Venal Penality

November 27, 2010

Glad to see that Biffo and his mates have finally capitulated and realised that to better survive a spell in the financial penitentiary requires a delicate receptivity to the probing tumescence of one’s burly financial overlord cellmates. But Fianna Fail may not have realised that putting out for Bubba would be quite as circumferentially painful as a possible interest rate as large as 6.7 per cent. Lubeless love courtesy of the IMF.


Catholic primates

March 16, 2010

From The Irish Times:

Bishops unaware cardinal held Smyth inquiry

I am enjoying the demise of a controlling, immoral and inept cabal of half-wits.


The Daily Mail thinks Ireland is part of United Kingdom

November 28, 2009

The Daily Mail published a typical article on immigration and the NHS. More shocking than the fact that NHS hospitals are teeming with foreigners is the revelation that the Republic of Ireland has recently joined the United Kingdom

United: Broken Britain gets a boost through acquisition of new territory


Freedumb, demockracy, gliberty

June 21, 2008

There are three lamentably conspicuous words in the language of politics: democracy, liberty and freedom. They were especially conspicuous prior to Gulfwars: The Phantom Menace. The neocon speech-writers quickly incorporated them into their lexicon, deploying them like cluster bombs in the rallying speeches of Bush et al.; each liberty, democracy and freedom an explosive rhetorical bomblet. One began to think that the speech-writers had put a bet on who could squeeze the most ‘freedoms’ into a Bush speech. How they might shake with laughter behind the scenes as Bush shambled through his deliveries: ‘Freedom…freedom…freedom.’ Sadly it was no joke.

The Lisbon Treaty. Who’d have thought that in one small corner of Europe an electorate duped into voting against it could render the treaty virtually irratifiable. But Libertas knew. Oh sweet Liberty. You see? The clue is in the name. Clever, eh? But if in any doubt look to their charter. It’s all there: values, democracy, liberty and, of course, the open market. Not that these in themselves are bad notions, it’s just that they have this annoying habit of ganging together to form that doggoned school of political conservatism that just isn’t very good at being democratic, or promoting liberty.

It’s easy to forget that what the European Union is doing now is similar, but falls well short of, what the Union of America did only a couple of centuries earlier. And the secessionists were so strident in protecting their own autonomy, while railing against the centralised control of Washington, irrespective of the advantages of the union, that they were willing to go to war over it. Now Brussels is our Washington in an ideological civil war.


An inconvenient sleuth

June 6, 2008

The famous 31,000 scientists‘ rebuttal of a climate change consensus must, by now, have gone a hundred times around the world and washed up on every lazy, ignorant shore of the blogosphere and mainstream media.

A google search for ‘31000 scientists’ reveals some disturbing truths. Excluding the global warming petition project website, only one of the first ten search results is critical of this dubious list of ‘scientists’. The rest are unreservedly gleeful in their advocacy of the list, and the ostensible victory it means for climate change skeptics. The same theme continues with the first hundred search results.

Publishing over 31,000 signatories is a clever strategy: it’s rhetorically persuasive, a seemingly irrefutable shock ‘n’ awe attack on the orthodox. But it signifies little. It is not necessary to be a scientist to see that there is a major problem with this publication– simple common sense and basic arithmetic suffice.

On the Global Warming Petition Project website all the scientific categories into which each scientist belongs are listed. This is where the wheel comes off their project. It is a fucking outrage that the first group, Atmosphere, Earth & Environment, comprises a mere 3,697 of the total number of scientists. That any journalist, blogger or other imbecile could ascribe such significance to the publication of this petition — knowing this fact — is an indictment of their flagrant dishonesty. These are the sciences which are directly related to the study of climate change, and little more than 10% of our eminent signatories belong to this category.

Then we see various fields of maths, physics, chemistry, biology and medicine — mostly indirectly related to the science of climate change — making up a further 17,383 signatories.

And the rest? General Engineering & General Science account for 9,992 signatories. These sciences are almost completely unrelated to the study of climate change; and it is quite obvious to non-scientists that engineers are unqualified to make assertions about the causes of climate change.

In addition, all it takes to qualify as a scientist is a B.Sc, an undergraduate degree in science. It is worth remembering that computing and economics degrees are B.Sc’s.

Simple addition exposes the utterly misleading nature of this list. And it exposes the reckless mendacity of those who endorse it. No sleuthing is required to reveal this for the sham it is. This list has been knocking around for ten years while the science of climate change has evolved. A signatory who signed eight years ago, in possession of today’s revised findings, might have a considerably different view. And none of this is taken into account by a single one of the opinionated propaganda-peddlers who unscrupulously present the petition as proof that no consensus on climate change exists.

This is not science, this is politics. Science is about testing hypotheses and establishing facts; and journalists and bloggers have a responsibility to inform, not mislead.



Experiment: To measure the sanity in an Irish solution

January 3, 2007

It might seem presumptuous making judgments about Ireland from another country, lacking the everyday experience, the reliable intelligence. But there is one foolproof litmus test for the state of Ireland. It is a little experiment you can do every few months to check if it’s safe to come home: It’s the Irish Rail train timetable from Cork to Dublin: When the estimated duration of a journey from Cork to Dublin falls to two and a half hours, you know you can return. It is years since I made the journey but I see by the timetable that little has changed.

First, there was the timetable, the one train every few hours lark. You could deal with this skeletal timetable if the trains adequately catered for the throngs that were clamouring to get on board, but they didn’t. After one standing journey you become a bit savvy and a bit psychotic, and the next time you show up ridiculously early. The problem with this is the uneasiness of it. The feeling of apocalyptic panic at the thought of having to stand for three hours outside a toilet door on the rubbery bit between the carriages; the bitterness of paying full fare to a po-faced clerk for a seat-less ticket­, in a first-world country.

So you hurry to the queue and then the gates open, the man punches each ticket and everybody makes a run for it. That’s what I hated about it, the fact that you couldn’t stroll breezily towards your carriage to an abundance of seats and comfort, with a paper under your arm— the frantic third-world rush was the killer. But the platform nightmare of Cork was a romp compared to the tribulation of Heuston station. In Dublin you first had the warm-up of getting to ‘taeun’. You then made your way towards O’ Connell bridge to the infernal bus stop where you’d get the 90/91 to Heuston where the anarchic mob of commuters would jostle to get the coveted lower saloon seats, leaving you to flounder upstairs with your bags and shoehorn yourself sideways into a seat. This was the easy part. You were now poorly positioned to alight from the bus and make the platform in time for a seat, while the bold and shameless in the lower deck had a distinct advantage. You’d have to work extra hard to make the ticket queue early.

The bus pulls in, the panic starts. Everyone stands up as if standing up prematurely was going to dislodge the queue. Standing up early is simply a nifty way of sublimating the burgeoning desire to embark on a killing frenzy. One by one they shuffle off in a hectic exodus: yanking, straining and dislocating their way to the ticket queue as if fleeing an Ebola outbreak. Rucksack on your back, shoulders chafed and with one numb buttock, you canter like an arthritic dinosaur, selfishly overtaking the feeble and encumbered. You pass frantic old women and flustered parents along the way and, bitterly, you forfeit your newspaper to save time, a sacrifice which will make the journey seem a good hour longer. You reach the queue, get your ticket and then you lumber towards the platform. In the middle of civilisation this pathetic episode reduces down to a crude Darwinian race. You jump through a door, scan the carriage and choose a seat, planting your luggage in it like a flag to mark your little victory. The late arrivers bump and apologise through the carriages looking for seats, their knitted faces betraying the dire realisation of a three-hour stand.

All this anguish against a backdrop of an economic orgy. Year after year I thought that it would improve, that somehow the investment would happen and the new carriages would arrive or the sleek new tracks would be laid, or an extra train would run during peak time; that we’d have a normal, modern infrastructure that wouldn’t make you blush when you heard a foreign accent. There was a sense of shame like being dropped off at school in a rusty car. None of it ever happened. The trains continued to trundle anachronistically up and down the country; and occasionally stop. That was always a bit creepy— stopped dead on the tracks in the middle of nowhere, waiting to be herded into a field and executed. But, unfortunately, the driver would always mutter some apologies and we’d trundle off again. The late trains from Dublin to Cork were always a bit surreal. They kept the antiquated, mahogany-veneered carriages for those lucky travelers. On the plus side there was always a seat, but you had to endure strange train-henchmen and an arresting braking noise which, when you first heard it, sounded like an imminent derailment. Eventually you’d arrive in Cork, fantastically late, but euphoric at having made it at all.


Transcript of Mr. Noor’s meeting with Irish immigration official

December 9, 2006

‘Now, Mr Noor, you say you’re from Somalia… and you’re fleeing persecution; looking for somewhere safe where you can live in peace and prosperity, you say. Well, you see Mr. Noor, it’s not as simple as you’re making out. There’s this common misconception that fellas like yourself – refugees – are safer when you come here to Ireland. I’m afraid Mr. Noor that it’s a bit of an urban myth, as it were. Or a turban myth you might say back home, heh heh. Sorry.

You see, chances are that if you shacked up with the wrong kind of woman and you didn’t mind your P’s and Q’s, you might end up in a spot of bother. Irish women can be a bit feisty, don’t you know. I mean, there’s a small possibility that you could be bludgeoned to death by two mad women wielding hammers and knives. And worse case scenario, Mr. Noor, they might dismember your lifeless body, and your head and your, er, little man might never be found. They’d never find your head, Mr. Noor, to think that they’d never find your head…now are you sure about this, Mr. Noor?’