Thursday, March 16, 2006

Yet another post about Paddy's Day


Yeah, just had a look at irishblogs.ie, and I can see I'm only going to be contributing to a cluster of these posts, but howandever it won't stop me!!

Tomorrow is the feastday of our national saint. St. Patrick's Day, for decades a day when you brought the kids to see the carnival..now a week-long festival celebrating the eccentricities of Oirish culture. Also a day where we get to watch Sky News and RTE with a smug smile as they broadcast clips of festivities around the world and we get to congratulate ourselves on th breadth of the diaspora across the globe, and how great our little nation is.

But not forgetting that it's a day when every member of Dublin's underclass gets tanked up on cans of Dutchie and Linden Village, before staggering the short distance from their tenements to the city centre, where they cross the Liffey for the the first time in 12 months to lay siege to Grafton Street, cover the McDonald's street frontage in urine, lay an attractive broken glass carpet on the pavement and generally behave like the little fucks they are.
And the poor Gardai spend the day tearing around town trying to arrest as many burberry wearing knackbags as possible, either due to visible law breaking or the law of averages.

I've been in town the last two years..and it was mental. For entertainment purposes, my friends and I spent a good 15 minutes following the paddywagons (an appropriate monicker, given the day in question) up and down Grafton St, as they moved from mob to mob, to disrupt and arrest the louts.
The scary thing is the utter lack of fear that knackers now have towards the police. That needs to be remedied with a few batons to the back of the head and a good number of arrests. Fear may not be the only thing needed to get the Gardai back the respect they're owed by these... creatures, but it's a step in the right direction.

All-in-all, a day to be proud to be Irish, so long as you don't focus on the Irish.
Have a good one, everybody.

Belated White Christmas.


Looking out the window of the Daedalus Building in UCD...the snow is coming down in fair sized lumps.

I give up on this country!! It's the middle of March..spring was meant to kick into gear a fortnight ago. Instead, the weather's just gotten worse. 3 solid weeks now of cold, rain, wind and occassionally hail and snow.
And don't go saying that there's no point whinging about the weather because it can't be changed.

I beg to differ.

Hand me an aerosol..this has gone on long enough.

BTW, have been playing "Guild Wars" on a friend's PC out here..bloody addictive!! Worth a look.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

USA! USA! USA!

Star Spangled Banner-Electric Guitar solo.

Aw man....no wonder they're so patriotic. Sounds great. If anyone knows of electric quitar renditions of Amhran na Bhfiann, lemme know..I'd say it sounds good too.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Love Ulster or hate it

I am ashamed.

Ashamed to be Irish today.

On Saturday, democracy in Ireland was suspended for several hours, as peaceful marchers were denied their right to express their opinion. And a mob of hard line republicans and Dublin scumbags (of which there is an epidemic level in our fair city) went on the rampage, preventing any semblance of law and order across large parts of the city.

I'm getting more and more annoyed as I type this.

Where to begin?

Well obviously blame lies with Republican Sinn Fein for apparently organising this little riot. I think it's about time that the party itself was ruled to be an illegal organisation, because clearly they have no interest in the freedom and inalienable rights of othjer people, or indeed their right to disagree. They need to be raided and closed down as a political party in Ireland. That may seem a little extreme, but what happened on the weekend is, I think, sufficient evidence that extreme action is necessary.

The other Sinn Fein (the ones with apparently no involvement in this fracas) needs to be told quite frankly by both governments that there will be no progress with regards to the North until the IMC have stated that there is not criminality associated with the IRA. SF needs to sign up policing in Northern Ireland and make a declaration in the Republic that they fully recognise the Irish Defence Forces and Oireachtas as the legitimate army and parliament of Ireland. The Dail needs to introduce an oath of affirmation to be taken by all Deputies in which they swear to recognise and uphold the Constitution.
Until all that is done, not one iota of progress should be promised by either Merrion St or Downing St.

There needs to be a full investigation of the Garda response to the threat of disorder on Saturday. While I cannot applaud enough the bravery of the guards on the beat that day, it would appear that people further up the chain of command seriously underestimated the risks that the parade would bring with it, and did not allocate sufficient resources.

There needs to be a massive increase in the number of Gardai on the streets in Dublin during the day and night time. The scumbags responsible for this destruction and wanton criminality are a small percentage of the thousands of knackers that shuffle around our streets day after day. They need watching properly.

The bastards who have so far been charged with various offences need to be tried by the Special Criminal Court, because I don't trust juries to convict them. And we need harsh prison sentences to be imposed to dissuade anyone else from ever trying this again. The Irish state is a mature, 80 year old democracy..this should not be tolerated, and should not be allowed to go unpunished.

As for the 90th Anniversary commemoration of the 1916 Rising..I don't think now is the time to be going about that. Whether it should be called off is a topic for another day, methinks.

What a sad day for Ireland.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Mahommadness

Absolutely indefensible.

I have been watching the news over the past week with a mixture of incredulity and irritation.
This rubbish over cartoons is so ridiculous that I would be deeply, deeply ashamed to be Muslim right now.

Firstly, the Danish paper in question shouldn't have published these cartoons, as they were obviously going to cause controversy. But there you go.
Secondly, the other European newspapers are to be congratulated for their support of the Jyllands Post because by that stage the controversy was becoming a dispute over the notion of the freedom of speech.
Thirdly, it's worse to burn down embassies than to draw "blasphemous" cartoons.

I can understand that Muslims don't like images being drawn of the prophet. And that they're apparently forbidden to do it. But here's the thing; were not.
We can draw whatever images of Mohammed we like. We can draw him doing whatever we want, because Muslim law does not apply to non-Muslims. So I can appreciate that they might not like it, but tough. Simple as that.
Next, it would have been smart for the Middle Eastern governments that go so uppity over the cartoons to protest to the editor of the paper. But I don't see why they would bother (a) complaining to the Danish government or (b) trying to get the government to get the paper to apologise. The Danes were quite simple about this, there was nothing they could do because there is a free press in Denmark. It has been very interesting to see the reaction in the Middle East to these cartoons. Clearly not one Muslim country there either understands or appreciates the notion of a free press independent of government control. Quite an eye opener alright.

And the reaction in the region was completely unacceptable. To attack and burn down foreign embassies and to firebomb a church in Lebanon, what sort of impression do Arab Muslims want to give us? If they don't want to come across as short tempered, irrational, zealots who try and police the minds of everyone they come into contact with, then they probably shouldn;t go apeshit over a fucking cartoon.
It's just ridiculous. How could people get so exercised over a cartoon? I think it's safe to say that in no Western country would people storm and burn down embassies because a Muslim paper had published a cartoon about say...Jesus with a bomb in his...donkey.. Are we forced to come to the conclusion that Arab countries (and I'm making the difference between Arab and Muslim because no-one in Indonesia or Pakistan has gone torching Scandinavian consulates) is in such a backwards state that this sort of thing could even be considered normal or acceptable?

I don't want to think that Islam is backwards, that the religion of 1.3 billion people is so fundamentally flawed that it cannot survive outside a medieval society. But I'm just not hearing or seeing enough from the Muslim moderates, about whom I'm starting to wonder if they exist in any great numbers. We're very lucky to have a very moderate Muslim community in Ireland, which appears to have a good relationship with the Government, and is actively supporting the Gardai in keeping extremists out of the country. But other states seem less fortunate. The UK, for example, seems filled with thses Islamofascists who are determined to force their views on us here in the West. The Irish Times had a picture on its front page on Saturday of protestors in London (why were they protesting? No British paper published these cartoons?) and one had a placard saying "Europe is the cancer, Islam is the answer." Now firstly I would disagree completely. Secondly, if you don't like Europe then leave. No one is making you stay. Very much the opposite..

I've never seen an entire region of the world act so immaturely, I really haven't. We can hardly be expected to treat the Middle East and its inhabitants as equals, can we? If they're acting like tantrum prone kids?



This is a sort of clash of civilisations, in as much as civilisation (ours) is going up against hot headed and irrational zealotry. We can't appease this sort of nonsense with platitudes and apologies. It's the Middle-Easterners who should be apologising to the Danes and Norwegians for the damage to their embassies.

Friday, February 03, 2006

(Den)marked man

This, is the cartoon causing all the furore in the Middle East.

This?!
Lads, this is not the most..tolerant cartoon ever drawn, but for this you're storming buildings, burning effigies, complaining to governments and threatening to firebomb churches?

....That an entire religion could be motivated about something this petty would seem to suggest to me that there are a lot of people in the Middle East who have very little to do and should maybe cut back on the caffeine.

As for where the Danish flags are suddenly coming from to be burnt, your guess is as good as mine.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Oscars for TDs!!

(Michael McDowell. Minister of the Year 2004/2005)
I would love feedback on this one!!!!!

Okay, last year I awarded the above Minister with the coveted "Harping On Minister of the Year" title. Our esteemed Panzer P.D won basically by default, as he is one of a minority in the Government who did anything constructive in the past 12months, because of his bold proposals for cafe bars, his general iniative and vision and, most importantly, his refusal to shy away from confronting SF and the IRA.

I thought I might broaden the scope of the awards this time around.

So..I present to you...

!Dail Awards!

Basically I plan to award T.Ds and Ministers who have actually done their job with some degree of competence over the past 12 months. And highlight the ones who have not

So here are the categories.

  • Minister of the Year
  • Teachta Dala of the Year
  • Minister of the Rear
  • Teachta Dala of the Rear

Now if anyone wants to nominate people for this, either pose here or email me (address in profile).

Closing date for nominations is the 28th February with results to come shortly thereafter.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

US (Ohio)Election Fraud 2004?


Podcast on the subject, with Mark here.

Ah holy hell.

I'd heard nothing of this!!

Courtesy of Mark Hertsgaard, whose very interesting book I am currently reading (more anon) posted the claim on his site, followed by a long page of querying details, that I've only begun working down.
If this is true, if there is a need for a look into a second Bush election controversy in as many terms, then this may turn out to be the biggest political scandal since..since God knows when. It would dwarf Watergate certainly.

I mean, this is huge, if there's merit to the story.

The...rigging of elections by one party to stay in power in the world's most powerful country and the oldest, most successful and most high profile democracy in the world..
I mean, the '00 elections were a farce, but despite the apparently self-evident corruption and rigging of ballots in Florida, at least it could have been considered a once-off. But if it's happened again, then to be quite honest the crime is worse by a manifold amount.

This isn't impeachment sort of territory. This is removal and imprisonment sort of territory. If (and given the conjecture here, I can't stress "if" enough) this can be traced, like Watergate, back to the White House, to the Oval Office, then not only does Bush have to go, but...Jesus it's the entire political system of the main party in America!!!
This wouldn't be the run of the mill corruption you get in say the Ukraine or Mongolia or something. This is Zimbabwe-style electoral corruption.

But, as I say, unproven.
And that's sort of a relief, to be quite honest.

I don't like the thought of American democracy being whittled away at from the core.
The rotten core.


Now, speaking of Mr. Hertsgaard, I'm reading his book, "The Eagle's Shadow: Why America fascinates and infuriates the world." Speaking as someone who is both loves and loathes aspects of the US and who despises their imperialist foreign policy (call it like it is, in fairness), this book is a really interesting read. He addresses, I think more for an American audience than any other, why it is that their country is held with equal awe and worship on one hand, and violent and bloody hatred on the other. And he does that better than some books I've read on the same topic, as he's not afraid to praise as well as lambaste where appropriate.

EUR4.50 in Hodges Figgs in Dublin, if you're in the market for a book that's more than worth its price.

Munich

Saw this yesterday.

Em..a little epic in length (I started wondering if it was going to be in real-time!) but what a film.

For those of you who are cinema phobic, the movie is about the Israeli government's reaction to the Palestinian abduction and murder of 11 of their athletes at the '72 Olympics in Munich.
Mossad (Israeli Secret Service) dispatches a black ops team to Europe, where they are instructed to find and kill as many of the ringleaders of the abduction etc as possible. And "Munich" chronicles that in extraordinary detail but also focuses on the effect the killings have on the agents themselves.

Eric Bana (Troy, The Hulk) takes centre stage as Avner, the leader of the operation, assisted by a host of specialists in explosives, organisation and..driving getaway cars. Another member of the cast that I recognised was Daniel Craig, soon to be the new 007.

The film's come in for some stick for portraying the Palestinian characaters as too human, almost apologising for them, while making Avner's team come across as the bad guys. I didn't find that the case at all. It was my experience that Spielberg treats every single death as a tragedy, regardless what side the victim is on.
For me, the film seemed more to be an examination of what it is-or at least was-to be an Israeli citizen, to have that feeling of being surrounded and hemmed in by enemies and the need both to strike back and to strike first.
I think Spielberg neatly seperated the difference between being Jewish (as he is himself) and being Israeli and that the two are not necessarily interchangeable. And, while we find ourselves rooting for Avner and co, there is no doubt that Spielberg regrets the entire thing having taken place. The film's summation leaves the question hanging about whether the Munich reprisals were worth it, whether they may have done more harm than good, and whether the State of Israel should be permitted take such hardline tactics.

And such issues are beyond pertinent, possibly even more now than then.

And I have to say that I've never been so moved by the deaths of characters before. The murder of the Israeli athletes being the most poignant part of the film. Seeing as the cinema-going public tends to be quite desensatised to depictions of death and violence, I can all but assure you that you'll be suprised at how much emotion you'll feel at this movie.

So "Munich" is not just a reverse of "Schindler's List" (where this time the Jews do the killing) but is an honest attempt both to chronicle the events in Europe over that 2 years of assasinations and to provoke debate about people's preconceptions about the Middle-Eastern question.

I can't recommend enough.