Yesterday's Sunday Star Times contains a very good story by Ruth Laugesen on the Herceptin debate. If you have any interest in the issue, you should read it. It explains the implications of funding 52-week treatment, explains where the 52-week term came from in the first place, and blows away a lot of big pharma PR fug.
It puts certain TV current affairs shows to shame (which, given the lamentable performance of certain current affairs TV shows on various stories, isn't actually a hard ask) and I can't help but think they could have worked it into a lead along these lines: The researcher who led the British study touted by the pro-Herceptin campaign in New Zealand has praised Pharmac's courage and independence.
But I guess the editors felt they had to lead with the cop sex trials, like everyone else. I presume they were scratching around on Saturday for a yarn, because they came up with this for a lead:
Martyn "Bomber" Bradbury, who runs website tumeke.blogspot.com, told the Sunday Star- Times he had visited the jail yesterday. Inmates had told him the pair had been kept in "super segs" for safety reasons.
"Just spoke with some prisoners in Mt Eden prison, apparently Shipton and Schollum are in super segs, as far from the prison population as possible and that they were in Mt Eden, hidden in the prison hospital and moved out on Friday night to another prison."
He said: "Word inside is that there is a call to beat or hurt Shipton and Schollum with many prisoners lining up for the hit on them as a badge of honour."
I'm not saying that's not a good story - it addresses something that was probably on a lot of people's minds. But it's the part about how Bomber "told the Sunday Star Times" these things. Surely it would have been more correct he wrote this in his blog and we read it:
Just spoke with some prisoners in Mt Eden prison, apparently Shipton and Schollum are in ‘super segs’ – as far from the prison population as possible and that they were in Mt Eden, hidden in the prison hospital and moved out on Friday night to another prison. Word inside is that there is a call to beat or hurt Shipton and Schollum with many prisoners lining up for the hit on them as a badge of honour.
There was of course quite a bit more on the police story inside the paper. Steve Braunias filed another bleak dispatch from the High Court press bench:
During the Nicholas trial, Haigh said the 1980s were marked by a "massive freedom of sexuality". Crown prosecutor Brent Stanaway put that nonsense to Rickards, who said he couldn't really tell.
But apparently Michael Laws could:
Go back to my opening paragraphs. Because Police HQ regard Rickards and his mates as dirty. Morally dirty. Their sensual excesses in the mid-1980s were deemed to be wholly inappropriate in the first decade of this new century.
Uh-huh. Because, as everyone knows, the mid-80s were a time of untrammelled sexual freedom in the provinces of New Zealand. It was like one giant San Francisco bath house. They were having "sensual excesses" all over the place right up until the great moral backlash ushered in by the party-pooper socialists. Or something. Really.
And one more thing. Rickards chose to be photographed with his teenage daughter for the Star Times' Focus section, presumably because it would have the effect of humanising him and emphasising his status as a family man. There is another way of seeing it: his daughter looks roughly the age of the complainants in two of the court cases. How would he feel if three burly, adult policemen picked her up and, without his knowledge, persuaded her to have dirty group sex with them? Perhaps he could think about that.
Meanwhile, over at the Fundy Post, Paul has his wicked, godless fun with the nether regions of the same newspaper.
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
On the lighter side, WFMU traces the fortunes of the 'Why Do You Think You Are Nuts?' YouTube meme - gotta love that dance remix.