links for 2011-03-08

  • One plausible explanation, the authors wrote, is that India’s rapid economic growth “may have benefited only the privileged sections of society.”
    As I’ve posted before, because it has – in the main – skipped the industrial step of the shift to a westernised economy and gone straight to services, the level of inequality in India is greater and more dramatic than in any western country. China is an interesting comparison study – like India the rural-urban divide has grown enormously over the past 20 years, but because China is a manufacturing economy, the relative gap is nothing like as big there. Presumably the nominally Communist system also reduces the opportunity for widespread wealth, though I’m not so sure about that part.
  • The recent growth in the state has been largely fueled by Hispanics, who continued to increase in numbers, though at a slower rate than in the 1990s. The number of whites continued to decline. They now make up just 40 percent of the state, compared with 47 percent in 2000.
    The (by US standards) high cost of housing doesn’t get a mention in this article until the last paragraph. However, from (far) outside, I find myself musing on the death of the American dream, and what impact that has had on the fact that USians are no longer willing to “Go West”. It seems that now only Mexican and Central American Hispanics are willing to go north.
  • Very unfortunate.
  • Dad commented today that “technical group” is an odd term, but I think it makes sense – technically they are a group for the purpose of gaining status in the Dáil, but they are not a group in any but the broadest political sense. And you couldn’t have every independent in the Dáil having an right to equal time with the leader of the opposition, because they get damn all done as it is!
  • One last detail of their big day has got Rachel Armstrong and Shelley Farrell perplexed. They are on a hunt for tasteful same-sex cake toppers – the little figurines that sit on the top of the wedding cake – but so far their search has been fruitless. One friend suggested buying two sets of straight cake toppers and breaking off the grooms, but the couple aren’t keen on that option.
  • DEMOCRATS AND Republicans alike have described President Barack Obama’s executive order allowing indefinite detention of terrorism suspects at Guantánamo prison and the resumption of military trials there as a return to the policies of George W Bush.
    Yes indeed. What a shocker – US President continues “US can do whatever the hell it wants” policies. Not really that big a surprise is it? At least he’s admitted it’s wrong to keep people without trial forever. Or “until the cessation of hostilities” with a non-state unspecified enemy, so effectively forever. That’s a start I suppose.
  • He also directed the retention of a full-strength Irish-speaking battalion based at Renmore Barracks in Galway, the nearest barracks to the largest Gaeltacht in the country.
    Good for Galway anyway – local politics at its best. I think keeping the Equitation School makes sense though; for €1m they create a very positive image for the horse industry.
  • We understand that this liability has nothing to do with his engagement with the sheriff’s office.
    Well it wouldn’t, would it? He just happened to find a few bob down the back of the couch and forgot to declare it.
  • Er… what record Vincent? This coalition has not yet been in government… how can you judge them by what happened 15 (or 35) years ago, when social norms and circumstances were very different? VB is really (really really!) starting to get up my nose.
  • It must be bad enough to get a cancer diagnosis. But trying to get through treatment while navigating through this series of hurdles – apparently designed to stop you getting social welfare during the treatment – would sap anyone’s will to live. Terrible stuff; the ConDem government in the UK make Thatcher’s governments look like Andrex puppies.
  • The English do still have their peculiarities. I never heard of “chalet girls” but apparently they are the skiing equivalent of holiday reps… only more so.
  • Badly worded headline – it reads as though people on Mars are facing difficult decisions. As for the story… it has a bit of that “nothing happened today” feel about it.
  • Rangers vx Celtic games are a driver of drunkenness, violence and domestic abuse. I noticed when living in Glasgow that there was a hard drinking culture there that was probably stronger than anywhere else I have ever lived, even more so than Ireland. Monday mornings in the office were a litany of stories about the weekend piss-ups.
    There was a 172% rise in violent offences when a match is played on a Saturday, compared to an average Saturday where there is no fixture. This falls to a 65% rise in violent crimes committed when the Old Firm have a weekday game. A statement from the force added: “Looking at domestic violence, the Saturday effect is a 138.8% rise in offences. For Sunday it is a 96.6% rise, and for weekday evenings the rise is 56.8%.
  • Richard Peppiatt resigned in protest at what he alleged was the newspaper’s anti-Muslim “hatemongering”. His resignation letter, in which he confessed to making up stories during his two years at the tabloid, received widespread attention after it was disseminated via Twitter.
    The paper’s hate-mongering, which he abetted for years by making up anti-Muslim stories. Seems like a bit of karma to me, although it’s likely these threats are coming from people related to his former employers rather than the targets of his lying stories.
  • There is an upside to litigious society then – I think that’s the main reason these child molesters were suspended.
  • Duh. How to spend money measuring Sybil Fawlty’s chosen specialised subject, the Bleeding Obvious.
  • Stockbyte founder Jerry Kennelly said the standard of Maths classes has been described as remedial, and he said it has to be rethought starting with primary school.
    I agree; the new maths curriculum is a joke. I used to be proud of the standard of maths in Ireland, with calculus (including derivatives from first principles) taught even to pass-level students at Leaving Cert, but not any more.
  • Here’s an example of the sort of statement by corporate executives that really makes my head spin:
    [Chief executive Ray] King said profits would have been lower still if not for cost-cutting and efficiencies that the group has introduced since the start of the financial crisis.
    Why only since the start of the crisis? Shouldn’t companies cut costs and be efficient even when times are good? It’s just something that I’ve read a lot recently and it seems very revealing to me.
  • The town of Bin Jawad, 60km (40 miles) from Ras Lanuf, has now fallen to forces loyal to Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi. The BBC’s World Affairs Editor John Simpson came under fire as he travelled to Bin Jawad from Ras Lanuf, from where he filed this report.
    I find it very interesting to watch how the news organisations refer to the anti-government fighters in Libya – pro-democracy forces (hah!!), anti-Gaddafi rebels, guerrillas even. However, in most places in the world they’d be calling them terrorists. Perceptions are profoundly shaped by prejudice. (Ooh, alliterative!)
  • It’s a part of America’s past that may not be celebrated in the history books but certainly left a mark on the early 20th century. Mobsters, booze and organized crime were all part of the world that turned many streets over to gangsters like Al Capone.
  • This is a good thing, because far too many people have no idea about all the information that is currently gathered on their computer. I use Firefox with NoScript (which stops, as you’d expect, websites running scripts in your browser without explicit permission) and I have cookies set so that the browser will ask before accepting them. You’d be amazed at some of the websites that plonk 20-30 cookies into your browser the second you land on their front page.
  • Chilling.
  • I think this is entirely understandable. The banks make it very difficult to open an account without proof of address like phone or gas bill, and then it is difficult to get services such as phone or gas without a bank account. So – especially for people renting – it’s too difficult, and not worth the trouble.
  • A very interesting article about the FIA’s Academy for young drivers. Terrific to have such an opportunity, but I do hope they are not generating a generation of media-savvy robots!

~ by Lynn Duffy on March 9, 2011.

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