Thursday, November 06, 2014

Another lot of international rankings -- of prosperity, by Legatum

The countries listed as most prosperous (See below) are broadly as one would expect but there are some glaring anomalies both with the final results and the way they are calculated.  A very large absurdity is giving New Zealand a much higher ranking than Australia.  While that will undoubtedly give Kiwis a glow, it does not explain the brutal fact that migration between Australia and NZ is almost all one-way.  Kiwis flee their country and move to Australia in droves.  Real wages are much higher in Australia and there must be few Kiwis who are unaware of that. So it will be surprising news to Kiwis to hear that NZ is more prosperous than Australia.

The problem arises because "wellbeing" or "Quality of life" is included in the index and assessing that cannot be done objectively. I have not been able to pick why NZ did so well but it is certainly broadly true that NZ is a pleasant place -- as long as you don't mind earthquakes and high rates of crime and child abuse perpetrated by the Maori.

And looking in detail at the methodology used, there clearly are some oddities.  I was amused that separation of powers in government was included.  That system does prevail in the USA and France but lots of other countries get by perfectly well without it (Australia, Canada, Britain etc).  I would call that a nonsense criterion of prosperity.

Mr Obama doesn't believe in the separation of powers anyway.  He thinks he's got a "pen and a phone" with which he can usurp the legislative monopoly of Congress.

Infant mortality is another absurdity.  Cuba has a lower infant mortality than the USA,  Does that make Cuba more prosperous than the USA?  No.  It just means that American hospitals go to great lengths to succour premature births and that does not always succeed.  Similar births in Cuba would all be counted as stillborn.

And what about religious attendance? That is high in the USA, Russia and  Muslim countries but very low in Britain and Australia.  Does that mean that Russia and Muslim countries are more prosperous than Britain and Australia?  Judging by the desperate measures Muslims take in order to get into Britain and Australia, I think we once again have to say that "voting with your feet" reveals the true situation.

And what you think of climate can vary too.  Cold is most life-threatening but some people prefer it nonetheless.  Living in Alaska is a choice, after all.  I could go on ....

The graphic below summarizes the findings:



A sampling of the early election results

With thanks to various authors in my Twitter feed

Obama admin official says POTUS doesn't feel "repudiated" by results. Three weeks ago he said his policies would be "on the ballot."

Adding to his accomplishment as gun salesman of the decade, @BarackObama has killed off the Democratic Party. What a guy!

Republicans Pick Up at least 8 Senate Seats -- making a Senate majority. Sen Harry Reid on the floor in his office in fetal position moaning right now.

S. Carolina's black US senator and Indian-American governor – both Republican, both handily re-elected. More of that GOP racism, right?

Incumbent Republican Paul LePage Re-elected as Governor of Maine

Thom Tillis Defeats Kay Hagan in North Carolina

Charlie Crist Fails to Unseat Florida Gov. Rick Scott

Wendy Davis clobbered in Texas

Jeffrey Katzenberg's Cash didn't save Kentucky's Alison Lundergan Grimes.  Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) re-elected

Another unbelievable story! In Maryland a #climate skeptic is getting elected governor.

Republican Charlie Baker Wins Gubernatorial Race in Deep Blue Massachusetts

Dems lost a HUGE talking point against tax cuts with Sam Brownback (R) winning re-election in Kansas.

When the #GOP is united on issues the working class cares about--jobs, wages, Obamacare, borders--they can win BIG.

Is it too late for @TomSteyer to pour another $75 million into warmist Senate Democrats?

That plaintive wail you hear is the collective sound of Democrat denialists all chanting in unison: "It's not a waaaave."

Only way tonight could have been better is if Franken lost. FU Minnesota.

Dems blaming "itches," "curses" and other such mysterious ephemera for Republican gains tonight.

Look for @BarackObama to go into full blame mode, lashing out at everyone in America.

Netanyahu watching the election results come in

Elise Stefanik, a Republican, will become the youngest woman to ever serve in Congress. Sent there by NY voters. How's that Republican War on Women going?

Republican war on women here too?

Businessman Rauner wins for the GOP in IL - amazing -  GOP is flipping GOVERNOR'S seats.  It was supposed to be a bad night for GOP govs.  Good riddance to Gov. Pat Quinn -- who is currently under federal investigation for corrupt use of public money

After Toppling RINO Eric Cantor in the primaries, economist Dave Brat Wins His Seat in Reps. for Virginia


'Shut Up,' Holder Explained, as Ferguson Case Nears Conclusion

It’s been nearly three months since the untimely death of “gentle giant” Michael Brown on a street in Ferguson, Missouri. We recently learned from one of the multiple autopsies performed that, shortly after Brown stole goods from a convenience store and assaulted a clerk, he was shot at least once at close range in an apparent struggle for Officer Darren Wilson’s gun. He then ran away before coming back toward Wilson. It’s believed, based on autopsy and eyewitness reports, that Wilson shot a charging Brown several more times, with one head shot being the fatal wound.

But this autopsy report is only one of the items leaked from grand jury testimony in the case. The hacker group Anonymous predicts, “On or about November 10, 2014 the Grand Jury decision will be announced. Darren Wilson will NOT be indicted on ANY charges related to the murder of Mike Brown. All local police Chiefs and jail commanders have been notified to begin preparing for major civil unrest.” This nugget of information reportedly came from two separate, unrelated sources.

The leak may be designed to motivate black voters ahead of Election Day (though that may backfire). Police, on the other hand, probably hoped to delay a verdict until colder weather set in – cold means fewer protests and riots.

The constant grind of this rumor mill is wearing on Attorney General Eric Holder, who injected himself into the situation early on to stir the racial pot. Recall his 2009 declaration that America is “essentially a nation of cowards” because “average Americans simply do not talk enough with each other about race.” The problem is that only certain types of “average Americans” are allowed to lead those “conversations,” and the conversations themselves must arrive at only one conclusion: The myriad problems plaguing the black community are ultimately attributable to white privilege and racism.

Now, we wonder if Holder is working behind the scenes to shake up the Ferguson Police Department. One outcome of this intervention could be the dissolution of the Ferguson PD, folding it into the St. Louis County police department. That scenario, which some reports say has both Wilson and embattled Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson resigning, is described as “the first step in a major shakeup.”

In an MSNBC interview, Holder was adamant about the situation. “I said I’m exasperated – it’s a nice way of saying I’m mad,” Holder vented. “That’s just not how things should be done with people in law enforcement. Whoever the sources of the leaks are need to shut up.”

Shut up, he explained. That does pretty well sum up the Left’s position on race.

Yet Barack Obama’s decision to get federal officials involved in the Ferguson matter has made it more of a three-ring circus – one that keeps fanning the flames of violence. (It may be helpful to compare the behavior of the hooligans who swarmed to Ferguson after the Michael Brown shooting to that of the hundreds who gathered at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada earlier this year to take part in a peaceful standoff with federal officials.) The Ferguson situation could have been handled by local and state authorities, just as the scattered protests in the wake of George Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict from the Trayvon Martin case were, but Barack Obama and his allies were thinking about the midterm elections and the need to save a Democrat Senate – so all hands were called on deck.

Even if a grand jury clears Wilson, his career as a Ferguson police officer may well be over. But his legal troubles won’t be – odds are the “wrong” verdict from a local grand jury will only result in more rioting and prompt the Holder Justice Department to charge Wilson with violating Brown’s civil rights. We’ve seen this movie before. In the original, the star was Rodney King. It’s a remake we weren’t supposed to see in the “post-racial America” promised by Obama’s election.



A shifty Leftist;  British Labour party leader can't even PRETEND  compassion convincingly

No eye contact; no sympathetic word;  an obvious discomfort at being anywhere near the  poor

The Princess Royal shows how it should be done

Ed Miliband has been accused of looking "awkward" and “terrified” while giving money to woman begging on the street.

Labour were forced to deny that Mr Miliband had given the woman who, was sitting on a pile on newspapers on a Manchester street, just 2 pence. A spokesman for the party said he had given the woman a "handful" of coins although critics on Twitter were unconvinced.

In July Mr Miliband made a high profile speech in which he said he will turn his back on photo opportunities and focus on the issues.

However during a Friday walkabout in Manchester, flanked by photographers, the Labour leader paused briefly to donate to the woman.

The speed he completed the transaction and the uncomfortable look on his face drew immediate criticism.



Sugar Is Evil and Other Silly Claims in the Obesity Wars

Don’t go blaming willpower for the obesity epidemic–that’d be a “crime” according to the documentary “Fed Up,” by the producer of “An Inconvenient Truth” Laurie David and hosted by Katie Couric.

The film, whose tagline is “the film the food industry doesn’t want you to see,” presents sugar as a harmful, addictive drug and dismisses exercise as a vital component of weight loss.

“The message has been pushed on us–it’s your fault you’re fat,” says Dr. Mark Hyman in the trailer, following up with, “forget about it.”

And that’s what the 2014 film, at least on the basis of the trailer, aims to do: remove the blame from individuals and place it squarely on the shoulders of “junk food” producers.

An aggressive agenda against the sugar industry is at the heart of the film, subtly lambasting Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign as well for its focus on exercise as a solution to obesity. According to David, there “aren’t enough hours in the day” to use exercise as the cure for obesity.

While the film claims to unveil shocking revelations about sugar, the trailer showed nothing I haven’t read in a women’s fitness magazine every month for the past ten years.  Soda is full of added sugar, supermarkets are stocked with high-calorie cereal arranged at kid-level eyesight and would you believe the sugar industry is in business–big shocker–to make money?!  How radical for a business.

What the film doesn’t appear to address enough is educating Americans about the right foods so they can make better decisions themselves–and not just wait for government intervention or an overhaul of the free market food production system.

Grocery stores aren’t only stocked with Frosted Flakes and potato chips. Stop by the produce section sometime.  They’ve never stopped selling apples, spinach, cucumbers or grapefruit –I promise.

A featured speaker in the film, Gary Taubes, claims the country is “blaming willpower” (or lack thereof) for our mass entrance into obesity–and that’s wrong, according to him. But that personal responsibility is part of the package, no matter what way you look at it.

Instead of trying to force people to make good choices by eliminating “bad” food, people should learn how food affects them so they want to make better choices for themselves. And when it comes to children, parents are the ones responsible for ensuring their children aren’t eating foods in substance or quantity that will lead to obesity.

“Years from now, we’re going to say, I can’t believe we let them get away with that,” says author Mark Bittman of the evil “junk food” industry.  But he’s wrong.

If the sugar industry is wreaking havoc on your life, you have only yourself to blame. Fast food restaurants, airports and convenience stores stock healthy options everywhere now. We have more options than ever before to feed ourselves fairly cheaply with healthy foods at every turn.

The demand for diet, exercise and nutritional education, as seen by the massive diet and exercise industry, is huge. We must respect individual dietary choices whether we like them or not.

If Laurie David and friends or anyone wants to help end obesity, they should focus on education, not elimination of junk food



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1 comment:

C. S. P. Schofield said...

"If Laurie David and friends or anyone wants to help end obesity, they should focus on education, not elimination of junk food"

But, but, but…. those silly Commonfolk won't do as they are told by their BETTERS!

Could we, just for a week, celebrate that we have achieved a culture in which the primary dietary problem of the poor is that they're too fat? Is that too much to ask?