Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 
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A short film featuring the brother. That’s him in the hat.

Posted by Jason O on Dec 23, 2012 in Jason's Diary, Just stuff

 
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The friendship between men.

Posted by Jason O on Jun 26, 2012 in Jason's Diary, Just stuff

I recently stumbled across this edit from “The West Wing” of the relationship between Bartlet and Leo. It’s a fictional relationship brought to life by Sorkin’s  superb writing and the remarkable performances of Sheen and Spencer (probably the most important relationship in the whole show), and I defy you not to shed a tear at the portrayal of two men who obviously love each other very much.

It’s one of the few downsides of our modern (and correct) tolerance for homosexuality that we struggle to see strong male relationships in a non-sexual light. Doris Kearns Goodwin in “Team of Rivals” makes this point about Lincoln’s friendships and the fact that many of his letters and his gushing emotional expression towards his male friends seem almost gay in a modern context.

Of course, it is changing, with the phrase “bromance” leading the charge, but as a male friend recently pointed out to me whilst we had lunch together, the women at the table behind us were actively speculating as to our relationship, and whether I was his gay sugar daddy or not. 

We’ve a way to go, yet.

 
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Ah, here!

Posted by Jason O on Jan 20, 2012 in Just stuff

 
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Frasier’s Dr. Pepper Ad.

Posted by Jason O on Dec 24, 2011 in Jason's Diary, Just stuff

 
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Great books you should read: Hellraisers by Robert Sellers.

Posted by Jason O on Nov 24, 2011 in Just stuff

Drinkin' and fightin' and whorin'

Hellraisers is one of those books you read in a single holiday because it is a) quite short, and b) just so chock full of laugh out loud stories that you fly through them looking to get to the next one.

The subject is Burton, O’Toole, Reed and Harris, back when men were men who went roarin’ shoutin’ and fightin’ and then delivered their lines perfectly on set.

Whether it was Harris demanding tea and toast in a police station or Reed announcing to crowded pubs that one of his friends had a bigger cock than he did (When he wasn’t shooting at helicopters with his shotgun.) an absolute joy to read.

 
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Great Books you should read: The Man Who Ran The Moon.

Posted by Jason O on Oct 17, 2011 in Just stuff

Capricorn what?I would like to think of myself as a relatively mild mannered man. Having said that, there is almost nothing that makes me want to sail over a table, fists flying, as when I hear someone casually announce that ” Of course they didn’t go to the moon. It was all a film set!”

Piers Bizony (What a great name!) sets out in his book The Man Who Ran The Moon the story of James Webb, an old style Democratic hack who was appointed to head NASA, and pretty much singlehandedly turned US policy towards landing a man on the moon. With a mix of noble belief (Webb believed that all problems, including poverty, could be solved by NASA style mission controls) and good ole fashioned political wheel greasing (Wonder why mission control is in Houston? Because the congressman in charge of NASA’s budget represented the district!) Webb took 5% of the national budget and employed 500,000 people on the moonshot.

Which, incidentally, is why I believe they did go to the moon. Because they had spent so much money and involved so many people it would have been impossible not to.

 
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X Files spin off predicts 9/11 in March 2001.

Posted by Jason O on Oct 16, 2011 in Just stuff

From the X Files spin off  “The Lone Gunmen”.

 

 
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An Irish solution to an American problem.

Posted by Jason O on Oct 12, 2011 in Irish Politics, Just stuff

Well f**k me, a nice Republican!

Ooooh! A nice Republican!

See this guy to the left? There are lesser spotted lesbian pottery making owls who are less rare than him. His name is Lincoln Chafee, and from 1999 to 2007 he was a Republican United States Senator from the great if teensy-weensy state of Rhode Island. Nothing special there, you say. Except he was against the death penalty. And the Iraq war. And in favour of gay rights. In fact, on many issues he was to the left of President Obama. In the 2004 general election he wrote George Bush senior’s name on the ballot as a write-in candidate. He endorsed Obama in 2008. Surely, you say, he’s really a Democrat. That’s certainly what the hard right in the Republican party say, calling him, and other moderate Republicans “RINOs” (Republicans in name only.) Yet Lincoln Chafee only quit the Republican party relatively recently, and is now the independent Governor of the state. Why? Because he believes in free enterprise, a small government, low taxes and the freedom of the individual. In other words, traditional Republican values, not the hate filled bible bashing whackjobbery that has seized control of what was once a pretty good party. It seems that there is no room in the modern Republican party  for moderates like Lincoln Chafee. Why is that? Here’s why:

Supposing Sinn Fein were able to draw up the boundaries of their own Dail constituencies, to ensure that all the Sinn Fein voters in a given area were in, and non-Sinn Fein voters were moved into another constituency. In other words, it was 100% assured that that constituency would  elect a Sinn Fein TD. What that would mean is that the real fight would not be the general election but for the Sinn Fein nomination. And supposing only Sinn Fein voters were allowed vote in the primary election. Imagine the sort of “I hate the Brits more than you!” grandstanding that would go on to appeal to that narrow electoral base, leading inevitably to candidates more concerned about appealing to the extreme voters in their primaries than the broad electorate because they are guaranteed to win in the general election. Sure, it’s not the same in Ireland, where our politicians are so broad based as to be meaningless, but in the US it is causing a poison at the heart of American politics. Both parties have gerrymandered districts so that most are either solid Democratic or Republican, and as a result the real fight is in the primaries, where candidates have to appeal to either ultra liberal or ultra conservative primary voters, and as a result you get a Congress with almost no middle ground.

That’s where we can help. Our electoral system, the single transferable vote, would transform US politics for the better, and here’s how:

First, it would allow parties to scrap the expensive primary process, instead permitting every candidate to contest the general election. In other words, there would be a number of Democrats and Republicans on the ballot paper. But rather than splitting the vote, STV would allow Republican voters to vote for their favoured candidate, but know that if he/she could not get elected, their votes would transfer to their second choice, and so on, until some candidate would win of 50% of all the votes in the district.

But that doesn’t matter in a rigged district, surely? That’s right, but that is where the second part of the Irish system helps. Multi-member districts, as we have in Ireland, make it much harder to gerrymander in favour of one party or another. A four or five seat district means that voters have a better choice, and a better representation for minorities (Such as white voters in parts of Los Angeles. Pay attention conservatives!). But it also allows American voters to vote for how they really feel. A Lincoln Chafee Republican may feel more comfortable giving a second preference to a Clinton Democrat than to a Rush Limbaugh Republican. Likewise, a Rush Limbaugh Republican may prefer to transfer to a Joe Lieberman Democrat than to a Lincoln Chaffee Republican. This system improves choice whilst rewarding moderation, and that’s surely what America needs now.

 
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I love the menacing tone of this ad.

Posted by Jason O on Sep 18, 2011 in Just stuff, Not quite serious.

 
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Guilty Pleasures.

Posted by Jason O on Aug 10, 2011 in eNovels & Writing, Jason's Diary, Just stuff

Probably not about a secretary in love.

Probably not about a secretary in love.

I love a passion. Apparently, there are people who enjoy nothing more than spotting different Eddie Stobart trucks (they’ve all got different female names. One is named after William Hague’s wife, apparently) and noting it down in a log book. Now, that’s not my cup of tea but I understand how someone can find their thing, and I respect that.

I have a lot of passions. Writing fiction is my big one, as is collecting thrashy thriller novels from the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s. But specific ones, big idea thrillers, about powerful people and big concepts and gorgeous illustrated covers that give a taste of what the book is about. Take this one to the right here, which is Alistair MacLean’s “Air Force One is Down”. Guess what it’s about? Go on, I dare you. One of the reasons I collect them is for the covers, which were commissioned especially for the book and tend to illustrate a key scene in them. They weren’t cheap either. When I enquired about getting an illustrated cover of that style for my own novel “The Ministry of Love”,  I was shocked at the cost. So, it seems, are publishers, because we now see these antiseptic shadowy covers that could be stuck on any thriller. Compare these two, from Colin Forbes’s “The Stone Leopard”. The left is from the 1980s, the right an edition from the 1990s. I know which one I prefer. I keep a load of these on display as I write my own stuff, just to remind myself. I’m not writing literature, I’m writing stuff that people will enjoy reading on a plane or by a pool or on the LUAS. And if it goes well, one day I’m going to treat myself and spend the big bucks on getting one of those covers for one of my own. 

Copyright © 2018 Jason O Mahony All rights reserved. Email: Jason@JasonOMahony.ie.