Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

General Debate 1 August 2015

August 1st, 2015 at 9:30 am by David Farrar

Let’s see it in a controlled environment

July 31st, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A girl who claims to be able to read while blindfolded has given a demonstration in Rotorua – part of an effort to spread awareness of the benefits of having your ‘third eye’ awakened.

The third eye, also known as the inner eye, is described as an invisible eye which believers claim provides perception beyond ordinary sight and is a gateway to higher consciousness.

It is believed through the awakening of the third eye, a person can see while blindfolded, sense ‘diseased organs’ in a body and read minds, among other superhuman powers.

The demonstration was hosted by the Rotorua Life Bliss Foundation group at Waiariki Institute of Technology yesterday, and was attended by about 30 people.

Ma Nithya Maheshwarananda, 12, from Dallas, USA, was was blindfolded .

Members of the audience gave her various reading material, including a business card, a flyer and a Rotorua Daily Post article – all of which she read aloud word-for-word.

At least two people, including a Rotorua Daily Post photographer, tested the blindfold and said they could not see through it in any direction.

Here’s an idea. Let’s see if she can do it in a controlled environment. Where one can check for video cameras, ear pieces, no one else in the room bar neutral scientists.

If under those conditions, she can do it, then she’s going to the most famous person on the planet.

She said she had attended the three-week programme.

“I can read while blindfolded but if I am put on the spot or feel too much pressure, I can’t do it, I need to practise more to be able to block out those insecurities and baggage.”

ie can only do it when you have arranged the circumstances.



General Debate 31 July 2015

July 31st, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

One American now getting global ridicule

July 30th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Janis Powers blogged at the Huffington Post:

Less than a week after July 4, a day when Americans celebrate our freedom and liberty, Sandra Bland was pulled over for a traffic violation. The lawful traffic stop that escalated into an arrest and culminated in Ms. Bland’s untimely death in a jail cell on July 13 has everyone talking about civil rights in America.

As we debate the boundaries of law enforcement’s authority, I am reminded of my own recent run-in with a traffic cop. While I currently live in the state if Texas, where Ms. Bland was pulled over, my incident occurred on the other side of the world in a place widely considered friendly and accommodating: New Zealand. As a visitor in any foreign country, I never expect my rights as an American to supersede those of the nation where I am traveling. But things just didn’t seem right when I was given a mandatory road-side breathalyzer test, just because I was speeding.

Yeah being killed in custody is so comparable to having to do a breath test because you were speeding.

It was dusk, and we were only two kilometers from our hotel. I just wanted the officer to give me my traffic citation so I could head to the hotel and enjoy a glass of New Zealand sauvignon blanc. How ironic.

Your sav was delayed by two minutes. How terrible.

New Zealand law enforcement may have collected my DNA through a breathalyzer test, but they failed to collect my money for the traffic citation before I left the country. Since I can’t find the ticket here at home, am I the one who’s bending the rules?

And boasting she didn’t pay her ticket.

Her post has been picked up by most NZ media. No surpise feedback at both Huff Post and on her facebook post is very negative.



General Debate 30 July 2015

July 30th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

The Cosby 35

July 29th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

A very powerful feature in NY Magazine, with interviews and photos of 35 women with very similiar stories about Bill Cosby drugging and raping them. The photos, all in black and white on the same chair, are stark.

Cosby has admitted in sworn statements that he routinely drugged women to make them more compliant. He argues that this doesn’t make it rape. It does.


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General Debate 29 July 2015

July 29th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Parliament 28 July 2015

July 28th, 2015 at 11:48 am by David Farrar

The order paper is here.

Oral Questions 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm

  1. ANDREW LITTLE to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement that “I don’t want to ban foreigners from buying residential property”?
  2. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his statements?
  3. DAVID BENNETT to the Minister of Finance: What reports has he received on the state of the New Zealand economy and what do these reports show?
  4. Hon ANNETTE KING to the Minister of Health: When was he or his office first briefed on the contents of the draft New Zealand Health Strategy?
  5. JAMES SHAW to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement that “New Zealand is never going to sign up to the TPP unless we believe it is in New Zealand’s best interests”?
  6. BARBARA KURIGER to the Minister for Social Housing: What work is being done to ensure social housing is available for those most in need?
  7. GRANT ROBERTSON to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by his reported statement that the slowdown in growth this year had come at the right time in the electoral cycle?
  8. DAVID CLENDON to the Minister of Corrections: How many Final Warning Notices, in accordance with SERCO’s contract with the Crown, have been issued since SERCO took over management of the Mt Eden Corrections Facility?
  9. KELVIN DAVIS to the Minister of Corrections: Does he agree with the statement made by the Department of Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith that “not everything is broken” in relation to SERCO’s management of Mt Eden Corrections Facility?
  10. ALASTAIR SCOTT to the Minister of Immigration: What measures has the Government announced to help spread the benefits of migration across New Zealand?
  11. Hon DAVID PARKER to the Minister of Trade: Is the effect of Article 139 of the New Zealand–China Free Trade Agreement that it allows restrictions to be introduced on foreign buyers of New Zealand homes, including Chinese buyers, so long as subsequent agreements with other countries are no more generous?
  12. NUK KORAKO to the Minister of Education: He ahaērāmahiāwhinakiakahakēatu ai teako o tehungarangatahi i Te Reo Māori?
    • Translation: What is being done to help more young people learn Te Reo Māori?

National: Four questions on the economy, social housing, immigration and Te Reo Māori

Labour: Five questions on housing x 2, DHBs, Mt Eden Prison and economic growth

Greens: Two questions on TPP and Med Eden Prison

NZ First: One question on PM standing by his statements

Government Bills 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm and 7.30 pm to 10.00 pm

New Zealand Flag Referendum Bill – second reading

The Bill establishes a process for the holding of 2 postal referendums, firstly to determine which alternative flag design is preferred by voters, and secondly to determine whether that alternative flag or the current flag is to be the New Zealand flag.”

  • Introduced: March 2015
  • 1st reading: March 2015, passed 76 to 43 with Labour and NZ First opposed
  • SC report: June 2015, supported with amendments by the majority, Labour dissenting

The second reading consists of 12 speeches of up to 10 minutes each for a maximum of two hours.

Appropriation (2015/16 Estimates) Bill – committee stage

This Bill authorises the individual appropriations contained in The Estimates of Appropriations for the Government of New Zealand for the year ending 30 June 2016.

  • Introduced May 2015
  • 1st reading: May 2015, passed without dissent
  • 2nd reading: June 2015, passed 63-58 with Labour, Greens, NZ First against

The debate is an 11 hour debate divided into ten sector debates. The sectors are:

  • Economic Development and Infrastructure Sector – done
  • Education Sector – done
  • Environment Sector – current
  • External Sector
  • Finance and Government Administration Sector
  • Health Sector
  • Justice Sector
  • Māori, Other Populations and Cultural Sector
  • Primary Sector
  • Social Development and Housing Sector

Each debate is a minimum of eight speeches of up to five minutes each, led off by the relevant select committee chairperson.


General Debate 28 July 2015

July 28th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

What To Watch This Winter (July 2015)

July 27th, 2015 at 11:00 am by Kokila Patel

By John Stringer


Martin Freeman is brilliant as Lester Nygaard in the 2014 SOHO TV series FARGO spin-off of the 1996 film.

What does one watch after Breaking Bad?  Can anything be as good?  Is life doomed as half-baked forever afterward as you wait for the next season of GoT or The Walking Dead?

There’s Season 2 of True Detective (starring a surprisingly different-looking Rachel McAdams of The Notebook) or Season 2 of Ray Donovan. Both are great, but neither quite cut the blue crystal meth. When the rellies were over from Perth recently, I forced everyone to watch FARGO (1996), because you’re not truly human till you’ve watched FARGO, don’cha know.


The classic and now iconic, Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) FARGO 1996.

FARGO was that supremely awesome 1996 genre-breaking neo-noir black comedy crime thriller set in Minnesota and North Dakota near the Canadian border and based on real events.  One of the key characters is dialect.

The Coen brothers are such excellent film makers.  In 2006, the film was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and inducted into the US National Film Registry for preservation. Has won heaps of awards.

It starred that surprise find Frances McDormand (above) as Marge (‘Margy’) Gunderson, a heavily pregnant local Minnesota police chief, and other well-known actors, such as William H. Macy (Jerry Lundegaard) whose inept crime falls apart due to bungling and the persistent police work of the extremely normal Marge.  McDormand hasn’t been seen much since she played in a weird movie with George Clooney and Brad Pitt (Burn after Reading, 2008) in which Clooney plays an adulterating serial sex addict and Pitt plays his favourite crazy guy again (Fight Club and Twelve Monkeys). 

SOHO to eternal praise has extended the 1996 FARGO film by creating a TV series that picks up exactly where the film left off.  A suitcase of cash is stashed in the snow along a fence line in snow-swept wastes with a red windscreen scraper stuck in the ground to show where it is.  And the Fargo legend continues.

The TV series is as brilliant as the film (described by some as the best new TV series). It stars Billy Bob Thornton as a seriously evil psychopathic serial hitman working amongst a cast of ordinary Joes over several years. Main protagonist is Lester Nygaard (rhymes with Lundergaard from 1996) played by Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins The Hobbit).  All are just excellent. Allison Tolman re-plays ‘Marge’ but as Deputy Molly Solverson also pregnant like Gunderson in 1996. The Police Chief is ‘Sol Goodman’ of Breaking Bad (Bob Odenkirk) whose character in BB was so rich, the character spawned his own spin-off TV series as the ambulance chasing small-town crime lawyer. In Fargo 2014 he retires at the end of Season 1, due to the trauma, and Molly takes over as police chief, to complete the Marge Gunderson circle.

The series is full of black comedy and then sudden, unexpected violence, all the more black because of the ordinariness of it all (ceramic ducks on the back wall and sensible woolen jerseys with snow flake patterns).  The juxtapositions are jolting. Well worth a watch.

I just LOVE this series.  Season 1 is finished on SOHO but Prime is re-running it again on 4 and SOHO have SOHO POP-UP on 11 that runs the series as a marathon back-to back if you watch for that.

Here’s a quote from 1996:  “So that was Mrs. Lundegaard on the floor in there. And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper. And those three people in Brainerd. And for what? For a little bit of money. There’s more to life than a little money, you know. Don’tcha know that? And here ya are, and it’s a beautiful day. Well. I just don’t understand it.” ~ Marge Gunderson.

Don’tcha know!

Here’s a  great clip from the TV series.


General Debate 27 July 2015

July 27th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 26 July 2015

July 26th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 25 July 2015

July 25th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 24 July 2015

July 24th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 23 July 2015

July 23rd, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 22 July 2015

July 22nd, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 21 July 2015

July 21st, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

That’s rape not seduction

July 20th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

That may have changed after a New York Times report, in which Cosby’s own words – not those of his alleged victims – seem to lend even more credence to the portrait painted by dozens of women who steadfastly maintain that beneath Cosby’s charming exterior lies a devious sexual predator.

The Times reported that Cosby said he used money, multiple prescriptions for sedatives and calculated manipulation to seduce at least five women.

If you are sedating them, then it is rape not seduction.

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General Debate 20 July 2015

July 20th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 19 July 2015

July 19th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel


July 19th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A picture tweeted by a police helicopter team showing comedian Michael McIntyre standing in a London street is being investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office for a possible breach of data protection laws.

The photo, which was taken with a surveillance camera, was posted with the caption: “Whilst on tasking in central London this morning we spotted a certain energetic funny man… Can you guess who?”

Appalling judgment. The cameras are meant to be for detecting and even preventing crime – not posting intrusive photos of celebrities to Twitter. Very creepy.

No tag for this post.

General Debate 18 July 2015

July 18th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 17 July 2015

July 17th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Rather die than fly on this plane

July 16th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar


From Stuff.

Hard to think of a more hideous way to fly.

This seat design — called Economy Class Cabin Hexagon — can increase the number of passengers who can fit on a typical Boeing 767 by up to 80 fliers, depending on the existing layout.

That’s huge. But how many will book on such a plane? I guess some budget airlines might use it, but they already have very cheap airfares without you being crushed in like a sardine.


General Debate 16 July 2015

July 16th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel