Hard News by Russell Brown

Now here's an idea ...

No Right Turn has useful coverage of Friday's climate change symposium, as well as commentary on the respective speeches of David Parker and Nick Smith.

It appears Parker's presentation on government policy in the area could hardly have been more cautious, while Smith's on behalf of National represented a 180-degree turn on almost every stance National has had on the issue, and an annexation of emerging government policy. I/S proposes that the problem is now Labour's coalition agreement with those renowned climatologists Peter Dunne and Winston Peters, which is what basically killed the carbon tax.

Well, here's an idea: perhaps, in the interests of national welfare, Labour and National could identify points of agreement (which appear to be manifold), put together a policy, backed by the 75% of Parliament the two parties command, and bloody well dare United Future and New Zealand First to try and kill it.

Yet again, Don Brash may be the problem. I/S says that at the launch of National's policy, Brash "was quizzed about his position at yesterday's policy launch, and refused to admit that climate change was happening. His position (as opposed to his party's) seems to be that the primary risk to be managed is the political risk of New Zealand being seen to go back on its word - something which would undermine our entire mana-based foreign policy.

"As for Kyoto, everyone now accepts that its not going away, that new emissions targets will be set for post 2012, and that we will sign up for them. Both parties have also indicated interest in joining the AP6 - but as a supplement rather than an alternative to Kyoto and the UNFCCC. Neither wants to shift us into the US-Australian denialist camp."

UPDATE: Some else who was there took notes, and had Dr Brash saying " ... there is ongoing debate but the majority of scientists accept that it is taking place and as an insurance policy we need to be talking about ways of reducing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. If it turns out to be more serious then we have to step it up. We do need to take some steps."

Of course, some people will never be convinced, but wouldn't this be a good way to regain public faith and move on from the mudslinging?

Former Exclusive Brethren member Dave Tennent noticed my recent post, Lying for the Lord?, which pondered the EB's predilection for porkies. He explained it thus:

As an ex-member of the Exclusive Brethren I can confirm that Lying for the Lord is a well accepted maxim within the ranks. If I recall correctly, it was known as 'Divine Deception', and used whenever necessary to defend the faith. This worked OK for the past 20 years or so as they kept mainly out of the media spotlight - times have changed now and they are rightly being given a caning in the press for these blatant lies and deceptive behaviour.

Right. Nice to have that cleared up.

The Internet NZ blog has a follow-up on its recent release of scathing opinions from two senior economists on the submission of VUW economist Bronwyn Howell to the select committee considering changes to telecommunications regulation in line with government announcements this year. Howell insists (as ever) that there is no broadband monopoly in New Zealand and that broadband uptake has no significant relationship to economic growth, and regards unbundling as useless an irrelevant. Well, economists will always argue. But in her critique of the work of MED advisor Network Strategies, Howell appears to have seriously crossed the line. Their response to Howell's submission is frankly blistering and appears to demonstrate that she significantly misrepresented the company's work.

I fully intended to attend the ASPA Awards on Saturday night - having helped judge the best editorial category - but having caught a cold from one of the kids, I couldn't quite face a night out (I even went to bed early).

But congratulations to the victors: Craccum's Jeremiah Yen (best Cartoonist); Salient's Nicholas Holm (best humour writer - by some stretch, according to the judges); Claire Barry (best unpaid news writer); Critic's John Hartevelt (best news writer); Craccum (best cover); Ryan Sproull of Craccum (best editorial writer); Salient (best education story - for that story about VUW fee rises); Salient (best feature content); Critic's Ryan Brown-Haysom (best feature writer); Salient and In Unison (joint winners, best design); Magneto (best small publication); and, the big one, Critic for best publication. (Congratulations also, I might add, to The Listener for continuing to support these awards.)

Moving offshore, check out this almost hilarious clip from Fox News's Hannity and Colmes, which features Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter spouting crap that I doubt even they believe to try and minimise the Mark Foley scandal and blame it on George Soros, the Democrats and, well, anyone basically … This came after Fox repeatedly identified Foley on screen as a Democrat. NZBC's Rob O'Neill notes Fox News's ratings problems: a 35% year-on-year slump.

A truly stinking Newsweek poll for the Republicans, which sees Bush's approval rating hit an all-time low. Are we seeing a scenario where even the Democrats can't screw up the mid-term elections?

From that great intellectual cheat-sheet, the New York Review of Books, the October 5 issue contains a good Timothy Garton Ash essay on Islam in Europe. Even better, a piece about Rory Stewart's The Prince of the Marshes, an amazing first-hand tale of the failure to win the peace in Iraq, and a fascinating review of George Soros' The Age of Fallibility: The Consequences of the War on Terror - but you'll either have to pay for those two or buy a copy of the journal.

And, finally, via Andrew Jull, an amazing clip from Feministing which explains why you can't say "dildo" in Texas. Not even in Austin. Because if you have six of them and you call them what they are - as opposed to, say, "educational models" - you are a felon under Texas state law. OTOH, you can put anything up your butt - so long as it's not a penis.