The Lineup
B.I.R. Column Of Fame
Man of Steel... Wood... and Mud: Bear Grylls
Rock Legend: Tom Morello

League Gods: The Emperor and Alfie

Str-8 Shoota: Malcolm X

Str-8 Shoota: Zack de la Rocha

Super Bad mofo's

Comrade Hillary

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Treaty provisions 

NRT writes: "Contrary to Dr Brash's insinuations, public servants are not expected to know about the Treaty as part of some giant conspiracy of political correctness - they are expected to know about it because they are expected to have at least a passing familiarity with the constitutional framework within which they operate, and the Treaty is a fundamental part of this framework."

I think NRT is half-wrong and half-right on this. Public servants should have a working knowledge of New Zealand's "constitutional" arrangements, such as they are, and more particularly an understanding of what they mean for their jobs. If you are a bean-counter, the Treaty is of questionable if any relevance to your everyday bean-counting, as is the separation of powers, the Bill of Rights Act, the Constitution Act, the Elections Act, the Magna Charta, and the rest of the constitutional edifice.

Why not include something to the effect of "the successful candidate will have knowledge of New Zealand's constitutional arrangements, including the Treaty, and their applicability to the post" in public sector job advertisements?

This would seem reasonable, and would require public employees to understand not just one pillar of our quasi-constitution, but also other documents and conventions that shape the relationships between citizens and the state, and between different arms of government? Referring solely to the Treaty, particularly for jobs where its applicability is uncertain at best, doesn't seem especially helpful. Referring to undefined "principles" or - worse - to the Treaty's "spirit" is, essentially, useless as a guide for practical action.

In the interim, let's let the bean-counters get on with their bean-counting, the maths teachers get on with implementing the maths curriculum, and so on.

It's also interesting to wonder whether countries similar to ourselves, but with clearer constitutional arrangements which "matter" in the sense that they can be used to challenge governmental actions, (e.g., Canada) include "thou shalt know thy constitution" provisions in public sector job postings. I don't think so.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

RB... Tirau Pylons 

Been busy as hell by the looks of Thursday's effort. I'm sure everybody who comes here checks him out anyway but worth pointing to him always anyway...

And I'm stealing this from Polar Bob courtesy of the great nz discussion board which could do with a few more members. Though in saying that I must say that we have a fine collection of brains capable of taking over the world. Well, perhaps a pie cart... so long as we were armed by the US military.

It's regarding the Pylon through Tirau debate...

Here's me:
Why is this massive pylon through Tirau? debate being 'blamed' on Auckland quite frequently.

I notice the locals themselves aren't so much doing it. They are more concerned with their property values (which they should be compensated for though I don't know if it'll be adequate) and also their health which is by far the greatest issue.

Why doesn't somebody swing round though and question who paid for all those local roads running around the area? Like most lowly populated areas it sure as sh*t wasn't the locals who funded them (not much of them anyway).

I'd also like to know which decent sized cities in the world manage to just pull electricity out of their arse without some kind of disruption to the environment (or farmers) somewhere well outside their city limits?

It's time the media and some people in this country grew up and shoved their divisive sh*t down the bog.
And here is the vastly superior Polar Bob:
Yep to the above.

Me. I'm into encouraging alternative energy use.

Most people aren't ready for all of that of course, even though they could be if pushed, and my left of centre methods are being mulled over in my head. The only way of implementing them currently are somewhat dictatorial.

But it does seem that whenever the normal method of supply needs to be amped up people object (and the media beat it up) and spout the NIMBY mantra.

What say Transpower issues a public statement like this:
"After long deliberation we at Transpower have reached the conclusion that you, the public, are right. There will be no Pylons in Tirau, or anywhere else from now on."

Yay! Media frenzy. Reporters creaming themselves - live. Much rejoycing.

"However, as a result we need to employ a different plan. Effective immediately, there is to be a 50% increase in our charges. This money will be used to offset the cost of purchasing and installing alternative power systems, such as solar hot water, to NZ homes. The roll out will be random for the most part, so as to be fair, but the highly populated areas will get priority. Rolling blackouts are to be expected while the installations take place to provide a safe environment for our teams These outages will unfortunately include businesses, who will be delivered reduced power services to force making their own plans for energy provision."

Gasp! Media frenzy. Reporters shitting themselves - live. Much wailing.

"As we will be making less profit, we also will be limiting our, now restructured, customer services division to an automated service available from 9 to 5. Message banks will be ready and, if critical, your call will be returned. We will be employing the NZ Army and training them to meet our requirements. They will all carry weapons."

"Thank you to the people of Tirau, you have given us the impetus to give this necessary change momentum."

I wonder how long it would take to get the pylons up then?

Message to Michael (or, re-electing Labour in 2005, part II) 

Dear Hon. Dr. Michael Cullen,

Might I propose a tax cut? A tax cut that benefits all New Zealanders, but benefits those on lowest incomes the most? If you don't act now, you might not have the opportunity to do so in the future. And while I'd highly recommend a cut in GST (to 10%), in the interim I'd refer you to the balanced budget proposed by the Canadian government today. Here's what they achieved:

[T]he budget raises the tax-emption limit — basically the amount Canadians can earn before they start paying taxes — to $10,000 by 2009. For the 2004 taxation year, the limit stood at $8,150.

The increase is seen largely as a benefit to low-and-medium income families, although all Canadians benefit because all taxpayers claim the basic personal amount. In Wednesday's budget, Ottawa estimated that the proposed change would remove about 860,000 low-income earners from the tax rolls, including about 240,000 seniors.

You see, Michael, doing something similar in New Zealand (say, making the first $5000 tax free, or lowering the rate for the first tax bracket by a couple of percent) would benefit all New Zealanders, offer the most to those who currently have the least, earn you praise from the media, and get Don Brash and that motley collection of "talentless born-to-rule tories, inbred rural consevatives, panty-sniffing monarchists, capitalists without a conscience, and 'mother knows best' paternalists" (to quote NRT) off your case for a while.

Sincerely etc,

p.s. get on with it.

NZ Cricket 

A few thoughts...

* Despite the fact that Mills wants to bowl at the death he should not be allowed to do so.

* Tuffey is a shadow of what he was a year or two back and beyond. In the last calendar year he averages 35 in ODIs. Drop him.

* Wilson's selection was a fucking joke. Wasn't it?!

* Fleming has said repeatedly that they want to be number one in the world so all those ringing talkback and saying we should be happy with how they are going, and for being competitive v Aussie should think about the first line of this sentence.

* Flemings record v Aussie is shit so I wonder why they said he was the danger man when they arrived in the country. He's had something like 6 knocks of 35+ out of his last 22 v Aussie.

* McMillan just doesn't learn and doesn't have the answers when the going gets tough. He's had more than enough chances. Does he know some dodgy story about each of our selectors?

* Sinclair has an ODI average of 28 with a strikerate of just under 61 over 40 odd games which would equal a score of 190 if the whole team went at that speed. Do I need to tell you why he shouldn't be in any NZ ODI team selected ever again.

* McCullum has been sloppy with the gloves lately spilling all sorts of balls. His batting looks pretty tidy though. Nice clone of Parore.

* Vettori has been brilliant which is probably why they need to bring in Wiseman and I don't give a fuck if Fleming doesn't like him. The Aussies face tougher bowling in net sessions than the pathetic excuse for pace bowling that we churn out. Serve them a plate full of dibbly dobblies and see how they go.

* Bracewell complained about the Aussies slowing down the game in game one deliberately.

* Fleming complained about the Aussies running on the pitch while they were batting in game two deliberately.

* Who will complain about what bizarre thing after we go down in game three? Well assuming Aussie are still motivated enough to kick our arse.

* Why do you put the best batting side in the world in on the best batting track in New Zealand when that's exactly what they want to do? Bracewell came out and said that we were lucky to have got them for a mere 314. Well did they seriously think they were going to chase down a score like that. The guy has mental problems, I don't care what our ODI rating is. Our real measure of cricket skill has sailed down to number 7 in the world.

* We have just lost 3 games on the trot chasing v Aussie. Might be time to grow some balls and become an alround team and learn to set a target and defend it. It's the only way we will get better at death bowling and mentally when batting.

* Ian Smith is half right and half over the top like he always is when he gets a bee in his bonnet.

* Spectatorcise is gay.

* Why did the "events capital of New Zealand" (Wellington which also happens to be the capital) get such a shit crowd to watch the two best ODI teams in the world.


Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Yes, tis' I.

Been flat out for the last 5 weeks getting rid of annoying tenants, and painting everything that seemed to be stationary in the house. My most recent feat has been to rip everything out of the bathroom and now I have to clean out the gib, re-gib it, buy and install and bath and sink unit, geta plumber in to put in the new taps, then paint it, and tile it. Should only take 3 weeks to 3 years.

Dial up was finally hooked up to the house today after the fucking modem xtra gave me didn't work and it's 2 weeks till they can send a technician out. Great when it already took them 9 days before they turned the damn thing on so I could find out it didn't work anyway.

They could also do with a few more staff answering the phgones as well since it took me about 10 calls over as many days to change a couple of simple details because they put you on hold for 10 + minutes at a time.

Today's misfield of the day was by Mercury Energy. Some guy from Contact came round this morning and said that they are still reading the metre but Mercury should be doing it so get them to contact him as soon as possible. I call Mercury and the loday stuffs me round for a while, goes to talk to somebody else, then starts talking about my case to somebody else but doesn't realise she's delivery it all to me down the phone as well and then cuts me off.

Cheers luv.

Aside from that it's been just dandy. Well apart from the couch which was supposed to take 3-4 weeks but has now taken 4 and a half weeks and after calling I find it will take 2-3 more weeks.

Nothing like sitting on the floor for 50 days to get in in the mood for beating up that tosser from Remuera.

For the record nobody ever asked me if I wanted to learn English either but low and behold I get bombarded by it from every direction from the moment I'm born and look at me now speaking it fluently! It's a bloody disgrace I tell you!!!

Redneck opens mouth: Gets Comprehensive Coverage 

If I see or hear another fucking news item about this Remuera tosser complaining about hearing a bilingual message at the supermarket i'm going to start posting anthrax.

Jesus Christ I've read it on the Herald and Stuff and i've heard it on national radio and on the FM news bulletins.... who gives a fuck if this Alan Walker wanker has changed the supermarket he shops at?

"It was like, 'We are going to help you learn Maori'. But I don't want this sort of thing forced on me," he said.
"I'll decide whether I want to learn a language – whether it's Maori or Chinese or any other.
"It is offensive, in my opinion, to blast shoppers with this whilst one concentrates on getting household provisions." Mr Walker, who now shops elsewhere, said free "Give it a Go" Maori phrase booklets were available in the store.

I bet Alan and his corageous stand against subversive Maori education will be the toast of the Remuera elite for months.

How about complaining about the damn-awful Christmas cd's these supermarket chains play on repeat in the three months leading up to the big day.

Hey Alan eat shit and die, or as the Maori say: E kai nga tutae me e mate

Friday, February 18, 2005

Same Shit Different Season? 

2005 has started for the Warriors much the same as 2004 with management showing another solid performer the door.

Last year they got rid of Ali Lauiti'iti because he supposedly wasn't dedicated enough to the cause, he then went on to help his super league team, the Leeds Rhinos, take the British championship while the Warriors finished.....second to bottom, but really their stats were worse than the last placed Rabbitoes.

Now it's Vinnie Anderson's turn to be given the arse, similarly to Ali he's not particularly happy about it. As the Herald's Peter Jessup wrote:

I'm sorry I'm not going to be at the Warriors," said Anderson. "I didn't want to go. I had a very positive meeting with Mick Watson [club chief executive] in January and I told him I wanted to be part of the success I felt the Warriors would have this season.

I was looking forward to learning from Ruben Wiki and Steve Price.

"Then three weeks later he [Watson] came to me with a contract offer from Bradford, after Shontayne Hape did his knee, and advised me to take it.

Once again the Warrior's management isn't saying shit about it, check their recent press releases.

Funny thing about it all was Vinnie was one of the few players who were consistently solid. Pitty they couldn't axe this muppet.

Newsflash dickheads: the fans deserve better.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Yeah right 

I just caught a headline in the NZ Herald "Callous king's luxury life amid poverty" and I thought, hmm, I wonder what king that might be, given that - by definition - monarchs live lives of unearned luxury at the expense of their subjects.

It turns out they were talking about King Mswati II of Swaziland, "the most fecklessly self-indulgent ruler in the world."

Well he hardly has a monopoly on feckless self-indulgence among monarchs, or even political leaders more generally, as the Onion pointed out a while back, in an article that decried the Governor of North Dakota for living in a mansion and having expensive cars while the workers of his State toiled for next to nothing.

Of course, the Onion was being satirical, and at least in theory the people of North Dakota (being sovereign and all) could un-elect a Governor they considered to lead an overly lavish lifestyle. Monarchs, by contrast, have no popular mandate and no job performance requirements, and can generally only be removed by means upon which the law frowns, like regicide and seditious conspiracies.

In the end, it doesn't matter whether you think Betty Windsor is a feckless inbred layabout, or a tirelessly hard-working English pensioner who does wonders with her patronage of the arts and the voluntary sector, the fact is she is the United Kingdom's Head of State (and thus ours) by virtue of being the oldest daughter in a family with no sons, whose father happened to become King when his brother decided to marry an American. Oh yes, and she didn't become a Catholic, nor marry one. Quite the qualification.

The only time her sovereign power has been exercised in anything other than a perfunctory manner was by her "official representative" in Australia, when he dismissed a government under quite disgraceful circumstances.

Meanwhile, on to the "eagerly awaited" 20/20 game tonight ... no fucking way is that travesty going to be reported on here, except perhaps in the most negative of terms. I know that batsmen can hit the ball a long way from time to time, and thus have no need to watch a slog-fest made - as best I can figure - for the benefit of those suffering attention deficit disorder. I'll just take my Ritalin, thanks, and wait for a real version of the great game that is cricket.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Just when I was going to blog... 

...Dunedin was cut off from the world for about 4 hours. No internet, and no Telecom mobile coverage for tossers with mobiles either. And I had some interesting reflections on New Zealand society to share and all. Hmm, maybe later.

In the interim, however, BIR is pleased to bring you a lifetime achievement award for Robert Milton, Chairman and former CEO of Air Canada, in the category of "being a total tosser".

Here's what Bobert has to say about Chairman Milton:

This guy can be held personally responsible for the demise of Air Travel world wide. Under Milton’s command Air Canada has led the industry in transferring user costs directly to the passenger. Everything from ramp taxes to NAVCAN surcharges are taxed directly upon the passenger. These used to be costs absorbed by the company. And now, air travelers are taxed higher than smokers. He has also managed to destroy frequent flyer programs, so that free travel is so out of reach you are far better to cash in your points on 6 packs of Pepsi and semi-salted popcorn. Let’s also not forget that this guy took over a company debt free, and has managed to slam it into the ground – laying off thousands and suffering through bankruptcy protection. He also dreamed up the Star Alliance Network – a useless global network that has limited service in South America, Africa and the Middle East. The majority of its participants have, like Air Canada, been in bankruptcy protection as well. So, while he cuts himself million dollar raises for being a smart guy, and then lays off thousands of employees, Robert Milton truly stands out as a tosser of our times. Be sure to keep those 1st class lounges stocked full of poor wine and cheap beer, while finding new ways to charge the common joe traveler with new user fees and even more uncomfortable seating.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

That's My Team 

Twenty four days until the official kick-off of the NRL.

In the latest league news former Kiwi Jarrod McCracken is suing Melbourne Storm and two of its players - Steve Kearney and Marcus Bai - for $750,000 saying the spear-tackle they put in on him finished his career.

McCracken was playing for Wests Tigers on May 12, 2000 when his spine and neck were injured - he says the tackle was intentional and done with the intent to cause injury.

That trial is underway in New South Wales.

In other news the Warriors beat the Eels 20-10 in their pre-season trial in New Plymouth in the weekend however as the Eels coach said "8 or 9 of our guys" had never played at this level.

It's a shame you have to go to SMH to get a decent report on the match though.

I guess the Warriors' ex-PR man going around fighting photographers and journalists from the country's primary newspaper last season did not facilitate comprehensive league coverage.

Still this might improve now that ex-journo Richard Becht has sold out and is doing 'communications' - read: spinning news, minimising fallout, blatant lying - for the lads.

They're having a public open day this Saturday at Ericcson from 10.30 till 2pm, I might head in and put some hits in on Betham and Wiki and see if they're up to the job.

Centrebet in Australia is offering an array of odds on the league - winner, wooden spoon, top eight - New Zealand's TAB say they can't offer any odds except on the winner until they know the full team lists.

University Inc. 

Hi! I put this up last week, but I got a call from the Toronto Star saying that they were going to run it. I pulled it down in case they got pissy about copyright. Turns out their editor turfed it in the end. Still, I thought it worthy for the public eye. For those outside of the Canadian context our Universities have become businesses, not schools, overnight and everyone seems to be getting the rough end of that one. Air Canada, another struggling national business, has completely shit its pants with how it structures airfare and makes every attempt possible to screw the dollars out of the little guy. Getting quite tired of their reckless shinanigans as well.

Bob Rae’s idea to end tuition limits is indeed in tune with how Canadian universities operate today. We’re kidding ourselves if we think that universities still approach post-secondary education as a right, because each and every school has made it clear that they are in the business, not the service, of issuing degrees. Much like a struggling national airline is in the business of offering different seat fares on a sliding scale. Today, University Inc. offers its clients packages such as the Tango BA, the Latitude BAH up to the Executive First Ph.D. Just as the airline on the verge of receivership lays-off its human resources and re-paints its planes, University Inc. has made similar restructuring and marketing decisions. It has cut faculty positions, while transferring resources to upping its image with new buildings and ad-campaigns for Super-Élite style Executive MBAs. So, from the perspective of business, university clients should have the right to pay more for service. The real question lies with the state of University Inc.’s loyalty program so that clients feel committed to remaining within the national-network instead of cashing in their reward miles on other international carriers with greater incentives and more leg-room.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

New Feature / Old Windbag 

To complement the "legend of late" feature (currently re-occupied by Daniel Vettori), I've added the "tosser of our times" honour. The first lucky recipient of this award is none other than East Coast Bay's very own Culture War Warrior, Murray McCully. Yes, he of the massive upper lip and eye for spotting queers on TV. This worthless individual's "proclivities" were first highlighted by Jordan at JustLeft. They include an aversion to seeing gays on TV (although perhaps there's more than a little J. Edgar Hoover to the Hon. Mr. McCully, given the extent to which he seeks to emphasize his heterosexual prowess and decry the "sisterhood". You know what I mean.)

Here's what I wrote in the comments section over at JustLeft (a good site for NZ politics by the way).

What a disgusting windbag that McCully is.

He's clearly drawing extensively from US cultural conservatives, presumably because he thinks their arguments will propel National to power in NZ in the same way it does Republicans in the US.

On Feb 6, Frank Rich wrote in the NY Times:

"Secretary or Education Margaret Spellings hadn't even been officially sworn into the cabinet when she took on "Postcards From Buster," threatening PBS with decreased financing because one episode had the show's eponymous animated rabbit hobnobbing with actual lesbian moms while visiting Vermont to learn how maple syrup is made. Though Buster had in previous installments visited Muslims, Mormons, Orthodox Jews and Pentecostal Christians, gay couples (even when not identified as such on camera) are verboten to our new Secretary of Education. "Many parents would not want their young children exposed to the lifestyles portrayed in this episode," Ms. Spellings wrote in her threatening letter to Pat Mitchell, the C.E.O. of PBS."

Sound familiar? Perhaps McCully's secretary reads the NY Times for him and explains the good bits.

Why stop at gay couples though Muzza (if I may call you that?) Perhaps, as a committed athiest, I object to seeing Muslims, Mormons, Orthodox Jews and Pentecostal Christians (etc) on TV, and am worried about the effects portrayals of such persons may have on my children? ("what about the children?!")

To put it bluntly, I only want to see people like me (or even better, just me) on TV. I never want to see Murray McCully.

Update: Russell Brown notes that "If it wasn't such a wholly terrifying subject for conjecture, I'd be tempted to conclude that McCully must be very dull in the sack."

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Mocking conservatives (once again, for fun) 

NoRightTurn is firing on all cylinders:

ObservatioNZ describes the present National party as "Muldoon with monetarism". WHile I think this is a perfect description of Brash - his autocratic leadership style, populist Maori- and beneficiary-bashing, and adherence to market fundamentalism - I'm not sure that it's entirely fair to the party as a whole. After all, National isn't just Brash - it also includes talentless born-to-rule tories, inbred rural consevatives, panty-sniffing monarchists, capitalists without a conscience, and "mother knows best" paternalists. Shouldn't they get a look-in too?

Bloody brilliant. And based on my time in Canada I can report that many of the same tropes appear in the Conservative Party there, albeit with rather more in the way of "Biblical literalists and assorted crazed theocrats".

In addition, NRT points to the entirely manufactured nature of the "social security crisis" in the US ... a crisis only exists if savings cannot be touched (e.g., if they have been obliterated by tax cuts for the rich).

Bush wants to get the government out of the social security game by privatising it - otherwise known as the "let the elderly starve" solution. ... But the only way this can be a "crisis" is if the trust fund can't be tapped - in other words, if the US government decides to stiff one of its largest investors and refuse to pay out on [bonds purchased with Social Security payroll taxes].

What would the Bush Administration gain from this (apart from a global economic meltdown)? It would be able to make its tax cuts permanant. Those tax cuts of course flow almost entirely to the top one or two percent of Americans - and will now be funded by stealing money saved for retirement by the bottom eighty percent. In other words, it's Robin Hood in reverse: robbing from the poor to give to the rich.

Nice work. Such wonderful rants against the right remind me of what Russell Brown said yesterday about that hapless collection of space-alien channelling MPs claiming to represent the ACT party: "tax is theft … spend more!", and "build more prisons … but not here!" Yeah, whatever, fuck off dicks.

The Counter clockwise Clock 

I’m just off the plane from the Southern Cone of South America – Gaucho country. My shirt smells of Maté, and my pants are stained with Tannat wine.

I plan to share little bits of my journeys from the past six months on this site. Little vignettes from three oceans: the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic, all journeyed to within 5 weeks. So, indeed stay tuned.

Most of this travel has taken place in the Southern Hemisphere. A great and fascinating place. Things are different in the South than they are in the north. I don’t just mean the water in the drain thing, or the fact that the Southern Cross comes out to visit every night, no it indeed goes deeper than that.

I bought a clock on the weekend in Uruguay. It tells time counter-clockwise instead of clockwise, the way it used to be done in the Southern Hemisphere before Columbus and Cabral took wrong turns and whipped out entire civilizations. Many things in the south go anti-clockwise: marine currents, the structure and growth of plants, and the flow of liquids. Joaquin Torres Garcia said that in the South when our ships go north, they go down, not up.

From what I’ve seen, the North is spinning out of control in a clockwise direction, and on its dizzying journey it is making every effort possible to convince the South to spin in the same way. Going against culture, language, diet, science, rationalism, logic, and nature, the North wants the South to spin its way. Unfortunately, its momentum is strong, and in many places in the South things are spinning this wrong way. But, there are many pockets of resistance from Cricket to Maté, World Social Forums, Languages, distances and ideas that are working to put the brakes on this dangerous idea.

Over the next few weeks I’ll cover some of these pressure points that impact how we relate to each other and ourselves.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Nation of morons 

This, by St Molesworth, is rather clever and there are others here .

Top 10 reasons Jonathan Hunt qualifies as one the 20 greatest living New Zealanders:

1. Only New Zealander recognised as having the blood type Pinot Noir.

2. First MP in history to empty the parliamentary swimming pool with a single late night belly-flop.

3. Over a weekend in the 1980s, without the aid of any staff, singlehandedly watched all eleven episodes of 'Brideshead Revisited'.

4. Contributed to the development of a free market by singlehandedly making the subsidy at Bellamys uneconomic.

5. Recently won an international competition for the smallest number of people you can fit in a Volkswagen.

6. Through his regular custom, 129 Indian taxi drivers have been lifted out of poverty.

7. The shock value of his cellulite has been described by Weta special effects as "worldclass".

8. Helped avert disastrous New Zealand "wine mountain".

9. His arrival in Britain will qualify as the largest single shipment of meat to that country since they joined the EEC.

10. Improved the lives of countless New Zealanders by....err, umm...sorry, is a mate of Helen Clark's.

In other news my punt on Ali Lauititi's Leeds Rhinos to beat the Bulldogs with a -5.5 point start paid off, even if my heart was in my mouht for the last 20 mins as the Bulldogs scored four unanswered tries.

Leeds won by 7 at $1.67 - goes some way to making up for the money Air NZ stole from me.

The league was also a refreshing break from the fucking Australian Open tennis commentary where there was almost as much dialogue discussing Hewitt's yelling "come on" on crucial points as there was discussing the match at hand.

Jesus Christ a sportsman showing passion on the court, what next?

And finally it's a sad day for satire across the Tasman. But what a brilliant proposed last headline....

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

BIR Political Roundup 

Well, well a real pattern is emerging as Don Brash sits around with such political geniuses as Murray McCully and Tony Ryall, dreams up a policy, and then makes a major speech about without consulting the very spokesperson he made responsible for that area of policy ... first Georgina Teheuheu, now Katherine "Richy" Rich. Whatever Helen Clark's faults, I don't recall her ever pulling the policy carpet out from underneath her own spokespeople (which, if nothing else, incites disaffection towards the leader and is a big waste of the time that spokespeople put into developing policy).

Note to Don: it's a bit rich to say that the government is in a mess a few hours after you sacked your fourth-ranked MP.

Meanwhile, this seemingly very minor story probably escaped public notice, but it is noteworthy, since it goes about as close to matters constitutional as is possible in New Zealand, a country without a real written constitution.

To me it raises some issues:

Why do we let our Prime Ministers, in "consultation" with an English
pensioner, choose our ceremonial and sometimes effective head of state? How about we the people assume our sovereign roles, and choose the nation's highest leader/representative ourselves at regular intervals? About once every four years should do it.

Well, at least Helen seems to be countenancing some debate about the flag, which could be interesting.

Moving off-shore, I note that Conservatives in Canada have been campaigning to democratize the Senate (perhaps less out of principle than out of realization that it is a way - maybe the only way - to get some Tories into the Red Chamber). This hypothesis would seem to be confirmed by the fact they never talk about
extending democracy right to the top, and replacing Betty Windsor with a
Canadian chosen by Canadians.

Staying in Canada, there's a "same sex marriage" bill before the Commons as of yesterday, and its government sponsored. This dork from Calgary begins to make a case for not separating church and state ("don't discriminate against the religious conscious" etc), but then devolves into the self-serving argument that public morality comes (exclusively, it is implied) from the Ten Commandments, and thus the Bible.

As if the Ancient Hebrews were the only culture in the world to cast moral
approbation on things like stealing and murder (and were still dumb enough
to need a god to tell them such things tend to undermine social order and

And there's the unfortunate fact that the first four commandments have
nothing to do with morality at all but are concerned with proscribing a form
of worship.

What a dick.

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