Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: 202.22.18.241

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  • Rob Hosking,

    C'mon, if it wasn't for all that crucifixion art we wouldn't have heavy metal.

    Or 'Always Look On the Bright Side of Life'.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I am a bit worried about letting my boy see dozens of pictures of a starved naked man getting crucified

    This may work as some kind of mitigation.

    To get mildly back on topic, I think (probably rather bitchily today) that if Bill was prepared to stand up in public and say 'my religion, and my wife's religious views, are no influence on my political life or decision-making', then okay. But if he's not, then surely those things belong in his bio, in that they shape his life in some way. Would we remove any mention of religion from Peter Dunne's?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4592 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I don't have a clear view on whether Young's edit was appropriate, although its removal is equally questionable. What do you think?

    I find it a bit troubling. Young is a journalist with particular positions on some issues that would be at odds with those of Bill English. He's grinding axes rather than trying to put the public record straight.

    That's not a good look for a journalist especially as he's doing it annoymously. I also wonder about what motivates some one to do this. Why bother. It's just Bill English, that last thing I'd do with my spare time is edit his Wki entry.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Emma,

    He sort of has, back when he was leader, at the time Labour had a recognising Maori spirituality clause in the Local Govt Bill [they later took it out]. Talked about how he had spiritual values but how it was wrong, as well as impractical, to give them the force of law.

    As for him voting conservatively on the issues mentioned: would he vote that way for other reasons? He represents a socially conservative electorate. Regardless of religion, if he'd voted to - say - legalise prostitution he'd have had voters back home on the warpath.

    At least one (other) National electorate MP in recent times has copped flak over this sort of thing.

    On the specific issue of family: I tend to tread very carefully around MPs' families. They already cop a lot of crap, they are entitled to a life of their own and unless there's a damn good reason to drag them into the public eye I think they should be allowed that life.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I find it a bit troubling. Young is a journalist with particular positions on some issues that would be at odds with those of Bill English. He's grinding axes rather than trying to put the public record straight.

    I know what you mean. And yet, the information was public, factual and arguably relevant. It's quite a tricky question. Then, is it the role of a taxpayer-funded staffer to remove factual information about the subject of the article? It's tricky.

    It's worth noting that a fairly dedicated group of people is constantly adding unflattering material to the Helen Clark article and others. A certain blogger spammed the Clark article with a huge rant about the Doone affair, and had a bit of a tanty when it was worked back by someone with a more measured approach. It usually gets worked out in the end, but much more politically motivated editing of MPs' articles seems to come from the right.

    The Peachey one is more clear-cut. The original account of the incident needed editing for POV, but the topic was certainly notable. It was reported widely at the time, and simply removing it was unacceptable. It's good to see it restored.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22029 posts Report Reply

  • Julie Fairey,

    Well, I have some pretty strong views on issues like abortion, civil unions, sex outside of marriage, contraception etc, but I would be surprised if people automatically assumed that my partner shared them. I usually find the reverse is the case - there is a high incidence of people assuming that I share his political affiliations and opinions.

    So maybe it's refreshing to see people actually considering that what the "little woman" thinks might be influential on her high profile hubby? /tongue in cheek

    People do tend to choose partners with similar values, imho. When you are political types then those values would usually include your stanch on various seminal political issues of our times - I personally include abortion on that list, although others may not. For someone who has a staunch pro-life view to be with someone who is staunchly pro-choice... wouldn't it be a bit like a militant Wild Green partnering up with a genetic scientist whose day job is dicing and splicing different genomes together? Would a strong feminist marry a male chauvinist pig?

    That said the editing stuff is a worry. Imagine if someone went through a book encyclopaedia in a school or public library and excised information like this, particularly in such an opaque manner?

    I am not a techie type person but I am wondering if the IP address could be everyone using one terminal that might be shared, or could represent the staff of a whole office/floor of Parliament?

    Puketapapa Mt Roskill, AK… • Since Dec 2007 • 234 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Your'e saying in the arch conservatives within the Catholic Church would submit to the wifes view?

    Apparently I am not explaining my point very well. My point is that because sexual activity and reproduction are linked within Catholic doctrine, and because they have this Papal edict about Teh Condoms and Teh Pill, you can't just avoid the whole subject if you're married to a conservative Catholic woman. It's not a 'legitimate difference of opinion', like me being into Vegemite and my husband thinking it's black tar. It's about sex and procreation: it cuts to the very heart of how marital relationships are negotiated. He *must* smell what she's stepping in, to quote some reality show contestant I can't recall.

    The Pope is not infallable, infact he has said some clangers.

    Well of course he's fallible. I'm not Catholic - I don't have to think he's the voice of god. But Catholics *do* have to think that, because he's the freaking Pope! Otherwise they'd just be boring old Methodists and Presbyterians, wouldn't they? The whole point of the religion is that there's a man-of-god hierarchy, and then there's this big priestly intermediary at the top of the chain, and he's *always* right, according to Church doctrine. Always. That's why Humanae Vitae was such a big deal - Catholics had been waiting for years for some kind of relaxation about birth control, particularly after all the church reforms in the mid-1960s. And then out comes this utterly reactionary document, and the issue upon which Papal infallibility now rests is... contraception. He, whoever he is, can't back down on it, because that's like saying God's wrong. It's a mess.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I am not a techie type person but I am wondering if the IP address could be everyone using one terminal that might be shared, or could represent the staff of a whole office/floor of Parliament?

    Yes, someone's pointed to me that it could well be an outward-facing IP address, this side of the Parliamentary firewall. I don't think it represents all Parliamentary offices, though -- the pattern of editing is too consistent for that.

    Plus: Whaleoil found a number of different Parliament-associated addresses when the Scanner popped up last year:

    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/?q=node/4753

    Sort of ironic that he bitched about the wasting of his tax money by 202.22.18.241 ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22029 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    He sort of has, back when he was leader, at the time Labour had a recognising Maori spirituality clause in the Local Govt Bill [they later took it out]. Talked about how he had spiritual values but how it was wrong, as well as impractical, to give them the force of law.

    You could pray every night and do what God told you, and still not want to legislate that other people do the same. And I may be shallow, but if my MP was doing that, I'd really want to know.

    (Actually, I live in Wigram. That could explain a lot.)

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4592 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    My point is that because sexual activity and reproduction are linked within Catholic doctrine, and because they have this Papal edict about Teh Condoms and Teh Pill, you can't just avoid the whole subject if you're married to a conservative Catholic woman.

    I must tell my wife she's not conservative. It will surprise her, about as much as....

    But Catholics *do* have to think that, because he's the freaking Pope!

    ...will. I think it's a mistake to think Catholics are uniform in mindset any more than any other kind of folk. Are you confusing the people with the Church?

    The whole point of the religion is that there's a man-of-god hierarchy

    That sounds like over-intellectualizing what is basically a tradition that tends to run in families, much like celebrating Christmas and All Black wins. Perhaps the Pope would like to think that's the whole point. Maybe even the entire priestly hierarchy would too, but that's still a tiny percentage of actual Catholics. Most of them are Catholics because it's access to a community and it's been drilled into them from a young age.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10464 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    This may work as some kind of mitigation.

    <snigger>Maybe Jesus was really before his time, indulging in postmodern performance art to the txt generation with a great big "Y?"

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10464 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Johnson,

    It's worth noting that a fairly dedicated group of people is constantly adding unflattering material to the Helen Clark article and others.

    And to John Key's entry.

    It usually gets worked out in the end, but much more politically motivated editing of MPs' articles seems to come from the right.

    I guess it depends on where you look.

    Helen Clark seems to get lots of edits about that picture.

    John Key seems to get regular additions to the controversies, some of which look like a straight cut and paste from The Standard.

    Regardless, it gives Gadfium plenty of work reverting the changes.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2007 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • uroskin,

    Bill English has always been the MP for Papal States (South Pacific)
    http://uroskin.blogspot.com/2003/08/catholic-mps-ordered-to-vote-down-gay.html

    Waiheke Island • Since Feb 2007 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Since my earlier post was all about how most Catholics don't even follow the teachings of the Church on birth control, I don't see how I'm saying that they're acting or thinking uniformly at all. Sigh. In fact, I think I was saying that they mostly seem to believe the Pope is wrong. Which... look, there's some internal inconsistency there doctrinally, you must admit.

    I'm familiar with the Catholicism-as-tradition-and-community thing, since I'm half-Cajun (and therefore half Catholic myself! All my relatives cross themselves when they drive past a church, for goodness' sake, and they're also all on the Pill. Ha). But aren't we talking about Bill English's wife? Who is, according to all reports, not just all about the tradition and community, but about the reproductive stuff too.

    (Sorry for the 'over-intellectualising'. I wrote my thesis on the use of the contraceptive pill in NZ and I spent quite some time reading all the Catholic literature put out in the 60s. Frothing. At. The. Mouth, some of them!)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Removal of that second paragraph is entirely acceptable to me - and in fact I think it's the original addition of it by an author who likely holds contrary political views that is far more questionable (political opponents passive aggressively commenting on MPs family members generally sits badly with me).

    The removal of the first paragraph, particularly the parts around his policy views as influenced by his religion is a little more questionable - but I have no issue with a politician choosing how to present those policy issues themselves (although I do note that there is nothing close to policy or views on his page anymore).
    If you question prostitution reform, the fact that it derives from a religious morality (or a family upbringing, or a scientific belief, or whatever) is of lesser importance than the opposition itself. Certainly you would generally want to provide a justification for your position (although not necessarily on a Wiki list of your policy positions), but that original line in the article was coming at it from entirely the other direction.


    Hundreds of different factors go into anybody's political views - religion is simply one of them - and they are certainly not listed ad nauseum on Wikipedia.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    And then out comes this utterly reactionary document, and the issue upon which Papal infallibility now rests is... contraception.

    That's not quite right. Humanae Vitae is a teaching. My mum says that when it came out, priests sermonised on it seemingly every damn week (because they would know so much about the stresses and strains of rearing children, wouldn't they, and the stresses and strains of normal human sexuality). So it was very hard for Catholics to turn their backs on it, to use contraception, and to still think of themselves as good Catholics. Nevertheless, it was not an infallible pronouncement - it was just a teaching.

    Papal infallibility is a comparatively recent doctrine; it came into being in 1870. And the pope (whichever man happened to be the pope at the time) has only used it twice, once to declare himself infallible, and once to declare the doctrine of the assumption of Mary the mother of Jesus (in 1950).

    Ah... thank you Wikipedia, and my convent education, and my mum.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1440 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Hundreds of different factors go into anybody's political views - religion is simply one of them - and they are certainly not listed ad nauseum on Wikipedia.

    Hear, hear!

    Nice bit of commonsense.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    the pope (whichever man happened to be the pope at the time) has only used it twice, once to declare himself infallible,

    I didn't know this, and I find it humourous. 'Hi, I'm the Pope and I'm infallible.' Surely that makes everything any Pope said afterwards completely accurate, though? Is he only partially infallible? Or was only that one Pope infallible, and everyone else has no idea?

    According to my (admittedly decade-old, so I could be wrong) research, Humanae Vitae was an encyclical, and the 'faithful' are apparently 'bound to assent' to an encyclical and obey its teachings. I mean, I don't think it would have been such a huge deal for Catholics - and it did seem to be, at the time - if they'd all thought it was just a... suggestion.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Hundreds of different factors go into anybody's political views - religion is simply one of them - and they are certainly not listed ad nauseum on Wikipedia.

    Which would all be fine if this was his National Party page, but it's not, it's an encyclopedia. It's about him as a person, not just him as a politician. So his religion and other things from his life that are public, are just as relevant as the fact that he's deputy leader of the National Party etc.

    I really don't see why, except in extreme cases where it unbalances an article, we should remove material from wikipedia. It's difficult enough to get information into one central location, why would we take stuff which we all know is accurate out?

    Personally I don't view it as an encyclopedia, I view it as a data sink. As long as it's well organised and structured, everything should be dropped in. If it unbalances Bill's article to have his wife's stuff in there, someone make a page for her and move it to there.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6241 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Papal infallibility is a comparatively recent doctrine; it came into being in 1870. And the pope (whichever man happened to be the pope at the time) has only used it twice, once to declare himself infallible, and once to declare the doctrine of the assumption of Mary the mother of Jesus (in 1950).

    Didn't know it had only been used twice.

    Haven't they got to wear a certain hat, or sit on a certain seat, or something like that?

    Always wondered how a Pope would decide he was being infallible. You know, he wakes up one day and says, "Oh, yes! I'm just in the zone here, things are really humming, and I'm just going to do something pretty damn infallible, I can feel it in my bones!"

    Or something.

    God, I love religious discussions. [and I really do, God, if you're listening].

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    Hundreds of different factors go into anybody's political views - religion is simply one of them - and they are certainly not listed ad nauseum on Wikipedia.

    Quite. I don't care if an MP says "this is my religion and it has an impact on how I see the world and how I want to change it". I'd be fucking amazed to hear one say "I'm a Catholic but I leave that at the doors of Parliament" (That person would be a bloody liar).

    What I'd rather not see is a potential politico airbrushing his/her background in order to make him/her more electable. If anything, erasing the bits about Catholocism is all of a one with National's attempts to make themselves as vanilla as possible and not offend anyone.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • DaveC,

    202.22.18.241 is right to remove the material. As unsourced and potentially contentious information about a living person it violates Wikipedia's Biography of Living Persons policy and should be removed immediately. Even if it was properly sourced the stuff about his wife isn't particularly relevant.

    Since Nov 2007 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • ali bramwell,

    This is an interesting topic, one thing I think is creeping in is an idea that wiki pages are somehow (or should be) owned by the individuals that they purport to document. For example:

    The removal of the first paragraph, particularly the parts around his policy views as influenced by his religion is a little more questionable - but I have no issue with a politician choosing how to present those policy issues themselves (although I do note that there is nothing close to policy or views on his page anymore).

    I have no issue with polititicians managing their professional profiles as they see fit when they self publish either. But a wiki is clearly not in the same category (as a pr publication or in house policy statemment), it is supposed to operate on a principle of best consensus to accuracy -as opposed to catering to an idea of self representation or image protection.

    If the information is relevent to understanding the public life of Bill English, which I would personally argue that it is, then why not just reinstate the information in question? one caveat: I do however think the information could be restated so its more specifically related to an actual policy record -and less of an insinuation /inference of some kind of vague process of political osmosis via the marriage bed.

    has there been a block placed on the topic?

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2007 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Yes, someone's pointed to me that it could well be an outward-facing IP address, this side of the Parliamentary firewall.

    Not to scare an avid reader off or anything... but this IP address visits SunnyO a lot & I would guess from the host name cited in my stats package that it is one particular Parliamentary Service PC.

    It is possible that more than one person uses it, but only one has come to my site & commented.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Wilson,

    This doesn't have too much to do with the topic but I thought people might enjoy the satirical song 'Smack my kids up' by The Postgraduates. They wrote this last year at the height of the section 59 debate but with the Family First petition in the news it's still pretty timely.

    It's the first song on their myspace page:
    http://www.myspace.com/postgraduates

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 3 posts Report Reply

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