At the most extreme end, he’s his own worst enemy. He can sometimes make a valid point, but always destroys it by getting nasty and personal. C**t is a big one. He just can’t help himself. Scroll down his timeline and take out the personal attacks, and see what’s left. Very little. Hating has become a way of life. He wakes up to the blurt of the name of whatever politician he hates, and can’t stop from there. Even if that politician does or says something good, he has to find a flaw, from accusing them of not believing what they’re saying to dragging up an historical crime. No one on the other side can ever be forgiven. No one can ever change their mind. Even an admission of error, or an apology, is to be banked as a weakness to be exploited. It is, it has to be said, a wonderfully simple way of living a life. No self doubt, no internal monologue. A nice simple They Are Wrong We Are Right always.
He demands instant dismissal by employers of those he does not agree with. Having said that, he does become incredibly subtle about the nuances of employment protection law if his own position comes up for debate.
1st December 2017: Russian forces enter Estonia, Finland and Poland, taking NATO by surprise. Resistance in all three countries is stiff, and US, UK, French, German and Italian aircraft all provide air support.
In the Dail, the Irish government condemns the invasion. Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein call for the United Nations “to act”. They are not specific on detail.
2nd December: it is now clear that a full Russian invasion is underway. Media briefings in Moscow clarify that the purpose of the “pre-emptive defensive action” is to secure the Baltic states, Poland and Finland as neutral states outside of NATO. President Putin goes on TV to explain the action, and, speaking in fluent German, pledges that only those countries are combat areas, and that Russian forces will not invade other European countries.
The Department of Social Affairs has announced a framework to extend the regulation of childcare working practices currently applied to creches and other childcare facilities to family homes is response to public and media demands for less light touch regulation of the childcare sector.
A spokesperson for the department said: “The public are constantly on social media and Joe Duffy demanding more policing of the childcare sector, so we expect this particular policy to be very popular. I mean, how could it not be? Of course parents will welcome the requirement of the same standards they expect of creches in their own homes.”
Parents will be required to have at least one adult (possibly one of the parents) to be formally qualified in childcare in the home at all times, whilst observing the working hours restrictions of fair employment legislation. All adults and children over 16 in the home will be required to be garda vetted, which will be needed to be in place before a child arrives in the home. Additionally, CCTV of the designated play and rest areas will be mandatory, as will written logs of the children’s rest and feeding arrangements. The HSE will have the right to enter the home to carry out child protection inspections at any time.
The plan will be implemented on the 1st April 2024, according to government sources.
A Protestant judge living next door. It’s the ultimate South Dublin middle-class accessory and the sign that you’ve arrived in the orange bricked bastion of civilisation that is Rathgar. Look up well-heeled leafy suburb, and Rathgar is what you get. The Bijou Bistro. Howard’s Way. The High School. A piano shop. A piano shop! And for Mary from Terenure it’s the badge of honour. If she could change her name to Mary Rathgar she would. She’d have “I live in Rathgar” tattooed across her forehead if it were big enough.
Not that she’s ashamed to have been born and bred in Terenure, the southside front line between posh south east Dublin and aspirant working class Kimmage. But she’s old enough to remember the great postal code war of 1986, when some lad in the P&T had the idea that putting Terenure in the same postal code as Tallaght wouldn’t trigger outrage, and hysteria over collapsing house prices and how Terenure would be transformed into a dystopian hellhole. “It’ll be John Carpenter’s “Escape from New York” all over again!”, one residents group would-be Snake Plisskin declared. How dare they! Terenure did not look to Tallaght or Kimmage but to Rathgar with its musical society and Church of Ireland Sales of Work (The scones! The traybakes! You just get a better class of person, don’t you? Oh hello Judge Smythe, how are you?). None of your let’s-be-frank common “Bring And Buy Sales” (where the cakes are all bought Teatime Express gateaux) to send Fr Mulcahy’s housekeeper “away to Lourdes” for “her nerves” and recent alarming weight gain.
Of course, it’s just her luck that when Mary finally can move across the invisible dividing line that Terenure finally begins its much threatened gentrification, with its Lotts & Co and Korean burgers and sushi and Base pizza and always worth a peek little village bookshop. But finally, she’s in Rathgar, and eager to integrate, and joining the residents associations and all the rest, especially for the gossip.
“Oh, didn’t you hear? The Smythes are moving to Ranelagh. You simply get a better class of person in Ranelagh. And the restaurants!”
COWEN, BLAMING AHERN, CONCEDES DEFEAT AS KENNY OPENS NEGOTIATIONS WITH RABBITTE.
The Taoiseach, Brian Cowen TD, has conceded defeat after tallymen said that FF senator Cyprian Brady would narrowly fail to be elected to the last seat in Dublin Central. This result confirmed that Fianna Fail’s loss of five seats in the general election meant that it was now impossible for the party to attempt to cobble together a majority with the remaining PDs and independents.
Cowen launched a blistering attack on his predecessor, Bertie Ahern TD, for his decision, following the 2002 general election, to restrict mortgage lending and tax breaks. He identified Ahern’s attempts to dampen down the property market as the key reason for Fianna Fail’s defeat in the general election. The decision to restrict lending was very badly received by first time buyers, who accused the government of treating them like children and not letting them borrow as much as they wished.
Ahern’s January 2003 RTE Prime Time interview, where he suggested that the banks and mortgage holders were piling debts upon themselves based on massively overvalued assets caused the Taoiseach to be savaged by the media, who attacked him (and not just in their weighty property supplements) of being alarmist and talking down the market. Ahern’s refusal to back down led to a gradual slow down and modest dip in property values, and following heated rows in heated tents in Galway with party supporters, finance minister Charlie McCreevy announced his resignation, accusing Ahern of lacking courage.
The policy led to a substantial drop in employment in the construction industry, with unemployment leaping from 3.1% to 5.1%, and demands for the Taoiseach’s resignation by some FF backbenchers. Fianna Fail suffered heavy losses in middle class areas in the 2004 local and European elections, with Fine Gael trouncing FF with a clear call to reverse Ahern’s restrictions. Polls showed clearly that Ahern’s interference in the property market was deeply unpopular with middle class and aspiring middle class voters, and in June 2006, following a sustained campaign in the media, Charlie McCreevey announced that he was challenging Bertie Ahern for the party leadership. Although he defeated Ahern in the vote, McCreevy was beaten in the subsequent leadership election by Brian Cowen, his successor as finance minister, who pointed out that he believed in the “traditional idea that the leader of Fianna Failer should be, you know, a member of Fianna Fail.” The new cabinet announced it was reversing Ahern’s restricting on lending and restoring the tax breaks to the building industry.
The incoming Fine Gael/Labour coalition has said that it does not believe the fact that the country is building over 80,000 housing units when Sweden, with double the population, is only building 12,000, to be a cause for concern.
In other news, the family of Capt. Edward Smith, the “mad” captain of the RMS Titanic who rammed an iceberg in 1912 and caused over a £100,000 worth of damage to his own ship, have petitioned the British Government to clear the captain’s name. Smith, who died disgraced in 1950, always maintained that if he attempted to turn the ship away from the iceberg it could have been badly damaged along its hull in such a way as to sink the ship, a theory that modern engineers have recently begun to suggest has merit. For years, the phrase “To Smith Oneself” was a derogatory naval slogan to describe a foolish action taken by a person who claimed that they were attempting to avoid a greater catastrophe.
The former luxury liner continues to be one of the biggest tourist attractions in London, where it is moored.
Repost from 2012: The following post is an idea for a short story I had about Governor Romney and President Obama being locked in a room together. It’s a very long post. You have been warned!
The governor waved once more to the crowd in the Lynn University auditorium, and walked off the stage, Ann’s hand held firmly in his. In the wings, his campaign manager beamed his reaction to the governor’s performance in the final presidential debate with an enthusiastic two thumbs up.
“Governor, that was marvellous!” he said, with a wide grin. The governor raised an eyebrow. It had been the theme inside the campaign, his alleged 1950s style stiffness becoming a source of light ribbing from his campaign team. He actually found it quite funny, especially as his sons were very much the ringleaders.
The debate had been the hardest of the three, with the president holding his own and the governor having to tread very carefully, especially on Iran. His pollsters had been very clear: Defend Israel Yes, lead America into another Republican war, a big fat No. He felt he had kept the balance.
His sons were giving him firm handshakes and slapping his back when he noticed the head of his Secret Service detail speaking to another man he didn’t recognise. The agent walked over.
“Governor, the president has asked that you join him. A traditional matter, I’m told.”
The governor stiffened. It was not commonly known, and he had certainly not known until he had been informed on winning his party’s nomination, that a communications line between the sitting president and his likely opponent was agreed early in the campaign. If the candidate was informed of the phrase “a traditional matter” it meant that there was a national security issue he needed to be briefed on, off the record and not for campaign exploitation. It was a matter of pride to all in the know that the system had never been abused since it was set up by President Ford in the 1970s. Continue reading →
One of the more contradictory aspects of “Star Trek” is the fact that although the United Federation of Planets is supposedly made-up of over 150 different and presumably equally represented races, when it comes to the presentation of those races in Starfleet it is quite normal for Starfleet crews to be often 80% human. Does this point to an inherent racism within the Federation, that it is in fact like the British Commonwealth, nominally an alliance of common nations but in reality dominated by a single member? The original series, probably due to sloppy writing more than anything else, tended to veer between the Federation basically being a human alliance, and occasionally accepting that humans only played a part in it. As with most things in a multilateral political union, the answer is probably multifaceted.
The real-universe answer is simply that it’s cheaper to have a bunch of actors who don’t require prosthetics and alien makeup. The original series pretty much gave up on there being too many aliens in Starfleet. Having said that, JJ Abrahams made a much greater effort in his three movies to show diversity in the Starfleet crew.
The first possibility is simply that there are other ships where the human contingent maybe very small or even non-existent. Some episodes of Star Trek have indeed shown all-Vulcan ships, and like NATO it would not be surprising, for coherence, to have some ships where a single race or culture dominates. A ship with a single race can have a single temperature or climate that suits the whole crew. Indeed, there have been episodes where Federation members (again with the Vulcans) have maintained ships separate from Starfleet entirely.
There’s also one other reason: maybe humans just like space travel more? As in the European Union, maybe every Federation member has a quota of Starfleet officers it’s entitled to fill, but most don’t, and humans are then permitted to fill the surplus places. It’s also possible that the other races are quite happy for humans to go off getting themselves killed on their behalf: after all, most of the Federation’s casualties fighting the Borg and the Dominion were almost certainly overwhelmingly human too.
Interestingly, the issue also raises the question as why Kirk’s original monologue, “…where no man has gone before” is actually more accurate and actually less racist than the (at the time) more politically savvy “…where no one has gone before.”
Why? Because “no man” is suggesting that this may be the first time humans are encountering some new sector of space, whereas “no one” suggests that the new races encountered are inferior to Federation species. Think I’m splitting hairs?
Ask yourself this: did Christopher Columbus go where no one had gone before, or just where no Italian had? I know what the Cherokee, Choctaw and Apache thought.
Celtic Tiger? Maybe up in Dublin Four, but not around here, he announces. No, we went from the recession in the 1980s to now, and nothing has changed around here. Nothing! You point at the new motorways sweeping past him and off into the horizon. Sure that would have happened anyway! He declares, believing that motorways are some sort of natural phenomenon like turf or dandelions sprouting in a field.
What about your state pension? €253 a week. Sure it’s only €160 in the UK. Exactly! He shouts. Only €253! How am I supposed to afford SkyPlus on that sort of money? And look at the car I’m driving! That’s over four years old! It’s like living in the dark hole of Calcutta! No one around here got anything off the government or the so-called Celtic Tiger.
And the health service? I know a fella who did his back in picking up his cheque from the Department of Aghriculture. Bet he gets no compensation for that. No, the rich get richer and the poor working man struggles for a bare crust. Now, have to go and pick up me rent from them students I rented me section 23 flat to.
Repost: You can hear him in a quiet room, mouth hanging open, air rushing in and out as his dull eyes stare blankly into an imaginary distance. Occasionally, the waft of stale urine will emanate from him. For him, the party is everything, and the affixation or removal of party membership decides his opinion on a person. A party man can do no wrong, and a non-party man can do no right.
The truth is that the party, with its open-to-all-with-a-pulse policy, has provided a social structure to him that exists nowhere else in his life. A two line notice of a cumann meeting is carefully scrutinised a dozen times and then placed on the carefully dusted mantelpiece over the fire where his mother knows not to touch it. Everyday, he takes it down to read again, to just make sure that he has the date and time and location correct, even though all three are the same every month.
He will be at the meeting at least 45 minutes early, with a Club Orange in front of him bought with the €10 his mother gave him, and will twist in the seat every time the door opens to see if a party member is coming in. Continue reading →
Handsome in a bland kind of way, he resembles a male model wearing drip dry shirts in a safety wear catalogue. He was never interested in politics, but everyone knew the old man and it was just assumed, and sure enough, when the father moved on, the party moved in. It was the wife who made the decision, and runs the campaign, and, let’s be honest, has the political brain, and should really be the candidate, but she didn’t have the pedigree, and in this party, pedigree is everything.
He was comfortably elected first time out, and the wife and his father’s old secretary keep the constituency ticking and a life in his father’s shadow allows his brain to pump out trite, harmless nonsense at the drop of a microphone. He has earnestly declared that he passionately believes in a “world class health service” and “protecting the weakest in our society.” as well as, one assumes, gravity, the North Atlantic, and the fact that the Earth revolves around the sun.
He was asked once as to whether he was ideologically more disposed towards higher taxation or alternatively, spending cuts, and he’d had to lie down in a dark room for a week.
Given his absolute blandness, one wonders as to whether there actually is any real passion behind those dull eyes. It is, of course, quite possible that he pays to be dressed up in tights, suspenders and a bra, tied to a rocking horse and spanked by a woman dressed as an SS Gauleiter, but it’s very unlikely. He’d need an imagination to do that.
In recent times he’s got all sorts of people roaring at him about cutbacks and the like, and he doesn’t know why they’re all shouting at him? He’s just trying to run a small family business. But he’s sure of one thing: There should be some sort of elected body to run the country and represent people and make rational decisions about this stuff. He might even write a letter to the papers about it.