Undergroundnetwork


Is Green the new Red? by underground

An advertisement for the Green Party in today’s Herald (near a great story about an incredible woman!) highlighted the party’s efforts on behalf of workers. With Labour not representing the worker masses as well as they historically having as they fight to claim some of the middle ground, the Greens threaten to possibly claim much of Labour’s core vote. Sue Kedgely’s Flexible Working Arrangements bill, which was passed in Parliament last year, will come into effect tomorrow (Tuesday 1 July) and give workers the right to request hours that fit in with their commitments. This law will be massive for families and for workers who are constrained by their jobs, opening up the possibility that people can work to live, not work to live.

Sue Bradford warned Labour not to take the workers vote for granted in 2006. She pointed out that paid parental leave and four weeks annual leave, both important pieces of legislation for workers, were both forced onto Labour’s agenda by coalition partners. Green’s have long since added social concern to their environmental agenda, but with the Flexible Working Arrangements bill, have they now well and truly taken the labour title of Labour? Is Green the new Red? Continue reading

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Politics is torture by underground

Coming from the country that gave us George W Bush and his colour coded scare chart, news such as this CNN story should no longer come as a surprise. It is an excellent example of politics at its worst. I’ll give you a snippet from the story:

During a contentious House hearing on harsh interrogation techniques for terror suspects Thursday, Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Massachusetts, was pressing David Addington, the vice president’s chief of staff, about meetings he attended while serving as Cheney’s chief counsel.

Delahunt asked repeatedly whether the topic of waterboarding, a controversial interrogation technique that simulates drowning, ever came up.

Addington replied that he could not discuss that because “al Qaeda may watch C-SPAN.”

“Right,” Delahunt responded. “Well, I’m sure they are watching, and I’m glad they finally have the chance to see you, Mr. Addington.”

“Yeah, I’m sure you’re pleased,” Addington shot back.

“Given your penchant for being unobtrusive,” Delahunt said of Addington’s ability to stay behind the scene.”

Apparently there is some political mileage to be gained here. The Republican’s believe Delahunt wished to make Addington a target for al Qaeda. Continue reading



Who are these people and why should I care? by underground

Are you new to Auckland’s social scene? Here’s a quick guide to who’s who on Planet Socialite.

Rachel Glucina will tell you where it’s at in “Spy”, the gossip pullout magazine in the Herald on Sunday. The Herald website describe her on their website as a “gossip queen”, who “reports on the latest parties, fashions and celebrity events around town”. I’ve only flicked through the magazine once, and although I did not expect to, I did not recognise anyone. Who are these people? Are they celebrities? What do they do? Are they just rich? Did they earn that money, or are they just the spoilt brat of an investment banker, or something? Are they even nice people, or just egotistic “socialites”? What is a socialite anyway? Someone who goes out and socialises? I sometimes socialise! You probably socialise! Are we socialites? And if not, why not? And why should we care about those people that are bloody socialites? Because they dress nice? Because they drive nice cars? Because they know people who actually are famous? Please Rachel, why should I care? In fact, why should anyone care? And people actually do care! Why do they care? I must be missing out on something here, such as how wonderful a trivial existence must be.

I’ve rallied against celebrity before, but these people aren’t even real celebrities! They are just friends with celebrities. Can you be a celebrity by association? Who is more pathetic? The person who is celebrity because they once sung a two minute 30 one hit wonder, the person who is celebrity by association, or the person who follows the movements of a meaningless celebrity (or socialite!) they have never even met?

The Herald took a risk adopting a tabloid format for their Herald on Sunday, but has insisted the size will not determine the quality of the paper. As long as Spy is inserted, I beg to differ.



In one hand the match, in the other the hose by underground
June 23, 2008, 10:35 pm
Filed under: Journalism | Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m not sure where I heard it, but apparently arsonists are often firemen. I would love to provide some statistics to support this wild claim, but my google search came up short. Who needs facts right? I did find this story from the US’s Staten Island and this American study on “Firefighter Arson”, so I’m not making it up. Apparently 33 firemen were charged with arson in 1993, according to the South Carolina Forestry Commission. I think that is only in South Carolina, which makes it all the more surprising. So I imagine these deranged firemen (Reader’s Digest’s most trusted 2008), walking around with cans of gasoline and boxes of matches, lighting bush fires and setting letter boxes alight. 10 minutes later they turn up with the boys in red, on the back of a firetruck, ready to douse out their earlier handiwork.

I don’t know how prevalent the problem is. And I don’t know why these guys do it. Are they bored? Do they not already have enough to do? Aren’t they just making more work for themselves?

Do other professions do a similar thing? What about journalists? What if it is a really slow news day? Should you just run another real estate story as your lead? Should you make a story up? Or, should you do as this Macedonian journalist did, and really make the news? Continue reading



Who is a threat to whom? by underground

In the Western corner, nestled between the Mediterranean and half a dozen hostile neighbours, with a population of over 7 million, now 60 years young, with a nuclear arsenal believed to number 150 warheads, defender of Zionism…. ISRAEL!!!

In the Eastern corner, wedged between terrorist havens of Iraq and Afghanistan, with a population of over 65 million, with controversial nuclear programme claimed peaceful, defender of Theocracy… The Islamic Republic of IRAN!!!

Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!!!

All right, enough hype. Let us be serious for a moment. Iran versus Israel. Both are religious states, both have substantial military capabilities, and both are guilty of crimes against minorities in their population. Yet both are viewed very differently in the eyes of the Western media and politicians. Let us look at both countries, and how the media depicts them. Continue reading



Political Parties of New Zealand by underground

I’ve added political parties’ websites to the side of this blog. This is to make it easier for readers to refer to the political parties’ websites I have just skewered, to get their side of the debate. As much as I despise many of the ideas some of these parties have (in fact I find only a handful at all savoury), I believe it is important in a democracy to have their voice heard. And it is important for us all to listen, no matter how pathetic their reasoning is. And it is also important for us to critique their policies, pointing out weaknesses and strengths. It is also important we debate the issues with those we disagree with, keeping discussion as civil as possible. That is the beauty of the blogosphere I suppose.

I encourage everyone to have a look at all the websites. It is fascinating to look at the ideas of parties that you did not know existed. Obviously someone believes in the ideas, otherwise there would be no party! Some parties haven’t yet got websites, so will be put up when available. I could not find ones for New World Order Party, which sounds interesting, and Taito Field’s Pacific Party.

Is it worth noting that when I had thought I had finished putting down all the parties, even some of the most obscure, I realised I had forgotten United Future! Is Peter Dunne’s Party doomed to be forgotten come election time? Time will tell.

Here’s a list of all the parties currently registered for the 2008 election. Continue reading



“…and throw away the key!” by underground

Well-publicised recent murders have again re-ignited the public calls for greater punishment for perpetrators of violent offences. The usual cries come out, life without parole, harsher prison conditions and zero tolerance for offenders. The Sensible Sentencing Trust are, like usual, at the forefront of these calls, as are Bob McCoskrie’s Family First lobby group. Typically, such calls are emotive, usually from someone who has been directly affected by violent crime. Although we should not dismiss their opinions because often they are emotive and vengeful, their opinions usually do not focus on the root of the problem. All too often people’s ideas are not solutions to the problem at all, merely ambulances at the bottom of the hill. This is a complex problem, not one that is going to be solved by a simple answer. There are many factors and solutions to these factors are being all too often dismissed as “PC bullshit” as people lean towards discredited hardnosed solutions. The reactionaries always get their head above the crowd and scream the loudest, calling for blood. Continue reading