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Weekend Open Thread

by afew Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 09:35:29 AM EST

So there are no more seasons?


Display:
18 dead as Algerian forces launch final assault: APS | Reuters

(Reuters) - Algerian special forces on Saturday launched a "final assault" on Islamists holding foreign hostages at a gas plant in the Algerian desert, killing 11 of the al Qaeda-linked fighters, the country's official APS news agency said.

Seven foreign hostages held by the militants have been killed by their captors, APS said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 09:36:24 AM EST
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 09:46:57 AM EST


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 10:11:22 AM EST



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 10:20:05 AM EST


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 10:26:04 AM EST
Grillo calls for end of labor unions in Italy

(ANSA) - Bari, January 18 - Italian comic and political gadfly Beppe Grillo called for the end of labor unions at a meeting of his anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) on Friday.

"I want a State with balls. Let's throw out the unions, which are an antiquated structure like the political parties," he said. "Companies need to be made up of those who work".

Showing his true colors...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 10:05:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yeah i still like beppe grillo, though he sure dropped a the big one there!

as for true colours, i'm inferring you are referring to possible totalitarian tendencies in him, and you are not alone in thinking this way.

i don't agree with that suspicion, but you never know...

the good news is that there is now more serious discussion about the roles of the unions and their integration with political parties and industry.
not a bad thing, imo!

the second thing i find positive is that he got a lot of attention, something in slight decline as the favoured in-candidates assemble to recreate the fail of the past.

beppe has a screw loose, imo, and that's why i don't believe he will ever candidate himself, his kind of rhetoric serves better from the bleachers.

the takeway i get so far from the 5* movement is that while beppe is the fire-bellied instigator and chief whip, he will wisely leave himself free to disturb and unsettle politics-as-usual in italy, and inspire more people to stop thinking in R-L terms and see the whole picture, leaving the guys on the ground to campaign on their own merit.

he speaks for many who aren't in his privileged position, and his voice is the most authentic on the scene, his policies the most common-sensical, and his party candidates are real people, speaking from the heart about concerns vital to every community.

he's also fucking hilarious, if you understand enough itaian to follow his rants. i'm very fond of him, but as comic and gadfly, not as level-headed statesman. he's a breath of fresh air and equilaterally irreverent. the political scene in italy is insane, beppe's reflecting it right back at them, and while unions have mightily contributed in the past to social justice, it wouldn't hurt to revamp them from the ground up, (along with most everything else in politics).

at the steel plant in Taranto, the union came out in favour of continuing the cancerous pollution, without it, no jobs, therefore no union, even though the magistrates ordered it closed for public safety. unions are thus coerced into acting against public interests, in favour of their own narrower agenda of survival. as reactions in the first place, they have become stuck in the same paradigm as big biz, the yin to their yang, and they are failing, nobly, but still failing, in the face of an rising tsunami of policies that will continue to humiliate and castrate them. i don't think ditching them will help much, yet it might be a mercy killing, and what emerged from their ashes may be a. more universal, and b. more ecologically aware. ILVA i heard is the source of 1/5 of all europe's air pollution (citation needed). we simply can't afford to venerate unions per se because they have saved us from the worst of pred-cap in the past, if they have become largely symbolic, but ineffective. if laws were wise and industry better regulated, unions could become redundant. until we get there, we should restructure them, not throw them under the bus. he sure got the attention he wanted, in his last minute whirlwind bus tour around italy in a quixotic attempt to get enough people to sign up to vote.

the unions need to be treated very differently if they are to be more useful, invited into board meetings proactively, not just when there's unrest. this would buttress their raison d-etre. right now they are compromised deeply, and do not attract young voters to listen to their opinions. there are strong union leaders like Landini, who could go into politics and do some good, there is more need than ever for unions, considering the neolib creep, but we need big change in their structure, to better support wider industrial policy change rather than shortsightedly defending their own corner.

heavy industries like ILVA are TBTF, like GM was, and i would be for some public money going to help them clean up their act, but they have to modernise, otherwise the health of Taranto' citizens becomes a sacrifice on the altar of bizniz.

it's a sophie's choice, having the grim choice between job and health, a lose-lose.

only beppe realises how radically italy has to change, the rest are just into tweaking the old models, new lipsticks, same pig.

when he says something like this he's bang centre screen again, where he belongs, and being a comic, people are free to take him seriously but there's no compulsion to do so, as happens with real politicians.

Showing his true colors...

is that what you believe?


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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 11:47:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Feels like something is missing here - throw out the unions from what? And replace with those who work, how exactly?

I would say that it feels like somethings has been intentionally left out.

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 Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 12:01:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trying to find what he actually said - and I don't speak italian - this is the best I found:

Grillo is a state with the balls, we need to eliminate unions

TOAST - The "tsunami tour" by Beppe Grillo invests in full the unions that the comedian proposed to delete because they are an old structure like parties. I want a state with the balls because companies need to be in employment, shouted from the stage of a square in Brindisi, where the campers arrived in the afternoon with the Movement 5 Stars for its first stop in Puglia. Was the immediate reaction of the unions that responded to burst. We just needed the proposal for an Italy-booted in this campaign, said the general secretary of the CISL, Raffaele Bonanni. The square - said the leader of the CISL - it will ever replace all workers a tool of free expression and democratic as the union, in any country in the world. As for companies, the CISL for true economic democracy in which workers participate in profits business, in a relationship of equal dignity between capital and labor. Ironic the Secretary-General of the UIL, Luigi Angeletti: We agree with Grillo, we transfer the ownership of enterprises to the workers, and the union diventerinutile. We will not do resistance. To the Secretary-General Ugl, John Centrella, Cricket does not offer anything new, his idea actually old, and like other parties use the union as a scapegoat good for all seasons and for all the problems, useful who run out of ideas.


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 Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 12:09:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wondered if he was showing a true inner anarcho-syndicalist.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 12:38:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A swedish kind of death:
: We agree with Grillo, we transfer the ownership of enterprises to the workers, and the union diventerinutile.

that last word means 'useless'

he's going for full-bore worker-owned factories!

shoot for the stars, you may get the moon.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 12:51:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's an original source: La triplice sindacale e le aziende ai lavoratori (Il blog di Beppe Grillo)
La triplice sindacale è responsabile esattamente come i partiti della situazione economica attuale. Dirlo fa scandalo? Affermare che i maggiori sindacati sono allineati ai partiti di riferimento è come gridare "il re è nudo": lo sanno tutti tranne Gargamella Bersani. I sindacati minori e la Fiom hanno cercato come hanno potuto, sbertucciati, emarginati dai tavoli di discussione, di rappresentare i diritti dei lavoratori che oggi di diritti non ne hanno più. Sono gli unici che si possono salvare. Si può sussurrare che se la difesa dei lavoratori era l'obiettivo della triplice, allora la triplice ha clamorosamente fallito? Oggi rappresenta solo un baraccone, un interlocutore privilegiato dei governi che hanno massacrato la dignità, la sicurezza, i diritti sociali, la salute acquisiti a caro prezzo da lotte che sono durate decenni.

Le aziende, le fabbriche devono appartenere in parte a chi ci lavora. Non è utopia. E' già successo e succede. Chi viene assunto deve poter diventare azionista, con una piccola quota data dalla società.

Alessandro Di Battista ci racconta oggi una storia a lieto fine, una bella storia di diritti e di lavoro.

Le aziende devono appartenere a chi lavora: un esempio dall'Argentina

The triple union and firms to workers (Beppe Grillo's blog)
The triple union is responsible for the current economic situation just like the parties. Is it a scandal to say so? To assert that the largest unions are aligned with the parties of reference is like crying "the king is naked": everyone knows including Gargamella Bersani. The minor unions and the Fiom have tried to represent the rights of workers (who, today, have none) as they have been able to, scorned, marginalised off the negotiating tables. Can one whisper that, if the defence of workers was the objective of the triple, thus the triple has failed spectacularly? Today it represents but a barrack, a privileged counterparty of the governments that have massacred the dignity, the security, the social rights, the health, obtained at great cost out of fights that have taken decades.

Firms, factories, must belong in part to those who work there. It's not a utopia. It's already happened and it is happening. Who is hired must be able to become a shareholder, with a small share of the partnership.

Alessandro Di Battista tells us today a story ith a happy ending, a beautiful story of rights and of work.

Firms must belong to those who work:an example form Argentina

When he says la Triplice he's referring to the triple alliance of trade unions CGIL, CISL and UIL, which negotiated the Statute of Workers in 1970 (Italian wikipedia).

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 01:22:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm reminded of the ET discussion Welcome to the pwn3rship society by Colman on October 9th, 2012
Under the new type of contract, employees will be given between £2,000 and £50,000 of shares that are exempt from capital gains tax. In exchange, they will give up their UK rights on unfair dismissal, redundancy, and the right to request flexible working and time off for training, and will be required provide 16 weeks' notice of a firm date of return from maternity leave, instead of the usual 8.
Tories and Beppe Grillo: the extremes meet.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 01:24:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the sense that they want to abolish current work-place relations, yes. The difference is as always in the details. Unfortunately for us, Grillo does not present them.

Maybe Chris should take the moment to present Grillo with better models then shareholding for joint ownership?

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 Jan 21st, 2013 at 07:20:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the dissolution of the three "official" unions which have become ineffective. He says positive things about the smaller unions who are excluded from the negotiating table. So he isn't advocating against trade unionism, but against the specific unions which have become institutionalised and ineffective.

Similarly in France : the "official" unions get to share in various institutional goodies, and the smaller, more recent unions (e.g. SUD) are not recognised because they didn't exist when the official carve-up occurred, based on their representativity in... the late 1940s.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 07:07:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
as mediatic move, i think beppe got what he wanted, to stir things up and maintain his momentum, which was dwindling, since berlusconi stuck his oar in and muddied the waters.

it's not a cheap drive-by either, as a. if you watch beppe in action mode, you realise how much he cares about the country, pushing himself to coronorary-inducing efforts to keep the discussion from falling back into the fossilised ruts the others will insist on to maintain the caste... endless arguing about mice, ignoring the gorilla.

the unions here have now made a joke out of the rule of law, complicit with the same forces that ensure their compliant assistance, when italy's workers are shamelessly over-exploited already, in industry with an average 4 people a day dying on the job, and many immigrants enslaved to organised crime-run ag work.

it also halps the discussion focus on all the 'precari' who are making the wheels turn but have no union, and who have no-one speaking out for them except...beppe again.

he's found a theme and solution that is light years more progressive than any candidates, and that he doesn't have to run on.

i doubt his footsoldiers will be using dissolution of the big 3 unions as vote-getting argument, they'll be pushing for alt energy, recycling garbage, busting ripoff artists, rolling out b-band etc, bringing honest candidates to the table for a change.

btw his sideline carping about this last issue has changed the discussion across the board, with berlu having to give up his mafia-tainted buddy dell'utri, (copious tiny violins).

his relentless rants are now on night time news, and he makes people laugh as he castigates the causes of italy's crisis, from the euro, to the unions, to the corruption, unafraid to speak out and often.

unfortunately his edit button doesn't always work, and his desire to shock gets in the way and has to be um, worked around.

like going to sicily and saying the mafia doesn't exist, ot yesterday how the italian state doesn't exist.

people sometimes don't get his humour, because he is talking about serious issues, yet makes it impossible for the serious people to take him seriously....resuly a kind of culture-jam that has broken out of the loony bin onto mainstage political discussion. it's almost in BONK territory, and a splendid tonic to recuperate  watching monti sachs intone his timid, funereal incantations to growth-a-gogo, (which no italian believes after a year of getting screwed in orifices he didn't even know existed till monti's 'manovra' came along to 'save italy from the markets'.)

seeing berlu rise from the tomb and gat unlimited tv time to spew his stuff is the worst kind of deja vu, maybe you have to suffer more of that to understand why beppe is a healthy force in italian politics right now, and why he's so desperate to get italians to think outside the box and throw out the charlatans who have been diligently making italy an increasing bad place to be unless you're a millionaire.

bersani won't bring serious change, but he is better than the others, a lower bar would be hard to imagine...

it is amusing watching them scrabble for a coherent message that doesn't include too many things similar to grillo's. vendola has hinted that grillo harks back to fascism, a great example of the left shooting itself in the foot as usual.

i think they will all cancel each other out, and no matter who cobbles together a piecemeal party, it will fail anyway, leaving the way open for the 5* in the one after.

which surely won't be long, given italy's guinness record for bowling pin governments...


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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 08:11:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IIRC, the strong element of direct democracy in Switzerland came to be is similar to the five star movement.

The Liberals that had established themselves as the dominant party following the Swiss civil war of 1847 grew more and more corrupt, laying the grounds for the Democrats to challenge them on a platform of anti-corruption and direct democracy. After winning in numerous cantons and enacting their platform there, teh Democrats posed such a threat that the Liberals impleneted their direct democracy platform on the federal level to keep their offices.

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 Jan 21st, 2013 at 09:00:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Anybody see the video of the Bulgarian politician who had a gun pointed to his head?  It looks like the safety was on, and although the assailant tried to shoot, no bullet was fired.  I would have wet myself.
by stevesim on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 12:11:07 PM EST
I didn't realise he had a gun put to his head. I did catch twitter chatter about the leader of the Bulgarian Liberals suffering an attempt on his life at a party event.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 12:25:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting, there are two versions. The sanitised one shows just the attack. The, ahem, longer one shows the attack and then the great heroes of the security kicking the man after the arrest.


by Katrin on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 12:25:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there's also an old man who hits him with his brolly.
by stevesim on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 12:34:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ROFL. James Galbraith interviewed by some journalists who are even more clueless than usual.


by Katrin on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 02:15:06 PM EST
Apologies for not being around, I'm having a day in slo-mo

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 02:57:39 PM EST
Since Ted Turner sold CNN it has increasingly become a prize winning collection of RW sacks of shit with talking heads attached.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 04:19:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait, when did Turner sell CNN?  That makes sense though.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 04:46:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Turner Broadcasting merged with TimeWarner in 1996.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 06:13:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but I thought Ted was still running the show for some reason.

The man owns half of Atlanta.  Surely they wouldn't put the empire in Warner's hands?

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 06:27:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They did.  Which is why CNN sucks.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 06:39:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect that freedom from Turner's editorial concerns was the thing that the suits at TWC most wanted from CNN. Turner was no saint, but I strongly suspect that those setting the media agenda found him a loose cannon.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 11:26:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CNN was only a valuable source of breaking news for a few years and never my favorite, but it had coverage in areas and in extent not otherwise available in the early '90s. But I noticed a very significant change in tone to the more conservative as we moved into the new century. Today they seem to be competing for the audience Fox attracts. The recent interview with Jamie Gailbraith Katrin posted earlier in the OT revealed the vapidity of their current hosts and in house 'guest' commentators.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 11:38:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In a thread like this, it might be wise to read up Turner's own take of that history:

"My Beef With Big Media" by Ted Turner

Throughout the 1980s, network lobbyists worked to overturn the so-called Financial Interest and Syndication Rules, or fin-syn, which had been put in place in 1970, after federal officials became alarmed at the networks' growing control over programming. As the FCC wrote in the fin-syn decision: "The power to determine form and content rests only in the three networks and is exercised extensively and exclusively by them, hourly and daily." In 1957, the commission pointed out, independent companies had produced a third of all network shows; by 1968, that number had dropped to 4 percent. The rules essentially forbade networks from profiting from reselling programs that they had already aired.

This had the result of forcing networks to sell off their syndication arms, as CBS did with Viacom in 1973. Once networks no longer produced their own content, new competition was launched, creating fresh opportunities for independents.

For a time, Hollywood and its production studios were politically strong enough to keep the fin-syn rules in place. But by the early 1990s, the networks began arguing that their dominance had been undercut by the rise of independent broadcasters, cable networks, and even videocassettes, which they claimed gave viewers enough choice to make fin-syn unnecessary. The FCC ultimately agreed--and suddenly the broadcast networks could tell independent production studios, "We won't air it unless we own it." The networks then bought up the weakened studios or were bought out by their own syndication arms, the way Viacom turned the tables on CBS, buying the network in 2000. This silenced the major political opponents of consolidation.

Even before the repeal of fin-syn, I could see that the trend toward consolidation spelled trouble for independents like me. In a climate of consolidation, there would be only one sure way to win: bring a broadcast network, production studios, and cable and satellite systems under one roof. If you didn't have it inside, you'd have to get it outside--and that meant, increasingly, from a large corporation that was competing with you. It's difficult to survive when your suppliers are owned by your competitors. I had tried and failed to buy a major broadcast network, but the repeal of fin-syn turned up the pressure. Since I couldn't buy a network, I bought MGM to bring more content in-house, and I kept looking for other ways to gain scale. In the end, I found the only way to stay competitive was to merge with Time Warner and relinquish control of my companies.

Today, the only way for media companies to survive is to own everything up and down the media chain--from broadcast and cable networks to the sitcoms, movies, and news broadcasts you see on those stations; to the production studios that make them; to the cable, satellite, and broadcast systems that bring the programs to your television set; to the Web sites you visit to read about those programs; to the way you log on to the Internet to view those pages. Big media today wants to own the faucet, pipeline, water, and the reservoir. The rain clouds come next.


by Nomad on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 06:15:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The article was written in 2004.  In 2005 a bunch of ex-PayPal employees got together and started YouTube.

Making the Internet the equivalent of broadcast TV.

With the exception the broadcast radius is now the entire globe.  

Some people in Hollywood know this makes the existing business model obsolete and an obsolete business model means - skipping a couple of steps - there is money to be made by shifting content delivery to the Internet.  However there isn't as much profit potential.  The people who make the content, indies or MegaMediaCorp, receive a whole bunch of bucks/euros/yen/krone from re-broadcast of content, primarily entertainment, e.g., Friends.  You see, once a show is "in the can" the costs are locked and the finance of the current business model means content producers have made a profit; re-broadcast, by whatever means, returns more than 100% profit.

Let's sketch that out.

Putting a show on DVD for home "re-broadcast" costs, roughly, thirty cents.  The average selling price is roughly $40.  That's not all profit, of course, but it illustrates the point I'm trying to make: re-broadcast is much more profitable than the original showing.  For a major hit series like Friends it is VASTLY more profitable when all the money from the various distribution channels are added up.

Internet distribution puts a huge whacking hole into this nice little gig they got going.  Internet is a digital - like, duh - and the ability to save digital encoded media is available on every machine used to 'consume' (as it is called) digital encoded media.  With the result customers have the ability to become competitors; the larger the customer base, the greater the number of competitors.

oops.

Existing MegaMediaCorporations have gotten used to a financial situation that can be said to be raining money and they have amalgamated into every larger buckets to grab as much as humanly possible.  The amalgamation has raised their fixed costs, such as interest payments on the tens of billions of debt, to an extent that it would be difficult to impossible to continue to stay in business unless they are grabbing as much money as humanly possible.

Enough people are aware the existing business model is gefucked.  What the MegaMediaCorps want to be able to do is profit from broadcasting content over the Internet without allowing consumers the ability to save the content for re-broadcast, even to and for themself.  

Which is impossible.

For the media companies the Internet is a Schumpeter's gale.  At the moment the current media complex, including indie content providers, are keeping the thing squashed, in a couple of different ways.  At some point some bright sparks are going to get the funding to force a jump from the old to a new model.  At the moment nobody has a handle on what that model is but there is a large enough known market potential, like microcomputers circa 1977, waiting around for the introduction of the Apple II and TRS-80 to kick it all off.

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

by ATinNM on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 01:48:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New is not something that is brought to you, news is now something you have to search out.

TV is the worst source.

Oh, they talk about the news, and you can tease out the reporting, but reporting the news  is something I remember used to happen.

I think. Maybe i just remember wrong.

by greatferm (greatferm-at-email.com) on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 05:25:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On most fora you would frighten the children with that comment.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jan 19th, 2013 at 11:39:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been greatly enjoying a series of BBC Radio 4 podcasts called A History of the World in 100 Objects

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 04:22:04 AM EST
thanks for the tip.
by stevesim on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 01:19:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sven, I keep to tell you about my favouritest television program of all time.  It was done by the CBC and it was called ZED.  Everyone I ever turned on to this program became a convert and found it to be the best television they had ever seen.

It was a showcase for new artists -  video, music, spoke word, etc.  At first it was only people from Canada but as its reputation grew, there were contributions from around the world.

It was so cheap to make, that I am amazed that they ever took it off the air.

There are some archives somewhere of the programs. You should check it out sometime.

by stevesim on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 05:11:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes - looks interesting, and I also have a current project involving user-created content - so this is good research.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 02:56:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you can figure out why they ever took this program off the air, let me know.
by stevesim on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 03:24:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's always a 'per nose' factor: what does it cost to reach each reliable member of the audience? It's roughly total cost divided by reach modified by % conversion of reach.

It turns out to be a fairly stable number in particular communication channels - though slowly shifting with time. % Conversion is a rather blurry variable aka bullshit.

For commercial TV or radio channels, the per nose factor is crucial because it's used to calculate ad rate offerings for different shows and time slots. For non-commercial channels the calculation is rather like having a pegged currency, aka bullshit.

But this is all academic. In 5 years time none of us will recognize the TV industry.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 03:51:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
William Lind in The American Conservative Center for Public Transportation (article from July, but I only just discovered this site).
The August, 2012 issue of Motor Trend has a somewhat surprising article, "is the automobile over?" The piece reports what has been reported elsewhere, namely that young people are showing a remarkable decrease in the desires to own a car and even to drive. Based on a Frontier Group study, "Transportation and the New Generation" by Benjamin Davis and Tony Dutzik, the article notes that
The share of 14-to 34-year olds without a driver's license was 26% in 2010, up from 21% in 2000. . . The same age group walked to more destinations in '09 than in '01, and the distance it traveled by public transit increased 40 percent.
The interesting thing about this article is less the information than the tone. Motor Trend is a magazine for car enthusiasts.

[...]

Isn't it interesting that even a car magazine can be more balanced in its approach to transportation than the libertarian transit critics, who for all their talk of "freedom," want to maintain a choiceless dependence on automobiles.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 05:25:54 AM EST
We discussed recently the problems with the Munich-Rome night train, due to the DB being caught by surprise by safety regulations that the Italians announced back in 2007. It is now running until the end of February (at least) with no seating car. It still has stops listed in Bolzano and Trento, but I've no idea if you can get a ticket to them. I wondered whether getting a couchette and getting off early would be cheaper than a hotel in Innsbruck, so I went by the Munich HBf shortly before departure of the train and asked a conductor. Trento is now a mere "Betriebshalt" (for what?) and she didn't know whether the Italian conductor would let me off or not.

But the problem turns out not to be just DB and night trains. There's also the Lienz-Innsbruck ÖBB/Trenitalia train which has exactly the same problem. The short-term solution? Replace it with a bus, with the stops in Italy being only on request, and only for dropping off passangers. So I took the train to Fortezza, assuming that this stop would always be requested, and that the Austrian drivers would not be too strict about the regulations. Talking to people there, my guess was right, but none of us considered the possibility that the bus would be early, and wouldn't wait for arriving trains (I took the train to Innsbruck 45 minutes later, and caught the connection I planned on, with the time to change in Innsbruck reduced from 1 hour to  exactly zero minutes).

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 05:36:51 AM EST

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 06:03:15 AM EST
Finally, enough snow to actually play in the snow! It's been a long time since that happened.

And ir's Sunday, so the streets are eerily quiet - nice!

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 06:10:36 AM EST
The super cool stealth hoodie that lets you hide from drones | Mail Online

Ever wanted to hide out from government surveillance cameras?

New York-based artist Adam Harvey and fashion designer Johanna Bloomfield came up with the perfect fit for those who like to foil government voyeurs: clothing that blocks thermal radiation from the infrared scanners drones use.

Don't know what to comment.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 02:02:34 PM EST
Looks like a space blanket plus some sewing.


Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 02:22:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Might be ... uncomfortably hot in the Malian desert.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 07:21:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama `guidebook' for targeted killings to include exemption for CIA drone strikes in Pakistan: report | The Raw Story

The administration of President Barack Obama is completing a counterterrorism manual that will establish clear rules for targeted-killing operations, The Washington Post reported.

But citing unnamed US officials, the newspaper said the guidebook would contain a major exemption for the CIA's campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan.

This exemption will allow the Central Intelligence Agency to continue striking Al-Qaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistan for a year or more before the agency is forced to comply with more stringent rules spelled out in the document, the report said.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 02:24:22 PM EST
More from FDL:

Firedoglake

The "rule" book, which the Obama administration has described as a "counterterrorism `playbook,'"

I find using the word 'playbook' in this context absolutely obscene.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 03:51:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It doesn't mean a child's "play book". The sense as it's used in the US is this:

Playbook | Define Playbook at Dictionary.com

3.Football. a notebook containing descriptions of all the plays and strategies used by a team, often accompanied by diagrams, issued to players for them to study and memorize before the season begins. 4.Informal. any plan or set of strategies, as for outlining a campaign in business or politics.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 04:26:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is ... interesting:

Red October espionage platform unplugged hours after its discovery:

Key parts of the infrastructure supporting an espionage campaign that targeted governments around the world reportedly have been shut down in the days since the five-year operation was exposed.

Meaning Red October was being actively managed and the operation monitored for discovery, 24/7.  That requires some serious bucks.

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

by ATinNM on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 02:48:19 PM EST
By one seat SPD-Greens overcame the shit recovery of the FDP to 9% in the Lower Saxony gubmint.

Like an idiot, i don't have much comment because San Francisco, after winning the baseball championship, is now going to the Stupor Bowl. Yes.

But, thanks to the Greens (up to some 13+%), there is a change of power in my neighbor state. (Actually we're two islands in Niedersachesen.)

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

by Crazy Horse on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 06:40:27 PM EST
We did it!

And a a quite definite win in my constituency , too.

(I didn't post because I was quite involved in the campaign of my constituency candidate).

That proves - well stalemate.

by IM on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 07:52:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Congratulations.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Sun Jan 20th, 2013 at 10:54:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Congrats IM. (Where are you in Niedersachsen? we could meet, with Katrin from the island of Hamburg.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 03:06:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Helmnstedt. county of, town of. In the south-eastern corner.
by IM on Tue Jan 22nd, 2013 at 09:04:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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