Thursday, September 29, 2005

Opinion and exclusivity. Over-valued?

The New York Times began to charge for some of its content last week. They had previously charged for archived articles over 7 days old. Last week they began Times Select, where one can access all content for $49.99 per year. The content which one has to pay for is the content that most people enjoy – Maureen Dowd, David Brooks, Thomas Friedman, Frank Rich.

Many of the columnists in the NYT are syndicated across the USA and indeed internationally. However the NYT had forgot to organise that those newspapers that include these NYT columnists did not include the columns in the web versions.

Maureen Dowd is now the number one search term on Technorati. Her column among others is being typed/scanned and shared via the blogosphere and I don’t think that there is much that the NYT can do about it. Although they are trying. Never Pay Retail is searching the web for the articles and also outlining the attempts by the NYT to stop other sources publishing the articles in online archives and syndicated services.

Jay Rosen writes about the whole saga and makes interesting points about whether making these columnists more exclusive to access decreases or increases their value as columnists. He also reflects on the fact that a growing number of people are turning to blogs for information and opinion – and that opinion is not Maureen’s or Franks. But it’s Instapundit’s or Atrios’s or Josh Marshall’s. Other pundits are refusing to quote NYT select columnists in their articles – I wonder will their value as columnists now decrease.

On Tuesday the NYT announced 500 job cuts. I doubt it is directly related but I wonder how the NYT can get this policy so wrong.

The Guardian is the most popular online newspaper in the world. It is free to access. All of it. They charge for a digital version – fancy schmancy looking version of the paper. But the articles and archive are free and Guardian Unlimited has a varied and interesting selection of online only content. (Free!) They say they won’t be going down the pay route for their columnists any time soon.

The Guardian is a paper I read, I purchase and I surf online. I am loyal to it. Faced with the choice of The Guardian or the Irish Times in the newsagents I will buy the Guardian. The IT charges for content online, I won’t subscribe and I now rarely buy the print copy. Go figure. (Ok Kevin Myers is another reason I don’t buy it much either but the G is a much better read!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The World of Work

Recently I have found myself visiting factories and offices which are not open to the general public. It’s a strange world wandering around with a visitors pass, signing in at receptions (that are all staffed by stepford wives look-alikes) and looking out for dykes and queers. Now that’s not part of the job I hasten to add but it’s something that I just seem to do. I have to say I am very impressed with the 3 locations I have been to so far. No not the talent on offer per se but in terms of the staff facilities available. Granted these are large companies I have been visiting with lots of staff and a very high public image. But the canteens, rest facilities, social and sports clubs etc are all an eye opener for me. And it seems that the companies value these locations highly in terms of keeping staff happy. Some of the places were unionised, one was definitely not but they all so far have been equally impressive and have staff involvement in the management of onsite facilities available.

The one thing that I suppose has surprised me is my own reaction to the visits. I have never worked in a factory or service industry setting. Until recently I don’t think I have ever been inside one of these ‘closed’ locations – unless you count the school tour.  And I don’t know if I could ever work in these places – it seems so claustrophobic. Small little ‘towns’ with their cliques, targets, production areas etc. And never really meeting new people either. Nowhere nearby to go for lunch so all you have is the staff canteen. Clocking in and out. That sort of thing.

Anyway it’s hard not to think sociologically when I am there, even though my visit is not for any of these reasons.

William Jefferson Clinton for First Lady in 2008?

A campaign to get gay people to back Hillary for President (and Bill for First lady) has taken off in the US. has a blog, t-shirts, campaign ads online, a hands off Hillary section and a dress up doll etc etc.

And €200 plus is not enough

Ah the poor IPOD Nano owners are getting lots of scratches and screen breaks on their new babies! The screen breaks are a vendor issue in a very small number of cases say Apple. But as for the scratches Apple says its not really their problem and hey why not buy one of the IPOD Nano covers to protect it (And increase their profits). Or buy an Invisible Shield (video) (I kid you not!) And don’t keep it in your pocket either or you could lose the colour.

Nanoites or whatever they wish to be called have been busy organising since the launch but tonight’s statement from Apple seem to have quietened them down.

Blogging and Cyber Dissidence - A guide.

Reporters Without Borders have published an excellent handbook on blogging and cyber dissidence. It is very useful for those in countries where human rights issues and freedom of expression are under attack. There is also an interesting commentary on bloggers and ethics. Something I will come back to in response to Verbal Collage's recent post on what blogs are for, what to believe and the response of journalists and MSM to blogging.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

New Editor for the Irish Independent

The Indo has a new editor except he is not that new at all. Facing a drop in sales and readership, Vinny Doyle retires after 24 years to be replaced by Evening Herald Editor, Gerard O'Reagan. He previously edited the Star and was deputy editor of the Irish Independent.

So do we look forward to frontpage stories on Rachel O'Reilly's husband's every move and RTE stars huge salaries or Dunphy's latest booze up ...and what of David 'Social Affairs Correspondent' Quinn.

The next few weeks will indeed be interesting in the print media world as a free sheet, Metro, is being launched targetting the Dublin daily/evening market. This is the same Metro that is very popular in London, but probably an Oirished version. (The people behind Ireland on Sunday are involved somewhere - free CD's and DVD's will abound no doubt - they are good to scare the birds by the way or as ashtray coasters!) The Irish Independent must be worried as they have plands to launch their own version, also called Metro. High Court challenges are underway between the two parties.

Thinking clearly...

Maman is a little bit more than under the weather so blogging and PC time generally are limited. It’s times like these I wished I could get the wireless modem sorted! The better half made me dinner from scratch for the first time in years today – I should get this ill more often. Shh now don’t be telling her that – it’s going to be months before I stop hearing about her heroics as it is!!!

Now I am not hallucinating anymore, but I just heard that Michael Brown is being rehired as a consultant to FEMA - To help evaluate what went wrong during the first week of Katrina rescue.

UPDATE: CBS reports that this story is still factually correct but have decided to use the word contractor instead. I think we should still be incredulous that he is being paid after quitting and goes around telling people too! Watching him testify at the moment - god he is such a w**nker. See Verbal Collage for more!

UPDATE 2: Former FEMA Ddirector Michael Brown says the federal government is currently paying him $148,000 per year. Now that seems like very little money to me for such a job.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Choices Choices...

What to blog about this week? The looming job interview on Friday? Nah what happens if I don't get it? And then there could be the issue of blogging and employment to deal with afterwards!

Maybe I should write about the pregnancy tests I keep being forced to take everytime I have an xray in the hospital? Done that already in SI. But it might inspire a later post on lesbian and womens health issues.

Ah maybe it will be the poor junior bank official who really fucked up when he posted cheques back to be endorsed by me and did not register the letter as per official policy. They are lost - I am now down €330 and two senior bank officials are crowing apologies following me losing my temper on the phone this evening.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

New Victim Support Organisation Launched

I see that a new Federation of Victim Support groups was launched (Irish Independent, registration required) by former MEP Pat Cox today. (wondered where he had got to!)

This follows nearly 2 years of turmoil in Victim Support Organisations in Ireland. It was a classic case of NGO meltdown complete with unfair dismissals cases, unpaid bills and resignations of directors. The closure of Victim Support in March left many parts of the service defunct and other groups around the country branching out on their own.

As an organisation my dealings with Victim Support quickly led me to believe that they see only one type of victim - heterosexual ones. Of course they would quickly add that the sexual orientation of the victim should not matter. But the organisation in all its forms was very slow to move on hate crime and crimes affecting new and minority communities in Ireland. Vast amounts of government money were pumped into their various initiatives but no equality proofing of the work was ever conducted - even by their primary funder, The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. With the increased focus on community relations policing including the development of lgbt liaison officers in An Garda Siochana, one can only hope that this new venture into supporting the victims of crime will broaden its definition of crime and the services offered.

There are some who advocate lgbt communities developing their own initiatives, and point in the direction of the models available in other cities including New York. I doubt that the government would ever fund the development of such an agency. They probably would point the finger at the money that they give to existing bodies.

However given the lack of general community service provision in Dublin and Ireland generally I don't see moves happening on that front either. The AVP in New York also deals with domestic violence, another area where the existing agencies ignore lesbians and gay men in their work. But thats the subject of another posting at another time.

Maybe I will be wrong, maybe this new grouping
  • will recruit LGBT volunteers to work with LGBT victims,
  • train all victim counsellors in hate crimes awareness, equality training and cultural issues.
  • Run poster and awareness campaigns and
  • work with the Garda Liasion Officers to provide follow up support.

Friday Night Cat Blogging

Stevie has learnt how to climb trees. And if you look very closely at the photo below you might spot the reason why he learnt this skill at such an early age. (Look to right of picture)

(Such a proud mother moment here....forgive me..well at least until I am horrified when he brings in a trophy to show me)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Breaking news from New York

In late breaking penguin related news....

Love in Action will have a field day with this gem.

Roy and Silo, the two famous gay penguins at New York's Central Park Zoo, are no longer a pair. Silo has gone straight.

How do you like your Martini?

GWB made a presidential address last night, I have long since given up reading what he actually says. It is far more fun to read Wonkette's live blogging of his speeches.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

An bhfuil cead agam dul amach go dti an leathras? Le do thoil ?

(Hat-tip Atrios)

Bush writes a note to Condi at the UN today.

So now we really know who is running the show.

P...P... Pick up a Penguin

The movie of the summer in the USA is a documentary, March of the Penguins, its the 2nd highest grossing documentary ever (after Fahrenheit 911)

Have not seen it myself but its one of those David Attenborough feel good nature movies and people are flocking (sorry!) to see it.

And now its getting the mark of approval by the Family Values brigade.

Today's New York Times reports

At a conference for young Republicans, the editor of National Review urged participants to see the movie because it promoted monogamy. A widely circulated Christian magazine said it made "a strong case for intelligent design."

To Andrew Coffin, writing in the widely circulated Christian publication World Magazine, that is a winning argument for the theory that life is too complex to have arisen through random selection.

"That any one of these eggs survives is a remarkable feat - and, some might suppose, a strong case for intelligent design," he wrote. "It's sad that acknowledgment of a creator is absent in the examination of such strange and wonderful animals. But it's also a gap easily filled by family discussion after the film."

Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, told the young
conservatives' gathering last month: "You have to check out 'March of the Penguins.' It is an amazing movie. And I have to say, penguins are the really ideal example of monogamy. These things - the dedication of these birds is just amazing."

Pity the penguins are under threat by one of ID's greatest fans and his attitude to the environment. And have these conservatives not heard about these fine specimens?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Everyone's gone now, its safe to have a look

George Bush arrives in New Orleans when the place is empty except for the bodies of the dead.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Friday Night Cat Blogging

Stevie likes to sit/lie outside the bathroom and wait for you to finish. Some times he comes in to watch.

Stevie fostering international relations with Dennis on a recent visit!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Friday Flippancy

Diamond Geezer (Hat-tip: Troubled Diva) gives us the Seven Ages of Blog.

And speaking of Troubled Diva, this weeks podcast is outstanding. He tries to 'conjure up a somewhat idealised approximation of gay nightlife in the 1980s'. I have been dancing round the kitchen all morning!! My taste in music for what taste I have has led some to believe I must have been a gay man in a previous life. Do I look bovered?


David Quinn, (will be running a blog comp for a nickname for him soon) moved onto matters involving race and ‘foreign’ issues in his ‘analysis’ piece in the Irish Independent on Wednesday.

The problem with African American poverty is the breakdown of the family according to our expert on all things ‘foreign’. His column began with a moan about the way ‘foreigners’ (he used the quotes) ruled Irish law. All sorts of international treaties Ireland has signed up to which Quinn believe the Irish public would not support. You know Human rights treaties, protection of minorities, that sort of thing.

Then he finished off giving us his expert opinion on the causes of African American poverty. The aspirations of black youth do not extend beyond gang membership seemingly.

Irish Independent 7/9/05 (Registration Required)

The New Orleans disaster has focussed attention once again on the fact the black Americans remain at the bottom of American society, economically speaking. The knee-jerk response to this is to blame racism and certainly racism is a factor. But many other ethnic groups have experienced racism in American society and have climbed off the bottom nonetheless. The Chinese come to mind.
So why can't black Americans climb up from the bottom despite racism? One major reason is certainly to do with the breakdown of the black family. In many black communities in America, around 70% of children are born to lone parents and have, at best, a passing acquaintance with their fathers. Many of these children, the boys especially, find their male role models in the street gangs and are quickly drawn into a life of crime. Their aspirations do not extend beyond gaining respect within those gangs, and certainly they don't extend in the direction of economic success in the conventional sense.
Until something is done to repair the black American
family, African-Americans are going to find it very hard to take their rightful place in American society.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Verbal Collage gets good news twice in one night!!

Skysports reports


Convincing performance from Pierce.

Mary Pierce convincingly won the all-French clash with Amelie Mauresmo to move into the semi-finals of the US Open.
12th seed Pierce won 6-4 6-1 in just 66 minutes after outclassing her opponent.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Working through the social of capital

Robert Putnam’s visit to the Fianna Fail think-in is interesting for several reasons. Firstly it gives us an insight into Bertie’s bed-time reading. He says he has read Bowling Alone twice. Secondly its an indicator of possible future reactions to issues raised in the bye-election defeats in Kildare North and Meath earlier this year.

If you have not read the book let me save you from the bother. Putnam is looking at the demise of community participation (also known as social capital) by examining the demise in numbers involved in bowling league participation, Parent Teacher Association membership and other communities. He says that this drop off is mainly down to two reasons – the ageing profile of membership (and lack of replacement of new members and attractive campaigns to recruit new members) and the role of Television. He does not believe that the increased participation of women in the labour force has had a significant impact (about 10%)

Putnam has been heavily criticised for his lack of gendered analysis. See papers on social capital and gender here.

In fact he really fails to address the role of women in the community in the first place – women as fundraisers, grassroots political activists, trade unionists, educators and community developers.

Putnam’s thesis spends too much time looking at the demise of the past rather than the organising of the future – ie. the new organisations – environmental groups, online communities and new social movements including anti-globalisation activists, animal rights activists and those working in developing education.

The changing participation of people in sports in the late 20th century is also neglected. Team sports have moved beyond the bowling league. They are more accessible and different trends develop. The increases in technology and move from manual labour positions mean that bowling just does not do it for those seeking fitness and team sports/sessions at the gym are needed.

I doubt that any of the Fianna Fail TD’s questioned the lack of gendered analysis. In fact from Berties initial comments and the newspaper coverage I would think Putnam’s comments and the reaction to them are the following.
  • Society is breaking down as we know it.

  • The lack of commitment to church and community is a bad thing.

  • People don’t have time to do things anymore and become disenfranchised (not a bad thing if they don’t vote at all)
  • Governments end up paying for services that do not have volunteers – ie. services to old, sick, disabled. Former volunteers die off/move away and don’t feel that they can object to poor service delivery. Others don’t see what is happening – as they are too busy paying taxes and/or live too far away to see what is happening. Abuses in service delivery continue and are rarely noticed.

  • Single issue campaigns are not as politically threatening as the IFA, the ICMSA, women’s groups, and minority groups used to be. Government do not really have to listen to what they and others see as extremist, left wing crusties. New movements are also fractured politically and don’t work well together in their bids to grow membership. Government can say that older organisations don’t represent enough people anymore.

  • Partnership models only involve powerful groups who don’t consult or actually represent many people. Government still point out they do partnership so it must be ok then.

  • Existing old model organisations do not see the need to consult with actual or potential membership as everyone is so busy earning a crust to pay the mortgage, childcare and other expenses.

Failures in urban planning, lack of childcare, the increased participation of people in higher education and increased expectations and rising property prices as well as the commute to work won’t be addressed in the Governments response.

Cue a response by Bertie on a new programme to increase citizenship and participation to include people in their communities while he cuts the abilities/powers of residents associations, local government and others to actually work on shaping their communities in the first place.

To be capital neglecting social class.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Face Off

Ooooh How exciting.

Pierce Versus Mauresmo in the next round of the US Open.
So are we having a bet Verbal Collage?

What ever happens, a French girl is going to be 'viveing'. But I know who I want to win!

Out of the mouths of mothers

From Editor and Publisher: (via:Atrios)

NEW YORK: Accompanying her husband, former President George H.W.Bush, on a tour of hurricane relief centers in Houston, Barbara Bush said today, referring to the poor who had lost everything back home and evacuated, "This is working very well for them."

...The former First Lady's remarks were aired this evening on National Public Radio's "Marketplace" program.

In a segment at the top of the show on the surge of evacuees to the Texas city, Barbara Bush said: "Almost everyone I’ve talked to wants to move to Houston."Then she added: "What I’m hearing is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed with the hospitality.

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (she chuckled)--this is working very well for them."

Banana Republics

Eddie Hobbs has spent the last month or so pointing out things that lots of people know or should know.  Essentially the issues raised during the last by-elections are presented with some humour and issues around the monopolies and lack of competition are presented to the public in an easy to understand format. Whilst these programmes have gone out Eddie has been away on holidays, some in FF and the PD’s have been spinning against him and others have been saying ‘Eddie is a lovely man’ and its all a bit of fun lads.

Bertie said today that ‘Eddie Hobbs is actually part of the Government’s war against greedy retailers’.  Oh classic FF tactic there – take something popular and say well it was our idea in the first place.  Bertie told us last year at the FF think-in that he was a socialist.  This year he is saying that the Opposition are damaging the country by calling us a rip off country and that Eddie is doing the governments job.

Tonight Hobbs said that the test of any society is how ‘we treat the old, the sick, the children and the immigrants’. His naming of the middles classes as the muddle classes may stick too. On Friday night Hobbs will be duelling with Fianna Fail on the Late Late Show.  I find his style a bit irritating but some of the programmes have actually engaged people in a way few political campaigns will.

Monday, September 05, 2005

A Ring of Blogging Queers

So within minutes of suggesting an Irish Queer Web Ring, we have one.  See here for further info on how to join and put one of those rainbow/irish flags on your blog. Tell those who might be interested!

Many thanks to Morgan! And there may be possibilities of other collaborations?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

An Irish Queer Web Ring???

So how about it? I mentioned this the other day at lunch with 2 other queer bloggers.  Am not too sure how to get it started but am sure we can figure it out.  By a webring of Irish queer blogs, I mean web blogs rather than the personal diary types. (Although maybe I am being too narrow here). I am interested in reading the philosophical, political, sociological and cultural writings of queer bloggers.  Of course our blogs are more than queer but are queer in their being (Oh was that queer theory peeking out – quick save me!)

It would be good to build up a community and I think blogging by Irish based or linked queers and a blog ring would create good conversation and interaction?

Breaking point

La Bamba gives a very good synopsis on the hot topic in the blogosphere on who should take the blame for the mismanagement of the Katrina rescue situation. Sunday morning political programmes in the USA continue to examine and contribute to the blame game.  Wonkette has the transcript and video of a Meet the Press interview where yet another local public official, Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, highlights the failings of FEMA and federal employees. It is heart breaking, and the cut to the Republican governor of Missippi tells another story altogether.  Wonder if he, Bertie and Tony share the same makeup artistes.

Mayor Nagin has just begun to report on CNN on the toll on New Orleans Police Department, there have been several suicides, exhaustion and PTSD.  Many also handed in their badges saying they could not cope.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Katrina continued

More commentary from Michael Moore in an open letter to George Bush. One of my favourite writers, Maureen Dowd writes today in the New York Times. (Reg. required for free access to the last 7 days of articles).

And what of lesbian and gay issues in this crisis? Well the tragedy has already been blamed on queers and welcomed for purging the rampant sin.

Community organisations from across the USA are coming together to develop services, fundraise and support LGBT survivors. Some relief shelters and missions are not going to be lgbt friendly. Under President Bush’s regime, faith based charities are preferred and these organisations maybe best avoided by lgbt people or they may not take the specific needs of these communities into account. I have thought myself a few days ago about those who are HIV positive who may not have ready access to their medications and those who are in the astrodome/superdome/shelter who might be subject to hate crimes from others.

I know that some find looking at lgbt issues in such a horrible time to be distasteful when trying to look at the bigger picture and I remember being attacked for drawing attention to lgbt survivor issues and services in the Asian Tsunami. I just know where I would want to feel safe if I was caught up in all of this.

Go on tell me...

to sit on my hands.

Two people brought this to my attention after my posts on David Quinn's editorial masquerading as a 'straight' news pieces this week.

And I had to leave a comment, which is now turning into comments and is now like trudging through sludge and I blog much better than I comment. Off to do some cooking, much chopping of vegetables needed, I chop well, better than I blog!

You cannot make this stuff up


Like many others around the world I am glued to the TV and the internet watching America fail its poor. Bush did his glad handing bit in the Gulf coast today - and we have new bushisms to add to the lexicography or whatever you want to call a directory of Bushisms.

Speaking in Mobile, Alabama.
We've got a lot of rebuilding to do. First, we're going to save lives and stabilize the situation. And then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going
to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch. (Laughter.)...

Ah if one of Trent's several houses is rebuilt all will be ok...

There are several other classic clangers I have heard this evening on CNN and other places. I will post them later. Other items of interest include the dissappearance of Dick Cheney, Condi Rice getting booed on holiday in New York on Wednesday and heckled Thursday spending $3000 shopping on shoes.

Kanye West (a rapper who speaks out against homophobia amongst other things) diverted from his script on the NBC telethon tonight to say 'Bush does not care about black people.' Kanye is going to get a lot of flack for this but he's just saying what everyone else has been thinking. He also criticised the media for their portrayal of black people looting and white people looking for food. He also reflects on his own difficulties responding to what has happened. You can watch it here - Mike Myers did not know where to look.

Fox News is struggling to back the Bush administration, reporters on the ground are fighting against Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity's attempts to blame thugs and Democrats for the mess. And the Red Cross were kept out of New Orleans in case people thought they might get help and stick around the city. Instead the authorities have trapped people in the City for days with no help.

Friday, September 02, 2005

How big is the wooden spoon?

So after posting yesterday that David Quinn does not consult gay organisations for their reactions to 'news' stories he writes in the Irish Independent, what does he do? He publishes details about a lesbian couple who are trying to adopt and talks to a gay organisation for more details.

Again does his best to stir up anxiety, mythology and homophobia relating to same sex couples and single people and parenting in his reporting.

Todays article really outdoes yesterday's in terms of seeing which side of the fence he is on.

The ruling is interpreted as giving social workers clearance to assess gays wishing to adopt even [My emphasis] when they are living with a same-sex partner.

And the whole tone is that this lesbian couple will do everything they can to subvert the law to adopt a child if their claim for equal treatment does to go their way. Again this is supposed to be a news story by a correspondent, not an opinion piece in an Irish National Daily Newspaper.

Won't be long now until there is a pontifical knighthood.

Lesbian partners apply to adopt foster child as a couple
Irish Independent 2/9/05

A LESBIAN couple who have fostered a child for a number of years, have applied to the local health authority to adopt the child in both their names in a challenge to the present law which allows only one of them to make the application. The news comes after it was revealed that gay single people,
whether in a cohabiting relationship or not, can be assessed by social workers with a view to adopting a child. The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen) has confirmed to the Irish Independent the existence of the bid by the couple, who are from Cork, to adopt their foster child in both their names. As reported in yesterday's newspaper, the current situation is that only married couples and single people can apply to adopt a child either here or overseas. The single person can be heterosexual or homosexual and can be living with someone else.

However, if the single person is living in a cohabiting relationship, the application to adopt can be made in one person's name only. The couple in Cork are now challenging this law, which is contained in the Adoption Act, by insisting that they be assessed as a couple, and that any subsequent adoption
take place in both their names.

Keith O'Malley of Glen said that the couple have been fostering the child for the last number of years. He said the child wishes to be adopted by them, and that the child's biological mother also wants the couple to adopt the child. He stated that the only impediment preventing them doing so is the ban on
non-married couples adopting as a couple. Mr O'Malley said he did not think that the couple will challenge the current law in the High Court if their bid to adopt in both their names is rejected by the local health authority, as is expected.

Instead, one of them will apply to adopt as a single person in accordance with the Adoption Act. Mr O'Malley told the Irish Independent that one of the couple already has children of her own from a previous heterosexual relationship. She subsequently moved in with her lesbian partner but they have
had difficulty accessing assisted reproduction techniques such as In-Vitro Fertilisation. As a result, they decided to foster a child because the law permits homosexual couples to do so.

He said that his organisation is "pleased" that social workers are assessing gay single people for adoption, but he believed this right to an assessment needed to be extended to cohabiting people, whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. However, Minister of State for Children Brian Lenihan said there is no plan to allow cohabiting couples to adopt children in
the proposed new Adoption Bill. He said that situation should continue. He also said that the Office of the Attorney General has not given the green light to homosexuals to adopt in its recent ruling to the Adoption Board concerning
single people who cohabit. The ruling says that although non-married couples cannot be assessed together, a single person living with someone else can be assessed so long as their domestic situation is taken into account when
determining their suitability to adopt a child. The ruling is interpreted as giving social workers clearance to assess gays wishing to adopt even when they are living with a same-sex partner.

David Quinn Religious and Social Affairs

After the Storm

Hurricanes come in two waves. First comes the rainstorm, and then comes what the historian John Barry calls the "human storm" - the recriminations, the political conflict and the battle over compensation. Floods wash away the surface of society, the settled way things have been done. They expose the
underlying power structures, the injustices, the patterns of corruption and the unacknowledged inequalities. When you look back over the meteorological turbulence in this nation's history, it's striking how often political turbulence followed.

David Brooks writes about the politcs after the weather in the New York Times (Registration required).

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Time to name it...

David Quinn the social and religious affairs correspondent of the Irish Independent regularly writes articles on same-sex marriage, gay priests and gay adoption.

He never talks to gay groups, or lesbian and gay commentators for these stories, or if he does he forgets to mention them. This is the reporter who ‘exposed’ a gay sex ring in the Diocese of Ferns that never existed.

David Quinn is a former editor of the Irish Catholic. The Irish Catholic is published on a Thursday. Today is Thursday. He runs a story on gay people being able to adopt. ‘Gay couples win right to adopt child under new equality ruling’ (registration required)

He quotes the Irish Catholic as his source in the story that a lesbian couple is at an advanced stage in the adoption process. This story is not news to many lesbians and gay men, this is how single people can adopt, this is how lesbians and gay men have adopted for some years, this is how single heterosexual people have adopted.

Non-marital couples, gay or straight have not been able to adopt – that’s the story, but Quinn spins it otherwise and this is supposed to be news. The other story that is not reported is the discrimination faced by children adopted by single people in non-marital relationships. These children don’t have the same rights to inheritance, guardianship, succession or protection should non-adoptive parent die. Note also the way in which the word Equality is used in the headline. Equality, the Equality Authority and Equality legislation are all familiar targets of Quinn's reporting.

In reporting on the issue, Quinn does not talk to lesbian and gay groups about the story, he further fosters the growing myth that lesbians and gay men only want to adopt in terms of bringing up families. Those who have children already or are trying to conceive are again forgotten about in this story. Gay people are being portrayed as using foreign adoption to adopt children because they can’t have children otherwise.

When Quinn was appointed to this position many of us knew that this type of reporting would be to be expected. But I think its time to say enough is enough.

So today I am starting Quinn watch, and publishing his stories and offering the right to reply to them because the mailbag of the Independent is not really going to cut it.

His boss, Sir Anthony O’Reilly recently gave an interview to the Sunday Times in which he seemed to flag up intentions to come after bloggers who lift newspaper content.

“I can see the newspaper industry getting together the same way as the recording industry got together, except in a more effective way,” said O’Reilly. “A journalist’s work is valuable, it needs to be protected.”

And it seems the Indo are more interested in protecting their journalists and the Catholic Church than they are about protecting balance and fair reporting.

Gay couples win right to adopt child under new equality ruling

THE Attorney General has cleared the way for homosexuals living in this country to adopt children.

A new interpretation of the Adoption Act by the Office of the Attorney General makes it clear that social workers can permit either homosexuals or heterosexuals, cohabiting or single, to be considered as adoptive parents.

The Adoption Board, which must ultimately approve all adoption applications, has confirmed to the Irish Independent that single people are permitted to apply to adopt even if they are living with someone else - although the law permits only married couples to apply for adoption as a couple.

In effect, the interpretation clears the way for cohabiting couples, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, to apply to adopt a child, so long as they do not make the application together.

The ruling also means that any person living alone - gay or heterosexual - can apply for adoption.

Anyone wishing to adopt a child either from Ireland or from overseas must be assessed by the health authorities and approved by the Adoption Board.

The relevant interpretation of the Adoption Act was communicated to the Adoption Board by the Attorney General within the past year, the board said.

Already three individuals living in homosexual relationships have applied to their local health boards for permission to adopt from abroad, a report in this week's Irish Catholic claims.

The Registrar of the Adoption Board, Kiernan Gildea, said that the interpretation from the Attorney General means a single person can be assessed for adoption regardless of whether they are living with someone - the person they are living with could be a parent, or simply a friend.

He admitted it was possible the board has already approved individuals for adoption who are in homosexual relationships; but if so, this had not been brought to their attention in any of the assessment reports sent to them for final approval. Mr Gildea would only say that 66 "sole applicants" have been
approved for adoption over the past 13 years.

He added that the board strove to comply with all relevant equality legislation in assessing individuals for suitability to adopt.
According to The Irish Catholic, a social worker with the Inter-country Adoption Service for the eastern region confirmed to it that a lesbian couple was currently being assessed for adoption.

She said: "There is nothing to stop a gay couple from applying to adopt. A lesbian couple have already applied to adopt a child and their application is quite far ahead at this point in time. As of yet, there has been no declaration by the Adoption Board. It won't take a lot longer and should come quickly."

The advice from the Attorney General clearly implies that a single person can be assessed even when they are living with someone else when it states: "In the case of a single applicant, the board must be satisfied that the statutory
criteria are met in relation to that applicant . . . it follows then that the assessment should be of the applicant and not of another person who is not, and who cannot by law be a co-applicant."

It then stipulates that where the sole applicant is living with another person, this fact should not be ignored.
"In many cases it might well be necessary to carry out a proper assessment of the applicant, eg where it is clear that the partner will be carrying out a considerable portion of caring for
the child."

A spokesperson for the Health Service Executive also confirmed
last night that homosexuals can apply for adoption.

David Quinn Religious and Social Affairs