November 15, 2011

Idiotic British defence decision is USMC’s gain

Filed under: Britain, Military, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 12:44

Lewis Page explains why the USMC is getting a lovely windfall from Britain’s crack-brained decision to get out of the aircraft carrier business:

Blighty’s famous force of Harrier jump-jets, controversially disposed of during last year’s defence review along with the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers, have been reprieved: the radical vectored-thrust jets, believed by many to have been the best strike planes in Britain’s arsenal, will fly (and almost certainly, fight) again.

However they won’t do so with British roundels on their sides or British pilots in their cockpits. The mothballed fleet of 74 Harriers, plus the UK’s inventory of spare parts, is being bought up lock, stock and barrel by the US Marines.

The US Marines possess a substantial air arm of their own and operate a large fleet of Harriers, with slightly different equipment but structurally the same. They anticipate that the British planes, engines and spares, many of which are in nearly-new condition and have been recently upgraded at significant expense, will allow them to keep flying Harriers into the mid-2020s without difficulty.

“We’re taking advantage of all the money the Brits have spent on them. It’s like we’re buying a car with maybe 15,000 miles on it,” Harrier expert Lon Nordeen tells the Navy Times.

Stephen Gordon: One does not simply end supply management

Filed under: Cancon, Economics, Liberty — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 09:29

Stephen Gordon in the Globe and Mail‘s Economy Lab on the economically indefensible Canadian anomaly known as “supply management”:

The best way to get a rise out of Canadian economists is to ask us about our dairy supply management system. It’s simply indefensible: a government-enforced cartel whose only purpose is to generate high prices for what most would view as essential goods. This sort of arrangement wouldn’t be — and isn’t — tolerated in another sector of the economy. Nor is it tolerated anywhere else in the world. So the news that the federal government is considering putting supply management on the table in order to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is guaranteed to generate a certain amount of excitement among my colleagues.

It’s hard to believe that the interests of 13,000 Canadian dairy farmers could consistently trump the interests of 34 million Canadian dairy consumers, but yet the system is still with us. Why can’t we simply end supply management and let consumers benefit from lower dairy prices?

The problem is that current dairy farmers are — for the most part — not earning monopoly rents from what they produce. In order to sell their output, dairy farmers must first obtain a permit to do so, and dairy quotas are not cheap: more than $25,000 per cow. To a very great extent, the higher prices that they receive simply cover this initial investment.

The Occupy movement: the height of 21st century civilization?

Filed under: Media, Politics, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 09:21

Natalie Rothschild takes issue with a fellow journalist’s characterization of the Occupy movement:

A late October edition of the New Yorker carried a ‘postcard’ piece on Occupy Wall Street (OWS). On the third re-read it began to dawn on me that, perhaps, the writer was not being sarcastic, despite her grandiose opening line: ‘Visiting the site of Occupy Wall Street last week . . . was a bit like visiting civilisation at its peak: Paris in the Twenties, Rome in the second century, or, at the very least, Timbuktu in the fifteen hundreds.’

Really? I mean, really? I had recently visited the OWS Zuccotti Park encampment, too, and I’ve been there several more times. Over time, the camp has become better organised. There are now tents, clean-up teams, a set of portable toilets, a library and information points. But ‘the height of civilisation’? Come on.

[. . .]

None of this fawning has stopped occupiers and their supporters from decrying the mainstream media’s coverage — there’s not enough of it, apparently, and most of it is anyway shallow or negatively skewed. In truth, the OWS coverage has been dense and overwhelmingly positive.

The few critics of OWS have been slammed as contemptuous ignoramuses, as corrupt apologists for ‘the one per cent’. Or it is said that they simply ‘just don’t get it’ because they haven’t engaged with the new form of direct, participatory democracy practiced in Zuccotti Park. But, then, even those journalists who have reported directly from the Occupy headquarters and have taken note of the eccentricity and confusion that undoubtedly exist there have been said to be blinkered by prejudice or interested only in shallow, headline-grabbing snapshots. Any commentary that is less than praising is slammed as mocking or as right-wing mud-slinging.

Salman Rushdie: Facebook is run by morons

Filed under: Books, Bureaucracy, Media, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 09:09

There’s this chap on Facebook called Ahmed Rushdie. He’s a tad unhappy with Facebook over their naming policies:

Facebook has upset Salman Rushdie after the company initially refused to let the controversial author use his common name rather than his first name when signing up to the network.

The writer, who is a newcomer to the Web2.0 game, explained on Twitter that his full name is Ahmed Salman Rushdie.

“Amazing. 2 days ago FB deactivated my page saying they didn’t believe I was me. I had to send a photo of my passport page. THEN…” he tweeted, “they said yes, I was me, but insisted I use the name Ahmed which appears before Salman on my passport and which I have never used.

“NOW… They have reactivated my FB page as ‘Ahmed Rushdie,’ in spite of the world knowing me as Salman. Morons. @MarkZuckerbergF? Are you listening?”

The author of The Satanic Verses, who was forced into hiding in 1989 when a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie was issued against him by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, continued to rant about his Facebook plight on Twitter.

Vikings show no life in loss to Packers

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 08:46

This was an ugly game. It will turn up on Wikipedia as the definitive video illustration for both “ugly” and “futile”. Unlike the last match-up between the Vikings and Packers at the Metrodome, there are no positives to dwell on: it was an old-fashioned butt-whipping. It was so bad that the Vikings looked pathetic against the Green Bay backups. According to a tweet from Jeremy Fowler, this is the Vikings’ worst loss since “a 51-7 clubbing by San Francisco on Dec. 8, 1984”.

For next week’s game, the Vikings are going to be starting the press corps in their secondary: injuries against Green Bay included cornerback Antoine Winfield with a fractured clavicle (probably ending his season), safety Husain Abdullah with a concussion (his second of the season), and cornerback Cedric Griffin just being himself (playing on two reconstructed knees). What would have been even more depressing for Viking fans — if the sportscasters had bothered to mention it — was quarterback Christian Ponder heading to the locker room for X-rays (negative, thank goodness).


NFL week 10 results

Filed under: Football — Tags: — Nicholas @ 08:39

It seems appropriate that an ugly weekend should end in an ugly loss at Lambeau Field. My only consolation is, um, well, I’m sure there’s something there to take consolation from. I now have a half-share of 13th spot in the AoSHQ pool, six points back of the leader.

    @San Diego 17 Oakland 24
    @Atlanta 23 New Orleans 26
    Pittsburgh 24 @Cincinnati 17
    @Cleveland 12 St. Louis 13
    @Dallas 44 Buffalo 7
    Jacksonville 17 @Indianapolis 3
    @Kansas City 10 Denver 17
    @Miami 20 Washington 9
    @Philadelphia 17 Arizona 21
    Houston 37 @Tampa Bay 9
    @Carolina 3 Tennessee 30
    Baltimore 17 @Seattle 22
    @Chicago 37 Detroit 13
    @San Francisco 27 New York (NYG) 20
    @New York (NYJ) 16 New England 37
    @Green Bay 45 Minnesota 7

This week: 7-9 (7-9 against the spread)
Season to date 87-59

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