Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Pope Benedict said today that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.
Pretty much every blog I visit is commenting on this and with good reason. It's so mind blowingly ignorant/hateful/stupid/weird/etc/etc that I was taken aback when I heard it.
Today many in the media will howl in protest at the man, but tomorrow he and his superstition will still be "respected" (It's one of the great* religions - don't ya know!?)
* great : Def, 'Very large in size.' but when refering to religions usually is taken to imply 'august'
Monday, 22 December 2008
Everyone understands that the root cause of this economic catastrophe was corporate money's influence on our politics. Corporations are able to concentrate money. We, the People let them do that because it enables them to undertake large-scale projects. But currently executives can access that money and use it to influence politics through bribery and/or manipulating public opinion. Deregulation, unfair tax codes, loss of consumer and worker protections and decades of falling wages and benefits have been the result -- hardly in the interest of the public.
Until we stop allowing use of corporate money to influence politcians and the public these problems will only increase.
When are we going to come to grips with that?
IMAGINE IF the Government lost a general election but refused to concede defeat. Imagine if they said that while respecting the outcome, they believed that the electorate failed to understand the issues, were misled by opposition parties and manipulated by the media. Imagine if they decided to re-run the election, threatening international isolation and economic collapse if the electorate refused to change their mind.
(sounds like Zimbabwe to me)
The above quote is from Mary Lou McDonald in todays Irish Times.
Compare and contrast this simple statement to the blatter offered by Dick Roche (and to be fair, almost everyone else in "offical" Ireland).
the fact of the matter is, your vote means nothing.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Diamond also touches very briefly on why the dominant powers of the last 500 years have been West European rather than East Asian (especially China). The Asian areas in which major civilizations arose had geographical features conducive to the formation of large, stable, isolated empires which faced no external pressure to correct policies that led to stagnation. On the other hand Europe's many natural barriers divided it into competing nation-states and this competition forced the European nations to encourage innovation and avoid technological stagnation.link
While the other sucker countries of the E.U. didn't get to vote at all, Ireland shows everybody whose boss by getting to vote twice!
In olden times democracy's used to vote on things once, or for elections, once every few years but not any more!
Now, thanks to the new improved "E.U. Democracy 2.0" (patent pending) most people don't even need to vote but if, due to pesky constitutional requirements, this can't be avoided the question can be put again and again, each time with even more terrifying predictions of calamity, until the correct result is obtained!
The new "E.U. Democracy 2.0" comes packed with features;
a) A compliant press
b) Scowling E.U. bureaucrats
c) Denunciation pack filled with zingers to put those troublesome 'loons' in their place
d) The 'Vague Assurances' quote card set and
e) The "this is real democracy in action" Mad Libs prep.
Also included are 100's of pages of an unintelligible treaty that no one really understands.
So what are we waiting for?
Let's get voting.
Don't worry about the result, we can always be asked again...
[snip] easy credit. If we look at the activities of the three largest banks in the country since 2004, we see that they all nearly doubled their loan books, funnelling money into the country.
To achieve these rates of credit growth, they abandoned all sense of banking decorum and borrowed heavily abroad. As a result, domestic spending went through the roof and Irish inflation rocketed. The prices of everything rose; as did wages. This massive increase in Irish costs was ironically most easily gauged by free-spending Irish tourists complaining to Joe Duffy about the great value they could get in Spain in comparison to home. The difference between a dinner for two in Spain and the same in Athlone, became the staple conversation of the new Irish middle class.
All this disparity was telling you was that Ireland was pricing itself out of the world market. We could only keep the show on the road by borrowing even more of other people's money we didn't have, to buy stuff we didn't need.
The truth is most of the individual mistakes boil down to just one: a belief that markets are self-adjusting and that the role of government should be minimal.
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
This first one deals with the brain. It's amazing to think that until quite recently they didn't know what it was for.
This one deals with the notion of Golden Ages - something very many people seem to take very seriously. A few years ago in a pub I reckoned that this was the best era yet for "mankind" I was roundly attacked and regaled with tales of parents idyllic lives pre-1950's. For me it sounded like ignorance was indeed bliss.
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
Monday, 8 December 2008
Publisher Veritas was barred from promoting religious presents and urging people to buy a gift with meaning under strict rules policed by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland.
The watchdog claimed mentioning Christmas during an on-air advert and reading out the website address could cause offense.
What we have here is a case of the seemingly most important right - The right NOT to be offended - trumping all other rights. It's absolute madness! If someone (who?) is offended by an advert mentioning Christmas they can go fuck themselves as far as I'm concerned.
(Jesus it feels weird siding the loons)
Friday, 5 December 2008
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Brain scientists have succeeded in fooling people into thinking they are inside the body of another person or a plastic dummy.
The out-of-body experience - which is surprisingly easy to induce - will help researchers to understand how the human brain constructs a sense of physical self.
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Behold the Christmas market!
Marvel at the wonderful animals in their natural environment!
Rome was a great mini series and, at the time, I was disappointed that there wasn't going to be a third season. Today, however, I read this -
Heller [the shows creator] said. “The second was going to end with death of Brutus. Third and fourth season would be set in Egypt. Fifth was going to be the rise of the messiah in Palestine. But because we got the heads-up that the second season would be it, I telescoped the third and fourth season into the second one, which accounts for the blazing speed we go through history near the end. There’s certainly more than enough history to go around.”I cannot imagine a more asinine direction to take this show in, it's up there with Darth Vader being a whiney git and Indian Jones meeting aliens, Oops, sorry, I mean "Interdimensional Beings". I can't imagine anyone seriously interested in the show would have wanted it do delve into some sort of sword and sorcery magic adventure complete with zombies and talking animals. Christ! what a maddening idea! Thank god Rome was cancelled.
Monday, 1 December 2008
[T]he commissars, the secular priesthood, the state ideologists…I think it is an extremely corrupt group. I think this is also the group that is the most subject to effective indoctrination, tends to have the least understanding of what is happening in the world, in fact, tends to have a sort of institutionalized stupidity.
Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.
Whether the British ruling class are wicked or merely stupid is one of the most difficult questions of our time.
thanks to This Modern World
Perhaps the sight of 3 hour tailbacks heading into Newry over the weekend had the government, retailers and publicans scrambling over each other to hit the panic switches.
Now, I have long since realised that the governing classes in Ireland are far from what might be termed "leaders" but even I have been surprised by the doe eyed bewilderment exhibited as they shrug their shoulders and mutter something about patriotism under their breaths.
Indeed, in Ireland at least, patriotism is being redefined as
Pay more tax, accept high prices, expect poor public services, never get sickIt's remarkable how "one way" this patriotism appears. During the Celtic Tiger days prices went though the roof and the price-unconscious Irish where only too happy to pay. Needless to say there where no patriotic calls for price restrained back then. But now the worm has turn, people have less money, huge mortgages and unsecure jobs. They are angry, worried and looking for someone to blame and that list is long.
I personally think there has been huge damage done to the image of "Ireland Inc" as perceived by the people who live here. Everyone now "knows" that goods are cheep in Northern Ireland and so they will plan their spending accordingly. So even if (big IF) an Irish retailer (of whatever strip) sees sense and stops price gouging it will take quite a while before the message spreads and the natives return.
Just got a long letter from Journalist Brian Boyd, where he details the research that went into his profile of me in the Irish Times. He’s genuinely upset that I don’t like it, and he feels that the story is close enough to the truth to make my many objections to it moot. I disagree, because I believe that a fact is either true or it’s not, just as someone is either pregnant or not.link
Friday, 28 November 2008
But my Marxist dinner companions really stunned me when they claimedWOW! the conclusion?
that Stalin “wasn’t all that bad,” and that “Mao was even better.”
The problem, in other words, is the uniquely human
penchant for adopting an ideological position and then sticking to it,
reality be damned.
Thursday, 27 November 2008
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
We got talking to a few of the locals who shook their heads in disbelief at the influx of shoppers. If any one of them ever thought of heading south for a break they must now have put it firmly out of their minds, convinced the republic is both horrendously expensive (it is) and we are all complete alcoholics (somewhat true). I did my bit anyway by filling a trolley full of wine. One very pleasant surprise is the availability of English ales and bitters, I brought a few to sample and have been really impressed. They are definitely on my list for next time.
Of course the reaction from our political goat-herders has been laughable. Here's a quote from todays Irish Times;
[Dublin Lord Mayor Eibhlin]Byrne insists there is good value to be had in Dublin and suggests consumers taper their ambitions for Christmas rather than spending outside the jurisdiction. "If you can buy 12 bottles of wine in Belfast for a certain price, why not settle for 10 bottles of the same in Dublin?"Exactly!
10 is just as good as 12. Stop being so ambitious people! 10 will do you, 12 is too much. Haven't you 10 fingers on your hand?
It really is no wonder the country is falling apart....
Thursday, 20 November 2008
The Sub-Committee on Ireland's Future in the EU has been told that its sole objective was to attempt to overthrow the democratic wishes of the majority of the people who voted No to the Lisbon Treaty.
Richard Greene of the group COIR, which advocated a NO vote in the Lisbon referendum, told the committee that this objective was a denial of democracy and amounted to an act of treason.
Committee chairman Senator Paschal Donoghoe said it was an outrageous allegation and that he had never seen such a disgraceful performance from any group before it.
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
An infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar. The first one orders a beer. The second orders half a beer. The third, a quarter of a beer. The bartender says "You're all idiots", and pours two beers.
Munster were missing 10 of their first line players due to international duty but they played with a passion and intensity that was a wonder to behold. Munster did everything right, they played the game, the tackled well, they where not intimidated, they never stopped. Compare and contrast yesterdays performance with Ireland's attempt on Saturday. In every way it was the inverse, in every way Munster where better, more honest, more fearless, more prideful - if only it could be bottled.
To me it seemed every player became twice as fit, twice as hard for yesterdays game but for me the man of the match was Peter Stringer, the man played out of his skin and was back to his ferocious best. His performance must surely put him back in contention for the Ireland position. I certainly hope so.
So if you love sport, love rugby or are even just rugby-curious, beg, borrow or steal a video of this game to see the heights sport can attain. To get you started here is the video of the rare "Munster Haka", when watching keep in mind the stadium holds only 25,000 people.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Monday, 17 November 2008
Thursday, 13 November 2008
Brokers Believe Worst Is Over and Recommend Buying of Real Bargains
Wall Street in looking over the wreckage of the week, has come generally to the opinion that high grade investment issues can be bought now, without fear of a drastic decline. There is some difference of opinion as to whether not the correction must go further, but everyone realizes that the worst is over, and that there are bargains for those who are willing to buy conservatively and live through the immediate irregularity.
-- New York Herald Tribune, October 27, 1929
Don't believe a word of it myself...
lifted from Seeing The Forest.
(Edited 17.11.2008, forgot to add last sentence)
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
THE PRESIDENT of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, has warned of a shift towards "supranationalism" in Europe which he says is supressing freedom and democracy.Predicable this has been met with howls of indignation and hysteria by 'Official' Ireland Too bad they kept their mouths shut when we where being threatened and mocked by our so called "friends in Europe".
The joys of living with such mediocre leaders and politicians just never seems to end ...
The gnomes, along with plastic flowers and other decorations such as teddy bears, have been called "inappropriate" and tacky by the Diocese of Bath and Wells.
The church banned the garden figures from Wrington and Congresbury cemeteries in Somerset, and have said they will remove any that they find as part of new guidelines issued by the Chancellor of the Diocese, Worshipful Timothy Briden.
A spokesman for the Diocese of Bath and Wells said: "There is no such thing as a real gnome so why should we have such unnatural creatures in churchyards?"
thanks to Pharngula for the link
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Khazin: Yes, the U.S. did create a very high standard of living by stimulating consumer demand. Generations lived without having to experience poverty. But it's impossible to live forever in debt. Household debt has now surpassed the national economy — more than $14 trillion. Now it's time to pay up. Of course, Wall Street tried to postpone this collapse. I won't go into detail about derivatives and other such financial assets, but this was just a gasp for air before an inevitable death.
Another problem in the U.S. is that powerful industries were built around this growing demand. Whatever decision Wall Street takes right now, the demand is going to fall. What will happen to these industries? In 2000, we estimated that 25 percent of the U.S. economy would disappear. Today, we think the number is closest to one-third — if not more.
We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities.snip (an uncanny description of our previous leader Bertie this)
Political leaders in our post-literate society no longer need to be competent, sincere or honest. They only need to appear to have these qualities. Most of all they need a story, a narrative. The reality of the narrative is irrelevant. It can be completely at odds with the facts. The consistency and emotional appeal of the story are paramount. The most essential skill in political theater and the consumer culture is artifice. Those who are best at artifice succeed.[snip]
The Princeton Review analyzed the transcripts of the Gore-Bush debates, the Clinton-Bush-Perot debates of 1992, the Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960 and the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. It reviewed these transcripts using a standard vocabulary test that indicates the minimum educational standard needed for a reader to grasp the text. During the 2000 debates, George W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.7) and Al Gore at a seventh-grade level (7.6). In the 1992 debates, Bill Clinton spoke at a seventh-grade level (7.6), while George H.W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.8), as did H. Ross Perot (6.3). In the debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, the candidates spoke in language used by 10th-graders. In the debates of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas the scores were respectively 11.2 and 12.0. In short, today’s political rhetoric is designed to be comprehensible to a 10-year-old child or an adult with a sixth-grade reading level. It is fitted to this level of comprehension because most Americans speak, think and are entertained at this level.
thanks to onegoodmove for the link
Friday, 7 November 2008
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Teenage girls "will die unnecessarily" as a result of the cancellation of the cervical cancer vaccination programme, it was warned yesterday.
The decision by Health Minister Mary Harney to halt the roll out of the €10m programme came under fire from women's groups and from the opposition in the Dail yesterday.
The are saving a paltry €10 million here, mean while they can find €150 million for the builders and €1 billion for FAS and a blank check for bankers.
I hate living in a banana republic!
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
How does one become a financial expert? You don't seem to have to know anything about the market at all bar "Up good, Down bad". Every single one of them mocked David McWilliams when he warned of the impending disaster, they smirk when the word 'social' and 'responsible' are used in any way relating to business and genuinely seem to the think the worst is "almost" over.
Mr McWilliams reckons we are about to enter phase two of a three part collapse but you'd never know it from by listening to the 'experts'.
Anyway, looks like the Bank Of Ireland is fucked! I bank with these idiots.
[it] doesn't have anything like the wriggle room. It has almost none. It can sell its life business, which is decent enough. There's also a bit of hedge fund stuff in the States. The BIAM asset management division is a dog, having lost billions in mandates. Nobody will touch it with an asbestos-covered barge pole. There's also a medium-sized British mortgage business. But you'd need Hulk-sized stones to even think of buying that.
This means that unless it can get Banco Santander to buy it lock, stock and barrel, Bank of Ireland is probably going to be owned by you and me.
Monday, 3 November 2008
I loved Bloom County, missed Outland entirely and only recently discovered Opus (what can I say, I wasn't paying attention) so I feel like someone who arrived at a great party just as music stops.
An interview with the author Berkeley Breathed is here;
And the last strip is ...
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
The real priorities are cutting back on health care and education and shoveling more money to the bankers and builders.
This clip from Prime Time shows the latest madness of the government becoming a sub prime lender.
Edit: I was tagged by No More Mr Nice Guy, it took me a while to post my answers and then I forgot to mention the context. Doh!
Can You Remember The Day That You Officially Became An Atheist? Do you remember the day you officially became an agnostic?
I can, I was in work and I whispered to myself “there is no god”. My heart started pounding and I felt a mixture of guilt/sin/relief.
I was born and raised am Irish a-la-carte Roman Catholic and for most of my youth I just believed it. I did run into difficulties as I was a big fan of science fiction and as a child I loved dinosaurs. There’s nothing like vast quantities of time and space to undermine a faith so for the most part I just ignored the problem (think doublethink). It wasn’t until the sex scandals involving the Catholic church that arose during the early 90’s that I really started to question my faith. The initial transition away from Roman Catholicism was easy – the church was full of men and since all men are mortal corruption was bound to set in, but I still believed in god, albeit a slightly fuzzier all rounder (Christian) type god than the one I had grown up with. I stayed this way for quite a long while, most of my 20’s I would think, but gradually and surely it was chipped away. I think this is what got me interested in religion, due to these doubts I tried to confirm my belief but, of course, this had the opposite effect and the whole thing snowballed.
How about the last time you spoke or prayed to God with actual thought that someone was listening?)
To be honest this one is a bit vague for me. During my de-conversion I did have moments of ‘weakness’ where I wanted there to be a god and for prayers to work. However I found the experience a bit like holding my breath, the rational always burst through.
Did anger towards God or religion help cause you to be an atheist or agnostic?
In a way it did, like I mentioned above the sex scandals showed the utter hypocrisy of the church and made it easy to leave them behind. But I always had wide ranging interests and you can’t doublethink forever.
Here is a good one: Were you agnostic towards ghosts, even after you became an atheist?
No, as a matter of fact superstitious believe was the first to go. Even the most forgiving critical eye can spot superstition for the nonsense it is and masters like James Randi provide excellent entertainment while disproving it. The fuzzy god (good, distant, vague) was much harder to dismiss.
Do you want to be wrong?
Good god no! If the Christian/Muslims etc are right I’m really for it!! ;-)
Also, it would be a profound disappoint to learn that the most supreme being in the universe is a dick!
Anyway, have a look.
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Thursday, 23 October 2008
This from a certain Ms Catherine Day:
She told a Dail committee yesterday that when Irish representatives at meetings try to voice concerns on issues other than Lisbon, the mood among other delegates is that "the Irish are being difficult" again.
This has led to the Irish having to "think twice" before raising issues, she added.
Ms Day said that the 'No' vote has meant that, for the time being, other member states tend to view Ireland only through the prism of the Lisbon Treaty.
"But I do not believe that Ireland's image has been tarnished irrevocably, provided we are able to ratify in a reasonable time period.
Those naughty Irish and their "democracy". we must crush them!
Anyway a quite search on the inter-web for Catherine Day brings up this page, in which it says;
Ms. Day was part of a reshuffle among Commission officials in favour of liberal economic reformers
and we all know how well "liberal economic reforms" are working out right now. I wouldn't trust these people to drop if pushed over a cliff ...
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
After all the voter fraud of the past two US elections they must have felt it was time to accuse the Democrats of the crime.
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Is it just me or would the entire Irish banking system have gone under if Lisbon had been in place?
The two E.U. countries (that I can see) to react quickest to the banking crisis where Ireland & England, I don't see how having to consult with Germany, France, Spain, Italy et al would have sped the process up or lead to the correct/necessary decision.
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Also striking is how elegant the declaration is, compare and contract to any religion.
link from boingboing
Also Doing the rounds;
To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).
Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.
Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.
A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
(You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary.)
1. Then look up aluminium, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.
2. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as "colour", "favour", "labour" and "neighbour." Likewise, you will learn to spell "doughnut" without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise'. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up "vocabulary").
3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as US English. We will let M*crosoft know on your behalf. The M*crosoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter "u" and the elimination of -ize.
4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not ready to shoot grouse.
6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
7. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables.
Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
8. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.
9. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
10. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
11. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in
Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.
12. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies). Don't try rugby - the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us.
13. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyondyour borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
14. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.
15. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
16. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.
God Save the Queen!