Friday, December 21, 2007

Tacky, tacky

This really is the most tacky little story but I can't let it go (neither could he obviously) without comment. I swear I had to look up 'onanism'. It isn't a word I have ever come across. Oh sorry. This just gets worse.

A student masturbates in a Palmerston North K-mart changing room due to exam stress he says but the judge isn't buying it because of "a report that suggested the 24-year-old was sexually aroused by trying on new trousers."

What??? People can get sexually excited from trying on new trousers and he says he's stressed??? Spare a thought for me. I will never be able to look at changing rooms in the same light again. I think from now on I'll be coming home with clothes that don't fit.

It happened in the middle of the day on December 5, Sergeant Chris Whitmore told the hushed court.

The student went into the changing rooms with two pairs of trousers, pulled down his own trousers, sat on the floor of one of the rooms, and began his venture into onanism.

But there was a metre gap between door and floor and two people saw what he was doing.

Judge Ross said the defendant's offending was at the lower end of the scale.

People could see him, but he couldn't see them.

And so if he could see them but they couldn't see him it would have been at the worse end of the scale? How does that work?

And he didn't notice the metre gap??? Either the guys an exhibitionist or he got confused and thought he was at the sperm bank and people would approve.

Judge Ross said ... a conviction would be "out of all proportion" to the seriousness of the offence, especially with the defendant seeking a job at a district health board, he said.

Sakes alive. A job at the DHB? They need more w.....s?

Please pick me up off the floor. Oh shit. I mean pick him up off the floor. I'm down here for different reasons.

When you thought it couldn't get any worse....

There is no shortage of bad news about the British NHS. This piece provides a practical insight into how "administration, targets and regulations have made NHS care 'worse than five years ago'." It is written by James Bartholemew after discussions with a consultant. It really is an eye-opener. Does anybody know if their systems have parallels with NZ?

Privatise ACC

When you next go to register your car you will pay $50 more. Some people will call it a tax increase. It isn't. It's an insurance premium increase - a wopping 24 percent increase.

The ACC Minister says the increase is necessary because of the rising costs associated with car crashes. But looking at the number of vehicles and the number of injuries, they are tracking fairly closely. Costs are increasing but so is revenue from vehicles. Hard to see justification for a 24 percent rise there. But when you are a monopoly insurer it doesn't matter whether the customer buys the excuse or not.

If you were faced with an increase in your household contents insurance of 24 percent you might decide to shop around for a better deal. That's as it should be. But when the state monopolises insurance you are at their mercy.

The funny thing is the people who will moan most about this and be hardest hit are the same people who think that the state should run everything so that terrible thing called PROFIT can be avoided.

It's a simple connection many seem incapable of making. If you want choice and competition and lower prices you have to accept the profit motive.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Minor increase" in reports involving child assaults

Police record a 17 percent increase in reports for smacking or abuse when comparing the three months prior to and following the implementation of the 'anti-smacking' law.

Now we need a release from CYFS detailing the number of reports made to that organisation to complete the picture. I wonder if we will get one. Seems the police are far more forthcoming than CYFS.

More time awake

I forgot to mention yesterday that my blog was two years old. When I began blogging I knew I had to find the time for it. The only way that was going to happen was to get up earlier in the morning. So I resolved to get up at 5.15 am each day instead of 6.30. By my calculations I have added 75 minutes of waking time to 505 weekdays for two years. That's 631 extra hours or 26 days. That's not much. But if I blog out my natural life expectancy I would have been awake for 468 days longer. Almost one and a third years. Hell that's still not much. No wonder I have never been a saver. So much effort for so little gain. I mean what else could I have done with that time. Slept. Oh yes. There is a lot to be said for sleeping. I recently read that those people who regularly had eight hours sleep live longer. Live longer?? But they have been asleep for more of it.
But it's about quality of life you say? Shushhhh. Any more talk like that and the government will be passing minimum sleep laws.

Anyway, happy birthday to me for yesterday. Here's to sleep deprivation and more of it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A double blow

There is an awful irony about the passing of the EFB.

The backlash against Labour is driving the high National poll results. Average Kiwis are now heartily sick of Labour's arrogance and defiance of public opinion. The EFB is only one more instance of this. National's popularity is a vote against Labour.

In the latest poll not one minor party was above 5 percent. I understand that the likelihood of this carrying through to election day, based on past trends, is low. But it is nevertheless a possibility.

Most New Zealanders voted for MMP. They wanted minority viewpoints represented and more consultative government. If they flock to National, desperate to get rid of Clark, they risk delivering an even less accountable government. And they risk losing an MMP parliament.

In which case democracy will be dealt a double blow as all those who support neither National nor Labour lose representation in the house and in the select committees.

Labour and the Greens and NZ First have scuppered freedom of expression with the EFB. People need to take care now not to let their reaction further undermine the ability of all New Zealanders to participate in some way in the law-making processes of their country.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Raise the retirement age"

The Retirement Commissioner has suggested lifting the retirement age. As if the government sets one. People can retire whenever they like. But they can't claim a pension until they are 65.

That government mandates a retirement age is a mindset that needs lifting. Along with the age at which people can start drawing from the general taxation fund. If the qualifying age for Super was set to match the average periods spent on the aged pension in 1900, the eligibility would now be well into the seventies for men and pushing 80 for women.

Super is just another distortion of an originally means-tested benefit for the neediest people. There is nothing wrong with retirement funding schemes but I have never quite understood why New Zealand went against international trends and opted to fund it from the Consolidated Fund instead of dedicated contributions. Actually, for the original aged pension, tracts of land were set aside to produce income for funding but it quickly became apparent the income would fall well short of what was required.

Super is one enormous political football that refuses to stop bouncing. Introducing universal Super in 1938 was a mistake which has never been corrected. As the population is now ageing so rapidly Super is going to become an enormous strain on the economy, not to mention the publicly-funded health and care needs of the elderly.

The above shows population projections from Statistics New Zealand. The only good news is other countries, from memory, mainly European, are in a worse boat than NZ. Their projected retired to working population ratios are worse than ours.

Pity our kids who will have to deal with the mess successive governments, Labour and National, have bequeathed them.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Homeless by choice

It is always refreshing to read a report which touches on the truth. For instance;

Like all those the Waikato Times spoke to who work with the homeless, Mr White said many people who live on the streets were there by choice.

I imagine the response to that by some is, they don't know any better, they aren't making an 'informed choice'. Nobody could want to live like that.

That is a matter for conjecture. Meanwhile don't people have a right to live on the streets if they choose? If the streets belong to the public by proxy then these people have every right to live on them. It may offend, it may distress, it may anger others. But as long as street dwellers live within the law perhaps we ought to stop wringing our hands and accept them.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Don't traumatise those worms

The inventor of a worm-driven composting toilet had to prove the worms were not traumatised or stressed by their task before council bureaucrats would approve the system.

Coll Bell, who invented the "wormorator" as an alternative to septic tanks, was told by an Auckland Regional Council staff member to get an expert's report on the psychological impact on the worms after she became concerned during a site visit.

"She felt that the worms were being unfairly treated, being expected to deal with human faeces, and that it could affect them in a psychological way," says Bell. "I said, `Well, what do I do about that?' and she said `you have to have someone with the necessary qualifications to say the worms are happy'."

Ever curious I googled 'happy worms' in an attempt to discover how one could assess such a being, and their mental condition. There could be a job there for me. At this time of year I always have too much time on my hands.

I have now ascertained that worms are quite happy with donkey or dog poop but not the human equivalent. Look. Somebody has even drawn a little picture of unhappy worms.

Of course it is absolutely valid to attribute human emotions to worms in this manner. Can you definitively discount the existence of trauma in a worm? I think not. We know some worms are very happy because they glow. So it follows that others are very unhappy because they do not glow.

This Auckland Regional Council employee deserves an award for wormitarian services to wormkind. And the man who invented the 'wormorator' must be reported to the SPCW for even thinking about inflicting psychological abuse on such vulnerable and defenceless creatures.