The inconvenient truth about US Marijuana legalisations

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November 2012 voters in the states of Colorado and Washington approved ballot initiatives that legalized marijuana for recreational use. Two years later, Alaska and Oregon followed suit. As many as 11 other states may consider similar measures in November 2016, through either ballot initiative or legislative action. Read more »

Guest post: Losi Filipo

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I’m sure you’ve been keeping an eye on this Losi Filipo case.

Like most people, I was ready to lynch the kid on Monday. However…. the more I look at things and talk to people, the more some things don’t add up

There are two significant ‘issues’ with Mr Morgan’s story. Firstly – he was never in line for a Wellington contract. He was a middling club player and definitely no star. He also played No8 or blindside flanker, and there’s no shortage of them in Wellington. Tellingly he was never previously part of any grade side Read more »

Mental Health Break

BREAKING: Williams v Craig – The Verdict [CLOSED]

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The Jury are coming back into the court room.  The registrar has informed media that they have reached a verdict.

14:43 Jordan Williams is in court.  The court is waiting for Colin Craig to arrive.

14:46 Colin Craig has arrived.  The registrar has left the court to ask the judge to come to the courtroom.

14:50  FIRST CAUSE:  JW unanimous win.  400k.  90k punitive

14:52  SECOND CAUSE:  JW unanimous win.  650k.  130k punitive

14:53  Mr Jordan Williams wins the case.  Total awarded:  $1.27 million

14:58  Mr Mills acting on behalf of Mr Craig has told the court there will be an appeal

15:07 live post closed.  Any further updates will be in the comments.

whaleoil.co.nz

whaleoil.co.nz

Bruce the Wandering Whale in London

Let me preface this episode by stating that this stop on the whirlwind tour of Europe was primarily at my daughter’s request – I had no real want/need to go back to London, having lived there some thirty years ago. That said, I did enjoy seeing the places I spent most of my time back then.

The immigration queues were as bad (if not worse) than I remember. Back then, this poor Kiwi boy, travelling on a Kiwi passport could only join one of three queues: UK Passport Holders, EEC Passport Holders and Others. This meant that I was always the last one back on the bus, since everyone I travelled with seemed to have either a UK passport or a Patriality stamp.

So, the queue system has slightly improved. There are now only two: UK/EU Passports and Others. No guesses as to which was the longest queue. And unsurprisingly, the bulk of those in the Others queue were obviously from the Middle East. It took us about 45 minutes from joining the queue to getting through.

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Map of the Day

Even Trotter is using a photo of Little looking spastic

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WHY, OH WHY didn’t Andrew Little keep his mouth shut? Or, when asked by a journalist to respond to the political observations of his party’s former leader, just stick to the time-honoured current leader’s script?

“I’ve enormous respect for the wisdom of Helen Clark. Her record of winning three elections on the trot speaks for itself. Her political observations are informed by the experience and achievement of many years. Only a fool wouldn’t listen very carefully to her advice.”

If that wasn’t sufficient, then Clark’s remark about Labour needing to “command the centre” should simply have been endorsed. Something along the lines of:

“She’s quite right about that. When questioned, the overwhelming majority of people position themselves between the extremes of left and right. And if you don’t secure the votes of a very big chunk of these centrist voters, then your party’s chances of being elected to govern are next to zero.”

A statement of the bleeding-bloody-obvious, of course, but sometimes the bleeding-bloody obvious is what people need to hear. It reassures them that you, and the party you lead, are in tune with their own general view of the world. Nobody gets to become Prime Minister by making voters feel that the Leader of the Opposition is out-of-tune with their general view of the world.

And yet, that’s exactly what Little did. He described Clark’s bog-standard pol-sci observation – that, to win, his party must “command the centre ground” – as “pretty hollow”.

Pretty hollow!

Yeah, Angry Andy really doesn’t do surprise questions very well.   Read more »

Labour’s crisis crisis

Liam Hehir explains Labour’s crisis crisis.

In 1991, the Soviet Union unravelled.

Its empire had been lost, its constituent regions declared independence and its economy crumbled. After decades of failure, the will to preserve the Soviet state was exhausted.

Nineteenth-century America was bitterly divided by slavery. This eventually led that country to civil war in which more than one million people were killed. At times, the very existence of the country hung in the balance.

The 3rd-century Roman Empire found itself beleaguered on all fronts. With the assassination of the emperor in 235, the Romans were plunged into a half century of repeated barbarian invasions, rebellious provinces, civil wars, plague outbreaks and the economic turmoil caused by currency debasement, known today as “quantitative easing”.

In each case, the countries involved were facing critical challenges to their existing order. In other words, they each found themselves confronted with a “crisis”.

Some came through better than others. America survived her civil war and is better for it. Rome got lucky with some good emperors and managed to buy another century before its final collapse in the West. The Soviets’ crisis was too much for their rotten states to withstand.

Many of our opinion-makers seem to be of the view that New Zealand is in the grip of a great crisis. Looking back through the news this year, we have seen the proclamation of a manufacturing crisis, an agriculture crisis, a regional economy crisis, a trust in politicians crisis, a healthcare budget crisis, a mental health crisis, an income inequality crisis, a wealth inequality crisis, an obesity crisis, a teacher recruitment crisis, a log-supply crisis, a water crisis and a casual racism crisis.

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A Green finance spokesperson is like an ash tray on a motorbike

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The Greens have made the right call handing the crucial finance role to their co-leader James Shaw.

Crucial?

Sixteen months too late, perhaps, but the right call.

The “promotion” was part of the reshuffle necessitated by Kevin Hague’s resignation. Read more »

Photo of the Day

Burning oil wells in Kuwait, 1991. Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas Images/Sony Pictures Classics

Burning oil wells in Kuwait, 1991.
Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas Images/Sony Pictures Classics

Sebastião Salgado

Salgado is a photojournalist who seeks out the most moving, unsettling, perspective-shifting images of life on Earth. From his mind-swarming images of the Serra Pelada gold mine to his most recent epic labour Genesis, which documents the last pockets of undamaged nature and unmodernised peoples on Earth, Salgado shows secrets from remote places: things you thought were lost, crimes you never imagined.

Salgado is not just a great photographer. He may well be the last great photographer – at least in the classic, humane tradition, working in black and white, telling profound truths. You can leaf through any of Salgado’s books and every few pages be pulled up by a shot that seems like one of the best photographs ever taken.

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