Posts by Russell Brown

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  • Hard News: The joke that went too far,

    And with all due respect, Russell, "the hoaxer" doesn't deserve confidentiality ... While I'm no fan of Slater, what "the hoaxer" did was beyond dumb.

    I think "she" (I can't confirm actual gender) knows that well enough now.

    I'm not extending confidentiality as such -- all I have is a probably fake Gmail address, and I really can't be bothered taking it further. Slater says he's taking it to the police, etc, etc, but I can't see them being too interested.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 20602 posts Report Reply

  • Field Theory: One man with 18 feeds,

    I hardly ever watch football. It seems there's so much passing around at the back and waiting for the opening and oh god. I try to watch the world cup finals but I even struggle with that Rugby is a much more interesting game to watch for me, it's interesting no matter where the ball is.

    Me too. I followed football when I lived in London, even went to an FA Cup final, but it generally bores me now.

    In rugby, there are so many absorbing technical contests -- scrum, lineout, breakdown -- more scoring, more spectacle. That's not to say there aren't bad and boring games of rugby -- I nearly lost the will to live at the Blues-Brumbies match this year -- but, to me, more happens.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 20602 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Debate and Onwards,

    This is interesting.

    A PAC called Human Rights Campaign went up to Wasilla to ask the town's gay folk (the ones who weren't too scared to appear on camera) about Sarah Palin. It's just under six minutes long:

    It appears that one of the books she wanted to ban from the library was called Pastor, I Am Gay. And, indeed, copies of it mysteriously disappeared from the shelves ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 20602 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Debate and Onwards,

    The way laws are made in America is fucking nuts. This is what's going on with the bailout bill:

    With each permutation, the bill has steadily grown in size. Treasury’s initial plan was about three pages long. The House version, which failed, stretched to 110. The Senate substitute now runs over 450 pages. And tucked away in the tax provisions is a landmark health care provision demanding that insurance companies provide coverage for mental health treatment—such as hospitalization—on parity with physical illnesses.

    Really a bill onto itself, the mental health parity measure has been a bipartisan priority for top lawmakers in both chambers but has stalled because of disagreements again over how to pay for its estimated $3.8 billion five-year cost. In the current climate, that seems to be no longer a stumbling block, and if the Treasury plan becomes law, it will also.

    There's also some stuff about funding for rural schools put in by the Republicans. Is there any other major democracy where laws get made like this?

    Sage will doubtless be interested to know that Obama's proposal to raise the ceiling on federal deposit insurance was added to the bill by Harry Reid and it seems to be one part of the package that has strong support on both sides of the house. Guess it wasn't such a silly idea then ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 20602 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Debate and Onwards,

    Bloody helll... I don't expect Rod Dreher to be a must-read for many PAS readers, but I'd describe him as being on the sane, thoughtful and civil end of the "religious right". And, after expressing pretty mild and reluctant reservations about Sarah Palin this is the kind of shit he gets:

    Sullivan also pointed to a similar column by another Palin critic, Kathleen Parker:

    WASHINGTON — Allow me to introduce myself. I am a traitor and an idiot. Also, my mother should have aborted me and left me in a Dumpster, but since she didn't, I should "off" myself.

    Those are just a few nuggets randomly selected from thousands of e-mails written in response to my column suggesting that Sarah Palin is out of her league and should step down.

    Who says public discourse hasn't deteriorated?

    And:

    The picture is this: Anyone who dares express an opinion that runs counter to the party line will be silenced. That doesn't sound American to me, but Stalin would approve. Readers have every right to reject my opinion. But when we decide that a person is a traitor and should die for having an opinion different than one's own, then we cross into territory that puts all freedoms at risk. (I hear you, Dixie Chicks.)

    Our day of reckoning, indeed, may be upon us. Between war and economic collapse, we have enormous challenges. It will take the best of everyone to solve them. That process begins minimally with a commitment to engage in civil discourse and a cease-fire in the war against unwelcome ideas.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 20602 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Debate and Onwards,

    New Palin!

    Couric asks her what magazines and newspapers have helped shape her worldview. Palin flails around and it eventually becomes evident that she can't name a single magazine or newspaper she has read:

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 20602 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Debate and Onwards,

    RNZ noon has the cops praising the "It's not OK" campaign for the rise in reported violence, as not an actual increase but an increase in reporting it to the cops and not taking it anymore.

    Which is precisely what I was trying to explain to Peter.

    For all that people like him have mocked that campaign (and new measures like screening for family violence at the public health coalface) this stuff has worked.

    Well done Russell.

    Hell, I just turned up on the day. The credit should go to the people at the Families Commission who drove the project, and made sure there was support there for people who were moved to act on the messages.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 20602 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: Life at Paremoremo Boys' High,

    Also, my favourite teacher was later jailed twice for grooming and molesting teenage boys.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 20602 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Debate and Onwards,

    This is fun:

    McCain is denying he blamed the Democrats for the bailout failure -- while he has a campaign ad running that blames the Democrats for the bailout failure.

    I recall I asked yesterday whether his campaign could get anymore weird and erratic.

    Yes. Yes, it could.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 20602 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: Life at Paremoremo Boys' High,

    As I have noted previously, my fellow alumni of Burnside High School include a Mr John Key.

    Also, Hayley Westenra!

    And Metro editor Bevan Rapson, gallery correspondent Mike Jaspers, All Black Andy Ellis ... I'm sure there must be a few more, the place was (and is) so big.

    There were also some amongst the staff: Robyn Duff, the PPTA secretary, was (I think) the first out gay schoolteacher in the country and a brave gay rights campaigner; Trevor Moffitt, the painter.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 20602 posts Report Reply

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