Thursday, February 14, 2008

This is the kind of thing that DOES get up my nose...

I have spent enough time in the bush to get myself into trouble, to know when I might get into trouble, and what to do when things do go pear-shaped.

But, it seems, that there are still people who expect "them" to change the rules so that "unforeseen" circumstances arise...
Three stranded trampers offered to pay for their own rescue but were blocked by the Department of Conservation and told they would have to make their own way out.

The trio managed to walk out of the Arthurs Pass National Park yesterday, after being trapped for three days by a swollen river, but were left feeling "quite frustrated and angry" at DoC, which is sticking to its guns.

Hamilton man Kerry Suter, his brother Nick visiting from the United States, and their friend, Auckland cameraman Dana Hemmingway, offered by radio to pay $1300 for a helicopter to pick them up as their food supplies dwindled and the nearby White River kept rising.

But DoC's policy means the only flights allowed into the park are for emergencies, and neither DoC nor police deemed the trio's situation an emergency.

Getting a bit cold, wet and hungry lads? Plenty tucker out there or you should have it with you, you're either in a hut or not far from one, and they all have fire-places.

Mountain Safety Council -
The Mountain Safety Council urged all trampers heading into the outdoors to be prepared for an extended stay by taking extra food, communications and equipment.

"Rivers are a hazard in the outdoors and swollen and fast-flowing rivers are not safe to cross at any time," a spokesman said.

"The Mountain Safety Council encourages people to be prepared to sit it out, camp an extra night or two and wait until the river goes down."

I don't need add to that.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Chavez threatens to stop oil exports to the US...

How DARE he?

BTW thanks to TMV for the link...

But - I must admit to reading up on this with a quiet smile of satisfaction on my face.

It has nothing to do with Chavez' policies or threats to nationalise Exxon (not a good idea in my book). Nothing to do with communism. Nothing to do with the almost certainty of the US blogiverse response. Irrespective of the outcome - and I don't think it will do Venezuela any good - at least Chavez is following his own star.

No, I smile quietly that here is another politician who is prepared, has the balls to stick it to the US. David Lange did it with NZ's anti-nuclear legislation. Auntie Helen did it by refusing to follow John Poodle's charge into Iraq. The Japanese have done it by (in theory at least) refusing the US permission to have nuclear weapons on Japanese soil. Some of the European nations did it when they refused to back Bush's gun-boat diplomacy threats against Hussein.

No, it is like I said. It takes balls to stand for what you believe in. I can respect GWB even for saying what he thought and following his own cause. It took courage to go against the tide of international opinion. Doesn't make him right, any more than Chavez' action this time is "right"...

It does no good to sit and pontificate on whether Chavez is right or wrong. That is not the point. History will resolve that question in good time. Chavez deserves a quiet clap for saying what he thinks in a world where genuflexion is generally the first international response.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Two views of anti-Semitism...

This little wander actually starts with me ol' mates at aldaily the other day, with a link to this
A lot of Christians really like Jews! So why are those very Jews less than, uh, entirely happy about it?... more»

I read that piece - at leisure, from a print - and put it off to one side.

Earlier came this exchange on a very similar topic with the conclusion from David Schraub that -
I don't dispute the perception [that US foreign policy on Israel is guided by internal political pressures] exists, I do dispute the why it exists -- namely, I think much more of it [I presume the perception of US foreign policy] is based off of latent anti-Semitism than you do.

If you think Ancient Egypt is exhaustive of anti-Semitic stereotyping, you're woefully undereducated on the topic. We've got Christian theological anti-Semitism, Enlightenment Universalism anti-Semitism, Spanish "pure blood" anti-Semitism, modern-day Islamic anti-Semitism...I could go on. Plus, I vaguely remember some major non-Egyptian anti-Semitic action in recent history -- Holo...Hologram? I don't remember. But it was really famous.

I put that to one side at that point. Discussing US and Israel with David Schraub always ends with the "anti-Semitism" label being tossed into the pond.

Then this morning DS has reference to the same article through the medium of this critique.

I leave people to read each of the links, and to draw their own conclusions.

Personally, I have no truck with any system of thought that judges people on the basis of classifications. I can say that I have "no Jewish friends", simply on the premise that I never ask any of my friends what religious affiliations they have. It is none of my business, any more than their sexual preferences might be. I judge people solely on their relationship with me, how they react to me, and I expect no different from them. Religion, and politics, are generally off the table until someone else raises it...

Oh, and the article that prompted this? Confusing to say the least. But that might be because religion and politics in the same room are a no-no in the probligo-verse. Both have their place.


As I have said many times in the past -

How much chance would a Presidential candidate have of election if he spoke against current policies supporting Israel? Very little as I see it.

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Presidential Primaries - "Non-Sequitur" style

This just hit the spot for me. Sorry Al and all the others who take it so seriously, the devil made me do it.