Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Homeland Security Is Not So Obliging

Juan Carlos Guzman-Betancourt found it easy to convince the front desk staff at high-end hotels that he was a guest who had lost his keys or couldn't seem to recall the combination to the lock. They were happy to oblige him and open the door to the room safe. He was happy to steal what he could and be on his way.

Mr. Guzman-Betancourt is a con man and a thief who escaped from a British minimum security jail by convincing his guard that he had a dentist's appointment. He took his trade to Ireland, where he served time for stealing jewelry and cash from a room at the Merrion Hotel in Dublin.

France wanted the peripatetic criminal, and Dublin was happy to oblige. The thief was extradited at the end of 2006 and somehow he managed to disappear.

Like so many earnest young men before him, he headed west where he plied his craft in the U.S., lifting credit cards and doing the odd bit of theft in Virginia and Florida.

His attempt to visit Canada, however, was his undoing. The good folks at Homeland Security are on high alert, what with the foiled attempt to blow up innocent people in the New York City subway system. They're not particularly likely to fall for a sob story.

Sure he just wandered over the border by accident when his car broke down. In Quebec. And he walked all the way to Vermont. To find a gas station.

A man described as an accomplished liar by Scotland Yard didn't manage to come up with a convincing story for the U.S. Border Patrol. No matter what smooth words he used, if he didn't appear to have walked for a great distance, no Border Patrol agent would fall for his con, especially in light of the current state of alert.

It's all in the timing, and Juan Carlos was nabbed in a case of seriously bad timing. Ten years of hard work and studied effort, down the drain. It's unlikely he'll find himself in a minimum security prison in the U.S., and it's doubtful that he'll be allowed to visit the dentist without an armed escort.

There's a long list of countries that would like Mr. Guzman-Betancourt to visit their prisons. Unless he can come up with a brilliant new strategy to give his jailers the slip, he could be flying Con-Air and not first-class in his future travels.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

U2 And The Green Revolution

The No Line On The Horizon Tour started off at about the same time as the post-election protests in Iran.

U2 went green.

They showed their support of the Iranian people with stage lighting and songs.

The tour swings through the American southeast in October, and U2 continues to show their support of the Green Revolution. Will their audience still understand what they're doing?

Twitter no longer shows #iranelection as a trending topic. The Islamic dictatorship of Iran suppressed dissent with so much violence that the people are afraid to march. There is the very real danger of imprisonment and torture, without legal counsel or justice.

When the stage goes green every night in the giant claw stage set, U2 will remind their fans that the Iranians are still not free. Revolutions are not confined to the period of time that the topic is trending in the social media.

Why Not Make Ten The Highest Volume

The European Union is going to ban loud volumes.

No more cranking up the sound to 11, Spinal Tap fans. No option to make 10 louder. You're hurting your ears and the European Commission won't have it.

All mp3 players and mobile phones that can play music will have to comply to new standards that will set the loudest volume at a level that won't harm European ears. In other words, Europeans no longer have the option to drive themselves deaf. Just like your mother told you, isn't it? Only now the EU is putting the force of law into their nanny mentality.

Young Europeans have long been too stupid to figure out that loud music damages their hearing, so the adults who run the place are going to protect those innocents. When you buy your new mobile with a memory chip filled with The Killers, the default decibel level will be somewhere in the vicinity of silence.

The new devices will have to carry warning labels, alerting users to the grave dangers that loud music poses to their delicate ears. Expect to find out what decibel level can be used, and for how long, to maintain safety. Expect buyers to toss out the chart with the mp3's wrappings.

The only way to make this work is to force the recalcitrant young to attend classes on safe use of personal musical playing devices. Or set the volume control so it only goes up to 5.

Voting In The Book Shop

Writers may slave over a manuscript for a year or more, yet it is possible to put together a book and get it on the shelves before the public's interest in a given topic wanes.

It's no surprise that Sarah Palin's memoir is complete. HarperCollins has even moved up the lay-down date to capitalize on all the free publicity that is the 24-hour news cycle.

Ms. Palin finished within four months of inking a deal with the publisher, going all out to get her memoir complete and ready for publication before she's forgotten. The American public has a short attention span.

HarperCollins will print 1.5 million hard-cover copies, and hold off on releasing the e-book until after the holidays. The electronic version, being cheaper, would otherwise siphon off profits at the crucial Christmas gift-buying season.

If that number sounds familiar, it is. Twelve also printed up 1.5 million copies of Senator Ted Kennedy's memoir, just in time for buzz generation prior to the mad rush in December.

Pundits will follow the BookScan numbers closely. At book shops across the land, both physical and on-line, voters will declare their favorite candidate. Liberals will snatch up Mr. Kennedy's words; Ms. Palin's conservative supporters will buy her book, and who will sell through? Who will be the more popular author? Which view of the world will reign supreme under the Christmas tree (or the Hanukkah bush)?

Or, is it merely a question of which political side has more readers with enough money to buy a hard-copy, 400 page book?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Not Even Close To A Match

Granted, there's little to no chance that I'd ever got Molly Friedrich's attention.

She's one of the most high-powered literary agents around, but there's no point in not trying at all. Even the longest odds suggest that a winner will eventually crop up.

In my ongoing search of debut fiction for study, I found Elizabeth Kelly's Apologize, Apologize! Could I claim that her readers would become my readers?

Ms. Kelly is a magazine editor and a journalist with a collection of awards to her credit. Right there I see that my lack of credentials is going to get me nowhere with Ms. Friedrich. It's all about platform, even for writers of fiction.

Could I get past that major roadblock and make a case for sharing the market?

No, not even close.

Apologize, Apologize isn't my cuppa. I struggled to read the first fifty pages, in imitation of a literary agent's initial request, but there was nothing there that caught my interest.

I'm as fond of cartoons as the next person, but sometimes I'm simply not in the mood for cartoon characters. This is supposed to be a coming-of-age tale about a young man from a highly dysfunctional family, but the dialogue was forced in an attempt at over-the-top zaniness.

The book will head back to the library for someone else to tackle, and I'll get back to my fun-filled hobby of finding literary agents who are a good match for my style of writing.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Computer Drama Continues

No geeks are available until Monday.

Not good news, not when the computer dies every time Norton Ghost tries to back things up. Not good news when it's impossible to run videos without having the screen go blank. All those television shows, waiting to be watched, but I can't put them on without losing it all.

Writing with a fountain pen isn't all that bad, however. I can't write legibly fast enough to get the words down that are in my head, but that forces me to think a little longer about what I'm trying to say.

Ideally, that would mean less editing of the rough draft, since my brain's done a quick edit already. However, there's still plenty of junk that gets dumped out on the first go-round that will have to be cut away.

A long weekend looms, without videos or games or Microsoft Word. So far, the computer's held up through the accounting programs and it hasn't caused trouble with Excel or Access, but words are too fleeting and I don't dare take a chance on losing them to what is looking more and more like a worn-out graphics card.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Overheated Computer

I'll be without a computer for who knows how long. The thing has a problem with overheating.

In the middle of a program, it's the black screen of death as some component inside decides that it's too hot. The fan runs. I've blown out the dust.

No other choice than to call in the Geek Squad.

Please God, let them come today and fix this thing. I'm afraid to work on my manuscript out of fear that I'll lose it should the computer come crashing down.

Then there's the work-related issues, like getting the payroll done before the motherboard has a hot flash. I have no hard copy of the tax tables, no hard copy of payroll data. I've become dependent on a normally reliable piece of metal and plastic.

Keep cool, dear computer, for a little while longer. I can't live without checking my e-mail.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Headquarters Or Foreign Outpost

Usually, a building that takes on the name of its occupant would be considered an important site. A corporation having offices on several floors of a downtown skyscraper suggests the main headquarters, where the top executives gather in corner offices with grand views.

That's what you might have thought when you heard that Willis Group Holdings was moving in to Chicago's Sears Tower. And claiming that they were changing the building's name, as if the people of Chicago would go along with it like meek sheep at the former Union Stockyards.

The Sears Tower location isn't Willis Group's corporate heart at all. No, that heart is in Ireland. The big building in Chicago is nothing more than a foreign outpost.

For tax purposes, the Willis Group had incorporated in Bermuda, but President Obama vowed to crack down on such tax havens.

The Willis Group is now an Irish corporation. Joseph Plumeri, CEO, believes that Ireland provides economic benefits, and a low corporate tax rate is unquestionably a huge benefit as compared to corporate taxes in the U.S.

They'll find plenty of company in Dublin, where four other major multinational corporations have moved operations for tax purposes. The idea that putting the screws to firms in Bermuda, in order to coerce them into relocating to the U.S. and bringing their tax dollars with them, has turned into a boon for Ireland.

The Celtic Tiger was nourished on the 12.5% corporate tax rate, and the drive by the U.S. government to push the corporations out of Bermuda is like a transfusion for a faltering Irish economy.

Who would have guessed that a decision to increase revenues in the States would have such a beneficial effect on the Irish Exchequer?

Monday, September 21, 2009

God Bless You

The offering arose during the Plague years. A sneeze was a sign that you'd contracted the fatal disease and whoever heard it assumed you were as good as dead. God bless you. You're about to die.

The plague bacterium has much to teach scientists about infection and ways to combat bacterial diseases. Malcolm Casadaban spent his career studying the plague, exploring its genetic blueprint in search of a way to breach bacterial walls and kill the pest. It's not the killing machine it once was, but a couple of thousand people catch the plague every year and there's a need for a more effective vaccine.

He used a government approved, modified form of Yersinia pestis, supposedly rendered harmless so that he could do his work with some degree of comfort.

Dr. Casadaban died of plague-related illness, the autopsy revealing nothing beyond some bacteria in his system. Those who were around him, from family to co-workers, are being offered a course of antibiotics as a precaution.

No one else developed the flu-like symptoms of the plague, so it's been suggested that the geneticist was somehow more prone to catching the disease. If the bacteria had mutated into a dangerous form in his lab, it would be expected that other people in the area would have become sick as well, but so far no other cases have been seen.

Those who live around the University of Chicago where Dr. Casadaban carried on his research do not need to be concerned about live bacteria floating around in the air. But will the Secret Service prevent the President from visiting his Chicago home, just to be on the safe side?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Unpaid Employees Sounds Better Than Slave Labor

The legacy of the industrial schools is forever an ugly stain on Ireland's history. The story's been told in The Leaven of the Pharisees, a novel that put a human face on an inhuman era.

For decades, children were taken from their homes and put in the dock, to stand trial for whatever crime would serve the purpose of the State and the Catholic Church. Largely the crime came down to being poor, or to having a widowed mother who was being courted. Church and State, working hand in hand, went about the business of stamping out immorality, and thousands of children were emotionally destroyed in the process.

The cost of lawsuits and financial settlements is astronomical.

Then there were the women, untold numbers of women who were guilty of being pretty. Guilty of being pregnant outside of marriage, even if that pregnancy was the result of rape. Guilty of being a risk to men, to inciting lustful thoughts in men's minds.

Thousands of women were put away in Magdalen laundries, to slave away for the Sisters of Mercy or the Good Shepherd Sisters. Hard, backbreaking labor, without hope of pay. Without a set term of incarceration, without a fixed date of release. Break one of the rules and a woman would have her head shaved as punishment, humiliation on top of cruelty. The nuns who ran the laundry would decide when a girl had sufficiently made amends for her crime.

Uncounted numbers of women died behind the high walls of the Magdalen laundries, their identities unknown because the nuns took away not only dignity, but names. The mass graves were discovered many years after the laundries had shut down.

Is the State not responsible for them as well? By what right could the Catholic Church incarcerate women without some regulation by secular law?

Minister for Education Batt O'Keefe has stated that the women who were locked away for failing to meet the high moral standards of their parish priest have no standing with the Residential Institutions Redress Board. They can't come to the government and demand financial compensation for their suffering.

The laundry-prison does not "come within the responsibility of the State," he said. "The State did not refer individuals to the Magdalen laundries."

Mr. O'Keefe looks on the former "employees" as a separate class, since some of the women were brought to the laundries by their family. The State had absolutely no control over that. Except for the part about regulations dealing with fair employment practices and workplace rules, but that's not the Department of Education's mandate.

However, there were plenty of women, guilty of being illegitimate and not fit to walk Ireland's streets, who went from the Magdalen laundry's nursery to an industrial school and then back to the laundry. They do fall under the aegis of the Redress Board, having been fortunate enough to spend a few years in a government-run institution.

The former Maggies could go to the nuns for their past-due wages, but the religious orders are hurting financially and have nothing to offer.

Except their prayers, of course. The nuns are doling out their prayers, but divine intervention won't do much good to a woman who was abused, incarcerated and institutionalized into a shell of a human being.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Creating Cost Savings In Medicaid

The health issue of the day is obesity. How to stop the epidemic, how to get fat people to stop taking in an excess of calories. How about a tax on fizzy drinks?

At the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale, where no one is fat because the upper class isn't, Kelly D. Brownell is convinced that a penny per ounce tax on sugary beverages would have an immediate impact on obesity.

Why is such an enormous tax justified? Because so much public money is funneled into Medicaid to pay for obesity related health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure. You know who's getting Medicaid, of course.

It's poor people who are chugging Coca-Cola like water and they turn a deaf ear to Yalies and other elite intellectuals who tell them it's bad. The fact that liter bottles of carbonated beverages are far cheaper than a liter of milk or Evian water doesn't matter. If the inner-city folks won't follow the rules, they'll have to be hit over the head financially to get them to pay attention.

Sure they'll notice when their food stamps don't go as far, with a 12-pack of Fanta costing $1.44 more.

It's hoped that they'll stop buying high fructose corn syrup sweetened products and switch to chemically flavored junk. If they do develop cancer or brain lesions from aspartame or saccharin, they've got Medicaid to cover their medical expenses, so it's a win-win situation.

The soda tax has the potential to generate billions, as long as poor Medicaid recipients keep buying the stuff. It's also suggested that raising the cost would decrease consumption. Of course, in that case billions wouldn't be generated as sales declined, not unlike the higher taxes put on tobacco products.

Tax the poor, make them pay for their bad habits. They're the ones who do most of the smoking and have the higher obesity rates, and we the taxpayers have to pay for their health care. If we're footing the bill, don't we have a right to control what Medicaid recipients put into their bodies?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Move Along, Nothing To See Here

The recession is over.

Move along. Go back about your business.

You did a decent job of it last month, by spending and raising retail sales 0.6%. There are those naysayers and begrudgers, of course, who point out that August was back-to-school month and consumers had to spend money to outfit the youngsters, but Ben Bernanke would like you all to believe that the recession is finished.

If you still have a job and don't have a great fear of losing it, you should go out and spend. Some economists believe that people aren't doing this, but are saving their money in case they should get the sack. Anything can happen, goes the thinking, and better to have something to fall back on should the worst occur. Stop worrying. The recession is over.

As for the economists who see inflation on the horizon, that's all the more reason to buy what you need now. The price is only going to go up, and those who lived through the Jimmy Carter administration know what that's like. What money you save will be worth far less in six months time, so you might as well spend it now.

Have no fear. The Federal Government has things well in hand. Go back to your shopping.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Debut Fiction Of The Well-Connected

If a book is a piece of debut fiction and there's an acknowledgement that names the literary agent, that's all it takes to get me to check the book out of the library.

Doesn't matter much about the plot, as long as the genre fits my manuscript. Reading has become research, to personalize a query letter to a literary agent in the hope that one of them might be interested in reading my work.

Deirdre Shaw isn't the best choice for the game.

She's got writing credentials, non-fiction but even so, so she's not exactly a complete rookie. Then there's the writing award she received for a short story. That alone could have garnered the attention of an agent, who would have been calling her. Never a query letter, no struggle to market the manuscript.

Katherine Cluverius of ICM is her agent. The problem is, Ms. Cluverius isn't taking any new clients.

I didn't realize that until I'd wasted part of the weekend reading Love Or Something Like It. I'd already begun to write the hook for the query in my head, imagined how I'd present my plot so that it could be shown how it would resonate and appeal.

Then I went looking for Ms. Cluverius' submission requirements but she's full up.

Just as well. The book is dull, whinging and wouldn't you know that the main character is seeing a therapist. That's the sort of thing that resonates with New York based agents who can relate to psychotherapy. There was the requisite paragraphs that trashed the Bush administration, to present those liberal Democratic credentials that resonate with New Yorkers. There's lots of inside roman-a-clef bits about Los Angeles screenwriters which Ms. Shaw once was, but I'm not much interested in the gossip of Hollywood.

No point in struggling to finish the book, not if it's of no use to me.

There's two others in the stack to be read. There's other agents out there, other books that tell a good story. Other books that I can compare to and use jacket flap copy to compose a query.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Criticizing The Critics

In June, author Alice Hoffman generated a storm of controversy when she called out one of her critics.

The Story Sisters didn't send reviewer Roberta Silman into heights of ecstasy, and she revealed more of the plot than the author cared for. No spoiler alert given, so Ms. Hoffman called Ms. Silman a moron in an outraged tweet. A moron and an idiot.

When Ms. Hoffman was then criticized for opening her mouth, she shot back with the observation that she had the right to defend her work. The notion of sitting quietly and taking the abuse didn't sit right with her.

Authors and reviewers and everyone in between jumped into the argument, fueling the Internet that thrives on such vitriol.

Now come musician Chris de Burgh, taking on the music critic of The Irish Times. Not very musically inclined, this critic, according to Mr. de Burgh. Why, Peter Crawley is also the theatre critic so what would he know about music at all?

Mr. de Burgh saw his performance in an entirely different light than did Mr. Crawley. The musician trumpeted his warm welcome, the crowd having a wonderful time, while Mr. Crawley reported on a man who'd been doing the same show, and sporting the same look, for the past thirty-four years.

Roberta Silman's review was reviewed and it failed to make the grade for a book review. In fact, her piece was labeled a book report, not a review. No one is saying anything about that, of course, since all the attention is focused on Alice Hoffman's diatribe.

Chris de Burgh's review of his performance has nothing whatsoever to do with Peter Crawley's intent either. The music critic reported on an a performance as compared to others, while the musician had an entirely different angle on the evening.

Author and musician would have preferred that their reviewers critiqued different aspects of their work than what was covered in the review. Talk about the book without revealing the plot, and talk about the performance without complaining about the smarm and cheese that the audience lapped up like starving puppies.

But complaining about reviews when they don't follow the script? It makes for some very amusing entertaining for those who enjoy the volleys of insults hurtling across cyberspace.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

One Minnow Leaves The School

The unemployment rate is rising and those without jobs are finding it difficult to get any sort of work at all.

In spite of such a miserable state of affairs, Jeremy Dickens has quit his job at Education Media and Publishing. He has no new position waiting, no other job offers. He simply resigned.

Barry O'Callaghan's whale-swallowing minnow has been dealing with some serious financial problems lately. In fact, Mr. O'Callaghan has seen his stake reduced from a controlling 40% to a sidelined 22%. Hundreds of synergies were realized in the form of lay-offs, and still it's a struggle to make ends meet.

The much hoped for U.S. government stimulus package to boost textbook sales hasn't materialized as expected, and some effort has recently been put into the adult trade division at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to generate some income.

Mr. Dickens was supposed to be working on mergers and acquisitions, which are non-existent these days. And he was also hired on to mind the finances, but with Mr. O'Callaghan taking a big hit in the recent restructuring, it seems as though Mr. Dickens' job performance in that area didn't please the boss.

It could be said that Mr. Dickens was squeezed out as EMPG abandoned the notion of further acquisitions. He may have been marked as a failure for not finding a buyer for HMH's trade division when Mr. O'Callaghan most needed to unload it. His former position as president of EMPG won't be filled, making it yet another synergy realized.

Was he asked to leave, or is he one of the first to leave a sinking ship, taking a chance on a dodgy employment market rather than go down with the captain.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Twitter Of Hype

Knopf is going to launch Dan Brown's new book with an enormous bang.

Publishing has been hurt by the recession, by readers who can't dish out their precious dollars or euro or pounds sterling for a book that only gets read one time. A book has to be more outstanding than ever to earn a purchase, and outstanding is a condition that must be created with hype.

Given Mr. Brown's one past success that boosted sales of his earlier efforts, Knopf is prepared to capitalize on the author's reputation and put their marketing money fully behind The Lost Symbol. To that end, Knopf's publicity company has been twittering.

Of course there's much more than just twittered trivia question for those who tweet. There'll be author appearances on major television programs (any word yet on a Dan Brown guest appearance on The Daily Show?) Amazon made a huge fuss about their stockpile in the warehouse, under careful guard so that no one could have a look prior to the lay-down date.

The book has been talked up at every turn, using every publicity venue available.

Booksellers are chomping at the bit, ready to open up their boxes from Knopf and run with what they hope is a winner. Fans of Dan Brown will be at the doors, credit cards in hand, eager to make a purchase, to boost the bottom line of Knopf Doubleday.

Knopf will be following the Twitter feed closely, to get the first impressions of success or failure. Don't be surprised if the publicity folks tweet like mad once the book is available, touting its utter brilliance. Book sales are driven by word of mouth, and that's what social networking is all about.

Monday, September 07, 2009

A Cheesey Offer

No thank you, said Cadbury, maker of fine chocolates.

They do not wish to be bought up by a company best known as a maker of low-priced, processed cheese food.

Kraft has made a generous offer, given that Cadbury's shares closed on Friday at 569p while Kraft is willing to pay 745p. It suggests that Kraft is keen to own Cadbury and believes that there's enough value in the company to warrant such an offer.

Cadbury is an iconic brand in England and Ireland, a step above M&M/Mars which has gone down a tick since it purchased the Wrigley gum brand. Kraft would like to expand into the European market, and it already owns Toblerone.

Yes, well. Does anyone think Toblerone when they think of a luscious, rich chocolate bar? Not if you're watching your pennies and as far as your splurge can extend is to that Dairy Milk bar. It's not considered an exotic import in Bristol or Birmingham, where it's made.

Kraft thinks that all Cadbury's needs is a little economy of scale to break out of its niche market. That would be where Kraft comes in. That would be where the employees of Cadbury get concerned.

At the moment, Cadbury is planning to shutter their Bristol facility, but if Kraft could keep the plant open, there'd be more support for the buy-out. Cadbury management is not entirely sure that what Kraft has in mind, given that it's a global behemoth that could move manufacturing anywhere in the world, would be of benefit to the Cadbury employees.

There's a certain amount of pride that goes into a well-known and much-loved chocolate. No one wants to see the name besmirched and associated with low-class items like boxed macaroni and cheese or Oreos.

It will be a hard sell, and Kraft will have to find out how much Cadbury pride is worth.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

All's Quiet On The Publishing Front

Summer ends this weekend. To mourn its passing, the publishing industry will be shut down for the week.

The literary agents, having no one to submit to, will be off to their summer retreat in the Hamptons. Your query will sit in their in-box, unread and possibly forgotten when they come back from their vacation.

Hungry agents are still around, as would be expected, reading queries and asking for manuscripts that they have plenty of time to read because there's nothing else for doing in the publishing business.

Don't stop querying, just because it's the annual summer break. Find some younger agents on your list. Send your letter to the rookies just starting out, or those who have recently set up their own shop.

Query the agents who only accept snail mail. Even if they're out of the office until the second Monday in September, your query will be in their office, physically and in tangible form, just waiting for the return of the agents to New York City.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Ecological Implications Of Bureaucracy

Due to a landslide, the road from Glencomcille to Meenacross and Port in County Donegal is closed. It's not an entirely uncommon occurence in the area, as it is bogland and the bog tends to slide.

The people who live in the remote areas of Strabui and Kiltyfanned have been trapped for the past nine days. If landslides are not uncommon, and the county road crew was ready to clear the debris last week, why is 44,000 cubic metres of mud still sprawled across the road?

According to European Union regulations, before County Donegal can remove the debris and let their people go, they must first complete a study which details the ecological impact of removing said debris.

Professional conservationists must be called in to let the road crew know where to put the mud and to give their studied advice on how to move the mud. There's habitat to protect, and the EU doesn't want someone doing something that would harm an ecologically sensitive area just because some people would like to have access to a road.

If they are in need of supplies, surely there's helicopters to drop things like food or silage for the animals. Perhaps An Post could rent a small plane to deliver the mail.

Should anyone in the affected area suffer an unfortunate accident, they can die happy, with the knowledge that the sensitive ecological habitat at the foot of Sliabh Tooey was saved, even though they weren't.

And the politicians in Dublin wonder why anyone would vote no on the newest edition of the Lisbon Treaty.