Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Prospects

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  • steven crawford,

    The policy also calls mainstreaming ideological.

    Well it is ideological. Its also an ideology I agree with, despite the fact, my daughter has had to learn how to dodge projectiles being lunched by her 'disabled' class mate. Thats a win win situation, he get a fighting chance and all the other kids get to develop deeper social understandings.

    Best practice evidence is that a properly supported mainstream education is best for ALL kids, is what kids with disabilities choose if they get a choice, and is actually a right under the new UN convention as well as our Education act.

    Ideally, yes, but what would you suggest as "properly supported"?
    My brothers child is autistic, he attends a special, not mainstream school, and y'know, he's learned to talk in sentence's. He suffers from high anxiety, putting him in a mainstream school would amount to cruel and unusual punishment (at this stage of his life).

    I suspect the National party, isn't presenting evil intent on this particular one.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    300 posts to go

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    To me the most interesting thing to come out of the election is the potential death of a couple of centrist parties - NZ First and United Future. If that leaves a sizeable space in the middle of the political spectrum, how will it be filled? A split from National or Labour? Surely by 2014 there will be a new party in there.

    There's no space between, that's why they died. The bigger parties squeezed them out. Unless you believe in the 'Colossal divide between Labour and National' theory. I think center parties do wield great influence, but they are very hard to hang onto for that reason.

    Hilary Stace

    I don't follow, are you for or against mainstreaming? I'm not entirely sure that children choosing mainstreaming is a sound reason for it. Children can make bad decisions. Furthermore, the special needs child is not the only one affected, since mainstreaming highly disruptive children takes away a great deal of teacher time.

    There are plenty of cases that should be mainstreamed and a lot that should not. To push for it solely on the cost being lower is a very poor way of doing it, and can compromise the overall outcomes of education for everyone.

    You're disagreeing that mainstreaming is ideological? I think it's a hard proposition to nail down. Do they mean 'pushing for mainstreaming more and more all the time' is ideological, or do they mean doing it at all, ever? I'd say the first, since no one thinks all kids should be mainstreamed, even ones that bite other kids fingers off at every opportunity, or throw shit around all the time, which they've scooped out of the S-bend? Anyone who does would have to be doing it for ideological reasons because they couldn't be practical reasons.

    So the question is: Has the current policy pushed for more mainstreaming when it was not appropriate? I don't know, other than to say that my Dad tells me he worked with kids like that from time to time in schools, had a go at helping the teachers control them, and if that failed, recommended they are put in a more appropriate environment. Did they slip in there or were they pushed by the system? Could it be that more appropriate environments being available would stop such slippage? Tough questions.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10654 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I've been trying to explain Act to some American friends - both their politics and demeanor - best short thing I could come up with was "sort of Ayn Rand meets Dancing with the Stars" - but that really doesn't reflect the scary/ugly side I see in them

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    "sort of Ayn Rand meets Dancing with the Stars" - but that really doesn't reflect the scary/ugly side I see in them

    Oh yes it does!

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Whatever Tim's real reasons for quitting, it must have rankled to see the awful Judith Tizard given a semi-ministerial role while his obvious talents languished because Helen feared frightening the chooks by promoting an openly gay MP.

    If Clark really thought that (and I really want to believe better of her), one might think she would have looked at the utter indifference people showed in the sex lives of Louisa Wall and Chris Finlayson and decided it was time to move on.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    I hope Labour put some thought into the future. Goff & King would banrupt NZ if they keep running Op 8 paramilitary actions for a couple of unlicenced rifles.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • JohnAmiria,

    Anyone else disappointed that it's been a whole twenty-four hours or so and the Apocalypse has not arrived? Perhaps tomorrow.

    Love you and love your work, Craig, but you can be such a dick sometimes

    Yeah, but I'm kinda with Craig on this one. It's all well and good to vent but crikey look at the time. When will it stop? Here's hoping it's a sunny day tomorrow and everyone get's up better rested than they have today.

    In other news, JohnKey.co.nz still declares him to be "Leader of the Opposition" .... it's unacceptable that Key's website hasn't been updated. It's the interweb not a fax.

    Really? Shall we put that in our Constitution? All parties must have a designated Admin person who will not get drunk celebrating their victory/loss and shall update all party websites within 60 minutes of the final result being known...

    Yeah, right.

    Before throwing stones maybe you should've checked out these sites first:

    http://www.labour08.co.nz/

    http://www.labour.org.nz/index.htm

    Not exactly current, are they?

    hither and yon • Since Aug 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And if Clark was really that worried about "frightening the chooks", the reasoning behind promoting Chris Carter to a high profile, pretty sensitive portfolio like Education escapes me. :)

    In the end, who the hell knows -- perhaps Tim Barnett was being perfectly honest, and just decided he'd pretty much achieved all he was going to in Parliament, and wanted to move on while he still had options open to him. He's relatively young, has skills and networks that should lead him into a decent post-political career. Steve Maharey and Katherine Rich don't seem to be having second thoughts about coming to the same conclusion, and good on them. My only regret is that the people who have that kind of distance and perspective are precisely the kind of people who'd be better politicians for it.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    If Clark really thought that (and I really want to believe better of her) . . .

    Me too - but do you have a better theory about that particular festering anomaly in promoting talent?

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    It's all well and good to vent but crikey look at the time.

    Less than 24 hours after the party in which many of us wanted to believe was defeated at the polls. Even as someone who didn't vote for them, I think that it's okay, really, to grieve, for a day, or even two or three days. If the tone around here is still maudlin and accusatory and bitter at say, the end of November, then you might have cause for complaint. However, I'm betting that the PAS community will move on, long before then.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And Deborah asked me about a zillion pages back what I'd really really like National to be doing today.

    Here goes, and it's not so much Pollyanna as Twilight Zone but stick with me.

    Helen Clark and Michael Cullen may have quit their respect roles in the parliamentary Labour, but they're still the caretaker Prime Minister and Finance Minister.

    They should be invited to John Key's office -- or home or a mututally convenient Starbucks -- along with the leaders of every other party in Parliament (that means Roger Douglas is not invited), and locked in until they thrash out a reality-based response to the fiscal shit storm ahead nobody will be entirely happy with, but will pass the House unanimously before Christmas.

    I know some people up thread think there's a political advantage for Labour and the Greens in standing by and watching everything go to shit, and they might be right. But I think they're wrong, and either way nobody else should be thanking anyone playing this kind of silly buggers. (Don't know about anyone else, but I've been laid off and it's shit.)

    And if that means National and ACT are going to have first suck at the dead rat sushi platter, so be it. Everyone made too many promises they must have known they couldn't afford, so the people sitting in the big chairs have to pay the political price first.

    And before anyone thinks I'm advocating group hugs and choruses of 'Kumbaya' all around, forget it. I'm sure plenty of shit will be served and lobbed back over the next three years as part of a healthy and functional demo-crazy. But not this.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Ben:

    There's no space between [Labour and National], Unless you believe in the 'Colossal divide between Labour and National' theory. [Which Ben doesn't.] I think center parties do wield great influence, but they are very hard to hang onto for that reason.

    A few days ago, No Right Turn posted a principal components graph of distance between parties based on final bill voting. On the face of it, there does seem to be a huge gulf between (on the one hand) National/ACT, and (on the other) Labour/Prog/(and for the duration of the coalition, NZF and UF too), on the 1st principal component. It follows that this dimension summarises bills on the issues or principles on which those parties are most consistently divided: possibly (free-market vs social welfare). Certainly, this is the largest party difference in the data.

    There is also apparently a large difference between Maori/Greens and ... almost everybody else, but especially National & UF, on the second principal component -- which presumably represents issues most strongly differentiating National from Maori.

    These two dimensions account for about 74% of the variation among parties.

    So, does this mean you're wrong? Not necessarily.
    There seem to be several problems with this use of PCA. (Which I hasten to add is not I/S's own analysis, so I/S is not responsible.)

    (i) The more trivial graph problem is that the scales are unequal: the vertical dimension is exaggerated, so it is not easy to get a true measure of party "distance" from the graph.

    The more serious problem is that PCA exaggerates the level of difference, through not presenting the similarities:
    (ii) the PCA is of data for 110 bills. In theory there could be a huge amount of variation. But actually... well, there are no numbers on the scales, but if the divisions are units (equivalent to one standard deviation of spread on one bill's votes), then ... hang on, even PC1 has a range of only 8 units! This suggests that for the huge majority of bills, there were no overall differences between the parties. So, these dimensions account for most of the party difference ... but the overall difference was relatively small.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1931 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Actually, it wasn't me, and I'm too lazy to go back through the thread now and find out who did ask.

    I'm not sure that will ever happen, Craig, alas. I do feel uncomfortable at the thought of wishing ill on National and Act, because it does mean wishing ill on NZ too. I'm dubious about National, and downright sceptical about Act, especially with Roger the Lodger back. But I would rather see them do well than have things go to hell in NZ.

    In any case, let's suspend judgement until they've had a chance to actually do something.

    ***
    "Roger the Lodger" comes from my parents' book of naughty limericks.

    There was a young lady of Bod
    Who thought all good things came from god.
    T'was not the almighty
    Who lifted her nightie
    T'was Roger the Lodger, the sod.

    Thirty years later, that last line now seems, well, dubious, to me. Oh well.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    (Of course, it could be that I'm wrong about the scale divisions being units -- but if so, then the lack of any numerical scale is also a rather important problem with the graph!)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1931 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Before throwing stones maybe you should've checked out these sites first:
    http://www.labour08.co.nz/
    http://www.labour.org.nz/index.htm
    Not exactly current, are they?

    Whoa, do you think I'm a Labour webmaster or something? Because I'm not! I'm so not.

    If Labour haven't updated their websites, then that's just as bad as National.

    Not everyone is hungover on a Sunday, and if some web content has been prepared in advance, it doesn't take much effort to put it online.

    But my impression is that few parties have done awesome things with their websites this election or at all, really. The Greens' Frog Blog is the one political web presence that really gets it (two updates today!), possibly because it's not trying to be the voice of a specific politician.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Jarno van der Linden,

    What struck me about the pointlessness of it, was that the magic of holograms is that they are a 3d image in front of you. I'm sure it looked incredible for everyone in the studio.

    Yes, looking at empty space must have been thrilling. It was purely a greenscreen trick, like putting a weathermap behind the weather presenter. No one in the studio saw anything except on the monitors.

    Hmmm, I suppose that means that a major news network deliberately deceived the public on election night.

    Nelson • Since Oct 2007 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Nah, it means that TV delivered pretty visuals instead of analysis.
    But it's sometimes difficult to remember that that isn't an intrinsic weakness of the medium.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1931 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Were some people seriously fooled that it was a hologram?

    The way it jerked suddenly to new camera angles was a giveaway. I thought cooler than the people was the visualizations they devised.

    Linger

    It does tell you how relatively close parties are compared to each other, which is interesting. But how absolutely close to each other is unknown, because there is way to measure the distance between a yes and a no vote. One tiny change might be enough for them to change their no to a yes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10654 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    ...there is no way to measure... my bad.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10654 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I mean if all the votes were about the same level of importance as 'whether income tax should go up 0.0001%', then you could get this kind of pattern in your graph too. Nats would pull one way, Labour the other, followed by their allies respectively.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10654 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Right. From the graph alone, we don't know specifically which of the 110 bills contributed most to the split, which makes it hard to attach meaning to the dimensions or to any absolute numbers (were those to be provided). Still, to the extent that members can vote independently, presumably any bill that produced a 100% disagreement along party lines between the largest parties (thus strongly contributing to the principal component) would not be that trivial, but rather represent core party values. (100% disagreement for one-man bands, OTOH, is less informative, for the reasons you've mentioned.) The thing is, if I've guessed the scales correctly, then there were very few if any such bills out of the 110 presented.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1931 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Ah well. Off to find out what the good citizens of Mangere think of it all.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Actually, it wasn't me, and I'm too lazy to go back through the thread now and find out who did ask.

    You'll take the credit and like it, young lady! :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Were some people seriously fooled that it was a hologram?

    The way it jerked suddenly to new camera angles was a giveaway. I thought cooler than the people was the visualizations they devised.

    I just found it hilarious that the half-assed Kiwi version looked *significantly* better than CNN's much-heralded attempt at the same thing during the American election coverage. Way less static.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

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