Friday Morning Ramble: The ‘we’re screwed’ edition
It’s election weekend in Auckland and elsewhere, and I couldn’t be less interested. In Auckland, for example, we have a choice between a clown who talks responsibility but who can’t be trusted with his own credit card, and a buttoned-up buffoon who talks about keeping rates down after having run a record of raising rates every years, while increasing Auckland’s debt to nearly one-billion dollars. It’s not a vote either of these jerks deserve, but the reality check of a good kick up the arse.
Whoever wins, it certainly won’t be ratepayers.
So following Bernard Darnton’s lead, and having diligently read through the candidates' booklet, I promptly put my voting paper in the shredder.
Anyway, I haven’t done a Ramble here for a few weeks, so there’s a bit of a backlog of good links and stories to tell. So let’s dive in…
- Since Roger Kerr began blogging a few weeks ago, he’s unfortunately had to do a disproportionate amount of obituaries. This week, he’s had to write an obituary to mark the sudden death of author, historian and journalist Graeme Hunt.
R.I.P. Graeme Hunt – ROGER KERR
- Lindsay Perigo thinks the Republicans’ Pledge for America offers some real hope for that beleaguered country—and I hope it fares better than their failed Contract with America.
Take the Pledge! – Lindsay Perigo, SOLO
- On the occasion of another cynical visit by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to New York to be feted at the U.N., the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens tries to peel back the Iranian
dictatorfairly elected leader’s cynical veneer to its utterly cynical core.
Breakfast With Ahmadinejad – WALL STREET JOURNAL
- Sometimes truth is stranger than reality. Facebook has now been down for around 48 hours, and it seems the world is plunged into productivity! But The Onion got there first…
48-Hour Internet Outage Plunges Nation Into Productivity – THE ONION
- Religionists are opening a new front in their bid to nationalise womens’s bodies. It’s called the “Personhood” movement. Aris Armstrong and Diana Hsieh throw up a few intellectual road blocks in their path. Anyone who still thinks the relevant question is "when life begins" needs to read it.
The 'Personhood' Movement Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters that Rights Begin at Birth, Not Conception – COALITION FOR SECULAR GOVERNMENT
- Eric Crampton talks about bizarre coalition politics. And ACT. And their chances (or lack thereof) of existing post-2011.
Bizarre NZ coalition politics – OFFSETTING BEHAVIOUR
- Oh, just in case you thought there’d actually been a change of government …
"former finance minister Michael Cullen will take over from former prime minister Jim Bolger as chairman of New Zealand Post from November 1, State Owned Enterprises (SOE) Minister Simon Power confirmed today" – NZ HERALD
- "Miniature nuclear reactors might be a safe, efficient source of power." See:
Miniature nuclear reactors might be a safe, efficient source of power – WASHINGTON POST [hat tip Geek Press]
- This still fascinates me. It seems scarcely believable.
Christchurch quake 'fifth most expensive ever' – NZ HERALD
- Still on natural disasters, entrepreneurs offer a safe and inexpensive way to ride out a hurricane—demonstrating in the process a point that was so evident in comparing Christchurch’s quake to Haiti’s: “increased safety is a product of increased wealth":
Buying shelters from the storm - VOICES FOR REASON
- Lindsay Mitchell reckons the “creative arts” in NZ is an oxymoron.
Creative gravy train - an oxymoron – LINDSAY MITCHELL
- PJ O’Rourke speculates, or tries to, on the Tea Party’s foreign policy. “What is the Tea Party’s foreign policy? It’s a difficult question on two counts. There is no Tea Party foreign policy as far as I can tell, and, on inspection, there is no Tea Party.”
Innocence Abroad: The Tea Party's Search for Foreign Policy – WORLD AFFAIRS
- As Obama’s fortunes fall, and US liberalism’s fortunes with it, some liberals are now beginning to compete with each other at taking up the birthers’ mantel—talking any nonsense they can just to pull their ideological rip cord before their hero crumples completely. Latest example, Dinesh D’Souza:
D’Souza to Obama with Malice – Shikhia Dalmia, FORBES
- Here’s a lucky chap packing for his holidays. I hope he has enough room.
- If you’ve ever visited here before, you may (it’s just possible) have heard me rail about how fractional reserve banking leaves the banking system inherently fragile. If you’ve wondered what the hell fractional reserve banking is all about, John McVey gives you an introduction.
Fractional Reserve Banking, revisted - Part One – JOHN McVEY
- The Fed announces more quantitative easing (QEII)—i.e., to combat “deflation” it’s going to print more money. [Inflation, says the Fed, is “currently at levels somewhat below those [that] promote maximum employment and price stability.”] Peter Schiff responds.
FOMC Statement: The Fed is promoting inflation – PETER SCHIFF
- What deflation? US prices are rising!
What deflation? Prices are rising! – CNN
- While soothsayers and spinners pick out rare nuggets amid the economic gloom to spruik their positions that recovery is really and truly just around the next corner, honest Guv, David Galland states the obvious.
A Long Road to Recovery – CASEY’S REPORTS
- Christchurch Economist Eric Crampton bemoans the loss of several prime opportunities for some decent post-earthquake price gouging.
Let's use price to allocate resources – STUFF
Gouging - another missed opportunity – OFFSETTING BEHAVIOUR
- Economist Peter Schiff Battles 300 Keynesians (and wins)! Good viewing.
Peter Schiff Battles 300 Keynesians (And Wins)
- Meanwhile, in Australia…
Recession Officially Over… Someone Tell the Unemployed – DAILY RECKONING
And in America…
Architecture Billings Index [a leading indicator for new investment] shows contraction in August - CALCULATED RISK
- And on this side of the Tasman, shadow finance entity David Cunliffe continues to demonstrate his own complete cluelessness with every post he makes at the Labour Party blog—he blogs on corruption in govt on the very week his own party is out planting fake voters out in Papatoetoe, and somehow equates the corruption of govt with the free market. If it’s corruption he’s opposed to, he might reflect on the First Economic Rule of PJ O’Rourke: “When buying and selling is legislated, the first thing to be bought and sold are legislators.”
Systemic Market Failure? – RED ALERT
- If only politicians could have learned some economics from an American Founding Father.
Madison on Economic Uncertainty – Jeff Perren, SHAVING LEVIATHAN
- Or from some sane economics.
Why Spending on Infrastructure Won’t Lead to Prosperity – DAILY RECKONING
- Meanwhile, in this pathetic authoritarian backwater…
Govt funds five more cycle trails – STUFF
- Don Boudreaux points out that passing legislation to “fix the recession” isn’t anything to crow about.
”Enacting legislation is neither an ‘achievement’ nor an ‘accomplishment’ that, standing alone, deserves credit. To think otherwise is akin to thinking that a rain-dancer deserves credit for performing his fancy ritual even if afterward the crops continue to wilt because the drought persists.”
A Magic Show Without a Rabbit in the Hat – CAFE HAYEK
- Some folk try to find the few remaining loopholes in law to try to live free … and struggle. [Hat tip Den MT]
The Permission We Already Have - BLDG BLOG
- It’s been thought by every sane person who’s ever said “What the hell is going on here?” It has to be said,
Our moral code is out of date - CNN
- Economists talks about the Trader Principle—the recognition that in every voluntary trade both parties come out ahead. Moralists talk about it too, and Rational Jenn shows how to begin teach it to your youngsters.
Trader Principle Progress – RATIONAL JENN
- Rugby vs AFL. Which one has more skills. Lets pit Cory Jane and Piri Weepu against Geelong’s Gary Ablett (aka Son of God) and Stevie J. [hat tip Keeping Stock]
- Oh yeah, and it’s AFL Grand Final Weekend, and it’s now up to St Kilda to make sure the unmentionable doesn’t happen…
Grand Final Preview: Collingwood v St Kilda – REAL FOOTY
- Check out where you can watch the Grand Final, wherever in the world you are.
International Viewing Guide – AFL
- Deanna Radaj on BlogTalkRadio wants to talk about history’s kick-arse women, so Onkar Ghate showed up to talk about Ayn Rand and her influence in history.
Kick A** Women in History: Ayn Rand
- Kate Yoak pnders ponders Ayn Rand's insightful statements about stay-at-home parenting in her Playboy Interview.
Parenting as a career – PARENTING IS …
- For all of you with Objectivist Questions, you’ll be delighted about new site, Objectivist Answers [hat tip this Noodlefood post]. If you’ve ever had questions about Objectivism, and who hasn’t, this is the place to get them answered. Why isn't Objectivism more widespread? What's the deal with the giant speech in Atlas Shrugged? Why bother being honest, when surrounded by dishonest people? They’re all here. Check ‘em out.
- Everyone’s getting their Tweet Clouds done. Including moi. If you’ve never followed me on Twitter, you might now have grounds to decide you needn’t bother.
- "The less you comprehend the words of the Bible, the more you are likely to believe them." Discuss.
90% of Statistics are Bogus, But…. – IRREDEEMABLE
- Everyday above the ground is a good day, but not every day is a day to masturbate to Christine O’Donnell! [“It is not enough to be abstinent with other people,” says the helpful O’Donnell, “you also have to be abstinent alone. The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery, so you can’t masturbate without lust.” Just thought you should know.]
Masturbate to Christine O’Donnell Day! – DWINDING IN UNBELIEF
- Oh, O’Donnell fixes homosexuality too. Well, kinda.
Christine O'Donnell's national 'cure the gays' tour ends very, very badly – RACHEL MADDOW
- These are the speed bumps of the future, and they’re as creepy as hell. Do NOT let them come to a neighbourhood near you.
Speed Bumps of the Future: Creepy Optical Illusion Children – DERREN BROWN
- Here’s some useful career advice.
If you aren’t getting rejected on a daily basis, your goals aren’t ambitious enough – CHRIS DIXON
- Turns out that U2 front-man Bono’s anti-poverty foundation ONE is doing remarkably well at staving off poverty … among its staff. “The non-profit organisation set up by the U2 frontman received almost £9.6m in donations in 2008 but handed out only £118,000 to good causes (1.2 per cent).” That’s about 360 degrees of blarney-filled chutzpah.
Doing Well While Not Doing Good – DIVISION OF LABOUR
- Science blogs answers a question asked by every young physics student:
Can explosions move faster than the speed of light? – SCIENCE BLOGS
Cool pictures too!
- From a sight-seeing tunnel to an amusement park full of Bangladesh’s most famous buildings (can you name one?) these are …
The world's most craptastic tourist attractions – SMH
- And if your fate is to spend all your working hours in an office cubicle in a wasteland of office cubicles, you have my sympathy. Here then is some possible respite.
21 Awesome Office Cube Pranks - MOTELLA
Here’s The Laughing Clowns getting into the religious material …
… Barry Adamson getting out some Miles Davis…
… … Jazz On the Tube celebrating John Coltrane’s birthday this week (he would have been 84) with
fifteen linked videos illustrating his wide range including Miles Davis...Eric Dolphy...Wes Montgomery...Stan Getz...Elvin Jones...McCoy Tyner...and a rare trio with pianist Wynton Kelly..
…and if, like me, you love this gorgeous piece by Ralph Vaughan-Williams, you’ll have the same dilemma of wondering whether you can endure it bracketed by the world’s most popular elevator music in order to watch the APO perform it next month…
That’s all from me, have a great weekend.
PS: As it’s Grand Final weekend for Australian Football, my beer this weekend is a genuine Australian masterpiece: the Little Creatures Pale Ale.