Hard News by Russell Brown

Back in the Hood

Just a word about this week's stories on youth gang violence in South Auckland. Without in any way seeking to play down its seriousness, this has been on the cards since a lot of mummies started having a lot of babies in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The mini-baby-boom generation has reached the age of youth crime statistics.

The mayor and the police have declared zero tolerance on weapons and violence, which is fair enough, but it would be wrong to think this is the first, or even the worst, spate of its kind.

I didn't grow up anywhere near South Auckland, but we had our local white-trash gangs (I had a talent for ducking the baseball bats and axe handles) and I'm sure other readers had similar experiences. Indeed, from what I can see, New Zealand then had rather more of an atmosphere of frontier violence than it does now. So let's not go too far into moral panic mode.

At the same time, yep, it's a problem, and I think it would be useful for the local hip-hop stars to talk to the kids about this. They might be effective in ways that the churches, police and parents can't.

Oh dear. I'm almost starting to feel sorry for Wayne Mapp. He got handed his ass by No Right Turn on the matter of the Human Rights Commission's alleged "prosecutorial" powers (which don't exist - the commissioner's powers stop at the stage of being a bit grumpy; ie, advocacy) and gets an intellectual thrashing from Keith today.

And over at Fighting Talk, Lyndon and Holly make him look a bit silly. Back at Public Address, David Haywood is just taking the piss. Adam Gifford wades in. Jordan Carter critiques the Mapp speech that started it all.

The MSM (heh) has hardly been any more kind, with the Herald going this morning with National MPs get in a PC pickle. Even in the friendly environs of Jim Mora's 4-5pm panel, Mapp (who joins the panel by phone at about the four-minute mark) wound up floundering in the face of sweetly reasonable questions.

DPF gamely waded in with 10 alleged examples of political correctness, which didn't really work out as planned.

Damian's story about some scallops got pushed down the PA home page by a flood of posts yesterday and today, but you should read it if you missed it. It's brilliant.

Tim Selwyn explores the lighter side of bird flu by rewriting The Parrot Sketch.

Francis Till's NBR assault on open-source advocacy certainly got things going. I don't mean to rag on Francis about this, because we have corresponded in an appropriate humour, but it seems correct to note that he earned his own Slashdot post.

Further, Lex Miller noted that the mission-critical uptime of NBR's Windows-powered website is not very flash. The New Zealand Open Source Society (thanks to Dominic Scheirlinck for the tip) pointed out that Till's own blog is running the open source blogging software Wordpress (which uses an open source language, PHP, and an open source database, MySQL) , which is running on an open source webserver, Apache, which is running on an open source OS, Linux. And Frogblog responds in an impressive we-know-what-we're-talking-about fashion.

And finally, Christiann Briggs pointed out that Rodney Hide has just joined the Linux commies.

Aaron from Intergalactic Records drew my attention to the MySpace page of Rotorua's Slipping Tongue, whose singer Jennie Skulander was named best vocalist at the national finals of the World Battle of the Bands, held at Galatos recently.

And now for your Friday afternoon entertainment: this is brilliant. Check out the guy in the background (our household consensus is that he's playing Quake).

This blog post explains what you're seeing and links to a bunch more of it. Thanks to Phil O'Sullivan in Hong Kong for the links.