Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Five “Things You Don't Understand the Fuss About” Challenge…

Hmm, the five “Things You Don't Understand the Fuss About” Challenge…

Blame this young guy for lighting my fuse – actually I quite like the way he writes too… clear and concise even if I don’t agree with some.

So, first up has to be the “BJ BJ”. Who the h3!! gives a monkeys!!! The mistake was lying about it. That said far more than did the BJ or who performed it.

The second has to be “celebrity press”. You know, the industry based upon who is bonking whom in Hollywood, who has just got a zit on the end of their nose, the papparazzi… Who the h3!! gives a monkeys!! The saddest thing is the number of people who buy it.

The third has to be religion. I mean, how can you separate blind faith from indoctrination? It IS very personal. I am NOT a religion hater. As far as I am concerned there is just no point to it. No, I have already had the hell-fire and damnation routine several times; I have already been committed to several different forms of retaliative karma; I have already been promised a short life as an ant. Who the h3!! gives a monkeys!! The saddest thing is the number of people who buy it. At that point I will say this – to all those of you who profess a religion I respect both you and your beliefs. I understand that your belief can be as strong and as well founded as can my own “disbelief”. I just can not see why it should generate as much fuss as it does. Now when you talk “morality” – that is totally different…

Having put religion into the mix, I have to insert politics as well and for exactly the same reason. There is only one problem – running counter to the “Don’t understand the fuss…” idea – with including it. To my chagrin I have to admit politics as being a necessary evil. Yep, there is my cynicism shining bright. I can not for the life of me though get my head around the vindictive and childish behaviour that seems to accompany the process of “government”. There are all the labels. There are all the attitudes. There is all of the pedantic and hypocritical "morality". There are all of the “meme”s (and I do intend the dreadful pun there) that are dragged into the daylight every time opposing views are expressed. Do I have an alternative? Yep. It is called “DO EVERYTHING MY WAY”. And at that point – Who the h3!! gives a monkeys!! The saddest thing is the number of people who buy it.

So, there goes four.

The fifth? Getting harder, but sexual orientation must run close. I have no problem with the practices that any other member of society might use to get their rocks off (with one exception - see below). The application of or adherence to those practices on or by me is not compulsory. I do not see an “agenda” of any manner kind or form coming from those who prefer homosexual rather than heterosexual relationships any more than exists the reverse. I do not see any denigration in the marriage covenant from allowing people to express their own relationships in their own way or their own terms. As I have pointed out so often – to all those who oppose the “Civil Unions Act” in this country and outside – prior to that law change if a couple of the Hindu faith wanted their marriage recognised by the State in NZ they had to undertake a second “civil” ceremony based in law on the Christian ceremony. Without that little piece of State-sponsored ritual they could not get the “piece of paper” to prove their relationship. So, what is so different about same-sex relationships. In my book – NONE. Having said that, I exclude entirely and completely that small section of society both hetero and homo that use the weaker, the younger, the trusting, and the disadvantaged members of our society so that they (the users) can get their rocks off in ways that are unacceptable in any system of civilised morality. With the exclusion of THAT small group (whom I believe should not form part of “society”), who the h3!! gives a monkeys!! The saddest thing is the number of people who buy it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Who let the dog out???

Just occasionally comes one of those sublime little events in NZ politics that has the effect of showing just how our system works down here.

The beginning -
Candour from a politician about his own party is all too rare in public. It is common in private; everyone from the Prime Minister down is capable of criticising colleagues as candidly as Labour MP John Tamihere has done, if not in quite the same terms. But mostly they do it when they are confident the conversation will not be recorded. Mr Tamihere has been careless in the extreme if, as his interviewer insists, a tape recorder was on the table and turning in front of him. But he has been honest, too. That is the reason he is being punished. If his observations did not ring true, his colleagues would be laughing them off.

And the reaction from other quarters...
John Tamihere should keep his head down and his mouth shut, say Maori voters canvassed following his recent attack on Labour Party colleagues.

However, support for the Tamaki Makaurau MP remains strong in his former hometown of Henderson, with all those spoken to continuing to support the former chief executive of West Auckland’s Waipareira Trust.

Most blame recent pressure - including a Serious Fraud Investigation and a Government-backed inquiry into his dealings while head of the trust - for his outbursts

Slag the Deputy Boss as well...
Whatever, the fury that gripped Dr Cullen left the tiniest suspicion that the Opposition's milking of John Tamihere's confessions about life inside Labour is getting under the Government's skin.

Mr Tamihere's most serious charge is that Dr Cullen regularly hoodwinks minor parties supporting Government legislation.

The first "apology" -
Outspoken Labour MP John Tamihere issued a public expression of "sorrow" last night, immediately welcomed by Prime Minister Helen Clark as "the first step to rebuild a relationship with his colleagues"…. Helen Clark said via a spokesman: "He recognised the seriousness of what was said and recognises the need to rebuild confidence."

The Labour leadership pressed Mr Tamihere to publicly apologise to alleviate the battering the Government is receiving in the House and to secure his commitment.


Comment -
The day that John Tamihere finally stops thinking only of John Tamihere is the day he can start on the road to political redemption.

Even then, the Labour Party will take a mighty amount of convincing that rehabilitating him is worth the effort.

Judging from feedback from members, Tamihere has done his chips for good this time.

If the insults fired at the party's women, trade unions and "queers" were not appalling enough, his refusal to retract them has compounded his sins.



There was more that he had said...
Labour’s maverick MP John Tamihere is more isolated than ever after it was revealed he attacked even more people in a controversial interview in which he had already managed to offend most of his colleagues.

Prime Minister Helen Clark said Mr Tamihere was now taking "extended leave" due to "considerable stress" and would not be attending a caucus meeting on Tuesday where he had planned to apologise to colleagues for causing offence.

The move follows Mr Tamihere saying he was sick of hearing about the Holocaust, that an ally in caucus was being held back because he ran a "nasty" campaign against Miss Clark, and again abusing women in top jobs.

Miss Clark said the statements were "deeply offensive" and "utterly unacceptable".

Comment again -
If there was any doubt before, there is none now. John Tamihere’s political career is in tatters.

Although Helen Clark has politely ordered him to take extended stress leave, the Prime Minister’s directive means he has been punished for his ill-judged remarks about the Holocaust by being unofficially suspended from the Labour Party caucus.

But this is a stop-gap measure. No one was willing to predict last night what will happen next - and whether this is curtains for Mr Tamihere’s membership of the Labour Party and remaining an MP.

His declaration that he is "sick and tired of hearing how many Jews got gassed" would seem to have taken him past the point of no return as far as his already slim hopes of resurrecting his ministerial career are concerned.

And a parallel article -
A "gutted" John Tamihere was weighing up his future last night after the Prime Minister effectively suspended him indefinitely from the Labour caucus.

Helen Clark ordered Mr Tamihere to take extended leave after remarks he made about the Holocaust - that he was sick of being made to feel guilty over the gassing of Jews - were published.

A close friend of Mr Tamihere told the Herald the MP was gutted and was discussing his political future.

Mr Tamihere will not attend tomorrow’s caucus meeting where he was to have apologised to the numerous colleagues he offended in the controversial Investigate magazine interview.

And the boss's perspective
John Tamihere should consider finding a new job, Prime Minister Helen Clark suggested this morning.

After more inflammatory comments by the MP about Jews, women and colleagues were revealed yesterday, Miss Clark placed Mr Tamihere on extended leave due to his suffering "considerable stress".

Mr Tamihere was due to apologise for comments about colleagues made to Investigate magazine tomorrow at caucus but will now not be given the opportunity.

He has made no formal resignation offer but should think about his future Miss Clark said.

"I think in the period of extended leave that John now has he needs to carefully consider his options," she told National Radio.

Now you would imagine, after all of this, that Dear John would be well and truly toasted, dead and buried, outtahere...

But wait, there's MORE!!!


Learned analysis...
The Prime Minister’s response to a second helping of John Tamihere’s unedited views might strike the public as more surprising than her reaction to the first course. Last week, when Mr Tamihere unburdened himself of candid opinions on his colleagues, he was asked for an apology. Now that his interviewer has published two more of his remarks, Helen Clark has told him to stay away from the caucus and his career in Labour could be at an end. "He has made statements which are deeply offensive to New Zealanders," she said. "The statements are also offensive and utterly unacceptable to the Labour Party."

She devoted most of her response yesterday to a comment he made on the Jewish Holocaust, although it might be suspected she was more concerned at a vile term he used for women. Certainly his Holocaust comment, when considered in full, hardly seems exceptional. In full, the MP said this: "I am sick and tired of hearing how many Jews got gassed, not because I am not revolted by it - I am - or I am not violated by it - I am - but because I already know that. How many times do I have to be told to make me feel guilty." He said he is revolted, even "violated", by the Holocaust but he does not need to hear the story again. Is that really an "unacceptable" view?

Many New Zealanders echo the sentiment on the subject of Maori land grievances and breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi. Indeed, it was in an answer to a question about how a society can be focused on injustices of the past that Mr Tamihere made the analogy with the Jewish history…. Either way, it is hard to see him surviving in the party now. It is a pity for his self-respect that he did not leave last week rather than issue an apology of sorts. He is plainly aggrieved at his treatment since surviving a Serious Fraud Office investigation into the Waipareira Trust. He has reason to be aggrieved, but the right response is to resign. He should do so now.

And who threw the life ring?
John Tamihere was apparently thrown a lifeline today after being censured by the Labour Party caucus.

Prime Minister Helen Clark told reporters that caucus has passed a resolution severely censuring Mr Tamihere for grossly offensive comments but everyone in the caucus liked Mr Tamihere.

"John at his best is a wonderful colleague and puts 150 per cent in," Helen Clark said.

"John's known to stumble pretty badly and as he said last week he made the biggest mistake of his life which is damaging to him, and our concern is that it doesn't damage our party."

Mr Tamihere appeared with the Prime Minister after the meeting. He said: "This gives me a chance of rehabilitating myself and I am grateful for that."



A bit of Dear John's history...
In the mid-1990s West Auckland's Waipareira Trust was a touchstone Maori success story. Bland, well-groomed and overpaid public servants would come and be PRd in that strange assortment of buildings overlooking the carparks of Henderson.

Politicians would come to posture for photographs, and shake the hand of the new face of Maori, the champion of urban Maoridom, the trust's chief executive, John Tamihere. Things looked good as Mr Tamihere sought the Hauraki seat.

His comments lately are no different from his utterances back then. From the outset he was ambivalent about joining the Labour Party. Someone even remarked at the time that he should have joined Act.

In particular, the views he expressed of MPs then were much as they are now. These comments have been excused as "blokism", but Mr Tamihere has been advised on ways of dealing with the media. Obviously he knows what is appropriate behaviour and what is inappropriate. His conduct has nothing to do with articulating or modelling some kind of "red-blooded male" influence on his party… The real problem is Mr Tamihere himself, not the world, the Labour Party or whatever. With a vision of himself as a wronged Kiwi bloke, and a diamond-hard resistance to good political and personal advice, he is tragically locked in needless battles.

These battles are likely to become unbearable as he resists the only right thing to do. Indeed, such resistance represents simply the triumph of ego over common sense. Other careers would provide greater personal happiness and satisfaction. This after all, as he would agree, is just politics.

And more learned analysis...
John Tamihere has been given more than a slap over the wrist with a wet bus ticket. He has been given a severe slap over the wrist with a wet bus ticket.

Just look at the wording of the censure motion passed unanimously at Labour's caucus meeting yesterday…

The Prime Minister did not pretend otherwise in Parliament yesterday when she responded to Opposition accusations she had failed to force Mr Tamihere's resignation by saying she had "exercised her judgment in the interests of the Labour Party".

While the Opposition tries to paint this policy of appeasement as weakness, Labour is portraying her compassion for a colleague under stress as showing strength.

However, his stress levels were apparently not deemed sufficiently high to excuse him a blistering dressing-down from Helen Clark during the caucus meeting.

Something has been made very clear to him. He will be censured only once. His next lapse will see him no longer a Labour candidate.

When, oh WHEN will NZ journalists come up with a better, a more telling euphemism than the tired old "bus ticket"??? There has to be something!! We used to have the "Claytons....", but no one these days would understand it. I have forgotten the exact source too (it has to do with "the drink you have when you are not having a drink"). Or perhaps we could try "rucked by the cat" - not as bad as it sounds given that "rucking" is very commonly practiced in the deepest recesses of the rugby game usually when the ref is looking the other way. There HAS to be something!!!

But, let us move on...

A clever turn in the opening...
John Tamihere only recently joked when defending a wrong turn that he was JT, not the somewhat better known JC.

It must seem a long time ago. Yesterday as he arrived to prostrate himself before Labour's caucus and proclaim his undying commitment to the Faith, his position was akin to that of Judas Iscariot.

Underscoring his isolation was the fact that when he arrived at the Labour caucus meeting, he was flanked only by a few electorate supporters and a dutiful Maori Affairs Minister, Parekura Horomia.

Of his fellow Maori MPs only Mr Horomia, working to keep communication lines open between the Labour leadership and the outcast, had minutes earlier accepted an invite to attend a karakia (prayer) session in Mr Tamihere's office.

And a more detailed report on the Caucus meeting...
Prime Minister Helen Clark stunned her caucus with a withering reprimand of John Tamihere yesterday before moving a motion of censure, effectively a final warning to him.

The disgraced MP sat silently with his head bowed throughout her speech, which one experienced member described as the most severe "bollocking" he had witnessed. Another said he was "gobsmacked" by it.

Helen Clark said Mr Tamihere's behaviour in "trashing" his friends and colleagues to a journalist was intolerable

The censure
"That this caucus severely censure John Tamihere for his grossly offensive comments which run counter to the New Zealand Labour Party's principles, policies of inclusion and respect for all."

From time to time, these events can also be the seed that topples a government.

Will this? There is a lot behind it.

Labour has already lost one senior (but not Cabinet level) Maori MP in this term. The Maori Party, which Tariana Turia started following her expulsion would welcome another of John's standing in the Maori community. Labour can not afford that to happen. Why?

The Maori people could bring as many as 100,000 votes into a "supported party". There are loyalty issues, rights issues, "Treaty" issues (from the Treaty of Waitangi), from hapu to iwi, in addition to all of the issues that impact me as a European NZer. Any political party that takes those Maori issues on board in a positive fashion, and with the support of the Maori traditional structures, can expect to have quite a few votes flow their way.

John could bring both of those factors together in the blink of an eye.

He also commands great respect among the "urban Maori" - a generic term applied to those people who can not trace their "whakapapa", their birthright and ancestry, back into the traditional Maori structures as well as having emigrated to the major centres Auckland in particular during the 50 and 60's. The Waipareira Trust was largely based around the problems that were being experienced by these people.

Has Dear John damaged the party enough that it will lose the next election? How he acts and the role that he is given in the campaign process will determine that. A quiet word behind the hangi can be worth more than ten thousand in the powhiri.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Kunstler - Prognostications...

Via James Wolcott comes this with my thanks.

The Long Emergency
What's going to happen as we start running out of cheap gas to guzzle?

Kunstler's conclusions -
The successful regions in the twenty-first century will be the ones surrounded by viable farming hinterlands that can reconstitute locally sustainable economies on an armature of civic cohesion. Small towns and smaller cities have better prospects than the big cities, which will probably have to contract substantially. The process will be painful and tumultuous.

In many American cities, such as Cleveland, Detroit and St. Louis, that process is already well advanced. Others have further to fall. New York and Chicago face extraordinary difficulties, being oversupplied with gigantic buildings out of scale with the reality of declining energy supplies. Their former agricultural hinterlands have long been paved over. They will be encysted in a surrounding fabric of necrotic suburbia that will only amplify and reinforce the cities' problems. Still, our cities occupy important sites. Some kind of urban entities will exist where they are in the future, but probably not the colossi of twentieth-century industrialism.

Some regions of the country will do better than others in the Long Emergency. The Southwest will suffer in proportion to the degree that it prospered during the cheap-oil blowout of the late twentieth century. I predict that Sunbelt states like Arizona and Nevada will become significantly depopulated, since the region will be short of water as well as gasoline and natural gas. Imagine Phoenix without cheap air conditioning.

I'm not optimistic about the Southeast, either, for different reasons. I think it will be subject to substantial levels of violence as the grievances of the formerly middle class boil over and collide with the delusions of Pentecostal Christian extremism. The latent encoded behavior of Southern culture includes an outsized notion of individualism and the belief that firearms ought to be used in the defense of it. This is a poor recipe for civic cohesion.

The Mountain States and Great Plains will face an array of problems, from poor farming potential to water shortages to population loss. The Pacific Northwest, New England and the Upper Midwest have somewhat better prospects. I regard them as less likely to fall into lawlessness, anarchy or despotism and more likely to salvage the bits and pieces of our best social traditions and keep them in operation at some level.

These are daunting and even dreadful prospects. The Long Emergency is going to be a tremendous trauma for the human race. We will not believe that this is happening to us, that 200 years of modernity can be brought to its knees by a world-wide power shortage. The survivors will have to cultivate a religion of hope -- that is, a deep and comprehensive belief that humanity is worth carrying on. If there is any positive side to stark changes coming our way, it may be in the benefits of close communal relations, of having to really work intimately (and physically) with our neighbors, to be part of an enterprise that really matters and to be fully engaged in meaningful social enactments instead of being merely entertained to avoid boredom. Years from now, when we hear singing at all, we will hear ourselves, and we will sing with our whole hearts.

Wolcott’s conclusion rings a bell as well…
…The rebuff to Italy's Berlusconi (Bush's pal) in the regional elections this weekend. The sinking poll numbers for Tony Blair's Labour Party and the latest slide for Bush in the CNN/Gallup survey. The desperate, brazen attempt to block Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador from running for president of Mexico against Vincente Fox, which will almost certainly spark social upheaval and widespread demonstrations. The ratcheting up of rhetoric against Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, who's being lumped with Fidel Castro as the two tropical Saddams by Bush hardliners. And the looming oil crisis which threats to--well, go read this and prepare to shiver.

Our political system has failed us, our media have failed us, and neither have any inkling of the Wagnerian drama about to unfold.

For all that though, Wolcott is pushing a barrow which does not quite fit with the Kunstler message. His last sentence (my emphasis) does tie his and Kunstler’s messages together quite nicely. But the messages as I read them are quite separate.

Kunstler's summary of his book rattles its way through the single line track of the potential of a future oil crisis with obvious and particular emphasis on the impact on the US.

Wolcott on the other hand has attached Kunstler to the tail end of a political rant, a total afterthought and like a lizard's tail which when shed which lies around wriggling on the ground as a decoy whilst the lizard makes its escape. I do like Wolcott's last sentence, but I am confused as to whether the "Wagnerian drama" is the machinations of the American system politic and the international repercussions that he is predicting, or Kunstler's more serious analysis and summary he has tacked on.


I am perhaps naïve enough to think that Kunstler might be a bit too far to the side of the doomsayers, ‘Nostradami’ and armageddonists. He seems to ignore the possibilities in “green fuels” such as ethanol and rape seed diesel oil. There is a wealth of possibilities in the dreaming of Buckminster Fuller… his “international hot air balloon” and the global distribution of energy are two instances.

However, it would not be good to get too cocky about how NZ might fare in the dire circumstances Kunstler predicts. Generally we might be better off than many, especially with the riches we have in renewable energy resources. Generally we are better off in the supply of food, though as in the predicted case of the US, distribution of those products could become more and more problematical.

There are (to me at least) very obvious threats that must be considered.

The first is strategic, in terms of defence from outside attack. Our remoteness is an advantage in this respect as is our isolation by sea. But that advantage is also a weakness. Have a “defence force”? Yeah, right! And in the light of Kunstlers prognostications pay for what, run it on what, and fight against whom? I suppose we could challenge them to a “sail-off” a la America’s Cup – that brings back memories of a Goon Show – Britons vs the Romans and a football challenge – or a rugby test series even.

The second is economic. We are small, about the same size as Philadelphia city in population. That also creates a weakness in the kind of future envisioned by Kunstler. It is not a case of oil, but of obtaining and being able to pay for such goods as metals especially iron and aluminium, high technology products such as advanced composites, and in some foodstuffs. In that latter category is wheat which we have some trouble growing efficiently in this country.

The third threat is one outside of Kunstler’s writing and that is climatic change. From my own observation (as an example) mountain pawpaw was grown around Mangonui (when I was living there 40 years back) only in extremely sheltered positions and it did not fruit. Now (this past ten or so years) it is grown in the open, and will fruit if well protected. That, I am told, indicates a change in temperatures and winter minimums especially of about +2C over that period. Obviously not long or persistent or scientific enough to even hint at a trend, but surely a harbinger of things to come. Where this becomes important is in areas such as wheat farming. If the worst predictions are realised, that there will be a +5C movement in long-term average global temperatures, our main wheat growing areas will become unviable, not just because of the increased temperatures, but as a result of the climatic changes that are predicted to accompany the increase.

At that level too, the change in sea levels (numbers between 3m and 50m have been seriously suggested) will impact NZ as hard as anywhere else. At 50m, considerable areas of prime agricultural land would be inundated.

On the scale of Kunstler’s report, NZ would have to face the disintegration of at least four of its major centres – Auckland and Wellington would be certainties, Whangarei in the north would largely disperse – the major industry there is the oil refinery – and Christchurch would be under pressure. Hamilton, Tauranga, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, and the other regional centres would probably disperse into their hinterlands as Kunstler suggests and would survive in that form.

Would NZ see armed conflict or racial insurrection? That is a possibility. The resources at stake would be land and fisheries.

I appreciate that the link is only an extract from a book. Kunstler comments on the formation of cottage industries and from that comes the possibility of resurrection of the guild structures of old. Does he cover reversion to barter economics and the loss of the current financial processes that underpin our civilisation? Not clear. Does he cover the breakdown of modern political structures? Not clear. What is the place of advanced technology in the society of the future? Not at all clear.

Certainly the world that he predicts is a very far cry from what we know. Certainly the long term – 100 years out and more – changes could see anything from a society of comparative ignorance being governed by fundamental religieux with a scholarly elite, or a return to feudalism of the Dark and Middle Ages on the one hand, to the kind of simple self-governing enlightened utopia dreamed of by the likes of the Libertarians.

Which is the more likely? I will never know. Neither, I suspect, will anyone else alive at present.

I'm a slow old duffer, I know...

... I have been visiting this site for a very long time on a fairly regular basis (for the pernicketty that means at least once a month); I have been running this tired little corner of the blogosphere for two years now;


ALD has archives running back to 1998.

How would it rank as one of the first, one of the founders, of the BLOG movement?

Oh, BTW, it is very highly recommended as a source for thought and debate.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Kia Kaha!! Kia Mana!! Catherine Davis.

NZ Herald

Far North Maori woman gets UN fellowship

06.04.05 10.00am

A Far North Maori woman is off to Switzerland after being selected to study under a prestigious United Nations five-month fellowship promoting indigenous human rights.

Catherine Davis, of Ahipara, is one of five people worldwide to be selected for the all-expenses paid United Nations Human Rights Indigenous Fellowship Programme, starting next month.

Ms Davis, 34, who is of Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri and Ngati Kuri descent, will use the extensive United Nations research facilities to carry out projects.

She is expected to teach Maori about indigenous rights on her return.

Ahipara is a small coastal community at the northern end of the country - you can not get much further north. That she has attained a Fellowship of this nature does her great credit and should bring much pride to her whanau and community.

I come from the general area (Mangonui on the east coast to be specific) so I have an appreciation of the path that she has walked.

Friday, April 01, 2005


There is no title to this post for a reason. I would like suggestions...

From the news today...

01.04.05 11.30am
by Monique Devereux

The former leader of the Christian Heritage Party (CHP), Graham Capill, has admitted sexually assaulting a young girl.

Capill's name suppression was lifted this morning at a hearing at the Christchurch District Court.

Capill pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a girl under 12. The charge relates to three or four incidents that happened in 2001-2002.

The victim's name is automatically suppressed.

Graham Capill stood down from the CHP leadership in 2003. He has a law degree and has most recently been working for the police as a Prosecutor at the Christchurch District Court.

Capill was remanded until next month when he will be sentenced. Judge David Ryan made the observation that the offending was "not at the serious end of the scale".

Now, I know as well as anyone that religion should not be part of judgement for any crime, particularly for crimes of this nature and most especially for sexual crimes against children.

In this particular instance we have a gent who, as the article states, has been a member of parliament. His party name (Christian Heritage) says it all – family values, Christianity, charity the works.

I can but wonder what the “Destiny Party” will bring as the political wing of the local charismatic “Destiny Church”. It can not get much worse I will agree…

p.s. I have discovered something. Blogger does not like posts without a title. Hence the '?'