The Very Best of Best Of The Web

148363_10150327951310018_659930017_15583650_6263359_nIt's no secret that Best Of The Web is our most popular regular series*. A recent survey has found that 93% of readers listed it as their sole reason for staying alive**. Our compiler,  Tim Andrews, is flooded with admirers and women constantly throwing themselves at him just for publishing it***

But it's time to up the ante. It's time to get serious. And by serious, we mean seriously meta. Because being meta is the thing to do. As such, this week, we are not content with just providing you a Best of The Web. Rather, we are outdoing ourselves and providing … wait for it … a BEST OF BEST OF THE WEB. That's right, we're taking BOTW to a whole new level by providing you the best stories of the year. And that's some seriously meta s##t, dude (to use the technical jargon of the postmodern literary movement).

So even while Menzies House is taking a holiday from formal posts, Tim Andrews refuses to rest. He refuses to put down his vodka red bulls, and instead, continues to dedicate himself to you. Our readers. Why? Because that's the kind of man he is****. 

And so, with no further ado,we present to you a review of 2010 as seen through the eyes of Tim Andrews – WE PRESENT THE VERY BEST OF THE BEST OF 2010:

Politics, Economics & The Law

Best Campaign Ad of 2008: Dale Peterson (obviously). Runner Up: Pamela Gorman. Honourable Mention: Demon Sheep

Best Analysis of U.S. Mid-term Elections: Last Remaining Politician Must Rebuild Entire Government Following Bloodiest Midterm Election in Recent History

Best Libertarian self-parody: Libertarian Cheat Sheet. Runner Up: 24 Types of Libertarian

Best Use of Government Resources: 7 year old has lemonade stand shut because she didn't have a temporary restaurant license.

Best Satirical Story: Candidate May Have Lied About His Heroic Death in Vietnam

Best Moments in Political Feminism: Czech female politicians create a "sexy calendar" Runner Up: A Romanian model started a new political party for beautiful people

Best Politico Twitter Scandal: UK Labor Candidate Tweets "You know I think I might be completely sober for the first time in 4 days" Runner Up: CA Gubernatorial Candidate Meg Whitman links to cross-dressing Asian pop dubbers.

Best Hot or Not: The US Congressional version!

Best Use of Race Card: The NAACP call greeting card about the universe, solar system and black holes "racist" Runner Up: Scottish Retailer HMV has removed banners reading "Anyone But England" for promoting racial hatred

Best Volunteer Ad: Help Teach Kids How The Government Works by Simply Taking All Their Sweets Off Them And Telling Them To F**k Off

Best Moment in Perverse Incentives: Chinese officials try to solve the problem of cigarette butts by offering residents money for each butt collected.

Best Legal Analysis: The Law of Dungeons and Dragons Runner Up: Is Batman a State actor when it comes to U.S. law? 

Health News

Best anti smoking-nazi Freedom Fighter: Nick Hogan Runner Up: The Dutch. All of them. Honourable Mention:Spainish Bar Owners 

Best news for caffeine addicts: Coffee is Good For Your Brain

Best news for smokers: you have nearly twice the chance of dying if you DON’T smoke. Runner Up:   Further health benefits of smoking. Honourable Mention: How smokos are beneficial to companies, 

Best Article Against Health Fetish: This one

Best news for alcoholics: Heavy drinkers outlive non-drinkers Runner Up: Drinkers earn more than teetotalers. First Honourable Mention: World's oldest twins say alcohol is the key. Second Honourable Mention: Top 5 Most Inspiring Thigns Ever Accomplished (while being drunk). Third Honourable Mention: Alcohol doesn't kill your brain cells after all. Forth Honorable Mention:  The smarter a woman is, the more likely she is to drink.

Best Scientific News for Newlyweds: Science proves you must have lots of sex to ensure a happy marriage

Best Development in Mental Health Industry: Proposal to classify happiness as mental disorder

Best lies by smoking nazi's: This list

Arts, Sport & Entertainment

Best film parody: Generic Movie Based On Every Movie Ever Made

Best New Beverage: Bourbon Milkshakes

Best New Vending Machine: Mojitos every 30 seconds

Best Nightclub Theme: Margaret Thatcher

Best Moment in Sport: This This College Gridiron trick play

Best Book Trivia: Size of Books Determined by Size of Sheep

Best Copyright Warning: "May he who steals this book suffer the pangs of death infernal!"

Best Chapter from Political Anthology: The Smokers' Code

Foreign Affairs

Best Spy: Anna ChapmanWho's now in Playboy

Best Border Ceremony Now Tragically Cancelled: India-Pakistan 

Media

Best Headline Of The Year: Skywalkers in Korea Cross Han Solo. Related: Sandwich board of the year.

Best Blogger Alive: Alex Balk 

Best Now-Defunct Blog: Look at this f**king Hipster

Best News Channel: Fox News with the top 13 shows on cable news.

Other

Best Underwear: Metallic type lets you send a message to the TSA

Best Liar: Harvard University Student Created Entire Fake Life History to Gain Admission

Best P**sed off Employee: This guy who writes printer cartridge ads

Best Alternative History:  Ron Paul in 2003 Runner Up: What is mass-murder Lenin died 5 years earlier

Best Suicide Prevention Moment: Caller So Angry At Person Suicide-Prevention Priest Falling Asleep He Doesn't Kill Himself to Complain

Best Facebook Graph: Relationship Breakdowns by Date

Best Horny Woman: This one

And finally, the Best Use Of Aminals: Para-sailing donkeys

(Tim Andrews is the Managing Editor of Menzies House. His personal blog is Musings of an Australian Classical Liberal in Washington DC)

 *Explanatory Note: BOTW is our only regular series

**Further Explanatory Note: Survey taken exclusively by voices in Tim Andrews's head

*** Tim wishes to stress that if a certain someone is reading this,  the aforementioned comment is a joke, begs that she not hurt him.  

**** A man with serious mental health issues. Seriously. He needs help. It's no laughing matter. 


2011 International Students For Liberty Conference

In February 2011, Students for Liberty, the world’s foremost libertarian student organisation, is hosting their annual International Students for Liberty Conference, which will see the world’s largest crowd of pro-liberty students will gather for a weekend of learning about liberty from contemporary leaders in liberty, discussing best practices for promoting liberty on campus, and getting more involved in the larger movement for liberty. The 2010 conference drew over 300 stdents from across 13 countries, and this years promises to be even bigger and better!

At the 2011 International Students For Liberty Conference, you will experience:

  • Activism training featuring workshops taught by fellow student leaders of liberty.
  • Networking with the leaders of the liberty movement and your fellow pro-liberty students from around the world.
  • Social Events featuring free drinks
  • Great Speakers, such as Governor Gary Johnson, Economist Extrodinaire Tyler Cowen, Cato’s David Boaz, and TV host John Stossel.

Click here for more details on what will certainly be a very worthwhile event.

If you are interested in attending (and you don’t have to be a student to qualify!),  registration for international persons on the website has technically closed, BUT if you are a friend of the Australian Libertarian Society, send me an email (timintheus at gmail), and not only will you be able to register, but the registration fee will be waived, and you’ll be able to attend and enjoy the libertariany goodness for free!

Let me know if you’re interested!

Vexnews: Rudd causes offence wherever he goes as the nation’s undiplomatic minister for diplomacy

The Fin Review’s well-briefed Tony Walker made an excoriating full-frontal attack today on Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd. He acted appallingly on a recent trip to the Middle East, poking sticks into multiple beehives, and is a nuisance the federal government doesn’t need. If an election was held today, federal Labor would lose, and while that might turn-around, it seems inevitable, regardless of the next election result, that Rudd won’t be staying on as Foreign Minister. Some think he’s positioning for a senior role at the United Nations, where if he shows the same diplomatic skills described by Walker, we can be sure he’d be able to turn small border disputes into fully-fledged wars.

via www.vexnews.com

Vexnews has a copy of the full AFR article which you can get to by following the above link. Well worth a read.

(Posted by TVA)

The Lesson of Ebenezer Scrooge

. Many people use the word “Scrooge” to refer to someone who opposes government programs. That usage puzzles me. I wonder if these people and I watched the same movie. Because, at least the way I understood the story, it was about opening your heart and being generous to those in need, and it had little to do with government. In fact, to the extent that government welfare programs were mentioned, the “good guys” in the film put them down. Yet many people today talk as if they think A Christmas Carol advocates higher taxes to fund more government programs. Who’s right? To figure it out, we need to consider what happens in the novel and movie. The quotes below are taken from the novel, and the scenes I describe are from the 1951 movie starring Alastair Sim.

via www.thefreemanonline.org

The article concludes: "So here’s my modest suggestion. Next time you hear someone advocating a coercively financed government program to help those in need, call him a “Scrooge.” I guarantee that you’ll catch him off guard. Moreover, he’ll likely ask why you called him that. Then you can tell him the truth about Ebenezer Scrooge and A Christmas Carol.

h/t EconLog

(Posted by TVA)

Merry Christmas! (…we’re having a break)

Merry-Christmas
UPDATE: We are still occasionally posting things in the meantime, so keep checking the website and scrolling down to see what's new (as this post will stay up top)! I particularly recommend The Very Best of Best Of The Web and also the Top 20 Menzies House posts of 2010 :) (TVA)

 What a year it’s been here at Menzies House! Since we launched at the end of January we’ve had a great mix of readers and writers that have helped grow the site into a fantastic community of conservatives, libertarians and everyone else in the middle (…of the centre-right).

I’d like to start by thanking everyone who has written for the website. There are too many of you to mention here, but without your contributions Menzies House simply wouldn’t exist. THANK YOU ALL!

A big thanks must also go to Tim Andrews who seems to do nothing other than trawl the internet for our entertainment and source new authors for Menzies House (at ridiculous hours of the night). Your work is greatly appreciated Tim – thanks.

We’re going to be taking a bit of a break over Christmas and then easing into the year in early 2011 before getting back to full speed (when the political world does) in early-mid February. Please keep writing for Menzies House over this time and send your articles in January to Tim Andrews (re-type tandrews @ menzieshouse.com.au) because I’m going to be away with no access to the internet – hooray!

We’re looking to shake things up in the New Year with some new features and maybe a face-lift for the website, so be sure to check back regularly. The easiest way to stay in touch (for us, anyway) is to become our fan on Facebook – that way you’ll definitely get the heads up when we’re back publishing new articles. Alternatively enter your email in the field at the top-right corner of the site and you'll get automatic updates when new material is posted.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed running the site this year and on the odd occasion I’ve thoroughly hated it, too! But I am incredibly happy with what we’ve managed to achieve through the support of our readers and contributors.

So from all of us at Menzies House, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year!

Chris Browne – Editor-in-Chief


A Christmas Best of The Web

Tim-Andrews

'Twas the week before Christmas, yet at Menzies House
a creature was stirring;- no, not a mouse!
Tim Andrews was trawling the net with great care,
In hopes of fun stories that he would find there.

With readers all nestled and snug in their beds,
Your Editor was working and sniffing out reds.
And finding the world filled with communist c**p
Despite the late hour, heaven forbid that he nap!

And so with the frenzy of a mini Bob Katter
He sprang to attention, to point out the matter!
Away to his TypePad he flew in a flash
To do what he loves – giving commies a bash!

For as the night fills with the (climate change) snow
These really are posts that you ought to know
The best of the web, for our readers most dear
You will like each one, never you fear!

From an internet run by a very old chap
To Santa attacked for taking a nap!
McDonalds now sued for giving kids toys
While awards are being given for molly-coddling boys,

Scroll down for Nativity – Web 2.0!
Or see TSA blunders (like you didn’t know!)
Watch the drunk Serb and the man-eating shark
My my, this installment – my my, what a lark!

So completing this post, Tim Andrews must run
For the night is yet early, he must have more fun!
But I heard his exclaim, as he ran out of sight:
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

So, to end attempts at rhyming verse, let us begin this installment of Christmas good cheer with a story of Santa Claus being banned from visiting school children due to immigrant children who don't celebrate Christmas. And, to make matters worse, wowser doctor groups are attacking Santa for being a bad role model. Freedom yay! 

Speaking of Christmas, a Swedish pastor executed an elf. To "save Christmas". Right. In slightly better news out of Sweden though, here's a speed-camera that pays drivers to slow down

Here are the 2010 Golden Helicopter awards for over-protective parenting and media fear-mongering about children. They missed this one though: a mother was cited for neglect for allowing her child to walk to school. And, speaking of children, the psychologically disturbed freedom hating communists with areally big chip on their shoulder at the Center for Science in the Public Interest have launched a class action lawsuit against McDonalds to prevent them from giving children toys

A Muslim Student Files Complaint Against Teacher … for Talking About Ham

A digital story of Christmas: 


  

In a slightly different vein, here's Walter Herzog reading The Night Before Christmas

If old people ran the internet

The real world origins of some of our favourite Star Wars sounds

The White House Office of Drug Control Policy is specifically exempted from scientific integrity policy. Also: smart people use more drugs, which would seem to be in keeping with U.S. freedom-fighting tradition, as per Ben Franklin's 200 synonyms for drunk. So, go get yourself a schooner of the cheapest beer in the world, and become like my newest hero: the drunk serb who killed a man-eating shark, and doesn't remember the incident.  Which is why I'm quitting my job to become a 'drinking buddy for hire' in The Ukraine. By the way, you know those smoking bans I keep railing about? Turns out they lead to fires and destruction. 

Ex-communist countries seek to criminalise denial of communist atrocities. While more evidence emerges of Chairman Mao's Great Leap to Famine

The TSA (you know, the ones behind naked photos and groping) still miss a loaded .40 caliber handgun in carry-on bag . And .40 caliber is a pretty big gun, you know! (Also: this photo really sums it up about the TSA, don't you think?):

XHyrt  

Speaking of security theatre, they're now starting random bag searches at train stations where I live. Despite all the experts agreeing that they will make security worse

A very worthwhile column from The Economist on regulations and trade-offs, and how not every tragedy is preventable

Capitalism's gift of peace.

The law of Dungeons and Dragons

This is a real comic book:

Untitled

So, even for someone like me who is a strong supporter of intellectual property rights, this seems kinda wrong: Nike sues someone who innocently purchased a pair of counterfeit sneakers

Harder to read fonts boost student learning

What hyperinflation in Zimbabwe does to menu prices

The literary award for Bad Sex

A swedish company has launched a "smaller-than-usual condom marketed to 13- to-15-year-olds"

I assume, being the well read, erudite person who reads Menzies House, you would have already read the latest installment of Journal of a Rudd Staffer. But if not, DO! 

A new blog of Kim Jong-Il looking at things

Were fertile women more likely to vote for Obama

How the left are the real elitists

And finally, although not as good as in previous years, here's JibJab's 2010 year in review:


  

UPDATE: A few viewers were having some problems with some of the graphics in this post; hopefully fixed now, but let us know if you continue having any problems. 

(Tim Andrews is the Managing Editor of Menzies House. His personal blog is Musings of an Australian Classical Liberal in Washington DC, and he really does wish you all a very, very, very Merry Christmas)

Christmas Sweater Club Punished At Local High School

They call themselves the "Christmas Sweater Club" because they wear the craziest ones they can find. They also sing Christmas songs at school and try their best to spread Christmas cheer.

Now all 10 of them are in trouble because of what they did at their school.

"They said, 'maliciously maim students with the intent to injure.' And I don't think any of us here intentionally meant to injure anyone, or did," said Zakk Rhine, a junior at Battlefield High School.

The boys say they were just tossing small two-inch candy canes to fellow students as they entered school. The ones in plastic wrap that are so small they often break apart.

Skylar Torbett, also a junior, said administrators told him, "They said the candy canes are weapons because you can sharpen them with your mouth and stab people with them." He said neither he nor any of their friend did that.

Next thing they knew, they were all being punished with detention and at least two hours of cleaning. Their disciplinary notices say nothing about malicious wounding but about littering and creating a disturbance.

via www.wusa9.com

Free two-inch candy canes can be used as weapons?? I suppose they can, but surely they aren't as dangerous as stones, sticks, tomes from the school library or school chairs. What crap.

Posted by Chris

The Legacy of Ken Henry

Ken Henry has retired, but his legacy will live on, writes Milton Von Smith

The government today announced the retirement of Dr Ken Henry as Treasury Secretary. 

I understand that in the near future Dr Henry will be moving on to his new job as the CEO of Australia's newest bank, Wombatbank. 

The bank's corporate plan is to borrow at 11 per cent and lend at 7 per cent.  Naturally, based on recent policy developments, Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan, Stephen Conroy and Penny Wong have all assured Dr Henry that this strategy is commercially viable

But I digress.  It is customary on occasions such as this to reflect upon the retiree's major professional achievements. 

So here goes - what are Ken Henry's most notable contributions to Australia's economic policy landscape?  

  1. "Few of us will ever see a hairy-nosed wombat".  At the height of the most severe economic shock since the Great Depression and at a time when the RBA was due to hold a critical Board meeting, Dr Henry took a holiday, deciding to redefine the economic concept of the "social welfare function" by including wombats in its domain of definition.  The rest, as they say, is history: Dr Henry invented an entire new economic apparatus: the social wombat function (and just for good measure, he redefined the concept of freedom to include the freedom to see wombats).  Wombats must like high interest rates – at the July 2008 meeting, at the height of the GFC, the RBA decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 7.25 per cent.  Three months later, Australia's economic growth plunged into negative territory. But hey, never mind: at least the wombats were happy. 
  2. "Go early, go hard, go households." Based on this pearl of economic wisdom, Henry presided over Australia's largest ever postwar budget deficit, and some of the most wasteful (and indeed, ultimately, extremely lethal) government spending in Australia's history;
  3. "Assume a multilateral, globally enforced can opener." Treasury confirmed the community's worst prejudices about economists when Henry's department released modelling of the government's proposed emissions trading scheme, which assumed that all other countries would also implement an emissions trading scheme.  To paraphrase Dr Phil:  how's that assumption workin out for ya?
  4. "A tax of 99 per cent would have no effect on investment incentives." On the back of this galactically stupid piece of economic idiocy, the Rudd government attempted to implement the RSPT, which threatened to cripple the very industry that helped Australia avoid the worst of the global financial crisis. In the end, it crippled Kevin Rudd's prime ministership.  Given subsequent political events, the jury is very much still out on whether this has improved matters.  Somehow, I doubt it. 
  5. "Build it and they will slide into bankruptcy come": the National Broadband Network.  The corporate plan notes that 13 per cent of households are currently wireless only, but assumes that by 2040, wireless penetration will rise to a massive…16.4 per cent.  And not a single word of criticism from Treasury.  Do I really need to say more? 

But these ideas pale into insignificance when we consider the worst policy idea of all: the Ruddbank.   This has to be one of the zaniest, most disturbing proposals ever to come out of Canberra.  It rarely gets mentioned any more, but we really dodged a huge bullet when the Coalition defeated this in the Senate.  With this single act, the Coalition literally saved Australian taxpayers billions of dollars. 

The idea was as elegant as it was economically ridiculous (yes, just like the RSPT): to temporaily "provide liquidity" to "viable, national commercial property projects".  In practice, it would have meant that the banks could collude and put taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars of poorly performing commercial property investments. 

Naturally, Treasury defended this ludicrous idea in not one, but two submissions. 

So there you have it.  In my book, Ken Henry's most notable contribution to Australia's economic policy landscape is the Ruddbank. 

Will we see similarly crazy ideas in the future?  You betcha.  Ken Henry may have retired, but his legacy will live on.  Bad policy ideas rarely die in Canberra; like zombies, they walk among us, slowly eating away at our flesh. 

Don't believe me?  Just take a look at the zombie the government has just recently unleashed on an unsuspecting population.

If this trend continues, Dr Henry will reappear in 2012 to present a revised and updated version of his tax review – 99 per cent of which will again be completely ignored. 

The nation's taxpayers (and wombats) await Dr Henry's return with bated breath.