Saturday, May 31, 2008

ZenTiger Secular Celebrations

It's Queen's Birthday weekend here in New Zealand. Perhaps because the Queen has so many birthdays every year, she probably wont mind this one being taken over by atheists and liberals. And it has been. It's a weekend where the shops are going to be open from dawn to dusk, discounts and specials on offer like some mid year boxing day sale.

No Christians to lament that low paid shop assistants are bring forced to work rather than worship. Barely a murmur from the unions, who have already negotiated penalty rates and time in lieu. Not to mention 4 weeks annual leave, not three as it was a few months ago.

Nope, if atheists and liberals wanted their own religious holiday, with freedom to worship on the alter of the cash register, with permission to succumb to the temptation of brunch at a cafe, followed by penance of towels and underwear purchased at 30% discount, then surely, Queens Birthday weekend is their day?

Full on shopping, and no-one and no-thing standing in people's way. Well, apart from the queues for parking perhaps.

The only ironic thing I've noticed is that my good and dear acquaintance, David Farrar at Kiwiblog, who has been somewhat a champion for shopping through public holidays, has for some strange reason, locked himself away on a deserted (mall-wise) island for the next few days.

Maybe this whole freedom to shop thing only matters when it's a Christian holiday?
If the thought of having a few days off, and away from it all - away from 24/7 shopping, emails and mobile phones - seems like a really good idea after all, perhaps we could work out a way that others, such as shop workers, have the same opportunity to do this without the big expense of foreign travel.

Hey, I have an idea. Maybe we could make like 3 days a year where the shops don't open? That would do the trick. Family time, kick back and relax, optionally Church - no shopping, no materialism, no pressure to find the perfect shoe. Just 100% down time. Is that brilliant, or what? Don't answer - I'm not suggesting for a moment that we use the sacred "Queens Birthday". I've got a couple of other days in mind.

Anyway - enjoy this long week-end if you are one of the fortunate who don't need to work. The next official holiday doesn't come to October - Labour Day. Unless you are a banker, then you get a day in august I believe. I said banker. But speaking of Labour - when's the election? There's a couple of political parties facing long holidays. They could be starting from around Labour Day.

Which could mean an early Christmas for us all.

Related Link: Holidays are for serving others

Friday, May 30, 2008

ZenTiger Friday Night Free For All

It's Friday. It's been pretty quiet (except for the lurkers, who still register on my stat counter), so drop in and actually say something. If you feel like it. No pressure. I mean, we've disabled anon comments - you've got to at least have a blogger handle or something. But it's the least you can do if you want a voice. Let's not talk about "right to offend" though. There is no such right. It's simply a statement of fact. If you offend, there are consequences. Indeed, there are consequences to everything. What pleases atheists is that consequences are only limited to this life.

Isn't that a comforting thought? Wouldn't want to be wrong though, would you? And that's the other thing that can piss off an atheist. The implied threat in having a different world view. Yeah, you could cross the road blindfolded too, if that makes you feel better. Doesn't change the traffic volumes.

So argue all you like. Doesn't matter until we are all dead, then we can revisit this. You can absolutely be confident that I would not for a moment even THINK the phrase "I told you so". That's just not me, and quite frankly I don't have a clue. Just a belief. We'll maybe I have a few clues. Those are also hotly disputed.

Apparently, belief's are a character deficiency, in liberal circles - and therefore it's one I must live with - you are in the clear. You lot have different issues. Why not crack a beer and contemplate what they might be? In the meantime, we can talk about something completely different - anything. If you have a blogger login.

Be brave. Say something. Talking trivia may be the most significant thing you will do today.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lucia Hilaire Belloc

I was just talking to someone today about Hilaire Belloc (Defender of the Faith). You know who you are. So, here are a couple of links to some of his interesting books that are able to be read online.

The Great Heresies
The Online Books Page

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

ZenTiger Driving Technology Forward

Whilst Microsoft are trying to get people excited about Windows 7 and banging your fist on the screen to make it work...I'm just after the new 256GB Solid State Drives. Tired of waiting for Microsoft to make Windows boot faster, I'm moving to plan B.

These are a winner for any laptop - faster, smaller, lighter and less drain on the battery. I've seen a few of these hitting the market, and mass production is not far away. Samsung have just leapfrogged the current crop, and with an estimated reliable lifetime of 12+ years with this technology, it looks like the earlier problems of limited write cycles are contained. Great.
Samsung Electronics, the world's largest computer chip maker, said today it has developed a new solid state drive which is expected to replace hard disk drives in laptop computers.

Samsung said its 256-gigabyte solid state drive (SSD) for data storage is 2.4 times faster than traditional hard drives. The company plans to begin production of SSDs this year.
Related Link: 256GB Solid State Drives coming soon

Related Link at cnet: Samsung Solid State 256GB

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

ZenTiger The Poll Results

Thanks to the folks who participated in the poll in a weak attempt to influence my next post topic. Except I spent so long waiting for the poll results, I may have inadvertently checked off one or two of the topics early...

Of more interest to bloggers may be that I had placed a name/website behind each voting topic, and it's now time to see who has been voted off the blogopshere. (Yes, the Conservative faction of the VRWC is that powerful.)

And the results are:

It goes "Score", "Blog Topic" and "Site Voted Off". Highest score wins.


07% - Anything Irrelevant - Frog Blog (If only you had known eh?)

07% - Something Satirical - The Standard (Hardly worth the effort)

23% - A rant about Liberals - Hard News (He lives. Hard luck)

30% - A rant about the Left - Young Labour, Pete Hodgson, Russell Fairbrother, Martin Gallagher, Winnie Laban, Brendon Burns, David Cunliffe, Steve Chadwick, Tim Barnett (We have some winners!)

01% - Cullens Budget - Just Left (Both just a little ho-hum?)

11% - Right To Life Issues - No Right Turn (He lives. Irony.)

15% - God and the Universe - Capitalism Bad, Tree Pretty (Through on a wing and a prayer)

26% - Blogging and Privacy - Red in Roskill (Maybe we'll just suspend posting)

02% - The Money System - KiwiBlogBlog (They will be beside themselves with relief)

07% - Other - NewZblog (Did I even spell the name right?)


Well, it looks like the "Rant about the left" scrapped in as the winner by just 4%, but luckily, I had all my eggs in one basket and a whole lot of left blogs will be dismissed from the internet today.

And don't think I didn't notice second and third place. I'll get around to posting on all of these topics, but the top three will hopefully get a little more priority.

And now that the VRWC has taken down a bunch of left blogs and web sites, let's see how long they take to fix themselves. Have to be nimble in the technology game.

Related Link: Reality Blogging

Update: Looks like the websites are down already. DPF and No Minister both notice that WhaleOil blogged something strange. A convenient theory to explain what the left all fear. Bwaa haaa haaa haa.

ZenTiger Local hero robbed again

Some guy (Garth Gadsby) got his car stolen, his house burgled and managed to catch the criminals by firing a few shots in their general direction. These thugs had been doing this before. They needed to be caught, and the place is so remote, Police don't call. I blogged this earlier.

So, the crims are let out and the shooter ends up with the state putting him through the cost of a trial, take 18 months to run it, and then the State steal a further $3,000 from him, and finally, take his gun.

The Judge Jan Kelly, no doubt related to infamous bandit, Ned Kelly, said she was being lenient on Garth.

Meanwhile, the criminals have since [allegedly] stolen another car and been doing burglaries again. You can also bet whatever fines they get, they wont pay.

There is no justice in New Zealand.

A Wairarapa man convicted of shooting recklessly at teenagers in a stolen car has been sentenced to pay a fine and hand in his gun.

Garth Gadsby, 60, was last month found guilty by a jury of recklessly discharging a firearm when he shot at two youths who were driving around the remote fishing settlement of Ngawi in a stolen car in September 2006.

He fired a shotgun four times from a moving car, aiming at the tyres of the vehicle in an attempt to stop the pair escaping.

In the Wellington District Court on Tuesday, Gadsby was ordered to pay a fine of $3000 and forfeit the shotgun.

He stands by his actions, saying what he did was not dangerous.

Judge Jan Kelly says she took into account the fisherman's significant contribution to the community, which raised $12,500 for his defence.


Related Link: The Great Gadsby honoured by the community, but persecuted by the State

ZenTiger Blogger implicates Key in Power Outages

Moderate Centre-Left Wing Blogger "Dillsy" yesterday published irrefutable proof that John Key and National were directly behind the power outage across Wellington, in a deliberate ploy to embarrass the State Owned Enterprises that provide energy to the country, and by implication, Helen Clark.

Dillsy warned that if National win the election there will be blood on the streets, and medical services will need to be cut to fund National's extreme far right agenda.

"The Reserve Bank have papers that prove that a cut of even FOUR staff in a Public Service of 40,000 will create ripples of funding cuts to education, health, police and justice causing many deaths and untold suffering. I know they have documents proving a tax cut of just 1% more than the thresholds Dr Cullen has announced will be the straw that breaks the camels back, and people will be forced to bleed to death in accident and emergency."

Why wont the Reserve Bank release these papers?", demands moderate centre-left wing blogger Dillsy in his post.

"Because they are neo-con Nazis in the pocket of John Key, and these fascists are only pushing up interest rates to try to unfairly force Labour out of Government for 9 years of perfect rule."

In a damning post, he also linked Key to meeting with a Church group, where he "thanked them" for huge donations marked "Earthquake and Cyclone Appeal", proving the Churches were interfering with matters of the State with the backing of the National Party.

Unfortunately, something like 6 years of carefully collected evidence was lost as Dillsy tried to post the entire article during the outage. A power surge mysteriously blew up his computer's hard disk, and all backups, including what he had written on a dozen toilet rolls he had recently obtained from a mysterious benefactor known only as "The Duck".

Dillsy could only remember a few fragments from his life's work, which went up in a one line post once the Labour Party Servers he ran his blog on had been restored:

"There will be blood on the streets, and people will die in accident and emergency if John Key gets his way."

Other centre-left moderate blogs were rallying behind their pundit yesterday, prepared to make up a whole lot of sh*t about National, "because it's probably true".

With thanks to the DimPost: Toilet humour not worth the paper it's written on

Monday, May 26, 2008

ZenTiger Brain dead means legally dead

Well, if you are brain dead, you are legally dead. They keep you on a respirator, then cut out your organs for others. Then you die. More.

Although, I've read a few cases where people have "come back" from being legally dead. You know there are always loopholes when you are dealing with the law.
Val Thomas’ doctors honestly can’t explain how she is alive today.

Thomas, who lives in West Virginia, is being called a medical miracle after she suffered two heart attacks and had no brain waves for more than 17 hours; reports NewsNet5.com.

Thomas’ heart stopped around 1:30 a.m. Saturday and doctors said she had no pulse. Rigor mortis started to set in, and she was placed on a respiratory machine.

“Her skin had already started to harden and her fingers curled,” Thomas’ son, Jim, told NewsNet5.com. “Death had set in.”
And then she pops up before they can slice and dice her, and says, "Aren't you the Doctor from Days of Our Lives?"

No, Scrubs.

Related Link: Doctors called it a day 17 hours ago

ZenTiger Dr Freeze is on the loose

No, I'm not going on about some radical Labour policy to freeze interest rates and inflation until sufficient votes have been gathered. But this is err, quite cool.



Found frozen in time: The Blog of Ryan Sproull

ZenTiger Feedback Loop


Blog New Zealand Life Coach had a cool idea. Take on a bit of the bad news and write a "Pollyanna Post" to lighten things up a little. We could all try a bit of that from time to time. So I will attempt something similar. I thought I'd pass on a bit of positive feedback on people I might otherwise target for a bit of political point scoring. So yeah, for what it's worth, these stories are true. Deal with it.


My first true story concerns Labour MP Chris Carter. I happen to know first hand he was in a position to do a (non-political) favour for some-one he didn't know, via a request from a mutual acquaintance. He was working late, had to fly back from Wellington to Auckland even later, and yet made a big effort to help this person out. Maybe it was no more than what any decent person would do, but that therefore, was very decent of him. Thanks Chris Carter.

My second story concerns the currently disgraced Mary Anne Thompson.

I know a person, whose opinion I respect, mentioned he had worked for Mary Anne whilst she was head of Immigration. He found her very good to work for, and good at her job. So I'm not going to get distracted with all the other issues around her story right now, and just allow myself this thought: she was at least good at her job and respected by some of her workers and peers.

Well, I'm done. But if anyone else has any positive stories on a more personal note about well known figures, maybe drop it in the comments. I suppose we wouldn't have the drama if I denied the opportunity for some real life negative stories, but perhaps don't make quite as big an effort on the bad ones, this time around...


I read the news today, oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad
Well I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph...

--Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Sunday, May 25, 2008

ZenTiger Give the criminals a head start

The Police are so confident of catching dangerous criminals, they have a new policy of giving them a two week head start on the getaway.

"We like to give murderous thugs at least a 2 week head start before we hunt them down like the rabid dogs they are. Often, you let the chain out that much and they might commit the same crime again, doubling our chances to gain a conviction."

"Apparently, the witness and the victim of an attempted murder have the guys license number, so once we track down the victim, we'll be able to get right on to it. We are calling for members of the public who might know the whereabouts of the victim to come forward."

"You may read about their story in the papers, and possibly notice their name and address - if so, give us a call. We'd really like to know, because the criminal might see the same article and take decisive action. Decisive. Action. Once we clear this backlog of traffic duties, and sort out the rosters, we too will take decisive action."

We do actually have a fair idea who did it, so we'll see how far he gets over the next few weeks. Once we get him, we'll have him through the courts before you can say "carbon dating the evidence to the nearest decade."

Related Link: Police on the trail, about 2 weeks behind but possibly gaining
-----------------------------------
Snippet/Excerpts:

A young boy suffering nightmares after being strangled by a stranger more than two weeks ago is still waiting for police and Victim Support to see him....The man only let go when a woman with an injured leg screamed at the attacker, hobbled after him and took the number plate of his car.

Bradley said he was then taken into school and a constable attended, promising to see him again "by Monday"...Sixteen days later, a lack of follow-up has upset Duggan, who is also Bradley's aunt, and Funnell. The couple said they rang police several times but were told the file could not be found, and they would have to wait for the investigating officer to contact them.

"Bradley has suffered nightmares as a result of the assault and is clearly afraid that the perpetrator is going to return at some point to assault him again," he wrote. "He has been asking constantly about what is going on. We look forward to being able to provide him with some answers."

Avondale Sergeant Scott Leonard replied and said the constable dealing with the matter was on days off. He apologised for the delay and said the matter would be dealt with on his return to work....Leonard said police have identified a suspect but have yet to charge him and delays could occur due to shiftwork.


And here's the Justice System hammering us from the other side: Local hero robbed by the State

PS: I'd like to put a more positive spin on this story in defence of our hard working coppers, but based on the news story, I'm struggling. Can anyone out there enlighten me as to why the Police would not immediately arrest some-one seen to be attempting murder or serious assault when they think they know who did it? Does "laying charges" mean (in this case) the person is locked up, but not charged perhaps?

ZenTiger A couple of questions

Q1: If Labour say "tax cuts causes inflation", (and use that as an excuse not to give them) why then, does the increase in government spending by 100% over the last 9 years apparently NOT cause inflation? Can you imagine going to the voters and saying "We can give you a Families Commission, but it will cause inflation, and erode your pay packet. Are you sure some of the 18,000 staff hired by Ministry of Social Development aren't enough to cover this?"

Q2: If Cullen has held back on tax cuts for 9 years to stop inflation and high interest rates, why do we have one of the highest interest rates in the OECD? [tip to side show bob]

Q3: Why does the Reserve Bank move quickly to raise interest rates when getting the latest figures from the market, ignoring future indications of softening - and when the latest figures indicate it's time to drop them, decides the future indicators of Labour's tax cuts for 2010 and 2011 suddenly have more relevance?

Q4: If just about every contract you sign has a built in clause to raise the fees by the cpi index, (including rates), why don't tax thresholds have a built in cpi threshold?

Q5: If the government spends millions of tax payer dollars on helping people with gambling addictions, why do they also run the lotteries and also spend millions of tax dollars promoting gambling?

Q6: Why does the government think it fair and reasonable to pay tax on tax payments, especially with the GST charged on rates, and to a lesser extent, petrol?

Q7: If the "rich pricks" pay the top tax rate, and according to Labour represent 5% of the working population, why do 22% of full time workers pay this rate?

Q8: Why didn't Labour may the above promise [made in 1999] a pledge?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

ZenTiger How many points to buy an election?






To: Dr Michael Cullen (cullen@helengrad.con.nz)
From: Fly Buys
Date: 23 May 2008
Subject: Fly Buys Statement
----------------------------
Dear Mr Dr Cullen

Please find attached your Fly Buys statement as requested. We note that with the Toll Rail purchase your points balance is now at 12,463,210 points.

You points total up to 15 May includes expenditure of 11,000 points for an upgrade to first class tickets on a recent flight to Poland [supplementary card holder Margaret Wilson] and 3 million points for a Ms Helen Clark who purchased the "Champions of the Earth" award from the United Nations.

We have posted a booklet of the catalogue items available. Some of the things you can buy with 12 million points:

* 6,234 foot spas with sea salt packs
* A freezing works in Dannevirke
* A favourable commission of inquiry on any Labour MP (ex-MPs not included)
* A factory in Dunedin for white ware
* A Playstation with assorted Anti-National Karaoke Tunes and the rights to distribute the recorded output on You-Tube (ideal for Labour Party Conferences).
* The unconditional support of the Green Party, irrespective of your environmental policies.

You are just 3 million points away from:

* A knighthood with generous pension
* A job as Secretary General of the UN
* A BMW 7 series with chauffeur

Thank you for participating in Fly Buys.


-------------------
TO: Ms Helen Clark (clark@helengrad.con.nz)
FROM: Dr Michael Cullen (cullen@helengrad.con.nz)
BCC: Phil Goff (goff@planB.govt.nz)
Subject: FWD: Fly Buys Statement

H1

My idea of signing up for Fly Buys before spending the kitty certainly paid off. We've got 12 million points - and it's all tax free!. Beauty. I'm just checking to see if Election Expenses attract points. That will get us the extra 3 million we need.

I want a Thomas the Tank Engine Train Set (3,400 points) and why don't you take the UN job (14.5M points)? We've got bloody BMW's coming out of our arses, and all of the other stuff is utter crap anyway - something we can get any day of the week. I imagine there will be a lot more cheap factories on the market by election time, and we can always put them on AMEX and pick up some Qantas Frequent Flyer points.

Regs, Cullen.


-------------------
TO: Dr Michael Cullen (cullen@helengrad.con.nz)
FROM: Ms Helen Clark (clark@helengrad.con.nz)
Subject: RE: FWD: Fly Buys Statement

Find out how many points we need to buy an election.

H.

ZenTiger Inflationary spending on track

Well, the markets have spoken and they worry Cullen's Budget (tax cuts and a big pile of spending) are inflationary. Labour flunkies take this as an opportunity to warn National's tax cuts are going to be more inflationary. More inflationary than what?

Tax cuts needn't be inflationary in the right circumstances. Only certain kinds of spending is inflationary. For example, buying a rail system costs about 655 million, but before the money has even been handed over, it’s inflated to 1.4 BILLION. Nice going Cullen.

Related Link at Kiwiblog: Cullen tells the markets the way it is

Friday, May 23, 2008

ZenTiger Friday Night Free For All

It's Friday. The budget is out, but Labour are still in. The talk is all about tax cuts, and the vote seems to be "it's not enough", or "I expected more". That's coming across as very greedy and self-centred. You can expect Labour to capiltalise on that, and National will have to be careful in the way they position their election promises.

Personally, I don't think people's intention here is about greed. The reality is, after nine years in power, with year on year tax surpluses, people have seen their own pay packet eroded by inflation and by "bracket creep". This inflation then hammers a whole segment of home owners on big mortgages, with interest rates way up. What many people realise is those interest rates were pushed higher by massive increases in government spending, as much as Bollard tried to blame the property market.

Even so, maybe that would be acceptable, if the Labour government looked like they cared. The reality is though there have been no adjustments in the tax thresholds in 9 years. When they came into power, they put all the taxes up. They've added or increased over 40 taxes since getting the pin number to the IRD accounts.

And Cullen has the cheek to call people on $60,000pa "rich pricks". Yes, the 60K tax margin will be increased to 70K. For the rich pricks. Charming. And reeking of arrogance.

People are simply looking for a fair deal -- and to see tax surpluses even after increased government spending, with Cullen saying "no relief" is just grating.

To make matters worse, we also seem to be going backwards in delivery of government services. Throw in government bungles in accounting (Kyoto for starters) and a series of high profile incidents of wasteful government spending (Te Wananga swallowed half a billion dollars alone), year after year, for 9 years, and then suddenly, on the eve on an election, Cullen and Labour throw out a bone, it's no surprise people are coming across as "greedy" as they digest the election bribe.

I suggest it is merely a reaction to the way we have been treated for 9 years, and it's taken a downturn in the economy for a large chunk of casual voters to suddenly get interested in seeing how the government is going to help them, given they've been helping the government so loyally for the last three elections.

Meanwhile, I, like many, are waiting for National to respond with something that is indeed far more than a discussion on tax cuts. To keep the conversation limited to tax would indicate a certain degree of greed and self-centredness. What voters need to hear is how a suite of economic policies will, as Rodney Hide often declares: "Make the cake bigger" rather than just arguing about how to divide the cake we have. In that environment, we can have our tax cuts and spend them too.

Drop in for a chat, it's Friday, and there are more things to talk about than just tax.

ZenTiger Thinking out of the box

Zucchini is another vegetable that starts with the letter C
It seems the deductive* powers of many are extraordinary. Take this situation; there are 6 closed boxes on the table. You open the first and find a cauliflower. You open the second and find a cabbage. You open the third and find a carrot.

Pictured:
Zucchini is another vegetable that starts with the letter C



We are halfway through the boxes. To digress for a moment - people look for patterns. They look for order. They apply their learnings and make what seem to be objective deductions. But we'll still get different opinions. Vegetables? Things starting with the letter C? Vegetables starting with the letter C?

We open box four. Potato.
OK. Well, it's vegetables then.

Box 5. Lettuce.
Yep, case closed. Vegetables.

Do we need to open box 6? Some people don't bother at this point. But we will be thorough. We open box 6. An apple.

Yep, it's a vegetable. At least that's what many people would have you believe.

--Zen

* Deductive, in the general sense, but more accurately, an issue of inductive reasoning, as David points out below.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fletch One Man Band

Ok, well I don't really do many reviews but I was wandering through the Red Shed this afternoon and espied this CD/DVD set. It's a live concert by James Taylor called One Man Band - just himself and his acoustic guitar backed up by a piano player and interspersed with stories around the writing of the songs - where they came from and where he was when he wrote them. All the classics are here: Fire and Rain, You've Got A Friend, Shower The People, Carolina on My Mind - over two hours in all.

James Taylor was one of the inspirations for me when I was learning guitar - James and David Gates and Paul Simon. I read a review of James' playing once, and the reviewer got it dead-on when he said that his every vocal line is punctuated with a guitaristic nod or wink-of-the-eye. You don't really see guitar players like this any more: well, I don't anyway. The players I see on videos these days have this stumdy-strum basic accompaniment; this is a player still in full control of his powers.

After watching this I was inspired  to pull out my guitar for what seems like the first time in ages and play those songs again. I thought I might have forgotten how to play them, but it came back.

If you're a JT fan, you'll LOVE this set and if you're not a fan then it's not to late to become one!

ZenTiger Betting on cheese


Dr Cullen may be a little upset that the average tax cut of $16 per week is being compared to the cost of a block of cheese. That was not what the money was intended for. With a recent "investment" of $9 million dollars in the racing industry, and a state monopoly on lotteries, he was no doubt hoping gambling would be on the increase. Well, I hope he's cheesed off.

The budget looks to be a rather pathetic effort, with a small tax deduction around election time, and others kicking in over the next three years.

Problem is, last time Cullen promised to up the tax thresholds, he turned around and cancelled them.

Given that Labour's budget didn't really address any plans for growth; for interest rate abatement; and for tackling energy issues, there's every excuse Labour's bad economic management will force some serious belt tightening in 2009.

Question is, will it be government that is asked to tighten their belts, or the tax payers, pensioners, students and beneficiaries? If I was a gambling man, I'd lay odds on the latter group doing the Jenny Craig.

How about you? Wanna bet?

ZenTiger Major earthquake predicted in NZ

Scientists have discovered a major fault line running through the New Zealand political landscape. Dubbed "The Cullen Fault Line" experts are warning that it could crack in just a few hours with the announcement of Labour's budget.

"We are expecting widespread casualties, with the collapse of jobs, mortgages, food and transport prices also burying people alive. The aftershocks of which could trigger a major landslide for National later this year, possibly October."

With recent polls off the Richter scale, Labour was seen to be on shaky ground. John Key has warned the Earthquake Commission to expect claims of up to $50 per week per person to repair the damage.

Monday, May 19, 2008

ZenTiger Preferred PM

We really need a new poll to gauge who is the preferred PM:

1. John Key
2. Winston Peters
3. Bill English

Are there any other names I've missed? What do you reckon Rodney's chances are?

Update: OK, so it seems I forget one very important person that should be included on the preferred Prime Minister stakes. A certain female, that should be listed no matter how bad her chances. Fair enough.

Let's add Jeanette Fitzsimons to the list.

Although that would mean we'd have to add Russel Norman too. The world's first co-Prime Ministers. Cool. Maybe then we'd have tax calculated on income splitting?

ZenTiger Reality Blogging

Decisions, decisions. There are so many posts I want to do, but limited time at the moment. So I'll have to prioritize. But because I'm a bleeding edge blogger** I thought I'd add a touch of reality to the mix.

YOU; MR or MRS, MS or MISS, MASTER or DR (you know the type, the ones that say they have a PhD), and I suppose I can throw in a reference to the androgynous anonymous types although they don't have a title, so just imagine a blank space back there a wee way.

Anyway, YOU get to choose the next post by voting in the little poll I'm running in the side bar. So, enter your votes for the topics I've listed, and if it suits my purposes, I might take note. Oops, I mean that your votes will make a huge impact on the choice of my next topic. Really. Stop looking at my nose.

And for an extra dose of reality, we will also vote off a blogger, and possibly a commenter. Yes, that's right, behind every topic I've assigned a blogger name or commenter name, and your choice might result in them being fired from the blogosphere.

It's big. It's grand. It's beyond freedom of speech, and shows just how powerful the conservative movement has become. Oh yes, this only confirms the paranoid ranting of lefty commenters, who will be quick to fasten on these comments as circumstantial evidence of the VRWC. (Only circumstantial, because the left always read too much into these things).

And don't think you can get out of it, because a non vote counts as a vote. Oh yes, my little stat counter tells me how many visitors we get and where they came from. Even those that use proxy servers cannot escape the net, because the proxy server still registers a no-vote. It's diabolical.

Of course, maybe this whole reality blogging is just a little far fetched. I can't really remove a blogger from the blogosphere can I? That's crazy. This is obviously some weird kind of joke.

Well, just remember, Poneke's blog was on the way out, and then mysteriously came back sans a post. Other blogs have mysteriously disappeared over the years. It's all part of reality blogging.

Bwaaahaaaa haaa haaa.

---------------------------
* I think I was the first ever to do repeat posts, (Yes, posting the same content twice - totally different from plagiarism, which is the typical blogging style) for example. Then there was the time that the title of all my posts were also songs, and the band was named within the post content. I always liked those "name that tune" shows. Is that je ne sais quoi or avant garde or is it some other French words? Je ne sais pas. C'est la vie.

Friday, May 16, 2008

ZenTiger Friday Night Free For All

It's Friday. It's also been a couple of weeks since tragedy hit Burma, and we have yet another government preventing free aid reaching its citizens. This seems to me to be a case where military force to support aid workers could be justified. What say you?

But feel free to drop in and mention much more cheerier things. Just count your blessings, such as they may be.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

ZenTiger Citation and fries to go

It’s a little too close to the bone to call him Ron Donald.

But Hughes did take the mickey out of MacDonald, leaving us with little choice.

Do you want fries with that citation?

As Scrubone says, vote for this clown, and you vote Green (it's a joke). Still, he could have dressed up as a snail or a hector dolphin. Arresting Ronald seems so much more child friendly. "Mum, the Police have McArrested Ronald and its all the Greens fault". Ouch, poor kids. Innocence lost.

Either way, whilst the Greens and Winston continue to support Labour, this is just one part of a three ring circus.

----------------
Hat tip over at Half Done: Would you vote for this clown and originally on Whale Oil

ZenTiger Evolution hits the wall

Now, it just cannot be the result of natural selection that biological forms show the same forms we also witness in spiraling minerals and in spiral galaxies. And when we find a “solution” in living beings that turns out to be optimal with respect to many millions of conceivable (and computable, these days, with fast computers) alternatives, it cannot have been selected out of random trials. There have not been dozens of millions of generations of macaques trying out all sorts of cortical patterns of connections, such that only the best survived. That’s ridiculous.

Some people, completely outside of the ID field and for different reasons, think natural selection doesn't explain evolution as according to natural selection. Nevertheless, the ID camp might at least be pleased that the holes they are finding in evolution does indeed call for a fresh perspective. The result would not prove or disprove God's existence, but it does, I think, reinforce the miracle of life, and the patterns that tame chaos.

An interesting article. Links below.

Related Link: Evolution hits the wall

ZenTiger The Great Escape

While people were breaking into the Waihopi "Spy" Base, prisoners have been strolling out of Mount Eden Prison. Corrections Department northern regional manager Warren Cummins is bearing the brunt for the prisoner escape due to alleged staff shortages.

[SATIRE BEGINS]
Said Cummins:

"No worries, we will catch this prisoner, and teach him a lesson he will never forget: home detention."

Cummins was quick to point out the problem is a guard shortage, not prisoner shortage.

"It doesn't matter if we lose a few prisoners, we've got heaps of spare ones. What we don't have is guards. We need to work out how to stop the guards from escaping. We have some great ideas, involving RFID tags and GPS enabled bracelets.

Cummins also explained that the prison officials were now considering the purchase of locks on doors, bars on windows and higher fences. This would be after the underfloor heating, million dollar landscaping, televisions and and playstation devices were paid off.

Green party leader Russel Norman claimed prisoners are trying to escape due to poor living conditions. He recommended immediately upgrading the in-house televisions, and buying the latest games. GTA IV was his personal preference, but any game where law enforcement personnel died from gunshot wounds, preferably whilst holding a taser was OK.

Cummins brought the escape back into perspective:

"We have hundreds escape every year through the parole board, and people get upset with one sneaking out over the fence. Go figure."

Related Link: Staff Shortage at Prison Blamed for Escape

PS: Just to be clear, this post is entirely satirical and Cummins name has been unfairly appropriated for use in this post. He no doubt gets far worse from the inmates. The ones left, at any rate. If it helps, no animals were harmed in the making of this post.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

ZenTiger A Women's Work is Never Done

This post should really be called: "Male expert declares women don't work enough and lives to talk about it." And why are academics called experts anyway?

The pay equity gap between men and women in Australia will not close until women are prepared to work longer hours, an academic says.

Err, you mean longer hours in the office I presume?

The only male taking part in a National Press Club panel discussion about the pay equity gap, Prof Wooden's remarks drew gasps from the mostly female audience.

Were they surprised at the findings, which have been known for centuries? Or surprised that this panel member had such a deep voice? Or surprised he earns 15% more than them for saying the same thing? I'm a little surprised he earned anything for this information.

Prof Wooden said closing the gap would require a change in the traditional family structure. "The only way we can achieve this is if we have lots of role reversals, lots of men behaving like women and lots of women behaving like men."

Now would be the time for collective gasps in the audience.

"I don't think women in Australia want that, I don't think that women anywhere in the world want that."

Well, mothers might not want that. But women in general? They are marrying less, and marrying later, working more and being conditioned to enjoy a childless existence. Isn't this what the feminist movement has been aspiring to?

Ms Plibersek strongly disagreed (You see what I'm going on about?) saying it was a matter of role-sharing, not role reversal.

You go hard, Ms Plibersek. Utopia is just a dish washing husband away.

Ms Plibersek said the Productivity Commission's inquiry into ...increasing tax rebates for child care ...were policies that would help reduce the gap.

Because if women don't have to be mothers, they can be workers instead. Be careful what you wish for Ms Plibersek.

"And we won't be doing it the same way we are doing it now, hopefully we won't be doing 100-hour weeks, we will be doing it totally differently.

Note to self: Review progress in 10 years.

Related Link: Male Expert declares women don't work enough, and lives to talk about it

ZenTiger Grand Theft Auto IV and South Auckland V

With Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA IV) released as an R18 rated game, the Government have moved to ensure minors are not permitted to purchase and play the game. Steve Gilbert, local games shop manager confirms:

"We've been asking for proof of age for GTA IV as we are aware of our social and legal responsibilities. Every purchaser has had some form of age ID. Most common is a note from their parents. Any purchasers smoking and drinking when they come into the shop are also obviously also over 18, so we don't need to ask them. One young lady did look about 13, but she's been turning tricks on the street corner opposite for so long, she's got to be about 25. What I am personally amazed at is the number of 18 year olds that are quite short. It's obviously evolutionary."

This fact was picked up by the Greens, who have called on the government to end potential discrimination on short people. Russel Norman suggested that short people should also automatically get the right to vote, without evidence of age. He suspects most short people would vote Green. Russel explains:

"What sales of GTA IV have proven is that there are more short people out there who are over 18 and don't drive. We know this because they all cite environmentalism as the reason for not having a drivers license when asked for evidence of age. They confess not to be on the electoral Roll. There is no doubt we are being denied more Green votes. Our aim in the next election is to accumulate at least half the number of votes as gathered in the anti-smacking petition. This could be the way to do it. Then we’d have a proven mandate to overturn the smacking petition, which is far more to blame than are violent video games."

Meanwhile, MSD confirm they have ordered 29,000 copies of GTA IV. Under agreement with the game owners, it has been re-branded "Sim City - Auckland". Ruth Dyson and Annette King launched into song at a press conference to explain:

"It's really a matter of common sense.
Our actions are not insane.
To every unemployed person
We present to them this game

It teaches important survival skills
Needed to those who claim
Living in South of Auckland
Forces a life untame

This will teach you to rob and loot
And take money without any shame
Its good training to join the Labour team
And of course, John Key is to blame"


Said Annette King later, in falsetto:

"With unemployment figures surging by 29,000 this quarter alone the biggest drop in at least 20 years, we think GTA IV will teach important life skills that are increasingly more viable under our government."

The Government has rejected calls from conservative groups for the game to be banned. "We do not support censorship, in any form" said Annette King.

Already customers are speculating on the rumoured release of the next version of GTA. However, the alleged pre-release video trailer turned out to be a documentary on the Mongrel Mob. It has been pulled from the internet, with the promoters citing a need for censorship.

Annette King welcomed the move. "The last thing New Zealanders need is to be watching documentaries about real life in NZ. The good thing about youth playing GTA IV is at least it stops them watching the news."

A radical Feminist group known only as "Labour Pains" note that not many females play the game. When asked if the game wasn't feminine enough, they instead cited that most young women were incapable of handling the controls after continual binge drinking sessions. "However, we are outraged that the game has strong themes of violence against women. It's sick. This kind of behavioral reinforcement is only going to lead to more problems. What we need is a game that allows women to shoot middle aged white men, and take to their private parts with a fish knife. Only then will we see a well balanced society."

The game, although massively popular, is proving to be hard to complete. The latest 'conspiracy theory' is the game was actually released by the Catholic Church. The only way of successfully completing the game is to drive within the speed limit, hand in stolen money, feed the poor, protect the weak and convert the drug lords to Christianity. Resorting to senseless violence ensures the person never completes the later levels.

Liberal groups are horrified, and are now calling for the game to be banned.

Related Link: Shooting Libz - a new game in the GTA IV genre

Saturday, May 10, 2008

ZenTiger Broken Windows and Tagged Walls

Stephen Franks is musing on a "broken windows" policy for policing in Wellington. It's just been kicked off in Christchurch. Youth crime climbs. We must get tough. Can't have broken windows around the place. Sends the wrong message. And heating isn't cheap either for that matter.

Broken Windows is apparently the more accurate coined term for the "zero tolerance" style policing programmes working reasonably well in a few American cities. I'm all in favour of Kiwi-izing these terms. Let's call it the Zero Tag policy perhaps?

Although, there was that recent story about the 21 year old tagger that got caught by the pub owner, who ended up tagging the tagger and the tagger's clothes, to the cheers of patrons.

Actually, I'm more amazed the publican wasn't thrown in jail for vigilante behaviour. What's NZ coming to, if we can defend our property without the state getting involved? Next, criminals might actually be locked up. Maybe we need some sort of zero tolerance programme just to make it clear? Oh, hang on. That's where we started.

But is it the right place to start? Maybe we should be advertising the need for parents to enforce discipline? Before the cops get involved. That might be a good place to start. Oh hang on, that was outlawed last year with the whole "smack is the same as violent assault and parents should be thrown in jail" thing.

Well, if a smack is absolutely guaranteed to lead to violent abuse, surely we've seen where time out leads? Let's ban time out.

I think I'll head down to the local mall and spray paint that across the entrance way sign. "Stephen Franks getting tough on crime, but lets ban time out". Oh hang on, that's probably considered political advertising. So, it's legal if I stick my address on the bottom and keep the damages under the spending limit? And if it's illegal, do we have enough police to enforce the policies?

Helen pledged to add 1000 Police to the force last election. I remember paying for the pledge cards. I'm wondering about the fine print. If Labour add 1000 police, but some of them are admin staff, and another 1500 leave the force, was the pledge fulfilled? What if we come up short? Do we need to get Clint Rickards back?

Isn't it amazing what we tolerate?

Related Link: Zero Tagging Crime Policy

ZenTiger Preventing Condom Use

It's not just the Church that think promoting condoms isn't the way to reduce HIV in Africa. It seems a Harvard research group have figured out this strategy is not yielding results. Globally HIV causes 3.7% of mortality but received 25% of health aid. And handing out condoms willy nilly sends the wrong message. The armor doesn't work. Rather than getting it on, cutting down seems to be the solution, in more ways than one:
...study leader Dr Daniel Halperin said many studies have shown that male circumcision significantly reduces the risk of heterosexual HIV infection.

Three trials in Africa were stopped early after showing at least a 60% reduction in HIV risk.

Furthermore, programmes to promote fewer sexual partners appears to have had a primary role in reducing HIV rates in Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Cote d'Ivoire, and in urban Malawi and Ethiopia, he said.

After a 1987 "Zero Grazing" campaign in Uganda, the number of people reporting multiple and casual partners declined by over half, he reported.
There are ways to help people, and some of it requires promoting personal responsibility, not liberal promiscuity.

If we can make huge strides in reducing the ravages of AIDS for less money, just imagine the benefit to get that aid money for general health initiatives, like clean water and food production.

And as a bonus, they can go to the Catholic Church and ask for expert advice on how best to promote these strategies.

Related Link: Willy Nilly Condoms not the answer

Friday, May 9, 2008

ZenTiger Friday Night Free For All

It's that certain day of the week again. Drop in and leave a comment.

I'm off for some food, but I'll see if I can throw a few topics up later. Until then, welcome to the start of the weekend. What does that mean for you?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

ZenTiger Just Excellent

The guys at No Minister have found a rating widget for their posts. Great idea. So I dug one up too.

Seems we can let readers rate posts, from 1 to 5. I thought a choice between 4 stars (Good) and 5 (Excellent) would have been safer, especially as they say there is no accounting for taste. But what the heck. It's installed. Give it a go readers, it's much easier than adding a comment, rating anything 4 or 5 stars is anonymous (kidding, it's all anonymous) and it might give us an indication of which topics are of more interest. Although, I suspect half the people will use this as a "disagree/agree" flag. Ouch?

ZenTiger Tax free band out of tune with Labour

Dr Cullen today ruled out a tax free band at the bottom end of the scale when considering tax relief in the upcoming May budget. What would have been music to the ears of many cash strapped workers is simply a discordant note to Labour, who march to a beat of a different drum.

Which is almost strange, because creating a tax free threshold would arguably be a very "Old Labour" policy in terms of a fairer and simpler way of easing the tax burden on low incomes. But "New Labour" is to keep tax rates high and then redistribute it as welfare, all the while pointing out what a huge favour they are granting the lucky group singled out for tax relief.

"The Labour-led Government recognizes the need for relief across the economy, but we know that need is especially acute at the bottom end of the income scale."

Nice words. They mean little.

He had considered a tax-free band. "This would have seen, for example, the first $9500 of income not attract income tax." However, at a cost of $3.7 billion after three years it would limit options further up the income scale.

What? Labour is worried there wont be enough up the scale to provide tax relief for the dirty rich pr*cks? Pull the other one.

Officials advised that the lower paid would not benefit as much as expected. Up to 90 per cent of those earning less than $18,000 a year were temporarily on low incomes, such as teenagers and students

and they don't need help?? No, what they actually just said was these are not groups that they feel worth helping this election. They've raised the minimum wage and reduced student loans. That's it. Ungrateful snots, no doubt.

or were on a benefit system or receiving Working for Families or superannuation. and Labour don't like the idea of unwinding welfare benefits as they ease the tax pressure.

It would be better to give pensioners more through other tax changes It would be better to create more red tape and complications and package it up as an election promise to the target groups, such as NZ First voters (aka Pensioners).

A tax free band would actually be a nice way (in the centre-left style of thinking) of easing pressure on all income earners, provide an opportunity to reduce the number of people on welfare (I include WFF thresholds in this) which only complicates our lives and requires more people to report to the government for their rebate.

With the May 22nd budget only 2 weeks away, we don't have long to see what Cullen has in mind to help win the next election, to help struggling workers, but it's already looking that National can make a song and a dance about this, and for the swing voter types that often determine the fate of NZ Politics, a tax free band could have them singing from the National hymn book.

Related Link: Cullen vows chewing gum for everyone

ZenTiger Monster in the closet

We've all seen the stories of the Austrian monster who built a secret series of closets in the basement and imprisoned his daughter there for something like 24 years, using her as a sex slave, a sex object. Cruelty beyond belief, to his own daughter and the children fathered by him who were also imprisoned.

He's reacted to being called a monster. In today's DomPost I see that he says "I'm not a monster. I could have murdered her, but I didn't."

Well, I have some news for him.

Monster.

Ironically now, but not nearly ironic enough, Josef Fritzl refuses to leave his cell as fellow prisoners have threatened to kill him.

I wonder if he will receive less than 24 years imprisonment?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

ZenTiger The Property Class

In today's world, you either own property or you are property.

It's an interesting situation that helps the very rich get richer, and the poor stay poor and the middle class pay the taxes.

Communists think that this means capitalism is wrong. Socialists do too, but try to act a little more moderate about it. However, their preferred solution is effectively to destroy it by using the government as some form of benign wealth distribution, and where possible, buying back infrastructure assets. It doesn't work. Indeed, by giving too much power to the State, we effectively become property of the State. It's scary socialists cannot see this, or weight the implications of this appropriately. But that is a different post.

At the other end of the scale are those like the Libertarians, whose core philosophy revolves solely around property and the much vaunted Free Market. The obvious danger in Libertarian philosophy is that it ultimately reduces a person's worth to purely economic terms, and some things cannot be measured in this way. That can be countered, to some degree, by enshrining in law some protection of a person's intangible rights, rights vested in the concept of property and ownership.

In a free market, the traditional benefits of capitalism are all fine and good. Supply and demand regulate price and provide incentive, profit rewards effort and risk, capital funds growth and supports innovation. But is the market actually free?

Ignoring the left wing market interventions for a moment (transnational corporations largely do), we see a market with one primary form of regulation: that of property rights. Except that the full ownership of property has been handed over, without thought, without real understanding, to shareholders. Shareholders were once suppliers of capital, but today, shareholders are merely speculators and wealth extractors.

When you consider the purpose of Corporations and most businesses, they have legal mandate to pursue only one thing: maximizing returns to shareholders.

In a system grounded in the principle of unconscious regulation, corporations will consciously serve one group alone. In a system supposedly geared for rewarding hard work, shareholders are rewarded regardless of their productivity. Shareholder primacy is a form of privilege and entitlement that could be likened to the aristocracy of the past.

I am in favour of capitalism. I see the value of having liquidity of investment, via the stock market. However, the current system isn't really serving the interests of the people at large. The mantra "greed is good" is recognised by the left as instinctively wrong. It is recognised by Christians as leading to sin. Greed is not good.

As usual, it's often not about the problem, it's about the solution. My solutions (when I finally figure them out) is not to rely on the State for salvation. And it's not to support the continuing status quo where ownership is structured as an entitlement and a small class of people can extract wealth to the point of ruining the lives of communities and workers that have participated in the success of the corporation. I have the glimmerings of a solution. It involves keeping the system, but changing the rules. I'll explore this in future posts, especially if this post provokes a reaction that helps my thinking.

So for now, I'll say just one thing:

In today's world, you either own property or you are property.

--ZenTiger

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fletch Socialist Culture of Death Raises Head Again

handIn today's news, The Government is considering making the Morning After Pill free for teenage girls. What are they thinking??!! It seems like they're trying to do as much damage to the country as they possibly can before they get thrown out. If they think that this is going to decrease the number of abortions then they are seriously wrong. It will increase them and give these girls a feeling that should they choose to have sex at an early age then they have this FREE option to fall back on. And I'm betting the parents don't need to be told, either.

This seems to be furthering along their 'alleged' agenda to break up families.

To add to this, Helen announced the other day that funding of $146 million would be given for a drug to be administered to teenage girls to combat HPV (human papilloma virus) which is named as the root cause of 90% of cervical cancer cases. One of ways to catch HPV is to have 'unprotected' sex with many partners. I say 'unprotected' but studies have proven that condoms don't make a huge difference in combating HPV. Of course, this seemed to be in direct contrast to the Government's 'Hubba Rubba' campaign of a couple of years back which claimed that condoms would protect against this.

So now, it's on to another bandaid 'cure' for the diseases largely caused by unprotected, promiscuous sex. The message this government seems to be putting out to young people is not to worry about self-control. Do what you feel like - run wild - and we'll try to clean up the mess afterwards.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

ZenTiger Shooting Libz

Hot on the heels of the new computer game "Grand Theft Auto IV" there's a new game that has just been released. It's called "Shooting Libz"^. The idea is to interact in a virtual world running into various Libertarian types and restoring community order by preventing them from doing that particular activity. You get credits (virtual cash) for every socially destructive or offensive activity prevented. You then use this money in later stages of the game to fund political activities to either stop or counter the Libz. It's sick.

You have a range of measures that can be taken, one of the most extreme being using lethal force. The game can be tricky, as you can lose money (usually via legal fees) if you are too heavy handed, apply the wrong measure or use your "measures" in the wrong way. Play the ban card too often and you'll end up with the Greens in power and being carted off to the Gulags.

For example, shooting a libertarian for selling a copy of The South Park "Bloody Mary" episode can see you lose $50,000 - via Legal Fees over the ensuing court case. However, there are clues in the game that you collect which prove the Libertarian was selling bootleg (pirate) copies. With this evidence in hand, you can happily blow them away knowing the South Park legal team will get you off scott free.

Generally, the Libz can be recognised by their actions. In the game, they are typically doing something particularly offensive. It seems the right to offend people is their measure of freedom. As you blast them, arrest them, deport them, legally restrict them or ban them, they expire uttering the phrase "no-one has a right to be offended".

Naturally, its unfair to vilify Libz and blame them for society's woes. This is obviously a nice bit of propaganda by the left wing authoritarians. They've hit on the fact that as long as it's violent or funny, (and ideally both) you can get away with anything. People will spend money on it hand over fist, and hey - that's free will meeting the free market.

That aside, the game shines in the way it exposes evil groups posing as Liberal types and using the guise of "free speech" or "equal rights" to gain their own agenda.

For example, if you catch a pedophile having a "consensual relationship" with an 11 year old boy, you can use lethal force and earn up to 100,000 credits. Double if you have actually acquired a gun permit. However, wait too long and instead you could be the one in trouble, and down 100,000 credits. Seems that NAMBLA and ACLU managed to get the legal age of consent lowered to 11 whilst you were out hunting down Class A Drug Dealers.

Speaking of which, the drug theme plays out quite well in the game. You'll find all sorts of drugs freely available when the game commences. As time goes on, more citizens end up as drug crazed individuals, and you can merely suggest that a Libz has plenty of drugs for sale and see the credits mount up as they become victims of robberies, muggings, and in one scenario, run down by a large Kenworth truck after a truckie spaces out after an all night drive on some bad BZP party pills. The graphics are superb, and you can see why the game has an R18 rating.

Drugs are also useful in the game as things to ban. By banning certain drugs and not others, you flush out a whole pile of Libz that demand everything is treated equally. You don't score extra credits for playing the prohibition card, but you get a nice scene where Libz are dragged away screaming about their right to use crack. The judge sends them up for 30 years, and its only later you find clues that point to the judge being on P at the time, and was actually paranoid the Libz were out to get him. Do you hand the evidence over, or do you wait until "market forces" puts in an impartial judge?

I don't want to spoil the scenario, but let me just say it ties in nicely with the level where you (in an interesting plot twist) fund a Liberal Group to end food regulation laws and keep the government out of private business. The ensuing food poisoning scene for the Libz who end up in jail after the drug case is a total riot. Seems that due to the privately run prison failing to observe hygiene regulations, they upped their profits and no-one cared about the occasional death of an inmate.

So how do you win the game? The NZ edition reportedly has a Mr P. as a P dealing Libertarian kingpin that must be hunted down and destroyed.

You do this by luring him into a trap. The trap involves burning Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" in a room. The room is in a building. The building is being demolished by a disgruntled architect known only as "PC" (some kind of play on Political Correctness no doubt) who didn't like the fact that one of the builders put in pine window sashes instead of the extremely rare Indonesian Teak. If you play the game right, Mr P rushes into the doomed building and perishes in the resulting explosion.

At this point, the architect has to face up to the fact that even though he designed the building, others helped build it, still others funded it, and ultimately, drug dealers perished against their will in it. The architect realises that he hadn't truly considered the valuable input from other groups (it turned out the Indonesian Teak had a termite infestation that would have destroyed the building anyway) and decides he was being too self-centred and instead joins the Salvation Army and finds God. The moral issue of you luring a person to his death appears to be skipped over.

The effects are realistic and somewhat disturbing. When it comes down to it, no-one really wants to see even virtual Libertarians and Liberal types demonised. It's just a little sick.

Libertarians in the real world of course defend this game, in all its inaccuracies as a fundamental right of citizens to play it. Libertarians are not worried. They have four massive beliefs that will see them through:

1. With Freedom, comes responsibility. And they know every-one knows this.
2. It is against the law to murder people. Anyone murdering Libertarians, if caught, will be punished severely*. So it doesn't matter if violent video games fuel this.
3. These games are not the real issue. They are the symptom, not the disease. If we banned violent games that promoted the idea that Libertarians were anarchistic loons, we'd also have to ban beer. And probably posts about beer.
4. People do not have the right to be offended.

As games become more realistic the lines will only be blurred further. Eventually, people will be demanding the right to beat and rape androids programmed to respond like a submissive fearful human, arguing that we shouldn't judge such desires or find them offensive.

I don't find these games offensive, just morally destructive. As such, any action I may take is not about being offended, it is about my right to self-defence. I'm defending myself and my family.

If the suggestion is to treat the disease and not the symptoms, we must first recognise that diseased we are.

Liberals challenge conservatives to come out with a "goody goody two shoes" kind of game and see if virtue sells better than sin.

As if that proves sin is therefore good.

Well, as idiotic as that logic is, I have great news for the liberal masses. We do have a totally realistic game that people play where virtue plays out better than sin. It can take some people their entire life to figure out what it is that brings about real and lasting happiness, and admittedly not every-one has time to read and understand the rule book.

It's called "love". It's played in "real life". Feedback is tactile, hits all the senses and experienced players demonstrate a certain grace, generosity of spirit and caritas that simply leaves the newbie players agape**.

My advice - play as if your soul depends upon it.

--ZenTiger



Related: Kiwiblog and Raybon on GTA
Footnotes-----------------------------
^Yes, it's satire.

*Unless they can prove the Libertarian consented, then it's simply a contract killing, which would be legal in Libertarian land.

**Pun intended. Sorry.

Friday, May 2, 2008

ZenTiger Friday Night Free For All

Zounds. It's Friday. Just one word. Echelon.

Update 8:00pm: To the anonymous jerk posting foul comments, grow up and leave. Commenting is now open only to registered users (Google or OpenID). --Zen

Lucia Silence and Reading Books

I started writing this post several weeks ago, but as you will see from the begining of the post, it seems my sojourn into silence has continued into being unable to post this until now. I am also about to go on a silent retreat for the next two days starting from tonight, so I may be rather quiet online for the next wee while.

Here's the post...
Silence is a sword in the spiritual struggle. A talkative soul will never attain sanctity. The sword of silence will cut off everything that would like to cling to the soul. We are sensitive to words and quickly want to answer back, without taking any regard as to whether it is God's will that we speak. A silent soul is strong; no adversities will harm it if it perseveres in silence. The silent soul is capable of attaining the closest union with God. It lives almost always under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. God works in a silent soul without hindrance.

~ Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska
I read the words above on a Sunday morning a number of weeks back. At the time, I didn't realised what they would mean in my life. That particular Sunday morning was the week after Easter. It's very significant in the Catholic calendar. It's when we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday.

The image of a sword cutting a person off from the things that cling is very apt. These clinging things are so stuck on that it does take a literal sword to remove them.

Being silent is not something I'm good at; especially as a blogger being silent can almost be the death of a blog. But silence is something I have yearned for, something that can and has come naturally to me that my self fights against. I know that sounds oxymoronic; the inability to be silent yet the desire to be so. However to explain the dichotomy in myself on this aspect is just too much at this point.

Yet I have been silent on the blogs over the last few weeks. This has been very good for me. The silence allowed me to stop desiring to comment on all and sundry and instead gave me the space to just take things in. To that end, I've managed to read a number of books that have had a profound impact.

Prior to my sojourn into silence, I had just finished reading Father Elijah, An Apocalypse and Those Terrible Middle Ages, Debunking the Myths.

Father Elijah was an amazing book. One that takes you into the internal spiritual battle that is required to survive battling the forces of evil. Most of the battle is within and once you are at your weakest, it only then that God can work unimpeded through you. The book is written from an orthodox Catholic viewpoint and was such a compelling read that I read it in a couple of days.

Those Terrible Middle Ages has been translated from French and was written more that 30 years ago. The author takes you through the myths that many people had of the Middle Ages; mainly that the people were ignorant and that the times produced very little of value. The most astounding thing is how little research has gone on into this period of 1000 years of Western history. The author explains a little of why this might be; namely a growing interest in the late middle ages of ancient Roman law which centralised power. As more and more Roman (Empire) law (and culture) was adopted, freedoms decreased, included the freedom of women and the return of slavery.

The next few books I read, in order were: Michelangelo in Ravensbruck: One Woman's War Against the Nazis, Strangers and Sojourners and Plague Journal.

The first, Michelangelo in Ravensbruck, was by a Polish Countess caught up in both the Soviet and Nazi sides of occupied WW2 Poland. Her family background and her own personal character ensured that she would do everything she could to thwart both invaders of her country. Her public mission to ensure that all prisoners in Nazi-controlled Poland get food led to her eventual imprisonment in a concentration camp for women in Germany called Ravensbruck.

I found her experiences and insights really interesting. There is this idea floating around that the Nazis were monstrous individuals and that (of course) nothing like Nazi Germany could occur again. Yet in reading this book, it seems that it's not a matter of if it will occur again, it's just a matter of when. Most disturbing really as the individuals in the book are not that far removed from our own time.

The next two books that I read; Strangers and Sojourners and Plague Journal were written by the same author (Michael D. O'Brien) as the book Father Elijah mentioned towards the beginning of this post. Both books were incredible. I really love good Catholic fiction as it can show you a world and a mystery than can be unfathomable in any other genre.

I now have the next book in the series to read, Eclipse of the Sun. But it will have to wait until I finish a riveting book by Philip F. Lawler, The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture.

Lucia Christian attack on NZ Spy Base

I was horrified to hear that a Dominican Friar (he is a Catholic Priest) was involved in will-full damage at Waihopai Spy Base, and had lead two other men to do the same.

If intelligence gathering is the most "evil" thing happening in NZ at the present time that required a physical act, then all the men involved need to get their heads read.

On NZ's Catholic Blog, Being Frank, the only people that weren't horrified were a young, liberal blogger and an older, constantly dissenting commenter. Which says something.

Related Link: Hehehe ~ Being Frank

Thursday, May 1, 2008

ZenTiger Going Off Shore

[SATIRE] We’ve been told to get used to the global economy. We’ve been told to accept that many jobs previously done by Kiwis are better done by people in other countries prepared to work for less than one dollar per hour. The people that make these decisions are paid lots of money for “making the hard choices".

But who could have guessed the ramifications as this philosophy was adopted throughout the western world?

Business
The BRW top 100 businesses stunned shareholders today by announcing that CEO’s, board members, and top management are all being outsourced to an Indian Consortium “Rajahs Executives”.

“We’ve found we can get fully qualified management teams for as little as NZ$50,000pa. Even better, we purchase this as a subscription service and gain full tax write offs without incurring KiwiSaver charges, PAYE and FBT. The guys in accounting have really outdone themselves. I'd say more, but it's my last day on the job and I've got to clear my desk.”

Analysts report that the stock market has looked favourably on the deal, with most company stocks leaping in value by a minimum of 15%. “Look, a management team based in America can cost around $1 billion US dollars per year. A single CEO can earn up to $700 million dollars alone. And that’s before profitability is taken into account. This is a good move, and I expect we’ll see more outsourcing of management as time goes on as an effort to protect the bottom line.

Politics
Helen Clark today announced that all of their list MPs will be outsourced from China. Chinese MP Labour was seen as delivering massive benefits: An hourly cost of only $12 per hour, with no expectation of perks, generous super schemes, and overseas jaunts. Furthermore, such labour was “guaranteed honest and hardworking” and would “respect the parliamentary laws”, a move which could see a new image promoted under Labour.

Helen Clark said this deal was really a reflection of changing times, and the massive cost savings would benefit the party’s capability of delivering a better outcome.

“We’ve struck a deal with the Electoral Commission that the savings we make can be spent on direct election advertising without affecting the current spending cap. Given that list MP’s are not accountable to voters, we don’t expect much of a backlash and the advantages are considerable – we know NZ First will not match our bold action, National have already outsourced their policies and are not in a position to counter, the Maori party are also ideologically incapable of outsourcing. We are not too worried about the Greens either. In fact, they are already demanding all MP’s have a “NZ Made” sticker on them, which shows just how narrow minded and inflexible they are.”

Sport
The NZ Cricket Board has moved to select players via outsourcing deals with Pakistan that can supply entire teams for around $81.90. They all play better too. “The Black Caps” is a brand, and we’ve realised it doesn’t really matter who is under the cap if we grant NZ citizenship. We’ve done a deal with Immigration to sneak players in on the quiet. What could go wrong?

NZ also announced that they had outsourced their Olympic Team to Sweden. "We really had no choice, as we have already outsourced our original team to North Korea for a tidy profit. We think by taking on Sweden, possibly with an overflow contract with Trinidad, we will still bring in a credible result for NZ. Admittedly, we will be a little p*ssed if North Korea end up higher on the ladder, but that's business.