Word of the day

October 27, 2012

Gimcrack – a showy but useless or worthless object; a gewgaw; flimsy or poorly made but deceptively attractive; cheap and tasteless; gaudy.


Saturday’s smiles

October 27, 2012

A city man and a country woman were driving head on at night on a dark, twisty road.

Both were driving too fast for the conditions and collided on a sharp bend in the road. To the amazement of both, they were unscathed, though their cars were written off.

In recognition of their luck, both agreed to put aside accusations and blame.

At this point, the woman went to the boot and fetched a 12 year old bottle of whisky. She hands the bottle to the Irish man, who said,” Here’s to town and country, may they be united, in peace, and harmony.”

The man then tipped the bottle up and took several large gulps.

Still flabbergasted over the whole thing, he went to hand the bottle to the woman who replied: ”No thanks, I’ll just wait till the Police get here.”


Hunt for your new ute

October 27, 2012

If you’ve time to spare this weekend, you could try hunting for a new ute.

You have to register on the link then work out where Davey Hughes is hunting.

There are two Isuzu utes at stake, one each for  a winner in the North and South Islands.

 


6/10

October 27, 2012

6/10 in NZ History Online’s quiz.


Economic crisis a moral crisis

October 27, 2012

The experience of the Depression influenced my parents for life.

They spent moderately and saved well.

The idea of borrowing for something that wasn’t an absolute necessity or incurring a debt they couldn’t repay would have been anathema too them.

There was nothing unusual in that for them or their contemporaries.

It is no longer the norm, for many individuals and countries as Theodore Dalrymple ruminates:

. . .But to call the attempt to balance a budget ‘austerity,’ in other words to say living within your means implies ‘rigorous abstinence, asceticism,’ a kind of killjoy puritanism, is to suggest that it is both honest, just and decent to do otherwise. And this is indicative of a revolution in our sensibilities.

In fact, it is grossly dishonorable to live beyond your means, at least when you transfer to the cost to others, as is inevitable when borrowing becomes an entire, chronic way of life – as it has in many countries. Then repayment becomes impossible and is known in advance to be impossible; you continue to borrow so that you may continue to live at a higher standard of living than your earnings justify, in the full knowledge that you will either eventually default or, metaphorically speaking, pay back in tin the weight of what you borrowed in gold. Perhaps those foolish enough to lend to you in these circumstances deserve to lose some or all their money; but there is no disguising the fact that, at least according to traditional standards of morality, your conduct has been dishonorable, immoral and fraudulent.

If an individual owes money, the honorable thing for him to do is to restrict his spending in order to repay it, and not to borrow more merely so that he may maintain his current standard of living until such time comes when he must declare his bankruptcy. And I am old enough to remember the time when poor people refrained from borrowing for fear of not being able to repay the debt, and thus lose their self-respect. Their self-respect was more important to them than their level of consumption of inessentials. . .

 Of course, countries are not individuals. . .  Our individual sense on honor is not engaged when the borrowing is done by the government and the proceeds trickle down into our pockets.

It is in these circumstances that the moral corruption of living permanently on borrowed money that will never be paid back can be hidden from those who do so, though only vicariously. Their sense of responsibility is attenuated to the degree that they do not realize that they have any. The people in Greece, understandably but nevertheless wrongly, experience the lowering of their standard of living as unjust; they do not see it as a consequence of their undeservedly high previous standard of living, because that undeservedly high standard of living came to them via what for them was an abstraction, the government. In Spain, by contrast, it was private debt that was the culprit; but the population did not experience their high standard of living as economically unjustified either.

The idea that living within your means is a form of austerity, and not (other than in exceptional circumstances) the elementary moral duty of people of honor, shows that, underlying the economic crisis is a profound moral crisis in western society.

Living within your means was not just normal but right for my parents and their generation.

They endured an economic depression but not a moral one.


Being your own boss

October 27, 2012

Sir Bob Jones on the appeal of being your own boss:

But here’s my point: while most folk are content being employed, a sizeable percentage with an independent streak are not. For them, there’s a special dignity in being their own masters even though it’s often fraught with worries.

Contrary to belief, they’re not primarily motivated by money but simply a desire to steer their own ship. There are hundreds of thousands of self-employed New Zealanders who wouldn’t have it otherwise. They’re farmers, retailers, tradesmen, professionals and diverse service providers. . .

. . . Careers advisers and parents should promote to teens thoughts of ultimate self-employment in whatever career they choose. They should home in on kids who eschew team sports for solo activities such as tennis, swimming, athletics, golf, etc. These choices demonstrate independent personalities, content with self-reliance. . .


Dame Kiri in Oamaru Update – sold out

October 27, 2012

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is to perform in the Oamaru Opera House on Thursday March 27th next year.

Her schedule allows only one concert and tickets reserved for Waitaki District residents sold out on the first day.

Remaining tickets go on sale at 10am today.

UPDATE:

We got tickets when they first went on sale for Waitaki residents but out of curiosity I just (at 10:12)  checked if there were any more seats left – they’re sold out.


The H word

October 27, 2012

Speaker Lockwood Smith has undone decades of tradition by allowing the h word to be used in parliament.

This is good timing as it coincides with the outing of hypocrisy from the Green Party.

Just a few years ago Green co-leader Metiria Turei was denouncing US democracy being bought and sold.

This week the party explained away using child poverty to attract donations for itself as adopting fundraising techniques used by the likes of United States President Barack Obama .

The h word might also apply to a campaign against any sort of poverty from a party which opposes many of the developments which could foster economic growth.

The Green Party is usually very good at getting publicity but most of that publicity in the last couple of weeks hasn’t been good.

The Lobbying Transparency Bill promoted by Holly Walker has been roundly criticised by numerous submitters including Clerk of the House, the Law Commission, Human Rights Commission, Newspaper Publishers Association, Tainui, Ngai Tahu, Association of Universities, Association of NGOs, and the Auditor General.

The party’s promotion of quantitative easing has been widely panned and got more criticism yesterday when new reserve bank Governor Graeme Wheeler said there was little evidence it had lifted growth overseas.

“New Zealand does not require quantitative easing: the economy is growing at an annual rate of about 2 per cent, and the Reserve Bank has scope to lower interest rates if needed.”

The Green Party recently suggested the Reserve Bank print money to bring down the value of the dollar to help hard-pressed exporters.

But Wheeler effectively slammed the idea, pointing out that since the start of the global financial crisis, the United States Federal Reserve had expanded its balance sheet by 13 per cent of GDP, the European Central Bank by 16 per cent, Bank of Japan by 10 per cent and the Bank of England by about 20 per cent.

“In all four cases the official cash rate is 0.75 per cent or less. In all four cases there is little evidence of any appreciable impact on economic growth,” he said. . .

He said the answer to the high dollar is not printing more money but an increase in savings and investment and a decrease in foreign borrowing.

Apropos of the h word, the most memorable line on quantitative easing was in Seven Days last week when one of the panel pointed out the hypocrisy of the promotion of printing more money coming from the party which also wants to save the trees.


October 27 in history

October 27, 2012

312  Constantine the Great was said to have received his famous Vision of the Cross.

939 Edmund I succeeded Athelstan as King of England.

1275  Traditional founding of the city of Amsterdam.

1524 Italian Wars: The French troops laid siege to Pavia.

1553  Condemned as a heretic, Michael Servetus was burned at the stake.

1644  Second Battle of Newbury in the English Civil War.

1728 James Cook, British naval captain and explorer, was born (d. 1779).

1795  The United States and Spain signed the Treaty of Madrid, which established the boundaries between Spanish colonies and the U.S.

1811 Isaac Singer, American inventor, was born (d. 1875).

1838  Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs issued the Extermination Order, which ordered all Mormons to leave the state or be exterminated.

1858  Theodore Roosevelt, 26th USA President, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born (d. 1919).

1870 Marshal François Achille Bazaine with 140,000 French soldiers surrendered to Prussian forces at Metz in one of the biggest French defeats of the Franco-Prussian War.

1904 The first underground New York City Subway line opened.

1914  Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet, was born (d. 1953).

1914   The British super-dreadnought battleship HMS Audacious (23,400 tons), was sunk off Tory Island by a minefield laid by the armed German merchant-cruiser Berlin.

HMS Audacious LOC 17766.jpg

1916  Battle of Segale: Negus Mikael, marching on the Ethiopian capital in support of his son Emperor Iyasus V, was defeated by Fitawrari abte Giyorgis, securing the throne for Empress Zauditu.

1922  A referendum in Rhodesia rejected the country’s annexation to the South African Union.

1924  The Uzbek SSR was founded in the Soviet Union.

1932  Sylvia Plath, American poet, was born (d. 1963).

1939 John Cleese, British actor and writer, was born.

1943  New Zealanders from 8 Brigade, New Zealand 3rd Division, helped their American allies cleared Mono Island of its Japanese defenders.

NZ troops make first opposed landing since Gallipoli

1945  Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, was born.

1948  Léopold Sédar Senghor founded the Senegalese Democratic Bloc.

1950 Fran Lebowitz, American writer, was born.

1953  British nuclear test Totem 2 was carried out at Emu Field, South Australia.

1954  Benjamin O. Davis Jr. became the first African-American general in the United States Air Force.

1958  Simon Le Bon, English singer (Duran Duran), was born.

1958  Iskander Mirza, the first President of Pakistan, was deposed in a bloodless coup d’état by General Ayub Khan, who had been appointed the enforcer of martial law by Mirza 20 days earlier.

1961  NASA launched the first Saturn I rocket in Mission Saturn-Apollo 1.

1962  Major Rudolf Anderson of the United States Air Force became the only direct human casualty of the Cuban Missile Crisis when his U-2 reconnaissance airplane was shot down in Cuba by a Soviet-supplied SA-2 Guideline surface-to-air missile.

1964  Ronald Reagan delivered a speech “A Time for Choosing” which luanched his political career.

1967  Catholic priest Philip Berrigan and others of the Baltimore Four protest the Vietnam War by pouring blood on Selective Service records.

1970  Alama Ieremia, All Black, was born.

1971  The Democratic Republic of the Congo was renamed Zaire.

1973  The Cañon City meteorite, a 1.4 kg chondrite type meteorite, struck in Fremont County, Colorado.

1981 The Soviet submarine U 137 ran aground on the east coast of Sweden.

1986  The British government suddenly deregulated financial markets, leading to a total restructuring of the way in which they operated in the country, in an event referred to as the Big Bang.

1988   Ronald Reagan decided to tear down the new U.S. Embassy in Moscow because of Soviet listening devices in the building structure.

1991 Turkmenistan achieved independence from the Soviet Union.

1992  United States Navy radioman Allen R. Schindler, Jr. was murdered by shipmate Terry M. Helvey for being gay.

1994  The U.S. prison population topped 1 million for the first time.

1994 Gliese 229B was the first Substellar Mass Object to be unquestionably identified.

1997 October 27, 1997 mini-crash: Stock markets around the world crashed because of fears of a global economic meltdown. The Dow Jones Industrial Average  fell 554.26 points to 7,161.15. For the first time, the New York Stock Exchange activated its “circuit breakers” twice during the day eventually making the controversial move of closing the Exchange early.

1999  Gunmen opened fire in the Armenian Parliament, killing Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan, Parliament Chair Karen Demirchyan, and 6 other members.

2005 Riots began in Paris after the deaths of two Muslim teenagers.

2005 The SSETI Express micro-satellite was successfully launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.
2011 – The Royal Australian Navy announced that they discovered the wreck of a World War II submarine in Simpson Harbour, Papua New Guinea during Operation RENDER SAFE.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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