World

What a tangled web we weave

I can’t help but want to really, really see the video of the birth of this happy little baby

A white lesbian mother is suing a Chicago sperm bank after she claims she was mistakenly sent a black man’s sperm and gave birth to a mixed-race daughter.

Jennifer Cramblett, 36, claims the mistake has caused her stress and anguish because her family is racist and she lives in a small, all-white Uniontown in northeast Ohio.

In a lawsuit filed this week in Cook County, Illinois, Ms Cramblett says Midwest Sperm Bank sent her several vials of a black man’s sperm by mistake because the clinic keeps paper records and accidentally transposed numbers on her order.

The couple had specifically chosen a white donor to be the father of their child.

It’s nice enough that nobody has suggested that Jennifer stepped out on her lesbian lover and had a roll in the hay with a local black man.   However… an IVF clinic that keeps paper records might just be a warning signal by itself?   Read more »

Yesterday’s papers

Newspapers continue to decline.

Who wants yesterday’s papers?, the Rolling Stones asked in 1967, and the question is still valid.

It seems the answer is “nobody in the world”.

Clay Shirky writes about the ongoing demise.

Journalists have been infantilized throughout the last decade, kept in a state of relative ignorance about the firms that employ them. A friend tells a story of reporters being asked the paid print circulation of their own publication. Their guesses ranged from 150,000 to 300,000; the actual figure was 35,000. If a reporter was that uninformed about a business he was covering, he’d be taken off the story.

This cluelessness is not by accident; the people who understand the state of the business often hide that knowledge from the workers. My friend Jay Rosen writes about the media’s “production of innocence” — when covering a contentious issue, they must signal to the readers “We have no idea who’s right.” Among the small pool of journalists reporting on their own industry, there is a related task, the production of ignorance. When the press writes about the current dislocations, they must insist that no one knows what will happen. This pattern shows up whenever the media covers itself. When the Tribune Company recently got rid of their newspapers, the New York Timesran the story under a headline “The Tribune Company’s publishing unit is being spun off, as the future of print remains unclear.”

The future of print remains what? Try to imagine a world where the future of print is unclear: Maybe 25 year olds will start demanding news from yesterday, delivered in an unshareable format once a day. Perhaps advertisers will decide “Click to buy” is for wimps. Mobile phones: could be a fad. After all, anything could happen with print. Hard to tell, really.

Meanwhile, back in the treasurer’s office, have a look at this chart. Do you see anything unclear about the trend line?

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Contrary to the contrived ignorance of media reporters, the future of the daily newspaper is one of the few certainties in the current landscape: Most of them are going away, in this decade. (If you work at a paper and you don’t know what’s happened to your own circulation or revenue in the last few years, now might be a good time to ask.) We’re late enough in the process that we can even predict the likely circumstance of its demise.

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Pick which party is considering these policies

Let’s say a party  had these policies

– Increasing minimum wage, twice during the next term

– Income tax free threshold up to $25,000

– People on minimum wage pay no income tax at all

– 40% tax rate at $100,000

– 100,000 new homes to be built, 20% cheaper than they are now, with foreign buyers banned

– Increase health spending in real terms, every year, until 2020

Can you guess?

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An anti-Muslim backlash in New Zealand?

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NZ Muslims are terrified of an anti-Muslim backlash if New Zealand sends the SAS to deal with ISIS, but perhaps not the way you think.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand, Wellington’s Kilbirnie mosque’s Secretary of the International Muslim Association of New Zealand, Tahir Nawaz, says supporting the fight in Iraq would be a bad idea.

“We are a very good community here, we are very co-operative,” Mr Nawaz said.

“Once New Zealand troops are sent there, our public attitude could change. At the end of the day there would be people living here whose roots are in the countries where New Zealand would send the troops.”

That reads as much as a warning as it does a threat.   A promise?  Or just the reality of allowing Muslim immigrants to settle here.

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Bird mincing wind turbines are now killing umpteen bats

I hate wind farms, they are unsightly, make a huge noise, kill migrating birds and use huge quantities of rare earth metals making them not green at all…on top of that they are dreadfully inefficient and only work with huge government subsidies.

To cap all that off, they are also now killing bats.

Endangered bats are being killed by wind turbine blades because the air currents are similar to those near tall trees, a study shows.

It’s feared the legally protected mammals are dying while hunting insects that are attracted by the heat generated by the spinning blades.

Thousands of bats have been killed by wind turbines causing a population decline that could cost the farming industry billions each year.

The nocturnal creatures are welcomed by farmers across the world as they eat large numbers of insects that usually damage crops.   Read more »

Wouldn’t surprise me if NIWA are just as compromised

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Tony Abbott’s top business adviser says the Bureau of Meteorology is caught up in global warming politics and nothing short of an independent review will dispel suspicions of bias.

Maurice Newman, who chairs the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council, is highly critical of the BoM’s process of homogenising climate records.

Mr Newman questioned the way the bureau adjusts historical data, which he equates to manipulation of Australia’s temperature records.

“The stated reasons for homogenisation seem arbitrary,” he wrote in The Australian on Wednesday.

“It should explain why homogenisation consistently turns cooling trends to warming and why pre-1910 records were dropped and, with them, the extreme heatwaves of the Federation drought.”

The same problems here with NIWA that are dropping stations that produce data they aren’t happy with and modify data of other stations.    If you have people modifying the base data, then everything else becomes suspect.   Read more »

John Key’s Rock Star Economy is stuffing up our BBQ season

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The United States’ love of hamburgers is about to cause pain for New Zealanders at the supermarket.

The price of beef is about to increase considerably because our meat is in demand in the United States.

With daylight saving comes barbeque season, but you might want to think twice before you put porterhouse or rib eye on the menu, as beef prices are about to go up. Read more »

Herald editor wants New Zealand to be ready to go to war

If ground forces can rid Iraq of the murderers known as Isis, New Zealand should be there. This country ought to be counted among the nations that are willing to act when the cause is just and military force can be effective.

Few would argue that rescuing Iraqis from Isis is not a just cause, the debate will be about whether foreign intervention can do so. It is a debate New Zealand should resolve sooner rather than later.

All the signs suggest this country is about to be asked to contribute special forces to an international effort once the final election result allows the Government to be sworn in.

The Prime Minister sounds reluctant to commit soldiers, as he should be. He says he will not rule out sending them if asked “but it would be my least preferred option”. It is everyone’s least preferred option.

Not sure if the Herald editor is being intentionally dense, but Key is walking a fine line here.  He has two major problems.   Read more »

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CDC confirms 1st case of Ebola in USA

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Here it comes…

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How long before union muscle tries to destroy the franchise industry?

The Washington Post has an article outlining how the union movement in the US is marshalling its forces to attack franchise operators.

Those slimy SFWU scumbags will want the same for New Zealand.

The franchising industry in NZ worth about $20b. Unions wanting to unionise entire franchise systems would destroy much of that value.

Learn from the US, what happens there eventually comes here.

Franchising, one of the great American business success stories, is increasingly and unfairly under attack. Lawmakers need to pay attention and ask some questions.

More than 770,000 franchise businesses operate in 100 different business categories in the U.S., including restaurants, hotels, business services, retail stores, real estate agencies and automotive centers. These businesses employ 8.5 million workers and contribute more than $494 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, or 3.1 percent of total private sector GDP.

Unfortunately, franchising is the target of a well-financed, national campaign by the Service Employees International Union. The SEIU has launched a multi-pronged assault at the local, state and national levels of government.

The SEIU wants to undermine franchise contracts so it can more easily unionize entire franchise systems. The union and its affiliates want government officials to designate entire franchise systems as a single unit rather than the collection of separate, small business owners they actually are.

The reason is simple: It is much more difficult for unions to organize employees of thousands of independent small businesses than to unionize a single, large entity.

The effort is a desperate, special-interest ploy to replenish the union’s dwindling coffers and declining private-sector membership. The policy advanced by SEIU is meritless and stands in sharp contrast to years of federal and state legal and regulatory precedent.    Read more »