How to lose a friend in one easy step

Caution:  Language

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Daily Roundup

funny-wedding-photos-achivement-unlocked

If you don’t get the joke you are most likely over 50 years old.


 

 

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Sad but true don’t you think?


 

 

87472-funny-funny-car-paint

I want one for the bonnet of my car that makes it look as though someone is holding on for dear life to my window wipers.


 

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How close are Labour and the PPTA?

Very close.

ACT’s Free Press column explains:

Not Labour
Labour have asked more parliamentary questions about Partnership Schools than any other education topic this year.  Despite the fact that Partnership Schools are getting exceptional results for disadvantaged children.  Savage and Fraser were giants who built Labour to give the disadvantaged a fair go.  Today’s Labour are more interested in their PPTA supporters.

Wholly Owned Subsidiary
Last Wednesday Labour’s education spokesperson asked a question on Partnership Schools.  After the primary question, which is published before question time, questioners try to surprise the Minister with supplementary questions.  Labour’s whole line of questioning was revealed in a PPTA press release that came out minutes after he asked his questions.

Read more »

Chris Trotter’s politically incoherent rant about Greece

Chris Trotter can usually be relied on to give a sensible opinion on most political matters, though occasionally he loses himself in an orgy of self congratulation when it appears someone can claim “Capitalism doesn’t Work”.

Chris’ delusions about capitalism and the Greek Crisis have come to a head with a piece where he welcomes the bludging Greek ratbags voting not to pay their debts.

He usually gets the diagnosis right, but doesn’t always get the treatment right.

THE UNFOLDING CRISIS in Greece has stripped Neoliberalism of its protective disguise and the world is recoiling from its ugliness. In normal circumstances the true purposes of the world’s neoliberal elites are masked by their use of opaque economic jargon. In the case of Greece, however, the social science of economics has been turned against them by some of its most impressive exponents. Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman have told the world that what is being done to Greece has nothing to do with economics, and everything to do with politics. A whole country is being driven to the wall in a desperate bid to destroy its left-wing government. Neoliberalism simply cannot allow the Greek Prime Minister’s, Alexis Tsipras’s, powerful lessons in democracy to go unpunished. If his Syriza Party is allowed to defeat austerity in Greece, what is there to prevent Podemos from defeating it in Spain? Or Sinn Fein in Ireland?

Yes Chris, it is all to do with politics, although those from the Austrian or Chicago schools of economics might disagree with well known left-wingers and Keynsians, Stigliz and Krugman. The politics is pretty easy to understand, especially if you take a step back from the ideology of a looney left Greek government who says “We won’t pay you”.

Germany’s 72-year-old Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schauble, has clearly been unable to cope with his 54-year-old Greek counterpart, Yanis Varoufakis. Everything about the free-wheeling Greek economics professor offends the unyielding German ideologue. Varoufakis has been unsparing in his criticism of Germany’s inability to grasp the necessity for Greek debt relief (which even the IMF now acknowledges). It’s an act of insubordination which Schauble and his colleagues are resolutely determined to punish. So unchallenged has neoliberalism’s ideological hegemony been since the collapse of Soviet-style socialism that it finds itself unable to adequately respond to Varoufakis’s neo-Keynesian populist critiques. Their greatest fear is that, like the little boy in the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, the Greek Finance Minister will draw the world’s attention to the fact that the neoliberal German Emperor is wearing no clothes.  Read more »

Taxpayers’ Union points out troughers flaws in their promotion of Sugar Taxes

The Taxpayers’ Union is questioning the media and their use of proven troughers to promote their agenda of introducing a sugar tax.

The Taxpayers’ Union is urging caution on continued claims that Mexico’s sugar tax resulted in decreased sales of sugary drinks. Today’s Herald on Sunday published an opinion piece by Niki Bezzant, which cites a study by Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health suggesting that sales dropped by between six and twelve percent as a result of the Mexican sugar tax. This echoes claims made last week by a group of Auckland University public health academics, including Dr Gerhard Sundborn and Boyd Swinburn, campaigning for the introduction of a sugar tax.

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“Repetition of the same sound bite doesn’t make it true. The study was funded by a pro-sugar tax campaign group and is based on surveying Mexican consumers on their expressed preferences. The real sales data shows that despite what people tell researchers, the Mexican sugar tax caused a drop of consumption of only 0.2% which as since bounced back.”

“Academics are supposed to promote informed public debate. Instead, there appears to be a group at Auckland University running an activist political campaign based on misinformation and bias. The study they are pointing to isn’t published or even peer reviewed. It was launched as part of a campaign and relies on what people say they do, not what they actually do. These campaigners are choosing to ignore the sales data which is clear. Volumes are now back to the same as before the tax, with people paying more while the Government is raking in the cash.”   Read more »

Can we learn from Colorado on teen pregnancy?

Colorado has made astonishing in-roads into dealing with teen pregnancy.

Over the past six years, Colorado has conducted one of the largest ever real-life experiments with long-acting birth control. If teenagers and poor women were offered free intrauterine devices and implants that prevent pregnancy for years, state officials asked, would those women choose them?

They did in a big way, and the results were startling. The birthrate for teenagers across the state plunged by 40 percent from 2009 to 2013, while their rate of abortions fell by 42 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. There was a similar decline in births for another group particularly vulnerable to unplanned pregnancies: unmarried women under 25 who have not finished high school.

“Our demographer came into my office with a chart and said, ‘Greta, look at this, we’ve never seen this before,’ ” said Greta Klingler, the family planning supervisor for the public health department. “The numbers were plummeting.”

The changes were particularly pronounced in the poorest areas of the state, places like Walsenburg, a small city in Southern Colorado where jobs are scarce and unplanned births come often to the young. Hope Martinez, a 20-year-old nursing home receptionist here, recently had a small rod implanted under the skin of her upper arm to prevent pregnancy for three years. She has big plans — to marry, to move West, and to become a dental hygienist.

“I don’t want any babies for a while,” she said.

More young women are making that choice. In 2009, half of all first births to women in the poorest areas of the state happened before they turned 21. By 2014, half of first births did not occur until they had turned 24, a difference that advocates say gives young women time to finish their educations and to gain a foothold in an increasingly competitive job market.

“If we want to reduce poverty, one of the simplest, fastest and cheapest things we could do would be to make sure that as few people as possible become parents before they actually want to,” said Isabel Sawhill, an economist at the Brookings Institution. She argues in her 2014 book, “Generation Unbound: Drifting Into Sex and Parenthood Without Marriage,” that single parenthood is a principal driver of inequality and long-acting birth control a powerful tool to prevent it.

Read more »

If you are a real liberal you must be Counter Jihad

Liberal Eric Allan Bell explains why as a Liberal he is part of the Counter Jihad movement. He explains that being Counter Jihad means being Pro Human rights. He also explains why many Liberals misunderstand his message. When he says that he is against the Political ideology of Islam they hear that he is against Muslims when that is not the case at all. In fact to be a real Liberal he explains that you must be Counter Jihad.

Mental Health Break

Why do the Unions have so much sway over Labour?

The Unions have a reputation for controlling Labour, and with some good reason. Six affiliated unions get 20% of the Labour Leadership vote, so you would think that they are also the Labour Party’s biggest donors.

The problem with this is it is not supported by the facts. Since 1996 union donations have been a little over 11% of Labour’s total declarable donations.

In most years the unions don’t give anything to Labour, who must only ask unions for money in election year.

Total Donations Union Donations Union Donation %
1996  $65,327.00  $- 0%
1997  $280,000.00  $- 0%
1998  $20,055.90  $- 0%
1999  $1,115,375.00  $80,000.00 7.17%
2000  $35,000.00  $- 0.0%
2001  $107,525.00  $- 0.0%
2002  $671,719.00  $70,000.00 10.42%
2003  $54,000.00  $- 0.0%
2004  $369,951.00  $- 0.0%
2005  $930,977.04  $140,000.00 15.04%
2006  $140,988.04  $20,000.00 14.19%
2007  $1,030,446.39  $- 0.0%
2008  $422,917.00  $117,500.00 27.78%
2009  $10,063.00  $- 0.0%
2010  $56,720.00  $- 0.0%
2011  $225,200.00  $105,200.00 46.71%
2012  $430,259.33  $- 0.0%
2013  $-  $-
2014  $251,000.00  $162,000.00 64.54%
Total  $6,217,523.70  $694,700.00 11.17%

Read more »