Saturday, June 5, 2010

Oily rhetoric

Just to add to the vacuous comments by Tony Hayward (BP's CEO and this month's winner of the made-up-just-now Most Hated CEO) about this "disruption" (FAIL.  Try "DESTRUCTION") because of an inconvenient oil spill, and how this has "cost him a lot of money" (oh my heart bleeds oil for you):
BP CEO Tony Hayward promised that the company would clean up every drop of oil and "restore the shoreline to its original state."
So far, he's has almost redeemed himself.  I say "almost" because he has failed to clarify if this will be cleaned up out of BP's coffers in its entirety, or if the American victims (read: taxpayers) are expected to contribute.
"BP will be here for a very long time. We realize this is just the beginning," he said.
Actually, that scares me.  Just the beginning of what. exactly?  More oil spills?  More failed attempts at ceasing this damage on the coastline and the innocent creatures who once happily populated it?  More pointless rhetoric and failed attempts at sympathy for the CEO?

I've got nothing against drilling for oil - I do not think this one event (well ok, there have been a few) should prevent further oil exploration and drilling.  But I do have everything against BP's rhetoric.  Especially when they have so blatantly prioritised spending enormous sums of money on hypocritical greenie sycophantic advertising, and it seems very little on the safety and maintenance of their oil wells and for the people who staff them, and the innocent wildlife who tolerated giant rigs being randomly placed through their habitats.

And where exactly are those hypocritical greenies who benefited financially from BPs fawning?
“[T]he Nature Conservancy lists BP as one of its business partners. The Conservancy also has given BP a seat on its International Leadership Council and has accepted nearly $10 million in cash and land contributions from BP and affiliated corporations over the years,” Joe Stephens wrote for the Post May 24.

It’s not just Nature Conservancy either, the Post found $2 million in donations to Conservation International and relationships between BP and other lefty activist groups Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Sierra Club and Audubon.
Hard to know what to do.  If I exercise my consumer choice and avoid BP, I'm still unable to shop around for a competitive price, and the only people who will be affected by my boycott are BP's innocent franchise owners and their employees. 

Feeling conflicted.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Minimum wage = unemployment

I love this post from Not PC, so I pinched it from him and posted here.

A simple point from a master writer
Donald Boudreaux’s letters to the editor are small masterpieces of economic proselytisation--like Bastiat in miniature. Here’s his latest to the New York Times (pinched from Cafe Hayek):
Dear Editor:
Suppose Uncle Sam orders you to raise by 41 percent the price you charge for subscriptions to your newspaper.  Would you be surprised to find a subsequent fall in the number of subscribers?  If you assigned a reporter to investigate the reasons for this decline in subscriptions, would you be impressed if that reporter files a story offering several possible explanations for the fall in subscriptions without, however, once mentioning the mandated 41 percent price hike?
Unless you answered “yes” to this last question, I wonder why you published Mickey Meece’s report on today’s record high teenage unemployment rate (“Job Outlook for Teenagers Worsens,” June 1).  Between 2007 and 2009, Uncle Sam ordered teenage workers (who are mostly unskilled) to raise the price they charge for their labor services by 41 percent.  (That is, the federal minimum-wage rose from $5.15 per hour in 2007 to its current level of $7.25 in 2009 – a 41 percent increase.)
Does it not strike you as more than passing strange for your reporter – assigned to help explain why teenagers today have an increasingly difficult time finding jobs – to ignore the fact that these teenagers are ordered by government to raise significantly the wages that they charge their employers?
Donald J. Boudreaux

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Chip Scoop Act 2010

The following article from Stuff means any one of the following:

a) the local council felt 3,578,356,825 bylaws just weren't enough, so they teamed with The Chip Group to add one more bylaw, while generating membership for the Group;
b) the anti-food brigade decided it would be more effective to control chip scoop sizes, rather than promote a user pays health care system where people would moderate their behaviour through personal choice; or
c) the chip eating market in Christchurch is too stupid to let the market dictate where they buy their good value, tasty chips from; or
d) it was a slow news night, and the events in Gaza are irrelevant when chip scoop sizes vary and the market is too dumb to buy their chips elsewhere.

Christchurch fish-and-chip shops have backed calls to standardise the size of a scoop.
The Chip Group, which comprises industry figures from potato growers to government agencies, has called for a standard scoop to weigh 330 grams before it is cooked.
The Chip Group chairwoman Glenda Gourley said portion sizes could vary wildly.
"When a consumer walks into a chip shop they don't know what quantity to expect," she said.
"Not only will consumers be better off, but chip-shop operators will also be able to better account for the finance side of their businesses if they know more accurately what they are serving."
In Christchurch, a random test of four shops found that scoops varied from 275g to 425g, while the cost varied from $2 to $2.20.
Lyttelton Fisheries served the 425g portion, while a scoop from City Fish and Chips weighed 275g.
Theo's Fisheries manager Yiannis Ioannou supported the standardised scoop.
The Riccarton Rd retailer does not have a standardised portion.
"That would be a good idea because when you have a set amount you can save a few sacks of spuds a week.
"It would keep it fair for customers," Ioannou said. "We try to keep it as fair as possible, but on a Friday night rush you just scoop it in quickly."
City Fish and Chips manager and co-owner Lou Donaggio also supported the standard scoop size.
"A standardised scoop size would be fairer on people, rather than having one place giving you four chips and another giving you 10."
Donaggio said customers wanted tasty chips, but also good value for money.
Lyttelton Fisheries manager Helen Lei said the shop had no standard scoop size.
But portions usually weighed about 350g before cooking.
Connoisseur Ellen Gray said she was happy with the two scoops of chips, pineapple ring and piece of fish she ordered from City Fish and Chips last night.
"We had a good amount.
"Maybe even too much, but we ate them," Gray said.
"They were good."
Gray said the outlet had been her "local" for about two years.
Gourley said a standard scoop size would be healthier for customers.
"In this day of increased dietary awareness by consumers, it makes sense that customers know exactly what they are getting," she said.
The organisation plans to inform chip shops of the recommended portion size.
It also intends to tell them where they can buy the standard scoop.