Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: That Buzzing Sound

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  • giovanni tiso,

    I'd be very surprised if the National-Labour numbers weren't slightly skewed by the obstacle of 'crossing the floor' - a pressure which is present even on a conscience vote.

    The Craig that I know would say bullshit to that. It was a conscience vote. The leader himself voted yay in the first reading of the bill. If it was a conscience vote then, you know, grow a conscience.

    And I'm all for what you're saying, except the part where Clark gets painted as the enemy of marriage equality.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • anjum rahman,

    emma, ashraf abstained on the prostitution reform, he voted in favour of civil unions. just for the record.

    hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    emma, ashraf abstained on the prostitution reform, he voted in favour of civil unions. just for the record.

    Duh. Sorry. That'll learn me for not checking.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Not all gay people regard civil unions as the back of the bus, either, and it should be acknowledged.

    Which I did, repeatedly. As for "demonising the left", well... if individuals in that very broad collective collective noun deserve to have a little pair of red plastic horns attached to their foreheads, so be it. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    My earliest encounters with Craig were of someone who was repeatedly lambasted for Voting National While Gay, as if someone's sexual orientation should entirely determine their political opinions, and not, say, your views on economics.

    Aye. I'm reminded of a West Wing episode which focused on this - a gay republican arguing with Josh.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    earlier this year she discovered Soka Gakkai, a Japanese Buddhist tradition which emphasises the power of chanting.

    Things mad people shouldn't be allowed to do:
    - accumulate huge arsenals of firearms
    - be appointed to senior jobs in the public service

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    I don’t know RoO,

    Those morning stand-up motivation sessions at the Families Commission about to become a lot more interesting.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I'm reminded of a West Wing episode which focused on this - a gay republican arguing with Josh.

    Except Josh was actually right. The Nats are a far, far cry from the Republicans.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    So let's make all our papers tabloids then so they can sell. Let's investigate the sex lives of journalists and politicians. Because we *really* need to know.Eurggghh.

    Not what I meant at all. We (our country)sell lots of trash and the papers are no exception on many ocassions. Does it make it right? Personally I don't think so but my opinion aint worth anything to all the mags or papers so I do what I can in my little way by not buying them. Am I surprised about Rankin? No. Am I surprised a national MP would hire her? No. Do I think we should know about spending taxpayers money?Yes. National campaigned in the last election to be an open transparent government. Let them do it and be accountable to us. So far it's a farce for Aucklanders unless your in the business round table and that's people who don't appear to be open or transparent. Shit we don't even have proof readers for the Herald( and if they do, I think they're shocking) Still, wouldn't try to explain to the paper that some intelligence would be good because it's not mine and therefore not my choice. I am just not surprised.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Just as a point of information: the first attempt in NZ to decriminalise homosexuality was introduced by a National MP - Venn Young in (I think) 1974.

    It was defeated - from memory, when it came to a vote, a lot of MPs from both parties had urgent business out of town that day.

    But, hell, if you think Wilde was courageous in sticking to her guns in 1985 (and she certainly was), how about a Nat from a rural electorate in 1974?

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    how about a Nat from a rural electorate in 1974?

    Sure. And the supposedly arch-conservative Wairarapa electorate voted in Georgina Beyer.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Which I did, repeatedly. As for "demonising the left", well... if individuals in that very broad collective collective noun deserve to have a little pair of red plastic horns attached to their foreheads, so be it. :)

    And God know Fran Wilde -- despite being of "the left" -- gets princess points for pure guts, and I'd say that if I was a flaming heterosexualist. :) I can't see what she had to gain by having her name on the Homosexual Law Reform Bill, unless she was the kind of masochist who got off on the hate mail, the death threats and the exceeding nasty smears about her private life.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    This reminded me of the time I was on a flight to Wanganui sitting behind a prominent Cabinet Member who was highly supportive of the upcoming CU Act. It was the day that the Herald ran their simply absurd front-page interview with some teen beauty queen who complained that the Act "did nothing for me as a young 'normal' heterosexual" and somehow would undermine her eventual marriage.

    Said Minister stepped off the plane, walked up to a (I presume) staffer and opened with "god, look at this silly bitch".
    My esteem = raised.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'd be very surprised if the National-Labour numbers weren't slightly skewed by the obstacle of 'crossing the floor' - a pressure which is present even on a conscience vote.

    I think that's a bit charitable. The pressure stemmed more from National's developing links at the time with the Christian conservative network, which was strongly cultivated in the general election that followed.

    The same pressure led to Brash's about-face on the civil union bills -- for which he was decent enough to express regret in his valedictory speech. (He also gracefully apologised for his notorious letter to the Dean of Christchurch Cathedral about Clark's attitude to religion and marriage: "While I didn't personally write the letter, I did sign it, and take full responsibility for it. Given all the circumstances, that was not one of my most brilliant letters.")

    No one should hold their breath for Murray McCully to get an attack of ethics of course. It was McCully who targeted a youth safe-sex ad that briefly featured a same-sex couple:

    And all manner of protections from discrimination against gays now exist in the law of the land. But this ad goes way further than that. Cynics suggest that its subliminal message is clearly that homosexuality is officially endorsed by the Government of the land (which has gone to the trouble of buying the ad) as one of the lifestyle options to be carefully considered by young people. Above all else, the ad will simply cause offence to many people. The ad is being pushed hardest on TV2, where the largest audience of young people is to be found.

    The Sisterhood will no doubt defend the advertisement on the basis that it delivers a health message. But they could easily have done that without graphic depictions of sexual encounters of any kind. And they certainly did not need to spend taxpayers' cash rarking up the very un-gay folks at the worldwide headquarters.

    The "graphic depiction" of a "sexual encounter" was the exchange of a brief smile and a kiss. I have no idea what McCully really thinks about homosexuality, but I assume he's still willing to try and make political capital out of it if the occasion demands.

    My earliest encounters with Craig were of someone who was repeatedly lambasted for Voting National While Gay, as if someone's sexual orientation should entirely determine their political opinions, and not, say, your views on economics.

    Amen to that. I was cheered by Pansy Wong's short-lived "Pansy's Pansies" for just that reason. It's a shame the idea was kind of shut down.

    I dunno, maybe it's because Craig and I have both been inside parties and realised that, hey, sometimes you can fight really hard and still lose, and people are going to assume that you support all your party's policies, which is just never going to happen in a world where we don't all have our very own individual political parties.

    I share your respect for Craig, big time. But I do think there has been a real-world gap between the parties on inclusiveness, which is where the conversation started.

    (In a different vein, I really respect the fact that Grant Robertson is out and gay in a way that does not preclude him being obsessively knowledgeable about the history of Otago rugby.)

    FWIW, I don't do political party stuff, but I made an exception and agreed to speak to a Rainbow Labour breakfast during the civil unions furore. I said: "The only good argument against civil unions is the argument for same-sex marriage," and I don't think anyone in the room disagreed.

    I also said "So apparently it's not oppression if you're outnumbered," but you had to hear the rest of the joke to get why that was funny ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Sure. And the supposedly arch-conservative Wairarapa electorate voted in Georgina Beyer.

    I have a friend who was living in Wairarapa at the time (and still is) - one of those trendy-lefty Auckland-working commuters. She'd raised the question with a much older local acquaintance, about how he could vote for Beyer when he was apparently so conservative. His reply was that he'd 'known George since he was a boy', and he was okay, a good person, and that was more important than how she dressed or who she had sex with - or apparently which policies he supported.

    Politics is a funny thing, and people vote for all kinds of weird irrational reasons. Doesn't pay to get obsessive about it.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Except Josh was actually right. The Nats are a far, far cry from the Republicans.

    That really wasn't the point. I can't remember the character's name, but he basically said, I agree with the republicans on economy, government out of your business, education, etc etc. Their policy on homosexuality doesn't affect who I am.

    For a lot of people 95% agreement with a political party isn't too bad. For something as fundamental sexuality maybe a bunch of people can't overlook that, obviously some can.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Hi Jeremy

    I wrote a reply to this but the ether ate it

    Excuse my ignorance here but what is the worst GE crop ever identified and what was the impact?
    And what would we be missing if GE was banned worldwide, (hypothetical question).

    To the best of my knowledge nothing bad has happened in the field. No sky falling, no escape of transgenics, no resistance developed.

    The only surprises I know of have been good eg the reduction in tilling.

    The worst GE plant that I know of was the soybean they transformed with a methionine rich gene from Brazil nut. Soybean is very low in this particular amino acid, so increasing methionine in soybean would be good. Unfortunately they happened to choose the major allergen from brazil nut and so the transgenic plants in the greenhouse were shown to be allergenic to anyone who had a brazil nut allergy. The plants never made it out of the greenhouse.

    Oh and they now know what the allergenic protein is in brazil nut is, which they didn't know before.

    What would we be missing?

    Too big a question. Kind of like asking what would we miss out on if they killed the internet 15 years ago. Transgenic porn?

    I don't know what we will have in 10 years. What we would lose now would be maize, soybean, cotton and sugar beet that is all a lot better for the environment than what was grown before. Hawaii would have no papaya industry. ISAAA has some interesting numbers about what it would mean for small holders growing GE crops.

    Reasonable guesses, Golden rice of some kind is very close and it will make a difference to the health of those who eat it.

    There are a bunch of virus resistance projects close for specific crops.

    There is quite a bit of work on improved wood for paper, mostly focussed on removing the need for the polluting processes being used now.

    There are a number of basic yield issues being worked on. Cold, salt, drought tolerance are all being worked on. All those have the effect of improving the yield from a given amount of land/water.

    There is a lot of work on fertiliser independence.

    There is work on Cassava and other 3rd world staple crops.

    As I said it's too big to try and list them all.

    Sorry for the interlude back to the thread...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    unless she was the kind of masochist who got off on the hate mail, the death threats and the exceeding nasty smears about her private life.

    Heh. Anything is possible on this planet. I know cos I watched Star Trek on the weekend :(

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Yeah, but then a few months later, the organisation she headed flew in Theodore Daylrymple to hold forth on how the plebs shouldn't be allowed to divorce.

    Much like the organisation Sharron Cole (who I think its fair to say you had no issues with) is now working for? :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    His reply was that he'd 'known George since he was a boy', and he was okay, a good person, and that was more important than how she dressed or who she had sex with - or apparently which policies he supported.

    It's a classic example of "I don't like Asians/Maori/Gay people.... EXCEPT for..."

    Which in one way isn't an entirely bad thing, if it leads to people knowing more than one, and eventually making the leap to figuring out that they actually do like a bunch.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    But I do think there has been a real-world gap between the parties on inclusiveness, which is where the conversation started.

    Oh, I don't think they're the same. But I do think that a lot of the time we see an over-simplified picture of the Left that doesn't include, say, the Labour voters of South Auckland or the West Coast or Sydenham, the socially-conservative Left. Hence my taking issue with Gio's comment, which is where I came in.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Much like the organisation Sharron Cole (who I think its fair to say you had no issues with) is now working for

    Not really!

    You slightly munged the link (I've fixed it now) so I went to the home page and searched for "divorce". The first result was this:

    How can we make loving and moral sense of the gap between practice and current teaching? To what extent does it reflect a credibility gap? Does it necessarily follow that 'departure' implies 'disagreement'? How can we hold on to our ideals without giving the message that those who, for good reasons and in good conscience, may not be able to reach those ideals are second-rate Catholics? Is it really the case that so many 'good' Catholics have gone so badly awry? While it is possible that all such Catholics are morally wrong, is it not also possible that the current mismatch between official church teaching and the convictions and practices of many members points to some weakness in that teaching? Surely there is a requirement for us all, while accepting the basic assumptions upon which Catholic sexual ethics rests, to reexamine our interpretation of the God-given mystery that is human sexuality? And surely there is a responsibility for us to re-examine the current formulations of our understanding, not to mention the unhelpful ways in which we do and don't communicate it?

    These questions affect all Catholics - cohabiting, single, married, divorced, heterosexual, homosexual, fertile, infertile, parents and grandparents. Surely we have the maturity to talk about such things? The current sexual crisis demands we do so for the sake of a truly human civilisation.

    I don't think that seriously compares with the nasty and deceptive assault on non-standard families on the website of Rankin's old firm.

    And neither does the article you did link to, introducing Coles:

    There she helped build up relationships with a wide range of family-oriented entities. Being a keen family person herself with a loving, 34-year marriage with husband, Richard, and four adult children, she’s a strong believer in a happy and supportive marriage being a great place for children. But the key question for the Families Commission remains how best to support families where there are not two parents who love and support each other and are prepared to extend that love to the children with the appropriate boundaries and training in place.

    Night and day, in fact.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Politics is a funny thing, and people vote for all kinds of weird irrational reasons

    I have a rellie who said she decided to vote for Beyer after Paul Henry made her baby cry. Sound eminently rational to me as Eddie adores me, and is therefore a fine judge of character. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    I have a rellie who said she decided to vote for Beyer after Paul Henry made her baby cry. Sound eminently rational to me as Eddie adores me, and is therefore a fine judge of character. :)

    My daughter really likes Bill English. She thinks he's one of the Wiggles, even though we haven't seen Bill on screen in day glo colours.

    Maybe he's saving that for Budget Day.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    My daughter really likes Bill English. She thinks he's one of the Wiggles

    Ha. I could make a "more like one of the Muppets" cracks here but I won't.



    Oops.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

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