Thursday, July 19, 2018

Obama on liars

Barack Obama speaking earlier this week in South Africa.

“People just make stuff up. They just make stuff up. We see it in the growth of state-sponsored propaganda. We see it in internet fabrications. We see it in the blurring of lines between news and entertainment.

"we see the utter loss of shame among political leaders where they’re caught in a lie and they just double down and they lie some more. It used to be that if you caught them lying, they’d be like, ‘Oh, man’— now they just keep on lying.”

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

RTE and the past participle

Dave Fanning standing in for Ryan Tubridy this morning:

".......he has ran...."

Someone at RTE should explain the perfect tense and how to use the past participle to their highly-paid presenters.

Ideology is the enemy of discernment

Wise words from Australian Jesuit priest and author Richard Leonard:

Ideology is the enemy of true discernment. 

It predetermines the outcome to every conversation, cuts across a spirit of curiosity and humility towards new opportunities, and leaves no room for the Holy Spirit to prompt and move us to new responses to new contexts and issues.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Dublin to West Kerry on a motorbike

This week's Independent News & Media Irsh regional newspapers' column.

Michael Commane
Have you ever driven a motorbike?

Last Friday week, more or less on a whim, I jumped up on my motorbike in Dublin at 17.15, destination Castlegregory in West Kerry.

It was sort of crazy as I had to return the following day. It meant covering approximately 700 kilometres in 24 hours.

Leaving Dublin at peak rush hour was unwise. Traffic was bumper-to-bumper, which was made worse with road widening works between Naas and Newbridge.

No doubt you have seen motorbikes zoom in and out between cars in long traffic jams. They make it look easy and are the envy of those sitting in stationary cars. 

I tried doing that on Friday but failed miserably. I attempted zigzagging but quickly grew scared and decided to drive sedately right on the edge of the hard shoulder. I’d say I looked sort of pathetic. I’m no Evel Knievel.

South of Newbridge it all changed and I was as free as a bird. But a motorway is always a motorway, it’s boring. There is the mouth-watering countryside to be seen and on a motorbike the vantage point is much better than in a car but a motorway always remains a motorway. 

No, not to save the toll fee, rather for the peace and quiet of slower roads, I left the motorway before Portlaoise. It was surprisingly quiet with little or no traffic. It made for perfect motorbiking. I could sit up on the bike and scan the fabulous Irish scenery, though it was striking how burned the countryside looked. That lush greenness was not in evidence.

I had been dreading how hot and uncomfortable it would be wearing all that motorbike gear. But I was surprised, once out on the open road with my jacket partly open, how fresh and cool it was. I am reminded of this anonymous quote: ‘Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window.’

South of Limerick panic sets in. Petrol gauge is off the red. That sensation of running out of petrol on a motorbike in late evening is not pleasant. You look at the gauge and shout out an expletive. 

With your head encased in a helmet all your words remain silent. 

I was in a bit of a fix. A car pulls up outside a shop. I drive up to the parked car, raise the visor of my helmet and ask the driver how far away is the next petrol station. For a millisecond or so he looks at me, then smiles and says ‘two or three miles, in Clarina’. 

Sounding apprehensive I ask him is it two or three. He gets the message and realises that I’m nervous. At that he says: ‘You drive off and I’ll follow you.’ I was flabbergasted. I got to the filling station, the man turned around and drove back to where I met him. What a lovely act of kindness.

The views along the Shannon were spectacular. I could see over to Clare, the stacks at Moneypoint power station. There is an elegance about wind turbines that adds to the makeup of the Irish landscape. 

All the different smells, something you miss in a car. And then the setting sun. It was sensational. And certainly an experience of living in the now. 

It was my first time to see a cruise ship at Foynes.
With a few stops en route I arrived in Castlegregory close to 22.15 as high as a kite. Great fun and highly recommended.


Monday, July 16, 2018

Trump and his empty gestures

This is a briliant piece on President Trump and all he stand for.

It appears in The New Yorker.

The Trump-Putin summit, a meeting without an agenda, is the latest example of the ultimate innovation of the Trump Presidency: the deliberately empty gesture. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

'Many of the poor are trampled on today'

The Three Patrons' newsletter for this week.

By Michael Commane
There was an interesting article in last week’s English newspaper The Guardian

An Italian priest, Gianfranco Formento, has crossed swords with the new Italian interior minister and leader of the far-right Northern League Matteo Salvini.

Back in 2015 the priest placed a sign on the church in Spoletto in Umbria, where he ministers, saying: “Racists are forbidden from entering. Go home.”

Salvini saw it and wrote on his Twitter account: “Perhaps the priest prefers smugglers, slaveholders and terrorists? Pity Spoleto and this church, if this man calls himself a priest.”

“There is an evil force of racism, and Salvini has contributed to this. He’s been a magician in cultivating hate and manipulating anger. People of all ages have become racist because of the climate we’re living in,” Fr Formento has said.

At a Mass earlier this month in Rome Pope Francis said:

“The only reasonable response to the challenges presented by contemporary migration is solidarity and mercy. Governments must be less concerned with political calculations and more with an equitable distribution of responsibilities.

“Many of the poor are trampled on today. How many of the poor are being brought to ruin! All are the victims of that culture of waste that has been denounced time and time again, including migrants and refugees who continue to knock at the door of nations that enjoy greater prosperity.”

Another Italian priest, Alex Zanotelli, has called on journalists to write more on the difficulties people experience in Africa. He argues that migrants are not the parasites and invaders the far-right want us to think they are. They are fleeing from disaster, he says.

Is anyone asking who colonised and plundered the developing world?

Closer to home it was interesting to read the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Denis Nulty speak out last week about energy price rises, which are soon to be introduced.

He said: “The huge poverty in Ireland is energy poverty and I’m afraid a lot of people are missing it.

“The government needs to look at the price increases and think about how the poor in society can be supported, otherwise the poor are going to get even poorer.”

And that’s good lead-in to remind readers that the St Vincent de Paul collection takes place this Sunday outside the church after Mass.


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Respect plays significant role in job satisfaction

According to an Irish Management Institute survey, 72 per cent of employees rank respectful treatment as the most important factor for job satisfaction.

Has there ever been such a survey carried out among priests within Irish Catholic dioceses and congregations?

Findings would make for interesting reading.

Friday, July 13, 2018

In Trump's own words: a very stable genius

US satirist Stephen Colbert on Donald Trump's upcoming meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

“I’m not ready to say our president is a Russian agent, but I have an agent and he doesn’t do as much for me as Trump does for Russia."

Donald Trump's press conference in Brussels yesterday was similar to something taken from 'Only Fools and Horses'.

It is fabulous comedy.

A journalist asked him a question on the war in Syria, the current Iraq situation and he plight of the Kurds.

He replied that he likes the Kurds.

And does he consider Ireland part of the UK?

He told the assembled journalists: "I'm a very stable genius."

Count the number of times the president uses the word 'very'.

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Obama on liars

Barack Obama speaking earlier this week in South Africa. “People just make stuff up. They just make stuff up. We see it in the growth of...