Friday, January 30, 2009

Redoubt Volcano in Alaska on verge of massive eruption? What are the implications?

The 10,200-foot Redoubt Volcano lies about about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage-in Alaska- at a point where the the Pacific plate dips beneath, or subducts, the North American plate. The Aleutian Islands are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
The volcano erupted in 1989-1990. Volcanic ash was so thick that it turned daylight into darkness. The volcano also erupted in 1902, 1966 and 1967-68.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Enda Kenny urges Euro leaders to explore EU 'Bad Bank' option and boost business lending

'Nothing less than the credibility of our shared currency and survival of Economic and Monetary Union is at stake'
Speaking at the meeting of the Bureau of the European People's Party in Brussels, Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny TD said 2009 will be a defining year for the EU. Proposals being put forward by Deputy Kenny include the creation of an EU 'bad bank' and increased European Investment Bank lending to businesses.

"In the face of the greatest economic crisis faced by the Union since its establishment over five decades ago, will we stand together? Or will each Member State prioritise its own short-term national interests, and try to remedy its own economic problems in a way that worsens the problems of others, and thereby expose smaller and weaker Members to the whims of financial speculators?

"It is true that some individual Member States, such as Ireland, have mismanaged their domestic economic affairs by encouraging unsustainable debt-fuelled booms. Clearly, Ireland and other countries need to put their own houses in order. But now is not the time for mutual recrimination among Member States. Nothing less than the credibility of our shared currency and survival of Economic and Monetary Union is at stake. It is in all of our interests to make sure that no country has to leave the eurozone.

"This is why I am working with my fellow leaders in the European People's Party to articulate a clear statement of solidarity among EU members, and to set out ideas that should be considered by the EU Heads of Government when they meet in March for an orderly working out of the vulnerabilities and imbalances that threaten the EU's economic achievements over the last generation.

"Options I would like the EU Heads of Government to explore are:
- The establishment of an EU Bank Resolution Corporation, or 'bad bank', to help accelerate the restoration to health of European banks, without which economic recovery will not happen. In the United States in the 1980s after the Savings & Loan scandal, a similar approach was adopted.- A significant expansion of the level of resources available to the European Investment Bank to support lending to European businesses, and in particular to small and medium-sized enterprises;- Removing restrictions on the European Central Bank to pursue the types of anti-deflationary policies now being pursued by the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve;- Commitments to avoid 'beggar-thy-neighbour' exchange rate adjustments that export unemployment and deflation from one EU country to another."(Fine Gael)

Bangladesh Concern Video-We are people too -exposes the reality of poverty for pavement dwellers

The film focuses on the many thousands who live on the streets in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital city. Concern's “Amrao Munush” project works to give a voice to some of the poorest people in Dhaka. The name of the project was chosen by pavement dwellers themselves. In Bangla, Amrao Manush means, roughly: "we are people too."

Lifting up the poorest person

Visiting Concern's projects in Dhaka, Irish journalist Fintan O'Toole wrote : "I asked a group of women who were struggling to save a few cents a week each how they decided who to give money to. They looked at me as if only a stupid person could ask the question. ‘We decide who needs it most,’ they said. ‘It's our responsibility to try to lift up the poorest person. (Concern Relief Agency)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

US Senate Defeats Pro-Life Amendment to Restore Mexico City Policy on Abortion

Senate Vote on Pro-Life Martinez Amendment on Mexico City Policy
(Yea is a pro-life vote and Nay is a pro-abortion vote)

Alabama:Sessions (R-AL), YeaShelby (R-AL), Yea
Alaska:Begich (D-AK), NayMurkowski (R-AK), Nay
Arizona:Kyl (R-AZ), YeaMcCain (R-AZ), Yea
Arkansas:Lincoln (D-AR), NayPryor (D-AR), Nay
California:Boxer (D-CA), NayFeinstein (D-CA), Nay
Colorado:Bennet (D-CO), NayUdall (D-CO), Nay
Connecticut:Dodd (D-CT), NayLieberman (ID-CT), Nay
Delaware:Carper (D-DE), NayKaufman (D-DE), Nay
Florida:Martinez (R-FL), YeaNelson (D-FL), Nay
Georgia:Chambliss (R-GA), Not VotingIsakson (R-GA), Yea
Hawaii:Akaka (D-HI), NayInouye (D-HI), Nay
Idaho:Crapo (R-ID), YeaRisch (R-ID), Yea
Illinois:Burris (D-IL), NayDurbin (D-IL), Nay
Indiana:Bayh (D-IN), NayLugar (R-IN), Yea
Iowa:Grassley (R-IA), YeaHarkin (D-IA), Nay
Kansas:Brownback (R-KS), YeaRoberts (R-KS), Yea
Kentucky:Bunning (R-KY), YeaMcConnell (R-KY), Yea
Louisiana:Landrieu (D-LA), NayVitter (R-LA), Yea
Maine:Collins (R-ME), NaySnowe (R-ME), Nay
Maryland:Cardin (D-MD), NayMikulski (D-MD), Nay
Massachusetts:Kennedy (D-MA), Not VotingKerry (D-MA), Nay
Michigan:Levin (D-MI), NayStabenow (D-MI), Nay
Minnesota:Klobuchar (D-MN), Nay
Mississippi:Cochran (R-MS), YeaWicker (R-MS), Yea
Missouri:Bond (R-MO), YeaMcCaskill (D-MO), Nay
Montana:Baucus (D-MT), NayTester (D-MT), Nay
Nebraska:Johanns (R-NE), YeaNelson (D-NE), Yea
Nevada:Ensign (R-NV), YeaReid (D-NV), Nay
New Hampshire:Gregg (R-NH), YeaShaheen (D-NH), Nay
New Jersey:Lautenberg (D-NJ), NayMenendez (D-NJ), Nay
New Mexico:Bingaman (D-NM), NayUdall (D-NM), Nay
New York:Gillibrand (D-NY), NaySchumer (D-NY), Nay
North Carolina:Burr (R-NC), YeaHagan (D-NC), Nay
North Dakota:Conrad (D-ND), NayDorgan (D-ND), Nay
Ohio:Brown (D-OH), NayVoinovich (R-OH), Yea
Oklahoma:Coburn (R-OK), YeaInhofe (R-OK), Yea
Oregon:Merkley (D-OR), NayWyden (D-OR), Nay
Pennsylvania:Casey (D-PA), NaySpecter (R-PA), Nay
Rhode Island:Reed (D-RI), NayWhitehouse (D-RI), Nay
South Carolina:DeMint (R-SC), YeaGraham (R-SC), Yea
South Dakota:Johnson (D-SD), NayThune (R-SD), Yea
Tennessee:Alexander (R-TN), YeaCorker (R-TN), Yea
Texas:Cornyn (R-TX), YeaHutchison (R-TX), Yea
Utah:Bennett (R-UT), YeaHatch (R-UT), Yea
Vermont:Leahy (D-VT), NaySanders (I-VT), Nay
Virginia:Warner (D-VA), NayWebb (D-VA), Nay
Washington:Cantwell (D-WA), NayMurray (D-WA), Nay
West Virginia:Byrd (D-WV), NayRockefeller (D-WV), Nay
Wisconsin:Feingold (D-WI), NayKohl (D-WI), Nay
Wyoming:Barrasso (R-WY), YeaEnzi (R-WY), Yea


Monday, January 26, 2009

Cuba:Fidel Castro hints that he will die soon-Could he die a Catholic?

Fidel Castro doesn't expect to be alive to witness the end of Obama's first term in office, says an article, written by the former Cuban president on an official government website."I have had the rare privilege of observing events over a long period of time. I get information and meditate carefully over these events. I don't expect to enjoy this privilege in four years, when Obama's first term in office concludes," Castro wrote.

The seven-paragraph essay discusses the inauguration and coming term of U.S. President Barack Obama, a topic he also addressed in an article published Wednesday. In Thursday's essay, Castro says that Obama "has transformed himself under the inspiration of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. to the point of becoming a living symbol of the American dream." "But despite noble intentions, there are still many questions to answer," Castro added, specifically pointing out the question of whether a capitalist system can protect the environment. (Sofia News Agency)

Presumably as a Communist Castro does not believe in a God or an after life. However in recent times there have been indications that this might be about to change.Restrictions on the Catholic religion have been eased. After Pope John Paul II's death in April 2005, Castro attended a Mass in his honour in Havana's cathedral and signed the Papal condolence book at the Vatican Embassy. As death approaches there appears to be an evolution in his thinking.
Perhaps Castro will abjure atheism and die a Catholic.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ireland -Sunday Independent moving towards support for FF/ Labour Coalition

The Sunday Independent has in recent weeks begun to warm in its attitude towards the Labour Party. Recently it has published an article on the economy by Rory Quinn. Columnist John Drennan over the last two weeks has been fulsome in his praise of party leader Eamon Gilmore. Last Sunday he wrote an article headed- 'Napoleon' Gilmore may yet seize the day. It was basically a litany of ifs-if this, if that, Gilmore can become Taoiseach. The chances of winning the lotto are far better. Beneath the same article was a column by Jody Corcoran sniping at Enda Kenny titled-" Kenny's two steps forward,three back". Today Drennan pens an article titled "Can Eamon Obama do it? Damn sure he can ".

Meanwhile the paper, which had been critical of Brian Cowen, has softened its stance towards the Taoiseach in today's issue. A gradual softening has been under way over recent weeks. The main heading on the front page is -"Cowen to stake all on public pay deal" with a sub heading titled: "Taoiseach prepares to face down the unions amid growing criticism".

In the face of strong criticism from many economists, and some commentators, Mr Cowen has shown impressive confidence in his own judgement of how best to save the country.
However, Mr Cowen, who has maintained a deliberate, low-key approach to the crisis, to the frustration of many sectoral interests, may yet turn catastrophe into triumph in what could turn out to be the defining moment of his leadership...

Other articles are titled:
  • Obama has the charisma, but Cowen has character (Eoghan Harris)

  • Lets get behind Cowen for a fresh start and a dose of reality

The Green Party grassroots have become increasingly unhappy with the party's performance in government. Party councillors Bronwen Maher and Chris O'Leary resigned this week whilst former MEP Patricia McKenna hammered the leadership. Should the Greens pull out of government the Sunday Independent will argue for an FF/Labour coalition without a general election. A general election would probably see an FG/Labour coalition government returned with or without independent support.

The Sunday Independent as a staunchly pro Fianna Fail paper has incessantly and unfairly savaged the FG party-notwithstanding the fact that FG finance spokesman Richard Bruton has been a star performer during the current financial crisis. FG also produced a credible alternative budget last October and has for the past three years hammered excessive government expenditure. The paper appears determined to keep FG out of government at all costs. Marc Coleman regularly criticizes FG-even though that the party has not been in power since 1997. In an article today he omits key FG proposals on public expenditure. There is no criticism of FF in the article. Marc proceeds to snipe at John Bruton with the reference: Just as his brother abandoned Fine Gael's traditional Republicanism.... ". Marc Coleman has a simplistic grasp of Irish history. John Bruton emphasized the necessity of reaching an understanding with Northern Irish Protestants -if the Northern Ireland crisis were to be resolved. He has been proven correct in his assessment. Bertie Ahern pursued the same policy. Is Marc Coleman criticizing Ahern's approach? Did Bertie Ahern abandon FFs traditional Republicanism when he negotiated with Ulster Unionists ?

Is the Sunday Independent attempting to talk up the Labour Party in an effort to drive a wedge between FG and Labour? Certainly the economic stance of the Independent is at variance with the ideals of the Labour Party. Essentially the Sunday Independent wishes to keep FF in power using the Labour Party as a prop if necessary. Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore have been around too long to take the bait.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Moody Blues - Go Now-with Denny Laine on guitar and lead vocals

Video of Denny Laine and the Moody Blues appearing on BBC's Top of the Pops in 1964.The Moody Blues is an English rock band originally from Birmingham. Go Now reached number 1 in the UK and number 10 in the US. The song was composed by Larry Banks and Milton Bennet.

Obama overturns Mexico City Policy -US tax dollars to fund foreign abortions

President Obama-the most pro-abortion president in the history of the US- has reversed President George W. Bush’s ban on federal funding for international groups that promote or perform abortions. Now US tax payers will fund the destruction of the unborn in foreign lands.

The ban is known as the Mexico City Policy because former Republican President Ronald Reagan first introduced it at a UN conference there in 1984. It was overturned by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and then reinstated by President Bush in 2001.
Obama's agenda includes the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion in the US.

Barack Obama has signed the order to shut Guantanamo on the basis that it is an affront to American values and the Geneva Conventions. He is concerned with the human rights of prisoners in Guantanamo. Yet he expresses a callous disregard for the human rights of the unborn child in the womb. He has sanctioned the provision of American tax-payers money to kill the most vulnerable-those who cannot speak for themselves.

Obama has pledged to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) and other pro-abortion rights laws. FOCA would abolish existing minimal state and federal restrictions on abortion and would even threaten the rights of Catholic hospitals to refuse to perform abortions.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Jarrow Song sung by Alan Price commemorating The Jarrow March of 1936

The Jarrow March (or Jarrow Crusade) was a protest march, which took place in 1936. The protestors were marching against poverty and unemployment, which had ravaged North Eastern England. The 200 marchers travelled from the town of Jarrow to the Palace of Westminster in London. This was a distance of almost 300 miles. They lobbied Parliament. Their MP, Ellen Wilkinson walked with them. She was known as 'Red Ellen'.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ireland: Senior Green Party member Patricia McKenna lashes party leadership as councillor Chris O’Leary resigns

As the 2009 Local Elections approach internal tensions within the Green Party are once more coming to the boil. There is nothing better than an election to concentrate the minds of local councillors. No better people to sniff the political wind. Today Cork City Council councillor Chris O’Leary resigned from the party in protest over its role in Government. Cllr O’Leary will contest the local elections in June as an Independent.

Dublin City Council member Bronwen Maher said today that she was "Very unhappy" and was reviewing her position. Speaking on Newstalk radio, she said:
“I have been very unhappy and I am reviewing my position. There’s a lot of concern in the Green Party that we’re not achieving in government. We’ve been there for eighteen months, now, what have we achieved?”

There is strong speculation that she will announce her resignation at a news conference tomorrow.
Meanwhile former MEP and member of the party’s national executive Patricia McKenna -no fan of the coalition deal with FF- has attacked the leadership. She claims that the leadership wishes to maintain the coalition arrangement with FF irrespective of the cost. McKenna is regarded as the conscience of the party and carries a heavy political clout. It is an open secret that the party leadership has been unhappy with McKenna who adopted an anti coalition stance.

U-turns on the use of Shannon Airport by the US Military, the co-location of private hospitals on the grounds of public hospitals, the destruction of the Tara Valley and on incineration had already begun to demoralise the grassroots of the party. Cutbacks in health and education have further sapped morale. The party has achieved precious little in government. With further massive cut backs in the offing it is highly likely that many branch members will resign or will just melt away.

The Green Party is essentially a campaigning party- more suited to opposition than government. Much of its support is anti establishment. There is massive tension between the Realos (pragmatists) and the Fundis who are idealists and are prepared to cling to fundamental principles at all costs.
The internal contradictions within the party appear insuperable.

The Green Party is now trapped. If Green Ministers-John Gormley and Eamon Ryan- turn chicken and cut and run, their credibility is shattered. On the other hand continued participation in government may cripple the party organization. The Green ship now sails for the rocks of political destruction.
Meanwhile opposition parties such as FG and Labour prepare to hoover up disillusioned Green votes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama's Irish Relatives interviewed and Whiskey is malted for the US President in Co. Louth

Video requires RealPlayer-Download here

While Barack Obama prepares for his first hours in office, staff at the Cooley Distillery in north Co Louth are already preparing for his last day in the White House.
Today an American wood cask has been filled with a special blend malt whiskey which will be put in storage to mature before being given to the US President-elect when he eventually leaves the White House...RTE

Barack Obama's great-great-great-grandfather, Fulmuth Kearney, was reared in Moneygall Co. Offaly (Ireland), then left for America in 1850, when he was 19......Kearney sailed to New York aboard the S.S. Marmion at a time when legions of Irish were leaving their famine-stricken island. The shoemaker's son made a life in America, and his family line eventually produced Ann Durham, who was born in Kansas, according to The Web site has posted some of Obama's records online.
Durham married a Kenyan, also named Barack Obama, who was studying in Hawaii, and in 1961 they had a son, Barack the new President....Washington Post

I See the Promised Land - Martin Luther King, Jr.'s last speech

Monday, January 19, 2009

Obama inauguration costs $150 million-drinking with bob is not amused

Barack Obama is spending 150 million dollars on his inauguration. Here drinking with bob lambasts Obama. Drinking with bob for president in 2012???????????????????? Just joking.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New species of Dinosaur may have been discovered in Sahara Desert

Video requires RealPlayer-Download here

Scientists on a month-long expedition to the Sahara desert have returned home in time for Christmas with more than they ever dreamed of finding.
The team, led by University College Dublin palaeontologist Nizar Ibrahim from the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, unearthed hundreds of fossils, including two possible new species of extinct animals....
The team composed of scientists from University College Dublin, The University of Portsmouth and the Université Hassan II in Casablanca have discovered what appears to be a new type of pterosaur and a previously unknown sauropod, a species of giant plant-eating dinosaur. Both would have lived almost one hundred million years ago. The expedition is part of a project undertaken by Nizar Ibrahim, who has already visited the area on previous trips and is an expert on North African dinosaurs.........UCD News

The Drum Major Instinct-Speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, on 4 February 1968.

Martin Luther King Jr.
(delivered 4 February 1968)

This morning I would like to use as a subject from which to preach: "The Drum Major Instinct." "The Drum Major Instinct." And our text for the morning is taken from a very familiar passage in the tenth chapter as recorded by Saint Mark. Beginning with the thirty-fifth verse of that chapter, we read these words: "And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came unto him saying, ‘Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.' And he said unto them, ‘What would ye that I should do for you?' And they said unto him, ‘Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.' But Jesus said unto them, ‘Ye know not what ye ask: Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?' And they said unto him, ‘We can.' And Jesus said unto them, ‘Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of, and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: but to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.'" And then Jesus goes on toward the end of that passage to say, "But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your servant: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all."

The setting is clear. James and John are making a specific request of the master. They had dreamed, as most of the Hebrews dreamed, of a coming king of Israel who would set Jerusalem free and establish his kingdom on Mount Zion, and in righteousness rule the world. And they thought of Jesus as this kind of king. And they were thinking of that day when Jesus would reign supreme as this new king of Israel. And they were saying, "Now when you establish your kingdom, let one of us sit on the right hand and the other on the left hand of your throne."

Now very quickly, we would automatically condemn James and John, and we would say they were selfish. Why would they make such a selfish request? But before we condemn them too quickly, let us look calmly and honestly at ourselves, and we will discover that we too have those same basic desires for recognition, for importance. That same desire for attention, that same desire to be first. Of course, the other disciples got mad with James and John, and you could understand why, but we must understand that we have some of the same James and John qualities. And there is deep down within all of us an instinct. It's a kind of drum major instinct-a desire to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first. And it is something that runs the whole gamut of life.

And so before we condemn them, let us see that we all have the drum major instinct. We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade. Alfred Adler, the great psychoanalyst, contends that this is the dominant impulse. Sigmund Freud used to contend that sex was the dominant impulse, and Adler came with a new argument saying that this quest for recognition, this desire for attention, this desire for distinction is the basic impulse, the basic drive of human life, this drum major instinct.

And you know, we begin early to ask life to put us first. Our first cry as a baby was a bid for attention. And all through childhood the drum major impulse or instinct is a major obsession. Children ask life to grant them first place. They are a little bundle of ego. And they have innately the drum major impulse or the drum major instinct.

Now in adult life, we still have it, and we really never get by it. We like to do something good. And you know, we like to be praised for it. Now if you don't believe that, you just go on living life, and you will discover very soon that you like to be praised. Everybody likes it, as a matter of fact. And somehow this warm glow we feel when we are praised or when our name is in print is something of the vitamin A to our ego. Nobody is unhappy when they are praised, even if they know they don't deserve it and even if they don't believe it. The only unhappy people about praise is when that praise is going too much toward somebody else. (That's right) But everybody likes to be praised because of this real drum major instinct.

Now the presence of the drum major instinct is why so many people are "joiners." You know, there are some people who just join everything. And it's really a quest for attention and recognition and importance. And they get names that give them that impression. So you get your groups, and they become the "Grand Patron," and the little fellow who is henpecked at home needs a chance to be the "Most Worthy of the Most Worthy" of something. It is the drum major impulse and longing that runs the gamut of human life. And so we see it everywhere, this quest for recognition. And we join things, overjoin really, that we think that we will find that recognition in.

Now the presence of this instinct explains why we are so often taken by advertisers. You know, those gentlemen of massive verbal persuasion. And they have a way of saying things to you that kind of gets you into buying. In order to be a man of distinction, you must drink this whiskey. In order to make your neighbors envious, you must drive this type of car. (Make it plain) In order to be lovely to love you must wear this kind of lipstick or this kind of perfume. And you know, before you know it, you're just buying that stuff. (Yes) That's the way the advertisers do it.

I got a letter the other day, and it was a new magazine coming out. And it opened up, "Dear Dr. King: As you know, you are on many mailing lists. And you are categorized as highly intelligent, progressive, a lover of the arts and the sciences, and I know you will want to read what I have to say." Of course I did. After you said all of that and explained me so exactly, of course I wanted to read it. [laughter]

But very seriously, it goes through life; the drum major instinct is real. (Yes) And you know what else it causes to happen? It often causes us to live above our means. (Make it plain) It's nothing but the drum major instinct. Do you ever see people buy cars that they can't even begin to buy in terms of their income? (Amen) [laughter] You've seen people riding around in Cadillacs and Chryslers who don't earn enough to have a good T-Model Ford. (Make it plain) But it feeds a repressed ego.

You know, economists tell us that your automobile should not cost more than half of your annual income. So if you make an income of five thousand dollars, your car shouldn't cost more than about twenty-five hundred. That's just good economics. And if it's a family of two, and both members of the family make ten thousand dollars, they would have to make out with one car. That would be good economics, although it's often inconvenient. But so often, haven't you seen people making five thousand dollars a year and driving a car that costs six thousand? And they wonder why their ends never meet. [laughter] That's a fact.

Now the economists also say that your house shouldn't cost-if you're buying a house, it shouldn't cost more than twice your income. That's based on the economy and how you would make ends meet. So, if you have an income of five thousand dollars, it's kind of difficult in this society. But say it's a family with an income of ten thousand dollars, the house shouldn't cost much more than twenty thousand. Well, I've seen folk making ten thousand dollars, living in a forty- and fifty-thousand-dollar house. And you know they just barely make it. They get a check every month somewhere, and they owe all of that out before it comes in. Never have anything to put away for rainy days.

But now the problem is, it is the drum major instinct. And you know, you see people over and over again with the drum major instinct taking them over. And they just live their lives trying to outdo the Joneses. (Amen) They got to get this coat because this particular coat is a little better and a little better-looking than Mary's coat. And I got to drive this car because it's something about this car that makes my car a little better than my neighbor's car. (Amen) I know a man who used to live in a thirty-five-thousand-dollar house. And other people started building thirty-five-thousand-dollar houses, so he built a seventy-five-thousand-dollar house. And then somebody else built a seventy-five-thousand-dollar house, and he built a hundred-thousand-dollar house. And I don't know where he's going to end up if he's going to live his life trying to keep up with the Joneses.

There comes a time that the drum major instinct can become destructive. (Make it plain) And that's where I want to move now. I want to move to the point of saying that if this instinct is not harnessed, it becomes a very dangerous, pernicious instinct. For instance, if it isn't harnessed, it causes one's personality to become distorted. I guess that's the most damaging aspect of it: what it does to the personality. If it isn't harnessed, you will end up day in and day out trying to deal with your ego problem by boasting. Have you ever heard people that-you know, and I'm sure you've met them-that really become sickening because they just sit up all the time talking about themselves. (Amen) And they just boast and boast and boast, and that's the person who has not harnessed the drum major instinct.

And then it does other things to the personality. It causes you to lie about who you know sometimes. (Amen, Make it plain) There are some people who are influence peddlers. And in their attempt to deal with the drum major instinct, they have to try to identify with the so-called big-name people. (Yeah, Make it plain) And if you're not careful, they will make you think they know somebody that they don't really know. (Amen) They know them well, they sip tea with them, and they this-and-that. That happens to people.

And the other thing is that it causes one to engage ultimately in activities that are merely used to get attention. Criminologists tell us that some people are driven to crime because of this drum major instinct. They don't feel that they are getting enough attention through the normal channels of social behavior, and so they turn to anti-social behavior in order to get attention, in order to feel important. (Yeah) And so they get that gun, and before they know it they robbed a bank in a quest for recognition, in a quest for importance.

And then the final great tragedy of the distorted personality is the fact that when one fails to harness this instinct, (Glory to God) he ends up trying to push others down in order to push himself up. (Amen) And whenever you do that, you engage in some of the most vicious activities. You will spread evil, vicious, lying gossip on people, because you are trying to pull them down in order to push yourself up. (Make it plain) And the great issue of life is to harness the drum major instinct.

Now the other problem is, when you don't harness the drum major instinct-this uncontrolled aspect of it-is that it leads to snobbish exclusivism. It leads to snobbish exclusivism. (Make it plain) And you know, this is the danger of social clubs and fraternities-I'm in a fraternity; I'm in two or three-for sororities and all of these, I'm not talking against them. I'm saying it's the danger. The danger is that they can become forces of classism and exclusivism where somehow you get a degree of satisfaction because you are in something exclusive. And that's fulfilling something, you know-that I'm in this fraternity, and it's the best fraternity in the world, and everybody can't get in this fraternity. So it ends up, you know, a very exclusive kind of thing.

And you know, that can happen with the church; I know churches get in that bind sometimes. (Amen, Make it plain) I've been to churches, you know, and they say, "We have so many doctors, and so many school teachers, and so many lawyers, and so many businessmen in our church." And that's fine, because doctors need to go to church, and lawyers, and businessmen, teachers-they ought to be in church. But they say that-even the preacher sometimes will go all through that-they say that as if the other people don't count. (Amen)

And the church is the one place where a doctor ought to forget that he's a doctor. The church is the one place where a Ph.D. ought to forget that he's a Ph.D. (Yes) The church is the one place that the school teacher ought to forget the degree she has behind her name. The church is the one place where the lawyer ought to forget that he's a lawyer. And any church that violates the "whosoever will, let him come" doctrine is a dead, cold church, (Yes) and nothing but a little social club with a thin veneer of religiosity.

When the church is true to its nature, (Whoo) it says, "Whosoever will, let him come." (Yes) And it does not supposed to satisfy the perverted uses of the drum major instinct. It's the one place where everybody should be the same, standing before a common master and savior. (Yes, sir) And a recognition grows out of this-that all men are brothers because they are children (Yes) of a common father.

The drum major instinct can lead to exclusivism in one's thinking and can lead one to feel that because he has some training, he's a little better than that person who doesn't have it. Or because he has some economic security, that he's a little better than that person who doesn't have it. And that's the uncontrolled, perverted use of the drum major instinct.

Now the other thing is, that it leads to tragic-and we've seen it happen so often-tragic race prejudice. Many who have written about this problem-Lillian Smith used to say it beautifully in some of her books. And she would say it to the point of getting men and women to see the source of the problem. Do you know that a lot of the race problem grows out of the drum major instinct? A need that some people have to feel superior. A need that some people have to feel that they are first, and to feel that their white skin ordained them to be first. (Make it plain, today, ‘cause I'm against it, so help me God) And they have said over and over again in ways that we see with our own eyes. In fact, not too long ago, a man down in Mississippi said that God was a charter member of the White Citizens Council. And so God being the charter member means that everybody who's in that has a kind of divinity, a kind of superiority. And think of what has happened in history as a result of this perverted use of the drum major instinct. It has led to the most tragic prejudice, the most tragic expressions of man's inhumanity to man.

The other day I was saying, I always try to do a little converting when I'm in jail. And when we were in jail in Birmingham the other day, the white wardens and all enjoyed coming around the cell to talk about the race problem. And they were showing us where we were so wrong demonstrating. And they were showing us where segregation was so right. And they were showing us where intermarriage was so wrong. So I would get to preaching, and we would get to talking-calmly, because they wanted to talk about it. And then we got down one day to the point-that was the second or third day-to talk about where they lived, and how much they were earning. And when those brothers told me what they were earning, I said, "Now, you know what? You ought to be marching with us. [laughter] You're just as poor as Negroes." And I said, "You are put in the position of supporting your oppressor, because through prejudice and blindness, you fail to see that the same forces that oppress Negroes in American society oppress poor white people. (Yes) And all you are living on is the satisfaction of your skin being white, and the drum major instinct of thinking that you are somebody big because you are white. And you're so poor you can't send your children to school. You ought to be out here marching with every one of us every time we have a march."

Now that's a fact. That the poor white has been put into this position, where through blindness and prejudice, (Make it plain) he is forced to support his oppressors. And the only thing he has going for him is the false feeling that he's superior because his skin is white-and can't hardly eat and make his ends meet week in and week out. (Amen)

And not only does this thing go into the racial struggle, it goes into the struggle between nations. And I would submit to you this morning that what is wrong in the world today is that the nations of the world are engaged in a bitter, colossal contest for supremacy. And if something doesn't happen to stop this trend, I'm sorely afraid that we won't be here to talk about Jesus Christ and about God and about brotherhood too many more years. (Yeah) If somebody doesn't bring an end to this suicidal thrust that we see in the world today, none of us are going to be around, because somebody's going to make the mistake through our senseless blunderings of dropping a nuclear bomb somewhere. And then another one is going to drop. And don't let anybody fool you, this can happen within a matter of seconds. (Amen) They have twenty-megaton bombs in Russia right now that can destroy a city as big as New York in three seconds, with everybody wiped away, and every building. And we can do the same thing to Russia and China.

But this is why we are drifting. And we are drifting there because nations are caught up with the drum major instinct. "I must be first." "I must be supreme." "Our nation must rule the world." (Preach it) And I am sad to say that the nation in which we live is the supreme culprit. And I'm going to continue to say it to America, because I love this country too much to see the drift that it has taken.

God didn't call America to do what she's doing in the world now. (Preach it, preach it) God didn't call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war as the war in Vietnam. And we are criminals in that war. We've committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I'm going to continue to say it. And we won't stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation.

But God has a way of even putting nations in their place. (Amen) The God that I worship has a way of saying, "Don't play with me." (Yes) He has a way of saying, as the God of the Old Testament used to say to the Hebrews, "Don't play with me, Israel. Don't play with me, Babylon. (Yes) Be still and know that I'm God. And if you don't stop your reckless course, I'll rise up and break the backbone of your power." (Yes) And that can happen to America. (Yes) Every now and then I go back and read Gibbons' Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. And when I come and look at America, I say to myself, the parallels are frightening. And we have perverted the drum major instinct.

But let me rush on to my conclusion, because I want you to see what Jesus was really saying. What was the answer that Jesus gave these men? It's very interesting. One would have thought that Jesus would have condemned them. One would have thought that Jesus would have said, "You are out of your place. You are selfish. Why would you raise such a question?"

But that isn't what Jesus did; he did something altogether different. He said in substance, "Oh, I see, you want to be first. You want to be great. You want to be important. You want to be significant. Well, you ought to be. If you're going to be my disciple, you must be." But he reordered priorities. And he said, "Yes, don't give up this instinct. It's a good instinct if you use it right. (Yes) It's a good instinct if you don't distort it and pervert it. Don't give it up. Keep feeling the need for being important. Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be first in love. (Amen) I want you to be first in moral excellence. I want you to be first in generosity. That is what I want you to do."

And he transformed the situation by giving a new definition of greatness. And you know how he said it? He said, "Now brethren, I can't give you greatness. And really, I can't make you first." This is what Jesus said to James and John. "You must earn it. True greatness comes not by favoritism, but by fitness. And the right hand and the left are not mine to give, they belong to those who are prepared." (Amen)

And so Jesus gave us a new norm of greatness. If you want to be important-wonderful. If you want to be recognized-wonderful. If you want to be great-wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. (Amen) That's a new definition of greatness.

And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, (Everybody) because everybody can serve. (Amen) You don't have to have a college degree to serve. (All right) You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. (Amen) You only need a heart full of grace, (Yes, sir, Amen) a soul generated by love. (Yes) And you can be that servant.

I know a man-and I just want to talk about him a minute, and maybe you will discover who I'm talking about as I go down the way (Yeah) because he was a great one. And he just went about serving. He was born in an obscure village, (Yes, sir) the child of a poor peasant woman. And then he grew up in still another obscure village, where he worked as a carpenter until he was thirty years old. (Amen) Then for three years, he just got on his feet, and he was an itinerant preacher. And he went about doing some things. He didn't have much. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. (Yes) He never owned a house. He never went to college. He never visited a big city. He never went two hundred miles from where he was born. He did none of the usual things that the world would associate with greatness. He had no credentials but himself.

He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. They called him a rabble-rouser. They called him a troublemaker. They said he was an agitator. (Glory to God) He practiced civil disobedience; he broke injunctions. And so he was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. And the irony of it all is that his friends turned him over to them. (Amen) One of his closest friends denied him. Another of his friends turned him over to his enemies. And while he was dying, the people who killed him gambled for his clothing, the only possession that he had in the world. (Lord help him) When he was dead he was buried in a borrowed tomb, through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen centuries have come and gone and today he stands as the most influential figure that ever entered human history. All of the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned put together (Yes) have not affected the life of man on this earth (Amen) as much as that one solitary life. His name may be a familiar one. (Jesus) But today I can hear them talking about him. Every now and then somebody says, "He's King of Kings." (Yes) And again I can hear somebody saying, "He's Lord of Lords." Somewhere else I can hear somebody saying, "In Christ there is no East nor West." (Yes) And then they go on and talk about, "In Him there's no North and South, but one great Fellowship of Love throughout the whole wide world." He didn't have anything. (Amen) He just went around serving and doing good.

This morning, you can be on his right hand and his left hand if you serve. (Amen) It's the only way in.

Every now and then I guess we all think realistically (Yes, sir) about that day when we will be victimized with what is life's final common denominator-that something that we call death. We all think about it. And every now and then I think about my own death and I think about my own funeral. And I don't think of it in a morbid sense. And every now and then I ask myself, "What is it that I would want said?" And I leave the word to you this morning.

If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don't want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. (Yes) And every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize-that isn't important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards-that's not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school. (Yes)

I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. (Yes)

I'd like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.

I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. (Amen)

I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. (Yes)

And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. (Yes)

I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. (Lord)

I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity. (Yes)

Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. (Amen) Say that I was a drum major for peace. (Yes) I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. (Yes) I won't have any money to leave behind. I won't have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. (Amen) And that's all I want to say.

If I can help somebody as I pass along,

If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,

If I can show somebody he's traveling wrong,

Then my living will not be in vain.

If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,

If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought,

If I can spread the message as the master taught,

Then my living will not be in vain.

Yes, Jesus, I want to be on your right or your left side, (Yes) not for any selfish reason. I want to be on your right or your left side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition. But I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so that we can make of this old world a new world.

Delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, on 4 February 1968.

Should Ireland leave the Euro and devalue as suggested by economist David McWilliams?

Figures published by the Central Statistics Office show that the number of people signing onto the Live Register increased by 16,300 to 293,500 in December 2008. The unemployment rate rose to 8.3% in December from 7.8% in November. Exchequer figures for 2008 show that spending overshot Government income by €12.7 billion during the year. The deficit for 2009 could hit €20 billion.

Economist David McWilliams has suggested that Ireland should leave the Euro and then devalue its currency. He argues that no small country like Ireland has ever solved its problems without currency devaluation. It is incontestable that many Irish firms have been priced out of the UK market by the appreciation of the Euro against Sterling, which has suffered a massive devaluation as the Bank of England reduced interest rates. Similarly the Euro has risen in value against the Dollar.

The Euro is now overvalued against both Sterling and the Dollar. The Euro as a currency should be devalued by a slashing of Euro interest rates over a very short period of time. This is the route forward. The Irish government must administer the harsh medicine required and improve competitiveness.

David McWilliams suggestion that Ireland should leave the Euro is fraught with difficulty. Because the fundamentals of the Irish economy are so weak the Irish pound as a small currency would suffer a massive drop in value. Once it was floated it would go into freefall. This would trigger a massive rise in interest rates to protect the pound. The last state would be worse than the first.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Whitesnake-Here I Go Again (With Lyrics)

I don't know where I'm going
But, I sure know where I've been
Hanging on the promises
In songs of yesterday
An' I've made up my mind,
I ain't wasting no more time
But, here I go again
Here I go again

Tho' I keep searching for an answer,
I never seem to find what I'm looking for
Oh Lord, I pray
You give me strength to carry on,
'Cos I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams

An' here I go again on my own
Goin' down the only road I've ever known,
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An' I've made up my mind
I ain't wasting no more time

I'm just another heart in need of rescue,
Waiting on love's sweet charity
An' I'm gonna hold on
For the rest of my days,
'Cos I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams

An' here I go again on my own
Goin' down the only road I've ever known,
Like a twister I was born to walk alone
An' I've made up my mind
I ain't wasting no more time

But, here I go again,
Here I go again,
Here I go again,
Here I go...

An' I've made up my mind,
I ain't wasting no more time

An' here I go again on my own
Goin' down the only road I've ever known,
Like a twister I was born to walk alone
'Cos I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams

An' here I go again on my own
Goin' down the only road I've ever known,
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An' I've made up my mind
I ain't wasting no more time...

But, here I go again,
Here I go again,
Here I go again,
Here I go,
Here I go again...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ireland:Government nationalises Anglo Irish Bank-Plan to inject €1.5bn into the bank dropped

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The Government has announced plans to take complete control of Anglo Irish Bank, saying its previous plan to inject money into the bank is not the best way to secure its viability....
The Government had planned to inject €1.5bn into the bank, taking 75% of the voting rights in the process...The bank will continue to operate as normal and depositors and creditors should continue to transact as normal.. The Government statement said shareholders' rights would be respected, and that legislation will outline plans for compensation.(RTE)

Fine Gael has issued the following statement:

Anglo U-turn the Correct Decision but Latest in Long Line of Climb downs
The Government have been forced to abandon their own recapitalisation plan for Anglo Irish Bank and have directly adopted the plan set out by Fine Gael in this regard just yesterday, according to Fine Gael Deputy Leader Richard Bruton T.D. He was speaking after the Government announced the nationalisation of Anglo Irish Bank this evening.

"In December Fine Gael said it was not appropriate for the Government to pour taxpayers' money in to a recapitalisation plan for Anglo Irish Bank, given the information that had emerged regarding Anglo's lending practises. We formed the view that the public were entitled to have trust and confidence in the banks that they were being asked to recapitalise. This trust and confidence was clearly not there for Anglo. The Government, however, regardless of the advice offered ploughed on with a plan to put €1.5bn of taxpayers' money in to Anglo.

"Tonight the Government have finally been forced in to recognising their mistaken approach to this bank. They have adopted the plans set out by Enda Kenny yesterday in relation to Anglo Irish Bank, the latest Fine Gael proposal that they have been forced in to adopting. The handling of this issue confirms, once again, that the Government are all at sea on economic policy and are lurching from one u-turn to the next. First it was the multiple u-turns on the Budget, then the requirement for recapitalisation of Irish banks, then the idea of a pay freeze, and then finally their u-turn on Anglo Irish Bank's entitlement to be included in the recapitalisation programme.

"This latest of u-turns, while the correct decision that will help protect the viability of the remaining banks, does not bode well for the steady and assured management of the economy in the future. Finally, the Government needs to clarify if today's announcement has the effect of extending the State guarantee to any additional liabilities of the bank, including the owners of €2bn in perpetual preference shares."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bin Laden urges Muslims to launch a holy war (jihad) to stop the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip and Taunts the US

A Call for Jihad to Stop the Aggression against Gaza", was posted on websites on Wednesday.
Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in a message- perfectly timed to coincide with the Obama inauguration and the Israeli offensive in Gaza- urged Muslims to launch a jihad against Israel and condemned Arab governments as allies of the Jewish state. The use of the term Crusader-Zionist alliance will further ignite tensions between Christians and Muslims and is geared to inflame Muslim passions to even greater heights. The following are some of the key points of the message purporting to come from bin Laden.

"Our brothers in Palestine, you have suffered a lot.... the Muslims sympathise with you in what they see and hear. We, the mujahideen, sympathise with you also..We are with you and we will not let you down. Our fate is tied to yours in fighting the Crusader-Zionist coalition, in fighting until victory or martyrdom.
There is only one strong way to bring the return of Al-Aqsa and Palestine, and that is jihad in the path of God (a reference to the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem). The duty is to urge people to jihad and to enlist the youth into jihad brigades....Muslim nation, you are capable of defeating the Zionist entity with your popular capabilities and your great hidden strength — without the support of (Arab) leaders and despite the fact that most of (the leaders) stand in the barracks of the Crusader-Zionist alliance.

God has bestowed us with the patience to continue the path of jihad for another seven years, and seven and seven years..The question is, can America continue its war with us for several more decades to come? Reports and evidence would suggest otherwise.."

President Bush, the message said, was leaving his successor with a "heavy inheritance." Referring to Barack Obama the speaker said: "If he withdraws from the war, it is a military defeat. If he continues, he drowns in economic crisis." Here bin Laden is taunting the US.

Monday, January 12, 2009

George W Bush Achievements that will stand the test of time

Much has been written of George W Bush's alleged failures. Perhaps it is time to look at some of his achievements.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is a United States federal law that was originally proposed by President George W Bush on January 23, 2001. Congress based its legislation on the Presidents proposals. It was the most sweeping reform of federal education policy in a generation. The legislation, which closely followed the President's agenda to improve America's public schools, passed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan majorities and signed into law on January 8, 2002.

After the September 11 attacks Bush beefed up security. The US removed the Taliban from power and shut down the terrorist training camps and liberated more than 25 million Afghans. The Bush administration has kept the US free of terrorist attacks since 9/11. This is no mean achievement.

The Bush administration introduced major initiatives to tackle aids and malaria.

The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in human history. When the President launched this initiative in 2003, approximately 50,000 people in all of sub-Saharan Africa were receiving anti-retroviral treatment.
Ahead of schedule, the United States has fulfilled the President's commitment to support treatment for two million people. As of September 30, 2008, PEPFAR supported life-saving antiretroviral treatment for more than 2.1 million men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS around the world, including more than 2 million people in sub-Saharan Africa.
As of September 30, 2008, nearly 9.7 million people affected by HIV/AIDS in PEPFAR's focus countries had received compassionate care, including nearly 4 million orphans and vulnerable children. Globally, the United States is supporting care for more than 10.1 million people, including more than 4 million orphans and vulnerable children.
Nearly 240,000 babies have been born HIV-free due to the support of the American people for programs to prevent mothers from passing the virus on to their children.
In July, President Bush signed into law H.R. 5501, the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act. This legislation will expand access to lifesaving antiretroviral drugs, prevent millions of new HIV infections, and provide compassionate care to millions of people affected by HIV/AIDS. Under this legislation, the next phase of the American people's generous commitment to those suffering from HIV/AIDS will support:
Treatment for at least 3 million people;
Prevention of 12 million new infections; and
Care for 12 million people, including 5 million orphans and vulnerable children.
Faith-based and community organizations are important partners in the implementation of PEPFAR, the President's Malaria Initiative, and other U.S.-funded efforts. President Bush's Faith-based and Community Initiative empowers these organizations so that they can help create an effective, multi-sectoral response to need. Faith-based and community organizations are uniquely positioned to promote HIV/AIDS stigma-reduction and prevention messages and provide counseling and testing, home care, clinical services, and antiretroviral treatment, particularly in some of the hardest-to-reach communities. Last year, 87 percent of PEPFAR partners were indigenous organizations, and nearly a quarter were faith-based. More details here
Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit: George W. Bush signed legislation that entitled 41.7 million disabled and elderly beneficiaries of Medicare to new coverage of prescription drugs.

President Bush took a strong pro-life stance. He signed the ban on partial-birth abortions. President Bush also signed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. This ensures that unborn children who survive botched abortions receive proper medical care instead of being left to die or purposefully killed after birth. He has nominated pro-life judges. Bush refused to sign FOCA.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gaza Suffering- Families struggle for food

Gaza residents talk about hardship; The UN will resume relief operations only after receiving guarantees on security of personnel from the Israeli army.
Locked inside the coastal slice of land, just 40 kilometres (24 miles) long and up to 12 kilometres wide, with next to no food getting in each day, 1.5 million people are battling to find enough to keep their families alive.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Amazing Video: Israeli IDF conversation with Palestinians (Israeli soldier and Palestinian civilians explain fears and hopes)

This video was recorded on Jan 9 -2009. It provides a fascinating insight into the thinking of Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians. In reality both want peace. Now if only the leaders on both sides would listen.

The IDF come across as nervous and on edge and somewhat aggressive eventhough there is a camera filming the exchange of views. The video opens with the following question to the soldiers: "Its confusing to me that when one person hurts another group of people then the whole group of people have to suffer for it. So maybe you can help me understand".

A soldier explains why he is in Gaza. "I help you understand (sic)." "You think I want to be here? ..... I do this for one reason, because I love my country (sic). Because I want my mother to go to work and dont die (sic). I want my sister to go to school and not to be scared." The soldier admitted shooting a child for pointing at him. He said that the Palestinian was not scared to go to Israel because he knows he could go there and come back alive. The Israeli soldier stated that he was scared to go to Qalqilya and Jayyous-"I know they want to kill me".

The Palestinian replies..."If you want to come to my house we can stop together... We need peace we want peace. We want to stop the blood. We want to be like neighbours, like friends."

Sarah Palin answers the liberal media in an interview for the forthcoming documentary "Media Malpractice"

In an interview for the forthcoming documentary "Media Malpractice" Governor Sarah Palin, for the first time at length, takes on the media coverage of her and the 2008 campaign. There is plenty more of the interview to come. To find out more got to and get on the mailing list.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ireland: Bombshell -Dell axes 1900 jobs in Limerick and plans new manufacturing plant at Lodz in Poland

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Computer multi-national Dell has announced that it is cutting 1,900 jobs at its plant in Limerick over the next 12 months.

Dell will move all production of computer systems for customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa from Limerick to its Polish facility and third-party manufacturers over the next year...(RTE)

Currently Dell employs 3,000m workers at its Limerick plant. The loss of 1900 jobs is a shattering blow not alone to Limerick but to the entire Mid-West region. In addition thousands of jobs in spin off industries are likely to go. Dell says it will continue to employ approximately 1,000 staff in Limerick to coordinate supply chain, manufacturing and logistics for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The Taoiseach Brian Cowen has confirmed that a Government Task Force will now be formed to promote economic activity in the region.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ireland: FF proposal to slash school buses is unfair, blinkered & daft - Feighan

The school transport scheme was set up in the 1960s to ensure access to primary and post-primary education for children who live in rural areas. It now costs the taxpayer €170 million annually to run the scheme. Dublin FF TD Chris Andrews argues that given that most families now have access to their own transport it is time to revise the scheme. He told the Evening Herald: "It is hard for me as someone in the city to see how it is fully justified. "It's very much a rural scheme and given the traffic in Dublin, if anything it's Dublin it should be in. "It's a huge expense and I would have thought that there were other things higher up on the priority list."

Frank Feighan TD FG Deputy Spokesperson on Transport & Education, with Special Responsibility for Rural and School Transport has blasted Andrews proposals. The following is the text of a statement released by Mr Feighan on the issue.

FF proposal to slash school buses is unfair, blinkered & daft - Feighan

"More than 135,000 children in far-flung rural areas use the State transport scheme to get to school. Many would not be able to get to school at all without school buses, and many schools would be forced to close.
"So I was astonished to hear Dublin Fianna Fáil TD Chris Andrews suggesting that the school transport scheme should be scaled back in rural areas, and instead be rolled out in his own city. Deputy Andrews's mindless proposal shows just how out of touch the Government has become.
"This proposal is shot full of holes:
- Most urban areas already have extensive public transport networks, while most rural areas do not;
- Scrapping school buses in rural areas would force more parents to drive their children to school, driving up pollution levels and adding to congestion.
"Furthermore, in the midst of the deepest recession in living memory, it would add considerably to household bills. Brian Lenihan has already pushed up the cost of school transport by over 200%. Fianna Fáil's proposal to abolish school transport in rural areas is unthinking, inconsiderate and beyond the pale."

Chris Andrews is out of touch with life in rural Ireland. His proposals are a cynical ploy geared to curry favour with his own urban constituents. Rural backbench TDs of all political parties would strongly oppose this nonsensical proposal. Arise rural Ireland from thy political slumber.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ireland:Government plans public sector pay cuts-5% reduction likely with further cuts to follow

2008 Exchequer figures released yesterday confirm a 12.7 billion euro deficit in the public finances after the tax take came in 8.1 billion euro less than what was predicted for the year. Last year's tax revenues fell to levels last seen in 2005. At the height of the construction and property boom in 2006, the Government took in €10bn on property-related taxes, almost a quarter of all tax revenues. The government allowed public expenditure to grow by 25% in 2006 and 2007. This rate of public expenditure growth was patently unsustainable. However it helped FF to return to power in the 2007 general election. FG Finance Spokesman Richard Bruton in 2006 and 2007 warned the government of the likely consequences of this policy. These dire consequences have come to pass. Unfortunately the property boom on which this public expenditure splurge was based could not be expected to continue forever.

The crash in Irish building and construction has decimated property taxes. Unemployment is heading for the 300,000 mark further straining government finances. The rise in the value of the euro is increasing pressure on Irish exporters whilst the international recession is further depressing the economy. In 2009 it is likely that Ireland will have a negative growth rate of around -4%. Ireland is now caught between its own internal economic problems and the international recession.

It is anticipated that the deficit could reach 21 billion euro in 2009 without further remedial action. A public sector pay cut is a certainty. 5% is regularly mentioned as a likely figure. It is more likely to be at least 10% in the longer term. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan and Taoiseach Brian Cowen intend to consult with the social partners. Decoded this means a public sector pay cut with the blessing of the unions.

Sea Ice Ends Year at Same Level as 1979-DailyTech reports (But is Al Gore listening?)

According to the DailyTech

Rapid growth spurt leaves amount of ice at levels seen 29 years ago

Thanks to a rapid rebound in recent months, global sea ice levels now equal those seen 29 years ago, when the year 1979 also drew to a close.
Ice levels had been tracking lower throughout much of 2008, but rapidly recovered in the last quarter. In fact, the rate of increase from September onward is the fastest rate of change on record, either upwards or downwards.
The data is being reported by the University of Illinois's Arctic Climate Research Center, and is derived from satellite observations of the Northern and Southern hemisphere polar regions....

Al Gore has stated that The North Polar Ice Cap will disappear by 2013. This data flatly contradicts his claims.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Demis Roussos sings Rain And Tears (Live In Bratislava)

Demis Roussos - Rain And Tears (Live In Bratislava) from the DVD Great Successes - 40 Years of Music . This is arguably his best version of the song.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and media sharply critical of Al Jazeera

YNet reports that
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni gave an interview Monday (29/12/08) to Arab television network al-Jazeera in which she harshly criticized Hamas, saying the organization was to blame for the civilian casualties in Gaza...

However she also lambasted Al Jazeera:
[She] sarcastically noted during the interview that "when you show one-sided images from Gaza you're not helping peace. I understand that pictures which create provocation lead to anger and hostility among the citizens, but we want a better future for this region"

Al Jazeera and PressTV have been showing wall to wall coverage of the Israeli invasion from an Arab perspective. These channels are available internationally. This has angered many Israelis. I am not aware of any Israeli TV channels which perform the same function.
YNet also carries an article by Dr. Mordechai Kedar who is a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University’s department of Arabic. In it he calls for the closure of Al Jazeeras offices:
........What matters is that this is not a media channel, but rather, a jihadist terrorist channel that aims to eliminate the State of Israel. It is for good reason that Osama Bin Laden hands over his audiotapes to this channel, which cooperates with him fully.
Israeli citizens are paying with their blood for the media freedom enjoyed by al-Jazeera.
There is only one conclusion here: We must immediately shut down al-Jazeera’s Israel offices and prevent its employees from working for it. Once Israel does it, many other countries will follow suit, particularly in the Middle East, for their own reasons. They are waiting for Israel to put an end to the recklessness of this non-media channel....