Hard News by Russell Brown

Funny old week

The prospect of a tunnel under Auckland's Victoria Park - to fix a major motorway choke point without destroying more precious urban green space - is provisionally welcome around these parts. It will cost a small fraction of what the doomed Eastern Corridor was going to, and it should actually work.

The Herald editorial argued yesterday that it should be a six-lane tunnel running both ways, or nothing. This morning, a news story reveals that another tunnel may also be on the cards.

The comments thread about the CUB on Rodney Hide's weblog has been lively. I'm going to write a paid column about the relationship between social and economic liberalism in the class of '84 - as imperfectly personified by the Act Party - so I won't expand on it here, save to note that I'd quite like to see Act bite the bullet, shed the Amway types and crypto-conservatives and be what it was meant to be. Meanwhile, Jim Peron does a neat job of explaining why referenda on minority rights are a bad way to go.

No Right Turn catches Stephen Franks being intellectually dishonest over the CUB. Again.

Gay Eaters for Jesus prescribes a nice feed of cookies and milk for the Campaign against Civil Unions. CACU compares the "filth and squalor" of homosexuality to a sewage outlet.

Meanwhile, some sick fucks standing up for decency have sent Tim Barnett a castration kit (or "conversion kit for males who think they are females"). Delightful. Ironically, the Catholic church is complaining about receiving hate speech in response to its opposition to the CUB. I'm waiting for the thunderous statement condemning the church from Stephen Franks. No? Really?

One prediction from opponents of the Iraq war that didn't come to pass was a consequent refugee problem. Unfortunately, the attack on Fallujah has now driven more than 200,000 people from their homes. They can't get back, many lack food and winter is closing in.

Salon has a very funny interview with author Jerry Stahl, who muses on the idea of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter as the neocons' Kurt and Courtney. He wonders if Coulter, the twitchy, self-obsessed stick figure that she is, is on the charlie. He's not the first.

The full data from the TV3/TVNS Global poll are online here. They're notable for a collapse in public perceptions of Don Brash. He's down on every positive perception - leadership, judgement, etc - and up on the negative ones. Ouch. Where is that conservative moral backlash when you need it?