Thursday, June 29, 2006
Well Kenny stood up and made a point about peoples' fears about crime using an anecdote about how a knife was once pulled on him. Only he neglected to point out that this happened in Kenya, slightly negating his point about crime in this country. This is par for the course. Last month at his party's conference he made all kind of pledges about crime (like personally tagging suspects released on bail) that were, frankly, daft and probably unconstitutional. He knew that, of course, but if it buys votes, well...
The president gave the order to Russian special services to take all measures for finding and eliminating the criminals who carried out the murder of Russian diplomats in Iraq," it quoted the Kremlin's press service as saying.
The head of the FSB state security service, Nikolai Patrushev, immediately pledged to see Mr Putin's order carried out. "However much time and effort it requires, we will work to this end," he said.' Link
I mentioned the murdered diplomats the other day. If the US made such an announcement there would probably be uproar but I find myself thinking "that's class, fair play". Obviously my soft-spot for Russians is a part of the reason but, really, the main reason is that the Russians don't come out with nonsense about 'building democracy', 'good versus evil', 'you're either with us or against us', 'bad guys' and all the other rubbish that America uses to claim the moral high ground.
The Russian logic is 'you killed our men and now we're gonna get you - no apologies, no due process and we couldn't care less what anyone thinks'. Maybe there's a lesson there for the US.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Don't get me wrong I'm not going to claim racism is unique to DUP voters on this island, but the figures suggest it's more prevalent among DUP voters (i.e. hardcore 'British' Northerners) and also that racial prejudice / xenophobia is not restricted to the working classes, which is an important point.
However, like everything when it comes to the North, blame will be flung back and forth across the parapets; the 'reality of the situation' (dear Christ...) will be that it's all somebody elses fault; and, finally (just so no single group feels victimised) it will be decided that, in fact, all northerners are equally racist. Result!
"[A]ny game which prohibits the use of the hands is contrary to nature. Opposable thumbs allow humans to grasp things (thumbs on other primate hands such as chimps and orangutans are splayed out the side and are not truly opposable.) This is why the games human beings play involve holding things such as baseball bats, golf clubs and hockey sticks, or to grip and throw objects like a ball or a Frisbee.
Soccer denies to its players the very attributes that make human beings, the thinking toolmaker, human. Actually, the donkey would have a significant advantage over humans in soccer. It has four legs rather than two. The donkey has no hands or opposable thumbs, nor any need of them in order to play soccer. And smashing its head into a soccer ball probably would not cause any diminution of equine IQ. Soccer, then, would appear to be a game better suited to dim-witted quadrupeds than to human beings."
Apropos of nothing, the USA's most recent defeat in football came to the Black Stars of Ghana...
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Monday, June 26, 2006
This is hardly the first example of such behaviour, after all the way the killing of John Charles de Menezes was spun by English police (unseasonably warm padded jacket... vaulting ticket machine... running... wires...), and the shooting of the young terror suspect last month (his own brother shot him, not the police!...) are two recent examples off the top of my head.
You're also reminded of the proactivity of the tabloid press in such cases - the notorious example of a paediatrician being attacked in England because a bunch of knuckle-draggers got confused after the News of the World's anti-paedophile witchunt.
It's a good piece, well worth reading.
Friday, June 23, 2006
But really, after that, there are no parallels whatsoever. According to the report 'Iraqis, he said, would take inspiration and "draw hope" from Hungary's success.' Of course they will, George. And 'Mr Bush praised the new Iraqi PM, Nouri Maliki, saying Hungarians would recognise his spirit.' Do you know it's all anyone spoke about last time I was there. Honest.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
“DEUTSCHLAND! Deutschland!” In the 1930s that was a chant that made the world tremble.
Yesterday, as a full-throated roar from hundreds of thousands of German football fans around the Brandenburg Gate, it signified something completely different. It was evidence that Germany was finally shrugging off the legacy of National Socialism and becoming a normal nation once more.
"... there has not been such naked spontaneous German patriotism since the start of the First World War in August 1914."
Ah well, at least they're expanding their terms of reference lest anyone forget exactly how many World Wars were 'won' along with that World Cup.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
"A week after Wexford and Offaly had done their best to dim the summer's afternoon in Kilkenny, the rain came pelting down on this Guinness All-Ireland hurling qualifier.
Pathetic fallacy or not, the bleak conditions were totally in keeping with another dispiriting day for the championship..." Seán Moran
"If Thierry Henry, whose pronouncements this week hinted at a man suffering, in the best French tradition, from ennui, watched the deluge from his darkened hotel window, he might have smiled at the pathetic fallacy." Keith Duggan
It must have been a bet.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
A sign of a rag is when the paper chooses to speak on behalf of the monolith known as 'ordinary people'... "POLITICIANS, broadcasters and ordinary people expressed dismay last night after it emerged that Terry Keane has sold the story of her 27-year-affair with Charlie Haughey for a second time... Broadcaster Marian Finucane summed up the astonishment of ordinary people, saying..."
I'll use that word again - nauseating. All you need to remember is that the self-same Terry Keane had a diary column for years, in which she teased her readers about 'Sweetie' and their, implied, daliances. Those 'in the know' knew 'Sweetie' was the Squire but the general public didn't *know* until it all eventually came to light. The Keane Edge was considered one of the most popular columns of the newspaper in its time. The paper it ran in? The Sindo. The paper Keane didn't come clean in about her time with Haughey either the first time around in the late '90s or now? The Sindo. Not that there's a connection or anything...
Friday, June 16, 2006
Thursday, June 15, 2006
While the four teams themselves seem intent on dragging the competition down to mediocrity, World Cup Group B has been pretty impressive fans wise so far!...
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Spanish coach Luis Aragones, who follows the religion of kabbalah, believes the colour yellow is bad news, but on this showing against yellow-clad Ukraine he must be thinking bring on Brazil.
Apart from the fact Aragones has previously proven himself to be racist, I'm not sure what to make of that!
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Monday, June 12, 2006
A senior American official has described the suicides of three detainees at the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba as a 'good public relations move to draw attention'.
Colleen Graffy said the deaths were part of a strategy and 'a tactic to further the jihadi cause', but taking their own lives was unnecessary. The deaths were described 'not an act of desperation but an act of asymmetric warfare' by US Navy Rear Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the camp.
Friday, June 09, 2006
It's World Cup time - the greatest show on Earth! And I've been looking forward to this for months. Sure we're not there, but I love my footie and that won't stop me enjoying it.
I've a few bets on - Italy at 9/1 to win; David Villa of Spain to be top scorer at 40/1; Thierry Henry of France to be top scorer at 12/1; Ronaldinho to be top scorer AND Brazil to win at 22/1.
If my bets aren't to win I'd like to see either Argentina or Spain win, I think Mexico will be the dark horses and I intend finding the Polish bars to watch their games (particularly the Germany one) for the craic.
I, unlike so many others, have no problem with England (despite the media and the hooligans). However if they manage to blow it again in hilariously tear-jerking fashion I'll be the first to laugh. I have it worked out...
England to be playing Germany after making a bit of a hames of the Group Stage and finishing Runner Up, the returning Wayne Rooney to then send England into an early lead with commentary teams, pundits etc coming in their pants. England fail to come out in the second half and the Germans, roared on at home, snatch an equaliser when some kraut saunters passed Rio like he's not there. Then, as panic sets in, GNeville attempts a wild clearance and slices the ball into his own net. Cue pandemonium in the stadium and mass blood-letting on the mainland. Magic!..
Meanwhile there was a pretty funny exchange on TV3 in Ireland this morning...
Aidan Cooney (sports presenter, looking at Group C): "What do you reckon about that Paddy?"
Paddy Mulligan (former Irish international): "I reckon the Ivory Coast could be the dark horses...if you'll pardon the pun [pause as Paddy twigs, then goes into a bit of a cold sweat]... Oh jaysus, I hope that's not..."
Aidan Cooney: "No....no, I wouldn't think so...."
Finally I don't intend banging on about the World Cup but I do intend banging on about every dumbass hack-journo, radio phone-in muppet and gobshite letter-writer who complains about the number of games or the jingoism or whatever, blah, blah, blah... Build a bridge and get over it, people!
"Following feedback from a number of groups, I am assembling a list of teams that are operating on the site.
If you are a member of a team (on-site or cross-site), please forward me your name and the team you are a member of together with the name of the team lead."
That might seem innocuous enough, but the point of all these "teams" is A) to get work done that isn't being adequately addressed by the normal work structures and B) to give people a feeling that they're so highly thought of that they've been specially selected to be part of some uber-team. The hope is that they'll be so eager to please in return that A gets achieved with the minimum of fuss, management can point to some new result, the bottom-feeders think that promotion at some point is a formality and everyone goes home happy.
The problem is that lazy-ass managers have been delegating loads of mini-projects (an example? Production staff forming "knowledge-sharing" teams to cover up the fact that the level of turnover of research support staff means that that department is no longer considered capable of being the source of knowledge) to the minions to try and make themselves look extra-productive when the next promotion opportunity pops up. So much so, in fact, that senior management now have no clue who has been told to go off and do what. Anyone with their eyes open this morning will read the mail and realise that, instead of being cherry picked and groomed for management, the whole place has been duped into doing extra work to cover up management deficiencies. Of course they were too stupid to twig that in the first place, so I doubt they'll twig it now.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
There is a song by someone called Sandi Thom.
There is a song called "I Wish I Was a Punkrocker (With Flowers In My Hair)" by someone called Sandi Thom.
There is a song called "I Wish I Was a Punkrocker (With Flowers In My Hair)" by someone called Sandi Thom. It is a pile of sugary folk-pap and it made me break my radio...
"Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair
In 77 and 69 revolution was in the air
I was born too late to a world that doesn't care
Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair"
Mother. Of. Jesus.
Friday, June 02, 2006
Thursday, June 01, 2006
He starts off with the impossible to disagree with: "The idea that a group of business and trade union leaders, along with representatives of the Government, plus a rag-tag of "community" groups, should decide among themselves, in secret, fundamental economic and social policy for years ahead and decide how and when redistribution should happen is absurd."
He later says: "Public sector pay is something that should be sorted out independently of any partnership process. Public sector pay is an issue of concern to the public as a whole for it is public resources that are being used to fund public sector pay. Public sector pay should not be determined by the bargaining power of the unions involved but by fairness."
Again so far, so good... except... "It is a reality that some public servants are far too well rewarded and these include TDs and Ministers."
Oh. So it's not the public sector clock-watchers the public are supposed to be concerned about but the 'unfair' pay levels of a small number of civil servants in the higher echelons. Never mind that, in reality, most of these could command much bigger salaries for a lot less hassle in the private sector.
Vinnie goes on to suggest that: "Everyone paid under the average wage in society should get paid an increase at least equal to the rate of growth of taxation plus inflation. Those paid well above the average wage, say those paid over €60,000, should take a pay pause for at least two years with it being explicitly understood there will be no "catch-up" arrangement down the line."
In all fairness, Vinnie, wtf are you on about? That's not fairness - that's communism. Nothing about performance, nothing about productivity, nothing about value, nothing about incentive. No, Vinnie's idea is simply to arbitrarily close the gap between the many lower and fewer higher paid just for the sake of appearing to be 'fair'.
You could go on about how wrong this is for ever and a day - for starters, how does the taxpayer know we're getting value for the huge increases? What incentive is there for the average worker to perform when his/her peers get the same raises regardless of how much they doss? What incentive do the more able civil servants have to continue to do their jobs to the best of their ability and not just shag off to the private sector if their pay is frozen? Why should public sector workers get to hold the state to ransom for these ridiculous wage levels when, if private sector workers try the same thing, the companies they work for either go under or leg it to a location where workers aren't so stupid?
But one thing is for sure with public sector pay increases - no one is really much better off. They cause tax increases, they cause inflationary pressure and, ultimately, interest rates rise. The public servants may end up having higher gross incomes, but their level of disposable income hardly alters, thus prompting the unions to go looking for more money again... and round the circle we go again...