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

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Reshuffle Day 

Hmmm, what would I recommend?

Chris Carter --> Education
Ruth Dyson --> Health
David Parker --> Social Development
Clayton Cosgrove --> Corrections
Phil Goff --> Economic Development

Pete Hodgson can pick up Conservation from Chris Carter
Maybe David Cunliffe could pick up Environment

If the PM was brave she would move Phil Goff into Finance and put Michael Cullen out to pasture somewhere (say, Trade and Defence), and send Trevor Mallard to the backbenches to think about what he's done. Neither seems especially likely.

I'd like to see big moves up for Cosgrove and Parker, and modest increases for Dyson and Carter.

It Jim Anderton could be bumped back a few places then Cosgrove or Parker could be literally front bench. Goff should be ranked 3, and King 4. Shane Jones deserves something significant to keep him busy and a mid-ranking in the Cabinet.

Now for the odd headline of the day: Lulu and Wilbur: a love that transcends species. Don't worry, it's not what you think. They're 'just good friends', despite Wilbur being from Canterbury.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Anti-Social Bastards in Our Midst 

I steal the title of this blog post from George Monbiot, who used it for an article in which he claimed that "the car is turning us into a nation of libertarians." What he meant, more precisely, was that when one drives, "society becomes an obstacle", and that "the more you drive, the more bloody-minded and individualistic you become." Whether or not it is fair to connect drivers' alleged bloody-mindedness and reckless disregard for others to political libertarianism is an interesting question, is beside the point for my purposes today. But interestingly in his latest column he discusses a particularly outspoken libertarian business leader who has recently been suckling hard on the public tit.

What are my purposes, then? I'm fucking sick to death of the small-minded morons who go out of their way to destroy bus shelters in and around Auckland. Every Monday there's fresh carnage, with broken glass, smashed perspex, and even wooden seats that have been partially set on fire. And every Monday hundreds of public transport users find that "their" stop no longer provides shelter from the incessant fucking wind and rain in Auckland, and probably won't do for another three weeks until it is fixed. Of course, in the prevailing climate of anti-social little fuckwits, the "fix" will only be temporary, as the bastards will be back to ruin it for everyone in a few weekend's time.

Being forced to standing in the wind and rain, amid the ruins of a former bus shelter, does little to encourage public transport use, to put it mildly. If I could afford my own car, even a blue-smoker, I would probably buy one and drive it to and from the city every freakin' day. As it is Mrs_Red takes our one car to and from her work (as there is no public transport option for her).

Meanwhile, in other news (as they say) ... Winston Peters is a fuckwit. Why aren't all those Auckland Asians going out and forging business links with their home country, he asks? Yeah right. Just like I do with Ireland, and Yamis does with Scotland, and Winston himself does with Taiwan, or Italy, or wherever the fuck he comes from?

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Credit where credit is due 

Darth George has written an articulate, moving and original column. Well done: you earned this week's pay cheque.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

What makes for a 1 star airline? 

I’m planning on traveling around the world in 2008. I’ll likely visit South-East Asia, India and Southern Africa.

This takes planning, and lots of research. So, among the many things that I’m looking into, I decided to check up on the airlines of the world. Skytrax ( has given the 5 Start rating system to every airline. While it is an honour to be given 5 stars (only 5 airlines enjoy this ranking) it is just as special to be dished out a single star.

Air Koryo, North Korea’s airline is the only 1 star airline. Meaning that it “represents very poor standards of Product across all travel categories, with poor, inconsistent standards of Staff Service delivery in Onboard and Airport environments.” Also, the EU banned Air Koryo from landing anywhere in its territory.

Here’s what some veteran passengers had to say about Air Koryo: “I was fairly disappointed by the service, however was amused when both pilots came around to say hello to the dignitaries with me, presumably leaving the aircraft on autopilot anyway! Made the journey exciting, I can tell you.”

And another: “Along the runway in Pyongyang you can see the shells of other planes which have obviously been cannibalized to ensure that at least one stays on the air. All in all I would recommend Koryo to anyone who doesn't necessarily regard safety as a priority in their air travel.”

In the 2 star ranking you can find airlines like Sudan Airways and The U.K.’s BMI Baby. A BMIbaby passenger wrote to say, “I hear today's flight out of Glasgow has been diverted to Birmingham.” And there are simply no comments about Sudan Airways. Well, there was one, but the passenger only got half way through the first sentence, and then decided not to finish the comment.

3 star airlines include Myanmar Airways International and Air Canada. MAI passengers noted that the service was “friendly, personable and pleasant.” Another content MAI passenger said that he enjoyed an “excellent hot meal, very good service - even got my own bus from gate to plane. Beats any US carrier.”

On the other hand, one Air Canada customer mentioned that the airline gave him the “worst service I have experienced on ground and onboard.” And one disgruntled business class passenger going between Toronto and Frankfurt stated that “the one movie that was shown on the grainy cabin screen was Beetlejuice.”

The 4 star category gives you Air Tahiti Nui, and of course, Air New Zealand. One ATN passenger was so content with his economy service that he suggests that “other airlines should take a leaf from their training book.” Air New Zealand passengers in premium economy noted that “the service and seat were not worth the extra money paid.” Others noted that with the new Boeing 777, Air NZ is bumping about 1 in 20 passengers, and some of the hotels say that they receive a daily supply of grumpy passengers.

And there are only 5 5-star airlines. Singapore, Cathay Pacific, Asiana, Malaysia Airlines, and Qatar Airlines. Qatar Airlines is a surprise, but passengers agree that the seats in economy recline so far back and smoothly that it is possible to slide right off of them. And as for Singapore, a German passenger gave it an enthusiastic two thumbs up, saying that besides the wide selection of wine and newspapers, during the night the flight attendants “cared for him.” Details are loose on that one, but imagination fills in the blanks.

So fellow wanderlusters, use this advice and knowledge to the best of your ability.

Safe travels.

Another politician makes another ass of self 

Following on from last week's deranged ramblings from the Farmers' Party Spokesperson on the Prohibition of Water and Protection of Babies, today we have Pita Sharples making absurd statements about race relations. On the one hand I realize that his shrill and ridiculous rhetoric will go down well with his party's target voters - aggrieved Maori who conceptualize the world in only two tones (brown and white), and believe the state is always out to get them. On the other, I use the word "ridiculous" in the literal sense - his claims are so over-stated and bereft of logic as to invite ridicule.

Sharples characterizes the police as engaging in "storm trooper" and "extreme" behaviour, having "lashed out" at Maori, in such a way "that negative history is repeating itself." And then the trump, headline-earning card: "This action has violated the trust that has been developing between Maori and Pakeha and sets our race relations back 100 years."

Honestly, man, pull yourself together. No land was confiscated. No war was fought. No one was shot, or even roughed up by the cops. The redcoats did not invade Maori land. A few Maori alleged to be involved in very serious illegal paramilitary activities were arrested. They are now being charged in an open and transparent legal process. A few other Maori in some shitty town were momentarily detailed while their vehicles were searched. Some other folks who were not Maori, but who might or might not have known the paramilitary wannabes, have also been arrested and charged. This is not a crisis in race relations you idiot.

What do you suggest the Police should have done? Ignored the information they had gathered? Politely knocked on the front doors of the alleged and asked: "I say mate, by any chance are you planning on doing anything bad with your arsenal of guns and home-made explosives? No? Didn't think so. Have a nice day." One might also hypothesize that a significant proportion of the Police executing the warrants, and making the arrests, were Maori themselves.

Such nuances are lost on the Maori Party I fear.

The critical point, though, is that if the self-styled Tuhoe warriors - consisting largely of the fat, the excessively tattooed, and the disaffected - had been left to follow through on their alleged plans (i.e., war against the state, or at least some aspect of it, probably killing a few innocent "whiteys" along the way) ... then we might have a real crisis of race relations.

Pita Sharples you are a tosser.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Well Done Lads! 

So what is it about NZ men that makes women feel so comfortable?

And thank god that Bob Harvey has been voted back in over Tamihere who must have had the entire Te Atatu Peninsula voting for him (as well as looking after his cats).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Prohibitionist Dean Rambling Again (& Kedgely says something sensible) 

National Party Space-Waster and former Play School presenter Jacqui Dean is at it again. After a less-than successful foray into the banning of water (a foul trick played by left-wing bloggers in Jacqui's fevered imagination), her ramblings before the Health Select Committee yesterday merit a shock-horror headline in the Herald and even an airbrushed(?) photo of the obnoxious busy-body herself.

The story is based around data suggesting that "from July 2002 to last October, the [national poisons] centre was contacted regarding 16 children and teenagers under 16 consuming piperazine-based party pills. This included two aged 18 months, two of 23 months and one of 24 months."

Right, so that would be fewer than 4 children a year then. Not quite a national crisis is it?

Young children, in particular, will pick up anything and put it in their mouths. Which is why you have to watch the little buggers constantly, and try and keep as many potentially "dangerous" items out of reach as possible. Just ask Yamis.

Lots of things that are OK for adults, in certain doses, are bad for babies. Like gin for example. And a couple of panadols. Of course, we don't suggest that adults shouldn't be able to use these things (and threaten to imprison those who do).

More generally, there are many things that are appropriate for adults (e.g., driving, getting married, moving out of home), which we do not consider appropriate for infants. Get a clue, woman.

We have to read most of the way down the story to see that: "The most common calls [to the Poisons Centre] relating to children overdosing on drugs was for paracetamol-based medicine."

Surprise surprise.

And it is not until the penultimate sentence that we see: "National Poisons Centre poisons information specialist Mairead Harnett said there was no evidence that party pills had led to any deaths."

A bigger surprise, perhaps, is something very sensible coming from none other than Green MP Sue Kedgley, renowned for making comments ranging from the strange to the bizarre. The following exchange is great:

The select committee's chairwoman, Green MP Sue Kedgley, questioned Mrs Dean on whether it would make more sense to increase the restrictions on the marketing and sale of tobacco and alcohol before banning party pills, because alcohol and tobacco were associated with thousands of deaths a year in New Zealand and party pills with none.

"Why would you not take a consistent approach?" she asked.

Mrs Dean said it was "not helpful" to start a bidding war on which drugs were the more harmful.

Oh piss off, Jacqui. That is not an argument. It is an assertion based on, well, nothing. It is fucking helpful to consider which drugs are more harmful, because it would likely reveal that there is no rational basis for current drug policy.

Research recently published in the Lancet, for example, finds that alcohol and tobacco are more harmful to human health than cannabis, LSD and ecstasy. (NB: this is independent of their current availability/legal status).

Note to infants everywhere: this does not mean I recommend you take cannabis, LSD or ecstasy. Moreover, parents, you are responsible for keeping these things away from your infants.

Note to Jacqui Dean: while attention to harm will at least reveal the bankruptcy of your ideas, and that of your prohibitionist ilk, in the final analysis it is absolutely none of your business what I put in my body. The criminal law's legitimate interest in any subsequent behaviour on my part should be limited to protecting the rights of others.

Moreover, if you think drugs are bad for my health (and some of them, legal and illegal, in certain quantities, are), then why are you threatening me with imprisonment (which will most certainly be bad for my health?)

Piss off and take your "drugs are bad for babies" bullshit with you.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Where we lost the quarterfinal 

We used the wrong haka. They have used the kapa o pango haka for big games and kama te kama te for 'ordinary' tests.

What message did they send to the French, us, and THEMSELVES by performing our 'b' haka?

That we were saving the other one for later. What? 2011?

In other, better, faster, stronger news. The Kiwis are going to beat the Kangaroos this weekend by a dozen.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Look at it this way 

At least now we will see the All Blacks playing in the Super 14. All that reconditioning and rotation did not make any fundamental difference. We were playing up the jumper rugby and the French were standing off tackling us the whole second half just like you would expect.

I wonder where the game will be in 4 years time as well. The experimental rules could well be in by then and they will revolutionise the game if accounts of matches trialled under them are anything to go by. Much less scrums and much more running with the ball should suit any NZ team well.

A few points...
McCaw had a good game
Carter was not fit, you could see him running at 80%
The forwards played well
Rocokoko had a very good game considering he had no space all night

and yet we still lose because France's defence was excellent, the ref made a couple of key fuckups which cost us points and who knew that kicking the ball away for 40 minutes could keep you in a rugby game ;)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Stats for the Quarterfinals 

A few possible pointers for you.

The favourites for the 4 games are NZ, Australia, South Africa and Argentina.

Reasons are obvious. They are all unbeaten whereas their opponents have all lost a match already. No team has ever gone on and won the World Cup after losing a pool match. In fact the only time a team has dropped a pool match and even made the final was in 1991 when England lost the opening game to NZ but went on to make the final where they lost to Australia.

Combined the finalists at every world cup have had 30 pool wins, 1 draw and 1 loss and it's hard to see any of those second qualifiers from any of the pools taking the title this year.

Other reasons to be worried if you are fans or Scotland, England, France or Fiji. The opposition has won more historically against your teams (Argentina 5 Scotland 1, Australia 20 England 13, New Zealand 34 France 10 and South Africa 1 Fiji 0) and also the favoured teams all won the last encounter between the two sides. In the case of the All Blacks they have gone 10 matches v France without defeat and Scotland have not defeated Argentina since their first encounter 17 years ago in 1990.

I would be surprised if there wasn't one upset from the four games but for the life of me I just can't see which game it would be.

God help us if it's at 8am tomorrow morning. But I am tipping the ABs by a comfortable margin. In other words I don't think we will be needing a late winner or to defend our line against a barrage of attack.

And a few words on the minnows. Get rid of them. They stretch the comp out and don't have a shit show of winning anything significant. Contrary to a lot of what you have heard in the media the likes of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa ARE NOT minnows. They would all easily qualify for a 16 team world cup. It's the Portugals, Namibia's and Japan's that need to jump through more hoops to make it.

The IRB needs a better qualifying system in place where more teams are involved and the weaker teams get more matches against better sides. Not one game every four years v class opposition. In 4 years time people in Portugal will still be none the wiser that they have an international rugby team unless they are actually knocking teams over. It's a little like our mens basketball team going to the world champs and coming 13th or whatever. Most people on the street in NZ would have no idea they are there, but when they come 4th....


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Painting by numbers with Darth George 

How does today's installment stack up in terms of the Darth George formula? Did Darth really put all his writing skills to work?

The subeditor gets full points for the title, "Slavish PC attitudes robbing teachers of classroom tools" - political correctness + education system + someone being robbed is a sure-fire winner.

But what of the text itself? Here's the standard elements for a contribution from everyone's favourite Rotoruan:

1. Old man pissed off with world in Abe Simpson like manner? Check - today he is "despondent" but also "faintly amused", which hopefully lowers his blood pressure a bit.

2. "I blame the parents!"? Check - "Surely it stands to reason that if children are impudent, disobedient and/or violent in the classroom, then that behaviour has been tolerated, even learned, in the home..."

3. "Political correctness gone mad!"? Check - "Slavish adherence to political correctness has robbed teachers of the tools they once had to ensure discipline in their classes..."

4. "Bring back the cane!" Bare pass - "I'm not talking about corporal punishment, although the banning of that marked the beginning of the situation our schools face today."

6. Extended Biblical quotation? Fail - Darth - this one was crying out for, at minimum, "spare the rod and spoil the child." What were you thinking, man?

7. "The trouble with young people nowadays..." Check - "children know their 'rights' and can quote chapter and verse of young persons' legislation and threaten to call the police." As an aside, the average kiwi child can't quote chapter and verse of any text, let alone legislation. I'd wager one out of every two 16 year olds doesn't even know what the word "legislation" means.

8. "This country is going to hell in a handbasket!" - Check, "The increasing violence in our society is not confined to schools. It permeates our nation like a plague."

9. Rights culture to blame? Check - see point 7, above.

10. Anecdote presented as general fact? Check - "male teachers are scared to go within six feet of female pupils and vice versa." Note to Darth - classrooms aren't that big.

11. Light sprinkling of common sense that almost makes column forgiveable? - Check - "the simple answer to the epidemic of classroom misbehaviour is for the school authorities to return offending children to their parents on the understanding that they will be readmitted to school when their behaviour has been modified."

12. Implicit or explicit criticism of feminism? Bare pass - "families in which both parents work and in which recalcitrant children have been allowed to thrive because parents don't have the time, the talents or the inclination to bring them up properly."

Monday, October 01, 2007

Nice Work 

From the first paragraph of their article on the AB clash with France...
The match featuring the tournament hosts against the tournament tournament
favourites New will deprived the World Cup of one of its marquee teams for
the final two weeks.

Only three blatant errors in two lines.

I'm picking early that the ABs will win 35-23, which will probably be considered a very unconvincing win by us folks in NZ (especially considering our recent results v France have been 61-10, 42-11, 23-11, 47-3, 45-6 and 40-13) but I think we should just take anything we can get from here on in, ugly or otherwise.

And good on Melbourne for winning the title. They thoroughly deserved it. And boy Manly were horrendous. That was the most one sided Grand Final that I can recall since the 1990s when the Broncos won a few fairly easily and the Raiders dicked the Bulldogs. Although to be honest, since the epic final in 1989 between the Raiders and Tigers there have been fuck all close ones. I can only think of about 4 that have been decided by 6 points or less out of about 18 matches.

Bring back the cliffhanger!!!!

And the winner is.... 

The Melbourne Storm. Quite a fun game I guess, as long as you weren't a Manly fan.

The Storm basically made yards at will, using the following formula: receive ball one (or sometimes two) out from the ruck, catch it at pace, aim for a gap ... make 12 yards. Rinse and repeat. Don't drop ball or force dodgy passes.

Neither team's kicking game was up to much, but Melbourne didn't need it to be honest. If they had kicked well, both in play and from the spot, it could have been a 40-point hiding.

Now for the announcement you've all been waiting for. Who is the King of the Tipsters?

YAMIS: 107/172: 62.2%
DC_RED: 63/104: 60.7%


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