Word of the day


Muculency – acting snottitly or arrogantly; snottiness, arrogance.

Value of tragedy, bizarre books & time management


Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today centred on:

Sadness breeds gratitude, the value of tragedy

The bizarre world of bonkers book collecting


Time management tips from extremely busy people

Why we vote?


The low voter turnout in last year’s election is concerning, but is making voting easier , by postal or electronic voting, for example?

Graeme Edgeler doesn’t think so:

The shared experience of voting is an important part of fostering a democratic society. The sense of democracy as a community undertaking would be lost if we were able to stagger the election over two weeks. I very much doubt there would be more than a minimal effect on voter turnout, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the decline in civil society I think it would precipitate actually lead to decreased interest from the politically disinclined.

We vote because we think we should. Others vote because they see us vote and think they should. We vote because when we were younger our parents took us with them when they were voting and it was solemn and seemed important. We vote because there’s one day every three years when voting is what you do – what everyone does. And even though this election saw a reduction in turnout, making the day less special is not going to turn this around.

He was responding to the Electoral Commission’s suggestion that postal voting be used for referenda but I support this view for all voting.

It is a public process and a communal one which ought to take place in the community?

Consumers pay price for protecting producers


The Canadian commitment to dairy farmers to continue protection is putting the interests of the minority ahead of those of the majority.

It’s consumers who pay the price of tariffs on dairy products of up to 300% . The cost isn’t only a monetary one, they also pay the price of fewer choices.

Most New Zealand farmers resisted being dragged into the real world but now, nearly three decades on, it would be difficult to find any who would want to go back to subsidies and tariffs.

The process of losing subsidies was painful but the result is worth it.

Forcing us to meet the market has made us much better at what we do. We think about, and act on, what people want to buy rather than what the government is going to pay us to produce. Consumers here and overseas have benefitted from that.

The only fair trade is free trade apropos of which Anti-Dismal shows how it started.

Spending to save


The provision of  $287.5 million over the next four years in this month’s Budget is an example of spending to save.

It will fund the first phase of the Government’s welfare reforms to help more New Zealanders into work, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says.

This includes $81.5 million of additional up-front funding, with the remainder reprioritised funding from within Social Development.

The second phase of reforms will be funded in Budget 2013. The entire welfare package is expected to cost at least $520 million and it will save $1 billion over four years.

“Added to the current $7.6 billion annual cost of welfare, this extra investment provides support – such as childcare and staff – that is vital to the reforms.

”The Government’s welfare changes require a significant up-front financial support. We’ve made a commitment to provide that investment to ensure fewer people are on welfare long term.

“The first phase of spending is focused on better supports that will help more people out of the welfare trap,” Mrs Bennett says.

Budget 2012 will include:

  • $80 million over four years for Early Childhood Education childcare and the Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment.
  • $55.1 million over four years for 155 dedicated Work and Income staff to support Jobseekers and sole parents into work.
  • $148.8 million over four years for youth services including wrap-around support.

“Support for young people is central to the wider welfare reforms,” Mrs Bennett says.

“Funding for youth services will be targeted at budgeting and parenting courses, milestone payments to providers and wrap-around support as well as an extra incentive payment to young people.

“This also includes $77.6 million to support the roughly 14,000 disengaged 16- and 17-year olds, to move them into education or training.”

Of the total $148.8 million for youth services, there is $134.7 million for Youth Service providers. This is an increase of $75.9 million over four years for providers above current funding levels.

“For the first time, the Ministry of Education will share information with the Ministry of Social Development to track and pick up these young people.

“Youth Providers will have unprecedented flexibility to work with disengaged or unemployed young people and teen parents to get them into education, attaining NCEA Level 2, or in training.”

No-one ever said saving people from welfare dependency would be cheap but the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term costs.

May 8 in history


589 Reccared summoned the Third Council of Toledo.

1450 Jack Cade’s Rebellion: Kentishmen revolted against King Henry VI.

1541 Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River and named it Río de Espíritu Santo.

1753 – Miguel Hidalgo Mexican revolutionary was born (d. 1811).

1788 The French Parlement was suspended and replaced by the creation of forty-seven new courts.

1794 French chemist Antoine Lavoisier, who was also a tax collector with the Ferme Générale, was tried, convicted, and guillotined on the same day in Paris.

1821 Greek War of Independence: The Greeks defeated the Turks at the Battle of Gravia.

1828 – Jean Henri Dunant, Founder of the Red Cross; Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1910).

1846 Mexican-American War: The Battle of Palo Alto – Zachary Taylor defeated a Mexican force north of the Rio Grande in the first major battle of the war.

1861 American Civil War: Richmond, Virginia was named the capital of the Confederate States of America.

1877 At Gilmore’s Gardens in New York City, the first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show opened.

1884 – Harry S. Truman, President of the United States, was born (d. 1972).

1886 Pharmacist John Styth Pemberton invented a carbonated beverage later named “Coca-Cola”.

1898 The first games of the Italian football league system were played.

1899 The Irish Literary Theatre in Dublin opened.

1902 In Martinique, Mount Pelée erupted, destroying the town of Saint-Pierre and killing more than 30,000 people.

1914 Paramount Pictures was founded.

1916 – Swami Chinmayananda, Indian spiritualist, was born (d. 1993).

1919 Edward George Honey first proposed the idea of a moment of silence to commemorate The Armistice of World War I, which later resulted in the creation of Remembrance Day.

1925 – Ali Hassan Mwinyi,  second President of Tanzania, was born.

1926 – David Attenborough, English naturalist, was born.

1927 Attempting to make the first non-stop transatlantic flight from Paris to New York, French warheroes Charles Nungesser and Francois Coli disappeared after taking off aboard The White Bird biplane.

1933 Mohandas Gandhi began a 21-day fast in protest against British oppression in India.

1942 World War II: Gunners of the Ceylon Garrison Artillery on Horsburgh Island in the Cocos Islands rebelled in the Cocos Islands Mutiny.

1943 – Paul Samwell-Smith, British bassist (The Yardbirds) was born.

1944 – Gary Glitter, English singer, was born.

1945 Hundreds of Algerian civilians were killed by French Army soldiers in the Sétif massacre.

1945 – World War II: V-E Day, combat ended in Europe. German forces agreed in Rheims, France, to an unconditional surrender.

1945 End of the Prague uprising, today celebrated as a national holiday in the Czech Republic.

1946 Estonian school girls Aili Jõgi and Ageeda Paavel blew up the Soviet memorial that preceded the Bronze Soldier in Tallinn.

1951 – Philip Bailey, American singer (Earth, Wind & Fire), was born.

1951 – Chris Frantz, American musician (Talking Heads), was born.

1953 – Alex Van Halen, Dutch-born American drummer (Van Halen), was born.

1953 – Billy Burnette, American singer and guitarist (Fleetwood Mac), was born.

1963 – Soldiers of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem opened fire on Buddhists defying a ban on the flying of the Buddhist flag on Vesak, killing nine.

1970 John Rowles hit number 1 on the charts in New Zealand and 20 in Australia with Cheryl Moana Marie.

'Cheryl Moana Marie' hits No. 1

1970 The Hard Hat riot in the Wall Street area of New York City: blue-collar construction workers clashed with anti-war demonstrators protesting the Vietnam War.

1972 Vietnam War – U.S. President Richard M. Nixon announced his order to place mines in major North Vietnamese ports in order to stem the flow of weapons and other goods to that nation.

1973 A 71-day standoff between federal authorities and the American Indian Movement members occupying the Pine Ridge Reservation at Wounded Knee, South Dakota ends with the surrender of the militants.

1976 The rollercoaster Revolution, the first steel coaster with a vertical loop, opened at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

1978 First ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen, by Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler.

1980 The eradication of smallpox was endorsed by the World Health Organization.

1984 The Soviet Union announced that it would boycott the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

1984 Corporal Denis Lortie entered the Quebec National Assembly and opened fire, killing three and wounding 13. René Jalbert, sergeant-at-arms of the assembly, succeeds in calming him, for which he later received the Cross of Valour.

1984 Thames Barrier officially opened.

1987 The Loughgall ambush: The SAS kills 8 IRA members and 1 civilian, in Loughgall, Northern Ireland.

1988 A fire at Illinois Bell‘s Hinsdale Central Office triggers an extended 1AESS network outage once considered the worst telecommunications disaster in US telephone industry history and still the worst to occur on Mother’s Day.

1997 A China Southern Airlines Boeing 737 crashed on approach into Shenzhen’s Huangtian Airport, killing 35 people.

1999 Nancy Mace became the first female cadet to graduate from The Citadel military college.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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