Thursday, June 24, 2010

Capello should encourage wives to join the players

Today's Sun (I know) says that England's manager F. Capello allowed the team to have a few beers on Monday night. The paper says he did this to let the team relax.

This goes right to the heart of something that I can't understand when it comes to the World Cup. Why are the so-called "wags" banned from the England camp? The English players - & I don't know if other nations' do the same - play the full season in a pretty intense league, many also play in the Champions League. High level competition.

Yet, after every game the players head home to their wives or girlfriends or head out on the town with their pals. Why should they behave differently just because it's the World Cup? Why would any manager mess with the formula that they've proven is successful?

If I was managing the English team I'd encourage them to bring their families with them, to as close as possible set up home away from home. I don't know, maybe that would bring all sorts of problems too, but it should be up to the players themselves whether their families join them at the World Cup or not.

A happy side effect is that the wives and girlfriends could give the voracious English press something to write about other than the minutiae of what's going on with the players. Might take some of the pressure off them.

And a side note: I don't equate "wives" with "girlfriends", those are two completely different roles and relationships. Yet, the players' wives definitely, and their girlfriends too, are mistreated and equated with something akin to concubines in the manner they're treated by Capello and written about in the media. That's just plain wrong.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What does bad journalism cost the state?

Today the Irish Times tells us that tax relief on health insurance costs the state around €400m per year. They arrive at that figure by simply producing the total of all tax credits due to taxpayers' health insurance policies.

Okay, that's the amount of relief taxpayers avail of, but is that the total cost? Surely if that relief were eliminated a certain percentage of those taxpayers would find the cost of health insurance prohibitive or simply not worth it. That would mean they would become 100% public patients, which would add to the state's costs.

I can accept that it would be nearly impossible to make a reasonable attempt at quantifying that figure, but to not even mention it is the difference between journalism and activism.

The state again makes the case for its removal from education

Another Leaving Cert blunder. The state makes the best case for getting it out of the education process. Local testing, local standards. This overly centralized system provides too few benefits despite the rigidity and pompous declarations about "fairness."

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Peace activist's statement on Palestinian "genocide" is wrong

I don't doubt Nobel Prize winner Mairead Corrigan cared deeply about the Palestinian people. Very deeply. She's emotionally invested in their plight.

However, her emotional investment doesn't change the fact that she should - as a Nobel Prize winner - avoid factually suspect, but highly emotive statements on the situation in the Middle East and/or Gaza.

The other day Corrigan said the Palestinian people were experiencing a "slow genocide." Genocide is pretty clear cut - an ethnic or religious group is being exterminated. Now if the Palestinians were indeed being slowly exterminated we would see evidence of that. At a minimum the Palestinian population would be in decline.

However, on the West Bank the population is increasing at a 2.13% rate. That's a fairly healthy growth rate. More than Ireland at 1.10% and America at 0.97%. That's just the West Bank.

In Gaza the population growth rate is 3.29%, which is the 6th highest population growth rate in the world. Israel's own population growth rate is about 1.6%, which is less than the West Bank/Gaza combined rate (roughly 2.6%). That's not genocide.

I won't dispute that life in Gaza is extremely unpleasant and unfair on the vast majority of people living there, but genocide it is not.

I'd love to see that remedied and for peace to break out suddenly in the region, but we're not going to get there if Nobel Peace Prize winners feel free to toss linguistic gasoline on the fire.