So, are 66% of Australians flat-earthers then?

February 24, 2011

Federal finance minister Penny Wong reckons Australians unsure about climate change are like ‘people who believe the world is flat‘ … mmm … so does that make 66% of us flat-earthers?

The IPA commissioned Galaxy Research to ask 1042 Australians last weekend about climate change.

Here’s the data and here’s the press release we sent out this morning.

Madison, Wisconsin is the most important thing Australians aren’t talking about right now. America is transfixed by the sight of elected politicians fleeing the state and refusing to front the legislature (aren’t they supposed to be in America not Moldova?) This and this will get you up to speed. Then when you’re ready – listen to this secretly-taped phone call between Wisconsin’s new debt reducing governor and billionaire David Koch (except it’s not really David Koch – ouch!)

If you only read one article about Libya, make it these two – here and here. A Reason writer went on a propaganda junket to that semi-Stalinist country (the opening paragraph is great).

Speaking of great opening paragraphs – read the Rolling Stone review of the movie we told you about last week The Way Back directed by Peter Weir (the guy who did The Truman Show, Dead Poets Society and Gallipoli).

And if ever you’ve thought about hanging a sign around the neck of an employee who has stolen from you – think again!

Everyone seemed to love the Tetris video last week, so in keeping with that theme, here’s a trailer for Minesweeper – The Movie.

Here’s what the IPA said this week:

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You’ve waited long enough – The Atlas Shrugged movie trailer

February 17, 2011

Remember how the GFC was Wall Street’s fault? How Barack Obama said he would ensure ‘taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes‘?

And how Nobel Prize winner Joe Stiglitz said ‘the fall of Wall Street is for market capitalism what the fall of the Berlin Wall was for communism’?

Wall Street?! What about the government?

…mmm…maybe the GFC is more complicated than ‘Wall Street dunnit!’

Have a look at the report by the US government inquiry into the causes of the GFC that came out a few weeks ago – if you missed it – don’t worry – so did most of the Australian media. Here’s a good interview with one of the inquiry members from the American Enterprise Institute.

It’s coming…the new movie of Atlas Shrugged. It’s in cinemas in April. Here’s the trailer for it. And who can forget the 1949 film version of The Fountainhead with Gary Cooper.

And while you’re at the cinema look out for The Way Back a new Peter Weir film about six men and a woman who in 1941 escaped the Soviet Gulag and spent three years walking 4000 miles from Siberia to India. Here’s a discussion about it in The New York Times last month. Peter Coleman in The Spectator says it’s a great film – but it’s been ignored by the film industry. (Is it a surprise Hollywood doesn’t like a movie about the evils of Stalinism?)

Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum wrote the definitive book Gulag: A history. And last year there was this book Gulag Boss: A Soviet Memoir based on the life of a Gulag boss in the 1940s. Here’s a fascinating podcast interview with the translator.

And for lighter Soviet-related material this funny video tells the history of the USSR through the medium of Tetris – and if you don’t know what Tetris is, well, it won’t make much sense. Don’t stop at the 30 second mark – watch all seven minutes.

Every December Gerard Henderson gives a very funny run-down on the year that was – 2010 was no exception (I’m six weeks late telling you about it, but it’s worth it).

Here’s what the IPA said this week:

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Come fly penguin airlines

February 10, 2011

Julia Gillard would rather impose a flood tax than cut spending on things like:

By the way – you realise don’t you the government is counting the flood tax as a ‘budget saving‘ – as Peter van Onselen pointed out in The Australian on Monday. The IPA told you about the issue last year.

Here’s two classics from the government. You know those school halls Kevin Rudd built in Queensland – many of them aren’t cyclone proof. And the Minister for Broadband reckons it’s the government’s job to tell retailers how to use the internet to sell things. (Of course – because the government is just so competent at everything else it does.)

The most popular item on Hey last year was about Jeremy Clarkson buying a farm. So here’s some more Clarkson for you: the other day he got into trouble with the PC police for laughing at the Mexicans. It’s now a major diplomatic incident.

One of the best business/economics blogs around is ‘Schumpeter’s notebook‘ run by The Economist. It has things like the new book The Long Divergence which explains the role of corporations in the Middle East compared to Europe. And have a look at the blog post from December 7 about the predictive powers of management consultants.

If you like Mad Menhere’s 4000 words from this month’s The New York Review of Books on why the show is completely over-rated. Here’s what the IPA says about Mad Men.

And from the Nanny State files – in America it’s easier to get a gun than buy wine.

Here’s what IPA staff said this week:

Finally – if you’re in Melbourne on 7 March, Bjorn Lomborg is talking about climate change at the Institute of International Affairs – details here.

BREAKING: Today Julia Gillard appointed Tim Flannery (yes, you know Tim Flannery: he’s the one who always gets it wrong) to the role of ‘Climate Commissioner’.

So does Gillard have a ‘purple sky‘ plan for climate change? Flannery has proposed pumping the air with sulfur to cool the globe! (We wrote about Flannery’s plan in the September 2008 IPA Review.)

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English Civil War – yeah, who cares?

February 3, 2011

Remember how last year Australia didn’t have a government for 17 days? Fat lot of good that did, they still managed to pass as much legislation as ever:

It doesn’t look that bad until you see this graph as well:

The IPA released our annual survey of state government taxes a few weeks ago – it was front page news (literally). South Australia has the highest taxes on business, and Western Australia the lowest – 10% less than South Australia.

If you think the English Civil War was:

arguably just a series of confused and confusing localised squabbles that may have a special significance for UK history, but not for anybody else (unless they like dressing up in period costume)

then you’ll love the National Curriculum! Because that’s what an academic who is one of the architects of Gillard’s history curriculum reckons.

But if you think Australian school students should hear about Charles I and Cromwell – and that you can’t understand the American or French Revolutions without knowing the English had one first, then you’ll agree with the IPA. The controversy is covered on our Foundations of Western Civilisation blog.

There’s been lots of good reading over the last month or so:

And some good videos:

In The Drum on Wednesday, Chris Berg revealed the truth about energy subsidies, and in The Sunday Age he discussed flood levy spin. In The Drum on Tuesday, Sabine Wolff lamented our politicians lack of vision, and on Monday Tom Switzer urged caution on Egypt. And in The Australian Financial Review I questioned the wisdom of the flood levy.

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