Home' Greymouth Star : January 16th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, January 16, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1547 - Ivan the Terrible is crowned Russia's
1666 - France, allied with Holland, declares
war on England.
1917 - Germans propose in a telegram that
Mexico become Germany's ally with a view to
recovering Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
e telegram is intercepted, hastening the US
entry into World War One.
1920 - Prohibition, the legal prevention of
the manufacture, sale, or transportation of
alcoholic drinks, begins as the 18th
Amendment to the US Constitution
takes e ect. It is later repealed.
1973 - United States and South
Vietnam declare cease re in
Vietnam War in hopes of full peace
1979 - In the face of growing
unrest, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi ees
Iran, never to return.
1991 - US and allied ghters and heavy
bombers start pounding targets in Iraq and
Kuwait after Iraq fails to meet a deadline on
withdrawal from Kuwait.
2006 - Ernest Johnson Jr, 55, who deserted
the US Marine Corps during the Vietnam War
is arrested in Texas after more than 36 years on
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Richard Savage, English author (1697-1743);
Niccolo Piccinni, Italian musician
(1728-1800); John Carpenter, US
lm director (1948-); Debbie Allen,
(1950-); Sade, US singer (1959-);
Maxine Jones, US R and B singer
(1966-); Greg Page, Australian
musician and actor ( e Wiggles)
(1972-); Kate Moss, English model (1974-).
"I am a believer in punctuality, though it
makes me very lonely." --- E V Lucas, English
writer and publisher (1868-1938).
"Here is a call for the endurance of the saints,
those who keep the commandments of God
and hold fast to the faith of Jesus."
--- (Revelation 14:12).
A married woman,
her teenage son and
the family's pet dog
were rescued from
their Camerons home, o Bundi Road, by a
rowing boat between 7.45 and 8 o'clock last
night, after a tributary of the New River had
breached its banks and ooded their property.
Rescued were Mrs R G Craw and her son
Stephen. Mr Craw, a railway employee, was
working at Otira at the time and arrived home
later in the evening.
A second son, Michael, who had been going
around the sheep when his mother and brother
were being rowed to safety, arrived back at the
scene shortly after they had been ferried to
higher ground. e family spent the night with
neighbours Mr and Mrs J W Bryce.
"It's too late now," said Mr H P Piesse in
Greymouth today, commenting on a suggestion
by the Grey County Council that he might
give consideration to establishing his timber
utilisation business at Ahaura. Mr Piesse has
been granted the lease of nine acres of land
at Stillwater by the New Zealand Railways
Department. e lease has been approved for
a 14 year term with the right of renewal for a
PS Timbers Ltd, the name of the new
company, is a subsidiary of H P Piesse Ltd,
Christchurch. It has an initial capital of
£75,000 but this will be increased when
the assets of the city business are realised
after work closes down there. e company
undertakes a multitude of work with all kinds
of mouldings as its special line. e Stillwater
business will give employment for 60 people
"without any bother", Mr Piesse said.
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (o ce)
769 7913 (editorial)
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Sports Editor Tui Bromley
Chief Reporter Laura Mills
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
Healy s view
Ohio's state execution
team is nalising plans
to dispatch a convicted
murderer and rapist on
death row using a never-
of two drugs which defence lawyers
say threatens to leave him writhing in
agony from "air hunger" before he loses
consciousness and expires.
e way was cleared for the execution
of Dennis McGuire, 53, when a federal
judge in Columbus ruled this week that
concerns about how the new cocktail
would work were not enough to issue
a stay even as he acknowledged that it
amounted nonetheless to a death chamber
"experiment" by the State.
Ohio and other death penalty states
have been struggling to keep executions
going because supplies of pentobarbital
traditionally used in a three-drug mix
have all passed their sell-by dates thanks
to its Danish manufacturer prohibiting
its sale to United States prison services.
e European Union has also threatened
to restrict sales of propofol, a leading
anaesthetic used in hospitals, were US
death chambers to use it instead.
In Wyoming, state Senator Bruce
Burns, a Republican, said he was tabling
proposals to replace death by lethal
injection with the ring squad in his State
because of the drug shortage crisis. Using
marksmen to empty death row would be
preferable, he said, than the alternative ---
building a gas chamber.
Controversy is also raging in Oklahoma
following what appears to have been the
botched execution last week of Michael
Lee Wilson based on his last words
uttered after the injection process had
begun: "I feel my whole body burning."
Exactly what went wrong is unclear
because the State is not saying.
e two-drug formula that Ohio has
turned to --- the sedative midazolam
followed by the painkiller hydromorphone
--- was to have been used for the rst time
late last year on another inmate, Ronald
Phillips. His execution was postponed
at the last minute because of uncertainty
over whether his request that his organs
be donated after death could legally be
us McGuire, convicted of the 1989
rape and fatal stabbing of Joy Stewart in
western Ohio, is now set to be the guinea
pig, barring any last-minute stay by the US
Supreme Court or State governor.
In court lings earlier, defence lawyers
had contended that "McGuire will
experience the agony and terror of air
hunger as he struggles to breathe for ve
minutes after defendants intravenously
inject him with the execution drugs". ey
also suggested that because McGuire
su ers from severe sleep apnoea the risk of
his struggling to ll his lungs for air before
he passes out will be increased.
In his ruling the US district judge
Gregory Frost said he saw no convincing
evidence of a "substantial risk" that
McGuire would su er the "severe pain"
trying to ll his lungs on the death
stretcher that would put his execution at
odds with the constitutional prohibition of
"cruel and unusual punishment".
Almost in the same breath, however, he
added that there is "absolutely no question
that Ohio's current protocol presents an
experiment in lethal injection processes ...
To pretend otherwise, or that either of the
experts or this court truly knows what the
outcome of the experiment will be, would
In its lings to the judge, the State's
Attorney General's o ce did not deny the
combination might cause discomfort but
added: "You're not entitled to a pain-free
Both the Governor, John Kasich, and
the Ohio Parole Board have already
rejected pleas for clemency for McGuire.
Separately, his lawyers appealed to the
Supreme Court to issue a stay on the
grounds that the jury at his trial were
insu ciently informed of the severe
di culties of his child hood.
In making his ring squad proposal,
Wyoming's Senator said it was partly
about money. "Frankly it's one of the
cheapest (options) for the State."
No pain-free execution
e execution chamber where Dennis McGuire will be executed. Inset Dennis McGuire.
You have to wonder if, in the weeks
since Colin Craig made his interesting
observations about astronauts and the
Moon, he has not got some professional
help. Because his latest stunt --- to
raise again the fraught subject of child
discipline --- is nothing short of brilliant.
Over the past couple of decades few
subjects have lent themselves so readily
to the arousal of popular passions as the
so-called "anti-smacking" crusade. ere's
something about the crusaders' arguments
against corporal punishment that gets
right under the skin of "the average New
Zealander". Equally, there is something
about "the average New Zealander's"
willingness to use the phrases "hitting
your kids" and "good parenting" in the
same sentence that drives the crusaders'
absolutely bloody nuts.
Given that most of the anti-smacking
crusaders are staunch supporters of the
Green and Labour parties, inciting them
to launch yet another assault on the
child-rearing practices of ordinary New
Zealanders makes perfect sense --- if
your purpose is to push Colin Craig's
Conservative Party over the 5% MMP
Of course, it is entirely possible that Mr
Craig is acting entirely alone. ere has
always been a peculiarly guileless quality
to the man: a weird "what-you-see-is-
what-you-get" honesty that is every bit as
attractive as it is o -putting.
His ready admission that he still smacks
his eight-year-old daughter is a case in
Only an adviser of Crosby-Textor's
sophistication would have the sheer
Machiavellian gall to suggest that a
political leader own up to the belief that
it is perfectly acceptable for citizens to
pick and choose which laws they obey and
which they ignore. A party which openly
acknowledges its ambition to join the
nation's legislators is generally expected to
demonstrate (and usually does display) a
little more respect for the rule of law.
It is, however, a crucial element of
Mr Craig's naive political genius to
instinctively "get" that the anti-smacking
legislation owes nothing at all to the
will of the people and everything to
the unshakeable convictions of a self-
righteous minority. ose who bridle at
this characterisation would no doubt also
dismiss the judgment of the 87.4% of
voters who in 2009 answered "No." to the
citizens initiated referendum question:
"Should a smack as part of good parental
correction be a criminal o ence in New
Mr Craig's argument is that any law
passed in such studied contempt of public
opinion has no legitimate claim upon the
ordinary citizen's compliance. Accordingly,
he plans to make its repeal a "bottom line"
should the Conservatives end up holding
the balance of power following this year's
"It would be an easy one for National
to put over the line because obviously
the law is not working. Child abuse
statistics have risen. It is a silly law. e
vast majority of parents think this law has
gone too far."
e big challenge for Labour and the
Greens is to demonstrate an equally
sophisticated grasp of the political
dynamics of the "anti-smacking" debate
as Mr Craig (acting either alone or in
response to professional advice) has
ey must resist the temptation to
re-litigate the political arguments of
2007-08. Instead they must hold rmly
to this thought: " e best way to keep
children safe from parental brutalisation is
to win the election."
Let Mr Craig knock himself out on the
smacking issue. ere are a whole host of
important things to talk about with voters
besides the anti-smacking legislation:
inequality; inadequate incomes; child
poverty; a ordable housing.
e Labour-Green strategy must be to
coax the non-voters of 2008 and 2011 out
of their political alienation; their belief
that the political class simply does not
give a toss for their opinions. Both parties
need to "get" that nothing demonstrates
the "truth" of elite indi erence better than
the "anti-smacking" bill.
Why else would Mr Craig's
Conservatives be thrusting it back into
If Labour and the Greens cannot
persuade alienated voters that someone
other than Colin Craig's Conser vatives is
listening to them, then the left will lose.
Chris Trotter is an independent
left-wing political commentator.
e sound of one hand smacking
He has rippling muscles, a cloak
and the standard-issue briefs, but
"Superhobo" is not your average
comic-book hero: his torn bodysuit,
shaggy beard and the bottle of beer
in his st all tell of a hard life on
"His muscles are rm but he
has no xed abode" proclaims
the slogan of "Superhobo" comic
("Superpenner" in the original
German), which hit the streets of
Berlin recently in an attempt to
boost sales of a newspaper sold by
e humour is dark: the craggy-
faced superhero sleeps on a bench
in his woollen cap, dreaming of
beer, and the people he rescues gag
at his foul breath.
But the homeless, the unemployed
and the poor immigrants who
picked up an armful of the
"Strassenfeger" newspapers to sell
around Berlin, with the comic as a
free supplement, did not seem to
nd the idea o ensive.
"It's just a bit of fun," said Daniela,
a 40-year-old who has been touting
the "Strassenfeger" (Street Sweeper)
at a central Berlin train station for
the past two years.
Her customers are commuters,
people waiting for a taxi and
forecourt smokers. For each copy she
sells at $2, she gets to keep $1.20.
An unemployed kitchen worker
--- who would not give her surname
said the comic seemed to be good
for business, grabbing people's
Lots of people shook their heads
when Daniela approached but
Frank Henseler, a 56-year-old
in a tie and scarf visiting Berlin
on business, leafed through the
Superpenner, his cigarette smoke
billowing in the cold air, and
bought a copy.
" e comic is interesting and I'd
like to have a look, and I happen to
be reading a book right now about
homeless people in Paris," he told
In the best Marvel comic
tradition, the hobo gets
superpowers by accident when an
intern at a secret service lab takes
a bottle of mysterious green liquid,
which "looks like a urine sample",
and gives it to the tramp by mistake.
Endowed with superhuman
strength when he downs a beer, he
and his sidekick "Gutter Girl" take
on " e Baddies".
When he is close to defeat,
"Convenience Store Man" ---
identi ed none too subtly as a
member of Berlin's largest minority
by his moustache and a Turkish ag
--- saves him by providing a beer in
the nick of time.
But the aim is serious: "Not every
hobo is a Superhobo", read the
posters advertising the new comic.
e comic is the brainchild of
Robert Krause, creative director
of advertising agency Scholz and
Friends, who hopes the polemic
style will draw attention to the
plight of the homeless.
" e important thing is that
people buy the comic, because
we want to help the homeless
simply by increasing their sales and
generating more donations," he said
in an interview. --- Reuters
"Superhobo" of Germany's downtrodden
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