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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 27 February

by dvx Sun Feb 26th, 2012 at 12:41:35 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Arts and letters on this date in history:

1902 - birth of John Steinbeck, American writer, Nobel laureate (d. 1968).

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!


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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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 12:43:09 PM EST
Thousands surround central Moscow in anti-Putin protest | News | DW.DE | 26.02.2012

Thousands of Russians opposed to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's planned return to the presidency have formed a human chain around Moscow, one week ahead of the presidential election which Putin easily expects to win.

Thousands of Russians have linked hands and formed a 16-kilometer (10-mile) human chain around central Moscow in a symbolic protest against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's expected re-election as president.

Many of the protesters, frustrated with widespread corruption and allegations of voter fraud, wore white ribbons and scarves symbolizing the growing anti-Putin movement. Though it was not yet clear how many people had gathered, organizers said they would need 34,000 people to form the "Great White Ring" along Moscow's Garden Ring Road.

"I don't know that there will be any result [from the protest] but I've come to show the government that there are many of us and that there are many people together," Nikolai Chekalin, a 66-year-old scientist, told the Reuters news agency.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 01:48:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All eyes on Germany as G20 preps new rescue deal | Europe | DW.DE | 26.02.2012

Berlin hinted it was willing to discuss the size of Europe's firewall as the world's leading economies worked on Sunday to line up a deal in April on a second global rescue package worth nearly $2 trillion.

Germany said it would make a decision some time in March on strengthening Europe's bailout fund, a move other Group of 20 countries consider essential to clear the way for throwing extra funds into the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"We explained to all our colleagues that we in Europe will take the decision in March, as the heads of state and government have decided," Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting in Mexico City.

Schaeuble said Europe will reexamine its bailout volume in March

"Between March 1 and 31, we will again examine whether the volume of the mechanism is sufficient given recent developments," Schäuble 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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 01:48:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bundestag one of many hurdles for Greece | TOP STORIES | DW.DE | 25.02.2012

The German Bundestag and other parliaments of eurozone countries will have to give the second bailout plan for Greece their go-ahead. The rescue package also needs the support of the International Monetary Fund.

German parliamentarians decide Monday on the second bailout for Greece worth 130 billion euros ($173 billion). Instead of voting on a law, they will vote on a resolution stating the intention to agree to the bailout deal. This is because technically, the deal has not been clinched. As Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble wrote in a letter to the Bundestag, the exact amount of credit needed by Greece over the course of the next three years is impossible to be determine at this point.

For its part, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has made its support of the deal dependent on a contribution from the private sector.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 01:49:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2012/feb/22/greece-debt-relief-animation-video

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 04:58:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know this is a not a new thought, but watching a bit of that cartoon, I hear the debt to gap ratio being talked about.

Current debt to gdp ratio is about 160%

Let's play the household economics game.

Many people have a mortgage that is 3 times current income...

So that might be like a debt to gdp ratio of 300% ?

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 05:57:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Refer to this graph: Total Debt to GDP (%), but keep in mind that the proper analogue of household debt is not government debt, not even total debt, but total foreign debt since domestically held debt can always be netted out.

See here, here or here.

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 27th, 2012 at 06:21:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel and Juncker express cautious Greek optimism | News | DW.DE | 24.02.2012

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has described Greek progress in recent days as "considerable" at an economics conference north of Berlin. Merkel also met with key eurozone finance figure Jean-Claude Juncker at the event.

Angela Merkel on Friday applauded the "considerable" decisions taken in Greece in recent days, saying she was cautiously optimistic that the international community could soon start to release the second package of emergency loans for the debt-laden country.

"Now we are of course pursuing that the voluntary bond swap runs smoothly, and then the next tranches (of international loans) can be released, on the condition that Greece is fulfilling its obligations," Merkel said on the sidelines of an economic conference where she also spoke to the head of the Eurogroup Jean-Claude Juncker.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 01:49:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurozone crisis live: Angela Merkel urges German parliament to approve Greek deal | Business | guardian.co.uk

More drama in the Bundestag. Gregor Gysi, head of socialist party Die Linke, compared the Greek package to Germany's war reparations after the first world war.

Gysi told the Bundestag that Greece a new Marshall Plan - not a new Versailles. Several German MPs seemed shocked by the analogy, according to Open Europe which is also tracking the debate.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 10:31:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Open Europe gives a good blow-by-blow account on Twitter

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 10:34:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Open Europe
Greens' Renate Kunast speaking now - accuses Merkel of trying to play to the gallery by acting like the new 'Iron Lady' #Bundestag
Open Europe
Kunast - This package is sensible but insufficient. Greece needs help to achieve growth, echoes Gysi's Marshall Plan reference #Bundestag
Open Europe
Kunast - Greece needs investment in tourism industry and renewable energies allowing it to move away from reliance on expensive oil imports
SB
@OpenEurope "Renewable energy"= dependence on #German corporations instead of on oil. We'll see how that works out.


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 27th, 2012 at 10:51:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece cannot develop renewable industries?

Align culture with our nature.
by ormondotvos (ormond no spam lmi net no spam) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 06:03:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They will buy them from Siemens.

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 27th, 2012 at 06:04:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Open Europe (openeurope) sur Twitter
Bundestag vote - 496 in favour, 90 against, 5 abstentions

Die Linke has 76 MPs so assuming they all voted against, that leaves 19 rebels from coalition and/or other opposition parties



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 11:54:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurozone crisis live: German parliament approves Greek package | Business | guardian.co.uk

Elements of Merkel's coalition government are unhappy about extending a second financial package to Greece. Last September, 15 deputies voted against the expansion of the European Financial Stability Fund.

It would only take a few more rebels to leave Merkel dependent on opposition votes - not a comfortable position for the chancellor. Her coalition controls 330 seats in the Bundestag, and needs 311 votes for victory.

So let's see... 19 of her majority are presumed to habe voted against. That means she's bang-on the 311 majority.

I'm immensely disappointed. One more rebel, and I suppose she would have fallen on her sword.

Another possibility : it was a stitch-up with the FDP, they are playing nice cop/nasty cop.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 11:59:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not yet sure if Merkel has reached the "chancellor majority", i.e. would survive a confidence vote. Rumours on twitter say she has not. Your mathmatics are only right if all members were present and that happens almost never.
by Katrin on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 12:16:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha! Now the results are there: no chancellor majority for Merkel. Yippieh She needs the opposition's votes.
by Katrin on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 12:31:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Several German MPs seemed shocked by the analogy

My heart aches for them.

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 27th, 2012 at 10:45:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sun reveals Salmond's preferred referendum date as 18 October 2014 | Politics | The Guardian

Alex Salmond's preferred date for the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 has emerged as Saturday 18 October, provoking an angry reaction from his opponents who want the vote held sooner.

The precise date has been the focus of intense speculation since Salmond said the poll would be staged sometime in the autumn of 2014, and was disclosed in the first Scottish edition of Rupert Murdoch's first Sun published on a Sunday. That the apparently favoured date emerged on the pages of the paper was also heavily criticised by senior political figures in Scotland.

The paper quoted an unnamed Scottish government source saying that 18 October 2014 was being "lined up" as the referendum date, leading to angry questions from opposition parties about why the Scottish parliament had not been told first.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 01:49:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Welfare boss Emma Harrison made a pile renting out her stately home to A4E | Politics | The Observer

Emma Harrison, the prime minister's former family tsar who quit amid allegations of "fat cat" pay and fraud, received around £1.7m over two years from leasing out properties, including her family stately home, to the firm she built on the back of state-funded welfare-to-work programmes.

Records show that money was funnelled into two companies and a pension fund in which Harrison or her husband has a controlling interest.

The couple were paid £316,000 for allowing A4e to use their country home for board meetings and other events. Emma and James Harrison were paid another £1.4m for leasing out two other properties to Emma Harrison's own firm, including its Sheffield headquarters.

The payments were in addition to Emma Harrison's £365,000 annual salary and the payment of an £8.6m shares dividend, bringing the total earnings of the Harrisons, who share their 20-bedroom home, Thornbridge Hall in Derbyshire, with 11 friends, to some £11m between 2009 and 2011.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 01:50:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Public officials need to avoid even the APPEARANCE of impropriety.  String her up, no loss.
by paving on Sun Feb 26th, 2012 at 06:21:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it karma that Thornbridge Hall is a seriously ugly piece of architecture?
by Andhakari on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 02:00:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just another part of the petty corruption that now seems systemic within the privatised culture of British govt. The only thing that surprises me nowadays is when anybody in power actually does something about it.

the police don't investigate the city and were happy to take backhanders and allow a murder investigation to be derailed to boost tabloid newspaper sales. The tax offices routinely waive corporate taxes to the tune of tens of billions of pounds. The plundering is so blatant, so brazen that we don't notice it anymore

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 03:00:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, you notice it alright. It's just that there's nothing you can do about it and only fools don't belly up to the trough ... till the whole scheme crashes like the US "flip that house" market.

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 Feb 27th, 2012 at 07:40:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Schäuble's duplicity on ESM enlargement: He says Yes in private, No in public
At the G20 meeting in Mexico City, Wolfgang Schäuble hints that Germany may be ready to compromise on the enlargement of the ESM; the main message from the meeting was that the IMF will only put up its contribution after the eurozone has increased the ESM; Schäuble says there would be no problem for the government to rule out a policy in February, and then change its mind in March; Schäuble did not want to commit before today's vote on the Greek bailout; IMF package most likely to consist of a package of bilateral loans; Germany's interior minister said Greece should quit the eurozone; the Bundestag will vote in favour of the Greek programme today, but it is not clear whether Angela Merkel has her own coalition majority; Der Spiegel reports that both Schäuble and economics minister Philipp Rösler do not believe in the success of the Greek programme; Bild appeals to German MPs to say No to the Greek package; Greece sets bond swap offer with a March 8 deadline; Greece to recapitalise its banks through the issue of ordinary stock with restrictive voting rights, and convertible bonds; banks will have to represent a three-year restructuring plan; Venizelos wants to publish names of parliamentarians who transferred large sums out of Greece; German tax collectors descend on Greece; Wolfgang Munchau says Greece needs to prepare for a total external default; Jens Weidmann announces significantly lower Bundesbank profits; Belgium agrees with France on new guarantees for Dexia bank; Olli Rehn, meanwhile, gets into a spat with the True Finns.


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 27th, 2012 at 02:59:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Spanish revolt brews as national economic rearmament begins in Europe: Spain's new prime minister has looked into the abyss and recoiled.
There is near unanimity across the political spectrum that drastic pro-cyclical tightening at this stage is unwarranted and dangerous. Josep Borrell, ex-president of the European Parliament and the voice of Spain's pro-European establishment, said such debt-deflation risks pushing the banking system over the edge. "To cut the deficit almost four points in one year would be a true depressionary shock for an anaemic economy, made worse by the requirement for banks to mark their real estate losses to market prices."

"We have reached the point where `taxes kill taxation'. The therapy is turning fatal and is starting to take on a highly political tone. Sixty years after the end of the war, Germany is again coming to be seen as an overbearing enemy, and an atmosphere of hostility is building up in a Continent divided between a rich and flourishing North and a South in danger of being reduced to a protectorate. If we carry on like this we are going to destroy the European project," he said.

...

Ultimately, politics will decide the matter, and Mr Rajoy is not alone in Europe. He has a champion in Italy's Mario Monti, de facto leader of the Latin bloc and increasingly the man in whom the US, Japan, the IMF, and the rest of the world, are investing their hopes. As Mr Borrell put it, he is the only European statesmen with enough credibility to confront Angela Merkel "face to face".

...

My guess is that Germany's refusal to countenance any form of EU subsidies, debt-pooling, or fiscal union -- other than policing the budgets of captive states -- has definitively broken the EMU spell. Latin nations [] increasingly regard talk euro of solidarity as humbug. It has been a nasty shock. The era of national economic rearmament in Europe has begun.



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 27th, 2012 at 05:47:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's sad, but when I read statements like this:

My guess is that Germany's refusal to countenance any form of EU subsidies, debt-pooling, or fiscal union -- other than policing the budgets of captive states -- has definitively broken the EMU spell. Latin nations [] increasingly regard talk euro of solidarity as humbug. It has been a nasty shock. The era of national economic rearmament in Europe has begun.

I feel more hopeful for the ordinary people of Europe than I have for a while...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 06:02:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is extremely sad that it's Eurosceptics (Friedmanite like Evans-Pritchard or the "lyrical left" who's been shouting in the desert for 20 years that the EU was a neoliberal project) who're being vindicated by the Euro crisis.

Also, this crisis is giving people like Nigel Farage a lot of visibility outside the UK as one MEP who vociferously tells it like it is on the Euro crisis.

It's a disaster. But we already knew from the experience of the 1930s what the failure mode of Liberalism is.

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 27th, 2012 at 06:16:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see anyone on our side patting their backs in auto-congratulation. The task now, once we've established that in fact the European project has been an amalgam of some of the worst aspects of anglo-saxon neo-liberalism and outre-rhénian conservatism, is to make point by point analyses of who that amalgam fall short, in terms of solidarity, in terms of equalilty, liberty, human rights, in virtually all spheres of the European project, and as part of that analysis, propose what a proper Europe, the one we the people want, as opposed to the elites in London, Frankfurt, Berlin and Paris want, will look like.

There's a lot of work, no sense in being crestfallen for more than a bit.

by redstar on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 07:14:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's sad because it makes all of that much harder.

The (official) left hasn't exactly been doing a fine job of arguing against the neoliberal bobbleheads.

So suggesting it can argue successfully in favour of the kind of European vision we have here is asking a lot.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 07:20:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
outside one's comfort zone, for these are uncomfortable times, and determine who one's friends, ideological peers really are.

The part of the left with whom many of us have have thrown our lot have not only not done a fine job arguing against neo-liberal bobbleheads as you aptly describe it, but in many case have been one and the same with those bobbleheads, your own country having produced a prime example thereof.

So, while we are thinking outside our comfort zone, outside of the frames our respective national-level political environment, as relayed by the more or less official press organs (even if, nay, perhaps especially because of the private nature of their ownership) in our many various languages, now is the time to evaluate who it is we identify with, with a view not for today, not for tomorrow, but for the day after. That is my view anyway.

And while it is true that in your country, one is presented with a quandary: how is that support organised, marginalised, fragmented, and therefore how can one join in? (and in this the UK is not alone, but fortunately, is also one country of very few in Europe where this is the case), in most European national political scenes, we have options.

Here in France, we have the Front de Gauche, our Presidential candidate is not only credible, but is a proper electoral force, not just for presidential election, but also with an organisation to properly contend for parliamentary elections which will follow. And, you do not need to be a Communist party member to join or to get involved, it is a coalition, included the best of the former Socialists as well, with their own party (Jean-Luc Mélenchon actually is leader of that party, not the PC). In Spain, there is the United Left, and again you do not need to be a communist to adhere. Ditto Die Linke in Germany, the Federation of the Left in Italy, the Socialists in Netherlands (and they are properly socialist there), the Red-Green Alliance in Denmark, the Left party in Sweden, a number of progressive parties in Greece, ideologically strongest of which is the KKE, Left Alliance in Finland, the Communists (who are actually in power) in Cypris...the list is long of options for most of us in Europe. And while the political environment in the former Comecon nations are still somewhat poisoned by the legacy of Soviet occupation, there are still some strong left parties in many countries, notably in the Czech Republic and in Bulgaria, where people are not ashamed of the positive aspects of socialism in action even if they are quite cognizant of the negative aspects as previously practised.

Admittedly, we've a long row to hoe, but I for one am optimistic that in a few season's time, we'll be reaping a proper harvest in much of the EU, not least because we are not the only ones doing the hoeing...the elites in power today, by dint of their inept and hamfisted application of misery upon our natural constituents, working people, the vulnerable, the elderly, are helping us with our work.

by redstar on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 08:27:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the people getting international visibility (with subtitled youtubes circulating in facebook) are the likes of Nigel Farage.

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 27th, 2012 at 08:48:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that a large portion of Farage's target audience in these amusing vignettes is also our own, and we do them a disservice by disrespecting the person who is capturing their imagination, as in many cases, for a long time, the only political tendancy with some level of critical mass which voices that constituency's concerns has been on the populist left and not, unfortunately, on our side.

But there is a proper response, one which can also be quite amusing and which takes people like Farage or Wilders or Le Pen on head on, spoken in a language and a perspective which conveys that respect.

That's what Jan Marijnissen was doing, when he was still leading the Socialists in the Netherlands, and is precisely why the SP did so well, stealing Wilders' thunder, in the 2007 elections. And, that is what JEan-Luc Mélenchon was doing last week on national TV, to Marine Le Pen (and to her visible discomfort)...acknowledging the concerns of that constituency instead of berating them for being "racist", and taking on, point-by-point, the hollowness of the rhetoric and propositions of the far right.

This is important, because let's face it, our core constituency has been flirting with the hard-right for a generation, in my view precisely because the "official left," as TBG refers to them, or the "non-lyrical left" as you sometimes refer to them has in fact largely written that part of the electorate off. The measure of our success will be how we bring them back in the fold.

by redstar on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 09:27:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i meant the populist right in that first paragraph, not the populist left.
by redstar on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 09:28:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the "non-lyrical left" as you sometimes refer to them

I say "lyrical left" which I believe is a term we've borrowed from the discourse of the "hegemonic left", but I'm not sure.

In any case, I think these things you're writing about in this thread (and other long comments of yours from the past few days) would be a good basis for a diary.

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 27th, 2012 at 09:56:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
coined by Jérôme, back when we were arguing about the aftermath of the 2002 débâcle...Jérôme of course representing the "hegemonic" left, which really isn't left at all.

I've got a diary coming.

by redstar on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 10:01:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The term appears to have an independent existence: Obama's Lyrical Left Struggles With Liberalism
"War," wrote the liberal intellectual Randolph Bourne in 1918, "is the health of the state." Bourne, a writer for The New Republic and the Atlantic who died in the influenza epidemic later that year at 32, is mostly forgotten today. But in the second decade of the last century, he was a leading member of what author Edward Abrahams dubbed "the lyrical left," a group of intellectuals whose attitudes are not unfamiliar today.

Bourne celebrated the diversity of immigrants in America and opposed their assimilation into a single national culture. He opposed the racial segregation of the South ("the least defensible thing in the world"). He hoped that industrial workers would produce bottom-up reform of economic institutions through something like community organizing.

And unlike most New Republic writers of the time, he vehemently opposed U.S. entry into World War I -- not out of pacifism, but for fear of what it would do to the country. "All the activities of society are linked together as fast as possible to this central purpose of making a military offense or a military defense," he wrote in 1918, "and the State becomes what in peacetimes it has vainly struggled to become -- the inexorable arbiter and determinant of men's business and attitudes and opinions."

This was a perceptive description of the dominant trend of the unlyrical warlike left of the first two-thirds of the 20th century. In World War I, the Wilson administration nationalized the railroads and shipyards; in World War II, the Roosevelt administration mobilized 16 million into the military (the proportionate equivalent today would be 35 million) and commandeered much of the private-sector economy.



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 27th, 2012 at 10:08:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've certainly come across it before ET.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 10:44:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First I heard it was by Jérôme, directed towards me.

I thought it was amusing.

After all, the real dreamers are the folks in the PS who think they can deliver for popular classes with liberalism and greater european integration. The realists know it is far more complicated than that, and that it involves a struggle, not a layer of moralising regulations and ever-weaker solidarity mechanisms set atop or astride the raw system of organised capital.

by redstar on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 11:07:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For values of "realist" that are also amusing.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 11:09:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Laughs and amusement all around.

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 27th, 2012 at 11:11:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it's sorta hard to get through it, y'know?
by redstar on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 11:14:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As a politician I once knew back in the US often said, "it sometimes takes twenty stupid ideas to come up with a good one". The important thing is to recognise in time they are stupid, I suppose.

And also, some of the more marginal rhetoric like "ban all firings!" which I sometimes here...there really is no ideological content there, it's just a slogan, meant to take up space, it really isn't a program...

Assuming that is what you are refering to...

by redstar on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 11:13:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First I heard it was by Jérôme, directed towards me.

right, in 2006.

It doesn't appear to be a very common term on ET, just about 30 occurrences overall.

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 27th, 2012 at 11:15:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Valsusa, cade dal traliccio grave giovane leader No Tav | Repubblica
Luca Abbà, uno degli esponenti più noti del movimento "No Tav" e  proprietario di uno dei terreni, è rimasto ferito durante l'operazione di recinzione dell'area per il cantiere dell'alta velocità Torino-Lione. Abbà, con altri quindici esponenti del movimento che si ribella alla costruzione della ferrovia, si trovava alla baita Clarea per "sorvegliare" il cantiere in vista degli espropri. Quando ha visto l'inizio delle operazioni di recinzione dell'area, Abbà ha scalato un traliccio della luce; ma nell'operazione avrebbe inavvertitamente toccato i fili della corrente.
Luca Abbà, a protest leader, climbed an electric tower during the protest, and was electrocuted.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 12:59:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmmm, 25KV would do that to a guy. Maybe next time someone might tell him that they put it up high and out of reach to deter dickheads from fusing themselves to the national grid.

But hey, if you wanna go out with a bang, knock yourself out

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 01:08:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Video here. They cut before he electrocutes himself and falls.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 01:14:55 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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 12:43:29 PM EST
Private Equity Avoids Tax on Stake Sales as Obama Backs Off - Bloomberg

Private equity executives won a major concession in a battle with the Obama administration over plans to raise taxes when selling stakes in their firms, potentially saving billionaires such as Stephen Schwarzman and David Rubenstein hundreds of millions of dollars.

President Barack Obama and Representative Sander Levin separately signaled this month that proposals to raise taxes on investment performance fees, known as carried interest, won't apply to profits earned when buyout fund founders and other executives sell some or all of their holdings in their firms. The president and Levin, a Michigan Democrat and the party's top member on the House Ways and Means Committee, previously backed legislation that would have increased rates for carried interest as well as for the so-called enterprise value.

For founders of private equity firms, hundreds of millions of dollars are riding on how enterprise value is taxed. The biggest firms have leaders who are aging and are seeking to sell through initial public offerings or secondary sales. Others have privately sold stakes to investors such as public pension funds.

Rubenstein, co-chief executive officer of Carlyle Group, has said one of the reasons he is taking his private equity firm public is to "liquefy" his stake. Blackstone Group LP (BX) co- founders Schwarzman and Peter G. Peterson earned $684 million and $1.92 billion, respectively, when they sold stakes as part of the 2007 offering. The two took advantage of rules that allow corporations to write down the value of goodwill to offset taxes they paid on the gains.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:01:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Feb 26th, 2012 at 05:41:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Obama backs off" is basically the theme of his first term.
by paving on Sun Feb 26th, 2012 at 06:22:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Geithner, Schaeuble Spar Over Debt Crisis - Bloomberg

Group of 20 nations are refusing to come to Europe's rescue as it battles the sovereign debt crisis, saying any decision on outside help hinges on euro governments delivering more financial firepower in the next two months, according to a draft G-20 statement.

G-20 officials meeting in Mexico City are heeding U.S. calls to defer a German bid to raise fresh money for the International Monetary Fund that could be used to help defuse the crisis. A euro-area review of its financial firewall against the crisis is "essential" before any consideration to "mobilize resources" for the IMF, according to the draft statement, which will be formally adopted at the end of the summit later today.

Progress will be assessed in April, when officials gather in Washington for the IMF's Spring meetings, according to the statement, a copy of which was provided by a G-20 official on condition of anonymity because it has not yet been made public. The draft has been finalized and no changes are anticipated, according to officials from three G-20 governments.

The rebuff is the second time in almost four months that the world's biggest economies have declined to rally to Europe's side, even as the IMF warns the crisis risks triggering another global recession. The spotlight now shifts to Germany, Europe's biggest economy, which is weighing whether to agree to beef up the region's financial backstop to a potential 750 billion euros ($1 trillion) at a March 1-2 European summit.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:01:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
like watching Chirac and Le Pen campaign for the second round in 2002.

You want them both to lose, but mostly, you are painfully aware that either way, you lose too.

by redstar on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 11:44:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
South Korea's Bahk Says Oil Price Surge May Mean Inflation Exceeds Target - Bloomberg

outh Korean inflation may accelerate above the government's target on higher oil prices, just as the nation's economic growth is about to start improving, Finance Minister Bahk Jae Wan said.

While inflation is "likely" to dip this month below the 3.4 percent rate in January and be "even lower" in March, instability in the oil market threatens to push overall consumer prices above the government's 3.2 percent target for the year, Bahk said in an interview in Mexico City over the weekend. He said that a 10 percent increase in the cost of crude pushes inflation up by 0.12 percentage point.

Oil capped its longest rally since January 2010 last week as escalating tension with Iran threatens supplies, with a barrel for April delivery reaching $109.77 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. South Korea's economy, Asia's fourth- largest, grew the least in two years last quarter as a faltering global expansion and Europe's debt crisis hurt exports.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:01:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wealthy Enriched by U.S. Plan for Disadvantaged - Bloomberg

In April 2003, Piyush Agrawal deleted his son's name as president of APS Technologies Inc. He replaced it with his own on a hand-written filing with the Florida Department of State.

That made the 66-year-old retired educator the sole officer and director of the firm and separated its management from a medical supply company run by Agrawal's two sons. Three months later, he followed his sons into a U.S. program that steers government business to the "socially and economically disadvantaged." It was the Agrawal family's second time obtaining federal assistance under a benefit that prescribes that immediate family members should participate only once.

The New Delhi immigrants have grown rich on $256 million in government contracts since 1993 through a web of family-owned companies. The Agrawals are still in the nine-year program today, 18 years after first qualifying.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:13:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At the E.C.B., the Tweak That Quietly Saved the Banking System - NYTimes.com

FRANKFURT -- Central bankers do not like anyone to see them sweat, much less panic. But in November, the temperature was clearly rising inside the battleship-gray office tower in downtown Frankfurt that houses the European Central Bank.

European commercial banks were unable to raise money to lend to customers. Borrowing costs for the governments of Spain, Italy and Portugal were threatening to spin out of control, and Greece's had risen to levels that would make a loan shark blush. Analysts were issuing reports predicting that Greece would leave the euro zone -- as a best-case scenario. The worst case was that the euro would disintegrate completely.

"The situation was deteriorating," recalled one policy maker, who did not want to be named because internal central bank discussions are confidential. "Something had to be done."

In the weeks that followed, the E.C.B. governing council and its new president, Mario Draghi, succeeded in defusing the tension with a monetary policy tool that they will deploy again this week -- unlimited, three-year loans to commercial banks at the rock-bottom interest rate of 1 percent.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:16:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the banks are unable to raise money to loan out, and we agree that loaning out money is key to the functioning of our economic system, then we simply need to find the money, which exists, and take it, which we have the power to do, then loan it out, which accomplishes the goal agreed upon by society.
by paving on Sun Feb 26th, 2012 at 06:25:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Banks do not take in money and lend it out, as has been exhaustively explained on ET at great length.

Governments do not take in tax and spend it either.

The reality is that banks spend and lend and THEN find the necessary deposits to balance their books.

Likewise governments spend first and use taxation to take money out of the system to avoid inflation.

That may not be the conventional wisdom, but it is the truth of it.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Feb 26th, 2012 at 07:13:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder what full-out panic would look like?
by tjbuff (timhess@adelphia.net) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 10:34:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
tPortal.hr: Konzumovi bonovi su protuzakoniti: HNB UPOZORAVA

via Google Translate: Konzum vouchers are illegal Croatian National Bank WARNS.

Apparently firms short on cash are paying wages in coupons for a supermarket chain short on customers. And the Central Bank is protesting its monopoly. Also, people are selling these vouchers for cash at well below their face value.

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 27th, 2012 at 05:53:59 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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 12:43:47 PM EST
Senegal votes in presidential election - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Voting has ended in Senegal's presidential elections. The polling was largely calm, though with pockets of tension as incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade stood for a third contentious term in one of Africa's most stable countries.

Around 5.3 million people were registered to vote in Sunday's election.

Hundreds of voters booed Wade as he cast his ballot. The incumbent, accompanied by his daughter Sindiely and son Karim, arrived just after midday at the polling station in the suburb of Point E where long lines of voters had been waiting quietly for hours in the sun.

Several dozen supporters applauded at his arrival, but their appreciation was drowned out by a cacophony of boos and jeers.

Visibly angry, a tense Wade pushed one of bodyguards out of the way as he left. He beat a swift retreat after casting his ballot and did not speak to reporters.

Voting started on time in most areas in Dakar, the capital, though at some stations it was  delayed by 30-40 minutes. People were turning out in numbers at the polling stations, standing in orderly queues and casting their ballots



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:14:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Afghan named suspect in ministry shootings - Central & South Asia - Al Jazeera English

An Afghan police intelligence officer has been named as the chief suspect in Saturday's shooting of two ISAF military advisers in Kabul's interior ministry.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the Afghan ministry of interior named 25-year-old Abdul Saboor as a suspect in the killings of two high-ranking American advisers at close range.

"An employee has been identified as a suspect and he has now fled. The interior ministry is trying to arrest the suspected individual," it said in a statement.

Also on Sunday, seven US military trainers were wounded when protesters in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan threw a grenade at a forward operating base, provincial police chief Samihullah Qatra said.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed there had been an explosion outside one of its bases, but declined to comment on casualties.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:14:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Insult to WWII heroes: Graves of British soldiers smashed and desecrated by Libyan Islamists in protest over U.S. soldiers' Koran burning | Mail Online

A furious mob has desecrated dozens of Commonwealth War Graves in a Libyan cemetery amid continuing fury in the Middle East over the burning of the Koran by U.S. soldiers.

Headstones commemorating British and Allied servicemen, killed during World War II campaigns in the Western Desert, lay smashed and strewn across Benghazi Military Cemetery.

Protesters rampaged through site on Friday, despite efforts by America to calm tensions sparked when it emerged U.S. soldiers had burned Muslim holy books in a pile of rubbish at a military base in Afghanistan.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:25:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe one day the Americans will stop burning the Koran. they now know how such acts can be utilised for political purposes so maybe it'd be a good idea to not do it

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 03:05:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I dunno, it sure illustrates how weird Islam is...

Align culture with our nature.
by ormondotvos (ormond no spam lmi net no spam) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 06:28:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ormondotvos:
I dunno, it sure illustrates how weird Islamreligion is...

FIFY.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 28th, 2012 at 02:38:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Egypt NGO workers trial adjourned - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

The first day of a controversial trial of 43 non-governmental organisation workers accused of working illegally and trying to push American and Israeli interests in Egypt has adjourned in Cairo.

The defendants include 19 Americans and 16 Egyptians, though only seven of the US citizens reportedly remain in the country, where they are prevented from leaving. The others include Serbs, Lebanese, Germans, a Norwegian, a Jordanian and a Palestinian.

Adjourning Sunday's proceedings, Mohammed Shoukry, the chief judge, said the court will reconvene for the next hearing on April 26.

A prosecutor read the charges against the defendants, alleging that their acceptance of "illicit funds" had "detracted from the sovereignty of the Egyptian state".

The 14 defendants who did appear, all Egyptians, denied that they had committed the crimes they were charged with



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:14:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Suicide bomber attacks Nigeria church - Africa - Al Jazeera English

A suicide car bomber has killed at least three people in an attack on a major church in central Nigeria, church officials say.

The bomber hit the main headquarters of the Church of Christ in the central city of Jos, the capital of Plateau state, on Sunday after driving a car laden with explosives into the church, the officials said.

The bomber is believed to have died in the attack.

"We were in the church during the time of worship and a suicide bomber forced himself into through the gate, into the church and the bomb exploded," John Haruna, the reverend of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN), told the AFP news agency.

Another church member, who is also an activist with the Christian human rights organisation Stefanos Foundation, gave a similar account.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:15:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney battle for upper hand in Michigan primary - The Washington Post

TROY, Mich. -- Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney tried vigorously to undermine each other's conservative bona fides Saturday in a bid to rally new supporters ahead of a crucial primary for the two leading Republican presidential candidates.

Their fortunes shifting with three days until the high-stakes Michigan primary, the candidates leveled caustic, personal attacks against each other in dueling speeches before more than 1,000 tea party activists. Santorum accused the former Massachusetts governor of being a phony conservative whose record would leave him vulnerable as the GOP standard-bearer.

"Disqualified, disqualified, disqualified," Santorum thundered as he ticked off parts of Romney's record, including health care, that he claimed would make it impossible for Romney to draw a clear contrast with President Obama in the general election.

"Why would we do that?" Santorum, whose lead in polls in Michigan and nationally has evaporated, asked at the Americans for Prosperity forum. "Why would we nominate someone who is uniquely unqualified to take on the big issues of the day in this election about government control of your life?"



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:15:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jordanians 'trapped' in Egypt's Sinai - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

At least 20 Jordanian nationals are trapped in Ras Sidr area in the governorate of south Sinai in Egypt, officials said.

"They can't move because the road is being blocked by tires set on fire by Bedouin protesters demanding the release of Sinai prisoners - this has been going on for the past few hours," an Egyptian interior ministry source told Al Jazeera.

It is unclear whether those whose movement has been blocked were tourists or migrant workers.

The incident follows a string of kidnappings in South Sinai.

The AP news agency reported earlier this month that armed tribesmen stopped a tour bus in the same area and took three South Koreans as well as their guide.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:15:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Republicans could pay a heavy price for wooing the tough guy of immigration | World news | The Guardian

For someone who holds the relatively modest position of county sheriff, Joe Arpaio has received an astonishing amount of attention from this year's Republican presidential candidates.

He has been wooed by Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum who all made pilgrimages to Arizona to see him in person, Santorum as recently as last week. Rick Perry invited him to tour Texas with him and Mitt Romney, for whom he acted as Arizona campaign chair in 2008, has also been in contact.

There is a simple reason for this otherwise peculiar courting of on an ageing and famously grouchy middle-ranking official: the area that Arpaio polices around Phoenix, Arizona's capital, is the ground zero of the fight against illegal immigration in America and he is its most famous advocate.

For two decades, he has studiously cultivated his image as "America's toughest sheriff" - raiding private businesses suspected of employing undocumented workers, rounding up Latinos as they are smuggled across the border with Mexico, sending his "posse" to swamp entire neighbourhoods and arrest individuals , usually Hispanics - on often minor infringements, handing anyone found to be undocumented to the Feds.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:26:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He enforces the law. It isn't his job to change it.

Align culture with our nature.
by ormondotvos (ormond no spam lmi net no spam) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 06:44:21 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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 12:44:12 PM EST
Drought will push up price of food, farmers warn | Environment | The Observer

Farmers in drought-stricken areas of the country are facing crucial decisions in the next few days and weeks over what to grow this year - and their plans could mean rising food prices for hard-pressed consumers this summer.

Most of the south-east of England was officially declared to be in drought last week, and large swaths of the Midlands and south of England were confirmed as "at risk", with hosepipe bans and other restrictions likely to be introduced soon.

Farmers are particularly at risk as the spring growing period approaches. Soil moisture in the key agricultural region of East Anglia has reached a record low, and many farmers have had their licences to take water from rivers and underground sources curbed. Some key crops - such as potatoes, carrots, onions and lettuce - require much more water than alternatives, and farmers must sow the seeds for many of these staples within days or weeks.

Those who fear that the drought will reduce yields or render some crops unviable will be forced to cancel their seed orders now and put plans in place for alternatives. Richard Solari, who farms 1,200 acres in east Shropshire, said: "People have got to make decisions now, immediately, and a lot of farms are making decisions not to grow potatoes, onions and carrots because they are worried that there is not going to be enough water."



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 01:50:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Idyllic picture of Farmer Giles busily growing carrots and lettuce for the city-dwellers. In fact few farmers grow vegetables. The incentives (apart from drought considerations, which are of course serious) are in favour of grain production.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 01:45:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain leads dash to explore for oil in war-torn Somalia | World news | The Observer

Britain is involved in a secret high-stakes dash for oil in Somalia, with the government offering humanitarian aid and security assistance in the hope of a stake in the beleaguered country's future energy industry.

Riven by two decades of conflict that have seen the emergence of a dangerous Islamic insurgency, Somalia is routinely described as the world's most comprehensively "failed" state, as well as one of its poorest. Its coastline has become a haven for pirates preying on international shipping in the Indian Ocean.

David Cameron last week hosted an international conference on Somalia, pledging more aid, financial help and measures to tackle terrorism. The summit followed a surprise visit by the foreign secretary, William Hague, to Mogadishu, the Somali capital, where he talked about "the beginnings of an opportunity'' to rebuild the country.

The Observer can reveal that, away from the public focus of last week's summit, talks are going on between British officials and Somali counterparts over exploiting oil reserves that have been explored in the arid north-eastern region of the country. Abdulkadir Abdi Hashi, minister for international cooperation in Puntland, north-east Somalia - where the first oil is expected to be extracted next month - said: "We have spoken to a number of UK officials, some have offered to help us with the future management of oil revenues. They will help us build our capacity to maximise future earnings from the oil industry."



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 01:50:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BP's Fate Rests With Ex-Maritime Lawyer Who Represented Sailors - Bloomberg

How much BP Plc (BP) will pay for the 2010 explosion of a Gulf of Mexico oil rig that killed 11 people and caused the largest offshore spill in U.S. history may rest with a former maritime lawyer who began his career representing sailors in personal-injury cases.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier of New Orleans can draw on that experience as he oversees the first phase of the case against London-based BP (BP) and other companies over the blast on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and subsequent oil spill. The trial is to begin Feb. 27 amid continuing settlement talks between BP and the U.S., a person familiar with the talks said.

"He knows maritime law backward and forwards, and that's one of the reasons he got this case," said Val Exnicios, a New Orleans lawyer representing a group of commercial fishermen suing BP, Transocean Ltd. (RIG) and other firms involved in operations at the rig. "You want a judge who knows this area of the law cold, given the complexities."

A judicial panel assigned Barbier, 67, all federal litigation over the BP spill in August 2010. The judge, who declined requests for an interview, is slated to preside over a three-month, nonjury trial that will apportion blame and determine exposure to punitive damages for the blast.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:00:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rainfall Dissipates Energy via Friction with Air: Scientific American

Rainfall soothes the atmosphere, atmospheric scientists have found. They calculate that a substantial portion of the energy that drives wind and air circulation in the atmosphere is dissipated as friction by raindrops falling through the air.

The atmosphere acts like a heat engine, generating mechanical energy by moving heat from Earth's surface, where air has been warmed by the Sun, to the colder air above. Some of that becomes kinetic energy of air, driving movements ranging from large-scale flows such as the jet streams down to small gusts and eddies. Ultimately this energy is dispersed in turbulence: air molecules swirling around chaotically `rub together', warming up slightly.

But some of the dissipation of mechanical energy happens when a falling raindrop (or snowflake or hailstone) experiences friction as it passes through the surrounding air.

The friction on an individual raindrop is so small that it is tempting to dismiss it as a significant source of dissipation. But atmospheric scientists Olivier Pauluis at New York University and Juliana Dias at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder, Colorado, have found that, on a global scale, so much precipitation falls that it dissipates almost as much atmospheric energy as does turbulence. The work is published today in Science.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:22:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet another reason why wind power will never work.

Every time it rains, the lights will go out.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 01:37:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Especially offshore.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 01:37:22 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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 12:44:27 PM EST
Going bussed: economy and tuition fees drive the young away from the car | UK news | The Guardian

A generation of students facing higher tuition fees and lower job prospects appears to be embracing the mixed joys of budget travel in rising numbers - with the teenage dream of passing the test and driving a car now an increasingly unaffordable, minority pursuit.

Operators report that the traditional staples of budget travel, the young person's rail and coach cards, are being purchased in record numbers.

National Express, Britain's largest coach operator, reported a surge in sales of coach and regional bus discount cards last year, with 36% more being sold year on year.

Train companies said that record numbers of young people now have a railcard: over 1.2m were sold or renewed last year, almost a third higher than the 950,000 who had a discount railcard in 2005. The Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) said that 18-25 year-olds made over 50m journeys by rail last year, 60% up on five years ago.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 01:50:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well this is just dripping with class elitism. If only it were possible for something other than cost and status to drive decision making.
by paving on Sun Feb 26th, 2012 at 06:28:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's insurance that's killing driving for the under 25s. Almost unaffordable

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 03:09:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
£2k a year isn't unusual.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 06:54:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The young drive foolishly, cars cost more to fix.

You can't crash a train.

Align culture with our nature.

by ormondotvos (ormond no spam lmi net no spam) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 06:48:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Britain you can. For example, by leaving your trailer on the tracks while you go to feed your horses.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Feb 28th, 2012 at 01:22:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Budget travel? By train? In the U.K.?  
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 03:19:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
cheaper but not cheap.

coach is the only cheap transport

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 03:55:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Olympic outrage at Saudi ban on women athletes | Sport | The Observer

Saudi Arabia has been accused of breaching the spirit of the Olympic movement by discriminating against women in sport and failing to bring a female team to the 2012 London Games.

Tessa Jowell, the former culture secretary and Olympics minister - who is now a member of the Olympic Board - said the Saudis were "clearly breaking the spirit of the Olympic Charter's pledge to equality" with their attitude to women in sport and the Games.

The Saudi government, which closed private gyms for women in 2009 and 2010 and severely limits their ability to undertake physical activity, is under mounting international pressure to adopt a more liberal approach.

Jowell spoke out after a report by Human Rights Watch highlighted the way in which Saudi Arabian women and girls are denied the right to sport



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 01:50:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the Olympic committee had even a shred of integrity they would disqualify Saudi Arabia from competing until this is remedied.
by paving on Sun Feb 26th, 2012 at 06:29:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Integrity ? From the Olympic committee ? Shurely shome mishtake ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 03:10:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
High-Altitude Surveillance Drones: Coming to a Sky Near You | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network

Last week President Obama signed a sweeping aviation bill that, among other things, will open the skies to "unmanned aircraft systems," more commonly known as drones. Much of the discussion regarding the coming era of domestic drones has been focused on the many important questions regarding their use at low altitudes. To what extent will it be legal, for example, for drones to hover 300 feet above residential neighborhoods snapping pictures into backyards and windows? What level of human-in-the-loop control is needed to ensure safety in a crowded airspace? And how can we stop terrorists from piloting drones at treetop level towards a target?

But there is another portion of the airspace--the stratosphere--that while mostly empty today, will in the coming years will become increasingly populated by gossamer-like, solar-powered drones turning silent, lazy circles in the sky. These drones will stay aloft for years at a time, running on energy collected during the day using solar panels mounted on paper-thin wings. As their slowly turning propellers push them along at bicycle speeds, arrays of high-resolution cameras on their undersides will record the daily comings and goings of the population of entire cities.

The stratosphere lies roughly between 40,000 and 150,000 feet in altitude. Commercial airliners often ply its lower reaches, but above about 55,000 feet the traffic is limited to a few military reconnaissance planes, unmanned weather and scientific balloons, and at rare intervals, a rocket arcing upward on its way to orbit. The stratosphere is mostly empty, cold, and quiet, closer to the blackness of outer space than to the din of human commerce



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:22:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I look forward to private individuals launching their own predator drones - the ones that shoot these things down.
by paving on Sun Feb 26th, 2012 at 06:30:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Vaginal pH Redux: Acidic Tampons, Coming to a Store Near You | Context and Variation, Scientific American Blog Network

Readers of this blog are already aware that their vaginas are at their best when they are on the acidic side. Vaginal flora is healthy, bacterial overgrowth is at a minimum, and any foreign bodies that want to pass through are firmly discouraged. Semen and douching can increase pH, douching especially so since the liquid used to douche not only has a relatively high pH but flushes out normal, good bacteria.

If there are substances that increase vaginal pH, might other substances decrease vaginal pH and thus encourage the growth of normal flora?

RepHresh thinks so. RepHresh is a company that makes pH-balancing gels and cleansers for your ladyparts. Recently, they started carrying a new product, RepHresh Brilliant, which is a pH-balancing tampon (hat tip to my undergraduate Sophia Bodnar for being the first to tell me about it). They claim that menses increases pH, and thus a tampon that decreases pH will keep bacterial overgrowth in check. The RepHresh Brilliant tampon contains strips of material that slowly release lactic acid and citric acid as they are saturated with menstrual fluid.

It certainly sounds like a good idea. Women in industrial and post-industrial environments menstruate far more often than we probably did under ancestral conditions, due in part to an energy surfeit (you know, eating too much chocolate while sitting at a desk, which is exactly what I was doing while drafting this post) and in part due to modern reproductive decisions (you don't menstruate so much if you're pregnant or breastfeeding all the time) (Strassmann 1997). So about 400 times in our lives, for several days at a time, we have a higher pH (somewhere between a 5.3-6.6 depending on the day according to Wagner and Ottesen 1982) than is ideal for housing beneficial vaginal flora.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:22:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Single molecule's electric charges seen in first image

Researchers have shown off the first images of the "charge distribution" in a single molecule, showing an intricate dance of electrons at tiny scales.

Charges on single atoms have been measured before, but capturing the dance within a complex molecule is significantly more difficult.

The pioneering measurement could shed light on a range of "charge-transfer" processes that are common in nature.

Details are reported in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

The work comes from a group at IBM Research Zurich that specialises in examining the world at the infinitesimal scale of atoms and molecules.



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 26th, 2012 at 07:24:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian [UK]: WikiLeaks publishes Stratfor emails linked to Anonymous attack
The whistleblowing site has published 167 emails in its initial release. WikiLeaks says it has partnered with 25 media organisations around the world, including Rolling Stone, McClatchey, the Hindu and Russia Reporter.

Unlike previous WikiLeaks releases, this latest email cache was apparently obtained through a hacking attack on Stratfor by Anonymous in December 2011 rather than through a whistleblower.

Anonymous published contact and credit card details from Stratfor and said at the time it had also obtained a large volume of emails for which it would arrange publication.



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 27th, 2012 at 05:22:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oscar success of A Separation celebrated back home in Iran | Film | guardian.co.uk

A Separation has become the first movie ever to take an Academy Award to Iran after winning the best foreign language Oscar, prompting national celebration at a critical time in the country's history

Millions of Iranians stayed up all night to watch the film's director, Asghar Farhadi, going up on the stage and delight his countrymen at a time when their lives are clouded with fear of war with Israel and crippling economic sanctions.

"At this time, many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy," said Farhadi, while accepting the Oscar. "At the time when talk of war, intimidation, and aggression is exchanged between politicians, the name of their country, Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics."

He added: ""I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilisations and despise hostility and resentment."

With his acceptance speeches at various international awards, including a Golden Globe in January, Farhadi has become an ambassador for peace from Iran, making Tehran's regime - famous for its bellicose statements - infuriated with the film's success in countries hostile towards the Islamic republic.

Damn good film.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 07:43:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Opt-Out Provision Would Halt Some, but Not All, Web Tracking - NYTimes.com
Last Thursday federal regulators, members of advertising trade groups and technology companies gathered in Washington to announce new initiatives to protect consumers' privacy online.
[snip]
The advertising and technology industries, which have been under pressure to do more to ensure privacy, said they would support a "Do Not Track" mechanism  that would be clearly and uniformly adopted by browser vendors and would allow consumers to opt out of having some companies, but not all, keep data on their online activities.

Privacy advocates complain that the mechanism does not go nearly far enough in part because it affects only certain marketers. Many publishers and search engines, like Google, Amazon or The New York Times, are considered "first-party sites," which means that the consumer goes to these Web pages directly. First-party sites can still collect data on visitors and serve them ads based on what is collected.

"There's never been an expectation that all first-party data collection would be stopped," Mr. Ingis said.

But third-party sites, which are networks that collect and use data to serve advertising tailored to the user, like DoubleClick (which is owned by Google); Advertising.com, owned by AOL; and a multitude of smaller ad networks would be restricted in the data they can collect on users if they select a Do Not Track option. Such companies would be limited to using data for purposes like market research and analytics but could not create detailed profiles on users or show them ads based on online behavior.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 09:45:48 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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 12:44:47 PM EST
Full disclosure: Today's masthead feature is sponsored by rank serendipity and the fact that last night, after a hiatus of some two decades, I happened to rediscover this in my bookshelf:



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 01:57:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When I was in mid teens I read most of Steinbeck's catalogue in one burst and there came a point during cannery row where I felt I had got so inside his formula that I knew exactly where the plot was going, what each character would do and so I put the book down and never read another word he wrote

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 03:16:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First edition?

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 10:44:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Popular literature. Found a few of those classics on our bookshelves here too:

by sgr2 on Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 01:41:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nelson Mandela discharged from hospital | World news | The Guardian

Nelson Mandela has returned home from hospital, easing fears over his health and demonstrating his resilience and will to live at 93.

South Africa's first black president was discharged from One Military hospital in the capital, Pretoria, on Sunday and travelled in a VIP police convoy to his house in the Johannesburg suburb of Houghton.

He had stayed overnight for minor diagnostic surgery to determine the cause of an abdominal complaint, officials said. He is now in good spirits and resting at his home, they added, ensuring a collective gasp of relief from millions of well-wishers.

Mac Maharaj, the presidential spokesman, said Mandela had undergone a laparoscopy, a procedure that involves surgeons making an incision in the belly to insert a thin, lighted tube with a tiny camera to study abdominal organs.



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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 01:57:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pensioner crowned world's shortest man - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A 72-year-old man from a remote valley in Nepal is the shortest man ever documented after being measured by Guinness World Records officials.

Chandra Bahadur Dangi stands just 54.6 centimetres tall, measurements confirmed, 5.3cm shorter than Filipino Junrey Balawing, the previous holder of the "world's shortest man" title.

"It feels very good - I'm very happy," Mr Dangi told reporters.

"I will work on promoting my country all over the world."

Mr Dangi, who weighs 12 kilograms, was brought to the attention of the world only three weeks ago after Nepali researchers looking into the history of the Dangi people were introduced to him.

He has also been declared the shortest human adult ever recorded, taking the accolade from India's Gul Mohammed, who was measured at 57cm before he died in 1997 aged 40.

Paging Randy Newman...

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 Feb 26th, 2012 at 02:25:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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