Friday, 1 June 2012

FRIDAY MORNING RAMBLE: ‘It’s the sizes of your classes’ edition


Message to those saying Hekia Parata and John Key don’t know what they’re doing: It’s really quite simple. If you don’t think government is qualified to micro-manage education, then don’t support it.
Class size – N O T   P C

Repeat after me: Smokers save the taxpayer money.
Smokers save the taxpayer money -  L I N D S A Y   M I T C H E L L

Q: Where do your taxes go?  A: Nowhere good.
Where's My Taxes

The Labour Party is considering expropriating the retirement savings of the internationally mobile. Yes, true story.
Labour's KiwiSaver plans – Eric Crampton,  O F F S E T T I N G   B E H A V I O U R

‘Fair Go’ puts a stake through the heart of ‘Fair Go.’ Thirty years too late.
A Kafkaesque story that should horrify you. And it’s set in New Zealand! 
– Brian Edwards,  B R I A N  E D W A RD S  M E D I A

Now, this is the sort of global warming protest I can get behind.
Underwear protest on Wellington trains -  S T U F F

Yes, were are mired in recession. Yes, things are getting worse. Yes, there are thousands and thousands unemployed. And yes, employers still struggle to fill vacancies.
NZ employers struggle to fill 50% of vacancies – N . B . R .

Meanwhile, back in the States: “The proportion of Americans in their prime working years who have jobs is smaller than it has been at any time in the 23 years before the recession, according to federal statistics, reflecting the profound and lasting effects that the downturn has had on the nation’s economic prospects."
Job recovery is scant for Americans in prime working years – W A S H I N G T O N   P O S T

It’s the time of year everywhere for graduation speeches to yawn through. Here’s one in which you’d want to takes notes for a lifetime.
At Last, a Memorable Commencement Speech: "Markets & Morality" 
– Walter Williams, G R O V E   C I T Y  C O L L E G E

"Why a British exam question on Judaism is not racist, and what is revealed about the premises of the government officials who think it is."
Tories vs The Enlightenment – R O B E R T O   B .  S A R R I O N A N D I A

When nothing else but a Lion face-palm will do.
Lion Facepalm – N O O D L E F O O D

“As The New York Times would put it, when in 1996 “President Bill Clinton delivered on his pledge to ‘end welfare as we know it’…he signed into law a bill forcing recipients to work and imposing a five-year limit on cash assistance.” Um, actually he didn’t.
Did Clinton's ’96 Bill Force People to Work? - Tibor Machan, T I B O R ‘ S    S P A C E

“My job,” claims President Obama, “is to take into account everybody, not just some. My job is to make sure that the country is growing not just now, but 10 years from now, 20 years from now.” Um, actually, it’s not.
Wealth vs. Job Creation? – Tibor Machan, T I B O R ‘ S   S P A C E

“Not only is taxation a form of confiscation by coercion. It is
confiscation by groups who believe their values and priorities
are superior to other people’s—a breath-taking moral claim.”

- Eamonn Butler, UK Taxpayers’ Alliance

It now seems clear that the run-off in the Egyptian presidential election will be between the the deposed dictator’s last prime minister and the candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood, i.e. the former dictator’s puppet and a fellow representing the organisation that assassinated Anwar Sadat for being a backslider and from which Al Qaeda was born.
So much for the promise of Egyptian democracy, eh.
For Egypt in 2012, Read the United States in ’60s? -  H I S T O R Y  N E W S   N E T W O R K
Fouad Ajami: Egypt's Next Leader Won't Be A Creature of Tahrir Square 
-  H I S T O R Y   N E W S   N E T W O R K
Christians Should "Convert, Pay Tribute, or Leave," Says Muslim Brotherhood Presidential Candidate? – J I H A D  W A T C H
Sharia Supremacists Take First and Third Place in Egypt’s Presidential Elections 
– A N D R E W  B O S T O M

Put this on the biggest-mistakes-you-can-ever-make list.
Defecting to North Korea – P H I L O S O P H Y  I N   A C T I O N

"Sometimes if you want to see a change for the better,
you have to take things into your own hands."
- Clint Eastwood

On the reasons for tragic levels of unemployment in Spain:
The Systemic Siesta – Carolina Carmenes Cavia & David Howden,   M I S E S  D A I L Y

Question: What costs $1 trillion a year and completely fails to accomplish its main objective? Answer: America’s welfare state.
Examining the Means-tested Welfare State: 79 Programs and $927 Billion in Annual Spending 
– Robert Rector,  H E R I T A G E   B L O G

Oh, and that’s not the only big-time failure.
The American stimulus may have cost $4.1 million per job says Congressional Budget Office 
– Steve Kates, C A T A L L A X Y   F I L E S

“Over the last two years numerous commentators have predicted an imminent collapse of the Chinese
housing market bubble and a hard landing for the Chinese economy, which could threaten the fragile
international economy and financial system…Even after regularly reading a wide range of commentaries on the Chinese economic growth story it is still something of a mystery. So rather than have all the answers this Raving attempts to highlight a number of the relevant major issues that will impact on Chinese economic growth over the next few years.”
China – it is time to take the risk of a hard landing seriously 
– Rodney Dickens,  R O D N E Y ‘ S   R A V I N G S

Oops. Things are “not good” everywhere, huh.
Update on India’s gdp growth.  Not good, 5.3%. – S O B E R   L O O K

Ever wondered why Sweden’s welfare state hasn’t been touted much lately by the usual suspects?
Sweden's Reputation As A Welfare State Is In Trouble – I B D
The Swedish Reform Model, Believe It or Not -  W A L L  S T R E E T   J O U R N A L

Must View: The Importance of Staying Ahead of Price Inflation – E C O N   P O L I C Y   J O U R N A L

So Facebook keeps falling, and is now floating around the $27 mark.  We’re a third of the way down what it might be worth…
Facebook & the Bubble Mentality – John Aziz,  Z E R O  H E D G E

Print these out for the weekend, two topical papers: John Allison on “The Fed’s Fatal Conceit” (PDF) and Larry White on “Making the Transition to a New Gold Standard.”
The Fed’s Fatal Conceit – John Allison, C A T O   J O U R N A L
Making the Transition to a New Gold Standard – Larry White,  C A T O   J O U R N A L

imageAnd listen to Larry White talking to Russ Roberts about the economic ideas of the past one hundred years—and how those ideas have actually worked out in historical practice.
Larry White on the Clash of Economic Ideas – Russ Roberts,  E C O N   T A L K

Great news! In my opinion the single best, most-integrated economics book of the last few decades—but almost certainly the heaviest—is now available in a format you can read in bed. Fill your boots up.
Capitalism in Kindle Format – G E O R G E   R E I S M A N ‘ S   B L O G

"We can learn from Europe what not to do first to move toward capitalism."
The Immediate Important Lesson From Europe – K R A Z Y  E C O N O M Y

Drachmaggedon! Will Greece Drop the Euro? – L A I S S E Z   F A I R E

"After giving students advice on picking careers for many years, I have discovered there are three key things to picking one that captures your passions but is also profitable. Values, strengths, and opportunities. Read more..."
3 Keys to Picking a Career – John Drake,   T R Y  R E A S O N !

"To teach is to step into another man's thoughts…”
To teach – P R A C T I C E   G O O D  T H E O R Y

It’s a different way of organising the world in your head, demonstrated by what the Japanese use instead of street names:

The future for celebrity historians seems assured.
The Death of Celebrity Historians is Much Exaggerated – H I S T O R Y  N E W S  N E T W O R K

A German 16-year-old cracked a problem set by Isaac Newton and unsolvable for 300 years.
German teen solves 300-year-old mathematical riddle posed by Sir Isaac Newton -  F O X  N E W S
[UPDATE: A genius German 16-year-old offered “a pretty neat (implicit) solution to a differential equation for calculating the trajectory of a particle under certain conditions.” Awesome for a 16-year old high school student, but sadly sensationalised since.image]

“In June, World War II code breaker and founder of computer science Alan Turing (right) would have been 100 years old… Everywhere, writes Managing Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward, praise of Turing is tempered with anger over the harsh punishment he suffered at the hands of the British state, cutting short a fruitful life.”
Turing Turns 100: The father of computer science, honored too late 
– Katherine Mangu-Ward,  H I T  &  R U N

Is this is the first time Britain’s Daily Mail makes good sense?
Finally sense, humility and self-knowledge from The Daily Mail – S T E P H E N   F R Y

If handling snakes is “proof” of their faith in God, what is it when a West Virginia father and son team both get bitten and die?
Faith in God snake handling pastor dies after bite -  N Z   H E R A L D

These all sound like common sense to me.
8 New Ways To Make Your Home Look Bigger -  F O R B E S

Post-modernism is still toxic.
Romantic Nihilism: The Paul McCarthy Exhibition at L.A. MOCA, 2001 
– Michael Newberry,  N E W B E R R Y ‘ S   B L O G

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance
of things, but their inward significance.” 
- Aristotle

Hemingway’s advice was"write drunk, edit sober.”  Great advice.
I really must try editing sober.
What Happens When You Try and Drink Like Hemingway – Eric Kuentz, F U E L   Y O U R   W R I T I N G

And so finally, to our beer of the week…
Galbraiths Resurrection -  B R E W  N A T I O N


…and since it’s June 1:

And just time for a Neapolitan song:

[Hat tips and thank yous to Geek Press, Virginia Murr, Laissez Faire, Philosophers’ quotes, Marginal Revolution, Thrutch, Cheryl Bernstein, Steve Baker MP, Robert Tracinski, Julian D.]

Thanks for reading,
Peter Cresswell

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