The Dim-Post

June 30, 2008

Beat the Devil

Filed under: general news,nz blogs,Politics — danylmc @ 1:25 pm
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I’m delighted to hear that the section-59 referendum will be held separately from this years ‘election’ and thus ensure the nations bloggers and naval-gazers a separate media-firestorm of hysteria, outrage, disinformation and general idiocy. $10 million seems like a small price to pay.

Graeme Edgeler over at Public Address has a post on the topic – its the usual uninformed guesswork, hyperbole and wild-eyed ravings that we’ve come to expect from Graeme. The PAS community respond with outrage to his heretical suggestion that the decision to hold a separate vote was made for political reasons not logistical ones.

It occurs to me that holding the referendum separately might be good for Labour in the upcoming election – good in the same way that not scuffing your shoes when you get hit by a bus is good – but it will probably be bad for Bradford’s bill. Separate referendum tend to attract small numbers of activist voters and this clearly favours the pro-smacking brigade.

Or maybe not. A number of politicians went into the select committee opposing the Bradford bill and came out determined to get it passed so they could protect the nations children from the hordes of religious lunatics who gave oral submissions. One presenter explained that children are often possessed by demons and have to be beaten to drive the devils out. A couple of weeks of such debate without the distraction of the election might be enough to swing the vote the other way.

June 29, 2008

The Illuminati Strikes Again

Filed under: general idiocy,nz blogs — danylmc @ 5:06 pm
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I don’t know if you’ve looked outside today, but its pretty goddamn grim. And, as is often the way when I can’t go outside and play I found myself over at Ian Wisharts blog.

J G Ballard once wrote that sex and paranoia are the twin leitmotifs of the 20th century. They’re certainly the main preoccupations of Ian and his admirers. I love this thread, regurgitating the Obama birth certificate ‘controversy’. It gets really weird towards the end with this comment from one of the regulars, ‘usabikes’.

Saw this disturbing video of Obama recently that if publicised I would have thought should have ended his presidential race. You almost get the feeling that a like-minded media is protecting him or something.

. . . it showed Obama on a plane flight having a telephone discussion while parading around with an erection. He even put his leg up on a chair to give the rest of the plane a good look.

This clean-cut, nicely spoken man is a degenerate liar, I certainly wouldn’t put it past him to have falsified this birth certificate.

Naturally the video does not appear to be available, although a google search for ‘barack obama erection’ (the things I do for you guys) turns up a site called, a web community devoted to conspiracy theories and largely populated by right-wing religious americans, although there’s enough UFO, pagan and left-wing craziness to keep anyone amused for days.

These folk are very excited about the rumoured Obama erection video. Sample posts:

  • I saw it on GLP last night and kinda thought it would spread and become a major problem for him. He looked dazed and weird on the plane, like he was on drugs, stretching and posing so people could clearly see him pitching a tent in his slacks.
  • what a dumb ape
  • Typical Illimunati mind control. Obama is playing his part well. This is all to subconciously and conciously make whites especially white males more disgusted with black males by having Obama do this to a room full of white women.
  • He might have benign prostate enlargement. This can cause a boner at unpredictable times.

Like I said, the video does not appear to be available but the good folk over at ‘GLP’ kindly posted a link to a photo confirming Obama’s tumescent state. White males should be cautioned that the waves of digust towards black’s you’ll feel after clicking the link play right into the Illuminati’s plans. Consider yourselves warned.

Anatomy of a non-story

Filed under: media,Politics — danylmc @ 12:29 pm

I just arrived back from a week long scientific conference in far-north Queensland (with a satisfactory amount of snorkelling and sun-bathing in between presentations). The papers in the Koru lounge were all abuzz about John Key’s ‘gaffe’ about New Zealand history. The whole pointless story is an interesting exercise in how communications staff interact with the media. It started like this:

1. Labour (this seems to have originated from Cullen’s office) releases a press statement attacking John Key on the basis that he made the following statement on NewsTalk ZB

We’re not a country that’s come about as a result of civil war or where there’s been a lot of fighting internally, we’re, we’re a country which peacefully came together.

Anyone with a cursory knowledge of New Zealand history knows that this is not the case, and if a party leader did make such a statement it would raise serious questions about their suitability to become Prime Minister.

2. The media decide this is obviously a story and call Pita Sharples, Parekura Horomia, Helen Clark and various left-wing academics for comment. All of them pile onto Key and attack him mercilessly. TVNZ have a fine example of this stage of the story here.

3. National responds with a press release claiming that Cullen has ‘scored an own goal’ and made identical statements to those Key is alleged to have made. Claire Trevett at the New Zealand Herald kindly rewrites the National Party statement into the Heralds in-house style for them.

4. Inconveniently for National Cullen’s speech is publically available and its instantly clear that the Nats have quoted him wildly out of context, so everybody except the Herald ignores this rather desparate ploy. The Nats then look back at Key’s transcript and figure out that he did in fact mention the New Zealand Wars and land confiscation. Key, it appears, was quoted wildly out of context too. The Nats release the transcript.

5. At this point it is apparent that the political media have now spent an entire day chasing a story with no news value whatsoever. This is entirely an exercise in political spin on Labour’s part and incompetent media management on the Nats. There is NOTHING to see here. But . . . they did spend all day on it, so off to the front pages it goes.

Ah . . . the life of kings.

*UPDATE – NZPA political reporter Ian Llewllyn presents his own version of events in the comments. Since Ian is in the gallery observing things first hand and I am sitting at home in my underwear making shit up his perspective is slightly different from mine. I stand by my methods.

June 25, 2008

Very Serious Thoughts: US and NZ Politics

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 5:15 pm

As others have commented the Prime Minister seems to be in a state of genuine denial over her parties position in the polls; it seems incredible that a politician as experienced and formidible as Clark is going to lose (and lose massively) to John Key and National, a barely competent party with no policies and no direction with a mediocre underperforming leader with no government experience.

It’s almost as strange as the situation in the US, in which its becoming more apparant that John McCain, a popular, well liked war hero with decades of experience is going to lose (possibly badly) to a relative novice with no military background and the last name of Obama.

The media narrative in both countries is that people want ‘change for change’s sake’. I think this is patronising. People do want change but what they want to change is their goverments, which are bad, for another one that they hope will be good.

If Mr Obama is victorious then he will owe his place in history to the Bush Administration, which has not so much governed badly but failed to govern at all. On the contrary, New Zealand suffers from a surfeit of over-government and leaders for whom the solution to every problem is more (taxpayers) money, more regulation, more civil-servants and still more money.

Not only will Clark lead her party to a humiliating defeat, I suspect she has damaged its brand for the forseeable future. Just as National’s catastrophic failures of the 90’s still harm the party today, a competant National government will be able to enjoy at least ten years in power by darkly warning that a vote for Labour will plunge us back into the ‘nightmare of a Clark-like nanny state’. Of course, we are unlikely to enjoy a competant National government, even for three years but the opportunity for long term hegemony is there for Mr Key if he can seize it. Clark has given him that much.

June 19, 2008

I see Henry Fonda as Don Brash, Sidney Greenstreet as Brownlee

Filed under: movies,Politics — danylmc @ 10:22 pm
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I went to the launch of the film festival guide last night – my last outing in Wellington before my flight in a few hours time. The festival line-up is as impressive as ever, but of particular attention to the blogosphere might be the Hollow Men documentary, based on the book by Nicky Hagar.

The movie is made by Alister Barry, a film-maker who has devoted his career to criticing the new right reforms of the 80’s and 90’s. He is interviewed by Scoop’s Kevin List here. Clearly the film is not going to be terribly impartial.

Hagars book is the most important and interesting treatment of New Zealand politics around. The play was awful though – really really awful – and the film could go either way. The National Party will be particularly unhappy about the inevitable juxtpostition of the emails with speeches and press conferences made by Brash and current leader John Key.

In the mean time this film almost certainly recieved government funding – and will be overwhelmingly anti-National. Maybe the right-wing blogosphere could try and have it classified as election advertising?

Mental Health Break: Casino Royale

Filed under: movies — danylmc @ 2:41 pm
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No, not the dismal Daniel Craig movie they released a couple of years ago, the incredibly surreal 1967 original starring David Niven, Peter Sellers and Orson Welles. Sellers and Welles hated each other so much they filmed this scene on separate days. I think I can safely promise its the strangest thing you’ll watch today.

Probably not New Plymouth

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 8:27 am

There’s a story up on slashdot about computer scientists at Carnigie Mellon using Flickr to train software to determine the geographic location of a photograph just by looking at the elements within the picture. They’re using holiday photos people have posted on Flickr to do this, so at this very moment some chunk of LISP code could be checking out your teenage daughter on the beach.

The program attempts to mimic the way that humans can deduce the location of an image by searching for visual clues, such as similarities to pictures or locations they have seen previously.

On seeing a coastal scene, for example, humans can instantly work out that the image is not taken at a land-locked location and rule out the vast majority of options.

Using these techniques, the program was able to guess the right location within 200km, 16% of the time. This may seem like a low success rate, but it is nearly 20 times what random guessing would achieve, and extremely accurate considering the huge complexity of the problem.

Getting computers to mimic human intelligence has turned out to be WAY harder than anyone thought it would, but this kind of statistics based weak AI is finally starting to happen. I can’t imagine what its going to do to society and the economy when AI becomes a commercial product.

(Anybody like to guess where the photo was taken?)

*UPDATE. Poneke and George Darroch were pretty damn close, guessing Agra or somewhere in North India. Its the Jama Masjid mosque in Old Delhi. The red Agra sandstone gives it away.

Other guesses were the Blue Mosque or Versailles. It’s too small to be the first and nowhere near ugly enough to be the second.

Keri Hulme on Winter

Filed under: nz blogs,personal — danylmc @ 7:00 am

Poneke points out that today is the winter solstice and Keri has a rather wonderful comment in response celebrating the depths of winter, which I’ll rudely reprint here without asking because that’s just how I roll.

O good people! Why not celebrate the good things of winter!

There is no order to this list but

roasties & chowders & thick succulent pumpkin soups not to mention baked potatoes;
mutton birds and oysters and fat-rich bluecod and wonderful heartwarming body-enriching stews;
driftwood fires inside (because they give a blue saltflame flicker) and yep! coal on top;
quaffing whisky & green ginger wine (only time we can really legitimately drink it!)
our seaweeds, especially kareko, are coming to their best (August in the south);
really appreciating our layers of merino jerseys!
Light! Warm! Silky!
-nestling down to reading (rather than tv watching) by a fire with a really good pinot noir in hand-
and, not least, a walk on a beach on a frost-crisp evening with someone you love or by yourself, enjoying seas/scent & sound & the wonderful poroporotitiwai/luminescent animacules that come into their own at this time of year (here, anyway!)
winter bonfires! When fireworks are not only much more splendid but totally legitimate (except for a stupid law!)

I’m heading off for (much) warmer climes for a little while, so posting will be even more erratic than usual. Normally there’s nothing better than getting away from Wellington during winter but 2008 has seen the mildest mid-year weather I’ve ever seen in Wellington. Part of the fun of a winter getaway is taking delight in the misery and suffering of those left behind in the cold. I should get some sort of refund.

June 18, 2008

Is that all there is?

Filed under: us election 08 — danylmc @ 7:41 am

Lot’s of US blogs have posted about this button – its available for sale at the GOP convention in Texas.

We’re going to see a lot of this from the Republican Party and associates over the next few months – I’d suggest that racism, both explicit and coded is pretty much all we’re going to hear. And ultimately that hurts the GOP and McCain. Lot’s of people aren’t going to vote for Obama because of his ethnicity but those people are – for the most part – already paid up Republicans. They’ll love this badge but many, many swing voters won’t.

Obama is wide open to criticism about his protectionist trade policies, lack of experience – especially when it comes to continuing to fight unsuccessful wars on two fronts – and a number of other issues. But if all the swing voters hear about is that the Democrat is a nigger; that’s not going to be enough.

I’ve also been interested in the McCain campaign to woo Clinton’s female supporters – this might even work in the short term, but ultimately it seems like a waste of time. While the story of McCain’s first marriage is well known to politics junkies (his wife was disfigured in a car accident so McCain left her for a much younger woman) its not really out there in the same way that, say, the problems with Obama’s pastor are. Not yet, at least. The Democrats will make sure we hear a lot about McCains past over the next few months and that’s going to kill any chances he has with winning more than a handful of Hilary supporters.

June 17, 2008

South Auckland Crime Wave

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 10:03 pm

Three high-profile murders in as many days has the government promising decisive action. What are some of the proposed solutions to stop this violent crime wave?

  • Limit numbers on all polytechnic courses teaching home invasion and armed robbery techniques.
  • Increase existing levels of sedatives and oral contraceptives in Manukau water supply.
  • Create an economic disincentive to homicide by amending the Emissions Trading Scheme to double carbon fees on vehicles used during a murder
  • Introduce cultural sensitivity training to South Aucklands migrant communities teaching them to be more open and tolerant towards the kiwi tradition of random assault and pointless execution style killings.
  • Tap into wealthy hunter tourist market and reduce crime statistics by declaring ‘Westfield Free Fire zone.’
  • Point to multiple Asian murders as irrefutable statistical evidence for sending ’em all back.
  • Wait for real rain to come and wash all this scum off the streets. Establish Commission of Inquiry to determine date and duration of anticipated scum-washing rain.
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