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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Breaking Bad Bad Ass Lines

10) “This kicks like a mule with its balls wrapped in duct tape!” - Tuco Salamanaca

9) “Darth Vader had responsibilities. He was responsible for the Death Star.” - Badger

8) “Sitting around, smoking marijuana, eating Cheetos and masturbating do not constitute 'plans.'” - Walter White

7) “You are not the guy. You’re not capable of being the guy. I had a guy, but now I don’t. You are not the guy.” - Mike Ehrmantraut

6) “We’re all on the same page. The one that says, if I can’t kill you, you’ll sure as shit wish you were dead.” - Jesse Pinkman

5) “Look, let's start with some tough love. You two suck at peddling meth. Period.” - Saul Goodman

4) “It says, ‘TO W.W., MY STAR, MY PERFECT SILENCE.’ W.W., I mean, who do you figure that is? Woodrow Wilson? Willy Wonka? Walter White?” - Hank Schrader

3) “I fucked Ted” - Skyler White

2) “You clearly don't know who you're talking to, so let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No! I am the one who knocks!” - Walter White

1) “If you try to interfere, this becomes a much simpler matter. I will kill your wife. I will kill your son. I will kill your infant daughter.” - Gus Fring

Photo Minute: The Beauty All Around Us

Alice Leahy has spent 40 years bringing comfort to Ireland’s homeless population

                      Alice Leahy has spent 40 years bringing comfort to Ireland’s homeless population

ALICE LEAHY could light up a room with her smile, not to mind heat the place. There is warmth in her smile, and a twinkle that lightens the colour of her eyes.
To see that smile might well prompt one to believe she would be a pushover.
Nobody capable of emitting such warmth could possess steel, or the capacity to manipulate, cajole or engineer others to do as she pleases.
Nobody, that is, except Alice Leahy.

What she nearly always wants is something that will bring comfort or solace to those who are invisible to the rest of society — that constituency referred to as “the homeless”.
This is an issue that is not going away. Just earlier this week, Focus Ireland published a report that showed the number of homeless families in Dublin has doubled in the last year, with the problem spreading rapidly to Cork and Galway.

In April alone, 71 families accessed Focus Ireland’s services, 63 of which were homeless for the first time.
The most pressing issue of accessing housing is the main thrust of policy on homelessness, but for people like Alice Leahy there is another element that requires constant attention.
Forty years ago this year, Leahy set up an organisation called Trust — dedicated to humanising those who have, for one reason or another, been cast beyond the boundaries of society.
Trust operates outside the State infrastructure. There are no beds here that would register on the statistics of those without a home.

There are no forms to fill out in order that a body may be categorised and have his or her needs recorded in official language.
Instead, there is human contact; a cup of tea; an opportunity to have feet washed; the possibility of a new pair of boots, or a coat; basic medical attention; assistance with tackling the bureaucracy of the State.
There is even the kind of thing that might appear mundane, like helping a woman in putting on some make-up, that she may relocate some self-esteem, or the sense of dignity denied to many who are invisible on the streets.

Trust operates out of a basement in the heart of Dublin city.
Each morning, men and women make their way there — seeking out an oasis in a desert of indifference.
A bird’s eye view of the city might track these figures, rising from doorways, folding cardboard, exiting hostels, checking time, all moving purposefully to congregate at the door of a basement room, as if queueing up for access to a shot of energy to see them through till nightfall again.
One of Trust’s key features is a refusal to be gobbled up by the State’s services, which might compromise its central mission.

This independence is maintained through functioning on donations from the public, rather than the State.
Leahy refers to many who use the service as “outsiders”, people who for a myriad reasons could not function within, or conform to, the strictures of society.
She’s a bit of an outsider herself. The structure of Trust enables her to advocate without any fear of repercussions from discommoded public servants or politicians.
She is constantly holding up a mirror to society, telling it like it is, banging on doors, often shouting in the dark, haranguing society to sit up and take notice.
Forty years down the line, Trust is probably more important than ever. Society has not got to grips with homelessness.

Every so often, a death like that of Jonathan Corrie outside the D√°il last December grabs attention, before the issue slips from the headlines again.
Alice Leahy thought it would all take a few years. When she set up Trust in 1975, she was of the opinion that it would fill a gap until such time as the authorities copped on that all the children of the nation required a little more cherishing. It didn’t happen.

Far from making advances, the problems associated with homelessness have ballooned in recent years.
A report a few months ago showed that 30 people a month are becoming homeless in Cork. A report from the Homeless Executive for the Dublin region last month showed that almost 1,000 children are now living in emergency accommodation in the capital.

That’s apart from the rough sleepers, those who actually spend their nights on the streets, unable — or in some cases for good reason, unwilling — to access emergency shelter until the morning comes.
Back in the mid-70s, Alice was working as a nurse, putting in a little extra effort with the Simon Community.
She compiled a report on the medical needs of those who were at the time described as “vagrants”.
“Experience has shown that the presence of a voluntary worker or other person with knowledge of the individual vagrant helps to break the barrier separating him from proper medical care,” she reported.
Her experience in surveying so-called vagrants convinced her a service was required, where those without a home could at least have access to basic services the rest of us take for granted.
When Alice Leahy mentioned to a consultant in the hospital where she was nursing that she was packing in her safe and secure job to work with the homeless, his response was understandable.

“Are you mad?” he asked.
Later, Leahy revealed she didn’t bother filling him in on other details, such as that she would be working out of a rundown basement for the equivalent of what one would receive on the dole.
“He might have tried to have me certified,” she recalled.
But that’s how it started, when she and a few others got together and put in place what was a radical idea.
Since then, Trust has been working to put itself out of business, but society keeps ensuring that its service has become even more vital as the “problem” of homelessness goes unsolved.
Change has come dropping slowly over the decades. When the country emerged blinking into the frontline of wealthy nations in the 1990s, efforts were made to tackle homelessness.

Greater resources were deployed, but greater accountability was also demanded. Those availing of services were required to behave as “clients”, as if they were attending with an accountant to sort out tax affairs.
The approach made no concession to the reality that most who find themselves on the street are burdened with emotional or mental health issues, which render them overwhelmed by matters like bureaucracy.
A client is an individual seeking a service, rather than a human being in search of something lost along life’s journey.

The bureaucracy forced on homeless people is a bugbear of Leahy’s; but more pressing matters have arisen in the years since the economic collapse of 2008.
The recession has seen homelessness balloon, particularly among a new element of immigrants, who like many Irish emigrants of old, can’t go home because of the shame.
For Alice Leahy, and her kindred spirits, the war on want carries on daily.

This year, Trust will mark its 40th anniversary, four decades of making a real difference in the lives of people as society at large walks on by.

Michael Clifford

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A light has at last shone in the darkness

What happened last Friday was of course more than the rights of people to decide who they want to marry, and be able to live within the protection of the constitution rather than live in the shadow of it because of that choice. It was about religious freedom from a Catholic dogma that included all others as well; it was about support against prejudice and where consent between adults in how they choose to live, to love, was really all that mattered in the end; it was about the ever changing evolution of how we used to be taught against what we learned ourselves. The old road had finally ran out.

                                   A face that tells a thousand words but never speaks the truth

Depending on one’s vintage, it was a crime to be gay in Ireland in 1993, and that was a full 26 years after England decriminalised that particular definition of love. This is, give or take, about the usual time frame for Ireland to play catch up, except this time around, regarding the right to marry, they were way out front. What has hindered this country from taking the lead in many other state of affairs was, and I dare say still is, the Catholic Church. This is about to change for good. To parlay and tweak the words a little of dear old Winston Churchill: “This is the not beginning of the end of the Catholic Church in Ireland today but it is the end of the beginning…..”

That can only continue when you dismantle the machine that is greased by the oil of money and greed, which is the reality of what this Church was and ever will be about. They own and operate over 3200  schools across the land, which is over 92% of the entire education system of 'no other choice', that includes most universities and hospitals. Most dodgy charities are run by them too or where they lend their support. 

Their policies still today in all of these places of medicine, science and education, are discriminatory against gays, single mothers and children themselves, should the latter choose to be anything else but Catholic.

The Catholic church can close down this country in the morning and the Government has always known this. It is also why justice has been denied and still delayed for the victims of this most corrupt institution. Previous and historical governments created this monster and it will take a very courageous one to dismantle it and take back the properties and monies bequeathed to them in trust and blind faith.  But with the will of the people firmly behind them now, a light has at last shone in the darkness.  

In the matters of social or religious change it was not that this church was created by God or Jesus, but more it was they who created both in their own image and likeness in order that they could rule with more than a certain impunity. The purple robes and blood red hats would ensure a trail of tears in their wake until the people finally woke and stood up from bended knee and said no more. That happened too last weekend. This church never set out to reform itself in any way and it was always the people that it claimed to serve that forced change by exposing it, resulting in eventual regulation and law. It needs a lot more to reclaim the centre ground for our institutions of education and medicine. They belong to the people and must be given back or taken back. It must not be allowed to be a choice or it will remain the same and prove to be no choice at all.  

Those victims that came before last weekend were the ones that were reviled by their own families for being single mothers. Then suffered the created stigma of having their children labelled  'illegitimate babies.' Then there were the  infants that were sold on by the church for profit followed by the Industrial schools  and the Magdalene laundries that stemmed from those left behind; then came the cover-ups, the missing files, the convenient fires, and on and on it went..... We must not forget the babies in their thousands buried in unmarked graves all across this green land and those that were used as guinea pigs for drug trials before their little broken hearts gave out at last. No more should have been cried a long time ago.

Like all things that belongs to the root and branch of evil, this Irish version of the Catholic church is consuming itself. Ireland has at last turned a corner that not only includes the young voters, but by those whose families were impacted directly and indirectly by the Catholic church as victims. The social revolution has at last begun in earnest where we have to teach again moral values to those that had long since claimed to be the guardians of morality.
And when  we have duly them taught these things, like us, they must then be taught to think for themselves.

Barry Clifford