The Digest – New format

I’ve no time these days to publish ‘The Digest’ at a set time and day so I’m changing the delivery format. Instead of appearing in the subscriber feed every Sunday there’ll be a constantly updated list of links on the right side of the website. Note; if you subscribe by email or through a feed you won’t be alerted when these are updated, you’ll need to click through to the site here to view the list.

The new delivery is running off my Google Reader shared items RSS feed, which was pretty much where I picked most of my links from each Sunday anyway. Six links will be visible on the site at all times, to see older links click the little orange square beside the ‘The Digest’ heading in the right sidebar.

Digest – October 18 2010

Alri’ boyez and gurrels… The new Monday Digest as promised.


Gerard O’Neill on the economic impact of declining marraige rates.

John Naughton; Twitterphobia and the mainstream media.

Read this by the inspiring Mark Pollock; undressed and smiling again.

Top journalist spun by continuous repeatition of government claim. Karl Whelan gets the nuance.

Mark Davenport of BBC NI on a political session of competing insults.

Ken Foxe on a trip Noel Dempsey took to London on the government jet

When I sought details of what Mr Dempsey was doing in London under the so-called Freedom of Information Act, all references to the meeting were deleted from the records.

Access to them was refused under a variety of different grounds of the FOI Act, chiefly relating to ongoing government deliberations and the argument that it might indicate a government position.

The Department of Transport – which in my personal experience has a particularly severe approach to Freedom of Information – thus censored the documents in the “public interest”.

[…] He arrived at the Embassy from the Kensington Hotel, had a 90-minute meeting, was collected and headed back to Dublin on the government jet.

The Minister was accompanied by his Private Secretary Veronica Scanlan, who is the decision maker on this Freedom of Information request.

It is nice to know that Ministers can now use the government jet, run up a bill of €23,000 in the process, and then simply refuse to give an explanation of what they were doing.

This, at least in my experience, is an unprecedented situation

Documents are there too.

P O’Neill; You can’t lock up and entire bank, can you?

WURRELD Continue reading “Digest – October 18 2010”

Digest – October 11 2010

Think this has now become a Monday evening rather than Sunday night thing.


Guardian video package on RUC torture of Northern Irish citizens

Alexia Golez reviews The Social Network

Your senators’ information displayed.

Come Here To Me! talks about Dublin early on a Sunday morning. Last time I got up early of a Sunday I walked past three different sets of people snorting coke in shop doorways. Classy.

Turbelence Ahead on middle class anarchists. Zerohedge says they’re coming.

Mark Pollack: emerging from Hell

I woke at 4 a.m. Silence has replaced the menagerie of beeps and alarms and groans of my open-plan home for the last couple of months. I am spending my first night in the rehab ward and the initial difference from the acute ward is the sound. For the moment I am in a single room, away from the din of the 6 bed bay of before. In a matter of days, alongside my physical relocation, my mind has moved to a significantly more positive place.

I wrote the above paragraph only hours after I posted my last blog, which detailed how my fight was waning. But, after my short reprieve from infections (enough of a reprieve for me to insist I be moved from the acute ward), on day 1 in rehab I was exhausted… another infection was brewing.

Promo for The Boat Factory play set in Belfast. Via Alan’s blog.


Roy Greenslade on the emerging opinion that the divide between journalist and advertising sales executive is – or should be – closing.

Krishna Guru-Murthy of Channel 4 defends bloggers from under-informed journalist.

Arab-American student finds FBI tracking device on his car, tells the interwebz.

The New Yorker on an emerging media mogul who has built his growing empire on being anti-media mogul.

Vidjoe: South Korea’s coffin academy…

Dying To Live from Matthew Allard on Vimeo.


New Left Media’s Chase Whiteside lets Tea Party attendees answer questions. There are hilarious (and often offensive, unfortunately) results.

Digest – Oct 4 2010

I used to get this done on time all the time… got’damn.


Unkie Dave on The Notebook and aging.

[…] I have therefore always believed that, baring accident or mishap, I would live to a similar age as my grandparents. But I have never given that much thought to the quality of that life, and after spending so much time in the stroke ward I will now admit to thinking about it a little too much. I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I am a vegetarian for almost ten years now, have never smoked, am less than an occasional drinker, and am fitter now than at any time in the last five years thanks to the auspices of the good folks at DublinBikes. Beyond that there is little more that I can do, and thinking about the future is less than productive.

Ken Foxe; Minister Martin’s €3,800 hotel bill and Minister Hanafin’s mother, documents online.

NAMAWineLake previews ghost estates report.

Senator Alex White blogs about the bank guarantee extension.

Recommended read this week: Gerard Cunningham on ‘cementgate’ and the media. Can’t believe we missed out chance for ‘Gategate’.

Gerard O’Neill on ‘economic possibilianism’. Economics via a Science magazine; why I love Turbelence Ahead.

Come Here to Me! with another super post on old Dublin. This time, the pirate radio stations the State wanted shut down.

On December 22 1967, a group of schoolboys on their holidays began transmitting music and stories across the airwaves. The Irish Times noted that the transmissions had come from “somewhere south of the Liffey” and that the young boys had made two one hour broadcasts, at 8am and 12.30pm…


New international report ‘Cash for Coverage’. It’s on bribery of journalists.

Adrain Russell on Bill Clinton ‘the ordinary boy in a rich man’s play ground‘.

Ten awful auto-generated advert placements.

Jeff Jarvis on privacy and technology.

John Cassidy: is the recession really over? Part II.

Glenn Greenwald on the US media silence after a UN report finds Israel ‘summarily executed’ a US citizen on board the Gaza flotilla.

[…] To this day, I’m still amazed by how the American media and U.S. Government responded to this incident, given the fact that it was painfully obvious from the start that the Israelis’ conduct was the behavior of a guilty party.  The Israelis immediately seized all documentary evidence from the passengers showing what actually happened, blocked all media access to witnesses by detaining everyone on board (including journalists) for days, and then quickly released its own highly edited video — spliced to begin well into the middle of the Israeli attack — that was dutifully and unquestioningly shown over and over by the U.S. media to make it appear that the flotilla passengers were the first to become violent.  That was a lie from the start, and it was an obvious lie. 


Digest – Sept 28 2010

I had this scheduled to go up earlier;


Leo Varadkar does some data analysis on his working time.

Nama bizarroworld continues to expand as Sunday Business Post reveals AIB pension fund controls Nama SPV.

Cian Ginty; another hack to recognise and put the potential of EIR requests.

Ken Foxe on the €21,500 hotel bill and Mary McAleese’s €3,198 room.

A junior suite for the then-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was also booked and cost €1,650.

The delegation travelled by government jet from Dublin on 7 April 2005 and returned to Ireland the following day, logbooks from the Department of Defence show.

Rooms were also booked for nearly a dozen advisors and senior civil servants including Wally Young, Mandy Johnston, Olive Melvin and Dermot McCarthy.

Those rooms cost a minimum of €740 for the “standard” package and up to €1,200 a night in some cases.

Such was the size of the bill, civil servants were querying details of it as if the prices agreed had originally been smaller. You can see the actual documents below.

These bills and hundreds of other previously unpublished documents form the basis of my book Snouts in the Trough, which will be available in bookshops this week.

Lovely photo from Cork by Venividi – a great aul’ photographer (available for event work, I’m told, Corkonians!) – of the river Lee reflecting on the street.

ScraperWiki is coming to Dublin; where hacks meet hackers, technology meets journalism (without becoming technology journalism) and both sides learn what they can do for one another. I’m gonna get me some hacker to scrape me some CRO website, methinks. Continue reading “Digest – Sept 28 2010”

Digest – September 19 2010

Here ye, hear ye… yadda yadda yadda…


Sara Burke on HSE spending on agency nurses and recruitment moratoriums

The C&AG cites the HSE’s own internal audit which shows that agency staff exceed the cost of employing nursing staff by 36.5% and he clearly implies that this is not the most efficient use of tight resources. Yet internal HSE figures for 2010 show that up to July of this year just under €30 million has been spent on agency nursing and €37 million on other agency staff, doctors, allied health profs etc..

This practice continues because if health managers want to keep services open they have no other choice to keep services safe, but it clearly highlights the blunt instrument that the moratorium is and the constraints its putting on the health service. It impacts on the quality of nursing care but also we are also seeing its impact on closed wards and reduced services.

Read this by Shane Ross: Humiliated, not humbled.

Anglo’s bosses immediately stood on their heads and pledged to promote the dreaded “wind-down” — the solution that they had been bad mouthing less than 24 hours earlier.

On Tuesday their mission was to keep Anglo alive; on Wednesday, to kill it.

Dukes lamely pleaded that the final solution was a “variation” on Anglo’s plan. Which it was not.

Will we now see the resignation of non-executive directors Dukes, Kennedy, Keane and Eames? Their pipe dream is in tatters. Rejected by the markets, the Commission, the Government — and undoubtedly by the people.

Not a chance.

The non-executives are humiliated but not humbled. Nothing has changed. Bankers sit tight, stand on their heads and take the money.

New location, old culture.

Miriam Cotton on women in politics, gender and merit.

John McHale on the mechanics of bond buy-backs.

Gerard O’Neill on illiberal democracy via Spiked! magazine.

WORLD Continue reading “Digest – September 19 2010”

Digest – September 13 2010

Wore a long coat for the first time this week. Winter is here, guys, are we all contented?


Stephen Kinsella reminds us that the ‘nobody saw it coming’ meme is utterly wrong. Brendan Keenan doesn’t come out of this one too well; “we know what the Irish banks bad loans are, they’re going to be about one percent of their loan books…” Ouch. See video, there’s more.

Peter Stafford vents about the wheels on the bus.

Come Here to Me! is trying to trace details about the owner of a union card from 1918. Interesting post, that.

Michael O’Dotherty in bad journalism shocker. That man is an eejit of the lowest order. Scarlet for’em!

The Cold War, Operation Gladio and Ireland. Some little known history from one of the Cedars.

WORLD Continue reading “Digest – September 13 2010”

Digest – August 6 2010

Late but like, wahevz. As my 16 year old cousin may say.


Markham Nolan is blogging his way through east Africa while on a Simon Cumbers Fund media funded. Would make a lovely short-term column, I say.

Monopoly houses set to float down the Liffey, Dublin Observer reports.

Ciaran Cuffe advocates property tax in blog musing, according to the Sunday Tribune, then deletes the post. It’s still in the Google Cache though, his exact words were…

A huge challenge over the coming months is how we close the gap between the State’s income and expenditure. Either way it looks as though we have to narrow the budget gap by another three billion euro next year. An additional increase in income tax on working families would be hugely challenging, and perhaps we should instead be considering some kind of domestic charge, as we had prior to the ‘give-away’ budget of 1977.

There’s no easy way to fill the gap, but an alternative to a hike in income tax rates on middle income earners would be to take the radical step of abolishing (or dramatically reducing) stamp duty on homes and introduce an annual levy based on the size of the house. Maybe large homes could pay €600 a year, medium sized home €400 and smaller home €200. How would you define this? A home over 200 sq.m might be at the larger end of things, and under 100 sq. m could be in the smaller category. It all could be done by self-assessment. If home-owners couldn’t pay, then the levy could remain as a charge on the home when it eventually changed hands.

I’d say such a charge could raise the guts of several hundred million, and would be more equitable than a rise in income tax. The beauty of such a scheme is that it could be implemented quickly without a cumbersome State led assessment of each property. Another advantage would be that it would allow people to move home when they wish without an excessive tax burden.

Story from last week; ‘Nama to decide on future of funding for Anglo building‘.

Anglo HQ, Docklands

Alternative headline, ‘Nama to decide on completion of half-built office block owned by tax-payer in centre of mass of empty office blocks’. Leave it as it is and turn it into a museum. Primary school classes can take tours around it as guides explain in hushed tones about the extinct species of property agents and Celtic Tigers. ‘A monument to folly’, as Gav christened it as we walked past it one night.

McGarr on regulators.

Stephen Kinsella on the transformation of private debt into public debt.

Gormley, incinerators and the constitution. PucktownLane has an interesting take.

Karl Whelan; Anglo’s plan to save sub-ordinated debt holders.

WORLD Continue reading “Digest – August 6 2010”

Digest – August 29 2010

Right, it’s back properly now. Honest.


P O’Neill with another thing the press misssed or miss-interpreted.

In short, the Irish example of debt reduction as cited by M. Trichet is dodgy.  Yes there was debt reduction, but it wasn’t done by spending cuts, it wasn’t sustainable, and its achievement was symptomatic of deeper structural (and political) problems in Ireland.  And we’ve leave that parenthetical comment for a long in-progress future post on Irish political economy.

Karl Whelan has one too.

Economist obituary to the piper who invaded Normandy. Via John Naughten.

ANY reasonable observer might have thought Bill Millin was unarmed as he jumped off the landing ramp at Sword Beach, in Normandy, on June 6th 1944. Unlike his colleagues, the pale 21-year-old held no rifle in his hands. Of course, in full Highland rig as he was, he had his trusty skean dhu, his little dirk, tucked in his right sock. But that was soon under three feet of water as he waded ashore, a weary soldier still smelling his own vomit from a night in a close boat on a choppy sea, and whose kilt in the freezing water was floating prettily round him like a ballerina’s skirt.

Gerard Cunningham; Changing times.

Anthony Sheridan; why Ivor Callely scares the body politic.

Veronica McDermott on; The lucky 11. On the taoiseach’s Seanad nominees and Ivor Callely.

Splintered Sunrise; The Birmingham Three, the plot continues to thicken.

WORLD Continue reading “Digest – August 29 2010”

Digest – August 15 2010

It’s back. The Digest is all up in this here! Rejoice dear reader! Rejoice!

Or don’t.


Gerard O’Neill, ‘fear itself’.

Here in Ireland we appear to be suffering from an unholy combination of inaction and over-reaction – giving rise to the mood of negativity that Coleman and others have recognised. NAMA is the over-reaction: the inaction relates to the wider re-structuring of our economy to ensure we never again suffer the consequences of our self-inflicted crack-up credit boom. One advantage of de-commissioning NAMA would perhaps be to re-start a debate about the future structure of our financial institutions.

Iain Nash goes for the chicks (I kid! I kid!) of  The Anti-Room.

Gav Reilly; How AIB’s gym fees staff expenses could cost more than double the amount it will make from increasing mortgage interest rates.

In the name of faux-balance (more because it is a beautifully written piece of work) June Caldwell of The Anti-Room on the ‘still missing’ women post-Larry Murphy’s release.

Despite the medieval braying from the tabloid press that he’ll strike again and soon, I personally don’t believe for a second that Larry Murphy is going to put a foot wrong for a very long time. He can wait. He can play with the authorities and the public. Memories will sustain him. This day is a very special one for him after all. Even just the God of small things: he hasn’t seen any of our modern capital’s hallmarks for a start: the Luas, the spire, etc. There’s a lot to take in. Especially the reams of happy young women pacing along the city streets, tired women too, stomping home from work. Women who will have no idea who he is or what he’s done. It’s been an age since he was able to glance sideways at strangers, with every ounce of his civil rights protected. The fact remains that there are dozens of Larry Murphys out there, a lot of whom we’ve handily forgotten.

Seamus Coffey on stamp duty; ‘Stamped out’.

I’m not sure if Hugh Green’s criticisim should be directed at the editorial or the broader arguement, either way, he makes some interesting points in this piece about Wyclef Jean, the US and Haiti.

Did you miss this? The Last Word with Matt Cooper; Minister O’Cuiv admits rollback on employment investment.

Speaking on The Last Word on Today FM Thursday evening, Minister for Social Protection Eamonn Ó’Cuiv admitted the Employment Subsidy Scheme – to which the government allocated €250m – had in fact ceased with only €133 million spent.  The Employment Subsidy Scheme was set up in 2009 to protect jobs at viable but vulnerable businesses. ISME Chief Executive Mark Fielding sought the Minister’s clarification on this point to which O’Cuiv confirmed, “Yes, that figure is correct”.

WORLD Continue reading “Digest – August 15 2010”