Word of the day


Vitiate –  to reduce the value or impair the quality of;  corrupt morally; debase; make ineffective, faulty or imperfect; invalidate; make void; to destroy or annul.

Drink away your tax problem


Email from a wine company:

We want to pay more tax and you want to pay less.

Buy a case of (our wine) before 31 March 2012 and write off the total cost this year.

Drink it this year, order another case in April and write yourself off. 

Only available to responsible drinkers and persons domiciled in New Zealand for tax purposes.

I’m not sure our accountant takes the same approach to deductable expenses as theirs.

Don’t stronger than can’t


Can it be this simple?:

When facing temptation, can a simple change of language make a difference? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, consumers who respond to temptation with the words “I don’t” versus “I can’t” are more able to resist.

I don’t know if it works but I can’t say it doesn’t.

Two-faced resource consents


Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills says:

. . . Local government is also an area where inconsistency reigns supreme.  Do you realise some local councils have a two-faced resource consent when it comes to managing wastewater disposal?  One is for business as usual, but the other is an ‘emergency consent’ when the system can’t cope as a result of heavy rain or even equipment failure.  No other individual, business or farm enjoys such a ‘get out of jail free’ card.  Yet two-faced resource consents have allowed some councils to starve core services of cash, such as critical wastewater upgrades.  Instead, ‘nice to have’ projects mean when the day of reckoning finally arrives, crippling rates result.. .

Farmers have been prosecuted for effluent spills that could get in to water ways, but haven’t while Councils can get away with actual pollution.

Hat tip: rivettingKateTaylor.

Bigger markets fairer


Localists and others attempting to close borders keep trying to persuade us that  big is bad and smaller markets are better.

But that isn’t necessarily so:

. . . fairness isn’t something innate, it’s something societally drummed into us by the responses of others to unfairness. And for large scale exchange societies to work we need more of that drumming into us and thus a greater appreciation of and desire for fairness. They just don’t work without that so in those that do work we see more, not less, fairness.

All of which means, of course, that those promoting this idea of small scale society promoting fairness will immediately change tack and promote global markets as the way to increase fairness in society. Won’t they? Anyone?

The absence of their doing so in the face of changed facts could be taken to mean that they never actually believed their own argument in the first place. Tim Worstall

March 20 in history


43 BC Ovid, Roman poet, was born (d. 17 AD).

1600 – The Linköping Bloodbath.

1602 The Dutch East India Company was established.

1616 Sir Walter Raleigh was freed from the Tower of London after 13 years of imprisonment.

1737  Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, King of Thailand, was born (d. 1809).

1739 Nadir Shah occupied Delhi and sacked the city, stealing the jewels of the Peacock Throne.

1760 The “Great Fire” of Boston, Massachusetts destroyed 349 buildings.

1815 After escaping from Elba, Napoleon entered Paris with a regular army of 140,000 and a volunteer force of around 200,000, beginning his “Hundred Days” rule.

1834 New Zealand’s first flag was chosen.

NZ's first flag chosen

1848 Ludwig I of Bavaria abdicated.

1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe‘s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published.

1861 An earthquake completely destroyed Mendoza, Argentina.

1883 The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property was signed.

1888 The premiere of the first Romani language operetta was staged in Moscow.

1913 Sung Chiao-jen, a founder of the Chinese Nationalist Party, was wounded in an assassination attempt and died 2 days later.

1916 Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity.

1917 Vera Lynn, English actress and singer, was born.

1922 The USS Langley (CV-1) was commissioned as the first United States Navy aircraft carrier.

1937 Lois Lowry, American children’s author, was born.

1939  Brian Mulroney, former Prime Minister of Canada, was born.

1942 General Douglas MacArthur, at Terowie, South Australia, made his famous speech regarding the fall of the Philippines, in which he says: “I came out of Bataan and I shall return”.

1948 With a Musicians Union ban lifted, the first telecasts of classical music in the United States, under Eugene Ormandy and Arturo Toscanini, were given on CBS and NBC.

1950 Carl Palmer, English drummer (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), was born.

1956 Tunisia gained independence from France.

1957 David Foster, Australian woodchopper, was born.

1958 Holly Hunter, American actress, was born.

1979 Keven Mealamu, New Zealand rugby player, was born.

1980 The Radio Caroline ship, Mi Amigo foundered in a gale off the English coast.

1985 Libby Riddles became the first woman to win the 1,135-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

1987 The Food and Drug Administration approved the anti-AIDS drug, AZT.

1988 Eritrean War of Independence: The Eritrean People’s Liberation Front entered the town of Afabet, victoriously concluding the Battle of Afabet.

1990 Imelda Marcos, went on trial for bribery, embezzlement, and racketeering.

1993 An IRA bomb killed two children in Warrington, Northwest England.

1995 A sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway killed 12 and wounds 1,300 people.

1999 Legoland California, the only Legoland outside Europe, opened in Carlsbad.

2003  2003 invasion of Iraq: In the early hours of the morning, the United States and three other countries begin military operations in Iraq.

2004 Stephen Harper won the leadership of the newly created Conservative Party of Canada, becoming the party’s first leader.

2005 A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit Fukuoka, Japan, its first major quake in over 100 years. One person was killed, hundreds are injured and evacuated.

2006 Cyclone Larry made landfall in eastern Australia, destroying most of the country’s banana crop.

2006  More than 150 Chadian soldiers were killed in eastern Chad by members of the rebel UFDC seeking  to overthrow Chad president Idriss Deby.

2006 Chris and Cru Kahui, New Zealand murder victims were born.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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