Monday, February 26, 2007

Stop, look, listen

We've written in the past about the Irrational Lottery and the numbers getting themselves killed on the roads. So far this year we're up to 49 dead, of whom 20 were pedestrians. Yeah, 20 pedestrians: how fucked up is that?

Following on from our mentions of the unfortunate Nicole Catsouras, and if you'd like to scare yourself good and proper, we offer you a couple of links to videos over at Totally Crap. These are from "a German police training video which they use to prepare new recruits or personnel that will start working on the Autobahns for what they could encounter".

It's a pretty grim reminder of what the emergency services have to deal with. The deaths of Brian Kelleher and Michael Liston should give everyone pause for thought.

Let's be clear: if our friends at Totally Crap feel it necessary to point out that the video does "not make pretty viewing, but it gives a good picture of what speed can do to a vehicle and its occupants," and to add, "Warning: very graphic content," then you can rest assured that this is most definitely NSFW, not for anyone under 18, and not for anyone likely to be offended or upset by gruesome images.

You'll find still images here.
The first part of the video here, and the second here.

Now, stop driving like an idiot on fire, and learn the green cross code.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

And are you pregnant, sir?

And still the Vhi requires all members to pay for maternity cover as a non-optional part of their health insurance. That's ALL members, including the men and anyone else who is physically incapable of ever claiming for it.

Harney Dumpty at Skangerland

Risk equalisation, community rating - all fine and dandy, but if I'm going to have to pay out to subsidise the costs of popping out your kids then let's have it in some other insurance markets. Why not car insurance? For most people in modern Ireland driving's more a necessity than a luxury, so why are some punished with onerous insurance costs? Why not spread it a bit more evenly?

Not fair for the careful female driver in her late thirties and a Renault Espace to pay more to cover the risks associated with the nineteen-year-old salesman in his Honda Civic? So why is it fair that he had to help pay for her maternity costs?

You can argue all you like that statistics show that men are greater risks than women when it comes to driving insurance: the discrimination is in the fact that those stats were gathered in the first place and in that they are considered relevant.

Would any insurance company gather stats on drivers' insurance risks in relation to race, religion or sexual orientation? If they produced statistics showing that left-handed Afro-Caribbean Jews were a greater risk would you be happy to see them charged more? Would any insurance company dare to try it? Would they even dare to gather the statistics in the first place? Not a fucking chance. So why's it okay to do it on the basis of sex?

Once you start to fiddle with markets you risk tying yourself in knots, which is what Harney has done. She seems to want to micromanage how the health insurance market works in this country, which might be helpful if she was any good at it; she patently isn't.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Dick "The Cock" Roche: Still Clueless

We'd like to remind you of the blither that Dick Roche was spouting last July about how he'd make sure we weren't getting any of that nasty nuclear electricity. He was sure of it, despite the nonsense from the likes of Padraig McManus, the Electricity Supply Board's Chief Executive, who obviously thinks he knows more about the supply of electricity than the Minister for Electronic Voting does.

In the RTÉ interview in that posting it's put to the minister that "We'll be buying power, essentially, from the nuclear power industry in Britain," to which the Minister's response is simply, "No, we won't." (It's about 3:45-50 into the interview if you want to check.)

We'd also like to draw your attention to an article in today's Irish-ish Independent under the heading, "Nuclear power is fuelling Irish homes via UK grid" (it's here - you'll need to log in but it's free).

The article begins, "NUCLEAR power contributed 0.17pc of the fuel mix used to generate the electricity consumed here in 2005, according to new figures from the Commission for Energy Regulation". That sounds like very little, but the article goes on to say that "about 8MW of power or enough to power a medium-sized town, is derived from nuclear energy". It's also about 8MW more than the Minister clearly said would be the case.

Our suggestion is that we run the 8MW through a socket and get Dick Roche to stick his finger in there: if it's really nothing then he'll be fine. But if he was talking bullshit when he said we wouldn't be buying any electricity from the British nuclear power industry, well, we can all have a laugh and watch him do the Sellafield jitterbug. (Dance, monkey boy, dance...)

The report comes from the Commission for Energy Regulation, who used a method approved by the European Commission to calculate the figures. When will these people learn that they shouldn't be bothering a government minister with facts and reasons when he's trying to do his job?

Interestingly, the stats round the numbers down - 0.17% becomes 0% - so none of the six suppliers of electricity into the Irish market is listed as supplying nuclear power.

Next time you here Roche protesting against Sellafield you can rest assured he's talking bollocks. But, in fairness, he's not always wrong: he's maybe right 0.17% of the time.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Keystone kiddy kops

Normally, as readers of this site will know, we have a lot of time for the Guards. They generally do a hard job well, and they have to put up with the bleatings of political shysters and the slithering moves of the 'RAShinner scumbags as they try to squirm their friends out of prison.

But this "dropping between the cracks" nonsense over the failure to respond to a report of child porn is a load of bollocks. If their system can't handle that sort of info correctly then it's a shite system and the person responsible for it should be, at the very least, explaining themselves in front of a Dáil committee.

(You have to feel sorry for the individual Guards who work with a comms system that doesn't even give them email addresses. If you want to email a Garda at your local station then your best (probably only) bet is to send it via the Garda Press Office.)

Saying "Ooops, better try harder next time," and just carrying on is not a credible option.

But McDowell's happy enough with it. And this is the government that's going to present some half-arsed Constitutional Referendum on the rights of children...?

Here's the wording Bertie prefers: "Ah, jayz, tink of the little chisellers, look at the faces on dem, will ya? Aren'tnt dey cute? I love de kids me, so give us an oul vote or I won't be in government and den all de lovely kids will be on d'internet being fiddled wit."

It's the new Fianna Failure election slogan: People of Ireland, vote Fianna Failure or your kids'll get it. (I wonder what Frank Lunch would make of that one.)

It's criminal really, but don't bother sending the Guards an email about it - they won't get around to reading it until after the election.

Justice delayed is justice denied. Please hold. your call is important to us.

Is this Fine Gael's Justice portfolio?

How exactly does Enda Kenny expect to lead his party to victory (well, sort of) in the next General election when he's spending his time playing the role of Ron Trott in Jerry Bruckheimer's TV series, Justice, featured on RTÉ1 on Thursday nights?

The FG justice line-up, with Enda second from the right

The cast of Justice (with Enda second from right)

The party line is that it's actually two different people, one an actor called Victor Garber: unlikely story, that. Still, it's nice to think of Enda taking on a whole new personality. I mean, just a personality of any sort would be nice.

Enda Kenny and JusticeJustice and Enda Kenny
Enda Kenny"Victor Garber" as "Ron Trott"

(PS: It seems we're not the first to notice this: they even went for the same pictures. must be more of those coincidences floating about the place.)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Paging Mister Terry Wrist

You have to like it. It might be a good way to clear those queue at the boarding gates in Dublin Cowshed Airport, too.

What are the chances of that?

Bears 3 and the Lotto

You can read more about this extraordinary coincidence here. Of course, given that one of the posters there alleges that "Lawyers acting on behalf of Brown Bag have forced the moderators on to close down any topics discussing the matter" (which would probably include this one, which happens to be closed), nothing here should be taken to imply that we make any judgement on anyone involved at all at all.

It's probably all just a massive coincidence, I mean it is the Lotto after all.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Labour enter the phonebox fray

Labour - keeping the red flag up the pole

"Fr Ted? That'll never work": or, Can RTÉ do comedy?

In last Saturday's Irish Times (here, but you need a subscription) Shane Hegarty lamented the current state of satire in Ireland, arguing that "Irish politics and politicians are not beyond parody, nor immune to satire," and that "We need wounding, vital, laugh-because-you're-angry satire". Well said.

He also noted that the possibilities for satire are "obvious on some of the blogs online." There are some piss-funny blogs about, and some that manage proper satire: the Skanger aspires to that. Blogs are a good place to do it but there's a need for wider exposure.

RTÉ has a woeful record when it comes to sending up those who deserve a rhetorical kick in the arse (with the very-odd honourable exception). In this election year I wonder will TV3 come up with anything, or will they just import something from the US of A or Bliar's Britain and hope that we'll content ourselves with laughing at Tony'n'George and not notice the corruption and buffoonery of the lamentable fuckwits that'll be parading across a ballot card near you soon.

We hear that Langerland is to be making an appearance on RTÉ television, probably somewhere around the Podge and Rodge slot ("the Podge and Rodge slot" - what a horrible image...). Good luck to the Langers and we hope they land a few good punches.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Bertie's health scare

We here at Skangerland can reveal that the recent experiences of Conor Lenihan, diagnosed with a tumour live on RTÉ telly, are not without precedent in Irish political life.

Several months back a consultant, watching Bertie Ahern being interviewed about the Manchester Only-a-Loan Payments, diagnosed the Taoiseach with a rare condition known as coprolaryngeal reflux. The condition involves the reflux of faecal matter via the oesophagus, larynx and mouth.

Stand back, I think I'm going to throw upSufferers of coprolaryngeal reflux syndrome often look a bit dozy.

The Taoiseach received no treatment and is not recovering well.

Mary Harney, Minister for Wealth, is said to be considering having more consultants at home watching telly. "This is a proposal for a cost-effective and localised health monitoring service," the Minister said.