The Dim-Post

January 31, 2010

What Tim Selwyn Said

Filed under: blogging,Politics — danylmc @ 6:57 am

Tim gets medieval on Peter Dunne. Read the whole brilliant thing.

January 30, 2010

Quote o’ the day, here we go edition

Filed under: economics,Politics — danylmc @ 5:35 am

The lede in this Herald ‘story’:

Aucklanders would be hammered by a proposed land tax, with households facing an annual bill running into thousands of dollars.

According to conservative estimates, owners of the region’s 443,200 homes alone would have to give the Treasury an extra $443 million if they were subject to a 0.5 per cent levy.

Reminded me of this famous quote from Marx:

The Tories in England had long imagined that they were enthusiastic about the monarchy, the church and beauties of the old English Constitution, until the day of danger wrung from them the confession that they are enthusiastic only about rent.

And this famous quote from Ghostbusters:

Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

Real estate companies are probably the single largest source of ad revenue for newspapers, and estate agents own huge property portfolios so I think we’ll see a lot more of this.

(I don’t think the Nats will actually introduce a Land Tax: English seems like a Burke style conservative, happier tinkering with and improving existing systems and institutions rather than tearing them down or building new ones.)

January 29, 2010

Le Radeau de la Méduse

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 9:05 am

Grant Robertson at Red Alert defends Goff’s new policy on the grounds that it’s been suggested by the British Conservative Party. They really are lost, aren’t they?
Thanks again to Joe for the image. While preparing for the work he visited Labour Party MPs and electorate offices where he could view first hand the color and texture of the dying and the dead

RIP Jerry Salinger

Filed under: books — danylmc @ 7:30 am

The Guardian has an obit. Catcher in the Rye is one of those books you’re supposed to read as a teenager – like Dorian Gray – and didn’t get around to it until too late so it never meant much to me. I liked some of the Glass family stories though – Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof-Beam Carpenters are the best. Then came Hapworth and Seymour: An Introduction, when Salinger disappeared up his own asshole. So I’m not too excited about the rumours of a library of unpublished manuscripts.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with his estate and life-long ban against adaptations. I’m also guessing we’ll get a flurry of gossipy memoirs and unpublished letters about Salinger’s complicated love life. Excellent.

January 28, 2010

I have located my nagging doubt

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 4:26 pm

I knew there was a problem with the speech but didn’t see it until I was walking home – the major themes of the speech have nothing to do with the major policy announcement.

Goff makes great points about sharing the wealth, makes the (very vital) point that ‘bludging’ is something that is practised by the very rich as well as those on benefits, makes sound points about inequality – all good solid left wing stuff – and then announces he’s capping salaries for the public service.

What does renumeration for the Treasury Secretary and the head of the DSW have to do with any of the arguments in the speech? Beats me.

I don’t think the policy will be unpopular – if it were released by a right-wing politician who gave a speech ranting against the evils of the civil service and the bureaucracy it might really strike a chord! But it’s a weird policy for a Labour leader to announce when he’s giving a speech about income equality, child poverty, collective responsibilty etc.

Meanwhile, Lew dissects the language in Goff’s speech and finds it vague. I don’t think this stuff matters so much, since only a hundred or so people in the country will read the speech. What’s important are the themes, the money quotes and the policies: they’re what gets on tv and radio or picked up by the columnists and pundits, and then amplified or distorted out to the persuadable voters.

The message here is ‘we must all share in the economic recovery and I will do that by cutting the salary for the DIrector General of Health.’

Goff speech: The many. Not the few

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 12:33 pm

And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people and that the whole nation perish not.

John 11:49

Up now. There’s some real policy:

  • $15 minimum wage
  • Salary cap for public servants – no salary higher than the PM.
  • Extend funding for pilot youth offender scheme

Some waffle:

  • Addressing educational under-achievement will be a policy development priority
  • reform monetary policy
  • will co-operate with government on tax so long as they do everything we want them to

No mention of ‘ordinary New Zealanders’, lot’s of ‘working’ or ‘hard working New Zealanders’, which is what the Dim-Post commentariat endorsed.

Clever pivot from attacking white collar criminals to attacking benefit fraudsters. I guess they want someone from the left to label the speech as ‘benefit bashing’ and give it some legs.

Fitzsimons resignation is still the political story of the day – I wonder if she timed it to thwart Labour – a parting ‘fuck you’ to the party that said the same thing to her for over a decade?

Update: The subject and themes of the speech are fine but the policies seem like a random grab-bag; it’s hard to imagine who they’re supposed to win over and I think they’ll be easy for Key to swat away: ‘we need to attract high calibre leaders to run the public service and so we pay them accordingly’, ‘a drastic rise in the minimum wage will cripple small and medium businesses and put countless struggling New Zealanders out of work’.

Also, most of the excesses he’s attacking occurred under his government, many of them exacerbated by the polices Labour introduced.

Secrets of the trade

Filed under: blogging — danylmc @ 11:10 am

How to write a blog post:

This sentence contains a provocative statement that attracts the readers’ attention, but really only has very little to do with the topic of the blog post. This sentence claims to follow logically from the first sentence, though the connection is actually rather tenuous. This sentence claims that very few people are willing to admit the obvious inference of the last two sentences, with an implication that the reader is not one of those very few people. This sentence expresses the unwillingness of the writer to be silenced despite going against the popular wisdom. This sentence is a sort of drum roll, preparing the reader for the shocking truth to be contained in the next sentence.

This sentence contains the thesis of the blog post, a trite and obvious statement cast as a dazzling and controversial insight.

Hat tip Andrew Sullivan

The lover of horses

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 5:30 am

Goff has his big speech today. The idea is for the Labour leader to deliver a game changer that captures the mood of the public and sets the agenda for the year.

Me neither. But it will give us an insight into what the current leadershp thinks their party is about and who they want to represent. I think the only serious topic for his speech is superannuation:

  • how New Zealand will pay for retirement is a real problem instead of a manufactured crisis.
  • Labour occupies the moral high ground on the issue.
  • A Labour leader can announce real policy (around Kiwisaver and super eligability ages) that Key simply cannot match.
  • It let’s him talk about Labour Party values – welfare, shared responsibility etc and make the case for those ideals. Under Clark there was a drift towards the notion that leaders of the state need to impose their values on the public. Goff should make the case that Labour is really about the state serving the public.
  • Goff could use statistics around super affordabilty and suspension of payments into the Cullen fund to rub Key and English’s faces in shit.

He can’t talk about the economy because it looks like it’s improving. He can’t go for law and order – the Nats haven’t been in government long enough to own crime as an issue. My guess is he’ll go for some culture war, conservative values based theme.

Update: The speech is – apparently – on the shape of the economic recovery. Which is a pretty smart direction to go down.

January 27, 2010

I’m king of the world!

Filed under: movies — danylmc @ 4:55 pm

Swedish electronica musician Fever Ray gives one of the best awards speeches of all time (although I do quite like Larry David’s speech for his first CYE emmy award: ‘Thank you. I think the wife will be forthcoming tonight.’

Top men

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 11:07 am

This might work:

Labour MP Shane Jones has begun the year vowing to drive the Maori Party out of Parliament, saying they had betrayed their own people and lured the Government into funding their policies of “buying favours by giving money to a favoured few”.

The criticism following Labour’s first caucus of the year yesterday was a clear sign that the gentle approach Labour has thus far taken to the smaller party is over.

Seems to me that the Maori Party were doing an excellent job tearing themselves apart on their own (with a little help from National and ACT) and that Jones is only going to hamper that process. But this is a better way to win back Maori voters than having your Pakeha party leader attacking the MP in front of a grey-power meeting, so there’s some improvement there.

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