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Open mike 20/11/2010

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 am, November 20th, 2010 - 51 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

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

Comment on whatever takes your fancy.

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51 comments on “Open mike 20/11/2010”

  1. r0b 1

    I’m posting today’s Open mike much earlier than usual so that I can make sure that I get the first comment in place.

    Today is the day of the Mana by-election. Please recall that it is against the law to advocate for a candidate on polling today. I’ll paraphrase the note that lprent posted for Mt Albert:

    Do not comment about the political aspects of the by-election in Mana on this blog until after the polls close at about 7pm. This will be enforced by auto-moderation and a strict banning policy.

    Thank you.

    • swordfish 1.1

      Well, I’m just off to exercise my democratic right. I’m feeling a certain amount of camaraderie – perhaps even bonhomie – towards the good people of Mt Albert at the moment…. We few, we lucky few.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Kia Ora,

    I imagine the weather north of Wellington today will be warm hearted, compassionate and optimistic with a refreshing though strong and collectively felt east to west breeze.
    A very large number of locals are expected to be out and about during the day enjoying the view of the deep aqua tide slowly but definitively receeding all along the coast, exposing bare harsh cruel rocks and slippery sand all without a single redeeming feature, and not a moment too soon.
    Of course, the view is far more inspiring when you make sure that your friends and whanau are keeping you good company: make sure that you accept no excuses during the day; ensuring that everyone takes a walk around in the fresh air to enjoy the opportunities that NZ has to offer on this very fine Saturday.
    And while the many ordinary NZ’ers will be sharing delicious fish and chips with each other and perhaps even a beer or two in the early evening, the expectation is that the few will be feasting on a large helping of fetid crow, so rough that even a glass of Dom Pérignon will not smooth it down. But for these few, more courses are about to come, a harbinger of further dishes soon be served, cold, unyielding and unwelcome. Leave now, your time is done.

  3. joe90 3

    Johann Hari writes in The Independent, The religious excuse for barbarity

    • Bill 3.1

      I remember years ago having a discussion with a guy who had been brought up with the old testament texts as central to his religion. He was no longer religious and had concluded, quite reasonably in my mind, that much of the old testament was essentially a health and safety guide. ( No pork for example makes perfect sense when located in a particular time and place given the successful vectors for pig to human viruses.)

      Anyway, my point is that many cultural ‘instructions’ are no longer relevant and unnecessary cruelty or suffering stemming from people adhering to irrelevant guidelines or instructions is not limited to religion, but is fairly endemic in cultural terms. It goes far beyond our treatment of animals and encompasses our treatment of one another and our environment. And successful attempts to neutralise criticism or condemnation by appealing to tradition and cultural imperatives are fairly common.

  4. Bill 4

    Jeez. I honestly thought for a moment or two that John Clark was being interviewed by Kim Hill this morning.

    • ianmac 4.1

      Yep. An undercurrent of farce?

      • RedLogix 4.1.1

        I had to turn it down… satire without the laugh cues makes me squirm.

        (I found “The Office” utterly intolerable for the same reason. I could see that Gervais had produced a work of comedic genius, but for me it was too much like real-life … I couldn’t watch more than 5 mins at a time.)

  5. Jenny 5

    As global warming opens up more of the Arctic to mineral exploration and oil drilling, companies are keen to exploit this resource in the traditional hunting and fishing grounds of of the local Inuit people of Baffin Island, whose claims and traditional usage are being completely ignored in this new gold rush to exploit these marine resources.

    Like the Maori in New Zealand the Inuit had a agreement with the Crown. Known as the Royal Proclamation, this promised Inuit the right to have a treaty signed before any take over of their lands or resources was carried out. Just as in New Zealand in the new rush for marine resources this treaty has been completely overruled.

    In an echo of the Seabed and Foreshore controversy, all the Inuit ask is to be treated like equals.

    Fears for Artic’s Inuit people

    One thing that struck me in Iqaluit is how non-pushy our Inuit hosts were. Perhaps it is a cultural thing. Or perhaps they have just been beaten down by centuries of colonialism, including domestic colonialism. As Eegeesiak says: “At a policy level, Inuit need to be included as equals in any dialogue about developing our lands and around our waters.”

    Why do these people, who have learnt over hundreds of years to live in harmony with nature and to manage their own resources (as we have not), have to ask to be “included as equals” in discussions about developing their own lands? Surely the snowshoe should be on the other foot?

    Unless the land claims agreements are fully and correctly implemented, the Inuit may, I fear, turn out to have sold their birthright for a mess of potage. I pick up a local newspaper as the Colloquium ends. It is printed both in English and Inuktitut. The lead story is about the federal government’s plans to carry out seismic testing in Lancaster Sound, located between Devon Island and Baffin Island, and forming the eastern portion of the Northwest Passage. The QIA has sought an injunction on the basis that the testing would cause irreparable damage to wildlife and impair the Inuit’s ability to hunt in the area. (The area is a habitat for narwhal, beluga and bowhead whales, as well as for seals, walrus and polar bears. Seabirds flock to Lancaster Sound in the hundreds of thousands.)

    But the real shocker, as far as I’m concerned, is that apparently the Inuit hadn’t even been consulted. Maybe we need another Royal Proclamation to set matters straight. The Queen is, after all, still Queen of Canada!

  6. freedom 6

    In the last century they have had a cowboy, a crook, numerous drunks, one honest man who could competently spin a few words together, a backstabbing warmonger in a wheelchair, a visionary who warned us not to give guns to bankers, plenty of horndogs, a couple of space fillers, that pleasant young man from Kenya and now they might get a talking wig who thinks China is the one doing dodgy moves with its currency

    So all systems normal over in the United States of Americorp

    “He singled out China for criticism in the interview, accusing Beijing of manipulating its currency to gain unfair advantage of the United States in global trade competition. ”
    Donald Trump comments on China after announcing he is thinking (again) of running for president

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    New Zealand Herald editorial Says – Banks are Our Friends and it’s no Business of Commoners if Banking Execs Earn between this Mon morning and Wed lunchtime what it takes an ordinary NZ worker a year to make, The Hallowed Deserve It


    This month Westpac NZ reported after-tax profit of $322 million, up 36 per cent.

    If there needs to be any explaining or, indeed, reining in of Mr Frazis’ package, that should be at the behest of Westpac shareholders. It is their role to scrutinise its size, bonus content, how it is linked to performance and suchlike.

    There is no clear need for the bank to explain itself to its customers, as Mr English suggests, even if the Government is one. Affronted customers, as always, have the recourse of taking their business to one of Westpac’s competitors.

    • Tigger 7.1

      Which we are doing. Fuck you Westpac.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        Only problem is that the frakin banks are all in this together, and even Kiwibank in its current form is not a sufficient counter-weight. Basic banking services should be treated as a utility. The profits and pay of banking institutions and their officers is a drag on the entire productive economy.

        • KJT

          We can choose. 🙂 LOLAL. Shift from being ripped off by one bank to being ripped off by another in the Cartel.
          Kiwibank, with the fees, has shown how a public bank can keep the private ones honest.
          Now we just need to expand Kiwibank until it either takes over all NZ banking and the profits stay in our hands or any private banks who still want to operate here are limited to a reasonable share of the economy commensurate with their usefulness. Probably non profits such as mutual’s and building societies.
          As with North Dakota only the State should issue currency.

          Excessive executive wages, as research has shown, do not correlate to better company performance. Germany and Japan manage with executive wages 2 to 13 times the median wage.

          • Colonial Viper

            Hear hear.

            Although I normally go with a limit of 40x the median wage – perhaps I am being too generous 🙂

            If top business leaders want to be paid more they need to help create an economy which benefits everyone – not just themselves.

            • Draco T Bastard

              40x is far too generous. 2 or 3 times would be about reasonable – maybe. I haven’t actually seen any evidence that anyone can create any more wealth than anyone else.

              • pollywog

                facebook creator zuckerberg personally creamed 6 billion in 5 years …how ???

              • KJT

                There are some exceptional entrepreneurs, managers, innovators and inventors who do add that much value.
                The ones on the really high salaries, though, tend to be those who cost cut, asset strip and/or raise the short term share price.

                Zuckerburg is not a good example of executive salaries. He did create a product that millions of people use.

            • freedom

              let the shareholders decide but let’s give society a little more control in what those shareholders are deciding.

              i suggest an 1x-100x average wage multiplier for salaries,
              but with a corresponding scaling down (and enhanced regulations) of permissable profit margins, which are where the real corporate crimes take place anyway.

              this gives the shareholders more say in the return and if the CEO doesn’t like it they can buy shares, take a drop in salary and allow the company to make more profit

              letting them have the freedom to do both is what got us in this mess, but that is a whole other bag of snakes

              of course all of this would be mute if:
              a; Corporations and their cronies decided not to be so mindbuggeringly greedy.
              b: The cowards in government install a Rodin Hood Tax of .01% of gross profit on all banks, financial traders and similar institutions.

    • freedom 7.2

      The tone of the piece screams elitism, and a very cold well practised belief in their own worth.
      Then there is the actual content which plainly shows how removed some people are from the poverty too many suffer.

      it used to be politicians
      but lately i expect the bankers to be first against the wall when the revolution comes

      • freedom 7.2.1

        for some bizarre reason the ‘revolution’ link above jumps to The Standard home page. Anyway,here is the link

        [fixed above — r0b]

        • Draco T Bastard

          That seems to be the WordPress software – it adds the address of the present page if you don’t have the “http://” in the address.

          • freedom

            i sent an email yesterday outlining that very issue. It is happening every time i try to post a link. I post, the link is faulty, i go into edit and add the http: and delete an apostrophe which pops in before the end quotes in the link address code. Doing this everytime i want to post a link is getting very old very fast.
            I have no idea what i could be doing as i am just copy/paste, and the http: gets dropped during posting. I proof the link, the http: is there, i post, it has gone!

            (this has been happening for a few weeks now but the really interesting bit was yesterday’s post on the China -US situation and all the link addresses dissapeared leaving just the code frame.)

            i tend to use notepad when sketching replies/posts then copy over to the browser
            any suggestions. Could it be the font that is on notepad? i use a different font than the deafuult windows setting. If it is some stooopidly obvious thing i really want to know, i barely have hair anyway.

            • lprent

              On this side, The Kess subsystem checks your syntax. It looks at raw text.

              If it doesn’t pass muster then it will amend it. It only likes simple HTML that is summarized below the basic text editor. In particular it is fussy about links. Your best bet is to put them in anchor (a) tags.

              If you have anything in such things as div’s then they won’t work.

              • freedom

                I use the tags from your own FAQ, all i do is put in a copy/paste of the address or link location and type in the relevant link word.

                I have been using the exact same tags since first i posted a link here on the Standard and it is only the last few weeks this problem has been occuring.

  8. ianmac 8

    Cycle safety. Years ago my youthful son said “Why don’t cyclists bike against the traffic? That way they could see critical threats coming before they hit. ” Maybe?

    • Daveosaurus 8.1

      As I understand it, that’s the correct procedure for pedestrians when they need to walk among the traffic (for example, where there is no footpath and no grass verge). It is expected of pedestrians in that case that they get off the road as far as they can when there is traffic, and the traffic is not to be impeded by their doing so.

      However, this wouldn’t work for cyclists as they are part of the traffic. I also doubt that cyclists would be pleased at having to dismount and get off the road to make room for every vehicle that approaches!

      • ianmac 8.1.1

        Actually a new law would mean that the usual road user rules would apply with the advantages, like with the pedestrians on footpathless roads, of seeing the truck just before it ran you down.

    • Bright kid, did he mention the added bonus of pushing opening doors back in their drivers faces?

    • Most interesting ! For many years I worked in horse racing stables in the UK. Where horses are rode on the right hand side of the road facing trafic.
      I was quite surprised to find that in Aotearoa one had ride on the left where traffic speeds are unseen until the last minute by the poor unsuspecting horse. Added to this its on the horses off side the wrong side for the horse.\This makes me believe that cycling against the traffic is the correct way. What I would like to see is where there are cycle tracks they are only on one side making them wide .Facing cyclists on the outside
      with the traffic flow inside.

  9. Bunji 9

    Yay! An addition to the Bunji family today… A little girl (although not so little)

    (may be posting a bit less in the immediate future)

  10. M 10

    ‘Twas the Year Before Election

    ‘Twas the year before the election, when all through the House
    Not a cabinet minister was stirring; John Key? He was soused.
    His buddies were enjoying their tax cuts with flair,
    In hopes that starvation wages would never be rare.

    His NACT buddies were all cozy with the housing allowance
    While double Dipton had the audit office ready to pounce
    Bill’s hasty repayment kept John from a panic
    Which is just as well, he’s our economic mechanic.

    When out on parliament’s lawn there arose such a clatter.
    Johnny ran to the window to see what was the matter.
    Miraculously Paula Bennett appeared in a flash,
    Ready to give ingrate beneficiaries the bash.

    The gleam in her eye at the economy’s body blow,
    Gave her the chance to show Johnny she wasn’t slow
    To put the boot into people and have them rigid with fear
    Aunty Sugar could stop the benny if rotten pay caused a sneer.

    Johnny said: Paula I’m so pleased you study and learn so quick
    I couldn’t best that, and you know I’m a prick.
    But we have to tread carefully and trick them once more
    Come May 2012 I’ll let you have their blood on the floor.

    Now Gerry! Now Billy! Now Rodney! Now Murray!
    I sure as hell won’t forget you guys in a hurry.
    As long as we lie we’ll get over that wall
    And in 2012 it will be winner takes all.

    I love Obama so much, I almost did cry
    When he snubbed me at G20, home I refused to fly
    Getting the White House invite would be the apex of my life’s work,
    If I managed that coup I’d have to copyright my smirk.

    And then in a heartbeat I heard on the roof
    The tap dancing of Gerry as he circled the truth
    About peak oil and how renewables would abound
    It’s a feat hiding that arse from a hole in the ground.

    I’m decked out in Teflon from my head to my foot,
    Just let those bloody lefties besmirch me with their soot.
    I’ve helped people like me with tax cuts from my sack
    And all they can do is keep calling me slack.

    My eyes how they twinkle, I’m feeling quite merry,
    I can’t remember if this is my sixth or eighth sherry.
    Bronagh is still sore I called her a Hobbit,
    Hell, I hope she’s not channeling Lorena Bobbit.

    The economy’s tanking and I’m shit out of ideas,
    Oh Rugby World Cup, rescue me from this mess please!
    With jobs fast disappearing along with income tax,
    Bill will have to fiddle the statistics, to the max.

    I’m well fed, well housed and a jolly old fellow
    Why can’t the poor be like me and learn to be mellow?
    I’m an expert on currency and smiling and waving,
    But strangely I’m told it’s the country that needs saving.

    It’s best I avoid interviewers like Ryan and Hill
    Who would show in five seconds I’m a corporate shill
    Paul was much better and we got to play friendies
    But you know the bugger only took me to Wendy’s.

    It’s time to go home and go face the dragon
    She shouldn’t be mad, I’ve not drunk a flagon
    If I can get another term that would be good,
    And a photo in the album of my knighthood.

    • ianmac 10.1

      Great M! I liked the:
      “It’s best I avoid interviewers like Ryan and Hill
      Who would show in five seconds I’m a corporate shill”
      Great poem peppered with hits.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11


    Yeah, I know, correlation doesn’t mean causation but it does raise a lot of serious questions. Pic from Did the Rich Cause the Deficit?

  12. joe90 12

    Re the missile firing discussion in yesterdays open mike, here’s a gallery of photos of launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Central California.

  13. Now people of the left are aware of the saying Socalizing the losses but privatizing the gains. Well we have seen examples of this over the last few weeks. The Canterbury payout of millions was one .Now same government is going to pay out 25 million the the rich Kiwi fruit growers .
    What have these people done with the big payouts they have enjoyed for years? Have they not put a bit away for the rainy day?
    This Tory lot justify the huge salaries and payouts their friends recieve by saying they took a chance, what a lot of claptrap!
    Just image the cry of anger from the Bay of Plenty and the Canterbury moneyed crowd there would be if this type of money was paid out to the unemployed and solo parents.

    • ianmac 13.1

      Good point Pink. I did wonder about the selection of support for kiwifruit growers. I thought that the business world thrived on adversity. I thought that they took the profits and suffered like any other business when things went wrong. But a handout? It must be tough for the growers on a personal level to lose their industry, but thems the breaks like anyone else becoming unemployed or ill.

  14. Its only just started but Im already sick to death of this so called Royal wedding., Over in povety stricken UK. They are going to spend millions on a rich guys bash for the privileged, the so called Blue bloods and their parasitic friends ,all paid for by the working class tax-payers. I have no doubt that Aotearoa will be sucked in . smilling Key who will milk it for all its worth . Lets hope our Taxes are not used for any off this charade .

  15. Draco T Bastard 15

    Transcript: 413 The rule of free trade: money flows to power

    Yes, free trade CAN make everybody better off. This theoretical condition is well described in every economics text. But as Yoram Baumann says when he lampoons Greg Mankiw, CAN is not WILL. And if you can’t say free trade WILL make everybody better off, or DOES make everybody better of, then it won’t and it doesn’t.

    Who does it make better off? The gatekeepers. The power of controlling the transactions and dominating the exchange makes Wal-Mart, shippers and multi-nationals extremely profitable. The diminished power of labor in each country means that — according to our principle — money is going to flow away from them. And this is what we observe.

    Observed reality has been different from the economic theory within textbooks for a couple of centuries and yet we still follow the same theory. So we must ask the politicians: Why do we follow a theory that make life worse for the majority?

  16. Marty G 16

    saw this on Stuff:

    “Staff at the Titahi Bay Intermediate polling booth report a low turnout in the Mana by-election.

    At 3 pm they said about 270 people had voted, about half the number who had been through the booth at the same time on election day 2008. ”

    but that polling place only took 522 votes in total at the general election, http://electionresults.org.nz/electionresults_2008/e9/html/e9_part8_cand_21.html

    so it couldn’t have possibly taken 540 by 3pm,

    crappy journalism again

    • herodotus 16.1

      Perhaps there were special votes for other electorates, Maori votes and a few spoilt ballots ( and some that were rejected). It is possible in theory and the journalsit to be correct, yet highly unlikely.

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