Word of the day


Labefactation – loosening, shaking,weakening, fall, deterioration, downfall; the process of coming apart or falling into decay.

The people of Christchurch have the strength and resilience to resist the labefactation of their city.

Give blood – I can’t


My daughter and I might not be alive if it wasn’t for the blood transfusion I received the day she was born.

I’d been a blood donor since I was at high school but hadn’t realised how much good such a small sacrifice could do until I was on the receiving end of a transfusion.

A small prick on the thumb to get enough blood to test for iron; another small prick in the arm then 10 or so minutes relaxing while a litre of blood was collected isn’t much to endure to potentially save lives.

I’d still be doing it if I could but I’m one of those ruled out in the wake of the mad-cow disease scare in Britain.

Today’s World Blood Donor Day and an opportunity for me, as a very grateful recipient, to say please give if you can.

Discs & lists


Desert Island Discs and humble lists were the topics of discussion between Jim Mora and me on Critical Mass today.

BBC4 asked listeners to compile a list of the eight discs they’d take with them to a Desert Island.

The Daily Mail discussed the results and noted:

Clumsy typing also led to votes for singer Not King Cole and the Black Eyed Peas song ‘I Got A Filling’, instead of I Got A Feeling.

Lists – we all write them and old ones provide fascinating information on history.

In Empty trash, buy milk, forge history Gal Beckerman looks at the work of historians Sheilagh Ogilvie, Tracy Dennison and Leigh Shaw-Taylor. Their work shows what the things of every day life in the past can teach us – including the discovery that urbanisation started  long before the industrial revolution:

When I compile the daily history posts I’m reminded that it’s almost always about big events. The story on the lists gives an insight into ordinary, day to day life.

Three questions


1. Is this a rogue poll:

Maori TV poll (500 eligible voters; 80 fell under “don’t know”)

Hone Harawira (Mana): 41%
Kelvin Davis (Labour): 40%
Solomon Tipene (Maori): 15%

2. Is the Maori Party deliberately not trying very hard on the theory that defeating Hone Harawira is more important than winning Te Tai Tokerau this time?

3. Will Harawira be having the odd moment when he wonders about the wisdom of forcing a by-election?

Fieldays forecast fine?


Anyone who’s been frozen at the Agricultural Fieldays knows to go prepared for any temperature, but it’s the financial forecast rather than the weather which will be of most interest this year.

The Fieldays are the southern hemisphere’s largest agribusiness exhibition. Dr Stuart Locke, Director of the Institute for Business Research at the University of Waikato describes them as a barometer of farming confidence.

Unlike the rest of the economy, the agricultural sector is booming, he says. Payouts to dairy farmers are up, and all agricultural commodities are currently experiencing excellent returns.

“So the million dollar question is: Will farmers be opening their wallets at Fieldays, or will they be squirreling away cash to pay off mortgages and other debt?”

At any gathering of farmers there’s a feeling of confidence I haven’t seen before. My farmer reckons it’s similar to the wool boom of the 1950s which his parents talked about, but this time good returns are spread more widely. Wool, sheep meat, beef, dairy and venison are all getting much higher prices than expected. Cropping, forestry and horticulture are also doing well.

The response to this so far has been conservative and debt repayment is the first priority. But after that there will be catch-up repairs and maintenance and development will follow.

We’re building a new woolshed which will make a small contribution to the wider economy. But more importantly it’s a sign we’re confident that the forecast for sheep farming is fine.

Who cares about the rules?


This was put in an Oamaru mail box yesterday:

The other side had a couple of baskets of groceries and quoted Campbell Live to show the price rise between them.

You might not be able to see the parliamentary crest which means you and I paid for it but it is there.

What isn’t there is a promoroter’s statement which the Electoral Commission says is required:

The Electoral Commission reminds all candidates, party secretaries and third party promoters that:

  1. An election advertisement, irrespective of when it is published, must contain a promoter statement.
  2. A promoter statement must state the name and address of the promoter of the election advertisement.

     5.     The promoter statement must be clearly displayed in the advertisement if published in a visual form and no      less audible than the other content of the advertisement if published in an audible form.

A person who wilfully publishes, or causes or permits to be published, an election advertisement in contravention of these requirements commits an offence.  Such matters will be referred to the Police unless the Commission considers that the offence is so inconsequential there is no public interest in reporting the facts to the Police.  Each instance will be considered on its merits.

All promoters of election advertisements should take reasonable steps to ensure that:

  1. Election advertisements are published in a manner that ensures the promoter statement is clearly displayed to the public viewing the advertisement.
  2. All persons entrusted with the task of erecting, posting, displaying, or otherwise publishing election advertisements are aware of the requirement to clearly display the promoter statement and that the statement should not be obscured, cropped, or in any other manner prevented from being clearly displayed to the public viewing the advertisement.

Whaleoil found a similar flyer and quoted the guidelines for MPs which say:

 . . .  an advertisement in any medium that may reasonably be regarded as encouraging voters to vote or not vote

  • for a candidate or party
  • or type of party or candidate by reference to views or positions that are or are not held . . .

 By that definition the flyer is an advertisement and therefore requires a promoter statement.

Ignorance is no defence and anyway it would be difficult for Labour to claim they were ignorant of the requirement. They voted for the law which made the promoter’s statement a requirement and Whaleoil’s post was published on Thursday. Someone in the party with authority would have seen it yet these flyers were still being distributed – illegally – yesterday.

Who care’s about the law? Labour doesn’t appear to in this case.

Offensive depends on viewpoint


Quote of the day from Chris Keal in the NBR:

“Individuals could sue for breach of privacy, but to mount a successful case they would have to prove that facts or details revealed were “highly offensive” (and although some NBR readers would deem Labour membership as such, the donors involved presumably hold an association with the party in higher regard).”

 He was writing on whether Whaleoil contravened the Privacy Act when he got Labour Party membership and donation information.

Whaleoil’s explanation of how he got it shows how easy it was to get the information because it was unsecure.

I wonder if it was a staff member, party officer or MP who was responsible for the gaping hole in the website security?

June 14 in history


1276  While taking exile in Fuzhou in southern China, away from the advancing Mongol invaders, the remnants of the Song Dynasty court held the coronation ceremony for the young prince Zhao Shi, making him Emperor Duanzong of Song.

1287  Kublai Khan defeated the force of Nayan and other traditionalist Borjigin princes in East Mongolia and Manchuria.


1381 Richard II met leaders of Peasants’ Revolt on Blackheath. The Tower of London was stormed by rebels who entered without resistance.


1645 English Civil War: Battle of Naseby – 12,000 Royalist forces were beaten by 15,000 Parliamentarian soldiers.


1648  Margaret Jones is hanged in Boston for witchcraft in the first such execution for the Massachusetts colony.

1775  American Revolutionary War: the Continental Army was established by the Continental Congress, marking the birth of the United States Army.


1777  The Stars and Stripes was adopted by Congress as the Flag of the United States.


1789  Mutiny on the Bounty: Bounty mutiny survivors including Captain William Bligh and 18 others reached Timor after a nearly 7,400 km (4,000-mile) journey in an open boat.


1789 – Whiskey distilled from maize was first produced by American clergyman the Rev Elijah Craig. It was named Bourbon because Rev Craig lived in Bourbon County, Kentucky.

1800 The French Army of First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Marengo in Northern Italy and re-conquered Italy.

Lejeune - Bataille de Marengo.jpg

1807  Emperor Napoleon I’s French Grande Armee defeated the Russian Army at the Battle of Friedland ending the War of the Fourth Coalition.

Friedland mazurovsky.jpg

1811 Harriet Beecher Stowe, American author, was born (d. 1896).


1821  Badi VII, king of Sennar, surrendered his throne and realm to Ismail Pasha, general of the Ottoman Empire, ending the existence of that Sudanese kingdom.

1822  Charles Babbage proposed a difference engine in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society entitled “Note on the application of machinery to the computation of astronomical and mathematical tables”.

1839  Henley Royal Regatta: the village of Henley staged its first Regatta.


1846  Bear Flag Revolt began – Anglo settlers in Sonoma, California, staredt a rebellion against Mexico and proclaimed the California Republic.

1863  American Civil War: Battle of Second Winchester – a Union garrison was defeated by the Army of Northern Virginia.

Second Winchester Map.jpg

1863 Second Assault on the Confederate works at the Siege of Port Hudson during the American Civil War.

Siege of Port Hudson.png

1864 Alois Alzheimer, German physician, was born (d. 1915).


1872  Trade unions were legalised in Canada.

1900  Hawaii became a United States territory.

Flag of Hawaii State seal of Hawaii

1900  The Reichstag approved a second law that allowed the expansion of the German navy.

1907 Nicolas Bentley, British writer and illustrator, was born (d. 1978).


1907  Norway adopted female suffrage.

1909 Burl Ives, American musician, was born (d. 1995).

1919  John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown left St. John’s, Newfoundland on the first nonstop transatlantic flight.


1928 Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Marxist Revolutionary, was born (d. 1967).

1929 Cy Coleman, American composer, was born (d. 2004).

1937 – U. S. House of Representatives passed the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act.

Marijuana icon.jpg

1936 Renaldo “Obie” Benson, singer (The Four Tops), was born (d. 2005).

1938 Action Comics issue one was released, introducing Superman.

Action Comics 1.jpg

1940 World War II: Paris fell under German occupation, and Allied forces retreat.

1940 The Soviet Union presented an ultimatum to Lithuania resulting in Lithuanian loss of independence

1940  A group of 728 Polish political prisoners from Tarnów become the first inmates of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

1941 June deportation, the first major wave of Soviet mass deportations and murder of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians, began.


1942 Anne Frank began to keep a diary.

A bronze statue of a smiling Anne Frank, wearing a short dress and standing with her arms behind her back, sits upon a stone plinth with a plaque reading "Anne Frank 1929–1945".  The statue is in a small square, and behind it is a brick building with two large window, and a bicycle.  The statue stands between the two windows. 

1946  Donald Trump, American businessman and entrepreneur, was born.

 1949 – Alan White, British drummer (Yes), was born.

1950  Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, was born. 

1951  UNIVAC I was dedicated by U.S. Census Bureau.


1952  The keel was laid for the nuclear submarine USS Nautilus.


1954 U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill into law that places the words “under God” into the United States’ Pledge of Allegiance.

1959  A group of Dominican exiles with leftist tendencies that departed from Cuba landed in the Dominican Republic with the intent of deposing Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina.  All but four were killed and/or executed by Trujillo’s army.

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.

1961 Boy George, British singer (Culture Club), was born,

1962 – The European Space Research Organisation was established in Paris.


1962  The New Mexico Supreme Court in the case of Montoya v. Bolack, 70 N.M. 196, prohibits state and local governments from denying Indians the right to vote because they live on a reservation.

1966  The Vatican announced the abolition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (index of prohibited books), which was originally instituted in 1557.


1967   Mariner 5 was launched toward Venus.


1976  The trial began at Oxford Crown Court of Donald Neilson, the killer known as the Black Panther.


1982  The Falklands War ended: Argentine forces in the capital Stanley unconditionally surrenderred to British forces.


1984 Robert Muldoon called a snap election.

Muldoon calls snap election

1985  TWA Flight 847 was hijacked by Hezbollah shortly after take-off from Athens.

1990 Miners from Jiu Valley were called to Bucharest by President Ion Iliescu to quell demonstrations in University Square by anti-government protesters.

2001  China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan form the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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