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Open mike 06/04/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 6th, 2012 - 86 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

86 comments on “Open mike 06/04/2012 ”

  1. I’ve never cared much about political definitions and labels, they’ve seemed restrictive and pointless. I’ve tried to look at things objectively without a preconceived position, to learn about pros and cons and then to decide. And also to allow decisions to be modified if further learning justifies it.

    But this description of liberal centrism and Liberal Democrats is some thing I readily identify with (not so much the frog).

    Liberal Democrats and Kermit the Frog
    The liberal centrist approach requires a sensibility and a pragmatism that often does not sit comfortably with the prevailing political debate. It is inevitably much easier to be “for” something, or “against “ it in a sort of soapbox way, than it is to take a more discerning approach based on the particular circumstances of the time and the best response to them.

    To the cynic such detached objectivism is not only passionless, and therefore lacking commitment, but also unprincipled and opportunist, easily dismissed as “wishy-washy”, or “standing for nothing”, or “just having an eye for the main chance.” Far better, the cynic argues to be unmistakeably “right” or “wrong” as the case may be, because at least that way everyone is left in no doubt as to where you stand, regardless of the consequences.

    Principles, it would seem, are the millstones ideologically based political parties attach to their own necks. To the liberal centrist, however, principles are enduring values which enable one to decide how to respond effectively to changing times and the actual situation. To the cynic, being rigidly “for” or “against” something is principled – whereas using principles to guide behaviour is “convenient” or “pragmatic” in the most disparaging way.

    …the liberal centrist espouses and operates by the values of decency and honesty, and getting things done, while pricking the balloons of social and political pretension.

    I know some people won’t be happy with this. I’ll post it on a variety of blogs and will inevitably it will be abused, I’ll likely be attacked personally, and Peter Dunne will again be heaped with scorn.

    I’ve been called all of the usual insults, “wishy-washy”, “standing for nothing”, and “sitting on the fence”. By people too blinkered or extreme to understand centrism.

    But I hope that more moderate readers (often they’re the silent readers), will see something in this that makes sense. It seems like common sense to me.

    And the reality is that National and Labour have been substantially around about the liberal centre in manyb respects.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      That’s what I do but not what you do. You do things for political pragmatism not from objectivity. It’s why you and your party can sell state assets when all the evidence shows that it’s bad for the country.

    • The trouble is Petey that yours is not a principle based political movement.  Your belief system is that there are no absolutes and that by drawing a tangent between two opposing viewpoints you get the ideal result.

      This requires you NOT to have firm ideas about anything which amongst other things is intellectually dishonest and also means that your type of rule does not provide the best leadership.

      It is also very cowardly leadership.  As an example the issues of climate change and resource depletion appear almost inevitably to be leading our civilisation over a cliff.  Strong principled leadership is required to persuade a reluctant human race to change its ways.  But your dive to the centre means that the responses that may occur will be tepid at best and the strong action required will not occur.

      Please stop confusing “moderate” with “right”.  To finish this rant with a breach of Goodwin’s law would moderates in the second world war have been satisfied with the murder of only a couple of million jews? 

      • Pete George 1.2.1

        Not surprised you don’t get it Greg. Being a centrist or “moderate” doesn’t stop one from having firm positions on issues.

        For example I agree with this UK report supports euthanasia.

        And I fully agree with this quote:

        I think it’s inevitable that New Zealand will become a republic and that would reflect the reality that New Zealand is a totally sovereign-independent 21st century nation 12,000 miles from the United Kingdom

        Both of those are controversial issues. I have clear preferences on both.

        • mickysavage

          But you are advocating for a “centrist” movement but then using an exception to confirm that having a “centrist” position is a good thing.

          If you believe that having a controversial position on issues is occasionally required then this proves that your political philosophy is a piece of bunkum.

          And I would hardly call republicanism as a controversial issue.  It is way over time and any “sensible” person supported it decades ago. 

      • Pete George 1.2.2

        And on your Godwin’s rant – I’m prepared to stand up and speak for what I think is right and against what I think is wrong, even in forums where I know there will often be a hostile response.

        • mickysavage

          Well go on then.  Climate change and resource depletion.  Describe succinctly what do you think the human race should do.

          • Pete George

            Climate change

            I’ve had many heated debates at KB on this, there’s a devout anti climate change faction there. I back the majority science and agree there is cause for major concern. I think we must have some effect, but don’t know how much or whether we can reverse it.

            I think climate change will be researched and argued for decades, and we still may never be sure about whether human causes are significant or not. And I believe that there will be both positive and negative effects in various parts of the world.

            Regardless, measures required to try and combat climate change are largely beneficial anyway, so I support far greater effort in reducing all emissions, and I support far more effort towards sustainability (and I am personally doing my little bit).

            I think one of our biggest (and largely ignored) issues related to this is rampant consumerism and commerical promotion of over consumption.

            • mickysavage

              But don’t you see that your preaching of “moderation” and “common sense” will weaken the political will to do something?  For every gutsy politician willing to say it the way it is there will be a Petey George preaching “moderation” which will mean that eventually little will be done.

              Don’t you understand that your “political movement” is just an excuse for politicians to be half arsed about important issues? 

              • You’re confused about centrism and “moderation”. It’s possible to be generally moderate but to have strong views and take strong action on some things. Just like it’s possible for a hard lefty to have some moderate views on some things.

                Workable answers to major problems are far more often going to come from a centrist rather than hard left or hard right approach.

                • But Petey your statements are bland to the extreme but you then say that lefties are all wrong and you are right but when I press you on a couple of significant issues you start to sound just a little bit liberal.  So stop saying that we are wrong and acknowledge that the left actually has a a far better approach to issues than the right.  

                  And you just contradicted yourself.  You said  “Workable answers to major problems are far more often going to come from a centrist rather than hard left or hard right approach” but your response to the two issues I proposed are certainly more progressive than a “middle” position.

                  • you then say that lefties are all wrong

                    I don’t recall ever saying that.

                    So stop saying that we are wrong and acknowledge that the left actually has a a far better approach to issues than the right.

                    That’s nonsense. Centre/centre-right/centre left is where most approaches come from, with a few more left or more right approaches in the mix.

                    You might have a left versus right brain (have you had a callotomy?) but we don’t live in a left or right world.

                  • Gosman

                    ‘So stop saying that we are wrong and acknowledge that the left actually has a a far better approach to issues than the right.’

                    You do realise there is a middle ground where left and right just have different ways of dealing with problems and one way might not necessarily be right and the other wrong don’t you?

                    • Gossie the implication that the “left” has a doctrinal position removed from reality is the bit that annoys me.  For me the “middle ground” is a rhetorical distraction that stops politicians from actually analyzing and discussing issues.  It is an excuse for an insipid approach to what are important issues.

                      Every time I hear “middle ground” I know what a tough decision will not be made, no matter what the merits. 

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Workable answers to major problems are far more often going to come from a centrist rather than hard left or hard right approach.

                  No, they won’t as your waffling about climate change shows. When radical change is needed, as is pretty much true of everything ATM, then centrism will continue to do nothing – just like it is doing. It will keep looking to maintain BAU when the evidence tells us that BAU is unsustainable.

                  Reality has a Radical Left bias

          • Pete George

            Resource depletion

            I disagree strrongly with those who claim we either won’t run out of resources, or we will always find suitable replacements as we run out. It is inevtiable we will run short of or out of what are non essential resources.

            My comment on rampant consumerism applies here too. Plus the population growth problem that has no easy or quick solution.

            Resource depletion is more critical and more certain than climate change. And more difficult to have answers too.

            Human civilisation has become a huge ponzi, addicted to the god of growth. It’s like a runaway train, very difficult to jump off, and where the only end result will be a train wreck.

            We don’t know what generation will bear the brunt of this. And I don’t know if we have the will to avoid it. The changes required would be huge.

            • Lanthanide

              My generation. I’m 27.

            • Draco T Bastard

              We don’t know what generation will bear the brunt of this.

              Yes we do. Gen X will probably feel some of it but Gen Y will most likely feel the full sting.

            • mickysavage

              And I don’t know if we have the will to avoid it. The changes required would be huge.

              So Petey as a potential politician are you willing to stand up and advocate for change and at the same time risk being unelected because some “middle of the road” politician says you are an extremist?

            • McFlock

              Peteg’s methond on how to say nothing, no matter what the issue :
              1: agree, with adamant language, that there is a major problem, but point out in slight language that some people disagree;
              2: suggest that there is a solution, but that it is too complex to describe at the time;
              3: make some general normative statement about how people need to be more responsible, more reasonable, less greedy, behave better, be less violent, take better care of their kids, plan ahead a bit more, or have better fashion sense.
              1 makes him sound strongly principled but the acknowledgement of disagreement leaves wriggle room, 2 suggests he knows what he’s talking about, and 3 sounds like a solution but could justify any government policy whatsoever.

            • rosy

              And I don’t know if we have the will to avoid it. The changes required would be huge.
              Some of us have the will – but then you’d label us radical left.

      • muzza 1.2.3

        No integrity is the short version Pete , just in case you couldn’t follow!

    • locus 1.3

      The problem i see with most of your posts pete is that you always think that your views are common sense, balanced and principled, which means that anyone who takes a different point of view is easily dismissed as not those things. And now you’re labelling yourself as a ‘liberal centrist’ who “espouses and operates by the values of decency and honesty, and getting things done etc. etc.” And if anyone were to question the profile you’ve just given yourself you’ve the ready made answer that they must be “blinkered” or “extreme”.

      I don’t think I’ve ever come across someone who so consistently thinks so much of himself.

      • Pete George 1.3.1

        Funny. Most people agree with and promote their own ideas. Especially on blogs.

        Don’t they? Or do some people just parrot what they are told.

        • locus

          umm most people generally agree with their own ideas

          and you said it…. parrots are often taught to say pretty polly while looking in the mirror

          honestly i don’t think that you blog to learn anything, you just blog to ‘espouse’ your superior opinon

          • muzza

            Agreed, some blog sites are interesting places to gleam various opinions, and even learn new angles of issues to invest time in researching.

            Pete is far too old, too set in his ways and too ignorant in his beliefs to be able to understand is inner self. The life of a fluffer is the life of a slave, at the beck and call of the master. This is Pete sum total offering to NZ, A failed attempt to make something politically of himself, and a fluffer to one of the biggest traitors in NZ politicial history. Very few politicians share such fairweather record as the master mason Dunny Brush. Your generation has no idea what is best for anyone other than itself Pete, you need to get that through your thick head!

            Ergo, Petes contribution is to have been responsible for the misery that Dunne and his money lining, selfish. egotistical , deluded , power craving ways, which he believes are righteous, foisted upon Kiwis, the results of which we are left to live with well past when Pete and Dunny are in the ground!

            The attitude excretes through his words!

    • logie97 1.4

      Who are you kidding PG? The large majority of your comments on this site have been in defence of this government, so much so that you appear to be making a pitch for a Dunedin nomination for the National Party come the next election.

    • millsy 1.5

      I dont know about anyone else here, Peter, but you have articulated ACT-like positions on policies such as public ownership, the social contract and industrial relations.

      It has shown that ‘centrism’ is merely putting lipstick, blusher, eyeliner and eyeshadow on the same right-wing pig.

  2. locus 3

    moved comment

  3. rosy 4

    I’ve been watching the Euronews item of the 77 year-old Greek that is the top story. He killed himself, but that’s not unusual – the Greek suicide rate has doubled over the last couple of years. What made his suicide a talking point was that he did it publicly, and messily, he shot himself standing beside a tree in Syntagma Square in athens while life going on around him. And he left a suicide note that ended with a call to arms. Dimitris Christoulas was a retired pharmacist. The crisis has destroyed his pension fund and he decided to kill himself before he was reduced to rumaging in bins for his food. He left a wife and daughter.

    The Tsolakoglou government has annihilated all traces for my survival, which was based on a very dignified pension thatI alonepaid for 35 years with no help from the state. And since my advanced age does not allow me a way of dynamically reacting (although if a fellow Greek were to grab a Kalashnikov, I would be right behind him), I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance. I believe that young people with no future, will one day take up arms and hang the traitors of this country at Syntagma square, just like the Italians did to Mussolini in 1945

    (The Tsolakoglou government was German occupation government in WW2).
    It’s important to have academic/political discussions about austerity measures but it’s quite another to have the lives of those made destitute after a lifetime of doing the ‘right’ thing brought into such stark relief.

    Meanwhile, in Syntagma, the usual depressing scenes are unfolding as I write: a peaceful demonstration disrupted by battles between stone-throwing youths and helmeted police; industrial quantities of teargas. A woman journalist appears to be savagely beaten by riot police.

    Solid-left, instead of leftist, parties are gaining traction in Europe now. The Socialists look like making a comeback in Greece, and look to be odds-on to win the French election, but the the hard left has risen to 15% in the polls, with the far-right disappearing (despite the outrage of the recent radical-islamist killings) with “dreams of a better world, of no injustice, no social inequalities, no globilisation, no Europe, no rich and no poor, no Sarkozy – but no softie Socialist, either.” And George Galloway has given fair warning to the established parties and the MSM (who refused to take his by-election campaign seriously) in Britain to ‘Respect’ the people.

    This isn’t over yet.

    • bad12 4.1

      Bring it,the world-wide Socialist revolution that is,if we cannot have social-justice We will exchange such for revenge…

      • Pete George 4.1.1

        Socialism or bust. The Pol Pot method?

        • bad12

          Are you about to start Dissing our friend Pol Pot, you should take a holiday in Cambodia…

        • Colonial Viper

          PG you’re a lol

          Concentration Camp Austerity is where the capitalists are taking all of us for Financial Genocide. Wake up mate.

          • freedom

            Pete will simply stand with his back to the barbed wire fence, tell you it isn’t there and implore you to understand he cannot turn around to look at what you are trying to show him as then he would not be able to earnestly look you in the eye.

        • millsy

          I thought Pol Pot closed down the cities, abolished the private sector, shut down the universites and moved the citizens of his country into the countryside to practise large scale agarian socialism, after stripping them of their names and giving them numbers.

          I didn’t know he just levied modest tax increases on the wealthy and corporations to fund social services and infrastructure for the Democratic Republic of Kampuchea.

    • Tc 5.1

      Yup and only a matter of time before that other great democracy vandal rortney shows up as another media shill, it’s all about controlling the message combined with about a third not showing up to vote this is all too easy for them.

  4. Carol 6

    It seems as a childless woman of smallish stature, who rarely eats read meat and is a social democrat/democratic socialist, I may be at the forefront of human (r)evolution….. !!????


    If it is so hard to change the climate to suit humans, why not alter humans to suit the changing climate, philosophers from Oxford and New York universities are asking.

    They suggest humans could be modified to be smaller, dislike eating meat, have fewer children and be more willing to co-operate with social goals.

    On a more serious note, I’m OK with human evolution, and with advocating less eating of red meat and policies that involve social co-operation. And in a human-engineered environment that seems to be increasingly unfriendly to those of us closer to 5 foot than 6 foot, it’s good to see smallness of stature being promoted as a good thing. But I’m not OK with massive scale socio-biological and genetic engineering.

    And the warning at the end of the above article should be an important consideration:

    Dr Sandberg, of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, said the paper had inadvertently ”managed to press two hot buttons” – climate change and ”messing with human nature”. He predicted the paper would mutate into a story that scientists were working on re-engineering people to be green and it would be adopted as ”yet another piece of evidence of the Big Conspiracy”.

    • Tc 6.1

      Eating less meat is a simple and easy health choice as it contains a lot of nasties particularly in chicken which some consider white meat and as such not as bad…..that’s a dodgy assumption.

    • muzza 6.2

      “Dr Sandberg, of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, said the paper had inadvertently ”managed to press two hot buttons” – climate change and ”messing with human nature”. He predicted the paper would mutate into a story that scientists were working on re-engineering people to be green and it would be adopted as ”yet another piece of evidence of the Big Conspiracy”.

      For anyone who understands and has researched the musings of such people/industry etc, and feels what these “institutes” true intensions are….this article sums it up nicely, as does the use of the word “inadvertantly”, which is the give away…nothing these people do is an accident. The desire to alter human genetic code is well known, and with the future aims of what exactly…the use of the word conspiracy theory is there to feed those who don’t like to debate, and obviously a blatant smoke screen.

      They cloned a sheet decades ago, they can do what they want, this is nothing more than a public acknowledgement/admission.

    • Colonial Viper 6.3

      We’re going to be eating much less meat anyway. Lamb and beef in NZ is an expensive luxury.

  5. Lanthanide 7

    Just as a personal anecdote relating to the ACC leak with Bronwyn Pullar, my brother in law works for a health provider in Christchurch that deals mainly with ACC patients.

    Last week he got an email sent from ACC that had been CC’d to the wrong person: it was supposed to go to a physiotherapist but instead went to another client who had the same first name as the physiotherapist. Clear case of the email client pre-empting the proper person to email to. The ACC person realised they made a mistake and sent a “retraction” email, but of course by then it’s too late.

    He says that these sorts of mistakes happen; he himself has sent emails to the wrong people on occasion.

    I am quite sure that what happened with Bronwyn Pullar’s reception of the excel spreadsheet was exactly the same thing.

    • Anne 7.1

      Not so sure Lanthanide. It may have been mistakenly sent to Pullar but from what we have gleaned in the past week or two, Bronwyn Pullar’s name must have been writ in flashing neon lights. It seems an extraordinary coincidence that a mistake of that magnitude should involve – of all people – Bronwyn Pullar.

      • Lanthanide 7.1.1

        The same email was sent to over 40 other middle managers at ACC. It’s easy to imagine her name being lost amongst the long “To:” field on such an email.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      I am quite sure that what happened with Bronwyn Pullar’s reception of the excel spreadsheet was exactly the same thing.

      All this requires then is proof of who the email with the confidential client details was *supposed* to have been sent to…perhaps someone else with the first name Bronwyn.

      Because if that intended addressee does not exist, your theory is out the window.

      • Lanthanide 7.2.1

        They don’t even need to have the name ‘Bronwyn’, all it requires is for someone to make a typo and accidentally start typing in “Bron” and for the auto-correct to complete it to Pullar and the author to not notice.

        • calltoaccount

          Probably correct Lanth, but there will be some evidence if so, on this part of the story at least.

  6. Bored 8

    Yesterday I went to see Nicole Foss talk in Wellington, a joy to listen to somebody who deals with facts without any leftist or RWNJ agenda, just says it how it is. (Gos and PJ, get your butts down to listen to her talk, leave the agenda at the door and learn something).

    Foss basically lays the whole financial bubble fiasco on the line, and spoke specifically about what it means to us in NZ going forward. I was not wholly in agreement but her message boiled down and simple is “open your eyes and get ready for a great deflation”.

    On the negative, the crowd completely filling the large room at Turnbull House seemed to consist an average age of 50 plus, and had very few “suits” from business and government. This reinforced Foss message not to look for leadership from within current “leaders”. What distured me more was that the message was for the next generation, and they were conspicuous by their absence (more accurately sparse representation). I dispair for our under 30s, we have sold them down the river, they will have to craft an alternative to replace the ruins of our generations broken shibboleths.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Its the uni graduated sons and daughters of the privileged are in for a surprise over the next five years. And the ones starting “marketing”, “law” and “accountancy” in uni right now are going to have some unpleasant (non-existant) job prospects on their finishing in a few years.

      I heard some dick on National Radio this week say that we won’t need physical labour in the future any more (it was all too scary and hard work), the future economy will be a knowledge based one.

      IDIOTS. You don’t get knowledge based economies on the downward slope of the energy curve.

      • KJT 8.1.1

        No Wharfies, Builders, Grocery drivers, Technicians, Furniture makers, Food factory workers etc.

        A world populated by Lawyers and accountants would be interesting.

        Wonder how long they would survive?

        Maybe they could live by suing each other for cooking the books.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.2

        All economies are knowledge based. It’s just that without the free-energy available from oil a lot of that knowledge is going to be applied manually – unless we plan differently and bring the economy back within the physical limits defined by the environment and sustainability. Unfortunately, no one seems to like planning or admitting that there are limits.

  7. Jackal 9

    National going down

    National’s economic mismanagement, the ACC debacle and broken pre-election promises has been reflected in the latest Roy Morgan polling taken between March 12 and April 1, which has a 7% difference to the recent Colmar Brunton poll taken between the 24th and 28th of March.

    Judith Collins’ idiotic defamation sideshow over the last week wasn’t covered by either poll… so there’s likely worse news to come for the Natz.

  8. Pascal's bookie 10

    I don’t offer DPF enough gratitude.

    The ‘registration required to comment’ thing provides just enough of a barrier not to wade in to the custard the passes for talking about things over there.

    In today’s general debate they are talking about US presidencies, and who is the Worst Pres. Eva. Obama is winning pretty much, on no grounds whatsoever. It just seems to be axiomatic.

    Bush the Elder, and the Younger, don’t have many fans per se, but GWB gets cited in support of the idea that Obama ‘doesn’t have a clue’. There’s another guy who reckons GWB was pretty good, but ‘events overtook him’ towards the end of his second term. But he certainly doesn’t deserve to go inot the ‘worst category’, which is reserved for the likes of Clinton. And of course, the Obama, who is either a vermin infesting, or a disease infecting, the White house.

    Funny that though. Events. Coming out of the blue like that to tarnish GWBs record. Bastard events without reason! Damn their eyes.

    And there’s the usual axiomatic Reagan worship.

    And not a skerrick of policy discussion or anything approaching it to be seen.

    It’s target rich environment, but that little barrier saved me from bothering, so thanks David. Seriously.

    • ianmac 10.1

      I know what you mean.
      Sometimes I have to check when on the Standard that I haven’t somehow strayed onto Pete George’s site. A soap box is so kindly provided for him. Dogged isn’t he?
      As for the DPF point, those who write then rewrite history must have a lot of fun. George W Bush did some atrocious things to the point that isn’t he Wanted for War Crimes, and dare not step out of the USA?

  9. Reagan Cline 11

    An “approach based on the particular circumstances of the time and the best response to them —–informed by ——decency, honesty, and getting things done”
    The circumstances of the time are subject to perception, a woman at home all day, caring for children, cooking, washing clothes, tidying away is seen as oppressed and limited by some and as expressing the natural role of her gender by others.
    “Best responses” – based on what prior knowledge Pete ? The response judged “best” by the people involved is subject to their perception of the situation, gut feelings, what they know (taught to them, learned from experience).
    Decency, honesty and getting things done will not achieve a good life for all in New Zealand because many in power, whether in politics, business, academia, the media and so on are regarded by the populace as perverse, dishonest and reactionary.
    More MONGREL is required, particularly in the New Zealand Labour Party.

  10. Jilly Bee 12

    I tend to agree Reagan – a bit more mongrel is required by the N Z Labour Party. I have my renewal notice sitting in my unpaid bills department, but I’m not really of a mind to renew at the moment and have been struggling to work up any enthusiasm since David Cunliffe missed out on the leadership vote. Fortunately, he’s the buddy MP for Waitakere, now that Carmel has missed out on the list.

    I really meant to have a wee rant about shops being forced to close on Good Friday and Easter Day [Sunday]. I really don’t know why they can’t open if they wish to. No one is forced to go shopping on those two days if they don’t want to and obviously many people want to go shopping, particularly to the garden centres, which lend themselves to being open on general holidays like these, particularly when the weather is so good. There may be issues with staff who don’t want to work on those two days, but surely common sense would prevail and those staff who have religious objections to working those days can be given dispensation and not be penalised. Of course with the fairly vicious persecution of workers over the past month or so, I probably shouldn’t hold my breath. BTW – I’m a practising Christian – have been to a 3 hour Good Friday service today, but have no objection to those who would rather be indulging in a bit of retail therapy instead.

    • McFlock 12.1

      I’m not religious, but I do like days without advertising or general humdrum commerce. It’s only a few days a year.

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        Sunday trading should be all over at 2:00pm. That is, every Sunday.

        • rosy

          else no Sunday trading and allow garden centres open at Easter…

          I felt duped when in Europe I found shops aren’t open on Sundays, when the whole debate for them opening on Sundays in NZ was around how behind the times we were.

  11. Draco T Bastard 13

    Chomsky: How the Young Are Indoctrinated to Obey

    Some of the most insidious effects are on teaching and monitoring. The Enlightenment ideal of education was captured in the image of education as laying down a string that students follow in their own ways, developing their creativity and independence of mind.

    The alternative, to be rejected, is the image of pouring water into a vessel – and a very leaky one, as all of us know from experience. The latter approach includes teaching to test and other mechanisms that destroy students’ interest and seek to fit them into a mold, easily controlled. All too familiar today.

    Teaching to the test…that rings a bell, something about standards

  12. Balanced View 14

    This is the end of my first week in following this site. A big thank you to everyone for making me feel so welcome, especially my friend Viper.
    I would say that generally, the views expressed on this site are as equally biased as those expressed on the Whale Oil blog, although obviously from the opposite perspective. I also think that the comments are constructed better here which I find interesting.
    I trust that you have all enjoyed my company this week, and I look forward to further robust debates next week.

    • felix 14.1

      I’ve enjoyed your parody. A bit subtle for some, but hilarious.

      • fender 14.1.1

        Yes that extracted a laugh,

        Some don’t choose a handle that fits really, try (un)BV.

        The only comparrison with WOil is the political subject matter. This blog is fact based and thought provoking wheras WOil provokes nausea and redneck ideas.

        • Balanced View

          Honestly – I see an identical amount of fact on both sites, and an extraordinary amount of interpretation as well.

    • mac1 14.2

      “robust debates” You’re not Lockwood Smith are you? About as ‘balanced’ anyway……

      • Balanced View 14.2.1

        No, my grin isn’t as attractive.
        Funny that get the same amount of cynicism in regards to my pseudonym from both here and Whale Oil. I regard it as an endorsement of my use of it.

        • fender

          We are not allowed to try guess identities but you have to be either Rhys Darby or John Cleese

        • felix

          “Funny that get the same amount of cynicism in regards to my pseudonym from both here and Whale Oil. I regard it as an endorsement of my use of it.”

          Wherever I go, people call me a cunt. I regard it as an endorsement of my popularity and moral standing.

          • Balanced View


            • fender

              Are you not being a little quick to come up with another (un)balanced view.

              • Balanced View


                • fender

                  Unless Felix left FIFY off his/her post, you seemed to endorse ‘cunt’ status, but you can’t surely have a balanced view after only one week.

                  • Balanced View

                    Fortunately one can gain an unbiased view without the need to spend time here, as difficult as that probably seems to you.

                    • fender

                      Yep your scales are wonky and can’t achieve any balance whatsoever. It’s alright, it’s only a name and you can change it.

                    • McFlock

                      The question is not so much whether reading posts on The Standard is necessary to gain an unbiased perspective.
                      It’s whether anyone who claims that WO and TS “contain an identical amount of facts” is at all “balanced”.

        • mac1

          You’re saying that Lockwood Smith is not balanced? That I am being cynical in likening you to Parliament’s appointed, the Wearer of the Black Gown with Red Trim, he who processes into the House preceded by Black Rod and eons of tradition, Keeper of Order and Defender of the Minority, Speaker of the House and Seeker of a Knighthood, he who judges people by the size of their fingers and their ethnicity, the exiter of tall buildings by the back window when confronted by people of the opposite persuasion?

          You and he are about as balanced as a fishmonger with his finger on the scales. Both sides get the same reading, but not the same value.

  13. Draco T Bastard 15

    And then we have UK teenager arrested for anti-war Facebook post

    A spokesperson for Yorkshire police said that Ahmed was charged with “racially aggravated public order offence,” admitting, “He didn’t make his point very well and that is why he has landed himself in bother.”

    Keelan Balderson from Wide Shut website wondered whether the British troops are a race. “He did not use any racial terms. Or is that he himself is not British bred? In that case who is stirring up the racial hatred? Ahmed or the police trying to pigeon hole the incident?”

    “Although we do not have a crystal ball I’d make the bet that if his name was David Smith he probably wouldn’t have been charged.”

    Yeah, questioning the authorities is getting dangerous. Most people call this type of action by the government oppression.

    • rosy 15.1

      That’s seriously disturbing, but the U.S. do everything bigger and ‘better’. Naomi Wolfe on changes to tolerance of dissent:

      In a five-four ruling this week, the supreme court decided that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offense, however minor, at any time. This horror show ruling joins two recent horror show laws: the NDAA, which lets anyone be arrested forever at any time, and HR 347, the “trespass bill”, which gives you a 10-year sentence for protesting anywhere near someone with secret service protection. These criminalizations of being human follow, of course, the mini-uprising of the Occupy movement…

      …The most terrifying phrase of all in the decision is justice Kennedy’s striking use of the term “detainees” for “United States citizens under arrest”. Some members of Occupy who were arrested in Los Angeles also reported having been referred to by police as such. Justice Kennedy’s new use of what looks like a deliberate activation of that phrase is illuminating.

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