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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 20 February

by dvx Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 04:13:22 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europe on this date in history:

1816 - Rossini's opera The Barber of Seville premieres at the Teatro Argentina in Rome.

More here and here

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute. Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments. Come in and join us!


The Salon has different rooms or sections for your enjoyment. If you would like to join the discussion, then to add a link or comment to a topic or section, please click on "Reply to this" in one of the following sections:

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†EUROPE†



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

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:09:11 PM EST
Language vote likely to further Latvian-Russian divide | Europe | DW.DE | 19.02.2012

Latvians have rejected making Russian their second official language. The referendum marks an escalation of long-simmering ethnic tensions between Russian speakers and Latvians wary of losing their national identity.

Travelling to Latvia's capital Riga, tourists might ask themselves whether they actually are in the small Baltic state. The Russian language seems to be everywhere: on the streets, in cafes or on the radio. In the capital, the Russian-speaking population makes up almost half of the population. The situation is similar in other cities across the country that joined the European Union in 2004. Almost one in three of the 2 million Latvians speak Russian as their native language.

Many of the Russian community feel like second-class citizens in Latvia

On Saturday, citizens were called to vote in a referendum to decide whether Russian should be made the country's second official language and be given equal status with Latvian. The result was clear: 78 percent voted against the proposal, 21 percent in favor. Some 69 percent of the 1.5 million eligible to vote cast their ballot.

The referendum was launched by the initiative Mother Tongue of the Russian minority in the country and intended to change five clauses in the country's constitution.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:22:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
German minister: full Greek rescue decision on Monday | News | DW.DE | 19.02.2012

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has told a newspaper that it 'would not be constructive' to approve Greece's second international rescue deal in installments. Instead, he said to expect a full decision Monday.

Germany's finance minister said in an interview printed on Sunday that it would make no sense to split the second package of emergency loans for Greece, after speculation that eurozone finance officials might consider a staggered deal on the 130-billion-euro ($171-billion) bailout.

"If Greece can implement all the necessary promises and reforms by the end of February and clears any other open questions, then the second aid package can be approved," Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said in an interview published in the Sunday edition of the Tagesspiegel daily. "I think that a staggered agreement or an agreement step by step would not be constructive."

Schäuble said instead that eurozone finance ministers "will decide on Monday over the entire program, which will then be implemented step by step." Finance ministers from the 17 members of the European single currency will gather in Brussels on Monday for another summit on Greece, with the clock ticking.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:22:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FDP signals support for opposition presidential favorite | News | DW.DE | 19.02.2012

Coalition talks between Chancellor Merkel's CDU and the FDP over a candidate to succeed President Wulff have proven difficult. The FDP has signaled support for the Social Democrats and Greens' favorite candidate.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition partner, the Free Democrats (FDP), expressed unanimous support on Sunday for the opposition's favorite candidate, Joachim Gauck, to succeed former President Christian Wulff.

Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) and the pro-market FDP were meeting in Berlin on Sunday to agree on a presidential successor to Wulff in the aftermath of his resignation on Friday.

Coalition talks, however, have proven difficult, with the CDU rejecting Gauck as a candidate. Gauck, who narrowly lost his presidential bid to Wulff two years ago, is a Protestant pastor and civil rights activist from the former East Germany. He also formerly served as the federal commissioner that oversees the archive of East German secret police files.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:22:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran announces it has stopped selling crude oil to UK and France | World news | The Guardian

Iran announced on Sunday that it had stopped selling crude oil to British and French companies, in a move that may put further pressure on the price of oil amid heightening political tensions.

The price of Brent crude - the benchmark for oil - had been rising last week because of tensions with Tehran, which had warned it might cut oil supplies to the Netherlands, Greece, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy in retaliation for Europe's latest sanctions.

On Sunday, a spokesman was quoted on the Iranian oil ministry's website as saying: "Exporting crude to British and French companies has been stopped ... we will sell our oil to new customers. We have our own customers ... The replacements for these companies have been considered by Iran."

The EU has already agreed to stop importing Iranian crude oil from 1 July in an effort to stop Iran enriching uranium.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:22:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and so the consequences of our stupid support for america's stupid support of Likud's re-election bid continue to escalate

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 02:43:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Olympic VIPs take fast lane leaving patients at risk | Sport | The Observer

Sick and vulnerable NHS patients will be left stranded in ambulances in traffic jams while dignitaries and sponsors race past in a fleet of expensive cars on specially designated lanes during the Olympics, healthcare providers fear.

Games organisers have been accused of risking people's health by banning the routine use by ambulances of the "Games lanes" introduced to ensure that VIPs can travel quickly to events. The decision to reject a request for access from NHS London, the capital's strategic health authority, has led to a storm of anger. Medical Services, an independent business that transports patients for the health service, and whose clients include the hospitals closest to the Olympic stadium, says it fears that the ill, including those on dialysis, will be trapped in vehicles as London suffers unprecedented congestion, with traffic on key routes expected to slow to a crawl.

The Games lanes comprise 30 miles of road in central London on which only the "Olympic family" will be allowed to travel - athletes, officials and sponsors, including Coca-Cola and McDonald's. BMW has donated 4,000 3 and 5 series cars to be used during the Games. Following consultation with the NHS, ambulances will be allowed to use the lanes when they have their blue lights on, but critics say there are many urgent journeys that cannot justify the use of blue lights. They can only be employed in a genuine emergency and those entitled to use them generally require special training.

Leah Bevington, head of communication at Medical Services, expressed astonishment that even appeals for bus lanes to be opened up to ambulances and vehicles transporting patients had been rejected by Transport for London (TfL) and the London Olympic Organising Committee so that public transport was not held up at peak times. Bevington said: "This means that sick people, often elderly and frail, urgent blood supplies, oxygen, will all be made to wait in traffic with the rest of us. Congestion can be bad enough around London on a regular day so you can imagine that we are concerned that patients will be on a vehicle for much longer periods of time." She added: "As much as the NHS and everyone else is trying to run business as usual, without some help it won't happen."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:22:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but they'#ll only be poor people, who don't matter. Whereas the special people, the 1% people, are important and so must be privileged, it's only fair and natural

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 02:45:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Third day of strikes to hit Frankfurt airport | News | DW.DE | 19.02.2012

Frankfurt airport, Germany's busiest, will see further disruptive strikes on Monday as air traffic controllers push the aviation hub's administrators for a wage increase.

Germany's busiest airport will be hit with further strikes Monday, only days after a two-day walk-out by tarmac staff caused heavy delays and over 100 flight cancellations at one of Europe's major aviation hubs.

Air traffic control union GdF called on its members to walk out in protest for 24 hours from 5 a.m. Monday.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:22:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let for-profit firms transform weak state schools, urges former headteacher | Education | The Guardian

For-profit companies should be brought in to help improve hundreds of underperforming state schools, according to the former headteacher of an inner-city comprehensive.

Trevor Averre-Beeson, who used to be headteacher of Islington Green comprehensive in north London, now works as the education director of one of the UK's biggest for-profit education firms, Lilac Sky Schools.

He said many of the 1,310 primary schools and 107 secondaries that ministers had declared to be underperforming could be "transformed" by companies such as his own.

The debate over whether for-profit firms should have a greater role in running schools is highly political and is expected to intensify this week when Policy Exchange, a right-of-centre thinktank, publishes a report calling on ministers to go further in allowing for-profits into state schools.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:47:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the headline would be more honest if it read "Let for-profit firms transform weak state schools, urges urges man who wishes to profit from it"

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 02:47:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Sun on Sunday to launch next week

The Sun on Sunday is to publish for the first time next weekend, News International has announced.

An email to all staff said that Rupert Murdoch, boss of parent company News Corporation, would "be staying in London to oversee the launch".

Mr Murdoch flew in to the UK last week, and told Sun staff that a Sunday edition would be launched "very soon".

News International shut down its Sunday paper, the News of the World, last year amid the scandal over phone hacking.



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 Feb 19th, 2012 at 08:12:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
given the current internal politics at New Corpse this sounds like a power play from Rupe more than it does a considered view on the UK media market

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 02:50:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well Im thinking he's seen a problem as an opportunity, and he's downsized the business, getting rid of all the expensive senior staff

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 Feb 20th, 2012 at 01:32:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Second bailout for Greece expected to be approved today
Eurozone finance ministers will meet in Brussels today to decide on second bailout for Greece; There is a momentum building up for approval according to Reuters; Over the weekend the Austrian finance minister gave an upbeat assessment; Greece seemed to have approved the setup of an escrow account; An IMF analysis suggests that Greek debt would reach 129% in 2020; Greek parliament set to approve the pension cuts to save the €325m required by the lenders; Dimitris Kontogiannis warns that an es[c]row account could trigger an internal default; Wolfgang Munchau argues that Wolfgang Schauble's call to postpone elections violates Kant's categoric imperative; Joachim Gauck is nominated to become the new German president after Christian Wulff had to resign over expenses scandals; Merkel had to give up her resistance against Gauck to save her coalition government; In his first interview as ECB board member Joerg Assmussen said ECB supports to the EFSF alongside the ESM; Peter Praet repeated the ECB was not participating in the rescheduling of debt; Praet also said any ECB profits on Greek bond holdings would be transfered to national central banks, which transfer it to the governments, which would lend then to Greece; There are protests in Greece and Spain. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets in Madrid in protest against the new labour market reform with cuts in sever[a]nce payments; Wolfgang Schäuble aims for a balance budget by 2014 instead of 2016; In Germany, meanwhile, there is a debate going on about Hans Werner Sinn's claim  that Germany's Target 2 balances present a counterparty risk in the case of a breakdown of the euro.


tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:12:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Economic Times: Greece 'dangerous flashpoint,' EU must react: Italy
The premier, who has called on Europe several times to balance austerity with growth, said a group of European countries, including Italy but excluding France and Germany, were sending Brussels a letter pushing for growth.

"The letter from seven or eight countries from the European Union, and not just from the eurozone, will be made public today, if it has not already been."

...

"Barring last minute changes, France and Germany will not be among the signatories," he added, without specifying which countries were taking part.



tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 09:10:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurozone crisis live: Greece bailout decision due today | Business | guardian.co.uk

If the Greek debt/default saga is a series of marathons and we're in the last mile of this one, as Olli Rehn's spokesman put it earlier today, then we're just about to enter the stadium for the final lap. There are, as always, one or two hurdles such as the ECB giving up some of its nominal profits on its holdings of Greek bonds, screwing the private bondholders a bit more and getting that nice Christine Lagarde to be less miserly in the IMF's contributions to the bailout than she's planned up to now. But, several sources have reassured me, the deal is all but done and dusted.

But.....

There is, of course, a wee problem: the package has to be ratified by the 17 countries, including by three parliaments, I'm told. They just happen to be...those of Germany, the Netherlands and Finland, the triple-A rated euro zone members and big-time payers, which have been hardest to win over.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 09:13:26 AM 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 št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:09:31 PM EST
China cuts banks' reserve ratios - FT.com

China's central bank made a long-awaited move at the weekend to support lending in the country's slowing economy with a cut to the amount of money banks must hold as reserves.

The People's Bank of China said it would lower the reserve requirement ratio by 50 basis points from February 24. The cut will bring the ratio down to 20.5 per cent for the largest banks, and is expected to free up about Rmb400bn ($64bn) for new lending.

The decision is part of Beijing's efforts to engineer a soft landing for the economy as growth slows while inflation remains stubbornly high.

"Both the pressure of growth moderation and that of price rises exist at the same time," Jin Qi, assistant to the PBOC governor, said according to a press release on Sunday. "The overall tone of the monetary policy will stay prudent."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:46:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan, China to Help Europe Solve Crisis - Bloomberg

Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi said his nation and China will work together to help Europe solve its debt crisis through the International Monetary Fund.

Europe needs a bigger so-called firewall of added funding to contain the crisis, even as Greece shows some improvement in solving its financial woes, Azumi told reporters in Beijing yesterday after meeting Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan. Azumi, who met Chinese Finance Minister Xiu Xuren during his visit, also said he asked China to make its currency more flexible.

"We shared the view that Europe needs to make more efforts to create a bigger firewall," Azumi said. "We also agreed to act together as the IMF will probably ask the U.S., Japan and China" to help boost its lending capacity.

The IMF proposed last month to boost its lending funds by as much as $500 billion to insulate the global economy against any deterioration of Europe's sovereign crisis. That would be similar to a G-20 decision in April 2009 to triple the fund's resources as part of plans to pull the world out of recession. At that time, the U.S. and Japan each contributed $100 billion, the EU $178 billion and China $50 billion.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:46:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece sets date for €200bn debt swap - FT.com

Greece plans to launch a debt swap next month for private bondholders as part of a second €130bn bail-out expected to be approved on Monday by eurozone finance ministers, a government official said on Saturday.

The official said the swap, which would cover €200bn of Greek sovereign debt, would take place between March 8 and March 11, only days before Athens is due to repay a €14.4bn bond maturing on March 20.

As a first step towards completing the deal, the Greek parliament is set to pass legislation next week on so-called collective action clauses, with the aim of forcing a minority of "holdout" investors to take losses of around 70 per cent on their holdings.

The debt swap would offer bondholders a cash sweetener of 10-15 per cent of their holdings, plus new 30-year bonds with a coupon of around 3.75 per cent, which could increase if Greece achieves higher than forecast growth rates



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:47:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Libor Manipulation: Another Black Eye for UBS - Businessweek

For Switzerland's largest bank, the hits just keep coming. After years of being whacked with millions of dollars of fines for all sorts of infractions, UBS now appears to be at the center of the financial world's latest scandal: an alleged conspiracy by traders and brokers to rig the price of derivatives around the world by manipulating a key interest rate.

The Wall Street Journal reports that UBS has admitted to Canadian regulators that between 2007 and 2010, some of its traders and cash brokers conspired to manipulate the London interbank offered rate, also known as Libor. This is the rate that banks use to lend to each other, and it is essentially the backbone of half the world's fixed-income market, because it's also used to calculate the price of trillions of dollars of floating-rate securities every day, from car loans to corporate bonds and derivatives.

By allegedly conspiring to set Libor rates, traders and cash brokers appear to have been able to profit off of derivatives linked to it. Bloomberg News reports that UBS recently suspended a number of senior executives and traders in conjunction with the investigation.

Despite its systemic importance, Libor remains a strange throwback to an insular system of clubby bankers sitting around determining rates. Every morning at 11 a.m. in London, panels organized by the British Bankers' Association set the rate for 10 currencies, with a separate panel assigned to each currency. The agreed-on rate is supposed to represent a snapshot of banks' willingness to lend to each other that day, as they suss out their own short-term cash needs.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:15:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Free Kindle Edition of The New Robber Barons By Janet Tavakoli  H/T Jesse


   "The value of the e-book is that it has the embedded links in the book, unlike mainstream publishers. The other part about this book is that it is arranged chronologically by topic; one sees how much Congress and regulators have let us down, enabled cover-ups and then failed to act as evidence reached the public domain. We're seeing it all over again with MF Global."

    Janet Tavakoli

For today and on Tuesday (not on Monday) the $9.99 Kindle edition of The New Robber Barons by Janet Tavoli is free.

You must own a kindle, or have installed the kindle app for PC or mac, to download it. You can find it at Amazon US here, at Amazon UK here, or Amazon France here.

This e-book is a collection of her writings from various sources.



As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 03:48:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok I'm not gonna be able to download it as I have no kindle, but she's more or less describing a done deal. The oligarchy own us and are destroying our lives, region by region, nation by nation, class by class, yet nobody dare call foul on them.

The Occupy movement across most of europe, particularly in the UK, has been neutered (spain and greece excluded). the plunder continues and we remain complacent in the face of it

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 02:56:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I down loaded a free Kindle app on my computer and it works well. She does provide an indexed, step by step analysis of the crimes and the widespread refusal to see them by bought and paid for government.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 10:26:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meltdown Economics & Other Complex Catastrophes blog: Standing on the Toes of Giants (DECEMBER 24, 2011)
Let me start with Blinder's The Euro Zone's German Crisis in Dec. 13's Wall Street Journal (unfortunately, WSJ articles are inaccessible to anyone without a subscription). Blinder is on the mark in claiming that the Eurozone crisis is primarily due to Germany. Unfortunately, he makes this claim for entirely the wrong reasons. By examining the statistics on unit labor costs (ULC), he correctly identifies the competitiveness problem between Germany and the EZ periphery (it has been widely known that German unit labor costs are a lower outlier on the index ranking EZ ULC evolution). But by neglecting that unit labor costs are defined as a quotient of nominal wages and productivity, he jumps to the mistaken conclusion that this must be due to some "German productivity miracle." In fact, quite the opposite is the case: German productivity growth in the period 2001-2011 was at best mediocre. The low value of German ULC is almost entirely due to something I (among many others) had long ago identified as what one can variously call "wage restraint" or "wage dumping": German nominal wages have risen much slower than her productivity, and very much slower than her EZ trading partners. Essentially none of Germany's  ULC advantage is due to exceptional productivity growth.

...

To his great credit, Professor Blinder readily admitted to this mistake in his analysis in an email reply (I was apparently not the first one to point it out to him). It makes a world of a difference whether German competitiveness advantage is due to superior productivity growth or, if you'll pardon a Marxist terminological indulgence, superior exploitation of her workers. But before wallowing in Marxist self-righteousness I would qualify this observation in two ways. First, a mature open economy in which wage growth systematically lags productivity creates a conundrum for its trading partners, since it is out of long-run macroeconomic equilibrium and can only maintain employment levels by, e.g., generating export surpluses (i.e., it is underconsuming). This characteristic of the contemporary German economy - an excessively low consumption share - has been repeatedly highlighted by Professor Peter Bofinger (the "token" Keynesian on the German Council of Economic Advisers). Thus German employment is dependent on finding someone "willing" to be the consumer of last resort and overconsume, i.e., run a current account deficit (financed by German and other banks), and until 2008 that was to a large extent the EU periphery. This is exactly analogous to the relationship between China and the USA over the last 20 years. German workers may have been content with this "exploitative" relationship since it guaranteed them relatively higher employment rates (by EU standards).

Second, German competitiveness also really does derive from the fact that Germany continues to enjoy an advantageous specialization pattern: it still produces the things high-growth countries demand, both in the rest of the EU during the housing boom, and even now in emerging markets, and that they cannot (yet) produce themselves - specialized capital goods and producer intermediates like chemicals, and high-end automobiles. So hats off to Germany for defending her industrial comparative advantage, but there is no justification in calling this a "productivity miracle." Rather, you can take your pick of "obsessive wage restraint," "wage dumping,", or "super exploitation."



tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 05:03:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence: Second bailout for Greece expected to be approved today (20.02.2012)
Mark Schieritz on Target 2

The debate on the meaning of Germany's Target 2 balances has been going on for some time, and was recently rekindled by a long interview with Hans-Werner Sinn in Frankfurter Allgemeine. Mark Schieritz, writing in Herdentrieb, looks at Sinn`s central argument that Germany's Target 2 balances present a counterparty risk in the case of a breakdown of the euro. Schieritz says the counterfactual would be a breakdown of the euro where Germany's claims would be against foreign commercial banks. In this case they would be just as worthless. The whole point of the rescue operations is to prop up the solvency of Germany's export clients.



tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:19:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Herdentrieb: Einspruch, Professor Sinn!
Also: Sinn hat eine ganze Seite in der FAZ für seine Fundamentalkritik der Währungsunion freigeräumt bekommen. Das Interview enthält viele kluge Gedanken aber  eben auch eine ganze Reihe von Halbwahrheiten und Zuspitzungen, die die Lage dramatisieren und Ressentiments schüren. Sinn hat das eigentlich nicht nötig. Fangen wir an.
Objection, Professor Sinn!
So: Sinn has been given free use of a whole page of the FAZ for his fundamental critique of the Monetary Union. The Interview contains many clever thoughts but also a whole series of helf-truths and exaggerations, which dramatise the matter and stoke resentments. That was absolutely not necessary on Sinn's part. Let us begin.
In other words, Sinn is Wulffing with abandon. Also: private:good, public:bad!
Damit wären wir auch schon beim Kern des Interviews. Sinn argumentiert, dass die großzügigen Refinanzierungskredite der EZB die privaten Kapitalströme in den Süden ersetzen. Das hält er für schlecht, weil die deutschen Auslandsforderungen immer weniger aus Forderungen an Private und immer mehr aus Forderungen an das Eurosystem bestünden.
Thus we get to the heart of the interview. Sinn argues that the large refinancing credits from the ECB are replacing the private capital flows into the South. He considers this bad, because German foreign claims consist ever less of claims on the private sector and more of claims on the Eurosystem.
And, finally, it's sad that these things need to be stressed:
Man könnte übrigens genauso gut zum gegenteiligen Ergebnis kommen: Die Rettungspolitik hält unsere Handelspartner zahlungsfähig und SICHERT so unsere Auslandsforderungen. Denn irgendwann wird das Geld ja wieder in den Süden fließen, dann verschwinden auch die Target-Salden wie von Zauberhand und die EZB kann ihre Refinanzierungsgeschäfte zurückfahren. Und: Wir leben in einer Währungsunion. Die EZB ist nicht unsere Notenbank, sondern die ganz Europas - und wir können es den italienischen Banken nicht verbieten, wenn sie in der Not auf ihre Zentralbank zurückgreifen. Dafür sind Zentralbanken da.
One could just as well come to the contrary conclusion: the rescue policies improves our trading partners' ability to pay and therefore SECURES our foreign claims. Because the money will one way or the other flow into the South, then the Target balances will disappear as if by magic, and the ECB can withdraw its refinancing facilities. And: we live in a currency union. The ECB is not our Central Bank, but that of the whole of Europe - and we cannot forbid the Italian banks to resort to their Central Bank when in need. That's what Central Banks are there for.


tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:48:40 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 št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:09:48 PM EST
High Court Halts Montana Corporate Spending Ban - Bloomberg

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked a century-old Montana ban on corporate campaign spending, signaling the justices may reinforce a 2010 ruling that allowed companies to donate unlimited amounts to influence elections.

The high court yesterday put the Montana law on hold until it announces whether it will review the measure, which is being challenged by two nonprofit corporations and a family-owned business.

The case would test the 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. That decision, which divided the court 5-4 along ideological lines, allowed corporate spending as long as companies don't directly coordinate with candidates.

Two justices who dissented in the 2010 case, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, called on the court to reconsider it. The appeal in the Montana case "will give the court an opportunity to consider whether, in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates' allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway," Ginsburg wrote for the two.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:01:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Supreme Court to hear arguments on whether a lie is protected speech | McClatchy

WASHINGTON -- Fake hero Xavier Alvarez lied to his fellow Californians.

He never rescued an American ambassador. He was never a Marine. Most definitely, contrary to what he told a Southern California audience, Alvarez was never awarded the Medal of Honor.

He lied, until he was caught. Now, the Supreme Court must decide whether the First Amendment protects Alvarez and other wannabes from prosecution. The consequences could stretch well beyond what lawmakers and veterans call stolen valor.

"If false factual statements are unprotected, then the government can prosecute not only the man who tells tall tales of winning the Congressional Medal of Honor, but also the JDater who falsely claims he's Jewish or the dentist who assures you it won't hurt a bit," Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals warned in a ruling that overturned Alvarez's conviction under the Stolen Valor Act, which criminalizes false claims to military honors.

But Congress, the Obama administration and veterans organizations all consider false military claims uniquely harmful. Just ask George Washington, they say.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:15:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While the lie itself is protected speech, and should be, the act of capitalizing on that fraudulent claim is not.   The fact that fraud is being seriously considered as protected speech is terrifying yet predictable.
by paving on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 06:07:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I dunno, the repugs have been capitalizing on fraud for 30 odd years.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 03:01:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but also the JDater who falsely claims he's Jewish

So the U.S. courts will get to rule on who is a Jew?

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 08:10:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran warships 'dock in Syria's Tartous port' - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Iranian warships have crossed the Suez Canal and docked in Syria's port city of Tartous, Iranian state media has reported.

The Mehr news agency said on Sunday that Tehran's show of support has caused "extreme worry for zionist forces".

Youcef Bouandel, professor of international affairs at Qatar University, told Al Jazeera that Iran's deployment has to be viewed as part of a "broader picture" - that it to say that the Iranian government feels that "Syria is the first step towards putting Iran in the corner".

"Iran has been having a few standoffs with the West in general over its nuclear programme and over its oil emabrgo," said Bouandel, who said that the docking of the ships on the Syrian coast had two largely symbolic meanings.

"Iran has been threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz and has been a strong ally of Syria over the last year in particular... the two ships... crossed the Suez Canal without being stopped or searched [which] suggests that they do not carry any weapons," he said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:02:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Syrian officials killed as protests continue - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Gunmen opened fire on a car carrying a senior Syrian state prosecutor and a judge in the northwest province of Idlib, killing both of them and their driver, state media said.

State news agency SANA said on Sunday that Idlib provincial state prosecutor Nidal Ghazal and Judge Mohammed Ziadeh were killed instantly in the attack.

A day earlier, SANA said gunmen shot dead Jamal al-Bish, member of the city council of the nearby northern city of Aleppo, Syria's largest. It said he was killed outside the city, a centre of support for Assad that has been relatively quiet since the uprising began.

Police and armed patrols fanned out in the Syrian capital's Mezze district to prevent a repeat of protests against President Bashar al-Assad that have threatened his grip on Damascus, opposition activists said.

On the international front, Egypt said it was withdrawing its ambassador to Syria and China said it believed a peaceful solution to the crisis was still possible.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:02:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Egypt fails to set presidential poll date - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

The judicial committtee supervising Egypt's first voting since the revolution has set a date for nominations to begin for the presidential election but failed to follow through on a promise to announce when the election will actually happen.

The committee had been expected to announce a date on Sunday, but the judges told a news conference the decision was being delayed as they worked out how to ensure Egyptians abroad will have enough time to vote.

Farouk Soltan, the head of Egypt's highest court, said counting expatriate votes for the presidential election would be harder than during the parliamentary election since the vote would happen on one day, rather than over nearly three months.

The military council that took over from President Hosni Mubarak in February last year has faced repeated street protests demanding a swifter transfer of power to a civilian authority. In response to protests, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) promised to hold a presidential election by the end of June.

Soltan said the nomination period would open on March 10 and close on April 8. He also pledged that elections would be held according to the military's timetable. 



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:02:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bomb explodes near Nigeria church - Africa - Al Jazeera English

At least five people have been wounded in a bomb explosion near a church in the Nigerian town of Suleja, on the edge of the capital Abuja, authorities and witnesses said.

The blast went off near Christ Embassy Church on Sunday and shattered glass of five vehicles, nearly destroying them, according to the Reuters news agency. Grey ash was cast across the ground.

"No person died in the Suleja explosion. One person was seriously injured and is now in hospital. Four victims had minor injuries while five vehicles were damaged," said Yushua Shuaib, a spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast but the radical Islamist group Boko Haram has been responsible for a series of deadly bombings in Abuja and in the country's northeast.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:03:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Emperor's Surgery Highlights Scarcity of Japanese Heirs - Bloomberg

apanese Emperor Akihito is undergoing heart surgery today in Tokyo, casting light on rules that limit the line of succession to the world's oldest hereditary monarchy.

Akihito, 78, is having coronary bypass surgery at the University of Tokyo Hospital to treat a narrowed artery, the Imperial Household Agency said last week. The emperor, who had prostate surgery in 2003 and was hospitalized with pneumonia in November, was on medication after experiencing arterial problems last year.

Concerns over his health have prompted the government to consider altering the 1947 law for the world's oldest hereditary monarchy that mandates only men succeed to the throne and requires princesses to give up their titles if they marry commoners. Akihito's grandson Hisahito in 2006 became the first male born into the family in more than four decades, increasing the number of potential heirs to three.

"By the time he assumes the throne, he will be the imperial family," Colin Jones, a law professor at Doshisha University in Kyoto, said of the 5-year-old prince. "You're looking at a future where the imperial family consists of a single nuclear family. That's problematic in that, if he doesn't have a son, then what do you do?"



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:03:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just when I thought I was out of things to worry about...
by Andhakari on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 01:11:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NewsDaily: EXCLUSIVE-Algeria seizes missiles smuggled from Libya: source

ALGIERS, Feb. 18, 2012 (Reuters) -- Algerian security forces have found a large cache of weapons, including shoulder-fired missiles, which they believe were smuggled in from neighboring Libya, a security source briefed on the discovery told Reuters on Saturday.

The find follows warnings from governments in the region that instability in Libya after the end of Muammar Gaddafi's rule is allowing weapons taken from Gaddafi's arsenal to fall into the hands of al Qaeda's north African branch and other insurgent groups across the Sahara desert.

The weapons cache was discovered in the desert about 60 km (40 miles) south of In Amenas, an energy-producing Algerian region near the border with Libya, said the source, who spoke to Reuters on condition on anonymity.

The source said the cache was located following a tip-off from a smuggler who had been arrested. He said it contained a "large quantity" of arms including the shoulder-launched missiles - a weapon which, in some variations, could be used to bring down an aircraft.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:16:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Israel airstrike hits Gaza targets - World - CBC News

Israel launched an airstrike on Gaza on Sunday, hitting a number of targets, including a workshop in Gaza City.

The Israeli military said in a statement that the strike was in response to Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israel.

Israeli officials said Palestinian militants fired three rockets from Gaza into Israel on Saturday, but no damage was caused.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:16:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
given the futility of the rocket attacks from palestine in comparison with the retaliation, you can't help but wonder if Hamas order them fired in order to increase the sense of fear and loathing of Israel. A sense which validates their own extremism.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 03:06:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kind of late with this article from my good friend in NYC:
People's World: Over 684.000 people were subjected to the New York Police Department's aggressive tactics in 2011, a 14 percent increase over the previous year.  Fifty-four percent of those stopped  were African American. Latinos comprised 34 percent of the stops.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:03:13 AM 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 št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:10:04 PM EST
UT study finds no direct link between fracking and groundwater contamination | McClatchy

Hydraulic fracturing of shale formations to extract natural gas has no direct connection to groundwater contamination, according to a study by the Energy Institute of the University of Texas at Austin.

The study, released at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver, British Columbia, found that many problems ascribed to fracking actually have other causes, such as "casing failures or poor cement jobs."

University researchers also determined that many reports of contamination are the result of above-ground spills or other mishandling of wastewater from shale-gas drilling, rather than the fracking process.

"Our goal was to provide policymakers a foundation for developing sensible regulations that ensure responsible shale-gas development," said Charles "Chip" Groat, an Energy Institute associate director who led the study. "What we've tried to do is separate fact from fiction."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:13:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More here.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 06:17:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, basically, if we do everything perfect without error it will be fine.  Good thing humans never fuck anything up.
by paving on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 06:25:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. What they're saying is that there will be problems, sloppiness and accidents, but not worse than what you get from conventional drilling.

So, no to shale gas=no to any petroulem drilling.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:50:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Climate change killing mighty Alaska trees - US news - Environment - msnbc.com

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- U.S. Forest Service researchers have confirmed what has long been suspected about a valuable tree in Alaska's Panhandle: climate warming is killing off yellow cedar.

The mighty trees can live more than 1,000 years, resisting bugs and rot and even defending themselves against injury, but their shallow roots are vulnerable to freezing if soil is not insulated by snow. And for more than a century, with less snow on the ground, frozen roots have killed yellow cedar on nearly a half-million acres in southeast Alaska, plus another 123,000 acres in adjacent British Columbia.

The detective work on the tree deaths will help forest managers decide where yellow cedar is likely to thrive in the future. But the yellow cedar experience also underscores the increasing importance that climate change will play in managing forests, said Paul Schaberg, a USFS plant pathologist from Burlington, Vt., one of five authors of a paper on the tree that appeared this month in the journal Bioscience.

"As time goes on and climates change even more, other species, other locations, are likely to experience similar kinds of progressions, so you might do well to understand this one so you can address those future things," Schaberg said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:13:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tilting at Windmills: Palestinian Villages May Soon Go Dark Once Again - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The best part is when the lights in the tents go on, one by one, says Elad Orian. Electricity here, in the hills south of Hebron, was long unreliable. Either it was not available or it was too expensive, produced for just a few hours each day by a noisy, diesel-guzzling generator. That changed when Elad Orian and Noam Dotan, two Israeli physicians who had tired of conflict, came along three years ago and installed solar panels and erected wind turbines. Since then, such facilities have been installed in 16 communities, providing 1,500 Palestinians with electricity.

OAS_RICH('Middle2'); The women here no longer have to make their butter by hand; they can refrigerate the sheep's cheese, which is their livelihood; and their children can do their homework at night. Now they can sit together and watch TV -- and connect to a world that seems far removed from their lives on the edge of the Judaean Desert. It is but a small revolution, achieved at little cost. But it is a good example of successful development aid.

The success, though, could soon be a thing of the past. Israel has threatened to tear them down with five municipalities in recent weeks having received "stop work" orders -- the first step on the road to demolition. The problem is that the facilities are in the so-called Area C, which covers 60 percent of the West Bank and is administered by Israel. Permission from the Israelis is a requirement before construction projects can move ahead -- and permits are almost never given to



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:13:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Development aid mustn't be allowed to be successful. What would the world come to, then?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:03:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Test tube hamburgers to be served this year - Telegraph
The world's first test tube hamburger will be served up this October after scientists perfected the art of growing beef in the lab.

By generating strips of meat from stem cells researchers believe they can create a product that is identical to a real burger.

The process of culturing the artificial meat in the lab is so laborious that the finished product, expected to arrive in eight months' time, will cost about £220,000 (EUR250,000).

But researchers expect that after producing their first patty they will be able to scale up the process to create affordable artificial meat products.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 03:53:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yuk?

This is not yukky, it's awesome. If they can get it down to a cost where it becomes sorta competitive with commercial beef, we can have beef sans the deforestation and methane from cow farts.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 05:51:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh brave new world!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:10:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most beef today is produced in factories. The fact that some of the machinery in those factories goes "muuh" when you fuel it is incidental to that fact.

In this respect, the brave new world arrived fifty years ago.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:16:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure. But the assumption in your comment is that we actually need huge amounts of something called "burgers". Note: not meat, just some kind of pasty substitute between bits of bread.

There is also the question of what the new industry would mean in environmental terms, once ramped up to mass production levels.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:37:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We do need huge amounts of dietary proteins.

How interesting:

Biologists have long researched methods for growing muscle tissue in laboratory conditions. PETA has offered a $1 million prize to the first company that can bring lab-grown chicken meat to consumers by 2012.
(wikipedia)

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:54:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed we do need protein, but meat is not the only source. I mean, all this is well-known.

As to the chicken prize, $1mn is laughably small compared to the $$$ the food industry would make out of such a product. I notice, anyway, that there's no winner.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 07:27:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Burgers are lots of things. I know several burger places that serve perfectly fine food.

If you associate "burgers" with McDonald's, I can see where your reaction would come from. Me, I usually class McDonald's as an expensive brand of dog food rather than a cheap brand of burger.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 07:10:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fortunately, my gastronomico-burger culture goes beyond MacDonald's.

But whatever. I don't think anything scalable will come from test-tube burger paste, and, if it did, it would probably be "an expensive brand of dog food".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 07:31:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I somehow sense irony in that post.  Sometimes, progress is good.
by Zwackus on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:18:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Y'know, you're auto-defining it as "progress". And I've got nothing against progress at all.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 07:32:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We should think of this as yet another single-cell-organism-colony protein source food. Such as yeast, yoghurt, fungi...

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:25:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And then the question becomes: is it better then the existing ones? There is already a market of I-can't-believe-it-is-not-meat vegetarian sausages, burgers, schnitzels and such.

Or does the search for "beef" and "chicken" one-cell organisms stem from the though is that if the cell springs from a cow or chicken before extensive modifications it will be more acceptable to non-vegetarians then the curent products?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 08:52:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose the hope is that if will be easier to mimic the texture and flavour of meat if, you know, it's actually animal tissue.

Although evidently not all parts of the cow or chicken look, feel or taste the same. And

Large scale production of in vitro meat may require artificial growth hormones to be added to the culture for meat production. No procedure has been presented to produce large scale in vitro meat without the use of antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections.
I think the importance of the animal's immune system cannot be overstated, and even there industrial meat production has led to abuse of antibiotics. So that's not a cause for optimism.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 08:58:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly.  And imagine a future in which meat-eating households can each culture and rear their own regenerating meat blob, and harvest it themselves.  While presumably the meat blob would need some sort of food stuff, it would have to be far more efficient at turning that nutrition into delicious meat than a proper animal, as it doesn't have to do all that breathing and moving and living and stuff.  Household meat-sufficiency, here at last.

Seriously, this would be a truly incredibly technology.

by Zwackus on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:18:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like sourdough!

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:27:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"we can have beef sans the deforestation and methane from cow farts"

Not to mention unnecessary suffering associated with factory farming.

I'd say the jury is still out on whether it'll be a nice development or indeed something repulsive, but I wouldn't slam it a priori.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 07:45:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With the exception of US feedlots, beef is mostly not produced by factory farming methods (dairy cattle, OTOH, are much more intensively farmed). That is not a defence on my part of the methods used, particularly in S America, which do result in deforestation (and/or enclosure and transformation of savanna-type regions). A look on Google Earth at the vast areas around the common borders of Paraguay, Brazil, and Bolivia is instructive.

But the practical answer seems to me to replace meat protein by vegetable protein - eat less meat.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 07:54:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It may be true of beef (admittedly the example I gave, quoting you), but certainly not of poultry, or pork.

But while your practical answer is nutritionally the right one (and one I do follow, although not nearly as much as I should), it is a rather big gastronomical sacrifice. So if they managed to make it just as good (a colossal if, I know) it would be great.

Especially if they actually managed to make it require less antibiotics rather than more. I'm not saying it will work. Only that I would not consider it an abomination to eat it if it did.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 10:09:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cyrille:
an abomination

No, certainly not. There are far worse things on sale right now.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 10:11:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Um, is this less yucky?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:28:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the result kosher? Halal? If you can do the same with horsemeat, will it be legal in the U.S? This is going to be lots of fun....
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 08:14:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's based on stem cells. It cannot be Abrahamically legal...

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 08:14:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
French far right uses halal accusation to woo voters | Reuters

at a congress of her National Front party in Lille, Le Pen returned to familiar anti-immigration territory, saying she had proof that all meat in Paris was halal - killed by cutting the animal's throat and letting its blood drain out.

"This situation is deception and the government has been fully aware of it for months," Le Pen said. "All the abattoirs of the Paris region have succumbed to the rules of a minority. We have reason to be disgusted."

News for Parisian Jews - their kosher meat is in fact halal.

(Le Pen was talking rubbish of course - except that the small abbattoirs in the Ile-de-France region are halal. They just don't provide anything like all the meat that is supplied to the region from other regions of France and Europe and elsewhere).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 08:27:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess she saw the same TV doco as me.

The small abattoirs are all halal, only partly to serve the actual halal market, but mostly, it seems, because it's cheaper, i.e. they are using the religious alibi because it enables them to take short cuts.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 08:39:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I recognize that we live in a world where material science has made advanced nuclear reactors safe, and where even economics is now down to a predictable and replicable discipline. And a renowned study from the impartial Texas school at the center of the oil industry has now made fracking...

So now eating lab meat, assuming all the chemicals and antibiotics are washed out before serving, is just another step in the development of our civilization?

Let's forget about pointless measures like the difference in taste between a chemically-fed, hydroponically grown tomato and one of the heritage varieties. Have we then thrown out any concept of life force? Of higher order?

Is lab meat another data point that this civilization has no clue about the vast net of connection in which we swim?

(PS. I do not argue against research, though it might be more fruitful if research was carried out by people who at least acknowledge the mystery and its web of manifestation.)

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

by Crazy Horse on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 10:54:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The way I see it, the following facts are pertinent:

First world civilisation consumes way more meat than can be sustainably harvested given contemporary technology. There are three basic ways to solve that problem:

  1. Find alternatives to meat.

  2. Make better technology.

  3. Go without.

These are not mutually exclusive, so there is no need to recoil from 2) just because there is still low hanging fruit in 1).

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 11:47:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect CH has philosophical objectios to the use of meat harvesting technology and civilisation in the same sentence...

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 11:53:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Canada threatens trade war with EU over tar sands | Environment | guardian.co.uk

A Canadian government spokeswoman told the Guardian: "We oppose an FQD that discriminates against oil sands crude without strong scientific basis. The oil sands are a proven strategic resource for Canada; we will continue to promote Canada's oil sands as they are key to Canada's economic prosperity and energy security."

The European Commission disputes the charge that its plans are not based on science. Connie Hedegaard, the EU environment commissioner told the Guardian: "The Commission identified the most carbon-intensive sources in its science-based proposal. This way high-emission fossil fuels will be labelled and given the proper value. It is only reasonable to give high values to more polluting products than to less polluting products. I of course hope the member states will follow the Commission [and vote for] this environmentally sound initiative."

Colin Baines, toxic fuels campaign manager at the Co-operative, said: "There is a wealth of independent science stating that tar sands fuels emit significantly more carbon than conventional oil, no matter how many briefings Canada gives claiming otherwise." The EU proposal is to label tar sands oil as causing 22% more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil on average. The increase results from the energy needed to blast the bitumen from the bedrock and refine it.

Baines added: "The Canadian government's aggressive lobbying and attempted intimidation of the EU is making it look increasingly desperate. But its threat of a WTO challenge faces one massive problem: tar sands oil is not a 'like product' with crude oil so no unlawful discrimination exists under WTO. The EU must adhere to the science and penalise the higher emissions."

Many European oil companies have major interests in the Canadian tar sands. In January, the Guardian revealed a secret compromise plan that would weaken the impact on tar sands oil, this time from the Netherlands, home of Shell. BP, headquartered in the UK, had already in their own words "bent the ear" of the UK's energy minister. Total in France and ENI in Italy also have tar sands interests and those nations are believed to be opposed to the EU plan.

If the FQD proposal fails to win the required majority in the vote on Thursday it faces an arduous fight for survival through the European council and parliament.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 07:19:23 AM 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 št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:10:18 PM EST
Fermilab Set to Reveal "Interesting" Higgs Boson Results | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

VANCOUVER--Last fall, the Tevatron accelerator at Fermilab in Illinois shut down for good. The long-running accelerator had been eclipsed by the vastly more powerful Large Hadron Collider outside of Geneva, Switzerland, which since 2010 has been generating data at an impressive rate. The move appeared to quash any hopes that Fermilab had of discovering the Higgs boson, the last great known unknown of modern particle physics.

Yet according to Rob Roser, the leader of the CDF experiment at the Tevatron, we shouldn't count Fermilab out quite yet. Though the machine is no longer generating data, physicists have not had time to properly analyze all the data that has been collected thus far.  Today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Roser announced that Fermilab will reveal its final Higgs results in March. "We will be able to say something interesting," he said, "though whether it is that we don't see it or we do see it remains to be seen."

Asked to clarify, Roser said that if the Higgs has a mass of around 125 gigaelectron volts--the mass that recent LHC results seem to indicate is most likely--the Tevatron would be able to identify the Higgs with "three-sigma" certainty. This is a statistical term that indicates the finding only has a tenth of a percent chance of being due to a random statistical fluctuation. Such a result would still fall short of being considered a "discovery," however, as the field of particle physics has adopted the more stringent five-sigma standard--a one-in-a-million chance.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:14:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shorter LHC - interesting thing is "interesting."
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:22:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Autism Signs Appear in Brains of 6-Month-Old Infants: Scientific American

The early signs of autism are visible in the brains of 6-month-old infants, a new study finds, suggesting that future treatments could be given at this time, to lessen the impact of the disorder on children.

Researchers looked at how the brain develops in early life, and found that tracts of white matter that connect different regions of the brain didn't form as quickly in children who later developed autism, compared with kids who didn't develop the disorder.

"The way the wiring was changing was dampened" in the children with autism, said study researcher Jason Wolff, who studies developmental disabilities at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. "It was a more blunted change over time, in how the brain was being wired,"

In contrast, in the brains of infants who did not later develop autism, white matter tracts were swiftly forming, Wolff said. "Their brains were organizing themselves in a pretty rapid fashion."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:14:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Contagious Cancer: Genome Study Reveals How Tasmanian Devil Cancer Has Spread | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

A killer cancer that is threatening to wipe Tasmanian devils off the map for good has been spreading--from an original infected female 15 years ago--via live cancer cells, according to evidence from genome sequences of the cancer and the animal, published online Thursday in Cell. Finding out how this happened could help save this species from extinction--and it could also prepare researchers for the unlikely event that a contagious cancer ever appeared in humans.

The facial cancer, which is spread through bites, has plagued this animal's precarious population for more than a decade. Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) are the largest surviving carnivorous marsupials and live on Australia's island state Tasmania. [Read more about this scourge in "The Devil's Cancer," from Scientific American's June 2011 issue.] All of the tumors afflicting the animals today contain cells from one original devil, genetic sequences show. "I call her the immortal devil," Elizabeth Murchison, a researcher at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and co-author of the new paper, said in a prepared statement. "Her cells are living on long after she died."

An earlier version of the Tasmanian devil genome was published last year in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and revealed some secrets about why the cancer hasn't killed off the species already. One of the two devils sequenced, named Cedric, showed resistance to at least two strains of the cancer, although he later succumbed to a third.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:14:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meet plants' and algae's common ancestor: Primitive organisms not always so simple, researcher says

ScienceDaily (Feb. 17, 2012) -- A University of Arkansas biologist has created a sketch of what the first common ancestor of plants and algae may have looked like. He explains that primitive organisms are not always simple.

The image appears as part of a "Perspective" article in the Feb. 17 issue of Science.

Fred Spiegel, professor of biological sciences in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, suggests what microscopic parts would have been present in this common ancestor based on findings by Dana Price of Rutgers University and his colleagues, who examined the genome of a freshwater microscopic algae and determined that it showed that algae and plants are derived from one common ancestor. This ancestor formed from a merger between some protozoan-like host and cyanobacterium, a kind of bacteria that use photosynthesis to make energy, that "moved in" and became the chloroplast of this first alga. Price and his colleagues show that today's algae and plants have to be descended from this first alga, but they give no idea what it looked like.

"The work that Price and his group did nailed down what the relationships are" between this organism, the algae and plants, and all other eukaryotes, organisms that have a true nucleus in their cells, Spiegel said. "Once you know that, you can compare the structure of cells and characteristics you see in algae and plants with other eukaryotes and get a reasonable idea of what the original critter must have looked like."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 01:15:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Alan Turing's 1950s tiger stripe theory proved

The study, funded by the Medical Research Council and to be published online in Nature Genetics, not only demonstrates a mechanism which is likely to be widely relevant in vertebrate development, but also provides confidence that chemicals called morphogens, which control these patterns, can be used in regenerative medicine to differentiate stem cells into tissue.

The findings provide evidence to support a theory first suggested in the 1950s by famous code-breaker and mathematician Alan Turing, whose centenary falls this year. He put forward the idea that regular repeating patterns in biological systems are generated by a pair of morphogens that work together as an 'activator' and 'inhibitor'.



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 Feb 19th, 2012 at 05:50:04 PM 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 št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:10:44 PM EST


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:14:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the old days when there was a connection between classical culture and popular entertainment.
by asdf on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 10:31:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Resistance leader looks back on principled life | NRS-Import | DW.DE | 18.02.2012

Wladyslaw Bartoszewski has led an unparalleled life, going from Auschwitz survivor to world-class politician. Author Heinrich Böll called him a passionate humanist. Today, his name stands for sincerity and decency.

Wladyslaw Bartoszewski was born on February 19, 1922 in Warsaw. The historian, journalist and author of numerous books is a legend in Poland: Auschwitz prisoner (number 4427), a rescuer of Jews during the Second World War, a fighter in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and an honorary citizen of Israel. He spent six years in prison during the communist era and went on to become active in the democratic opposition movement. After the end of communism in Poland, he served twice as the country's foreign minister. Now he serves as a specially appointed agent by Prime Minister Donald Tusk to encourage international dialogue, and he is the head of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. Bartoszewski has had considerable influence in shaping Polish-German relations.

DW: You're celebrating your 90th birthday, and it seems you've had several lives during those years: prisoner at Auschwitz, the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto, persecuted by the communist regime, fighting for reconciliation, foreign minister, historian, journalist and author. It was a "difficult, but not boring life," you wrote in one of your books. What are the things you're still planning for the future?

Wladyslaw Bartoszewski: I think that so far I've had a very fulfilled life. It's a quirk of fate that I only began serving the public when I was 68. Only when Germany was reunited, Poland was free and Europe had changed. Until then, until 1989 and 1990, I lived oppressed without freedom of speech and freedom to choose my profession - like all people in East Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia. If you ask me about future plans, then all I can say is that I want to write another two or three books that I'm already planning. I intend to get started on that this year. In politics here in Poland I work as an trusted adviser to Prime Minister Donald Tusk and I can continue with this role although it is rather rare that people my age are still working as public servants or, as a matter of fact, work at all. I want to be satisfied and active until the day I die.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:21:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
German police detain British boxer after Klitschko fight | Sports | DW.DE | 19.02.2012

Munich police said Sunday they had detained British boxer Dereck Chisora for questioning following his loss to heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko. Chisora had been involved in a post-fight brawl with another boxer.

Munich police said Sunday they had detained British boxer Dereck Chisora at the city's airport as he and his manager were boarding a plane back to the UK.

Chisora had only hours before lost a World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight fight against Ukrainian Vitali Klitschko in the southern German city.

But it was events after the fight, at the post-match press conference, that were at the center of police inquiries. After a verbal stoush with another British boxer, ex-champion David Haye, Chisora ended up in a brawl with his compatriot in which both fighters' managers also became involved.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:21:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Richard Dawkins expresses disbelief over slave trader ancestor story | Science | The Guardian

Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and prominent atheist, is used to criticism from those who do not share his views on religion or the origins of mankind.

But he has expressed surprise at the latest attack, which claims the scientist faces awkward questions because some of his ancestors were slave owners.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Henry Dawkins had amassed more than 1,000 slaves in Jamaica by the time of his death in 1744, and quoted campaigners calling on Dawkins to pay reparations.

But Dawkins hit back on his blog, describing the interview and subsequent article as "surreal".

"At the end of a week of successfully rattling cages, I was ready for yet another smear or diversionary tactic of some kind," said Dawkins, who clashed on the BBC Today programme with Giles Fraser, formerly canon chancellor of St Paul's cathedral, on Tuesday. "But in my wildest dreams I couldn't have imagined the surreal form this one was to take."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:21:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, but the Telegraph probably approves of slave ownership and so was almost certainly defending dawkins

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 03:15:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
John Fairfax, Who Rowed Across Oceans, Dies at 74 - NYTimes.com

For all its bravura, Mr. Fairfax's seafaring almost pales beside his earlier ventures. Footloose and handsome, he was a flesh-and-blood character out of Graham Greene, with more than a dash of Hemingway and Ian Fleming shaken in.

At 9, he settled a dispute with a pistol. At 13, he lit out for the Amazon jungle.

At 20, he attempted suicide-by-jaguar. Afterward he was apprenticed to a pirate. To please his mother, who did not take kindly to his being a pirate, he briefly managed a mink farm, one of the few truly dull entries on his otherwise crackling résumé, which lately included a career as a professional gambler.



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 Feb 19th, 2012 at 04:11:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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