Saturday, September 05, 2015

Quote of the Day

Whipped from FFF, this one really appealed:

Government! Three fourths parasitic and the other fourth stupid fumbling--oh, he conceded that man, a social animal, could not avoid having government, any more than an individual man could escape his lifelong bondage to his bowels. But Harshaw did not have to like it. Simply because an evil was inescapable was no reason to term it a "good." He wished that government would wander off and get lost!

— Robert A. Heinlen, Stranger in a Strange Land [1961]

Friday, September 04, 2015

Marriage and income inequality

The institution of marriage is enjoying new popularity - amongst gays.

Left liberals are, though, very reluctant to acknowledge the social and economic benefits of marriage in general. This is highlighted by the AEI where it is pointed out that the concept of two-parent families "May not appeal as much to liberal sensibilities"  as the euphemism, "strong" families.

Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution found that four out of five children who started out in the bottom income quintile—but who were raised by married parents—rose out of the bottom quintile as adults. Meanwhile, kids raised in the bottom quintile to never-married parents had a 50 percent chance of remaining at the bottom. And Brad Wilcox of AEI calculated that 32 percent of the increase in income inequality since 1979 can be linked to the decline in stable, married families. 

There are societal changes that we cannot turn the clock back on, and most wouldn't want to. But a growing  recognition of the two parent family as the best environment in which to raise children will hopefully lead a return to that structure  (not precluding gay parents from my suggestion).

Thursday, September 03, 2015

New paintings

Just updating my artist blog, another return to my favourite subject; historic black and white photos of Maori used to produce colourful portraits.

These two are part of a mini exhibition of Paintings from Historic Photographs hung in the foyer of Revera House, 48 Mulgrave St today. The building is multi-storied and the feedback from occupants as I hung the works was very warming.

Ben Carson tied with Trump

Now I am started to get interested in the US presidential race. A report in this morning's DomPost says, "...this week a Monmouth University poll had [Ben Carson] tied in first place with Donald Trump." (And for balance here is a rejoinder describing Carson as a "Wingnut with a calm bedside manner").

This first I knew of Ben Carson was a lengthy interview conducted by Leighton Smith, who is perfect for that job given his knowledge of Carson.

There isn't enough 'live and let live' about Carson's personal philosophy for my taste but much of what he espouses nevertheless makes perfect sense. The man himself, the way he speaks and the way he comports himself are compelling, as is his life story. He is vehemently against socialism. That apparently makes him an 'extremist'.

When pushed by Leighton Smith on the subject of whether he would stand for president he was non-committal. But I found myself hoping that he would. And the impression he made on me is starting to multiply across the States.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Code for an attack on the govt and welfare reforms

CPAG Summit - Welfare fit for families in a changing world

2 September 2015

A Child Poverty Action Group summit in Auckland next week will look at what needs to change for New Zealand’s welfare and child policy to support all children and families in the 21st Century.

In conjunction with the Department of Paediatrics at Auckland University and the Retirement Policy and Research Centre (RPRC), CPAG will host a summit on welfare on Tuesday 8 September on the topic, Welfare fit for families in a changing world. The summit will look at how policies can be a better fit for the 21st century in a time of challenging change in the social and work environment.

CPAG has consistently called for policy which puts the best interests of the child at centre and says almost all social policy would look different if children’s needs took priority....

An exciting range of speakers includes Trevor McGlinchy of NZCCSS, Sarah Thompson of Auckland Action Against Poverty, Moira Lawler of Lifewise, senior researcher Michael Fletcher of AUT, early childhood expert Lesley Lyons, youth ambassador Nardos Tilahun, former Children’s Commissioner Ian Hassall, Deborah Morris-Travers of UNICEF and statistician Len Cook.

In an important session, speakers Reb Fountain and Mike Treen will address the Welfare/work interface, looking at a sole parent’s transition to work and how the changing world of work is impacting on welfare.

Spokesperson Associate Professor Mike O’Brien says, "The basic principles of simplicity, equity, adequacy, neutrality, efficiency and generosity which underpin New Zealand superannuation have served older New Zealanders well. They should also be applied to how we treat our children."

There will be no rabble outside protesting, pushing around attendees etc. That's because the usual protesters will be inside. But it'd be nice to see some ordinary sorts quietly holding banners.
Image result for US TEa Party

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Waitangi Tribunal claim against state for failing to reduce Maori offending

My simple understanding of the Waitangi Tribunal was that it existed to put right misdeeds perpetrated on Maori regarding land. So I checked the official description:

The Waitangi Tribunal was established in 1975 by the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975. The Tribunal is a permanent commission of inquiry charged with making recommendations on claims brought by Māori relating to actions or omissions of the Crown that potentially breach the promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi.

Claims have become increasingly imaginative as understandings of what the Treaty "promised" have developed.

Here's an interesting one. A claim against the state for failure to stop Maori offending and reoffending:

Tribunal Claim: Too Many Māori in Prison And Reoffending
31 August 2015
Waitangi Tribunal Claim Filed Against Corrections Alleges Too Many Māori in Prison And Reoffending
Tom Hemopo, a retired probation officer, has today filed an urgent claim to the Waitangi Tribunal on behalf of himself and his iwi alleging Crown failures to reduce the number of Maori in prison and high reoffending rates.
The ‘Corrections Claim’ targets the Department of Corrections which has failed to reduce high rates of reoffending by Māori and has the support of two Hawkes Bay iwi entities - Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated and Ngāti Pāhauwera Development Trust.
Following on from this it isn't difficult to envisage many more claims against the state eg the failure of CYF to reduce the number of Maori children in care.

In fact using Youth Court appearances as an indicator, the number of Maori offenders has halved since 2008. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

"All lives have equal value"

Ross Bell of the New Zealand Drug Foundation, has written a column in today's DomPost about doing more to stop drug overdoses by increasing availability and access to Naloxone, an injectable drug which can reverse an overdose.  Bell loses me with this sentence,

"Our failure to realize all lives have equal value has meant that until now we have failed to prevent unnecessary deaths."

Someone who takes risks with their own life daily by putting dangerous doses of drugs into their bodies by definition values his or her own life less than most. If Bell is arguing for public funding of Naloxone, the debate about lives and relative value will be invoked.

Health is rationed. Funding is limited. Hospitals already practice rationing and age plays a big part. In the health system all lives do not have equal value.

(But I'd have no problem with families of addicts or alcoholics purchasing the Naloxone for emergencies. It is available in New Zealand.)