Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
University of the Free State students tricked cleaners into eating what looks like dog food, mixed with garlic and urine with the promise of a bottle of whiskey. They then filmed the video and put it online. The four now face criminal charges.
Read the full story here: france24
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
In the Democratic presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama attacked NAFTA.
Hillary Clinton said:
Barack Obama said:
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Ever since Bertie Ahern announced that he intended to stand down as leader, aspiring candidates for the leadership have begun to prepare the ground for the impending contest. Bertie Ahern’s decision to anoint Cowen as his successor has not deterred Micheal Martin, Dermot Ahern and Noel Dempsey. It has fueled some thinly disguised resentment among likely leadership candidates.
The assumption amongst most media commentators and cognoscenti is that Cowen is home and dry. Nevertheless there is many a slip twixt cup and lip.
Cowen was a strong supporter of Albert Reynolds and belonged to the country and western wing of the party. Superficially he has huge support within the party. Nevertheless much of this support is soft and could desert Cowen. Micheal Martin had links with the Haughey wing. To a certain extent the Haughey and country and western wings still exist within FF. Martin will have huge support from Munster TDs and Senators and from many in the Haughey/Ahern wing. He cannot be ruled out.
In addition Dermot Ahern is able and could be a dark horse.
A vigorous leadership contest has the potential to reopen old animosities. If such a scenario were to unfold Brian Lenihan could emerge as a compromise leader.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Speaking to Lunchtime with Eamon Keane on Newstalk Senator Boyle added that his opinion would be the general feeling among his party.
He was also indicated that it might be time for Bertie Ahern to set a date for when he plans to leave office.
This indicates unease within the Green Party. The comments of Boyle may be significant as he was one of the negotiators of the Programme for Government. He also comes from an FF background. However it is possible to read too much into these utterances.
There is a subtle distancing of the Greens from Bertie Ahern's difficulties at the Mahon Tribunal. This tried and trusted formula served the PDs well on many occasions. Huff and puff but do little else.
It is highly significant that no Green Party TD or Minister has expressed such opinions. Bertie Ahern has very little to fear. The Greens have no intention of walking. John Gormley berated the opposition. He claimed that it was inconsistent.
Last May Green Party leader Trevor Sargent described the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern as a political "dead man walking." He stated that no party would be willing to serve in a coalition government led by him.
Is the Green Party consistent?
Sunday, February 24, 2008
The initial decision by RTE to nominate Dustin as one of six finalists for Irish Eurosong 2008 was certainly bird brained to say the least.
The voting public –by its decision-has given the Eurovision Song Contest the bird. It leaves a “fowl” taste and is feather-brained.
Hopefully Dustin will have some table manners.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
The French scrum was -at times -pulverised by the English. England’s number eight Nick Easter was man of the match whilst the half-back duo of Wilkinson and Wigglesworth also played starring roles.
Wales hammered Italy by 47-8 at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. Italian errors contributed partly to their downfall. Lee Byrne and Shane Williams were the Welsh stars. Each scored two tries. Tom Shanklin scored the remaining Welsh try. Undoubtedly Warren Gatland will take comfort from the Welsh performance. Nevertheless grave doubts remain about this Welsh team.
At Croke Park Ireland hammered a very poor Scottish team by 34-13. Geordan Murphy-who had been dropped from the panel by Eddie O’Sullivan -certainly answered the coach in no uncertain terms with a stunning performance. Assuming that Girvan Dempsey is fit for the Welsh game O’Sullivan will face a major selection quandary when it comes to choosing a full back. Full back is certainly Geordan Murphy’s best position. Brian O’Driscoll has begun to rediscover his old form whilst Andrew Trimble had his best ever performance for Ireland. Tommy Bowe certainly answered his critics with a fine performance. He scored two tries. His first try was of exceptional quality. Rob Kearney justified his selection and scored a try. The Irish back row was effective as a unit and also individually.
Nevertheless there are some problems in the line out which must be ironed out before Ireland take on Wales in two weeks time. Also Bernard Jackman will come under pressure to hold his place. Paul O’Connell is likely to return to strengthen the line out.
Eddie O’Sullivan partly by accident and partly by design has managed to field a powerful team. With the addition of Paul O’Connell the team is more than a match for a suspect Welsh team. Ireland is capable of defeating Wales comprehensively. The Irish scrum is far superior to that of Wales. Ireland can starve high scoring Shane Williams of the ball.
However Ireland must play England at Twickenham on Saturday March 15th.
England is probably a greater threat to Ireland than Wales.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence and its recognition by some major world powers such as the US and the UK was the signal for a Serbian mob to attack and torch the US Embassy in Belgrade. This attack has damaged Serbian credibility in the west.
"Our embassy was attacked by thugs," White House press secretary Dana Perino told reporters aboard Air Force One as President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice returned from a trip to Africa. "We have made known to the Serbian government our concern and displeasure that their police force did not prevent this incident."-AP
The Serbian leadership has promised that there will be no repetition of such incidents.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
This affair was alleged to have taken place eight years ago.
McCain also denied that he had ever improperly aided companies represented by Iseman as chairman of the senate commerce committee.
This is a rehash of an old story and appears calculated to damage McCain’s fund raising and organizational efforts. It has done nothing to enhance the credibility of the New York’s Times. The newspaper appears to have scored a spectacular own goal. This is yellow journalism at its best. The New York Times approach is to give McCain something to deny. Machiavelli would be proud of this effort at character assassination.
Today at news conference in Toledo, Ohio and accompanied by his wife Cindy he said, "Obviously I'm very disappointed in the article. It's not true. I've served this nation honourably for more than half a century. At no time have I ever done anything that would betray the public trust.”
The newspaper alleged that aides had urged McCain and Iseman to stay away from each other before his failed presidential campaign in 2000.
Cindy McCain said “More importantly, my children and I not only trust my husband, but know that he would never do anything to not only disappoint our family, but disappoint the people of America. He's a man of great character,”
In the 1980s John McCain was one of five senators accused of trying to influence banking regulators on behalf of Charles Keating, a savings and loan financier who was later convicted of securities fraud.
The Senate Ethics Committee found that McCain had been guilty of "poor judgment" but that his actions 'were not improper" and did not deserve punishment.
McCain’s performance at the press conference was calm assured and presidential.
His wife Cindy was dignified. This should boost his poll ratings. The unjustified attack may encourage many sceptical conservatives to throw their support behind McCain. He may yet thank the New York Times.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Mr Obama has defeated Clinton in ten successive contests since Super Tuesday two weeks ago. Most disconcerting for Clinton is the fact that many blue collar voters, females and the elderly -for long the mainstay of her campaign- have begun to drift towards Obama. The problem for Clinton is that Obama’s support is now well balanced amongst whites, blue-collar workers and the elderly as well as the youth. Obama is no longer over reliant on African Americans.
It is estimated that Obama has the support 1,335 delegates to Clinton’s 1,251.
Sen. Barack Obama has opened up a 14% lead over Hillary Clinton in a national presidential preference telephone survey conducted by Zogby International for Reuters.
The Ohio and Texas primaries will be held on 4 March, together with the smaller states of Vermont and Rhode Island.
Clinton will expect strong Hispanic support in Texas. She was a strong favourite to win Texas . However a CNN poll has shown both candidates are now neck and neck. Even in Texas support for Clinton appears to be ebbing away.
The war of words between both candidates can be expected to intensify. An increasingly desperate and shrill Clinton may drive more voters into the Obama camp. Can the legendary Clinton machine snatch victory from the jaws of defeat?
If Clinton loses Ohio and Texas she is effectively finished as a serious prospect for the nomination. If she wins one, the fight will in all probability go to the convention floor. Hillary and Bill will then endeavour to sway the super delegates by emphasizing that she is the more experienced candidate. If this transpires the ensuing bloodletting could tear the Democratic Party asunder. The issue of the Florida and Michigan delegates has yet to be resolved. Is it likely that only 48 states will choose the Democratic nominee? Clinton will fight furiously to ensure that delegates from Florida and Michigan can vote.
These delegates-if allowed to vote at convention- could exercise a major influence on the outcome.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Mike Huckabee is probably a strong contender: He is a conservative,an evangelical Christian and a southerner. He has performed strongly in the primaries especially in the southern states. He is a proven vote getter and an excellent communicator.
Joseph Lieberman has been mentioned. On foreign policy he is strongly in tune with McCain. However on social policy his views mirror those of the Democrats.
J.C. Watts, Jr. is conservative and CNN political contributor. He is a former Representative for Oklahoma in the in the Congress. Watts is, to date, the last African American Republican to serve in Congress. He wrote the book What Color Is a Conservative: My Life and My Politics.
Michael Steele, is Maryland’s former Lieutenant Governor and quite popular, articulate and able. He is a FOX News contributor. Might swing Maryland for the GOP. He is an African American
North Carolina Senator Richard Burr has been mentioned. He is a conservative. He is especially strong on social issues. This would win favour with the right wing of the GOP. Sen. Burr endorsed Sen. John McCain for the Presidency.
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is a fiscal conservative and has his admirers.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist is also a possibility He is a conservative on social issues. Endorsed John McCain during the Florida Primary.
Governor Matt Blunt of Missouri would be a strong choice. He is young but he has run into difficulties with the pro-life movement. Missouri Right to Life announced that it no longer considers Blunt a pro-life politician. He opposes abortion but has encountered difficulties on stem cell research.
Newt Gingrich is highly talented and a strong conservative. He is probably too controversial to get the nod.
Colin Powell would appeal to independent voters. He is African American. He is strong on foreign affairs. He however had doubts on the war in Iraq. Differs somewhat from McCain on issues such as abortion. Would need to adopt a strong anti-abortion stance.
Bobby Jindal Governor of Louisiana is Indian-American. He was chosen by Scholastic Update magazine as "one of America's top 10 extraordinary young people for the next millennium. Rush Limbaugh has described him as the next Ronald Reagan.
Senator John Thune (S. Dakota) is a strong supporter of John McCain and is a fiscal and social conservative. He could be a dark horse.
If McCain decides to select a female running mate he might possibly choose Condoleezza Rice. She is African American and is strong on foreign affairs. She has never expressed an interest in standing for the Presidency.
The leading candidate for a woman would be the Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. She’s young and conservative. She would make an outstanding running mate.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust staged a sit-in at Senator Hillary Clinton's Los Angeles Headquarters to emphasize her vicious pro-abortion stance
Bill Clinton is his usual bad tempered self as he is greeted by over a hundred pro-life students from Franciscan University of Steubenville protesting him on his abortion policies as President.
As President, Clinton vetoed the partial-birth abortion ban twice, a ban that the vast majority of Americans supported.
In 2006, John Kerry came to Steubenville and was greeted by over 500 pro-life students protesting his visit, telling him "You can't be both Catholic and pro-abortion."
Vote for the Right to Life in 2008. A vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is a vote for abortion. Hillary Clinton is a strong supporter of partial birth abortion. Bill Clinton speaks about individual rights. What about the rights of the unborn child?
January 22, 2008 was the 35th anniversary of Roe v Wade. 50 million babies have died in surgical abortions since that day of infamy.
Women Who've Had Abortions carries case histories of women who regret having had an abortion. It is an eye opener. These women now realise that they were misled by the pro aborts.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
O'Reilly bested O'Brien in the battle for Eircom.
In January 2006 Denis O’Brien first took a shareholding in the Independent Group.
The relationship between the two further deteriorated in 2007 as O’Brien began to increase his stake.
He accused O'Reilly of cronyism. A report specially commissioned by O’Brien claimed that the board of the Independent was filled with friends, allies and family, and challenged expenses paid to executives.
O'Reilly threatened to sue for libel unless the report's authors retracted their claims.
O’Brien holds c 18% stake in the Indo Group whilst O’Reilly holds c 26.6%. O’Brien make yet launch a take over bid.
This week Giovanni Trapattoni was chosen as the new manager of the Republic of Ireland soccer team. It transpired that Denis O’Brien has agreed to contribute €1.5 million as part of the financial package to lure Trapattoni.
Today’ Sunday Independent leads with the heading “ FIFA to scrutinise O’Brien’s FAI deal”. The article included the following “The significant development will cast a shadow on the appointment of the new manager and could have serious implications for the Football Association of Ireland (FAI)”.
It also goes on to state “The spokesman for FIFA said: "At present there appears to be no regulation to prevent the deal, but certainly we will be seeking further official details from the national organisation and we are investigating the matter. Beyond that, I cannot comment."
On p29 there is an article by Daniel McConnell titled "True cost of landing Trapattoni is the very integrity of Irish football."
On the back page of the business section Shane Ross in an article titled "Money can't buy me love" savages Denis O'Brien. Embedded in this article is a photograph of Denis O'Brien. Beneath it is a caption titled: "Denis O'Brien: One of his army of spinners must have told him of the benefits of soccer patronage."
This article is quite personal. Ouch.
The battle between the two Titans goes on and on. But who will win???
Saturday, February 16, 2008
The party entered the 2007 General Election with 8 TDs and returned with two. Immediately Michael McDowell resigned. Defeated TDs Liz O’Donnell and Tom Parlon have moved on to pastures new.
Since the resignation of Michael McDowell the party has lurched from crisis to crisis. It has been unable to select a new leader as neither of its two TDs -Mary Harney and Noel Grealish- is interested in the post.
In an act of political desperation it prevailed upon Mary Harney to function as acting leader. Mary Harney has indicated that she has no intention of contesting the next General Election. Noel Grealish TD comes from the FF gene pool and has been quite supportive of Bertie Ahern at the Mahon Tribunal.
He has had secret negotiations with FF with a view to jumping ship. He is essentially a conditional PD.
The PD party grew out of the split in FF in 1985. This essentially resulted from personality differences between Desmond O'Malley and Charles Haughey. There were also major differences on Northern Ireland. At the root of these differences were the convulsions, which engulfed the FF Party in the wake of the arms crisis. Haughey never forgave the Lynch wing of the party. The PDs consisted of anti Haugheyites, a ragbag of independents, some disillusioned FGaelers, carpetbaggers and extreme right wingers. Many of its founders-as FF members -supported the disastrous FF Manifesto of 1977 which was a major cause of Ireland economic difficulties in the 1980s. Chief among these were Desmond O’Malley Martin O’Donoghue and Bobby Molloy. They were political opportunists who saw a gap in the market. They targeted the right wing of the FG Party. They have long been a parasitic party.
The party espoused low taxation and liberal policies. Their liberalism on social issues was phoney. The overwhelming majority of party supporters were conservative on social policy.
Income tax rates were reduced through shifting the burden to indirect taxation. Taxation as a percentage of GNP is rising in Ireland. From 2002 to 2005 the burden of personal taxation has risen. The FF/PD Governments have relied heavily upon stealth taxes and indirect taxation to plug gaps in public expenditure. The PD input in the last FF/PD Government was negligible. The PDs were masters of the political three-card trick. They have consistently formed coalition governments with FF. Prior to the 2002 General Election they strongly supported Charlie McCreevy’s huge public expenditure splurge. Similarly in 2007 they supported a 13% rise in public expenditure in the run in to the General Election. So much for fiscal rectitude. Haughey and O'Malley have departed the political stage. There are no major ideological differences between FF and the PDs. The PDs no longer have a raison d'etre. This Coalition Government is an FF/Green Party government. There were no meaningful negotiations between the PDs and FF in the wake of the 2007 General Election. The PDs just make up the numbers.
Senator Ciaran Cannon comes from the FF gene pool. He lacks the political gravitas to lead a political party.-especially a party which no longer has any core beliefs. He will use the leadership campaign as a vehicle to increase his public profile and thereby increase his prospects of winning a seat in East Galway.
From 2002-2007 Fiona O’Malley has consistently taken up policy positions at variance with government policy. She has often adopted a semi-independent role. Much of her thinking is muddled.
Today General Secretary John Higgins announced his resignation. This is apposite
The PDs stand on the edge of the political precipice. It is time to wind up the party.
Friday, February 15, 2008
"Runaway Train" is a 1993 alternative rock song performed by the Minneapolis rock band Soul Asylum. The music video was directed by Tony Kaye and received much airplay on MTV and VH1.Thanks to the video many missing children were reunited with their families.
—Life, Marriage, the Fair Tax, the Second Amendment, American Border Security and Sovereignty.
I am as committed to those issues as I ever was, and my campaigning around the country has convinced me that the majority of Republicans want me to continue to fight for these and other conservative causes. So I will.I know all about the rumors swirling around. That's why I just went on national news show this afternoon, to knock those rumors down. I am still in this race. As I have said all along, I am in this race until someone gets to 1,191 delegates. That has not happened yet, and so I will keep campaigning for the Republican nomination. Period. That’s my ironclad commitment to my supporters."
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Fine Gael Education spokesman Brian Hayes in an impassioned speech accused Minister Hanafin of having a “belligerent, authoritarian attitude”. He challenged FF backbenchers to pressurise their party leader on the issue.
Former FF Minister for Education Mary O’Rourke supported the thrust of the FG motion. She alleged that there was a “lingering animosity” in the Department against the provision of ABA services.
The public gallery was packed with parents of children with autism. Undoubtedly some anticipated that Mrs O’Rourke might vote for the FG motion on the basis of her comments. Unfortunately she voted with the Government against the FG motion. FG TDs Simon Coveney and Kieran O’Donnell referred to Mrs O’Rourke’s contradictory stance, in Dail speeches.
No Government TD broke ranks to support the FG motion. FF TDs at constituency level supported the demands of the parents. This support evaporated in the Dail. Green Party TDs as usual failed to provide leadership on the issue and in their utterances are indistinguishable from FF.
Undoubtedly the provision of ABA services -for children recommended by psychological assessment- would be costly for the taxpayer. Nevertheless the costs are miniscule in relation to wastage of exchequer funds on PPARs and Electronic Voting.
Interestingly today The Public Accounts Committee heard that a €9.57m contract awarded for work on part of the Limerick main drainage scheme ended up costing the exchequer almost €83m. The extra €73.43 million would certainly resolve the difficulties in relation to ABA services.
This Private Members Motion has undoubtedly heightened awareness of the problem. It has embarrassed the Government. Nevertheless the problem will fade from public consciousness unless FG can keep the issue on the political agenda. The Government must relent. Parents of autistic children and the children themselves have suffered enough.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
John McCain's progress to the GOP nomination continues unabated with victories in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. McCain must now unify the Republican Party by winning over conservative sceptics. In addition he must articulate policies that resonate with the public-policies which are grounded on solid conservative principles and which will improve living standards. An over emphasis on his war record will be a turn off for the majority of voters. This election will be won and lost on the economy and the competence of the presidential candidates.When McCain wins the nomination he must bring Mike Huckabee on board his campaign. He would make an excellent vice presidential candidate.
In the Democratic primary Obama has blitzed Hillary Clinton. This result is a dagger at the heart of the Clinton campaign. Obama's support was strong among Whites and African Americans, male and female, rich and poor, young and old. Obama has made inroads into the higher age groups, poor and women-up to now bulwarks of the Clinton campaign. It appears that John Edward's supporters have moved towards Obama. A c27% margin of defeat for Clinton may be a portent of things to come.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Unfortunately facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of autism in Ireland lag far behind those of other advanced economies. Parents who resort to court action-in an effort to secure redress-face the might of the state and possible bankruptcy. Cian and Yvonne Ó Cuanacháin took a case to the High Court in an effort to force the state to provide Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) schooling for their son Sean and for other children. The High Court found against them.
About 150 similar cases have been lodged.
Today FG introduced a private members motion in the Dail to address this issue. Speaking during Private Members' Business in the Dáil this evening (Tuesday), Fine Gael Education Spokesman, Brian Hayes TD, said that children with autism need Applied Bahavioural Analysis (ABA) expanded ....
"The parents of Seán O'Cuanacháin and the parents of children with autism everywhere want one thing and one thing only for their child: justice. However, instead of receiving this, these parents have been dragged through the courts and the educational needs of their children have not been met.
"No one is suggesting that the ABA model is the only model for all children with autism. ABA is one of a number of educational approaches and has proven to be an extraordinarily effective method for lots of autistic children, with many eventually moving on to mainstream primary schools. But this model of mainstreaming - that the Minister refuses to budge on - does not work for all children with autism......
"There is currently no means of appeal for parents other than pursuing their child's right to educational services through the courts. As the O'Cuanacháin case showed the Department of Education prefers to wrestle parents through the courts rather then provide the necessary services. It is a David and Goliath contest. I want a guarantee from the Minister that any third party costs arising from the recent case, which fall on the O'Cuanchain's, will be met in full by the State and I demand that an appeals system is instituted without further delay".
I move that Dáil Eireann:
- Accepting that the current system of assessment for children with autism is inadequate - Noting the co-author of the report of the Government Taskforce on Autism has suggested the Department of Education's policy on education for autistic children is misguided
- Considering that the lack of a suitable appeals process leaves parents with no option other than to pursue education services for their children through the courts
- Acknowledging the Government's delay in implementing the EPSEN Act 2004 to provide appropriate education services for children with special needs
- Noting the Government's refusal to change its policy to consider funding for new ABA centres despite a clear demand for ABA services countrywide
-Considering the Government's failure to improve coordination between education and health services in supporting children with special needs despite promises in the Programme for Government 2007 to do so
Calls on the Government to:
- Lay any evidence before the House which supports the suggestion that the current system of education provision for autistic children is suitable for all children, even those with moderate to severe autism who have been recommended one-to-one tuition
- Make specific education services available to autistic children where it has been recommended by psychologists, without delay
- Introduce the outstanding provisions of the EPSEN Act 2004 according to the NCSE's proposed timescale for implementation
- Commit to funding the existing 12 ABA centres in their current format
- Expand the current ABA pilot scheme of 12 centres to accommodate other projects of a similar nature where they are needed
- Recognise the qualifications of psychologists currently working in ABA centres
- Honour its Programme for Government commitment and institute an appeals system without further delay
- Ensure Speech and Language Therapy and Behavioural Therapy is made available to all schools with autistic children in attendance
- Immediately move to enhance cooperation between the Department of Education and Health to ensure children with special needs receive adequate support in all aspects of their lives from an early age..............."
In one of the richest countries in the world it is no longer acceptable that highly stressed parents must fight in the courts to ensure that autistic children's rights are recognised. Interestingly the Green Party as usual has wrestled with its conscience and lost. The Government must allow a free vote in the Dail as this is an issue of conscience.
Of course it could accept the FG motion. Unfortunately this will not happen. There are few votes in autism. Who -in government circles - is prepared to stand up and be counted?
The Government will vote down the FG motion. FG as the party of the Just Society must intensify the pressure on this issue until a satisfactory resolution is found.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Looking at this game from a Waterford perspective the negatives outweigh the positives.It is arguable that a porous full back line has cost Waterford an All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.
Today Justin McCarthy introduced newcomer Ritchie Foley (Abbeyside) at full back. Foley tried hard. However it is clear that he is not a full back. He is more suited to the half back line. Waterford's problems in defence persist. Shane Casey (Dunhill) another newcomer saw little ball but scored 1-1. His goal was superb. He has potential to develop into an accomplished inter county senior forward.
Of the regulars Eoin Kelly( Passage) was prominent throughout the game. He roamed the field and even acted as a sweeper. Quite frankly I cannot understand why. He shot numerous wides. On some occasions he shot from too far out. He worked himself to the point of exhaustion but would be better employed shooting from closer range or passing to a better placed forward if positioned too far out field. It is glaringly obvious that players lack full fitness.
In the second half the Waterford forward line lost its pattern. The full forward line and half forwards drifted too far outfield. This made scoring very difficult. This must not happen again.
Mr Huckabee has benefited from the support of evangelicals and conservatives in the south. His campaign working on a shoestring has been a stunning success. He is determined to remain in the race even though the odds are stacked strongly against him. McCain has got c724 delegates to 196 for Huckabee.
Speculation abounds as to Huckabee’s real motives. It is probable that he covets the Vice Presidential slot or a post in a putative McCain administration.
Also Mike Huckabee is determined to remain in the race to ensure that John McCain does not ignore the conservative wing of the GOP. Support yesterday for Mike Huckabee is a stern warning to McCain that he has so far failed to mollify conservatives on issues such as tax and illegal immigration. A policy platform based on strong conservative principles is a sine qua non if McCain is to win over the recalcitrant right wing.
McCain has much work to do to shore up the GOP base. He made a good start at the Conservative Convention. He should now go further and select Mike Huckabee as his running mate.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
In the first half Ireland had most of the play. France punished turnovers in the first-half mercilessly with Vincent Clerc scoring a hat-trick of tries. France continuously attacked Geordan Murphy's wing with a great deal of success. Some of the Irish defensive tackling left much to be desired.
With the score 19-6 at half time, Ireland appeared dead and buried.
Cedric Heymans' try appeared to drive the final nail in the coffin. The score now stood at 26-6. Welsh referee Nigel Owens awarded a penalty try to Ireland in the 58th minute. This was the signal for the Irish revival.
In the 61st minute David Wallace crossed the line for an Irish try. Unfortunately O’Gara missed the conversion.
The French now led by 26-18.
A Brian O'Driscoll pass failed to find a teammate when a try seemed on.
O’Gara scored a magnificent penalty with six minutes to go.
Ireland attacked the French line in injury time but failed to secure the all-important try.
In the second half the Irish pack hammered the French into submission. However this may be explained by the decision of over confident French coach Marc Lievremont to replace prop Lionel Faure and hooker Dimitri Szarzewski with William Servat and Julien Brugnaut early in the second half. This completely destabilized the French scrum. Nevertheless the Irish pack has performed strongly against Italy and France.
The second half performance will undoubtedly boost Irish confidence. This team is capable of defeating Wales, Scotland and possibly England. There are some shortcomings in the lineout. These must be addressed. Defensive tackling leaves much to be desired. O’Sullivan must continue to introduce new talent and select a genuine open side flanker.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Feb. 8 - An 11-month old boy in the American state of Tennessee survives a tornado with only minor injuries.
It appears Kyson Stowell was picked up by a tornado and thrown hundreds of feet from his home. Rescuers were searching in the dark when they came across what they thought was a baby doll.
The child was taken to a children's hospital in Nashville.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
The following is an FG press release on the subject:
Fine Gael has achieved a significant breakthrough in the fight against human trafficking after the Government adopted the Party's proposals to criminalise a person who knowingly avails of sexual services from a person who has been trafficked into the Country.
"The aim of this amendment is to make it illegal to be a beneficial recipient of services of someone who has been trafficked. Anyone availing of the services of a person who has been trafficked, and where they are aware of this fact, should be liable to prosecution.
(a) Uses the sexual services of a person with the knowledge that the person is a victim of trafficking in human beings, or(b) Procures the sexual services of a person with the knowledge that the person is a victim of trafficking in human beings.
"This is also a significant breakthrough in combating prostitution in general. To date, Irish law has criminalised persons who solicit sexual services. But for the first time a person who avails of the service will now be liable to prosecution."
This Bill Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Bill 2007 will now go to Seanad Éireann for its second reading."
John McCain begins the healing process with conciliatory speech to conservatives at Conservative Convention
His warm tribute to Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee aids the healing process in the Republican Party. He emphasized his determination to unify the party and to run on conservative principles. He stressed that he was a conservative. Liberty is a right conferred by God. A political party must stand for clear-cut political beliefs and cannot be all things to all men. Here he was invoking the legacy of Ronald Reagan. He stressed small government, fiscal discipline, low taxation and the right to life of the unborn. He opposes big government mandated health care. He opposes expensive entitlement programmes. He favours low company taxation. He supports the maintenance of the Bush tax cuts.
He expressed strong support for the surge. He alluded to the problem of illegal immigration. He understood the opposition of conservatives to his stance on illegal immigration. Here he was booed by some of his listeners. However he quickly won over the dissidents. He attacked Senate Democrats for blocking surveillance powers designed to fight Jihadists. He stated that he would reduce big government and reduce taxes. He declared that Clinton and Obama would increase big government and raise taxes. He would appoint judges who respect the rights of the people. He attacked the Clinton/Obama decision to set an arbitrary withdrawal date from Iraq. He warned Iran and stressed his support for Israel.
The speech set the right tone. It had sufficient humility and humour to mollify the doubters. It addressed the major issues from a conservative perspective. It outlined in sharp relief major differences between McCain and Clinton/Obama. It is a major contribution towards the healing process within the Republican Party.
Romney’s speech was a tour de force. It was characterised by a clear-cut elucidation of conservative principles. It was arguably the greatest speech that he has ever given.
He emphasized the importance of the family-father and mother- to society. He attacked the culture of death. He emphasized the damage done by abortion to European society. He lambasted the nanny state.
He emphasized the importance of private enterprise and attacked government bureaucracy and excessive pay rates for government bureaucrats. He attacked wasteful government expenditure. He strongly supported McCains stance on the War on Terror. His decision to withdraw was based on a determination not to split the party. He claimed that any split in the party would ensure the election of either Clinton and Obama.
If John McCain is elected President it is likely that he may serve only one term on age grounds. Romney’s pragmatic decision and strong support for conservative principles ensures that he is likely to secure the GOP nomination in the future.
Today marks the first step in the healing process in the GOP and greatly strengthens its prospects of securing the Presidency.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Whilst a week is a long time in politics it would take a major political faux pas to deprive him of the nomination. McCain has risen phoenix like from the ashes of political irrelevancy. Six months ago his campaign- bereft of finance-was on the verge of collapse. Campaign staff was laid off. Political analysts considered McCain a busted flush. His victory in New Hampshire was the catalyst, which ignited his fight back. Independents and moderate Republicans provided the necessary support to buttress his campaign. This was particularly significant in New Hampshire and Florida. Victory in Florida ensured that he was now the front-runner on Super Tuesday.
He still faces major difficulties. Campaign finance is scarce. However victory on Super Tuesday should alleviate the problem. Donors like winners.He faces problems from the extreme right wing of the Republican Party. Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter have been particularly critical. Some extreme right wing elements are likely to abstain. Anne Coulter has stated that she would vote for Hillary Clinton in preference to John McCain. She argues that Clinton is more conservative than McCain. Of course this is utter nonsense. McCain is a moderate conservative whilst Clinton is a Socialist. McCain favours a balanced budget. He strongly opposes abortion and he is strong on national security -all good conservative issues. There is increasing evidence that most conservatives within the GOP are preparing to rally to the McCain cause.The extreme right is blinded by a rigid ideology. Many are further to the right than Barry Goldwater.McCain must endeavour to compensate for the loss of some elements on the right by appealing to the centre and to conservative Democrats.
Super Tuesday has been an unmitigated disaster for Mitt Romney. Romney has 260 delegates. This is a very poor return on the massive financial outlay. He secured most support from more right wing conservatives and from those strongly opposed to illegal immigration. Romney told his supporters in Boston that the Republican race would continue. "One thing that's clear is, this campaign's going on!" he said to cheers. Of course Romney can continue to the convention in the forlorn hope that he may yet secure the nomination. He has a personal fortune of $250 million. Romney in the interests of the GOP should withdraw and accept the inevitable.
Mike Huckabee whose campaign has been hamstrung by a chronic lack of funding scored stunning victories in Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Georgia, the biggest Southern state to vote Tuesday. The charismatic Huckabee would make a strong vice presidential candidate. He could face competition from Newt Gingrich for the vice presidential slot. So far he has 190 delegates to the convention.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
I know conservatives were angry when McCain opposed the Bush Tax cuts. And I can understand why. However they forget that he linked his opposition to the deficit. As far as I am aware true conservatives support a balanced budget. Borrowing is deferred taxation.
Bob Dole has taken Limbaugh to task for his attacks on McCain.
Dole got more votes than Rush Limbaugh will ever get. Much of what Dole states re McCain is fundamentally sound. He supports a balanced budget. He supports a strong national security. He will appoint conservative judges. These are all good conservative issues.
Much of the debate on GOP forums has degenerated into a discussion on right wing ideological purity. I agree that a candidate must have some fundamental beliefs to guide him/her. Incidentally there are varying shades of conservatism. A broadly conservative approach is the correct one.
However 95% of the electorate has little interest in ideological purity. Such voters are concerned with the problems of day to day living-inflation, mortgages, education, health care and employment.
Voters will elect the candidate who in their opinion addresses these issues best.
The British Conservative Party tore itself asunder on ideology and has lost the last three general elections. Opposition is a lonely place. You can rave and rant all you like but you must control the levers of power to achieve your goals. Even the British Conservative Party now realises this.
If Hillary is elected President the liklihood is that she will be re-elected in four years time. The same applies to Obama.The Clintons know how to keep a grip on power.
We will have the appalling vista- A Democratic President and a Democratic Congress.
Even Conservatives who have misgivings about McCain should realise that half a loaf is better than no bread. They have some prospect of fulfilling their dreams under a McCain presidency. They have no prospects under a Clinton or Obama presidency.
To all Republicans I say unite or linger in the political wilderness for decades.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin " We must hang together, gentlemen...else, we shall most assuredly hang separately"
Monday, February 4, 2008
When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree,
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be. Yeah
There will be an answer, let it be.
And when the night is cloudy,
There is a light that shines on me,
Shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music,
Mother Mary comes to me,
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be,
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
Meaning of Lyrics:
This is one of the Beatles classics. Controversy has raged from time to time about the meaning of the lyrics. Some of the lyrics are open to several interpretations. Some fans assume that the words "Mother Mary" to refer to Mary the Mother of God. Others argue forcibly that they refer to Paul's late mother Mary McCartney and that Paul had a dream in which his deceased mother came to him and told him that everything would be okay. He may have written the song to comfort his father. It may have been penned so as to allow for several interpretations. Irrespective of the meaning of the lyrics the song has been an inspiration to many in time of crisis.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
- Has he found any smoking gun? No
- Is he imputing any impropriety to Enda Kenny? No
- Is he suggesting that Governments should not meet with businessmen who may wish to establish a project in Ireland? No
- Is he suggesting that the Rainbow government behaved improperly in some way? No
- Is he suggesting that representatives of the Sunday Independent should not meet with FF representatives- in future- to progress business projects? No
- Is this article a red herring? Most certainly yes. It may be factually correct but the heading "Enda met casino syndicate partners" and the sub heading in red "what we weren't told" implies malfeasance on the part of FG. The approach appears to be "Give them something to deny". Perhaps the headline writer should re read the article.
- Is the Sunday Independent attempting to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear? Yes
The Sunday Independent has pursued a virulently anti FG line for many years. It is certainly not independent. It is unapologetically pro FF. Most FG readers of the paper are aware of the political bias. The Sunday Independent is the new Irish Press.
One of the reasons for the demise of the Irish Press was the fact that it was viewed as too pro FF. It had some outstanding journalists. But this did not save the paper. One would assume that in the interests of its shareholders that the Sunday Independent would endeavour to give the second largest political party a right of reply.
There is a vacuum now. Presumably competitors of the Sunday Independent will fill it.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
It took vintage performances from scrum-half Eoin Reddan and out-half Ronan O'Gara to avert disaster. Reddan oozed class. O'Gara is now back to his brilliant best as evidenced by a superb chip over the Italian defence for Girvan Dempsey's try. He contributed 11 points of Irelands total. (3 pens and 1 conversion)
O'Sullivan is quite simply too conservative as a coach. He is risk averse. His selection today should have included Bernard Jackman, Tony Buckley, Jamie Heaslip,Rob Kearney and Tommy Bowe from the start. He is obviously under pressure as the IRFU guillotine hangs over his head. Nevertheless he should have gone for broke. In fairness he did introduce Kearney and Jackman in the course of the game. It is time to reconstruct the Irish team and prepare for the 2011 World Cup. It is also time for the IRFU to take International Sevens Rugby seriously.
France and England have now gone down this route. England may have surprisingly lost today against Wales but nevertheless this short term pain is necessary for long term success.
Most of the current Irish team will have retired by 2011.
Fortune favours the brave. Ask Warren Gatland. Today he chose a Welsh team largely composed of Ospreys players and confounded the pundits. Undoubtedly Shaun Edwards played a major role in the Welsh success also.
Next weekend Ireland faces a newly reconstructed French team. The omens are not good.