Hard News by Russell Brown


I wouldn't want them to get big-headed, but DogBitingMen does seem to reach places that other blogs don't. Item: Neil Falloon's thinkpiece on Stephen Franks, based on what I am assured is a genuine conversation, comes up with a brilliant, and probably accurate, simile:

His mind is not like a steel trap. More like a Swiss Army knife that, once the can opener has proven ineffective, can offer a dizzying array of alternatives: a magnifying glass, a pocket knife and a bottle opener. Most of these contraptions will prove utterly useless, but all will look nice and shiny splayed open to gleam in the sunlight.

Also, David Young earnestly contemplates civil unions, but can't resist a fnaar-fnaar moment …

Reinventing TVNZ seems finally to be picking up a bit of steam. Anonymous linked to a post of mine from last week. The comments are interesting.

Another scare story from The Economist on the looming fate of the greenback. It concludes thus:

Many American policymakers talk as though it is better to rely entirely on a falling dollar to solve, somehow, all their problems. Conceivably, it could happen—but such a one-sided remedy would most likely be far more painful than they imagine. America's challenge is not just to reduce its current-account deficit to a level which foreigners are happy to finance by buying more dollar assets, but also to persuade existing foreign creditors to hang on to their vast stock of dollar assets, estimated at almost $11 trillion. A fall in the dollar sufficient to close the current-account deficit might destroy its safe-haven status. If the dollar falls by another 30%, as some predict, it would amount to the biggest default in history: not a conventional default on debt service, but default by stealth, wiping trillions off the value of foreigners' dollar assets.

The dollar's loss of reserve-currency status would lead America's creditors to start cashing those cheques—and what an awful lot of cheques there are to cash. As that process gathered pace, the dollar could tumble further and further. American bond yields (long-term interest rates) would soar, quite likely causing a deep recession. Americans who favour a weak dollar should be careful what they wish for. Cutting the budget deficit looks cheap at the price.

I know The Economist backed Kerry and is thus a friend of the terrorists, etc, etc, but you have to wonder how long the official denial can last. The interesting thing for lil' ol' us is that New Zealand exporters, for now, seem to be coping with the relative strength of our dollar.

But is this really the administration you'd trust to competently privatise your superannuation?

I wonder who's leaking this stuff? Largely gloomy assessment of the Iraq situation from the CIA's departing station chief in Baghdad.

The vote-rigging story just won't die. Blue Lemur has an interesting report, and plenty of comment, on the software engineer who claims to have been ask by Florida Congressman Tom Feeney to write software that would allow vote totals to be secretly altered. He's signed an affadavit. The problem, as I have repeatedly pointed out, is that there's no way of telling whether he's smoking crack or not.

The next Great New Zealand Argument is a couple of days late, but is really worth waiting for. Tomorrow, hopefully.

And finally, thanks muchly to Karajoz Coffee Company for putting on last night's preview screening of Team America: World Police for Public Address readers. Clearly, all you key opinion formers like the idea, so we'll do it again. I don't entirely subscribe to Parker and Stone's politics, but the movie is really bloody funny. And not just for the puppet sex.

PS: Last chance to dance. The Campaign for Civil Unions' email wizard has been fed some vitamins and is back live and loaded. Have a go if you think you're hard enough. Fnaar fnaar …

PPS: Can anybody help me out with a contact for Nick Gormack, son of Nag's Head Press founder Bob Gormack? He was working as a journalist at The Press until relatively recently.