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Archive for December, 2008

For richer

Written By: - Date published: 12:17 pm, December 30th, 2008 - 27 comments

I’ve spent the last week touring around the provinces and catching up with old friends and family I haven’t seen for years and part of this has meant traveling to places I haven’t been in over a decade. Nearly every town big or small that I’ve past through has been bigger and seemed far more […]

Shooting blanks

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, December 30th, 2008 - 16 comments

Italian males, despite the appearance of virility in their persistent attentions to female tourists, have caught the European disease – male infertility. A study this year shows some dramatic falls in male fertility in Italy since the 1970’s. Finding Dulcinea summarized the Italian results as:- During the 1970s, Italian men averaged 71 million spermatoza per […]

Madoff, transparency, and electoral regulation

Written By: - Date published: 1:13 pm, December 28th, 2008 - 17 comments

Reading about Madorf and the filching of USD 33 billion in a pyramid scheme from his select group of customers makes for interesting reading. It draws the attention (yet again) to the dangers of having a lack of transparency in financial markets. As the Economist says, it was “Dumb money and dull diligence“. What marks […]

Evolution and Crime

Written By: - Date published: 12:19 am, December 28th, 2008 - 76 comments

The Economist is one of the few main stream media that seem to be flourishing in the days of decline for most media outlets. This is probably because it offers truly interesting comment and opinion. For instance in the current science section, they have “Darwinism:Why we are, as we are, a view on the current […]


Written By: - Date published: 9:19 am, December 27th, 2008 - 11 comments

A couple of good but not quite satisfying articles today. The first is Brian Gaynor’s analysis of the economy in which he lays out where we stand financially as a nation and blames the housing boom for our current account deficit: But the message from both the GDP and current account figures is that New […]


Written By: - Date published: 12:09 pm, December 26th, 2008 - 11 comments

At the end of my post a couple of days ago I touched on the notion of a new Zealand identity and a Left nationalism. Since then I’ve been thinking about the value of the last government’s moves to foster national identity and their remarkable success in doing so and concluded that this is quite […]

No Xmas

Written By: - Date published: 8:50 am, December 25th, 2008 - 4 comments

And before anyone calls sour grapes I have to say even John deserves some xmas cheer but this was just too funny not to post today.

Xmas Eve whimsy: little yellow ducks

Written By: - Date published: 5:27 pm, December 24th, 2008 - 2 comments

The Guardian informs us that: Sailors, fishermen and cruise passengers should be on the alert. If anybody spots a yellow rubber duck bobbing on the ocean waves, Nasa would like to know.The US space agency has yet to find any trace of 90 bathtub toys that were dropped through holes in Greenland’s ice three months […]

A real alternative

Written By: - Date published: 5:15 pm, December 24th, 2008 - 21 comments

One of Bruce Jesson’s constant bugbears during the New Right revolution of the 80’s and 90’s was that the Left allowed itself to be positioned as conservative. That we were simply fighting for the status quo rather than providing a proper progressive alternative to the imported market ideology that was being foist upon us. He […]

The recession, graphically

Written By: - Date published: 12:22 pm, December 23rd, 2008 - 42 comments

OK, one last graph for the year. The latest GDP data isn’t pretty, a 0.4% contraction of the economy in the September quarter. It’s the third quarter of contraction in a row driven by the drought, oil prices, and the credit crunch. The ongoing international financial turmoil means we are likely to continue in recession […]

Labour’s maiden speeches

Written By: - Date published: 10:35 am, December 23rd, 2008 - 8 comments

Rather than decorating their tree, some committed Labour Party staffer seems still to be hard at work posting maiden speeches to YouTube. The Greens have theirs up too [link].

“Newspaper of record”

Written By: - Date published: 9:58 am, December 23rd, 2008 - 8 comments

A friend just flicked me an article from the Nation which shows just how the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia was misrepresented by the New York Times and other US media. Written by a journalist who was actually on the ground during the invasion, Mark Ames, it shows the sharp end of the manufacturing of […]

What National’s Kiwisaver cuts mean for you

Written By: - Date published: 4:59 pm, December 22nd, 2008 - 38 comments

The Council of Trade Unions has done some research showing a worker with a Kiwisaver account will stand to lose as much as $200,000 in accumulated savings over their working life as a result of the National-led Government’s changes to the scheme. If you’re on $50k a year then National’s Kiwisaver cuts will cost you […]

Spend, baby, spend

Written By: - Date published: 12:02 pm, December 22nd, 2008 - 16 comments

Retailers are whining and the Herald has taken on the role of nanny-state, telling us it is our social responsibility but more stuff and to take on more consumer debt. It’s called economics, apparently. So, get out there and spend, people. What are you, socialists? Anyhoo, that’s pretty much me for the year. We’re going […]

Now that’s more like it

Written By: - Date published: 9:34 am, December 22nd, 2008 - 17 comments

Screw Obama, my vote’s with the shoe thrower. Hat tip: onegoodmove

Animal right activists, farming and the police

Written By: - Date published: 4:06 pm, December 21st, 2008 - 44 comments

On ABC last night there was a excellent video “Animal rights campaigner spreads message“. It is worth watching for people who (unlike me) haven’t been seen some of the material before. It concerns a animal rights activist in aussie, wealthy backers, and a certain amount of bloody silly self-righteousness from groups that don’t enforce their […]

Have the police been inciting?

Written By: - Date published: 12:04 pm, December 21st, 2008 - 52 comments

There is a slowly emerging twist in police spy scandal. The question of incitement and provocation from an agent of the police. Bearing in mind that it is an obvious escalation of paying people embedded deep in any activist organisation, it is something that an agent’s handlers should have been aware of and taken steps […]

Mindless vandalism

Written By: - Date published: 9:50 am, December 21st, 2008 - 27 comments

The intersection of The Terrace and Salamanca Rd is the best graffiti spot in Wellington – big bare concrete wall, huge audience. For several months, ‘Kiwibank – gone by lunchtime’ has been written in large letters on the concrete wall. Recently ‘and National too’ was added below, and, then, a stencil of a police officer […]

Granny’s advice – spend up dearies

Written By: - Date published: 3:56 pm, December 20th, 2008 - 27 comments

Economics 101: if you consume more than you produce, your standard of living is unsustainable and, unless you fix the situation, it will eventually come tumbling down. As a country we import more than we export equivalent to 8% of our annual domestic production. The current account deficit is projected to widen to 9.4% of GDP next […]

Howard Broad: Incompetent, dishonest or about to fire some people?

Written By: - Date published: 2:59 pm, December 20th, 2008 - 48 comments

Let us assume, for a while, that Broad didn’t know the detail of SIG’s activities with Gilchrist If his staff were doing their job he knew about the story before Saturday, but let’s pretend they didn’t and the Police weren’t asked for comment until um… midday Saturday. Unlikely I know, but let’s give him the […]

Obama in 1980

Written By: - Date published: 2:45 pm, December 19th, 2008 - 11 comments

From Time: In 1980, when Obama was a freshman at Occidental College in Los Angeles, he was approached by an aspiring photographer named Lisa Jack, who asked him if he would be willing to pose for some black and white photographs that she could use in her portfolio. She put the photos away until after […]

Key delivers a Christmas kicking for workers

Written By: - Date published: 2:35 pm, December 19th, 2008 - 52 comments

We always said that a National/ACT government would be anti-worker but I’m surprised by how blatant they are being about it. In a series of hasty, secretive laws, they’ve put up taxes on workers, cut their Kiwisaver, and removed their work rights for the first 90 days of employment. Now, they have officially dropped the […]

Prison tucker

Written By: - Date published: 1:09 pm, December 19th, 2008 - 57 comments

When I saw this photo of Pita Sharples tucking into a prison meal in today’s Dom Post I was hopeful it was a stunt to try and put a stop to the mean-spirited howls from talkbackland over how prisoners have it too good at Christmas time. But what a difference a ministerial warrant and the […]

Partial credit

Written By: - Date published: 11:36 am, December 19th, 2008 - 29 comments

Yay, more infrastructure spending during a recession. That’s the right thing to do – stimulate the economy and spend while the price of construction is lower. But why, oh why, cancel spending on rail and housing insulation and put the money into roads, instead? The only reason I can think of is that National/ACT doesn’t […]

Thoughts arising from the press gallery drinks

Written By: - Date published: 10:14 am, December 19th, 2008 - 45 comments

I had some good conversations with journos at the press gallery drinks. We’re often critical of the media, and sometimes specific journos, and I don’t resile from that – criticism is criticism, it’s either well-founded or not and people are free to take it or leave it based on that. I’ll admit sometimes writers express […]

Good one Bill II

Written By: - Date published: 8:19 am, December 19th, 2008 - 35 comments

It’s good to see Bill English acknowledge the last government has left New Zealand in a good position to face the economic crisis. The only shame is that he’s using that position to throw money at people who are more likely to pay down debt and increase savings than engage in stimulatory spending.

The Big Three

Written By: - Date published: 11:41 pm, December 18th, 2008 - 4 comments

I was listening to some of the old White Stripes when I got home this evening when this song came on. Given the all the talk around the bailout of the Big Three car manufacturers I figured it was kind of appropriate. Enjoy.

Police spied on Unite Union too

Written By: - Date published: 3:09 pm, December 18th, 2008 - 42 comments

Matt McCarten, head of the Unite Union, has just released emails showing police informant Rob Gilchrist gave the police spy unit details about activities being organised by the union as part of their push to abolish youth pay rates and increase the minimum wage. ‘These emails give lie to the police claim that only potential […]

Bludgin’ ain’t so easy

Written By: - Date published: 2:30 pm, December 18th, 2008 - 47 comments

So, I’m out of work. I was employed on a contract and when it came up for renewal the boss told me business is too tight, have to let me go. It wasn’t their fault and they were pretty good about it. For the first few weeks I just looked for work but there’s not […]

Bill Ralston on police spying

Written By: - Date published: 2:09 pm, December 18th, 2008 - 8 comments

Bill Ralston usually gets stirred by posters at The Standard for what he says. I’ve generally liked him after seeing him give some politicians a degree of ribbing at the annual foreign policy conference in Dunedin in the mid-80’s. I really liked his most recent blog “Wimpy response to out-of-line cops”. The latest Hager/Hubbard story […]

It’s bad, what to do?

Written By: - Date published: 1:27 pm, December 18th, 2008 - 48 comments

The latest Treasury economic forecasts are out and, in a continuing pattern, they not only make worse reading than the previous updates but they are already out of date. We are now looking at gross government debt rising from less to 20% to 30% or as much as 40% by 2013. Unemployment could rise above […]

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