Hard News by Russell Brown

Oh Bovver

Go Keith! Keith Ng's student allowances scoop made it to Parliamentary Question Time yesterday, via Nandor Tanczos, who used it as the basis for questions for Trevor Mallard (scroll down to question 9).

The stated reasons that the government's eligibility extension in last year's Budget didn't result in the anticipated extra 36,000 students getting allowances may be quite valid (among them, the strong employment market and the fact that NCEA is keeping kids at school), but the problem is that Mallard gave the impression that such a take-up was happening as recently as March, when he knew it wasn't. Mallard then got all bovver-boy in response and ranted about Nandor "crying", the effect of which was not to impress.

Mallard was in the same mode later in the day when he used Parliamentary privilege to declare that Peter Doone was drunk on that dread night in November 1999. Don't try this at home, kids. Meanwhile, reader John Neal suggests that Doone did not say "that won't be necessary" or "we'll be on our way then" - but "these aren't the droids you're looking for" and "you don't need to see his identification."

National's Simon Power has become the first sitting MP to (partially) answer No Right Turn's candidate questionnaire. Idiot also makes a good point about Winston Peters and has sparked a good discussion about nuclear power ("And if Americans or Australians want to burn uranium rather than coal, then I'm all for it. This doesn't however mean that I'm in favour of nuclear power here.").

A couple of people have asked about what Matt Mollgaard and I said about Kiwi FM on Breakfast yesterday. I should make clear that I bear Kiwi no ill-will at all, and I think they're doing some things right - but my view remains that "New Zealand music" isn't a genre. Even I don't want to listen to it all the time ...

Steadfast climate change sceptic Ztev sent me this link to a Daily Telegraph story about scientists claiming that the journals Science and Nature are deliberately suppressing opposing opinion on the issue. If they are, then that's simply wrong. On the other hand, the Scientific American blog this week noted suggestions that NASA deliberately downplayed a report by one of its own scientists that endorsed the theory of global warming driven by human activity.

Also from the SciAm blog, some good links relating to the fisking of the curious creationist contortions of philosopher Anthony Flew since his passage from atheism to born-again Christianity. It's a fascinating look at how junk science is made. See also: Fitting the Bible to the Data.

Fraternal Greetings to Sam Finnemore, or should I say Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness. He notes:

The First Reformed Unitarian Jihadists have also dubbed me Brother Inspired Trebuchet of Mindful Balance. So sad it had to schism off so early - must be some kind of record.

And also to the former Peter Ashby, who is now Brother Katana of Courteous Debate and notes that "the implied incision with courtesy rather appeals to me."

Meanwhile, see also The International Unofficial Unitarian Jihad's Journal.

Via Drudge: Kelsey Grammer falling off a stage, mid-speech. Ow.

OneGoodMove has a clip of Bright Eyes Performing the protest song du jour, 'When the President Talks to God' on the Jay Leno show. The song is available as a free download on iTunes - but, of course, you still need an American billing address to get that free download. There's no web link that I can find, but it took only took me a couple of minutes to get via Limewire.