The Daily Blog Watch – 27/28 January

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Today’s Daily Blog Watch Round-Up of matters that have attracted the attention, assessments, and articulations of this country’s leading bloggers and on-line satirists…

NZ Left Blogosphere

Julie on  The Hand Mirror presents a Guest Post from a teacher. Being Brilliant in the Classroom is a well-reasoned, analytical deconstruction of  National’s   $359 million policy that the Nats   over the next four years for lead teachers, change principals, etc. The Guest Blogger looks at the policy, and finds it lacking,

“To me this isn’t good enough.
We should want expert teachers in front of all our kids and that’s what we should paying to get.”

Paul Walker on Sci Blogs  writes in  Easterly on Gates about the myth that the world cannot solve problems of extreme poverty and disease. Paul says  “the belief that the world can’t solve extreme poverty and disease isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful. ” Read the full story to find why.

The most excellent blog, No Right Turn, has Idiot Savant blogging on Spying and perjury in the UK,

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

“Two years ago, we learned that the British police had engaged in extensive infiltration and undercover spying on peaceful protest groups. The fallout from this is still going on. Last week, the convictions of 29 environmental protesters were overturned after a court ruled that the prosecution had withheld evidence. “

Savant explains that The panopticon isn’t about terrorism – it’s about industrial espionage! (Which relates to something from Frankly Speaking on why Key was so eager to give the GCSB new surveillance powers over all New Zealanders; The real reason for the GCSB Bill.)

A good start, sez Savant, on Labour’s “Best Start” policy, made public today (yesterday/whenever you are) by David Cunliffe,  and observes,

“The policies are all costed, and easily affordable within the $1.5 billion Labour has given itself by ditching its GST policies. And it doesn’t look like a terrible trade so far. I would have preferred a more universal scheme (because they build social solidarity – something the NeoLiberals want to destroy)…”

Open Parachute shows how some on the fringes, with vested interests in their own dogma,  are Determining scientific knowledge by petition,

“Some readers may be familiar with the “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism” petition organised by the Discovery Institute. It’s a classic example of trying to decide science by petition. The petition still gets trundled out by creationists attempting to “prove’ that the acceptance of evolutionary science is weak in the scientific community – or that many “brilliant” scientists oppose Darwin’s ideas.”

On Maui Street, Jack MacDonald writes how Winston’s comments overshadowed the real issues at Rātana,

“It’s a real shame that Winston Peters decided to launch his latest dog-whistle attack while waiting to be welcomed on to Rātana Pā on Friday. As was predictable, his comments became the major story of the day in the media, and they distracted from the very real kaupapa that were raised by the Rātana people themselves as politicians came to honour the birthday of the prophet Tahupotiki Wiremu Rātana. “

Peters’ glory-grabbing sensationalism was well-planned and deliberate. Does the media understand that they are being played?

Of course they do. They’re not naive.

But it’s a symbiotic relationship. Peters gets the oxygen/publicity he desperately needs for his party to crack the 5% MMP threshold. And the media get headlines with which to sell advertising.

Kind of like prostitution. But without the blowjob.

On Imperator Fish, Scott Yorke publishes his State of the Nation: an interview with David Cunliffe. At first it looks like a dig at David Cunliffe – but it’s a whoe kettle of different fish that Scott is aiming his trustee blunderbuss at; the media, and it’s uncanny ability to ask inane questions. It’s an incredibly funny blogpost and one that would do The Civilian proud.

Speaking of The Civilian,

“Tensions over a controversial plan to drill for gas in Great Southern Basin have been eased today after multinational oil company Shell reassured Dunedin residents that, in the event of a catastrophic deep-sea oil spill caused by its exploration, any substances that wash up on its shores will be “freely accessible,” and they won’t have to pay for it.”

“Former Warriors prop Russell Packer says he was shocked today to learn that his contract with the Newcastle Knights had been terminated, following a two-year prison sentence he received for the drunken assault of a 22-year-old outside a Sydney hotel.”

“In an interview with RadioLive’s Marcus Lush, Conservative Party leader Colin Craig this morning admitted that he runs what could be described as an underground smacking ring, in which he occasionally accepts the money of strangers in exchange for disciplinary services that include hitting their children.”

Much funnier than “Breakfast Radio” – and less damaging to the brain-cells – The Civilian is the best way to start your day!

And speaking of funny – funny is The Porcupine Farm, with it’s eccentric but often insightful, edgy,  cartoon memes,


Gordon Campbell
comments On the government’s plans for incentivising teachers and rather unsurprisingly comes to the conclusion that,

“… yesterday’s changes can validly be seen as a performance pay scheme disguised as a rescue package for schools in need. The public is being asked to embrace this approach to education.”

Some Frankly Speaking has a couple of brief blogposts looking at the  Beehive make-over and David Cunliffe’s State of the Nation speech. (There’s a link to Cunliffe’s speech video.)

Some interesting Random recommended reading   from QoT on Ideologically Impure. QoT also looks at the death of a trans-gendered woman and ponders  Why do cis men defend the outing of trans women?

Gareth on Hot Topic reveals what takes place When climate cranks lose at law: Salinger on the failed attempt to sue the NZ temperature record. He writes on the  “latest news on the attempt by the men behind the trust used to bring the legal action — the NZ Climate Science Education Trust, fronted by Bryan Leyland, Terry Dunleavy and Doug Edmeade” to avoid paying court costs for their failed lawsuit  against NIWA. The climate change deniers lost their court, and now the NZ climate cranks’ trust folded, Brill et al try to escape justice by now paying costs awarded against them.

Let’s see the deniers deny the cost of their failed, Quixotic lawsuit.

In Fightback, Wei Sun looks into Eating disorders: Capitalism and patriarchy’s fault and determines the root causes of these problems. Wei Sun looks at the diabolical and contradictory forces promoting junk foods and the diet-merchants – both multi-billion dollar industries – and their pernicious influences on primarily women.

Chris Trotter on Bowalley Road offers a bit of historical background and context  to the Ukraine’s current civil troubles.   The Ukraine’s Unfortunate Geography shows what happens when an entire nation is in the wrong place, at any time.  An informative  and short read, Chris fills in the yawning chasm-gap that the MSM creates when it purports to give us the “news”. (“News” being scenes of violence; a few talking heads; and bugger all else.)

In  Act 4.0 – Let’s hear It From Jamie Whyte, writes Chris, who reviews one of the contender’s for Act’s leadership. In a thoughtful analysis of Jamie Whyte, Chris heaps praise upon a  “well-spoken, thoroughly erudite, persuasively articulate, refreshingly honest and witty champion of the battle-scarred neoliberal cause”. With such generous accolades, Chris should be reminded that  he should be burying Caesar, not praising him. Still, it is a worrying prospect and perhaps the Left should lay of John Banks, in case Act find itself led by a person who is actually competant??

Tim Watkin on The Pundit looks at Labour’s baby gamble & the return of universalism, and points out that their “Best Start” policy is,

“Labour’s opening ploy this election year combines heart and smarts, but the return of univeralism is fraught with political risk…”

Tim points out the waiting sharks from the National Party and the criticism that will inevitably be heaped upon Labour’s policy.

It’s Election 2014 – game on!

Over at The Standard, the commentariat are in full swing,

“From the “you have to be freaking joking” file comes this gem from the United Kingdom.  A former conservative MP David Silvester claims to have discovered the real reason for the United Kingdom’s recent series of adverse weather incidents.  It is sort of anthropogenic but is caused by the passage of same sex marriage laws rather than the release of Carbon Dioxide and other greenhouse gasses.”

“There is a magazine in NZ for logging.  The  NZ Logger magazine . It has published attack after attack on us in its monthly editions since about August of last year.  You have to read them to believe them.  Industry players and Editorials suggesting we are the problem in forestry safety!  One even suggested UNIONS were exploiting workers in the industry through our safety campaign.

I contacted the Editor to ask for a right of reply.  His initial response to a simple request was a no…”

With John Key misleadingly trying to deny the significance of the inequality gap, and David Farrar falsely claiming that poverty doesn’t have a profound impact on education, it looks like this is likely to be an important election issue.  Time to revisit the Spirit Level.    Back in 2010, Standard author Bunji posted a series of 6 “Digested reads” on the book, The Spirit Level: why equality is better for everyone, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (2009).

“Well it is time that all good lefties challenged this assumption [of trickle-up] and presented an alternative concept which, in my humble opinion, is much more likely to achieve an improvement to the collective good.  My working title for the concept is trickleup, if we give resources to the poorest amongst us then we can significantly improve the communities that we live in.”

“Metiria Turei delivered a very strong, inspiring, and well-targeted speech yesterday at the Picnic for the Planet. She began with some powerful words: words that outlined a fractured set of values, torn apart by the ruthless “neoliberal” onslaught against strong community values; words for an inclusive society where we are all in it together, working with and for each other.”

“There’s another sign National is getting a bit desperate at the beginning of election year 2014, as they reach in to the Tory trick-bag of voter suppression in the revised Electoral Amendment Bill reported back to the House on 18 December 2013.”

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Blogpost of the Day

On The Pundit, Ganesh Nana, an economist with a gift fot common sense questions  The dark side of the rock star economy,

“Why is there this clamour for a rise in interest rates? Just what are we trying to achieve?

I truly don’t get it. Many financial market commentators appear to be saying that because the New Zealand economy is a rock star, we need to now endure an increase in interest rates.”

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Thought for the Day

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~ Joe Blogger,

“The Daily Blog Watch” Editor, Imbiber of Fine Sugary Drinks,  & moa-whisperer

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~oo~