Word of the day

November 1, 2010

Floccinaucinihilipilification – the estimation of something as valueless.

A word likely to be applied to several horses and many more betting slips after the Melbourne Cup.


Monday’s quiz

November 1, 2010

1. Who said: “Horse sense is a good judgement which keeps horses from betting on people.”?

2. Which horse won last year’s Melbourne Cup?

3. Name the British ex-jockey who rode for the Queen Mother then became a journalist and best-selling crime wirter.

4. It’s caballo in Spanish, chevel cheval in French, cavallo in Italian and hoiho in Maori, what is it in English?

5. Which club hosts the Melbourne Cup and where is it held?


Something better than nothing – updated

November 1, 2010

The Maori party is learning that politics requires compromise.

The Marine and Coastal Area Bill which seeks to replace the Foreshore and Seabd Act doesn’t go far enough for some.

“We got to the stage where we can discuss the issues rationally, with some leaning one way and some the other way, and I think we really got to the point where everyone had a better understanding of what government is, and what our role is in there – which is the most important thing,” he told NZPA. . .

Dr Sharples said the party had to make concessions to get this far and people were starting to understand that.

I think they will understand now – if the party votes for it to go ahead – that we have made it very clear that we didn’t get what we really wanted, and what we did get was better than 2004.”

“We are trying to teach everyone that this is kawanatanga, this is government and these are their rules of operation, and if you want to gain some wins you work within those rules and get the wins you can.”

In politics, and life, you can’t always get everything you want but it’s usually better to accept something than walk away with nothing.

Update: A speech by Tariana Turia gives a similar message:

In the end, I think it is a really important consideration for us to think about: do we want to part of that political process or not because we know that in Parliament, everything is about votes and you win or lose on the vote that is taken on any one day.

The difficulty for us, we have five votes and if we can’t garner enough to get 63 votes it becomes very difficult on any issue on any one day in that environment.

But I don’t want you to think that we sit there and we roll over on these issues, we do not. We do not, and we never have. . .

. . . But I do want you to know that while we may do things in Parliament that you don’t approve of, I can promise you that we listen to what you say, and that we advocate what you say and there are times when we lose. And that’s our reality.

Now we can either decide that that is not good enough and shouldn’t be there and we shouldn’t be participating or we should be in opposition basically just throwing stones at whoever the Government is.

Well I have got much longer in my life actually and I’ve had my days of sitting on opposition benches moaning about everything and getting nowhere. . .

National didn’t have to invite the Maori Party into coalition and the party didn’t have to accept. But the government is stronger and the Maori Party has achieved more because it is part of the government not the opposition.

Update: Pita Sharples also  told the party to put health before the beaches:

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples has urged rank and file members to put policy wins in health, education and welfare ahead of damaging splits over the foreshore and seabed as opposition to the planned law change gathers momentum.

In an extraordinary departure from accepted doctrine in the political movement born from protests against Labour’s Foreshore and Seabed Act, Dr Sharples said claims to coastal land were not as important as other matters the party was pursuing.

“For many of my friends, they don’t even know what’s going on with the foreshore and seabed,” he told the party’s annual meeting in Hastings at the weekend.

“But they know what’s going on at home when they’re hungry. They know what’s going on at home when they haven’t got jobs.

“They know when they see their children not reading well, compared to the other children around them.

“These are the sort of things that our people are dealing with day to day, and that’s why I really would like us to think why are we in Parliament.”

Roarprawn also blogs on this.


Right diagnosis wrong prescription Dr Smith

November 1, 2010

John Key is correct that it would be better to make MPs’ travel expenditure public.

Unfortunately speaker Lockwood Smith disagrees and from now on an individual MP’s expense won’t be declared, we’ll only know the total for all MPs.

Dr Smith has correctly diagnosed public disquiet over revelations on what MPs have been spending but he’s come up with the wrong prescription.

His argument  is that expenditure on overseas trips is part of MPs’ salary package and what they do with it is their private business.

That may be technically correct but it’s not quite that simple when public money pays for the allowances to which they’re entitled and some MPs use them and some don’t.

Now that expenses have been public it’s going to be very difficult to keep them private.

The answer to the problem is to change the system which is what the Prime Minister is suggesting:

”The reality is we have worked on a process where we’ve opened up MPs expenses and now it will look to the public like we somehow are closing the door slightly.”
Mr Key, speaking from Vietnam where he is attending the East Asia Summit, said scrapping the travel perks and upping MPs salaries in compensation is ”a very hotly contested issue.”

”At some point we’ll have discussions with our caucus about that.”  The government had tried  to move to a system that coverts more compensations to cash, he said. ”I actually think that’s fundamentally the right way to go.” But he admitted ”selling that to the public might be an interesting charge.”

”I think this is a situation that is going to evolve… Given the charge we’ve lead in the past few years …the genie is out of the bottle.”

He’s right. Dr Smith opened the expenses to public scrutiny and it will be impossible to keep them hidden again.

Someone will recognise an MP on an overseas flight and tell someone and it will find its way in to the media with the inference they’re holidaying on the taxpayer whether or not they are.

But we don’t even have to wait for disclosure by chance. All it will take is for someone to ask all MPs regularly if they’ve been overseas and if so who footed the bill and make the answers public.  Anyone who refuses to answer will be judged guilty, whether or not they are.

It would be far better to take a fresh look at MP salaries, work out a reasonable value for the travel allowance and pay that in cash. That lets the MP choose to spend the money they earn with no need to disclose it to the public and the public will know exactly how much an MP is paid.

That is fairer and clearer for both MPs and the public.


November 1 in history

November 1, 2010

On November 1:

996  Emperor Otto III issued a deed to Gottschalk, Bishop of Freising, which is the oldest known document using the name Ostarrîchi (Austria in Old High German).

1179  Philip II was crowned King of France.

1348  The anti-royalist Union of Valencia attacked the Jews of Murviedro on the pretext that they were serfs of the King of Valencia and thus “royalists”.

1512 The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo, was exhibited to the public for the first time

 

1520 The Strait of Magellan, was first navigated by Ferdinand Magellan during his global circumnavigation voyage.
 
1604 William Shakespeare‘s tragedy Othello was staged for the first time, at Whitehall Palace.
 
 
1611  William Shakespeare‘s romantic comedy The Tempest was staged for the first time, at Whitehall Palace.
 
 

1612 Time of Troubles in Russia: Moscow, Kitai-gorod, was captured by Russian troops under command of Dmitry Pozharsky.

 

1755 Lisbon earthquake:  Lisbon was destroyed by a massive earthquake and tsunami, killing between sixty thousand and ninety thousand people.

 

1765 The British Parliament enacted the Stamp Act on the 13 colonies in order to help pay for British military operations in North America.

 

1790  Edmund Burke published Reflections on the Revolution in France.

1800  US President John Adams became the first President of the United States to live in the Executive Mansion (later renamed the White House).
 

1805 Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Austria during the War of the Third Coalition.

Austerlitz-baron-Pascal.jpg

1814  Congress of Vienna opened to re-draw the European political map after the defeat of France, in the Napoleonic Wars.
Period oil painting of the delegates to the Congress of Vienna. 

1848 The first medical school for women, The Boston Female Medical School (which later merged with the Boston University School of Medicine), opened.

1859   Cape Lookout lighthouse was lit for the first time.

1861 American Civil War: US President Abraham Lincoln appointed George B. McClellan as the commander of the Union Army, replacing the aged General Winfield Scott.

1870  The  U.S. Weather Bureau (later renamed the National Weather Service) mafr its first official meteorological forecast.

1876  New Zealand’s provincial government system was dissolved.

 

1884 The Gaelic Athletic Association was set up.

1886 Ananda College, a leading Buddhist school in Sri Lanka was established with 37 students.

Ananda Crest.png

1887 – L. S. Lowry, British painter of industrial scenes, was born.

1894  Nicholas II became the new Tsar of Russia after his father, Alexander III, died.

 

1896  A picture showing the unclad breasts of a woman appeared in National Geographic magazine for the first time.

Logo of the National Geographic Society

1898 The New Zealand parliament passed the Old-Age Pensions Act.  A world first, the act gave a small means-tested pension to destitute older people ‘deemed to be of good character’; Chinese were specifically excluded. It is considered one of the major achievements of Richard Seddon’s Liberal government.

Old-Age Pensions Act passes into law

1911  The first dropping of a bomb from an airplane in combat, during the Italo-Turkish War.

1914 World War I: the first British Royal Navy defeat of the war with Germany, the Battle of Coronel, was fought off of the western coast of Chile, with the loss of HMS Good Hope and HMS Monmouth.

Ostasiengeschwader Graf Spee in Chile.jpg

1916  Paul Miliukov delivered in the State Duma the famous “stupidity or treason” speech, precipitating the downfall of the Boris Stürmer government.

 

1918  Malbone Street Wreck: the worst rapid transit accident in US history with at least 93 deaths.

MalboneStreetWreck.jpg

1918  Western Ukraine gained its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

1920  American Fishing Schooner Esperanto defeated the Canadian Fishing Schooner Delawana in the First International Fishing Schooner Championship Races in Halifax.

1922  The last sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed VI, abdicated.

1928 The Law on the Adoption and Implementation of the Turkish Alphabet, replacing the version of the Arabic alphabet previously used, came into force in Turkey.

1937  Stalinists executed Pastor Paul Hamberg and seven members of Azerbaijan‘s Lutheran community.

1938  Seabiscuit defeated War Admiral in an upset victory during a match race deemed “the match of the century” in horse racing.

Seabiscuit statue.png

1939  The first rabbit born after artificial insemination was exhibited to the world.

1941 American photographer Ansel Adams took a picture of a moonrise over the town of Hernandez, New Mexico that became one of the most famous images in the history of photography.

A photo of a bearded Ansel Adams with a camera on a tripod and a light meter in his hand.  Adams is wearing a dark jacket and a white shirt, and the open shirt collar is spread over the lapel of his jacket.  He is holding a cable release for the camera, and there is a rocky hillside behind him.  The photo was taken by J. Malcolm Greany, probably in 1947.

1942  Matanikau Offensive began during the Guadalcanal Campaign.

GuadMatanikauMarineRaft.jpg

1943  Battle of Empress Augusta Bay, United States Marines, the 3rd Marine Division, landed on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands.

1944 World War II: Units of the British Army landed at Walcheren in the Netherlands.

1945 The official North Korean newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, was first published under the name Chongro.

1948   6,000 people were killed as a Chinese merchant ship exploded and sank.

1950 – Pope Pius XII claimed Papal Infallibility when he formally defined the dogma of the Assumption of Mary.

1951  Operation Buster-Jangle: 6,500 American soldiers were exposed to ‘Desert Rock’ atomic explosions for training purposes in Nevada.

 

1952  Operation Ivy – The United States successfully detonated the first large hydrogen bomb, codenamed “Mike” [“M” for megaton], in the Eniwetok atoll, in the Marshall Islands.

 

1954 The Front de Libération Nationale fired the first shots of the Algerian War of Independence.

1955 The bombing of United Airlines Flight 629 killed all 39 passengers and five crew members aboard the Douglas DC-6B airliner.

1957  The Mackinac Bridge, the world’s longest suspension bridge between anchorages at the time, opened to traffic connecting Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas.

1959 – In Rwanda, Hutu politician Dominique Mbonyumutwa was beaten up by Tutsi forces, leading to a period of violence known as the wind of destruction.

1961  50,000 women in 60 cities participated in the inaugural Women Strike for Peace (WSP) against nuclear proliferation.

 

1963 The Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, with the largest radio telescope ever constructed, officially opened.

 
Arecibo Observatory.jpg

1970  Club Cinq-Sept fire in Saint-Laurent-du-Pont, France killed 146 young people.

1981  Antigua and Barbuda gained independence from the United Kingdom.

1982  Honda becomes the first Asian automobile company to produce cars in the United States with the opening of their factory in Marysville, Ohio.

1993 The Maastricht Treaty took effect, formally establishing the European Union.

 

2005 First part of the Gomery Report, which discussed allegations of political money manipulation by members of the Liberal Party of Canada, was released in Canada.

 

2009  The inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was held at the Yas Marina Circuit.

 
Circuit Yas-Island.svg

Sourced from NZ History Online & WIkipedia


%d bloggers like this: