Word of the day

15/12/2012

Impassible – not subject to harm, pain or suffering; unfeeling, impassive; inaccessible to injury; impossible to pass, cross or overcome.


9/10

15/12/2012

9/10 in the Herald’s Question Time.


How long?

15/12/2012

The bereaved parents club is one no-one asks to join.

Today its ranks have been swelled:

A gunman killed 26 people, 20 of them children between ages 5 and 10, in a shooting on Friday morning at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., about 65 miles northeast of New York City, the authorities said.

The gunman, believed to be 20, walked into a classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where his mother was a teacher. He shot and killed her and then fatally shot 20 students, most in the same classroom. He also fatally shot five other adults, then killed himself inside the school. One other person was injured in the shooting . . .

It is against the natural order of things to outlive your children.

It is difficult enough to make sense of the death of a child as a result of illness or accident.

Today so many families, and the teachers and other children who witnessed the horror, are faced with the impossible task of making sense of a senseless act of violence.

how long

The pain is not yours alone she said & you will see it in their eyes when they do not think you are watching.

How long will it take? I said & she put her hand on my chest and we did not speak.

Story People by Brian Andreas.


Parking meter angel

15/12/2012

I forgot to put any money in the meter when I parked in Dunedin yesterday afternoon.

When I got back to the car I noticed a chalk mark on the tyre and a piece of paper under the windscreen wiper.

I picked it up expecting see an infringement notice but instead saw a meter receipt.

A parking meter angel must have either had time left on his/her receipt when s/he left a neighbouring park and popped it under my wiper or just paid for my park as a random act of kindness.

Whatever the explanation, the meter man/woman must have got to the car when the receipt had just expired and chalked the tyre and given me a few minutes grace before writing a ticket.

In the belief that good deeds aren’t boomerangs we should expect back but batons to pass on, I’ll make sure the kindess doesn’t stop here.


Radical green agenda politics not charity

15/12/2012

Quite how an organisation which spends so much of its time, and supporters’ money, on politically motivated campaigns can claim to be a charity rather than a political organisation is beyond me.

One of Greenpeace’s founders has no doubts about its agenda:

Canadian ecologist Patrick Moore, a former Greenpeace International director who helped found and lead the group, says it appears Greenpeace’s major aim these days is to confuse the public about the nature of the environment and the place of humans in it “by spreading falsehoods and innuendo”.

“Since I left Greenpeace, its members, and the majority of the movement, have adopted policy after policy that reflects their anti-human bias, illustrates their rejection of science and technology and actually increases the risk of harm to people and the environment,” he says. . .

The distinction between charitable and political purpose matters because the former allows an organisation special tax status.

The Charities Commission ruled that Greenpeace’s primary purpose was political. The Court of Appeal decided that the organisation could appeal that ruling.

Greenpeace does do some practical work which might qualify as charitable but most of what we see of its public face is blatantly political.


Turia’s retirement will pose challenges for party

15/12/2012

Tariana Turia’s announcement that she won’t stand in the 2014 election foreshadows the end of an ear for the Maori party.

It doesn’t mean the end of the party but it does pose some challenges for the organisation.

It will be difficult to find a co-leader with her mana.

It might be less difficult to find a candidate to replace her in the Te Tai Hauauru electorate but it won’t be as easy for a new candidate to hold the seat for the party.

Ms Turia began her parliamentary career in labour and resigned from the party on principle over the Foreshore and Seabed legislation. She resigned and stood in the subsequent by-election to prove she had a mandate.

Then Labour leader Helen Clark referred to the Maori party as the last cab off the rank for coalition negotiations.

John Key extended the offer a place in the National-led coalition after the 2008 election, even though he didn’t need the Maori Party’s votes for a majority.

But it gave him options and gave the party the opportunity it could achieve some of its goals in government rather than gaining headlines but making no progress in opposition.

As a small party it has had to compromise to gain some of what it wants, but it has stayed true to its principles and can point to some achievements, due in no small part to Ms Turia’s determination.

Her party will miss her.


Perfect day

15/12/2012

We stopped at Fleurs Place for dinner on our way home from Dunedin yesterday evening.

The waiter complimented me on my jacket which is turquoise and cobalt blue saying it was the perfect colours for a seafood restaurant.

I explained I’d chosen it because I’d been at a National Party lunch with the Prime Minister.

He said, “Lunch with John Key, dinner at Fleur’s – a perfect day.”

Quite.


December 15 in history

15/12/2012

37 Nero, Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, was born  (d. 68).

1791  The United States Bill of Rights became law when ratified by the Virginia General Assembly.

1832 Gustave Eiffel, French engineer and architect (Eiffel tower), was born (d. 1923).

1863 The mountain railway from Anina to Oravita in Romania was used for the first time.

1891  James Naismith introduced the first version of basketball, with thirteen rules, a peach basket nailed to either end of his school’s gymnasium, and two teams of nine players.

1892 J. Paul Getty, American oil tycoon, was born (d. 1976).
1905 The Pushkin House was established in St. Petersburg to preserve the cultural heritage of Alexander Pushkin.

1906 – The London Underground‘s Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway opened.

1915 – Evacuation of Gallipolli began.

1915 – World War I: Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig replaced John French, 1st Earl of Ypres as Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force.

1930 Edna O’Brien, Irish novelist and short story writer, was born.

1933  – Donald Woods, South African journalist and anti-apartheid activist, was born.

1939 Cindy Birdsong, American singer (The Supremes), was born.

1939  Gone with the Wind received its première at Loew’s Grand Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

1942 – Dave Clark, English musician (The Dave Clark Five), was born.

1944 The Finance Act (No. 3) abolished the Chinese poll tax, introduced in 1881, which was described by Minister of Finance Walter Nash as a ‘blot on our legislation’.

Poll tax on Chinese immigrants abolished

1951 The towering Belmont railway viaduct, which bridged a deep gully at Paparangi, northeast of Johnsonville, Wellington, built in 1885 by the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company, was demolished by Territorial Army engineers.

Belmont viaduct blown up

1955  Jens Olsen’s World Clock started by Swedish King Frederick IX and Jens Olsen’s youngest grandchild Birgit.

1965  Gemini 6A, crewed by Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford, was launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida.

1973  John Paul Getty III, grandson of American billionaire J. Paul Getty, was found alive near Naples, Italy, after being kidnapped by an Italian gang on July 10, 1973.

1978  President Jimmy Carter announced that the United States would recognise the People’s Republic of China and cut off all relations with Taiwan.

1997 The Treaty of Bangkok was signed allowing the transformation of Southeast Asia into a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone.

2000 The 3rd reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was shut down due to foreign political pressure.

2001 The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopened after 11 years and $27,000,000 to fortify it, without fixing its famous lean.

2006  First flight of the F-35 Lightning II.

2009 – Boeing’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner makes its maiden flight from Seattle, Washington.

2010 – A boat carrying 90 asylum seekers crashed into rocks off the coast of Christmas Island,killing at least 30 passengers.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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