The Dim-Post

July 24, 2011

RIP Amy Winehouse

Filed under: general news,music — danylmc @ 7:47 am

A few years ago my wife and I were driving a friend somewhere and an Amy Winehouse song came up on the iPod shuffle, and my friend asked, ‘This is incredible. Who is this?’ I answered and he replied, ‘This is Amy Winehouse? I thought she was, like, a Spice Girl or something.’

I think a lot of people saw the tabloid headlines and decided Winehouse was just another tedious celebrity; another pre-packaged, auto-tuned marketing artifact – but she was the real deal: a great singer and a great artist.

Her cause of death is not yet known.

July 23, 2011

Poetry of the day

Filed under: personal,poetry — danylmc @ 8:54 am

(Apparently) yesterday was National Poetry day, so belatedly:


In Plimmerton, in Plimmerton,
The little penguins play,
And one dead albatross was found
At Karehana Bay.

In Plimmerton, in Plimmerton,
The seabirds haunt the cave,
And often in the summertime
The penguins ride the wave.

In Plimmerton, in Plimmerton,
The penguins live, they say,
But one dead albatross they found
At Karehana Bay.

Dennis Glover, 1964

I heard this poem when I was very young and it stuck with me, partly because we lived in Karehana Bay; mostly because I mistakenly thought an albatross was a kind of dinosaur and whenever we went to the beach I lived in expectation of seeing my own dead albatross, with intact skeleton, terrible claws and massive fangs.

Reading it again as an adult I’m more intrigued by the seabird haunted cave. This did not exist when I lived in Plimmerton in the 80s and 90s. (Although there were old gun-emplacements on the stretch of beach between Plimmerton and Paramata.) Was it a bit of poetic license on Glover’s part, or did it get filled in sometime during the development of the suburb?

I do remember penguins frequenting the beach when I was very young. Every now and then one would get hit by a car along the esplanade, or killed by a dog, and I remember one schoolmate of mine who lived close to the beach had them nesting underneath her house. After a while these reports stopped. I remember going out for a walk one night when I was a teenager: I came across some friends sitting on the beach, shivering with cold. They’d taken LSD and come down to the sea to ‘play with the penguins’, possibly (my memory is hazy) inspired by this Glover poem. I stayed with them for a while but no penguins appeared.

July 20, 2011

An alternate theory

Filed under: intelligence,Jews — danylmc @ 6:38 pm

Key’s denial of the allegations made in the Fairfax story is pretty comprehensive:

Mr Key also moved to correct points raised in the media concerning the number of passports that were found with a man who died in the earthquake. Mr Key said his advice was that the man was found with only one passport, of European origin. Media reports that he was found with five are incorrect. The other three people who had been in the van took their own passports with them when they left the country, and handed over the deceased man’s Israeli passport to Israeli representatives before departing.

“None of the passports were New Zealand passports,” Mr Key said.

Mr Key said he has been assured by Police that there has been no unauthorised access to the Police computer system.

Mr Key also confirmed he spoke once with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the days following the earthquake. Many other leaders also called to express their condolences and to offer assistance to New Zealand. It took several attempts by Israeli representatives to set up the phone call, as is commonly the case with such calls in the circumstances of a major natural disaster.

“The investigations that have been undertaken have been thorough and have found no evidence of a link between the group and Israeli intelligence,” Mr Key said.

The opposition can call upon Key to stand by this statement in the house. Given the choice between believing the PM or an unnamed SIS source, I’m gonna believe Key every time.

So what happened? Well, maybe there were spies but nobody proved anything. But it’s also possible that an SIS officer – suspicious about Israelis in general after the previous incident of passport theft – pieced several rumours and incidents together and raised the alarm, various investigations were undertaken, nothing came to light and the investigation was closed, to the chagrin of the SIS officer who felt that Israeli intelligence had gotten away with something, so he took his theories to the media. However it happened, SIS appears to have created a diplomatic incident.

And the PM inflamed it – when first asked to comment he refused to on the grounds of ‘national security’, which was a de-facto admission that the story had substance. Presumably – as with recent SAS incidents in Afghanistan – he didn’t actually know anything about it, which is weird since it was a lead story in New Zealand for several hours before the media questioned Key in Los Angeles.

Did you know their entire country is run by Jews?!

Filed under: general news — danylmc @ 8:34 am

There’s an odd story up on Stuff about suspected Israeli intelligence activity around the Christchurch earthquake. It appears to have been leaked to the media by the SIS (has that ever happened before?).

Briefly, one of the Israelis killed in the quake was determined to be carrying ‘at least five passports’. His fellow travellers left the country as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, the search and rescue squad dispatched from Israel had arrived in Christchurch but the offer of help was rejected by New Zealand authorities because the squad did not have accreditation from the United Nations.

According to Israeli newspaper reports, the squad was being funded by the parents of two other Israelis killed in the earthquake, Ofer Levy and Gabi Ingel, both 22, who were said to be in New Zealand on a backpacking holiday. The parents made repeated public appeals for the Israeli team to join the rescue, appeals that were dismissed by the New Zealand authorities until squad members were discovered in the sealed off “red zone” of the central city.

It is understood the squad members were confronted by armed New Zealand officers and removed from the area. That confrontation is understood to have led to intense diplomatic exchanges between New Zealand and Israel, though police have refused to comment on the incident or even acknowledge that it occurred, and the Israeli ambassador says he had not been advised of any such incident.

Another Israeli group, a forensic analysis team sent by the Israeli government, was welcomed in Christchurch and worked on victim identification in the morgue.

The SIS suspects the forensic team accessed the police national computer and installed a backdoor malware program on it. They don’t seem to have any proof.

This is all rather strange. Why leak this to the media in the absence of any firm evidence? Why would Israeli intelligence have a team in Christchurch? Was it to do with the TPP negotiations under way in the city at the time? Were they spying on foreign delegates? Or is this all just some fantasy the SIS has dreamed up?

If it’s real, and the government can prove that Israel exploited the aftermath of the earthquake to penetrate our police files then we’ll have to shut down their embassy and expel their diplomats. Again. What value could New Zealand’s domestic police files have for Israeli intelligence that would merit the risk of such an outcome?

July 19, 2011

If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man)

Filed under: too fucking crazy to count as politics — danylmc @ 5:18 pm

Via Blair on Twitter, John Ansell’s letter to the Dom-Post endorsing Judith Collins as leader of the National Party, reproduced in full, because what would you cut out?

I quite agree with Vipi Gregory- Meredith (Letters, July 14) that former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher had the courage of her convictions. She was the role model for all conviction politicians (and conviction copywriters, for that matter).

But I don’t agree that she was a woman. Mrs Thatcher was, in fact, the greatest male politician of recent times and possibly the greatest politician, period. (Or should I say full stop, lest I suffer further odious comparisons with former Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) chief executive Alasdair Thompson.)

And just as Maggie was a great bloke, Prime Minister John Key is undoubtedly one of the weakest of female politicians, with his readiness to put popularity before all those boring “economicky” things, such as catching up with Australia and slamming the anchors on New Zealand’s voyage to the bottom of the OECD.

As people can see, my gender definitions differ from many. I generalise for effect, and there are always exceptions.

On the same note, the strongest man in National’s caucus is undoubtedly Judith “Crusher” Collins. The sooner she takes over the leadership the better.


If Collins ever becomes National leader I’ll join the Labour Party and volunteer for them. Leafleting. Door-knocking. Anything.

Quote of the day, we are ruled by children edition

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 4:01 pm

It’s not at all unusual and if this guy was half-pie genuine, he would have looked up past appointments made by the previous Government, which of course in his eyes was probably perfect and never did any wrong.

Gerry Brownlee, the Mikado of Christchurch responds to Idiot/Savant’s revelations about Brownlee’s abuse of his extra-legal powers when appointing members to his statutory oversight board.

Of course, I/S is just as critical of Labour as he is of National – but that’s impossible for Brownlee to comprehend. He doesn’t have values: he’s just a member of a tribe and his happens to have a blue logo.

Made in New Zealand for no reason

Filed under: media — danylmc @ 9:26 am

I don’t have much to add on the Close Up ‘plagiarism scandal’, other than to observe that this is the first time in several years that TVNZ’s flagship current-affairs show has actually been newsworthy.

The conduit

Filed under: blogging,media,Politics — danylmc @ 8:10 am

Via Stuff:

Labour MP Trevor Mallard has confessed his “cock-up” led to an email on how the party should sell its capital gains tax being leaked. The Friday night email said Labour should not get “dragged down” in details. “The public don’t care and we get boring,” he warned. Yesterday Mr Mallard admitted he used the wrong email list and sent the document to not only Labour supporters but to Right-wing blogger David Farrar. It then made its way into the inbox of fellow Right-wing blogger and friend Whale Oil. Mr Mallard apologised, blogging: “My bad. Im sorry.”

What’s interesting here is not that Labour’s campaign manager is emailing internal party strategy to National’s pollster – that’s standard operating procedure for these clowns; next week it will be something else, and then more of ‘Oh, why doesn’t the public trust us and isn’t the media awful?’ – but note how careful DPF is to protect his brand, by sending the email on to Cameron Slater and then linking to it without mentioning how it was obtained.

Update: DPF replies:

Someone should have checked with me. I’ve blogged on this now. If I had read Trevor’s e-mail I would have blogged it myself. I’m rather pissed off at myself for not reading the e-mail, as I would have been happy to get the credit for it, rather than Whale. But I didn’t read it, and I didn’t send it to Whale.

July 18, 2011

Media bias watch

Filed under: media — danylmc @ 7:25 pm

TVNZ’s political editor Guyon Espiner is one of the most respected and influential political commentators in the country – not just because he works for the news organisation with the largest coverage, but because he’s very smart and very fair – although his reputation for fairness took a huge hit tonight.

Last night Espiner reported on the results of the Colmar Brunton poll, in which Labour dropped seven points to 27%. He blamed this squarely on their new Capital Gains Tax policy, even though it had only been leaked at the start of the polling period and not officially released. (Note the title for this story: ‘Has Labour’s ‘bold’ game changer backfired?’)

Now it turns out that in the same poll Colmar Brunton explicitly asked voters about a Capital Gains Tax, and 43% were in favor of a hypothetical CGT, 49% opposed. So support for the tax is 16% higher than support for the Labour Party! And these numbers must have been available to Espiner when he blamed Labour’s decline on their new policy – an angle almost every other media outlet regurgitated, because Espiner is such an influential news-leader.

It’s a pretty shocking case of media bias, from someone I consider to be a usually impartial reporter. I’d argue Labour has grounds for a complaint, although they’d never dare make one.

July 17, 2011

TVNZ poll

Filed under: Politics,polls — danylmc @ 7:25 pm

Horrible for Labour. Details here. I note it continues the trend of Labour losing votes to the Green Party.

TVNZ political Guyon Espiner attributes Labour’s 15 year low rating to their introduction of a Capital Gains Tax. I don’t really know what ‘the voters’ think about anything any more, so the CGT could be wildly unpopular – but I don’t think one week after a policy leak is an accurate predictor of public opinion. Journalists like to think the public are avidly following their stories and instantly switching their voting behaviour in response, but I just don’t think it works like that. Besides, more than half Labour’s lost votes went to the Greens, who have a more comprehensive Capital Gains Tax. My guess is that this poll responds to Labour’s curious decision to post all their confidential donor information on the internet. People don’t want idiots running their country.

And if you look closer at TVNZ’s poll numbers we see the real explanation for Labour’s enduring unpopularity. Voters really, really, really don’t like Phil Goff. He’s 45% behind Key in the preferred Prime Minister poll. The problem is deeper than Goff in the sense that even when Labour had the chance to replace him there was no alternative – due to Helen Clark’s legacy of promoting people who weren’t any threat to her – but the fundamental issue is still one of personalities, not policy. They desperately need to retire their entire front bench – with the arguable exceptions of Parker and Cunliffe – not change their policies.

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