Posts by TracyMac

  • Hard News: This is bad – very bad,

    A quick note on one of my pet peeves: can we please stop with the "50 times stronger than opium" meme?

    Maybe by mass, yes, but no-one takes 5-10mgs of fentanyl - it's in the microgram range of dosage.

    Typical oral doses are around the same as a shot of heroin, or maybe twice as strong. Is it that cool that people can simply swallow the equivalent of a heroin dose or two in one tablet - not if they're handed around like lollies.

    It's definitely not cool it might be sprayed onto some smoking medium in an unknown dosage. But it's not wildly different to any other opiate in terms of effect, as those "x stronger than $opiate [by mass]" comparisons imply.

    What IS different is its cheapness (ingredients and process are cheap; low mass for a therapeutic dose means cheap shipping), its relative availability, and the low bar to its consumption - no needles or glass pipes required.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 661 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Non-conforming…,

    So, what is a decent streaming service that isn't Spotify or Apple? (If the latter pays decently, great, but I'm not putting their awful software on any computer of mine.)

    On a broader note, I'd love it if there were some class action lawsuit on the secrecy around payment rates to artists. The "commercially sensitive blah blah" rationale seems to be antithetical to the basic principle of a contract being fair to both parties. Mind you, that one seems to have been eroding quietly for years.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 661 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: What's the Big Idea?,

    The word on the street prior to elections is often that people are "sick of negative politics". Personally, I'm sick of reactionary politics (in terms of reacting to what the other mugs are doing), which pretty much epitomises the Australian Labor party's "strategy".

    So I definitely think there's a place for visionary words, followed by "this is how we intend to do it".

    Why reinforce the "old message". For example, by prefixing statements about housing cost blow-outs with "the National govt". I think it's more powerful to actually not name them - talk about the "last few years", talk about the current policies that are making things worse, but even most importantly, describe YOUR strategy for fixing them.

    The more you sound like you're engaging in a tit for tat war with the Nats (or Winnie, or whoever), the more defensive you sound, and the less assured you seem about the intrinsic merit of your solutions. And the less you sound like you have an attainable vision of your own.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 661 posts Report Reply

  • Access: What Your Child Needs To Know…,

    Indeed, model the appropriate behaviour and kids will follow along. Don't act like anything is "bad" - just different - and the kids think it's no big deal. And indeed model good manners by not asking things that are really none of your business.

    I get a version of this myself, being a particularly unfeminine individual of the queer persuasion. As long as the parents are not blasting "get away from my innocent child, foul beast" vibes at me, I'm quite happy to answer simple questions. Four to six year olds seem to be big on gender questions.

    "Yes, I am a lady, and sometimes ladies do have very very short hair. Some ladies don't have any hair at all!"

    A friend of mine does a "Some people aren't really either ladies or men, and I'm like that, so that's why you can't tell!" routine.

    But yeah, parents can interrupt questions on boyfriends and girlfriends, and not let the kid bombard you with more than a couple of questions. Nothing wrong with teaching people are different, but we're not exhibits in the zoo either.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 661 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Every option has costs, every…, in reply to Ben Smith,

    That's work visas. How many white Europeans are overstaying and working without the correct visas? I bet it's into the thousands.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 661 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Every option has costs, every…,

    NZ has nearly 1/3 of the average population density of the occupied landmass, and is in the bottom fifth of the world's countries in density.

    Sure, Australia and Canada are less dense, but they are HUGE countries, full of desert in the one and tundra and ice in the other.

    NZ is less dense than any of the evidently vastly over-populated Pacific nations (hah) , and is about 6.5% the density of the UK. And yet the UK (and Japan, 18 times denser than NZ) manage to have significant agricultural sectors (not like NZ's in scale, of course) and some pretty damn bucolic countryside.

    Do I think we should aim for 15-18 times the current density? No, I do think agriculture (and green space) is important, although I do think NZ could smarten up farming practices (don't build feedlots, cash in on "grass fed", and don't sell off iconic brands like Anchor, ffs).

    But NZ can afford to take more people, especially to offset any whinging about falling birth rates affecting future pensions. The refugee quota is shameful, especially since Australia is better (not counting the offshore concentration camps) . NZ can't continue to build sprawling McMansion-style housing in the same fashion as Sydney's outer suburbs. Nor should shoddily-built Hong Kong style shoeboxes a la upper Albert St become the norm, not to mention leaky "townhouses".

    I don't know what the rules are on non-resident landowners are at present, but if they're allowing people who do not reside in the country and offshore companies to own residential property, then that should be limited. No mortgage lending to non-residents, ditto.

    Oh, and the rental "warrant of fitness" to make a career of slum landlordism less appealing.

    Capital gains tax, ffs.

    Crack down on overstaying poms and the like - I dobbed in a couple of Brit flatmates nearly 30 years ago who bragged about earning plenty of cash with full time bar work while not paying taxes, and that got right up my nose. Still don't regret it.

    Step up Labour Dept (whatever they're called now) inspections of businesses for underpaying temporary visa holders, employing people with the wrong classes of visa, and foisting effectively zero-hour contracts on people they know don't have the correct visas for employment. And make not checking residency a more serious breach of employers' legal obligations than it is now.

    Crack down on dodgy "educational" institutions. Some are outright for visa scams, and plenty more are effectively committing fraud on people who think they're getting real qualifications. And yes, you'd need your Mandarin and other language speakers to monitor overseas media where that garbage is advertised.

    Withdraw residency and deport people with PR status who offend in those ways repeatedly or seriously - I detest people who rip off those who unfortunately trust exploitative employers and landlords that happen to share their country of origin/language.

    Anyway, that's just a start. I think a lot more could be done with policy tweaks and better enforcement of current regulations (was Thiel really resident for ALL those days he should have been during his amazingly fast acquisition of citizenship?)

    Certainly more constructive than Labour brainfarts about "Chinese sounding names" with no real stats, or National with their rich foreign mates and underpriced labour imports.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 661 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A tale of two festivals,

    Yup, I actually read the Herald for the first time in ages that day, and that crap about Polyfest made me promptly close the window. Racism and hypocrisy are not a great mix.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 661 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Superannuation: Back to the Future,

    As for solutions, I say means-test and tax wealth and reintroduce higher income tax brackets. If a UBI shall come to pass, great, but I'm not holding my breath.

    For means-testing, make it "if income than threshold, or if assets greater than 1st decile of house price index in city of residence", or along those lines.

    I still remember that woman who sued the govt for her super, and got it backpaid plus compensation. She got more than a year backpaid, because she didn't notice she wasn't getting it until her frigging accountant brought it to her attention.

    Yes, she was entitled to it, fair enough. But meanwhile in Sth Auckland...

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 661 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Superannuation: Back to the Future,

    This whole thing enrages me. If anyone thinks us Gen Xers and younger will be retiring at 65, they're dreaming. And political grandstanding by Key and now Little on the topic is just cynical politicking.

    In the meantime, my 69-year-old mother is working up to 16 hour days as a cook, because she can't fucking afford to retire and pay fucking $390 a week for a cockroach-infested single bedroom flat in South Auckland.

    This is because she can't get an accommodation supplement due to her extensive lifetime assets of $8000 in her cheque account.

    Excuse me for thinking this is all cheap point-scoring.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 661 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Welcome back…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    :'-(

    At least I have a single to download when I get home.

    And the Lorde release is pretty good - not a great house fan myself, but it's cool she can do a dancy tune.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 661 posts Report Reply

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