Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Leaves of Grass

Yeah, this blogging thing requires diligence doesn't it. Yeah. I'd say I've been busy, but I blame the cold sapping the nous that I usually show in writing down some silly thoughts. I'll get better. I promise.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

The Mighty Mighty Boss Tone

Mayor Laws was off the topic of Samoan families in South Auckland today, and there was a collective sigh of relief, from not only myself, but his listeners too. (There wasn't.) Today's topic was childhood obesity, Government intervention, and what you can do.

Mayor Laws actually liked the idea that the Government was banning the sale of unhealthy foods in school canteens, likening the whining of teachers to something you wouldn't expect unless they'd had a 10% pay-cut. A little harsh methinks, but no-one else did.

Anyway, the general consensus was that there are many causes for these fat little tykes, most of the lazy parents who just don't know how to cook. Not that many answers were proffered to address the issue. The one Miguel liked the most was a fat tax. Like cigarettes. Like liquor. Kind of like drink-driving. You know, two-pronged approach. Education and regulation. Carrot and stick. A voice of reason in the face of those barking mad libertarians who think that because they can make an informed choice on everything they do (they lead blameless lives), everyone else can too.

Tax the fat people. It will only make them skinny.

The Wonerful Wizard of Oz

Mr. Holmes has found his wizard, and all he wants is a brain. Lucky for him, and us, Gareth Morgan, economist, is available to us in short snappy bites. With a wilted wisp as well. The name of the game is bag the Governor, and our Guv is right up there right now. He takes with one hand and gives with the other. Who else could I be talking about but the poor Dr. Bollard.

Who would really want to run the Reserve Bank? Really. Thankless job, and all you can do is irritate people with your hawkish statements and throttle on interest rates.

Anyway, as you and I well know, Dr. Bollard has intervened in the currency markets. What he did is your guess as well as mine. (I think it goes along the lines of selling New Zealand dollars to increase its supply available, and, according to the law of supply and demand, lowering its value. The market does dictate after all.) Anyway, Mr. Morgan, that nice chap who likes to get heard by the herd, gave him impression of the move, and decided it was all a big risk that wasn't going to pay off. What Dr. Bollard really has to do is lower interest rates via the OCR, and all will be righted in this turbulent land. Lucky for him, he has a sycophant in Mr. Holmes. Who wuddha thunk it? (Oh yeah, so you're meant to love every word he says too. Remember, it was his progeny that gave us TradeMe, so he can't be all bad.)

Monday, 11 June 2007

Your breaking entertainment news stories, for your pleasure

The thing on everyone's lips today has been that that overbearing government of ours is forcing our educators to stop selling fatty foods in their tuck shops. Worse still, they're going to force these administrative guidelines through in a year's time. A whole year. How dear they?!?

I hope I have the appropriate amount of indignation. Surely the government has no role in trying to stop our children from becoming morbidly obese. And as that nice woman Katherine Rich points out, it's only making another layer of bureaucracy to destroy our schools. What next indeed? Next they might start asking for a return on their investment. (Actually, that might be a good idea. Problems in education run deeper than anyone's willing to accept.) Damn that liberal media. And damn the man.

The Outsiders

Well, the kids on bFM are always fun to listen to. I suppose I'm young enough to be part of their demographic. Shame I'm in Wellington. Good that we have the magical interweb.

For the students of Auckland University, the most important thing was the Press Council's condemnation of journo Deborah Coddington in respect to her article in North and South. Go here and here, or even just here if you want the good ol' liberal approach to the story. Obviously, Ms. Coddington's former status as an ACT Party MP doesn't stand her in good stead as she chatted to Jose Barbosa. It's always fun listening to people get indignant when their integrity is questioned.

And as the ideological 20-something that you are, listening away to podcasts of bFM, you loved every second of it. Not that anyone else cares. When you think about it. Even those of us who have suffered from Deb's columns, sound-bites, and rantings with Larry Williams, have to admit that the Press Council is a fairly toothless organisation. I don't know, maybe you're a fourth-year student and are thinking about your future, and have maybe thought that being a conservative isn't that bad, because, hell, you know, it's a material world and all of that.
Anyway, kids like us say money's bad (because we don't have it), so remember Deb's just avoiding paying her bill, and accepting she was wrong to unfairly criticise Asian crime.

(To be honest, while Deb's interview was somewhat intriguing for someone like m'self who enjoys self-flagellation, the rest of the issue bores me sick. Deb made some valid points about the use of emotive language in feature articles, and, much as I hate to admit it, she is a reasonably good journo who tends to do her homework. At least she's not one of the journo school clones that seem to be polluting our airways these days. Those kids struggle to string a sentence together, and man, they can't pull off broadcast segment without sounding like a kid from the sticks putting on a bad impression of Warwick Burke. Sorry guys. The story just wasn't worth the effort. Hate speech is hate speech is hate speech is hate speech is not some article in North and South by Deborah Coddington. Not that anything interesting's happening today. Sorry about inconsistent ramble. Won't happen again today.)

Update: Yeah, big story. Go to scoop, scroll down, and compare the Editor's Picks with the Sitewide Most Read stories. First versus third.

How loonies get the vote

Well, Monsieur Laws is not too impressed with the hijacking that took place on his show today. You, the people, have decided not to really address the immigration question that he wanted to know about. Damn those Asians, and damn those Poms. All they do is cause crime and go back to their country, respectively of course.

Instead, you the people wanted to talk about mental illness. You've decided to complain about how easy it is to get an invalids benefit. You've decided to complain about how there is a lack of understanding of mental illness. And Miguel has decided to sit on the fence, with too many people diagnosed with mental illness, and not enough real cases of mental illness being recognised.

It's this kind of schizophrenic response that prove we've got a real problem with 32,000 mentally unwell people in the country. (I know I've misused the word schizophrenic. It just doesn't seem appropriate to put [sic] next to it. Sorry, my bad.)

So remember, everything's wrong in the case of mental illness. There are no right answers. What we really think is that the mounting billions being plunged into healthcare are not being properly utilised. I'm sure we can infer that it's all a cause of the burgeoning bureaucracy. And dammit, things like quality spending on mental health just isn't occurring.
Oh, and we should probably sterilise those people with mental illness because we know it's hereditary. Thank you Miguel. Always a pleasure doing business with you. And a lot of people just think they have mental health problems when they really can't handle the stress of everyday life. (I'm not too sure about that one. It isn't often that Michael quotes anyone in a "namby pamby organisation like the Mental Health Foundation", but he has on this occasion, without using my quotation marks. Crazy.)


Dis Capital

Bizarre Monday morning. Staffing has boosted, so now I find it harder to get a wider group of shows to listen to. 'Tis a mixed blessing, as I can't really play the shows on a faster speed. The likes of Paul Holmes, John Banks, Leighton Smith, Michael Laws, hell, all of them really, are much easier to listen to when you don't have the time to have their words sink in.

On the flipside, I can try and give you stuff that's slightly more up to date. Go figure.

Sunday, 10 June 2007

The late Mr. McBeth

Yeah, kind of couldn't be bothered writing up more of the same on Thursday and Friday. Don't worry, it'll change. A handful of people actually read this stuff. And here I was thinking I was just inflating my own ego and shooting letters off into the void.

Anyway, Leighton wanted less state, more market (read money in his hands), and a return to the normal (read 1950s nuclear family dominated by a patricarchal oppressor).

Holmesie wanted, well, he wanted, well, he didn't really know what he wanted. Maybe a juicy story. Maybe a return to TVNZ, maybe a decent replacement for him on TVNZ. Maybe an end to this PC nonsense. Maybe he really wants the America's Cup. Maybe his precious To be honest, I (and by association, you) was not paying much attention.

Miguel Laws was on a rant. He really does not like us liberal PC types who have (and this is in his Sunday Star-Times column) a covert racism against Islanders. We're patronising you see. Pepole in the loweset socio-economic brackets don't want help. Nor do they want to be condescended to. They want a straight-talking reactionary conservative telling them that they should either fill in the underclass and do the jobs we (meaning us white people (really, us white middle-aged male people who never should have given the vote to anyone else)) don't want to do. This was on the Muliaga thing, of which I will say no further. Until later on that is.

I can't remember too much else. My mind often purges itself of the banalities that confront it every day, but rest assured, I will improve. Tomorrow. I'll do it tomorrow, for tomorrow is another day.

Oh, and listen to Marcus Lush. Please. I hate the thought that he rates comparably with John Banks (and RadioLive does). He is well worth it, even if it's just for Roger Whittaker's stirring rendtion of New World in the Morning.

A day in the life of...

Get all of your breaking entertainment news HERE! Or flick to channel 11 on Sky. Or open any major daily to the international section. Maybe just watch Fox for a little.

Ignore the G-8 Summit. Forget about the state of the economy. Nothing much is happening.
Except for the fact that Paris Hilton's going back to jail to serve her entire 45 sentence of breaching the parole conditions of her reckless driving conviction.

Yeah sure, it's all a little sad that a princess has to spend some time in a correctional facility, but the convergence of helicopters on the Hilton estate only goes to show how far evolution has subsided. Alas my friends, the ape must surely be upon us.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

A Literary Man of Letters

Joe Bennett, what happened? You used to be a pillar of literary integrity, with your regular slot on Book Time Zone of MoonTV fame, leading to the world of words, but, alas, your current column in the DomPost shows you know not who Hank is. Alas.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, Joe's latest column in the Dom showed his ignorance in all things Bukowski. I'm not saying that's incredibly uncommon, but Mr. Bennett is usually a literate chap, who should no better. Thankfully, the column isn't on Stuff yet, so I won't have to give a link and cause you to lament like me.

For the record, Charles Bukowski is a fine, fine poet, and, really, more poetry should follow his nihilistic lead than that of the self-indulgence of the Beats and subsequent poetry slammers. I suggest all of you go out and at the very least find Barfly, the Mickey Rourke movie of a typical period in Bukowski's life.

And Joe, please hurry up and read one of his novels. It's well worth it.

Hermes is a better name

Mercury Energy, the gift that keeps on giving. By now, you will all know that Folole Muliaga's funeral was held today, and our PM made an appearance, paying tribute to the family for daring to forgive. Not something done too regularly in New Zealand. Well the media continued, well and truly, to dig deep in this story. There are still things to come out, and it is with baited breath that we wait.

Paul Holmes continued his stream of consciousness on the issue, tapping the spirit that is NewstalkZB's political editor, Barry Soper, to update the issue. Barry's a good Labour man, so obviously Helen was looking after the issue well (he is loathe to condemn her), and he gave us a quick rundown of how the Government plans to stop their heartless SOEs from squeezing the bejeezus out of us. I actually thought Fran O'Sullivan's column on the issue (thank you Mr. Farrar) summed up the dichotomy of trying to run an efficient business while being socially responsible fairly well (it surprised me too). Next up the gnome on the hill had Shane Jones and Katherine Rich punch out their predictable party lines. Nothing new for the punters to read there.

Leighton (and the thought does make me a little ill) held his line that there were a number of factors in the death of Folole Muliaga, although he did have the tact not to criticise her obesity in light of the fact that her funeral was held today. Credit's always given when it's due. The Government, of course, was making the wrong decision in regulating. Why can't they just privatise everything and be done with it. The market is a much better decider than any kind of socially responsible collective. Oh, and local government's no better with the ratcheting of water rates, and rates in general. Just in case you couldn't figure that one out.

Willie and JT over on RadioLive roused their usual rabble. JT managed to get the first half hour by himself, as Willie was at the funeral, and managed to dish out a salient ramble on how Ms. Clark had no other choice under the current realpolitik but appear and speak at the funeral, but man it's sad that she has to do so. Willie, when he finally stormed in, roundly condemned JT and his sycophantic callers, all heartless bastards the lot of them, before standing up and saying Helen really does care for us all. And she's doing good things for his underprivileged Samoan brothers. Bit of a headtrip listening to the Brown Brothers. One works for the evil forces of the Right, the other for the extreme forces of the Left. What's a simple media monitor to do?

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

All Quiet on the Western Front

I know it's hard to believe, but friends, the Cold War is resuming. For all of you too young to remember it (and I can only remember the last six or seven years), the Iron Curtain gave us all the stability of mutually assured destruction. Good ol' Radio New Zealand wants all to recall the glory years when you were better dead than red.

With any luck, next year will see the revival of the dancing cossacks. Glory days.

Ain't no such thing as a Lush anymore

All you need to do on RadioLive in the mornings is sit back and enjoy. Marcus dabbled with the serious story of the droughts in Central Hawke's Bay, and spoke to a mighty fine chap, who really spoke so well, he should be running for Parliament.

The big one, though, was the viagra-infused oysters of Scotsman George May. Bloody brilliant idea. Worth billions he reckons. Especially if he can get some Bluff oyster farmers on-side.

Nothing like an hour of Marcus to make things right in the world. Remember his sincerity is sincere, and he wants you, to have a fantastic day.

Gone in 60 Seconds

Well, Leighton, marvellous Leighton, decided that the topic of the day was reports that Junior Bailey Kurariki was getting bailed next month. This was pure hearsay based on an overnight talkback caller claiming to be Bailey's uncle. (You remember Bailey don't you? The child killer. Or is it killer child? I forget.) Anyway, this was all kicked off by a story on 60 Minutes that had Bailey's mother adopting a three-year-old child (a nephew according to all accounts). Outrage abounded on the wireless. Absolute mayhem. Where was CYF? Where were the police? What were the courts doing? It's all the Government's fault. Everything would be better if we just had less government, and more of our money.

I hope you can handle it, True Believers. I only had an hour, but my vitriol levels were nearing redneck capacity.

The little guy's still standing

The long weekend meant I didn't have to man the station for three whole days, and while I do like to have a good read of the papers on the weekend, I try not to delve into the media too much. Everyone needs a break every now and then.

The Muliaga case continued to drag on. And on. And on.

The papers (The Dominion Post and the Sunday Star-Times (yes, I'm a Fairfax ho)) lapped up the coverage of Mighty River's mighty powers acting fairly humbly in going to the Muliaga family to take back all those hurtful things they had said. You, too, got to have a feeling of superiority over those nasty electricos that everyone loves to hate.

In his interview with the Prime Minister, John Dunne, down in Christchurch, continued to defend his view that no-one could really have a strong opinion either way, and it was too soon to lay the blame. Ms. Clark wasn't so sure, and Mr. Dunne was roundly treated to a stern telling off. I suppose, given his audience (apologies, but Christchurch has a seedy underbelly) the listener was supposed to lap up his defiance in the face of our nation's supreme being, but being Wellingtoncentric, I couldn't help but laugh at his little tirade against the Man.

Phil Wallington on National Radio's Nine 'til Noon, a slot which everyone should listen, wasn't too unhappy with the media's coverage of the story, but he was disappointed (along with you dear listener) that the media didn't ask the right questions. He did approve of the all-round disappointment shown at the power guy's actions, and (with glee I write) he was disgusted, like Radio NZ's listeners, at the condemnation of the Muliaga family. Shame on you. Feel some white liberal guilt, then go back to your lattes people.

Gerry Brownlee and Judith Collins got some good soundbites on NewstalkZB's news bulletins roundly criticising the Government's moves to link social welfare with power disconnection policies. Always looking out to save your tax dollars people.

And, touch wood, that will be that. Until tomorrow.

Friday, 1 June 2007

It's all in the wrists

Afternoon talkback with Danny Watson avoided the Muliagas like the plague. Instead, Danny (formerly of What Now fame in the 1980s with the coolest karate moves and mad-styley pony-tail) was a little bit upset over the changes proposed to the police act that would allow "our boys in blue" to move along demonstrators in an unlawful protest. Hand-cuff 'em an' all. Well, this was an absolute outrage, and purely the fault of our socialist Government which wants everyone to know that it, and it alone, is boss. Yeah, not too much of a stretch to agree with him, but like always, kind of pre-empting the problem.
Rest assured New Zealand, our nation's future is in your hands, and you know what you have to do in 2008. (Provided you vote the Right way for the Right people. They wouldn't try and impinge on your Rights as a private individual.)

Ol' DW did touch on the gold in Northland, asking people whether or not several billion (and when I say several, I mean 33) dollars in minerals was worth digging up in an area with ridiculously low employment (but a lot of money in drugs), in light of the fact that New Zealand has a clean green image with the rest of the world.
He basically decided that we don't have a great environmental record anyways, but we should try and make use of it, even if we fare poorly in comparison to our Australian neighbours (a stupid comparison at the best of times).

Now you're up to date on the world according to Danny. Don't thank. It's better that way.

Libertarianz I have known.

Lindsay Perigo's still in for John Banks on Radio Pacific, and being the grand libertarian he is (read fringe extremist), he decided to talk about Maori Party MP Hone Harawira's Pravate Members Bill to outlaw the manufacture and distribution of tobacco.
They couldn't have timed it better as Perigo managed to sit in on World Smokefree Day. While Mr. Harawira's bill stands more chance of getting pulled out than me winning a 1-in-122 lottery (yes, I'm being facetious), it really isn't getting much traction anywhere other than Te Karere (one of our token Maori programmes, which can be very good).
Lindsay can't stand regulation, legislation, or government in general (the market is a much better indicator), so obviously he ranted and railed against prohibition (but never managed to bring up marijuana). What he did want everyone to know was that if this bill was selected from the ballot, and if it received enough support to get to the select committee process, and if this bill managed to pass the select committee process with the same level of support, and if this bill managed to pass all of its readings without too much tinkering, well, it would only be a matter of time before the same thing happened to alcohol.
What he really wanted us to know was that this Communist Government led by the dictator Helen Clark was reminiscent of Fascist Germany in the 1930s.
Really simple.

(I should probably admit that I'm a smoker, a lover of tobacco, and I do actually agree that smoking shouldn't be banned, purely for my own nefarious selfishness. It's fairly depressing when you find you agree with the enemy at the base of an argument. Sigh.)

Once more into the breach, dear friends.

Well the Mercury Energy thing continued to be a blight on New Zealand today, and the media got in with their chops ready for the licking.

Sean Plunket on Morning Report gave his usual attack dog approach, questing for the answers to yet another blunder from the system. All hail the little man. Admittedly, he did seem somewhat pleased that the PM was laying the blame on the middleman. No-one likes contractors at the best of times really. What you should do: trust the little guy.

Meanwhile, Michael Laws over on RadioLive's morning talkback spiel decided it was merely one of those things that happens. Awfully sad, but let's get over it and move on. While I have to admit I do agree with him to an extent, I was worried by the overwhelming support his listeners gave the energy company. Whatever happened to trusting the little guy first, especially when power companies are involved. And the Government to boot. Whoops, I forgot that it was a Samoan family. Tolerant New Zealand doesn't particularly like Islanders, unless they're playing rugby or league for whatever team we support (I may be overstating the level of racism in this country a lot, but there is a definite stream of xenophobia around). Who to blame: the little guy.

Hewitt Humphrey and Sarah Bristow on Radio New Zealand's Midday Report took the State broadcaster's usual approach that things are not so hunky-dory for the big guy, and the lil' guy's takin' them to court to get some payback. While Radio NZ strives for that airy goal of objective reporting, they always fail to reach it. (I suppose that's why I like them so much. Always good to follow the Beeb's left-leaning ways.) What's the little guy to do: sue.

Aside from that, talkback tended to veer away from the Muliaga family today. (Not that I'm complaining.) And the blogs don't have too much to say either. Everyone's just waiting waiting waiting for more info. How sedate. What's the infoweb going to do: wait.

(I am ignoring the huge photos the daily metropolitans are running of the Muliaga family in their time of need, while, of course, giving nothing but the facts. Go figure.)