Posts by linger

  • Up Front: What's the Big Idea?,

    It's not a fair contest.
    Stupid, uninformed, uncritical and unquestioning ... is persuasive because it sounds simple and certain. It's also bullshit; but it's often hard to tell when delivered at speed. And because no forethought has gone into it, it can be delivered at speed.
    Coherent conclusion, based on careful assessment of evidence ... at best, takes a lot longer to achieve and then deliver; at worst, also sounds hedged and uncertain.
    The ability to combine analytical skills with plain speaking is regrettably rare (though there's a fair concentration of such individuals among the regular PA contributors) .

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1586 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Oncoming Day,

    Uh, whoops, we actually had a thread open for that topic.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1586 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Oncoming Day, in reply to nzlemming,

    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley […] said in a statement the criticism outlined in the report was disappointing and avoidable.
    The ministry’s chief executive would now lead an employment investigation, Mrs Tolley said

    Playing it pretty much exactly as was predicted back when Sacha first raised the prospect of an investigation. Way to miss the point there: sorry, what? The criticism was “disappointing and avoidable”!? Not the fuckup of a process (underresourced, poorly defined, rushed) that led to that criticism? And why should we trust any investigation headed by the managers who drove the process?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1586 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: What's the Big Idea?, in reply to BenWilson,

    (i) these ideals (especially the ideal "Left") are not currently well embodied or contrasted by major parties in NZ (or Australia, or the US, or the UK), so a very low correlation with voting preference would not surprise me.
    (ii) it could depend very much on the exact wording of the question(s) asked, since using the word “fairness” would not discriminate between those definitions, or voter groups supporting them. I assume though that you didn’t fall into that trap.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1586 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: What's the Big Idea?,

    There is one Big Idea at the heart of the Left:
    Fairness … in the sense of creating equal opportunities for all – recognising that there are unequal starting points, and working to correct for that.
    The Left, ideally, offers a government that works for the people, that levels playing fields, and that actively encourages the most productive lives possible.

    The corresponding Big Idea on the Right is:
    Fairness … in the sense of allowing equal freedom for all.
    The Right, ideally, offers a government that faffs off and lets the people do their thing. (But this ignores existing inequalities, indeed considers them as a natural part of the world, and something to be maintained.)

    Both sides will look at the other definition, and complain about some being “more equal” than others.
    Note there's also a difference in that the Left's definition requires government action; the Right's doesn't.

    In reality, we don’t have either of those principles being applied consistently. Instead we have had the lazy laissez-faire of “let the market decide”, coming from both National and Labour, with very little variation, over the past 25 years. It’s like they’re both scared shitless of taking any actual responsibility for governing. The nett result is that neither of them offers a government for “the people”, so much as for the corporations.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1586 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: What's the Big Idea?,

    “Vote the Bastards Out” could be another such focus, though Labour seem reluctant to go in that direction, presumably lest it be applied to themselves too…
    Admittedly that's less a Big Idea, more a Gut Reaction -- but that's also true of the "Make Us Great Again" style of campaigning.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1586 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: What's the Big Idea?, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    That’s fairly early (ca. 1964), but not the “original”: this pun had already been used in some form for decades, as discussed by the linguist Arnold Zwicky here. The earliest similar example he cites is from L. Baum, in The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904):

    “Still, you must surrender!” exclaimed the General, fiercely. “We are revolting!”
    “You don’t look it,” said the Guardian, gazing from one to another, admiringly.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1586 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: What's the Big Idea?, in reply to Rich Lock,

    no definitive answer on the plural

    There are only two standard English plural spellings possible: dildos or dildoes. However, in practice there is some variation between these spellings, partly because there is considerable variation in which spelling has been decided on as “standard” in parallel cases; partly because many dictionaries have been reluctant to include the word at all; and partly because the word has appeared very rarely in print (and especially rarely in plural form).
    In cases where the stem ends with a double vowel letter, no variation is possible: only the -os plural is recognised as standard, e.g. radios, studios.
    For some stems ending in consonant letter + o, variation between -os and -oes forms is attested and both variants are officially recognised as standard: e.g. dingo(e)s, mango(e)s, mosquito(e)s, volcano(e)s.
    In a few other cases, only the -oes variant is recognised as standard, e.g. potatoes, tomatoes.
    In yet other cases, only the -os variant is recognised as standard: e.g. quangos.
    But there’s little obvious system behind these choices, as seen by comparing mango(e)s with quangos.
    Most dictionary entries seem to place dildo in the last set, with only the plural dildos listed as standard. In fact the form dildoes is also attested, but it is less frequent. For example, the 520-million-word Corpus of Contemporary American English contains 50 tokens of dildos, compared to 4 of dildoes. (I have excluded some uses of DILDOS as a seemingly unrelated acronym.)
    In the over-2-billion-word Corpus of Global Web-Based English, the preference is even starker: there are 195 dildos compared to 11 dildoes.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1586 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Sign of the times,

    Also included on the live album Somewhere Beautiful.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1586 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: What's the Big Idea?, in reply to william blake,

    Good suggestion, though “battery” has another meaning that’s very unfortunate in that context.
    N.B. as electric power storage unit, it already is a collective
    (literally, a battery of cells).

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1586 posts Report Reply

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