Monday, 26 September 2016


I wasn't expecting that!


It was on the first day and he was first with A D H D
So he created all the elements and light years of space
But on the seventh day the universe blew up in his face
And he said damn, I wasn't expecting that

When he looked around at the terrible deed he had done
He called to Noah so he could give him a little fun
Forty days and forty nights later, Noah looked over the side
And said hell, I wasn’t expecting that

When the flood failed to change the wickedness of the flock
The great man with ADHD gave the virgin Mary a baby saviour
So she looked at the baby and away out the manger door
And said holy father, I wasn’t expecting that

Isaac Newton dreamed long about his theory of gravity
He dreamed gravity all day and gravity while in bed
But it was the collision of an apple upon his head
That made him cry, I wasn’t expecting that

It started in Pudding Lane London, the great fire of sixty-six
In Thomas Farriner’s bakery with all his scones and bread
After it destroyed the city and left countless thousands dead
The baker lamented, I wasn’t expecting that.

The Titanic was the largest thing afloat, until it met an iceberg
They clambered into the lifeboats, or swam, it was too deep to walk
And if the creator had made big icebergs that could talk
The cry would have been, I wasn’t expecting that.

Al Qaeda terrorised the world for decades, bombings and attacks
Osama bin Laden was their leader and deputy to invincible Allah
But when the bullet hit him above the eye, he had no karma
To exclaim, Allah, I wasn’t expecting that.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016


This sample of crazy Texas place names will make you laugh

The broad plains of Texas are famous for historical gun battles, cowboys and boring scenery, but not so boring are some of the place names of the Lone Star State.
The monotony of the Texas countryside
is interrupted only by the curious place names

Situated a few miles north of Houston on Texas Route 105 is one of the more dramatic sounding Texan place names is the small town of Cut and Shoot with a population of 1,000. Cut and Shoot as a name had its origins early in the twentieth century when apparently there was a dispute over the design of the steeple on the town’s only church. Although there is no evidence existing of actual shooting, it would appear that there was no shortage remarks with a cut.

Cut and Shoot gained international fame in 1958 when Cut and Shoot boxer Roy Harris fought Floyd Patterson for the heavyweight title. Later, in 1983, local lass Debra Maffett won a comparative featherweight bout in the Miss America contest. Apparently, some local lads were so proud of young Debra that they wanted Cut and Shoot renamed Butt and Boob.
Beware of the Woman
Hollering ghost

Twenty miles east of Cut and Shoot and still on Route 105, a small town established in 1889 underwent a number of name changes before the Security Land Company moved in in 1910 and changed the name to Security. Security has seen booms and busts, first with a railroad junction and later with a lumber industry, but the most secure thing about Security lies in the name. 

Point Blank, Texas, on the west shore of Lake Livingston, was originally named Blanc Point by the first French settler in the 1850s. But more recently long, tall Texans who are noted for point-blank talk, even if it has to be with a Texas drawl, decided point-blank that it should be Point Blank.

Sharpstown’s claim to fame is that by firing the city police the locals were able reduce crime by over 60% in less than two years. But the claim is lame and nothing more than a false rumour. The only sharp thing about Sharpstown is that it was named after Frank Sharp who was probably a frankly sharp as a tack wheeler dealer.

Friday, Texas, is a collection of scattered farms with little evidence of a town. It would seem that the first settlers started out with good intentions on a Friday, went home for the weekend and never returned. On the other hand, Gun Barrel City, a few miles south-east of Dallas, has always been a place of action. Early in the twentieth century the area was a popular hang-out for outlaws including the notorious Bonnie and Clyde. The first road through the area was known as Gun Barrel Lane and the residents often sat at their windows with shotguns pointing out to deter undesirables. To this day, the motto for Gun Barrel City is “We Shoot Straight With You.”
Highway America

Ding Dong is the name of a small settlement south of Waco where two settler brothers, Zulis and Bert Bell hired a sign maker to create a sign for their new store. The sign maker painted two bells on a board and on the bells he painted Ding and Dong for the two brothers. No evidence can be found to indicate that the sign maker ever got paid for his efforts.

Not so funny is the legend behind Woman Hollering Creek just outside San Antonio. The story goes that a distraught woman drowned her baby in the creek after its father ran off with another woman. It is said that since her death her spirit haunts the creek.

Not so certain is the exact location of the City of Uncertain, or at least it was uncertain when the surveyors came through the area. They called the area Uncertain because they were uncertain as to whether they were in Texas or Louisiana. However, there was certainty in the determination of local residents in another area to secure a post office for their nameless community. After putting forward several names and having them all rejects for registration they were still nameless, so they applied for Nameless and were successful.

Other Texas unusual place names include Red Gate, Utopia, Hell, Hoop and Hollo, Topsy, Cross Cut, Goodnight, Noodle, and Knickerbocker. But there is nothing in Texas to match 
Taumatawhakatangi­hangakoauauotamatea­turipukakapikimaunga­horonukupokaiwhen­uakitanatahu in New Zealand, or Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch in Wales.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016


The Nigerian 419 scammers and fake reviewers want to steal your money

A new comment on the blog post Dr Stephen Mak a Fraud is indicative of a long list of comments placed by suspected professional comment creators. Sometimes the comments come directly from the scammers who stands to profit from the foolishness of people who are desperate for money and/or magic cures.

Professional commenting and reviewing has grown into a whole new and lucrative industry. The products and services include magic cures (especially herbal or natural cures), financial services, hotels, electronic products, psychic services and a host of other often dubious products and services.

The Nigerian scam has been around for decades and originated long before the internet. But here is a recent version:

Please send money to help this Nigerian astronaut get home from his secret space mission. He needs $3 million.

The new comment on Dr Stephen Mak a Fraud (37,000 readers) is supposedly from Susan Malila, Dallas, Texas, who does not surface in any Google search other than for the same comment which appeared on numerous sites on the same day. Here is her comment exactly as it was written:
The photo accompanying the comment
by Susan Malila. But it could be a photo
of anyone

I am Susan Malila from Dallas Texas, United States.i have been living in pains for the past 2 years now not until i meet Dr prince who was able to restore my life back with his herbal medicine, i have been HIV positive for the past two years now everyday of my life i cry to God as I was a mother of 2 cute kids who were looking up to me i was still taking my medication from the hospital which cost me a lot, I also did some prayers to God that he should do some miracle in my life,Few Months ago i was browsing on net when I found some good testimonials about Dr prince Herbs, and someone recommended that he has cured Hiv,diabetes,cancer,ulcer,and so many other disease I always had faith that God could use someone to heal me, then I contacted Dr prince and I told him my problems, he told me not to worry that with God all things are possible and also that he was going to prepare for me some herbal herbs which i am to take and he is going to send the medicine to me, well after all the guidance and medication from Dr prince he advice that i go for check up again to see my status result and he assured me of good result, i was afraid at this point cause i never wanted someone to tell me again that i am positive, after 2 days I went to the Hospital for check up and they said the result was to come out by Friday, at 11:00 AM on Friday the Doctor called me and told me that the result was out and I am Negative, I was shocked and could not believe it, I immediately called Dr prince and told him about the good news he told me to rejoice and make sure I share my testimony with my friends and that is why I am doing this right now, friends you can contact Dr prince today on ( call him on +2348163241499.

International calling code +234 belongs to Nigeria. Is it possible, or even highly likely, that Dr Prince and Susan Malila are one and the same? A Google search for Dr Prince turned up this:
419 scam email from Dr. Prince Raymond Federal Republic Of Benin Finance Minister +229-68856789
Originating IP:
Originating ISP: Isocel Telecom
City: Cotonou
Country of Origin: Benin

from: western.union <> 
reply-to: "western.union" <>
date: Wed, Apr 27, 2016 at 11:34 AM
subject: MTCN Number: 7298423178 


Direct:Telephone Number:+229-68856789
Email: (


Attention:Dear Customer,

Welcome to Western Union Money Transfer Agent, We wish to inform you that the IMF have release your fund sum of $1,5 million US dollars issued on your name the money was deposited with us in this Office as MTCN credit card, we shall be sending the money to you everyday $5000.00usd until we complete the total payment.

We are very glad to inform you that we have processed  your first payment of $5000.00usd, but bare it in mind that the $5000.00usd will not be given to you except you pay for service charges which is $200, you have to pay the money through our service western union to the information we give you here, then after confirm the payment of $200 from you, we shall release your first $5000.00usd to enable you pick it up and get back to us for the second payment,As you can see here is the MTCN Number of your first payment which we credited for you today, track it with our website:, to confirm that your payment is available.

1)Senders Name: Holly Waldon
2)MTCN Number: 7298423178
3)Amount: $5000.00 USD.
Track it with our website: or you can call this number to confrim the payment of the MTCN  Tel: 1-800-325-6000

Note that on your reply this massage make sure you send the full information Remember that the full details you can use to pick up this first payment will be send to you once we receive the transfer charge of $200, You have to treat urgent by reconfirming your full information to us immediately you receive this massage to enable us start the process of your payment immediately.

1.Your Full Name...
2.Your Address...
3.Your Tel Number....

These are the information about your money you can go to any western union to pick up the money, don't forget that you have to settle for the transfer charge before we can give the full information of your first payment of $5000.00 usd we waiting to receive the above information from your so that we can direct you where to send the transfer charge of $200 which is only delay now, Kindly use this information to send the transfer charge.

Receiver Name: EMMA MEZE
Country: Republic Du Benin
City: Cotonou Benin
Country zip code: 00229
Test Question: When?
Test Answer: Urgent.
Amount to send: $200.
Senders Name:.....?
Mtcn Number:......?

We looks forward to receive the transfer charge together with your full information, to enable us release this first $5000.00usd for you to pick it up and get back to us for the second payment ok. Call Tel: +229 68856789
Get Back ASAP.

This email is intended for the owner of this E-mail Address only and contains privileged and confidential information. If you received this email by error, please delete it from your mail box and notify us immediately for correction. The disclosure of this email to a third party is highly prohibited. Thanks for your understanding.

Yours Faithfully,
Dr. Prince Raymond
Finance Minister,
Federal Republic Of Benin.
Direct:Telephone Number:+229-68856789

Western Union®
Send Money Worldwide
Registered © 2006 - 2009 Western Union Money Transfer. All Right Reserved

Dr Prince Raymond is an exceptionally busy Minister of Finmance. Here is another of his scams:


Attention:Dear Customer,

Welcome to Western Union Money Transfer Agent, We wish to inform you
that the IMF have release your fund sum of $10,8million US dollars
issued on your name the money was deposited with us in this Office as
MTCN credit card, we shall be sending the money to you everyday
$5000.00usd until we complete the total payment . . .

Readers are warned about the perils of having any dealings whatsoever with anyone called Dr Prince, Stephen Mak or Susan Malila. It is highly likely that all are fakes and scammers.

Sunday, 11 September 2016


Why racism is the greatest threat to mankind

Racism is as old as the human race and some will claim that is goes back at least as far as to the three sons of Noah from whom the main racial groupings of the world are said to be descended. More than 2,000 years ago the great Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322BC), stated that Greeks are free by nature while non-Greeks (Barbarians) are slaves by nature. So clever as he was, Aristotle was a racist.

With opportunities that man has today, anyone could be as clever as Aristotle, but some are still surprisingly dumb.
A Russian immigrant at Ellis Island, New
York, in 1900. Today Russian family names
are an accepted part of American life

The history of war throughout the ages is very much the history of racism, although it must be acknowledged that religion also has played a significant part. Essentially, war has always been about prejudice.

Racism is one of the ugliest words in any dictionary. Racism groups people according to obvious differences of colour, culture, language and custom while ignoring all the attributes that are not different. A racist treats people who are different with hatred, contempt and fear mostly because they do not understand that there is no logical reason for being racist.

Racism wherever it persists in the world, some researchers have found, is rife among the less educated, those with a lower IQ, the least travelled and among those unwilling to learn about other cultures and races. Some will say that racism is just plain dumb. Racism is also more prevalent among people with lower incomes who may blame their own situation on a lack protection by the state on the activities of inferior races.

Racism is often a case of people being unable or unwilling to see anything wrong in their attitudes, even to the extent of claiming they are not racist. Some scientists have used the glass of water concept to describe these people. In a study of white children, it was found that some were unable to see that a short wide glass could hold the same amount of water as a tall slender glass, and that those children tended to be more racist than the other children in the study. In short, these children were less able to form logical conclusions, but were easily led to believe nonsensical things including false racial conspiracy theories.

Conversely, people who travel widely, or move into a community or industry where other ethnic groups are predominant, tend to become less racist in their attitudes due to finding from hands on experience that their previous fears were unfounded.
The author of this book worked in
America and Australia on the same
pay and conditions as the locals
Download a free sample of Highway America

Many times throughout history racist governments have taken power with the support of redneck racists. The best known example in modern history was the Nazi Government that took office in 1933, leading to the start of World War II and the extermination of 6 million Jews. There is a grave danger that something similar could happen in the United States with the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. For the Republican Party having Trump as the nominee is like taking a lethal dose of a powerful laxative to cure a bad cough. A Trump victory could change the world irrevocably.

In New Zealand, racism has a long history and ebbs and flows with the political and economic tides of the time. The first recorded racist event took place in 1742 when the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman lost several crew members who were murdered by local Maori who feared that Tasman’s crew members were a threat to Maori food supplies.

In the 1860s, New Zealand was plunged into a series of battles that have been variously called the New Zealand Wars, the Maori Wars and the Land Wars. But with the combatants almost totally white on one side and totally brown-skinned Maori on the other side, this was clearly a racial war with each side regarding the other as inferior.

Also in the 1860s, when gold was discovered in New Zealand, the government found itself being pressured by racist residents to stop Chinese immigrants flowing into the country. The government responded with the Chinese Immigration Act and by imposing a poll tax on the Chinese, purely a racist move. The New Zealanders feared for their incomes and the safety of their families, but Chinese immigrants never numbered more than 5,000 and history records that they mostly stayed and became model citizens. However, that didn’t deter Lionel Terry, who in 1905 shot and killed an elderly Chinese man in Wellington for purely racial reasons.

Other racial minorities have also suffered at the hands of government and bigots throughout the years. During World War I hundreds of ethnic Europeans were rounded up and imprisoned as a threat to New Zealand security even though most had been born in New Zealand, and were loyal and law-abiding people. They were imprisoned because of their racial ancestry.

By 1921 nothing had changed, except that the focus had shifted to Indian immigrants. A writer in the New Zealand Examiner wrote, “I saw a turbanned Hindu steerage passenger arrive here with some of his dusky brothers. One of the first things he did was to have his boots blacked by one of those unfortunate men who earn an occasional shilling by doing this work on street corners. He was a white man who did this menial work and he was a black man who paid for the service. It was terrible to see this poor old man so reduced in circumstances as to sink his racial pride for a sixpence or a shilling . . .    ‘

In the 1940s and 1950s, it was immigrant Dutch farm hands who were subjected to the lash of hateful tongues. They were going to be the ruination of New Zealand dairying and life wouldn’t be worth living anymore for self-respecting Kiwi farmers. But those immigrants went on to become some of New Zealand’s most successful farmers and today their descendants are Kiwi through and through with the only thing that separates them from other Kiwis is their Dutch family names.

Later, in the 1970s large numbers of Polynesians from the islands of the South Pacific were subjected to dawn raids on their homes, arrested and deported on the basis of race, even though many were born in New Zealand or had New Zealand born children. It didn’t matter that they were New Zealanders. They did not conform to the accepted New Zealand white European, except Maori, profile. Granted that many of these people had overstayed their visas, but so had tens of thousands of white Europeans.

Always with New Zealand racism, as it is in most countries, is the fear that immigrants are more likely to be criminals, to steal the jobs of locals, and to work long hours for little pay thus downgrading the living standards of the locals. In addition, there is the ever-present fear that the culture will change until the country and the people will be unrecognizable.

But in spite of all the fears, the vast majority of immigrants turn out to be the best citizens and are underrepresented in crime and welfare statistics. There is a very simple explanation for that. It takes gumption to leave one’s place of birth and travel across the world to make a better future, while it shows a lack of gumption to sit on one’s backside and moan about how badly one is treated in one’s own country.

There can be no doubt about the accuracy of the old adage that great nations are built on immigration. But a racist is sure to respond to that by saying, as they have done throughout the ages, but not now. And this all goes to prove that the typical racist is as dumb today as he ever was.

Sunday, 4 September 2016


Sharks are feeding on houses in New Zealand

People love to blame the government when things go wrong, even when they themselves may be the cause of the grief. This particularly applies to housing prices and homelessness. With housing, Kiwis have a long history of being their own worst enemies.  Statistics in a report from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand published in 2015 RBNZ confirm this.

A study of the report also puts the lie to the old adage that there is nothing safer than investing in bricks and mortar. Over the last 50 years this misplaced faith in property has resulted in many thousands of Kiwis getting their financial fingers burnt and losing their homes.

In all the trends of the last 50 years, falling prices generally occurred slowly over an extended period, while rising prices tended to be brief but rapid. Ignoring brief periods of rare stability and little change, the main cyclical changes are listed below:

1965-1972 Prices fell 3%
1972-1974 Prices rose 53%
1974-1981 Prices fell 54%
1981-1986 Prices rose 12%
1987-1992 Prices fell 6%
1992-1995 Prices rose 27%
1995-2002 Prices fell 8%
2003-2007 Prices rose 77%
2007-2012 Prices fell 13%
2012-2015 Prices rose 29%. Will 2017 be the year of the next major crash?

All the rising market trends have been characterised by increasing population, shortages and waiting lists, labour shortages and increased homelessness.

The falling house price trends have all been associated with an absence of buyers in the market, houses standing empty, business failures, increasing unemployment, and people leaving the country.

The only thing that is common to both up and down trends is that it is always the government that gets the blame. Some blame may be due to the government of Robert Muldoon (1975-84), the great hands-on financial fix-it man who presided over the largest house price fall since the 1930s. Muldoon’s economy was so tightly regulated that one almost had to phone the Prime Minister’s office to get permission to buy a bus ticket. The fall in house prices during the Muldoon era was really a double whammy because while house prices were in free fall, annual inflation and interest rates were running at 15-22%.

Kiwis are the cause of New Zealand’s house price instability. As investors, too many Kiwis are immature. When the market is drifting they turn it into a landslide by deserting the market, and the country, like rats leaving a sinking ship. When the market has some buoyancy, they come back into the market like sharks in a feeding frenzy, and when they can’t instantly get what they want they blame the government.

So what can be done? The first thing Kiwis should do is change their attitudes to housing. They need to ask themselves, if it is really wise to be trying to acquire life’s most expensive asset first. Kiwis should also change their attitude to social housing. Social housing, whether run by central or local government or community groups, amounts to a tiny proportion of the total housing stock compared with most developed countries. Kiwis have always looked down on social housing as a barely necessary evil, but nothing could be further from the truth. Social housing plays a vital and major role in the living standards of most developed countries, with some countries having up to 50% of their total housing stock community owned.
But ultimately, government can only do what the voters allow them to do.

Any New Zealand government with a policy of 50% social housing would lose the next election by a landslide. At best, when the next housing downturn arrives, government could keep the building industry occupied by continuing to build government houses ready for the next market upturn. But even that would be bitterly opposed by many Kiwis.

So if it is not the government causing the housing crises, then who is it? Everyone appears to have a different answer on this one. Some say the market is driven by foreigners. But it has been revealed that 97% of buyers are New Zealand citizens or permanent residents. That only leaves 3% for foreigners. Could 3% really make that much difference? Although it is difficult to unearth reliable statistics on a ratio of first home buyers to those simply selling one property and buying another, it would be reasonable to assume that since most people will buy and sell four or five times in a lifetime, that most sales will fall into that category. But if they are selling one house and buying another their effect on supply and demand and price is probably zero. That leaves first home buyers as the most significant group who can influence market prices, so let’s look at first home buyers.

The typical first home buyer will be young, inexperienced in negotiating purchase agreements, more likely to think the boom will last forever, and therefore just getting a house will be more important than the price. This buyer, more than any other, is the one who pushes the market higher. But first home buyers will blame greedy landlords who want to extend their housing portfolios. But multiple property owners will be more experienced in the market than first home buyers and less likely to pay prices that cannot be justified by the rental they will receive. Others will say that land bankers (investors who buy a property and leave it empty for a short term gain) are the real culprits. But, while it can’t be denied that land banking exists, it is relatively rare and extremely risky and foolish. Wise business investors wouldn’t have a bar of it. Land banking is a form of Russian roulette where rotating the chambers inevitably leads to a chamber that fires.

So we are left only with the first home buyer as the buyer who collectively has the most influence on the market. When the market is as hot as it is now, the first home buyers should reign themselves in and be patient. They have their whole lives in front of them and there will be better opportunities in the future. Meanwhile, their savings should be invested in small things first; the share market is a good place to start with hundreds of dollars, or a few thousand if they can do that without borrowing. They could consider a small business that can be started with little capital as a side-line to the main income, or even as a fulltime venture. All of these are better options than borrowing half a million dollars for a single investment in a market that could soon tumble. Buying and selling at the right time is of key importance.

This writer knows a person who at 41 purchased his first home several years after he started his first business. That house cost him $35,000 in 1981. He sold it in 1998 for $281,000 and replaced it with one for $175,000 and sold it in 2006 for $345,000. Today he is happy to pay rent and work the share market.

So meanwhile, expect another downturn soon, more bankruptcies and unemployment, and another opportunity to blame the government. The cyclical housing market boom and bust will continue to plague successive governments and cause hardship among the people, and it is all so unnecessary. 

The eBook version of this popular handbook
is available from here

Sunday, 14 August 2016


The illegal truck stop that has North Jersey cops at their wit's end

A tractor-trailer parked on the shoulder on I-287 in Mahwah. Local officials say despite their efforts to keep trucks from parking on the highway, truckers still stop night after night.
MAHWAH — Every night, day after day, hulking tractor-trailers line up here, on the shoulder of I-287, idling for hours at this illegal truck stop.
The drivers come out to smoke as cars whiz past. They stretch and rest on the extra-wide shoulder, just minutes from the New York state line.

Despite tickets, signs and police patrols in the area, the trucks return night after night. Mahwah officials, for their part, say they are at their wit's end with the trucks, and that their efforts to curb what they say is a dangerous situation have proven unsuccessful.
"We come along and move them but an hour later they are back," Mahwah Chief of Police James Batelli said. "We can't continue to allocate resources every night."
Trucks are banned from using the Garden State Parkway north of exit 105, but a reader says he sees them driving on it anyway. What's allow and what's not?
And when confronted, many drivers tell police that they can't drive anymore because they have exceeded the amount of miles they can legally drive in the day, Batelli said.
"If you don't arrive at a truck stop by 1 to 2 p.m. in New York or New Jersey you won't get a spot," Rick Toutges, a truck driver from South Dakota, said Friday at the nearby Pilot truck stop on Route 17. "We can only drive 11 hours a day, and when that's up we can't go anymore because we'll get fined."
Highway America
Kevin Johnson, a trucker from "the great state of Michigan," agreed that it was dangerous to park illegally on the side of an interstate, but also decried the fact that there's very little parking for truckers. 
"Look at where I'm at (now), squeezed in here," Johnson said as his truck stood in a corner of the packed Pilot truck stop. "They need to build more stops."
The shoulder of road where the trucks stop on 287 is particular dangerous due to steep inclines and the merging of the highway from three lanes into two, Batelli said.
He said he would like the shoulder narrowed or removed.
"This is truly a state problem," Batelli said. "I wish the state took more engineering studies of the area."
A spokesman from the state Department of Transportation said the agency has not heard from Mahwah officials about the problem.
"There are a number of private rest stops throughout the state that accommodate truck drivers," said Steve Schapiro, communications director at the DOT. "It's important to remember that it is unlawful to stop on the shoulders of state highways except for emergencies, which makes this a law enforcement issue."
Batelli said State Police routinely patrol the area, but the trucks return soon after they are moved . . . 
Fausto Giovanny Pinto may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @FGPreporting

Peter Blakeborough, a former interstate driver, say truck drivers have three options:

One. They can keep on driving after they have exceeded their legal driving hours, risking a fine, or worse going to sleep at the wheel and killing someone.

Two. They can park illegally when they have run out of hours and failed to fine safe and legal parking, risking another fine and a possible accident.

Three. They can abandon truck driving and let others worry about delivering the goods on time, often to the very people who show no consideration for the welfare of truckers.

It has been clear for many years that governments, federal and state, have no intention to fund adequate parking for interstate trucks. They fail to understand that these drivers do not return to their home depots every night. They are normally on the road for weeks at a time. Many states do provide rest areas close to interstates, but these are few and far between in heavily populated states like New Jersey and New York. In many rest areas trucks are restricted to four hours parking, even though the law requires drivers to rest for ten continuous hours. For truck drivers, whatever they do, they will be damned if they do and damned if they don't.

American truck parking is a shameful fiasco and the main culprit is federal and state governments. For years they have been playing the famous American game called Pass the Buck. It's time the buck stopped.

Saturday, 6 August 2016


Billions could be saved with a permanent Olympic city state

There will never be an end to the waste, cost overruns and the failed political and economic dreams of Olympic host cities, until a permanent Olympic city state is created and made available for all world sporting events.

Once established, a permanent site could generate a surplus of funds that would enable smaller nations and less well-off sports and sports people to participate. Ideally, the site would be situated in northern Europe, northern Asia, or North America in a locality where both the summer and winter climates are reliable. It would also have to be a locality with suitable geography.

Many countries have successful and attractive purpose-built capital cities. That concept has always worked well. Now it is time for the world to build a completely new city state as the world sporting capital.  Transforming an existing city in the territory of an existing country would be a bad compromise that would be bound to fail for political reasons. It would only result in the site having to relocate again and again, as it does now.

While such a city state would likely be surrounded by another country it would have to be independent of that country with its own government, elected parliament, border protection and international airport, and everything else that goes with an independent state.  For the nation giving up a slice of its territory, there would be huge benefits with trade, business and employment. But the new city state would have to be assured of political independence for the concept to work. And ideally it would not be the IOC that would have governmental control of the new city state, but the elected representatives of the citizens of the new state after founding support from the UN and the participating countries.

The funds required for establishing the new city and venues could be met by the participating nations, who would also share the benefits and the profits. A permanent Olympic city could also become the world’s most successful tourist city, and the ultimate place to do business, to be in employment, or to raise a family. The spin-offs could be astronomical.

So why not make that place the place where it all began so long ago? Unfortunately, Greece does not meet the reliable year round climatic conditions. The winters are too mild. The site must have reliable summer and winter conditions with terrain that is both level and sloping, areas suitable for water events, and rural spaces suitable for building a major city with all that that entails.

Some people have suggested that two sites are needed. For example, the Summer Olympics could be held in Greece and the Winter Olympics in Canada. But in this case two are not going to live cheaper than one, and building one Olympic city and state from scratch will be a major undertaking on its own.

To quote the Washington Post, “The Olympics are bad for cities. So why do we keep asking new places to invest billions of dollars in state-of-the-art stadiums they’ll never use again?” The Post continues with, “The Summer Olympics are one of the biggest spectacles in the world, and come with a hefty price tag. Hosting the Games demands major urban infrastructural investment, new or expensively upgraded sporting venues, and housing for 10,000 athletes (plus thousands of spectators). As the German economist Holger Preuss has shown, this crowds out other forms of public investment, such as spending on education and social welfare that may better serve the long-term needs of citizens.” 

Hosting the Olympics is a dream-boom and a reality-bust business and most host cities later regret having taken up the challenge.

It is often claimed that hosting the Olympics is good for tourism. But, while there may be some possible long-term gains for tourism, this is doubtful. In the short term the disruption to the regular flow of tourist is horrendous and frustrating due to over-stretched facilities and predatory pricing.

So, you may ask, who will use the facilities between the four-yearly events? Firstly, the Olympics could become an annual or bi-annual event. But there is also a plethora of other international sporting events constantly looking for venues.  Here is a list of sports that hold world championships: World sports And what better place would there for holding a conference or convention that at the Olympic World Centre?

More on the permanent Olympic proposal can be read by clicking on these links:

Wednesday, 15 June 2016


Voters hold the key to New Zealand’s housing problems

A 1905 Liberal Government
worker's house near Wellington
A 1930's Labour Government state housing street

It's time for New Zealanders to get over their attitude to social housing. New Zealand has had a housing crisis since colonial days. Homelessness and housing deprivation is not new. It has been increasing for at least 150 years.

Numerous governments from the 1890's onward have attempted to overcome housing problems, but with limited success. First there was worker housing early in the twentieth century, followed by state and council housing.

But Kiwis are obsessed with home ownership and refuse to accept that not everyone is able (or wants) to be a home owner. In many developed countries, particularly in Europe, the attitude is different. Social housing is acceptable and carries no stigma, the way it does in New Zealand. In some countries social housing amounts to 25-50% of all housing stock. In New Zealand that figure is less than 5%.

People at the bottom end of the socio-economic ladder have always struggled with housing in New Zealand. They struggle basically because the average Kiwi believes that they should own their own home, or go without. The state shouldn't have to help them. Alternately, Kiwis will say that a state house should be okay only for the very poorest and only until they get established. Then they should make way for someone else.

When New Zealand had state owned banking, insurance, coal-mines, and airlines, why was it okay to use these services, but not okay to use a government house? Doesn't that show a flaw in our thinking?

Successive governments have known about the true state of New Zealand housing for generations, but have been powerless to fix the problem. In the end government can only do what the voters will allow them to do, and the majority of Kiwi voters do not believe in social housing. A few here and there, yes, but 20% of houses throughout the country? A definite no to that. A program to build the required number of houses started by one government would be abandoned by the next government three years later, and before any real benefits were evident.

Housing in New Zealand will change when Kiwis change their thinking.

Like most countries, New Zealand goes through economic cycles and the cycles contribute to the growing numbers of homeless. When the economy booms, people are homeless because they can't afford the high cost of renting or buying. When the economy slumps, they can't afford to buy or rent because they don't enough income.

Typically, in a downturn, people stop building houses because of reduced demand and trades people leave the country or go into other industries. House prices fall, businesses and jobs disappear. But the downturn is always only temporary. Recovery is just around the corner. During these downturns the government has an excellent opportunity to increase the housing stock ready for the next boom, and to keep the tradesmen in the country and working. But most important, it should be houses waiting for people, not people waiting for houses.

Finally, why does the average Kiwi think that state tenants should have to move on when they can afford to buy a house? What is the point? Did the same Kiwis think that people doing business with the old Bank of New Zealand, or State Insurance, or National Airways Corporation, should be restricted to being customers only for a specific time? They didn't, and it makes no sense to limit tenants in social housing. In fact, I believe they should be encouraged to stay for the rest of their days and to treat the house as though it were their own.

But none of this can happen until New Zealanders re-invent their social housing attitudes. Meanwhile, it won't matter who is Minister of Social Housing. That minister will always be unpopular. Can anyone remember a Minister of Housing who was popular? Like the people Paula Bennett would like to help, she is stuck between a rock and a hard place. In New Zealand it will always be a brave minister who takes on housing, until Kiwis change.

Minister of Social Housing
Paula Bennett