Archive for the ‘Big Questions’ Category

Oops. What? He wants us to LISTEN to the murderous ultra-right nut job? Er, well, gee. OK.

In my experience, sometimes when one is interviewing someone in the news, particularly a LIVE interview, things can take an unexpected turn. Your subject says things that you didn’t expect. This morning, roused very early by an insistently affectionate cat (still getting over her spell in the cattery while we were at the beach last […]

Danger of dogma

Following our protracted discussion on conservatism and liberalism (for want of better labels)— and differing levels of willingness by adherents to validate the values of ‘The Other’ … by coincidence, here’s William F Buckley on what Andrew Sullivan calls ‘the Danger of Political Dogma’. From a brilliant article What William F. Buckley Would Think of […]

Warnings of militancy. Not just an ultra-right thaang.

Yeah, I know these ‘White Pride’ types have been around for awhile, and will always be with us, but it still strikes me when I’m reminded about them, and sample their thinking … in today’s Sunday Star Times at the website… Joining Right Wing Resistance on the streets were also stalwarts to the white […]

Debunking science with ideology

Following up on our conversation about differing measures of openness to ideas, depending on self-identification as ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ … Study tracks how conservatives lost their faith in science How do liberals and conservatives differ in their attitudes toward science? Statistics indicate that conservatives’ confidence in science as an institution has declined dramatically since 1974. […]

On narrow social focus and moral taste buds

A wonderful book review in the NY Times ‘Why Won’t They Listen?’ sheds some light on the ‘my tribe is better than yours’ bias we discuss here from time to time. Reviewing The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt, William Saletan describes how we acquire preferences for social values (liberal v conservative) over time, based on […]

This is a very good cartoon

Tom Scott — as sharp as ever … It’s a funny thing, the justice system. I worked at the Supreme Court when Arthur Allan Thomas was going through an ill-fated appeal of his 1971 wrongful convictions for murder. A scientist named Jim Sprott conclusively discredited the police ‘evidence’ that a shell casing they said they […]

Simon Power is putting it all behind him. Whaaat?

This caught my eye in today’s NZ Herald piece Govt turns its back on terror law about the woeful state (sarcasm) of our country’s botched me-too Terrorism Suppression Act. [Former justice minister] Mr Power, now a banker, said yesterday he could not recall why he allowed the review of the act to be dropped. He […]


NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd quotes Hilary Clinton posing a really good question about an aspect of conservative ‘moral’ fixation… Hillary Clinton has fought for women’s rights around the world. But who would have dreamed that she would have to fight for them at home? “Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me,” […]

Peters walks way from constitutional review (RNZ News)

NZ First opts out of constitutional review New Zealand First is refusing to take part in the Government’s constitutional review. The review is looking into matters such as the size of Parliament, Maori representation, the role of the Treaty of Waitangi and whether New Zealand needs a written constitution. But New Zealand First leader Winston […]

Self-awareness is a precious thing

In the spirit of writer Philip K Dick, here’s an examination of sentience … more self-aware than most bloggers? “I’m a sort of merchandise, is that right?” via Kara Swisher Allthingsd with thanks. Made me think.

But can we believe anything Google says?

Apropos Another Google privacy FAIL (grrr) wherein we discussed Google defeating Safari’s privacy settings to plant ‘third party cookies’ despite my specific instructions to block them … look at the privacy setting in Google Chrome… Why should we believe them? ‘Unfair and deceptive practices‘ sounds right to me. “Google has clearly engaged in ‘unfair and […]

The fruits of propaganda

From Gallup: Americans Still Rate Iran Top U.S. Enemy China is second on the “greatest enemy” list by Frank Newport February 20, 2012 PRINCETON, NJ — Americans most frequently mention Iran when asked to name the country they consider to be the United States’ greatest enemy, and the 32% who do so is up from […]

Rupert Murdoch on politicians … and truth

Wow. So ‘truth‘? That’s what News International and News Corporation are aiming for?  *cough* Fox News *cough* – P

Governor Chris Christie

Gay marriage vote in NJ faces sure veto from Gov. Chris Christie, who prefers the issue be settled by the voters via pie eating contests Pure genius from whoever runs the parody Twitter account for New York Times public editor. I laughed.

US troops building bridges with Nazi symbolism …

I spotted this on the Mother Jones news website today, and words fail me. Why is this making news now? Several Marines who were concerned about the photos contacted Mikey Weinstein (no relation), president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit that watchdogs religious intolerance in the armed services. Their behavior, Weinstein told me, […]