Tuesday, February 28, 2006 

'Myerswatch' unleashed on an unsuspecting world

Is there no limit on the tasks to which the good denizens of Fústar can turn their hands? We now get Cruiskeen Eile[1], a long-overdue homage to The Irish Times' resident Colonel Blimp.

[1] From our copy of A Dictionary of Hiberno-English, compiled and edited by Terence Patrick Dolan, publisher Gill & Macmillan (at €12.99 in H&F a great bargain) we learn that 'Cruiskeen' is from the Gaelic "crúiscin, a jug".

Update: 'Copernicus' elaborates on the title in the comments to this post.

Monday, February 27, 2006 

Irish Lesbian Sex Blog

Yes, we thought that title might attract some attention.

Following-up to a recent post over at Maman Poulet, the Irish blogging world has just achieved another milestone, the public unveiling of our first sex blog (warning: work and kiddie-unsafe).

Step forward Lazy-Hazy and her Queer Notions.

p.s. we can't let this occasion go by without a shout out to our favourite Northern blogger, the eponymous JoBlog.


Can't wait for the Irish wingnuts to copy this one

David Horowitz continues his descent into self-parody.


Daft Libertarian scheme of the year

Via Crooked Timber, comes news of the wackiest bunch we've heard of in quite some time.


More on the riots

From Sean McCann (someone we're continually surprised doesn't get wider coverage in the Irish blogs).

Sunday, February 26, 2006 

New law blog on the scene

Long-time commenter here and elsewhere (and occasional contributor over at Fústar) Copernicus has started his own law blog The Midnight Court, of which we expect great things.

Catch it here - http://midnightcourt.blogspot.com/


Musings on yesterdays 'Love Ulster' riots

Alas for poor Jeffrey Donaldson (whom we saw standing all ready to march, looking tiny in his oversized greatcoat), Willie Frazer (spotted wearing a giant placard with the names of IRA victims, some - see comment #16 - very dubious ) and their assorted band of Unionist victims' relatives and Loyalist paramilitaries (in the so-called "marching bands") who didn't get to march yesterday? Maybe not. They probably got everything they could have wished for, and more, with the violence in Dublin city centre. Congratulations to the hoodlums for spreading chaos and destruction across the city yesterday, and handing a PR coup to the "Love Ulster" crowd.

Speaking of wee Jeffrey, the DUP MP continues to shine:
"We have received a warm welcome from ordinary Dubliners, but its clear these republicans have come from north of the border and other areas intent only on causing trouble."
Lie or simple detachment from reality ('projection', even)? We were there on the day, and Northern accents were a distinct rarity in the crowd. The "ordinary Dubliners", on the other hand, were very much in evidence as, well, the actual rioters (recommended reading here from An Spailpín Fánach). Kevin Breathnach, Mr. Delevan (who evidently happened on the destruction at Schuh at the same time that we did) and others were also on hand to see this appalling spectacle in motion (see the Dossing Times for more).

Via Auds (who does a fine job with rounding up today's newspaper coverage), we see that Eoghan Harris has the following offering in today's Sindo:
"Meantime, most of the Irish media went into tribal mode. This ranged from the amused indifference affected by most mainstream commentators to the openly tribal stance taken up by some presenters on Newstalk 106, so much so that a few weeks ago I called it Tribal talk 106 in my weekly column.

Given that Newstalk is aimed at a Dublin audience, it might have been expected to create as much empathy as possible between marchers and public by explaining the sufferings of South Armagh Protestants. But no.

On Saturday morning, only a few hours before the march started, Newstalk was carrying competitions for jokes about "why the Orangeman crossed the road". This was followed by a five-second clip from Damien Kiberd's lunchtime show in which he mockingly asked if they were going to play 'Kick the Pope' music? In the absence of any pluralist programmes putting the point of view of the Protestant marchers, are we asked to believe that this did not create a sour climate?

Any public inquiry into the attack on the march - and there should be an inquiry - should pay close attention to the tribal role played by Newstalk 106 in relation to its Dublin working-class audience. The buck for this brand of brutalist broadcasting stops with Damien Kiberd, the news editor of Newstalk who writes a column in the republican Daily Ireland.

The Broadcasting Commission, if it has the guts of a mouse, should listen to the tapes of Newstalk 106 over the past two weeks, ask experts to evaluate their effect on an ill-educated section of the public and consider whether Newstalk 106 should be allowed to spread their atavistic views to a national audience. "
As an ex-Stickie - and himself one of the numerous Party members who infested RTÉ for many years, no less - we're none too surprised at the tack Harris takes (update: Delevan, meanwhile, gives unbiased praise of NewsTalk 106's coverage). Expect plenty of navel-gazing from other pro-Unionist commentators wondering if "we" are responsible for yesterday's chaos by virtue of not according any credibility to the Love Ulster clowns and their unsavoury paramilitary associates. If they think it to their further PR advantage, Jeffrey & Co. will gladly be back for more.

Final comments:

- there was no Provisional Republican involvement yesterday that we could see. The Republican Sinn Féin elements and an assortment of Dublin (and Eastern European) scumbags made up the rioters and looters. The Provos had nothing whatsoever to gain politically from yesterday's violence. McDowell, on the other hand, has just been gifted with priceless material for sound-bytes to scare voters in middle-class Ireland with come election time.

- The Guards really screwed up. O'Connell Street should have been cleared of material handy for riots, and crowd-control barriers should have been brought in (the situation in Parnell Square East was out of control, too). Too many Guards were squirreled away in reserve down side-streets (we saw several vans hidden), rather than being deployed up-front. Why was the likelihood of violence yesterday (both myself and herself had a talk before we went along) not recognisd by the authorities? Why were the general public and traders not warned? This is a curious mistake to have made.

- Jeffrey & Co. should be billed for crowd-control etc. on the day. They are, after all, "foreign" and hence not tax-payers. If they refuse, then they should be told not to bother coming back for any repeat of this stunt.

- A serious mistake has been made in the way the heritage of the fight for Irish freedom has been ceded to the Provos from the 1970's onwards. This is an error which is coming back to haunt us now, as was evident with the Mountjoy exhumations a couple of years back, and the 1916 commemorations still to come. Quite frankly, the Provos have been allowed to claim the Tricolour in a fashion which no doubt has most of the 'patriot dead' rolling in their graves. Can the modern FF, FG and Labour reclaim the mantle?

- some video footage of yesterday's events (including one new one) here, here, here and here.

Saturday, February 25, 2006 

Scumbag Central

Was in Dublin City Centre from lunchtime to see the 'Love Ulster' parade. That bunch of troublemakers packed up and left early, but their opposite numbers are running rampant around Dublin.

Stay away from the city centre - trouble is sure to restart when it grows dark.

(Update - photos here. Video 1, 2, 3. p.s. Does anyone know of a decent video-hosting site - free, of course?)

Friday, February 17, 2006 

Hiatus once more

Off for a week, due to other commitments. Apologies to those who tagged on the "who are you?" meme - it'll get done sometime, we promise.

In the meantime, we'll leave you with two recent additions to our daily reading - the excellent Tom Cosgrave and the 'provocative' Wulfbeorn (who at least appears to be a genuine Libertarian, unlike certain Irish frauds).


Timely dissenting view on the Hamas victory

From Sean McCann.


Loony-Tunes Sindo

Via Slugger, we see that the Sindo hacks found themselves in the happy position recently of being able to combine two of their favourite hates - the GAA and Northern Irish Catholics. Declan Lynch, on the Tyrone-Dublin game:
"[Violence on the pitch] came at an unfortunate time too, barely a week after commentators had been indulging in one of their occasional bouts of nationalist self-congratulation, as they crowed about an attendance of roughly 20,000 at a Gaelic match up North, boasting that this was a bigger crowd than that which attended the FA Cup match between Portsmouth and Liverpool on the same day.

As always when these boys try to assert that Gaelic games are in any way superior to English football, there is some thick nationalist fudge at the centre of it, a green fudge, a sickly confection feeding the green-eyed monster. And it tastes sweet, as they look down on the English, while the English are looking somewhere else altogether.

Sadly, it is just another facile invention of the minds of men who have gorged themselves on the green goo. It seems to work for them.

[...] these fatuous comparisons with the English game shouldn't distract us from the real threat posed by the fanatical Northern nationalist hordes, which is not to the English at all, but to the "soft South" with its genuine love of football, and its appreciation of many other sports, borne out by its several hundred thousand subcribers to satellite channels.

They hate that, they hate the truth. But on the bright side, maybe the Battle of Omagh between them and their Southern soul-brothers, was the first sign of the Split."
This, ladies and gentlemen, appears to be exactly the sort of fare that Dublin 4 likes to dine on. That anyone still actually buys this O'Reilly rag suggests that there may indeed be a West Brit constituency ready to become loyal readers of the Oirish Daily Mail...


That Australian TV report on Abu Ghraib

The full video of the TV report is available over at BradBlog - and be warned, it's fairly graphic. We'd like to see where Dickie Waghorne's claimed "moral clarity" is now.


Faith-based Forensics

General JC Christian weighs in with a possible explanation for discrepancies in VP Dead-Eye Dick's recent hunting mishap.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 

Nothing new under the Sun

We see in the latest edition of the excellent History Ireland that they're about to put all their archives online. Given some of the very questionable posts we've seen recently on the Easter Rising, John Redmond etc., this will no doubt become a very welcome resource on the Internet for reference purposes.

While perusing the existing HI website, we espied a number of online sample articles. Of particular interest is a piece covering a previous occasion when the 'Free Market' ideology so fashionable these days was put to the test right here in Ireland. We appear to have missed the Open Republic/Freedom Institute coverage of this case study, curiously enough.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 

Yet More Blogging Awards

We see that personal favourite Best of Both Worlds is in the running for a gong over at A Fistful of Euros.


When MSM-hating turns to "gizzajob"

Sadly, No! covers the love/hate relationship of our age.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 

Another of those political graph thingies

We saw this around:
You are a

Social Liberal
(68% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(5% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Not greatly surprised on the "socialist", there is of course nothing untoward in that within the post-Civil War parties (and on a tangent, nor within both Unionism and Nationalism in the North either).

As ever with this sort of thing, a number of the questions are highly ambiguous and their intent needs to be guessed at.

Friday, February 10, 2006 

Defence of the State

Apropos of this, we noted on a recent trip abroad that you're no longer required to doff shoes when going through security at Dublin Airport. This is frankly bizarre - either shoe-bombs are a risk or not, and there's been one such attempted attack already - but not surprising given the startling contrast of the stringency of passport control and laxness of customs you experience on arrival in Dublin. And let's just hope that a case of human-to-human transferable bird 'flu never steps off a plane.

Speaking of aircraft and security, one worrying deficiency in the Defence Forces is that the Air Corps has historically been equipped with obsolescent or even obsolete combat aircraft, a situation which continues today. Nearly uniquely among First-World nations, there is no modern fast-jet interceptor type in service with the Aer Corps today, nor forseeable plans to equip ourselves with even a token number of such fighter jets [1].

A surprising number of people assume that in case of emergency, we'd be able to call on the RAF just as we usually do. This simply isn't realistic, given that al'Qaeda has a clear preference for staging simultaneous attacks on multiple targets (as is well-known) and the British will need to be ready to defend their own airspace. And according to a recent issue of Phoenix Magazine, the Air Corps has been reduced to outfitting rotary-wing aircraft with door-mounted machineguns, which is a shocking state of affairs. The Naval Service is in the same boat (pun unintended) as regards the inability to mount even a token defence of our sovereign territory, being effectively little more than a coastguard [2].

Make no mistake about it, but jet fighters - even the simplest types - are enormously expensive, not just in capital cost but also in terms of flying hours due to excessive fuel consumption (about ten times more expensive than turboprops, we seem to remember). But in a world where the Republic is being sucked steadily deeper (link via UI) into a future European military alliance, there will undoubtedly come a time when our unwillingness to shoulder the cost of defending even our own territory becomes an issue with our EU partners.

[1] there was a proposal during the Eighties to purchase BAe Hawk jets, but the country's near-bankruptcy interrupted a Haughey-originated Defence Forces re-equipment plan.
[2] and an understrength coastguard at that. The Naval Service itself stated during the '80s that at least thirteen ships were needed, even just for fishery patrol duties.


Here comes the Wagon...

The good folks over at Fústar (a culture blog we cannot praise highly enough) are currently doing a series on Eugene Lambert. Like a good many other people within a wide age bracket, Mr. Lambert's creations brought a touch of magic into our childhood and we well remember going along to see his puppet-shows at Christmas time. Please go over there and check it out (parts 1 and 2, and part 3 yet to come).

This was good quality Irish programming, and what the National Broadcaster ought to be investing in with our TV licence fee. Not spending it on foreign imports - much of which is, quite frankly, rubbish and already easily available on satellite and cable.


Two strands in the same weaving

While researching for a recent post at FI Fie Foe Fum, we came across this appropriate piece over on LGF Watch about religious fundamentalist hate.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006 

Eircom Flotation Flashback

Scannal! on RTÉ yesterday evening recapped the whole Telecom Éireann/Eircom privatisation debacle. As the listing on RTÉ's own website puts it:
"The much anticipated [Eircom] flotation day finally arrived on 9th July, 1999. Mary O'Rourke - then Minister for Public Enterprise, Charlie McCreevey - then Minister for Finance, Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern and Telecom CEO, Alfie Kane revealed the share price - €3.90 per share.

Only one in ten of the almost 600,000 new shareholders sold their shares for a quick profit. Most people were in for the long haul. Flotation fever turned to mild concern when the share price reflected market unease and began to trend downwards.

But the message from above was quite clear: 'don't panic. Everything will be all right.' The Government gave the added incentive of an end-of-year share bonus if people held on till then - and that's what most of them did.

But the share price continued to go in one direction only and that was down. Disbelief turned to anger as it emerged that executives and company directors had received huge bonuses and stock options on foot of the flotation.

Senator Shane Ross and broadcaster Eamon Dunphy took up the fight. Angry shareholders beseiged the board of directors for hours at the company's first AGM. Anger turned to fury when former Tánaiste, Dick Spring explained he didn't have the cash to buy shares, when he was invited to join the board as a director. People felt they had been made fools of.

The sorry tale went from bad to worse. Eircell, the most profitable wing of the company was sold off to Vodafone and a battle royal between Denis O'Brien and Tony O'Reilly began to take over the rest of the company. It was the employees with a blocking share who chose O'Reilly's consortium, Valentia, because they offered them the best deal - doubling the workers' shareholding in a very lucrative tax-efficient way.

Within three years of being floated, the company was taken private and the small share holders compulsorily paid off. The dream had died.

Most investors lost almost 36% of their original investment. Once bitten, twice shy: many were determined never to purchase another share in any business, ever again."
As the program related, the cause of so many small investors getting burned was that McCreevey (part of the PD-sympathetic circle ascendant within FF) was anxious to extract as much money from Joe Public for his or her shares as possible, resulting in the share offer price being set unrealistically high.

But the interesting part was a quite curious omission in the account told during this program, one that we've noted before; and it has to do with the employment of Senator Ross (he who so hounded and humiliated the initial post-flotation management into bailing out).


A shade of grey

The Prophet Mohammed Cartoons controversy rages on, with Dickie Waghorne (predictably) doing his level best to be as provocative towards Islam as possible. This is not to defend the violence of recent days, but to urge certain idiots to stop deliberately stirring a hornet's nest.

One thing we've noted in this debate is the claim by Western right-wingers that similar treatment of Christ would go unchallenged here on account of free speech. As we strongly suspected, so much for the free speech:
"Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that have caused a storm of protest throughout the Islamic world, refused to run drawings lampooning Jesus Christ, it has emerged today.
The Danish daily turned down the cartoons of Christ three years ago, on the grounds that they could be offensive to readers and were not funny.

In April 2003, Danish illustrator Christoffer Zieler submitted a series of unsolicited cartoons dealing with the resurrection of Christ to Jyllands-Posten.

Zieler received an email back from the paper's Sunday editor, Jens Kaiser, which said: "I don't think Jyllands-Posten's readers will enjoy the drawings. As a matter of fact, I think that they will provoke an outcry. Therefore, I will not use them.""
One hard lesson liberals (in the US sense) have got to get into their heads is that the enemy of your enemies is not necessarily your friend. That's the case with Iraq (on both sides) and in this situation also.


Vote Early, Vote Often

Damien Mulley has fired the starter's pistol in the Irish Blog Awards 2005.

FI Fie Foe Fum is nominated in quite a few categories, we note, and we'd like to say a very big thank you to those who nominated us. The support we get from our readers means a lot.

Monday, February 06, 2006 

Four Things Meme

(We see that we've been tagged by Ms. de Londras)

Four Jobs

Local political party activist/election worker in Fianna Fáil
"Braveheart" (Gibson is an egotistical a**hole)
"Saving Private Ryan" (both Hanks and Spielberg are gentlemen, in comparison)
Infantry NCO

Four Films you could watch over and over

Too many to choose. Off the top of my head at this moment -

Apocalypse Now
A Bridge Too Far
The Matrix
The Empire Strikes Back

Four Places you've lived

't'home "down the country"
The Curragh
Wexford Town
Dublin City Centre

Four TV Shows you love to watch

We have (by agreement in the apartment) not bothered with cable, only the four terrestrial Irish channels. So:

Questions & Answers
Battlestar Galactica

Four Places you've been on vacation


Four Websites you visit daily

Best of Both Worlds
The Register
Sicilian Notes (heh.)

Four of your favourite foods

A country lad's palette, so:

Mash and butter
Mince meat stew
Steak, carrots, turnip, potato, peas and gravy.
Cheese fondue (of course)

Four places you'd rather be

The Netherlands
'Rather not tell, thank you very much!

Four people who are now tagged

P. O'Neill
Red Rover
Mr. McGarr
Mr. Creehan


Initial Impressions on the Irish Daily Mail

We could never resist a freebie being given out in the streets.

On a scale of one to ten (one being the sandpaper recycled bogroll on issue in the Defence Forces through the Nineties, ten being Andrex Quilts) we'd award it a six. Satisfying but without that je ne sais quo to be gained from wiping your derriére with An Irishman's Diary (8/10).

Update 06/02/06:

Twenty Major would clearly disagree on our scoring.
"With that in mind there really is no need for the Daily Mail to publish an Irish edition. If I was caught short after a particularly heavy night on the tiles and I scrambled my way into a public toilet and unleashed the full fury of my bowels only to find there was no toilet paper I still wouldn't use the Daily Mail to wipe my arse. I'd rather just use my hand or my underwear."
And who are we to argue with that?

"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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