Mail & Guardian (South Africa) Becoming Modern
Friday, June 30, 2006
2 different views on gobalisation in the developing world.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Osama in comeback special
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
On Irish Academia
Richard alludes to an interesting piece in today’s Irish Times (why is there always something interesting in the times on the days I don’t buy it). Anyway it is about the amount of people in college and whether that is dumbing down standards.
Is it possible for the currently under-financed university sector to initiate and socialise all these newcomers so they can recognise and digest an intellectual argument? Or must the institutions dumb down and give in to the dead weight of numbers by lowering intellectual standards and turning lecturing into a branch of the entertainment industry?
Firstly it is clear that most people who write for the Irish Times come from a arts background as I am sure that anyone from a Science background would ever say that a lecture in Quantum Mechanics or Organic Chemistry is ever entertaining however interesting. Continued
To pretend that genuine advances in intellectual and scientific inquiries can be easily combined with democracy's demand for undergraduate mass intake and teaching is a complete illusion.
To me UCD's Andreas Hess who wrote the article has missed a major change in the world and indeed I think Richard has possibly missed it as well. . In this new knowledge economy the skills that are demand are the ones that require a university training, few jobs anymore require only a leaving cert and the ones that do are quickly drying up.
The place where previously a degree held, that of the advancement of science etc is now no longer that place. The degree is now been required by so many business that to hold it up to the standards of excellent that Andreas Hess believes it should would damage the economy. The degree now is the definition of the standard level of education need to complete a job.
The place where the “genuine advances in intellectual and scientific inquiries” is at PhD level. A university degree is the new leaving cert.
Monday, June 26, 2006
New Look Irish Election
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Remember Zig and Zag
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Sound bites more important then the enviroment for the Greens.
Niall O’Brolcháin Green candidate in Galway West is trading in the Mayoral jag for a more environmentally friendly car. Yet what he is doing is not enviromentally friendly at all.
In 1994 the Environment and Forecasting Institute in Heidelberg, Germany conducted a survey on the energy and environmental impact of a car through out its life time. Having driven 13,000 km a year for 10 years. It will produce 2,040m cubic metres of polluted air driving and 922m in production. This mean that about 40% of the emissions coming from a car in its 10 year lifetime comes from the manufacture. Or to put it another way. If you buy a new car every 4 years the greatest factor in the emissions in the car comes from the manufacture not the fuel.
Now in Galway Niall O’Brolcháin Green candidate in Galway West has been elected mayor. And quiet proudly on there website this little story is told.
Emerging last night from Galway Chambers in full robes and chain, he crossed the car park to where his new Jaguar and driver waited, and in a few quiet and polite words sent them both home for the evening. Mayor O’Brolcháin says he will not need such a large car or one that has a high emission output.
“I probably will need a car to carry out my Mayoral duties but I think using a large petrol vehicle is sending out the wrong message. I will need to negotiate with the Council to ensure I am driving am environmentally friendly car with a low emission output.”
Now according to a poster on Boards.ie the mayoral Jag in Galway is a 2.7 diesel which gets about 40mpg. So it is by no means a gas guzzler. And even if that poster is not correct in that. I am sure that the current mayoral car is newer then 4 years. Thus by insisting that the current mayoral car is changed for a new environmentally friendly car he is in fact causing more emissions and more environmental damage then if he did not change the car and insist on keeping the car that has already been produced and thus has already emitted pollutants into the atmosphere and not create the demand to create one more new car which will produce more toxic waste and carbon dixoide.
Thus the only thing I can conclude is that this is a publicity stunt. Driving a Prius makes you look a lot more environmentally friendly then driving a big old Jag. It maybe good for the image but certainly not for the environment.
On his blog John Gormley TD said.
In relation to the new green ministerial transport, Dick Roche and Noel Dempsey are now in the same league as David Cameron - having their cake and greening it. Cameron is poser. He cycles to work but has his minions transport his clothes and papers to Westminister in a car. Were are the CO2 savings there?
I would like to ask him the same question where is the CO2 saving in Niall O’Brolcháin car?
World Cup Monty Pyton style
Air India inquiry begins
The inquiry's commissioner, John Major, opened the inquiry in Ottawa almost 21 years after Air India Flight 182 exploded off the coast of Ireland, claiming the lives of 329 people, including 82 children. Two baggage handlers at Tokyo's Narita Airport died in another connected bombing.Hat tip.(Blast furnance Canada.)
Friday, June 23, 2006
Canada proposes changing Age of consent.
a close-in-age exception, which means that teens who are 14 or 15 can have a sexual partner who is "less than five years older."
America losing the game of minimum wage.
A few months a go an American said this.
"It is time for Congress to take a look at the minimum wage and other legislation that can help working families."
minimum wage of $5.15 an hour has not been raised in nearly a decade and we believe it is out of date with the times," U.S.
So who is this guy wanting a raising of the minimum wage. A democrat, a raving left wing union boss, some Daily Kos blogger no it was a guy called Lee Scott otherwise known to left wingers as CEO of Evil inc otherwise called Wal Mart. Now before you think this guy must have been visited by the ghosts of Christmas pass present and future and repented his evil neo-liberal ways. Here is the rest of his statement.
"We can see first-hand at Wal-Mart how many of our customers are struggling to get by. Our customers simply don't have the money to buy basic necessities between pay checks."
With the economy booming, more young people are finding work, including summer jobs. But economists have long known that when minimum wages go up, the number of jobs for kids tends to go down.
The Disillusioned lefties argued that sometimes it is better for people.
Basically, the argument goes, the higher the minimum wage, the fewer low-wage workers can be hired by your average business, and the higher the unemployment (hurting the poorest in society). In addition, the higher the minimum wage, the higher the wage costs to the firm, the lower the profit margins, and the higher the prices for the consumer, hurting everyone
Now what both those arguments miss is precisely what Scott Lee saw. Consumers. In the first scenario. Where are the kids most likely to work. More then likely in the service industry convenient stores (I guess if you are writing about America it is best not to use proper words like supermarkets), Music shops, clothes shops etc etc. Now who would make up a large portion of the costumers of these shops. Who is going to buy 50 Cent’s latest
exploits in cat strangling Album, who is going to buy Tommy Hilfiger designer gear. The very same people that this rise is supposed to effect kids and if this rise came, where is the extra money going to go. I’ll tell you more 50 cent more Tommy Hilfiger and more sales for the shop owners. Sure if a shop keeper individually rise wages they will suffer but a rise across the board will result in more sales for all. It is in essences Coordination Game Theory
This also goes for the lefties argument. While an increase in wages will decrease the profit margins it would also result in increase volumes. There is a reason that Toyata makes more money then Ferrari it is not profit margins it is volumes.
Tax cuts to the poor tend to have a greater effect to a consumer economy then tax cuts to the rich. Basically €200 extra a year to a poor family is going to enter the economy a lot faster and be of more benefit then €200 to the rich family. The rich families 200 might go on a foreign holiday leaving the economy all together the poor families 200 however will go more then likily into the local economy stimulating growth, jobs and tax revenue. The rich familes 200 could be seen in many ways to be foreign aid. Same goes for the minimum wage. A rise in the minimum wage will do a lot more for the economy then a lowering of tax on share dealing for instance.
There is of course a limit to how much you can raise minimum wage. Eventually the increase in consumerism is going to not balance out the increase in cost and lead to high unemployment a type of Laffer curve if you will. But the minimum wage in
As for the argument that (again from the Disillusioned lefties)
Why is a coercion-free agreement between two adults of sound mind, with positive affects for both of them and no adverse affects for others, not permitted?
The problem with that statement is that work at this level is a zero sum game. The person looking for the job has more to lose then the employer. He has to pay bills, have debt, put food on the table etc etc. The employer can find someone else. Hence there is no coercion-free agreement.
However raising minimum wage is not the magic bullet solution to poverty as the above OP-ed in the Wall Street journal points out.
So maybe some of my readers are wondering have I lost my right wing views, will I start supporting Labour and calling for the fall of the bourgeoisie. The answer is no. Indeed my views have not changed. But if supporting a higher minimum wage makes me no longer a capitalist fine call me a consumerist from now on.
In truth, his[ed. Sen Kennedy] proposed rate of $7.25 an hour won't lift many poor families out of poverty because as many as 64% of the earners in these families already get paid more than $7.25. New research by Joseph Sabia at the University of Georgia and Cornell's Richard Burkhauser indicates that factors other than wages--such as working fewer hours and supporting large families--are holding them down.
Anti-War Activist places US Soldiers under (Citizens) Arrest in Co Clare.
"While Driving through Ennis town yesterday afternoon a local anti-war activist put six young US service men under (citizens) arrest."From Indymedia (where else). And they wonder why
The top cop was more annoyed that Mr. Cregan had rang the Ennis Gardai Station on the 999 emergency line and informed him that he would be investigating the matter with a view to prosecute. I have 3 words for you "Wasting Police Time"
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Visit to the Dail by Iraqi delegation
I was wrong
Hamas has made a major political climbdown by agreeing to sections of a document that recognise Israel's right to exist and a negotiated two-state solution, according to Palestinian leaders.
Trouble in the PD’s
The Irish Times is reporting that a leadership struggle is going on within the PD’s.
The Progressive Democrats have been convulsed by a power struggle over the past week with Michael McDowell claiming he had an arrangement with Mary Harney that she would step down as party leader before the next election,
While peace seems to have been declared.
At the meeting, which lasted for more than three hours, there was a frank exchange of views between the two sides but the consensus was that it would be suicidal for the party to embark on a leadership struggle with a year to go to a general election.
In the event, Mr McDowell withdrew his threat not to run in the next election while Ms Harney made it clear she would not be making any attempt to remove Mr McDowell as party president or Minister for Justice.
It remains to be seen will this split the party and how it will effect the party in the future will it damage it’s election chances.
Also on Irish Election.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Is Al Gore's movie on climate change flawed.
Munster Get tough group
Politicians can't blog wouldn't blog.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Sex is still a taboo.
Many people shouted out. “Do not speak ill of the dead” yet they never said this when they were discussing his dodgy dealings with various people. Neither was it raised when questions arose around his actions during the Anglo-Irish agreement and his handling of the economy in the early part of the 80s. Sure infidelity effects his family but does saying he is a criminal not also effect his family.
On of the question was that a politician has the right to a private life and indeed they do but when something is revealed that effects their character then it is in the public. Interest. For instance Charlie was involved in the whole condom debate. Would people’s perception of the situation have been different if it was known he was Sweetie of Terry Keane’s gossip column. I think so. Also what does it say about the mans character that he would sit on a Sunday reading this with glee in front of his wife. This aspect of his life is just as relevant as any other in the telling of the story of Charlie.
Movie Review: 'Cars'
If we are to label ‘Cars’ the weakest of Pixars films it should mot be said without qualification. To date Pixar and any other animators have created worlds numbered by ants, monsters, fairy tale folk and any other number of characters which have distinguishable human characteristics, they have faces, eyes and some number of appendages through which they can convey emotions, reactions and give depth to characters. The world of ‘Cars’ is just that, full of cars and to have created a stable of characters, easily identifiable and design them so that we believe they are live and struggling characters is commendable.
The creation of the car characters is only a tangent of a broader discussion of the look of the film. From the opening shot I was overwhelmed by the glorious look and colour of the film. From the intensity and bustle of car racing sequences to the great open expanses of middle America, coupled with Danny Elfman’s score no amount of protestation would convince me anyone could resist being caught up in the furore and the calm- you have already got the message of the film before its spelt out to the leading character. Look even at the opaque and monotone look of the city in the concluding scenes of ‘The Incredibles’ or the block of computer graphics that are suppose to be glaciers in ‘Ice Age 2', I could not level such criticism at one such scene in ‘Cars’.
Most importantly,‘Cars’ does continue Pixars tradition of saying something new. Even when ‘Shrek’ was heralded as an innovation in film making with its ridiculing of Disney and ironic twists on fairytales it was nothing more than a road trip, journey of growth, only living happily ever after when you found someone to marry you. Cars focuses on the impact a bypass has on the economy of a small town and more broadly, how distracted and detached we can become by the drone of getting through and forget to live. It’s a real and relatable story so that while 'Cars’ may be relegated to the lower echelons of Pixar’s output, the heart and virtue in the story and the dutiful filmmaking on display deserves recognition.
Monday, June 19, 2006
The Charles J Haughey Tunnel
A ROW has broken out among Dublin councillors over a proposal to name the Dublin Port Tunnel in honour of Charles Haughey.. I have to say the idea of the Charlie Tunnel is really quiet funny. Imagine how many people will got to the toll booth operator and go "Thanks a million big fella" when they pay their way.
Civil Liberties and the War Against Terrorism.
"Dictatorship never announces its arrival,"
"It won't, like drum majorettes, beat drums and parade down the street to announce it has arrived." "The main concern of the committee centres on signs that we may be drifting towards dictatorship.
Now much of the background to this is to do with Jacob Zuma the former Deputy President who was accused of rape but was acquitted. During his trial he admitted to having unprotected sex with his accuser but claimed that he took a shower afterwards to cut the risk of contracting HIV. Now the Congress of South African Trade Unions is very much in favour of Zuma which the current president Mbeki does not. So a lot of the reason for such talk is inevitably political in nature. But is their a grain of truth in it.
While the reason that the ANC has 70% of the vote is because 70% of the electorate voted for them. But the question is does power breed power. Is there a certain point where in a democracy that a party can be so big and in power that removes the ability for the opposition to get in. i.e. leading to the case where a democracy can be a dictatorship.
Much of politics is about money the ability to get your message across is more important then your message. Now if you are the party in power and in the position where you are going to be the only party in power you are going to be the largest receiver of political donations. Who is going to back a dead horse. Not many, especially in a place where there is a perception that society is more or less democratic. While people fighting the good fight will always attract sympathy especially from foreign donor’s, if a party is on the surface democratic and the former home of Nelson Mandela who is going to back the opposition against such a party. Thus this leads to the main party having an large advantage in the financial stakes.
But that is not the main cause of power breeding power. When a party is so much a part of the history of a struggle for freedom. It comes very much the symbol of what was fought for. What ever the ANC will do it will always be the party that ended Apartheid it will always be the party that ended the oppression of the black population. That is a very powerful symbol, something that people feel a loyalty to something that is very difficult to vote against. As it seems in some respects to be voting against what they stood for. Then that thought can come institutionalised the very idea of voting for something else seems wrong it comes very natural to vote for that party. And while there are differing ideas about how the country should be run there these are considered to be dealt with in house. Where we end up with a big tent party where differing ideas exist but whether these ideas become government policy or not is dealt with in house and not by the electorate. Thus the electorate no longer dictate government policy it is dictated to them. This state has all the hallmarks on the outside of democracy but isn’t, it is dictatorship.
Desmond Tutu said of the ANC in 2004.
An unthinking, uncritical, kowtowing party line-toeing is fatal to a vibrant democracy. I am concerned to see how many have so easily been seemingly cowed and apparently intimidated to comply. I am sure proportional representation has been a very good thing but it should have been linked to constituency representation. I fear that the party lists have had a deleterious impact on people even if that was not the intention. It is lucrative to be on a party list. The rewards are substantial and if calling in question party positions jeopardises one's chances to get on the list then not too many are foolhardy and opt for silence to become voting cattle for the party.
In the world now a lot of the talk from the neo-cons is about democracy promotion (will I avoid Richards Eddie Holt award for using the word neo-con incorrectly :) ) a laudable aim, the talk is all about getting people a vote giving a chance to express a vote. But that is not the founding principle of democracy indeed Saddam got won 100% of a vote in 2002 . The real test of democracy is does the opposition have the ability to get into power can the people dictate to the government. Because without that you merely have dictatorship with a democratic mandate. So how do you do this, parties created from struggles for freedom have to be encouraged to split when those rights it fought for are won. For without this you merely have a democratic dictatorship.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Mentos and Diet Coke to the Extreme
Go the whole hog The Reason why. Feel free to try this at home. With a 2 litre Bottle and about 5 mentos (By home I mean outside your home)
My thoughts on Social Partnership
Leaving Cert Maths
Anyone have a picture of the question? It was in the Sunday Indo
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Also Goodbye Lenin is on after Segal. An excellent german movie.
RTE live streaming.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Don't Buy Magil.
It is simply not worth your €3.25. Makes you nearly want to buy Village. Ok not really but the mere thought that I might buy village says alot.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
1 year old today
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
I remember reading someone remarked that the left tends to always believe that the
terrorist freedom fighter is right. Think about it Palestine, Iraqi insurgency, PIRA. Now I am sure that many people would give out to me for putting the provos in with the Palestinians but outside of Ireland that is often the case. Why? Because here in Ireland we know about the North. Unlike with Palestine where our news is a biased in Ireland we know more of the truth, we know the history, we know the culture, we know the real IRA from the official IRA, the provisional IRA from the continuity IRA and the low fat IRA from I can't believe it is not the IRA when you know the facts you stop seeing war and death in black and white.
Richard also in a way shows how much of the Pro-Israel side sees it in black and white as well.
The fact that Israel is more effective at killing Palestinian terrorists than Palestinian terrorists are at killing Israeli civilians neither lessens the moral outrage of Palestinian terrorism nor impugns the Israel's reasonable policy of zapping terrorists engaged in attacks.Not all Palestinian killed are terrorists. People you can see the wrong on both sides of a conflict not everything is balck and white. Sometimes I feel I am shouting into an empty hall, a hall that sometimes I am not even in.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Irish Times on CJ Haughey
Charles Haughey RIP
If Scotland can do it why not us.
Scottish Renewables, the body that represents the green power sector, said the country was set to meet its 2010 target of generating 18 per cent of electricity from renewables by the end of next year.
And with more ambitious development of tide and wave power schemes, the organisation predicted that more than half of Scotland's electricity needs could be satisfied through sustainable means by 2020 - compared to an Executive target of 40 per cent.
We must have the same conditions if not better then Scotland. We need energy security we should follow Scotlands lead. I have talked about energy a few times already.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Occupations in Ireland and Iraq.
The British occupation in
Also in 1919 the League of Nations did not recognise
The Black and Tans were a brutal force in
So maybe Ken Loach’s next film will be about American soldiers in
After typing this I found Niall Stanage on Comment is Free made a simular point.
Jon Stewart vs. Bill Bennett on Gay marriage
Here is one question I have for people who say gay marriage should only be between heterosexuals as they are the only ones that can have kids. Does that mean they are against straight infertile couples getting married. Do they think that people getting married should have fertility tests prior to being allowed to marry. How about older couples. Do they think that marriage should have an age limit. That if someone is beyond child bearing age that they cant get married. Love to hear that answer. Anyway watch the clip
And here is a point about Stem Cell research and Iraq War. Talk about stumping someone. Possibly the one of the greatest questions I have ever heard someone put to some one Paxman eat your heart out. .
Sunday, June 11, 2006
The Long Con
In main ways it might be to Fianna Fail’s and the PD’s advantage to lose the next election. There is a saying about economics “Don’t do what the banks say to do, do what they do”. With that in mind when I heard that AIB and Bank of Ireland were selling there buildings. I got to say I got a bit worried. The reason being that the banks now think that it is time to sell their buildings it must mean that they think the housing market is at its peak. Also a recent OECD report thinks that too. Which can only mean one thing the market is going to go down, bringing many people with them and possibly bringing the next government party down with it.
When he won the American presidential election in 1992 Bill Clinton’s catch phrase was “It is the economy stupid!” meaning that the only thing that really mattered in the election was the economy. People care about equality, and infrastructure and the like, but only when their pockets are safe. In Ireland now in many ways economic stability is taken as a given that the country is going to boom like the Duracell Bunny “On and On and On” but that is hardly going to be the cas
So what happens when the property boom goes. Leading to many people in the construction industry out of work. Leading to a knock on effect in the government finances and thus government spending. What happens when the ECB continuing interest rate rises result in people struggling with their mortgages. What happens if the price of fuel increases, hitting the pockets of the people. Now most of these factors are beyond the control of the government. Like the recent statutory rape crisis there is not much the government can do about things like the ECB and oil but like the statutory rape crisis the people will blame the government and the parties that are in government will take a massive hit.
The government is going to fight the next election on the basis that they are the best pilots of the economy but now that people seem to take the boom for granted that issue is unlikely to see many people rally to the government. But what happens if this collapse happens with FG/Lab in power. Suddenly FF and the PD’s prophesying doom under the rainbow will seem like sage like advice. Indeed many might see FG/Lab is totally inept at running the economy. Leading to a case where the 2002 election might seem like a great number of seats. With the electorate flooding to FF/PD/Sinn Fein in the hope of finding the perceived economic wisdom that gave rise to the Celtic Tiger.
Another aspect of the downturn in the property market would be the drop in stamp duty. A drop in tax usually requires a drop in government spending. Something that FG might accept but Labour would not. If this happens prepare to see the coalition fall apart with either an early election or FF leading a minority government.
That kind of economic collapse could destroy the publics confidence in FG and Labour. The drop does not even need to be that great. Just a enough for the average person to feel less well off. Indeed those parties might never recover leading to a rise in for all the parties not in the rainbow. There is often talk of Fianna Fail ready to play the long game. Maybe this is the game. Maybe they see the writing on the wall for the economy and think that it is better that anyone but them, take the fall and will be glad to lose the election in 2007 because it would mean winning the next few.
And yes the title did come from an episode of Lost.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Window Dressing for people.
Recently there was a lot of talk about how it was disgraceful about how Grafton Street was turning into a non-descript high street with zero characteristics of Ireland. That it was terrible that shops with wonderfully Irish names with O’s in front of them selling all sorts of traditional Irish stuff were being replaced by such bland entities like Foot Locker, Boots and McDonalds. It was seen as an abandonment of Irishness as these shops have nothing to do with being Irish.
But what is Irishness. To me Irishness is everything and nothing. It is not a commodity that can be bought or sold or indeed reproduced. It is not Aran sweaters it is not pony and traps and indeed it is not even the great Martin Hayes. If it was merely those things then it would be a commodity something we can sell nothing else. Something that could be reproduced anywhere in the world on an assembly line. And indeed we do sell these things we sell Aran Sweaters to the yanks who send post cards with Rush Hour Ireland on them back stateside. This just like La Rambles in
The reason that all these Boots etc move into
In some ways trying to maintain
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Ireland colluding in controversial and illegal "extraordinary rendition flights"
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
1. US corporations to be disbanded and their assets given to the people of the Third World and natural resources stolen by America to be returned.and goes on.
6. George W. Bush and his entire administration and the Republican Party must be forced to resign and face trial for war crimes by the World Court.and on
Al-Qaeda is a symptom of the evil of American abuses since 1776. The 9/11 attacks were launched by 19 hijackers who represented the victims of American war crimes since the Declaration of Independence that legitimised the murder of the Native Americans to the present when Americans bombed and gunned down Muslims who stood in the way of capitalist "progress."and
America is a Christian fundementalist state run by the Bush Taliban. Muslims are only behaving the way the are in a misguided attempt to preserve their culture which has been twisted out of shape due to American oppression.Also
Muslims should be allowed to practice their religion and traditions and laws within Western society without interference.Then he insults Muslims and contradicts the above point
The way to combat extremist Islam is by non violently by persuading Muslims to adopt socialism and abandon their false religious consciousness.And finally.
Once Bin Laden sees that Westerners have abandoned their racism he will abandon his extremism.It is nice to see Cloud cuckoo land has not be left without a population.
Palestinian support drops in Europe
New public opinion surveys conducted among "opinion elites" in Europe show that support for the Palestinians has fallen precipitously, according to a leading international pollster, Stan Greenberg, who has been briefing Israeli leaders on his findings in the past few days. There has not necessarily been "a rush to Israel" but there has been a "crash" in backing for the Palestinians, he noted.and in France
He singled out France as the country where attitudes had changed most dramatically. Three years ago, 60 percent of French respondents said they took a side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and of that 60%, four out of five backed the Palestinians. Today, by contrast, 60% of French respondents did not take a side in the conflict, and support for the Palestinians had dropped by half among those who did express a preference.I wonder is this due to Hamas victory in the election or as it due to increased anti-Islamic sentiment. Personally I hope it is due to common sense but I wouldn't hold my breath.
To me free market has the ability to solve many of the world problems from Dublin transport to world poverty. It is the one force that allowed the west to out perform the Soviet Union and allow its people to be free. I have talked here about privatising Bus Eireann and Aer Lingus and I believe it private industry is so much better then Public in so many ways. But one thing I don’t think it can solve is education.
The market solution to schooling is fully privatising and school vouchers. The thinking is classic market arguments. Firstly you allow the private sector to provide much of the education if not all of it in the state. People from lower economic are giving state vouchers so that they can afford the fees and richer parents stump up the cash. The thinking being that as parents will have the ability to choose their school they will be able to shop around. The private schools will have to compete and thus improve. Leaving us with a prefect school system. And in theory it is great, competition between schools can raise standards. But there is one fundamental flaw with the arguments. Parents!
In America with public schools not wanting prayer in schools for reasons of equality and not teaching Intelligent design for reasons sanity, many parents want their little Johnny or Mary going to a school where they pray to god and be thought that the earth is 5000 years old and dinosaurs were put on earth to test our faith. This not market theory is the main driving force behind the growth of school vouchers in America.
The state should not be paying for religious schooling. We already do it in the public sector and it is time we moved beyond that. I have no problem with qualified religious people nuns etc teaching in the class room subjects like Maths and Irish but not religion. It is not the states place to teach religion. Religion should be a persons own concern not the states. If the private school is run by a religious order the money used to provide religious education must not come from the state and neither should the time spent come from the mandatory school day.
In theory in a country like Ireland where the quality of the education counts more then the religion. It would seem a free market in education can work. But where parents do not chose their school by religion they do chose it by class and status.
Schools I think need to be somewhat streamed. In a class of mixed abilities the clever kids can find the pace of the class to slow, while the less academic may find it too fast. This already happens in effect with higher and lower levels. Perhaps a few more layers need to be added. However to do this requires increased resources. Anyway. Classes where people are at the same level allow for the teacher to maximise the Childs education. Therefore in a free-market you would think that parents would want to place their kids into the most suitable environment. This will not happen.
Firstly to most parents little Johnny and Mary are great. The thought that little Johnny or Mary might not be in the top stream school will not cross their minds thus they will apply to the school they think they deserve not the school that is best suited. But the greatest barrier to a fully working model is snobbery. Many parents would prefer their kids to be with their societal equals rather then their intellectual equals. Thus if the top school in the country has the choice between a great student from Ballymun and a mediocre student who’s parents can donate to the school fundraiser who are they going to allow in. The address of the child is all was going to be a factor. As the reputation of the school will be it’s greatest selling point what school wanting kids from D4 would allow in kids from Ballymun.
School vouchers work quiet well in Sweden. One of the big reasons it works is that the schools cannot select students. They take people on a first come first served basis. Hence removing the above I guess elitist elements of the school choice. Also they remove the ability to charge top-up fees hence removing the situation where the financial status of the students parents counts for the school.
Streams also need not be in separate schools. Streams can be within the same schools indeed they should be. While I kid maybe not good at English they may be good at Math. They should have the opportunity to exist in separate streams in separate subjects. This could only happen if schools take in variety.
However the system in Sweden is not really free-market. It is utilising the private sector. The market is not free, schools have to take in who applies on a first come first served basic. Also a good streaming system requires school not to focus on one section. When parents get the chance to choose their school they need the information on the school. League tables do not tell you who is the best school. They tell you who has the best students and best students depend on many factors including intelligence and home situation. If parents really want to get the information they need to make correct decisions then School League tables need to reflect students improvement not results. Any school can give an education that gives a 600 point student 600 points. But only a great school can give a 400 point student 600.
There is a lack of schools in this country. Class room sizes are simply too big. Allowing the private sector to provide some of the extra classes may help. Also if more go into the private sector the current funding could have better focus. But that is not going to solve the problems. The Swedish system only provides 6% of the places. A drop in the ocean but none the less a significant drop. Like in the health service the private sector should be allowed to expand to help the public sector but not replace it. It does need to be regulated to prevent top-up fees and student selection but it does have potential to lower class sizes and to put into place the necessary class rooms needed in the Celtic Tiger.
Our economy needs the best of the best not the best of the rich. I think that a free and open market has a great ability to free people by giving them the opportunities to succeed however I don’t think the free-market can give them the education needed to seize those opportunities. However private sector input can be of benefit and should not be discounted.
Ice Cream blog
Monday, June 05, 2006
Free Stuff for the planet
Hugo Chavez and his buddy the jackel
CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chavez brought up Carlos the Jackal during a meeting of oil producers Thursday, calling the Venezuela-born terrorist who once took hostages at an OPEC meeting "a good friend."Ah Hugo such a good guy.
The Weekly Standard on Fine Gael
Fine Gael, Ireland's limousine-liberal party,
I think that is the only time Fine Gael have been called a liberal party.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Why I will never buy the Daily Mail
The Sun and the Daily Mail newspapers both last week hypocritically feigned delight at the "Irish success", in their editions in Ireland, while in their British editions the film was rubbished and derided as "anti-British" propaganda.
The Sun and the Daily Mail, which both have a long history of virulent anti-Irishness, devoted pages of positive coverage to the film's success in their Irish editions - but true to their real beliefs savaged Loach and the "pro-IRA" film on their home territory.
On Tuesday, the "Irish" Sun ran a double-page spread entitled 'Cillian's men give Brits a tanning in Cannes', celebrating a victory for the movie's "no-holds barred" depiction of the Black 'n' Tans who "subjected Irish citizens to horrific violence for years".
The article's author Harry Macadam laid into the Loach project, deriding it and saying, "a brutally anti-British film has won the movie world's top prize outside the Oscars. Veteran director Ken Loach's The Wind that Shakes the Barley has a plot designed to drag the reputation of our nation through the mud."
The free market at it's best. And we all know how nice the Black and Tans were
In the London Times, Michael Gove questioned how British people could cheer for a director who portrays British soldiers as "sub-human mercenaries burning thatched cottages, torturing by using pliers to rip out toenails and committing extreme violence against women".They never would do that now would they? Burn house's the British in 1920's never. Challenge the film on Historical fact, not on what it says. Few like the truth including us.
A man that changed the world: Tank Man
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Nelly Furtado does Crazy
Friday, June 02, 2006
Jerry Flannery doesn't see dead people, he makes people see dead.
The chief export of Marcus Horan is pain.
After much debate, President Bush decided to send the U.S. Marines to Iraq rather than the alternative of sending Donncha O'Callaghan. It was more "humane".
Anthony foley's tears can cure cancer. Too bad he never cries.
Before each match he plays, Paul O'Connel is injected with five times the lethal dose of elephant tranquilzer. This is, of course, to limit his strength and mobility, in an attempt to lower the fatality rate of opposition players.
When Dennis Leamy does a pushup, he isn't lifting himself up, he's pushing the Earth down.
Marcus Horan is so fast, he can run around the world and punch himself in the back of the head.
Anthony Foley's hand is the only hand that can beat a Royal Flush.
Paul O'Connel can hit you so hard that he can actually alter your DNA. Decades from now your descendants will occasionally clutch their heads and yell "What The Hell was That?"
Dennis Leamy will never have a heart attack. His heart isn't nearly foolish enough to attack him.
David Wallace once participated in the running of the bulls. He walked.
Trevor Halstead can slam a revolving door.
When Arnold says the line "I'll be back" in the first Terminator movie it is implied that is he going to ask Donncha O'Callaghan for help.
Jerry Flannery does not hunt because the word hunting implies the possibility of failure. He goes killing.
Ghosts are actually caused by Dennis Leamy killing people faster than Death can process them.
Donncha O'Callaghan frequently donates blood to the Red Cross. Just never his own.
John Hayes puts the "laughter" in "manslaughter".
Anthony Foley has to maintain a concealed weapon license in order to legally wear pants.
Ronan O'Gara counted to infinity - twice.
When Paul O'Connel exercises, the machine gets stronger.
When David Wallace sends in his taxes, he sends blank forms and includes only a picture of himself, crouched and ready to attack. He has not had to pay taxes ever.
Peter Stringer owns the greatest Poker Face of all-time. It helped him win the 1983 World Series of Poker despite him holding just a Joker, a Get out of Jail Free Monopoly card, a 2 of clubs, 7 of spades and a green #4 card from the game Uno.
If you see Dennis Leamy crying he will grant you a wish, if your wish is dying.
Paul O'Connel was once on Wheel of Fortune and was the first to spin. The next 29 minutes of the show consisted of everyone standing around awkwardly, waiting for the wheel to stop.
They say that lightning never strikes the same place twice. Niether does Jerry Flannery. He doesn't have to.
Anthony Foley has only one hand: the upper hand.
Similar to a Russian Nesting Doll, if you were to break Peter Stringer open you would find another Peter Stringer inside, only smaller and angrier.
Marcus Horan's calendar goes straight from March 31st to April 2nd; no one fools Marcus Horan.
Paul O'Connel, Vin Diesel and Arnold Schwarzenegger have all died and are in Heaven. Each of them hope to occupy the seat next to God. God asks Vin Diesel why he thinks he should have the seat and Vin replies, "I believe... I should have the seat because of the virtuosity in my toughness and pride." Arnie says, "I believe... that I should be the one sitting next to you because of all my achievements." God then turns to Paul O'Connel, who replies with, "I believe... you are sitting in my seat."
A Handicap parking sign does not signify that this spot is for handicapped people. It is actually in fact a warning, that the spot belongs to Donncha O'Callaghan and that you will be handicapped if you park there.
If at first you don't succeed, you are obviously not Ian Dowling.
Anthony Foley's dog is trained to pick up his own sh*t because Anthony Foley will not take sh*t from anyone.
When Dennis Leamy gives you the finger, he's telling you how many seconds you have left to live.
David Wallace was sending an email one day, when he realized that it would be faster to run.
Trevor Halstead's sperm can penetrate 13 condoms, the birth control pill and a brick wall in order to impregnate a woman. So you can be damn sure he can penetrate Leinster's defensive line.
The only reason the Energizer Bunny keeps going and going is because it knows Paul O'Connel is after it.
Jerry Flannery doesn't have a bank account. He just tells the bank how much he needs
Political fall out of new bill
Also on Irish Election.
On the scale of anger in this country about anything the present government has done this issue has been by far the biggest issue. Decentralisation, E-Voting PPARS has never lead to the same amount of anger among the electorate. No issue has been commented on by as many people on this website. So the question is not will the statutory rape crisis be an issue at the polls but what effect it will have.
The recent supreme court decision to over turn the decision by the high court to release Mr A has been a vital lifeline to the government. It was this case that brought the people on to the street. The original case involving a 18 year old guy thinking a 15 year old girl was 16 which is one thing, the idea that a 41 year old who plied a 12 year old girl with alcohol getting released is an altogether different thing. Now that it seems that the law did cover the majority of cases and that the only hole in the law is in the less diabolical cases. However the government is not out of the woods yet it will all depend on the rest of the cases and if another predator gets released this will spring up again. However for now the major issue seems solved.
But what of the charge that the government A.) Should have done something prior to this. and B.) that they should have had backup legislation.
From my reading of the situation and some of the legal eagles can correct me. Even if Michael McDowell had changed the law in 2002. Every one convicted prior to 2002 would still been covered by the supreme court decision. Also the change needed to correct for the supreme court decision would have been deeply unpopular. No party would dare bring in a law that loosen the rape laws. As Niall said on my own blog. “The fact is that McD couldn’t touch that law without being attacked by the Liveliners”. Hence why it took until the supreme court decision that this law was changed. All parties other then the Greens and Sinn Fein have been in power. This hole was pointed out for years but none did anything. Neither did the Greens or Sinn Fein bring this up in the course of the Dail. Listening to Liveline today while much of the anger was against the government much of it was also directed at the 166 politicians in the Dail, many were calling for the government to resign but many were also saying that no party was blameless. It might look that this will damage the government but it might actually result in a greater anti-establishment vote benefiting the Independents. But if this newly created independent vote appears it will damage the government more then the coalition. This would have major consequences with the next election looking close the next government may depend on Independents. The next few polls are going to result in a major dip for Fianna Fail and the PD’s. How much the other parties gain may be interesting.
The other scope for anger is the fact that the government should have had this law ready just encase they lost the case. Now this is strange. The line from the Department is that they did not know about the case. Even if they had brought in the law straight away what has transpired this week would still have transpired. In the end the law took 10 days to be brought in. Which is fairly fast but was it fast enough. They could of have had the law in a filing cabinet to bring out, but they could not be sure what the Supreme Court would say. What particular parts of the 1935 act they would require to redo and in what way. It would have been very difficult to prepare new legislation without knowing precisely what was wrong. However they could have had a general set of idea’s that they wanted to bring in. But that would still have taken a few days to put together and really changed little of the situation other then save the government a bit of bad P.R. for the children I am not sure much changed.
The biggest problem with all this may in the end turn out to be the fact that this legislation was rushed through the Dail. It seemed originally the minister wanted to take the time to write the legislation. However due to the speed that was demanded, the law brought in is possibly not as good as it should have been. Brendan Howlin, said: “Rushed law is normally flawed law, if not outright bad law.” he may be proved right. Ciaran Cuffe asked that a ‘Sunset Clause’ be attached to this Bill, which means that it must be reviewed in less than two years time this would have been an excellent idea. Some difficulties with the legislation have already been brought up by the opposition parties. . One area in which with may fail is in the area of gender inequality also video evidence has not been added as an option for children giving evidence. Unless this law is only used as a quick measure and an immediate process of revaluating it is brought in with wide consultation with various groups we may find future decision going wrong. McDowell seems not to like the legislation saying “What we are doing today has been forced upon us reluctantly by the Supreme Court against our better judgment. It is with that very serious warning that I commend this Bill to the House.” So maybe a new law may be drafted.
But what of the Fianna Fail PD coalition. A lot of FF backbenchers are not happy thinking that McDowell is losing them the election will they be willing to go into government with them again if the opportunity arises. Will the Greens or Labour look more enticing. Are they wishing to go back to Fianna Fail more natural leftish position. Will some of them campaign on the issue of not going back in with the PD’s?
In fact along with the general election I would not be surprised if there was a referendum to place the rights of the child in the constitution. Not only would this heal some of the backlash against the government, it would also keep PD hopeful Colm O’Gorman in the PD fold and be a generally good thing. With that in place McDowell could bring in the new law and not need to admit mistakes. A win win situation for the PD’s and children but maybe not for Fine Gael/Labour.
However if any party is deemed to be playing politics with this they will be burned.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
LORD Henry Mountcharles has confirmed that Slane Castle will not play host to a major rock concert this year - leaving the world famous venue empty for the second year in a row.
The unavailability of Californian punk rockers Green Day, who had been widely tipped as this year’s headline act, means that the annual influx of hordes of music fans will be staying away again this year.
Where were the advisers.
This hole in the law seems to have been flagged since 1990 prior to this case. Since then the state has had 6 ministers for justice Micheal McDowell, John O’Donoghue, Nora Owen, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Pádraig Flynn and Ray Burke. Not one of them acted to address this legal loophole.
The case was well-publicised last year and in October 2005 the Law Society Gazette contained an article by a trainee solicitor highlighting the potential legal fallout.
Asked how no one in Government knew about the case, Mr McDowell admitted it was “strange” that he, and the Government, only learned about it last week when part of the 1935 Act on statutory rape was struck down as unconstitutional.
Shown a copy of the Law Society Gazette last night, Mr McDowell said no one had brought it to his attention.
Now if this is true. It does beg the question why was it not brought to his attention. The legal world is quiet large and there is no way 1 person can keep track of it all. Minister needs his staff to keep him informed. But even if it is not true why did the department not strongly advise on the issue. How come if recommendations had been made to change the law in 1990 that not one of the 6 ministers change the law. The department itself has a lot of questions to answer.
Scientist discover Fianna Fail ?
A major research institution has announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet know to science - "governmentium." It has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons and 111 assistant deputy neutrons for an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons that are further surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like sub particles called peons.
Governmentium has no electrons and is therefore inert. It can be detected however since it impedes every reaction it comes into contact with. A tiny amount of governmentium can take a reaction that normally occurs in seconds and slow it to the point where it take days.
Governmentium has a normal half life of three years. It doesn't decay but "re- organizes", a process where assistant deputy neutrons and deputy neutrons change places. This process actually causes it to grow as in the confusion some morons become neutrons, thereby forming isodopes.
This phenomenon of "moron promotion" has led to some speculation that governmentium forms whenever sufficient morons meet in concentration forming critical morass. Researches believe that in Governmentium, the more you re- organize, the morass you cover.