Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Most Eclectic Roundup!

From languages and policing to bread to secession to seannós! Here goes...

First, John Ihle on Back Seat Drivers notes that IMeasc, the organisation for Irish-speaking immigrants, has objected to the Gardaí dropping the Irish language requirement from their entry criteria. There's a letter from this group here, which all reminds me of Daniel O'Hara's excellent, nuanced Yu Ming is Ainm Dom (also featured in Film Ireland), one of the best short films I've seen in ages.

Next, Megnut writes a paean to Elizabeth David, also one my favourite cookery writers (I know, I know...). Meg likes Is There a Nutmeg in the House, but my particular favourite is the amazing, detailed English Bread and Yeast Cookery. EBYC is not one of those culinary porn books, awash with glossy pictures and lacking in, well, expectations that you can use the book for cooking. Instead, about half of it provides a detailed history of bread and all its ingredients and the second half contains some simple, no-nonsense recipes. Precisely what a recipe book should be.

Third, starting from the 1998 ruling on Quebec's right to secede from Canada, Will Baude on Crescat Sententia discusses the rights of US states to secede from the Union. Specifically, he's interested in the question of who has the right of decision over the legality of such a move: the federal supreme court or the state supreme court (or neither). This is also relevant to questions of supremacy of EU law, as was brought out in the German Constitional Court's 1993 Brunner judgement, which ruled on whether the Maastricht Treaty was compatible with the German Constitution. The question centered on the Kompetenz Kompetenz issue, on whether the ECJ was legally competent to decide upon its own competence vis-à-vis member states.

And finally, I've been listening to Lasairfhíona Ní Chonaola's seannós CD, An Raicin Álainn over the last few days. I generally haven't regarded myself as a major fan of seannós so my expectations weren't massive. But how wrong I was. This is an excellent album and Ní Conaola's voice is spectacular, veering from the classical towards the jazzy. Well worth buying.

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