Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Not off to bed

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  • Rich of Observationz,

    Possible options for the commanders include retaliation in kind, coming under the command of the US, if it exists, and "go to Australia". New Zealand appears to be missing out badly on the post-apocalyptic tourism market

    Even if they've disposed of their missiles by firing them at Moscow, the Trident subs are nuclear powered and would not be welcome in NZ waters.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4471 posts Report Reply

  • Duncan McKenzie,

    Just love the name of the UK chief of defence staff
    Sir Jock Stirrup.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 48 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    bFM's Jose Barbosa scored an interview with Joss Whedon

    Jose was so happy and nervous all at the same time, bless him. It was all he talked about all weekend.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    I watched part one of Andrew Rawnsley's The Rise and Fall of Tony Blair last night

    Rawnsley has spent 10 years predicting the implosion of the Blair/Brown relationship. It never happened. I sure it was "robust", but it never fell apart in the way he kept predicting. I think this programme was his way of justifying a largely wasted amount of newsprint.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Yep - Rich beat me to it. British subs aren't allowed in New Zealand waters.

    As for stockpiling BZP - people should be warned that that might lead to consequences - anyone with even a slightly large stockpile who is then caught might not face just possession charges, but possession with intent to supply (a presumption of supply will kick in at 100 tablets).

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3011 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Smith,

    Hey people...I'm off to Singapore for 2 weeks soon. Where's the best place to eat...cheapish?

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    (a presumption of supply will kick in at 100 tablets).

    great, free legal advice. i'll stick to around 90.

    There's something oddly homely about a hand written nuclear letter, much like how the change of power is represented by walking in and out of a compatively modest terrace house.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    Hey people...I'm off to Singapore for 2 weeks soon. Where's the best place to eat...cheapish?

    McDonalds. BurgerKing, KFC, Starbucks, ...

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Hey people...I'm off to Singapore for 2 weeks soon. Where's the best place to eat...cheapish?

    Everywhere. Hawker centres, you'll feed yourself for $3. Food halls, up to $6.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    As for stockpiling BZP - people should be warned that that might lead to consequences - anyone with even a slightly large stockpile who is then caught might not face just possession charges, but possession with intent to supply (a presumption of supply will kick in at 100 tablets).

    Anderton said: "In effect there will be an amnesty for six months for those who are found in possession of less than five grams for their own personal use."

    Depending on potency, there's 75 to 200mg in a party pill, so you could have 50-odd stashed in the bedroom for a wee while without penalty. If that's your thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • barnaclebarnes,

    And people wonder why there is a problem with P in New Zealand.

    |Worldwide Street Prices of Cocaine

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens,

    Given his family history with drugs it isn't surprising that Anderton reacts this way, but why a senior politico is allowed to foist his personal morality on the rest of the country al because of what happened to one of his kids is really stupid.

    And of course, the ban won't work.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 229 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Have TV3 killed the link to "The dangers of poppy seeds" video? Unlike other vids, it just links to the homepage at present.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens,

    Oh, and..

    I in yr blog leavin u commentz

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 229 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Given his family history with drugs it isn't surprising that Anderton reacts this way, but why a senior politico is allowed to foist his personal morality on the rest of the country al because of what happened to one of his kids is really stupid.

    As odd as it feels, I'm going to defend Anderton again. I've talked to a few people about this, and my impression is that he does actually pay attention to evidence. The creation of the Class D category -- legal but regulated new recreational drugs -- was, I think, a world first. In the places where BZP is banned, they just banned it as soon as it hit the media.

    You can buy research chemicals in places like Japan, but that's only because they're ignoring it (Japan is quite hard on established recreational drugs).

    My main concern is that because BZP turned out to be a bit problematic - and, like Damian says, there have been people clogging public hospital EDs on Friday nights, a few of whom would have died without interven tion -- a very thoughtful precedent will now be buggered.

    I'm not shy about saying I tried methylone (Ease) when Matt Bowden was selling it, and it was great. Ecstasy for grownups, as my friend said; ie happy and social without being trollied. Interestingly, it had the repeatable effect of making a glass of wine last an hour. Quite different from BZP (on which the punters guzzle alcohol) .

    I have a copy of the paperwork Bowden presented to the MoH. There was a reasonable case for saying it was not nearly as neurotoxic as E, and they had not been able to discover an overdose level at which it was a real threat to health. (They tested up to large multiples of equivalent doses of E.)

    But because it was eventually deemed an MDMA analogue, it was crminalised. It doesn't make a lot of sense.

    But you're looking for ranters in Parliament on this issue, try National's Jacqui Dean, or Pita Sharples. If National's in government, you can expect none of the fairly enlightened process we've seen over BZP.

    And of course, the ban won't work.

    It will radically cut, to virtual zero, intentional use of BZP. As for the rest, well ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Looks like I won't have time to update our own Public Address Radio podcast until the weekend, but we have a good show in the can for tomorrow

    *cough* And while we're in whorish self-promotion mode, I'm also pareodying, satirising and denigrating the Parliamentary Standing Orders Committee while I still can. :)

    As odd as it feels, I'm going to defend Anderton again. I've talked to a few people about this, and my impression is that he does actually pay attention to evidence.

    Up to a point, but I do wish he'd really stick to the day job and avoid trying to program film festivals :

    Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton says the inclusion of a film showing people committing suicide in this year's International Film Festivals is disturbing and irresponsible.

    The Ministry of Health is to contact festival organisers about during screenings providing viewers with phone numbers to call for help.

    Documentary The Bridge, directed by Eric Steele, was filmed in 2004 and shows 23 fatal leaps from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.

    The director then interviewed family and friends of those who died. It screens in this year's film festivals starting next month.

    "When you do this stuff you take a very grave risk that you are lifting the potential for other people who have not yet committed suicide to think about doing it in a similar way," Mr Anderton said.

    Once more, Mr. Anderton should be a wee bit more scrupulous when citing research that is, to put it politely, highly contestable.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12046 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    *cough* And while we're in whorish self-promotion mode, I'm also pareodying, satirising and denigrating the Parliamentary Standing Orders Committee while I still can. :)

    Quite. My bad, as they say in a certain sort of American comedy.

    Once more, Mr. Anderton should be a wee bit more scrupulous when citing research that is, to put it politely, highly contestable

    Looked like an open-and-shut case for a dose of STFU to me ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Would it be overly naive of me to ask if anyone has ever done research into why people need to get high? I'm not entirely pure, but neither have I ever relied on alcohol or drugs as a social lubricant. (unless ciggies count as one, because let's face it, when you're a social outcast, you meet some very interesting other social outcasts lurking outside various venues around town). It's something I'd be interested in knowing. I'm glad they're banning party pills - appalling that they sell the bloody things in liquor shops - but I do acknowledge that people like more buzz for their buck. Now, I want to know why. Why do people need to get trashed. Hate it, I really do.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Max Call,

    Jackie Clark: "Would it be overly naive of me to ask if anyone has ever done research into why people need to get high?"

    http://www.drugpolicy.org/library/bookstore/walton2002.cfm

    click above link for summary of book that contends that we all have (to varying degrees) a biological drive to 'get high'. I hav read book and it puts forward an interesting case. The rest of the website this book is on is also interesting reading.

    Fruit Bowl of New Zealand… • Since Jun 2007 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Looked like an open-and-shut case for a dose of STFU to me ...

    Well, I'm sure this sounds super-freaky, but I want to be fair to the guy too. I cannot even imagine what it's like for any parent to buy a child who committed suicide, and I don't blame the man for making teen self-harm a hobby horse he's ridden very hard. I'd also note that The Bridge (as the linked story did point out) has received mixed reviews, inspired a legitimate (if low-key) ethical debate, and certainly isn't on my festival must-see list. But I do wish Anderton would be a little more careful; and to be fair to (most) researchers on this topic, they're hardly to blame if the carefully qualified conclusions (not least that a correlation does not imply causation) and methodological subtilties get lost in the rush for a soundbite.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12046 posts Report Reply

  • james cairney,

    "I've talked to a few people about this, and my impression is that he does actually pay attention to evidence."

    What evidence, that the stuff is bad for you? Big deal. That does not in any way justify criminalisation. Risk of harm is insufficient for imposing the criminal sanction.

    I could get a health committee to tell me how bad for you KFC is, yet it does not follow that fatty foods need be criminalised as a result.

    It screams out 'regulate' yet he pushes to criminalise.

    This is about Anderton's morals and his abuse of the criminal justice system to enforce them, nothing else. If you are keen to defend him can you tell me why 'risk of harm' must naturally lead to criminalisation?

    It is conservative paternalistic nonsense from a has-been politician. Progressive my arse. His entire premise for criminalising is flawed and his is either too old-school to see it or too arrogant to pay it any attention.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    It may seem rather obvious but if in a situation arose that caused british nuclear powered submarine to flee to NZ on the instruction of the British PM I hardly thing a legality would really come into it. Hypothericals are fun tho!

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 897 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Well, I'm sure this sounds super-freaky, but I want to be fair to the guy too. I cannot even imagine what it's like for any parent to buy a child who committed suicide, and I don't blame the man for making teen self-harm a hobby horse he's ridden very hard.

    I think it disqualifies him from having the kind of dispassionate open mind on these matters that we're entitled to expect from a minister. If someone's kid had been killed in a police chase then I think that would disqualify them from being Police Minister on the same grounds.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4471 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Thomas,

    It has definitely been a good week to be Jim Anderton. Next targets of his regulatory purview: rock'n'roll music, and close-dancing between boys and girls.

    As Craig touches on, Anderton's megaphone diplomacy on suicide epidmiology is, frankly, crap. And he ignores any evidence that doesn't fit his preconceived notions. An example? Certainly:

    The NZPA story about his objections to The Bridge mention that when barriers were erected on Grafton Bridge, the suicide rate at the bridge went down, and immediately spiked again when the barriers were removed. What it doesn't mention is that the suicide rate in Auckland was unaffected in each case, and even the number of suicides from bridge-jumping was unchanged. It just moved people off that particular bridge. Yet, in the NZPA piece, Anderton is banging on about barriers again.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Bert:

    Well, here's a few words I'd like carved into the foreheads of every politician and journalist:

    CORRELATION, IF IT EXISTS, DOES NOT IMPLY CAUSATION

    As for folks who aren't that big on scientific method, when your conclusions should be based on a well-designed hypothesis, evaluated against the collection of data through observation and experimentation... rather than the other way round? Well, you can say that's human nature. Bad public policy doesn't become any better when it's slathered in pseudo-science and junk statistics, like a badly cooked roast downed in a rich, highly spices sauce.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12046 posts Report Reply

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