Esquire Theme by Matthew Buchanan

19

Apr

newyorker:

With exposure lengths ranging from ten minutes to four hours, the Los Angeles-based photographer and video artist Kevin Cooley captures the takeoff and landings of commercial airplane flights: http://nyr.kr/1euvrwL
Above: Takeoffs, LaGuardia Airport, Runway 4 (2009). Photograph by Kevin Cooley/Kopeikin Gallery.

newyorker:

With exposure lengths ranging from ten minutes to four hours, the Los Angeles-based photographer and video artist Kevin Cooley captures the takeoff and landings of commercial airplane flights: http://nyr.kr/1euvrwL

Above: Takeoffs, LaGuardia Airport, Runway 4 (2009). Photograph by Kevin Cooley/Kopeikin Gallery.

11

Apr

Such a great night #IrishStateVisit

Such a great night #IrishStateVisit

17

Feb

On May 23rd the future direction of Europe will be decided, not by the Leader of any big member state, but by the people of all its member states, voting for the MEPs they want to represent them in the European Parliament. Coming out of both the Irish and European recession, this is probably the most important vote we have yet cast in elections for the European Parliament.

And we are doing so too, at a time when a new and nasty form of extreme right-wing politics is on the rise across Europe. The conservative consensus failed Europe. And now, the extreme right is growing in France, Holland, Austria, Finland – and even in the UK where an inward looking anti-European political force is now driving debate to take Britain out of the EU.

Eamon Gilmore, speech to Labour Party conference 15 February 2014: http://www.labour.ie/press/2014/02/15/we-will-make-the-recovery-real-in-the-lives-of-har/

05

Jan

US voters more about income inequality than Europeans?

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s focus on income inequality is going national in the US, with Senate Democrats adopting his message ahead of the midterm elections later this year.

But voters in Europe punish incumbent governments for rising unemployment and not for rising inequality, according to this blogpost by Florence Bouvet and Sharmila King: http://goo.gl/B1iPGC

24

Dec

theatlanticcities:

Boston’s Department of Innovation and Technology announced that it’s going to change City Hall’s boring hold music, crowdsourcing original tunes from local musicians instead.

Besides the submission above, you can listen to a few other candidates here.

22

Dec

Your question is: why am I so interested in politics? But if I were to answer you very simply, I would say this: why shouldn’t I be interested? That is to say, what blindness, what deafness, what density of ideology would have to weigh me down to prevent me from being interested in what is probably the most crucial subject to our existence, that is to say the society in which we live, the economic relations in which it functions, and the system of power which defines the regular forms and the regular permissions and prohibitions of our conduct. The essence of our life consists after all, of the political functioning of the society in which we find ourselves. So I can’t answer the question of why should I be interested; I could only answer it by asking why shouldn’t I be interested? Not to be interested in politics, that’s what constitutes a problem. You should ask someone who is not interested in politics; ‘Why, damn it, are you not interested?
Foucault  (via mariyayefremova)

06

Dec

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

05

Dec

The outstanding Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, has written that too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart … It could have been that our own hearts turned to stone. It could have been that we inscribed vengeance on our banners of battle and resolved to meet brutality with brutality. But we understood that oppression dehumanises the oppressor as it hurts the oppressed. We understood that to emulate the barbarity of the tyrant would also transform us into savages. We knew that we would sully and degrade our cause if we allowed that it should, at any stage, borrow anything from the practices of the oppressor. We had to refuse that our long sacrifice should make a stone of our hearts.

Nelson Mandela, address to Dáil Éireann, 2 July 1990

11

Nov

On Newbridge Credit Union

A few points to make on foot of the news that Newbridge Credit Union is to be taken over by Permanent TSB:

  • Most credit unions have chipped into a fund to bail credit unions out of trouble, but the problems in Newbridge are on a different scale.
  • The actions being taken in Newbridge are made possible by the Credit Union Act 2012, which envisioned that such resolution mechanisms would be necessary in the credit union sector.
  • Credit unions in Ireland are actively discouraged (and since 2012 are effectively barred) from lending to local SMEs; lending to SMEs could create jobs, support local economies and ease the credit crisis.
  • Credit unions can’t just sit on their deposits; they have to create value for their members. So credit unions were told in the past that they could put their money into nice, safe banks like Anglo. Some credit unions gave their deposits to fund managers who knew what they were doing (right?).
  • Credit union members were among the only Anglo bondholders to be ‘burned’.

28

Sep

Votes for Citizens Abroad

This weekend the Convention on the Constitution is meeting to discuss the possibility of giving Irish citizens abroad the right to vote in Presidential elections. I attended an event in the London Irish Centre a few weeks ago where there was unanimous agreement that emigrants want more – we want the right to vote in general elections.

The Convention on the Constitution has pushed the boundaries of its terms of reference when discussing some of the other issues that it has considered so far. For example, the Convention recommended that the voting age be lowered to 16; it had been asked to consider lowering the age to 17. Hopefully the Convention will push the boundaries again this weekend.

Ireland is one of only two countries in the EU-15 bloc that does not extend any voting rights to expatriates. Most other countries in the world extend some kind of voting rights to their citizens who are resident abroad. 

89,000 people emigrated from Ireland between April 2012 and April 2013 – 50,900 of whom were Irish citizens. A UCC study published yesterday outlines the various reasons that people are choosing to emigrate; the biggest bloc (just under 60%) report that they are doing so to find employment. This represents a State that is failing its people. Some Irish citizens are being forced abroad to provide for themselves and their families, and to fulfill their potential.

Why should these people be disenfranchised? Many of them want to return to Ireland one day – they have as much a stake in Ireland’s future as Irish citizens in Ireland. However, the moment these citizens leave the State their views become irrelevant to the political system. There is little incentive for the Irish political system to address the reasons why these people have been forced to emigrate. That is not a good thing for Irish citizens at home or abroad.

While Irish citizens abroad could be given the right to vote in the Dáil constituency in which they were registered at home, I believe that special overseas constituencies should be created. Other countries have done this; France and Italy being two examples.

Having the votes of emigrants count in the constituency that they were registered with in Ireland  would be an unsatisfactory solution. Candidates running in those constituencies would not be able to effectively reach out to those emigrant voters. Furthermore, the influence of emigrants would be diluted over Ireland’s forty constituencies. Under this method, Irish citizens abroad would be unlikely to have their interests represented in Dáil Éireann to any significant degree.

By creating new constituencies, emigrants as a voting bloc could be given effective representation within Ireland’s political system. TDs for émigrés could raise issues that are specific to the emigrant community. 

The use of PR-STV would potentially allow for the creation of these constituencies to be a relatively simple process. There could be as few as two constituencies – one for Northern Ireland and one for the rest of the world. Because under PR-STV there are multi-seat constituencies, one would not necessarily have to worry about drawing boundaries, or trying to count the number of Irish in different parts of the world, or trying to anticipate the variations in turnout that there would undoubtedly be. We already see voters in Ireland effectively subdivide constituencies geographically – there will inevitably be a candidate elected from such-and-such a town or such-and-such a part of the county. Émigrés would probably do likewise; thus the distribution of TDs will alter in line with the demand of Irish citizens abroad.

The Constitution currently states that there must be at least one TD for every 30,000 people; I don’t think anybody is saying that emigrants should be entitled to that same level of representation. And I think a lot of people accept that there should be a time limit imposed on this particular right – perhaps ten years. These are all secondary issues. I hope the Convention on the Constitution will take the time to tease them out during the weekend.