The Dim-Post

June 25, 2011

It begins

Filed under: psuedopolitics — danylmc @ 7:20 am

Audrey Young reports:

Cathy Odgers, the author of the acerbic website Cactus Kate, is expected to be approved today as an Act candidate – one of the reasons sitting MP Heather Roy is likely to today announce she will stand down at this year’s election.

Cathy Odgers is a corporate lawyer who lives in Hong Kong.

Cathy Odgers is expected to address one of Act’s weaknesses, its appeal to women and especially to young women.

Heh. Good luck with that. But it’s time for ACT members to realise their party is gone – or at least going ’til November. When Banks is elected to represent Epsom he’ll become de-facto ACT leader, at which point the party really is just an empty proxy for National, with Epsom as a rotten borough used by the Nats to rort the system so that the richest electorate in the country gets a few more MPs than everyone else.

June 24, 2011


Filed under: general news — danylmc @ 2:51 pm

David Haywood blogs on his insurance company’s response to the government’s Christhurch payout deal:

A man called Liam phoned us to say that we had nine months to leave the property.  Although our house was repairable and the land comparatively undamaged, the state of the surrounding houses meant that we had to go.  Fair enough — and, of course, at least we had total replacement insurance.

But when I phoned Tower Insurance this morning to initiate a claim — guess what?  They found a loophole.

Tower Insurance maintain that the house is not a write-off.  They maintain that they are only obliged to repair the house — not to honour our insurance policy for total replacement.  They say that just because we won’t be allowed to live on the land, and that the house will be bulldozed, doesn’t mean that the house is an insurance write-off.  Sorry, they say, but what the government mandates with regard to land is nothing to do with them.

Tower say that they will only pay the book value on the property — the very thing that we have been paying insurance for years to avoid.  And by Tower’s own numbers this leaves us nearly $200,000 short of the money required to replace our house.

Here’s an idea, a little service that a media organisation or just a keen web developer could provide: a Rate my Insurer site where Christchurch residents affected by the quake could score the quality of the coverage their insurer provided, and then the rest of the country – almost all of whom also live in potential disaster zones – could make decisions to re-insure based on the aggregate results.

The curse

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 9:26 am

Via Stuff:

The Employers and Manufacturers Association is backing its man after chief executive Alasdair Thompson created a flood of controversy yesterday with his linking of menstruation to workplace productivity.

EMA northern president Graham Mountfort said EMA backed Mr Thompson and didn’t expect him to step down. “If you take the comments in context, we don’t believe they were perhaps as outrageous as has been painted.

Thompson did repeat his comments, like, a dozen times yesterday. It’s hard to argue you’re being taken out of context if you just keep repeating the same argument.

Thompson doesn’t have any statistical evidence for his assertions but he cites anecdotal evidence, both his and testimony from other employersalthough whenever he cites these conversations he has with other employers, with whom he discusses gender pay equity and female sick leave, my mind flashes to a scene of Thompson and his fellow captains of industry sitting at a corporate box at a stadium somewhere, red-faced and roaring with laughter and sloshing whisky all over the carpet: I’m not sure how evidence based these conversations are.

June 23, 2011

Stretching fair use

Filed under: media — danylmc @ 2:04 pm

Shelley Bridgeman has a new column up on the Herald Site:

Three days before Easter 2002 I purchased a pair of jeans and took them to be shortened at an alteration place in Merivale. I’d hoped to wear these jeans back home for the upcoming long weekend and as I went to the counter I silently told myself that I must not be an Auckland tosser during this interaction.

But self-talk is not a winning strategy for me because when the woman told me the simple hemming would take a week I just couldn’t help myself.

“Well, I come from Auckland and in Auckland they do it while you wait,” I said. I did. That is what I said.

Little did I realise that, instead of quite correctly writing me off as a piece of work, this Merivale woman was of the bring-it-on-girlfriend persuasion.

“Well, we can do it in an hour, too,” she said.

And I was like: “Well, I don’t need it in an hour but two days would be nice.”

So I got my jeans shortened in time.

Indeed. Bridgeman’s ongoing body of work addresses two interrelated themes: the diminishing marginal utility of money and the non-correlation of wealth with moral and intellectual merit within a capitalist society.  I hope the National Archive is capturing this stuff.

Quote of the day, I want whatever he’s on edition

Filed under: drugs — danylmc @ 11:00 am

The easier you make it to get at forbidden fruit, the more people will want a taste.

Garth George on drug prohibition.

Off to the pollution huts with ’em

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 10:38 am

Here’s fun. Via Sean Plunkett’s Twitter feed, Alasdair Thompson of the Employers and Manufacturers Association defended pay inequity for women on the grounds that:

once a month they have sick problems, they have children they have to take time off & take leave

Tune in next week, when Thompson argues that female employees reduce productivity growth if they step on a senior manager’s shadow while they’re ‘unclean’.

June 20, 2011

A day on the campaign trail: excerpts from Hone Harawira’s election diary.

Filed under: Politics,satire — danylmc @ 1:44 pm

6 AM: Woken by terrific pounding on my bedroom door. Groan and stumble across the room and open it. It’s Don, as usual, dressed in a grey suit with a housecoat over the top. He’s carrying a feather duster and his hair is in a curler with cold cream over his face, and right-away he starts in on me. ‘What time did I get home and why didn’t I take my shoes off at the front door and why is there left-over pizza sitting out on the bench where it could attract mice, and why should there be mandatory Te Reo instruction for teachers when Maori don’t even exist as a genetically separate ethnic group any more?’

Most mornings I just put up with this, but not today. I thunder, ‘Who the hell are you to make me take my shoes off in my own home?’

‘I work like a slave to keep this house clean,’ he wails back. ‘And you’re forbidden from tracking mud across the rug under article three of the treaty.’

I shout, ‘You’re worse than Adolf Hitler,’ and then I see a smile playing around the edges of Don’s mouth, and we burst out laughing and I give him a cuddle. I’m late for my first campaign appearance so Don pops a piece of toast in my mouth, straightens my tie and puts my briefcase in my hand. ‘Text me if you’re going to be late again,’ he calls from the front door. ‘Good luck! Also, under article three of the treaty your electorate shouldn’t even exist.’

9:23 AM: Arrive late to the Meet the Candidates powhiri with Nga Puhi. I slip through the door, trying not to make a sound but Kelvin sees me and taps his watch and says, ‘Tardy again I see Harawira.’ After the debate he makes me write, ‘I will be punctual’ a hundred times. Stink.

11 AM: Driving around Whangarei. There are thousands of red Labour Party signs everywhere saying, ‘Vote Kelvin Davis’, but it starts raining and the paint runs, and within minutes they all read, ‘Kris Fa’foi for Mana.’ Ka rawe!

2 PM: Meet the Candidates with Ngati Whatua. I’m on time but I forget to tie my tie and unroll my shirt sleeves. Kelvin gives me twenty minutes detention after the debate. In revenge I let the air out of his car tires. Awesome.

3 PM:Campaign strategy meeting with Mana Party Chair Matt McCarten and Horotiu the Taniwha, my strategy and communications director.

‘Why not just wait your enemies out?’, Horotiu rumbles. ‘Win victory over Davis through patience. Sink into the black depths of Lake Ohia for a hundred thousand years while this puny human dies and his civilisation crumbles to dust.’

Because ‘I’m a human too, you imbecile. In a hundred thousand years I’ll be dead. How many times do I have to explain this?’

Horotiu finds my reply hilarious. His massive pan-dimensional body shakes with laughter; his compound eyes boil with mirth and his tentacles flail about the room smearing dark, foetid ooze on the walls and ceilings and, to my secret delight, McCarten’s highly-prized black suit. Matt doesn’t even notice – he’s flipping through pages of his volume on electoral law. ‘Here’s an idea. Why don’t we declare you legally dead, and name Solomon Tipene as your successor. That way you’ll capture the Mana and Maori Party votes!’

‘Too gimmicky,’ replies Horotiu. ‘Why don’t I cause the volcanoes around Auckland Harbour to erupt, incinerating all the voters in high Labour turnout areas?’

‘They’ll just delay the by-election.’

Horotiu is getting annoyed with Matt. Clouds of methane pour from his ears and nostrils. ‘You’re not seeing the big picture,’ he growls. ‘Why during the last ice-age . . .’  ‘

‘Don’t tell me about ice-ages. I remember when the Alliance . . .’

I groan and sink lower in my chair.

4 PM: Door knocking in Kaitaia. Matt calls to tell me that Kris Fa’Foi is only one point behind me in the latest poll.

7 PM: Get text from Horotiu. He’s resigning as my communications director, withdrawing his support for the Mana Party and going to live in the inner core of the planet for a million years. Apparently there was a dispute about Mana Party policy and my mum threatened him and made him cry. Great. Just great.

9 PM: Get home to find dinner and a cold beer waiting for me in front of the TV. Don gets out of bed and puts on his kimono and talks to me while I eat. He had a bad day too, apparently. John Key suggested to him that ACT ‘focus on the Epsom by-election not the national election. ‘John said it was just friendly advice, but Stephen Joyce and Kevin Taylor were standing behind him chewing toothpicks and taking practise swings with baseball bats.’
I squeeze his hand. I know how tough it is out there – there’s no need for words. He’s MySky’d New Zealand’s Next Top Model, and we watch it together in a warm silence that makes me realise that no matter the outcome of our political fortunes, we’re already winners.

June 19, 2011

Sunday Movie

Filed under: movies — danylmc @ 7:33 pm

A lousy day in Wellington, so we went to the movies and saw X-Men: First Class. It was pretty good, but the (fairly overt) identity politics subtext was fascinating. By the end of the film (spoilers) the mutants have divided up into two adversarial teams, one with ethnic and gender diversity (the mutants are female, Asian, Jewish or with blue or red skin), who are at war with ‘non-mutant humanity’, and one team consisting of white men (and one previously white blue guy whose character arc is about his desire to conform and repress his mutant appearance) who side with humanity, ie the dominant white Anglo-Saxon power structures. And while the pro-humanity team are the nominal heroes, the film-makers are way more sympathetic to the anti-human pro-mutants. And of course, like all the other X-Men films there’s a strong gay-pride subtext.

Most Hollywood movies have conservative, reactionary messages behind them but this one is surprisingly subversive.

Here’s the other highpoint of the day: we were visiting some friends in Highbury, drinking coffee in their lounge, and a gang of Kaka descended on their house. They sat in a nearby tree, screeching, then jumped onto the deck, hopped across it and tapped their beaks against the french doors. Apparently they wanted peanuts.

June 17, 2011

Quote of the day, bahahahahahaha edition

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 4:31 pm

Chris Trotter recommends a BBC documentary by Adam Curtis, which, he feels, exposes the ideological bankruptcy of environmentalism:

Curtis’s challenge to the original ecological paradigm forms just one part of a much broader critique of the way in which men and women of the twentieth and twenty-First centuries have attempted to empty human behaviour of its moral and political dynamism by applying to it the soulless logic of mechanical systems.
At first blush, this would appear to have little or nothing to do with green ideology. Surely the logic of the machine is precisely what greens are fighting against?

By a series of daring conceptual leaps, Curtis links the right-wing libertarianism and extreme individualism of the tea-partiers’ guru, Ayn Rand, with the “turn on, tune in and drop out” libertarianism of the Californian hippies.

The link? Cybernetics.

Cheap and drunk

Filed under: economics — danylmc @ 7:46 am

This is what you get when a government’s policies are basically open for bidding: National will go into the election arguing against raising the drinking age because eighteen year-olds are adults who shouldn’t be discriminated against, but they think twenty-four year olds should be paid a lower youth wage than adult workers.

Update: Kate Wilkinson’s office advises me that they’re not planning to set a youth rate for up-to twenty-four year-olds, that just happens to be the age category the HLFS classifies as youth workers.

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