Word of the day

May 31, 2012

Procellous – stormy, tempestuous.


Thursday’s quiz

May 31, 2012

Once more I’m leaving the questions up to you with a bag of electronic baking to anyone who asks a question which stumps everyone.

But one question from me: do you want me to keep leaving the questions up to you, would you like me to go back the asking the questions, or would you prefer a mix of both?


World smokefree Day

May 31, 2012

I have several vices but smoking  isn’t one of them.

Hand on heart, I can say that not a single cigarette – tobacco or anything eLse has ever touched my lips.

Now, more than ever I’m thankful for that.

The latest tax increases make it a very expensive habit:

A pack of cigarettes costs about $14 and A daily pack habit will cost over $5,000 a year.

That is set to rise to $20 a pack by 2016.

Smoking is also  an increasingly difficult habit to maintain as smokefree initiatives restrict.

Difficult to maintain though it is, most people find it even more difficult to give up.

But today is World Smokefree Day,  when tobacco addicts are implored to reclaim their lungs and stub out the habit.


Refocus for Families Commission

May 31, 2012

The Families Commission was a post-election coalition trophy for United Future and I have never been convinced it did anything of sufficient value to justify its existence.

However a new focus announced by Social Develop Minister Paula Bennett could change that:

The Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor Professor Sir Peter Gluckman has identified a gap in monitoring, evaluation and research in the social sector.

“This restructure will see the Families Commission take on a new role providing for independent monitoring, evaluation and research to measure the effectiveness of initiatives for families and society,” says Mrs Bennett.

Of the $32.48 million funding the Families Commission receives over four years, the Government will reprioritise a minimum of $14.2 million over four years to set up a new Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (SuPERU).

This unit will provide independent monitoring, evaluation and contracting of research on key issues and social sector programmes and interventions.

“There will be a single Commissioner, down from the original seven and the organisation will be governed by a board comprising public sector, philanthropic and academic representatives,” says Mrs Bennett.

The restructure will see the Families Commission’s core function, which is to advocate for families, streamlined through a leaner, more focused structure.

A new Family Status Report will be developed to measure how New Zealand families are getting on.

A further $4 million over four years will be redirected to fund extra parenting programmes and relationship education in schools and the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health programme.

The Government also announced the transfer of responsibility for managing the Growing Up In New Zealand longitudinal study to the new unit.

The study will receive an additional $1.8m from Vote Social Development 2012/2013 financial year.

A focus based on science rather than feel-good factors is a good place to start in ensuring the Commission achieves something worthwhile and gives value for the money it costs.


AG to investigate Jones’ immigration decision

May 31, 2012

Auditor General Lyn Provost is to carry out an inquiry into the decision by the former Associate Minister of Immigration, Shane Jones, to grant citizenship to Yong Ming Yan (also known as Yang (Bill) Liu).

It will be led by Francis Cooke QC.

The link above will take you to an explanation of the background of the case and the scope of the inquiry which will examine:

  • the policies and practices of the Department of Internal Affairs when advising the Minister on applications for citizenship, in particular where the applicant’s ‘good character’ is in question;
  • how and why the Minister decided to grant citizenship to Mr Yan; and
  • any other matters the Auditor-General considers it desirable to report on.

Looking at not just how the decision was made but why is important.

When Labour leader David Shearer requested the AG look at the case he referred to the process but that is far too narrow for an issue of this seriousness.

New Zealand has a very good reputation for lack of corruption in high places. The AG has a very  important role in safeguarding that reputation and any inquiry she undertakes must range as widely as it needs to be in order to get to the bottom of what happened, how and why.

That is not in any way pre-judging the outcome. A full and comprehensive inquiry is just as important if it clears the then-Associate Minister’s name as if it doesn’t.

Hat tip: Keeping Stock


May 31 in history

May 31, 2012

1279 BC – Rameses II (The Great) (19th dynasty) became pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.

526  A an earthquke in Antioch, Turkey, killed 250,000.

1223 Mongol invasion of the Cumans: Battle of the Kalka River – Mongol armies of Genghis Khan led by Subutai defeated Kievan Rus and Cumans.

1578  Martin Frobisher sailed from Harwich,  to Frobisher Bay, Canada, eventually to mine fool’s gold, used to pave streets in London.

1669   Samuel Pepys recorded the last event in his diary.

1678  The Godiva procession through Coventry began.

1759  The Province of Pennsylvania banned all theatre productions.

1775  American Revolution: The Mecklenburg Resolutions adopted in the Province of North Carolina.

1790 Alferez Manuel Quimper explored the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

1790 – The United States enacted its first copyright statute, the Copyright Act of 1790.

1813  Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth, reached Mount Blaxland, effectively marking the end of a route across the Blue Mountains.

1819 Walt Whitman, American poet, was born (d. 1892).

1859  The clock tower at the Houses of Parliament, which houses Big Ben, started keeping time.

1862  American Civil War Peninsula Campaign: Battle of Seven Pines or (Battle of Fair Oaks) – Confederate forces under Joseph E. Johnston & G. W. Smith engaged Union forces under George B. McClellan outside Richmond, Virginia.

1864 American Civil War Overland Campaign: Battle of Cold Harbor – The Army of Northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee engaged the Army of the Potomac under Ulysses S. Grant & George G. Meade.

1866  In the Fenian Invasion of Canada, John O’Neill led 850 Fenian raiders across the Niagara Riveras part of an effort to  free Ireland from the English.

1872 Heath Robinson, English cartoonist, was born (d. 1944).

1884 Arrival at Plymouth of Tawhiao,  Maori king, to claim protection of Queen Victoria.

TawhiaoNLA.jpg

1889 – Johnstown Flood: Over 2,200 people died after a dam break sent a 60-foot (18-meter) wall of water over the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

1898 Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, American clergyman, was born (d. 1993).

1902 The Treaty of Vereeniging ended the second Boer War war and ensured British control of South Africa.

1910 Creation of the Union of South Africa.

1911  The ocean liner R.M.S. Titanic was launched.

1916  World War I: Battle of Jutland – The British Grand Fleet under the command of Sir John Jellicoe & Sir David Beatty engaged the Kaiserliche Marine under the command of Reinhard Scheer & Franz von Hipper in the largest naval battle of the war, which proved indecisive.

1921 Tulsa Race Riot: A civil unrest in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the official death toll was 39, but recent investigations suggest the actual toll was much higher.

1923 Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, was born (d. 2005).

1924  The Soviet Union signed an agreement with the Peking government, referring to Outer Mongolia as an “integral part of the Republic of China”, whose “sovereignty” therein the Soviet Union promised to respect.

1927  The last Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line after a production run of 15,007,003 vehicles.

1930 Clint Eastwood, American film director and actor, was born.

1935  A 7.7 Mw earthquake destroyed Quetta, Pakistan,: 40,000 dead.

1935 Jim Bolger, 35th Prime Minister of New Zealand, was born.

1938 Peter Yarrow, American folk singer (Peter, Paul and Mary), was born.

1939 Terry Waite, British humanitarian, was born.

1941  A Luftwaffe air raid in Dublin claimed 38 lives.

1942 World War II: Imperial Japanese Navy midget submarines began a series of attacks on Sydney.

1943  Zoot Suit Riots began.

1961 Republic of South Africa created.

1962 The West Indies Federation dissolved.

1962  Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel.

1965 Brooke Shields, American actress and supermodel, was born.

1967 Phil Keoghan, New Zealand-born US televison personality, was born.

1970  The Ancash earthquake caused a landslide that buried the town of Yungay, Peru; more than 47,000 people were killed.

1971  In accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1968, observation of Memorial Day occurs on the last Monday in May for the first time, rather than on the traditional Memorial Day of May 30.

1973  The United States Senate voted to cut off funding for the bombing of Khmer Rouge targets within Cambodia, hastening the end of the Cambodian Civil War.

1975 Mona Blades, an 18 year-old htich hiker disappeared, after last being seen in an orange Datsun.

Mona Blades vanishes

1977  The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System completed.

1981  Burning of Jaffna library, Sri Lanka.

1985 Forty-one tornadoes hit Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario, leaving 76 dead.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Word of the day

May 30, 2012

Operose – done with or requiring much toil; laborious; diligent, industrious; very busy, active.


How strong is a party with too few activists?

May 30, 2012

The Green Party likes to paint itself as the party of principle but how principled is it to use taxpayer funds to do the work normally carried out by volunteers?

Keeping Stock blogged yesterday on the party  advertising for students in Christchurch to solicit signatures for its petition against the partial float of a few state-owned energy companies.

He followed up that post today with more on rent a petition showing advertisements for six out-of-parliament staff whose primary role is to collect signatures for the petition.

That looks a lot more like party political activism than legitimate out-of-parliament support for MPs.

Such work is normally carried out by members, i.e. volunteers not paid staff.

What this suggests is the party doesn’t have many members.

Another clue to the parlous state of the Green Party’s membership is its campaign donations’ return which shows most of its large donations came from its MPs.

Their money is their own to do with it what they will. But they might not need to be this generous to the party if it had a lot more members paying subs.

Lots of people paying a little maes a stronger and more representative party than a few MPs paying a lot.

That is the way parties ought to get their base funding and it is why I believe that organisations must have at least 2,000 members before they can register as a party.

Democracy requires active participation of the people. Publicly funded employees can and should not replace that.

 

 

 


Need to be in black to be green

May 30, 2012

The Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) shows that many New Zealand businesses would like to  adopt cleantech principles but the economics just do not add up.

Eugene Sparrow, partner, Privately Held Business for Grant Thornton New Zealand, said:

“It’s a tough environment for many companies and until these businesses can see a cost saving they will be reluctant to adopt cleantech options. Many look upon green philosophies and cleantech principles as discretionary and something they will only adopt if there are clear economic advantages.

“Unfortunately our size is also against us. We are a country of small businesses without the scale to benefit from the adoption of some cleantech options. There is no doubt that these businesses are all mindful of being green and clean, but if it is going to cost, then it will have to wait,” he said.

Businesses have to be in the black to be green and they’re not going to invest in new technology if it doesn’t make economic sense.

I think there is another factor involved – a lack of good research which enables businesses to differentiate between products and practices which do make a positive difference and greenwash.

That said, there are some simple ways in which being greener can be good for the bottom line too. Fonterra has been working with dairy farmers to reduce energy consumption which has both environmental and financial benefits.

P.S.

Apropos of greenwash, Green is good at the Fundy Post is a good read.


Desperate and stupid

May 30, 2012

While the sinking of the Rena  and the impact on the Bay of Plenty economy was getting headlines, the far more serious impact of PSA on kiwifruit orchardists was largely under-reported.

People lost not just crops but their whole orchards. Jobs have gone, livelihoods have been destroyed and with them have gone many retirement plans.

Desperate circumstance demand desperate measures, but injecting vines with antibiotics was not just desperate, it was really, really stupid.

Zespri spokesman Dave Courtney said about 40 growers were referred to the ministry and “a majority of them will be in the Bay of Plenty region”.

Mr Courtney said Zespri tested every kiwifruit orchard in New Zealand and 99 per cent were cleared for exports.

But about 0.5 per cent – about 500,000 trays – of this year’s harvest would not be sold as a result of the misuse of streptomycin.

They would be destroyed through mulching.

Mr Courtney said Zespri made it “very clear” to growers that injecting vines was not permitted and there would be consequences for any fruit found with residual antibiotics at harvest.

“It was very well advertised through the industry. However, some people didn’t follow the rules and that’s what has happened here.”

All farmers, be they raising livestock or growing crops, ought to know about what can and can’t be used on their produce.

Injecting vines  didn’t just endanger their own crops. Had it not been discovered it could have done great harm to the industry and New Zealand’s reputation for food safety.


May 30 in history

May 30, 2012

70 Siege of Jerusalem: Titus and his Roman legions breached the Second Wall of Jerusalem. The Jewish defenders retreated to the First Wall. The Romans built a circumvallation, all trees within fifteen kilometres were cut down.

1416 The Council of Constance, called by the Emperor Sigismund, a supporter of Antipope John XXIII, burned Jerome of Prague following a trial for heresy.

1431  Hundred Years’ War: 19-year-old Joan of Arc was burned at the stake by an English-dominated tribunal. Because of this the Catholic Church remember this day as the celebration of Saint Joan of Arc.

1434  Hussite Wars (Bohemian Wars): Battle of Lipany – effectively ending the war, Utraquist forces led by Diviš Bořek of Miletínek defeated and almost annihilated Taborite forces led by Prokop the Great.

1536  Henry VIII of England married Jane Seymour, a lady-in-waiting to his first two wives.

1539 Hernando de Soto lands at Tampa Bay, Florida,  with 600 soldiers with the goal of finding gold.

1574  Henry III became King of France.

1588 The last ship of the Spanish Armada set sail from Lisbon heading for the English Channel.

1635  Thirty Years’ War: the Peace of Prague (1635) was signed.

1642  From this date all honours granted by Charles I were retrospectively annulled by Parliament.

1757 Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1844).

1806 Andrew Jackson killed Charles Dickinson in a duel after Dickinson had accused Jackson’s wife of bigamy.

1814 Napoleonic Wars: War of the Sixth Coalition – the Treaty of Paris (1814) was signed returning French borders to their 1792 extent.

1832  The Rideau Canal in eastern Ontario opened.

1842  John Francis attempted to murder Queen Victoria as she drove down Constitution Hill with Prince Albert.

1846 Peter Carl Fabergé, Russian goldsmith and jeweller, was born (d. 1920).

1854 The Kansas-Nebraska Act became law establishing the US territories of Nebraska and Kansas.

1859 Westminster’s Big Ben rang for the first time in London.

1868  Decoration Day (the predecessor of the modern “Memorial Day) was observed in the United States for the first time (By “Commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic” John A. Logan‘s proclamation on May 5).

1871  The Paris Commune fell.

1876  Ottoman sultan Abd-ul-Aziz was deposed and succeeded by his nephew Murat V.

1879 New York City’s Gilmores Garden was renamed Madison Square Garden by William Henry Vanderbilt and opened to the public at 26th Street and Madison Avenue.

1883  A rumour that the Brooklyn Bridge was going to collapse causes a stampede that crushes twelve people.

1911  At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the first Indianapolis 500 ended with Ray Harroun in his Marmon Wasp becoming the first winner of the 500-mile auto race.

1913  First Balkan War: the Treaty of London, 1913 is signed ending the war. Albania becomes an independent nation.

1914  The new and then largest Cunard ocean liner RMS Aquitania, 45,647 tons, set sails on her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England to New York City.

1815  The East Indiaman ship Arniston was wrecked during a storm at Waenhuiskrans, the loss of 372 lives.

1917  Alexander I became king of Greece.

1922  In Washington, D.C. the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated.

1941  World War II: Manolis Glezos and Apostolos Santas climb on the Athenian Acropolis, tear down the Nazi swastika and replace it with the Greek flag.

1942  World War II: 1000 British bombers launched a 90-minute attack on Cologne, Germany.

1948  A dike along the flooding Columbia River broke, obliterating Vanport, Oregon within minutes. Fifteen people die and tens of thousands are left homeless.

1955 Topper Headon, British musician (The Clash), was born.

1958  Memorial Day: the remains of two unidentified American servicemen, killed in action during World War II and the Korean War respectively, were buried at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

1959  The Auckland Harbour Bridge, crossing the Waitemata Harbour was officially opened by Governor-General Lord Cobham.

Auckland harbour bridge opened

1961  Long time Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo was assassinated in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

1962 Kevin Eastman, American comic book creator (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), was born.

1963  A protest against pro-Catholic discrimination during the Buddhist crisis was held outside South Vietnam’s National Assembly, the first open demonstration during the eight-year rule of Ngo Dinh Diem.

1966 Former Congolese Prime Minister Evariste Kimba and several other politicians are publicly executed in Kinshasa on the orders of President Joseph Mobutu.

1967 Daredevil Evel Knievel jumped his motorcycle over 16 cars lined up in a row.

1967  The Nigerian Eastern Region declared independence as the Republic of Biafra, sparking a civil war.

1971 Mariner 9 was launched to map 70% of the surface, and to study temporal changes in the atmosphere and surface, of Mars.

1972 The Angry Brigade went on trial over a series of 25 bombings throughout Britain.

1972  In Tel Aviv members of the Japanese Red Army carried out the Lod Airport Massacre, killing 24 people and injuring 78 others.

1989  Tiananmen Square protests of 1989: the 33-foot high “Goddess of Democracy” statue was unveiled in Tiananmen Square by student demonstrators.

1998  A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit northern Afghanistan, killing up to 5,000.

2002– 272 days after the September 11 attacks, closing ceremonies were held for the clean up/recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site in New York City.

2003 – Depayin massacre: at least 70 people associated with the National League for Democracy were killed by government-sponsored mob in Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi fled the scene, but was arrested soon afterwards.

Sourced from NZ History Online & WIkipedia


Word of the day

May 29, 2012

Irenic - conciliatory; conducive to, favouring or promoting peace.


Rural round-up

May 29, 2012

Judging helps get best stock – Sally Rae:

Olivia Ross reckons the skills she has learned through entering stock-judging competitions will stand her in good stead.

A member of the Nightcaps Young Farmers Club, Miss Ross (24) competed in the New Zealand Young Farmers national stock judging competition at AgResearch Invermay yesterday and hoped to defend the national title she won last year.

Rabbits, water quality and the RMA – Sally Rae:

If there was a more virulent variety of rabbit haemorrhagic disease in Australia that could be useful in New Zealand, then the Government would not say it could not be introduced.

However, Primary Industries Minister David Carter told farmers at the deer industry conference they would have to “engage with the process” to introduce it. . .

Emerging demand for venison product – Sally Rae:

Markets are diversifying and there are untapped markets for venison and co-products – what is needed now is the product.

That is the message from James Palmer, the director of strategy, systems and science policy at the Ministry of Primary Industries.

Wool growers face ultimate contest – Che Baker:

New Zealand’s top wool growers will go head-to-head this week as they compete for the national Golden Fleece title.

The National Golden Fleece Awards, in its 42nd year, will be held in Ranfurly tomorrow. . .

Confident and among the best -

It’s not about winning when you love what you’re doing. Shawn McAvinue talks to a Southland dairy trainee about being judged one of New Zealand’s best.

Winton dairy farmer Robert Ankerson, 23, was judged the second-best trainee in New Zealand at the Dairy Industry Awards in Auckland this month and took home $3000 in prizes.

Not that money had ever been the driving force for working in the dairy industry, Mr Ankerson said.

“You do it because you love it.” . . .

Young Farmers a cool group to belong to especially if you’re at Massey University - Pasture to Profit:

This week has been a huge week for Young Farmers & Young Farmer Clubs in New Zealand. The National Bank Young Farmer Contest has been completed & Michael Lilley from Tasman has won this prestigious competition & been crowned Young Farmer of 2012.

Michael is a Veterinarian working at Murchison on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. He is a recent graduate from the Massey University Vet School.  . .

 

 

Can’t work or won’t?

May 29, 2012

When unemployment is at its highest rate in 13 years, it’s difficult to understand why some employers are struggling to find people willing to take on manual work.

Several employers desperately seeking reliable workers say it is as if people are unprepared for the workforce and don’t want to prove themselves.

Orchardists and dairy farmers have been noticing this for some time. Local people aren’t interested in the jobs they offer which is why there are so many workers from overseas employed in these industries. Orchard and dairy farm work might not be everybody’s first choice. But any job should be better than no job and people in employment are much more likely to get a job they want than someone who is unemployed.


More than 1/5 babies born dependent on caregiver on welfare by year’s end

May 29, 2012

Lindsay Mitchell has a very sobering statistic: 22.2 percent of babies born in 2011 were dependent on a caregiver receiving a benefit by the end of the same year.

“Over one in five babies reliant on welfare by year-end is a sobering statistic. Almost half of the caregivers were Maori and half were aged 24 or younger.”

“There is an established pattern of childbearing followed by reasonably rapid, if not immediate, recourse to welfare in New Zealand. This occurs during good and bad economic periods.”

“The implications for this high percentage lie in the likelihood of these children remaining on a benefit for many years. . . “

This is the main cause of too many children growing up in poverty and shows why Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is determined to address the causes of benefit dependency.


May 29 in history

May 29, 2012

363 Roman Emperor Julian defeated the Sassanid army in the Battle of Ctesiphon, under the walls of the Sassanid capital, but was unable to take the city.

1167 Battle of Monte Porzio – A Roman army supporting Pope Alexander III was defeated by Christian of Buch and Rainald of Dassel.

1176 Battle of Legnano: The Lombard League defeated Emperor Frederick I.

1630 Charles II of England was born (d. 1685).

1414  Council of Constance.

1453 Byzantine-Ottoman Wars: Ottoman armies under Sultan Mehmed II Fatih sacked and captured Constantinople after a siege, ending the Byzantine Empire.

1660 English Restoration: Charles II (on his birthday) was restored to the throne of Great Britain.

1677  Treaty of Middle Plantation established peace between the Virginia colonists and the local Natives.

1727  Peter II became Tsar of Russia.

1733 The right of Canadians to keep Indian slaves was upheld.

1780 American Revolutionary War: At the Battle of Waxhaws Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton massacred Colonel Abraham Buford’s continentals.

1790  Rhode Island became the last of the original United States‘ colonies to ratify the Constitution and was admitted as the 13th U.S. state.

1848  Wisconsin was admitted as the 30th U.S. state.

1864  Emperor Maximilian of Mexico arrived in Mexico for the first time.

1867  The Austro-Hungarian agreement – Ausgleich (“the Compromise“) – was born through Act 12, which established the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

1868  The assassination of Michael Obrenovich III, Prince of Serbia.

1874  G. K. Chesterton, English novelist, was born (d. 1936).

1886 Chemist John Pemberton placed his first advertisement for Coca-Cola, it appeared in the Atlanta Journal.

1900 – N’Djamena was founded as Fort-Lamy by French commander Émile Gentil.

1903 Bob Hope, British-born comedian and actor, was born (d. 2003).

1903  May coup d’etat: Alexander Obrenovich, King of Serbia, and Queen Draga, were assassinated in Belgrade by the Black Hand (Crna Ruka) organization.

1906 T.H. White, British author, was born (d. 1964).

1913 Igor Stravinsky‘s ballet score The Rite of Spring received its premiere performance in Paris, provoking a riot.

1914  Ocean liner RMS Empress of Ireland sank in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with the loss of 1,024 lives.

1917 – John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, was born (d. 1963).

1919Einstein’s theory of general relativity was tested (later confirmed) by Arthur Eddington’s observation of a total solar eclipse in Principe and by Andrew Crommelin in Sobral, Ceará, Brazil.

1919 The Republic of Prekmurje founded.

1924  AEK Athens FC was established on the anniversary of the siege of Constantinople by the Turks.

1935  The Hoover Dam was completed.

1939  Albanian fascist leader Tefik Mborja is appointed as member of the Italian Chamber of Fasces and Corporations.

1940  The first flight of the F4U Corsair.

1941 Doug Scott, British mountaineer, was born.

1942  Bing Crosby, the Ken Darby Singers and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra recorded Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas”.

1945 Gary Brooker, musician (Procol Harum), was born.

1945  First combat mission of the Consolidated B-32 Dominator heavy bomber.

1948  Creation of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation

1950  The St. Roch, the first ship to circumnavigate North America, arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia .

1953 Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest, on Tenzing Norgay’s (adopted) 39th birthday.

1954  First of the annual Bilderberg conferences.

1959 Rupert Everett, English actor, was born.

1961 Melissa Etheridge, American musician, was born.

1963 Tracey E. Bregman, American actress, was born.

1967 Noel Gallagher, English musician (former Oasis), was born.

1969  General strike in Córdoba, Argentina, leading to the Cordobazo civil unrest.

1973  Tom Bradley was elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles.

1975 Melanie Brown, English musician and actress (Spice Girls), was born.

1978 Adam Rickitt, British actor, was born.

1982 – Pope John Paul II became the first pontiff to visit Canterbury Cathedral.

1985 – Heysel Stadium disaster: At the European Cup final in Brussels 39 football fans died and hundreds are injured when a dilapidated retaining wall collapses after Liverpool F.C. fans breached a fence separating them from Juventus F.C. fans.

1985  Amputee Steve Fonyo completed cross-Canada marathon at Victoria, British Columbia, after 14 months.

1988  U.S. President Ronald Reagan began his first visit to the Soviet Union.

1990 The Russian parliament elected Boris Yeltsin president of the Russian SFSR.

1999  Olusegun Obasanjo took office as President of Nigeria, the first elected and civilian head of state in Nigeria after 16 years of military rule.

1999 Space Shuttle Discovery completed the first docking with the International Space Station.

1999 – Charlotte Perrelli won the Eurovision Song Contest 1999  for Sweden with the song Take Me to Your Heaven.

2001 U.S. Supreme Court ruled that disabled golfer Casey Martin could use a cart to ride in at tournaments.

2004  The World War II Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipeida.


Word of the day

May 28, 2012

Premonish - to forewarn; admonish beforehand.


Winner proof you don’t have to be one to be one

May 28, 2012

Young farmers used to have a recruitment slogan you don’t have to be one to be one.

It was aimed at attracting people who weren’t farmers but would enjoy and contribute to the organisation.

I don’t think they use the slogan any more but the winner of this year’s National Bank Young Farmer contest, Michael Lilley, is proof it still applies.

He’s a rural vet, though he grew up on a farm and hopes to combine his vet work with farming in the future.

He’s not only an example you don’t have to be a farmer to be in Young Farmers, but also that farming by itself isn’t the only road to farming.

Some people use dairying to save enough to invest in another business and some like Michael, use another career to help them into farming.

RivettingKate Taylor has more on the contest here.


10,005th post

May 28, 2012

This is my 10,005th post since starting to blog on April 22nd four years ago.

I know milestones are usually marked at zero and I meant to do that when I noticed I was at 9,990 something but events overtook the intention.

Thank you to all of you who have added to the fun of blogging by leaving 21,457 comments in that time and to the others who I know pop by to read without entering discussions.


Hand-up not hand-outs

May 28, 2012

Quote of the day:

New Zealanders want a welfare system we can be proud of. The system must support people who genuinely can’t support themselves, but those who can work should be available for work and actively looking. Better resources and support to help more people off welfare dependency and into work is a clear priority. The system has failed too many New Zealanders by creating dependence and the Ministry of Social Development is moving towards a more active approach that will see greater support in helping more people off welfare and into work.

Young people are a clear priority within welfare reform. We know that those who go on welfare young tend to stay longer than others and have poorer opportunities as a result. Of real concern are the 16 and 17 year olds who become disengaged from education, employment and training and who are on a collision course with the adult welfare system. . .  Paula Bennett

This comes from the Minister’s forward to the Minsiter of Social Development’s Statement of Intent.

The rest of it is worth reading, signalling that this Minister wants real change which results in big improvements in the long-term outlook for young people who might otherwise be left to languish on benefits destined to a life of poverty.

It won’t be easy, nor will it be cheap, but it giving those who need it a hand up  is morally and financially better than giving them hand outs without any expectation that they will become independent.

Hat tip: Lindsay Mitchell


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