July 2012 Archive

Why on earth anyone would pay attention to Macsyna King is almost beyond me. However I am well enough acquainted with human nature to know that tears and victimhood are powerful drugs. Tapu Misa has ingested these with her bleeding-heart rubbish on Ms King:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10823107

At the end of the day she failed to protect her children. They ended up dead. Ergo Ms King should shut up and live out the rest of the days without more attention seeking rubbish from the media.
Ms King isn’t suffering one iota of pain. People in real pain don’t court media attention. They suffer behind closed doors unless driven to help others in the same situation:
“Was Macsyna indifferent to her babies? Why, according to hospital staff, were her visits so infrequent when her babies were in the neo-natal unit?
She told Wishart her presence wasn’t always seen or noted by staff: “Yes, I could have been there more often … but here is the reality I faced. I had a 1-year-old who needed looking after at home”

So what? When I had premature twins last year I had three children who needed looking after at home. However a mother’s place is with her newborns. I was with them as much as humanly possible. I didn’t have a no-hoper husband like her but I am disabled with a severe limp. I managed.

” I found it a real struggle, physically …” She’d had a caesarean, remember, and twins.”

So what? I was out of the hospital bed fours hours after an emergency caesar. The neonates unit didn’t want to let me in particularly as I was still hooked up to a stomach drain. I told them I was coming in for my kangaroo cuddle and wouldn’t take no for an answer.¬†
Another Mum dove out of recovery minutes after being sewn up to see her premature baby. She almost fainted after losing a litre of blood. I’m not convinced of Ms King’s mothering instinct in light of my personal knowledge.

“It wasn’t surprising that King’s communication with hospital staff wasn’t always cordial. She felt judged and disrespected.”

Anyone who has a bad experience in the neonates unit feels judged and disrespected.  The social worker requested the psych unit assess me. This from not taking suggested rests and saying I wanted to stay at hospital with my twins so we could all leave together. I felt very judged and disrespected.
 
Did that have a bearing on the fact that no one told her she was entitled to 200 hours of home help because she had newborn twins and an older child to look after? (My middle-class sister got that when she had her twins.)”

Why should she be expected to cope, “only with help”. A decent mother just gets on with the job.
I never took advantage of the 200 free hours despite my eligibility.

As as for the rubbish about a premature newborns twins being weaker. Somehow I predict there will be a lot of “rough cuddling”, defences in child abuse cases in the future.

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Dare I say it? Maggie Barry was pointing out the bleeding obvious:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10822482
¬†Jacinda Ardern has no personal knowledge of the rigours of infancy and cannot speak with authority on the necessity of Paid Parental Leave from a parent’s point of view. She can speak to PPL from a politician’s point of view, sure.
However, she knows Sweet Fuck All about breastfeeding, returning to work, or the non-stop nature of being a parent.  
The Barrygate angle in the media is: “Barry is mocked for childless snipe.”. This angers me far more than Barry making a supposed “inappropriate”, comment about Jacinda Ardern’s childlessness.
Barry asked Ardern during a parliamentary debate: “How many children do you have”?
This question was designed to give Ardern a sharp reminder that she was debating an issue that she had no particular knowledge of. Far worse is alluded to during parliamentary debate. If you don’t believe me, watch from the gallery at Parliament and watch the noses. If they look like they are calling someone a “munt”, then note that it is quite common for the nose to lift on the pronunciation of a hard “c” sound.
The “childlessness”, jibe was politically unwise by Barry because childlessness was a wave that Helen Clark surfed to success in the emancipated 2000’s, but surely alluding to childlessness does not equate to hate speech.
The left and other assorted liberals hate this aspect but a pertinent truth is highlighted by Barry’s question. It serves as a reminder of how little life experience Ardern has. She went from being an academic to a politician.This does not preclude her from being an effective politician but it does preclude her from having any personal knowledge of parenting.
I don’t think being a parent is better or worse than not being a parent. To a great degree, you can’t go through life without being a parent. By parenting animals or stray kids; as important influences on children’s lives; as an Aunt or Uncle or close family friend.
But the angle pursued by the media makes me angry because it belittles my own personal experience in life. By the time I was Jacinda’s age I had had two children, had had multiple miscarriages and been crippled, not because of, but during, parenthood.
I’ve struggled with breastfeeding, bottlefeeding, and the feeding of ungrateful little fuckers.¬† children. Many other women like me have had far worse to deal with and in this light I think Barry’s question was well warranted.

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The U.S. taxes it’s citizens no matter where in the world they live. The only way to avoid this is to renounce U.S. citizenship. Denise Rich who wrote songs recorded by Aretha Franklin, Mary J Bilge and Jessica Simpson is the latest to renounce her citizenship. In doing so she will save millions of dollars worth of taxes.¬† From the Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/09/denise-rich-us-citizenship_n_1658479.html

Can you imagine anything that would get up the nose of socialists more?

This group of busy beavers has been working away to cast the rich as “the enemy”:

The Herald writing about the tax justice network:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10821400

I checked out the Tax Justice Network.
Take a look at our core themes: 
A quick fisking: 

We support sustainable finance for development
What they support is governments handing over more of their citizens’ tax to pour into the vast corruption havens that can already not be trusted with the money they do receive. Ever heard of the saying, “pouring good money after bad’? The implication is that the rich shits of the world are “hiding” tax that could help the third world.
We support international co-operation on tax, regulation and crime

They want another useless U.N. Good luck on that one. 
We oppose tax havens and offshore finance 
They want to dictate to countries like Switzerland  what their tax regime should be.  The Swiss are onto a nice little earner and these socialists want a piece of the pie.
We support transparency and we oppose corruption
They want every financial document to be visible to everyone so we can all join in castigating the naughty rich people.¬† Time once was that everybody minded their own fucking business and got on with the job at hand of earning a crust. We left it to the gummit to rope in the cowboys and didn’t automatically assume that all politicians were corrupt.

We support a level playing field in competitive markets
This is about their only valid point. A simple tax system is the most likely to be complied with. 

We support progressive and equitable taxation
So. Some organizations and individuals support no taxes.¬† It’s always going to be a play between the individual vs the collective.¬†

We support corporate responsibility and accountability
 Again they want companies to open their books and guilt them out to pay more taxes. 

We support tax compliance and a culture of responsbility
At the end of this rubbish you’d be forgiven for thinking that rich people never did a days worth of work in their life. That businesses didn’t create jobs.Every example of “the worker owning the means of production has failed awesomely. Some countries just don’t get that for the beheading of a few rich fuckers, you get in return another bunch of fuckers who reward themselves and their mates handsomely, stifling innovation in the process. To a certain point if we ignore the very few piss soaked dole bludgers taking the piss, we have to live with the odd rich bastard with excessive wealth.


These issues affect rich and poor countries, and, like the fight against corruption, our approach does not fit easily into either of the old political categories of left and right. 
Me: Rubbish. you are touting pure socialism.

Mission statement:
We do not argue generally for high or low taxes (that is for voters to decide) but we note the often better human development outcomes in higher-tax countries and oppose the demonisation of tax that is fashionable in some circles.
¬†Me: It’s fashionable in my circle of me and my husband because we want to keep what we earn and not have a bunch of doofuses paying themselves wages to mismanage our money.
What we do support is progressive and equitable taxation, which is what voters around the world have chosen. We wish to see nations’ sovereignty restored, so that electorates are given back the power to get the tax systems they vote for. 
Me: They want a revolution so they can install cosy little socialist regimes so we can all be more like Cuba. 
To this end we advocate much stronger co-operation between states on tax and regulation. This will help us address the growing tension between global integration and a shortage of credible international governance
Me: And the USSR broke up because it was so successful? Be afraid of anyone talking of global governance.

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At times I have to remind myself I am in California and not back in New Zealand.  There are a lot of similarities between New Zealand and our new Californian neighborhood.
For example, our local Century theatre in Walnut Creek is much like our local Reading Cinema theatre in Wellington.
Last night my husband and I were watching NBC and listening to a news story about long queues of people outside Century theatre Walnut Creek for the midnight Batman screening. Like other parents of young children we marveled at the inclination to watch a midnight movie screening. We recalled attending the midnight screening of Lord of the Rings first movie.
this occurred back in the day when we were young and unfurrowed of brow.
This morning we awoke to news of horror.
We are in California and not Colorado. The two states may as well be different countries. Not knowing anyone in Colorado personally, I wasn’t immediately affected by the Colorado shootings. It is egotistical to borrow trouble.
I thought I was unaffected by the news story until I stopped to refuel our truck. I fueled at a station I had never visited before. When the fuel lock clicked off it made an audible Bang. I jumped like it was gunshot. I also wished I’d made that bathroom stop previously.
To make up for the not-so-near miss of pissing myself, I was then able to console myself with a spot of T.V. while checking my air:

 America is all about convenience. The picture above is of a pump station with a convenient TV screen. After refueling I carried on driving to pick up these guys from Summer Camp:

Two normal boys leaving a Skyhawks basketball and baseball Summer day camp held by refreshingly normal 20 yr old instructors. At a normal American school. America has been so normal that ¬†I don’t feel remotely threatened by the shootings. I feel devastated at the thought of the loss parents and others must be suffering and I’d love someone ¬†to take a gun to the little c*-/, I mean, little prick. But America still feels like home.
Coincidentally, the previous day, a fellow Mum of a school swimmer and I were conversing by the pool. This friend has a New Zealand friend who lived in California until the Columbine shootings. Her Mum begged her to go back to New Zealand; the family moved back and have been in Auckland ever since.
The subsequent decade has shown that you can’t run and hide from insanity anywhere in the world.

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Benjiman Athol Boynton, of Kaingaroa Forest, was sentenced in the Rotorua District Court today  to home detention, five months after a jury found him guilty of two charges of injuring his four-month-old son with reckless disregard for his safety.
The Crown said the child had suffered broken bones and brain and eye bleeding.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/7318505/Man-sentenced-over-child-abuse

Oh Fer.
As in: Oh Fer Fu**’s Sake.
This child was lucky not to have died and the jury let Boyton off with a limp wrested admonishment. Shame on them.
Judge Phillip Cooper said today the jury found it had not been proved that Boynton had deliberately injured the infant. His explanation for the injuries were that he may have handled him roughly during a nappy change or while jiggling the baby.
Does the perpetrator deserves another chance if they cry and say they are sorry?
He said it was obvious Boynton was ignorant and naive about the fragility of a new-born. 


I was ignorant and naive about handling my firstborn. I also was naive about handling my premature twins. However, they were safe in my hands because I am not a kiddy basher.  No-one ends up brain damaged in a normal household. 
His pre-sentence report indicated he was at a low risk of reoffending, was upset and remorseful.
We all get a bit tearful after being found out. This doesn’t mean he hasn’t caused serious damage to a defenseless child.
At the trial, Crown prosecutor Chris Macklin said that when Boynton’s infant was taken to Rotorua Hospital in March 2010 he was found to have a broken arm, leg and thigh, a brain and eye bleed consistent with the child being shaken and some ribs had  been broken, possibly about a fortnight earlier.

A paediatrician described the injuries as potentially life threatening and non-accidental.
As I stated: Who could possibly think someone who cried and proclaimed their innocence could be guilty? 
Macklin said the victim was extremely vulnerable, the offending was serious and would normally lead to imprisonment.
Why didn’t it? Because he had big teary eyes?
I ask you, the jury members. If this child sustained damage due to the handling by this man, given it is extremely hard to inflict deliberate damage. Why did you, the jury not pass the harshest of sentences down?
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From The Huffington Post:

A proposed bill by a San Francisco county supervisor would ban tobacco smoking in outdoor spaces but still allow medical marijuana smokers to smoke their medicine outdoors:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/19/san-francisco-smoking-ban-proposed_n_1688079.html

I believe the saying is: “Only in America”.

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It’s hot. Our corner of California is not as hot as Death Valley in the Mojave Desert (Eastern Californa). Here, temperatures of 130 degrees Farenheit are not unknown. But during summer,¬†our county also gets into triple digit Fahrenheit temperatures. Or, 40 degrees Celsius +.
We are only ¬†a day’s drive away from Death Valley (8hrs). We’ll visit Death Valley when we feel the need to push the temperature envelope and visit this arid region. In the interim we are more likely to detour to Reno or Yosemite National Park; other tourist attractions that are both easily drivable destinations in under 4 hours.
How to describe the Californian heat and light effectively?
Recently five year old son and I feel nauseous throughout the hottest part of the day; whether caught in the car or providing our garden with a much needed extra watering with the garden hose.
As I walk around our driveway, the ground gently washes up and down, shimmering in the heat. This basic illusion causes me to trip over my feet. I feel seasick walking on tarmac and am again affected when driving to pick up another son from a summer day camp.  The bright Californian light picks out the headlamps and colors on the stream of on-coming traffic. It looks as though a mixture of big rigs,   sapphires and rubies are approaching me. It can be disconcerting.
It is common to plant large tree varieties in Californian gardens to provide much needed shade:

The sun rising over the tips of the redwood trees in our garden.

We have lots of wildlife visitors on hazy warm Californian days: A deer at our neighbors’:

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Russell Norman:

http://www.voxy.co.nz/politics/key-la-la-land-home-ownership-crisis/5/129327

“A generation of New Zealanders are going to watch their children grow up via Skype unless real action is taken to reduce speculation and increase the supply of affordable houses”, says Norman.
Yes, the child abuse epidemic that started and escalated under the Helen Clark-Labour era is now so bad; according to Norman, we are now going to pop ’em out and frig off to greener pastures.¬†
Or maybe we will put the kids on an airplane with a Skype-ready camera while parents and grandparents stay in New Zealand and fiddle with with the retirement age.
When my husband and I left for o’seas, we took our children with us. Currently they are behaving so badly in San Francisco, they are making me wish I had left them at the other end of a Skype session.
Just kidding. They are our raison d’√™tre. They are why we left New Zealand. My husband sought to leave New Zealand ¬†so he could maximize his returns and have some time to play with our five children while we and they were still young. He has effectively provided for our retirement without being at the point of burnout or old age. As a software developer, Silicon Valley was always going to return more, and more quickly, than Silicon Welly.¬†
Me, I was dragged kicking and screaming to a place not of my birth. Family and community have always been firm points of anchorage for me. But I am now past the point of all consuming homesickness and I am philosophical about our future here in San Francisco. Ever since the dawn of time, people have left their community to forge out a future in a far off land. We are now more conscious of this due to technology but we also have technology to thank for the ability to maintain ties with extended family. 
I suspect that Norman is sucking up to Baby boomers and that what he meant by his press release is that grandparents would grow up seeing grandchildren by Skype.
This is not a fate to be rued. It is great that in these days grandparents can still be included due to the marvels of modern technology. In the old days, grandparents were largely isolated from adult children and their children, even when the move was from one part of New Zealand to another. Today’s society is far more inclusive.¬†
I’ll enjoy our contact with friends and family when returning for holidays. It will be all the more precious for being sporadic. And being expats doesn’t mean we are no longer Kiwis.¬†
With a net economic benefit to NZ. When I return, I’ll be patronizing those stores I am fond of on our return: Wildpair, Overland, Zeira (Kumfs), and Kirkcaldies to name a few. Despite our access to the neighboring shopping meccas of Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, Vacaville and San Jose, I remain fond of the aforesaid businesses. They have great stock and most importantly they understand me. Americans might speak English but it’s not the King’s English. I am universally misunderstood. I am forever spelling things out as follows:
“M for Mary, O for Oscar, No, November, I for India, Q, Quebec, Uniform, Echo”. “No, E for Echo”. ¬†
I have been known to get annoyed and after having my patience sorely tested, snap:¬†“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”,¬†to the bewildered recipient.¬†
As a rule, Yankees think our accent is cute and fun. One lady repeated back to me with great gusto, ” Siven, Ate, /Niign. ¬†But the language barrier does get wearing.¬†
When I get the hence to speak to kiwis even if it is the maligned agencies of IRD or ACC, I appreciate the dialect of my homeland. I don’t have to deliberately slow my speech or reduce my contact. If I speak normally to Americans they look at me like I am a garrulous speed freak. Only a chat with a Scottish mate of mine keeps me grounded.¬†
We may have left for financial reasons and for the chance of being part of something bigger, but we’ll always be back. For the the shoes, coffee, the lingo and the luurve of the land, if nothing else, Hobbitses.



Annual picnic, July 2012, Menlo College. Atherton, Silicon Valley. 

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Tech firms fear trade deal loss of freedom
This from Audrey Young at the Herald. I am almost convinced that the TPP can only be good for innovation. Bring it on:
Don Christie of IT company Catalyst is among those who have pitched a case to the negotiating countries.
His aim is to avoid having the trade deal strengthen patent rights in the IT industry for fear of stifling innovation and increasing the legal risk of doing business on the internet.

Christie has nothing to fear from the TPP. All he has to do, to avoid litigation, is avoid being a a copycat asshat and ¬†reusing another’s patented software thereby¬†opening one’s company wide open to patent litigation.

It is worth noting that as a proponent of the open source environment, Christie is against patents. Fullstop. His business inhabits an open source environment which relies on the free exchange of software processes. Of course he lobbies against patent protection. If he invented something worth patenting, he might have a different opinion.
Some patents are daft and open source information exchange is all well and good until one asks the question, “where does one get the money to pay wages and investors”?
You’d be very lucky to get investors for new software in a patent unprotected environment. Any idea that was deemed worthy of development would be able to be immediately copied. So why bother inventing new software.
¬†Christie has got it arse about face. If NZ’s patenting environment isn’t protected, the larger companies can cherry pick the software that they like without fear of litigation. The Googles and Apples of the world can assume any processes developed by the New Zealand minnows without fear of retribution.

“If you think of what’s happening with Kim Dotcom, it’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the Americans are demanding.”
It’s a different kettle of fish entirely. Kim Dotcom is being investigated as to how much knowledge he had of illegal traffic within his Megaupload file sharing business.¬†
“The software industry in New Zealand persuaded all political parties to support the exclusion of software from the Patents Bill, which had languished in Parliament for several years”.
The bill has languished because it is nigh on impossible to exclude software from the Patents bill. We live in a world governed by software from the delivery of our entertainment to our banking encounters. Different parts of the software industry have different opinions on the Patents Bill. Not all are “agin”.
The current status is that software is patentable only if it has a real and measurable effect in the real world. This prevents the egregious   Amazon 1 Click patent phenomenon.
A free exchange of ideas is commendable. Discussion can lead to further innovation. In software it is particularly useful for purposes of peer review and fixing bugs. However, if you don’t have patents, you don’t have investment, jobs or a revenue stream. it’s all very well, standing around and singing Kumbaya in an open source environment but it won’t necessarily turn you into the next Microsoft.
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A judgmental opinion piece from the Herald on the boxing match between Jaime Ridge and Rosanna Arkle:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10817936
The writer is being a snot with this:
“Tawdry events like this only undermine efforts by real female athletes to achieve recognition for their performance, rather than their appearance and body shape”.
Personally I can’t understand the perspective of the writer, that women’s sport is the loser following the boxing match between Ridge and Arkle. Any gender can effectively use all their assets for progression in any role. Why the need to minimize the visually appealing ones?

Of course there is going to be a bit of juvenile fascination with previously unconsidered items such as breast protection plates.
Just as there is fascination with cricket boxes for males. 
However there is an established audience of female fighting sports such as boxing and roller derby. I have friends who participate in both. I imagine there is huge potential to grow the audience. And you could find worse role models for young females. 

New Zealand women aren’t used to the concept of fighting. If you’re an Israeli woman you’d know how to hold your own with any aggressor by the age of 20. They draft both men and women into the Israeli army. Being landlocked and surrounded by potential and real aggressors has given rise to this demand upon the population. Women serve until the age of 38 even if they are mothers.

The Segev Committee in in 2007 considered the gender balance in the army and reaffirmed the need to increase opportunities for womb in the army, opening all jobs but a handful to all women. Both men and women dare used to the visual imagery of fighting females.  

I met a women from Israel recently. She had served and emigrated to America in her mid 20’s. She is now a strong, effective and very feminine business owner. She had no trouble telling me her opinion on my business decisions. Being a sook at heart I was taken aback at first and then appreciative of her candor.

The unisex Caracal battalion. Photo from Wikipedia commons.

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