Thursday, July 09, 2009

Not pulling on my head or heart strings

Occasionally, when watching something like Nigel Latta's Into The Darklands, or reading an Alan Duff book, it is possible to feel some sympathy for a killer. Taffy Hotene, for instance, suffered severe abuse and alienation from his family, from very young and for many years.

I have yet to experience the faintest twinge for this character. In fact the effect is inverse to the amount of past 'hardship' he parades.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

There is nothing feminine about netball nutters

This has got to be a joke;

A Palmerston North netball team that wears shorts instead of skirts is embroiled in a stoush with the sport's administrators after it was told to fall back into the feminine line.

Feminine?? Anyone with any experience of netball coaches and administrators will know they are the most bureaucratic battleaxe butch bitches about. On any scale of reasonableness they are absent. Because they stopped growing vertically but kept on going horizontally their subsequent inability to foot it with the players leads to a deep-seated inadequacy vented through raging authoritarianism. Out of control tubs of testosterone.

And the ridiculous incongruity of their insistence on addressing each other as "ladies" at all times - even little girls on the receiving end of a strident barking are "LADIES". They exhibit a fascinating and appalling combination of militarism and political feminism. Netball Nazis. Utter nutters.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Regular readers of this blog will know that in the league of blogosphere rudeness mine just doesn't rate. It is not in my nature to slam and slag people off. I don't find it therapeutic and attention seeking isn't a priority either. However I would not like to give the impression that I never speak ill of people. I do. But I confine my comments to people I know well and trust - making them, that is:-)

That, I feel, is as it should be.

If I was cleverer and quicker remarks such as the following might trip off my tongue. They would also be more than acceptable;

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial." - Irvin S. Cobb

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up." - Paul Keating

"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him." - Forrest Tucker

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go." - Oscar Wilde

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." Clarence Darrow

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend.... if you have one." - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second... if there is one." - Winston Churchill, in response.

"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here." - Stephen Bishop

Arguing the law but missing the point

Not that I agree with Rosslyn Noonan, Chief Human Rights Commissioner, but according to this news item we are already back to square one in respect of the anti-smacking law;

She says force can be used when it is reasonable to do so, such as stopping the child from hurting themselves or others.

What the 'yes' vote urgers are missing is this. Because of a combination of media reporting and the controversial debate about banning smacking, the social climate has changed. There is hysteria about child abuse abroad. This isn't dissimilar to the hysteria over sexual abuse earlier. (Sexual abuse similarly underwent a change of definition to eventually encompassing any unwanted touching.)

Many more people are reporting what they personally define as abuse or assault which the police may or may not prosecute. The reports do not need witness substantiation or evidence. If the particular police involved are inclined towards empathising with the current climate, a prosecution is more likely to occur. There have been and will be miscarriages of justice.

People cognisant of what has happened are fearful, with good reason. Worse, I don't think there is any putting this cat back in the bag.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Having kittens - literally

Remember Daisy?

She's up the duff. We first noticed something awry when she started missing her target when leaping. Then Robert, who likes to carry her around cradled in his arms, noticed her tummy getting harder. Then Sam, searching for fleas, noticed her teats changing. Now she is ballooning daily. Sam wants to do a pregnancy test but I asked her how she proposes getting the stick into a constant stream of cat pee? Much less why you would want to. If she isn't pregnant, I'm the pope.

Anyway, it's written all over her face.

Doctor shortage

The OECD has just released a comparison of health data. In many ways NZ is unremarkable. Except for this;

"New Zealand has fewer physicians per capita than most other OECD countries. In 2007, New Zealand had 2.3 practising physicians per 1,000 population, well below the OECD average of 3.1."

By my reading of the situation this is largely a result of political interference. Successive governments have made the role of general practitioner less and less attractive. And of course our general economic standing means physicians are better paid elsewhere. My husband is a health professional (not a physician) but our children have never shown the remotest inkling of interest in pursuing a career in health. With all the dire media coverage, why would they?

Discretionary welfare - the irony and the problem

Last week I commented on the turn-around the Left has made on the issue of discretion in the area of welfare benefits. Having achieved their rules-based welfare, they are now calling for eligibility rules to be bent and discretion used for top-ups.

To illustrate my claim here is a passage written by Geoffrey Palmer, then a Professor of Law at Victoria, later Labour PM and briefly PM, in 1976;

"The message is, in my view, that whatever benefits we decide to pay we should pay them as of right. We should cut down the areas of discretion. We should make the benefits available automatically where at all possible and we should eliminate the screening mechanisms which destroy the dignity of the person receiving the benefit. When the community has decided to spend as much money as New Zealand has on income maintenance the money ought to be delivered by efficient and up to date machinery which aims to serve the recipient of the benefit without making him feel like a beggar."

In 1975 there was a grand total of 54,152 working age people receiving a benefit and nearly a third were widows. The population was 3.1 million.

Today there are over 300,000 with a population of 4.3 million. The results of rules and entitlement-based welfare are clear.

My own view about discretion is that is belongs in the area of private and voluntary charity where it can be exercised rightfully by people who have raised their own money and gathered their own resources. We should have far more of this sort of assistance. The organisation I work for does not carry on providing help endlessly to people who are not making a reciprocal effort.

When it comes to the state, the use of discretion becomes more difficult. How much power should state agents have when it comes to taxpayer purse strings? Hence we should have far less state assistance.