Archive for October, 2004

The Return Road Trip

October 31st, 2004 at 11:43 pm by David Farrar

I know one should not start with the ending, but it is worthy of the best comedy.

Readers may recall a 1200 km 16 hour return road trip to Hamilton to get Miss Ten‘s bed, Well at 9.30 p.m. we finally got back to Wellington with it in the trailer, having survived numerous mishaps.

Through the front door and up the stairs to find it would not fit. In fact not even close – a minor yet important detail Miss Ten had forgotten to check. There was no way to get it around the bend in the staircase without breaking the laws of physics, or chopping the bed in two with an axe. Ten and I burst into laughter while Ten’s flatmate is thinking that we must be somewhat annoyed to go all that way for nothing. He did not realise the laughter was hysterical, not humourous.

However where there is a will there is a way. We go up to the balcony three floors up and lower down two tow ropes. The tenant in the bottom floor apartment comes out rather disturbed at two ropes hanging outside his window, looking like they are about to be used for a SWAT or Ninja attack. He does not look much happier when told in fact they will be used to tie a bed to, and pull it up swinging past his windows, TV aerials and over his garden shed.

Once ropes are attached around bed legs, myself and one other start hauling it up. Miss Ten is taking photos, but unfortunately they don’t come out. The bed is bloody heavy when hauling it up three levels by rope but eventually we get it up just before my arms fall off, with no damage apart from mild rope burn. Then finally through the balcony double doors into Miss Ten’s bedroom.

We inform Miss Ten that she is never allowed to move out of her flat, unless she leaves her bed behind. I head home to my place for much needed sleep.

The rest of the return trip, starting at the beginning not the end, is below.
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Equal Partners – Yeah Right

October 31st, 2004 at 9:49 am by David Farrar

NZ First has said that a condition of any future coalition be that they be an equal partner.

Well that makes it easy for Labour and National.

“No – bugger off”

With great power comes great responsibility, and to be blunt NZ First has never showed any signs of responsibility. They makes the Greens look mature.

NZ First is genetically incapable of playing a constructive role in Government, well while Winston is leader. He has gone into every election since 1984 oppossing the Government of the day.

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The Road Trip!

October 31st, 2004 at 8:39 am by David Farrar

Arrived in Hamilton at midnight. This is not totally unusual in itself, but as at midday there was no intention to be around 600 kms north of Wellington, finding myself here is a tribute to the fun of totally unplanned road trips.
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Grievances or Gaps

October 30th, 2004 at 9:40 am by David Farrar

Comments by the chief judge of the Maori Land Court, Joe Williams, are some of the most regrettable I have seen.

Judge Williams has asserted that treaty grievances are all about closing the gaps, not about settling grievances. This view is entirely wrong and misguided, and to have ot held by such a senior Judge I think just shows that the Maori Land Court is becoming a very political and activist body which has almost no regard for judicial principles.

Williams and Mutu risk undermining public support for Treaty settlements. There is considerable support for settlements based on actual proven grievances. Every party in Parliament from ACT to Greens supports these.

However claiming that the “settlements are too small to adequately address disparities” is confusing the issue badly. I don’t care whether Ngai Tahu is poor or rich – we signed a deed of settelement for theiur grievances because it was the right thing to do.

The unfortunate thing that Judge Williams has done, is reinforce in many people’s minds that the settlements will never be full and final. If the mindset is that they should continue for as long as there are “gaps” between Maori and non Maori, then support for the settlements will disappear rapidly, and Judge Williams and co will be to blame.

This is why a policy to lodge and settle all claims by a particular date is becoming more important. We must seperate the issues of settling historical grievances away from general issues of Maori education, poverty and health.

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Tugboat on the Bay

October 30th, 2004 at 9:15 am by David Farrar

The first in a regular series of brief restaurant reviews

First visit on Thursday evening to Tugboat on the Bay for a couple of years. Chosen on the spot as wanted to get out of the CBD for once.

The view of the harbour, as always, is a great setting for dinner. Being on an actual boat not as big a thrill as when I was 12!

The menu is seafood orientated and I had a seafood bisque followed by seafood risotto. Companion had fries and the kumara and leek soup.

Food was nice, but not superb. Nothing wrong, just nothing original. Service was the same – good, but not great. The wine (Villa Maria reserve) was excellent and cost for 2 was $75 which isn’t bad value.

Ratings:

Food ***
Decor ****
Service ***
Overall ***1/2

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I need help!

October 30th, 2004 at 9:02 am by David Farrar

Sigh – another 100 comment spams overnight. I can usually stop the one during the day by blacklisting immediately, but not much one can do when you wake up and they are all there.

I simply haven’t got the time to retrospectively delete so much spam, so may have to look at requiring registration system for comments. I would hate to turn off the comments all together, as I think they are the best part of the blog.

Does anyone know if there is a plugin for Movable Type that allows registration or better control of comments? If not, any recommendations on alternative software that I could petition supreme overlord Gordon to install?

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Firefox is go!

October 29th, 2004 at 10:47 pm by David Farrar

I downloaded and started using Firefox today. So far very impressed. Only 4.5 MB installation file and copies everything through perfectly from Microsoft Internet Explorer – Bookmarks, Passwords, History, Forms etc.

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Chief Justice calls Clark a stupid bitch!

October 29th, 2004 at 7:30 am by David Farrar

Okay okay that is what she thought not said, but nevertheless to have the Chief Justice state that the Prime Minister has “a profound lack of understanding” about judicial independence and our constitutional arrangements is an incredibly harsh and unprecedented criticism from the head of one branch of Government against another.

It is curious that Clark has managed to offend Sean Elias so much, because politically they are both from the left, with similiar worldviews I daresay.

Clark will no doubt be very offended by any suggestion she is ignorant, and will try and attack Elias personally unless Mike Munro can keep her sedated. If it really does get personal, then perhaps we could get them onto the celbrity boxing circuit like Paula Jones and Tonya Harding?

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Well done Ashrah Choudary

October 29th, 2004 at 7:17 am by David Farrar

One of my criticisms of Islam, has been the near silence from moderate ledaers when extreme statements are made in the name of Islam.

Muslim MP Ashraf Choudary has added some sanity to the debate about the young woman who has claimed she would rather die than remove her veil.

Choudhary has said the Koran calls for Muslim men and women to dress modestly, but face-covering was more cultural than religious.

Mr Choudary has also said that it is desirable to integrate into local society, become part of local customs, and that New Zealand is not a country for extremists or extremist views.

Thank you Ashraf for the bout of sanity.

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Howard wins the Senate

October 28th, 2004 at 10:44 pm by David Farrar

It was confirmed today that the Coalition has won 39 out of 76 seats in the Australian Senate, so from 1 July 2005 (when Senators take office) they will be able to pass laws without support from third parties.

Labor has 28 seats, Greens 4, Democrats 2 and Family First 1.

No doubt Goerge W is hoping for a result just as good.

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A little babbage

October 28th, 2004 at 1:46 pm by David Farrar

With permission from Megan, I’m pleased to publish photos of a very cute Finlay Campbell Babbage, weighing all of 3.1 kgs!

Finlay’s great great etc grand father is Charles Babbage who came up with the idea of programmable computers in 1812!

Photos follow.
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Washington Post Blogs

October 28th, 2004 at 1:05 pm by David Farrar

The Washington Post has announced the winners of its best blogs awards, for those who want some more reading. I’ve added a few of them to my links.

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Save the Possums Darling!

October 28th, 2004 at 12:25 pm by David Farrar

I pissed myself laughing when I saw on TV that people in Australia had been protesting against the use of fur at a fashion parade, and the fur was possum fur.

The protesters probably think they are greenies, not realising that possums are an official noxious pest, not some endangered species such as tigers.

A recent media report said that possums eat 20 tonnes of vegetation every night. In fact the correct stat is they eat 20,000 tonnes a night and are one of our biggest conservation threats. If we can make money from killing the little buggers, then all the better.

I see the Auckland Animal Action Group justify their opposition to use of possum fur, because “to wear a dead animal’s skin is disrespectful to the animal”. Well killing our trees is disrespectful also, and the possums started it!

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Using dead people

October 28th, 2004 at 9:12 am by David Farrar

Jim Sutton is complaining that Federated Farmers is “using a dead man to promote political cause”.

Considering the long history, under FPP, of dead people voting for Labour, it only seems fair to me that they can help out Federated Farmers also!

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I’m convinced

October 28th, 2004 at 9:05 am by David Farrar

The Awatere-Huata depositions hearing continues. I’ve heard enough to say bring on the proper trial!!

It was interesting to read that Wi Huata had to be restrained by lawyers after repeated outbursts. When Donna was an ACT MP, many ACT people were very scared of Wi, as he did have a tendency to get physical with people who had upset him. Not a nice man.

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BBC on Foreshore

October 28th, 2004 at 8:45 am by David Farrar

The BBC has an article in the Foreshore issue. Their Radio 4 will also be broadcasting a story on it at 11000 BST Thursday 28 Oct, for anyone who can get them.

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Hitwise Rankings

October 27th, 2004 at 5:25 pm by David Farrar

Alan M kindly e-mailed me the Hittwise newsletter for October as I got a mention. It seems for the last two weeks this blog has been the second most popular local political website. The ACT website was in third place and Greens in first place. I am surprised a blog would be beating official party sites. Does anyone have the full top ten?

“New Zealanders are also turning to the Internet for local political news, views and updates. The most popular local political website this week is the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand’s site (www.greens.org.nz), rising from 3rd the previous week, and from 5th position in the last week of September. The site is the 445th most popular New Zealand website, a notable increase from 633rd in the last week of September, while in recent daily statistics it rose to 386th on October 11. When compared against political sites from around the world, the Green Party’s website ranks 5th, a reflection of New Zealand’s interest in international politics.

Occupying the 2nd position locally for the second week running, is David Farrar (www.kiwiblog.co.nz), another political blog offering frequently updated news, views and links of a political nature; while in third position is the website of Act New Zealand (www.act.org.nz), falling from the number one spot it held the previous two weeks.

With important political events on the horizon, the Internet is proving a viable place for individuals, and also political parties and organisations to express ideas and share information. Internet users are increasingly turning to the web for information about politics and current events, and are also using it as a platform to express their own views.”

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Tamihere vs Richwhite

October 27th, 2004 at 5:03 pm by David Farrar

You know you are in trouble when the best defence your colleagues can come out with is basically “John may be a criminal, but he isn’t as big a criminal as these ones!”.

Mahara Okeroa says that David Richwhite is getting off lightly compared to Tamihere. Well Richwhite has been charged and faces fines running to the tens of millions of dollars. Is Okeroa saying Tamihere should be charged also?

Okeroa also pushes the ridiculous claim that the $320,000 golden handshake was koha, saying that his ancestors once koh’aed a lake and mountains. But did they pay tax on the mountain?

If this is the best defence Labour can think up, it is rather sad.

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The veil or death

October 27th, 2004 at 4:44 pm by David Farrar

The NZ Herald reports how a Muslim woman has told a court “she would rather kill herself than give evidence without wearing a veil.”

This does little to reassure me that Islam is not a religion that attracts extremism and has less regard for sanctity of life than is healthy. To value not showing your face over life??

I mean it is fine to be devout, but lets look at how we would react if say a devout Catholic proclaimed that if they were forced to miss Holy Communion, they would rather kill themselves?

Or a devout Jew proclaimed that if there is an earthquake on a Saturday he would rather stay inside and die than turn the lights on to find his way out.

Or a devout Buddhist said that if they accidentially ingested meat they would cut their stomach out rather than digest it?

I mean really we would think they are nuts, wouldn’t we?

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Not enough journalists shot in NZ

October 27th, 2004 at 4:32 pm by David Farrar

Reporters Without Borders has ranked New Zealand as the ninth best country in the world in terms of media freedom.

Surely they have overlooked Helen’s threats to stop leaking information to journalists who write bad things about her?? I mean sure there haven’t been any reporters killed lately, but come on one knows that if the Government could make Duncan Garner disappear, they would do it.

Australia is 41st and North Korea is 167th. By the time Howard finishes his 5th term no doubt they will have swapped places :-)

Cuba is 2nd worse in 166th place. We should all rest thankful Jim Anderton never stayed in Labour, or that could be us!

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Justice Scalia on Originalism

October 26th, 2004 at 10:55 pm by David Farrar

I attended the speech and coffee at the US Embassy by Justice Antonin Scalia. The room was packed with legal and political people such as Sir Geoffrey Palmer.

Justice Scalia is a brilliant speaker. He made his case for Originalism with great humour, but very strong cogent arguments.

Scalia made a very strong case that Judges should interpret the Constitution as it was intended when it was written, and that if one wants laws to reflect society’s changing morals, then why have five lawyers decide what they are, instead of legislatures or the public.

An example he gave was whether the death penalty is unconstitutional as some argue it is a cruel and unusual punishment banned under the US constitution. Scalia pointed out that when passed, not only was the death penalty applied in every state, it was basically the only penalty. Steal a horse – you hang. They did not have prisons, just jails to hold you before you were hung. So how can you argue that they intended the constitution to outlaw the death penalty?

Scalia made the point that he does not see the court as one which splits on conservative vs liberal lines, pointing out that as an originalist he has voted for example to allow flag burning, when personally he would have liked to have sent the scruffy long haired lout in the case to jail, but he could not do so.

Again Scalia made the point that everytime the Supreme Court invents a right, such as to abortion, or to assisted suicide etc, it removes that issue from the people through their state of federal legislatures. He said today the XIXth amendment giving women the vote would never be passed, as the Supreme Court would probably have ruled without the amendment that there was a constitutional right for women to vote. His point being isn’t it better women got the vote through a constitutional amendment, not the Supreme Court of a few lawyers.

One silly person asked him if he would back Originalism, if say the US had not passed the XIXth amendment. Scalia pointed out that the fact they did, shows Originalism did work (up until around WWII), but also pointed out that even if the XIXth amendment had never been passed, he would guarantee that every state would have given women the vote by now anyway.

Scalia agreed that one can point to good outcomes from a non-originalist Supreme Court, but that one can have good outcomes from a benevolent dictator also. But why should the Supreme Court decide on behalf of all of America what is moral or acceptable?

There was one question on Bush vs Gore, which the Justice was fairly aggressive about, telling the questioner he should get over it. He did make the point that the Supreme Court vote on the main issue was 7-2, not 5-4. And that the Florida Supreme Court had made such a hash of it, he felt it had breached the constitutional requirement that the state legislatures, not the courts, shall determine how electoral college electors are selected.

On the issue of whether the Supreme Court should have heard the case, he almost dripped sarcasm as he asked could anyone argue the election of the President it not important enough, and did anyone think that letting the Florida Supreme Court decide, was somehow a better course of action?

I wanted to ask him about whether he saw anyway to get the lower courts out of the election process, with the Kerry and Bush campaigns in the US having hired 40,000 lawyers for election day to run off to court in marginal counties and states to try and tilt things their way, but decided not to as he seemed not too keen on election issues.

Sir Geoffrey asked a silly question also on whether he was concerned that NZ didn’t not only have no separation between executive and legislature, but also no separation between judiciary in that they can not over-rule the legislature. Scalia sensible swatted it away by saying he is not here to tell other countries how they should run their legal systems.

Justice Scalia is known for not liking video and/or audio recordings of his speeches. Towards the end he got somewhat agitated to see a video camera at the back of the hall, but was reassured it was just a link to the overflow room.

Overall I was hugely impressed. A great opportunity to meet the man who might be the next Chief Justice of the United States. The bit I enjoyed the most was when he referred to the other originalist on the court, Clarence Thomas, as “Brother Thomas and I”. Very funny.

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Diebold Voting Machine

October 26th, 2004 at 8:12 pm by David Farrar

If you can spare the 2MB bandwidth, this video of a Diebold voting machine is very funny. I actually prefer it with the volume turned off.

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Civil Unions vs Gay Marriage

October 26th, 2004 at 7:45 pm by David Farrar

David W Young has blogged his opposition to the Civil Union Bill on the basis he wants gay marriage and adoption rights, and thinks passing of the CUB will make achieving gay marriage harder.

Now David’s a fag, and I’m not (well last time I checked anyway) so I should listen to what he says, and see whether there is any hope for misguided social liberals like Russell Brown and myself.

David Young has asked “Will either of them join a fight for full marriage rights? And for that matter, do either of them plan to actually ‘register’ their relationships as civil unions?”

Will if I tried to classify any of my current umm temporary or long distance alliances as civil unions I’d be found guilty under the fair trading act. But when I do meet that gullible blind blond lawyer, yes I’d like to marry her.

But to answer the question, no I won’t have a problem if gay couples can marry also. I’d be quite happy to vote for that. In my ideal world, the state would not marry people at all. The state would recognise registered partnerships, and I would actually give the churches intellectual property rights to the term marriage so some couples can choose to have their partnership called a marriage by getting an appropriate church to marry them. But no legal difference would result from this. So I might have an Anglican marriage and David W Young could get a marriage in a church which supports gay marriages.

I do have some issues around gay adoption. But that is a debate for another day.

David takes the view that civil unions will make it harder to get gay marriage. That view is shared by other gay friends such as Other Pundit and Shadowfoot. It’s a legitimate view, albeit it one I do not agree with. I also note the Colmar Brunton poll found a majority in favour of civil unions, but against gay marriage.

I think that trying to jump the whole way to gay marriage is one step, is unlikely to succeed. As a comparison could one have imagined that if Fran Wilde in 1985 had not only tried to decriminalise homosexual acts, but also tried to ban discrimination, that it would have passed. I suspect it would have been heavily defeated and off the agenda for a decade or so.

Now what did happen is that after homosexual acts were legalised in 1985, the world did not end as many predicted. Tens of thousands of people came out of the closet and almost all NZers ended up working with an openly gay colleague or having a gay friend. And so when in 1993 it was proposed one should not discriminate against someone just because they were gay, it passed with almost no opposition.

I predict the same with civil unions and gay marriage. If civil unions do pass, then society will get used to having legal gay couples, once again the world and western civilisation will not end, and in seven to ten years when someone proposes hey why not allow gay marriages also, it will be quite unexceptional.

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Quotes from the National Front

October 26th, 2004 at 7:11 pm by David Farrar

Kyle Chapman is quoted on Stormfront as saying “Just to show how much we are affected by this event, we will increase our numbers of Demos. We will attend more of theirs and we will be at more of their gigs etc.”

Backs up my view that those who started violence against the NF have done nothing except encourage them.

But having had a suggestion to read the National Front bulletin board, boy does it remind me that they really are a vile bunch. Apologies for the following quotes which may get be banned on a few filters, but it is useful to remind people of what idiotic thugs most of the National Front are:

“i feel sick!!! everytime i see a fag ,transsexual or pervert!!! new zealand government must form a law that will terminate gay.”

“Where have the TRUE KIWI’S gone? Its all fricken Asian’s cross breeds… What are we coming to?”

“Hitler transformed his country from the poorest nation in Europe to the strongest nation in a little under 9 years of National Socialist rule. Now it’s little more than a shadow of it’s former glory.”

“Hail to everyone who is opposed to the Civil Union Bill and who thinks gays are an abomination.”

“ill be there for sure, anything for the future of my white children, and my fellow whites”

“gays should be put on a island so they can all f*ck thems selfs to death and get aids. problem sovled”

I really don’t know whether to laugh or cry at such stupidity. Maybe both.

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Vint Cerf interview

October 26th, 2004 at 6:08 pm by David Farrar

IDG’s CIO magazine has an interview with Vint Cerf, which may be interesting for those into the geeky stuff.

Cerf is one of the two co-authors of TCP/IP on which the Internet basically runs.

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