Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Morning Ramble #666

Welcome to another end-of-the-week ramble. Here’s some stuff to check out over lunchtime—or maybe over the weekend.

Not exactly busy, are they.
The Ministers respond to the Christchurch housing crisis… – Holly Walker,  F R O G   B L O G

Winston is going gaga? Or Winston always was gaga? No matter, the evidence is now more clear.
Lunch with Winston Peters – Stephen Stratford,  Q U O T E   U N Q U O T E

Dunedin’s “stimulus” stadium continues to weigh them down. (It’s like the sovereign debt crisis in microcosm.)
Stadium blew budget by millions -  S T U F F

Every time the NZ Parliament passes a new act it costs the country an average of $3.5 million, according to a new study. And even just a piece of regulation costs around $530,000.  They included the cost of Parliamentary time and the cost of the policy analysts’ time. What they didn’t include was the effect of every piece of new legislation, and every new  regulation, in slowing down and making it harder for the folk who actually get things done to get things done.
Cost of legislation – V I S I B L E   H A N D   O F   E C O N O M I C S

Despite his many errors as a commentator Brian Gaynor is without doubt one of the country’s most successful fund managers. So when he notes the widespread impact of the Commerce Commission’s wealth destruction, it’s worth listening.
Shaky telco regulation spooks investors – Brian Gaynor,  N Z   H E R A L D

Set up by Roger Douglas, the culture of the Communist Commerce Commission needs to change. And the simplest way to change it is to close it down.
Sadly, a slap is all it gets.
Auditor General letter slaps Commerce Commission – W H A L E   O I L

The Green Party took forty years to gain currency. Lesson for those who choose to take it: in politics, ideological victory is a marathon, not a sprint.
Beyond Today: a values story, and the Greens’ story -  Claire Browning, F R O G  B L O G

There is no such thing as ‘rational’ debate. Well, certainly not at the Labour Party blog The Double Standard.
"There's no such thing as 'rational' debate!" – T H E   C O N T R A R I A N

“Sin taxes” on cigarettes and alcohol  are not designed to create abstinence. “Taxing goods which are price inelastic, especially those which are addictive, is far more likely to impoverish consumers than it is to turn them into abstainers.”
Sin taxes – Paul Walker,  A N T I    D I S M A L

Just in case you didn’t realise: “Sin taxes” on cigarettes and alcohol are not designed to improve public health; they are designed to boost revenue.
The Wages of Sin Taxes: The True Cost of Taxing Alcohol, Tobacco and Other "Vices" 
-  P I N   F A C T O R Y    B L O G

I hear folk screaming about the undue influence of Murdoch et al on politics. “What I am suggesting though is that those screaming about how awful it is that a private sector company should try to suck up to those with political power is, well, what the fuck did you expect? Your permission to run a newspaper business is dependent upon those politicians. Your spectrum allocation is dependent upon those politicians. How much domestic shite you’ve got to pump out over that spectrum is dependent upon those politicians. Which sporting events you’re even allowed to bid for is determined by those politicians. Whether you’re allowed to buy out the other shareholders in a company you already have management control of is determined by those politicians.”
When legislators decide what can be bought and sold…. – T I M  W O R S T A L L

In the USA we don't have a dictator controlling thought; we have a
culture of conformity that gets people to censor themselves.

        - William Greeley

“The nature of the regime created by Hamas in Gaza, and its strength and durability, has received insufficient attention in the West… An Islamist one-party quasi-state has been built in Gaza over the last half-decade. The prospects for this enclave and its importance in the period ahead have been immeasurably strengthened by the advances made by Hamas' fellow Muslim Brotherhood branches in Egypt and elsewhere in the region.”
A Bracing Look at the Reality of Hamas -  Jeffrey Goldberg, T H E   A T L A N T I C

The use of private prisons continues to increase. No wonder. Private prisons have a very simple blueprint for success: more lobbying, less security.
Private prisons' blueprint for success: more lobbying, less security – D E N V E R    W E S T W O R L D

Why is Louisiana the “prison capital of the world”? Simple: A majority of Louisiana inmates are housed in for-profit facilities, which must be supplied with a constant influx of human beings or a $182 million industry will go bankrupt.
Incentives matter: prison file – Paul Walker, A N T I   D I S M A L

A plea from a European supply-sider:  Couldn’t every economy be more like Germany's - by embracing radical supply side reforms?
The importance of the supply-side – Ryan Bourne, C E N T R E   F O R  P O L I C Y   S T U D I E S

"[T]he present breakdown of America is not the failure of Capitalism,
but the result of men abandoning the principles of Capitalism...."
- Ayn Rand

Statisticians really will do anything to follow the government’s line, won’t they.
U.S. Government Spending Has Shrunk…When You Ignore 44 Percent of Government Spending
-  M E R C A T U S   C E N T E R

“Do reduced banking controls always equate with free market?” A free-marketeer makes a principled case for more regulation in the banking sector.
Does JP Morgan’s massive loss favour the argument for more controls?
– Frank Shostak, C O B D E N C E N T R E

Political leaders are always saying we should follow Sweden. This is what happened in Sweden following the GFC under Premier Anders Borg: “His ‘stimulus’ was a permanent tax cut. To critics, this was fiscal lunacy — the so-called ‘punk tax cutting’ agenda. Borg, on the other hand, thought lunacy meant repeating the economics of the 1970s and expecting a different result…. He continued to cut taxes and cut welfare-spending to pay for it; he even cut property taxes for the rich to lure entrepreneurs back to Sweden. The last bit was the most unpopular, but for Borg, economic recovery starts with entrepreneurs.,,
Three years on, it’s pretty clear who was right.”
The Swedish model – Steven Kates,  C A T A L L A X Y   F I L E S

Want to end financial repression? Then end the rule of the central banks.
Leave Money Production to the Market – Jeffrey Herbener,  M I S E S   D A I L Y
How Central Banks Are Delivering A Financial Repression 
– M O N E Y   M O R N I N G   A U S T R A L I A

Should insider trading be banned?

“Senior politicians must realise that hard work cannot produce prosperity without the right institutions. In addition to Adam Smith’s “peace, easy taxes and a tolerable administration of justice”, hard work must be rewarded with honest money which holds its value, not money which the commercial banks and the [central bank] can produce at the touch of a button.”
Hard work needs honest money – Steve Baker, MP,  C O B D E N    C E N T R E

“The economics and politics of the West are being ruined by the 101%, that brigade of citizens who feel it is their right to consume at least 101% of the value of the taxes they have themselves contributed. And, of course, we are not really talking about a mere 1% above their contributions but vast amounts beyond anything they have contributed themselves.”
The 101% - Steven Kates, C A T A L L A X Y F I L E S

If there is one thing about which to be happy: at least Greece is not Japan.
Japan's WTF Chart – Z E R O   H E D G E

Greece's tragedy should be a lesson in reality evasion - there is no alternative to living within your means.
Greece's tragedy should be lesson to all – L I B E R RT Y   S C O T T

As its “bad bank” becomes worse, Europe’s fourth-largest economy very publicly hits the skids,.
The Pain In Spain Is Mainly, Well, Everywhere -  Z E R O   H E D G E
Rearranging the New World Order - Bill Bonner,  D A I L Y   R E C K O N I N G ,   A U S T R A L I A

If you think this will be the first time there is a break-up in Europe, think again. 

“Serving others, I believe, is the highest calling for a person in our society.” Bollocks. Don’t serve: create.

Obama might yet regret making up his little state-worshipper, Julia.

What would Chicken Littles do if enough resources existed to fuel the world for a thousand years even with our present technology? Better not tell them about methane hydrates then.
The World Is Running Out Of Energy Scares – Stephen Milloy, J U N K   S C I E N C E

Meanwhile … last winter, on several occasions, Germany escaped only just large-scale power outages. Next winter the risk of large blackouts is even greater. The culprit for the looming crisis is the single most important instrument of German energy policy: so-called “Renewable Energy.”
Germany Faces Energy Disaster Next Winter – Stephen Milloy, J U N K S C I E N C E

Disobedience is not an issue if obedience is not the goal.
        - Daron Quinlan

From an interview with a safecracker:
Q: How realistic are movies that show people breaking into vaults?
A: Not very!
Interview With A Safecracker -  G E E K   P R E S S

Life’s too short to read some books. Like this latest piece of excrement by Sam Harris.
Life’s Too Short to Read Some Books -  T H E   P U R P O S E F U L   R E A D E R

Book porn. No, seriously.
B O O K S H E L F   P O R N

You want good food? Do ya?
Where do you get yours? (Food Edition) – Russell Brown,  H A R D   N E W S

Answering the vexed questions of the modern-day world: how to give Power Point presentations on your iPad:
Giving iPad PowerPoint Presentations Just Got a Lot Better -  R E A D   W R I T E   W E B

The Auckland Philharmonia were immense last night playing Dvorak’s New World Symphony. Best I’ve heard them. But the Vienna Philharmonic are no slouches either.

Donna Summer has died. She did one sixteen-minute song every teenage boy loved, whatever his musical persuasion—supposedly containing the sexiest "simulated" orgasms ever found on vinyl.

Your NZ Music for today is “Humanised,” by Sola Rosa (although Tommy Dorsey would recognise the main riff):

[Hat tips and thank yous to Nick Allen, Oren Kessler, Auckland Libraries, Maria Montessori, Oliver Cooper, Eric Crampton, Marijuana, Inc., Steve Baker MP., Daniel WahlStephen R. C. Hicks]

Cheers, and thanks for reading
Peter Cresswell

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