Shall We Dance?

September 30, 2010

Deborah Kerr would have been 89 today.


Word of the day

September 30, 2010

Blatteroon - a senseless babbler, a person who won’t stop talking.


Tax cuts part of bigger plan for economic growth

September 30, 2010

Discussion on tomorrow’s tax cuts have focussed on who gets what. Although, as Macdoctor points out, who keeps how much of what they earn, would be more accurate.

Setting that aside, while the immediate impact on individuals is important, the long term gain for the economy is more significant:

The Government’s tax changes tomorrow will strengthen economic growth and help New Zealand families get ahead, Finance Minister Bill English says.

“New Zealanders will benefit immediately from tax cuts and they will benefit more over time from the lift in growth and jobs this package will create,” Mr English says.

“But we must remember that these changes are being made for important and over riding economic reasons. This has never been a lolly scramble.

“As well as improving the incentives to work, the package tilts the economy towards savings, investment and exports and away from the unsustainable borrowing, consumption and over investment in housing of the past decade.

“Treasury estimates the tax changes will add about 1 per cent to economic growth over the next few years. They are just the next step in the Government’s wider programme to get the economy growing faster.”

National’s policy will allow us to keep more of what we earn and leave us free to choose what we do with it. It will also rebalance the economy away from borrow and spend to sustainable growth and  the better paying and more secure jobs which come with that.

Contrast this with Labour’s plan to take GST of fresh fruit and vegetables.

That will complicate the world’s simplest consumption tax and add to compliance costs.

If it had any impact on prices the wealthy would benefit far more than the poor. But there’s unlikely to be any price fall from zero rating GST because prices of fresh produce are influenced by so many other factors and are a very small aprt of most people’s expenditure. 

“This is the first part of the most significant tax reform package in New Zealand for nearly 25 years,” Mr English says. “For ordinary New Zealanders it will reward effort, encourage savings and help families to get ahead,” Mr English says.

“At all taxable income levels, the personal tax cuts will more than offset the rise in GST. When other tax base broadening measures such as tighter property investment rules are taken into account, low, middle and high income groups broadly receive about the same proportionate increase in disposable income.

“After the GST-income tax switch, an average income family will be about $25 a week better off, an average wage earner about $15 a week better off and a couple on NZ Super about $11 a week better off. These benefits will actually grow over time as wages increase.

What’s likely to lead to better long term prosperity for us and the country – allowing us to keep more of what we earn or a futile attempt to get us to eat more greens?


Seeking a mountain song

September 30, 2010

Friends have asked me to take the funeral service for their mother tomorrow.

She was a high country woman, born and brought up on a station where she in turn brought up her own family.

She loved the mountains and hills and the family want to sing a hymn or song which reflects that.

I ToThe Hills Will Lift Mine Eyes came to mind but they’d like another suggestion.

There must be another hymn or song that expresses love for the mountains, hills and/or high country but I can’t think of it and no-one else I’ve asked can either.

If you can think of one which might be appropriate I’d be grateful for any suggestions.


Does not compute

September 30, 2010

The Healthy Food Guide I bought yesterday had two prices printed on the cover.

One was $5.50 including 12.5% GST before October 1 the other, from October 1 was $5.70 including GST of 15%.

Does that mean the extra 2.5% on the cost of the magazine is 20 cents?

I didn’t think so and the handy TV3 calculator confirmed my doubt – the GST increase will be 12 cents.

The company could have rounded the price down to $5.60 but has chosen to round it up eight cents to $5.70.

It may be able to justify the extra eight cents because of other price rises but it shouldn’t try to blame it on GST.


She’ll be right when you’re turning left

September 30, 2010

How hard is it to understand that if you’re turning right you give way to all traffic?

The response to Transport Minister Steven Joyce’s announcement that from 2012 left turning traffic will no longer have to give way to vehicles turning right suggests some people find it very difficult.

As a rule of thumb if another vehicle would drive into your driver’s door if  it keeps going when you take the right of way, you should give way to it.

That makes sense except if you’re turning left and the other one is turning right which is what our current law requires. The one turning right would bang into the driver’s door of the one turning left if the left one took right of way but this is the exception which proves the rule.

There are several problems with the left turning vehicle being required to give way. We’re the only country in the world which applies that rule which confuses travellers coming here and us when we drive elsewhere.

If the right turning driver is prudent s/he will wait to ensure the vehicle indicating it’s going left is not only going to go left but is also going to give way because sometimes it’s indicating to go left because the indicator hasn’t turned off and sometimes the driver doesn’t give way when s/he should.

Then sometimes the one turning left does give way although the right turning driver often sees a vehicle behind the one turning left which will go straight ahead so the one turning right has to give way to that.

But sometimes the driver in the one turning left hasn’t checked the rear vision mirror and gives way to the right turning one which is giving way to the vehicle behind the left turning one. Then sometimes the one behind the one turning left holds back although the one turning right still hesitates and the one turning left still gives way (are you keeping up here? If not Offsetting Behaviour explains it more clearly).

If we go back to the way the road rule used to be, and the way it applies everywhere else, the right turning vehcile gives way to all traffic which should end the confusion, make intersections safer and help traffic flow better.

Though regardless of the road rule, prudent drivers will prepare to give way even if they have right of way, just in case the drivers who ought to give way don’t.


September 30 in history

September 30, 2010

On September 30:

1399  Henry IV was proclaimed King of England.

1744  France and Spain defeated the Kingdom of Sardinia at the Battle of Madonna dell’Olmo.

1791  The Magic Flute, the last opera composed by Mozart, premiered at Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna.

1791  The National Constituent Assembly in Paris was dissolved; Parisians hailed Maximilien Robespierre and Jérôme Pétion as incorruptible patriots.

1813  Battle of Bárbula: Simón Bolívar defeated Santiago Bobadilla.

 

1832 Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, American labour activist, was born (d. 1905).

1860 Britain’s first tram service begins in Birkenhead, Merseyside.

1882  The world’s first commercial hydroelectric power plant (later known as Appleton Edison Light Company) began operation on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin.

1888  Jack the Ripper killed his third and fourth victims, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes.

1895  Madagascar became a French protectorate.

1901 Hubert Cecil Booth patented the vacuum cleaner.

 

1903  The new Gresham’s School was officially opened by Field Marshal Sir Evelyn Wood.

Greshams-arms.gif

1906  The Real Academia Galega, Galician language’s biggest linguistic authority, started working in Havana.

Logo of the Royal Galician Academy

1921 Scottish actress Deborah Kerr was born (d 2007).

1924 US author Truman Capote was born.

1927  Babe Ruth became the first baseball player to hit 60 home runs in a season.

1931  Start of “Die Voortrekkers” youth movement for Afrikaners in Bloemfontein.

 

1935  The Hoover Dam, was dedicated.

Hoover Dam

1935 US singer Johnny Mathis was born.

1938  Britain, France, Germany and Italy signed the Munich Agreement, allowing Germany to occupy the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.

1938  The League of Nations unanimously outlawed “intentional bombings of civilian populations”.

1939  General Władysław Sikorski became commander-in-chief of the Polish Government in exile.

 

1943 Marilyn McCoo, American singer (The 5th Dimension), was born.

1943 Ian Ogilvy, British Actor, was born.

 

1945  The Bourne End rail crash, in Hertfordshire killed 43 people.

1949  The Berlin Airlift ended.

1954  The U.S. Navy submarine USS Nautilus was commissioned as the world’s first nuclear reactor powered vessel.

 

1955  Film icon James Dean died in a road accident aged 24.

1957 US actress Fran Drescher was born.

1962 Sir Guy Powles became New Zealand’s first Ombudsman.

Government watchdog appointed

1962  Mexican-American labour leader César Chávez founded the United Farm Workers.

UFW logo.png

1962  James Meredith entered the University of Mississippi, defying segregation.

 

1965  General Suharto took power after an alleged coup by the Communist Party of Indonesia. In response, Suharto and his army massacred over a million Indonesians suspected of being communists.

 

1965 The Lockheed L-100, the civilian version of the C-130 Hercules, was introduced.

 

1966  The British protectorate of Bechuanaland declared its independence, and became the Republic of Botswana. Seretse Khama took office as the first President.

1967  BBC Radio 1 was launched and Tony Blackburn presented its first show; the BBC’s other national radio stations also adopted numeric names.

 

1968  The Boeing 747 was shown to the public for the first time at the Boeing Everett Factory.

 

1970  Jordan made a deal with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) for the release of the remaining hostages from the Dawson’s Field hijackings.

1975  The Hughes (later McDonnell-Douglas, now Boeing) AH-64 Apache made its first flight.

1977  Philippine political prisoners, Eugenio Lopez, Jr. and Sergio Osmeña III escaped from Fort Bonifacio Maximum Security Prison.

1979  The Hong Kong MTR commenced service with the opening of its Modified Initial System (aka. Kwun Tong Line).

MTR Corporation.svg

1980  Ethernet specifications were published by Xerox working with Intel and Digital Equipment Corporation.

1982  Cyanide-laced Tylenol killed six people in the Chicago area.

1986 Martin Guptill, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

Martin Guptill 2.jpg

1986 Mordechai Vanunu, who revealed details of Israel covert nuclear program to British media, was kidnapped in Rome.

 

1989  Foreign Minister of West Germany Hans-Dietrich Genscher‘s speech from the balcony of the German embassy in Prague.

1990 The Dalai Lama unveiled the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights in Ottawa.

 

1991  President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti was forced from office.

1993  An earthquake hit India‘s Latur and Osmanabad district of Marathwada (Au rangabad division) leaving tens of thousands of people dead and many more homeless.

1994  Aldwych tube station (originally Strand Station) of the London Underground closed after eighty-eight years of service.

Main entrance on the Strand, London

1999 Japan’s worst nuclear accident at a uranium reprocessing facility in Tōkai-mura, northeast of Tokyo.

2004 The first images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat were taken 600 miles south of Tokyo.

 

2004 – The AIM-54 Phoenix, the primary missile for the F-14 Tomcat, was retired from service.

AIM-54 6 Pack.jpg

2005 – The controversial drawings of Muhammad were printed in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

2006 the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Constitutional Act that proclaimed the new Constitution of Serbia.

Coat of arms or logo.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Word of the day

September 29, 2010

Towardliness – a good disposition towards something, willingness, docility, promise.


Young Farmers getting plastered

September 29, 2010

Young Farmers are getting plastered for a good cause.

They’re fronting up to support A Rural Women New Zealand’s initiative to highlight the need for women of all ages to be alert to any changes in their breasts.

 Let’s Get Plastered for Breast Cancer  is a nationwide event involves women, and some men, creating plaster sculptures of their torsos, which are going on display in galleries and cafes all over the country for Breast Cancer Awareness month in October.

Rural Women New Zealand will donate profits from the sale of the plaster kits to the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation.

RWNZ National President Liz Evans says “We are delighted that the Wellington Young Farmers are supporting this campaign.  By creating personal sculptures, we hope these young women will be reminded to take a hands-on approach to regularly monitoring their breasts.”

Wellington Young Farmers Chairman Erica van Reenen says “We had great fun making our casts and it certainly broke down the barriers, as well as reinforcing the serious message behind this campaign.”

And the fun doesn’t stop there.  The women will be displaying their decorated breast sculptures at the Wellington Young Farmers’ Ball on 16 October, where they’ll be up for auction.

“As well as donating money to the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation through Rural Women New Zealand, we plan to raise extra funds from the auction for rural people affected by the Canterbury earthquake,” says Ms van Reenen.

You can find details on how to get a plaster kit and tickets to the ball at Rural Women NZ on the link above.


6/10

September 29, 2010

6/10 in NZ History Online’s weekly quiz.


After Tomato Picking

September 29, 2010

This Tuesday’s poem is After Tomato Picking by Maria Garcia Teutsch.

If you click on the links to other Tuesday poets in the side bar you’ll find other poems including:

Stone is not Stone by Carson McCullers; Mary McCallum’s The Bookshop, Clare Beynons’ Daylight SavingBoys, Please Don’t Rock The Boat by Alicia Ponder and Dutch Interior by Eillen Moeller.


Never trust the weather

September 29, 2010

Just as I was gearing up for a rant about the stupidity of introducing daylight saving in the middle of winter the weather has let me down.

Last year and the year before and the year before that, as is usual for this time of year the weather was cold and wintery.

Last week it was wintery.

But since the clocks went forward on Sunday we’ve had nor westers and the temperatures got to the late teens on Monday and yesterday.

I’m not complaining, after a very wet winter, heat and drying wind is just what we need. But  two warm days, do not a spring make. The weather is almost always variable at this time of year and the forecast for later in the week is for cloud and rain.

However, whatever the weather, it doesn’t change the fact that this close to the spring equinox we have only a little more than 12 hours between sunrise and sunset.

That means moving sunset from 6ish to 7ish in the evening has moved sunrise from 6ish to 7ish in the morning although that doesn’t worry everyone.

My campaign to delay the date on which the clocks go forward isn’t getting much traction. Only 13 people have joined my delay daylight saving group on Facebook.

The Panel discussed the issue on Afternoons on Monday  (part 2 towards the end) and there was no enthusiasm for change from them.

Peter Dunne justified us having six months of daylight saving by comparing us with other countries.

That is irrelevant – they’re at different latitudes and longitudes, they’re nearer the equator than we are and most have continental climates (which if memories of school geography serve me right means they heat up faster so will get warmer sooner in spring).

Still, why would a politician let the facts get in the way of a pet policy?

Sigh, yawn, mutter grumble.


8/10

September 29, 2010

8/10 in the Dominion Post political trivia quiz.

My knowledge of Wellington geography and Roger Douglas’s gambling preference let me down.


September 29 in history

September 29, 2010

On September 29:

522 BC – Darius I of Persia killed the Magian usurper Gaumâta, securing his hold as king of the Persian Empire.

 
caption

480 BC  Battle of Salamis: The Greek fleet under Themistocles defeats the Persian fleet under Xerxes I.

61 BC  Pompey the Great celebrated his third triumph for victories over the pirates and the end of the Mithridatic Wars on his 45th birthday.

 

1227  Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX for his failure to participate in the Crusades.

1364  Battle of Auray: English forces defeated the French in Brittany; end of the Breton War of Succession.

 
Battle of Auray 2.jpg

1547 Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes  Saavedra was born.

1650 Henry Robinson opened his Office of Addresses and Encounters – the first historically documented dating service – in Threadneedle Street, London.

1717  An earthquake struck Antigua Guatemala, destroying much of the city’s architecture and making authorities consider moving the capital to a different city.

1758 Horatio Nelson was born.

HoratioNelson1.jpg

1810 English author Elizabeth Gaskell was born.

1829  The Metropolitan Police of London, later also known as the Met, was founded.

Metropolitan Police Flag.gif

1848  Battle of Pákozd: Hungarian forces defeated Croats at Pákozd; the first battle of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848.

Pákozdi csata.jpg

1850  The Roman Catholic hierarchy was re-established in England and Wales by Pope Pius IX.

1862  The first professional opera performance in New Zealand was put on by members of ‘The English Opera Troupe’ and the Royal Princess Theatre Company.

NZ's first professional opera performance

1864  American Civil War: The Battle of Chaffin’s Farm.

1885 The first practical public electric tramway in the world opened in Blackpool.

 

1907 The cornerstone was laid at Washington National Cathedral.

1907 US singer Gene Autry was born.

1911 Italy declared war on the Ottoman Empire.

Italian Alpini and Libyan corpses

1913 US film director Stanley Kramer was born.

1916 John D. Rockefeller became the first billionaire.

1918  World War I: The Hindenburg Line was broken by Allied forces. Bulgaria signed an armistice.

 

1932  Chaco War: Last day of the Battle of Boquerón between Paraguay and Bolivia.

 
NidoAmetralladora.jpg

1935 US musician Jerry Lee Lewis was born.

1936 Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was born.

1941  World War II: Holocaust in Kiev German Einsatzgruppe C began the Babi Yar massacre.

 

1943 Polish president Lech Walsea was born.

1943  World War II: U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Italian Marshal Pietro Badoglio signed an armistice  aboard the Royal Navy battleship HMS Nelson off Malta.

1951 Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile, was born.

 

1954  The convention establishing CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) was signed.

 

1956 English athlete Sir Sebastian Coe was born.

1957 20 MCi (740 petabecquerels) of radioactive material was released in an explosion at the Soviet Mayak nuclear plant at Chelyabinsk.

1961 Julia Gillard, Australian politician, Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

 

1962  Alouette 1, the first Canadian satellite, was launched.

 

1963 The second period of the Second Vatican Council opened.

 

1963  The University of East Anglia was established in Norwich.

1964  The Argentine comic strip Mafalda, by Joaquín Salvador Lavado, better known by his pen name Quino, was published for the first time.

1966  The Chevrolet Camaro, originally named Panther, was introduced.

1968ChevroletCamaroZ28.png 

1975  WGPR in Detroit, Michigan, becomes the world’s first black-owned-and-operated television station.

1979  Pope John Paul II became the first pope to set foot on Irish soil.

1988 Space Shuttle: NASA launched STS-26, the return to flight mission.

 

1990  Construction of the Washington National Cathedral was completed.

 

1990 The YF-22, which later became the F-22 Raptor, flew for the first time.

1991  Military coup in Haiti.

1992  Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello resigned.

 

1995 The United States Navy disbanded Fighter Squadron 84 (VF-84), nicknamed the “Jolly Rogers”.

VF-84 USN squadron patch.png

2004 The asteroid 4179 Toutatis passed within four lunar distances of Earth.

Toutatis.jpg 

2004 – The Burt Rutan Ansari X Prize entry SpaceShipOne performed a successful spaceflight, the first of two required to win the prize.

 

2006  Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907 collided in mid-air with an Embraer Legacy business jet, killing 154 total people, and triggering a Brazilian aviation crisis.

Overhead view of airplane wreckage. Plane is upside down, one wing is on, and fuselage is mostly destroyed except for the part next to that wing. Branches and leaves surround the wreckage.

2007  Calder Hall, the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, was demolished in a controlled explosion.

Aerial view of the site

2008  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell  777.68 points, the largest single-day point loss in its history.

2009 An 8.0 magnitude earthquake near the Samoan Islands caused a tsunami .

 

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


A Town Like Alice

September 28, 2010

Peter Finch would have been 94 today.


Word of the day

September 28, 2010

Nomophobia – fear of being out of mobile phone contact.


Tuesday’s answers

September 28, 2010

Monday’s questions were:

1. Name five of the 12 members of OPEC.

2. In which of the arts would you find a cambré, an entrechat and a relevé?

3. Who said: If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.” ?

4. It’s primavera in Spanish and Italian, printemps in French and aroaromahana  or   kōanga  in Maori, what is it in English?

5. What’s Bill English’s middle name?

Points for answers:

Robert got one for laughter for his first answer.

Gravedodger got four.

Bearhunter got four – with a bonus for extra information and so wins the electronic bouquet.

David got three right, a bonus for extra information – and I agree about the name (my farmer is also called by his middle name not his first one).

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »


Making a blue

September 28, 2010

When you learn a foreign language it pays to learn and take great care in using false friends. They’re the words which are the same or similar as words in your own language but have very different meanings.

In Spanish for example, embarazada looks and sounds a bit like embarrassed but it means pregnant.

Apropos of embarrassed, that’s how French MP Rachida Dati must have felt after making this blue:

Asked about overseas investment funds profiteering during a period of economic uncertainty, she said:  ‘I see some of them looking for returns of 20 or 25 per cent, at a time when fellatio is almost non-existent.’

In French, fellatio – a sex act performed on a man – is ‘fellation’, which sounds a bit like inflation, which is the same word in French and English. 

Hat Tip: Visible Hand who reckons this is why an education is economics is important.

I’m not disputing the importance of economics, but I think the problem in this instance was language.


This is how grown ups act?

September 28, 2010

Teachers at the NZEI conference yesterday responded to Education Minister Anne Tolley’s speech by holding up placards in silence.

Is this how grown ups act? Is this what they teach their pupils about good manners?

This wasn’t about education, it was about politics.

The reaction was pre-arranged. The teachers weren’t there to listen and learn, to ask questions or discuss, they were there with closed minds to protest.

It looked like it was unanimous too, but then given the bullying someone who dared question the union line got, it’s probable everyone who is working with National Standards as they’re supposed to be would have stayed away.


Nappy subsidy smells a bit iffy

September 28, 2010

The Waitaki District Council is going to subsidise cloth napkins in an effort to cut down the amount of disposable nappies going into council landfills.

Solid waste officer Gerry O’Neill last week said that over a 12-month period, starting on October 22, new parents in the district would be offered cloth-nappy starter packs at a heavily discounted price.

“We have managed to secure a really good deal with four different suppliers, and when combined with a subsidy from the council, parents will be able to buy a cloth-nappy starter pack valued at more than $100 for just $10,” he said.

The council had more than 12 tonnes of nappies and sanitary waste going to the Oamaru landfill every week.

Any measure that reduced that was worthwhile in helping extend the life of the landfill and reducing its operation costs.

Let’s start by giving them points for talking about parents and not just mothers who usually get saddled with anything to do with napkins.

Let’s also acknowledge that waste reduction is a worthy aim.

But that isn’t enough to stop me thinking something about this nappy subsidy smells a bit iffy.

It sounds good in theory but will it work in practice?

Just $10 isn’t a big investment in cloth nappies. That should ensure a reasonable uptake, but who’s going to make sure they get used even some of the time?

What’s to stop someone buying a starter pack and selling the nappies. Anything more than $10 would be a profit for the seller and a bargain for the buyer.

Twelve tonnes of nappies and sanitary waste sounds like a lot. But what sort of reduction will this subsidy result in and at what cost to the ratepayer?

I wonder if the council looked at the option of composting instead which Envirocomp appears to do successfully?


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