Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pet Ideology Cemetary

It takes more than a dead drunk teenager on his doorstep to keep this monster under control and away from the levers of power:

Behold FrankenBanks, Bride of Zombrash!

Nicked from Lyndon Hood

Also in this year's election line-up, Phil Goff, the Invisible Man:

Now would be a great time to roll him, but no-one's got the nuts to do it. Infra-red infighting, eh.

There will be a few no-shows at the Monster Mash on election night. The old Werewolf of Courtenay Place, Winston Peters, won't be back (no matter how much the Press Gallery pine for his lunacy). Nor will Peter "The Mummy" Dunne, who will lose in Ohariu to Charles Chauvel. Katrina Shanks will probably die in a freak MYOB accident but be reanimated through the List seats.

Then there's the Mana Party or, as I call it looking at its supporters, the Organic Maori Mana Party Aotearoa (OMMPA). They might be bright and full of grassrooty goodness, but the OMMPAs will be worm fodder for their undead competitors.

The Nats will of course sell their schtick with John Von Keysing keeping the ghouls at bay. Sure, an independent foreign policy is foreign to him, and he has some strange habits such as corgi fondling and Yank supplication. He might throw cash at the rich and take funds off Women's Refuge, but boy can that guy smile and wave!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bread and Circuses

I was dragged away from a game of Civ IV the other night by a mate insistent I watch the final minutes of the Breakers Taipans basketball game. I was right in the middle of a war with George Washington, and it was only the offer of sharing an award winning stogie that clinched the deal.

As I understood things, the game was in double overtime with thirty seconds on the clock. Five minutes later, there were still 6 seconds on the clock. It was at this point I realised that while I tolerate sports in general, there is a particular loathing set aside in my head for American sports.

All American sports (baseball, American Football and basketball) share the same defect. They are complete rubbish. Sports are surrogate wars. The Ancient Olympics began as such, with javelin throws and marathon runs. The Scots had caber tossing before golf, which might be because they were late getting into the Iron Age and logs were the most sophisticated weapons they had on hand. No wonder they lost to the English.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. I subscribe to the Hadyn Green theory that soccer is not so much war as tantric sex, in that near goals are orgasms denied. No wonder it's the national sport of Catholic countries such as Brazil.

Sports are very similar to PC or console games in that they divide into two groups of action; turn based and real time. Only in American sports do they mix the genres with absurd "time outs". The only case in recorded history where hostilities were mutually suspended was during a soccer game in No Mans Land on the Western Front of the Great War on Christmas Day 1915. Every other day of war has been wall to wall slaughter with no time out.

So I watched with stoned despair the excruciating dribble of time that was the final minutes of the Breakers Taipans game. The pain of the Heineken Mastercard Rugby World Cup later this year, however, goes on.

The NZ Herald blasts the latest figures, $1.2 billion with an expected $500 million loss. Of course, there are other, off-budget, costs that aren't included in the public expense account. Rental accommodation for example, never the easiest to find with the explosive migration to Auckland, is wrecking havoc on the populace with landlord premiums seeking to make hay with the Rugby World Cup. The same thing happened back in 2003 for the America's Cup, with rents bumped to eye watering levels all for the sake of a few rich yachters and a broken mast.

Sure, there are benefits to the Heineken Mastercard Rugby World Cup. The environs around Eden Park are being dollied up as we speak, what with Road Works for Africa tidying every curb, levelling every footpath around the stadium. For once, the trains and buses might run on time. Auckland might even get integrated public transport ticketing sussed before the Cup, a miracle in itself.

But what could a $1.2 billion injection to our universities or research and development do to NZ's long term economic growth? How much electrification of Auckland's train network could have been completed with $1.2 billion?

Both main parties, Labour and National, are complicit in the old Roman policy of bread and circuses to appease public passions. Keep the public dribbling with blood sports and let them eat cake. Stuff leadership, stuff the future. We already gave South Canterbury Finance $1.2 billion so what's another $1.2 bill? Give the yachters another $36 million while you're at it, why don't you.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Black Paua

Atlantic. Caltex. Mobil. Shell. Bit by bit, the oil companies are deserting the NZ backwaters for easier ways to make a dollar. Lloyd Morrison's Infratil picked up Shell, the front for its Greenstone Energy group. It's good that someone else local apart from the Todd family is getting into the energy market. I'd rather be buggered by a local than BP.

News of a possible rebrand for their petrol stations is in the news. Expensive at it is to change the shop fronts and branding, I think it wise for Greenstone to drop the Shell brand. The IP cost of $10 million a year to maintain the Shell branding isn't the half of it. I don't know about the general population, but say Shell to me and I think Nigeria.

I see green and black in the future, maybe a paua shell logo as a compromise.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Vague Royal Coincidences

If there's one thing that pisses me off more than golf, it's the attention lavished over the Royal Wedding. Civil wars and sovereign debt ceilings, never big front page news, are being pushed even further to the back of the news cycle thanks to the UK's merchandising answer to Star Wars. As the UK sinks slowly under the waves of austerity and further decline, witness the pouring millions and millions of pounds down the drain on useless pageantry. The UK is a Royal junkie not above spending its last fiver on one more stab chasing St George's dragon.

Here's Charlie Brooker on the subject, starting around 4:45 in:

There's a neat little skit at the end on the importance of voting in the referendum that could well apply here in NZ. Viva MMP!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hell Postponed

It has been a busy week in cannabis reform. Cannabis researcher Peter Davy has had his sentencing postponed for the second time at Timaru District Court, this time for a psychiatric evaluation. At this very moment, fundraisers are being planned in his support and a returning public presence for his next appearance in court on June 22 is being arranged.

The MSM has shown a welcome maturity on the subject of cannabis. On Tuesday, TVNZ's Breakfast featured a sober interview with Horticultural Scientist Dr Mike Nicholls on the benefits of medicinal cannabis.  TV3's story featuring Peter Davy on Tuesday's News was outstanding.

The follow-on story the following morning with Ross Bell was also good, if not entirely accurate (Fair go to Ross. He may not have heard that the supplier for Sativex in NZ has pulled out through lack of sales and the medicine is not actually available in the country. The conditions for its use are phenomenally complicated, can only be used for MS and only then for a four week trial. The Nats lied last year).

But there's more to come. Next week sees the Law Commission release its final report on re-writing the Misuse of Drugs Act. Wednesday April 27 will feature anniversary protests marking a year since the Operation Lime raids, which the police portrayed as a blow to the "cornerstone of the illicit cannabis cultivation industry". Remember Operation Lime? The one where the cops invented novel and unusual bail conditions which district court judges around the country threw out?

Two Saturdays from then is J Day.

The fight goes on. I'll leave you with a quote from Anti-Dismal's post on what motivates entrepreneurs:
In many ways, medical marijuana entrepreneurs are no different than any other business start-ups: They need a business plan, venture capital and a fair dose of fortitude.

They also are likely to have something not generally found in most small-business owners: an activist streak.

More than half (58 percent) of those in the burgeoning industry say they started their businesses to promote expansion of medical marijuana or outright legalization, according to a report released last month analyzing the growing market. Only 12 percent said “financial opportunity” was their primary motivation.

They crucified my octopus

Easter is a strange time for a secular misanthropic humanist. The MSM all but shuts down, the malls are closed leaving the suburban reptiles restless in their mortgaged cages. The middle classes are force-holidaying their families in remote wet climes from Omaha to the Coromandel, cabin fever of the upwardly mobile.

The bakers are rolling in dough with hot cross buns sales up 20 percent on last year, hardly surprising since the buns with the plus signs have been in the shops since January. Homepaddock is pondering the alignment of Earth Day and Easter, alleging the "old" religion clashing with the "new", as if Christianity was somehow original and not a bastardised ripping off of deeper, older pagan cultures.

We all have the option of ignoring Earth Day, but there's no avoiding the enforced Easter break where the country's streets look like a Lilliputian version of China's ghost cities. And don't forget, Earth Day has brought us some magic moments:

Far as I'm concerned, the human race is doomed. Neither Jesus nor Earth Day will save us from ourselves. We've done it before and we'll do it again. The tale of Easter Island taught us that much.

Here's hoping that in a few hundred thousand years when the octopii are the dominant species, they don't get any ideas from the relics of our human follies and start nailing their kind to a tree. Or inventing credit default swaps.

UPDATE: Hawkey is onto it:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Meanwhile, in Bahrain...

...they're disappearing doctors who have treated protesters:
At least 32 doctors, including surgeons, physicians, paediatricians and obstetricians, have been arrested and detained by Bahrain's police in the last month in a campaign of intimidation that runs directly counter to the Geneva Convention guaranteeing medical care to people wounded in conflict. Doctors around the world have expressed their shock and outrage.
Mercenaries, statue destruction, state atrocities and now this. It's a sick state that jails its healers.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lion Inn

Former CEO of the Lion Foundation, David John Conroy, has been found guilty of false accounting for covering the losses of an Invercargill pub:
The charges were laid by the SFO and related to three journal entries made between 2002 and 2004 in the Lion Foundation accounts, which had the effect of writing off almost $520,000.00 from a debt balance owed by the Strathern Inn in Invercargill. 
In a Terry Serepsios style serendipity, Strathern Inn had recently featured on a cheap local Gordon "Hypnotoad" Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares knock-off show The Kitchen Job:
Strathern Inn manager Philip Hobbs said he got involved after watching an episode of the show earlier this year. "I said to my partner we need to go on that programme." And they did.
"The Strath has stagnated a bit ... Pretty much it's (being on the show's) a way of trying to get this place back up and running." Mr Hobbs said.
That was 2010, so the pub stagnated a bit after the fraud dried up, eh. You can support the Save the Strathern Inn Cause on Facebook here, and join the other 7 fans.

Anyone in the South Island NOT needing a bailout?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sax and violins

What with the Atlas Shrugged movie being a leaden crock of shit, gotta throw a libertarian a bone. Frank Miller's Martha Washington Goes to War is a much better adaptation of Rand's turgid Atlas Shrugged novel, featuring the right balance of satire and violence, as well as positive schizophrenic and ethnic minority role models:

That's what I call a bums on seats kind of story.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Atlas Bombed

They also make bad movies. Russell Brand's execrable Arthur remake and Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules are considered far superior movies compared with Atlas Shrugged Part I, at least according to Rupert Murdoch's critic aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Even PJ O'Rourke is having difficulty finding something kind to say about the pool of libertarian vomit:
But I will not pan “Atlas Shrugged.” I don’t have the guts.  If you associate with Randians—and I do—saying anything critical about Ayn Rand is almost as scary as saying anything critical to Ayn Rand.  What’s more, given how protective Randians are of Rand, I’m not sure she’s dead.
I hope Part Two features a zombie Ayn Rand theme. It could only improve the viewing experience.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Peter Dunne on Cannabis

This just in:

Courtesy of New Zealand Green, who used to flat with Simon Power back in the day.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Quote of the day

"A free man shall not be amerced for a trivial offence except in accordance with the degree of the offence." - Article 20, Magna Carta.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Blind leading the blind

Highlights from the Copyright (Filesharing and Troll Farming) Amendment Bill, Katrina Shanks edition:

HT Patrick Gower's Twitter feed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Messiah Ward

Well hell, it's been an amusing couple of days as I've watched my last post go a bit viral. At one stage, someone linked to my post over at Red Alert and was censored / moderated until yesterday morning, causing me to get slightly grumpy at Labour's lack of humour and insight. The velvet lined brick I threw might have been painful to the Labour powers that be, but it was meant in the best possible taste. So here's a more prosaic explanation of what I was getting at, lest I get saddled as a homophobic reactionary or something.

The NZ Labour Party is stuck in a number of ruts, some not of its own making. Just as Key's government is taking swathes of cues from the UK's CamAuton-led government (Lord Ashcroft link optional), Clark's Labour government mirrored closely the corrupting Third Way schema of Blair's Labour government. It is no coincidence that the 2005 - 2008 years of the Clark government largely mirrored the moribund leadership of Gordon Brown. Just as there's that bland boy Milliband bookmarking the leadership over there until someone with a clue comes along, Phil Goff is the unfortunate placeholder over here.

Secondly, the NZ Labour Party was never as smart as Helen Clark. Lacking the boyish charms of John Key, the everyman of Norm Kirk or the searing wit of David Lange, Helen Clark played to her strengths (guile and Machiavellian cunning among them), and planned for generational leadership. David Lange provided the motive. In Trev's own words:
Helen Clark was I think unfortunately not made an under-secretary. She represented the left wing of the party and had a direct access to it. She was and is a terribly formidable political opponent to have. I think that from the day Lange did not make her an under-secretary, there was animosity growing. I accept it was not without reasons.

It says something about Clark's resolve that nine more years were to pass before she took the helm of the Labour Party. It said more about the Labour Party that she remained in that position for a further fifteen years, lopping down her successors and potential threats to her reign. The 2011 Labour Party List continues to represent that detritus of her passing as official Labour leader.

During the 1960's, my father was among a group of Labour party members who encouraged the hierarchy to broaden the Labour church beyond well-meaning but ignorant unionists and self-aggrandizing teachers. The first signs of this thaw in thinking came with Norm Kirk parachuting into the Party to become leader in very short order.

In the 1970's, a group of Labour party members also encouraged the hierarchy to look to the intelligentsia for their prospective members of parliament. University education was looked at askance by the "Jack's as good as his Master" Unionists, but eventually the need for brains as well as brawn in the party became evident.

The Fourth Labour government held the smartest line-up of talent in its history. Even then, there were a few mushrooms in cabinet. Trev ibid.:
Caucus and myself never got on well together. I was very cynical about the quality of the members that democracies so often vomits to authority over us. Although the Labour Government of 1984 and 1987 to '90 had a very high intellectual capacity and had a lot of members with degrees from the university, another amazing proportion of the caucus wouldn't understand a balance sheet if it was placed in front of them. People in the caucus who were dictating as it were the Government's economic policy, or supposed to, tried to look learned about matters upon which they had not the slightest knowledge or understanding.
Aside from Helen Clark and Michael Cullen, I suspect most of the cabinet courtiers and nodding bobble-heads that Clark surrounded herself with in the Labour 5.0 cabinet were as ignorant as the above. Regulatory Impact Statements were routinely ignored while the Minister for Everything ran the show.

The 2011 Labour List shows this mindset still in place. Worse still, the redder elements of the political spectrum that split off with Anderton way back when have been reabsorbed into the Labour body politic. Meantime, the right wing of Labour never recovered from the split with the Backbone Club and what would become the Act party. You could fit the centre right faction of the Labour Party MPs on a Koru Club lounge suite and it shows.

The rational approach to take on a Key led government is to out-National National. Key did the same thing last election, out-Labouring Labour. This jump to the left that the Labour hierarchy are pushing is quite the reverse of sanity, and the party risks a very long furlough in Opposition as the centre ground is abandoned.

The Labour Party needs to broaden its search for talent beyond the rarefied confines of union wonkery and narrow identity politics. Or, at least if you're going to attempt identity politics, do it right. Is Ashraf Choudary really the smartest Muslim in Labour's room? Is Raymond Huo really the most effective Asian representative in their fold? Rob Salmond can slice and dice til the cows come home, there's still no representation of the disabled, unemployed, small business owners, and all the other little people that Labour supposedly stands for.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Newborn Labour Party Messiah given high List placing for 2029 election

A newborn infant has today been chosen by the New Zealand Labour Party to lead the party in the 2029 election.

Michael Joseph Fa'afafine was born at Middlemore Hospital last night, baptised into the Labour Party and given a high List position for the 2029 election by the Labour Council, who were present at the birth. 2029 is when Michael will first be eligible to be elected into parliament.

His proud parents, union organiser Jodi Palangi and Rocky Fa'afafine, a trans-gendered interior decorator, were also present at the birth, delivered by Caesarean section by surrogate mother, Divine Cunliffe.

Michael Joseph Fa'afafine is the newest addition to the Labour Party's Messiah Ward, prodigies ordained by the Labour Council to one day lead a Labour government. Graduates of the Messiah Ward include John Tamihere, Grant Robertson, Andrew Little and Darren Hughes.

However, Michael is the first of a new generation specifically bred for political rule. His parents were chosen to appeal to all of Labour's factions. "My Mum was a militant radical lesbian member of the Socialist Party and my Dad was sociology lecturer at Victoria University," said Jodie.

"Rocky's Mum is a regular church goer and the daughter of a Polynesian chief, said Palangi.  "Rocky's Dad Brian is a painter. His latest work is currently on show at Wanker Gallery in Ponsonby. Brian Fa'afafine's characteristic social commentary is as prevalent as ever in his stark alabaster and gold works of White Gilt."

Former party president and Sith Lord Andrew Little went on to explain that Michael Joseph Fa'afafine will follow directly after him once his reign as Labour leader is completed in 2029.

Kick Beck

Stream of consciousness idiot Glenn Beck has been kicked off cable TV. Jon Stewart rejoices on the Daily Show. Here's the good Beck & co with Never Tear Us Apart:

More INXS covers from the real Beck here.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Dead Parrot Sex Sketch

The kakapo might have nice plumage but the characterful parrot is heading for extinction:
"I've been to Codfish Island, I've seen kakapo (they're) amazing birds. It would be a travesty in the highest proportions to see them go away. But, at the same time, I don't want to see thousands of other species go away just because we spend all our money on kakapo."

How doomed is this soon-to-be ex-parrot? Here's what Douglas Adams had to say about the kakapo:

Here's the last chance to see one in action, making love to a cameraman's neck:

With sex skills like that, little wonder they'll be pining for the fjords soon.

To Have and Have Not

Click images to embiggen:

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Safety Nazis uber alles

# Palmy City Councillors considering new rules to ensure canine phobic children are protected from canines!

# Schools get the right to search all students for drugs, even if there has been no drug problem at the school. Privacy is for terrorists!

# Lest one's child learns responsibility or self-confidence without the loud wopping sound from the helicopter soccer mums and control freak dads, track and trace your child with software!

# Sean Plunket looks at the rules of engagement in the contemporary school playground!

# While the children are treated like infants, the adults are getting infantilised too. Tariana Turia wants to restrict tobacco packaging fonts and colours because, as every smoker knows, we judge a pouch by its cover.

# Auckland Safety Nazis think they can ban smoking in regional parks. Attempts at enforcing this edict is not recommended as being told to fuck off might offend.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Get them up against the Wall

David Farrar has done a pretty comprehensive posting on the Tizard myths and legends that have led up to and beyond Judith Tizard's melodramatic curtsy on Q+A the other day. Allies for Judith have arrived from unexpected places, namely journos Tim Watkin and Patrick Gower.

Her greatest sin in my eyes was not the wine and cheesing, nor the lack of talent, nor the seat warming and purse holding. As others have noted, Judith Tizard was hardly the worst perpetrator. Russell Marshall springs readily to mind, and he made it into cabinet back in the day:
I remember the absolute contempt I later felt in my own caucus when our Minister of Education, Russell Marshall from Wanganui, recommended 15% or so as a School Cert pass. In his view, everyone should pass.

National, Labour, Greens, Act all have muppets in above their heads.

Judith Tizard's incompetence as a symbol of Helengrad's cronyism above and beyond her obviously limited pool of talent was embedded after taking responsibility for Section 92A of the Copyright Bill. Judith Tizard went viral, and I'm not talking about the Hepatitis. You can fool with a blogger but don't mess with the IT department.

Judith Tizard's final curtain call was a loud raspberry from New York. Helen Clark has not finished with Labour by a long chalk. Perhaps that's why Little Big Man, Andrew Little, got his way dodging Helen's old wood such as Tizard, Burton (he failed to win the Taupo mayoralty), and reaching for Louisa Wall. Little is doing the finger to Helen for the Labour party's very survival.

Louisa Wall's short stint in parliament proved too liberated to toe the strict Helengrad line. Wall was duly punished and slid down the greasy pole of the party list. Wall showed great promise back then, and Little is keen to get that talent back.

Because if Labour don't get their shit together, ignore Clark's text bullying and rejuvenate more organically, it will be left to the voters to do the pruning for them. Already Labour is beginning to rationalise its defeats and 2020's looking optimistic for a Labour 6.0 release date.

Disaster area

As at today, the Otautahi earthquake has still cost taxpayers less than South Canterbury Finance. Act of god: Just over a billion dollars. Act of Hubbard: $1.2 billion and counting.

Monday, April 04, 2011

I thought I thaw thum thorium

I did! I did see some thorium. It's on the West Coast. I don't mean to belabour the point, but I have nagged on about it before. Dagg knows, we'll need something soon to feed Auckland and imported natural gas is too short sighted. Even the Chinese are looking at thorium. C'mon NZ! Think outside the cage!

Our girl Friday

Rebecca Black's Friday:

Annabel Fay's Show Me the Right Way:

Best reax to the Friday thing? Charlie Brooker. Best reax to our NZ girl Friday? Simon Sweetman:

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Into the Valley of Goff

The common touch:

Goff knows what you need:

Better mud than last election:

Explaining is winning!