Archive for March, 2009

….And Now It’s Happening In Mine

xThe Quiet Coup – The Atlantic (May 2009)

Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason—the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit—and, most of the time, genteel—oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders. When a country like Indonesia or South Korea or Russia grows, so do the ambitions of its captains of industry. As masters of their mini-universe, these people make some investments that clearly benefit the broader economy, but they also start making bigger and riskier bets. They reckon—correctly, in most cases—that their political connections will allow them to push onto the government any substantial problems that arise.

So says IMF dude, and he should know.

Collapsing Under The Weight Of Infernal Contradictions

I thought this was sorta funny.

It’s time we played the patriot game, comrades – Martina Devlin, Columnists –

I believe in unions.

And then

Recently the Economist Intelligence Unit, provider of industry and management analysis, recommended the Government should appoint former EU Commissioner Peter Sutherland to the Senate. Then he could be drafted in as enterprise minister, bringing his considerable talents to Cabinet to sort out this mess. Excellent thinking.

Next week: I believe in the Virgin Mary, which is why I’m recommending they consider making Charles Manson the next Pope.

The Ass Is Friz Clean Off Me

90% of firms have cut or froze wages – Isme – The Irish Times – Mon, Mar 30, 2009

90% of firms have cut or froze wages – Isme

It’s so bad they’re even cutting back on the use of letters in past participles, resorting to a crude axiomatic functionalism (I should disclose that I have no idea what axiomatic functionalism really is) in order to shave costs. The piece continues:

According to a survey of over 400 companies, 50 per cent of firms have implemented a pay freez while 41 per cent have reduced wages with the average pay cut being 13 per cent.

Pay ‘freezs’ being marginally less severe than pay freezes.

They’ve Went Too Far This Time

Reaction to Cowen satire wide of mark – The Irish Times – Sat, Mar 28, 2009

The broadcaster confirms that senior news management realised having seen the report that it should not have went out

Bit like that sentence then.

Rolling With The Punches

No-one ever wrote a sizzling hot tune called ‘Baby Don’t Talk (We Need A Good Business Climate)’ But maybe they should.

The Law of Desire

The Irish Times – Letters

I’m on the dole, and have at least a half-hour a day to spare. Would the Government not consider making some type of voluntary work mandatory for those claiming financial assistance (where appropriate), be it care work, visiting the elderly, tidying towns or helping disadvantaged children with homework?

Me, I wish there was a government that considered making all mandatory work voluntary.

Art’s Sake

Opposition critical of Cowen portraits reaction – The Irish Times – Thu, Mar 26, 2009

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny later described the reaction by the Government and the Garda as an attempt to restrict freedom of expression. The TD, who also tried to raise the issue in the Dáil today, told a news conference that the nude artwork represented political satire.

“I think if the name Picasso was at the bottom of it instead of Casby people would probably have a very different reaction,” he said. “This is political satire and the reaction of Government in my view was absolutely over the top.”

Yes, honestly, I mean, what is art these days anyway. Like, you could put a car-flattened hedgehog atop a fish slice and call it sculpture, but no-one would take any notice until you put the name Anthony Gormley against it. And then you’d get some madass billionaire buying it for his pied-a-terre in Cavan. I mean, when will people ever learn to draw stuff that looks real? Some of that airbrush stuff isn’t half bad, like.


College fees must be used to combat social inequality – The Irish Times – Wed, Mar 25, 2009

Since students themselves personally reap the financial rewards of their higher education, it’s only fair that they should be required to invest in their future careers. On a macroeconomic level, the country benefits from a well-educated workforce, but on a personal level, lawyers, doctors, dentists, teachers and computer scientists earn a good rate of return on their education. Why shouldn’t they pay something towards it?

Magic idea. Let’s call it ‘income tax’. Mad as fuck I know, but I’m just one crazy bastard. Then there’s this.

Economics rather than ideology is driving the move, but the principle that students who can afford it should contribute towards the cost of their tuition should be re-established.

Like Terry Eagleton succinctly observed, as with bad breath, ideology is always what the other person has.


In the latest of my mad-eyed forays into trying new things, I’ve started messing around with Diigo. This is like, the tool I’ve always wanted for blogging: allows you to annotate stuff, store and organise bookmarks, share links, send messages, post things to your blog, all in one application, along with a load of facebooky stuff I have no interest in describing. It’s ideal for the person who wants to produce well-informed, structured blog posts, planned over prolonged periods. Whether it’s ideal for my brand of sporadic and uneven dilettantist commentary is another question entirely.

I’m getting really sick about Most Sincerely Folks now. Especially the ‘Folks’. Folks is so damn..well…folksy, if not downright volkisch. I am finding it difficult to take the leap into the void with another name. I know I shouldn’t get hung up on branding, but I am shallow and suggestive enough for the name to determine the content. I mean, if I were to call the site ‘Shovelling Dung On Mars’, the content would end up differing substantially from that of ‘Electric Bearded Ladyland’. Or maybe not. Anyway, neither option is to the fore in my thinking.

Orders of Magnitude

I just heard Miriam O’Callaghan say that the importance of the upcoming budget ‘cannot be overstated’. So there you go: the upcoming budget is more imporant than the Black Death, the Russian Revolution and two World Wars combined.

I on Twitter

March 2009