31 January, 2008

Boot camp vs stay in school until you're 18 like it or not

Yep, it has started.

The political tit for tat all in aid of vote grabbing (note I didn't say winning).

Promises, promises.

The target: youth violence/crime/delinquency/dole bludging/laziness.

The answer according to National - army style or just plain army boot camps. In order to give teens a sense of discipline and moral backbone.

The answer according to Labour - no leaving school until you're 18 or in approved training.

Both policies ignore the glaringly obvious; much if not most of the trouble is coming from teens who have slipped through the gaps in the current system.
Many of them haven't left school, they have just stopped turning up. Some were in training schemes but decided that it was too hard or too boring and failed to turn up to complete the course and nobody has the power to make them.
The voluntary boot camp type schemes that have in fact been running for years are so successful because at some point the participants have agreed to attend.

Here is another glaringly obvious problem; just what are the schools going to teach these extra teens and who is going to teach them?

There is a problem with too many substandard teachers according to the schools and the good teachers often see where the money lies and head off to greener pastures like Australia. And as the eldest bright spark (she passed maths with flying colours) of a kid has pointed out to me, what about those who will finish year 13 before they turn 18? Will they be forced to go the university whether their parents can afford it or not?

Like it or not the section of the population that couldn't pass School C hasn't gone away even if NCEA has easier options. There are some who will not be willing or able to pass. Further training for many will also be in the too hard or not necessary basket.

What is an extra 2 years of schooling going to do for these unfortunates?

Teach them to become bone lazy as all work is pointless?

101 on how to live and have a good time on the dole?

Of course boot camp won't teach laziness but how long are these teens going to attend that and what do we then do with all the little solders we have trained.

Then of course there are the mentally disabled. Not the ones could never work anywayor incapible of every looking after themselves. I am refering to the mild cases. The ones for whom mainstream schooling is the only option and who get minimal teacher aide time. The ones with a medical disagnosis that explains why they are a bit or more than a bit thick.
What is the point of keeping them in school any longer?
Or sending them to boot camp for that matter. Many of them already have as good a sense of disapline as they are ever going to get. Are we going to formally train them to be super market trolley attendants or to sort nails? Or just chuck them on the benefit with no guidance for the rest of their lives?

I have a novel idea to attempt to solve the same problem of teens running amuck.

How about giving parents back the power to control their offspring.

Now wouldn't that be a better election promise?

27 January, 2008

Spam log #4

My secretary has been away for a week - more about that later.
Here is the sum of a whole weeks worth of email.
Inbox=30 that is;
15 newsletters (most are for he who earns money)
9 etail
3 miss filtered spam
3 real email

The spam folder on the other hand had 263 offers for watches, penis enlargement (what penis?), drugs, "adult" companionship and other dubious items.

It was interesting to note that the pile of junk mail though large was nowhere near that amount and there was more real mail in it too.

15 January, 2008

Cowpats are the number one election issue

Have a look at this before you decide I am talking a load of bovine excrement.

13 January, 2008

Spam log #3

Inbox: 1 newsletter
Spam folder: 37

Ever get the feeling that in the war on spam we are getting seriously whipped?

11 January, 2008

Goodbye Sir Edmond Hillary

Sir Edmond Hillary 1919-2008

The only living New Zealander to ever appear on a bank note has passed away.

Of course he did other thinks as well like climb Mt Everest first and became the first man to lead an overland journey to the South Pole since Scott along with many other things.

Spam scoreboard #2

Inbox 7: 3 etail "newsletters"(1 duplicated :/), 2 real email and 2 miss sorted spam.
Spam folder: 50

I can't imagine what it would be like if I received 200 emails a day.

Please note I spelt received right without the aid of the spell checker today.

10 January, 2008

i before e except after c

After reading this I am more confused than ever.

Extensions to the rule that have been suggested:
Early in both discussions I submitted a list of words that were exceptions to the rule. People then took exception to some of the words in my list, citing extensions to the rule that excluded them. Some of the extensions were:
The rule only applies to digraphs, so words like "deity" and "science" don't count.
The rule "i before e except after c" should be extended to include "except when said 'ay' as in 'neighbor' and 'weigh'".
The rule only applies to digraphs that have the /i:/ ('ee') pronunciation, as in 'piece'. (Note the conflict between this and the previous item.)
The rule doesn't apply to words that are recent imports from foreign languages, such as "gneiss", "dreidel", and "enceinte".
The rule doesn't apply to the large number of plurals of words ending in "cy" ("fallacies", "frequencies", "vacancies", ... ) because in the UK – in traditional RP – "cies" is pronounced with the "i" of "pin", even though it is pronounced with the "ee" of "feed" by most World-English speakers and by younger UK speakers

I think I agree with the conclusion:
"Instead of trying to defend the 'rule' or 'guideline', "'i' before 'e' except after 'c'", why don't we all just agree that it is dumb and useless, and be content just to laugh at it?"

Hear hear.

Then again this is a little bit more helpful.

Now to move on to adverbs and whether one keeps the e when adding ly to a word.

Electoral Finance Act sux kumara bigtime

Didn't I say this law was going to fly as well exclusive brethren without an aircraft?

Here is the proof.

"Barely a week into the year and the Electoral Finance Act has bared its teeth. The body charged with policing the act, the Electoral Commission, has contacted a 21-year-old about his website, named "dontvotelabour". He was told he had to put his name and address on the site.

Is this going to be the story of the year: constant vigilance of any form of public speech to ensure it complies with all 148 clauses of the act? How absurd that New Zealanders can no longer make a political statement in an election year without satisfying a welter of petty regulation.

When the Herald first raised its voice against this prospect, some said we overstated the threat to free speech. The financial restrictions applied only to expensive speech, they pointed out, and exempted several forms of expression including editorial comment such as this, and web postings by individuals with personal blogs.

But exemptions are never quite the same as freedom. Exemptions carry conditions that have to be satisfied. Andrew Moore, whose site has come to the commission's attention, would prefer not to put his home address on his site partly to protect his family. Why does he have to?"

Full article here

Exactly! It makes damn good sense not to put your real name and address on the internet free for every man and his cat, dog or rabbit to view. If only to keep down the amount of spam.

This law is so draconian that the above editorial from the New Zealand Herald also contains a warning to bloggers.

"Bloggers might have little difficulty fitting that definition but they will need to be aware that should their site acquire more than one author or, heaven forbid, make some money in some way from their political observations, the speech patrol could be down on them."

Well there you have it. Now like several other bloggers before me I will state the flipping obvious:

I assert that this website is a blog and published by me on a non-commercial basis, and any views expressed on it by me are my personal political views and under paragraph g of Section 52 of the Electoral Finance Act, is not an election advertisement.
I further assert that this website is a news media Internet site and that all posts on here are written by me, as the editor, solely for the purpose of informing, enlightening or entertaining readers, and hence also is not an election advertisement under paragraph d of Section 52 of the Electoral Finance Act.

(source kiwiblog)

In other words these are my and only my views and I don't make a bass razoo out of writing them down for others to read if they care to.
I would like to remind anyone who cares to take issue with this that unlike the Electoral Commission I don't have virtual claws. I have real claws.

08 January, 2008

New Year's Resolution #1; Improve my spelling

I like this site rather a lot. I like it nearly as much as my well pawed mini Oxford dictionary (New Zealand edition). A pity that really that if doesn't easily differentiate between American English and proper English.

But isn't that what spell check is for? I hear you ask.

Well yes, spell check is all very well unless, like me, you write an speak a slightly obscure dialect of English.

Most spell checks cope very well with American English and proper English, sometimes called UK English. Some even cope with Strine, that is Australian English. Not many spell checks can cope with Kiwi, New Zealand English that is, a.k.a Pakeha English. The number of Te Reo Maori words causes it to have a fit.

Microsoft Office has to be among the most frustrating. It says it is set on New Zealand English but rejects every Maori word or place name and many other well words as well. It doesn't like the word Plunket for example despite 90% of the population being Plunket babies. Better still I don't know what my secretary has done to the setting but it decides to reject the word centre along with every other word ending in re at random intervals as well by suggesting that the American er spelling be used instead.

If you think I am being just a little bit petty today you are probably right. 22ÂșC with 73% humidity and a white fur coat is not a recipe for a happy cat.

Have a read of this while I try and learn all the exception to the i before e except after c rule.

Spam scoreboard

Inbox = 3
That is one group report, one etail "newsletter" and one spam that escaped the filter.
Spam folder = 22

That is just two days worth for a private email address that doesn't get handed out willy nilly.

I think that when it comes to the war on spam we are still losing.