Word of the day

April 16, 2019

Wegotism – an obtrusive and too frequent use of the first person plural by a speaker or writer; the excessive use of ‘we’ in writing, particularly in newspaper editorials.


Dalrymple deliberates

April 16, 2019


Rural round-up

April 16, 2019

‘M. bovis’ effects force family off farm – Sally Rae:

Graham Hay is preparing to walk off the land his family has farmed for nearly a century.

The Hakataramea Valley property has been in the family since his grandfather took over in 1921 and Mr Hay has lived there all his life.

It is gut-wrenching to hear his voice choking, as he explains how he and his wife Sonja have had no choice but to sell their farm.

Already under financial pressure coming out of an irrigation development phase, he believed they could have farmed through that. . . 

Lessons learned: MPI holds public meeting with farmers – Sally Rae:

Painful lessons have been learned during the Mycoplasma bovis response and hopefully all lessons will be “locked in” and used in the event of another disease incursion, programme director Geoff Gwyn says.

Mr Gwyn was speaking at a public meeting in Oamaru last week, as part of a series of farmer and public meetings throughout the country.

Those meetings came in the wake of the launch of the 2019 Mycoplasma bovis National Plan, released by the Ministry for Primary Industries, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand last week. . . 

Yili bid for Westland Milk raises questions about dairy co-operatives – and Fonterra’s ownership – Point of Order:

On  the face  of  it, it’s  a  no-brainer.  Weighed  down  with  debt,  Westland  Milk,  based in   Hokitika  is financially  on  its  knees.  Riding  to  its  rescue,  Chinese  dairy  giant  Yili  has come in with a  $588m buyout deal   which  will yield  $3.41  a share   to the co-op’s  farmer shareholders,  and, as well,   absorb  Westland’s debt and liabilities.

According to  Westland, the  nominal value of its shares  has ranged  from  70c  to $1.50  per share. For the  average-sized  Westland farm, the  share offer translates to  about half a  million dollars cash.

The offer  looks even  more attractive since  Westland had to  cut its  milk payout  forecast, while other  companies’ forecasts  are rising.  Westland, which has  grown out of  the West  Coast’s  150-year  dairy heritage, hasn’t paid  a  competitive milk price   for  several years. . . 

Lumsden Maternity Centre downgrade may force expectant mothers to travel further

Mothers may be forced to travel further to give birth after a Southland birthing centre was downgraded.

The Southern District Health Board announced the Lumsden Maternity Centre downgrade last August, triggering community outcry, a protest march, petition and appeals to the government.

The centre has become a maternal and child hub where babies are only delivered in an emergency.

The company that ran the centre said mothers travelled from as far away as Queenstown and Te Anau to use the birthing services. . . 

Farmhand’s common sense solution for vegan activism – Andrea Davy:

A YOUNG farmhand has offered up a commonsense approach for stopping the spread of misinformation around Australian farming.

Coming off the back this week’s vegan protests, which rolled out across the nation on Monday, Zoe Carter posted a Facebook live where she called on the industry to “step up” and increase education in schools.

Zoe has more than 140,000 followers online, an audience she has grown through sharing videos and photos from her life working in ag.

In the post, she said the current education system was leaving a huge knowledge gap on how food was produced. And, unfortunately, this space was being filled up with “lies” peddled on social media. . . 

Large-scale highly fertile stock finishing farm for sale:

A highly-productive farm whose grazing stock once produced prized wool used by one of New Zealand’s foremost carpet manufacturers has been placed on the market for sale.

Puketotara, near Huntly in the Waikato, was previously owned by Douglas Bremner – the businessman who founded the legendary Bremworth Carpet brand in 1959. Wool from the Drysdale sheep farmed at Bremner’s Puketotara farm was used in the production of quality carpet manufactured at the company’s mill in South Auckland.

The Bremner family sold the property in 1989, and soon after it was converted into an intensive breeding and finishing farm – stocking beef and sheep and producing cash crops.. . 


Faith first for Folau

April 16, 2019

Rugby Australia has issued a breach notice to Israel Folau:

Folau sparked outrage after posting to his Instagram account last Wednesday night that “hell awaits drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators” — adding they should “repent”. . . 

What he said is not just a tenet of fundamental Christianity, Muslim and Jewish religions would also regard these as sins.

At its core, this is an issue of the responsibilities an employee owes to their employer and the commitments they make to their employer to abide by their employer’s policies and procedures and adhere to their employer’s values,” Rugby Australia said in a statement.

Freedom of expression, outside work, obviously isn’t one of those values.

“Following the events of last year, Israel was warned formally and repeatedly about the expectations of him as player for the Wallabies and NSW Waratahs with regards to social media use and he has failed to meet those obligations. It was made clear to him that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action. . .

This is an employment issue. Folau had been warned and ignored the warning. But was what was required of him fair?

In doing ignoring the warning, he’s chosen to put his faith before football:

Israel Folau is sticking to his guns no matter what it costs the embattled Wallabies superstar.

And he is continuing to place his faith in his religion, despite the storm airing his beliefs on social media has caused within both the Australian rugby and society in general. . . 

It’s obviously a decision that’s in the process right now but I believe in a God that’s in control of all things,” Folau told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Whatever His will is, whether that’s to continue playing or not, I’m more than happy to do what He wants me to do.”

Folau said he would not mind one bit if his rugby career was done as long as he got to do The Lord’s work.

“First and foremost, I live for God now. Whatever He wants me to do, I believe His plans for me are better than whatever I can think. If that’s not to continue on playing, so be it.

“In saying that, obviously I love playing footy and if it goes down that path I’ll definitely miss it. But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first.” . . 

It’s not that long ago that not doing anything against which Folau is warning, would have been a code of conduct that was generally accepted as the right one and the condemnation of people who didn’t follow it would not have been remarkable.

Even now, while some have used social media to confess to being guilty on several of these counts, how can speaking out against any of them that hurt others be wrong?

But of course it’s not Folau’s condemnation of drunkenness, adultery, lying or thieving that’s caused the furor, it’s the inclusion of homosexuality.

Bob Jones points out:

First, these remarks are totally consistent with the Bible (and the Koran) so why the uproar?

Second, why did the critics, including the Prime Minister, solely complain about the reference to homosexuals? What about us drunks and fornicators? Doesn’t she care about our pain? We know the answer to that, namely unlike fairydom we’re not fashionable at the moment.

I can understand journalists concentration on homosexuals as few are whereas make no mistake, the vast majority I’ve known are drunks, adulterers, liars and fornicators to various degrees, so too heaps of MP’s.  A double-standard here methinks.

My contact with journalists and MPs hasn’t involved drunkenness, lying and fornicating but I don’t move in Sir Bob’s circles.

This whole episode is a classic pack-hunting media contrivance. I have difficulty believing a single drunk, fornicator, homosexual, adulterer or liar reading Israel’s remarks gave a damn. He’s entitled to express his religious beliefs as much as I for example am, to continue pursuing my life-long mockery of religion. . . 

An employment breach is between Rugby Australia and Folau but how many would have known about it if the media hadn’t picked up the post?

Only those who follow his account, at least some of whom no doubt agree with him, and others would be following him because of his footy fame and not be troubled by his faith.

But the mainstream media, as happens too often, picked up the post and broadcast it to the world. They then reported the outrage they’d stirred up and also the concern about people who might be upset by it who probably would have been oblivious had the media not generated the publicity.

The offenderati reacted predictably by condemning him and wanting to silence him.

Why when, as Michael Redell points out,  few share his beliefs?:

. . . If –  as most New Zealanders and a large proportion of Australians now claim to –  you don’t believe in the existence of God, let alone of eternal separation from God or Hell, it is hard to know why what Folau is saying should bother you.   You surely believe he is simply deluded and wrong, as he will discover (or rather not) when he dies.

If you don’t believe what he says why not ignore it, or counter it with rational argument?

That probably is the view of a fair number of people in New Zealand and Australia today.  But it isn’t the view of those holding the commanding heights –  MPs, leader writers, columnists, business leaders and so on –  who have demanded that it be stopped.  They simply cannot abide the thought that someone of any prominence should openly affirm that sin is sin, and that homosexual acts are among the things labelled as sin.

Here I’m not mainly interested in the Australian Rugby Union. I have a modicum of sympathy for their position, even if (as I noted in an earlier post elsewhere on these issues) the problem was partly one of their own making.   Rugby could just be rugby, but that’s not enough for today bosses.

My interest is more in what it says about our society – New Zealand and, it appears, Australia –  that no prominent person is free to express centuries-old Christian belief (views backed, rightly or wrongly, by the law of the land until only a few decades ago) when it trespasses on the taboos and sacred cows (“homosexuality good”) of today’s “liberal” elite.  And if no prominent person can –  and it is interesting to note that not a single church leader has been willing to stand up openly for Folau, and the Scriptures –  how will those less prominent be positioned.   Folau may lose a multi-million dollar contract, but he’ll already have earned much more than many ordinary working people make in their life.   But what of the ordinary employee of a bank or of one of those right-on government agencies.  It might not even be a personal social media account, or a speaking engagement at the local church.  It might be nothing more than a reluctance to participate in celebrations of what (in their belief, in the tradition of thousands of years) sinful acts.   The issue here isn’t someone proselytising across the counter of the bank, any more than Folau’s “offence” involved activity in the middle of a game, but a totalitarian disregard for any view –  no matter of how longstanding –  that doesn’t fall into line with today’s orthodoxy.

This is what concerns me too.

I don’t share Folau’s fundamental version of faith.

I find a lot of the Bible contradictory and when I do I choose the option that shows love and grace – turn the other cheek rather than an eye for an eye, for example.

But Folau’s are honestly held beliefs. They don’t impact on his playing ability, he wasn’t preaching during a game, why shouldn’t he be allowed to express them?

And there’s also the niggling thought that some religions are more equal than others and if his was another faith rather than Christian, he would he have been given a little more leniency.


Quote of the day

April 16, 2019

When I get depressed, I try to get something for the terrible sadness that comes over me and create something in terms of poetry. Spike Milligan


April 16 in history

April 16, 2019

1178 BC; The calculated date of the Greek king Odysseus‘s return home from the Trojan War.

73 Masada, a Jewish fortress, fell to the Romans after several months of siege, ending the Jewish Revolt.

1346 The Serbian Empire was proclaimed in Skopje by Dusan Silni,occupying much of the Balkans.

1521 Martin Luther’s first appearance before the Diet of Worms to be examined by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the other estates of the empire.

1582 Spanish conquistador Hernando de Lerma founded the settlement of Salta, Argentina.

1682 John Hadley, British inventor, was born (d. 1744).

1728 Joseph Black, Scottish chemist, was born (d. 1799).

1746 The Battle of Culloden was fought between the French-supported Jacobites and the Hanoverian British Government.

1780 The University of Münster was founded.

1799 Napoleonic Wars: The Battle of Mount Tabor – Napoleon drove Ottoman Turks across the River Jordan near Acre.

1853 The first passenger rail opened in India, from Bori Bunder, Bombay to Thane.

1862 American Civil War: The Battle at Lee’s Mills in Virginia.

1862 American Civil War: A bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia became law.

1863 American Civil War: The Siege of Vicksburg – ships led by UnionAdmiral David Dixon Porter moved through heavy Confederate artillery fire on approach to Vicksburg, Mississippi.

1865 Henry George Chauvel, Australian general, was born  (d. 1945).

1867 Wilbur Wright, American aviation pioneer, was born (d. 1912).

1889 Charlie Chaplin, English actor, writer, songwriter, composer, and film producer, was born (d. 1977).

1892 The New Zealand Rugby Football Union was founded.

Rugby Union founded

1910 The University of Queensland was founded, with the names of the members of the first Senate published in the Queensland Government Gazette.

1912 – News of the Titanic’s loss reached New Zealand.

News of <em>Titanic</em> sinking reaches NZ

1912  Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly an aeroplane across the English Channel.

1917 Lenin returned to Petrograd from exile in Switzerland.

1918 Spike Milligan, Irish comedian, was born (d. 2002).

1919 – Gandhi organised a day of “prayer and fasting” in response to the killing of Indian protesters in the Amritsar Massacre by the British.

1921 Peter Ustinov, English actor, was born (d. 2004).

1922  Kingsley Amis, English author, was born (d. 1995).

1922 The Treaty of Rapallo, pursuant to which Germany and the Soviet Union re-established diplomatic relations, was signed.

1924 Henry Mancini, American composer, was born  (d. 1994).

1925 The St Nedelya Church assault in Sofia – 150 people were killed and 500 were wounded.

1924 Rudy Pompilli, American musician (Bill Haley & His Comets), was born (d. 1976).

1927 Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Alois Ratzinger, was born.

1939 Dusty Springfield, English singer, was born.

1941 – World War II: The Italian-German Tarigo convoy is attacked and destroyed by British ships.

1941  – World War II: The Nazi-affiliated Ustaše was put in charge of the Independent State of Croatia by the Axis powers after Operation 25 was effected.

1941 – Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians threw the only Opening Day no-hitter in the history of Major League Baseball, beating the Chicago White Sox 1-0.

1943 Ruth Madoc, British actress, was born.

1943  Dr. Albert Hofmann discovered the psychedelic effects of LSD.

1945 The Red Army began the final assault on German forces around Berlin.

1945 The United States Army liberated Nazi Sonderlager (high security) Prisoner of War camp Oflag IV-C (better known as Colditz).

1945 – More than 7,000 died when the German refugee ship Goya was sunk by a Soviet submarine torpedo.

1946 Syria gained independence.

1947  Texas City Disaster: An explosion on board a freighter in port caused the city of Texas City to catch fire, killing almost 600.

1947 Bernard Baruch coined the term “Cold War” to describe the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union.

1953 Queen Elizabeth II launched the Royal Yacht HMY Britannia.

1963 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. penned his Letter from Birmingham Jailwhile incarcerated in Birmingham, Alabama for protesting against segregation.

1963 Jimmy Osmond, American pop singer (The Osmonds), was born.

1972 Apollo programme: The launch of Apollo 16 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

1973 – Arthur Allan Thomas was convicted of the Crewe murders for a second time.

Arthur Allan Thomas convicted of Crewe murders – again

1987 British Conservative MP Harvey Proctor appeared at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court charged with gross indecency.

1990 The “Doctor of Death”, Jack Kevorkian, went through with his first assisted suicide.

1992 The Katina P. ran aground off Maputo, Mozambique. 60,000 tons of crude oil spilt into the ocean.

2003 The Treaty of Accession was signed in Athens admitting 10 new member states to the European Union.

2004 – The super liner Queen Mary 2 embarks on her first trans-Atlantic crossing, linking the golden age of ocean travel to the modern age of ocean travel.

2007 Virginia Tech massacre:  Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 and injured 23 before committing suicide.

2007 – President of Côte d’Ivoire Laurent Gbagbo declared the First Ivorian Civil War to be over.

2013 – A 7.8-magnitude earthquake strikes Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Iran, the strongest in the country in 40 years, killing at least 35 people.

2014 The MV Sewol ferry carrying more than 450 people capsised near Jindo Island off South Korea, leaving 295 passengers and crew dead and 9 more missing.

2016 – A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Muisne and Pedernales, Ecuador.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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