I was preoccupied with whatever I was doing at the time when out of the corner of my ear I heard the clipped English accent. There was a genuinely surprised and delighted-with-itself quality to the greeting. "I'm really pleased to see you."
It's Thanksgiving week and America has finally put the turkey on the chopping block. The celebrations that took place following the outright stuffing that George Bush and his cronies received in the midterm elections were a sight to behold. The air was charged with victory. House parties were held all over the country. There was a renewed sense of hope that a corner had been turned. Rumsfeld got the boot. Bush was seen shedding a tear. Even Cheney hung his wattled chin in shame. It felt as if the US had emerged from a terrible fever and now, at least, there was a prospect of cool air.
The second part of In Search of the Pope's Children, which looked at the property boom in Ireland, descended into sweeping generalisations, far-fetched propositions and cliché
'Could the suffering and the deaths [in Leas Cross nursing home] have been avoided if the health board had acted on earlier complaints?"
As the budget approaches, the campaign waged by Independent Newspapers against stamp duty intensifies. For the second week running, the Sunday Independent's lead story focused on the issue, although it was enough to glance at the headline – 'Stamp duty changes are not ruled out' – to appreciate how little information it contained. Not only was the headline a quote from an anonymous "informed source", it was formulated in such a way as to be quite meaningless.
Whowouldathunkit? There they go, along Lexington Avenue, laden down with their shopping bags. In through the revolving doors at Tiffany's. Laughing and leaning on each other on the escalators in Bloomingdales. Tramping through Lord and Taylors. Slinking through the perfume aisles at Macy's. Emerging, slightly pampered, from the trendy Soho nail salon. Standing in the queue for the bus up to the Woodbury Commons. Coming out, slightly punchdrunk, from the lingerie aisles at Victoria's Secret.
In Search of the Pope's Children may be pastiche television, and you can't believe all that David McWilliams so passionately tells you, but it's certainly better than the tired old Questions and Answers
Feel like the government is ignoring you, that you're being mistreated and that no one will listen? It's time to talk to Joe. Joe Duffy has created a cult space in Irish media (Liveline, RTÉ Radio 1, weekdays, 1.45pm). Many people too disillusioned to try any other route to justice are voting with their fingers by calling, texting and mailing Joe.
On 30 July, Alan Ruddock produced a long opinion piece in the Sunday Independent attacking stamp duty as "the mother of all rip-offs". Over the following weeks, the iniquities of stamp duty and its injurious effects on Irish society were repeatedly denounced by Independent Newspapers' writers. For example, on 13 September, the Independent ran an article, entitled 'Stamp duty is now the most effective contraception', which went so far as to blame the tax for Ireland's declining birth rate.
There is little interest amongst journalists to report on the North and the Nicaraguan elections.