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5 May
Eric Crampton at the economically liberal Offsetting Behaviour blog comments on legislation on harm minimization, and how it doesn't work,

...when the costs are tallied correctly, smokers save the government money: they die earlier of cheaper diseases.

"Based on surveys of smokers in the United States and Spain, for instance, he demonstrates that smokers actually overestimate the dangers of smoking, indicating that they are well aware of the risks involved in their choice to smoke. And while smoking does increase medical costs to the states, Viscusi finds that these costs are more than financially balanced by the premature mortality of smokers, which reduces their demands on state pension and health programs, so that, on average, smoking either pays for itself or generates revenues for the states." (Kip Viscusi)

Second, it's unclear whether these "cost the health system money" effects really are inefficiencies. They're called fiscal externalities, and are of pretty dubious status regardless of the direction of the sign.

And Dave at Big News comments on the rigged selection of the Labour Candidate for Mount Albert...

Phil Goff [said David] Shearer won the floor vote on BFM today.

Goff: I went to the selection committee with eight really superb candidates.... David Shearer, aah won the unanimous support of the panel, locals , and err, the NZ Council
Presenter: How many were on the panel
Goff: ..and he won the vote on the floor
Presenter: How many were on the panel
Goff: Aah there's six on the panel plus the floor vote which that counts for one, but he won the floor vote.

But a comment on The Standard blog said the following

No way did shearer win the floor vote. You have been misinformed.There were a lot of angry people leaving that hall yesterday. Might as well have been the National party for all the democracy of the selection.

And Theresa at the Utterance blog has a bee under her bonnet, launching a full-out attack against all cyclists...

b) According to me the environment includes visual things. You are damaging the environment if you wear those tight bikie outfits. The only people who are allowed to do that are professional cyclists who are going give something back by winning the Tour de France or a medal.

c) Apparently if you cycle regularly you can expect to have an accident at least once a year. Blood spattered on the road isn't a good look for our visually friendly environment.

d) You annoy drivers. It's called road rage and can lead to accidents of all kinds. It can also lead to verbal or other abuse of passengers who are probably children. So, if you don't want the people next door's kid to hear their mum swear and scream, don't ride your bike.

...what is there to say? Sounds like someone who hasn't ridden a bike a heck of a lot ;)

6 May
ACT on Campus issues a press release on the burning of the New Zealand Flag at Victoria University of Wellington earlier today,

ACT on Campus spokesman Peter McCaffrey today urged the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) to condemn the burning of the New Zealand flag on university property.
“The New Zealand flag was today burnt by a group of students, including a former student union president, who attended a VUWSA organised Student Representative Council meeting,” Mr McCaffrey said...
“Given that students are forced to join students’ associations, no Victoria student has chosen to give VUWSA permission to speak on their behalf. Clearly the association’s actions do not represent student’s views.”

And David Farrar lists the most complained about adverts in 2008 including,

1. Tui Beer, billboard. “Let’s take a moment this Christmas to think about Christ... Yeah Right - Tui”. (86 complaints). Settled, when withdrawn by advertiser.

What happened to freedom of speech? This advert is a perfectly legitimate insight into the way that Kiwis on the whole view Christmas. One other complaint of interest was,

2. 2. Brandex Adventure Sports Ltd, television. Skins sportswear, touting the physicality of African-American athletes, saying they have a “warrior” mentality and “killer instinct”. (73). Upheld, racial stereotyping.



Blogger Theresa said...

Haha, you sound like someone who hasn't driven a car 'a heck of a lot'.

Sorry, couldn't help that one.

11:04 am, May 08, 2009 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

Yeah, fair enough - but at least I take an objective look at the issue from both sides. There are car drivers who are losers, and there are cyclists who are losers, pretty evenly distributed.

I know that I've had more than my fair share of idiots behind the wheel who have almost killed me.

Almost killed me. Literally.

3:04 pm, May 08, 2009 

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