Friday, December 30, 2005
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Friday, December 23, 2005
Thursday, December 22, 2005
As a constituent of yours I would like to voice my opposition to the Data Retention Directive. The reasons I oppose this can be summaries below. 1. This Directive invades the privacy of all Europeans. The Directive calls for the indiscriminate collection and retention of data on a wide range of Europeans' activities. Never has a policy been introduced that mandates the mass storage of information for the mere eventuality that it may be of interest to the State at some point in the future. 2. The proposed Directive is illegal. It contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights by proposing the indiscriminate and disproportionate recording of sensitive personal information. Political, legal, medical, religious and press communications would be logged, exposing such information to use and abuse. 3. The Directive threatens consumer confidence. More than 58,000 Europeans have already signed a petition opposing the Directive. A German poll revealed that 78% of citizens were opposed to a retention policy. The Directive will have a chilling effect on communications activity as consumers may avoid participating in entirely legal transactions for fear that this will be logged for years. 4. The Directive burdens EU industry and harms global competitiveness. Retention of all this data creates additional costs of hundreds of millions of Euros every year. These burdens are placed on EU industry alone. The U.S., Canada and the Council of Europe have already rejected retention. 5. The Directive requires more invasive laws. Once adopted, this Directive will prove not to be the ultimate solution against serious crimes. There will be calls for additional draconian measures including: * the prior identification of all those who communicate, thus requiring ID cards at cybercafes, public telephone booths, wireless hotspots, and identification of all pre-paid clients; * the banning of all international communications services such as webmail (e.g. Hotmail and Gmail) and blocking the use of non-EU internet service providers and advanced corporate services. I would be interested to know where you stand on this issue. Looking foward to hearing from youTheses are the replies. from Brian Crowley
Thank you for your email regarding the voting on the ALVARO Report on Data Retention. As you may be aware the two largest political groups in the Parliament, the EPP and PSE, agreed a deal on a compromise package of amendments which forced the Rapporteur, Mr Alvaro to withdraw his name from the report. The main points with regard to the amendments which were adopted relate to the type of data to be retained and this will not include the content of the data, also that the data will only be provided to competent national authorities as laid down by national legislation, and the crimes for which data is to be sought must be defined by member states in their national legislation also. Yours is one of the many letters I have received on this matter and I should point out that the law at present on Data Retention in Ireland is not affected or impacted by this legislation. You may also know that my colleagues and I abstained on the final vote as we believe that the issue should have been dealt with on the third pillar and not the first pillar which is also the position of the Irish government, however, this was a minority viewpoint. Regarding your second point, there has been no case taken to the European Court of Human Rights regarding this directive, and indeed the Irish legislation which was passed this year wasn't challenged in the Irish Courts either on the question of contravention of human rights. Thank you for taking the time to write to me. Kind regards Is mise le meas Brian Crowley M.E.P. President U.E.N. Group Leader F.F. Group in EuropeFrom Simon Coveney
Thank you for writing to me and expressing your views in relation to the vote on data retention. I am very much aware of the concern surrounding this proposed Directive. I would like to briefly outline my views to you in relation to this important debate. When voting last week I voted in favour of the majority of the proposed new legislation but I abstained in the final vote on the resolution as a whole and I will explain my reasoning to you. The position of the Irish Government is that this legislation should be dealt with as part of the so-called Third Pillar, meaning that each Member State should legislate individually in this area as opposed to introducing pan-European legislation. The Irish Government is concerned that the current approach may not be legally sound and may even make a legal challenge to the decision. It is important to stress the point that Irish legislation is currently tougher as regards data retention than this proposed legislation. Our national legislation provides for a retention period of three years in the case of telephonic data whereas this proposed legislation stipulates a much shorter period permitted for the retention of data. Ireland has maintained that it has been necessary to retain data for this length of time due to security concerns we have had to deal with. I, too, am uncomfortable with the principle of data retention and certainly do not want to move towards a big brother system either but I do believe that limited data retention is now a necessity. I am in favour of a common position between Member States of the European Union as an effective way to deal with security threats. I think it will give governments and police important assistance in fighting serious crime and terrorism. I did not want to prevent this piece of legislation but rather to register my concern and question the legal basis of this proposed piece of legislation. I would prefer not to have to go down this road at all but I do see it as one of the unfortunate necessities in combating serious crime and terrorism. It would be farcical to have long periods of data retention in Ireland and shorter periods of data retention across the EU. Should you have further questions or comments in relation to this matter do not hesitate to contact me at this address. Best regards, Simon Coveney
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Sunday, December 18, 2005
The comedian stunned fans and the entertainment industry when he abruptly left during production of the third season of Chappelle's Show. He spent two weeks in South Africa before returning home to his 65-acre farm near Yellow Springs, and then returned to standup comedy. His decision triggered reports that he had mental or drug problems, which he denied On May 11, news sources (most notably Entertainment Weekly) reported that Chappelle had checked himself into a psychiatric facility in South Africa. Chappelle denies this. On May 14, Time Magazine announced that one of their reporters had interviewed Chappelle in South Africa, and the comedian said no psychiatric treatments were occurring or necessary. Chappelle reportedly went to South Africa to purify himself and to do some soul searching. Chappelle has also said he was unhappy with the direction of his show.The reason behind his decision to leave is a mystery however one theory is that a group called the Dark Crusaders were trying to get him to quit. The theory is outlined here.www.chappelletheory.com. I'll let you make your own mind up. Maybe it is true maybe Dave thought it was true. Maybe its a pile of poo. But what ever you believe America has lost a great show.
Should Religious orders be forced by the state to adhere to employment rules and not discriminate on bases of gender or sexual orientation?The results came in as follows 11 votes 8 No 3 yes So the majority of the people believe that the Church should not be forced by the state to change its rules. A discussion of the topic can be seen here.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Gerry Adams has never been convicted for being a member of the Provisional IRA army council. In fact he has never been convicted of IRA membership. The connection between the IRA and Sinn Fein has to my knowledge never been proved in a court of law.
America or the CIA has never been prosecuted in a court of law for kidnapping, torturing and transporting of prisoners through Shannon. .
Now this is just two examples of things people believe, report and criticise others for that have yet to be proven in a court of law. Yet these two things are readily believed by the media and the opposition parties. Most of the papers have stated as fact that the IRA Sinn Fein are one in the same thing. Read any opinion column and you will see this. Also have a read of Indymedia and you’ll find countless articles about the CIA torture flights.
So why suddenly do we hear claims of innocents until proven guilty. While the likes of indymedia need no court case to claim the CIA are torturing nor do they even need leaked official documents. The majority of the evidence of their claim is based on hear say and jumped up plane spotters not a lot of which would stand up in court. Yet suddenly they need court cases over Frank Connolly
If back in 2004 I said Mutu took drugs is that an accusation aimed at Chelsea or the player. Obviously it is against the player the fact that he played for Chelsea at the time is irrelevant. Similarly with Frank Connolly he worked at the Centre of Public Enquiry acquisitions against him are not in a bid to destroy the centre. The centre was created to be an independent inquiry agency. Would it be right for the head of such powerful independent agency to have broken the law? And possibly support 2 terrorist organisations one of which would like to bring down the state and the other is a major drug exporter? Considering that this centre is to inquire into government no matter who is in power. Is it then right that party A is supported by the head? Someone who may make sure all parties except party A are investigated. Would removing such a person from that position not in fact be insuring its independence?
(Edit: This paragraph added 00:30)In fact considering that the PIRA wishes to bring down the state wouldn’t requirement No 1 of the Centre of Public Enquiry be that the person in charge of the organisation that could bring down the state doesn't want to bring down the state or have any links at all to the PIRA. How would addreasing that not be in the nations security interest?
So the question I feel that needs to be answered is why is there suddenly a need for a court case for proof when Adams and the CIA have not had the luxury? Is this a case of McDowell bashing, media protecting their own or genuine grievances?
If you do have a genuine grievance and truly believe in innocent till proven guilty. Then be true to your principles and reprimanded people who say the CIA torture, Sinn Fein/IRA are linked and Gerry Adams is on the IRA council with the same vigour as you would Michael McDowell over this issue. If however you would find your self reprimanding yourself maybe you should reconsider your stance on this incident or your stance on all other incidents. For to say CIA’s and Sinn Fein/IRA's guilt needs no court but Connolly’s does is a double standard.
I expect the result to be more polarized between Left/Right because bloggers are people who think about their political choices. In the real elections most people take the middle option (FF, FG stand up).. Thus this would explain the high votes for the Pds Labour and the Greens. These parties are either left wing or right wing. With perceived set political view points. Where as Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are very much central in view point. While the Pds are on top with 10. The combined Labour Green vote is 11. This suggest that Labour and the green party slit the left wing vote while the Pds have no natural opponent on the right. (All this is presuming that Tom Parlon did not find this website) What this has to do with the outcome of the next election is unclear. It may have very little to do with it. 39 votes in an election split across many constitutes is not going to make or break a government, However if blogs come as important in Ireland as in America. With tens of thousands reading blogs everyday. Then the few top Irish bloggers may come as influential as many of Irelands top journalists. If bloggers start really pushing parties. Then it is possible that the preference of wing politics in the blogsphere might lead to a rise in the fortunes of the left, right and nationalist parities and a fall for the central parties. However I think this unlikely to happen. I don't think blogs will evolve the same way as in America. The explosion of blogs power in America is due to George W Bush. We don't have the same divide in Irish politics. Few on both sides of the divide would see a government of the Pds and Labour while not their first choice as totally wrong. The Greens agreeing with the Pds on an issue is not an earth shattering event unlike the Democrats and Republicans in America agreeing. The rise of American blogs influence is due to the divide that is not in Ireland. The only divide in Ireland is Sinn Fein and Anti-Sinn Fein. And Sinn fein is far from having enough power to really trouble anyone yet. But if they do rise then the Irish Blogland may have a divide that will drive the blogsphere. In Ireland all politics in local. While people might dislike Fianna Fail they still will vote Fianna Fail as their local Fianna Fail TD is a good man/woman. They don't see the connection between local TD's and the Dail. If Greens Labour and the Pds want to make inroads into Fianna Fail and Fine Gael they have to try make people see the bigger picture. Sinn Fein realise that is the situation. They work hard on the ground and that is why they are on the rise. Not due to people agreeing with them but because the local Sinn Fein person is a good for the county. Sorry for the delay in publishing the results by the way.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Friday, December 09, 2005
PhD students do not come out of thin air. They mainly come from the CAO system. When someone applies for a physics programme. They mainly chose on the location of the university and the points of the system not on the speciality of the department.
Now if we want physics PhD students to maximise there potential we have to have them working in the field they are best at. Physics has many fields Quantum, Astronomy, Materials, Optics, Computational, Particle etc and fields within fields. Students need to be exposed to all these branches of physics. The only exposure to these various branches is via their lecturers. Once they have taken courses and been exposed to all branches can they make their decisions on what branch suits them best.
However if we try to pigeon hole topics into universities we are going to have the situation where physics courses are weighted towards certain topics. This already happens lecturers have their pet topics that they like to teach. This is their research areas. Universities balance this out by having varied research areas so having varied lectures. But when universities have specialities and are excluding from certain projects. The lecturers in the department are all going to researching in a small number of fields.
Lecturers teach in their own areas. And in these consolidation measures lectures and PhD students who are future lecturers are going to move to universities that do research in their fields. This coalescence in talent could even create a flood where for example all optics research in the country could be done in one university and all astronomy in another.
Hence in departments whose research fields are narrowed are also going to narrow the scope of the courses they teach. This is going to damage the education of students if the greatest potential cosmologist ends up in a department that does not do cosmology due to this measure they are not going to reach their potential. This will be detrimental to the future quality of graduates.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
. The debate was about Decentralisation and the programme was running a txt poll. 94% of people in the poll said they were satisfied with the governments policy. However on checking the txt numbers that were received the station found out that many of the votes could be traced back to his office. He denied it but on Today Fm news they said they had an internal email saying that in fact that his staff were asked to participate. This is a serious story while a local radio txt poll may not be of any importance. The fact that he tried to usurp a democratic process is serious and hopefully will not be buried by other news stories.
Decentralisation had been his idea. It has backfire. He seemed to forget that not every person in the civil service has wives and husbands kids and houses. While one person can move their other half might have a job they can’t decentralise that. Kids are in schools with friends can you decentralise that?. No of course not decentralisation is a ridicules idea.
Tom Parlon seems to have shown utter contempt for the concept for honest debate. This to me is in fact a disgrace that a politician in a democratic country would deliberately try to alter the perceived public opinion on a radio debate. He seems to be blatantly putting his own career in front of the interests of the people. This guy must care little for normal peoples opinions. Where must politicians to their credit join a party based on the parties political stance. He shopped around to get the best deal for himself. In 2001 he told RTE news "If I run it will be with one of the two big parties, but I am also looking at other options in the corporate sector,". Last time I checked the PD s were not one of the big parties. This txt poll is another example of his self serving attitude.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Monday, December 05, 2005
On the page after the article was an advertisement for spa weekends. Newspapers need to sell to papers so that advertisers will purchase space. They therefore are not going to bite the hand that feeds them. Likewise men’s magazines. They sell because of sex. Any man that goes on about I read it for the “articles” are either liars or reading articles about Abi Titmuss sex tips.
Vast amounts of cosmetic companies advertise in these magazines and I am fairly sure if they started saying men you don’t need face cream. They would quickly lose this source of income. So they publish articles telling of the wonders of the latest €40 bottle of stuff that will make you instantly attractive to women as without it you will end up alone, sad and reading the “articles”.
For years this kind of commercial myth has been prevalent in females magazines. And most fell for it. The myth that beauty was size 6, tanned, tall, eye brow plucked and moisturised skin. So the majority of the female population are trying to adhere to that myth. This has lead to many things such as depression and anorexia. As this has happen men too have fallen into the trap of expecting this in women. Years ago skinny women were not the object of attraction look at Marylyn Monroe. But we men have been fooled it to thinking amongst other things that protruding bones are somehow hot. I mean seriously does plucked eyebrows turn any man on.
All this myth building has been built by industry the cosmetic industry. Whether it be Nivea or surgeons this myth has made billions. But all is not going well for the industry. The market is saturated, women spend hundreds on cosmetics. So to improve the share price and grow something needed to be done. Some new markets needed to be found. Then came Beckham. Suddenly there was a market something they never thought of before men. So no longer was after shave and hair gel enough suddenly we had moisturisers and facials.
Adds are designed to sell. To do this they must makes people feel they need that item. So for female cosmetics they show some spectacular beauty and use this to focus into the insecurities females have about their appearance and it worked. So they want to use the same tactics with men. But the male psyche works slightly differently just putting a hot guy on the screen is not going to make a man buy face cream. So the adds act on a different insecurity then female adds. It acts on the insecurity in attracting people of the opposite sex (or same for homosexuals). Every male add has a hot girl in it who is all over the user of the product. It send out the out the signal that a lazy scumball like you can just sit on your ass while hot women fall all over you just by using our stuff. This is typified by the Lynx effect.
When they do but a guy to plug a product it is not a model it is usually a footballer or Gavin Henson. This I believe has only one motive to sell the product to the people who footballer players are their role-models teenage boys. The thinking I presume is if you can grab them early you will keep them. While many men in their twenties and older would have a fit at the thought of putting on cosmetics due to years of school yard conditioning. Younger men are growing up in school yards where not only is cosmetics acceptable but the norm.
So is this a good thing?. Is it good that men can pamper themselves and not feel the confined by the male stereotypes they have inherited from their fathers?. Sure it is but is shelling out for moistures really about pampering. No it is the media feed belief that women only want a well groomed manicured man that drives male cosmetics sales. Not being a women I can’t really comment on this issue but it seems that women seem to swoon over the movie stars that have the rugged looked and hate men that spend more time in the bathroom then them. Some people like to call it designer stubble as if it is someone’s creation. But unless the designer they talk about is god stubble has no designer it is in fact it is due to the absence of any designing.
Also on the rise is cosmetic surgery in both men and women. What people are not born with they seek to have added. Shows like the Swan fuel the myth that a good body (in the media’s definition) is the secret to happiness. Thus more and more people are going under the knife.
But where will it stop. Looking at some of the new adds they seem to portray mens’ cosmetics as a kind of macho slap it in type product. Compared to the females slowly applied approach. This is the industries attempt to make cosmetics macho. But where will it end. Will men in 10 years time be wearing lipstick. The answer is probably yes. The cosmetic companies are seeing men take up their products but the shareholders will demand increased growth and this will make it necessary to market more products. Men are just as gullible to the fashion myth as women. Make-up for men is the obvious next step.
But then where? With men and women buying a full range of cosmetics where is the next market. In some places this market is already coming to the surface. That market is children. Parents will not only be buying their kids lipsticks with multicoloured bears on them and moisturisers with nemoesque fish on the bottles. But they may also be conditioned to believe their bundle of joy are not perfect and are in need of plastic surgery. That is a worrying but probable future.
But I am going to make a stand for the human race. I’m refusing to use moisturiser. Maybe some of my female readers can tell me if this is going to leave me like the cosmetic companies would like to think alone reading the “articles”. But to bust some myths that have been told to women. For me and most men I have asked a females greatest feature is not her cleavage or legs or backside or plucked eyebrows but her smile. And before anyone points it out it has nothing to do with the use of whitening toothpaste
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Trade makes the world go round. Since the beginning of time trade has been an integral part of society. Where before it was barter trade nowadays works on the basics of the Market. With each product having a price dictated by demand and availability. However this is not a free-market. Countries and regions place traffics to give their own people an advantage over foreigners. However the latest trade talks are trying to change that. The 3 major objectives are
• market access: substantial reductions • exports subsidies: reductions of, with a view to phasing out, all forms of these • domestic support: substantial reductions for supports that distort trade
Developing countries want access to Europe’s agricultural markets. As they can produce at lower costs then European farmers they will dominate the market. However the tariff walls and the subsidised European farmers mean that developing countries cannot compete. Also many European companies would want greater access to developing countries markets. This maybe called by neo-colonialism but it can benefit the local economics by providing jobs and credit much in the same way American investment benefited Ireland.
Europe accounts for the 20% of world trade. But Europe’s economy is poor. The Euro is performing poorly. The French and German economies two of the powerhouses of Europe are performing poorly with high unemployment. It is estimated that that Europe GDP could increase by €20bn a year if there is a successful negotiation of Doha. So it is clearly in the broader European interest to have a successful outcome of these talks. The opening up of trade could solve many of Germanys and Frances unemployment problems. However all is not going well.
The talks are stalled and it is clear to see who the other countries blame. While no official statements of blame have been made. Australia and Canada wanted to release a statement blaming the EU. Philippine foreign secretary Alberto Romulo told the Associated Press “You don’t have to name names, it’s quite obvious who are the people”. So it now goes to Hong Kong next week and Europe’s representative Peter Mandelson to make the world hunky doory again. But even Europe is not united France has threatened to veto any moves made to reform Agriculture.
At the Doha summit the leaders realised a statement it said that the process “must be carried to a successful conclusion ... by the end of 2006”. The main stumbling block is agriculture. “Unless progress is made in this area, we cannot make progress in the round as a whole,” the statement said. “Avoiding or compromising our ambition on this issue would mean that we would lower expectations for the round as a whole.”
With the rejection of the EU constitution by France and Netherlands and since the expanding of the EU there is a rising nationalism in the EU. Many people are beginning to resent the level of control that they have relinquished to the EU. So the EU needs to show people that it can deliver coherent and beneficial policy. The world trade talks give them the opportunity to do this. Also if they fail to do a deal Europe loses much of it power in the world. Europe might even come isolated. This would be a disaster for the EU so something has to be sacrificed. Sugar framers in Europe are the pawns being offered up.
On the 16 September Australia, Brazil and Thailand sent a communication to the chairman of the dispute settlement body of the WTO. It was in connection to European export subsidies on sugar. Their complaint was that Europe was
“contemplating action to declassify quota sugar to C sugar in the near future which would serve to increase its subsidised exports of sugar to a level of some 6 million tonnes in excess of the EC’s WTO export subsidy commitments for sugar (i.e. the EC’s subsidised exports of sugar would total approximately 7.2 million tonnes).”
This has lead to the price of beet been cut to €25 a ton. This is going to cause the vast majority of beet farmers in Europe to go out of business. It is unclear if these farmers will move out of agriculture or whether they will be given sufficient grants so as to invest in machinery etc and thus allow them to change into other fields (pardon the pun) of agriculture.
Europe has been taking a lot of flak over these trade talks and it wants some kind of leverage to get some good will, to allow it to negotiate more favourable terms for the European market. The sugar industry is that leverage. It will remain to be seen if it will be enough.
Most countries still want more cuts in CAP while Europe has said that what is on the table is as much as is socially acceptable in Europe. Peter Mandelson Europe trade commissioner is in charge of the negotiation. His labour party are beginning to see the Conservatives anti-Europe stance beginning to garner support in a country already lukewarm on Europe. So he does not want jeopardise Labour and his close friend Blair in Britain.
Mandelson has a tricky line to walk. Go to far one side and he will suffer the wrath of the French and framers to far the other side and he could alienate the rest of the world. So it is not yet clear if the beet framers well be enough of a sacrifice to allow Mandelson to pacify both sides by opening trade and keeping the majority of CAP.
CAP WARS The Return from Hong Kong Will be written whenever the trade talks finish. Edit: I don't think I will actually do this.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
Friday, December 02, 2005
Twenty Major. Lines like "I punched and kicked like Christy Brown on PCP" says it all. You'll hate your self for finding it funny.5.
Gavins Blog. For some reason this blog always has a nice friendly atmosphere to it and I have no idea why. Always links to interesting articles and founder of www.irishcorruption.com/4.
Little Green Footballs Always worth a read to see the craziness of the American right. The opinions and comments can be so outrageous and offensive that it makes you really see where your views lie.3.
Freedom Institute. The Geogre W of the Irish Blogsphere. Disliked by many and right wing. Thankfully Pro-American with many Irish people part of the BBB (Bashing Bush Bandwagon people who bash Bush as it is trendy) it is good to see a site with well argued points that differ. The blogsphere is all about different opinions this site brings balance to the debate.2.
ie-politics. Well written, well argued and concise a left winger that is not afraid to talk of raising taxes.1.
Disillusioned Lefty Regular readers of this blog the Disillusioned Leftys match youthful idealism with a mature handling of fact a trait so rare in a cynical world.Other Blogs of note can been seen on the sidebar.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, was asked during a briefing in Baghdad whether paying off Iraqi news organizations to run pro-American stories undermines the credibility of the U.S. military and of the new Iraqi media. Lynch replied that al Qaeda leaders believe "half the battle is the battlefield of the media," citing a letter, released by the United States in October, said to have been written by al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, to the extremist network's leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. "And what Zarqawi's doing continuously is lying to the Iraqi people, lying to the international community, conducting these kidnappings, these beheadings, these explosions so that he gets international coverage to look like he has more capability than he truly has," Lynch said. 'WE DON'T LIE' "We don't lie. We don't need to lie. We do empower our operational commanders with the ability to inform the Iraqi public, but everything we do is based on fact not based on fiction," Lynch said.Yes they may not lie but it doesn't mean they are not telling all the facts. I mean I could tell someone Milli Vinneli were good act but forget to mention they were actually miming. I'm not lying but Im not telling the truth either. The US military think the media lost them Vietnam they don't seem to want the same thing to happen in Iraq. With the opinion polls in America turing against them it looks like the media has won the arguement again. The U.S military are just stooping to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi level. If they want to be seen as democratic liberators they need to beyond reproach.