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

Monday, January 30, 2006

Wank Foods 

1. Avacado

In other news, kids are going to get an hour of physical activity a day at primary school. Wish I'd had that. PE was the only subject in either primary school or high school that I looked forward to. Once I learnt my timestables and how to add and subtract maths then became about 1000 wasted hours in my high school years.

And this from somebody who decides to leave high school and get an MA and a graduate diploma and fucking well then go back to school to teach! Gluton for punishment.

And in local Massey news I have now planted over 100 plants on my section since moving here and have 27 more to put in today. Viva la spade!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Terrorising with discretion 

"One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" as the saying goes.

"Howard backs calls for Hamas to renounce violence" as the Herald says. (I eagerly await the sequel: "World calls on IDF to renounce violence too")

But there are bigger fish to fry in the world of contemporary terrorism: namely a Great White which "terrorised" a couple of Taranaki hicks by, err, swimming under one boat and between two others. Scary stuff that.

On my personal terrorism scale, where "large wild pig disturbs residents of Wellington's outer hills" ranks as a 0 (contrary to a Dominion Post story a while back), and invading Chile to overthrow a democratically elected government ranks as a 10, I'd give this one a fucking zero!

The NZ press should exercise a bit more fucking discretion in the use of words like terrorism and terrorist, perhaps moving closer to the position of the BBC. The terms are in danger of losing whatever specific, purposeful meaning it still possesses.

While I'm at it, something that has bothered me for, oh, at least 5 years. The NZ media relies almost exclusively on English-based reports for the situation in Northern Ireland, which are predictably hostile to republicans and their causes. These invariably describe Sinn Fein as "the political wing as the IRA". Given the actions of Tony Blair and colleagues over recent years, I look forward to the British Labour Party being described as "the political wing of the British military".

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Happy New Year from Jim Anderton 

The parsimonious Jim Anderton has confirmed his next target: party pills. "I've got no problem banning BZP tomorrow," Mr Anderton said. Hey Jim, fuck off, I think we still have something called the rule of law in this country, and I don't recall anyone making you Supreme Commander of Other People's Bodies. If you don't like 'em, don't take 'em.

"Christchurch Hospital carried out a survey last year and found that about five people a week were coming in with adverse side effects after taking party pills" the Granny Herald reports. Right, and have similar studies reported on how many people a week come in with adverse side effects after taking alcohol? Or perhaps prominent advertisers in the NZ Herald don't want to hear about that.

So why not ban that tomorrow, too, Jim? No need for a prohibition referendum this time, eh?

Jim: just fuck off and retire, I'm really, really sick of you. You bother me a great deal more than the prospect of other people taking party pills, most of them having a good time, and a few of them feeling a bit worse for wear. I'm serious: fuck off.

One ticket to New Zealand please. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, (members of the jury), I’m back to B.I.R. after a bit of a hiatus. I’ve been wandering about parts unknown for a few months, and I’ve only just got back into it. It’s been good. Swinging from vines in South America, and running from state police from time to time. And what a time to be back, considering that last night Canadians voted Stephen Harper and his god-fearing conservatives into a minority government.

This was a disgraceful election campaign all around. The conservatives, masters of coercion that they are, actually pulled off negative T.V. ads attacking the Liberals on the grounds that they might use negative ads themselves. Prime Minister Paul Martin looked tired throughout the fight; always on the defensive. The media, and occasionally the RCMP, did not give him or his cabinet an inch of leeway. Gilles Duceppe, the Bloc Quebecois leader, came into this race half asleep. There was a lot of ground for the Bloc to take in Quebec, considering the full on disappointment with the liberals. Yet, Gilles teeter tottered between the Bloc being truly separatist, or just separatist when we feel like it. The biggest bummer came from the left-wing NDP party. Their leader Jack Layton spent a lot time reinforcing right-wing claims that there was corruption in the liberal party, and he did very little to present his party as capable of acting as leader or opposition.

In many ways this last election was the text-book definition of manufacturing consent. The conservatives always couch their ruthless neo-con economic platforms in the language of heritage, family values, and other such rhetoric. The result is that church-going farmers, ones who have nearly been run off of their land through corporate aggression in agriculture that promotes vertical integration and economies of scale, give their votes to Conservatives because they show good morals. This is the same program of morals that adheres to vertically integrating the family farm into corporate frameworks, which sends young generations of farmers into the cities to make a living. All opposition parties did a dreadful job in highlighting some of the potentially lethal conservative platforms, such as healthcare reform.

Conservatives have ensured Canadians that a second tier healthcare system is possible; one that is to the likes of Germany or Switzerland. The problem, boys and girls, is that we don’t have a NAFTA trade deal with the EU. But we have one with the U.S. that clearly states that U.S. HMOs, service providers, and hospitals would have dibs on contract bidding in the Canadian system if our system is anything less than 100% publicly funded. A few hip replacement surgeries and lobbyists captured our media’s attention with this issue, saying that wait times are the big problem in Canadian healthcare. In-depth commissions, public health experts and epidemiologists be damned. The florid testimony of the op-ed writer wins in the end. While wait times may be inconvenient, the corporate path is not the way to go, as many studies have concluded, among many other pitfalls, that morbidity rates in private hospitals is always higher.

The corporate sector, the conservative right, the theological right, and U.S. interests have creamed themselves with delight knowing that Harper will run the show for the next while. Harper’s crew is in love with the idea of getting closer to the U.S.; yes the most unsustainable, financially volatile, war driven country in the world is something that they want to get snugly with. Our only fighting chance is that this government is a minority, and we may be able to ward off some of the agenda, catch a second wind, and put the conservatives back in their place. Until then, I will continue to ask, “Rage against the machine, where are you now when we need you the most?”

Friday, January 13, 2006

Smells like spin 

Every once in a while, you take a look around your surroundings and take a big breath in...but just as you inhale you begin to gag, your lungs scream for fresh air, you begin to lose your vision but it's too late; your senses are overwhelmed by the unmistakable and putrid stench of public relations bullshit.

So, early this week the public are treated to a story about a female police officer who got beaten trying to break up a party in Tauranga.
A dense 30m trail of blood baked under the hot sun yesterday as Tauranga detectives painstakingly marked out evidence after the bashing of a female officer early in the morning. The policewoman, who was hit with a wheel rim during a riot, is in Tauranga Hospital's intensive care ward with a fractured skull, shoulder and nose. Her family were at her side.

Well, that's very sad however when journalists spoke to people who were actually at the party a very different story to the 'poor beaten cop' line began to emerge:
William Roberts, who was asked to act in a security capacity at the double-21st birthday party, said he was surprised at the attitude of some police. "Everyone was happy until the cops turned up. "It all started when a kid got hit to the ground. All I saw was the guy get pushed to the ground, or hit to the ground. "His mates, cousins, uncles and aunties all came in and said, 'You can't do that'. Things just got real heated."

And then more from the girl whose party it was:
Stacey Trevino, whose 21st birthday was the reason for the party at a Welcome Bay hall, said police "came out two batons apiece and started going for it". She alleged officers used particular force against a 27-year-old man who appeared in court yesterday in relation to the attack on the police officer. Ms Trevino said she was standing in the hall entrance when four or five officers brought the man into the hall. "He was tied with his arms and legs behind his head. They started beating him with batons." She claimed the officers closed the doors to the main part of the hall and continued beating the man while she and others banged on the doors.

And then just when it's starting to sound like the police turned up at a party and start smashing revellers and instigated a brawl what do we have...a policeman who sustained horrific injuries in an attack (conveniently photgraphed) decides to break his 10-year silence:
Mr Orr decided to speak publicly for the first time about the ordeal he suffered - not just during the assault, but in the courtroom facing his attackers and back on the job - after partygoers claimed that police used excessive force to quell the violence.

He said he felt disgusted to see the same thing happening in Tauranga, with the police being forced to defend their use of pepper spray and batons in the riot. It was symptomatic of a system that favoured criminals over victims, he said.

Imagine that, the poor police having to justify their use of weapons on the public.
Mr Orr left the police in 2001, disillusioned by that system and what he believed was political undermining of the force. "The culture had been attacked," he said. "Legislation was being steadily brought in that was all about offenders' rights. The police were steadily being hamstrung in their ability to manage public safety."

This story did a nice little job of turning media coverage away from allegations of police brutality and squarely back to the poor assaulted police line.

I wonder what odds the TAB would give on Mr Orr's decision to speak out after a decade having come with a little prompting from above?

Also I wonder if this same police "culture" that Mr Orr says was being judiciously attacked was the same one the public are learning about through in a whole heap of historical rape trials in Bay of Plenty?

Around the blogosphere I can't help but think the whole women kissing at the cricket outrage over at blogs like Norightturn, is a little fucking precious.

Here are the facts: Some dumb-arse hired-thug security guard tells two women to stop kissing at a cricket game (they recieve an apology from that cricket club) then some manager of another sports stadium says hypothetically he'd have security stop women kissing at cricket games too.

It's not an attack on New Zealanders' civil rights it's a just a couple of morons mouthing off, I mean really, who gives a fuck?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Drugs Kill...yeah right 

Happy Birthday big fulla.

Albert Hofmann, the Swiss scientist who discovered the psychedelic drug LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), turns 100 years old on Wednesday.
The drug, famed for its hallucinogenic trips, was popular among the 1960s hippy generation. But it was also once a well-respected treatment for a variety of psychiatric disorders....
[Hofmann] remains convinced of the substance's therapeutic properties for the mind.
Hofmann has researched the use of stimulant drugs in traditional cultures around the world and found evidence of natural LSD being used by Mazatec Indians in Mexico, as well as by the ancient Greeks in fertility rites.

In other news, the Australian press is doing its best to terrify the public about sharks, the amount of shit I've seen in the SMH over the last few days talking to experts about the imminent danger facing swimmers at NSW beaches (after a one-off fatal attack in Queensland) is ridiculous:
Four large sharks, including a five metre great white, have been sighted cruising close to swimmers on the NSW south coast, the manager of an aerial shark patrol company says.
Harry Mitchell, manager of Australian Aerial Patrols, said Tuesday's sightings, near Jervis Bay, were made about the same time lifesavers cleared Sydney's Bronte and Tamarama beaches after a bronze whaler shark was seen by surfers about 2.20pm.

In the same time an Aussie swimmer has also been killed by a jellyfish...I guess it's just harder to scaremonger when the offender looks like this ey...

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