Word of the day


Sacrifice  – the offering of animal, plant, or human life or of some material possession to a deity, as in propitiation or homage; the person, animal, or thing so offered; the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim; the thing so surrendered or devoted; a loss incurred in selling something below its value; the surrender of something of value as a means of gaining something more desirable
or of preventing some evil; osmething given up or lost.

Logic fail


When I first heard a student trying to convince the public that the introduction of voluntary membership for student associations was anti-democratic I thought I must have misunderstood his argument.

Since then I’ve heard several more student advocates advance the same argument and like Adam Smith I’m struggling to understand the logic of their view that democracy is under threat if compulsion is removed.

It might be possible to argue cogently for compulsory student membership. The failure to do so by those who think they represent students merely illustrates the case for those who advocate making membership voluntary.

Student associations take money from most students but truly represent a small minority of them and if the quality of their argument on this issue is anything to go by they do that poorly.

Second SAS death


The SAS has lost a second soldier in Afghanistan.

The biggest loss will be felt by his family and friends.

The death is also a loss for the SAS, the defence force and New Zealand and a reminder of the ever-present danger our troops face over there.

Bob’s done enough


Bob Clarkson did a great public service by winning the seat of Tauranga which got rid of New Zealand First’s lifeline and kept Winston Peters from returning to parliament in 2008.

However, I suspect there will be a great many Act members and supporters who think he’s done enough and will be relieved that he has no intention of standing for that party.

Grin and bear it


Given my propensity for typos and wobbly spelling, I thought I should point out that the bear in the heading is deliberate to introduce this photo:

You’re invited to provide a better caption – political is fine, personal abuse is not; wit and/or humour are encouraged.

Christchurch meat works loss others’ gain


The plan to close the Alliance meat works at Sockburn is bad news for the people who will lose jobs and for Christchurch but it is good news for other centres which will increase capacity.

There is never a good time to close an operation and the loss will be more keenly felt in the city because of the business interuptions and job losses caused by the earthquakes.

Under the proposal Alliance Group would relocate its cattle and venison processing to other plants. Chief executive Grant Cuff said the Sockburn hasn’t operated profitably in recent years and the company has explored a number of options to address this. The current proposal . . .  will reduce fixed overhead costs, increase the company’s overall processing capacity and enhance profitability.

Beef processing will transfer to Alliance’s Mataura and Pukeuri plants and venison processing would shift to a new processing facility to be built at Smithfield in Timaru.

The many pundits who ruminate on the meat industry keep saying there is over capacity of killing space and the Meat Workers’ Union sees the Sockburn closure as an omen.

However, while 250 jobs will be lost in Christchurch, the Sockburn closure will be compensated for by an increase in the company’s killing capacity at other plants and provide employment opportunities in Timaru, Pukeuri and Mataura.

Rather than reducing capacity this move will increase it while reducing overheads.

Brash pot plan too timid


Federated Flamers say they are encouraged by Act leader Don Brash’s move towards decriminalising cannabis but it doesn’t go far enough.

“His pot plan is a good start but that’s all it is, he’s being far too timid,” the federation’s Alternative Revenue Stream Encouragement (ARSE) spokesman Blue Smoke said.

“Don has just dipped his toe in the drug water by initiating a discussion on decriminalising cannabis. He should leap right in and make it legal for the sake of the economy,” Mr Smoke said.

“If it’s legal we can grow it; if we can grow it we can make money from it and if we can make money from it the government can tax it.

“That is we would if we paid tax, but as Labour showed, we don’t, at least not the way they look at it.”

Mr Smoke said successive governments, consultants and economists had been talking about the need to broaden the economy and legalising cannabis would be a good way to do that.

“Dairy, meat and fibre are doing well at the moment but what goes up will one day come down. We need to diversify to enable us to weather the inevitable downturn and pot plantations would be a very good way of doing that.

“It wouldn’t be hard to find markets for medicinal and recreational products and there may well be opportunities for the fibre.”

Mr Smoke said he was sure it was no coincidence that a letter from Dr Brash and Act’s agricultural spokesman Don Nicolson had arrived in the mail this week, just days after the speech in which decriminalisation was mooted.

“It’s obvious this is part of the party’s economic policy that’s aimed at farmers.”

Mr Smoke said he thought the pot plan might also be a cunning strategy for Act to take over other wee parties the way United Future did.

“Who can remember how many different parties have been taken over and absorbed by the various manifestations of whatever Peter Dunne’s latest party is called? Act needs to do the same and this pot plan is the obvious way to open the door to the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party.”

However, Mr Smoke said he was concerned at the way the plan had opened up the urban-rural divide.

“One Don grows kiwifruit, the other has stock, they understand farming. But that bloke Banks, he’s a townie and he can’t see the opportunities.

“Sure there could be a few health problems. They reckon it affects your memory and concentration but, um what was I saying? Oh wow, look at that flower, it’s soooo biiiig . . . .”

Hat tip: Jim Hopkins on the Farming Show

September 28 in history


551 BC: Confucious, the Chinese philosopher was born (d. 479 BC).

48 BC  Pompey the Great was assassinated on the orders of King Ptolemy of Egypt after landing in Egypt.

351 Battle of Mursa Major: the Roman Emperor Constantius II defeated the usurper Magnentius.

365  Roman usurper Procopius bribed two legions passing by Constantinople, and proclaims himself Roman emperor.

935  Saint Wenceslas was murdered by his brother, Boleslaus I of Bohemia.

995  Members of Slavník’s dynasty – Spytimír, Pobraslav, Pořej and Čáslav – were murdered by Boleslaus’s son, Boleslaus II the Pious.

1066  William the Conqueror invaded England: the Norman Conquest began.

1106 The Battle of Tinchebrai – Henry I of England defeated his brother, Robert Curthose.

1238 Muslim Valencia surrendered to the besieging King James I of Aragon the Conqueror.

1322  Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor defeated Frederick I of Austria in the Battle of Mühldorf.

1448  Christian I was crowned king of Denmark.

1542  Navigator João Rodrigues Cabrilho of Portugal arrived at what is now San Diego, California.

1571:Italian artist  Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was born (d. 1610).

1708  Peter the Great defeated the Swedes at the Battle of Lesnaya.

1779  American Revolution: Samuel Huntington was elected President of the Continental Congress, succeeding John Jay.

1781  American forces backed by a French fleet began the siege of Yorktown, Virginia, during the American Revolutionary War

1787  The newly completed United States Constitution was voted on by the U.S. Congress to be sent to the state legislatures for approval.

1791  France became the first European country to emancipate its Jewish population.

1836 Thomas Crapper, English inventor, was born (d. 1910).

1844  Oscar I of Sweden-Norway was crowned king of Sweden.

1864  The International Workingmen’s Association was founded in London.

1868  Battle of Alcolea caused Queen Isabella II of Spain to flee to France.

1889  The first General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) defined the length of a meter as the distance between two lines on a standard bar of an alloy of platinum with ten percent iridium, measured at the melting point of ice.

1891  Club Atletico Peñarol was founded under the name of Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club.

1899 Premier R.J. (‘King Dick’) Seddon asked Parliament to approve an offer to the British government of a contingent of mounted rifles to fight in Transvaal.

NZ answers Empire's call to arms in South Africa

1901 US television host Ed Sullivan was born (d1974).

1916 Peter Finch, English-born Australian actor,was born (d1977).

1928  The U.K. Parliament passed the Dangerous Drugs Act outlawing cannabis.

1928  Sir Alexander Fleming noticed a bacteria-killing mould growing in his laboratory, discovering what later became known as penicillin.

1934 French model and actress Brigtte Bardot was born.

1939 – Warsaw surrendered to Nazi Germany.

1944  Soviet Army troops liberated Klooga concentration camp in Estonia.

1946 English singer Helen Shapiro was born

1958  France ratified a new Constitution of France

1961 A military coup in Damascus effectively ended the United Arab Republic, the union between Egypt and Syria.

1962  The Paddington tram depot fire destroyed 65 trams in Brisbane.

1971  The British government passed the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 banning the medicinal use of cannabis.

1973  The ITT Building in New York City was bombed in protest at ITT’s alleged involvement in the September 11 coup d’état in Chile.

1975  The Spaghetti House siege, in which nine people were taken hostage, took place in London.

1987  The beginning of the Palestinian civil disobedience uprising, “The First Intifada” against the Israeli occupation.

1994  The car ferry MS Estonia sank in the Baltic Sea, killing 852 people.

1995  Bob Denard and a group of mercenaries took the islands of Comoros in a coup.

2000  Al-Aqsa Intifada: Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

2008  SpaceX launched the first ever private spacecraft, the Falcon 1 into orbit.

2009 The military junta leading Guinea, headed by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, sexually assaulted, killed and wounded protesters during a protest rally in the Stade du 28 Septembre.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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