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Archive for 22 July 2011

We Are Not Amused.

The Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act says names can be declined for causing offence, being over-long or “without adequate justification” resembling an official title or rank. 

Other names that were queried but later accepted included Fanny, Jnr, Shady and Nevaeh (heaven backwards, which, curiously, was the 31st most popular girl’s name in the United States in 2007). 

Though Lucifer and Messiah were rejected on taste grounds, the Sunday Star-Times struggled to find anyone offended by the names. 

Judy de Leeuwe, an atheist at the Rationalists and Humanists Association, said she was not offended and she did not know why Births, Deaths and Marriages would reject them. 

Lyndsay Freer, spokeswoman for the Catholic Church in Auckland, said some Christians could object to the name Lucifer, but since millions of Spanish speakers called their children Jesus, she did not see how the name Messiah could be offensive. 

Lucifer comes from a Latin expression meaning “light-bearer” and was the name given to the dawn appearance of the planet Venus, which heralds daylight. There was originally no connection to the devil.

What I find sad is that there has been no reported comment on the effects of bizarre names on children in the above article. No comment whatsoever (unless the journo involved, Ian Steward, decided to omit any such references in his article.)

Call me “old fashioned (actually, don’t) but I tend to believe that lumbering children with weird names is not conducive to their mental and emotional wellbeing. We all know (or, should know by now) how nasty children can be to each other. Giving our little darlings “extra ammo” to use in harassing each other does not seem sensible or desirable.

I’m reminded of this similar instance,

Embarrassed’ girl, 9, gets court protection in New Zealand to change her name from ‘Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii
24th July 2008. What’s in a name? Quite a lot if you’re called Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii.

That’s the unfortunate appellation a girl was given by her parents  –  but now a New Zealand judge has ordered that the nine-year-old, who is at the centre of a custody battle, should become a ward of court until she can choose a name she really likes.
The girl’s lawyer said she told people her name was ‘K’ because she feared being mocked and teased.
Family Court Judge Rob Murfitt said: ‘The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child’s parents have shown in choosing this name. It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily.’ More.

I can’t get into the minds of parents who would do this to their children. It is as if they have taken all leave of their sense, and decided to use their children to “make a statement” or “thumb their noses”.

Children. They are not our chattels. They are not to be used in regards to any “issues” we might have with society.

With children, such parents should consider their obligations, rather than any perceived “property rights”.

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A Tale of Two Polls

It’s intriguing that a recent Roy Morgan poll has achieved none of the headline-status that another recent Colmar-Brunton Poll got.

In the more recent Morgan Poll, the results appeared more positive for Labour, and troublesome for National;

  • National 55% (-5%)
  • Labour 33.5% (+3%)

In the Colmar Brunton Poll, the results were shocking for Labour;

  • National 53% (+1%)
  • Labour 27% (-7%)

Is this a case of sloppy journalism? Was the Colmar Brunton Poll more “news worthy” because it contained a greater “shock” factor?

Or is this a case of media companies giving subtle encouragement/support for the incumbent, and attempting to paint Labour as lacking public support?

Cock-up or Conspiracy? The eternal question…

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A hole they all dug?

22 July 2011 1 comment

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‘Obvious’ lack of safety measures

Friday Jul 22, 2011. While Pike River Coal chief executive Peter Whittall doesn’t think his company had been in tarnished by the Royal Commission of Inquiry, the spokesman for the victims’ families said it was obvious there was a lack of safety measures for even small emergencies in the mine.

Bernie Monk said the first phase of the inquiry – which has wrapped up today after two weeks – had got a lot more information out into the public arena than the families had expected. “I think we are going to get to the truth. There’s no two ways about that,” he said outside court.

Tears had often been shed by family members attending the inquiry. “We’ve been dragged through this for going on nine months now and it opens up wounds every time we come to do something like this. “But we will be tough, we are supporting each other and we’ll get there.”

Responding to inquiry evidence about possible escape routes from the mine, Mr Monk said it was obvious there was a lack of safety measures for even small emergencies in the mine.

Continued.
To be fair, it’s difficult to comment as the Commission is yet to hear all witnesses and consider all evidence. Going purely by an incomplete perception alone, I offer these observations;

  • The changes to legislation in the early 1990s by a reform-obsessed National Government  seems to have created the proverbial ticking time bomb. As with the leaky/rotting homes syndrome, the de-regulation of mining and safety has resulted in inevitable disaster.
  • The Pike River Mine company seems to have operated using short cuts, taking advantage of the de-regulation of the 1990s. And like other hostile environments such as the sea and outer space, mining is an unforgiving activity where  eventually good luck will run out.
  • Whilst National may have facilitated the environment where all the elements came together for an eventual catastrophe – it shouldn’t be forgotten that Labour had nine years to address this problem and re-instate mines inspectors. They obviously did not.
  • And lastly, where was the miners’ union? Why did the remaining safety inspector(s) not blow the whistle? (I’m not even going to ask about the media, which seems to have fallen asleep-at-the-wheel, only to awaken when there are suitable crime stories to report, or stranded penguins that go off the Cuteness Scale…)  And Bernie Monk stated that the mine was “obviously unsafe”.

Yet, no one spoke up.

I have this nagging feeling that society (via a Facebook village mob, again?) and a headline-hungry media will look toward a scapegoat.  The truth, though, is that complicity may spread far and wide on this matter.

 

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