Why WikiLeaks is a worry: if diplomats can’t be candid, what value can we place in their information?

November 30, 2010

He could pitch his tent in Rome, but the Americans were not so welcoming.

The best form of defence, they say, is attack.

And Hillary Rodham Clinton is doing just that in response to the leak of secret US documents, which obviously attests to an embarrassing lack of security in the US State Department and/or its missions around the world.

The leak, Hillary is saying, is an attack on the international community.

Maybe it is.

It is also an attack on candour and on effective communication between diplomats and their political masters. If candour is removed from the equation, governments will be left basing their decisions on information lacking in candour, which can only result in bum decisions.

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Naz is too tall to be a hobbit but maybe her feet are covered with curly hair

November 29, 2010

If the film-makers are looking for Orcs they should check out our Labour MPs

Alf has never met a hobbit and therefore is in no position to judge the merits of a complaint about colour discrimination.

But in principle, he is not very sympathetic to the complaint being aired publicly today by a Pom with Paki whakapapa.

People are apt to become disgruntled when told they are the wrong colour, of course.

And so Stuff today reports:

At 1.5 metres (5ft), Naz Humphreys has the essential requirement to be a hobbit extra, but the British Pakistani has been told she’s not white enough.

“It’s 2010 and I still can’t believe I’m being discriminated against because I have brown skin,” Ms Humphreys said.

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Jewish victory re-exposes our chooks to the prospect of a ritual slaughter

November 28, 2010

Sorry, my feathered friend, but we've been outmanoeuvred on the shechita issue.

Alf was surprised to learn that the Jewish community in New Zealand is celebrating the overturn of the country’s ban on kosher poultry.

He likes to think he and David Carter, our splendid Minister of Agriculture, are great mates.

But David hasn’t mentioned the policy reversal.

Nor (Alf suspects) was it reported by our news media until today, although Jewish organsaround the world were braying two days about this victory for the campaigners who fought against the ban.

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How to fail as a teacher of foreign students – refuse to pass the buggers who learn nothing

November 27, 2010

Don't worry, kid...we can guarantee you a diploma in brain surgery.

We must wonder about the overseas education business this morning, after learning of what happened to teacher Judy Kraidy.

She lost her job teaching foreign students because she refused to pass students who paid about $15,000 to $20,000 for a course but did not learn anything.

“When you’re at tertiary level accountancy … you can’t just give them a qualification because you feel sorry for them. They have to meet a standard and even the absolute minimum standard they couldn’t come close to.”

Bad attitude, apparently.

She was given the heave-ho from the grandly named New Zealand Institute of Commerce, which Alf is pleased to report is no longer in business.

Alf tracked down a listing of the company on the web which mis-spelled the name of the country in which it was operating:

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Study lends credence to the idea that Labour and Green MPs came into the world as unplanned babies

November 26, 2010

Alf is fascinated at finding 40 per cent of the babies born in Auckland and the Waikato in the past year were “accidents”.

As the Herald tells us –

The taxpayer-funded 21-year study, which will follow 7000 babies until they reach adulthood, has pinned down the proportion of unplanned babies more accurately than any other long-term study because it started questioning mothers and fathers about three months before their babies were born.

Alf is not so sure it’s worth investing $5 million a year into the study that established how many pregnancies are unplanned.

But wait – maybe there’s more to it.

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When Standard & Poor’s exposes our savings problem, we can bank on the Maori Party providing a solution

November 25, 2010

You’ve got to admire the Maori Party’s zeal and gall, and its readiness to seize on any issue to promote a Maori approach to doing things.

Take savings, for example.

Savings (or our lack of them) has been the subject of heated discussion in recent days, since the Standard and Poor’s mob put the frighteners into us about our debt.

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Bishop Pete obviously forgot the line of command when he exposed himself as a republican

November 24, 2010

Could he be a defrocked bishop?

Alf reckons he can explain the accompanying picture.

It shows a man who was captured on Google Street View. He apparently is climbing into the boot of his car while naked.

A dog lies nearby surrounded by the contents of the sports car’s boot.

The image has prompted a rash of internet speculation over what activity the man could be involved in.

Alf’s firm suspicion is that he is a defrocked bishop, probably stripped of his clerical raiment for saying outrageously provocative things about The Royal Family.

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