labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
1. There's a really interesting discussion in this thread on ffa about some Black Widow scenes in the Avengers (being circuitous so I don't have to cut this for spoilers). I'm linking to the whole thread but I found the top subthread most interesting, particularly this comment and this one. (I'm not in this thread at all so you don't need to strain yourself trying to figure out who is me, which I always do when I get linked to an anon meme thread).

2. That really annoying thing where I had something perfect to post about at work this morning, it was like, a witty observation even, and I didn't write it down and I've completely forgotten it. Rarr. It was either about hockey or Barack Obama. Or just possibly David Shearer.

3. Relatedly, there's something about straight people getting on Grant Robertson's case about marriage equality that really sets my teeth on edge. No one could agree more than I that it would have been nice to get marriage equality rather than civil unions during the recent Labour Government, but does anyone actually remember the climate around the civil union debate? (I seriously think a lot of the people I follow on Twitter don't.) It was fucking unpleasant and it wasn't exactly something the Labour Party expended 0 political capital on in an easy appeasing mood, which seems like a lot of the attitude. Oh, civil unions are the easy slimy separate but equal option - well, that's true, they are, but I don't think at the time there was room for the hard option.

4. Hey, can we not give, like, Bill English and John Key a hard time for their record on same-sex marriage? Hey, while Opposition parties are really important, why aren't we giving the fucking government a hard time about their lack of movement on reforming the Adoption Act and introducing same-sex marriage? This is supposed to be the new Tories, innit? Hip and socially liberal and down with the kids?

5. Also, eugenics. Don't let the beneficiaries breed, sez John.
labellementeuse: kristen stewart in a blazer & really emo eyeshadow (misc gaystew army)
1. So get_together is taking place on Guy Fawkes weekend, y'all. Who would walk up Mt Vic with me at 8 on Saturday? Are we likely to still be eating then?

2. My bitter, apolitical boss (politics self-described as right-wing fascist) was reading the PREFU today and – I shouldn't find it amusing but sadly I do – getting absolutely riled. Particularly, spending on Health and Education – the two biggest areas of expenditure - is predicted to not increase at all (in 2011 dollars) over the next five years. No changes at all. This is effectively (apparently) something like an 8 – 10% cut in teachers', nurses', doctors' salaries. This means health and education is becoming a smaller proportion of the budget (which does get larger) – i.e. health and education are lower priorities over the next five years. It's all sort of astounding and frustrating and it's added to my increasing feeling of desperation, fury, and incapacity. I just don't see what I can do about it and it's stressing me out.

3. Relatedly, [personal profile] hazel has been incandescent in classy political rage lately, highly recommended.
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (kate demasking)
last week I read my 65th new book of the year! )

Today I'm reading Skulduggery Pleasant, by Derek Landy (thank you [personal profile] genusshrike, who lent it to me). Towards the end of the novel, but I hope non-spoilery, is a quote that I'm pulling out and sharing because I think it exemplifies the concept of women in refrigerators, why it's bad, and what creators can do to guard against it. (Names have been excised so it's not spoilery. Bold emphasis mine, italic his..)

"He used my wife and child as a weapon against me. In order to do so, he had to kill them. He took my family's death and he made it about me. When you die, it will be your death and yours alone. Let it come to you on your own terms."
-- Derek Landy, Skulduggery Pleasant (HarperCollins: London 2007), p 344


That can pretty much stand as is, I think. I just wanted to shout out to what I think is a very good, very simple analysis of the problem.
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
ALSO, deliberately making this a separate post to be an asshole but also because THIS IS IMPORTANT:

Please vote YES this week.
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (nita & kit)
You know what amazes me? The number of people I know who celebrated Obama's victory, but are now going to toddle along to the polls and vote for John. Yes, it's change - but America has just had eight years with George Bush, a righty. They did not like those eight years - at all. People got sick and couldn't afford medical care, people got unemployed and couldn't find jobs and then unemployment money cut off so they starved. America started two wars which look like they'll be awhile finishing and were almost as unpopular as the Vietnam war. America banned gay marriage in a bunch of states. America just elected Obama, a lefty. Now, we've just had nine years with the Labour government, which is lefty. People liked the government for quite a long time because we'd just had nine years with a National government - a government which was the least honest government in New Zealand's history, keeping only 50% of their election-year promises. This National government slashed benefits of all kinds, sold state housing, etc. Child poverty TRIPLED as a direct result just of selling the state houses. University fees increased dramatically and means-tested student allowances were introduced. So a Labour/left government was a change New Zealand could believe in. But it's been nine years now and people are starting to dislike it... why, again? We haven't entered an unpopular war. People's access to healthcare has not decreased. Unemployment has been reduced by about half. We have slightly increased our awareness of the environment. Most of the reasons I've heard recently are from people who think it's "time for a change" - apparently no matter what the change is - and people who don't like Helen Clark. Really? That's it?

Dear people who want a change: the change you're voting on in New Zealand is not the change from Bush to Obama. The change you're voting for is the change from Bill Clinton (a lefty who people didn't like because he'd had an affair - a slightly better reason to dislike him than "she's ugly", of course, but still one that's not actually related to politics in any way, shape, or form) to... well... George Bush, a righty.
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (bestfriends4evah!1!!)
Oh hey, and DON'T FORGET: Saturday is election day, which means TOMORROW is the LAST DAY you can register to vote. PLEASE register and PLEASE vote!
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
I just read an article on stuff.co.nz that the government plans to change course funding from the bums-on-seats method currently being used, where courses which attract higher numbers of students are more likely to continue to be funded. While this is theoretically great - because that approach involves chasing students, extremely competitive courses, and ultimately a huge loss of variety and broadness of course spectrum - I'm a little concerned about what they're changing it to.

Says the Stuff article, "[The Government] want[s] to change the emphasis from funding [courses] based on the number of students they attract to providing courses that are seen to be in the national interest." Adds Dr Cullen, "While academic freedom would be recognised, universities had acknowledged the public had a right to see taxpayers' money was used responsibly and strategically." That's okaaaaaay, although I am hesitant to say that Jo/e Public is the judge of what is a responsible use of funding - quite probably s/he would be perfectly happy with the continued loss of funding in the Arts degree, which suffers because people think it's useless (despite the fact that money from these popular courses is frequently used to fund expensive courses like Science and Engineering.) I don't like thinking that the value of so-called "useless" or "unpractical" courses like the poetry writing and reading course I'm taking is dependent for its continued existence on it being seen as valuable to the "national interest."

Sound alarmist? Maybe - surely the gvt can be trusted to keep its nose out of the Universities' choices? Except maybe not, because the article concludes: "The changes would be gradual not revolutionary and would steer universities into a greater partnership with business and their communities."

Um. Excuse me? Universities are supposed to be acting with the Business Roundtable now? But I don't wanna!

This move has been welcomed by the Otago University Students' Association and the NZ Vice-Chancellor's Committee (Headed by Roy Sharp, the busy little bee!) But that might have more to do with the $126 million in funding that comes with it, including some to help with the funding shift and some to help attract and retain staff to keep NZ universities competitive/respected internationally. I'd be interested to see what the New Zealand University Students' Association and the Association of University Staff have to say about it, but there's nothing yet. And maybe I am being paranoid and insane, but, yeesh, seriously, it does sound a little dodgy, right? It's not just me?
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
1. Stupidly excited by Sam and Dean on the cover of the Dom Post's TV Week. I can't wait to watch the pilot on actual television. *silly*

2. theyworkforyou.co.nz.

3. John Key gave his first big speech today - his Orewa, I guess you'd say. I know he's actually forgoing the Orewa speech (Winston Peters will be speaking instead), presumably to avoid recalling Orewa '04. The transcript is here, and I just want to tell you all that I told you so. Oh yeah, he's all about his tough upbringing, and how everyone can take advantage of opportunity, and it doesn't matter how much money your parents have if you can just see the ladder and make your way up it. (What a metaphor, honestly.)

There are in the middle of the speech some fairly dramatic surprised that I am reluctant to admit impressed me. He acknowledged (or appeared to acknowledge) the fact that poverty and crime and blah blah are cyclical and that not everyone can get out of these neighbourhoods. (The speech was all about bad neighborhoods and New Zealand's "emerging underclass", which is terribly interesting because National is not exactly historically the party of the poor. Everyone wants good health and public education systems. These come with taxes. Left wing parties say, okay, we'll take the taxes; right wing parties say, hey, we'll take the tax cuts and pay for them ourselves. Except that the less money you have, the smaller your tax cut is, the less it helps you out, and the less likely you are to be able to pay for expensive private education and medical care, which you have to go to because the tax cuts meant there wasn't enough money to maintain high standards in this area. Oh, diversion.) He talked a bit about engrained helplessness and youth suicide (sort of) and it's actually very exciting to see someone mention youth suicide.

But the third section is basically unsurprising and frustrating, a lot of things about how throwing money at the problems won't fix them, smaller government, family dysfunction has flourished under Labour (he "proves" this by pointing to the Kahui family, who were receiving about a thousand dollars per week all up from the government. I don't know how many people were receiving some of this money and he didn't bother to explain what they were getting it for, but seriously. One hot-button example does NOT demonstrate that family dysfunction has flourished. Anecdotal evidence is only worth the paper it's not written on.) He was quite explicit about being tough on parole (Graeme Burton is a gift to his policy making. I'm only surprised he didn't bring up Jayden Headley since he's name-checking horrifying high-profile news stories...) and obviously anti "the rights of criminals" which, more on that later. He also spent a lot of time on welfare dependency which just makes me want to say ARGH. yes, there are people who are welfare dependent - but - right now we have the lowest unemployment ever and 67% of npeople on the dole are only on it short term - ie less than six months. NOBODY is acknowledging this.

The fourth section is just bizarre - apparently, the way to solve problems like kids coming to school without lunches is to encourage philanthropism in local businesses. Um, okay, then. Good luck with that, Mr Key. You may be happy giving away some of your millions but the whole thing about tax cuts doesn't come about because your core voters are real generous types. (Although I guess they like to *think* of themselves as generous, as long as they're being generous to hungry kids and not criminals, or sick people, or disabled people, or teenaged mothers. Or roads. Or schools that aren't in their classy neighbourhood.)

4. There was a very interesting article on the difference between NZ and Scandinavian prisons in the Dom Post today. It's not online as far as I can see but read it if you get a chance; basically it was about the fact that Scandinavia acknowledges that simply being in prison is a significant punishment and works to make sure that its prisoners don't suffer unnecessarily in prison. And let's all remember what Scandinavia's crime rates are. (They're low.) Ironically on Sunday there was a big cover of the news paper - Bailey Junior Kurariki has been denied parole at 17 for his part in killing a pizza delivery boy when he was 12. Parole Board basically said he was a very high risk of reoffending, that he had not matured in prison and showed no sign of remorse. Wow, guys, that's a huge shock. You took a 12 year old (who was obviously pretty screwed up to begin with), chucked him in prison, and five years later he's probably a worse danger to society than he was before he was convicted. Who could have predicted this outcome?
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
I haven't talked about politics for awhile, and the Maori Party clearly knew this, because a few days ago they decided they were going to... support Work for Dole. It's been blatantly obvious since the election that the Maori Party were going to swing right - I find that completely bemusing, since the Nats and Act don't give a shit about the Maori and in MMP you really need your mates, but - whatever, if they want to swing right they can.

But seriously, Work for Dole? For one thing, WFD does not work. They tried it in the nineties and, if anything, it made it harder for participants to get off makework jobs (which, by the way, would be very expensive; the Nats had a WFD policy in 2005 that was estimated to cost $100 million. This is during a time when we have the lowest unemployment figures ever, and 67% of people on the dole are only on it very short term) and on to real jobs. For another thing - the only government that is ever going to implement WFD is a National/Act government. This government is not going to be sympathetic to Maori and it is not going to do any of the things the Maori Party should be asking for. I appreciate that the habit of unemployment may be a problem for Maori (and, by the way, it bugs me that Tariana Turia gets to say that) but the way to deal with that would be iwi and community based skills training programmes - not the fucking work for dole. That would be just as much a habit, IMO, and a more expensive one for the government.

Of course, I have moral objections to WFD too. Call me crazy, but I believe that it is our responsibility to make sure that no-one in this country starves to death. No matter what they do with their time.

Look at my shiny new topical icon! complete with keywords by kora.
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
Five Things I Think About The National Party Leadership Thing:

1. I am, on the whole, relieved Brash has finally resigned. On the one hand, Brash continuing to lead the Nats might have been the one thing that would have guaranteed their defeat next election. On the other hand, I hate the man. And less personally, Brash said he'd resign if he lost the 2005 election - they lost and he didn't. He repeatedly campaigned against Labour's so-called disrespect for the instituton of marriage - while having an affair (again, natch.) He gave a speech at Orewa which set back (in my opinion) bilateral race relations in NZ, inciting and validating anti-Maori and anti-Treaty sentiment by encouraging the fantasy of the Maori privilege. (Which, god. Don't you think if there were Maori privilege their health, education and economic statistics would be less depressing? Idiots.) He's also a hopeless politician, has frequently been corrected on his party's policy and is IMO a hopeless party leader and unable to take criticism.The latest, as most of you probably know, is a book released containing a whole bunch of emails that are apparently very embarassing from a politcal perspective, revealing all kinds of corruption and so on. So, you know, goodbye, Don, you won't be missed.

2. Speaking of The Hollow Men, what's that you say, Nicky Hager? The Nats used the leader's budget for advertising very similarly to the way you've been complaining Labour did? My goodness! How shocking.

3. I want to disclaim at this point that I'm not and have never been a big fan of Nicky Hager - although apparently he's a lovely guy face to face, I just can't get over the Corngate thing. On the other hand, come on, I'm supposed to react negatively to an expose of corruption and party politics within the Nats? Please, i'm not made that way. Scoophas some info here and there's more about everywhere. It's all the NZ political blogs are talking about, ha-ha.

4. I'm also interested that the big Exclusive Brethren hoo-ha in the book also seems to smear John Key, who is going to be the next leader of the Opposition (which, yeah, we all picked about a hundred years ago, but me and [livejournal.com profile] blademistress were rooting for Bill English anyway. You can do it, Bill: lead national to its greatest electoral defeat! Again!) Anyway, I expect Key will stick around anyway. I'm a little disheartened by this because Key is just young enough for me to count him as a New Conservative and god, I cannot stand the Young Conservatives. They are self-entitled unsympathetic supercilious brats who, because they were raised with every opportunity in the world, cannot conceive of someone not being able o do just as well as they did through anything but lazinss - or natural stupidity, which of course should be punished, probably by burning at the stake.

Yeah, I'm a little vehement about them. Blech. Anyway, since Key grew up in a much-vaunted state house in Christchurch - with headlines like "Christchurch state house boy makes good!" because, you know, being from state housing is just like being a youth criminal! Anyway anyway, I probably can't complain about him being entitled but, you know. I also think the very bright have this same problem - I got out of state housing / made a million bucks / funded my university on scholarship / whatever, why can't everyone else? Which to me fundamentally misses the point - it's not whether or not everyone can or can't, it's that some people don;t and they are not by virtue of that less valuable.

Anyway AGAIN, 5. David Slack linked to a quiz on Key's conscience voting record (it has the answers at the end) which is kind of interesting if a little schizophrenic; he voted against the CUB (black mark!) but for the relationships statutory references (equal treatment of all relationships including de facto and same sex under the law: I suppose this is less surprising since he's younger) and against the gender clarification, hich would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The possible explanation for this is that he was against the CUB on second-class citizen grounds. Otherwise it's mostly unsurprising - he wants lots of tax write-offs for businesses, what a shocker, and he voted to control street prostitution in Manakau and to liberalise shop trading on Easter.

I can only hope that under Key's leadership national will go back to being all about the money, because nobody likes tax cuts, right? Right? oh god.
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
Apparently comment notifications are down, so uh. Yeah, if you're not commenting in my personal journal chances are good I won't notice.

Whenever there's a post in a dl comm I'm a member of saying "Do not ask for people to upload the new episode! Wait patiently!" I feel a really intense urge to post along the lines of "WHY CAN'T SOMEONE UPLOAD A BIT FASTER, I'VE BEEN WAITING LIKE FIVE MINUTES ALREADY." The urge gets stronger every time and I'm a member of quite a few dl comms. *twitch*

I'm pretty much just updating to put off packing, but since I have a doctor's appt in an hour I think I've managed to put it off just enough that I have an excuse.

The guys at Global PC are still fabulously wonderful; my XHD's adaptor spontaneously upped and died yesterday, I took it in today, and they swapped it out in about two seconds flat. <3

Torchwood was great this week!

Americans! Don't forget to vote! Also, that GOP robo-call thing is pretty bizarre. Sometimes I worry about corruption in our country, and then I think about the way the Republicans are going to totally get away with that, and I feel better. (So, guys: make me less of an arrogant prick about the superiority of my country! Elect Democrats: They're Marginally Better!)
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
'Fess up: who slipped Helen alcohol today? stuff.co.nz has an article, and well, some of the highlights:

On Don Brash:

"Labour regards Dr Brash as a corrosive and cancerous person within the New Zealand political system."

"What began this appalling slide in political standards was having a polarising leader of the Opposition – a man who I do not believe should be leading anything in New Zealand."

On Labour MP Trevor Mallard, who said some nasty things about dotty old Don:

"He was responding very, very strongly to quite ridiculous and outrageous attacks on me and on the New Zealand Labour Party and we are not going to stand by and have the sort of behaviour go on that has gone on."
c
"Personal attacks form no part of Labour's strategy. That's where Trevor was out of line," and yet,

"He did not start it."

Or, to put it another way: the Opposition made him do it!


Apart from alcohol, I think the whole Davis thing was the absolute last straw. Helen's marriage has always been the target of criticism - much less than Don's ever was - and frankly I think someone just went a little too far.

As for the rest of the article: Labour is not trying to divert attention from the pledge card debacle, because you know what? The Exclusive Brethren thing was exposed before the pledge card thing, in fact before last election. 1.2 million dollars is a really significant sum, literally hundreds of thousands of dollars more than were involved in the pledge card thing. Russell Brown writes about Exclusive Brethren spending here and overseas.

On a more amusing note, scoop.co.nz satire is always good. (So, by the way, is their news coverage. Very thorough, especially of parliament but also national and international news. Plus, they have a category for "strange and bizarre." That's nifty.) Highlight today: Investigate magazine to claim Clark/Brash affair, by Lyndon Hood, which is fairly hysterical.
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
Okay, let's review, shall we? New Zealand has a robust, bitchy Parliamentary system in which members will backstab, connive, pointscore, mudsling, in short, do anything to keep life interesting in the Beehive. The media usually stays far away from commentary on private life but everything else is open season.

May 2005, National opens up with accusing Labour MP David Benson-Pope of abusing his authority during his time as a teacher. B-P denies allegations (and mostly has the support of Labour); they remain fairly unsubstantiated (after he hit the news, there were plenty of students willing to come forward and say they'd suffered under his iron rule. But only after.) There was unbelievable rhetoric directed against him, including stuff that even if he did absolutely everything he was accused of doing it would have been inappropriate.

post-election, 2005, it is revealed that the Exclusive Brethren have been campaigning for National, spending up to 1.2 MILLION dollars advertising to support them; money that was not reported to the electoral officer. (This is way illegal because NZ parties have a certain amount they're allowed to spend, and no more.) It is slightly dodgy territory because they advertised using National's slogans - "Change the Government" - and EB leaders were transparent in support of National but they didn't actually put "vote Nats!" on the pamphlets BUT... anyway, you get the picture. More crucially, Don Brash actually lied about his knowledge of the pamphlet's existence. (there's a whole bunch of other dodgy stuff about them but anyways.)

There is a period of mostly quiet, which is nice for a change (anyone following parliament a bit more closely know much about what was going on here?) Jane Clifton describes it as a policy of "nuclear dirt-terrent."

Then this week, it is revealed that National leader Don Brash has been having an affair with a woman on the Business Roundtable. This is politically dodgy - not for the affair, for whom it was with - but it had been kept quiet by the media for about a year until, and this is important, National MPs brought it up in caucus and then leaked it to the papers. This really broke major NZ media taboos on commenting on the private lives of politicians; I was watching the news tonight and they came up with two examples of this happening before in NZ media (David Lange's affair, about twenty years ago, and Rob "I am an asshole and everyone hates me!" Muldoon's accusing a Labour MP of being gay thirty years ago.) I don't like this at all and the ONLY reason I could be even a little bit okay with this is that apparently the woman he was sleeping with has a lot of control over, for example, National party funding by the Roundtable.

HOWEVER.

Today? Someone (*cough* NATS *cough*) has started spreading rumours about Helen Clark's husband, Peter Davis being gay. Specifically, there is a photo of him hugging Ian Scott, a gay Labour supporter.

The problem for the smear campaign is that this photo was taken on election night. Labour had just won. Probably, if Don Brash had been in the room, Davis and Scott would have hugged him and it sure wouldn't be because of powerful sexual attraction, kids.

I just can't express how furious this makes me. It's bad enough that because Helen is PM, she's constantly being accused of being a lesbian. (The favourite conspiracy of right-wing jerkoffs in this country is the lesbian cabal running the country. Think the gay agenda, but with special political oomph.) But now, because it's been publicly revealed that Don Brash is having an affair, someone has to make these things up out of whole cloth? NOT FUCKING ON, NZ media. We're sinking to an international low, here.

The worst of it is, it detracts from commentary about exactly why Don Brash's affair might be politically (rather than morally or personally) dodgy. Apart from corruption, he's repeatedly campaigned on a platform of conservative marriage values, for example. But this thing frankly makes it all about the sex lives of our not-so-rich and powerful. Because the thing is, if Helen were a lesbian and Davis were a gay man, they'd a) still have a more functional marriage than Brash and both is ex-wives and b) they'd at least be being honest with each other and c) it still wouldn't affect Helen's fitness for office or Davis' fitness for, um, being professor of Sociology at Auckland University. Just like, in my opinion, Brash's affairs are not what's relevant to his unfitness for office.

Okay, I'm done.
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
Attention! Instead of reading the following boring bitching about New Zealand politicians' sex scandals, you should really just read Tze Ming Mok's hysterical latest.


Sometimes when I'm bored on my Thursday evening shift, I write little lists of what I would prefer to be writing an LJ entry about. Sometimes I write the entry, sometimes I don't, but anyway. Tonight's list had just one item: I can't believe I'm writing about Don Brash again.

That's right, boys and girls of the foreign persuasion. Don "My wife is Chinese* so I can't be racist or anti-immigration", "If National loses the 2005 election I will resign," "I lose my debates with Helen Clark on purpose because it's not nice to be rude to women", "Helen knows my party's policy better than I do" Brash, unbeloved, fuddy-duddy, conservative, frankly bad politician Leader of the Opposition, is back in the news. (National did in fact lose the election, and he... did not step down. Hm.)

Unfortunately, I find myself in the position of supporting him. Excuse me while I go bleach my brain.

This is the thing: New Zealand has something of a tradition of keeping its nose out of the private lives of its politicians, and I generally think this is a really good thing. There are exceptions, times when a politician's private life is relevant (and, obviously, things like corruption and all over everywhere) but as a rule, the validity of what a politician is saying should be judged by what they're saying, not by the politician. This is, I believe, part of the reason the NZ parliament includes a rastafarian and an transsexual.

Now, Don Brash is well-known to have cheated on his first wife with the woman who would become his second - and current, Singaporean - wife. The irony of his conservative positions on marriage is not lost on anyone, but it's not usually considered kosher to bring this up in debates. A few days ago it was leaked that Brash is having marital problems (he's taking a sabbatical, I believe, from which I suspect he will not be returning) and someone in Brash's own party basically said in Parliament that he's been cheating again.

(If anyone not a Kiwi is still reading along, there's been a whole heap of shit-slinging in Parliament lately. First Philip Field is being accused of corruption (Tze Ming Mok's analysis of what he's supposed to have done is here, if anyone has a better one gimme a shout), then the Labour party is being accused of breaking laws using the wrong money to pay for some pledge cards (no link because this is pretty cut-and-dried: it clearly wasn't an intentional mistake, I doubt it significantly affected election results, for fuck's sake, Helen, just pay back the money and everyone will call it quits.) THEN Labour basically threatened to loose the hounds dirt files. This is apparently the first taste of that although, as I said, the original volley came from within National.

Also, National has been trying to smear Labour for... some time, actually, and Labour has generally been fairly restrained about responding, so I guess it was time.)

Okay, that is a very longwinded lot of paragraphs for me to get around to saying: I don't like Don Brash. I think he's not a very good politician and on those occasions when he does manage to articulate opinion I invariably find myself in vehement disagreement (Orewa nearly gave me apoplexy); he certainly managed to revitalise failing National support but he did it in a way that really altered the shape of Parliament, to a shape I don't like (polarised, virtually two-party); and above all, I think that he should have done as he said he would and resigned after National lost the 2005 election. However! If you are going to question Brash's fitness to lead his party, there are a million and one good reasons to do so, like he's a crappy speechmaker, a hopeless debater, he has no control over his party and backbenchers (which, well, sort of proved that), he frequently doesn't know his own policy, even just that he's hopelessly out of touch and old fashioned.

But for god's sake, stay out of the man's bedroom.

Just as I believe the fact that Tim Barnett has sex with men should not be a factor in judging his fitness as a politician, I do not believe Brash's (condemnable, BTW) sexual misconducts should be brought into the limelight. It's not relevant and I want fairness to go both ways. (Although he does look pretty awful in light of the fact that his party is the one that bangs on (and on and on and on) about the sanctity of marriage.)

But if you do want to talk about it, Russell Brown discusses who he was doin' and why it was a problem.

Um, okay, that's more than enough time devoted to Don Brash's - eww - sex life. Let's talk about Bob Clarkson, shall we? Or, rather, let's let [livejournal.com profile] amarynth talk about Bob "I had to be told to stop talking about my testicles in public" Clarkson's latest idiocies, because he is smrt and put it very well.

No more politics for another six months, promise.

*Singaporean, in fact
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
Thing which is really not fun, at all, in any way: going to the library to return a huge stack of books with a library card borrowed off best friend/flatmate and strict instructions to restrict self to one item.

Of course, it was going to be okay, because I had a plan; I was going to get We3, by Grant Morrison, recommended to me by [livejournal.com profile] shoeless_girl and [livejournal.com profile] lordofchaos, they of great taste and huge enabling (I got the books! *does a little dance of squee* Because I am wretched I still have not sent yours out! But I will ASAP!) (Also, I finally read Fray this week, omfg so awesome.). It was available at my library on Monday... but clearly, no longer. But that was okay! I had a backup plan! I was going to get Firebirds Rising, a YA fantasy short story collection including stories by Tamora Pierce, Charles de Lint, Diana Wynne Jones. And it was DEFINITELY available.

You guessed it. Couldn't find it for love or money. Nng. I ended up getting the first volumes of Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina because I love Runaways to pieces so I figure, why not try some more BKV? (Yes, I know, not exactly one item but I was suffering severe book deprival here.)

ANYWAY. Also this week I re-read Green Arrow: Quiver, which was I think the GA reboot. It's still the only GA I've read, but I do enjoy it, although it could have more Arsenal for my tastes. Speaking of whom I also read the Arsenal mini which was fun but didn't really move me; I'd just finished re-reading Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver which features absolutely amazing stuff about the position of native americans in american society today. Now, I'll admit I don't know the first thing about Native Americans or their culture or, really, that much about American; but the Arsenal mini and Kingsolver's portrayal were violently different and, well, I know which one I liked better. A lot. So the whole ending of the mini grated on me, which was frustrating because I felt like I should have been moved or something when really... just no.

current events, sorta )

In more positive news, I turned nineteen on Saturday and had an excellent weekend, including seeing [livejournal.com profile] megaffe who bussed up to see us and a totally delicious raspberry-drenched chocolate cake by [livejournal.com profile] sixth_light. :D I also got texts from no less than three numbers not in my address book, only two of whom identified themselves, so if you texted me and didn't say who you were and think one of the strange numbers may be yours... do let me know!
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
Haka

I want to know!
Don't I belong here?

I was born at Papa-kura.
My whenua turned the soil red.

My mother cried like a seagull.

Her ancestors are buried in Papa-toetoe.
Their old heads are white plumes.

My father held me to this
upside-down sky and I sneezed.

Am I not maori?


I want to know!
Do you belong here?

Where is Kupe from?
His canoe was a strange tree.

Could he feel what my people felt?

This place to rest from the sea.
This longing for home.

Where do the dead return to?
Hawaiki nui. Hawaiki roa. Hawaiki pamaomao.

Are you not pakeha?

-- Glenn Colquhoun
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (nita & kit)
Bred in South Auckland

I drive a car that is falling apart.
There is bog in the body.
There is rust in the doors.
Occasionally it does not have a warrant.
Sometimes I sleep in large rooms full of people.
I eat too much fried bread.
I am late to meetings.
I go to housie
My nose is flat.
I say Raw - tore - loo - uh.

Some people think I am a bloody maori.


I have been to university.
I have a student loan.
I photocopy my tax returns.
Most mornings I read the newspaper.
I make lists of things I have to do and like to cross them off.
I cut apples into quarters before I eat them,
Then I cut the pips out.
I put my name on things.
I listen to talkback radio.
I use EFTPOS.

Some people think I am a typical pakeha.


Last week I drove through a red light,
I did not slow down at a compulsory stop,
I changed lanes on the motorway and did not use my indicator.
When I was a boy I went to see Enter the Dragon,
I took one lesson in kung fu.
My parents made me do my homework.
My brother gave me Chinese burns.
I like beef and pork flavoured two minute noodles.
I light incense when the house smeels.
Once I dug a garden.

Some people think I am a blasted asian.


When I was a boy I learnt to swear in Samoan,
I went to school in Mangere.
I played rugby in bare feet,
Sometimes I shop at the Otara markets.
My family come from overseas.
I used to work in a factory.
Once I helped cook an umu.
When it is summer I wear a lavalava.
I drink pineapple juice.
I like to eat corned beef.

Some people think I must be a flaming coconut.


I think I am the luckiest mongrel I know.

-- Glenn Colquhoun
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
Somewhere, it's international blog against racism week. I do not think I am qualified, both literally and personally, to talk about the race relations problems in my country with sincerity and with good judgement. Instead, I'm going to post a series of poems from Glenn Colquhoun's book The Art of Walking Upright. Colquhoun is a Pakeha man who took a year off from training to be a doctor to live in Te Tii in the Bay of Islands, in a small Maori town. As far as I'm concerned, these poems are required reading for anyone living in this country; they are beautiful in both form and content. Some of these I have posted here before, but I think they're worth reading twice. I'm also going to leave them outside a cut; but if this bothers you, let me know.

Race Relations

My great great grandfather was from Luss.
This is a village on the shores of Loch Lomond.
My parents hang his coat of arms on their wall.

My great great grandmother was a Murray
She lived in Glasgow, by the Clyde.

I don't know if their families fought
but I wouldn't be surprised.


Some Murrays live in Whangape.
I guess we are related
except that I am Pakeha
and they are part Te Rarawa.

Somewhere along the line
I have managed to colonise myself.

It is not the first time this has happened.


My grandmother's grandfather is from England.

This has been a problem for the Scots.

I can't forget what I did to myself at Culloden.

Or what Edward Longshanks
did to William Wallace in Braveheart.

I still hate the bastard which of course I am.


And if that's not bad enough
my grandmother's grandmother is German.

And so is my grandmother's mum.

One half of me has lost a war the other half has won.


Even more complicated is the fact
that my mother's father's family are Jacobs
which if I'm not mistaken makes us Jewish,

who of course won't speak to the Germans.


No-one mentions they were from Tasmania.


Sometimes I don't know how to live with myself.

I am a civil war.


The australians fight the english
and keep the scottish happy.

The scottish fight the english
and then they fight themselves.

The english are offended
and won't speak to the germans.

This annoys the germans
who of course annoy the jews.

The pakeha think they own the place.

The maori want us all to go home.


I would if I knew where that was.


Sometimes it seems I'll never win.
Sometimes I never lose.

A Problem while translating the Treaty of Waitangi )

(that one's behind a cut because of formatting issues but it's really short so do have a look.)
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
I have a cartoon on my door. Well, I have several, actually, but only one's relevant here. It's a Slane cartoon from the New Zealand Listener of October last year, just after the general election. It shows a carpark with a desk in a parking space; on the wall above the desk is the legend "RESERVED: MINISTER OUTSIDE CABINET." Sitting with his feet on the desk, dressed in a fabulous pinstriped suit and puffing away on a cigar is, of course, the Right Honourable Winston Peters, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

I'd take a moment to explain the true phenomenon that is Winston to those of you who are unfamiliar with his exploits here in New Zealand but, well, it would be very difficult. I will say briefly that he is a consummate politician, usually characterised as right-wing and somewhat populist; he leads the New Zealand First party, which runs mostly on a fairly racist anti-immigration policy. He is... well, he's a character in New Zealand politics. In the last election, Labour entered into extensive negotiations with Winston Peters that somehow culminated in him being given the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Racing- although he's not part of the government, and on issues that are not in his portfolio he is allowed to criticise the gvt. So he's in an interesting position, and I think most NZers viewed his appointment as a likely trainwreck - but probably an entertaining one.

Amazingly, he's proved to be rather good at it and relatively scandal-free - relative to a career in which he has consistently harassed the leaders of his party (when he was affiliated with National), protested, tantrumed, quoted unnamed sources and, let us never forget, had speeding tickets and free seafood meals. And today I was amazed to find this article on Scoop.co.nz which quoted Peters' response to Bob Geldof's criticism of New Zealand's international aid contribution. I was amazed because I agree with Peters. A lot. While more aid can always be given, New Zealand has a pretty good track record; our aid as a percentage of GDP is reasonably significant, our aid is mostly untied, and we contribute to peacekeeping and free trade. We also do a lot of work in the Pacific. I am inclined to think that to Mr Geldof, "third-world countries" really means "Africa." Indeed I think that most people, when considering global poverty, think first of Africa. In New Zealand we are a lot more aware, by dint of proximity, of the plight of Pacific nations.

And now, having effectively written an ode to Winston Peters, I'll leave you with a few words from Kate Camp.

Winston Peters with apologies to Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the right.
I have walked out in rain, and back with Regaine
I have gutdragged the final Marlboro Light.

I have Brylcreemed the thinning old campaign
I have whizzed by the traffic cop on his beat
And wound down my window, unwilling to explain.

I have been one acquainted with the right.

-- Kate Camp
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
I was thinking a few days ago, it's been awhile since there's been any really impassioned ranting hereabouts. I was wondering how to fix this; happily, although not really, today's Sunday Star Times front page gave me not one but TWO apoplexies this morning! I have been working up rants on them all day at work.

Illegal Immigrant gets $500k liver transplant: clearly, kiwis are being robbed of healthcare! )

OMG LABOUR DYKES ARE FORGETTING THEIR UNIONIST ROOTS, by rosemary mcleod aged 3 1/2. )

And now, feeling much better, I'm going to do my reading for English tomorrow. Mmm, Wordsworth.

ETA: ALSO. So, all this year I've been telling people that I'm doing a BA/BSc, BA in phil, BSC in maths. However, I'm in the middle of confirming some of my course changes and I checked my majors and apparently my BA major is... English. Phil and maths are my joint BSc majors.

This means two things.
1) At the beginning of the year, in some major spaz fit that I have since totally and completely and utterly forgotten, I changed my majors.
2)Um, I should probably be taking those two English papers, since apparently I don't need the science credits any more. Predictably, as soon as I realise this, I instantly decide Semantics looked much more interesting in the Wednesday lecture. *sigh*

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