Out of the shadows

I know it's been a while since my last post and to be honest I don't know when I will be back to regular blogging. Work is mental at the moment, 60 hour weeks are the norm as opposed to the exception.

Added to that the fact that I have bitten the bullet and finally joined the gym, I know, it was a shock to me too at first. All of that is an aside though, I still managed regular blogging at Uni and at that stage I was doing 60 hour drinking!

My two biggest blocks towards blogging at the moment are a lack of interest and apathy towards politics.

My lack of interest towards blogging is interlinked with my apathy towards politics. This is a political blog first and foremost, that is why I set it up. I have been blogging for years and I feel it's time for a break.

My apathy towards politics is not too hard to understand. I have been an active Republican since the age of 15, 9 years at different levels of the movement.

This is the first year that we didn't have an election North or South and due to work and life commitments I have taken a step back from active politics.

At the moment I am seriously contemplating taking the New York Bar Exams but we will have to see what happens.

Although I will not be blogging as much I will be watching and any comment which engages in personal insult will be removed with no explanation given.

I'll too old for this childish nonsense anymore.

I would like to recommend the new BBC series Apparitions to anyone who hasn't been watching.

It deals with the darker side of the Church and the fight against Satan, an area that holds great interest for me.

My mother and Aunt have always been into Angels and angelic intercession, I seem to have inherited that side of my faith and so I will leave you with one of my favourite prayers.

A prayer I would like to see restored to the end of every Mass.

"Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen."


Falling on ones own sword

I see that prominent loyalist and tout Ihab Shoukri died of a drug overdose last weekend. Whilst any loss of young life is truly regrettable I shed no feigned, crocodile tears for Shoukri.

For years Shoukri and his cohorts tortured the Nationalist people of North Belfast with sectarian attacks. Indeed many decent working class loyalists will not be too sorry to see him go either. After all he unleashed a surfeit of drugs and criminality onto their community. He got mega rich from the suffering and pain of others.

Such was the irreparable damage derivative from his criminality that the UDA booted out the Shoukris and a few of their trusted lieutenants. It must take a lot for the UDA to expel someone for criminality, saying as how they are up to their eyeballs in the fucking stuff!

It is somewhat ironic that Shoukri, a noted drug dealer should fall on his own sword and die from an overdose. Many young people from North Belfast have died at the hands of these dealers of death and it seems that in this case karma caught up with the monster!

Many eyebrows were raised when Shoukri was released from prison after only a few weeks. The nonchalant approach of the judiciary to leading loyalists suspected of being on the payroll of Special Branch is beyond comprehension. No doubt their handlers are able to get them a little breathing space.

Not even Special Branch can save him from judgement where he is now.

To do or die

Tonight will see Celtic take on Aalborg and hopefully the Bhoys can eventually manage to break their away day blues.

An awful lot of people have been quick to deride Aalborg as a push over. However they gave a very good account of themselves at Parkhead and to be honest they pushed Villareal all the way too. Aalborg came out of the traps at Paradise and startled Celtic. Although Celtic missed a penalty I think Aalborg did well to achieve a point at Fortress Parkhead. Tonight Celtic will have to be on their best to take the maximum 3 points required.

Commentators many of them from the Brit media have been quick to point out that Celtic are effectively out of this years Champions League. This however is erroneous. Mathematically Celtic can still qualify, if they win their two remaining games and if Man Utd beat Villareal tonight (I never thought that I would be cheering for those smarmy bastards to win!). As Andres Hinkel put it Celtic still have a chance, it might not be a big chance but it is still a chance.

Celtic will have to be quick on the ball tonight and desist with the school boy errors that have plagued their performances away from home thus far. As Tam Gemmell put it Aalborg certainly fancy their chances and it is up to Celtic to take the game to them.

I am glad to see that Samaras returned to action against St Mirren. Although not a huge fan of the prolific Greek striker, I feel he adds a cutting edge impetus to the Celtic strike force, as his well taken goal on Saturday is testament to. Injuries have curtailed the effectiveness of the Hoops up front in away games in Europe this season. Samaras will go someway to restring a lethal touch up front.

I think Celtic might just shade it tonight. After all this is the anniversary of our last draw away on the continent ( to Barcelona if you will!) However the difficulty may lie in Man Utd having to beat Aalborg. This is the inherent danger in having to rely partly on others for qualification.

Ah well at least the forces of darkness have nothing to shout about except how they are going to win the SPL in the absence of any Euro commitments.

Dream on Darcheville…….

The price to pay for a quickie

I see that the two Brits caught with their panties down in Dubai will now be returning home rather than face imprisonment as first feared.

I must admit that I have been following this case attentively and that I always have a wry smile and chuckle every time it is mentioned. There is just something about the folly of the whole situation that amuses me.

Michelle Palmer and Vince Acors were caught having sex on Jumeirha Beach on 5th July. They had met a few hours earlier at a champagne party and decided to get jiggy ( conservative readers stop casting aspersions and making judgements already!).They were initially found guilty of having unmarried sex and of public indecency and handed a three month sentence.

The austerity of the sentence was supposed to represent an example to all other adventurous and horny holiday makers. However both lodged an appeal and now the only ignominy they will face is deportation and the thought that everyone back home knows of their licentious dalliance abroad. I bet that will be one awkward welcome home conversation with their parents!

As you will all know there is strict Islamic law in force in Dubai. However I think 3 months incarceration for a quick shag behind the sand dunes is a bit extreme. Not even a scorned missus would react in such a severe manner. I have heard of some unlucky bastards being caught horsing their girlfriend out of it by her old man, but this was above and beyond that.

Imagine how many people would be imprisoned in Ireland if we enforced offences like having unmarried sex! I think the debacle over the Long Kesh site would be solved rapidly as it would be needed to house all the horny fuckers caught in the act.

I suppose the only lesson we can really extract from this humorous episode is that if you are taking the missus away for a dirty weekend its probably better to stick to Dublin than going to Dubai.


Barack Buster set to destroy Old Warhorse

It's the night of the great event, American Election 2oo8!

A time when American citizens choose not only their President for the next 4 years but also their Congressmen and Senators as well.

I have supported Barack Obama from the Primaries and I hope that he succeeds tonight.

The key battleground states are the ones to watch, states like Virginia, Ohio, Florida and Iowa.

I have respect for McCain as a man, his experience in Vietnam and his refusal to leave before his comrades show the true measure of the man. He is a war hero but he is not the right man to lead America in my opinion.

I disagree with most of his policies, his foreign policy in particular.

Obama isn't perfect and I don't agree with all his policies but he offers hope in a time when it's in short supply.

I have often been accused of being anti-American which is untrue; I value many things about American society and politics.

I am anti-Imperialism and I hope Obama goes some way to restoring American standing in the world.

I would like to see the Democrats take the Senate by a majority of 6o plus, though I'm not sure how realistic that is, along with the House.

When Obama becomes President I hope he extends his hand out to all Americans to heal any hurts from this election.

I'm also glad that Joe Biden is standing as his VP as he is a man I have a lot of respect for.

I'll be up all night watching the vote and reading ATW; their coverage of the election has been fantastic.

"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past"
Thomas Jefferson

Naughty Nelson

I see that DUP MLA Nelson Mc Causland was ordered to remove himself from the assembly to-day by fellow DUP MLA and Speaker Willie Hay.

Mc Causland was suspended after refusing to withdraw remarks he made about Gerry Adams during a debate on ‘the Disappeared’ in the assembly yesterday.

Mc Causland claimed that El Presidente had set up ‘IRA units’ to torture suspected informers and bury their bodies in secrecy. El Presidente has strenuously denied these allegations, and this is not the first time certain Unionists have sought to tarnish Adams with this claim.

Perhaps there are a few other issues Nelson could raise in the assembly in relation to justice. Primarily I think he should ask some prominent members in his party where the weapons that Ulster Resistance imported from South Africa are. Perhaps he could enquire into whether they were used to murder any innocent Nationalists? I think Nelson should also raise the issue of the UDA playing a major role in a certain DUP members election campaign in 1978. Maybe he could also ask his former leader for the names of the mob that burnt down Catholic houses on the Shankill after the said man delivered a provocative and fiery speech in the late 1960’s?

Let he without sin cast the first stone. Clearly not a lesson Nelson learned at Sunday school.

The needed vote for change

To-day is the day that history could potentially be made. It is of course the day of the US presidential election and with it comes the very palpable and real opportunity for America to elect their first ever black president.

Obama is already ahead in the opinion polls, yet many in the conservative media are already suggesting that he will be piped at the post by Mc Cain.

For me Obama represents a new face of monumental change. He is young, charismatic and one hell of an orator. Compared to an aging man there appears to be no contest. One is for progress the other for conservation.

It was interesting to see a tattooed, self confessed red neck openly state that he was going to vote for Obama. He even pointed out the folly of many of his associates that refused to vote for Obama on the basis of his skin colour. With such a conversion, one could very else suggest that Obama could indeed be onto a winner.

Personally I feel that this is the closest America will ever come to electing a black president. If Obama succeeds then the final nail has been hammered into the ignominious coffin of slavery and the denial of civil rights. If he fails I think the US will have passed on the greatest opportunity to make monumental progress.

Indeed the enormity of the decision taken by voters in the US will reverberate around the globe. It is not only the future of America, but indeed that of the world they hold in their hands. It is actually quite scary to think that voters in one part of the world could have such an impact on the world as a whole

I think Mc Cain may have fallen on his sword whenever he took Palin onto his ticket. What was touted as a stroke of master genius appears to have back fired spectacularly. Palin is far from being popular and has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the run up to to-days election. It is interesting to note that the GOP appears to have fallen victim to its greatest ally, the media.

Personally I have no regard for Palin whatsoever. To me she appears to be precocious and false and I simply would not want her serving as the deputy head of my country.

It will be a few days before the result begins to emerge and a fuller picture emerges. Indeed I would not be surprised if there is a repeat of the dirty tricks that seen GWB ‘WIN’ the election against Kerry.


Playing for pride or for pay?

As many of you will already know Ireland claimed another victory over Australia in the Compromise Rules series. Ireland won the match 57-53 giving them victory in both legs, and over all on aggregate.

Needless to see this feat is amazing, considering that GAA players are amateurs and have managed to once again beat professional athletes one on one.

However yesterdays encounter has raised several issues,. These arise every time the event takes place. Foremost amongst these issue is the contentious issue of the GAAs amateur status. Do not get me wrong, I concede that there is no better feeling than pulling on your county or club jersey week after week. Playing for pride is in many ways a better motivational factor than playing for pay.

Personally I feel that this debate is largely a redundant, red herring debate, instigated to ease the worries of many of the traditionalists within the GAA. I personally feel it makes no difference whether players are paid an allowance or not.

Primarily I am of this view because the GAA is a multi-million Euro sports organisation. The revenue generated from gate receipts is astronomical. Add to this the ever increasing cost of merchandise, the range of which is ever expanding. I mean now you have everything from kits, to school bags to air fresheners to play station games. The monetary gains from such a range is unbelievable and I think it is futile to argue that a sport that can generate such vast amounts of revenue is genuinely amateur.

Furthermore I can not fathom why people in light of these vast amounts of revenue would begrudge players a slice of this very large and lucrative cake. Personally I know that I would feel more comfortable knowing that the players, the people who entertain the crowds week in week out, the people making the sacrifices, should reap the rewards rather than the suits at GAA HQ.

Secondly I feel that it is futile to argue that a sport is amateur in essence and spirit whenever some are very clearly profiting from it. It is categorical that some people are very clearly making money from their positions within the GAA. County managers receive monetary payments as do several club managers whilst some players receive travelling allowances. Add to this the money top players make from advertisements, TV shows and newspaper columns. They are all making money as it stands, so I do not understand how giving them a few pound for playing will drastically alter this.

I think that traditionalists advocating a retention of amateur status are living in the past and are quite frankly deluding themselves. They appear to be utterly oblivious to the fact that money is already being made in the ways outlined above. These are the same people who were arguing that the back door system was going to kill off the championship. In fact they have been proved wrong on that issue. The restructuring of the championship has only served to strengthen the GAA further, especially in the weaker counties that are no longer subjected to the ignominy of the invariable preliminary round exit.

The attraction of professionalism in sport is reverberating across the GAA. Just look at the ability of AFL clubs to poach at will the cream of the GAA’s young talent. Many are quick to lambast those tempted by the lucrative offers from AFL clubs, but personally I feel castigation is difficult to justify. Thousands of pound in a sunny climate to do something that entails sacrifice at home is difficult to resist. Martin Clarke, Kevin Dyas, and now it seems the young talent of Tyrone have been tempted away to sunnier climates. Some in the GAA in passing the buck have naturally enough blamed the AFL for the whole debacle. However if they addressed the issue of providing financial incentive to their own players they could remedy the situation themselves,

Paying players is hardly going to cause the GAA world to implode. Several issues have over the years been muted as a wreckers charter and yet they have failed to dent the GAA in any way. This is merely another bogey debate to ease the worries of the die hard traditionalists.