When I was in Secondary School I was put out of RE class for questioning a Nun about the doctrine of the Catholic Church. I remanded outside the class long enough to do my own reading on the Holy See. And to this day I am still questioning. I feel pretty much the same today as I did back in that RE class.
We have all seen the abuse, hypocritical behavior, criminal acts and down right lying they have spouted out all around the world as they desperately tried to cover up the heinous crimes they committed against Children, Women and their Children. And the poor and uneducated in general. From Boston to Dublin and beyond they have left thousands of lives shattered. Thousands who could not face life due to what was done to them took their own lives, more ended up with lives of addiction or lives in prison. We all know about the hiding behind Cannon Law and the shuffling about from parish to parish of abusive priests. This was, is all dad enough, but it was all accompanied with a self righteous defense and a dose of hypocritical behavior. Apologies were few and far apart, not very heartfelt and always had some Cannon Lawyer quoting a unknown Church law which had no bearing on Civil or Criminal Law. Anything anyone got from them was hard fought and hard won.
Now we have come to the point where the Princes of the Church are about to go into Concave to choose a new Pope. The fact that before they do so they are having a meeting to discuss the many problems facing the Church tells you what kind of a state the Church is in. The fact that it is a gang of old men who have spent all their lives in the Church. And some of them have spent years and years inside the Vatican. The vows of Celibacy, the lack of living any kind of normal lives and the heightened sense of their own importance leads them to be the worse possible candidates to choose a man to lay down doctrine to millions of Catholics and indeed to moralize to the rest of us.
The case of Keith O’ Brien sums up the Church really rather nicely. It’s not so much what the former Cardinal did over 30 years ago, but what he said, how he labeled other people mainly gay people. His crime is not that he as a man had sexual desires. It is the fact that he moralised to others and vilified Gay people. I do realize that the former Cardinal chose to follow the Church’s line but that does not forgive the hypocrisy and it is this hypocrisy which is at the heart of the Church’s problems. Of course the church as a religious organisation has the right to set its beliefs. But it does not have the right to control a persons sexuality even the sexuality of the clergy. It needs to broaden it view and take into account human feelings and needs. I don’t however think they have the people, desire or courage to change its moral compass.
On last Monday Morning (depending on what part of the world you are in) one news item stunned the world, yes the world really even if your not Catholic or religious you would have to be living either under a very large rock or on San Quentins never opened Death Row cell to have missed the fact that the Pope was going to resign. This news first came to me via Twitter, having read some tweets I then decided before I open my mouth on the subject I would check the BBC to see if it was true or a hoax. While Twitter and other social media feeds provide you with news quite quickly you are always aware that what is being said on there might be someones idea of a joke. So therefore you run over to the well the professionals. This got me thinking about News in general and boy with the worlds media at the end of your laptop, ipad, smartphone you have a continuous stream of the stuff. Not to mention radio, 24 hour news channels and the afore mentioned Social Media. I listen to a huge amount of radio via the internet, i use flipboard, have an ipad stacked with books, notes, articles and to read items. I have notifications and mails coming from all sides. It has got to the point that I now need to train myself to stop wasting time on information I don’t need and filter it out. I need to train myself to inform myself about what I really need to know and treat the rest as junk. In a word I need a filter for my brain. So starting today I shall be putting in place measures where by I waste less time while online and use it for what I need not what they want me to know
After sorting out his job for the next four year President Obama now needs to sit down and write out a to do list. And to help him I got him started…
(1) Make friends with the House Majority leader Johnny Bohner, after all they both know how to win Ohio. He now does really need to cross the isle and sort out the famous Fiscal Cliff.
(2) He needs to do as he promised four years ago and sort out Americas immigration situation. He needs to deal with it early on in this new term. He owes it to those who voted for them in 08 as well as 12 particularly Hispanics.
(3) He needs to make some positive attempts in the Middle East to get Netanyahu to sit down with Abbas and draw up new boarders. No easy task I know but he needs to move on this.
(4) He needs to and this won’t be popular but in order to do a trade off with the GOP over Taxes he must fix Americas growing dependence on Welfare. 47 Million Americans on Food Stamps, Section 8 housing getting out of control and other Welfare Costs rising. He needs to regin it in, he has got to control public spending and quickly.
(5) he needs to ensue he does pull American Troops out of all the wars and within the timescale he has set out. Oh and don’t get involved in any more wars.
(7) At some time in the next year The President is going to have to decide if he is going to sign a Federal Death Warrant for one Jeffery William Paul currently sitting on Federal Death Row in Terre Haute. Will he or Won’t he?
What Next for The GOP ?
What Next for Karl Rove?
This week UCI announced that Lance Armstrong is to be, how shall I put it - Struck Off. He is no part of cycling, no part of the future of cycling and in doing so have left a seven year hole in cycling’s past. The real problem here is that UCI sat on it’s hands for too long and to be honest I think they knew what Lance was up to all along. As long as riders paid money to UCI they cared not a drop about what they were putting in fridges and bodies. Pat McQuaid the President of UCI made a lukewarm statement regarding dopping and told us all that the peleton is as clean as it can be. Not really good enough Pat. UCI are more intrested in bringing down Paul Kimmage than dealing with the issues and I for one wish they and Pat McQuaid would go for the sake of what should be a great sport.
The boys and girls of that famous talking school located in Kildare Street returned to school last week. Head boy Enda told his subjects that the silly season was over. Really? While the Chief Whip was setting up the Tuck Shop and the Minister for Health was hiding in the Chemistry Lab, the plan was to take away necessary supports and services from disabled people. The disabled Marshaled their ranks, gathered their numbers, supporters and made excellent use of the media. They were powerful, dignified, took hold of their message and made the best possible use of the media. Unlike the Government they remained on message and were not about to have their very basic rights taken away. They stood up for their rights and they won. They not only got the Government to back down, they also won many admirers in how they went about it. It’s a pity they had to set up camp outside the Dail to get their basic rights as human beings in a country that likes to call itself civilized. Who looks silly now?
So at last Lance Armstrong has been brought to book for his doping. To say as a huge cycling fan that I am pleased about this would be a lie. I just feel cheated having spent hours of my life watching Tours of France, Spain, Italy and many others. Even back as far as the days when Armstrong and his mate Flyod Landis rode doped up in the US Postal Service team. Landis admitted as much in a seven hour interview with Paul Kimmage in 2010. In that interview he Landis stated that he was consistently involved in doping while in the same US Postal Team that Armstrong lead. Armstrong and Landis are not the only two who rode doped, but Armstrongs denials over years just make it all the more despicable. The words of a true cycling legend Graeme Obree ring out in every real cycling fans ears today:
“I still feel I was robbed of part of my career. I was signed up to ride in the prologue of the Tour back in 1995, but it was made very obvious to me I would have to take drugs. I said no, no way, and I was sacked by my team. So there I was, 11 years later, sitting there waiting for the Tour cyclists to come by, and something welled up in me. I feel I was robbed by a lot of these bastards taking drugs. I also hate the way that people think anyone who has ever achieved anything on a bike must have been taking drugs. I was surprised how resentful I felt when I was in Paris. It had obviously been simmering away in there for years. That’s something new I’ll have to talk to my therapist about.”
AND by the way, I never took drugs to improve my performance at any time as has been happening in the sport for a long time. I will be willing to stick my finger into a polygraph test if anyone with big media pull wants to take issue. In other words, if you buy a signed poster now it will not be tarnished later.”
I never had a signed poster of Armstrong but for those who did the only place for it is the bin.
I have given the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange plenty of thought over the last few days. Mr Assange as we all know is wanted in Sweeden on charges of sexual assault against two women. He has as we all know in order to avoid extradition to Sweeden Mr Assange has sought and been granted asylum by Ecuador. Now I find Mr Assange’s stance through all this both strange and quite frankly unworkable for the following reasons:
* How if ever is he going to get out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and reach Ecuador.
* The country the UK is seeking to extradite him to is Sweden. Liberal Sweden which has said it has no intention of handing him over to the USA. They just want him to answer the assault charges. I may have problems with extridating him to another country but Sweden no, I tend to believe them.
* Surely Mr Assange wants to clear his name in Sweden if as he insists he is innocent of these alleged crimes. However he will not be able to do so from London.
* All this focus on Mr Assange and his camping out next door to Harrods has I fear taken the spotlight off the real questions and discussions over Wikileaks.
* Also amid all the drama over Assange has the world forgotten the plight of PFC Bradley Manning of the US Army who is sitting in the USDB at Forth Lavenworth facing life in Military Prison. As it is Manning who really but his neck on the line for both Wikileaks and if we are to believe what we are told for the better of the world.
I love rugby, I love Leinster and I love Ireland, I love watching Rugby, going to Rugby and talking about Rugby. So as the all round Rugby fan I decided to educate my self on Wheelchair Rugby which I am looking forward to watching during the Paralympics. So here is a nice guide to Wheelchair Rugby for you all.
What do all the above have in common?? Well they all thought they could fool the police into thinking they did not kill. Ian Huntley killed Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham in Cambridgeshire ten years ago. Huntley then thought he could fool the police by going in front of the cameras. Stuart Hazell is alleged to have murdered twelve year old Tia Sharp in New Addington South London, he too made an appeal, wore the tee shirt and lit candles thinking he could fool the Police. The parents of six, yes six children burned to death in Derby made an appearance on TV they two are now on remand awaiting trial for murder. This leads me to the conclusion that when people murder they think as well as getting away with the crime they can fool the police and the public. Rarely are either fooled and all it does is prolong the hurt, the pain and the agony of the victims family. But then again if someone can commit these crimes, they can commit the deceit which they try to fool us all with.
Katie Taylor stands for all this is good about Ireland and Irish sport, hard work, skill, knowledge and a massive heart. On top of that she is an awesome boxer and an awesome person. So take note nasty little Australian Jurnos. We as a nation have always known Katie is the the best there is, nor are we all drunk each time we watch her. Oh and by the way what do you expect in a fighting Irishwoman? I expect dignity, courage, skill and pride all of which we see in Katie. I won’t tell you what I would expect from a fighting Australian woman clinging to her Fosters … oh sorry lazy stereotyping there.
As for you USA today, more lazy rubbish. You need to look deep and remember that many of the hands that built America came from the very soil our Katie comes from. By the way we don’t deal in pounds and we don’t do candy. The lesson in all this for you Journos across the seas is do some proper research about both Ireland and the sport before you turn your PC on and start typing or Stereotyping.
A BRITISH newspaper today apologised for calling Katie Taylor British after irate Irish fans of the boxer took to Twitter to vent their fury.
The gaffe was the top trend on Twitter today.
However just before 1pm the media group tweeted: “We’re sorry for mistakenly describing the fantastic boxer Katie Taylor as British in our London 2012 section today. She is Irish, of course.”
Earlier comedian Dara O Briain tweeted: “Oh, come on! Daily Telegraph” and RTE presenter Ella McSweeney said: “Team GB losing the run of itself.”
Marykate Dawson tweeted: “I’d say Katie Taylor would get sick if she knew she was being referred to as ‘British’.
Gav Hatch said: “They already try to claim Irish golfers as British. They claimed boxers in the past. Now the Daily Telegraph says Katie Taylor is British!”
“I noticed ‘British’ band U2 featured in Opening too,” said another of hundreds of fans ahead of Katie’s match today in a bid to secure a place in the final.
Meanwhile, Australian newspaper group Fairfax Media was forced into an embarrassing apology after an article about Katie Taylor’s triumph over Britain’s Natasha Jonas in the Olympic boxing ring was branded as “lazy stereotyping” of the Irish.
The article hit the websites of ‘The Age’, the ‘Brisbane Times’ and the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ yesterday, with the headline: “Punch Drunk: Ireland intoxicated as Taylor swings towards victory boxing gold.”
“For centuries, Guinness and whiskey have sent the Irish off their heads. Now all it takes is a petite 26-year-old from Wicklow,” the opening paragraph said.
“Dark-haired, deep-eyed and engaging, Taylor is not what you’d expect in a fighting Irishwoman, nor is she surrounded by people who’d prefer a punch to a potato.”
The Irish Ambassador to Australia, Noel White, quickly fired off a letter of complaint to Fairfax Media which resulted in the article being amended and the headline changed.
Ambassador White wrote: “The article by Peter Hanlon in today’s on-line editions of Fairfax publications is a welcome celebration of the achievements of Irish boxer Katie Taylor and a timely reflection of the pride that Irish people have taken for some time in her domination of the boxing ring.
“All the more disappointing then that the piece should lapse into lazy stereotyping. References to intoxication and to named drinks are inappropriate and beneath the standard that one expects of Fairfax Media.”
Peter Hanlon, the journalist who wrote the piece, told the ‘Irish Echo’ newspaper in Sydney that he was “deeply sorry”.
“I can only apologise and say that I abhor racism. The references in the story’s introduction, and further down to Katie’s closest supporters, were poorly chosen; I wish I had my time over,” he added.
The amended article ran with the headline: “Irish eyeing gold as Taylor swings into action”.
It carried an Editor’s note of apology and ran the Amnbassador’s letter in full:
: Dear Sir
The article by Peter Hanlon in today’s on-line editions of Fairfax publications (“Punch drunk: Ireland intoxicated as Taylor swings towards victory boxing gold”) is a welcome celebration of the achievements of Irish boxer Katie Taylor and a timely reflection of the pride that Irish people have taken for some time in her domination of the boxing ring. All the more disappointing then that the piece should lapse into lazy stereotyping. References to intoxication and to named drinks are inappropriate and beneath the standard that one expects of Fairfax Media. Irish people, much like Australians, take tremendous pride in their sporting heroes. Over the coming days, as Katie pursues her dream of Olympic glory, Irish communities at home, in Australia and around the world will be cheering her on. It is to be hoped that reporting on her performance will be free of the kind of commentary which causes unnecessary and unjustifiable upset.
Ambassador of Ireland to Australia
Another article published in USA Today also sparked criticism.
“Back home on the emerald-green isle, pints of Guinness flowed freely, perhaps enough to replenish the Irish Sea. The “punters” inside betting parlors wagered pounds as if they were bits of candy,” wrote the lead sports columnist for USA Today Jon Saraceno.
“It is not hyperbole to suggest that, when Taylor entered the ring, the weight of a prideful, scuffling nation rested on her muscular shoulders.”
It is a huge sporting weekend in Ireland, huge because on Saturday and Sunday the GAA Football Championship really takes off. On Saturday at Fitzgerald Stadium Kerry take on the team that have proved to be their Achilles Heel in the last few years. On Sunday other old enemies go to HQ to see if the Delaney Cup goes back to the Capital or if they get to party hard in Navan. As a Dublin of long standing I hope the Boys in Blue send the Hill home happy. I also hope that if Dublin do slip up in the Championship that Tyrone can somehow do it. Why Tyrone? Simply for their Manager. Their Manager who has shown immense strength and dignity through what can only be described as a nightmare.
For reasons I won’t bore you with I have time on my hands. The question which is now swirling around my head is how best to use this time? My ideas so far have not been very original, good or productive. They involve my purchase of a label maker and labeling my life, my processions and all the junk, paperwork and more junk that I have collected. It has involved me spending hours just pottering and hours of reading websites on my lovely new iMac (love at first sight), books and technology magazines. Basically I have not been using my time productively therefore today I am going to change that. I am going to spring into action and become a dynamo of useful work and industry. Just let me finish this chapter…
Every once in awhile you meet someone who comes into your life when you least expect it. Someone who becomes part of your day and who even when you least expect it you feel you know them for a long time. Someone who one day perhaps won’t be around because you can’t be there for them but you know will always be part of your life and someone you will always call your friend. That was a good day the day I met my friend who shall remain mine and mine alone.
Lawyers very often see the law and ideals of Justice in a different way from the public. Lawyers after all have a job to do, to defend those accused and to prosecute the same. The hope of all those who use, invest and need the criminal justice system is the same as that of the public. That the guilty will be found guilty and dealt with appropriately by the courts. Likewise those who are innocent should have nothing to fear from the courts and when you walk free your freedom is your own. The public helped by the media in every form can and do become emotionally involved in high profile cases and each person forms there own views based on what filters through from the courtroom.
While the trial of those accused of the murder of Michaela McAreavey has been on a number of levels questionable at the very least, we now need to take a step back and ask this question. Why after a trial of 8 weeks or so are we back to square one. We are no further on in knowing why this young woman was found dead in her hotel room. Sure there are huge questions around the conduct of the police and in my view the Judge. We also have to ask if these men are innocent why were they put on trial in the first place on such flimsy evidence. We the Irish people also have to acknowledge that if these men are innocent would we be happy to convict them just to punish someone for this awful crime . Above all other peoples we the Irish know that Justice being done for the sake of it is not Justice.