Saturday, August 04, 2007

Weekend Ramble, #23

Another ramble through sights and sounds and snippets that caught my eye over the week. . .
  • As the Nats meet in Auckland's Langham Hotel to gird their loins for next year's election, they might give some thought to the political fortunes of UK Conservative leader David Cameron, on whom John Boy Key has adopted his all-things-to-all-men weasel-wording politics. Notes the Express this week (hardly the voice of Tory discontent), the weasel-words and bullshit are wearing thin:
    DAVID Cameron faces a summer of discontent from his own supporters, it emerged last night. Several major backers [this one for example] were said to have given the Tory leader notice that he has two months to sharpen up his act or face trouble at the party’s conference ...
    One senior Conservative said last night: “The leader’s got roughly 60 days to make us look like a party that could win an election, let alone form a Government. If he can’t do that, then hard questions will have to be asked.” New policy proposals have ... failed to capture the public’s attention, while one prominent donor has demanded that Mr Cameron do some “rethinking”. A poll yesterday put Labour on 41 per cent against 32 per cent for the Conservatives.

    Much more damaging for Mr Cameron, however, was the finding that just 27 per cent of voters now say they believe he is a good leader, compared to 43 per cent in February.
    Cameron's spin-without-substance act is wearing thin, just as it deserves to. Something for John Boy's boys to think about.

  • Entrepreneurs are what moves the world. What are the top ten signs that you're made to be an entrepreneur? [Hat tip Stephen Hicks]

  • A few books are a few of my favourite things. Books of early NZ history are high on my list of favourite books, but they're always either expensive or difficult to get hold of. Until now. I just finished reading John Logan Campbell's entertaining Poenamo, and searched on the web to check a few names and place names, and discovered not just that Poenamo itself is online, but literally dozens of early NZ classic are also online in their entirety courtesy of the Auckland University Library. What a magic resource.

  • Another lesson from history from the recent Sudanese diaspora, what Stephen Browne calls the Haight-Ashbury Lesson: "Any society that renounces violence, even in self-defense, becomes a magnet for those willing to use violence to get what they want." Find out more at this post on lessons from history, including two related lessons, the John Wesley Hardin Lesson, and the Dian Fossey Lesson.

  • More confessions from a former warmist. Says David Evans, "I used to work for the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO), and I used to believe that carbon emissions probably caused global warming." Now he doesn't. Read why, and about the machinations at the AGO in this extended piece here [pdf], of which the similar piece appearing in The Free Radical was an edited version: My Life with the Australian Greenhouse Office, and Other Reflections - David Evans.

  • Steve McIntyre continues to investigate the temperature record of the world's carparks, which it seems is what the surface temperature record mostly seems to be measuring. His latest investigation is a rural station, one which is considered by The Team to be a quality station because its night time footprint shows few lights, what The Team refers to as Lights=0. As McIntyre say, Lights might be zero, but air conditioners are about 22.

  • Many people trying to wrap their heads around the stumblings of the Reserve Bank's Alan Bollard -- stumblings which to many of us are mired in the failure of the economic theory on which the bank is based -- find it difficult to think like an economist. ("Who would want to?," I hear someone say.) Let's face it, economic thinking is difficult, even (perhaps especially) for trained economists. Says Andrew Cassell,
    I finally understand why economics is so hard for many people to grasp.

    It's not because of complexity. The rules of supply and demand aren't inherently more difficult to fathom than those that apply to, say, politics, or cooking, or sports. [Although that all important principle of comparative advantage seems to leave many non-economists slack-jawed.]

    Yet while most people have no trouble wrapping their brains around these subjects - indeed, millions will be eagerly absorbing their finer points this weekend - (What are you watching: Meet the Press, celebrity chefs or college football?) - few have a similar appetite for economics.

    And now I know why, thanks to Alan Fiske ..., a professor of anthropology at UCLA.
    Stripped of jargon, Fiske points out that the concept of market pricing is both conceptually difficult and a relative late-comer in human affairs, and consequently difficult for those "a step or two [down] the evolutionary ladder" to grasp. I guess that's a point equallly applicable to the equally advanced concept of individual rights -- a concept that sadly seems to escape most people; one might even say especially economists.

  • Speaking of economic concepts that are difficult to understand, "trade deficits" is another. Spend more on imports than is earned in exports, and morons will be heard mouthing nonsense about the "problems" with the trade deficit. Alex Robson at the CIS is the latest to put the morons down: Trade Deficit's Poor Image - Alex Robson. Send a copy to Winston Peters.

  • Walter Williams points out another thing about free markets too easily forgotten by those so eager to disparage them: markets are simply the sum of voluntary decisions taken by free people.
    Tyrants are against the free market because it implies voluntary exchange. Tyrants do not trust that people acting voluntarily will do what the tyrant thinks they ought to do. Therefore, they want to replace the market with economic planning, or as [politicians] call it — industrial policy. Economic planning is nothing more than the forcible superseding of other people's plans by the powerful elite.
  • Seguing quickly from economics to sex, David Friedman has some thoughts on mating and money. It reminds Samizdata's Jonathan of this post from Harry Hutton: How to Win with Women. Obvious advice, really.

  • Speaking of women, here's mathematical proof that girls are evil. Didn't we know that all along?

  • Power napping. Having a nap at work is about as popular with the boss as being caught having sex on the boardroom table (how's that for a nifty segue?). Yet as this Personnel type says:
    Several research studies demonstrate the benefits of napping in the middle of the day. According to Newsday, in an article discussing this topic, those who take a nap several times a week have improved cognition and response time and a 37% lower risk of death from heart disease.
    Should we perhaps review our views on sleeping at work? Or in parliament? What would Peter Dunne, for example, be like with "improved cognition"? How would we know?
  • Women at war: When new British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith gave a speech about the dangers of terrorism, she took it as an opportunity to flash some cleavage. Some were upset at talking terrorism with one's décolletage on display, but not Marcus Bachler who cuts straight to the point with this comment: "I have to admit that flaunting one's cleavage at Muslim terrorists who would like to see all women wearing the Burqa is quite appropriate."

  • Where do you find God in America? It seems to Times columnist Daniel Finkenstein that "the Bible Belt, which was traditionally seen as stretching from Texas, across states like Tennessee and Alabama, to Virginia – has been flipped up, through “tornado alley” and into Northern states like the Dakotas." See the map at left (redder is more faith-ridden; click to enlarge), and compare it to the electoral map for the Bush-Kerry election to draw some conclusions about the almighty in American politics.

  • While we're doing maps and related stuff, here's a neat World Clock with all sorts of nifty information. For instance it tells me in the time it's taken to wrote this post that 204 people have been born and 148 have died, there's been 96 abortions and 24 incidences of cancer, 100,000 barrels of oil produced and 157 cars. Very cool.

  • One of my favourite lecturers in intellectual history is John Ridpath. The man is erudite, assure and emotional when it matters, and the Ayn Rand Bookstore now has his audio lectures at bargain prices, up to fifty percent discounts on some titles. What a deal. Two to start with are The Greatness of the 18th Century Enlightenment, and Ideas and Revolution: Locke and America; Rousseau and France. And if you haven't already heard the debate Capitalism V Socialism: Which is the Moral System, then you're in for a treat.
    PS: IF you want to sample Ridpath first, here's three online lectures courtesy of the Ayn Rand Institute (requires free registration):
  • As far as contemporary intellectual history goes, we're not at the end of history yet, but buy we are in an era of post-post-modernism, says Stephen Hicks in this superb aesthetic commentary, written as an introduction to artist Michael Newberry's artistic manifesto: Post-Postmodern Art - Stephen Hicks.

  • Hicks points too to this thoughtful piece From Cynicism to Postmodernism, which argues that "Contrarianism has a proud intellectual heritage, but in its postmodern flowering it merely became juvenile, complacently smashing up the entire interlocking crossword puzzle of human knowledge." The "crisis" of postmodernism is a crisis of intellectual adolescence.

  • You might have seen Captain Hops' Beer Haikus that have been featuring at Real Beer Fridays. Sample: Sometimes - by Captain Hops
    Sometimes just a sip
    Can restore my faith in man
    and sometimes it can’t.
    There's another chap who does what he calls Netflix Haikus. Great idea. Sample, about the classic film noir 'Pick Up on South Street':
    Richard Widmark sneers.
    Thelma Ritter finks, sells ties.
    Audience nods off.
    Perhaps the idea is better than the execution. Maybe I'll try one myself. A political haiku. Who do you think this describes:
    Without a clue he leads
    From behind, in a fog made
    Opaque by appeasement.

  • 'Bayesian Judo' from Eliezer Yudkowksy:

    I was once at a dinner party, trying to explain to a man what I did for a living, when he said: "I don't believe Artificial Intelligence is possible because only God can make a soul." At this point I must have been divinely inspired, because I instantly responded: "You mean if I can make an Artificial Intelligence, it proves your religion is false?" He said, "What?"

    The conversation continues here.

  • The NZ visit of the vile Saddamite George Galloway seems to have gone by remarkably quietly. I must confess I wasn't entirely unhappy being away from Auckland the weekend he was here oozing filth. Any reports from anyone they'd like to share about what he got up to?

  • Speaking of vile bedfellows, Trevor Loudon has begun a series explaining How Socialist Extremists Took Over the NZ Labour Party. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 here, neither of which take us up to the present mob, or even the post-Soviet era. I assume it's going to be a long series.

  • I'm disappointed that Idiot/Savant, normally forthright in defence of free speech, has chosen to go all mealy mouthed over the government's proposed Electoral Finance Bill. If it doesn't violate our our pathetic and toothless Bill of Rights Act, he seems to argue, it seems to be fine with him for the government to ration dissent, and to limit democracy. Where are free speech's defenders when the chips are down?

  • Speaking of politics, let me remind you that while other parties might like to pretend that 'policies' is a dirty word, Libertarianz is in the process of rolling out the transitional policies discussed at last week's Wellington conference.
    ** Phil Howison outlines the process whereby school and state may be painlessly and urgently separated in this speech posted at his Pacific Empire blog: Free the Schools.
    **And I attempted to outline the reasoning behind offering transitional policies in my own speech, Revolution & Environmental Judo, a 40 minute speech which you can hear by clicking the link.
    **And a few people have asked me to post all the audio from the afternoon's global warming forum, so here it is:
    1. Leader Bernard Darnton's contribition (3 min.) - "if socialism and central planning don't work at seventeen degrees, then why would they work at nineteen?"
    2. President Craig Milmine (4 min.)
    3. Luke Howison (4 min.)
    4. And after those pithy contributions, then there's me blathering on for 19 minutes, which includes some discussion of Libz' proposed Seven-Point Transitional Plan for Environmental Deregulation, which includes a Carbon Tax, a Fishy Story, a Plan to Make Maoris Rich, and our own Kyoto Treaty. That might encourage you to listen in. ;^)
  • A reminder of the insanity of the Kyoto Treaty's aim to cut carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2010 comes with the release by David Benson-Pope's former ministry of what they say is NZ's carbon emission trends for the past two decades. I suggest you looks at the graph that comes with the report, realise that NZ industry is largely carbon-based, and contemplate the extent to which industry would need to be destroyed in order for the Treaty promise to be carried out. Sobering, no?

  • Why the War on Drugs needs to end: Craig D points out the obvious, that the drug related harms we see cited so often are mostly a result of the War on Drugs itself, not of drugs themselves.

  • Iraq. Everybody has an opinion, and John Lewis among others has pointed out the many lessons that WWII has for Iraq, and for the war with Islamic Totalitarianism. Tony Blankley points out another lesson from June 25, 1942, when WWII looked to be lost and Churchill looked to be on his way out . . . See The Hinge of Fate in Iraq - Tony Blankley.

  • Paul Potts might still be all the rage with people who've never before realised the power of opera, even when sung as poorly as it is by Potts. For those who do want to hear opera as it should be sung, here's two legendary singers singing the legendary Wagner duet, from Tristan and Isolde -- Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior at YouTube singing the 'coitus interruptus' duet from Act II. And here's the gorgeous Anna Moffo singing 'Sempre Libera' from Verdi's La Traviata. Says Daniel, "Note how ridiculously fast she takes her trills while still perfectly landing every note, and note also how high she goes while still keeping support and emotion in her voice. That's a high E-flat she hits at the end, only two half-steps below the highest note in Der Holle Rache [from Mozart's Magic Flute]. "

  • Wagner fans have been sorely mistreated over the years by what has come to be called 'Eurotrash' directors, who've used Wagner's genius only as a stage on which to pour their own misbegotten egos. But Eurotrash is everywhere, a fashionable form of vice from which few theatrical geniuses are free. Heather McDonald describes the nasty trend in The Abduction of Opera.

    Mozart’s lighthearted opera The Abduction from the Seraglio does not call for a prostitute’s nipples to be sliced off and presented to the lead soprano. Nor does it include masturbation, urination as foreplay, or forced oral sex. Europe’s new breed of opera directors, however, know better than Mozart what an opera should contain. So not only does the Abduction at Berlin’s Komische Oper feature the aforementioned activities; it also replaces Mozart’s graceful ending with a Quentin Tarantino–esque bloodbath and the promise of future perversion.

    Welcome to Regietheater (German for “director’s theater”), the style of opera direction now prevalent in Europe.
    The Onion satirises the trend: Unconventional Director Sets Shakespeare Play In Time and Place Shakespeare Intended.

  • And finally (yes, there is an end), if you think your inbox looks cluttered, just imagine how cluttered God's must be. After all, as Tom Waits says, he's everywhere isn't he, always looking at the big picture, yet he's always there to help you out of those little jams. Have a look at this screenshot of God's Inbox. Amusing.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Beer O’Clock – Epic

The NZ Bar Awards judges got it wrong in judging Cuba St's Matterhorn the best bar in NZ; clearly those judges weren't buying their own drinks. That accolade rightfully belongs to Wellington's Malthouse on Courtenay Place, to which I was introduced last weekend by beer writer Neil Miller - that sage and often sober gentleman who brings your Beer O'Clock business on this still rather soggy Friday. It begins with a reminiscence . . .

My first beer column for PC's Free Radical magazine was headlined by a beer called Epic. As alert readers will recall, Epic won the Supreme Beer of New Zealand Award about a week after its initial release. This is how I described it in that colums:
Epic Pale Ale (5.4%) is a burnished golden beer which throws a punchy citrus nose. It has an immaculate balance of rich creamy malt body with lashings of summerfruit and citrus notes before a lingering, almost oily, bitterness dries the mouth.
Describing his brew, impish brewer Luke Nicholas said “We are confident that New Zealand beer drinkers will enjoy it just much as the judges.” It looks like he might well be right as Epic is becoming increasingly available in pubs and bottle stores around the country.

It is worth recalling another comment in that first Free Radical beer column when I wrote that Luke is
always prepared to tweak his recipes to “keep the drinkers thinking” and to always move the beer towards being the “perfect pint” – a beer that you totally enjoy all evening, pint after pint.
After many an evening and many a pint of total enjoyment (in a professional capacpity, you understand), Epic stands as a perfect example of Luke's promise. Luke has actively gathered feedback from drinkers of all ages (18+ of course), experiences and tastes about Epic. I have obtained a summary of that market research, which I can summarise as follows:
10%: Yuck - does not taste enough like Lion Red
40%: Delicious, but too hoppy to be properly sessionable
49.97%: Magnificent
Neil: Needs more hops!
From a drinker’s perspective, there have been some subtle changes to Epic to improve sessionability – it is slightly less resinous, a tad less bitter and a slightly lighter colour.

What remains is a magnificent beer full of flavour and which can stay out to play all night. That is why in the latest edition of The Listener I picked it as my “perfect pint” and as New Zealand’s best beer.

And so it is.

Cheers, Neil

Real men visit the Real Beer blog, and SOBA. And so should you.

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Why humans have sex?

You're all talking about that new study, aren't you, about the 237 reasons human beings have sex. Come on, you know you are. (Personally, the only reasons for having sex that I'm truly interested in are those of myself and my partner. But I digress).

Anyway, Elizabeth at the Sex in the Public Square blog has a good look at the so-called study's methodology -- "always look at the methodology," she says, and she's right -- and despite all the earnest journalist commentary and the wads of pseudo-scientific reportage, she discovers quite quickly that it's not a survey showing reasons why humans have sex, or even why Texans have sex, but the reasons why 1,549 undergraduate students enrolled in Introductory Psychology courses at the University of Texas might want to have sex (noting that a large proportion of these tender young Texans have never had sex, and only Only 10% of the women and 7% of the men were either married or living with a sexual partner.)

So much for scientific and sexual reportage.

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"Hodgson - we've got a problem"

When Jim Hopkins stops writing gibberish and and instead writes good sense, his good sense is very much worth bottling.
When all's said and nothing's done, the national scandal described in this week's headlines is not that adults are beating children. That is a personal disgrace.

The national scandal is that your government, our government, is all too often a party to the outrage. But it's not doing an effective thing about it.

Read it all here. Hat tips all over.

UPDATE: As one of the horrid riff raff who regularly reads Mrs Smith, I can assure you she never writes gibberish, and particularly not this morning:
As no doubt everyone has heard by now, hospitals are going to ask women the following questions to gauge if they have been the victims of domestic violence. Answering “yes” to at least one of these will be a potential indicator of abuse.
  • Has anybody hurt or threatened you?
  • Have you ever felt controlled or always criticised?
  • Have you been asked to do anything sexual that you didn’t want to do?
Guffaw! In my neck of the woods, answering "yes" to all of these questions, would indicate you’d had the usual sort of night out with the girls.

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The youngest libertarian in the room...

A few of the speeches from last weekend's Libertarianz conference in Helengrad have now been digitised and made web-ready (we hope). Here's the first three:
  • Thirteen-year-old Callum McPetrie explains being 'NZ's Youngest Libertarian' (the text of his speech is online at his blog, Libertarian Front). What inspires an intelligent thirteen-year-old to get passionate about liberty? Find out. (6 min., MP3)
  • Leader Bernard Darnton talks about 'Steps to Freedom.' (16 min., MP3)
  • And talks again about global warming, as part of the afternoon warming forum. (3 min., MP3)
Enjoy, and keep your eyes peeled for more, including release of Libz transitional policies as outlined here.

UPDATE: Didn't take long to find more: Phil Howison has posted at his Pacific Empire blog the text and audio of his own speech : 'Free the Schools,' a draft outline of how to separate schools and state with as little pain as possible.

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"Islamophobia" and "hate crimes"

Following the arrest of a PACE University student for the so called "hate crime" of flushing of a Koran down the toilet, a debate on CNN asks, is 'Islamophobia' racist? Of course, says Council of American Islamic Relations apologist Ibrahim Hooper, who insists anyone opposing Islam must be both xenophobic and bigoted. Of course not, says Christopher Hitchens, who slams the stupid non-concept of hate crimes, and asks why destroying this vile book should bring the destroyer any more attention than destroying any other book.

In answer to the charges of racism and "anti-Islamic bigotry," Dennis Prager points out the obvious: "Islam has nothing to do with race." And neither does it. Islam has nothing at all to do with race; it's a set of ideas' ideas about which adherents have a choice in adopting; a set of remarkably primitive ideas that richly deserve to be mocked rather than treated with kid gloves as they too often are.

As Christopher Hitchens points out free speech and the US First Amendment includes the right to offend and the right to mock -- and the nonsensical notions of Islamists deserve mocking more than most.

Hitchens points out too that Islamist apologists criticise those who offend Islamists and call for "tolerance" with one side of the mouth, while with the other they stay silent and refuse to criticise Islamists who openly call for the killing of Jews, for the killing of Salman Rushdie, for the stoning and killing of homosexuals in places like Iran, and who in Iraq and elsewhere blow up mosques and markets packed with people who are killed merely for worshipping in a different way than the killers do.

As Hitchens says, religion poisons everything.
  • Watch Christopher Hitchens and Dennis Prager debate Ibrahim Hooper from the apologist organisation the Council of American Islamic Relations at You Tube: Part 1, Part 2. [Hat tip Marcus]

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Holocaust History Museum, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem - Moshe Safdie



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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Winston cozying up to murderers

Winston Peters is going in our name to a slave state run by murderers to see what "assistance" you and I can offer them. The man, as we know, is scum.

Asks Liberty Scott will he bring up the gulags with his North Korean hosts? Will he ask them about Camp 22? Will he "demand that their gulags be opened, and that North Korea stops imprisoning children and their parents for political crimes"? Could he spare just five minutes to watch this, and maybe begin to realise the true nature of his new-found friends?

Does he realise the very best assistance that could be offered North Koreans is the removal of their jailers? Does he know? Does he even care?

Or as Scott says, would he rather posture as "tough on crime" and concerned about child abuse in New Zealand, while cozying up overseas and in our name to a regime that abuses children and their parents directly and on a daily basis. The man is scum, and so too are the politicians who remain silent about him sucking up to murderers in our name.

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Lies, damned lies and National Party politics

After posting yesterday on John Boy's lies, spin and flip flops over the complementary medicines bill, I asked National apologists how their hero was looking now he can't even lie straight.

The responses from online apologists this morning are revealing. Faced with the choice of reading and digesting the evidence -- that is, the transcript of Key's interview with Audrey Young about which he chose to lie (and which she posted online yesterday) -- or of evading the evidence, shooting the messenger and maintaining their illusions about their hero, most either plumped for the latter (Whale Oil, No Minister), or like John Boy Armstrong and DPF they've tried to cover up the lie by calling it something less damaging -- "confusion" in DPF's case, "a muddle" in Armstrong's, which pretty much describes his own dissembling on his hero's behalf.

For once you have to agree with Helen Clark: "I think this guy [Mr Key] has got a problem with the truth: BP [David Benson-Pope] swung for less." And it's true, isn't it, as those howling loudly last week about DBP's lies are all too aware.

It's clear enough now that for Key supporters their problem with the Clark Government is not that they lie, but that they're Labour. Draw your own conclusions about the value of honesty for these supporters, and for any future Key-led Government.

(For those who haven't kept up, Audrey Young's sanitised account this morning of Key's dissembling is online here. Her "bloody angry" blog post is here.)

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Reserve Bank & housing

Think back not too long ago and you might remember a time when there was a Reserve Bank governor who seemed to know what he was doing, and a National Party leader who gave every appearance of standing for something. Remember when?

Today on Leighton Smith's ZB morning show Don Brash will be interviewed over the pressing issue of how restrictions on land supply are causing havoc with price inflation. Listen in from 10:30am, or give him a ring. If you're not near a radio, you can listen in here.

UPDATE: Click here for NewstalkZB's audio from 10:00am to 11:00am. Don Brash interview starts at 32:40. Link should stay live for one week.

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Breasts

Quote of the day -- well, the quote of yesterday, Breast Admiration Day -- comes from Blair Mulholland:
Governments should get their grubby, sweaty hands off people's breasts.
Too true. All too true. And all too difficult for Nanny Chadwick.

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The big 'O'

Two things I bet you didn't know:
First, it's National Orgasm Week in the UK. (Yes, you did need to know that.)
Second, according to that repository of reliable news The Sun, "a recent survey found 12 per cent of UK women have never experienced the big O."
Sad news on a happy week. UK men should hang their head in shame.

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Robie House - Frank Lloyd Wright

The 1903 Robie House, in Hyde Park, Chicago. A revolution in space and expression, and designated even by the American Institute of Architects as one of the top five buildings in the United States.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"Compromise is my middle name..."

Never one to take a stand when a compromise is on the table, Neville Key is now chasing compromises that haven't even been offered. From this morning's Herald we learn that he now wants a compromise on the dumped complementary medicines bill:
National Party leader John Key says he will sign up to the two-tiered compromise proposal on a transtasman therapeutics agency, a breakthrough that could see legislation taken off ice and passed by Christmas...
Is there anything on which this prick will take a stand? Any position at all that he won't sell out?

Is there anything in there at all?

UPDATE 1: Instant outcry here and DPF's, and then instant spin at John Boy's. "Today's NZ Herald story misrepresents our position," says John Boy. Oh yes? So what exactly is your position, John?
"The story correctly quotes me as saying 'If they came to us now with that proposal, we will sign it.' I was, of course, referring to the Trans-Tasman Therapeutic Goods regime - not the proposal put up by NZ First. I repeatedly made that clear to the NZ Herald yesterday."
Uh huh, so what exactly is your position, John?
Our position is simple: If complementary medicines are removed from the regime, National will support it.
Clear now? So what do those statements appearing in the Herald actually mean, those referring "to the two-tiered compromise proposal on a transtasman therapeutics agency" to which John Boy said:
  • "If they came to us now with that proposal, we will sign it."
  • "...bring us the proposal and we'll bring our pen. We're on."
  • "If they came to us now with that proposal, we will sign it. We sat there waiting for it to turn up. No one has ever seen it."
Seems to me he's engaging in confusion by pronoun. Perhaps he has a second middle name: Obfuscation.

UPDATE 2: Or perhaps his middle name is just Flat-Out-Liar. Herald journalist Audrey Young has come out swinging at her Herald blog, exposing Key's deceptive wriggle (and in the process shows the value of journalists' blogs in exposing politicians' cant) and calling him all but the 'L' word:
John Key has just issued a press statement saying my story in today's Herald on the transtasman therapeutics regulatory agency misrepresents him.

I'm bloody angry because his press statement totally misrepresents what took place yesterday.

He clearly suggested that if Labour presented him with a proposal like the one Peters put up - one that carves out complementary medicines except for those who export to Australia and have a voluntary opt-in - he would sign it.

I can only suspect that Tony Ryall - his chief negotiator on the bill - has gone ballistic and Key has had to back away from the clear and repetitive suggestion he made yesterday in the company of three senior Herald journalists that if he was presented with a proposal like the one Peters put up that he would sign it... But don't take my word for it. Read it for yourself. Naturally I had my tape running in the interview - there were four tapes on it.
Read on for part 1 of the interview transcript, which includes this gem:
Key: It's pretty straightforward isn't it? It's all very well people having a whack at us, but if they want to bring us a proposal in line with what Peters said on television, we'll sign it. I keep asking for it. No one has shown it to me."
Compare that now to what Key said this afternoon:
"The story correctly quotes me as saying 'If they came to us now with that proposal, we will sign it.' I was, of course, referring to the Trans-Tasman Therapeutic Goods regime - not the proposal put up by NZ First. I repeatedly made that clear to the NZ Herald yesterday."
How's your hero looking now, National apologists? He can't even lie straight.

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Advice for women when strapped to a gurney

Here's some advice for women delivered to Accident & Emergency for urgent attention, but who are assailed instead by Nanny's vigilantes intent on finding abuse where it isn't (and ignoring it where it is) and on confirming Nanny's view that all men are rapists: Tell the clipboard wielding harridans to mind their own business, and get on with the reason for you being in Accident & Emergency -- urgent treatment.

Just for the record, here's the questions Nanny will be asking you before she deigns to dole out your rationed treatment:
  • Has anybody hurt or threatened you?
  • Have you ever felt controlled or always criticised?
  • Have you been asked to do anything sexual that you didn't want to do?
Don't you think there's better things emergency room nurses could be doing than asking questions like this?

UPDATE 1: Has anyone else noticed the presumption of guilt inherent in this -- the reversal of the presumption of innocence, which is the proper role of the state when it comes to justice?

UPDATE 2: Peter McC answers all three questions in the positive, and provides plenty of evidence for his abuse [hat tip DPF]. Shocking reading. Reminds me of this You Tube ad. Shocking watching.

UPDATE 3: Stephen Franks offers hope rather than advice, but the thought is just as pointed:
I hope hospital staff are “abused” in the original sense of that word, by women who tell them to mind their own business. All involved should revolt against being used. This policy inflicts indignity on everyone rather than face the failure of 40 years of social policy... Surely we must be reaching a nadir of some sort. Only two generations ago we were noted for stoic self reliance. Now every one in “the community” must bear the guilt and responsibility for individual viciousness. The collectivists will twist in any direction rather than enforce personal responsibility.
Superb commentary well worth reading in full, not least for the link he highlights between welfare, racism and abuse.

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July mini-stats for Not PC

The top fifteen searches landing here over the last month (with duplicates deleted) shows more than a few people being more than a little nosy . . .
  1. not pc
  2. becky dublin
  3. falafulu fisi
  4. bill joy founder of sun microystems aardvark
  5. sweden jim peron americans ilv
  6. pc blog cresswell
  7. robert winefield
  8. interest rates
  9. broadacre city
  10. anarchy
  11. breakup songs
  12. evening fall of day
  13. piri weepu
  14. heineken mini keg
  15. peter cresswell
Top fifteen referrals for July (thanks everyone):
  1. Google
  2. Kiwiblog
  3. PC.Blogspot.Com
  4. Libertarianz.Org.NZ
  5. Yahoo
  6. NZ Conservative
  7. Bloglines
  8. Lindsay Mitchell
  9. SOLO
  10. Whale Oil
  11. Mulholland Drive
  12. Fundy Post
  13. Cactus Kate
  14. No Right Turn
  15. Public Address

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Advice for women around World Cup time

Continuing our advice for women this morning, here's advice for women around World Cup time. If you're wondering what "World Cup time" is, then be assured that the one in urgent need of this advice is you.

DEAR WOMEN

*List of Rules*

1. The first rule is to read and print out these rules. Remember that ignorance is no defence in law.

2. 7 Sept to 20 October 2007 is hereby declared Rugby World Cup Month (yes Virginia, it is the Rugby World Cup about which we're talking). During Rugby World Cup Month you should read the sports section of the newspaper and print out the TV schedule so that you are aware of what is going on regarding the Rugby World Cup. That way you will be able to join in conversations and sound intelligent (or at least as intelligent as he is), and to deliver food and drink on time. If you fail to follow this advice, do NOT complain about not receiving any attention or of food being uneaten.

3. During the Rugby World Cup, the television is the man's domain, as are the VCR, the DVD and the fridge. If you even take a glimpse at the remote control, you will lose it (your eye).

4. Passing by in front of the TV during a game is fine, on rare occasions, as long as you do it crawling on the floor and without causing distractions. Standing or dancing nude in front of the TV is acceptable, at halftime breaks (while no halftime interviews or replays are taking place), but do ensure you replace your clothing right after because if you catch a cold, there will be no time to take you to the doctor or look after you during Rugby World Cup month.

5. During Rugby World Cup Month your man will be either blind, deaf and mute, loud and belligerent, or he will be comatose -- unless that is he requires a refill of drink or something to eat. Be aware that means he will be unavailable to listen to you, open the door, answer the telephone, decide whether "your arse looks big in this," or to converse intelligently about relationships or Hollywood gossip. If the baby's nappy needs changing, then knock yourself out.

6. It would be a good idea for you to keep at least 2 (two) six packs in the fridge at all times, as well as plenty of things to heat up, nibble on and microwave. Please do not make any funny faces when other unwashed men come over to watch games. In return, you will be allowed to use the TV between the hours of 12pm and 3pm, unless of course they replay a good game during those hours.

7. (This is most important is you wish to retain any kind of realitionship with your man.) If you see him upset because one of his teams is losing, do not (DO NOT!) say "Get over it, it's only a game", or "Don't worry,
they'll win next time," or "Never mind, at least no one got hurt." If you say any of these things, your life will be hell for at least one year thereafter. It's just not worth it. Your so called "words of encouragement" or sympathy will not lead to greater reciprocal understanding between sexes or domestic bliss but the reverse. Bite your tongue.

8. The Rugby World Cup is not a nice cheesy excuse to "spend time together." The Rugby World Cup is serious. You can talk during halftime (particularly to ask about refreshments) but only when the ads are on, and only if the halftime score is pleasing. You may talk during game, but only to say "Nice try" (and only if the right team scored) or "Doing it all day, ref" (but only if the right team is being penalised). The safest course of action is silence, and provision of large trays of food and drink.

9. Replays of the tries are important. Very important. It's not possible to see try replays too many times, even those scored by the wrong team (its important to know which pillock to blame for missing a tackle). Don't interrupt during replays (see point eight above).

10. Do NOT to have any babies, overseas visitors or other child-related parties or gatherings during Rugby World Cup Month, or organise any gatherings that require your man's attendance during Rugby World Cup Month because:
a) He will not go,
b) He will not go, and
c) He will dislike you for it if you ask him.

11. But, if a male friend invites him over on a Sunday to watch a game, start packing the chilly bin. Quickly.

12. Rugby World Cup highlights on TV every night are just as important as the games themselves. Do not even think about saying "But you have already seen this," or "Why don't you change the channel to
something we can all watch?" or "Isn't 'Desperate Housewives on now?" On this point, see Rule 3 above.

13. Do not complain that your man's new beard is "scratchy" or makes him "look like a caveman." Showing support for the All Blacks by trying to look like Carl Hayman is more important during Rugby World Cup Month (to him) than your relationship. If you don't love your country as much as he does, then that will makes him sad and you should leave. Quietly and during the ads if possible.

14. And finally, please avoid expressions such as "Thank goodness the Rugby World Cup is only every four years". He is immune to words such as these, mostly because after RWC 2007 comes RWC 2011 -- and that's happening right here in NZ. Start saving now.

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Sick socialist medicine

In a column appearing in the Orange County Register, Richard Ralston of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine points out 'What Michael Moore Left out of 'Sicko'." Gus van Horn (to whom goes the hat tip) enjoyed "the following knockout punch at the end":
...when Mr. Moore mentioned that "every industrial country" except the United States has adopted medical socialism, he did not mention why that means that we should. Many of those countries still have monarchies. Should the United States? Many of those countries have established state religions. Should the United States? Many of those countries have long waiting lists and severe rationing of health care.

Should the United States?
"That last question," says van Horn, "is the perfect rejoinder to Moore's variant of the argument from intimidation, in which he implies that socialism is, somehow, more enlightened than capitalism and that 'everyone else agrees with him." NZers who 'enjoy' long waiting lists and severe rationing of health care here might not be in the cheerleaders' van. Read on here for Moore of Ralston's commentary.

UPDATE: Libertarianz health deregulation spokeman Dr Richard McGrath points out that "More Socialism Won't Resuscitate Dying Health Industry."
"For seventy-plus years, we have had state interference in the practice of [NZ] health care," said Dr McGrath. "Where has it got us? We still have endless waiting lists and an overburdened, over-regulated workforce of demoralized health workers."

"The public hospital system is a disgrace," he added. "Socialism has nearly destroyed it. How much more evidence do we need before we accept that socialized medicine just does not work? Not only that, but it is also immoral, because it is bankrolled by money that is extorted from the productive, and rationed out as though it was a limited resource."

"Socialism is a cancer that has taken a heavy toll on the lives of New Zealanders," said Dr McGrath...

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The Human Child (excerpt) - WB Yeats

Excerpt from William Butler Yeats beguilingly simple poem about reality and imagination and loss.

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water-rats;
There we've hid out faery vats,
Full of berries
And the reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim grey sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances,
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And is anxious in its sleep...

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"The state is hoovering up resources..."

The Stuff and Herald political blogs have allowed more of what the Fairfax and Herald journalists really think to come through. This from Bernard Hickey for instance is excellent [hat tip GB]:
One of my favourite sections of the Dominion Post on a Wednesday and a Saturday is Job Market. It’s where I find out what the government is really doing with a good chunk of my money. The last week’s editions are fascinating and all the more topical because of this week’s hike in the official cash rate.

They show that both local and central governments are on a recruitment binge we have not seen in decades. The state is hoovering up resources and stretching the economy to breaking point, which has forced the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates to control inflation.
On the first five pages of executive recruitments alone in this week's Job Market there were at least 29 jobs for senior policy analysts, policy analysts or senior communications specialists in either Wellington or Auckland. The following give a good taste of the type of employees governments are trying to hire right now ... many in positions paying more than $80k per year.
Read on here. And read on here for Cactus Kate's more jaundiced view of the worth of journalist bloggers.

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Quote of the weekend, on global warming

Quote of the weekend from the Libertarianz Party conference, from leader Bernard Darnton in a debate on libertarian responses to global warming:
Socialism and central planning doesn't work at seventeen degrees, so why do people think either will work at nineteen?

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Reagan: He ain't a blooming thickie

From Eisenhower to Bush II, it's long been fashionable to mock the intelligence of post-war Republican presidents. Ronald Reagan was no exception, a frequent butt of jokesters firmly convinced in his ineptitude, his irrelevance within his own administration, and above all in his glaring lack of intellect.

In light of the publication of Reagan's diaries however, the Times Literary Supplement re-examines the evidence and puts the record straight: this is one president at least who was no intellectual lightweight. [Hat tip James Valliant] See 'Reagan the Astute.' Excerpt:
The popular notion of Ronald Reagan as a lazy bungler has long been questioned; but only now, with the publication of his diaries, do we encounter a shrewd and watchful President determined to have his own way. Edward N. Luttwak peers beneath the 'studied pose of amiable vagueness', and finds an economically savvy, anti-racist, tough on Communism..."
Read on here.

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Sack the social workers

It's all our fault. Lowlifes being paid to produce children they don't want are killing them, abusing them, hitting them around the head with bats and pieces of wood, throwing them in dryers and against the wall -- all utterly in defiance of the Bradford-Key anti-smacking law, which you'll remember was going to put a stop to all this -- and do you know who's to blame for all these incidents: According to all the experts, we all are! You, me, absolutely everyone. Everyone except for the lowlifes and those who take our money to pay for their breeding.

"They're not to blame," I keep hearing; "WE are." It makes me sick.
"Our children belong to all of us."

"We're killing our children."

"We need to look after our under-fives."

"Violence against our children is unnacceptable."

"Family violence is a community issue."

"We all need to step up."

"We all need to become and be nosy neighbours from now on."

"We object to the way people are treating our little babies."

"We must bring back discipline in homes."

"We all need to be questioned when we go to hospital."

"Our children belong to all of us."

""We all need to take responsibility - perhaps we should all become our brothers, sisters and children's keepers... An act of violence against a Maori child is an act of violence against all Maori' says Te Ururoa Flavell.

"How do I feel when I hear they're Maori?" says Pita Sharples. "I feel ashamed. I feel guilty."
What a lot of horseshit. These people aren't talking about some inexplicable act of nature but about a series of incidents with one thing in common: lowlifes beating and killing their own children -- children they've been paid to have.

These aren't our babies.

We aren't killing them.

These babies are produced by lowlifes who don't want them; they're paid by us to have them; we're forced to pay for them by politicians who don't care about the incentives their welfare system has created. There's no need to for Sharples or any other Maori to feel ashamed to be Maori; he should be ashamed as a politician who supports those payments and their incentives and the system that delivers them.

We -- you and I -- we aren't responsible for the carnage and the abuse. I haven't killed or beaten any children, and neither have you. The people responsible for the carnage are the killers and the beaters themselves, and the scum who force us to pay for these lowlifes to have children they don't want.

If "we" really could do anything, it would be putting an end to being forced to pay for no-hopers to breed. That more than anything else would put a stop to it.

If you agree, then don't just tell me: tell everyone who will listen -- and every one of those 121 time servers in parliament.

UPDATE 1: From Liberty Scott:
So the next time my mother enters hospital, she'll be asked:
  • Has anybody hurt or threatened you?
  • Have you ever felt controlled or always criticised?
  • Have you been asked to do anything sexual that you didn't want to do?
Perhaps if it is asked of someone who enters hospital with injuries that could be attributed to violence then yes, but to ask every woman? What utter nonsense....

I have another idea, let's ban all those convicted of serious violent offences from claiming welfare. Who can morally justify that, why should they live funded by others?
UPDATE 2: From Lindsay Mitchell:
Just listening to Labour MP Dover Samuels calling in to Radio Live and vigorously regaling Jackson and Tamihere with his thoughts about these latest atrocities. He says he and a lot of other MPs knew that Sue Bradford's bill would make not one iota of difference. There are no academic solutions. There are no do-gooder solutions. And the Maori Party and their 'aroha' can go jump. There you go.
And again:
What we are seeing at the moment is not new. 'Battered Child (or baby) Syndrome' was first discussed in the 1960s. From Family Matters by Bronwyn Dalley;

New Zealand medical practitioners and paediatric radiologists took a central role in the dissemination of awareness of the syndrome; staff at Wellington Hospital noted the large number of 'injury' cases with a suspicion that was often confirmed when X-rays revealed earlier healed fractures.

Many cases of abuse investigated "displayed an intergenerational pattern." So the abuse stems back further still. The distressing number of young Maori children who died at the hands of their young mothers who had themselves been state wards is commented on.

For a long time associated factors have been known. Unmarried parenting, very young parenting, and a personal parental history of neglect and abuse. Add to these increased misuse of alcohol and drugs and benefits that pay emotionally and financially bereft people to become parents and it is little wonder what problem already existed has worsened.
UPDATE 3: As William Curtis, Michael William Curtis, Michael Curtis's girlfriend, Oriwa Terrina Kemp, Michael Paul Pearson and Wiremu Te Aroha Te Whanau Curtis are charged with assault for putting their three-year-old in a dryer, the government swings into action with "a four-year, $14m campaign ... aimed at changing the way New Zealanders think and act about family violence." The way New Zealanders think. The way "we" think.

Do they really think the no-hopers we pay to breed are going to hear this campaign we're also forced to pay for? Or take the least notice of it?

The government's answer to this end-road of welfarism is not to question the welfare, not to take a good long look at what paying no-hopers to breed has brought, but instead an expensive campaign of education to tell the people who are listening, the people who aren't killing their chidren, that they shouldn't. Says Cindy bloody Kiro in support of this fatuous stupidity, "The best deterrent is prevention through education -- teaching young people basic parenting skills and about a baby's development," she said.

She's deluded. She seems to think the likes of the Curtises and Kahuis are interested in parenting skills and the "development" of the babies that are their meal tickets. Will she never learn?

UPDATE 4: Meanwhile, this from a concerned Rodney Hide: "The Sunday Star Times have this extract from my book My Year of Living Dangeously [sic] in the bookstores this Friday..." As Blair Mulholland says, "It's official. The ACT Party is no more."

UPDATE 5: Heather Roy pipes up. As does Peter Osborne from Libertarianz. Says Heather:

"Now we have more abuse in the papers and the outrage is back. In typical political fashion neighbours are being criticised for not reporting abuse, the community is being exhorted to be more watchful and child abuse has been labelled a 'Maori problem'.

"But we should not be looking at who to blame - rather, we should be asking WHAT to blame. I have attended every meeting of the Cross-Party Group on Family Violence set up after the Kahui twins died. Despite numerous attempts, there was no willingness by any other committee member to even discuss - let alone tackle - welfare dependency.

"Rather, this issue - which has a direct correlation to child abuse - was placed in the 'too hard' basket, because making meaningful change to welfare in New Zealand might cost Labour some support when the election rolls around.

Says Osborne:

"Only New Zealanders as individuals can take control of the social ills facing us all today. Forget about Nanny State, it was she who set this disaster up in the first place and it was we who voted for it. Nothing can be done until we win back control over our own lives. This means getting Nanny State out of our homes, out of our workplaces, out of your children's minds and out of our pockets. The well being of our fellow citizens, neighbours, friends and relatives does not need to be centrally controlled and we certainly shouldn't be compelled to finance what is now proving to be a social disaster."
UPDATE 6: W E L C O M E H A R D N E W S R E A D E R S :
I invite you to check what I say above and see if Russell Brown makes his case. He says here:

What we might do [about violent crime] is try and catch and prosecute ... earlier; encourage reporting..., emphasise its irreducible unacceptability, try and pick it up in a public health context -- even if it means doing something as squishy as asking someone about their feelings.

All the measures, that is, that Cresswell mocked and railed against in [this] post.

Do you really thing it's these solutions that I'm mocking and railing against here? Or has he missed the point entirely?

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Hiatus

Sorry for the three-day hiatus.

I had a very enjoyable weekend in Wellington at the Libertarianz conference (thank you to all those who helped make it so enjoyable; I'll post some news and photos later) and then spent all day yesterday in training for my new ArchiCAD upgrade to make me even more productive.

Back into everything now, bigger, badder and better. ;^)

UPDATE: Julian has posted raw audio from the conference at his site. Expect to see cleaned up audio of some of the presentations linked later.

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Some grooks, by Piet Heine

A few 'grooks,' by poet Piet Heine: Perceptive, poetic observations that never stay long enough to outstay their welcome.

PROBLEMS

Problems worthy
of attack
prove their worth
by hitting back.

CONSOLATION GROOK

Losing one glove
is certainly painful,
but nothing
compared to the pain,
of losing one,
throwing away the other,
and finding
the first one again.


OMNISCIENCE

Knowing what
thou knowest not
is in a sense
omniscience.


MANKIND

Men, said the Devil,
are good to their brothers:
they don’t want to mend
their own ways, but each other's.


DREAM INTERPRETATION
Simplified.

Everything's either
concave or -vex,
so whatever you dream
will be something with sex.


PRAYER
to the sun above the clouds.

Sun that givest all things birth,
shine on everything on earth!

If that's too much to demand,
shine at least on this our land.

If even that's too much for thee,
shine at any rate on me.


CIRCUMSCRIPTURE

As Pastor X steps out of bed
he slips a neat disguise on:
that halo round his priestly head
is really his horizon.

THE ROAD TO WISDOM

The road to wisdom? -- Well, it's plain
and simple to express:
Err
and err
and err again
but less
and less
and less.


GROOK ON LONG-WINDED AUTHORS

Long-winded writers I abhor,
and glib, prolific chatters;
give me the ones who tear and gaw
their hair and pens to tatters:
who find their writing such a chore
they only write what matters.


ON AN ASHTRAY

When your thirst
and hunger cease,
may your ashes
rest in peace.


More here.

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