Tuesday, November 30, 2010

ZenTiger Tax Drugs

George Osborne took the first step to make Britain a more business-friendly country yesterday by announcing changes to corporation tax designed to reverse the trend of companies moving overseas to escape punitive rates and red tape.

Mr Osborne announced that a new 10p rate for corporation tax would be introduced on profits generated from new products generated and developed in Britain . That was immediately followed by an announcement that GlaxoSmithKline would, as a result of the change, invest £500m in the UK.

Given the immediate announcement by Glaxo, this move can hardly have been a surprise to them. In the midst of slashing government spending in one area, only to increase it in another area, these talks of low corporate tax rates seem to be a mere distraction. After all, they have just instituted a 50% tax rate for high earners and the VAT (GST) rate goes to 20% in January 2011.

The only thing that appears to be off the table in these discussions is the size of government. Or have I missed something sensible?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lucia Christian woman sentenced to death in Pakistan, Muslims don't want her pardoned

This is a dreadful story. The more I hear about it, the worse it gets. Now the Muslim leaders in Pakistan don't want the President to pardon a Christian woman who was unjustly condemned to death on blasphemy charges.
Muslim religious leaders in Pakistan are urging President Asif Ali Zardari not to pardon Asia Bibi, the 45-year-old Christian mother of five whose death sentence on blasphemy charges has provoked an international outcry. [I added my name to an online petition, so was part of this "international outcry"] Shahbaz Bhatti, the nation’s minister for minorities, has found that Bibi was wrongfully convicted, and Punjab Governor Salman Taseer has told CNN that the president will pardon her.

“I mean, he’s a liberal, modern-minded president, and he’s not going to see a poor woman like this targeted and executed,” said Taseer. “It’s just not going to happen.”

Bibi told Taseer, who visited her on November 20, that her accusers had raped her. [This is where it got worse.]

Islamist leaders are reportedly planning protests throughout the nation if Bibi is pardoned, and one Islamist organization has announced a November 24 protest against Taseer for his support of Bibi. Attorneys in the district where Bibi is jailed are boycotting the courts to protest a possible pardon, and opponents of the release have gathered outside the jail. Islamic fundamentalist groups are threatening to kill her if she is freed, the Fides news agency reports.

Related link: Muslim leaders: Don’t pardon Christian sentenced to death for blasphemy

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lucia Friday night free for all

Chat time!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Andrei Phos Hilaron

There is little meaningful to say in this time of grief and national mourning.

I take comfort from music and in particular hymns so here is one of the most ancient of Christian hymns, Phos Hilaron or Joyful light. Versions of this hymn are known and used across many Christian denominations. It is probably more than 1800 years old.

O Joyful Light of the holy glory of the immortal, heavenly,
holy blessed Father, O Jesus Christ.
Having come to the setting of the sun, having beheld the evening light, we hymn the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God.
Meet it is at all times to hymn Thee with reverend voices, O Son of God, Giver of Life, wherefore the whole world doth glorify Thee.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fletch Sex - Recreation Or Creation?

Is sex meant just for fun - for recreation - or is it's real purpose self-evident?

Society sure sees it mostly one way: sex now mostly seems to be seen as a pleasurable experience shared between two people who are willing ― whether they're married, boyfriend and girlfriend, just friends, or have only just met that same evening. As long as the girl is on the Pill or the boy uses a condom, then it's OK they say; do what you like. In a excerpt from a new book, Light Of The World, in which Pope Benedict is interviewed, he says -
[...] the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves. This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being.
I think he hits the nail right on the head there. Sex has become another 'Friday night drug', akin to having a beer, a wine, or a cigarette. Just something you do to feel good, and it often doesn't matter who you do it with. But if we take a step back and really look at it, is this the real purpose of sex or is it just selfishness?

I think we can compare it to another human activity: that of eating. Food tastes good and we enjoy eating but is the enjoyment we get from the taste of food the real reason we eat it? No, the real reason we eat food is to nourish our bodies and keep them running. I think God has made the eating of food enjoyable so that we'd do it and keep our bodies going, and of course he wants it to be enjoyable, but can it be abused? Yes, people can and do overeat; they get used to the taste of certain foods and want to eat them all the time. The result is bad health including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and any other number of maladies.

Likewise, I think that sex is being abused in today's society. The good feeling of doing it is trumpeted as the main reason for sex and society tells us we should do it wherever and whenever we please and with whomever we want. But the good feeling is not the main reason for sex. Sex also is called (or used to be called) 'making love' for a reason. It is supposed to be an expression of love between the two people (hopefully husband and wife) taking part. These days love doesn't have to come into it; lust seems a primary motivator.

Again, I think God made it feel good so that we'd do it, but one of the main reasons is procreation - babies. I'm not saying that babies are the only reason for sex - it is also to draw man and wife closer together in unity, for their enjoyment, and to nourish their relationship - but the fact is that the product of sex, babies, is often unwanted these days. We contracept to avoid having them, and when that fails we abort kill them.

I think that if the subject of sex is looked at logically and scientifically (and yes, emotionally) that the reasons for it are obvious: and it's not predominantly for fun.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lucia Portia de Rossi will only be interviewed by women

On her visit to Australia to promote her new book, Portia de Rossi refused to be interviewed by men. Portia is a woman who is "married" to another woman, therefore, I presume is attracted to women. So why would she want to be put into temptation's way by being interviewed only by women? It would be like me (a woman married to a man) wanting to be only interviewed by men. That would certainly look odd. Surely it would be better to be interviewed by the gender she scorns?

Just a little side note on the gay marriage debate going on over there right now.

Related link: Portia de Rossi's gay campaign does nothing for marriage ~ Herald Sun

Andrei Headline of the day

Archbishop of Canterbury has been 'abducted by aliens' says bishop in battle over gay clergy

Say's it all really - where have all the adults gone?

Lucia Saturday Night Live sends up TSA pat downs at American airports

This You-Tube clip is a little more explicit than what I'd normally post here at NZC. However, it does highlight the disturbing direction the security pat-downs are taking in American airports. If you refuse to be full body scanned so that the agent scanning you can effectively see you naked, you are then subjected to a full body groping that is pretty close to sexual assault.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Andrei Cat blogging 2

Another great cat video, there is a hint of fear in the women's voice at the start but the baby really enjoys this incident.

Lucia The Pope and those comments on condom use UPDATE 2

First of all, this is what was said:
[The Pope's] comments to Peter Seewald reaffirm his belief that the use of condoms is not “the answer” to Aids – but he goes on to say that “in certain cases, where the intention is to reduce the risk of infection, it can nevertheless be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality”.

He also says: “There may be justified individual cases, for example when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be … a first bit of responsibility, to redevelop the understanding that not everything is permitted and that one may not do everything one wishes. But it is not the proper way to deal with the horror of HIV infection.”
This does not mean, that the Pope is encouraging condom use for male prostitutes. The Catholic Church's position is that all sexual activity should be limited to a man and his wife within matrimony and that sexual activity is to be free of contraceptives, ie open to life.  What the Pope's comments seem to indicate is that when one is participating in an immoral sexual act, condom use could be a more responsible way of lessening disastrous consequences.  could indicate an awakening of the moral sense of the individual.   [paragraph updated 5:34pm]
We must note that the example that Pope Benedict gives for the use of a condom is a male prostitute; thus, it is reasonable to assume that he is referring to a male prostitute engaged in homosexual acts. The Holy Father is simply observing that for some homosexual prostitutes the use of a condom may indicate an awakening of a moral sense; an awakening that sexual pleasure is not the highest value, but that we must take care that we harm no one with our choices. He is not speaking to the morality of the use of a condom, but to something that may be true about the psychological state of those who use them. If such individuals are using condoms to avoid harming another, they may eventually realize that sexual acts between members of the same sex are inherently harmful since they are not in accord with human nature. The Holy Father does not in any way think the use of condoms is a part of the solution to reducing the risk of AIDs. As he explicitly states, the true solution involves “humanizing sexuality.”
Well, even I  (and the Holy Smoke blogger) misunderstood the position.  As Janet Smith says:
The Church has no formal teaching about how to reduce the evil of intrinsically immoral action. We must note that what is intrinsically wrong in a homosexual sexual act in which a condom is used is not the moral wrong of contraception but the homosexual act itself. In the case of homosexual sexual activity, a condom does not act as a contraceptive; it is not possible for homosexuals to contracept since their sexual activity has no procreative power that can be thwarted. But the Holy Father is not making a point about whether the use of a condom is contraceptive or even whether it reduces the evil of a homosexual sexual act; again, he is speaking about the psychological state of some who might use condoms. The intention behind the use of the condom (the desire not to harm another) may indicate some growth in a sense of moral responsibility.
Essential reading : Pope Benedict on condoms in "Light of the World" ~ The Catholic World Report

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Andrei Cat Blogging

DPF has posted a cat video and so have I.

Lucia Debate between Peter Kreeft and Robert Spencer on Muslims

If you have a couple of hours spare, watch this very enjoyable debate between two great Catholic minds.

For the summary, read this link: Is the only good Muslim, a bad Muslim? ~ Inside Catholic

Friday, November 19, 2010

Andrei Friday night free for all

A mining accident on the West Coast, let's all pray for a favorable outcome

Lucia Voting in the Mana by-election

I will be voting in tomorrow's by-election in Mana.

Trying to decide who to vote for has been agony. If National had reversed the terrible piece of social engineering legislation that they apparently tried to soften when they were in opposition, I would have grudgingly voted for them. Whatever else they would have done to that point that I'm not happy with (I'm thinking ETS and the potential repeal of the foreshore and seabed act), they at least would have demonstrated an understanding of the dreadful anti-family forces that have been gaining power over the last several decades, and made a principled stand against those forces.

But no, the anti-smacking law has stayed. National has showed itself to be either ignorant of the true civilisational foundations of the family as the fundamental societal unit, or are themselves one of the anti-family forces that is actively seeking to draw more and more power to the state by destroying the family.

Where ever they stand, I cannot vote for them at this point. Unless one of the other parties shows itself to be worse.

So far Labour is worse, so they are out of the equation. A while back I was thinking I could vote Labour as a sort of a protest, knowing that it wouldn't make much of a difference in real terms. But I can't bring myself to do that.

Therefore, I'll be voting ACT, hoping in some way to show support for the small amount of keeping National to account that they have attempted thus far.

However, if ACT ever vote for any sort of legislation that makes it easier for the state to kill people, such as a euthanasia bill, then I will never vote for them again, and will be forced to vote National again as they will again be the lesser of all the evils.

Oh, for a true conservative in the political arena!

Andrei We are from the Government and this is for your own good

Who'ld have ever thought that in the land of the free the day would come that in order to travel you would have to have your arse crack examined by a government official before being permitted to proceed.

That is exactly what is happening here.

And you and I know, as does the government lacky doing this that this poor woman has nothing untoward down there. It's a pointless and needless harassment.

It looks like the American people are beginning to rebel against this and so they should - the people behind this travesty can waffle about increasing safety (which this doesn't) but people also need to be kept safe from intrusive government officials.

And it doesn't get more intrusive than having your butt examined and your genitals fondled.

In other circumstances this would be called indecent assault.

Andrei So much for that central city cathouse

Call it fate or a fortuitous co-incidence but whatever its a controversy that has now found a tidy resolution.

Auckland's historic Palace building demolished

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Andrei There's good touching and there's bad touching

And this is definitely bad touching.

The context the boy is about to board an aircraft and the authorities have to make sure he isn't a terrorist on a suicide mission so they are doing a body search.

A few days ago under the headline "the terrorists have won" Drudge carried this photo. A Nun being searched by a hijab wearing TSA employee.

Says it all doesn't it - we have a lot to fear from four year old American boys and nuns every time we get on an airplane.

Yeah right!

Related video: 3 Year-Old Girl Accosted By TSA

Andrei Courtship in the Caucasus

This video is titled super bride theft. It's a brief glimpse of brideknapping where a woman is grabbed and forced to marry her abductor. It is a significant problem in the Caucasus particularly the republics of Ingushetia and Chechnya.

What bought this to mind was this post about the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton and Ele's disquiet about Prince William seeking Kate Middleton's father's permission to marry his daughter.

The connection to this video? Over the years courtship rituals have developed to protect women from forced marriages (and rape) and I personally find it slightly amusing that in our enlightened age this knowledge has been lost and slightly frightening that some would have us forget it.

Because it wouldn't take too much for us to return to the ways of the past

Fletch Conception To Birth in 3D

3D presentation showing conception to birth in 6 minutes.

ZenTiger Irony an academic exercise

On Sunday evening (14 November), Professor Jane Kelsey was detained at immigration at Sydney airport for about an hour. She was informed by a senior immigration official that she was not eligible for visa free entry to Australia on the grounds that she was not an ‘appropriate person’ under Australia’s 1994 immigration laws.

Professor Kelsey thinks this may be linked to her efforts in promoting critical debate on the TransPacific Partnership negotiations.

I find it ironic that a professor that is critical of free trade, seems to think unfettered free access to the Australian market by herself a fundamental human right. Not having automatic access is her policy in action.

Better get a visa son, better get a real good one

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

ZenTiger Recognizing the unborn

Front page news on 15 November 2011 was the tragic story of "Unborn baby, mum among road dead."

The story goes: "A 42 year old mother-to-be heading home from a Gin Wigmore concert was killed - along with her unborn child..."

Most of us instinctively know and understand this as a terrible tragedy that terminated the life of the mother-to-be and her unborn child.

I wasn't going to post on this story because it was obvious where my point was leading, and I was thinking this isn't really the right time. However, the talk back radio has been flooded with calls from listeners commenting on just how sad and tragic this story is, and that in itself is post worthy.

It is enough to say, and have people agree, that two lives were lost in that crash, not one. May her friends and family take some comfort in the fact that most of New Zealand has paused and reflected on this sad story, and our prayers and best wishes go with them.

ZenTiger Matt McCarten in Mana Match

The Mana by-election is on us next week, and although a labour stronghold, there is the remote possibility that the seat falls to National.

Admittedly, unlikely, but the statement makes a great lead in to discussing Matt McCarten and is probably the most interesting part of my post. Well, the dumb-ass coconut comment coming up later might be better, but if you read past this point, don't blame me for a boring post about a boring by-election.

So Matt McCarten, staunch Unionist, is running as an independent, presumably realizing that he wont win, but may erode Labour's vote. They really have fallen low, if the Unions are fighting them. Or is it the Unions are enjoying their raised profile after beating up on the little people (I'm referring to the recent Union activism on the behalf of the bit part actors who will play hobbits, who mostly said "stop helping me")

Matt is running a campaign along the lines of rugby union match, with what I call "The First 15 Policy Scrum". He has three policies which he has 5/8ths of f*ck all chance of getting over the line, and they all play out to the left wing. They are:

Andrei Ultrasound

You can get a high resolution version suitable for printing here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lucia Injured Iraqi Catholics taken to Rome

At the request of the Vatican, 26 injured Iraqis who survived the massacre by Islamic militants at the main Catholic church in Baghdad, were transferred with some of their families to a Roman hospital. It is hoped that they will be able to heal more easily in a more tranquil environment.

Italy airlifts 26 Iraqis injured in attack on Baghdad Catholic church for treatment in Rome

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fletch Political Correctness Gone Mad

A man was humiliated and had the police called on him for taking two photographs of his nine year old daughter shooting goal during her netball game. He says he was made to feel like a pervert.

Video LINK

What is the world coming to when a father can't take photographs of his children playing sport without feeling like some kind of pervert? It's political correctness gone mad. Sure I understand that people want to look out for their kids but I sometimes wonder if these people aren't projecting their own perversity onto others.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lucia Friday night free for all UPDATED

Chat time!

I've been somewhat distracted over the last couple of weeks. My 13 year old boy wants to go to college. After home-schooling for nearly four years, this will be a really big change for him. And me. However, after really thinking about it for a while myself, I think he needs to do it. If only to get an idea of why we've been home-schooling.

A couple of days back in the Dominion Post, I noticed an article on the numbers in various NCEA exams this year. The most popular subject was NCEA Level 1 English at almost 50,000 exam-goers, followed by Maths at around 45,000. The smallest exam subject was scholarship Latin. What frustrated me in reading that is the difficulty a pupil has in actually being able to study Latin as very few schools offer it. I've not been able to find one in the Wellington region.

So my 13yo, who has been studying Latin for a couple of years now, is unable to continue his studies by going to college. The closest language he can choose is French. That's just dismal. I'm trying not to worry about it, though.

UPDATE: I've started a more intense search looking for colleges in Wellington that might offer Latin. This time, I've had more success. So far, Wellington, Wellington East and Rongotai Colleges offer Latin starting from Year 9.

Lucia Girl who looks like a slut

I don't often agree with Dominion Post editorials, but today when he/she/it opines that teachers sometimes knows best and parents should not automatically spring to the aid of their little princesses.

I really wonder what type of parents are more worried about a teacher pointing out a girl who is wearing her skirt hiked up looks like a slut, than the fact the skirt was hiked up in the first place. Do they like their girl looking that way?  Do they encourage that type of attire at home?

Where the Dom Post editor and I part company, is that he/she/it thinks that the length of the skirt is a trivial matter. I beg to differ. That girl, aided and abetted by her parents, is seeking to objectify herself. She's more interested that when her classmates look at her, they don't see her, they see her body. Is it any wonder that she's not doing well at school? A body doesn't need good marks, or good behaviour or any sort of future - it just needs to be used by others.

So I totally agree with the Editor's final paragraph:

Ms King is trying to equip her to enter the world. Rather than condemning her for doing so, Amethyst's parents should thank her and ask what they can do to assist.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Andrei Controversial Catholicism

Andrei Appalling Amazon

Can you believe this is in anyway socially responsible on Amazon's part?

The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure [Kindle Edition]

Or is social responsibility a quaint old fashioned idea?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lucia Publically funded contraception

A Christchurch GP (called an expert by TVNZ) has said that NZ women need more modern contraception, funded by the taxpayer. She believes that better contraception will lower our high abortion rate.

I would have thought that the best way to lower our high abortion rate would be to stop allowing so many abortions to be done for mental health reasons that are totally bogus. That would wipe out most of them pretty quickly.

As for wanting to encourage more promiscuity among women, funded by the taxpayer, I despair for NZ.

Related link : Contraception key factor in abortion rate ~ TVNZ

Andrei In a world gone nuts

The Australian Army is paying for gender reassignment surgery for one of its officers.
ARMY Captain Matthew Clinch served twice in East Timor and after his final sexual transformation to become Bridget Clinch wants to return to his previous command role. After months of uncertainty, the army has confirmed that taxpayers will pick up the full tab for Capt Clinch's gender surgery and any other treatment that is required by her. Capt Clinch is in Brisbane with her partner and two daughters, on extended sick leave from her job as the second in command of the army's Adventurous Training Wing based at Wagga Wagga in southern NSW.
This person's mother is not impressed
Her immediate family, including both daughters, have accepted that Matthew is now Bridget, but her mother Deidre told Channel Seven that she and the wider family unit were not convinced. ``Matthew had a healthy body know that he was very particular about health and lifestyle and for him to mutilate this beautiful body which I've watched grow. He said there was a mistake on his birth certificate, there was no mistake, he was a perfect little boy, he was the most beautiful child,'' Mrs Clinch said.
That's about right, this is gross self mutilation though it is undoubtedly politically incorrect to cast it that way.

Andrei Monday puzzle - updated

See if you can guess who this is - check your guess by using the scroll bar to reveal the answer

It would be Vladimir Putin taking a formula one car for a spin.

Watch him spin out

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lucia Len Brown interview with Gay NZ

I have nothing against Len Brown. He's not mayor of my city. I don't even know the man. However, when a public figure, such as Mr Brown comes out with the word "Catholic" and seeks to redefine it, I feel I must say something. If only to set the record straight.

At some point very recently, Len Brown gave an interview to a GayNZ writer. Twice, it appears, he emphatically stated he was Catholic. The first time he states is a "proud Catholic". The second looks like a question on diversity. Not sure exactly what the question was, as there is no mention of it, and so it's only implied. But here is his answer:
On diversity

"I'm a staunch Catholic," Brown again points out. "But I am from the liberal side. And I am very aware and sensitive to people making their own choices about their life. And I'm totally respectful of that.

"You can make your own choice totally," he adds. "I've got nothing more to say. It's the 21st Century."
He's a staunch Catholic. Staunch means loyal and committed in attitude. Yet, he belies that statement with qualifying that he is from the "liberal side". There is no liberal side.

Liberal actually means those that consider themselves Catholic, but don't actually follow what the Church teaches. So, they might not go to Mass every Sunday as required. They might not believe abortion is wrong. They might not believe in Hell, preferring to believe that everyone goes to Heaven when they die.

Liberal is code for pick and choose Catholic, or the more common term: Cafeteria Catholic. 

If you are a Cafeteria Catholic, you're probably a heretic. Heretics cannot by definition be staunch, except, I suppose, to their heresy.  So, I'm going to take the Catholic label with a grain of salt, as it seems (sadly) that I have to for many of our NZ "Catholic" politicians.

Related link: Half an hour with the man of power ~ Gay NZ

Lucia Daylight Savings attributed to NZ bug collector

What an amazing fact. A NZ bug collector is responsible for the whole idea of daylight savings time. The guy wanted more daylight in order to collect his bugs after work, and so came up with the idea. Only he wanted the shift in time to be two hours, rather than one.
Modern daylight saving time wasn’t proposed until the late 1800s. New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson would spend his spare time after work collecting insects, an activity limited by daylight. Inspired to extend his extracurricular activities, he presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a two-hour daylight-saving shift.

Hudson’s paper would provide the foundation for modern daylight saving time.
So when we moan and groan about daylight savings time (as we do on this blog), those of us who live in NZ (and especially Wellington) could think fondly of the bug collector from days gone past. I wonder if this is why NZ thinks we have to lead the world in everything else. Keep up with the grandeur of our past.
The concept wasn’t internationally embraced until the World Wars, however, when Germany and its allies first employed the time shift as a way to conserve coal. Many other countries eventually followed suit, including the U.S.
Great. Weren't we enemies of Germany in both wars? And they thought to copy us. We should be so proud.
After the war, U.S. states were free to choose whether to observe daylight saving time -- and the start and end dates for the time change -- but a lack of uniformity created confusion among newscasters and travelers. Congress responded in 1966 with the Uniform Time Act, setting uniform protocol for daylight saving time.

Except it was such a good idea, that even the US took on daylight savings. This weekend, all their clocks have gone back (well those that were forward in the first place). And so we have this little story from Fox News about where daylight savings came from.

Related link: Daylight Savings Time: The Things We Do for an Hour of Sleep ~ Fox News

ZenTiger Jon Stewart and Sanity

The Daily Show is a great comedy show, and Jon Stewart is a funny man. He can get serious though, and has often done so. For example, the recent Sanity gig, and further back the vocal criticism of various shows (Remember the Crossfire saga?) for not treating politics objectively and in an unbiased fashion.

All makes perfect sense to me, but there is another side to this.

A minor point is that Jon Stewart sees himself as a mere comedy show, and so excused from any of the responsibility he suggests the serious political shows have to the audience to act impartially and ask the tough questions. Whilst that is true, he needs to acknowledge that comedy shows like his can and do influence people as much as any "serious debate" show.

The larger point is that the danger in accepting people who appear sane is assuming their judgments must therefore be sound, sensible, and right. It's that old "truthiness" aspect that suggests facts may not be needed if everything just sounds right.

I could see this principle in action reading a review in Saturday's Dom Post of Jon Stewart versus the Tea Party. The writer sets out Jon's background, his calm and rational call for keeping things real, and it's all good. When we get to the authors portrayal of the Tea Party and various people, then the rules change. The truthy sentences are there, but the bias starts to slip in. They work from premises that aren't questioned. They offer facts that don't have any counterbalance to them.

For example, I'm pretty much sure we all have done foolish things in our past. The review mentions Christine O'Donnell dabbled in witchcraft or wicca in her younger days and lets those implications sit there. Shock!  Horror!  But we don't see any effort to dig up such equivalent career ending horrendous dirt on Jon or any of the other "sane and sensible" celebrities claiming they are the sane and sensible ones.   Maybe Jon once dabbled in horse racing and smoked cigars?  Where's the balance?

Instead, the writer plays into amplifying Christine's transgressions to make her point. Given the beating this has received in the media, it's a lazy point as well as a biased point in the context of the article.  Ironically, the article does what Jon rails against - amplifying issues to alter perceptions, when what he'd like to see is more balanced reporting.

I wonder if those standards of calling for a little more balance in reporting apply to the liberals though?

He'd be pleased with the results of his rally, even if the results of the elections days later indicate the people of America aren't entirely happy with the direction Obama is taking America.  The media lapped it up.

The rally for sanity was also about suggesting that the moderates are there to listen, and unlike the media, not trying to polarize people and crowd out their opinions. But moderately polite messages may simply be the tip of the iceberg. The signs were there:

"Wouldn't care if the president WAS Muslim!"
Now that's demonstrating America is big enough for everyone

"Real Americans don't use the term 'Real Americans'"
But not big enough for people who describe themselves proudly as patriots.

"Tea parties are for little girls and mad hatters!"
And even moderates can pay no heed to their mantra of "encouraging civility, togetherness, and overall being sane."

Like my previous post said:
One cow says to another cow: So, do you ever worry about catching Mad Cow's disease?"
And the other cow says "Why should I care, I'm a helicopter?"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Lucia Vengeance is mine

Fr. Raymond De Souza has written a passionate piece calling upon God for His vengeance against those who would cry out that God is great while slaughtering the innocent at prayer.
Allahu Akbar – God is great! So those Catholics on Sunday heard the jihadists shout in the church. Can there be any greater sacrilege than to kill the innocent at prayer, while shouting that God is great?

The jihadists respect neither man nor God, not even their own. They have killed their fellow Muslims and bombed mosques. The Christians killed on Sunday were Iraqis, their fellow Arabs, their fellow citizens, their neighbours. They kill because they are seized with a murderous hatred. The least we can do is to summon a righteous anger in return.

The Christian always hopes for conversion and offers forgiveness. There must also be justice and prudence, and prudence demands that those who would kill in the name of God are best despatched quickly to their judgment.

Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. So Scripture teaches us, and so it must be for us, leaving vengeance to the Lord, and imploring the grace of conversion and reconciliation. But let us not blanch from raising our voices to the Lord, with righteous anger and hot tears, that He might visit His vengeance upon those who did this, bring down His wrath upon their heads and exact upon them a terrifying justice in full measure.
I would say that those jihadists who were killed in that attack are already experiencing the wrath of God.

Related link: His wrath upon their heads ~ CERC

ZenTiger Saturday at the Movies

One cow says to another cow: So, do you ever worry about catching Mad Cow's disease?"
And the other cow says "Why should I care, I'm a helicopter?"

Here's a personal favorite of mine:

In the period that Einstein was active as a professor, one of his students came to him and said: "The questions of this year's exam are the same as last years!" "True," Einstein said, "but this year all answers are different."

And in very poor taste:

Did you hear about the terrorists who took control of the American House of Representatives and the Senate? They threatened to release one politician per hour until their demands were met.

And now for the main event. If you never watched Amadeus, then do so. Released in 1984, it doesn't date, because it already had. This scene is classic - raw talent and joy completely oblivious to the undercurrents swirling around him. And yet, his own challenges will be set according to his potential, and that is the way life often comes to us

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fletch Friday Free-For-All

Hmmm, doesn't look like anyone has teed one of these up (maybe everyone is playing with fire crackers?), and it's almost 8:30, so here ya go!
Hope you all had a great week!

Lucia The American Catholic Vote

The Dominion Post today opines that while the healthcare reforms undertaken by Obama recently are a laudable goal, that American voters are far more interested in him fixing the economy and that interest was reflected in the recent elections.
But as the shellac dries, it is apparent that Mr Obama allowed his dream of reforming healthcare to obscure the more pressing concerns of those who elected him in 2008.

At another time, fairer and more accessible healthcare might have been exactly the issue middle America wanted the president to spend his political capital advancing.

But during the past few years millions of Americans have lost their homes and their jobs as a result of the financial crisis. The issue they want to see the president wholeheartedly addressing is the economy.
However, what the Dominion Post does not take into consideration is the Catholic vote. Over the last couple of days, I've been reading online about a massive Catholic swing against the Democrats. And now that swing has translated into a change of the political landscape.
Pushed, in part, by concern about the health care bill, Catholic voters across the nation returned to the GOP in numbers resembling the presidential victory of George W. Bush in 2004. CNN exit polls record 55 percent of Catholics voted for the GOP while AP polling showed a whopping 58 percent, a twenty point increase since 2008. Either way, the 2008 Catholic support for Obama has completely reversed itself, perhaps with a vengeance.

In all, over 17 pro-life Catholics will be added to the Congress, while roughly 26 pro-abortion Catholics will be departing.
A large part of that concern by Catholics on the health care bill relates to potential federal abortion funding. America is becoming more and more pro-life, and this growing desire to restrict abortion is translating to votes at the polling booth.

Now, it may be that the economy has lead to the "biggest midterm rout since 1948." But having kept track of the pro-life news for years now, this purely financial view of the world that NZ has may have quite missed the point of what actually occurred in the US during their recent elections.

Related links:The Return of the Catholic Vote ~ American Spectator

It's the Economy, Mr Obama ~ Dominion Post Editorial

Thursday, November 4, 2010

ZenTiger Distributism

I'm all for small government, but in our system, a small government will always grow to be a big government, often as a response to the excesses of capitalism (OK, you got me, often as a response to being infested by socialists who fear the excesses of capitalism).

A free market is a worthy goal, but in today's world we don't actually have free markets, partly because of all of the government regulation and control, and partly because multinational corporations themselves abuse property rights and engage in monopolistic practices. Chesterton said: "Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.

Equally, though, too much socialism results in too few capitalists. To my mind, Socialists don't really get the importance of property rights, and how they underpin human rights. Indeed, they get distracted inventing new human rights which require greater invasions of freedom to justify the need for the government to enforce them.

There is the so-called third way, but I hasten to say that this has widely different interpretations and therefore, some of its criticisms are unwarranted, and others spot on, given that there are variations of definition. I'm working through them to consider the merits and weaknesses of this approach. I'll share highlights of my reading and over time, start sharing my conclusions. Feel free to read along.

ZenTiger Distributismx

I'm all for small government, but in our system, a small government will always grow to be a big government, often as a response to the excesses of capitalism (OK, you got me, often as a response to being infested by socialists who fear the excesses of capitalism).

A free market is a worthy goal, but in today's world we don't actually have free markets, partly because of all of the government regulation and control, and partly because multinational corporations themselves abuse property rights and engage in monopolistic practices. Chesterton said: "Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.

Equally, though, too much socialism results in too few capitalists. To my mind, Socialists don't really get the importance of property rights, and how they underpin human rights. Indeed, they get distracted inventing new human rights which require greater invasions of freedom to justify the need for the government to enforce them.

There is the so-called third way, but I hasten to say that this has widely different interpretations and therefore, some of its criticisms are unwarranted, and others spot on, given that there are variations of definition. I'm working through them to consider the merits and weaknesses of this approach. I'll share highlights of my reading and over time, start sharing my conclusions. Feel free to read along.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

ZenTiger Jeanette admits she was wrong for the last 35 years

Jeanette Fitzsimons admits she was wrong:

For 35 years I have been wrong about how to prevent climate change.

Indeed, you can’t prevent climate change. Perhaps she actually means AGW? It’s an easy mistake to make, because Climate Change(TM) as a cause, works better than an endless war with Eastasia and Eurasia. That's why imprecise phrases like Climate Change(TM) are preferred to actually saying what you mean.

And I wonder if the carbon trading scam perpetrated on us poor tax payers is doing anything for the planet, even on the Green party's terms, or if it is just proving to be another mechanism for wealth extraction, limiting the amount of investment money for people to direct towards efficiency and sustainability?

Jeannette's new solution is to abandon any quest for energy efficiency (that's where she says she was wrong) and to go for the big banana: Ban the use of coal.

I find coal very handy. Rub coal on your face and get a job in a Dickens play, or sneak at night into a Taleban camp and take out a few suicide bombers before they kill themselves, or attend a Paul Henry protest march. You can clean your teeth with it, turn it into a diamond, or light one on Earth Day because you’ve turned out your wind powered electric lights for an hour. Coal fits almost perfectly into cellars, drives cool looking trains that fill to the brim with tourists, and powers the Chinese economy, which in turn allows richer nations to buy 90% of the world's junk. Where would we be without it?

And even if Jeanette has abandoned her quest for energy efficiency, not to worry, the market comes up with new stuff anyway. I just saw an article the other day on some cool advances in car batteries. Check out this Audi (And hat tips to any blogs who already mentioned this, but I can't remember where and when. Leave a comment if you happen to drop by)

Jeanette says she was wrong

ZenTiger Gift Tax

Here's a gift - Speaker Lockwood Smith has backed down over hiding MP Expenses. That should please Goff, because you can't sell the public the policy of envy if you aren't quite sure what there is to be envious about. Sure, we could misoverestimate, but that would be beating about the bush. The Key word is transparency.

And the other gift this week was the announcement of intent to abolish Gift Tax.

It was never a fair and sensible tax, because the workarounds were many. It does however, illustrate a fundamental point about the process of tax collection - how much money it wastes. Apparently, the Government would spend half a million dollars to collect a relatively paltry 1.5 million (or 2.2 million depending on what you read). And the Public would spend up to 70 million in compliance costs to pay (or avoid) the tax.

This demonstrates the point I was trying to make about excluding GST on some food items. The industry could do it, but the compliance costs would ultimately be passed on to other product margins, and we'd simply pay higher prices than necessary for an item.

Another point to make about the tax is the "free threshold" of $27,000. This value was set in 1984 and never adjusted for inflation. That was 26 years ago! When are we going to get legislation that moves the tax thresholds automatically according to inflation?

The abolition of Gift Tax hasn't actually come into effect as yet, but according to Peter, it's a Dunne deal. Keep it up Mr Dunne.

See also: Good Riddance

ZenTiger Faith pays dividends

Sometimes, what you say reveals more about yourself than your subject:

The Catholic Church, the world’s first highly structured global corporation, specialises in providing dividends to its stock holders in the form of saints. Saints are like shares, and duly rise or fall in popularity depending on the fancy of the spiritual flock at any given moment.

The entire article was penned by Dr. Binoy Kampmark. For a scholar, this populist drivel should be beneath him. But opinion writers are all too aware that they duly rise or fall in popularity depending upon the fancy of the mass market at any given moment.

Where Catholics see prophets, he sees profit. Dr Kampmark has mistaken Saints as the dividend, when it's virtue that we value.

He believes there is no such thing as a miracle, which is a debate in itself, but that too is a little beside the point of sainthood. Even in secular terms, one could consider the value of role models (Mary MacKillop in this case), and role models that strive for virtue are surely worthy of admiration far more than a football hero or an actor? Instead, he takes the more cynical view of it simply being about money. Given he penned the article treating Saints like dividends, I'm wondering if his stock portfolio was down 10 points that week?

Dr Kampmark off the mark

Andrei In a world turned upside down .........

Owen and Eunice Johns are a couple who have fostered 15 children over the years but are no longer deemed suitable foster parents by the local authorities in Derby.

You can probably guess why people who were deemed eminently suitable in the dark ages of the 1990s are totally unsuitable in the enlightened 2000s.

The reason is the Sexual Orientation Act brought in by Labour and the Derby City Council’s equality policy drawn up in response to this.

But Bible believing Christians are not equal under this policy apparently.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

ZenTiger Star of the Sea

Wow! I just finished a great book - Star of the Sea, by Irish writer Joseph O'Connor (brother to Sinead, as it happens).

The quality of writing was superb, and really brought to life the history of the Irish Potato famine, in a deeply personal way. Somewhere in the book, it says:
"History happens in the first person but is written in the third. This is what makes history a completely useless art"
and yet the book is a living contradiction of this, blending fiction with fact in such a skillful way as to place the reader in the same space as the desperate, the lost, the hungry, the starving, the dying. His writing style is simply impressive, and I enjoyed feasting on the imagery and prose as much as the people those words created, allowing me to imagine the events as if they were all too real.

ZenTiger eDay - Hasta la vista Baby

Something a lot more sensible than earth hour: eDay. On November 6th you can drop off those old outdated computers and related gear and have them recycled or converted into a Terminator or HAL9000 or something useful (not that Terminators aren't useful).

As you throw your old computer on the heap you can imagine it saying "I'll be back".

"Yeah, as a 10 watt Kambrook toaster you useless 286 with dual floppy and green screen CRT. Hasta la vista, baby"

Details and drop off points

also for your amusement - Dirt Day: Like Earth Hour but bloody brilliant instead of stupid

Lucia Islamists kill over 50 Catholics in a church UPDATE III

This is horrendous.
Baghdad, Iraq, Nov 1, 2010 / 12:13 pm (CNA).- Iraqi Catholics were beside themselves with grief on Monday after Islamic militants stormed the Syriac Catholic cathedral in Baghdad and held members hostage in an unprecedented attack that left more than 50 dead and over 70 wounded.

On Oct. 31, gunmen linked to al Qaeda took over 120 faithful hostage at the Syriac Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation during Mass, demanding the release of al Qaeda prisoners in Iraq and Egypt.

After the Iraqi military raided the church to free the hostages, over 50 people, including 3 priests, were killed. Vatican Radio reported that between 70 and 80 people are seriously wounded from the attack, many of them women and children.

Pope Benedict lamented the disaster after he prayed the Angelus on Nov. 1. He condemned the “savage” attack and offered prayers for the victims.

“I pray for the victims of this absurd violence, even more ferocious in that it has been inflicted upon defenseless people gathered in God's house, which is a house of love and reconciliation,” the Holy Father said.
I noticed in another news item that they chose the church because it was a "dirty den of idolatry".

UPDATE: It gets worse. From JihadWatch, quoting CNN:
The Islamic State of Iraq later claimed responsibility for the attack through a statement posted on a radical Islamic website. The umbrella group includes a number of Sunni extremist organizations and has ties to al Qaeda in Iraq.

"The Mujahedeens raided a filthy nest of the nests of polytheism, which has been long taken by the Christians of Iraq as a headquarter for a war against the religion of Islam and they were able by the grace of God and His glory to capture those were gathered in and to take full control of all its entrances," the group said on the website....
UPDATE II: While going through the Jihad Watch Website, I found out why the Islamists attacked the church.  They wanted two women released from apparent captivity.  They claimed these women, the wives of priests, had converted to Islam.  The women had previously denied any conversion.  The Islamists called on the Vatican to pressure the Egyptian Catholics to release the women, otherwise they would "exterminate Iraqi Christians".
A cryptically worded statement posted late Sunday on a militant website allegedly by the Islamic State of Iraq appeared to claim responsibility for the attack. The group, which is linked to al-Qaida in Iraq, said it would "exterminate Iraqi Christians" if Muslim women in Egypt were not freed.

It specifically mentioned two women in Egypt that extremists maintain have converted to Islam and are being held against their will in Egypt. The two are wives of priests and are believed to have converted to Islam to leave their husbands since divorce is banned by Egypt's Coptic Church. One woman disappeared in 2004 and another in July.

Egypt's Christians had maintained they were kidnapped and staged rallies for their release. Both were later recovered by police, denied any conversions and were then spirited away to distant monasteries.

In the message, the militants claim the two are still Muslim and called upon the Vatican, which held a meeting earlier in October to discuss the fate of Christians in the Middle East, to release the women.

"We direct our speech to the Vatican and say that as you met with Christians of the Mideast a few days ago to support them and back them, now you have to pressure them to release our sisters, otherwise death will reach you all," the message said.

UPDATE III: Here are more details on what happened.  It looks like the militants were not Iraqis.  Also, a large number of people were shot at when the militants took the church.  This is when the first priest was killed.  Before the Iraqi forces came in to rescue the hostages, there was black smoke coming up from the church.  And when the forces were running in, rather than shooting at them, the militants were shooting the congregation.
Sunday's bloodbath began at dusk, when a car bomb went off in the area and then militants wearing suicide vests and armed with grenades attacked the Iraqi stock exchange.

The car bombing and the attack on the stock exchange, in which only two guards were injured, may have been an attempt by the militants to divert attention from their real target — the nearby church in an upscale Baghdad neighborhood.

That attack soon followed. The gunmen went inside the church and took about 120 Christians hostage.

At least 58 people were killed, including 12 policemen as well as five bystanders thought to have been killed by the car bombing and blasts outside the church before the attackers stormed inside. Forty-one Christians inside the church also died, including two priests. Iraqi officials had initially provided a much lower death toll.

Witnesses said hostages died both before and during the rescue. They described a terrifying scene in which they desperately tried to shield themselves from the violence.

One parishioner, Rauf Naamat, said militants began by throwing several grenades and spraying the crowd inside the church with gunfire. After the initial violence and chaos died down, the militants walked up to the priest leading the mass, told him to lie down and shot him, he said.

An Iraqi official said he talked on a cell phone with one of the hostages during the siege. He said the hostage described how insurgents began shooting wildly when they went into the church and that he could see about 40 wounded people lying around him on the floor.

During the hours that followed, an eerie quiet descended on the building, punctuated only by quiet weeping, according to Naamat.

"Most people were too afraid to produce a sound. They feared militants would kill them if they heard them," Naamat said.

Naamat said he heard one of the attackers talking to what he thought was Iraqi security, threatening to blow themselves up if Iraqi forces stormed the building.

The Iraqi official who spoke by phone with one of the hostages said he also had a four-minute phone conversation with a militant, who demanded that authorities release all al-Qaida-linked prisoners starting with the women. The official said he judged by the militant's accent and speech that he was not Iraqi.

The militants also called an Egyptian television station, al-Baghdadia, during the hostage siege, repeating their demand that their colleagues be released.

When Iraqi special forces joined police and other officials already on the scene, they heard gunshots and decided to enter the church "to prevent the further loss of innocent lives," said Lt. Col. Terry L. Conder, a spokesman for U.S. special forces.

Naamat said the lights went out — turned off by Iraqi forces surrounding the building — and he heard the voices of Iraqi forces saying: "We will save you," as they entered the building wearing black uniforms and carrying rifles.

He said he then saw a militant approach the security forces as they made their way to the alter. The militant blew himself up, unleashing a massive blast.

The Iraqi official said that when the security forces stormed the church, the militants were shooting at the hostages.

Some 30 killed in basement

According to two security officials, most of the deaths took place in the basement where a gunman killed about 30 hostages when Iraqi forces began to enter the church. One official said the gunman set off an explosives vest he was wearing, but the other said the gunman threw two grenades at his hostages.

A member of the commando force that went into the church said security forces found three explosives vests and grenades.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to journalists.

Video footage from an American drone showed a black plume of smoke pouring out of the church followed by flashes before security forces charged inside. U.S. forces often supply air support to Iraqi forces conducting operations on the ground, feeding them video footage from their aircraft.

Conder said Iraqi forces rescued 70 hostages, and Baghdad military spokesman Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said they arrested five suspects, some of whom were not Iraqi.

Related links: Over 50 Catholics die during terrorist attack on Baghdad cathedral ~ Catholic News Agency
58 die in siege on Baghdad Catholic church

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fletch Obama Is Hastening World War Three

It's been a big week for terrorist news. If you missed it, then you should know that a bomb was shipped from the country of Yemen disguised as an ordinary computer printer. It traveled on various flights before being picked up by intelligence. It contained enough explosive to bring down a plane. The Yemeni authorities have since let the woman suspect go - but it's ok because she was released only on condition she would appear when summoned for questioning (right....)
ANAA (Reuters) - Yemen freed on Sunday a female suspect detained in connection with explosive packages sent from Yemen and bound for the United States on condition that she appears when summoned for questioning, a relative said.
At around the same time, President Barrack Obama has relaxed laws forbidding child soldiers in Yemen, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Sudan.
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a move criticized by human rights organizations, the Obama administration has decided to exempt Yemen and three other countries that use child soldiers from U.S. penalties under the 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act. In a memorandum to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Barack Obama said he had determined that "it is in the national interest of the United States" to waive application of the law to Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and Yemen. 
He instructed Clinton to submit the decision to the Congress with a written justification for the move. Obama's memo, released by the White House on Monday, did not include the justification. Administration officials have said, however, that cutting off military aid to those four countries as required by the law would do more harm than good. And they have said that continuing close cooperation with them can be a more effective way of changing their practices.

ZenTiger Gay men just don't understand women

Well, Stephen Fry has come out.

He has come out and said women hate sex, and furthermore that straight men fear that they disgust women.

"If women liked sex as much as men, there would be straight cruising areas in the way there are gay cruising areas," he said.

What he is really saying is that he thinks gay men want to engage in sex at any cost, for any reason, and if any other straight people don't follow the same pattern, well obviously, they hate sex. It may not occur to him that whilst both men and women enjoy sex, it may not necessarily be on the basis they are slaves to their base instincts, and can actually get their enjoyment on completely different terms than his confession of "cottaging".

Does Stephen really believe that if you are not compelled to engage in anonymous sex, you must hate it? What about considering that some people think there is more to sex than just the physical act? I think Stephen might be missing out on something. Something he will not find in a public lavatory.

Stephen Fry being panned

and into the fire

Lucia How do you defend against something like this?

The details in the story of how Austin Hemmings was killed are horrible. He wasn't doing anything aggressive, he was just trying to intervene to save a woman from a man whom he must have realised was dangerous.

It just makes me wonder, how do you defend against an attack like this?
"I saw his left hand pull up his left side of his jumper as he did when facing me. I saw his right hand reach in and a movement of his right hand come down towards his waist and a really quick microsecond he thrusted really quickly and because I had seen the handle of the knife I realised he had stabbed Austin," Ms N said.
The man who killed Austin has pleaded guilty, so there was no trial.

Related link: Man guilty of 'good samaritan's' murder

Lucia Eternal Damnation of Sex Offender

A child sex offender who believes giving a DNA sample would condemn him to eternal damnation wants an exemption from inclusion on a national database.
Chord is a Christian and believed that, if his DNA was taken, he would be given "the mark of the Beast" and damned for eternity ...

This is the problem with individual interpretation of the Bible. How the sex-offender has worked out that the "mark of the Beast" will send him directly to Hell, when his own actions to date will not, I have no idea.

The judge should not fall for this one. He should get an opinion from the largest Christian congregation here (I think it's still the Anglicans at this point, and maybe get a second opinion from us Catholics) as to whether or not this is true, and then tell him, too bad.

Reference: Sex offender invokes 'eternal damnation' fear in DNA fight, Dominion Post, A4, 1 Nov 2010