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Open mike 26/12/2009 to 31/12/2009

Written By: - Date published: 6:01 am, December 26th, 2009 - 57 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:


Topics of interest, announcements, general discussion. The usual rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Season’s greetings all…

57 comments on “Open mike 26/12/2009 to 31/12/2009 ”

  1. for an interesting take on avatar try this article and comment thread http://gawker.com/5422666/when-will-white-people-stop-making-movies-like-avatar – quote

    “This is a classic scenario you’ve seen in non-scifi epics from Dances With Wolves to The Last Samurai, where a white guy manages to get himself accepted into a closed society of people of color and eventually becomes its most awesome member.”

    I haven’t seen it yet but I’m pretty sure brownlee wouldn’t be a blue one.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      Or it could be that, under all the delusional egotism, the “white” race realises that we have to live as one people…

      …but I doubt it.

    • outofbed 1.2

      Liked this from the above link

      I just left the 3-D, IMAX movie. Man, was it amazingly beautiful, but it’s gotta be the first one-dimensional 3D movie I’ve ever seen.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2


    What is Leadership?

    But before trying to answer these questions, let me expand on just what I mean by leadership.

    Leadership can mean many things, but REAL leadership the kind we need — is primarily this: the ability to align the human sphere with biophysical reality.

    Anything less than this is merely opportunism, and will be exposed as such in short order probably very short order at this point. Historically, the Earth has had little reservation in punishing civilizations for violations of biophysical reality; for their foolish opportunism. I see no reason why we should be spared the same fate.

    And contrary to popular sentiment among our civilization’s intellectuals, biophysical reality is not defined by humans; it is defined by the Earth and the Laws of Nature. Humans can only hope to incompletely illuminate some essential parts of it. And then we must obey it as best we can. It is not optional. And there are consequences.

    Somebody actually gets it. We have no choice, we must constrain ourselves to living within the ecological limits of the Earth. We can’t end poverty by continuing to grow our economy. If we want to end poverty then we need to ensure that the resources that are available (just because they exists doesn’t mean that they’re available either) are properly distributed and that we don’t over populate the world.

    Of course, we are now far past that point. I’d say that we passed it before the beginning of the 20th century.

  3. outofbed 3

    “Somebody actually gets it”
    Tthere are a few of us that “get it”, about 6% in NZ
    According to Mike Moore we are from the planet Zog

  4. Bill 4

    Just watched Blind Spot. Full length low res preview and transcript through the link

    An interesting and frightening point is made near the beginning in relation to how much energy we get from oil ; to what it extent it has replaced and superseded human and animal muscle power ; and just how bloody complacent…how nonchalant we are.

    Imagine pushing your car 20 or 30 miles, that’s what we get from a single gallon of gasoline that we pay maybe $2.50 for, that amount of work is roughly equivalent to 6 to 8 weeks of hard human labour. Imagine getting 6 to 8 weeks of hard human labour for $2.50. That’s what we have gotten used to.

    (Richard Heinberg)

  5. outofbed 5

    watched it a couple of days ago
    a good doco but it was interpersed with walmat adverts which was kinda ironic

    i have just about given up watching TV so much shit
    and so many good docos on the net

  6. Bill 6

    Try ‘ Capitalism Hits the Fan’ preview by Rick Wolff ( Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts.) since you aint doing TV. Very good stuff.


  7. outofbed 7

    Thaks for the links
    I have always struggled with NZTV ,having been brought up with the BBC watching great docos and political progs Question time for example
    In the last year NZTV has become completely unwatchable , I despair

    • Bill 7.1

      I hear the BBC has nosedived over recent years too. Panorama is gone, I think. I wouldn’t be surprised if Horizon is a dumbed down monkey of what it used to be….if it’s still going, that is.

      But then, since TV is a delivery system for corporate agendas, I guess if you are advertising dumb stuff in an intelligently critical environment then the effectiveness of your advertising will diminish. So corporates dumb down the environment their message is delivered through and up those sales figures. Do that long enough and even a moderately critical programme on a non-commercial station looks ‘out of place’ and insofar as it could become a point of reference or a bar for programme makers, it becomes a target to be shut down by those self same corporates…even if it exists on a public broadcaster network.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      Strange, I thought NZTV became unwatchable at least a decade back.

      • outofbed 7.2.1

        Yes but completely unwatchable now
        Can’t even watch the news
        Anyone want my telly?
        Free to a bad home

    • NickS 7.3

      Yeah, there’s a sad lack of decent documentaries on TVNZ during prime time, and when there is one in a prime-time slot, all we get are the real-life-doco’s, which like reality TV, are typically bloody shallow infotainment.

  8. Bill 8

    And in more ‘jolly, jolly’ news.

    Remember all those people who excused the coup in Honduras arguing all types of shit about legality of constitutional referenda and claiming that the exiled President had been trying to set himself up for life?

    And remember how a lot of the people making those arguments claimed to belong to ‘the left’? Wonder what those fuckers will be saying now the assassination of activists in Honduras is under way?


    • Bored 8.1

      Thanks Bill, I had that sick feeling earlier this year that this would follow the longer term trends of their regional history. One gets used to being regarded as a Jeremiah in these matters, especially when the “our side is innocent and would never do such a thing” response is coming from the ideologues from both ends of the spectrum. As I always say, read the real history (as written by the losing side especially) and you get a fairly good ability to forecast this type of inhumanity.

  9. outofbed 9

    worth watching

    • Bill 9.1

      Yeah….sort of, I guess. But then again….nah. Here’s why.

      I went to the transition stuff for my city and all my worst fears were realised. The bureaucratic hell zone of committees and secretaries ( ie crystallised and hierarchical structures)…same old dirty orthodox projects and undertakings dressing themselves in the garb of transition thinking and oodles of sincere insincerity dripping off my computer screen.

      Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with what Rob Hopkins was saying as such. Just that it’s all very surface level stuff and not at all new. ( Gardeners have always shared their expertise and produce for example and people have always helped out or shared skills and knowledge around non-monetised social networks.)

      I had the impression that it would appeal to the pot luck dinner liberal middle class brigade. It doesn’t really confront underlying issues and offers a feel good conscience salving programmes of spare time action that are mostly, ultimately pointless.

      Substantive points and matters are not, it seems, being confronted. Questions of ownership and control. Questions of financial input and how any necessary transitional finances should be generated. Organisational structures…questions of equity and reward and sanction. Questions of production….how, why and what. The (soft airbrush) focus seems to be on distribution and consumption…..easy ‘feel good’ matters that allow you to continue your 9 to 5 and your accumulation of (ethical) goods and profit while defending notions of sense as viewed through a lens of material well being.

      • outofbed 9.1.1

        Ak47’s it is then

        • Bill


          Just that meaningful transition would involve addressing the points I raised. It doesn’t mean that everyone would then change their life utterly overnight, but points of compromise would be identified and acknowledged…desired end points identified and possible paths mapped out (subject to ongoing modifications and revisions)

          But this transition thing appears to be wilfully blind to the fact that post oil is post capitalist; that we have to transition out of capitalism. Fast.

          Ak47’s turning suburbias into death zones or an end to electricity, pumped water and individual transport options turning suburbias into death zones?

          I reckon the latter…with of course, a little cannibalism on the side.

  10. prism 10

    The tv situation is a reflection of the world view and priorities of youngish men and women whose interest is materialistic as in making or getting money and status, and things. They have little interest in the welfare of other people or the environment if there is no advantage to themselves in so doing.
    It is a working example showing what the politicians will do to our broader society if able to proceed further with their personal visions which colour their chosen policies.

  11. prism 11

    It makes your heart drop when you hear Clive Geddis of Queenstown get exercised about having a macron over the first a in Hawea. And stupidly say that its been that way for one hundred years. If it was a Maori name, it will date back further than that. The macron could be introduced over time, thus limiting the inconvenience and cost to organisations. It’s Whanganui all over and is an example of the too many petty, inadequate people who yet can strut their stuff enough to impress and get elected to take the role of a supposed thoughtful and clever leader, pragmatic planner and communicator.

    How can we handle important things when every little improving idea has to be considered by a tight-minded elite. While the decision makers are worrying about this and other problems there are huge concerns – leaky buildings, New Zealand’s unofficial colour changing from green to khaki, an inability to take definite steps on climate change by introducing car emission measures…….

  12. outofbed 13

    they all came at once ?

  13. There are still a few good programmes ,but one has to search .
    Have a look at channel 7. A couple of good programmes .”Back Benches” is one. Then if you can get Central have a look at Euromaxx.
    Channel 6 has a couple of nature programmes well worth the time;
    However if you are a clasical music devotee then the only place (believe it or not) ) is to keep an eye open at the Warehouse where now and then some top class DVDs turn up. Opera, chamber music ect,
    Im afraid the idea of a “public TV channel has been lost for ever the money bags have won the day. A lose to us all and certainly a lose to the many talented stars we have in Aotearoa .

  14. prism 15

    Has everyone else caught up with Autotune the News? Its on youtube. I’ve just found it – new, clever way of looking at politics when you need a laugh.

    • Pascal's bookie 15.1

      I just wish they’d stop autotuning the music already. I’m kind of sick of changing the radio whenever I hear it’s awfulness intrude, and those that do like it are no doubt sick of changing it back again. We need to end this pointless war. But I’m not having it, I don’t care how allegedly good the beats are, if it’s got an autotuned vocal we need to kill it. Kill it with fire.

      • prism 15.1.1

        Autotune the news is definitely for you. Bag the slick politicians and music all in one. They combine
        well into a singing and dancing less-than-spectacular. Roll up and enjoy the ridiculously clever or the clever ridiculed.
        (Warning – there may be some small traces of clever and good politicians being ridiculed which could be irksome to the highly sensitive who think they should be treasured and increased and taken from their nests and bred in controlled surroundings before being released to the wild parliament.)

  15. Draco T Bastard 16

    Jonathan Abrams: Why I am no longer a skeptic on climate change

    I have not yet seen Al Gore’s Nobel prize winning film “An Inconvenient Truth”. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I was a AGW skeptic when it came out and now that I accept AGW I don’t feel the need to go rent it. Regardless, I think the title is brilliant. It perfectly sums up why I think people have trouble accepting AGW. AGW truly is an inconvenience. If it were true, not only would we have to consume less, but more importantly it can shake our very core beliefs. The sorts of beliefs that AGW would trouble include political/economic and religious beliefs.

    One mans journey from denial to reality.

  16. prism 17

    Looking at a secondhand book giving helpful advice on self defence for teeagers I noticed from the library card that it had never been checked out, the card was totally clear. The book and its helpful info and photos had hardly been looked at. The same thing will happen about our future problems and only determined action will cause change.
    The idea of being precautionary, acting now for future gain is all pretty boring for our marshmallow generation. Im talking here about the well known experiment with these sweeties testing the tendency of toddlers to apply control for delayed gratification instead of the more satisfactory immediate buzz.
    I think the present style of government mitigates against making decisions of future importance, the politicians are limited by their fixed term and the inability to communicate with the incurious and unwilling thinkers of most of the citizens. We don’t want inconvenient truths and will punish a government that tries to persuade us, or worse raises taxes to provide revenue and economic signals guiding our actions to a better course.
    I have been thinking of the advantages of another representative body apart from and less than government, perhaps chosen at random, but being drawn from people of a certain criteria to ensure a mix of capable thinkers with diverse backgrounds. This group could be petitioned for changes to legislation to achieve better effectiveness. Government continually passes legislation that is found to be flawed when tested in reality. The group would be working with law, though it may also be deemed regulations I think they are called, where a body can impose certain rules under the aegis of government.
    As well there needs to be a Planning Body that we hear about, separate from government and its appointees, which looks at our future problems providing an overview.
    This is all rather long and rambling but its so easy to throw mudpies and run away when disputing something. Thinking about how to improve, do better, takes time, like that cheese on tv ads.

  17. BLiP 18

    Merry Christmas from NZ Bus.

    • Transparent 18.1

      Not just Auckland passengrs but those in Wellingtaon also mised out on free travel on Christmas day. The drivers down here (of whom I am one) didn’t get a hamper either despite our being the only business group of NZ Bus to actually increase profit in the quarter. And the pens? adding insult to injury as far as I and many other drivers here in Wgtn are concerned. Go NZ Scrooge

  18. The Chairman 19

    WASHINGTON – A new report finds that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a poor job of screening medical experts for financial conflicts when it hired them to advise the agency on vaccine safety, officials said.

    Most of the experts who served on advisory panels in 2007 to evaluate vaccines for flu and cervical cancer had potential conflicts that were never resolved.

    Some were legally barred from considering the issues but did so anyway.

    In the report, Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, found that the centers failed nearly every time to ensure that the experts adequately filled out forms confirming they were not being paid by companies with an interest in their decisions.

    As numerous medicines have been pulled from the market in recent years, worries have grown that experts may be recommending medical products – even ones they know to be unsafe – in part because manufacturers are paying them

    More here: http://tinyurl.com/yej6xao

  19. Tigger 20

    100% pure spin…

    Well our ETS doesn’t reduce emissions and we’re going to mine the crap out of our pristine parks so we’d better change our brand…

    • felix 20.1

      And what’s more there are Asians on your beach. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10598655

      Should Asians be banned from beaches in New Zealand? Have your say.

      • BLiP 20.1.1

        Never mind the Asians, what about the icecream vendors. What’s next, a McDonalds atop Aoraki?

        Thank’s National Ltd® – I’m lovin’ it.

        • prism

          Surely better to have a properly controlled vendor system than ad hoc speculators in pristine spots. Why not? People want it or they wouldn’t buy the stuff. Wrappers and waste need to be sternly controlled of course. Let’s not be so doctrinaire you environmental zealots.

          • BLiP

            You don’t get it. The concession itself is not the issue, it is a manifestation of the mindset which reframes the environment as some sort of vast strip mall waiting for retailers and their neon signs. If DoC were to run the icecream stand, I would still have significant concerns but not the sense of dread I have now about what’s in store for the future.

  20. felix 22

    Keeping animals in cages all their lives – as some think we ought to do with cows – surely has its pros and cons. On the plus side it’s more compact, more profitable, probably less hassle in lots of ways.

    The Americans do it so maybe we should be doing it too.

  21. prism 23

    Animals in cages – this concept can and has been widened to include humans. Reminds me of the affordable sleeping accommodation that gets provided in some Asian cities. You have a small ‘cave’ which has a door in a wall of such ‘nests’, sleeping bag size with a lockable grill.

    You can sleep in comfort and safety from thieves etc. I seem to remember Billy Connolly or someone saying they had similar in Scottish tenements, where the bed space was divided up in two rooms, one having the lower space, on the other side of the wall, the mattress would be on the top and people would climb up to their space.

    Then there are criminal cells where we can’t even allow enough personal space for one person alone, the cells must be shared with an unchosen cell partner and their habits.

    • Bill 23.1

      Ah! The dream time of those 19 50s when we sure knew how to accomodate one another.

      No 2 in the sequence is ‘pretty’ telling too.

      • prism 23.1.1

        Gorbals tower blocks was referred to on that accommodation clip. Think that was what Billy C was talking about. The tenement room in the clip was pretty cramped but it had a window, a fire, electricity, and furniture. All that is needed, plus the funds to pay for the fuel. Could be worse. When the Roxburgh dam was being built workers were brought out from Brit but didn’t like the corrugated iron whares that were provided. Possibly they weren’t up to the same standard as the room in the clip.

        Its shades of the Pythons piece on who had the worst conditions as children, but I think Orwell talked about Welsh miners whose cottages were over mineshafts on land that was moving. A miner might have to free his family or get into his cottage, by taking an axe to the door panels at the end of his working day, because doors and windows had jammed tight as the house moved slowly and continually.

        • Bill

          I’d suggest the stench of rats (hence the cat?) and dampness would have been the first things to hit you in the miners tenement. That and the fact that there is no running water in a permanent place of residence…in the 1950s…in a ‘first world’ country.

          Contrasted with Dam construction workers who were in temporary accommodation….converted trams etc which had water and light….and were situated in a climate generally a goodly few degrees warmer than that enjoyed by the miner….

          Yes. It all has shades of Python…which was based on the premise that things got better as we moved forward. The only point of contention was over who should have the badge of honour for having emerged from the ‘worst’ of the ‘good old days.’

          Meanwhile, I notice that the weekend or holiday baches and cribs of yesteryear are now somebodys permanent accommodation….

          edit. The only reference I recall Connelly making to the high rise was the fact that you couldn’t throw jam sandwiches to the kids from 20 storeys up like you used to from the tenement window…

          • prism

            REminds me of a funny little poem I read once about a jam butty and its adventures as it travelled from the top of one of those extreme high rises to the little chap waiting for it on the ground. Probably the one mentioned.

  22. Sanctuary 24

    I am trying to draw together the strands of “Re-run: Benefits, wages and anger”, the discussion of NZ broadcasting and the holiday season.

    I’m struck by the deep denial of it all.

    Not just on TV, but Radio NZ has shut down for five weeks. Why? The whole meme from all our mainstream media organisations is that New Zealand is “on holiday”. And not just on holiday, but specifically at the bach or beach. This is a total fiction propagated to Orwellian levels by our media. The vast majority of New Zealanders don’t own a bach and won’t be at the beach for endless weeks of lazy summer fun this holiday season. The whole coverage of Xmas/New Year is the starkest possible demonstration of a middle class media utterly out of touch with the reality of life in New Zealand. It’s a farrago of Pakeha middle class wishful thinking and longing for a non-existant golden age of the 1950’s-70’s.

    Which brings me to Phoenix. For this poor women the penny has clearly not dropped. Phoenix imagines herself one day owning a pink McMansion at Omaha, BBQ’ing with that all round nice guy John Key just over the back fence. She lives in a media fuelled fantasy where she identifies herself as a member of the master’s class rather than as someone who will be much more likely to spend her Christmas Holiday working at cleaning John Key’s bach as a servant than eating with him as an equal. Brainwashed by a media that has convinced her she is something she is not, in her denial she struggles against her class interest. To get ahead Phoenix best chance lies in collective action. Hard work is not a virtue that is an end unto itself.

    The “New Zealand on holiday” fantasy of the media and the depth of desire of Phoenix to be part of that fantasy perfectly illustrates how the mythology of the “Kiwi way of life” obstructs any real and objective assessment of the reality of life for most New Zealanders over Xmas/New year 2009/10.

    Anyway, here is to 2010 and another twelve months to lay these Tory bastards low and ensure the Labour-left coalition that replaces isn’t just another pale pink “third way” administration.

    • Bill 24.1

      I’ve wondered and felt uneasy about this ‘shut down’ malarky too.

      Doesn’t happen anywhere else as far as I’m aware. You think it might have something to do with a left over colonial attitude? I mean it’s not as if the world stops, but ‘back in the day’ most important matters would have been fielded back in the ‘mother country’ anyway and trade was kind of rote and guaranteed….so, maybe government of small colonies allowed themselves the luxury of knocking off for the summer as they saw themselves as nothing much more than sub-committees.

      An infectious lazy fair of sun,sand and bull shit that belongs to a bye gone era when any inadequacy in the democratic practices of NZ would have merely amounted to a noted bye line of empire?

      This lapse in accountability…this hooray holiday for (it seems) everybody but the workers is beneficial to the unfettered operation of something though, innit?

      Or is it merely an expression of how tied up with, how shallow and empty the media are without parliament?

  23. This forensic hacking analysis of a victoria secret photo is intriguing. Once all the layers are taken off, including whitening her skin – what is left? Can we trust any visual image?


  24. randal 26

    nothing is going to happen till the mass consciousness is raised.
    while the population is excited about the world cup and having a reason to go mental then anything else is a waste of time.
    look how brash excited everybody about catching up with australia in 20205 even though that meeans surpassing france and germany.
    as long as wea re susceptible to being blinded by the rights rhetoric with no examination then we wil swallow anything.
    all this point scoring on a blog in cyber space will not get anyone anywhere unless the facts are outed and hammered home.
    this government is a con but a con that we all fall for .
    why is that?

  25. Sanctuary 27

    Oh! Oh! Pop onto facebook peeps and checkout Steve Crow’s NZX magazines newly established facebook presence.


    Have a browse through the fifty one fans and see if anyone can spot which sewer blogger and well known fearless defender of public morals is an early fan…

  26. BLiP 28

    Happy New Year to us all. Any resolutions?

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