Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Dalian Shide stadium - NBBJ

1253026397-dalian-stadium-05-528x332 This is the sort of stadium Auckland might have passed up when the politicians elected instead to do up the old dive at Eden Park, instead of making something new and exciting on the edge of the domain.

1253026360-dalian-stadium-01-528x332 Here’s a proposal for a new type of stadium altogether, one for a garden site in China that is “more than just an impressive skin wrapped around an ordinary seating bowl.”


Conceptually, the new stadium is created out the of existing gardens, with the garden folded up to form the outer skin with the seating and sports “bowl” suspended within.  1253026306-dalian-stadium-diagram-01-folding-land-528x387

_Quote The reclaimed site captures a new place in the city [says the architects], with spectacular views across the ocean and out to the mountains and center city. Growing from this new coastal park, the design proposes that the land is folded open to create two garden walls, which support the venue, inserting the bowl between them. The walls become iconic elements, creating a strong and visually striking support system while leaving the ends open to connect the event inside to its urban context on the outside. The roof is a flexible system of cables and fabric to protect the fans from the elements, beautiful and unique, fluttering overhead.


A great place to watch a game of footy.

How “smart”-phone users see each other

I stumbled across this (accurate?) analysis of how smart-phone users see themselves and each other.


Which reminded me of this old matrix:

So what do you use … and does it say about you … ?

So how much did the US election change?

Judge Andrew Napolitano hosts a couple of interesting discussions in the aftermath of last week’s US elections.

First, “The Election Didn't Change Anything!” says Reason magazine editor Michael Moynihan. It’s all still business as usual. Mostly.

And how about the argument over conservatives vs. libertarians in the Tea Party, that movement more responsible than any other for the Republican revival.  Conservative Mike Huckabee—barbs about being a RINO obviously having pierced his hide—takes on the libertarian viewpoints on drugs, taxes, and tea.

As Paul Hsieh says, the GOP had better “dance with the one who brung them, or be left standing by the wall for good. 

Economic thinkers say Emperor has no clothes [update 2]

The mainstream, “textbook” economics of recent decades is under threat.

bernanke-helicopter Ben Bernanke’s quadrillion-quintillion injection of counterfeit capital into the banking system of the world’s reserve currency has got the world’s economists beginning to scratch their heads in wonder at the system they’ve upheld for the last few decades—which (instead of relying on savings to fund growth) essentially relies on ever-inflating gobs of cheap counterfeit capital to be lent out to create asset bubbles to fund “growth” during the boom and, once the bubble bursts the growth stops and the pool of real savings has been diminished, to fund the “stimulus” on which politicians and other know-nothings now set their hopes.

Instead of relying on the questionable acumen of a monetary dictator to set interest rates (cue lots of media conversation about how the dictator is feeling this week, and the “semantic nuances” of his carefully chosen words in public), more far-seeing economists are beginning to say the current emperors have no clothes.

* * The market itself gave the economists a kick in the pants by responding to Bernanke’s openly inflationist cheque book by soaring past $1,400 per troy ounce for the first time.

* * The German Finance Minister helped kick off the head scratching by pouring opprobrium on the acumen of Bernanke and his colleagues (who could not be more mainstream)

_Quote “With all due respect, U.S. policy is clueless,” the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told a conference. “(The problem) is not a shortage of liquidity. It’s not that the Americans haven’t pumped enough liquidity into the market, and now to say let’s pump more into the market is not going to solve their problems.”

* * And the Chinese—the Chinese!—told a news briefing at the G20 conference the move “smacked of outmoded central planning.” Which, of course, it does.

* * In the British Parliament, the cradle of modern democracy, two Conservative MPs have introduced a bill to end shut down the spigot of endless credit—every new note of which dilutes the purchasing power of every note in your pocket—and replace the system that produced the boom and bust with a system of honest money and sound banking.  Introducing his bill, Douglas Carswell told the parliament:

_QuoteSince the credit crunch hit us, an endless succession of economists, most of whom did not see it coming, have popped up on our TV screens to explain its causes with great authority. Most have tended to see the lack of credit as the problem, rather than as a symptom. Perhaps we should instead begin to listen to those economists who saw the credit glut that preceded the crash as the problem. The Cobden Centre, the Ludwig von Mises Institute and Huerta de Soto all grasped that the overproduction of bogus candy-floss credit before the crunch gave rise to it. It is time to take seriously their ideas on honest money and sound banking.

The bill is beginning to gather widespread support.

* * Indeed, the bill has been lent support by Britain’s own monetary dictator Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, who told an audience last week it is time to talk about “eliminating fractional reserve banking.”

* * And just yesterday, the head of the World Bank chief Zoellick said the world needs to think seriously about “readopting a modified global gold standard to guide currency movements.” And he’s right, you know, it does. The US Federal Reserve’s insistence on diluting the world’s present “reserve currency” only makes it more urgent to re-adopt that more rational numeraire—the one that underpinned the enormous economic progress of the nineteenth century (not coincidentally, the period which enjoyed the most historically sustained economic progress ever).

So the world’s economists are beginning to turn. They’re beginning to realise their emperors of the last few decades have no clothes, and their their textbook theories so widely held hold no water.

It’s only early days, but as Malcolm Gladwell explains about tipping points, this is how change happens.

_QuoteGladwell’s Law of the Few contends that before widespread popularity can be attained, a few key types of people must champion an idea, concept, or product before it can reach the tipping point. Gladwell describes these key types as Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen. If individuals representing all three of these groups endorse and advocate a new idea, it is much more likely that it will tip into exponential success.

We’re nearly there.

_QuoteMoneyBomb As Ludwig Von Mises, F.A. Hayek, et al. took great pains to explain, what this means is that the seemingly golden age — in reality, a thinly gilded one — during which the first, most favored issuers of cheap credit and artificially boosted equity prices enjoyed almost effortless success, has reached the limit of its ability to postpone the workings of fundamental economic law

And the people who need to are quietly, and not so quietly, realising that over sixty years after John Maynard Keynes died, his gig is finally up, and in the Hayek-Keynes debate (one of the most crucial of the twentieth century) a winner is conclusively being confirmed.

Not before time.

_QuoteThe gold standard was the world standard of the age of capitalism, increasing welfare, liberty, and democracy, both political and economic. In the eyes of the free traders its main eminence was precisely the fact that it was an international standard as required by international trade and the transactions of the international money and capital market. It was the medium of exchange by means of which Western industrialism and Western capital had borne Western civilization into the remotest parts of the earth's surface, everywhere destroying the fetters of age-old prejudices and superstitions, sowing the seeds of new life and new well-being, freeing minds and souls, and creating riches unheard of before. It accompanied the triumphal unprecedented progress of Western liberalism ready to unite all nations into a community of free nations peacefully cooperating with one another.
    It is easy to understand why people viewed the gold standard as the symbol of this greatest and most beneficial of all historical changes.
    [It is also easy to understand why] all those intent upon sabotaging the evolution toward welfare, peace, freedom, and democracy loathed the gold standard, and not only on account of its economic significance. In their eyes the gold standard was the labarum, the symbol, of all those doctrines and policies they wanted to destroy. In the struggle against the gold standard much more was at stake than commodity prices and foreign exchange rates.
    The nationalists [fight] the gold standard because they want to sever their countries from the world market and to establish national autarky as far as possible.
    Interventionist governments and pressure groups are fighting the gold standard because they consider it the most serious obstacle to their endeavors to manipulate prices and wage rates.
    But the most fanatical attacks against gold are made by those intent upon credit expansion. With them credit expansion is the panacea for all economic ills…. What the expansionists call the defects of the gold standard are indeed its very eminence and usefulness. It checks large-scale inflationary ventures on the part of governments.
    The gold standard did not fail. The governments were eager to destroy it, because they were committed to the fallacies that credit expansion is an appropriate means of lowering the rate of interest and of "improving" the balance of trade.

He could have been writing that to Mr Zoellick just yesterday. And Mr Zoellick might very well have been reading it.

ECONOMICS FOR REAL PEOPLE - Quantitative Easing: Money, Banking and the Federal Reserve

UoA Econ Group 9 Nov-2

I’m looking forward to tonight’s regular Tuesday session of the Uni Econ Group, which is going topical this week:

The US Federal Reserve announced a new round of bond-buying last week to "support the economy." More than half-a-trillion dollars of new money injected straight into the heart of the banking system.
Since this decision will have enormous impact on the whole world economy for some time to come—this is just too big for any economic group to ignore—we look this week at the history of the US Federal Reserve, of Ben Bernanke, and the issues, implications and problems associated with this latest decision, including comments from the man who will now chair the US House Monetary Policy Committee with oversight over the bank known to most economists as The Fed.

Date: Tuesday 9 November
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Engineering 3402

Look forward to seeing you all there for another good discussion about economic ideas.
Fraser, Julian & Peter

Monday, 8 November 2010

Ignazio Perez house - Bruce Goff

G31215_R, 4/20/09, 12:25 PM,  8C, 7020x9320 (50+300), 125%, Repro 2.2 v2,   1/8 s, R63.1, G7.1, B18.4<br />

The only house for South America designed by master of organic architecture, Bruce Goff (1904-1982).

Designed in 1953 around what appears to be a central atrium, and exhibiting a definite tropical influence, it was unfortunately never built.


Rending the Barbarian Curtain - The New Perigo Show [update 2]

_Olivia Guest post by Olivia Pierson

For a long time now I have wanted to see Lindsay Perigo have his own television show regularly screening on the New Zealand air-waves, but the task has seemed nigh-on impossible due to the Barbarian Curtain militantly shutting out the most radiant faces and voices which could help prevent civilisation's final fall.

Three days ago Lindsay flew up from our country’s capital to join me in an all-out effort to rend that curtain from top to bottom.

lindsay_perigo_photo_01With seventeen highly-accomplished guests, we hosted a sumptuous lunch in Auckland’s finest restaurant, Antoine’s of Parnell. Our guests were a delightful mix of private business owners, journalists, television and advertising executives, one veteran captain of industry and one gentleman who very nearly became our new Prime Minister in the 2005 general election.

Lindsay pitched his vision of a new television show—one produced by me—then with his usual intense eloquence and unmatched humour, he gave one of the most rousing speeches ever about the kinds of quality he will be vehemently fighting to maintain on his show: namely, Reason & Freedom.

He ended with a quote from Tennyson’s Ulysses:

“Come my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite the sounding furrows;
For my purpose holds to sail beyond the sunset,
and the baths of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be the gulfs will wash us down,
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

Our guests were absolutely mesmerised.

We all spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the buzz of something new and exciting about to transpire and we genuinely enjoyed the quality of company and the convivial discourse.

The upshot is that we now have a new TV show on the horizon!

We have the owner of a private television channel fully behind us and an executive producer offering us his total support. Our playing field is robustly wide-open and largely outside the shackles of State control. The project is to be fully funded by private interests. Lindsay will be conducting in-depth interviews every week with not only our nation’s leaders (both actuals and wanna-bes) but also those who live among us whom we consider to be tall-poppies within their chosen paths – sports people, capitalists, artists, musicians and comedians, those who meet the criteria of being a truly interesting human being. Our show will be a haven for those who value achievement, high-culture, intelligent political debate and passion.

We plan to come to air in February/March 2011. Our biggest hurdle is going to be funding.

Of course, we will win some sponsorship and advertisers from among our guests and other people who come on board as the show grows in popularity. My aim is to make sure that we have full rights on placing each episode on the internet, according to our own discretion, and also to promote it to private channels and websites around the world who would like to buy quality material for their own purposes.

At this early start-up phase, if any of you could see your way clear to making monetary contributions your generosity would be most welcome... more than most welcome.... it would be absolutely bloody brilliant! Smiling If you email me I can take it from there.

Clearly, a dearly-held dream which I've been pursuing for some time is beginning to materialize for Lindsay and me. Any support from our ideological friends will be greatly appreciated beyond words.


[Cross-posted at SOLO]


A few things are immediately obvious about …

…  the Saturday night shambles in the stands at Eden Park: just another reason not to go to a league game. Ever.

… the Saturday night shambles on the ground at Eden Park: thirteen players with no ticker--just another reason not to bother supporting the NZ league team. Ever. (A replication of the last time the Kiwis showed up at Eden Park.)

… the Saturday night shambles outside Eden Park: just another reason it was patently stupid to build a 60,000-seat sports stadium in a quiet residential area with no transport links, especially when a far better location was available that could easily have been swapped for this one. But it was a political decision.

So that’s boofheads all round, really. All too damned predictable.

Which Way Now, America?

Guest Post by Jeff Perren

At Breitbart’s “Big Government” site I offer a few words on the implications of the recent election results for the future of freedom in America.

_Quote There’s much good news from the elections, but first let me wet blanket some of the fires of enthusiasm. Republican majority or Democrat, it remains the case that so long as the Dept of Health and Human Services, the EPA, the Federal Reserve, and the like still exist the Federal government will continue to do great harm. That will still be true even if a better-than-Reagan Republican wins in 2012.
Now, for the election analysis — including lots of good news from the events of Nov. 2.
There’s no doubt the American electorate in many, many places rejected the Obama-Pelosi-Reid anti-Constitutional approach to government, i.e. Progressivism.
That’s clear, even though the Republican pickup in the Senate was disappointing, especially with the re-election of Harry Reid. Take a look at Republican gains in the State legislatures: 650-700 seats, compared to 505 in 1994. That’s huge.
There’s bad news to be sure...
Read the rest here...

The accompanying graphic alone makes it worth a look. About that, one commenter said (paraphrasing): "Go one way and you walk off a cliff, the other leads to freedom. Keep going straight and you smash into a wall."

Wish I'd said that.



P.S. I also highly recommend Dr. Paul Hsieh's article at Pajamas Media: GOP, Dance With the One Who Brung You. It wasn't Paul's (or my) intention, but I think the two are very complementary.

As he makes starkly clear, it will be vital for the Republicans to follow up on their (admittedly, weak-tea) promises to enlarge freedom in America. That's vital both for their viability as an alternative political party, and our futures—if we Americans are to have one as free citizens.

Friday, 5 November 2010

FRIDAY MORNING RAMBLE: ‘The day after the day after’ edition


The Tea Party bit back.  Will their partial non-defeat be enough, and in time, to save America, and America’s freedom?
And if adding trillions of dollars of government debt is akin to fiscal child abuse, then is half-a-trillion dollars of “quantitative easing” fiscal rape?
Two questions that urgently need answering.
Now on  with our ramble round the places that might answer them.

  • “God how I wish I were American right now… they do still understand the principles of ‘don’t tread on me and ‘live free or die.’ Not all of them, obviously – otherwise a socialist like Barack Obama would never have got into power. But enough of them to understand that in the last 80 or more years – and not just in the US but throughout the Western world – government has forgotten its purpose…
    ”Government’s job is to act as our humble servant. What’s terrifying is how few of us there are left anywhere in the supposedly free world who properly appreciate this…”
    Only the Tea Party can save us now – James Delingople, ( U K )  T E L E G R A P H
  • “This was to be the year of the Tea Party triumph. As a libertarian, I so want to believe that the Tea Party marks the beginning a comeback for small government. But I’m probably deluding myself. I know that big government usually wins…
    ”Republicans want another chance, but any sensible person would be skeptical.” [Hat tip Capitalism]
    Did Freedom Win? – John Stossell, R E A S O N
  • Ah, that’s now former Speaker Pelosi. So sad.
    Nancy Pelosi Ousted as House Speaker, John Boehner Waits in Wings – A B C
  • “President Obama is a great American tragedy, soon to be consigned to the dustbin of history. The people have spoken. ‘We've come to take our government back.’”
    Obama: The Anti-American President, Pt. 9—An American Tragedy 
    – Marcus Bachler, S O L O
  • Ross Baker blames yesterday’s trouncing of the Democrats to “an enduring Democratic blunder: talking over the heads of the American people.”
    Ummm.  No.
    The “enduring Democratic blunder” (often repeated by the GOP) is to enact indecipherably complex and intricate statutes aimed at achieving impossible outcomes.  It’s the ludicrous convolution of such legislation that is “over the heads of the American people.”
    A Nation of Slack-Jawed Yokels? – Don Boudreaux, C A F E  H A Y E K
  • “The Federal Reserve announced a new round of bond-buying to support the economy. Here are some of the key issues involved in its decision..” [Hat tip Kelly McNulty Valenzuela]
    Quantitative Easing: How It Works; When It Doesn't
    - W A L L  S T R E E T  J O U R N A L
  • “That’s right, that gushing, gurgling, sputtering, splurging sound you hear is the sound of hundreds of billions of new U.S. dollars flooding into the economy and the stock market. Over the next eight months, the Federal Reserve will spend an additional $600 billion it doesn’t have buying U.S. bonds in the name of ‘price stability.’”
    The Revival of the National Interest – Dan Denning, D A I L Y   R E C K O N I N G
  • If the chap throwing all that paper “money?” out of the helicopter was this blind-sided by his theories just a few years ago, what makes you think he knows what he’s doing now?
  • “Once you let human beings print ‘money’ at will, they will print a lot of it. And unless they repeal the laws of diminishing returns, marginal utility and supply and demand, the paper money will lose out.”
    Too Much of a Good Thing – Bill Bonner, D A I L Y   R E C K O N I N G
  • So far, the markets have responded to the paper “money” gusher as follows:
    (i) stocks are up;
    (ii) gold is way up;
    (iii) the US dollar is down; and
    (iv) emerging markets are upset because they think the cash overflow will continue to push up their currency values, fueling concerns that asset price bubbles might be in the making in their countries.
    ”The real takeaway from the Fed’s announcement is that it is inflation, plain and simple. Correctly defined, inflation is an increase in the monetary base, and higher prices are a result of that inflation. By creating money out of thin air to buy Treasury securities, the Fed is piling hundreds of billions of new dollars on top of an already seriously inflated base.”
  • Inflation on the Brain – C A S E Y ‘ S  D A I L Y  D I S P A T C H

  • For years, the Federal Reserve had a good friend in their pockets when Congressmen Barney Frank was chairman of the Monetary Policy subcommittee. Those days are over. Taking Barney's place is the one man who would see the Federal Reserve dissolved.
    The Fed's worst nightmare... Ron Paul to chair Monetary Policy Subcommittee
    - N A T I O N A L   F I N A N C E   E X A M I N E R
  • Shock of the week? Bank of England Governor Mervyn King proposes “eliminating fractional reserve banking”!
    King plays God: The governor of the Bank of England wants to reinvent finance 
    - E C O N O M I S T
  • Martin Wolf asks “Could the world go back to the gold standard?”
    Could the world go back to the gold standard? – C O B D E N    C E N T R E
  • In this interview, JOHN ALLISON, former head of the BB&T bank (and an Objectivist), discusses why the U.S. economy is headed for bankruptcy and what must be done to prevent it. [Hat tip Betsy Speicher]
    Give Young People Option to Get Out of Social Security, Say Former BB&T CEO
    – C N S   N E WS . C O M
  • HowAnEconomyGrowsBook “Since World War II, most economists have been apologists for government growth. Now the ‘experts’ who never see a crisis coming tell us that we must once again abandon free-market principles to ‘save’ the free-market system.
    ”But there's always the possibility that people not seated at the government's table will finally wise up. Who or what could help them understand what's going on? People need someone to draw a clear picture of what makes an economy thrive — briefly, without jargon, and, most importantly for today's readers, in an entertaining fashion.” And here it is….
    How an Economy Grows – M I S E S   D A I L Y

"This is a second chance for us. "If we blow it again, we will be
in the wilderness for a very long time. We have to deliver."
- Republican House whip, Eric Cantor

  • New Zealand’s adult unemployment rate this quarter was 5.1%. The youth (15-19 yr old) rate was 23.3%. Isn’t it time to reconsider the ridiculous ideologically-driven abolition of the youth rate?
    Answer: Not as long as National is in govt. They’d rather all those youngsters remained out of work.
    Youth Unemployment – O F F S E T T I N G   B E H A V I O U R
  • New Zealand scores highly in being free of political corruption? Yeah right. I guess if they are raping you in plain view, it doesn't qualify as corruption. Technically true, but still cold comfort to the victims.  [Hat tip Jeff Perren]
    NZ & Singapore top list of least corrupt countries -  ( U K )  T E L E G R A P H
  • If history is any guide, and it is, the gangs will already be rubbing their hands at the commercial opportunity about to be offered them when tobacco is finally banned—or made economically unviable through normal channels. The question of such bans is never “Will it work?” or “Have we the right?”  The only thing the grey ones know is “Feel our power!”
    A pity they’ve learned nothing from several decades of the “War on Drugs.”
    The results of that war are now in: Drugs won…
    Inquiry into the tobacco industry to be released | NATIONAL News
  • Do smokers understand the risks of smoking? And does smoking impose net financial costs on governments?
    All the evidence says, respectively, “Yes of course,” and “No, not at all.”
    Based on surveys of smokers in the United States and Spain, for instance, smokers actually overestimate the dangers of smoking, indicating that they are well aware of the risks involved in their choice to smoke.
    And while smoking does increase medical costs, these costs are more than financially balanced by tobacco taxes, and by bringing forward a bunch of end of life costs that would otherwise have been incurred a decade later. [Hat tip Roger D and Eric Crampton]
    Smoke-Filled Rooms: A Postmortem on the Tobacco Deal 
    – U N I V E R S I T Y  O F  C H I C A G O   P R E S S
  • Talk about learning from the failure that is the American War on Drugs.  Drugs won the war…
    “First, we have vastly increased the proportion of our population in prisons…
    ”Second, we have empowered criminals at home and terrorists abroad…
    “Third, we have squandered resources…
    “Our nearly century-long experiment in banning marijuana has failed as abysmally as Prohibition did, and California may now be pioneering a saner approach…
    ”“American states spend an estimated total of $50-billion a year on our penal system. If Proposition 19 decriminalizes marijuana in California [which, unfortunately, it didn’t], the entire country will see how much money can be saved with laws based less on puritanical superstition than on facts…” [Hat tip Ian J]
    Kristof, Crouch, Soros, and McNamara on Proposition 19 
    – C H R O N I C L E   O F   H I G H E R   E D U C A T I O N

“This was not an election it was a restraining order.”
- P.J.  O’Rourke

  • “Politicians and pundits alike have offered economic arguments in favor of …  levying higher taxes upon the richest among us. Now economic arguments purport to demonstrate which decisions will maximize the welfare of economic agents, but they do not claim to show which decisions are moral. Economics can certainly supplement moral reasoning, but it cannot replace it…”
    Defending Rich People – Michael D. Labeit, E X A M I N E R
  • Ludwig Von Mises famously and patiently explained that in the absence of a market, central planners have no way to rationally allocate resources—or even to ascertain value. One central planner confesses they’re all aware of that, but they still keep right on [distorting markets, pushing people around, and extinguishing real resources.
    Confessions of a Price Controller – W E   S T A N D   F I R M
  • If innovative small companies can't protect their inventions, who will? Companies who specialize in suing over IP, that's who. Which means, at a time when it can take five years to have your intellectual property properly protected, this could be true:
    Are 'Patent Trolls' the Secret Heroes of the Tech World?
    - T E C H N O L O G Y   R E V I E W

“To paraphrase Churchill—We have won a great victory,
but this isn't the end. This isn't even the beginning of the
end. But it is the end of the beginning.”
- Frank Schulwolf

  • Warmists like to talk about the climate’s alleged “positive feedback” loops, but there is one “particularly toxic positive feedback loop” they don’t like to mention. Says scientist Judith Curry, it’s the  positive feedback loop between climate science, and policy and politics, one whose direction has arguably been radically reversed as a result of Climategate.
    Reversing the direction of the positive feedback loop 
    – Judith Curry, C L I M A T E   E T C .
  • Anti-industrialists are already moving on from the busted flush of global warming and their Y2Kyoto fiasco. “After three decades of trying to push the global warming scam to a point where billions could be made by selling and trading bogus ‘carbon credits,’ the global schemers have abandoned their campaign in the wake of 2009 revelations that a handful of rogue climate scientists were literally inventing the data to support it…
    ”The global warming caused governments to invest billions of dollars into alternative energy programs, including wind, solar and other equally worthless ‘Green’ programs.
    ”Get ready for the next big lie, which is biodiversity…”
    Goodbye Global Warming, Hello Biodiversity – Alan Caruba, C N S . N E W S . C O M

‎"Voters tell the newly-elected House majority:
‘Don't just stand there, undo something!’"

-Jeff Jacoby

  • “Editing Teh Herald” is a new blog doing for the Royal NZ Herald what it should be doing itself.  Applying standards. But hilariously.
    Editing Teh Herald
  • TV ratings were never an exact science, but DVRs, downloads, Hulu and MySky have made it near impossible. So how exactly do you count TV viewers who don’t watch when everyone else does?
    This Platform Is Not Yet Rated – N . Y .   M A G
  • Rachel Miner shares some generally useful tips gleaned from attending a full day Autism conference.
    Autism Conference: Generalizable Tid Bits – P L A Y F U L   S P I R I T
  • Leonard Peikoff once again goes places few intellectual heirs have gone before, but this time (as he has several times before) not in a good way.  Craig Biddle tries to make sense of Peikoff’s moral condemnation of John McCaskey. And struggles.
    Justice for John P. McCaskey – C R A I G   B I D D L E
  • How can it possibly not be moral condemnation, asks Trey Givens of Gus Van Horn.
    On Moral Condemnation – T R E Y   G I V E N S

“The ascendancy of the Tea Parties has meant that
fiscal conservatism can replace social conservatism as
the raison d'être of the Republican cause."
- Janet Daley, "Midterm elections 2010: Prepare for a new American revolution"
[Hat tip Lucidicus Project]

  • Simon Sweetman asks the important questions. Like this one…
    What song would you strip to? – Simon Sweetman, S T U F F
  • Since the first part of Richard Wagner’s four-part fifteen-hour ‘Ring Cycle’ is being shown in cinemas all round New Zealand on Sunday, direct from the Met in New York, it seems a good time to post Anna Russell’s famous (and hilarious) fifteen-minute summary of the sprawling fifteen-hour creation myth.
  • And here’s some excerpts from a seriously streamlined 2004 “chamber” performance of the whole Cycle.
  • And this, the first part of Das Rheingold, condensed into a 30 minute cartoon version, produced in 1991 for television.

That’s all for the moment,
but check back soon for regular updates through the day.

PS: Message for the week [hat tip Paul Hsieh, who reckons it’s closer to 97.6%…]:


Melbourne’s “Rectangular” Stadium – Cox Architects

melbourne-rectangular-stadium-cox-architects-3I’d wager that every lover of small government has their own weakness.  Something spinning their wheels that, quite possibly, wouldn’t exist without big government. Not at least in today’s world.

For me, that weakness is sports stadiums.  And there’s nowhere that does sports stadiums like Melbourne. The MCG.  Etihad. Rod Laver Arena. Just some of the city’s world class facilities.  And head east from central Melbourne along Olympic Boulevard, and you find stadium nirvana. Discover your current stadium is too small for what’s needed, and it sometimes seems the Vic government will swiftly knock up another.

And not just any old thing either. The stadiums already gracing Melbourne were pretty special. But then, recognising that league, soccer and rugby—featuring teams like the Melbourne Storm, Melbourne Victory, and the new Melbourne-based Super 15 rugby team—all need a smallish ground shaped in something other than a large oval, (and no city does oval stadia like Melbourne) the former Olympic Park has now become the home of all sports needing a rectangular ground—all of them , in Melbourne, minority sports.

melbourne-rectangular-stadium-cox-architects-1611 The result is this $267.5 million Melbourne “Rectangular” Stadium, built over the road from the cathedral of sport that is the MCG, with capacity for over 30000 punters, and featuring “a cutting edge 'bio-frame'“ shell roof design.


And there’s a pretty spectacular “light show” associated—the stadium’s exterior is set to light up to reflect the emotions of the crowd inside. Quite a neat gimmick, I think you’ll agree.

I can’t wait to visit.

BWBTWMelbourne Rectangular StadiumBTW: the view looking back from stadium row isn’t half bad either.  [These last two photos by William Bullimore.]

Yarra RIver

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Peter Schiff et al: The Day After [update 7]

The day after the Republicans forced the resignation of Speaker Pelosi and gained the biggest political turnaround since the War, Peter Schiff asks, which bums will the voters throw out in 2012?

And the day after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke (“Helicopter Ben” to his friends) announces it’s about to start spraying around a half-trillion dollars worth of paper out of his whirly-bird, Schiff ponders whether this golden shower from the Fed presages an even bigger paper shower from the government—and wonders how that will sit with the people who just voted out last year’s big-spending bums.

UPDATE 1: PaulHsieh tells America’s newly-elected representatives that they should Celebrate Tuesday's election results, “but don't forget who put you in office and why — namely, the independent-minded Tea Party voters.” If they’re going to “dance with the one that brung them,” he says, they need to stay true to three basic principles…

1) Americans don’t want “ObamaLite”…
The 2010 vote was a powerful message from Americans rejecting the socialist policies of President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid — including the bailouts, the out-of-control federal spending, the higher taxes, and the nationalized health care scheme.
Voters elected Republicans to halt and reverse these policies — not compromise to pass watered-down versions of those same bad ideas…
2) Don’t mistake this as a mandate to pursue a divisive “social conservative” agenda
The Republicans’ electoral rebound has been driven by millions of independent voters like the Colorado small businessman Ron Vaughn, who
told the New York Times, “I want the Democrats out of my pocket and Republicans out of my bedroom…
3) Respect the Constitution
The newly elected (or re-elected) congressmen and senators must remember that rightful authority flows from the U.S. Constitution…Nothing enraged Tea Party protestors more than seeing elected officials betray this solemn promise … and although some pundits like Dahlia Lithwick
think it’s “weird” for legislators to consider whether a proposed bill is constitutional, that is indeed one of their primary responsibilities.

Read the whole article: GOP: Dance With The One Who Brung You.

UPDATE 2: Fresh from celebrating victories with “a couple hundred U.S. patriots at the Tea Party Patriot's election night party at the Capitol Hyatt in Washington, D.C.,” invigorated Christchurch blogger Trevor Loudon counts off some of the wins and losses.  “A Good night Was Had by Freedom Lovers - Dems and Communists, Not So Much.” He concludes:

_QuoteThe G.O.P. now controls Congress and has made big gains in the Senate and Governor's races. It's goodbye to your favorite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and hello John Boehner the new Republican House Majority Leader!
This is the Republicans' last chance to prove they can be trusted to live up to their own principles.
If they don't , they will be finished - and so may we be all.

UPDATE 3: Scott Holleran reckons that it’s now time for the Tea Party movement “to shed its dingbats,” and for everyone else to begin choosing up sides in the power struggle(s) to come.

Having lost its highest profile races partly due to their blatant proselytizing for religion in government , the Tea Party movement, which represents a rejection of Big Government, should oppose the mixture of religion and state.
    Whatever else Tuesday’s election results may mean, the Tea Party movement clearly has the potential to shed its dingbats, to paraphrase
Harry Binswanger, sponsor candidates who stand for man’s rights and capitalism, and restore the Republicans to the ideals of Lincoln, Jefferson, and reason. In the meantime, watch for strange, sudden alliances, power struggles, and a political shift in conflict from left/right to religious/secular.
    With the core principles of the GOP in play, a radically restructured Congress, and an overwhelmingly rejected but strikingly dishonest and divisive American president, it’s best to choose a side now; the battle has not yet begun.

UPDATE 4: David Galland from Casey Research tosses more cold water on the fresh blossoms of economic and political hope that many American readers may be feeling today, “I’m more convinced than ever that we’re about to go through a crash of epic proportions,” he says. “It won’t just be bad, it’s going to be horrific, worse than even I can imagine.”  And there’s really nothing even the few newly elected energiser bunnies can do about that. America has already made its fiscal bed—and now it’s too late. It’s already flat broke.

_Quote The debt problems are now so extreme that the Republicans, tea partiers, and desperate Democrats now rediscovering good old fiscal sanity have no feasible way of making a dent.   Even the stingiest Republicans are only talking about freezing spending at 2008 levels. For the record, that still means an annual federal budget deficit of just shy of half a trillion dollars.
Add to that approximately $150 billion in annual state budget shortfalls. And that’s before the economy is knocked sideways by the onrushing tidal wave of retiring baby boomers… or body slammed by the inevitable increase in U.S. interest rate expenses, as rates move up sharply from today’s unsustainable historic lows.
    The point is that, even to get back to 2008’s budget deficits, will require cutting almost a trillion dollars in federal spending. And that’s just for starters.

Sorry folks. Few Republicans, tea partiers or Democrats are even thinking in those terms. Which they would need to do to avert America’s coming sovereign debt tsunami, which is already tens of trillions of dollars underwater, and climbing fast. 


UPDATE 5Kris Sayce comments:

_Quote    Welcome to America’s Lost Decade
   …Or should that be Last Decade?
    This morning’s decision by the US Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is the final act in American global economic dominance.
    If the US economy wasn’t already terminally ill, then this morning’s news from the FOMC has pushed it into terminal illness……
    I tell you what, for a bunch of people who are supposedly super-bright, what they’ve done is nothing short of criminally comical….

UPDATE 6: Here’s a nice parable explaining what all Ben Bernanke’s counterfeit trillions are doing.

UPDATE 7:  Congressman Ron Paul suggests that both he and his son, new Senator Randall Paul, will introduce 'End the Fed' legislation first day in office! (HT Capitalism)

Bloggers Drinks tonight [with a late good-news liver update]

A bit late notice (isn’t it always), but you should already know that the first Thursday of the month means Auckland Bloggers Drinks!

This is the event for blog trolls, blog groupies (bloopies) and blog readers  to see if you they can talk as much nonsense as we bloggers can.

Past blogging celebrities in attendance include bloggers, blog readers and blog trolls from (in alphabetical order) Annie Fox, Barnsley Bill, Beretta, Bowalley Road, The Fairfacts Media Show, Stephen Franks, Fundy Post, Hard News, Island Life, Garfield Herrington, Bernard Hickey, Cactus Kate, Kiwiblog, MandM, No Minister, No Right Turn, Not PC, Roar Prawn, Lolly Scramble, SOLO, The Sub-Standard, Born on State Highway One, Tumeke, Whale Oil and WHOAR! … though several didn’t stay around too long. Or at all.

So get ye there and either buy your favourite blogger(s) a drink—or just find one to throw in their face.

What: Auckland Bloggers Drinks
When: 4 November, from 6.30pm
Where: Galbraiths, 2 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden, Auckland
Who for: Bloggers, blog readers, blog trolls.
What for: The talking of nonsense and telling of lies.

NOT PJ: Jalebis and Jealousies

This week Bernard Darnton wishes everyone a happy Diwali.

If you like fireworks and deep-fried balls of milk-powder soaked in syrup, then Diwali, falling on November 5th this year, is the holiday for you. Originally the Hindu festival of light, it is now often treated as simply a celebration of Indian culture in much the same way that Christmas used to mark the birth of Jesus but is now about decking malls with plastic holly.

Diwali celebrates the climactic events of the Ramayana, a 24,000-verse Sanskrit epic telling the story of Lord Rama, a mythological Indian king. To cut a 24,000-verse story short: Rama is exiled from his kingdom, his wife Sita goes with him against his advice and is kidnapped by the demon-god Ravana, much hardship endured by everyone but Sita remains chaste and Rama defeats Ravana’s army. The story ends with Rama and Sita’s triumphant return from exile and a happy ending more syrupy than a kadai full of gulab jamen.

Diwali is marked by the lighting of lamps in imitation of Rama’s welcome by the ecstatic populace of his home town, Ayodhya.

The name Ayodhya probably rings a bell unless you’re a Commonwealth Games reporter caught unaware by a real story. The name comes from a Sanskrit word for war and roughly means “unconquerable”. The area was conquered by the Mughals in the 16th Century.

After the conquest the Mughal emperor (allegedly) tore down a temple to the infant Rama and erected a mosque on the site. Hindu nationalists returned the favour in 1992 and 2000 people died in the ensuing riots.

An Indian Supreme Court decision a month ago determined that the site “kind of belongs to everyone” and that “we should all get along peacefully.” Indian history suggests that this won’t happen because it’s hard to reason with people when both sides will spill blood on the basis that “my invisible friend is better than your invisible friend.”

India is awash with invisible friends and people who would fight over them. It is also awash in ineffective and corrupt government, where a Supreme Court mincing words to try and avoid religious bloodshed is the least of the problems. But India is rapidly turning itself into a modern nation in spite of all that. A recent Economist article touts India’s surprising economic miracle.

One of India’s big advantages is demographic. China is very soon going to find itself turning grey because all the workers who should be there to support and replace the retirees simply never came into existence due to China’s one child policy. India’s workforce is young, growing, entrepreneurial, and productive.

In the 1970s, when the fashionable worry was overpopulation, totalitarians from Peking to Harvard were advocating stringent population control measures in Asia. In China, the Communist Party inflicted misery upon millions with forced sterilisations and compulsory abortions.

Indira Gandhi tried to do the same in India during a period of dictatorship known as “The Emergency”. The move was incredibly unpopular, democracy was restored in 1977, Indira Gandhi was sent packing, and the country carried on its fecund way. Right-thinking people across the world were horrified by India’s chaotic, unplanned, rabble.

China’s spectacular rise will begin to slow as the country runs into demographic problems that are the direct consequences of deliberate demographic policy. The lesson is the same one that planners everywhere fail to learn every time: Planners don’t know shit.

India’s new capitalism is more vibrant than China’s government-approved sort, and its industries are more modern and information-centric than China’s manufacturing.

If you want a story that celebrates the victory of light over dark, there’s no need to peek into the dim recesses of mythology. It’s right here: a nation of people who rescued their democracy from the brink of dictatorship, who have dismantled one of the craziest bureaucracies in the world, and who are on the verge of meteoric success largely through doing just whatever the hell they pleased.

* * He’s not PJ O’Rourke, but he’s not bad either.  Read Bernard Darnton’s NOT PJ
column here every Thursday, barring drinking accidents. * *

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Obama: Kenyan or Keynesian?

Here’s a little light relief while the American polling system grinds its gears (for which the Vodka Pundits’s drunk blogging of the results at least keeps the interest up).

A pair of suit-clad roving interviewers roamed the thickets of Jon Stewart’s Rally for Sanity asking whether the punters therein thought Obama was a Keynesian.

The results were hilarious. (This was a rally for sanity, remember.)

As Eric Crampton says, from whom I pinched this, “Happy election day, Americans. Somehow your voting system has to extract collective wisdom from these kinds of inputs.”

Auckland: Symposium on Sound Money

IN THE WEEK THAT the US central bank, the Fed, begins dumping a half-trillion dollar bolus of money created out of thin air into the veins of the American banking system (a mainline of government bailout crack representing the last gasp of a desperate but already exploded Keynesian orthodoxy)—a week in which Bank of England governor Mervyn King says it’s time to talk about “eliminating fractional reserve banking” (the first gasp, perhaps, of a much-needed and long-overdue mainstream sanity) regular readers in Auckland might like to know about a course happening here that will help put all the troubles (and solutions) in perspective:

goldstandard3 A Symposium on Sound Money, presented by Louis Boulanger, and
delivered by the man sometimes called the “Einstein of Money," Professor Antal Fekete from his School of New Austrian Economics.

Professor Fekete will explain

_Quote  what he means by an ‘unadulterated gold standard,’ how today’s fiat-based monetary system is destroying both savings and jobs, and the role of gold as numéraire and the ultimate extinguisher of all debts.
    This is a unique opportunity to hear a world authority present an alternative view about what makes money ‘sound,’ and how ‘unsound ‘ money is pushing us to the very brink of disaster once again, based on history…
    Each of the ten lectures will last one hour and will be followed by a question and answers period lasting up to one hour. There will be one lecture per morning, starting at 9.30am, and one lecture per afternoon, starting at 2pm.

The course runs from Monday 15 November to Friday 19 November 2010, at the Owen G. Glenn Business School of the University of Auckland. Get on to it now. (Tell them I sent you.)

Details here.

Download the symposium programme here.

Email the event manager here.