Archive for the ‘Big Questions’ Category

Oh {expletive-deleted}! It’s true. The internet is ‘a TV that watches you.’

Damn. This is what the PRISM whistle blower Ed Snowden told a Washington Post reporter, related here: Code name ‘Verax’: Snowden, in exchanges with Post reporter, made clear he knew risks “The internet is on principle a system that you reveal yourself to in order to fully enjoy, which differentiates it from, say, a music […]

Goodbye Zander. RIP.

A sweet young kid in our wider family passed away last night. I write these words with tears spilling onto my shirt, choking on my grief for his mother and all who loved him. Hard times. – P  

Mourning public figures The Right Way

I stayed out of a spitting contest on Twitter where a couple of imprudently timed tweets by Matthew Hooton anticipating an electoral contest in Parekura Horomia’s seat, now that he’s died, sparked a tide of abuse. (Just shows a spin doctor/PR supremo like Matthew can mis-step, too.) Now, Matthew is perfectly entitled to try to […]

Anzac Day anxieties and reflections

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know I have people I care about in the military, and some who’ve very recently served in Afghanistan. Most are back, physically safe. (We’ve talked before about the psychic scars, the rapid sobering of youth that’s perceptible in them.) Some are training and liable for further deployment or orders. […]

The power of labels (even in crossword clues)

Yesterday, in my typically discursive fashion, in ‘Uncertainty vs certainty. Growing out of old beliefs‘. I reflected on same-sex marriage law reform (or ‘marriage equality’). I wrote that as our thinking matures and we make friends with uncertainty, matters can seem to move beyond what we’re told is true and, for a time, believe to […]

Uncertainty vs certainty. Growing out of old beliefs.

“Doubt is uncomfortable, certainty is ridiculous.” — attributed to Voltaire It can be useful and enlightening now and then to try seeing the world (or an issue, at least) from someone else’s point of view — a bit like taking a car for the proverbial “spin ’round the block to see how she handles”. Donald […]

Australia’s mining boom: Stealing Aboriginal lands from beneath their feet. Yet again. (BBC)

I listened to this last night, then again today. It’s worth your time. BBC From Our Own Correspondent – March 2013 (MP3 file here) Australia’s mining boom and Aboriginal lands Duration: 10 minutes | First broadcast: Thursday 07 March 2013 | BBC website Pascale Harter introduces a special edition of From Our Own Correspondent dedicated […]

The predictable unsavoury and racist kerfuffle that greets Waitangi Day

This, from local Twitter luminaries @ColeyTangerina and @Megapope, is a wonderfully world-weary and efficient summary of the tripe that’s scooped out of the racist bucket in New Zealand around Waitangi Day and spread around thick like the ugly goop that it is. In many cases these tired tropes are trotted out as ‘debate’ or ‘talking […]

A space for discussion about psycho killer cats

A regular commenter here at, Ivan the Terrible, wants to discuss cats and the ‘sadistic psycho killers’ and ‘Cats to go’ national conversation Gareth Morgan is trying to float. OK. Let’s start with Ivan’s opening comment, relocated from another thread … “After crowing to others that “my cat never kills birds” – the little […]

Placing conscience above career

I’ve written before about my disappointment with the Obama administration’s persecution of whistleblowers … in direct contradiction to 2008 candidate Obama’s statements about the matter. This article A whistleblower salutes Bradley Manning by Thomas Andrews Drake writing at Politico is a worthwhile read, suggesting as he does that Bradley Manning’s actions in exposing ‘the dark […]

Current affairs through partisan filters. David Bain in limbo.

It’s been intriguing to watch the messy political debate in New Zealand about the findings of the independent inquiry, conducted by an internationally respected justice, into the case for compensation for wrongful imprisonment of David Bain. I personally, largely ignorantly, thought David Bain was the killer of his family. A jury convicted him. But then […]

Unspeakably good article about a family murder and alleged miscarriage of justice

Read this: Since 1979, Brian Murtagh has fought to keep convicted murderer Jeffrey MacDonald in prison by Gene Weingarten, Washington Post. – P

Mitt Romney quoted out of context? Not really.

TELL MITT ROMNEY: CLIMATE CHANGE ISN’T A JOKE Much of the nation is reeling from Superstorm Sandy. As families rebuild from Sandy’s destruction, our thoughts are with the victims of this horrific, fossil-fueled storm. When Gov. Mitt Romney made climate change a punch line at the Republican National Convention, he mocked a real threat to […]

Confusing jingoism with patriotism.

From a good profile of actress Claire Danes, currently gripping segments of the intelligentsia/viewing public (including me) with her role in TV drama Homeland, this excellent distinction. “The first time I realised I was patriotic was after September 11,” she says. She was living in Sydney at the time. “I couldn’t have been farther away, […]

Bewildered betrayal

Leo Traynor relates his heartbreaking [true] story about the anguish a troll on the Internet can cause, especially if they ‘reach out’ in the real world. Read it. Please. This is why I left Twitter, why I came back and how I met a Troll. (via @ohsarahrose) — I’m aware of a case years ago […]