Photo Of The Day

Meanest Divorce: Snow Camo: Kevin Cotter tells the story, when his wife of 12 years moved out of their Tuscon, Ariz. home in 2009, she left behind just one thing: Her old wedding dress, pristinely preserved in his closet. "What do you expect me to do with it?" he asked. “Whatever the $%^@# you want,” she replied. The comment hit a nerve, and a couple of months later Cotter and his family started joking about ways he could repurpose the gown. The frock had cost him nearly a grand anyway and seemed like such a waste just sitting in storage.

Another Mean Divorce: Snow Camo: Kevin Cotter tells the story, when his wife of 12 years moved out of their Tuscon, Ariz. home in 2009, she left behind just one thing: Her old wedding dress, pristinely preserved in his closet. “What do you expect me to do with it?” he asked. “Whatever the $%^@# you want,” she replied. The comment hit a nerve, and a couple of months later Cotter and his family started joking about ways he could repurpose the gown. The frock had cost him nearly a grand anyway and seemed like such a waste just sitting in storage.

The Meanest Divorce

He Kidnapped Their children. She Bankrupted his Family. He Hid Out For Seven Years. She Had Him Put In Jail. A Story Of Love Turned To Hate

“Tell me something,” Chuck Smith asked, staring with a Rasputin-like stare. “Would you let your kids suffer? Would you break the law to keep them safe?” His voice, usually as fervent as an evangelist’s, drops to a half-whisper. “Would you sacrifice everything for your own kids?”

I have come to Cuernavaca, Mexico, fifty miles southwest of Mexico City, to meet Houston’s most infamous father. In 1984, while divorcing his wife, Carolyn, Chuck Smith, then 26 years old, the scion of one of Houston’s wealthiest and most politically influential automobile dealers, kidnapped his own two sons—Charles, age 6, and Christopher, only 4—and vanished for more than seven years.

Chuck testified that the boys tearfully begged him to take them away from their mother, who had become so addicted to prescription drugs that she slept through the day, forgetting to feed them, shaking them when they woke her. On occasion, Chuck said, she refused to allow them out of their room, forcing them to urinate in the closet. Fearing that the divorce courts would still not give him full custody, Chuck decided there was only one thing to do. “What self-respecting father,” he asks, his 250-pound body looming over me as he paces the room, “would leave his boys in that environment?”

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The House Today #nzqt

Parliament is sitting today.

You can follow proceedings starting at 2 pm on TV (Freeview 22, Sky 86), streaming audio via Radio New Zealand and streaming Parliament TV via the internet. After the sitting day, on-demand replays can be found at In The House.

Questions to Ministers

  1. JONO NAYLOR to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by his statement that “a priority for this Government is to build a more productive and competitive economy that supports jobs and higher incomes”?
  2. METIRIA TUREI to the Prime Minister: Ka tū a ia i runga i te mana o tana korero, “I will lead a Government that will govern for all New Zealanders”Translation: Does he stand by his statement, “I will lead a Government that will govern for all New Zealanders”?
  3. ANDREW LITTLE to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement in relation to new statistics showing increased wealth inequality under his Government that “it’s not surprising it’s getting a little bit more that way”?
  4. JACQUI DEAN to the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment: What recent reports has he received on improvements in adult literacy?
  5. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all the statements he made at the Chinese Business Summit on 9 November 2015? Read more »

Obama continues to be the world’s best gun salesman, but Hillary is likely to beat his records

Barack Obama has sold more guns than any other person in history. His continued attacks against the Second Amendment mean that people seek to get in before he tries to ban them.

The good news is that his time is almost at an end; the bad news for citizens is that Hillary Clinton will continue and escalate his attacks.

Gun sales are on a pace to break last year’s record of more than 23 million, a boon to the U.S. industry and gun stores thanks to election-year worries about gun control and recent terror attacks, according to government figures and experts.

Under Obama, background checks for guns reached 141.4 million through the end of May, amounting to sales of about 52,600 a day, according to the FBI. Last year, the FBI conducted more than 23 million background checks, which are generally used to figure sales of new and used weapons.

Domestically, manufacturers have reported producing about 21,000 guns a day, or more than 46 million in Obama’s first six years in office.

And should Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton continue to best Republican Donald Trump in the polls, sales could hit new highs, according to industry experts.    Read more »

Hey Kelvin, what are you going to do about this fight club?

I wonder what Kelvin Davis is going to do about this fight club?

The hierarchical nature and brutal inner workings of a tough New Zealand jail block, including yard fights and sparring, has been examined at a prison murder trial today.

The rare behind-bars glimpse came during the trial of three Christchurch Men’s Prison inmates accused of murdering respected long-term prisoner Benton Marni Parata on March 25 last year.

Steven Betham, 36, Akuhatua Tihi, 22, from Toi Toi, Nelson, and Levi Hohepa Reuben, 21, deny murdering the fellow inmate.

Tihi today accepted he is guilty of manslaughter, but denied having murderous intent.

The Crown alleges that the trio had been acting to a pre-arranged plan in order to administer a serious beating.   Read more »

Tough combat soldiers protected from micro-aggressions


Women tough enough to complete and pass marine combat training are not going to be precious, safe, space-needing cupcakes who see ordinary language as micro-aggressions. Despite this the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, has decided to change military titles to gender neutral ones to make women soldiers feel included.

You know what makes a female soldier feel included? It is being treated as an equal and as part of a team. When I completed my basic training as a signalman I was treated exactly like the men apart from one thing and when I complained about it I was punished, just like the guys, for having a smart mouth. I will never forget the press ups I was made to do on a gravel road because I said that I wanted an SLR not an M16. I thought it was sexist to issue the women with M16s and give the men SLRs. What wasn’t sexist was how I was treated. I was punished the same as a man, and I had to carry the same pack and run the same distance and climb the same wall. I had to carry another soldier in a fireman’s carry the same distance that same soldier had to carry me. I will never forget his howls of pain as he complained about my bony little shoulder digging into his crotch. I told him to shut up as he had just been shot and I was carrying him to safety. Ahhhh such fond memories…..

After months of deliberation, the Marine Corps has decided to remove the word “man” from 19 job titles, in an effort to make the service more inclusive now that all combat roles are open to women.

The review, mandated by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in January, will soon wrap-up and post the changes publicly in several days, according to an anonymous Marine official who spoke with Marine Corps Times.

Although many old titles will no longer exist, as they’ll be made gender neutral, some iconic titles still remain, such as “rifleman” and “mortar man.” This is unlikely to satisfy many Marines, who believe that political correctness has gone completely out of control.

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National does not involve itself in local body politics, except for Bill English and nepotism

Bill English's sister in law

Bill English’s sister in law

Finance Minister Bill English has made a rare intervention in Wellington local body politics backing his sister in law for Mayor.

But he says he has done so because he believes she is the best candidate.

However in doing that he has ignored one other candidate with long National Party connections and another who is being backed by the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

Speaking to a fundraiser last week for Jo Coughlan, who is married to the Minister’s brother, former Federated Farmers CEO, Connor English, the Minister said he wasn’t supporting her because  they were related.

“It’s because I think that she’s the best candidate for a city that needs this kind of candidate; someone who understands growth; someone who understands communities and someone who understands families.”

But even so, that such a senior member of the Cabinet has publicly endorsed a Mayoral candidate goes against National Party practice.

And against the express orders of John Key and party whips.

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Let’s analyse some fairy tales to death

Family life professor Sarah M Coyne has done her best to ruin Disney Princess ‘culture’ for young girls so I thought that I should assist her as best I can. I put on my progressive goggles and viewed these delightful tales through the eyes of an academic who has no appreciation or understanding of the  innocent pleasure these tales give to children.

Armed with her reality distorting Progressive Goggles she prepared was ready to analyse a fairy story to death

Armed with her reality distorting Progressive Goggles she was ready to analyse a fairy story to death

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Watercare continues the blame game

Watercare appears to be toeing the line of its paymaster Auckland Council who want to continue the blame game regarding housing supply.

Not willing to concede that the Council have stuffed Auckland they are trying desperately to blame everyone – from landowners to property developers – instead of accepting responsibility. Talk about being sensitive.

The property industry and I have been saying for a while that the issue is Council refuse to build the infrastructure and are using sewers, potable water and roads to stymie the expansion of Auckland. Some weeks back I pointed out that there is now only capacity for 45,000 dwellings to connect to the infrastructure.

So what does Auckland Council do? They shove Watercare out to pitch a story about expenditure that’s over a long time frame and to tell a fat pork pie.

Most of the article is talking up a storm about infrastructure works that replace and improve the stuffed existing infrastructure servicing areas of Auckland. It’s not for new areas. It’s all the deferred maintenance and asset management playing catch-up with a bit more capacity to allow for more apartments in certain areas.

Like new big sewer mains that connect central Auckland suburbs back to Mangere and a Hunua water connection that terminates at the water tank in Ponsonby. They are things in places where people already live, not where the city needs to be growing into, like the edges of the city.

Watercare Services is catering for 195,000 new Auckland dwellings in the next decade, and is working to expand the fresh and waste water networks to cope with this growth.

But Raveen Jaduram, Watercare chief executive, admits the organisation does not really expect that many dwellings to be built.

“The actual number will be significantly less but we’re catering for that bigger number. We have to be ahead of the growth so we built infrastructure well before it’s required,” he said.   Read more »

Shabby hit job on Joyce by Newshub. Why does anyone trust them?

I’m no fan of Steve Joyce, but Newshub delivered up a shabby hit job on Joyce last night.

New Zealand has jumped from 12th in the world to fourth in the latest OECD rankings of adult literacy.

Thirty-three countries were surveyed, with Japan coming it at number one, followed by the Netherlands and Finland.

But when asked which countries New Zealand had beaten, Tertiary Education, Skills, and Employment Minister Steven Joyce had to consult his advisor in the middle of Newshub’s interview.

“Can you give me the list if he wants to do this bit. Can we do the list?” he said while the camera was still rolling.    Read more »

Lying Little busted by John Shewan


So, it seems Andrew Little simply can’t tell the truth.

In the dead of the night a couple of hours before an All Black test he issued a retraction but not an apology to John Shewan for smearing him.

When pressed on that issue yesterday he said he wasn’t asked for an apology by John Shewan.

That was a lie.

John Shewan quickly busted that by releasing the letter to Andrew Little that specifically requests an apology.

Tax expert John Shewan says that claims by Andrew Little that he did not seek an apology from the Labour leader are misleading.

The statement that I never asked for an apology is completely incorrect,” Mr Shewan told the Herald today.

Mr Little told reporters this morning that he did not apologise to Mr Shewan, a former PwC chairman, over incorrect statements he made about his background in April because he was never asked to.

“I wasn’t asked to provide an apology. I was asked to provide his assurance that the media report I relied on was wrong.”

He added: “[Mr Shewan] explicitly said ‘I don’t need you to apologise, I want a correction of a statement’, and that’s what I’ve done.”

When asked again to confirm that Mr Shewan had not asked for an apology, Mr Little said: “That’s my recollection of the first face-to-face discussion that we had.”

Following the release of the Panama Papers in April, Mr Little questioned the choice of Mr Shewan to lead an inquiry into the disclosure rules for foreign trusts based in New Zealand.

He wrongly claimed that Mr Shewan had once helped advise the Bahamas Government on how to preserve its tax haven status.

Mr Shewan said today that he originally only asked the Labour leader to retract his “defamatory” comments.   Read more »