Mental Health Break

Wanted: A new Chief of Staff to make Andrew Little look good

Wellington and the media are all “abuzz”

The revelation that Labour’s top adviser and Andrew Little’s chief of staff, Matt McCarten, will be stepping down from the role has opened up debate over who will be his replacement.

Mr McCarten revealed last night he will be heading up Labour’s new office in Auckland, following rumours he was to announce he was stepping down as Mr Little’s chief of staff this week.

He has told media his departure from Wellington was voluntary.

His departure opens a wide gap in the party, with a big question mark now hanging over who will replace him

It has not taken long for commentators give their two cents.

“BRING BACK HEATHER!” political commentator and NBR columnist Matthew Hooton says rather enthusiastically.

He’s talking, of course, about Helen Clark’s formidable chief of staff Heather Simpson.

“Labour is perilously low in the polls, without a chief press secretary and [the party] can’t really afford to make any more staffing mistakes.”

Labour’s chief press secretary Sarah Stuart resigned in May, citing family reasons.

Mr Hooton says the best bet for the party would be to look for a proven performer from the past and Ms Simpson, who made up one-half on the formidable H2 duo with Helen Clark, would tick all the right boxes. Read more »

Map of the Day

Police attending every burglary just a PR exercise

Police have announced they will now aim to attend nearly all of New Zealand’s 35,000 home burglaries a year.

AUT senior criminology lecturer John Buttle said the main reason burglars were caught was because there were witnesses, but burglaries rarely have witnesses and criminals plan not to be seen.

“So the fact that police officers are going to turn up and talk to the people who haven’t seen the burglar, really isn’t going to make a difference to my mind.”

While he said no change to the resolution rate was likely, it was hard to say what would have an impact.

“There’s probably nothing they can do. And I mean if you turn around and look internationally, it’s not just New Zealand police who are useless at catching burglars, it’s pretty much every police force. They all suffer from the same statistic. No matter what they try to do they all suffer from that same statistic; really, really low resolution rates for burglary.”

Mr Buttle said the move was more about public perception.

The question also is: where do these officers come from?  Either they have been terribly inefficient all this time, or they are not doing something else.  Read more »

Phil’s Angels deliver again: another Auckland Future candidate under a cloud


Facebook, via NZ Herald

A Pacific leader at the centre of a critical Ministry of Health audit is standing for election at the local body elections.

Edwin Puni is standing for a seat on the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board under the National Party-aligned Auckland Future ticket.

Puni headed the inaugural New Zealand Pacific Leaders forum chaired by Prime Minister John Key at the Beehive in April.

The Herald can reveal Puni was chairman of the Health Star Pacific Trust, which a Ministry of Health audit in 2012 found lent money to board members and to companies in which board members had an interest.

The trust received about $5.8 million from the ministry and Auckland and Counties-Manukau district health boards to promote breast screening, pregnancy support, immunisation and HPV awareness to Pacific communities.

Read more »

Dad, do academics just make stuff up?


One of the remarkable things about academics is that they still have public respect.  If “research shows”, people will generally believe this comes from rigorous and property executed science.   Politicians and media have already destroyed the trust with the public, but academics and scientists have some way to go.

16 years ago, a doctor published a study. It was completely made up, and it made us all sicker.

The entire study was fabricated. Read more »

Photo of the Day




The Briefcase

When a Wayland history teacher stumbled onto the papers of a deceased West Roxbury war veteran, he assigned his students to write the mystery man’s biography. What they found was Boston’s version of Forrest Gump.

Kevin Delaney had seen the old, gray briefcase in the Wayland High School history department’s storage room before. The case, one of those sturdy plastic Samsonite types from the ’70s, had been around so long, neither Delaney nor any of his colleagues knew how it had arrived there.

It was the spring of 2011, and Wayland High was preparing to relocate to a newly constructed facility. It fell to Delaney, Wayland’s history chair, to decide which of his department’s materials would make the move. And so he unfastened the lid and began to page through the yellowing papers contained inside.

“I had actually seen it before and given it a peek, and I knew there was something intriguing. But I’d never dumped the contents out and given it a scrub down,” Delaney remembers. “So I put them on the table, started to pore through them, and didn’t take long to figure out that they were all linked.”

Inside were the assorted papers—letters, military records, photos—left behind by a man named Martin W. Joyce, a long-since deceased West Roxbury resident who began his military career as an infantryman in World War I and ended it as commanding officer of the liberated Dachau concentration camp. Delaney could have contacted a university or a librarian and handed the trove of primary sources over to a researcher skilled in sorting through this kind of thing. Instead, he applied for a grant, and asked an archivist to come teach his students how to handle fragile historical materials. Then, for the next two years, he and his 11th grade American history students read through the documents, organized and uploaded them to the web, and wrote the biography of a man whom history nearly forgot, but who nonetheless witnessed a great deal of it.

Read more »

An unknown mental illness is believed responsible for a series of violent incidents

You may have noticed that mental health has been in the media a lot lately.  Globally there has been incident after incident where previously seemingly healthy men have suffered  inexplicable nervous breakdowns. This mysterious epidemic of mental or psychiatric illnesses has left researchers struggling to find a common cause or factor. So far experts remain baffled.

Homophobicus orlanditis: In this disturbing case, a young man from an ethnically diverse and culturally rich background that coincidentally has strong traditional taboos against such modern practices as man on man copulation or woman on woman coupling and yet who exhibited no previous symptoms of any mental disorder whatsoever mysteriously suffered an acute breakdown of his nervous system (or homophobicus orlanditis), when he found himself inexplicably confronted by a tutu-wearing group of cavorting drag queens in a “gays only” nightclub in an American tourist resort. Symptoms of the mysterious breakdown included loudly and repetitively shouting out guttural slogans with strong flat vowel sounds whilst expressing his neurological disturbances via the means of shooting everybody dead. Diagnosis: Unknown mental illness.

Catholicus intoleranza: In this extremely rare case, a young man and his associate, both from ethnically diverse and culturally rich heritages that coincidentally hold strong traditional taboos against the faith-expression practices of so-called “non-believers” and yet who exhibited no previous symptoms of any mental disorders mysteriously suffered an acute and simultaneous breakdown of their nervous systems (suspected catholicus intoleranza) when they found themselves accidentally confronted by one old priest and two nuns swinging a bowl of incense in front of their faces in a French medieval town. Symptoms of this unusual twinned nervous breakdown include both individuals simultaneously breaking into guttural verbal manifestations with unusual linguistic quirks whilst displaying signs of acute psychological disturbances via the means of slitting the priest’s throat. Diagnosis: Unknown mental illness.

Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  BoomSlang

Credit: BoomSlang

alt.reality: Kim Dotcom wins right to live-stream the extradition appeal to the Internet

Justice Murray Gilbert granted the application, subject to agreement from Mr Dotcom and the other men that the case would only be livestreamed and any footage would be removed as soon as the six-week hearing was over.

The footage would also be streamed with a 20 minute delay, to allow the court to prevent any suppressed material from being published.

Whaleoil really is speechless this time….