The past was never halcyon. Although in retrospect we can mythologize it, it too was full of tumult, change, challenge and uncertainty. That, is as it should be. Too comfortable a zone and we stop looking towards a ‘better’ future. We stop evolving. In harking back to the mores of the past we seek to capture not its substance (because it too had ignorance, sectarianism and intransigence) but its essence. A sense that together we are stronger than alone. That differences should not be the defining factor for our enmities. That survival and value and evolution, work best in a setting where we align our purpose, with that of others.

David Amerland (here:

Hamas was perfectly well aware of what would happen if they started raining rockets into Israel. They fired one thousand and they have a strategy designed to force Israel to kill their own civilians so that the rest of the world will condemn them… In the short and medium term Hamas can inflict terrible public relations damage by forcing (Israel) to kill Palestinian civilians to counter Hamas. But it’s a crass strategy that takes all of our eyes off the real objective which is a peace that gets Israel security and recognition and a peace that gets the Palestinians their state.

Bill Clinton (here:

Jewish donors are very important to Democratic Party finances, some of these donors have strongly held hawkish views on Israel, and the financial clout of AIPAC is the stuff of legend. At the same time, talk of rich Jews throwing their financial muscle around to influence policy in favor of Israel touches far too many anti-semitic tropes to be regularly mentioned in political discourse. But the concrete world of political fundraising doesn’t leave a ton of time for beating around the bush, so we get a little window here into how it looks to the finance people: if Nunn wants to maximize her donations, she needs to take the right stance.

Michelle Nunn, US Senate candidate, leaked memo (here:

Eamon de Valera’s problem was Document 2 with its oath to recognise the King of England as Head of the Associated States, Ireland being one of these states, and its yearly money voted to the King’s personnel revenue, in token of that recognition

Kevin O’Higgins explained:

"Outspoken as [Eamon de Valera] was with us in private. 

In public he merely said: ‘We are not Republican doctrinaires, and we do not negotiate to save faces’, This was the diplomatic intimation to the British that the ‘cow’ was for sale. It follows, therefore, that Mr de Valera’s quarrel with Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith was not based on the fact that the ‘cow’ had been sold: It was simply a question of the price. And Mr de Valera’s price was Document no 2 with its oath to recognise the King of England as Head of the Associated States, Ireland being one of these states, and its yearly money voted to the King’s personnel revenue, in token of that recognition. Our Plenipotentiaries and I wish to stress that word – were unable to agree that the difference between Document No 2 and the Treaty was one for which they would be justified in plunging their country back into war against overwhelming odds - So our Plenipotentiaries faced the facts: sometimes it takes more courage to face facts than it does to face machine guns - It became a question of securing evacuation, on terms: 

The alternative was a resumption, of war against, odds with the possibility of a ‘Sherman’s March’ of the enemy in Ireland, of which Mr de Valera "had already warned the Dail"."

In full here:

The old school tie has made a difference, independent of any indicator of merit. With serious problems at both ends of the profession, not all of which can be blamed on legal aid cuts, the recruitment and promotion practices at the Bar remain a serious impediment to a diverse judiciary.

Richard Moorhead, professor of law and professional ethics at University College London (here:

[W]hen we are young and literary, we often experience things in the present with a nostalgia-in-advance, but we seldom guess what we will truly prize years from now. I always placed a high value on friendship, but even I had no way of guessing back then that it was more fun to get drunk with a friend than with a lover. Love is a source of anxiety until it is a source of boredom; only friendship feeds the spirit. Love raises great expectations in us that it never satisfies; the hopes based on friendship are milder and in the present, and they exist only because they have already been rewarded. Love is a script about just a few repeated themes we have a hard time following, though we make every effort to conform to its tone. Friendship is a permis de sejour that enables us to go anywhere and do anything exactly as our whims dictate.

Edmund White, City Boy: My Life in New York in the 1960s and ’70s (here:

The preachings of the church are responsible for the deaths and misery of millions and you should show some shame. For condemning my friend Stephen fry, for his nature. For saying you can’t be a member of my church, you’re born in sin. He’s not being condemned for what he does; he’s being condemned for what he is. You’re a child made in the image of god, oh no you’re not; You’re a faggot and you can’t Join our church and you can’t go to heaven.
This is disgraceful, it’s inhuman. It’s obscene and it comes from a clutch of hysterical, sinister Virginia who’ve already betrayed their own charge by the children of their own church.
If we are to rise to our full height demanded by human intelligence, we must all move beyond the childish bickering on religion and identity.

Christopher Hitchens

I stare and stare. It seems I was called for this: To glorify things just because they are.

Czeslaw Milosz

The precariat - The rise of work-from-home freelancers

Nikil Savil explained:

"Insecure, unorganised, taking on too much work for fear of famine, or frighteningly underemployed. The old rules of employment have been turned upside down. These new non-employees, apparently, need to develop a new ‘self-employed mindset’, in which they treat their employers as ‘customers’ of their services, and do their best to satisfy them, in order to retain their ‘business’."

In full here:

Exhibition of the art of Brian Ballard, including portrait of John Hewitt, launches tonight (July 28 2014) in the Gallery, The Market Place Theatre Arts Centre, Armagh