Photo Of The Day

Photo: CIA People Virginia Hall of Special Operations Branch receiving the Distinguished Service Cross from General Donovan, September 1945.

Photo: CIA People
Virginia Hall of Special Operations Branch receiving the Distinguished Service Cross from General Donovan, September 1945.


The Limping Lady

The Nazi secret police were hunting her. They had distributed “wanted” posters throughout Vichy France, posters with a sketch of a sharp-featured woman with shoulder-length hair and wide-set eyes, details provided by French double agents.

They were determined to stop her, an unknown “woman with a limp” who had established resistance networks, located drop zones for money and weapons and helped downed airmen and escaped POWs travel to safety. The Gestapo’s orders were clear and merciless: “She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her.

Virginia Hall’s origins began in Baltimore where it soon became evident that she had no intention of heading down the road of life to housewifedom. After a year at Barnard and another at Radcliffe, she was off to Europe in 1926 to finish her education at the Sorborne in Paris and the Konsularakademie in Vienna.

Then came a series of frustrating attempts to join the Foreign Service. She did not do well in her first examination, so she decided to gain experience and try again while working for the State Department as a clerk overseas. It was while in Turkey, in December 1933, that she lost her lower leg in a hunting accident. After recovering at home, she was fitted with a wooden prosthesis that had rubber under the foot. She then returned to her clerk duties, this time in Venice, Italy, where her Foreign Service dreams ended: She was told that Department regulations prohibited hiring anyone without the necessary number of appendages.

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Move over Annette, Little wants your seat

How unsubtle. I feel sorry for my good friend Annette King. I might send her some more flowers.

Andrew Little has basically told her to shove off, or at the very least let the cat out of the bag of her retirement.

Labour leader Andrew Little won’t run in Mt Roskill if MP Phil Goff is successful in his bid for Auckland Mayor, but Rongotai is in his sights.

Little has ruled out running in the long-held Auckland Labour seat saying, “there is a depth of talent out there already”.

Goff announced on Sunday that he would run for the super-city mayoralty next year and would stay on as Mt Roskill MP through to the election.

He would, however, relinquish his Auckland issues portfolio to avoid confusion as to whether he was attending events as an MP or with his mayoral candidate hat on.

When asked if Auckland Central’s Jacinda Ardern was an obvious replacement for the Auckland portfolio, Little said there were a number of Auckland MPs who are “potential candidates for that”.

Little will make his reshuffle announcements in the next week after holding off doing so until Goff had made a decision about the mayoralty race.    Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  Luke Warm

Credit: Luke Warm

And now we wait…

Get used to Orange fatty

Get used to Orange fatty

Kim Dotcom’s time-wasting to prevent extradition is almost at an end. The case has now been heard and the judge must go away and decide whether or not he can extradited.

The Kim Dotcom extradition hearing has finally wrapped up – six weeks after it was due to finish.

Now Judge Nevin Dawson has the unenviable task of wading through hundreds of pages of evidence and hours of submissions to make the decision on whether the internet entrepreneur and his three co-accused are sent to the United States to face a trial.

The FBI laid charges in January 2012 when Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato were indicted on 13 charges including copyright infringement, racketeering, money laundering and fraud.If found guilty, the men could face lengthy jail terms.

The German-born mogul was not at Auckland District Court today to see the climax of the case. He tentatively limped out of court yesterday grimacing with back pain after a fall at home and his attendance was excused.    Read more »

Media Party: No matter what we say, no matter what we do, voters don’t want Red Peak


The Media Party luvvies have been pushing for Red Peak since forever…but the public aren’t picking up what they are putting down.

The NZ Herald reports:

Two thirds of people want to keep the current flag according to a poll taken just before the first flag referendum voting papers arrived in letterboxes across the country.

In the latest 3News Reid Research Poll, 65 per cent said they wanted to keep the current flag, while 28 per cent wanted to change – similar figures to two months ago indicating the shortlisted flags have done little to budge opinion.

The poll was taken from November 9 – 17, ending just before voting papers for people to rank their preferred alternative designs started arriving in letterboxes last Friday.

Although Prime Minister John Key has campaigned for a change of flag, more than half of National voters wanted to keep the current flag as well as three quarters of Labour voters.

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Pat Newman loves when the Government spends money…on his school


So Hora Hora’s horror and former Labour candidate Pat Newman is delighted that the government has flicked $6.5 million his way.

Whilst I don’t want to upset the concerned Kaikohe residents around their assertion that the Ministry of Education building processes stop local firms from winning contracts, I have to say that is not true. The $6.5 million being spent at Hora Hora School by the Ministry for our rebuild has gone 99 per cent to local firms including the lead contract.

Perhaps the firms missing out need to ask why, and genuinely realise that the requirements are to ensure quality and they may need to up their own processes.

As a person not known for being unduly supportive of many things the Ministry does or doesn’t do, I need in this case to acknowledge their input and advice on our rebuild. On behalf of our kids and community, thank you.

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If you thought it was bizarre that Mr X was Colin Craig wait until you read this

Colin Craig (both of them) with the interviewer and Mr X

Colin Craig (both of them) with the interviewer and Mr X   Photo/NZ Herald

When Colin Craig held his press conference and announced that he was suing me for defamation and had also printed a pamphlet and sent it to every household in New Zealand, I saw there was something familiar in the pamphlet.

He had used one of my photos. Initially I thought it was a Getty Image but I checked with them and they confirmed that it wasn’t one of their images, but was one of the five images their photographer took that I own the rights to exclusively. Colin Craig had taken one of my photos, edited it in the background then used it twice in his defamatory pamphlet to attack me. He never asked for permission, nor would it have been given.

So I invoiced him for it. It is my intellectual property and I own all the rights to it. He can’t use my property to attack me.

His response was to tell me to nick off and to threaten me to drop my claims or he would charge me for ‘using’ his poem “The Two of Me“. Understandably I thought he was crazy even suggesting that.

I didn’t think he could be any more crazy but yesterday he went full retard and actually did bill me for ‘use’ of his poem…a poem he has previously said that I fabricated. Well that little falsehood is well and truly busted.

I replied to Colin Craig and copied in media who have now picked it up.

Stacey Kirk at Fairfax covers the story best.

Colin Craig appears to have admitted a poem allegedly written for his former press-secretary Rachel MacGregor, is one of his original works.

He is now attempting to invoice WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater $15,000 for it, after Slater published the leaked poem on his site.

In the latest twist of a drawn-out series of events, Craig is also demanding Slater retract the blog post, and “provide written apology to me for using my work without permission”.

The poem, called Two of Me, spoke of how there could be two of the author; “that would be one for all the others and one of me, for you”.    Read more »

You think Democracy is broken?


One of our readers lives in a rental, and apart from getting all the previous tenants junk mail, he’s now also able to vote four times in the Referendum.

I know him well enough, and he won’t.  But it shows that a fair amount of voting forms never get to the intended recipient, and that it is unlikely that the Electoral Commission can determine if there is something sinister going on.

He writes

I happen to live in a part of Auckland where the average resident wouldn’t be aware or at least care enough about following up on their “missing” referendum packs.  Someone bold enough could go empty out most of the letterboxes before people came home from work.

Right now I have four votes.  I could easily go back outside and get myself dozens.

I dropped the Electoral Commission a note asking what happens when duplicate votes are submitted in the event someone follows up on a missing voting pack.

Postal voting is used for local body elections, and has been used for previous referendums, with little evidence of vote tampering or voter fraud.

Under the referendum legislation, voters who have moved can request replacement papers be sent to their new addresses.  Their original papers will be cancelled when that request is made.

Each voting paper carries a QR code unique to the voter, which is used to mark them off the roll when their paper is returned, whilst maintaining the secrecy of the ballot. If two papers with identical QR codes were to be returned, they would be identified within the system and investigated.

Those who receive voting papers for people no longer at their address should return them so that the electoral roll can be updated. Read more »

Cam Slater texting PM=Bad, Other Journalists texting PM=Just fine

Remember last year the massive fuss that the Media Party made because the PM and I shared text messages?

I certainly do, and the PM made a complete balls-up of his response.

Well colour me surprised that the very same journalists who were saying it was dreadful that I text the PM have been busted doing the exact same thing and think nothing of it.

Newstalk ZB’s Barry Soper gets a pic on his iPhone, and more: his request for Key to talk to ZB’s Leighton Smith is turned down by the press secretary. Soper texts Key personally and gets the okay immediately.

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I’ve found the person who can beat Phil Goff

I think I’ve found the person to stand for the Auckland Mayoralty who can beat Phil Goff.

I know this has been bothering an awful lot of people so I put my thinking cap on and spent some time looking at potential candidates.

Then I hit upon the ideal candidate qualities.

They have to be able to beat Phil Goff, so ideally that should be someone who has beaten him before.

Of course that could mean John Key…after all he smashed him in the 2011 election with performances like this:

But there is a problem…John Key is busy being Prime Minister.

So who else is there who has proven he can beat Phil Goff?   Read more »