Monday, April 29, 2013

Nerd Be Busy

Speak of the neoliberal devil. Chris Trotter has written yet another neoliberal attack, this time in the guise of defending Russell Brown from a flange of gorillas.

Trotter recites from Gordon Dryden's Out of the Red, which I have fished out of the library and sits in front of me presently. There's an inscription inside:

To Trev,

A good country starts with good mates.

For the good times,

Gordon Dryden
October 1978

In the fullness of time, I'll get back to Trotter on that score. My brain is currently soaking in Jarrod Gilbert's Patched; The History of Gangs in New Zealand. It is utterly compelling reading. Between the Hunter S Thompson Hell's Angels cultural influence through to more personal experiences (e.g.), every law and order geek needs to read this book.

In the meantime, it is worth bearing in mind that TV2 was Roger Douglas' brainchild. And Norm Kirk was a homophobic, anti-abortion social conservative. Keep some proportion and perspective. No need to snowball everything.

The Shit Matrix

According to the Daily Blog, all of life's ills can be directly attributed to neo-liberalism. Since early February when the blog began, hardly a day has passed without neo-liberalism being wheeled out for a good old drubbing. In comparison, Marx has only appeared 35 times.

There is only so many ways you can arrange the words "Hate Neo Liberals" before it gets boring and repetitive:

Hate Neo Liberals
Neo Liberals Hate
Neo Hate Liberals
Liberals Hate Neo
Liberals Neo Hate
Hate Liberals Neo

Might I humbly suggest that the Daily Blog mixes things up a bit for variety. For example, anagrams of "Hate Neo Liberals" include:

Hone is Alterable
See Hairball Note
Alienable Others
Her Lot a Baseline
Ethereal Albinos
A Loneliest Rehab
A Relabel on Shite

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I'm Working at NASA on Acid

In the week that saw humanity's first interplanetary cock and balls graffito, Wired takes a look at a cosmos full of rude images. The first example is the Bird Nebula, which I wrote about here. I was heckling Sarah Palin, but the insult is easily transferable to other holier-than-thou irritants such as Colin Craig.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sun on Earth

Sweet screaming monkeys. An international band of gronks is building a proof of concept model of the Tao of the Quantum Holistic Gargle Blaster.

Let me unzip that a bit for casual readers. As regular readers will know, I've been banging on about thorium reactors for some time. Infinitely cheap electricity and no-one has to close a smelter or monopsonise anything.

They might also remember that a gronk is shorthand for Great Wonk, a good hard scientist, as opposed to those waffly soft "sciences" like economics or politics. And thirdly, the machine is called Iter, which is Latin for Tao.

Put it back together and you're looking at some mind-buggeringly big numbers, a Post-Cold War tech swap that makes today's patent wars look petty in comparison, and a cautionary note that one should always know where your towel is.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Digging in the Dirt

The past is a different country. They do things differently there. It can be an illuminating place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there. There be dragons.

It's ANZAC Day, and fresh from one blogger dodging one set of lawyer monkeys, it seems another is set up against some gorilla class action.

Russell Brown sought to revisit a controversial current affairs program from 1990 in this week's Media 3 program. A visibly frustrated Russell Brown explained during the show that several pieces were cut on legal advice, and Roger Douglas had thrown legal action at them to try and torpedo the entire program at the last moment. The blog post For the Public Good Revisited has been pulled, although nothing online is ever offline.

Which is a shame, because I was rather looking forward to a look at the events of that era. My dead old man was in the thick of it, and all I've got so far is his side of the story:
Without that guidance, Lange made a complete mess of the 1987 campaign. He offended some women dramatically on a television interview while he was on tour in the South Island. I think it was at Rangiora (It was in fact Geraldine - goNZo). In my own electorate, I had gone to considerable pains to prepare the way for Lange at the Palmerston North Teachers Training College in the morning, only to have him in the afternoon verbally abuse some student again on television over his shirt or some other trivial matter. These were two major television blues that forced the Labour Party to spend around half a million dollars on TV adverts in addition to what we expected to spend, in order to cover his misdemeanours in this regard.
What I did discover is why so many Lefties have bad blood towards my old man, and probably against me personally. The evidence is lacking but they want so hard to rage against the de Cleene.

How about we frame it thusly, in order to defuse the tensions? Just as the Tuhoe Terror defendants don't have to justify a goddamn thing to the police or the public, neither do the Dark Artists have to justify historic campaign financing now.

How much have things changed? Here's what being a minister outside of cabinet was like before reform (Book of Trev, same chapter as above):
I would rather in retrospect have been under-secretary of finance to Roger Douglas than I would have been Minister of Pies & Ice-cream in the cabinet. There were several reasons for this. The first was financial. Under the Higher Salaries Commission, Ministers and under-secretaries were paid one hundred odd dollars tax-free a day for the time they were not in Wellington. The idea was that they were doing their job elsewhere. I thought this was ridiculous but it rendered my under-secretaries' pay up with a cabinet minister. I didn't have to go down to Wellington on Monday and was paid this $100 for fishing and shooting. That later, on our own instigation, was altered and is not the position now. That was the ridiculous nature however of much of the way of fixing salaries for ministers and under-secretaries in those days.
How much has stayed the same? Well, the statute of limitations has expired on whatever corruption lies behind John Banks and his campaign financing. If you can keep the corpse buried for six months, you can never be guilty.

How about we work on current affairs like that instead of picking over really old bones? Unless someone has a bone to pick, that is.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thought of the Day - Stoned by Monkeys Edition

If there's one thing dumber than picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel and paper by the drum, it is picking an argument with an infinite number of monkeys on keyboards.

In other news, Colin Craig has withdrawn his defamation suit against national treasure The Civilian.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Colin Craig; dick, cunt or arsehole?

Messianic millionaire Colin Craig has sicced the lawyers on national treasure The Civilian. The deeper story is difficult to tell, seeing how all the juicy bits end in dead links. Oops. Now the entire site is down.

Now would be a good time to consider where Colin Craig fits into the Team America schema of dick, cunt or arsehole. Colin Craig seems to be an exception to the rule. Going on form, I'd say he's more of an overly-sensitive pudendum.

Parasites Lost

Always treat a journalist as if they were loaded. That's the hard lesson that Gareth Hughes has hopefully learned after this attempt at post-modern interviewing:

What started as a bit of impish sledging from Tag Team Farrar and Whale, has got even Idiot/Savant biting at the bait. Possibly because Hughes seemed so flippant about such contentious issues. Welcome to the war.

As any Politics 101 student can tell you, journalists and politicians are symbiotic parasites. One cannot live without their tentacles in the other sucker's guts. Little wonder then the natives got restless when John Armstrong went pestilential on bloggers late last year:

Shamelessly nicked from The Paepae, because Facebook's Timeline has a memory hole.
Sure, bloggers exist to make journalists look good, as well as provide uncredited material for MSM hacks short of a lede. We don't mind being the media's bottom bitch, but a bit of recognition now and again wouldn't hurt either.

What the Politics 101 student probably couldn't tell you, is how important and fateful one TV interview was, mainly because it happened long before they were born.

Tonight - Robert Muldoon interview

Simon Walker's evisceration of Muldoon made politicians' sphincters around the country contract so fast, the resulting sound was mistaken for thunder. TV had not only killed the radio star, it had murdered the supremacy of the prime minister's word. The leader no longer controlled everything. What would the littler Napoleans do?

They wised up and got media advisors, press secretaries, Public Relations spinners, hairdressers, make-up, washed-up actors and creative directors to adapt their shill to the new theatre in town. My old man was very proud of the fact that he refused all these prophylactic professionals and preferred to keep it simple by knowing what he was talking about. He understood the issues to a granular level.

Not much chance of general knowledge, let alone genuine insight, in the House these days. Just a choice of Blue Bull, Red Bull, Green Bull, Black Bull, Brown Bull, Shitting Bull or Purple Haze.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Nuke Me Slowly

Art by the Great Kev O'Neill

As has been noted elsewhere in popular culture, it is better to be born a rich cripple than a poor one. My lucky draw didn't result so much in prosthetics, and the speech therapy was state funded, but my advantage came from books.

The old man's library was my treasure. There was everything a precocious Deaf kid could want, including many books that have been banned or burned in other parts of the world. Consequently, I have always found censorship more ridiculous than the Easter Bunny.

So it was with some surprise to discover today that Manga is a crimeFarrar is squeamish, so I recommend him not to watch such Manga classics as Urotsukidōji, which is widely available and has more tentacle sex than a tankful of octopuses on octopus Viagra.

First they came for the Hentai. Surely, it's only a matter of time before Internal Affairs will come banging on my door for my stash of Marshall Law comics. Nuke Me Slowly indeed.

Words by the Great Pat Mills

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mistaking the Map for the Territory

The Real Steve Gray, who is way more popular than me, has taken offence at today's NZ Herald cartoon, the one where Emmerson's got Wall, Hague and co. raising the big gay flag like the famous Iwo Jima war porn.

Although the Iwo Jima pole-dance wasn't staged, as I noted in the comments section, it certainly wasn't the first flag raised as the myth take goes. Colonel Johnson wasn't happy with the size of his flag at the Iwo Jima landing, and sent men up a mountain with a much bigger flag. Not all of them lived.

In NZ-speak, teh gays took Tongariro in 1986, by far and away the old, largest and most necessary territory. In 2002, they planted a flag on Ngauruhoe, the youngest cone. Now, they have reached no greater height. It's the big Ruapehu.

But if you still don't dig it, let's kill the metaphors and go with a story.

The proudest moment of my time collecting signatures for the Change the Flag referendum was the day I convinced a member of the old Maori Battalion to sign for a new flag.

First, I told him that both my papas had fought in the World Wars. As I understood these men, they weren't fighting for Blighty or Empire. They were fighting for their families, their land, their way of life.

The flag they fought under was a symbol of the land and people, not the other way around. People are more important than flags, and their symbols should have meaning for them. Symbolism without meaning is mere pomp, and we are not bloody Brits here, mate.

The Myth of Fingerprints

These truly are days of miracle and wonder. Sitting here on the dunes of Kapiti watching an astronaut perform Zero G physics experiments submitted from high school students:

I didn't expect that to happen. But of course it does, thanks to surface tension and the very hungry capillary action of palm canals, or fingerprints. Yep, those singular hand dunes formed in utero by amniotic waves spilling over the cells all those years ago are chaotic marvels.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

One Trick Pony

A mate of mine's a socialist, which ensures that we never run out of things to talk about. Some time ago, before Hugo Chavez carked it, he sang the praises of the Chavez nationalisation plan.

Seizing private property (however dubiously it might have been acquired) and redistributing it to serve a populist cause is a one trick pony, I told him. Chavez won't be able to dupe another Megacorp to do all the hard yards just so he can walk away with the rewards.

Business investment and confidence pretty much goes out the window as well, leaving the nation state isolated from investment like a modern day Sakoku policy. So, if you're going to commit to such a policy, you'd better have a phenomenally amazing game plan, because you won't be able to pull another stunt like that for a while.

I doubt that Labour and Greens have a phenomenally amazing game plan. More likely, Shearer has been wrestled into throwing the hard Left another bone. There are a number of ways to go about easing price pressures on the residential electricity market. Nationalising the power companies is not one of them.

Nutty, nutty stuff indeed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spooky Action For Sale

Undercover Police at a Nelson Cannabis Protest

I am still trying to wrap my brain around the continuing GCSB illegal spy ring, as well as John Key's mind-mongingly incredible statements on reform. Local Bodies and Dim Post have covered much of the shaky ground, but I still have a few points in mind that haven't been addressed.

Sloppy paperwork at the GCSB as described in the Kitteridge Report means that there's a lot of possibly illegal activity that has been overlooked simply because no record of it exists. The intelligence services have a serious legitimacy problem.

GCSB worked in good faith with police with warrants. As the Tuhoe Terror Raids demonstrated, these warrants were issued by judges and JPs more like fishing licences that would be later tested in court for proportionality and admissability. The spooks might need some quality control there.

Were the police the only government sector getting grass from the NZSIS and/or GCSB? Was there any time, for instance, when the Serious Fraud Office used warrants to inspect Cook Islands financial transactions or gather evidence against HSBC for corrupt banking practices? I bet not. Some collars are whiter than others.

It is getting lemon difficult to tell the state defence actors from Intellectual Property trolls. Can't the IP pimps hire their own damn security?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Art of Noise

Sandfly Blog has an interactive montage of the NZ blogosphere's front pages, as ranked by Open Parachute's Monthly Meter Readings. It would be great to get an update of it once a month, and then animate it. Possibly with this soundtrack:

Friday, April 12, 2013

Female Officers, Nurses to be Offered Testosterone Injections

Women working in the Police, Fire Service, Armed Forces and public hospitals will be offered free testosterone injections from the beginning of July.

Welfare Minister Paula Bennett and Police Minister Anne Tolley joined Defence Minster Jonathan Coleman at a joint press conference this afternoon, where they announced the new policy in a bid to defuse the issue of workplace bullying and harden the chicks up.

"Paula and Anne have been pissing in my ear all year about the lack of culture change within the public services," said Jonathan Coleman.

"After consultation with the police, fire service and doctors union spokesmen, as well as the heads of the armed forces, we can find no evidence of sexual harassment, bullying or intimidation. These brave, fearless women are clearly just hysterical and need to take a chill pill," said Mr Coleman.

"Failing that, the May Budget will approve a new $1 million initiative to offer free testosterone injections to all women working as sworn police officers, those serving in the armed forces, volunteer fire women, and public sector nurses."

The press conference began with former Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten opening the gig with his "Shut up and let the man finish" routine.

Ms. Bennett and Tolley did not speak during the press conference, but sat behind Mr Coleman's raised podium with wet eyes and occasional sobs, which were silenced by dark stares from Mr. Coleman.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Accion Mutante

Nicked from here. Note to SIS; this is, like, a simile. Peace out, dudes.

According to the Flynn Effect, today's dumbest NCEA drop-out is still smarter than the guy who set Deaf Education policy in New Zealand for nearly a century.

Gerrit van Asch was appointed the first principal of New Zealand's first Deaf school, now known as Sumner School for the Deaf, back in 1880. His vociferous belief in the oral system being superior to the sign system impressed men like Vogel, who ignored people such as the eminently qualified sign teacher Miss Mitchell, who also applied for the principal's job.

A student of van Asch once complained to him that he couldn't lip-read him because of his thick beard.  That pupil was caned.

This orthodoxy bordering on dogma wasn't challenged until Sefton Bartlett's posting as principal to Kelston Deaf School in 1974. Along with many Deaf activists, it was Bartlett who helped persuade the Department of Education that lipreading is not the be all and end all of Deaf Education, and the policy of Total Communication was established (Whatever Works, in laypersons' speak).

There's still along way to go for Deaf Education in these small narrow islands, as Emma Hart's latest post demonstrates. I reckon the disabled should form a union and take on these Norms.

Accion Mutante!

Which part of the word 'prime' does the minister not understand?

If they ever make a movie out of this GCSB saga, I reckon Geoffrey Rush would make a good Wolfensohn.

OK, this is going to be the last post where I'll take the piss out of this old overclocked spymaster, but there had to be some interesting way to open yet another post on this whole enchilada.

I'm wary that you, dear readers, might be tiring of the monomaniacal subject repetition about cloak and daggers, smoke and mirrors, and more lies than an Erebus Inquiry. Hence the alternation between satire and serious posts.

The Kitteridge report has been mysteriously leaked. Papers like that aren't usually left lying around on street corners, and the Sutch toilet on Aro St isn't so much as a pot to piss in these days.

The report has been dug through by better hounds than me. The department seems to function (or rather, dysfunction) in a parallel universe where Rod Deane hadn't taken a chainsaw to the Public Service Manual back in the 1980's.

The smell of the security services mentioned within pinged an old memory of the time I went to Government House for a job interview. This was well before the extravagant refit. It looked like a 1960's Bond set, clunky phones and all. Or was it Callan? (I didn't get the job.)

Wolfensohn seems to have acted as Jack-of-all-trades for the GCSB over a period of many years, covering every job description from legal advisor and office manager, through to spymaster, tea lady and, most recently, scapegoat. If he's the spook lawyering up, it would certainly make Thatcher's Spycatcher saga look like a doddle.

It has been illuminating to see so many timelines in the media, one of the more tactfully used being John Campbell's respectful cross-examination of State Sevices Commissioner Iain Rennie.

It appears that the GCSB was leaderless at the time of the Dotcom raid. Chains of command don't work that way. Not the ones I know about, anyway. Leadership always falls upwards.

Which ever way you look at it, the buck ultimately stops with John Key. It may be time for Monkey to come down off his cloud.

National to rebrand GCSB, reintroduce death penalty

The National government's plans to reform the spy network have been leaked a week prior to public release. Among the many reforms included in the document are a renaming of the Government Communications Security Bureau, and the introduction of the death penalty for treason and whistleblowing.

The file purports to outline a complete restructuring of the surveillance services, whereby the GCSB, SIS and parts of the police force are merged into a new ministry called the National Kiwi Voyeur Division, or NKVD.

"The NKVD will be a one-stop shop for any official seeking personal details about anyone in New Zealand, including former wives, prospective girlfriends or just checking to see what people are borrowing from a library," the report says.

According to the report, which was printed in lemon juice and had to be read over a toaster, the merger is expected to reap some cost savings.

"Compliance costs will be significantly lowered once our databases are subsumed and fully integrated into the Echelon network of satellites, drones, Homeland Security checkpoints and agent provocateurs."

The report alleges a new oath will be sworn by security personnel, pledging allegiance to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Failure to uphold the oath may result in private rendition or public capital trial, albeit in closed court for national security reasons.

"Media reports of illegal spying and incompetent oversight is bad for morale, and off-message compared with more uplifting stories that the Defence Force Public Relations Construction Team feed to our people in the media. Poor morale can lead to leaks, and every means necessary must be taken to prevent these traitors from upsetting the order of things, not to mention the civilians."

Prime Minister John Key is currently in China, and was unavailable for comment as he is visiting a Chengdu industrial mega-park and it is too noisy to hear or answer questions on the factory floor.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Who Defends New Zealand from the People Who Defend New Zealand?

1979 might have been a landmark year for international political relations, but I find 1977 much more interesting for domestic reasons.

God Defend New Zealand became the official national anthem, alongside God Save the Queen. The week after Star Wars was released in theatres, the Misuse of Drugs Act (1975) came into force. Sleeping Dogs hit NZ theatres and sensibilities while Muldoon expanded the SIS, as well as creating what would become the STG, as this delightfully soundtracked potted history clip shows. The GCSB also became fully armed and operational.

It didn't stop there, of course. The Fourth Labour government created their own awful precedents in the 1980's; using Defence Force materiel to conduct police operations by way of cannabis crop raids; installing the Waihopai Valley listening post, one of the costs of a nuclear-free policy.

The lines have become so blurred between the powers of government that they no longer hold each other in check, but have ganged up together, police shoulder to shoulder with the military. meantime, each successive Defence Minister became more clueless than the last, from Frank O'Flynn down to Jonathan Coleman.

Helen Clark attempted to rein in this unaccountable power bloc, as Nicky Hager's book Other Peoples Wars makes plain. She ended up making things worse. Clark ended up giving them a flash new Defence building instead, Castle Wolfensohn.

What started out as formalising legislation of the GCSB in 2003, thereby making it accountable in law for the first time, ended up with Key having the law saying he can appoint a horse for head of the GCSB if he wanted.

Key's government is so in thrall to this seemingly-elegant solution of executive and legislative muscle combined, that they are changing maritime laws to allow the Defence Forces to prevent political protest that would be acceptable on land.

David Farrar and others insist that the Kitteridge report will shed light on Key's evasive tactics, justifying why Ian Fletcher was parachuted into GCSB HQ. I'm more in agreement with Geoffrey Palmer (link here soon), who suggests in this NatRad interview this morning that the whole purpose of military intelligence needs reviewing.

But I'd go further. Sweeping reform in the Defence Forces and Police is paramount. They seem to have completely forgotten who they serve.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Our Man in the Loop

New Zealand's top spy agency has sent an official complaint to the makers of a British film, alleging inaccurate portrayal of historical events.

The New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau seeks redress for the mis-representation of its current head spy in the 2009 UK film In the Loop.

In the Loop was a satirical UK film focusing on the lead-up to the Second Iraq War, starring James Gandolfini and David Rasche. The story portrays British bureaucrats colluding with US interests to fabricate evidence to justify the invasion.

The GCSB allege that the role of Toby Wright, played by Chris Addison in the film, was in real life New Zealander and current spy chief Ian Fletcher.

The GCSB's letter has been leaked. Some out of context quotes: 
"We hereby request an unconditional apology from your production company, and director Armando Ianucci must re-shoot the relevant scenes replacing Chris Addison with Karl Urban. Toby or not Toby, that is the question."

"We take this breach of historical Intellectual Property very seriously. Give us what we request or there will be consequences. Some of our people went to Cambridge University, you know." 
In the Loop director Armando Ianucci has yet to respond to the allegations, and is still in consultation with his legal advisors.

Military and security commentator Dr. John Buchan says that these are classic Good Spook, Bad Spook standover tactics.

"The first half of the letter is rational and carries a reasonable argument, but the second half resorts to veiled menaces more reminiscent of a Star Chamber. It really shows how far the GCSB has moved away from SIG-INT," Dr. Buchan said.

"The GCSB is not alone in this trend. Since 9/11, the CIA and MI6 have also become less ears in the field and more Praetorian Guard."

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Journal of Record

I'm really digging the Weekender Edition of Bryce Edwards' Politics Daily. Friday's edition was a 869 page digest of what happened this week, including many items of interest that flew over my head earlier in the week like a Vogon Constructor fleet.

# When whistleblowers get lost in government IT. Not content with losing my emails, or stuffing up EQC, ACC, etc., Internal Affairs loses evidence of massive pokie fraud before finding it again, after considerable prodding by the guy with his neck sticking out. The Great Rugby Racing Beer Swindle continues.

# The Whingeing Pom in Pram has evidently won his kind of justice, by having local council correspondence to him omit the macron above the a in Kapiti. It's mad stuff like this that makes me lean towards Option A for Wellington amalgamation. Like latter day juries, local councils and community boards are refuges for control freaks and moralistic wowsers, not a true reflection of the community at large.

# It could be worse. It could be Palmy. The city council there is looking at banning smoking in public places. That is, when it is not trying to gag one of its councillors for making stupid racist comments. As always, I advise people not to tell me to stop smoking, as Tuckering may offend.

# The lost continent of Zealandia always seemed more myth than history to me (Landmarks seemed so authoritative on the subject). Not any more, after the latest conflagration of earth scientists in Dunedin presented their papers. Contrary to one old scientific opinion, NZ's flora and fauna was not shat out of a seagull.

You can subscribe to the NZ Political Digest by emailing Bryce Edwards here.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Escape from Castle Wolfensohn

Pook Farm Software is pleased to announce the release of Escape from Castle Wolfensohn this coming Monday, 8th April.

Escape from Castle Wolfensohn is a First Person Shooter set in present-day New Zealand, where you play the character of Private Sector Contractor John Key, who has inexplicably found himself trapped in GCSB Headquarters (Castle Wolfensohn).

Key must escape the labyrinth intact, avoiding a range of enemies set to destroy him. Although he has a team of Blue Meanies at his side, mortal challenges are presented everywhere, from harmless Shearers - who attack with wet blankets - through to Journos - don't get caught on their recorders! - up to end of level bosses such as the indestructible Ombudsmen.

John Key has a range of weapons to choose from, both innate and available through power-ups. The game begins with Key armed only with a silver tongue and Brainfading, the power to jump between random cul de sacs. The map is littered with quagmires and other natural hazards, and CCTVs must be hacked to prevent them giving away your position to the public.

The Collins Wrench proves more useful in close quarters combat. There's also the English Musket, which spits tax; the Ryall Rail Gun, which not only dessicates its opposition but blinds it with its recoil as well; right up to the Rocket Propelled Joyce Launcher which, while devastating with a direct hit, has a fickle guidance system that can lead to overheating and explosion.

Ammunition is scarce, so conserve it. Most of the time, the best tactic is to run and dodge your pursuers. Brainfading uses mana, and its best to conserve its use too. If you run out of mana, you may have to resort to blowing up a constitutional partition to get out of a sticky situation, and that can make the Quake engine spring even more traps in the castle or worse, bring it down upon your head and end the game.

Please register your interest in this vaporware by winking once into your webcam.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Koru Lounge Justice Squad

Justice is bifurcating into cattle class rack 'em and stack 'em kangaroo courts and Koru Lounge Justice for those with the cash or connections. Three points of order:

1. Robert Lithgow QC does not hold back on former Justice Minister Simon Power in this caustic look at Legal Aid and Crown Law reforms, and this government's propensity to go shopping for Yes Men instead of seeking to defend the public good. Lithgow concludes that Simon Power did to Justice what he also did to Solid Energy. Ouch.

2. Chris Trotter makes a point that has long nagged at me; that we have the first martial Governor General in over 50 years. Prior to his move from the GCSB to Government House, Mateparae had topped the Republican Movement poll for preferred G-G. Be careful what you wish for, eh.

3. Remember last week's moral panic about 13 year old hookers getting pimped by their families on the streets of South Auckland? It was complete bullshit.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Revenge of the Nerds; NZ Edition

Feisty mother rucker Deborah Hill Cone puts the boot into children forced into contact team sports. It sits nicely apposite last week's story of a big boy who wasn't allowed to play rugby with kids not his size (although it seems quite trite next to the story of slavery and stargazing by Jeff Tallon).

I'm standing by with a shovel for that inevitable moment where the rugby myth finally carks it and we can bury it in the graveyard of bad ideas. Reckon it'll be a match-fixing scandal that strikes the fatal blow.

In the meantime, we'll just have to wait patiently. Maybe read the SPARC report that shows how lacklustre and hollow the sport has become. Less than six percent of the population played rugby at least once a year (2007/8). Rugby doesn't even make the top 20 NZ recreational pursuits (it's 21st).

Grow up, NZ. Get rid of those Foreskin's Cement concrete boots and lighten up.

Conservation Minister rebrands DoC to MoC

Conservation Minister Nick Smith today announced that the Department of Conservation is to be rebranded as the Ministry of Conversation.

"We anticipate that this move will align more closely with NZ Tourism's 100% Pure slogan and MoBIE's mission statement of I'd Sell That for a Dollar," said Nick Smith.

"Consultant reports already show synergies arising from crossover marketing, such as 'Don't leave town til you've seen the sponsored content' and 'Frack the Waitomo Caves'."

The minister was upfront about the need for the rebrand. "It's about doing more with less, and talk is cheap."

The rebrand is part of restructuring that has seen job losses in the sector. Staff numbers are expected to plunge further at MoC, as more services are transferred to a call centre in the UK, which is already contracted for the Crimestoppers line.

The Public Services Union has raised concerns about the new uniform, which features corporate logos prominently on the smock and paper hat. There is also disquiet at the term MoCkers, a derogatory term similar to Scab, already circulating to describe the remaining team members.