Word of the day


Caritative – charitable, generous.

Thursday’s quiz


1. What are the missing words and who said this: “Never give in, never give in, …; ….; …. – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense”

2. It’s vaillance  in French, valentía in Spanish and  māia in Maori, what is it in English?

3. Who said: “Courage is resistence to fear -mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”?

4. How much household bleach do you add to a litre of water to purify it?

5. Which is Simon Power’s electorate?

Looking back and looking forward


Selwyn MP Amy Adams made a moving speech in parliament after the September 4th Canterbury earthquake.

Now she looks back on last Tuesday’s quake in Christchurch: 

. . . It was then I began to see TV coverage of my beloved city collapsing, the terror, the disbelief, the injuries depicted on national television.  I reached my husband by phone for a few seconds before the call failed which let me know a) he was OK but b) he couldn’t reach the kids schools.  Both my children are at schools in the central city and my son’s school in particular is not only right in the CBD but is built in the same way as the cathedral, arts centre and provincial chambers buildings.  As I saw images of those buildings collapsing, spewing their deadly chunks of heavy masonry everywhere, I’m not too proud to admit I lost it. As the tears came the only words I could get out were “I can’t get hold of my kids, they’re in the city”. That was enough – people knew what I meant and my wonderful colleagues rushed around trying to find ways to get me into Christchurch as fast as possible.  It took around 4 hours until I knew both kids were safe and the fear I felt until I had them back with me is the most debilitating I have ever known.  Watching the news only terrified me more and yet I couldn’t stop watching it. In the end though I am blessed, my family all came through with only bumps and bruises. . .

Amy has been working for and with the people of Christchurch but she also looks ahead:

. . . On the faces of those most affected I see the same zombie like disbelief that I know I had last September.  The lack of sleep, the inability to feel safe in your home, the worry about what the future holds.

This time though it is different – the human tragedy is enormous. Canterbury is a village and here the six degrees of separation is more like 2.  Almost all of us will know or be connected to someone that we have lost and the stories of all the people lost hurt us deeply.  These are our people, going about the sorts of normal things in the places that we all inhabit and the randomness of their loss cuts us deeply.  The buildings lost are just buildings but they are iconic to Cantabrians.

Now the question most asked is how do we recover from this – how does the city come back?  As some people flee Christchurch, those that remain are scared.  The economic impact of this is only beginning to be felt and its aftershocks will rattle this region for some time.  I don’t have all the answers of course but here is what I do know.  Cantabrians are strong even though we may not feel it just now.  We will get through this and rebuild a strong, safe city that is a testament to who we are.  This will be a city that all of NZ is proud of, that sets a benchmark.  I don’t know how long it will take but I have faith in my province and I’m not going anywhere.  I’m going to stay here and fight for Canterbury. We won’t be alone in this.  The local and international support has been incredible and the Government has reacted swiftly and has pledged to be beside us every step of the way.  Canterbury will be the first priority and the needs of our people are being constantly assessed and responded to. 

These are testing times but we will get through it.

Christchurch based list MP Aaron Gilmore wrote about day 4 of the quake  and showed similar determination for the future:

. . . Much of my city is in ruins but much of it west of the square is fine. This city I was born and raised in, as was my daughter, my mum and dad and brothers, my grandmother, my great grandmother, my great grandmother and many generations.

I will not give up on here, it is home. We will rebuild it. Better, stronger and better. Christchurch we will rise again.

These are not politicians looking from outside or visiting the city.  Aaron lives there and Amy’s electorate includes some of the most damaged area. This is their city, these are their people and their message is important to them and those of further away.

Fear and doubt are natural reactions to such widespread devastation and tragedy.

But we all must believe that the city and its people will recover and rebuild.

Rich in want can’t take from poor in need


Remember the television advertisements for Working for Families?

They showed well dressed people in an upmarket home with the father texting to get the teenage daughter to the table while she lounged on a sofa listening to an iPod.

Did that look like a family in need of public money? No and it wasn’t meant to. The advertisements were aimed at middle and upper income people who ought never to have considered themselves in need of a benefit and probably never did until they were targeted by the ads.

It was an election bribe and it worked, one of several which enabled Labour to scrape back into power in 2005.

Of all the dead rats National swallowed before the 2008 election, WFF was one of the most indigestible. It might be an acceptable way to help the working poor end up better off than those on benefits. But giving public funds to people who already have everything they need and at least some of the things they want is neither economically nor morally sustainable.

Theodore Dalrymple says:

The problem with the State taking care of everything is  twofold. First it tends to destroy our character, something that can be observed every day. Our faculties such as prudence and planning for unpleasant eventualities are lost if they are not exercised, a trend surely borne out by the fact that we as a nation save nothing and borrow much.  . .

. . . In  effect, we are all paupers at the gate of King State. We are paupers even when we are not poor.

There is no doubt that this is very gratifying to many of our governors. It flatters their self-importance which is often their strongest character trait. But it leaves the rest of us reduced human beings.

No one who’s had many dealings with British officialdom can be under any illusions as to the warmth of its heart. Indeed, it can show no compassion because it, unlike real charity, can make no distinction between the deserving and the undeserving. To fail to make this distinction is to increase the number of  the undeserving.

How could anyone think that people earning well above the average wage were either in need or deserving of benefits?

It is much easier to give than to take away. If, as Bill English and John Key have signalled, the wealthier recipients of WFF lose their benefits they won’t like it but if they have any conscience they’ll lump it.

They’re keeping more of the money they earn as a result of tax cuts, they can’t expect to have money desperately needed in other areas as well.

Money spent on allowing middle and upper income families to maintain or improve their lifestyles has came at the cost of their independence and public goods,  services and infrastructure the country and its poorer citizens really needed.

That need is even greater now.

If you’re not convinced, picture again those television ads . Do families like that need public money when others don’t have food, shelter, water, sewers, roads and other essentials?

Let’s not be shy about asking for help


Begging letter of the day:

Dear The Bloggess (Jenny) –

First of all this email is not about advertising but this was the only
address I could find, which is understandable because otherwise you would
probably have crazy people emailing you day and night wanting mad things,
which leads me directly to my next point.

I am from Christchurch in New Zealand. Sheeps and hobbits. But also
earthquakes. We had a big earthquake and now it turns out that while the
good thing about an earthquake is that you can be completely obnoxious then
say, “Oh, sorry, that’s the earthquake talking” there are also bad things,
like it squashes your central business district and also some of your
friends.  Probably I shouldn’t say squashed. Basically, we are fucked.
Excuse foul language, it is the earthquake talking. . .

You’ll find the rest at The Bloggess – I blame the earthquake.

It was written by Ally at Today Is My Birthday.

March 3 in history


On March 3:

1284 The Statute of Rhuddlan incorporated the Principality of Wales into England.

1575 Indian Mughal Emperor Akbar defeated Bengali army at the Battle of Tukaroi.


1585 The Olympic Theatre, designed by Andrea Palladio, was inaugurated in Vicenza.


1776 The first amphibious landing of the United States Marine Corps began the Battle of Nassau.

Battle of Nassau.jpg

1803 Colégio Militar was founded in Portugal by Colonel Teixeira Rebello.


1805 Jonas Furrer, first President of the Swiss Confederation, was born (d. 1861).

1820 The U.S. Congress passed the Missouri Compromise.

1831 George Pullman, American inventor and industrialist, was born (d. 1897).

1845 – For the first time the U.S. Congress passed legislation overriding a presidential veto.

1847  Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-Canadian inventor, was born (d. 1922).

1849 – The U.S. Congress passed the Gold Coinage Act allowing the minting of gold coins.

1857 Second Opium War: France and the United Kingdom declared war on China.

Upper North Taku Fort.jpg

1865 – Opening of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, the founding member of the HSBC Group.

1873 The U.S. Congress enacted the Comstock Law, making it illegal to send any “obscene, lewd, or lascivious” books through the mail.


1875 Georges Bizet‘s opera Carmen received its première at the Opéra Comique of Paris.


1875 – The first ever organized indoor game of ice hockey was played in Montreal.


1878 Bulgaria regained its independence from Ottoman Empire under the Treaty of San Stefano.

1879 The United States Geological Survey was created.

USGS logo green.svg

1882 Charles Ponzi, Italian fraud convict, was born  (d. 1949).

1885 The American Telephone and Telegraph Company was incorporated in New York.


1893 Beatrice Wood, American artist and ceramicist, was born  (d. 1998).


1904  Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany became the first person to make a sound recording of a political document, using Thomas Edison‘s cylinder.

1905 Tsar Nicholas II of Russia agreed to create an elected assembly, the Duma.


1910 Rockefeller Foundation: J.D. Rockefeller Jr. announced his retirement from managing his businesses so that he can devote full time to being a philanthropist.

Rockefeller Foundation logo.png

1911 Jean Harlow, American actress, was born (d. 1937).

1915  NACA, the predecessor of NASA, was founded.

NACA seal.jpg

1918 Germany, Austria and Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk ending Russia’s involvement in World War I, and leading to the independence of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

 Leon Trotsky being greeted by German officers in Brest-Litovsk

1920 Ronald Searle, British illustrator, was born .


1923 TIME magazine was published for the first time.


1924 The 1400-year-old Islamic caliphate was abolished when Caliph Abdul Mejid II of the Ottoman Empire was deposed.

1924 – The Free State of Fiume was annexed by Kingdom of Italy.

1930 Ion Iliescu, President of Romania, was born.

1931 The United States officially adopted The Star-Spangled Banner as its national anthem.

 The 15-star, 15-stripe “Star Spangled Banner Flag” which inspired the poem.

1938 Oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia.

1939 In Mumbai, Mohandas Gandhi began to fast in protest at the autocratic rule in India.


1940 Five people were killed in an arson attack on the offices of the communist newspaper Norrskensflamman in Luleå, Sweden.

1942 Mike Pender, English singer and guitarist (The Searchers), was born.

1942 Ten Japanese warplanes raided the town of Broome, Western Australia killing more than 100 people.

1943  173 people were killed in a crush while trying to enter an air-raid shelter at Bethnal Green tube station in London.

1948 Snowy White, British guitarist (Thin Lizzy, Pink Floyd), was born.

1953 A Canadian Pacific Airlines De Havilland Comet crashed in Karachi, killing 11.

1958 Miranda Richardson, British actress, was born.

1958 Nuri as-Said became the prime minister of Iraq for the 14th time.

Faisal II with Nuri as-Said.

1960 Barry Crump’s novel A Good Keen Man  was published.

Barry Crump's novel <em>A good keen man</em> published

1961 Hassan II became King of Morocco.


1964 Duncan Phillips, Australian drummer (Newsboys), was born.

1969  NASA launched Apollo 9 to test the lunar module.


1971 Beginning of Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and India’s official entry to the Bangladesh Liberation War in support of Mukti Bahini.

1971 surrender.jpg

1972 Mohawk Airlines Flight 405 crashed as a result of a control malfunction and insufficient training in emergency procedures.

1974  Turkish Airlines Flight 981 crashed at Ermenonville near Paris,  killing all 346 aboard.

1976 Five workers were killed by the police in a demonstration in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.

1985 Arthur Scargill declared that the National Union of Mineworkers national executive voted to end the longest-running industrial dispute in Great Britain without any peace deal over pit closures.

NUM logo.png

1991 An amateur video captured the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers.


1991 – In two concurring referendums: 74 % of the population of Latvia and 83% of the population of  Estonia voted for independence from the Soviet Union.

1991 United Airlines Flight 585 crashed on approach into Colorado Springs, killing 25.

1992 – The nation of Bosnia was established.

1997  The tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere, Sky Tower in downtown Auckland opened after two-and-a-half years of construction.

Sky Tower Collage Auckland.jpg

2002  Citizens of Switzerland narrowly voted in favor of their country becoming a member of the United Nations.

2004  Belgian brewer Interbrew and Brazilian rival AmBev agreed to merge in a $11.2 billion deal that formed InBev, the world’s largest brewer.

2005 James Roszko murdered four Royal Canadian Mounted Police constables during a drug bust at his property in Rochfort Bridge, Alberta, then commits suicide.

2005 Steve Fossett became the first person to fly an airplane non-stop around the world solo without refueling.

2009  The Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked by terrorists while on their way to the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore for a Test match against Pakistan.

2009 – The building of the Historisches Archiv der Stadt Köln (Historical Archives) in Cologne, Germany, collapsed.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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