Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Clamour to Cringe

98 Responses

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    Well, the new PISA survey is out and one would hope that it might at least briefly quell the clamorous cringeing that normally passes for public commentary on our education system.

    Well, there's still plenty to cringe about - and with all due respect, I don't give a shit about Australia. But it's also fair enough to give credit where credit's due.

    To get old fashioned for a moment, could I offer the following grade: "B. N. Zealand has made real progress this term, and is performing well compared to the rest of the class in several subject areas, but still has problem areas that need attention."

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12052 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Not unexpectedly, the US administration is already lying about what it knew, when of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran

    Also not unexpectedly, it turns out the 'intelligence community' isn't incapable of organising a gang-bang at a sex addicts' convention after all - as long as they're saying what you want to hear.

    Plus ca change and all that?

    My favourite comment on the NIE comes from a reader of Andrew Sullivan's:

    PHEW. The CIA say Iran's not building a bomb. They're just enriching uranium. I feel SO much better.

    QFT.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12052 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    To get old fashioned for a moment, could I offer the following grade: "B.

    Or as the kids say nowadays, 'Achievement' or 'Achievement with Merit'

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 892 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    And yet last week we saw the report that NZ reading skill takes a drop. Of course, if you read the article, it shows that our reading level has risen very slightly, and that it's our international ranking that has dropped.

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    Not unexpectedly, the US administration is already lying about what it knew, when of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran

    That's just the opinion of Josh Marshall, if you look at the WaPo
    article he refers to things aren't quite as clear cut. All this looks to have been confirmed by quite recently gathered intelligence.

    As for Podhoretz, he might have a point about this being leaked as some sort of attempt to influence the Bush admin's policy towards Iran. If that were the case then I'd take the opposite view to Podhoretz about its worth.

    The NIE report also recognises that Iran most likely suspended its nuclear weapons programme as the result of international pressure. So in that sense the policies of Europe and the US, who have been the major players here, have worked.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    My take on the latest Iran announcement is somewhat along the line of "last time we in the CIA told those bozos in the White House what was going on, but they ignored is, and then blamed us for the resulting mess - this time we're going on the record ..."

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2181 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Good to see in the Zeitgeist that Billy is still well loved.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • JP Hansen,

    "Kiwi bamping" the number 9 kiwi search?

    I feel like I'm missing out on something.

    Waitakere • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    camping surely? The number 1 result for "kiwi bamping" when I search Google refers entirely to this Zeitgeist page...must be a typo.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • JP Hansen,

    Well, yes, of course. But I prefer to believe that there's some new underground phenomenon, extreme sport, sexual term or street drug that up until now I've been blissfully unaware.

    Waitakere • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    re: Iran, I don't see how it's possible to be the least bit sure about any of the claims by intelligence agencies about anything. They will never say why they think what they think, nor can they be required to. It entirely comes down to whether you trust them, and nothing has ever given me any reason to trust public statements by any intelligence agency, ever. You are basically trusting professional liars.

    So I can't see this is particularly good news except that it takes the wind out of warhawk sails. But they'll just change tack. The spin machine has already turned to using this NIE to show that being hawkish to Iran has done a good job. There is basically no finding that can ever stop someone like Bush from making a beeline on Iran. It is the latest whipping boy, to draw attention away from a multitude of colossal failures.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    camping surely? The number 1 result for "kiwi bamping" when I search Google refers entirely to this Zeitgeist page...must be a typo.

    You're creating a self-fulfilling error there. Bamping will soon be a leading search term, with people trying to figure out what the hell it is.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6217 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    But I prefer to believe that there's some new underground phenomenon, extreme sport, sexual term or street drug that up until now I've been blissfully unaware.

    You could coin it right now, and start selling genuine kiwi bamping before the domain is taken!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • JP Hansen,

    Time to make a domain grab for kiwibamping.com, kiwibamping.co.nz etc...

    Waitakere • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Bamping will soon be a leading search term, with people trying to figure out what the hell it is.

    Is it just a late charge on Word of the Year? Cunning...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • JP Hansen,

    Damn you and your quicker draw on the 'Post Reply' button.

    Waitakere • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Bamping will soon be a leading search term, with people trying to figure out what the hell it is.

    I've been telling people kiwi bamping is our equivalent of quokka soccer.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4371 posts Report Reply

  • JP Hansen,

    Kiwi Bamping article on Wikipedia by day's end?

    Waitakere • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    The new NIE on Iran represents an extraordinary change in international relations. I hope it is true, but intelligence is never to a "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard, it is always guesswork to a significant extent, so you never know what the truth really is.

    According to the NIE, firstly the Iranians DID have a nuke bomb program which is a very significant finding, and secondly they stopped work on it in late 2003 for "cost benefit reasons". Interesting timing and reasons, don't you think?

    Would part of their cost calculation be the real possibility that a certain Cowboy would actually go after them and their nuke bomb program? Why else would they stop work on the program in late 2003? Just maybe the looked west across the border and thought to themselves "Fuck!!" (in Persian of course)

    So maybe the US killed 3 birds with one stone? Saddam's regime, then Libya's nuke program which Gadahfi coughed up in late 2003 and now Iran stopped work on their program in late 2003 as well?

    So Iraq is going better, AQ in Iraq has had its head handed to it and it looks like North Korea has made a strategic decision to stop being a trouble making hermit kingdom and to rather stop causing trouble and engage with the outside world.

    Maybe things aren't going so badly after all?

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Damn you and your quicker draw on the 'Post Reply' button.

    Wait till you see how fast I can get the domains and point Wiki at them...:-). Actually no, I vote that Bamping be defined as 'Talking about it on a blog but not actually doing it'. Then it really will carry all the hallmarks of an addictive drug, better than sex, carried out underground.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Maybe things aren't going so badly after all?

    Tell that to all the dead people's families. In person. Make a tape, put it on YouTube. I'd really love to see it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Yes, things are going just peachily for all those civilian dead and displaced...

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3662 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Hmmm. I think Ben and I have to link pinky fingers and say 'jinx' before we can post again...

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3662 posts Report Reply

  • Warren Sellers,

    This isn't to suggest that our education system is perfect (or that league tables are everything) but it appears to be outperforming nations with much higher per-capita income than ours.

    Exactly. PISA is a league table run by/for the OECD for econo-political purposes. It measures what it wants to find - inequality of test performances - and manipulates that data into international comparisons.

    PISA has nothing whatsoever to do with learning and teaching, it's an education management audit system.

    Do you support national league tables?

    Wellington NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    And yet last week we saw the report that NZ reading skill takes a drop. Of course, if you read the article, it shows that our reading level has risen very slightly, and that it's our international ranking that has dropped.

    So we haven't gotten dumber, just everyone else got slightly more smarterer...

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 842 posts Report Reply

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