Showing posts from October, 2009

Dell: the "skilled" myth dissipates - part 1

I was quite surprised whilst reading this article about the holdup regarding the grants to Dell workers for retraining, this very surprising and very contradictory statement:

Some of the workers were very low skilled and would need more basic retraining than others so it was essential to include crafts, he said.

Read more:

Whatever happened to the idea that huge multinationals were simply flocking to Ireland for our amazingly skilled, amazingly educated workers?

It seems that the figures don't add up. And I would suspect also, the parallel myth, that TNCs coming to Ireland pay spectacular wages and create an elite tier of workers with great pay, competitive conditions and of course, no need at all for union representation, because they are just SOOOO much better off than you poor Irish neanderthals working in Irish companies with unions and "traditional" work practices.

The myth of "safe" drunken driving

2 dead, 2 badly injured. 1 man fleeing the scene. A 3am crash on a bank holiday weekend marked out by a drinking festival masquerading itself as a music festival. And lots and lots of extraordinarily dumb people, including the dumbest public representatives in Ireland, coming out with bullshit such as a suggestion that a couple of drinks "help" "nervous" drivers according to one knuckle dragger in Tipp, who to be honest, should simply be passed to his nearest psychiatric unit, and left there until he can distinguish between reality and the fantasy world in which he lives.

We just cannot afford to pretend that there is no relationship between consuming alcohol late at night and horrific crashes that occur late at night and at weekends. It simply is no coincidence. We know this because in each and every other country - which by now means most of the civillised world, which parts of Cork especially seem unwilling to want to join, instead to remain in their fantasy…

Why MakeRoom are Wrong on rent subsidy cuts

It was interesting to hear the "news" about a number of different housing NGOs creating a "new" coalition called MakeRoom. Actually it transpires that this has been quietly going for a while. One thing I have consistently foud problematic about NGOs such as Threshold, is while they largely emphasize services for the homeless community, who in Ireland make up a figure of anything between 4500 and far more. In reality the true figure isn't really known, and it doesn't include a massive community of people "at risk" or in genuinely substandard housing (which probably includes the vast majority of people living in Victorian conversions, which are especially notorious for extraordinarily low housing standards). This figure I think runs into tens of thousands. Then the proportion of people on low incomes paying more than 30% of their after tax income in rent. And finally, a large group, currently managing ok, who would not qualify for rent subsidy…

How shameless can you get?

It was in reading this account from RTE of the funeral of Stephen Gately. Aside from the obvious strangeness of a traditional catholic ceremony for a chap who was living in a state of what the church describes as an "intrinsic disorder" and a "moral evil." Does the church really need the "business" that badly and are those around the late singer so unwilling to stand up to the powers of "tradition" and provide an end more appropriate for somebody who in all honestly, is hugely unlikely to have had much of a "catholic" life. (Before you get on your moral high horse, I've seen some wonderful non-theist send-offs for people who did not force a catholic or christian or other format onto the late persons life, one of the best being a gentle and completely non-religious ceremony for a TCD lecturer of whom nobody actually knew what his beliefs were - this is true dignity).

But it was the last line that really made me want to vomit:
450 i…

Who is Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno and why should you care?

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno is a rather successful Malaysian model. In December 2007 she did what many westerners would take for granted, and started to enjoy a beer in a hotel lobby. But under Malaysian two-tier legal code, which prescribes one set of laws for non-muslims and another based on their local interpretation of Sharia law for Muslims, she broke the law.

Now beer and other forms of alcohol are widely avaiable in Malaysia, though prohibitively expensive - your average beer costs the same as it does in Ireland, even though wages about 1/3 of what they are here. And Irish drink prices are a legendary rip off to start with. Most drinkers are either foreigners, Hindus or Chinese. Malaysia, like its next door neighbour Singapore, is hugely multicultural. Except when it comes to the legal code.

While many people assume Malaysia is a "moderate" muslim state, quite severe laws exist. Now we know all about this in Ireland. Not enforcing hugely discriminatory laws is no…

Quote of the week from Guardian comments

Some years ago, there was a dramatization of some awful Edwardian-period novel in which the woman who played Duckface in Four Weddings and a Funeral pleasured her downstairs maid with what looked like a leather truncheon.
Reviewing this bilge, I recall the Guardian's TV reviewer writing "it isn't ever day one sees a leather-clad dildo on the BBC. Unless it's Jeremy Clarkson."

From here.

Cork "GuinessFest" continues to take the piss out of jazz fans

Today the line up for the annual alcoholicfest which masquerades as a "jazz" festival announced its line up, many of which it says are "including many who fall outside the “jazz” remit". No way! There is a "jazz" remit in the Guiness festival? Incredulous when you consider the steady denigration of the Guiness Festival into a drunken folk and soft rock fest.

Here we go:
YolanDa Brown - jazz
Pharaoh Sanders - jazz
Imelda May - not jazz
Fish Go Deep - not jazz
These Charming Men - not jazz
The Stone Roses Experience - very definitely not jazz
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - jazz
The Fun Loving Criminals - not jazz
Jack DeJohnette - jazz
The Coronas - very definitely not jazz
Don Baker - blues (sort of jazz)
Sun Ra Arkestra - jazz (without a doubt - class act too)
Director - VERY definitely not jazz
The Alain Bédard Auguste Quartet - jazz
Gilard Atzmon Jazz Quartet - obviously jazz
Francois Bourassa Quartet - jazz

So there we go - 16 acts, of whom only 6 are jazz acts. So that…

Misplaced Spending: Community Platforms

Back in the 1980s, the now notorious Fás came up with an ingenious idea, based on similar programmes based in Thatcher's UK from around 1982. Instead of simply paying people on the dole, and at the same time paying for essential community services such as street cleaners etc, why not shove some of the then ever-lengthening dole queues into roles previously carried out by full time, permanent, and in those days, reasonably rewarded workers. Community schemes, as they were called, was the politically expedient way to try to stem the political impact of both sky-rocketing welfare stats and vanishing public services.

In Ireland they called it the CES scheme, and some were not bad. "I've a job scare," said a friend of my Mum's, recently laid off, who was appointed a supervisor on one of these schemes. I cannot remember exactly what it was, but those who were hired were considered to be "trainees" as most were effectively unemployable. Back then, there wa…