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Monday Open Thread

by dvx Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 11:04:12 AM EST

For putting in the good word.


Display:
Or even a couple of bad ones.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 11:04:32 AM EST
god, rotten day here. Although I think most of the UK has had an ok day it's been very damp & windy here. Woke up to find that the new plastic covering we'd put on the green house last week had decided to jump ship. fortunately it was wrapped around a tree so we didn't lose it but twas a nuisance

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 12:17:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the time of year I really appreciate Bay Area weather. 75F and sunny yesterday (although I was inside massaging people).

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 12:56:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the time of year we really miss the Bay Area weather: cold and damp snow falling North of Paris, damaging some power lines.
by Bernard on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 04:28:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, then, how'd those two shakes feel?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:00:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They didn't wake me up - guess it was 530 local time. One friend in Oaktown (where it hit) said it woke her up.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:45:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Though 3.5 and 4.0 are merely reminders of what's to come.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 02:55:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Early Spring on the weekend, little snow flurries today.  Sigh.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 01:44:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
70 degrees (20 C) and sunny here in Colorado.  :-)
by asdf on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:31:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]

The Lessons of Paris-on-Thames

LONDON -- Can beauty be stifling? Paris puts that proposition to the test, a city manicured to perfection that has confined its immigrant underclass to the invisible suburbs and burnished every surface of its seductive allure.

Certainly, a lot of young Parisians have voted with their feet, moving across the Channel to Paris-on-Thames, aka London, where they come not so much in search of jobs -- although there have been more of them -- as of the global swirl: that raucous mix of innovation and grunge missing in a too-perfect Paris.

Taxes on the rich are evil, socialists are evil, the French are evil, and we have proof!


Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 11:54:57 AM EST
Certainly, a lot of young Parisians have voted with their feet, moving across the Channel to Paris-on-Thames, aka London, where they come not so much in search of jobs -- although there have been more of them -- as of the global swirl: that raucous mix of innovation and grunge missing in a too-perfect Paris.
Yeah, many servers in London restaurants and pubs are French.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 11:57:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's how you get into the raucous mix of innovation and grunge. Like in last year's riots. It's all in the mix with the elites, as Cohen knows. Gah.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 12:11:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The article is full of fresh, steaming gems :

The Lessons of Paris-on-Thames - NYTimes.com

The French election remains too close to call.

Sure enough...


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

by eurogreen on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 12:05:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In fairness, this is the run-off vote, and neither candidate is likely to win in the first round.  And 2nd round elections can be hard to poll in advance.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 01:25:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 And 2nd round elections can be hard to poll in advance.

Why?


Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 01:30:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The real issue is that while it's often taken for granted who will proceed to the run-off, there's always the possibility that you can have a surprise like when Le Pen made it into the second round in 2002. With a margin of error of=/-3-4% there's the real possibility that Sarkozy might not make it into the second round. Polling could also be biased by the reluctance of Le Pen voters to admit that they are going to vote for her instead of Sarkozy.

With Hollande floating around 30% there's the possibility that a Le Pen or Bayrou win might get rid of an unpopular incumbent and unite the right.

Do I really think that the raise is close? No.  But I think that if we're going to take the author of that piece to task it's misleading to jump straight to the 2nd round polls without acknowledging that there is a 1st round, and no candidate is likely to win it outright.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 04:53:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently the pollsters take on it is that Le Pen has a chance, but not Bayrou (though they are both at about 15%) because they have done some head-to-head on Sarkozy vs Le Pen and Hollande vs Le Pen. Le Pen looses big time in both cases.

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 Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:37:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that the Le Pen matchup is less a difference from Bayrou in terms of poll performance than acknowledging the possibility of a 2002 type outcome because Le Pen voters might be reticent to admit whom they are going to vote for.

Saying you're going to vote for Sarkozy I imagine is more socially acceptable than saying that you will vote for Le Pen.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 08:37:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pollsters have long been aware of the understatement of Le Pen voting intentions for reasons of social acceptability, and at least since 2002 they correct for it. To the point where some commentators, seeing Marine Le Pen at 19% or 20%, wondered if they weren't over-correcting.

But even if one thinks they are not doing enough, you would have to transfer five whole points from Sarko to Le Pen to bring her into second round territory.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 08:50:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd add: If you're a Le Pen voter, you might vote for Sarko to be sure he makes it to the second round, as he'd have the best chance to win.

But if it's obvious he's going to get pasted in the second round, then your take might well be, "Well, who cares?  I'll go with my real first choice and let her make her stand."

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:49:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The average of the last month's polls has Hollande on 30.2% and Sarkozy on a whisker under 26% in Round One.

Le Pen averages 16.4%.

The Hollande-Sarkozy gap is just outside the margin of error of 3-4%. Le Pen is out of it, unless the polls are very wrong.

 

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 03:09:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know if it is harder to poll in advance - we need Nate Silver to look into it - but it appears to be quite regularly done:

Opinion polling for the French presidential election, 2012 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

These are public poll figures for hypothetical runoff elections between individual 2012 presidential candidates. The candidates include incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy, Socialist Party (PS) presidential candidate François Hollande and Front National (FN) leader Marine Le Pen. The PS First Secretary, Martine Aubry, is also listed in polls which pre-date the selection of Hollande as the PS presidential candidate in October 2011.[22]


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 Mar 5th, 2012 at 02:51:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it's Roger Cohen...
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 12:08:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See La Vie Londonienne by afew 4 years ago...

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 12:24:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Slightly tangentially, from Planet Justin Webb:

Somehow over the next decade the Republican party - which cannot win elections without support from the white working-class - has got to makes its peace with them and convince them that the ideas it espouses make sense.

The alternative, frankly, is electoral irrelevance.

So what will the Republicans do? How will they cope with this problem?

Will they - as Michael Kibbe hinted and the maverick presidential candidate Ron Paul suggests - campaign to cut defence spending as much as domestic programmes? How will that change America's place in the world?

The Republican Party has often been on the right side of history.

From Lincoln to Reagan they have been able persuaders - admired and respected. This primary season has not been their finest hour. Their re-emergence, when it comes, will be fascinating to watch.

He means ideas like cutting social security, and replacing it with a plan in which people pay into a fund during their lives.

Which is nothing like the existing plan, obviously.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 12:57:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I could try to be generous to Webb's world view, but why bother when he's a small minded numbskull unable to see beyond his little bubble of privilege

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 01:10:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Article in the NYT yesterday about London said that because of the collapse of the council housing concept, the socioeconomic mixing typical of London is being lost, with the poor moving to the suburbs. They specifically compare it to Paris.

...Houses taken from the pool were left unreplaced, at rates accelerating fast under Thatcher's right-to-buy scheme from the 1980s. New Labor did little to reverse this. The shortage is severe. Rents are rocketing, house prices, stagnating gently or not, are utterly prohibitive. Everyone knows this. Now the government is capping housing benefits, which the Chartered Institute of Housing warns is likely to price 800,000 households across the country out of their own communities. Rough sleeping is up.

The trends are obvious, the results predictable. "What we think is likely to happen," says Bharat Mehta, chief executive of Trust for London, whose job it is to investigate London poverty, "is that there'll be a movement of people from inner to outer London."

In Paris, cheap housing is pushed out of sight of the boulevards, to the banlieues, the impoverished, underserved, tense suburbs. With its history of public housing, London has always been far more of a medley, incomes jostling together across the city. Now the poor are to be pushed centrifugally, faster and faster. The banlieuefication of London is under way.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/magazine/china-mieville-london.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

by asdf on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:38:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's happening here as well.  There still seems to be a lot of the Safety in Suburbs mentality, but especially in the big metro areas there's been a noticeable trend towards wealthier people moving back into the cities, with development pushing the poor out.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 07:17:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't wait until some wealthy people move into my neighborhood. It will be a big change from what we have now!
by asdf on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 10:13:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're in the Denver area though.  The wealthy suburbanites are unusually batshit out there.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 06:34:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it's not the poor who get pushed out of Paris, it's the middle classes. There's a lot of social housing in Paris, so you end up with the rich, the poor, and a lot of empty apartments for rich foreigners or provinciaux - so people in Paris itself tend to be older or very young adults who accept to leave in cramped bedrooms or share apartments.

And you have very different banlieues - the middle class ones (a majority), the upper class ones (more than you'd expect) and the rest - the distinction coming often down to how good the transport links are to central Paris.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 02:49:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The poor, and in this I'd say nowadays that's everybody below average wage, are being gradually squeezed out of London, but not really being given any place to go.

As I pointed out in my diary, london, dying like a dinosaur, there is no cheap housing for the best part of 50 miles around london and that's outside commuting distance

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 03:36:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]

German offshore pioneer Alpha Ventus exceeds expectations

The pioneering Alpha Ventus wind farm in the German North Sea produced about 15% more power during 2011 than expected by its operator, the consortium DOTI.

The 60MW development supplied more than 267GWh of electricity to Germany's national grid last year.

The better-than-predicted figure was due to "excellent" wind conditions and high turbine-availability of up to 97%, says project director Claus Burkhardt of EWE, which owns DOTI along with fellow utilities E.ON and Vattenfall.

267 GWh with 60 MW means 4,450 full load hours, i.e. a capacity factor above 50%. And that's real data - in a year which was considered a pretty bad wind year onshore.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 12:49:37 PM EST
That's quite impressive.  When they say 15% more than expected does that mean that the expectation was a capacity factor of 36% or 43%?

I'm wondering because if it's the latter number then the capacity factor must have been a lot higher than standard to begin with. And if that's typical of offshore, does that help offset the higher costs of installation?

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 01:14:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
43%. Yes, offshore wind in the North Sea is very productive - it's also farther from shore and in deeper waters, so a bit more expensive to build.

But as usual in capital intensive industries, the biggest driver of cost is the cost of capital and there, thanks to generally smarter policies & regulations, Germany has been able to keep the expected cost per MWh on the lowish side for the industry.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 01:34:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian - John Harris - How police privatisation was recast as common sense

If you haven't read Sir Ian Blair's Guardian article endorsing plans to privatise many of the functions of the police, you ought to. It reflects two iron rules of the relentless drive to outsource and marketise the parts of the state that have so far been left alone: first, that mindboggling policy extremes tend to be recast as matters of simple common sense; and second, that nothing suits those who would dissolve the barrier between state and market like a crisis, which is the essence of what Naomi Klein famously called the Shock Doctrine.

I am not accusing Blair - nor, indeed, the equally supportive Association of Chief Police Officers - of being zealous privateers; the point is, they are inserted into a tangle of institutions so relentlessly pushed towards what people like me call neoliberalism that they almost unthinkingly do its work.

His argument is measured; level-headed, even. As he sees it, now that the "shibboleth" of police numbers has been dropped, and forces are thereby free to manage the impact of such drastic cuts, outsourcing has become a very sensible option. This is not, he says, "a shock, horror idea". The basic pitch is all about efficiency and "modernisation": to use the argot of the last government, "what works". But here's what Blair omits: this debate is also about accountability, transparency and the most fundamental elements of democracy - not to mention the question of who the police are there to serve, and what they are meant to do.

Harris gets right to the nub of the question about privatisations, if policing is ultimately only possible by the consent of the policed; what happens when serving the policed ceases to be the primary concern ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 02:08:06 PM EST
Then again, Britain has a long, long, LONG tradition of "privatized" policing . . . or rather, non-policing.

Why go halfway?  TRULY privatize the police functions, abolish them entirely, and re-empower citizens to enforce the law for themselves.  Bring back the volunteer constables!

by Zwackus on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 05:45:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Asia times - M K Bhadrakumar  - Obama gets Iran right, finally

The results of Friday's election for Iran's parliament, the Majlis, generate a political climate in Tehran that augurs well for the commencement of talks over the nuclear issue. The US administration senses this. The big issue is whether President Barack Obama can carry the United States' two key allies - Saudi Arabia and Israel - in the quest of finding a "permanent" solution to the US-Iran standoff.

Yet this has been a season of fables. Iranian politics arouses great curiosity, and election time becomes a carnival of fables. Four years ago Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was usurping political power and the country was becoming a military dictatorship. This year's hot pick (so far) is that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is dispatching President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to political exile and the Majlis is their arena of contestation. It's all forgotten how Khamenei fought off single-handedly the reformists' challenge in 2009 and preserved Ahmedinejad's presidency.

True, Iran's politics, like politics anywhere, is complex. The Shi'ite religious establishment is known in history as fractious. Party politics as is known in Western liberal democracies does not exist in Iran. But factions and cliques and interest groups realign incessantly, and that gives much verve to Iranian politics.

Friday's election has been no exception..........

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey. So this is the real inside baseball skinny

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 02:13:25 PM EST

My pal Klaus today reached half a million page views of his own blog at a blog spot for Swedish-speakers that he co-set up and financed  a couple of years or so ago.

So Klaus made a short video today. His son thought the original ending too sad and cried, but then directed the new denouement post-credits. Just as in Dallas, it was all a dream.

 

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 02:51:34 PM EST
So he got the suits involved and they destroyed his artistic vision by turning the Tragedy into a Comedy.  (It's was all a dream, pshaw.)

BTW, has anyone done a film based on this idea?  Seems a good fit for the standard issue Finnish "humor."  

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

by ATinNM on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 03:12:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And my command of English grammar has untergehen.

Again.  

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

by ATinNM on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 03:13:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just read about the new informal housing market in the US.

The Foreclosure-to-Rental Boondoggle » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

The reason that housing prices have dipped only 33.6 percent in the United States instead of 60 percent as they have in Ireland, is because the big banks have been keeping inventory off the market. If the millions of homes-that are presently headed for foreclosure-were suddenly dumped onto the market, prices would plunge and the biggest banks in the country would be declared insolvent. That's why the banks have slowed the flow of foreclosures. According to Amherst Securities Group's Laurie Goodman, "....2.8 million borrowers haven't made a payment in over a year. Add that to the over 450,000 real estate owned (REO) units and you have approximately 3.2 million that are in the shadows. We are liquidating about 90,000 homes a month. That's about 36 months of overhang; a really shocking number."

Will the advice about creating titles to houses soon be appropriate for the US?

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 Mar 5th, 2012 at 03:14:13 PM EST
Romney Recites Davy Crockett theme song

Jesus.

H.

Christ.

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

by ATinNM on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 03:34:39 PM EST
Tennesseeans are a bunch of liars.  Davy Crockett was born in Pigeon Forge and sold fake antiques for 20 bucks a pop out front of his moonshine distillery like the rest of Appalachia.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 04:56:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How does one forge pigeons?

Anyway?

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

by ATinNM on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 05:09:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the same way you make a mouse organ



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 Mar 5th, 2012 at 05:11:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's mice bashing, not mice forging.  

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:00:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guacamole!

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:01:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Made with real moles?

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 Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:30:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do I dare to watch something billed as "Cringe of the Wild Frontier"?

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 04:58:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's Romney on the campaign trail "singing," for a low value of musical ability, the theme song from a TV series.

There's all kinds of ways this could play out, none of them good for the Romney_Bot.

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

by ATinNM on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 05:08:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm wondering what moves someone like Romney to spend 5, 6 years on the campaign trail when it's obvious he doesn't connect with the voters at all...

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 05:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Look, getting paid hundreds of millions of dollars to run already-shitty companies deeper into the ground gets boring after a while.

He's in his 60s and needs something to do.  My grandfather hung out with his friends and bagged groceries, Mittens runs for president.  You've gotta stay active.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 05:23:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hubris?  Fulfilling a Power Fantasy?  Has nothing better to do?  Psychotically deranged?  Messianic Complex?  Likes to see himself on the TV?  

Who knows.

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

by ATinNM on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 05:54:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
delusions of grandeur, megalomanic narcissism.

yours work too.

mittens looks in the mirror every morning and thinks: 'Central Casting the god of Maroon has anointed me to inflict hairy underpants upon the Promised Land, and my 3D poll-extruded hologram is Up To The Task!

... and better yet, the kicker is by the time the primaries come around my media scorched earth strategy will leave every other republican in sight squirming in humiliation.'

'no Bain, no Gain...'

vacuous, disingenuous nihilism rulz!

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:40:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Compared to the other recent GOP candidates, he's got reasonable reasons to try running.

I mean, at least he's been elected to something, unlike the pizza guy. And it was something reasonably important, unlike the ditz from Alaska. And he can talk in reasonably coherent English--taking into consideration the fundamentally incoherent message he's trying to send--unlike Perry. And his religion is actually pretty conventional, unlike the Papist version of Dominionism that frothy is pushing.

Mitt would be ok if he didn't have the 10 ton weight of the GOP around his neck. Maybe he should run again in 2016--as a Democrat.

by asdf on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:44:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mittens is one of the worst politicians I've ever seen.  And me hath seen some doozies.

Dukakis springs to mind.  Like ... immediately.  

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

by ATinNM on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:53:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mitt would be ok if he didn't have the 10 ton weight of the GOP around his neck.

The real problem with Mitt is that nobody knows what he really believes.  My inclination is to think he's fairly moderate, as he was when he was a governor.

But was that just pandering because he was running for office in Massachusetts?

I think Mittens has run this campaign all wrong as far as messaging goes.  He should've run on the message, "I can fix the economy and beat Obama, and you'll just have to live with the fact that I don't think girls are icky and gays are the devil."

It doesn't sound great, but I think it would've been a winning message in the primary, because the GOPers want to win badly.  Instead, he's boxed himself in to right-wing policies, and the GOPers all still think he's a fraud.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:55:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
are you sure by 2016 he won't be too left wing for the dems, with that damned Overton window still carrering to the right as the fools try to compromise?

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 Mar 5th, 2012 at 07:22:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Saw a Fiat 500 in the parking lot for the first time today.

Any chance you guys could stop sending stuff over here without the accompanying turbodiesels that make them actually worth buying?

I mean, c'mon, my wife's Jeep can do 34 mpg on the highway, ffs.

Or at least take back those moronic Smart Fortwos?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 05:26:00 PM EST

my wife's Jeep can do 34 mpg on the highway, ffs.

Any car up to 6 tons can do that kind of mileage when you drive at the silly low speeds Americans drive at (if made by decent engineers).

What's wrong with a car that can do the same at 50% faster speeds (not to mention which makes such speeds twice as fun as well)?

Plus you can park two of these is a typical US parking space.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:12:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Any car up to 6 tons can do that kind of mileage when you drive at the silly low speeds Americans drive at (if made by decent engineers).

Okay, I'll bite: Where is the six-ton car that can do 34 mpg at 75 mph?

What's wrong with a car that can do the same at 50% faster speeds (not to mention which makes such speeds twice as fun as well)?

50% faster than 75 mph?  I don't think Fortwos go that fast, and the 500 would have mileage in the teens at that speed.

Plus you can park two of these is a typical US parking space.

Which makes it all the more pathetic that the mileage is so weak, no?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:33:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that my comment was as silly as yours?

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 02:50:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why was mine silly?  I was mostly serious.  I was hoping they'd bring the Multijet engines over.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 06:17:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you buy proper diesel fuel over there? I thought that was a problem.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 07:08:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, been able to for a few years now.  They changed the diesel regs years ago to move toward the ultra-low-sulfur stuff y'all use over there.  Think everybody had to implement them by 2009 or so.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 07:20:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ooook... so indeed, why aren't you all over the euro diesels?

GM's hook-up with Peugeot Citroen may help.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 07:25:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, there are a couple problems that have kept them out.

The automakers don't think Americans will drive diesels, because they're noisy and have the old reputation for smelling badly.  I think there's a little truth to that, but not enough to completely kill the idea.

Probably doesn't help that most diesels you see on the roads are either in big 18-wheelers or very large pickups.

The real issue, I think, is the up-front cost of a diesel over a gas engine, balanced against the fuel savings.  It's like the calculation behind hybrids: For most applications, it doesn't make sense, because people either don't own them long enough or don't drive far enough.

VW is the only maker selling diesels in small cars on any scale worth measuring.  It costs about $6k more up front (vs about $2k in Britain), and you gain about 10 mpg.  I suspect some of it is tariffs on the engines coming into Mexico from Germany, and much of it is probably economies of scale.

The GM-Peugeot alliance may help, but my guess is that has a lot more to do with Opel being in the toilet.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 07:57:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well i heard diesels are slightly easier on the ozone layer, but have 300 times more particulates at ground level, making their use in cities quite zyklon b-ish.

it's a bit like choosing whether to be bashed over the head by a mace or an axe, i know.

the only advantages of diesel are cold weather dependability, length of life ruggedness, higher torque, lower pump prices, and best of all ready to switch to biodiesel, when pigs fly.

so you can feel 300 ways shittier after a drive, but feel better about the polar bears, with diesels.

granted they have come a long way these last 20 years with emitting less fumes, better tailpipe tech, but getting stuck behind a belching diesel truck on a mountain road is borderline dante, a mini personal Bangkok.

internal combustion engines are pretty ropey technology, efficiency wise. if it weren't for vested interests we would have left them by the wayside by now.

instead we have a booming rate of cancers and asthma, go figure.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 11:34:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Durability is balanced a bit by the turbochargers though.

Gas engine durability isn't really a huge issue anymore.  There are very few from after (say) the mid-'90s that can't put up at least 200k miles.  I'm still "meh" on aluminum blocks, because from everything I've read they're simply not as tough as iron blocks -- and that's something Fiat definitely has going for it, as I assume most of the subcompacts are pushed by aluminums these days.

(That may help explain the relatively poor gas mileage, too, in which case I'll be more sympathetic.  Iron blocks are heavy.)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2012 at 03:17:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Americans don't drive that slowly any more. When it was all Fords and Chevys with solid rear axles and leaf springs, mixed with 75 horsepower Toyotas we did, but now that everybody has a 300 HP Audi or Lexus, speeds are pretty high.

Posted speed limits are widely ignored, and even the posted speeds are pretty high. It's 75 MPH between here and Denver, which means people drive 85-90. While texting.

Note: cheese-eaters here for a holiday driving around in convertibles don't get the true experience. Drive across Utah or Montana or Wyoming or Texas some time.

by asdf on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:50:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The rule is 5-10 over the (55-70) limit before they'll pull you.  Crazy-ass westerners. ;)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 07:03:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
10, but how accurate is your speedometer?

http://www.denverpost.com/murphy/ci_20102377

by asdf on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 10:17:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it depends a bit on how old the car is.

My wife's is pretty accurate as best I can tell.  (I tend to occupy myself by doing the math in my head when we go on long trips.)  Her mileage gauge is also pretty much dead-on.

I think mine tends to overstate my speed a tad.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 06:22:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there's up to a 10% difference between the speedometer on my mother's car and the speed as measured by a GPS device. (The car's is higher than the GPS')

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 06:25:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Our speedometer shows us going a bit slower than the GPS.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 07:20:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe the spec on speedometer accuracy is 0% to +5%, so the target is +2.5% (normally the target would be 0%, obviously). Big bro wants you to drive slower.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 01:14:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I take it Big Brother's never driven a Wrangler on the Interstate.  He doesn't need to hold me back.  Anything above 65 and the thing feels like it's going to disintegrate.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Mar 8th, 2012 at 03:08:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Spain's sovereign thunderclap and the end of Merkel's Europe
As for the "Fiscal Compact", it is rendered a dead letter by Spanish actions.

Gracias a Dios. If the text were enforced, the consequences would be ruinous. It enshrines Hooverism in EU law, and imposes contractionary policies without the consent of future parliaments - including any future Bundestag. Indeed, it probably violates the German constitution.

But it won't be enforced in any meaningful sense because the political realities of the EU are already intruding, and will intrude further. A president François Hollande of France will rip it up.

The Latin Bloc is awakening.

Check out the hilarous picture accompanying the blog.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:17:08 PM EST
That's not a "hilarious picture."  THAT, is Charleston Heston playing the Great Spanish Hero© El Cid in a boffo mega-max Hollywood picture.  The Cid, as you know, is a Great Christian warrior who saved all of Spain from the conniving, scheming, Islamic Hordes.

And flush toilets.

And libraries.

And Public Health, Public Order, good roads, literacy, advanced mathematics, Aristotelian logic, & etc. & so on.

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

by ATinNM on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 06:47:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Cid, as you know, is a Great Christian warrior who saved all of Spain from the conniving, scheming, Islamic Hordes.

Yeah, he was banished by his Christian King for questioning his civil war victory and spent a few years as a mercenary of the Moorish King of Zaragoza...

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 5th, 2012 at 07:20:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More than a suggestion that El Cid was a moorish, ie islamic, mercenary fighter.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 03:29:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He was a mercenary fighter for the moors, but the point is not that he was muslim but that allegiances in a frontier region like the Iberian peninsula in the 11th century were not along religious lines. The "reconquista" as a Christian "crusade" is a 13th century ideological invention.
3. Crossing Frontiers examines the interaction between the two civilizations after Muslim expansion came to a halt. The first part of the chapter centers on the two frontier regions, Spain and Turkey, and two characters: a presumably fictional Basil, the two-blooded border soldier (Digenes Akrites is the title of the Greek epic poem about his exploits) in Turkey in the 9th century; and Rodrigo Díaz, El Cid, in 11th Century Spain. Both men are taken as representative of the relatively relaxed attitude to political (and even religious) allegiances that existed in the border regions, while both heartlands remained by and large ignorant of each other. The latter part of the chapter deals with the crusades, including the strange [for they never actually met in person] friendship between Richard the Lionheart and Saladdin.
(diary)

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 03:43:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dunno about the Latin Bloc, but the fiscal pact is a dead man walking.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 01:04:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That doesn't mean it won't be enacted in a number of countries.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 03:33:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So was the Growth and Stability Pact, and at solemn treaty level.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 03:48:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And that Albatross is still around all of our necks. Just because something is inconsistently enforced doesn't mean it doesn't weigh down on policy and politics.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 03:53:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, inconsistent enforcement is a particularly convenient vehicle for political manipulation.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 04:06:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't misconstrue my comment as saying I'm in favour or I don't care. I'm saying it can't work, and what can't work, won't.

As for the albatross, we have at least thirty years of neoliberalism round our necks. The real weight is the ideological hegemony.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 04:58:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It won't work as advertised not only because it can't work as advertised but because I doubt it is advertised as intended.

And it will weigh down on us for another 30 years if we're not careful.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 05:04:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or, rather, if we're not lucky.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 05:05:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a chance Europe may go on for thirty years under this yoke. There's also a chance other arrangements might be made. There's a much larger chance than those two, imo, that the single currency and market will break up.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 05:48:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look, when the single currency breaks up Spain will remain saddled with a debt brake constitutional amendment as a result of this nonsense.

There's plenty of time until Sarkozy loses in May for Merkel's nonsense to be entrenched in the legal systems of more and more countries, or in the treaties.

Even if the Euro goes away, austerity won't.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 06:09:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Out of interest, do you think Rajoy is serious about changing the targets? Will he buckle when Merkel and the Bundesbank start to press him?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 06:18:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They know there is a limit to how much they can cut.

The latest round of jostling is between Rajoy and the regional governments in Spain: Rajoy tells regions no way out of cutbacks as government prepares budget

The regions, which were largely responsible for the blowout in the country's finances last year, will have to contribute 15.6 billion euros to the total estimated by De Guindos. The country's two biggest regions, Andalusia and Catalonia, on Sunday called on Rajoy for some slack in the target in order not to have to cut back on essential services such as health and education.

However, after a meeting Monday with the OECD's secretary general, Ángel Gurría, Rajoy said the regions would have to make a "significant effort," adding that the central government had no intention of relaxing the target set for the regions of a deficit of 1.5 percent of GDP. That figure, he pointed out, was up from 1.3 percent last year when the actual shortfall was 2.94 percent.

...

Rajoy insisted he did not have to get Brussels' permission to announce a deficit higher than that agreed with the previous Socialist administration. "We have done what seems to us to be logical and reasonable, and we will be evaluated in April when we will speak with the Commission," he said.



There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 06:24:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You seem to believe that laws and even constitutional amendments are engraved in eternal marble (but we've been here before). Constitutions can be re-amended. Otherwise, this pact is supposed to be law not at treaty level. Laws can be rescinded or modified.

I don't see why countries that have regained monetary sovereignty would feel endlessly constrained by this pact - unless the austerity ideology is so persuasive. Which brings us back to the primacy of ideology again.

The wall we come up against is the success of neolib/austerity ideology. The right supports it, and a large chunk of the left goes along. If we want to change the epiphenomena (the laws and amendments and treaties) we will only be able to do so by means of a change of ideology.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 06:28:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was easier for the left to fall to temporary insanity and agree to assemble the supermajorities necessary for the debt brake than it will be for the right to gain temporary sanity to remove it.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 06:36:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree - but for the reason I state.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 07:24:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I continue to repeat myself quoting the same old paragraph from Krugman, but there aren't much better descriptions of the situation and, honestly, I don't see a "solution" to the "problem" of "common-sense conservatism":
The hangover theory, then, turns out to be intellectually incoherent; nobody has managed to explain why bad investments in the past require the unemployment of good workers in the present. Yet the theory has powerful emotional appeal. Usually that appeal is strongest for conservatives, who can't stand the thought that positive action by governments (let alone--horrors!--printing money) can ever be a good idea. Some libertarians extol the Austrian theory, not because they have really thought that theory through, but because they feel the need for some prestigious alternative to the perceived statist implications of Keynesianism. And some people probably are attracted to Austrianism because they imagine that it devalues the intellectual pretensions of economics professors. But moderates and liberals are not immune to the theory's seductive charms--especially when it gives them a chance to lecture others on their failings.


There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 07:47:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a fundamental disconnect between empirical economic and theocratic economics.

One is based on something that occasionally resembles the scientific method, the other is used as an excuse for social pogroms against people we don't like. (Usually poor people, but occasionally entire countries.)

You have to remember that in the same way that slavery was founded on racial discrimination, theocratic economics is founded on economic discrimination, and the belief that some people and activities are essentially and irredeemably bad.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 07:58:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
American's finest news source
"I honestly thought he was just playing up to the far-right voters, because that's what Republicans are supposed to do in the primaries," said Grand Rapids, MI resident Dan Banks, who explained he had dismissed as manipulative campaign rhetoric Santorum's assertion that President Obama would send Christians to the guillotine. "But now it's dawning on me that this guy means it, all of it. Every single thing he says is an accurate depiction of how he sees the world."

"So, when he said that Satan was currently attacking the United States, he meant exactly that," added Banks. "Satan, the devil himself, is attacking the United States. Rick Santorum believes this is a real thing that is actually happening. I...wow. Just wow."

Gallup polls taken during the campaign show an evolving awareness among voters that Santorum is not lying about any of the horrifying things he says. For example, in August of last year, 96 percent of voters said they thought Santorum could not possibly be serious when he said gay marriage was "an issue just like 9/11," compared with only 9 percent today. And in that same time span, the number of voters who believe Santorum was not at all kidding when he said the president had a "deep-seated antipathy toward American values and traditions" has increased more than tenfold.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 04:59:05 AM EST
I can no longer tell if this satire or reality.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 07:59:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By now you should know that if it makes sense, it's satire. This makes sense.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Mar 6th, 2012 at 10:34:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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