Friday, September 16, 2005


A great article by Pete Wilson, former governor of California, telling how they got the vital Los Angeles I-10 freeway back into action so quickly after the 1994 quake. Excerpts:

I was advised that it would require some two years and two months to repair the bridges and restore the I-10 to use.... Instead, we completed the repairs and reopened the freeway to its normal heavy traffic in just 66 days. How? We did two things. First, I quickly exercised the extraordinary emergency powers conferred upon the governor of California by the state Government Code. I suspended the operation of statutes and regulations that would have required the protracted public hearings called for before environmental impact reports could be filed and acted upon, and I suspended other normally demanded procedural hurdles.

Second, we took a page from the book of private-sector incentives for accelerating performance. We told contractors bidding to repair the bridges that they must submit bids that specified not only the cost but the date of completion, and that they must agree to an added condition: For every day they were late, they would incur a penalty of $200,000; and for every day they were early, they would be rewarded with a bonus of $200,000. The winning bidder, C.C. Myers Inc., put on three shifts that worked 24/7. In order to prevent any delay in the work, they hired a locomotive and crew to haul to Los Angeles steel sitting on a siding in Texas. Myers made more on the bonus than they did on the bid. Incentives work.



America-hating Americans have their equivalents among Australian intellectuals -- Australia-hating Australians. The ever-iconoclastic Keith Windschuttle shows them for the hate-filled but otherwise empty vessels that they are. It is a long and thorough article that any Australian who is tempted to respect our intellectuals should read. It will cure such temptations forthwith. I liked this typically supercilious quotation that Windschuttle dug up: "Behold the man - the Australian man of today - on Sunday mornings in the suburbs, when the high-decibel drone of the motor mower is calling the faithful to worship. A block of land, a brick veneer [house], and the motor-mower beside him in the wilderness - what more does he want to sustain him, except a Holden [car] to polish, a beer with the boys, marital sex on Saturday nights . At age of sixty-five, equipped with dashing sports coat, matched luggage, good wishes from the bowling club, and two P&O cruise tickets, he imagines he is about to begin living, not knowing that he died many years before"

Australia's conservative reforms praised: "The International Monetary Fund has weighed into Australia's politically charged industrial relations debate, throwing its support behind the Federal Government's reforms in a move that has angered unions. Issuing a glowing report on the state of the economy, the organisation praised the Government's welfare-to-work changes, particularly moves to boost the workforce participation of Australians aged 55 to 64, which the IMF described as "middling" by international standards. The Treasurer, Peter Costello, seized on the support to bolster the Government's case for further economic reform. "The point of all of this is that we must keep the reform process going, if we want to stay near the front of the pack as one of the lead economies of the developed world," he said".

Outspoken Australian politician praised: "Tony Abbott, often accused of saying the wrong thing, has received expert plaudits for his forthright warning about the likelihood of a bird flu pandemic. American risk communication consultants Jody Lanard and Peter Sandman have written a detailed - and glowing - analysis of a speech by the Health Minister in which he warned that such a pandemic could dwarf the health consequences of a terrorist attack. "Minister Abbott is saying the kinds of things government officials normally recoil from saying," doctors Lanard and Sandman wrote. "They imagine that being this candid, this alarming and this uncertain about anything is bound to boomerang badly . Abbott's speech did not do any of that. "By levelling with the public, [Mr Abbott] made a solid, informative contribution to an aspect of pandemic preparedness that has been badly neglected around the world - the preparedness of the public.""

Australian SUVs under attack: "Four-wheel-drives would leap in cost by thousands of dollars under a controversial plan to keep the fuel guzzlers out of city streets. The House of Representatives environment committee has urged the Federal Government to consider increasing the tariff on four-wheel drives (4WDs). Only farmers and others with a legitimate need for a 4WD would be spared the price jump under the plan. Imported 4WDs attract a 5 per cent tariff while other imported cars attract a tariff of 10 per cent, a concession originally intended to help farmers. But 4WDs now make up about one in five new cars sold and have become the car of choice for countless city-slickers"



Countries rated as good places to do business are good generally: "Doing Business in 2006 was published today (midnight GMT), tracking the state of red tape across the world... There are many wise things to be said about this data, and I'll try to say them over the next few days. But since this is a blog let me go for the cheapest headline. The top ten business environments in the world, as measured by the 'Ease of Doing Business index': 1. New Zealand; 2. Singapore; 3. United States; 4. Canada; 5. Norway; 6. Australia; 7. Hong Kong; 8. Denmark; 9. United Kingdom; 10. Japan [Note that fully half of them are English-speaking]

Was relief to Katrina victims slow because of racism? Jeff Jacoby points out: "Katrina devastated more than black-majority Orleans Parish. Four other Louisiana parishes and three coastal Mississippi counties, all with substantial white majorities, suffered heavily too. Government relief reached them no faster than it did New Orleans. If this were truly a racist country, it would have."

"Logical Meme" has been blogging up a storm. He's got a post on the vast bias shown by "Newsweek" and has also started a series on "Debunking Slavery Myths", the first installment of which is here. He is also getting steamed up about the MSM's burying of the story re. dozens and dozens of brutal murders reportedly having taken place at the Superdome and Convention Centers. He's been posting regularly on it -- e.g. here

Carnival of the Vanities is up again and very informative about the posts this time

For more postings, see EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. Mirror sites here, here, here, here and here. And on Social Security see Dick McDonald


Practically all policies advocated by the Left create poverty. Leftists get the government to waste vast slabs of the country's labour-force on bureaucracy and paperwork and so load the burden of providing most useful goods and services onto fewer and fewer people. So fewer useful goods and services are produced to go around. That is no accident. The Left love the poor. The Left need the poor so that they can feel good by patronizing and "helping" them. So they do their best to create as many poor people as possible.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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