Maybe Roger Sutton could start this here

meerkat-hugging

Roger Sutton has gotten himself into all sorts of bother over some hugs and jokes.

But never fear there are actually people out there who want to paid for such attention.

This is a sitter for Sutton as a start up opportunity in New Zealand.

A new shop in the United States is doing a roaring trade – offering cuddles for US$1 (NZ$1.27) a minute.

Samantha Hess, 30, opened Cuddle Up To Me in Portland, Oregon last weekend after working as a professional cuddler since June 2013.

“I’ve done hundreds and hundreds of sessions [in my career],” she told ABC News.

“My clientele varies greatly. I have clients who are obese, who have [neurological disorder] ALS, or missing limbs. Some people just got out of relationships or are divorced. It’s sort of anybody and everybody.”

Hess cuddles with clients in one of four themed rooms. Typical sessions last an hour but appointments can be as short as 15 minutes. Read more »

Armstrong on Little

John is so fed up with all the go-nowhere Labour leaders over the last few years, he’s altogether too excited about the fact that Andrew Little appears to have made no mistakes yet in the first 48 hours.

Can Andrew Little pull Labour out of the mire in which it is stuck so deeply – and from which it is going to find it immensely difficult to extricate itself?

Little has been in his party’s top job for all of four days and has hardly got his feet under his new desk. Yet anyone who has been watching him since his victory in the party-wide leadership ballot would have found it hard not to conclude that if someone can succeed where his immediate predecessors failed in such spectacular fashion, then Little is that someone.

Why? Gut feeling as much as anything. Because when it comes to leadership of a major political party, you either have the goods or you don’t.

Observing Little’s handling of questions at two press conferences this week, it was apparent he had made the transition from the relative obscurity of Labour’s middle-bench to the harsh spotlight of leadership with absolute ease. He was assured, relaxed and unflappable. He gave straight and simply-worded answers to questions which demanded them.

Little’s hardly been under pressure yet. ¬†Let’s see how he handles parliament. ¬†Let’s see how he handles a scandal among his ranks. ¬† Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo: Mario Carvajal Ca√Īo Cristales, Colombia This amazing river is also called the River of Five Colours because of its vast array of hues.

Photo: Mario Carvajal
Ca√Īo Cristales, Colombia
This amazing river is also called the River of Five Colours because of its vast array of hues.

CA√ĎO CRISTALES

Read more »

Killer pedo scumbag out of cash and crying like a baby about it too

The killer pedo scumbag, currently having a holiday in a cockroach infested jail in Brazil, is upset because he is out of cash and can’t afford a lawyer.

Recaptured murderer Phillip Smith has had all his money confiscated, and his family and former business partner are refusing to stump up cash to pay for a lawyer.

Tony Ellis, who has represented Smith in New Zealand, has been trying to arrange a Brazilian lawyer to visit him in jail in Rio de Janeiro. But they all want payment upfront. One had asked for a business-class airfare to New Zealand to discuss the case, Ellis said.

When Smith, 40, fled from Auckland Airport on November 6, he told Customs officers he was carrying $10,600. Read more »

I think Tom Parsons should resign, he’s done

It isn’t often I call for someone to resign, but today I have to.

Check out the attitude of Tom Parsons, the¬†president of the Secondary Principals’ Association, has to say.

A leading educator has launched a stinging attack on the increasing diagnosis of learning difficulties, saying it is causing too much work for schools – and doing students more harm than good.

“We’ve gone overboard with diagnosing what used to be called quirky, what used to be called a nerd. Now he’s got ADHD, gonorrhoea, piles and acne,” Secondary Principals’ Association president Tom Parsons said.

School workloads were increasing as teachers and principals were forced to accommodate “badly behaved” and “traditionally quirky” students under special assessment conditions (Sac). The New Zealand Qualifications Authority said 5771 students had been approved for Sacs this year for external or internal assessment – a big rise from 3696 last year.

Parsons said the stigmatisation of “otherwise healthy students” was doing more harm than good and narrowed their horizons.

“Today, I am part of a system that encourages, indeed demands, accountability for those differences. When I went to school, students who were different were often known as quirky. They were unlikely to change and went about their business as best they could, with a fair chance of success, and often with a great deal more resilience than the rest of us, to assist them in the big wide world.” The incidence of dyslexia, dyspraxia and attention deficit disorder was rising in secondary schools, and causing a “logistical nightmare” for schools trying to resource their needs.

Read more »

Charter Schools helping families is wrong says principal of rival school

A Henderson intermediate school is upset that Charter Schools are not allowed to charge for donations and also make the audacious move of providing uniform and stationery to save families money in January and help make education genuinely free (a lefty ideal?).

Roy Lilley, principal of Bruce McLaren Intermediate, which had 416 spare places, said he was concerned about the new partnership school.

“They are offering free uniforms, no donations … totally free. The impact on local schools could be huge.”

Bruce McLaren Intermediate already has 416 spare places….and this is somehow the fault of a small Charter School (Middle School West Auckland) that will begin in 2015 and have – when the roll is full – a maximum of 120 intermediate age children from the whole of West Auckland (Charter Schools don’t have zones).

If uniform and stationery is really the problem then the Bruce McLaren Principal could check those numbers.

Lets say – generously – the wholesale cost of uniform and stationery is $200 per student. Mr Lilley has 240 students to cater for – therefore the provision would cost $48,000. According to the Fairfax School Report his school receives $1,760,000 (plus buildings and centralised services). Therefore to provide for these families he only needs to re-prioritise 2.7% of his annual budget – problem solved – his school will be full again. ¬†¬† Read more »

What is happening with CRISP?

Josh Forman at Slightly Left of Centre has another ripper of a yarn, and what I am enjoying seeing is his willingness to call minister’s offices, and SOE CEOs for comment.

He also looks like he is working some very good sources. He should be encouraged because he is actually running stories without any vitriol and just looking at facts.

His latest post looks at the rumours floating around about CRISP.

Slightly Left of Centre can reveal this afternoon, again as a result of another National caucus leak, that the Health Minister Jonathan Coleman is set to cut yet another Tony Ryall initiative.

CRISP, which stands¬†Central Region Information Systems Plan is an initiative of¬†Central Technical Advisory Services Ltd (TAS),¬†which according to its website¬†‚Äúis a joint venture company, established in 2001 and owned by the six¬†Central Region District Health Boards¬†(DHBs) to provide support and services, undertaking:regional planning; implementing regional programmes of work; hosting regional groups and forums; and ensuring the compliance of contracted health service providers.‚ÄĚ

The CRISP initiative has the following stated goal:

One Portal,
One Password,
One Patient Record
For every Clinician
At Every Facility
Across the Central Region

This initiative, in the words of those who have been employed to set it up, was meant to provide a shared database of all information relevant to¬†every¬†Clinician at¬†every¬†facility across the entire situation. ¬†¬† Read more »

UFB passes 10% uptake

The fibre rollout is progressing and uptake is growing, passing 10%.

Now if only Chorus would turn on the dark fibre in my street!

Broadband connections have increased nearly 40% over the past quarter according to the latest quarterly figures of the Government’s ultrafast broadband and rural broadband initiative.

The figures, released yesterday by Communications Minister Amy Adams, show around 536,000 end-users are now able to connect to UFB, though only 55,000 are connected. However, 15,500 of those connected to UFB in the three months to September, a 39% increase on last quarter.

The figures indicate a 10% uptake nationally, compared with a national uptake rate of 7% the previous quarter, with the project now 6% ahead of build schedule.

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, as of September, the UFB deployment progress was 100% complete for Northland. Waikato and Taranaki were sitting at 71% and 62% completed respectively, while Auckland was 26% complete, with Wellington at 29% and Canterbury at 36%. ¬†¬† Read more »

Balclutha’s WiFi Luddites David and Julia Hunter have been at it for a while – in more ways than one

Yesterday’s Julia Hunter WiFi story is but the culmination of years of concern/harassment/activism from the Hunters. ¬†This, from 2010:

The Rosebank Primary School in Balclutha has assured parents there are no safety issues about electromagnetic radiation levels emitted by the school’s Wi-Fi computer network, installed last September.

Two families are known to have withdrawn their children from the school in February and a third family joined them this week, citing concern about health risks.

But in a four-page newsletter, issued to parents by the school’s Board of Trustees on Thursday, the school insists the results of a National Radiation Laboratory test of equipment, carried out on January 20, prove the equipment complies with the relevant regulations and operates at “very safe levels of electromagnetic radiation”.

Principal Chris Morris confirmed six children had been withdrawn from the school over this issue so far.

“The school respects the rights of parents to make decisions.

“We are sad and disappointed, but we respect people’s right to choose. We’ve spent a considerable amount of time and money [$4410] investigating the process.”

Parent Kim Cruse said she would like the school to be more receptive to hearing parents’ concerns, and to look at all the evidence presented from both sides.

The Wi-Fi equipment was installed at the school last September, following recommendations in the Rosebank ERO report to upgrade the Information and Communications Technology system.

David and Julia Hunter, who removed their child at the beginning of the school term, are seeking legal advice over being publicly named by the school in this week’s newsletter.

It appears the Hunters continued to send their child to secondary school knowing that the school has WiFi, and then starts campaigning for WiFi to be taken out of the school.  That makes no sense.  Knowing their strong feelings about it all.

All this is even more remarkable when you know that the Hunters run an Internet provider company in Balclutha called Rivernet ¬† Read more »

The rise and rise of the anti-immigration right

The Conservatives and NZ First might survive the next few terms if the overseas trend makes its way here.  In the UK, the Uk Independence Party is going from strength to strength, no matter how many lefties call them racists.

Tory defector Mark Reckless today became Ukip’s second elected MP in a devastating blow to the Conservatives, declaring his new party will ‘give you back your country’.

He won the Rochester and Strood by-election by 2,920 votes, erasing the Tory majority of almost 10,000 that he secured in 2010.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Reckless said: ‘If we can win here, we can win across the country. If you vote Ukip, you get Ukip.’

Jubilant Nigel Farage punched the air and declared that the ‘massive, massive’ win in what he called a ‘David v Goliath battle’ meant ‘all bets are off’ for the general election in 2015.

The result is embarrassing for David Cameron who just six weeks ago tore into Mr Reckless and vowed to kick his ‘fat a***’ out of the Commons.

The Brits are sick to the back teeth about having their country overrun with EU immigrants. ¬† Their problems are ¬†much more advanced than hours, but immigration issues are becoming political drivers all over the world. ¬† Read more »

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