Word of the day

November 10, 2014

Yoke – the amount of land a pair of oxen could plough in a day;   a wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals are joined at the heads or necks for working together;  an arched device formerly laid on the neck of a defeated person; a frame fitted to a person’s shoulders to carry a load in two equal portions; a pair of draft animals fastened together by a yoke; an agency of oppression, subjection or servitude; something that couples or binds together; a bond or tie; to put a yoke on; to join, couple, link, or unite; to bring into subjection or servitude.


How’s your 60s trivia knowledge?

November 10, 2014

12/14 in the 60s trivia quiz.

Wow! From politics, to music, to the Moon – you have completely mastered the 60s! It takes a real 60s lover, or historian, to be crowned a true 60s Guru, and you did it! Congratulations! Most people remember the Beatles, Woodstock, or JFK, but not all of the above. Maybe you’re still bumpin’ Jimi Hendrix, or maybe you’re still watching Gilligan’s Island to reminisce after work – who knows? But whatever you’re doing, you’ve kept the 60s close to heart.

Hmm – except several answers were guesses.


A time to oppose and a time to not

November 10, 2014

Last week wasn’t a good one for the Green party.

First they stripped Steffan Browning of his natural health spokesman role after his ill-advised signing of a petition calling for homeopathy to be used against Ebola.

Then they showed why they are a long way from reaching their ambition to be the major party of opposition by totally opposing the government’s plans to offer support in the fight against the Islamic State.

John Armstrong points out that sometimes in opposition parties are better to not oppose:

The next time the Prime Minister delivers a speech on something as fundamental as national security and the potential for Islamic State-inspired terrorism in New Zealand, the Greens should read it carefully, rather than making assumptions about its content and consequently missing or dismissing what he is really saying.

Had they done so, they might have realised the new (and temporary) law to be pushed through Parliament to block New Zealanders going to Syria to sign up with Islamic State (Isis) looks like being far less an infringement of personal freedom than its far lengthier and more prescriptive Australian counterpart.

The Greens might have also realised that contributing to military training in Iraq was about the minimum John Key could get away with without traditional allies such as Australia looking askance.

Labour Party polling is understood to have shown no public appetite for sending combat troops. Even National voters did not like the idea – less than a third were comfortable with that option.

National’s private polling would have produced similar results, and Key is nothing if not poll-driven, so his Government’s contribution to the battle against Isis is very much on the moderate end of things.

But the Greens would prefer to continue to demonise National as persecutors of the poor, environmental dinosaurs and in this week’s case, unfailingly loyal lap-dogs itching for an invitation to sign up to Uncle Sam’s latest military adventure.

It was hardly a surprise that the Greens rejected every initiative in Key’s Wednesday address that was targeted at Isis.

In doing so they have displayed not so much a reluctance to shift on principle as a downright refusal to entertain even the thought of doing so. That is their right.

But it means two things. First, there can be no getting the Greens out of the shadow cast by Labour without compromise or dropping whole swathes of policy as a prerequisite for any move more to the centre of the political spectrum, which would enable the Greens to no longer be hostage to Labour.

It also makes it harder for them to supplant Labour as the dominant party on the centre-left. That is because the politics of Opposition stretch much further than just opposition to policies or ideas.

On occasion – and Wednesday’s speech was such an occasion – the public expects political parties to show some degree of flexibility so they might reach some consensus in the national interest.

This is especially so on foreign policy, defence and intelligence matters.

Labour understands this. The Greens pretend not to understand. . .

No doubt Turei’s rejection of everything in Key’s speech made her and her colleagues feel good about themselves. All they succeeded in doing was to isolate themselves from the mainstream. It was left to Labour to exercise real opposition.

The party accepted the broad thrust of intended legislation to lock those intending to fight for Isis through cancelling passports. But Labour also made it clear that it would endeavour to use select committee scrutiny to iron out details it is not happy about. . .

Labour can thank three senior MPs for the party’s assured and no-fuss handling of the kind of issue where sticking to long-established principles, as the Greens have done, can be of no practical use to anyone. . . .

However, Armstrong’s praise of Labour might be premature because the party’s acceptance of the broad thrust of the government’s plan isn’t accepted by its four leadership contenders:

Prime Minister John Key’s plan to help fight Islamic State in Iraq by sending military trainers has been unanimously voted down by Labour’s leadership contenders. . .

Did they not listen to the three senior MPs who showed Labour taking the responsible path in parliament just a few days ago?

Or is this just another indication of how divided and dysfunctional the party is?

Almost all editorials and commentators have agreed that the government’s response was moderate and necessary.

Labour appeared to agree with that last week but yesterday none of the four would-be leaders were signing from the responsible. government-in-waiting song sheet.

 


November 10 in history

November 10, 2014

1444 – Battle of Varna: The crusading forces of King Vladislaus III of Varna were crushed by the Turks under Sultan Murad II and Vladislaus is killed.

1483 Martin Luther, German Protestant reformer, was born (d. 1546).

1619 – René Descartes had the dreams that inspired his Meditations on First Philosophy.

1674 – Anglo-Dutch War: As provided in the Treaty of Westminster, Netherlands ceded New Netherlands to England.

1697 – William Hogarth, English artist, was born (d. 1764).

1728 – Oliver Goldsmith, English playwright, was born (d. 1774).

1735 – Granville Sharp, English abolitionist, was born (d. 1813).

1766 – The last colonial governor of New Jersey, William Franklin, signed the charter of Queen’s College (later renamed Rutgers University).

1775 – The United States Marine Corps was founded at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia by Samuel Nicholas.

 1793 – A Goddess of Reason was proclaimed by the French Convention at the suggestion of Chaumette.

1821 – Cry of Independence by Rufina Alfaro at La Villa de Los Santos, Panama setting into motion a revolt which lead to Panama’s independence from Spain and to it immediately becoming part of Colombia.

1847 – The passenger ship Stephen Whitney was wrecked in thick fog off the southern coast of Ireland, killing 92 of the 110 on board.

1865 – Major Henry Wirz, was hanged, becoming the only American Civil War soldier executed for war crimes.

1868 The Matawhero ‘Massacre’: Te Kooti and his followers killed approximately 60 people – roughly equal numbers of Maori and Pakeha.

Te Kooti attacks Matawhero

1871 – Henry Morton Stanley located missing explorer and missionary, Dr. David Livingstone in Ujiji, near Lake Tanganyika, allegedly greeting him with the words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”.

1880 Jacob Epstein, American sculptor, was born (d. 1959).

1898 – Beginning of the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898, the only instance of a municipal government being overthrown in US history.

1925 Richard Burton, Welsh actor, was born (d. 1984).

1940 Screaming Lord Sutch, English musician and politician, was born  (d. 1999).

1942 – World War II: Germany invaded Vichy France following French Admiral François Darlan’s agreement to an armistice with the Allies in North Africa.

1944 Sir Tim Rice, English lyricist, was born.

1944 – The ammunition ship USS Mount Hood exploded at Seeadler Harbour, Manus, Admiralty Islands.

1945 – Heavy fighting in Surabaya between Indonesian nationalists and returning colonialists after World War II, was celebrated as Heroes’ Day (Hari Pahlawan).

1947 Greg Lake, British musician (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), was born.

1947 Dave Loggins, American songwriter and singer, was born.

1951 – Direct-dial coast-to-coast telephone service began in the United States.

1954 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower dedicated the USMC War Memorial (Iwo Jima memorial) in Arlington National Cemetery.

1958 – The Hope Diamond was donated to the Smithsonian Institution by New York diamond merchant Harry Winston.

1969 – National Educational Television in the United States debuted the children’s television programme Sesame Street.

1970 – The Soviet Lunar probe Lunokhod 1 was launched.

1971 – Khmer Rouge forces attacked the city of Phnom Penh and its airport, killing 44, wounding at least 30 and damaging nine aircraft.

1972 – Southern Airways Flight 49 from was hijacked and, at one point, was threatened with crashing into the nuclear installation at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

1975 – The 729-foot-long freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank during a storm on Lake Superior, killing all 29 crew on board.

1975 – United Nations Resolution 3379: United Nations General Assembly approves a resolution equating Zionism with racism.

1979 – A 106-car Canadian Pacific freight train carrying explosive and poisonous chemicals from Windsor, Ontario, derailed in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada just west of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, causing a massive explosion and the largest peacetime evacuation in Canadian history and one of the largest in North American history.

1989 – Fall of the communist regime in Bulgaria.

1995 – In Nigeria, playwright and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others from the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (Mosop), were hanged by government forces.

1997 – WorldCom and MCI Communications announced a $37 billion merger (the largest merger in US history at the time).

2006 – Sri Lankan Tamil Parliamentarian Nadarajah Raviraj was assassinated in Colombo.

2007 – ¿Por qué no te callas? (Why don’t you shut up?) incident between King Juan Carlos of Spain and Venezuela’s president Hugo Chávez.

2007 – 10,000–40,000 people marched toward the royal palace of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur to hand over a memorandum to the King demanding electoral reform.

2008 – Over five months after landing on Mars, NASA declared the Phoenix mission concluded after communications with the lander were lost.

2009 – Ships of the South and North Korean navies skirmished off Daecheong Island in the Yellow Sea.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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