Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Inauspicious

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  • Tom Beard,

    The "How to" section in the Listener was indeed a good bit of fun, but they let themselves down by promoting that nutter Ken Ring in the "How to predict the weather" bit.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    sweet jesus... that is the most jaw-droppling offensive site i've ever seen... someone must have got the bitch-slap from another kid at the kindy.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Myhre,

    Totally ashamed of those Urban Dictionary comments.

    UK • Since Nov 2006 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    FFS... The silly season has officially gone retarded. I don't know what the weather's been like your side of the Bridge, but it's quite nice having temperate days followed by pleasantly cool nights where you can sit on the porch talking shit all night. And we've had Aussie friends over who find rain a delightful novelty.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • mark p baker,

    So is that the extent of it?
    Nobody has anything to say about Saddam then?
    I'm a tad disappointed.
    My two cents, as Kent Brockman has been known to offer:
    Extraordinary that our TV channels blindly pick up the lead of overseas media and fret over the neck-lengthening of this tyrant and how it's destabilising the Arab world.
    I wonder how the NZ Iraqi community feel about that.
    I wonder how the Kurds feel about it, and how valued they feel when they compare this hand-wringing over the death of an elderly genocidal megalomaniac with the almost total lack of concern shown when Saddam ordered the gassing of thousands of their families and friends after Gulf War 1?
    How do the raped and beaten survivors of Saddam's march into Kuwait feel, knowing they were pawns in a larger game and the "concern" shown was more about threats to oil lines than about flesh and blood and human dignity.
    Do I give a toss about bloodshed in Iraq subsequent to the death of this broken old man? Of course. Do I think it would have happened anyway? Of course.
    The choice of date on which to do this was deliberate and unfortunate, but neither you, I nor Phil Goff were consulted on that, so perhaps we should just zip it and let them get on.
    Interesting to see if Bush does indeed order more troops into his own lil Vietnam.
    Saw a cartoon recently of Bush sen and Jun talking at some public fiunction, capitoned in a speech bubble style: "Son, you are making the same mistake in Iraq that I made with your mother - you should have pulled out sooner". Heh.

    ParpyKoura • Since Dec 2006 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Wedde,

    It's exactly that kind of self-help nonsense the Listener routinely puts on its cover that means I no longer buy the magazine. And I come from a long line of Listener buyers.

    Of all the vast array of things in the world I'm interested in, Maggie's weight loss is definitely not one of them. Nor is the latest in age-defying cosmetic surgery, nor how I can stretch my middle class income to buy an investment property while still being able to afford ballet lessons for my 2.4 children.

    And Ken Ring? Seriously? Too much alcohol at the office Christmas party?

    Lower Hutt • Since Nov 2006 • 66 posts Report Reply

  • Span .,

    Didn't the Listener used to have a no plastic surgery promise? Or did I just dream that up?

    I too used to love the Listener but have only bought one or two copies since I cancelled my sub a few months after Finlay left - I gave Pamela Stirling a good chance, but I'm just not interested in the lifestyle articles, well not often.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Completely agree with Mark Barker's comments re: Saddam. His removal from the face of the earth improves the world we all live in. It is a shame is that it didn't happen in 1991. It is also a great shame that the justification for the current effort in Iraq descended into a pissing match about WMDs. Saddam's homicidal regime warranted being taken down for its murderous behavior alone. Milosevic got taken down (without a UN resolution) for murdering far fewer people that Saddam. If it is good enough for Slobbo, why isn't it good enough for Saddam?

    Saddam's rope dance is a nice video clip for every tyrant in the world to watch and consider.

    Looks like cancer is doing the same thing for Fidel and apparently Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has just bought it due to cancer. For their peoples, it was a great shame they didn't buy it a long time ago.

    Since we are discussing Saddam, here is a random factoid related to Iraq, just read that New Orleans' murder rate is twice that of Iraqs'. Based on the last 6 month in New Orleans, our murder rate is 105 per 100,000 and based on the last year in Iraq, Iraqs' is 53 per 100,000. I don’t feel the least bit unsafe here. Mind you, I am not going into the ‘hood to buy crack, and we don’t have suicide bombers and IEDs here. Still, an interesting and thought provoking comparison nevertheless.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    So is that the extent of it?
    Nobody has anything to say about Saddam then?

    I think it was probably prudent to execute Saddam Hussein, given the current anarchy in Iraq it was always on the cards that his supporters would free him and that's no longer an option.

    But that's not the point. Russell was referring to the images of his final moments. It's not easy to make yourself look like the bad guy when you're executing one of the most evil and hated men alive, but yet again the Bush Administration came through for us. The images of Husseins final moments - a dignified elderly man surrounded by masked captors jeering as they fasten a noose around his neck - give him a one-way ticket to martyrdom.

    It's not about Saddam - it's about how allowing his death to be filmed and broadcast will deepen and antagonise the civil war currently underway.

    I agree with the previous commentators that the Listener is currently rubbish. We've canceled our subscription.

    The urban sanctuary link is one of the most depressing things I've read in a while. (Thanks Russell). It's quite an acheivement to be born into one of the most privileged demographics in human history and still make such a mess of your life that you need someone else to blame for your failures, and even more impressive to conclude that the people at fault are the poorest most underprivileged members of your society. White pride.

    The right-wing blogosphere seems to have concluded that the REAL story behind the Hollow Men is that Hager has 'violated National Security' by publishing his book. Whatever. Reading the book again over the holidays made me rethink my original position on how Hager obtained his information. I still think most of the documents were stolen by someone working in the National leaders office - some PA or receptionist or IT person who had access to everyone's laptop and simply copied all their pst files onto a USB key.
    But there's too much anecdotal information in the book for this to be the only source. In the epilogue Hager tells us about a conversation between Ruth Richardson and Brash at Richardsons holiday home shortly after the election. The footnote attributes the information to a confidential source, not an email. You have to wonder how many people Brash and Richardson would have told about that conversation? Not many, is my guess. How many would have been inclined to pass that information on to Nicky Hager? Even fewer.

    Hager has made it known that he had a great deal of information that he couldn't publish because it would have identified his sources. I suspect National already knows whom at least one of their leakers were. They're smart people and Hager has given them hundreds of pages of clues.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 895 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    *By urban sanctuary I mean, of course, urban dictionary. Duh.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 895 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    sweet jesus... that is the most jaw-droppling offensive site i've ever seen... someone must have got the bitch-slap from another kid at the kindy.

    I followed the links to see what other definitions most of those poisonous people had written, and the vast majority of them had written nothing else. How odd: so many people bothered to create a username on Urban Dictionary just to add one offensive definition? It's almost as if a single disaffected sicko set up a whole bunch of usernames, or perhaps even set up a "redneckbot" to do so automatically.

    A hint: anyone can click on the up or down thumbs (only once per definition), so with any luck, if enough sane people visit the site the twisted trash will sink to the bottom. Then again, is it worth the effort?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Since we are discussing Saddam, here is a random factoid related to Iraq, just read that New Orleans' murder rate is twice that of Iraqs'. Based on the last 6 month in New Orleans, our murder rate is 105 per 100,000 and based on the last year in Iraq, Iraqs' is 53 per 100,000. I don’t feel the least bit unsafe here. Mind you, I am not going into the ‘hood to buy crack, and we don’t have suicide bombers and IEDs here.

    The US military doesn't count people killed in Iraq by bombs, rockets or morters as 'murders'. They also don't count people killed by US troops as murders, and typically the US is responsible for about 30% of fatalities in Iraq on any given month.

    I'm sure that if you checked with the Rwandan Department of Statistics they'd be happy to inform you that their 'murder rate' in 1994 - ie, the number of murders reported to police - was very low and that many US cities had much higher rates . . .

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 895 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Yes, Saddam's execution might have been a bit less than tidily executed (pun intended) but that main thing is that the bastard is dead. Iraqis of all stripes need to know sure that Saddam is absolutely not going to be coming back, that he and his regime of Stalin like murdering thugs are gone forever. Saddam's execution is more likely to help Iraq move forward than cause a major problem.

    The Sunnis will be pissed off about Saddam's execution, but so what? They need to get used to the idea that after centuries of being the top dogs in Iraq, they no longer call the shots.

    The Listener sucked when I was a kid, and that is a long time ago. I couldn't imagine why anyone would have bought it then (1970s and 1980s) and truly can't imagine why anyone would buy it or read it now. Not a good use of your time and money!!

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    The Iraqi death rate number is based on the numbers released by the Iraqi Govt of people killed or murdered in Iraq last year. It is supposed to include all people killed or murdered in any kind of situation. The comparison was not based on any numbers from the US military.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Hager has made it known that he had a great deal of information that he couldn't publish because it would have identified his sources. I suspect National already knows whom at least one of their leakers were.

    National under Brash used the "stolen" meme a lot last year to divert attention from themselves. Everything has to be Labour's fault, whether it be Brash's "alleged" affairs, lost elections or lost emails. This is strange for a person that craves to impose "personal responsibility" onto our society. The current "stolen emails" idea seems to be a way to pull together and protect the new leadership.

    Like you, I just don't buy it any more.

    One thing that strikes me after a quick peruse, is just how juvenile some of Brash's key advisers seem to have been. Hooten, Sinclair, Richardson, Judd - behave like 1980's breathless, kiddie image consultants. There are so many "Eye of the Tiger" moments it is not funny. This is not a way to run a sustainable business, let alone a serious political organisation. No wonder Brash ended up in a similar spot to Arthur Anderson, morally bankrupt and out of business.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1615 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    I realise that urbandictionary's main strength is its informality and openness to offensive definitions, but there comes a point when the sheer volume and vileness of "definitions" is clearly motivated by hatred rather than the need to record the facts of slang usage or to make a reasoned argument. Their terms of service clearly state that their content

    is frequently presented in a coarse and direct manner that some may find offensive. If you do not consider yourself an appropriate user or are offended, do not visit.

    But on the other hand, they go on to say:

    Should Urban Dictionary suspect that a user has submitted misleading, incomplete, libelous, slanderous, or deliberately inaccurate information, Urban Dictionary reserves the right to prevent that user from submitting further definitions.

    Most of those outbursts are clearly "misleading, incomplete, libelous, slanderous, or deliberately inaccurate", but is merely preventing users from making further submissions (when they can just create another user account) enough to make it worthwhile reporting them? However, under section IV.2,

    Should any submissions be found by Urban Dictionary to be unacceptably offensive, in violation of copyright law, or containing unacceptable material, Urban Dictionary may remove the submission without notice.

    If some of those "definitions" don't count as "unacceptably offensive", I can't imagine what would!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • mark p baker,

    Oh, hey, just one thing: I wasn't bagging Russell in asking why we aren't talking the death of Saddam.
    Far from it, he (Russell that is) and I are on the same wavelength on this, have been since 9/11 in fact.
    Definitely the whole production of Saddam's exit was a bungle, but I can't find an ounce of regret for the fact that man is no longer poisoning Iraq's future.
    And in the end, what part of Dubbya's "Wauh on Terra" hasn't been an almighty stuff-up?
    It would be nice to think this stuff was about spreading peace and tolerance, but a republican neo-con Texan President ain't the right tool (yes, pun intended) to be putting that kind of karma about.
    Everybody knew WMDs were a lame excuse to get into some ass-kicking in the desert, which presented us with the extraordinary and possibly historic moment where WE knew, Americans with half a brain knew, and the President knew the reason was a lie built on America's fossil-fuel economic interests.
    I have no stunningly original snappy one-liners so will end by shamelessly stealing one: "it's the oil, stupid!"

    ParpyKoura • Since Dec 2006 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Oh no, not the oil nonsense again. The US has been in Iraq for over 3 1/2 years now and how many barrels of oil have they expropriated? That would be none, zip, zero, nada. Iraq's oil is Iraq's oil, to do with as they please, and they are doing just that. The last time I saw some numbers, despite hopeless infrastructure the Iraqi national oil company is back close to or just above the pre 2003 production numbers and planning to greatly expand in the coming years, to sell to whomever they please. Good on them, now Iraqis can benefit from their natural resources.

    Iraq is not pretty but it is not hopeless either. Read the article below.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16241340/site/newsweek/

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Since we are discussing Saddam, here is a random factoid related to Iraq, just read that New Orleans' murder rate is twice that of Iraqs'. Based on the last 6 month in New Orleans, our murder rate is 105 per 100,000 and based on the last year in Iraq, Iraqs' is 53 per 100,000. I don’t feel the least bit unsafe here. Mind you, I am not going into the ‘hood to buy crack, and we don’t have suicide bombers and IEDs here. Still, an interesting and thought provoking comparison nevertheless.

    Wow, that's quite... meaningless.

    You mean apart from the fact that the country is ravaged by civil war, military occupation, hunger and lack of basic resources, here's two figures, one of which is probably a fair indication of how many people are murdered in New Orleans, and the other is probably a wildly inaccurate figure about undefined 'murders' which proves nothing. What proportion of murders actually end up in those figures in Iraq? 10% maybe?

    The US military has killed more than 53/100,000 in the past four years, let alone Iraqis killing each other.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6148 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Hi James - can you provide a link to where you sourced the Iraqi government murder rate figures? And, incidentally, Time reports that the NO murder rate is less than half the number cited in your post, so you might want to check that number too.

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1175489,00.html

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 895 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    The Listener sucked when I was a kid, and that is a long time ago. I couldn't imagine why anyone would have bought it then (1970s and 1980s) and truly can't imagine why anyone would buy it or read it now. Not a good use of your time and money!!

    Well, there's Russell's column, of course. Fortunately, it's available on line.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1296 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    Iraq's oil is Iraq's oil, to do with as they please

    James, I know Russell would disapprove but, you're an idiot.

    Or maybe you're simply naive. Either way, it's embarrassing.

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    Re: murder rates in Iraq, you'll be wanting to read this:

    http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2006/11/murder-rate-in-baghdad.html

    It seems the meme has evolved - at the time that post was written (last November), it was Washington DC that Iraq was being compared to...

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    FWIW, the urbandictionary entries for pakeha are in a similar vein.

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Michael,

    Thank you. I suspect you might think that people like Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore are really smart guys, so to be called an idiot by you is a compliment.

    What evidence do you have that the US is expropriating oil from the Iraqi government? I havent seen or heard of this and as such activity would justify the left's and the media's loathing of Bush and suspicions about the Iraq war, I would have expected that such information would be huge news.

    And remember, this Administratin can't keep its most secret spy programs off the front pages of the New York Times, so the old "its all happening in secret" line seems most unlikely.

    Also, it would be quite hard to sneek a super tanker in and out of the Houston Ship channel.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

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