The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

So long and thanks for all the fish

And so Spanblather ends, and I think I ought to explain some of the why.

The slow down here started because I simply did not have much time or health to spend on blogging. When that situation improved I found I no longer had the inclination to write here, or indeed anywhere, as Span.*

The simple fact is that I'm just not Span anymore. Span was a part of me rooted in my student activist days and I've been slowly evolving away from that person for the last 18 months.

Several events have led me to conclude that there's no longer much Span in me these days, not least the impact of a disclosure of rape that was made to me last year by someone I love very much. I feel that the writing I have done here on the issue of rape and sexual violence, even before this disclosure, was not something Span would really have understood, certainly not something she would have been able to write about when she first took form in the late mid-90s. Sure, Span was involved in a radical feminist group for a while and felt strongly about the issues, but she could never really identify with them personally, it was always in the abstract. That's changed, for good or ill.

Similarly, my witterings about s59, motherhood, and sex were areas the original Span would probably not have ventured into - she was too busy running around campus because walking anywhere was just too slow, focused on the game-playing side of politics, rather than the day to day realities of life. The future always seemed like it would be glorious and full of radical activity. Span was a person who was always going to be young, in many senses of the world. The early Span would never have found domesticity at all fulfilling, or interesting. Sleeping was a resented task that would be done only when strictly necessary, and any second not spent doing something, anything, was a second wasted. Even when I had CFS that Span mentality still existed within the parameters of life dictated by the illness, which may be one of the reasons I was sick for three years.

Other parts of my life have changed too, and I'm happy with the new person I'm becoming, as Louise L Hay as that sounds. I feel constrained by Span now, instead of liberated. This pseudonym limits me rather than allowing me a forum to write about whatever I want without fear of being judged by those who know me in the real world**. Certainly I enjoyed surprising people who discovered my real identity when this blog was reasonably new, in particular those who had assumed Span was a man. Span was in many ways a sex-less entity, but that certainly hasn't been true of my writing over the last 18 months (partly because of the emergence of Capitalism Bad, which has inspired me in many ways).

Enough with the odd third person wankery. Thanks so much for reading and commenting and emailing and debating. For the most part I've found it stimulating and enjoyable. I'm particularly glad that there are now several excellent NZ lefty women bloggers out there writing about feminism and politics, notably Maia, Deborah, Tze Ming, jo and Anna. I look forward to reading their stuff and will probably still comment around the traps, albeit not as Span. Good luck to them, and also to my other imaginary friends; Idiot/Savant, Aucklander at Large, Just Left, Ghet, Make Tea Not War, Joe Hendren, those funny folk at Brain Stab, and the dear Frank Stupid.

I'm not going to delete this blog - I'm too vain about the good writing I have done to send it to trash. I'll allow comments for a while longer and then probably switch them off or put them on moderation - I'd hate for this site to become a spam farm. My spanblather email won't be cleared much, so those who use it may want to get in touch in the next week or so before I start ignoring it, so that we can maintain contact through other avenues.

And, because I can't end this last post on the banality of email addresses and spam, here's a quote from the wonderful, ineffable, DNA:

And, in an astonishing reversal of normal practice in the conduct of such matters, everybody concerned lived happily ever after.

There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the
chronicler's mind.


* I admit I have been sorely tempted this last fortnight with all the National gaffes.
** Or stalked, or losing my job, or having people assume I am a puppet to my partner/party/employer/whoever when I clearly am not, or suffering any of the other ill effects that sometimes seem to affect the woman who blogs about politics under her real name.

(Pic Via)

Sunday, August 12, 2007


There is so much I want to write about at the moment, but I'm having some problems finding much time, and then I feel like the moment has passed. I had hoped that the low level of posting of the last few months was over, but it seems that is not the case. Sorry to be slack - and I have no promises I can realistically make about when this might change.

It seems a real shame because Spanblather is now over three years old and this year has been the best so far. I don't want to give the blog away altogether, and I don't want to go on hiatus, but that's what is happening by default really.

I'm not sure why I'm bothering to write this, other than to explain a little to readers - I'm not sick, nothing is wrong, I just simply don't have a lot of time now, or for the forseeable future. And once you stop blogging as part of your everyday life it gets harder to find the time to fit it back in again, in my experience.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Here's one for Apathy Jack

Just like buzz and hum, I am indeed:

Well that's a relief.

Linky Love - Volume 21

Standard intro - Linky Love is basically a cobbling together of posts I've noticed around the traps that have set off little tiny sparkles inside my head, and which I would possibly write about or comment on if I didn't need to sleep, eat, work, that kind of stuff. I usually put Linky Love volumes up weekly. I hope you like it.

As always if you have a post of your own, or some else's, that you'd like to highlight, please feel free to add it in comments, or to discuss the above posts, or indeed most anything else.

Anarchia - A lack of language, an abundance of masks - Asher writes about mental illness and the difficulty of communicating about it with friends to get the support he needs.

Auckland's Burning - Photos from tent embassy - John has pics of the protest aimed at visiting Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, underway in Auckland.

Born on State Highway One - Chomsky Lite, with a Scottish accent - Ryan looks at the background to George Galloway's visit to our little nation, and comments on the Voices of Peace forum Galloway spoke at recently.

Capitalism Bad; Tree Pretty - Stand Down Margaret - Maia writes eloquently about how Margaret Thatcher still influences her nightmares, and the negative effect she had on hundreds of thousands of lives.

Contradiction - Actions and moral concepts - George reflects on how politicians seem to make their moral decisions.

eggs benedict and two flat whites - Reasons why it's good to live in NZ - Sandy asks for your top five reasons.

Feministe - The Disney Princess Industrial Complex is coming for your soul! - Vanessa writes about the heavy gendering of children's toys, from the perspective of a mother with a toddler-age daughter.

The House of Ghetsuhm - In ur internet, bringing u weird shit - Ghet has a truly absurd picture that I heart.

LAANTA - More and Better Aid - Terence provides his speech notes from a debate on whether the 0.7% Overseas Development Aid target will actually help.

The Legal Soapbox - Portrayal of the accused and the law - Legal Eagle writes about newspaper sketches of defendants and how they might influence public opinion of the merits of their case, against the background of the Haneef case in Australia.

Roger Nome's Progressive Politics
- RN has a series of posts on why NZ needs its unions back, 1, 2 and 3.

Women's Space/The Margins - What Have You Done For a Girl, a Woman, a Female Person? - Heart asks her readers to share their stories of what they have done, as radical feminists, for other women. Comment thread at 52 and counting.

Previous volumes of Linky Love (1 - 20) can be found over here.

(Pic Via)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bloggage - July 2007

I know, I can't believe I got these up today either.

And in Breaking Blog Stats News - Kiwiblog NOT the most prolific posting blog this month for the first time since records began!

As is now the status quo, those who have nominated a best post have it linked from their blog name, and are denoted by an asterisk. Thanks to everyone who sent their stats in, despite my slackness.

JULY 2007

Fly (1 post)
(no one yet)

Bantam(2 - 9 posts)
Fighting Talk - 3 posts, no comments
Anarchia* - 6 posts, 42 comments
binary_heart* - 7 posts, 12 comments

Feather (10 - 19 posts)
All Embracing* - 10 posts, 14 comments
Deane Jessep* - 14 posts, 0 comments
Put 'em all on an Island* - 16 posts, 14 comments
Spanblather* - 19 posts, 161 comments

Light (20 - 29 posts)
Born on State Highway One - 20 posts, 10 comments
eggs benedict and two flat whites - 20 posts, 75 comments
Put Up Thy Sword! - 22 posts, 81 comments
from the morgue - 22 posts, 94 comments
Just Left - 27 posts, 414 comments
Brain Stab - 28 posts, 91 comments
Long Ago and Not True Anyway* - 29 posts, 16 comments

Welter (30 - 49 posts)
...the gossip* - 33 posts, 4 comments
The Fundy Post* - 34 posts, 112 comments
Red Confectionary* - 42 posts, 98 comments

Middle (50 - 74 posts)
No Minister - 62 posts, 227 comments

Cruiser (75 - 99 posts)
The Briefing Room - 72 posts, 1489 comments
Something should go here, maybe later - 77 posts, 84 comments
Tumeke - 91 posts, 608 comments

Heavy (100 - 199 posts)
No Right Turn* - 115 posts
News24seven - 173 posts, 6 comments
Kiwiblog* - 179 posts, 23,148 comments (and none spam!)
Whaleoil - 185 posts, 218 comments

Super Heavy (200+)
(no one yet!)

If you're not listed then I suggest you add them in comments below, or email them to me spanblather at gmail dot com, making sure to include your blog name, url, number of posts & comments, and if the mood takes you you might also want to nominate your best post of the month.

Thanks everyone!

Past Bloggage:
- February 2007
- March 2007
- April 2007
- May 2007
- June 2007

Updated, 5th August 11.45am, to include 4 new blogs from comments and 8 new blogs from email.

(Pic Via)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Good News in Fanland

Paul Scoones has revealed, over on PASystem, that the third season of (the new) Dr Who will begin on Prime on Sunday 19th August at 7.30pm!

Rejoice! Rejoice!

(No spoilers please - some of us don't have puters capable of taking part in the bittorrent revolution :-( )

(Pic Via)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Reminder - Bloggage stats due Wednesday folks!

Don't forget, the start of a new month is almost upon us, which means it's time to email me with your blog stats. If you can't remember, or have no idea, what I am on about, check out last month's stats.

Send them to spanblatherATgmailDOTcom, and include:
  • your blog url
  • your total number of posts and comments for July
  • your pick for your best post of the month if you are so inclined.

Deadline is 6pm Wednesday, but really we all know I won't be able to get them up until Thursday morning so knock yourselves out.

Thank ye kindly.

(Pic Via)

Further thoughts on the Setchell Affair

Last week I posted about David Benson Pope, Madeliene Setchell and conflicts of interest. I've now had the unique experience of having Kiwiblog commenters praise me for my principled approach* and being castigated in my own comments section by some people I respect (yes, including you Craig R) for not being principled about DBP, not being a feminist unionist about Setchell, and generally not supporting the political neutrality of the public service.

All of this has given me pause. I've already added my additional thoughts about DBP to the comment thread on my original post, but suffice to say the revelations of the last week have reinforced my opinion that he had to go, and I'm very relieved he has.

My thinking about Setchell's employment has evolved a bit since I posted last week. I've been pondering whether there would have been a perceived or actual conflict of interest if the employment issues had been the other way around; if Setchell already had the MfE job and Taylor was applying to be John Key's chief presser. Resoundingly the answer has to be no, but I'm not sure it's entirely because of gender. It would be to National's advantage to have a press sec with a connection high up in the MfE and so they wouldn't want to veto Taylor's appointment from that point of view. If the MfE had concerns about Setchell at that point it would be interesting to see how they would raise them in a legally appropriate way. All of this is of course totally hypothetical.

But something Craig wrote struck a particular nerve within me. I had commented that I was often judged on the political activity of my partner, and that I had hated it, and Craig thought this made my view of the Setchell Affair even worse. This has got me thinking - how has that judgement I sometimes face manifested, and does it make Setchell a fellow traveller to me?

I've been political since long before I met my partner - we were in different parties when we met and we've managed to negotiate the collapse of the coalition between our two parties in 2002 without much stress between us. We share things and we trust each other, and although there have been times each of us could have used something shared between us to the political advantage of our own party that hasn't happened once. Perhaps the example of own parents has stood us in good sted - in both cases our fathers are right-wing and our mothers from longtime Labour families, and yet both marriages are still strong after over twenty-five years together.

The main problems for me have been that people assume I am in the same party as my partner, and that I hold the same views as them (oddly by "them" I mean the person doing the assuming usually, not necessarily my partner). This is mainly an irritant because it means that people ring Nickname Pending up to ask about various things and when he's not here they are disappointed (and occassionally angry) that I a) don't know the answer and b) am not instantly enthusiastic about whatever they want to talk about.

The times that the assumption goes above the level of irritation are mainly to do with blogging. Accusations that I am writing something here for spin purposes, or because my partner told me to, or that I am arguing with someone else on another blog for those same reasons, rather than thinking (and writing) for myself drive me batty. Even when I was on the Alliance National Council and wrote about Alliance things here it was never been at the behest of someone else or to put out the party line. When my partner had a blog** I did comment on it, but not to be sycophantic - at times I disagreed with him. I did stand up to bullying I saw happening on his blog, as I have on Jordan's, and Tony's, and the blogs of others. I do this because I don't like bullying (aka trolling), and I find it at times amusing to take the piss out of those who bully, not because I am particularly passionately wounded on the target's behalf but more because I like to think I can be witty from time to time.

But I do tend to hide my partner's name and political affiliation under a bushel when it comes to my work, and this is where Setchell and I may have more in common than I had first imagined.

My colleagues all know Nickname Pending, but I won't be sharing his political activities with the union members I represent anytime soon. Not because I think it will get me in trouble with them, I hasten to add. I don't tell them about my affiliations either, and although my real identity is reasonably widely known amongst blogging circles I use a pseudonym here and I've stopped writing letters to the editor, because I would hate to think that a member felt they couldn't seek help because they found my political views, or that of my partner, distasteful.

When it's a matter of politics at work then my official view, to members and others, will be that of my employer, not mine. I've walked that fine line before, when I was on the AUSA Exec and opposed the lowering of the drinking age - it was AUSA policy to support it***, and it was my portfolio which had to do the talking, and I did it, no problem at all. I guess ultimately I prefer the delegate model, rather than the trustee approach, to political representation.

So was it unreasonable, given my personal experience, to think Setchell shouldn't have got the MfE job in the first place? I'm less decided than I was. When I reflect on how my partner and I manage to share political gossip and information without too many problems I can't help thinking that it isn't so hard because we are broadly on the same side. In 2002, when our shared computer was full of emails with strategy information from one party, and I was on the Campaign Committee of the other, I was pressured, once, to provide some inside info to my party. I demurred and that was respected.

But that was over a short period of time, and neither of us was employed by our opposing organisations. Could we do that, could anyone do that - balance along that tight-rope, particularly if they were political people, for months or years, and potentially act against the interests of their employer by not sharing what they knew? I hope so, for the sake of our public service and for the sake of those many people who have a political partner, whether they are political themselves or not. In the Setchell case the jobs are particularly sensitive - chief press sec for the Opposition Leader and communications officer for a key Ministry.****

Where have I meandered to with all this? On the one hand I still think it is politically naive to not see that there is a genuine potential for conflict of interest in the Setchell case*****. The perception is almost as bad as the reality, from my point of view - I don't think I would even apply for a job that would mean muttering behind hands everytime I walked past, or workmates withholding information from me for fear of who I might share it with.

On the other hand I do think our public service should be neutral, and thus the political affiliations of public servants, or their families, should be irrelevant to most appointments. And I certainly know what it is like to have your partner's politics thrust in your face, and unfair assumptions made. I also know that it is something women are more likely to face than men - to the best of my knowledge Nickname Pending has never had anyone even consider that my political affiliations or activities would have any bearing on him. Each man is an island, it seems.

On balance I think I may have changed my mind. Ultimately I know it is possible to operate a relationship across political lines, albeit difficult at times. Sadly the fact that many other people don't know that seems to be the main barrier to success.

*Assumedly only on DBP, as I disagreed with DPF on the issue of Setchell's conflict of interest.
** Which he started well after Spanblather began, but that didn't stop many people from assuming that my blog's purpose was to back him up. Little woman indeed.
*** I now support the current age too, by the way.
**** In the past MfE wouldn't have been all that important really, but with the competition over policy on climate change that is no longer the case.
***** I didn't get a chance to read all of Matt McCarten's column on this in the HoS, but the fact that he thinks Setchell shouldn't have got the job has made me wonder what McCarten really thought when I was on the Alliance Council and Executive, let alone the Campaign Committee.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A McEnroe Moment*

Sometimes, on the inter tubes, you find something that you just don't think can possible be serious. For example, Josh at Brain Stab alerted me to this discussion about whether women "girls" can/should play rugby at NZ Conservative. It depressed me, because sadly I know that many of the participants are serious about their views of women (and men) and how limited we supposedly all are in our neat little gender boxes.**

For the record I wanted to play rugger as a girl - in primary school I did play briefly, although it was a sanitised little kids version. I never thought it odd that we had mixed teams for our mock World Cup, at least until I got to intermediate where the only winter sports options were netball or hockey. I wasn't the only girl in my age group to express an interest in playing rugby, but we knew it was hopeless to try. I understand that very same girls' school does offer it now, which is great. Anything that encourages them to think outside the concept that Netball Is All is a good thing.

It's also worth pondering this - the NZ Women's rugby team, known as the Black Ferns, have won the last three World Cups. Unlike certain other national NZ rugby teams I could name...

And here's another site inspiring disbelief, in a much more cheering manner. Pantalaine supplies (or supplied, or perhaps pretends to supply) some rather odd clothing such as this fetching top:

Don't say I never bring you anything weird from the interwab.

* As in "you cannot be serious!" After writing this post yesterday, but not posting it, I had a dream last night where I was going to be in a doubles team with McEnroe. Sadly we never ended up actually playing cos I had to go off and do other important dream things, but I'm sure we would have kicked arse.
** Any colour you like, as long as they are pink OR blue as determined by the absence of possession of a Y in your chromosomnal makeup.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Linky Love - Volume 20

Standard intro - Linky Love is basically a cobbling together of posts I've noticed around the traps that have set off little tiny sparkles inside my head, and which I would possibly write about or comment on if I didn't need to sleep, eat, work, that kind of stuff. I usually put Linky Love volumes up weekly. I hope you like it.

As always if you have a post of your own, or some else's, that you'd like to highlight, please feel free to add it in comments, or to discuss the above posts, or indeed most anything else.

Alas, a blog - Helix SF Magazine published all-female authored issue - Mandolin looks at wot it says in the title, and the reactions that resulted.

DagCentral - Healthcare in America, Pt 1. - dc talks about the American system, from the point of view of a patient and a nurse.

Feministe - Monday Afternoon at the Welfare Office - kactus shares what it's like to be an American on welfare.

Feministe - Liberated - Jill has a very interesting graph and post on the US Government's attitude to Iraqis seeking to resettle in the Land of the Free.

Feministing - Bush's EEOC nominee "undermined" employment rights - Ann brings us another I Can't Believe This Is Happening Moment, courtesy of the Bush Administration.

The Legal Soapbox - Feelin' blue about blogging - Legal Eagle is actually writing about housing affordability in Australia, reminding us Kiwis that we aren't the only ones with ridiculous house prices.

Make Tea Not War - Film Festival: Part One - MTNW gives us her short reviews of the four films she has seen so far.

Scratch & Sniff - Whodathunk it? actually, plenty of us - Cheezy points out the fallacy in the recent right-wing argument No One Foresaw Iraq Turning Out Like This.

stanselen - No More Rape - jo writes about the Christchurch protest in support of the case against John Dewar.

Take Back the News - A positive example - Anna deconstructs a news story about crime and shows how it is possible to report on rape (and indeed other crime) without stuffing up your use of allegeds.

Previous volumes of Linky Love (1 - 19) can be found over here.

(Pic Via)

Harry Potter and the Final Book

I've finished it at last. What can I say, I'm a slow reader and this has been a busy week.

I'm going to put my spoilerific points in comments, so as not to ruin things for anyone who hasn't finished yet. I'm not going to be like the complete stranger who came up to me in a cafe where I was reading The Deathly Hallows, the day after it came out, and said "oh, yeah, someone dies in the end." Luckily for him those who have been following the Potter books all know that someone would have to die at the end of this one, so it's no spoiler really. But what is with someone who acts like that, thinking they are spoiling things for a person they've never seen before or will again? Maybe it was some kind of bizarre flirting.

Anyhoo I will say in this post that I was disappointed by the final book. It was a lot lot longer than it needed to be, and the attentions of an editor were not evident. There was a lot of clunky writing that irritated me - for the first time reading a Rowling book I found myself skimming passages. I also think that some of the plot options she took were a bit too easy, too obvious, or, conversely, didn't fully make sense. For an example of the latter - there's a lot of Apparating about the place in this book, but I don't recall Harry learning to Apparate in the previous books. (Readers correct me here if I'm wrong).

Ok, time to restrain myself and pour it out in comments. And here are a few other reviews from my regular blog haunts (I haven't read them yet but will once I've finished my initial thoughts in the comment thread here):

- Maia's review at Capitalism Bad

- Mr Stupid's thoughts on where to now, and also the most recent flick

- my last thread on this topic, prior to any reading

- Morthos rips in at Brain Stab
- Amanda Marcotte writes a lengthy and very interesting review at Pandagon. (Added 29th Jul. 2007)
Feel free to add your review links in comments.
(Pic Via)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In the Memtime

Taking One for the Team

I'm of the opinion these days that David Benson-Pope should go. Too many scandals, and too much taint, fair or unfair. He's a distraction and a liability, and even though he could be doing a good job as a Cabinet member he is doing a bad job as part of the public face of this Government, and by extension of the Centre-Left.

Sometimes in politics you have to step back from a fight even though you haven't done anything wrong. I'm not saying that is necessarily the case for DBP, but I suspect he feels he hasn't offended. However the public perception is against him, and if he wants his team to win then he may have to accept a place on the reserve bench, or even in the stand watching.

He hasn't handled the Madeliene Setchell affair well, even though I kind of agree that she probably shouldn't have got the job. Conflicts of interest are also about perception, and from what I understand about the sensitivity of the job Setchell was employed for it seems she would have been at considerable risk of people assuming that she was passing information on to her National party staffer partner (or that she was in turn including ideas National would have liked in her advice). Ministry and Parliamentary jobs of this nature require a high level of trust - this is so integral that a breakdown of trust and relationship is considered a legitimate reason for terminating employment (with a three month pay out period I think?).

It's sad that Setchell couldn't have done this job without raising eyebrows. I write this as someone with a particular interest in not being judged on the politics or position of their partner, who is in a different party from me. The fact that our public service has become more politicised in the last twenty years is undeniable though. Nicky Hager had some interesting things to say about this in his lecture on The Hollow Men earlier this year. He points to the Fourth Labour Government, and the National Government of the '90s that followed, as the drivers of change in this regard. Hager believes that there has been a great purging of those holding opinions against deregulation, privatisation and the like. Certainly that might explain why even our current Labour-led Government seems to be unable to think outside many of the systems set up under governments ostensibly further to the right. It also explains why the service has changed so much that alarum bells were set off by Setchell's appointment.

The outcome of all this hasn't been fair to Setchell and it may not be fair to DBP either. But that's politics sometimes. It's isn't always right, but there it is.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Linky Love - Volume 19

Sorry this is late. Real life gets in the way of geek life sometimes. Consider yourselves lucky you don't have to wait until I've finished The Deathly Hallows ;-)

Standard intro - Linky Love is basically a cobbling together of posts I've noticed around the traps that have set off little tiny sparkles inside my head, and which I would possibly write about or comment on if I didn't need to sleep, eat, work, that kind of stuff. I usually put Linky Love volumes up weekly. I hope you like it.

As always if you have a post of your own, or some else's, that you'd like to highlight, please feel free to add it in comments, or to discuss the above posts, or indeed most anything else.

Born on State Highway One - "Mankind has always dreamed of destroying the sun!" - Ryan writes about the politics of climate change denial, and the left-right division that seems to have sprung up.

eggs benedict and two flat whites - small country - big complex :-) - Sandy looks at the relaxed attitude many Kiwis seem to have to being behind the world in regard to ICT standards.

Feministe - LIBERALS want your CHILD to have SEX!! - A great post by Trailer Park Feminist debunking the conservative (American) arguments about young people, sex, and the "loose" attitudes of liberals.

In a strange land - Rugby and patriarchy - New blogger Deborah contributes a post on the dominance of rugby in NZ society and what she thinks that means for us.

Larvatus Prodeo - Egging Brendan - Gummo Trotsky covers the Australian controversy surrounding political vetoing of social science and humanities projects.

Long Ago and Not True Anyway - The Moral Equivalence of Fools - Terence explains, clearly and concisely, why communism and nazism are not equivalent.

Object Dart - Is anyone listening? - Che Tibby writes about the importance of communication in his (public sector) role, and explains what an, ahem, "knowledge-maven" is.

Pandagon - Since you're already down, you won't mind if I kick you, will you? - Sheelzebub reports on the plight of many Hurricane Katrina survivors, still living in FEMA trailers two years later. Surprise, surprise, it's not the rich folks.

The view from my window - Contemporary fiction - satsumasalad muses on what the publishing world seems to think appeals to female readers today.

WellUrban - Patchwork City - Tom has made a cool map using the 2006 census data for Wellington.

Previous volumes of Linky Love (1 - 18) can be found over here.

(Pic Via)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The First XV Mentality

And so once again we have an All Black "Great" called to defend the character of a man charged with a serious crime, as if an All Black's ability to judge the criminality or otherwise of someone was better than the average bear.

Last time it was Steve McDowell attempting to back-up his dear friend Clint Rickards*, now it's Sean Fitzpatrick defending his mate Richard Kroon who is accused of kidnapping a business associate. I have no opinion on the guilt or otherwise of Mr Kroon**, as I know nothing about the case, but I don't see how putting an All Black on the stand, and of course therefore on the front page of the Herald, should be anymore important than having your neighbour Mrs Scroggs there to say she's always found you to be a bang-up solid chap.

What is it with us Kiwis and our First XV mentality, that we some how think that because someone is good at rugger they are therefore a higher class of being? Many of us will have experienced this phenomenon at high school - where the First XV were often above laws and rules and able to revel in their perceived social and moral superiority with impunity. Let me cite Sitiveni Sivivatu's discharge without conviction for domestic violence as a recent grown-up example of this ridiculousness.

Don't get me wrong; I actually like rugby. Those who know me in real life will generally be aware of my passion for Harbour,*** my odd affection for low profile past players like Terry Wright, Matt Cardy and Frano Botica (before he went to league), and my inability to actually watch a test anymore because I get too uptight about the outcome.

But loving the game doesn't mean I have to put my brain in reverse and devolve back to a time when people took the words of the monarch or the priest as Truth just cos they came from his hallowed lips. Surely?

* Maia put it well in regard to that police rape case: "I just hope the jury is smart enough to see through these nonsensical theatrics and understand that even friends of ex-All Blacks can rape people."
** As opposed to my rather strident views about the guilt of Clint Rickards, Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum.
** Current holders of the Ranfurly Shield. Gotta get that in while I still can.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Locked Out but not down

I've been itching to write about the Spotless lockout at hospitals around the country but haven't had time. Luckily the following bloggers have:

I've written before about the stupid undervaluing of cleaners, and their consequent low pay. In this case these factors are exacerbated by a particularly nasty employer who has a history of testing the law to its limit, trying to find a way around legislative improvements made in recent years (e.g. the introduction of relevant daily pay plus time off in lieu for working a public holiday). Cleaning companies are not known for their generosity to their workers - but all the rest have agreed to a national collective agreement and national pay standards. Spotless had to derail that deal, and now they are making it even worse by locking out their own workers - leaving them with no pay at all until the company decides otherwise.

What can you do to show you care?
  1. Join up with Idiot/Savant's Pledgebank here
  2. Put binary heart's badge up on your blog, code here
  3. Make a donation to the locked out workers by calling 0900 LOCKOUT ($10 per call), or making an electronic transfer directly to 02-0264-0294110-000 (BNZ Newmarket, use the reference LOCK OUT).
  4. Keep up to date with progress on the SFWU's website and post your message of support there.

These workers are staunch and it is great to see their strength. Long may it last.

(Pic Via)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Harry Potter and the Open Thread

In honour of the release of the fifth film (Order of the Phoenix), and of course the impending arrival of the seventh book (The Deathly Hallows), here is an open thread for us all to dispute and discourse.

Some reading too:

Maia has given some predictions in her review post about how the story will end. Mine are:

  1. Harry dies but is not a horcrux.
  2. Snape isn't evil and Dumbledore was pleading with him to kill him, and stop Draco from doing it. (Here I agree with Maia.)
  3. Draco will ultimately wimp out of doing something really bad and be redeemed.
  4. Sirius somehow comes back, but in some not fully alive way.
  5. All the little relationships amongst the kids that are being lined up hopefully don't get tied up at the end. It's just not realistic for everyone to find their life partner at high school!

Ok folks, what do you reckon?

(Pic Via)

* Ooopsie, thanks Cathi for the correction

The Stupid Internet Quiz I Couldn't Believe I Hadn't Already Done

Ford Prefect
Congratulations, you hoopy frood! The world is your pan galactic gargle blaster. Even when you think the Man is getting you down, you can rest assured that it is only the prelude to another favorable adventure.

Link: The Hitchhiker's Guide Personality Test written by donquixotic on Ok Cupid

Big Ups to Phantom Scribbler for the tip off.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Linky Love - Volume 18

Some of these are pretty old, but worth it! Hopefully this is the return of regular Friday Linky Loves.

Standard intro - Linky Love is basically a cobbling together of posts I've noticed around the traps that have set off little tiny sparkles inside my head, and which I would possibly write about or comment on if I didn't need to sleep, eat, work, that kind of stuff. I usually put Linky Love volumes up weekly, on Friday mornings, although sometimes I sneak them in on Thursday for various reasons. I hope you like it.

As always if you have a post of your own, or some else's, that you'd like to highlight please feel free to add it in comments, or to discuss the above posts, or indeed most anything else.

Alas a Blog - What Kinds of Help do Abused Men Need? - Ampersand brings together a variety of comments on the very topic mens' rights activists often accuse feminists of ignoring and shows that patriarchy hurts men too.

Anonymous Lefty - That's not an argument, it's just contradiction - Jeremy has a worrying post about the Australian WorkChoices legislation and how it is being interpreted.

Capitalism Bad - Review: Rosita - Maia contributes an interesting run-down on an intriguing film about an 8 (eight) year old trying to get an abortion in Latin America.

Ethical Martini - Three cheers for Hone Harawira - Marty adds his views to the debate about Hone calling Howard a racist over his treatment of aboriginal communities.

Feministe - Morans - I just really like the pic that accompanies this brief post by Jill.

House of Ghetsuhm - Once upon a time... - Ghet wrote a great post a while back about Labyrinth, which I totally heart (the post and the film) but have only just got around to linky loving.

LeftAlign - The Vocabulary of Protest - LA writes about the way protests are reported in the media and how this can skew perception.

Maramatanga - Objection - The best damn round up of the objections to the proposed electorate boundary changes. Much more interesting than I am making it sound.

No Right Turn - It's the jobs, stupid - Idiot/Savant writes about careers and studies in the Sciences.

The Reading Room - On Fairy Tales - litlove looks at the adult themes in the children's stories we tell.
Sparkle*Matrix - porn and the cathartic relationship - s*m examines the idea that access to porn reduces the amount of sexual abuse and rape as it allows a less harmful outlet (for want of a better way to put that).

Well Urban - Toytown - Tom does some digging about what is happening to the houses affected by the Wellington City Bypass.

Previous volumes of Linky Love (1 - 17) can be found over here.

(Pic Via)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Waking up is hard to do

An appeal to readers - what are your tricks for waking up when really tired?

I'm struggling to get out of bed in the mornings lately, and feel like I may have to resort to keeping my eyelids open with toothpicks.

Help me avoid that icky eventuality, please!

(Pic Via)