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    re: What They Teach the Children in Schools Today

    Posted by Telegram from Innisfree on 31st October 2012 (All posts by )

    The wife and I moved to Ireland a year or so ago.
    I found academic work here. So we moved.

    Today, the wife is walking the children home from school.
    They pass by a lamppost dated “1911.” Douglas, who is 9,
    asks “who was king then?”

    “Edward VII”, she replies. Douglas thinks for a moment and says,
    “George V was his son. And king during the First World toponlinelexapro
    War.” “Excellent!” she cheers him on, and “Who were his sons?”
    “Edward VIII and George VI.” “Fantastic!” she exclaims, “And
    who is George VI father to?”

    Douglas yells happily back …
    “Our current Queen!!”

    There you have it … I name him after an outstanding American …
    and he grows up to be a Tory (while living in Ireland!).
    Where did I go wrong?

    Mr. Innisfree

    Posted in Anglosphere, History, Ireland, Personal Narrative | 2 Comments »

    Not yet TEA time…

    Posted by Telegram from Innisfree on 3rd April 2012 (All posts by )

    Yes, the world is abuzz with the fuss that Irish homeowners are making over the Household Tax. To recap, the Household Tax is a precursor to a property tax, which hasn’t been charged until now. Homeowners are asked to pay EUR100 this year, with an eye towards bringing in a proper tax in 2013. The idea is to get homeowners to self-identify themselves to the government to create the database. (Many government (and indeed health and education) records still are very much on paper.) The deadline for paying this tax was this past Saturday – however, at last count less than half of the suspected 1.6 million households have ponied up.

    In fact, there was a protest at the current ruling party’s annual planning conference (called an “Ard Fheis”). An estimated 5,000-plus people turned out to air their rancor against this tax. Indeed, a number of TDs (members of the Irish parliament) have taken to the airwaves to condemn this tax and at least in a couple of cases, hint broadly that people not should pay it. From an American conservative/libertarian point of view, this all looks promising…

    …until you hear what the complaints are all about. Almost no one is calling for a cut in spending. A goodly number are piqued that they can’t pay for this bill at the post office. And other voters and government folk are calling for the property tax to be means-tested. Sinn Fein wants to scrap this tax altogether for a flat-out income tax rate hike (which is what a property tax based on income level would effectively become) . In other words, this is really a broad-based call for more soaking the rich. But let’s see where this tax is going to.

    It’s being sent to the District Councils – local-based government at the city or county level. And what it’s paying for are parks. Swimming pools. Libraries. And streets (remind me what the Road Tax was supposed to be for?) Meanwhile, still no talk of councillors taking a pay cut. Just asking the homeowners to dig deep to pay for “leisure amenities”. Feh, “leisure amenities”. Let’s get this straight. This isn’t a principled fight over taxation. It’s a squabble over who pays for little Sinead’s swim lessons. As King James II exclaimed at the Battle of the Boyne, GMAFB.

    Posted in Big Government, Ireland, Taxes, Tea Party | 10 Comments »

    Fianna Fail – fault-lines?

    Posted by Telegram from Innisfree on 29th February 2012 (All posts by )

    So in today’s continuing Eurodrama, Fianna Fail deputy leader Eamon O Cuiv had to step down due to his refusal to support the Fiscal Treaty. Interesting, especially as Fianna Fail is due to start its annual party conference (the “Ard Fheis”) on Friday. Will the grandson of Eamon de Valera lead the way to a new Irish euroskepticism?

    Meanwhile, The Independent points out in an editorial today that on March 31, Ireland will have to pay another €3.1 billion on its ongoing €30 billion bailout of Anglo-Irish bank. For a country with a GDP of somewhere around $200 billion, that’s not chump change. Indeed, there are rumblings of the government will have to cook up what is called here a “mini-budget” (a budget revision) the summer involving more cuts, although (hopefully) no new taxes.

    For leading parties Fine Gael and Labour to succeed, they will have to try to forestall the mini-budget until after the referendum. How they will managed to wrench out a Yes vote from this will be, um, interesting. And why, yes, I do mean that in the Chinese sense.

    Posted in Europe, Ireland | 2 Comments »

    I just can’t help myself.

    Posted by Telegram from Innisfree on 29th February 2012 (All posts by )

    I just saw this post on the Algemeiner about neo-Nazi Arthur Jones running in IL-3.

    Please. Allow me to be the first.

    (the key dialogue starts at 1:45)

    Posted in Chicagoania, Politics | 2 Comments »

    Ireland to have a referendum on the EU fiscal treaty…

    Posted by Telegram from Innisfree on 28th February 2012 (All posts by )

    Prime Minister Enda Kenny has just announced this afternoon that a general referendum will be held on the EU Fiscal Compact prior to the summer. Labour and Fine Gael, the parties currently in power, will campaign for a Yes vote. Sinn Fein will probably line up on the No side, which would continue their journey on the road to Euroskepticism. Fianna Fail, which spectacularly combusted in general elections last year, will be having its Ard Fheis (Party Conference) this weekend, which a good deal of the party’s future will be discussed. No doubt this referendum will be a hot topic. The sense I get so far is that Fianna Fail will back a yes vote, since the previous government was thoroughly Europhilic and the current leader, Micheal Martin, was in the prior cabinet. But let’s see what happens this weekend…

    A few quick thoughts:
    – The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) is announcing this now because he thinks people are generally feeling good about Ireland’s prospects. In the last 10 days or so several hundred new jobs from various overseas corporations have been announced.
    – Or maybe his hand has been forced by the prospect of Sinn Fein issuing a court challenge?
    – Initial takes I’m reading/hearing indicate a No vote would imply a break from the Eurozone.

    Time to go listen to the radio!!

    Posted in Europe, Ireland | 11 Comments »

    Europe’s Crazy Girlfriend

    Posted by Telegram from Innisfree on 15th February 2012 (All posts by )

    There she is. Sobbing on the phone. Making threats. Trashing her bedroom. And of course, making all sorts of promises to stay in the relationship.

    Meanwhile, Ireland is holding her breath and crossing her fingers. News radio here is breathless and buzzing with anticipation with whether this is the “Big One” – whether today’s teleconference will push Greece further to the brink, or indeed – over it. The way it has been painted is that if Greece goes, Portugal could be next. And then, Gd help us – what happens to Ireland?

    Hmm. Better pick up a few more pound notes when I go get the kids today…

    Posted in Europe | 14 Comments »

    What does life look like with $8/gallon gas?

    Posted by Telegram from Innisfree on 15th February 2012 (All posts by )

    Drudge is reporting that the US is headed to $5/gallon for gas. When I mention US prices to my Irish friends, they usually are either shocked or laugh. Our gas prices are still bargain basement compared to Ireland. Currently gas is about EUR1.55 per liter. Multiply by 4 to approximate a gallon = EUR 6.20. Multiply again by $1.30, and voila = $8/gallon gas.

    When petrol is this pricey, it’s time to ditch the car. Yes, we lead the green life, although very unwillingly. Husband commutes nearly 2hrs to work each way – a ride that takes only 35 min by car. The kids and I walk to school daily, 23 minutes each way.

    A few observations: 1. The idea that one somehow gets more fit from all of this walking is a joke and I am a living, breathing, zaftig testament to this truth; 2. Walking and taking public transit drains an enormous amount of time from one’s day, and one’s productivity; 3. Because I can only carry so much in my shopping trolley, I have to act as a hunter-gatherer, getting only so much food per day. Again – big drain on productivity. 4. Because we can’t afford a car, we’re not supporting all of the many businesses that build up around car ownership – insurance, gas, car washes, oil change services, tires, etc. So they lose out as well.

    Here’s your future, America. May I recommend getting some good shoes?

    Posted in Economics & Finance, Energy & Power Generation, Transportation | 20 Comments »

    Dan Hannan, through the Looking-Glass

    Posted by Telegram from Innisfree on 14th February 2012 (All posts by )

    “Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas — only I don’t exactly know what they are!”

    So there I sat at the table after Saturday morning services at the little Irish synagogue, talking with the one raging conservative in the room. (Actually there are a number of raging conservatives in Dublin. But very few know it yet. My acquaintance is one of the few self-acknowledged ones). “So what do you think about Daniel Hannan?” says I. “Nope, never heard of him” says my friend, reaching for another gefilte fish ball.

    Now, this is a well-read fellow who reads The Irish Independent and can reel off any number of American right-leaning politicians. He is head over heels for Chris Christie. But he has never heard of Dan Hannan?

    It’s no surprise. Dan Hannan gets very little play in his home media – or in Irish media — and yes, the Irish do follow other British politicians. But not this one.) Meanwhile, he is renowned in the US. Why does CPAC give Hannan a soapbox to stand on, but he is barely heard from on the eastern side of the Atlantic?

    1. I think in general MEPs tend to get a lot less coverage – a reflection of the unhappy truth that the Parliament is Brussels is a high school debate club with a gargantuan expense account. Which is why I think UKIP gets as many votes as it does for European elections. Since voters feel the EP is less consequential, they feel more free to vote for less popular parties.

    2. Hannan also represents an unpopular line of thinking – against Big Government, against (European) Union, and incredibly – I mean incredibly – pro-American. And it’s hard to get his ideas play in a culture (here in Ireland and I would reckon in the UK as well) that for the most part still treats political discussion as ill-mannered. And as for the media? Here in Dublin the only British radio station I can being in is BBC Radio 4. (Well, OK that and a Liverpool sports station) Like they’re going to give Hannan a chance to even heavy-breathe on their mikes.

    So, sorry, Smitty — please don’t take Dan Hannan away. We need him here. (While we’re on the topic, tell Rupert to send us a Fox News Channel too…)

    Posted in Anglosphere, Britain, Europe, USA | 4 Comments »

    Just sayin’

    Posted by Telegram from Innisfree on 13th February 2012 (All posts by )

    Does this mean Justice Breyer is now a mugged liberal?

    Posted in Humor | 5 Comments »

    Harper and Israel

    Posted by Telegram from Innisfree on 1st February 2012 (All posts by )

    (with a tip o’ the hat to David Foster – Thanks for the title)

    While the Irish government, in typical fashion, is working overtime to ingratiate itself with the Palestinian cause, Harper’s government in Canada continues to impress. From announcing “Canada will take that stand [to defend Israel in the public sphere] whatever the cost” to opposing a bid for statehood by the PA, Harper has shown unusual cojones .

    And now the next chapter – yesterday, FM John Baird reiterated Canada’s support for Israel in the now-typical unbridled fashion:

    On a visit to Israel, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird told an audience of 350 at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum that “Israel has no greater friend in the world than Canada.” He then surprised them by saying “Canada does not stand behind Israel… .” After a slight pause he continued: “Canada stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel” in any threats and challenges it may face. He was met with warm applause.

    Just in case you think Baird talks only to the cheering section, behold this:

    Over lunch with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, then later with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Foreign Minister Riad Maliki, the Ottawa tag-team [of Baird and Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty] went out of its way to impress upon the Palestinian leadership that it should abandon its efforts to obtain United Nations recognition and return to the negotiating table with Israel “without preconditions.”

    Two foreign ministers touring Israel in this past week. Two very different policies.

    Posted in Israel | 2 Comments »

    Oh, this is going to be a cheerful Monday…

    Posted by Telegram from Innisfree on 29th January 2012 (All posts by )

    So tomorrow (Monday) morning there’s going to be a new pact signed in Brussels at the EU leaders’ summit which basically wrests more fiscal power away from Greece, and turns it over to a “Eurozone budget commissioner”. Here in Ireland, the current government is going to sign on with the understanding that it won’t need to ratify it with the people (75% of whom are hankering for a vote). According to the Independent, President Higgins can refer it to the Supreme Court for a legal test. I doubt he’ll do it – he’s a Labour man and his party is currently sharing power with Fine Gael. All should make for hours of exciting Eurocrisis soap opera on the radio…

    Posted in Europe | 1 Comment »

    Getting to the bottom of PJs

    Posted by Telegram from Innisfree on 29th January 2012 (All posts by )

    So while I was doodling out a thoughtful post on British identity in the Emerald Isle, this whole pajama business in Dublin blew open, meriting mention not only in the London Times editorial section on Friday(sorry-behind a paywall), but Althouse as well! So what’s up with dressing down?

    The debate that took place was fascinating – in part because there really was no debate. The Dept of Social Welfare hung up a bunch of signs asking people to show up in street clothes, and Irish punditry applauded. I read this as part of a continuing meme in Irish thought and culture – that Irish manners, once the finest to behold, are crumbling due to American/British media, the Celtic Tiger, the end of the Celtic Tiger, the Church, the lack of the Church, Leinster Rugby losing to Connacht, so on and so forth. Mind you, this is a nation where people still thank the bus driver as they exit the bus. Where thank you notes are sent with profusion. It’s not a political thing one way – or the other. It’s more like a nationwide “Mind yer manners” moment.

    Posted in Diversions | 4 Comments »

    Across the ocean, a message over the wireless…

    Posted by Telegram from Innisfree on 24th January 2012 (All posts by )

    As the newest Chicago Lass (hardly a boy, last I checked), I want to thank Jon for letting me join in on all the blogging. Briefly, our family moved to Dublin this past August from the United States. That was a blogworthy effort all on its own, with our lives boiled down to 54 boxes on a cargo ship and 27 luggage pieces on a plane (we had a lot of bags to watch over). Of course we also had four kids & Grandma along.

    I am not Irish, although I have a name and face that “passes”. Twelve months ago, I could not have distinguished between Croke Park and Bushy Park, told you what potcheen was good for or understood what “Dia duit” meant. Twelve months ago I would have never predicted life would take our family here.

    It has been an unusual experience – being an American in a city that is very Irish, very engrossed in Europe – and, dare I say it… very British at times (the truth that dare not speak its name). It is at once engulfed in the past, and yearning for the future. In this small island, the last rugged rock until Newfoundland, I have come to understand things about the United States, about Europe and the UK, and most of all, about Ireland – a land filled with magic and contradiction, with sadness, with laughter, and with fear and hope for what lies ahead. I hope to share these discoveries with you.

    With warmest regards,
    Your correspondent from Innisfree

    Posted in Anglosphere | 10 Comments »