Saturday, July 05, 2008

Dr. Who prediction

Since the place they've gone to is 2 secs out of phase with normal time it is entirely possible to bring back Christopher Eccleston as a one off. They could even do one of those different person in the mirror things to have David Tennant and Eccleston on screen together. Just a guess mind, the jury is still out on my prediction about the final cylon.

Talking down the economy

Why is Cowen so exercised about this - there is a long and honourable(ish) tradition of it in Fianna Fail.

I wish to talk to you this evening about the state of the nation's affairs and the picture I have to paint is not, unfortunately, a very cheerful one. The figures which are just now becoming available to us show one thing very clearly. As a community we are living away beyond our means. I don't mean that everyone in the community is living too well, clearly many are not and have barely enough to get by, but taking us all together we have been living at a rate which is simply not justified by the amount of goods and services we are producing. To make up the difference we have been borrowing enormous amounts of money, borrowing at a rate which just cannot continue. A few simple figures will make this very clear...we will just have to reorganise government spending so that we can only undertake those things we can afford.

—Charles Haughey, January 9, 1980

Christopher Hitchens - water broading

If you've ever had an asthma attack or anything like it then you may have some hint of what water boarding is really like. We are so surrounded by air that we readily forget how frequently we require it. Christopher Hitchens in writing for Vanity Fair decided to see what it was like for himself.

This is the article from Vanity Fair which is well worth the read (only 2 pages) and below is some video of part of the experience he had. It is not disturbing to watch in itself but it comes more unsettling once you start to consider how you would feel in the same position.

The key point missed by folks who think this sort of thing is just plain dandy because of the war on terror is that the people it is used on are merely suspects who have not yet stood trail in most cases much less been convicted of anything. It is worth remembering that with all the time and resources available to them compared to the time pressures that the military operate under the justice system in the US has placed people on death row who have been exonerated later. And indeed executed some who were later found to be not guilty. So a goodly portion of those subjected to water boarding are most likely innocent of what they are suspected of.

The reason we have all the safe guards we do in our legal system is not to protect the guilty but to ensure that the innocent don't pay a price on behalf of others. I've long held the view, that when it comes to the death penalty, that those who seek to restore it should offer themselves as collateral in case of mistakes. When a single innocent person is executed then 12 of those who supported the restoration of the death penalty should be randomly selected and added to the line of those to be executed with no leave to appeal. After all, if you believe in the system so much why should you expect another innocent person to pay a price you wouldn't pay to ensure the system continues. So, let's do the same with water boarding. For every person who is subjected to this practice and not found guilty of anything then 12 supporters of the practice should be subjected to it too. I would include in that figure of 12 at least one lawmaker in congress and then work my way down into the state legislatures. After all if the price in civil liberties is supposedly worth paying shouldn't those deciding it must be paid also be the ones to pay at least some of it?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Maire Hoctor - makes a haymes of reassuring people on Haulbowline

Watch junior minister flail about on the issue of the waste at Haulbowline.

I did a post about cutting RTe clips down to size, I meant to get around to doing it sooner but this is one example of being able to get to the part of the clip that you want to talk about.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The C Word

Audits, prioritisation, efficiencies, savings, even reductions but Brian Lenihan just wouldn't say we're looking at cutbacks. If you deliver less services than you did the year before or if you deliver fewer services than you planned while still spend more money than before then you've cut back.

I did enjoy the little visual joke when Adrian Lydan was reporting that no department would be spared which was accompanied by a clip of a few cows in a field - no sacred cows geddit!

And on the topic of the RTe Nine o'clock news, why are they showing the prosecuting lawyer for the Collins Howard conspiracy? Is it normal to identify the prosecution in such a manner? I'll post on the trial itself once its done.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Prostitution in Ireland - does the Indo have a stake in sexing it up?

Looking at the Indo today, there is an article about sexual exploitation and an image is used and credited to AXEL SCHMIDT of AXEL SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images. A quick search shows Aexl to be photo journalist based in Berlin, Germany.

So why title the image as "A Ukrainian prostitute" in an article about the trafficking of women in Ireland without noting that the image is not of a Ukrainian prostitute in Ireland but one who is in fact somewhere else. In Germany perhaps where prostitution is legal or maybe she was in the Ukraine where there would be no trafficking aspect at all. There is a serious issue about sexual exploitation to be talked about here but that doesn't appear to stop the Indo from getting in a shot of a woman in a see through slip. Is this what happens at an Eds meeting, "hmm article about foreign prostitution? Any chance we can work a sexy pic into this?"