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One of the more rabid and non-linear anti-Lisbon groups gave a predictable performance to a government subcommittee on the Lisbon referendum yesterday. I agree with the committee chairman: if they didn't go there to have a reasonable discussion, they're doing themselves and their supporters a disservice - even if I think that those supporters are utterly misguided and would do well to at least row in behind a less wingnut-oriented anti-Lisbon group. The important part of having people representing your views is that you need to make sure that they're actually doing so effectively.
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"An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in October showed [Palin] had become a bigger drag on the Republican ticket than President George W. Bush..." (link)
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Thanks, guys, that'll do nicely.

Now, while I'm asking for favours, I would pay cash money to see:
  1. Obama using Day-Lewis' "I drink your milkshake" bit in his acceptance speech to explain to McCain where the votes went. The bowling pin is unnecessary, however.
  2. SenatorChancellorEmperor Obama making some reference to Order 66 and the establishment of the American Empire. Shooting electric bolts from his fingers at this point would be cool, but optional.
And so on.
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Please make me happy tomorrow. It's a small ask.
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Talking Points Memo presents a glorious compendium of moronic questions asked of Joe Biden by a Florida newsanchor. Biden's response are, I think, pretty restrained given the stupidity of the questions.
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Or Glenageary, I have no idea where the boundaries actually are: an Obama/Biden sign in someone's window. I'm almost tempted to go knock on their door just to say, "HELL, YEAH!"
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Joe the Plumber?
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I can't quite express how much glee McCain vs. YouTube vs. DMCA causes me. Suffice to say it's a lot.
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Enda Kenny volunteers to take a 5% pay cut in some sort of bizarre holier-than-thou attack on the incumbent government, or perhaps attempting to show solidarity with the ordinary man or something. Of course, if I were earning in excess of €100,00 per annum, I figure I could be this magnanimous, too. I had to dig around a bit to find that salary figure, although I'm sure there's an official reference somewhere. All the press reports I've been reading mention the 5% without indicating what it was 5% of; this piece of punditry from the Irish Times reveals that even after the pay cut Enda would still be earning over a hundred grand. Which Payscale suggests is significantly more than the ordinary man. Further silliness ensues: it's not obvious, according to the Times piece, if Kenny can cut his own salary; and despite some mentions to the contrary, it seems that not only are his senior colleagues not following his lead, there's some unrest in the party over the fact that the pay cut appears to have been a unilateral decision on the part of Kenny himself with no consultation with said colleagues. So not just a stupid, empty gesture, but one that puts him at odds with his own party as well.
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INCOMING business secretary Peter Mandelson warned yesterday that the EU could be hit by a surge of “economic nationalism” after European governments enacted a series of unilateral moves to shore up their financial systems at the expense of other member states. (link)

And today:
The British government has announced a part-nationalisation of the country's eight main banks with a bailout worth up to £50bn. (link)

I can see Mr. Mandelson is getting on just fine with his new coworkers.
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(Leinster House, that is)
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The stereotype of the arrogant Frenchman may or may not have legs, but Sarkozy certainly displayed if not arrogance, at least a lack of tact in apparently remarking that Ireland would have to vote again on the Lisbon treaty. Now, this being reporting, it's entirely possible that he said it was one of the options, or that he was referring to a modified treaty, or what have you. In today's BBC story on the issue, he's quoted as having said, "the Irish will have to vote again", which is technically correct - if we're to have any significant alteration of the current EU treaties, which we must have, sooner or later, then the Irish Constitution requires that the Irish will indeed have to vote again, and I think other countries should get the chance, too.

Anyway, the various political parties were quick to jump on it from both sides, with the incumbents attempting to do a discreet "shut up, you fool!" approach and the opposition doing their best to find a way to blame his comments on the incumbents. Ah, politics.
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I'm no fan of our former Minister for Justice (given that I felt he was far too right-wing), but I can't help but feel that he's been somewhat misrepresented by the Irish Times in this article which claims he's in favour of a legal obligation to report crimes. If that was indeed what he said, it wouldn't surprise me, and it's the tricky sort of thing I haven't liked him for in the past, where on the face of it it looks harmless enough, but digging deeper it's veering off into over-policing. However, reading further down the article it appears that he's actually referring to someone who is already being questioned with respect to a serious crime, i.e. a witness or a suspect, which puts a slightly different tilt on his argument - I'm still not wholly comfortable with it, but it's hardly a KGB-style "kids! tell us your parents are capitalist running dogs!" as implied by the opening paragraph.
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AIB files found in landfill; opposition party rallies around with the usual cry of "Something Must Be Done!" - you'd imagine if they're so keen on reforming the law they'd already have something prepared on the topic...
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German ratification of Lisbon treaty also on hold. The UK case was ruled against, leaving the way clear for ratification, and I've still not stumbled across an update on the Czech situation (although I haven't gone looking for it either).
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So we have the OECD telling us our housing market is doomed, the ESRI telling us we're in recession, various goverment rumblings about belt-tightening, and the opposition party accusing the Taoiseach of being personally responsible for the global economic downturn (to be fair, he was the Minister for Finance before he was Taoiseach, but even if you believe that Ireland is one of the richest countries in the EU I don't think our budgetary decisions have had any significant impact in the face of, say, subprime-mortgage-related crashes). In the midst of all this, the general secretary of the IMPACT union suggests that prudent behaviour with regard to wages is "absurd", and also this choice piece of MATH FAIL:
He said: 'What we didn't have in the 80s was the Social Partnership framework that we have been working under for the last 21 years.'
Since, er, 1987 - which is the year that Wall Street crashed rather spectacularly obviously isn't in "the 80s".

(yes, I realise he's more likely to be referring to the early 80s. Let me have my snide remarks, dammit. Also I exaggerate Fine Gael's stance on the handling of the economy for much the same reason.)
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So the Lisbon Vote came in as a fairly solid No. Curiously, I'm pretty sure my referendum booklet advised me that if this was the case, the entire treaty was hosed as it requires a unanimous ratification by all member states of the EU and, er, we've kinda broken that.

Good things: hurrah, democracy! 53.1% turnout for a Constitutional amendment isn't exactly song and dance material, but it's better than I expected, and it definitely reflects the fact that some people do care about this stuff.

Bad things: having to put up with the harping morons of Coir for the next month while they smugly tell everyone how they "won".

Amusement: Firstly, taking someone else's line: how are the anti-treaty U.K. tabloids going to cope with the fact that Sinn Féin are in some part responsible for "saving" them from the treaty? Secondly, the results weren't even out yesterday before the main opposition party turned on the incumbents claiming the negative outcome was a result of the referendum being held too close to the change of leadership. This would be the same party who last week (or perhaps the week before) were clamouring for cross-party unity to present a single-faced Yes campaign. A week, as they say, is a long time in politics.
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Apparently posters making clumsly allusions to the 1916 rising are not offensive, but posters calling for an anti-war protest against George Bush are.


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