The Dim-Post

June 30, 2010

Best Party campaign material

Filed under: Politics,satire — danylmc @ 11:26 am

A couple of days ago I mentioned the Best Party of Iceland, a joke party that just received 34% of the vote and is part of the coalition government.  The leader comedian John Gnarr is now Mayor of Reykjavik and his campaign ad is up on Youtube with translations:

Most of the singers are from Reykjavik’s underground punk scene – they’re now Ministers in the government.

Thanks to Kate who emailed this in.

June 29, 2010

Quote of the day, flicker of hope edition

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 1:03 pm

I was collecting for the City Mission at the supermarket on Saturday afternoon –and every second person had something to say around the credit card issue. Normally, if I’m out collecting for various charities I’ll get one in every five or six people who’d want to stand and chat about a particular political issue…So the fact that people have engaged so much with this, its terribly, terribly sad. I’ve kept saying to people – it was wrong. Spending outside the rules was wrong. But there’also more to it than that. It was the fact it was public money. People really, really feel that it was their money, and it was misused…and extravagantly spent by people. We’ve got to do better, so people can feel it is worthwhile to engage with politicians.

- Labour Party MP Grant Robertson in an interview with Gordon Campbell.

There still seems to be a sentiment amongst some Labour MPs and their supporters that they were entitled to misuse public money and that journalists who took umbrage at the abuse and wrote stories about it should be punished or fired – so it’s incredibly encouraging to see that Robertson gets why it was such a catastrophe for the party.

Smacking in prisons

Filed under: crime — danylmc @ 10:39 am

Living the dream

Filed under: personal — danylmc @ 9:14 am

I was excited by this Manawatu Standard story on Stuff which unfolds with the clarity of a nightmare and reads like a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode:

A wheelchair-bound Palmerston North man on a crusade to stop the abuse of disability car parks was involved in an altercation he claims ended in him being tipped out.

The fracas happened on Saturday evening when Nicolas Steenhout confronted a woman after she pulled into a disability park at Melody’s New World on Broadway Ave.

She did not have an orange mobility card, which permits the use of disability car parks.

The Manawatu Standard understands Mr Steenhout reached into the car and grabbed the steering wheel.

The woman warned him to let go, before reversing slowly out of the park but Mr Steenhout clung to the wheel before being thrown out of his wheelchair.

When I lived in Karori I walked past the car parks at the supermarket every day and I took great delight in confronting people parking in the disabled spot. These exchanges always went something like this:

Me: Excuse me. Did you know this is a disabled spot?

Them: Oh I’m just in a hurry.

Me: They’re not for people in a hurry. They’re for people that are disabled. (Now shouting as the person scurries away through the crowd, their face burning with shame) Just so you know in future you’re not supposed to park there unless you’re disabled.

I stopped doing this after a big scary looking guy threatened to beat me up but they were good times. Contrary to the claim in the article I don’t think I ever saw an elderly person abusing the space – they were almost always well dressed men and woman in their forties and fifties driving late model cars: our vast middle management class, most of whom seem think they’re just a little bit more special than anyone else so none of the rules apply to them.

Anyway, I sometimes fantasize about lifting weights and learning to box so I could harass people in disabled car parks with impunity but being in a wheelchair would be even better.

Trust

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 6:45 am

There are a few interesting points in the Readers Digest annual survey on trust. The first is that it only samples 500 people which is about half the number you want for a robust poll. So the survey isn’t all that trustworthy.

But let’s assume it is, in which case the most trustworthy person in the country is VC winner Willy Apiata which is a strange call since his job is to sneak around killing people. Number 2 on the list is Kevin Milne from Fair Go – impressive for a consumer affairs journalist since reporters rank as one of the least trusted professions.

The two least trusted people on the list are Sir Roger Douglas and Hone Harawira, who of all our MPs are the most likely to be honest and upfront about their beliefs. Lockwood Smith, the Speaker who has done the most for open and transparent government of any politician in a generation is ranked just behind Eric Watson, a guy who personally destroyed the life-savings of tens of thousands of New Zealanders. People trust Roger Hall more than they trust Sir Paul Callaghan or Sir Peter Gluckman – which makes me suspect many people doing the survey didn’t know who many of the people on it were and just ranked them randomly in the middle.

The results for most trusted professions are also a bit weird. Scientists are a long way down the list. People trust the armed forces more than judges even though the military lies to us as a matter of routine. As usual teachers are very high on the list – it always amuses me to see various pundits on the right railing against teachers or calling on the government to smash their union.

Also strange to see fast-food servers as one of the least trusted professions in the country. I’ve eaten my share of pizzas and burgers and I don’t think any of the kids slaving away behind the counter has ever betrayed me or lied to me – unlike plumbers, mechanics and other tradespeople which are in the mid-range of the list. Surely these are the least trustworthy people in the country?

As the survey notes, Sex-workers are the third least trusted profession with tele-marketers coming dead last. While you might have moral issues about what these people do they’re not really untrustworthy – the whole thing is really a measure of vague, inarticulate prejudice rather than trust.

June 28, 2010

Rock bottom

Filed under: crime — danylmc @ 5:01 pm

My attitude towards penal reform is based on the assumption that some day I’ll end up in prison. I’m not sure how this will come about – I never break any laws let alone any that might invite a custodial sentence. It’s just a gut feeling I have about the future.

Seen from this perspective most of Judith Collins’ prison reforms are pretty terrible: especially the double bunking and cells in shipping containers. But as a non-smoker the new policy to ban cigarettes is pretty good news for me when my time comes. Being forced to share a cell with a chain smoker would be the worst.

Well . . . maybe not the worst. Far from it. But still pretty bad.

June 27, 2010

Pop quiz hotshot

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 8:18 am

This would be a pretty good test to set during a job interview for a PR advisor.

‘Your client is a senior politician. His daughter gets arrested smuggling four ecstasy tablets into a dance party on New Years Day. The drugs are concealed in her underwear and when questioned by the police she explains they were for personal consumption. The media calls for comment. Do you:

(a) explain that this is a family matter, that it has been dealt with by the courts, that you consider it closed and will not be making any comment.

(b) have your client tell the reporter that “my daughter has never taken drugs, never taken drugs. I’m not being naive as a father, I know she has not taken drugs apart from the legal drug of alcohol.”

The anti-semitic dollar. Huge dollar!

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 7:55 am

The HoS reports:

A top TV star unleashed a racist outburst at a high-profile media event this week – claiming that “Jews were expendable”.

David Fane, one of the creators of bro’Town, told an audience including Jason Gunn, Mike Hosking, Kate Hawkesby and John Tamihere, that “Hitler had a right” and HIV sufferers deserved to be “roasted”.

Fane made the tirade on Wednesday night at the inaugural Radio Roast at the exclusive Northern Club in Auckland.

He said: “You are the worst motherf*****s in the world, you agency guys,” referring to advertising bosses in the audience.

He said: “I want to eat you, but I won’t because I don’t want to get HIV. Would you roast an HIV person? You’d roast them because they’re expendable. Like the Jews. Hitler had a right, you know.”

“You’ve all got f****** Aids, c****!”

I don’t want to be defending Fane because (a) his comments aren’t very funny and (b) it sounds as if he’s ripping off a Bill Hicks routine in which Hicks begged any advertising executives in the audience to commit suicide. But it sounds as if the comments about Jews are opinions he’s attributing to imaginary evil advertising executives, not himself. I could be wrong but it’s always tricky when you try and take offense at something a comedian says during a routine in which they might be in character.

Politics in Iceland

Filed under: general news — danylmc @ 7:30 am

The New York Times reports:

Iceland’s Best Party, founded in December by a comedian, Jon Gnarr, to satirize his country’s political system, ran a campaign that was one big joke. Or was it?

Last month, in the depressed aftermath of the country’s financial collapse, the Best Party emerged as the biggest winner in Reykjavik’s elections, with 34.7 percent of the vote, and Mr. Gnarr — who also promised a classroom of kindergartners he would build a Disneyland at the airport — is now the fourth mayor in four years of a city that is home to more than a third of the island’s 320,000 people.

In his acceptance speech he tried to calm the fears of the other 65.3 percent. “No one has to be afraid of the Best Party,” he said, “because it is the best party. If it wasn’t, it would be called the Worst Party or the Bad Party. We would never work with a party like that.”

With his party having won 6 of the City Council’s 15 seats, Mr. Gnarr needed a coalition partner, but ruled out any party whose members had not seen all five seasons of “The Wire”.

The possibilty of the Progressive-Conservative Party (non-Canadian) sweeping to power creeps a little closer. According to this online poll almost 20% of New Zealanders identify with the policies and values of Progressive-Conservatism!

Hopefully the last word

Filed under: media,Politics — danylmc @ 7:13 am

Brian Edwards blogs about an alleged incident between Duncan Garner and Chris Carter on an Air New Zealand flight:

It is no secret around Parliament  that, roughly 11 months ago,  Garner and Carter had a verbal stoush in the Auckland Koru Club.  Following the release of the report detailing the 2008 travel expenses of Labour Ministers, Garner had run a TV3 story alleging that Carter was a big-spending Minister whose travel could not be justified in what was essentially a domestic portfolio – Education. The story also referred to Carter’s long-time partner and travelling companion, Peter Kaiser, and included the name of the primary school of which Kaiser is principal.

Not surprisingly, there was bad blood between the two men. Carter and Darren Hughes were in the Koru Club waiting for their flight to Wellington to be called when Garner approached them. He is reported as having said, ‘Travelling on the fucking taxpayer again, Chris.’ Carter told him to ‘fuck off!’

Carter had already taken his seat on the plane when Garner, who had boarded later, stopped next to him, jabbed his finger into Carter’s chest and said loudly, ‘I am going to fucking get you, Carter. If it takes me to Christmas I am going to fucking destroy you.’ Sitting directly behind Carter was Dame Margaret Bazley. Appalled by what she had heard, she commented loudly, ‘What a disgraceful man. You don’t have to put up with rubbish like that on a plane, Mr Carter.’ Garner moved on down the plane.

Edward’s thinks TV3 should sack Garner. I think a lot of Garner’s attack stories about Carter were stupid and unprofessional – but if those were grounds for dismissal then TV1 and TV3 would show nothing but static between 7:00 to 7:30 PM.

And in the final analysis Garner was right – Carter was travelling around the world with his partner pissing away huge amounts of taxpayer money while being paid a very large salary as Minister of Education. This behaviour combined with Carter’s arrogance and sense of entitlement would have exploded into a massive scandal when the credit card receipts were released irregardless of Garner’s relationship with Carter.

Edward’s anecdote is a reminder that when it comes to political reporting  invisible ley-lines exist between MPs, their media staff and the journalists who cover them: friendships, romances, rivalries and hatreds that are invisible to the public. One pundit once told me that he wrote his best political analysis when he lived in Auckland.

Incidentally, a similar story is playing itself out in the US – the Washington Post just sacked Dave Weigel, a columnist writing about the conservative movement who insulted senior leaders of the movement on a private listserv that was leaked to a political website. General consensus is that it was a bad look for the WaPo and if TV3 were to punish Garner because he took a dislike to an MP misspending public money it would set a dreadful precedent for New Zealand political journalism.

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