Tuesday, 31 January 2006
I sure hope not.
[One] of her surgeons, Bernard Devauchelle, said: "Her facial expressiveness is slowly returning and she is talking quite clearly, but has some problems with the letters P and B, which require the lips. "She certainly does not look like the living dead. She's eating and drinking without dribbling."I bet this link to her photo and story is the most popular link today... [Hat tip Daily Pundit]
Linked Article: My strange life with someone else's face - Sunday Times
The hammer and sickle has hardly been a potent icon since 1989 so if it is deemed effective in marketing burgers......who cares? On the basis that freedom is indivisible what possible grounds do a group of freedom lovers have to question another party's sense of propriety?RT sees the funny side: "Imagine how utterly gutted the communists must be feeling seeing their beloved symbol smacked onto a capitalist burger shop." BKD objects, and puts the case against:
If the marketing tool is effective in attracting patrons.......good luck to the business owners. If it ceases to work for them then the tool will be abandoned. Who knows the next ploy could be...."Saddam's Sausages" "Bush Burgers" (Whoops that cannot be appropriate). Years ago I knew a polio victim who ran a fish and chips shop, his own banner referred to "Cripple Cut Chips"......the pun did his cashflow
no end of good.
Would it be any different if it was a swastika instead of a hammer and sickle? Would you drink at the Lenin Bar if it was called 'Hitler'? Would you?
Using the hammer and sickle in a billboard reduces the iconography of evil into a marketing gimmick. While future evils can be prevented by ridiculing or trivializing them in the present, past evils can not, because to diminish them diminishes our historical memory of evil and its works. If we become familiar with a symbol in a happy context (and food is primal happiness), then how can that symbol shock us? And if the emblem of Stalin will not shock us, then for how long can Stalinists be stigmatized and isolated? A generation of children is growing up in a society where Che, Castro, a yellow star, and now a hammer and sickle are popular iconography: the stuff of tee-shirts and Happy Meals. Who will explain to these children just what these men did, just what was done under those banners? We are annihilating our historical memory by hiding it in plain view.
"The People Have Spoken" says the billboard. Which people? Natan Sharansky? Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn? Does nobody remember what happened to these people when they spoke? And those two lived. The Burger Fuel marketing team may consider itself brave by courting controversy. But real bravery is acting against evil that can do you harm. To the thousands and more who risked – and those who lost – everything they loved on Earth by denouncing the Soviets, by denouncing the hammer and sickle, this billboard is a contemptuous insult. What you we were willing to risk your life to destroy, we will use to sell burgers.
So yeah, I can see something wrong with this billboard. And I'm fucked if I'm going to let it go unchallenged. Who's with me?
UPDATE: Here's a discussion between two characters, Bolshevik firebrand Andrei Taganov, and the individualist heroine, Kira, from Ayn Rand's early 'Soviet' novel We the Living:
[Andrei:] "I know what you're going to say. You're going to say, as so many of our enemies do, that you admire our ideals, but loathe our methods."Interestingly, the wartime Italian Fascists made a film of this 'Anti-Soviet' novel (from which the photo above of Kira and Andrei comes) that rated so well and about which Mussolini was so proud that it was shown to Joseph Goebbels. 'You fools,' Goebbels was reported to have said, 'it's not just anti-Soviet, it's anti-all-of-us!' Goebbels at least was under no illusions about what Communism and Nazism had in common. (Stories about the film here and here.)
[Kira:] "I loathe your ideals."
"For one reason, mainly, chiefly, and eternally, no matter how much your Party promises to accomplish, no matter what paradise it plans to bring mankind. Whatever your other claims may be, there's one you can't avoid, one that will turn your paradise into the most unspeakable hell: your claim that man must live for t he state."
"What better purpose can he live for?"
"Don't you know," her voice trembled suddenly in a passionate plea she could not hide," don't you know that there are things, in the best of us, which no outside hand should dare touch? Things sacred because, and only because, one can say: 'This is mine'? Don't you know that we live only for ourselves, the best of us do, those who are worthy of it? Don't you know that there is something in us which must not be touched by any state, by any collective, by any number of millions?"
He answered: "No."
"Comrade Taganov," she whispered, "how much you have to learn!" More here.
Links: Rare Anthem pulp magazine cover - Atlas Society
Anthem at the Noble Soul website
Monday, 30 January 2006
Of course I'm biased [says Editor Bidinotto], but I love the variety and quality of material in this issue [of The New Individualist]:All sounds good, and all online. So what are you waiting for?
*David Kelley... answers the complaint of a fellow Objectivist who believes Kelley is not tough enough in his criticism of Islam.
* Ed Hudgins takes on advocates of "creationism" and "intelligent design"...
* I conduct a long interview with Scott Bullock, the attorney for the Institute for Justice who represented beleaguered homeowners in the recent Supreme Court decision on eminent domain, Kelo v. City of New London; the interview provides an inside look at the decision, and the prospects for property rights in its wake.
* Classics scholar Bruce S. Thornton challenges multiculturalists, postmodernists, and Islamist critics and their "Indictment of the West."
* Robert L. Jones surveys the field of pop music post-Sinatra, and finds that "the standards" are undergoing a big revival. He reports in "Raising 'the Standards'."
* The VodkaPundit, Stephen Green, explains how he became such a popular blogger -- and how you can, too -- in "Bathrobe Individualism."
* Sara Pentz reviews the book Ready, Aim, Right! by Objectivist businessman/talk host Jack Criss.
* David M. Brown reviews an excellent new self-help book by David Henderson and Charles Hooper, Making Great Decisions in Business and Life.
Linked Post : Latest issue of The New Individualist is online - Robert Bidinotto
Dr Sharples said there was too much dependency on welfare in Maoridom - something Labour had not addressed. "It's like a kid - if you keep giving your kids everything, at the end of the day they don't have the skills and knowledge to do it themselves." More prisons and welfare agencies were not the solution, he said.Says Mitchell: "He is right. The proportion of Maori on benefit is steadily rising. Four in ten single parents on welfare are Maori. And that will affect coming generations. But this isn't the first time Pita Sharples has made these encouraging noises." No, it's not, and neither is it the first time commentators have taken Maori Party utterances at face value.
Speaking to the Listener last year for example, Sharples's co-leader Tariana Turia said their party
is telling people they have to stop allowing the state to take over their lives... Labour has always believed the state will provide. Labour has kept our people trapped in dependence. This so-called welfare state has not done us any favours. We didn’t want welfare. We wanted independence.Great stuff. Except for one thing: neither Tariana nor Sharples means by that what they've been taken to mean, as I pointed out at the time:
[Tariana's] idea of ‘independence’ is one that is funded by taxpayers. She still wants Maori to suck off the state tit, she just thinks the manner of the suckling needs to change: "[W]e believe we have a right to rangatiratanga, as guaranteed under Article Two.” What exactly does she mean by that? “It’s our firm belief that money being spent on Maori needs to be unbundled. It is being spent on them, on behalf of them, but not effectively. It’s a waste of public money… We’re just tired of it. We also think there is a more effective way of spending that money.”What's new is that everyone seems to want the Maori Party to be saying what they want them to say. But these puppies are not the people that some of you would want them to be. It's worth re-reading LibertyScott's fisking of the Maori Party platform for the last election to remind yourself what they're really after. And don't forget Sharples's denial in his maiden speech that Maori are privileged before the law -- "It strikes me as somewhat amazing that half the country and probably half of this House actually believes that Maori are the privileged group within our society," said he before the House and truckloads of cheering tangata whenua in the gallery.
Well, she’s partly right. It is a waste. As Charles Murray pointed out in 1984, from the late sixties to the early eighties the so-called War on Poverty in the US spent almost the equivalent of the country’s entire Gross National Product on ‘relieving poverty’ and it didn’t. “That’s $3,800,000,000,000 – enough to give every poor person in America $117,000 [in 1984 dollars] to start his own war on poverty.” It didn’t. A similar calculation here would I’m sure show a similar result. Said PJ O’Rourke of the lesson learnt: “You can’t get rid of poverty by giving people money.”
And you can’t pretend it’s not welfare just by calling it rangatiratanga. Whatever 'unbundling' might mean it's clear she's not calling for welfare spending on Maori to end.
So the Maori Party is in favour of race-based funding, then? “For sure. Unabashed, upfront,” says her co-leader Pita Sharples. So it's clear what the Maori Party wants is independence and ‘rangatiratanga’, and they want someone else to pay for it. So much for independence. Rongo Wetere has recently given a master-class in what this kind of independence means. So what's new?
Amazing. No, what he and is MPs are after is more legal privilege and more "resources" for tangata whenua -- ie., more taxpayer dollars -- just spent in "a more effective way."
What they're after in short, what they've always been after, is Rangatiratanga -- ie., independence -- but at someone else's expense: Yours.
UPDATE: Oh Crikey comments on Sharple's latest:
Fighting words and a laudable aim but somewhat hypocritical, IMO, considering his party voted FOR Labour's Working for Families package which further entrenches welfare, even for middle income earning families.Another fair point, although I would lose the word 'somewhat,' and even the word 'hypocriticat.' The man knows what he's about. As Ayn Rand used to say, don't bother to examine a contradiction, ask yourself only what it achieves -- what Sharples is after is a Browntable of influence with himself and his colleagues sitting at the head dispensing the scraps.
Links: Sharples vows war on culture of dependency - Herald
Modern Day Maori Wars - Lindsay Mitchell
Maori Party declares war on dependency culture - David Farrar
Rangatiratanga - at whose expense? - Not PC
Maori Party = Marxism - LibertyScott
Sharples talks shit - Not PC
Sunday, 29 January 2006
Don't forget, Baghdatis is no rural peasant; a former Australian Open junior champion, he was taken to France at fourteen to learn his tennis -- and we all know just how cunning and deceitful the Frogs can be. (Just ask Amelie Mauresmo's erstwhile opponents, too many of whom retired hurt for a decent conspiracy not to get some legs.) Here's another example of French cunning:
Asked at courtside whether he would be watching his potential opponent in [his next match after beating Andy Roddick], the unconventional Baghdatis said with a smile: "I think my coach will be watching and I'll be sleeping with my girlfriend."Don't believe a word of it: I'll bet he watched every point with a notepad and laptop hard at work in front of him. That's not to say his girlfriend wouldn't tempt him -- she could make a cripple dance -- but he knows he has a job to do before getting on the job. Doesn't hurt though to let your opponents think you're someone other than who you are; Baghdatis for them has been something of an unknown quantity among the machine-made opponents most of them meet at most tournaments, and his advantage is to play up the 'surprise factor.'
I'll be shouting on his side later tonight. How 'bout you lot?
Links: Gold standard meets a mercurial rising star - The Age
Fine stuff. Wonderfully refreshing -- perhaps just a touch sweet -- and a very subtle malty after-taste.
A perfect accompaniment to the summer -- and it goes just fine with Miso soup.
Three of us had a ball, however. Great fun. :-)
Saturday, 28 January 2006
Looking forward to a weekend of great TV tennis action; full of fairy tales, fightbacks, grim struggles, dazzling briliiance ... and linespersons and ballspersons.
"Thank you linesmen. Thank you ballboys." Sounds so much better, doesn't it.
Ayn Rand provokes strong disagreement. Fine. But if one is to disagree, one should first get clear about the position one is disagreeing with.
On that count, Julian Edney fails to rise to the basic level of competence.
In his first three paragraphs on Rand, I count five errors.
Edney suggests that FEMA's inadequacies are an application of Rand's views. Yet obviously Rand was one of the great opponents of bloated and bungling government bureaucracies.
Edney states Rand rejects "the common good." Yet Rand makes clear that there are common goods--and that she opposes those who would sacrifice private goods for the sake of their visions of the common good.
Edney states that she prescribes not helping. Yet Rand went out of her way to explain that she opposes only sacrificial helping and the use of compulsory transfer programs to help those in need.
Edney points out that she favors "selfishness" and "greed." And certainly she does--as long as one carefully defines those baggage-laden terms--but Edney simply assumes hackneyed and prejudicial definitions.
He then identifies Rand as a follower of Nietzsche, oblivious of the fact that the major theme of her breakthrough novel, The Fountainhead, is a rejection of Nietzschean power and its consequent social darwinism.
This is journalism?
Difficult issues and subtle distinctions are at work here, yet Edney seems to have no interest in grappling with them. From the above errors he moves seamlessly to indulging himself by uncritically passing on rumors picked up from Jeff Walker's diatribe.
Edney is right about one thing: It is a battle over morality.
On one side are those who think strictly in terms of zero-sum warfare between rich and poor--and Edney seems a clear representative of that position. On the other side are those who think that free and productive individuals can trade to mutual advantage--and this is Rand's position.
Anyone can misrepresent and insult. Let's try to have an informed and honest debate.
SCOOP: Michael Barnett, chairman of the Auckland Business Forum, said that ... the Forum’s support for tolls is subject to the Government undertaking to review and address areas of unfairness and inequality in the current road pricing system...
Here's two views on this from two libertarians. "The call by the Mayors in Auckland to toll existing roads is a healthy one," says LibertyScott. Toll 'em, and then privatise 'em, says he. Stuff off, says Susan the Libertarian (I paraphrase just a little). "We'll end up paying twice for bugger all improvement."
So who's right?
Links: Tolls on Auckland roads 'the wrong approach' - NZPA
Any delay to motorway building unacceptable - Auckland Business Forum
Toll existing Auckland roads? - LibertyScott
Michael Barnett is dreaming - Susan the Libertarian
Disaster then? Jack Wheeler, the "Indiana Jones of the Right," is happy Hamas won the Palestinian elections. It's true, see:
I don’t think it’s a disaster at all. I think it’s an opportunity. I’m happy Hamas won...There is that, I suppose.
It’s time to celebrate the end of moral goo, the end of pretending Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority were “people we could work with,” the end of all the evasion and desperate avoidance of reality. At last, it’s the End of Pretend.
Links: Celebrating Hamas - Jack Wheeler
Cartoon by Cox & Forkum
Cue Card Libertarianism - Democracy
Friday, 27 January 2006
Angry Waikato farmers today vowed to fight Transpower to stop the power company erecting a series of huge pylons on their land. Yesterday the company confirmed it had chosen the western route between Whakamaru, west of Taupo, and Otahuhu, in south Auckland, for its proposed high-voltage transmission line featuring 430 power pylons, some 70 metres high, to improve the power supply to Auckland. Waikato Federated Farmers president Peter Buckley said farmers accepted Auckland needed the power but there were other ways of providing it and farmers were not ready to give in without a fight...
There's a lot to be said on this topic --amongst them a reminder that this outrageous abuse of property rights was delayed until after the election -- but I have nothing more to add to what I've already said: this is entirely necessary, but there is no reason it can't be done voluntarily; no reason at all except ignorance, and that as a government department bloody Transpower can't be bothered respecting property owners -- much easier for them to wield the big, bullying stick of big government.
Arseholes. I've described before one type of voluntary mechanism for ensuring a route through private property while respecting property owners:
When railroading was at its peak in 19th century America, railroads used to purchase 'options' from land-owners along their three or four preferred routes - options that would only be picked up once one of the routes became 'live' by having purchased 100% of the necessary options along that route. The Kapuni gasline that went through some years ago made use of similar undertakings.Ignorance and Big Government bullying on one side vs property rights and voluntary cooperation on the other. Little wonder that in this pathetic authoritarian backwater, bullying is the chosen option. It's always easier to use the big stick when you have big government on your side, and only igorance and apathy on the other.
Links: Farmers vow to fight power pylon plan - NZPA
Pylons v property rights - Not PC, May 5, 2005
Piling on the pylon pressure - Not PC, July 20, 2005
More Property_Rights, Energy
I guarantee that if this was the view presented every night at 6pm, I for one would be tuning in.
Of course, good, honest news reporting would also be an attraction of a sort...
We now have something almost similar in New Zealand, as erstwhile developer George Shaw has now found out after cutting down a tree on his own land -- ie., his own tree -- and being forced to face a "restorative justice meeting" so that a legalised lynch mob could propose suitable punishment. All this under a law called the Resource Management Act that ensures trees have rights while humans don't, and that allows for a fine of up to $200,000 and a punishment of two years in jail for offences under the Act.
"It's only a tree," said one of the meeting's attendees trying to give the meeting and this country some much-needed perspective. Responded one of the fascists goons out for blood: "But he's only a human"! Sums it up, really. [Listen here to a rational account of the meeting by blogger Duncan Bayne.]
As Julian Pistorius says on his blog, "join the dots" between the loony property law we have in this small, authoritarian backwater, and the report out this week showing that cities in this backwater are rated 'severely unaffordable' due to excessive land-regulation.
Links: Public pillories tree destroyer - NZ Herald
Radio interview re. restorative 'justice' meeting - Duncan Bayne
Property Developer Almost Lynched - Julian Pistorius
Tree Frenzy - Not PC
Housing un-affordability - denying the obvious - Not PC
Linked Rant: Culture of corruption: the legacy of Ayn Rand
I'm sure I see a touch of Wyeth in this one...
Tuesday, 24 January 2006
RADIO NEW ZEALAND: Local Govt NZ says council regulation not to blame for house price rises The 2nd International Housing Affordability Survey [discussed here yesterday at Not PC] says New Zealand prices increased by around 15% in the last year alone and concludes the principal cause is "excessive land use regulation that strangles housing markets." It blames excessive land use regulation and restrictions on expansion of urban centres... However, Local Government New Zealand President Basil Morrison says house price rises are being driven by other factors...Crap, says one of the authors of the study. "'Loony' policies are responsible for New Zealand houses being among the most unaffordable in the world," he says -- and of course he's right; the RMA itself being the very acme of land-use looniness. The report itself makes clear that it is precisely government policies restricting land supply and land use that are making housing relatively unaffordable in NZ and elsewhere. That graph (above) from the report tells the whole story -- cities with government-created land supply restrictions in red; those with none or few restrictions in green; afforability (measured by how many times more the median house is in that city than the median income) up the scale.
That'd be Auckland, tenth from the right on the graph. Can you see that, Basil, you blind, bloody cretin? At least TVNZ reported it straight, and got an alternative view to bloody Basil.
Linked Articles: NZ Housing affordability "in crisis" says report - Not PC
Local Govt NZ says council regulation not to blame for house price rises - Radio New Zealand
Kiwi houses pricey, survey shows - Dominion
City housing "severely unaffordable" - TVNZ
2nd Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey (2006)
Prior to the advent of industrial capitalism (in roughly the 1760s) the lot of the English working class was generally miserable. Utter destitution was rampant, literal starvation not uncommon and the country was overrun with paupers. “There was, in point of fact, widespread poverty of the most abject kind in England and other countries of 18th century Europe.” It is difficult for men in the industrial West today to conceive of the kind of poverty that was widespread in pre-capitalist Europe. By a test employed in Lyons, France, in the 17th century, poverty was reached when daily income was less than the daily cost of minimum bread requirement – in other words, when a person could not make enough money to buy a crust of bread.Life for the least of us in the modern world is vastly better than it was even for Kings and Queens in the pre-Industrial era; whatever iniquities there were in the Industrial Revolution itself (which were far, far less than you've probably heard), we have that revolution in human affairs to thank for our own health, wealth and comfort -- and our ability not just to buy a crust of bread, but to worry instead about obesity and over-eating!
When exactly did the Industrial Revolution start? Gregory Clark suggests perhaps a century before previously thought:
Comparing wages with population, however, suggests that the break from the technological stagnation of the Malthusian era came around 1640, long before the classic Industrial Revolution, and even before the arrival of modern democracy in 1689...What caused the revolution? Tyler Cowen suggests it was an increase in agricultural production (following the Enclosure Act), hence the huge rise in population, and for the first time in millennia a tiny though significant growth rate of 0.35% per year. This set the scene for that grand moment in human affairs when human ingenuity was for the first time in history free to transform human life on a mass scale, and to make the world over. With the Industrial Revoution, human life would change for the better. Vastly improved Life expectancy is just one measure of that dramtic improvement:
The Industrial Revolution brought not only increasing wealth, but a dramatic lengthening of life expectancy and fall in infant mortality — in other words, an unprecedented growth in population. The population economist Julian Simon likes to point out that graphs illustrating population growth and life expectancy in the West look nearly identical. From 8000 B.C., the line is nearly horizontal. Then at about 200 years ago, it turns up like a rocket. Life expectancy jumped from under 30 years to over 75. The growth in world population is equally dramatic...
Yet during the acceleration in population growth, industrial society got better and better...
The solution to this apparent paradox lies in the fact that, as Ayn Rand so often reminded us, man's basic tool of survival is reason. Man is a creator. That solution overthrows any notion of a conflict of interest between human beings. Every person, being equipped with a mind, is a potential problem solver and not just a consumer of resources. Thus, we should expect that more people will solve more problems, make more scientific discoveries, invent more things that make life better. That is exactly what happens...
When you realise the extent of the improvement in life and life expectancy brought about by the Industrial Revolution, and the almost limitless hatred and ignorance directed towards it by assorted hippies and other human ballast, you might find yourself agreeing with Ayn Rand that all of us and especially "those hippies should get down on their knees and kiss the dirtiest, grimiest smokestack they can find." Everyone over the age of thirty-five owes that smokestack and others just like it for their lives.
Linked Articles: The destitution of pre-capitalist Europe - Andrew Bernstein, excerpted from his book, The Capitalist Manifesto
Misreading the Industrial Revolution - Lawrence Reeed
When did the Industrial Revolution start? - Tyler Cowen
Was there an Industrial Revolution? - Tyler Cowen
The population problem that isn't - Sheldon Richman
Linked Posters: DEMOTIVATORS: The Therapeutic Context of the Next Millennium
Lots of people said lots of things in lots of places about how producer and exporters just had to be strangled in order to save us all from the inflation monster... now we're starting to see Alan Bollock's strangling taking effect -- not on inflation, but on producers and exporters.
HERALD: Jobs lost as high dollar hits exportersBut 'too fast growth causes inflation' you say? Interest rates just had to be hiked, you say? Well, no it doesn't. And no they don't. Alan Bollocks -- strangling producers and exporters for no reason other than economic ignorance.
The high New Zealand dollar has claimed the jobs of 177 workers after three exporters said they could no longer compete against cheaper overseas competitors. Companies in Auckland and Christchurch yesterday announced layoffs as the high dollar made them unable to foot it on international markets...
Links: Jobs lost as high dollar hits exporters - Herald
Denying prosperity by misunderstanding inflation - Not PC
Too-fast growth is bad. Right? - Not PC
Monday, 23 January 2006
Unfortunately, as I don't watch Government TV News, I really don't care and won't be commenting. But feel free to let fly below, and to have a look at Metro's new cover (courtesy Gen XY), celebrating Bill Ralston doing for TVNZ what he'd previously done for Metro.
The bad news is that Helen herself is back from holiday, and according to The Press,
Helen Clark is vowing to fight for a fourth term as prime minister. Speaking on her return from holiday, Miss Clark, has confirmed she wants to retain the leadership till the next election at least. "I've been telling everyone who rings that I have every intention of contesting a fourth term."
Bugger.Linked story: Clark guns for another term as PM - The Press
Of the six countries and one hundred major urban property markets covered, 24 are affordable, 23 moderately unaffordable, 11 seriously unaffordable and 42 severely unaffordable.So, how about a show of hands in ending the land strangulation effected by local councils under the RMA: Those for abolition of the RMA, replacing it with common law protections of property rights, hands up now. Any opposed?
All the major urban property markets of New Zealand are severely unaffordable, as is the major city of the Republic of Ireland, Dublin. Of the Australian urban markets, six are severely unaffordable, with two being seriously unaffordable. The United Kingdom has just one moderately unaffordable market, with the other eleven being severely unaffordable. Canada has three affordable, four moderately unaffordable, one seriously unaffordable with Vancouver being severely unaffordable. The huge and diverse United States has twenty one affordable markets, eighteen moderately unaffordable markets, eight seriously unaffordable and twenty severely unaffordable urban markets.
All the affordable markets are in North America, with three in Canada and twenty one in the United States. There are no affordable major urban property markets in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand....
The 2006 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey illustrates how affordable most urban markets of the countries surveyed were five, ten and twenty years ago. Its findings suggest that the major cause of the loss of affordability within these markets is due to artificially strangled land supply.
[UPDATE: Oh look, some joker has issued a press release. And here's another, from the report's authors.]
Linked Report: 2nd Annual Demographia INternational Housing Affordability Survey (2006)
Housing Affordability Crisis in New Zealand - Hugh Pavletich
Unnaccountably, some journalists ignored the Ministry briefing, and in what must be a first time, looked instead at the facts [Hat tip Avian Flu Blog].
Link: World Health Organisation Avian Flu Fact Sheet
"Getting richer is not making people happier," she says. New Zealanders have "blood on their hands" because... well, just because Jeanette says so really. It's a bit hard to fathom. The New Zealand military should have intervened earlier in East Timor, but it shouldn't have at all in Iraq; we shouldn't even have a military, but we should send a frigate to protect the whales. Trees are good and we really, really need the Carbon Tax to make sure industry is strangled (but aren't trees bad, and methane the bigger problem?)
"The Labour-led Government," Fitzsimons also declared, "was unable to be more than a 'caretaker' Administration," and it had "no obvious new ideas, no vision for creating a more habitable world... It is a Government which will be notable mainly for preventing a National agenda rather than for implementing anything positive." Now there at least we can agree -- except that as a libertarian I'm hoping the Labour-led government will be unable to implement anything at all. But I digress.
The whole speech doesn't yet seem to be online yet -- understandably neither Frogblog nor the Greens' website seem eager to embarrass themselves by posting it -- so all we can go on at present are the various media reports. Still, there's enough there to get on with. Have a browse, and treat it like a good mental puzzle, you know, something like Sudoku. Give yourself one mark for every logical fallacy, blatant contradiction, or error of fact you spot in her ramblings. Give yourself five marks for every sign of chutzpah you highlight, in which Jeanette tries to posture as the 'Mother of the Planet,' and ten points for demonstrating how implementation of Green Party policies would itself cause a 'Giant Leap Backwards' about which Jeanette herself fulminates in her speech.
Feel free to post your marks and all your answers below. Marks will be awarded for your working.
[UPDATE: Jeanette Fitzsimons State of the Planet Speech - Scoop]
Jump cut now to last week's Herald, to a story that never had the legs to make a genuine Media Frenzy™:
HERALD: Developer facing angry community for pohutukawa destructionIt's important thing to point out here that:A developer who ordered the destruction of a giant pohutukawa tree may be forced to face a community furious about his crime. George Bernard Shaw pleaded guilty in the Auckland District Court to a charge of destroying the 100-year-old protected tree...
The charge is punishable by a fine of up to $200,000 or two years in prison, but Judge Fred McElrea deferred sentencing until February 13 for restorative justice. That process is likely to include a meeting at the Maungakiekie Community Board with those directly affected by the cutting down of the tree.
- the Herald's headline contains at least one piece of pure speculation: the claim for an "angry community" is at this stage completely unproven;
- the present District Plan's protection of native trees (ie., attempt to nationalise the district's trees) means that development sites with native trees are worth less than those without, and that native trees are seen a a financial disvalue rather than a boon -- such is the unintended consequence of the legal blunt instrument of 'protection';
- this wasn't just "a" pohutukawa tree, it was Mr Shaw's pohutukawa tree, for cutting down which he's already paid $50,000 to "demonstrate remorse." Given what happened to land-owner Andrew Borrett in similar circumstances, what's the bet that the February 13th sentencing sees Mr Shaw get a stiffer sentence than either the paedophile, or the headbutter.
Links: Developer facing angry community for pohutukawa destruction - Herald
Developer charged - Duncan Bayne
No shade to stop the sun; no eaves to give you shade or shelter from the rain (yes Virginia, the afternoon sun in summer can be over-bearing, particularlarly through glass; yes, it does rain in Auckland) -- and devoid of delight, or character.
Shame on all involved. No wonder it's for sale, and as a consequence being talked up all over the shop.
Links: 379G Gordons Rd, Waiheke Island - AAA site
Waiheke: Waiheke's world famous secret - Herald
Sunday, 22 January 2006
- he/she was coming on to me
- I was drunk
- I'd just broken up with my partner/wife/husband/significant other
- I felt sorry for him/her
- I was depressed
- I wasn't his/her first lay
- I thought he/she was older than thirteen...
"The boy was 17," she claimed in her defence, "but constable Bruce McIntosh, of New Plymouth police, said
there was 'absolutely no way he looked that old. "He was a kid who only turned 13 three days prior. He's a small, skinny kid, just like an average sized 13-year-old child." He said police had statements from witnesses who said Dravitski had said she had "wished he was older"... Judge Robert Murfitt described the incident as "an exploitative act" but said community work would be more appropriate than jail.
Don't we have great law? Head-butt a tourist in New Zealand and break his nose, and you get 'community service.' Sleep with a thirteen-year-old and you get 'community service.' But do something really serious, like cut down a tree on your own land or smoke some marijuana, and it's jail, jail, jail. Surely something wrong here, huh?
SUNDAY STAR-TIMES: The government spends more than a million dollars a year on traditional Maori therapies - and has no proof that they work.
The therapies include spiritual healing using prayer, seawater and greenstone.
Other alternative therapies, such as homeopathy and naturopathy, receive no public money.
But the government gives $1.3 million a year to 12 Maori health providers for traditional, or rongoa, services.
Y'happy with that? Arguments about 'culture' should not make your chosen cultural practices immune for rational criticism. Nonsense is nonsense, where it occurs.
Now, as to whether the Government should be spending your money and any particular therapies... now that's a different question altogether...
Linked Article: Maori healers get $1.3m for unproven cures - Sunday Star-Times
Saturday, 21 January 2006
You can find out why in my review, here, of the book -- an examination of Rand's erstwhile biographers. If you need to be persuaded, Noodle Food's Diana calls it:
a fantastic review ... of James Valliant's The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics (PARC). It's perhaps the most passionate book review I've ever read -- and thus perfectly appropriate to its subject. It's also a delight to read, so I'm pleased to strongly recommend it. Those who've already devoured PARC are sure to particularly appreciate its stubborn refusal to mince words.I expect regular readers of Not PC would be fairly unsurprised to hear about a refusal to mince words. Read more of Diana's review of my review here. Read the review itself here. And listen to an entertaining interview with the author of PARC here.
Links: A Review of The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics - Diana Hsieh
Betraying the self - Peter Cresswell
Valliant vs Branden & Branden - Prodos interview
Better no growth at all, says this view, than 'too-fast' growth. But can it be true?
Thanks for stopping by!
Friday, 20 January 2006
What should we remember on Martin Luther King Day? In his "I Have a Dream" speech Dr. King said: "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character"...Character is all. Skin colour is just something you're born with.
On Martin Luther King Day--and every day--we should focus on the proper antidote to racism and the proper alternative to racial thinking: individualism. We need to teach our children and all our citizens to look beyond the superficialities of skin color and to judge people on what really matters, namely, "the content of their character."
Linked Article: What We Should Remember on Martin Luther King Day: Judge People by Their Character, Not Skin Color - Edwin Locke