Tuesday’s poem

18/05/2010

This Tuesday’s poem is The Jubilant Butter Thief chosen by Fifi Colston.

The sidebar has links to other blogs who post a Tuesday poem – their own or what my Scottish aunt would call some other body’s. Among these are: Family Man by Tim Jones;  Claire Beynon’s choice Late in the Day by David Howard and Mary McCallum’s A Poem.


Swan Lake

18/05/2010

Dame Margot Fonteyn would have been 91 today.


Magic Moments

18/05/2010

Perry Como would have been 98 today.


Tuesday’s answers

18/05/2010

Monday’s questions were:

1. What contains 44 grams of carbohydrates, 26.7 grams of protein, 22.9 grams of fat, 5.3 grams of fibre and .9 grams of sodium?

2. From which direction do the mistral and levante blow?

3. Who said: “If we focus too intently on the past, we risk walking into the future backwards without seeing the great possibilities that lie ahead“?

4. What are the main ingredients of a daiquiri?

5. What’s the gestation period of a cow?

Scores for answers:

David got 1 1/2 with a bonus for his scientific approach to the gestation period even though he was a month out.

Greavedodger got three witha  bonus for extra amusing information.

Bearhunter wins the electronic bunch of flowers with  four right and a bonus for humour.

Paul got three – and a question over what he does with his breakfast cereal if his weetbix has all that fat.

Ray got three with a bonus for identifying the impact of shed building on gestation periods of cows. (BTW the cafe is now called Bean on Thames).

PDM got 2 1/2 and a bonus for honesty over his involvement in calving.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »


I Got You

18/05/2010

Day 18 of New Zealand Music Month – Split Enz with I Got You.


Taxes not low when Tax Freedom Day’s in May

18/05/2010

Last Tuesday was Tax Freedom Day.

That’s the notional day when the Business Round Table calculates that the  average New Zealander stops working for the government.

Executive director Roger Kerr said:

 . . .   the calculation of 11 May was based on central government core expenditure, which is forecast to be 35.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the government’s December 2009 Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update.

 “Tax Freedom Day in 2008 and 2009 fell on 10 and 11 May respectively, according to revised data. However, it arrived two weeks earlier in 2007 (27 April). The big delay in the arrival of Tax Freedom Day since then reflects the rapid growth of spending during the last term of the previous government. The present government’s forecasts indicate little relief for taxpayers in the next three years. Mr Kerr said that the Business Roundtable regarded government spending as the best measure of the overall tax burden because almost all government spending ultimately has to be financed from present or deferred taxation (borrowing). It ‘looks through’ periods when the budget is in deficit or surplus.

The growth in spending in the previous government’s last term shows how expensive the 2005 election was and how much of our money was used to win it.

The dead rats National had to swallow before the 2008 election and the response to the world recession has kept state spending higher than it ought to be.

There’s little comfort in the finding that Tax Freedom Day here is earlier than the OECD average of June 14.

This reflects the sharp expansion in spending by many OECD countries, partly in response to the global financial crisis. It highlights the need for “large scale fiscal adjustment” as countries recover from the economic downturn which is recommended by the International Monetary Fund.

A comparison with those countries  came up again last week with a report showing that our tax wedge – individual tax as a percentage of labour costs – is amongst the lowest in the OECD.

However Kiwiblog  points out this report isn’t comparing apples with apples:

This is not a measure of the overall level of taxation in the economy. It is a measure of the difference between gross pay and net pay. There is a huge difference.

 Macdoctor also noticed that report  didn’t take account of consumption taxes, compulsory superannuation and employers’ contributions to social security.

Back to the Business Round Table report which noted:

 A number of fast-growing Asian and other countries have levels of government spending, and hence tax burdens, that are well below the OECD average. Their advantage has increased as they have not generally increased spending to the same extent as developed countries.

 If the tax burden is measured as a ratio of taxation to GDP instead of spending, the picture of New Zealand as a highly taxed country is accentuated. The latest OECD figures show that the ratio of ‘general government total tax and non-tax receipts’ to GDP for New Zealand is 40 percent for 2010, well above the average OECD ratio of 36.6 percent and much higher than Australia’s ratio of 33.1 percent.

Kerr isn’t suggesting there should be no tax:

“While soundly based government spending on public goods and a safety net is justified, economic research suggests that beyond a certain point government

spending and taxation are harmful to economic growth.”

Finance Minister Bill English has given pretty strong signals we’ll get tax cuts in Thursday’s Budget.

That in tandem with measures to improve public service efficiency and economic growth gives some hope that Tax Freedom Day will be earlier in future.

That will provide security for essential public services while allowing us to retain a bit more of our own money.


Let’s get better Best Blog Awards

18/05/2010

Whale Oil, Cactus Kate and Oswald Bastable  aren’t impressed with the nominations in the blog category of the Qantas Media Awards.

I agree.

Let’s do something about it with the Best Blog Awards.

Your views on categories, criteria, how and by whom they should be judged are welcome.

Once that’s been determined we can open nominations.


Cluster hoax

18/05/2010

In most parts of the world a cluster bomb would be cause for great concern.

In Wellington yesterday it was a hoax – the suspicious parcel delivered to Agriculture Minister David Carter contained cluster flies not explosives.

As Busted Blonde says they’re a particularly irritating species. 

But they’re not dangerous.

Last year we were plagued by them, this summer we’ve seen few of them.

Who sent them to the Minsiter and why has yet to be determined.

And while we might laugh at the thought of  ministers seeking refuge in bars and cafes when their offices were cleared,  we should also be grateful that it was only a hoax.

In many other countries bombs aren’t hoaxes which cause inconvenience, they’re deadly serious and  kill people.


May 18 in history

18/05/2010

On May 18:

1048 Omar Khayyám, Persian mathematician, poet and philosopher, was born (d. 1131).

1152  Henry II of England married Eleanor of Aquitaine.

1268  The Principality of Antioch, a crusader state, fell to the Mamluk Sultan Baibars in the Battle of Antioch.

1302 Bruges Matins, the nocturnal massacre of the French garrison in Bruges by members of the local Flemish militia.

1498 Vasco da Gama reached the port of Calicut, India.

 

1593  Playwright Thomas Kyd‘s accusations of heresy led to an arrest warrant for Christopher Marlowe.

 

1652 Rhode Island passed the first law in North America making slavery illegal.

1765  Fire destroyed a large part of Montreal.

1783  First United Empire Loyalists reached Parrtown, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada after leaving the United States.

 

1803  Napoleonic Wars: The United Kingdom revokds the Treaty of Amiens and declared war on France.

1804 Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed Emperor of the French by the French Senate.

Portrait painting of a horse rearing-up at a 45-degree angle with a man sitting on it and pointing forwards with his right hand whilst holding onto the reins with his left 

1811  Battle of Las Piedras: The first great military triumph of the revolution of the Río de la Plata in Uruguay led by Jose Artigas.

Battle of Las Piedras.jpg

1812  John Bellingham was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging for the assassination of British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval.

 

1843  The Disruption in Edinburgh of the Free Church of Scotland from the Church of Scotland.

 

1848  Opening of the first German National Assembly (Nationalversammlung) in Frankfurt.

 

1860  Abraham Lincoln won the Republican Party nomination over William H. Seward.

1863  American Civil War: The Siege of Vicksburg began.

Battle of Vicksburg, Kurz and Allison.png

1828  1868 Nicholas II, Tsar of Russia  was born(d. 1918).

1896  The United States Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that separate but equal is constitutional.

 

1896 – Khodynka Tragedy: A mass panic on Khodynka Field in Moscow during the festivities of the coronation of  Tsar Nicholas II resulted in the deaths of 1,389 people.

 

1897  Dracula, a novel by Irish author Bram Stoker was published.

Dracula by Bram Stoker, 1st edition cover, Archibald Constable and Company, 1897

1897 Frank Capra, American film producer, director, and writer, was born  (d. 1991).

 

1900  The United Kingdom proclaimed a protectorate over Tonga.

1910  The Earth passed through the tail of Comet Halley.

A color image of Comet Halley, shown flying to the left aligned flat against the sky

1912  Perry Como, American singer, was born (d. 2001).

1913 Jane Birdwood, British anti-Semitic activist, was born  (d. 2000).

1917 World War I: The Selective Service Act of 1917 was passed, giving the President of the United States the power of conscription.

 

1919 Dame Margot Fonteyn, English ballet dancer, was born  (d. 1991).

1920 Pope John Paul II was born (d. 2005).

Pope John Paul II on 12 August 1993 in Denver (Colorado)

1926 Evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson disappeared while visiting a Venice, California beach.

 

1927  The Bath School Disaster: Forty-five people were killed by bombs planted by a disgruntled school-board member in Michigan.

1933 New Deal: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an act creating the Tennessee Valley Authority.

TVA logo

1937 New Zealand nurses René Shadbolt, Isobel Dodds, and Millicent Sharples were detained at Auckland police station before leaving for the Spanish Civil War as recruites for the Spanish Medical Aid COmmittee.

NZ nurses detained on way to Spanish Civil War

1944  World War II: Battle of Monte Cassino – Conclusion after seven days of the fourth battle as German paratroopers (Fallschirmjäger) evacuated Monte Cassino.

Battle of Monte Cassino

1944  Deportation of Crimean Tatars by the Soviet Union  government.

Ismail Gaspirali.jpgNoman Chelebicihan.jpgMustafa Abdülcemil Kırımoğlu.jpg

1948  The First Legislative Yuan of the Republic of China officially convened in Nanking.

 1949 Rick Wakeman, English composer and musician (Yes) was born.

 

1949 – Bill Wallace, Canadian musician (The Guess Who) was born.

1953  Jackie Cochran beaome the first woman to break the sound barrier.

1955  Operation Passage to Freedom, the evacuation of 310,000 Vietnamese civilians, soldiers and non-Vietnamese members of the French Army from communist North Vietnam to South Vietnam following the end of the First Indochina War, ended.

 

1956 First  ascent of Lhotse 8,516 metres, by a Swiss team.

1958 An F-104 Starfighter set a world speed record of 2,259.82 km/h (1,404.19 mph).

1959 Launching of the National Liberation Committee of Côte d’Ivoire in Conakry, Guinea.

 

1966 Koroki Te Rata Mahuta Tawhiao Potatau Te Wherowhero, the fifth Maori monarch heading the Kingitanga movement, died.

Death of Maori King Koroki

1969  Apollo 10 was launched.

The Apollo 10 Prime Crew - GPN-2000-001163.jpg

1974 Nuclear test: Under project Smiling Buddha, India successfully detonated its first nuclear weapon becoming the sixth nation to do so.

1974 – Completion of the Warsaw radio mast, the tallest construction ever built at the time.

 

1980  Eruption of Mount St. Helens: killing 57 people and causing $3 billion in damage.

 

1980  Gwangju Massacre: Students in Gwangju, South Korea began demonstrations, calling for democratic reforms.

 

1983  In Ireland, the government launched a crackdown, with the leading Dublin pirate Radio Nova  put off the air.

1990 In France, a modified TGV train achieved a new rail world speed record of 515.3km/h (320.2 mph).

1991 Northern Somalia declared independence from the rest of Somalia as the Republic of Somaliland but is unrecognised by the international community.

1993  EU-riots in Nørrebro, Copenhagen caused by the approval of the four Danish exceptions in the Maastricht Treaty referendum. Police opened fire against civilians for the first time since World War II and injured 11 demonstrators.

1998 United States v. Microsoft: The United States Department of Justice and 20 U.S. states filed an antitrust case against Microsoft.

 

2006 The post Loktantra Andolan government passd a landmark bill curtailing the power of the monarchy and making Nepal a secular country.

2009  Sri Lankan Civil War: The LTTE were defeated by the Sri Lankan government, ending almost 26 years of fighting between the two sides.

Sri Lanka-CIA WFB Map.png

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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