Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lucia Blogged out and sick

Well, after yesterday's burst, I'm all blogged out. Not to mention recovering from the flu. Hope everyone else is well. And that you all have power and houses that haven't been swept into the sea or anything. I've just returned from taking the kids to their swimming lessons and it's almost wet enough out there to swim in the streets!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ZenTiger Real Child Abuse

Here's a case of real child abuse, where it's also obvious banning smacking wouldn't have prevented this, nor changed the attitudes behind this callous and inhumane attitude. So now that these people are caught, time to send a message to others on what "duty of care" means, and the severe punishments that could be leveled when caregivers (they weren't parents) are found not just to fail in their basic obligations, but to inflict such abuse in the first place.

The other tragedy is that no-one at the girl's school noticed and did anything over the three week decline towards death. And what did the social workers do on their visit the day before she finally died?
Mr Coates said social workers who visited the three-bedroom Palmerston home - which housed 17 people - the day before the death found the child lying on the kitchen floor crying. When she was told to have a shower she struggled to walk and had to use the walls for support.
I cannot understand how they could miss the seriousness of her condition.

Related Link: Girl 12, allegedly killed by her foster carers

ZenTiger Dead Parrot

Location: The Department of Conservation (DoC), Fox Glacier Office

A customer enters

Customer: 'Ello, I wish to register a complaint.

(The Officer does not respond.)

C: 'Ello, Miss?
Officer: What do you mean "miss"?
C: I'm sorry, I have a cold. I thought you were Miss Clark. Anyway, I wish to register a complaint!
O: We're closin' for lunch. Possum sandwiches.
C: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this parrot what I photographed not half an hour ago from this wilde New Zealand habitat.
O: Oh yes, the, uh, the Kea, Nestor Notabilis..What's,uh...What's wrong with it?
C: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'E's dead, that's what's wrong with it!

O: No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting.
C: Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.
O: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable bird, the Nestor Notabilis
idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!
C: The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead.
O: Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!
C: All right then, if he's restin', I'll wake him up!
(shouting at the cage) 'Ello, Mister Kea Parrot! I've got a lovely fresh spring lamb for you if you show...(customer hits the cage)
O: There, he moved!
C: No, he didn't, that was you hitting the cage!
O: I never!!
C: Yes, you did!
O: I never, never did anything...
C: (yelling and hitting the cage repeatedly) 'ELLO POLLY!!!!!
Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o'clock alarm call!

(Takes parrot out of the cage and thumps its head on the counter. Throws it up
in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.)

C: Now that's what I call a dead parrot.
O: No, no.....No, 'e's stunned!
O: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! Nestor Notabilis stun easily, major.
C: look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That parrot is definitely deceased, and when I photographed it not 'alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk.
O: Well, he's...he's, ah...probably pining for the fjords of Milford Sounds.
C: PININ' for the FJORDS?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, look, why did he fall flat on his back the moment you dropped the 1080 possum bait?
O: No Major, 1080 is completely safe. Safe as houses. The Nestor Notabilis prefers kippin' on it's back! Remarkable bird, id'nit, squire? Lovely plumage!
C: Look, I took the liberty of examining that parrot when it keeled over, and I discovered the only reason that it had been sitting on its perch in the first place was that it had been NAILED there.


O: Well, o'course it was nailed there! If DoC hadn't nailed that bird down, it would have been stolen by Japanese tourists. They would have muscled up to the roost and VOOM! Feeweeweewee!
C: "VOOM"?!? Mate, this bird wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts from Tiwai Smelter through it! 'E's bleedin' demised!
O: No no! 'E's pining!
C: 'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!!



O: Well, it'll grow back. Kea's always grow back after a 1080 drop. I might have a whole bunch left over from the last 1080 drop. Hang on.

(he takes a quick peek behind the Office counter)

O: Sorry squire, I've had a look 'round the back of the shop, and uh, we're right out of Kea parrots.
C: I see. I see, I get the picture.
O: I got a possum.


C: (sweet as sugar) Pray, does it look like a Kea?
O: Nnnnot really.
O: Look, if you pop over to Masterton, you can probably take a few photos of Kiwis. Or stoats.
C: Masterton, eh? Very well.

The customer leaves....

The customer enters a DoC office in Masterton. It's the same Officer behind the counter (job sharing due to cut backs). The officer is putting on a false moustache.

C: This is Masterton, is it?
O: (with a fake mustache) No, it's Mount Bruce.
C: (looking at the camera) That's Kiwi Rail for you.
O: Well, what do you want?
C: I'm not prepared to pursue my line of inquiry any longer about 1080 poison - I think this is getting too silly!

Minister for Conservation Chris Carter Steve Chadwick: Quite agree, quite agree, too silly, far too silly...

With apologies to the immortal Monty Python team

Related Link: DoC Confirm: These are ex-Parrots
Excerpt: Seven kea have died at Fox Glacier after eating 1080 poison, wiping out almost half a group of the endangered and protected parrot being monitored by the Conservation Department.

Photo courtesy BBC - all rights reserved, more at Dead Parrots Society

Video Evidence: Mass Murder in the Killing Fields of Fox Glacier

Lucia Sexual slavery rife in NZ

The condemnation of prostitution was not just puritan bigotry; it was a recognition of a profound truth, which is that you and your body are not two things but one, and by abusing the body you harden the soul.
Right after reading in No Minister that NZ is fast becoming an economic desert, where only the sex trade is any good. Then I read on Lindsay Mitchell's blog that the good people of Dannevirke are trying to run a brothel out of town.
Dannevirke resident Mike Long said it only took the people of Carterton 18 months to drive a brothel out of business in their town.

"It comes down to one thing - money. I think we should name and shame the people that are using the business, then let their partners know."

Gill Allardice, a Dannevirke resident for 30 years, said she would be happy to wait outside the front door and take a personal note of all patrons.

"I will sit outside and do my knitting if I have to." She had already organised a petition and written letters to the New Zealand Rugby Union, demanding its response to the brothel's planned All Blacks- themed bedroom.

After the meeting, she said the idea of a bordello was sleazy and vulgar.

"I've always been a feminist, and it's demeaning to women. We have benefits in New Zealand, you don't have to sell yourself to make money.
Good on the Dannevirkians, I say. This is an example of people taking responsibility for cleaning up their own neck of the woods. Something we need more of. But that's not the opinion of Lindsay Mitchell.
Classic Kiwi conservative, socialist, bludger.

She doesn't care if people "make money" off the taxpayer-funded benefit system, but she would deny a voluntary exchange of service for a fee because it offends her. Stick to your knitting Mrs Allardice, preferably at home.
Aside from the fact that nowhere in the article is Mrs Allardice idenfied as a "socialist" or a "bludger", what really struck me with Lindsay's comment is this idea that anything is ok in NZ as long as it is legal and can be sold for money. Never mind that prostitution is not a profession that any sane parent would choose for their own daughter.

Related links on why prostitution is harmful:
Old Profession, New Toleration ~ Catholic Education Resource Centre
The Spitzer Backlash ~ Counterpunch

Lucia The Dark Knight combats Pure Evil

It seems the new Batman movie by Christopher Nolan understands evil, something many people have lost. This concept that evil does what it does because it wants to, not because of circumstances or upbringing.
At one point, The Joker asks one of his victims whether he wants to hear the story of how he got his scars. He proceeds to explain that his father was a "drunken fiend," who fought with his mother, one night to the point of cutting her with a knife. Having done so, he turned on his stupefied son and, putting the knife to his mouth, asked, "Why so serious?" Then, in a subsequent scene, The Joker tells quite a different story about the source of his scars. The point is clear -- there is no "reason" for the Joker's love of chaos. As Nolan commented, The Joker has "no arc, no development"; he is an "absolute." As he sets fire to a huge pile of money, The Joker chastises the astounded criminals in his midst for their petty love of money. When Bruce Wayne tells Alfred that criminals are "not complicated" and that they just need to find out "what this one wants," Alfred responds, "some men just want to watch the world burn." There is no ultimate purpose to his mayhem; he delights in it for its own sake, as is evident in one particularly chilling scene in which Batman tries to beat him into revealing his plans. As The Joker cackles with glee at the pain, he taunts Batman, "you have nothing to frighten me with."
All of which makes for a fascinating morality movie.

Related Link: Christopher Nolan’s Achievement: The Dark Knight ~ Catholic Education Resource Centre

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lucia Satirising Obama as Our Lord

There is a piece of satire floating around the blogosphere satirising Obama as the God made man, Our Lord Jesus the Christ. I've come across it in a few places now, and found that I couldn't read it - it disturbed me too much. Now that I've had a think about it, I think it disturbs me mainly because that in the mocking of Obama, it mocks God as well. And comparing Obama to Jesus just brings to mind thoughts of the Anti-Christ. For both those reasons, I won't be linking directly to the posts.

ZenTiger Ban them and make them mandatory [Updated]

Coroners. They'll be the death of me.

A coroner has just called for a ban on snow tyres [DomPost, 29 July, A3]. Thankfully(?), they are calling for the ban to be only on mixing snow tyres with standard tyres, based on findings from two crashes.

In one crash, the main facts that leap out was that the accident happened whilst texting, and driving worn out snow tyres mixed with other tyres. In another, the brother of the crash victim called for an immediate ban on snow tyres, saying they were the sole cause of the crash. No they were not - the coroner said it was a combination of snow tyres and standard tyres.

As usual, people call for a ban to solve a problem.

And they want to ban snow tyres; not texting; not using worn out treads; not using inappropriate combinations of tyres - something that is never recommended by any credible tyre seller in any event.

No doubt, if they are banned, then we'll have another Coroner calling for them to be made mandatory when some-one skids off a snow covered road into a deep ravine on their way to a ski field. Just like this story:
Quebec's Transport Ministry is considering a coroner's recommendation that snow tires become mandatory for all vehicles in the province.

The suggestion comes after a coroner's report found that all-season tires were a major factor in the accidental death of Benoit Plamondon four years ago. Plamondon died near Montreal, after losing control of his car on black ice.
Let's just ban them AND make them mandatory. That way, no-one will die.

Related Link: Quebec tires of no-snow tyre policy

Related Link: Getting a grip - Snow Tires

A place to buy the Hakkapeliitta 5 SUV 235/55 R18 spikeable, BSW featured tyre: Tires Easy

Disclosure: I lived in Ottawa, Canada for a few years. I'm a believer in the value of snow tyres. I've also had a close call (many years ago) driving on near-bald tyres. I now keep my tyres in top condition. I urge all drivers to do the same.

UPDATE: The comments are worth reading - we have the brother with the details of the Coroner's report on one of the crashes, detailing issues around poor quality imports and that current regulations refer to only matching tyres on one axle, with some important clarifications. All drivers of imported cars might want to check their tyres carefully!

The call for the ban appears to be restricted to second hand snow tyres coming in on imports, a different kettle of fish to banning snow tyres.

ZenTiger Eat Your Greens

Sue Kedgley of the Greens blogs: "Tomorrow I will present my 37 thousand signature petition calling for mandatory country of origin labelling of all fresh and single component food to the Health Select Committee."

My first thought was of the 37 thousand signature petition she has backing her bill. That's 37,000 people standing up for something they believe in and asking the government to consider their request. A very big number, impressive indeed.

So I asked Sue what she thought a petition like that means? Did getting that many signatures influence her thinking in any way? Do you think other politicians should listen when the will of the people is so strong?

Anyway, irony aside, here's some of the reasons the Greens give to label food with a country of origin:

In 2006, we imported 10,604 tonnes of lamb and beef - most of it was not labelled as to its country of origin. This means that consumers cannot be certain when they buy meat at their local butcher or supermarket whether it is New Zealand raised or imported. We imported 2.4 times as much meat from Australia as we exported to them.

And what do the Greens want to do with beef and lamb farming in this country? Make it even more expensive with new eco-taxes, cut production to reduce environmental damage and enact more policies that will cripple farming. So what do they expect here?

Shrimps from China have been found to contain carcinogenic antimicrobials nitrofuran, malachite green, and gentian violet, as well as the banned insecticide DDT, and fluoroquinolone, an antibiotic critical to human health, but threatened by antibiotic resistance. As a result of these concerns, the United States has halted five types of farmed fish from China at the border. 25% of our imported shrimps and prawns come from China - 937 tonnes in 2006 - and none of it was tested for residues.

So putting a label "imported from China" is supposed to help? How about blocking imports of goods tested as containing banned pesticide residue? How about having bills to ensure the food we eat - wherever it comes from, is safe.

Australian tomatoes are dipped in the toxic insecticide dimethoate but New Zealand tomatoes aren't. Dimethoate cannot be removed by washing and has been found to disrupt reproductive function, cause chromosomal aberrations, damage the immune system, disrupt the endocrine system and affect the nervous system.

Ditto. "Made in Australia" doesn't convey the same impact as "Poisonous". So make up your minds, do we allow dangerous foods and mercury containing CFL light bulbs and crap quality, or don't we?

A survey in China found candied fruit with 63 times the permitted amount of sweetener as well as excessive additives and preservatives in nearly 40% of the children's snacks. Last year New Zealand imported 1 tonne of glazed fruit from China and 6,152 tonnes of other preserved fruit, which may or may not be sweetened.


In April this year the United States rejected 137 shipments of food from China because it was "filthy", contained the food poisoning bacteria salmonella, or banned chemicals - but our government does not carry out regular random testing of imported food from China, let alone turn ships away at the border.

And ditto.

So basically, the Greens are saying imported food can be very unsafe. Especially from China. The country Labour signed a free trade agreement with. Not only is it unsafe, but we don't test for safety. Bad stuff just arrives in our shops ready to buy.

On top of that, local beef and lamb production is already so expensive we can import it more cheaply from Australia. I wonder what Green Policy, if enacted, would do to the prices of local meat? Possibly make cheese seem cheap.

So rather than tackle the food safety issue and work out why local production of meat, vegetables and fruit is more expensive in New Zealand, even with transport costs (which are logistically more expensive for food) Sue K. wants to bung a origin label on it. The rationale is that if we know where our food comes from, we will chose not to buy it. That of course relies on consumers making bigoted and biased judgments such as "all food that comes from China is bad" or "Australians sell us meat too cheaply therefore they underpay their workers so I'll buy this NZ sausage instead"

Why not put our energies into making all food safe instead of this rather obtuse approach to supposedly helping consumers make informed choices?

What was it that Winston said about his voters? Only 37,000 need to be dumb enough to ensure he is voted in. I didn't realise they were all Greens.

Related Link: Mandatory Country of Origin Food Labeling
Related Link: Foreign Food Bad for You - The Fresh Facts

PS: I'm in favour of figuring out ways to make sure food meets a minimum quality level. If we are going to pour tax payer dollars and legislation effort into this, lets do it properly (which is, no doubt, also a very big debate).

Update: I see that the NZFSA also oppose the Green's proposal for much the same reasons I outline (and I go into a little more detail perhaps on the Frog Blog thread) and they throw in the complications of our WTO and general overseas trading obligations. Although, I'm beginning to think that one reason for opposing it is that it doesn't go far enough (now isn't that scary!)

Lucia Welfare leads to moral decay

We don't talk much about welfare here at NZ Conservative. I know I did when I was more politically "right wing", but that was back before I researched the causes of welfarism. For in this society we have people that will live their entire lives on welfare and also those who will do anything but draw a benefit cheque, even when they might need the hand up.

So, I don't think welfare actually causes moral decay, if that's what the visiting American Priest who advised George Bush on reforming America's welfare system actually meant. But I do think the ready availability of welfare is a major contributing factor to long-term welfare dependence.
He now believes that the welfare state has failed to lift the poor out of poverty by creating a perverse incentive for people to stay on benefits, failing to help them overcome whatever obstacles are keeping them out of work, and neglecting the spiritual help that people need alongside money.

"The current welfare system is about politics and bureaucracy and takes over people's lives based on one-size-fits-all," he said. "But the problems of poverty are very individual, very nuanced. There are times when people need very direct charity, and other times when they need an infinite amount of patience. The bureaucratic mentality is not suited to this."

He believes that "direct charity" is best done by people motivated by spiritual beliefs who are prepared to make personal sacrifices, be creative and innovative and "think outside the box".

He advocates giving businesses and individuals the right to pay a portion of what would otherwise be their taxes directly to the charities of their choice, provided that the charities are recognised to be serving the poor. This would also have the economic advantage of keeping taxes low to encourage investment and economic growth.

"We need to reform the culture for people to take responsibility for their neighbours," he said.

"The problem with welfare societies is that when you have people relinquishing moral responsibility, you have moral decay as well. There is no guarantee that if you have a prosperous economy you are going to have a morally responsible society, but I think there is a greater chance than if you have the kind of weakening of the moral fabric that took place in the Soviet Union."
Related Link: Priest rubbishes welfare system ~ NZ Herald

Lucia Thanatocracy

“A democratic and social state has the duty to protect the poorest and the weakest, which include the unborn, the handicapped, the elderly and the terminally ill. When the state, instead of protecting the weakest, provides legal cover for the culture of death, it automatically is transformed into a totalitarian state, the foundations of coexistence are broken and a society of death, a true thanatocracy (a government run by death), emerges.”
We're pretty close to a thanatocracy here in NZ. We already have abortion on demand, with the government looking the other way to ensure our abortion laws that that prevent abortion on demand are not enforced. And from time to time the euthanasia thing pops up. Fortunately it doesn't have any teeth yet, but there are politicians in our parliament who support euthanasia and even if the population doesn't, when has that ever stopped parliament from doing what they want?

Related Link: Only a totalitarian states gives cover for death, warns Spanish bishop ~ Catholic News Agency

ZenTiger Trotter Not Sorry

Chris Trotter's hate-filled column last week [Trotter's Hate Speech] generated a lot of 'robust feedback' in response, so he's decided to spend some time repairing his damaged brand. His latest column explains why Chris is such a nice guy. It's a nice fluffy piece that stays general, and is notable for what it doesn't say.

It doesn't, for example, say "sorry" for his recent tirade against large sections of New Zealand. He doesn't say "sorry" for painting National voters as the face of evil. Chris, when are you going to learn - verbal violence is not OK!

All Trotter can manage is "I'm not a communist, I'm a social-democrat." Well, that explains it then?

He starts off: A column entitled From the Left conjures out of its readers imaginations a veritable phantasmagoria of political misconceptions. The most common of these is that, being "From the Left", I must favour the policies Joseph Stalin and Mao Mao Tse-tung.

There were no misconceptions about the vitriol leveled at the 35% of New Zealanders who vote National. He mostly saw these as farmers, people on a high salary and people of faith. With such bigotry on display from an avowed "lefty" it is easy to suppose Trotter's policies would be in alignment with other failed (redundant?) communists. So what are his policies?

Problem is, I rejected their credo of Marxist-Leninist communism long ago.

Yes, die-hard communists faced with the failures of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Mao and others finally understood that to change society and to embrace left wing ideology, the changes must be more subtle, the people more patient.

Trotter's occasional outbursts are simply a sign that his patience slips. Power held at the whim of a fickle electorate requires much more sophisticated strategies, and the communists of yester-year have adapted.

Overt communism was dropped for subtle social change and a new product to market - Socialism. Although Trotter prefers in this article to speak of Social Democracy - because somewhere, the people should have a say. Although whenever the numbers get up around 35% or more, this apparently becomes debatable.

So, what do I believe? Chris asks.

The rest is pure fluff. As you read how much he values Social Democracy, keep in mind what he said in last week's article. He doesn't resile from this here, and such sentiment from last week's article makes a mockery of his personal PR campaign this week.

Perhaps we could go back further in time, when he suggested that he doesn't actually believe in democracy at all as he applauded Labour's electoral fraud as "courageous corruption": "Social peace for a paltry half-million dollars? Strikes me as the most courageous and forgivable kind of corruption."?

Then again, there was this one time he recognised the left had gone too far ignoring the "will of the people":
This legislation [s59 repeal] needs to be withdrawn, immediately. And its supporters (among whom I include myself) need to acknowledge their failure....By refusing to recognise the sheer magnitude of the opposition to this bill, the Left has forfeited the electorate's trust. Sadly, withdrawing the legislation is now a necessary precondition to rebuilding public confidence in progressive politics...

Passing this legislation now, over the objections of four-fifths of the electorate, will not settle the matter. The people will punish the Left and themselves by voting the far Right into power.
Well Chris, the far Left ignored your advice and this was only one instance of many where they have ignored the feelings of those they supposedly represent. Unless you once again promote courageous corruption at the expense of representative democracy, you might have to acknowledge that there are many New Zealanders out there who have become very suspicious of your Jekyll and Hide routine. With no hint of an apology, they have little reason to trust you.

You've outlined the importance of social justice, social interdependence, and the balance of nature. Many would agree with the broad principles, and of course, those principles can be achieved in many ways.

Your article this week set out to explain how your policies differ from Communists. It did none of that - you kept it too general. The main point you've made is that the State must be all powerful, and is there to enforce collectivist decisions. Until you actually mention policy, we have little to go on other than some fluffy statements this week, with lashings of vitriol against 35% of New Zealanders from last week, and a nod to a bit of courageous corruption when things aren't heading left.

Does your white middle class background prevent you from apologising Chris?

Related Link: Chris Trotter - A vote for Destiny

Related Posts: Barnsley Bill - Trotter's part time job

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lucia The Pope's tree in Israel only one to produce olives!

Yet another miracle in a world where there are people that think miracles are only coincidences.
Jerusalem, Jul 22, 2008 / 02:06 pm (CNA).- In the Jubilee Year of 2000, Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land stopping at one point to bless an olive tree on the Mount of the Beatitudes. A forester with the Jewish National Fund reports that this tree is the only one producing olives this year.

"It is a miracle," Yossi Karni from the JNF, which maintains the plot, told local media.

During a visit to northern Israel, in March of 2000, the late Pontiff blessed an olive tree that was planted on the Mount of Beatitudes, which was previously called Mt. Eremos. According to tradition, Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount on this mountain, which is located near the Sea of Galilee.

Israel is currently facing what Uri Shani, Israel’s Water Authority director, called “the worst crisis in 80 years.” “Israel's major sources of drinking water, including the Sea of Galilee and the mountain aquifer, are below their ‘red lines,’ meaning they are not recommended to draw water,” he said at a news conference last month.

Karni explained that all the trees on the plot were treated equally, but the ones that did not receive the blessing have not given fruit this year.

"They get treated the same, watered the same," he said, adding that some trees had even started to wither, which he could not explain.

When he was asked what he would do with the olives, Karni told Israel's Channel 10 he might market their "holy oil."

Related Link: Pope's tree flourishes while others wither ~ Catholic News Agency

Lucia Abortion key factor in Labour party defeat in Scotland

Last month the Irish voted NO to the EU Lisbon treaty, heavily influenced by the EU's pro-abortion stance; last week I wrote a post showing how the pro-life position is making major gains in the US through the individual consciences of medical staff, and today I see a story from Scotland where a Labour party candidate in a safe Labour seat narrowly lost the seat in a by-election.
Glasgow, Jul. 25, 2008 ( - Abortion was a key factor in the defeat of a Labor Party candidate in a by-election in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 24, according to local pro-life leaders.

The Glasgow East seat in Parliament, regarded as a safe seat for the Labor Party, was captured by John Mason of the Scottish National Party in a close vote. The Alive and Kicking Alliance, which had backed the pro-life candidate, claimed that abortion was a crucial ingredient in his electoral success.

Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that he would postpone a final parliamentary vote on the controversial Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill until September-- safely after the by-election in Glasgow. Political analysts said that Brown had rescheduled the debate in order to avoid antagonizing voters in Glasgow East, a heavily Catholic constituency. Led by Edinburgh's Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Church leaders in Scotland have been outspoken in their opposition to the legislation, which would expand embryonic research and allow more late-term abortions.

Related Link: Abortion a swing factor in Scottish Labor loss? ~ Catholic World News

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lucia Humanae Vitae: The Catholic Church and the Pill

Humanae Vitae is most likely one of the the most widely flouted Catholic Church edicts of modern times. In short, more than 80% of Catholics in the West disregard the command to abstain from artificial birth control.

A couple of days ago it was the 40th birthday of Humanae Vitae and contrary to the opinions at the time of it's birth - the teaching is still alive and kicking. And it now has teeth. The last Pope, John Paul II, spent five years hammering out a detailed theology underpinning (among other things) why contraception in intrinsically evil and degrades the human person in God's original plan for man's sexuality.

In a nutshell, when a couple uses artificial contraception, they in effect use the other person for their own sexual gratification. They do not give all of themselves to the other, nor do they receive all of the other - they want only the part that is sexually satisfying, not the part that could impart life to a third person. That degrades both in the very act that is supposed to be one of unrestrained love.

This whole idea that sex has to be open to life in order to be true love is something that human beings struggle with. Especially since new life (ie children) demand so many years of selfless giving on the part of the parents. Why not be selfish and think of our own pleasure instead? Well, why not be selfish full stop? Ultimately, according to Christian theology, we have to lose our own lives in order to gain them. Otherwise our short-term choices lead to long-term consequences, that are no so much a punishment as a natural outcome.

Related Link: The Pope vs. the Pill ~ NY Times

Fletch Number #1 Again

Just looking at the New Zealand Top 40 charts today, and guess which song is at #1? The video after the jump should give you a clue: yes, it's Phil Collins' song In The Air Tonight.
Should I be be surprised really that a Cadbury ad on TV featuring a gorilla playing drums can propel a hit song from 1981 back up the charts? I suppose it's happened with other songs that have featured in TV ads.

I guess I was just so used to hearing the song that I figured everyone had heard it. I did wonder when The Warehouse started advertising Phil Collins' Greatest Hits on TV; an old album from 1989 and I wondered why.

I guess a new generation hadn't heard it.

Enjoy the video anyway (I like when he does that little snarl).

Friday, July 25, 2008

ZenTiger Friday Night Free for All

It's Friday 25 July, 2008. A bit obvious really, unless you googled naked news and ended up here by accident. That, believe it or not, was the most popular search that found new visitors.

Unfortunately for those people, the news we have is naked in content, exposed! as it were; not naked in presentation. Still, some enterprising blogger is bound to think up the novel and witty idea of placing a nubile wench, sexy siren, or amazonian girl rugby player (also a popular search) on every post, a la naked news.

Not surprisingly, many search attempts to find flesh are executed with appalling spelling. "Girls playing with there selves" is agonizingly common. What boobs, eh?

BTW, This post brought to you by the fantasy art of Luis Royo.

This months most popular search is "kiwi rail". That's quite impressive. Maybe its always been a popular search, but NZ conservative hadn't mentioned much in the rail area until the sale and re-branding of recent.

People use search engines to find all sorts of things. There are some people using search engines to find what people are searching on. They then try to determine how that mirrors society. Forget the term at the moment, and I'm writing this in a distracted rush. Anyway, populism and the law of medians will only reveal a below average picture of what is really happening out there. Based on my Google Search analytics for this blog, I'm sure the answer would be scary. Or depressing. Or both.

Why the rush on a Friday? A day (or evening at least) for kicking back and cruising into the weekend? Well, my weekend started Thursday this week, and I'm in a hotel somewhere tapping out a timed delayed post for later today before I lose my internet connection. Hopefully, sometime tonight I'll be back within wireless range of civilisation and can find out anyones recommendations for dinner and check how many illicit words finds this post.

For the regulars who visit here, and don't come across this post in their quest for a different sort of self-discovery, good evening all.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lucia US Abortion Wars

Some really interesting things are happening in the US to do with limiting abortion right now.

Over the years, one of the chief criticisms of Bush has been that while he may be anti-abortion, abortions have increased during his presidency. The argument being, that those that have been pro-choice have had far more impact on the overall numbers of abortion than those who are anti-abortion.

However the Bush administration has been actively working to limit abortion across the board, most likely working from the general principle that abortion is evil no matter how compassionately you may empathise with a woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

The latest plan is brilliant in it's scope. Already over the last few years 1200 abortion clinics have closed down in the US. Many doctors and nurses are refusing to be involved in abortions. This is not just limited to the US - NZ and Britain have the same problem. It seems that those in closest contact will killing the unborn are losing their desire to be involved. Now the Bush administration is trying to give legal protection to individuals and institutions who do not wish to be involved in murder.

And that's not all. The Bush administration is also expanding the definition of abortion to anything that kills a conceived baby whether implanted or not. Though, I don't think it will go so far as to protect those children created by in-vitro and living in suspended animation. But it's a major start.

So this means that any medical person or institution will be allowed to decline to provide abortion services or abortifacient drugs without being unjustly penalised.

Of course the pro-aborts are not happy.

Related Link: Pill Wars: Catholic Bishops and Senator Clinton Clash over Conscience Rights for Doctors ~ LifeSiteNews

ZenTiger NZ Conservative scoops New York Times

It is with some modesty that I announce that our blog has scooped the New York Times with an article by John McCain himself. I know the NYT will be pretty cut up about this, having just run an Obama article. They may come up with some half-arsed, err half-assed excuse to cover their embarrassment, but I know they are hurting.

The last thing they want as a paragon of balanced reporting is to be thought of as some biased left-wing hack media establishment. Well, in the dog eat dog world of journalism, tough bikkies, err cookies. Eat my print type.

So, New Zealand Conservative, in conjunction with Neocon Express, bring to you, and scooping the NYT by some small period of time, possibly an era or epoch, an article by US Presidental Candidate John McCain:

Lucia Wellington blocked off due to weather

Wellington has been blocked off due to flooding at Paekakariki, again.

So, when are we getting a decent highway again?

Related Link: Wild weather closes SH1 north of Wellington ~ Dominion Post

Lucia World Geezer Day [UPDATE]

Now that World Youth Day is over, one commentator in the US wonders in a tongue firmly in cheek way, why the Geezers can't have their own day where the Pope comes out specifically to visit them. For those that don't quite understand what Geezers are, he's referring to the Boomers, or the generation that remembers 1968 fondly. I don't think he means me, though. I don't actually remember 1968, but do think of it fondly as it was the year I was born.

My favourite paragraph is this one:
The Mass will be in Latin. Deal with it. Your ancestors understood it perfectly, as do your children and grandchildren. It is only baby boomers, with all their college degrees and who are purportedly the most educated Americans ever, who wah-wah that they can't understand the simple Latin of the Mass.
I had a conversation with some older Catholics of the Boomer age a few weeks back that went into why I home-school and then what I actually teach. All the Boomers were stunned that I was getting my kids to memorise the Church prayers in Latin as part of our Latin course. Oh, so you are training them to become priests then, was the comment.

Related Links: World Geezer Day ~ The Jasper Newsboy
Fun with Dlck and Jane Catholic ~ the Curt Jester

Updated with a picture of some Boomer women who think they are now Catholic Priests. Picture taken from The Curt Jester.

ZenTiger Solution to All Problems: Tax Payer Funding

Helen Clark is again suggesting the solution to all problems in government is tax payer funding. This time, it's to solve electioneering. Gee, why am I not surprised? In order to avoid impropriety from our politicians, we just have to bribe them upfront. It's not a bribe, it's "normal best practice".

So on one hand we have the possibility of tax payer funding, and on the other hand we say “Let the public decide who they fund”. On that basis, the option (to me) is clearly the latter. Taxpayers funding political parties will not stop the lobbying from big business and special interest groups, and it doesn't even necessarily level the playing field.

The counter to my point is the gray area where it is not the voting public per se, but big business and overseas interests funding a party. At a stretch, they might represent the wishes of their employees, but they do not necessarily represent the best interests of New Zealand. They deserve a voice though.

Combine that with “unpaid” political advertising, such as journalists like Trotter, Misa, Hooten and Long generally for their respective camps and getting good kicks in “for free” and we see it's not all one way traffic.

And those organisations - from Unions to Special Interest Groups - that get buckets of money from the government for various reasons, have a cheek in then spending some of it on supporting a political party. I'd love to see the stats on this group.

If we are going to have a good debate on ideas, we need a much better way to manage disclosure of interest than the way we do things now. The Electoral Finance Act was *supposed* to improve matters, but from the outset the volume of criticism against it was foreshadowing to see just how much it has failed. Winston’s “legal” donations only highlight that.

I have a few ideas to redress the balance, but I don't have time to post about them right now. No-one is really listening anyway - better to wait until some party has the good sense to revisit the EFA and open up the debate with broader terms of reference and invite wider public discussion, and a series of submissions (perhaps three rounds instead of the single round we got from the EFA) that can therefore comment on the bill as it evolves.

In the meantime, Helen Clark calling for tax payer funding as a solution to stopping the kinds of donations to NZ First isn't a solution at all. If it were to be any sort of credible solution, then the terms of reference have to be much bigger - and that was exactly one of the problems with the Electoral Finance Bill.

Related Link: Homepaddock: Public Funding Would Remove Problems - Clark

ZenTiger Flogging a dead horse

It's no secret Winston has a morbid fear of media rats. The question is though, which is more feral, rabid and bubonic? Winston or the rats? When cornered, bluster turns quickly to attack, and Winston seems cornered at this moment.

No doubt Winston was as shocked as all NZ First supporters upon discovering a hundred grand sitting in a legal expenses trust as a gift from major Labour Supporter, Owen Glenn. No doubt Helen Clark is wondering who Owen Glenn hasn't secretly funded.

Ironically, with the Hollow Men movie opening this week, some voters might be confused who the Hollow Men are supposed to be. Whilst Brash was well and truly tarred with the "colluding with shadowy figures" brush, pundits were hoping the mantle might be passed to John Key. At the last moment, Winston has sailed in to grab the crown. The crown looks nice with his baubles.

And speaking of baubles, a series of donations at $9,995 (perfectly legal, you understand) from the mega rich Vela family have put the media rats onto Winston's scent. It's his family jewels that are now in the vice like grip of Speaker Margaret Wilson as she looks for loopholes to keep this out of the privileges committee.

It doesn't look good that Winston, looking after the racing portfolio, has, in his own terms, accepted huge wads of cash for policy. The Vela family were no doubt pleased with Winston's recent 9 million dollar tax payer bet laid track side.

Helen Clark remains the lone voice of reason in these hysterical times. "These are just baseless allegations" she explains. Putting aside the mounting evidence for just a moment, that's a fair comment.

If we ignore circumstantial evidence, emails, testimonies, last minute confessions from Winston's lawyer and the insane lies of the media, then Winston doesn't have much to answer for. Everything is most probably, perfectly legal.

The biggest issue is that Winston has made a career out of throwing similar allegations around, and now we see, with the race to the Electoral Finish Line only months away, the horse has bolted and we find the Electoral Finance Act hasn't whipped any of our political thoroughbreds into the straight and narrow. With Winston now the dark horse in this race, Labour and National might be a bit wary about working with this mare. "Nightmare" might be a better name.

I'm a little disappointed this whole event hasn't actually sparked new debate about the badly written Electoral Finance Act. It has been criticised from the outset as a bit and bridle that doesn't fit the horse. This is yet another example. If we want to have "transparent" political funding, then once again we see that the EFA isn't the solution. Send it to the glue factory and start again.

As for Winston? I'll think he'll ride this one out. Uncovering corruption, impropriety and political hypocrisy in this country is like flogging a dead horse.

Lucia Energy Saver Lightbulbs Very Dangerous

That does it! I've thrown out three of the energy saver light bulbs in my kitchen so far, I've just got two of the things to go. I thought that they were safe as long as they weren't accidentally broken, but reading about how they can cause house fires when they burn themselves out has been the last straw for me. Out they go!

Related Link: Editorial on CFL mercury danger ~ TBR
Investigate Magazine - current issue

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

ZenTiger Bradley versus the Bible

Bradley Fowler is gay. He's also emotionally distressed because the Bible casts homosexuality as a sin. Well actually, that's not quite right. Apparently the Bible casts 'the effeminate and men who lie with men'** as a sin, which is one thing, but he's outraged that two bible publishers have trimmed that line down to 'homosexuals' and variations thereof.

It went from something like this: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor idolaters, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor...

To this: Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherent the kingdom of God. [Catholic Edition, 2002, Ignatius Press]

Bradley wants $70 million dollars from two publishers for suggesting effeminate men and those that lie with other men are homosexuals.

There's just one problem:

If he manages to get homosexuality struck off the list, and get his $60 million (although he would have bankrupted the publisher long before the first million) then that moves him into the next category. Greedy. Greedy is also unrighteous and the greedy will not get into the Kingdom of God.

I also wondered if his strategy was at risk for other reasons. What if others also mount a lawsuit before his is over?

I'm thinking some men who use prostitutes (also known as fornicators to which even earlier translations lump in with the immoral), some fans of Al Gore (idolaters), a couple of married men with mistresses in tow (adulterers), a man swearing like a trooper (a reviler), a trooper (possibly a reviler), and assorted other characters all get the same idea and interfere with the lawsuit based on the fact they are either higher up in the list or more upset.

This could get ugly. I imagine the adulterers alone could be taking offense that a bit on the side is considered a big no-no by the bible. They should be worried. I think the sin of adultery seems to be mentioned even more than homosexuality in the Bible.

Apparently, even prostitutes are disgusted by adulterers. I say that because just this week, a prostitute was arrested in Auckland for trying to blackmail one of her customers. Seemed he was married and had boasted that he had a good marriage. Such hypocrisy was worth trying a $3,000 blackmail scam by the prostitute, but it backfired because he reported her to the police anyway.

Who knows what the fallout of that is, but I found the whole thing interesting. Presumably, the prostitute herself manages to separate work from relationships, so it seemed just as hypocritical to me that she thought adultery was hypocritical.

Prostitutes weren't mentioned on that particular list, but thieves were. She's on the list for that reason. She still has a chance to scam 60 million dollars if she gets in quick enough.

But before we get too worried, it seems a shame that Bradley didn't read past that line. Following on from there is some good news: And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the spirit of our God.

No, we are all sinners of one sort or another. Being ruled by lust, greed, envy, sloth, anger, gluttony or pride is something we all must learn to fight in the degrees that they prevent us from functioning as good people.

Bradley's fight might seem righteous and holy to him, but I think no amount of money is going to help him find the God he thinks he found when he was in prison.

Related Link: Effeminate lier with men sues the bible

** I went and checked some earlier translations of the Bible, and this seemed meaning to be the closest to the original latin.

Fletch Another Stab at Catholic Church

Following on from Zen's last post about the Dom Post taking a swipe at the Catholic Church, my folks brought to my attention the cartoon in yesterday's NZ Herald. I'm not going to paste it here but you can follow this link. Basically, it shows a man and a woman working in a pharmacy and the man saying that the Catholic Youth Pilgrimage was a roaring success.

The woman next to him is reading from a paper saying 'SALES' and there are condoms on the shelves next to them.

My folks brought it to my attention (as I said) with my mother struggling to find the humour in it, or indeed if it was supposed to be funny.

If it was implying that condom sales had gone up because of a visit of young Catholic pilgrims then I would say that is not only false but also insulting and offensive. It's like the cartoonist is very much anti-Catholic or anti-religion and because he couldn't find anything to use he made this up out of thin air.

The sort of Catholics who would go to WYD to see the Pope are not the type to use condoms - not even married Catholics.

If the cartoon was meant to suggest something else, then neither my folks or I can see what it's supposed to be.

Monday, July 21, 2008

ZenTiger Too Many Editors

The DomPost editorial today was a misinformed, rather stereotypical assault on the Catholic Church and the usual call for population control or some other final solution. It ignores the fact that populations generally move into barely replacement level growth, and some are in decline wherever one has peace, prosperity, education and prospects.

It follows therefore, that the best way to curb population growth is to make the poorer countries wealthier.

Anyway, such hints at population control follow on the heels of growing calls from the more obvious moon bats that declare having children is not a right, but something you find at the end of a long document called a "government permit". It's more fun if you tie it in with climate change though, it adds a touch of madness to it all:
The solution to global warming, says a UK charity, is to implement laws that would result in people having fewer children. Governments should put slow pressure on people to limit their offspring to one or two children to save social and environmental resources.

No doubt, if you have three kids, you kill the oldest to make way for the youngest. Personally, I think we might just have too many Editors and Journalists. If the Council kick start a recycling program, I'm going to wrap the ones I find in newspaper and pop them out for curb side pickup. It's the responsible thing to do.

Anyway, I was going to fisk the editorial today, but Brendan Malone at Sempa Vita has done a great job, so here's the link: Please Lord, Spare Us From Ignorant Newspaper Editors

Also Related Link: No right to have babies

ZenTiger Crime doesn't pay [Upgraded]

With a title like "Crime Doesn't Pay", the picky folk out there will no doubt abuse me for telling porkies.

To be fair, I probably am hyping the point a little with a wild accusation like that for a blog title. Any sane person in NZ would of course argue that crime does pay, and it can pay quite well. An example?
Owen Thor Walker, 18, known by his online name "AKILL," was involved in a network accused of infiltrating 1.3 million computers around the world and skimming millions of dollars from victims' bank accounts.

Walker earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of accessing a computer for dishonest purposes, two charges of accessing computer systems without authorization, one of damaging or interfering with computer systems and one of possessing software for committing crime.
The Judge let him off. Scott Free. The Police would quite like to give him a job too. And no doubt anyone with a leaked or stolen emails are probably wondering just what it takes to get the legal system interested in actually solving and punishing crime, let alone the victims of scams and hacked computers.

It sends a message doesn't it? One that should not be opened, and shredded with the nearest spam filter you can lay your hands on. Maybe its a virus? Let's reboot the legal system, start it up in safe mode and start some serious diagnostics.

But I digress. You see, I've figured out just how Thor (aka AKILL) got away with it. I hacked into his criminal file, and there on a microdot, attached to a RFID tag, with a totally compromised SAML two phase token, was this little bit of pseudo code I nearly missed. Brilliant.

> //open source rocks. no warranty. void where prohibited.

> var depositaccount=$1; //type currency
> var caught_in_act=false; //type boolean

> .. depositaccount = depositaccount+1
> .. TRANSFERBALANCE(MySwissAccount)

> CALL WHEELS_OF_JUSTICE(caught_in_act)

> IF caught_in_act = true
> .. IF Country='NZ' THEN
> .. . FREE Scott()
> .. ELSE //any other country in the world
> .. . suspect:=defendant
> .. . status:=guilty
> .. . punishment:=max(long_jail_term())
> .. . TOAST(suspect, status, punishment)
> .. ENDIF

> IF doing_time > 0 and country='NZ' THEN
> .. SCAM(startover)
> .. REPENT()


Related Link: Teen Hacker Let Off with a medal, a job, a formal apology from the police commissioner, national hero status and possibly a huge ACC payout for stress

You can thank the DIM POST for a nerdy joke that in turn sparked this nerdy post. (Yes, I've deliberately tried to make it human readable, not code real. Sheesh guys)

UPGRADE: PM of NZ forks the code and shows how Winston is not with the program. Hilarious and well worth a look. NZ First and Labour are looking decidedly un-user friendly.

ZenTiger Do you want to know a secret?

"Brethren leader visits in secrecy" blazes the title of Nicky Hager's latest cloak and dagger report.

The two choices in describing a visit by 'a person of interest' are either 'well publicized' or 'secret'. If Al Gore visited (for example), he of course wouldn't do it in secret. He'd be open and honest, and publicize the visit as much as possible.

Open and honest, or trying to sell something? The Exclusive Brethren leader, on the other hand, has no interest in commercializing his visit. He's just visiting. Not visiting 'in secret'. Just visiting. Not 'required to explain why he was caught out on the streets after 9pm' Herr Hager, just visiting.

The visit might have remained a secret murmurs Hager, in conspiratorial tones, and noticing things like an 'unusual clandestine atmosphere'. Yes, security guards were posted. No doubt to keep away journalists who would do their best to characterize this as a secret, clandestine and suspicious meeting. After all, we are just four months away from an election. The atmosphere must be indeed tense.

With mists rolling in, a whole bunch of brand new cars also rolled in: "the church used to frown on material extravagance, but they arrived in a collection of brand new $100,000 dollar cars". Wow.

Were they rentals I wonder? (Shh, don't ask) Or have the Brethren finally succumbed to the ultimate crime? Yes comrades, they may have spent nearly as much on cars as our Prime Minister's recent purchase of a fleet of the most luxurious models of German engineered BMW's. They are obviously going for the "keep up with the Jones' strategy. Is there a law against that? There should be.

And here's a bit of disturbing intelligence. "Following the meeting [to discuss scripture with the members, leader] Hales was taken to the home of senior Wellington member Geoff Wallace. He was joined by senior Brethren men from around the country..."

Well, fancy them knowing the law so well, they've invoked "freedom of association"? Nothing wrong with catching up with others of course, but if you put 2 and 2 together, you have to be worried. Hales has enough money to stay in a hotel, but apparently visits Wallace. Others come too. It wasn't clear if they brought little Tupperware containers containing lammingtons and pikelets, but one must theorize that a goat was sacrificed, and great schemes were hatched long into the dark night.

At this point we have to be asking ourselves: "Should the Exclusive Brethren dare to print a brochure in the upcoming elections, in spite of all legislative efforts to stop them, will there be any way we can resist the messages contained therein?"

It's a secret that will have to wait.

Related Link: Secret Visit Disturbs Nicky's Spider Sense

Sunday, July 20, 2008

ZenTiger Trotter's Hate Speech

What to call Trotter's latest campaign effort for Labour? Hate Speech? The Rantings Of A Grumpy Old Man? The Viciousness Of The Left? It's all of those things, and as electioneering goes, fails to have his home address at the end of the "opinion".

It seems the Sunday Star Times don't worry about editors any more, instead they are filled with managers tasked with raising as much hell as possible in order to sell papers and flog absolute tripe. Hate filled tripe at that.

So what did Trotter say?

Don't ever forget who the Nats are

And he goes into describing the 35% of the country, the supporters and voters that make up the backbone of the National vote as collectively the most evil and foul people ever.

Of the farmers and 'cockies': selfish; insular; bio-terrorists destroying our rabbits, waterways, and forests, who also refuse to pay the entirely reasonable tax on cows farting, and had the audacity to protest about it. These same greedy people were the ones to object to town folk having 'right to roam' over their property at will and unannounced, and control the Nations water preventing our children from being able to swim, or even get a glass of it to survive. Terrible.

But they aren't the only monsters that make up National. No, he then wades into the "creators of wealth":

"bastardisers of culture; selfish; arrogant; and possessed of an indefatigable sense of moral superiority over everyone whose income is less than $100,000 per annum."

That was the opening line of 4 paragraphs of venom.

It was a warm up. The last group he ties to "Defenders of the Faith; upholders of decent family values". He calls these people 'bigoted' and 'sadistic'. These are the evil people who mistreat gays, women, ethnic minorities and the disabled, cruelly.

He finishes up:
Yes, these are the people you will be joining when you make the big switch...Of course no one can stop you from joining them.

It's still a free country.

But please, before you vote, ask yourself: "Is this the company I want to keep?"
Well Chris, perhaps these people need to ask themselves, that if they stay with Labour and you, is that the sort of company they want to keep?

Chris, you've abused every farmer, every small business owner, every person on a high salary, every person of faith - a lot of good people, and no doubt I've missed many other good people in that list. Your opinion piece is nothing more than the left's much feared 'hate speech' and is designed to electioneer by the lowest campaigning standard known - fear mongering stereotyping that does not become any main stream media journalist - not even you.

Related Link: Trotter comfortable in his white sheet and pointy hat

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Lucia Briscoes Duvet Cover Gripe

After mentioning on No Minister that there wasn't actually much I wanted from the shops in the way of appliances and what not, ala Briscoes, I happened to go into that self-same shop late this afternoon. I needed a hot water bottle. They were all out of hot water bottles, but in the meantime I bought a very cute little bone china tea cup and saucer set, a non-stick frypan and a seagrass drawer storage unit, all on sale. All well and good.

However, everytime I go into Briscoes, I always check the duvet cover specials as I am on the look out for a blue shade of King Single duvet cover for my son. He already has one duvet cover, but needs another one for another duvet layer that is on his bed. I can't put both duvets into the same duvet cover because he can't cope with the extra heat in the evenings when the house is still warm.

But can I even find a King Single sized duvet cover in Briscoes? Yes, I found one. In a cheap material in the wrong colour. But that was it. All the other many variations of duvet covers came in Single, Queen, King and sometimes Super King. But not King Single.

You'd think King Single was a very strange size that not many people would have. But wait, what's this in their current catalogue... On page 7, there are TWO duvet inners that they have on sale in King Single!

Now, I ask you. If you were a shop owner and you sold duvet inners in King Single, would it not make sense to you to also stock a range of duvet covers in the same size? I mean, if people are buying King Single inners, they are going to want the covers as well! I would have bought one today, in a number of styles that they had there if the King Single size had been available!

Don't even get me started on shoes ...

Lucia Catholic News of the morning [UPDATE]

World Youth Day pilgrims start walk : THE first of thousands of colourfully dressed young people have set off on a three-hour pilgrimage through Sydney to Randwick Racecourse, where Pope Benedict XVI will conduct the final mass of the Catholic World Youth Day celebrations tomorrow. Throughout the day, pilgrims will walk the 9km from North Sydney, through central Sydney and the eastern suburbs to Royal Randwick.

Police praise clean-living Catholic youth : No drugs and alcohol means Catholic World Youth Day pilgrims in Sydney are one of the most well-behaved groups of young people police have seen, says NSW's police chief. "I've never seen a crowd like this, it's even better than an Olympic crowd," NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione told reporters at Randwick, the site of Sunday's WYD papal mass. "Hundreds of thousands of young people moving through the city not affected by drugs and alcohol has been such a wonderful experience.

Pope resurrects old rituals for mass : "The Holy Father has requested that those whom he gives communion to will kneel, and his preference is that they receive communion on the tongue," said Father Mark Podesta, an official World Youth Day spokesman.

Ex-Anglican communities to become Catholic, Rome confirms : The Catholic Church will expand its provision of "Anglican Use" parishes in the United States in ordeto alr low whole communities of traditionalist Anglicans into the Roman fold, a senior Catholic archbishop has announced.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lucia Friday night free for all

It's that time of night again - Friday night chat time.

Sorry for lack of posting today. I've had heaps of material, but I've been distracted with researching books that link into what we are studying in our history to buy from Amazon for the kids. Here's an example of what I've been looking at:

Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of The Iliad
The Wanderings of Odysseus: The Story of The Odyssey
In Search of a Homeland: The Story of the Aeneid
Gilgamesh the Hero
D'aulaire's Book of Greek Myths

I home-school and have been slowly moving to a more classical approach. I recently bought The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, a book that spells out in detail how to teach in this way, and it's blown my mind, so to speak.

ZenTiger Prime Minister Kidnapped

A driver is stuck in a traffic jam on the motorway. Nothing is moving. Suddenly a man knocks on the window. The driver rolls down his window and asks, 'What's going on?'

'Terrorists down the road have kidnapped Helen Clark, Micheal Cullen, & Winston Peters. They're asking for a $10 million ransom. Otherwise they're going to douse them with petrol and set them on fire. We're going from car to car, taking up a collection.'

The driver asks, 'How much is everyone giving, on average?'

'Most people are giving about 4 litres'

This was the latest to come across my email joke feed. I have to say "Ouch". There's a message or two in this joke. Firstly, that the Labour/NZ First coalition isn't looking too hot for the next election. Secondly, that on today's prices, 4 litres represents a sizable investment for people. It looks to me like they don't just want to take out the ruling class, that they might have enough petrol there to incinerate the entire Beehive.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lucia Chastity message being heard in Australia

I would guess that a society that has heard just about everything is most likely finding itself intrigued with the idea of chastity.
Articles in The Australian yesterday gave first hand accounts by two women, one who had remained chaste from her youth and another who followed the predominant view of our over-sexualized culture, but later decided to embrace chastity.

[...]"I was always a little fascinating. I was constantly probed about these beliefs, and why I held them. It was as though the chaste way of life was a radical decision, because it was in direct contradiction to the message given to young people.
"It is assumed that we have no control, that we will have sex. It is assumed that we enjoy sexual liberty, that young people and chastity are incompatible."

She says her former school friends were not aware that this choice - chastity - was available to them.

In high school we were told, "You will get older and you will become sexually active. That is the way it happens, and when it does, wear a condom. That is the only important thing."

"There was no sense that chastity could protect (us from) the depression, the confusion, that accompanies casual sex, and the breakdown of a relationship, where you have given every part of yourself," she explained

"They didn't offer chastity as a choice, the way they advertise sexual liberty."
Related Link: Strong Public Message On Chastity Running In Australian Press Leading up to World Youth Day ~ Life Site News

Lucia Marketing and the Catholic Church

Walking around Sydney this week, I have to say that, even as a non-Catholic of decidedly heathenish tendencies, I am impressed. The Catholic church wants to demonstrate its power and global reach? Well, I’m convinced.

The organisers of WYD 2008 have been clever in a number of ways. Pilgrims have been equipped with bright orange and yellow backpacks and jackets (organisers and officials wear bright blue and purple). They wear badges which include the flag of their country of origin. And they’ve been encouraged to wave the flags of their homelands. As a result, when I got to stand amongst a group of pilgrims in Martin Place while waiting to cross the road today, I knew they were from Papua New Guinea. (And since, to my knowledge, I have never stood amongst a group of Papua New Guineans before, I found the whole thing terribly exciting.)

What is the nett result of such apparently simple tactics? Well, for a start, you can spot a pilgrim from a mile away. This assists pilgrims with finding each other in a city which might otherwise seem huge and intimidatingly unfamiliar. And, for locals, the sheer number of pilgrims everywhere is startling.
Related Link: Is the Catholic Church any good at marketing? ~ The Times, Sarah Britten

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lucia WYD Papal Mass - Holy Communion will be kneeling!

Fresh from greeting the Pope upon his arrival, Cardinal Pell was asked this morning by a journalist about how those receiving communion directly from the Pope would do so, when the time came, at the Final Mass during WYD08.

Following on from recent sightings at Vatican events where ‘older postures’ – kneeling to take Holy communion on the tongue – have been adopted, his Eminence replied,

"I think those receiving holy communion will be kneeling."
This is huge! I mean really, it is! Any one who reads this blog and knows me in real life and the problems I've had with my new parish priest will know what this means.

Related Link: WYD: Communicants to kneel at papal Masses ~ What does the prayer really say

Lucia Blog covering World Youth Day

Lucia World Youth Day kicks off in Australia

During the procession, groups of volunteers took turns carrying the 88-pound cross and 33-pound painting. Pilgrims sang "Amazing Grace" and shouted out Australia's rallying cry: "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi, oi, oi!" Others echoed with, "Holy, holy, holy! Spirit, spirit, spirit!"
So typically Australian!

Related Links: Pope welcomes world youth pilgrims to Australia ~ AP
Sydney invaded by joy ~ Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Morning Herald World Youth Day News Page

Lucia Obama on abortion and intellectually untenable positions

A few days ago I became involved in an online conversation on Obama's support or lack thereof for abortion. It all started with an explanation on Obama's part for why he did not support Illinois' Infant Born Alive Bill - a bill which sought to gain protection for babies who failed to be killed by abortion and managed to get born alive. Obama did not support the bill because it sought to undermine Roe vs Wade, the infamous court verdict that guarantees virtual abortion on demand in the US.

I used to debate abortion online a number of years ago, so I thought I'd heard every pro-abortion argument there was. But this conversation has brought a new argument to my attention. That is, that a person can be both "pro-choice" and "anti-abortion". Now, being both for and against something makes no sense to me, but it appears that is how Obama is positioning himself in the abortion debate.

My understanding of "pro-choice" is a position where you give precedence to a woman's right to choose over any other consideration. So, even if you find abortion morally reprehensible yourself, if you believe that ultimately a pregnant woman is the only one who gets to decide whether or not to continue her pregnancy, then you are pro-choice.

"Anti-abortion" is a position where you are against abortion for any reason. Most pro-lifers are "anti-abortion" by virtue of believing that the tiniest human person has a right to life that supercedes any other right (such as the mother's right to choice).

I've been thinking about how a person could think of themselves as both "pro-choice" and "anti-abortion", and the closest I can get is that they themselves are morally offended by abortion so wish that it didn't occur but feel they cannot tell another person that they can't abort their own child. So the death of the unborn child is not as repugnant to them as telling someone else what to do is. It seems to be that to take this position would mean that the person does not consider abortion to be murder the way that killing a fully born person is murder, as most people have no problem with telling others they should not kill people.

It's easy to consider that a unborn baby is less deserving of protection than a fully born person. I mean, what has an unborn baby done? Very little. They've not spoken to anyone, no one's got to know them yet. They've not made their grand entrance yet, so no one even knows what they look like. For that reason they barely exist. They can be reduced down to a "pregnancy" only, rather than a person. So in order to protect the unborn, to consider them worthy of the same right to life as born people, you have to really use your mental faculties and consider the unborn child's humanity. They are human beings, they are just not yet ready to be in the world just yet. But they do exist, they are alive and if left alone to grow, they will get born.

For this reason I am anti-abortion, full-stop. I came to this position after realising that there is no difference between a born baby and a just fertilised human egg, except for maturity. If we can kill the fertilised egg with impunity, why not the born baby? Why not five year olds? Why not people who appear to be completely useless? Any argument that can advanced that justifies the murder of the unborn can be used on the born. So, we either protect people by virtue of the fact that they are human or we watch the lines being gradually moved again over time.

Related Links: Obama on Abortion ~ Servant's Thoughts
How seriously do I consider the murder of the unborn? ~ NZ Conservative

Saturday, July 12, 2008

ZenTiger Man on the Moon Meets Elvis

Step 1:

Step 2:

ZenTiger China's new gold medal event

Mugabe's corrupt regime is protected from sanctions as Russia and China veto moves by the UK and US to bring Mugabe into line. They reason that whatever Zimbabwe gets up to is not a threat to international stability.

Next door to Zimbabwe lies the Democratic Republic of Congo. Six million have died there within the last 10 years for precisely the same reasons.

South Africa was another country to vote against the sanctions. They maintained a rather futile hope that Mugabe was prepared to share power with the opposition. Futile, because Mugabe's thugs have been far more brutal since the elections.

I don't know why I'm bothering to report this anyway. We all know the United Nations is an absolutely useless, dysfunctional monumental waste of tax payer dollars. Oh, that's right, China.

With the Olympics due to kick off in Beijing next month, perhaps there is still time to establish some new Gold Medal events. Despotism. World Apathy. Best use of Veto. Business as Usual.

Related Link: UN: Out of Africa II

ZenTiger Iranians have Reuters Syndrome

The Iranians have apparently come down with Reuters Syndrome. A recent missile launch was meant to show just how tough and dangerous they were, as three out of four missiles launched into the air to head for some map of Israel target over the next hill. Apparently, only being blown up by three out of four missiles looked a bit wimpy. So rather than leaving one in the chamber, they got out Photoshop and launched the dud missile.

This has proven highly embarrassing, just like Reuters were caught out a few years ago, making Beirut looking more 'blowed up good' than it actually was.

Even worse, I reckon the photoshop company can check out registrations and see if the Iranians actually have a legal copy of the software. They could be sued for millions.

Related Link: Don't be sad, cause three out of four aint bad

Lucia Canadian Human Rights complaints against Mark Steyn and a Catholic magazine dropped

The Canadian Human Rights Commission complaint against *Catholic Insight, a Catholic magazine and another complaint against Mark Steyn and Maclean's Magazine have been dropped.
OTTAWA - The Canadian Human Rights Commission has dismissed an anti-homosexual hate speech complaint against Catholic Insight magazine.
We are of course very cautious,” said Catholic Insight editor Fr. Alphonse de Valk, CSB, whose small-circulation magazine already faces more than $20,000 in legal bills. “A judicial review is still possible. We’re not out of the woods yet.

“It is chilling to think that a publication can be hauled before a government tribunal simply for reporting to interested citizens developments in these areas of controversy,” said de Valk in a July 4 statement. “This matter underscores once again the necessity of urgent reform of the Canadian human rights system.”

Edmonton-based homosexual activist Rob Wells filed the nine-point complaint against Catholic Insight in early 2007. Catholic Insight is going to see whether it can take legal action to recoup its costs because of “harassing and financially burdening” nature of the complaints. Catholic Insight has maintained it has always adhered to Catholic teaching on human sexuality.

The commission also dismissed the Canadian Islamic Congress’ (CIC) complaint against Maclean’s magazine for running an excerpt of Mark Steyn’s book America Alone, entitled The Future Belongs to Islam. The CIC called the article “flagrantly Islamophobic.”

“The Steyn article discusses changing global demographics and other factors that the author describes as contributing to an eventual ascendancy of Muslims in the ‘developed world,’ a prospect that the author fears for various reasons referred to in the article,” said the decision. “The writing is polemical, colourful and emphatic, and was obviously calculated to excite discussion and even offend certain readers, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.”

The commission said the article, when considered as a whole, was not of “an extreme nature” and did not warrant the appointment of a tribunal.

De Valk called the Maclean’s dismissal “wonderful news,” saying he hoped it was a sign of “better days ahead, that cooler heads will prevail and something will be done about these human rights commissions.”

Steyn heard about the dismissal while attending Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s garden party for journalists June 26. He joked he was disappointed, saying he had hoped to lose so the case could be appealed to a higher court.

In a June 27 statement, Maclean’s welcomed the decision but asserted: “no human rights commission, whether at the federal or provincial level, has the mandate or the expertise to monitor, inquire into or assess the editorial decisions of the nation’s media.”
I was reminded of the above news when I read about a homosexual activist in the US suing a publisher of Bibles for $70 million. Scrubone has a post up on this.

Connect the hate speech attack on Catholicism and those who speak out against Islam in Canada, with the Bible suing in the US and then the UN scheme to make Christians criminals, it seems to me there is a triangulation at play here.

* For some strange reason, I can't actually get to the link. If anyone else has the same problem, please let me know.

Lucia More on Anglicans swimming the Tiber [UPDATE]

Anglican bishop ready to bring his flock into communion with Rome ~ CNA
The Fellowship of St Gregory the Great ~ Holy Smoke
An Archbishop of Canterbury in retreat ~ Holy Smoke
Ex-Anglicans will bring new life to our Church ~ The Catholic Herald
Watching the Death of a church? ~ What does the prayer really say?

All of this has caused quite a bit of excitement, hedged with a small helping of caution in the Catholic blogs that I've been following. Personally, I think if the Anglicans do come over the Tiber on masse, the ramifications will be huge, not just for Christendom, but for the world.

UPDATE: Anglican reunion optimism and sobriety ~ New Liturgical Movement

ZenTiger Justice on the Fritz

Remember Fritzl? The Austrian that *confessed* to locking his daughter in a dungeon complex, kept her there for 24 years, had 7 children by her, most of which he also kept locked up etc. Seems the maximum that he might be locked up for is 10 years.

What's worse, if it can be believed, are statements from the prosecution like this:

The charges of rape will also be difficult to prove in the absence of any objective evidence

If being locked in a dungeon against ones will, for 24 years, to be used for sex with not only DNA evidence but offspring to account for it, with only one person, the confessor, knowing of the existence of the dungeon, looks like a remarkable lack of evidence, then yeah, I can see how the prosecution might be hoping some-one from the cast of CSI could turn up and help them make a case.

I think they need a new prosecution team.

Friday, July 11, 2008

ZenTiger Time Marches On

Back in the 70's, the various non-scientific mags (such as Time) ran articles predicting an Ice Age, the population bomb (earth cannot feed more than a billion people) and other calamities from Acid Rain to Asteroid. All serious stuff, to some degree or other. So what happened to the impending Ice Age?

Well, obviously, scientists got together and secretly reversed the process so well they created global warming. Phew. Good move.

The same secret cabal will undoubtedly ban light bulbs to avert the planet from a global warming disaster moments before the tipping point, which according to Al Gore, is next Tuesday.

All we are give peace a chance

Although I read a study that there was now so much scientific consensus that if all the papers proving climate change were printed, we'd run out of forests. And that would bring on Climate Change so fast, we'd be sun tanned and thirsty before the Aussies could switch from water to beer. Although, their best bet is to move into the oceans and build undersea cities. I read about that in "Diving Adventure" by Willard Price.

Actually, maybe they could just invade New Zealand? I reckon we could launch the same kind of advertising campaign: Should New Zealand invade Australia? Putting aside the fact that sending 40,000 kiwis a year is an invasion (Sydney's probably New Zealand's second largest city by population), my advert would go something like:

1. No water.
2. Bloody big desert.
3. Poisonous spiders, snakes, jelly fish, frogs, octopi and stonefish.
4. Sharks, crocodiles and stingrays.
5. Aussie Rules Football
6. THREE levels of government, all useless.
7. Melbourne.

Mate, forget it. Just invite them over for a Barbie and hope they bring the beers.

Anyway, back to the issue of not being able to print out the scientific consensus due to the eco-print movement. With so much information denied to us, we've had to make do with the IPCC report and an Al Gore home video as the basis of our "go forward" plan. Some think it enough.

There is also talk of culling the world's excess population.

Getting rid of Mugabe could ease a fair bit of the pressure, I reckon, although we move into that dangerous ethical minefield where the killing homicidal maniacs for the sake of relieving population stress may prove to be a grossly immoral act, compared to say, the safer more polar bear friendly action of banning the filament light bulb.

A friend of a friend who has a completely solar powered house threw out all his tungsten bulbs for the new mercury based CFL type. Now that's commitment. That's got to be worth some kind of green award. I tried to explain that his house being solar powered, maybe he was being a little hasty. "Oh tosh", he said. (Yeah, that's what I thought too). "Oh tosh, it's still a good move" and he showed me a 400 page report he had just printed, single sided, in colour, to back up his claim.

He couldn't see the forest for the trees.

Related Link: Time moves on

Note: Don't hit me! I believe in prudent and sustainable environmental management. I choose not to buy an iPhone and generate all that wasted packaging too.