Word of the day

May 30, 2011

Callithumpian – noisy demonstration; participant in a noisy mock serenade;  a member of an unspecified nonconformist religious sect;  a member of an unspecified political party or creed; a holder of any unspecified belief.


Untrue colours

May 30, 2011

Towards the end of my time at high school the board decided on a uniform change.

The grey gym frock which we wore with short sleeved shirts and socks in summer and long sleeved shirts and black tights in winters was to be replaced with a red tartan kilt in winter and a blue dress in summer.

“Blue? Why blue when the school colours were red and black?” we asked.

Those on the right side of the Waitaki River who are interested in rugby, and some who are not, are asking a similar question today: green, why green?

The question comes in response to the decision to change the Highlanders’ jersey from blue, gold and maroon the colours of Otago, North Otago and Southland, to green the colour of um, the grass they play on and some other province.

Respondents to an ODT poll have voted 90% (1321) to 10% (148) to keep the southern colours.

The Facebook page has attracted 1,853 likes and lots of comments including this from National’s Dunedin MP (and rugby referee) Michael Woodhouse:

 . . .  As for this happening because of the many players drafted in from outside the franchise area – sorry to be blunt but it’s not about you! You will leave. The fans won’t. this is about the thousands of fans who support this team through thick and thin over the past 15 years. Not a single one of them relates to anything but blue, maroon and gold. C’mon guys, be big enough to stop or reverse the announcement.

And an online petition has been launched saying:

Tradition and recognition is a huge part of the sport and yet the Highlanders Management seek to dissociate the Highlanders from the region. Sign this petition and Boycott the Force game!

The Highlanders have struggled for several seasons, severely testing the loyalty of fans. This year they’ve had some good wins and have been  regaining  support. This silly change in colours threatens to lose it again.

Have the people behind it spent too much time at the bottom of rucks?


Paying a fair share

May 30, 2011

Jamie Mackay in praising Maori Television makes an interesting observation:

It is also to be congratulated for being brave enough to go where the major networks feared to tread by running a telethon for the Canterbury Earthquake, raising $2.5 million in the process. Of that, Fonterra contributed $1 million, or roughly $90 per dairy farmer. The remainder of New Zealand contributed $1.5 million, or roughly 35 cents per man, woman and child. And the Dom Post says dairy farmers are not paying their fair share?

Fonterra also gave another $500,000 towards production costs so all money raised went to earthquake recovery. And who knows how much of the other $1.5 raised came from dairy farmers?

Labour’s line on dairy farmers not paying tax was classic wedge politics based on a selective use of numbers. As Jamie says:

It’s now abundantly clear the dodgy Dom Post beat-up was a softening-up process ahead of Labour’s attack on farming at its annual conference. The politics of envy is alive and kicking (farmers in the groin). It’s a shame some in the Beehive don’t take a moment to reflect on agriculture’s contribution to society and the economy, rather than being hell-bent on making it a divisive election issue, pitting town against country. Rich farmers are not the problem. Rich farmers are the solution.

Dairy farmers do pay a fair share of tax – most of us  would say we pay more than enough. At the moment we’re also doing more than our fair share for the economy and like most other New Zealanders, businesses and individuals, also contribute to worthy causes.


No danger of mad chooks pigs and fish?

May 30, 2011

European Union MPs are considering lifting the ban  lift the ban on feeding animal by-products to pigs, chickens and farmed fish.

The ban was imposed after cattle developed BSE (Mad Cow Disease) after eating such feed and people who ate the meat developed Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease – vCJD.

Chickens, pigs and fish are omnivores. The danger to health is thought to come from feeding processed animal products (PAP) to cattle and sheep which are not and the ban on feeding PAP would still apply to them.

The potential U-turn comes as concerns escalate about how the world will continue to feed itself against a backdrop of rapidly inflating food prices and a soaring population. At the moment, animal feed producers import vast quantities of soya from countries in South America, grown on land that could otherwise be used to feed people living there. Demand for soya-based animal feed is also fuelling the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

Although altering the composition of animal feed would make ecological sense, Britain’s livestock industry fears that the move would prove commercial suicide. A debate at the annual Pig & Poultry Live event earlier this month revealed many farmers were horrified by the EU proposal.

I think there would be strong market-resistance to this. I’m not allowed to be a blood donor in case I’m carrying vCJB because I was in Britain for several months in the early 80s.

Changing the law doesn’t force force farmers to give processed animal proteins (PAP) to their stock and those which didn’t would have a marketing advantage over those who did.

But even if it is safe to feed PAP to omnivores and there’s no danger of mad chickens, pigs and fish how could they stop anyone buying the feed and giving it – accidentally or on purpose – to sheep and cattle?

A better way to tackle feed-shortages would be to get rid of subsidies which lead to inefficient production.

Hat tip: PM of NZ


SMOG – campaign word of the week

May 30, 2011

It’s only Monday but it would be hard to beat SMOG as the campaign word of the week.

It comes from Keeping Stock and it stands for Social Media Own Goal.

Labour has an online game which jokes about rape. Maia at Capitalism Bad Tree Pretty (cross-posted at the Hand Mirror which has attracted comments) writes:

One of the basic rape-myths that help uphold a culture where sexual assault is endemic is that sometimes consent doesn’t matter. If you ever say that some people’s violation doesn’t matter – if you ever set some people up as unrapeable – then you, or in this case the Labour Party, are upholding that rape myth.

Rape is rape. It’s a crime. It’s never funny.

The game is called Let’s Not.  

Any political party which wants to be taken seriously should have enough sense to think “let’s not make jokes about rape”.

If Heather Simpson was still there she’d be saying “Let’s not have any more SMOGs.”

This isn’t the first SMOG Labour has made in the last few weeks but it’s definitely the worst.


Deliberate sabotage or stupidity?

May 30, 2011

Campaigning 101: a) stay on message. b) don’t take attention from the leader.

You could excuse Labour MPs for ignoring the first rule when the party hasn’t got much of a message to stay on. But flouting the second is either an act of deliberate sabotage or plain stupidity.

Which is it with Labour’s campaign manager who was silly enough to challenge Cameron Slater and backed-off when he didn’t like the counter-challenge.

Then in another desperate attempt to gain attention he does a tabloid blog post. (I’m not going to link to it, but here’s  Keeping Stock’s reaction.

Did Mallard fall on his head when he fell off his bike?

That might provide an explanation for what is bizarre behaviour for a senior MP but it’s no excuse for taking attention away from his leader who whichever poll you look at –   NZ Herald, TV3, TVNZ, –  needs all all the help he can get.

If he can’t depend on getting it from the party campaign manager who else is going to give it to him?

UPDATE: – Cameron has accepted the bike challenge without requiring acceptance of his counter-challenge.

What’s going to get more interest in the next couple of months – Labour’s leader or its campaign manager preparing for the challenge?


May 30 in history

May 30, 2011

70 Siege of Jerusalem: Titus and his Roman legions breached the Second Wall of Jerusalem. The Jewish defenders retreated to the First Wall. The Romans built a circumvallation, all trees within fifteen kilometres were cut down.

Arch of Titus Menorah.png

1416 The Council of Constance, called by the Emperor Sigismund, a supporter of Antipope John XXIII, burned Jerome of Prague following a trial for heresy.

 

1431  Hundred Years’ War: 19-year-old Joan of Arc was burned at the stake by an English-dominated tribunal. Because of this the Catholic Church remember this day as the celebration of Saint Joan of Arc.
 

1434  Hussite Wars (Bohemian Wars): Battle of Lipany – effectively ending the war, Utraquist forces led by Diviš Bořek of Miletínek defeated and almost annihilated Taborite forces led by Prokop the Great.

 

1536  Henry VIII of England married Jane Seymour, a lady-in-waiting to his first two wives.

1539  Hernando de Soto lands at Tampa Bay, Florida,  with 600 soldiers with the goal of finding gold.

 

1574  Henry III became King of France.

1588 The last ship of the Spanish Armada set sail from Lisbon heading for the English Channel.

 

1635  Thirty Years’ War: the Peace of Prague (1635) was signed.

1642  From this date all honours granted by Charles I were retrospectively annulled by Parliament.

1757 Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1844).

 

1806 Andrew Jackson killed Charles Dickinson in a duel after Dickinson had accused Jackson’s wife of bigamy.

1814 Napoleonic Wars: War of the Sixth Coalition – the Treaty of Paris (1814) was signed returning French borders to their 1792 extent. 

1832  The Rideau Canal in eastern Ontario opened.

Locks in summer.

1842  John Francis attempted to murder Queen Victoria as she drove down Constitution Hill with Prince Albert.

1846 Peter Carl Fabergé, Russian goldsmith and jeweller, was born (d. 1920).

 

1854 The Kansas-Nebraska Act became law establishing the US territories of Nebraska and Kansas.

1859 Westminster’s Big Ben rang for the first time in London.
 

1868  Decoration Day (the predecessor of the modern “Memorial Day) was observed in the United States for the first time (By “Commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic” John A. Logan‘s proclamation on May 5).

1871  The Paris Commune fell.

 

1876  Ottoman sultan Abd-ul-Aziz was deposed and succeeded by his nephew Murat V.

1879 New York City’s Gilmores Garden was renamed Madison Square Garden by William Henry Vanderbilt and opened to the public at 26th Street and Madison Avenue.

1883  A rumour that the Brooklyn Bridge was going to collapse causes a stampede that crushes twelve people.

1911  At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the first Indianapolis 500 ended with Ray Harroun in his Marmon Wasp becoming the first winner of the 500-mile auto race.

 

1913  First Balkan War: the Treaty of London, 1913 is signed ending the war. Albania becomes an independent nation.

1914  The new and then largest Cunard ocean liner RMS Aquitania, 45,647 tons, set sails on her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England to New York City.

Aquitania 06.jpg

1815  The East Indiaman ship Arniston was wrecked during a storm at Waenhuiskrans, the loss of 372 lives.

EastIndiaman.jpg

1917  Alexander I became king of Greece.

1922  In Washington, D.C. the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated.

 

1941  World War II: Manolis Glezos and Apostolos Santas climb on the Athenian Acropolis, tear down the Nazi swastika and replace it with the Greek flag.

 

1942  World War II: 1000 British bombers launched a 90-minute attack on Cologne, Germany.

 

1948  A dike along the flooding Columbia River broke, obliterating Vanport, Oregon within minutes. Fifteen people die and tens of thousands are left homeless.

1955 Topper Headon, British musician (The Clash), was born.

1958  Memorial Day: the remains of two unidentified American servicemen, killed in action during World War II and the Korean War respectively, were buried at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

 

1959  The Auckland Harbour Bridge, crossing the Waitemata Harbour was officially opened by Governor-General Lord Cobham.

Auckland harbour bridge opened

1961  Long time Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo was assassinated in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

 
Head and shoulders of a man with a small moustache wearing a military uniform with many medals on his chest. He is looking into the camera, smiling slightly.

1962 Kevin Eastman, American comic book creator (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), was born.

1963  A protest against pro-Catholic discrimination during the Buddhist crisis was held outside South Vietnam’s National Assembly, the first open demonstration during the eight-year rule of Ngo Dinh Diem.

1966 Former Congolese Prime Minister Evariste Kimba and several other politicians are publicly executed in Kinshasa on the orders of President Joseph Mobutu.

1967 Daredevil Evel Knievel jumped his motorcycle over 16 cars lined up in a row.

 

1967  The Nigerian Eastern Region declared independence as the Republic of Biafra, sparking a civil war.

1971 Mariner 9 was launched to map 70% of the surface, and to study temporal changes in the atmosphere and surface, of Mars.

Mariner09.jpg
 

1972 The Angry Brigade went on trial over a series of 25 bombings throughout Britain.

 

1972  In Tel Aviv members of the Japanese Red Army carried out the Lod Airport Massacre, killing 24 people and injuring 78 others.

1989  Tiananmen Square protests of 1989: the 33-foot high “Goddess of Democracy” statue was unveiled in Tiananmen Square by student demonstrators.

1998  A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit northern Afghanistan, killing up to 5,000.

2002– 272 days after the September 11 attacks, closing ceremonies were held for the clean up/recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site in New York City.

2003 – Depayin massacre: at least 70 people associated with the National League for Democracy were killed by government-sponsored mob in Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi fled the scene, but was arrested soon afterwards.

Sourced from NZ History Online & WIkipedia


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