Religious minority victims of violence

October 18, 2008

TV3 reports  that people from a religious minority have been victims of violence in India.

Indian church leaders have said that Christians killed in recent clashes were “sacrificial lambs” targeted by hard-line Hindus seeking an advantage in upcoming national elections.

The All India Christian Council said the toll after nearly two months of sporadic violence has reached 59 dead and 50,000 displaced. Officials in the eastern state of Orissa, site of the worst violence, say 34 people have been killed.

The recent violence began after Hindu activists blamed Christians for the slaying of a Hindu leader killed in Orissa on August 23. Retaliatory attacks left scores dead, dozens of churches destroyed and thousands of people homeless, despite the government’s claim that Maoists killed the Hindu leader.

I’d have thought a religion which holds cows sacred might have a similar regard for people. But then, is there any greater hypocrisy than that which prompts people to use a creed that promotes the sanctity of life as an excuse for violence?

But I thought it was . . .

October 18, 2008

The mispronunciation of anemone as an enemy several times in a TV programme has inspired John Ansell to compile a list of the most mispronounced words in the English language.


I entered the conversation with a little hesitancy because there are a few words I mispronounced for years.


I was well into adulthood before I discovered halcyon was not haleycon (which I’d somehow associated with Haley Mills starring in a movie as a woman called Summer).


It was only while doing a radio book review that I realised it was badinage and not as I’d always read it bandiage (because I associated it with bandying words).


I could perhaps blame those two on the fact I’d seen them written but hadn’t heard them spoken. But that doesn’t explain why I thought the prayer my brothers & I recited every night was asking God to pity mice implicitly and not pity my simplicity.


Nor does it explain why I thought Puff the Magic dragon had a friend called Frolicin the Ottumis until someone pointed out to me that Peter, Paul and Mary had been singing frolicked in the autumn mists . . .  

Saturday’s smiles

October 18, 2008

This seemed an appropriate story for the middle of an election campaign:

An old man and a young boy were travelling through their village with
their donkey.


The boy rode on the donkey and the old man walked.  As they went along they passed some people who remarked it was a shame the old man was walking and the boy was riding. 


The man and boy thought maybe the critics were right, so they changed positions.  Later, they passed some people who remarked, “What a shame, he makes that little boy walk.”

They then decided they both would walk. 


Soon they passed some more people who thought they were stupid to walk when they had a decent donkey to ride. So, they both rode the donkey. 


Now they passed some people who shamed them by saying “how awful to put such a load on a poor donkey”.

The boy and man said they were probably right, so they decided to carry the donkey.  But as they crossed a bridge, they lost their grip on the animal and he fell into the river and drowned.

The moral of the story?

If you try to please everyone, you might as well kiss your ass good-bye.


Clean, green and childfree

October 18, 2008

If you thought it was getting a bit too personal when they got into our showers, it’s getting worse – now they’re getting in to bed with us.

The Green Party population policy isn’t only telling us how many children we should have, it wants to tell us how to space them.

The policy proposes setting a level of population New Zealand could sustain and leaving room within that for climate change refugees from Pacific Islands.

It also wants parents educated about the impacts of population growth when they are planning their family size and how far apart to have children.

The policy is off the planet, so too is the explanation by Keith Locke when he says the policy has been misinterpreted.

“There is no way the Green Party would ever dictate to any parent how many children they should have,” he said. “Every child is a loved and wanted child. It would also be racist to try to dictate family size, given that the various ethnic groups in our society have different birthrates.”

Sadly, Keith, not every child is loved and wanted but that’s a social problem not an environmental one. And ethnicity is irrelevant. If you think something which would be of environmental concern if caused by one group, wouldn’t be if it’s caused by another it’s you who’s being racist.

New Zealand isn’t over populated. As Kiwiblog points out, if we have a population problem at all it’s that our fertility rate is below the 2.1 children per woman needed if the population is to remain static so we’re already going backwards.

This policy also sabotages their billboards because they now give a new message: vote for me – just one child, just like China – not for us.

It also reinforces the message the Greens are for the planet but not for people. Their perfect world would be clean, green and childfree.

Best case worst case

October 18, 2008

Idealog interviewed David Skilling, chief executive of the NZ Institute on his views on the economy.

You can read it in full here, so I’ll just give a taste with his view of the worst case outlook for New Zealand:

I think the worst case is not terrible, catastrophic, Third World status. Worst case, I think, is probably Fiji with snow: bit of agriculture, a bit of tourism, friendly people, half-decent rugby team. And that’s pretty much New Zealand. So it’s not terrible.

But on current course and speed, there’s going to be a 60 percent income gap between ourselves and Australia in 20 years’ time.

And the best:

I don’t see any reason we couldn’t overtake Australian incomes within the next 20 years or so. Australia only overtook us 30 years ago. If we wanted to invest heavily in our primary and secondary industries, but also in education, R&D, and high speed broadband; if we had a real view about growing firms and attracting firms from overseas; and if we create an environment that’s conducive to the growth of scale firms, then, yeah, I think it’s possible.

It’s really up to us. Many of the trends globally are breaking in our direction. We need to seize the opportunities.

Rhetoric not realised

October 18, 2008

Remember Labour’s 1999 promise to transform the economy?

Victor Heeringa looks at what’s happened in reality and he’s not impressed.

The greatest failure, in my view, is that Labour’s rhetoric about transformation has proven to be just that. Fancy talk.

He was writing in the September-October issue of Idealog which is now on line so you can read it  in full by following the link above.

Playing politics to retain power

October 18, 2008

Inquiring Mind covers a column by Fran O’Sullivan (which isn’t on line) which accuses Helen Clark and Michael Cullen of playing politics to retain power.

There’s nothing unusual about that, but some things should be above politics and economic stability is one of them.

RESERVE Bank Governor Alan Bollard must openly tell the Government to stop playing politics and guarantee the trading banks’ foreign funding lines, before they ration lending and stall the New Zealand economy.

Labour has put politics before principle on numerous occasions and politicised the public service but the consequences of that have never been as serious as they are now.

So far, this Government has reduced Bollard to a well-paid eunuch as it announces policies for political effect on the election campaign trail, instead of forming a statesmanlike response to the international crisis.

You can read more at Inquiring Mind.

Update: Fran O’Sullivan’s column is now on line here.

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