Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A cinema giant passes on - and you won't know his face or his name.

Don LaFontaine the king of voiceovers has died aged 68. How can we go on "in a world where" this man can no longer guide us through the troubles of life and the power of imagination. This winter and next summer things will be just that little bit bleaker. That really was a voice to launch a movie, you can hear more here. Volume is a tad loud mind.

Things you hate to love

Caught this at the weekend* on Dave!, Stephen Fry talking about things you hate to love, like in his case, Darts! (the game/sport, not the band) and ABBA, and Georgette Heyer and gibberish and swearing. It was a fantastic concept for a show. I hope it was real and not one of those things that your brain does while you're sleeping. Read more here.

*I was tired, I'm writing a paper on something and I had nothing to wear so I stayed in, it happens.

The economy has sphinctered

It's pretty much official now that the economy is not slowing down rather it is closed for business. I did like that an auctioneer in Tuam on the RTe news was saying that there was a need for the building industry to reduce prices drastically in bring people back into the market and then went on to be quoted as saying there as €15 million in new unsold property in the area. Now was that €15 million in terms of the current asking price or should we read that as really being €10 million's worth? Tom Parlon joined in the fun fest by asking for a direct state bailout of construction. Wasn't he in a party once that believed in the free market?

Yes, indeed the Irish construction industry has truly overdone its reaction to the credit crunch or the fiscal trots as some might term it and we're stuck looking at the rest of the economy sphinctering out of sympathy.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Oireachtas reform

I know I've made some hay previously about reforming the Seanad to make it somewhat more consistent, but what about something more fundamental like reforming the entire electoral system. I believe that the Oireachtas, local government and large swaths of Irish public life are broken ,busted, banjaxed. I believe that the current system has served us badly.

Let's take for a moment the view that the Irish people really do need all these people helping them with form filling and ringing up the planning office and coming to their funerals. So let's keep people in the system to do that but let's also keep them the hell away from the drafting, consideration and voting involved in legislation.

Take the number of TD 166 and for every 3 of them at present let's try and suffice with just the 2 who will become what I would term public advocates. They will sit in a people's chamber that gets to vote on legislation but only to reject it by a 2/3 vote. So, that's 111 of them advocates to be elected by PR-STV. And then we should have 100 members of an actual legislature 80% of whom are to be elected by a list system on a provincial basis, and the remaining 20% by national list.

And those in the latter chamber would actually be the only ones who could draft, debate and vote on actual proposed new legislation. And then members of the cabinet can be drawn from both chambers or none. But they must be approved by Oireachtas committee (much like the US senate hearings to approve cabinet members.

And let's pay the advocates more than those in the legislature so that people aren't tempted to use it as stepping stone to get into the legislature as people currently use the county/city council seats. Pay the advocates 100K (after all they're doing the work of 1.5 TDs and we pay TD's 100K as of today) and the legislators just 80K say. Members of the cabinet get a top up to bring them up to 150K. And the top dog can have 180K and the use of a flat in town along with the lodge at Farmleigh for the family.