Racist character or racist programme?

January 26, 2013

The BBC has censored Fawlty Towers for racism.

But is it the episode which is racist or the character?

The offending lines are at about 5:40.

They could be racist if they encouraged us to laugh with the Major but most of us would laugh at him.

At about 7 minutes the Major also says he hates Germans; throughout the clip there are lots of insults addressed at women and there’s the running gag of  Manual from Barcelona but the censors must have kept their senses of humour when listening to them.

Word of the day

January 26, 2013

Polyhistor – a polymath; a person of great and varied learning.


January 26, 2013

10/11 in the Herald’s political quiz.


January 26, 2013

It’s Australia Day and Meat and Livestock Australia is continuing the campaign to encourage Aussies to eat more lamb.

Sadly Lambassador Sam Kekovich has been hit on the head.

He’s now suffering from Lambnesia:

If you’re concerned that you might be suffering from Lambnesia, you can take this test.

It determines whether or not you’re unAustralian – might it be a test we Kiwis prefer to fail?



Bureaucracy makes wheels of progress turn slowly

January 26, 2013

Quote of the day:

He says bureaucracy makes the wheels of progress turn slowly, and he’s excited to be part of something that won’t be hindered by Government officials. Lance O’Sullivan

He was explaining that he’d joined a joined the private inquiry into how to stop child abuse and domestic violence set up by Owen Glenn “because it has nothing to do with the Government”.

I hope those who keep calling for the government to do something take note. Sometimes, perhaps even often, something is best done by independent individuals and groups who are neither part of nor beholden to government.

Saturday soap box

January 26, 2013

This soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation.

You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, to muse or amuse.

:) kindest, Boris

We want clean water too

January 26, 2013

Some farmers, unfortunately, haven’t got themselves in to the 21st century and still think they can do what they want on their land regardless of the impact on neighbouring waterways.

But most of us want the water we drink, swim in, wash with and live beside to be clean.

The debate for most of us isn’t over the desirability of and necessity for healthy lakes, rivers, streams and ponds. It’s how to clean up those which need it and ensure those which are clean stay that way.

Jon Morgan writes how he changed his tune on cleaning up waterways:

I began the year as the dairy farmers’ friend, saying they were doing all they could to clean up waterways.

I reeled off a list of on-farm actions they were taking to keep waterways clean. I quoted figures from the most recent report of the Clean Streams Accord, among them that cattle were fenced off from waterways on 84 per cent of farms.

Then I found this figure was wrong. Naively, perhaps, I did not realise that the accord relies on farmers’ honesty to report their own progress toward the agreement’s targets. . .

On the North Otago downlands, water quality isn’t left up to farmers’ honesty. All shareholders in the North Otago Irrigation Company are required to have an environmental farm plan which is independently audited each year. If the plan isn’t up to scratch and in practice the farm will lose its irrigation water.

In areas blessed with more regular rainfall the threat of losing water can’t be used to encourage high standards but I’d have thought the powers regional councils have to act against anyone who doesn’t comply would be sufficient deterrent.

However, Morgan, like many others, thinks that’s not enough.

. . . I changed my tune. I said: “It seems obvious to me that we have too many cows in the most sensitive parts of the country – sandy, shingly, free-draining areas laced with streams, close to groundwater and big recreational rivers.

“And I think there’s no doubt that these cows are the main source of the excessive nutrients that are polluting rivers and lakes in these regions.

“The simple solution is to regulate a reduction in cow numbers.” . .

Simple solutions aren’t always the best.

Those with no concern for the environmental consequences of their farming could do a lot of damage with small herds, others might be able to run larger herds with good practices which don’t endanger water quality.

The problem is, there is debate about how realistic some of the standards expected for lakes, rivers, creeks and streams are; the the tools for measuring the quality of them and how much any degradation is due to farming and how much is due to other factors including birds and nitrogen leaching from gorse.

Morgan ends his column by pointing out water quality isn’t only a rural problem, some urban areas are in serious need of upgrades to their sewage plants.

That isn’t an excuse for getting away with poor practices in rural areas but it does show if we want clean water it’s an urban challenge too.

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