Digest – July 25 2010

I’m still trying to catch up with this Wikileaks thing. No time to write anything smart or amusing here.


Only caught this now, via Anthony; ‘Developers bribed planners with discounts on apartments‘.

Jim Stewert on Progressive Economy; ‘The privatisation board, what will it do?

Gerard O’Neill; gainfully employed.

I never thought I would say it, but Willie O’Dea TD is right. He proposes in today’s Sunday Independent that:

We should be seriously considering a scheme here where 100,000 people on the dole could be paid an extra €100 per week for the next 12 months to undertake vital work in their community. The work should match the people to their existing skills and training — whether that is in IT or building. It would be a social work programme, not a social welfare one.

Week’s read: Suzy Byrne; playing games with people’s health.

Colm Keaveney is a Labour Party Councillor in East Galway and a SIPTU official.

[…] Not sure if Colm knowns anything about transgender issues and the impact of waiting for surgery on peoples lives or indeed the impact of politicians spouting this sort of rubbish on the safety and mental health of transgendered people in Ireland. Well given that Colm was President of USI when I knew him and supported the development of structures for lgbt students one might have thought he would know better. It’s fairly clear he can’t see things with their eyes and empathise with them.

Jim O’Leary in The Irish Times; I should have been more pushy at opposing risk-taking in the bank.

A critical impediment to be overcome in the delivery of good corporate governance outcomes is asymmetry of information. Put crudely, the starting position is that a company’s managers possess all the relevant information while the board or at least the non-executive directors have none. The board is given as much information as management is prepared to share with it.

By information, I don’t just mean raw data; I mean the wherewithal to interpret the data intelligently. Nor do I mean only the kind of information that is amenable to quantification or communication in discrete form.

Basically, management was collectively (selectively?) incompetent?

Venividi (Ireland’s best photoblogger) Dublin port medallion. Worth spending some time on that blog, fantastic photo archive.

ScandalCentral; Fine Gael in crisis in Cork North Central?

P O’Neill has a puzzler; who’s getting Anglo’s €22bn?

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Digest – 18 July 2010

Oh, indeed.


Alexia Golez on innovation, or lack thereof, in Ireland.

Slugger on the coping stone incident in which a police officer was injured during the Ardoyne riots. Related; JC Skinner on why ‘Orangefest’ is wrong. BBC Northern Ireland political editor, Mark Davenport, ‘groundhog day revisited’.

Short recommended read of the week; Colm McCarthy on the the post-guarantee events at Anglo. What frustrating week, documents released, media tells us what everyone said, documents become secondary. Sue-pwerb. Debate has ended up as a Noonan-said-but-Fianna Fáiler-said waste of time. utterly stupid. No debate about why all this information is only emerging now, after several further chunks going the banks’ way.

Also, Karl Whelan ‘serious questions about post-guarantee Anglo policy‘.

Two new geolocation systems for Ireland launched.

New political parties are like buses. Unkie Dave on Direct Democracy and Green Party ‘splinter group’ Fís Nua.

Puckstown Lane on Seanie Fitzpatrick’s loans.


Long form recommended reads of the week; Michael Yon continues to write about his time spent in Thailand during the red-shirt protests earlier this year. His ‘Even As The World Watched’ series focuses on media coverage of the situation, with an on-the-ground perspective. Parts one two three and four have been published so far, all image-heavy. Interesting reading and viewing.

John Naughten on one of golf’s more interesting characters, the Royal & Ancient Rabbit.

Ezra Klein understands the [massive] importance of rushes, archive and historical records.

Building your own editorial brand; by Deborah Bonello on videoreporter.com

If you’re in the least bit entrepreneurial and want to be known for your work rather than just the media you work for, then the web is huge opportunity for you. Yes, you may have to work for free to build up a volume of content, but it’s a much better way to spend your time than sitting in a newspaper office as an ‘intern’ waiting for someone to throw you a bone.

You get to decide your stories, and how to tell them, and you’ll learn a mountain about how to do it better along the way. Start innovating and get out there – it’s a much cooler way to get noticed, not only by existing media owners (mexicoreporter.com got me a job at the Los Angeles Times and my current employer, the FT), but perhaps even by your own, possibly paying, audience.

Now get out there and get on with it.

Feature-length recommended read of the week: A brief history of visualisation.


Documentary; ‘638 ways to kill Castro‘. Channel 4 has put its 4 On Demand service on Youtube. Smart; go where the audience goes. Three adverts then the content. Lots of great stuff on that channel.

Richard Feyman explains, in the most amazing way, how eyes and light work.

Digest – July 12 2010

Words go here.


Anthony’s attic archives; nothing changed, nothing gained.

Abigail Reiley on life covering gory, and not so gory, crimes and trials.

P O’Neill is so feckin’ sharp. Read that this week. On Brian Cowen, quotes from Seamus Heaney and public service performance.

[Go read the post for context, t’is only a short one] More seriously, at which speech did he announce that his task force on transforming the public service had hit the ground running so well that it had already had its first meeting?

Both of them.

Charles O’Mahony of Human Rights in Ireland on cuts to disability services.

Friend of the blog and owner of global property portfolio, Frank Fahey, talks nonsense about property and Nama on Newstalk.

Suzy Byrne on the week the Seanad earned its keep.

Are you listening, local authorities? How to make local government data transparent, from the Guardian Data blog.

Ronan Lyons; ‘visualising the employment crisis, who has been worst hit?’

Wow. Bad call from HSBC. Come Here to Me! spots a corn-flake spitting inducing advertisment featuring the statue of Jim Larkin.

Seamus Coffey; The Two Irish Economies.

Constantin Gurdgiev kicks seven shades out of the Mortgages Arrears Group Report.

Apart from the report being about 18 months too late, I missed any actual solutions or actions that would help addressing these priorities. Instead, the report contains 44 pages of rather general, if lofty, talk about the need to do things, discuss things and agree to things. A handful of meaningful recommendations it contains actually set out nothing more than the best practices that all lenders should pursue regardless of the Working Group effort.

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Digest – July 4 2010

Usual Sunday round-up. Love it or leave it, love. Home is weak again,  I must be tuned out? Let me know.


Irish man in London has free burritos for a year. Decides to bring a random woman out for a free burrito each week then blog about it. Makes for a great blog.

Gerry Adams; ‘where you live and how it effects you‘.

Iain Nash on the Stag Hunting Bill and missed policy-and-politics-related points.

David Manning: The false reality of news journalism. Thought-provoker.


Andrew Sullivan; ‘getting shit done‘. The uselessly short attention span of the media, and damage it causes. If I were to recommend one link to click in this post, it’d that’un…

ConservativeHome notes Tony Blair is to be given a medal for his support of ‘liberty’. Jesus.

Tech Interlude: Stephen Fry on the iPhone 4.

Sociological Images: the personification of nations;

Many personifications in Europe and areas once colonized by them connect the nation to noble ideas and values through the use of Latin-derived names and the use of robes, poses, and other elements of classic statues and paintings to adorn a female figure. For instance, the United Kingdom’s Britannia (an emblem that first emerged when Britain was still ruled by Rome) is a goddess-like figure wearing a Roman-style helmet who has, over time, come to represent the nation and the idea of liberty:

Glenn Greenwald on the manipulation of the word ‘terrorist’. One wo/man’s freedom fighter; Tzipi Lizni rails against palestinian terrorists in an interview with The New York Times, then says…

NYT: Your parents were among the country’s [Israel’s] founders.

Livni:  They were the first couple to marry in Israel, the very first. Both of them were in the Irgun. They were freedom fighters, and they met while boarding a British train. When the British Mandate was here, they robbed a train to get the money in order to buy weapons.

News report from the New York Times, December 30 1947


A bomb thrown by the Jewish terrorist organization Irgun Zvai Leumi from a speeding taxi today killed eleven Arabs and two British policemen and wounded at least thirty-two Arabs by the Jerusalem Damascus Gate, the same place where a similar bombing took place sixteen days ago.

Again, Glenn Greenwald; on journalism the difference between serving and afflicting the powerful.

Greenslade; the amazing media story being the McChrystal interview.

Dilbert dude, Scott Adams; ‘self-programming‘.

Rob Crilly: whose agenda is it anyway? Media coverage of Pakistan. Links.

Remember the video that went viral of Oakland police shooting dead Oscar Grant on the BART line? The deliberations have begun after a three-week trial. Best coverage piece here.

Ezra Klein on the machinations of the Nevada senate race being dominated by ‘jobs job jobs’ (or lack thereof). Prehaps insightful to Irish boys and gurls.


Lefties will love this one. Video; crisis of capital. Loving the animation.

Last minutes with Oden; beautiful, touching, short film about a man and his dying dog.

Last Minutes with ODEN from phos pictures on Vimeo.

Digest – June 27 2010

Not much home stuff this week… entering silly-season early it seems. Or I missed something.


Sara Burke on the missing millions the HSE are pinning on Siptu.

Blog of Dominican Nuns in Ireland that I didn’t know existed.

Important ‘first’ pointed out by the Tombuktu on the CLR.

Karl Whelan, banking guarantee may have costly legacy.

I suspect that many people will have been surprised to hear the media report, time and again recently, that Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan, an international expert in banking matters, gave an almost complete endorsement to the bank guarantee, with his only quibble being the inclusion of subordinated debt.

In fact, this reporting has not been at all accurate. While the report does conclude that some kind of guarantee was required, it raises serious questions about the essential nature of the type of guarantee that was introduced.


Cracking documentary by Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Four Corners program (like Prime Time Investigates) in association with The Age newspaper into corruption in currency production. Finding have global repercussions. Podcast with reporters here too. There the on-camera journalist, Nick McKenzie, notes…

Corruption never happens without people knowing it’s happening, be it in a police force, a government department or Securrency, the company involved in this scandal. It needs more than one person to operate… it’s not going to be open, people aren’t going to be saying around the office “oh we bribed Mr X last night, but at the same time, people will notice things.

And some of the decent ones, he goes on to say, will feel compelled to speak.

The researcher, Richard Baker, also says something well worth quoting…

And the other [misnomer] about digging – and I think it’s complete falsity that’s given to journalism students – is you have to build up a big black contacts book that has [in it numbers for] all the top officials in secret services. That’s rubbish. The way you dig is you use some common sense and you hit the phones and you figure out that there’s forty people that worked in this company between these years… let’s call every one of them. It’s as simple as that. The best stories aren’t got from existing stories, they’re got from a sniff and you just call people and they tell you things.

Jay Rosen on in-the-camp political correspondents from Politico who outed themselves as the Rolling Stone/McChrystal story emerged.

Now this seemed to several observers—and I was one—a reveal. Think about what the Politico is saying: an experienced beat reporter is less of a risk for a powerful figure like McChrystal because an experienced beat reporter would probably not want to “burn bridges” with key sources by telling the world what happens when those sources let their guard down.

Let me enumerate why this is worth noting: (continued)

Article about an interesting artwork that reflects the inter-relationship between art and time by New Scientist.

Freakanomics podcast, ‘how is a bad radio station like the public school system?‘ Thought provoking suggestions on education reform.

New series for The Nether Regions, ‘Crap jobs for the work experience kid’. Entry #1 here; being the burglar in the fear-mongering stock shots. Subscribe there; craic.

Vidjoe: Prince Charles is down with the kids at Glastonbury. Kinda, in a ‘casual’ suit. Slugger comment here.

Yglesias on the demise of the Chatham House rules left-leaning DC email list, JournoList.


In honour of silly season. Vidjoe; country hip-hop dancing. Via Piaras on The Facebuke.

Digest – June 20 2010

Who knows how it goes?


New online-only news site, Dublin Observer. Early days but good to see.

McWilliams in the Sunday Business Post

This fundamental economic truth seems to evade our politicians. They don’t seem to realise that the more blank cheques they write to shore up the European banking system, the more they are burdening us with future taxes. This tax burden causes the economies to contract more. Writing cheques to bail out Europe’s banks won’t help anyone, apart from the creditors of the banks – who should suffer anyway. This is how capitalism works.

The lender is as culpable in a crisis. Was that not the capitalism you learned too?

Constantin Gurdgiev on the extension of the bank guarantee.

Gerard Cunningham walks along the canal with his camera.

Telegraph photoshops the border into NASA image. Ye’wah? Via Skin Flicks.

Letter to the editor in the Irish Independent from a Declan Doyle.

Words like nepotism, largesse and cronyism are employed by polite and civilised society to convey its discomfiture with immoral conduct.

But the times in which we live demand that we develop a language and attitude more fitting to both describe and challenge the enemy Ireland faces today.

Very simply, public life has been criminalised.

We need to ‘man up’ as a nation and admit this…

Political editor of BBC Northern Ireland blogs on the release of the Saville Report.

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Digest – June 13 2010

<bloggery overshare>My dinner was lovely, fish and chips on The MV Cill Arne.</bloggery overshare>


Constantin Grudgiev maps Dublin’s importance to the Irish economy.

Anthony Sheridan; expenses scandal confirms political system is still rotten to the core. Lot of quotes there I hadn’t read before…

P O’Neill with questions arising from the Honohan report.

Two former members of The Sunday Times’s legendary Insight team recall the time they spent investigating the events of Bloody Sunday

Hours after the killings, we were sent to Derry as part of the Insight team by Harold Evans, the paper’s editor. We stayed there for two months. We interviewed 250 witnesses of what began as a peaceful, if illegal, civil rights march.

We saw Bogsiders, young and old, write carefully and purposefully in longhand on lined notepads about the horrific scenes they had witnessed that day. And we took our own statements. The pile of primary evidence grew and grew.

The families of the victims took us into their homes and into their hearts; people such as Lawrence McElhinney, whose son, Kevin, aged 17, wearing his Sunday best, a brown suit and new brown zip-up boots, threw some stones at the paras before fleeing the Rossville barricade as the live rounds came in. He was shot before reaching the flats.

The relatives remembered the brief and brutally truncated lives of their children, producing cherished photographs of happier times. Some of those we talked to still clung to the clothes their children were wearing when they died. One family had preserved a bar of candy that their son took to the march.

In their barracks in Belfast, the paras who fired shots made their own statements, equally harrowing, to the military police. Few of the young soldiers involved had ever before fired a shot in anger from their 7.62mm rifles, a weapon designed for use on the modern battlefield and capable of inflicting devastating injuries at close range.

We studied the army’s evidence as revealed in half a million words in those submissions. We talked to military officers and government officials. We collected 500 photographs to help us reconstruct the killing ground in the Bogside. An amateur radio ham gave us a recording of the army’s messages for the operations during the entire afternoon, an invaluable tool for reconstructing the day’s events.

Widgery concluded that some of the paras’ firing had “bordered on the reckless”, but our evidence suggested something worse.

Oh for journalists to be given the time to do work like that. Or for newspapers to have the funds to make it possible. It’s all about speed these days.

Are you involved with a non-profit or NGO? Journalist Markham Nolan wants to help out, no charge.

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Digest – June 6 2010

Digest coming to you earlier than usual this week as I am less hungover than most Sundays.


Gerard O’Neill; looting for democracy.

One of my favourite writers, Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic, has been blogging about the ‘no dogs, no blacks, no Irish’ stuff this week. He has collected some fascinating imagery. More here and here. Do av’a read, the comments are usually good too.

Irish imagery coates

Liam Fay in The Sunday Times on Callely and the Seanad.

Not since Liam Lawlor was appointed chairman of a parliamentary ethics committee has a juxtaposition of words sounded quite so comical.

The notion that Callely has “duties” in the sense that he provides a service or function is absurd. As one of the taoiseach’s appointees, he’s a professional placeman, a chair warmer. Unelected and therefore unaccountable, he represents nobody but himself and has nothing to offer but his trademark self-importance.

Having been slung out of his Dail seat in 2007, Callely sought election to one of the rigged Seanad seats reserved for failed or aspiring politicians and for which only TDs, councillors and outgoing senators are permitted to vote. However, he couldn’t win sufficient support among his Fianna Fail colleagues.

Undeterred by the verdict of the electorate and his party, Callely probably went cap in hand to then taoiseach Bertie Ahern pleading that he had devoted his working life to Fianna Fail and had failed to receive an adequate yield on his investment. An understandably sympathetic Ahern anointed Callely as senator and the rest is geography.

Come Here to Me! with another lovely post on Dublin history that may have passed you by… or that you may pass by. This time on the man to whom a little plaque on O’Connell Street is dedicated.

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Digest – May 30 2010

Another day another digest…


Sunday Independent news feature on a teenage girl from Romania who Gardai believe was lured to her death by a ‘southside sex predator‘…

Marioara had been in Dublin for just three weeks when she disappeared. She was begging with her little brother on Lombard Street in the south city on a Sunday afternoon in January 2008.

A dark-haired man pulled over in a silver Ford Mondeo and Marioara approached him for money. Her brother watched as he rolled down his window to chat to his sister. When he saw her get into the car, he went over to see what was going on.

The driver gave him €10 and although he couldn’t understand exactly what was said, the boy heard the word “McDonald’s” and assumed the motorist was taking his sister for something to eat.

Marioara’s family never saw her again. She managed to make one chilling phone call the day after she disappeared. She called a brother back in Romania, because none of her family in Dublin had mobile phones.

Michael Taft takes on the Backroom column in the Sunday Business Post...

Just when you think you’ve read it all, along comes someone to present us with a statement so devoid of understanding that all you can do is be amazed that this stuff actually gets published. If the government had not taken harsh steps would our deficit have risen to nearly €35 billion? Of course not; but don’t take my word for it – here’s what the Department of Finance had to say about the matter.

The systemic banking institution… ehem… err… EBS…yeah… has been nationalised. Oh didn’t you hear? Constantin Gurgiev has the details. €875m over the next ten years… no bodger boys, give us a shout when you want another chunk’a’change!

Anyone ever watched something on BloggingHeads? Similar new website for debating Irish affairs, just launched, Stephen Kinsella and Joe Garde want your help. Minister Ciaran Cuffe is the first participant, he talks about proper planning. Check it out on Irishdebate.com.

Are the markets missing the elephant in room? asks Gekko.

[…] So to the data. The following shows the more comprehensive pciture of relative indebtedness across some European countries, including our fellow “PIGS”. Now think about whether you would rather be exposed to Greek debt or Irish debt?

I wouldn’t be so smug and probably wouldn’t swap Greek bonds for Irish bonds, despite the contrary view that market is placing on the relative credit worthiness of the two countries at the moment.

Oh dear, someone told Twenty about the SBP poll figures

We’ve been lied to, cheated, defrauded, financially violated as a nation and as individuals, and in the latest opinion polls FF are up 1% instead of being set on fire, the whole fucking cunting lot of them.

Jason O’Mahony views it differently.

FG is still basing its campaign on not being FF, and Labour are still sending such mixed signals on public spending cuts and public sector reform as to neutralise FG. As a voter, if I bother to vote at all, I’m drifting towards FF (whom I really despise) because I at least know what I get with a vote for FF.

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Digest – May 23 2010



Three from the Sunday Times to kick off… because I haven’t got ’round to reading much else yet.

Liam Fay on the opinion pages

Cowen seems oblivious to the fact that denying people’s democratic right to parliamentary representation, for nothing but narrow party interest, completely undermines his efforts to pose as a leader of integrity, mettle and courage. It also deepens public misgivings about him and his party and creates a vacuum that others would happily fill.

One of the most damaging features of the economic crisis is the widespread feeling that regular people are being taken for granted, if not for fools, by our political overlords. No by-election is likely to change very much other than the Dail arithmetic, but affording voters their right to have their say is crucial.

Sarah McInerney with a news feature… ‘Focus: Mr Popular or Mr Populist? Eamon Gilmore is accused of sitting on the fence on key issues despite poll success’.

And Paul Kimmage with a touching article (which doesn’t seem to be online) on the sports pages. Get a copy and have a look, it’s the main piece on page 12, headed “A life worth living”.

Michael Taft takes on Garrett Fitzgerald.

Future-TD is here.

David McKeown explains why the sky is blue at Ignite Dublin. Video below.

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