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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What Have They Done To The Cruze?!

This week Holden have released new photos of what GM have done to the appearance of the innocent Holden Cruze.

Holden Cruze

This new Cruze will official be launched at the 2014 New York motor show.

The original Holden Cruze was innocent. It was never going to be the pinnacle of automotive craftsmanship, but it was innocent. It didn't look angry and as though there were too many hood ornaments littering its bonnet. GM seem to like large grills, and have used that as an excuse to add more air intakes to the front of this little car. They've over sold a little car.

Here is the current Holden Cruze, it is innocent, not head turning, rather basic, not over sold, but appropriate; ballanced:

The spacing on this car is perfect, they're not over selling power of this car by having so many in-crested hood lines. This is a good, 2 litre run around car, it is not an angry 'don't know if we will get you there', crap American car. It's appropriate.

I've enjoyed driving the Holden Cruze, it is fun, but it is not a long cruising car with those hard and unforgiving seats. But that doesn't mean they've needed to ruin its face too.

Maybe, just maybe it is the horrific Chevy logo, that brown cross doesn't do any justice to the front of any car. So maybe once they replace that cross with a proper Holden lion it may bring back some dignity to the appearance of this little puppy.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

How The Commoners Are Treated When The Royals Roll Into Town

When the Royal's come to town, in this case Prince William and Duchess Kate visiting Cambridge, the common people can't help themselves but to welcome them like no others.
Seats reserved and waiting

Commoners rallied from all across the country to gather in Cambridge this morning to get that glimpse, and hopefully a little more, of the Royal couple. Commoners started lining the streets more than three hours before the Royal's arrival, before Will and Kate had even landed in the area; and I was one of those commoners who were patiently awaiting their arrival.

While many commoners were patiently holding their ground next to the fence that separates the common blooded from the privileged, I roamed the streets and forfeited my position to get a personal confrontation with the couple.

Cambridge had strived to the stars to welcome Will and Kate, Union Jakes were posted everywhere, Will and Kate masked commoners roamed the streets. And what I couldn't get over was that all the people who rallied to view the Royal were all pretty people. Apparently I missed the memo that the scummy commoners weren't allowed to show, I was surprised I wasn't escorted away.

While everyone was happy and eagerly awaiting the moment of their arrival, not even the heavy shower dampened anyone's day. Everyone huddled together and shared their brollies until the clouds parted and the sun shined again.

And you can never have a Royal gathering without a few anti royalist showing up. Whilst they weren't causing any harm, they were a blemish on the loving image presented to the Royal's. They made a few sly remarks in response to others comments, and when Australia's Channel 7 leaned in to ask them a few questions, the crowd did 'boo'.

As the time to their arrival grew closer, the crowds kept growing. The countdown over the loud speaker was everyone's guide to their arrival. The loud speaker was also the warning signal: '30 minutes until road closures are enforced', 'all road closures are enforces', '30 minutes until pedestrian access is closed', 'pedestrian access is close'. At that point we were all locked on the block or park which fence contained us.

We were locked in a concentration camp. But instead of being put to work and make to live in horrible conditions, we were limited to five port-a-loo's and outlandishly over priced food. To pass the time, photographers went to the trees to gain those perfect, uninterrupted pictures.

And then the tip was upon us. The lead police car arrives and everyone cheers, not realising that there was still a few minutes wait until the rest of the convoy catches up.

Then the time arrived, the convoy rounded the round about then everyone took a few moments to realise they were in the silver BMW, yes the one with the crown flag flying.

Everyone were snapping those once in a life time photos of these over glamorised people, I was snapping my photos as well. And for those who didn't have camera responsibilities, they were waving and getting to really enjoy seeing the Royal's in real life.
My best photo of Kate - THAT'S HER HAND!

What was greatly amusing were the comments by overly excited spectators. 'William looked straight into my camera!' 'He smiled at me!' 'Kate looked at me!' When, in hindsight, they are only going to remember a few faces from today's events tomorrow, and in a week, this memory will all be a struggle for the attractive couple.

Then they disappeared for a moment and everyone rallied to a spot where they may get to talk to the couple, but those spots were well and truly taken. And others reposition to the big screen and found another spot along the fence to get those last snaps of the couple as they drive off with no return date in known sight.

The best photo I got - Prince Willian - Look! He smiled at me!
Once they were gone, that was it. The hype was over, now it was a rush to vacate this little town and get back to reality. The rush was on, break the barricades, our life in a concentration camp came to an end as everyone made their way back to their cars, which were all parked miles away to allow enough open road for the Royal's drive around the streets and allow maximum viewing points to see the attractive couple.

I don't know what the Royal's do to the minds of people who think they don't care, but they've drawn us in. They've made us love them, and they've convinced us to welcome them back again, hopefully some time really soon.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

New Zealand 2014 Election: Will It Be Close?

Before the 2011 general election, John Key approached the election with great aspiration that the New Zealand people would give the National Party 49 or more percentage points of the party vote. This would allow them to hold more than half the seats in government allowing them to govern alone.

They lucked out and only scrapped into government with the help of both the solo ACT and United Future candidates to grant them a majority in parliament to form a government. Did the John Key National government learn their lesson?

The competition for the September 20 election is heating up. The left bloc is being torn from shreds to shreds, the leading number of faces is growing; smaller parties seem to be growing, while Labour doesn't seem to be moving forward.

With the election less than 6 months away it is very hard to even try and make a prediction. The Internet Party gained enough members to register. Since talk about discussions surrounding the coalition between the Mana and Internet Party started, Mana Party has gained more attraction. The Greens don't seem to be moving. Winston is sure that NZ First will be gaining a greater vote than last. And the Labour Party seems to be stuck in the mud.

But with all this diversity on the left, will they effectively be able to come together to form a stable minority government? For an agreement to be struck up, to keep Labour as the head of the government, the cabinet will have to be full of a range of different party members. Will the diversity in cabinet lead to instability in government?

If too many chefs spoil the broth, then won't too many counter point ministers deface our government?

There is always going to be a bloc who will always get the Greens into government. The Greens aren't going anywhere, but will they grow? It's looking very unlikely at this election.

But the internet party is where the question lay.

There shouldn't be enough people who'd vote to get that party over the 5% threshold. But if they team with Mana then seats in Parliament could be an unavoidable scene.

Chances are that Hone Harawira will retain his seat in Te Tai Tokerau and return to parliament for another term. But there are more chances for the Mana party to attain more seats.

Both Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples are standing aside at the next election. Their seats of Te Tai Hauāura and Tāmaki Makaurau don't look to be Maori Party secured, so could there be a contest between the Labour Party and Mana to see who represents those districts?

It's looking like Labour are the favourites for both Te Tai Hauāura and Tāmaki Makaurau, but Mana are putting extra effort into Te Ururoa Flavell's seat of Waiarike. So will Flavell hold Waiarike? There is a good chance the Maori Party will run off their tracks with the results of this election.

If Mana wins will the Internet Party win? If they team together they're going to be great performers to the public eye, promising everything without there being any hope that they will deliver. They will be seat warmers that will let off a lot of hot air if in opposition and weigh the train down if they're in government.

Whilst things resemble little difference from a trash heap on the left, the right aren't looking too much better.

If the right retain the Beehive, we can be guaranteed that stability will not be an issue.

The popularity of John Key and the National Party are still high, they're not going to get enough votes to let them govern alone. Under MMP it is near impossible to govern alone, and New Zealand hasn't given a single Party more than 50% of the vote since 1951. It's a long shot to count on that to form a government.

What National have to do is look at their potential coalition partners. Make it clear that you want Peter Dunn to retain Ōhariu, don't make the mistake made last time with Katrina Shanks following his every move in the background.

Let the new faces of ACT be your friend and make it clear that you want David Seymour to be the preferred candidate over the National Candidate in Epsom. Then help out the Conservative Party Candidates, whether you side with Colin Craig's chosen seat or other members of his party - it's a dead ring that they will attain nearer to 3% of the party vote than to zero.

I wouldn't be counting on the Maori party to get the National Party over the threshold. You can welcome them back to the government benches with open arms after the election, but you can't help them in any of their seats so all you can do is wait and see.

National have a very good chance at winning the next election, but that isn't because National is putting on a good show; it is because the opposition is a mess. There is no leadership and no clear direction for New Zealand.

All governments follow a bell curve (a bell curve that follows time with its peak being political achievement). They prepare for their agenda by wisely analysing the current situation. They achieve their goals, and then they run out of ideas or bath in the success of their achievements.

Over the past few months I haven't seen the National Government lay out any more plans of significant value that shows that they have more input for the country. They're always revisiting ther financial goals, surplus in the budget. But not a lot has changed.

At this time the National government are heading towards the end of their bell curve and if the opposition had a plan of credibility before us, their time as government could be nearing. But it isn't.

At the turn of this election we are going to see many new faces in the National Party. So far 15 National MP's are standing down at the next election, there could possibly be 15 new faces on the National benches. With such great diversity with new faces and new ideas, the a National government could be uplifted and carry their success on and remain at the top of the bell curve.

And if they team with a new ACT and Conservative Party the government could be reborn with new and fresh ideas that keep New Zealand entertained while the opposition sort out their scrap heap to put a good alternative forward in a later election.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Questions To Be Asked About Fort Hood Shooting Number 2

It is heart breaking to have to talk about about Fort Hood Shooting number 2. Like the people at the Fort Hood base need this again only five years later.

Here are the questions to ask:

1- What protections were put in placed after the 2009 shooting?
2- If any, why didn't they prevent this shooting?
3- Were programs closed?
4- Was funding cut to make programs unaffordable?
5- Did anyone expect this would happen?
6- The area of the camp where this happened, what it more vulnerable?
7- Are there any plans working anywhere that could have prevented this attack if those plans were in act at Fort Hood?
8- Are these shootings going to have an impact on Fort Hood's reputation?
9- Were same families affect by this shooting as were affect by the last?
10- What will be done to ensure that this never happens again?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Heil Dotcom?

When you're going to fund a political party you have to be prepared for your deepest and darkest secrets to be drawn affront the audience to make you look like their worst enemy.

Kim Dotcom knows that, and that is why he got there first when fronted about questions surrounding his Nazi memorabilia. He had to come out and make his Nazi items look innocent. If he doesn't want to turn of a great number of voters because of a disrespectful room he has in his basement, he needs to try and make it look like that room isn't as bad as once thought and that it is all a misunderstanding.
One of 20, rare autographed copies of Mein Kampf dedicated to the founder of the Nazi party

Dotcom has confirmed to us that he purchased one of the first signed copies of Adolf Hitler's book, Mein Kampf. But that is only the start, we also found out that he received a Nazi flag as a birthday gift where he said it's "the best present he had ever been given”.

It has also been acknowledged that during dinner parties Nazi salutes would be made and Nazi chants like “Heil Hitler” and “Sieg Heil” were made, especially if the guests were mainly German.

The affiliation just keeps getting worse and worse.

First point; he has this vast collection of Nazi memorabilia and tries to offset that by saying he owns a "cigar holder off Churchill and a pen off Stalin." Please, don't sweat the time. If you were really into WWII memorabilia, because of your love affair with some game that you should have stopped playing when you were twelve, you wouldn't be blinded by just purchasing high end Nazi items. You wouldn't find it that difficult to also build a collection of western world items from the allies.

It you take this story at face value, he owns a few Nazi items as an investment. There isn't anything wrong with owning these, but they should be in a museum. The problem that comes from owning these are the persons reasons or intentions for owning these items, and the credibility people will take from you once they find out you own these items.

Second point; there will be more. Dotcom has tried to sweep this all under the mat by saying that he has a few Nazi things. There is a chance that he has a whole room of Nazi items somewhere in that Coatesville mansion. This won't be the end, but he is trying to end it before the fire really takes off.

Third point; this reflects on the real character of Dotcom. He paints himself as this really cool cat on the street. He parties at Rhythm and Vines with the kids, then he acts like he is just a victim of an aimless investigation. He is working on the relatable and sympathy vote. It's all a performance, there is not truth to Dotcom's public perception. 

There are detail about how Dotcom treats people that I can't delve into, but let's just say that Dotcom's structure is very similar to that of the old Tzar's of Russia power structure.

There is a lot more to come out about Dotcom, he is not a person that we want connected to Parliament in any matter. There is going to be a lot of moral conversation around Dotcom, stuff that he is completely entitled to but would you want someone like that connected to our government? And there is going to be a lot of development surrounding his extradition to the US and what else there may have been on his Mega site.

We will all find out in a timely manner, hopefully before the September 20 election.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Crimea's Referendum Was Ill-conducted - Allowed Russia to Take A Mile

Crimea's Parliament gave Russia an inch and they've taken a mile.

The referendum that the Crimea government put together was done completely wrong, and the results shouldn't have been acknowledged.

Crimea asked it's people whether they wanted to part from Ukraine and join Russia. Depending on which media outlet you refer to, the results show either a 93 percent vote in favour of joining Russia or a 97 percent vote in favour of joining Russia. The uncertainty there should sound alarm bells.

Those numbers in support are amazing, you never see support like this in many democratic votes. Results like this has allowed the Crimea and Russian government to move fast with incorporating Crimea into the Russian union.

The problems: Firstly, Crimea were very quick to hold this referendum. They should have had weeks, and maybe even months to campaign and educate the people about what the referendum means so that everyone knew what they were getting themselves into with how they cast their vote.

The next set of alarm bells should have been sounded when the city of Sevastopol results returned with a 123% voter turnout. And that turnout number would include all children who are under age and are not allowed to vote. So there is something completely flaw coming out of Sevastopol that rings alarm bells.

Voter turnout is exponentially blown out of proportion, in many areas voter turnout was trumpeted to be high, but the Crimean Tatar population refused to vote which questions the high voter turnout in many Crimea districts.

And even if the turnout and the results were correct, could there have been intimidation? 21,000 armed Russian troops were sent to patrol polling stations.

This wasn't the great free and fair election that it should have been trumpeted to the world to make it okay for Crimea to depart Ukraine and join Russia. And Russia shouldn't have been so quick to take action.

The Crimean Tatar shouldn't have withheld from voting either. If they voting in mass not to join Russia and the results still turned out the same then massive international outcry would have been appropriate.

The results are the results. They were massive faults by the Crimea parliament and Russia took that inch they gave them and took the batten and is running a mile.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Everyone Needs To Smile - This Should Make You Smile

He lost a bet to his younger brother, the end result meant he had to dance on the corners of Bulldog and State Street in Provo, Utah for a half hour to whatever music his brother chose.

Here is the result: