Irish election coverage

by Henry on May 25, 2007

I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about not blogging on the Irish election, but only a bit; unlike Maria, I’ve mostly lost touch with Irish politics. But for those who want to follow what’s happening minute to minute, “Irish Election”:http://www.irishelection.com/ is yer only man (and indeed its level of technological sophistication seems to be “impressing”:http://www.techpresident.com/node/364 the tech-politics folks in the US too).

Update: It looks as though Michael McDowell, who was Deputy Prime Minister (and more to the point, Maria’s and my uncle) has lost his seat and is “leaving public life”:http://www.rte.ie/news/2007/0525/election6.html. While we had very different political positions on a host of things (he’s strongly to the right), I’m very sorry about this, and not only because of my obvious personal affection for him – he brought a level of intellectual and argumentative clarity to a political culture that has all too often been based on ambiguity and obfuscation, and did more than anyone else to hold Sinn Fein’s feet to the fire when they looked likely to enter normal party politics on the nod and the wink.

Can Christians be Patriots?

by Harry on May 25, 2007

In a follow-up to John’s post asserting that a minority of Americans are Christians, Lindsey (a young evangelical Christian) at Regardant les nuages elaborates the specifically Christian case against patriotism. Her understanding from the inside accords pretty much with mine (and John’s) from the outside, which is nice to know! An excerpt:

while I love the gifts that I’ve received in virtue of living here, I must realize that they are by no means my own. I am obligated to use them to benefit everyone, and everyone is not limited to my American neighbors. So while I may love this country, I don’t love it in the sense that I’m proud to be American instead of Canadian, French or Japanese. My love is merely an appreciation of the opportunities afforded to me by growing up here. The real problem with love of country is that, while innocent enough on its own, it is often accompanied by neglect of other countries. God did not call us to love and serve America alone. We are here to make an impact on the world. We are called to bring justice, peace, love, and kindness to all peoples.

Comment there (esp colleen, who might like what she finds).

Pre-Early Rawls

by Jon Mandle on May 25, 2007

In the most recent issue of the Journal of Religious Ethics, Eric Gregory (a Religion professor at Princeton) has an article (abstract here) discussing John Rawls’s senior undergraduate thesis. Gregory is properly cautious, pointing out: “Few people, I suspect, would welcome the thought of being held accountable to claims made in graduate seminar papers, let alone undergraduate theses.” True enough. And it’s worth remembering what Sam Freeman writes in the preface to Rawls’s Collected Papers: “Rawls has often said that he sees these papers as experimental works, opportunities to try out ideas that later may be developed, revised, or abandoned in his books. For this reason he has long been reluctant to permit the publication of his collected papers in book form.” One can only imagine what he would have thought about a published analysis of his undergraduate thesis.
[click to continue…]

Irish election

by Maria on May 25, 2007

Things aren’t looking too good for the rainbow coalition of Fine Gael, Labour and possibly the Greens. Yesterday’s election had a very high turnout and Fianna Fail, the leading party in the most recent coalition has about 41% of the vote.

Right now, all indicators are that the next coalition will be led by Fianna Fail. But who will the junior party be? The Progressive Democrats, Labour (despite their pre-election pact with Fine Gael) or even Sinn Fein.

I’d hoped to get home to vote, but work didn’t permit. In Brussels, only Irish civil servants and their spouses are permitted to use a postal vote. I’ve no serious complaints. If our diaspora was allowed to run the show, the provos would have been in years ago.

They’re Faster than You

by Kieran Healy on May 25, 2007

By all accounts not any sort of couch potato, Ogged is “understandably distressed”:http://www.unfogged.com/archives/week_2007_05_20.html#006859 to look at the age-group records for his chosen event, the 50 meters freestyle, and find that he has to go all the way up to the 75-79 age group to find a time he would stand a chance of beating.

I have the related experience of having family members who are irritatingly athletic. For instance, my brother was on the Irish cross-country team and won a bunch of stuff in college. My sister-in-law ran the Chicago marathon in 2004 — her first — and finished seventeenth. Worst of all, two years before I was even born my uncle won a marathon in “Kaduna”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaduna in a time of 2:15:03, then the fastest time ever run in Africa, and now more than thirty five years later still one of the the 20 fastest marathons ever run by any Irishman. (And also, “to my knowledge,”:http://www.arrs.net/AC_Mara.htm still the fastest marathon ever run in Nigeria.)

Elite athletes are different from you and me, and this is true even when, as in my case, you share a significant percentage of their genes. My sister-in-law once told me of the experience — common amongst top women athletes — of being out for a run and getting held up at a stop light. Some regular semi-fit guy out for his evening jog runs up alongside, and glances over. The light changes, and the guy takes off at an unsustainable speed because, obviously, it would be a violation of natural law for a woman to be able to run faster than a guy. Having gone through this one too many times, my sister-in-law adopted the strategy of just tucking in behind the guy and waiting to see what would happen. After a short while he realizes she’s behind him. He tries to go faster. He glances behind. She’s still there. A very short while later the guy, now beginning to boil in a self-made vat of lactic acid, starts making random turns down streets in a desperate effort to shake his pursuer. It doesn’t work. Eventually the guy grinds to a halt, she breezes by, he’s left gasping for air and maybe reflecting on his views on gender.