Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lucia Earth Hour

Here at NZ Conservative, we will specifically not be observing Earth Hour.

Neither will we be dancing naked around a fire under a full moon, should anyone suggest that be required in years to come.

Related Links:
Earth Hour: Cities, Landmarks to Go Dark
NZ kicks off hour plunging millions into darkness

Friday, March 28, 2008

ZenTiger Friday Night Free For All

The end of the tax year looms. No chewing gum tax breaks, inflation way above the Bollard limit, energy prices set to skyrocket as Labour scheme to ban gas-fired base-load power stations. Interest rates way up. Petrol up. Milk up. Rates up. It's one big stuff up, quite frankly. And the question is "can Mugabe win? Because if he does (by hook or by crook) then we in NZ have to be very worried.

I said it once years ago, and in an election year I'm bound to say it again. In fact, I read ahead of this sentence and found it just on the sentence after next. How about that? "Far better to speak up, than remain silent and be voted in". Yep, that's the sentence I was expecting, and let's hope our MPs make full use of their $12,000 allowance to tell us what they really think. We may as well get the lies now, up front. Because if Mugabe wins, we know it wont make any difference anyway.

Remember that guy Murphy? An optimist. So tonight on our regular chat, what might be Murphy's laws of elections? Just a thought....

ZenTiger Ninja

Ninja. Now there is a word to strike terror into the hearts of white belts every-where. I'm not talking about the Teenage Mutant Turtle variety. No, even the Adolescent Radioactive Black belt Hamsters were more dangerous than those Ninja. I'm talking about the real Ninja.

Of course, you'd expect websites to be around to fill you in on the details of these silent assassins. By far and away the best Ninja site I have come across would be "Real Ultimate Power." Have a quick look through this site to familiarise yourself with what being a Ninja is all about. Make sure you check out the Hate Mail section for examples of trolling. Sad really.

View the Ninja Web Site: Real Ultimate Power

Now once you are up to speed on Ninja, watch this movie on how best to defend yourself against Ninja.

Defense against Ninja - [Update 2009 - This just sucks. The link is broken. Another vital piece of internet knowledge lost for ever. If only I had written down this video.]

I could tell you a lot more about the secrets of the Ninja. But then I'd have to kill you.

Note: Recommended as suitable for those over 18 years of age or having at least a Green Belt in any of the various Martial Arts. Contains strong language and occasional use of the colour red.

Thanks also to ZenTiger from Sir Humphreys for allowing us to reprint this historically significant post from back in 2005. You're a good sort Zen, and we appreciate it.

Lucia Cartoon stuff up on Dominion Post

My 11 year old likes to read all the cartoons in our daily delivered Dominion Post. However, today he was bitterly disappointed to find that Garfield and the Wizard of Id cartoons were the same as yesterday's. Some one stuffed up and forgot to update the cartoons!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

ZenTiger Mail Order Chickens [Zimbabwe Mix]

This post is still relevant today as it was back in 2005. Think Zimbabwe for example. How will the election go? There are chickens whose future is uncertain, as uncertain as many people in Zimbabwe today. But soon, all Mugabe's chickens will come home to roost.

People often ask - "is there anything I can do to help?"

Well, the guys as Mail Order Chickens have come to the rescue. Backed with endorsement of A list actors, you can, perhaps for the first time, examine the plight of the chicken in Africa.

Get to know some of them. Then reach out and adopt. When viewing any of the chickens, try to resist tapping on the screen. Some of them are a little stressed, and the shock could cause them to lay an egg or something. Click to visit Mail Order Chickens

NOTE: After the intro, select a chicken and then click the "Ask Actor" button and once loaded, press the Play button to hear the Actor speak. "Lobs" features NZ comedian Rhys Derby.

But wait:
Another post of mine from Sir Humphrey's 2005: A Mandate from Mandela. Just to remind us that Zimbabweans have had it damn tough for the last three years. Good luck this weekend.

Roger asked (during the Friday Night Free For All at Silent Running) what effective response might the world make in stopping Rabid Roberts Rhodesian Renovations. As Robert Mugabe proceeds to demolish what passes for homes in Zimbabwe, killing women and children (and other types of people) the world looks on in abject apathy. Gee, do we play cricket at home or away? Decisions decisions.

We cannot count on the UN. The UN Human Rights Commission is currently busy looking into the air conditioning at Gitmo. In a world of limited resources, they have to make difficult choices; the well being of 520 captured terrorists come well before the plight of an estimated 200,000 innocents. Their record for action in Rwanda wasn't great, but we can count on them to use their vast resources to clean up the bodies afterwards.

The UK apparently are hamstrung by the EU conventions. The fact the France and Holland are bailing out seems to make little difference. The US got so much flack for the last despot who was in the habit of killing in the hundreds of thousands, that you'd think they are a little cautious about getting rid of another. The mainstream peaceniks have made it clear that Dictators and Despots are to be tolerated, and Republicanism is to be blamed for all else.

So who does that leave to save the day? Andrew Ian Dodge, commenting at Silent Running, suggested Mandela. Now, that's not a bad idea. So what is Mandela up to nowadays? What does he think of this? Well, given that he's been invited to Mugabe's 10th Wedding Anniversary party coming up in August, it remains to be seen if he regretfully declines, strongly declines or shows up with some South African Commandos and stages a coup.

Between Mandela and Desmond Tutu, we can only hope they generate the voodoo that Tutu can do to get through the political poo to renew Zimbabwe's hopes that the world will actually listen and respond BEFORE rather than AFTER.

The first casualties have been recorded. People are dying. No hurry.

Have a look at Zimbabwe and listen to the incredible voice of Toni Childs

Lucia Repealing the Act of Settlement [UPDATED]

Hot on the heels after being defeated by the men of the cloth, Gordon Brown is apparently now looking at repealing the British Act of Settlement which currently specifically excludes Catholics from the British monarchy.

So if a member of the royal family who is in line to the throne (or is already a monarch) marries a Catholic or becomes a Catholic themselves, they lose all rights to the throne.

I wonder if this will become a carrot to the Catholic MPs holding out on the Embryo Bill?

Related Link: Catholics could join the royal succession

UPDATE: Lewis has an very interesting post on what repealing the Act of Settlement could mean for NZ.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ZenTiger Cry me a river

Environment Minister Trevor Mallard last week promised to make all rivers clean enough to swim in within a generation.

What isn't clear is which party he expected to win the next five elections in order to deliver on this promise.

Based on their environmental scorecard for the last 8 years, (I'm speaking of actions not rhetoric) it doubt it would be Labour.

There's obviously some inside knowledge here that points to a conspiracy of massive proportions. Unless they are relying on retrospective legislation, I'd be interested to see how other parties plan on matching this promise.

Related Link: Toxic Water

Lucia The Game Halo lead to monks being offered recording contract [UPDATED]

Related Link: Cistercian monks of Holy Cross sign Major Record Contract to Sing Gregorian Chant ~ What does the prayer really say?

Related Reading: The Moral Power of Music ~ CERC

Lucia Round one to the men of the cloth!

There's an amazing battle going on in the UK right now. It's the Roman Catholic Church vs Gordon Brown's Labour Government over an Embryo Bill. I've posted a couple of times on this now, but haven't given you all a blow by blow account of what is going down over there. I certainly have been keeping track of it, though.

A couple of days ago there was an article about the Church being a serious irritant to Gordon Brown. It mentioned the strength of the RCC as a lobby group given there are 5 million Catholics now in the UK.

Then an article appeared last night that talked about the Embryo Bill being blasted from Catholic pulpits over Easter and how annoying this was for a number of scientists who want the bill to pass.

And today it looks like there has been a strategic backdown, where the Catholic Labour MPs against the bill will be allowed a free-vote.

The amusing thing in light of all this is that the Dominion Post has not a peep about any of this, and instead runs with an article from the UK on how Muslims will outnumber church going Catholics by a couple of thousand in the year 2020! Duh, people!

Related Link: Church wins battle over embryo Bill

Lucia Chisea on Pope's Holy Week Sermons

Sandro Magister of Chisea notes that few people have heard or even read the Pope's Holy Week sermons. So he's put them together on one page for all to read.

Related Link: Holy Week: The Hidden Homilies of Pope Benedict ~ Chisea
Hidden, except for those who were able to listen to them in person: a few thousand out of 1.2 billion Catholics in the world. Here are the complete texts. Required reading for understanding this pontificate

Fletch MMP Referendum

votes Just thinking about this MMP last night and wanted to find out a bit more about this second referendum that was supposed to be held about it. I had heard about it but wasn't sure of the detail. I found this article online by Dr Muriel Newman from the Centre For Political Research in New Zealand which goes into some of the history of MMP. As we all know, one of the big problems around MMP is that the little parties hold too much sway when the bigger parties need their support. As a consequence, we're getting all sorts of weird and wonderful bills (Bradford's Anti-Smacking bill) being passed.

So, what's the story with the second referendum? According to Dr Newman -

When the 1993 Electoral Act to introduce MMP was drafted, a clause was inserted to allow a Select Committee to review the system after two MMP elections and to determine whether there should be a another referendum on electoral reform. Many New Zealanders understood this to mean that another referendum would be held, so that if they voted for MMP and it didn’t work out, they could get rid of it.

How we wish! And was a select committee set up to review the system? Apparently, yes.

The Select Committee set up in 2000 to review MMP - as was required by the Act – couldn’t reach a decision on whether another referendum was needed. As a result, the Government concluded: “Changing any major constitutional arrangements would require a higher level of consensus from the public than currently appears to exist. In the absence of that high degree of consensus, the Government is of the view that it would not be appropriate to recommend any significant amendments at this time”.

How convenient. It seems to me that the Government knew they were on to a good thing and didn't want to change it; that's my opinion anyway.

Section 264 of the 1993 Electoral Act stated that if there was to be a further referendum on changes to the electoral system that, “the nature of the proposals to be put to voters” be outlined.

So, what's an alternative? Dr Newman points to an idea outlined by Don Brash in a speech written last year -

“My personal preference would be to adopt the Supplementary Member system with a total Parliament of 100 members. There could be 75 electorate MPs, thus enabling a small reduction in the size of current electorates. And 25 list MPs. As now, voters would have two votes – one for their electorate candidate and one for their preferred party. But whereas at present the party vote determines the overall composition of Parliament, under the SM system the party vote would determine only the composition of the list seats. A system of this kind would enable minority voices to be heard without giving small parties disproportionate influence, would enable a reduction in the total size of Parliament, would provide a route for people to enter Parliament without spending a lifetime working through the party hierarchy, and would provide a way of ensuring reasonable diversity in the overall composition of Parliament. To the extent that a higher proportion of the total Members of Parliament would be elected in electorates, SM would also increase the power of voters and reduce that of party bosses”.

What do you think? Would the SM system be better than what we have now? Or would people like to see a return to FPP? I think that democracy is definitely suffering under the system we have now, anyway.

It might be time to organize a petition to have another referendum on our voting system.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

ZenTiger Naked News [Satire]

Proposals to introduce naked women presenting the six o'clock news on ALT TV has met with condemnation from the promoter of the Boobs on Bikes Parade, Steve Crow, who said:

"We rely on the shock value to ensure our Erotica Show gets as much free publicity as possible. Moves to have naked women presenting the news is going to come like a cold shower, and rain on our parade. I mean, can you imagine a naked women presenting the news showing pictures from the Boobs parade? Do you think anyone is actually going to notice? They'll still be staring at the news presenter. It's highly likely Aucklanders will fail to rise to the occasion, and will no longer remain faithful to the Boobs Parade. We risk losing a cultural icon of long standing tradition."

The Boobs on Bikes group were not the only group to show stiff resistance. John Campbell, who will be hosting an exclusive 2 hour special presentation called "The Casting of Naked News" raised the issue utmost in the minds of the media: "Do you think NZ journalism will ever be taken seriously again?" and the answer seems to have been a resounding "was it ever taken seriously?"

TVNZ has responded by advising that all of their presenters are, and always have been, presenting the news naked from the waist down.

In related news, the Costume and Wardrobe Union went on strike today in protest, and ACC issued advance notice that Repetitive Injury Syndrome claims (wrist location) will force premiums to rise by 30%.

Secularists are waiting with glee to see the predictable responses from religious groups and Family First, who will no doubt harp on about how this simply treats women as sexual objects, is demeaning and ultimately reflects a society that is crumbling from within. These concerns are likely to be met with a well reasoned "Show us yer tits".

Already polls indicate that up to 50% of the nation will be watching the show nightly, and another 30% watching at least once a week. Which covers 80% of the male population, a couple of lesbians and Graham Capill. Feminist Groups were up in arms, demanding that naked men were also shown on TV for balance. Then they had second thoughts, and decided animated bars of chocolate would actually be far more attractive.

The Minister for Ethnic Affairs has commented that, with all programming, a suitable ethnic representation must be made. Accordingly, the show organisers are committed to ensuring the presenters are at least 30% Maori, 15% Pacific Islands, 10% Asian and 45% silicon.

The Social Liberal Action Group (SLAG) pointed out that one hour a day of gratuitous nudity on TV was hardly cause for celebration. They would not rest until the entire channel was broadcasting naked women 24 hours a day. When advised that there already were such channels, they were called "adult channels" they went cross eyed and immediately asked for a change of underwear.

With all this "social advancement", the only strange thing is that breastfeeding in public will still be seen as offensive by the same people.

Related Link: Six O'clock Nudes

See Also: The History of the original Naked News

Direct link: to a random Porn Site for those just pretending to read this for the article

ZenTiger Bounty Hunters

What is the punishment for deliberate acts likely to cause serious injury?

It's probably 15 minutes community service, but even if it isn't, we still have to catch the b*stards first. I'm also willing to consider appointing bounty hunters to supplement security services:

in another recent incident a large amount of broken glass was scattered in the paddling pool and underneath the play equipment in the Children’s Playground.

Related Link: Vandalism in the Botanic Gardens

Lucia Faith of the Feminine [Updated]

Last month the Vatican hosted a conference for women from all corners of the world to discuss themes in John Paul II's Letter to Women published 20 years ago.

Many feminists consider the Church to be an enemy of women's liberation, but when it comes down to it, nothing could be further from the truth. Feminism is more than just trying to be like men. In fact, trying to be like men is the antithesis of true feminism. It says that being a woman is not good enough, instead women need to turn into men to be accepted as equal. The focus on contraceptive and abortive "rights" shows just how far off the track many feminists in today's world have gone. Far from liberating women, this focus enslaves women to be sexual playthings rather than human beings worthy of respect for their innate gift of life that science spends billions trying to emulate.

So how did feminists get it so wrong? Maybe it's because we've let the radicals define feminism for us and they have their own reasons for hating and fearing Christianity.
Radical feminists often reserve their fiercest hostility for Christianity. So it was particularly refreshing to hear erudite German philosopher Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz challenge the modern conventional wisdom that Christianity is to blame for women’s oppression. As Gerl-Falkovitz noted, the ancient belief systems for which today’s feminist neo-pagans pine did little to elevate women’s status. In those systems, as in much of the Islamic world today, women were regarded as the objects, not subjects, of rights. Women in the ancient world were identified with beauty and breeding, but their common humanity largely was overlooked.

Judaism’s view of women departed sharply from that ancient model. The practice of “holy prostitution” so common in the ancient world was renounced, as was the image of the pagan goddess as sexual ideal. The Hebrew Scriptures revealed a personal God who had created men and women in his image. Women now were connected to the realm of the spirit, not just the flesh, and motherhood was seen as a personal event in the life of the mother and a blessing from God, not merely a woman’s duty-bound contribution to the increase of the tribe.

The Gospels continued on this trajectory. They depicted God taking flesh in the womb of a woman, a woman who was free to accept or reject her role as the mother of Jesus. Gospel accounts find Jesus entrusting women with profound theological insights, performing miracles at their request, and finding solace in their support during his Passion, after most of his male followers had fled. Although Christians themselves often have failed to live up to Jesus’ example regarding women, Gerl-Falkovitz said, feminism is an outgrowth of Christian ideas about women’s equal dignity: “Only in Judeo-Christian culture sprang up this humanization of women.”

Related Link: Faith of the Feminine ~ National Review Online
Vatican conference on women highlights the Judeo-Christian tradition’s liberating power.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lucia Easter Vigil Conversions [Updated]

The Easter Vigil is celebrated on the Saturday night before Easter Sunday. On that night many people who have been studying over the previous year to become Catholics are Baptised and/or Confirmed and given their first Eucharist. In our parish on Saturday four adults entered the Church in this way.

Over in Rome this Easter Vigil the Pope baptised an Italian/Muslim journalist who has been very critical of Islam in his writing.
In a surprise move at the Easter vigil at St Peter's on Saturday night, the Pope baptised Magdi Allam, 55, an outspoken Egyptian-born critic of Islamic extremism and supporter of Israel, who has been under police protection for five years following death threats against him over his criticism of suicide bombings.
He said that by baptising him publicly the Pope had "sent an explicit and revolutionary message to a Church that until now has been too cautious in the conversion of Muslims because of the fear of being unable to protect the converted, who are condemned to death for apostasy".

He added: "Thousands of people in Italy have converted to Islam and practise their faith serenely. But there are also thousands of Muslims who have converted to Christianity but are forced to hide their new faith out of fear of being killed by Islamist terrorists."

Muslim groups in Italy said Mr Allam would have done better to have undergone a low key conversion at a local parish. "What amazes me is the high profile the Vatican has given this conversion," said Yaha Sergio Yahe Pallavicini, deputy head of the Italian Islamic Religious Community.
Given that the Pope has been calling for reciprocation in religious freedom for some time now, this may be a public signal to Islam. A throwing down of the gauntlet so to speak.

Related Link: Pope risks Muslim anger by baptising controversial journalist

UPDATE: Magdi Allam Recounts His Path to Conversion

Sunday, March 23, 2008

ZenTiger Freedom to shop

Over at Kiwiblog, David fights gamely to assure all freedom can be defined by how many days a year a society can shop.

He assumes of course that asking people on low incomes to work at time and a half is really an honour that would not be refused. This is all before we consider the Helen Clark factor.

Dear Helen turned lower and middle class New Zealand into welfare beneficiaries. Working for Families (WFF) does actually encourage workers to stay at home with their family on a public holiday. Helen deserves full credit for the first accidentally family friendly policy that Labour has introduced. You see, the moment a worker gets paid overtime rates, their income go up, which raises their tax rate and reduces their WFF tax credit. Ultimately it means their net return for working on a public holiday produces little extra.

Indeed, the extra money may not even cover the cost of Labour's other Family Friendly policy: "Free" childcare. Remember the free childcare policy that allows families to outsource childcare to work more? Well it wasn't free. In fairness, "free" is a complex term only properly understood by Labour's Finance Minister. It is probably as complex as the logic required to assure us that lower paid staff are actually "free" to choose to work or not work on Public Holidays.

I wonder, if it turned out retail workers turn down the perks of working so others may shop, if business owners be the first to step in and make up the labour shortage? Fancy being served by a CEO? I think it's a great idea, and might prove profitable. Let's legislate that shops can open providing you are served by CEOs, the board of directors, top line managers and any stars who have endorsed the product.

But maybe we should resolve this problem with the same maturity as displayed by the environmentalists? Let's set up an international public holiday trading scheme.

Some countries probably are using too many holidays anyway. We might be one of them. I'm sure Labour Day ain't what it used to be. We could sell that on the open market. Even better, let's trade it for Melbourne Cup Day.

Melbourne Cup Day would be of great benefit to the New Zealand economy. In Australia, Melbourne Cup Day works exactly like a public holiday but without the need to pay penalty rates. Businesses either close down because their staff piss off to the races, or they wish they had closed down, because staff don't do any work that day anyway.

They show up to work with a TV set tuned to Flemington Racecourse and spend the day deciding which horse name sounds the fastest before finally choosing anything Bart Cummings has punted. Either way, no work is done but - no penalty rates!

A New Zealand Melbourne Cup day would likely bring in a few billion dollars in foreign exchange - possibly enough to pay our Kyoto carbon tax offset (another trading scheme that didn't quite live up to the brochure).

China might be in the market for a Labour Day. They instituted an 8 hour day on a 5 day week. Very progressive. The 8 hour day has brought remarkable benefits to the Chinese workforce. It's calculated that only 7,000 peasants a year now die in a Chinese mine. During standard hours. Another 3,000 die too, but they die in overtime, and on a much better pay scale.

Hey - don't knock 60 cents an hour. Rice is quite cheap there. That's why its now sold back to us as bio-fuel. Maybe we can trade it for our coal? That might save another 1,000 Chinese mine workers from dying in a coal mine accident. Instead, they'll starve to death after being made redundant. Actually, they'll probably keep working so that they can sell their coal to Indonesia who will sell oil to Australia so they can sell uranium to China so we can buy plastic watering cans - because with water restrictions, we can't use sprinklers.

Helen is well aware of the benefits of trading with China. I'm suggesting we trade holidays, but it seems the Labour Government have already set up a "morals and ethics" trading offset too.

Helen has shown good United Nations potential here, ensuring we get kickbacks for the right reasons. Did you notice how we were too moral to deal with Fiji? We were also quick not to condone playing cricket with Mugabe. The Canadians couldn't land a deal, and Helen and Cullen stuck to their guns even if it meant our pension funds got hit with a departure tax. The New Zealand public must be feeling rather glad that we saved our morals for such an important deal as a Free Trade Agreement with China.

But what do we have that China may want? Apart from coal, there's New Zealand's butter and milk - things we produce in abundance because no-one in New Zealand can afford them. Can we trade Cheese for Tibetan Monks? Probably not, China has already explained they need to be recycled. I think Falun Gong units have been declared faulty and are being recalled too. They wont be completely wasted though, because organ donor statistics in China clearly illustrate they are far more generous than NZ in this area. However, if the number of reincarnations increase with babies missing kidneys, hearts and bone marrow, we know what went wrong.

Overall, it's a great deal. Given that Helen doesn't believe we have a soul, it's something easily traded. But I wouldn't say we need to feel bad about this. The danger of standing up for human rights and doing what is right is that occasionally, we as a nation will be found wanting.

And one thing worse in today's society than some-one trying to do good and occasionally failing, is some-one who is painted as a hypocrite. There is no fouler crime to the liberal who believes in the right to do anything, act anyway, and pretend no harm comes to those who watch from the sidelines.

This all started with freedom to shop. It will supposedly end when we have the freedom to shop 24/7 for cheap goods made on the backs of cheap labour. Indeed, the current theory is that spending money with China will help them to not only pay overtime to those dying in the mines, but a small pension to their surviving families.

I wonder if they will one day be able to afford our cheese? We can't. Thank God the shops are closed.

Related Link: [Kiwiblog] Easter Trading with China

Related Link: [Hitting Metal with a Hammer] Sophie's Choice

And it continues in 2009 with Freedom II Shop

Lucia He Is Risen - Alleluia!

And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe: and they were amazed. And he said to them: Do not be amazed, you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen: he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him.
~ Mark 16:5-6

Easter Reading
Papal Preacher - Only Christians Believe Christ Is Risen

The Tomb is Empty! The Warrior of Love has conquered!
Death could not contain the One who poured Himself out in Love. The light floods the once dark cave and now fills the entire world with hope. Love has triumphed over death and heavens gates have been opened wide.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

ZenTiger Bill addresses the bill

Bill English, National's Deputy Leader has graciously offered to spend his time fixing up Labour's rotten legislation [The Electoral Finance Act] to allow Labour to get out and campaign without worrying about the laws they made they were also breaking. He's introducing an amendment to sort out the need to declare a "personal" name and address for political parties.

I wouldn't be surprised if John Key will be offering to make the tea and scones at Labour's fund raisers too.

National are such good sports, and will no doubt be very pleased to pick up a silver medal in this years election, and then celebrate with tea and scones.

Related Link: Bill addresses the bill

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lucia Good Friday - The Death of Our Lord

Fletch Dearth of Religious Viewing for Easter

remote I just went and had a look at the TV Guide to see what kind of programming there was over the next three days of Easter. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised to find that there wasn't any, apart from an episode of Praise be this morning (Good Friday).

I don't think you can really count 'Bruce Almighty' as religious programming, either.

The time was, the stations would at least attempt some kind of film, such as The Robe, Jesus of Nazareth, or even a film that was not quite appropriate to the season such as Charlton Heston in  'The Ten Commandments'.

The programming across the Easter break could easily have been last weekend's or next weekend's viewing.

It really is sad, but I suppose it is just another indicator of our country's growing secularisation.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

ZenTiger The ultimate thought crime

Terminations are permitted up until birth if an unborn child is thought to have a range of disabilities

and that hot on the heels of this:As campaigners claimed that termination had become just another form of contraception, figures showed that about 1,300 women had at least their fifth last year....At the same time, 61,904 women in England and Wales were having their second abortion last year - up from 58,740 in 2004.

I read some notable lunatic tried to blame abortion on the Catholic Church. It seems that so many people listen to the Catholic Church in protestant England that all those sex education lessons over the last 30 years hadn't managed to sink in.

What hasn't sunk in is this culture of liberal irresponsibility. But then, it's a thought crime just to point this out.

Related Link: Abortion - 10 trip tickets to improve convenience factor

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lucia Answering the New Atheism

I've read a few Scott Hahn books now, so I can imagine the book above will be easy to read, well thought out and devastatingly refute Dawkins' case against religion. I mean with a cover like that - what else would you expect?

Related Link: Answering the New Atheism ~ Amazon

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fletch Bishop Patrick Answers

Very good reply by Bishop Pat in the Herald today re: the Seven Sins misreporting.

Some quotes below.

Let's start at the beginning, with the Herald deciding, like hundreds of other newspapers, to grossly misrepresent what a lone bishop said in an interview with the Vatican's newspaper.

[...] And don't let the fact it was that lone bishop speaking stop the Herald from running a photo of Pope Benedict on the front page and then repeating the dose the next day, by which time one might have thought its editors would have realised the errors they had made tying the comments to the Pope, the Vatican or the Catholic Church as a whole.


If certain publications want to make such erroneous connections, that's their prerogative. We'll be interested to see how the Prime Minister reacts when comments a backbench MP makes to his or her local newspaper are reported as new Labour policy and run with Helen Clark's photo.

That's just a couple of quotes from a very good response. The whole thing is worth reading.

Lucia Catholic Churches in Saudi Arabia

Currently, Saudi Arabia does not permit any other faith to exist in it's country besides Islam. To that end, even owning a Bible or a crucifix is illegal. However, it is believed that negotiations are currently under way at the Vatican that could lead to the first ever Catholic church being built in Saudi Arabia. With the number of Catholics in the country (mostly from the Phillipines, working as servants) many churches would be needed.

Of course, this article is from the Times, so it might be total conjecture based on wishful thinking, but, you never know. If this is even remotely true, this could be big. Really big.

Related Link: King Abdullah extends hand of friendship to Catholic Church ~ TimesOnline, UK

Lucia Missile Sheild Pact Intrigues

Hmmmm... A meeting in Moscow has "softened" Russian opposition to a missile defence shield set up in the Czech Republic and Poland. The Russians seem to be "looking to broaden the international security agenda with the US".
Vladimir Putin appeared to pave the way for a breakthrough deal within weeks on the Pentagon's contentious missile shield plans yesterday when he responded positively to an offer from George Bush. With the White House and the Kremlin preparing Putin's swansong summit with Bush at a Nato meeting in two weeks in Romania, the outgoing Russian president appeared to soften his opposition to US plans for missile interceptors and a radar site in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, and the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, met Putin and his successor, Dmitry Medvedev, in Moscow yesterday ahead of the Nato summit in Bucharest. Putin is to attend in one of his last foreign acts as Russia's president.

The US and the Czechs are keen to wind up lengthy negotiations on the missile shield, but hope to strike a deal with Moscow, while the Poles remain unconvinced, looking for stronger American security guarantees and a new air defence system to protect them from Russian threats.

It was not clear what Bush offered the Russians in a letter to Putin that softened Moscow's opposition. But US officials said there was nothing new. The Pentagon insists the shield's facilities are aimed at Iran, while Moscow maintains they could be directed at Russia's nuclear arsenal.

Washington has previously sought to allay Moscow's concerns by offering Russia inspections of the sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, suggesting Russia's participation in the shield, and delaying the new system's operability pending Iranian missile advances.

But according to Nato and European officials, the Russians are looking to broaden the international security agenda with the US beyond the missile shield by reviving an arms control dialogue and offering the west logistical and transport help for the Nato effort in Afghanistan. All of this is likely to be broached at the Nato summit.

Despite the apparent race to conclude a missile shield pact, Poland remains the trickiest partner. The Poles are worried about Russia, not Iran, and are pressing Washington for beefed-up defences, which, in turn, will increase Russian opposition.
Now, why would the Poles be worried more about the Russians? Could it have something to do with, oh, the dismemberment of Poland spearheaded by Catherine the Great of Russia in 1795 after the first ever constitution in Europe giving "the people" greater rights than they had ever had before, thus threatening all those states surrounding Poland that didn't want "the people" having rights? Or maybe the 123 years of time from that point when Poland ceased to exist as a state ? Or how about the 1920 Polish/Soviet war soon after the rebirth of the Polish state? Or WW2 where Russia entered Poland in the guise of "helping", but instead used the Nazi invasion from the other side as a pretext for grabbing half of Poland? Or something to do with the Soviet army waiting on the outskirts of Warsaw near the end of WW2, watching while Warsaw was annihilated by Nazi troops in the Warsaw Uprising (the entire city had to be rebuilt) instead of helping as they promised to do. Or how about the consequent takeover of Poland, facilitated by the allies (Britain and the US at Teheran and Yalta) that lasted right up until 1989? Or the continual rejections for requests to this day for more information into the Katyn and associated massacres of 1940 of up to 25,700 Polish officers and leaders.... It's a long list. A long list with many causes for worry.

Related Link: Putin appears to soften opposition to American missile shield

Monday, March 17, 2008

Lucia Opt-out of EU enforced gay marriage

I continue to be amazed at what is considered to be important international news by the NZ media. For instance, Poland is currently going through a number of problems to do with setting up a US missile defence base on Polish territory due to threats from the Soviets, whoops, Russians. But no, not a peep on that. But opting out of parts of the EU Charter, most especially anything to do with "gay marriage" - that gets a news item on TV One's website. I'd be interested to know if that got the television news as well.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski said on Sunday he plans to push for an opt-out from parts of the European Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights after the ruling Civic Platform said it wants to ratify the treaty in full.

The previous conservative government negotiated an opt-out from the charter in the EU's reform treaty, due to be signed next month, arguing that it could limit Warsaw's ability to maintain a traditional Roman Catholic family policy.

Kaczynski, who has the power to veto any legislation, said he was determined to avoid legalising gay marriage which he said was sanctioned by the EU Lisbon Treaty's Charter of Fundamental Rights.

"The charter contains resolutions that are completely proper, but there are also resolutions which may subsequently sanction marriages other than unions between a man and woman," Kaczynski told worshippers after Palm Sunday mass in the north-eastern town of Lyse.

Related Link: Poland wants opt-out of parts of EU charter ~ One News, NZ

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Fletch Seven Deadly Sins (redux)

sins I see that the subject of the Seven Deadly Sins has been well and thoroughly thrashed again in the Saturday Herald; no less than in the editorial and by two columnists (one of whom seems to be a fan of Christopher Hitchens' atheist rantings, and who suggests we read Hitchens' God is Not Good).

Anyway, this got me thinking again..

What the Bishop said, as far as reinterpreting the Seven Deadly Sins for the modern age, was by-and-large for Catholics; to make them more aware of their faults and failings and try to get up attendance in Confession.

Why has the secular media jumped all over this with such intensity?

I have a theory here, and it's the old "shoot the messenger" theory. Basically, people don't like to be reminded of their failings or "sins" and they don't like being told they are wrong or to have to look inside and self-evaluate; there are things there that they'd rather not care to see. The problem with that is, we all have a God-given conscience, whether we use it or not. I think deep-down (maybe in the cockles of the heart, or maybe the sub-cockle area) most people know what is right and what is wrong.

In this day an age, though, there is this overriding thought that we should all be allowed to do whatever we want as long as it doesn't really "hurt anyone". If you're stealing from work the thinking is you can keep doing it as long as you don't get caught. If you're into lusting after the opposite sex and having one-night stands, well who is it hurting? We are all attached to our sins.

It's easier to point the finger at the Church and say, "yeh but the church did this", or "the church did that" instead of looking to our own failings. The members of the Church will be judged at the end of time just like everyone else; that doesn't make what the Church has to say any less valid as far as doing what is right by our fellow man.

Fletch Daylight Saving Ripoff?


As most people who regularly visit this blog know, I wasn't in favour of the extending of Daylight Saving. I don't mind it in the middle of Summer and I think it went on quite long enough, thank-you-very-much, without extending it.

I like my sleep and dislike having to get up in the dark. However, the Government in it's infinite wisdom decided to extend it by three weeks due to a petition largely signed by sports clubs and the like.

Notice the bold bit in the previous sentence? THREE WEEKS. There was going to be a week added to the beginning and two weeks added to the end. Well, according to the news (and my computer which I haven't patched) the changeover back to normal time should have happened overnight if we were playing by last year's times.

So, the clocks are supposed to go back now on the 6th of April. But hang on - that's THREE WEEKS away from now. That means that FOUR weeks have been added onto the DS we already had?

I'm being ripped off another week of morning sleep somewhere.....

I am sure those who like DS will be happy though.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lucia Friday night free for all

Chat time again!

Lucia Party Pills Banned

So it seems party pills will be banned via an act of Parliament last night. Sellers have two weeks to close down; users have six months.

This is what happens in societies with little sense of discipline or self-control. Even though it ought to be up the individual whether or not they abuse their bodies or their minds, it ends up being enforced from above because many worry that their own children will not be able to resist the lure of the drug which "everyone" needs to have a good time at a party.

They must be pretty damn boring parties if people need drugs to enjoy them.

Related Link: Party pills go in fortnight ~ Stuff

Fletch Is the Catholic Church "rich"?

I've been having a little look at the opinions posted on the NZ Herald site as regards the recent news non-story about the "new" or updated Seven Deadly Sins that one of the Bishops from the Vatican has come out with (but which has not been endorsed by the vatican or the Pope). There are quite a few people there on the Herald site commenting on number three, 'Accumulating Excessive Wealth' and criticizing the Catholic Church as being hypocritical because they are "rich" (as these opinion posters like to put it).

I've got news for you - we aren't.

In our own Parish, the Bishop has given the go-ahead for a new church to be built to service the entire area. It's been about five years or more since he gave the go-ahead and we STILL haven't raised enough money to get it built albeit after many fund raising sausage sizzles, stalls, auctions and many other events. Rich?? Give me a break.

The same can be said for the renovations to the roof and structure of the Cathedral in Auckland. Here's a quote from a newsletter about the renovations from 2005 -

The roof has to be replaced, floor redone, walls weather proofed and strengthened. The liturgical features of the Cathedral will be re-ordered and redecorated. The support of the parishes of the diocese is essential to raise the $10m needed for the conservation and restoration of the Cathedral. Bishop Pat reminds us that the Cathedral is a “Precious Heritage Entrusted To Us.” He appeals to us to help save St Patrick's Cathedral.

This again was largely supported through donations. Even as late as September last year the Church was appealing for donations -

Two million dollars is still needed to completely restore the cathedral. The Church will no doubt be praying that Aucklanders find it in their hearts to contribute.

What about overseas? A friend of the family recently went across and visited Vanuatu. The priest there was living in a leaking shack; so much so that he had to move his bed to avoid the drips of water.

Well then, you'll no doubt say that might be the case here but look at Rome. Well according to David MacDonald in his blog, he visited the restoration of the Sistine Chapel there and -

I could not take photos in there because a Japanese company owned the copyright. The Vatican didn't have enough money in the budget to restore the Sistine Chapel so a Japanese company did it in exchange for the copyright privileges. The Vatican itself has a yearly budget that is equivalent to the Archdiocese of Chicago, and frequently runs on a deficit.

What about all the sculptures and paintings and buildings that they own though? Well, no one really "owns" them. The assets are "public wealth". It's like a museum, or the art that at Buckingham Palace - it belongs to the people. According to my mother, Bishop Fulton Sheen once famously said in one of his programmes that if the Catholic Church sold every single thing it owned, there would only be enough to give tuppence to every person in the world. I'm sure that's gone up now but it still wouldn't be much.

I'll leave you with another quote from David MacDonald -

The big beautiful traditional Churches that receive the most complaints were not built with big bucks. They were built with the sweat of the brow of volunteers who worked 'till 11 PM every night after a full day of working their regular day jobs. They would do this for years until their community Parish was built. I wish I had that kind of tireless faith and dedication. That is the real wealth of the Catholic Church - the people, and 2000 years of prayers of the faithful.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Lucia Anti-abortion drop in Australia

An anti-abortion group in Victoria, Australia did a 200,000 letter drop showing images of aborted babies to unsuspecting householders. The letters were in an envelope and there was a mild warning on the front, but it seems many were unprepared for the images contained within.

The response in Australia seems to be outrage that the anti-abortion group could do such a thing. The words "offensive" and "disgusting" seem to feature many of the newspaper links that I've been reading.

Some people are also upset because their children have opened the envelopes and seen the images inside. Now this I can understand is a cause for concern. My children don't know about abortion yet. I don't plan to tell them until they are older, as my children don't need to know that the world is filled with adults that would rather murder their own children than change their lifestyles. So, I would be upset if my children opened a letter to find such images inside.

However, the likelihood of my children opening such a letter is very slim, as they've been taught not to open mail without permission. Maybe the people whose children have opened the envelopes might like to think about instituting a no-mail opening policy with their own children.

Which leads me to the most important point. Where is the outrage about the fact that small babies are routinely murdered? All these people talked about how upset they were to see the images, as if the seeing was the upsetting bit. Incredible, really.

Related Link: Graphic anti-abortion pamphlets spark emotional debate

Lucia We Look for a Kingdom

A couple of weeks ago I finished reading We Look For A Kingdom: The Everyday Lives of the Early Christians by Carl J. Sommer. The scope is from AD 100 to 313 in the Roman world, during a period of intense persecution, right up to the legalisation of Christianity by the Roman Emperor Constantine.

The first section on what the Roman world was like at the time was a wonderful lead in to the whole book. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to have a good idea of what the lives of the early Christians were like. It made me think about the real lack of accessible historical books on that period, which makes it almost seem like that period of history didn't exist. I say this because as a child, I loved reading history. I think I managed to read every child's history book in our local library before moving on the adults books at age 8. And I never came across any history book that went into the lives of the early Christians.

After reading the book, I've started reading Augustus Ceasar's World to my kids during their history lesson, as I feel that really knowing this period of history from the death of Julius Caesar onwards is vital for any Christian child of the West. This way they'll know more about that period than I did at their ages and therefore be immune from being mislead by much of the anti-Catholic (and anti-Christian) propaganda that I fell prey to when reading history in my teens.

Lucia Growing veges

There's something very off-putting with persevering with watering my plants by hose (no sprinklers allowed) over the long, hot summer only to be attacked by sandflies every time I go down there to chop off the odd zucchini or tomato.

Maybe swathes of concrete around each plant will reduce the number of hiding spots for the little critters. Either that, or I'll have to dress in very thick clothing, including gloves and goggles.

When I first sprouted the seeds, I imagined I could just nip down to the vege patch to get something to add to dinner, but I find myself not wanting to because of the bites. Three this time. Three too many, if you ask me.

Lucia Recognition of Totalitarianism

The family is the primary social unit of society, the fundamental building block, it's own mini-society. The family pre-dates the state, so any attack on the family should be a cause for concern of every citizen. However, citizens don't seem to exist any more. We have the people, the workers, the poor, the fundamentalists, the rainbow parade, the single mothers, young people - all groups that are touted to the populace at large as having special interests of how society ought to be run - but what about the citizens?

In a democracy, a citizen has a responsibility to be interested in what is occurring in the governance of the nation, and taking an active role to prevent anything detrimental to society at large. But it seems in NZ many people no longer consider themselves citizens and instead consider themselves as children that need to be looked after by the state.

No wonder the state is dismembering it's major rival. Strong families don't need a strong state and will prevent a state from over-reaching. Weak families lead easily to a totalitarian state, headed by parliamentarians that don't need to do anything except say the right things to get themselves voted in. Gone are the days where a violent revolution was needed.

Dr. Jeff Mirusof Catholic Culture asked the question: "At what point is totalitarianism recognized by the citizenry? At what point does a sufficiently large group of people understand what is going on that they can move cohesively to stop it?"

It's a good question. I think in NZ, many people are recognising that what Labour has done with the anti-smacking and electoral finance acts went way too far. I think many people think that all our problems will be solved if they just vote in a different government. A different government headed by John Key.

John Key is rapidly turning into the messiah-in-waiting - never-mind that he got the Nationals to vote FOR the anti-smacking act. And even if he was the type to recognise the danger of that act and repeal it IF National gets voted in next election, that will not be nearly enough to turn the creeping tide towards totalitarianism. In a highly secular society such as NZ, the creep will continue inexorably towards the end. The media reaction to the "new" deadly sins shows how adverse many are to any culpability of their own failings in the situation we have now in NZ.

Related Link: Secularism, Acculturation and Creeping Totalitarianism ~ Catholic Culture

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lucia Want to know more about Sin?

With yesterday's explosion of interest in sin as defined by the Roman Catholic Church, and consequent misinterpretation by the media, I thought I'd point to where you can find out more what constitutes sin.

Frank Ritchie of Servant's Thoughts has written a thoughtful piece on what sin is.

The Roman Catholic Catechism goes into more explicit detail on what would be considered sinful. The list is far larger than the Seven Deadly Sins and the "new" sins being eagerly talked about.

If you still need help after reading all that, I'd recommend The Sinner's Guide by the Venerable Louis of Granada, OP (1504-1588). The online book goes through all the reasons why not to sin and the rewards for trying to live a sinless life. As well as remedies for each of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Ultimately sin leads to separation from God. It's not a good thing and leads to deep unhappiness, followed by possible eternal damnation. As much as it would be nice to think that it all ends when we die, unfortunately (or fortunately) we are immortal beings that will live forever either with or without God. Guess which option is the better one.

Fletch PicLens for Firefox

Just a lil heads-up on a cool new Firefox extension called PicLens.
It works with most popular photo sites and blogs such as Flickr, Photobucket, Facebook, bebo etc. If you've ever used coverflow on the iPod Touch or iTunes - it's not quite exactly unlike that.  A nice wall of images (with iPod-ish shiny reflection)  that you can drag and then click on an image.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lucia Updated Deadly Sins [Updated]

Today's Dominion Post has a large article on the front page of the world section titled "Polluters and druggies - go to hell". The teaser on the front page says "Deadly Sins: Pope's new list". News items on the radio have also be referring to the seven deadly sins being revised. FairFactsMedia and David Farrar and Peter Cresswell have jumped on the bandwagon. The following is an example of the major error in understanding of what the Vatican has said:
The Vatican has brought up to date the traditional seven deadly sins by adding seven modern mortal sins it claims are becoming prevalent in what it calls an era of "unstoppable globalisation".

~ Fewer confessions and new sins ~ BBC
Where do I start?

The first error is the assumption that there were only seven "deadly" sins to start with and that these "new" seven are actually adding to that list. The seven stand on their own and don't need to be added to.

The second error is in interpretation. These "new" sins aren't really new. They are already covered under the original seven and/or the Ten Commandments and/or Church Doctrine. They may seem to be new as they cover new situations where the same old sin takes hold. That's most likely what Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti meant when asked about "new" sins.

For a less biased and more accurate article than both the BBC and the Times articles, I would recommend this one by Associated Press: Vatican Updates Its Thou-Shalt-Not List. It puts the whole thing into much better perspective.

As an aside to all of this, it's always interesting what type of Catholic news makes it to mainstream secular consciousness. Digging up and displaying St Pio doesn't make a mention, but adding sins - woah! There's probably a psychological reason for that. Maybe it's because deep down, people know they need a better appreciation of sin, so the antennae pop up. Which is a good thing, because sin is what separates us from God and a knowledge of sin is one of the first steps in healing that separation.

Archbishop Girotti said that the modern world does not understand the nature of sin. With their coverage of the interview, the mass media unintentionally underlined the prelate's point.
The Forum: Not "new sins" but an old media blind spot ~ Catholic World News

Monday, March 10, 2008

Lucia British Catholic Labour MPs may have backbones after all

Gordon Brown's Labour Government in the UK wants to pass a bill that will allow the creation of animal-human hybrids for medical research purposes and that will also remove the requirement on clinics to consider the "need for a father" before providing IVF treatment. One small problem: his Catholic MPs.

Catholic Labour MPs are not too happy about this bill (the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill), so unhappy in fact that given a choice they would vote against it. Which is not making Gordon Brown and the UK Labour Government happy. The bone thrown to the MPs; that they could just not be in the room when the bill is passed has turned into a red rag instead. So now, the Catholic MPs are saying they will vote against the bill with the opposition, which will mean the bill will fail.

It's not over yet, but if the Catholic MPs are growing a backbone, that'll be causing a major ripples in a country where there are now more Church going Catholics than Anglicans (despite the much larger Anglican population) and where one Catholic Priest has argued for a re-conversion of Britain to Catholicism. Maybe that's why some British MPs want to look at why Catholic doctrine is being taught in Catholic schools. Can't have that, as sex-education is not taught in the way the Government wants.

Anyway, interesting times in Britain right now.

Related Links: Labour's Catholic MPs will vote in embryo bill ~ Telegraph, UK
Catholic MPs may be revolting ~ Lucyna Maria, NZConservative

ZenTiger Kerre says crush them like insects

Kerre Woodham of NewsTalk ZB would probably favour summary execution, if she could get away with it. She is frothing about boy racers, and anyone who might be mistaken for a boy racer. They all should have their cars crushed. She actually said she wouldn't mind if it meant a few "innocent" cars were accidentally crushed. Just crush them like insects. On the spot. No first warning. No investigation into who owns the car. Just crush it. Such is the seriousness of the problem.

If you are going to go around and say "hit them were it hurts" then make sure you are hurting the right people. Crushing some-one else's car just makes you a thug.

The likely market reaction? Steal the car first. Maybe Kerre's?

One of the problems is that the laws are not being enforced properly. I do not disagree the problem is serious, and that we need to protect innocent bystanders.

However, the reaction to create incredibly severe punishments that also have a greater chance of capturing innocent people in its net would be State intervention at it's worst.

Lucia In defence of the one night stand

There's a really sad feature article in yesterday's Sunday Star Times written by a woman in her late 30's who "writes in defence of the one-night stand." I found it sad, because while she apparently wrote in defence, her own words showed just how damaging such a lifestyle is to a person.

It started with losing her virginity at age 14. It seems to have taught her to use men and let herself be used in turn by them. Not that she saw that; her only regret was that she was used, ie not cared for by the boy she had sex with. The fact that it was her choice also seems to vindicate the experience as if choosing ought to remove any regret.
I was "going out" with the guy, but we broke up soon after, and I watched him go through a succession of teenage girls. It does annoy me that someone who didn't really care about me was my first time - but it was still my choice. Really, I just wanted to get it over with, to see what it was all about.
There there are the two following statements about sex that don't gel. The first talks about how she feels sex ought to be.
I think it’s healthy to think of sex as fun, to not attach too much importance to “getting it right” actually, if you think of sex like that, you hardly ever have a bad experience. It is, simply, just another experience.
The next is her actual experience.
It’s kind of a 72-hour roller coaster. Day one: euphoria and the lingering memory of intimacy, it’s like being hugged, for a really long time. Day two: hangover recovery. Day three: the realisation you are still alone.
Here's more about the virtue of choice that vindicates anything.
There’s an assumption that a woman who goes willingly into a one-night stand must have low self-esteem. Actually, I like myself. I also like sex. Sue me.
It’s your choice. It should always be your choice. I can think of only one occasion where I knew I didn’t want to do it, even as I put my key in my front door. You learn from those experiences.
Her major worry is that she will be judged. She rationalises that she's only had 19 sexual partners, therefore she's not promiscuous as the Kiwi woman's average is over that number (really? there must be a heck of a lot of us pulling that average down).

Do I judge her? No. I feel sorry for her. What a waste of a life.

Related Link: Judgement Call ~ Sunday Star Times

Friday, March 7, 2008

Lucia Friday night free for all

Anti Body-Snatching Device

Picture courtesy of Jason Watson

Lucia Chris Trotter on Revolution

Is there a hard left in NZ that wants to take control by force, nationalise everything and shoot everyone that disagrees? Chris Trotter in today's column in the Dominion Post alludes to such, and reiterates again, that rolling Helen Clark for Phil Goff is a much better alternative than a revolution.

Um, so is there another terrorist group in NZ that the police ought to be looking at?

Related Link: Will update this link to work when the column comes online

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fletch Show Me The Money!

So, according to the news today, the Government's accounts (for the first time in almost 15 years) are in the red?  The Government can give all the reasons they like (and I'm sure they are many and varied) but I find it very hard to swallow that for years and years the take from the poor taxpayer has been rising to a surplus of billions and all of a sudden, six  months out from an election, there isn't any left - in fact, into the negative.

As the Four-Square women would say to one another, "how convenient".

According to the story - revenues are $700 million below forecast.

Oh, really? Again, I find this a bit hard to believe. The Government is not taking enough from us? Sorry, but taking tax is one of the things this government is VERY good at and I doubt they would have mucked up on that.

I'm sure someone will provide the reasons for this, but the story just left myself and family members watching saying, "yeh right" incredulously.

Lucia Bodies fair game

You've got to wonder, with the latest body snatching case, does this mean that anyone could steal a person's body? Apparently the police can do nothing because the body doesn't belong to anyone.

So, what if a satanic group needed a body to mutilate before setting it on fire in a bizarre religious rite? Could they go down to the nearest funeral home and just take off with any body that takes their fancy? Or how about something a bit more likely - a medical teaching facility that runs out of cadavers. Is there anything in law that stops them from being able to load up from the hospital morgue?

I suppose most people wouldn't have even thought of taking a body from grieving relatives, and that and respect for the dead, has probably been the only only thing stopping body snatching from happening more often. That, and the expectation that doing so was not legal. Yet, there is a legal black hole here. A legal black hole that needs to be filled.

Related Link: Woman's body snatched from hearse

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

ZenTiger Super Nannys of the State

You've heard of the Super Nanny that sorts out troublesome kids in no time flat?

You've heard of the Nanny State - those meddlesome left wing zealots that know better than parents, and like to equate violent abuse with temperate physical discipline?

Well prepare for the new reality TV show hitting the airwaves this season: Super Nanny of the State. Hosted by the muppet talent Campbell, it features Sue Bradford and Cindy Kiro as the Super Nannys of the State (SNotS). These big SNotS take on little snots and show how positive parenting techniques are so effective in a classroom situation.

Yes, with the Dom Post page 3 announcing that 1 in 5 children in the classroom are extremely disruptive, anti-social, violent and abusive, it makes a teacher with 25 kids vainly trying to manage (let alone educate) 20 whilst 5 of them are playing up big time.

Faced with such disturbing statistics, and cognisant that today's children are the product of the last 20 years of increasingly liberal PC tosh (yes, damn it, tosh.) - Sue Bradford and Dr Kiro are going public in a very real and concrete "money where their rather large mouths are" kind of way.

It's live. It's real. It's uncut, with no outtakes. It's reality. They'll each be stepping into NZ's most difficult classrooms, posing as relief teachers in schools around NZ. Hidden cameras will demonstrate those very techniques they vaguely mention whenever that dirty word "discipline" comes up. For those parents still not in jail for beating their kids to death, here's the chance to learn from the masters. Let's hope those clueless, violent prone parents (Mum - zonked on valium" or "Dad - rampant with Viagra) bother to tune in. Apparently, there's well over 300,000 of them. Indeed, some polls rate the target audience as high as 80%. Cullen is counting the tax on advertising revenue already.

But after the first few shows, wont the game be up? Even to the most apolitical kid, Bradford and Kiro will be the most recognisable faces on TV after Paris Hilton.

This is where the ratings brilliance of the TV producer, a Mr Z. Tiger, just gets better.

To keep children and parents guessing, the first 15 minutes of every show will be a ratings winning segment putting Kiro and Bradford into disguise. A makeover with bite.

A NZ version of Queer Eye (the Tranny Nannies) will dress them; Our own glam girls Rachel Hunter and Xena will teach deportment and how to make a piercing battle cry of command; NZ trained Plastic Surgeons Antonie Dixon and Daniel Moore will tuck tummys, siphon bio-fuels from thighs (adding a nice Green twist) and remove the occasional limb; and Lunn of Tawah has offered to teach a variety of fourrin acksense to fool the kids and, strangely, improve elocution skills.

There's enough there to challenge the ratings power of Lost and Californication, so the TV moguls are feeling pretty confident these new age gurus Bradford and Kiro can pull this whole thing off.

Unfortunately though, their success may prove to be their undoing. This could really embarrass the teachers of NZ and show them up for being incompetent in their inability to instill, as Dr Kiro might well say, "socially and culturally acceptable behaviour patterns by reaching out and communicating at a trust-level with children as adults and peers with due recognition of the power relationship imbalance of adults requesting that children consider the long term personal value and goal-oriented self-actualised payoff for bloody well paying attention." Because, the way they tell it, this whole lefty liberal thing with kids is like falling off a log.

Actually, I have to 'fess up and admit this show is still in the concept stage and I'm actually behind it. So if the show doesn't get the huge tax payer funding grant I'm expecting (I gotta pay the talent guys), then all I can say is, well, what a shame such a good idea will go to waste. They should do it anyway. Maybe, just maybe, it's time we dropped another 300,000 signature petition on parliament's doorstep?

Lucia A report on abortion in NZ

The Abortion Supervisory Committee has recently come out with a report to Government on what is happening with abortion in NZ.

A couple of points that have really stood out to me were:
  • the Committee will be looking at the availability and the need for second trimester services in all regions
  • .
  • In 2006, 2,399 abortions "needed" to be done as a result of oral contraceptive failure.
The second trimester is 15 to 27 weeks from last menstrual period. Here's a week by week look at the development of the baby during this time. Given that NZ's law doesn't allow for abortion on demand (even though we have abortion on demand), I can only think of that there would be an increasing "need" for second trimester abortions for reasons of fetal abnormality that typically get diagnosed later in the pregnancy. Unfortunately , though, diagnosis of abnormality can be wrong as a couple pressured in the UK to abort their baby right up to his birth discovered.

The second point is on the incredible number of abortions (2399 in 2006) due to oral contraceptive failure. Contraceptive failure that points to the probable abortificient nature of the pill failing in preventing implantation of a conceived child, as it is highly unlikely that the low dose pills available in NZ actually prevent ovulation.

In NZ the highest hormone level pill is 50mcg (see Medsafe). When the pill first came out it was 150mcg, much higher than what is available now. Studies on a higher hormone dose pill showed that ovulation was not prevented all of the time, that it was still possible to ovulate on the high hormone level pill. Since that time, hormone levels since have been lowered because of the terrible effects on the bodies of the women taking them.

The lower the hormone dose, the less chance of ovulation being prevented. That means that if a woman on the pill is sexually active, it is highly likely that she is conceiving. But no matter, the low dose pills still reduce the likelihood of pregnancy. The crucial thing for a newly conceived baby to do is to implant into the lining of the uterus to gain necessary nutrients for the continuation of life. However, the uterus of a woman on the pill is very hostile to the newly conceived baby as the lining is much thinner and makes a successful implantation less likely. This implantation can still occur, as our abortion statistics for women on the contraceptive pill show, but this is not the norm. What is more likely is that the baby dies and is flushed out with the next menstrual period. That is what I mean by the pill being abortifacient .

If the contraceptive pill only affected ovulation and not the lining of the womb, then it would not be abortifacient. However no conceptive pill purports to do this - they all say they prevent ovulation most of the time (highly unlikely) and as a backup change the nature of the lining of the uterus so as to make implantation of the conceived baby unlikely.

Of course the abortifacient nature of the contraceptive pill will not bother alot of people, but it should bother those who think they are only preventing ovulation, because in effect, it is very likely those people have unbeknownst and unexpectedly lost a number of children already due to the abortifacient effect of the contraceptive pill. That's a tragedy for those people. And for everyone, whether they acknowledge it or not.

The only caveat I need to add is that there are also pro-life physicians out there that do not believe that the evidence supports the hostile womb theory, that once a baby is conceived that everything works to enable implantation. That may be so, but personally, since this is a matter of life and death, that's a hell of a risk to take.

Who cares about a smack when we are killing 18,000 babies a year! ~ DumbOx, Being Frank

Related Links:
Report of the Abortion Supervisory Committee, 2007
Birth Control Pill: Abortifacient and Contraceptive ~ American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Lucia Islamic website suspects plot by Pope

A ranting Islamist website called Ummah Pulse is carrying an article about a Jesuit attempt to "get behind the lines" of Islam in order to water down its theology.

A German Jesuit priest-scholar called Felix Koerner is helping state-funded Turkish Muslims create an "authentic" variety of Islam that can be reconciled with the modern world.

Ummah Pulse sniffs conspiracy, you’ll be shocked to hear: it reckons that Koerner is one of Pope Benedict XVI's secret agents, employing Jesuitical wiles to implement his anti-Muslim agenda.
Considering that the Jesuits have been very recently admonished by the Pope to become obedient again to the Pope and Catholic Doctrine, I somehow doubt the Pope is anyway involved with what this particular Jesuit is up to.

Related Links:
Islamic website suspects plot by Pope ~ Telegraph, UK
Remember 4th vow of obedience, Pope urges Jesuits

Monday, March 3, 2008

ZenTiger Victims of NZ Labour

Sorry, it's late and the cynicism is at full strength. I blame NZ Labour. They did this to me. I am now a victim. Oh, calamity. What measure of justice can I expect?

The Government will strengthen victims' rights through a range of initiatives, including developing a Victims' Charter and funding a national 0800 victim helpline and a website for victims, Justice Minister Annette King said.

Well, that directly addresses the fact that court cases for serious crime can take 2 years to get to court. And very serious crimes three years. (They are called elections at that point, but the jury is fickle).

Wow thanks Annette. You can go to the web site and see if the victims charter allows you any rights around bringing the criminal to trial before they die of old age. And I guess 0800-VICTIM will be useful if some violent maniac happens to be beating you to death with a phone. Maybe it will be answered faster than 111? Although, dialing so many digits with broken fingers is going to hurt.

But a special website for victims? This is showing initiative? What extra initiatives are they saving for the election? On this basis, I'm guessing fridge magnets. And T-Shirts. "I'm a victim. Labour cares so much they got me this T-Shirt". Actually, maybe they'll just make you wear the T-Shirt you had on when you were bludgeoned in your corner dairy? That way you have authentic victim blood on it. It would be a collectors item if they weren't so common.

Ms King says a Victims' Charter will be developed to build awareness of the standard of service that victims can expect from government agencies. "The Charter will be a significant step in ensuring that victims of crime are aware of their rights under the Victims Rights Act and the information and services they should receive.

Like being billed $20,000 in legal fees as a result of your partner being murdered by an early parolee? Like waiting 2 years for trial? Like seeing the person that tried to kill/rape/rob you being let out early? Like seeing that the criminals get sex change operations and new limbs out of tax payer funds, but you need to go private to receive timely treatment? Like seeing that repeat offenders get "community service", and failing to show for even that just becomes another repeated offence? We are already aware of the low standards of service. And I don't see any initiatives actually addressing them.

"I am absolutely determined victims should not be re-victimised by having to make repayments." said Annette King

What, you aren't promising to sort out IRD too are you?

Ms King said the Labour-led Government would provide $1.7 million in 2008/09 establishing a central contact point for victims to provide information and to assist victims with advice about support agencies and services.

The police don't take calls from victims now? "Thanks for reporting you have been bludgeoned. Would you like the new website address so you can find the number for an ambulance? We'd like to help but it's not our core business."

In other initiatives announced today, Ms King said the Labour-led Government will also provide additional funding to the New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups to build the capability of frontline service co-ordinators.

More bureaucracy instead of direct action. And when you boil down the essence of what all these new initiatives are, it's just another example of Labour telling us where to go. Again. Well, it will be our turn later this year. Annette, try phoning 0800-VOTED OUT.

Related Link: Government toys with victims

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Fletch Keeping Photojournalists Honest

Remember a couple of years back when a Reuters photographer got busted for manipulating photographs in Iraq to make them more, er, interesting? More smoke and whatnot. Well a guy, John Graham has written C code to detect Photoshopped cloning in images. He basically did it because he wanted to win a car in a Spot The Ball newspaper competition, and found a paper describing the algorithm he was looking for. He didn't end up winning the car but the program seems to work quite well. (See the images below).

You can download the C code from his blog (and see more pictures there and here) but I don't think there is a Windows executable yet.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

ZenTiger Murder not as serious as first thought

A man who beat his partner to death had his 10 year sentence reduced to eight years.

The Court of Appeals decided the murder was not as serious as first thought.

The justices said they were not unsympathetic to the judge's view that domestic violence was a serious problem in New Zealand and a "firm response is required...but consistency of sentencing for similar offending is also an important principle."

Obviously, its a far more important principle than a firm response.

Sure, the mother of six children died as a consequence of the murderous attack, but many people die from murder, and murderers are not always punished as severely, was the logic from the Court of Appeals. Indeed, they managed to find two other cases where people beating other people to death got lesser sentences, so they dropped the sentence on this one too.

It didn't occur to them that perhaps the other sentences should therefore be raised.

It just didn't occur to them.

Instead, they now think it appropriate to lower the sentence and allow this guy to be eligible for parole in just 4 years. Wow, that sends a message.

And I'm probably guilty of some heinous crime by calling this guy a murderer.

Apparently, it's only manslaughter when you beat some-one so badly they appear dead. You then cover up the evidence and leave them on the kitchen floor where they are not discovered for 30 hours, missing out on vital medical assistance. They die 3 days later. Beating them close to death, and then leaving them to die is only manslaughter. Maybe if he had more practice, he would have done the job properly? Oh well, he'll be back out soon.

The people in the justice system continue to get away with murder.

Related Link: Sorry for locking you up. Why don't you sue us now for stress?

PS: I'm all for this guy having a chance to be rehabilitated. That has nothing to do with the fact that the punishment needs to fit the crime. All indications here is that serious crime isn't taken seriously by the justice system. Even when the judge makes directions to lock this guy away, others are seeking to use the system to let the guilty go free.

A man who beat his partner to death has had his 10-year sentenced reduced to eight years by the Court of Appeal today.

Joseph Kengike was found guilty of the manslaughter of Moana Kapua, the mother of his six children, and sentenced to 10 years in jail last July.

The assault happened after Kengike and Ms Kapua had been out drinking. Ms Kapua was discovered 30 hours later unconscious with bruising and haemorrhages to her head, a boot print on her abdomen and a fractured eye socket. She died in Auckland Hospital three days later.

The decision released today from the Court of Appeal by Justices Bruce Robertson, Tony Randerson and Ronald Young, said the case was almost identical with two other manslaughter cases.