Word of the day

September 13, 2011

Busachd – the deformity of blubber lips.


Misunderstood vocations

September 13, 2011

Discussion on Critical Mass with Jim Mora concentrated on misunderstood vocations.

The Atlantic asked people what others didn’t understand or appreciate about their job. The best responses became an encyclopedia with entries from a short sentence to a full discourse from A(rmy soldier) to Z(ookeeper).

Included was a very philosophical construction worker, a sad Dad and a referee who said:

My kids always ask who my favorite team is – in all sorts of sports. They are continually flabbergasted when I tell them I don’t have one, ‘I just want to see a well-played game.’

That is the essence of my job — to protect something precious. The fair opportunity to compete for something very scarce. The win. It is my privilege to share the game with the best players there are.

I wonder if that’s how the Rugby World Cup refs think?


ORC urges farmers to register for water quality forums

September 13, 2011

The Otago Regional Council is urging farmers to register for its water quality forums at which it will give updates on proposed changes to the Otago Water Plan.

The forums will be held in Cromwell on Tuesday September 13 (Presbyterian Church Hall); Oamaru on Monday September 19 (Kingsgate Hotel Brydone); and Balclutha on Thursday October 6 (South Otago Town and Country Club).

 All three forums run from 11am to 2.30pm.

 ORC will be presenting the proposed rules that will give effect to its Rural Water Quality Strategy at the forum. These will cover the council’s approach to water contaminants in runoff, drainage, and leaching ( known as non-point source or diffuse pollution).

The strategy includes information on how changes to the Otago Water Plan are likely to affect water quality and farming practice throughout the region.

ORC associate director communications Peter Taylor said farmer attendance was important because the changes are designed to address water quality issues in a way that works for local people and the environment.

This included using conditioned permitted activity approaches to encourage farmers to develop their own systems for managing discharges, rather than having a prescriptive consenting regime forced on them.

It is usually far better for farmers to have their own systems which work than have to adopt prescriptive ones which might not.

These meetings provide the best opportunity for farmers to contribute to discussions about the future of water management in the region.  Once the plan is adopted it will be very difficult to change.


Better than bad not good

September 13, 2011

The newly formed Conservative Party claims to have more members than most parties in parliament.

In four weeks, property millionaire Colin Craig says his party has signed up 1050 members.

“I understand ACT only have around 800 members after being around for 17 years, and United Future have struggled ever since 2004 to keep 500” says Mr Craig, adding that New Zealand First only managed to attract 300 people to their annual conference, and United Future, only 60.

This isn’t so much a positive reflection on the new party as a poor one on most of the others and being better than bad isn’t good.

The requirement to have only 500 members to register, and stay registered, as a political party is a very low hurdle for a group which can end up in parliament and government.

I was the National Party’s Otago electorate chair from 2002 – 2005. With a small team of volunteers and no MP I managed to keep the membership well above that of most parties and National still has electorates with memberships well above 500.

MMP gives most parties representation proportional to voting support. 

That has the potential to give the wee ones  power that is hugely out of proportion to their membership which is not how participatory democracies should work.


RWC support ranking

September 13, 2011

Liberation has a politico’s  guide to who to support in the Rugby World Cup.

I prefer to keep politics out of sport and base my ranking on emotion:

1 – All Blacks – patriotism and parochialism (Richie McCaw grew up in the Haka Valley).

2 –  Argentina – emotional attachment to the country and its people.

3 –  Scotland – tartan genes.

4 – Canada – lovely people and like us they’re shadowed by a bigger neighbour.

5 – Australia (as long as they’re not playing us) – neighbours, home of brother, sister-in-law and three nieces.

6 – Italy – delicious food and wine.

7 – Tonga – supporters’ passion deserves support.

8. -Fiji – lovely people, pity about the politics.

9 – Samoa  – neighbours.

10 = – Ireland  & Wales – close to Scotland, celtic.

12 –  USA – spent most of July there and loved the positivity of the people.

13 –  Japan- they’re a bit shaken up too.

14 – England – sister-in-law’s home country.

15 – Romania – homeland of friends.

16 = Georgia, Namibia, Russia – they’re unlikely to beat us.

19 – France – lovely people and food but they went more than far enough in the last RWC.

 20 –  South Africa –  they’ve won more than enough times.


Who else will qualify for sleepover payments?

September 13, 2011

Cabinet has approved $90 million towards phasing in the minimum wage for disability support workers on overnight sleepover shifts.

The Employers and Manufacturers Association has given the agreement qualified support and asks who else will qualify?

“Its good the sleepovers issue is to be resolved, but some employers will be nervously waiting to see how far the government’s generosity will extend,” said David Lowe, Employment Services Manager for the EMA.

“Employers are pleased the government is prepared to stump up with the funding necessary to settle the case,” he said.

“However the precedent affects more employers than just those in the disability and health care sectors, and it remains to be seen if the legislation applies to all employers, or just those who are government funded, or those who are government funded through the health vote.

“Some employers in education and other sectors will be nervously watching how far the breadth of the proposed legislation will extend before giving it an unqualified tick.”

Generally nurses on duty in hospitals are expected to be awake and working all night and have always been paid a reasonable hourly rate for that. On-call doctors and support staff are usually salaried rather than on hourly payments.

But what about supervisors in boarding schools and other hostels?

Often they receive free board and token payments because most of the time they’re on call but rarely disturbed most nights.


September 13 in history

September 13, 2011

509 BC – The temple of Jupiter on Rome’s Capitoline Hill was dedicated on the ides of September.

122 The building of Hadrian’s Wall began. 

533 General Belisarius of the Byzantine Empire defeated Gelimer and the Vandals at the Battle of Ad Decimium.

1213  Ending of Battle of Muret, during the Albigensian Crusade to destroy the Cathar heresy.

1503 Michelangelo began work on his statue of David.

1504 Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand issued a Royal Warrant for the construction of a Royal Chapel (Capilla Real) to be built. 

1584   San Lorenzo del Escorial Palace in Madrid was finished.

1743  Great Britain, Austria and Savoy-Sardinia signed the Treaty of Worms.

1759 Battle of the Plains of Abraham: British defeated French near Quebec City in the Seven Years’ War.

1808 Finnish War: In the Battle of Jutas, Swedish forces under Lieutenant General Georg Carl von Döbeln beat the Russians.

1812  War of 1812: A supply wagon sent to relieve Fort Harrison was ambushed in the Attack at the Narrows.

1814 – Francis Scott Key wrote The Star-Spangled Banner.

1847  Mexican-American War: Six teenage military cadets, Niños Héroes, died defending Chapultepec Castle in the Battle of Chapultepec.

1848  Vermont railroad worker Phineas Gage  survived a 3-foot-plus iron rod being driven through his head; the reported effects on his behavior and personality stimulated thinking about the nature of the brain and its functions.

1850 First ascent of Piz Bernina, the highest summit of the eastern Swiss Alps.

1857  Milton S. Hershey, American confectioner, was born (d. 1945).

1877 Stanley Lord, captain of the SS Californian the night of the Titanic disaster, was born (d. 1962).

1882  The Battle of Tel el-Kebir  in the 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War.

1894 J.B. Priestley, English playwright and novelist, was born (d. 1984).

1898  Hannibal Goodwin patented celluloid photographic film.

1899  Henry Bliss was the first person in the United States to be killed in a car accident. 

1899  Mackinder, Ollier and Brocherel make the first ascent of Batian (5,199m – 17,058 ft), the highest peak of Mount Kenya.

1900 Filipino resistance fighters defeated a small American column in the Battle of Pulang Lupa, during the Philippine-American War.

1906 First fixed-wing aircraft flight in Europe.

1914 – World War I: The Battle of Aisne began between Germany and France.

1916 Roald Dahl, British writer, was born (d. 1990).

1922 The temperature (in the shade) at Al ‘Aziziyah, Libya reached a world record 57.8°C (136.04°F).

1922 – The final act of the Greco-Turkish War, the Great Fire of Smyrna, commenced. 

1923  Military coup in Spain – Miguel Primo de Rivera took over, setting up a dictatorship.

1927 – Tzannis Tzannetakis, Greek politician, Prime Minister of Greece (d. 2010)

1933 Elizabeth McCombs became the first woman elected to the New Zealand Parliament.

NZ's first woman MP elected

1935  Rockslide near Whirlpool Rapids Bridge ended the International Railway (New York – Ontario).

1941 David Clayton-Thomas, Canadian singer (Blood, Sweat & Tears), was born.

1943  Chiang Kai-shek elected president of the Republic of China.

1943 – The Municipal Theatre of Corfu was destroyed during an aerial bombardment by Luftwaffe.

1944 Peter Cetera, American musician (Chicago), was born.

1948  Margaret Chase Smith was elected senator, and became the first woman to serve in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

1952 Randy Jones, American musician (The Village People), was born.

1953 Nikita Khrushchev appointed secretary-general of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

1956 Anne Geddes, Australian photographer, was born.

1956 The dike around the Dutch polder East Flevoland was closed. 

1956 – IBM introduced the first computer disk storage unit, the RAMAC 305

1964  South Vietnamese Generals Lam Van Phat and Duong Van Duc failed in a coup attempt against General Nguyen Khanh.

1967 Michael Johnson, American athlete, was born.

1971 Chairman Mao Zedong‘s second in command and successor Marshal Lin Biao fled China after the failure of alleged coup against the supreme leader, the plane crashed in Mongolia, killing all aboard.

1976 Craig McMillan, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1987  Goiânia accident: A radioactive object was stolen from an abandoned hospital in Goiânia, Brazil, contaminating many people in the following weeks and leading some to die from radiation poisoning.

1988  Hurricane Gilbert, the strongest recorded hurricane in the Western Hemisphere to that date.

1989  Largest anti-Apartheid march in South Africa, led by Desmond Tutu.

1993 – Public unveiling of the Oslo Accords, an Israeli-Palestinian agreement initiated by Norway.

1993 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shook hands with PLO chairman Yasser Arafat at the White House after signing an accord granting limited Palestinian autonomy. 

2007 The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted.

2008  Hurricane Ike made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast of the United States, causing heavy damage to Galveston Island, Houston and surrounding areas.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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