Digest – Dec 27 2009

Quick snap Digest for you this week as I’m in work, did nothing over the pre-Christmas week and am just catching up on things tonight.

Rob Kitchin on Ireland After NAMA writes about the latest figures from the CSO on private and public sector earnings.

Slovenia still blocking Croatia from EU, The EU Observer reports. It’s almost childish by now.

Nick Cohen in The (UK) Observer on the child abuse case relating to Liam Adams and IRA secrecy. The Tribune leads today with evidence that Liam Adams canvassed with Gerry Adams in Dundalk in 1997, which contrasts with Gerry’s claims they were “estranged”. All read via Slugger.

Glen Greenwald on The New York Times‘s idea of objectivity. More good Greenwald reading here also, where he writes on the media’s reporting of air-strikes.

Again, relating to the NYT; on December 23 they published an old-news-based, poorly structured, Op-ed calling for the immediate bombing of Iran. Go read it if you’re interested in what the right side of the hawks in the Republican party were saying five years ago – because there’s nothing at all new in it.

Harry McGee, political correspondent for The Irish Times reacts to a Vincent Browne article criticising political correspondents for going too soft on the Taoiseach. My feelings on the matter are contained in my comment on the post which you can read over on the Irish Times Politics blog.

Post of the Week goes to Karl Whelan of IrishEconomy who caught the newsdump and threw it back, thank god for blogs because I would have missed the story.

In other words, their recommended cuts were in addition to the suspension of bonuses, which they recommended re-introducing at some point.

Fourth, it appears that senior civil servants are the only group in Irish society that get to count earlier cuts as part of their current cuts. For instance, the cuts to social welfare payments announced in the budget are in addition to the 2% cut related to the elimination of the Christmas bonus. Would the government consider changing its cuts in social welfare rates to take account of this?

Essentially, senior civil servants will get tiny –  or no – pay cuts while all others will be hit for up to 7%.

Also, Suzy has a great round-up of the pre-Christmas newsdumps, and there were a few this year.

New Revision has a list of the 50 best photoshop tutorials (thanks to Lauren and Josh for the share on GReader for that one).

If you haven’t read Gav’s post on Fingleton, Irish Nationwide and the wider context to the McCreevy loans, please do so now.

Marc Lynch (who formerly blogged under the name Abu Aardvark) of Foreign Policy writes about media coverage this week in the Arab world. He says, in relation to the failed bombing of a US-bound plane that “whether it’s Al Qaeda or not, nobody in the Arab media cares“. Lynch goes on to say the main story in the Arab world at the moment is about Gaza, which we’ve heard relatively little about in the West.

The Arab media’s indifference to the [aviation] story speaks to a vitally important trend. Al-Qaeda’s attempted acts of terrorism simply no longer carry the kind of persuasive political force with mass Arab or Muslim publics which they may have commanded in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.   Even as the microscopically small radicalized and mobilized base continues to plot and even to thrive in its isolated pockets, it has largely lost its ability to break out into mainstream public appeal.

P O’Neill of Best of Both Worlds blogs on Irish Election about NAMA’s 6 Degrees of Separation.

And that’s all I’ve got time for this week, am knackered, have work to do, not like there’s many reading blogs this week anyway. Hope you had a good Christmas, as a late night Irish newscaster once said live on air; “good night… to both of you.”

The Digest – Dec 20 2009

Your Sunday supplement – some stuff I find interesting, you may too. The rest of them here.

– Home

This article from the Wicklow People about certain officials’ activities in relation to the granting of a waste permit, a deal worth almost €400,000 to local landowners, raised my eyebrows.

A FORMER director of Environmental Services at Wicklow County Council had a signed waste permit and removed and replaced with an unsigned version.

Papers released by the Department of the Environment under the Freedom of Information Act show that the existence of the permit only came to light after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it had a copy of the permit retained in its files.

The battle of wills between the department of the environment, John Gormley (head of the department, incidentally) and Dublin City Council, relating to the Poolbeg Incinerator, continues. John Gormley opposes what his own department, in conjunction with the council, is doing in his own constituency. During the week he appointed an inspector to investigate the contract for the incinerator. Bizarre stuff, altogether.

Constantin Gurdgiev has published a leaked memo indicating that Irish researchers won’t have access to E-Journals for much longer. Our third level institutes are going back to paper and print, it seems, as the rest of the world moves online. Underfunding is looking terminal, bring back fees, for fuck sake, I say. Also: a partially related post from Ferdinand Von Prondzynski.

Anthony McIntyre, former IRA Volunteer, prisoner in Long Kesh and member of the Republican movement, on the inactions of Gerry Adams in relation to his brother Liam being a child sex abuser.

On RTÉ’s This Week Gerry Adams says his father, also Gerry, also a republican of note in his day, was a child abuser too.

World and Other below the fold…

Continue reading “The Digest – Dec 20 2009”

The Digest – Dec 13 2009

The weekly round-up. Last week’s here.


How I missed this one last week, I don’t know; Fergal’s excellent piece on the social dynamics, misconceptions and misinterpretations of fascism, and around the word ‘fascist’.

Watch out, The Guardian; Elaine Byrne is looking for help investigating the accounts of a 1940s Irish politician.

Nyder O’Leary with the most thought-provoking piece I’ve read on the Budget, and wider economic thinking, anywhere – blogs or newspapers.

It was suggested several times that a third tax rate on high earners should be applied. This was rejected on the basis that it wouldn’t raise any real revenue, and that many of these people would probably up and leave the country (like, say, the owner of Newstalk). This is, quite probably, true. The tax wouldn’t be any great economic benefit; and yet it would set an entirely different tone to who we value most in our culture. It would have told the wealthy that a significant responsibility for the country’s well-being lay with them. It would have said that we don’t judge the worth of an individual in monetary terms. It would have sent a message that, if a rich individual felt they had no duty to society and wanted to retreat to a tax haven, then they could fuck right off and we’d be happy to pay for their ticket; that this super-class are due no more respect than a care assistant or street-sweeper.

John McGuirk in stirring-up-lefties shocker; “The Sickest part of Green Culture”

Ehem. Marc Colemanwrites in The Indo on Brian Lenihan;

Heroism is not an overstatement to describe the man’s achievement. But the Greeks do tragedy as well as mythology.

Like many other high achievers, Lenihan is a Belvedere boy. One of the few private schools on Dublin’s northside, Belvedere boys are known for their lack of snobbery, their decency and their charity to others. But they have a flaw: they have a sense that they alone are always right. And often, this is true.

“Hero; A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life: soldiers and nurses who were heroes in an unpopular war.”

Might have to ask The Frontline Alliance about how they feel about ‘Fianna Fail ministers for finance’ being added to the definition.

Anyway, onto…


Continue reading “The Digest – Dec 13 2009”

The Digest – Dec 6 2009

Starting now, a Sunday night weekly round-up type thing.

The Digest will contain links to sources and stories worth reading – usually on topics kinda relevant to our terms of reference – from the week that was…

There’ll be about five links under each of three headings, Home, World and Other.


Keiran Walsh, lecturer in UCC, writes about The Murphy Report and intra-agency co-operation on the excellent new Human Rights in Ireland blog. Walsh is currently pursuing a PhD examining the role of risk analysis and preventative measures in child protection. He’s also a former advisor to the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection and Barnardos. Subscribe to that blog.

Chief Cedar, union member and now union critic, WorldByStorm, eviscerates the union leadership for their negotiation failures

That we are, as it were, being forced by orthodoxy to look at only one side of the equation of tax and spend, that being spend.

Indeed one could argue the the strategic goal of the unions should have been to act to put that argument front and centre before the Irish people, ahead of public sector wages, ahead of everything. Because once you accept the parameters of orthodoxy you’re lost, since then it comes down to how much is cut and not why there are cuts. And since the eschatological approach of those arguing for cuts leaves no wiggle room (look at the actuality of unpaid leave, effective 5 – 7% wage cuts, as against… er… 5 – 6% wage cuts sought by Cowen today from pay cuts). Truth is pay cuts may be less penurious than unpaid leave. But that won’t get through the filter.

Despite the impression held by many, just 16% of families traveled north of the border to shop in Quarter 2 (PDF link) this year, says the CSO. Continue reading “The Digest – Dec 6 2009”