Two Arrests as Police Officers Injured During Customs Raid

Two police officers have been injured, one critically, during a cross border customs operation near Meigh, south Armagh.  Two men have been arrested.  From the RTÉ report Over the weekend a cargo of smuggled cigarettes arrived from China in Dublin Port. Watched by customs officers, the cargo was then brought to Dundalk. Earlier today the container was then taken just across the border to warehouses near Meigh in South Armagh. A number of armed PSNI officers and revenue officials raided the warehouse as … Read more

Unionism and Israel: Holy Land is not a hotter version of Ulster…

As a liberal unionist, I found the local political reaction to the Israeli attack on the Gaza aid Flotilla depressingly predictable. While Sinn Fein and SDLP MLA’s condemned the raid, Unionist politicians, foremost among them Jonathan Bell, Jeffrey Donaldson and Sammy Wilson, stood foursquare in defence of Israel’s actions. Even the mild-mannered Danny Kennedy could not help mentioning that in his opinion “a section of the unionist population have more than a sneaking regard for the manner in which the … Read more

Listening to Van Morrison

There’s a great piece in today’s Guardian Books section, Greil Marcus on his new book Listening to Van Morrison.  Here’s an extract from the article It’s a short book, not a biography or a career survey, but an attempt to follow those moments in Morrison’s music, as he’s made it from his first records with Them, from Belfast in 1965 to the present day, when something happens that breaks through the boundaries of ordinary communication, of ordinary art speech. In this … Read more

Friday thread: The secret power of time (and religion)…

I’ve loved this RSA Animate video series ever since Paul posted one for his dress down Friday series a few weeks… This one on time is great… Professor Philip Zimbardo says that research tells us that there Past, Present and Future focused people… It’s pretty funny the whole way through but, interestingly, he claims that people in Catholic countries tend to be past oriented… Whilst Protestants tend to be future oriented… Ahem [looks at his boots]… But do watch it, … Read more

Fireball on Jupiter!

Via Space Weather.  Amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley was the first to observe the Great Black Spot [of Jupiter].  Now he’s gone one better and recorded an actual impact on the gas giant.  The resulting fireball was independently confirmed by Christopher Go in the Philipines – his video can be viewed here. Here’s the full processed image of the impact, visible in bottom right. Image credit: Anthony Wesley, Broken Hill Australia. And here’s the raw video observation. The impact occurs in the top left in … Read more

DUP to block Gaza debate at Stormont today…

The DUP is moving to block a vote on the emergency Gazza debate today through using a ‘petition of concern.’ Mover of motion is William Irwin. The debate was proposed by independent MLAs Gerry McHugh and Dr Keiran Deeny, and supported by at least 30 MLAs. Under Standing Order 11 of the rules that govern the Assembly, if the First Minister/deputy First Minister or at least 30 MLAs request a special sitting, the Assembly can be recalled. The plenary sitting … Read more

On copyright and creative commons…

Since we have moved to the new site, we have been getting better at using uncopyrighted photos. Though, according to Doc Searls, we should probably do more, particularly with regard to Create Commons licences, which often only require attribution. I know for a fact that one of Red Mum’s photos ended up in the News of the World, several times, with no attribution. Bare with us whilst we try to dig down and find an easier way of cracking it … Read more

The Maori and the Pakeha: Why can’t it work for us?

I recently had the pleasure of visiting New Zealand, and was quietly impressed by the way in which the minority Maori culture has been embraced by the majority Pakeha (i.e. white) population. That is not to say that NZ is blissfully free of ethnic tension, but such tensions seem to revolve around affirmative action and guaranteed representation rather than a cultural gap. This is exemplified by the extensive Maori carvings that decorate Auckland airport – at one point just past immigration … Read more

Your outrage must endure another 37 days…

Outraged at Israel’s violent attack on the humanitarian aid flotilla? Outraged at those who are outraged? Either way, you may have to wait 37 days the next time you want to join your international peers in demonstrating your anger. Something that should’ve been obvious from yesterday’s City Centre vigil for the flotilla, but was rarely mentioned: If the Public Assemblies Bill passes, yesterday’s demonstration would have been illegal. The organizers and everyone there could have been subject to six months in … Read more

Video of the boarding of the Marmara…

Via John McGuirk, a video of what happened when the Israelis sent their soldiers in, one by one,  to board the Turkish ship Marmara armed with paint guns and pistols. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

Israeli-Turkish relations irrevocably damaged

The actions of the Israeli military against the civilian flotilla of aid into Gaza has provoked widespread international reaction. Israel is bracing itself for a wave of diplomatic repercussions in the aftermath of the interception of the small crafts where at least nine people have been killed. Perhaps the gravest consequences from the killings will be the effect on Israeli-Turkish relations, which have taken a disastrous hit. Al Jazerra reports the claims of a Turkish charity that the majority of … Read more

Dennis Hopper 1936-2010

Actor, film-maker, photographer and artist, Dennis Hopper has died at the age of 74.  There’s a good obituary at the BBC site, and the Guardian has, or had, a selection of clips from a long career in films which began with a minor role alongside James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause [1955].  Image credit: Dennis Hopper photographed in June 2008 by Antje Verena. The Guardian’s Film section also has an uncredited Peter Bradshaw’s assessment of the film roles of “Hollywood’s Uneasy Rider” … Read more

ECB : There are no alternatives

European Central Bank executive member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi outlined the fiscal and monetary constraints facing EU states at the Group of 30 conference in Rabat. In it he warns of a US of future crisis, and perhaps controversially denounces Keynesianism as inappropriate. European states can’t rely on inflation to reduce their debts, fiscal austerity is the only course available to them, but Americans may be deluding themselves that they will be able to impose an ‘inflation tax’ on investors in … Read more

Eurovision 2010: “We’ll keep on doing what we’ve been doing…”

The Irish Times rejoices in the fact that Ireland’s RTÉ’s entry in this year’s Eurovision, former winner Niamh Kavanagh, made it through to tomorrow’s final for the first time in four years.  John Waters was unavailable for comment… They seem to be taking it seriously this year at the Irish Times, with a lengthy analysis by Adrian Kavanagh, a lecturer in the geography department at NUI Maynooth, on voting patterns in the competition. And in case you still thought it was … Read more

Naked Capitalism: The Great Depression and the Revolution of 2017

Entertaining, and sobering futuring at Naked Capitalism. President Kucinich also announced a new “Marshall Plan” for war-ravaged Europe, which has descended into near anarchy since the EU collapsed in late 2010. He called on the Italian Red Brigade army to end its siege of Berlin. He promised to begin an airlift of food for Europe’s starving millions, to be followed by industrial products to help European nations to begin to produce for domestic consumption. He called for an end to … Read more

The importance of ‘ human engagement’ in online conversations…

I have to confess I am ambivalent about anonymity online. I took a decision fairly early on to do most of commenting (mostly on other people’s sites) in my own name. My reasoning was twofold. I felt the most valuable contributions online I could make would be ones I could live with and defend in real (ie, non virtual life), commenting in my name would constantly remind me that what I said online would have to be defensible in ten years hence … Read more

Was Friedman right? The debate on American post-1980 reforms

Interesting debate in the US blogosphere on the pro-market reforms implemented in the US (and other countries including Britain & Ireland) since 1980. Paul Krugman defends the large rise in American living standards pre 1980 liberalisation and contrasts it with more moribund growth there after while Scott Summer highlights the reversal of the American economies (and that of other reformers) relative decline. Krugman – Read almost any conservative commentator on economic history, and you’ll find that the era of postwar … Read more

Venter’s ‘artifical’ life “interesting but not profound”

Controversial scientist Craig Venter grabbed the headlines last week when it was reported that his team of researchers had created “artifical” life. But, as Dick Ahlstrom noted in Saturday’s Irish Times, several scientists [in Ireland] were not as enthusiastic. “I think it has been exaggerated. He has a reputation for showmanship,” Prof Wolfe, professor of genome evolution, said yesterday. “He hasn’t created life, he has mimicked life. It is a technical achievement to synthesise a piece of DNA that size,” he added. “It … Read more

Bangkok 2010 – Belfast 1969?

Gun fire, burning buildings and a sense of impending social and political chaos… For the genuine Belfast circa 1970 experience, come to Bangkok… Where the past is not simply drawn up on murals, it is very much present… Thanks to our Stephen for the photo… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK … Read more

Atlantis and ISS in solar transit

Via Space Weather. “Yesterday (May 22nd) in Switzerland, Thierry Legault photographed the International Space Station (ISS) and space shuttle Atlantis passing directly in front of the sun.” He’s making a habit of this. The small image here doesn’t do justice to the astounding images he’s taken during the 0.49 second solar transit.  You have to go to his website to see those in full. Equally astounding are the images of a transit 50 minutes before Atlantis docked with the ISS.  … Read more