Friday, March 31, 2006

Trilateral talks

The photo is of Canadian PM Harper, US President Bush and Mexican President Fox. They are having trilateral talks in Cancun, Mexico. President Fox and President Bush were pleased to accept, on behalf of their country's, Prime Minister Harper's invitation to host the next trilateral leaders meeting in Canada in 2007.

It is good to see that these meetings are taking place. I hope that some good comes of them.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Is Rodney Hide going to compete on Dancing with the stars?

That is the question?

I can see all the cynics out there sneering at the thought of Rodney doing the boogy woogy with some young temptress, but really what has Rodney or the ACT party got to loose by doing this?

The only thing that will have you all saying "I told you so" will be if Rodney gets booted on the first show. I can't imagine any sympathy votes being won if that happens, so the challenge to Rodney if he decides to do it is.... WIN WIN WIN. Good lucky.

Peter Leong 30 today.

Happy birthday Peter Leong (Center in photo) 30 years old today. All the best buddy. Have a great day. Don't get tooooo drunk tonight.

F1 update pre Australia.

It has been an exciting change in Formula one so far this year. The qualifying is very interesting, the new V8's are getting through the teething problems, and hasn't Nico Rosberg with Williams been rather impressive setting the fastest lap during a race on his maiden outing in a F1 car?

The first two races have been dominated by 05 Champions Renault with both Alonso and Fisi taking the top step on the podium each. McLaren have been a bit down so far this season, but I am predicting that the Australian GP in Melbourne will bring them to light. Kimi and Juan Pablo are wanting the spotlight, as is Jenson Button of Honda.

Ferrari and Michael Schumacher took the # 2 place on the podium in Bahrain which was the best result for them since Indy 05 which was a bit of a farce. The improvement looks to be there with Ferrari, so keep an eye on them. Massa is proving to be a rather good match for Schumacher.

Honda is showing some potential too, although it looks like Reubens is being out shone by Button. I think that like Jacques Villeneuve, Reubens likes the car set up perfectly then he can bolt on up the standings. Looks like Honda need to move quickly in setting up Reubens car.

I am really hoping that Jacques Villeneuve can pull something out of the hat this year, it is possible although BMW seem to be a little down on power at this stage. His performance in Malaysa was rather impressive, but he is on the same engine for Melbourne, so he may be a bit light on the throttle during practice and at the beginning of the race. Time will tell, but I know that Jacques still has it in him.

So watch the race this weekend. It is a pity that Murray Walker turned down the opportunity to do the commentary for the Australian race. But he will be there as a Honda representative, so he may pop up sometime during the race. I hope so.

Nico Rosberg of Williams Cosworth F1

Million Dollar Mouth

Last night I went to the upstairs room (On the Rox) at the Roxy on Sunset Strip to watch Mike and the boys from Million Dollar Mouth play. They banged out some great tunes, and on the way home it was mandatory to stop off at Pinks hotdog stand (world renowned) on La Brea for a mild Ozzy (Osborne) dog..... Good times.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

4 years in the USA

The 27th of March was the four year anniversary of my arrival in the USA. Seems like time is moving real fast ever since leaving school. I still love it here, although there is no place like New Zealand.

Monday, March 27, 2006

California Gubernatorial Election

The elections for Governor are still some time away on November 7th 2006, but the advertising is starting to begin. The Governor e-mailed me his new TV advertisement to be aired. What do you think? I like it..... It is true.... No spin.

It will be a tight race, but I beleive that Arnold will win again. He is currently 1% behind State Treasurer (D) Phil Angelides, but when the advertising is in full swing that should well change. Having said that. California is a very Democratic State and Arnold is a Republican........ even if he is married to Maria from the Kennedy clan....

Here is the video

Tony Blair in NZ

British PM Tony Blair is in NZ today with his wife Cherie. It appears that other than John Major who attended the CHOGM meeting in 1995, Blair will be the first British PM in 48 years to visit NZ for bilateral talks.

I didn't appear that the public went too overboard with the anti-war protests. All is does is cost the NZ taxpayer $$$ for extra security. About 200 people were protesting last night, but PM Blair evaded them by entering via a different enterance.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The members have voted within ACT

According to Rodney "The Boss" Hide's web site, The members of ACT New Zealand have elected Garry Mallett as their new President and Trevor Loudon as Vice-President.

Congratulations to Garry and Trevor. We are behind you and await positive results from your leadership.

Regonal and board members are as follows......

Regional Board Members

Auckland North: Brendon Cullen
Auckland South: David Seymour
Wellington: Michael Collins

Deputy Board Members

Auckland South: Warren Jones
Waikato/BOP: Ron Scott
Upper South: Andrew Falloon

It is good to see Mr Falloon amongst it all.

May ACT now proceed forwards with positivity and some prudent changes to move ahead and start getting back the % that we have lost, allowing ACT to win more seats and get in the position to be a great partner with National.


Please get rid of the slogan... "The liberal party"

All the best.

Going to Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe

I am off to tahoe tonight. Time to check out the house and make sure it has not frozen up. Only going for the night so I plan on being back tomorrow night....... Hopefully it is still snowing....

99 luftballoons

According to Cnn, VH1 Classic will present a full hour of the English and German music videos for the 1984 hit "99 Luftballons," aka "99 Red Balloons," by German rock group Nena. I first heard this song in German at retro night at the box wednesday nights in Auckland.

The music video presentation, to air Sunday US time, caps off the cable channel's "Pay to Play for Hurricane Katrina Relief," which raised over $200,000 for Mercy Corps, a humanitarian relief organization.

Viewers could request one video to be played on VH1 Classic for every $25 donation. For a $35,000 donation, they could select an hour's worth of music videos from the 1960s through the early 1990s.

However, one viewer chose something different for his allotted hour, requesting continuous playing of "99 Luftballons," said VH1 spokeswoman Maura Wozniak. This is brilliant. I have all the renditions of this song from rock to techno, German and English. I will plan on viewing this brilliant episode. Way to go $35,000 punter.

"99 Luftballons" is a Cold-War era protest song that tells the story of 99 red balloons floating into the air, triggering an apocalypse when the military sends planes to intercept them. There is something about Captain Kirk in there too.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Kiwi $ is dropping

The $NZ has had a good run lately. It has been as high as .74 to the $US and New Zealanders have had plenty of time to take advantage of the high dollar to purchase imported products from overseas.

When I moved up here to the USA, $1 NZ purchased me 0.42 cents US. That was certainly an expensive move, but I am looking to make some of that back when the $NZ drops into the $.50's against the US.

It is good for the exporters for the dollar to go lower as NZ products become more affordable for the foreign purchasers. That in turn can create a increase in demand for NZ products overseas and the economy can benefit from that. Now is the time to try and get the NZ/US free trade agreement in place.

I predict that th NZ dollar will be worth $.56 to the $US within 6 months.

Here is a graph of the value today.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Going to Canada

I am going to Canada early tomorrow morning to attend the wedding of my Niece "Wee Emily" to Ryan Kehn..... I am looking forwards to catching up with everyone and may even be tempted to make a spir of the moment speech at the wedding... :-) Back next week... Have fun in Bloggsville.

Question of the day?

Why do people fart in empty lifts / elevators? Revolting...

Busted with Billion dollar bills....!

Well if they were real then some of these fake billion dollar bills could be used for the Presidential fund, but no, the largest denomination available in the USA is $100...

US Customs agents in California said they had found 250 bogus billion dollar bills while investigating a man charged with currency smuggling. Really, I mean who'd have change for a billion?

Tekle Zigetta, 45, pleaded guilty to three federal counts of trying to bring cash, phony bills and a fake $US100,000 ($NZ158,252.88) gold certificate into the United States in January. I really don't know what this guy was thinking...He must feel real bad telling Baba at the State penitantary about why he was arrested.

Further investigation led agents to a West Hollywood apartment where they found the stash of yellowing and wrinkled one billion dollar bills with an issue date of 1934 and bearing a picture of President Grover Cleveland. The 34 bills are worth more than $1 as a collectors item... Who'd really spend them?

"You would think the $US1 billion denomination would be a giveaway that these notes are fake, but some people are still taken in," said James Todak, a secret services agent involved in the probe.

Tekle may well be the Nimrod of the week......

Monday, March 13, 2006

Greg Johnson playing in Hollywood CA

$100,000,000 plus to become President of USA

According to the Washington Post...

"There is a growing sense that there is going to be a $100 million entry fee at the end of 2007 to be considered a serious candidate,"

What's more, many analysts believe that 2008 will be a clash of such titanic intensity that the nominees will reject public funding and the spending limits that govern it even for the fall campaign. If so, most bets are that each major-party candidate would need to raise in excess of $400 million by the Nov. 4, 2008, election. Candidates would want to raise as much of that money as early as possible, so as not to waste precious campaign time holding fundraisers.

That is some big bucks.......

Full story Here

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Slobodan Milosevic DEAD

It is reported today that Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav leader died Saturday while on trial for crimes against humanity. He was 64.

Milosevic was found dead in his prison cell at the United Nations detention center near The Hague, the U.N. war crimes tribunal announced. He died of apparent natural causes. An autopsy has been ordered. Milosevic had a history of poor health, including high blood pressure and a chronic heart condition. His four-year trial on genocide and other charges was often interrupted by his illnesses.

That puts and end to that.

Friday, March 10, 2006

If you were Phil Goff

According the the US Department of State......"New Zealand has three defense policy objectives--defend New Zealand against low-level threats, contribute to regional security, and play a part in global security efforts. New Zealand has considered its own national defense needs to be modest. Its defense budget generally has provided for selected upgrades in equipment, most of which have been devoted to the army. Shortly after winning the 1999 election, the Labour government canceled a lease-to-buy agreement with the U.S. for 28 F-16 aircraft. In 2001, the government contracted to purchase 105 LAVIIIs for U.S. $300 million, with initial delivery in 2003. In 2002, it announced planned upgrades of its P3 and C-130 Hercules aircraft, and committed to spend U.S. $250 million to purchase a multi-role vessel and several offshore patrol vessels, and U.S. $100 million for two used Boeing 757s as replacement VIP jet transport aircraft.

In May 2001, the government announced it was scrapping its combat air force. New Zealand states it maintains a "credible minimum force," although critics maintain that the country's defense forces have fallen below this standard.

With a claimed area of direct strategic concern that extends from Australia to Southeast Asia to the South Pacific, New Zealand necessarily places substantial reliance on its defense relationship with other countries, in particular Australia. However, acknowledging the need to improve its defense capabilities, the government in 2005 allocated an additional NZ$4.6 billion (U.S. $3.19 billion) over 10 years to modernize the country’s defense equipment and infrastructure and increase its military personnel. The funding represented a 51% increase in defense spending since the Labour government took office in 1999."

So the question is.......... If you were the Minister of Defence for NZ, and the $4.6 billion was available to you today to rebuild NZ's defence forces ( Air, Army, Navy )what would you do?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

SIS job available as the director

Advertisements for one of New Zealand's top spy jobs will begin publicly this Saturday.

The State Services Commission is looking for a new Director of Security for the Security Intelligence Service. I am sure that this would be an interesting job... One of us should apply...

The current director, Richard Woods, will retire in October. Bet you he knows a thing or two.

The SIS is responsible for sniffing out terrorists and spies and investigating covert activities in New Zealand amongst other things that only Mr Woods, the PM and the SIS agents would know of.

I think I know someone who applied for a job with the SIS in the past only to be turned down... Who was that???????

F1 2006 Let the race begin.

The 2006 F1 season is about to start with the first race in Bahrain this weekend. Current world champ Fernando Alonso is tipped to be challenging the podium along with Kimi Raikkonen, former and 7 times world champ Michael Schumacher, and expect good results from Button and Barrichello of Honda.

The season is going to be interesting with tyre changes allowed and new v8 engines replacing the v10's with exception of Torro Rosso, which will be using the rev limited V10. Maybe just maybe Toro Rosso will be in the position to get some reasonable results in the first couple of races with new drivers Liuzzi, and Scott Speed of USA.
Speed with his apt last name will be the first American on the f1 grid since 1993.

BMW took over Sauber, and dumped Williams or visa-versa. Red Bull took over Minardi and is now called Scuderia Toro Rossa. Honda brought out BAR, and now is just Honda. Midland took over Jordan. Super Agri is running old 2002 Arrows chassis and is a new team with Honda support, and Williams is partnered with Cosworth.

There is plenty of driver changes and the qualifying format has changed, so I am predicting that 2006 is going to be one of the most interesting seasons since..... last year. I can't wait to get up in the middle of the night to watch races on the speed channel. I'd like to attend either Indy or Montreal this year...?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Rudy Giuliani tops the poll

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani is the most popular politician in the United States, according to a national poll this week testing support for potential candidates in the 2008 presidential race. This is a good thing.... as long as his health is good. Rudy would make a great President.... Might get a bit dirty if the Dems bring up his infidelity though?

The survey of some 1,900 voters by the Quinnipiac Polling Institute asked respondents to rate several nationally known politicians on a scale from 0 to 100, with higher numbers reflecting higher regard. Although the poll is small, it is a good indicator of what might pan out in the next Presidential election. Will Rudy run?

Giuliani topped the list, with an average score of 63.5 percent, followed by Democratic Senator Barack Obama, seen as one of his party's rising stars. Obama scored 59.9.

In third place was veteran Republican US Senator John McCain at 59.7 who has recently been to NZ, followed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with a score of 57.1. Not sure that Condoleezza is planning on running for President, but would she make a good VP?

Former US President Bill Clinton rounded out the top five with a score of 56.1 in the poll by the Hamden Connecticut-based political institute.

His wife, US Senator Hillary Clinton, seen as the Democrats' top bet to run for the White House in 2008, came in eighth place, with a score of 50.4. Also good news for the right. People seem to be a little concerned about the former First Lady having the top job.... Maybe she will also make a good VP?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Canadian PM is a fan of AC/DC?

I was reading wikipedia, and I find it interesting to see that according to the online encyclopedia, Canadian PM Stephen Harper is a fan of AC/DC. I regard them as one of my favorite bands. The rumor is that there will be a new album released by AC/DC very soon. Back in Black, an early album with songs like " You shook me all night long, Back in Black, Hells Bells and Have a drink on me ", is one of the best rock albums out there... IT rocks. PM Harper is also a fan of the Beatles.

I understand that President Bush is a fan of The Knack.... Another great band. My Sharona.......

I wonder what band is Helen Clark's favorite?

Friday, March 03, 2006

If you were G W Bush as low in the polls

Buffeted by resistance to the port transaction and discontent over the turmoil in Iraq, President Bush's approval rating fell to 38%, the lowest level recorded for him in a Times poll. His disapproval rating rose to 58%. Well it is not going to make a difference to him in the next Presidential election, as he can't run again, it must be getting to him personally as the approval polls for #43 seem to get lower and lower all the time.

In a trend that could affect turnout in the November midterm elections, Bush confronts what might be called an intensity gap... The percentage of Americans who said they strongly disapproved of his performance on a wide range of issues greatly exceeded the share who strongly approved. This is not a positive thing for the GOP.

The Times/Bloomberg poll, supervised by Times Poll Director Susan Pinkus, surveyed 1,273 adults nationwide from Saturday through Wednesday. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Well not a large poll, it does seem to reflect a lot of what I hear from people when I talk about George. George is not someone to bring up at this stage in California if you don't want to get into some sort of negative banter in a public situation. George needs some positive PR.

So the question is.....

If you were the President of the USA at this point of time, what would you do to try and improve your popularity rating to assist your party in the mid term elections in November, and at least have some piece of mind that the majority of the public support your agenda?????????

Thursday, March 02, 2006

New US $10 released

The new US $10 note was issued on March 2, 2006 and is the latest in the new series for U.S. currency. The new series began with the introduction of the $20 note on October 9, 2003, and continued with the $50 note issued on September 28, 2004.

The combined efforts of public education, law enforcement, improved security features and public awareness have all kept counterfeiting of U.S. currency at low levels. Current estimates put the rate of counterfeit $10 notes in circulation worldwide at less than one note for every 10,000 genuine $10 notes in circulation. Most counterfeiters tend to copy the old $100.

The new currency designs will help stay ahead of counterfeiters, who are turning increasingly to digital methods, as advances in technology make digital counterfeiting easier and cheaper.

In the past decade, digital equipment has become more available to the general public, and as a result, the amount of digitally produced counterfeits has risen. Since 1995, digitally produced counterfeit notes have increased from less than 1 percent of all counterfeits detected in the United States to about 52 percent in 2004.

The new $10 should be in my hand in less than a week......