Word of the day

February 28, 2012

Nescience – absence of awareness or knowledge; ignorance; agnosticism.


5/10

February 28, 2012

5/10 in NZ History Online’s quiz.


Welfare reforms to change expectations

February 28, 2012

The welfare reforms announced by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett yesterday were part of the policy National campaigned on.

The welfare reform programme will put a clear emphasis on work availability, addressing the fact that 13 percent of the country’s working-age population are currently on a benefit, with 220,000 children in benefit-dependent homes.

“Despite the good intentions of the welfare system, it’s now creating a cycle of dependence and is actually out of step with today’s needs,” says Ms Bennett.

The usual suspects have immediately labelled this beneficiary-bashing which ignores the fact that people on the same income are better off in work than on benefits.

There are no punitive measures in the policy, those who need support will still get it.

But the policies will change expectations. Those who could work will know they are expected to do so and that is how it should be.

Not all of those who could work will be able to find jobs, especially in the short term, but every young person who goes into education or  training rather than unemployment and every beneficiary who moves from welfare to work will help themselves and the country.

We can not continue to support 13% of the working-age population on benefits and nor should we.

Benefits should be there for those in need, and for most that need is temporary.

For far too long too many people have had no encouragement to get off benefits.

The change in expectation that those who can help themselves should do so will be good for them, the economy and society.

There’s a Q&A on the reforms here.

 


Wheelman welcomed back

February 28, 2012

Wheelman David Wilson was welcomed back to Oamaru on Sunday  after riding from Stewart Island to Cape Reinga on his penny farthing Pioneer Spirit.

To ride the length of the country on a modern bike is no mean feat, to do the trip of more than 2,000 kilometers on a penny farthing is even more of an achievement.

The background website for the journey explains:

In 1884 when the Auckland to Wellington journey was usually made by coastal steamer and the main trunk railway was still a dream, the first bicycle ride between the two cities was accomplished by Wheelman J Fitton on a 52 inch-wheel penny farthing. Then, 123 years later during 2007, English Wheelman Joff Summerfield rode his penny farthing from Invercargill to Auckland as part of his around the world tour. Never, however, in the history of the colony has a wheelman been recorded as riding a penny farthing the entire length of the country until now. Conception for this journey occurred in 1998, with tentative planning starting in 2005.

The emphasis on the ride is that of ‘promoting awareness of the immense benefits of community economic and cultural developments’.

This ‘Aotearoa New Zealand History in the Making’ ride is being undertaken by New Zealand Wheelman and Captain of the Oamaru Ordinary Cycle Club ( OOCC), Mr David (The Judge) Wilson mounted upon ‘PIONEER SPIRIT’, an 1880s-style, 54 inch high-wheeled penny farthing bicycle replica manufactured in Oamaru, with its elevated centre of gravity, solid rubber tyres, fixed pedal system and primitive “spoon” brake. He will be wearing the breeches and knee high socks of the 1880-era bicyclist, and will be carrying only one change of clothes. He will be travelling alone, relying on his own resources and the kindness of strangers for comfort along the way, and will keep a daily log (blog) of the trip at the end of each days ride. The ride will require surviving such modern hazards as bad weather, hunger, thirst, stray animals, poor roads and encounters with inconsiderate and menacing motorists. 

 

Oamaru Life has a video of his welcome home.


Too much rugby too little money

February 28, 2012

The 130 year old Otago Rugby Football Union is to go into liquidation on Friday.

Chair Wayne Graham said:

The funding shortfalls last year came from a reduction in poker machine income ($200,000 less than budgeted), sponsorship ($30,000), gate revenue ($138,000) and signage ($30,000).

Costs had increased for staff ($98,000 more), the ITM Cup ($136,000) and for Carisbrook ($127,000).

Part of the problem is too much rugby and not enough money.

The rugby season starts in February with Super 15 games, lasts for months and All but the die-hard fans other many other way a to spend their time and money.


Gold endorsement for NZ at Oscars

February 28, 2012

Quote of the day:

“It’s a great place to grow up, you can do whatever you want there,” he toldThe New York Times.“Whereas I think in America, everyone is obsessed with their careers, New Zealand I think you just get to live your dreams.” Bret McKenzie explaining why so many New Zealanders have won Oscars.

He won the 2012 Acadamy Award for best original song for Man or Muppet and his words are a golden endorsement for New Zealand that money couldn’t buy.


February 28 in history

February 28, 2012

20 BC coronation ceremony of Liu Bang as Emperor Gaozu of Han takes place, initiating four centuries of the Han Dynasty‘s rule over China.

870 The Fourth Council of Constantinople closed.

1261 Margaret of Scotland, queen of Norway, was born  (d. 1283).

1638 The Scottish National Covenant was signed in Edinburgh.

1710  In the Battle of Helsingborg, 14,000 Danish invaders under Jørgen Rantzau were decisively defeated by an equally sized Swedish force under Magnus Stenbock.

1784 John Wesley chartered the Methodist Church.

1787 The charter establishing the institution now known as the University of Pittsburgh was granted.

1824 Blondin, French tightrope walker, was born  (d. 1897).

1827  The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was incorporated, becoming the first railroad in America offering commercial transportation of both people and freight.

1838 Robert Nelson, leader of the Patriotes, proclaimed the independence of Lower Canada (today Québec).

1844 A gun on USS Princeton exploded while the boat was on a Potomac River cruise, killing eight people, including two United States Cabinet members.

1849 Regular steamboat service from the west to the east coast of the United States began with the arrival of the SS California in San Francisco Bay, 4 months 21 days after leaving New York Harbour.

1865 Wilfred Grenfell, medical missionary, was born  (d. 1940).

1870 The Bulgarian Exarchate was established by decree of Sultan Abd-ul-Aziz of the Ottoman Empire.

1883 The first vaudeville theatre opened in Boston, Massachusetts.

1897 Queen Ranavalona III, the last monarch of Madagascar, was deposed by a French military force.

1900 The Second Boer War: The 118-day “Siege of Ladysmith” was lifted.

1912 Clara Petacci, Italian mistress of Benito Mussolini, was born  (d. 1945).

1914 The Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus was proclaimed in Gjirokastër, by the Greeks living in southern Albania.

1922 The United Kingdom accepted the independence of Egypt.

1925 Harry H Corbett, English actor, was born  (d. 1982).

1928  C.V. Raman discovered Raman effect.

1933 Gleichschaltung: The Reichstag Fire Decree was passed in Germany a day after the Reichstag fire.

1935 DuPont scientist Wallace Carothers invented Nylon.

1939 The first issue of Serbian weekly magazine Politikin zabavnik was published.

1939 – The erroneous word “Dord” was discovered in the Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, prompting an investigation.

1942 Brian Jones, English musician (The Rolling Stones), was born  (d. 1969).

1942 The heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA-30) was sunk in the Battle of Sunda Strait with 693 crew members killed.

1943 Charles Bernstein, American composer, was born.

1945 New Zealand soldier David Russell was executed by a Nazi firing squad in Italy.

Kiwi soldier faces Nazi firing squad

1946 Robin Cook, British politician, was born.

1947 228 Incident: In Taiwan, civil disorder is put down with the loss of 30,000 civilian lives.

1953 Paul Krugman, American economist, Nobel laureate, was born.

1957 Cindy Wilson, American singer (The B-52′s), was born.

1958 A school bus in Floyd County, Kentucky hits a wrecker truck and plunged down an embankment into the rain-swollen Levisa Fork River. The driver and 26 children died in what remains the worst school bus accident in U.S. history.

1970 Daniel Handler, American writer, better known as Lemony Snicket, was born.

1972 The Asama-Sanso incident ended in Japan.

1972 The United States and People’s Republic of China signed the Shanghai Communiqué.

1974 Moana Mackey, New Zealand politician, was born.

1975 A major tube train crash at Moorgate station, London killed 43 people.

1985 The Provisional Irish Republican Army carried out a mortar attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary police station at Newry, killing nine officers in the highest loss of life for the RUC on a single day.

1986 Olof Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden  was assassinated in Stockholm.

1991 The first Gulf War ended.

1993 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents raided the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas with a warrant to arrest the group’s leader David Koresh. Four BATF agents and five Davidians die in the initial raid, starting a 51-day standoff.

1995 Denver International Airport officially opened in Denver, Colorado to replace Stapleton International Airport

1997 – The North Hollywood shootout took place.

1998 – First flight of RQ-4 Global Hawk, the first unmanned aerial vehicle certified to file its own flight plans and fly regularly in U.S. civilian airspace.

1998 – Kosovo War: Serbian police begin the offensive against the Kosovo Liberation Army in Kosovo.

2001 – The Nisqually Earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale hits the Nisqually Valley and the Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia area of the U.S. state of Washington.

2001 – Six passengers and four railway staff are killed and a further 82 people suffer serious injuries in the Selby rail crash.

200 More than 1 million Taiwanese participating in the 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally formed a 500-kilometre (300-mile) long human chain to commemorate the 228 Incident in 1947.

2005 Lebanon‘s pro-Syrian prime minister, Omar Karami, resigned amid large anti-Syria street demonstrations in Beirut.

2005 A suicide bombing at a police recruiting centre in Al Hillah, Iraq killed 127.

2007  Jupiter flyby of the New Horizons Pluto-observer spacecraft.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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