Thursday, January 19, 2006 

On Leave

See you all next week. Keep safe.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 

Some notices for the Apple pro-video users out there

The news comes from AppleInsider today that Apple have discontinued the sale of Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack, DVD Studio Pro and Motion as stand-alone applications. From now on, video professionals are going to have to pony up the more than a grand for the full Final Cut Studio suite.

Here's the urgent part - users of the aforementioned standalone apps can reportedly upgrade to a forthcoming Final Cut Studio Universal (from February onwards) for $199, $99 for owners of FCP 5.0. But this offer apparently applies only to owners of current software (FCP5, DVDSP4, Motion 2, Soundtrack Pro), so if you own the previous versions we'd advise you to be quick about snapping up any upgrades to eligible products still in circulation on Amazon or elsewhere.

A couple of words of warning on hardware compatibility. Any versions of Final Cut Pro below 5.0 won't run on the new PCI Express Power Macs, iMacs or Mac Book Pro. (we've heard no reports as to whether or not the other apps are affected in this way). And the current Final Cut Studio isn't a Universal binary (e.g. able to run natively on both PowerPC and Intel), so anyone planning to work with any of these apps on the new Intel Macs needs to start planning now for the migration to Final Cut Studio Universal.

(We're also going to take this opportunity to recommend Apple pro users to Filmbase on Curved Street in the heart of Dublin's Temple Bar, which is an Apple Authorized Training Center offering a comprehensive range of courses)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 

That Crazy RTÉ

Can anyone out there explain to us just why, exactly, RTÉ chose to premiere a likely audience-drawing film at 12.55am in the morning?

RTE Two - Monday 16 January

Star Trek: Nemesis (Premiere) (2002, Science Fiction) Premiere. The crew of the Enterprise attend the wedding of Troi and Riker, but the celebrations are cut short when they are pitted against the evil intentions of the Romulans and Captain Picard's malevolent clone. Decent sci-fi adventure which stays true to the long-running TV series, starring Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Tom Hardy and LeVar Burton. Directed by Stuart Baird.

Monday, January 16, 2006 

As Ever, Follow The Money

P. O'Neill over at Best of Both Worlds asks a question:
"Secret treaties between Republic of Ireland and USA?

In the Dail today, Michael D. Higgins referred to two treaties between the USA and the Irish Republic that are listed on the US State Department's website but were never presented before the Dail. Given the sensitivity of the Shannon airport issue and the general erosion of the republic's neutrality, this is a source of concern. The line from the government is that these are administratively focused and don't tie the country in any hitherto unknown GWOT fashion.

But one of them sounds dodgy. Here are the relevant pages from the State Department's website, which list the name of the treaties, but not their text.

[text of treaties]

The former looks especially suspicious. Everyone knows that it's only 300,000 troops, but nothing else, passing through Shannon, right? [...]"
We may perhaps be of some assistance.

We reckon that Ireland's probable complicity in the kidnapping of suspects for torture abroad ought to be the most pressing political issue in this country today. So in the hope of spreading a little light on the matter, we're going to push at the boundary of copyright law, just this once. From The Phoenix (subs. req.):
"VOL. 23, No. 23, December 2 2005

SENATOR David Norris has been vocal in the Oireachtas about the Bush War in Iraq and the use of the gas-and-go base at Shannon. But distressingly, he has been pointing his finger in the wrong direction. Perhaps he should pay more attention to Goldhawk’s revelations.


Norris and his Oireachtas allies should target Defence Minister Willie O’Dea and ask if the Defence Forces Director of Intelligence, Col. John Maloney, keeps a record of the number and other details, from whatever means available, of all foreign war planes and civil aircraft being used by foreign military forces flying over and landing in the State.

In recent times, the Military Intelligence Directorate (G2) has been expanded, with its Air Intelligence Section, based at Baldonnel, taking a particular interest in Shannon. Much of its concerns are about how US personnel and equipment there can be defended against threats from Holy Warriors. However, the Air Intelligence Section is privy to hush-hush information about the Yanks and their operations, including the name of an Irish-registered but US owned company which sends remittances to the Department of Defence in Dublin for certain services rendered and materials provided, over and above the Shannon refuelling arrangements. These services are for some of the more secretive flights that come in and out of Shannon and also Baldonnel – with the latter increasingly providing refuelling and service facilities for US aircraft as Goldhawk has noted several times.

It’s here Norris should start his questioning of Willie O’Dea, asking what payments are made, and if the Minister can give details of the services provided. While he’s at it, the Trinity Independent senator may care to ask how often the US military attaché visits Defence Forces HQ and has lunch in the Officers Mess at McKee Barracks and if the frequency of such visits, traditionally once-monthly, has increased recently. He might also ask how these visits by a foreign military representative compare with visits from military representatives of our sister countries in the EU, eg, France, Germany and Italy. "
Which should at the very least give rise to questions over this Government's honesty in leveling with the Irish public.

Here's the meat, though:
"VOL. 23, No. 24, December 16 2005

GOLDHAWK has obtained information which indicates that the CIA is using Baldonnel (HQ of the Irish Air Corps) for re-supply flights by the controversial Gulfstream and other aircraft including Beechcraft, Boeing and McDonald DC9 jets used in the special renditions programme. Payments for facilities obtained, including supply of aviation kerosene, are billed by the Irish Department of Defence to the DAO (Defence Attaché Office) at a Post Office Box rented by the US Embassy in Accra, Ghana. At least two accounts have been sent to this address by the Department of Defence in Dublin in respect of flights into Baldonnel by the Gulfstream G3 on July 15, 2005. The Gulfstream was back again on August 9 and on August 10 at Baldonnel.

Obscurely tucked away in West Africa, Ghana is an interesting place in the CIA scheme of things. The Americans run a “training centre” (known as KAPKTC) in Ghana for what they describe as “soldier- statesmen”. US training officers there are described as “the point of the spear ... serving with distinction on all fronts in the global war on terrorism.”

Other accounts rendered by the Irish Defence Department for facilities provided at Baldonnel have been sent to an even more obscure place – the DAO, Suite 1600, Santa Clara, California. This is only a partial address. A net search on Suite 1600, Santa Clara brings up a link to Paul Puri & Associates, a criminal defence law firm, licenced in Santa Clara County, but with an address at Suite 1600, 580 California Street, San Francisco.

It is probable that DAO in this case stands not for Defense Attaché Office but rather Defense Accounting Office, of which there is one in nearby Moffett Field, a former US naval air base.

According to its website, there are two long runways and substantial other accommodation there which once housed more than 5,000 military on a 2,000 acre site. “Moffett Federal Airfield (MFA) is currently operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA),” it reads. “NASA has continued the tenant program begun by the Navy, hosting several other organizations at MFA including the Naval Reserve, the California Air National Guard, and Onizuka Air Force Base. Currently, NASA is continuing to operate MFA as a restricted federal airfield.”

Irish Defence sources say that several of this year’s US transits through Baldonnel have given their destinations vaguely to Air Traffic Control as “Orange County, California”, while others have listed San Jose (which happens to be adjacent to Moffet Federal Airfield) as their destination. The cleverness of using Baldonnel is that CIA flights are camouflaged by regular flights on US army, navy and air force operations. Local costs incurred by such “regular” aircraft, (unlike those which have accounts sent to Ghana or an obscure address in California), are billed by the Irish Department of Defence to DAO (Defence Attaché Office) Dublin, which is the address of the Defence Attaché at the American Embassy in Ballsbridge.

Some Defence Force members are convinced that there exists a secret protocol between Dublin and Washington (agreed over a bowl of shamrock during a St. Patrick’s Day White House bash) which allows the US unfettered access to Irish air space and vital refuelling facilities. There are a number of precedents. The best-known is the secret arrangement by which de Valera kept quiet about the building of the hush-hush US Naval Radio Station at Clooney Park, Derry, in 1941, before the Americans entered the Second World War, and the over-flying of neutral Donegal by Allied warplanes during the Battle of the Atlantic. "
Therein lies the story of P. O'Neill's protocols.

Let's just hope that we don't soon have to raise the cry: "Free Goldhawk!":
"VOL. 24, No. 1, January 13 2006:


G2 presently is attempting to discover who leaked information to Goldhawk about CIA flights using the Air Corps base at Baldonnel (see The Phoenix16/12/2005)). At the same time the military spy service has turned a blind eye to what is going on at the west Dublin aerodrome. This is why Minister Willie O’Dea can say he has no knowledge of the strange billing arrangements for “special” US flights which refuel at Baldonnel. He hasn’t – because G2, in keeping with its long established tradition, refuse to look for it – preferring instead to witch-hunt for the source of Goldhawk’s information.

To assist Willie to find information not provided by G2, Goldhawk suggests he contact PO Box 194 at 13 Independence Ave, Liberation Circle, Accra, Ghana. If he asks for “the Company Representative” (aka CIA Station Chief) he may learn why that address was given by the commander of a US military aircraft which made a hush-hush landing at Baldonnel in July. The flight was one of scores of such refuelling stops at Baldonnel in recent times. "
Does anyone still doubt that Ireland has been sucked into the ethical and legal black hole that passes for this US Administration's so-called governing? We hope not.


Shinners coming in from the cold?

Progressive Ireland has an interesting post on the Sinn Féin documents on economic policy that came to public attention last week. He notes:
"Much of the coverage was on the drive time talk radio, with Hookie and Cooper covering it in some depth. The response from ISME and Shane Ross was to brand it all Marxist twaddle and focus on the call for a raising of Corporation Tax."
We heard the same interview, too. As we recall, the subject then turned to the notion (we forget whether it was Ross or the ISME representative who suggested it) that Sinn Féin would deliberately try to sabotage the economy in order to win more votes. And we were rather surprised by the gusto with which this theme was taken up.

This is wild conspiracy-theorising, in our view. The Shinners no doubt look forward as much as any other political parties to the patronage possibilities with the present economy, and ISME is in ideological terms to IBEC what ILDA are to SIPTU. We'll leave comment on the Indo business editor's views for another time.

We love RR's closing comment:
"Remaining on the fringes, in terms of policy, was never going to win votes, however it is until such time as they commit to policing up north, and moderate some of their other policies that the change will really begin to kick in. Right now that seems unlikely but a year is a long time without and army."
Still, there's at present a good deal of unoccupied ground to the left of both Labour and Fianna Fáil for the Shinners to make themselves at home in, a topic we've blogged on before.


Question to the floor

This put us in mind of something we meant to find out last year: a commenter on the Freedom Institute blog ("banned poster") claimed that Dickie and the goys had put up a post that included a "Rachel Corrie pancake" joke, then realised their PR gaffe and swiftly edited out the Corrie bit.

Our question is this: is it possible that the original (unedited) copy of this FI blog post could still be in either the POTB or IrishBlogs caches? (Answers by email, if you're feeling shy.)


Who is Nicholas Langman?

Cryptome claims to have the answer.


Rendezvous in the Global War on Wingnuttery

We understand that there's a FI Fie Foe Fum meet-up in Dublin next Friday, at which the kindred spirits out there will be more than welcome.

Details over at

Sunday, January 15, 2006 

Meme time

OK - five favourite blogs to tag for posts on specific subjects, and they can (if they want) each tag back for one from this quarter.

1) Red Rover - on his predictions for political blogging in Ireland, with reference to the American experience.
2) Fiona de Londras (when she returns) - on the rights of women under Brehon law.
3) Damien Mulley - on why Macs are superior on the challenges facing Open Source.
4) Fústar or Copernicus - a pop culture post on the Star Wars series and why the post-TESB ones suck so badly.
5) Jo - on just trying to live an ordinary life in the cesspit north of the border.

Saturday, January 14, 2006 

Life imitating Python

Tony Blair's New Labour shows the world how this 'democracy' thing works.

(Something along these lines was attempted here for O'Connell Street a couple of years ago, before being abandoned as deeply unpopular)


Mother of God

Here at Free Stater, we don't usually pay much attention to Big Brother in any of its forms. We're finding it impossible to avoid the antics of a certain George Galloway MP, though.

And just when we had thought that he couldn't go any lower.


Posted without comment

Matthew Yglesias, on corruption in the US government:
"One would do well to note an ideological point here. Abuse of the government contracting process is bad, and perpetrators of wrongdoing should in no way get off the hook. Nevertheless, the entire concept of farming government out work to private firms is a more-or-less open invitation to corruption. There are instances when contracting is the only reasonable solution. But for some years now [...] all the pressure has always been to privatize more and more government functions. The theory is that the private sector is more efficient than the public sector, so contracting functions out to private firms should save money. The reality has had a lot more to do with union-busting, machine-building, and "honest graft" than money saved or improved efficiency."

Friday, January 13, 2006 

The Nuclear Option

A flashback from P. O'Neill.

Thursday, January 12, 2006 

Neutering the UN

Fiona de Londras on Bush's man at the UN (John Bolton) and the UN Council for Human Rights:
"...As I wrote here reform of the CHR is one of the main prongs in Kofi Annan’s reform package and is long overdue. [...] Now what does Bolton want to do? He wants to ensure that the five permanent members of the Security Council (USA, UK, France, People’s Republic of China and Russian Federation) would have automatic and permanent membership of this Council[...]"
As she notes, "nice". (None of the five have particularly good human rights records)

We've been saying for a very long time that one of the fundamental goals of US right-wingers in the past decade has been to either make the UN into a puppet for Washington, or else to destroy it entirely. The actions of Bolton - a hardcore wingnut - need to be seen in this light. The reassuring US rhetoric about 'reform' has just about as much basis in reality as that about 'freedom' and 'democracy', and people shouldn't be fooled by it. There's an undeniable need for reform in order to fix parts of the UN, but giving in to the self-serving demands of the Bush administration will only make things far worse.

Compare the Bolton position above with the widespread wingnut hysterics last year on the suggestion that control over the Internet be taken away from the US [Wall Street Journal]:
"But the availability of such information threatens a great many despotic nations which do not believe individuals should have access to information that may be damaging to their governmental societies. The regimes in China, Cuba, Iran, Syria and Tunisia, for example, believe Internet content must be controlled so that individuals do not have access to any information that has not been approved by their governments. In China the word "democracy" is not allowed on the Internet; it is just too dangerous to the communist government. And so such nations want international controls on Internet usages and content.

Today no organization or government controls the Internet. The mechanics of participation--domain names, suffixes like .com and .org, and technical codes--are supervised by the independent organization Icann, an acronym for Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers, based in America and loosely overseen by the U.S. government. Much of the rest of the world, gathered last week in Tunisia for the U.N.-hosted World Summit on the Information Society, wants to take over that responsibility, or as European Union spokesman Martin Selmayr put it, the U.S. must "give up their unilateral control and everything will be fine." Perhaps as fine as it is in China, where, according to the New York Times, "major search engines . . . must stop posting their own commentary articles and instead make available only pieces generated by government-controlled newspapers and news agencies."

Old Europe and the despotic nations want exactly that--international Internet content control. And they have convinced the EU establishment that U.N. control of the Internet would be just and appropriate. The last United Nations World Summit on the Internet--held in 2003--concluded that "governments should intervene . . . to maximize economic and social benefits and serve national priorities." The report of the U.N. Working Group on Internet Governance says it would have "respect for cultural and linguistic diversity, " explaining that meant "multilingual, diverse, and culturally appropriate content" on the Internet.

And what is "culturally appropriate" content? If your nation is a free society--America, Ireland, Australia--a free and unregulated-content Internet is a good thing. For dictatorships and state controlled societies--the former USSR, China or Cuba--it is a catastrophe, for allowing citizens free access to information puts your government at risk. And if you are in between--a socialist government like France or Germany--U.N. control is a good thing because government control is always better than unregulated markets."
It goes on in that vein for some time, including a bizarre claim to the American readership that the UN will tax their email if it seizes control. (What horror!)

Except that none of the WSJ columnist's claims are true. Not the bit about the Internet being "loosely overseen" by the US government, nor the bit about democracy inevitably flowing from a free-market approach. Not even the bit about UN control being the death of untaxed electronic communication. Should we be surprised?

(Note also the implication that Ireland is considered part of "New Europe". We'd guess that our assistance with US torture flights can only help us grow into the role)


What a real racist looks like

Our 'friends' over at A Tangled Bigot Web:
"Once Green, Now Black

[...] I'm sure O'Rourke didn't mean any offence, though it shows how the demographic composition of the Republic of Ireland is starting to breed the hyper-sensitive tripe over anything that might be construed as having racist overtones. For my part, I have found the phrase 'working like blacks' to be totally erroneous. My experience of working with black Africans in particular has shown them to be among the most indolent people in the workplace. Most must believe that a hard day's work ended with the cessation of slavery [...]

Posted by A McC on January 11, 2006 at 08:08 AM |"
Update 12/01/06: Apparently both Vance and McCann have been doing online interviews recently. From McCann's:
"When attending interviews for jobs in your chosen profession of counselling do you give genuine and honest answers to questions about your social/political opinions or do you nod towards the approved "PC" answer?

Why, the PC answer of course. It is bad enough being a white, Protestant male in the jobs market of Britain 2006 plc, without further hampering your case with political honesty.


Was President Clinton's involvement in the NI peace process helpful? Or would things have been better off had he not become involved?

Are there any bi-national or intercommunal examples of conflict resolution that in your opionion provide a useful template for Northern Ireland?

Has Ian Paisley been a helpful figure as respects community relations?

No it wasn't helpful. It was gross interference by a foreign leader to curry favour with a section of the American voters who had spent the best part of thirty years dropping cents into hats to fuel a murder campaign against British citizens. It was partisan and malevolent.

The best template would be to treat Irish republicans the way the Israelis have treated the Palestinians. There must never be one iota of constitutional compromise with them.

Ian Paisley is a by-product of circumstances, not an initiator of them. His rise is directly linked to the desire by a section of the minority community to destroy the Union. Remove that threat, and Ian Paisley ceases to be a hindrance to community relations.


Have you ever shown a Muslim acquaintance any of your writings on Islam and Muslims? If so, what was his or her reaction?

I keep my work life and my blogging life entirely separate. People at work are unware that I have a website. Whatever my personal feelings about Islam, I sometimes have to work with Muslims for the good of my disabled clients. Their experiences should not be disrupted by any possible dislike between myself and another staff member. So the answer to your question is 'No!"
It also seems that the two have now discovered podcasting:
"January 08, 2006


ATW generates many more daily stories than your average blog, and I hope you enjoy reading them. Our ever growing site traffic meter rather indicates that you do, which is great. Now we want to enhance this by providing you with a regular ATW weekly podcast - which you can download and listen to each week with exclusive material, and all at no cost! You can get to hear my dulcet tones (Prepare yourselves!) and because this is downloadable you can play it back on your Ipod/MP3 player at your convenience! It should make those car journeys pass more quickly."
We can imagine.

Fortunately, we think not. From the iTunes Music Store terms of Service:
"e. The Service may offer interactive features that allow you to, among things, submit or post information and materials on areas of the Service accessible and viewable by other users of the Service and the public. You agree that any use by you of such features shall be your sole responsibility, shall not infringe or violate the right of any other, contribute to or encourage unlawful conduct, or otherwise be obscene, objectionable or in poor taste. Moreover, you hereby grant iTunes a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use such materials as part of the Service, and in relation to Products, without any compensation or obligation to you.

iTunes reserves the right not to post or publish any materials, and to delete, remove or edit any material, at any time in its sole discretion without liability."
Update 12/01/06: correction on McCann's name, as per the comments.


Can the Irish Blog Awards please acquire some International categories?

The Poor Man on the New York Times and blogging.


Microsoft and Apple, sitting in a tree...

Well, the Stevenote's over. Gerry O'Sullivan has good coverage, as do Mr. Tiernan and Mr. Mulley - who adds credence to the following prediction from the great Ars Technica:
"The obligatory ad for the new iMac was shown, and it was hilarious, setting Intel "free" from the "dull little tasks of the PC world." It will have the heads of Apple haters exploding like firecrackers on this, our Inteldepence Day."
We expect so.

Back to the keynote. iLife '06 added iWeb and became even more tied to Apple's subscription .Mac service, following the current fashion in the industry towards web services. iWork got some tweak or other, mumbled swiftly under Jobs' breath... The iPod got an FM tuner, but we're going to hang on in hopes of being soon able to buy a Griffin iFM (we actually saw one at MacWorld Paris in September).

We've gotten the first Intel Macs. The existing case designs of the iMac G5 and Aluminium PowerBook G4 got Intel Yonah CPUs stuck inside them, as well as upgraded RAM and graphics cards. The Intel Powerbook is now to be known as the Mac Book Pro, and it bears a little further comment.

Noting the peculiarities of some regressive parts of the specs (the loss of FireWire 800, the switch back to a single-layer DVD-burner) we're going to connect that with the absence of a 17" Intel laptop and make a bold suggestion: this is only a stop-gap product, introduced to quickly get an Intel Mac laptop out there. There's going to be 'proper' 15" and 17" Intel laptops coming (along with a new case design) later in the year, matching the new dark grey 'pro' colour scheme so now in vogue at Cupertino, and likely to be in OS X 10.5.

Just call us Crazy Apple Rumors.

We also got a kick out of this, which we at first thought a joke. Have iPod accessories finally jumped the shark? (And we say this as iPod Sock owners) Would any man (or woman) actually wear the thing? Maybe on Bingo night in The George, but surely not in any other locale...

On to the final point. Apple and Microsoft's have each been struggling to come out on top in the media format/DRM battles of recent times; with convergence, whoever owns the standard is going to rule the next IT golden egg, in the form of your living-room.

So far, it's all been going Apple's way with iPod/AAC/Fairplay and QuickTime/H.264, but Microsoft are nothing if not dogged. Their latest tactic is to strike into the heart of Apple's multimedia creation tool - the Mac - with their releasing (for free) a third-party WMV plugin for QuickTime. The war's not over yet.

p.s. Courtesy of AppleInsider - the iPhone?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 

'Bombing Jazeera' leakers to be tried

"LONDON (Reuters) - A British court on Tuesday ordered two men to face trial on charges of leaking a memo that a lawmaker said described a plan by U.S. President George W. Bush to bomb Arabic television station Al Jazeera.

The defendants, civil servant David Keogh and Leo O'Connor, a researcher who worked for a former British lawmaker, face a preliminary hearing on January 24 on charges of breaking the Official Secrets Act and their lawyers are pushing for the secret document to be disclosed.

A British newspaper reported last year that the memo of a meeting between Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in April 2004 detailed a proposal by Bush to bomb Al Jazeera but said Blair had persuaded him against the plan.

The story was dismissed as "outlandish" by the White House and Blair denied receiving details of any U.S. proposal to bomb Al Jazeera.

Britain's attorney general has warned media they will be breaking the law if they publish details of the document.

British Member of Parliament Peter Kilfoyle told Reuters on Tuesday that he had been briefed on its contents by Tony Clarke, the lawmaker who employed O'Connor, after he received a copy.

"He made me aware of the contents," said Kilfoyle. "There was a discussion about bombing Al Jazeera headquarters in Qatar and also about the attack on (the Iraqi town) Falluja."

"My understanding ... is that Blair and (former U.S. Secretary of State) Colin Powell were against the bombing of Al Jazeera," said Kilfoyle, who opposed Britain joining the U.S. in invading Iraq, as did other rebel Labor party members."
This "joke" by Bush it now turns out faced opposition by both Blair and Powell, and has activated the UK's Official Secrets Act resulting in the prosecution of two alleged leakers. Pretty heavy for what pro-Bush bloggers insist was a moment of humour. It appears that despite the attempts to publicly laugh it off, someone, somewhere takes it very seriously indeed. Given all that, perhaps we should, too.

We have a suspicion that The Green Ribbon will be a blog to watch on this matter.


The members of "New Europe"

The Guardian:
"[Swiss weekly SonnstagsBlick] reported that the document said Egypt had confirmed through its own sources that the US intelligence agency had held 23 terror suspects at a military base in Romania.

The message also said there were similar US detention centres in Ukraine, Kosovo, Macedonia and Bulgaria, according to the newspaper.

The message, a fax sent by satellite transmission from Egypt's foreign ministry to its embassy in London, was intercepted on November 15 by Swiss intelligence, the newspaper reported. The Swiss defence ministry said it was investigating the leak of the document."
The Council of Europe are quoted in the above piece as being in the process of verifying the document's authenticity. But it it is genuine, is the cat now firmly out of the bag as to this being an issue that the EU must face?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 

Kebabgate Part II

(See here and here for the 48 hours of excitement over Part I [1])

M. De Levan - surely aware, as journalists in the O'Reilly tabloid stable always are, of what party line is required of them - exploded today yesterday with righteous indignation at an un-PC phrase uttered by the Fianna Fáil School Marm herself. He may be Frencher than a stinky cheese, but our intrepid Monsieur displayed none of the usual Gallic traits of cowardice in the face of the enemy:
"Senator Mary O'Rourke, perhaps the most serpentine personality in the Irish political swamp, thanked her supporters for "working like blacks" to get her back on the Fianna Fail ticket after voters turfed her out four years ago.

Mary O'Rourke IS a racist. One could argue about the provenance, etymology and appropriateness of Mary O'Rourke's phrase, "worked like blacks". One can also argue whether or not she, as an elected official with skin thicker than a T-Rex, should be expected to apologise. But if the word racism has any meaning, it includes prejudice based on race. Mary O'Rourke's first instinct when confronted by a black texter to Newstalk was to congratulate her on getting her asylum, that is, to assume she was an asylum seeker."
Mrs. O'Rourke's fellow race-baiters over at the notoriously pro-Soldiers of Destiny Irish Times don't escape his wrath, either:
"Queue the rally-round. The Irish Times did put the story on the front page, not that you'd notice, being an inch or so from the bottom, and the "blacks" remark buried in the story with no reference to it in the headline."
Not to fear, though. If there is one bastion of political correctness and indeed integrity in the craven MSM, it is to be found in the Duckworth School of Reporting (tm The Phoenix) Independent Newspapers Group:
"The Indo led with it, and included reference to the 'kebab' problem of her nephew, Conor Lenihan.

The Indo also - unlike the Times - included comments from Rosanna Flynn of Residents Against Racism, who was the only person in the mediaverse this morning to unambiguously suggest that O'Rourke should apologise"
In conclusion:
"One final thought. If the remarks were made by, say, a Senator from Mississippi, rather than a Senator from Fianna Fail, would the world simply shrug and say, ah well? Oh wait - we know the answer to that question. The Amercia that Irish commentators of a certain disposition love to brand as racist removed Trent Lott as Senator Majority leader in 2002 when he said nice things about a racist. The Ireland that likes to think of itself as above that American disease is in fact constantly engaged in the most coarse apologias for members of The Club when they make, as only Shawn Pogatchnik of the Associated Press had the candor to describe it in the headline, a "racist comment"."
Absolutely correct. A doddery old Irish politician making a slip of the tongue is indeed comparable to a Dixiecrat politician praising racial segregation before the winning of full Civil Rights for blacks. Her refusal - uncharacteristic of Irish politicians - to admit wrong and apologise is only the beginning. Next you know, the Lenihan clan will be lighting crosses on the lawn in Leinster House.

Don't say we didn't warn you.

Update: Slugger agrees, an endorsement which can only reinforce our hero's aura.

[1] And here for the Prologue. We refuse to believe that this is the same paragon of objective reporting - could there be a serial imposter at large in the Boggersphere?

[2] Here's a question for Monsieur which we've pondered a while - why Damien Kiberd lambasting the 26 Counties as the "Free State" is such a matter of grave offence to him, but on the other hand labeling one's own website "[sic] Ireland - the truth hurts" is different.

Monday, January 09, 2006 

Banning the turkey basters

Where to start on this one? It needs to be pointed out that this affects unmarried women in heterosexual relationships as well, so it's a twofer - both lesbians and harlots living in sin. Granted, it's not quite as bad as the unauthorised reproduction bill that's still knocking around Indiana (last we heard), but it's definitely in the same vein.

We've always found it puzzling that the Christian "pro-lifers" don't appear particularly interested in banning in-vitro fertilisation completely - this is a process which inevitably leads to wasted embryos, after all. This is a strange failure in logic of the "pro-life" moral argument.



We got into a debate with others over on Disillusioned Lefty a while back over blogrolling policy. Our problem was this; is it acceptable to link to clear racists, homophobes or misogynists (or in case of the specific example in question, all three rolled into one)? It became clear that at least some bloggers out there don't regard their blogrolls as endorsements of the views expressed therein. We don't agree with it, but c'est la vie.

This blog takes a different tack. Everyone on our blogroll passes what in the UK has been called the "Private Eye test" - namely, is there anything in it which you might find embarrassing to be put under a public spotlight? The links to the right represent blogs and bloggers whom we hold in high regard - even when we may disagree with their politics, or regard them as being occasionally somewhat naïve. Some like Marshall Wittman (the Bullmoose) however, are on more-or-less permanent probation.

Sunday, January 08, 2006 

Trouble for Tony

The Australian (quoting a Mail on Sunday article):
"A LEADING British Army officer believes Prime Minister Tony Blair should be impeached for his role in the war in Iraq, the Mail on Sunday reported.

General Sir Michael Rose, a former UN commander in Bosnia, was quoted by the right-of-centre Mail on Sunday as saying: "I think the politicians should be held to account ... my view is that Blair should be impeached.

"That would prevent the politicians treating quite so carelessly the subject of taking a country into war.""
If there's one retired general going so far as to say it, then there's a hundred thinking it. So much for the much ballyhooed 'Blair legacy'.

Saturday, January 07, 2006 

Corruption in politics

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo should be required daily reading for anyone interested in the undercurrents of US Beltway politics. Taking an example from yesterday is this excellent piece on the unravelling (and intimately entwined) DeLay and Ambramoff scandals, which are threatening to send a good portion of the US Republican caucus down for prison time.

Of interest is how well this particular article would fit in with the Fianna Fáil party as it existed in the '80s and very early '90s; just switch the names to certain Irish counterparts (please, no-one be so foolish as to name names).

Btw, congratulations to Irish Corruption, which is still going strong in spite of being a threat to the State.


Time's Blog of the Year suffers another setback

Those following the NSA scandal in the States (basically, Bush authorised an illegal spying operation on US citizens) might like to read Glenn Greenwald's latest take on Powerline's scrambling to defend breaking the law.

Unlike Althouse - who is being rather shrill these days in refusing to engage with it at all - it seems Greenwald's not willing to let partisan politics get in the way of a principled stand. Would that there were more so-called 'libertarians' doing the same!


Death of a good soldier

We think we may have seen this covered somewhere else on Irish blogs in the last couple of days, but we haven't been able to find it again at any of our usual haunts. Hugh Thompson, the US Army helicopter pilot who (along with the help of his crew and other pilots) intervened to save the last survivors of the My Lai massacre has died.

My Lai can be said to have exposed the real horror of what was taking place in Vietnam. From U.S.News:
"Before My Lai, Americans always saw their boys in uniform as heroes. Their troops had brought war criminals, the Nazis, to justice. So when the massacre of some 500 unarmed Vietnamese civilians by U.S. soldiers became public a year and a half later, it shook the country to its core. Many Americans found it so unbelievable they perversely hailed Lt. William Calley, the officer who ordered his men to shoot civilians, as an unjustly accused hero. But My Lai did produce true heroes, says William Eckhardt, who served as chief prosecutor for the My Lai courts-martial. "When you have evil, sometimes, in the midst of it, you will have incredible, selfless good. And that's Hugh Thompson."
We wish we had confidence that there wouldn't be Stateside 'patriots' today threatening to kill individuals who had shown such courage in Iraq.


The Photo-Op King strikes again

Bush reaches beyond inner circle on Iraq policy
Fri Jan 6, 2006 3:00 AM GMT

By Tabassum Zakaria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush reached beyond his tight circle of trusted aides on Thursday to solicit views on Iraq of former secretaries of state and defence, including some who have publicly criticised his policy.

The meeting, part of the president's effort to defend his policies on Iraq and the war on terrorism as he tries to recover from low opinion poll ratings, took place as insurgent violence surged anew this week in Iraq.

"Not everybody around this table agreed with my decision to go into Iraq and I fully understand that," Bush said, adding that he had listened to their concerns and suggestions. "We take to heart the advice."

The former officials who served in administrations dating back to President John Kennedy, met with Bush, current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. [...]
Associated Press:
Bush, Ex-Policymakers, Discuss Iraq
By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer Thu Jan 5, 4:38 PM ET

WASHINGTON - President Bush brought foreign policy heavyweights from yesteryear to the White House on Thursday, including Democrats who have opposed his Iraq strategy. He got support for the mission — along with a few concerns — and a right to claim he was reaching out.

Waging an unpopular war that has dragged down his approval ratings, Bush has been campaigning to win the public over to his argument that he has a successful strategy for stabilizing Iraq and bringing American troops home.

As part of that effort, Bush brought to the White House more than a dozen former secretaries of state and defense, split almost evenly between Republican and Democratic administrations, for a detailed briefing and give-and-take.

He gambled that one-time high-level public officials, when personally summoned by the president, would resist temptation to be too critical.

He was right.

"When you are in the presence of the president of the United States, I don't care if you've been a devout Democrat for the last hundred years, you're likely to pull your punches to some degree," Lawrence Eagleburger, a secretary of state under former President George H.W. Bush, said as he left the White House. "Now, there was some criticism. But it was basically, `You haven't talked to the American people enough.' And it was very mild."


The unusual gathering in the Roosevelt Room began with an update by Gen. George Casey, the top American commander in Iraq, and Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad. But speaking to reporters afterward, Bush emphasized the portion of the meeting in which he asked the former secretaries to offer "their concerns, their suggestions."

"Not everybody around this table agreed with my decision to go into Iraq. I fully understand that," the president said, his guests arrayed silently around him. "But these are good solid Americans who understand that we've got to succeed now that we're there. I'm most grateful for the suggestions they've given."

Madeleine Albright, a secretary of state under President Clinton and a critic of Bush's decision to invade Iraq, praised Bush for holding the meeting.


Albright said she felt she had no choice but to attend, despite political differences with Bush.

"Clearly I didn't go there as a prop," she said. "We can't say we want to be consulted and then, when asked, not go.""
New York Times: (via Atrios):
Bush and Former Cabinet Members Discuss Topic No. 1: Iraq
Published: January 5, 2006

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 - Colin Powell said nothing - a silence that spoke volumes to many in the White House today.

His predecessor, Madeleine Albright, was a bit riled after hearing an exceedingly upbeat 40-minute briefing to 13 living former secretaries of state and defense about how well things are going in Iraq. Saying the war in Iraq was "taking up all the energy" of President Bush's foreign policy team, she asked Mr. Bush whether he had let nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea spin out of control, and Latin America and China policy suffer by benign neglect.

"I can't let this comment stand," Mr. Bush shot back, telling Ms. Albright and the rare assembly of her colleagues, who reached back to the Kennedy White House, that his administration "can do more than one thing at a time."

The Bush administration, the president insisted, had "the best relations of any country with Japan, China and Korea," and active programs to win alliances around the world.

That was, according to some of the participants, one of the few moments of heat during an unusual White House effort to bring some of its critics into the fold and give a patina of bipartisan common ground to the strategy that Mr. Bush has laid out in recent weeks for Iraq.

But if it was a bipartisan consultation, as advertised by the White House, it was a brief one. Mr. Bush allowed 5 to 10 minutes this morning for interchange with the group - which included three veterans of another difficult war, the one in Vietnam: Robert S. McNamara, Melvin R. Laird and James R. Schlesinger. Then the entire group was herded the Oval Office for what he called a "family picture."
"Five to ten minutes" to discuss Iraq?

Friday, January 06, 2006 

Instructive lesson on the 'freedom of speech' of the military

Newsday, about US censorship policy on military bloggers in Iraq:

"Throughout last year, the Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy tightened control on bloggers by requiring them to register through the chain of command and by creating special security squads to monitor milblogs.

"The ones that stay up are completely patriotic and innocuous, and they're fine if you want to read the flag-waving and how everything's peachy keen in Iraq," said Hartley, who is back in New Paltz after two years stationed in Iraq."
This highlights an important point, which non-military personnel may not appreciate. Every time you read or hear a military spokesperson talk about how the Iraq War is going, you're not seeing a free actor, able to communicate his or her experiences and/or opinions to you openly and honestly. Instead, you're dealing with someone who may as an individual be trustworthy, but whose military duty requires them to spin as morale-boosting a tale as possible - and that includes lying and deliberate obfuscation, as we've seen over the years with the British in NI and latterly with the US in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Post-Vietnam, the necessity of 'winning' the PR war with pesky journalists turning over rocks was learned, and learned well. Hence embedding, and hence also the policy of stamping out swiftly any honest soldier accounts of what war is really like, and what the real situation on the ground is. Bear that in mind the next time you see yet another rosy soldier's story promoted on right-wing blogs.


Strange goings-on in Iraq invasion aftermath

Raw Story has an article up on murky doings by the Office of Special Plans, the neo-con political commissars attached to the Pentagon who appear to have played such a role in the 'mistaken' pre-war intelligence.

Thursday, January 05, 2006 

Favourite new satirical blog

Is the world ready for... Altmouse?


The 'Land of the Free'?

Living in George W. Bush's America part one.

Living in George W. Bush's America part two.


The Humanity Dick Award

It seems to be quite the fashion these days in the Boggersphere to be giving out awards - ranging from the laudable to the questionable. Just the other day, we noticed Eamonn FitzGerald announcing as his Person of the Year Condoleeza Rice, whom he characterises as:
"Smart, tough, resilient, Condoleezza Rice ends a testing first year in office with the State Department relocated to the centre of American foreign policy making. That is a considerable achievement."
We (on the other hand) see it as honouring a public liar and brass-necked apologist for torture, and we suspect we're far from alone in this. And it may just be us, but we fail to see how a penchant for publicly brown-nosing Bush lackeys sits easily with this comment added to the end of a recent Rainy Day eulogy to W.H. Auden, and presumably aimed at the press reporting the news criticism of Dubya:
"Fifty years ago, he could not have imagined the "horrid, mechanical screech" we are now subjected to by those who are paid to "befuddle the crowd", but his words continue to reverberate. And, there was then and there is now "the suburb of dissent". It's where the bloggers hang out now."
However, and in keeping with the times, the Dublin Institute for Culture and Knowledge is pleased to announce the Humanity Dick Award for notable humanitarian works which better (in ways large or small) the society we live in. As most out there are probably unaware of just who this remarkable Irishman was, we delve into Wikipedia:
"Colonel Richard "Humanity Dick" Martin, M.P., of Ballinahinch, Co. Galway, Esq., was born in 1754 the only son of the Honourable Bridget Barnwall - a daughter of Baron Trimlestown - and Robert Martin Fitz Anthony of Birchall, Co. Galway. He was raised at Dangan House, situated on the Corrib River, four miles upriver from the town of Galway. His father's family, Jacobite in politics, were one of The Tribes of Galway, fourteen merchant families who ruled Galway from the 14th to 17th centuries. The Barnwalls were an enobled family of Norman descent based in the counties of Dublin, Kildare and Meath in Lenister. Bridget died when Richard was nine, and Robert later married Mary Lynch - another Tribal family - by whom he had sons Robert and Anthony.

Though both of his parents were Catholic, Richard was raised a Protestant in order to fight in the Irish Parliament for Catholic Emancipation. This he did with gusto from 1777 to its final sitting in 1800, after which The Act of Union dissolved it and obliged Irish M.P.'s to sit in Westminster, London. He continued his work towards Irish Catholic Emancipation till 1826, when he was found to be incorrectly elected. Emancipation was finally granted in 1829, much to his delight.

He is most famous for his work in connection with wanton cruelty to animals, which led to Martin's Act in 1822, and the foundation of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Beyond this, however, was a very eventful life. He survived shipwreck on at least two occasions; fought in excess of one hundred duels with sword and pistol; had travelled extensively in Europe and the Americans in the 1770's (was present in New England when war broke out); founded Galway's first theatre; was present in Paris when the French Revolution broke out in 1789; divorced his first wife - who had at one time an affair with the Irish rebel Theobald Wolfe Tone - and was awarded £10,000 compensation which he threw away to the poor. He was on a first-name basis with many of the famous names of his age, Flood, Henry Grattan, William Pitt, King George IV, Queen Caroline, Daniel O'Connell."
(We'll direct readers also to this)

We have a certain personal connection to Dick Martin, but we're setting up this award in his honour primarily on account of 'Humanity' Dick being a fine example of Enlightenment values and a tireless advocate for good causes all his life. And most of all, simply a decent person. And so to our award.

The Humanity Dick Award for 2005 goes to the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, Mr. Craig Murray, whom we had the honour to hear addressing The Phil on the "Global War On Terror" in Trinity College Dublin back in early November. Mr. Murray is the very same ambassador to that beleaguered country removed from his post for daring to speak out about the appalling human rights violations in that country - horrors such as boiling people alive - and the support by the US and UK of this fully paid-up member of the Coalition of the Willing. Murray was subjected to a classic smear campaign intended to shut him up, but this conscientious individual has refused to bow and instead continues to fight the good fight from his blog. In his latest move to get the truth out, Murray has now openly flouted the British Official Secrets Act in publishing correspondence online (the 'Tashkent letters') detailing UK knowledge of and complicity with Uzbek torture, contrary to their own public statements.

The Freedom Institute's Dickie Waghorne likes to lecture at some length on the supposed "moral clarity" of the GWOT (listen here, read here), the perennial justification for each new wickedness to come out of the current US Administration. Given what FI member John McGuirk undoubtedly saw that night and reported back of Mr. Murray disabusing his audience of any notions that Bush or Blair give a damn about human rights, we rather doubt Dickie and his ilk would be eager to face the former diplomat in public debate.

Craig Murray is a brave and outstanding campaigner for human rights in Uzbekistan, and a worthy winner. We salute you, sir.

Craig Murray's website
Wikipedia article
Enron letter to Bush on Uzbekistan
Chris Floyd
Tim Ireland's Bloggerheads (co-ordinating blogger dissemination of the Tashkent letters)


Challenging some popular misconceptions of World War II

See here in the Observer. One passage in the article caught our eye:
"The minutes fuel the debate over when exactly the Allies were aware of the Holocaust in central Europe. In December 1942, amid reports that thousands of Jews were being transferred to Poland from the German-occupied countries, Churchill asked his cabinet: 'Any confirmation of story of wholesale massacre? By mass electrical methods.' Anthony Eden, the Foreign Secretary, replies there is 'nothing direct, but indications that it may be true. Can't confirm the method.'"
This is rather curious, as Eden only went before the English parliament on December 17th of the same year to issue a joint Allied statement declaring the existence of the Nazis' genocidal policies. As the last-linked piece notes, Eden's statement came only after public disquiet on leaked reports of the Holocaust - and there is plenty of evidence to suggest Allied foot-dragging on rescuing Jewish refugees from Occupied Europe (see especially here). We look forward to more detail on Eden (and what he and his government knew) as this treasure trove of documents gets sifted through.

What particularly piques our interest is the connection to one of the attacks we see cropping up regularly in all sorts of places, especially from those hostile in general to this State: the claim about Éire (and de Valera) callously refusing to take in Jewish refugees. While this happened to a certain extent (and McDowell issued an apology a while back for it) the success of this slur depends on a conventional wisdom that the attitudes and behaviour of the Allies were noticeably nobler on this issue - a perception which is very much at odds with the observable facts of the matter, as we've noted above. In this, it shares a good deal with the "Éire as a wicked neutral" meme, which conveniently forgets the fellow neutrality of such countries as the USA, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and others - all of whom were determinedly neutral until attacked by the Axis.

The other two old reliables that get a regular dusting-off are of course the accusation that not giving the Allies/British the ports cost thousands of lives, and de Valera's visit to give official condolences to the German Legation in Dublin. The first is nonsense - giving the British military facilities would have meant the very real ending of our neutrality and the initiation of hostilities with the Axis (never mind the possibility of civil war over a renewed British presence), and the military usefulness of the ports (apart from dragging us into the war) is very much open to question.

The issue of de Valera paying his condolences to Herr Hempel on Hitler's death is an understandably emotive issue, given the magnitude of the German leader's evil. Conor Cruise O'Brien has opined that this was a clever ruse by de Valera to provoke a public row with Churchill, and thereby increase Dev's popularity in advance of imminent Irish elections. While this is possible (and O'Brien certainly walked in the right circles at one point to pick up gossip of this sort), we tend to believe that the tone-deaf Dev was instead being characteristically fastidious in the proper diplomatic forms with an ambassador who had acted properly throughout the war, resisting entanglement in IRA-Nazi plots. (It needs to be made clear that contrary to the deliberate insinuations in this line of attack, de Valera himself wasn't an anti-Semite by any stretch of the imagination - those who imply otherwise are charlatans, as can be easily shown).

Getting to the point, we recently read a Washington Post article on a new revelation in the story of Dev going to offer condolences - that Douglas Hyde, the (Protestant) President of Ireland, also visited Hempel to deliver his own condolences. As the WaPo reports:
"The presidential protocol record for 1938-1957, made public this week within a trove of previously secret government documents, shed new light on one of the most embarrassing chapters in the history of independent Ireland _ its decision to maintain cordial relations with the Nazis even after news of the Holocaust emerged.

The new document confirmed that President Douglas Hyde visited Hempel on May 3, 1945, a day after Ireland received reports of Hitler's death.

The newly released document says Hyde _ who died in 1949 _ says the president did not send an official letter of condolence to German government headquarters because "the capital of Germany, Berlin, was under siege and no successor had been appointed." "
We breathlessly await the form that incorporating this little detail (into the Anglophile narrative on the untrustworthy Irish) might take. Personally, our money's on Myers declaring that Dev himself wheeled the old man from the Park to the Legation, and the extra-territorial wingnuts keeping it simple and merely leaving out all the boring little details on Hyde's actual politics and beliefs.

p.s. An interesting aside on de Valera, Bob Briscoe and the Israel/Palestine question.

(See also Best of Both Worlds, which deals with this release as it may impact the latest right-wing fashion - the comparison of George W. to Winston Churchill)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 

For Apple fans, it's that time of the year again

Macworld San Francisco 2005 (or MWSF '05 in fan shorthand) kicks off a week from today with the traditional Steve Jobs keynote. For die-hard aficionados of Apple's hardware and software, this is one of the holy days in the annual calendar, a day when the curtain of secrecy gets pulled back and this extraordinary company produces its latest tech offerings. The debut of Intel-powered Macs? Yet more new iPod models? The Mac Mini finally becoming the multimedia centre for your living-room? The speculation is reaching fever-pitch as the day draws closer.

Gerry O'Sullivan has put up a long post on the year just gone by for Apple, which makes for good reading. We find ourselves with not much to add to what he's said there: instead, we're going to present the inaugural Free Stater List of Useful Addresses for Irish Mac Users.

Planning that Mac

First, the essentials. Under Steve Jobs, Apple has a policy of obsessive secrecy over products still in development - which is just as well, really. On the negative side, though, this makes it pretty hit-and-miss to know when the time is right to trade in your beloved-but-struggling PowerBook for a newer, faster model.

This, is where the Apple news and rumour sites come to our aid. The main clearing-house for Apple product gossip is of the mighty MacRumors, which feeds off the indispensable AppleInsider and Think Secret, the French Mac Bidouille/Hard Mac, the OSx86 Project, O'Grady's PowerPage and of course Robert X. Cringely.

Historically, Apple products are announced in keynotes at a certain number of shows throughout the year: MWSF in early January; the National Asoociation of Broadcasters (NAB) show in the US in April; the Apple World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) likewise in June; Macworld Paris in mid-September. The main three rumour sites - MacRumors, Think Secret and Appleinsider - usually receive detailed leaks immediately preceding these events. (Watch that calendar!)

Once the announcements arrive, it's generally a matter of days or weeks before product ships to customers. Then it's over to Macintouch to get the first detailed user reports, and to Bare Feats to get the first benchmarks. Then it's make your mind up time - go with the latest, or with a cheaper, now-deprecated model? Buy a second-hand or refurbished previous version?

Buying your Mac


The most reliable (and fastest) stockist of Macs is the online Apple Store Ireland. (This also has the added advantage of offering free shipping - and if you're entitled to do so, purchase at a discount in the online Apple Education Store).

In terms of bricks-and-mortar stores on the highstreet, where you can walk out with your new prized possession under your arm, then there's the 3G Stores, the O2 Experience Stores, certain Spectra Photo shops in Dublin; Galmac in Galway; Compu b in Limerick and others.


'Refurbished', ex-demo and end-of-life models are our own preferred source of Mac hardware. Typically you're picking up a slightly-scuffed (but otherwise hardly used) model with a full warranty.

Apple Refurbished Store UK (generally opens only on Wednesday mornings)
Cancom (excellent UK dealers, their warranties can be cheaper than Apple's)
Jigsaw24 (UK also, no personal experience on service)


There's only the obvious for this:

(When we want to check on the guide prices, specs and upgradeability of older Macs, we visit, EveryMac and Low End Mac.)

Support of, Help with, Parts for and Troubleshooting your Mac

Apple Forums
Apple Support page
Apple Solution Experts
Macintouch Mac group
NiMUG - The Northern Ireland Mac Users Group
MacWindows (Windows Active Directory integration)

The Mac Shop (Dublin)

Sonnet Technologies
MCE Technologies
We Love Macs (US)
Mac Pro (US)
Small Dog Electronics (US)
Other World Computing (US)

MacFixIt (US)
PB FixIt (US) (US)
PowerBookMedic (US)
PowerBook Guy (US)
PowerBookResQ (US)
PowerBook Tech (US)
PowerBook Zone (US)
FastMac (US)


Various Mac-related websites which go under none of the above headings. Enjoy.

Dr. Bott
Griffin Technology
Daring Fireball
Creative Mac
As the Apple Turns
Joy of Tech

Update 5/01/06:


Apple Games

Tuesday, January 03, 2006 


Or so I'm told.

So, the rules are to tell five strange habits/facts...

1) A serial buyer of books and magazines (bought while browsing) that may - or may not - ever get read
2) Drinking tea with (just under) half being milk. Well, there it is.
3) Am I the only straight male who finds the Smack The Pony women funny?
4) The whole establishing-your-social-status-by-your-car thing. Sorry, city-dweller, no interest.
5) One of those who mooned the English (and several million cinema-goers) on Braveheart some years ago, a feat I dare anyone to better.


Supply & Demand

Wintering at our regular undisclosed location on the Continent, we got to see the Free Market in action during the recent heavy snows. A 23km taxi trip from the airport (of about 35 minutes duration in the snow) attracted a €100 'surcharge' at the end of the journey from our Turkish taxi-driver.

We weren't inclined to haggle, considering the reputation of said local Turkish taxi-drivers to often also be gun-carrying gangsters. And we suspect this was a rather common surprise on the night in question, with the superb public transport in this particular European nation temporarily out of commission.

Anyone else have Christmas horror-stories to report?

Monday, January 02, 2006 

Haloscan Compromised?

Just commenting on a post over at Disillusioned Lefty, clicking 'post' on Haloscan attempted to download a Windows executable called "9bdo86ma.exe". We're a firm believer in Macs on this blog, so no harm done - but Windows victims users might want to be careful.

"Libel"-Richard Waghorne
"Attack blog"-Damien Mulley

About me

  • An early-thirties male Irish technologist living and working in Dublin, I'm a former (recovering) member of both Fianna Fáil and the Roman Catholic Church.

    I'm not a member of any political party these days, but my opinions can be broadly categorised as 'lefty' and republican. I am also a former member of the Irish Defence Forces.

    Please feel free to check out the FI Fie Foe Fum group blog, where I was once a regular contributor, and the Cedar Lounge Revolution, where I can usually be found in the comments.

    (This blog and its contents reflect only my own personal opinions as a private citizen, and not those of any other person or organisation.)


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