March 2012

Human Achievement Hour

Fox News

While all the weirdo’s are sitting in the dark at 8:30 pm tonight, I will be celebrating Human Achievement Hour by turning every light on, watching a DVD, playing music, simultaneously using my iPhone, iPad and Laptop and streaming video amongst other things:

As millions of people sit in the dark during Earth Hour to call for action against climate change this weekend, a libertarian think tank wants you to fight the power by keeping the lights on.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute plans to commemorate Earth Hour 2012 with its “Human Achievement Hour,” 60 minutes to gather with friends in a heated home, watch television and surf the Internet instead of dimming or shutting off the lights altogether to draw attention to climate change.

“HAH is an annual event meant to recognize and celebrate the fact that this is the greatest time to be alive, and that the reason we have come is that people have been free to use their minds and the resources in their environment to experiment, create, and innovate,” reads a CEI website on the event scheduled to coincide with Earth Hour 2012 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. local time Saturday.

Participants in the event understand the “necessity to protect the individual persons from government coercion,” according to the Washington-based think tank.

“Observers of Earth Hour want world leaders to ‘do something’ about pollution and energy use,” the website continues. “What this means is that they want politicians to use legal mandates and punitive taxes to prevent individuals from freely using resources, hindering our ability to create the solutions and technologies of the future.”

Myron Ebell, CEI’s director of energy and global warming policy, said the event is about saluting the people who “keep the lights on and produce the energy” that makes human achievement possible.

Coal not Candles

the tipline

A correspondent suggest that tonight we should be celebrating coal not candles:

It was coal that produced clean electric power which cleared the smog produced by dirty combustion and open fires in big cities like London and Pittsburgh. Much of the third world still suffers choking fumes and smog because they do not have clean electric power and burn wood, cardboard, unwashed coal and cow dung for home heat.

It was coal that saved the forests being felled to fuel the first steam engines and produce charcoal for the first iron smelters.

It was coal that powered the light bulbs and saved the whales being slaughtered for whale oil lamps.

It was coal that produced the steel that replaced shingles on the roof, timber props in the mines, wooden fence posts on the farms and the bark on the old bark hut.

In Australia today, coal provides at least 75% of our lighting, cooking, heating, refrigeration, rail transport and steel. Without it, we would be back in the dark days of candles, wood stoves, chip heaters, open fires, smoky cities, hills bare of trees and streets knee deep in horse manure.

Coal is fossil sunshine as clean as the green plants it came from, and often less damaging to the environment than its green energy alternatives.

Earth Hour candles are green tokenism for rich status-seekers and nostalgic dreamers.

We should spend Earth Hour saluting the real people who produce the coal on which most people on earth depend.


Who is the “Boag Faction”, Ctd

The tipline has been running hot on this one. Apparently the only MPs taken aside and told to publicly distance themselves from Michelle Boag were Nikki Kaye and Murray McCully. So her reach within caucus was non existent.

Several other MPs have called to tell stories of how Michelle shafted them one day then tried to get her corporate clients favours from them the next. They agreed she was the most shameless woman within National, although some fairly complained that this is not a gender specific position, and she is just the most shameless person in National.

The other part of her faction are the activists in Auckland, collectively known as the buggers muddle. Leading light Board Member Alastair Bell’s issues with the Dominion crossword were dealt with yesterday, and he is just part of an inept, useless clique who are so inept and so useless they have failed to bring a single new MP into parliament in Auckland in two elections.

Long term friend of Whaleoil, Scott Simpson, ended up MP for Coromandel, where the buggers muddle ran an unethical campaign whispering about opponents, saying National needed men not women, and generally carrying on in a manner that I should have shined light on. The crossword solver was right in the thick of it, distributing information printed off the internet, just as he had in Rodney when LTFOW was running up there.

Also close to Boag and a key member of the Buggers Muddle is Peter Keily. Peter is National’s lawyer, and like all good lawyers charges an arm and a leg for legal work, while at the same time forcefully demanding amateurism from all others. He sounds like a member of the bonehead rugby union just before the professional era, except a lot more hypocritical as he can get paid, whereas others must be amateur. Peter has a rather unfortunate nickname, and new Young Nats are taken aside and quietly advised not to accept an offer of a spa with him.

An aspirant buggers muddle member and a “regional power broker” is also in the Boag faction, mainly on the grounds that the rest of the party thinks he is, in the immortal words of Rowan Atkinson “either this man is suffering from serious brain damage or the new vacuum cleaner has arrived.

Don’t like it, there’s the airport

A Somali refugee family is moaning about the largesse of the state they are currently enjoying. Enjoying it I might ad by squatting rather than how every other resident deals with Housing Corp:

She said the new arrivals moved into the Shirley state house without the permission of Housing New Zealand.

Chief executive of Refugee Services, Heather Hayden, said the family was not living in an “acceptable situation”, but the agency was doing what they could to help.

Only refugees with “strong long-term family links” are now placed in quake-hit Christchurch.

Three families came into the city from this year’s quota and Hayden said “this is the only situation where there has been a problem finding a house.”

Hayden said Warsame’s family had turned down three houses in Christchurch because the family thought they were in the wrong suburb or too damp.

Contrast this Somali family with the Burmese family I blogged about earlier.

Mental Health Break

Roughan on Pullar Scandal: Someone deserves a medal

NZ Herald

John Roughan has described the leaker as a hero for outing Bronwyn Pullar and her stand-over scam with Michelle Boag:

Somebody in or near the Accident Compensation Corporation deserves a medal. I was going to award it to the minister, Judith Collins, but she is suing those who suggest it was she who ensured the name Bronwyn Pullar was brought to public notice, so it can’t have been her.

I hope my hero is the case manager at ACC who accidentally emailed that file containing personal data on 6700 people to a persistent claimant last year. When news of that “massive privacy breach” hit the papers, I couldn’t summon much concern. Email accidents can happen in an instant.

But when the corporation then accused the recipient of an attempt to use the accident to advance her own claim with threats that she would go to the media if her claim wasn’t met, I rejoiced. It is so rare to see a public body return serve.

They didn’t name Ms Pullar but the Herald on Sunday got hold of an email to the minister from the indomitable Michelle Boag that identified her, along with Ms Boag’s own supporting role.

Ms Boag plays hard ball too. She said it was the ACC staffer they met in December who had made any benefit conditional on the return of the data.

Well, all we know is that three months after that meeting ACC’s security lapse was made public. That suggests the ACC staff resisted Ms Pullar’s injury claim, unlike its previous minister, Nick Smith, who succumbed eventually to her appeals to intercede.

ACC staff were not swayed by their minister’s interest in the case. And when the information that Boag says they did not threaten to release was released, someone fought back, putting the whole story out. Brilliant.

Rare, brave, refreshing and brilliant.

He is scathing of the integrity, or lack of it from Bronwyn Pullar:

If a few of the 6700 ACC claimants whose details were inadvertently sent to Pullar’s computer were reportedly victims of sexual abuse, their cases would have offered her no comparison with hers, a physical injury 10 years ago.

I prefer to assume she would have the decency not to peer into their details, but then she didn’t have the decency to return or destroy the file as soon as she realised what had happened.

That failure disgraces her I think, regardless of what the police might decide about her subsequent dealings with the ACC.

O’Sullivan on Pullar Scandal

NZ Herald

Fran O’Sullivan discusses the stand-over tactics of Bronwyn Pullar and Michelle Boag.

Many New Zealanders will be disgusted at the clear suggestion Pullar was able to point to a well-connected bunch of National Party insiders, including Key himself, to try to screw a $14 million settlement from Sovereign Insurance for the damage she suffered in a cycle accident a decade ago.

Most people would not be able to tally up 28 well-connected names to champion their cause, let alone such influential people as Key, former National Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley, Sir Selwyn Cushing – a former National Party fundraiser – and former minister Wayne Mapp.

They were among those Pullar yesterday tried to explain were simply “a list of known people who were aware of my dispute with the insurer, and who the insurer may encounter in the course of their business”.

Anyone in the commercial world would regard the provision of such a list as an undue attempt to exert influence. It carries with it an implicit message of “don’t mess with me because I have friends in high places”.

Yet Pullar maintains the list was provided simply “in the context of us entering into negotiations to reach a confidential settlement. Provision of this list was necessary in case the insurer subsequently faced questions from these parties who had knowledge of the dispute”.

Frankly this is the deluded spin of a person whose own credibility has been shot to hell by Key’s denial that he was ever part of her web of influence.

Fran then shows up the ineptitude of Michelle Boag when it comes to trying stand-over tactics on ‘Crusher’ Collins:

Collins clearly pricked a nerve when she included the former National Party president among those who could have leaked the email.

The minister was simply pointing out those who had the email; herself, two ACC players and Boag.

But Boag did not engage her brain before telling the Herald her email was sent to Collins in the expectation it would not be sent to anyone else.

“I sent it to the minister only … and I asked whether it was a secure email address before I sent it,” the Herald reported, going on to quote Boag as saying, “When you can’t send a communication to a Government minister without fearing that the privacy of that communication is going to be breached, that’s very, very dangerous”.

In fact, Boag had earlier phoned Collins to say she had some information on the privacy leaks. Collins told her any communication would have to be forwarded to ACC.

Yet Boag went on to email Collins at her parliamentary address. The email was copied to one of the ACC Minister’s senior staffers.

It’s hardly surprising Collins – via her staffer – made sure ACC chief executive Ralph Stewart and ACC chairman John Judge were sent copies of the email, given Boag’s insistence the privacy breach should be investigated for the “sake of your ministry, your board and your CEO”.

To her credit, Collins did not let herself get drawn into the behind-scenes influence game.

Not National, Just Boag

NZ Herald

John Armstrong thinks Close Up shows how National works behind the scenes pulling strings to influence.

Close Up failed to prove any such connection between Pullar, a one-time National Party activist, and Key – something confirmed by Pullar herself yesterday when she said her contact with him had been only passing.

Even so, the programme was damaging enough in offering further insight into how the National Party wields influence to pulls strings behind the scenes.

He, and anyone making that assumption is wrong, it isn’t how National works, but it is how Michelle Boag works. I’m glad that her unethical behaviour is having the disinfectant of sunlight shone upon it.

A response from a “journalist”

Back in January I wrote a post, that took perhaps 5 minutes to bang out comparing David Farrar’s new found passion for travel blogging and a similar but boring article written by Jill Worrell. David is of course new media and understand the audience and Jill is…well…I’ll let you be the judge, because she has sent me an email.

I never apologise for my work. Instead I always allow a right of reply and let the Whale Army decide for themselves the value of the complaint:

Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 11:48 PM

From: Jill Worrall
To: Whaleoil
Cc: David Farrar

Hi there

Someone, as people sometimes feel they must, has told me because they thought maybe I should know that you decided to get stuck into my writing.

I looked, I see it is true.

I am just incredulous that you would think I was worth the space! What on earth have I ever done that might have made me deserving of your scathing “pen”!

However, for many years I put up with a lot of shit in a newsroom and vowed never to just let it slip by. so here i am.

I never believe anyone who says it doesn’t hurt to see themselves criticised. Of course it does. So, yes I feel quite churned up that you felt it necessary to go public on what you regard as my writing inadequacies! For someone as boring as me you sure spared me a lot of time!

As to the blog, it’s a travel blog…it’s supposed to be a diary of where I am travelling. It’s designed to entertain and inform rather than be a piece of self-promotion or showing how clever I am.

And although your opinion is of course valid I tend to put rather more store on the travel writer who judged me travel writer of the year a few years back, the judges that handed me two Qantas Awards and most recently another award in the travel writers’ awards. And I’ll just keep on collecting the money from the various publishers who pay me to write for them!

I am not sure how old you are but maybe at some point in your life you will realise that straight out unkindness and personal attacks say more about you than they do about your victim and that ultimately they do you more harm than them. It’s not good for you. Ultimately I would rather end my days thinking I’d bored a few people than know I’d distressed them. If the definition of a blog has become being about to launch such personal diatribes about people like me who have never craved any kind of media attention or public profile then thank god I don’t make the grade!


PS I thought David might like to see my reply as well.

Yes, well…I am thoroughly told off now, aren’t I…Anyway I thought my readers might like to see your reply too.

And one day Argentina will stop marching backwards

The Telegraph

An Argie Minister is talking big, but first their army will have to stop marching backwards:

The Falkland Islands will belong to Argentina one day, according to the country’s chairman of the foreign affairs committee.

But Daniel Filmus said Argentina would not try to take the disputed islands by force. “There’s no suppression which lasts forever.

“It’s just a matter of how much time it takes for it to be understood that there must be dialogue and the need to find a mechanism for diplomatic agreement to get us there,” he told Radio Five Live.

Speaking ahead of the 30th anniversary of the start of the Falklands War, which began on April 2 1982, Mr Filmus said Argentines “have enough patience and know what is right”.

Argentina has revived the dispute over the islands it calls Las Malvinas as the anniversary approaches.

Mr Filmus told the programme: “It is in our constitution and it is in the hearts of all Argentinians that sooner or later we will regain the Malvinas, which is just 700km off our coastline and more than 14,000km from the British coast, along with all the riches that are there – fishing, oil and the Antarctic projects.

“And this is something that concerns the sovereignty not just of Argentina but the whole of Latin America.”