including every Australian who has a superannuation policy.
        “Wise old Thomas Jefferson summed it up this way:
                “’I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too
            many parasites living on the labour of the industrious.’

        “For me, personally, about to ‘man a resource promotion booth’ in Washington D.C. and Chicago, my job is made a little more difficult but, as usual, always looking for the positive angle, I have a sign for display on the booth which announces:-
        “’THE GOOD NEWS FROM AUSTRALIA! Australia’s natural resources have a longer shelf life than our Federal Government.’
        “What do you think?”
    Canberra Needs History as a Compulsory Subject – PERTH-BASED MINING ENTREPRENEUR RON MANNERS
  • What was Obama’s advice to Europeans trying to rescue Greece? Essentially it was  "don’t face reality" but "carry on with the charade.”  “Carry on spending more than you produce. All you have to do is get people to think everything is ok.”  Doug Reich explains the ideas behind this patent nonsense, and the consequences of faking reality rather than facing it.
    Obama Regifts His Consciousness to EuropeRATIONAL CAPITALIST
  • German chancellor Angela Merkel seems to have this faking reality thing down pat. ““It is a fight against the markets and I am determined to win this fight” – Angela Merkel.  Guess she’s never heard of King Canute, huh.
    The Euro Titanic – SOVEREIGN LIFE BLOG
  • Public debt is not the same as private debt. “When a private person contracts to borrow money, he is entering into an obligation to repay the money – in the full knowledge of the terms of the loan. However, when the state borrows money, it is not the politicians who are taking on responsibility for paying back loans, but the taxpayers
        “The essential point is this: the hapless taxpayer finds himself liable for a debt he did not sign up to, did not authorise. So the moral solution to the sovereign debt crisis is to simply repudiate it – refuse to pay it back.”
    Repudiate Sovereign Debt – SOVEREIGN LIFE BLOG
  • Turns out that economic enlightenment has nothing to do with a university economic education. (No surprise there, some of the dumbest economists are the most mis-educated.) “Based on a  Zogby International online survey of 4,835 American adults, Columbia University psychologist Zeljka Buturovic and George Mason University economist Dan Klein find that economic enlightenment is not correlated to going to college. They also find that it is the highest among those self-identifying ‘conservative’ and ‘libertarian,’ and descends through ‘moderate,’ ‘liberal,’ and ‘progressive.’”
    You Don't Need a Ph.D. in Economics to Think Like an Economist -  VERONIQUE DE RUGY[hat tip Jeff Perren]
  • What’s missing most in mainstream economics is any notion of capital structure, or any capital theory that looks anything like real life.  This lecture by Peter Lewin fills the gap.
    Peter Lewin on Austrian Capital Theory - FEE
  • Speaking  of good economists, the historic correspondence between French economist Frederic Bastiat and anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon [he of the “property is theft” epithet]is now translated and online.  And it’s good!  [Thanks to reader Pierre for the link]
    The Bastiat-Proudhon Debates
  • Latest OECD data suggests NZ is “under-taxed.” However, “even a cursory glance at the data presented would tell you that this is income tax only and does not include any consumption taxes. It is therefore completely stupid…”
    Taxes? What Taxes? - MACDOCTOR
  • “I am sick of the OECD. I am sick of their collective lording over the world. I am sick of banks and financial institutions and money laundering laws being referred to in comparison to these countries. A bureaucracy of 320 million Euros a year and a staggering 2,500 staff… The hypocrisy of the OECD is the US and Euro are in the crapper, Greece is greasy, it is easier for a terrorist to open a bank account in downtown New York than it is for someone with a clean due diligence record to open a bank account in a non-OECD country…
        “I am no longer interested in statistics about the OECD. It is a dying Old Boys club that [no-one should] aspire to join and co-operate with.”
    OECD - Organisation for Economic Catastrophic Disaster? – CACTUS KATE

        “What are all those people counting on? If a [Greek] factory goes
bankrupt, the equalizers will find another factory to loot. If that other
factory starts crumbling, it will get a loan from the bank. If the bank
has no money, it will get a loan from the government. If the government
has no money, it will get a loan from a foreign government. If no
foreign government has any money, all of them will get a loan from
the United States.

    “What they don’t know—and neither does the United States—is that
the United States is broke.

            –Ayn Rand (with only one word altered), speaking as if it
              were yesterday instead of 1974 [hat tip The New Clarion]

  • Britain is already past the point of no return.  Overwhelmed by government spending on the bankrupt welfare state, rather than cutting spending to close the ballooning budget gap the new government is raising taxes.
    Britain Is the New France: UK's Problem is Too Much Spending -  CATO
  • “There were many losers in the election, but none more so than the cultural elite who backed Clegg. They’ve been shockingly exposed…
        “Normally, ‘Lib Dems come third’ would not be a shocking headline. But in the wake of ‘Cleggmania’, when there was a widespread (and wild) discussion of Clegg as a new Obama who would take us into a new dawn and transform British politics forever, the fact that the Lib Dems not only didn’t make any gains, but actually seem to have lost seats, takes on a new dimension. It exposes, not only the well-known fact that the Lib Dems are the perennial third party, but also something more profound: that there is a chasm between the cultural elite and the public today, and the electorate is understandably not enamoured by the argument for a ‘new politics’ that lacks any substance…
        “The problem, of course, is not the electorate. It is the lack of an alternative. The big idea offered by the Cleggomaniac cultural elite, which would apparently shake the foundations of the establishment and seize the voters, was electoral reform. Not any economic solutions, promise of liberty or galvanising vision for Britain, but constitutional tweaking. Such promises of reform were a crutch for an actual political alternative.”
    The message of the polls: ‘We don’t agree with Nick’Brendan O’Neill, SPIKED
  • “The story of the [election], but perhaps the least commented on, was the fact that very few people actually voted… the fact is that the past three elections have seen by far the lowest turnouts in modern electoral history. What that means is that the individual political parties each only have the support of a small share of the electorate… The three major parties together only managed to persuade about 57 per cent of the electorate to vote for them - far from a ringing endorsement of the political options open to us.,,
        “For all the talk in the post-election carve-up about who has a mandate and who does not, the conclusion that commentators seem to be avoiding is that no party has managed to inspire or win the support of even a sizeable minority of the electorate.”
    The General Election that nobody won – Rob Lyons, SPIKED
  • “Hold on. Brown can’t just slink out of office without a final challenge to the idea that he was unspun, decisive and principled.”
    Ten myths about Gordon Brown – Tim Black, SPIKED
  • Prime Ministerial life is hard on the aging process:

  • hooters “An under-16 Australian Rules football team has come under fire for entering a sponsorship deal with a local Hooters franchise. Critics say the move could give adolescent boys the wrong message. The Broadbeach Cats team [from] the Gold Coast [presently touring North America] were cheered on by two skimpily-dressed staff from the Mermaid Beach franchise of the American restaurant chain during their home game against local side Labrador. “The message these boys are getting is that ... as a young footballer you have an entitlement to large-breasted women in skimpy outfits bouncing around at your games,” women’s advocate Melinda Tankard Reist said. Restaurant owner Morney Schledusch called the criticism ridiculous.”
    Good call.
    (Women aren’t decoration, you say?  Surely that depends on the women.)
    Team berated for Hooters sponsorship dealDALLAS MORNING NEWS [hat tip NZ Week]
  • “Around every new social development there arise the shamans. Those who seek to shroud the obvious in mystery to create the illusion that only they can interpret the ‘unknowable.’  And thereby make a buck.
        “For example, look at the hype over ‘social media.’ … The cyber charlatans smell their chance to cloak in complex jargon and gobbledegook what is a rather pedestrian development in the age old behaviour of human conversation and gossip, so as to give themselves an edge and a marketing opportunity. So arises the new priesthood of the  ‘social media expert.’”  -- who are charging $700 a plate for a day of bullshit and jellybeans at Sky City on the mysteries of social media.  Bill Ralston takes aim:
    Social Media – Shamans And Shysters  - BILL RALSTON
  • chaves_hugo_1 This is what lies at the end of price controls under socialism: the gun.
    Hugo Chavez's Response to Beef Shortage: Arrest Butchers - CNBC
  • Architect Frank Gehry makes unusual sense in a talk in Chicago: ‘The costs of making a green building are “enormous,’ he said, and ‘they don’t pay back in your lifetime.’
    Never a truer word . . .
    Frank Gehry holds forth on … why he's not into green architecture – CHICAGO TRIBUNE [hat tip Butterpaper)
  • As it is for buildings, so it is for cars. “Today’s electric cars are “welfare wagons”–overpriced, underperforming novelty items that the rest of us will be subsidizing for upwards of US$7,500 apiece.”
    Reality killed the electric car, taxpayers forced to resurrect it – VOICES OF REASON
  • Buy it at the AYN RAND BOOKSTOREIn the same week as a North Korean torpedo actually did sink a South Korean warship, Pyongyang boasts it has “achieved nuclear fusion.”
    Nuclear fusion achieved?  - LIBERTY SCOTT
  • Roderick Fitts reviews James Valliant’s Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics. “Besides demonstrating the truth about Rand's character and the Affair, PARC also discusses some nuances of Objectivism in its applications to one's life.”
    On "Being One's Self": a Review of James Valliant's "The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics" – INDUCTIVE QUEST
  • I’m no fan of Roy Lichtenstein’s parasitic comic-book borrowings he calls art, but this optical illusion house is ingenious. [Hat tip Eric Crampton]

That’s all for now.
Enjoy your weekend!


  1. Glad you liked the Lichtenstein house! If you ever hit DC, do visit the sculpture garden. Worth the visit.

  2. Food metaphors litter our language so much that it is hard to avoid them and they are so entrenched we do not even recognise their origins..
    Done like a dinner, got a roasting, grilled for hours, he was toast, in hot water, bad taste in the mouth, two impossible things before breakfast, I butchered him, I felt gutted, a cannibal feast, cooked his goose, they were turning happily on their spits, turkeys don’t look forward to Christmas, – and those are straight off the top of my head. I suppose some of them are in bad taste and might even turn some stomachs, or stick in the craw.
    IF you don’t like it, get stuffed. (as in the turkey before roasting)

  3. "...we know that with an intellectual back hole in the Beehive..."

    Pretty accurate Freudian slip there PC!

    - T

  4. Shamans and Shysters: Ralston is on the button, the amount of crap I hear from the IT gurus in my life is nauseating. At least being a lawyer my brand of voodoo is timeless!

    Chris R.
    PS Three lagers on a Friday night and I become honest to the point of near humanity!

  5. Thanks for mentioning my review, PC. I also appreciated your own review of PARC.



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