Digest – Jan 10 2010

Hear, hear for The Sunday Times editorial (though I disagree with the statement on there being too many TDs).

The government, but also the political establishment generally, must bear most of the responsibility for this lack of civic mindedness. It is a direct descendant of cynicism and weariness with a selfish and at least semicorrupt political system.

If Irish people thought that the country was being run fairly, and that decisions were being genuinely taken in the national interest rather than purely in the self-interest of ministers and political parties, they might sign up as equal partners in the great programme of national self-sacrifice that still lies ahead.

Also from The Sunday Times, ex-politicians paid €40,000 to watch DVDs.

We’re turning a corner!

I was buoyed to see The Sunday Tribune Business section lede ‘Gardaí poised to arrest Anglo Irish Staff‘ having heard about the Criminal Assets Bureau raiding the home of a top-ranking Limerick bank boss earlier in the week. Unfortunately other stories on the same page include:

[SPIN WARNING]: Referendum needed for banking crisis probe (says head of the Oireachtas regulatory committee, a Fianna Fáil TD)’,

Anglo-Nationwide investment [made with taxpayers’ money] will be lost

and ‘Trio of insiders in race for AIB job‘.

Elsewhere, TDs expenses hit a record high last year, according to The Sunday Independent, don’t worry, the Independent Electoral Commission will solve all this, all of it. Ehem.

Gerard O’Neill (economist) of Amárach Research offers to buy Eamonn Ryan a subscription to Sky TV.


The of data analysis and mapping is still in its infancy. However, this one of The Underpants Bombers’ online activities is interesting reading (and viewing, see below, though you’ll need to read the post, or this one,  for some semblance of context). Every journalist should have a gander and good think about the possibilities. An English and History degree might have been useful when looking to land a job in the media over the last ten years, but over the next twenty will a Computer Science one be more valuable? Methinks it may.

NPR looks at corruption in Spain.

Nieves Castillejo used to work for a catering firm that handled parties in the mayor’s home.

“There was more money there than a mayor should be earning,” she says. “You could see it in the paintings, the statues and in the catering itself — like caviar and other things.”

Castillejo says the corruption was an open secret in the town.

“We knew it smelled like fish, but we didn’t realize the scope,” she says.

In the US, Real Clear Politics on the culture of [legal] corruption that has produced an awful health care bill.

Base Line Scenario, the US economics’ experts blog, on “The Problem with Positive Thinking“.

The widow of a now-deceased deputy mayor in China tells the Guardian he didn’t commit suicide, and why she thinks he was murdered.

Sociological Images on the term “All Natural” and the widely held expectation that images will be ‘touched up’.


TheStory is now on Twitter, follow the account for more links to stories on questionable practices in public life.

Where does the buck stop in Ireland?

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