Word of the day

May 11, 2012

Ithand – industrious; assiduous; continually busy; diligent;constant, continuous, persistent; continual; plodding; conscientious; considerate; careful; watchful; attentive;


Friday’s answers

May 11, 2012

Thursday’s questions were:

Andrei: who said: One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic. ?

George: If us white people are so smart, how do you explain France?

Paul: Who was the only person to win both a Nobel Prize and an Oscar?

Richard: Which secondary school did Trevor Mallard attend? What were his qualifications when he left school? Who was his best friend at school? Big bonus and prices for the three correct answers. (Quartermaster- “what are you wasting on this fellow?Its a joke question?)

Inventory 2: What are Saturday night’s winning Lotto numbers?

Rob: 1. Which winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature is also in Wisden as a first class cricketer?

2. Which famous rock star had his first public appearance as a boy soprano in a choir at Westminster Cathedral?

IH Stewart: What is a brass razoo ?

And another from Richard: Brass Razoo? ” – have used this expression frequently. But just to keep the HP spirit going while she is busy- What is the expression in Maori and Spanish?

I’ll leave those who asked the questions to determine if anyone answered correctly and provide correct answers if they didn’t.

Given the aversion to banana cake, those who asked the unanswerable/ed questions can have an electronic chocolate cake if they prefer it.


One thing led to another

May 11, 2012

The Telegraph published a feature on beautiful British bridges which was noticed by Not PC  who posted soem photos which were noticed by Hamish who posted some more photos including the one of the Tay Bridge in Dundee.

That led me to reminisce about a painting of the bridge my father had and to suggest no list of British bridges would be complete without the one in the Hundred Acre Wood on which Pooh used to play Pooh Sticks. That inspired Hamish to give the link to  All about Pooh Sticks.

At the bottom of the page was a link which invited me to play virtual Pooh Sticks but when I clicked on it I got a page-can’t-be-found message.

Bother, as Pooh was wont to say. I’ll have to be content with memories of playing on the real bridge and one which is almost as good –  the St David’s Street bridge in Dunedin.


Books by the box load

May 11, 2012

The Rotary Club of Oamaru’s annual Booakrama opened at 9 this morning.

For the past few weeks members and friends have been sorting books donated by the public.

It’s a fascinating exercise which shows there are a few too many people with a Presbyterian approach to books – they’ve been kept where they’ve got damp or just kept too long so they’re dirty and musty and have to be taken to the recycling centre or dumped.

However while there are lots of those there are many more good books which will be snapped up by people whose search for a bargain contributes to the club’s main fundraising effort.

How good a book is and what it’s worth exercises the sorters. Is a signed, first edition of a Wilbur Smith hard back a treasure or just another quick read? Are these old books precious or well past their read-by dates?

We usually take the approach that the books have been given to us to be sold and it’s better to price them low and miss the odd windfall profit than to price them too high and have them left on the tables.


The other half of the equation

May 11, 2012

It’s easy to sheet responsibility for children born into welfare dependency on to their mothers.

But Social Development Minister Paula Bennett points out the other half of the equation:

Ms Bennett said there were men in the benefit system who had fathered numerous children, but they escaped much of the criticism. Some had up to eight children to different mothers – and even if they were employed they could not afford child support.

“We talk about teen mums a lot and yes, they are left with the babies. But you hear of older men with multiple children and they actually prey on young women as well,” Ms Bennett said. “I’m not sure we actually identify that as the problem that it is.”

Every man, of any age, who fathers a child for whom he doesn’t take emotional and financial responsibility is a large part of the problem of welfare dependency and poverty.

 


Another exercise in futility

May 11, 2012

The Labour Party is engaged in a publicity campaign for themselves  by trying to force a citizen’s initiated referendum on the government’s plan to sell minority shares in a few energy companies.

If they get the required 310,000 signatures – 10 per cent of the voting population – in a year we’ll have the expense of a referendum but it won’t be binding on the government.

The story had attracted 69 comments when I read it last night.

Among them were:

Labour…leaders of the few stupid enough to not understand even IF they get the support, that the referendum is NON BINDING and the recent election, in which Labour were smashed into the ground was a clear mandate to PARTIALLY SELL (ie retain majority ownership 51%) state assets to help the country get out of the financial crap it is in….DUH !!!

And

The asset sales were clearly set as policy before the election, and as one of the major items of debate the election itself was a virtual referendum on this.

If Labour seriously thinks wasting a huge amount of revenue running a referendum, on an issue that has been debated and agreed, is a proper way to behave, it just shows how out of touch they are with reality.

And

Mr Shearer must be the most highly paid clip board holder in the history of petitions. Mind you as a Labour leader about all he’s good for.

And

What an absolute load of rubbish. – Total waste of time – the govt has a mandate to sell them and even if 80% of population vote against asset sales, the current govt wont change their mind. – Total waste of money which could be used elsewhere.

And

Keeping total ownership of all state assets while the country goes further into the red is like keeping your holiday home while the bank forecloses on the house you live in.

And

The government have a mandate. They campaigned on partial asset sales. They got voted back into power. That’s a mandate.

If you don’t think its a mandate, then look at your warped logic. If the government doesn’t have a mandate (based on the argument that they didn’t gain over 50% of votes) then no government ever had one or ever will. Quite simple really. So, question. When is a mandate a mandate?

And

If Shearer and others are so certain, why don’t we ask John Key to have a new election and let the population vote on it. Lets have another election or didn’t labour lose the last election on this matter!

And

The whole reason assets are being sold is to fix the economy after Labour stuffed it up. It’s always the same. Labour comes in, screws up the economy & country, National is voted in, sells assets to fix the economy, Labour is voted in, buys back the assets, screws the economy & country, National is voted in, sells assets to fix the economy, and the whole cycle goes on and on and on. Labour should just get over it – they aren’t good for the country. . .

And

Sorry Labour, but as long as you have silly policies like giving solo mums massive pay rises, putting the pension age up and borrowing billions to get us out of trouble, I will be voting National just to keep you out of power. Ex labour man.

And

haha cos they are forced to word things in a non misleading way they have to state things truthfully as ‘up to 49 percent’ of 5 companies. That’s goes against the spin and hype they have been spinning up until now. I can just see the signature labour target market going “huh, i thought they were selling the whole of everything?”

That last comment nails it – opponents of the policy have been raving about asset sales when the policy is not to sell assets but a minority share in them.

But the petition reads:

 “Do you support the Government selling up to 49 per cent of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand?”

If those signing the petition really don’t want minority shares in those companies sold do they also want the government to buy back the shares it doesn’t already own in Air New Zealand?

There are some comments supporting the petition and there is also this one:

Just stopping partial asset sales is pointless unless it is accompanied by a credible alternative to raise the same amount of money.

Very few people really want partial asset sales, but it is better than increasing debt.

And this one:

Kiwi’s don’t want to borrow money but also anti-asset sales. We want renewable energy, but we don’t want any wind farms polluting the skyline, nor dams flooding our land, nor fossil fuel burning plants, nor geothermal. The people of this backward country are a basket-case!

Maybe someone could start a petition asking if people support an increase in debt. Unless and until Labour has a credible economic plan that will return the country to surplus while funding mcuh-needed new infrastructure without increasing debt, opposing the Mixed Ownership Model for state assets is empty rhetoric and the petition an exercise in futility.


May 11 in history

May 11, 2012

330 Byzantium was renamed Nova Roma during a dedication ceremony, but was more popularly referred to as Constantinople.

1310 In France, fifty-four members of the Knights Templar were burned at the stake as heretics.

1647 Peter Stuyvesant arrived in New Amsterdam to replace Willem Kieft as Director-General of New Netherland, the Dutch colonial settlement in present-day New York City.

1745 War of Austrian Succession: Battle of Fontenoy –French forces defeated an AngloDutch-Hanoverian army.

1792 Captain Robert Gray became the first documented European to sail into the Columbia River.

1799 John Lowell, American philanthropist, was born (d. 1836).

1812 Prime Minister Spencer Perceval was assassinated by John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons.

1813 William Lawson, Gregory Blaxland and William Wentworth led an expedition westwards from Sydney. Their route opened up inland Australia for continued expansion throughout the 19th century.

1820 Launch of HMS Beagle, the ship that took Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage.

1852 Charles W. Fairbanks, 26th United States Vice President was born (d. 1918).

1857 Indian Mutiny: Indian rebels seized Delhi from the British.

1862 American Civil War: The ironclad CSS Virginia was scuttled in the James River.

1867 Luxembourg gained its independence.

1875  Harriet Quimby, American aviator, was born (d. 1912).

1888 Irving Berlin, American composer, was born (d. 1989).

1891 The Ōtsu Incident : Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich of Imperial Russia (Nicholas II) was critically injured by the sword attack by a Japanese policeman Tsuda Sanzō.

1892  Margaret Rutherford, English actress, was born (d. 1972).

1894 Pullman Strike: Four thousand Pullman Palace Car Company workers went on a wildcat strike in Illinois.

1904 Salvador Dalí, Spanish painter was born (d. 1989).

1907 A derailment outside Lompoc, California killed 32 Shriners when their chartered train derails at a switch near Surf Depot.

1910 An act of the U.S. Congress establishes Glacier National Park in Montana.

1918 The Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus was officially established.

1924 Mercedes-Benz was formed by Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz merging their two companies.

1927 The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded.

1942  William Faulkner’s collections of short stories, Go Down, Moses, was published.

1943  World War II: American troops invaded Attu Island..

1944 World War II: The Allies started a major offensive against the Axis Powers on the Gustav Line.

1945 Captain Charles Upham was presented with the VC and Bar.

Upham presented with VC and Bar

1945  World War II: The aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill, was hit by two kamikazes, killing 346 of her crew.

1946 UMNO (United Malays National Organisation) was created.

1949  Siam officially changed its name to Thailand for the second time.

1953  The 1953 Waco tornado outbreak: An F5 tornado hit downtown Waco, Texas, killing 114.

1960 In Buenos Aires four Israeli Mossad agents captured fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann, living under the assumed name Ricardo Klement.

1960 – The first contraceptive pill was made available on the market.

1967 – Andreas Papandreou, Greek economist and socialist politician, was imprisoned in Athens by the Greek military junta.

1970 The Lubbock Tornado a F5 tornado hits Lubbock, Texas, killing 26 and causing $250 million in damage.

1984 A transit of Earth from Mars took place.

1985  Fifty-six spectators died when a flash fire struck the Valley Parade football ground during a match in Bradford, England.

1987  Klaus Barbie went on trial in Lyon for war crimes committed during World War II.

1987 The first heart-lung transplant took place, performed by Dr. Bruce Reitz, of Stanford University School of Medicine.

1995 More than 170 countries decide to extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and without conditions.

1996  A fire started by improperly handled oxygen canisters in the cargo hold of Atlanta-bound ValuJet Flight 592 caused the Douglas DC-9 to crash in the Florida Everglades killing all 110 on board.

1997 IBM Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeated Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format.

1998 India conducted three underground nuclear tests in Pokhran, including a thermonuclear device.

2000 Effective date of Canada’s first modern-day treaty – The Nisga’a Final Agreement.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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