Back into the community

The average payout ratio is 70 per cent, 70 per cent of the $21 billion [profit the big four banks make] goes back into the community. There is a good story there.

– National Australia Bank chief executive Cameron Clyne to the Australian Financial Review, November 22, 2010 [Matthew Drummond: “Clyne turns on peers over banks row”]

It’s surely a sign of the regression of political discourse when a bank chief making a play for ‘the nice guy of banking’ title thinks the size of dividend payouts makes a good case for profits.

Published in: on 22 November, 2010 at 8:11 am  Leave a Comment  

We fought the law, and we won (with the help of some other laws and good lawyers)

Twelve years ago I was arrested on New Zealand Parliament Grounds during a protest, along with 74 others. It was my first year of uni. A bunch of us later sued the government for arbitrary arrest and false imprisonment. This year Beggs v Attorney General finally reached a conclusion with a settlement offer. (It’s in my name by accident of alphabetical order.) I banked the cheque today. A formal apology is apparently on the way. Cheers to Tony Ellis who saw it all through, after defending us for free, for this and for generally inspiring fear and loathing in the hearts of cops and Crown prosecutors over the years. Also to Tony Shaw and everyone else who worked on the case.

It was in the news back in July. This post at Public Address gives the history of the case, and its headline is a hilarious pun.

Published in: on 10 November, 2009 at 7:51 pm  Comments (4)  

It Came from the Desert

dust

Sydney does a good apocalypse. Our first Spring in Sydney, a plague of Bogong moths arrived, darkened the sky, coated the balcony for several days, then went back to their migration, though we kept finding stragglers for weeks. Today was much weirder.

Published in: on 23 September, 2009 at 2:43 pm  Comments (2)  

Scene in a Honolulu courtroom

Last Tuesday, September 2, in the court of District Judge Helen Gillmor:

Justice Department attorney Andrew Smith: OK, let’s assume that there was a NEPA [National Environmental Protection Act] obligation, and maybe there’s a NEPA document out there, maybe there’s not. But we don’t even need to get there. Plaintiffs’ complaint says they have to be injured by this project. Their only claim to injury…

Judge Gillmor: … is that the world might blow up, and so we shouldn’t get concerned about that. You’re right. Why was I even considering it? Mr. Smith, I mean, I really find that, you know, I don’t know if there’s anything to this case, but that’s just not a great direction to be going.

Smith: I’m not following you. I mean, if their only claim to injury is that the world’s …

Gillmor: That they might die.

Smith: Right.

Gillmor: Yes.

Smith: So they have to show that that’s a credible injury. Is it actually going to happen? I can’t just go into federal court and say, you know, ‘the United States is participating with Israel to launch a nuclear missile, satellite that has nuclear material in it, and that nuclear material might land on my house in Albuquerque. They didn’t do NEPA. I have standing.’ That’s what this case is about.

Gillmor: I understand what you just said, that hypothetical, but that’s not his [Wagner’s] hypothetical. His hypothetical … I mean, and you know, his hypothetical is that the world would be made into a, you know,¬†hard iron rock, which is different than ‘I might be an unintended casualty of something that’s happening half around the¬†world – way around the world, but the person next door wouldn’t be.’

Published in: on 10 September, 2008 at 7:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Get yourself a noutbuk

From a Russian McDonalds ‘help wanted’ ad, as run through Babelfish by Chris Doss and reported to the Left Business Observer-talk list:

Makdonalds pays more than you think! In the month of work into Makdonalds, you will quietly purchase to yourself noutbuk, plasma panel, stylish shmotki or something still! Moreover you await diverse bonusy.

VALUE YOUR TIME Together with the possibility to earn money we allow flexible schedule so that it would not be necessary to select between the work and the studies, but also, since in essence we work with the young people, you it awaits many merry measures and chances to appear ourselves in the most different regions.

GROW Each has the equal possibilities to be arranged to us to the work or, if you already work, to obtain addition to the wage and increase in the post.
Remember: that only, that can influence your advance on the career stairs, your activity, the energy, also, for the new achievements.

BE JOINED Yes, work not simple, but it hardens spirit, and it gives the habits, which will be highly useful in further life. You can directly now fill form and send it to us. If you value your time, Makdonalds – your place of work.

Published in: on 15 April, 2008 at 9:55 am  Leave a Comment  

On the liberal use of artificial ice in the ruling of India

In the context of a discussion of the impact of climate on various races’ fitness to rule:

This may have to be modified a little, but only a little, if F. Galton should prove to be right in thinking that small numbers of a ruling race in a hot country, as for instance the English in India, will be able to sustain their constitutional vigour unimpaired for many generations by a liberal use of artificial ice, or of the cooling effects of the forcible expansion of compressed air. See his Presidential Advice to the Anthropological Institute in 1881.

– Alfred Marshall [1920 – but 1 ed. in 1890], Principles of Economics, 8 ed., p. 603.

This looks like a job for Doctor Abstraction!

Any regular readers needing some escapism during all this Keynes should go take a look at Orange Polyester’s Marxist superhero comic.

Published in: on 15 October, 2007 at 10:31 am  Comments (2)