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Overheard on the DART: male garda stops a young, female learner driver as she is driving unaccompanied on a motorway while texting someone on her mobile phone. Says something like "I suppose you were texting the boyfriend". She says she doesn't have one, or words to that effect, and so the garda asks for her number and lets her off with a warning. The story was related by the female in question to a male friend of hers, so it's not exactly third- or fourth- hand.

For those not familiar with Irish law, learner drivers on their first (learner) license are required to have a fully-licensed driver accompanying them; they're not allowed drive on motorways; and anyone using a mobile phone without a hands-free kit is liable to get points on their license (12 points over 42 months and you lose your license) and (I think) an on-the-spot fine.
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Seen recently on Patrick's Street in Dublin: a bicycle cop (not motorcycle) weaving through traffic, then running a red light at a pedestrian crossing, pausing to give abuse to a cyclist who had stopped in front of him to obey the red light, before cycling the wrong way up a one-way street.

Leading by example, I guess.
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So. The minister for health introduces the smoking ban. After some months, the official figures show a 97% compliance rate, but there are widely divergent views on whether pub business is affected or not. So, owners of a pub in Galway decides to take matters into their own hands and allow smoking in the pub once more. For some reason, the legal process for prosecuting them for this breach seems to involve more press releases than anything else; the publicans, the Western Health Board, and the Minister for Health have all had several lengthy conversations with various bits of the media despite this being, to simple old me, a pretty clear case of "you broke the law, you pay the price".

However, it doesn't stop there.

Apparently some people figured that if the pub said it was okay to smoke, then it was okay to smoke. I'm struggling with the logic here. If the pub says it's okay to drive while drunk, that doesn't make it any more legal. And so these people will be prosecuted. Smart kids. Bet you wish you'd checked out some alternative means of registering your disagreement with the law.
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It's only been two years since y'all instigated the prolonged and divisive ruckus, why stop now?
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May Day assault Garda trial opens.
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The March 6 document about torture provides tightly constructed definitions of torture. For example, if an interrogator "knows that severe pain will result from his actions, if causing such harm is not his objective, he lacks the requisite specific intent even though the defendant did not act in good faith," the report said. "Instead, a defendant is guilty of torture only if he acts with the express purpose of inflicting severe pain or suffering on a person within his control." (New York Times)
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I can't decide if cheap MLB for Windows Users is a monopoly abuse or simply Marketing Department A not talking to Marketing Department B. The fact that Microsoft is aware of the, er, abuse would suggest that at this point it's the former, even if it started out as the latter.
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Not to be picky or anything, but
"...Rumsfeld said the United States would abide by the Geneva Conventions in its treatment of him."
... except that bit about televising him undergoing a medical inspection while in captivity, which some commentators had no hesitation in describing as showing him in a humiliating light. But, shrug. Well done, guys, you got your man.
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Perle concedes that the Iraq war was (is, for that matter) illegal. Well, I'm looking at a quote here, and he said, "I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing." which I think, yes, is approximately saying it was illegal, but it's more an incautious unspun statement that he believes that International Law is flawed, and that the only defense against a flawed law is to break it. Now, when are people going to start doing that with the Patriot act and what not?
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MA supports gay marriage. Bush responded by saying the ruling violated the concept of marriage as a sacred institution and vowed to work with Congress to defend it. Tell me again about the three branches of the US government and what they're intended for?
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Microsoft tangles with the EU:
The company has denied the claims and warned that a guilty verdict would mean a complete overhaul of how it operates.
Explain to me where this is the EU's problem, exactly? Isn't this the whole point of corrective action in the case of anti-trust violations?
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US accused of blocking protection for aid workers. Because it's based on the International Crimial Court. Which the US doesn't recognise, because the ICC will not grant immunity to US military from prosecution for war crimes. But hey, if you're not guilty, you've no fear of a court of justice, right? Isn't that what the apologists for the Patriot Act keep saying?

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