Posts by Rich of Observationz

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  • Hard News: A Real Alternative,

    they don't even have a school ball

    That's a negative? Thinking back to my hormonal teenage-hood, I can't think of anything worse than having to go through a sub-__Pretty In Pink__ (RIP John Hughes) exercise in rejection and bullying.

    UK schools didn't have school balls in the 80's. (Maybe they do now, as part of slavish copying of American TV). We had a student organised 6th form party after A-levels, but that was in a club, you weren't expected to bring a partner and there certainly wasn't a prom queen or any of that crap.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5373 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A Real Alternative,

    Why is it that NZ kids always do so poorly at international maths and science 'elite' competitions, and always do so well at maths and language comprehension in OECD ratings?

    From a functional point of view, isn't that the optimal outcome? The education system is producing plenty of students who can be competent engineers, IT specialists and the like, which is what the economy needs. It isn't producing the next Steven Hawking, but doing that would only get us kudos (assuming everyone didn't believe them to be British, like Rutherford).

    Also, I think Rutherford made such a contribution that NZ is in credit on "producing great physicists" for the next couple of hundred years.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5373 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Rockin' the Casbah?,

    most people rarely play the second CD in a double CD set

    Record companies do often throw all the self-indulgence and songs that didn't really work onto those, though.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5373 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Rockin' the Casbah?,

    I worked for several British music mags and alongside the really good people there were a lot of public schoolboys all frothing over this week's ordained cool record.

    That's the UK all over, I'm afraid. A month here has reminded me of why I don't live here.

    ...the New Zealand writers are in a weird position

    I'm sure the UK ones get into a few of those as well :-)

    But seriously, I think NZ music writing suffers a bit from the unwritten if-you-can't -say-something-nice-say-nothing rule.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5373 posts Report Reply

  • Island Life: There is no alternative,

    As far as I can see, the requirement in Article I for education to be free implies that parents have the right to choose *free* education for their children. So government has a duty under article III to fund schools providing any kind of education that there is a demand for (unless it conflicts with article 2), but schools providing such education may not charge parents directly.

    Also, article 2 implies that certain faith-based schools should also be proscribed.

    So that's my take: free education, ban faith based schools unless they promote equality of all faiths and none (so that's the Catholics out), ban charging for education.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5373 posts Report Reply

  • Random Play: Tune in, turn off and drink…,

    never once a Pret a Manger

    Why not? They do an excellent crayfish sandwich. You wouldn't get that for 10 bucks in NZ.

    It's interesting to me that in most of the UK, the small private cafe typically provides food and service that are way worse than a typical chain. So Starbucks and Pret become the fuel-stop of choice. I mean, $6 for a cup of instant makes $8 for a huge mocha a good buy.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5373 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Remembering the Chartists,

    Ministers are supposed to provide democratic accountability and to work with the appropriate specialists, trained to couch advice in terms a non-specialist can understand.

    There's actually a reasonable correlation between a Minister having (often limited) specialist expertise and being a disaster as a result of second guessing the professionals. See Major Winston Churchill's career as First Lord of the Admiralty, for instance.

    Of course, it's also a problem when the Minister is too much of a moron to take or indeed understand professional advice, like certain current Cabinet members.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5373 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Deja Vu,

    I have never had to pay someone personally to get my passport, drivers license etc under the counter

    What, you mean all those Auckland motorists have actually passed a driving test?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5373 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Remembering the Chartists,

    A CEO of a large corporate isn't spending taxpayer dollars.

    Unless the corporate is an SOE. Or it receives a subsidy or implicit guarantee from the taxpayer (like the banks, for instance). Even if the company's wholly in private hands, it's still probably spending the public's cash, extracted through a monopoly market position.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5373 posts Report Reply

  • Island Life: Good on ya, Paula,

    You'll notice that the last example in the ministerial guidance talks about a "dispute" with a department. That's different from a disagreement with a government policy. For instance, if somebody complains that a WINZ worker told them to bugger off, it might be legitimate to disclose that the complainant had called the worker a "stupid ugly ginger cunt" first.

    It doesn't legitimise using private data to attack political opponents. But if that *is* fair game, can I put an OIA request in for John Key's tax return?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5373 posts Report Reply

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