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Open mike 11/01/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:55 am, January 11th, 2015 - 68 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

openmikeThe Authors of The Standard are now in holiday mode. Posting will be less regular and dependant on individual author enthusiasm.

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

68 comments on “Open mike 11/01/2015 ”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Morning all.

    Moderation will be a bit tighter today. If you have not done so already please read the policy (http://thestandard.org.nz/policy/).

    Be nice to each other …

  2. Macro 2

    Thought I’d start you off with something different – so I brought a bunch of flowers 🙂

    Unusual number of UK flowers bloom

    Botanists have been stunned by the results of their annual hunt for plants in flower on New Year’s Day.

    They say according to textbooks there should be between 20 and 30 species in flower. This year there were 368 in bloom.

  3. Anne 3

    MetService has the first tropical beastie of the season moving down the east coast of the North Island next week-end. Good for the thirsty pastures of Northland, Coromandel, B of P and Hawkes Bay, but unless it hooks up with the trough from the south then it doesn’t look like there will be much in it further south.


    • Jenny Kirk 3.1

      I’ll believe it , when I see it, Anne. Quite often these “beasties” give the eastern part of northern NZ a sprinkling of water just to cool things down before they move off again. Meanwhile, we’re enjoying what seems to be one of the calmest and finest of summers in these parts that we’ve not seen for quite a few years. And before this happened, there was sufficient rain to fill both tanks so we can even indulge in a little garden watering !

      • Anne 3.1.1

        You’re getting cynical in your old age Jenny. Join the Cynic Club. I’ve been a member for a good few years now but they say… hope springs eternal. 🙂

    • weka 3.2

      Metvu isn’t so optimistic


      Anne, when I play that link, I don’t see anything touching the east coast. Which bit is meant to bring rain? Is it the low immediately above the NI?

      • Anne 3.2.1

        Yes. It doesn’t have a name because it isn’t cyclonic yet.

        On the prognosis charts the ‘beastie’ is travelling in a southeast direction toward the east coast of Northland. It will be speeding up its progress at this stage and should hit Northland overnight Friday/Saturday and travel quickly southward off to the east of the North Island. That is, if it follows it’s predicted course. However these storms of tropical origin are more erratic in their movements than middle latitude depressions, so it could change direction and move south or southwest. If that happens then much more of NZ will be affected by it.

        Cyclone Bola which caused massive damage along the east coast of the North Island in 1987 (I think it was) followed the same predicted path but that doesn’t mean this one will be as damaging… we will have to wait and see.

        It might fizzle out before it reaches NZ.

  4. Shane Le Brun 4

    It’s important to get the issue of Medicinal Cannabis out into the public eye in the new year, please support this petition to show TVNZ and Mediaworks that this documentary is worth showing.


    Some take petitions straight to parliament, (that hasnt worked well so far) I would rather spark a little public debate and demonstrate public support first….

    Thanks for reading, and signing in advance

    • one wd think they wd be shamed into acting..

      ..when a reactionary rightwinger like abbott in aust green-lights med-pot..

      ..and orders police to leave med-pot users alone..

      ..this just shows up just how out of step this govt is on this issue..

      ..and for why..?..recent polling here showed 87% of those polled want prohibition to end..

      ..the govt (and far too many politicians..many who should know better..)..is so far behind the people on this issue..

      ..they are almost out of sight..

  5. http://www.jimstonefreelance.com/

    THE CUE LINE :-)This cinches it yet again. This wag the dog is so blatantly obvious, they totally butchered it.

    Take a look in front of the car. There is a marker line there. Some have said this is just a fluid leak but it is obviously not, because in the next frames we see the continuity error – another line magically appears on the road at a 90 degree angle. Fluid leaks will not do that, they are obviously painted lines being used as cue marks for where to put the car, and this terror scene was done in multiple takes.

    • Te Reo Putake 5.1

      Fuck the false flag nutters. They are their own unwitting diversion from reality.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1


        Not only that: they re-victimise people to satisfy their own grotesque egos.

        Buzz Aldrin’s response was the best so far.

        • Te Reo Putake

          I guess you mean the quote at the end of the From the Earth to the Moon which, as I recall, was him saying the conspiracy theory was rubbish and anyway, if it was true, why did we repeat the fake trip six times? Couldn’t find that clip, but this response to a charmless wannabe Mike Moore is pretty spot on:


      • The Murphey 5.1.2

        Q. What would you define as reality when received information is other medium than through direct involvement ?

        I expect you will both respond with your own insightful reasoning as to why the stories you choose to trust contain closer truth

        In the end they are all just stories whichever perspective one chooses to on-board as facts

        • Te Reo Putake

          Bollocks, Murphey. Your pseudo intellectual wittering means nothing. Descarte nailed it with ‘cogito ergo sum’ and you’re not ever like to improve on that. Get a grip fer chrissake.

  6. Clemgeopin 6

    Saudi blogger Badawi ‘flogged for Islam insult’

    Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail, was flogged 50 times. The flogging will be carried out weekly, campaigners say.

    Mr Badawi, the co-founder of a now banned website called the Liberal Saudi Network, was arrested in 2012.

    In addition to his sentence, Mr Badawi was ordered to pay a fine of 1 million riyals ($266,000; £175,000).

    In 2013 he was cleared of apostasy, which could have carried a death sentence.

    Last year Mr Badawi’s lawyer was sentenced to 15 years in prison after being found guilty of a range of offences in an anti-terrorism court, the Associated Press news agency reported.
    ‘Act of cruelty’

    The flogging took place outside a mosque in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after Friday prayers, witnesses said.

    AFP news agency, quoting people at the scene, said Mr Badawi arrived at the mosque in a police car and had the charges read out to him in front of a crowd.

    He was then made to stand with his back to onlookers and whipped, though he remained silent, the witnesses said.

    “The flogging of Raif Badawi is a vicious act of cruelty which is prohibited under international law,” said Said Boumedouha of Amnesty International.

    “By ignoring international calls to cancel the flogging Saudi Arabia’s authorities have demonstrated an abhorrent disregard for the most basic human rights principles.”

    Saudi Arabia enforces a strict version of Islamic law and does not tolerate political dissent. It has some of the highest social media usage rates in the region, and has cracked down on domestic online criticism, imposing harsh punishments.


    • Murray Rawshark 6.1

      I think they are being lenient because he merely insulted religious authorities rather than the prophet himself. I also think that deposing the House of Saud would make the world a better place.

    • greywarshark 6.2

      Religious law being strict and political dissent disallowed. What a nasty mixture of control in Saydi Arabia.

  7. joe90 7

    Charlie Hebdo was on the way out until the jihadi fuckwits had a crack and turned a tawdry wee rag into a rallying point for the anti-Islam crowd.

    Well done, idiots.

    The sudden global prominence of Charlie Hebdo, which before typically sold only half of its usual 60,000 printed copies in France, has saved it from imminent bankruptcy.

    The newspaper, named after the American comicbook character Charlie Brown (“Hebdo” is French slang for weekly), had only in November made a public appeal for donations to keep going.

    Back then, of the one million euros ($1.2 million) it sought, it received only 26,000 euros. Closure seemed inevitable.


    • Colonial Rawshark 7.1

      Unintended consequences…attacks in Muslim lands drive up terrorist recruitment…attacks in Christian lands drive up hate speech funding.

    • millsy 7.2

      Ironically, Hebdo identifies as left wing and has targeted Christians as much as Muslims.Which is why it is curious that the left is taking sides with right wing religious fundamentalists against a liberal left publication.

      • Te Reo Putake 7.2.1

        The left isn’t doing any such thing, millsy. The right (particulalry the racist right) are trying to jump on the bandwagon, but as far as I can tell, have been told to piss off. Certainly, the French Fascist Marie Le Pen was told to do one when she tried to get speaking rights at a Paris rally a couple of days ago.

    • millsy 7.3

      Ironically, Hebdo identifies as left wing and has targeted Christians as much as Muslims.Which is why it is curious that the left is taking sides with right wing religious fundamentalists against a liberal left publication.

      • lprent 7.3.1

        From much of the stuff I have been reading it sounds like Hebdo used to be more even handed. However over a number of years, as they headed into bankruptcy, they have been getting more racist and one-eyed bigoted. For instance this article from The New Yorker..

        More than a dozen people were killed by terrorists in Paris this week. The victims of these crimes are being mourned worldwide: they were human beings, beloved by their families and precious to their friends. On Wednesday, twelve of them were targeted by gunmen for their affiliation with the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo. Charlie has often been aimed at Muslims, and it’s taken particular joy in flouting the Islamic ban on depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. It’s done more than that, including taking on political targets, as well as Christian and Jewish ones. The magazine depicted the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost in a sexual threesome. Illustrations such as this have been cited as evidence of Charlie Hebdo’s willingness to offend everyone. But in recent years the magazine has gone specifically for racist and Islamophobic provocations, and its numerous anti-Islam images have been inventively perverse, featuring hook-nosed Arabs, bullet-ridden Korans, variations on the theme of sodomy, and mockery of the victims of a massacre. It is not always easy to see the difference between a certain witty dissent from religion and a bullyingly racist agenda, but it is necessary to try. Even Voltaire, a hero to many who extol free speech, got it wrong. His sparkling and courageous anti-clericalism can be a joy to read, but he was also a committed anti-Semite, whose criticisms of Judaism were accompanied by calumnies about the innate character of Jews.

        I also haven’t really seen anything that describes them as left-wing? Unless your are thinking left-wing like the National Socialists (drat that godwin). Do you have a link?

        But everything I have read about them indicates that Charlie Hebdo pandered a lot to a specific populist audience of people who considered that denigrating others was “humour”. Just like many of the dickheads that come on here doing exactly the same kind of thing, then whine that I have no sense of humour when I personally do exactly the same to them as I ban them.

        But the key issue here is that same freedom of speech issue. For instance in this alternet post on this silly left/right issue. My highlight…

        Arthur Goldhammer wrote a very insightful piece about this latest horror in Al Jazeera. He pointed out that Charlie Hedbo was more than just a satirical magazine. It followed a certain unique French tradition that was “an equal opportunity offender, and it reveled in its freedom to vex, irritate and derange.” It’s doubtful many people would feel it necessary to defend the substance of everything in its pages — how could they without having their heads explode? No, what we must defend is the principle under which they were allowed to say what they said, period. That is inviolable. And that principle also allows people to condemn Islam or Charlie Hedbo — or both in the very same breath. Once you start policing what people say in the name of free speech you’ve already lost the argument.

        And yes, under that principle, we must also defend William Donohue’s right to say the cretinous, idiotic things he says. And we can certainly also feel free to condemn him for saying it. In doing so, we are not advocating that he be silenced. We are using our right of free speech to say we think he’s a cretinous idiot and we wish he would stop being one.

        Basically, I think that when someone wishes to go off and become a satirist or start trolling these pages with bigot humour, then you assume the risk that goes with it. Some people may not find them “funny” and in the worst cases it may not be me kicking them off this site because they are putting this site at risk (ie threatening our ability to speak freely here within the sites limits).

        Sure going off and using an assault rifle is extreme and a rather disturbing way to express that, and one that I don’t like or support. But on the other hand everyone has to assume the responsibility of their own actions. Gunman, moderators, commenter and cartoonists alike.

        There is no better place to see this than looking at legal principles – which is a compendium of useful knowledge about human behaviour. It doesn’t say that you must not do certain things. It just states the consequences of your actions. And the legal systems only look at the extreme ends of human behaviour.

        Obviously I and others here have had to look at this question long and hard here over the years (in fact there is a discussion going on about another variant in the authors area right now). It is part of the guiding principles that underly the way we operate this site.

        There is no such thing as a risk free environment when you start criticising other people or groups. At the very least there will be someone who will take offense and get at you with the courts (like cameron slater found out) or an assault rifle as the staff at Charlie Hebdo found out.

        You just need to be damn sure that what you are writing about is worth staking your life in either case (the courts just suck your life out slowly).

        Free speech isn’t a “right”. It is a responsibility and an assumption of risk that societies and their the states protect as a general (and quite limited – see defamation) principle. The people practicing it still have to individually shoulder their responsibilities in doing it. Charlie Hebdo does things that I wouldn’t countenance doing. I will condemn them in the same statement that I condemn their attackers. That is me assuming my free speech responsibilities.

        • Ergo Robertina

          Free speech is not an absolute right, but freedom from violence is.
          I don’t accept that authors or publishers must be prepared to stake their life on something before publishing, or the conflation with the court process, as draining as it undoubtedly is.
          In publishing as in other areas of life people need to be able to take risks, make mistakes, learn, recover.

          Slate ran a pretty fair piece on Charlie Hebdo:

          ”The weekly is perhaps best understood as a particularly grotesque example of the reflexive nationalist sentiments that cleave and animate French public life, defining “Frenchness” in exclusionary terms. #JeSuisCharlie works as an immediate expression of solidarity with the victims of an unthinkable attack, but France hasn’t been Charlie for a very long time.”


          • lprent

            Free speech is not an absolute right, but freedom from violence is.

            Bullshit. Violence always lurks closely below the surface of every human society. Anyone who has had even the most cursory look through history is all too aware of it. Anyone who has done service in the military, medical, social services, police, or even unionists are all too aware of just how close physical violence really is under the right circumstances. And that is just one type of violence. Some of the methods of social and societal violence is even worse.

            As a social species we didn’t get to our current dominant species position because we are nice. We got there because we scare baboon troops, lion prides, and packs of wolves as being goddamn dangerous neighbours. We still do.

            Much of the laws and social rules that we have are about ways to diminish the triggers that cause us to be violent or how to control violence – especially in groups.

            I’m afraid that I have very little sympathy for the viewpoint that says that if it is ignored or talked down that a propensity to violence in humans will somehow go away or that the triggers that initiate it can be removed with a philosophical veneer. It doesn’t and they don’t. It is something that people need to be aware of and make choices about.

            Sure the person being violent may be punished. It isn’t that much use after you have bled out – right? And that can happen just as easily using a car as an offensive weapon as a kitchen knife or a assault rifle. Not to mention what people trained in science or engineering could get up to (it gets damn scary sometimes if you get a group of scientists or engineers together talking about ways to cause mayhem over some beers).

            In publishing as in other areas of life people need to be able to take risks, make mistakes, learn, recover.

            Sure. Sometimes the risks come and bite you. That is why they are called risks.

            • Ergo Robertina

              Violence does lurk beneath the surface of society, which doesn’t negate my point that every person has the absolute right to live free from violence.
              Human propensity toward domination and violence is why we developed systems and remedies to prevent the most powerful or violent group from oppressing others or acting our their repressive fantasies.
              That the system will fail and has inbuilt biases and some ingrained repression does not mean throwing out the principle.

              ‘People whining about getting excessive reactions to satire is just idiotic.’

              If a satirist directed barbs at a sports star, a country, or a corporate, and was murdered for it, would you deem people who decried it to be ‘whining’?

              • lprent

                If a satirist directed barbs at a sports star, a country, or a corporate, and was murdered for it, would you deem people who decried it to be ‘whining’?

                Perhaps you should read more about the history of satire.

                May I commend to you the brief history of Barnard Gregory. You will find many similar (but less extreme) cases strewn around legal case histories where satirists went to excess and were caught by the law.

                But I always remember reading a book about the broadsheets of the late 18th and early 19th century, and the later pamphlets. Frequently satirical. Usually close to the edge of the tolerance of the wealthy or powerful and their gangs of thugs. Consequently they often got themselves targeted. Being a satirist then was a rather precarious profession. Having a target taking offense might mean that you are lucky enough to just get dragged through court. However it could also mean that you wind up being beaten or killed.

                It was a risk then and still is today. Poking people with ‘humour’ will often find targets who don’t see the humour but just the offense.

                Any satirist who isn’t aware of the risk would be a rarity – and a fool. Complaining about a risk that any satirist accepts to perform their art is in my view whining. They took a gamble and in this case it didn’t pay off. It is not particularly different from the risks that police, doctors, soldiers, and other professions accept in their roles.

                That isn’t to say that condone people getting killed for their art. But I will tend to save my sympathy and indignation for any innocents who get caught in the crossfire.

                • Ergo Robertina

                  Sure, I have read about that period in journalism. And it wasn’t just satire – even reporting the proceedings of the British Parliament was illegal before the movers and shakers of 18th century journalism stirred up public opinion and won the right.

        • weka

          I’ve seen quite a bit of comment that CH is left wing.

          Then there is this.


          An ex-pat Frenchwoman describing how CH is not racist. Leaving aside the daft claim that literally no-one in France considers it to be racist, her explanation that you have to understand the politics to get the imagery is interesting. I have no idea how valid her argument is, or whether it applies to the range of CH cartoons not just her example, but I am aware of how few French voices I’ve heard in the past days.

          There’s also the point that the images we are seeing in the past week are taken out of context. They’re usually front pages and what’s missing are the politics of the time they were published.

          I have no idea what to make of the post (and tumblr is a mess for trying to follow conversations).

          • lprent

            I’ve seen quite a bit of comment that CH is left wing.

            As far as I can see they weren’t conservatives. Doesn’t mean that they were left.

            …her explanation that you have to understand the politics to get the imagery is interesting.

            There is always that question. However I suspect that if you are largely illiterate and/or don’t watch TV that much (I am in that category) it wouldn’t be hard to get upset about such images if you were a black, or a devout roman catholic/muslim. I suspect that even with knowledge it wouldn’t be hard.

            Expect a backlash – hopefully just verbal. Because that is what they were deliberately asking for. Call it satire if you wish. However remember satire is always offensive to someone – that is how it works. People whining about getting excessive reactions to satire is just idiotic. It just shows people avoiding responsibility for their own actions. It is the risk that they chose to take.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              “The risk they chose to take.”

              I think this sentiment ignores the wider context: satirists draw their material from current events. Right wing people find all sorts of things “provocative” – including NAACP offices, minorities, democracy, you, and the UDoHR.

              The killers are motivated at least in part by drone strikes on wedding parties. Is satire really the prime mover? Or is it simply blind hatred a la Kiwiblog?

              • weka

                I don’t think satire is the prime mover in the sense that if it was just the satire without the broader context would the attack have happened? I doubt it.

                But the satire might be the reason for the choice of target (as opposed to say trying to bomb an embassy or shoot a politician). The gunmen made sure their targets were there on the day, and that they had the right targets when they were in the building, so they weren’t just targeting the organisation, they wanted to take out as many of the cartoonists and presumably editors as possible.

                CH had already had a violent attack against them from religious extremists. I would think that increases the risk. And I’m sure there is all sorts of local context that isn’t visible from this side of the globe (still mindful of how few French voices I’ve heard on this).

          • Murray Rawshark

            I think Charlie Hebdo may have once been a bit anarchistic, but degenerated into something like a two year old saying new dirty words to upset grandma.

            As to culture: I’ve been with Russian intellectuals who almost fall on the floor at “jokes” about African presidents breaking their tails and falling out of their trees. I told them what I thought of their attempt at humour. Their other favourite joke was the mother superior putting the seats back on the nuns’ exercycles because they were exercising too much. I didn’t like that one either.

            When 11/9 happened, I saw a cartoon in Brazil of Osama sodomising Dubya. I didn’t mind that so much, maybe because I know Brazilian culture, or maybe because it was an attack on the powerful. Maybe both.

        • Murray Rawshark

          I like almost all of that statement. +0.96
          I wrote this, which has some relevance:

          I’m amazed at how quickly not approving of some crap pictures is read as approval of mass murder and censorship by AK-47. FFS, I don’t like liquorice either. Does that make me a proponent of bestiality? Some things go without saying in rational discourse (something rare). We don’t start every statement with “I am against sending all people with blue eyes to concentration camps”. It’s sort of one of the assumptions we have about each other, and our conversations usually start from there. Just because someone disagrees with me on one thing doesn’t mean that all the assumptions are out the window, or even getting waterboarded at Gitmo. People need to take a deep breath now and then. Oxygen to the brain is a positive thing.

          • Ergo Robertina

            ‘People whining about getting excessive reactions to satire is just idiotic. It just shows people avoiding responsibility for their own actions. It is the risk that they chose to take’

            This is from the same comment sequence (not the one you directly referred to).

            Do you think there is nothing a reasonable person could contest about that statement?
            If you think such a statement also ‘[goes] without saying’ then I would suggest it’s you who’s a little hard of thinking.

            • weka

              I think there’s the issue of Lynn’s commenting style. Are you objecting to his use of the word ‘whining’ or is it the statement that people who put themselves in risky situations will often face consequences that others don’t?

              I also largely agree with Lynn and apparently that means I believe that CH cartoonists deserved to be shot or asked to be shot. Which of course I don’t believe at all.

              • Ergo Robertina

                weka, if you read Murray’s comment that goes before it it might be clearer. It’s not about ‘objecting’ to the comment per se, but the issue of what goes ‘without saying’ and what can reasonably be contested.

                What do you mean by your second paragraph? Who has suggested you believe that?

                • weka

                  Psycho Milt is the most obvious one, but it’s been a pretty consistent meme on twitter and to an extent here (not about me personally, but about anyone making the argument).

                  I had read Murray’s comment, but I still don’t understand what you meant when you said a reasonable person could contest Lynn’s statement (I took it as going without saying that Lynn doesn’t think people deserve to be shot for poking at Islamic extremists).

                  • Ergo Robertina

                    What has Psycho Milt got to do with this?
                    Can you explain who thinks you believe the victims should have been shot?
                    I think maybe you’re putting an interpretation on to this that no-one else is, and that’s where your confusion has stemmed from. Who said the cartoonists ”deserve” their fate, or accused anyone else of believing that?

                    • weka

                      “What has Psycho Milt got to do with this?”

                      You asked me to say who had said it. It’s a reasonably common response now from many people. Murray’s comment is basically about that.

                      ‘People whining about getting excessive reactions to satire is just idiotic. It just shows people avoiding responsibility for their own actions. It is the risk that they chose to take’

                      This is from the same comment sequence (not the one you directly referred to).

                      Do you think there is nothing a reasonable person could contest about that statement?
                      If you think such a statement also ‘[goes] without saying’ then I would suggest it’s you who’s a little hard of thinking.

                      Are you going to clarify what you meant by this comment? I think this is where the miscommunication is (I still don’t understand what you meant)

                    • weka

                      I haven’t read all of this yet, but there’s some of what I am talking about in the comments (warning, the post itself is by Josie Pagani).


                    • Ergo Robertina

                      I think you’re making heavy weather of this weka.
                      If you have an issue with Psycho Milt and/or others, I suggest you take it up with them, in the relevant thread.

                    • weka

                      Ok, so you’re not going to clarify? Great, another waste of time.

                      “in the relevant thread.”

                      What is is about my comments that aren’t relevant to Murray’s comment which is the subthread I am commenting in?

                      “I’m amazed at how quickly not approving of some crap pictures is read as approval of mass murder and censorship by AK-47”

                      Open mike 11/01/2015

                  • Murray Rawshark

                    I read Pagani’s post. It’s the standard rubbish that heaps of people are churning out. Wayne Mapp was hilarious. It doesn’t happen in the US and A because they’re really patriotic. Pffft. They just shoot each other in schools instead. They also had the Boston Marathon and WTC. Is he for real? I want the drugs he’s on.

                    The person who made most sense to me was Danyl McLachlan, but of course very few seemed to understand what he (?) was saying.

                  • lprent

                    I took it as going without saying that Lynn doesn’t think people deserve to be shot for poking at Islamic extremists

                    No they shouldn’t. However that doesn’t mean that isn’t going to happen from some group or person.

                    Frigging reality. If you act like a fool and attack peoples beliefs or reputations with ‘humour’, then someone else will eventually get provoked. If you are lucky they will merely drag you through court with a defamation case (eg Cameron Slater) or hate crimes case. If you are unlucky someone will order a beating (eg bowery politicians) or hit (mafia liked that that) on you. And of course you can get the uptight nutters coming in with a pretty deliberate assassination tactic.

                    What really sucks is when innocents get caught on the way through.

                    Waving hands in the air saying that it shouldn’t happen does not mean that it isn’t going to happen. Having our dumbarse media largely ignoring a few thousands innocents getting slaughtered, because they want to highlight some fools lost at playing the satirists version of russian roulette is the real issue. ER should read the damn post and try to pull their lazy head out of their arse.

            • Murray Rawshark

              Ask the person who wrote it. I think it comes across as a bit extreme, but I doubt if it means they deserved to die.

              Thanks for calling me “hard of thinking” for something I neither thought nor said. Are you taking over from alien?

              This approach to discussion is very immature. We can do better.

              • Ergo Robertina

                True, we can do better. You certainly aren’t hard of thinking – your comments have an originality, resistance to group think, and sharpness that I admire.

    • joe90 7.4


      Even the most patently offensive of the Charlie Hebdo covers that have been circulating on the internet in the wake of the attack – one depicting the Nigerian girls and women kidnapped by Boko Haram as pregnant welfare queens – has been read by observers in France as a satire of the paranoid fantasies of the far-right. (That the same cover was met with criticism for its Islamophobia within France demonstrates that French left-wing politics are not monolithic, just as left-wing politics around the world are not monolithic.)

      The fact that Charlie Hebdo’s editorial position is left-wing within the world of French politics necessarily complicates any analysis of their imagery as purely and simply racist. Of course, left-wing people and self-described progressives are not immune from racism; Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail talks eloquently about the soft racism of the ‘white moderate’ being as much of an impediment to black freedom as the Ku Klux Klan. And I would personally argue that racist imagery is so loaded with an unsavoury history of racist use that it is nearly impossible to ‘reclaim’ in the service of anti-racist action – certainly not if deployed with the crudeness of Charlie Hebdo’s more offensive pieces. This is before we even consider the very important question of whether representing the prophet Mohammed in any form is needlessly antagonistic towards Sunni Muslims, whose interpretations of the hadith prohibit the pictorial representation of the prophet – or, as French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius put it, “Is it really sensible or intelligent to pour oil on the fire?”.

      Progressive voices in the Anglosphere have interpreted the magazine as a bastion of racism, classism, and homophobia, without seeking to understand its context.

      Yet in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, left-wing and progressive voices in the Anglosphere have interpreted the magazine as a bastion of racism, classism, and homophobia, without seeking to understand the magazine’s context. (Similarly, voices of the American right such as Larry O’Connor – who the profoundly left and secular Charlie Hebdo staff would have abhorred – have seen fit to declare solidarity with the magazine.) As Jeff Sparrow argues, “you don’t have to like the project of Charlie Hebdo to defend its artists from murder, just as you can uphold media workers’ right to safety without endorsing the imagery they produce.”

      This seems especially salient when, owing to our immersion within the Anglophone political landscape, most of us are not even in a position to accurately decode Charlie Hebdo’s message, or understand its humour.


  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    Now You Can 3-D Print Chocolate

    3D Systems doesn’t yet have a timeline for when the printer will be ready for purchase, or how much it will cost. The company also makes another 3-D food printer called the ChefJet that specializes in printing ingredients like sugar.

    Rival firm XYZPrinting also showed at CES a food printer that could expertly decorate jam or chocolate on toast, or produce elaborately shaped cookies that you then bake in the oven.

    It’s certainly going to open up artistry in food.

    • weka 8.1

      That’s just downright evil.

    • I like the 3D Systems one – which is actual 3d printing – but lord, I’m so over companies calling something “3D printing food!!!” when actually it’s the exact same squirt-food-on-a-flat-surface-in-a-pre-programmed-pattern technology we’ve had for decades.

  9. les 9

    todays Herald…’Several industry experts blame high levels of rural debt for increased stress on farmers.

    In total, 14 farmers have taken their lives in the past six months, Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean said.’

    what a world we live in!

    • JanM 9.1

      As I understand it, the normal rate of suicide for farmers in NZ is one a month, so things are obviously getting worse

      • Colonial Rawshark 9.1.1

        and the banksters are rewarding themselves with record profits and record bonuses.

        Why have we allowed them to be put at the top of the country’s economic pyramid?

        • Draco T Bastard

          Did we allow it or did they just slink up there without us being informed? Or was it that the politicians helped them up there against our wishes?

          • Colonial Rawshark

            NZ has been subject to the wishes of the Bank of England from its inception. For a while though pre-1970s the NZ Govt realised how important it was to play a strong role in the retail banking sector, despite having to fit in with the central banking orthodoxy.

  10. Pat O'Dea 10

    ‘Breathing Earth’, Simulation

    (Could more accurately be called ‘Suffocating Earth’, Sim)

    Now for the good news:

    Obama stands strong on XL Pipeline

    House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio strides from the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, after the House overwhelmingly passed a bill authorizing the Keystone XL oil pipeline which would carry oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries. The bill passed on a 266-153 vote, one of the first pieces of legislation considered by the Republican-controlled Congress.

    But the White House, which issued a veto threat earlier in the week, said its “position and posture” remained unchanged, and environmentalists said Obama should kill what would amount to “a global warming disaster.”

    in a mirror image of the Deep Sea Oil drilling debate here, the Republicans argued around the economic imperative and jobs. While wilfully ignoring climate change.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, following the court’s decision, renewed his call for Obama to reconsider his promise to veto the measure.

    “Today’s ruling provides the perfect opportunity for the president to change his unproductive posture on this jobs project and reverse his veto threat,” McConnell said. “The president now has every reason to sign it.”

    But a White House spokesman said the court’s decision changed nothing.

    “Regardless of the Nebraska ruling today, the House bill still conflicts with longstanding executive branch procedures regarding the authority of the president and prevents the thorough consideration of complex issues that could bear on U.S. national interests, and if presented to the president, he will veto the bill,” said deputy press secretary Eric Schultz.

    “No matter the route, as long as the pipeline is carrying tar sands oil it is a global warming disaster and fails the president’s climate test,” said May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, an advocacy group that has orchestrated many of the protests against the project. “It’s time for President Obama to build on his veto threat and reject Keystone XL outright.”

    Republicans argued on Friday that the pipeline was a jobs creator and critical infrastructure that could further wean the U.S. off Middle East oil….

    Back in New Zealand; No matter how safe Deep Sea Oil drilling is it also fails the climate test.

    “If we really want to fight deep sea oil drilling in this country, then we must fight it on climate change grounds.”
    GARETH HUGHES Green Party Energy Spokesperson

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