Word of the day

March 23, 2011

Mumpsimus –  A traditional custom or notion adhered to although shown to be unreasonable;  a person who obstinately adheres to such a custom or notion.

                       Adherence to or persistence in an erroneous use of language, memorization, practice, belief, etc., out of habit or obstinacy.

                       An ignorant and bigoted opponent of reform.

                       An obvious error that is obstinately repeated despite correction.

Hat tip: Today is my Birthday via Quote Unquote.


5/10

March 23, 2011

Oh dear – a lowly 5/10 in the NZ Herald news quiz.


Stealing from the future

March 23, 2011

My parents generation came through the Depression with the very firm belief that saving for a rainy day was better than borrowing to enjoy the sun today.

My generation got a reminder of the good sense of that when the ag-sag of the 1980s hit.

We didn’t like it at the time but the tough prescription of Roger Douglas’s Budgets were a very necessary correction of the policies of successive governments from the early 1970s. They spent more than they earned, taking the country into debt which was in effect stealing from future generations.

Reducing the burden of the state and freeing the economy to allow better growth were worthy aims which were subverted by Labour from 1999. Michael Cullen reduced public debt and achieved Budget surpluses but he also increased government spending, gave welfare to people in want rather than need and increased taxes.

The worst damage was done by the extravagant promises which Helen Clark used to win the 2008 election. The productive sector was in recession but it was disguised by high government spending and consumer spending and escalating property prices fuelled by borrowing.

We were already in recession when the global financial crisis hit. Recovery has been patchy at best and the economic impact of the Christchurch earthquake has been the last straw.

The government has recognised the seriousness of the situation and is making it clear there will be no pre-election lolly scramble. There won’t be any increased spending at all – if there is more in one area it will have to come from less in another.

The left either can’t or won’t see the sense in this which gives voters a very real choice in the election.

Labour and its potential allies  want to steal more from the future. National knows the lesson the Depression taught my parents still hold true.


What’s fair?

March 23, 2011

It’s not fair!

Any parent will be familiar with that plaintive cry from a child and it’s also heard from people old enough to know that life isn’t fair.

Bad things happen to the good; good things happen to the bad and we don’t always get our just deserts.

During a discussion after a farm tour on Monday discussion got round to succession. A banker addressing the issue spoke of how difficult that can be when equal might not be fair and fair might not be equal.

That doesn’t only apply to farm succession.

The book The Spirit Level argues that equal societies are better and this is used by the left to justify redistributive policies.

The UK think tank Reform’s Fairness Test which concludes:

While there is no one single agreed view on fairness most people would accept that the extent to which government actions combat disadvantage should be central to any definition. This supports a focus on education and welfare reform. This does not support encouraging high-earners’ migration, maintaining the middle class money-go-round, increasing personal tax allowances or postponing difficult decisions.

The easiest way to make society equal is to drag the top down.

But taking more from people who, largely through their own efforts rather than luck, have more, is definitely unfair and as the collapse of communist regimes shows, ultimately does not work.

The most sustainable, though not easiest, way to help the poor and disadvantaged is to equip them with the skills to help themselves and to increase economic growth.

That will be expensive in the short term but will increase the number of people making a positive contribution to the economy in the long term.

Hat Tip: Roger Kerr.


March 23 in history

March 23, 2011

On March 23:

1174 Jocelin, abbot of Melrose, was elected bishop of Glasgow.

Jocelin.JPG
 

1568 Peace of Longjumeau ended the Second War of Religion in France. Again Catherine de’ Medici and Charles IX of France make substantial concessions to the Huguenots.

1645 William Kidd, Scottish sailor, was born (d. 1701).

William Kidd.jpg

1708  James Francis Edward Stuart landed at the Firth of Forth.

1775 American Revolutionary War: Patrick Henry delivered his famous speech – “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” – at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia.

 

1801  Tsar Paul I of Russia was struck with a sword, then strangled, and finally trampled to death in his bedroom at St. Michael’s Castle.

1806  After traveling through the Louisiana Purchase and reaching the Pacific Ocean, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and their “Corps of Discovery” began their journey home.

 

1821 Battle and fall of city of Kalamata, Greek War of Independence.  

1848 The immigrant ship John Wikcliffe anchored at Port Chalmers carrying the first Scottish settlers for Dunedin, New Zealand.

The John Wickliffe anchors at Port Chalmers

1848 Otago province was founded.

 

1857 Elisha Otis‘s first lift was installed at 488 Broadway New York City.

1862 The First Battle of Kernstown, Virginia, marked the start of Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign.

1868 The University of California was founded.

UC seal.png

1879 War of the Pacific  between Chile and the joint forces of Bolivia and Peru. Chile successfully took over Arica and Tarapacá leaving Bolivia as a landlocked country.

Wotp.en.svg
1889 – The free Woolwich Ferry officially opened in east London.

1889 The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was established by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in Qadian India.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Flag

1896 The Raines Law was passed by the New York State Legislature, restricting Sunday sale of alcohol to hotels.

1903 The Wright Brothers applied for a patent on their invention of one of the first successful airplanes.

 

1905 Joan Crawford, American actress, was born (d. 1977).

 

1919  Benito Mussolini founded his Fascist political movement.

1921 Donald Campbell, British car and motorboat racer, was born (d. 1967).

 

1929  Sir Roger Bannister, English runner, was born.

1933 The Reichstag passed the Enabling act of 1933, making Adolf Hitler dictator of Germany.

 

1935 Signing of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Philippines.

1939 Hungarian air force attacked the headquarters of Slovak air force in the city of Spišská Nová Ves, killed 13 people and began the Slovak–Hungarian War.

1942 In the Indian Ocean, Japanese forces captured the Andaman Islands.

1949 Ric Ocasek, American musician (The Cars), was born.

 

1956 Pakistan becamesthe first Islamic republic in the world. (Republic Day in Pakistan).

1956 José Manuel Barroso, Portuguese politician, president of the European Commission, was born.

1962 – NS Savannah, the first nuclear-powered cargo-passenger ship, was launched as a showcase for Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace initiative.

NSsavannah-1962.gif

1965  NASA launched Gemini 3, the United States’ first two-man space flight.

Gemini3.JPG

1980  Archbishop Óscar Romero of El Salvador gave his famous speech appealing to men of the El Salvadoran armed forces to stop killing the Salvadorans.

1982 Guatemala’s government, headed by Fernando Romeo Lucas García was overthrown in a military coup by right-wing General Efraín Ríos Montt.

1983 Strategic Defense Initiative: President Ronald Reagan made his initial proposal to develop technology to intercept enemy missiles.

1989 Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announced cold fusion at the University of Utah.

 

1994 Mexican presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio was assassinated by Mario Aburto Martínez.

 

1994 – Aeroflot Flight 593 crashed in Siberia when the pilot’s fifteen-year old son accidentally disengaged the autopilot, killing all 75 people on board.

1994 – A United States Air Force (USAF) F-16 aircraft collided with a USAF C-130 at Pope Air Force Base and then crashes, killing 24 United States Army soldiers on the ground in the Green Ramp disaster.

1996 Taiwan held its first direct elections and elected Lee Teng-hui as President.

1999 Gunmen assassinated Paraguay’s Vice President Luis María Argaña.

2001 The Russian Mir space station was disposed of, breaking up in the atmosphere before falling into the southern Pacific Ocean.

2003 In Nasiriyah, Iraq, 11 soldiers of the 507th Maintenance Company and 18 U.S. Marines were killed during the first major conflict of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

2005 – A major explosion at the Texas City Refinery killed 15 workeers.

2007 Burnley Tunnel catastrophe in Melbourne.

 

2007 – The Iranian Navy seizes Royal Navy personnel in the waters between Iran and Iraq.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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