Friday, April 29, 2011

Don't be told what you want

Telegraph --

His [William Windsor's] decision to wear the Irish Guards Mounted Officer’s uniform, in Guard of Honour Order, was welcomed as a tribute to a battalion that has recently returned from an arduous tour in Afghanistan.

It may also reflect the Royal family’s wish to demonstrate the strengthening of ties between London and Dublin ahead of the Queen’s historic state visit to Ireland next month.

Royal Wedding Music Exclusive

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Wall Street Journal editorial

Political naivete is not a crime, at least not in the West. But Italian Vittorio Arrigoni, a 36-year-old pro-Palestinian activist, was not in the West when he was kidnapped by an al Qaeda offshoot and strangled to death with a plastic cord. He was in the Gaza Strip, where terrorist furies make no exceptions for Western fellow travelers.

Just to pick the most obvious point, note the equation peace activist = terrorist fellow traveller.

The neocon right reacted very differently to the murder in captivity of another Italian a few years ago, Fabrizio Quattrocchi. Can we just say that they were both brave men who shame the evil people that killed them?

Friday, April 15, 2011

The jokes write themselves

Irish Times --

So many people turned up for an auction of distressed properties in the Shelbourne Hotel today in Dublin that it had to be suspended amid Garda concerns for safety ... To ease pressure on the hotel, the entire auction was broadcast to Doheny Nesbitts pub a couple of hundred metres away.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Method to their madness

Prof. Richard Portes, London Business School

Of course, the Emerald Isle could evade responsibility altogether by simply waiting for Greece to restructure its debt first, at which point there will be general confusion and markets will shun Ireland anyway. If that is the tacit strategy, there may not be long to wait.

Wall Street Journal

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, in a question and answer interview with the Die Welt newspaper, held out the possibility that a June audit might show that Greece won't be able to overcome its debt load without relief. Mr. Schaeuble said "other steps" might need to be taken, without suggesting directly that Greece might need to restructure its debt.

"I am awaiting a detailed analysis of Greece's debt sustainability [in June]," Mr. Schaeuble was quoted as saying, referring to a report that also will go to the European Commission and the European Central Bank.

We know this looks bad, but ...

Irish Times --

A truck carrying explosive material has crashed into the front of a shop in Moneygall, Co Offaly that US president Barack Obama is due to visit next month.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

This means war

Unknown but presumed Iranian hackers enter the servers of a Bahrain media conglomerate and replace maps of the, er, Gulf with one labeling it as the "Persian Gulf."

One hopes this is not the evidence that the US is now citing of Iran's involvement in Bahrain's political unrest.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

It's not just us

What's the worst that can happen when a state defaults on its debt?  Ireland should be looking through the history books.  When Pennsylvania defaulted in the mid-19th century, a truly bad thing happened.  William Wordsworth, whose family held Pennsylvania bonds, wrote a poem --

Days undefiled by luxury or sloth,
Firm self-denial, manners grave and staid,
Rights equal, laws with cheerfulness obeyed,
Words that require no sanction from an oath,
And simple honesty a common growth--
This high repute, with bounteous Nature's aid,
Won confidence, now ruthlessly betrayed
At will, your power the measure of your troth!--
All who revere the memory of Penn
Grieve for the land on whose wild woods his name
Was fondly grafted with a virtuous aim,
Renounced, abandoned by degenerate Men
For state-dishonour black as ever came
To upper air from Mammon's loathsome den.

And, er, that's it.   But we're supposed to be scared.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Shoulders do lie

For all the deserved acclaim received by Barcelona football club, it's somewhat bizarre that two of football's most prominent recent handball-leading-to-goal incidents have involved Barca players.  Thierry Henry wearing the colours of France vs Ireland in the World Cup qualifier and now this evening Gerard Pique apparently trying to impress Shakira with a chest move that was really an arm move to control the ball before scoring vs Villareal.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Instant Gratification

You could construct a full theory of the last 30 years of American politics around the proposition that the self-indulgent baby boomers of sociological lore have been Republicans since the late 1970s.

What word does aspiring Presidential candidate and veteran Republican Haley Barbour use the most in the above clip?