Saturday, December 01, 2012

Questions for the first of the month

Why is it that banks can charge you account fees on a non-working day but not make direct credit transfers till working days?

Will Labour accept John Tamihere's membership application?

Why did someone send me an e-mail saying that this December features 5 Saturday's, 5 Sundays and 5 Mondays and according to the Chinese this was very, very rare and in order to avoid great misfortune I should pass it on? (So rare it last happened in 2007)

How the heck will I get done what I need to get done between now and the 25th? (Not by blogging)

Why do dogs pee exactly where another has just been? (Perhaps they've been observing human behaviour).

Why are children allowed to be held as hostages to their pathetic parent's lifestyle choices?

Should I or shouldn't I waste my time reading about smarmy from Palmy? (He won't be giving JT the big tick today)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Foodbanks are not soup kitchens

From the World Socialist Web Site, an article yesterday began:

Since the outbreak of the economic crisis in 2008, there has been a huge expansion in the UK of soup kitchens, known euphemistically as food banks, as a result of growing poverty.

A euphemism is "The act or an example of substituting a mild, indirect, or vague term for one considered harsh, blunt, or offensive."

But a food bank is exactly that.  A place where one person can contribute groceries and another can withdraw them. It is NOT a soup kitchen. Another left-wing distortion of language. To stir the emotions they invoke harsh historical images.

The article concerns UK legislation that will see some emergency welfare devolved to local councils.

New legislation will for the first time make charities, rather than the welfare state, the main provider of emergency food supplies to those fallen on hard times.
Another exaggeration when considering the next sentences;

From next April, the central government-administered Social Fund, which provides emergency loans and grants, will be abolished as a result of the 2012 Welfare Reform Act and the responsibility handed over to local authorities. The new funding is set at 2005 budget levels and not ring-fenced (protected), so local authorities will inevitably cut the number of emergency loans and refer those in trouble to food banks instead.
 Note the difference between "will" in the first quote and "inevitably" in the second.

Anyway, this is a sensible development. The more localised and intimate welfare assistance becomes, the more the wheat can be sorted from the chaff.

The article goes on to describe the increasing call on UK food banks. But that can happen regardless of economic conditions.

Note the growth in NZ (Auckland I think) usage of foodbanks in the first part of last decade when the unemployment rate and numbers on benefits were dropping.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mark Lundy appeals to the Privy Council

It's become terribly fashionable to espouse the innocence of convicted murderers. The latest cause celebre is Mark Lundy. These particular fashion-followers are forking-out to take his case to the Privy Council in London and have even concocted a name for themselves, FACTUAL (For Amber and Christine - Truth Uncovered About Lundys). It's such a clever acronym, having thought of it they'd feel bound to proceed. Who'd want to waste it?

In the absence of religion, lots of substitute faiths take hold. Some believe in vast conspiracies, some in new-age health regimes, some in political ideologies (mine is individual freedom), and some in the wrongful conviction and detention of a particular criminal.

Some faiths are a search for truth; others are a denial. I'd put barking up the Mark-Lundy- is-innocent tree in the latter category. But if his supporters want to chuck their money away, that's their business.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Reading without comprehension

Metiria Turei's withering criticism of Rodney Hide's Herald On Sunday column is a perfect example of how someone can utterly mangle the sense and by implication, intent of a writer.

Rodney Hide’s latest piece in the NZ Herald exposes a callous and dangerous attitude. He needs to ask himself whether he really wants solutions to reduce child death or whether he just wants to pontificate while more women and more children suffer.


Truth column November 15

My Truth column from November 15 is now on-line:

Only a pointy-headed economist could find anything good to say about a rising unemployment rate, surely? Not so fast.


Other Truth columns here

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Another blinder from Rodney Hide

Compelling reading:

... if we really cared about the lives of children we would put an end to the sponsoring of irresponsible parenthood. We once thought that welfare was the foundation of a compassionate society. It's not. Our horrible child abuse statistics prove that.