Political Correctness in Coroners’ Courts

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Filed under New Zealand, Random Grumps & Raves, Rights and Responsibility, The Demise of Democracy and Freedom
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The NZ Herald reports here that a coroner has recommended that a licence should be needed to hire nail guns – a move labeled an overreaction by DIYers.

William McLay, 56, was found dead in his Kapiti Coast home by police in March 2009.  He had hired a Ramset nail gun from Hire Equip two days before his death.

In July 2012, Coroner Ian Smith concluded that Mr McLay, who was unemployed and had a history of anxiety and depression, committed suicide.  The coroner has recommended to the Government that people who want to a hire nail guns be required to produce a licence to operate such equipment.

He noted that he had dealt with other cases involving the tools.

Now, Coroners inquests in New Zealand are inquisitorial; they are fact-finding exercises.  They establish cause of death, and if the coroner finds that there is something we could change that would significantly reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences without other undesirable consequences, he or she may make a recommendation.  In this case, Mr McLay killed himself with the nail gun.  A gun, eh?!  Guns are deadly, says Ian Smith. All guns should be licensed and heavily restricted.  After all, just look at what happened here.  Nail guns can be hired freely, and William McLay took advantage of that, hired a nail gun and committed suicide with it.  Obviously the only remedy is to introduce yet another restriction, yet another control, yet another compliance cost, to the nanny/school-marm state!  It is the only politically correct thing to do.  Right?

If we followed Ian Smith’s recommendation and  legislated to require licensing of all nail gun users, what consequences would we expect?

  • Well, it would inconvenience DIYers, who would either face the compliance cost of obtaining a licence, or would no longer have the option of hiring a nail gun for their larger projects.
  • For some, lacking the nail gun option might prevent them altogether from doing all but the smallest DIY projects.
  • It would increase the work-load of the licensing examiners and bureaucrats, thus increasing their numbers, inflating the compliance  costs and possibly forcing increases in taxes and rates.

What consequence should we not expect?

Any reduction in our suicide rates.  It might, just might, reduce the likelihood of the  choice  of a  nail gun as  a suicide method, but would  not prevent the seriously depressed from ending it all.  There  were other avenues open to McLay.

In fact, if the coroner  recommended restricting access to ropes, cutlery, power tools of all sorts, streams, rivers, oceans, all bridges more than one metre above the surface, gas heaters, razor  blades, rat poison, motor vehicles,  ladders, petrol, LPG, pool chlorine  and anything remotely capable of causing death, it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference to the suicide rate.

It would merely make our lives even more difficult and costly than the nanny and school-marm state zealots  have so far succeeded in achieving.

 

All Black – but What’s in a Name anyway?

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Filed under New Zealand, Random Grumps & Raves
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A NZ Herald editorial on Saturday 6 June discussed a possible deal between the NZ All Blacks and the American company, and opposed the deal.  It had this to say:

To prevent the undermining of the  All Black brand, the New Zealand Rugby Union has jealously guarded its trademarks and copyrights.

It is all the more surprising, therefore, that it could be contemplating an advertising logo across the front of the All Black jersey. The suitor is reported to be insurance company AIG.

The rugby union has not denied the suggestion, and says it is talking to several potential sponsors in the lead-up to the Rugby Championship.

Advertising on the All Black jersey would not be new. There was a discreet Steinlager logo in the mid-1990s. That was not well received by many fans. The name of an American insurer with a problematic profile emblazoned across the front of the playing strip would be many times more intrusive and would, therefore, create a far greater furore.

The level of opposition should lead the rugby union to reconsider. So, too, should the prospect of damage to the All Black brand.

A black jersey adorned only with a silver fern and the manufacturer’s moniker makes a powerful statement. Not for nothing does it have a worldwide status akin to that of Italy’s soccer shirt, a strip also noted for its commercial-free purity.

If the All Blacks went the way of the Wallabies, the Springboks and British rugby sides, it would only devalue that status.

The All Blacks would become just another team, and any immediate financial gain would have to be balanced against the long-term implications of a serious diminishing of the brand.

I agree that we should oppose the deal, but for a fundamentally different reason.   The Herald editorial surrenders before it even begins the fight, because it concedes that “All Black” is merely a brand.

“Coca Cola” is a brand.  ”L’Oreal”, “Colgate”, “Ford”, “Apple”, “Microsoft”, “Mobil”, Betty Crocker”, etc are brands.  You get the idea…

“All Black” properly should be grouped with words or phrases like “Anzac”, “New Zealand”, “New Zealander”, or “Maori”.   While they all have powerful brand value (the successes of our tourist, film and dairy industries illustrate that very clearly) none of them are brands, none should ever be brands.  They are much more than that – they are definitive identifiers.  They are who and what we are, and are not for sale, not to be qualified by tags of commercial ownership or patronage.  Can you imagine it – the Mobil Anzacs, the Hyundai New Zealanders?  Changing the iconic TVNZ programme “Country Calendar” to “Hyundai Country Calendar” is bad enough, thanks.  But in TVNZ’s defence, they did create the programme and own it and the name outright.  It is entirely their business if they choose to diminish their own brand for commercial reasons, and all I can do is express sadness that they found it necessary to do so.

The NZRU did not create the All Blacks name.  In this case, “Diminishing the brand” doesn’t even begin to describe the issue.  If we describe the proud name of our national side as a brand, the damage is already done, because we have already diminished it.

It’s OK to allow that the All Blacks are “proudly sponsored by AIG”, and we could acknowledge it with an AIG logo discreetly placed on the Jersey in the same way as the Adidas logo is now. But to emblazon the AIG or any other logo across the front of the jersey is too close to calling our team “The AIG All Blacks”.

No.  The name is not for sale.  Neither is the All Black jersey.  Let’s leave that kind of sell-out to the Wallabies and Springboks.

 

TV Sets and Global Warming – a Ground-breaking Study

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Filed under Global Warming, Things to Consider
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Climate scientists have developed new models which plot natural oceanic temperature cycles, solar activity, and cathode-ray-tube (CRT) television household penetration against average global temperatures over time.  They show a surprising an unexpected result.  The recent unprecedented change in climate appears to be closely related to the number of cathode ray television sets in use.

At the beginning of the second world war, there were only about 8000 sets in use.  By 1949, there were over 3,602,872 in the US alone, and by 1959 accumulated sales in the US totalled more than 67 million.  Sales continued through the 70s and 80s at over 10 million sets per year.  As the global economy flourished, the trend was replicated all over the developing world.  The studies showed that the globe warmed more and more rapidly, matching the rising numbers of TV sets, until around the turn of the millennium, when it paused for ten years, and now appears to be in decline.

Interestingly, the models hind-cast the temperature variations since 1950 with astonishing accuracy. And critically, when the CRT penetration is removed from the models, we cannot explain those temperature variations.  There is no other acceptable conclusion, no other factor that can achieve the match with temperature variations.

Ah, I hear you object, China and India, the new Asian super-economies, are booming.  The number of TV sets sold is sky-rocketing again.  If Global Warming has ceased, how could it possibly be related to TV sets?  Right now, the number of sets in use in the world is 1416338245.

Pay attention!  TV technology has undergone a sea change.  The cathode-ray tube is out.  In the twenty-first century, flat-screen TFT and LED screens have taken over.  These do not emit the same radiation as the older, earth-warming monsters that sat in the corner of the room and heated our planet.  And as the old CRT screens sputter, distort and die, they are being replaced by the new, green, tree-hugging, polar-bear-loving flatties.  We are saved!

Earlier climate models achieved a reasonable match using global CO2 atmospheric variations, enough to give cause to speculate that the reason for the rise might be CO2.  But only to speculate.  CO2 concentrations are still rising at an increasing rate, but the global temperature since 2000, initially flat, is now declining.

And that, dear readers, should be the end of the argument.  I defy you to show me that this little analysis is any less robust or scientific than all of the scientific reports used by the IPCC, Al Gore, the EU or Skeptical Science.  The data behind my reasoning shows a closer match to world temperature fluctuations than any of the computer models used by NASA, GISS or UEA.

Trust the science on this.  Using our model, we can predict with 98.73% certainty that the temperature will decline for the next thirty years to at least the same level as it was in 1970.  More likely it will be even lower, as by 2040 there will be very few CRTs still in use.

What’s that?  You want to examine my data?  You have a confounded cheek.  It’s commercially sensitive and the TV companies have placed it under an embargo.

And I didn’t archive it, and seem to have lost it.