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Showing posts from July, 2009

Friday night free for all

Is it wild and windy at your place? Apologies for the delay. I've been distracted by looking at the draft standard for primary school mathematics . I thought I'd see if my 8 year old could work out the matchstick problem for year 4. We haven't even done 3 times tables, so I'm not surprised that he couldn't. Maybe by the end of the year!

A tale of two little girls

There are times when those who hold political opinions to the left of us accuse those who hold opinions similar to ours of being selfish and uncaring. Sometimes I suspect they maybe right. This comment on Kiwi blog pushed a button in me and I responded. The original commenter was polite enough but some of the other comments are beyond reprehensible, vile racist trash. Anyway a true story for what its worth When we got married my wife and I bought a modest house in a modest street in a modest neighbourhood to start our family. A quiet suburban street with starter outers and a few older families of more modest means. When our eldest was about three Housing Corporation in its wisdom decided to buy houses in modest neighbourhoods such as ours to try and eliminate the state housing ghettos and integrate the inhabitants of such into lower middle class neighbourhoods. And a family of sorts moved in across the road. The husband was an alcoholic -rarely seen by us and never seen sobe

Calls for Maori to be compulsory in schools

Willie Jackson has written an opinion piece arguing for Maori to be made a compulsory subject in all New Zealand schools. Why compulsory? Well, the language is still in danger of dying despite all the millions spent on it, so the education system has to step in. Maori language must be a core subject in the curriculum just like English and mathematics, rather than an add-on. I’ve heard all the nutty arguments about why it’s wrong for Maori to be compulsory, but the reality is English is compulsory, as is maths, so why shouldn’t Maori be too? Maori is our indigenous language and an official language alongside English. Not a particularly strong argument. Sign language is also an official NZ language, and no one is calling for it to be taught to every school child. No person is seriously disadvantaged by not learning Maori - the same cannot be said of the other two compulsory subjects. Literacy and numeracy is vital for doing well in a modern country, if you can't count or rea

Goose Gander and Golden Eggs

Given citizens now have all financial information deemed "open to the public" when will all of the Minister's tax payer funded expense claims (a private fund of $14,800 per year per member) be opened to the public? MP's conveniently exempt themselves from the same scrutiny, with Parliamentary Service able to ignore any OIA around Minister's private perks (and a host of other requests for that matter). And notice a member of the public doesn't have the capability or resource to find out what these personal figures are and simply announce the data "in the interests of transparency" Another case of Goose, Gander* and golden eggs. *Trivia: The gander of course is a male goose. Thus the phrase "What's good for the goose is good for the gander", which is perhaps an idiom that what is good for the female should therefore apply equally to the male, but is more broadly interpreted as what's good for one is therefore as good for ano

The Cost of Democracy

A few people are complaining about the 9 million it's going to cost for the referendum on smacking. The only point they really have is that we could have easily saved heaps of money by holding it with the election. Blame Labour for that. Meanwhile, MP's have just put in their expense claims for the last 6 months. It's around 4 million. That's heading towards 8 million for the year. If that's what it costs, then that's what it costs.

Not theirs to give

Oh dear, Paula Bennett has released personal information on two Labour lackeys that were making their case for their right to receive more entitlements from the tax payers, via the Government. I admit there is some relevance to knowing what those current entitlements already are, at least in a generic sense. However, I am very uncomfortable the Government using their power in this way. The information was not actually theirs to release. It's not theirs to give. In the same way the Government should not have the right to request a tax audit from the IRD, or declare how much tax a person pays, simply because that person takes the government to task on policy. The ends do not justify the means, and the Government could have used many other legitimate and moral approaches to debating with these Labour flunkies. Perhaps that's the other annoying part of this sorry affair. A principled and thoughtful government could still have debated this issue and exposed the underly

26 dollars - a reasonable offer

I scored a glimpse of the DomPost today - a few bits and pieces on the train trip into work. The article I saw suggested a modest cut in CO2 is going to cost $26 per person per week, or around $1350 per person per year. Going for a reduction along the lines of what the Greens and related tax-the-weather groups bring the figure up to about double that number. Except what do they really mean by "per person"? I haven't seen the details of where and how the tax is levied. They certainly don't mean every New Zealander will pay their fair share. There will be fine print. Beneficiaries don't actually pay any tax in real terms, and wouldn't have the money to do so. It's a lot of money. Expect to see benefits increase to match the surcharge, and the tax burden fall on middle class New Zealanders. So it's more than $26 per week per person for middle NZ. Can we also expect to see these figures quoted "per family"? For a family of four,

Families are fascist

Mr Tips mentioned the quality of journalism we see from Paul Holmes, as he got stuck into Cheryl Savil and Bob McCoskrie about the smacking referendum. His line of questioning was aggressive, bordering on abusive. One wonders how he can be so judgmental. Kiwiblog has the followup discussion on Paul Holmes on smacking . Some of the comments illustrate the problem in this debate. From Phil U: “..and of course the parent/child relationship is an imbalance of power.. ..it is really fascist in nature..” Maybe his family. His words sum up the warped viewpoint from those that equate a smack in discipline to child abuse. Yes, there is an imbalance of power. Also of maturity, responsibility and duty. Well, in most cases. And don't forget to bring the element of love into the picture of a family. What a comment. From Hubris: “Violence is the expression of physical force against self or other, compelling action against one’s will on pain of being hurt.” Trying to make it abo

Sue Bradford Proposes Law Change

In an amazing turn about, Sue Bradford is suggesting a radical law change. "A new study conclusively proves that parents who discipline their children produce better children in all important categories - better educational results, better jobs, lower crime rates, better incomes, and greater health and well being. There is only one solution to this information. We must change the law to make it mandatory for parents to discipline their children. Any child NOT being disciplined by parents will be investigated by the police, and if the child is found to look in any way naughty, without evidence of correction, they will be prosecuted under the full extent of the law. Parents with good children have nothing to fear. The law solves all issues, and now that I have revised my opinion, it is obvious that this is the only opinion to have. The anti-smacking lobby were idiots for only asking not to be criminalised, they should have pushed to enshrine their parenting style as the only

Swedish Utopia

An important element of living in a socialist utopia like Sweden is a suspension of reality. New Zealand is well placed to follow suit. Lindsay Mitchell explains . And speaking of utopia, Lucia's comment reinforces this point : I’m at a loss to understand why NZ seems hell-bent on passing legislation that pretends we are some sort of utopia. Ban smacking and all forms of child discipline and NZ’s a better place… no, children are still being abused and murdered here. But good parents now do all their discipline in private so that they won’t be reported. And then this – deny the fact that everyone has a point at which they could lose control. Sophie Elliot’s mother could have easily flipped out and murdered Weatherston when she saw what he had done to her. Should she and others like her be deprived of a defence because some murderers who clutch at straws misuse it? Weatherston misused provocation and it backfired on him. And I'll sum up by quoting myself on the Friday Ni

Never an Excuse?

Quote of the day by Chuck Bird : I wonder about the sincerity of the politicians who what to change the law so no one can be found guilty of a lesser crime than murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Using that logic the crime of infanticide should be wiped off the books and anyone male or female even if pregnant who kills a child under ten should not be able to get off with infanticide which carries a maximum penalty of three years. The law make no sense. If the woman’s mental state partially excuses the killing of a child why should if not also apply if the victim is an adult. Perhaps it's not just battered wives the "end provocation" lobby should be chasing?

Burglarly Tip #45

If you engage in a bit of break and entering, being noticed by the neighbour is an occupational hazard. Sometimes, they call the police to advise a suspicious character they cannot recognise is attempting to gain unlawful entry. No worries. This is where Burglary Tip #45 comes in handy. When the police arrive and ask to see your identification, start by refusing outright. Before they gather their thoughts, swear and cuss at them and claim this is racial profiling. Raise your voice. Threaten them with lawsuits. Perhaps convince them of your sanity by suggesting your mate the President will send the CIA around and whup their asses. Importantly, tell them they are obviously stupid to accept the word of a neighbour , who is probably a bigoted white trash redneck scumbag. Doesn't matter if their name is Miguel. They are the worst. The police will be forced to realise that a burglar would never attempt to pretend to be the rightful resident of a house, and quickly retrea

Friday night free for all

I've just picked up my 8 year old from soccer practice at one of the local gyms. It is cold ! Might have to crank up the fire tonight. I am so glad I don't have to go out again tonight. I did the unusual thing of commenting on one of David Farrar's blog threads. So has Andrei , though he's more prolific there than me. Normally I don't comment there, as comments do tend to get lost due to the sheer number of commenters, comments and threads. But this provocation thing is really annoying me. More to the point, the National Government acting like clueless idiots is annoying me. I really had hoped for something better. What does everyone think of competency tests for politicians before they take office? A simple IQ test would do, and then that way, those that have trouble differentiating between bludgeoning someone with a piece of wood and a simple smack on the bottom would be weeded out and prevented from causing any harm before they even got started! Pipe

Removal of provocation defence stupid [UPDATED]

Living in New Zealand is like living in the Twilight Zone. Manipulation of the public has been honed to a fine art. Case in point - the desire of some to remove the defence of provocation because it has been used to justify killing homosexuals who proposition the wrong guy. But until the Weatherston defence, there wasn't enough public outrage to justify the law change. However, the daily updates of the apparently completely sane Weatherston trying to make out that Sophie Elliot made him torture and mutilate her to death has sent most of New Zealand over the edge. Rather than asking why on earth the Judge involved allowed such a defence when it was patently ridiculous, she allowed Weatherston to make a mockery of her court for five days. Thus giving those who really loathe the idea that some men might kill another man who is coming on to them a reason, finally, to remove the defence of provocation. Nevermind the fact that if Sophie's mother had flipped out and murdered We

Every-one uses the defence of provocation

Provocation is all the rage at the moment. Admittedly, it's seen as a Clayton's excuse, but if I've seen it once, I must have seen it 216 times. The person that provoked this provocation was not actually Weatherston, although he did take a stab at it. It was some other dude that wasn't too happy with a come-on from a gay person, and felt sufficiently provoked to kill him, and justify this as a backdoor defence against murder. To complicate matters, what appears to be an over-reaction may have been provoked by some date rape drugs. If that rumour is true, then provoked he was. Then the Greens and Labour maintain they were provoked into running an official non-binding ad-hoc meeting in Bellamy's to discuss their bank fees. Apparently, National weren't suitably provoked into investigating the Banks declining profits, and Labour are now running with scissors to prove just how wild and dangerous they can become when callously provoked by being ignored. The c

Manslaughter

Clayton Guilty. I can publish this now. The case of Clayton Weatherston should be a slam dunk. He brings a knife to the murder. He locks the door. He stabs Sophie Elliot over 200 times. When the knife broke he took the time to get another implement, possibly two. He then mutilates her. So he pleads manslaughter and he makes his case. The defence will be trying hard to make it look like provocation, and that argument is surely irrelevant given the above. Self defence might be another angle, and one Clayton would be entitled to plead had Sophie actually attacked him. I think the hundreds of stab wounds and mutilation destroys that argument even quicker - so no hope there and not surprising the defence ignored that path. Really, the only hope the defence has is to confuse the jury, to make them forget the facts. To translate his statements like "[I killed her for] The emotional pain she has caused me over the past year", not as premeditation but as a "reason

Labour and Greens vote themselves into Government

Labour, Greens and Progressives announce that they are going to hold a non-binding enquiry into bank profits. These are the same people that mocked the idea of a non-binding referendum. Or do they think they are the government of the day? At least with the referendum, it took 300,000 signatures to trigger additional expenditure of tax payer funds. In this situation, it just takes a revolt from the parties in opposition. A letter had been sent to the Speaker seeking appropriate parliamentary logistical support for the inquiry, David Cunliffe said. “This is a serious inquiry by parliamentarians on behalf of New Zealanders. We believe it is appropriate support, including a venue, is made available, so that the public and media can attend.” Do they have a mandate to spend tax payer funds in this way? "On behalf of New Zealanders"??? This sets an interesting precedent if National lie back and think of England. Perhaps Labour and the Greens will then seek to announce p

Whats Funnier Than A Non-Binding Referendum?

Labour, Greens and Progressives announce that they are going to hold a non-binding enquiry into bank profits. These are the same people that mocked the idea of a non-binding referendum. Or do they think they are the government of the day? At least with the referendum, it took 300,000 signatures to trigger additional expenditure of tax payer funds. In this situation, it just takes a revolt from the parties in opposition. A letter had been sent to the Speaker seeking appropriate parliamentary logistical support for the inquiry, David Cunliffe said. “This is a serious inquiry by parliamentarians on behalf of New Zealanders. We believe it is appropriate support, including a venue, is made available, so that the public and media can attend.” Do they have a mandate to spend tax payer funds in this way? "On behalf of New Zealanders"??? This sets an interesting precedent if National lie back and think of England. Perhaps Labour and the Greens will then seek to announce p

American Jetstar

It's not exactly Flight of the Conchords, but "United Breaks Guitars" is proving to be a 'smash' hit, and United are now singing a different tune. Related Link: United Breaks Guitars The actual you-tube video below the break.

Land of the Free

Aren’t school uniforms expensive these days? I know, I just paid $170 for an AC/DC ticket. --ZenTiger ------------------- The current lesson we can learn from school is that the government encourages lying. It is clear that “free education” requires a mandatory donation. Students looking for a genuine example of an oxymoron need look no further than “mandatory donation”. Living in a culture that treats such lies as “the way things are” is ultimately destructive. It’s time for a return to honesty – if schools need the money, then they must henceforth request pledges for “supplementary fees”. This will clarify the true position of the cost of education; it will mean all parents pay their fair share, rather than bolstering those that rightfully chose not to donate; and we will be contravening the United Nations mandate that countries provide free education to children and teens. Going against the United Nations is a good thing. Firstly, it tells the UN we are more interest

The Hangers of the Hang-Em High Brigade

The SST editorial wants to hang the "hang-em high brigade". The editor makes a couple of useless points about Dame Sian not having a right to free speech because she is criticised by some for her suggestion of letting people out of prison solely for the reason there is no space. The editor either stupidly or conveniently confuses the right to free speech as being a right not to be criticised. In criticising the criticism, they reveal themselves to display the usual combination of intolerance, elitism and arrogance of the left wing intelligensia, such as it is in this country. They think if they make their argument in cool measured tones instead of the impassioned ranting style more characteristic of the right (although communists such as Trotter share this skill) they will come across as sounding far more reasonable. They don't. A bad idea is still a bad idea, no matter how it is packaged. They re-summarise Dame Sian's proposition with a handy slogan: "

Curses - Al Gore Might Be Right

I have to admit, this latest pronouncement from Al Gore about Man-Made Global Warming might be right on the money. Given he charges up to $175,000 per speaking engagement, I really mean that. The other day, in a speech given in Oxford before the Smith School World Forum on Enterprise and the Environment, the former American vice president, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and Oscar winner likened the battle against Climate Change (aka Man-Made Global Warming) to the fight decades ago against the Nazis. He's probably right. I think we have to give credit where credit is due, even if he is an environmental fascist. Thanks for the link from AcidComments over at The Briefing Room: The fight against Hitler, Mark II Source: Ron Smith and Global Warming Alarmism Part II: 26 dollars - a reasonable offer

Logan's Run

The euthanasia debate is heating up again. As if the right to kill yourself is something that ought to be enshrined in law. But whenever I think of euthanasia, I think of Logan's Run, a TV programme from the 70's that explored the concept of euthanasia taken to an extreme, that life wasn't worth living once a person turned thirty years old. But rather than suicide being a choice, the state terminated those who reached this hallowed age. Once the state sanctions assisted suicide, all bets are off as to how far it will go. Logan's Run shows us just how far it could go. Related Link: Date with Death ~ Dominion Post

No justice is no justice at all

The Chief Justice of New Zealand, Dame Sian Elias has issued her prescription for justice. There is one point in particular that I have issue with: [42] My last suggestion may be controversial. I do not know whether it is practical or politically acceptable, but I think it needs to be considered. We need to look at direct tools to manage the prison population if overcrowding is not to cause significant safety and human rights issues. Other countries use executive amnesties to send prisoners into the community early to prevent overcrowding. Such solutions will not please many. And I am not well placed to assess whether they are feasible. But the alternatives and the costs of overcrowding need to be weighed. This idea shows a weird disconnect from the point of justice. This idea follows from her argument that society is to blame for these people in the first place. So she wants to let them out into society. Give them amnesty. Cancel their sentences. Forgive their sins, even if they

Friday night free for all

Friday again. It's the end of the school holidays. Term 3 will be great! The NZ Government has signed an agreement with Australia to allow the transfer of superannuation from Australian accounts to Kiwi Saver. There is this expectation of billions of dollars pouring across the ditch. Except somehow, I don't think so. I have money in an Australian super account. And I'm not moving it across to Kiwi Saver, because I think that over the long term, it will do far better in my Australian account than in Kiwi Saver. I have no incentive to move it over, as I'm not allowed to access it until I'm 65, no matter what side of the Tasman it's on. So, the money is staying where it is. Anyone else decide the same?

End of Month Clearance Sale at Rimutaka Prison

Advertisement ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pick up a couple of prisoners at the Rimutaka Prison Sale. Rapists at 10% off and thieves are a steal at $300 each. Buy 5 pedophiles and get one free (offer not available to families with dogs). Sale ends Sunday. Everything MUST go! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias has pointed out that the prisons are a wee bit full , and has come up with a fantastic idea to reduce overcrowding. Said the Chief Justice: "We could billet Graeme Burton at my place. I have a spare room. Indeed, depending upon how it goes with Clayton Weatherston, I could probably fit him in the study next to my kitchen knives." If that doesn't sort the problem, I predict the next 50 cases I try every-one will be INNOCENT. So if you want to bludgeon your attacker to death in self defence, now's the time to do it! What a great id

Screw the Environment, Have a Steak

So saith Peta campaigner Ashley Fruno who has got herself worked up into a lather over Sam Neil. "And just what has Sam Neil done to attract Ms Fruno's ire?" , I hear you ask. hmmm Well, he has appeared alongside a chimpanzee in an advertisement for red meat - that's what! My guess is that Sam Neil likes to eat although I have no idea on how often red meat appears on his personal menu. But to eat Sam Neil has to work and performing in front of a camera is what Sam Neil does. That is how he puts tofu on the table to feed his loved ones. Something often seen as criminal in the eyes of over privileged Liberal activists.

Emancipating Youth

Is this really about the youth vote, or about the left’s power base? I'm vaguely aware some Labour Party "thinker" recently suggesting children get the vote, exercised via their parents. Ripples across the blogosphere - I haven't seen the source. [ Found it - Labour MP Phil Twyford] This idea could merely be a springboard for the frequently raised idea in lefty circles of lowering the voting age to say, 16. Start off with a suggestion that will not fly in order to finally compromise on the desired result. The left would do quite well out of this change. It's gerrymandering using demographics rather than geography. This is not isolated to New Zealand – lowering the voting age is has long been an idea pushed by the left worldwide, and has met with some success in a few countries. Then those countries are used as a justification for us to follow suit. No need to think, just follow. We’ve been there before It's a repeat of the 1970's and eno

All browsers are not created equal

Actually I'm sure you all know that - it is quite revealing to look at the stats for the various websites I am associated with and look at the browser usage which varies quite considerably from site to site. On this site for example FIREFOX is the clear favourite accounting for 51% of the visitors. With another site I am associated with it is Internet explorer which dominates with 62% of the visitors using that. Over 20% of the visitors for that site are still on the dreaded MSIE 6 which is such a pain when developing web pages as is MSIE 7 to a lesser extent since they obey their own rules (1) - meaning of course a beautifully laid out web page turns to custard when viewed in these browsers and has to be tweaked to get it looking right usually to its detriment in other browsers. Anyway below are screen prints a picture displayed in six browsers using the exact same html. The difference is remarkable. What has happened here is a large image has been resized using HTML to a sma

Read aloud to your children

The most important thing a parent can do to help their child do well at school is to read aloud to that child. And not just every once in a while, but regularly. Maybe do it as part of your bed time routine. Reading aloud to our children has been my husband's responsibility ever since our oldest was very little. One of the interesting side effects of reading to the children has been their very large vocabulary. People used to comment, especially when my youngest was really little (age 3) at the really "big words" he used. I was just reminded of this fact when reading one of the brochures on Jim Trelease's site. He said in Ten Facts Parents Should Know About Reading : LISTENING comprehension comes before reading comprehension. You must hear a word before you can say it or read and write it. If you’ve never heard the word “enormous” in a meaningful way, you won’t understand it when it’s time to read or write it. There’s a kind of “word reservoir” in a child’s bra

A couple of stories

If a last-minute legal challenge fails, from Tuesday, gun owners in the state of Tennessee will be allowed to carry their weapons in a lot more public places. It used to be that only the bad guys packed. Gunning for a law change "The US budget deficit has moved above $1 trillion for the first time - with three months of the financial year remaining. And last week a senior US Democrat said that legislators must be willing to consider the possibility of a second economic stimulus package." Those Democrats never do things by half do they? "Researchers at the University of Sussex have discovered that cats use a "soliciting purr" to overpower their owners and garner attention and food." Like putty in their paws .

BS Index

"This is the last chance the government have got to make something work - if it doesn't work then there's nothing else one can do." [Yeah, right. Until the next tax payer funded campaign.] "In the end I think legislation will be required if we're going to nail the problem of obesity." [Yep, legislation is the solution to every problem. smacking, eating, drinking, driving, and even breathing (or at least expelling CO2] Another Global Epidemic has been declared, with the epicentre in government headquarters around the world, and also here in NZ, to create a tsunami of government intervention using more of our tax dollars. Like all brilliant government ideas, the purpose of collecting data is to justify growing the government to solve a problem, even if it isn't really a problem. This is yet another example. Ozy Mandias explains how all the hard training has helped the All Blacks come closer to realizing their dream of taking the World Cup

Rowan on democracy

Jenny Rowan, Mayor of Kapiti Coast on one hand said this of the smacking referendum: "The decision on smacking had already been made, and revisiting it is a waste of money. The Prime Minister is not going to change anything." and on the same page of the Kapiti Observer [pg 4, July 13, 2009] said this of the government decision to cut the Community Adult Education budget: "I'm very pleased to see the community fight back to stop night class cuts around the country and I want to lend my support to this campaign. Well Jenny, you are just wasting people's time and money by fighting back. If I can quote you, the decision on community education has already been made. The Prime Minister is not going to change anything. Maybe. Or consider this another way Jenny. You are exercising your democratic right and a whole lot of tax payer funds (in your time, your salary and your position) to fight for something you believe in. So extend the same courtesy to the peo

Prejudicing the trial

The Solicitor General's office is investigating whether to take bloggers to court over commenting over the current trial of Clayton Weatherston. Apparently, jurors are likely to ignore the evidence presented during the trial and turn instead to blogs to get the full story. Really? Perhaps the problem here is not so much bloggers, but the media who run with every small snippet of information daily. You don't think they are trying to instigate discussion? I understand the reasoning behind not wanting to prejudice the trial, but Pandora's box was opened long ago, and we need to be very careful how far we go in stamping out the right to express an opinion publicly. Much of what is being discussed is only what the media are reporting - and the jurors are likely to consider what they see and hear first hand to be far more relevant. I thought jurors are instructed not to discuss the trial, read news stories or do their own "research" on the internet. Easier to

Presidential infallibility?

Leftoid progressives can be unintentionally funny on occasion and this is one of those occasions. Newsweek guest columnist Kathleen Kennedy Townsend asks the question " Is Obama more Catholic than the Pope? " and concludes "Without a Doubt". And how does the good Kathleen Kennedy Townsend arrive at this astonishing conclusion I hear you ask? Easy In truth, though, Obama's pragmatic approach to divisive policy (his notion that we should acknowledge the good faith underlying opposing viewpoints) and his social-justice agenda reflect the views of American Catholic laity much more closely than those vocal bishops and pro-life activists. When Obama meets the pope tomorrow, they'll politely disagree about reproductive freedoms and homosexuality, but Catholics back home won't care, because they know Obama's on their side. In fact, Obama's agenda is closer to their views than even the pope's. Got that? If you are puzzled by this reasoning let m