Open mike 10/02/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 10th, 2011 - 51 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

Comment on whatever takes your fancy.

The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

51 comments on “Open mike 10/02/2011”

  1. Jenny 1

    Why do the protesters still demand that Mubarak leave the country before they leave Tahrir Square?

    The answer is simple

    To leave the square with Mubarak still in power will be to suffer detention and torture, and with tensions so high, probably deaths.

    The protesters are safe in the square for now. But are frightened to leave without victory, which could, literally “be fatal”.

    Under Mubarak’s rule all protests in Egypt are still illegal, and the consequences are very severe.

    The protesters are aware of security personal taking film of people’s faces. As has happened in the past, the police have used photos and video taken at protests to launch arrests of demonstrators.

    In the past disappearances and torture are the result.

    Already the protesters have identified over 40 of their number who have mysteriously gone “missing” and believed to be in detention, they cannot be sure how many others have been detained by the secret police.

    Human Rights Watch said Wednesday that Egyptian authorities have arbitrarily detained at least 119 people since January 28 and tortured them in at least five cases.

    CNN report

    • Marty G 1.1

      got your guest posts, jenny. just a matter of getting room in the schedule

    • Bored 1.2

      Jenny, good to see that the protesters are holding firm in Cairo. To back down now would be fatal, to quote St Just during the French Revolution “One does not make revolutions by halves.”

        • joe90

          Two weeks in and the western public and media appears to do exactly what the regime wants it to do, lose interest. Meanwhile the people are still fearful of Mubaraks axe weilders.

          • Jenny

            John Key says Mubarak should maintain his hold on power.

            The NZ Herald accuses “protesters” of being behind the attacks on journalists.

            I wonder if these prominent New Zealand supporters of Hosni Mubarak’s regime might change their tune, if they, like UK Journalist Robert Tait were blindfolded and held in an Egyptian torture centre by Mubarak’s police?

            28 hours in hell

            The sickening, rapid click-click-clicking of the electrocuting device sounded like an angry rattlesnake as it passed within inches of my face. Then came a scream of agony, followed by a pitiful whimpering from the handcuffed, blindfolded victim as the force of the shock propelled him across the floor.
            A hail of vicious punches and kicks rained down on the prone bodies next to me, creating loud thumps. The torturers screamed abuse all around me. Only later were their chilling words translated to me by an Arabic-speaking colleague: “In this hotel, there are only two items on the menu for those who don’t behave – electrocution and rape.”

            Cuffed and blindfolded, like my fellow detainees, I lay transfixed. My palms sweated and my heart raced. I felt myself shaking. Would it be my turn next? Or would my outsider status, conferred by holding a British passport, save me? I suspected – hoped – that it would be the latter and, thankfully, it was.

            Robert Tait

  2. logie97 2


    John Key has repeatedly stated that the level of debt is just too high and unmanageable. In fact he wants to sell publicly owned property to recover some of this debt.

    Then we understand that a very large amount of that debt is private debt. (not mine or most “Mums and Dads” mind you).

    So yesterday, we hear many institutions getting excited about the fact that the “plastic” is being used again and there are positive signs in the economy


  3. NickS 3

    And I see the zombie corpse of Christian Heritage still wont die, guess it’s time to roll out the hot pink Sodomobile and troll the hell out him.

    • One of my favourite “The Awful Truth” eposides. That and most of the others!

      • Tigger 3.1.1

        Imagine the furore if any other group was named here – if someone claimed Maori couples, disabled couples etc, shouldn’t get the credit. But we just wave these people off as harmless cranks.

        They’re not. They’re contributing to the ongoing hostile environment for gay men and lesbians. We remain still the only accepable group to disriminate against. If Key appeared in blackface he would be out of office. But pretend to be a poof mincing along the runway and it’s just good fun.

  4. Bored 4

    Out in blogsphere lives the prickly and usually anti social Cactus Kate. Occasionally she puts the prejudice aside and gets dispassionate, and produces a gem. As a right wing critic she can deliver a mean savaging, even of those in her camp. Today she has had a little deconstruct of the “special” position of farmers Highly recommended reading.

    • Bored 4.1

      PS I particularly like the epithets Fongterra and Federated Fuckwits.

    • D14 4.2

      I have thought for a while that farmers should insure against severe weather events. It could be like the earthquake and war damages levy home insurers pay.

      • Bored 4.2.1

        I use a minor technique (or wisdom) called retained earnings….at any moment there is around 6 months worth of operational cost retained from profit . On our real margins of c. 25% that means it takes 2 years of keeping the profits aside to get to this stage. Not so hard to do.

        The benefits for us are that we can ride out no income of 6 months and retain the skilled staff if we have no income (highly unlikely), have zero profit months when our market has issues etc. Best of all we can capitalise it at any moment should we wish to walk away. All the while it sits in the bank gathering interest.

        Farming is not so different, the buggers who spend it all on a good year need to fail.

    • vto 4.3

      Cactus Kate is on the right track for sure. It is an issue that has sat in NZ’s psyche for years and years. It is now however roaring further up the ladder as kiwis realise that the agriculture industry has completely and utterly wrecked pretty much every environment it has touched.

      Farmers need to be honest with the rest of NZ. They are quick to claim the positives (lots and lots of money yay yay). But they refuse to accept the negatives (ruined rivers and waterways and biodiversity and bush etc). They need to man up and front the free lunch they have been having.

      Do you think they ever will? I suspect it will take a generational shift to get there. For older farmers I know it is a subject best left well alone if you want to have a normal and reasonable conversation otherwise they go red in the face and explode with indignation. Very childish their approach.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.3.1

        Farmers need to be honest with the rest of NZ.

        Actually, I think it’s time that the rest of NZ got honest with the farmers and told them, in no uncertain terms, that we’re just not going to take their shit any more.

    • Colonial Viper 4.4

      Now I am waiting for all you’se positive comments about her blog entry below that one, entitled “Never work with children or animals”.

      • Bored 4.4.1

        Saw that and was not so impressed…hence my comments about her. However credit where credit is due.

  5. Olwyn 5

    Some of you might be interested in this; it is the Archbishop of Canterbury on why prisoners should not be denied the vote. The fact that such thoughts no longer get oxygen here shows how far our debate has drifted from the perspective of a civil society. Even a left wing defender with a public voice would be hard put to express this view without qualification.

  6. prism 6

    A 14 year old girl has been exhumed in Bangladesh. She had died from loss of blood from wounds. But according to local medical report she nothing was observable. What a cover up, what acceptance of foul repression by vicious fundamentalist village leaders. She actually was lashed to death because of an alleged relationship with a married man.

    So extreme cruelty is not as bad as an appearance of not showing extreme purity of obeisance to rigidly controlled social behaviour. (And a false or exaggerated accusation is enough to start the juggernaut of anger, blame, shaming and severe injury or death-dealing reaction.) This was carried out on the say-so of village elders. These vicious old sh..ts are extreme dictators and as bad as any of the mythical monsters.

    We should give her a minute of silence, and think in that time of all the vulnerable humans, female and male now in our world, who are unable to have a full and happy life because of cruel ideologies and psycopathic desire for power.

    • Bill 6.2

      I don’t know that village leaders are necessarily vicious fundamentalists. Neither do they necessarily have a psychopathic desire for power.

      And patriarchy…the foundation for the attitudes that lead to such actions … isn’t so much a cruel ideology as a fucked up reality.

      So yeah. A minutes silence. To contemplate our complicity in the maintainence and perpetuation of multiple and varied expressions of patriarchy.

  7. prism 7

    Why aren’t the vicious repeat offenders that we in NZ have found guilty and imprisoned, not kept in prison for their whole lives? The idea that someone with multiple severe crimes is going to come out of ‘Corrections’ as a reformed person whose worst crime with be j’walking or doing 70 in a 50 km zone is ludicrous. At present we are exposed to these warped and dangerous personalities over and over again and the costs of sadness and then of the justice system once, twice, three… times again.

    I am against the present willingness to imprison that our stupid governments have imposed with large numbers locked away. Also the lack of ‘correction’ that is carried out which should be started immediately on entry to prison in retraining and self-revelation with goal setting and future-planning courses, and of course assistance with overcoming drug addiction. But when it comes to the dark unreachable minds of vicious warped men or women, the measurement of their depth of badness reinforced by a second, third… vicious or unprincipled crime, then keep them in for good, no parole. They can not be helped, they have gone too far along their road.

    For killing of children by carers, the problem may be that the instigator is not deeply bad but inadequate at dealing with the strife that children can get into and the demands that child-care can make on an adult. To prevent this, there should be more involvement by the Health Department in assisting, teaching methods of care and psychology for new parents, for carers etc and a family benefit paid out for those who take part. Money is a very useful carrot when it comes to cash-strapped people and not very much can arouse their interest. The wealthy are capable of bad treatment of their children but in their case cash help might not be so effective.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      You did address some aspects of this but there needs to be a real focus on working with young children and ensuring they have positive environments where they can develop good social attitudes to others and also have all their own basic needs met. Parenting skills play an important role. No, not all parents can be helped or want to be helped. But those who do should have access to all the training and guidance that they want.

      By the time someone is in the dock looking at their first maximum security prison sentence its pretty much game over.

      Need the interventions to start happening much much earlier.

      In general, I agree with you. We are putting far too many people away as a society, but there is a much smaller proportion of people who probably need permanent custodial sentences and are not getting them.

      • ianmac 7.1.1

        It is great that Sensible Sentencing Trust (Trust?) is not getting air time, but I wonder why they are so quiet? Not because their cause was really anti-Labour – surely not?

  8. Pascal's bookie 8

    Quote of the day: George Monbiot on the under-reported tax break that Cameron is giving the banks, whom have not too recently been bailed out after nearly breaking the economy.

    I’ve realised that injustice of the kind described in this column is not a perversion of the system; it is the system.

  9. Oscar 9

    Money for Prisons, but none for the people

    This has to be one of the most anger inducing articles I’ve read in a while. Private prison bidders should take the risk if governments are going to change. Why the hell should we be compensating them if their bids don’t go ahead?

    Quite aside from the fact that last night when watching the news, I had the strongest compulsion ever to shoot Double Dipton right between the eyes like I do with my sick cattle, this is yet another example of this horrendous government taking money from the many and giving to the few.

    captcha: Mad.

    Damn right it is!

    • Anne 9.2

      ” … I had the strongest compulsion ever to shoot Double Dipton right between the eyes…”

      Don’t worry Oscar you’re in good company. Btw, while you’re about it could you include Key, Brownlee, Nick S, Crusher, Basher, and Chopper etc? Much obliged. 😀

      [Oscar, Anne, I’d rather we didn’t even joke about shooting public figures. Thanks. — r0b]

      • Carol 9.2.1

        Hmmm…. I share the abhorence of English & co, but resorting to violence, even as a metaphor, is playing into the Sarah Palin approach.

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.2

        Perhaps throwing rotten eggs, like the pensioner protestor did at the Anglo Irish Bank shareholder meeting, would be more permissible 😀

        • prism

          Yes that was a good egg all right CV. Beautifully planned, simple, homely and effective. Only an egg and an ego were damaged in the making of this protest!

      • NickS 9.2.3

        Why exactly am I included in that sorry little list of yours? Especially as I, or they, haven’t done anything that merits that level of moronic violence and violation of basic human rights.

        And I’m too disturbed my this to actually nut out via words just how disturbed I am by it…

        • Colonial Viper

          Holy shit, the Rt Hon Nick Smith is posting on The Standard?!

          • NickS


            I didn’t think of that, but then, without the “Smith” it becomes an very wide name.

            It’s still fucking disturbing though.

            • KJT

              I don’t believe in the death penalty. Even for traitors.

              A long jail term is wholly appropriate for those who are attempting an even bigger theft than the 19890’s Labour party managed to pull off.
              I am puzzled how National party caucus members can sleep at night.
              Steal $1000 from people of NZ you get two years jail. Steal billions you get a knighthood.

              • Colonial Viper

                Singapore does a good job with the rattan cane. And I believe there is a role for stocks in the public square once more.

                Give the elite thievers a bit of face time with the ordinary public they stole from I say.

        • Anne

          Apols. NickS. It was meant to be Nick Smith – to differentiate from Lockwood Smith.

          And my comment was posted in the most light hearted of manner – as CV seems to have appreciated.

      • Bored 9.2.4

        rOb, Robespierre might have justified this proposed course of action as the “despotism of liberty against tyranny”. Tyranny is no joke.

  10. NickS 10

    Settlement Reached By Woman Fired For Facebook Posts

    So it’s in the US, but I hope there’s a chance the concept underlying this settlement can be imported into NZ.

  11. Lanthanide 11

    lprent, stumbled across this site that ranks NZ websites by optimisation and loading time. The standard comes out as having the largest home page at 4.3megs and slowest complete loading time in their test at 35.5 seconds (no doubt due to the size).

    You should have a look through this and see if there are any easy low-hanging fruit you can pick off to get this down; could save quite a bit on the bandwidth usage.

    • lprent 11.1

      I’m distinctly aware of the front page.

      That particular measurement wasn’t what I look normally look at when optimizing the front page. Because it was time first load time (same for the download). The site is actually optimized for subsequent reads because it tells the browser to cache all of the images, CSS, and javascript for quite some time.

      The reason for the size is pretty obvious and therefore first time load speed is slow. There are a hell of a lot of graphics on the front page.
      We display about a weeks worth of posts on the front page (30 post excepts) – each with their own wee graphic of varying sizes (anything from 4k to 30k). There are the hulking great big adverts that we get no say over size for. Then there are all of the service graphics on the side – again these are mostly externally sourced.

      It is also slower than most of the other sites because our server is located offshore – mostly to make it hard for anyone to maliciously try to shut us down.

      Subsequent views on a page if the browser caching is on are somewhere around 40k if the ads don’t change on refresh. Thats why it doesn’t feel slow unless the server is getting stressed.

      Try this. Load the front page. Go to the bottom and click older entries (probably slow). Then hit the standard logo at the top. The page will typically pause for a couple of seconds while it heads to the US for the page. It will then do about 70 queries for elements on that page. Most of those connections will respond with “use your cached version”. Then the page will rapidly appear because there isn’t that much to actually update. The worst is the external ads and the external site counters javascript – which is pretty damn sluggish.

      Its a trade off between presentation (ie the dinky little graphics on each post excerpt) and speed and server load. I think that we got it pretty good overall. But it is slow on the front page for the first time. The per post thumbnails requires it.

      But it is a lot faster on the actual post pages where search engine queries usually hit because the post loads first and the gravators load later. It is also fast for anyone who goes back and forth between posts and the front page because the graphics are cached on your machine.

  12. prism 12

    Who is this prosy Cameron Brewer telling Len Brown what to do? The political world in Auckland seems full of preachy know-alls. Is he grooming himself to step into Jamie Lee Ross shoes (sounds female but isn’t is it?) if he/she wins Botany and can’t keep up the rapier sharp critique of everything that other people do.

  13. Colonial Viper 13

    Oz tax paying NZ’ers left high and dry in Oz

    Yep, this is how you treat your foreign workforce. Now the rose tinted glasses have come off.

    Expat New Zealanders hit by Tropical Cyclone Yasi have joined a growing number of disaster victims denied recovery payments by the Australian Government.

    The decision to deny Kiwi cyclone victims an Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment has been justified under the same legislation used to stop the payment to thousands caught in the Queensland floods last month.

    It categorises all New Zealanders who arrived in Australia after February 26, 2001 as non-protected Visa holders, making them ineligible for many social security payments.

  14. logie97 14

    Just before you turn in for the night…

    A haircut

    One day a florist went to a barber for a haircut. After the cut, he asked about his bill, and the barber replied, ‘I cannot accept money from you, I’m doing community service this week.’ The florist was pleased and left the shop. When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a ‘thank you’ card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.

    Later, a policeman came in for a haircut, and when he tried to pay his bill, the barber again replied, ‘I cannot accept money from you, I’m doing community service this week.’ The cop was happy and left the shop. The next morning when the barber went to open up, there were a ‘thank you’ card and a dozen doughnuts waiting for him at his door.

    Then a Member of Parliament came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his bill, the barber again replied, ‘I can not accept money from you. I’m doing community service this week.’ The Member of Parliament was very happy and left the shop. The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen other Members of Parliament lined up waiting for a free haircut.

    And that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between the citizens of our country and the politicians who run it.

            FOR THE SAME REASON!

    Good night.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Swiss tax agreement tightens net
    Opportunities to dodge tax are shrinking with the completion of a new tax agreement with Switzerland, Revenue Minister Stuart Nash announced today. Mr Nash and the Swiss Ambassador David Vogelsanger have today signed documents to update the double tax agreement (DTA). The previous DTA was signed in 1980. “Double tax ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Maintaining momentum for small business innovation
    Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says the report of the Small Business Council will help maintain the momentum for innovation and improvements in the sector. Mr Nash has thanked the members of the Small Business Council (SBC) who this week handed over their report, Empowering small businesses to aspire, succeed ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Seventy-eight new Police constables
    Extra Police officers are being deployed from Northland to Southland with the graduation of a new wing of recruits from the Royal New Zealand Police College. “The graduation of 78 constables today means that 1524 new constables have been deployed since the government took office,” says Police Minister Stuart Nash. ...
    3 weeks ago