Hard News by Russell Brown


British style

It's good news that the captured British sailors are to be released - and a vindication of the British government's diplomatic approach. Raising the temperature would have been indulging the banality of the Iran leadership's rhetoric.

Of course, the Americans didn't help, with Bush referring unhelpfully to "hostages" after promising not to even mention the issue, and the jobless John Bolton trying to pick fights with everyone. Bolton declared the British approach "pathetic".

IMHO, it was quite a lot better than, say, doing a secret and illegal deal to sell arms to the Iranian government in exchange for hostage release and using the money to illegally fund South American terrorists, then trying to destroy the evidence. But that's just me.

So when will the US release the Iranian officials it captured while they were on an official visit to Iraq, on what The Independent claims was a botched attempt to kidnap two Iranian generals who had been meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister? You can imagine Tehran still feels a bit sour about that.

Meanwhile, Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Syria and gets a result. And while the White House and its cheerleaders all but accuse her of treason for making the trip, it emerges that the Republican congressmen who visited Syria, like, last week, went with "the co-operation of the administration." You couldn't make this stuff up.

The usual exaggerated outrage on Kiwiblog over Steve Maharey swearing in the House (actually, I think Whaleoil's video is very good, except for the silly whiny bits). As I've noted in the thread, the same people would have been beside themselves with fury if Sean Plunket had concluded an interview with a National Party MP by musing on whether he was a "racist", without scope for a response. Maharey had every right to be outraged. What he didn't have the right to do was get on the hotline and start shouting about going to the Radio New Zealand board. Make a BSA complaint, take a ticket and stand in line with the rest of us, Steve.

I'm rather less exercised by the actual cussing that some people are having conniptions about. And so, it turns out, is Peter Cresswell, who observes: "At least when Little Steve says 'Fuck you' he means it. What has John Key ever said that he would stand behind?"

Taking his cue from the re-launch of the Coalition for Open Government, which is lobbying for election funding reform, No Right Turn rounds up blog comment and outlines his own views on what should be done. Very well worth reading.

And on a completely different tip, Randominanity at Blogging It Real finds a nifty little app that lets you make a map of countries you've visited. It's quite salient to see how many places one hasn't been. Here's mine.

Feel free to post links to yours, but unfortunately, you won't be able to use the embed code in our forums. You'll just have to cut and paste the URL, which ends with a string of capital letters.

And with that, happy Easter everyone. Have a rest (I know I will be) and have a listen to Public Address Radio, 2pm Saturday on Radio Live. This week, we visit a NOS bar and ask why they're so crazy about party pills in Christchurch, David Haywood does body-mod science and we are pleased to present the debut of 180 Seconds With Craig Ranapia. And yes, we'll be a bit smarter about getting the MP3s online afterwards.

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