Did you see the one about . . .

June 21, 2009

Thought for a Friday at Not PC – putting ladies in their place.

An essential accessory for men at Frenemy – the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.

Driving made illegal  at NZ Conservative

10 illnesses and their effects on history  at Listerve (warning some disturbing images).

A NZ blog ranking tool at Open Parachute (because of the cartoon).

Thank God I’m a country (and city) girl  at Tugging the String

‘Neath the tractor woes  at The Collie Farm Blog

Animals were definitely harmed in the production of this story at Front Porch Republic


Old view or new?

June 21, 2009

The photo which used to top the blog was the view from my kitchen window at dawn:

hp 1

The one which now tops it was the same view on a spring afternoon:

hp2

Except that it can’t be cropped to show the fence and fit the header.

Which do you prefer?


The answer’s more important than the question

June 21, 2009

Kerre Woodham has got to grips with the referendum question:

. . . What he was saying was, should a bunch of poxy lefties, many of them childless, be telling me what to do in my own home? Although the question reads: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence?”

For the terminally confused and bewildered, commas will help you out enormously. Using commas, the question basically reads as: “Should a smack be a criminal offence?” See? Easy.

The other side would have asked: “Should the striking of children as part of lazy parenting be allowed?” Put in the commas and it’s: “Should the striking of children be allowed?” You can see the loaded messages behind each brief question.

Kerre points out that most of the almost 92% who voted in favour of Norm Withers’ petition on violent crime, weren’t answering the convoluted question which included a prescription for hard labour. They were expressing their anger and concern about increasing violence and an apparent disconnect between the law and justice.

They answered another question and by doing so made the answer more important than the question.

I suspect there will be a similar result in the child discipline referendum. Partly because, as Kerre said, many people don’t like being told what to do. But even more so because they don’t believe parents should be criminalised, or even at risk of it, for administering a minor smack.

Some people aren’t going to vote because the question is loaded.

Loaded or not the intent is clear and I’m going to vote because I value the right to do so.

I’m not going to vote yes because I think the current law is a bad one. Stephen Franks explains why:

. . . everyone is criminalised for smacking.

That’s the way criminal law works in rule of law countries. It applies to everyone equally. Whether or not you are an offender does not depend on the mood or political inclinations of those armed with the state’s coercive authority. It depends on what the law says, and what you’ve done. The law is not the plaything or the tool of the ruler. All are subject to it, whether or not the ruler decides not to enforce it, or enforces it the way he’d prefer it was written.

The right of private prosecution is precious for that reason. Otherwise rulers can play favourites, and decide who benefits and who is damaged by the law. In other words the enforcer is given the power to effectively make up the law as they go along.

And that is exactly what the compromise in the current law does. It says everyone who smacks is criminal, but the the Police are to decide which ones pay the price. Not the Courts, not Parliament, but the Police.

 I could make an invalid vote by crossing out both yes and no and I haven’t yet discounted that option.

But nor have I discounted voting no.

Smacking is not a good way to discipline children and anyone who thinks they can smack a child “lovingly” has a corrupted view of love.

But should a parent who lightly smacks a child – in what is almost always a spur of the moment reaction to dangerous or disruptive behaviour be criminalised for doing so ?

Should police time be wasted on investigating a minor smack?

My answer to both those questions is no and because of that I am beginning to think that I will vote no .

In spite of a concerted effort from highly regarded organisations which advocate on behalf of children to get people to vote “yes”, I think the result of the child discipline referendum will be a resounding no.

National and Labour both know the damage this issue did to the previous government and both would like it to go away.

But I think they’re underestimating the strength of feeling about it. Not just from the extremists but from moderate people who don’t think smacking is good but don’t want parents criminalised for doing it.

Chester Burrows had a way round that problem with an amendment which meant no-one could get away with violence through a “reasonable force” defence in Section 59 of the Crimes Act. John Bowscawen offers a similar option in a private member’s bill.

The government doesn’t want to get sidetracked on relatively unimportant issues. But bad law makes little issues big issues and until this one is dealt with it will fester.


Shortest day longest night

June 21, 2009

Today’s the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night.

The Carter Observatory says:

The Winter Solstice is on June 21 at 18:46 (6:46pm); this is when the Sun is at its most Northerly point in the sky. At the middle of the day on June 21, it reaches its lowest altitude, from the Northern horizon, for the year.

Brian Carter, Senior Astronomer at the Carter Observatory says, “This means that the longest night is June 21/22 and the shortest day is June 21”.

Jamie McKay discussed this on the Farming Show with Met Service weather ambassador Bob McDavitt on Friday.

He said that in there will be 9 hours 31 minutes of daylight in Auckland and in Dunedin just 8 hours 26 minutes.

The solstice doesn’t mean the coldest weather is over. Just as the warmest weather is usually in January and February after the summer solstice, the coldest days of winter are usually in July, after the winter one.

Memories from school geography tell me the lag in warming and cooling has something to do with being an island nation.

Water heats up and slows down more slowly than land so being surrounded by sea has a tempering affect on temperatures.

But that’s a very rusty memory and affirmations or corrections are welcomed.

We were at the Royal Highland Show in Scotland on June 21 in 1982 when the temperature wasn’t much warmer than we’d have expected in New Zealand.

Four years ago we were in Vejer de la Frontera, Spain, in June. Temperatures were much higher and children celebrated the summer solstice by making Juans and Juanas, which were paraded round the town then, like guys, burnt on a giant fire.

espana 110


June 21 in history

June 21, 2009

On June 21:

1644 The Scottish parliament first imposed an exise duty on alcoholic beverages: a duty of 2s 8d “on everie pynt of aquavytie or strong watteris sold within the country.” 


Obverse of the cross.

1854 Charles Davis Lucas hurled a shell from the deck of  HMS Hecla, saving the lives of all on board, for which act of bravery he was awarded the first Victoria Cross.

1957 Canada’s first female cabinet minister, Ellen Fairclough was sworn in.

1964 The Beatles landed in New Zealand


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