Hard News by Russell Brown

Freaky Friday

The Herald this morning says a drop in lab busts indicates that the P epidemic has peaked - while Stuff is saying that amphetamine use is increasingly being picked up in workplace drug tests. Who's right? My money's on the Herald: the use of smoked methamphetamine is frequently so disastrous that, through community pressure or a return to individual sense, it was always going to fall in popularity at some point.

But there was amphetamine use before the P boom and there will be after, as Stuff's ESR-supplied story indicates. But it would be wise to look at what the "real trend towards an increase in amphetamines" actually means: from a four per cent positive rate two years ago to nine per cent in pre-employment testing and eight per cent in post-accident testing now. ESR's revenue from workplace testing has nearly doubled in the past year, but it won't say how much money that actually adds up to.

Good news for John Tamihere: the Waiparera Trust has accepted responsibility for paying the tax on his payout.

Returning to Bulgegate: Alastair Thompson says he' s going with the defibrillator theory.

Paul Krugman in the New York Times has more to say on the Republicans' scary disenfranchisement drive and Salon has a detailed story on Sproul, the bent "voter registration" firm being paid by the Republican National Congress to throw away Democrat registrations.

Tom DeLay, the crook who is currently the Republican House majority leader, has been subpoenaed in connection with his role in another assault on democracy: the Texas gerrymander.

Dana Stevens at Slate reviews Stolen Honour, the John Kerry attack film that Sinclair broadcasting will now - after losing $90 million of market cap - show only excerpts of in the days before the election. Conclusion: "Orwellian."

In the Village Voice, Rick Perlstein laments the fact that The End of Democracy is an "elite argument" that "won't play in Peoria".

Here's some online video amusement from American video producer Brennan Houlihan for your Friday afternoon on the LAN:

I recorded all the main speeches from the Republican Convention [and] put the video together during the weekend that followed.
There was no audio tweaking. Everything was as they said it. There were no repeated clips either. They really said those things that many times. In fact, there were even more instances of these words that I didn't use because the camera had cut away to audience reactions.

My video was limited to the prime time speakers: Bush, Cheney, Laura Bush, Pataki, Giuliani, Miller, McCain, and Schwarzenegger. Bin Laden was mentioned ONE time by Gov. Pataki, but that was it. Still, I think only one mention hints that there was an effort to keep that issue quiet (especially when compared with Saddam Hussein). Outside of the 8 prime time speeches, I don't know if OBL was mentioned or not.

I haven't had time this week to digest and excerpt some of the considerable quantity of reader feedback that's come in, but I'll try and have some ready for posting on Tuesday. There's no Little Brother t-shirt to give away this week, but I'll try and get them back on board, because - clearly - people like getting t-shirts. Last week's winner, for reasons that cannot be disclosed here, chose to remain anonymous …

Public RSVPs have now closed off for The Great Blend: Public Address Live, but bFM will be giving away the last 10 pairs on air next week. But, in the interests of interaction, I hereby invite readers to submit questions for the Meet the Bloggers panel that will be part of the event.

The panel will be light-hearted, but you can still ask serious questions if you want. You're also welcome to submit questions specifically for any of the local crew - Fiona, Damian, David, Graham and me. Use the reply button on this page and put "Questions" in your subject line. The best silly or serious questions will earn big ol' bags of Karajoz coffee.

So have a nice Labour Weekend. Me, I've got a barbecue, a trip to Waiheke Island (where I learned this morning that Barry Jenkin has bought the local radio station!) and a big night out with Pitch Black tomorrow night. Sometimes recreation is the best rest.

PS: This just in: my iMac G5 is here! Yeee-haaa!!!

PPS: My heart says Wellington but my head says Canterbury ...