Posts by Matthew Littlewood

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  • Hard News: Fact and fantasy, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    To be fair, ECan was dysfunctional, especially on water issues. Something needed to be done.

    It's now a matter of public record (thanks to one of earlier MfE "document dumps" after the sacking of the ECan Councillors back in 2010) that way back in 2006 and again in 2007 and 2008, ECan chairman Kerry Burke and chief executive Bryan Jenkins consistently asked the (then-Labour) Government for special legislative powers to help them deal with the oncoming "gold rush" of water consent applications- such as the ability to declare "moratoriums" on at-risk catchments and a more specific national policy framework to work from (i.e. actual rules and limits that all RCs could use as a baseline). It really was a mess-at both a regional and national level.


    Thanks to the ECan Act, the appointed commissioners have the ability to declare moratoriums on "at-risk" catchments.

    However- and here's the kicker- no one has the right to appeal any of the appointed ECan commissioners' decisions to Environment Court. You can only appeal on points of law, which is much, much more limited in scope. They are literally extraordinary powers.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Party on, dudes, in reply to HenryB,

    And then when PA System came along, the discussions became broader and noisier and funnier and more controversial and social and different and exciting and always educational. So much discussion!

    Noisy, funny, controversial, social, different, exciting, educational - says it all and says it for me. Congratulations RB and all.

    Indeed, and as someone who reads more than posts, I'm often impressed by the quality of writing here. Long may it continue- and here's to meeting more of you in person.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Righteous Humour, in reply to Tristan,

    yeah I did on page one along with the maddow link…what do people have me blocked or something?

    Of course not :) I guess my rhetorical phrasing of the "did anyone else notice" was a little on the nose. :)

    On another note, I suspect the next few months of "bargaining" will provide ample fodder for the Daily Show...whether or not that's a good thing depends on the actual outcome....

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Big 2012 US Election PAS Thread, in reply to steve black,

    Some context is that in "gold star" science you usually want to be 95 or 99 percent certain. Nate went with 92%, but he is more of a poker player I suspect.

    Funnily enough, Silver's admitted he's used his skills in poker player to clean up in online and "friendly" tournaments. He once joked that he became interested in politics when various states started outlawing online poker so he began writing to Congressmen about it :)

    Meanwhile, it looks like first of the Obama/House Republicans face-offs has already started.. I would expect Obama not to budge as easily as he done in the past.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Righteous Humour,

    Yeah, that Daily Show episode was great, but has anyone else noticed how different Stewart's tone has been towards Fox over the last few years. During the GWB years, he focused on the failings of the administration and the Fox clips were used as comedy gravy, but now there's a clear sense of outright contempt for how Fox operates. Simply put, I don't know how "funny" he finds them anymore. And yet somehow, he's funniest to watch when he's at his angriest!

    That said, as good as this aftermath was, I do think the 2008 wrap-up was more exciting, if only because there was a palpable sense of relief coupled with a sense of "okay, now we have something new to work with", and the fact they used far more of the rest of the team. Stewart, as good a front-man as he is, often needs his crew (e.g.Oliver,Mandvi, Wyatt Cenac , the recent edition of Jessica Williams etc) to really drive the point home.

    I really I wish I liked what Rachael Maddow's show does, but most of the time she grates on me- the fact her "guest correspondents" are usually just pundits who agree with her doesn't help, nor does the sense that I don't know how much journalism the show does in relation to merely commenting on things already covered. I already have the Daily Show for that-- and to give Stewart his due, his range of guests are pretty broad.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Big 2012 US Election PAS Thread, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I mean, not unexpected, but … does anybody there have anything resembling self-awareness?

    Jon Stewart was in his element on the Daily Show last night. It's got to the stage where he's no longer making fun of the Fox Network, he stoops to outright contempt. I could link to the whole episode, but his quick sketch on punditry here is a good taster:

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Big 2012 US Election PAS Thread, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    If you read The Economist regularly enough to take its fundamentally classical liberal editorial pulse, it’s hardly surprising that it has a lot of issues with the Obama Administration’s economic and trade policies. And even on “social issues” it’s often more to the left than Obama is. Don’t forget The Economist came out for marriage equality looong before it was trendy. :)

    Oh, of course. Editorially, you're never going to be too surprised by The Economist (although it's also argued for a much stronger approach to tackling global warming/climate change than either candidate proffered), but fortunately its reputation is built on the basics of good journalism and good writing. And good design too. I love their covers

    That’s the approach the congressional Republicans decided to take, and I guess you could argue it worked for them in the 2010 mid-terms, and at least didn’t cost them the House today. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to demand they OWN IT.

    Yes, and you wonder how long they can continue to do that and still hold onto their seats.

    As an aside, it's instructive comparing Obama's keynote 2004 DNC speech to, say, his 2012 presidential acceptance speech. There are a lot of similarities in tone, it has to be said, but damn, Obama 2004 looks a good 16 years younger than Obama 2012, not eight. I guess what they say about the aging effect on presidents is true.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Big 2012 US Election PAS Thread, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    And there's a bigger picture problem here for the GOP. As I've often said, Richard Nixon and the Ronald Reagan who actually served as Governor of California would be ideologically unacceptable to the current debased Tea Bagger/theo-con Republican Party. And don't even delude yourself that Eisenhower or Teddy Roosevelt would have got past the New Hampshire primary.

    Just out of curiosity, Craig, have you read the Economist's rather terse endorsement for Obama, published last week? (Although it's not surprising the endorsement is terse, given the Economist's fiscal slant) It's an interesting piece, touching upon some of the concerns you raise above, while their US correspondent covers it in more detail here.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Big 2012 US Election PAS Thread, in reply to Yamis,

    Web
    What’s going to happen in the next 4-8 years etc when the percentage of white population/voters drops further and the minorities vote increases? Republicans have got some serious decisions to make if they want to get their fair share of bums on the big seat in the oval office.

    Yeah, James Carville talked about just that on CNN. He expects a massive internal struggle over the next 2-3 years for the Republicans, which (as he sees it) will have to lead to the severing of the Tea Party wing if they're ever going to be electable at a presidential level again.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Big 2012 US Election PAS Thread, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It was extraordinary. There were a number of familiar motifs in there, but it seemed born of conviction. The climactic message of diversity and inclusion – with its historic shout-out to disabled citizens – was powerful and moving. I cried at that point.

    What's so remarkable about Obama's speech is its sense of history- and the way he calls on so many great American orators before him- and how it's brought into the Now. It's in the way it just builds to this crescendo.

    That said, the tone was distinctly different to his 2008 acceptance speech- how could it not be?- there wasn't the sense of grand expanse, more of a call for communality. As an aside, not only did he come onto "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)", his speech also referenced Sly & the Family Stone's "You Can Make It If You Try". Small detail, but pretty cool

    And to be fair to Romney, his concession speech was gracious, well-judged and succinct.

    I do worry, given the fact it's essentially going to be electoral status quo ( solidly Democrat Senate, solidly Republican Congress, Democrat president) that the US is going to be locked in four more years of GOP legislative brinkmanship and filibustering. But that's for another debate.

    On the other hand Ezra Klein's take is more optimistic- as he says, this victory for Obama (and increase for the Dems in the senate) essentially "locks in" his three major pieces of legislation- the Affordable Care Act, Dodd-Frank Bill and the repealing of the Bush-era tax cuts.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/11/06/obamas-second-term-not-hope-but-lots-of-change/

    I guess the US continues to live in interesting times.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

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