Sunday, June 05, 2011

News items and comments

We’re being led by pair of lame ducks

Piers Akerman – Sunday, June 05, 11 (06:34 am)

With two years to run, the Gillard-Green-independent minority government is all but dead in the water. It is a shot duck.
When Ms Gillard ousted sitting Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd she essentially claimed she needed to take such extreme action because Rudd had failed to deal with the mining tax, global warming and the illegal boat people traffic.

The ALP gave a $50 billion deficit budget with a promise of a surplus in two years. That means $50 billion in cuts. They will run for election this year, before the next budget. All it takes for the next election to come is for one ALP member to have integrity and jump ship for the common good. I am told there are some ALP with integrity, but I don't know who they might be. - ed


by DON BOUDREAUX on JUNE 4, 2011


A few commenters on this post wonder why I assume that, if BMW invents a method for reducing its costs of producing automobiles, it will therefore lower the prices it charges for its cars. Won’t BMW simply enjoy lower costs on the automobiles it produces – lower costs that increase BMW’s profits – rather than dissipate these higher profits by cutting the prices of its automobiles?

No. If BMW doesn’t expand its output, it would earn fewer profits than it would earn by lowering its prices.

More specifically, the economist’s answer (and, remember, the original question on the pop quiz is from an exam I gave to students in my Principles of Microeconomics class) is that each period each firm expands the quantity of its output up to the point at which that firm’s marginal revenue becomes equal to that firm’s marginal cost. Only in this way do firms maximize their profits.

Marginal cost – the cost of producing an additional unit of output – rises as quantity produced rises. (Marginal revenue – the change in the firm’s total revenue that results from selling one additional unit of output – falls as the firm sells more and more output if selling these additional units of output requires the firm to lower the prices it charges for its outputs.)

The efficiency-enhancing machine lowers BMW’s schedule of marginal costs; that is, use of the machine lowers BMW’s marginal cost at each possible quantity of output. With a now-lower schedule of marginal costs, the (upward sloping) marginal-cost curve intersects the (generally downward sloping) marginal-revenue curve at a higher quantity of output than previously. So it pays BMW to produce and sell more automobiles even though BMW can sell these additional automobiles only by lowering its prices.

If BMW does not lower its prices in this situation it leaves money on table (or, as economists say, it doesn’t maximize its profits). If BMW doesn’t lower its prices in this situation it would continue to sell the same quantity of automobiles that it sold before its costs fell. So it would produce and sell some automobiles profitably (automobiles whose production and sale add more to BMW’s revenues than they add to BMW’s costs) but not the full quantity of automobiles whose production and sale add more to BMW’s revenues than they add to its costs.

In short, because the machine lowers BMW’s costs of production, the number of automobiles that it is now profitable for BMW to produce and sell is greater than it was before BMW started using the machine. But to sell this higher quantity of cars requires BMW to lower it prices. And so BMW lowers the prices it charges for its cars.


Here’s a letter to the Boston Globe:

Critical of your argument that “cigar bars should be an exception to smoking bans in public places,” Andrew Rouse writes that “The Globe ignores the fact that allowing cigar bars condones job sites where workers are expected to be exposed to carcinogens as a condition of employment. No worker should have to work in such conditions” (Letters, June 4).

News flash to Mr. Rouse: workers are intelligent beings. The existence of cigar bars does not require that any worker must work “in such conditions.” Persons who wish to work in cigar bars can do so, while those who do not do not. Problem solved.

It won’t do, by the way, for Mr. Rouse to reply that some people have no real choice but to work in cigar bars. Such a claim would imply that these workers’ skills are so specific to cigar bars that their other employment options, if any, are judged by these workers to be even worse than toiling in cigar bars. Yet Mr. Rouse – posing as workers’ champion – wants to force them to endure options that, as they see matters, are even worse than (what Mr. Rouse assumes to be) the hell of working in cigar bars.

How, exactly, would cigar-bar workers be helped by this outcome?

Donald J. Boudreaux



Tim Blair – Sunday, June 05, 11 (06:09 am)

It’s only a matter of time before we, like our threatened ursine brothers, turn to cannibalism:

Climate change sceptics are an endangered species in Australia, a national survey shows.

Still, sceptic numbers are sufficient to force scientist relocations:

A Canberra university has increased security following death threats to its climate scientists.

The Australian National University has received a large number of emails with threatening and abusive language directed at some of its scientists.

Some of the scientists have been moved to a safer location.

What about endangered sceptics? The least we deserve is our own national park or something. It could have go-kart tracks.

The Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University, Professor Ian Young, said staff should not have to put up with such behaviour …

“In fact it’s completely intolerable that people be subjected to this sort of abuse and to threats like this.”

Not to doubt Professor Young, but I’d like to see these “threats”. I’d be surprised if they match the level of loathing shown in emails from climate goons.

Professor Young said the threats had unsettled the scientists.

“Academics and scientists are actually really not equipped to be treated in this way,” he said.

Nonsense. Everybody knows that climate scientists stand ready to throw down a ferocious rap response against any fool playas who move on their hood:

Keep it rizzle, wizzles.



Tim Blair – Sunday, June 05, 11 (06:07 am)

This is outstanding:

In a telling intervention that will change the dynamics of the debate, 13 of the nation’s plumbers have spoken out about the carbon tax.

The group of 13 took time out on Friday from digging ditches and unblocking toilets to issue statements about the tax. The eminent plumbers represent more than two centuries of combined experience and have worked on hundreds of jobs across our nation.

It is the first time a group of plumbers has united in commenting on such a seismic public policy issue.

Please read on. Naturally, the plumbers make far more sense than actresses or bossy elites. There’s a case to be made for plumbers to be our national default polling resource.



Tim Blair – Sunday, June 05, 11 (06:06 am)

The climate horror approaches:

Hundreds of commercial and industrial buildings and vital road and rail links along NSW’s coast are at risk of wipeout by the end of the century, according to modelling by the federal government.

Well, let’s hope so. Most of that stuff would be junk by 2100. A lot of it could stand to be replaced a lot sooner.



Tim Blair – Sunday, June 05, 11 (05:37 am)

Following GetUp!’s Malaysian stand down, some screaming hypocrisy from suddenly-silent Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young:

Bookmark that little performance. It might come in handy when next the conservatives are in power, and the Greens revert to howler monkey mode.



Tim Blair – Sunday, June 05, 11 (05:15 am)

60 Minutes reporter Liam Bartlett on the ABC’s decision to fund a documentary about David Hicks:

The death of two more Diggers in Afghanistan this week is sad and sobering.

Twenty-six fine young men have now been killed in that conflict in Australia’s name …

The families of those 26 Diggers will be comforted when they realise their taxes are helping to pay for such quality programming.

Let’s see if this program covers material revealed in a previous tax-funded Hicks documentary.



Tim Blair – Sunday, June 05, 11 (05:06 am)

Former US secretary of state Lawrence Eagleburger has died at 80:

An avuncular, cane-carrying figure who suffered from chronic asthma and a muscle disorder, Eagleburger was a heavy smoker, and known as crusty, charming and wisecracking.

He named each of his three sons Lawrence – but all with different middle names. Asked to explain that move he reportedly said: “First of all, it was ego. And secondly, I wanted to screw up the social security system.”



Tim Blair – Saturday, June 04, 11 (04:31 pm)

Nothing raises awareness quite like a poley-shaped ice block:

A ten tonne polar bear camping out at Sydney’s majestic Circular Quay isn’t likely to survive for more than a day or two.

The bear, made of solid ice, will slowly melt into a great puddle of water under Sydney’s 20°C winter sun, and sculptor Mark Coreth is just fine with that.


In fact, he hopes this slow and painful “death” will remind people of the plight of the real thing …

“Sitting in the sun, it’s going to melt that bear, that’s the natural warming of the planet, as is happening,” he said.

So warming is “natural” now? Interesting. Reader Habib reports from Bear Central that ol’ Drippy isn’t melting very quickly at all, and that sculptor Coreth seemed a touch, er, frosty. (Bears, even real ones, sometimes live longer than expected in human company.) But awareness-raising is only part of Drippy’s job. This bear is also a cash cow, having cost Sydney rate-payers $10,000. And the money keeps rolling in:

Bypassers can pay $2 to touch the creature, feeling “the ice melting under your hand,” said Coreth, who hopes to raise awareness about global warming and its effect on polar bears, an endangered species.

Two bucks to touch some ice. Would anybody actually do this? Apparently so:

As Coreth was speaking, a class of primary school students trod single file over a carpet of shredded ice to touch the unfinished sculpture.

Ka-ching! A whole fistful of poley dollars!


Dropping Sir Ken off a cliff

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 05, 11 (05:57 am)

How Sir Ken Jones got torched by the Baillieu Government:

TED Baillieu’s closest adviser held a secret meeting in February with Sir Ken Jones without telling Police Minister Peter Ryan, according to an email written soon after the meeting.

The meeting between the now banished deputy commissioner and Mr Baillieu’s chief of staff, Michael Kapel, took place after a third party gave Sir Ken the private mobile numbers of the Premier and two staff, after what Sir Ken described as a “private approach from government"…

The details of the meeting and how the approach backfired are contained in an email written on February 19 by Sir Ken…

The email shows the attempted alliance between Sir Ken and the Government broke down after Mr Ryan exploded with anger when he learned of the secret meeting the next day…

It is understood when Mr Overland learnt of that, he made a complaint to the Office of Police Integrity about Sir Ken that led to the Spring St phone bugging affair.


And the ambassador of this regime loves among us

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 05, 11 (05:50 am)

Paul Daley:

HAVE you watched the video showing the tortured, mutilated remains of the 13-year-old Syrian schoolboy Hamza Ali al-Khateeb?

It is far easier to choose not to watch it. The boy lies on a plastic sheet, the eyes of his bruised and swollen, purple face clenched shut. The rest of his young body is a mass of bloated flesh, scarred by welts and cigarette burns, slashes and bullet holes.

His knees and elbows are broken. Whoever did this has also cut off his penis.

I urge you to watch it, as profoundly disturbing as you will inevitably find the experience.

It is important to watch it so you know precisely how horribly this boy died at the hands of the paranoid, oafish, brutal, cowardly Syrian security forces - a mob which would give the old East German Stasi a run for its money and which acts directly on behalf (make no mistake about this) of the President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Nobody - nobody - deserves to be treated like this.

But Assad - a liar who, sensing his political demise, has promised his people greater democracy but only delivered more oppression - has allowed this to happen to a boy who dared attend an ‘’illegal’’ rally where he chanted ‘’down with the regime’’.

The security forces took the boy away a month ago and returned his body last week. His grieving father made the video so the world might see the extent of Assad’s viciousness.

It seems the father has now been taken.

Now, if you have watched that video of young Hamza, please ponder this: should a representative of a regime that will do this to a child be allowed to live in comfort and safety in Canberra and be afforded the diplomatic privilege that goes with being an envoy to our government? No. No. No.


Tears after bedtime

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 05, 11 (05:48 am)

This government is not travelling well:

DEPUTY Liberal leader Louise Asher is believed to have broken down during a party-room meeting convened by Ted Baillieu after she slept through a vote in Parliament, storming out after accusing the Premier of ‘’humiliating’’ her…

Mr Baillieu was unhappy that another vote had been missed, only days after Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge failed to turn up to a division, according to a participant in the party-room meeting.

At the meeting, the Premier again reminded MPs that they could not afford to be absent given the government’s slim majority. But a teary and visibly upset Ms Asher is said to have stunned colleagues by storming out and telling Mr Baillieu: ‘’You didn’t have to humiliate me like that.’’


That boat people solution may not be working

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 05, 11 (12:04 am)

Labor’s Malaysian deal doesn’t seem to be working yet:

AN asylum seeker boat carrying 59 people has been discovered north west of Christmas Island today.

That makes 217 boat people to arrive since the provisional agreement with Malaysia to swap 800 of ours for 4000 of theirs was announced. That’s 217 of the 800 spots filled already. Still no reason yet to say the (unsigned) deal has failed, particularly since no one has yet been sent to Malaysia to prove the deterrent is real.

But the Government will be increasingly nervous. Once the 800 spots are filled, what then?


The Gillard Government finally admits that it’s the victim of fraud by “unaccomapanied minors”:

TEENAGE girls and vulnerable children seeking asylum in Australia may be spared being dumped in Malaysia under the refugee swap deal.

But concerns asylum seekers are already lying about their ages and claiming to be teenagers to get a better asylum seeker deal in Australia would preclude a blanket ban on deporting children, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said yesterday…

Mr Bowen also confirmed that the Department of Immigration remained concerned about the number of asylum seekers claiming to be minors when they arrived in Australia, with no documentation to prove that they were actually under the age of 18.

But the sheer ineptitude of this Government is extraordinary:

Former foreign minister Alexander Downer also revealed that Malaysian officials were shocked by the Prime Minister’s announcement before the deal was finalised.

“The Australian Government surprised the Malaysians by suddenly going public when they did,” Mr Downer said.


Judging Murphy

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 05, 11 (12:02 am)


Knowing John, I doubt this will be the hagiography you might otherwise expect at Melbourne’s La Mama:


Jun 30 – Jul 17

Written by John Kiely
Directed by Peta Coy

Performed by Jenny Seedsman, Suzy Cato-Gashler, Peter Stratford, Gloria Ajenstat, Marita Wilcox, Dean Cartmel, Kevin Kiernan-Molloy, Ian Rooney & Kevin Summers

Journalist John Kiely’s first play is a reflection on the life of one of our great political figures, Lionel Murphy – Attorney General, High Court Justice, reformer and a sinner or a saint, depending on whose memory one relies.


Global warming is sexist

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 05, 11 (12:02 am)


Only now, thanks to Sigourney Weaver, do I understand why global warming is evil and must be fought:

Over the past month, I have been speaking to women in Canada and the American Midwest about a powerful force that discriminates against us. I am not talking about the glass ceiling or sexists bosses, although we all know those still exist. I am talking about climate change.

(Thanks to reader Waxing Gibberish.)


Hypocrites. Sheer hypocrites

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 05, 11 (12:02 am)

The reason the Greens won’t protest against this Government over boat people policies worse than John Howard’s is ...

A. The Greens are in bed with Labor
B. The Greens are tribal
C. The Greens are stupid.

(Thanks to reader Gab.)


Oprah finds a faceless love

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, June 04, 11 (11:41 am)

IN HER teary goodbye to television, Oprah Winfrey showed that not even her immense success could make everything better.

The damage is long done, with the rewards only a consolation. Although, yes, a big one.

Winfrey’s farewell speech to her audience last week showed that she, like so many successful people, was inspired to great deeds by a damaged childhood - a goad whose hurt never quite dulls.

Here’s how she put it, crying even now at the memory of what she’d gone through, 40 years before:

“It is no coincidence that a lonely little girl, who felt not a lot of love, even though my parents and grandparents did the best they could, it is no coincidence that I grew up to feel a genuine kindness, affection, trust and validation from millions of you all over the world.”

Two things shout out from that tribute to her audience. The first is the remembered pain of love denied, a pain still with her.

The second is that the love she sought so frantically to replace it with came largely from faceless millions she can and will never know.

Winfrey’s poignant description of her youth barely hints at what a highly intelligent and deeply sensitive girl had gone through.

She was handpassed between her grandmother and her separated parents, and was sexually abused by a relative from the age of nine. As a teenager she sold sex for favours and at 14 was pregnant. Her baby died after just two weeks.

For many children, it was the kind of childhood that damns them forever to a life in some self-pitying culture of failure.

For some, though, it works as an angry taunt to try even harder, to work even more furiously for approval, admiration, respect - anything that seems close to love. And to seek that affirmation from a distant world, rather than trust it to come from someone close.

It’s true, we also get many high-achievers who seem to have been floated into the world on love. Former prime minister Bob Hawke, for instance, was adored from his childhood on, giving him a confidence you can’t fake.

But think how many other politicians have great, gaping holes where a parent and their love should be.

Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd lost his father early. Former Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull was abandoned by his mother.

US President Barack Obama’s father walked out on his son, who was later left with his grandparents by his mother. US president Bill Clinton had a feckless dad who died even before he was born.

Or look elsewhere. Media star Kyle Sandilands says he was thrown out of home by both his divorced parents at 15.

Billionaire Kerry Stokes was not just adopted, but at 15 found his new parents had taken off without him. Even Kerry Packer seemed driven to prove himself to a harsh father, while Lowitja O’Donoghue, who became our top Aboriginal bureaucrat, was dumped in a home by her Irish father, and was never visited by her Aboriginal mother.

Or take some of our greatest writers. Charles Dickens wrote like fury about children betrayed by their parents, having himself been left as a boy in a factory. Patrick White and George Orwell were packed off to boarding schools that they hated.

I’ve heard so many such stories that I now warn my eldest son that he’s too loved and too happy to be successful. Successful like Winfrey, I mean.

Many congratulations. Li is China's first, and a gem of the world.
China's Li Na has made sporting history at the French Open, becoming the first player from Asia to win a grand slam singles title.
I hope this doesn't inspire Obama.
SHELLS were still exploding on Saturday at a Russian munitions store three days after it caught fire, forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents, officials said.
The appalling abuse of process won't be forgotten soon.
THE NSW Government's contentious public sector wage changes will soon be passed by the upper house after the coalition took the extraordinary step of gagging filibustering MPs.
Wasn't missed, and won't be missed.
THERE are "strong indications" that Pakistan's top al-Qaeda commander, Ilyas Kashmiri, has been killed in a US drone strike.
Improve the value but fail to recoup the costs.
RISING energy and water prices will boost the value of existing green homes and commercial premises, according to Archicentre, the building inspection service of the Australian Institute of Architects.
Better than winning Lotto. Can't be spent all at once.
THEY appear at first glance to be like any other semi-retired fifty-somethings but this Gold Coast couple are about to have their lives turned upside-down by becoming parents for the first time - without the help of IVF treatment.
Teachers are not there to talk about old war stories.
NEW police recruits are being taught by instructors with no practical on-the-job experience

Just vote Liberal/National. It will achieve something worthwhile and will avoid the disappointment one feels when they vote ALP.
MAVERICK Queensland MP Bob Katter has made good on his threat to shake up national politics with a new party and is vowing to strip votes off the major parties.
Lalich lied to the electorate before the last election about what he now openly declares.
FOUR overstretched and stressed-out State MPs will quit their second jobs as mayors, declaring they can't cope with the workload of both positions.
David Daniel Ball recommends a link.
The FCC appears to have coordinated its public message regarding 'net neutrality' with Free Press, a left wing non-profit organization seeking to reform the media, according to e-mails released Thursday. Supporters of 'net neutrality', like Free Press, think equal access to the internet is a
11 hours ago · · ·

Not a good advert for Islam, imho
A GROUP of Malaysian women launched an "Obedient Wife Club" overnight, urging members to be "whores in bed" and obey their husbands to curb social ills like divorce and domestic violence.
The night was dark but it is now morning in America. I want Palin as President
Just when many critics had all but dismissed Sarah Palin’s political future she has used something as simple as a bus tour to confound them.

The death of the Times. Not because a woman is in charge, but because of its lefty vision

Those four dirty secrets are compelling
Left free to discover and harness energy, human beings can adapt to changes in weather. Anyone who cares about the plight of the poor must recognize that what they desperately need is not a stagnant average global temperature but capitalism, including cheap, affordable fossil fuels now.
Climate scientists should not be sending death threats. They should be doing research, not trying to scare people.
A CANBERRA university has increased security following death threats to its climate scientists.

They are all people. They will all be treated on a case by case basis. Bowen, you are a liar for claiming otherwise.
THE UN child protection agency yesterday demanded the government stop its "morally reprehensible" plan to send unaccompanied children to Malaysia.
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