Gettin’ Punchy With the Pontiff

The Public Sphere and the Private Domain in the Free Speech Wars

“If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch” – Pope Francis

When Pope Francis argued that the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists had invited violence on themselves because they had insulted Islam, just as if someone had insulted his own mother, he didn’t just contradict basic Christian teaching . His threat also betrayed a fundamental misunderstanding of an important tenet of free speech, namely the distinction between the public sphere and the private, and the norms appropriate to each.

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Mental Health Break

They think Marine le Pen is their enemy when their real enemy is Islamic law

Image-My Stealthy freedom facebook page

I follow the facebook page My Stealthy Freedom that posts photos of women’s risking imprisonment and even execution for not wearing the compulsory Hijab in Iran. You would think that they would be happy that French politician Marine le Pen refused to wear the hijab when pressured to do so in Lebanon, a country that was once a Christian majority country. Instead, they bemoan the lack of left-wing politicians who are prepared to stand up for their rights as Muslim women. Marine le Pen is right-wing and a strong critic of Islam so her bravery in standing up to the Lebanese Grand Mufti doesn’t count because of her “worrisome agenda” Read more »

Map of the Day

Nuclear Power plants in Europe

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It must be election year: Winston is scaring his constituents again

Winston Peters

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has warned Grey Power members that NZ Super is under threat – and dismissed Act Party leader David Seymour as Epsom’s “ventriloquist dummy”.

Peters rounded on Seymour as well as National and Labour in a speech to more than 100 Grey Power North Shore members today.

Covering familiar topics such as the bias of media, immigration levels – “a fatal pathway to disaster” – and law and order, Peters’ central message was that NZ Super was under threat.

Yup.  Winston’s back fanning the flames of fear among the infirm and befuddled.  Read more »

Why so slow to make Charter change in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, the Charter School model was introduced after the 2011 election.

At this point – coming towards 6 years later, we only have 10 operating and only two introduced by David Seymour.

A study about to come out of Harvard shows that everyone is losing with this approach:   Read more »

Rare bipartisan cooperation between National and Labour

An overhaul of the legislation governing the spy agencies is set to go ahead next month after the Government agreed to Labour’s call for changes to ensure stronger safeguards before agencies can spy on New Zealanders.

The Select Committee looking at the lntelligence and Security Bill has reported back and the Government has agreed to pick up most the changes recommended.

The overhaul will give the GCSB the power to spy on New Zealanders as well as the SIS and Prime Minister Bill English said the most significant change was a new two-pronged test before a warrant to spy on New Zealander could be issued.

That would require a minister and Commissioner of Intelligence Warrants to be satisfied it was necessary for national security and that it fitted within a list of seven situations such as terrorism, violent extremism, espionage, sabotage or serious crime. Read more »

Photo of the Day

The group consisted of skiers tourist club Ural Polytechnic Institute (UPI, Sverdlovsk): five students, three graduate engineers UPI instructor and tourist centers, a war veteran Seeds Zolotarev. The team leader was a student of V course UPI, Igor Dyatlov experienced hikers. The remaining members of the group were also no strangers to sports tourism, with experience of complex campaigns.

The Dyatlov Pass Incident

This is the story about nine ski hiker deaths that happened in the northern Ural Mountains in Russia on the night of February 2, 1959. Specifically, it was in a pass known as Dyatlov Pass. This pass was named after the group’s leader, Igor Dyatlov. The hikers faced horrifying and baffling deaths in the Ural Mountains. To this day, the cause of their death remains a mystery.

The Dyatlov Pass Incident is a dramatic and mysterious true story that unfolded in Sverdlovsk Oblast of USSR. It occurred on the eastern slopes of Kholat Syakhl mountain (literally “Mountain of the Dead” or “Dead Mountain” in native Mansi language) in the Ural mountains. The circumstances that surround it are so bizarre and strange that to this day they escape explanation. It could be dismissed as a hoax, but real documents, photo, archives, autopsy and other official documents prove that the story of Dyatlov Pass Incident is quite real. At the point of their disappearance, the goal of the ill-fated expedition was to reach Otorten, a mountain that was approximately 6 miles away.

The unfortunate hikers never reached their destination.

Investigators studied the hikers’ diaries and photographic film in their cameras. It seems the expedition was a model of its kind. Dyatlov was a stickler for discipline and the expedition had followed guidelines to the letter, keeping meticulous records. On their last day the hikers had experienced bad weather and camped early near a ridge on the flanks of Dead Mountain. It was calculated that whatever had happened to the group must have taken place after dark, between the pitching of the tent and the evening meal.

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Tories win Labour seat they haven’t held for 80 years

If you need further evidence of the waning relevance of Labour parties around the world then the result in Copeland in the United Kingdom provides it.

The Conservatives have won the Copeland by-election, beating Labour in an area it represented for more than 80 years.

Trudy Harrison won with 13,748 votes to Labour’s Gillian Troughton’s 11,601.   Read more »

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