Joan Sutherland’s last farewell


Dame Joan Sutherland would have been 84 today.

(Lots of applause at the start, the singing starts at about 6:20)

It’s also Joni Mitchell’s 67th birthday which Quote Unquote marks with Hejira.

Word of the day


Xenobombulate – to malinger.

Hillary Clinton not standing for president?


Did I hear Guyon Espiner on Q&A say that Hillary Clinton had told him that she wouldn’t stand for president?

But interestingly, she ruled herself out of the presidency.  There was a bit of interest overseas about that comment, because there was some thought that because Obama had been hammered at the midterms that did this open the door for Clinton to actually come in and fulfil John Key’s prophesy that she would be President Clinton one day?  But she said, ‘No, no, no.  Not me.’

Is that a real, absolutely, definite I won’t stand or an it’s better politically at the moment to say I won’t stand ?



8/10 in the NZ Herald weekly news quiz.

Cows worth far more than hobbits


The dairy industry will be the focus of attention this week with 1400 delegates from 64 countries meeting in Auckland for the World Dairy Summit.

In preparation for that Fonterra has written an open letter to the country explaining the company’s commitment to sustainability:

As New Zealand’s home-grown, global co-operative, Fonterra is proud to welcome delegates to New Zealand. We bring in one in every four export dollars to New Zealand and we seek to make a lasting contribution to New Zealand and to the communities where we live and work.

We take great pride in being a pasture-based dairy producer and see this as a lasting advantage in our markets, in line with our vision of being a natural source of dairy nutrition. Like all food companies around the world we want to achieve the right balance between social, environmental and economic sustainability.

Over the past nine years, we have made steady gains in our environmental performance. We are committed to embedding sustainability into everything we do.

This means Fonterra and our farmers face complex choices including sources of feed, environmental impacts and animal health issues as we work hard to protect our competitive advantage internationally. To compete, we will always need to be a low cost and efficient producer and to deliver for our shareholders. But we will strive to do so in ways that meet our social and environmental responsibilities, and we will always respect the animals that are the source of our product.

Our commitment is to work together with our farmers, staff, customers, government, local authorities, iwi and the community to ensure good practice is the only practice. We all have a stake in building a sustainable dairy industry for the future.

We have made progress, but we are the first to accept that we still have a long way to go. We acknowledge that we need to intensify our efforts to continuously improve our performance. We believe sustainability will be one of the defining issues for the success of Fonterra and for the global dairy industry. We are focused on doing what’s right, not just on a ‘compliance – only’ approach, but one that excels at innovations which accelerate our ability to do more with less on farms, in our factories, on transport, and for our customers. . .

Poor practice – deliberate or accidental – by the company or its shareholders makes headlines. The on-going commitment by them to sustainability goes unnoticed.

However, it’s value to the country is being taken seriously:

First the Listener editorial made the connection:

. . . the most important money-earning mammals in the Waikato meadows are not hobbits but friesians.

Liam Dann makes a similar  point:

The budget for the two Hobbit films has been reported at a pretty epic $650 million.

Not all of that will be spent here, of course, a lot of it will be used to market the films.

But even if we see half a billion, the figure will be dwarfed by the returns generated from our dairy industry.

At levels confirmed yesterday, Fonterra’s payout forecasts for this season would see $9.11 billion injected into the economy in 2011.

That’s $500 million more than the season before and some $2.5 billion more than the season before that. . .

. . .  It was a drought and a commodity slump that led us into the economic downturn and it looks set to be the weather and a commodity boom that will lead us out.

Dairying might not be as sexy as film making but it earns far more money.

Fonterra and its shareholders are committed to ensuring its economic performance is matched by good environmental practices.

Why only in an emergency?


The government has streamlined the licensing process for builders in Christchurch to help with the rebuilding properties damaged in the earthquakes.

Minister of Building and Construction Maurice Williamson says the Canterbury earthquake has highlighted the need for reliable and skilled builders.

Mr Williamson says builders who have a licence will be able to fast-track a long consenting process and make the rebuilding faster so people can get back in their homes sooner.

He says the licence process for builders has been streamlined.

I have no complaints about this but  do have a question – why can’t the process be streamlined and the consent process be fast-tracked everywhere all the time?

The time and money wasted by delay when applications get caught by red tape is one of the reasons our productivity isn’t as good as it could and should be..

November 7 in history


On November 7:

680 The Sixth Ecumenical Council commenced in Constantinople.

1492 The Ensisheim Meteorite, the oldest meteorite with a known date of impact, struck the earth in a wheat field outside the village of Ensisheim, France.

1619 Elizabeth of Scotland and England was crowned Queen of Bohemia.

1665  The London Gazette, the oldest surviving journal, was first published.

1728  Captain James Cook, British naval officer, explorer, and cartographer, was born (d 1779).

1775 John Murray, the Royal Governor of the Colony of Virginia, started the first mass emancipation of slaves in North America by issuing Lord Dunmore’s Offer of Emancipation, which offered freedom to slaves who abandoned their colonial masters in order to fight with Murray and the British.


1786  The oldest musical organisation in the United States was founded as the Stoughton Musical Society.

1811 Tecumseh’s War: The Battle of Tippecanoe.


1837  Abolitionist printer Elijah P. Lovejoy was shot dead by a mob while attempting to protect his printing shop from being destroyed a third time.

1848 The paddle steamer Acheron arrived to being surveying New Zealand waters.

The <em>Acheron</em> arrives to begin survey of NZ waters

1861 American Civil War: Battle of Belmont: Forces led by General Ulysses S. Grant overran a Confederate camp but were forced to retreat when Confederate reinforcements arrive.

1867  Maria Sklodowska-Curie, Polish chemist and physicist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics and in chemistry, was born (d 1934).

1872  The ship Mary Celeste sailed from New York.

Mary Celeste as Amazon in 1861.jpg

1874 A cartoon by Thomas Nast in Harper’s Weekly, is considered the first important use of an elephant as a symbol for the United States Republican Party.

1879  Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary, was born (d 1940).

1885  Construction ended on the Canadian Pacific Railway railway extending across Canada.


1893 Women in the U.S. state of Colorado were granted the right to vote.

1900 Battle of Leliefontein, a battle during which the Royal Canadian Dragoons won three Victoria Crosses.

1907  Jesús García saved the entire town of Nacozari de Garcia, Sonora by driving a burning train full of dynamitesix kilometers away before it could explode.


1908  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were reportedly killed in San Vicente, Bolivia.

1910  The first air freight shipment was undertaken by the Wright Brothers and department store owner Max Moorehouse.

1912 The Deutsche Opernhaus (now Deutsche Oper Berlin) opened in  Berlin with a production of Beethoven’s Fidelio.

1913 Albert Camus, French writer, Nobel Prize laureate, was born (d 1960).

1914  The first issue of The New Republic magazine was published.

1914 – The German colony of Kiaochow Bay and its centre at Tsingtao were captured by Japanese forces.

1916  Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to the United States Congress.

1917 The Gregorian calendar date of the October Revolution, which got its name from the Julian calendar date of 25 October –  the Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace.

1917  World War I: Third Battle of Gaza ended: British forces captured Gaza from the Ottoman Empire.

1918  The 1918 influenza epidemic spread to Western Samoa, killing 7,542 (about 20% of the population) by the end of the year.

1918 Kurt Eisner overthrew the Wittelsbach dynasty in the Kingdom of Bavaria.


1918 Billy Graham, American evangelist was born.

1919  The first Palmer Raid was conducted on the second anniversary of the Russian Revolution. More than 10,000 suspected communists and anarchists were arrested in twenty-three different U.S. cities.


1920  Patriarch Tikhon issued a decree that lead to the formation of Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

1921 The Partito Nazionale Fascista (PNF), National Fascist Party, comes into existence.

National Fascist Party logo.jpg

1926 Dame Joan Sutherland, Australian operatic soprano, was born (d 2010).


1929 The Museum of Modern Art in New York opened to the public.

1931 The Chinese Soviet Republic was proclaimed on the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.

1940 The original Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed in a windstorm, just four months after the bridge’s completion.

1941 Soviet hospital ship Armenia was sunk by German planes while evacuating refugees and wounded military and staff of several Crimea’s hospitals – killing more than 5,000 people.

1943  Joni Mitchell, Canadian musician, was born.

1944 A passenger train derailed in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico from excessive speed when descending a hill. 16 people were killed and 50 injured.

1944  Soviet spy Richard Sorge,  a half-Russian, half-German World War I veteran, and 34 of his spy-ring, were hanged by his Japanese captors.

Dr Richard Sorge spy.jpg

1944  Franklin D. Roosevelt elected for a record fourth term as President of the United States of America.

1963  Wunder von Lengede: Eleven miners were rescued from a collapsed mine after 14 days.


1967  Carl B. Stokes was elected as Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, becoming the first African American mayor of a major American city.

1970  Long-haired Christchurch mountaineers John Glasgow and Peter Gough became the first to successfully scale the 2000-metre Caroline Face of Aoraki/Mt Cook, declaring it a ‘triumph for the hippies’.

Aoraki/Mt Cook route conquered by hippies

1975 In Bangladesh a joint force of people and soldiers took part in an uprising hailed as National Revolution and Solidarity Day, led by Col. Abu Taher that ousted and killed Brig. Khaled Mosharraf.

1983  United States Senate bombing: a bomb exploded inside the United States Capitol.

1987  In Tunisia, president Habib Bourguiba was overthrown and replaced by Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

1989 Douglas Wilder won the governor’s seat in Virginia, becoming the first elected African American governor in the United States.

1989  David Dinkins became the first African American mayor of New York City.


1989 – East German Prime Minister Willi Stoph and his cabinet were forced to resign after huge anti-government protests.


1990 Mary Robinson became the first woman to be elected President of the Republic of Ireland.

1991  Magic Johnson announced that he was infected with HIV and retired from the NBA.

1994 WXYC, the student radio station of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, provided the world’s first internet radio broadcast.

1996  NASA launched the Mars Global Surveyor.

2000Hillary Rodham Clinton ws elected to the United States Senate, becoming the first former First Lady to win public office in the United States.

Formal pose of middle-aged white woman with shortish blonde hair wearing dark blue jacket over orange top with American flag in background

2000 – Controversial US presidential election that is later resolved in the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court Case.

2002  Iran baneds advertising of United States products.

2004  War in Iraq: The interim government of Iraq calls for a 60-day “state of emergency” as U.S. forces storm the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah.

2006 Chicago O’Hare UFO sighting

2007 Jokela school shooting in Tuusula, Finland, resulted in the death of nine people.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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