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Showing posts from January, 2010

The Wellsford dog massacre and tougher penalties

More is emerging about this "dog massacre" thing. When this story first emerged I had my doubts - we have had a raft of animal cruelty stories over the past few weeks - stories that churn the stomaches of those of us with normal human empathy. But this one seems different . But thirty dogs being kept by an isolated individual living alone in a truck seems like an out of control situation and when it comes down to it, if they hadn't have been shot its seems highly probable the SPCA or the Police would have eventually have had to do the deed. And if they had how then would have the story been reported? The reality is for human beings to function and prosper in this world we have to kill things and we do it every day. City people can divorce themselves from this reality as they select their shrink wrapped lamb chops from the super market freezer but never-the-less animals die that we may live every day. In any case John Key is going to consider fast tracking legi

Sunday of the the Prodigal Son

Today is the second Sunday of the Triodian. Last Sunday , the Sunday of the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee , I wrote on how the Eastern Church spends the Four Sundays before Lent by preparing us for it. For the unchurched, the reason why we go to Church is for healing, not so much for the physical healing of our bodies but for the spiritual healing of our souls, a far more important matter, and something we all are in need of no matter how far along our journeys we may be. Today's Gospel reading is Luke 15:11-32 , the parable of the Prodigal Son, and hence today is called Prodigal Son Sunday. This is a parable deep and full of meaning but the lesson and the thing the Church wants us to reflect upon today is contained in the hymn we will sing today during the Divine Liturgy I have recklessly forgotten Your glory, O Father; And among sinners I have scattered the riches which You had given me. Therefore, I cry to You like the Prodigal: "I have sinned before You, O

Flabby Websites

I am so glad we don't do advertisements on this blog. There's been a fair few websites I've visited recently that run advertisements down the sidebar, in the middle of news articles and across the top page. And a fair few of those (or perhaps the ones I am unable to zone out of my mind) show flab, fat and pale white skin.  After getting an eyeful of the before and the promise of the after, one presumably sends money in exchange for pills or a mysterious non-surgical stomach stapling product that requires monthly payments. The result might be lean, ripped and muscular men, or toned, athletic and shapely woman, but it's all just too much information when it's on every fourth web page. I haven't seen any enticements for steroids though, but what do you reckon with these photos?  Surely, impossible even with 12 eggs in every meal? So don't worry, NZC will stay advertisement free when it comes to weight loss products. Is that good news? Well, this me

No Blair apology - the BBC seems disappointed

The Iraq war should be a dead issue, last week they hanged Chemical Ali , an event that went virtually unnoticed in the wider world. And yet he was a monster who amongst his other crimes gassed 5000 people in the town of Halabja . Virtually nobody mourns his passing. Meanwhile in London Tony Blair is being grilled by yet another inquiry into his role in the events that saw Chemical Ali, and his Cousin Saddam Hussein bought to justice. Its a circus outside of course - the usual suspects accusing Tony Blair of being a war criminal whilst seemingly oblivious of the crimes against humanity committed by the regime he help to overthrow and the war criminals he helped bring to justice. The BBC begins its reportage Tony Blair's appearance in front of the Iraq inquiry was marked by his determination to justify his decision to take Britain into the war on Iraq in 2003. There was no mea culpa moment and no apology. He made a brief admission about being "sorry" about the d

Stealing from the poorest

Charity is a big business, and there is always the thought in your mind when you give money to a worthy cause how much of it actually gets used for the purpose for which it is given. There is a vivid passage in "Slaughterhouse Five" where Billy Pilgrim is woken up by his doorbell, looks out the window and sees a cripple on his doorstep, another at the house across the street and a limousine parked up the road. He knows it is a scam and the man in the limo is using cripples to sell Christmas Cards which will never arrive. so he calls the police. And haven't we all been caught this way. And we all know this, several times a week I get called by someone who is raising money for this or that worthy cause. And the person on the end of the line is often being paid for doing it - out of the money collected. I don't blame them for that - they need the work. But very little of the money collected in this manner can actually be used for the purported purpose for which it

Friday Night Free for All

Another self apponted spokesman for what New Zealanders want

I hate single issue fanatics, especially when papers like the Herald give them column space. Todays Herald has one Dr George Thomson, from Otago University, Wellington, calling on the Government to take action over smoking - based upon an article he has published in the New Zealand Medical Journal. "There's now a need for politicians to embrace and act on the idea of a foreseeable and planned end to tobacco sales through a predicable timetable by 2020. The public wants more defined action to reduce smoking, and not a series of incremental steps ." In other words more bans. Well I'm "the public" and I don't want more bans. The rationale behind all of this is based upon statistics the good Dr Thompson is bandying about. According to him About 21 per cent of New Zealanders smoked, causing more than 4000 deaths a year and $1.5 billion in health costs. .Well apart from the fact I doubt these numbers are well founded the sad reality is about twenty-eig

Goff doffs his cap

Labour leader Phil Goff has called for a cap on public service chief executive wages so they do not get paid more than the prime minister, who is currently on $393,000 a year. He also attacked "bludgers" who evade the top tax rate or rip off ACC and welfare. It's not clear if he had changed topics or was still getting stuck into the public service executives. What next? Bring back the 60% tax rate? Is Goff even slightly embarrassed his government had instigated 5% automatic pay rises for top Government earners when they were running the show? Mr Goff said even the Conservatives in Britain were proposing the same sort of cap. That would be "the same sort of cap" that's actually different . Initially, I thought this idea stupid, and perhaps many on the right will agree. Then I thought through my own personal preference for shrinking Government and getting them to focus only on core issues. Attacking the government in this way may yield the sa

Once we were Warriors - now we are whiners

Professor Rawiri Taonui, head of the School of Maori and Indigenous Studies, at the University of Canterbury, is at it again. Fresh from complaining about Avatar recycling " indigenous stereotypes " he is now complaining about the new Air New Zealand cabin crew uniforms. According to him Maori symbols such as the koru on the Trelise Cooper-designed uniforms did not treat the cultural symbols with respect. "It's way too busy and inelegant," he said. "It's obviously been drawn by someone who doesn't appreciate the culture or understand the deeper symbolism." Taonui said the Maori symbols on the uniforms each had different meanings and should not be randomly mixed together. "When you look at traditional Maori sculpture ... each symbol is quite distinct," he said. "With [the uniform], they're sort of thrown together in seemingly no pattern." He was happy for koru and other symbols to be used on clothing, provi

The psychiatrist is in (5c)

Being a world famous blogger in a very small corner of New Zealand, I often get letters and emails seeking my sage advice. I have decided to publish some of these letters (hiding the surname) because it would seem the issues raised are actually very common to many people, and I trust such advice would be beneficial to our readers who find themselves in a similar situation. Dear Zen I have been holding down a part time job for a few months now, and I see that the minimum wage is at least $12.75 per hour, with a proposal to get it to $15.00 per hour supported by many intelligent people, such as Jeanette Fitzsimmons. My current employer on the other hand only pays around $8 per hour. What do you suggest I do?

American footballer throws pro abortioners into a spin

This is great -Tim Tebow is a top quarterback who has set college football alight. The thing is when his mother was carrying him she became very ill and was advised to have an abortion - obviously she didn't take that advice and equally obviously Tim Tebow is glad she didn't. And now he is to appear in a pro life advertisement to be played during the super bowl. And boy oh boy has that got some people into a tizz. Get this from a Washington Post opinion writer . Abortion rights groups are angry that CBS will run a pro-life ad during the Super Bowl from the rabidly homophobic and anti-abortion group Focus on the Family. Few have actually seen the 30-second spot. But we know that it will feature football phenom Tim Tebow, whose mother chose to ignore her doctor's advice to terminate her pregnancy. Did you catch that? Ms. Tebow was presented with a choice. She was a missionary in the Philippines when she was stricken with amoebic dysentery. Doctors feared for he

Breeding Dangerous Animals [Updated]

Is it the animal, or the breeder that is to blame? We were discussing dog attacks on the previous post. The points about overly aggressive breeds are well noted. There's another angle to this debate as well though that has me fuming. I think this stems from the surge in stories of cruel and evil owners, and how they contribute to the problem. It doesn't just happen with animals though, which makes it all the more sickening. Have a read of this and think:

"Aggressive dogs were more a result of training than breed" - Sure they are

This dog is a Shih Tzu, a very aristocratic breed of dog, beloved of the Chinese imperial family for millenia. The thing is have you ever heard of a child being mauled by a Shih tzu? Or ever read of someone feeding kittens to one ? Of course not, these dogs love children, love playing and are generally not much of a problem at all. the worst thing they might do is to chew up the living room rug. They still have to be registered and micro chipped just like any other dog though. And they are since the people who own such dogs are almost universally law abiding people. On the other hand this is a pit bull, a dog which has been getting bad press in the last few days. Apart from the ghastly kitten story, there have been two children severely mauled by these animals in the past week. And this is not a new phenomona, the reason why we have dog control laws is there have been multiple incidents involving these creatures and innocents going back decades. Why anyone would want to o

The rats are leaving the sinking ship

This just in - from Andrew Weaver , an IPCC lead author and warmist. A senior Canadian climate scientist says the United Nations' panel on global warming has become tainted by political advocacy, that its chairman should resign, and that its approach to science should be overhauled. Andrew Weaver, a climatologist at the University of Victoria, says the leadership of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has allowed it to advocate for action on global warming, rather than serve simply as a neutral science advisory body. "There's been some dangerous crossing of that line," said Weaver on Tuesday, echoing the published sentiments of other top climate scientists in the U.S. and Europe this week. "Some might argue we need a change in some of the upper leadership of the IPCC, who are perceived as becoming advocates," he told Canwest News Service. "I think that is a very legitimate question." Now the interesting thing about this is, a

Phil Goff - Santa Claus to Ordinary Kiwis

Danyl suggests that Goff is busy trying to fool New Zealanders that Labour is not out of touch with Brash's mainstream Kiwi: The point is that Labour doesn’t need to employ marketing tricks to dupe ‘ordinary’ New Zealanders into thinking they represent them, since (in theory, at least) they actually DO represent them.

Ridiculous - the SAS are fighting men and we wouldn't want it any other way

This storm in a teacup over the photographs of Willie Apiata in Kabul is revealing. According to TVNZ the Government will get a grilling over our role in Afghanistan when it resumes sitting next month. And for outright lunacy read this from John Minto on the topic. Political activist John Minto said New Zealand's most decorated living soldier Willie Apiata was "no hero" compared to three peace activists who attacked Marlborough's Waihopai spy base. "The real heroes of Afghanistan are the three Kiwis who popped the dome two years ago," he said speaking at a protest today (Jan 23) outside the spy base, where up to 40 banner-waving demonstrators shouted "close Waihopai down". Mr Minto said that Corporal Apiata, who won the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan for rescuing a wounded comrade under enemy fire, "was no hero compared to Sam, Adrian and Peter". For what its worth - an attack of Western Civilization came out of Afghanistan. To b

Books that screw up the world?

Peter at NotPC is doing one of those "Top 10 lists" and his particular one is " 15 books that will always stick with you ". Obviously not library books then , because you have to take those back. For that matter, I'm not sure you can borrow 15 in one go. Anyway, here's my top 10. Feel free to make up the other 5:

Worrying News just in from the Guardian

World's glaciers continue to melt at historic rates Meanwhile some better glacier news may be found here And if you are still confused about where we are at with climate Change then this article in yesterdays Herald is unlikely to help you. It is merely a regurgitation of the talking points true believers have learned by rote and is a somewhat tired rendition of them in the question/answer format beloved by Government propagandists and loathed by those with brains since the questions are never the ones we want answered. Anyway we all know the next really big story in Climate Change is on its way and it wont be about Glaciers, Corals or the Amazon rain forest- no it will be about this man and the ethics of his financial dealings . Indeed the linked story is the top story in the BBC's Environment section at time of posting. And that has to be worrying news for him.

German Homeschoolers seek Political Asylum

In the 1930's, Hitler's Germany outlawed home-schooling. All children had to be educated by the State, any who were not were a threat to State hegemony. Post-war, this law was not enforced but remained on the books. Home-schooling, while not common in Germany, nevertheless slowly grew. Until 2006 that is. But even then a marked sea-change in the government’s attitude was underway, and by 2006, the succeeding Education Minister K. Horstmann, made clear its policy. He warned homeschooling families: “The education administration in future will also not recognize so-called homeschooling and act in proportionate measure considering the individual case and circumstances.” Proportionate measure has meant fines, threats of prison, armed police storming families' homes to snatch children in the middle of the night. One family has fled to the US and is currently awaiting a verdict on their request for political asylum. "If the political asylum application is granted it will

Uh oh, Here we go again

This has become an annual ritual - Gay Activists propose a Gay Pride march in Moscow, the Mayor opposes it, using language guaranteed to inflame 'progressives" and refuses a permit. 2010 Round 1: Mayor vows to stop 'satanic' gay parade The cities refusal to issue permits for Gay Parades is being fought out in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg which unless I'm very much mistaken will evenually rule in favor of the activists. The final Round for 2010 will take place on the 29 th of May, when the Parade will go ahead with a handful of noisemakers, some if not most of whom will be imports there to make a splash as the inevitable clashes with the more unruly elements of Moscow society express their opinions on this event. And the Guardian along with the BBC will sniffily report the clashes as evidence Russian Homophobia. Its all quite boringly predictable and there will be a replay next year.

More traffic safety silliness

This one comes from Australia and concerns singer John williamson Williamson, in Tamworth for the annual country music festival, raised the ire of police on Saturday morning for remaining in the back of his ute unrestrained after a cavalcade along the main street of the town. Alongside him was a friend, who was also unrestrained. The driver of the ute, believed to be Williamson's partner Meg Doyle, copped a $250 fine and received three demerit points. Riding in the back of a Ute never used to trouble anyone, been there, done that many times and I'm still here. I haven't come through life unscathed, had a near thing or two in my time but that particular activity, riding on the back of a Ute never came close to nailing me. Indeed one of my rugby coaches had a ute and half the team, or so it seemed, used to ride in the back to and from games. It was legal back then, nobody gave it a second thought. I appreciate what with seat belt laws and all it is no longer allowed

Greens offer Tax Support

THE GREENS say they will support the government if it wants to introduce a tax on land and a comprehensive capital gains tax. Why is that a news story? Give them half a chance and they'd be in favour of new sets of taxes on roads, petrol, diesel, fizzy drinks, possum fur, Indonesian sourced furniture, banks, deposit accounts, shares, hydro power, alcohol, non-approved tuck shop food, fatty food, fast food, foreign food, beef, lamb, chicken, fish, pork, plastic bags, new cars, old cars, construction, renovation, soap products, non-hemp clothing, teeth alignment, plastic surgery, religious institutions, non-government charities, catholic schools, non-recycled paper, advertising, business loans, television sets, socks, the SIS, the army, guns, toy guns (including water pistols), any children after the first one, farming, fishing, forestry, mining, the Tiwai Smelter, Invercargill in general, tourists, airports, exports not being shipped by sail boat, shower heads, single flush toi

Lovely Rita and her IPOD

Who likes parking wardens, besides Paul McCartney that is? Last year on a day of weather most foul, I dropped Nik off at school. And since everybody else was doing the same, parking was atrocious, chaotic in fact. So I pulled up at the vacant bus stop, he alighted and off I went, happily oblivious to the pair of eyes that had been watching me. And a few days later a parking infringement notice appeared in my letter box - for "parking" on a bus stop. Wouldn't have been there for more than 20 seconds but that was enough to cop a fine. Hey ho - no appeal, forty dollars the poorer. Well the truth is emerging - parking charges and infringement fees are a cash cow. It seems Wellingtonian wardens are awarded Ipods and holidays if they issue the required number of notices or better. Legend has it that Paul McCartney was more sanguine than most over a parking ticket he received while recording Sergeant Pepper - instead of becoming angry he penned the now famous song.

Global Warming - it is time to act before it is too late, Mr Key

It is only a few months ago we were treated to a regular diet of The end is nigh stories on a coming climate catastrophe. The " evidence was overwhelming ", we were told,and that most scientists agreed the time to act was now, if it wasn't too late already. But since Climategate and Copenhagen all of this has unraveled and now Global Warming stories are beginning to appear which detail scientific malfeasance as well as financial shenanigans from insiders and bureaucrats. Here is an example of how Global warming is reported today , from the Times. The chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC), has used bogus claims that Himalayan glaciers were melting to win grants worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. Rajendra Pachauri's Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), based in New Delhi, was awarded up to £310,000 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the lion's share of a £2.5m EU grant funded by European taxpayers. It

Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee

2010 is one of the few years when Easter is marked on the same day by both Eastern and Western Christians - I really love it when that happens. Even more unusually the same thing will happen again next year. That means for all of us, both Eastern and Western, Lent is four weeks away. And in light of this I would like to share my journey towards Easter with you with the Churches teaching for each of the Sundays which precede the Great Feast. The Orthodox Church calls this part of the Church year the Lenten Triodion. It is a time of self reflection in preparation for Lent. And to this end each of the Sundays in Triodion has a special theme and lesson. Today is called the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, the name coming from todays Gospel Reading: Luke 18:10-14 . And the lesson contained therein is clear, it is contained in the words of a hymn which will be sung in all Orthodox Churches around the world today Let us flee from the pride of the Pharisee! And learn h

A solution for Haiti

It's not enough to help the people of Haiti to get back on their feet - that is only a short term goal with short term gains, understandably borne of necessity. What happens after the rescue operations are exhausted and there is only the rebuilding. Where will the money come from? Is charity enough, or must there be some more radical solution? I think I can solve this problem.

The Airport screener and the Co-ed

The enemies of civilization have won many victories over the past few years. One of the ways we feel their impact is the inconveniences we undergo when flying. And here is a sorry tale of a young woman flying to Detroit, go read it for yourself and then come back. And we now live in an age where it has become a cartoon cliché to strip search grandmothers and to see the stuffed toys of children flying with their parents as potentially lethal items which need to be X-rayed. And all the while ignoring the obvious pointers to those who are really problematical passengers lest we give offense. Indeed not giving offense to our enemies is our prime directive - all the while inconveniencing and sometimes offending the harmless innocent amongst us. Well my friends I'm offended by the story I linked above, but just imagine for a moment the protagonist in this story was a swarthy bearded man rather than a pretty young student. Can you imagine the ruckus it would cause?

Apology to Antarctic Lemur

Dear Antarctic Lemur, This is a complete and totally apology for my behaviour at the breakdown of Sir Humphreys nearly three years ago. I should have backed you in your defence of the attacks upon your character by a commenter, rather than insisting the ban you decided upon went through a blog process. I don't know if you are still reading the blogs, and I don't blame you if you are not, but anyway, I hope that this message gets your attention in some way. Regards, Lucia Maria aka Lucyna.

Surprise - New Zealand's laws discriminate against criminals

Get this optimist before the courts for possession of cannabis and possession for supply who is arguing laws such as the Misuse of Drugs Act discriminate against users of the drug . He is claiming such laws breach New Zealand's Bill of Rights. The father of New Zealand's Bill of Rights , you may recall was Sir Geoffrey Palmer, a notable wowser who if he had his way would restrict the sale of wine in supermarkets so it would be a superb irony if his brainchild was used to legalize cannabis use. But I don't see that happening.

The Titanic sinking more slowly than expected

The title of this post is a quote taken from an AP story Stuff is currently running with. Its a story which is not News to all savvy NZ Conservative readers who will have been aware for days that the IPCC has been forced to admit that their report on the decline of Himalayan glaciers is way off the mark. Still the fact that Stuff is running with it, even if it is several days old is progress of sorts. But back to the quote which finishes off the story as posted on Stuff A number of scientists pointed out that at the end of the day, no one is disputing the Himalayan glaciers are shrinking. "What is happening now is comparable with the Titanic sinking more slowly than expected," de Boer said in his e-mail. "But that does not alter the inevitable consequences, unless rigorous action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is taken." Its quite sad really, what is sinking is Global Warming hysteria which is now taken seriously, well, by practically no-one. But there

There's always a loophole

There's always a bloody loophole. With news that National may whack on a land tax, the real estate agents are already offering "land tax free homes". The depreciation allowance might be lousy, but apparently it comes with a 2 billion dollar credit towards exploration. It's enough to make me want to up anchors and move. For Sale Converted Oil Rig, now a palatial residence. 6 tennis courts. One helicopter pad. Guest quarters. Stunning Galley Kitchen. Views of the coast of New Zealand. Own microwave aerial. Crows Nest. Oil heating throughout, with 6000 year supply (based on a family of 4, 30 servants and 10 guests at any one time) Outdoor pool. Close to fishing. Phone: Bill Smith, 04 555 555 Reality Real Estate Ltd Genuine buyers only. Expecting offers over 1M. Land Tax = $0 Rates = $0 May qualify as off shore tax haven.

Awesome

This is the USNS Comfort . She is a hospital ship with a thousand beds with a staff of 600. Comfort has just arrived in Haiti, part of operation Unified Response Haiti, to tend to the sick and suffering. Comforts sister ship USNS Mercy performed a similar mission after the boxing day Tsunami. I don't know about you but the concept of shifting a thousand bed hospital to remote parts of the world when they are in times of trial just fills me with awe.

A New New Zealand Tax System

"Taxes have to be fair" is the mantra that justifies National and Labour taking turns at changing the way we are taxed. And this is where it all goes off the rails. The socialist definition of fair is different to the right wing (and National are basically running as a centrist party, their right wing remains mostly tucked under their shoulder). To my mind, the fairest possible tax system would be a single, broad flat tax on either earnings or consumption, say 20%. Done. The government then budgets to live within that income (a concept that seems to be missing from the tax reform discussions).

John 8:12 sends the wrong sort of message apparently

John 8:12 "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life'." Well according to Wayne Mapp it does . He was responding to news that gun sights used by the New Zealand Defense Forces have a Biblical reference tagged onto the end of the parts stock number. These references have been added by the manufacturer for years and nobody knew about them until a few days ago but once discovered the usual storm in teacup erupted. Someone might be offended. Which of course makes them "undesirable" and they will have to be removed. Funnily enough nobody was offended by Patton's Prayer 65 years ago when the famous general asked God to provide more clement weather during the Battle of the Bulge. Which was forthcoming incidentally. Nor indeed were they offended 1600 years ago when Constantine had used the phrase "εν τούτῳ νίκα" translated as

Tax Working Group Report

The VUW Tax Working Group Report is out. Looks like they worked hard on it. They have correctly identified many of the anomalies and inconsistencies in the tax system. Here's one that Labour infamously promised wouldn't happen under their watch: The top 10% of income earners now pay 44% of all personal income tax (if the impact of WfF, New Zealand Superannuation and other benefits including the unemployment benefit are included, the top 10% of taxpayers now pay 76% of net tax). Ouch. They also want to ensure the Government always gets the money they think they deserve: A good tax system should minimise uncertainty over future tax rates and the future application of tax bases. This requires that there is a degree of assurance that the tax base will provide revenue adequacy now and in the future Which can be taken several ways. I didn't see any reference to "locking in CPI increases on tax thresholds" and so forth, but I've only skimmed the report at

Land of Taxes

Martin Evans, president of the Property Investors Federation of New Zealand (PIFNZ), said that as long as the land tax was universal, it would be a "fair tax". No, it would be a universal tax. He said the Government would find a way to exempt from the land tax properties with low per-hectare values. So not universal then either?

Please respect our traditions

According to the traditions of the Greek Orthodox Church, our prelates are hung and not shot. Please respect our traditions! The latest little outburst about Pope Pius XII and his relationships with the Nazis bought to mind Archbishop Damaskinos of Athens, a tale I thought I'd share with you. When the Nazis occupying Greece started to persecute the Greek Jews the Archbishop sent the collaborating Prime Minister of Greece the following letter co-signed by leading Greek intellectuals.

A year of hope and change and the biggest change is?

It was a year ago that President Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44 th President of the United States. According to Nicola Lamb in this mornings Herald not much has changed On a personal level, Obama would appear to float above the tongue-tortured Texan. Rhetorical gusts, much less flights of fancy, were beyond Bush, whereas Obama puts the 'o's in oratory. And yet for Obama, trudging through a landscape still strewn with Bush-era mines, it has been tough going - and not just because of the policy problems he inherited from his predecessor. Continuity with the old administration marked the past year more than change from it. But even as I write this a remarkable change is taking place and it is a change that President Obama can take a lot of responsibility for. And that is the election of a Republican to Senator Kennedy's old senate seat and by a massive margin by the looks of it.

Lessons learned from Copehagen

Well, I'm surprised it took nearly a month. The reason there was failure at Copenhagen? Democracy. Who needs it? Democracy, an emerging argument holds, is an inappropriate and ineffective political system to meet the challenges of the consequences of climate change in politics and society, particularly in the area of necessary emission reductions. Democratically organized societies are too cumbersome to avoid climate change; they act neither timely nor are they responsive in the necessary comprehensive manner. The "big decisions" to be taken need a strong state. The endless debate should end. We have to act -- that is the most important message. And that is why democracy in the eyes of these observers becomes an inconvenient democracy. Via Contra Celsum: Dictatorship - I'll vote for that

Rehab - where the rich do penance

According to the scuttlebutt Tiger Woods has checked himself into a clinic to be treated for "sex addiction". It seems whenever a member of the Glitterati's lives come unglued there is a medical reason, unlike the great unwashed, such as ourselves, where of course it remains what it always has been - bad behavior. Whether or not "rehab" serves any purpose other than providing a place of refuge for the rich and famous from the public gaze until the furore dies down I wouldn't like to say but I am curious as to what the customary treatment for "sex addiction" might be.

Unfortunate metaphor of the day

Democrat Rep. Chris Van Hollen campaigning for Martha Coakley who is seeking to occupy Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. “Why would you hand the keys to the car back to the same guys whose policies drove the economy into the ditch and then walked away from the scene of the accident?

Minimim Wage Rise - Wrong Demand

There is some chatter about raising the minimum wage from $12.50 per hour to $15.00 per hour. Recall recent wins for workers: an increase from 3 to 4 weeks annual leave on top of 12 public holidays. Minimum super contribution from employers of 2%. Abolition of the youth rate. Is this latest request sensible? Well, I think we have been presented the wrong question. Instead of demanding the minimum wage go up, demand the government not tax the first $25K. Sure, they might have to budget and reduce expenditure down to essential items, but every other wage earner faces issues like that. It would do a lot more for the economy, and all tax levels benefit. And rather than insisting the minimum wage be indexed to the average wage (to make automatic rises of the minimum wage, insist the tax thresholds are indexed. Employers, workers – everyone wins.

Isn't it ironic

The usual suspects are condemning Pope Pius XII for not denouncing the Holocaust loudly enough during World War II and yet there is a Holocaust underway today which Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessors have all spoken out against, both loudly and unambiguously A condemnation these people for the most part choose to ignore.

Government Warning - Internet Explorer may harm your PC

Well the French and German Governments have issued this warning anyway . Needless to say Microsoft have responded claiming the IE8 is the "most secure browser on the market". I don't know about that, there will always be claims and counter claims but I for one have never been an IE fan. The thing is you can build a web page which looks perfect in every browser until you try IE whereupon everything goes to hell in a hand basket. Natively IE8 is ok but it has a compatibility mode which if in force actually introduces the idiosyncrasys, actually bugs, which make IE such a pain to have to cater for. Anyway I use Chrome for now but who knows for the future. Whatever, I'm not sure the Government issuing software advisories is really step forward.

The Pope and perpetual outrage

Today Pope Benedict XVI visited the Rome's main Synagogue, an event which no reasonable person could find fault with surely? Well no - Pope Benedict gets right up the noses of those with a Liberal bent and the story becomes not one of joint worship, rather - " Anger over wartime pontiff Pius XII overshadows Pope’s synagogue visit ". That is the Times' take and the usual suspects have a similar view. And indeed there are Jews who are upset about the current Popes moves towards beatification of his wartime predecessor. Could have Pius XII done more to aid European Jews during the dark days of World War II? Possibly - but he didn't do nothing. Jews were hidden in convents, monasterys and even the Vatican itself with the Popes encouragement and blessing. It is obvious to anyone with half a functioning braincell that that Pope had to walk a tightrope to negotiate the difficulties that that time presented to all statesmen The sad truth is that many people behaved rep

Climbing Mount Improbable

Tibet* is unlikely to be free anytime soon. Free of glaciers , that is: THE peak UN body on climate change has been dealt another humiliating blow to its credibility after it was revealed a central claim of one of its benchmark reports - that most of the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 because of global warming - was based on a "speculative" claim by an obscure Indian scientist. The 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which claimed to incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming, appears to have simply adopted the untested opinions of the Indian glaciologist from a magazine article published in 1999. Not really much I can add to this. However, it's just another rivet popping at the seams as the fallout from ClimateGate gets more and more attention. Poneke has gone through the entire ClimateGate email chain and outlined his conclusions - and it's not a good look for Climate Scientist:

Climate Change out to tender

Spotted a NZ Government Tender out in December 2009 for Climate Change: TENDER FOR: Integrating climate change principles into tertiary education and sector training "climate change principles"?? What, like stacking peer review processes? Like labeling skeptics "deniers"? Like using it as a tool to grow the bureaucracy? Like sacrificing science for consensus? Like suggesting taxation paid to a central world governing body is the solution that will drive sustainability? Like the value in sending thousands of politicians and hangers-on to Copenhagen (Australia alone sent 141 including 4 or 5 representatives from the Police) rather than key people trying the world's first sustainable video conference? I've obviously got the messaging wrong. I suppose it's people like me that can be blamed for the government needing to spend more on propaganda education so as not to disrupt the tax stream. Sorry. (Photo: Messaging is very important)

Creating our own Hereditary Aristocracy

Prince William is here today - there are some amongst us who would prefer he wasn't . In other news there is this announcement of a Waitangi Tribunal deal coming down the pike The Crown had signed an agreement in principle with Te Hiku Forum, which represented five Far North iwi with a total of 40,000 members, to settle a number of claims lodged over the part 23 years, Radio New Zealand reported. Along with Maori co-governance of 90 Mile Beach, the Crown had agreed to pay $120 million and transfer the ownership of Aupouri forest and seven Crown-owned farms. Co-governance of the beach could provide for a possible name change for the area, known as Te Oneroa a Tohe The Waitangi Treaty of course had no legal status before 1975 but since then in an ever accelerating process it has been used to transfer publicly owned assets into the hands of Iwi. Perhaps this wouldn't matter if this had led to an improvement in the lot of the average Maori, but it hasn't and it wont

Michael Laws - Natural Born Blogger

[The ongoing Name Suppression Debate] Michael Laws is a natural born blogger without a blog. He's had to substitute hosting a radio talk back show, writing a column in the Sunday rag and lording it over the cities of Wanganui and Whanganui as their outspoken Mayor, but we know where his true calling lies. As a natural born blogger, it would be fair to say he knows the beast well. He can think like them, order pizza like them, salivate over women like them and even smell like them, if it weren't for adhering to stringent Council Bylaws passed to keep the air freshener bill down after heated Council debates. Thus he profiles us bloggers, nailing our anonymous hides to the wall, becoming instantly recognisable should we ever venture out of our darkened rooms to say, attend the annual Star Trek convention. "Blog­gers” are opin­ion­ated losers who spend way too much time in dark­ened rooms. They have porn addic­tions, sta­ple microwave pizza to their bibs, are blub­ber

Uh-Oh

From the Times BUFFETED by complaints about its inaccurate weather forecasts, the Met Office now faces being dumped by the BBC after almost 90 years. The Met Office contract with the BBC expires in April and the broadcaster has begun talks with Metra, the national forecaster for New Zealand, as a possible alternative. The BBC put the contract out to tender to ensure “best value for money”, but its timing coincides with a storm over the Met Office’s accuracy. Last July the state-owned forecaster’s predictions for a “barbecue summer” turned into a washout. And its forecast for a mild winter attracted derision when temperatures recently plunged as low as -22C. Strategic leak by the BBC to cut a better deal (for them) from the Met Service when they renew the contract or the beginning of the end for the British Met service? Note Metra referred to in the story is not NIWA, in fact in recent times they have often been at loggerheads.

Everlasting Torment in Hell and Truth [UPDATED]

A good friend of mine said recently that he didn't want to be convinced of belief, as you can be convinced of anything, even things that are not true or right in hindsight, therefore he doesn't trust being convinced. Hopefully I've got the essence of that right, for I think he is being very wise as he carefully tries to get to the truth. Truth is something human beings are wired for, however, our ability to discern truth or to desire to recognise truth is flawed, due to our flawed nature. It takes a desire for truth above a desire to believe in a certain way to get closer to the truth. In other words, careful deconstruction of ones desires and motives, which (I think) is really only possible with divine help. Otherwise, it's easy to get tangled up and seriously lost. One incorrect assumption can lead a person away from what is true. Which leads me to why I've made the above reflection. I've been reading up on "annihilationism". It's a beli

France to Ban the Burqa

[A post on evolution] In 2004 France banned the public display of large crucifixes, and got rid of the Sikh turbans and Jewish skull caps. That legislation also banned Muslim girls from wearing headscarves in state schools. Now they are looking to ban the burqa (actually, just the veil or niqab ). This could do wonders for the photography industry, as more and more Muslim women consider their holiday snaps.

Scott Ritter's weapon of personal destruction

Scott Ritter, the United Nations chief weapon inspector in Iraq during the critical period 1991-1998 has been pinged for soliciting sex with under age girls on the internet. He was arrested after masturbating on a web cam for the benefit of a " fifteen year old girl ". Turns out the thirteen year old girl was in reality a Pennsylvanian flatfoot posing as a thirteen year old girl. Nor is this the first time Mr Ritter has been caught out this way . All of which makes me wonder - if a Pennsylvanian Plod can fool Scott Ritter into believing he is a fifteen year old girl then he never really stood a chance against Saddam Hussein.

Amnesty NZ and Gitmo

Amnesty International have found time to make a press release urging New Zealand to take on Gitmo residents. With Hillary Clinton's visit (now postponed due to the Haiti quake) they were expecting New Zealand to put pressure on Clinton over Gitmo. They also want us to guarantee the safety of these alleged terrorists should they be released back into the wild: Amnesty International is urging the New Zealand Government to offer international protection to Guantanamo Bay detainees at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations if returned to their home countries. The press release seemed to say nothing about serious human rights abuses in North Korea and other world hot spots, but did find time to campaign on Climate Change. On Climate Change they had the cheek to write this :

Friday Night Free for All

My last day of holiday, and I'm going to miss them. It's been fantastic just "taking it easy" over the last three weeks, although I've been just a wee bit lazy with my time. Been doing a bit of reading, a bit of blogging, a couple of visits, a BBQ, a few activities with the kids, and a bit of blogging again. If I had the funds to retire, I could keep myself very occupied. With so much happening out there in the world (probably the same amount as always, but relative to me having a bit more time to notice, it seems so busy!) I'm going to pick on something trivial as my topic for tonight, because all the major events deserve so much more commentary. The trivial thing is a post on Kiwiblog about having fines as a percentage of a person's income to ensure the "rich pricks" get hurt as much as the poor folk when they get fined for speeding. I'm against this for several reasons:

Bad manners from Clare Curran

When the new Supreme Court opens next Monday Labour MP Clare Curran will be there . Not to celebrate the occasion you understand but to wave a banner reading “It’s Time For A Republic” , an action designed to insult Prince William who will be performing the ceremony. It is exactly this sort of rude, discourteous and ill mannered behaviour that demonstrates to me why Labour MPs are exactly the sort of people I do not want representing me. And in fact - they don't!

Irony Overdose Continues

DimPost critiques David Farrar who critiques the Standard on the grounds that someone wrote something silly in their comments section. (In the immediately preceding post one of DPFs commentators celebrates what a great stroke of luck the earthquake was for Haiti.) Says a commenter at DimPost: I was going to find something stupid, vicious, nasty and/or moronic over in the comments at Kiwiblog as an example, but then I realised that’d be like shooting fish in a barrel with nothing in it but dead fish. With a machine gun. Shooting dead fish in a barrel with a machine gun? That's what you call polite nastiness. This illustrates two things: 1. This is a common feature of most blogs, and that's the nature of the beast. 2. DimPost's own threads are not exempt. I actually think they are funnier, because most of the commenters there love slagging off other bloggers in this false sort of politeness that just comes across as sounding like they are a bit up themselves. I&

'Miskolczi Constant' Proves IPCC WRONG?

Found this very interesting article today about an Hungarian scientist called Dr. Ferenc Miskolczi who wrote a paper back in 2004 and again in 2007 about a 'constant' he worked out with regard to CO2 in the atmosphere. According to his formula, the CO2 can NEVER get to the level the IPCC talks about. What's more, no scientist has been able to refute his research after peer review. It's probably best if I lay down some quotes which will explain a little, but it's best if you read the article in it's entirety to fully grasp it. To give context to this discovery, a short lesson in science is needed. The term “Constant” is very well known in science. Simply put it is a part of an equation (An equation is merely a mathematical sentence, the Variables are the words) that does not change; they are specific and represent solid concepts. You may have heard of Bohr’s Constant, Hubble ’s Constant, Avogadro’s Constant, there are many of them. There is a new Constant; one

Has Climate Change Cursed Haiti?

What the? Actor and self described activist Danny Glover is using the Haiti earthquake as an example of our failure to respond to Copenhagen: "We are all in peril because of Global Warming; We are all in peril because of Climate Change ... when we look back at what we did at the climate summit in Copenhagen - this is the response - this is what happens ..." I'm not sure an earthquake qualifies as an extreme weather event. Earthquakes are the kind of disaster that falls into the category "Act of God", and God will cop the most blame for this, although the new Climate Change religionists appear keen to blame their own God. Which leads me to the conclusion that no matter how well we integrate faith and reason, and even if Dawkins got his wish and all religion disappeared from this planet, we would still be left with dumb people.

Has God cursed Haiti?

Pat Robertson seems to suggest so Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the world, the poorest by far in the Caribbean. And it is a sad fact of life that in any disaster the poor will suffer more than the wealthy. But people are not poor because they are cursed by God - indeed the Beatitudes suggest just the converse in fact 20 Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said: “ Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. 22 Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets. The reasons why disasters overwhelm Nations or individuals for that matter is one of the great questions of Theology and one not amenable to sound bi

Give us more more more ....

John and Wikatana Popata are occupying land they say is theirs , it isn't, while John Key weighs in expressing "concern" calling their occupation "inappropriate". Meanwhile Ngati Kahu chief negotiator Margaret Mutu expresses her views and now we can see the long term game plan. None of the settlements Maori had made with the Crown to date were full and final, and future generations, led by Maori like the Popata brothers, would come back to the Crown for more. Ngati Kahu had set out what it considered a full and final settlement for the Far North would look like. "What we got offered was far, far less," Ms Mutu said. Her people had directed her to accept the deal "for now". The agreement in principle will be signed by Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson with five tribes at Roma Marae in Ahipara on Saturday. It covers the return to Maori of the Aupouri State Forest, seven farms, Ninety Mile Beach and properties from the Gover

Banana Mana

If the Maori Party cared about their mana, they would dump the banana . Monkey With Typewriter explains why : Single-handedly he has turned the public perception of the Maori Party away from being a nascent political party with enough credibility to sit with the Government at cabinet, and returned it to the position of glorified single-issue pressure group.

We are giving up our freedom

It seems to me western society is dying. Like all major civilizations shortly before their collapse, life is generally good for the middle class and great for the ruling class. Taxes are high, but affordable. Whilst there is surplus, the incentive to revolt is low and the 'barbarians at the gates' can be contained. However, it is not the barbarian that is our real danger. Ultimately, they might be the ones that put us to the sword, but we will put the sword in their hands. That is the way of all fallen civilizations.

'Avatar' Driving Fans To Suicide?

That's the heading of an internet news article I read today - 'Avatar' driving us to suicide, say fans. And why is that, you may ask? Well, according to the article, the alien world of Pandora is so beautiful and the 3D makes it so real that fans actually pine for it and are depressed at having to wake up every day in our world. LOS ANGELES: 'Avatar' may have enthralled worldwide audiences with its imagery of an utopian alien world but movie-goers have complained of depression and even suicidal thoughts after watching the sci-fi hit. Fans of James Cameron's 3D magnum opus are seemingly finding it hard to separate fact from fiction and Internet forums have been flooded with posts by movie-goers plagued with suicidal thoughts about not being able to visit the planet Pandora, reported CNN online. North American fan site 'Avatar Forums' has received 2,000 posts under a thread entitled 'Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being in

Money Tips #1

When a person's income is $50,000 per year, and their expenditure is $49,000 per year, the result is happiness. When a person's income is $50,000 per year and their expenditure per year is $51,000 the result is misery.

Another step on the road to perdition

Genesis 1:27-28 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Satan is very busy in a courtroom in San Fransisco today. As you may know the voters of California have twice stated that they believe that marriage should be confined to a one man, one woman proposition. Now this is being challenged - as "unconstitutional" by the usual suspects . And we know that whatever the outcome in San Fransisco the ruling will be challenged all the way to the United States Supreme Court, where doubtless it will be found that the "right to Gay Marriage" is enshrined in the constitution of United States if past precedents are any guide. Notwithstanding that the framers o

Atheists Want Your Children II

Oh this is too funny, I just had to post this. See the cute children in the ad? You may remember them from a post Zen did about an atheist bus billboard campaign. Well, (as pointed out on Atheism Is Dead ) 'the actual children in the ads are the children of one of the UK’s “most devout Christian families” and their father, Brad Mason, “is something of a celebrity within evangelical circles.”' Their Christian father, states - It is quite funny, because obviously they were searching for images of children that looked happy and free. They happened to choose children who are Christian. It is ironic. The humanists obviously did not know the background of these children… Obviously there is something in their faces which is different. So they judged that they were happy and free without knowing that they are Christians. That is quite a compliment. I reckon it shows we have brought up our children in a good way and that they are happy.