Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


Could fracking actually be environmentally good for us after all?

Tue 15 April 2014, 9:43am

Tweet Could fracking be good for us? -Ben Webster in the Times yesterday (£) with an unexpected output from the IPCC… Shale gas can help the world to avoid dangerous climate change if it replaces coal in power stations, according to a United Nations report. Global emissions need to fall by at least 40 per […] more »

Friday thread: Perhaps ‘War’ brings a properly social benefit after all?

Fri 11 April 2014, 3:54pm
Morris War

Tweet Today’s Friday thread is a talk delivered yesterday at the RSA in London by Ian Morris, author of a new book which posits the controversial idea that, over time, war is actually good for us, not necessarily as individuals but as societies. The presentation is fairly short but it was around this part I […] more »

“Merely reflecting this majority view is the easiest form of leadership….”

Fri 11 April 2014, 1:34pm

Tweet So for those of you itching for a blog which takes Peter Robinson to task for poor leadership, here’s Warren Little with a usefully proportionate analysis of a missed opportunity: So here we have a golden, gilt-edged, how-could-it-possibly-go-wrong opportunity for the unionist leadership to step beyond the traditional tribal boundary. God knows they don’t […] more »

Quebec says ‘Non’ to PQ govt after less than Two years.

Tue 8 April 2014, 4:28pm

Tweet It is 3,000 miles away and no, I am not arguing for a moment that you can transplant the political musings of the francophone province of Quebec on to our situation, but this election is a genuinely interesting one to watch. Scandals, divisions and student protests drove the last Liberal government from office after […] more »

“…allowing organizations to attract support without having to demonstrate superior functionality”

Tue 8 April 2014, 8:46am

Tweet Lant Pritchard writing in Harvard’s Building State Capacity blog draws some useful lessons on how US democratic institutions were forced to prove themselves in a struggle with the independent interests of their people. He offers these insights into why the transfer of institutions in developing countries not only may not work, it might also […] more »

GAA concludes a lucrative deal with Sky Sports…

Wed 2 April 2014, 4:36pm

Tweet This is an interesting move from the GAA… Sky Sports has obtained exclusive Island of Ireland rights to 14 Championship games. These consist of eight Saturday evening matches in the All-Ireland qualifiers, two All-Ireland football championship quarter-finals, and two Saturday evening and two Sunday Provincial championship games. Confirmed fixtures which will be broadcast on […] more »

There is nothing like a Dame-Australia re-introduces Royal Honours #auspol

Wed 2 April 2014, 10:24am

Tweet When I first heard this story I must admit the song that kept going through my head was that famous Morecambe and Wise sketch ‘There is nothing like a Dame’ Last week, the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott re-introduced the Knights and Dames system that was abolished by the Hawke Labor government in the […] more »

Anti austerity socialists take a beating in French town hall elections…

Mon 31 March 2014, 2:59pm

Tweet My French isn’t great, but using translate this snippet in Le Monde strikes me as getting close to the predicament parties of centre right and centre left face in tackling an unpredictable future after the first round of France’s municipal elections: Malheureusement, je ne vois aucune personne politique capable ni d’expliquer la situation aux […] more »

“Unlike Gerry Adams & Mary Lou McDonald…”

Sun 30 March 2014, 8:56pm

Tweet In a follow-up to a previous post on his Broken Elbow blog, as noted here, Ed Moloney has “an answer to Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald and other critics of the Boston archive“. Aside from myself and Anthony McIntyre there is only one other person who has read all of the interviews lodged in the Belfast […] more »

Russia, China, Crimea, Xinjiang and Putin’s Risky Gambit

Thu 27 March 2014, 11:14pm
Photo credit – under Creative Commons licence.

Tweet My train of thought started with with Ambrose Evans-Pritchard article in the Telegraph on the possible impact of Putin’s Crimea gambit on Sino-Russian relations entitled Putin’s Russia caught in US and Chinese double-pincer. Pritchard has his own prejudices, of course, and the headline is terrible – there is no Sino-American diplomatic co-ordination to effect […] more »

ICC T20 World Cup 2014: Ireland v UAE

Wed 19 March 2014, 1:35pm

Tweet Having secured a nervy win against Zimbabwe in their opening match of the ICC World Twenty20 2014 campaign in Bangladesh, Ireland’s cricketers face tournament newbies United Arab Emirates today.  With Zimbabwe overcoming the Netherlands earlier this morning, with a six off the final ball, a win would put Ireland top of the group, two points […] more »

Faint echoes from Ukraine reach home

Wed 19 March 2014, 10:25am

Tweet From Timothy Garton Ash’s piercing analysis in the Guardian. Start by abandoning the labels “ethnic Ukrainians” and “ethnic Russians”. They mean almost nothing. What you have here is a fluid, complex mix of national, linguistic, civic and political identities. There are people who think of themselves as Russians. There are those who live their […] more »

McGuinness’s Al Jazeera interview: Terrorism, conflict and a popular peace

Wed 19 March 2014, 9:39am

Tweet This is a fascinating encounter between Martin McGuinness and a canny and formidable interlocutor from Al Jazeera Mehdi Hasan… To keep it simple, the programme is split into two sections, one to do with the wartime stuff, and the second part on the journey towards peace. more »

Pilot offers a ‘smoke in the cabin” scenario for #MH370 on G+….

Tue 18 March 2014, 8:31am

Tweet Okay, here’s a quick slightly off beat post for us. It comes from the Google Plus page of Chris Goodfellow, who apparently (I’ve not had time to verify) is a professional pilot based in Florida.  I picked it up late last night from a retweet from Lorcan Roche Kelly who in turn had retweeted […] more »

Why Irish America needs to get on board with modern Ireland, or get out of the way.

Mon 17 March 2014, 8:46pm

Tweet Reading the memoirs of Ken Bloomfield and Tony Blair for me give two very telling insights into the politics of Irish America and their priorities in viewing the homeland. I begin with Tony Blair who noted the contradiction of certain American politicians idolising Margaret Thatcher while having an ambivalent attitude towards groups like the […] more »

ICC T20 World Cup 2014: Ireland v Zimbabwe

Mon 17 March 2014, 2:32pm

Tweet Ireland’s cricketers have opened their ICC World Twenty20 2014 campaign in Bangladesh with a win over the nominal test-playing Zimbabwe.  But it nearly didn’t happen. Batting first, Zimbabwe set a daunting total of 163 for 5 wickets from their 20 overs.  As the ICC match report noted, Ireland had never scored more than 156 […] more »

In losing touch with Ireland’s struggles is Irish America losing its social conscience?

Sat 15 March 2014, 8:19pm

Tweet I’m not saying I agree with Andrew O’Hehir in every aspect of his column on Salon, particularly the sense that there is a singular and deterministic direction of travel in Irish American identity.  But there may be something in the idea that 1998 and the Good Friday Agreement has heralded a slow disengagement with […] more »

Ukraine: impotent activism and the limits of US power

Sat 15 March 2014, 7:30pm

Tweet Tomorrow will bring the referendum on Crimea leaving Ukraine and joining Russia. Most people are aware of the sequence of events: the Ukrainian president turning down a deal with the EU in favour of one with Russia; mass protests in Kiev leading to the fall of the government; the new government being unacceptable in […] more »

PSNI out, then in but LGBT still in the cold.

Sat 15 March 2014, 2:47pm

Tweet This years St Patricks Day parade in New York City has been making headline for all of the wrong reasons this year. There was the controversy earlier about the refusal to include LGBT groups which led to a boycott of the parade by the Mayor of New York and condemnation from parties back here […] more »

Vegetarian Stalinism Part 2: Ready the Gulags on the South Downs

Sat 15 March 2014, 10:34am

Tweet Last month I highlighted the bizarre suggestion by the Green Party that in response to the flooding all government ministers and advisors who were sceptical of climate change should be sacked. Memorably when given the opportunity to refine and tone down this suggestion the leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett claimed that even […] more »

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