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Open mike 23/09/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, September 23rd, 2010 - 66 comments
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66 comments on “Open mike 23/09/2010 ”

  1. Carol 1

    With respect to recent discussions in this forum about the impact of inequality, I found this article gave a good overview of some books that look relevant:

    http://fivebooks.com/interviews/danny-dorling-on-inequality

    Professor Danny Dorling says it is becoming very hard to argue against inequality when, under the surface, arguments are beginning to be made that it’s rational to have inequality. His latest book, Injustice, rejects the arguments that are put forward for preserving inequality, one by one. He chooses essential reading on the subject.

    Dorling explains why he thinks his 5 selected books make significant contributions to the issue. The books are:

    The Challenge of Affluence: Self-Control and Well-Being in the United States and Britain since 1950– Avner Offer

    The Selfish Capitalist: The Origins of Affluenza – Oliver James

    Super Rich: The rise of inequality in Britain and the United States – George Irvin

    Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power, and the Hidden Battle for the World Food System – Raj Patel

    The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better – Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett

    The comment by Dorling that I found most startling, was this (about the book, The Selfish Capitalist):

    There has been research done in the States scanning the brains of students as they see a homeless person: the evidence suggests that they don’t recognise them as human. It was only when they asked the question ‘Do you think that person is hungry?’ that suddenly all the emotions fire up. It’s a survival mechanism. If you live in a very unequal society, you barely even see people who are from different social classes.

    • prism 1.1

      I have bought The Waning of Humaneness by Konrad Lorenz 1983 though not read it entirely yet. Under the heading ‘The uneasiness inherent in culture’ he posits that the soul preceded the mind and refers to his dog’s soul and capacity to love exceeding that of a human.

      He comments on the formation of mind ‘The human mind brought into existence through conceptual thinking, syntactic speech and the heritability of traditional knowledge {through} speech…'(p123) and this overtakes the soul.

      He refers to the technocratic/capitalistic success-society and says it influences us so much that our minds have ‘become the adversary of life itself and collaterally the adversary of the human soul’.(p126)

      I have referred to a radio discussion on the limiting of humanities education in universities which includes this type of philosophical thinking. If such debilitating control grows, then there will be even more growth of the money/action oriented person as in the Ayn Randian brand and Brave New World and 1984 portray the culture that will dominate our thinking and our lives.

    • Vicky32 1.2

      “scanning the brains of students as they see a homeless person: the evidence suggests that they don’t recognise them as human”
      Dear Heaven, that is well scary!
      Deb

  2. prism 2

    From The Daily Noose: John Key bends to pick low-hanging fruit. Douglas bites him in the bum, but Key turns the other cheek.

    • Carol 2.1

      Heh. Good one, prism. key just doesn’t accept any criticism – like water off a ducks back. He uses denial, diversion, and/or jokey deflection – all in his “down-to-earth-honest-guy” tone of voice. Sooner or later, surely (?!), the mainstream TV news & newspaper frontpage headlines must call him on it, and get him to face up to, and answer to, realities!?

    • jcuknz 2.2

      Key didn’t have to turn much since he has two cheeks up top and behind below.
      But seriously there will always be inequality, it is a fact of life, the aim should be to limit it to reasonable proportions. If there is none then there is no incentive for the individual. and no reward for effort. Everybody would be fat objectionable slobs as portrayed in the cartoon film about the waste collecting machine left behind on earth when mankind left for the stars ….I’m sure there was a message there from the producers..

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1

        That, quite simply, is a load of BS. Of course there would still be incentive – it would just be different than the fight to survive that drives the majority ATM (and which is used to keep them poor and the rich rich).

        • Bored 2.2.1.1

          Draco, I think from a historic perspective JC is quite correct, as we hear from the pulpit so often “the poor will always be with us” (ergo so will the rich). As a hard core lefty I work running companies (a very bourgeois activity) which makes me extremely aware of the need to allow people to contribute at their own level and to give them incentive to do so. Its as simple as recognition, people have a need to achieve and celebrate their success.

          What I think capitalism has done with this innate urge to achieve / succeed is to subvert it from the common good and the joint celebration of individual success. It is now a singular individual isolated success, and the capitalist control mechanism is the need of individuals to repeat it continuously to remain in front of the competitive pack. Rewards are material (cash) and thus success becomes an act of class warfare and control. The corollary is institutionalised poverty, no winners without losers.

        • Armchair Critic 2.2.1.2

          Yeah, I’m with jcuknz until about half way through the comment.
          I’d like a link to the cartoon film (is it on youtube, jcuknz?) so I can understand the context, because at face value it seems like BS to me.

          • Pascal's bookie 2.2.1.2.1

            He’s talking about Wall-E

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WALL-E#Themes

            • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.2.1.1

              Yep, Wall-E. Where everything was done by the machines and the people were looking for something to do but the machines wouldn’t let them. Pretty much what we have in capitalism.

              • Armchair Critic

                OK, thanks. I’m still not inspired to watch it. Whatsoever (which is the AS word – it’s sentient. Again.)

                • jcuknz

                  Thanks for the title which had slipped my memory though if you have a spare hour or so the film is well worth watching and I only refered to a short part of it … WALL-E is a highly engaging character and lovable 🙂

  3. Pascal's bookie 3

    What with everything, those folks at lower then 5 on the ACT list must be real keepers eh?

    • Dave 3.1

      Yeah, I’ll bet that party has more buried skeletons than Agincourt and Hastings combined. Good to see Clayton Cosgrove getting stuck in where he can, perhaps another backbencher could get fired up and throw in his two shillings worth?

      I hope Winston decides to stand in Epsom, that would be a debate I’d love to go and watch

      • Anne 3.1.1

        @ Dave
        You can be assured they have buried skeletons. A couple of their early antics would see them “gone by lunchtime” (and more) if they ever saw the light of day. The problem is, getting a few people to stick their necks up above the parapet and spill the beans.

  4. G8 4

    Herald article today:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10675467

    John Banks campaign manager Dr Rainbow is still on the rate payers payroll.

    WE CANNOT TRUST BANK’S

    • prism 4.1

      No apostrophe in Banks in this use G8. His name has an S at the end. But if wanted to indicate possession or attribution of something eg Banks’ trustworthiness in doubt.

      Which reminds me of funny? USA story I heard on RadioNZ other day. Two geeks went on a trip in USA drawing on their expertise with English usage and editorial experience, correcting grammar, apostrophes on or not on signs etc.

      At Yellowstone National Park they altered a sign without asking permission, but though it seemed a park sign it was an art installation purposefully done. They were charged with vandalism and were dragged before a court, fined $3000 and were forbidden to continue this activity, it was suggested for ever but finalised at six months, and had to take down their web site relating to it.

      What an extreme response. USA the land of the free? Rather a punitive, humourless, authoritarian, conformist society.

      • Vicky32 4.1.1

        Very authoritarian, yes, and they have serious issues with freedom of speech no matter what the Constitution says! (I remember years ago, hearing about a study done – psych students (who else?) stood on the street with a clipboard and a copy of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, asking the American in the street what s/he thought of it all – and got the response from 8 out of every 10 people they asked that these documents were the rankest communism and that the authors ought to be in prison!)
        Deb

        • jcuknz 4.1.1.1

          VICKY …I related your story to my son who did his higher education in the States and he asked … where in the States were the students? His wife who is American thought it hilarious.

          • Vicky32 4.1.1.1.1

            I don’t really remember the details, sorry… I learned about the incident when doing Ed Psych 201, many years back…
            Further though, I am on various fora, and I’ve recently caught hell for perceived (not real) anti-Americanism when I commented on a fictional example one woman gave, that it sounded like something from Criminal Minds, and that American TV was not a realistic source of knowledge of human nature!
            So it seems to me, obvious, that Americans are always on the lookout for things that seem to them, attacks… Sad.
            Deb

    • pollywog 4.2

      A gay doctor with a green background named Rainbow…so does that make Banks the pink eunuch horn ?

      …what a pretty sight they must make together

    • BLiP 4.3

      With his brown-shirt bovva boys stacking the front row at candidate meetings, his allowing council staff to ignore rules on campaigning, and with his National Ltd™ mate Boag using Momentum letterhead to seek donations . . . desparate Banks is desperate.

      • comedy 4.3.1

        Frankly the three fuckers who are the incumbent mayors should all be gassed – you’ve got Brown rorting it up using council resources to campaign, Banks doing the same and the Looniest of the lot on the Nth Shore having council staff doing mail drops of his fliers………… we are through the looking glass.. reverse vampires etc etc etc

  5. freedom 5

    Stuff site poll on the Games now at 72% opposed to sending athletes

    capcha: come lol

  6. tsmithfield 6

    I thought I would have seen an article by Marty or Eddie now on the student loan stand-down for failing at Uni. Thought one of you would have been into that one like a big fluffy dog.

    • Mac1 6.1

      What are your thoughts, tsmithfield? Apart from thinking that someone else should have thoughts?

      • tsmithfield 6.1.1

        The two year period is two thirds of the time required for an undergraduate degree. If you can’t pass more than half of your course over that period, you’re sure as hell not going to get the degree. Two years also should be long enough to determine if someone has got the intellectual grunt to be able to make it in tertiary education (One year for pissing around enjoying getting drunk etc, one year for serious study).

        So, I think its about right. It weeds out all the hangers-on who want to be perpetual students but have no hope of getting anywhere. Also, it focuses the mind a bit more so that students might actually take study seriously than some otherwise might..

        • Pascal's bookie 6.1.1.1

          Tumeke all right.

          http://tumeke.blogspot.com/2010/09/listening-to-paul-henry-in-morning-is.html

          I’m listening to that awful Paul Henry rave on and on and on about the new draconian policy by the Hollow Brain of Steven Joyce to stop funding students who fail 50% of their courses and this has now been imposed retrospectively starting last year….

          …Here’s something to jam down Paul Henry’s throat. I hosted a debate at Auckland Uni on Monday between Sam Lotu-linga, Gareth Hughes and Jacinda Ardern about education policy on this very issue. Sam explained that the Government wanted ‘productivity’ and that was why National were pushing ahead with the ‘pass 50% our you are out’ game (he didn’t note the new news released today that this policy would be imposed retrospectively). From the floor a young woman got up to ask a question. She said in her first year she had been a straight A student, but then she was raped (the entire Quad went very silent over her statement). She pointed out that her studies suffered and she failed half her papers. She wanted to know why this blanket policy to dump students was so cruel (she also noted she was unable to get ACC counselling now the policy had been changed by this Government to cut rape counselling funding). Sam was a but stunned, the other two political spokespeople were stunned, the Quad was a bit stunned (I was a bit stunned). The student said it was easy for National to pass policy like this when they didn’t know the reasons why students failed.

          • tsmithfield 6.1.1.1.1

            From that same article

            “To Sam’s credit he said he would ask Steven Joyce to look at possible exemptions form this blanket ban”

            And I understand that there will be consideration given to individual circumstances, as there should be. Obviously there can be situations that arise, illness, personal tragedy etc that need to be accounted for.

            However, in principal I think the idea is a good one.

            • Pascal's bookie 6.1.1.1.1.1

              If you are going to chop sentences in half when you quote someone ts, it’s polite to use an ellipsis.

              Here’s the full sentence:

              “To Sam’s credit he said he would ask Steven Joyce to look at possible exemptions form this blanket ban, which would be a joke in itself as that is what the Universities do right now.”

              • tsmithfield

                So, how about you, Pascal? In principal do you think there should be some level of accountability for students considering the taxpayer is subsidising the lions share of their fees?

                • Pascal's bookie

                  Quite possibly, but I don’t think this plan is much good, nor you much honest. So fucked if I see why talking to you about it would be worth anything.

                  • tsmithfield

                    On the grumpy juice today?

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Not really, just think blatant dishonesty is only worth responding to in certain ways. If you want people to be nice, don’t be a fuckstick. If you do be fucksticky, it’s your own fault if people treat you like the shit you present yourself as.

                      Accountability ya reckon?

                      Deal.

                    • tsmithfield

                      So your reason for expressing self-righteous angst is that I forgot to put a few dots after the quote:-something I am normally quite careful to do…..

                      You also seem to be implying that I was taking the comment out of context. However, I don’t see that as the case at all. The purpose for citing that portion of the quote was to demonstrate that the government was looking at the problem that had been highlighted. The omitted part of the quote wasn’t relevant to that.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Everyone here can read ts.

                    • felix

                      You prior behaviour suggests that it’s more likely you deliberately omitted the last half because it makes a mockery of exactly the point you tried to make by quoting the first half, and less likely that you “forgot”.

                      D

            • Outofbed 6.1.1.1.1.2

              Well thats ok then, good old double dipping Sam. What about the cuts to ACC funding counseling what did he say about that?
              fuck i detest Tories
              Any one see Aaron Gilmore on Backbenchers last night
              every question apart from sow crates he mentioned the fucking earthqauke and/or Bob Parker
              What a creep

        • Mac1 6.1.1.2

          Thanks for the reply, tsmithfield.

          Back when, and as I remember, I had to complete four units (eight papers) in two years to keep the fees being paid, less than half the course which was twenty one papers.

          One bad year would have blown it under what you propose. Half the course could not have been completed by absolutely blowing one year- no passes- out of two.

          However, I would have passed half of the papers sat over two years. Is that what Joyce means?

          I agree perpetual students should pay their way. To what extent are they subsidised now? University can also be a place for some dilettante learning but that should be self-funded. I agree also that failure can focus the mind.

          • tsmithfield 6.1.1.2.1

            When I did my Masters I actually marked quite a lot of undergrad papers. Some of the standard was very poor. The “bums on seats” mentality has pushed a lot of people into higher education that simply shouldn’t be there IMO.

            What is probably needed is a good pre-entry assessment process that selects more reliably those who are suited to university, and their maturity level to cope with it.

  7. Outofbed 7

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/sep/22/suffolk-county-council-outsource-services
    So just a virtual council now
    this is what the future holds here

    • prism 7.1

      But the Suffok council spokesperson says the magic words which are bolded below. While bureaucracy can be stifling, if efficient you can get them to do things that should be done. Without them? – well you might get what oldies in some NZ areas get – a phone call from a contracted agency that gets you chatting as to how you’re getting on and if you say something positive, the voice says well you obviously don’t need your home help any more, and that’s finis to that.

      The council says it wants to withdraw from directly providing public services in order to reduce the local authority’s>i/<“size, cost and bureaucracy and build community capacity to enable Suffolk citizens to take greater control of their lives.”

      • Outofbed 7.1.1

        size, cost and bureaucracy and build community capacity to enable Suffolk citizens to take greater control of their lives. sort of like the Somalia of the British isles

  8. bobo 8

    “The child’s identity was not stolen 26 years ago, it was simply borrowed, and that harmed neither the child nor his parents, particularly since the false passport was never used.”

    Garth George on Act’s ‘stupidity’ in managing MP roster

    I don’t know what is more pathetic Garrett’s act, or the excuses and playing down of the act by the right wing trolls in the msm.

    • Outofbed 8.1

      We do not know it wasn’t used. As has been stated here before it could have been used for any number of purposes Setting up false bank accounts for example .
      One thing is for sure you don’t go to all that trouble for a lark
      Garth George another nice tory

    • Mac1 8.2

      How does George’s comment about no harm to the parents fit with Garrett’s regrets that the parents had been harmed? Whose word is he taking for the non-use of the passport? The criminal himself or some reputable authority such as the relevant Govt Department?

      If I borrowed a car rather than stole it, that would be called car conversion and would still be a crime, yes?

      Silly apologist, Mr George.

      • bobo 8.2.1

        I would have thought to borrow something you’d have to ask the owner first, maybe Garth George and David Garrett are one and the same person?

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    Serious

    As for who’s responsible, Three News points the finger at Labour candidate Daljit Singh:

    One of the properties searched was the real estate office where Labour candidate Daljit Singh works. He said today police had not contacted him.

    I actually saw that on 3news last night. There was the definite implication that it (Papatoetoe eletoral fraud) was being done by Labour. It will be good to see just who is responsible for doing this.

    • Pramod 9.1

      I can confirm that Daljit Singh is involved in the papatoetoe vote fraud. This is a calculated strategy to undermine the Democratic process of NZ which Daljit has done with the support of 2 labour organisations namely GOPIO and Indian Newslink run by Venkat Raman who is a close associate and mentor of Daljit. The entire community knows that Daljit is being supported by Venkat Raman and Satish Sharma of GOPIO .
      Daljit is also the National Immigration Advisor of GOPIO.
      Labour should come clean of this and issue a statement as their silence indicates something fishy.
      Read the glowing tribute venkat raman is giving Daljit http://www.indiannewslink.co.nz/index.php/archives/sept_15_2010/4917.html

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    When ’speak to the hand’ isn’t good enough

    Mark Ford was appointed by Rodney Hide to set up the Auckland super city. The ratepayers of Auckland pay him $540,000 a year.

    He was responsible for hiring the agency Momentum to recruit 45 senior executives for the super city. Momentum has close ties with the National Party, employing former National Party President Michelle Boag as a senior executive, and with former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley on its board. Back in February it was revealed Ms Boag was working for John Banks’ mayoral campaign as an unpaid adviser while at the same time recruiting the super city’s chief spin doctor.

    Now we find out Ms Boag has been soliciting money and votes for John Banks on Momentum letterhead while the agency is recruiting the super city’s top executives. Mr Ford is asked about it by the Herald and he says “I’m not going there.”

    Looks like more corruption is showing up on the political right.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    Garrett is GONE!!!

    hattip: NRT

  12. Roflcopter 12

    Labour + Greens + NZ First + Maori Party eh?

    *grabs popcorn*

    Good on ya Phil Goff!

  13. felix 13

    I remember learning about averages in primary school maths.

    I remember learning what mean, median and mode averages are.

    I remember my teacher putting great importance on the differences between them, and telling us to always be wary when anyone tries to use an average figure to make a case for something as it may not be the type of average you expect it to be.

    I remember other maths teachers in intermediate and high school reiterating this point.

    Was I the only one in class paying any attention to any of this?

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    More socialising the losses by farmers. When are we going to stop this blatant theft?

  15. Salsy 15

    Im interested to see just how this fonterra boom plays out. They may have recorded profits this year despite droughts in the north, but never before has NZ dairy been to utterly environmentally degrading, unethical & irresponsible. How many Europeans are would be happy to sit down for breakfast, pouring over their porridge a product that has been so mismanaged, that it can singlehandedly destory rainforests in South East Asia, causing extinction as well as climate change, pollute a vast, and growing number of NZ lowland waterways to the point that NZ is now home to one of the most polluted rives in the western world, threaten to expand – intensively consuming the ecologically important McKenzie basin and could, if left uncontrolled have a significant and unintended negative impact on the industries which trade on our clean green image including the billion dollar tourism industry, …all the while at sitting at a well known major market disadvantage – being created a giant carbon footprint away from its main market.

    Its possibly one of the most environmentally irresponsible, unethical and ungreen products in the world – ironically still marketed under the clean green brand.

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