Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday Morning Ramble: Now on Saturday

A ramble around some great posts around the interweb, where the death of a terrorist is still making headlines. [PS: Sorry for the delay, Blogspot has been down for the last twenty-four hours.]

  • “Last week, SEAL Team Six shot Osama Bin Laden and fed him to sharks… This beautiful mission was expertly executed by some of the most able and admirable men on the planet, and [we all] deserve to celebrate.
    ”But we must also realize that killing Bin Laden is merely a fraction of what needs to be done—and done right…”
    One Islamist Fed to Sharks, a Few Islamist Regimes to Go – O B J E C T I V E   S T A N D A R D
  • Although the Navy SEALs pulled off their mission with great precision and competence, the Obama administration proceeded to make a perfect ass of itself following the assassination of Bin Laden.
    The Keystone-Cops Administration – O B J E C T I V E   S T A N D A R D
  • The chattering-class consensus that it was illegal for America to bump off bin Laden is not as radical as some people think.
    This pity for bin Laden is just pacifist-nihilism – Brendan O’Neill,  S P I K E D
  • The Paradox of Terrorists: they are happy for other peoples kids to become martyrs but not their own...latest example, Osama's final will. [hat tip Stan B.]
    I'm Sorry for Neglecting You: Osama's Final Message to His 24 Children 
    – S Y D N E Y   M O R N I N G   H E R A L D
  • “We maintain that arbitrary killing is not a solution to political problems,” said the family of dead terrorist Osama Bin Laden.
    Their father held a somewhat different position however. In fact, a position diametrically opposite. That was why he was killed.
    In further news, the sons said bin Laden’s burial at sea “demeaned and humiliated” his family. I sure hope so.
    Sons lash out at bin Laden’s ‘arbitrary killing’ – K H A L E E J  T I M E S
  • Anyone who thinks Bin Laden was a "freedom fighter" has no clue.
    The witless on the pitiless - Russell Brown, H A R D   N E W S
  • The Left, for all for all its professions of solidarity and concern, has little time for ordinary people. The victims of Bin Laden are of no interest to the likes of Ranginui Walker or Hone Harawira.
    Ordinary People - Paul Litterick, F U N D Y  P O S T
  • And now from the “I bet you think this song is about you” department. Ever the egotist, all Martyn ‘Bombastic’ Bradbury can see from those last two excellent posts is an attack on him. Poor lamb.
    Being defamed by Russell Brown and Mr Smug – T U M E K E

Whereas the Obama administration’s repeated blunders made them
look like Keystone Cops, the Navy SEALs’ awe-inspiring assassination
of Bin Laden shows that they come about as close as anyone can to
being gods. Unlike the false gods of religious scripture, however,
the SEALs are admirable because they earn their power and glory,
defend freedom and civilization, and aim to kill only bad guys
- Craig Biddle, ‘Navy SEALs: Gods among Men
,’ Objective Standard

  • And now, in local news—but in Britain—Smile and Wave finally faces a more challenging interviewer than the dumbed-down local variety who are allowed on mainstream television here in Enzed … and is shown up for the airheaded lightweight he really is.
    [Sorry about the poor sound and picture quality.]
  • Don Brash's Letter To PM John Key Goes Viral (Includes letter & Scoop analysis of Budget& ACT's response)
    Don Brash's Letter To PM John Key Goes Viral – S C O O P
  • The unsustainable taxpayer subsidy for KiwiSaver faces a long-overdue cut. But not, you might note, the inequitable taxpayer subsidy for the Parliamentary Superannuation Scheme. They’ll still get a $2.50 taxpayer subsidy for every dollar of “theirs” (i.e., yours) that they put in.
    KiwiSaver cuts ignore MPs' super – S T U F F
  • Tattooed, preserved, shrunken Maori heads—mostly the heads of former slaves—are being repatriated to New Zealand from European museums. Like Lindsay Mitchell, “I struggle to understand why anyone wants a reminder of this brutal, exploitive practice.” Respect for human remains? “Ironic as they weren't respected in life.”
    Returned heads reminders of a brutal past  - L I N D S A Y   M I T C H E L L
  • There’s been a lot of photo galleries showing the tragic destruction of what was once NZ’s second-biggest city, but none showing it anywhere near this well. Or this thoroughly.
    Into the Red Zone – Ross Becker, P I C A S A
    ROSS2505-1D3
  • As the Australian housing bubble starts deflating, and as the air continues to go out of NZ’s housing bubble, it might be a good time to read (or re-read) Hugh Pavletich’s insightful piece on housing bubbles and their aftermath—what causes them; why planners and “trained economists” can’t pick them but untrained vegetable pickers with common sense can; and what this means for central banks, central planners and you.
     Housing Bubbles And Market Sense 
    - Hugh Pavletich,
    P E R F O R M A N C E   U R B A N   P L A N N I N G
  • By the way, remember when Prime Minister Smile and Wave told the Wall Street Journal “You cannot spend your way out of a crisis.” Time he starts doing what he said he’d be doing, eh.
    "You cannot spend your way out of a crisis" – W A L L   S T R E E T  J O U R N A L
  • Don Brash’s resignation letter to John Boy says what many thinking New Zealanders would like to say to him about his premiership: For how much longer do you intend to ignore reality.
    Don Brash's Dear John Letter to the PM – Don Brash

“I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt
as the greatest of dangers to be feared . . . To preserve our independence,
we must not let our rulers load us with public debt . . . we must make
our choice between economy and liberty or confusion and servitude . . . If
we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in
our necessities and comforts, in our labor and in our amusements . . . If
we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under
the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.”
-
Thomas Jefferson

  • Every western government is struggling with ballooning deficits. Every western government is struggling with ballooning deficits because every western nation has had a decades-long experiment with unsustainable welfarism, and a system of central banking to pay for it.
    And now the debt for that experiment is being called in.
    Monetary Policy, the Federal Reserve, and the National Debt Problem 
    - Richard Ebeling, N O R T H W O O D   U N I V E R S I T Y
  • You might not have noticed it, but The Next Great Inflation has already started.
    “I can’t eat an iPad.’ This could go down in history as the line that launched the great inflation of the 2010s.
    ”The reason the CPI [doesn’t credibly measure price inflation] is that, as economist John Williams tirelessly points out, it’s a bogus index. The way inflation is calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has been “improved” 24 times since 1978. If the old methods were still used, the CPI would actually be 10 percent. Yes, folks, double-digit inflation is back. Pretty soon you’ll be able to figure out the real inflation rate just by moving the decimal point in the core CPI one place to the right…
    The Great Inflation of the 2010s – Niall Ferguson,  N E W S W E E K
  • A largely overlooked phenomenon in the market for gold futures is the “canary in the coal mine” for the coming crack-up boom. That canary is now dying.
    Permanent Gold Backwardation: The Crack Up Boom
    – Keith Weiner, D A I L Y   C A P I T A L I S T
  • What comes next after the crack-up boom? Well …
    Steve Forbes predicts Gold Standard within 5 years – H U M A N  E V E N T S
  • Ron Paul and Steve Forbes discuss why a gold standard would begin stability, and put an end to the Federal Reserve.
    Dr. Ron Paul's Gold Standard – F O R B E S
  • Just for the record, “Alan Greenspan, I knew Ayn Rand, and you're no Objectivist.” Nor are you any kind of free marketeer. But you might be the man who destroyed America.
    Alan Greenspan vs. Ayn Rand and Freedom
    – Harry Binswanger, C A P I T A L I S M   M A G A Z I N E
    Alan Greenspan Betrayed Ayn Rand and Ruined the Economy, Says Ayn Rand Institute President
    - Yaron Brook,   Y A H O O  F I N A N C E
  • You know how cool it is when your heroes are also your heroes’ heroes. Here’s a fan letter sent to Ayn Rand by Ludwig Von Mises after he’d just put down Atlas Shrugged for the first time.
    Dear Mrs Rand… -  L U D W I G   V O N   M I S E S
  • You’ve seen the Hayek v Keynes rap anthems here and here. Now read what they were all about.
    The Hayek-Keynes Debate, 1931-1971 
    – Sudha Shenoy, M I S E S   E C O N O M I C S   B L O G
  • And find out how Hayek differed to Milton Friedman.
    Hayek & Friedman: Head to Head – Roger Garrison
  • And here’s a cornucopia of Hayek on the Tube:
    First, Bernard Levin (who first coined the term ‘Nanny State’) interviewing the great man back in the 70s.
  • Jamie Whyte analyses Hayek’s analysis of boom and bust, and how it applies to the latest bust—and asks “Was the crash itself caused by problems already manifest in the boom?”
  • There are many good things to be said about PJ O’Rourke.  But his understanding of Ayn Rand is not one of them.
    P.J. O’Rourke doesn’t get Ayn Rand – Don Watkins, V O I C E S   O F   R E A S O N
  • Here’s the perfect thing to take into your next meeting with your thieving lawyer. (Apologies for the tautology.)
    L A W Y E R   C L O C K
  • “When people are driven by profits and protected by property rights, environmentally friendly products will develop naturally."
    Governments vs. Markets: Julian Morris on Environmental Protection – R E A S O N
  • When it comes to discussions about ethics, flatulent subjectivist blowhards will talk about something called the “is-ought” gap and use it as their excuse for claiming anything goes. Hit them over the head with this.
    The Is–Ought Gap: Subjectivism’s Technical Retreat 
    – Craig Biddle, O B J E C T I V E   S T A N D A R D
  • Science is slowly confirming what artists and aestheticians—those that are worth a damn—knew all along: That beautiful works of art give the same mind rush as being in love!
    Brain scans reveal the power of art – T E L E G R A P H
    Scientists Confirm: Beautiful Art = Mind Rush Love – Michael Newberry, S O L O
  • Just another reason to dislike Apple. Their ads (even when they’re real) are so smug.
  • How did the homeopath, the politician, the engineer and the lobbyist upgrade the bridge? Answers at Darwin Eats Cake.
    Civil Engineering Exam Question on the Reinforcement of Existing Bridge 
    – D A R W I N  E A T S  C A K E
  • U.S. troops in Afghanistan are using “green” ammo. Better for armour penetration, but (despite the headline) not as effective in killing bad guys as lead.
     New Army Ammo Puts Mean in ‘Green’ – M I L I T A R Y . C O M
  • I don’t know about you, but instead of Grand Designs I’ll be watching this new TV series with interest when it starts on Maori TV on Sunday night: “a fascinating new 13 part documentary series dedicated to exploring the unique architectural history of our Māori ancestors. Architect Rau Hoskins will guide viewers on a journey around the country, exploring the rich history of Māori architecture, both historical buildings as well as contemporary work.”  (Keep an eye out for architect and Libz candidate Fred Stevens in Episode 12.)
    Whare Maori with architect Rau Hoskins – M A O R I   T E L E V I S I O N
  • And here’s another I’d like to see on local television—a documentary providing an astonishing journey through the innovative, futuristic, utopian and sometimes bizarre “visionary architecture” of the twentieth century.
    Great Expectations – S O L A R I S    F I L M S
  • Bugger ‘Vienna.’ There was a time (back before John Foxx left the band) when Ultravox were hot. Damned hot. (Never mind the shitty live video, this stuff is the dog’s bollocks.)
  • Speaking of hot.
  • How’s this for love, from the sacred all the way to the profane. Only jazz can do this.
  • And finally, Jimmy Lunceford’s lead trumpeter Snooky Young died yesterday at the age of 92. Listen for his cameo on this beauty. [And see and read more about him here at Jazz on the Tube.]

Thanks for being so patient.
Enjoy your weekend.
PC

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Stricker House & Studio II, by Milton Stricker

Stricker002

A “tree house” on a Seattle mountain side designed for the architect’s own family.Stricker004 Architect Milton Stricker explains his design process for this house and studio below. You can read more about the fascinating organic design process of “design through abstraction” he used for all his work in his online book, Design Through Abstraction.

Stricker005

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Perigo! : Don Brash, second time around

Last time he appeared on the Perigo! show with host Lindsay Perigo, Don Brash was on the verge of ousting Rodney Hide, who had single-handedly destroyed the ACT Party, and taking over the party himself in a bloodless coup.

That now puts Don Brash front and centre where the ACT Party should have been along: criticising this government for its irresponsible timidity in tackling the biggest financial crisis and the largest govt deficit in this country’s history.

So now that Don Brash is leading the Act Party, where’s he going to lead it to? 

As the son of a preacher-man what does he now think about God and the Universe, Gay-Bashing Banks and Rodney? 

And how can he preach fiscal responsibility at the same time as pushing the profligate former mayor John Banks forward as ACT’s candidate in their anchor seat of Epsom?

Join Lindsay tonight on the Stratos channel to find out.

PERIGO!-show-eDM-Brash-2

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Villa Ronde, by Ciel Rouge Création

d9327c43

A project outside Tokyo, by: Ciel Rouge Création, France. More pics at Architizer.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why you won’t be seeing serious spending cuts on the 19th

If you’re still thinking you might see Bill and John making any serious cuts to govt spending to help peg back that $16 billion gap between what they spend and what they appropriate, here’s why you won’t.

In a sentence: because voters have discovered they can vote themselves rich. For a while, at least.

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NOT PJ: TANSTAAFL

_BernardDarnton This week Bernard Darnton uncharacteristically turns down a free lunch.

Free lunches were promised by Act on Campus this week in conjunction with KFC’s release of the “Double Down”. The thing appears to be a burger in which the bread has been replaced with fried chicken, the gap filled with bacon and the whole calorific horror stuck together with two kinds of cheese. Act on Campus is giving these away in the name of freedom, choice, and individual responsibility - although, if they were being honest, it’s more freedom than responsibility.

It’s a sad indicator of what the world has come to. Chemistry sets with no chemicals - “discover the wonders of salt - it dissolves!” - and where hot drinks are plastered with labels warning that they’re hot. We’re only supposed to eat food that the busy-bodies have tagged with their “tick of approval”. (And, in another sign of what the world has come to, that tick means not much more than, “We gave the Heart Foundation $10,000.”)We live in a world where university students show off their brash irresponsibility by eating a Chicken Kiev.

The promotion is undoubtedly designed to provoke Sue Kedgley into saying something bossy thus providing both parties with free publicity. It’s called “social media” and it’s at least 2,000 years old. If you’re running a film festival you always need to include a lesbian revenge flick so that the local churches will vigorously advertise the event.

If the do-gooders do rise to the bait, my advice is to ignore them completely if they prattle on about KFC causing the obesity epidemic. The last time I had KFC - thankfully many years ago - it was more like a rapid weight-loss program.

03-Double-Down The Act on Campus link makes me wonder if this is the secret to Rodney Hide’s miracle weight loss. Rather than go down the Donna Awatere-Huata route of stealing money to pay for a stomach stapling operation, fried chicken could have been just the miracle ticket. He could have a nice little post-coup career as the Jared of KFC, showing off his enormous fat pants and extolling the dietary virtues of chicken drumsticks, undercooked by a careless teenagers.

Robyn Toomath and other fishwives of the health industry industry insist that food like the Double Down is killing people and should be banned or taxed into oblivion. Much like cigarettes, one of these burgers alone won’t kill you but forty a day for four decades probably would. But does that mean they should be banned?

If the thing was an instant health risk - say, hypothetically, it was prepared by hungover youths and therefore full of Campylobacter - then it should be illegal to sell as food. But if it gradually clogs your arteries and causes heart disease or clogs your liver and causes metabolic syndrome over forty years, then no. We all know this stuff is bad for you and decide accordingly. Economists call this “time preference”. We trade pleasure now for a risk of increased mortality later. (Pleasure here is a subjective thing. If I’m going to destroy my internal organs I’d prefer to do it with pinot noir and scotch rather than some polymer masquerading as cheese.)

It’s good to see someone facing the healthists with a wicked grin. Far better than McDonald’s salad-flavoured appeasement. I just wish it wasn’t KFC because their offerings repulse me.

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Not one that you’d want anyway.

DISCLOSURE: Bernard Darnton’s NOT PJ column was written after imbibitions of pinto noir and scotch. And a kebab.

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INFINITE SPACE: The Architecture of John Lautner

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Economics for Real People: Carl Menger & his Theory of Goods

Speaking of economics … tonight in Auckland my friends at the Uni Economics Group will be talking about one of the greatest economists who ever lived, Carl Menger.

He was the man who explained economic value.

Who brought Aristotle into modern economics.

Who brought causality into economic reasoning.

Unlike his contemporaries, Menger was not interested in in creating artificial, stylized representations of reality, but in explaining the real world actions of real people. Economics, for Carl Menger, is not the study of rarefied aggregates but of purposeful human choice.

No wonder he is largely ignored today. Except by the likes of New Zealand’s richest billionaire.

Come along tonight and learn about this unsung giant.

UoA Econ Group 10 Maydata=XCVihWRtq4WsaAaVG7VezksrTNzDcIEE_YWd04ht9zkDZSpIOEWoVOQcm6ijrNG-RJHfajJgcjB4DR3sumbBl1J9R-Uy_B7Qm4inb8s Join us tonight, Tuesday, 6pm, at the Auckland University Business School

Where:      Business School
                  Room 219,
                  Level 2, Owen G. Glenn Building,
                  12 Grafton Rd,
                  Auckland University [Map here]
When:       Tonight, Tuesday 10 May, 6:00pm

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It’s the economy, stupid.

“Finance Minister Bill English says the govt deficit for the year is likely to be about $16 billion to $17 billion - the largest deficit New Zealand has ever had.”

And this government wants to run with Bill English’s handling of the economy as a “core” election issue!

Unbelievable.

This is the largest deficit any New Zealand govt has ever run. Ever. And they think it give them economic credibility.

That they do is one more reason to damn them.

Make no mistake, this economic disaster is not the result of a natural disaster. Things were already well out of control well before half of Christchurch was destroyed. It is not the result of things beyond this government’s control. It is precisely because this grossly irresponsible govt has made some very, very bad choices:

  • To swallow the dead rats that have now come back to bite us.
  • To smile and wave instead of knuckle down and do the right thing.

Roger Douglas is right. This sort of result is what happens when you put off dealing with problems in your first term for fear of scaring the horses.

But big as this deficit is—big enough even for ratings agencies and the IMF to notice—there is an even bigger deficit here, and that is the ability deficit of this Finance Minister and his Master—and of their opposition counterparts in Hard Labour.  Hard Labour’s David Cunliffe is right that Key’s men have no economic plan. But neither does Silent T. Nothing at all. Frankly, it’s beyond him too.

But it’s frankly not hard to know what has to be done. Not hard at all. It’s precisely the same recipe now as it was in 2008, only more so:

At this dangerously destructive point, you’d be stupid not to.

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On the perils of playing a capitalist…

Grant Bowler makes a great point in this clip, around 2:35, that in today's Hollywood its perfectly okay to play a psychopath or a child molester and nobody bats an eyelid. But play a capitalist … ("my god, what were you thinking!”) … and you're virtually blackballed.

Is this why the New Zealand actor is getting no love back here in EnZed for his starring role in Atlas Shrugged:Part 1?

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Make mine man-made

The human environment is beautiful. See:

Timelapse - The City Limits from Dominic on Vimeo.
[Hat tip Jeffrey Tucker]

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Monday, May 09, 2011

‘Swoosh’ Pavilion, by Architectural Association students

swoosh-pavilion-at-the-architectural-association-lfa2008_aapav_1 It’s encouraging to discover that this is what is getting students excited these days. The home of avant garde bollocks and deconstructed trash, London’s Architectural Association School of Architecture (aka AA), now sees students pursuing spatial adventure through geometric development. Witness for example this construction recently decorating Bedford Square, ‘The Swoosh Pavilion,' an easily de-mountable summer pavilion and shading structure.

More info here.

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DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: Price-fixing, flag burning and Jinty McTavish’s emotional incontinence

_McGRath Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath offers inoculation against the nonsense appearing in recent stories and headlines.

This week: Price-fixing, flag burning and Jinty McTavish’s emotional incontinence

  • DOMPOST: “Cost of calls and texts to drop – The Anti-Commerce Commission dictates what competing telecommunication companies can charge others for use of their network, hoping this will reduce mobile “termination” charges…

THE PROBLEM: The government wants to make mobile phone calls cheaper. That’s fine.
    But it’s not their job to encourage people to use cell phones. Their job is to protect our individual rights. This price-fixing decree violates individual rights by interfering in the free commerce between privately owned companies, who should be able to charge each other what they damn well like.
    You can bet if the telco companies colluded and undercharged mobile termination rates, there would be allegations of a conspiracy to make people dependent on mobile phones and then raise user charges once the poor helpless public are ‘hooked.’
    This price fixing move by the Anti-Commerce Commission could make it cheaper for kids to text each other in class, thus increasing the likelihood that it will happen. With state school classes already disrupted by the kids who don’t want to be there but who are held captive by leaving age laws, does the government want it even more likely that kids will be distracted via cheap texting?
    Anyway, there is no guarantee that the telcos will lower their mobile termination charges despite the price-fixing by that has been forced on them. Nor that they will continue ot offer the same services at these compulsorily-lowered prices…

THE SOLUTION: Leave the telco market open to all comers. Make it easier to set up a competing mobile phone company.Accept that Telecom may have an advantage in owning a lot of the network infrastructure (granted, I would be the first to admit I don’t know much about who owns how much of ‘the network’) but leave the market to sort itself out.
    Competition and the prospect of profit breeds innovation. It is likely that a future competitor in the mobile phone market will come up with technology that makes the current mobile network obsolete, and sends prices through the floor, just as the price of wide screen TVs has plummeted in recent years.
    For the sake of free trade, disband the Anti-Commerce Commission.

  • OTAGO DAILY TIMES: “Temperatures rise as climate discussed – Dunedin City Councillor Jinty McTavish effectively tells Dr Jock Allison, former director of the Invermay Research Centre and global warming heretic, to STFU and accept the opposite view simply because a majority of the scientific community apparently believe it at this point…

THE PROBLEM: Local government should not concern itself over matters over which they, and their ratepayers, have no control. The global cooling of the past 12 years is unrelated to the production of CO2 and other ‘greenhouse’ gases by the people of Dunedin City. Correlation is not the same as causation.
    Just because a majority hold some opinion to be true does not make it so. Scientific proof makes it so. And the hypothesis of AGW is just that—a hypothesis; it is not a theorem or a law.
    Councillor Jinty McTavish should stop turning on the water works when she discusses the weather—using emotion devoid of reason in trying to make a point threatens to make her a laughing stock. Or more of one.
    Carbon taxes, emissions tax scams, whatever you call them, are all a disincentive for industry to produce, a disincentive for people to use energy to improve their standard of living, and a scam to enrich Albert Gore and other parasites who have never done an honest day’s work in their lives, but who want to punish producers for producing.

THE SOLUTION: Let people devise their own solutions to global warming, if they see it as a problem. Some people enjoy hotter weather; let them. Many farmers could make use of rising CO2 levels and higher temperatures. Let them.
    Don’t use the weather as a basis for taxing people. To paraphrase my predecessor as Libz leader, socialism doesn’t work, no matter what the temperature. It didn’t work in Siberia, it wouldn’t work in Libya, it will not work here.
    Encourage (by getting out of the way) the production of more near-zero-emission hydro-electric dams and nuclear power stations instead of hideously expensive, temperamental and deadly wind turbines and even more deadly solar panels.
    Allow private hydro dams and small scale nuclear energy production.
    High electricity prices will encourage energy conservation. Laws don’t need to be passed to fix prices, nor to subsidise lethal installation of home insulation.

IN SHORT: Let consumers sort out their own response to the “horror” of changing weather patterns. The government has bigger fish to fry, like reversing the unsustainable borrowing and spending that is infinitely more of a threat to future generations of New Zealanders than a few tenths of a degree of global cooling ever could.

THE PROBLEM: Some people still think flag burning should be outlawed. But this attitude is at odds with the liberal Western (particularly British) view that people should be able to express their opinions by whatever their means, while respecting the property rights of others.
    Burning a flag in a public place is fine, as long as the owner of the flag gives his/her permission. An individual has no property rights over the land in a public place and so has no basis to object to someone burning a flag there.

THE SOLUTION: If you are offended by someone burning a flag, then don’t look. Ignore them, as publicity only fans the flames of their activism. Wave your flag instead.
    There is nothing sacred about a flag. Nor a Bible. Nor a copy of the Quran. Burn the lot of them, I say, especially if you’re cold and there is a power cut.
    The McCullyist view that freedom of speech is all right as long as it doesn’t offend others is simply BS. It’s precisely speech that does offend that needs freedom’s protection.
    The test of whether someone’s flag-immolation crosses the line is whether objective (measurable) harm has been done as a result. If so, compensation is in order. If not, the offended party should exercise their own freedom of expression to protest, remembering that their own freedom ends where the property of others begins.

"The [American] First Amendment exists to insure that freedom of speech
and expression applies not just to that with which we agree or disagree,
but also that which we find outrageous. I would not amend that great
shield of democracy to hammer a few miscreants. The flag will still be
flying proudly long after they have slunk away."
- Colin Powell, U.S. Army General

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