Word of the day

October 11, 2014

Edacity – excessive desire to eat; greediness; voraciousness; good appetite.


Saturday soapbox

October 11, 2014

Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

This week is Banned Books Week. How are you celebrating the freedom to read?


Road blocks to family life

October 11, 2014

Is helping middle class families social engineering?

James Pethokoukis asks the question and provides his answer:

One frequently mentioned criticism of the plan in “Room to Grow” to dramatically expand the child tax credit* is that it’s somehow “social engineering.” But as Bob Stein, the author of that chapter, has patiently pointed out, the expansion would actually help offset the anti-family “social engineering” of current government policy and make Americans less dependent on government.

Anyway, all this talk of “social engineering” reminded me of a passage in “Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II” by George Weigel (bold is mine):

Perhaps the hardest-fought battle between Church and [Poland’s] regime involved family life, for the communists understood that men and women secure in the love of their families were a danger. Housing, work schedules, and school hours were all organized by the state to separate parents from their children as frequently as possible. Apartments were constructed to accommodate only small families, so that children would be regarded as a problem. Work was organized in four shifts and families were rarely together. The workday began at 6 or 7 a.m., so children had to be consigned to state-run child-care centers before school. The schools themselves were consolidated, and children were moved out of their local communities for schooling.

Now that’s social engineering. I guess my point here is that policy reformers should think carefully about the roadblocks government inadvertently puts up to Americans conducting a healthy family life. Maybe that’s tax policy. Maybe it’s welfare policy. . . .

I am not a fan of Working for Families when it is given to people earning well above the average wage.

However, I do accept it has a place at the lower end of the wage scale to ensure families are better off with a parent in work than on welfare.

Anecdotal evidence says it discourages  a second parent from seeking work because what’s earned is cancelled out by what’s lost in steep abatements from WFF.

If financial reward was a major consideration in the parent seeking work that could be the case.

Another issue which impacts on family life is the push for urban development which promotes infill-housing and going up rather than out.

Going up results in apartment blocks and in-fill housing – both usually have hardly any outside areas for relaxation and play which families need.

That is the norm in many other countries and isn’t a problem if there are plenty of public recreation areas which isn’t always the case.

The concern people have over the ageing population is not just a function of the post-war baby-boom. It’s a function of people having fewer or no children since then.

How many children people have, or if they have any at all, is entirely their business.

However, governments can influence that by policies which are or aren’t family friendly.

WFF is family friendly although it gives support to some who might not need it.

Sole parent benefits do support families in need, but they can also sabotage family relationships if the state is a better bread-winner than the absent parent.


October 11 in history

October 11, 2014

1138 A massive earthquake struck Aleppo, Syria.

1531 Huldrych Zwingli was killed in battle with the Roman Catholic cantons of Switzerland.

1614  Adriaen Block and 12 Amsterdam merchants petitioned the States General for exclusive trading rights in the New Netherland colony.

1634  The Burchardi flood — “the second Grote Mandrenke” killed around 15,000 men in North Friesland, Denmark and Germany.

1649  Sack of Wexford: After a ten-day siege, English New Model Army troops (under Oliver Cromwell) stormed the town of Wexford, killing over 2,000 Irish Confederate troops and 1,500 civilians.

1727  George II and Caroline of Ansbach were crowned King and Queen of Great Britain.

1776  American Revolution: Battle of Valcour Island – 15 American gunboats were defeated but give Patriot forces enough time to prepare defenses of New York City.

1809  Explorer Meriwether Lewis died under mysterious circumstances at an inn called Grinder’s Stand.

1811  Inventor John Stevens‘ boat, the Juliana, began operation as the first steam-powered ferry (service between New York, New York, and Hoboken, New Jersey).

1833  A big demonstration at the gates of the legislature of Buenos Aires forced the ousting of governor Juan Ramón Balcarce and his replacement with Juan José Viamonte.

1844 Henry Heinz, American food manufacturer, was born (d. 1916).

1852 – The University of Sydney, Australia’s oldest university was inaugurated.

1861 The first Cobb & Co coach service ran from Dunedin to the Otago goldfields.

First Cobb and Co coach service runs to Otago goldfields

1865  Paul Bogle led hundreds of black men and women in a march in Jamaica, starting the Morant Bay rebellion.

1884 Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States and humanitarian, was born (d. 1962)

1890  In Washington, DC, the Daughters of the American Revolution was founded.

1899 Second Boer War began.

1906  San Francisco public school board sparked United States diplomatic crisis with Japan by ordering Japanese students to be taught in racially segregated schools.

1910  Ex-president Theodore Roosevelt became the first U.S. president to fly in an airplane. He flew for four minutes with Arch Hoxsey in a plane built by the Wright Brothers.

1912 – Betty Noyes, singer who dubbed Debbie Reynolds’ singing voice in Singin’ in the Rain, was born (d 1987).

1926 Neville Wran, Premier of New South Wales, was born.

1929 JC Penney opened store #1252 in Milford, Delaware, making it a nationwide company with stores in all 48 U.S. states.

1937 Sir Bobby Charlton, English footballer, was born.

1941  Beginning of the National Liberation War of Macedonia.

1942  World War II: Battle of Cape Esperance – On the northwest coast of Guadalcanal, United States Navy ships intercepted and defeat a Japanese fleet on their way to reinforce troops on the island.

1944 Tuvinian People’s Republic was annexed by the U.S.S.R.

1950 Television: CBS’s mechanical colour system was the first to be licensed for broadcast by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

1954 First Indochina War: The Viet Minh took control of North Vietnam.

1957 Dawn French, Welsh comedian,actress and screenwriter, was born.

1958  NASA launched the lunar probe Pioneer 1.

1962  Second Vatican Council: Pope John XXIII convened the first ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church in 92 years.

1968  Apollo program: NASA launched Apollo 7, the first successful manned Apollo mission, with astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn F. Eisele and Walter Cunningham aboard.

1969 Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, was born.

1972 A race riot on the United States Navy aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk off the coast of Vietnam during Operation Linebacker.

1975 The NBC sketch comedy/variety show Saturday Night Live debuted with George Carlin as the host and Andy Kaufman, Janis Ian and Billy Preston as guests.

1976  George Washington‘s appointment, posthumously, to the grade of General of the Armies of the United States by congressional joint resolution Public Law 94-479 was approved by President Gerald R. Ford.

1982  The Mary Rose, a Tudor carrack which sank on July 19 1545, was salvaged from the sea bed of the Solent.

1984 Astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan became the first American woman to perform a space walk.

1986 Cold War: U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met in Reykjavík, Iceland, in an effort to continue discussions about scaling back their intermediate missile arsenals in Europe.

1987  Start of Operation Pawan by Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka that killed few thousand ethnic Tamil civilians, several hundred Tamil Tigers and few hundred Indian Army soldiers.

1996 Pala accident: a wood lorry and school bus collided in Jõgeva county, Estonia, killing eight children.

2001 The Polaroid Corporation filed for federal bankruptcy protection.

2002  A bomb attack in a shopping mall in Vantaa, Finland killed seven.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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