365 days of gratitude

October 9, 2018

Why do I bother saying I won’t buy any more books until I’ve got to the bottom of the ever-growing yet-to-read pile?

No matter how much I think I mean it when I say it, the strength of my resolution is never as strong as the lure of another book.

In spite of breaking the resolution I only rarely regret a book purchase even if quite a long time elapses between buying it and reading it.

And I always enjoy the ability to scan the pile and find a book that suits the mood of the moment.

Today I’m grateful for options available in my yet-to-read pile.

 

 


Word of the day

October 9, 2018

Acnestis – the part of the back (or backbone) between the shoulder blades and the loins which an animal cannot reach to scratch.


When ewe need a friend

October 9, 2018


Rural round-up

October 9, 2018

Alliance has work still to do on beef prices – Alan Williams:

Alliance has a lot of work to do to get up to competitive pricing for prime beef and bulls.

“We’re a mile off where we need to be,” chief executive David Surveyor told shareholders in North Canterbury.

It will be working to get a better offer in the market this season but there will not be an overnight fix.

“We need to get the price to a point where its profitable for us and for farmers,’’ he said afterwards.

The co-operative’s beef suppliers are loyal but it is important to be frank with the owners about the issues. . .

Recovery worries buyers – Hugh Stringleman:

Prospects of a good spring flush for milk production have again trimmed world prices at the most-recent Global Dairy Trade auction, when the index fell by 1.9%, the ninth consecutive fall.

Its is now mid May since the GDT index registered a rise and during that four and a half months the dairy market has lost a cumulative 15.7%.

That is a slow decline by international dairy market standards, showing supply and demand are balanced but the market is worried by New Zealand milk production recovery.

Rabobank said near-perfect weather and more cows milked over the winter resulted in production growth of 5% year-on-year during the seasonal trough from June to August. . . 

Giving rural people’s health top priority – Sally Rae:

Kelly Burnett’s career aspiration is simple: to continue helping rural people get the best out of their bodies.

The Dunedin-based osteopath has a passion for farming and the rural community, and her masters degree research looked at how to help farmers maintain their physical health.

As she put it, tractors and motorbikes were regularly serviced and working dogs went to the vet for any injuries or ailments. But rural people often did not see themselves as the most important tool on their farm or in their business. . . 

Kiwis win blade shearing, wool handling – Sally Brooker:

New Zealand won the transtasman blade shearing test and the New Zealand woolhandling champion won his third consecutive title at the Waimate Shears on Saturday.

The 51st annual two-day shears at the Waimate showgrounds attracted strong entries across its categories, which began with woolhandling at noon on Friday.That culminated on Saturday afternoon with the open section win to Joel Henare, who splits his time between Gisborne and Motueka.

A highlight of the programme was the test between Kiwi blade shearers Tony Dobbs,  of Fairlie, and Allen Gemmell,  of Rangiora, and their Australian rivals Johnathon Dalla and Ken French. The New Zealanders finished 13.63 points ahead. . . 

Sustainability experts join Fonterra’s new advisory panel: 

Fonterra has appointed an independent Sustainability Advisory Panel to guide the Co-operative as it strives to be a world leader in sustainably produced dairy nutrition.

The panel features a diverse range of experts including:

• Sir Rob Fenwick (Chair), who co-founded the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development and was the first New Zealander knighted for services to both business and conservation. . . 

Fonterra has three alternatives for its China Farms and none are attractive – Keith Woodford:

This is the second part of a two-part series putting Fonterra’s China Farms under scrutiny. The first part is here

In the preceding article I traced the internal thinking within Fonterra as to why Fonterra decided to produce milk in China. The underlying belief was that Fonterra had the necessary expertise but could not play the desired role within China without having in-country production systems.  By late 2009, having lost its key China partner San Lu from the melamine disaster, Fonterra decided to go it alone with an expansion that would become known as the Yutian hub. From there, additional hubs would be developed.

Fonterra decided it would work towards a supply of one billion litres of China-produced milk per annum and this would require about 80,000 cows milking at any one time. There was an assumption that high-quality milk from these farms would sell at a premium to other China-produced milk. Whether or not Fonterra would also undertake processing operations was seen as a question for the future, but with a likelihood this would occur. . . 

Profiting from precision irrigation: –  Andrew Swallow:
Economic, environmental and social benefits are prompting a growing number of Australasian and US farmers to adopt precision variable rate irrigation systems.

New Zealand, a country generally known for its ample annual rainfall and phenomenal natural crop growth, is an unlikely origin for a precision irrigation development that’s gaining traction globally. However, light soils and sporadic precipitation in some regions, plus readily available water for irrigation, mean close to 800,000 ha or 6.5% of the country’s farmland is artificially watered.

Originally, much of that was with flood irrigation using border-dykes but, in the drive for water use efficiency and environmental protection, spray irrigation has become the norm, mostly with centre-pivots. . . 

 


More than $1b/year + human cost

October 9, 2018

The Green policy to remove benefit sanctions would cost more than $1 billion a year.

A new report from the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union shows the success of benefit sanctions, explains why efforts to make life on a benefit easier simply encourage a culture of welfare dependency and fraud, and exposes that more than one third of unemployment and single parent beneficiaries admit to failing on their obligation to seek employment.

The release of the report, Benefit Sanctions, coincides with a Green Party campaign to remove sanctions for beneficiaries who don’t comply with associated obligations. The report also works as a submission to the Government’s working group tasked with providing recommendations to overhaul the welfare system.

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says, “Beneficiary advocates have good intentions, but their prescriptions – removing requirements to seek work and removing sanctions – are a social and moral failure. The Green Party’s policy to make life on a benefit will simply encourage a culture of welfare dependency and fraud.”

These good intentions lead to bad policy and high costs in both financial and human terms.

Removing obligations and sanctions might look like kindness but it’s not.

It’s giving up on beneficiaries, entrenching welfare dependency with the poor outcomes which accompany it and adding to the costs imposed on the rest of us.

“Rates of welfare fraud are many times higher than most New Zealanders would expect or find acceptable under the current system. The report canvasses the evidence that easing up on sanctions and obligations for beneficiaries would dramatically increase fraud and dependency. That means driving up the cost of the welfare system for taxpayers and leaving less room in the Budget for other forms of social spending.”

Every dollar spent on benefits for people who could be working is a dollar not available for people who can’t work and other priority areas including health and education.

“If the Government wants to reduce child poverty, it should encourage the unemployed and single parents back into work and off welfare.

The report’s author, economist Jim Rose, says, “Our report advocates a help-but-hassle approach that nudges beneficiaries back into work, leaving more to spare for those in genuine need.”

Help but hassle is a far better approach than getting rid of sanctions.

Beneficiaries need to be given the help they need to get and keep work and encouragement should be firm enough to ensure they’re not more comfortable on a benefit than being independent.

“If the Government took this approach, it could afford to be more generous, within existing budgets. The difference is that the money would be more targeted to those who most need it.”

And while the billion dollar plus cost of dropping expectations and sanctions is bad enough. The human costs of long term benefit dependency for beneficiaries and their children are worse.

Benefits must never be more generous than full-time work and the longer the time on a benefit the greater the gap between earnings from work and welfare.

On top of that, long term beneficiaries are more likely to have no or low education qualifications, poor health and a greater chance of committing and/or being a victim of crime.

Some people need permanent help.

Others require temporary assistance and it is best for them, and the rest of us who pay for it, if they get the help when they need it as long as they need it but no longer.
The report is here.


Quote of the day

October 9, 2018

For me, and I suspect for lots of other people too, bad things actually sometimes make you think more about faith and the fact that you’re not facing these things on your own. David Cameron who celebrates his 52nd birthday today.


October 9 in history

October 9, 2018

768  Carloman I and Charlemagne were crowned Kings of The Franks.

1201 Robert de Sorbon, French theologian and founder of the Sorbonne, was born (d. 1274).

1238  James I of Aragon conquered Valencia and founded the Kingdom of Valencia.

1264   The Kingdom of Castile conquered the city of Jerez that was under Muslim occupation since 711.

1446  The hangul alphabet was published in Korea.

1514  Marriage of Louis XII of France and Mary Tudor.

1604  Supernova 1604, the most recent supernova to be observed in the Milky Way.

1635  Founder of Rhode Island Roger Williams was banished from theMassachusetts Bay Colony as a religious dissident after he speaks out against punishments for religious offenses and giving away Native American land.

1701  The Collegiate School of Connecticut (later renamed Yale University) was chartered in Old Saybrook.

1771  The Dutch merchant ship Vrouw Maria sank near the coast of Finland.

1776  Father Francisco Palou founded Mission San Francisco de Asis in what is now San Francisco, California.

1799  Sinking of HMS Lutine, with the loss of 240 men and a cargo worth £1,200,000.

1804  Hobart, capital of Tasmania, was founded.

1812  War of 1812: In a naval engagement on Lake Erie, American forces captured two British ships: HMS Detroit and HMS Caledonia.

1820  Guayaquil declared independence from Spain.

1824  Slavery was abolished in Costa Rica.

1831  Capo d’Istria was assassinated.

1835  The Royal College, Colombo in Sri Lanka was established with the name Hillstreet Academy.

1837  A meeting at the U.S. Naval Academy established the U.S. Naval Institute.

1845  The eminent and controversial Anglican, John Henry Newman, was received into the Roman Catholic Church.

1854  Crimean War: The siege of Sebastopol began.

1861  American Civil War: Battle of Santa Rosa Island – Union troops repelled a Confederate attempt to capture Fort Pickens.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Tom’s Brook – Union cavalrymen in the Shenandoah Valley defeated Confederate forces.

1888  The Washington Monument officially opened to the general public.

1900 Alastair Sim, Scottish actor, was born (d. 1976).

1907 – Quintin Hogg, Baron Hailsham of St Marylebone, English academic and politician, Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, was born (d. 2001).

1911 – An accidental bomb explosion explosion in Hankou, Wuhan, China les to the ultimate fall of the Qing Empire

1913  Steamship SS Volturno caught fire in the mid-Atlantic.

1914  World War I: Siege of Antwerp – Antwerp fell to German troops.

1915  – Belva Plain, American author, was born (d. 2010).

1931 Tony Booth, British actor and father of Cherie Blair, was born.

1934  The assassination of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia and Louis Barthou, Foreign Minister of France.

1935 – Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, was born.

1936   Generators at Boulder Dam (later renamed to Hoover Dam) began to generate electricity from the Colorado River and transmit it 266 miles to Los Angeles, California.

1937 Brian Blessed, English actor, was born.

1940 John Lennon, British musician and songwriter (The Beatles), was born (d. 1980).

1940   Battle of Britain – During a night-time air raid by the German Luftwaffe, St. Paul’s Cathedral was hit by a bomb.

1941  A coup in Panama declared Ricardo Adolfo de la Guardia Arangothe new president.

1942   Statute of Westminster 1931 formalised Australian autonomy.

1942 The last day of the October Matanikau action on Guadalcanal as United States Marine Corps forces withdrew back across the Matanikau River after destroying most of the Japanese Army’s 4th Infantry Regiment.

1944 John Entwistle, British musician (The Who), was born (d. 2002).

1948 – Jackson Browne, American singer-songwriter and guitarist, was born.

1945   Parade in NYC for Fleet Admiral Nimitz and 13 USN/USMC Medal of Honor recipients.

1950 Jody Williams, American teacher and aid worker, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born.

1952 Sharon Osbourne, English music manager and wife of Ozzy Osbourne, was born.

1954 James Fearnley, English musician (The Pogues), was born.

1962  Uganda becomes an independent Commonwealth realm.

1963  In northeast Italy, over 2,000 people were killed when a large landslide behind the Vajont Dam caused a giant wave of water to overflow it.

1966  David Cameron, British politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born.

1967 The six-o’clock swill ended.

The end of the 'six o'clock swill'

1967  A day after being captured, Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara was executed for attempting to incite a revolution in Bolivia.

1970   The Khmer Republic was proclaimed in Cambodia.

1978 Nicky Byrne, Irish musician (Westlife), was born.

1981  Abolition of capital punishment in France.

1983  Rangoon bombing: attempted assassination of South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan during an official visit to Rangoon, Burma. Chun survived but the blast killed 17 of his entourage, including four cabinet ministers, and injured 17 others. Four Burmese officials also died in the blast.

1986  The musical The Phantom of the Opera had its first performance at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London.

1989  An official news agency in the Soviet Union reported the landing of a UFO in Voronezh.

1989  In Leipzig, East Germany, 70,000 protesters demanded the legalisation of opposition groups and democratic reforms.

1992  A 13 kilogramme (est.) fragment of the Peekskill meteorite landed in the driveway of the Knapp residence in Peekskill, New York, destroying the family’s 1980 Chevrolet Malibu.

1999 The last flight of the SR-71.

2001  Second mailing of anthrax letters from Trenton, New Jersey in the2001 anthrax attack.

2006  North Korea allegedly tested its first nuclear device.

2009  First lunar impact of the Centaur and LCROSS spacecrafts as part of NASA’s Lunar Precursor Robotic Programme.

2012 – Members of the Pakistani Taliban made a Failed attempt to assassinate Malala Yousafzai on her way home from school.

Sourced from NZ Hisory Online & Wikipedia


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