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Labour Supporters, Foul-mouthed and racist

This is the sort of comment which Labour apparently allows on David Cunliffe’s Facebook page.

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Not only swearing, but hateful attacks the Salvation Army. Would they allow people to talk like that about, say, Islam?

Then, I noticed this:

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I left that last one in there for irony.

Aussies act consistent with obligations, country who doesn’t cries foul

Sometimes the left’s lack of self-awareness is just bizarre. Take this one from NRT:

We like to regard Australia as a natural ally, our sibling-country which shares our outlook on the world. But it turns out they’ve been working behind our back to undermine our disarmament efforts:

So much for natural allies.

Hm, let’s see. What possible reason might Australia have for opposing our lack-of-defence policy? I mean, it’s not like we’ve ever thrown a massive hissy-fit of idealism which resulted in the smashing of carefully fostered defence links, is it?

Frankly, I’d be amazed if they weren’t doing this. With Putin on the rise, one has to ask, why are we?

No actual wage gap between men and women

It turns out (and yes, many of us already knew this) that there is no “wage gap” – at least in the word of IT.

Silicon Valley has long suffered the reputation of being unwelcoming to women, from brogrammer attitudes to sexist apps to gender inclusivity, but whatever problems women may have with the tech industry, wage discrimination isn’t necessarily one of them. New research shows that there is no statistically significant difference in earnings between male and female engineers who have the same credentials and make the same choices regarding their career.

So where do people get their number from when they claim the gap exists?

In his 2014 State of the Union Address, President Obama said it was “wrong” and “an embarrassment” that women are paid 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, implying that the pay disparity is due to sexism and gender wage discrimination. His careful construction elides the fact that the 77% statistic does not refer to “equal work.” That number is a Census Bureau comparison of the annual wages of all workers, regardless of occupation.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics show that when measured hourly, not annually, the pay gap between men and women is 14% not 23%. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis prefers working with hourly wages, arguing “an incomplete picture” is cast with weekly earnings because women work fewer hours than men, “which would make a gap in weekly earnings between the two groups substantial even if their hourly wages are the same.”

So even across completely different roles, when you look at people’s hourly rates the gap isn’t as big as claimed. 

The magnitude and interpretation of the relationship between gender and wages remain in dispute. After adjusting for all the known factors, Corbett and Hill’s model showed an “unexplained” 6.6% difference in wages between men and women who are full-time workers. Conflicting data from the BLS shows that some women who work full-time have a wage premium, and earn 11% more than men. The tech industry is unique in its history of being “equal pay for equal work”: A longitudinal study of female engineers in the 1980s showed a wage penalty of “essentially zero” for younger cohorts and today, the two highest paying professions with wage equality are in technology (computer scientist and engineer).

Ok, so it’s not a completely simple picture.

But the idea that women generally get only paid at an hourly rate that’s 77% of that of a man with the same suitability (skills, experience etc) is complete and utter BS. We know this, and we’ve known it for some time. There are differences, but we know that they boil down to choices made by the individual employee, not the employer.

Ironic that those who have arguably won the fight are the ones who are so unable to admit they’ve won it. Maybe the real problem here is not employers at all, but rather people who’s politics won’t let them see people as free and rational, and able to make their own choices in life.

Harry Potter retold by people who know nothing about it

This is sort of funny.

 

Yet another case of liberalism turning on itself

I don’t have much time for Piers Morgan. But after reading this I’m starting to have some sympathy. 

The reason for his bad day centered around Janet Mock, a transgender woman he’d had as a guest on his program to discuss her new book Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. That’s right, he was helping her sell her book. But that wasn’t enough for Mock. She reallywants to sell her book. So a week after the interview was taped, she incited people in the transgender community, who accused Morgan of being “transphobic” and mistreating her by explaining that she was male before age 18. The fact is, Mock was born a boy with the name “Charles” and had a sex change at 18. Her beef is that she “identified” as a woman her whole life. And yet, she still had a penis.

Go have a read. It’s impressive just how much outrage was generated out of a situation that was 100% supportive of the supposed “victim”.

Speaking of victims, the NAACP has come out in favour of a wife beater. Seriously. In. Writing. Oh wait, he’s a politician – politicians are allowed to beat their wives… wait, what?!?

Now that the Mass House is finally taking steps to expel him from their bodywe find out via Red Mass Group the NAACP has sent a letter to the Mass House of Representatives urging them to keep him.

The NAACP, New England Area Conference (NEAC), respectfully requests that the Massachusetts House of Representatives abstain from voting in the matter of the expulsion of Representative Carlos Henriquez, expected to come before the House today. In the alternative, Members of the House are asked to vote against the expulsion of their colleague.

Seriously, the NAACP, one of the oldest civil rights organizations in the country is going to bat for Carlos Henriquez? Why on earth would they do this?

This brings the whole “if you criticise Obama you must be racist” meme to a whole, new, sick, level.

And finally, we have the feminist movement. This is a movement that set out to prove that women could and should be regarded as equal to a man. Oddly, those same feminists are now loudly decrying a simple (ok, it’s really creepy but, you know, art and all that!) statue of a man sleepwalking as threatening… or something.

Oddly, there’s no outcry at the fact that women-only colleges still exist in the USA in 2014. 

Cunliffe’s backhanded admission of National’s extraordinary economic success

It’s well recorded history that Michael Cullen, back in 1999, declared that anyone on $60,000 or more per year was a “rich prick”.

Later, he changed his mind, and changed the Working for Families policy to cover families earning up to $70,000 and in some instances $80,000. 

Therefore, that under Labour what was considered Wealthy rose by about $10-20k per year.

Today, Cunliffe declared that everyone up to $150,000 needed welfare. That’s a massive leap $70,000 leap.

Given that success, it would be highly irresponsible to vote in another Labour government. Why, at that success rate, another two terms of National would put everyone under $300,000 on welfare!

Arafat Polonium theory debunked by (rather straightforward) science

Readers may be familiar with the “investigation” conducted by Aljazerra into Arafat’s death.

Paris, France - Swiss scientists who conducted tests on samples taken from Yasser Arafat’s body have found at least 18 times the normal levels of radioactive polonium in his remains. The scientists said that they were confident up to an 83 percent level that the late Palestinian leader was poisoned with it, which they said “moderately supports” polonium as the cause of his death.

A 108-page report by the University Centre of Legal Medicine in Lausanne, which was obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera, found unnaturally high levels of polonium in Arafat’s ribs and pelvis, and in soil stained with his decaying organs.

Essentially, they say they’ve found traces of Polonium in his clothing.

There’s just one problem with that – it’s virtually impossible. Here’s a couple of extracts from the aljazeera themselves.

Ingesting just 50 nanogrammes, or inhaling 10 nanogrammes, of the substance can cause death. This means one gramme of polonium-210 could theoretically poison and kill about 10 million people.

Natural levels of polonium that accumulate on surfaces barely register, and the element disappears quickly. Polonium-210 has a half-life of 138 days, meaning that half of the substance decays roughly every four-and-a-half months.

So to put it briefly:

  1. Poisinging with Polonium would require a very, very small amount of the stuff to produce a lethal effect.
  2. Every 138 days, the amount left would at least half (assuming it didn’t get removed by other processes)
  3. Arafat died 8 years ago

See the problem here?

Legal Insurrection points to this guy who seems to know what he’s talking about.

So if you gave someone a microgram (1/1,000,000th of a gram), after 138 days there would be a grand total of ½ a microgram left in him (actually there’d be even less because some of it would have been excreted during the time the victim was still living).

How much would be left after 8 years? Well take 8 * 365 = 2920 days. Divide by 138 to get 21 half lives.

If we start with 1/1,000,000 of a gram and divide by 2, 21 times… I’ll spare you the effort. your calculator will give up and tell you it’s nearly(*) nothing.

Realistically speaking there might be an atom or two(*) but we’re down in the depths of very small quantum things so it doesn’t take a Heisenberg to tell you finding this is uncertain. The only certainty is you won’t be able to detect it above background, even in a low activity room.

So what does this stuff turn into? Mostly something called Lead-206 − 206Pb. Now what a lab might have done is look to see if Arafat had more of this than would be expected, but considering the poisoning dose of Polonium-210 is so low to start with, that would also be impossible. We all have a bit of lead in us, especially those people who were alive back in the days of lead in gasoline!

With the most amazing measuring equipment, in the most physically shielded room possible, you couldn’t find a piece of radioactive Polonium-210 eight years after it was made. Looking for some in an exhumed body or belongs is astonishing.

The decay products of Polonium-210 are not uncommon enough to look for either.

There’s no way on earth this lab found anything scientifically significant in the corpse of Arafat (hence their very cagy language).

In short, this is complete bunk. 

…Yahoo! answers some questions about polonium poison and informs us:

Swiss scientists say Arafat had symptoms commonly linked to radiation poisoning, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and liver and kidney failure — but not two other classic symptoms, hair loss and a weaker immune system.

While the liver and kidney were not reported at the time, “persistent vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pains” were. As any of the last pictures of Arafat recall, (see above) his face was still adorned with a beard at the time he was brought to France for the last time. Actually these symptoms would be consistent will gall bladder disease, and Arafat, at the time, was reported to be suffering from gallstones. Like the symptoms mentioned above this too was reported by the New York Times. Why didn’t the reporter see if there was anything in her own paper’s reporting that supported her current reporting?

Seems pretty conclusive.

But of course, you’ll always have people who are only too ready to believe stuff like this. Cos you know, Israel is eeeeevvvvvviiiiiil.

 

Sanctimonious “protectors” of the back country (i.e. not very much)

What claptrap.

What visitors rave about most is the gob-smacking, pristine scenery of these shaky isles. So the prospect of a monorail traversing a section of back country South Island conservation land makes me more than a little uneasy.

I’ve done my share of tramping and the only thing more satisfying than marvelling at the splendour of this country’s rugged landscapes is the knowledge that some real effort has been required in order to experience it first-hand. Views of the magnitude afforded by our most isolated beauty spots should be earned with a bit of sweat.

Translation: our conversation estate should be for the able-bodied only. Disgusting.

Snowdon Forest, as a stewardship area, doesn’t have the same level of conservation protection as our national parks but that doesn’t mean running a monorail through it is a good idea.

Seriously, hands up who’s ever heard of Snowdon Forest? Anyone?

Thought so. 

No doubt it’s a special place, but it’s a place no one has heard of or goes to at the moment. Why tramp into a forest in the middle of nowhere, when you can see the same sort of forest in other places, as well as the views of say, the Routeburn?

The thought of clearing a 29.5km-long, 6m-wide corridor of native trees to build a high-tech transport link, when there are already other options to reach the end point, leaves me cold.

Six metres may sound like not much, but pace it out next time you take a bush walk. Imagine that area cleared and a sleek rail line in its place.

6 meters does not sound like much. You could cut a 6 meter track through a lot of our beech forest and not miss any of the trees.  

If allowed to proceed, the proposed monorail track will be the longest in the world. That may – initially – be something we can market. But, in time, a longer track will be built elsewhere and we will still have lost a tract of our magical beech forest.

While the able-bodied may have “lost” a 6 meter stretch in hundreds of miles of forest that they’d never visit anyway, the less-able will still be able to view the forest in all it’s glories. Funny thing is, that’ll still be the case when the track is no longer the longest in the world. Weird eh?

I’m willing to bet that most of the people who use Snowdon Forest recreationally are New Zealanders and they will be the big losers if this project goes ahead.

Quite how that works is not explained. Because… conservation!

Tourists have always come here, despite there not being a cable car up every mountainside. And they will continue to do so, with or without the monorail.

They like our country the way it is.

Translation: Let them eat cake. 

A political ideology descended into madness

That’s the only way to describe this.

It is also concerning that some people seem quite happy to have equality by pursuing the lowest common denominator - i.e. everyone equally in abject poverty. 

But think a bit further, and you’d realise that this means we would never have things a huge number of things that make modern life what it is, because those things involved one person being exceptional. 

Like I say, utter madness.

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Obama Won, the US Lost. Yay!

This pretty much sums up the state of the US government’s finances after the shutdown.

When Washington raised the debt ceiling this week, the Beltway media breathlessly reported thatthe fiscal crisis had ended. Lawyers danced in hallways, bureaucrats twerked on the Metro, congressional aides kissed strangers in the streets — the Tea Party has been defeated! It was likeVJ day for wonks.

As our political class exchanged high fives and reporters praised a return to “sanity,” I wondered how these odd creatures defined insanity. 

America’s fiscal crisis is not that our debt ceiling was too low, the fiscal crisis is that our debt is too high. When I mentioned this to left-leaning folks, they seemed indifferent. “Obama lowered the deficit.” “I think Bush spent more.“ “It’s Reagan’s fault!”

Here’s his chart:

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Now. If you listened carefully to commentators talking about the shutdown, there was a subtle shift.

Originally, the talk was “if the debt ceiling is not extended we won’t be able pay for our debt”. That is nonsense. Rather obvious nonsense – if you don’t have enough money, you proprieties. And you place interest payments at the top of your list. So there was never any chance of a default. 

So the talk shifted subtly to talking about “obligations”. This was intended to make other spending (social security for example) sound like debt repayments. It pretended that a contractual obligation was the same as a policy decision.  

But the reality is that the US national debt is serious. And like New Zealand in 1990, serious decisions need to be made. The Tea Party is trying to push for those decisions to be made. They are the adults. Obama is the guy offering icecream.

The analogy is imperfect, but imagine the green is your salary, the yellow is the amount you’re spending over your salary, and the red is your Visa statement. Then imagine your spouse runs into the room and shouts, “great news honey, our fiscal crisis is over. We just got approved for a new MasterCard!” Your first call would be to a marriage counselor or a shrink.

Unfortunately in the US’s case, the counselor (the media) is joining in the celebrations.

But hey, I’m sure it’ll all be fine.

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