• From the Guardian

    America’s hall of shame

    Freaking brilliant.

    Highlights: 19 ED Hill. Ms Hill is the Fox News anchor who referred to Barack and Michelle Obama’s on-stage fist bump in early June as a “terrorist fist jab“. I guess she’s well familiar with the various and sundry ways in which couples express intimacy – she’s been married three times herself. Fox announced in November that it wasn’t renewing her contract.

    17 Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher. The man better known as Joe the Plumber wasn’t a licensed plumber. He owed back taxes. He shocked even a Fox News anchor with his cavalier relationship to the facts. Let’s hope he’s 14 minutes into his allotted 15 minutes of fame.

    16 John Edwards. How could a person run for president knowing that he’d cheated on his cancer-stricken wife with a woman who subsequently bore a child? (He denies paternity.) What if he’d actually won the nomination, and then this news came out? He gives bad judgment a bad name. – And I used to quite like him. No wait, that was John Kerry, my bad

    15 Heath and Deborah Campbell. You know, the parents who named their son Adolf Hitler Campbell. Nuff said. – OOOOOh, yeah. And their daughter Aryan Nation Campbell. Could they grow up to be anything BUT white supremacists? I hope so

    9 Eliot Spitzer. The prostitute-visiting ex-New York governor, remember? Usually, when a scandal breaks, one reads the reports and starts thinking, “Well, I can see how they could wriggle out of this one.” Even when the Lewinsky scandal broke, I could see how Bill Clinton might get out of it. But when the Spitzer story broke, it was evident instantly that he was dead meat.

    4 Rod Blagojevich. “Whatever I say is always lawful, whatever I’m interested in doing is always lawful.” Uh-huh. Depending on what comes out at his trial, he’s a strong contender for an even higher spot in 2009.

    2 Sarah Palin. Does she really deserve to be this high? Never in my adult lifetime has one politician so perfectly embodied everything that is malign about my country: the proto-fascist nativism, the know-nothingism, the utterly cavalier lack of knowledge about the actual principles on which the country was founded. So, heck, you betcha she does!

  • Getting tough on truancy

    Who else thinks the Nats’ plan to fine parents up to $3000 if their kids wag school is preposterous?

    I hope that like the current law it’s one of those things that goes ignored – apparently it’s $1500 max at the moment, but who ever enforces that?

    $3000 is ridiculous. It’s excessive, it would put a dent in basically anyone’s budget, and odds are the families of repetitive truants aren’t well off. They can’t, and won’t pay $3000. If you’re living week to week, aren’t saving for retirement, struggle when your car needs registering every six months, or breaks down, you’re not going to have a spare $3000 sitting around to part with. Blood from a stone, and all that.

    While I totally believe in strong parenting – it’s your choice to have kids, you and you alone need to look after them, if you can’t provide the necessities of life, you shouldn’t have had them – and instilling good values and work ethic, the fact is your children are not you. You can’t control them. You can try. You can do your best by your kids, but sometimes life doesn’t work out the way you want. There are limits to what you are responsible for. If your 16 yo stole a car, went for a joyride and totalled it, injuring or killing someone else in the process, would you be held responsible for reparations?

    Frankly I think there are worse things than skipping school and certainly more important social issues for our govt to focus on. The economy. Serious crime. You know the kind of thing I mean.

    Some kids are just out of control, and fining their parents is completely unjust, unwarranted and will achieve nothing. I don’t know what those kids need. Discipline, obviously. Maybe boot camp is appropriate there. But you can’t hold parents reponsible for absolutely everything. Some people can be reached, and they can be redeemed. Others fall through the cracks and some are too far gone to help.

  • I finally got around to watching Obama’s speech on youtube!

    it was amazing.

    in no way do i wish i was american but in this case i would not have minded being there… i’ve always thought that the american fervour.spirit is scary! pep rallies, football matches, the presidential ralllies and protests – but this one was different for me.

    YES, WE CAN.

    our little elections just so didn’t measure up, i was super excited to vote for the first time ever and somehow found it really anticlimactic. why don’t we have touch screen voting machines in street laundromats? huh? huh??!

    but at the same time i wonder, what happens to those avid campaigners and supporters now he’s in the white house? now that he will be spending his time running the country and will no longer have time to engage with his youngest and most passionate followers

  • Huh

    So Helen Clark lived her student years without a record player and worked weekends in the “long holidays”, did she?


    Well, most of us work at least 2-3 days DURING the semester, and more in the short holidays as well as the long ones.

    How much more proof do you need to show how out of touch politicians are with us?

  • Money makes the world go round

    SO they’ve been talking about introducing a universal student allowance, but considering the amount it would cost it’s never been implemented. But of course it’s going to be an ugly election, so I shouldn’t really be too surprised that Labour’s decided to run with it. And I’m not too impressed. Not just because of the sheer amount it would cost but because of how inherently unfair it would be. I acknowledge the current system is deeply flawed, but I don’t think a universal allowance is the answer.

    Off the top of my head, I can’t think of anyone I know who desperately needs and deserves the allowance but isn’t getting it. On the other hand, i can think of a few who, through clever accounting, get almost the full amount, plus fees paid and pocket money from parents, and others who, although not that extreme, do get a fair amount while living at home and often being subsidised for it. Parental testing is there for a reason, although it’s nowhere near perfect, and the limits are WAY TOO LOW.I don’t see a reason not to just dramatically increase the parental income limits to be more realistic instead.

    I’d rather see way more emphasis put towards the actual AMOUNT we students get – and how much we can earn. There should be no cap. 190 before tax is insane. Why would you penalise someone for working hard just so they can buy food, bus pass, save a little and buy the occasional drink?

    Also, accommodation supplement needs to go up. Those who live away from home need more than 40 a week in the hand. Admittedly it’s forty bucks free, but compared to the actual cost of living and Auckland rents it’s a bit like a slap in the face.

    Im glad to think i’m graduating in a year. i would hate to be at uni struggling on an allowance knowing every single other person living at home, not paying rent, bills or food are getting exactly the same amount as me.

    Maybe I’m a little jaded… I work hard and I’ve had so many odd jobs, working 2,3 or 4 at a time, and you can bet I don’t do it for fun. I have to work fulltime all summer long and can’t just take time off for road trips or holidays.  Which I don’t mind at all, it’s my lot in life, but man I’m glad I’ll be long out of uni when the universal allowance is in.

    I quite like Peter Dunne’s way of thinking. Actually, the more I hear about him the more impressed I am, oddly enough. Apparently the allowance scheme is roughly equal to the total cost of university fees, so he’d rather just make tertiary education completely free.