Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Tonight, Senator John McCain will be appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman on CBS. During this broadcast, he is going to announce that he will be a candidate for President of the United States. This is great news. John McCain is a very credible candidate and it is very likely he will be the next US President. A formal announcement and embark on a tour in April.
This will be a long and hard fought campaign and to be successful, John needs our help. This is something we need to do together, please join me in doing two things - making an online contribution (US residents only) at puntiki.JohnMcCain.com and spreading the word to your friends, family, and neighbors.
It appears in the NZ Herald that New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark is to meet with United States President George W Bush later this month. I hope she is up there do do a deal on some F16's and free trade agreement.
Helen Clark's office confirmed early today that she will meet President Bush during a visit to Washington on March 20-21. If she pops by LA maybe there will be a party at the Consul Generals place..... Wonder if she will be flying on her Air Force Boeing 757 or Air NZ?
The visit signals a continuing thawing of relations, with both countries appearing to concentrate on increased co-operation towards common goals rather than New Zealand's contentious anti-nuclear policy.
She is also likely to have talks with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, although that meeting is not yet confirmed. Wonder if she will be bringing Winston with her?
Helen Clark said she was looking forward to speaking with President Bush and other senior members of his administration.
"New Zealand and the United States enjoy a strong and mature friendship built on common values and a long history of working together in many areas," she said.
"Our world faces major security, economic, energy and environmental challenges in the 21st century.
"New Zealand values the opportunity to have dialogue with and work alongside the United States on many of these issues."
After meeting President Bush, the Prime Minister will visit Chicago and Seattle.
Helen Clark said she would look to promote New Zealand's science, technology, investment, education and tourism linkages with the US in the two cities.
The US is New Zealand's second largest trade partner.
Helen Clark last visited Washington in 2002, but has since met President Bush several times on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum.I hope she can make some progress and get some business done.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Depending on the private jet he chooses from NetJets - usually it's a relatively large one, to include staff and CHP bodyguards - Schwarzenegger and his posse could dump as much as 8,700 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for a single one-hour flight from Santa Monica to Sacramento, according to data from TerraPass, the carbon retailer.
The governor favors Gulfstream jets like the one pictured below, which he used in 1997 to promote "Batman and Robin." Helium Report has a chart showing how much private jets like that can pollute. By contrast, a single person traveling alone on a commercial flight contributes 477 pounds of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Having said that although Nixon tried it once, it is not a good idea for the Governor to fly commercially. It would take hours to clear all of the other travelers to fly with him.
Schwarzenegger is the most traveling governor in California history - sometimes twice-weekly flights to Sacramento and numerous weekend trips to his Idaho estate, to Maui, Las Vegas, Washington D.C. and other out-of-state places over the past three years. (His campaign picks up the multi-million dollar tab.) It should be noted that Schwarzenegger has unique security needs that probably require private travel. He is considered an icon of the Western world and he's married to a Kennedy.
Given his needs, Schwarzenegger would have to spend a lot of money to be "carbon neutral." He has tried to make up for it in other ways. Schwarzenegger signed legislation last year, AB 32, to curb global warming through state government regulations. Schwarzenegger made the macho, polluting Hummer a success, but lately he has tried to make up for it by developing a version that runs on hydrogen. Yesterday, he signed an agreement with four other Western governors to set up a regional trading system to curb emissions.
Celebrities and politicians have been fretting about their carbon footprint in recent years. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, author of the global warming legislation Schwarzenegger signed, himself was mindful of his carbon output when he traveled to the Davos conference in Switzerland. He purchased $136 in carbon credits for his trip, which helped pay for a mini hydro plant in West Sumatra, Indonesia.
Schwarzenegger now has another plan: offset the pollution created by his private jet travel. Spokesman Aaron McLear said the governor is developing a program that would calculate his carbon emissions from Jan. 1, 2007, forward. Cal-EPA confirmed they are looking at putting the governor's travel on the California Climate Action Registry, which would offset his carbon emissions by planting or protecting trees and other efforts.
Schwarzenegger is in Washington D.C. this week, but then flies to the Arnold Classic bodybuilding contest in Ohio. By private jet.
Monday, February 26, 2007
According to Drudgereport.com the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization committed to achieving a freer, more prosperous Tennessee through free market policy solutions, issued this press release late Monday:
Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy it seems.
Gore’s mansion which is 20-rooms and eight-bathrooms is located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville. The Gore household consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).
In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home which is a good thing, but I guess he needs to start following his own words and advice.
The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.
Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.
Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.
Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.
“As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk to walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use,” said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson.
In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006. That is more than some people earn in a year.
Maybe it is time to install some solar panels on the roof of the Gore Mansion???
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Labour Government is down 1.5% to 39.5% (1.6% below its 2005 General Election result).
National Party is up 0.5% to 41.5% - 2.4% above its 2005 General Election result
The Green Party vote is up 0.5% to 8%
New Zealand First Party is once again unchanged at 4%
ACT New Zealand 2.5% (up 1%)
Maori Party 2% (unchanged)
United Future New Zealand 1.5% (up 0.5%)
Jim Anderton’s Progressive Party 0.5% (unchanged)
and ‘Other Parties’ 0.5% (down 1%)
It seems that the Greens will still hold the key, for want of a better word, if an election was held today. Having said that a poll of 802 electors is not really a good enough effort in my opinion. I'd expect that a poll of 3-5000 people would show some differences to what was published but is that type of polling available?
Taking the poll at it's published figures it tells me that ACT has a lot of work to do to get the 15% I think the party needs to make a difference for the people of NZ after the next election. If the people within the Green party can pull 8% then there is no doubt that ACT can do better, but how does it do it?
I suggest a couple of these ideas.
I think that ACT should target Epsom plus 5 - 7 marginal seats or seats that can be won with handpicked possibly already known individuals. While it will be hard work at least it will be a good target for ACT and if the party get 3 or 4 seats then at least ACT is moving forward.
ACT should target 15% of the party vote, why not? I can't see why the goal should be set lower than the highest party vote percentage that ACT has received in the past. Make it known that 15% is what is wanted. If ACT targets 5 % and just miss out then that is bad news for the right.
The ACT web site needs a drastic upgrade, the President needs to get out and about more and ACT members need to be educated correctly on the policy so as they can effectively promote the party to get the momentum rolling. Positive letter writing to publications needs to be done with people saying that they are a ACT members. The public want to join the progressive people, and that is ACT.
The Liberal Party motto needs to go. It just simply confuses non political people. I'd suggest "ACT progressing forward for all New Zealanders" or ACT the progressive party would be a good change. What other idea's are out there?
For policy I'd suggest this.
Tax 20% and 10% GST, or 15% tax and 15% GST
Defense: larger investment in the armed forces with the mention that ACT would support a new fighter wing with F16's etc as well as active recruitment to build up the navy and army and air force. The Navy is having a hard time running the frigates with the lack of recruits. The idea of working for the dole could be suggested that working for the military is an option. That may well frighten some people but with some thought it could well work. ( Many will beg to differ)
Social welfare: Declare that ACT is not the social welfare busting party, but there is some people seriously abusing the social welfare system and ACT will create a system in which people on the social welfare system are reviewed on a 3 monthly basis and if they are not showing any form of change that they will be offered a position in the military, road works, trash removal system or the equivalent of working for the country. There is always going to be people that really are needing social welfare, but a massive shake up is needed.
Sickness beneficiary. Needs to be tested also on a similar basis. I know of people that have been provided with homes and payments for over 30 years by the govt and it leads down to their offspring and it is a never ending story. I am of the opinion that a high percentage of people on the sickness beneficiary are not sick and that they could well be doing something for the community at the least in return for a free ride. NZ spends way to much of the GDP on welfare.
Police: Massive recruiting and funding. It should not be the case that the Police send taxi's for people in trouble. What ever the rate is per person in NZ per police person it should be at least tripled. The police also need to be paid more. Private security is not really an option, but if it happens that way the local councils who hire these crowds should be funded by the govt or allowed to deduct these payments. Also the policeman / lady that shoots a criminal in defense should not be publicly charged if all the correct procedures have been followed. Taking a policeman / lady to court for speeding on public duty or getting a speed camera ticket on public duty, or dare I say it speeding while transporting the leader should be quashed.. It is a waist of public money and it is necessary for them to sometimes move faster than the speed limit. As long as no negligence has been preformed the police should be allowed to do what is necessary to uphold the law. People need to have respect and trust of the police.
Speed limit: There is places in NZ that would allow a safe speed limit of say 120 - 140 kph. This should be something that is considered with extreme guidelines. There is some places in NZ where the speed limit needs to be reduced... I think the whole system needs a big shakeup.
Green themes: Look at what Arnold has done in California. He has put himself in the position as a rather Green Governor and went from bad ratings to winning again. Look at the Green Party on 8%. I think that seriously considering making solar systems on the roofs of buildings tax deductible and giving tax breaks for companies and individuals working towards alternative fuel production is a good idea. As I mentioned last year in a blog post, Brazil is 100% self sufficient of oil now as they have a great ethanol infrastructure. Anything that promotes NZ's green image should be promoted provided it is viable. Electricity production needs to be ramped up in green ways and bio diesel and fuels even hydrogen should be encouraged. Green is good, but the Green Party is not particularly good.
The artists and musicians and actors in NZ do rely on NZ on air and grants and funding to do their work. The PM has a good system set up and I personally know musicians that have benefited in these grants to get their work out to NZ. They are doing their job to promote and entertain NZ and although that may not be ACT's policy, I think that to have a Greg Johnson or a Dave Dobbyn or a Tim Finn publicly telling kiwi's that they support ACT is a good thing and could be worth many millions in marketing and advertising. Having said that for some reason it is accepted that artists are left. I think that should change. I am sure if they knew that they are safe and the current system would stay in place with some minor tweaks, then that may well get more folk thinking ACT too. I'd prefer to support people working hard at getting ahead rather than people who sit on their backsides and bludge with no effort to pay back the community.
There are a lot more idea's, these are just some of mine. I know that change is mandatory within ACT if the party is going to rock ahead. Principals and policies need to be modified and then cemented and promoted.
I am sure that others have some good idea's to get ACT to the point of making a positive difference for all New Zealanders. I'd like to see them right here.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
The night life is interesting here. Everything is opened a LOT later than LA and there are a lot of Europeans which is also different to LA.
Walked past Versace's old place where he was shot on Ocean Drive.... What a location. I must say that Miami is certainly a place worth visiting if you get the time.
I'd like to go the the Keys and keep an eye out for Flipper, but time is running out and Ft Lauderdale beacons today.
Off to Beaver Creek again tomorrow as I have to attend to a small situation at the house there....... Back to the snow.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Friday, February 09, 2007
Remember this is NOT funny... Click HERE
Constable Shat Pant... :-)
Not something I'd suggest you try, as there a not a lot of people who would find this funny. You'd probably get a beating by fellow passengers and the rubber glove treatment upon arrival with priority landing rights at the closest airport to your current position.
In a letter to the mayor of the southwestern city of Katowice, the former anti-regime activists said that the staunchly anti-communist Reagan had been a "symbol of liberty," the Polish news agency PAP reported.
As a result, they said, he deserved to become the centre-piece of the city's Freedom Square, replacing a monument to the Soviet troops who drove out the occupying Nazis in 1945.
They also said that they wanted the site to be rebaptised "Ronald Reagan Freedom Square."
City hall spokesman Waldemar Bojarun said that Katowice's councilors would consider the issue.
Bojarun said that he had "enormous respect" for Reagan, as do a lot of people in the former Soviet Empire.
However, he said, the proposal could cost an estimated 500,000 zlotys (128,000 euros, 168,000 dollars) and the city had "other pressing needs." Looks like he is looking for donations.
There are already separate plans to erect a statue in memory of Reagan in the centre of the Polish capital, Warsaw, which would be paid-for from private funds.
Reagan, who dubbed the Soviet Union an "evil empire" is widely credited by Poles with having driven communism away for ever.
The conservative Republican made fighting communism the cornerstone of his 1980-1988 presidency, and backed Poland's Solidarity trade union after it went underground when the regime declared martial lawin 1981.
President Reagan died in June 2004 at the age of 93. Make sure you go to his Presidential library in Simi Valley just out of LA if you are in the area.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Mat and Nadine showed up late just in time when everything was finished, but where was Rymann?
I can feel the muscles in my back today as I must have shoveled for 4 or 5 hours, but it was well worth it. Keep an eye out on TV one and Maori TV in NZ for shots of the fern we created and the Haka Temuera Morrison lead.
George "Hamish's Dad" Klein and myself on Santa Monica Beach.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
In the early 1960s, the Bristol Aeroplane Company (which later became part of the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC)) in England and Sud-Aviation (which later became Aerospatiale) in France were both working on designs for a supersonic passenger airliner, the Concorde.
The last flight of this Air France Concorde
At that time, unknown to anyone in the Western World, the Soviet Union was also working on a supersonic transport (SST) known as the TU-144. The TU-144 was very similar to the Concorde in size and shape, but was designed to fly a little faster at Mach 2.35 (1,500 mph). If you flew in this plane and your trip was un-interrupted with mechanical failure and massive vibrations, then you were lucky.
The project was eventually canceled before the 2707 ever flew. Political, economic, and environmental factors led the United States to cancel the project. In March 1971, the US Senate rejected further funding and the project was cancelled 20 May 1971. At the time, there were 122 unfilled orders by 26 airlines, including PanAm, Continental, American Airlines and TWA. The two prototypes were never completed. This is a shame.
As envisioned by NASA's High-Speed Research (HSR) program, the next-generation High-Speed Civil Transport (HSCT) would fly 300 passengers at 2.4 times the speed of sound - crossing the Pacific or Atlantic in less than half the time presently required on modern subsonic, wide-bodied jets - at an affordable ticket price, estimated at less than 20 percent above comparable subsonic flights. The technology to make the this HSCT possible is being developed by an unprecedented teaming of major U.S. aerospace companies in the multi-year HSR program. Although actual development of such an advanced supersonic transport (SST) is currently on hold, commercial aviation experts estimate that a market for up to 500 such aircraft could develop by the third decade of the 21st Century.
NASA's mock up of what a HSCT would look like.
The top speed of a Boeing 747 at 30,000 feet is about 605 MPH which is nearly Mach 0.9. It takes about 12 hours for the 747 to fly from Auckland to Los Angeles and it does so in relative comfort.
The Boeing 747-400
Mach 2.4 is about 1629 MPH at 30,000 feet. This is 2.6 times the speed of the Boeing 747 therefore it would take just under 5 hours to fly in a plane capable of this speed provided it could do it non stop from Auckland to LAX.
So if the ticket from Auckland to LAX return is currently NZ$2300 and you could fly to LAX return in 5 hours (each way) for around NZ$3000 would you do it? I would. (although in reality I am sure the price would be closer to $5,000). This would make it possible for you to leave Auckland at 10am, get to LA at 6pm, have dinner and go out for a night on the town get up go to the airport, leave at 10am and get back to Auckland at noon. This would be an expensive 26 hour ordeal but wouldn't it be fun.
I hope the airline manufacturers are continuing the research on efficient supersonic airliners as we speak, that would be the next step in making the world smaller and traveling less time consuming.