Peter Cresswell's blog

Restricting growth: It's not smart, and it sure ain't cheap

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-05-30 02:49

The busybody nostrums of town planners are slowly being seen for what they are: restrictions on people's lives; an insistence that people live as planners wish them to, rather than as they might choose for themselves -- and the planners' restrictions are adding enormous extra costs to housing. Two recent articles confirm that view, one from San Francisco and one from Boulder, Colorado.

Boulder has been described as "twenty-five square miles surrounded by reality." Boulder's town planning regime seems to confirm that view, says the Thoreau Institute's Randal O'Toole, who notes that a whopping ninety-percent of American housing markets are less expensive than Boulder.

Why? "Restrictive land-use planning has driven up housing prices in Boulder...


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Solving 'illegal immigration'

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-05-30 02:49

The case of Hirsi Ali highlights again the great immigration debate, and on that subject Harry Binswanger cuts to the chase once again. You want a solution to the 'problem of illegal immigration? Here it is:


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Great Structures: 'Brooklyn Bridge' - John and Washington Roebling

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-05-30 02:43

Recent Comments:
New York — by Peri Sword on Sat, 2006-06-03 18:40

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Great Structures: The Forth Rail Bridge - Baker and Fowler

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-05-30 02:39


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Mark Inglis. Hero.

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-05-30 02:37

A brief word on the issue of Mark Inglis, his heroic climb and the tragic death of David Sharp. Many people including Everest conqueror Sir Ed Hillary have questioned the morality of Mark Inglis walking past the dying David Sharp. Many details have emerged of what happened up 8000m up in the death zone -- a place so inhospitable to human life that at times just surviving is all you can do -- including the news that Inglis's own sherpas did investigate David Sharp and concluded no help was possible to him.

Recent Comments:
I personally haven't heard — by JoeM on Thu, 2006-06-01 23:34
News in the US? — by Peter Cresswell on Thu, 2006-06-01 22:44
Another relevant quote from — by JoeM on Wed, 2006-05-31 23:57

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Sprawl: A compact history

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2006-05-21 02:52

"Urban sprawl is one of the greatest enemies of good urban design," say some. I don't agree. As I've said here before, numerous times, urban sprawl is not your enemy. Sprawl is good -- good because it offers people living within a region choices in how they live, without the expensive barriers to entering the housing market that anti-sprawl regulation brings. Where zoning and planning regulations are nothing more than a windfall for existing owners, and a highly regressive form of taxation on those with lower incomes and wealth,


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Frank Gehry on film

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2006-05-21 02:47

Those who appreciate the architectural charlatan that is Frank Gehry -- known for screwing up bits of paper and telling his draughtsmen to turn the crumpled mess into a building (which he denies) -- will be interested in Sydney Pollacks' film tribute to the fraud. A trailer for the film can be seen here. The official site for the film is here. [Hat tip Butterpaper Australasia]

Recent Comments:
Anti-design like Gehry's — by Ross Elliot on Tue, 2006-05-23 05:59

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Telstra Shrugs?

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2006-05-21 02:47

Who said this, and about what: “Those who risk capital to earn returns shouldn't have to subsidise those that don't.”

If I told you that the subject of the comment was telecommunications, you might think it was a comment from a disgruntled Telecom-NZ shareholder. It wasn't. It was said by Telstra's chief executive Sol Trujillo who, eleven months into his job, is resisting 'unbundling' of his company's Australian broadband network and calling instead for deregulation.


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A cash prize for free market writers

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2006-05-21 02:45

Writers and journalists may enter their work for a US $10,000 prize -- writers and journalists that is, "whose published works promote the institutions of a free society: limited government, rule of law brokered by an independent judiciary, protection of private property, free markets, free speech, and sound science." So that's about four of you in New Zealand.

Recent Comments:
IPN — by Kenny on Sun, 2006-05-21 11:40

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Dutch Appeasers Reject Ali

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2006-05-21 02:43

In what seems to be the last straw for courageous Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch Immigration Minister has now revoked her passport, following which Ali has resigned her seat in parliament and suggested it's time to move to the States. US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Zoellick said she's welcome any time. As Andrei says at the 'Sir Humphrey's' blog, "Holland's loss will be America's gain." Sure will.

Recent Comments:
Why not, indeed? — by Craig Ceely on Tue, 2006-05-23 01:44
Why not open carry? That'd — by Duncan Bayne on Tue, 2006-05-23 01:15
Appeasement and personal safety — by Craig Ceely on Mon, 2006-05-22 21:24

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Nigger!

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2006-05-21 02:38

"Nigger!" That word signalled the success of the World War Two dam-busting operation, a great feat of arms immortalised in the classic film Dam Busters, and commemorated this week across Britain.

Recent Comments:
 BBC did edit this word — by Barry Jeenmaz on Fri, 2008-09-12 23:01
They could rename the dog — by Ross Elliot on Mon, 2006-05-22 00:57
PC BBC — by Kenny on Sun, 2006-05-21 11:21

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Cue Card Libertarianism - Laissez Faire

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2006-05-21 02:37

Laissez-faire: Literally, leave/let to make or do; denotes the policy of non-intervention by government in the economy, an obvious application of the libertarian non-initiation of force principle.

The term originates from the despotic reign of King Louis XIV who had grandiose ambitions for France and believed that only through the state could they be achieved. His chief adviser, Colbert, a 17th century French version of Sir Robert Muldoon or Jim Anderton, believed that he could manage and control his way to national prosperity and duly regulated everything in sight. Meeting one day with a group of industrialists, he asked them what more he could do for them. One of the industrialists, a man rejoicing in the name Legendre, replied: “Laissez-nous faire!” -- “Leave us alone!”

Recent Comments:
I understand Ayn — by 0 on Sat, 2011-10-22 22:29
Property rights — by 0 on Sat, 2011-10-22 01:06
Burnsy — by Kasper on Fri, 2011-10-21 22:23

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Today's Reprise—'Architecture is the scientific art of making structure express ideas'

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-05-09 00:15

"Architecture is the scientific art of making structure express ideas." A friend asked me recently just what the hell that quote from Frank Lloyd Wright actually means -- and to answer him, I had to go all the way back to the Middle Ages.

Recent Comments:
Peter, just like Lindsay's — by Ross Elliot on Thu, 2006-05-11 05:47
Beautiful, PC! — by Lindsay Perigo on Wed, 2006-05-10 07:03
Thanks — by wngreen on Wed, 2006-05-10 02:51

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Doves for War in Darfur

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-05-02 00:32
Marching yesterday for American military action in Darfur, Sudan, were many people who have previously marched (and voted) against American military action in Iraq including George Clooney, Al Sharpton and three members of the US Congress who voted against the liberation of Iraq.

Hypocrisy? Well, the New York Sun editorial writer is one who thinks so:


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War. What Is it Good for?

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-04-25 23:05

Yesterday's Anzac Day commemorations here in New Zealand and Australia brought many reflections on the nature of war. Here very briefly, is mine.

War is immensely brutal, intensely destructive, utterly brutal and heart-breakingly tragic for all involved. War is horrific. Wars very rarely have winners, only those who have lost the least. War, as The Age said yesterday, "is a dangerous and terrible thing, which should only ever be seen as a last resort."

Recent Comments:
Rick, I got a question for you — by JoeM on Thu, 2006-04-27 13:39
Adults are trying to talk, — by Peter Cresswell on Thu, 2006-04-27 10:50
Phew — by Rick Giles on Thu, 2006-04-27 08:38

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Getting out the Smoking Gun

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Mon, 2006-04-24 00:29

New Zealand MP Hone Harawira wants to stop other people smoking. "Tobacco has to go," he says -- and he wants the Government to pass laws criminalising tobacco producers to do it. In Hone's world, when you want other people to do something, it's time to get the government to pass a law to make them do what you want. To Hone and others like him, there is an automatic jump from "you should do this" to "I'm going to make you do this." Reason, moral persuasion, the recognition of people's right to choose for themselves ... all abandoned in favour of getting out the government's gun to make threats on his behalf.

Whatever the merits of his arguments about tobacco, in simple terms and like every other busybody in the country and right round the world, he wants to get the gun out to impose his own choices on others.


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Muslims get tits in a tangle

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-04-12 20:30

A new Muslim-sensitive edition of Playboy has appeared in the world's most populous Muslim nation that should please all the local and international idiots who favour wowserish puritanism for Muslim women -- the just-launched Indonesian edition lifts the burqah on "midriffs, thighs and cleavage," but contains no nudity. None at all. I swear I am not making this up.

Recent Comments:
Who ripped the pics out, dammit? — by Rowlf on Fri, 2006-04-14 06:15
Grizzlies — by Rick Giles on Thu, 2006-04-13 10:11
*I'm* not grizzling about — by Ross Elliot on Thu, 2006-04-13 02:35

A movie about the mind, apparently

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-04-12 20:28

Let me introduce you to a film in which the contradictions are apparently all worth it.

A teen-flick that celebrates intelligence.
A film in which Kim Basinger wins out by the use of her mind.
A thriller in which cellphones and technology star, and in which the mind comes out victorious over muscle.

Thrilling stuff, huh? Sounds like it to me too, and I know nothing more about it than what I've read here, and that it's called Cellular.

LINK: The digital divide: It's not the money stupid - Owen McShane, NBR

Recent Comments:
Life is 'cellular' nowadays...dude — by Rowlf on Sat, 2006-04-15 04:46

Celebrating those charming Easter rituals

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-04-12 20:26

Every year at Easter we celebrate sacrifice with time-honoured rituals that go to the heart of who we are as a society. This year will be no exception.

Recent Comments:
mmmm...sacrilicious.... — by JoeM on Sun, 2006-04-16 14:32
Closed — by Kenny on Sun, 2006-04-16 13:44
Shop Trading Restrictions are a Human Rights Issue — by Sandi on Fri, 2006-04-14 01:11

Is it true that the government that governs best, governs least?

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-04-12 20:18

'The Government that Governs Best, Governs Least.' That's true, but it's not the whole truth -- which just shows you how reliable bumper-sticker philosophy can be. What's missing from that analysis is what gets too many libertarians confused.

Recent Comments:
Size is important — by Kenny on Thu, 2006-04-13 13:48

A reminder that we're still at war with barbarism

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2006-04-09 20:44

Death to Marxism! Death to Fascism! Death to Islam! Death to all forms of tyranny over the minds of men! And shame on those who would appease or apologise for the evils these disgusting and barbarous ideas represent.

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for cowards to appease it - and Islam is the locus of evil in the contemporary world." If that statement from The Free Radical's Lindsay Perigo is not true, then the death and destruction of September 11 did not happen; then Theo van Gogh was not murdered; then the Danish cartoonists are not in hiding in fear of their lives; then hordes of stone-age barbarians did not take to the streets in reaction against those cartoons to say "Europe, you will have your own Holocaust soon," "Behead those who would insult Islam" and "God Bless Hitler"; then Bali, Madrid and London were not bombed by maggots who show those threats need to be taken very seriously indeed.

It's still not clear to some people that war was declared in the name of Islam some five years ago by representatives from the dark ages who hate the West for its wealth, for its happiness and for its material success. This post is yet another reminder for those people.

Recent Comments:
I'm all ears — by Rick Giles on Sun, 2006-04-16 04:20
Spoon Feeding, Rick Giles — by Wayne Simmons on Sat, 2006-04-15 18:27
Muslims from your "Muslims" — by Rick Giles on Sat, 2006-04-15 03:10

Perigo smeared

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2006-04-09 20:44

A local blogger has attacked Lindsay Perigo's 'Death to Islam' editorial as "bigotry" and "hate speech."

Recent Comments:
Well it's obvious the real — by gregster on Tue, 2007-07-10 04:52
Wow — by Andrew Bissell on Mon, 2006-04-10 01:55
You have at best — by Utility Belt on Mon, 2006-04-10 00:45

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Getting no (musical) satisfaction?

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-04-05 01:02

Reading a puff-piece the other day about the Rolling Stones' impending world tour, a piece of research was quoted that suggested our 'cultural choices' (or some such phrase) are all made between the ages of fifteen to thirty, following which we all apparently seek to recapture and reprise the thrill first felt in the first flush of adulthood.

This, said the journalist about the research, explains such phenomena as the constant repackaging and re-selling of CDs and albums of arthritic rockers, the $umpteen squillion Jimi Hendrix Rock'n'Roll Museum in Seattle (paid for with Paul Allen's Microsoft winnings), and the bland dreck played on expensive sound equipment emanating from the car windows of too many highly-paid middle-aged middle executives - 'life in the fast lane' - 'I can't get no satisfaction' - 'all in all we're just another lame-brain in the wall' - bleecch.

Recent Comments:
James V:I "hear" sincerity, — by Lanza Morio on Wed, 2006-04-12 07:45
Sincerity — by James S. Valliant on Sat, 2006-04-08 13:40
Hey James... — by Lanza Morio on Sat, 2006-04-08 05:02

Why Gareth Morgan is wrong to give his money away

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-04-05 00:59

Gareth Morgan is wrong to give his money away. Here's why.

There are some people who are so productive they almost can't help creating wealth. These aren't just wealth creators, they're walking machines of production, able to turn a dollar into ten, into a hundred, into a thousand, into seven hundred million... purely on the basis of a good idea, a lot of hard work, and an understanding of the way the world works.

Gareth's son Sam Morgan is such a man.

Recent Comments:
Yikes! — by Rick Giles on Wed, 2006-04-05 12:17
As was said elsewhere:Have — by Capitalist on Wed, 2006-04-05 07:14
Wrong? — by Rick Giles on Wed, 2006-04-05 03:48

Suppressing information. A challenge to free speech?

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-04-05 00:57

The use of suppression orders in recent New Zealand trials has come in for much debate, not least in two trials involving and alleging gang rape, the latest being the suppression orders from the Louise Nicholas/Clint Rickards (et al) trials just finished, and currently being informally challenged. A commenter here asked for my opinion on the various breaches of the suppression order in the recent rape trial: "PC," said Yalnikim, "I'm looking forward to your thoughts on "free speech versus information suppression." So here they are.


NZ's water problems cured by property rights?

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-04-05 00:55

Water has become an issue here in Godzone - dirty lakes in Rotorua; falling lake levels in South Island hydro lakes; rising demand for limited river water for agricultural irrigation.

All of these problems have been caused either largely or in part by a lack of sufficiently clear property rights in water -- a Tragedy of the Commons problem, and one recognised even by the Clark Government who has spent the last three years putting together a scheme for tradeable water rights, and by Rotorua Maori who are just beginning to talk about property rights as a means of protecting water quality in local lakes.


Lindzen on climate alarmism

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Mon, 2006-03-13 19:42

Richard Lindzen is one of the most well-known global warming 'skeptics.' Here is a recent Powerpoint presentation given by Lindzen "rebutting alarmist climate science." As Robert Bradley from PERC notes, "he explains, among other things, how each greenhouse gas emission has less of a climate effect than the one before -- a powerful scientific law that neuters the CO2 mitigation option as the years and decades progress."

Take a look. It only takes a minute to get the main arguments. The document itself is in PDF form.

Recent Comments:
PERC — by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-03-14 09:48
PERC — by Kenny on Tue, 2006-03-14 09:44
Okay Cool — by Marnee on Tue, 2006-03-14 00:52

This week at 'Not PC'

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2006-03-12 01:34

For those of you who disgracefully missed some of Not PC this week, here's a brief summary of the best of it. Feel free to pass it on to everyone you've ever met...

  1. Fallingwater: The story of how Frank Lloyd Wright drew up America's finest Twentieth-Century house in the time it took the client to drive two hours to meet him

    The story of how Frank Lloyd Wright drew up America's finest Twentieth-Century house in the time it took the client to drive two hours to meet him is the stuff of legend...

  2. God drinks Guinness

    Friday afternoon a week before St Patricks Day seems an ideal time to ponder a fairly convincing Ontological Proof of God provided by a skinful of Guinness, a pretty girl and a bright sun...

Recent Comments:
Plein Air — by Prima Donna on Mon, 2006-03-13 20:07
:-) — by Peter Cresswell on Mon, 2006-03-13 00:21
Oh my...'Colonial' (as I — by Prima Donna on Sun, 2006-03-12 23:16

Something Better than Rage, Pain, Anger and Hurt (reprised from SOLOHQ)

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-03-08 01:29

It might be fun to have a kid I could pass something on to
Something better than rage, pain, anger and hurt …

~Lou Reed

There’s nothing inherently more rational about a violin than a guitar – as Eric Clapton says, ‘It’s in the Way That You Use It!' It just so happens that over the last three centuries or three most violins have been asked to do more than have most guitars. That’s just the way it is.

Art really is our own shortcut to our own soul. Good art enables us to hold up a mirror to ourselves and to see what our own soul looks like - and it isn’t always pretty, and we’d sometimes rather not know. Arguably, music is the most personal of the arts because there is no other that plays so directly with our own emotions, and which tells us so directly (if we have ears with which to listen honestly) who we are.

Recent Comments:
Peter — by gregster on Thu, 2014-07-31 11:52
Thanks for your comments — by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-03-08 20:11
Agreed — by Robert on Wed, 2006-03-08 17:13

Smartest guys in the room? Are you kidding?

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Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-03-01 22:30

I saw a new film the other night at The Academy. A very simple film in which there are good guys and there are bad guys, and the film makes very sure we know which is which. But it seems to me that the film makes the same mistake as the people it criticises -- rather than showing all the facts, it invites us to take somebody else's judgement for our own, which was in part the reason for the catastrophic failure the film portrays.

The film was The Smartest Guys in the Room, portraying the collapse of what was then America's seventh-largest company. The bad guys were not 'baddies' in the usual Saturday matinee fashion of wishing harm on everyone. They were baddies because they had failed to perform a simple human task: they had failed to think about what theywere doing.

Recent Comments:
Group consolidation rules — by Merlin Jetton on Sat, 2006-03-04 14:26
Group consolidation rules — by Tim S on Sat, 2006-03-04 13:15
Your trader friend — by Tom Matassa on Fri, 2006-03-03 18:47

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