Friday, 4 May 2012

Friday Morning Ramble: The ‘Week of Sideshows” Edition

Politics this week has been nothing but sideshows. The biggest of all being the sideshow about John Banks—as if discussing a man’s hotel bill is the most important thing a country’s politicians could be doing.
So, here’s a few things on which they might have focussed instead.

Actually, Mr Busybody, quite a few "ordinary people" kinda like buying beer and wine at the supermarket.
Business will act against liquor changes -  T V 3  N E W S

“The single biggest challenge facing New Zealand universities is that we operate with the lowest expenditure per student of any system in the developed world.”
Options - O F F S E T T I N G B E H A V I O U R

Guess what. Most of the so called “failed” polices of the 80s not only succeeded but are still serving us well.
Eighties reforms recalledL I N D S A Y  M I T C H E L L

This has to be the funniest parody of Obama ever written. Oh, wait, I thought it was posted by The Onion
Presidential Proclamation -- Loyalty Day, 2012 – W H I T E  H O U S E

Life is valued cheaply in Northland. No, it really is.
VSL at the bottom tail of the distribution - O F F S E T T I N G     B E H A V I O U R

Ports of Auckland’s analysis of demand behind their plans for expansion are too slight in content and too inflated in expectations to justify those plans, and the problems they will cause. “Radical change calls for lateral thinking, and integrated action,” reckons Phil McDermott.
Expanding Horizon: Rethinking Auckland’s Port Plan – Phil McDermott,  CI T I E S   M A T T E R

Smoking “costs” the Government how much? (Please show all your working.)
Can't kill a bad stat – O F F S E T T I N G   B E H A V I O U R

“As part of our wider commitment to improving access to political information,” the Green Party boast they are now the first political party in the world to translate their policies into sign language.
Apparently they don’t think deaf people can read.
Green policies translated into NZ Sign Language – Mojo Mathers,  F R O G B L O G

Isn’t it strange that consumer taxes hit the poorest the hardest, yet social welfare lobby groups remain silent or even support them?
Nudge nudge, wink wink, nanny soaks the poor to fatten the budget 
- Julie Novak,  T H E  A U S T R A L I A N

You know, don’t you, that if we don’t Keep It 18 you’ll be getting invites like this in the mail.


A year after Osama Bin Laded was killed, and nearly eleven years after they killed thousands on that well-remembered September morning, Al Qaeda are still alive and well, and planning atrocities.
A Year after Osama bin Laden’s Death: Al-Qaeda Alive and Kicking -  T H E  F O U N D R Y

And they have developed some interesting fellow travellers.
"Occupy" Movement In Cleveland Bridge Bombing Probe -  S M O K I N G   G U N

Occupy Wall Street was back for May Day. And guess what we found? Their soul.
The Soul Of Occupy Wall Street - L A I S S E Z   F A I R E

“Robert Spencer performs a super detective service for the West in ‘Did Muhammad Exist? An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins.’ He examines virtually every aspect of the composition and history of Islam and its purported founder, Mohammad."
Conclusion: “Islam has swindled its faithful, its communicants, its followers, its believers. All the possible evidence points to the fact that Islam's substance and veracity comprise a theological and historical fraud.”
Islam: A Will-o'-the-Wisp of Political Faith  - Edward Cline,  R U L E   O F   R E A S O N

To the extent inequality is a problem in America, it’s because some significant part of that inequality is created by government. “The relentless expansion of credit by the Fed creates artificial disparities based on political privilege and economic power.”
How the Fed Favors The 1%: The Fed doesn't expand the money supply by dropping cash from helicopters. It does so through capital transfers to the largest banks. - W A L L   S T R E E T   J O U R N A L

Bolivia continues its spiral down the communist plughole. Something only Bernard Hickey  could celebrate [read the moron’s comments on his Item 1].
Bolivia govt seizes control of power grid -  S T U F F
Another nationalisation - Bloomberg reports -  Bernard Hickey, I N T E R E S T

Talk about lying with statistics! “The bottom line is that figuring out who pays how much in taxes is really, really hard. We should be skeptical whenever we hear pronouncements about how much this or that group is paying.”
How to lie with statistics – John Cochrane,  T H E  G R U M P Y   E C O N O M I S T

I was getting myself frothed up about the recent idea that  "speculators" are behind the recent gas price increase.  Have we learned nothing in the centuries of witch hunts for "speculators" "middlemen" and "money changers"?
Speculation and gas prices - John Cochrane, T H E G R U M P Y E C O N O M I S T

Q: What keeps our food safe? A: The profit motive, of course.
The Great Salad Microbe Hunt, California Style – N P R
Capitalist Secrets: Laissez-Faire Fosters Safe Food and Drugs – Don Watkins

“We know that: windfarms ruin the ocean view of Cape Cod homes; are shredding birds to smithereens like carrots in a Cuisinart; and are too intermittent and unreliable as a stand-alone energy source so need back-up by awful fossil fuel sources.
“But do they also cause global warming?”
Just Because Windmills Don’t Cause Global Warming Doesn’t Mean They Don’t Suck
 -  B A S T I A T   I N S T I T U T E

The green movement is designed to hurt mankind. Shortly put, they love nature but hate people.
 Forget Halloween: It's the Greens That Scare Me - Jonathan Hoenig, S M A R T   M O N E Y

Here’s a case in point
Luddites -  O F F S E T T I N G   B E H A V I O U R

Here’s another.
UK Climate Policy Helps Fund Forced Sterilisation Of India’s Poor – CA N A D A   F R E E  P R E S S

And here’s another, a top official at the American environmental bureaucracy the EPA once described its philosophy of regulating oil and gas producers this way: “It was kind of like how the Romans used to, you know, conquer villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go in to a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw, and they’d crucify them. And then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”
Top EPA official resigns after 'crucify' comment -  F O X  N E W S

And one more: “We know who the active [climate] denialists are—not the people who buy the lies, mind you, but the people who create the lies. Let’s start keeping track of them now, and when the famines come, let’s make them pay. Let’s let their houses burn. Let’s swap their safe land for submerged islands. Let’s force them to bear the cost of rising food prices.”
I guess that’s better than the wishing death on all of humanity, which is a recurring theme among the greens.
Climate Alarmist Calls For Burning Down Skeptics’ Homes- I N F O W A R S

Not that the results can’t be amusing sometimes: “Oregon officials try to get EPA permission to kill an endangered bird that’s eating an endangered fish.”
Oregon asks to kill salmon-eating birds -  E AS T  O R E G O N I A N

Environmentalism and multi-culturalism are so prevalent in preschools today! Proper or improper?
Political agenda at preschools – Kate Yoak,  P A R E N T I N G   I S . . .

“May Day is the day of the year that socialists celebrate
that they work. Which is why they want to get the day off.”
                        - Oliver Cooper

Arseholes worry about privatisation by the back door? How about excluding a not inconsiderable section of the population from routine surgery on the premise that—for currently fashionable reasons—they should be denied benefit from their taxes?
They worry about privatisation by the back door? -  M I N D   T O   M A T T E R

Justice? “After years of denying entry to Africans and with their economy now suffering, many Portuguese are trying to immigrate to Africa, only Africa isn't so eager to take them.”
Who Will Take Americans? – Kelly Valenzuela,  M O T H E R   O F   E X I L E S

Word up from the New Progressives. "There’s nothing progressive about forcibly confiscating other people’s wealth. Real progress comes from respecting people’s rights and banning coercion—the initiation of force—from social relationships."
Progress Means Respecting People’s Rights – Ari Armstrong,   F R E E   C O L O R A D O

Did you know the only car in the world so fuel efficient it can be driven across the US with only one stop for fuel cannot legally be sold there? It makes you contemplate what other technological wonders never see the light of day because of bureaucratic bossiness.
The Case of the Missing Low-Mileage Car – Jeffrey Tucker,  L A I S S E Z  F A I R E  T O D A Y

Things aren’t like they used to be. “New Dutch laws to stub out the sale of cannabis to foreign dope tourists kicked in Tuesday — and were met with defiance from southern coffee shops including in Maastricht.”
Marijuana tourism in the Netherlands takes a hit, draws protest with new ‘cannabis card’ law 
– N A T I O N A L   P O S T

Fear not. Humor and business can mix!
Don’t Fear the Silly – Diana Hsieh,  N O O D L E   F O O D

“People Before Profits”? “While such sentiments paint profit as the enemy of rights, justice, and people’s well-being, in fact profit in a capitalist system embodies all those things.”
Contra Occupiers, Profits Embody Justice -  Ari Armstrong,  T . O . S .   B L O G

For the last year or so, Yaron Brook from the Ayn Rand Institute has been traveling around the States debating David Callahan, a senior fellow at Demos. The debates have focused on the fundamental issues underlying politics and economics: individualism and collectivism, capitalism and government intervention, democracy and limited government, and so on. Here’s the videos from our latest event, which took place in Chicago.
Yaron Debates: Is Government the Problem Or The Solution?  - L A I S S E Z  F A I R E

Debating inflation, monetary policy, monetary history, the role of the Federal Reserve and more, the (Ron) Paul versus Paul (Krugman) debate has everybody talking.
Ron Paul Vs. Paul Krugman: Inside The Debate Video That Pits Paul Vs. Paul – I B T
Ron Paul vs. Paul Krugman: Fed ‘Reckless’ to Allow High Jobless Rate, Say Krugman; "Mission Impossible" says Mish – M I S H ’ S G L O B A L E C O N O M I C T R E N D A N A L Y S I S
Ron Paul vs. Paul Krugman Video -  D A I L Y  C A P I T A L I S T

In one fell swoop, Krugman (Paul) exposes his ignorance on money, on investment, and on economics itself.
Krugman: More Economic Destruction Needed To Revive Economy 
– William Anderson,  D A I L Y   C A P I T A L I S T

Try not to be intimidated by what the supposed experts say; rather, think about the following sentence using logic and critical intelligence: “Cutbacks in government spending… will eat into growth.” This statement of seeming ironclad truth was pushed in an editorial in The New York Times…
In fact, the opposite is true.
If Government Spends Less, Are We Sunk? – Jeffrey Tucker, L A I S S E Z F A I R E T O D A Y

The financial crisis has fully exposed the intellectual bankruptcy of the world’s central bankers.
"Central Bankers Are Intellectually Bankrupt" – Ron Paul,  Z E RO   H E D G  E

These technocrats all believe in the same basic economic ideas:

  1. That they as technocrats can manipulate money supply for the good of the economy.
  2. They confuse price changes resulting from supply and demand with “inflation.”
  3. That money printing can create wealth and thus, real economic growth.
  4. They admit they can’t affect employment directly but that they can create a stable environment for the creation of jobs.
  5. The Fed has no role in the creation of boom-bust business cycles.
  6. The Fed can prevent economic collapse.
  7. They can implement an exit strategy to drain the economy of excess money supply.

Yet none of these assumptions is correct. Oh, and QE3 is back on the table….
The Fed Speaks To The Daily Capitalist* – D A I L Y  C A P I T A L I S T

“The paper dollar is now the single most important source of systemic risk to the financial system, the world economy, and the security of the American people.”
How Ben Bernanke’s Paper Dollar Embodies Systemic Risk – D A I L Y   R E C K O N I N G ,  A U S T R A L I A

Credit is not…a magic piece of paper that reverses cause and
effect, and transforms consumption into a source of production.

                  - Ayn Rand

If you’re thinking the world is “out of recession,” think again. We’re like “the man who jumps off a 25-story building and as he's hurtling by the sixth floor he says 'don't worry, nothing has happened yet'.”
Zuckerman To CNBC: "The Recession Never Ended" -  Z ER O   H E D G E

“Comparing wages across countries can be difficult, but one economist has come up with a way to track people doing identical jobs to make an identical product all across the world: McDonald’s employees.”
Number of the Week: Using Big Macs to Compare Wages – R E A L  T I M E   E C O N O M I C S

imageMind you, now that governments realise these Big Mac measures are being used, they’re not above insisting on some price fixing. Enter, stage left, some unintended consequences—and something called a Triple Mac!
Big Macs, Subatomic Particles, and Unintended Consequences- N E W   H A M P S H I R E   W A T C H D O G

There are many problems with it, but since 1995 the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., has put together the Index of Economic Freedom to “track the march of economic freedom around the world.” Editor in Chief Matt Welch sat down with economist Jim Roberts, who co-authored the 2012 edition of the survey. They discussed reasons for optimism about China, reasons to worry about the United States, and the general state of economic liberty around the world.
Ranking Economic Freedom in the U.S. and Abroad -  R E A S O N

Heard about “herd immunity”?


Skeptic Lawyer proves property is power.
Ode to property law – S K E P T I C    L A W Y E R

Henri is a French cat suffering from existentialist boredom….
Henri, French Existentialist Cat -  N O O D L E   F O O D

For those of you needing twenty good blogs to bookmark…
20 Top Objectivist Blogs – T H E  N E A R B Y  P E N

The days of Duckworth-Lewis ruining one-day cricket games may soon be over. We may soon be throwing things at two Chch academics instead
Cricket formula fairer – S T U F F

“Most corporate employees complain about the endless meetings and work protocols that stand in the way of their productivity. But anyone who works for herself will tell you that, even when all the corporate noise is stripped away, it’s still hard to get things done. Maybe even harder.”
8 Rules to Stay Productive When You Work for Yourself -  F O R B E S

So much teaching has become so compressed, that like pasteurisation most of the goodness has been squeezed out.  “I think we need to better understand the processes involved in digesting learning, so that we can experiment and find faster "transmission speeds" for learning—the training program equivalent of going from the 56k modem to high-speed cable.”
The dangers of pasteurised learning – David Rock, A . S . T . D .

imageMy favourite living artist has been busy.
Interiors, up and runningN E W B E R R Y ‘ S   B L O G

Come on, you know you’ve been wondering about it.
The Etymology of “Boob” -  P H I L O S O P H Y   I N  A C T I O N

Who knew that angles, asswholes, and manors were so funny?!?
Top 10 Most Unforgivable Twitter Spelling Mistakes – B U Z Z F E E D

Some interesting statistics on…
The rise of e-reading -  P E W  I N T E R N E T

Here’s an article  on the depth of Amazon’s ground-breaking innovations in the book industry and how The New York Times and others are leading a charge to punish this successful American company, on which many authors now depend for book sales.
The Luddite-Statist Attacks on Amazon – Gen La Greca,  G E O R G E   R E I S M A N ’ S  B L O G

Two stories of “hit the ball out of the park” self-publishing suggest if old publishing model aren’t dead yet, then they’re at least starting to smell that way.
A Self-Publishing 'Rocky' Story – Robert Bidinotto,  P . J .  M E D I A
"Who fucking cares about the charts? I have music, love and support" -- Amanda Palmer on her Kickstarter success and a new music business model –  B O S T O N   P H O E N I X
Amanda Palmer: The new RECORD, ART BOOK, and TOUR -  K I C K S T A R T E R

I’m not saying this is the best rendition of it, but if you think you know any better male duet in all music then I have to tell you you’re very, very much mistaken.

‘Au fond du temple saint ‘ (Before the Temple of the Saints’) from ‘The Pearl Fishers’ by Bizet

I’ll wager you never realised Edward Elgar wrote music like this:

And finally, ‘tis the time of the year for fresh-hopped (or wet-hopped) beers! Fresh-hopped beers are brewed “using the cones within 24 hours of picking”—creating “a celebration of flavours and aromas, but not particularly hop bitterness.”
It seems that “fresh hop beers are about subtle nuances” using “base beers that are hop centric, but not extreme.” Bugger.
Fresh hop beers – Fritz Kuzuck & Maria Grau,  N E L S O N  M A I L
Pic of the 8 Wired drop Fresh Hopwired courtesy A Girl & Her Pint


[Hat tips and thank yous to Daniel Gross, Great Opera Videos, Ann McElhinney, Eric Crampton, Yaron Brook, Don Watkins, Iowahawk, Berend de Boer, Home Paddock, Geek Press]

Thanks for reading,
and have a great weekend!


  1. The Greens should translate their policies to Klingon, too, and perhaps they would make sense.

  2. thank you for another friday of intellect, things to think about. like yo always are


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.