Photo Of The Day

This is the upper West Side room and the chair in which ladies’ man Joseph Elwell (r.) was shot to death in 1920. To this day, the killing has not been solved.

This is the upper West Side room and the chair in which ladies’ man Joseph Elwell was shot to death in 1920. To this day, the killing has not been solved.

The “Locked Room” Mystery

The dapper chap above is our victim, J.B. Elwell. Mr. Elwell’s housekeeper found him sitting in his living room a little after 8 a.m. on June 11, 1920. There was an open letter on his lap and a pile of unopened mail beside him, delivered to him just one hour prior. Oh, and there was a hole in his forehead. On a nearby table was the bullet that had killed him. What’s more, the shot had come from slightly below his head, suggesting the shooter casually shot Elwell while sitting in a chair opposite him … and then retrieved the bullet and put it on display.

Nothing had been stolen, despite the fact that the house was full of cash and valuables — there was even a Rembrandt painting. No one had been seen entering or leaving.

The fact that Elwell had been killed was not a huge shock to those in the know. The man had been not only pretty wealthy, but a shonky playboy: He was a very successful card player by trade, routinely raking in large sums from the elite.

He also had sex with the elite’s wives; from his belongings was found a personal notebook with the names and numbers of around 50 ladies, married and unmarried alike. In 1920. That’s a lot of soiled reputations, jealous suitors, angry brothers and husbands, and furious fathers. Add that to the people whose money he had won at the ol’ gambling table, and the dude was easily reaching late 1990s rapper figures of people who had beef with him.

Read more »

Dimpost on Jacinda and the media push on her behalf

Jacinda Ardern - via 3 News

Jacinda Ardern – via 3 News

Danyl McLauchlan at Dimpost hits the nail on the head regarding Jacinda Ardern and the media push to promote her.

[T]he context around Ardern’s surge in popularity complicates all of this a bit, I think. She isn’t popular because she’s an effective campaigner, or because she’s been breaking big stories or landing hits on the government in the house. She’s popular because she’s gotten glowing coverage in the women’s magazines over the last few months, appearing on the cover of Next magazine and being profiled in the Woman’s Weekly. I assume this is all being facilitated by Labour’s new comms director who is a former Woman’s Weekly editor and it is a level and type of coverage that any politician – even the Prime Minister – would envy.

Ardern’s popularity subsequent to that coverage tells us something very interesting about the power of that type of media, which is something that political nerds like me are usually oblivious to. But it’s also something that’s happening because she’s really pretty. And there’s something problematic about insisting politicians shouldn’t be judged on their looks when they do appear to be succeeding specifically because of their appearance.

Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  Roger Price

Credit: Roger Price

From the passenger seat: Whaleoil is changing

by Pete

It’s been quite a ride since October 2012 when I put my hand up as an (unpaid) volunteer.  Cam was completely overloaded, and not long after was also adding Truth to his daily routine,. So, I started off as many of our other current volunteers:  helping out in a practical way.

I get asked occasionally how I got ‘this job’.  Well, to be honest, I had to create it myself. About mid-2013 I said to Cam, “I want to do this full time and I want you to pay me.”  He didn’t flinch.  He replied that if I wanted to be paid for helping him out, I needed to grow the blog, so we could grow the advertising income that could pay for my exorbitant fees.

We arrived at the 1st of January 2014 and even though it was a little too early to make Cam comfortable, I started invoicing him for my time.  This was after a year of volunteer labour, a major chunk of that putting in hours in excess of 50 hours a week.   I had turned my internship into an entry level job as a paid blogger.   Read more »

Didn’t the Greens claim the Rena damage was catastrophic, permanent and ruinous for the environment?


Oh yes they did…but it turns out that like everything else they say it was a lie.

The 2011 grounding of the container ship Rena on Astrolabe Reef near Tauranga brought about one of the world’s most tricky and costly wreck recoveries ever, a science conference in Nelson has heard.

But it wrought very little long-term environmental damage, scientists reported.

A string of researchers gave presentatations on  aspects of the Rena disaster to the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’s Australasia conference at the Rutherford Hotel. They concluded the area had a lucky escape, partly because of the huge public involvement in the clean-up.

Lead presenter, Waikato University professor Chris Battershill, who holds the inaugural Bay of Plenty Regional Council chair in coastal science, said 8000 volunteers collected 1000 tonnes of oily waste from the Bay of Plenty coastline, “at the time the largest volunteer army every deployed”.

He said the 236 metre container ship was carrying 1650 tonnes of fuel oil and 1368 containers, including 121 packed with perishables and 32 with dangerous goods when it hit the reef while taking a shortcut to the port.

The debris field extended to Great Barrier Island north of Auckland and to East Cape.

Battershill said 259 containers were unrecovered, including 33 that were on the seabed, reasonably intact.

“The remainder are suffering very serious destruction and degradation. They’re in the debris field and the aft section of the ship.”

About two-thirds of the ship’s hull remained on the seabed, he said.

“We think it’s one of the most complex wreck and recovery operations internationally.”

Read more »

The Len and Nick show announces plans for itty bitty ‘homes’ that other people call apartments

Auckland Council is focussed on the compact city.

And nothing could prove that more than the tranche of apartment sites around Auckland as Special Housing Areas.

Eleven new special housing areas (SHAs) are being set up across Auckland with the potential to provide 1600 new homes.

The announcement was made today by Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor Len Brown.

They said the new “brownfield areas” would bring the total number of SHAs in Auckland to 97, with a potential yield of 47,000 new homes.    Read more »

Thief to be paid compensation by property owner – is this justice?

A man who caught a thief breaking into his work vehicle red-handed and reacted furiously by punching him unconscious was today ordered to pay compensation for the “totally disproportionate” attack.

Ethan Annett, 21, had been at a party in Christchurch’s Matipo St at about 10.40pm on May 9 when a mate told him his work vehicle was being broken in to.

He and a co-offender charged off down the street and found two men standing near the work vehicle on Dallas St.

Both thieves were set upon by Annett and his co-offender in a flurry of punches.

One man was knocked unconscious.

Both victims were rushed to hospital via ambulance. Read more »


Jade’s a pretty little thing


Transgender prisoner Jade doesn’t want to be with the blokes.  She wants to be with the ladies.

The Corrections Department confirmed this afternoon its chief executive “approved the transfer request by a transgender prisoner”.

The prisoner is Jade Follett, who was being held in the men’s-only Rimutaka Prison in Upper Hutt, Wellington.

“Corrections has a duty of care to all prisoners. We are very much aware and sympathetic to the particular needs of transgender prisoners including the issues surrounding their placement and safety,” the prison’s director Chris Burns said.

A new Transgender and Intersex prisoner policy took effect in February last year and since then Corrections’ chief executive had approved the transfer of five transgender inmates, including Follett.

Members of transgender advocacy group No Pride in Prisons began a hunger strike in Auckland today over Follett’s plight, but called it off when they heard about her transfer. Read more »

Those of you who thought Len Brown was just an Auckland problem just got fleeced

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said that together the Government and [Auckland] Council planned to invest $4.2 billion in Auckland’s transport system over the next three years.

“While that work will continue as agreed on the roads, public transport, walkways and cycleways, we are now turning our focus to the next three decades and beyond.

“The Government and Council broadly agree on the priorities for the transport system, and we are particularly focussed on addressing congestion and increasing public transport use,” he said.

The terms of reference set out a structure under which officials from the Ministry of Transport, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, the NZ Transport Agency, Treasury and the State Services Commission would work together to test alternative options for how the transport system could develop.

A preferred approach was expected to be presented by officials in about one year.

“The Government and Council will then consider the preferred approach and how it may be delivered, including whether changes might be needed to legislation and funding arrangements,” Mr Bridges said.

So let’s take stock here.   National are happy to support Len’s dream of a public transport centric expansion of Auckland, and agree to co-fund the $4.2b needed to do so over the next three years.

And if you’re sitting in Oamaru, or Taihape, or Port Waikato, and you think that’s not coming out of your pocket, then you’re dreamin’.

Auckland Business Forum chairman Michael Barnett said he hoped it put an end to Auckland-Wellington feuding on the city’s transport priorities.

EMA chief exeuctive Kim Campbell said the city was struggling to cope with growth, 7000 new cars were being registered every month and there was a compelling case for further spending on transport.

“We want to see funding streams and timeframes for moving these vital projects along,” Mr Campbell said.

Labour’s Auckland issues spokesman Phil Goff said the decision to align central and local government policy should have been taken years ago, avoiding what will now be a further 12-month delay.

The only thing we can hope for is that the 12-month delay is strategic, and a total rinsing of the Auckland Council can see this public transport-focused, and central government co-funded, expansion of Auckland canned before too much money is wasted on Len’s empire.


– A newspaper

It’s official: a bigger stuff up than the RMA, Woodhouse’s Health and Safety law passes

…school leaders were questioning why they faced heavy penalties, when the legislation could have targeted industries like mining, forestry and farming.

“The ironic twist in it for us is that farming has ended up with substantial concessions and exemptions.”

Principals were concerned they had been identified as officers under the legislation, he said, and could face fines of up to $600,000 or be imprisoned for up to five years.

… Mr Walsh said he accepted that the risk of prosecution was small if there were good policies and practices in place.

“Having said that, we think the fines and terms of imprisonment are draconian and inappropriate in the education sector – you are talking up to $600,000, and you can’t insure against a fine.”

While boards of trustees could be held liable for accidents, individual members could not be. Read more »