Let’s go back to mine and drink until we can’t feel our legs! Utopia December 7, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Science Fiction, Uncategorized.
Just finished watching Channel 4’s Utopia on DVD, and very good it was too, so good in fact that both the premise, execution and conclusion managed (mostly) to put a new enough twist on that hoary old genre of genetic engineering. Stylish, sure, and studied in its stylishness. Hard hearted to the point of being at times near enough unable to watch scenes of murder, torture, a series of killings in a school (all off camera but violence that didn’t pretend it wasn’t violence). And some genuinely clever plot twists, reversals and character development. Two or three very big plot holes which I won’t mention for fear of spoiling it for others, but recommended. Not least because we get to see Stephen Rea, Fiona O’Shaughnessy and James Fox.
A second series has been commissioned and I hope they manage to stay true to the first one. The last time I enjoyed new TV was BBC’s The Hour, the first series of which was great, but the second, despite excellent performances from Anna Chancellor and Peter Capaldi, wasn’t anywhere near as good as the first.
As indeed was the soundtrack and in particular the theme music by Cristobal Tapia de Veer, with a none more dubstep (and creepy) approach:
A very welcome TWIMBLT from YourCousin, who relates his experiences at elk camp.
I will admit that this elk camp didn’t exactly start off well. Working all night and then driving out to the ranch in a white out blizzard to get the horses certainly was a less than the auspicious start than I was hoping for. But after waiting for dawn to break so we could see we got the horses loaded up alright and got off to a good if late start.
I will save you all the suspense and say that we were skunked this year. All the elements were there. We were up everyday at 3:30am out of camp by 5am, we hunted from dawn until dusk, and would get back to camp at 8pm every night. Our hunting ground was five miles in, off a logging road on which no motorized traffic was allowed so that you to ride in (on a horse or bicycle) or hike in. As the weather was worse this year than last the bicycle wasn’t really an option. Side note, Even when the weather is agreeable mountain biking can still be a pain in the ass, as last year (when we did use bikes) my innertube not only came undone and gave me a flat but also got caught up in the spokes so that I ended up carrying my bike along with my day pack and rifle out the five miles.
That being said the horse option is not exactly pastoral as it sounds. Aside from the fact that they are totally ranch broke, they were not camp broke. So that means that while they can be saddled and rode around the ranch with no problem they were not used to hunting camp and were therefor stressed out. A stressed out horse is essentially a thousand pound unhappy dog. This manifested itself Sunday morning when my horse decided that he didn’t want to go hunting but rather wanted to stay corralled and eat hay all day. When I gave him the ‘gidde up’ and eased the reins to one side he decided that that was too much and starting rearing up and back. I wish I could say that the only my pride was
hurt but that would be a lie, my ego is fairly flexible and I’m no stranger to making an ass out of my self. Unfortunately my spine isn’t able to bounce back as easily and it hurt, a lot. That being said it could have been much, much worse as the horse when he bucked me off also slipped on the snow and ice and he went down as well. Now that would have scared the bejesus out of me had I had time to think about it before it was all over but obviously had he fallen on me or had I still been on him when he went down there would have been a lot more to complain than a sore back and a cricked neck. As it was he got up, ran a few yards and started eating grass. I hobbled over and brought him back to the trail hopped onto him and rode him up.
We saw moose three times and saw fifteen deer. I’m strictly a meat hunter so I normally pull for cow elk and doe deer, but I will admit that last years fat four point buck has turned into a nice five point and he has a habit of crossing my kill zone and then bedding down in some sparse (yet effective cover as no one sees him) in my partner’s kill zone. If finances work out alright I might be convinced to drag a deer five miles out next year and put in for a buck and just buy my cow tag over the counter. We also kicked up four coveys of dusky grouse plus a number of singles which have done well since the clear cutting of the beetle killed pine trees in the area as they do best in cleared out forest, not the densely populated mature forest cover that was here before.
A quick note of explanation of how big game hunting works here in Colorado. The state is divided up into Game Management Units. Each unit is studied to see how well the different species are doing in that area and based on that it is decided how many permits to issue. In the unit that we were in you have to draw for deer, but can buy cow tags (female elk) over the counter as there are always left over tags from the draw process. You can only draw for a bull tag (male elk) in first or forth season. Rifle season goes for about a month, so you have a first through forth season which run for about a week each. There’s also archery, and muzzle loading seasons which run earlier in the year, but honestly the developments in modern compound bows and muzzleloading rifles (this ain’t yer great, great, great, grand daddies muzzle loader) renders some of the primitivist aura moot in my humble opinion.
The mix from this weekend came from two sources, firstly from a mix my brother made me years ago and from a post on the Millard of Discontent. My truck is older and as long she runs to get me to work I’ll drive her ’til she explodes, but as she pushes twenty years old she has developed quirks. The mixed CD my brother made me had been in the player for about three months when I left for camp.
Because thats about how long it takes for the CD player to spit a cd back out. So it’s fairly critical especially when leaving areas with good radio reception to have a cd you can stand to listen to over and over, and over. About half of the songs on here come from that CD.
“Shovel and Ropes” Boxcar
“Shovel and Ropes” Birmingham
Ryan Bingham “Rolling Highway Blues”
Townes van Zandt “Snowing on Raton”
Guy Clark Rita Ballou
“White Freight Liner” Gillian Welch
“Don’t let the sunshine fool ya” Townes van Zandt
Sean Heuston Society – Lecture on December 7th on the ICA at the National History Museum, Collins Barracks December 5, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in 1913, Culture, Irish History, Irish Politics, The Left.
This Saturday, 7th December, the Sean Heuston Society are hosting a lecture on the formation and activities of the Irish Citizen Army.
This will take place at 1pm in the National History Museum, Collins Barracks.
This event is free of charge and non party political.
Kevin Morley, author of ‘A Descriptive History of the Irish Citizen Army’ will be main speaker.
Also we’ll have a descendant of Michael Mallin who’ll be talking about modern day revisionists who attempt to apply 21st century standards to men and women born in the 19th century.
As for the unions… December 4, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, Irish Politics, The Left, Uncategorized.
Some more choice quotes from Lucinda Creighton’s thoughts this weekend on why collective bargaining is a bad idea, a piece which rapidly – too rapidly, broadens out into a critique of unions as a whole. By the way this is taken from the Sunday Business Post but she has been writing far and wide (well, that would be the Independent in various forms) over the past week or two, or three.
She writes that ‘Eamon Gilmore’s announcement that he will push forward legislation on collective bargaining is yet another example of the LP’s politicisation of policy that has scant regard for the working people of Ireland’.
Tomboktu has already pointed to some problematic aspects of the following on this thread:
The LP’s vision for Ireland is for a minority of well-paid union leaders, such as SIPTU’s Jack O’Connor, to claim the right to represent all of the workers of Ireland. These are the same trade unions, under the same leadership, that right throughout the Celtic Tiger period demanded continuous wage inflation, not just for their workers, but also for their own leadership. There was no economic or evidence-based rationale underpinning their demands for wage inflation. They demanded such inflation because the coffers of the state were full, or because a company’s profits were growing.
The use of the term ‘wage inflation’ only adds to the mess. But there’s more:
Most recently Jack O’Connor told the government that the improved economic position of Ireland meant that SIPTU would soon be demanding wage inflation for all of their workers in both public and private sectors.
The fact that competitiveness has improved, which inevitably has incentivised employers to take on more employees, is dismissed by the very same people as some sort of neoliberal speaking point.
When was the last time we heard of an Irish Trade Union leader talk about competitiveness or wage restraint? In March 2003, Germany’s SPD the party from the same European family as Labour in Ireland, introduced reforms including cutting unemployment benefits, making ti easier to hire and fire workers and raising the retirement age.
At the time Agenda 2010 was approved by almost 90 per cent of SPD party delegates. These decisions were taken in the face of enormous trade union opposition to structural changes i the German labour force. The SPD showed leadership in facing down the TU movement which at the time opposed the Agenda. WIthin the last ten years the number of unemployed people in Germany declined from 4.4 million to 2.9 million while employment rose by 3.1million to 41.7million.
Unfortunate timing that reference to the SPD given last weeks events, not least the issue of retirement ages – even if they are as Die Linke notes ‘watered down’.
The public coffers may today be in better shape than 2010, and employment may be growing, but do those who shed crocodile tears for the working people in Ireland actually care about the 280,000 people currently on the dole and without work? All the evidence suggests not.
Teachers’ unions protecting some longer term members against the interests of new teachers, or ESB unions protected over-inflated pensions against the interests of small businesses who rely on their services – the same small businesses that represent 70 per cent of all workers in Ireland – provide absolute proof of the insularity espoused by union leadership. The trade union movement is bereft of leadership that cares about all the workers in Ireland, rather than simply its own sectorial membership and the fees they collect.
Quite simply, Ireland does not need collective bargaining. Workers’ rights are extremely well protected in this country, thanks largely to the rules and regulations set down by the European Union. Workers enjoy high standards of healthy and safety in the workplace, relatively high play and conditions vis-a-vis the rest of Europe, and strong protection in labour law, with recourse to the Employment Appeals Tribunal and the Labour Relations Commission.
She concludes that this is a Labour Party stunt. This may well be true, more on the proposal later, but…
One small point. Collective bargaining isn’t as Creighton seems to argue, a (pernicious) optional extra, it is a recognised (by some) as a human right. But who would that be?
As this useful wiki notes:
Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights identifies the ability to organize trade unions as a fundamental human right. Item 2(a) of the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work defines the “freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining” as an essential right of workers.
It would be interesting to know how those who contest the notion stand in relation to that. Or is it that some rights are fundamental, and others… well… they just aren’t. Or as noted in Tomboktu’s other post on the matter from yesterday, that somehow we’re going to wind up with an Irish solution to a supposedly Irish problem that will gut meaning from the very idea.
The piece goes on to note:
In June 2007 the Supreme Court of Canada extensively reviewed the rationale for regarding collective bargaining as a human right. In the case of Facilities Subsector Bargaining Association v. British Columbia, the Court made the following observations:
The right to bargain collectively with an employer enhances the human dignity, liberty and autonomy of workers by giving them the opportunity to influence the establishment of workplace rules and thereby gain some control over a major aspect of their lives, namely their work… Collective bargaining is not simply an instrument for pursuing external ends…rather [it] is intrinsically valuable as an experience in self-government… Collective bargaining permits workers to achieve a form of workplace democracy and to ensure the rule of law in the workplace. Workers gain a voice to influence the establishment of rules that control a major aspect of their lives.
That point alone is essential. The workplace is to some extent – and perhaps unfortunately given its domination financially, time-wise and in other respects – absolutely key to our lives, where working. Any curtailment on workers autonomy within that, anything that tilts the ground yet further towards employers, is something that has to be resisted or pushed back.
Brain scans and ‘good’ mothers… December 3, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.
A lot to critique here, but the last paragraph in this quote here really jumped out at me…
Because the female connections link the left hemisphere, which is associated with logical thinking, with the right, which is linked with intuition, this could help to explain why women tend to do better than men at intuitive tasks, she added.
“Intuition is thinking without thinking. It’s what people call gut feelings. Women tend to be better than men at these kinds of skill which are linked with being good mothers,” Professor Verma said.
Tell me more about quantifying ‘intuition’.
And as to the idea, loftily waved around the CIF thread on the article that this was just ‘science’ and had no implications on how people thought about gender roles… well, a visit here might set anyone with that illusion straight when the reported findings are taken as read as supporting pretty much every tediously reactionary thought some have about women (and men).
An Phoblacht December 2013 December 3, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
THE DECEMBER 2013 ISSUE… OUT NOW
Military Reaction Force – BBC TV Panorama exposes undercover British Army death squad killing civilians in Belfast but what took the mainstream media so long?
Fr Alec Reid, ‘Chaplain to the Peace Process’ – by Gerry Adams
Gas price rises – What Bord Gáis privatisation would mean
‘The Escape’ – the H-Blocks Break-Out – The inside story of a spectacular IRA operation
Caithfear aitheantas iomlán a éileamh don Ghaeilge san AE
Breaking the Berlin Wall, Breaking the Border – Mark Moloney at EU conference in Brussels on Irish reunification with Martina Anderson MEP
Bord Gáis privatisation – Raising prices with temperature in potential sell-offs
Haass Talks: Sinn Féin’s proposals on the past, parades and flags
In Pictures: Marking the 100th anniversary of the Irish Volunteers in Dublin’s Rotunda
Megan Fearon MLA: ‘Where are all the women?’ – Ten female MLAs out of 29 is relatively good, but two female TDs out of 14 just doesn’t cut it, Megan says
People’s Referendum on Irish Unity – Strabane and Lifford say ‘Yes’
Eoin Ó Murchú’s thought-provoking view on exiting the bail-out and what he thinks should happen next
Italian award for ‘The Diary of Bobby Sands: The Story of an Irish Young Man’ ahead of Seamus Heaney, Roddy Doyle and Joseph O’Connor
The Irish Government’s complicity in global tax avoidance. ‘Dublin is the bag man for multinationals,’ says Ciarán Quinn
Remembering the Past: ‘Freedom Struggle by the Provisional IRA’. Mícheál Mac Donncha looks at a book that broke through media and political censorship when Sinn Féin was a banned organisation
Céard is fiú Foras na Gaeilge mura bhfuil acmhianní aige le obair a dhéanamh
Give eels a chance – Robert Allen with a flavour of what makes Lough Neagh’s eels regarded as the best in Europe
John Maclean – Phil Mac Giolla Bháin on the 90th anniversary of death of the Scottish revolutionary socialist, comrade of Connolly and ‘Lenin’s man in Scotland’
The importance of culture in struggle – Ex-POW Peadar Whelan talks to Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh about his new book, ‘Language, Resistance and Revival: Republican Prisoners and the Irish Language in the North of Ireland’
Deasún Breatnach – An Appreciation of the former An Phoblacht editor by Gerry Adams
‘Between the Posts’ – One equal temper of heroic hearts. After the Ireland v All Blacks thriller, Ciarán Kearney looks at sport’s effects on the mood of a nation and Katie Taylor versus Noam Chomsky
All this and much, much more…
Kevin Barry House,
44 Parnell Square, Dublin 1, Ireland.
Tel: 353 1 8726100
The costs of filling that basket… December 1, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, The Left.
…here’s a piece in the Observer on Amazon that is well worth reading in relation to its work practices and just how its operations function and what the implications of same are. The description of work practices, lack of recognition of unions, tax affairs and so on is not news, but it puts it together in a neat encapsulation that should cause pause for thought.
Some key sentences:
“We are the most customer-centric company on earth,” we’re told in our induction briefing, shortly before it’s explained that if we’re late we’ll get half a point, and after three of them we’re out. What constitutes late, I ask. “A minute,” I’m told.
It’s taxes, of course, that pay for the roads on which Amazon’s delivery trucks drive, and the schools in which its employees are educated, and the hospitals in which their babies are born and their arteries are patched up, and in which, one day, they may be nursed in their dying days. Taxes that all its workers pay, and that, it emerged in 2012, it tends not to pay. On UK sales of £4.2bn in 2012, it paid £3.2m in corporation tax. In 2006, it transferred its UK business to Luxembourg and reclassified its UK operation as simply “order fulfilment” business. The Luxembourg office employs 380 people. The UK operation employs 21,000. You do the math.
Brad Stone tells me that tax avoidance is built into the company’s DNA. From the very beginning it has been “constitutionally oriented to securing every possible advantage for its customers, setting the lowest possible prices, taking advantage of every known tax loophole or creating new ones”.
Just as Amazon has eroded 200 years’ worth of workers’ rights through its use of agencies and rendered a large swath of its workers powerless, so it has pulled off the same trick with corporate responsibility. MPs like to slag off Amazon and Starbucks and Google for not paying their taxes but they’ve yet to actually create the legislation that would compel them to do so.
That last is crucial. Nick Cohen’s old quote about the power of the state remaining paramount even in this period and yet being underused (I paraphrase) is one I’ve repeated time and again – and here’s another couple of thoughts from him from over the Summer on this very topic. Amazon acts in certain ways because it is permitted to do so. This doesn’t exculpate it. There are businesses that operate in markedly different ways, even while putting profit at the centre of their activities. But – and yes, neo-liberalism, is the proper term, whether in its social democratic or conservative incarnations has permitted this state of affairs to develop. As Amazon will no doubt correctly point out, it works within the constraints of labour and all other laws, while running rings around them.
It’s amazing how pervasive Amazon can be. Let’s not forget the Kindle. And it’s also important to reflect upon how in cities and towns books stores and DVD and music stores have retreated. I was at Tesco in Clare Hall for the first time ever this weekend and there was a small franchise selling a few books and that was it. Tesco itself sells a very limited range. Likewise with music and so on. It’s a strange dynamic where in some respects the market retreats, or transforms, from the physical space and yet manifests itself in larger comprehensive but deeply problematic ways, as the article outlines. And this is – ironically – a significant problem for other much smaller businesses. The article notes how one supplier even though they refused to use Amazon had the giant use their name. They’re suing. It will be interesting to see how that works out.
One last thought. Look at the description of work practices, of taxation approaches and so on. One analysis in the article suggest that that is unsustainable, but I wonder. I have the sense that actually relatively minimal changes could be introduced that would still allow the company to make significant profits, one need only list some of the areas where its approach seems perverse… low quality safety shoes etc. It would be more difficult but it wouldn’t be impossible. The question is why it doesn’t. The answer to that gets to the heart of all that is wrong with the model.
I’ve found that establishing contact individually online with book or DVD sellers is often easier and offers close enough or better prices and at least there’s the sense that one is minimising exploitative aspects. Any recommended workarounds other people use?
Thanksgiving December 1, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, US Politics.
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RADE to Stage ‘A Hundred Years Ago’ in December December 1, 2013Posted by guestposter in Culture.
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RADE are delighted to announce the return of their successful new theatre play ‘A Hundred Years Ago’ in December. ‘
Dates: Tuesday 3rd, Thursday 5th & Friday 6th Dec
Tuesday 10th, Thursday 12th & Friday 13th Dec
Tuesday 17th & Thursday 19th Dec
Venue: RADE, OLV Building, Cathedral View Court, Off New St, Dublin 8
Tickets: Free, Groups Welcome Please call to reserve seats
01 454 8733 or email@example.com
‘A Hundred Years Ago’ explores the dramatic events that evolved through the autumn of 1913 when ordinary workers took a stand with Jim Larkin against the employers of Dublin city and the subsistent wages that held them in slavery.
The play is delivered with bawdy and raucous humor that includes both jaunty and haunting ballad songs. The food kitchens, proselytizers and Monto girls all come to life as do families and workers struggling to survive in the slum tenements. Here you will find the Dubliners irreverent wit, chiseled from their ancestors and presented warts and all by the RADE Company in their distinctive style.
Much of the dialogue for this year’s show has been compiled from our creative writing class, which gives the drama a tangible and authentic voice addressing this exciting and conflicting period in Dublin’s history. RADE’s critically acclaimed show “the last ten years” was nominated for a Spirit of the Fringe and Best Off Site Production at the 2012 Dublin Fringe Festival.
Please contact Síne on 01 454 8733 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
From the Guardian… November 30, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.
…an anonymous piece from an internet forum moderator on what they’re really thinking. Much of it isn’t applicable to the CLR, we’re a bit more calm. But I laughed at this, not because it’s absolutely wrong, or right, but just because given interactions on some sites, and again not really the CLR at all, one could get that impression:
There are topics some people seem unable to discuss without losing their minds. Politics, obviously. Being a single parent really gets people quacking. Benefits, too. I wonder why people feel the need to vent such strong opinions. If the country were run on the internet, it would be civil war, permanently.