BIG NEWS: 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009

Saturday, January 31, 2009

WINZ wastes money to save money

WINZ staff are not allowed to drive along the new tolled motorway in Auckland because it will have to pay $2 for each trip. Apparently the toll road saves about 10-15 minutes. A person on an average salary of $60,000 gets $7.50 every 15 minutes and will pay about $3.50 in tolls and petrol to travel the route.

Obviously, to travel the long route, which is about 4 kilometres longer, will take about 10-15 minutes longer and WINZ will continue spending between $5.00 and $7.50 in lost productivity and whatever it cost in extra petrol - at least $2.00 - travelling at less than 20 kilometers per hour in queues.

I used to work at WINZ. One of my workmates had a company car which she only used to travel to and from work. She lived down the road from me. But her boss wouldn't even let her take me to and from work he refused to let her take passengers for this purpose. That cost me an hours pay every day. Yet this woman's partner also worked for the same company, he had a company car and she passed his place of work on the way to hers.

It sounds like the WINZ decision making processes have not changed much.


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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Maori can't decide on their own flag

This is pathetic. The Prime Minister is happy for the Maori flag to be flown in Auckland on Waitangi Day, but Maori cant decide which flag to fly. I have not heard any major opposition to the Tino Rangitiratanga flag flying, the local tribe is happy with the flag flying, so its a pity they just didn't get on with it and decide to fly it.After making a song and dance about not being able to fly the flag last year, the leaders of the Maori Party don't even know which flag to fly when they are given the chance. Another flag discussed is the 1834 flag, which wasn't a Maori flag but was associated with the Declaration of Independence. Someone tell the dissenting head-in-the-sand Kaumatua that we are commemorating the signing of the Treaty at Waitangi, not the Declaration of Independence, and that Maori want a Maori flag.

Anyway, why is it up to the Maori Party to sort it out? The flag should just be put up. No consultation needed; no need to feed faces at hui.

The last government decided it didn't have time to consider the issue last year, the current Government decided immediately. It's Maori that are holding this back. If someone wants to pay a return flight to Auckland and supply me with a flag and a pole, I`ll put it up myself. Is it that hard?


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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Blogroll v twitter roll

Many bloggers like to link in with like minded bloggers, and so their sites have a blog roll. I have two, one for local bloggers and one for overseas bloggers. Many of them also have twitter pages. Most of these Twitter pages have their blog or website URLs on them and people are reading Twitter more which means they are reading blogs less.

So why not have a Twitter roll. It seems the logical thing to do. And I've never seen one, I have started my own in a drop down menu and it is a work in progress. I'm sure it won't be the last one. I may have to cull my blogroll eventually.

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Is Cactus Kate a male?

I've never met blogger Catcus Kate. I do know her real name. But according to Gender analyser, a site that uses Artificial Intelligence to determine if a homepage is written by a man or woman, Cactus Kate is very much a man.

Can anyone verify this?
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Obama goes digital

This is the first presidential picture snapped with a digital camera. It was snapped with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II taken on January 13th, 2009 at 5:38 pm with no flash, using a 105mm lens stopped to f/10 at a 1/125 exposure, with an ISO of 100.

He's even got a blog. What next? A Facebook site?


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Monday, January 26, 2009

The battle for friends

Facebook is getting increasingly popular. So popular that last month it recorded almost double the number of global visitors in December than longtime leader MySpace. Facebook doubled the number of visitors in the past year alone - meaning more people had more friends - but really, does this mean that Facebook's easy intimacy is replacing real friendships?

And when people meet up with friends they have on Facebook for a drink, guess what they talk about?

Facebook. While updating Facebook and Twitter pages via the mobile device.

And on that note, Twitter, the fast-growing microblogging and social media site begun by three bloggers in California in 2006, is out-digging the social media site Digg.Twitter is only two years old, and, in essence, very simple: like the status update function in Facebook, it asks the question "What are you doing?", and then gives you a very small space in which to answer. And that's all it does: no faffing about with profiles, photos, poking or sheep.

Twitter increased its popularity tenfold in the UK during the past year - and that’s not including stats around mobile usage.Whereas Digg gets a lot of its visitors from Google (almost 40 percent), Twitter acquires a lot of its users in other social networks like Facebook, through mobile devices. Twitter could go mainstream this year, just as Facebook did about two years ago, led by the 25-34 year old age band as seen here.

Yep, its the interactive world of web 2.0. But as marketing takes a greater hold within social networking we will be entering the world of web 3.0 - driven not just by content or interaction, but with a greater presence of advertising and marketing. In the meantime perhaps some of our relationships may be based solely on exchanges of 140 characters or less - via a gadget that has the name of a fruit.


Technorati tag:,


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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kiro stepping down in April

Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro is going on the dole in April.

Yee har.

You can apply for her job here.


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Moving from Feedburner to Google

This is for bloggers, media and and anyone else who uses Feedburner for their RSS feeds.

Google is very happy to have acquired Feedburner - for $100m - so they can put ads into feeds and make more money. But anyone using Feedburner has to move to Google by Feb 27. Has anyone tried to do it? And watched their subscriber numbers drop....The Washington Post is not at all impressed.

Google is a horrible monster. As well as Feedburner, you can always subscribe to Big News through Bloglines through the Bloglines button on the sidebar.


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Saturday, January 24, 2009

PM wants to learn Maori

John Key wants to learn Maori. He wants to be fluent in Te Reo, but says he has no time to learn it. Thats bollocks. If he wanted to learn it he'd make time for it. He could do a basic Te Reo course extramurally through Massey and it`d take just six hours a week for 13 weeks. He could relinquish the Tourism portfolio for that time and he'd easily get that done. Imagine having John Key at your Massey contact course.

But I noticed this from the Newstalk ZB report :
Mr Key was asked whether it was time for a New Zealand prime minister to be fluent in both of the country's official languages.
Given one of our two official languages is sign language, I wonder what use Newstalk ZB would see in Key being fluent in both languages, let alone one.

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I bet it was the police who fired the fatal bullet

That's all.
UPDATE Well...


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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama's Speech

Heres President Obama's speech - with a word cloud. Rick Warren's inaugural prayer can be found here.


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Monday, January 19, 2009

Slim boy fat off to jail

He was a famous singer, very slim, number one hits, now he's fat and off to jail for assaulting a gay escort. Recognise him?


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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cop caught stealing on video camera - and let off

Ian Wishart reports that senior Police Officer Darren Buist was caught on video camera stealing from Mitre 10, but although the store owner trespassed him, police let him off as the offending "did not meet the criminal threshold". That’s the same line recently used by Police National Headquarters to defend their decision not to prosecute Assistant Commissioner Rob Pope for perjury, despite finding his actions were wrong.

Instead the cop was counseled for the " unwiseness of his actions", which in non-police speak means "you were a dick to get caught". Furthermore, Police actively discouraged and intimidated the store owners from pressing charges.

So does that mean that a person caught breaking the law and is deemed not to meet the criminal threshold, is thus deemed because of where he works, rather than because of a law he broke? Sounds like it to me.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Brad Shipton and parole

So, Brad Shipton was alleged to have met co-offender Peter McNamara, a breach of his parole conditions. So noting that Shiptons lawyer provided video evidence that he was in Auckland at the time, surely police will investigate the false complaint? Lets hope the Minister will ask Barry Matthews why a Parole Board meeting was called, and why Corrections didn't even bother to find out where Shipton was. At the same time she should haul in the Police Commissioner to find out why the police contacted Corrections to do an investigation it should have done in the first place, and why Police aren't arresting people when they have all the information needed.

Given that police probably have a name and address of the person they could be after, that doesn't mean that police will make an arrest, even if the media gets involved - unless of course the cops are flying around in planes observing traffic.
There has been a huge increase in the number of cellphone calls advising of bad driving and the cops-in-the-sky will be able to follow up on complaints quickly.
Perhaps the police on the ground could respond to complaints as well as the cops in the sky - without it having to be a traffic offence.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Friends on both sides

Well, the protests have escalated while I was out of town. I know Father Gerald Burns, David Zwartz, Cat Noakes-Duncan and Adrian Leason (whose son, Mana, is pictured at a protest). They are all good people. And all have strong views on the situation in Gaza. But I certainly think its a little weird that Zwartz is moaning about kids being plastered in fake blood saying that to have kids in protests like that is wrong because they don't "know of the politics of war". Does he think it is wrong for Israel to plaster at least 260 kids with real blood in the past few days, just as much as he thinks it is wrong for Hamas to fire rockets?

At least the kids with the fake blood are pictured alive. About as alive as these girls who are pictured writing notes on Israeli missiles that read "Nazrala whit love, From Israel and Daniele". Do you think that is fine, Mr Zwartz or perhaps these kids know of the politics of war so that makes it okay?

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Children's Commissioner hires lawyers as her feelings were hurt - and loses

Someone ought to find out how much the taxpayer paid Dr Cindy Kiro for her legal attack on Radio Live after Michael Laws hurt her feelings and was taken to the Broadcasting Standards Authority because Kiro can't take criticism. The BSA decision is here and Kiro lost.

Radio Live programme director Mitch Harris said that the decision by the authority "raises real issues about the actions of this senior public servant".
The Children's Commissioner had employed a lawyer to pursue the complaint beyond the point of reasonableness, he said. Dr Kiro clearly had a problem with Michael Laws' robust criticism of her office and her actions. "The complaint was a chilling attempt by a government agent to suppress freedom of speech. The BSA's judgement is an important win for talk radio and talkback, in particular
Kiro actually counted how many times she was mentioned over a three hour period. She was mentioned 50 times. This was some of the offending comments:
Dr Kiro “wouldn’t have a clue what real poverty looked like/Dr Kiro doesn’t understand the problems/The problem “is not poverty of money, it’s poverty of mind”, and “it’s the cycle of uselessness, not the cycle of poverty”/This is the point that Cindy Kiro simply has refused to address: how are you going to try and change parents, or a parent, who has no aspiration for themselves, let alone their children, into a fully functioning member of the human race who advantages their child no matter that they are not rich?/For goodness’ sake, why doesn’t she just focus on what we need for children? They need a loving, kind adult, hopefully a parent, but not necessarily, in charge of the child and ensuring that they get three meals a day, that they are kept warm at night, that they get off to school and there’s somebody at home when they get home at night. It’s pretty basic stuff.”
Kiro complained that the remarks were unbalanced and unfair. Diddums. It's obvious why she didn't sue for defamation. Laws told the truth.

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The whole point of Catholic Schools

Schools are set to receive guidelines on how to run religious education and ceremonies, paving the way for pupils to get out of any religious activity. A working copy reveals schools could tell the Human Rights Commission that forcing children to take part in religious ceremonies or classes may breach their rights.

Of course journalists had to ask the Catholic Church what it thought. The Catholic Bishop of Palmerston North claims the whole point of a Catholic school is to teach the Catholic faith. If that was the case, it would not get state funding and the schools would be run by nuns who do not need teaching qualifications, not qualified non-Catholic teachers. (Also any sex education would probably be substandard). The Bishop should spend a day at a Catholic school, as the point of a Catholic school is no different to any other school that teaches kids to spell, read and write. The difference is its distinctive character.

Although I am not a Catholic, my kids go to a Catholic school. If I knew that it gave them religious instruction all day and they had to recite chunks of the Catechism they wouldn't be going there because, like most parents, I send my kids to school to get instruction on how to read, write and spell - and to have the opportunity to make more friends and learn social etiquette. Any faith issues are an add-on. All they do is have a short story from a kid's bible at the beginning of the day, a quick prayer, and a few stories and art work here and there. That does not breach the Bill of Rights Act, given that parents choose to send their kids there knowing such things happen. Teachers don't have to subscribe to the faith to teach at a Catholic school, although it certainly helps if they are sympathetic to it. If kids don't like a few bible stories, prayers and art work they can either go to school 10 minutes late or attend another school. Perhaps the bible readings are twice as long and they light more candles for longer if the Bishop turns up?

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Israel's disgusting attacks

So, there's a truce in the war in Gaza. Israel sets up a three-hour truce so that humanitarian workers can get aid to civilians.

Then fires at and kills the aid workers. How can the UN continue in these circumstances when its own aid workers are being killed and injured, even when they are in direct coordination with the Israeli liaison people, who are supposed to ensure their safety.I don't blame the UN for suspending relief until it can be assured humanitarian workers come out alive during a ceasefire.

Although Hamas started this scrap, I guess its one step forward for Israel - from drinking Pepsi while watching Gaza burn, to killing aid workers when their fingers are not supposed to be on triggers.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Why a Catholic Priest would splatter paint over a Israeli memorial plaque

Porirua Catholic Priest Father Gerard Burns, in a protest this week, splattered paint mixed with his own blood over the memorial of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzkan Rabin, when protesting against the Israel Defence Force operation in Gaza. It even made news in the Jerusalem Post.

Although Rabin did win the Nobel Peace Prize when he signed the Oslo Peace accord with Yassir Arafat, it was the Israelis who opposed this accord and so perhaps Burns saw this memorial as a symbol of the Israel state.

Burns is pro- Palestinian, and is an advocate for Palestinian Christians. He does understand international relations - he has recently completed a Masters degree in the discipline. So more than most, he would consider the Israeli attacks an injustice. But he has received a bit of stick for the protest. Meanwhile not too many are as appalled at Green MP Keith Locke for supporting Hamas. Hamas believes that Israel has no right to existand declares itself as committed to destroying Israel.

The fact is this: if Hamas stopped firing rockets, Israel will stop bombing. But if Israel stopped bombing, Hamas would still be firing rockets. You wouldn't hear Keith Locke say that but Gerard Burns would agree with that fact. Both would say that Israel, not Hamas, broke the ceasefire... because it did. Twice.

also.. latest Robert Fisk Why do they hate the West so much, we will ask.

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

New Zealand Herald thinks Colin James is boring - but nobody else does

Politics junkies will know by now that the NZ Herald has ditched the column from Colin James. Why? Apparently they wanted to cut costs and James told me earlier this week that his column was the "most boring". So he was cut. James offered it as a e-mailing list to all who inquired. But then the Dominion Post, the Waikato Times and The Press asked if they could run the column. The Otago Daily Times already runs it but not online, unfortunately.

So, four papers will run his column, but not online, apparently and everyone outside the circulation will be able to get it via email.

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Jesus Christ, Pita bread. Who are you, why do they think you're dead?

One Person has put the tasty Messiah up on TradeMe.
Hungry one morning last week, I decided to heat up some pita bread. I broke it into little bits and left it in the oven for about two and a half minutes.

After the pieces began to blacken I took them out. Oddly enough one piece even looked like the "face" of Jesus. I was tempted to eat it but for some reason I didn't.

Instead, I left it in the pantry until today, when I finally decided that I might as well auction it off.

As usual for these things, it has a good bunch of questions.


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