Behold the moderate face of the Republican primaries… February 11, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Dear God, if that’s ‘moderate’…
Sanders and the structure of US politics… February 11, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
The slant in this Slate piece on Bernie Sanders is – I think – well worth considering, albeit the piece itself isn’t overly sympathetic to him. Particularly in that Sanders seems to be aware of the need for systemic change rather than simply placing a party candidate in the White House.
“Do you know who the Koch brothers are, guys?” Sanders, playing professor again at SNHU, asked the youthful crowd. “The Koch brothers are the second wealthiest family in America … they are an extreme right-wing family that wants to not cut Social Security—they want to end Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. They want to abolish the concept of the minimum wage. They want to end all campaign finance regulations so billionaires can give money directly to candidates, making them their own employees.
“Do you think you beat them just by electing a president?” he continued. “We need a mass movement of people who stand up and fight back, and that’s what this campaign is about.”
That said, many of us, and recently yourcousin articulated something along these lines, are sceptical that even a progressive President with a movement is sufficient to genuinely tilt the balance of power.
Crucial point in this last by the author of the piece, Jim Newell:
Sanders’ proposed solution is a long shot, and it is not without its arguable premises. But the fact that he’s the one who’s most up-front about its difficulty is what gives his supporters the impression that his campaign is one worth joining. What Sanders knows, though, is that his own election or defeat in this primary cycle is a minor part in the movement he’s trying to create that needs to last for years and not just to spike during election seasons.
They’re not killing us at the doors when we canvass… February 11, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
So says Pat Rabbitte in the SBP.
He writes that:
The ultimate refuge for the politicians is ‘what we are hearing on the doorsteps’. All human life is out there. The politician does indeed run the gauntlet on all the issues. And yet the politician does not widely encounter the dispiriting pointlessness articulated in the focus groups.
This on foot of the observation by him that in focus groups:
..there appears to be no wish to discriminate between politicians of protest and politicians who could govern. Some middle class respondents appear minded to give the government some credit of the economic recovery, but their working class counterparts are in a destructive mood. Nothing done well in government seems to benefit Labour.
And he suggests that:
Is it that Irish people have a tendency to praise the politician they know, while criticising their party? Is it a function of our clientilist culture and multi-seat constituencies? At a time of the greatest fragmentation we have seen it can hardly be attributed to a lack of choice.
Ah, even taking into account his remarkably sunny reading of the phenomenon of less over discourtesy at the doors, clearly it’s not you, it’s us – the electorate. Of course!
And while we are discussing the SCC February 11, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far
This report in the Independent suggests whatever other functions the Special Criminal Court has its role in tackling gang crime is wildly overstated by the media and certain politicians.
None of the 42 individuals facing the SCC are doing so in relation to gang charges.
An unconvincing defence of the SCC. February 11, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Is it me or is our supposed paper of record remarkably mealy-mouthed in this editorial defence of the Special Criminal Court. A defence which doesn’t actually give any clear reason why the SCC is so sacrosanct that despite – as it notes, both Amnesty and the UNHRC criticising its existence, it must remain. Sure, it claims that the SCC ‘limits intimidation’ but offers no proof at all… instead it suggests:
These non-jury courts are required because of the failure to reassure law-abiding citizens they have nothing to fear from paramilitary organisations or criminal gangs. They have grown out of particular circumstances involving the nature of the State and armed struggle
Is that anywhere near correct? How do we know these fearful citizens exist, how indeed does one measure any such ‘fear’, how does one go around ‘reassuring’ those citizens even should they exist. And if gang violence (or other violence or criminality involving ‘armed struggle’) is somehow so distorting of the legal system then logically by the lights of the IT its very existence is such that we will never be able to move beyond the SCC and/or other ‘streamlined’ forms of justice. How can we?
And why is this state so fundamentally different – particularly in the context of armed struggle which now is effectively close enough to an historical memory in its political form, that such an egregious measure is acceptable for the reason that it’s… well… what ‘we’ (as in the IT) think people think it’s necessary and therefore it is necessary.
It winds up concluding:
They are an imperfect solution but abolition, at this stage, is not an option.
Why not? And if not now when if ever?
Another world is possible… problem is it’s an FG/FF coalition. February 11, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
I’m much taken with the groundswell, a small groundswell, of opinion that seems to be evident of some commentators finding the idea of an FG/FF coalition not merely far from unthinkable, but actually quite possible.
Michael McDowell at the weekend was one who added his voice to the idea it might happen. Elaine Byrne in the SBP is another. She points to 1989 and the remarkable turnaround where the PDs went in with Haughey the elder as evidence for same. It’s not precise because the PDs while deeply hostile to FF, for obvious reasons, were also deeply attracted by state power, or some measure of same. And of course so is FF today, but they have exercised it as top dog whereas in a coalition, and likely the junior partner is a different matter.
I think this is where her point that ‘Dáil arithmetic is more powerful than bitter, personal animosities’ – a quote from Brendan O’Brien, does fall down somewhat. It’s not bitterness, or personal animosity, that prevents a coalition, more the sense for FF that in acquiescing to coalition as the junior partner it might cede some aspect of its former strength. And indeed it would.
That said she makes a further interesting point. That Haughey ‘studiously avoided the word ‘coalition’… The ‘only possible alliance’, ‘a new government’ and ‘new administration’ get him over linguistic principles. Could it be that a ‘national government of FG/FF could do the business. Even better if some other element were in there, how about a couple of RENUA TDs, assuming they are returned, or an SDer here or there, or whatever remains of the LP? That last would be entertaining if only to see how the larger bodies shared out the spoils between one another before offering the smallest element their meagre portion.
And the more I think about it that framing of a ‘National Government’ would do the business for many, wouldn’t it?
Dublin at the Election February 10, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
Having done Connaught-Ulster , Munster and Leinster (Minus Dublin), we’re off to Dublin. Again I could be way off and there are so many places that the last few seats will be decided by a handful of votes and unusual transfer patterns.
Dublin 44 seats (down 3 from 2011)
In 2011 Labour were the biggest Party with 18, FG 17, SF 4, Ind 3, AAA/SP 2, PBP 2, FF 1
Going into the election
FG 13 , FF 0, AAAPBP 4, Lab 15, Ind 6, SD 1, SF 4, Renua 2 , Ind4Change 2
My Totals from here are
FG 12 , FF 5, AAAPBP 5, Lab 2, Ind 6, SD 1, SF 8, Renua 1 , Ind4Change 2, GP 2
Dublin Bay North (5) Richard Bruton (FG), Terence Flanagan (Renua), Finian McGrath (Ind), Sean Kenny (Lab), Aodhan O’Riordan(Lab) and Tommy Broughan (Ind) are the sitting TD’s. Dublin North East and Dublin North Central unite to form this monster and Possibly the most competitive constituency in the Country. Sean Kenny has retired, so there are five sitting TDs, each with a chance of holding on. Can Sinn Fein fielding Micheál MacDonncha and Denise Mitchell make a breakthrough. Can Sean Haughey or Deirdre Heaney get a seat for Fianna Fail, Averil Power is another high profile candidate as well as Stephanie Regan and Naoise O’Muiri for Fine Gael, Cian O’Callaghan of The Social Democrats, John Lyons(PBP) and Michael O’Brien(AAA) of AAAPBP all have a chance.
I’d class Finian McGrath, Richard Bruton and Tommy Broughan as safe but you don’t know. There’s so many possibilities. I’m going to go for….
1 FG, 2 Ind, 1 SF and 1 FF
Dublin Bay South (4) Lucinda Creighton (Renua), Eoghan Murphy (FG), Ruairi Quinn (Lab) and Kevin Humphreys (Lab) are the sitting TD’s. Quinn is retiring. Those in contention also include Kate O’Connell of FG, Jim O’Callaghan (FF), Chris Andrews (SF), Eamon Ryan (GP) and Glenna Lynch (SD). I think Murphy is safe. Was Lucindas vote personal or party? Is there enough potential SF voters here to win Andrews the seat? Will disaffected Labour voters go to The Greens , The Social Democrats, Sinn Fein or Fianna Fail?
2 FG, 1 Renua, 1 Green
Dublin Central (3) Mary Lou McDonald (SF), Paschal Donohoe (FG), Joe Costello (Lab), Maureen O’Sullivan (Ind) are the sitting TD’s. Reduced from 4 to 3 seats with part of The Navan Road moving to Dublin West. All sitting TD’s are contesting along with others including Eilis Ryan of the WP, Cieran Perry (Ind), Christy Burke (Ind), Mary Fitzpatrick (FF) and Gary Gannon (SD). Mary Lou should be safe. One of the government TD’s will lose and I suspect Maureen O’Sullivan will come under pressure from Christy Burke. I think Donohoe will hold off Costello and Burke may take a seat too.
1 SF, 1 Ind, 1 FG
Dublin Fingal (5) Clare Daly (Inds4Change), Alan Farrell (FG), James Reilly(FG), Brendan Ryan (Lab) are the sitting TDs, all are contesting. There’s an extra seat with the addition of some areas around Swords and elsewhere. This is probably FFs best chance of a seat in Dublin with Darragh O’Brien and Lorraine Clifford running for them. Private polling reportedly had O’Brien getting over quota. Louise O’Reilly running for Sinn Fein here, Daly has a running mate in Barry Martin. Terry Kelleher is running for AAAPBP,Joe O’Brien for The Greens, Independent Tony Murphy could poll well too. Logic says the same four with the addition of O’Brien but there really should be a second Left seat here. …….. A hunch is though that Murphy may surprise. If Ryan is ahead of Reilly or Farrell he should hold on. Farrell to lose.
1 FF, 1 FG, 1 Lab, 1 Ind4Change, 1 Ind
Dublin Mid West (4) Joanna Tuffy (Lab), Robert Dowds (Lab), Derek Keating (FG), Frances Fitzgerald(FG) are the outgoing TDs, Dowds in retiring. Eoin O’Broin of Sinn Fein should win a seat here… indeed slightly surprising that they are only running one. After that Keating and Tuffy look vulnerable. Gino Kenny of AAAPBP, John Curran of FF, Paul Gogarty (Ind), Lorraine Hennessy (WP), Anne Marie McNally (SD) and even Fran Timmons (Ind) are all in with a shout here. There should be two from FF/FG/Lab elected here with two from everyone else . I think Gino Kenny may just make it. With Tuffy fighting it out with Curran and Keating and just surviving on Keatings transfers.
1 SF, 1 AAAPBP, 1 FG, 1 Lab
Dublin North West (3) Roisin Shortall (SD), John Lyons (Lab) , Dessie Ellis (SF) are the sitting TD’s and all are standing. Ellis and Shortall should be safe with Paul McAuliffe (FF), Noel Rock (FG) and Cathleen Carney-Boud of Sinn Fein also in the mix. Others who could do well here are Jimmy Dignam (WP), Andrew Keegan (AAAPBP) and Bernie Hughes (Ind). Shortall will attract votes from not just ex Labour voters. If there is an anti FF/FG/Labour vote here then I expect it will be the best placed with Sinn Fein to take a second seat here.
2 SF, 1 SD
Dublin Rathdown (3) Alex White (Lab), Alan Shatter (FG), Olivia Mitchell (FG), Peter Mathews (Ind) , Shane Ross (Ind) are the current TDs. Mitchell is retiring. The old Dublin South with a bit gone to Dun Laoghaire and another to Dublin South West and reduced by 2 seats. All the Dublin South TDs stayed here although Olivia Mitchell is retiring. Catherine Martin of The Greens, Josepha Madigan(FG) , Mary White (FF), Sorcha ni Cormaic (SF) are others in with a shout. Ross is safe and I’d imagine Shatter is also. Final seat is between Mary White, Alex White, Catherine Martin and Josepha Madigan. Mary White could surprise but I have a feeling that this is a place where transfers will have a massive impact on the final seat. I think Catherine Martin of The Greens could get ahead of Alex White (whose Rathfarnham base is in Dublin SW) and will be the most transfer friendly candidate left.
1 FG, 1 Ind, 1 Green
Dublin South Central (4) Eric Byrne (Lab), Michael Conaghan (Lab), Catherine Byrne (FG), Aengus Ó Snodaigh (SF) and Joan Collins (Inds4Change) are the sitting TDs. Conaghan is retiring and this constituency has been reduced from 5 to 4 seats with a solidly middle class area around Terenure taken out. There should be one government TD elected but which Byrne will it be? I suspect it will be Catherine Byrne of FG. O’Snodaigh has a running mate in Marie Devine whilst Brid Smith of AAAPBP will be in the running too. Collins hard work on the ground should help her. Catherine Armagh is running for FF, Independent Paul Hand could do well . O’Snodaigh should get in with the final two seats a battle between Devine, Collins, Smith and Eric Byrne. Collins and Smith should join O’Snodaigh and Catherine Byrne.
1 FG, 1 SF, 1 AAAPBP, 1 Inds4Change
Dublin South West (5) Paul Murphy (AAAPBP), Pat Rabbitte (Lab), Eamonn Maloney (Ind), Sean Crowe (SF) are the sitting TD’s. Rabbitte has retired and the constituency has an extra seat with the addition of Rathfarnham. John Lahart is running for FF, Anne-Marie Darmody, Karen Warren and Colm Brophy for FG, Ronan McMahon for Renua, Pamela Kearns and Mick Duff for Labour, There are some strong Independents in Katerine Zappone and Deirdre O’Donovan (Aligned with Shane Ross). AAAPBP are also running Sandra Fay and Sinn Fein are also running Sarah Holland. At the minute there are 20 candidates listed, so transfers will be vital. We also have to see if SF or AAAPBP can manage their vote as there is a possibility that there could be a good transfer rate between them and one may help the others second candidate get over the line. Again here turnout will have a big influence on the result. I reckon we will have an almost 50/50 split between FF/FG/Lab/Renua and Ind/AAAPBP/SF and the transfers within these blocks will have a big influence on the result. Zappone and O’Donovan should either have enough of a first preference vote could be the most attractive to transfers
Murphy and Crowe should get in. Fine Gael should win a seat. I think the last two seats are between Lahart, The second FG, McMahon , Holland and Zappone . It will be a scrape but I give Lahart and Zappone the last two seats.
1 FG, 1 FF, 1 SF, 1 AAAPBP, 1 Ind
Dublin West (4) Leo Varadkar (FG), Joe Higgins (AAAPBP), Ruth Coppinger (AAAPBP) and Joan Burton (Lab) are the sitting TDs. Higgins is retiring. Other contenders include Jack Chambers of Fianna Fail (this was the only Dublin Constituency to elected an FF TD in 2011 and part of The Navan Rd has been added to the constituency since) ,Paul Donnelly of Sinn Fein , Independent ex FFer David McGuinness and Catherine Noone of FG. Varadkar should take a seat, leaving Coppinger, Donnelly, Chambers and Burton fighting it out for the last 3 seats. Turnout in the likes of Corduff and Mulhuddart will be vital if both Coppinger and Donnelly are to be elected. However the carrot of taking Burton out will surely add to turnout here. In the end I think Chambers may just have enough to take out Burton.
1 FF , 1 FG, 1 AAAPBP, 1 SF
Dun Laoghaire (4) Sean Barrett (FG), Mary Mitchell O’Connor (FG), Eamon Gilmore (Lab) and Richard Boyd Barrett (PBPAAA) are the sitting TD’s. Gilmore is retiring and Sean Barrett is automatically returned making this in effect a 3 seater. The addition of Foxrock and other areas from Dublin South and the increased presence of Sinn Fein here will hit Boyd-Barrett as there will be a massive quota. Labour selected Carrie Smyth who is based in Gilmores heartland. How much of the Gilmore vote she holds on to and how much goes to Boyd-Barrett will have a big say. He’s fairly transfer friendly though and should just about scrape in. For Fine Gael Mary Mitchell O’Connor should be the frontrunner but I expect Maria Bailey to poll strongly. Mary Hanafin and Cormac Devlin are running for FF with among others in the line up Carol Hunt of The Independents Alliance, Ossian Smyth of the Greens and Shane O’Brien of Sinn Fein. With 1 FG we’re into a mad battle for the final two seats. I think RBB will hold on . How FG manage their vote will have a big say in the final seat as Labour transfers (and Labour will do OK here but not take a seat) could take the seat from Hanafins grasp. In the end I reckon Hanafin will just beat the second FG but it will be close
2 FG, 1 FF, 1 AAAPBP
My totals again
FG 12 , FF 5, AAAPBP 5, Lab 2, Ind 6, SD 1, SF 8, Renua 1 , Ind4Change 2, GP 2
On a really good day FG could win 16, a bad day 9.
On a really good day FF could win 9, a bad day 2.
On a really good day SF could win 10, a bad day 6.
On a really good day Labour could win 8 a bad day 1
On a really good day AAAPBP could win 7, a bad day 3
On a really good day SD could win 3 , a bad day just the 1
The Greens are at their max with 2, could end up with nothing.
A great day for Renua would be to win 3. Bad day lose both their seats.
We’ll see. I just feel that Labou will need to be in the teens to have a decent amount of success, As for Fine Gael, if they changed their leader they would do better. FF should win back a good few seats in Dublin. The failure to do so would be a massive blow.
Uselessness… February 10, 2016Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
From Archon of the Southern Star – many thanks as usual to the person who forwarded it…
DESPITE Labour’s silver-tongued political correctness over the past five years, the party is facing melt-down next month when the ordinary people of Ireland punch home the fact that everything wrong with this country is not due to the tyranny of the Catholic Church, but to the party’s uselessness.
The Cloth Cap Brigade, you see, abandoned whatever principles it had on becoming suffused with Fine Gael meanness. Worse still, it endorsed the Blueshirt message that Ireland had to shake off the remnants of traditional values in order to join the 21st century.
In the process, Labour became an enthusiastic participant in the Fine Gael mission to be on the side of everything that was swish, trendy, financed by shifty lobbies and backed by sympathetic cronies in the meeja – particularly in RTÉ and the Indo-Sindo.
But now retributive justice is on its way. The polls are indicating that, although Fine Gael will not repeat its 76-seat record of the 2011 election, it has retained the vital core support of its smug, conservative stronghold in town and country. Labour, on the other hand is facing Armageddon.
Why? Because it endorsed Fine Gael’s tolerance of the systemic rot that accompanied the imposition of water and property taxes, the fact that oligarchies control the media, that the banking sector is in a state of putrefaction, that chaos reigns in the gardaí and that a breakdown afflicts the health service.
It’s sad, of course, that Labour is a victim of public revulsion, considering the trendy efforts it made to be on the side of everything that was commercial, saleable, and economically with-it, even if it meant Labour’s social conscience disappearing down the jacks.
The failures of Education Minister, Jan O’Sullivan, are a case in point. Following in the footsteps of her predecessor, Ho Chi Quinn, O’Sullivan wanted to leave an indelible mark on Ireland’s newest political football, education.
In Quinn’s case, abolishing the Junior Certificate and replacing it with a system of school-based continuous assessment was the essence of contemporary trendyism. The proposal originated in the country’s trendiest quango, the handsomely-financed National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, and it was totally off the wall. It had as much substance as Quinn’s solemn pre-election vow to oppose any increase in third-level registration fees.
The result? Parents, teachers and schools laughed Quinn out of court, but O’Sullivan was not deterred. Responding to mosquito groups such as Atheist Ireland, she declared less religion in primary schools was very desirable and began planning a new curriculum for schools that would not concentrate on teaching a particular religion. Instead schools would provide information about religion in general.
The surplus time achieved by having fewer religion classes would be devoted to philosophy, modern languages, financial education and ‘coding’ – topics that seven-year-olds would find enthralling!
Balmpot stuff that had to be taken seriously by the Bishops’ Council for Education! Last week the bishops issued a statement reminding the Minister that a school’s stated ethos (the values and principles) ‘is promoted by the owners or patrons-trustees of the school and not by central government. In Catholic schools religious education is based on a Christian vision of the human person with a clear respect for all people irrespective of faiths. This is expressed in a commitment to learning to engage in interreligious dialogue in age appropriate ways. Faith schools exist because there are parents who wish to have their children educated in accordance with their religious convictions. If the ethos of these schools is undermined then the rights of such parents are compromised.’
Which was a polite way of saying ‘put that in your pipe, missus, and cop yourself on’!
Of course, the crusading Ms O’Sullivan may not be with us much longer as Education Minister. Although boasting of being a disciple of the anti-nationalist Jim Kemmy, she hasn’t his proletarian appeal and is under severe pressure to hold her Limerick seat in a constituency where the Labour vote plummeted to 11 per cent in the local elections.
To make matters worse, racing up the inside track is Sinn Féin’s Maurice Quinlivan who is tipped to knock her for six. Yet, we must confess a sneaking regard for Ms O’Sullivan. Accompanied by Master Mariner Joan Burton, she’s decided to go down with the ship – unlike certain smart lads, such as Ruairi Quinn, the two former Workers Party ideologues Messrs Rabbitte and Gilmore, and the three political non-entities no one ever heard of: Jack Wall, Michael Conaghan and Sean Kenny.
Those guys eagerly grabbed the ‘pinsin’ and proclaiming they were finished with national politics jumped the coffin ship (affectionately named the ‘Working Class-Me-Arse’) and headed for the security of dry land.
And although some Labourites might be heartbroken at the plight of the brave political refugees who chose to remain on board, they can take solace in the fact that Madame Burton and Jan O’Sullivan will not be alone as ministers whose political careers are destined to go down the Swanee.
Another old-stager facing extinction is Kathleeeen Lynch, the Junior Health Minister. Sadly, her stewardship of Mental Health and Disability has been an unmitigated disaster, which has led to the assertion that a good ship’s officer she certainly ain’t.
Having learned nothing from the scandal of the Leas Cross nursing home after a ‘Prime Time’ television report revealed sub-standard living conditions, she was quite taken aback when another TV investigation told of a litany of forced feeding, kicking and slapping of patients at the Áras Attracta home.
And then, last week, we had the latest horror to occur under her incompetent jurisdiction: the long term savage sexual abuse of a disabled victim in a South East foster home.
Minister Lynch, as with prior cases, professed to be shocked – although negligently out of touch might have been a more appropriate description of her reaction (for instance, she hadn’t a clue if any of her HSE officials had been disciplined!).
Anywhere else, the minister in charge would resign or be sacked.
Later this month, we’ll learn if her Cork Northside constituents have given her a well- deserved bum’s rush. Speculation already is rife that she’ll be out on her ear if the poll-topping vote of SF’s Jonathan O’Brien brings comrade Thomas Gould into the Dáil with him.
Indeed, the harrowing scenario for Labour is that the party will end up with nobody in Cork city and county except for one humble county councillor. In the 2014 local elections, Labour lost all its city councillors and all but two of its county councillors, one of whom later defected to Fine Gael.
A serious question mark hangs over Deputies Ciarán Lynch in Cork South Central and Mallow’s Seán Son of Sherlock. And our very own Michael McCarthy could also be for the chop and, jeepers-creepers, that’s just not trendy at all!
Another Poll February 10, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
POLL: RedC/Paddy Power
(Thurs-Mon, MoE 3%)
FG 30(-1 in 3/4days)
It’s all margin of error stuff. The campaign doesn’t seem to have taken off yet or is just a dull campaign….or just public apathy.
Have had very few canvassers call, yet to see a canvass when out shopping or the like.
The only ones I’ve seen have been walking down the Canal on the way to work. I wonder are the numbers of party people active in the campaign down? That the parties don’t have the membership they once did.
One major component of the present crisis in the US… February 10, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Great point in an interview with Adam McKay who did The Big Short on the Slate.com political podcast. When asked how have we got to where we are in relation to financial crisis, capitalism and so on (in the US in particular), and what topic might be addressed in a film, he answers:
I think… the destruction of unions is crazy. Wages have gone down and down. You look at any state that is Right to Work – your average salary is 5k less per person… somehow due to the PR… they’ve really convinced Americans to hate unions which are us – it’s about the only way we get fair wages, they’ve shown in other countries where they have unions the workplace is safer, people live longer, communities build more, it actually helps the business because it helps the middle class.
A film study of that would be interesting, whether documentary or fictionalise. Of course in Ireland there’s been different dynamics in play, at least to some extent. Certainly the co-option of some inside unions by FF governments and after was a factor too. But I do agree that without unions…well… it’s not good. What do others think?