Map of the day

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LaSorte_animated_Map_118species

Animated map of migrations of 118 bird species in the Western Hemisphere.


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Rodney Hide isn’t impressed with Angry Little’s bribe either

Andrew Little

When I give my vote, I want my money. Immediately. I don’t want it on promise.

That’s why Little has left me so underwhelmed. My vote for him is just a down payment. He wants it again and again before I get my money.

The policy-on-promise wasn’t in his speech. You have to go to the policy detail for that.

It shows Little’s policy not fully kicking in until 2025 – three elections away.

I vote for Little in 2017, I get a year free post-school education. I vote for him again in 2020, I get another year. I vote for him a third time in 2023 and I get my third year. That’s a lot of voting for not much, a long way off.

Little takes seven Budgets to deliver his promise.

As I predicted, it would just be days before the whole thing would fall apart under a little bit of scrutiny.  Read more »

Paul Keating comes good

Known as the Lizard of Oz, Paul Keating isn’t that popular but he has come good by suggesting that the Federal government take an axe to the budget rather than look at raising taxes.

It should be possible to strip $90 billion out of the federal budget — a cut of 20 per cent — Paul Keating claims, based on his achievement as treasurer through the late 1980s.

The former prime minister said yesterday that the burning issue should not be taxes but rather how to adjust the budget to the reality that the income the world was paying us had fallen, and this was cutting both personal and company taxes.

“All these things are pushing down on commonwealth revenue and, when it has been so affected, the penny ought to drop that we ought to be cutting spending,” he said, noting that Scott Morrison was correct to highlight this.    Read more »

I’d like to see this kind of justice here

This is why name suppression is undesirable – it removes part of the contract with society where you are marked for your convictions and you need to find a way to earn your place in society with the full weight of other people’s knowledge about what you’ve done.

The judge presides over a court of minor crime, but I’d love to know what he’d do with more serious crimes.

Photo of the day

Photo: Chicago Daily News. Defense Attorney Benjamin Bachrach, Nathan Leopold, Jr., Richard Loeb, and Clarence Darrow during the Leopold and Loeb Sentencing Hearing.

Photo: Chicago Daily News. Defence Attorney Benjamin Bachrach, Nathan Leopold, Jr., Richard Loeb, and Clarence Darrow during the Leopold and Loeb Sentencing Hearing.

‘Affluenza’

In June 2013, Ethan Couch, an inebriated 16-year-old Texan, was speeding and driving illegally on a restricted license when he slammed into a group of people standing on the side of the road. Four died; nine were injured, including two of Couch’s passengers, who were seriously hurt.

The case became a topic of national conversation in America, because, despite the severity of his crime, he got off with a slap on the wrist thanks to a unique defence: “Affluenza.”

A psychologist testified that Couch didn’t understand the consequences of his actions because his parents taught him wealth buys privilege. Somehow, despite killing four people and testing positive for alcohol and drugs, he was sentenced to just rehab and probation. (Couch has again been in the news for fleeing the country; he was found partying in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with his mother. He’s currently at a juvenile facility in Texas.)

Couch’s featherweight sentence in a way proved his parents correct: Wealth does have its privileges, such as the ability to hire crackerjack lawyers who dream up creative defences.

Though press accounts didn’t mention it, Couch wasn’t the first high-profile case to use the “Affluenza” defence. That dubious honour goes to two young men accused of committing the “crime of the century” over 90 years ago — Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb.

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Zika turning into a bit of a debacle – you can’t even kiss now

The Zika virus is sounding pretty nasty, and now kissing is off the agenda.

Scientists identified the Zika virus in the saliva and urine of two infected patients, a top Brazilian biomedical research institution said on Friday, prompting its president to urge pregnant women not to kiss strangers just as local carnival celebrations begin.

The discovery added to the rising concern over Zika, which is spreading rapidly in the Americans and has been linked to thousands of severe birth defects in Brazil.

They said they used genetic testing to identify the virus in saliva and urine samples from two patients who had symptoms caused by Zika infection, and determined that the virus was active, meaning it had the potential to cause infection, scientists at the public Oswaldo Cruz Foundation said.

They said more research was needed to determine whether Zika could be transmitted by either fluid.   Read more »

Taiwan in pictures

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Wally Santana / AP

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Our courts would be overwhelmed

Imagine if we had such a law here…the ferals would junk up the courts forever with claims of slovenly housewives.

An Italian woman could face up to six years in jail after her husband accused her of not doing enough cooking and cleaning at home.

Her husband made a formal complaint to the paramilitary Carabinieri police, saying that his wife was slovenly, failed to put meals on the table and left their home in a dreadful mess.

Rather than dismissing the case as a domestic dispute, the police referred it to judicial authorities.

They decided to send the matter to trial, with the 42-year-old wife facing between two and six years in prison if found guilty of the charge of “mistreatment within the family”.

The crime, article 572 in the Italian penal code, “punishes whoever mistreats a person in their family or a person entrusted to them for reasons of education, care or custody”.

The woman’s husband, 47, accused her of “bad management of domestic affairs”, in a case that reinforces a cliched image of the harassed Italian housewife cooking and caring for small children while her husband puts his feet up with a newspaper.    Read more »

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UK continues to cut Kiwi ties

I guess it is a blessing in disguise as the UK slides ever closer to domination by foreigners, but they just reduced health care benefits for Kiwis in the UK.

Prime Minister John Key has hit out at new legislation meaning New Zealanders will have to pay over $320 for health and dental care in the United Kingdom.

A reciprocal deal had been in place between New Zealand and the UK since 1982, allowing citizens travelling between the countries access to free health and dental care. However, that 34-year arrangement has now been chopped as part of a clamp-down on so-called “health tourism” — going overseas to get medical treatment.

The British government’s Home Office announced the end the programme from April 6 and today Key reacted saying the news is “really disappointing” and “pretty cheap”.   Read more »

Another reason rail is on the way out

The lunatics, mostly of the left, want us to all use trains.

Trains for passenger transport and trains for bulk transport.

Well, one of the links in that transport debate is about to be severed, which will further reduce the amount of freight sent by rail.

Kiwirail says its ship, the Aratere, may be the last such rail-compatible ferry it runs.

The sight of a train rolling onto a ferry has long been a dramatic sight for onlookers, as the train’s heavy weight can cause the ship to move substantially in the water.

But Kiwirail chief executive Peter Reidy said acquiring rail-enabled ferry technology was very expensive.   Read more »