Sunday, November 15, 2009

Today's Photo ---

One of two shots I took about the time that 'The Walking Bus' was being proposed and the in thing. I guess all these children belong to Mum and maybe not going to school but to a form of 'home education' :-)

Hasan's PTSD

Some people are quite sarcastic as to how a guy who hadn't been there could be suffering from PTSD. I'd suggest that it is quite possible for somebody who is a sensitive character to be inclinded to the Medical profession to get the disease second hand from listening to all the terrible stories of those already suffering from PTSD. Add in the fact that he is of the Muslim faith living in a country where quite a few of the hot blooded rightwing consider the situation on a par to the old saying about the American Indian " A good one is a dead one" it is an impossible situation for the man to live under. Shackled to the army becuase it paid for his medical education ...a possible senario my son was considering way back ... I thank everything that is good that he made it without selling his soul in that manner.

I commend a NYT Op-Ed ...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

An egg at 18 Miles

NYT 8.11.2009 ....“What have the Americans done in eight years?” asked Abdullah Wasay, 60, a pharmacist in Charikar, a market town about 25 miles north of Kabul, expressing a view typical of many here. “Americans are saying that with their planes they can see an egg 18 kilometers away, so why can’t they see the Taliban?”

Trouble is they can see the egg but not inside to see if it is addled or not.

Another quote ....With less certainty about America’s continued commitment, there is a growing sense that the only sure way to peace is through negotiations with the Taliban. “They are the sons of this country, it is right to negotiate with the Taliban,” said Mohammed Younnis, a shopkeeper in Charikar who sells tea, sugar and grains.

“This government is Afghan, and the Taliban are Afghan; they should build the country together,” he said.

Out of the mouths of the not so young?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Denver's "Main Street"

There is a suggestion for Wellington to close off Lambton Quay, Manners Street through Counrtney Place to traffic. I guess likely traffic would cross it at various places. I think it is a great idea and is what I found in Denver Colorado where I was able to travel into the city centre using light rail, parking my car next to a railway station in the suburbs and then found buses running up and down the "Main Street" which were free.
The first two at nearby Boulder.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Damm Lies or mis leading statistics

Currently there is a hell of a beat-up going on about Rodney Hide taking his partner on an overseas trip at the tax payer's expense.


I could well be wrong since I don't have the imternet skills to be sure of how to find the official info and if I found the whole truth at

>>>UPDATE ... I have had a horrible thought that the Parliamentary sites strictly record MP expenses but ignore those of spouses/partners ... so maybe the journalist who wrote the original story is a hell of a lot cleverer than me and deserves my apology.<<<

However there I found simply $26,872 as Cabinet approved overseas travel. I found no confirmation that a similar amount had been spent by the taxpayer for Rodney's partner ... so suggestions of the trip costing $52T is creative accounting/journalism [ of the worst sort].
Rodney has apparently spent $9920 on accomodation in Wellington
$12015 on Domestic air travel
$26233 om surface travel for Minister Spouse [Partner?] staff.
making a total $48865

Disclaimer ... I used to be a vocal member of the Act Party about a decade or so ago but gave that away around the turn of the millenium. I also once had a drink with Rodney though since I don't normally shout drinks Rodney's drink was paid for by another Act member, I paid for mine and my wife.

I also think it quite reasonable that a hard-working minister should have a perk or two to compensate him for the stress of ministerial life without petty bizibodies jumping up and down. So good on you Rodney.

The American Right -- a whacky cult

I think this quote from a NYT Op-Ed sums up my feelings about the American right and their supporters elsewhere.
>>>The battle for upstate New York confirms just how swiftly the right has devolved into a wacky, paranoid cult that is as eager to eat its own as it is to destroy Obama. The movement’s undisputed leaders, Palin and Beck, neither of whom has what Palin once called the “actual responsibilities” of public office, would gladly see the Republican Party die on the cross of right-wing ideological purity. Over the short term, at least, their wish could come true.<<<

I have been accused of having no principles becuase of my moderate approach to subjects ... but without moderation how can the differences between right and left be resolved. I am happy to be in the middle becuase I can see merit in the NZ context in both the policies of ACT and the Alliance .... the parties which I choose between over a decade ago. Both seemed to be plugging for the 'Responsible Society' I believe in. It was a case of which was more likely to succeed. Time has shown neither making it but the Alliance is history while ACT plugs on and is part of Government ... admittedly a small part which happilly for me means that their more extreme aspects of policy cannot proceed.

'The Respopnsible Society' is an expression I found many decade ago in a book by Dr Bill Sutch, a supposed Communist and Russian spy/agent. What didn't appear in the book I think was the problem for the RS is that for it to work the populace must be also responsible. Society [ the Government structure ] cannot carry the whole burden without help from its members.

I think I do have an underlying principle and that is a utter disgust of the extremist in the mirriad of forms they appear.

Central Otago Railway --- 130 years

At Labour Weekend the Taieri Gorge Railway celebrated the 130th anniversary of the Central Otago Railways openning. The TGR runs a daily tourist service on the remaining sixty miles it owns of the 240 original miles of the COR. This enables walkers and cyclists to connect with the Central Otago Rail Trail which is the beof the railway and enables one to walk/cycle to Alexandra.

RM57 crosses the Hindon Road/Rail Bridge

The TGR ran special trains over the weekend with the return of Railcar RM57 after a thirty year absence. I remember being part of a group from the Otago Model Engineers who made one of the last trips the railcar made thirty years ago. My wife and son were with me.

Helping RM57 with the runs was the Pacific 4-6-2 'Sharon Lee' making one of her quite frequent trips to Otago although for the first time being able to make the trip on the TGR through to Middlemarch with the restoration of the turntable there.
Here she hauls out of Dunedin Railway Station.

A woman's burden --- PTSD

As women join men in the 'War on Terrorists' and the nature of the struggle means the 'front line' is where you happen to be, and women experience traumatic scenes which remain with them after demob to upset and disturb their civilian lives. But are not readilly recognised by civilians who stayed at home. I found this story quite disturbing and worth reading for my education on the matter.