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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 5 September

by dvx Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 04:05:54 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europe on this date in history:

1977 - Hanns Martin Schleyer is kidnapped in Cologne, West Germany by the Red Army Faction and is later murdered.

More here and here

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The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:11:10 AM EST
Former Chancellor Schröder urges EU federalism, lays off Merkel | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 04.09.2011

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder gave his own views on the way forward for Europe in an interview with the German news magazine Der Spiegel - and even had some praise for current Chancellor Angela Merkel.

 

In comments published on the magazine's website on Saturday, Schröder said Brussels needed to quicken the pace on establishing a federal style of European government - at least as far as the economy is concerned.

"We have going to have to relinquish national sovereignty," said Schröder, referring to domestic economic policy. "The European parliament should become the highest authority for whatever power is given up by national parliaments."

 

Schröder said a "special committee" should be set up with membership from all European countries to take control of matters such as the economy.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:37:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel faces anger after bypassing parliament in her euro policy | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 01.09.2011

German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed Thursday that European governments should approve new powers for the eurozone's rescue fund as quickly as possible.

"What we want to see is governments implementing the promises they have already made," said Merkel, who faces anger in her own party that parliament's role in key decision making has been sidelined.

Some members of Merkel's center-right coalition government are threatening to oppose the plans to boost the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) when they go before the Bundestag in a vote at the end of September. A small group of lawmakers is concerned that the lower house of parliament has little control over Merkel's European policy.

Wolfgang Bosbach is the most prominent of the rebels and one of the most respected members of the ruling CDU.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:38:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany's Merkel braces for poll defeat - Europe - Al Jazeera English

Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition could suffer another blow at the polls in a regional election in Germany's poorest state, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

The German chancellor's Christian Democrats (CDU) have been junior coalition partners to the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) in the sparsely populated state on the Baltic shore.

However, Sunday's key regional vote could see the CDU knocked out and replaced by the Left party or even by Germany's resurgent Green Party.

The CDU has slumped in national polls and already been punished in five regional elections this year, losing control of two states to the SPD this year, in part due to general discontent over Merkel and her hesitant leadership during the eurozone debt crisis.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 12:05:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well the Greens did well, but not well enough to be a potential coalition partner, so it's now Left Party vs. CDU. Sadly, thanks to a low turnout, the far-right NPD made it, too, despite losses. (I checked, they gained in one constituency only, but there from 15% to 15.4%). The neolib FDP is out, though.

Party%ΔSeatsΔ
Turnout/total51.4%-7.771±0
SPD (Social Democrats)35.7%+5.528+5
CDU (Christian Democrats)23.1%-5.718-4
Left Party (hard left)18.4%+1.614+1
Greens22.4%+5.06+6
NPD (neo-Nazi far-right)6.0%-1.35-1
FDP (Free Democrats; neoliberals)2.7%-6.90-7
Pirate Party (information freedom)1.9%+1.90±0

I note that in Berlin, where there are elections in two weeks, the Pirates are dancing near the 5% limit.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 01:46:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I presume the Green only had 12.4%, not 22.4%?

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 03:52:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
SZ has 8.4% for the Greens, along with 5.7% for" others". All results are preliminary, since the death of the local CDU candidate for Rügen has resulted in the elections there being postponed for 2 weeks.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 04:00:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ooops, 8.4%. (I worked from a template from an earlier election and seem to have forgotten editing that one data.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 04:18:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I note that in Berlin, where there are elections in two weeks, the Pirates are dancing near the 5% limit.

If so, is it time to start figuring out what they stand for? The only reference to economic issues that I remember suggested that they were fundamentalist market liberals. Does anybody know if this is true?

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:14:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have the impression that a lot of American computer scientists are libertarians, either extreme-right or extreme-left, but libertarians. What do you think?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:17:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely. I've lost count of the number of believers in the Laffer curve or flat tax I've encountered. Whenever I tried asking where were we on the curve or how you compute income for the flat tax, they would change the subject.

And then there was the guy I shared an office with as a student, who supported the libertarian candidate for President. This guy proposed replacing the income tax by a lottery. When I asked how a libertarian could support forbidding other forms of gambling (or why, if there was such competition, anyone would participate in the Federal one) he didn't understand what I was talking about.

Hence, my deep suspicion of the Pirate Party.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:22:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Among American engineers there is a penchant for Technocracy and Gold-buggery, too.

This may have something to do with the mental habits that result from years or decades of working in the design of machines.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:26:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IMO, it's more a combination of US Labor Unions fixated on "the working stiff" and didn't bother to even try to organize engineers, engineers are woefully ignorant of how predatory capitalism actually works, the fact that up until recently there was a labor shortage of engineers and, so, we were able to maintain our wage rate versus blue collar workers, and the ground-state ideology of professors in Engineering School was decidedly Right Wing.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:57:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dunno, but any time I did a Wahl-O-Mat test, the Pirates came out third or fourth (after the Greens, Left Party and possibly the SPD).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:33:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean third or fourth in being the best match with my own views.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:34:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But what are their views on economic issues? If they haven't made them clear, all it means is that your views are close to what the designers of the test thought their views are....
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:36:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At least from looking at their answers to the Wahl-O-Mat questions for Berlin they support renationalising infrastructure like water and the S-Bahn, oppose cutting of Hartz4 benefits for refusing a job offer, support a federal minimum wage in the short and a basic income in the medium term.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 11:40:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AFAIK these tests are made by first asking the parties for their views. The one at taz for Berlin got the replies of all 22 parties running in the city-state. They also tested the list leader of each party, and the result was nothing surprising: all candidates managed to get their own parties on top.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 03:01:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW the neo-Nazi NPD's best showing was in the East, in the rural area near the Polish border. At municipal level, their best result was 33%, and several more villages with 20% plus.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 03:26:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The interview itself is print issue exclusive behind the subsription wall, but there is a summary. Some points:

  • He wants a European finance minister, but one under the control of the EP (IMHO good)
  • National budgets would have to be approved by the EP, or a sub-commission of it made up of Eurozone countries, too (compared to approval by the ECB, the Council or the Commission, IMHO again good)
  • In the context of not criticising Merkel, Schröder is quoted saying "one should stop torching and start to get serious with Core Europe". I'm not sure what the "torching" refers to (criticism by the other ex-chancellors? something Merkel did?), but Core Europe seems to be about launching closer integration towards a United States of Europe that would compete with China and the USA (sigh).
  • On the longer run, he declared his vision is Turkey as member and Russia as associated partner.
  • What Schröder attacked was Britain, for trying to define economic policy for the Eurozone in spite of not being a member. (Methinks this has little to do with current events and everything with his memory of dealing with Bliar's Britain.)
  • Regarding Merkel's and Sarko's plans for economic governance, he was for it, but said that the decision should be taken by Eurozone members only and not the entire European Council. Well, the problem is the North-South standoff and the blind selfishness of the North Eurozone countries, not the non-Eurozone countries...
  • Schröder criticised Merkel for Greece-bashing for domestic politics reasons in the initial phase of the crisis, but thinks the government realised its mistake since then. Really!?


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 04:33:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Abortion law pioneer David Steel asks MPs to reject change | World news | The Observer

David Steel, the former Liberal leader and architect of the 1967 Abortion Act, has lobbied ministers to vote against a bill to change the counselling system for women who want terminations.

Lord Steel, who has talked of the need to amend his original legislation to limit late abortions, said that there was no need for the proposed amendment to the health and social care bill, which MPs will vote on this week. He has written to key figures in the government to urge them to reject it.

The amendment, put forward by the Tory MP Nadine Dorries, would strip established abortion providers and charities of their role as counsellors to women with unplanned pregnancies. Critics say the move would create a gap that would be filled by religious anti-abortion charities and medical professionals.

Steel said: "Under the Abortion Act, the Department of Health has complete power over licensing and de-licensing clinics. If there were any evidence of failure to carry out proper counselling of patients, they can close clinics. More positively, there is nothing to stop them issuing guidelines on counselling if they think that necessary. There is no need to amend the health bill."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:38:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
he's the UK's Simone Veil. That's nice.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 03:46:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Vatican denies claims of abuse cover-up in Ireland | World news | guardian.co.uk

The Vatican has issued a tough rebuttal of a report claiming it told priests in Ireland to keep quiet about sexual abuse and described criticism by the Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny, as "unfounded".

The Vatican sought to dismantle, point by point, claims made by the report, ordered by the Irish government and released in July, which prompted Kenny to condemn the Vatican as riddled with "dysfunction, disconnection and elitism".

In the ensuing row, the Vatican took the highly unusual decision to recall its ambassador from staunchly Catholic Ireland, with one spokesman in Rome describing its "surprise and disappointment".

The groundbreaking report into abuse in the diocese of Cloyne highlighted a 1997 Vatican letter which expressed "serious reservations" about a policy drawn up the year before by Irish bishops requiring abusers to be reported to the police.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:38:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bulgarian pensioners grow cannabis for cash | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 04.09.2011

There's a new trend in southern Bulgaria: instead of growing tomatoes in the back garden, many people are planting cannabis instead.

In the tiny village of Dolna Ribnitza near the border with Greece, police recently seized 1.5 tons of cannabis after being given a tip-off. Behind a high fence, housed in three greenhouses covering an area of about 2,000 square meters (21,528 square feet), pensioners Stefan and Slavka Trentschevi were growing marijuana. Slavka told the police that she needed the money for a hip operation.

"I haven't killed anyone, nor have I robbed anyone. I haven't committed a crime," she said.

It's well known in the village that there are numerous cannabis plantations in the nearby woodlands. The residents smile benignly and say the drug is just as widely grown as tomatoes, but with one crucial difference: with cannabis, you earn more money.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:39:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hahahaha !! Good for them.

I wonder who they offended as I can't see how they'd have been busted. Pay your bribes kids, it only makes sense.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 02:44:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brian Paddick picked by Liberal Democrats for London mayoral race | Politics | The Guardian

London's mayoral election next year will be a rematch between Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone and Brian Paddick, after the former Scotland Yard deputy assistant commissioner was selected as the Liberal Democrats' candidate for the second time.

Paddick, who came third in the 2008 mayoral election when Johnson ousted Livingstone after two terms, was declared the winner after a four-horse race in which the former MP Lembit Opik was eliminated in the first round.

Opik lost the safe Lib Dem seat of Montgomeryshire in the 2010 general election. On Friday, in an election run on the single transferrable vote, he secured just 252 votes, coming fourth behind London councillor Brian Haley, with 316.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:39:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and he'll come third again. He's a good candidate but he's up against two superstars with Ken and Boris

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 02:45:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, he's excellent. Though personally I think Caroline Pidgeon is gaining a lot more visibility with voters through her day-to-day work as leaders of the London Assembly group and I think she should eventually give it a go.

It is my opinion that a successful mayoral challenge has to come from working their arse off at the Assembly and being visible day in and day out for 4 or 8 years. Back in 2008 Paddick got even fewer first-preference votes than there were london-wide votes for the Assemmbly list, despite the fact that the campaign was almost entirely focused on him as mayoral candidate. Back then he was too much of a parachuted-in celebrity candidate, and having been away from the city I don't know whether that's changed. Obviously he now has 4 more years of visibility in London politics but he's not in the Assembly which I think matters a lot.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 04:01:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ITN [UK]: Brian Paddick selected as Lib Dem London mayor candidate (September 3, 2011)
Mr Paddick beat off competition from former MP Lembit Opik, outgoing London Assembly member Mike Tuffrey and former Haringey councillor Brian Haley in a ballot on Friday, winning by just 1,526 votes to Mr Tuffrey's 1,476.

I'm A Celebrity - Get Me Out Of Here! contestant Lembit Opik polled just 252 votes.

Paddick was the highest-ranking openly gay police officer when he was at the Met, and quit the force in the wake of the shooting by marksmen of innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005.

ITN is probably reporting Öpik's first-preference votes and Paddick and Tuffrey's final tallies, as the LibDems use single-transferable voting for all their candidate selection processes.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 04:35:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Paddick might make a good mayor. But he doesn't have the intuition or appeal of a successful politician. I saw him on a bus, two weeks before the last Mayoral election, and he showed no interest whatsoever in engaging anyone on the bus in conversation. He didn't look motivated at all, in his campaign.

He may well come lower than third, given the anti lib-dem backlash going on - it depends what kind of campaign the Greens put on. Jenny Jones would be a good mayor, but again is less convincing on the campaign trail.

Ken looks old and tired, with little new to offer: maybe he can shake this off for the March-May campaign.

At the moment, it's looking like the incumbent has all the cards: after a difficult first year, when he lost several close advisers through one scandal or another, he's done very little in the last 3 years - and hence done little overtly wrong. He (perhaps fortunately) hasn't realised just how much power the mayoralty brings with it. And like Paddick, he might get punished for the sins of his party.

by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 06:16:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that's pretty spot on as an analysis.

Campaigning is a 24/7 job and if can't be spontaneously gregarious you're probably not suited to the role

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 06:31:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Arms manufacturer investigates how Gadhafi got German rifles | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 04.09.2011

German arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch plans to send an investigative team to Libya in order to find out how a cache of its assault rifles ended up in the ends of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

"We are in close contact with the authorities and plan to send a diverse team of experts to Tripoli in order to investigate the matter with the relevant authorities on the ground," managing director Martin Lemperle told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Libyan rebels seized a stockpile of G36 KV model rifles after storming Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli last month.  The G36 is the standard issue weapon for the German armed forces and is also used by many foreign militaries.

Markings on the G36 KV rifles indicate that they were manufactured in 2003. Although every weapon made by Heckler & Koch can be traced by its serial number, the numbers on the rifles found in Gadhafi's compound had been filed off and replaced with different ones.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 12:15:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com: The worst of the euro crisis is yet to come (By Wolfgang Münchau)
The first, second and third priorities of European economic policy should be to stop and reverse the downturn. If they fail to achieve that, the eurozone's crisis will end in catastrophe because every single resolution programme will be in danger of failing. Unfortunately, economic policy is utterly unprepared for an economic downturn. The European Central Bank has been tightening monetary policy since the spring. Fiscal policy is contracting as governments rush to announce austerity programmes. Policymakers seem in no hurry to fix the problem.

...

How about fiscal policy? The very least one should expect is for the eurozone to abandon all austerity programmes with immediate effect and to return to a fiscally neutral stance, allowing the automatic stabilisers to kick in fully. At present, such a shift is not even on the agenda. As is so typical in the eurozone, each country behaves like a small open economy at the edge of the world. Each assumes its actions have no impact on the others.

...

For as long as there is no fiscal union, the eurozone member states have no alternative but to co-ordinate among each other. I would personally go all the way, and advocate a discretionary fiscal stimulus in Germany, the Netherlands and Finland to offset austerity in the south. What matters is the fiscal stance for the eurozone as a whole. There is, as yet, little recognition in the eurozone's cacophonous capitals that an economic downturn poses an existential threat. I would expect therefore that the downturn will hit the eurozone with full force, and without defence. When that happens, the eurozone crisis will turn ugly.



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 05:43:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is, as yet, little recognition in the eurozone's cacophonous capitals that an economic downturn poses an existential threat.

Hopeless, isn't it?

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 06:07:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's when they're not denying that there is a downturn.

The press talks about the IMF's warning of an "imminent" downturn. Maybe they mean "immanent".

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 06:09:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea, but the definition of a downturn is screwed.

you have to have two quarters of negative numbers for a downturn, but only one quarter of positive for an upturn.

And these guys are good at fiddling figures, it's all they do.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 02:47:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=09&dd=04&nav_id=76229

BELGRADE -- The UN Security Council defended unilateral use of force by refusing to adopt an announcement proposed by Russia, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić has said.

The foreign minister stressed that it is not unusual that the countries that had been supporting Priština at the UN Security Council so far had done it again.

"Just like Russia and China are blocking every attempt in the UN Security Council to legitimize Kosovo separatism in the international-legal sense, Priština's allies, who also have the power of veto, are strongly supporting it. But it is very problematic that they aside from their usual behavior this time practically defended unilateral use of force. I think they sent a pretty dangerous message," he told daily Večernje novosti.



Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 08:51:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Serbs have been bullied once again...

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=09&dd=04&nav_id=76227

BELGRADE -- Belgrade team head Borislav Stefanović has denied claims that Serbia has recognized Kosovo's statehood attributes by signing the agreement on customs stamps.
...He once again pointed out that the agreement on customs stamp was "status neutral".

"The difference is that accompanying customs documentation is finally harmonized in a status neutral way. International guarantees have been given that it will be so and Priština confirmed that this was the final look of the stamp, without any variations that they were proposing," the team head was quoted as saying.


Yeah right...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 09:05:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence: Another election disaster for Merkel
CDU suffers a humiliating defeat in the state election of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which further weakens Merkel's government; FDP falls below hurdle to be represented in the state parliament; the coalition is expected to suffer another loss at the state elections in Berlin in two weeks; Troika suspends talks with Greece, after the Greek government falls behind in the austerity programme; among the measures not implemented is the dismissal of 7500 public sector employees; opposition New Democracy has overtaken Pasok in the opinion polls; Lagarde calls on the eurozone to reverse austerity programmes, and says Germany should consider a discretionary stimulus; Merkel and Sarkozy want to strengthen the position of van Rompuy and the EFSF, and give them both more staff to deal with the crisis; they also want to replace Jean-Claude Juncker with a former finance minister; DSK returns to France, and maintains suspension about his future plans; FT Deutschland runs a full-page editorial calling for more European integration; Mark Schieritz criticises S&P over a misleading statement on the potential rating of Eurobonds; a majority of German economists advises the ECB not to cut interest rates now; Wolfgang Münchau, meanwhile, and obviously in a minority, says the ECB should cut interest rates now to prevent a downturn that would endanger all crisis resolution efforts.


Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 04:04:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mark Schieritz on S&P's Eurobond downgrade threat

Writing in Herdentrieb, Mark Schieritz makes an important point about a recent threat by S&P according to which a Eurobond would automatically receive a CC rating. The reason is that if every member state guaranteed the bond, its default probability would logically depend on the rating of the weakest member guaranteeing it. Schieritz says that if the EU were so stupid to construct a Eurobond this way, it would deserve to fail. But the whole point of a Eurobond is to be joint and several, and thus to be guaranteed by the community. (We also thought that the comment by S&P was deliberately designed to add confusion to the debate. The whole idea of a eurobond is to replace, or complement, an existing system of national guarantees, which is, of course, the EFSF.)

Herdentrieb, a blog on Die Zeit's site, is one of the saner parts of the German economic debate...

Anyway, Yanis Varoufakis agrees:

Only the other day Moritz Kraemer, managing director of EMEA sovereign ratings, had this to say (according to Reuter's): If the eurozone is to band together and issue common debt, with each member-state guaranteeing its own bit, then the resulting eurobond would resemble a chain whose creditworthiness would be the same as that of its weakest link. Here are his precise words: "If the euro bond is structured like this and we have public criteria out there then the answer is very simple. If we have a euro bond where Germany guarantees 27 percent, France 20 and Greece 2 percent then the rating of the euro bond would be CC, which is the rating of Greece."

Mr Kraemer is spot on. If this is how our new eurobonds are to be structured, we deserve all the trouble that we shall get  into. Of course, there is no reason why they ought to be structured that way. Consider, for instance, a small amendment: For example, the new EFSF eurobonds may be both jointly issued and severally backed. This means that each member-state is responsible for all the debt; not just for its `bit'. To give a simple parallel, consider a group of five students that rent a flat. If the rental agreement says that each student will be responsible only for her share of the rent, then the landlord truly has reason to fear that the probability that the rent will be fully paid each month is a function of the creditworthiness of the most impecunious of the five renters. But, if the rental agreement specifies that each of the five students is to be held responsible for any shortfall in the monthly rental payments, then things are quite different and the landlord can sleep more easily at night. In this case, the landlord's rental income security will edge closer to some weighted average of the five students' capacity to pay (as opposed to being equal to the financial capacity of the poorest of the five students).

In short, if the EFSF is to offer jointly issued and backed eurobonds, the result will be a disaster and the new bonds will be reduced to junk bonds even before they hit the markets. If, on the other hand, they are jointly issued and severally backed, then the interest rates will be closer to that of the AAA-rated member-states albeit not close enough. Thus, if this is the type of eurobond we can have, it is a bad idea to push for them. Alas, both types of eurobond discussed in this section are different versions of the straw eurobond that Mrs Merkel and opponents of a rational resolution to the euro crisis are parading around only to knock it back triumphantly.

See also yesterday's Salon thread on S&P.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 05:33:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reverse austerity now?

And what of multiplier effects if we only had stimulus at the beginning prior to the massive unwinding.

Even with Greece, would the gov't there have traded a stimulus package for immediate government reforms? I think the answer is yes.

by Upstate NY on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 11:50:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We had a timid stimulus in 2009 before the Serious People slammed on the brakes in 2010.

The whole last 2 years have been positively criminal.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 12:09:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Italian town Filettino declares independence

A small town in central Italy has declared its independence and started to print its own banknotes.

The authorities in Filettino, 100km (70 miles) east of Rome, are protesting against austerity measures.

via

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter

by generic on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 11:55:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, reminds me of Passport to Pimlico



keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 12:32:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile Mauro Ottobre, a local councillor from PATT (Partito Autonomista Trentino Tirolese) has put up a poll on his website asking whether people in Trentino want to go back to Austria..... He does not mention the possibility of the FPÖ taking over in Tirol and trying to limit the use of Italian, as they did with Slovene in the Burgenland.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 01:26:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely you mean Carinthia.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 03:04:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW is that a possibility? The combined population of Tyrol, South tTyrol and Trentino is 1,740,000, of which German-speakers add up to just over 1 million. For a majority, the FPÖ would need 87% of German-speakers.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 03:14:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good point. That probably means that the Tirol would have no interest in getting Trentino back anyway.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 04:38:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:15:16 AM EST
IMF chief calls for German stimulus in the face of slow growth | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 04.09.2011

Germany should put the breaks on austerity and implement a new stimulus program if its exported-orientated economy continues to demonstrate slow growth, according to Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"If exports - which are the basis of Germany's economic model - decline, then the German government could introduce counter measures," Lagarde said in an interview with the weekly news magazine, Der Spiegel.

German economic growth largely came to halt in the second quarter of 2011 due to a decline in consumption. If Berlin stimulated domestic demand, it would be good both for both Germany and its neighbors, Lagarde said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:40:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even the FDP is in full denial mode, saying "let's not rubbish the economic upturn [in Germany]"; though they would have a recipe: tax cuts. Which doesn't work, as evidenced most recently in Hungary, where the IMF-defying government's central economy-boosting policy was the introduction of flat tax, but growth still came to a standstill.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 05:02:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ECB treads carefully amid pressure on Greece and Italy - FT.com

The European Central Bank faces a precarious - and high stakes - balancing act this week as it piles pressure on Italy and Greece to press ahead with fiscal austerity measures, while reassessing its interest rate strategy amid deteriorating global and eurozone economic prospects.

The euro's monetary guardian has a pivotal role in what could prove the most perilous phase of the eurozone debt crisis, with its government bond purchasing programme providing a backstop against possible financial market turbulence.

At the weekend, the priority of Jean-Claude Trichet, president, was to ensure Italy met fiscal targets agreed last month: the ECB is alarmed at Rome's watering down of planned tax and spending measures. Firm action would be "absolutely decisive," he said in Cernobbio, north Italy. But he would not comment on whether purchases of Italian bonds would continue; the ECB's strategy will be to keep the maximum pressure on Rome while averting financial market meltdown.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:40:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WikiLeaks: China wanted to invest in U.S. banks during '08 crisis | McClatchy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- During the throes of the 2008 financial crisis, a top Chinese banker told U.S. officials that his company and others in China were interested in taking significant stakes in U.S. banks but expected a backlash from regulators and the American public, according to U.S. diplomatic memos.

The chairman of China Construction Bank, one of the world's largest banks, made the comment during two separate meetings in November 2008, according to State Department cables obtained by McClatchy through WikiLeaks.

At the time, U.S. banks were desperate for capital to absorb losses from mortgage-related investments and rising loan losses. But no Chinese investments were made, apparently because it would have opened the Chinese banks to regulatory scrutiny in the United States.

Still, the memos provide a window into the thinking of Chinese banking officials as their counterparts in the U.S. suffered through an epic financial meltdown. One of the Chinese investment funds eventually won Federal Reserve approval for an investment in New York-based Morgan Stanley, although not until last year.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:41:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Serbia unprepared for new wave of crisis - PKS chief
"Instead of clearly defining the strategy and plans, the government keeps repeating that the new wave of crisis may not even occur. This optimism is completely groundless. Serbia's economy is facing new problems in a much worse shape, weaker than three years ago when the crisis started," Bugarin told Belgrade-based daily Večernje novosti.

He said that the country would face the new wave of crisis with a much bigger unemployment, huge illiquidity, higher inflation and a budget deficit.
..."It is only a matter of day when the crisis will hit the real sector.

Is your country ready?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 09:32:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.b92.net/eng/news/business-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=09&dd=02&nav_id=76204

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 09:36:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course not!

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 04:05:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:16:07 AM EST
U.S. Is Appealing to Palestinians to Stall U.N. Vote - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration has initiated a last-ditch diplomatic campaign to avert a confrontation this month over a plan by Palestinians to seek recognition as a state at the United Nations, but it may already be too late, according to senior American officials and foreign diplomats.

The administration has circulated a proposal for renewed peace talks with the Israelis in the hopes of persuading the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to abandon the bid for recognition at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly beginning Sept. 20.

The administration has made it clear to Mr. Abbas that it will veto any request presented to the United Nations Security Council to make a Palestinian state a new member outright.

But the United States does not have enough support to block a vote by the General Assembly to elevate the status of the Palestinians' nonvoting observer "entity" to that of a nonvoting observer state. The change would pave the way for the Palestinians to join dozens of United Nations bodies and conventions, and it could strengthen their ability to pursue cases against Israel at the International Criminal Court.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 12:04:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
81 congressmen to visit Israel in coming weeks
By HERB KEINON
08/08/2011 01:55

Eighty-one congressmen, or about 20 percent of the US House of Representatives, will visit Israel over the next three weeks during Congress's summer recess, with the first group of 26 Democrats scheduled to arrive on Monday. The Democratic delegation will be followed by two Republican ones, bringing a total of 55 Republicans.

Most of the representatives are freshmen congressmen, with 47 - or fully half of the freshmen Republicans voted into office in 2010 - making the trip. For many of them, this will be their first trip to Israel.

The week-long trips are sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which brings large delegations of congressmen here every other August.

http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=232876

by asdf on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 12:13:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but is this because the US feels this is the best way forward for peace or is it just because AIPAC are yanking the chain ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 02:51:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Need you ask?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 07:20:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminds me: I just have begun to scour the full WikiLeaks Cablegate archive of documents from the Budapest Embassy, and already found one from February 2010 where the US is aksed to help in coordination between anti-Goldstone-Report EU members seeking to undermine a Yes vote from the EU...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 05:30:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Libya: Gaddafi sons and loyalist convoys 'have fled strongholds' | World news | The Observer

Members of the Gaddafi family were believed to have fled the town of Bani Walid on Saturday after residents raised rebel flags in a show of defiance.

Rebel leaders in the nearby town of Tahouna said loyalist convoys had been seen leaving military bases ahead of an assault on the town, expected within days.

Some were believed to be the remnants of the Khamis Brigades, which were controlled by Muammar Gaddafi's son Khamis until he was apparently killed in a rebel ambush nine days ago.

"There was a surprise movement this afternoon," Tripoli's rebel military commander, Abdul Hakim Belhaj, said. "The Gaddafi brigades appear to have abandoned their checkpoints."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 12:04:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Libyan fighters 'ready' for Bani Walid attack - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Libyan fighters outside Bani Walid, a key city still controlled by supporters of toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi, have told Al Jazeera that efforts to negotiate a peaceful handover have ended.

An official for the National Transitional Council (NTC) said fighters were preparing to take the town by force after talks ended on Sunday.

"We are ready from three fronts: north and east and west," Mahmoud Abdul Aziz, a political analyst and one of those on the negotiation team, told Al Jazeera.

"Their time is over," he said, referring to Gaddafi loyalists in the town who had refused to give up their arms. "The push is going to happen in the next 24 hours."

Al Jazeera's Sue Turton said that NTC fighters outside of Bani Walid have estimated Gaddafi troops remaining in Bani Walid number less than 100.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 12:04:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tripoli's rebel military commander, Abdul Hakim Belhaj

I see ET missed this:

CIA worked with Libya in terror suspect renditions, documents show | World news | guardian.co.uk

The CIA worked closely with Muammar Gaddafi's intelligence services in the rendition of terrorist suspects including Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, the rebel commander in Tripoli, according to documents found in Tripoli.

...Two documents from March 2004 appear to be American correspondence to Libyan officials to arrange the rendition of Belhaj, the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a now-dissolved militant group with links to al-Qaida.

Referring to him by his nom de guerre, Abdullah al-Sadiq, the documents say he will be flown from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Libya, and asks for Libyan government agents to accompany him. They also request US "access to al-Sadiq for debriefing purposes once he is in your custody".

Belhaj has said he was tortured by CIA agents at a secret prison before being returned to Libya.

And the guy wants consequences:

Libyan commander demands apology over MI6 and CIA plot | World news | The Guardian

Abdul Hakim Belhaj, the security commander in Tripoli, told the Guardian he was considering suing over the episode, which raises further damaging questions over Britain's knowledge of the rendition and ill-treatment of prisoners.

One document found in a treasure trove of abandoned papers shows a senior MI6 officer boasting to the Libyans about how British intelligence led to Belhaj being captured on 6 March 2004.

..."I wasn't allowed a bath for three years and I didn't see the sun for one year," he told the Guardian. "They hung me from the wall and kept me in an isolation cell. I was regularly tortured."

Belhaj was released from the Libyan version of Abu Ghraib, Abu Selim prison, earlier this year after an amnesty announced by Gaddafi. He quickly took a lead role in the anti-government rebellion that ousted Gaddafi two weeks ago.

"This will not stop the new Libya having orderly relations with the United States and Britain," he said. "But it did not need to happen."

This goes against simplistic readings of the relationship between the USA/NATO and the Libyan rebels. The USA/NATO sacrificed an ally in its terroristic 'war on terror' and took the risk of Islamists getting a role in the new Libya when siding with the rebels. And the rebels asked for and accepted that help despite knowing about the dark ties to the Gaddafi regime. This is an alliance of convenience. With this background, it is no surprise that the rebels were fast to reject the extradiction of Libyans to Britain and didn't want foreign boots on the ground (even if from the UN).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 04:10:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ET missed this, not quite...

Salon 4 Sept.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 05:02:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Among the files we discovered at Moussa Koussa's office is a fax from the CIA dated 2004 in which the CIA informs the Libyan government that they are in a position to capture and render Belhadj," HRW's Peter Bouckaert, who was part of the group that found the stash, told Reuters.

Ah, different spelling.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 05:04:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkey to challenge Gaza blockade at International Court of Justice | World news | guardian.co.uk

Turkey is to challenge Israel's blockade on Gaza at the International Court of Justice, amid a worsening diplomatic crisis between the once close allies.

The announcement by Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu appears to rebuff UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon's attempt to defuse the row over Israel's armed assault on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in which nine people were killed.

Turkey dramatically downgraded its relations with Israel, cutting military ties with its former ally and expelling the country's ambassador over his government's refusal to apologise for the killings of eight Turkish citizens and a Turkish American last May.

Ban said today that the two countries should accept the recommendations of a UN report that examined the incident. The report found Israel had used "excessive and unreasonable" force to stop the flotilla approaching Gaza, but that it was justified in maintaining a naval blockade on the Palestinian enclave.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 12:05:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ambassador Craig Murray is a former Alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the United Nations Preparatory Commission on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.  He was deputy head of the teams which negotiated the UK's maritime boundaries with France, Germany, Denmark (Faeroe Islands) and Ireland.
As Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, he was responsible for giving real time political and legal clearance to Royal Navy boarding operations in the Persian Gulf following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, in enforcement of the UN authorised blockade against Iraqi weapons shipments.
Ambassador Craig Murray is therefore an internationally recognised authority on maritime jurisdiction and naval boarding issues.
His analysis of the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the right of the Gaza flotilla to sail
"The legal position is plain.  A vessel outwith the territorial waters (12 mile limit) of a coastal state is on the high seas under the sole jurisdiction of the flag state of the vessel.  The ship has a positive right of  passage on the high seas.  The coastal state can regulate economic activity exploiting the resources of the seas and continental shelf up to 200 miles, the extent of the continental shelf, or the agreed boundary, but there is no indication of fishing, oil drilling or analagous economic activity in this case.  The vessel is entitled to free passage."
"This right of free passage is guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas, to which the United States is a full party.  Any incident which takes place upon a US flagged ship on the High Seas is subject to United States legal jurisdiction.  A ship is entitled to look to its flag state for protection from attack on the High Seas."
"Israel has declared a blockade on Gaza and justified previous fatal attacks on neutral civilian vessels on the High Seas in terms of enforcing that embargo, under the legal cover given by the San Remo Manual of International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea."
"There are however fundamental flaws in this line of argument.  It falls completely on one fact alone. San Remo only applies to blockade in times of armed conflict. Israel is not currently engaged in an armed conflict, and presumably does not wish to be.  San Remo does not confer any right to impose a permanent blockade outwith times of armed conflict, and in fact specifically excludes as illegal a general blockade on an entire population."
"It should not be denied that Israel suffers from sporadic terrorist attacks emanating from Gaza.
However this does not come close to reaching the bar of armed conflict that would trigger the right to impose a limited naval blockade in terms of San Remo. To make a comparison, in the 1970's and 1980's the United Kingdom suffered continued terrorist attack from the Irish Republican Army, with much more murderous impact causing many more deaths than anything Israel has suffered in recent years from Gaza.  However nobody would seek to argue that the UK would have had the right to mount a general naval blockade of the Republic of Ireland in the 1970's and 1980's, even though the Republic was undoubtedly the base for much IRA supply and operations.  Justifications of Israeli naval action against neutral civilian ships by San Remo is based on special pleading and an impossibly strained definition of the term "armed conflict".


Align culture with our nature.
by ormondotvos (ormond no spam lmi net no spam) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 02:38:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"This right of free passage is guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas, to which the United States is a full party.

Could someone explain why this is relevant? Neither Turkey nor Israel have signed the UN Convention, and the ship had a Comoros flag. The Comoros have signed the Convention, which presumably makes the attack an act of war against them, but I'm not sure what that means in practice.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 02:47:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would assume that if Comoros doesn't care to enforce the issue, then for all practical purposes, the issue does not exist - at least for Comoros.

I would suspect that a US citizen on a Comoros ship intercepted by Israel would have recourse that technically a Turkish citizen would not. The US can claim that its citizen had their rights violated by Israel and Comoros has failed to uphold its citizen's rights as well. The US could then proceed - perhaps the most straightforward way would be in the ICC assuming it was willing to become a signatory.  As the US has not done so, then clearly the murder of its citizens by Israel do not concern the US.

My impression of International law is that it is not just a series of separate "laws" but tends towards a unified moral system of behavour.

I think that it is often hard to violate just one section. A case in point is this example being covered here.  It is not just relevant sections of Law of the Sea - but also other parts that relate to blockades during time of war. I would be surprised if there were not several other sections of international law that have been violated as well - including treatment of prisoners.

As a unified system of moral behaviour it becomes difficult to pick and choose without looking immoral.

The law of the sea was not created out of thin air. While Turkey and Israel may not have signed the UN convention there may be other previous conventions and precedents that they may have signed that take effect.

There is also a point where it does not matter whether your country has signed an agreement or not. For example, if you engage in genocide - it does not matter whether your country has signed the relevant documents or not. Indeed by not signing it creates the impression that your country has condoned genocide.

Could someone explain why this is relevant?

Ultimately, unless we have an expert on international law, or we ask one or more, the answer is we can guess why it is relevant, but really all we are doing is guessing.

Another test of relevance is does Turkey, the US, Israel, or Comoros make it relevant - signatory or no.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 09:59:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree with most of what you are saying. My point was that I couldn't understand why a supposed "internationally recognised authority on maritime jurisdiction" was basing his case on a treaty that the parties hadn't signed, rather than on previous relevant conventions.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:03:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea, but you have to remember, Israel attacked a US navy ship and America didn't bat an eyelid.

the rules don't apply to Israel.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 02:55:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The specific rules that he is discussing couldn't have applied to Israel, as the attack predated the UN Convention in question....(and Israel did pay compensation, something that would presumably have satisfied the Turks)
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 03:09:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Israeli protests: 430,000 take to streets to demand social justice | World news | guardian.co.uk

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the streets on Saturday night in Israel's biggest ever demonstration to demand social justice, a lower cost of living and a clear government response to the concerns of an increasingly squeezed middle class.

About 430,000 people took part in marches and rallies across the country, according to police. The biggest march was in Tel Aviv, where up to 300,000 took part. There was an unprecedented 50,000-strong protest in Jerusalem, and 40,000 marched in Haifa. There were smaller protests in dozens of other towns and cities.

It had been billed as the "march of the million" but organisers said a turnout matching the 300,000-strong demonstrations four weeks ago would be a triumph. Israel's population is 7.7 million.

Saturday's demonstrations followed 50 days of protests that have rattled political leaders and led commentators and analysts to ask whether a new social movement would transform Israeli domestic politics for the next generation.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 12:05:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It will only transform the politics if they vote in a different government. And that's not gonna happen

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 02:56:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And not just any different government. Things won't change until people recognise the direct connection between the settlement policy and the 'domestic' economic situation, which won't happen before people stop automatically assuming that the government nd the IDF was right whenever it used force against Arabs or defied diplomatically their supporters.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 05:42:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's certainly not gonna happen if everyone stays home and shuts up, is it?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 05:50:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, certainly that's true, but I suspect there's still a disconnect among the protesters between the governments they vote for and the situation they're in.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 07:05:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yemeni capital braced for fresh protests - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Troops loyal to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh have deployed in force in Sanaa, the capital, after opposition groups called new mass demonstrations demanding an end to his decades-long rule.

Security forces closed off all access to the capital from Saturday afternoon while armed civilians loyal to the president also took to the streets.

The massive deployment came in response to an opposition call for an intensification of protests with the political situation in the country unresolved since Saleh left the country in June for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia after being wounded in an attack on his palace.

"We have called for intensifying the challenge in order to move towards a peaceful solution," said Huria Machhur, spokeswoman for the opposition National Council, an umbrella group of anti-Saleh forces.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 12:15:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mexico's drugs war goes to school - Features - Al Jazeera English

School children in parts of Mexico are getting some extra summer vacation - for all the wrong reasons.

One week into the academic year, students at 140 elementary schools in Acapulco - the tourist resort city previously known for sun-tanned Americans rather than gang wars - have been sent home, due to teachers fearing extortion and kidnappings by gangs.

About 600 teachers, mostly from schools in mountainside slums surrounding Acapulco's resorts, are refusing to come to work after colleagues received threats demanding they turn over half of their salaries or face attack. At least four teachers in the city have reportedly been kidnapped in the last two weeks.

It is the latest threat against educators, as drug fuelled lawlessness seeps into all levels of the social fabric in various corners of the country.

In the city of Juarez on Mexico's northern border with Texas, gunmen attacked a group of parents waiting for their children outside an elementary school on August 25, killing one man and injuring five parents.  



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 12:15:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
California Dream Act now on its way to Gov. Brown's desk | McClatchy

The California state Assembly voted Friday to send Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that allows undocumented immigrant college students to receive publicly funded financial aid.

After a lengthy debate, Assembly Bill 131 -- the second part of the controversial measure known as the California Dream Act -- cleared the lower house on a 45-27 vote.

"Today is a wonderful day," said Assemblyman Manuel Pérez, D-Coachella. "Today is a day of hope. Today, there are many students throughout the state of California who are saying, 'It's about time.' "

The bill allows access to taxpayer-funded financial aid for students who came to the country before age 16, attended a California high school for at least three years and graduated. Democrats argued that providing such students greater access to higher education would improve the state's economy in the long run by creating a more educated population.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 12:16:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just one more reason I moved from NY to CA decades ago, with a brief stop in poemless-land.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 05:38:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian
The official death toll for the September 11 attacks stands at 2,996, including the 19 hijackers, but research suggests that there is a further, indirect toll as a result of behavioural changes induced by fear.

In the months after the 2001 terror attacks, passenger miles on the main US airlines fell by between 12% and 20%, while road use jumped.

The change is widely believed to have been caused by concerned passengers opting to drive rather than fly. Travelling long distances by car is more dangerous than travelling the same distance by plane.

Measuring the exact effect is complex because there is no way of knowing for sure what the trends in road travel would have been had 9/11 not happened. However, Professor Gerd Gigerenzer, a German academic specialising in risk, has estimated that an extra 1,595 Americans died in car accidents in the year after the attacks - indirect victims of the tragedy.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 06:22:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are also the extra deaths from 9/11 air pollution...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 06:54:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha'aretz, early today
Some 40 Israelis on board a Turkish Airlines flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul were separated from the rest of the passengers upon arrival in Turkey on Monday and were questioned at length by Turkish police, marking a highly unusual event against the backdrop of a deepening diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Israel.

Turkish police took the Israelis' passports upon arrival and questioned each person individually in an investigations room. Only after prolonged questioning did the Israelis receive their passports back and were freed to go.

Ha'aretz, a few hours later
Foreign Ministry officials told Haaretz on Monday that over the past year, there were dozens of complaints on the part of Turkish citizens who claimed they were humiliated by Israeli security personnel at Ben-Gurion airport.

[...]

The issue of security checks at Ben-Gurion has turned into a regular source of tension which causes embarrassing diplomatic incidents every several weeks. Foreign citizens routinely complain regarding their examinations, and some, who are official guests of the Foreign Ministry or other government offices also say they are humiliated often. Most of the incidents take place upon departure from Israel as opposed to landing.

That last sentence is the first time I've seen this issue raised in print, as opposed to inferring it from people I know.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 07:51:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm, I thought I read of it in a Salon before, but can't find the story. Googling, I find this:

Israeli airport gives rare glimpse into security - Boston.com

Israel, which prides itself on airport and airplane security, showed off robots and procedures to keep passengers safe. One method has been condemned in other countries -- profiling.

...Before approaching the ticket counter, passengers are thoroughly questioned by "selectors" who look for travelers who match a suspicious profile.

"In the U.S., profiling is a bad word," Liss said, but he defended the practice, saying it is done by "intelligent, motivated" university students who served in Israel's military and can identify passengers who could pose a potential risk.

As for the Accusation by Turkey, Israeli authorities confirmed it:

Foreign Ministry officials admit: Turkey citizens routinely humiliated at Israel's airport - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

Foreign Ministry officials told Haaretz on Monday that over the past year, there were dozens of complaints on the part of Turkish citizens who claimed they were humiliated by Israeli security personnel at Ben-Gurion airport.

The officials also said that almost every Turkish citizen who arrives at Ben-Gurion airport undergoes a routine procedure of extensive, humiliating examinations that also include undressing to one's underwear.

"Turkish citizens are always separated from the rest of the passengers at the airport," said a Foreign Ministry official.



<sub>*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
</sub>
by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:31:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've just been reading the talkbacks in Ha'aretz. Usually these tend to be so vile as to make you think that maybe Ahmadinejād has a point. Not this time. The majority of the comments (especially in the Hebrew version) are of the form "We finally are getting a taste of our own medicine" (or "you are finally getting a taste of your own medicine" from the people with Arab names).

But note that your articles suggest that these apply to people travelling to Israel. I have never, until now, seen an article that makes the point that it applies mostly to people leaving the country, which makes less sense for preventing terrorism. I know lots of people (mostly European academics) who have been questioned in detail about their activities when leaving, but the only people I know who have had any problems when arriving are Palestinians

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:42:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know lots of people (mostly European academics) who have been questioned in detail about their activities when leaving, but the only people I know who have had any problems when arriving are Palestinians

I can attest to this. I also heard a story of an Indian PhD student at the Weizmann Institute who missed a flight because of the detailed grilling despite being at the airport 4 hours before departure.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:48:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But note that your articles suggest that these apply to people travelling to Israel. I have never, until now, seen an article that makes the point that it applies mostly to people leaving the country, which makes less sense for preventing terrorism.

But a lot more sense for keeping people from blowing up your planes. A passenger who is dumb enough to try to smuggle a bomb into Israel by air is almost certainly dumb enough to be a greater danger to himself than to his intended target. A passenger attempting to smuggle a bomb out of Israel by air might be planning to blow up the plane.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Sep 9th, 2011 at 08:24:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
International Business Times
If Congress doesn't deal with problems facing the United States Postal Service when legislators return Tuesday from recess, America's mail institution will likely default on a $5.5 billion payment due at the end of this month and may have to shut completely down this winter.

The post office is in a bind, wrenched by fast-declining revenue and costs that can't be shed fast enough.

"Our situation is extremely serious," postmaster general Patrick R. Donahoe told the New York Times. "If Congress doesn't act, we will default."

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 08:57:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unsurprisingly...


The Plot to Kill the Post Office...And Its Union Contracts

United States Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is on record as also proposing cuts to postal employees' health and pension benefits. National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando sees clear signs that Donahoe is intent on attacking the collective bargaining rights of postal workers and that he wants to "override lay-off protection provisions in the postal unions' contracts." In a recent white paper titled "Workforce Optimization," the Postal Service directly asked Congress to void lay-off protection provisions. The USPS developed its proposals without any input from NALC or any other unions.

Rolando lays out the real root of the problem: "The problem lies elsewhere: the 2006 congressional mandate that the USPS pre-fund future retiree health benefits for the next 75 years, and do so within a decade, an obligation no other public agency or private firm faces. The roughly $5.5 billion annual payments since 2007 -- $21 billion total -- are the difference between a positive and negative ledger."

Postal Service management recently claimed: "If we were a private company, we would have already filed for bankruptcy and gone through restructuring--much like major automakers did two years ago." NALC responded by calling this claim the "Big Lie." If the USPS were a private company, NALC argued, it wouldn't have been subjected to the pre-funding requirement and it would've been profitable, since the pre-funding requirement is responsible for 100 percent of the Service's losses in recent years.

NALC suggests that the problem has an easy fix. Instead of eliminating the requirement for pre-funding future benefits, Rolando says that the Postal Service should be allowed to transfer funds from pension surpluses instead of operating funds. That would continue to fund both pensions and retiree health benefits funded well into the future while putting the operations budget back into a surplus without cutting back on services or laying off workers.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 01:20:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:16:23 AM EST
Obama yanks smog rule, but business groups want more | McClatchy

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama sided with business interests against the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday and ordered a sudden halt to a plan to toughen the Bush administration's limits on smog.

The smog rule was a top priority for the EPA and health and environmental groups because dirty air has been shown to contribute to early death, heart attacks and lung problems, including bronchitis and asthma.

It was one of 10 regulations targeted this week for elimination by House of Representatives Republican leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, but Obama beat him to it.

The EPA tightened the standard for ozone, the main component in smog, during the Bush administration in 2008. However, the agency's scientific advisory board unanimously advised that the new standard wasn't strong enough.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:28:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Smog Levels to Remain Higher than Scientists Suggest Safe for Public Health | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

"I want to be clear: my commitment and the commitment of my administration to protecting public health and the environment is unwavering," the President said of his decision, in a prepared statement. Yet, the decision seems to ignore the state of the science on smog and protecting public health.

As it stands, smog--or ground-level ozone, as it is known to science--contributes to ailments ranging from asthma to heart attacks, as well as an estimated $500 million in crop damage every year. More than half of all Americans are currently exposed to unhealthy levels, largely due to emissions from two things: coal-fired power plants, and cars and trucks.

Back in 2008, in updating smog standards under the Clean Air Act, the Bush administration ignored its scientific advisory panel`s advice to lower those standards to between 60 and 70 parts-per-billion (ppb). Instead, new standards dropped to 75 ppb from 84 ppb. And that's now where they will stay for the time being. When the Obama administration took over, it promised to reconsider the 75 ppb standard. In a July 13 letter to Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson wrote that "the 2008 standards were not legally defensible given the scientific evidence." As in, the Clean Air Act requires the government to take its scientists advice on effective levels of air pollution to protect public health.

That is exactly what the American Lung Association charged in a lawsuit it dropped in 2009 that now will be revived, according to CEO Charles Connor. That suit charged that the 75 ppb standard set by the Bush administration did not uphold the scientific standards required by the Clean Air Act. "For two years, the administration dragged its feet, delaying its decision, unnecessarily putting lives at risk," Connor said in a statement announcing the group's determination to renew the legal fight. "Its final decision not to enact a more protective ozone health standard is jeopardizing the health of millions of Americans, which is inexcusable."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 12:31:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's massive backlash on this going on in the base. Maybe not so visible to the press, but it's the final straw for a lot of people...
by asdf on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 12:15:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Last straw is right. Most telling comment?

Karen Garcia: "I guess Sasha and Malia don't have asthma."

Have you seen the morph from Jimmy Carter to Obama?

Align culture with our nature.

by ormondotvos (ormond no spam lmi net no spam) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 02:42:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea, but they're not gonna Primary him, so does this mean they're not gonna vote next year ? Does President Perry sound good in comparison ?

Obama knows he can do what he likes and do what Blair did; butter up the rich and powerful so his retirement  cup overflows with bounty

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 03:00:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
President Perry doesn't.

But if you're one of Obama's owners, you can't lose. You either get another term of Obama doing what you want, or you get Rick Perry doing what you want.

Which of those options is bad?

Of course it's astonishing just how corrupt or managed Obama has turned out to be.

But that's US politics for you.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 06:20:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I guessed Obama wouldn't be up to much but his performance has genuinely shocked me at times.

That said, I have read a few told-ya-sos from people who'd accurately characterized him from the early 2000s

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 06:33:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Need a revolt in the state parties by nominating Progressive and "Left" candidates for state and congressional races.

If there is anything we can now state with conviction: give Obama enough pressure and he'll cave.  Adding twenty or thirty people to the House Progressive Caucus would give them enough clout to apply that pressure.


Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 11:01:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Prolly go back to voting for Nader.

What, exactly, would Perry do worse? Appoint Republicans to fed chair and secdef? Set up insurance company-based health care plan? Start another war? Expand warrantless wiretapping? Gut science-based pollution controls? Ignore unions?

Oh, wait..

by asdf on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 11:35:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He'd give worse speeches.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 11:47:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who bothers to listen to what pols say?

Watch what they do.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 12:03:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]

What Democrats can do about Obama
BY MATT STOLLER

Democrats may soon have to confront an uncomfortable truth, and ask whether Obama is a suitable choice at the top of the ticket in 2012. They may then have to ask themselves if there's any way they can push him off the top of the ticket.

That these questions have not yet been asked in any serious way shows how weak the Democratic Party is as a political organization. Yet this political weakness is not inevitable, it can be changed through courage and collective action by a few party insiders smart and principled enough to understand the value of a public debate, and by activists who are courageous enough to face the real legacy of the Obama years.

Obama has ruined the Democratic Party. The 2010 wipeout was an electoral catastrophe so bad you'd have to go back to 1894 to find comparable losses. From 2008 to 2010, according to Gallup, the fastest growing demographic party label was former Democrat. Obama took over the party in 2008 with 36 percent of Americans considering themselves Democrats. Within just two years, that number had dropped to 31 percent, which tied a 22-year low.

Of course, there are many rationalizations for Obama to remain the nominee. He's faced difficult opposition. He's passed major legislation. His presidency is historic. The economy is hard to resuscitate. But all such rationalizations evade the party's responsibilities to actually choose the nominee best suited to win votes. If Obama looks unlikely to get enough votes to win, he should not get the nomination.

Read the rest.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 01:22:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A good essay, but I agree only in parts.

It is true that Obama has destroyed democrat morale, but however badly he does, I still think he could beat practically anyone the repugs put up against him. a year of watching Perry and Bachmann will scare enough of America to ensure that.

his only real worry would be Romney and I don't think that's gonna happen

But his down ballot coat-tails will be short.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 02:14:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems a well-thought fantasy. He uses some very useful historical examples, and his call for "favorite son" candidates to begin the process is perhaps the only way the money cycle in amurkan politics can be broken, at least in the short term.

But his plan is also based upon a belief that a significant minority of the electorate remains somewhat free of brainwashing. One must wonder how many real progressives remain, at least those with a will to action.

The second leg of his plan is based upon the theory that some high up in the game will break ranks. I wish that too, but how likely, who knows.

He also assumes that one can still have his vote count. With millions disenfranchised, and millions more facing the loss of their vote, perhaps the system can not be reformed from within.

Which, if true, means that the system must fall apart before it can be fixed.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 03:15:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fears in Miami That Port Expansion Will Destroy Reefs - NYTimes.com

MIAMI -- As Miami prepares to dredge its port to accommodate supersize freighters, environmentalists are making a last-ditch effort to protect threatened coral reefs and acres of sea grass that they say would be destroyed by the expansion.

The state's Department of Environmental Protection is on the verge of granting a final permit to the Army Corps of Engineers, which will be free to conduct 600 days of blasting to widen and deepen the channel for the port of Miami, across from the southern part of Miami Beach.

"It won't fare well for us, the bay, the coral reefs, the fish stocks and the sea grass," said Laura Reynolds, the executive director of the Tropical Audubon Society.

"You can bring this all back to the economy," Ms. Reynolds said. "People come here to fish, boat, sail, snorkel and dive and go to the beach."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:29:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Statoil urges Beijing to set aside Norway tension - FT.com

Statoil of Norway says it remains keen to develop shale gas resources in China amid signs of a thaw in Beijing's relations with Oslo after a dispute over the Nobel Peace prize.

Helge Lund, Statoil chief executive, admitted the group's Chinese ambitions had stalled after Liu Xiaobo, the jailed Chinese dissident, was honoured by the Norwegian Nobel Committee last December, sparking fury in Beijing.

However, he said the group had not given up hope of a Chinese shale gas deal as Norway's energy minister heads to Beijing later this month in what will be the first visit by a senior Norwegian official since the Nobel dispute erupted.

"We're still interested in developing a business in that area," Mr Lund told the Financial Times, urging China to separate its dealings with Statoil from its political grievances with Norway.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 12:38:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Slow moving tropical storm Lee drenches Gulf Coast | McClatchy

A soggy Tropical Storm Lee is lumbering northward toward southern Louisiana and the National Weather Service has extended a tropical-storm warning from Sabine Pass, Texas, eastward to Destin, Fla.

As of the weather service's 4 p.m. advisory, Lee was about 55 miles south of Lafayette, La., with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph.

The storm is moving at 4 mph.

Lee is drifting erratically toward the north, the advisory said. A "slow and possibly erratic motion" toward the north or north-northwest is expected during the next 24 hours, followed by a turn toward the northeast.

Lee's center is expected to cross the Louisiana coast later this afternoon, then move slowly across southern Louisiana on Sunday.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 12:38:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:16:44 AM EST
Cooking That Sucks: Scientific American

Nature, famously, abhors a vacuum. But some cooks have learned to feel differently. Step through the swinging doors at the back of a top restaurant like Alinea in Chicago, and you may find vacuum pumps being used to reduce cooking juices into concentrated sauces, to distill essential oils from fruits and vegetables, to dehydrate chips or to brew coffee.

Many of these techniques originated in chemistry laboratories or industrial food-processing operations, and the equipment involved still evokes the bench sci­entist more than the top chef. But with all those Erlenmeyer flasks, innovative cooks have discovered ways to achieve culinary feats that are impractical by any conventional means.

Consider the common problem of concentrating the flavors and aromas that are in a dilute liquid mixture, such as a broth. The old-fashioned method--a long stovetop simmer to boil off the water--allows many of the most piquant and fragrant compounds to escape with the steam. The kitchen may smell great--but at the cost of a duller sauce. A lengthy sit over the heat also chemically alters many of those compounds that remain, so they no longer taste or smell fresh. A vacuum-reduction setup does a better job because it uses low pressure, rather than high heat, to accelerate evaporation. Pour the liquid into a Pyrex flask that has a side port and connect the flask to a vacuum pump with a rubber hose. Then drop in a magnetic rod, stopper the flask and put it on a hot plate, which uses a spinning magnet to stir and gently warm the broth while the pump reduces the air pressure inside the flask. As the pressure drops, the boiling point of the liquid falls as well; the goal is to sustain a mild, low-temperature boil.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 12:35:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OMG! What ever will they think of next???

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_coffee_maker

by asdf on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 12:17:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What a great idea. I bet Heston Blumenthal has one

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 03:02:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Night Owls More Likely to Suffer from Nightmares, Survey Suggests: Scientific American

Night owls might think staying up late is a real hoot, but a new study hints that delayed sleep might have a sinister side. People who hit the sack late might have a greater risk of experiencing nightmares, according to scientists, although they add that follow-up research is needed to confirm the link.

"It's a very interesting preliminary study, and we desperately need more research in this area," says Jessica Payne, director of the Sleep, Stress and Memory Lab at the University of Notre Dame, commenting on the new findings.

Previous reports have estimated 80 percent of adults experience at least one nightmare a year, with 5 percent suffering from disturbing dreams more than once a month. The new paper, from a group of scientists writing in the journal Sleep and Biological Rhythms, surveyed 264 university students about their sleep habits and frequency of nightmares, defined as "dysphoric dreams associated with feelings of threat, anxiety, fear or terror."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 12:36:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Motion Sickness Treatments Make Waves: Scientific American
James Locke, a flight surgeon at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, has made dozens of people sick in the name of science. When he puts subjects in a spinning chair designed to induce motion sickness, roughly 70 percent of them succumb--and at nearly the exact same point on each ride. Locke has used this research and his work with shuttle astronauts to determine which medications and doses best prevent the nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness.

Unfortunately, while the chair always goes through precisely the same motions, the real world is less predictable. In a ship at sea or on a small plane in turbulence, for example, the type and amount of motion can vary dramatically--and so can its effects on people.

Researchers like Locke, and those who work with pilots and the military's most frequent flyers, are especially keen to find better ways to treat motion sickness. And the many civilians who face nausea in cars, planes, boats or even the tamest amusement park rides would welcome a cure without the common side effects of current medications, such as sleepiness, or the questionable efficacy of alternative treatments, such as pressure bracelets. The path to those ends remains bumpy and filled with more than a few green faces, but new research is closer to finding the best treatments to keep both side effects and lunch down.


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 12:36:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
roughly 70 percent of them succumb--and at nearly the exact same point on each ride

Methinks that speaks to the unrealistic nature of the tests. Recently at a family reunion of the extended family, a trip by ferry between The Netherlands and Britain 30 years ago came up, in which several members of the extended family participated. The older generation reminisced about the differences, how some of them got seasick right after departure, and one of them only mid-way on the return trip; while all the children were unaffected. And that's just the variation without taking experience into account (all of us having been land rats until that time).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 05:12:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He does say

dvx:

the real world is less predictable

My experiences in cross-Channel ferryboats would back up yours: everyone doesn't get ill at the same time. Though I remember one trip where it seemed we reached a point two-thirds of the way from Calais to Dover where almost everyone on board was sick. There were half a dozen of us no-motion-sickness heroes on an upper outside deck (escaping from the smell). Within, I'd rather not describe it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 05:46:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm pretty sure that most passengers on the hydrofoil I took from Naples to Stromboli were sick most of the way. At least, that's the only conclusion I can draw from a boat full of Neapolitans, all silent....
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 06:18:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well the smell of vomit does tend to trigger a vomiting reaction in other people, so its something you would expect for there to be clusters

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 06:40:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tony Blair is godfather to Rupert Murdoch's daughter - Telegraph

The former prime minister was reportedly present in March last year when Murdoch's two daughters by his third wife, Wendi, were baptised on the banks of the Jordan.

The information was not made public and its disclosure in an interview with Mrs Murdoch in Vogue will prove highly embarrassing for Mr Blair.

His close ties to the Murdochs could explain his reluctance to condemn the News International phone hacking scandal.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 07:51:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Without doubt the oddest story to come out of the Murdoch affair yet. Blair "Garbed in White" at the spot where jesus was supposedly baptised.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 07:52:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Distinctly creepy.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 01:45:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ive seen a  comment that there were a variety of celebrities there, and  the Blairs shared accommodation with carrie Fisher and family, leading to comments of "The Godfather sleeps with the fishers" whether this is true, or just levered for the filmic pun...

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 06:18:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When the baptism was splashed across the pages of Hello! magazine last year, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, her fellow Australian actor, were named as godparents to Grace, nine, and Chloe, eight.

No mention was made of Mr Blair's role as a godfather to Grace and he did not appear in pictures of the ceremony, which took place at the spot where it is said that Jesus was baptised.

Who's embarrassed of what here?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 04:58:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The baptism took place in Jordan, at the place they claim that Jesus was baptised. The Israelis claim it was on "their" side of the river, so maybe Blair was afraid of upsetting them....
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 05:03:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:17:01 AM EST
Betty Skelton, `fastest woman on earth,' dies at 85 - The Washington Post

Betty Skelton, a daredevil pilot who was a three-time national aerobatics champion and became known as the "fastest woman on Earth" when she set speed records in airplanes and automobiles, died Aug. 31 at her home in The Villages, Fla. She was 85.

She had cancer, said Dorothy S. Cochrane, a friend and the curator of general aviation at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.

Ms. Skelton, who made her first solo flight -- illegally -- at age 12, went on to become a pioneering and charismatic pilot in the days of propellers and open cockpits. She gave her first aerobatics performance when she was 19, appearing in the same show in Jacksonville, Fla., in which the Navy's precision flight team, the Blue Angels, made its debut in 1946.

In her brightly painted Pitts Special biplane, the Little Stinker, Ms. Skelton performed awe-inspiring feats of airborne daring. She was the first woman to attempt the "inverted ribbon cut," in which she would fly upside down only 10 feet off the ground, slicing a ribbon with her propeller.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 11:19:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Love that car!!

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 05:40:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It'll never beat a 57 Chevy

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 05:52:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still have the hots for a MG TC:

But I have no desire to actually own one.  TOO much tinkering and greasy monkey futzing.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 06:16:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MG-TG.gif
by greatferm (greatferm-at-email.com) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 07:16:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MG-TG cut and paste didn't work.

See http://www.sportscars.co.nz/

An MG Replicar built for a Mazda Miata  chassis. I still miss my '54, though it had more leaks than a Wiki...

by greatferm (greatferm-at-email.com) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 07:21:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cool.

Something distinctive, classy, and non-snooze making.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 09:52:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No you don't, you want a pre-war MG with a proper overhead camshaft engine. The TC was a cost-savings exercise. When your ship comes in, I would suggest you look up a nice J2.

Here is one doing what these cars were made for: trials.

by asdf on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 12:35:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you've got one going begging ... I wouldn't haul it to the junkyard.  :-)

Realistically, these old cars are more trouble than they are worth.  Tinker, tinker, cut & file all the time.  And the engine design doesn't run properly without adding in Tetraethyl lead to the gasoline, horrible for the environment.  

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 02:12:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well it just so happens that rebuilding one of those is my fathers retirement project (although ten years on he's not got that far) there is a completed chassis and break system there, and an engine in parts on the workbench.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 06:32:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The trick is to work on it Every Day. Even if it is just one bolt or one wire. Every day without fail.
by asdf on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 09:11:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I will be cracking the whip when the clocks change

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:57:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes on the routine maintenance; no on the lead. The lead thing is propaganda from the pro-pollution crowd. I run, and my friends run, our old cars on regular gas and the old fashioned valve seats are fine.
by asdf on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 09:06:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How often do you adjust the valves and tappets?

(Shim, shim-y, shim ...)


Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 10:04:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hardly ever. Once every few thousand miles...
by asdf on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 11:28:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Olympic no-fly zone 'will bankrupt firms' - Home News, UK - The Independent

An unprecedented security lockdown of UK airspace over Olympic venues to prevent a 9/11-style attack will push British aviation companies to the brink of bankruptcy, according to the industry.

Aircraft that fail to comply with a no-fly zone over the capital and vast swathes of south-east England face being shot down by military Apache helicopters.

A month-long clampdown beginning next July will restrict all but essential flights over the capital to prevent any aircraft, including microlights and hang-gliders, from being used in a terrorist attack on Games venues or other disturbances.

Similar restrictions will apply over Weymouth and Portland, where sailing events will be staged, and over the football stadiums in Coventry, Cardiff, Manchester, Glasgow and Newcastle. Aircraft entering restricted airspace will require permission from RAF wing commanders seconded to the Metropolitan Police or face being shot down by the military.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Sep 4th, 2011 at 05:28:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because shooting down an aircraft full of passengers in flames to crash down randomly on a large metropolis due to a navigation error is going to be such a fabulous advert for British security.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 03:08:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure this idea has been mentioned but has anyone any comments ?



keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 06:14:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That 'windlens' seems to be a lot of material – I wonder at the cost factor. Also, it is nice to see production raised more than twice for a turbine with less than a metre long blades, but how does the increased energy production scale?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 06:54:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, you have to wonder about the mechanical practicality of a large scale version and I look forward to seeing that scaled up version tested.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 07:06:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder what the efficiency results would be (ignoring cost), if fixed position smaller windlenses were installed on a tower. I recall about a month ago that a 13 year old demonstrated greater PV efficiency with this concept.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 07:49:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shrouded turbines of all manner have been studied for decades. They don't scale well, nor do they reproduce lab efficiencies in the field. Yawing a shroud is tough. And the low pressure vortices drift all over the place.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 08:14:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See this thread from 18 months ago.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 08:36:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, that's brilliant

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 08:46:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice catch Migs, had totally forgotten.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 09:37:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you, I was hoping you'd come in.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 5th, 2011 at 08:46:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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