Hard News by Russell Brown

74

Not so much evil as stupid ...

No Right Turn is declaring the resurfacing of "the Brethren hack" as a mysterious billboard campaign targets City Vision in the Auckland local body election.

Cars towing around large mobile versions of the billboards are apparently owned by Giltrap Prestige, and it would seem reasonable to assume that the company's owner, Colin Giltrap, is involved. So, anonymous big money tries to buy an election?

Hmmm. I'm not sure evoking the Brethren is a good idea. And as I/S notes in an update to his No Right Turn blog, this would appear to fall well within the relatively loose restrictions of the Local Electoral Act 2001.

Rather, what it speaks of to me is the relentless banality of the campaign from the right. I've already noted the nutty tone of the leaflet C&R is distributing in Western Bays. Now Giltrap (or whatever mystery individual is writing the cheques) floods the city with ugly-ass billboards reading "Keep Auckland Fryer free," in a reference to City Vision councillor Glenda Fryer, "Don't vote City Vision. They are the fun police."

The best guess is that Giltrap still hasn't got over the V8 race not being staged. But are we supposed to be inspired to vote by this shit?

Technical problems and a sheer lack of time have kept from from doing much with the humans.org.nz site lately, but we're fully back in action this week, with a remarkable personal account from Mel, an Asperger Syndrome mother from Britain, a look at the phoney election campaign in Australia, where -- incredibly -- autism education support is becoming an election issue, Lesley Maclean notes some good radio on the topic, and Hilary Stace outlines the goals of the Inclusive Education Action Group.

If you know anyone who's on the spectrum, or has friends and family who are, you could do me a favour by letting them know we're rolling again and pointing them to the website.

In the US, lapsed Republican blogger John Cole has been on fire lately, first with this scorcher on the hysterical campaign sparked by Barack Obama's failure to wear an American flag pin on his lapel:

For starters, people got tired of being associated with these drooling retards. Then, when they realized that these drooling retards had ideological allies running the show in the Bush administration and then began to experience their idiotic policies, they moved from disgusted to outright hostile.

Like me. It had nothing to do with Burke, and everything to do with what the party had become. A bunch of bedwetting, loudmouth, corrupt, hypocritical, and incompetent boobs with a mean streak a mile long and no sense of fair play or proportion.

Seriously- what does the current Republican party stand for? Permanent war, fear, the nanny state, big spending, torture, execution on demand, complete paranoia regarding the media, control over your body, denial of evolution and outright rejection of science, AND ZOMG THEY ARE GONNA MAKE US WEAR BURKHAS, all the while demanding that in order to be a good American I have to spend most of every damned day condemning half my fellow Americans as terrorist appeasers.

And then this commentary on this week's scarcely believable wingnut outrage, which has seen swarms of bloggers led by the ghastly Michele Malkin stalking the family of a disabled 12 year old boy who appeared in a health policy advocacy ad they didn't like. Then Rush Limbaugh joined in. They seem to have long since passed the point where gibbering political bigotry trumps common decency.

We were in fits this morning listening to the Morning Report item on the unfortunate mislaying in Winston Peters' office of a Threat Assessment Report on Air New Zealand Australian troop transport charters. In truth, my mind still goes blank when I hear Murray McCully speak, but Sean Plunket's interview with Peters himself was a classic of its kind. Yes, it is serious -- shouldn't someone have the wit to tell the boss about this stuff? -- but damn, it was also funny.

The Slashdot thread about the possible rapprochement between Peter Jackson and New Line, to allow Jackson to make The Hobbit after all is also both funny and informative. I particularly liked the post about how The Hobbit might turn out if various other directors got the gig, and this was interesting:

Technically, MGM owns the production rights to The Hobbit. New Line and MGM currently have a partnership agreement to produce The Hobbit, but the rights revert back to Saul Zaentz sometime next year if principal production hasn't begun. Since Michael Shaye (president of New Line) has been such a dick to Jackson in recent months, it makes total sense for MGM to stall the process until the rights revert, then MGM and Jackson can repurchase the rights and make the film(s) Jackson wants, which will please the fans and cut New Line out of any revenue from it.

The fans, MGM, and Zaentz all want Jackson to direct.

And, if you will forgive me, three little things about the rugby. Revelations about World Cup referee organisation that say nothing to me so much as what a colossal fuckup.

Murray Deaker, well past his use-by date, sticking the knife in and telling your kids all the wrong things about loyalty and grace. Deaker's had his own public falls: he can just count himself lucky that people around him weren't as stupid and unpleasant as he has been on the radio this week.

And, finally, the most soulful meditation of them all, from Inky. I'll buy that man a drink next time I see him.

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