April 2012 Archive

Jafuh’s like me don’t have time to sit and ponder the intricacies of the Local Electoral Act.
When it comes to splitting hairs, I rely on the usual posters at Kiwiblog to dance on the head of a pin.
 Using Housewife Logic, the obvious conclusions can be drawn:

1. You don’t get to be a badass rich businessman without knowing where your money is going. You pay bills by rote, but extraordinary expenditure has its purpose, or it is dead money. ¬†I believe Dotcom’s account of the 2007 mayoral campaign fund donations over Bank’s account as the recipient.

2. Recipients of donations know exactly where the money is coming from. New Zealand is not so big that there are so many donors to political parties that you might overlook a piffling $25,000.
In-between elections, political individuals go to sleep of an evening, “counting the numbers”. If you aren’t concerning yourself with this formally, you have a “Sheriff Mackay” watching your back. You count – who’s for you, who’s agin and who might be influenced either way.

3. Just before an election or a membership drive, the focus switches and much time is spent poring over financial¬†statements. Winning an election requires funds to pay for advertising and drive a party’s message home. This is why donations are made to campaigns. An individual donates because they expect their business or personal future to be affected by the incoming government. This is politics and it isn’t inherently a dirty business because money changes hands. It is much better that elections are influenced by money than force and the drivers of our economy are successful business people.¬†Their concerns and opinions needs must be considered.
However to avoid undue influence, the process needs to be transparent and the 1993 Electoral Act and the Local Electoral Act protect the public from political corruption.

Conclusion: At the least, Banksie knows roughly what happened over the exchange of the $25,000 donations; Bank’s best hope is escaping censure both legal and political by a highly technical argument.

He will remain guilty in the public eye. As any able housewife or businessman knows- if money appears in your account, you investigate why and who put it there. A board or campaign manager would provide the necessary information breakdown in the absence of direct hands-on involvement.
If Banks is oblivious to the basics then we might expect him to be shit at running the country.
With a failure to publicly censure Banks by Key,¬†the public perception is of a cosy relationship between Banks and Key. Though failure to disclose knowledge of a donor is a crime, political friendship is not a crime. We are talking about a 2007 mayoral race return which doesn’t impact on actions by the current government. Neither party is guilty of boiling bunnies.

However you could expect Key to come out with a public, “Maaaate. That was shoddy bookkeeping”.
   WP will be out the gates running by the time the dust settles
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David Cunliffe imparts a message about Labour’s lack of appeal at the last election, in a speech to the New Lynn women’s branch of the Labour party yesterday. His message differentiates himself from fellow labourites, Labour leader David Shearer and ¬†deputy Grant ¬†Robertson. The speech is reported on in The Dominion Post here:
The message is that Labour’s policies were too similar to Nationals to offer a credible alternative.


“The major reason that voters didn’t vote for Labour, and sometimes didn’t vote at all, is simply that Labour failed to inspire voters that it was a credible alternative to National,” he said.

This is not news.
What is striking is the tone of the message.And the honesty.


“When the right-wing party says that it’s going to cut your leg off, voters want the left-wing party to say that it’s not going to cut your leg off. Voters don’t want to be told that the left-wing party is also going to cut your leg off, but cut it off a bit lower down and give you some anesthetic,’ he said.

This blogger snorted her tea while reading this genuinely humorous passage. Hopefully it cures the sinus blockage. What an effective way of saying to the left:
“We promise to differentiate ourselves from the right wing in the future”.
And simple honesty has a way of appealing to swing voters.
Opposition parties can promise the moon to gain a shot at the benches of power.  This works against Labour in a recession. The public knows that Labour is less inclined to follow austerity measures in times of economic trouble. We are skeptical of promises of spending being the solution to economic ills.
With the above passage, Cunliffe has taken massive strides in moving away from the “promise the moon and go negative”, image, to one of tipping the hat to the left while leaving the door open to the right.
The truth of politics is that certain policy measures and budget undertakings are eventually taken up in policy by both sides of the political spectrum. ¬†For example: pigs will fly before Labour scraps National Standards despite all the noise and fireworks over the introduction of the controversial educational policy. Likewise, and again reading into the education line of the financial report, you won’t see Labour increasing subsidies to early Childhood Education Institutes to ¬†allow funding for 100% qualified teaching staff. They may suggest that the opposite will happen to the unions, but it will not happen,
Crinkly-eyes Cunliffe may be the Kryptonite to Nationals Superman John Key. This is the message you will see forwarded if Cunliffe becomes more prominent in the public eye:
“National was unwilling to confront the downsides of unregulated markets”.


The suggestion here is that Labour will regain it’s role as the “people’s champion”, regulating the cowboys while it’s business as usual for the rest of us.
It may be a very successful message.

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Today I spent time fishing these:

From this:

I was able to remind myself that I was experiencing problems of the First World variety. That experiencing abject frustration doesn’t mean I am experiencing disaster and that people in parts of the Third World have a set of problems in an entirely different class. At the end of the day I relaxed with a couple of glasses:

And thank God for those women now in full bloom who have had a strong influence on issues affecting women around the world over the past two decades. The world would be a very different place without their actions. On my reading list is Madeleine Albright’s book “Prague Winter”.The book details her family’s survival story though the seismic upheavals that splintered Eastern Europe over the last century.
It was announced this week that Madeleine Albright will receive the United States highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She served as the first¬†female¬†United States Secretary of State under President Bill¬†Clinton. Previously as American ambassador to the United Nations, Albright was instrumental in the UN Human Rights Commission passing a resolution defining rape as a war crime. This was in reaction to the horrors occurring in Bosnia. A salute to all the roses in full bloom who continue to break through glass ceilings all around the world. Including New Zealand’s very own Helen Clark, of course.

And see an insightful interview with Madeleine Albright from 2010 here:
http://www.ted.com/talks/madeleine_albright_on_being_a_woman_and_a_diplomat.html

The scent of a rose always lingers. Former ACT MP Deborah Coddington lost her Mother Patricia Marie Coddington who died this week. Patricia Coddington was a NZAF Woman’s Air Leader in WWII. A salute to all those women of generations past who served in wars. Condolences to the Coddington family.

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Effectively Phil Goff has replaced Phil Goff as leader of the Labour party. This is why speculation is rife about Shearer’s Leadership.

Shearer beds in in his role as the new Phil Goff.

 

Come on David. Everyone knows that the unassuming, anti-theatrical, measured approach does not meet the public’s insatiable thirst for drama and charisma.¬†
Mind you, if you just want to retain your job until the next election, David, it might very well be the way to go. It worked for Phil. 
I “felt” for David over the last week. There was a lot of nasty speculation around the traps about his chances of retaining the Labour leadership. What a shame. He seems like such a “nice” man. If given half a chance he may turn the fortunes of New Zealand around. Those nasty right wing bloggers Whaleoil and Farrar fueling the speculation that he is about to suffer an Ed Stark style decapitation.¬†
And he will. 
Politics is as much about massaging public perception as it is about having the “right” policies. One of the important perceptions that the public needs to have about a politician is that they are a “battler”. We want to know that they will go into bat for us if the chips are down and in return we will swear them our fealty.¬†
We know that David Shearer is a battler, we need only to examine his track record as a United Nations co-ordinator and his stint in the conflict stricken areas of the world. However, we need to see the blood and guts being spilt on the debating chamber floor to have confidence. Clark and Cullen retained their grip on power through the inerring ability to bloody their opponents noses first. Key is a master of witty reprisals that dull the edge delivered by the opposition.
Even the nastiest most vitriolic utterance by Labour’s Fenton and Curran can’t match these sophisticated deliveries.¬†
We need to know that our political leaders “care” but the last quality that we appreciate in them is that they are “nice”.
Time is up for Shearer and I can’t say I am sorry. His veneer of reasonableness hides an insidious socialist agenda that scores votes by jeering at the rich and tapping the moderately wealthy to shore up the country’s finances. This is evident in this speech. ¬†
As for the Labour party Leadership. The question is now, who and when. The options are blindingly obvious. They both have a top chance. My pick would be the preppy Cunliffe who has the oratory skills to drag John Key around the debating chamber in a very entertaining fashion. He’d be good at spilling blood and it would make for great theatresport.¬†
The Robertson-Ardern ticket would be a winner. Robertson is very gentlemanly in a manner that invokes memories of Jim Bolger. Leaving behind the obvious lack of depth in Adern, installing her as a deputy would give her a top chancing of dragging home the seat of Auckland central. Once Auckland Central returned to Labour it would not be easily wrested from it’s grip.
Ardern would be a safe deputy, not being leadership material due to the short length of her tenure. On the hustings, they would resonate with the younger generation and be Babyboomer “pets”. As a small nation we like to show the world how progressive we are. Robertson being gay is almost an advantage.¬†
That he has never hidden this facet of his life is one demonstration of leadership ability. “Like me, don’t like me, it matters not”, is the confident projection of Robertson.
Either way, the public has rejected the “nice and reasonable” politician and we want some spice in our sausage. Metaphorically speaking. ¬† ¬†¬†
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Today I spent turning this:

Into this:

For them:

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NZ teens death rate one of the highest in the world. From the Dominion Post:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6807590/Kiwi-teens-death-rate-second-highest-study

Of course it is. NZ drivers go onto the roads with Weetbix licenses. There should be mandatory driving lessons for all new drivers. ¬†A certain proportion of drivers can fluke a test but that doesn’t mean they are a good driver. It does’t mean they have had messages of impulse control rammed home to them.

A league table of road deaths ‚Äď the single-biggest killer of young people worldwide ‚Äď showed only the US had more young women die on the road, and road deaths among young men in New Zealand were the fourth highest behind the US, Greece and Portugal”.

I would say that these league tables do not reflect the reality of the roads in the states vs New Zealand. If I come back to New Zealand, I will avoid driving as much as I can. New Zealand roads are a death trap. United States roads are a wonder to behold. If anything the economies of scale may effect the figures. You are less likely to die on the roads but more people will die if an accident happens. Recently in San Francisco a five car pile up closed the Golden Gate Bridge in both directions when the driver of a car north bound swathed lanes into the path of an oncoming car. It caused a series of chain reaction collisions that left three people hospitalized with severe injuries.

I always snigger when reading about the California Highway Patrol. I was an avid fan of C.H.I.P.S when younger and I still point and smile when I see them.

The freeways in the States are arterial and cars pour over the hills in either direction. But I would put my money on it being safer overall to drive in the U.S.

The elephant in the middle of the room phenomenon:
We condone our young people drinking from a young age. This message was well and truly reinforced with lowering the drinking age. Everybody’s experience with drinking is their own business and for some their own struggle. The brain is not mature until 25yrs plus and before that every new drinker is a potential problem drinker. Every generation there seems to be more young problem drinkers. They’re all hanging out in Courtenay Place on the weekends and the other NZ town centers. ¬†You don’t see as many groups of drunks in the town centers of the States.

We’re so big on the rights of individuals in New Zealand and personal liberty that our laws don’t work sensibly. We need to stop pandering to groups whether they be liquor barons or groups of 18 yr olds and pass laws that engender the best possible quality of life for the community.

I had friends commit suicide growing up. Disease of no hope. Caused by a combination of bullying, addiction and a lack of perceived future employment prospects I would say. I wonder if there is a correlation with how socialist a country is to how high the suicide rate among youths.

Rose of the Day.
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A clothing company has produced a line of pants designed for crying a concealed weapon:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/24/us/fashion-statement-is-clear-the-gun-isnt.html

And giving the term “eating for two a whole new meaning:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=real-males-eat-yogurthttp://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=real-males-eat-yogurt

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In a previous post I noted my discomfort at arriving at a juncture in my life where my predominant occupation is at home as the mainstay and lynchpin of the life of our family of seven. I used the acronym JJAFAH -(based on the well-known NZ moniker JAFA) in a lighthearted but disparaging way.

It seems society has set many women up for this sense of disquiet. We feel that others question our decision to work or to stay at home. That same feeling of judgement surrounds many of the major parenting landmarks. Breast vs Bottle, cosleeping etc etc. The “Mommmy Wars” were most recently highlighted when PR hack Hilary Rosen stated that potential FLOTUS Ann Romney, had never worked a day in her life.

I am looking forward to the release in the US of Elizabeth Badinter’s book:
¬†“The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women.

The New York Times blog “Motherlode” on Badinter’s book:

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/13/has-motherhood-replaced-sexism/

I find this debate engrossing. Do we modern women really make our own decisions or does society make them for us? Personally, I believe society has a strong influence on our decisions from abortion and breastfeeding through to when we return to the workforce.
I think that both SAHM and working mums work hard and solo parents work the hardest of all. I do believe that those go out to work get something in return. Politicians refer to this as the “Dignity of Work”.

Mitt Romney looked liked a hypocrite effectively saying that Mums alone would be given assistance ¬†so they could work. After all his potential First Lady “chose” to stay at home.
NZ PM John Key has forwarded a similar agenda around incentivising women out to work.

But something the working Mum gets that the SAHM struggles with is people contact. The feeling that ones actions are influencing society at large. We miss out on networking. Workmates. Buddies. And our partners may be wonderful but a lot of the meaningful stuff is lost in the minutiae.
My husband said to me the other night in the kitchen:” That’s the nicest thing you’ve said to me all day”.
I startled.
” I’m sorry, what did I say”? I had a bad feeling.¬†I asked, ” Did I just say fuck you”?
He laughed. ” You just asked if you could wash the pot for me”.
Just That. Constant conversation snippets and banter between us. Nothing substantial or life changing. Not even a notable quantity of words exchanged
 He is the Yang to my Yin, the Downward to my Dog, but no-how and no-way am I going to extract from him the amount of words that I crave in a day.
And that is one reason work beckons attractively. ¬†More opportunities for conversation are presented, and if people want to converse with you it imparts a feeling of worth. What is that word again, ah yes, “dignity”.
Who’s to say Ann Romney actually made the “choice” to stay at home. what I do know is the more at home that I am, the more I have to do, and that is why I will now refer to myself as a JAFUH. Or:
Just Another Frantic Unpaid Heroine.

 Rose of the day. These beauties are now a table centerpiece.

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Time this welcoming shrub was trimmed and had some further staking.

These two photos are of the part of the garden I call Redwood City. While I was taking these photos a hummingbird was busy humming above.

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Yesterday was the traditional day for pot smokers to gather and puff and stuff at locations around the US.  This from Boulder, Colorado. 

And here it would appear that Oaksterdam, a university specializing in the arcane teachings of medical marijuana cannot count on federal gents ignoring commercial sidelines that may have sprung up like many a good cultivar.  

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