Key: Greens are “barking mad”

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Prime Minister John Key has described a plan to lower Auckland house prices as “barking mad”.

The Greens say prices need to drop to where they’re three to four times the median household income, where they have historically been. Presently the average-priced home is 10 times that, ownership rates are falling and homelessness is growing.

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says the party wants to find a way to slowly bring prices down to a point they’re “reasonable”. Read more »

Comment of the Day

Cornwall Park in Hastings - NOT related to this story

Cornwall Park in Hastings – NOT related to this story

Mrs Average shares her experience in a local park recently

Last weekend my family and I were at a public park, lots of other families were there with kids all playing.

We were already getting ready to go when I felt like my husband was kind of hurrying us all into the car. Read more »

Mental Health Break

A snapshot of the Whaleoil readership

So what does a typical Whaleoil reader look like?  I had a couple of theories and our Whaleoil readership survey has  provided us with the facts.

My first theory was…

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 10.02.26 AM

Was I right or was I wrong? Let’s find out…

Read more »

Map of the Day

“This is war” – Pope says the right thing, then backs out

Pope Francis says a string of recent attacks, including the murder of a priest in France, was proof that the “world is at war”.

However, speaking to reporters aboard a plane taking him to Poland, the Pope said on Wednesday he was not talking about a war of religion, but rather one of domination of peoples and economic interests.

“The word that is being repeated often is insecurity, but the real word is war,” he said in brief comments to reporters while flying to southern Poland for a five-day visit.

“Let’s recognise it. The world is in a state of war in bits and pieces,” he said, adding that the attacks could be seen as another world war, specifically mentioning World War One and Two.

“Now there is this one (war). It is perhaps not organic but it is organised and it is war,” he said. “We should not be afraid to speak this truth. The world is at war because it has lost peace.”

When you have read this far, you may have a feeing of joy rising in your chest.  Not so fast.  Read more »

Sanitary needs for poor women – a life struggle or bad planning?

Students skipping school and university or using “newspaper, telephone books, rags,” as sanitary products has prompted a campaign to provide the necessary items to those in need.

Charities campaigning to bring awareness to the problem say young women and girls are missing out on school and university, and teachers have been paying for sanitary items due to their high cost.

The Salvation Army, a supermarket chain and a Labour MP were combining their efforts to raise awareness and call for donations of sanitary products for vulnerable young women and families in need.

A small crowd gathered outside the Salvation Army office on Wellington’s Cuba Street yesterday to listen to women and men talk about sanitary products and the struggles some students and families faced trying to afford them.

University students and the Union of Students’ Associations were also pushing to see them provided free in university medical centres.

Victoria University of Wellington students at the event said they had to devise all sorts of strategies when they could not afford sanitary products.

Siobhan O’Connor said when her period came a day or two before her pay came through, it put her under extra pressure.

“There’s nothing I can do to stop my period so [I’m] borrowing off friends, borrowing money off family. It has a huge impact on me.”

Emma Burgh said she had to make sacrifices to afford sanitary products and had to pass up food and hanging out with her friends, while another student, Emma Moffett, said tampons and pads were ridiculously expensive. Read more »

Sledge of the Week

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You wouldn’t get this kind of forthrightness in our  media.

 

– The Telegraph

Out with the clods – a response to Jarrod Gilbert

Guest post

A recent article by a sociologist, Jarrod Gilbert, published in the Herald, made out the case for “those denying climate change” to be deemed criminals. It stated that “denial has become a yardstick by which intelligence can be tested. The term climate sceptic is now interchangeable with the term mindless fool”.  It further suggested, “ignore them (the problems) now is as unconscionable as it is selfish. It ought be seen as a crime” [Sic].

The parting shot was, “deniers….ought be shouted down like the charlatans that they are. Or better yet, looked upon with pitiful contempt and completely ignored”.

The evidence for proposing that half the population who are sceptical of climate change be “deemed criminals” was that 97% of scientists say that climate change is occurring.  Are these the same 97% who said that saturated fats were bad for us?  Or the same 97% who once said the earth was flat?

One would have thought that a sociologist who claims to be a “lead researcher” may have taken time to look more closely at the 97% claim.  After all, if an otherwise fine, upstanding citizen is going to made a criminal the basis for the criminalising should be robust and beyond any doubt. The problem for Gilbert is that the 97% claim (or rightly claims)has been shown to be at best questionable and mostly, flat wrong.  Not even having President Obama anoint it makes it right.  About the only factual aspect of the claim is that 97% of people making the 97% claim have absolutely no idea where that number comes from or what it is about.

However the relevant point is whether science of such critical importance should be done on the basis of numbers and percentages or soundly researched, demonstrable, reproducible data, analysis and models with proven predictive value. Adding up the numbers of papers stating a particular position and calling it factual and the basis for international, influential policy making is dangerous and flies in the face of the longstanding ‘scientific method’. Read more »

Photo of the Day

Carole Tregoff puts her head on her manacled wrist and breaks into tears after her arraingment.

Carole Tregoff puts her head on her manacled wrist and breaks into tears after her arraignment.

The Fascinating Finch Affair

Rampant greed, sex, and a considerable dose of comedy ensured that this trial of a wealthy doctor and his mistress as joint defendants on charges of murder dominated newspaper headlines for months.

Here’s one that takes you back to, when automobile tailfins were at their height, Ike was still in the White House, and newspapers were full of stories about the doctor, his girl friend, and his murdered wife.

Dr. Bernard Finch was a middle-aged Los Angles–area surgeon who was having a torrid romance with his shapely young receptionist, Carole Tregoff. The only problem was that Finch was already married, and his wealthy and socially prominent wife would clean him out financially in the event of a divorce.

What to do? Murder seemed like the most profitable solution, but a hired assassin failed to get the job done. So the determined lovers were left to do it themselves.

On February 26, 1961, Carole Tregoff received a letter from Dr. Bernard Finch.  In it, he told her of his undying love, of his thoughts about their future together, of how, from the beginning, he had considered her the most wonderful girl he had ever known.  It was an anniversary letter, he said, for it celebrated the very first time they had lunched téte-a-téte four years before.  Under ordinary circumstances the letter would have been no more remarkable than any of the billions of exchanges between men and their women since the first cave man chiseled a valentine to his chick.  But the circumstances weren’t ordinary.  Both Dr. Finch and Carole Tregoff were serving life sentences in California penitentiaries: he for obtaining an “instant divorce: with the help of a .38-caliber bullet; she for conspiring with him to commit the crime.

Carole had been introduced to Finch three weeks after she was hired as a receptionist at the West Covina Medical Center in Los Angeles.  Finch and his brother-in-law were partners in the Center and had borrowed a quarter of a million dollars to set it up.  When the doctor and the ravishing redhead met he said, “Hello, and that was that for about seven months.  Carole soon heard gossip at the Center about the doctor’s marriage — not good — and that he was, in fact, dating a couple of the Center’s pretty employees.  Since she was having marital problems of her own at the time, the gossip made little impression on her.  But, from a distance, the handsome doctor did.

Carole, eighteen when the employment agency sent her to be interviewed at the Center, was tall, red-headed, extremely pretty, with an outstanding figure — if you know what I mean.  She was married to a chap named Jimmy Pappa, whom she had first dated during high school.  The marriage wasn’t working.  Not at all.  They shared an apartment and little else.

Dr. Finch at forty had a lucrative surgical practice, was a ranking tennis amateur, and had a winning way with the ladies.  He was, in short, notably successful both as surgeon and operator.  The home in which he and his wife lived, with their small son and her young daughter by a previous marriage, was quite elegant.  They each had a car, he a Cadillac, she a Chrysler.  They had a dog.  And they had a lovely young Swedish girl, a part-time college student, to take care of the two children and help around the house.  In the end, it was this girl more than anyone who cooked the doctor’s goose.

Read more »