Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Saints and Sinners

There are rare days that I'm jealous of queers. Seeing as there's nothing as queer as February 29th, may as well make it today.

Harassed and ridiculed as they are, LGBT aren't subject to arrest and imprisonment. They don't face blatant and legally permitted employment discrimination, or submit to Random Gay Testing. LGBT aren't marginalised and medicalised as an illness.

Not any more at least. Homosexuality was legalised back in 1986, and its listing as a mental illness was removed from the US dictionary of unnatural behaviours, the DSM, in 1974.

Dope fiends are criminals still. Our homes and persons are subject to search without warrant at any moment. We are arbitrarily excluded from work opportunities. Prozac, Aropax and booze habits are all good. Cannabis is bad, even if the death toll favours the former prescriptions. And if we happen to like our pastimes of weed, speed or acid, we are called addicts.

So pardon me if I don't sing the praises of visiting UN representative on Drug Addiction, Christopher Kennedy Lawford. Good on the the NZ Drug Foundation bringing him across the pond. His spot with Kim Hill showed a complex and seasoned personality. Russell Brown gave him some good rope on Media 7.

But in the end he gets thrown in the same box as the Born Again Ex-Smokers and Born-Again Christians, with all the baggage that entails. All this submission to a higher power bullcrap that Alcoholics Anonymous has in its 12 step program is no better than believing in L Ron Hubbard's cult or Islam.

If there's ever a fight between a church and a pub, I will always side with the pub. Call it harm reduction.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Would anyone care for some toast?

Seasonal fruit and vege aside, I don't generally let the calendar dictate what I eat. Lucky atheist cook that I am, every day is a possible French Toast Day. Others aren't so lucky. For example, the ritual of Pancake Day aka Shrove Tuesday was only brought to my attention by a Wellingtonista review of Cafe Panama's fried bread delights.

At least some good has come out of this strange land of Lent. The Economist has a PPP chart of pancake ingredients in selected countries:

You can see the effect of price subsidies in certain countries; Italy, Ireland, Germany, US. Eggs seem freakishly expensive in the cold countries of Norway and Switzerland. While Singapore has amazingly cheap eggs, possibly a side product of its staple diet of chicken and rice.

Any chance some econowonk could insert NZ into the mix?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Roger Brooking talks prison reform

Alcohol & Drug Counsellor and author of Flying Blind Roger Brooking spoke recently to the NORML NZ AGM. Among topics covered is New Zealand's woeful incarceration rate, and a case study which demonstrates the weird government accounting which saves $850,000 in one area (ACC) by spending $3,000,000 in another (court and prisons):

Roger Brooking on Prison Reform from Will de Cleene on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Marketing by confusion

I love food recalls. They are rare glimpses into the supply chain, a break in the fog of branding. Take, for example, this recent headline:
The affected products are 500gm packs of Mainland Salted Butter, with a best before date of 10 January 2013, and 500gm packs of Anchor Salted butter, with a best before date of 26 January 2013.
The difference between Mainland and Anchor butter is as real as the Anchor Family from the 1980's. That is, not at all. Although they seem to have differing definitions of freshness.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Faster than the speed of Hansard

Hansard is on track to be published within two and a half hours. What if Parliamentary Services considered Closed Captioning as an openly available raw edit of Hansard? This gonzo transcript is just what Mojo Mathers requires to fulfil her duties in the House.

Let alone all those thousands of Deafs who can't tune their brains to the radio. They would appreciate being in on the banter as it happens too. Delayed coverage is never the same. Surely there's room enough in Parliament's semantic universe to accommodate the fastest typists known to State Services to help close the gaps.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Trip to the Vatican / You Don't Know Jack

New Zealand's Parliamentary Services is a bit like the Vatican, in that it is a weirdly anachronistic land out of time with its surroundings. Proportional Representation might have brought NZ into the House, but the House is ruled by the Timaru Freemasons circa 1952.

For some reason, I tend to get singled out for special treatment whenever I visit Parliament. I try to avoid the place whenever possible, but yesterday I made an exception because I wanted to witness Mojo Mathers' maiden speech.

I should have stayed home.

Sure, enough, security guards were on full alert, following me after passing through the metal detector and Xray gun without so much as a blip. A guard harried and hassled us no less than three times, before we were ushered into the Grand Hall to watch the maiden speeches on TV. The Tannoy volume was set too low and the speaker set-up caused more interference than harmony, making it more than difficult for the average Deaf person to hear without straining.


Later on at Back Benches, I encountered my very first arrogant Greenie:

The Green tables booed out Wallace's introduction of NZ First MP Richard Prosser like a rude Occupy mob. So much for free speech and tolerance. But at least most of them calmed down. Not Jack. He talked the entire night. He talked through the MP's talking. He talked through the price of milk debate. He talked through the minimum wage.

The Greens got a massive jump in parliamentary funding. It would be a shame to squander it on jumped-up cunts who vandalise all the hard work that the party has done.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Forget ketamine, aka horse tranq. There are new ways being developed to placate the growing hordes of insomniacs in the world. A milk powder featuring melatonin has been developed by Canterbury's Synlait:
Tony McKenna, the general manager for market and product development, says cows produce a sleep-promoting hormone called melatonin at night and, just as with human mothers, that hormone is expressed in milk.

Dr McKenna says the company has identified a market for the product in Asia and Europe, with key consumers likely to be professional people, the elderly and international travellers.
I wouldn't be surprised if there's a side ingredient of casomorphin in the recipe too. The drug snobbery continues, even when it's not a zero sum fight. Why can't Fonterra ever consider a joint experiment in cannabutter?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Quentin Tarantino, can you hear me?

George Lucas' 2D Afro-American war picture bombed. There are doubts lingering over Django Unchained's script. Might I humbly offer a plot suggestion for Mr Tarantino?

A historian in Oz wondered why then-US Congressman Lyndon B Johnson visited Townsville for three days in 1942. He uncovered a lot of plot:
An Australian historian has uncovered hidden archive documents which reveal that African American troops used machine guns to attack their white officers in a siege on a US base in north Queensland in 1942.
Now this is a WWII African-American story that Tarantino can really sink his ultra-violent revenge fantasies into:
''After some serial abuse by two white US officers, there was several ringleaders and they decided to machine gun the tents of the white officers,'' Mr Holyoak said.
It could even be a double-header feature, with Taika Waititi directing the Battle of Manners Street, NZ's own little mutiny against loud-mouth racist Yank grunts.

Growing Up

The goNZo tricolour is at half mast today for Lloyd Morrison. It's the least I could do for the guy who tried to get this country to grow up a little and get away from Britain's apron springs.

In truth, there would be no goNZo flag without Lloyd Morrison. The idea only became reality after I got involved with the Change the Flag campaign, which in turn was largely brought into being by the imaginative Lloyd Morrison. During the Flag Referendum campaign, Lloyd would be on the streets of Wellington, same as any other activist, egging strangers and friends alike to sign up for the Citizens Initiated Referendum.

Although the referendum failed, the idea behind it lives on stronger than it ever was. Flag change and Head of State debates have entered and remain in the MSM.

Thank you, Lloyd Morrison, for believing in Wellington and New Zealand.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Anyone Can Be Anonymous

This just in from Cory Doctorow, an open sourced Guy Fawkes stencil:

Blind Spots

Silly season's over and Parliament is back in session. Right on time the government spin machine descends on the cut and paste MSM pack like a plague of bastard locusts.

Any novice bug hunter could spot Judith Collins' tracks all over the NZ Government's new War on Drugged Driving. Michelle Duff has a nice bit of propaganda to release just as the posters are rolled out:
Dreamy, clammy, drooling or overemotional – the tell-tale signs of a drugged driver have led to hundreds of people being netted since the new laws were introduced.

Figures released to The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act show 514 people appeared sufficiently out of it for police to perform a compulsory impairment test on them since the Land Transport Amendment Act was introduced in November 2009.

Dvaid Farrar Me Toos his vote like a true AOLer. He might look soft and cuddly on the outside, but within lurks the cold hard boiled lolly of vanilla conservatism:
I was a long time advocate that the Police should check drivers not just for excess alcohol, but for drugs which impair driving ability. It is good to see that the law change has produced results. Driving while stoned is a very very stupid thing to do, as responses are so slowed.

If push comes to shove, I'd rather be driven by a stoner than a drunk. Yeah sure. Ideally I'd rather have a well-rested and sober, alert driver. But we can't all get Parliamentary taxi chits or chauffeured limos to take us from the public bar to the private abode.

As a f'rinstance, say I had to hitch a lift home late one night, broke and legless. If I had an offer home by a rat-arsed drunk or a blazed stoner, I'd always choose the hippie. Who would you choose?

By far and away, the biggest drug driving problem in this country is alcohol. This PR offensive is one big smoke screen for the twin pink elephants in the room; drug snobbery and patch protection.

Lange drove tired and emotionally home like a Fat Stig. Winston Peters has been pinged once or twice, same as his sauced apprentice Michael Laws, aka the Git of Whanganui. Dyson's had her brush with the law, and I bet there's a host of other lawmaking hypocrites in the House of the Rising Glass, but I can't be arsed the hassle of defamation.

My old man made a bit of bread and butter defending drink drivers in court, and he had a bit of experience in the act itself. There's a particular incident involving a Range Rover, a vintage car and a power pole I'd rather not discuss right now. Suffice it to say there was a bit of nudge nudge wink wink at the cop shop the next day. No charges laid.

There's a hell of a lot Freemasons in the police force. Freemasonry at its core is a glorified drinking club. I've known judges to be drunk as lords. Even the prosecuting lawyer at Dakta Green's trial was a bit tipsy by the time the jury had reached their verdicts. No irony there.

Freemasons are one aspect of that great alcohol cult, Judeo-Christians. Jehovah loves his booze. Christ's blood is 12 percent alcohol. It's those heathen Muslims who like the wacky-backy. Or the niggers, wetbacks, brownies, abbos, freaks, geeks or queers.

Driving impairment of all kinds should be treated equally by the law. But leave the moral compass out of it.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Getting what you want

Morgan Godfery over at Maui Street has some wise words for activists of all stripes, not just the silly buggers up at Waitangi:
What do these protestors, and I use the term protestors in its loosest sense, expect to achieve? Actions like the above serve only to reinforce negative opinions and galvanise the public against your cause. Of course, these village idiots wouldn’t know the first thing about making gains for Maori. They know how to make a lot of mindless noise, but they don’t know what progress looks like, let alone how to achieve it. 
Politics is the art of getting what you want. You do not win an argument by pissing people off without a bloody good explanation. It's part of why the Occupy cause in NZ failed to gain more public support. It's a lesson that a few cannabis activists have yet to learn.

The great PR guru Thomas Chin of the Distillers Union once said something along the lines that you generally get better results if you befriend your target, not bedevil them. Result?
Statistics New Zealand's household expenditure survey shows Kiwis spent 7.2 per cent more on alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs in 2009-2010, compared with 2006- 2007, while our spending on transport, recreation and culture fell...

That did not stop New Zealanders from buying hard liquor, with spending on spirits up by 25 per cent. 
Another nugget of meaty goodness is Gareth Morgan talking to Chris Laidlaw, explaining why he never took up a career in politics. Pretty often, you can do a lot more public good outside the Beehive than in it, with much less collateral damage.

Mega City Auckland

You don't have to wait for Karl Urban as Judge Dredd to see a bit of 3D instant justice around these parts. David Fisher continues his gripping look at the MegaUpload saga, this week looking at the military assault on the Chrisco Mansion. Last week's episode here.

The Special Tactics Group, helicopters and a refusal to use door handles characterises the largest domestic assault team since the Ruatoki raids. If it's worth killing, it's worth overkilling, eh. Reasonable force is for commies.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

My Own Private I Dunno

Insomnia or narcolepsy; which is worse? If you're a Yank, it's narcolepsy. The US Supreme Court has just ruled that religious schools can override civil laws (in this case the Disabilities Act) and fire a teacher who developed narcolepsy. The Daily Show has more:

I presume John Banks' Charter Schools here will have their own mutant eradication solutions, probably involving a coat hanger.

Adolf was a Lutheran. Goodnight Godwin. Goodnight Yanks.