Tuesday, November 29, 2005

AUN! News: Commonwealth Update CHOGM

The Heads of State and Government of the commonwealth meet from Nov. 25 to Nov. 27 in Malta. The leaders of the commonwealth produced several statements including, The Malta Declaration for Networking the Commonwealth for Development, here. The also issued the Gozo Statement on Vunerable Small States, here and the Valletta Statement on Multilateral Trade, here. The Queen's opening address is here. Commonwealth Secritary General Don McKinnon suggested that membership standards be tightened, here. The CHOGM Final Communique is here.

Monday, November 28, 2005

AUN! Opinion: The Usurper is Fallen!

The government of Paul Martin sometime Prime Minister of Canada fell today after having lost the confidence of the nation for the second time in less than a year.

Martin and his liberal government, who ruled without the confidence of the nation for nearly a week after he lost control of the House of Commons in May, was decisively defeated on the floor of the house today when a motion of censure passed 171 to 133.

It is believed that Martin will meet with the Queen’s representative, Governor General Michaelle Jean on Tuesday to ask for the dissolution of parliament and a call for elections.

Hopefully the voters will give one of the three other parties, the Conservatives, Bloc Quebecois or New Democratic Party a majority so that Martin’s usurpation in May will not become a precedent.

The NY Times story is here. The Independent’s story is here.

Captain's Quarters has the story here.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

AUN! Thoughs: Monetary Reform 2, Was Decimalization a Mistake

This is a continuation of my thoughts on monetary reform. My first post on the subject is here.

For more than a thousand years the English speaking people used a pound made up of 240 pennies. After the United States gained its independence, the new nation decided to abandon the English system of monetary weights. It its place they adopted the Spanish dollar as a unit and divided it into decimal units of tenths, hundredths, and thousandths. Later Canada and the other dominions adopted a dollar. Great Britain decimalized the pound after World War II though the first step in that direction, the introduction of a tenth pound coin, the florin was taken in the mid 19th Century.

I believe this may have been a error. The idea is that decimal systems are supposed to be easier because we use a base ten number system. Thus the idea seems to go it is easier to think in hundreds than 240s. However, I who have never used the predecimal system in real life, find it as easy to think in as a decimal system and it has some real advantages

Because 240 is the product of 12 and 20 it is more easily divided into fractions than 100.
While the dollar can only be divided evenly by 2, 4, 5,10, 20, 25, 50, and 100. In contrast, 240 can be divided evenly by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16, 20, 24, 30, 40, 48, 60, 80, 120, and 240. The only advantage to the base 100 system is that it is divided evenly by 100 so that percentages can be used. However there is an answer to one percent of 240, it is 2.4. The use of a tenth penny coin would allow the use of percentages in the 240 penny system and eliminate even that advantage. In contrast there is no answer to what is the third, sixth, or twelfth part of the dollar.

Lest some one say that a 1/10th penny would be worth to little to be practicable, let me point out that with in the last 200 years the British government issued a Quarter Farthing, that is a coin worth one sixteenth of a penny. Further at today’s silver price, a tenth penny would have a value of 4 cents.

Thus I conclude that decimalization was a mistake.

Writing this made me go and comb through the collection of coins our family has accumulated from foreign travel. Among the interesting numismatic items I found are:

British: a 1907 Edward VII Shilling, Florins (two shilling coins) and Half Crowns (eighth pound) of George V and Elisabeth II, six pence of Elizabeth II, three pence of Elisabeth II, Pennies (not new pennies) of George V, George VI, and Elisabeth II, and a Half Penny Elizabeth II.

Canada: a 1907 Edward VII Cent, 1916 and 1920 George V Cents, a 1901 Victoria Half Dime, two Half Dimes of George V, a 1908 Edward VII Quarter Dollar, and a 1919 George V Quarter.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

AUN! News: Commonwealth Update

The 2005 commonwealth heads of government meeting is fast approching. A who's who of the participents of this years meeting which begins Nov. 25 is here. News about the Commonwealth Youth Forum is here. The report of the Tanzania election observer group is here.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

AUN! Thoughts: Constitutionalism

There has been a good bit of discussion recently about Anglosphere legal and constitutional thought and its connections to the middle ages and even earlier. A good site for documents and treatises on anglosphere constitutionalism is http://www.constitution..org/ among the things to be found there are: the Constitutions of Clarendon, the Assize of Clarendon, Magna Carta, the Declaration of Arbroath, Smith’s de Republica Anglorum, the Mayflower Compact, Frances Bacon's Elements of the Common Law of England, selected works of Edward Coke, the Petition of Right, the English Bill of Rights, Algernon Sidney’s Discourses Concerning Government, and many other works.

Friday, November 11, 2005

AUN! Thoughts: In Peace and Quietness

I have spent a good part of the day thinking what to write about Armistice Day, then I remembered an admonition by a high school English teacher who was himself recycling a war time propaganda slogan. “It is better to remain silent and appear ignorant than to open ones mouth and remove all doubt.”

So I will content myself with the text of my favorite prayer, one that is of great significance for the history of our people.

“O Eternal Lord God, who alone spreadest out the heavens and rulest the raging of the sea; who hast compassed the waters with bounds until the day and night come to an end; Be pleased to receive into thy Almighty and most gracious protection the persons of us thy servants and the Fleet in which we serve. Preserve us from the dangers of the sea and from the violence of the enemy; that we may be a safeguard unto our most gracious Sovereign Lord, Queen Elizabeth and her Dominions and a security for such as pass on the seas upon their lawful occasions; that the inhabitants of our Island may in peace and quietness serve thee our God and that we may return in safety to enjoy the blessings of the land, with the fruits of our labours and with a thankful remembrance of thy mercies to praise and glorify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”

AUN! Thoughts: Armistice Day

It is now about three hours after the 87th anniversary of the armistice. Let us honor in memory those who gave their lives in the service of the cause of freedom during the Great War Aug. 3 1914 – Nov. 11 1918, may they rest in peace.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

AUN! News: US Ambassidor Speaks Truth to Mugabe

U.S. Ambassidor Christopher Dell is under attack by the Mugabe regeme for speaking the truth about that country's economic plight. Dell told students at a university in Zimbabwe that Mugabe's government was responsible for the downturn in the african country's economic fortunes. The Mugabe regeme has responded by claiming Dell is a sexual pervert. The story is here.

AUN! News: Commonwealth Update

Commonwealth representatives are converging on Malta for the head's of government meeting and other related events, story here. Monitoring for the Sri Lanka presidential election is discussed here.

AUN! News: "Anti Terrorism" Bill defeated in UK

Blair's anti-terrorism bill which would have allowed the government to detain persons for up to 90 days without charging them with a crime was defeated 322-291. Unfortunatly a version allowing detention for 28 days without charge was passed 323-290. Story here

Thursday, November 03, 2005

AUN! News: Comonwealth Update

A statement on the recent Zanzibar elections by the Commonwealth observer group, here. An interesting publication for educators was released today, here. The Secritary General is in the solomon islands, story here.