Word of the day

May 23, 2015

Grammarly's photo.
Sarchasm – the gulf in understanding between an author’s sarcastic wit and the quedience that doesn’t get it.


Rural round-up

May 23, 2015

Modern farming has had its day – Annette Scott:

Modern agriculture, at about 70 years old, was the product of post WWII food shortages and while it had been effective in its primary aim of increasing yields it has to change, an industry expert says.

The 2020s would be the new 1960s as agriculture and social change entered a period as significant as the 1950s and 1960s, Dr Charles Merfield of the Biological Husbandry Unit’s Future Farming Centre said.

“Our times are once again changing,” he told farmers at a sustainable agriculture seminar run by the FFC and the Foundation for Arable Research in Ashburton. . .

Agricultural and Agri-Food Producers Call for an Ambitious, Fair, and Comprehensive Agreement through the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

As Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) nations meet this week in Guam to continue negotiations, agri-food producer and processor organisations from Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand remain united in their call for a modern trade agreement that includes meaningful and comprehensive market access opportunities for agriculture and agri-food.

The organisations advocating for an ambitious, fair and comprehensive TPP agreement are the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Australian National Farmers’ Federation, and the Federated Farmers of New Zealand. Together, they represent hundreds of thousands of farmers, producers, processors and exporters who, in turn, employ millions of workers across the TPP region.

“Our agricultural sectors and the jobs they provide depend on a thriving network of export markets,” said Brian Innes, president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance. . .

Working to surplus the best news for farmers in the Budget:

Federated Farmers says it’s disappointed there is no Budget surplus this year, but the best news for farmers from the Government is that it is on track for a surplus next year.

Acting President Anders Crofoot says Federated Farmers welcomes a number of measures in the Budget, but the best thing to assist the rural economy is to control government spending enough to create an enduring surplus to enable debt repayment and to keep pressure off inflation, monetary policy and the exchange rate.

“The Government is clearly trying to balance the need to responsibly manage its finances with the pressing and growing demands to do something about housing and child hardship.” . .

Budget biosecurity announcements a good response to changing risks:

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has welcomed the 2015 budget announcements in support of better biosecurity outcomes.

“Short of a major volcanic eruption in Auckland there is very little that trumps the impact that a biosecurity incursion could have on the New Zealand economy. A bad biosecurity incursion would shut down exports and derail much of our country’s productive capability.” says DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey.

“Unlike a volcanic eruption, there are things we can do as a country to lessen the risk of a biosecurity incursion. DCANZ thanks the Government for its commitment to responding to the changes which are altering New Zealand’s biosecurity risk profile.” . . .

NZ wool prices jump to multi-year high at auction, amid strong exporter demand – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand wool prices jumped to multi-year highs at auction even as the volume on offer rose 78 percent, amid strong demand from exporters.

The price for clean 35-micron wool, a benchmark for crossbred wool used for carpets and accounting for the majority of New Zealand’s production, rose to $6.20 per kilogram at yesterday’s South Island auction, from $5.80/kg in the North Island auction last week, and reaching its highest level since November 2013, according to AgriHQ. Lamb wool jumped to $6.90/kg, from $6.65/kg, marking its highest level since April 2011. . .

Blenheim the place to be in June for Ag contractors:

Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) is encouraging all of its members – and any others interested in the agricultural contracting sector – to attend its annual conference being held in Blenheim later next month.

Chief executive Roger Parton says this year’s RCNZ annual conference is being held at the Marlborough Convention Centre, in Blenheim, from June 22-25.

“The conference is less than a month away and for those who have not registered yet; now is the time to do so,” he explains. “We will be unable to hold any accommodation past the end of this month, so if people want come they need to get their registrations in now.” . . .


Saturday’s smiles

May 23, 2015

A woman had harboured a fear someone was under her bed at night since she was a child. Finally she went to a psychiatrist and told her about her fears.

“Every night I go to bed I think there’s somebody under it and I’m too scared to look in case I’m right,” she said. The psychiatrist asked lots of questions then took her through a visualisation exercise to help her relax. The woman finished the session feeling less frightened than she’d been but was worried that her fears would return once she got home and went to bed.

The psychiatrist said a long-held fear wouldn’t be completely banished in one session and recommneded that the patient make regular appointments to return at least twice a week for a year as she handed her an invoice for $100 for the session.

The woman thanked the psychaitraist, paid  and made an appointment but rang to cancel it a couple of days later.

Several months after this the woman and the psychaitrist met at a party. The Psychiatrist was impressed by how rested her former patient looked and said she was amazed that she’d lost her fears after only one session.

The woman smiled and said, “It wasn’t you who cured me it was a barmaid. After I went to see you, I went for a drink, told her what I’d been doing and said I didn’t think I could afford to pay $100 at least twice a week. The barmaid said that was a lot of money and she could cure me for a one-off fee of $50.”

The psychaitrist was somewhat miffed about this but also curious and asked, “How did the barmaid manage to cure you in just one session?”

“She told me to cut the legs off my bed so no-one can fit under there now,” the woman responded.


Flag of the day

May 23, 2015

The Flag Consideration Panel is inviting people to upload designs for a new flag.

There’s more than 1000 in the gallery already.

Today’s is New Zealand shaped Koru by Alex van der Weedern:

flag


Frugal new normal

May 23, 2015

This is good news:

The days of big Budget handouts are long gone and New Zealanders need to get used to the “new normal” that is frugal Government spending.

That was the message of Prime Minister John Key in his post-Budget address at a Trans-Tasman Business Circle function this afternoon.

“The days of Budgets being these massive hand-outs of money we don’t have, I think, are gone,” he said.

“The new normal is the Government learning to live with about a billion dollars – maybe a billion-and-a-half dollars.

“Those days of three, four and five billion dollars’ worth of extra expenditure are over.” . . .

Frugality has been forced on National since it came to power in 2008.

It made a conscious decision to protect the most vulnerable from the worst of the global financial crisis by not taking a slash and burn approach and committed to helping Canterbury recover from the earthquakes.

But it has taken a necessaryily Presbyterian approach to spending in other areas  and required government departments to do more with less which is as it should be.

We need to return to surplus and once there need to reduce debt in order to be ready for the next crisis.

But the return to surplus should not be taken as a licence to return to the big spending budgets in which the lst Labour indulged.

A concerted effort must be made to ensure that government becomes and stays a smaller part of the economy.

That would leave more money in the pockets of the businesses and individuals who earn it and put the country on a stronger economic foundation for sustainable growth.


Saturday soapbox

May 23, 2015

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.
Polished Marketing's photo.

The most dangerous phrase in the language is “we’ve always done it this way.”


May 23 in history

May 23, 2015

844 – Battle of Clavijo: The Apostle Saint James the Greater is said to have miraculously appeared to a force of outnumbered Spanish rebels and aided them against the forces of the Emir of Cordoba.

1430 Siege of Compiègne: Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians while leading an army to relieve Compiègne.

1498 Girolamo Savonarola was burned at the stake in Florence on the orders of Pope Alexander VI.

1533 The marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon was declared null and void.

1568 The Netherlands declared their independence from Spain.

1568  Dutch rebels led by Louis of Nassau, brother of William I of Orange, defeated Jean de Ligne, Duke of Aremberg and his loyalist troops in the Battle of Heiligerlee, opening the Eighty Years’ War.

1618 The Second Defenestration of Prague precipitated the Thirty Years’ War.

1701  After being convicted of piracy and of murdering William Moore, Captain William Kidd was hanged.

1706 Battle of Ramillies: John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, defeated a French army under Marshal Villeroi.

1805 Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned King of Italy with the Iron Crown of Lombardy in the Cathedral of Milan.

1810 Margaret Fuller, American journalist and feminist, was born  (d. 1850).

1813  Simón Bolívar entered Mérida, leading the invasion of Venezuela, and was proclaimed El Libertador (“The Liberator”).

1820 James Buchanan Eads, American engineer and inventor, was born  (d. 1887).

1829 Accordion patent granted to Cyrill Demian.

1844  Declaration of the Báb: a merchant of Shiraz announced that he was a Prophet and founded a religious movement. He is considered to be a forerunner of the Bahá’í Faith, and Bahá’ís celebrate the day as a holy day.

1846 Mexican-American War: President Mariano Paredes of Mexico unofficially declared war on the United States.

1855 Isabella Ford, English socialist, feminist, trade unionist and writer, was born (d. 1924).

1861 – The first major gold rush in Otago started after Tasmanian Gabriel Read found gold ‘shining like the stars in Orion on a dark, frosty night’ near the Tuapeka River.

1863 Organisation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Battle Creek, Michigan.

1863  The Siege of Port Hudson.

1863  American Civil War: Sergeant William Harvey Carney became the first African American to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for his heroism in the Assault on the Battery Wagner.

1873  The Canadian Parliament established the North West Mounted Police, the forerunner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

1875 Alfred P. Sloan, American long-time president and chairman of General Motors, was born  (d. 1966).

1907  The unicameral Parliament of Finland gathered for its first plenary session.

1911 The New York Public Library was dedicated.

1915  World War I: Italy joined the Allies after they declared war on Austria-Hungary.

1923  Launch of Belgium’s SABENA airline.

1928 Nigel Davenport, English actor, was born.

1929 The first talking cartoon of Mickey Mouse, “The Karnival Kid“, was released.

1933 Joan Collins, English actress, was born.

1934  American bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed by police and killed in Black Lake, Louisiana.

1934 The Auto-Lite Strike culminated in the “Battle of Toledo”, a five-day melée between 1,300 troops of the Ohio National Guard and 6,000 picketers.

1939  The U.S. Navy submarine USS Squalus sank  during a test dive, causing the death of 24 sailors and two civilian technicians.

1945 World War II:  Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, committed suicide while in Allied custody.

1945  World War II: The Flensburg government under Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz was dissolved when its members are captured and arrested by British forces at Flensburg in Northern Germany.

1949 Alan Garcia, President of Peru, was born.

1949  The Federal Republic of Germany was established and the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany was proclaimed.

1951 Tibetans signed the Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet with China.

1956 Mark Shaw, New Zealand rugby footballer, was born.

1958  Explorer 1 ceased transmission.

1966   Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, the first Maori Queen,  was crowned.

Coronation of first Māori Queen

1967 Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran and blockaded the port of Eilat at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping, laying the foundations for the Six Day War.

1995  Oklahoma City bombing: The remains of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building were imploded.

1995  The first version of the Java programming language was released.

1998 The Good Friday Agreement was accepted in a referendum in Northern Ireland with 75% voting yes.

2002  The “55 parties ca;use”of the  Kyoto protocol was reached after its ratification by Iceland.

2004 Part of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport‘s Terminal 2E collapsed, killing four people and injuring three others.

2005 The fastest roller coaster in the world, Kingda Ka opened at Six Flags Great Adventure.

2006  Alaskan stratovolcano Mount Cleveland erupted.

2008  The International Court of Justice (ICJ) awarded Middle Rocks to Malaysia and Pedra Branca (Pulau Batu Puteh) to Singapore, ending a 29-year territorial dispute between the two countries.

2010 – Jamaican police began a manhunt for drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke, after the United States requested his extradition, leading to three days of violence during which at least 73 bystanders were killed.

2013 – The Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River collapsed in Mount Vernon, Washington.

2014 – Seven people, including the perpetrator,were killed and another 13 injured in a killing spree near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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