Friday, February 29, 2008
Tis Friday, and another week has been consigned to the history books.
Next week, read the Labour Party News Releases to see just how we are supposed to remember it. They've already declared the Main Stream Media have turned on them. Can't be too long before a hefty donation from Owen Glenn funds the Labour Party Historical Information Bureau. Or aren't those love birds talking any more?
Chris Trotter is still plugging for Helen Clark to be rolled by Goff. It's embarrassing watching the die hard old communist try to influence democratic process. Chris, you can't roll leaders of the Workers Party. You just put up their Union Fees and blockade the door to the beehive.
I enjoyed his "Helen Clark has brains but no heart" theory. Ouch. With comrades like these, who needs an axe in the back of a hotel room? But his suggestion that the Labour party have to show empathy to suffering Kiwis only creates a scene like something I'd expect from a Mel Brookes film. Given the Labour Party created the pain in the first place (only nine years in power, shoot, we've had no time to accomplish anything) it's a bit like slapping some poor unfortunate voter across the face and saying "ouch, that must have hurt". [Slap] Oh, I feel your pain. [Slap] You poor sod. Having some chewing gum tax relief. [Slap] Hah hah, just joking! [Slap] Voter, why are you crying?
Well, it's an election year. Now that Cunliffe has fired an entire Health Board, expect a lot more jobs to be on the line. He's the man in charge. He's taking full responsibility. He's firing the lot of them. Doctor late in the morning. Fired. Nurse didn't change the saline fast enough. Fired. Press officer reporting bad things. Fired.
Sounds like the revolution has already started.
My Original Post: Is it just me, or is Times Roman (the font) ugly? Give me Tahoma, Verdana or even Trebuchet any day. At a pinch I'll take Arial, and even Courier can look good in the right circumstances. But Times Roman? I'll have my serifs with sans, thank you very much. Send their serifs to the gladiators - Roman Times are history.
Related Link: Kiwiblog weighs in on the font issue
Original Safety Warning: Times Roman is History
Thursday, February 28, 2008
The title of this post is a little misleading actually; it's more of a book-review of sorts. I'm not a Diana conspiracist (I don't think that's an actual word?) or fan. I've pretty much always thought of the infamous Paris car-crash as an accident. Investigate magazine has an article or excerpt from a new book written by a Kiwi questioning some of the evidence. I haven't even read that. What I did pick up the other day was a book by Tom Cain called The Accident Man. It's a 'what-if' in the Robert Ludlum style based upon the death of the princess. What if it was a conspiracy? What if the Russian Mafia were behind it because their sales of land mines were dipping due to Diana making the issue a kind of cause célèbre.
Those are questions the book asks. Samuel Carver is the 'accident man' of the title who 'arranges' what looks like accidents in his job of hired assassin. But has he bitten off more than he can chew on this one when he is one of the loose ends that needs tidying up after the event.
The book was OK. More interesting toward the middle that at the end. The ending had some quite nasty torture scenes (be aware of that if you don't like to read things like that; I usually don't). It's kind of weird to read about things that actually happened (especially a death) in a fictional setting. I hadn't heard of the book before I saw it in the red shed but I'm surprised it hasn't got a little bit more attention, what with the court case that is being played out now in real life.
If you're a fan of thrillers you might like it.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Pope Benedict provides “new public grammar” for reform of Islam,
says George Weigel
Boulder, CO, Feb 24, 2008 / 03:18 pm (CNA).- George Weigel, Catholic thinker and biographer of Pope John Paul II, delivered a lecture on Thursday on religion and world politics in which he argued that Pope Benedict XVI has provided a unique model for global understanding between Christianity, Western secularism and Islam.
In the lecture, Weigel also called on Muslim leaders engaged in inter-religious dialogue to acknowledge and vigorously condemn the specific abuses of human rights and religious freedom found among some Muslim nations.
During the lecture at the University of Colorado at Boulder, sponsored by the Aquinas Institute for Catholic Thought, Weigel said that Pope Benedict XVI was uniquely suited to addressing world conflicts grounded in religious differences. Weigel believes that the Pope, especially in his 2006 Regensberg lecture, provides a “grammar” to world leaders that could help them understand and reform both the relativism of the secular West and the violence of Islamic extremism.
At his 2006 lecture at the University of Regensberg, the Pope said that religious violence and compulsion are rooted in the idea that God is pure will instead of a rational, loving being. He said that Christianity’s belief in a loving, reasonable God has helped Christians reconcile themselves to Enlightenment values of religious freedom and human rights, while aspects of Islamic theology have hindered such reform among Muslims.
Weigel countered the media portrayal of the speech as a “gaffe” for its perceived insult of Mohammed. Far from being a gaffe, he argued, the Regensberg address was an important reflection that considered questions important to world policy today. These questions included:
“Can Islam be self-critical? Can its leaders condemn and marginalize its extremists, or are Muslims condemned to be held hostage to the passions of those who consider the murder of innocents to be pleasing to God? Can the West recover its commitment to reason, and thus help support Islamic reform?”
Weigel argued that no one other than Pope Benedict could have framed the discussion in such a way. “No president, prime minister, king, queen, or secretary general could put these questions in play at this level of sophistication before a world audience,” Weigel said.
Pope Benedict’s lecture has given the world political community “a grammar for addressing these questions, a genuinely transcultural grammar of rationality and irrationality.”
“Far from being an exercise in theological abstraction, the Regensberg lecture was a courageous attempt to create a new public grammar capable of disciplining and directing the world discussion of what is arguably the world’s greatest problem,” Weigel continued.
Weigel also criticized some of the reactions to the Regensberg lecture. Though acknowledging that Muslim critiques of the West are often “not without merit,” Weigel argued that the October 2007 letter from the 138 Muslim leaders “sidestepped” the questions raised by the Pope’s lecture.
Muslim scholars addressed the letter, titled “A Common Word Between Us and You,” to global Christian leaders in pursuit of inter-religious dialogue. Many observers considered the letter an important breakthrough.
Weigel said the letter had spoken at length about the “Two Great Commandments” to love God and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. However, Weigel claimed, the letter said nothing applicable to relevant issues of “faith, freedom, and the governance of society,” such as death threats against Muslims who convert to Christianity or the prohibition of Christian worship in Saudi Arabia.
He challenged the Muslim leaders to be more specific in future dialogue:
“Do these 138 Muslim leaders agree or disagree that religious freedom and the distinction between spiritual and political authority are the issues at the heart of the tension between Islam and the West, indeed between Islam and ‘the rest,’ and even more within Islam itself. Would it not be more useful to concentrate on these urgent issues of classical reason, which bear on the organization of 21st century society, than to frame the dialogue in terms of a generic exploration of the Two Great Commandments, which risk leading to an exchange of banalities?
“Why not get down to cases?” Weigel asked. He further asserted that authentic dialogue requires a “precise focus” and a commitment to “condemn by name the members of their communities who murder in the Name of God.”
Weigel also criticized the “secularization thesis,” which claims that countries become less religious as time advances. He argued that in fact the secularization of the West was the exception, rather than the rule. The secularization thesis, he said, has clouded the analysis of Western thinkers and politicians who cannot understand the religious basis of many world movements, including Islamic extremism.
The centuries-long Catholic encounter with the positive Enlightenment values of religious freedom and human rights, Weigel thought, could be a model for Christian-Muslim dialogue. While not compromising with what Weigel called the “chaff” of Enlightenment scientific atheism, past Catholic mistakes and successes could help Muslims navigate reforms of their own religion.
Weigel cited Pope Benedict’s 2006 Christmas address as evidence the Pope approved of a similar strategy. In that speech the Pope said:
“In a dialogue to be intensified with Islam, we must bear in mind the fact that the Muslim world today is finding itself faced with an urgent task. This task is very similar to the one that has been imposed upon Christians since the Enlightenment, and through which the Second Vatican Council, as the fruit of long and difficult research, found real solutions for the Catholic Church.”
Weigel’s lecture drew its content from his recent book, “Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism: A Call to Action.” The lecture was co-sponsored by the St. Thomas More Society of Colorado.
Related Link: Pope Benedict provides “new public grammar” for reform of Islam, says George Weigel ~ Catholic News Agency
Friday, February 22, 2008
Warning: For serious Martial Arts fans only
Copper: Now then, what seems to be the trouble?
Singh: I was getting into my car but this socially disadvantaged man asked for some non-governmental financial assistance, which I was of course prepared to do.
Copper: And so you should. Then what happened?
Singh: He was so excited with my generosity, he smashed my window to get at my voluntary donation.
Copper: Totally understandable. Then what happened?
Singh: He also forgot he had a sharp knife in his hand, and proceeded to stab me, presumably accidentally, as he tried to give me a congratulatory embrace for my obvious recognition of the discomfort my middle class, job holding privileges had held this man back from getting a fair slice at life.
Copper: Obvious really. Then what happened?
Singh: I cried out in pain and surprise, but immediately explained that it was nothing less than I deserved, as my riches had been gained at the expense of this man's opportunity.
Copper: Very perceptive of you. Then what happened?
Singh: I tried to grab the knife to stab myself, to indicate to the poor man that he should not take his accidental stabbing me in my body at least 7 times as anything he should feel remorse over.
Copper: Good thinking. Then what happened?
Singh: It was no good. The man, tormented by the accidental GBH applied to my body, driven no doubt, by society's crushing of this man's noble spirit, rendered him truly sorry. He promptly stabbed himself to death.
Copper: The poor chap. Suicide, but society is really to blame.
Signh: So, will the State put me up on a medical benefit now that I am incapable of working?
Copper: What, with a few stab wounds?
Signh: No, not the physical wounds. The mental anguish I undoubtedly suffer witnessing this man's cruel treatment at the hands of a society unable to care properly for the lost, the abandoned and the forgotten.
Copper: Ah, good point. Yes, sign yourself up for the mental health allowance. We'll sort it mate, no worries on that score.
Singh: If you insist. It is only because I don't deserve this money, will I force myself to take it then.
Copper: You are a good sort Singh. We need a few more like you. Not these rugged individuals that would have simply stabbed this poor man to death had he not done it himself. By the way. Here's a ticket for a parking infringement. You've been here for 63 minutes, and it's a 60 minute parking zone.
Singh: With such an eye for detail officer, no doubt you'll make Detective any day now.
A shopkeeper [Singh] who heroically fought off an armed robber [Kilroe] could be charged with murder after the thief was fatally stabbed with his own knife as they tussled...Officers later found the shopkeeper in his car with stab wounds to his back and neck and the robber's dead body on the floor nearby. They immediately detained Mr Singh on suspicion of murder and questioned him for hours after he had been given hospital treatment. Police have revealed that Kilroe had a string of convictions...
Related link courtesy Crusader Rabbit: Being punished for defending himself
Here's my comment: Howdy folks. Out tonight, might check-in later.
And that, my friends was totally unrehearsed, ad-libbed on the spot. With several hours notice, I'm sure you will all be able to attain the same quality and depth. In fact, I wont be at all surprised if this comment can be bettered. Some of you really are that good, so don't be shy.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Helen Clark then offered to step down, but she then refused herself permission. It would have been a silly thing to do.
Dr Cullen offered to step Mallard down, but Helen Clark again said "Don't be silly" because he'd already been demoted, and being punished once was excessive according to Labour tradition.
Benson-Pope offered to refute every-thing, should the ball be in his court. Dover Samuels maintained he knew absolutely nothing, could remember nothing, and had probably done nothing. Helen Clark said "Don't be silly. You are just pissing in the wind".
Margaret Wilson ruled that no more should be mentioned of this affair and that "Don't be silly" addressed the question.
The latest news was that this scandal had come to the attention of Kevin Rudd, and he was considering making a formal apology to all New Zealanders.
Related Link: Labour Party President accused of being silly by Clark
This makes sense. They were human (albeit in an early stage of development) and their loss was a real loss to their parents. They were Real People that never quite made it to the next step of their life cycle. The "being born" stage. The least we can do is give them a name.
Some groups are complaining about this. What are they so afraid of? I find this amusing, for reasons I'll soon explain.
If we declare a pre-born baby human, will society really crumble?
If we declare a foetus a human, does it make us lucky enough to be born any less human? Of course not.
And what's the problem with giving our human pre-borns the status of personhood? We know, all things being equal, they are going to be born. The only thing to stop this would be an un-natural intervention, a terrible accident or some bad luck.
So let's do it.
And just to make this post controversial; my arguments are just the same as some arguments used to justify redefining marriage. And yet I suspect a good proportion of those keen on giving gay couples the same status to marriage as heterosexual couples are possibly not so keen on giving a pre-born a right to life, both being typical liberal positions. Discussing both of these topics together, especially where the reasons (arguments) overlap, may yield some unexpected fruit.
Anyone up to it?
Related Link: French Catholics keen on premature emancipation
PS: I'm a fence sitter on the Civil Union issue, but I think abortion amounts to murder. That shouldn't really matter in this discussion, but I don't want to be side-tracked by people attacking my personal views (assumed or otherwise) instead of the subject offered up for discussion. Please try to stay on topic.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Ok... So, what will be the subliminal message here? Welcome to the land of Oz? How about country bumpkins abound! And maybe during Halloween, special lights can come on giving the pumpkins a scary face.
You've got to wonder really, who even thinks of these sorts of things!
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
So it is with bemusement that I read the following piece about the preacher-style of Obama and how he seems to connect with people of a more conservative bent, even though what he preaches secular humanism. Interesting. So is he more dangerous than Clinton? How is that possible?
Maybe that bit of advice about "better the devil you know" is worth listening to.
Pro-life activist John Jakubczyk writes about Barack Obama, "He is an attractive, articulate voice for secular liberalism." Yes, the message is secular liberalism, but the voice is that of a preacher. Senator Obama sounds more like a minister than the real minister in the race, Gov. Mike Huckabee.Related Links: Preacher Man: Barack Obama and the Gospel of Liberalism ~ Inside Catholic
When you listen to the phrasing and cadence of Obama's sentences, the effect is unmistakable -- it's the sound of an African-American Evangelical preacher. The irony is obvious: The message is secular liberalism, but the mode of rhetorical delivery is Christian, Southern, African-American, and Evangelical. It's a sound that can make it seem like the message connects with social conservatism when, in fact, Obama is the candidate least in tune with traditional voters.
Guest Commentary:The Only 'Catholic' On the Ballot: Mike Huckabee? ~ Catholic Online
Monday, February 18, 2008
Can I suggest that the examples, the context given by PC are completely different from giving a reward for the return of medals? This situation can instead be likened to a hostage situation, where you hand over money for the safe return of your wife and children, because to not do so would be to jeopardise their lives, which matter far more than just the money you would hand over. And to lie in the situation of the medals would further seriously harm the reputation of the police, to the point where no reward in the future will be treated seriously. The harm, the evil of the lie would be turned inwards.
So to say that lying in this case would be a virtue would be to ignore the greater context of what a reward is and what you are trying to gain by offering one in the first place. I agree context matters, and in this case the context is being misrepresented by PC.
And just so we can weave in the Gestapo officer, I'll finish with a quote from a woman who had far more experience with the Gestapo than PC.
Hans Kruger, the Gestapo chief in southeast Poland: “Are you an enemy of the German Reich?”
Countess Karolina Lanckoronska: "Yes, obviously.”
UPDATE: I can see I'm going to need to clarify my position on this post at some point. Around the time of writing I was not able to do so.
Related Link: Should you ever lie to a thief ~ Not PC
* the word love is used facetiously
Sunday, February 17, 2008
In 1940, Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union and ally of Hilter's Germany, signed an order to kill 25,000 captured Polish Officers. The order was carried out secretly. All of the men who went to their deaths were told they were going back to their families. Instead they were transported in groups of around 250 and sent out to the forests where they were shot and buried in mass graves.
When the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, they found the mass graves and publicised them to the world. The Soviets, at the time supposedly allies of the West and Poland, flatly denied responsibility. When challenged by Poland's exiled government, the Soviets in a huff, broke off relations with Poland. The other allies sided with the Soviets, putting Poland in a politically difficult and bad situation with the other allies (namely Britain the US).
During the 50 years that the Soviet Union ruled Poland in all but name, the Katyn Forest Massacre was not even allowed to be talked about. It was to be erased from public memory.
A few days ago, Andrzej Wajda's new film on the massacre was shown at the Berlin Film Festival. The film maker's father was one of the officers killed, so making this film was near and dear to his heart.
[...] the last 20 minutes of the film number among the most impressive of any film based on World War II. The execution of the officers is depicted in great detail. Handcuffed men are kicked off a truck and driven into a forest. Then comes the shot of the military pistol in the back of the head. By the dozens. Lifeless corpses fall with a thud into sand pits dug for this very purpose. A bulldozer stands by to fill in the mass grave.Amazingly, according to the Economist, it looks like the lie that it was the Nazis is resurfacing in Russia. As the article says, an Oscar (the film is nominated for best foreign language film), would be a great answer to that!
Related Links: History Lessons from Poland ~ Spiegel Online
New Film Katyn" Unburied Dead ~ The Economist
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Salvation is from the Jews: The role of Judaism in salvation history from Abraham to the second coming by Roy H. Schoeman
I'm not sure how to summarise this book. What I found amazing, is that right in the middle of it is a section devoted to the Ideological Foundations of Nazism, which drew on material from The Poisoned Stream and the Pink Swastika, both of which can found on our books sidebar.
Schoeman also explains the "economy of perdition", how it can be observed in Nazism. For, as St Paul says: "We are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)
The adversary draws men into sin by appealing to their vices - pride, desire for power, lust and so forth". He draws them deeper and deeper toward him and away from God by drawing them more and more deeply into sin - in this case sins against chastity, sexual perversions, sadism and murder. His power over them as individuals increases as they become more and more debauched in sin; their ability to reason and even their basic sanity dissolves away as his influence over their mind increases. Their morality spirals downward, leading both to greater and greater cruelty and sadism and also to greater and greater sexual degeneracy. They abandon anything resembling true religion, replacing it with idolatry, occultism, or outright Satanism.I strongly recommend this book to anyone seeking to understand why the Jews have been targeted throughout history.
Honey from the Rock: Sixteen Jews find the sweetness of Christ by Roy H. Schoeman
The book starts with the most stunning conversion story of a Jew who didn't believe in God until he was confronted with a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Most of the other conversion stories aren't as dramatic, but are still a riveting read. This book was fantastic. A couple of the conversion stories are available on Roy Schoeman's website.
My Visit to Hell by Paul Thigpen
A modern "Dante's Inferno". I was a bit worried about reading this book, but after a couple of weeks of putting it next to me to read and then not opening it, I finally took the plunge. It was surprisingly unscary, but definitely thought provoking. If you are a of the mind that an unjust God sends people to Hell, in this book you'll find out how people send themselves there.
Push Not the River by James Conroyd Martin
A story based on the real diary of a Polish Countess, set in the late 1700's during the time of the French Revolution and the Polish Constitution, right before the dismemberment of Poland by the three major European powers (Russia, Austria, Prussia) of the time. Really, really interesting history bound up with the astonishingly hair raising life of the Countess.
Although, from this end, we now expect Helen Clark to make an apology for "the Abandoned Generation". Feeling unloved and unwanted, New Zealand's middle class has left our shores, possibly never to return. Either Rudd's mob stole them, or Helen just gave them away. Will we ever get to the bottom of this social crime?
And speaking of social crimes, raising the tagging fines is just stupid. Getting the juves to clean up their own tags using a toothbrush might work a lot better, and it would be good for the toothbrush industry. So now that spray paint is virtually contraband, expect the Gangs to be moving into wholesale hardware and redecorating. British Paints has no doubt got the edge on the tender process, having supplied that famous tagger Rolf for years. One thing you can say about Rolf, he was the master of tagging and a quick getaway. Entire walls done in 30 seconds flat. Lucky he never progressed to stolen cars. Maybe British Paints can talk the Gangs into endorsement commercials?
On talk back the hosts were oscillating between "Oh woe the Stolen Generation" and then almost instantly, without a trace of irony, "Oh when will CYFS intervene and remove children from dysfunctional families?" The question is how do you tell they are dysfunctional? It seems the criteria now is "being smacked". Well, obviously the real criteria would be "being beaten to within an inch of life" but who on earth would be mad enough to confront such people? Far better for the State to beat up on people that, when isolated, will roll over and take it.
And Rudd might think apologising is an important step, but don't ever believe that the Labour Party and the Greens will apologise for their appalling treatment of middle class New Zealand. They still don't see they've done anything wrong.
In the Herald today is a story about how police are going to be stationed at the worst schools in South Auckland to keep order. I almost couldn't believe it when I read it. What occurs to me is that this has come about because we're so afraid of disciplining a child at home or at school (and have had a pushy Helen-knows-best government nose it's way into our home lives) that police are now required to keep order at school.
Have things really got so bad? Things have swung way too far in the wrong direction. Perhaps caning might be a little too far to the other extreme, but surely there is a happy medium. When I was at primary school (a small country school that went from primers all the way to Form 2), we had 'the strap' with which a kid could be hit on the hand for something really serious.
I can only remember one or two kids getting it and most kids were well behaved. We didn't DARE say no to a teacher or give him/her any lip yet I don't remember feeling under any pressure or fear. It felt a safe place to be.
In giving our kids more responsibility and 'freedom', we are actually removing the boundaries that make them feel safe and creating more problems.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Related Link : Dying for Helen Augusta
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Initially, "The Bolsheviks," as she likes to refer to them, elicited mildly amusing disdain: "Comrades might turn up at the theatre in an alluring silk nightdress, or use chamberpots for watering the flowers" (p. 4). A Soviet officer who was billeted upon her apartment washed his hair in the toilet bowl. He would flush the toilet and become enraged with the brevity of the "shower". Consequently, "waving his revolver", he accosted the serving girl of the Countess "and accused her of sabotage" (p. 11)Related Link: Countess against the Barbarians ~ The Institute of World Politics
My favourite paragraph is this one:
The huge irony is that the more the state undermines the authority of parents, the less responsibility parents will take for their children. If the Government wants parents to be responsible parents, it must first respect their authority.
The words "parents", "respect" and "authority" in close proximity to one another will get a whole bunch of ideologues in Cindy Kiro's office choking on their coffees! But really, that is the crux of the matter. The more the Government works to undermine the family and family autonomy and authority over their children, the worse society as a whole will become. Is becoming. Has become.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Well, the last time I bought swimware was when I was pregnant with that same child so that we could take advantage of the apartment complex's pool. There was no way I'd go out in public in a bikini at that point, but just down to the private, indoor pool, was ok. Bareable. That was when I was in my early 30's.
I read somewhere that women in their 30's are the least represented on the beaches and in the pools. It's mostly the young and the old that strip off and wear swim gear. When I read that, I thought, yeah, that makes sense. Now that I've actually had to - from necessity - get into a bikini in public, it wasn't that bad. But then I'm nearly 40. I've now realised that my body is never going to get back to what it was like when I was in my 20's. In my early 30's I could still remember having a flat stomach, and probably thought it was possible to get it back. Now, after this many years, I know that if I haven't done it yet, I'm not going to do it. And it's only going to get worse and eventually I'll look like those wrinkled oldies walking back and forth in the swimming lanes.
A little later
I started writing this post before I took the kids for their swimming lesson this evening. And as luck or irony or coincidence would have it, my younger boy for the first time ever, managed to float on his back unaided. Thus being able to breathe, and thus now in a position to rescue himself (just barely) should he ever get into deep water in a swimming pool. And thus removing my need for a bikini and getting in the pool with him.
The way he decided to do it, if I may sidetrack my post a little, was really amazing. I want to do another post sometime on how boys learn, and I saw "how boys learn" aptly demonstrated to me tonight. The instructor told the six little kids in the pool (5 of them were boys) to get floatie boards so they could learn how to float on their backs. One little boy piped up and said he could do it without the board. Then to my surprise, my son said he wanted to do it without the board. I thought, this will be interesting. All the kids with boards went first. Then the first little boy without the board. Then my boy. Who actually floated on his back without sinking into the water almost immediately. I thought, oh my goodness! It was the competition of having the other boys around him, he wanted to be better than them and be as good as the boy who could do it without the board! None of this, just do the best you can and it'll be ok!
So now my youngest son can float on his back and I've got a bikini that I don't need, but I'll be wearing next time we go to the pools.
But it's hard work. Maintaining the blogging impetus, that is. Now that school's back in, I'm finding it difficult to write posts. I have two that I'm working on and more that I'd love to write, but not enough time to think about them.
Oh well, better make dinner and then off to swimming lessons for the kids!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Rate Payer of Kapiti Coast
PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
In the recent elections for Mayor of Kapiti Coast District Council, I've campaigned on a platform of transparency. I said on my web site "An open process of communication needs to be in place with each community about what is going on at council and how it affects them."
I didn't mean it of course. People need to realise that I am committed to transparency only when it suits my purposes.
So I signed a cheque for $280,000 and threw in the keys to a European Import because our Chief Executive was pushed or resigned (not telling - nyah nyah) after only 9 months on the job. Now, you might be thinking a year and a half's salary as severance would only be necessary if there was a huge scandal brewing or the Council is incredibly stupid. You'd be right. There would be no other reasons that we would make such a big payout. Which is also why I cannot afford this process to be transparent.
I've hit on this brilliant idea that if I sign a confidentiality agreement, then I can pretend that I'd like this to be transparent, but I can't, because I signed this confidentiality agreement. And just so no other Councilors get an attack of election pledge-itis, I signed this agreement on their behalf too. Now their hands are tied. Of course, I didn't have to sign this. I could have said "No, I can't sign this. I was elected on a platform of honesty, integrity and will act transparently". I could have said to the CEO "take your blood money, but the public have a right to know".
But I didn't.
Instead I cooked up this scheme to ensure the public will not find out just why we managed to hire the wrong person for the job, and spend over $500,000 in the process only to be back at square one.
Anyway, I digress. I come to the point of the letter.
Given that I have indicated to rate payers I would be transparent in my decisions, and that this wasting of $500,000 of rate payers money cannot ever be brought to the light of day, I cooked up another scheme. I'm going to declare to them that NO RATE PAYER will be affected by this decision.
And that is so close to the truth, that I surprise myself sometimes. You see, out of the tens of thousands of ratepayers, only one will actually be affected, and that is a pretty low percentage. If truth = zero, then 1 divided by tens of thousands is so close to zero, it must be the truth.
And you are the ONE person that we have decided to bail us out. So as a rate payer, paying over $2,000 per annum in rates, I calculate our little backroom deal is going to tie up your rates for 160 years. That's 160 years of your rates, and I am not at liberty to tell you WHY you have to pay them, other than you know the ex CEO is going to get the money.
The problem I have is that your payment scheme of $2,000pa is a little slow for me to manage the spin control. Therefore, if I can have the money up front, it would be appreciated. In return, I can offer you use of a council car, a council petrol account, the use of a council flat, a library card, and zero dog license fees for the next 83 years. And of course, should your rates go up in the future, you'll only have to pay the difference. Plus GST.
If you are interested, please sign the attached confidentiality agreement, and remember, not a word to anyone.
Related Link: To Come
Saturday, February 9, 2008
I'm just ... horrified! It just goes to show how badly informed about their faith those American Catholics are! If they had more of a clue, they'd not be voting for a woman that supports abortion! Full-stop!
Catholics [...] have backed the winner of the national popular vote for at least the last nine presidential elections, going back to 1972.Related Link: Catholic Vote Is Harbinger of Success for Clinton ~ NY Times
For instance, the concept that doctors and nurses in a hospital can leave a born baby to die. Not because that baby is dying and is beyond help anyway, which really would be bad enough if that were the case. But because that baby was supposed to die in the first place. A baby that by pure chance has managed to survive the abortion process and has been born alive is left to die because that baby is not supposed to live.
Now most people manage to compartmentalise abortion into something that happens internally in a woman's body that has nothing to do with them. If the baby inside the woman is not wanted, then of course the woman ought be allowed to hire someone to take it out of her. And I suppose it is considered more humane to kill the poor thing before it knows what is going on or before it's old enough to realise that it's mother didn't want it. Kill the baby, sorry, fetus, instead. Problem over.
But how many people, when presented with a live baby, right in front of them, would make the same choice of death for the baby? Well, it seems that in 66 cases in Britain last year, babies that were supposed to die in the abortion procedure were born alive, and left to die. Some of those babies lived for an hour or so, breathing independently.
Now I personally see no difference between killing a baby inside his or her mother's womb and killing that same baby once they are born. Both acts are crimes of the most heinous nature. But for some reason, even I am more revolted by people leaving babies to die once they are born. I think it's because I know it's harder for people to allow others to die if that person is right in front of them, dying, and they do nothing, than it is if there is some level of separation from that person. If you can't see their eyes.
So to be unmoved by these babies and to allow death in this way, those medical staff must have gotten so callous after the killing of so many others, that they were physically and emotionally incapable of being moved. Much like death camp guards, there must be a point where a person doesn't even identify the baby as a human being, and therefore switches off any thought of action that would be required of a normal person in that position where they have a small baby in front of them that needs warmth and attention.
If you've got this far through my post and are still reading, I hope that at least some of the horror of abortion has penetrated. It's so easy to ignore what is happening because it's not visible. It's hidden behind the cold, sterile walls of medical facilities where the staff ought to be helping and saving lives - not taking them.
But it gets worse. There is now a push for mandatory eugenic abortion in Holland. It's not surprising, really. We value human life so little that mandatory abortion for the unfit is just the next logical step.
66 British Babies Survived Abortion Last Year - All Were Left to Die Without Medical Aid ~ LifeSite
Coming: Abortion Mandatory and Retroactive ~ The Midnight Sun
Friday, February 8, 2008
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Interesting. I suppose as Anglicanism implodes and becomes irrelevant, this will become more and more possible.
Related Link: Fr Aidan Nichols Convert England ~ What does the prayer really say?
It occurred to me last night after putting up the Cindy Kiro post, that this one issue - the anti-smacking bill - has woken up a segment of society that normally ignores politics. In all my years as a mother and talking with other mothers, I've found very few are interested in politics. However, every mother I have talked to recently knows about the anti-smacking bill, and very few of the mothers I have talked to are for it. Most are disturbed by the bill.
Mothers typically do not have the time to make their opinions known to the movers and shakers, so anyone that thinks this issue has gone away and will go away is blind or deaf to the mothers in the community around them.
Monday, February 4, 2008
What I find even more disturbing than her tightly held belief that smacking is violence, is the statement that seems to come out of nowhere like a tourette's expletive - "Punching a child in the head is not discipline and it may well kill them."
Who is calling for the right to "punch a child in the head"???
Is Cindy on some kind of memory lane trip at this point where she remembers something horrible from her own childhood?
By putting that statement in her article, Cindy Kiro is directly implying that all of us who believe we need to be able to physically discipline our children (should it become necessary) and not be criminalised are potentially out of control child murderers that need to be dobbed in by our friends and neighbours.
Just what type of childhood did Cindy Kiro have?
Here is her article, if you can stomach reading it:
Keeping our children safe
By CINDY KIRO
It's not okay to hit our children, ever.
I have never met a person in prison or a youth justice residence for violent offences who received too much love and too little physical punishment. The opposite is true. Violence taught them to be violent.
Because of what I see, and all the information showing bad behaviour by adults leading to bad behaviour by children, I supported the Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline, known as the Repeal of Section 59, or the anti-smacking law.
My objective is to see the best for all children and young people in New Zealand, including ensuring their safety. They deserve the chance to grow up free from violence.
Much of what is reported about smacking cases where police talk to parents for disciplining their children is one- sided. Some of what is said is politically motivated with no consideration for children and young people. The child's side of the story is seldom heard or listened to by this very vocal minority. Some of them don't even believe children have rights.
In reality, these cases often end up in court, this wasn't the first time the parent disciplined their child with the use of violence and, in fact, they face charges of criminal assault. These are the same charges they would have faced before the law change.
One of the most important things that has happened since the law change is we have seen communities say no to violence against children. Far from dobbing in apparently good parents, they have decided to keep the children and young people in their community safe.
I continue to urge people to speak out where they see unacceptable behaviour; this is the last line of defence for some children. Babies and young children can't and don't fight back.
WHEN I talk to children they tell me they think physical punishment is wrong and ineffective. They think it is about adult issues, and children are used to bearing the brunt of frustrations that may have nothing to do with them. They believe that adults hit children because they would be in trouble if they hit other adults; or they would be hit back.
It is time for old dogs to learn new tricks. Adults have to take responsibility for their own problems and not take them out on children. Punching a child in the head is not discipline and it may well kill them.
Wanting an excuse in law for assault against a child is a very tangible way in which New Zealand continues to say violence towards children is okay.
Physical punishment is a breach of children's rights as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC).
New Zealand has signed this international human rights treaty that brings together a universal set of standards for children. UNCROC recognises children as active participants in their own lives and places obligations on adults to respect and provide for the best interests and welfare of children in their care.
One of the most significant achievements of UNCROC is that it challenges adult perceptions of children as the property of their parents. This is a point that some parents and proponents of religious or political ideology cannot accept.
New Zealand has a poor track record when it comes to protecting our children from violence with a reported child maltreatment mortality rate higher than most countries within the developed world.
The motives for physical punishment may be reasonable to the person administering it as they believe they are teaching the child a lesson.
However, physical punishment is a poor teaching method. At best it may result in immediate compliance. In the longer term, the evidence shows that the use of physical punishment increases the likelihood of disruptive and aggressive behaviour in children.
It teaches children that the use of violence is an acceptable way to solve problems or to resolve personal differences of opinion. And so the cycle continues.
If anyone requires information, guidance and advice on why it is not okay to hit our children I urge them to read the literature my office has available or to talk to us.
* Dr Cindy Kiro is the Children's Commissioner (acc.org.nz).
* Linley Boniface is on holiday.
Related Link: Keeping our children safe
The above picture was photographed at the University of Minnesota. The picture is of a six week human fetus removed from his/her mother because of an ectopic pregnancy (where the baby attaches to the fallopian tubes rather than the womb). The baby was moving until the sac was pierced by a scalpel. I got this picture from The Christian Party, Ireland.
I was inspired to write this short post because of a comment made on a post on Moratorium on Abortion on A Servant's Thoughts that I couldn't get out of my head. The comment had to do with a picture of an unborn baby that the blog author had previously put up on his website.
I didnt like the picture on your last abortion letter though - it presents a bias view that babies are at this stage of development when abortion happens, when most are not.Jack was referring to the picture on the right. I haven't been able to date the picture yet. I've found it used all over the place, but so far no luck with describing it. Thumb sucking can start from the 11th week (see my link to science on unborn life below), and I'm guessing the baby is less than 20 weeks at this point. I'm aware of some amazing pictures, as well as a video taken of an unborn baby before that baby was aborted - it could be that this baby is the one, but I don't know yet.
What I wanted to show with this post, is the picture at the top of the post connected to abortion statistics in NZ. Most surgical abortions in NZ occur at an age older than the baby shown at the top of the post. Here are the stats for 2006 by gestational age of the baby:
Under 8 weeks : 1524
8 weeks : 1843
9 weeks : 3012
10 weeks : 3729
11 weeks : 2990
12 weeks : 2634
13 weeks : 1259
14 + : 941
The figures show that what should be the safest place is the dangerous place for a child in NZ to be is today the most dangerous. His or her mother's womb can become a death trap. We have no respect for the tiniest among us in this country.
Windows to the Womb: Foetal Development Pictures ~ Life Issues Institute
Science Sheds Life on Unborn Human Life An objective, fact-based report describing the day-by-day development of the unborn child, with each fact sourced by a reference to the scientific and medical literature. The facts show the unborn child quickly develops the organs and systems that a newborn has. It moves like a newborn. It has senses. It can learn. The author concludes that the unborn child must be a human life and invites interested persons to consider the scientific data. Although copyrighted, this study can be used with or without attribution for the purpose of advancing a respectful discussion of the difficult issue of abortion.
I've had a number of people ask me how I've found homeschooling, and honestly I've had to say it's hard work. My first month was very stressful, I think because I felt I had to go boom, boom, boom through the subjects I'd chosen. I'm a bit more relaxed now. I know the subjects that I can just give the kids to do and there's no pressure. Poetry memorisation we do daily and both the kids love it. My older child likes starting with handwriting practise - he reckons it wakes him up and it's easy. My younger child still resists handwriting, so I'm not pushing it. Today he did some dot-to-dot pictures, practising his number recognition and ability to hold his pencil and draw straight lines from number to number.
I got stuck a bit last year on how to teach maths for both of them, so bought some books on how to teach their age groups (grades K-3 and 5-8). Both books are fantastic. They go through how children learn maths and what concepts they need to understand and how to teach those concepts. Today I got my younger child to show me how to add two different coloured blocks to five and make whatever pattern he liked with them and then explain to me how they add up to five. It was interesting to see that he had no problem with 2+3 and 2+2+1 combinations, but got a bit stuck and had to count out his row of 4 blocks in his 4+1 combination. And with my older child, I used the duplo blocks to show him how to find fractional parts of a whole number. We'd done it on paper last year, but doing it with the blocks added a whole new level of understanding and problems he got confused with last year he did first with the blocks and then was doing them in his head today. He just got stuck once we got to 6/8 of 32 - I'll have to do more work with rote memorisation of times tables with him, including dividing.
Ah, it's all fun. Getting my housework done is hard, though. But I seem to be getting better at fitting it in.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
The most in-depth analysis of the conflict that has broken out in Kenya appeared in "L'Osservatore Romano", written by a missionary working in the area. The real reasons for this fratricidal war among Christians.Continue Reading: Dateline Nairobi – A Report from the Vatican's Men on the Ground ~ Chisea: News, analysis, and documents on the Catholic Church, by Sandro Magister
ROMA, February 1, 2008 – In Africa, the equatorial region that runs from Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean is among the most Christianized on the continent. There the expansion of Islam from the north stopped, except along the eastern coast. The Catholic Church has a significant presence there.
And yet for many years, these same countries have been the setting of some of the bloodiest slaughters and wars. In Rwanda, in Burundi, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, massacres have claimed thousands of lives. Now the conflicts have exploded in Kenya as well. The clashes are not religiously motivated, but neither are the churches a refuge for the fleeing populations. On January 7, in Eldoret, more than 50 unarmed persons, including women and children, lost their lives in a church that was set on fire.
On the morning of Saturday, January 26, Fr. Michael Kamau Ithondeka was killed. 41 years old, he was a priest of the diocese of Nakuru, and the vice rector of the "Mathias Mulumba" major seminary in Tindinyo. Along the road between Nakuru and Eldama, in the Rift Valley, he was stopped, pulled from his car, and killed with stones and machetes. His fault was that he was of Kikuyu ethnicity, a group prevalent in the region, while his attackers were Kalenjin. An open war is now raging among these and other ethnic communities. [...]
Saturday, February 2, 2008
If I have this whole religion thing wrong, and there really is a god, and because I kept saying he is a figment of a couple of kooks imagination it turns out that I have to go to hell, then I know what hell looks like.
There's no fire, no brimstone, there's no molten lava. Dante and Hieronymus Bosch have it totally wrong.In hell, you have to sit for 2 days in the summer sun with 30,000 boorish, drunken, look-at-me, attention-seeking assholes and watch a dumbed-down bastardized version of rugby.I think that the sevens is further proof that we are heading the way of Ancient Rome. The masses need to be entertained. It'll only get worse ...
Related Link: Sevens Hell ~ Gman
On page 3 of Dom Post: "Man sentenced after killing 2 year old while out on bail"
That almost says it all. But
another story reflects on the soft approach to crime. A man was given 50 hours community service for punching another man in the face in a public toilet. Apparently the man "glanced" in the wrong way! Well 50 hours should sort out the thug. Except that the story noted "this is added to the other 300 hours community service the man is currently serving". And recently, a 50 year old man was raped in a toilet by another man.
Elsewhere, a father of three scuffles with a tagger, the tagger ends up dead. Today, a teen tells a tagger to "stop" and ends up stabbed. Citizens taking on law breakers and defending their property needs to get the support of the state. Or are we (as Trotter suggests) supposed to lie back and take it?
Friday, February 1, 2008
Here's the article. My comments follow it.
Frenzy of the killer within
FROM THE LEFT - CHRIS TROTTER
Name me just one crime- free nation. Silly question. There's no such place. Dishonesty and violence have been humanity's constant companions for as long as Homo sapiens has been a social species – in other words, forever.
Why then do we allow ourselves to be whipped into a lather by the tragic – but inevitable – instances of violent and anti- social behaviour that blight the lives of our fellow citizens every week?
Has there ever been a week in which nobody was robbed, or defrauded, or beaten up, or killed? Does the historical record contain evidence of even one month in which no burglaries were reported and no dairies robbed? Thirty days during which not a single, normally law-abiding and likeable person hasn't lashed out in an adrenaline-fuelled frenzy to injure or kill another human- being? Of course not.
The latest available statistics show that for the period 1997-2006, 1060 people were listed as homicides in New Zealand. That's an average of 106 homicides a year, or two a week.
This is the fifth week of 2008, so, statistically-speaking, 10 homicides should have been reported.
Guess what? Ten homicides have been reported. In other words, the situation is normal. The only really distinctive component in the homicide statistics from the first five weeks of 2008 is that in every reported case the person involved had been murdered, as opposed to being the victim of attempted murder, manslaughter, illegal abortion, infanticide or assisted suicide.
The police advise that this is not at all unusual. Murder numbers frequently peak around the holiday season, when the number of people under stress, away from their jobs, and routinely intoxicating themselves is greater than at any other time of the year.
However, even allowing for this summer spike, the figure of 10 murders is not exceptionally high. In the course of any five- week period, between six and seven people can be expected to lose their lives in this way. And yet the news media's reporting of these homicides has sent shivers of fear and despair rippling through the population. The airways throb with the anger and indignation of talk-back callers goaded to fury by the populist prognostications of politicians.
The entirely predictable tragedy of 10 homicide victims in the first five weeks of 2008 has thus been transformed into an intractable social crisis, replete with demands for "tougher measures" against everything from graffiti to teenage gangs.
My question, however, is this: what possible combination of "tougher measures" would have made the slightest difference to the latest homicide statistics?
Reviewing the most recent tragedies, we find a young man driven mad by the loss of the woman he loved; a knife drawn and used in the midst of a botched robbery; a drunken gang interrupted in the commission of a serious offence, a gang attack; a bitter domestic dispute suddenly exploding into violence; a normally mild-mannered citizen provoked to murderous rage by repeated assaults on his property.
In each case the offenders would have been in the grip of emotions and instincts so powerful that they had become incapable of making the rational calculations upon which the theory of criminal deterrence is based.
The number of individuals who, having weighed all the risks, can coolly, calmly and "with malice aforethought" take the life of another human being is (thankfully) very small indeed, and our courts do not hesitate to incarcerate them for very long periods.
Most killings, therefore, are the unpremeditated and unintended by-products of fear and/or rage. Somehow the offenders' "fight-or-flight" survival mechanism gets "stuck", and the fight signal is steadily amplified, to the point where only the utter destruction of the perceived threat will pacify the aggressor.
It is possible that there is a genetic component to this phenomenon. Or, it might simply be the deadliest form of learned behaviour – the product of years of being subjected to violent abuse.
The urge to sensationalise murder might itself be the result of the flight-or-fight mechanism malfunctioning on a society-wide basis. By sensationalising violent crime, projecting its causes outwards, and calling for ever more condign punishments to be inflicted upon its perpetrators, are we not fleeing from the knowledge that the same capacity for deadly violence that made a killer of our neighbour lurks inside us as well?
Is our obsessive concern about the violent deeds of others merely a way of escaping from the violence in ourselves?
No, I think our obsessive concern comes from not being allowed to defend ourselves should one of these people "in grip of emotions and instincts so powerful that they had become incapable of making the rational calculations" coming across our paths, and having a police force far more interested in going to alleged child smacking incidents than ensuring the safety of citizens who are told that the police will defend them if they need defending. Maybe in 20 minutes or half an hour, when the police are free, that is.
I think Chris Trotter's biggest concern is really that the NZ public don't go bonkers and start demanding all the social changes made over the last 30 years or so to be wound back. Because they are not working - or they are working too well, depending on what outcome you want.
Related Link: Frenzy of the killer within ~ Stuff
The words "Mum" and "Dad" are out, to be replaced by "parent" or "parents". The use of the word "gay" ought to be considered as bad as a racist remark.
Am I the only one who thinks that Ed Balls has an unfortunate name in relation to all of this?
LONDON (LifeSiteNews) - Government guidelines for training school officials to be more sensitive to homosexuality, instruct teachers not to use the terms "mum and dad" when referring to students' parents, and to treat "even casual" use of terms like "gay" as equal to racism.Related Link: UK Education Guidelines: Do not use 'Mum' and 'Dad' ~ Catholic Online
The guidance was commissioned by the Labour government directly from the homosexual lobby group Stonewall. The document was launched today at a Stonewall conference by Schools Secretary Ed Balls.
Ed Balls said, "Homophobic insults should be viewed as seriously as racism."
"Even casual use of homophobic language in schools can create an atmosphere that isolates young people and can be the forerunner of more serious forms of bullying."
The guidelines say that the word "parents" must replace "mum and dad", and that teachers should educate pupils about civil partnerships and gay adoption rights.
In Britain's current political climate, even young children have been subject to police interventions on accusations of making "racist" or "homophobic" comments.
In October 2006, a 14-year-old school girl was arrested by police and detained in a cell for three hours after she asked to be moved into a group of students who spoke English in class. Stott was denounced to police for "racism" by her teachers. In April 2007, a ten-year-old boy was questioned after the boy sent an email calling another boy "gay".
In the "Frequently Asked Questions" section of the guidelines, in answer to the question, "We have to respect cultural and religious differences. Does this mean pupils can be homophobic?" the guidelines specifically state that those with religious views regarded by the homosexual movement as "intolerant" must be silent. "A person can hold whatever views they want but expressing views that denigrate others is unacceptable."
For Stonewall, youth and sexual innocence is no reason for an exemption. To the objection that primary school students are too young to understand issues of homosexuality, the guidelines respond, "Primary-school pupils may be too young to understand their own sexual orientation but it is likely that some primary-school pupils will know someone who is gay."
"Homophobic language is used in primary schools without the pupils necessarily realising what it is that they are saying. Primary schools should respond to homophobic bullying in an age-appropriate way whilst demonstrating that it is not acceptable in school."
For parents who object to their children being exposed to instruction on homosexuality, the guidelines say, "Regardless of their views on gay people or sexual orientation, parents and carers have to understand that schools have a responsibility to keep pupils safe."
Stonewall, perhaps the most successful homosexual activist organization in the world, has been accepted by the Labour government, first under Tony Blair and now by Gordon Brown's leadership, as the leading voice on all issues regarding homosexuality. The guidelines take this a step further in actually allowing the lobby group to author a government document.
Under Tony Blair's "New Labour" government, Section 28 - the law which banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools, was repealed. Since then, homosexual activists have used their influence in Parliament to implement a full roster of training for both teachers and students in normalizing homosexuality.