Saturday, June 30, 2012

I wish they had a GPS system for dogs' balls!

Yes, I know that the title desperately needs further explanation, although there would be those amongst you would take the title literally and apply it to some of the men you have in your life. This blog is of an entirely different nature--- it concerns Perdy my Jack Russell.
I buy these orange balls with a blue stripe for my dog. They are almost indestructible (even for her) and they have a great bounce. Perdy spends a great deal of time chasing them when I use one of those throwing devices. I no longer have the throwing ability of my youth and I wouldn’t even try skipping a stone across a river. I long ago gave up on the cheaper versions because Perdy can deconstruct them in a matter of minutes, so it’s the expensive ones for me. The cost of two balls is about $23.
Maybe you think that’s a good deal, considering that they last so much longer. The trouble is--- you would be wrong in making that assumption. Yes they last in terms of being very hardy, but it is other factors in the ‘park experience’ that create hazards for these bright little balls.
Other dogs also like them, so expect to spend a good deal of your time, retrieving your balls from other dogs. Sometime their owners are nothing but unforthcoming about helping in the retrieval. Maybe they think that if their dog keeps it for a certain number of minutes, then it’s a bit like the old serfdom law about if you stayed free for set number of days, then you were a free man/woman. Either way, it is very frustrating when these doggie daddies and mummies are so uncaring. I bet their dogs end up with social agencies involved in their lives and risk losing their loved ones to the State.
If I throw the said balls into the water down at Onehunga, I risk other hidden dangers like the current. One should always ascertain whether the tide is going in or out before embarking on the adventure. Make a wrong decision and expect to wave goodbye to your loved ball under the motorway. Just pray that doggies don’t follow.
Perdy likes to share--- up to a point. She has a few friends whom she likes to play ball-catch-chase-goobie etc. with. Anyone else doesn’t get a look in. Indeed Perdy will hissy fit for about three seconds if anyone else trys it on. If you know Jack Russells, you will know what I mean. Just try to imagine a dog on steroids--- that’s her. Indeed, the pet shop asked me what I fed her and I said anything she wants. You see, Perdy looks like a doggie body-builder. It’s all the crazy running she does.
Today I was most annoyed. Perdy and Patch, good her mate managed to lose the second ball in a week, in the same area. They took the ball into the trees and flaxes and I’m buggered if we could find it. I guess some other lucky sod will score a pair of barley chewed balls.
This is where my desire to have balls fitted with GPS systems comes in. It would save so much gnashing of teeth and tears from the dogs. Oh yes--- they get quite miffed when the balls go missing. So hurry up one of you and invent such a system. I shall trial it for free.

Who's God should we have in our classrooms?

My heading looks provocative, but the question must be asked in the light of ‘revelations’ that some school are being targeted by preachers, fully intent on recruiting young people to their way of thinking. It raises the question about the balance of how much and by whom we should invite into our classrooms to inform young minds about the values of Christianity.
I am not for a moment degrading the Christian message but I am questioning the right of various denominations to go into our schools and deliver a programme that can be said to be aimed at increasing the membership of their ‘churches.’ This would be made an easier task if the school already possesses a staff that is already well down that track. Quite a few schools have fundamentalists majorities on their staffs. It does not take a terribly large leap of faith to see what the possibilities for them to extend their influence are.
However, the scenario I have just described is a minority position for most schools. Teachers reflect society and that means that most schools have a pretty good balance of beliefs and non-beliefs in the makeup of their staffing. It is only when an outside organization and an inside willingness cooperate to allow a situation where this ‘bending’ of young minds occurs that it becomes an issue.
One must also ask--- what of the other religions? Should we not allow members from the Hindu, Muslim, Baha’i, or Jewish Communities access to our kids?
NO! You say. New Zealand is Christian Country and has Christian foundations. Perhaps you are forgetting that we also have tried very hard to find a balance between the state and the church. School is for learning and God alone knows how difficult the situation is in relation to that at the moment. Do we really need these groups coming in and ‘teaching’ our kids, albeit in a voluntary manner for the kids? One must remember that it is an ‘opt out’ delivery system so it is actually quite alienating for a young kid to ask not to be included. Does he or she then become some sort of victim because he is not abiding of the opportunity to hear the word of God?
The values as espoused by the Christina faith are actually pretty universal and it is just in the mechanics that the differences occur, so the good ‘citizen ‘message is an appropriate one--- but we must be careful that we do not invite people into our schools who would deliver more than that basic message and we must make sure that parents clearly hear the message that they can ‘opt out,’ without their kids feeling the pressure.

Russia--- rewriting its history---'Positive History.'

How convenient! If you don’t like your history---well---- just rewrite it and call it ‘positive history.’ Whilst Russia is not alone in doing this, it is the country that stands out at the moment. It is of course driven by the ebullient Putin. He has heavily unfenced the rewriting of Rosina History to put a better light on the past. Why would historians, he argues want to dwell on past indiscretions and encourage a national psyche that finds the mistakes of the past depressing?
So what do he and his cohorts do?---they take a figure like Stalin and ‘re-present’ him in light that is more like the one that existed in his very time---not as bad of course, but one that presents him as a defender of Mother Russia. That is not without some truths---many would say that you can’t make an omelette (he did?) without breaking an egg. He is referring to the need to drag Russia out of a nonindustrial past to one that is industrial and strong enough to defeat the Nazi invasion. Of course, Green (Author of Animal Farm et al) asked—‘where’s the omelette?’
Now, if one went into a Russian school, they would find history books that semi-sanitise the role of Stalin and various other aspects of Russian History. Gone or going are the texts that emerged after the fall of the Iron Curtain---ones that more accurately reflected Russian History. You could say that there was a Russian Spring for a while, but then the spectre of Russian History re-emerged and the State took control of the views and teachings in Russian schools.
I must not be too harsh when I describe these events. Nothing is as it seems in Russian History--- it all depends on who is telling it.
We in New Zealand have been guilty of white-washing our past when it comes to explaining the colonization of New Zealand. It is only recently (the last 30 or so years) that a more honest view of our history has been reflected in our classrooms, so one must not get to precious when pointing the finger at Russia.
The USA is similar to NZ just like most countries that have National Syllabuses that reflect a certain point of view. No-one is exempt from that.
However, I go back to Russia. It will be both interesting as possibly a bit sad to watch developments in Russia as it once gain follows the cult of the ‘strong leader.’ Is that their future--- reinventing the past?

Housing---a basic need but often unreachable.

If you are hoping to find a house to rent at a reasonable price or perhaps enter the ownership model in Auckland (and other larger cities in New Zealand, then you better have a very large income. The fact is, that for both possibilities the goal posts are continually moving, making your wish merely a dream.
Perhaps you should consider one of the outer suburbs, but even then you face stiff competition. If you have a dog, then it is even harder to find a rental property willing to take you. We all know that finding a deposit and buying your own house is like chasing the sun over the horizon.
There are many reasons for this impossible situation and very few suggestions emanating form the Government or the opposition. I have read about steeply increasing rates bills causing sizable increases in the price for renting. That is just part of the problem.
One wonders at the effects of the Christchurch earthquakes; a plausible explanation if we factor in the increased pressure of those leaving the city (and not heading across to Australia) and moving to Auckland and other cities. I know that the school I am employed in has quite a few students enrolled from the southern city. If you extrapolate that across Auckland, it goes without saying that there will be increased pressure on the housing stock, both rental and for purchase.
The effect of this pressure is hugely increased rents and large numbers of people competing at auctions, sometimes having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars over the Government Valuation of the said houses. Where does that leave prospective buyers? For some, it means joining the mad rush across the Tasman, where they believe they will find ‘greener grass. For some it works, but for many, they simply find that they have joined another queue for a better life that can be just as elusive. God help our situation, if they return in mass.
Is there a place to revisit the State’s involvement in the issue of ‘affordable housing---for rent, purchase or a combination of the two models? It is easy for those already happily ensconced in their homes to say that it is not the State’s role to provide for housing needs, and thereby increases the taxes those in that situation have to pay. There is no magic pill--- I accept that, but we do need to enter into a discussion about the State’s roles in the housing market.
 I have heard of models whereby the State takes a proportion of the ownership for a ‘State/private’ ownership home. We could explore this option and have a range of possibilities. For example; a range of State input from 20% right up to about 70%. This would achieve two goals.
Firstly, it moves people into the ownership model and there is much to be gained by tenants having a real stake in a property. Pride of ownership and a more stable community are important positive factors. Secondly, the model I suggests could well move a significant number of people from that impossible situation where they can never consider any form of ownership. The model if implemented could well increase the stability of some communities, where at the moment we see huge transiency in our schools. A more stable community is a plus for all--- families and schools.
Of course there is also the model of the State being more proactive in the traditional State house model. That there is a need is not the question. It is the affordability that will be thrown up as the main opposition to such a scheme. The alternative is that if we don’t follow one or both of the model I have suggested, then we are doomed to see an increase in social problems and yet more our people moving to Australia and beyond.
How would we finance such schemes? I know that for many, that is the main issue; one that is perceived as even more frightening than the social dislocation. After all, they are secure in their homes and in the misplaced belief that none of this affects them.
I am against using the ‘superannuation fund or Kiwi Saver to pay off Government debt, but I am not against using such funds to kick-start some of the suggestions I have outlined. As long as the State does not overexpose itself by going above a figure that they cannot safely retrieve through tenant/owners repayments, then what is the problem, other than a philosophical one?
We cannot sit by and do nothing--- as a nation, we must house our people or face the increasingly dangerous societal dislocation of unmet dreams and overflowing prisons. Take your pick!

Friday, June 29, 2012

For my friends on a cold day----heart warming

I love comfort food and when it’s cheap, even better.
Buy a bolar roast---it is a cheaper cut of meat and it really cooks well in a slow cooker.
First cut up some mushrooms and onion---remember, my recipes are not an exact science.
Shove them in the bottom of a slow cooker with some grainy mustard. I used the scrapings of a bottle with some water, shook it up and poured it in.
Now place your roast in a heated pan with some oil. Brown it on all sides. Place that on top of the roast in the slow cooker and then deglaze the pan with some balsamic vinegar and some soy sauce. Yes I used a Gluten-free one and it was a mushroom one. Any will do tough but watch the salt levels. Pour the sizzling mixture all over the roast and leave it on low for about 6-8 hours. You can check after 6 hours.
When you are almost ready to serve (remember to rest the meat for a while first), thicken the juices with some corn flour. Test for taste and if you are wanting it with less fat, just use one of those plastic jugs with the spout coming from the bottom and you can then pour off the less-guilty stuff from the bottom, leaving that scrumptious fatty mixture at the top. When no one’s looking go back and grab some for yourself.
Enjoy with anything you like. I had Kumara (Sweet potato) and parsnip wedges along with winter greens.

Cold (and hungry) kids don't learn!

The plight of a family in Papakura living in what from the outside looks better than the little unit I live in is one that should cause us to take close look at ourselves. Many of my English friends comment on the style of housing we have built up over the last 100 years or so. Basically we have a large portion of our housing stock that is draughty, poorly heated and built of somewhat flimsy materials compared to the ‘colder climate’ version of those we see in the UK.
Yes we do have a more benign climate that can be deceiving when you take into account our housing stock. It is not designed to keep a family warm in the winter months. It is unfortunately a major contributor to the poor health of many of our less well-endowed families. Asthma is a huge problem and that has been singled out as an issue affecting far too many children.
Ask yourself; how can children cope in the education system if they are continually kept home (in the cold homes I just described) with chest ailments and other respiratory related illnesses. The Herald described the predicament of the family I mentioned at the start of the article and went on to suggest changes needed in many of our homes.
Even with the subsidy available to owners or landlords (that is another problem too), how many are going to be able to afford the improvements suggested? It is very easy to glibly suggest spending anything up to $3000-$5000, and even more, but when a family takes weeks to save $60 just for an old piece of carpet (which will probably make their asthma issue even worse), then how on earth would such a family be able to come up with the amounts put forward. Even the cost of a $3000 loan is problematic to a huge number of families. No mention was made of the ‘total’ costs; that is the one including interest, so the aim of a warm draught-free, well insulated home, is way beyond so many.
I now go back to my title statement. These kids can not learn. If their health is marginal and they are cold, not to leave out missing out on nutritious food, then we have a problem that is further pushing a significant portion of our people into a situation where they are permanently destined to be poor and unhealthy. They are part of a New Zealand that most of us do not know exists. I could take a more strident view and describe a future whereby those who ‘have,’ become the prey of those who ‘haven’t.’ Look overseas to see the resulting mayhem and suffering. Did I just gear some of you mumbling that such a state already exists?
We have always prided ourselves in ‘giving everyone a fair go.’ Take look behind the doors of many of our ‘cold houses’ and you will see a world, foreign to the NZ psyche. It will take a huge mind-shift on the part of the majority to reverse this growing trend. The ideals of a populace, now long gone--- that of the pre-WW2 Micky Savage variety is needed again, but how many of us have become selfish and uncaring for the plight of others and simply turn our heads and head off to the shopping malls for the next ‘in-thing.’?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Only the Tasman shields us from asylum seekers!

The treacherous Tasman Sea is the only barrier to NZ receiving hundreds if not thousands of so-called asylum seekers. Australia has a real problem in that it is closer to the source of these desperate (and possibly fraudulent) people. Most are feeling lives that we in New Zealand can barely imagine. They come from countries where Governments either don’t or can’t care for their people.
Australia is an obvious choice for them, but the journey is perilous to say the least. We have seen two boats capsize and many drownings. That people would attempt this journey, and take the terrible risks speaks for itself.
The unscrupulous ‘middle0men’ who take their money are criminals, not the captains and crews of the boats, because they too have to take the risks. Many of the ‘travellers’ pay all they have just to attempt the journey.
Politicians in Australia have argued long and hard over the issue, sometimes quite passionately, but they have failed to come up with a suitable solution. Of course it would not exist if the countries of origin were able to provide life opportunities for their people, but perhaps I am being a bit naïve in making that claim.
It is easy for me to sit in NZ and make judgments on other countries and the conditions in which the people live. We have always had refugees. In a sense the early settlers in New Zealand were a type of refugee. They were seeking a better life in 19th Century NZ. Some would say they were economic refuges, a title bestowed on some of the current flow from Asia and the Middle-East. The differences are only in the time rather than the cause.
NZ has taken a quota of refuges from the UN, much like Australia. These are called legal entrants and they represent a drop in the bucket of the immigrants arriving each year.
It can only be a matter of time, before someone organizes ships or boats that are capable of making the journey across the Tasman Sea, so we need to work with our Aussie friends to be part of any solution
That solution must include the nations of South East Asia. They can ill afford to host the burgeoning tide of ‘boat people.’ The UN has issues with stateless people all around the globe and with climatic changes in parts of Africa’s and elsewhere, the problem is only going to increase. Add the ‘menace and reality of war’ and the problems grow further. How long are we in NZ going to be ‘shielded from the realities of the world?

Queen Street--- a disgrace!

Our largest city Auckland has a dirty rotten underworld of drunkenness, theft and danger for all who go there after hours. Many of us have seen the news items about Queen Street ‘after hours.’ It is a blot on our reputation as a city of sails and fun. We have a wonderful city that is fast earning a reputation of having areas in the inner city where it is just not safe to go.
This has come about because of drunken revellers and others who plague tourists and young students through their disgusting and often criminal behaviours. I doubt that many Aucklanders over 40 would even bother to visit the city now, in the wee small hours.
For the criminally inclined and the drunken louts it is paradise. They get to fight, vomit, urinate and assault both one another and those visiting the city. For the unwary tourist, it is most advisable that they do not frequent Queen Street, after mid-night.
How have things got to this stage; to where Japanese tourists are now being advised to avoid the area. Is it because we have the culture of binge drinking to be an acceptable part of our culture? Is it because the courts are unable to keep a hold on unsociable behaviour and that the ‘consequences’ dished out to ‘party-goers’ are totally non-consequential?
I leave you to ponder those questions. I do however suggest that the answer to the problem exists in the form of policy changes and technological and policing responses. It is said that the UK is the most heavily ‘watched’ people on earth. There are more CCTV surveillance cameras than anywhere else on the planet. They too have some damned awful problems with over indulgent drinkers, creating havoc on their streets. I am not sure that their response is much better than here, so we have to look at the possibilities of extending the surveillance here and having more effective responses.
We could take the example of ‘Boy racers,’ in NZ cities and the heavier handed response from the police and various councils. Am I correct in saying that there seems to be a little less mayhem from that group now? It is still a problem, but it is not getting quite the coverage it used to. Perhaps they have toned things down.
Let us see the same effort put into making our streets safer, not just at night but at all times. The cameras needed for such surveillance have become far more efficient and much cheaper. To follow through on the scenarios being enacted on our streets we need an efficient, well-resourced team of police and security officers, tasked with cleaning up the danger spots. We do not want to simply move them on--- we need to deal to them. It is NOT acceptable to allow the issues as described above to continue.
If we take these morons off the street and let them spend a very uncomfortable night in designated cells, then they may well curb some of their behaviours. Stiff fines can add to the pressure on them to change their ways.
I know this sounds very old fashioned, but what else will work? Do you want me to ‘counsel them?’ Come on--- get real. A quick no nonsense reminder in the form of a nasty night or two in the cells with the accompanying appearance in a ‘night court’ and fine should knock off a few of the culprits who would normally behave in an acceptable manner--- when they are sober. They need to be reminded that it is their choice to get drunk and that they are responsible for their actions.
For the recidivist offenders, we may need something else, but we cannot continue to ignore this blight on our beautiful cities and reputation. It is not just for the safety of our tourists, but also for those of us (the majority) who would like to claim back our streets.

The Vodafone saga and techno-phobia

I must thank the people who replied to my musings re my use of the galaxy phone. Thank you for inspiring me and reminding of some salient facts. Firstly, I must use their customer services centre better and demand some support. 
The point about Vodafone being quite happy to cancel my contract and thereby gain $700 is enough to spur me on. I shall dig deep and find that within me which has served me min the past---- mu stubbornness. 
Finally---- there are always the geeks around and the kids at school who so willingly help me.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

There are some assets we must never sell!

There some assets that should be sacrosanct---they must never be sold.
In my list I include, power generation, water, national airlines and rail services.
In a country with a small population and typography like New Zealand’s it is always going to be problematic trying to run a rail service at a profit. The only way a privatised railway could make short term profits is to asset-strip the organization, much like has happened in NZ and the UK, then the Government has to pick up the tab when revitalization is needed. If the UK can’t do it, then we have even less chance of running a private rail system for a profit. 
Watching the rail service been cut on the Main Trunk fills me with sadness as small (and not so small) communities are cut from the stops. Some of these towns rely on that daily service. What happened to good old fashioned social responsibility?
My argument against private ownership of water and its distribution cuts to the very core of a nation’s psyche. No company should be able to won something that is God-given.  The very idea of a foreign power owning even part of NZ’s water makes me cringe. It is for us and us alone to control the water and its distribution. Hell--- will they then make tank water we try to collect free ourselves open to a ‘takeover--- just kidding --- I hope.
Take Air New Zealand--- it is our national flag carrier and a service that must continue to be owned by us--- not some private organization that at a moment’s non- consultative moment can cut some of our regional services. If it doesn’t make money, then goodbye, if we follow the ‘sell it off cult.’ Once again, the same argument--- why would we trust private enterprise to have any sort of social conscience?
At a time when energy is going to be the new gold in the coming years, isn’t it economically stupid apart from the other argument to let the control power generation slip through our finger? The dividends are going to increase and it is us the tax payer who should receive the benefits of the profits and the knowledge that we have a guaranteed supply.
 These are just some of the reasons we need to get behind the day of action this Saturday--- Britomart--- 2.30, 30th July.

I'm a techno-phobe---just need a geek!

I was dumb and signed a two year contract with Vodafone and received a free Galaxy Ace- All I had to do was pay $70 a month for two years. Dumb eh, especially when I have found that I can hardly use it and will probably never use most of the Aps (is that right word--- I sound like Miranda). I have had it for a month and I won’t even start to describe how useless I have been. I have even asked my kids in the tutor class I take (I am a full-time school counsellor, but have a tutor class) to show me.
 They were so cool and patient; much more so than they say their teachers are!. Kids are like that though eh. They make good teachers.
OK; so I set off and try to use the phone, but I haven’t really improved.
Today I rang Vodafone to discuss my options. I could terminate but that would cost me more than $700. Not a good move. The advice I got--- find a geek and make better use of my phone.
OK--- I give in. I have to join the techno age and learn. One thing they told me was that I could learn how to link my phone with my Laptop and use the date a have and then utilize the internet while I am away, rather than use those very expensive devices you shove in the side of the laptop--- Hell I remember using the ‘loading ‘ in about an hour last time.
Please find geek person--- and soon!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Yes---- they walk amongst us---a sad truth!

It’s true---they came to earth eons ago and they go by many names. In New Zealand they are called the National or Act Parties; in the USA, they are the Republicans. Our Aussie bros call them the Liberals, a totally ridiculous name for a party of the right. One more example---the Conservatives in the UK.
You must learn to recognize them, because they may even live with you or perhaps cohabitate with your adult children. Over the years they have gathered a great deal of power, usually at the expense of the greater masses. They can even persuade enough of us to vote them into positions of power whereby they wreak havoc on the ever suffering majority. They have learnt and employed tactics that guarantee that they need not give up their sacred positions.
Sometimes, they are able to garner enough influence to steal from us. They convince the public that they know best and before we know it, gains we have made in many sectors of our economies are reversed. Often it is too late to reverse their policies because have become entrenched in ways that make turning towards a better future, nigh on impossible to achieve.
However, they have underestimated the undying will of the people to fight back. There are many examples in history where such events have occurred. Take Micky Savage’s Labour party of the 1930’s and 40’s. We had a prolonged period of enlightenment, until even that Party turned inwards and resembled the very ‘aliens’ they had fought so hard against.
 The time has come again to dig deep and to unite those forces who see a bright future; one based on fairness and equality of access to the richness that makes up our planet.
Be strong my friends and BLOODY WELL GET OUT there on July the 14th for the day of action against this alien philosophy as espoused by the NATIONAL Government.

Yes, I have given National a hard time!

Here is a list of the good things Nnational has done for us, so don't say I am biased!--CheeKey buggers!

But they have energised us and made us think about what we really want

An overdue update re Groupone!

A big nothing!  I thought at the time the deal was too good to be true. It's OK though, my credit card was not charged. I guess they were either oversubscribed or the deal just didn't pan out. I shall try with something esle. I think that one just has to be not too exctied about the prospect of getting a real cheap deal--- sometimes you will and at others well----

A totally necessary apology MS Woods!

The Labour MP Megan Woods did herself a favour when she apologized for her insensitive and inaccurate words, comparing the National Party to the Nazis, albeit in a roundabout way.
Anyone understanding the history of the 1930’s and 40’s should have taken offence.
 It is really easy to get carried away in an emotional debate, like the one we are witnessing about asset sales, but we must choose our words carefully.
I commend you for your quick action, withdrawal and apology Ms Woods. That’s does you credit, unlike the continuing stubborn actions of our leaders re the asset sales.
Come on down to the big Demo on Saturday or at least attend one in Christchurch.
We must keep the pressure on the Government and their lacKEYS to force a change. I am pleased to see IWI taking up the challenge. Let us all show our anger, but not in inappropriate ways.

I would really like some feedback--19,000 hits

Thank you for the support you have given by reading my blogs. You are reading ‘me’ from a huge range of countries.
What I would really like is to hear from you, either as a comment, but if you would rather do that privately, use my email address
I would like to know how you are going with my ‘book blogs.’  Feedback please--- good or bad!
Look out for my new website soon. It is
Hopefully it should be active once my three current books have been reprinted and proofread. It will be under my control this time and I should avoid some of the issues that plagued me when I began this journey. PLEASE PASS THE WEBSITE THROUGH TO AS MANY OF YOUR CONTACTS (THROUGH FACEBOOK, Linked in etc.) as you can.


Monday, June 25, 2012

One Last plea to Peter Dunne

Ok Peter, I'm sorry I said those bad things about you. We know you just want this to all go away. the assets are going to be 'partially sold.' We know that now. We know the government is not going to repsond to any citizens referendum. We know that national is using it's victory in the last election as a mandate for selling the assets. You bedfellow, Johny be Good thinks that his Party achieved more than enough to  say that NZ is behind him. He asys that we don't undersatnd the partialization aspect of the sale. How bloody patronizing!

Peter, its not too late. I kn ow you will never read this but you will reap the consequences for your actions. Kiss your political butt goodbye. You did this all for the short-tern gain oyu recive by licking the---of the government. Rest in political oblivion.

Key's 'To-Do' list---a bit of a conundrum.

In a very recent blog I had some fun about what politics will throw at us this week. I suggested that Mr Key would have something up his sleeves to divert us from some of the other pressing issues.
I now propose that his ‘To-Do list’ announced this morning, very much fits the bill. His list represents a bit on a conundrum though. Yes, I agree with his targets for many of the issues on the list. Who can argue against increased levels of immunization for young children or for higher participation levels in early childhood ‘education?’
Just how is he going to achieve this with his ‘slash and burn’ methodology? The only way he can do that is to pay the people working in those industries less. That unfortunately is more than on the cards in the education sector.
Take his target of reducing the numbers in our prisons; laudable but not possible under a government embarking on finding ways to reduce spending in the areas that would make real changes and have the flow on effect of increasing the employment of would-be prisoners. He and Bill English have shown that they want the fiscal knife wielded rather than employment creating policies.
We know that to cut future spending on our prisons, we need spending on relevant social services and employment creation now. I have seen little evidence of policies that would contribute in those areas. The very idea of increasing those schemes (without simply shifting the expense around, much like the old ‘Titanic chairs’ story) is foreign to Key and English--- the very thought of it must set their hands trembling.
Key also has ’benefit reform’ in his sights. He wants to move people from various benefits into employment. We have heard this from them many times over recent years. The question once again needs to be asked---‘where are these jobs coming from? Employment possibilities simply do not grow that quickly, without policies that support that growth. They cannot pluck these jobs out of some imaginary ‘cloud of enhanced business growth.’ I doubt any Government can, especially with so much pessimism coming out of Europe and the USA. Maybe he thinks that China alone will fuel enough opportunity for NZ exports industries to fly us above the troubles of much of the world.
Once again, I am in favour of many of his aims, but it is interesting that his ‘To-Do’ list comes at a time when nearly everything else he has uttered has been shot down by the growing opposition to his Government.
As an afterthought I would point out that Mr Cameron ion the UK also has the beneficiaries in his sights. Watch that story.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

It took an American researcher to tell us the obvious!

How many more stuff-up, back downs, blatant lies do we have to endure from this Government? Why don’t we trust our own researchers when it comes to examining education policy and its impact on our schools? We all know that the Government is encouraging our schools to compete against one another rather than work in a collegial way. It has been so for a few decades now. This policy (Tomorrows Schools) came under the guise of schools being made to be more accountable to their local communities and the policy came in under a Labour Government. The problem has been that it was hijacked and distorted by the National Party Governments of the last few terms.
We have seen the debacle and subsequent back downs by Parata and Key over ‘class-sizes’ and now we have the ‘League Tables and Decile rating issues. Once again the Government is using it to distort what is going on in education for their own purposes; that is their own agenda.
An American researcher pointed out the obvious---he was surprized that his findings caused a ‘stir’ in NZ educational circles. The decile debate is interesting. Rating schools on a decile basis was never intended to be used as a tool to rank a school’s effectiveness. It was meant to give the Education Department a means to fund schools based on the socio/economic levels of the families in their catchment (zone) area. If a school was then designated as decile one, then it attracted more government funds in order to equal out educational opportunities. This is good and fair.
What has happened (and made worse by Government meddling)  is that parents have come to believe that a school with a lower decile rating will not do the ‘job’ for their children and that the teachers may not be as good as those in higher decile areas. This is wrong and it has been perpetuated throughout the country, hurting lower decile schools.
The research found that schools also feed into this myth and even manipulate their boundaries; excluding lower decile streets in their area and denying some students access to a higher decile school.

If you add the issue of ‘League Tables’ into this mix, you can see that there is a real problem of misunderstanding the real effectiveness of a school. One does not need a degree in education to understand that students from lower decile families are going to lack the ‘cultural capital’ I have referred to in other blogs on this subject. In short, if a student comes from a more affluent family, he or she brings to the classroom a set of beliefs and skills that have been learnt and gained from an early age. We cannot get away from this. It is not an excuse for a lower decile school to NOT achieve a high quality delivery for its students, but it is a potent factor.
Add the increasingly competitive format of NZ education and you can see where I am going with my argument. If the so called ‘League Tables’ are used to enhance a school position by tweaking the expectation of parents, then we will have ‘loser schools and winner schools,’ all based on a spurious parental understanding of what the tables show or mean. I am not trying to diminish the understanding of parents, but the very nature of these tables can be easily simplified and misread.
I do not believe that Ms Parata and her leader are capable of understanding the impact of the policies they are proposing. They will put back any gains we have made over the years and slowly erode what is still a world-class education system.

ACC-- the real purpose has been hijacked by the PM and his team

I was angry again today about the Prime Minister backing the staff at ACC who are paid a bonus for getting people off the scheme.
I am NOT against finding those who have abused the scheme over the years and getting them off and of necessary taking them to court to attempt reimbursement. There have many many stories (some urban myth and others accurate) about people ripping of this excellent scheme.
I AM against the move in culture whereby it seems that the bottom line is to force people back into work or into a lesser benefit in the name of Fiscal responsibility.
 Where so we draw the line? It is crass, insensitive and downright mean to push people before they are ready. That decision should be made by specialists who are balanced in their work. Only then should they should be recommending a cut or cull, not someone who has dubious intentions or to put it another way, are a lackeys of john Key and his associates.
 People’s lives are important and they should receive the support that the scheme was initially set up to provide.
We should not be surprised to see more of this callous cutting. Perhaps the Government who drives these culture changes should get down and learn about what it is like to be the position that so many of these people who have been cut are now finding themselves in. In many cases, their lives are effectively on hold or over as far as real support goes.

18,500 visits to blog--- who's the top ten countries?

NZ------ 7909
Saudia Arabis ---15

And many other countries with smaller numbers!
Look out for my new website---should be up an running in about three weeks with at least three books on it and links to my blogs.

It is similar in name but this time I have far more control over the sales of my books. You will be able to use Paypal.

We dun need no edakatiion mr Key--we's hit the wall!

So now the guvmnet ses we need to be educated about assit sales--- come on mate--- we no wat we want an it aint seeling those asserts. We need the money that cums in  each year form dem to help us with reading and for our sik kids. Even we no how stupid it is to seel the famli silver. Hell gandma and Pa will be turin in their graves noing that yu gionna seel them. Hey--- they paid for them assits so keep ya bloody hands off them--- Shit you can be sure that I am gonna get out and vote next time and it wont be for yor lot eh.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

What will they do this week in NZ politics?

I am going to have some fun with predicting what Politics in NZ will look like for the coming week…I will probably be way off the mark!
1)    Ms Parata (minister of Education) and John Key (you see she needs him to back her up as she looks increasingly ‘flaky’) will attack teachers yet again. It will be around the issue of ‘League tables’ in schools.
2)    Anne Trolley ---Ooops! (Wannabe glamour girl) will try to boost her flagging image along with another round of cost cutting measure for the police.
3)    Our Prime Minister will come up with a cheeky little number to divert attention from the stuff-ups of the, last few months. He will release date that he says shows that the ride is turning for him re asset sales—He will claim that NZers are behind the sale now.
4)    The Greens will continue to be effective in parliament and Labour will carry on using its attacks brigade (Cosgrove, Mallard, Little etc. while Mr Shearer will continue build his ‘Statesman-like-status. OH and look for more good stuff from a relaxed looking and very effective Phil Goff.
5)    The dishonourable Peter Dunne will continue to ignore the wishes of the over-all electorate and particularly of his own. He may face some demonstrations outside his electorate office and he will front up on TV trying to defend his senseless stand with the Government. He will look like he has swallowed a snotty sock and his hair will look the coiffured way it has come to be. He will NOT grow balls!
6)    The Maori Party will continue to prevaricate and forget what they have voted for and which way.
7)    NZ First (read Winston Peters) will vote with the Labour Party and Greens and he will attack the immigration Policy again---Asians watch out!
8)    Hone (Mana Party) will come up with some real politically relevant clangers---actually he has been making a lot of sense lately.

OK--- I’m must having a bit of fun---it is at the expense our esteemed politicians, but that’s not too hard eh.

An unequal access to higher education

Oh for the good old days, when access to a higher education was more equal, at least for those who wished to be teachers. We had a bonding system whereby once you were trained, you worked for two, or later, three years. That could be brought down by undertaking ‘country service’ or working in what we now call low decile schools in the main cities.
Then the system of student loans and allowances was introduced. That led to a huge blowout (from the present Government’s point of view). There is no doubt that if the figure had kept trending up, we needed to achieve a higher payback system and possibly at a higher rate.
The issue is one that needs ‘cross-party discussion’, to take it out of the political forum. Parties have tinkered with the system or made drastic changes that have left a section of our society bereft of hope for achieving anything other than that of ‘graduate level.’ The present government cynically makes claims that the system works for all. It has support for this attitude in the community; it presents individuals who say that they worked part-time and after a struggle were able to complete a post-graduate education. Just show me how prospective doctors and other higher-level graduates could cope with part-time work and their studies. For the huge majority of our students at this level, that situation is clearly untenable, both financially and physically.
Not only are we going to see more graduates going overseas, some of them to complete their education after attaining the right through residency in Australia, but we are going to see more leaving our shores to gain the higher pay, in order to payback the debts they have already incurred.
I am not proposing that we do not seek repayment of student debt---that is the reality of life now. I am saying that we need to revisit some of the policies of the past and extend them. We can have a win-win situation if we institute a system of ‘bonding’, much like we had for many years for teachers. For nurses, there was a system that allowed them to work and train at the same time. With necessity for higher level technological study, that would now need more ‘in-campus study, much like teachers do.
Design a scheme that is flexible--- one that includes a range of occupations, with those occupations that we are in most need of, receiving favourable loading. The possibilities are there. For example, if we need doctors, in rural areas, bond the doctors for a set period and then then cut their debts by a generous amount. If after that bonding period they wish to go overseas, then well and good. There is a strong possibility that many would have settles and would wish to stay in NZ.
I am sure that there are many occupations that would, fit the category for ‘bonding.’ Make it flexible enough to target those areas where we see a need. Yes it would increase the burgeoning figure ‘owed to the State,’ but we would retain more of our NZ trained young people. It is very much a scenario of ‘what goes around comes around.’ We would also have a much more equal and caring society, where all can realistically have hope rather than ‘hopelessness.’ Ask yourself--- which state is more economically viable in the long run.
Politicians—stop seeing the three-year cycle of politics as the measuring tool for our future!

Friday, June 22, 2012

I have missed you Russia

Where have you been my readers is Russia? Glad to see you back. Please make some comments and let me know the blogs you most enjoy. That way I can produce more. Great to have you back.

'Crusher Collins'--- not a good look!--ooops Anne Tolley!

The sight of Anne Tolley (Minister of Police) standing on top of a boys racer’s crushed car was one bordering on the ridiculous. I am not sure whether she was trying to present herself as a tough Minister of Police or as someone trying to get a ‘date.’ Hey girl--- those stiletto shoes and raunchy jacket did make you look like some sort on wannabe—well what?
Do you really think the image you are displaying is going to do anything other than divide? We need to communicate with these young people; to get them onside, not further alienate them. I in no way support them polluting our streets or endangering citizens as they go about their crazy antics. I want to see them off the streets, but just do it. Do we really need the cheap fanfare of circus-like performances that belong in countries with tin-pot dictators? You do yourself no credit. Pass the bloody legislation and implement it. Do what most people want--- make our streets safe, then concentrate on other aspects of that which is wrong in our society.
OH--- by the way--- did you get a date out of that ridiculous show?

Were grandparents meant to be 'the' parents?

Grandparents have become ‘the’ parents. Yes they have always been important in the extended family of the past. Every grandparent was special and they were fun to visit because they often took the role of proving little extras and took us on outings. They were also the voice of reason when things weren’t going so well with one of our kids. They provided balance. OK--- my description is one from an idealistic world, but it does contain some truths.
What’s happened over the years, it seems is that we now have many grandparents acting as the ‘primary’ caregiver, because for various reasons the children’s’ parents are no longer able to cope and they are simply not ‘providing’ in all the sense of the word for their children. I do not know the numbers of grandparents in this situation. Yes, grandparents have stepped into the gap throughout history in many cultures but the new model is an increasingly common one.
I feel for these brave grandparents. At a time in their lives when they should be able to say--- ‘I love it when my grandkids visit, but I also love it when I hand them back.’ Out of necessity they now step in and face the daily task of providing and caring for the kids. They are often tired and financially stressed. They can reach a point where their own health is a factor that makes the job even harder. The kids sometimes run them around; they know how to get around stressed and tired grandparents and we too often see a ‘new family’ in crisis.
I have also seen many of these families coping, but there is always the underlying fear about what will happen when the grandparents hit the wall. At a time in  their lives when they should be taking it a bit easier, they are faced with this huge new challenge.
We all need to acknowledge these special people—they are heroes. Without painting their predicament with the same brush, we do need to ask--- why has this situation become so common? Society has some huge questions to ask. I am merely raising the fact that we need to do just that.  Let’s have  some real discussion.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

ACC should be more than just an insurance shceme that makes a profit

ACC ain’t what it used to be! It is not operating as the original legislation intended. That managers are encouraging ACC officers to cull people on the scheme, possibly forcing people back to work before they are ready, or transitioning them onto another benefit (that costs us a lot less) is tantamount to abusing the spirit of the scheme.
Yes we all know that ACC became debt heavy, and it still is, but to pay officers ‘incentives’ to duck shove people off the scheme is insensitive and is nothing less than nasty on the part of the politicians who have driven this culture  change.
There needs to be a balance and I am not arguing against the rebalancing of some of the issues around overuse of the scheme re the physiotherapists. I think that some of the claims being made were spurious to say the least. However, even in that sphere of operation the Government has forced changes that have gone too far the other way.
Let us review the original purpose of ACC. It is a safety net that allows those injured to be able to return to work, when they are healed and to allow those who cannot, through no fault of their own, to live with dignity. That is not to say that officers should not be diligent in their investigations of those claimants who are making dishonest claims on the scheme. It is all about balance.

My little therapist.

In my line of work (School counsellor) I hear many sad stories and have some days that really stretch my energy levels, physically and emotionally. In the name of ‘safe practice’ I attend supervision and I am lucky to have an experienced and skilled supervisor.
That is not all I have to help me achieve balance in my life. I have a Jack Russell and no doubt you have read many of my blogs about this special little dog. She is two years old now and she is my other therapist. She is great at keeping secrets and she knows just how to hit the spot with me.
When I drive down my bumpy drive and turn towards the car port parking space, I see this little face peering out the large window. She has this way of pointing her face as she stretches. She is preparing to welcome me and to make sure that I barely get through the door and pick up her ‘treats’ to take her for her ‘compulsory walk.
Firstly she jumps up onto the top of the couch (I have long since given up on ever buying a flash leather version) and attempts to lick my face. If I am silly enough to be talking (not an unusual state for me!) she will sometimes manage to lick my mouth--- yuck---ever had a doggie tongue searching for yours!)  OK too much detail.  If I am lucky I might get a chance to change into track pants.
We have a rule in our house that Perdy does not go down to the bedroom, because that is the realm of the queen who lives in the house (Tut tut--- I heard that!). Jasmine our ever suffering cat claims that domain as hers alone--- doggie free for ever.  Perdy waits at the barrier we have placed there, panting and making little grunts—all in anticipation of her adventure to come down at the Onehunga Lagoon.
Somehow she manages to negotiate the barrier and appears in the bedroom and then starts this crazy jumping up and grabbing the leggings, or socks. This all makes it harder to get ready, thus my more likely action of going as I am. This also leads me to believe that Perdy does not always stay in her area of the house (she can also come and go through the cat door as she pleases throughout the day) because there is evidence on my feet that this is not so. Why is it that I have less and less matching pairs of socks and why do I find the odd sock outside in the yard? We all know the answer. Little Madame also comes and goes at will over the barrier. I suspect that she uses the bed during the day as a trampoline and the goes through the socks in the washing basket and regularly takes them for a walk outside.
Eventually, I manage to get ready (this usually takes less time than it has taken to write a paragraph or two of my blog). Once in the car, safely tired up so that she doesn’t help with the driving or turn on the emergency lights, we set off to the park. Now I have to put up with her constant whining. Perdy is not known for her patience. She is a back-seat driver, commenting on my skills and lack of speed.
We finally arrive at that park and I set her loose. She bounds out of the car and looks to me to throw the ball. For the next hour she plays, runs, meets up with her friends and causes general mayhem.
Yes--- pure therapy. She’s a wonderful bundle of endless energy. Just watching her play with her favourite dogs) oh yes--- she has special friends) is just what the doctor ordered. There is empirical evidence that all of this is doing me the world of good.  Who needs drugs--- She is all I need after the end of a hard day.
Thanks Perdy!
PS  My next book (TALK TO ME) has Perdy staring as ‘Spot.’  Read it in my blogs--- it will be online for purchase soon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Kids fighting at school-- is it worse now?

Kids have always had fights at school. Is it any worse now? That question has vexed me for a few days. My career in education had spanned three decades. My memories of kids having fights are a long one. These fights range from low-level to serious incidents where police have been involved. The fights take place in classrooms, the school yard and on the way to and from school.
The fights may be light-weight punch ups, pushing and right through to those fights involving weapons. I can even remember the occasional use of BB guns.
Is it worse now that it used to be? You hear people talking about their ‘school fights’ almost in a fond way. Hindsight has a way of distorting the truth. What may have been serious at the time of the fight morphs into a quaint almost funny or nostalgic memory for some people. They forget that the ‘other party’ may have been traumatised by the event.
Fights can happen at the drop of a hat; a look, words or threats can trigger a fight, sometimes right under the nose of a teacher. Ask any teacher in most school and you will hear anecdotal descriptions of how fights start.
Fights may also be triggered by outside-of-school events. That is where the differences between ‘now and then’ start to emerge. With the advent of Facebook and other forms of social media, combined with the ‘instancy’ of texting, you have a volatile mix. The precedents for a fight are quickly followed by the event of as fight. Today’s fights are just truncated forms of the fights we have always had--- or are they?
I am pretty sure that the constants of fighting remain more or less the same---it is the intensity of the interaction that is possibly more serious now. There seems to be a growing disengagement of feelings and consequences around the fights. When discussing the incident after the event, the participants often display little or no remorse. It takes a great deal of ‘talking’ to impart any understanding of ‘where fighting could lead.’ Am I looking back at the fights of the past with rose-coloured glasses or is that my instinct that things are worse now are really hitting the mark?
I feel that girls now are more likely to fight than they did in the past. There reasons are often different and they hold on to the reason for the fight longer. What is similar is the network that feeds the fights. The fights that ensue defy any description of ‘lady-like’ behaviour. The young women of today no longer hold back when they feel they or their reputations are being attacked--- they get stuck in just like the boys.
Within minutes an ‘indiscretion’ on the part of one of the ‘fightees’ will have leapt across the ‘cell phone cosmos’ and sucked in an audience. If it is an arranged fight after school at an agreed venue, then the numbers attending can swell to large numbers. Ask the police and they would know what I mean.
Where does all this leave teachers and those who work with our young people? Teachers are like anyone else. They don’t like violence and their capacity to deal with it amongst their students, varies just like anyone else’s. It is not any easy task, either preventing a fight or breaking it up after it has started. Teachers can and are in real danger when a fight occurs, wither through accident or intent. Many abhor being in a situation where their safety is at risk. Many teachers regularly put their bodies on the line in order to resolve a violent situation.  Those talking about increasing class size would do well to remember that.
Where too from here? Fighting, bullying; both are related. One can arise from the other. There is no magic wand. We will always have conflict and sometimes it results in violence. Schools run appropriate programmes to lessen the effects of fighting or to find other ways of resolving differences. Our modern age just adds new dimensions. I am sure that if Socrates was able to read this, he would recognize many truths. Sometimes, one reaches the conclusion that nothing has changed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Grow some balls Mr Dunne and do the right thing!

I make no apology for my crude words because I believe that Mr Peter Dunne has the power to stop this crazy policy of the national government to sell our assets. My father, grandfather and many relations strived for many years to build up these assets. Now at the stroke of a pen or by the casting vote of one member, namely Peter Dunne the Government is going to transfer 49% of some valuable State Assets to private (read corporate) ownership.
Peter Dunne has expressed doubt about this policy, yet he continues to support the government. Is he deaf to the protests of his own electorate? Is he blind to the scenes of people lining up to sign the petition, asking for a Citizens’ Referendum on the issue?
I know the Labour Government of the 1980’s was also guilty of the same act and then in their last term of Government did a reversal. Yes they saw the light and now consistently oppose the selling of State Assets.
Watch Parliament at the moment on TV and you will see Labour, The Greens, NZ First, Mana and sometimes the Maori Party fighting to stop this crazy bill passing. So come on Mr Dunne—grow some balls and do the right thing. It may not save you at the next election, but at least we will remember you for finally standing to be counted. Isn’t that better than being remembered for being a lackey of this present Government, or as someone who wanted to keep his snout in the public through for as long as he could?

Bloody shameful NZ! Slavery and explotation

I feel a great shame that New Zealand has been criticised for being a hub (yes a small one) for the sexploitation of some young people, both from NZ itself (mainly young Maori and Pacifica youth) and from Asia.
The UN report tabled by Hilary Clinton draws attention to an unsavoury unwanted fact that we are not lily white when it comes to these two issues. I have already condemned the treatment of workers on fishing boats; an issue that the NZ Government has only just acknowledged and acted upon. Now that we are hearing of young people being coerced (by gangs) into prostitution is shameful. I believe that the practice has probably being evident for longer than we would care to admit.
 Just take a trip down some of our back streets late at night (an even during the day) and you will see evidence of these young people ‘working’ the street. Look further and you will see their ‘protectors, (read minders).
Our Children and Young Services agencies seem to be unable to protect these young people. Short of physically removing them and placing them in a ‘safer’ environment, there is little they can do. Sorting out those ‘workers/slaves’ from the ‘reluctantly willing’ is a huge issue for these agencies.  One would have thought that the NZ Prostitutes Collective would be a source of who is who in this sad industry and then offer real protection where they can.
The gang involvement is the same as that which controls the illicit drugs sold on our streets. The police are fully stretched in all areas of crime--- this is one more area where they need more resources----- not less.
We as NZers have to realize that higher (for some) taxation is needed to fund the battle against these reported practices.

I feel for Melbourne--especially those who left Christchurch.

Many Christchurch residents reached a point t during and after the terrible earthquakes where they could no longer face life in our Southern city. They left for ‘greener and safer fields.’
Melbourne was once such destination. Let’s face it; Melbourne is not known for being anything like the ‘shaky islands’ these friends have left. That they are now experiencing earthquakes in Melbourne must be traumatic for many of them.
It bring home that we cannot take for granted anything in this world. NO place is completely free of disaster, tremors, terrorism or anything else that ‘chance’ throws at us.
Be strong my friends in Melbourne. Our thoughts are with you. Aussie and NZ are united in more ways than you would expect.

Update re new website and books relaunch.

The new website is looking great. Three books will be available soon, two relaunched with new ISBN numbers and covers. They are also being proofread so hopefully they will all be 'cleaner.' Nothing frustrates me more than to discover mistakes each time I pick them up. A really good proofreader is 'golden.' As I write my books, I do not see the mistakes, but they jump out later. I also know that some people seem to delight in pointing out these mistakes, to the poin that they don't realll 'read' the stories, but i do have some sympathy for them--- It's bloody anoying. Hell, I didn't proofread this blog--- lol.
 So--- please be patient my friends and then buy my books when they appear on my website, or fomr Kindle once they are on that.

Mubarak clinically dead?---- but his henchmen---

As I write this, it is being reported that Mubarak is clinically dead, but his henchmen in the form of the Egyptian Military are alive and well. The Egyptian people have long suffered from dictators and they thought that their struggles were bringing about a great change for the better.
The events we witnessed day after day in the ‘square’ may in the end mean nothing. We have seen little evidence that democracy will finally reign in Egypt. The military are intent on keeping power--- that much is clear.
They have too much to lose by handing power over to a civilian Government. Why would they? Relinquishing the bauble of power is just that--- they will not have the means to keep their privileged position.
I feel for the Egyptian people. Just when they were on the verge of having a Parliament directly elected by the people, they have reached an impasse as the Military regime passes laws to blunt progress.
That the new Parliament would probably be controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood could be a problem for other nations in the Middle East, namely Israel. One would hope that they would not follow a war mongering future. One would also hope that they would concentrate on bettering the lives of ordinary people.
UPDATE!  News is filtering through that Mubarak is NOT clinically dead and the suspicions is strong that the Military Government is using this to focus attention away from the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood will win the election and that the unease could well be just a subterfuge to deaden the actions the Government will take to avoid such an announcement.
Is this way of focussing the peoples’ attention from real issues something that we are seeing from our NZ Government? Yes, we are not the extremist model as exhibited in Egypt, but some behaviours are common to Governments everywhere. Power corrupts.