Hard News by Russell Brown

A good week for Mr Z

What odds then, on the government actually presenting any evidence now that Ahmed Zaoui has been granted his bail hearing by the Supreme Court? It would be ironic if a man's two years of internment ended because no case was made against bail.

No Right Turn links to and assesses the judgement, and scrutinises the political responses, which, in the case of New Zealand First, veer towards the flat-out wacky.

Stephen Franks continues to choose his friends strangely. He's calling for the removal of Jacquie Grant from the Human Rights Review Tribunal after she sent a couple of angry emails to the keepers of the Campaign Against Civil Unions website.

Grant, rightly in my view, hasn't resiled from her criticism of the content of the site, but has acknowledged that it was unwise to note her role as a tribunal member (she was appointed two weeks ago) and said she would recuse herself from any hearing involving the campaign.

This isn't enough for Franks, who wants her fired on account of her "sinister agenda of bias" and says he won't deign to give his vote to the Civil Unions Bill unless it contains a provision explicitly protecting people who "oppose homosexuality".

Personally, I think opposing homosexuality is a bit like opposing freckles, but we'll leave that for the moment and actually look at what these people say, she we? They are feral.

Their "myths" page cites unspecified "scientific research" saying that there is no biologiocal cause for the "psychological condition" of homosexuality, and that "psychotherapists around the world who treat homosexuals report that significant numbers of their clients have experienced substantial healing."

Well yes, except those associated with The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counseling Association, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychological Association, American School Health Association, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers, and National Education Association. Indeed, only a tiny fringe minority of therapists endorses, let alone practices the "healing" of homosexuals. More information here.

But young people should, apparently, be strongly warned off the "potentially deadly lifestyle" of homosexuality. And that's always worked so well, hasn't it?

The site's aptly-named "silly reasoning" page justifies discrimination against homosexuals on the basis that the law discriminates "against numerous other crimes".

They claim, improbably, that "no person has the 'right' to immoral, illegal or socially destructive behaviour," which also includes "all sexual activity outside marriage". They think homosexuality should be recriminalised, but on that basis, so should fornication, gambling and - for all I know - blogging.

Craig Young has some useful background on who exactly who these people are and what they believe. They spring from the Reformed Church, whose leaders were prescribing capital punishment for homosexuality as recently as the mid-1980s. Call me crazy, but I have a little trouble with the idea that these people are victims and liberals are the fascists. Stephen Franks can have them around for tea if he likes, but if the bastards set foot in my street I'm calling the cops …

Also on GayNZ, Scott Stevens has a highly amusing look at the Maxim Institute and the meaning of "facts".

Remarkable similarities between this Society for the Promotion of Community Standards press release on Marilyn Waring's attitude to civil unions (nothing short of gay marriage will do her) and this one from the Campaign Against Civil Unions, posted a couple of hours later. They both rather miss the point …

The Daily Outrage tots up some alarming numbers on Iraq, including a near-doubling of acute malnutrition amongst children since the invasion.

Good story on the hilarious pork-barrelling provisions in the spending bill being sent to the president by US lawmakers.

DogBitingMen's David Young raises an eyebrow at a couple of questions in the 2004 NCEA Economics Exam. And I must say I agree with him. To invite argument only towards an ideologically-correct answer is hardly the role of our examiners. You want people to think and argue, don't you? On the other hand, arguments against the free market are unlikely to win you a Business Roundtable scholarship

Also, Mediacow oversees another who-is-really-who scandal in the blogosphere involving Mystery Man Matt Nippert that has completely lost me …

Odds on a lumpy-looking All Black team overcoming the French have improved with news that France's halfback and goalkicker is lame, along with apparently the only other two halfbacks in the country. First-five Michalak will wear the number 9 jersey and - hopefully - many bruising tackles from Jerry Collins.

You may or may not have noticed changes in Public Address this week. Our developers, CactusLab, have been stirred into action by this standards validation test that found that none of the finalists in the NetGuide Web Awards was fully compliant. Over to Matty B for the lowdown:

Partially because we've been meaning to do it for a while, we have completely gutted and rebuilt the layout code for the Public Address site. Instead of the old-skool approach of using tables for layout, which ties up the presentational code with the actual content, we've used XHTML and CSS the way they were supposed to be used, resulting in all of the layout stuff now residing externally in a couple of stylesheets. This means pages on the site are leaner (so will download more quickly) and more accessible to people with disabilities (users of screen readers, etc). And it's generally a much tidier approach to building websites.

The site now also validates, which means it keeps to the spec where necessary (the fact that browsers are so forgiving of errors means that non-validating sites usually still display fine so most visitors would never know the difference, but it's much tidier to have all those errors and omissions fixed, and means the page probably renders faster in compliant browsers.)

It should also be noted that just because a site validates does not mean that it follows web standards, something interface7 should take notice of. A site can validate but still use all manner of horrible coding practices, like tables for layout.

The upgrade has thrown up a few issues for people with older browsers. Feel free to let us know of any problems.

Damian was the only one to notice that Public Address turned two years old this week (which of course is actually an entire era in Internet years, etc, etc. And big Che's back in town. Dude, I've got our names on the door for the D4 tonight. It'll rock, a lot.

Thanks to a couple of people who got in touch yesterday with their views regarding the Deborah Coddington-Tony Holden business. I'd want legal advice before I said anything more than that it doesn't look like it will go away just yet.

And, finally. Noelle from bFM says she'll take Ahmed Zaoui to the Big Day Out if he gets out in time. Now there's something to look forward to …

PS: Word back from the Zaoui connections is that, bail conditions permitting, he rather likes the idea of accompanying Noelle to the BDO. He's a Goldenhorse fan, apparently ...