Hard News by Russell Brown

End of the world ...

I got an email yesterday that stopped me cold. Public Address uses web-based feedback forms so as to avoid having our individual email addresses exposed to and harvested by spambots. Yesterday, I got some spam. Via the feedback form. Nooooo …

So either Battery Limited of Shenzen province or its agent has employed a gimp to manually visit web pages and paste in an unsolicited commercial message, or there's a bot out there looking for language typical of contact forms and posting messages when it finds them. For my email, the subject, name, return email and message body fields were all filled.

This is really unnerving and we're now looking at what we can do to fuck up such a bot. I had a quick Google and couldn't find any reference to this sort of thing. Anyone know much about this?

NoRightTurn pointed to an NBR poll which suggests that "New Zealanders have undergone a dramatic change of heart in their feelings toward traditional ally the US … Two years ago most New Zealanders said they felt positively about the US (54%) but when asked that question now only 29% of people said they felt positively about the US, down 25 points."

Apart from the obvious issue of the Bush administration throwing America's hard-won global goodwill on the bonfire, two points: 80 per cent positive feelings about NZ is better than cringing in the other direction. Two: Less comfortably, the poll subjects seem to have felt negative about every other country in the world bar Australia - and Britain has suffered a particular drop in the affections of the New Zealanders. Like the Pew Surveys, I think this poll is symptomatic of what will be a signal legacy of the Bush II era: a general public loss of faith, worldwide, in international relations. If the poll had asked people their feelings about the United Nations, they would have plunged too. The WTO? Ditto. What a rotten achievement.

In the curious way that the authoritarian Right lately has of bending right around to touch fingertips with the old Left, the Bush administration seems set to defy world opinion - and further wreck the entire basis of multilateral trade - in snubbing the WTO ruling on its illegal steel subsidies. In theory, Jane Kelsey fans should be happy - protectionism in the national interest is good, right? - but I don't think they will be.

Now it's time for the transatlantic trade war. The WTO has given the European Union permission to impose huge penalty tariffs on US imports, which could easily double in price. Another genuinely rotten Bush II achievement - and one which is going to be deucedly difficult for the usual cheerleading squads to spin.

The latest thing? Or just an old trick with a catchy new brand? Freeway blogging in California.

Peter McLennan at DubDotDash mused about favourite nights at The Box and got a cracking list of highlights from its erstwhile owner and founder, Simon Grigg. Harvey Keitel, Mick Jagger, John Lydon, Simon had them all in the back of his club, guv'nor …