Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dáil TV and Oct 27 referendum

Just wondering, but could there be a connection between our "coming soon" Dáil TV channel and next week's referendum on Oireachtas Inquiries? I mean, without all the extra inquiries that a 'Yes' vote will allow, how will our representatives fill all the hours of the new channel? They can't very well allow us to see hours of the chamber empty and unused or even hours of 3 people sitting there listening to another drone on. Can they?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Church's influence over Irish education not what's often claimed

The Irish Times list of the 50 most powerful people in Irish education is interesting.

What really caught my eye, what really should get people talking about Irish education is the low listing of Fr Drumm - Chairman of the Catholic Schools Partnership - who is 30th and Archbishop Martin (36th). Apparently the Church doesn't have as much influence over Irish education as people like Ryan Tubridy would have us believe. As for Protestants or other religious groups - didn't make the list.

The head of Educate Together made the list - at 24, above anyone from any religion. Goes to show how certain perspectives are favored over others. That Educate Together is so high up the list demonstrates Labour's control over education.

Who else made the list? Many university heads (and ex-heads!), union heads, Department of Education mandarins. All of those groups have more influence over Irish education than does the Catholic Church. American money - multinational companies and philanthropist Chuck Feeney - is listed much higher in terms of power and influence than Fr Drumm and Archbishop Martin.

Next time someone talks about the Church's influence in our education system I'll cite this source as proof that its influence is nothing compared with loads of other interest groups.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Catching Hell – a decent first draft

First, I want to say that all sports fans will enjoy Catching Hell. You don't have to be a baseball fan to get something out of the ESPN (@ESPNAmerica) documentary.

Having said that, Catching Hell is far from flawless. It's part of the story, but ultimately incomplete. That the those who made the film didn't get the main subject – Steve Bartman – to talk to them isn't the primary flaw.

No, the biggest problem I have is with the non-participation of the Chicago Cubs. To my mind the biggest culprits in the story were the Cubs. The Cubs – the players, the manager and those in the front office – allowed Bartman to be turned into a villain. They let it happen. In fact, they caused it to happen.

We got a short interview with the lead supporting actor in this play, Moises Alou, but that was unsatisfactory too. He was never asked if he felt that he could have done more to save Bartman from the fans' ire I wanted to know if looking back at it if he wishes he'd done or said something more.

Other than Eric Karros we heard nothing from anyone else associated with the Cubs. Why?

Maybe they know now that they should have said or done more for Bartman. Maybe they're ashamed. Or maybe they defiantly believe that Bartman did really cost them Game 6 of the NLCS and maybe they still blame him. Whatever the players, manager and front office folks feel today is still a mystery.

There are other problems with the documentary. At two hours it's too long thanks to an excessive amount of Boston Red Sox stuff. It's unnecessary for the story. And as for the lengthy theological treatise on scapegoats ... that should have been cut to a sentence. Without Bartman, without his friends or family, without the Cubs an hour would have been better.

It's too good a story to remain only partially told.