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Science and not science. Really not science. September 13, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Crazed nonsense..., Science.
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This is fairly annoying, even by the standards of the British tabloid press. Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy notes how the Express has run a series of articles with only a tangential relation to astronomy. Tangential, as in none.

meanwhile…over at Fine Gael August 2, 2014

Posted by doctorfive in Crazed nonsense..., Fine Gael, Irish Politics.
16 comments

- Scene opens in a smokey backroom at Fine Gael HQ. A couple of Young Fine Gael interns joke about booking Phil Hogan’s flight to Papua New Guinea instead of Brussels when two of the party’s senior strategists enter the room -

Well Sean Faughnan, you’ve worked for Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, drafted Fine Gael’s health privatisation plan along side IBRC bagman Alan Dukes, planted the seed of Seanad abolition, worked as James Reilly’s chief adviser during some of the most blatant strokes and political blackguardry in Irish history, fell out with half the health service in the process and now live in an actual 14th century castle. Any other plans?

Terry Prone has suggested we set up a think tank to cover Michael Noonan’s arse. Those stooges at the Sindo have been falling over themselves for Creighton so we might as well head for the source and see what policies Dennis needs doing.

The Reform Alliance published some document didn’t they?

Was only reported as them not forming a party though

Politics is personalities as far as the press is concerned

Dáil canteen ran out of teabags on Mattie McGrath, hilarity ensues

Well even the Irish Times is jaded with MacGill at this stage but Burton has been briefing hacks for three years and I don’t see why we shouldn’t cash in on some of this cuddly shite ahead of the election. Haven’t we been running rings round Labour so far?

And they will continue to blame Sinn Fein of course.

Exactly

A just society

Just for whom?

Get up the website there

The Collins Institute is a Fine Gael initiative which has been established as an autonomous organisation with its own Board and Director. It is a policy think tank which has been tasked with examining the long-term challenges facing Ireland and suggesting possible policy responses.

“autonomous organisation” ? Has Boyd Barrett taken over or something?

Registered address is still the same as Fine Gael HQ, no sweat.

The building they remortgaged for Gay Mitchell’s presidential campaign?

We don’t talk about that

He lost his deposit!

We don’t talk about that. No one does.

All this think tank stuff does sound a bit New Labour though?

Good enough for the Tories isn’t it?

Fair enough

A truly Just Republic might be established in Ireland in the run-up to 2022,

might? We might launch a space shuttle too like

hush

the centenary of both the founding of the Irish state and the death of Michael Collins

The death of Collins? Seriously? Didn’t the queen bow her head with golden threads and all that. Clinky glasses and the Cork fishmonger.  You can’t be talking about 1922 in 2022.

aye,  but it’s towards the end of a second term.

Varadkar’s Just Republic. Sounds plausible.

Him?

That’s what they’re saying now. He is some sort of straight talker.

These are the standards we’re reduced to now.

He is being feted for not lying directly to your face,

Well, he’s good for a quote more than anything else

But really, this Collins thing?

The Institute’s name recognises the crucial role which Collins played in the creation of the Irish state

What, shooting policemen? We can’t be seen to be taking this Sinn Féin threat seriously you know?

and the special position which he occupies in both the history and affections of many in the Fine Gael party.

And I thought we are against these centenaries being “hijacked”?

A key goal of the Institute is to work closely with like-minded institutes and think tanks in other countries, particularly those which are associated with the European People’s Party. All papers published by the Institute are intended for discussion purposes only and do not represent Fine Gael policy.

Discussion purposes.

So we discuss it, write it and then discuss it again in public?

It will be sort of choreographed in the media.

And the EPP? What about yerman in Hungary wanting rid of democracy and Ukraine, or whatever it is now? Didn’t it turn out to be our side behind those snipers?

Bertie is over there on the case I hear

Shot down the wrong plane?

Ah cop on

And fascists in Spain. What about Berlusconi. Is that lecherous old toad still on our team?

Alleged lecherous old toad, he has been cleared now I think. Anyway, we are looking to stay under the arse of our northern allies. Those periphery days are behind us. A bad dream.

Inherited

Exactly. We have Six Key Principles. Capitalised.

Like a five point plan?

Sort of.

The Collins Institute has identified Six Key Principles which we believe can help support the creation of a truly Just Republic in Ireland. We will issue a series of detailed working papers over the next 12 to 18 months looking at how these principles can best be reflected in public policy in a number of important areas.

12 to 18 months?

We don’t know if Labour will stay the distance yet

Hardly worth their while

Well when you see how easily we can talk their language it’s a wonder they exist at all.

Our starting point is Fine Gael’s Just Society document of 1965 and the three fundamental principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity – or in more modern language Freedom, Equality and Solidarity – which it enshrined.

Shades of Tone here too. Amazing the old stuff you find to taunt Micheál Martin with.

He will hardly be around long enough to see it.

Fraternity has its expiry date with that crowd

While the political right has traditionally championed the idea of freedom and the merits of the market, and the political left the goal of equality and the power of the state,

Hang on now..

We don’t have time

the Just Society insisted on the vital importance of both “freedom and equality” in creating a fairer, more dynamic Ireland. It saw no inherent “conflict between the public and private sectors, for both can stimulate and aid the other.”

Pat Kenny wont like this

Who?

The title of Fine Gael’s document – by focusing on the idea of society – also emphasised the importance it attached to the role of social solidarity in a modern democracy. We are also of the view that any Just Republic should build into its architecture the three more modern principles of Sustainability, Accountability and Subsidiarity. The rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger was driven by a range of factors. Some were clearly outside the control of this country. However, the failure of the Tiger was also rooted in a series of domestic social, economic and fiscal policies which were simply unsustainable. A series of policies that were conceived of and implemented by a range of overly centralised and largely unaccountable institutions. It seems clear that a truly Just Republic cannot be established in Ireland unless we learn from the many mistakes of the Celtic Tiger.

This isn’t the reality at all actually but all this learning lessons is  rich when it was us who didn’t bother with the original document. This is more or less opposite of all we stand for.

It’s complicated

But surely we can do better than dragging up something from half a century ago?

RTÉ will love it. And the Unions

Always the unions. I can see O’Connor now.

Catnip

And most of the approved academics are blueshirts

Are they?

Historians, geographers, political scientists. There is a lot RTÉ fail to disclose

Dangle this Electoral Commission in front of them for another few years

Seal of approval guaranteed

A few shots from the archives on Primetime.  This is Ireland before the Troubles too don’t forget

A chance to start again

Potentially heads off any talk of the proclamation too

Genius

A bit of aspiration, vision and fairness will steady the ship against the shinners

Especially in Dublin

Especially in Dublin

Look, even IBEC are calling for an end to austerity these days. How hard can it be

A just society

Just enough to stop people talking about  water charges.

This is a reactionary moment. How reactionary? February 14, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Crazed nonsense..., Economy, The Left.
4 comments

Well, here’s a straw in the wind.

And by the way, oh yeah… WTF…like WTF?

Marriage Equality — Distracting our attention February 6, 2014

Posted by Tomboktu in Crazed nonsense..., Human Rights, Inequality, Irish Politics, LGBT.
8 comments

Did you see what David Quinn and Senator Rónán Mullen did there?

They’re like bad magicians, trying to distract the audience — in their case from Panti’s critique on RTÉ (transcript here; 3-minute video here) of the ethos of their case against lifting the ban on same-sex marriage.

David Quinn used his column in the Irish Independent on 31 January to ask if we can have a respectful debate on same-sex marriage. He opened his column with extracts from four emails he has received that contained very nasty suggestions about what the sender wanted him to do or to happen to him.

Then on Wednesday of this week, Senator Mullen asked in the Seanad if GLEN (the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network) would disassociate itself from Panti’s statement on RTÉ. (Broadsheet’s 50-second video clip of Senator Mullen’s contribution is here.)

While not explicitly naming David Quinn or his Iona colleagues, Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte was clearly thinking of them when he said, also on 31 January, that those who enter the arena of public debate cannot expect that Queensbury Rules will always apply. Well, the column by David Quinn and speech by Senator Mullen demonstrate they they, at least, do not in fact play by Queensbury Rules.

Private emails with nasty and unpleasant messages are not part of the debate. Nobody is swayed by them. They are, simply, nasty and unpleasant emails to you from individuals who are angry or sad, or both [1]. Putting them in the public domain makes them part of a debate, but not the debate — on whether the ban on same-sex marriage should be lifted.

GLEN, whom Senator Mullen acknowledged is respectful, did not and does not put into the public domain the nasty emails and letters it receives. Neither does Marriage Equality, and neither does BeLonG To, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth service.

There can be times and ways to draw attention to the nasty underside of — to use Minister Rabbitte’s phrase — entering the arena. But when public opinion has lit up in rage that you have received compensation because a drag queen (oh, the irony — a drag queen!) pulls you up on the basic value you espouse in the actual debate, bringing up the work of sad individuals who oppose you serves to distract.

Sadly, the technique adopted by David Quinn and Senator Mullen is not simply an attempt to distract. It is also distinctly cynical and unpleasant: it attempts bring guilt by association to the case for lifting the ban on same-sex marriage.

__________

[1] If emails go beyond being unpleasant to being genuinely threatening, then the place to bring them is the Gardaí, but in fairness, David Quinn did not suggest any sense of threat to his safety, so it is reasonable to assume that is not relevant to this discussion.

Beyond er… belief September 13, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Crazed nonsense....
1 comment so far

This (journalist is jailed for two hours for refusal to pay parking fines) + This (an article in response to the jailing, which name checks one Vaclav Havel with not the slightest hint of self-consciousness – and raises the thought that Havel is surely more sinned against than sinning given the way his legacy is thrown around by all and sundry) = This (due to entertained/appalled/amused response to first article):

To write for a screen, in the sense of writing for online consumption, is entirely different. Whereas you can whisper or scream on to a page, you can only yell towards a screen. Because everything written specifically for online consumption is written in the expectation of addressing a hostile community, the writing process demands, as a prerequisite, either a defensive or antagonistic demeanour.

Steady on there, John.

Lots of places online where that generalisation is proven demonstrably wrong.

Mind you, when discussing overheated rhetoric one need only return to the Independent report on the jailing to find this:

Mr Waters has previously described Dun Laoghaire’s parking policy as akin to “tyranny”.
Supporters of Mr Waters complained about Dun Laoghaire’s parking regime. “This town has been crucified,” said supporter Anne Joyce.

Tyranny? Crucifixion? Whatever next?

From the left to where…. May 18, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Crazed nonsense..., The Left.
35 comments

An interesting and not unsympathetic review of Melanie Phillips new memoir. Philips is a strange one. Strange, I remember her output in her ‘left’ phase in the Guardian and it was pretty good. And I saw the shift first hand through its pages, as it were, a shift that was remarkable for its distance. It’s not, to me at least, that she moved from left to right, that’s an old old story and played out all around us. It’s more that the positions she has adopted in that move have been so far right.

Difficult not to feel that her career has been one subsequently of deliberate provocation shot through with utter strangeness. The rhetoric she has adopted, and one need only consult her wiki page to see some good examples of same is deeply dispiriting for its sheer unnecessary belligerence.

But also depressing is the boilerplate nature of her discourse – the alarm bells always start ringing for me when I read the phrase ‘cultural Marxism’ in relation to… well, just about anything to be honest. The last straws? Perhaps what Stonewall and many of us consider to be utterly bigoted behaviour in relation to mentions of LGBT people in various lessons and the absurd cookie cutter rhetoric of her thoughts on Barack Obama.

In a way the above encapsulates her move from reasonable and proper questioning to something entirely different indeed.

“I do not have to prove that I am ‘trans enough’ for anyone” December 7, 2012

Posted by Tomboktu in Crazed nonsense..., Human Rights, Inequality, Irish Politics, Justice, LGBT Rights.
4 comments

While the country was getting ready for the budget on Wednesday, elsewhere in the Leinster House complex, an Oireachtas committee took evidence on the experience and legal situation of trans people in Ireland.

All of it is worth watching, but I was particularly moved by the evidence of Darrn matthews, from 8:30 into the film:

Darrin Matthews:

Hi. My name is Darrin Matthews. I am a board member of TENI and also run he Cork Peer Trans Support Group.

I am a transgender man.

[...]

I had a woman from the Disability Allowance Office ring me and she wanted to know why my name had changed from a female name to a male name, and when I told her it was because I was transgender, she laughed at me and hung up the phone.

When I go out and I get asked for my passport as identification to get in, I sometimes get turned away because my gender marker still says “F” and I have both my birth certificate name and my current name Darrin printed.

Everybody has a right to a private life. I would just like that my right would be recognized. Issuing new birth certificates and can easily do this and prevent embarrassment and harassment and potentially dangerous situations.

My experience of being transgender doesn’t just affect me, it also affects my family. I have an amazingly supportive and loving family. My mother put herself into almost €12,000 worth of debt so she could send me to a private school because I was bullied for 2 years in my state school. My mother took out a loan to send me to a school where I could be called Darrin, not wear a girl’s uniform and be happy and every member of staff and every student called me Darrin instead of derogatory and cruel names.

I have many friends who are straight, gay and transgender. In this day and age if a gay friend of mine come to me and told me they had gotten their official diagnosis of “homosexual”, I would be shocked and appalled. Nineteen years ago homosexuality was decriminalized and people now cannot imagine a time when homosexuality was illegal. Most people don’t know that transgender people must be diagnosed with a psychiatric illness to access treatment in this country because this is such an inconceivable and ridiculous notion and is discriminatory in its nature.

I do not feel that because I was born in the wrong body that that automatically means I have a mental illness. There is still stigmatization attached to having a mental health issue in this country and to force a psychiatric condition onto another human being can have detrimental effects on a person’s self-image and self-esteem.

When a couple applies for a civil partnership, they are not asked for their gay diagnosis to prove their homosexuality. I had to prove to many people I was happier as the man I should have always been, to my mother, my siblings, to my friends. And I had to prove that I had a psychiatric illness. But I should not have to prove anything to a complete stranger and seek their acceptance. I do not have to prove that I am ‘trans enough’ for anyone.

My mother once asked if I was sure, and if I was really sure that being Darrin was what I wanted. When I told her I couldn’t go go back and be happy, she just said to me ‘Well then we can only go forward, my son’.

I always knew transitioning would never be easy but please don’t make it any harder than it already is. All I want is to be treated as an equal. To be treated with respect and dignity as much as a non-transgender person would be. Nothing more and nothing less. Thank you.

Just to Lower the Tone July 26, 2012

Posted by Garibaldy in Crazed nonsense..., Culture.
13 comments

So, as noted by Eamonncork, one of the good things about CLR is its ability to stimulate discussion about interesting cultural matters, whether it’s Gramsci, music, or bits and pieces. However, just to lower the tone, while simultaneously demonstrating that we on the Irish left have our fingers on the pulse of popular culture, I offer this

A peculiar tax break May 2, 2012

Posted by Tomboktu in Crazed nonsense..., Inequality, Taxation Policy.
5 comments

The May issue of Alive! was delivered to my house today. I am not happy to see that it is a registered charity. They advertise the fact because

  • If you pay PAYE and your total donation to Alive! was €250 or more in 2011 we can reclaim your tax.

Please ask us for a for or Tel 01 4048187 for more info.

  • If you are self-assessed or a company and your donation to Aive! was €250 or more in 2011 you can clain tax releief on your donation.

How can an organisation that is so overtly political have been granted charitable status?

The week in disability – three random notes March 16, 2012

Posted by Tomboktu in Crazed nonsense....
2 comments

The last week saw me come into contact with disability issues a few times. In among the sadly still-routine points about the need for changes in policy and practice were three WTF moments.

First the mildest WTF moment: at a conference on Thursday, Dr Anne Lodge summarised research that found that academics dismiss the attainments of students in third level who are provided with resaonable disabilities.

Second, I had a meeting with a woman who has a mobility disability. She told me that sometimes when she is asked what happened to her, she pretends that she had an accident. She notices that when she does that, she is treated differently, less patronised, as if she were less disabled, than when she says she has had her disability since birth. [The latter is true].

And then somebody drew my attention to the new organisation chart for the Department of Education and Skills, required in part by the promotion of one of the Assistant Secretaries in the last few weeks. In the small print is a new title for Special Education Section: “Special Education Including Special Education Litigation”. Seriously guys, you need to provide the services at a level and in a way so there is no need for a section that needs to have “Special Education Litigation” in its title.

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