Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ropati verdict / rape in general

I was thinking
1) being drunk is presumably not a defense. Ie I can't say "hey I only killed that pedestrian because i was drunk" and expect t get away with it.
2) It is rape to have sex with a person who is so drunk (or on drugs) to consent to sex even if you did not get them drunk

In that case - is it possible that a person who was charged with rape could use 'they raped me" as a defense? In fact is it possible that both could be found guilty? Maybe both found guilty and neither able to remember it?

The nature of vanilla sex does imply that there will be more evidence that one party consented - but the hypothetical would be interesting...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Thin macs

Saturday, January 26, 2008

South carolina goes to Obama

No big surprise there - black voters in america will in this election pick race over gender.

here is some dumb logic

In response to hearing of an old lady who wont vote for "Obama because he is black" one person says

"If she can be excused for not voting for him because he's black, then why shouldn't people vote for him because he's black, or because he's bi-racial," she said. "Let's not forget about that. He is the best of both worlds, black and white. I think he is the most transcendental person we have ever had to run for president."

transcendental? because of his race? and racism justifies racism?
Oh well, that's democracy for you.

Predictions for NZ's next election
Can you imagine it - people voting on the anti smacking bill in a referendum at the same time as on the election?

I might have to change my prediction (of a Labour lead coalition victory) to a National party (all by itself) victory if that happens, which will annoy me because it shortens my perfect prediction time-frame. Damn crazy Labour.....

Note I'm not changing the prediction yet.. I'll see how it pans out a little more.... But a referendum on the smacking bill at the same time as the general election would really hurt Labour, and maybe the greens.

Election prediciton results

Winning Candidate

losing candidate






































New Zealand






labour Nzfirst united







Jenny Shipley



Angela Merkel







Michael Howard



Wilian Hague


stephen harper

paul martin

Auckland Mayor








Dmitry Medvedev

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hillary vs Obama on policy

No one else seems to compare them on policy - so I will. there are two perspectives I will measure them against
1) my own
2) what the average NZder would think of the result

1. Health care -
Obama's approach seems further left and I expect most NZders would think it to be superior. it is all about having more comprehensive health care cover for Americans of course.

2. environment - identical - almost as if they got the same guy to write it. Smart in the same areas and astoundingly stupid in the same areas.

3. Foreign affairs - not possible to determine a clear difference. Hilary is more about what she will do and Obama is more about what will happen. The former is a more honest way (or a less foolish one) to talk about things. So I give this to Clinton - however as far as the average NZder is concerned they are the same.

4. Economic policy
Clinton tends to favor complex incentive programs. Obama, in contrast, prefers broader, simpler programs. Obama's strategy is empirically more effective - more pragmatic so he wins here.

5. Education
Obama's policy seems more about working with teachers rather than imposing policy on them. Honestly I think that is flawed - I guess he got a teacher to write his policy.
Hillary's solutions look to be more robust - more pragmatic so i would expect it to have better results.

6. Immigration - looks like Clinton is more pro than Obama - so an average NZder would probably be for Clinton here. I am fairly neutral.

7. Their policies on Israel (specifically the funding of Israel) and avoiding a recession/tax cuts represent a dubious consensus in US politics.

8) a host of other areas such as lobby groups Obama wins because he has a policy while Clinton seems to not have articulated one. Obama seems rather like the green party in NZ - he has got advice on almost every issue and put it together as policy - while Clinton as a more seasoned campaigner is hiding the policy she doesn't want people to know about - a little more like National in NZ.

I am not entirely convinced he can enact them or combine them effectively but overall I think Obama's policy set is better.

I would vote for him over Clinton, and I think others should also do that.
That doesn't change my prediction that he will loose though.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


based in part on current polling I pick Guliani to place third in Florida - basically killing his campaign and slashing his odds to win the nomination.
He is my absolute worst nightmare for US president - a president who's response to everything is "I was there at 911" and who is probably corrupt. Give me McCain any day of the week over him.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Elections in the US

I hope my predicitons are wrong
Romney appears to be 'full of sh*t' as they say, with all his promises to protect every job - it's a common con one that slate and I agree is one that works. McCain on the other hand is pretty honest (as far as you can be as a politician). It is much less an insult to my intelligence to see him talk.

On the democratic side Obama is full of it when he talks of how he will make America heaven on earth and the souls of the free will float like angels (or somethings equivalent), but I am happy to see him win because he is a good symbol. A first female president is a bit of a non event for the rest of the world - there have been felame residents of places like Pakistan for a long time. But a black president is somthing the world will see as more of a symbol - a sort of clean break with history that will return America's 'soft power'.

But America is America and the voters will probably go for the establishment.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fred thompson

waiting to see if Fred Thompson quits and gets the job as Romney's VP - that would be a good move for both - Fred has no chance of winning unless all the other candidates suddenly drop dead and yet he has some good support that could swing an election. Now that he is probably going to get 4th in south carolina


Hillary and Romney win in Nevada in fact they give the opposition a bit of a hiding in political terms.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Blogs with no comments

Heaventree (Gwain) has joined the ranks of the blogs that don't allow comments. A sad day. This seems to be a growing trend with constant spam and the demands of managing comments and the expectation of commenter's that you will answer each comment.

But to me it is sad, a blog where you cannot comment is like a poor man's book or newspaper.

Dr phil

Apparently Dr Phil is an unlicenced psychologist breaching the law by pretending to be a proper psychologist... no kidding! Any one who has seen his show could tell you that.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

EU admits they couldn't see a train coming

EU didn't foresee biofuel problems, environment chief admits

How dumb is the EU?

I've been making the call on the food price issue for the last 7 odd years to anyone who would listen - basically since I first heard of the idea of bio fuel and wondered where exactly they planned on growing the damn stuff, and I have no special knowledge at all. And the issue of whether biofuels actually reduce net emissions or not is just really really basic environmentalism.

Are we really being lead by such a bunch of idiots? And don't you just want to slap them?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Election predicitons.

Romney wins in Michigan and for some dumb reason the betting odds change again
McCain, John 5/4 5/4 1.92/1
Giuliani, Rudolph 10/3 5/2 3.7/1
Romney, Mitt 5 3 3.9/1
Huckabee, Mike 4 5 5.2/1
Thompson, Fred 33 33 35
Paul, Ron 33 25 39
Rice, Condoleezza 439

1) your wasting your money betting on Ron Paul and Condy rice
2) your still wasting your money on Fred Thompson
3) I think those people with money on Gulianni are in a bad position

so Im still picking Romney/Huckabee over McCain.
and of Romney and Huckabee I'm still with Romney.

can I protect my 100% record for picking election results (and primaries) over that last decade or so? this time I am up against the odds even worse than my picks of Howard against Latham Clark over Brash, kerry over Dean and Bush over Kerry... but let's see how it goes.....

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Hampshire

New hampshire results are in

1) Again the commentators have let us down via their poor analysis of new Hampshire - admittedly based on polls - but my point from Iowa stands - Obama will find it harder to turn out his supporters - sure he can do it in Iowa where it is just a caucus - but nationally? maybe not.

2) It looks like McCain got the independents in preference to Obama. that means McCain may beat Obama in a head to head. I am almost ready to call that one - although it depends a little on primary campaign strategy and also I'm still not picking McCain to win the nomination anyway.

3) Huckabee is the fast track to annihilation for the republicans - but he may well make it - I thought it was a bit late for him and that he would shoot himself in the foot in the debates - but no, he might just do it...

Monday, January 07, 2008

McCanns to be charged

Looks like the McCanns will finally be charged . I'd like to say they are going to go down for the crime - but they will probably spend a huge amount of money from their rich friends on their defense and get off.

To think they spent so long sucking in gullible but well meaning people.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

US democracy at work

US democracy at work

To win delegates in a precinct a candidate must receive at least 15-percent of the vote there — in this auditorium that translates to 26 people. For a few brief moments, each of the three minor camps — Biden, Dodd, Richardson — tries to persuade the two others to join them. But it is clear that none of the three will survive the night. Their supporters are told to join a viable group — or form one.

The bigger groups begin to invite them over, to chant at them as if at a football game: “HIL-LA-RY! HIL-LA-RY!”

The sing-song tones ring out: “Edwards, Edwards!” and “Join Obama! [Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap!]”.

One young woman, holding a bakery box, shouts across the room: “Do you guys want some cookies? Come to Edwards!” After several minutes, the caucus chairman calls for attention. “I’m going to have to ask for silence for a moment so that people can think,” he says.

Hmm strange....
Still I guess in a way it is better than the equivalent in NZ which involves a bunch of politicians gathering in a room and figuring out what bribes will get them enough support to run the party.

Implicit bias test from harvard

this is an interesting test
it tests your implicit attitudes towards presidential candidates.
I think the methodology is slightly flawed in one regard.
there is a memory component to this you need to remember the candidates name - that means that if you are from a western country you might struggle to remember barak obama quite as quickly as you might remember John Edwards. Secondly you might remember Clinton just because she is more famous (and not that you actually like her more).
Now I expect they control for the obvious issue of selecting good or bad ideas associated with those guys but the problem here is where you get frustrated at the slight delay to your answering speed.

I came to expect that my answers for barak would be slower and so I had a slightly more frustrated mindset when answering his questions - then again who knows - maybe it would translate into not voting for him?

Anyway for the record John Edwards came top and obama came last - I expected that would be the result - unless hillary pipped john.

Friday, January 04, 2008


A point I have made before but deserves making agan came up in response to a comment on kiwiblog by radar

"imagine how terrible a situation must be to make a mother want to strap explosives onto herself and blow herself up?"

Now I don't think suicide bombing works that way. Consider this

1) suicide bombing is not a trivial task - the average grieving mother doesn't know how to make a effective suicide bomb or who to target. that means that there is another essential factor required - the 'terrorist organization'.

By terrorist organization i refer to the pure terrorist side of things - this is the set of angry people who's specific goal is to blow up people with suicide bombers.

2) The terrorist organization wants to blow things up - it isn't just a service provider to angry people. So it actively searches for people to do suicide bombings (and if it did not then it would be replaced by those that do - a competitive market place if you like). markers for suicide bombers will be people who are easy to persuade, take orders well etc. Also people who are not too smart because if they were smart it would make more sense to put them in the planning side of things rather than the blowing up side.

3) the terrorist organization invests in the suicide bombers - they train them and give them secret information (like their identity). Considering these people aren't very smart and are easy to influence, they don't want many of those people to back out or otherwise survive.

So we have a group of smart probably adult men with social power, weapons, money (compared to the others) in an organization that looks and sounds like a cult designed to find weak people as fast as possible, teach them to take orders and kill them in a public place.

The problem is there will ALWAYS be weak people - there are lots of weak people in NZ or anywhere else (after all there are cults everywhere) - what we lack is the organization that would train them to blow themselves up.