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Friday Open Thread

by Colman Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 11:51:34 AM EST

I close this discourse about operational confidence by noting that the United States has built a missile defense that does not work, to defend against a North Korean missile that does not work, that would carry a nuclear warhead that does not work. (Arms Control Wonk)


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It's Friday afternoon. Brain shutting down now. But I liked that quote.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 11:51:47 AM EST
You and ACW are clearly just the worst kind of terrorist Axis of Evil supporters.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 11:59:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice quote!

But shouldn't have Jérôme done the Friday Open Thread? You know Friday.... is Kitty blogging time, pictures and up-dates.:-)

by Fran on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 12:18:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They are still a bit scared, and that certainly did not help...



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 01:08:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm being invaded by my neighbour's 2 cats these days. Well one in particular (the other sometimes follows). Since I have a mezzanine, these cats love coming here.

They stand at my half-open window, one puts a paw through, and go "grnx? marou? grnx? maaaaaarouuuu?" until I either put earplugs, close the window, or by a freak wind incident the window opens just enough for them to slip in. They then climb the ladder to the mezzanine and sleep on my bed for hours. Occasionally I get reminded that they're there, when I open the fridge: "grnx? marou? grnx? maaaaaaroouuu?".

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 01:14:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like you're stuck, Alex.  Remember: Dogs are adopted, but cats simply happen.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 02:15:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have high hopes. Soon the cold season will start, at that point I won't leave my window half-open as often as now, and mankind will then triumph over cats.

In the meantime I don't mind so much (I mentioned earlier that my flat was too small to accomodate animals, so this is a way to bypass that limitation - I live on a peaceful courtyard)

It's only a pain in the butt when I have to go somewhere - I then need to fully open the window, climb on the mezzanine, and go "grnx! marou! grnx! maaaaarouu!" to get them to leave my flat so that I can shut it and go myself.

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 02:30:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the big question when you no longer open the window, is are the cats on the inside or the outside.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 03:09:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We have a whole pride of Kits that wander in the back door, a couple of tortoiseshells and a black with white boots. They bounce about in the back garden till they get the chance to chase the cows around the back field.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 03:08:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cute little fur-ball. So has your life changed?
by Fran on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 01:56:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It looks like a museum specimen.

Is it alive?

Or is this a Runaway Cat Bride Night?

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins

by EricC on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 08:57:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
good time to discover, or re-discover, "The Bed-Sitting Room" -- one of the strangest, most uneven, most intriguing antinuke, antiwar, antijingo films ever made (nuke weapons, that is).  I just got hold of a (rare, I believe) copy on dvd recently and was struck anew by the sheer strangeness of the project and the incredible cast ...

that pull quote reminded me irresistibly of the scene where the "British Nuclear Device" is returned to sender, postage due.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 08:57:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Blimey, I was only away a day and all the bonhomie of Wednesday turned into  war-zone last night. I coul;d barely bring myself to read all of the threats and horrid-icity (if that's not a word it ought to be).

You're gonna have to be good all by yourself tonight cos I'm off out soon.

Just be nice okay and give each other the benefit of the doubt (backs out trying to look stern)

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 12:08:41 PM EST
Yep. You leave us on our own just once and look what happens. ;-)

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 12:43:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's almost as if it were a race to see which side could develop the more ridiculous waste of money.  I don't know why NK is such an enormous concern.  The other nuclear powers have firecrackers that are more reliable and less dangerous than North Korea.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 12:22:15 PM EST
Remember Keynes... Government spending is good, and fireworks it will have to be if the schooling of our politicians in the principles of economics doesn't leave us a better option.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 12:25:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia and China are busy to fine tune their next coordinated steps over NK nuclear crisis.
Russia and China have called for a resumption of six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear program as soon as possible, the press service of Russia's Security Council said Friday.

"The situation around the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula must be immediately returned to peaceful lines of negotiations," the press service reported after talks between Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov and Tang Jiaxuan, Chinese President Hu Jintao's special envoy.

Ivanov and Tang Jiaxuan shared their concerns over the nuclear escalation on the Korean Peninsula, and spoke against violations of non-proliferation regulations.

The parties "highlighted the importance of coordinated efforts by Russia and China on the world arena to counter new threats and challenges, and to ensure global stability," the press service said.

North Korea announced it had developed nuclear weapons in February 2005. Negotiators proposed aid and security guarantees for the secretive regime in exchange for a renunciation of its nuclear program.

But the six-nation talks stalled last November over Pyongyang's demands that the U.S. lift sanctions imposed on it for its alleged involvement in counterfeiting and other illegal activities.

China and Russia oppose strict sanctions against Pyongyang. China insists that measures being taken against North Korea must not be overly tough, but should aim to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and ensure stability and security in northeast Asia.

Liu Jianchao, the official spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, said Thursday that China was seeking good neighborly relations with North Korea, and that it would not cut off economic assistance to Pyongyang. "China's economic assistance to North Korea is improving the living standards of its people," Jianchao said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this week that diplomacy should be the only way for the international community to dissuade North Korea from further nuclear tests.

by FarEasterner on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 01:15:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stephen Blank from Jamestown Foundation published good analysis of current Russian policy towards NK.
Although North Korea's nuclear test on October 9 transformed the Northeast Asian landscape, it apparently has not changed the postures of the members of the six-party talks all that much. Russia's reaction to this test is very much a linear progression from its previous stance in the negotiations and suggests that it will not be a party to U.S. and Japanese efforts to come down very hard on North Korea. Although Russian President Vladimir Putin and the government immediately condemned the tests, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov observed that North Korea is now a new nuclear power, suggesting that it will not be possible to roll back the clock to the status quo ante (RIA-Novosti, October 10).

When recently NK unsuccessfully launched a rocket Russian media reported that its debris fell just off the shore near Vladivostok in Russian territorial waters with Russian army in full complacency. Generals probably thought it should fall somewhere to the south.

This may be a realistic assessment, but it hardly is one that looks to achieve a successful denuclearization or punishment of North Korea. Indeed, both Putin and Ivanov have ruled out the use of force against North Korea, with Ivanov pointing out that Russia shares a border with North Korea, implying that war could thus engulf Russian territory (president.ru, October 10; Moscow Times, October 11). Putin even went further in his October 10 interview with the Suddeutsche Zeitung (president.ru, October 10), when he stated that the other five parties to the talks must stick together and not drive the problem into a dead end. He said the negotiating process should be maintained at all costs to ensure that there is always the prospect of a political solution. But this can only happen if the parties are willing to make compromises. In his interview with German ARD Television, Putin stressed, "We need to move from talk of ultimatums and sanctions toward seeing international law prevail in international matters." He cautioned that as long as one side believes its security is being violated or that it is being discriminated against, it would continue to behave this way (ARD Television, Germany, October 10). Thus he implicitly criticized U.S. obduracy as well as North Korea's equal stubbornness in these talks.

This view accords with that of much of the Russian elite. Andrei Kokoshin, chairman of the Duma Committee for CIS Affairs and a man with great experience in defense and foreign affairs, said that the problem would have been much easier to solve had it not been for U.S. officials' verbal attacks on North Korea (Russia and CIS Military Newswire, October 10). While it is not yet clear whether or not Russia will endorse severe sanctions on North Korea as Washington is proposing, the above statements seem to exclude that possibility. Indeed, on October 11 Russia completed scheduled food deliveries to North Korea under the UN World Food program (RIA-Novosti, October 11). Had Russia really been as furious as is Washington, it might have used that shipment to signal its anger.

These were the facts, now it's time for analysis:

One reason for Putin's measured attitude may be that he and his team recognize that the entire negotiating process over Korea could break down, leaving Washington and China unrestrained and Russia unable to influence future developments in the region. Therefore Moscow lost no time in stating that it is ready to rejoin efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution of the situation around North Korea (RIA-Novosti, October 10).

This attitude should not come as a surprise. Ivanov is still trying to find excuses for Iran's proliferation efforts, and it is clear that Beijing and Moscow are unlikely to unite with Tokyo and Washington. In other words, the lineup observed earlier and throughout the duration of the crisis, which began in 2002 when North Korea's cheating of the Agreed Framework was revealed, continues to prevail. Moscow and Beijing still oppose U.S. efforts to pressure North Korea beyond a certain point, are reluctant to embrace sanctions, and will certainly not let Washington act unilaterally against the North Korean regime. Therefore it is unlikely that this nuclear test will effect a major change in the lineup as constituted until now. While this may seem surprising, this sense of deja vu in the posture of the other five states probably suggested itself to North Korea, which calculated that nothing too severe would happen to it and that the internal divisions among the five would allow it to test with relative--if not absolute--impunity.

These continuing divisions among the five powers call into question the utility of the multilateral forum as long as Washington insists on dragging into it issues of regime change. It may not even be possible to achieve a multilateral agreement on a strict nonproliferation agenda. But to weigh down this forum with other issues that are perceived by Moscow, Beijing, and Seoul as extraneous and deliberately counterproductive has led to a dead end for Washington and Tokyo, because those three states have systematically opposed both U.S. and Japanese initiatives. Russia's, if not China's, posture suggests that an "agonizing reappraisal" of the multilateral format's utility and prospects for success is not only long overdue, but urgent.

It does seem to me that overall NK issue is not on the main agenda of all players except Japan (and there it is merely used by militarists to adopt changes in constitution) and this question will be tied to solution of other problems, like Iran and numerous bilateral issues like WTO admission.

by FarEasterner on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 01:43:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very informative post, thankyou!
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 01:46:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know, I know... But I promised a diary on Friday on science and it wasn't there, and it won't be coming today either, as I've another dinner to attend.

The little critters do bug me. There is some literature out there, but most of the useful ones are behind subscription walls and worse: so far I haven't been able to find the truly essential data (dissolution curves, thermodynamic data). I suspect it's not even found on the web yet, but I will ask anyway. In the diary. When it comes.

Which will come. I think the coterie of Migeru and dvx have put some fresh ideas inside my head on this topic. They're gestating.

Yet I first needed to get back on the Dutch elections after all. Only so many weeks left...

Happy weekend all.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 12:39:24 PM EST
I for one am looking forward to it.

Those foraminifera are turning up everywhere. I saw an article (well, press release) this morning about dating the ice age "land bridge" across the Bering Straits, and damn if they didn't start talking about gauging temperatures using foraminifera.

Oh, and smakelijik!

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

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 12:52:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I saw over at BT people were embedding Youtube videos in their diaries and comments (and not just FPers).

Can we do that too (and what's the html)?

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

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 12:55:12 PM EST
The code was provided in a recent Open Thread - and used successfully, but I cannot seem to find it. Can anyone else help?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 01:13:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a macro.
To embed a YouTube video at (say) "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR8aSPT81pA" copy the piece after the "v=" from the address bar of your browser and use: ( (youtube ZR8aSPT81pA)) but without the space between the first set of parentheses.


Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 01:41:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
oh, cool.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 02:03:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heheheheh.  I think I'm going to embed all five million Jon Stewart YouTube videos here.

You may have created a monster.  But you will like this video....

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 02:17:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's so sad that this has to hide under cover of "comedy".

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 14th, 2006 at 02:11:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sat Oct 14th, 2006 at 02:39:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean like this?

Great googlie-mooglie! It works!

Thanks, Migeru!

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

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 02:09:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great googlie-mooglie!

Rather apposite, really.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 02:54:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now look

what you made me do.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 02:33:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russian media reports that Vladimir Kramnik became new world chess champion wrestling victory from Veselin Topalov in last game. The score is 8,5:7,5.
by FarEasterner on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 12:56:17 PM EST
He's the one who took too many bathroom breaks, right?

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 06:04:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU prepared text decrying Russian blocade of Georgia. It was initiated by Chech republic, supported by Scandinavians and Eastern Europeans, opposed by Greece, Italy and Portugal while larger EU states preferred to abstain.
You can access full text of leaks here.
What do you think of this especially comparing Russian measures to 40-years blocade of Cuba by United States?
by FarEasterner on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 02:07:10 PM EST
Russia bashing: the usual suspects.

Can someone do a diary on Ossetia?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 03:05:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can someone do a diary on Ossetia?

I'm very far from Ossetia, perhaps farther than you ;)

by FarEasterner on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 03:40:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This takes us back to Colman's question, What is "The West"?

It all depends how far East you are.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 03:48:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I should try to get ahold of my sister's thesis on Abkhazia...

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 14th, 2006 at 07:40:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Has anyone posted a followup on the Austrain elections?

With the postal ballots counted, Greens did overtook Haider's former party, FPÖ -- by 632 votes... percents/mandates:

  1. SPÖ (SocDem) 35.3%, 68 seats
  2. ÖVP (con) 34.3%, 66 seats
  3. Greens 11.0%, 21 seats
  4. FPÖ (far-right) 11.0%, 21 seats
  5. BZÖ (far-right, current Haider party) 4.1%, 7 seats

Currently, the two bigs hold talks for a grand coalition, with SPÖ's glassed-bald boss Gusenbauer as chancellor-to-be. There was movement over one issue that was part of the campaign: the SPÖ demanded an exit from the deal to get Eurofighter jets for Austria, attacking the government for holding the deal (which included return investments) confidential. Now outgoing chancellor Schüssel handed over the documents for Gusenbauer to read. Now the Greens demand that Gusenbauer shall make the deal public.

Also, there is a scandal in the BZÖ.

This party was born when Haider saw FPÖ in crisis, and its hardcore Vienna boss with too much ambition -- so e left, along with FPÖ's ministers and some MPs on the top and much of the Carynthia branch of FPÖ on the bottom. And tricky Schüssel continued his coalition with this new formation... Haider wanted to pretend that BZÖ is a cut with the hardcore far-right, and pulled himself in the background for once popular former finance minister Peter Westentaler (a pragmatist), but soon some BZÖ members gave Nazi-apologist speeches...

The scandal concerns Westentaler. The press secretary of the justice minister claims that he was beaten up on election night by Westentaler's bodyguard, at his order. The case is going to courts, Westentaler could even get six months. He and the bodyguard deny everything.

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

by DoDo on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 03:50:26 PM EST
I've just spent an hour on an apparently popular French police forum, reading comments etc, something I had never done, and I can safely say that although there seems to be a general tendancy towards robocopness (example: "look at this video of a Texas police officer running down a suspect with his car to immobilize him, we should show it to delinquents in France to justify that we're by far much nicer"), I also notice a great sense of abandonment.

Quite fascinating, really.

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 06:32:41 PM EST
Abandonment? In which sense?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 07:01:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As in "not being loved enough" (feeling somewhat abandoned by the population, in that sense of the verb abandon). You're right to ask, there are very different meanings to "abandonment".
by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 07:45:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I don't see that the quotation is evidence of French "robocopness" - it seems to suggest that the writer thinks what the US cops did was obviously deplorable - not that they should emulate it - and that deliquents might be a bit less prone to condemn the French police if they saw this.

What's the link ?

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 07:28:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True, that's what they suggest, but to me it also silently implies that some degree of rough treatment will always be nicer than being run over by a chasing police car.

Here is a link to that forum, the presentation is ugly, but they have a good 600 users and several thousand comments, and I landed on it after following a few regular police channels, so I believe it's quite popular:

http://polci.frbb.net/index.forum (it's in French)

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 07:42:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I've just revised a blog entry on a visit to Versailles - it takes a rather different line from that adopted by the overly reverent audio guide, and a lot of it is based on the fascinating memoirs of Saint-Simon, who was a member of Louis XIV's court, but made some telling criticisms of Louis and Versailles:

http://now-in-paris.blogspot.com

Re the bit about military disaster, I hardly need point out the analogy with Bush and Blair - though they attacked rather than calling one off.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Fri Oct 13th, 2006 at 07:34:02 PM EST


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