Another Clinton contesting US presidency

April 13, 2015

Breaking news but no surprise – Hillary Clinton has announced she’s contesting the Democrat nomination for the US presidency.

It’s her second attempt and she has the support of the man who beat her the first time:

Over the weekend Ms Clinton earned high praise from Mr Obama.

“She was a formidable candidate in 2008. She was a great supporter of mine in the general election. She was an outstanding Secretary of State. She is my friend,” Obama said at a regional summit in Panama.

 She is the wife of former President Bill Clinton and the election could turn into a race between her and Jeb Bush, the son and grandson of former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. the son of former president George H.W. Bush and brother of former president George W. Bush.


January 29 in history

January 29, 2010

On January 29:

1842 Auckland’s first Anniversary Day regatta was held.

 1845 “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe  was published in the New York Evening Mirror.

1856 Queen Victoria instituted the Victoria Cross.
A bronze cross pattée bearing the crown of Saint Edward surmounted by a lion with the inscription FOR VALOUR. A crimson ribbon is attached

1860 Anton Chekhov, Russian writer, was born.

head and shoulders engraving of bearded Chekhov in pince-nez and suit

1863 Bear River Massacre.

1874 John D. Rockefeller Jr., American entrepreneur, was born.

1880 W.C. Fields, American actor and writer was born.

1886 Karl Benz patented the first successful gasoline-driven automobile.

1891 Liliuokalani was proclaimed Queen of Hawaii, its last monarch.

 

1916  Paris was first bombed by German zeppelins.

1933 – Ron Townson, American singer (The 5th Dimension), was born.

1939 Germaine Greer, Australian writer and feminist, was born.

1940 Three trains on the Sakurajima Line, in Osaka collided and exploded while approaching Ajikawaguchi station. 181 people were killed.

1944  USS Missouri (BB-63) the last battleship commissioned by the US Navy was launched.

USS Missouri in her 1980s configuration

1944 Approximately 38 men, women, and children die in the Koniuchy massacre in Poland.

1944 In Bologna the Anatomical Theatre of the Archiginnasio was destroyed in an air-raid.

1945 Tom Selleck, American actor, screenwriter and film producer, was born.

1949 Tommy Ramone, Hungarian-born musician and record producer (The Ramones), was born.

1954  Oprah Winfrey, American talk show host and actress, was born.

 

1989 Hungary established diplomatic relations with South Korea, making them the first Eastern Bloc nation to do so.

1996 President Jacques Chirac announced a “definitive end” to French nuclear weapons testing.

 Four major types of nuclear testing: 1. atmospheric, 2. underground, 3. exoatmospheric, and 4. underwater.

1996 – La Fenice, Venices opera house, was destroyed by fire.

 The interior of La Fenice in 1837.

1998 In Birmingham, Alabama, a bomb explodes at an abortion clinic, killing one and severely wounding another.

2001 Thousands of student protesters in Indonesia stormed parliament and demanded that President Abdurrahman Wahid resign due to alleged involvement in corruption scandals.

2002 In his State of the Union Address, United Statses President George W. Bush described “regimes that sponsor terror” as an Axis of Evil.

2005 The first direct commercial flights from the mainland China(from Guangzhou) to Taiwan since 1949 arrived in Taipei. Shortly afterwards, a China Airlines carrier landed in Beijing.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


December 14 in history

December 14, 2009

On December 14:

1287 St. Lucia’s flood: The Zuider Zee sea wall in the Netherlands collapsed, killing more than 50,000 people.

1503 Nostradamus, French astrologer, was born.

 

1542 Princess Mary Stuart beccame Queen Mary I of Scotland.

 1751 The Theresian Military Academy was founded as the first Military Academy in the world.

 

1782  The Montgolfier brothers’ first balloon lifts on its first test flight.

 A 1786 depiction of the Montgolfier brothers’ historic balloon with engineering data.

1843 The first Auckland A&P Show was held.

1895  King George VI  was born.

1896 The Glasgow Underground Railway was opened by the Glasgow District Subway Company.

A map of the Glasgow Subway

1900  Max Planck presented a theoretical derivation of his black-body radiation law.

                    Black body spectrum

1902 The Commercial Pacific Cable Company laid the first Pacific telegraph cable, from Ocean Beach, San Francisco to Honolulu, Hawaii.

1903 The Wright Brothers made their first attempt to fly with the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

 

1911  Roald Amundsen‘s team, Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel, and Oscar Wisting and Amundsen, became the first to reach the South Pole.


1918 Friedrich Karl von Hessen, a German prince elected by the Parliament of Finland to become King Väinö I, renounces the Finnish throne.

1922 Don Hewitt, American creator of 60 Minutes, was born.

 1932  Charlie Rich, American musician, was born.

1946 Patty Duke, American actress, was born.

1948  Kim Beazley, Australian politician, was born.

1949 Cliff Williams, English bassist (AC/DC), was born.

1958  The 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition became the first expedition to reach The Pole of Relative Inaccessibility in the Antarctic.

1958  Mike Scott, Scottish singer-songwriter (The Waterboys), was born.

1958 Spider Stacy, English musician (The Pogues), was born.

1962  NASA‘s Mariner 2 became the first spacecraft to fly by Venus.

Mariner 2 in space.jpg
 

1964  Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States – The United States Supreme Court rules that the U.S. Congress can use its Commerce Clause power to fight discrimination.

 1972 Apollo programme: Eugene Cernan was the last person to walk on the moon, after he and Harrison Schmitt completed the third and final Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) of Apollo 17. This was the last manned mission to the moon of the 20th century.

EugeneACernan.jpg

1981  Israel‘s Knesset passes The Golan Heights Law, extending Israeli law to the area of the Golan Heights.

1994 Construction began on the Three Gorges Dam in the Yangtze River.

Three Gorges Dam

2004  The Millau viaduct, the highest bridge in the world, near Millau, France was officially opened.

 

2008 President George W. Bush made his fourth and final (planned) trip to Iraq as president and almost got struck by two shoes thrown at him by Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi during a farewell conference in Baghdad.

 Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


The new president

January 21, 2009

The USA has a new president and I doubt that any has faced greater expectations, than Barack Obama, the 44th man and first of African descent to hold that role.

He will be,  historian Robert Dallek says, not just making history, but building on it.

 

 

Obama succeeds George W. Bush whom history may judge more kindly than contemporary opninion which highlighted his shortcomings and gave him little credit for his ahievements, which included his leadership after the September 11 attacks.

 The immediate challenge Obama faces is not terrorism, it’s the economy. I wish him well because in spite of the high expectations of him, there are no miracles in politics.

UPDATE: The full text of his inaugural address is here.


Key Google-bombed

September 12, 2008

John Key has joined George W Bush and Tony Blair as the target of a Google bomb.

It is an online phenomenon first seen in England at the start of the millennium. This week it reached New Zealand.

Type “clueless” into a New Zealand google search right now, hit ‘I feel lucky’ and you will be directed to John Key’s personal website.

Key has been given the dubious honour of being the first New Zealand politician to be google-bombed and a 22-year-old programmer from Parnell is responsible.

A google bomb is essentially a manipulation of the search engine to improve the rankings of particular webpages that ensures a site is at the top of the results for particular search phrases.

Some of the more famous google bombs are also expressions of political opinion – “liar” leading to Tony Blair, or “miserable failure” leading to the White House’s biography of George W Bush are two that made headlines around the world.

The election campaign is only three hours old and already it’s both silly and dirty. And the silliness and dirt is coming from Parnell – is that a hot bed of political activism?


Style vs Substance

June 25, 2008

If it wasn’t for the gender of the Prime Minister  this could be about New Zealand:

To a visitor from outer space, it would be hard to distinguish the job description of prime minister today from that of a talk show or game show host. The PM is a regular fixture on radio and television, where no topic is too small for him to discuss. He offers cash prizes to listeners and he sweats on the weekly ratings.

Sounds very familiar.

The lines between celebrity and politics blurred some time ago. Our leaders are more needy because their handlers have convinced them that if they miss a single news bulletin the public will soon forget them. But voters can just as easily project wisdom on to politicians who are silent as those who blather sweet platitudes about Australian values and the noble struggle of the working family.

This too could be about politics on this side of the Tasman.

Although it is tempting to see Rudd as merely the sum of his past lives as a Queensland bureaucrat and diplomat to China, his approach to federal office is, in a way, no different from Howard’s.

“The moment you start campaigning for the next election is today,” Howard told his partyroom at the first meeting after the Coalition’s 2004 election win.  I’m a great believer in perpetual campaigning.”

And this explains one of the problems with the many unexplaiend consequences of the Electoral Finance Act: it’s impossible to separate the role of an MP from campaigning because under the Act’s very broad definition so much of what an MP does could also be deemed to be campaigning.

This happens to be a worldwide trend. Tony Blair noted last June, just after leaving office, that a large part of his time as a British prime minister was spent “coping with the media, its sheer scale, weight and constant hyperactivity”. Blair measured the compression of the news cycle by the number of topics he ran a day: “When I fought the 1997 election we took an issue a day. In 2005, we had to have one for the morning, another for the afternoon and by the evening that agenda had already moved on.”

Thankfully, the Australian market is still small enough to keep Rudd to three issues a week rather than three a day.

It was not always thus. Remember when sit-down press conferences took precedence over the door stop and parliament was the place to announce big policies? The last government to practise politics the old-fashioned way was the Hawke-Keating regime between 1983 and 1996. To be fair, Howard’s administration began as Paul Keating’s ended, with a sense that the public was intelligent enough to handle a detailed policy debate over months and years, not hours and days.

The GST was Australia’s last old-school reform. Howard needed four years, from 1997 to 2001, to discuss, draft, amend and bed down the new tax system.

When was the last time the electorate was treated intelligently with prolonged discussion, drafting, amending and bedding down of policy here?

Under Rudd, Labor operates on the delusion that the electorate can absorb two or three earth-shattering announcements a week. Darting from topic to topic, like a shock jock or newspaper columnist, is why Howard lost the plot in his final year in office.

Has Rudd forgotten Howard’s increasingly hysterical public conversation of 2007: the Murray-Darling takeover, tax cuts, the Northern Territory intervention, a federal rescue of one hospital in a marginal seat in Tasmania and more tax cuts?

What really binds Nelson and Rudd is their mistaken belief in the 24/7 media cycle as an end in itself. The reason Blair and Bill Clinton have such dismal legacies in the deeper ponds of British and US politics is that they wasted too much time thinking of the next line instead of honing policy.

This is not a curse of either the Left or the Right. US Republican President George W. Bush followed the Democrat Clinton by devoting more time to crafting the headline for invading Iraq – weapons of mass destruction – than worrying about securing the peace afterwards.

The media has reduced politicians into thinking by the minute.

Or is it that politicians only think by the minute and so that’s all that’s left to report?

Think about the issues on which Rudd hopes to build a new reform consensus, from climate change to the Federation to the tax, welfare and retirement incomes systems. Rudd can’t win any of these debates by press release alone. He has to patiently explain himself again and again, one big idea at a time.

Patiently, explaining one big idea at a time? Could any of our politicians try that here – and if they did, would we do them the courtesy of listening to them and really thinking about what they were saying? Because if didn’t we would indeed get the politicians we deserve.


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