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Showing posts from February, 2009

Feb 28

Well, it's the last day of the month and the last day of summer. Happy Birthday for those who celebrated a birthday today. Perhaps that includes those who were born on February 29th? Seems to me that if you have a birthday on Feb 29, you could start at noon on the 28th and keep going until noon on March 1st. That way you bridge the gap. And in totally unrelated news, a new species of " Frogfish " has apparently been discovered, exciting both Ichthyologists and Herpetologists simultaneously. You don't get that happening every day.

UNICEF not forgotten nor forgiven

This afternoon a young my house today asking for money on behalf of UNICEF. I declined to give money or support to that organisation for political reasons. When she protested and said that UNICEF is totally neutral and non-political, I informed her that UNICEF's political interference in NZ ala the removal of S59 from the Crimes Act meant that I would no longer support them financially, nor would I encourage others to do so. Watch out for the UNICEF door knockers, people. And tell them why you're not giving them money either.

Job Summit

I find myself unable to get excited over the current job summit. NewsTalk ZB's talkshow host was today bemoaning the fact that many of his callers (or was it texters and emailers) were negative over the whole thing. Me, I'm not negative. Getting business people together to hash things out is never a bad thing. And it gives our PM a chance to give everyone a pep talk. Prime Minister John Key told his job summit in Auckland today that New Zealand is not a country of whiners and slackers and had the right attitude to get through the global recession. Yep, a call to national pride is certainly going to help. However, yesterday there was talk of secondary earners (mostly women) taking the jobs of primary earners (mostly men) and how wrong that was. It got me thinking, because I certainly don't want to go back to the days when men got jobs ahead of women. The Government could, in these tough, economic times, remove the need for the secondary earner to have to continue to take

Dom Post Editorial on Sin

Lovers in Hell Breaking of one of the cardinal rules of blogging (thou shalt post on a topic in a timely manner), here I go with my opinion of last Saturday's Dominion Post Editorial. This obsession that the secular world has with sin is a good sign of a not completely dormant conscience. So in a sense it is good that pronouncements from the Vatican on sin hit the secular radar. However, it would be prudent for those that write on such subjects to at least know a bit more about them and treat the subjects seriously, rather than as an object of derision and amusement. Unfortunately, the Dominion Post does not treat anything concerning religion with respect. Case in point - last week it published an article on the Vatican's take on the differences in sinful inclination of women vs men. And then on Saturday, the editor follows up with an opinion. Not a serious opinion, of course. A more tongue in cheek, not sure what the point is type of opinion. Maybe the whole point was to

Reading a Kindle

When the Kindle came out a year or two ago, I was very interested. Version two hit the streets recently and I was more interested. Amazon got some free advertising for it in the traditional American way - they were threatened with lawsuits and even bloggers have been complaining. "Kindle?", you say? The Kindle is basically a book sized electronic book reader . Amazon offers electronic books for sale which can be purchased and downloaded directly to the Kindle. As far as I know, its distribution has been confined to North America, but that will no doubt change. The Kindle is not the first such book. Sony has released their own Kindle product - not surprising as they designed the display technology and there are others. Expect to see this make its way to your iPod, although I'm not sure it will look as realistic if it's just software driven. Building an electronic library on devices that are geared to make reading as pleasurable as from a real paperback is a cool

Blogosphere at night

Here's a picture of the blogosphere at night. OK, OK, I'm late with the blog black background protest on s92A and all that jazz. Solidarity takes a back seat to real world workload. But I care. Really. Actually, NZ conservative mounted the attack back on Jan 23 , where we mentioned the powerful librarian lobby was part of this as much as bloggers, ISPANZ and sundry freedom fighters. So there. PS: This is actually a picture of Auckland at night, not the blogosphere. It's not that Auckland is boring, they've just got the occasional power supply issue to deal with. Related Link: Steal the information from Tumeke

All Points Bulletin

Any bloggers not currently in front of their screens are urged to be on the lookout for this "lowlife scum", believed to be the assailant of 85 year-old WWII veteran Eric Brady. Related Link: Keeping Stock Footage and other community minded bloggers around New Zealand.

Friday Night Free for All

Whats 3+3+3? The maximum number of hours sleep I've had for the past three nights. Deadline reached. Mission accomplished. The battle is over, but the war continues. And this is just work I'm talking about. Not that work is a battle zone, but in my sleep deprived state I'm prone to ramble. A bit of a curry, some beverages and I'll see if I can stay awake long enough to post the odd comment. How's every-one else gone this week? Drop in and say hello. What have I missed this week?

Fisher and Paykel bailout by NZ Government

Today I hear that John Key has pledged to bailout NZ manufacturing company, Fisher and Paykel should it need it. "Yes they've got a short-term temporary funding issue which they're working through commercially with a number of alternatives, but I would be very concerned if a company of that nature ... was to go to the wall," he told TV3's Sunrise show. Key said the Government needed to stay engaged with Fisher & Paykel as it was a "very unusual and unique" New Zealand company and important to the local economy. "We don't want to be destroying the basis of New Zealand's manufacturing solely because there is a temporary credit crisis." I think it's more than just a "temporary credit crisis". Ironically, my only just over one-year old Fisher and Paykel dishwasher broke 20 minutes ago. You see, all the stress of the opening action was directed to two points on the plastic panel strip at the top of the door. Both of the

The taste of freedom

We covered this story back in 2007 . It seems to have moved to a happy ending now, in 2009. Ali Panah was granted refugee status following a third hearing by the Refugee Status Appeals Authority. Mr Panah has said he would have faced persecution and possibly the death penalty in Iran as a Muslim who had converted to Christianity. He was released on bail in September 2007 after a 53-day hunger strike at Auckland remand prison. Welcome to New Zealand, Ali Panah. It's a pity New Zealand was nearly as dangerous to your health as Iran when it comes to support for Christian beliefs. After that incredible hunger strike, freedom must taste so sweet. Congratulations. Mr Panah sought asylum when he arrived in New Zealand and was detained for 20 months for refusing to sign documents that would lead to his deportation to Iran. Some politicians questioned how genuine his conversion was, but he had staunch allies in the Anglican Church, particularly from Archbishop David Moxon. Mr Panah

Osama buys Kiwi Made?

Two prisoners were sitting in their cell talking, one said to the other: “You're getting out in a couple of weeks, so are you going straight or going back into Politics?" And speaking of politics, Matt Robson, Deputy Leader of Jim Anderton's Progressives really loves Cuba. But first, a message from our sponsors: WSD Global Markets Ltd. is one of the fastest growing financial services companies in New Zealand offering clients across the globe exceptional, personalised services with the help of modern trading tools and state-of-the-art trading software which is sophisticated, user-friendly and provides a winning edge. Oh, I'm distracted by this advertisement. This company sounds brilliant. And with the markets in such a turmoil, maybe these guys are the ticket? WSD Global Markets Ltd. is the choice of beginners, experienced individual investors, institutional investors, fund managers and/or corporate institutions looking to safely and securely invest in Foreign Excha

What's a 15 year old to do?

The 15 year old sister of a teen tagger, Pihema Cameron, who died after a confrontation with Bruce Emery, was upset that his sentence wasn't longer than the 4.25 years Mr Emery was given. She said she wanted to rip the man's eyes out. Aquitania said since the killing she did very little with her life. "I just stay home, bum from my dad, get some money, go get stoned, drink alcohol and do whatever," she said. Well, at least she's not vowing to take up a life of tagging. But hearing this, I'm wondering if the parents need to take on board that drugs and alcohol and whatever is not the best way to deal with grief. And given this was a public statement, will we hear from the Police, CYFS or Dr Kiro on this matter? There do seem to be many mysteries to resolve - why was Pihema a tagger, and how often did he do it? What is the family environment like that allows a 15 year old to access booze and drugs? The solo mother was quoted as not even being around to lo

Free Parking

Some drivers deserve their cars crushed, before they crush some-one else. This appears to be a growing theme. In the spirit of equality, it's not just boy racers who have their cars under threat but drivers caught over the limit. This has a charming synchronicity with other efforts to lower the blood/alcohol limits in order to increase revenue and save lives. If the Government wants the trifecta, they need to promise that proceeds from fines and scrap metal will go towards improving the roads. Just like the, err, petrol taxes. Whilst we muse this over, have a look at this video. Imagine what this women could achieve with 6 gin and tonics in her, and a bigger engine: I suspect putting in centre lane barriers to remove the chance of a head-on collision on our state highways would probably make a huge difference to fatalities - it seems to me we have made a great dent in the road toll even as the number of cars on the road increase. What's lagging is the roading infrastructur

Friday night free for all

Is it the end of summer? Surely not. Yet this morning, it was cool enough in my kitchen for me to bring the heater out! At least there are no fires anywhere. The last few Christmases before we moved from Australia to NZ were really smokey from fires burning nearby. I can't imagine what it would be like having a massive fire bearing down on you. Even living in Sydney during the time it was ringed by fire with the sky completely covered in smoke and ash, I never felt unsafe. Maybe it's because the CBD was nearby and fires never really get that close to cities. But to be out in the wilds ... I just can't imagine it. My heart goes out to my prior adopted home and the massive loss of life there.

Evil Undead and University Professors

What do the evil undead and university professors have in common? Almost sounds like I'm leading into a joke, but I'm not. For this post is inspired by the outrage over Catholic Crucifixes that appeared suddenly on the walls of classrooms in a Catholic university. "[A]ll the sudden, without any discussion, without any warning, without any intellectual debate, literally during the middle of the night during a break, these icons appear," he said. Who would have thought it, the one icon that separates the Catholic world from the Christian and secular - the crucifix, appears during the middle of the night in a Catholic university. Dwayne Eugène Carpenter, chair of the romance languages and literatures department and co-director of the Jewish studies program, thinks the the crucifix is divisive . "I think it's naive to believe that affixing crucifixes is going to fan the flames of religious devotion. On the other hand, it can have a negative effect on students

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Banks charge an outrageous amount of money on their credit cards - still around 20%. They have a sob story that goes with that, but the more we hear it, the longer their snouts grow, which suits them as they are generally stuck in a trough. Remember, it's not just interest rates approaching New Zealand's GDP they charge, but they also skim a couple of percent on the turnover. The retailer pays the credit card provider for a bunch of benefits, the key one nowadays being the "buy now" siren call the banks have carefully cultivated since credit cards kicked off in a big way in America in 1950. These costs are incorporated into the sale price. So even when you pay cash, you are contributing to the bank's credit card business. Throw in some ridiculously high annual fees and charges to fund those pathetic "rewards" programmes and you're telling Houston news they don't want to hear. It's not entirely their fault. Three kinds of consumers help fu

Flame Wars

The former Australian Treasurer, Peter Costello was outraged by some remarks on the fires: "To link the death and suffering of bushfire victims to other political events is appalling, heartless and wrong" said Mr Costello, who has lost a Christian friend in the fires. "Those who have suffered deserve ever support and sympathy. It is beyond the bounds of decency to try to make moral or political points out of such a tragedy. He was speaking of Pastor Nalliah who confessed to having a dream that the changes to the abortion laws in Victoria last year have rejected God and instead invited the devil in to work his evil. There are others that are also ready to explain the causes of the bush fires: If seeing is believing, then it's time to accept climate change, writes Freya Mathews. So that's man made global warming ( AGW ) we need to accept, I presume, and her sermon follows suggesting that mankind controls the climate. I'm not so sure about either of those

Thank you George W Bush

Personally, I would have given these guys a medal [ ref ]. Instead they got thrown in jail.  Former President George Bush set things right by commuting their sentence right at the end of his term. On his last full day in office, President Bush commuted the controversial sentences of two former Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting a Mexican drug runner in 2005.  The imprisonment of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean had sparked outcry from critics who said the men were just doing their jobs and were punished too harshly. They had been sentenced to 11- and 12-year sentences, respectively. Let's hope they earn some decent compensation from the inevitable TV appearances, and get their jobs back, if they want them. Bush Commutes Sentences for Two Former Border Patrol Agents

Of Mice and Men

Scientists have managed to lose a couple of mice they infected with the bubonic plague. An American University of Medicine (and Dentistry) have made only one major discovery recently. They discovered the mice were missing. Having thoroughly researched this by watching "I am Legend", "28 days", Dawn of the Dead", "Braindead" and "Resident Evil", I'd have to say the chances of those mice infecting anyone would have to be remote. Next to impossible. I can't see this happening ever again. Mind you, this isn't the first time this has happened, with three mice infected with a deadly virus escaping from the same labs back in 2005. They got sick and died. And then came back as zombie mice. New Zealanders may also recall the lab scientist who contracted meningococcal disease while working in a Wellington laboratory a couple of years ago, and wonder how massive outbreaks of bird flu and other items might just be caused by bad luck.

A very cool kid

A few weeks ago I read the sad story of a young teenager who had tumbled from his bike at one of those riding arenas set up with banks and ramps - in Plimmerton, Wellington I think. He sustained serious head injuries and died, but there was one aspect to the story that should not pass unnoticed. Another teen saw the accident from a passing train, and made the 111 call, not knowing how badly hurt the kid was. The police arrived within 10 minutes and gave first aid, the ambulance arrived later. The outcome was bad, but I was impressed and grateful that there are still a lot of level headed kids out there that were prepared to make the effort to call in emergency services. Good work.

Re-inventing the wheel

New research from The University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education led by Professor Stuart McNaughton has achieved remarkable increases in reading comprehension at seven decile-one schools in south Auckland. Teachers were taught how to use student achievement data and evidence from their own teaching to monitor and improve both their teaching and pupil learning. So let me get this straight: Teachers were taught how to use student achievement data Teachers review the student's progress and evidence from their own teaching and notice what they are teaching that works and improve both their teaching and pupil learning and thus teach better. No sh*t Sherlock. Are you going to copyright that, or can anyone use this amazing revolutionary technique? “The programme recognises that effective teaching is dependent on understanding the strengths and needs of individual students. Is there no end to the wisdom available to us as we make unimaginable leaps in education? It begs the question,

Inflicting Helen on the world

The New Zealand Government is providing strong support for the candidacy of Helen Clark for the position of Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Prime Minister John Key confirmed today. “Helen Clark’s application for this senior position in the United Nations system has the full and formal endorsement of the New Zealand Government,” Mr Key says. Oh great! We're going to inflict Helen Clark on the world. And the National Government is supporting this wonderful idea to ensure that Helen leaves New Zealand. So, rather than letting her fade into obscurity as a feted national icon (to some) - the developing world will have her ruling over them with the power of the UN behind her. Surely NZ could do better than this. Pull the moral high ground or something and talk the UN out of this rather than putting her forward!!! Related Link: Govt supports Helen Clark for United Nations role ~ Scoop Press Release Note: Picture was part of my Helen Clark, Fashion Cr

Not only does he hear us. He feels us...

Disturbing Obama worship on Oprah Winfrey's show. Wednesday’s post-inaugural edition of The Oprah Winfrey Show, taped at a Washington restaurant, overflowed with strange and messianic notions about Obama and how the thrill over him is unanimous. Actor Forest Whitaker summed it up for Oprah: "The light of the New Age is here." Oprah pal Gayle King passed along her agreement with a message that "Not only does he hear us. He feels us. That when I hear Barack Obama, they said, he talks to my soul." You'd almost think Obama was God or something. Or the Borg Queen. Read more: Oprah Show Glows for Obama: 'The Light of the New Age Is Here' ~ NewsBusters

Price of Democracy

'Price of Democracy'; sounds like this is going to be a hugely wrought-out, deep-thinking post doesn't it? Er, not really, because I haven't the time. I was spurred to think about it though by Paul Thomas's opinion piece in today's NZ Herald in which he compares America's journey (somewhat strangely I thought) with that of Bruce Springsteen. You can tell he is another journalist who is not a fan of the war in Iraq and/or George Bush by the following - [...] when America, as it surely will, walks away leaving its foes more or less intact and with precious little to show for the new white headstones in Arlington National Cemetery. "Precious little"? Really? Is he describing Democracy and the right to vote as precious little? Not to me it isn't. And did he think that this democracy would come about about with no bloodshed? Democracy always costs, and most of the time the cost is in human lives. Winston Churchill once famously said, "Democrac

I own your white honky ass

"I own your white honky ass" said President Obama to Mr Olbert Saratova, a Wall Street CEO, as he explained that Wall Street salaries would be capped to a mere $500,000 whilst they lived off government money. "Slap us in chains and call us slaves", complained Mr Saratova who argued that being a CEO is a demanding and skillful job that deserved million dollar bonuses based on their unique skills. "What next, will he expect us to cancel our trust funds and off-shore accounts and start paying tax?" "This is about as close to communism you can get", argued various free market gurus. "If Obama continues to make these kinds of outrageous demands, I think we should pull an Ayn Rand and go live in the Caymen Islands. Let's see how long America lasts without a hedge fund." "We may now be nothing but slaves, but you need us", added Saratova. Please hum along to Saratova's Wall Street Blues: Ah've bin working har

Iraqi Rounding Error

Facts emerge that the number of deaths relating to the US invasion of Iraq to depose Saddam are far lower than the wild claims made by Lancet. Rather than the 650,000 estimated deaths, the actual number appears closer to a much smaller 4,058*. The academic (in this case, a person of learning that hasn't learned much) has been criticised for not fully co-operating with an inquiry. Not fully co-operating is the media's way of saying that the academic (Dr Burnham) refused to explain on what basis he made these kind of numbers up, probably because he has a natural antipathy to receiving a mark of "epic fail". Lancet and a host of other media bodies and 'think tanks' scrambled to explain that it wasn't their fault that they ignored the many other sources that consistently estimated lower figures, and delighted in Dr Burnham's research, as the numbers were very similar to advertising profits. After all, other media sources had claimed 500,000 Iraqi child

Obama Admits Error in Judgment

US President Barack Obama admitted he 'screwed up' with his selection of Tom Daschle to an important government position. "I made an error of judgment about the integrity of a key person in my administration. This will not happen again." In unrelated news another pick of his, Nancy Killefer pulled out of contention for another key role, before this could happen again. In unrelated news Barrack Obama was pleased to announce his intention to reduce America's nuclear defence capability further than the reductions ' SORTed ' in the Moscow Treaty of 2003. "I have made a sound judgment on the intentions and integrity of the leaders of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. I doubt very much they will let us down in any way, and I am sure as we reduce our arsenal, this will convince them not to build on theirs." In unrelated news, Iran moved one step further to improved missile deployment with the launch of a research rocket. In unrelated news, Nort

To err is human

The Pope is being criticised around the world for spreading dangerous ideas. Such ideas must be stamped out to ensure no democratic country ever entertain such nonsense. For example, concepts such as "forgiveness", evidenced when the Pope lifted excommunication on 4 SSPX priests, as an overture of generosity that would allow the SSPX breakaway group (comprising hundreds of priests and thousands of lay members) to repent and return to active participation in the Church. Another dangerous concept the Pope stands accused of is this strange idea of allowing people to hold contrary views. Such dogmatic religious thought as this should not be allowed in any functional democracy. There is some concern that SSPX Bishop Williamson, after calling the Pope a tool of Satan, will reject these strange ideas of "forgiveness" and "freedom of thought" and therefore not repent and atone (strange Catholic concepts we must also be wary of), but then again (dare I say this

Boy Racers

Mr and Mrs Smith returned home after a weekend away to find their house crushed. Previously, a charming three bedroom and study bungalow with carport, it has become a 3 metre by 4 metre compressed block. "Frankly, we are stunned" said Andrew Smith. We had no idea our teenage son had organised a party in our absence. Apparently things got out of hand, the police were called and made the decision to crush the house. The thing is, without a house, we can't even ground him." Neighbours were quick to confirm the party was totally out of control. Old Mrs Beezle from number 66 talked of how wild parties had been going on for years, with nothing being done about it. "For the last 15 years or so, always, around the end of January two balloons were hung out on the letter box, and you just knew it was going to be a noisy night." "And you can't believe the parents didn't know what their kids were up to, they used to organise these parties. It wa

North Korea Reaches Out to West

North Korea is displaying all of the classic signs of a victim of Western Imperialism, and various left wing commenters fear that our continued existence is likely to cause the very understandable reaction of firing an intercontinental missile capable of traveling over 4,000 miles at any number of western targets. "It is obvious to many that the existence of the Gulags such as Guantanamo Bay continues to create a fear reaction with our communist cousin, and I urge Obama to impeach George Bush, disarm all American defence systems and ban Christian religions" said Amnesia International spokesperson Professor Aaron Burr. "Only then, will human rights in North Korea be restored", he added earnestly. North Korean Diplomatic sources ridiculed this idea. "As a key member of the axis of evil, we have a reputation to maintain. We laugh at the United States pathetic attempts to look tough. We threaten first. We the winners." Besides, we had all this spar

Poland's wartime PM & General not murdered before crash

General Sikorski, who died in when his plane crashed into the sea during WW2, has found to have probably not been murdered prior to the crash. At least there's no evidence of murder after all these years. Personally, I don't think the plane crash was an accident, and that it's most likely that the Soviets were involved in some way. After all, an alliance with the West was at stake, the Soviets were being hammered by the Germans and there was this nasty business of thousands of Polish officers turning up dead in previously Soviet controlled forests, looking like they had been executed. And Gen. Sikorski was pressing for an independent investigation. However, if evidence of Soviet sabotage does show up, expect the shit to hit the fan in regards to Polish-Russian relations. WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Forensic tests have turned up no evidence that Poland's exiled World War II leader was murdered before his plane crashed into the sea, according to experts probing a death that