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

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

housewifely tasks

that i forgot to do today:

  1. make and ice cake for the baked goods stall
  2. work on bridal trousseau and fold neatly back into hope chest
  3. hem my dearest's trousers
  4. darn aforementioned's socks
  5. wear a frilly apron
  6. macrame a hanging plant holder
  7. knit some booties for my (future) progeny

thank goodness i remembered to buff my nails!

putting things "right" with the big G

i'm not overly religious, not in any organised sense. i suspect (hope) that there's something else (especially some kind of pleasant afterlife!) but 5 years of Catholic school and 2 of Anglican cured me of any desire to join a church or similar.

recently i've noticed a number of people, not in the blogosphere but in another online forum, talking about putting things "right" with God, and mildly castigating those who don't. i find this a quite bizarre judgement.

should you be pressured to put things right? surely if you only put things right because of the harsh words of others you are not doing it for the right reasons?

aren't means (and reasons) as important as ends in religion too?

not even going to start on the fact that you shouldn't have to put things right anyway.

Monday, August 30, 2004

a(nother) difference between the boys and the girls?

theme music: boys who like girls who like boys to be girls (etc) blur

one thing that puzzles me is the way that straight men seem to find the idea of lesbian sex attractive, but straight women don't seem to find the idea of gay (male) sex a huge turn-on.

(i really have no idea if gay men find lesbian sex appealing, or lesbians find gay sex hot, but i'd be curious to know)

perhaps it's that straight men largely assume that lesbian women just need their manly assistance to realise the "error" of their ways? and therefore they put themselves in the picture every time?

maybe it's just that there are two (or more) naked women in the picture?

i notice there are an awful lot of men about in the blogosphere- any comments that might enlighten me?

rupert for 007!!

just read in the Listener that Rupert Everett wants to be the next James Bond - bring it on!!

However he accept that he will never get the role. "The producers would sooner drive nails into their eyes," he says, but he has no regrets: "I do not want to sit around in some gloomy place and be with somone and hope he wouldn't call the papers. That's such a boring life. I want to go to discos."

odd reporting

The Herald today published, in the World section, a dinky little story reproduced from the Independent. It was accompanied by a picture of Renee Zellwegger as Bridget Jones, and largely focused on poor Bridget Jones-type women (ie single, in their 30s) and how they are going to die younger unless they find a man (or woman?).

The odd thing is that the report shows that single men are TWICE as likely to die young as single women. Women are 4.8% more likely to die young, if they are single, whereas men are 10% more likely. The 4.8% for women is compared to 5% for smokers. No comparisons are made for the figure for males.

Discussion of all this in the tea room created much mirth. But then none of us were single.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

hillsborough rd wittiness

yes i know it was in the Listener, i submitted it :-)

manukau mayoralty matters

theme music: in the neighbourhood

so the candidates are:
- Barry Curtis - incumbent, since the dawn of time
- Dick Quax - act-o big time, that guy who did that running thing
- Len Brown - otara councillor for years and years and years, labour
- Mike Padfield - don't know much about him but he has a moustache, just like Len and Dick... spooky

according to Act, Quax is going to win by a landslide - they allege he has all the support in east, and the implication is that that's all he needs. They seem to have forgotten about the rest of the city, (as people in Howick and Pakuranga tend to do) which is really quite a lot of the mayoralty voters...

Brown is apparently a no-hoper, as he won't get any votes in the east (remember, they're all going to Quax). While I'm not saying Brown is going to win the area, Act seem to be totally forgetting the fact that Labour won the party vote in Pakuranga at the last election. Sure, people don't vote so much on party lines for local body, but the Pakuranga Labour people are quite organised (i should know, i live with one of them) and Act and National weren't, in 2002 anyway.

Padfield is rather oddly promising 10% lower rates and 10% lower crime. Not quite sure how he's going to fulfill these, but good to see someone has the idea of SMART goals down pat.

Unfortunately I suspect Curtis will win again anyway, albeit with a reduced majority. maybe it's the lack of facial hair that'll make the difference ;-)

women to the back please

one thing that really struck me about the Destiny march was the way women were segregated from men. what's that about??

i can understand women not doing the haka, as that's the traditional division, but having all the women at the back was weird - is Destiny making even more second class citizens?

Thursday, August 26, 2004

will the Maori Party be left?

we're yet to see any policies from the Maori Party (MP). Tariana has said something about private prisons not being a bad thing, and something else (several times) about considering National, but that's really all there is to go on.

apparently there is a group of over 200 MP members working on their policy. that's pretty impressive. but what will they decide?

the last time we had a "maori" party form with guaranteed parliamentary representation was NZFirst (NZF). and i wouldn't call their policies left, although they did flirt with a few leftish ideas in olden times (eg universal student allowances, although Brian Donnelly spat the dummy after low student support in 1999 so i'm not sure if they still support that).

i suspect it will depend on whether the MP is "captured" by iwi elites or not. The Brown Table, if you will. There is, after all, a class structure in Maori society just as there is in NZ as a whole. People like Tuku Morgan will not be looking out for poor working Maori who are on minimum wage.

I have heard a rumour that the MP will be looking at a policy of lifting the minimum wage to $16 (or $17, it seems to go up each time I hear the rumour)... (Well that'll certainly put the private prisons out of business)

I sincerely hope the MP does turn out left. But I haven't seen any strong indications yet.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

a whole heap more coverage

of the Monday marches in Welly (the CUB stuff, in case you had already forgotten) can be found on the front page of Indymedia. lots of eyewitnesses, photos, etc. yay for Indymedia!

These Ovens Are Hot

definitely in my top ten favourite news stories of all time

anyone spotting suspiciously cheap ovens in the Wellington area - you know what to do.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

rumours of our demise etc

well i wouldn't say they are greatly exaggerated (i'm talking about the Alliance here folks)

i joined the Alliance in 2000, and worked hard to build up the youth wing, Staunch Alliance. I've served as a body on the street, in the crowd and in the housie hall, a branch secretary, a regional chair, the Staunch Alliance spokesperson, a National Council member (as the Staunch rep on and off for several years, and in my own right, elected from the conference floor for one year), and the National Executive (before I resigned from that due to concern over a variety of things). So I've seen the Alliance from most perspectives, and I was there at the Councils during the Anderton split (in fact I was a toxic influence, poisoning the minds of impressionable young people - what can I say? I try).

I decided to take a bit of a break from the Alliance, whilst staying a member, and slowly but surely divested myself of all my various offices and responsibilities, with the last being the Auckland Regional Chair's hat in April. It only took me a couple of months to realise that the unhappiness that had caused me to stand down from everything was only made worse by not being actively involved in the party.

So I've got back in - started going to meetings again, having my say, raising funds, and through no fault of my own found myself subbing for the youth rep on the Alliance Council this weekend. Of course what happened in that room is not for consumption outside the membership, but suffice to say the media line that was agreed is NOT what has been put out by the Leader in the last two days.

Here are some links:
Alliance to back Greens, Maori Party - stuff
Party admits struggle to survive - tvnz

And here is the official Alliance media statement (not actually up on the website of course, this is from scoop):
Alliance Election Strategy for 2005

Match to the agreed media strategy (or even what was agreed at the meeting): quite low imho. Pretty high level of frustration over in this blog.

I passionately believe if the Alliance does not stand a list at the next election we are finished. We may in fact be finished anyway, but all our conference decisions to date have endorsed running, and our manifesto repeats that we are an electoral party of the left. To me a list is intrinsic to this - a list vote is a party vote, an electorate vote is a candidate vote - as a party who campaigned for MMP you'd think we'd get that!

Ok, this is too long already. *sigh*

Monday, August 23, 2004

media reports of the marches and that ol' chesnut - march numbers

here are a posse of media reports on the marches in Welly today around the CUB issue:

TVNZ online report - says up to 6000 EIEers and up to 2000 pro-CUB marchers

Newstalk ZB - says police estimate around 9000 in total (ie both sides added together, how ironic)

Herald and Stuff seem to have used the same report, assumedly NZPA generated - says 5000 against CUB, no number for the pro-CUB marchers

TV3 don't seem to have their news on the internet these days but I heard them say 8000 EIEers and a few hundred pro-CUBers, on the telly

Scoop has two photo essays - Dylan Packman's and Kevin List's - neither give numbers

Prime News (first at 5.30 and all that) reckoned 9000 against the CUB

on Indymedia Rev Puss Puss Sherboune has posted several pics - click the arrow that points to the left to see the others

And in the blogosphere:

Just Left's very personal experience as one of the pro CUB marchers - estimates 5000 EIEers and 500 - 600 pro-CUBers - "Nobody who was there can ever forget the contrast: the hate and anger and black and red; versus the colour and diversity and humanity of our crowd."

Chinasoup's story of her feelings before, during and after the march - "I don't understand why a culture of love and tolerance and diversity doesn't benefit everyone."

DPF's recollection and pics - he estimates 3000 - 4000 EIEers, 500 - 1000 pro-CUBers - "I find it interesting that christian fundamentalists are in fact similar to muslim fundamentalists - they want a country governed by their version of God's law, rather a country based on tolerance for diversity."

Phil Rennie's tale from the end of the event - "If anything I felt sorry for the Destiny crowd; most of them seemed to be just following the leader."

My favourite blogged bit on this so far is Chinasoup's list of placards that she spotted - in particular the classic:

Brian's not the Messiah; he's just a very naughty boy.

seemed strange to laugh in the midst of reading such a sad post.

east side story

well i went to this alleged hot-bed of stalinist celebration last night.

it was full of labour party people. not exactly died in the wool socialists.

basically the film was an interesting little piece of history - investigating the 40 film musicals made over 40 years behind the Iron Curtain. it was more about censorship than socialism - the film makers had huge problems in getting their films shown, as well as technical problems like not having decent equipment, and only being able to have their lighting going for seven or eight minutes at a time when filming, or they would short the power supply to the city hospital.

there was mention of Stalin - his intervention in getting the first musical comedy film in the USSR released, and then his support for the making of Volga Volga, which became his favourite film. and the murder of millions that he was responsible for was also referred to (in a very negative way). the analysis of the doco-makers was that the musicals were largely made during times of optimism in the East, when they were probably more necessary during the bad times, to give people a break from the relenting greyness of things.

the overall impression was that the people wanted some fun and entertainment, but the functionaries thought everything had to have a strong ideological component. the film ultimately asks the question, what might have happened if socialism had been more fun?

Saturday, August 21, 2004

a bit disconcerting

when people in star wars seem oddly like people in your real life:

- luke - sack boy with better hair and a whiny-er voice (just as well i was always a han solo fan)
- leia - laila with longer hair and a deeper voice
- boba fett - mr the red with body armour (but it's more a memory association)
- c3po - the n word guy but shinier. and taller. and actually less annoying.
- obi wan - otahuhu o'b but older and worse dressed

probably shouldn't mention who i think of everytime darth vader comes on screen (and it's not who those who were in on the millenium craccum are thinking of)

Friday, August 20, 2004

the missing apostrophe - an ongoing exercise in pedantry

The Queens English Academy?


recklessness and murder

further to my comment on Just Left's good post about the 'homosexual panic' defence (aka the 'killing a queer isn't murder, it's just manslaughter' crock imho)

The Crimes Act 1961 defines murder in s167:

Culpable homicide is murder in each of the following cases:
if the offender means to cause to the person killed any bodily
injury that is known to the offender to be likely to cause death, and is reckless
whether death ensues or not...

by this definition i would have thought Edwards had committed the necessary elements:
1. meaning to cause McNee a bodily injury
2. that he knew was likely to cause death (ie the 40 something stabs) (i think, but am not sure, that the "reasonable person" test applies here)
3. and being reckless about it (ie taking the risk that it would result in death)

so then we go to the defence to this - provocation - which reduces culpable homicide that would otherwise be murder to manslaughter, if proven.

The Crimes Act 1961 defines provocation in s169 as:

(2) Anything done or said may be provocation if -
(a) In the circumstances of the case it was sufficient to deprive a person
having the power of self-control of an ordinary person, but otherwise
having the characteristics of the offender, of the power of self-control; and
(b) It did in fact deprive the offender of the power of self-control and
thereby induced him (sic) to commit the act of homicide...

While i'll be the first to admit i don't share many of the characteristics of
the offender, i really fail to see how what McNee did (and we only have Edwards' word for that) would cause someone with the power of self-control of an ordinary person to lose it in such a manner.

I am aware, having sat on a jury, of how easy it is for us to sit in judgement out here, without all the information that the jury saw and heard, including being able to watch the demeanour and behaviour of the accused in court.

But I strongly hope the Crown appeal this - i imagine they have grounds based on a possible misdirection by the judge in regard to the provocation issue.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

mara savages

dream jobs - #1 - Investigator, High Wealth Individuals

in an occasional series of jobs that i find oddly appealing

i think i would like this, if it weren't for all that messy tax stuff. i could bust rich people who were avoiding/evading what they owe to the People!

i wonder if they'd give me a gun. i suspect i'd only get a calculator.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Enough of Enough is Enough

theme music: i'm coming out (i want the world to know, i want to let it show)

pretty sad that the feedback from the anti-submissions on the CUB seems to be an argument-free zone. if they don't at least have some spurious claims to base their hate on then what's it all about?

well i guess it's about prejudice, plain and simple.

i have seen several letters to the herald recently along the lines of "think of the children!" i have a colleague who is fostering two young boys, with her partner (also a woman) and they are fantastic parents. i also have three friends who have watched their parents' relationships break up as one of them realised their true sexuality and had the courage to be honest about it - in all three cases the homosexual parent is the better, more well adjusted parent imho!

i still don't understand exactly how the fact that both the parents are the same sex is actually bad for children - can anyone explain???

Monday, August 16, 2004

binding citizen's initiated referenda

theme music: don't mess with mr inbetween

so i went to a public meeting tonight and there was a man there (in the audience) rabitting on and on about BCIR, as he fondly called them. ( he assumed that we all knew what he was talking about and didn't bother to explain the term.)

the strangest thing was not only was he his own worst enemy by alienating the crowd, he also fundamentally undermined his own cause by proving the worst point of BCIR, ie that those with the loudest voices can shout down the quieter ones, even though they have just as much to say.

what i mean is the danger of BCIR is for minorities or disadvantaged groups - as is evidenced by how long it took women to get the vote in Switzerland (the BCIR proponent just said that other European countries took a long time to give the vote to women too - oh that makes it alright then). the loudest voice (whether it be loudest by virtue of numbers or money) can shout down others, and ultimately oppress them. without a constitution or similar that would actively protect people's rights BCIRs are v dangerous indeed.

an audience with dr cullen

well it must be monday cos i ended up sitting in a cold school hall in botany listening to michael cullen speak about growth and economic stuff, as one of five under 50s in the room. it was actually quite interesting, so i must be getting more like Jordan in my dotage.

what was particularly thought provoking for me was his mention of the Social Reporting Indices (forgive me if i have used the wrong jargon). will definitely be keeping an eye out for the release of these in a week or so - sounds like ammunition for the left indeed.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

waiting for the hammer to fall

theme music: that queen song

well today is the last of the Alliance regional conferences. it will be the decider. wish i could be there in the south, despite the cold, but i guess i'll just had to wait and see.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

speaker stoush?

theme music: rumble in the jungle (and it's alright by me)

Act have been talking about Prebble for speaker if the right win the next election. National have announced that Simich won't be seeking Tamaki, but will go on the List, where their speaker should be. Is there not a bit of a conflict here?

quite apart from the fact that i think (and fervently hope) it unlikely that anyone other than Labour will be choosing the next speaker, this raises an interesting scenario.

National could trade off Tamaki to keep Act safe - if I were them I'd look to bring in a carpetbagger for the seat (although I understand it is much harder to do that in National than in other parties) so that the local party wouldn't be too pissed if their candidate had to be knobbled, a la Mark Thomas 1996, a few weeks out from E Day.

But then what would happen about the speakership? Would the Nats want to fight for it for Simich or would they be prepared to give it to Act? What would they get for giving it to Prebble rather than Simich? I imagine either would be competent (not that I would want either of them to get the job), so it gives the Nats HQ a lot of power to determine Simich's future really. Would they fob one of them off with a ministerial job instead? (and how would the new Act feel about Prebble as a Minister again! how would the public react to the possibility!!)


off to a wedding or a funeral

theme music: raindrops keep falling on my head

today is my region's conference for the alliance party. it's annoying that it is so beautiful and sunny and i am going to have to sit in a cold room at Trades Hall and listen to doom and gloom. :-(

i'm not sure what is going to happen, and it's the uncertainty that is the killer. we have two hours to talk strategy on the agenda, and for some reason we are spending another two hours talking about wanky little bits of policy like animal rights - i mean i do care about animal rights, but at a time like this i'm not sure that arguing the niceties of vivisection should be our priority. are we deciding this policy so that we can then try to impose it on the maori party when we practice entryism later? (i hope not)

my fingers are cold and i don't want to get up and go but i must *sigh*