International Cat Speculators Since 2006

What claptrap.

What visitors rave about most is the gob-smacking, pristine scenery of these shaky isles. So the prospect of a monorail traversing a section of back country South Island conservation land makes me more than a little uneasy.

I’ve done my share of tramping and the only thing more satisfying than marvelling at the splendour of this country’s rugged landscapes is the knowledge that some real effort has been required in order to experience it first-hand. Views of the magnitude afforded by our most isolated beauty spots should be earned with a bit of sweat.

Translation: our conversation estate should be for the able-bodied only. Disgusting.

Snowdon Forest, as a stewardship area, doesn’t have the same level of conservation protection as our national parks but that doesn’t mean running a monorail through it is a good idea.

Seriously, hands up who’s ever heard of Snowdon Forest? Anyone?

Thought so. 

No doubt it’s a special place, but it’s a place no one has heard of or goes to at the moment. Why tramp into a forest in the middle of nowhere, when you can see the same sort of forest in other places, as well as the views of say, the Routeburn?

The thought of clearing a 29.5km-long, 6m-wide corridor of native trees to build a high-tech transport link, when there are already other options to reach the end point, leaves me cold.

Six metres may sound like not much, but pace it out next time you take a bush walk. Imagine that area cleared and a sleek rail line in its place.

6 meters does not sound like much. You could cut a 6 meter track through a lot of our beech forest and not miss any of the trees.  

If allowed to proceed, the proposed monorail track will be the longest in the world. That may – initially – be something we can market. But, in time, a longer track will be built elsewhere and we will still have lost a tract of our magical beech forest.

While the able-bodied may have “lost” a 6 meter stretch in hundreds of miles of forest that they’d never visit anyway, the less-able will still be able to view the forest in all it’s glories. Funny thing is, that’ll still be the case when the track is no longer the longest in the world. Weird eh?

I’m willing to bet that most of the people who use Snowdon Forest recreationally are New Zealanders and they will be the big losers if this project goes ahead.

Quite how that works is not explained. Because… conservation!

Tourists have always come here, despite there not being a cable car up every mountainside. And they will continue to do so, with or without the monorail.

They like our country the way it is.

Translation: Let them eat cake. 

That’s the only way to describe this.

It is also concerning that some people seem quite happy to have equality by pursuing the lowest common denominator - i.e. everyone equally in abject poverty. 

But think a bit further, and you’d realise that this means we would never have things a huge number of things that make modern life what it is, because those things involved one person being exceptional. 

Like I say, utter madness.


This pretty much sums up the state of the US government’s finances after the shutdown.

When Washington raised the debt ceiling this week, the Beltway media breathlessly reported thatthe fiscal crisis had ended. Lawyers danced in hallways, bureaucrats twerked on the Metro, congressional aides kissed strangers in the streets — the Tea Party has been defeated! It was likeVJ day for wonks.

As our political class exchanged high fives and reporters praised a return to “sanity,” I wondered how these odd creatures defined insanity. 

America’s fiscal crisis is not that our debt ceiling was too low, the fiscal crisis is that our debt is too high. When I mentioned this to left-leaning folks, they seemed indifferent. “Obama lowered the deficit.” “I think Bush spent more.“ “It’s Reagan’s fault!”

Here’s his chart:



Now. If you listened carefully to commentators talking about the shutdown, there was a subtle shift.

Originally, the talk was “if the debt ceiling is not extended we won’t be able pay for our debt”. That is nonsense. Rather obvious nonsense – if you don’t have enough money, you proprieties. And you place interest payments at the top of your list. So there was never any chance of a default. 

So the talk shifted subtly to talking about “obligations”. This was intended to make other spending (social security for example) sound like debt repayments. It pretended that a contractual obligation was the same as a policy decision.  

But the reality is that the US national debt is serious. And like New Zealand in 1990, serious decisions need to be made. The Tea Party is trying to push for those decisions to be made. They are the adults. Obama is the guy offering icecream.

The analogy is imperfect, but imagine the green is your salary, the yellow is the amount you’re spending over your salary, and the red is your Visa statement. Then imagine your spouse runs into the room and shouts, “great news honey, our fiscal crisis is over. We just got approved for a new MasterCard!” Your first call would be to a marriage counselor or a shrink.

Unfortunately in the US’s case, the counselor (the media) is joining in the celebrations.

But hey, I’m sure it’ll all be fine.

I’m sure everyone remembers the succession movements that sprung up after Obama was re-elected.

Well, we now a good example of craziness from the American left.

To date over 50,000 people have signed a petition calling for the prosecution of the house GOP leadership to be tried for sedition. In other words, if you oppose Obama, you must be committing a crime.

Legal Insurrection thinks this is a case of people showing the tyrant within. That’s probably true, but I think it simply shows that in any population, you’ll always find people who will put their partisan politics above all common sense. 

I mean, the Communist League candidate in the Auckland Mayoral election received 849 votes. And that’s just the people who didn’t vote strategically! 

Offsetting Behaviour has a post about a curious phenomenon.

Americans surveyed in 2011 substantially overestimated the proportion of Americans identifying as homosexual. Where most estimates reckon about 3.5% of the population are homosexual, Americans surveyed thought that somewhere between 20-25% of the population are gay or lesbian.

The numbers are bizarrely high, for all groups.

It’s all very odd really. Given that the most common myth (well, that I’d ever heard) is that gays make up 10% of the population, and the truth is that they’re about a third of that, you’d think that the average would be somewhere in the middle. Certainly, I’d have not been surprised in the slightest to find figures approaching 15% – which while completely wrong is still at least explainable.

Instead, many groups are approaching an estimate that is ten times the actual figure. Interestingly, some of those are those who generally support the gay agenda. That makes sense if you consider that they seem to think marriage equality is an important issue – when the actual number of people who’s lives are changed by it is vanishingly small.

But given the widespread nature of the high estimation, I can’t think of anything that really explains this well. However, one thing is for sure – homosexuality is one very touchy political issue.

“You’re Still Dead”

In terms of “the law is an ass” cases, this one is a real dozy.

Donald Eugene Miller Jr. walked out of Hancock County Probate Court on Monday as legally dead as ever.

In 1994, the court ruled that Miller was legally dead, eight years after he disappeared from his Arcadia rental home.

The same judge, Allan Davis, ruled Monday that Miller is still dead, in the eyes of the law. Miller’s request for a reversal came well after the three-year legal limit for changing a death ruling, Davis said.

I guess he didn’t want to reverse himself :)

Via Legal Insurrection

“Boycott Israel”

This is a very cool video which pokes at people who consider Israel the biggest problem in the world.

I think he makes some very good points.

I noticed this on MSN… which for some reason has become my home page.

Cristy Nicole Deweese, 21, is a first-year Spanish teacher at Rosie M Collins Sorrells School in Dallas, but in February 2011 she was Playboy’s “Coed of the Month”.

The local independent school board has acknowledged it is aware of parents’ concerns while a spokesperson said it was a “personal matter and will not be discussed”.

A spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency said it was a “murky situation” because Ms Deweese posed in the shoot before she was hired as a teacher.

“It wasn’t an illegal activity, but it raises the question about whether that action violated the Educators’ Code of Ethics,” agency spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe said.

Texas educators are governed by a Code of Ethics that requires them to be of “good moral character and be worthy to instruct or supervise the youth of this state”.

One concerned parent who spoke anonymously to the Dallas Morning News was upset that Ms Deweese was not removed from her position following the revelations last Friday because she was clearly a distraction to students.

“Are her male 16- and 17-year-old students looking at her without picturing her nude?” the parent said.

Speaking to local media, attorney John Browning specialising in employment and internet law said that Ms Deweese’s fate depends on what she said in her interview but the real lesson is for everyone to remember your digital past can and will catch up with you.

Having read the article, I thought that there may be a case for the teacher to claim youthful innocence. But there’s some problems with that.

1. She’s 21 – just out of college. This is not a mistake she’s long since regretted, it’s something she did only a couple of years ago.

2. In the video, she actually talks about her training with the expressed intention to become a teacher. So it’s clearly not a case of someone finding out in hindsight that something they’d done was hindering a new found passion.

Seems pretty clear cut. She flouted the rules, and flagrantly so. If you want to be considered a person of good character, there’s a list of things you should try and avoid, and posing for playboy is certainly one of them. There’s no way any school with this woman as a teacher can teach boys that porn is wrong. And any school that doesn’t consider porn to be wrong isn’t one anyone should be sending their kids to.

Also, what’s with the “your digital past” thing? Playboy has existed long before the digital era. This is straight out ordinary “you did something wrong” stuff. 

Sadly,  I have little doubt that there are enough people who aren’t worried about the pornification of society, and thus this woman will be back in the teaching profession very soon.

Palin puts the burn on Obama




Yep, and I can see that burn mark all the way from New Zealand.

But rather than apologize to Holloway for their children’s behavior, some parents have contacted their lawyers to see what legal action they can take against the former Patriots and Raiders offensive lineman, local affiliate ABC News 10 reported.

“Parents have threatened me,” Holloway, a three-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl XX veteran, told ABC News. “Your kids are in my house breaking and stealing my stuff and you are mad at me because I posted pictures that they took and posted themselves of them partying and tearing things up?”

Background here.

It’s incredible that, in this day and age we have parents who not only have their children running amok (that’s happened throughout history), but are prepared to go to court to stop someone from pointing out their public boasting that they are doing so.


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