Monday, September 24, 2012

In the Cage

Welcome to my world, Kim Dotcom. Your spooks have only been tracing you for months. Other spooks have been chasing me and mine since Nixon was pissing around in the White House.

Dig This

It was a fine day for the Friends of Wharemauku Stream to plant 1300 native plants along Drain 6. Not so long ago, Drain 6 looked like this:

Over winter, with a little help from Kapiti District Council, the drain was landscaped. Today was the day to lay the plants that will help leach all the farmer and other human toxins out of the drain as it meets Wharemauku Stream and then on to the sea at Raumati Beach.

Paraparaumu Mayor and Ruth Richardson look-alike Jenny Rowan opened the Big Dig, explaining that the town was investing in the things that will enhance the future city. Although she didn't call them Maori footpaths or desire lines, she did recognise this particular public commons as cycling and pedestrian infrastructure. She mentioned the nearby Aquatic Centre being built. Personally, I'm looking forward to a proper town centre. At the moment Pram's hub is the private carparks of Coastlands Mall or Kapiti Lights. There's no room for civic freedoms there.

Political animals may recognise Transpower's Patrick Strange. Transpower had funded the purchase of the plants, as well as providing some human capital for the day's labour.

Friends of Wharemauku Stream organiser Lyall Perris talks to the kids from Raumati South School. The Young Ones had volunteered their time as well and the 'dults, avoiding National Standards for one day and doing something useful instead. Some of them helped in the last planting five years ago, which is now well-established and some of it can be seen on the right of the photo.

Fortunately, someone had splashed some cash on a hole borer. And lunch. And even little bamboo cloches to protect the tender plants from the wind and Pook predation.

Nice one.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Economic Indicators

I've spent the weekend working on a new quantitative framework to more accurately describe the economic forecasts for the next ten to twenty years. Here's the spectrum I've worked out so far, from best case scenario on down the line:

Shit Creek
Clusterfuck (ranging in size from UAV to B52)
Shit Supernova
The Big Enchilada

National has resorted to desperate measures to keep what remains of their economic credibility intact and keep the official unemployment rate under seven percent. It has worked so far, but they're running out of ways to juke the stats:

The immediate forecast is Terrible, with occasional patches of Shit Creek.

Carmageddon Police

It's difficult to treat the NZ Herald's new blab that they are dedicated to investigative journalism seriously when they produce fact-free stories based on a cop pulling numbers out of his arse:
"Between 250 and 300 people are still dying annually on the roads but if we had lowered the drink-drive limit when we could have, there might have been 30 or so of those people still alive every year," said Kelly.
A cop wanting harsher laws for the public? Quelle surprise. Sadly, the police's own research shows Supt. Kelly hasn't a baton to lean on. In my travails wading through the Police's ESR report on drunk and other drug driving which I vommed up here, I tripped over this graph (page 17). It demonstrates that NZ's breath alcohol limit of 80 mg is the right call:

If the cops really want to lower the road toll, a more effective method might be to overhaul police pursuit procedures. This carnage is becoming so prevalent, the Otago Daily Times and the National Library have sections of their sites dedicated to monitoring it.

The police response to these avoidable deaths? They want immunity from prosecution for any collateral damage they cause:
New Zealand Police Association president Greg O’Connor says that police need to be exempt from some laws, and that safety will be compromised if criminals know police won’t pursue them, Newstalk ZB reports.

"In car chases and in fact in many things that police do where they're required to do things that other members of the public will never be required to do, they do need protection," he says.
There's your problem. Police think they're above the law.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Rhythm of the Saints

The Suzanne Aubert Memorial at Paki Paki, NORML NZ AGM 2004

I am not a religious person, but it's good to see Suzanne "Meri" Aubert heading for sainthood with the Vatican. New Zealand's first cannabis grower is getting recognition from the most conservative religious sect this side of Mecca. Yet if she were around today, the cops would have arrested her and she'd be facing prison for supply of drugs.

About the only other good thing to come out of NZ Catholicism apart from Meri is Wellington's Batucada. I'd like to see them cover this song the day this obvious yet neglected child of medicine is legalised once more:

Sunday, September 09, 2012


Godwin's Law doesn't work in Russia. Hitler's horrors pale in comparison to the sheer bloody awfulness of 20th Century Russia. Some 60 million Russians died from war, starvation, state murder and exile. It's difficult to put an exact number on the slaughter. Unlike the Nazis, Russia has never been keen on holding onto the paperwork.

John Armstrong has a look at the APEC venue with a nod to local deprivations in today's Herald. Foreign Policy digs deeper into the APEC Potemkin village. The article details the decline of the Vladivostok hinterlands, which sounds like a New Zealand of the North:
Since 1992, the population of Russia's easternmost region, Primorye, has shrunk by 352,000 people to less than two million. Many of the departed are disillusioned youth who flee to Moscow, St. Petersburg or abroad after graduating high school. A recent poll showed 40 percent of the region's people are looking to pack their luggage and leave.
You can almost smell the Auckland:
It's not as if there's a shortage of problems to throw money at in Vladivostok. The city's population of 592,000 suffers crippling traffic jams, there's no public transportation after 9 p.m, there's a shortage of affordable housing -- even the local kindergartens require bribes before your child can enroll.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

The Hunt for Labour's Next Brains Trust

Friday, September 07, 2012

Last chance to choose your reptile

In slightly more than five hours, the door will shut on the public's chance to evolve MMP. After that, the final recommendations will be handed to the House of Lizards to determine its fate.

I got mine done early. The Edge has just published his. Have your say today before the lizards get their claws on it.

And now, here's some Douglas Adams:

"On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”

     “Odd,” said Arthur, “I though you said it was a democracy.”

     “I did,” said Ford. “It is.”

     “So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”

     “It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”

     “You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”

     “Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”

     “But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”

     “Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”


     “I said,” said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, “have you got any gin?”

     “I’ll look. Tell me about the lizards.”

     Ford shrugged again.

     “Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them,” he said. “They’re completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone’s got to say it.”

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Wrong Tohunga

There are times I get that Farnsworth feeling. Here we are, 105 years since the Tohunga Suppression Act 1907, which crushed all indigenous herbalists (and a fair share of quacks as well) in favour of the British Medical Journal quack union. This white men in white coats monopoly would later go on to prescribe thalidomide to pregnant women and be celebrated in Gordon McLaughlin's The Passionless People:
The Medical Association of New Zealand has not just beaten the system - it has set up a separate, superior one, for itself. It is the finest example of a closed shop, self-regulating, self-perpetuating pressure group yet seen in this community where the climate is designed for them to flourish.

Perhaps my wariness of doctors comes from a childhood around the time these words were written, where the common diagnosis for my various ailments was "Laziness." I do not share the old NZ worship of people just because they are doctors.

MANZ has evolved into the NZ Medical Association, and in the intervening years between the first print of The Passionless People and its re-visitation last year, sweet fuck all has changed. Here's the union's caveated-all-to-hell support for the medicinal uses of cannabis:

This parochial closed circle really should read more recent research. And more history too. Their myopia is hurting people. Only today, GreenCross founder Billy McKee was found guilty on all counts of supplying cannabis to an undercover officer feigning migraines.

This genuine medicine is illegal still, and the men in blue are backed up by the men in white coats. Yet imported quackery and New Age snake oil merchants abound, as Brian Rudman reports today. No-one goes to prison for exposing someone's brain, unless they use cannabis.

L'enfer, c'est les autres.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Every Which Way But Moose II

Fellow Republican supporters actor/director Clint Eastwood and Dr Banjo have signed on to a star in a sequel to the 1978 classic Every Which Way But Loose after their successful gig at the US Republican Convention in Tampa, Florida this week.

The duo's "Aha! You have proved my point!" routine was received to thunderous applause from the convention floor. "I haven't been this entertained since the Atlas Shrugged movie came out," said a youthful convention volunteer wearing a suit of teabags, who preferred to remain anonymous.

Dr Banjo, renowned professor from the Creature-ist University of Kentucky, got on so well with the legendary Hollywood star on stage, he has agreed to perform his acting debut in the third Every Which Way But Loose movie, which is going under the working title of Every Which Way But Seuss.

The original actor who played the role of Eastwood's love interest Lynn Halsey-Taylor, Sondra Locke, has said that she is categorically retired from the franchise. Sarah Palin has been rumoured to be considering the role.

Illiterate Christians

Having just spent the morning rearranging the library (the Russians had got mixed up with the Dickens, Swift and H.G. Wells after a tremor caused a bookslide), I was about to catch up on the headlines with coffee and cigarettes. Then some rude illiterate Christians completely pissed me off.

These godbothering do-gooding fuckwits purposely walked past the No Missionaries sign on the gate. If you're in the Pram district and get visited by these rude, privacy ignoring zealots, feel free to give them some more verbal buckshot on my behalf.

Fucking Christians.