Did you see the one about . . .

01/05/2009

The Next Einstein won’t be British  at NZ Conservative

Why is science important?  at Open Parachute

A Green Conundrum  at Frenemy

Alcohol & Addiction Part II at the Visible Hand in Economics

Incentives Matter Bible File  at Anit-Dismal

Gob.Smacked  at The Hand Mirror

The Great Tamiflu Swindle  at Monkey with Typewriter

Press complaint: exploitation of mental illness at Kiwipolitico

Autumn in the Park  at Half Pie

Compounding errors  at Kismet Farm


Naked walkers not wanted

28/04/2009

Skinny dipping is one of life’s pleasures and given a warm and secluded river, lake or beach it’s one which can be enjoyed without scaring the horses, or people because should someone come upon the naked swimmer any body bits likely to cause offence can be kept under water.

The appeal of naked tramping isn’t quite so obvious, especially given the danger of sun burn, and I can understand why the people of rural Switzerland have voted to ban bare walkers

The cantonal government recommended the ban after citizens objected to encountering walkers wearing nothing but hiking boots and socks.

“The reactions of the population have shown that such appearances over a large area are perceived as thoroughly disturbing and irritating,” the government said in a statement.

One of the interesting points is that the walkers are German but baring it all in Switzerland. Don’t they dare do it at home, or is there something about the alpine air which lends them to shed their inhibitions and their clothes? 

UPDATE: NZ Conservative  posts on this and has a photo too.


Please tell me it isn’t so – updated & updated again

07/04/2009

Trans Tasman is reporting that Michael Cullen will be appointed to chair NZ Post and KiwiBank when Jim Bolger retires.

A loyal National Party member has just phoned to tell me he and others who spent nine years working to get Cullen’s hands off the reins are furious about this and I share their views.

There must be someone better equipped for these roles than the man who overtaxed and over spent for nine long years, leaving our economy far less able to weather the recession than it would have been had his policies been directed at growth rather than redistribution.

SOEs have been underperforming and need highly skilled leadership and that requires someone with a far greater regard for other people’s money than Cullen.

When the idea of Cullen chairing an SOE was  first mooted, blue tinted bloggers were united in their opposition. If the first to react are any indication they haven’t changed their minds: 

Fairfacts Media asks what is John Key playing at?

Kiwiblog says it’s a crappy move

UPDATE: SOE Minister Simon Power has announced:

“Hon Dr Michael Cullen has been appointed to the board of New Zealand Post, and is expected to become deputy chair in the medium term. 

UPDATE 2:

Fairfacts Media thinks Cullen deputising Bolger is too good to be true

At No Minsiter Psycho Milt  is amused but Lou Taylor isn’t.

Keeping Stock thinks John Key is up to something

UPDATE 3:

Roarprawn reckons it’s a poisoned chalice.

Cactus Kate was forced to seek solace in oysters and Moet

Barnsley Bill’s vote has been lost  and Not PC wonders why  he gave it to National anyway.

Whaleoil is disgusted then has second thoughts  and thinks John Key has snookered Labour.

UPDATE 4:

The red rag was thrown and the blue blogs roared, but what if we’re wrong and it’s really a cunning plot?

Fairfacts Media doesn’t think the job’s as good as it looks.

Anti Dismal  has a better idea – sell the SOEs.

UPDATE 5:

at NZ Conservative Zen Tiger spots a pirate plot  and muses on the relevance of history

Macdcotor advises Cullen not to trip on the way out.

At Tumeke!  Tim Selwyn thinks it’s unbelievable.


Did you see the light/dark?

29/03/2009

Did you see the light dark last night?

TV3 showed us the lights on the Sky Tower going out (and also lots of candles burning).

The Herald declared Earth Hour a success but Keeping Stock reckoned that was a Tui truth.

Around other blogs this morning:

Zen Tiger at NZ Conservative has a much better idea for dirt day once a week

Psycho Milt at No Minister had some family learning opportunities

And some I missed last night:

A seven year old speaks sense at M&M

Dave Gee switched on for sanity hour

Roarprawn declared it a crock

Oswald Bastable switched on everything

Mr Dennis lit up too.


Edison Hour vs Earth Hour

28/03/2009

While some people are returning to the dark ages and increasing their carbon emissions by celebrating Earth Hour they’re facing supposedly enlightened competition from Edison Hour.

And me? I’m not deliberately using more or less electricity than usual, but we went out for dinner (Speights Ale House in Wanaka, Morrocan lamb salad, delicious; took the waitress’s advice that the Sheep Shagger pinot noir was for tourists and enjoyed a Mt Difficulty  Roaring Meg instead) and as we were paying the bill at 8.28 the lights dimmed.

We had walked there and walked home, as we usually do, noting that it was pretty dark, but then Wanaka always has the bare minimum of street lights. That’s because most residents prefer it that way because less light pollution lets them appreciate more stars in the sky.

I think that means we observed earth hour by accident and by doing so we burned neither candles nor bonfires, used no batteries and no petrol, so we probably did more for the planet than a lot of people who deliberately turned their lights off but created more carbon with alternative sources of heat and light.

P.S. Thanks to Madeleine who left a comment on the previous post which pointed me to Keith Ng at Public Address who sees the flaws in both earth hour and Edison hour:

I was inspired to write the first part of this after hearing of people who turned off all the lights during Earth Hour, then lit up their fireplaces and burned candles instead. From sixth form chemistry: Burning organic material (like wax and wood) produces CO2. Tell your friends. . .

. . . Going out of your way to waste energy is the antithesis of technological progress and human enterprise, so don’t you dare claim to be on the side of rationality and science.

Lucyna Maria at NZ Conservative  is also neither sacrificing anything to the green god nor joining Edison hour.

And Frenemy has a photo of the dark.


Did you see the one about . . .

27/03/2009

The Wool Over our Eyes at NZ Conservative – does the Dim Post have a rival for satire?

Clark to take Tizard to New York at The Dim Post

Tall Poppies & Patriots at MonkeyWithTypewriter

Are nations just larger unions at The Visible Hand in Economics

How economics can get you a date at Anti-Dismal

ACC & the oh-shit circuit  and The dipstick a 21st century measurement system at Frenemy

The Slow Death of GP Services at Macdoctor

Biffo on the bog at Inquiring Mind

If you can imagine at Rob’s Blockhead

Land as woman at The Hand Mirror

One of the beauties of having a small brain . . .  at Laughy Kate


Why on earth would they do this?

07/03/2009

If you had an uneconomic business to sell and knew that the government which was most likely to buy it was also the one least likely to be there after an impending election, how keen would you be do do a deal with it?

Very.

And being very keen, would you be hard to deal with?

No.

Would you even be prepared to compromise on what you were prepared to accept rather than risk having no deal at all if the government changed?

Almost certainly.

Why then did Labour, spend so much more on what has become AlbatrossRail than it was worth when Toll Holdings would have been very, very willing sellers?

And given that, why on earth would anyone consider appointing Michael Cullen to the board of an SOE when he has demonstrated his lack of business acumen not just with this purchase and the ACC blow out but nine years of wasted opportunities?

I’ve just got back from Wellington and have come across the story late in the day so am not surprised so many other blogs have covered it and are united in their condemnation of the idea:

Keeping Stock says No John No

Kiwblog has problems with this  and comes up with more appointments for the government to consider.

No Minister says No, no, no  and asks is NZ now a Fools Paradise?

Roarprawn is aghast.

Cactus Kate calls it a National disgrace.

NZ Conservative suggests another job with a lot less pay.

Oswald Bastable also suggests another job.

Anti-Dismal sees politics where there should be commerce.

Barnsley Bill hopes it’s a joke.

Inquiring Mind says Absolutely bloody outrageous.

PM of NZ isn’t being tribal.

Whaleoil says No way.

UPDATE: Monkeywithtypewriter thinks this is all a personal PR campaign for Cullen.


Did you see the one about . . .

06/03/2009

The latest in milking technology at NZ Conservative.

Press freedom by Karl du Fresne

Extraordinary times ahead for  Fonterra at Roarprawn

The Fat Controller & Lassie at Monkeywithtypewriter

Political ignorance and policy preferences at Anti-Dismal 

Unethical Ethics at Macdoctor and the related It takes 12 to Qango at goNZofreakpower


Did you see the one about . . .

19/02/2009

Skirt lengths as an economic indicator at Rob’s Bockhead .

Letter from the boss at Cactus Kate.

Lying on wait at Macdoctor.

Sorting the numbers and raising feminists at In A Strange Land.

Judas Tizard at goNZofreakpower.

It’s just art at Something Should Go Here.

Let’s hear it for the Ernies at NZ Conservative.

Stories like this fill me with joy at Laughy Kate.

And if you want a big read: Home & away by Karl du Fresne,


Tumeke! rankings for October

22/11/2008

In response to a comment on the Tumeke! blogosphere rankings Tim Selwyn admits he counts the number of posts and comments manually.

That’s a huge task so it’s no wonder it takes two or three weeks for him to do it.

The results of his work show one new entrant in the top 20 – New Zeal moves up 7 to 16 which puts Homepaddock back one to 17.

Kiwiblog retained its first placing and was also first for the average number of comments.

Homepaddock was third for the number of posts – a place I don’t expect to maintain because I’ve been writing fewer posts since the election.

The biggest gain in the top 20 was No Minister which went up 6 places to 4th.

Among my other regular reads Roarprawn gained 2 to 11; Dimpost  dropped 1 to 13; Inquiring Mind  was steady on 15; Poneke  went down 1 to 18 but was 5th for the highest average number of comments (and second in that category for blogs done by individuals rather than a number of contributers.) If I was judging the quality of comments, Ponke would rate highly – he manages to attract mainly intelligent and often witty comments with few which confuse personal invective and debate.

Keeping Stock dropped just 1 to 19 in spite of a decline in the number of posts while cruising for a couple of weeks; and the Visibile Hand in Economics also dropped 1 to 20.

 The Hand Mirror was steady on 22, NZ Conservative was up 1 to 23 and also did well with the average number of comments, due in part to their popular Friday night free for all; Big News leapt 16 to 26;  Anti Dismal gained 8 places to 29 and Something Should Go here gained a couple to 34.

In a Strange Land was down 3 to 52; Monkeywith typewriter gained 1 to 56; exexpat dropped 6 to  59;  goNZo Freakpower  gained 9 places to 87, Cicero made a first appearance at 65 and Macdoctor debuted at 71.

I couldn’t find John Ansell on the list, I’m not sure if that’s because I didn’t look properly or his blog is too new to register.


How much cash, how many cards?

24/09/2008

Zentiger at NZ Conservative notes people using EFTPOS to pay tiny amounts and wonders how much cash people carry.

I was doing a door to door collection for Plunket a couple of years ago and one very apologetic woman, whom I knew, said she had absolutely no cash in the house.

This surprised me because I have a money box on the laundry window sill for the coins which end up in the wahsing machine, and another in the bedroom for those which fall on the floor. So even when my wallet is cashless I have change in the house and I always have some coins and maybe a small note in the car for emergencies.

But the need for cash certainly isn’t as great as it was before we had EFTPOS and hole-in-the-wall banking. Way back then you had to get your money from banks and they closed at 3pm on Friday and didn’t open until 10am on Monday.

As the amount of cash people have on hand has fallen the number of cards we carry has risen.

This came up in discussion with friends recently so we all did a count – the winner had 32 cards in his wallet including EFTPOS, credit, swipe, membership and loyalty cards and all but a couple were current and, he said, necessary.

No doubt there are security and privacy issues, but it would be much easier if we could programme one card with all the information we needed.

Either that, or just put a bar code on our foreheads 🙂


Sunday social

07/09/2008

Keeping Stock has a Friday Forum, NZ Conservative has a Friday Night Free for All, Friday Feminist is cross posted on both The Hand Mirror  and In A Strange Land, Adam Smith at Inquiring Mind does a Saturday Rant and here at Homepaddock there’s the Sunday Social.

It’s an opportunity to look back at the week that was, forward to the one ahead or to chat about the weekend.

We’re in Dunedin after the celebration of an 80th birthday at Plato last night. The cafe was a hostel for seafarers and is decorated in retro-style, stuffed to the gills with 50s and 60s kitch. That was very appropriate because I met the birthday girl in 1959 when she moved next door with her family. I was two at the time, so was the youngest of her four daughters and we’ve been friends ever since.

The birthday girl was an only child until she was about 19 when her parents had another daughter. Soon after that her mother had a stroke and the BG gave up her studies to look after her mother, care for her sister and teach her father to cook.

She married, had four daughters, immersed herself in home, family, church and community. I know no-one who has done more for others and done it both graciously and willingly. Her husband had a heart attack and died whens he was just 51 but she didn’t allow that tragedy to make her bitter and has carried on caring for and giving to her family, friends and society.

People like this don’t make the headlines but they make our world a much better place. As one of those paying tribute to her last night said, it’s angels like her who make heaven on earth.


This explains their thinking

03/09/2008

 

Socialist brain

Socialist brain


Tumeke blog rankings

21/08/2008

Tim Selwyn has published the July rankings for the New Zealand bologsphere on Tumeke!

Kiwkblog and Public Address retain first and second places respectively.

The Standard and Whaleoil swap places at third and fourth.

Frogblog, Not PC and No Minister are steady at numbers five, six and seven and The Hive is up one place to eight.

No Right Turn is down one to nine. Tumeke!, Poneke, Inquiring Mind and Cactus Kate retain their places from 10 to 13.

Keeping Stock is impressively up 11 at 14; New Zealand Conservative has jumped seven to 15 and Homepaddock has moved up five to 16.

The Visible Hand in Economics is down one to 17, Liberty Scott is steady at 18, the Dim Post moves up 13 to 19; and The Hand Mirror is down six to 20.

Links to all these sites are on my blogroll.

Tim comments:

Apart from the bronze, the top dozen are rather static. The big movers seem to be the more right wing blogs that have picked up their traffic count and content output – the latter driving the former most likely: Keeping Stock, NZ Conservative and Home Paddock helping to displace left Labour blogs of Jordan Carter and Tony Milne.

The ranking is based on Alexa rank for traffic plus the number of posts, comments and links.

Thanks, Tim for the time and effort you put it working it all out and thanks to all of you who visit, link and comment and thereby contribute to Homepaddock’s improved place.


Herceptin, health & politics

08/08/2008

Was Pharmac’s decision to not fund 12 month courses of herceptin based on clinical evidence or financial necessity?

Women’s Health Action Trust director Jo Fitzpatrick accepts it was clinical: 

[she] “reluctantly” spoke out yesterday in support of the decision, “because of concern at the high level of public misunderstanding about the drug and its effects”.

“Herceptin is promoted as the magic bullet for early breast cancer treatment,” she said. “People used to think – and many still do – that Her-2 positive breast cancer can and will be cured by Herceptin.

“We wish that was true but the evidence just isn’t there and people need to know that. At its best, 87 women in every 100 taking Herceptin get no benefit from the drug at all and may be harmed by it.”

And:

District health boards’ spokesman Murray Georgel said the lack of convincing evidence for 12-month treatments meant the decision was one “DHBs can understand”.

“In that context, and given the ability of DHBs to improve health through other interventions, it would have been concerning if Pharmac had come to DHBs and asked that the 12-month treatment be funded.”

But:

Other groups were scathing of the decision. Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition chairwoman Libby Burgess called it “a cruel blow for women and their families”.

She said the drug was “life-saving”, and Pharmac’s decision was “shameful” and “simply inhumane”.

Comments on my previous post  on the issue are also divided with Ed Snack saying it is important to judge the issue on science not emotion and he points to this link as a starting point. However Macdoctor  evaluates clinical trials and concludes Pharmac’s decision was a budget one.

But then NZ Conservative and several comments at No Minister  back Pharmac.

I am not qualified to argue about the science so I’ll move to the politics and this from TVNZ:

Diane Edwards from Herceptin Heroines says “there’s not a woman in this country that can afford to vote for this government after today’s decision”.

However over at the Hand Mirror Stargazer points out:

… national are saying they will fund the full 12 month course but legally would not be allowed to do so. unless, of course, they change the law to allow political interference in medical decisions.

She is right, Pharmac is independent and there are good reasons why neither the the Minsiter of Health nor the government can intervene. But that will be lost on most people because emotion beats facts in politics. Pharmac is regarded as an arm of government so unpopular decisions from the former will rebound on the latter.

Furthermore, Keeping Stock  points out the only other OECD countries not to fund 12 month courses of the drug are Turkey and Mexico.

As any parent will tell you “nearly everyone else does it” is not a convincing argument. But if most other OECD countries fund the treatment because they can afford to, even if the science is not settled; and we don’t because we can’t afford to then regardless of Pharmac’s independence we are justified in holding the government to account.


19th century bigotry bad look for 21st century journalist

20/07/2008

Chirs Trotter spent some of his chidlhood in North Otago which has made a virtue of its Victorian origins.

But I don’t think we can blame that for the 19th century bigotry which he spewed into his Sunday Star Times column.

Headlined Don’t ever forget who the Nats are he lumps the members of the biggest party in the country into three groups: the cockies, the rich and the reactionaries and paints them with his sterotypical bile.

As the Party’s Waitaki electorate chair I know a fair bit about its members and hand on heart can say I’ve nevery met any with the arrogance and ignorance Trotter describes, and is guilty of himself in this column. We’re just people who care about other people and our country and see politics as one of the ways we can help both.

In my role I also meet people from other parties – I’m even related to some 🙂 – and regularly buy acid drops for my aunt from another with whom I enjoy a chat. We have a lot in common – a desire for a happier, healthier, better educated, safer and more prosperous country. The major differences are not in where we want to go but in how we want to get there.

Stereotyping any party’s supporters as Trotter has done is ridiculous, as Tumeke shows by turning the tables:

Don’t ever forget who the Nats Labourites are

THE COCKIES THE SUBURBANITES: Backbone of the nation; earners borrowers of our overseas funds debts; selfish; insular smug; and possessed of an indefatigable sense of moral superiority over everyone whose front door looks out upon a street McDonalds instead of a paddock vegan wholefoods co-op.

THE RICH THE POOR: Creators of wealth (for others!); makers doers of jobs; robbers of rights tax; bastardisers of culture; selfish; arrogant ignorant; and possessed of an indefatigable sense of moral superiority over everyone whose income is less more than $100,000 per annum.

THE REACTIONARIES Defenders of the faith; upholders of decent family socialist values; sadistic; bigoted; deranged hankerers after a world that – thankfully – has long since passed away.

That list is just as polarisingly thoughtless as Trotter’s.

Quite. Trotter’s 19th century bigotry ill becomes a 21st century journalist.

No Minister is a little blunter with the rebuttal, NZ Conservative says  it’s hate speech, and Jafapete  reckons it’s a slightly OTT but timely warning.


Do You Want Cheese With That?

28/06/2008

NZ Conservative reports that cheese is now an optional extra on Dominos pizzas.

That explains the comment under the masthead at Half Done: No Dairy Products Kept on this Blog Overnight.


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