Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lucia Advent starts tomorrow with Stir Up Sunday

The first day of Advent and the beginning of the countdown to Christmas Day is tomorrow. This year Sunday falls upon the first Sunday nearest to the Feast of St Andrew the Apostle. This year both the feast and the first day of Advent fall upon the same date, the 30th of November.

Traditionally, Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of the Lord, both in His birth 2000 years ago and in the end of the world. We prepare our souls for that day when we stand before Him, and for death. So, fasting, prayer and confession is what this season is about. The celebrations are supposed to wait until Christmas Eve.

With that in mind, tomorrow is the day we make our plum puddings. But we don't eat them, we leave them to age. They can then be eaten at Christmas. Remember, this is the start of the fasting season - useful for those who need to go on a diet, and for those who need to work on their will power.
On the first Sunday of Advent, the traditional opening prayer (or Collect) of the Mass prays: "Stir up Thy might, we beg Thee, and come." We begin our Advent journey to Christ's birthday, and the Church joins in its prayer begging Christ to come, to hurry and do not delay.

With this request to God to "stir up" His might, this day was traditionally called Stir-Up Sunday. Many families create a traditional plum pudding or fruit cake or some other recipe that all the family and guests can "stir-up." This activity of stirring-up the ingredients symbolizes our hearts that must be stirred in preparation for Christ's birth.

The batter needs to be mixed up well, and everyone in the family and guests should give a good stir. Plum pudding are a classic Christmas dessert, as we recall Bob Cratchit's Christmas dinner in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Plum puddings are similar to fruitcake, except they are more like a rich, dense spice cake. The pudding contains many candied fruits, lemon and orange peels, raisins and currants. After stirring up the pudding, it is then steamed this day, but not consumed until Christmas. Waiting until Christmas day gives the "aging" so the full flavor will be experienced. Serve with the delicious plum pudding sauce over the top.

For fun, add tokens into the stirred batter before steaming. Each token has significance for the finder. Insert items like a coin (wealth in the new year), silver charms in shape of a button (person will be bachelor for another year), a thimble (spinsterhood for another year), a horseshoe (good luck), a ring (marriage in the upcoming year) and so on. These items can also be wrapped in aluminum foil so they will be easier to find when eating the pudding.

Related Link: Stir-Up Sunday - First Sunday in Advent ~ Catholic Culture
Advent ~ Catholic Encyclopaedia

Lucia What distinguished the early Christians from the Pagans around them

In a world much like the old Roman world full of sexual debauchery and violent entertainments, those who aspire to a cleaner way of life are attacked and vilified. This is because the Christian way is counter-cultural, it directly challenges those who want nothing less than to wallow in their animalistic pleasures.
Chaste conduct is one of the necessary and most recognizable signs of the substantial passage that takes place with baptism between the degraded and unworthy way of life typical of paganism and a new state of purity: it is a clear break between old habits and Paschal newness:

"Just as you presented the parts of your bodies as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness for lawless ness, so now present them as slaves to righteousness for sanctification" (Romans 6:19).

"For the time that has passed is sufficient for doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in debauchery (en aselghèiais) (1 Peter 4:3).

It is not an obsessive sexual phobia or an excessive moralism that inspires this behavior. It is, rather, an unprecedented awareness of the demands of sanctification, which comes from having adhered to the thrice-holy God:

"This is the will of God, your holiness: that you refrain from immorality (apò tes pornèias), that each of you know how to acquire a wife for himself in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion as do the Gentiles who do not know God" (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).

"God did not call us to impurity but to holiness. Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not a human being but God, who gives his holy Spirit to you" (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8).

Early Christianity felt that it was above all the sexual immorality of the Hellenistic world that deserved the name of impurity (akatharsìa) contrary to God.
Related Link: Shocking News: A Cardinal Sings the Praises of Orthodoxy ~ Chisea

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lucia Tom Scott and Shakespeare

All this talk about taking Shakespeare out of the NZ curriculum seems to have inspired Tom Scott a couple of days ago. Brilliant, really.

Now, I just wish I was educated enough to know the reference. Maybe someone can help?

Related Link: Three's a crowd

Lucia Friday night free for all

It's chat time.

Lucia Oz Govt fires health ambassador for homophobia

It seems that writing a document using the research of the negative consequences of the gay lifestyle and insisting that the best place for a child to be raised is with a married mother and father is cause for dismissal by the Australian Government.
In a major embarrassment to Labor and Health Minister Nicola Roxon, two of the government's health ambassadors, Warwick Marsh and Barry Williams, contributed to the paper 21 Reasons Why Gender Matters, published by the Fatherhood Foundation two years ago.

Both men were asked to repudiate the contents of the document. When one refused to do so, he was sacked.

However, what disturbed me most was that the man was sacked because what was written was unfavourable to the "influential lesbian and gay community". It reads like kow-towing to a superior class.
Roxon said the government was working to reverse discriminatory laws for same-sex couples and said she hoped the influential gay and lesbian community, estimated to number around 400,000 people, would see the appointments as a simple mistake.
The sad thing is, the document's focus was the well-being of children, who do best in the natural family. Something the government ought to be far more interested in than pandering to a small, but influential group.
Co-author of the document Mary-Louise Fowler, Vice-President of the Australian Family Association, says the document's main focus was the wellbeing of children and she has criticised the Government for dismissing Mr Marsh so quickly.

She says the 21 Reasons study wanted "to emphasise the importance, and indeed the right, for children to be raised in the natural family setting by both their mother and father.

"Nicola Roxon's knee-jerk sacking of Warwick Marsh indicates an unwillingness on the part of the Federal Government to listen to the views of people who dissent from the politically correct norms of recent years.

"It is an obvious contradiction when those who pride themselves on being "inclusive", exclude the views of a well researched document. It is appalling when elected representatives engage in this practice."

Related Links: Govt ambassadors in gay hate controversy ~ The Age
Co-authors defend sacked ambassador over gay slur ~ ABC News
Australia government embroiled in homophobia row ~ Reuters

21 Reasons Why Gender Matters

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Over 100 die in Mumbai chaos

Again Mumbai is targeted. Since 2002 there have been six terrorist attacks in the city.
Why attack Mumbai though?
In addition to any idiosyncratic and perennially malleable claims made by the gunmen ("Deccan Mujahideen"), Mumbai is the economic centre of India, its New York, which is a strong lure; perhaps it is to stymie ongoing peace negotiations (Re: Kashmir) with neighbouring Islamic state Pakistan; and maybe also to destabilise India as a cohesive modern democratic state by inciting internal rifts.

The persistently luminous Barrack Obama released these comments...,

The United States must continue to strengthen our partnerships with India and nations around the world to root out and destroy terrorist networks. We stand with the people of India, whose democracy will prove far more resilient than the hateful ideology that led to these attacks.”

Coincidentally, this Sunday morning National Radio's Chris Laidlaw hosts a feature on Pakistan and its fractured ominous situation.

Lucia Family cat died

Due to a death in the family of the favourite pet cat, my posting to the blog has been non-existent for the last several days. Normal service will resume shortly. Meanwhile, here is the cat in question: Marble, the licker of wet children's hair.

Majority of Atlantic Records revenue from digital sales

Atlantic Records, a subsidiary of Warner, has distinguished itself by becoming the first record publisher to receive more than half its revenue from digital sales. Certainly the future is digital but overall music sales are still predicted to shrink by $300million a year for the next three years.

See: ArsTechnica

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Saving the planet by eating New Zealand apples.

On top of today's $200 London departure tax, I ran across this "food-miles" article at
As long as the affable Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearney-Whittingstall direct the popular imagination of British eaters, our produce shipped across oceans will be threatened by politically popular, but punitive and illogical taxes.
In the article below I think it's significant that "New Zealand Apples" are deployed as a metaphor for gross wastage and perverse levels of greenhouse emissions.
In reality, a sparsely populated area, most emissions in the food supply-chain are derived from moving produce from ports to supermarkets and moving the consumers from their couches to the markets. Specifically, in the case of the UK, 82% of food miles are generated within the UK, and in both the UK and USA transportation of food to the national market accounted for only 1-2% of emissions.

4 November, 2008.

The Food Miles Mistake

Saving the planet by eating New Zealand apples.

I stopped by my favorite boutique grocery store to pick up a red onion today. The young clerk running the cash register wore a t-shirt with the slogan "Eat Local." Oddly, the shop's shelves and coolers were stuffed with cheeses, sausages, olives, jams, cookies, and crackers from California, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany, and many other exotic locales...

the United Kingdom's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) which reported that 82 percent of food miles were generated within the U.K. Consumer shopping trips accounted for 48 percent and trucking for 31 percent of British food miles. Air freight amounted to less than 1 percent of food miles. In total, food transportation accounted for only 1.8 percent of Britain's carbon dioxide emissions.

In the United States, a 2007 analysis found that transporting food from producers to retailers accounted for only 4 percent of greenhouse emissions related to food. According to a 2000 study, agriculture was responsible for 7.7 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. In that study, food transport accounted for 14 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with agriculture, which means that food transport is responsible for about 1 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Food miles advocates fail to grasp the simple idea that food should be grown where it is most economically advantageous to do so.


For instance, rich country subsidies amounting to more than $300 billion per year are severely distorting global agricultural production and trade. If the subsidies were removed, far more agricultural goods would be produced in and imported from developing countries, helping lift millions of people out of poverty. They warn that the food miles campaign is "providing a new set of rhetorical tools to bolster protectionist interests that are fundamentally detrimental to most of humankind."

Full article here:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

ZenTiger Concern for the environment

A leading New Zealand carbon trader says international markets can no longer take New Zealand seriously! "New Zealand now a joke in Europe, says carbon trader"

And I'm supposed to find this funny? I read the entire article and I failed to see where concern for the environment figured in the moaning about wanting to exploit the periodic table for financial gain.

"Carbon News quotes Brunel as saying major players in the European market – which was last year worth $US55 billion – have been seriously interested in using the emerging New Zealand market to complement the European market."

I have a better idea. If these guys want to order 300 million bottles of New Zealand air per month at $1.25 a bottle, I say we sell it to them. not just any NZ Air, I'd send them the stuff from Rotorua. The trace elements we just throw in for free. Otherwise, they can get stuffed.

On the other hand, maybe we could offer them the members of the Green Party as some kind of offset or hedge fund? Plant them in Brussels and see if they thrive on the bullshit.

Related Link: Carbon Trading - I'm only in it for the money

ZenTiger Through early morning fog

By age 19 you have achieved the age of reason. You are typically assumed to be mentally competent. You can vote. You can sign contracts. You have your whole life before you. You have options. Sure, you might make mistakes, but we get to learn from them, right? So for five minutes of fame, suicide is such a bad mistake.

Yet with perhaps hundreds of onlookers, one might think there was always a chance of being saved. Alas, not this time. Some tried to talk him out of it, it seems none thought to go further than that with any sense of urgency. Alas.
After several hours, when he had not moved some viewers finally notified the site's moderator, who then called the police.
Rest in peace Abraham Biggs.

Lyrics | Manic Street Preachers lyrics - Theme From MASH (Suicide Is Painless) lyrics

My post title is of course, the opening line from the theme song from MASH. The song will have some resonance to our, err, less young readers and all the TV addicts exposed to the endless re-runs.

The lyrics were written by Mike Altman, the Film Director's son (aged 14 at the time) to suit a melody that didn't have the right words. The song is suitably dark, and not quite coherent, which seems somehow appropriate. The "suicide is painless" line (and actual song title) was a play on words, being about a Dentist in the movie with a nickname of Painless who was contemplating suicide. Nice to see a bit of Shakespeare make it into the song too.

What might it all mean? Well, some reality: Suicide is not painless. Whatever siren song that such soothing music might stir in a sorrowful heart, whatever pain we have in our life, the effects of this will ripple out and hurt many people.

Meanwhile, the son of some friends has just been diagnosed with cancer. His wife is pregnant with their first child. More than most people, he would understand how precious life is. I pray his child grows up to know his father.

There are many times in our life we will be standing in an early morning fog. The fog is there because the sun is rising, and the warmth it brings lifts the dew and obscures our sight. It was dark, and that darkness remains in our minds even as the sun breaks across the horizon. Yet somehow, the fog has made it worse. The mist muffles sounds, nothing is clear.

There's a fog along the horizon, A strange glow in the sky, And nobody seems to know where you go, And what does it mean? [-]

rest your head - you worry too much, it's going to be alright, when times get rough
you can fall back on us - don't give up - please don't give up [-]

Related Link: Florida boy all alone while many watched

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lucia Friday night free for all

For anyone that's not in Auckland and attending the Blogger drinks, come and have a virtual drink here and a good chat with our regular Friday crowd. Newcomers welcome.

UPDATE: Oh dear. Poland's in trouble for telling an Obama joke.

ZenTiger Kiwi export downturn

Now that the Labour Government has had its emissions capped by being sequestered to the opposition benches, the biggest exporter of Kiwis, Air New Zealand obviously expects a slump in overseas demand. They've laid off 200 staff, and used the code phrase "tourism slump" to signal to John Key, our minister of Tourism to pull his finger out and compensate for the larger number of Kiwis expected to stay home.

His first step could be to issue a product recall, and encourage Kiwis that have been overseas on holiday for more than 4 years to sell up and come home.

Now, what interesting economic package and improvement in Kiwi lifestyle might encourage such a move as jobs come under threat world wide?

Every setback brings with it fresh opportunities.

Related Link: Air NZ to cut 200 jobs

Lucia War between the Pope and Obama

A recent Time Magazine article has quoted a Vatican official who stated that if Obama signs the Freedom of Choice Act in his first months in office, "it would be the equivalent of a war." In other words, it would start a metaphorical war between the Obama Administration and the Catholic Church. For, as we all know, the Catholic Church is not a military organisation, even if Popes in the past have been military commanders.

A number of blogs have taken news of this potential "war" and ran with it. Even I have put it in my title to direct attention to this post. But war is a strong word. Is it the correct one?

Maybe it is. The Freedom of Choice Act will wipe out all gains that pro-lifers have made in the US since Roe vs Wade with one stroke and make it impossible to restrict abortion in anyway, or to object to performing abortions. In other words, there will be absolutely no protection for the unborn at all - thus signalling an all-out war on innocent human life in the womb. It will be a complete release of evil masked with false compassion in the most powerful country in the world.

If that doesn't justify war, I don't know what does.

Related Link: Will the Pope and Obama clash over Abortion? ~ Time Magazine

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lucia The Significance of Nia Glassie

Contra Celsum has an incredibly insightful post up on the normalisation of evil in New Zealand. Read it all.
The country has been shocked by the murder of Nia Glassie. How could five adults in modern New Zealand effectively torture a three year old child, for whom they were responsible, to death? This question has two dimensions. The first dimension is to focus upon the guilty. Brute evil is never attractive. It is horrific. The community is shocked, horrified, and angered that four people could be so callous, so brutish, and so wicked. The inhumanness of the act appalls.

Yet there is something disturbingly familiar about these young people. They look normal! They are. They look like everyone of us! Correct. They look like they could be our young people! Right again! We desperately want to demonise them, but we struggle because they are so ordinary and every day. They are so human! So people throw up their hands in despair and ask, “What on earth is going on?” Our answer is clear: it is a sign of God's wrath upon our culture. Evil, gross evil, is being allowed to become normal. Ordinary people are doing grotesque and depraved things. We are being given an initial glimpse of Hell upon earth, an initial glimpse of what awaits us.

Related Link: An Avatar of the Hand of God ~ Contra Celsum

Lucia How Obama got elected

What I found the most interesting was how the people interviewed attributed dumb things said (mostly by Obama) to Sarah Palin. Scary.

See also HowObamaGotElected.Com

Lucia Statue of the Mother of God survives California fires

This statue of Our Lady, The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, has survived the fiery destruction of a mobile home park in Sylmar, California. Just looking at the photo made me wonder how common it is for statues of the Virgin Mary to survive fires.

Wellington's Catholic Cathedral also has a quite large statue that survived a fire that destroyed the original building many years ago. The statue was located very high up on the outside of the building and apparently fell down to the ground during the fire without any damage to it whatsoever.

Related Link: Worth a Thousand Words ~ The Deacon's Bench

Lucia Homosexual mob attacks Christian prayer group

This is amazing (but not surprising). A full on attack on a group of Christians in a gay-zone, where the Christians were doing nothing more offensive than singing songs. Looks like the gloves are coming off in America. No more pretending to be normal.
The Christians, a group of Evangelical Protestants who regularly go to the predominantly homosexual Castro District to sing songs and pray with passers-by, say they were holding hands and singing "Amazing Grace" when an angry mob began to shove and kick them, steal their belongings, pour hot coffee on their faces, and sexually assault them.

"A few men came and they brought a large piece of cloth and covered us with cloth and cornered us into a corner, and they started swearing at us and yelling at us and just filled with hatred, and the crowd grew larger and larger and larger until it ended up being a few hundred people and the bars had emptied out, and we're completely surrounded by people yelling at us," the participant recounted.

"And all of a sudden, me and another friend had hot coffee poured on our faces, and I thought they were pouring boiling water on us until I could smell the coffee, and the girl next to me, someone reached in and took her Bible and she went and said 'I'm sorry that's mine, can I have it back please?' and he hit on her head with the Bible, pushed her onto the ground and began kicking her."

According to the account, members of the crowd began to shove the group and blow whistles in their ears. They took photographs and said "we know who you are, we're going to kill you". The group made a circle with the women protected inside. That was when "it got bad, it got perverse," the participant said.

Although the videotaped participant did not elaborate, a YouTube member who posted a video of the violence included anonymous testimony from a participant claiming that "they were touching and grabbing me, and trying to shove things in my butt, and even trying to take off my pants - basically trying to molest me. I used one hand to hold my pants up, while I used the other arm to hold one of the girls. The guys huddled around all the girls, and protected them."

After police arrived in riot gear, the mob reportedly became even more agitated, and began to violently lunge at the prayer group, seeking to go between the officers, who had formed a protective line. That was when the videotaped participant said she thought she was going to die.

I say it's not surprising because I have noticed the hatred of Christians the strongest among those who have the most degenerate sexual appetites. It's not often unmasked in this way, however.

Related Links:
Christian Prayer Group Sexually and Physically Assaulted by Homosexual Mob
Mainstream Media Ignoring Violence, Vandalism and Intimidation of Homosexualist Protestors
Mormons, Knights of Columbus Face Chilling Threats and More Vandalism for Prop. 8 Support
~ LifeSiteNews

Lucia Catholicism coming out in Kosovo

Over the last couple of years I've read a number of articles of the fears many people have of allowing Kosovo to become an independent Muslim state in the heart of Europe. Part of the rationale for worry was the possibility of terrorism having a home base from which to strike anywhere in Europe. Still a reason for caution of course, however, it seems Kosovo is not necessarily as Islamic as it has originally appeared.
KLINA, Kosovo (Reuters) - Hundreds of Kosovar Albanians gather on Sundays to attend religious services in a still unfinished red-brick church in the Kosovo town of Klina.

Turning away from the majority Muslim faith imposed by the Ottoman Turks centuries ago, these worshippers are part of a revival of Catholicism in the newly independent Balkan state.

"We have been living a dual life. In our homes we were Catholics but in public we were good Muslims," said Ismet Sopi. "We don't call this converting. It is the continuity of the family's belief."

Sopi has commuted 40 km (25 miles) every Sunday from central Kosovo to Klina to attend a morning mass since he formally became a Roman Catholic five months ago. This September was the first holy month of Ramadan during which no one in his 32-member family fasted.

The majority of ethnic Albanians were forcibly converted to Islam, mostly through the imposition of high taxes on Catholics, when the Ottoman Empire ruled the Balkans.

For centuries, many remembered their Christian roots and lived as what they call "Catholics in hiding". Some, nearly a century after the Ottomans left the Balkans, now see the chance to reveal their true beliefs.

"Fifty or sixty percent of the population are linked emotionally with the Roman Catholic religion. This is because of feelings about what our ancestors believed," said Muhamet Mala, a professor who teaches History of Religion at Pristina Public University.

Related Link: Out of hiding, some Kosovars embrace Christianity ~ Reuters

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ZenTiger End of the World Postponed.

The end of the world, predicted to occur by the year 2010, has been postponed for at least 2 years whilst our data is re-checked and re-calibrated.

--The Coalition Of Peak Oil Under Threat Society (COPOUTS)

Apparently, our entire civilisation is built on cheap oil. And the Peak Oil lobby has been warning that it will all run out soon. High prices on oil proved that.

Running out of oil would be seriously bad. It's one thing to have to buy a hand mower, or perhaps a goat to do the lawns, and quite another to have to walk 30KM to work or school each day, just like Granddad. And who will push the combine harvesters, or mine for empty plastic bottles when we no longer have the material to make them?

So with oil approaching US$150 a barrel a while back, the end of world (as we know it) was definitely nigh.

Well, since July 17, in spite of a poor exchange rate, oil has dropped 70 cents a litre at the NZ pump, and is down under US$60 per barrel. It drops again today, and Shell Oil have issued a press release saying that the sale is now on.

This latest news is going to disappoint the Greens who will have found the end of the world a useful event to help curb CO2.

Still, they can take some solace from the fact that this dip in pricing is sure to be transient, and an end to oil will surely help Nations with their environmental program even as chaos and mass starvation ensues.

Last election, the Greens wanted you to vote for the planet. They had a backup plan along the lines of "Only by ending the world can we save it", with the imminent demise of oil.

I'm not so sure it remains on the endangered species list though. Whilst less oil is being found in the wild, in its natural state of a metal drum, others are suggesting that oil in shale will provide a much needed top up in the next 20 years.

Shale Oil is fondly known by environmentalists as "Dirty Oil" though, and many are no doubt expecting Obama to over-turn Bush's plans for Shale and keep America dependent upon foreign oil. It's the only thing that explains why America would bother to remove Dictators intent on building dangerous weapons capability.

Running parallel with this is promising finds in using Algae as a fuel source, improvements in solar, wind and tidal energy and suggestions to pour more money into R&D rather than just increase taxes and trade tax credits.

It's all rather confusing, but the bottom line is the end of the world will need to be postponed by a few years, putting more pressure on the Greens to explain why the current global warming has been cooling. Apparently, nothing a Carbon Tax can't fix.

And for those that need a crisis to care about - remember, we have Peak Water, Peak Fish and Peak Tax to worry about. And was that an asteroid in the night sky?

Related Link: Shell's November Sale

ZenTiger Kiro on parents

The Children's Commissioner, Dr Cindy Kiro, spoke out today on violence against children. The prompting was on the guilty verdict of those that murdered 3 year old Nia Glassie, with tales of cruelty and mistreatment that shocked New Zealand to its core. So this is what she said:
“New Zealand has a high tolerance to violence and much of the violence towards children is perpetrated in the name of discipline. There are no acceptable ways of hitting children.
I have several problems with her statement.

Firstly, this case wasn't about hitting. It was about kicking and beating. Dropping and throwing. Spinning and Tossing. It was about a lack of empathy and love. It was about stupidity and ignorance. It was about immorality.

This didn't start with a smack meant in discipline, and it didn't end in a smack for the sake of discipline. A 34 year old mother had shacked up with a 17 year old boy (age 15 when the relationship started), and the Children's Commissioner didn't see that as an issue worth tackling either.

Secondly, the repeal of Section 59 was supposedly about preventing a loophole that allowed a parent to advance the defense that hitting a child for the purposes of correction is OK, if the force used was reasonable. The thing is, if she and people like Bradford ever managed to produce a court case where some thug was let off, it would simply mean we need to scrap the judge, not the law. I doubt anyone could argue what happened to Nia was reasonable.

And thus, I come to my point about Dr Kiro's poison. She continues to conflate a smack with child abuse. Her position is clear - smacking is illegal and needs to be stamped out, and with this one ideological statement, she puts all parents on notice that she see's little difference between either of these situations. There is a world of difference, and this only makes Dr Kiro busy chasing shadows.

And since Kiro is using this tragedy to push her agenda, allow me some latitude to do the same.

As I reflect on Nia's short life I wonder about all the people that would say abortion would have been a better option for Nia?

Obviously, her quality of life and happiness would have been minimal in her final days. Some pro-abortion people argue that children under a year old are not self aware, and could be killed humanely, and this may have suited the mother and Nia if we measure life according to quality. Maybe this case proves it for such people?

But here is the interesting thing. Nia's life and her death has touched many people. She was loved by her wider family, they just didn't know they had to be there for her. And if Nia had been one of 18,000 other abortions last year, no-one would be the wiser. And we are wiser. We can see there are serious problems when stories like this surface. And this isn't the only story like this, is it? If Nia had been an abortion statistic she wouldn't have a name, and her murderers wouldn't be in jail.

If Nia had been an abortion statistic, would these be better people? Did Nia turn them into amoral killers, or were they already there, looking for a victim? Is it her fault? Denied an abortion, were these people put into a situation they couldn't cope with? Are you going to let them off that easily?

Nia deserved a chance at life, and she at least got one. Liberal society may have been happier that once Nia was created, she had then been destroyed. It would have been more efficient and more "humane", but that didn't happen.

Now we all can see that Nia's short life has exposed the dark underbelly of New Zealand society that would have remained hidden. We had buried the Kahui Twins and were ready to move on. But the topic is back again. We cannot escape this conversation. We admit that things are broken, but now we must fix it.

Cindy Kiro blames smacking. All those that blame smacking, care to stand in the corner with your Commissioner? How far will you go to end smacking? How many kids are you prepared to pull out of loving families to end this crime? Will it save others like Nia?

I don't think so. I'm prepared to blame something else. I blame an ongoing breakdown of the family structure. I blame easy marriage and easier divorce. I blame a lack of sexual prudence. I blame the lack of the father in her life.

Nia was born into a dysfunctional family, with no father present, with a 17 year old "step father" who was incapable of being one, and a Mother who couldn't see that this environment wasn't destructive. There are many clues here to narrow our search and target our efforts. Instead, Dr Kiro wants to broaden the discussion to include the relatively trivial and potentially encompass up to 80% of NZ families. That will keep her busy, but be of no help to the next Nia.

“Parenting is a tough job" states Kiro, but is ready with the solution: "But there are a number of organisations that offer advice". How condescending and trite can you get, when the murder of Nia is put down to not getting advice? Does Plunket publish a booklet for 17 year old "step fathers" to "not put the baby in the dryer or use her as a football?"

I hope New Zealand discusses this case for a long time, and maybe we will come to realise that Nia's life was made to mean something. But please, let it not be a parenting course for any good parent who may have smacked their child in the course of doing their best with what they had.

Related Link: Justice comes for Nia Glassie

Related Link: Big News - Dr Kiro has to go

Related Link: Half Done - s59 controversy continues

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ZenTiger He gets by with a little help from his

Friends! I have a wide array of friends, and some of them are going through exceptionally difficult times at the moment (unfortunately, that is somewhat of an understatement for at least two in my list), and some are just having the usual dramas in life.

Interestingly, the ones that need the most help want it the least, and the ones that want some help are quite capable of helping themselves.

But who am I to judge the weight on each of our shoulders? I'll do what I can and I trust that it will make some positive difference.

Monday, November 17, 2008

ZenTiger Fifty Years Later

"What I want to fix your attention on is the vast overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination, of every kind of human excellence -- moral, cultural, social or intellectual.

And is it not pretty to notice how 'democracy' (in the incantatory sense) is now doing for us the work that was once done by the most ancient dictatorships, and by the same methods?

The basic proposal of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils. That would be 'undemocratic.' Children who are fit to proceed may be artificially kept back, because the others would get a trauma by being left behind. The bright pupil thus remains democratically fettered to his own age group throughout his school career, and a boy who would be capable of tackling Aeschylus or Dante sits listening to his coeval's attempts to spell out A CAT SAT ON A MAT.

We may reasonably hope for the virtual abolition of education when 'I'm as good as you' has fully had its way. All incentives to learn and all penalties for not learning will vanish. The few who might want to learn will be prevented; who are they to overtop their fellows?

And anyway, the teachers -- or should I say nurses? -- will be far too busy reassuring the dunces and patting them on the back to waste any time on real teaching. We shall no longer have to plan and toil to spread imperturbable conceit and incurable ignorance among men."

-- CS Lewis

An oft quoted thought from the great Christian thinker, Clive Staples Lewis. With the recent discussion on education and the apparent dumbing down of the curriculum, there are many people who cite the dangers of poor education, not just for the individual, but society in general.

I think this is just as much caused by socialist thought as the continuation of breakdown of the family structure. In fact, it might be more accurate to say that the socialists simply fill the vacuum created by social upheaval that has become more pronounced as secular atheism has risen. Socialism is one part of that upheaval, as the Christian Family unit breakdown is another.

I will attempt to discuss these over the coming weeks. For now, I mourn for the decline in public education. Someone, please prove my worries unfounded.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

ZenTiger Shakespeare fisks Trotter

Trotter continues to channel dead spirits from a parallel universe as he reflects on Dr Cullen's poetic "we won, you lost, eat that" reversal of fortune.

I fisk as best able, given that Trotter is quite clearly mad.

And given that the NZ education system seems to be "Et tu Brutus" on William Shakespeare leaving some wondering if Shakespeare is to be or not to be, I've asked the Great Bard himself to fisk Trotter. He has kindly added his own comments, which may well confuse any future NCEA students that come across this post in the course of their studies on blogs and bloggers. [Yes, he blogs. Is this not evidence you see before thee?]

Trotter in bold, WS and ZT in italics:

Lucia Shakespeare may be removed from the curriculum [Update 2]

English school-boy has no idea what his ancestors are talking about
- from The Spectator, 2001

Wow. Shakespeare may be removed from the school curriculum and replaced with (drum roll, please) the study of blogs!

Are the curriculum people insane? No. They know that when you remove content that is measurable and well-studied and replace it with stuff that few people read, then you have no objective way of ensuring standards of teaching are being met and children are being taught anything worthwhile. So, you leave the door open for individual ideologies to be taught instead.

You can therefore create a generation of people who know very little, but think they are well-educated These sorts of people are very easily controlled.

UPDATE: I wonder if the potential removal of Shakespeare from schools is influenced in a large part by his biblical world view?
The influence of a Biblical worldview is evident throughout Shakespeare’s work. His plots are ripe with Biblical principles, lessons and truths. Take, for example, this short summary of themes from some of his most famous plays. Hamlet deals with the theme of revenge, and teaches that “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Rom. 12:19); “All who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matt. 26:52) Measure for Measure takes its title from Matt. 7:2 and teaches the reader: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get” (Matt. 7:1-2). Macbeth demonstrates the dangers of ambition, and the Biblical truths: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18); “For what does it profit it man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul” (Matt. 16:26; Mk. 8:36; Lk. 9:25). Much Ado about Nothing deals with the theme of deceptive appearances and warns the reader: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (Jn. 7:24); “The LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). The Merchant of Venice conveys a message of mercy and demonstrates the Gospel truth that: “Judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgment” (Jas. 2:13)

UPDATE 2: Looks like we are merely copying our English forebearers in dropping Shakespeare. In 2001, Philip Hensher wrote in The Spectator (link changed May 2016 as original no longer exists - Lucia Maria):
In a way, anyone who thinks the lower classes have been getting above themselves lately ought to raise a glass to the educational authorities in this country. Even if you aren't given to conspiracy theories, it is hard to suppress the thought that the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the government's advisory board on state education, is pursuing a long-term class war of devilish ingenuity. Let's not educate them; let's keep them ignorant; let's discourage them from ever reading a book; and we, the leisured rich, will face a future of lolling in our red-velvet dressing-gowns, fed Turkish Delight by a whole generation of illiterate, epsilon-minus semi-morons.
His whole article is a must-read.

Related Links:
Teachers fight to save Shakespeare ~ Stuff
Why study Shakespeare? ~ Oxford Tutorials

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lucia Friday night free for all

While our new government is being set up, I've had a bit of a stressful week.

Home-schooling can be challenging on multiple levels and over the last several weeks since the beginning of the term, the challenge was dealing with teaching two very intensive maths programmes to two different children of different ages. Both levels are excellent and I can see incredibly beneficial to persevere with, but woah! The load on the poor mother who has to teach both!

I'm getting there. I think as we get used to the type of work involved, then I'll be able to do both at once for periods - that both at once makes a huge difference.

Here's what I'm talking about: Saxon Math 2 (Homeschool Study Kit) and Saxon Math 6/5 (Homeschool study kit). The link to Math 6/5 has a comprehensive review of how Saxon Math works.

UPDATE: According to Cindy Kiro, most NZ'ers support the anti-smacking law change. The question asked was : "Should children be entitled to the same protection from assault as adults?".

Oh, for goodness sakes! I'd say yes if asked that question! The thing is, a smack does not equate to assault and Cindy Kiro is making out that NZ'ers think that the two are the same. Unbelievable. For more, read Most Kiwis back anti smacking laws - survey.

ZenTiger The China Syndrome

If you are reading this post, you may be an addict.
China may well be the very first county to define Internet addiction as a disorder and give official recognition to it as a clinical disease. Essentially, you are addicted if you find yourself using the Internet more than six hours per day, or exhibit a number of symptoms such as insomnia, difficulty concentrating, mental or physical stress, irritation or experience the desire to go back online.
Of course, in a socialist country like New Zealand, it would mean long term unemployed who spend too much time on the net may be eligible for tax payer funded therapy. Perhaps even people caught surfing at work who subsequently lose their jobs might be able to claim addiction as the cause under ACC? I wonder if the drugs used to "cure" the addiction will result in new addictions? And therapists could get addicted to huge fee schedules.

Can we really afford for John Key to fund broadband throughout NZ?

[insert tongue-in-cheek tag here]

Related Link: Yet another disorder?

Related Link: Internet Addiction

Lucia Chris Trotter almost gets why socialism is wrong

In today's From the Left column, Chris Trotter says:

As I watched the cavalcade of secondary school pupils receive their prizes, and heard all around me the happy murmuring of proud parents, a lifetime's worth of hostility towards these sorts of ceremonies melted away.

All my life I have given thought only to those with no hope of receiving the glittering prizes. Even when (very occasionally) I received one myself, I could not help feeling that tug of guilt; that blush of embarrassment at being distinguished from my peers.

The socialist in me would rehearse all the reasons why I should reject such baubles. What chance does a kid from a working-class family have in a competition for academic distinction? Where are the shelves of books? The family connections? The universally positive middleclass expectations in which these high-achievers are cradled from the day they are born?

How can a kid raised among the stark, bare walls of a state house hope to compete with a kid who has grown up with Beethoven and Bach, Rembrandt and Brueghel?

But as I watched the prizewinners make their way across the stage, it suddenly hit me that this attitude was both extraordinarily arrogant, and very, very dangerous.

Of course he then starts wondering why those in state houses turned against Labour. I'm not sure which way he's going with this.

Maybe we need to pray for him.

Related link: The John Keys v the donkeys ~ Stuff

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lucia New Catholic Blessing for the Unborn Child

Catholic Bishops the US have formulated a Blessing for the unborn child.

Children in the womb will now be able to receive a special blessing from their parish priests following an overwhelming vote by the U.S. bishops in favor of the new blessing.

"The Blessing of a Child in the Womb" has been in the works for two years, but Bishop Michael Saltarelli noted at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that, “happily it’s come to fruition at this time when I think it’s important to reaffirm and focus our attention on the life of the unborn.” The bishop’s remarks were apparently in reference to the recent election results and Cardinal George’s remarks on not giving any ground to those who insist that Catholics set their beliefs aside in public dialogue.

This is significant. There is a battle for the life of unborn children going on right now in the world (especially with the election of a pro-choice President in the US), and a blessing reminds people that unborn babies are present, no matter how small or hidden they are. If the Vatican approves the Blessing, it will be added to all English language blessings. I'm not sure what that means for NZ, but it would be cool if it could be made available here, too.

Related Links: U.S. bishops approve new blessing for unborn children ~ CNA
U.S. bishops swiftly and forcefully respond to pro-abortion policies from Obama ~ CNA

Lucia Visit Ancient Rome through Google Earth

The ability to move through ancient Rome is almost ready. It's set in the time period Anno Domini (in the Year of Our Lord) 320, during the reign of the first Christian Emperor - Constantine I.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lucia Gay Marriage stopped in California by the voters

Just last week the citizens of California voted to keep marriage between a man and a woman. Democracy at work, don't you think? Obviously not if you wanted to change marriage to be between a person and anyone or anything he wants to have sex with, starting with a person of the same sex - a redefinition of marriage that has never been attempted in history until recently.

As a consequence, gay marriage proponents have vented their rage against the populace. Three high court challenges to the law have been made, threats against Catholics and Mormons have been talked about openly online and now a masked group of 30 (in Michigan) has forced their way into a church, disrupting the service and even vandalising the building - hoping to provoke a violent reaction from the church-goers that they could video and release as Christian hatred against gays to the world. The hoped for violent reaction didn't occur.

Related Link: Homosexualist Anarchists Storm Michigan Church During Sunday Service ~ LifeSiteNews
Activists rethink their gay marriage tactics ~ Time

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lucia The Pope vs Attila the Hun

Pope wins.

Read more here.

ZenTiger Admin Notice

Blog authors, please check your gmail accounts...

Monday, November 10, 2008

ZenTiger Trotter on Trotter

Trotter has taken the 2008 election defeat of Labour with his usual grace and accurate political commentary.

That is, if you happen to be a communist die-hard who has unshakable conviction all white males are misogynists. They are not of course, but don't tell him. John Key may want to appoint a court jester.

Here's the bulk of his transcript, in italics. Guest fisker is none other than Chris Trotter himself. Yes, I took a few of his own quotes from other articles as reply to his diatribe. Don't expect it to make sense, it didn't in context either. Seriously.

WELL, THE New Zealand Left has woken up to its very own 9/11.

>> I have met the enemy, and he is ….. curiously unimpressive

Last night's result represents not just a slap in the face for Helen Clark and her Labour-led government, it sets the seal on the political values of a whole generation.

>> The trouble with this government," he said, "is that it is always telling us what to do."

Clark and her colleagues stood for all that was good about the baby-boomer generation: its idealism and its 40-year refusal to bow down to the reactionary values of an uptight, male-dominated society driven by a dangerous determination to discipline and punish.

>> "The truth is that the Right does not believe in treating every person as a thinking, feeling, individual with hopes and aspirations to be respected and possibly fulfilled. [Steady on Chris - Zen]

That's what triumphed last night: the hunger to punish - and a crippling fear of social change. And, like most things in this world, it's happened before. The New Zealand electorate doesn't often behave selfishly or stupidly. In fact, apart from last night, I can recall only one other occasion when it has done so - 1975.

>> I couldn’t suppress a rather smug grin of my own, being secretly delighted that the Right had risen to the intended provocation, as I rather expected it would.

In every other election I can remember, the New Zealand electorate has demonstrated an acute grasp of what was necessary politically. They didn't always get it, but that was because of the way the first-past-the-post electoral system worked to frustrate the will of the majority. Had the popular vote been reflected in the composition of its parliaments, New Zealand would have had a very different post-war history.

>> Genuine patriotism in the this country has always been the preserve of the Left.

And it's been there for all of us to absorb in the polls - though many of us simply refused to believe our fellow citizens could be so dumb - or so mean.

>> 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...

But, we were wrong. They were.

>> Passing this legislation now, over the objections of four-fifths of the electorate, will not settle the matter. The people will punish the voting the..Right into power.

Looking at the result, you realise just how much this country and its people have changed. So much so that, last night not even our proportional system of electoral representation could rescue us from ourselves.

>> "The biggest obstacle to a National victory is a lack of staying power"

So, what was it in the end? What led a majority of the New Zealand electorate to reject a government that has not only done it no great harm..

>> "Social peace for a paltry half-million dollars? Strikes me as the most courageous and forgivable kind of corruption."

Last night's result was manufactured out of the besetting sin of the last 150 years of western history - the crisis of masculinity. What, exactly, is a man in a world of corporate and public bureaucracies? A world of tin-pot bosses, impossible schedules, and unrealistic expectations? A world where to show your feelings is to reveal your weakness? A world where girls can do anything, but boys make a virtue out of boorish stupidity? A world where cynicism trumps heroism, and where simple human decency is dismissed as political correctness?

>> But that’s the way of the Right: forever doing somebody else’s bidding; organising somebody else’s show; doing somebody else’s dirty work. [Being somebody else's stereotype? - Zen]

It was these: the men who just couldn't cope with the idea of being led by an intelligent, idealistic, free-spirited woman; the gutless, witless, passionless creatures of the barbecue-pit and the sports bar (and the feckless females who put up with them); who voted Helen Clark out of office.

>> "New Zealand will now be experiencing civil strife on a scale not seen since the 1860s" [Now there's a prediction we can review in 3 years - Zen]

John Key - you're welcome to them.

>> WELL, THE New Zealand Left has woken up to its very own 9/11. [And around we go on the Chris Trotter Wheel of Hate]

Chris Trotter: The night MMP couldn't save us from ourselves

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lucia Fascinating Australian thread on our election result

Clark is giving a concession speech that sounds defiant, almost as if she won, with the crowd cheering and clapping her on. Grace is sure missing, as is humility and any McCain-style appeal to bi-partisanship, with Clark saying she hopes all her work doesn’t “go up in flames on the bonfire created by the Right-wing of politics”. Not a single good wish is paid to the Nationals or its leader, other than a congratulations for their win.

The commentators on Sky News NZ (UPDATE - actually commentators on a feed from TV3) must either have cloth ears or Labour Party membership. They repeatedly declare the speech “magnificent” and “gracious”.

Related Link: Labour thrashed in New Zealand Andrew Bolt Blog, Herald Sun

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lucia National wins

Dragon dead. Helen about to concede.

ZenTiger New Zealand Conservative v3

OK guys, I'm trying a new template out. It will take a while to set up completely, but in moments you will see the foundation.

Is this a better look than the previous template? Please feel free to leave a comment on this vital topic. It's not as if anything else important is happening tonight.

The old template layout is below for comparison:

ZenTiger Cutting off limbs seen as armless

I might be going out on a limb here, but I think anyone that wants to maim themselves is just a little nuts. Abnormal. And the current thinking in society is that if it doesn't hurt anyone else, what's the harm in self-harm? Indeed, what's the harm in suicide, in euthanasia and abortion?

Do we give up on treatment for such people people, or do we help them to live with their disability - the mental disability that they think they are whole only when they are not, or do we hand them a chainsaw and say "hey, go for it?"

The story in the paper today where psychiatrist Christopher Ryan puts forward the idea that Doctors are "duty bound" to amputate healthy limbs if that is what the patient wants is a symptom of the madness of pandering to the desires and not interests of individuals.

It's one thing to argue to let people do what they want, even if it is unhealthy, unethical or immoral. It is another to legislate to force this on others. The recent legislation in Victoria Australia, forcing Doctors to perform late term abortions is an example of how far these ideas are pushed.

What Dr Ryan is admitting to is that psychiatrists can't cure some people with mental issues, so the next best thing is to pander to their whims so that they don't do anything rash. The problem is, what happens if a person "recovers" and achieves a normal state of mind?
Dr Ryan has examined the ethics of the issue in the international philosophy journal Neuroethics and says doctors have a moral duty to amputate for the health and safety of the patient.
And now it seems Freud is an ethicist.

Related Link: Cutting off limbs seen as armless

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lucia The Boobs on Bikes Virus

Today, Wellington was afflicted with Boobs on Bikesitis. This virus, once it takes hold, is almost impossible to shake. After the initial infection, it lies dormant for a while before rearing up yearly with increasingly virulent attacks rendering some of the male population unable to respond coherently to anything except to the sight of naked female breasts. A bucket of cold water sometimes helps and the weather almost came through, but unfortunately too late to save many of the incapacitated participants.

I think I'll stop now before my first attempt at satire goes horribly wrong and continue seriously from this point on.
The chilly Wellington air didn't deter over 20 topless women from riding along Featherston Street and Lambton Quay on the back of motorbikes.
Yes, the infamous Boobs on Bikes came to Wellington. I don't live or work there, so I wasn't subjected to the sight, nor did I have to cover the eyes of my children. But still, this wanton disregard for anyone except those who want to see public nakedness is very, very disturbing.
They posed for photos by the statue of Richard Seddon - but probably didn't understand the irony in posing next to the statue of a man who opposed women's suffrage as premier 115 years ago.
Bizarre! Apparently being topless in the streets of Wellington is something the Suffragettes would have campaigned for. But the reporter has got it backwards. It was entirely appropriate for women advertising porn to have posed in front of a statue of a man who did not believe in the equality of women.
Boobs On Bikes and Erotica Expo organiser Steve Crow told NZPA the parade wasn't commercial - despite the Erotica logos emblazoned on the few clothes women in the parade were wearing. "It's just a bunch of people having some fun, obeying the law and exercising our rights."
Right. And the fact that school kids were out perving at the women is ok?
A group of teenage boys in Wellington College uniforms enjoying the spectacle didn't want to give their names to NZPA but gave their assurances that their parents knew where they were.

The teens followed the parade from Post Office Square on Featherston Street, where it began at 12.45pm, to the grounds of Parliament, and were spotted climbing a wall to get a better view.
Well, it seems that teenagers who are exposed to sexuality explicit TV programmes are far more likely to either get pregnant or get someone pregnant. And here we have a bunch of schoolboys, out of school, engaging in a "bit of fun", according to Steve Crow.
A new study confirmed that teenagers who watch sexually charged television shows have a far greater chance of getting pregnant or getting someone else pregnant, reports the Washington Post.

The study, which was published today in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics surveyed 2000 teens between the ages of 12 and 17, from 2001 to 2004.

The researchers performed an analysis on 23 shows in 2000-2001 to determine the level of sexual content present in the most popular shows, including "Sex and the City," "Friends" and "That '70s Show," among a variety of other programs.

Researchers found that 25 percent of adolescents who watched shows containing the most flirting, kissing, touching and references and/or depictions of sexual situations became pregnant or got someone else pregnant, while only 12 percent of teens who watched shows with the least amount of sexual material were involved in a pregnancy.
I wonder what sort of results a study would find on the types of people that go to Boobs on Bikes parades. Would they also be more likely to get someone pregnant? And how do these men treat their girlfriends or wives? Like objects for their own sexual gratification? Somehow, I think, yes.

These sorts of parades also give the impression that most of the population doesn't mind and even enjoys this sort of spectacle. Yet, the recent kerfuffle in Kapiti over allowing naked people on the beaches and the enormous backlash against that really shows that NZ'ers are not happy with public nakedness. Especially if they think children will be exposed to it.

And just today, a 14 year old boy was arrested for the violation and murder of a 15 year old girl. What type of material was he exposed to? Did he watch sexually explicit TV programmes? How does a 14 year old boy become a rapist and a murderer unless early sexuality is actively encouraged in our society?

It's all just sickening, really.

Related Links :
Boobs on bikes parade draws thousands ~ NZ Herald
Kapiti bares its defiance on nudity ~ Stuff
Study Finds Teens Who Watch Sex-Laden TV More Likely to Become Pregnant or Cause Pregnancy ~ LifeSite
Boy, 14, arrested over Kerikeri murder ~ Stuff

Boobs on Bikes - Fig Leaves on their Faces ~ NZ Conservative

ZenTiger Friday Night Free for All

One sleep to go before the big E. I have no predictions. I am not certain of a National victory at this stage. I am trying to recall last election - I think on the day the blogs have to be quiet. If that's the law, we will respect that. I'll find something to keep me busy.

Maybe it's time to change the blog template. I'm not sure the new one has been that popular and I've found a really cool one. Looks a little bit conservative, a bit ancient and a touch of wild west. So what does that say? Solid, dependable, wise with a couple of six guns.

Mama, take this badge off of me / I can't use it anymore. / It's gettin' dark, too dark for me to see / I feel like I'm knockin' on heaven's door. / knock knock knockin' on heaven's door ...

Maybe this time I'll first set it up on a test blog and see what my fellow authors think, and if Barnsley can handle the change.

In the meantime, howdy all. Drop in and be friendly.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

ZenTiger My first political survey by phone

I was just the victim of an ACT party political survey. I may have said "Yes" up front, so I have no legal defence. It started off reasonably well. I had a polite gentleman declare the survey was sponsored by ACT, and would I answer a few questions?

Sure, I said, somewhat curious as to why my opinion was needed this close to the actual election. Not thinking of adjusting the tax policy down by a radical 1%? Not about to declare pro-life and defend the rights of the defenseless? Not about to sell me a time-share unit in Epsom?

Nothing so melodramatic. It consisted of 4 or 5 questions that were so loaded, I expected to hear a Magnum 44 blast my eardrums. I was evidently meant to agree that both National and Labour were incompetent, but National might just be the lesser of the two evils and would benefit by a strong coalition partner, so the correct answer to all questions was "Party Vote ACT".

I voted ACT last election, and I have no idea who I am voting for this election. National is tempting, but it would be a first. Surely, the first time should mean something special? Mind you, the amount of Labour pains I've had recently, I'm thinking I must have got drunk and lost control of my senses at some point in the past.

Besides, I thought I would save my really serious thinking and analysis for the stroll to the polling booth. It might wipe away the mediocrity I witnessed in last night's final leader's debate. Competent mediocrity in the case of Key, and desperate mediocrity in the case of Clark, but nothing inspiring really from either of them.

This call though was very off putting in terms of luring me back to ACT. Firstly, the young gentleman was nearly incomprehensible. I suspect English was his third language, and unfortunately, I think that would turn off many potential converts.

I was reasonably patient, and figured out the questions on the third or fourth attempt, and then my answers were never the YES that the script required. That only complicated issues, so he ignored my response and studiously pressed on to the next question. Culminating in "Party Vote ACT" at the end.

I imagine that at this stage punters would realise it never was a survey, just an attempt to influence a vote. I think though, the influence could be negative with most people they phone.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more it sounds like another Labour ploy. The cunning sods.

ZenTiger Judge upset at sending sex offender to jail

A Christchurch Judge was visibly upset at sending a young man to jail for the assault and attempted rape of an Australian visitor. When he lured the women down a dark alley with an expectation of sex, the women rebuffed him. The judge thinks this caused him to snap...and the assault began and ended only when the women managed to break free and run away.

"If I had my way I would release you today, but I can't."

Words that would surely hurt the victim even further. Compassion for the culprit is admirable, but the victim deserves some compassion and understanding too. They deserve justice.

If the issue is that prison is a bad environment to effect rehabilitation, then let's fix that. The current mode of thinking is that violent offenders are released early to a "supportive" family who are not trained or skilled in rehabilitation. And given this person chalked up 5 offenses in a few months, one could argue the family environment wasn't supportive enough to keep him from going off the rails.

A visibly upset judge today told a Masterton teenager convicted of sexual violation: "If I had my way I would release you today, but I can't."

Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish spoke of the youth, naivety, and the good family background of Maia Crawford Rongonui who had attacked a young Australian woman tourist in a dark Christchurch street.

"If I had it within my power today I would release you to your family," the judge said.

"They would ensure you would do anything not to come back to court."

Instead, she jailed the 19-year-old for four years after he was convicted by a jury of assaulting the woman with intent to commit rape, and sexually violating her by unlawful sexual connection.

Rongonui, a shearer from Masterton, was only 17 when he committed the attack.

The judge said she was worried about the effect prison would have on the teenager.

"I have some concerns, as your mother does, about you being corrupted while in jail."

She hoped the Parole Board would quickly consider his release to the community and his family.

Mrs Thomas said she believed Rongonui still did not fully accept what had happened, and the crown believed the attack had been premeditated. Judge Farish did not accept that.

She accepted the victim was vulnerable because she was a visitor to Christchurch, who had lost her way and become separated from her friends. Rongonui was friendly and offered to show her the way to her backpackers' hostel. Instead, he led her down a dark inner city street, Aberdeen Street off Manchester Street.

Judge Farish said she believed Rongonui had been hopeful of a sexual encounter, and something snapped when the woman rebuffed him. He punched her and kicked her as well as trying to remove her pants. The woman fought back and was able to escape, but semen from Rongonui was found on her clothing.

Mrs Thomas told the court the woman - now a student living on Queensland's Gold Coast - had significant and ongoing effects from the attack.

Defence counsel Simon Shamy said Rongonui had been an immature 17-year-old at the time of the offence...But he had inexplicably come to the attention of the authorities at the age of 17, amassing 18 convictions over five months, including the two today.
Related Link: Victimless Crimes

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

ZenTiger Leader Debate III

Helen Clark summed up saying "stick with us because we've done a great job".

However, when the books were opened, we saw a big deep hole, no surplus, forecast high unemployment and the bureaucracy had grown to take nearly double what it needed back in 1999, and we are not talking front line here. And this week, an adjustment to the PREFU was released by treasury taking into account the world recession (yes, it was just Labour's financial management responsible for the first one) and the accounts are worse.

"Stick with us" rings hollow. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

The news that Brad Shipton will serve less than three years for an 8 year rape sentence reminds me of another sad story.

In one case, a young Chef is harassed by a gang of 5 youths on a bus. In fear for his life, he pulls out his chef's knife and stabs one of them. No criminal history and yet he gets 2 years jail for self defence.

In another recent story, a tagger gets caught in the act and told off by a member of public. That person then gets stabbed by the tagger. The tagger, with a criminal history gets 150 hours community service. That history included not showing up for previous community service.

Things are rotten in the state of Denmark. But they smell a lot better than here in New Zealand.

Get out and vote this weekend, and change the government.

This statement probably contravenes the Electoral Finance Act, and I could possibly take it all the way to the Privy Council, but that's another problem caused by Labour.

ZenTiger How long is an 8 year sentence?

Under Labour, 8 years and 3 months for rape lasts less than 3 years. Not quite my definition of justice.

Lucia Looks like Obama is President!

What can I say about the Americans electing the most pro-abortion president ever? One that a number of Catholic Bishops have said that to vote for is to commit a mortal sin? Commiserations? Hey, at least he's not the Anti-Christ.

Related Links: Obama wins US election, to become first black president ~ AFP

ZenTiger Tumeke Half Done

Scrubone at blog Half Done has half done the Tumeke Stats for October. Basing the rankings on the Alexa and Technorati stats and dividing some numbers here and there, he comes up with an interim list.

It works quite well, at least from my point of view, as we sit about 9th in the NZ Blogosphere (it says 8, but WhaleOil's Technorati score looks off, and I think he'd move to number 2 or 3 after correction).

Go have a look and see where your blog ranks on the unofficial Tumeke Half Done NZ Blog Rankings for October(TM)(C)void where prohibited, all rights reserved.

Related Link: Blog Ranking October 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Jimmy Carter would have Obama for breakfast

Who would want to be President? Markets in free-fall and your armed forces embroiled in foreign wars, but then when was it ever different? The specifics of crises change but the Gordian tangle remains.

Consider Jimmy Carter. A highly capable person, chewed over by hard times and spat out.

Democrat Jimmy Carter beat incumbent Gerald Ford in 1976, 297 votes to 240. Factors contributing to the win included the Watergate scandal, Ford's pardon of Nixon, and the ongoing conflict in Vietnam. Carter went on to cut defence spending, negotiate the SALT II treaty with the USSR, mediate the Camp David accord between Israel and Egypt, and establish the idea that no other foreign power should dominate the Persian Gulf.

Everything would have been fine for Carter if not for 1979.

In 1979 he was faced with the terminal results of chronic 1970s problems - the Energy Crisis, Stagflation, and the Iran hostage crisis. During the 1979 Energy Crisis oil went from $15/barrel to $35 in 12 months. Stagflation led to double digit inflation and less than 1% growth per year through the 1970s and in 1979 the best mortgage rates offered were in the vicinity of 22%p.a.

Any of this sound ominous?

Lastly the American embassy in Tehran was overrun and hostages taken. The situation dragged on for over 14 months and saw a shambled rescue attempt that left eight dead and got nowhere near the embassy.

In 1980 Ronald Regan defeated Jimmy Carter 489 votes to 49. A landslide defeat in the popular vote 51% to 41%.

Even a person with the best of intentions can be humiliated by history.

Jimmy Carter was an experienced and capable person; he served on submarines during WW2, was slated for command, on his father's death took over and successfully managed the family business, and was a State senator and Governor for twelve years.

In comparison to Carter, what has Barrack Obama done? Where is his established record of steady competence?

Who is Barrack Obama? Is he really any more distinguished than George Bush was in 2000? Yes, he's tall, has great teeth and good hair but didn't it used to be about more than that?

Whoever wins tomorrow probably faces a rerun of the 1970s. It'll be no picnic and Leonardo deCaprio won't be there when you are made redundant.

If someone with the solid background of Jimmy Carter can be disposed by torrid events, I am apprehensive how history will deal with the media's luminous, but still enigmatic, choice - Obama.

Unless, of course, McCain, the guy with a history, the guy who has been in charge of something, wins.

ZenTiger Desperate and Dateless Helen

Funny: The latest Labour Party Neutron Bomb. Bill English secretly recorded as saying "Obama is too moralistic on international relations"

Pathetic: Helen Clark's rabid reaction, something along the lines of "Proof John Key wants to start World War III"

Desperate: That they held this snippet of tape for the last four months, waiting until a few days before the election. And for TV3, desperate enough to think it newsworthy.

Dateless: Is anyone going to vote for her on Election Day? It would have to be the well known demographic called "Sympathy Vote"

See also No Minister: Is that all there is?

ZenTiger Baby survives abortion offer

A couple who were advised to abort their baby when doctors said he had a rare brain disorder have spoken of their joy after their "miracle son" was born in perfect health. Doctors warned his mother and father that Brandon would be born deaf and blind and would probably survive only for a couple of hours.

Becky Weatherall and her partner Kriss Kramer were offered a termination up to just weeks before the birth...But the couple defied doctors' advice and their son was born healthy on October 1 last year (2007).
Well that turned out well. I came across an interesting web page that discussed how some of the procedures that check for defects can, themselves kill the baby or cause grave complications. Amniocentesis in the mid trimester, for example.

Amniocentesis involves taking a small amount of fluid from the baby’s amniotic sac through a needle inserted into the mother’s abdomen and uterine wall. The cells in the fluid are cultured and examined a month later. Certain chemicals in the fluid can also be measured.

It is dangerous if done before the third trimester. In England and other countries the test itself kills upwards of 1% of the babies tested. Opinions differ. A reputable English study found that there were 14 fetal deaths in the amniocentesis groups compared to 5 in the control group.

Related Link: Brandon a miracle baby

Related Link: Abortion Facts - Fetal Handicap

ZenTiger Helen Clark warned by the Electoral Commission

Helen Clark has been warned by the electoral commission for being in breach of Labour's Electoral Finance Act (EFA).

The issue is that her face and voice is instantly familiar and is "more Labour than the Labour Party" according to the various Labour funded blog sites that infest the internet. Accordingly, the Commission has ruled each public appearance of Helen Clark counts as $2,000 towards their campaign spending limit, unless she wears a paper bag over her head.

Other politicians have also been warned of various Electoral Finance Act Breaches:

Winston Peters - for making misleading claims on policy - particularly using a Sign with the word "No", or any moving of the lips.

Dr Michael Cullen - may not approach within 5 metres of a dog turd as people will mistake it for his financial rescue package. Any person seeing a dog turd is to report such sightings to the Electoral Commission who will add $345.50 to Labour's election expenditure for advocating policy using instantly recognisable props.

Rodney Hide - For wearing a yellow jacket, in contravention of clause 569.234, a subsection of the Annette King "Law of Common Sense" that specifically restricts personal items of apparel designed to identify a political party to either the left or right sock.

Jeanette Fitzsimons - For using the planet earth in an election without permission from the copyright holder. A title search reveals that the copyright is owned by a Lord God, Heaven.

The Exclusive Brethren - for praying. Prayers advocating for a particular party are deemed third party advertising under the EFA. Helen Clark released a statement on this earlier.

Mike Williams - For campaigning for votes in Melbourne a week before the election when the electoral boundary for New Zealand clearly ends at Bondi Junction. It also appears he has spent over $12,000 in photocopying expenses and a book called "Handwriting Recognition for Dummies" which he failed to declare as an election expense.

John Key - for appearing on a televised leaders debate and talking policy without mentioning his home address at the end of every sentence.

John Keys - a mysterious doppelganger that some media commenters refer to, possibly the second person in a string of Labour Party Advertisements claim to have identified.

Any small children beaten to death - for promoting Green Party advertising that their death was caused by a "smack" and that the parents would be let off with the excuse the death was "reasonable force" required to "discipline" the child.

Related Link: A Hiding To Nothing on the EFA

Act leader Rodney Hide's canary-yellow jacket has fallen foul of the Electoral Finance Act. The Electoral Commission wrote to Mr Hide yesterday, saying that under the act the jacket might be an "election advertisement" and therefore required an authorising statement.
Yes, I can see the problem. They need a name and address on the jacket so they can track down the owner of the jacket to see who he is. Labour makes laws that grow the nanny state. They rushed the EFB through, with inadequate consultation and now we pay public servants to investigate threats to democracy such as Rodney's jacket. Will this end up in court? This is disgusting. I'd suggest what people could do about this, but that would likely be deemed some sort of contravention against the EFA.

Monday, November 3, 2008

ZenTiger TUMEKE Stats for October 2008

It's ratings time again. I now gather our blog stats to save Tim of Tumeke some time. Last month we ranked 24. We seem to have a small but regular group of readers and quite a few casual and occasional drop ins.

It's been hard to put the time in on so many posts I have yet to do, but my co-authors have picked up the slack and that's been great, as it adds a good level of variety of topic or perspective, aside from the fact that we are pegged as a Conservative/Catholic blog.

The election heats up, and that might be increasing the hit count of all blogs who mention Winston, Batman, H1 or flogging off State Owned Assets (like your mortgage or bank deposits in about 4 months time). And Michael Phelps still pops up on the Google list of incoming search terms, brought in by this post: Michael Phelps Training Secrets. Amazing.

Stats for October 2008:

A. Visitors: 6,165 (5,909)
B. Pageloads: 11,091 (10,772)
C. Average Daily Unique Visits: 199 (197)
D. Alexa World Ranking: 395,237 (422,267)
E. Alexa NZ Ranking: 654 (812)
F. Technorati Authority: 55 (56)
G. Technorati Ranking: 109,933 (121,856)
H. Number of Posts: 67 (68)
I. Average Weekly Posts: 15 (16)
J. Average of Highest Weekly Comments: 31 (32)

TUMEKE SCORE (C)199 + (F)55 + (I)15 + (J)31 = 300 (301)

Ranking previous months: [24,23,15,22,21,19,18,16,22]
Scores Previous Months: [301,330,367,280,327,329,343,362,263]

Note: Sometimes the scores Tumeke record are a few points out from my recordings, as Tumeke may check Technorati and Alexa ratings several days after EOM, and they tend to fluctuate to some degree.

Fletch TV3 Leaders Debate

Anyone watching the leaders debate on TV3 Between Helen Clark and John Key? What do you think? Who is winning? Leave comments here. Not sure I like John Campbell's style; he's a lot more aggressive than Sainsbery. I don't know if I'll be able to stomach watching the whole thing. I saw Helen on Breakfast this morning, and although I've heard crap come out of her mouth before, I've never heard so much crap at one time...