Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Sunday Marxist Brunch - October 8

by p------- Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 12:26:06 AM EST

"Democracy is the road to socialism."

"Civil servants and priests, soldiers and ballet-dancers, schoolmasters and police constables, Greek museums and Gothic steeples, civil list and services list - the common seed within which all these fabulous beings slumber in embryo is taxation."

"All I know is I'm not a Marxist."

--Karl Marx

Today's lesson? You are probably a Marxist if you champion socialism, embrace taxation, and deny you are a Marxist. ;)

(Yikes, I think I just channeled Alexei Sayle channeling Jeff Foxworthy...)


Display:
of capitalism. it is just a matter of finding a practical alternative system.
by observer393 on Sat Oct 7th, 2006 at 11:49:46 PM EST
Agreed.

Every time that I present a Marxist critique of capitalism to my Introduction to Politics course (we go through different political theorists from Hobbes through  something approaching contemporary questions), they end up agreeing with the analysis.

They've seen what rampant, rabid capitalism can do to a society. The question is how much to reform of the bad without taking from the good of capitalism.

As always, the devil's in the details.

by gradinski chai on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 04:51:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, I'm on my 3rd glass of wine, just back from the Booman Meetup, Maryb is fabulous, as were the rest of the BooTribbers in attendance tonight, and I am so overcome with bachanalian joy that I ask not to be held responsible for anything I write in my current state.  Unless it is brilliant.  Then I take complete responsibility...

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Sat Oct 7th, 2006 at 11:51:06 PM EST
Because you are there.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Sat Oct 7th, 2006 at 11:51:40 PM EST
Independent: Murder in Moscow: The shooting of Anna Politkovskaya

A body found slumped in a Moscow lift. A discarded pistol and four spent shells. A mysterious thin man in a black baseball cap. The murder yesterday of Anna Politkovskaya, the most famous reporter in Russia, is a story as sinister as anything she investigated in her fearless, award-winning career.

The 48-year-old, lauded by journalists and writers around the world for her exposés in Chechnya, appears to have been assassinated. Her most powerful enemy was President Vladimir Putin. The murder came two days before she was due to publish an exposé of the Chechnyan Prime Minister.

The gun found near her apartment block in central Moscow was a 9mm Makarov, known as the weapon of choice for Russian hitmen. Police said they were searching for a man in his twenties dressed in a black cap, seen just before neighbours discovered her body in the lift.

Amnesty International said that it was "shocked, saddened and deeply angered" at the death of Politkovskaya, who had won its international media award in 2002. A spokesman said: "Russia has lost a great human- rights defender."

Hat tip to Far Easterner for breaking this yesterday.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 12:06:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian:

Cancer patients sacked illegally, survey finds

Cancer patients suffer discrimination and unfair dismissal at work despite recent legislation to protect their rights, disability experts said today.

An investigation by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) found that many cancer patients were discriminated against because their employers were not aware of their legal responsibilities.

The commission said its helpline had dealt with, on average, two calls a week from women with breast cancer complaining of unfair treatment at work since Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was amended in December to give protection to people with cancer.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 03:27:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some more information from the Disability Rights Commission website

In total, more than 70 women with breast cancer and 103 people with other forms of cancer have called the DRC Helpline complaining of problems with their employers.

(...)

Among callers with other cancers, the overwhelming majority (82%) cited employers failing to make reasonable adjustments that would keep them in work. Nearly one in five callers reported having been dismissed.  A further 13% of callers complained of facing threats of dismissal and nearly 6% of callers were facing disciplinary action.

These kind of issues frequently arise with most disabilities, often due to the assumption that any reasonable adjustments would be a hassle and cost a fortune, which actually is rarely the case. So employers just give people the boot.

The Disability Discrimination Act itself came into force in a staggered way, and each time there was an overwhelming ignorance and lack of preparation to meet the requirements.  Unfortunately it doesn't surprise me at all that employers are not aware that that they can no long just sack people with cancer.  The Amendment also covers people with HIV and with Multiple Sclerosis.

There's also a lack of awareness in the general population as to what their rights actually are, and what they can do if they've been treated unlawfully at work - which just gives even more leeway for unscrupulous employers to go ahead with exploiting and devaluing their employees.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 04:06:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is just one example of the bad side of capitalism.
by gradinski chai on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 04:53:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly. And it absolutely galls that I have to work so hard to try to convince employers of the business case behind supporting disabled people to be able to stay in the workplace (this applies generally to promoting good equality practice), because I know that they are impervious to the argument that morally, it is the right thing to do.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 05:22:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Straw blamed for 'racist' backlash

The first sign of a racist reaction came in Liverpool on Friday when a man snatched a veil from a 49-year-old woman's face after shouting racist abuse. Yesterday, protesters took to the streets of Mr Straw's Blackburn constituency to vent their anger.

The protest was told that a young Muslim girl wearing a veil in Blackburn was confronted by three youths on Friday night. One threw a newspaper at her and shouted: "Jack has told you to take off your veil."

by det on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 04:40:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OMFG...

We discussed a few months ago the issue of whether it was reasonable to expect employers to hire people whose face they can't see, whether it was reasonable that veiled muslim women will choose no to attend job interviews because they know they will not be hired, and initially whether it was justified for the State to withdraw unemployment benefits from these women for refusing to attend interviews for jobs they are actually qualified for. This was in the context of the Netherlands.

I think Straw's words around this have not been unreasonable, he basically said it makes him uncomfortable to talk to people whose faces he can't see, and that he has been bringing this up privately with her constituents for about a year, always with a female staffer in the room when the women came to tell him of some problem. But I wonder whether in the current climate it is possible to voice these concerns openly without having idiots attack muslim women shouting "Jack has told you to take off your veil" (which he emphatically didn't) and sparking protests by muslims...

I think the day is not far off when an Islamist political party will start contesting elections in the UK, and scaring people shitless. And I am not talking about Respect (at least in its current incarnation).

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 04:50:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is only partly about Muslims. If you set up a climate of xenophobia - it could just as easily be about people with long hair, or Spaniards - then there will always be idiots who use it as an excuse to pick a fight.

The problem is the idiots - and every culture has them, including Westerners and Muslims. Ideologies are only a problem to the extent that they encourage this kind of thing.

(And every so often a culture goes off the deep end and the idiots take over. That's when you get Nazi Germany, the Taleban, and Bush World.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 05:32:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the day is not far off when an Islamist political party will start contesting elections in the UK, and scaring people shitless.

If it does happen, let's just grab that party and the BNP, lock them in an arena, and let them slaughter each other.  We'll ship you Pat Buchanan from the states, too, and kill two birds with one stone.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 09:36:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to wikipedia (2001 census data) Muslims in England and Wales are only 3% of the population, so an Islamist party cannot really poll all that highly, so it would not be obectively scary, but only subjectively.

grab that party and the BNP, lock them in an arena, and let them slaughter each other

Very funny. Trouble is, you'd likely find places like East London [Barking and Dagenham, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest] doubling as this "arena".

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 10:38:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I wonder how many of those British muslims are actually "Islamist" and how many are just your average British Subject who maybe or maybe not goes to Mosque and just wants to live a normal life, small business, send kids to college, tend the garden, etc.

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Flöte! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"
by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Mon Oct 9th, 2006 at 04:41:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't add anything of real value to what TBG said.  There are idiots all over the world.  I suppose we should find it reassuring that we all have to deal with the same sorts of lunatics.  (My argument stands: People are generally the same where ever you may be.  We just have to break them up into smaller groups to get the more accurate picture.)

Personally, I didn't find Straw's comments to be at all racist.  I don't like talking to people whose faces I can't see either.  Am I going to rip off their veils?  Of course not.  It's my problem, and I get over it in short order when I talk to them, anyway.  Or I can choose to not talk to them.

Too large a chunk of the Muslim population really is too sensitive, though.  If you don't want to take the veil off, write a fucking email to his office about whatever you wanted to talk about instead of annoying viewers with pointless marches.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 09:46:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Straw still received, listened to and helped veiled women who came to his surgeries, he just let them know that not being able to see their faces made him uncomfortable. I am not aware of any public protests. However, since he came out publicly on the topic, the press took the (IMHO) wrong spin on it, broadcast his "gaining backing" from political and religious (Xian) figures, then broadcast (IMHO misplaced) acusations of racism, and then people started assaulting veiled women, and some muslims started protesting.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 09:58:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have been disappointed at the lack of informed comment in the British media. There are genuine Islamic reasons for not wearing a veil. Just as there are islamic reasons for wearing one. It would be nice to see Irshad Manji, Amina Wadud or Shirin Ebadi on this.

However, the debate has simply been pitting the hackneyed views of the same old biased male voices and a few veiled women tellng everybody how wonderful it is to be hidden from the world and countering them with the ill-informed prejudice of Joe and Jane vox pop saying "it's all wrong innit".

Very unimaginative

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 02:08:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Tea for two as Brown and Blair woo Murdoch

It must be tiresome, at times, having the two most important men in British politics pleading for your affections. But when you are Rupert Murdoch, being constantly pestered to drop round for tea with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown is all part of the job - even if it is, as he says 'sometimes very inconvenient'.

In an interview with John Cassidy for New Yorker magazine, available from tomorrow in Britain, Murdoch gives his frankest assessment yet of the British political scene, describing Blair as a 'lame duck' ever since he announced he would not serve a full third term, and also disclosing that the rivalry between Blair and Brown is so great that he cannot meet one unless he also sees the other.

There will be groans in Downing Street at the way the media tycoon characterises his relationship with New Labour, portraying its two senior figures as vying for his attention.

Murdoch said Margaret Thatcher did not go out of her way to develop a personal relationship with him as premier, but that he had been courted tirelessly by the current administration.

'Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, whenever I'm in town they say, "Can't you come over for a cup of tea?" When you're invited by the Prime Minister to have a cup of tea, you have a cup of tea. It's sometimes very inconvenient - if you're only there two days and you have a month's work to do. And you have to be careful to have a cup of tea with them both, or they are very suspicious that you are lining up with the other one.'

by Fran on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 07:54:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if you're only there two days and you have a month's work to do

If Rupert Murdoch organizes his work so badly he is a month behind and has only scheduled two days to catch up, it's time he retired. Mmm, Rupy boy?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 10:01:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, no, the reason Murdoch is so successful is that he manages to do a month's work in two days.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 10:25:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's just that your average executive only has a little work to do each day, he pays people to do all the real work, and thus just has to say yes or no a few times a day. In his case it's relatively easy to do a months worth of saying yes or no to your underlings in 48 hours.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 11:12:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There will be groans in Downing Street at the way the media tycoon characterises his relationship with New Labour, portraying its two senior figures as vying for his attention.

It tells you who the real power is in Brittain, doesn't it?

The PM and Chancellor competing like children for daddy's attention.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 11:29:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IHT: Latvia's coalition government takes majority in parliamentary elections

RIGA, Latvia Latvia's ruling coalition narrowly managed to win enough seats to form a majority government in the Baltic state's general elections, the Central Election Commission said Sunday.

Led by Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis, the three-party coalition won 51 seats in the Saeima, or parliament -- six more seats than it currently has. It is the first time in Latvia that a sitting government has maintained its grip on power since the country broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Latvia has had 12 governments in 15 years of independence.

The fractured opposition took the remaining 49 seats, with the right-wing New Era party, a bitter rival of Kalvitis' People's Party, mustering 18 seats, and the Harmony Center, a left-wing force that represents Latvia's large ethnic Russian minority, received 17 seats.

The election was the country's first since joining the European Union and NATO in 2004.

With all votes counted, the center-right three-party coalition gathered 44.8 percent, according to results posted on the electoral commission's Web site.

Kalvitis' People's Party finished first with 19.5 percent of the vote, ahead of coalition partner the Greens and Farmers Union with 16.7 percent. The third coalition party, Latvia's First, was in fifth place with 8.6 percent, the results showed.

by Fran on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 07:57:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because I am here.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Sat Oct 7th, 2006 at 11:52:22 PM EST
BBC: Shots fired amid Korean tension

South Korean troops have fired warning shots at soldiers from the North amid rising tension over North Korean plans to test a nuclear weapon.
Early reports suggest that about 40 shots were fired when soldiers crossed into the demilitarised zone.

Meanwhile, South Korea has welcomed a statement by the United Nations Security Council urging North Korea to abandon plans to test a nuclear weapon.

Seoul joined in calling on the North to return to six-party talks.

Some observers have warned that a nuclear test could come as early as this weekend.

After intruding some 30 metres (yards), the Northern troops returned to their side of the military demarcation line, it added.

One Southern military source, speaking anonymously to The Associated Press, said it was unclear whether the intrusion was "intentional or whether it was to catch fish".



Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 12:03:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Chicago Tribune: Jailed for 34 days, Tribune reporter writes: What I saw in Darfur

Humanitarian catastrophe poised to grow worse in weeks ahead

By Paul Salopek
Tribune foreign correspondent
Published October 8, 2006

One cloudless Sunday morning in early August, while traveling on a desert road in the remote Darfur region of western Sudan, a teenager sporting dreadlocks and an AK-47 rifle stopped my vehicle. My translator, Suleiman Abakar Moussa, stepped out and offered the youth a cigarette--standard etiquette in African war zones. But Moussa immediately returned to the car, frowning.

In this incidental way, I learned that we had just lost our freedom.

The young gunman belonged to a pro-government militia. And his patrol, after beating us and stealing our car and equipment, handed us over to Sudanese military intelligence. Moussa, my driver, Idriss Abdulrahman Anu, and I spent the next 34 days behind bars in Darfur, ending up hostage to a regime accused of mass murder. The government in Khartoum charged us with espionage, spreading "false news" and entering Africa's latest killing field without a visa.

It was hard not to feel, however, that our real crime was unspoken: reporting on a humanitarian catastrophe that is largely invisible to the outside world, and that is poised to grow worse in the weeks ahead.

Thousands of villagers will likely die soon in Darfur, the arid homeland of millions of farmers and herders who have been targeted in a ruthless civil war that some call genocide. Their torched huts, seen from the air, look like cigarette burns on a torture victim's skin.

Currently, a peace deal between the government and a major insurgent group is coming unglued. With the advent of the dry season, the Sudanese army and the fractious Darfur rebels are primed for a new military showdown. And, paradoxically, negotiators on the ground worry that a well-intentioned human-rights campaign, launched by Western activists on behalf of Darfur's civilians, may actually be locking in the violence. With Khartoum tarred as the bully, there is scant hope for any last-minute dialogue before the offensives begin.

Ironically, I wasn't focused exclusively on the Darfur tragedy when I crossed the desolate border separating Sudan and Chad on Aug. 6.

My Chadian colleagues and I were working on a much broader freelance assignment for National Geographic on the Sahel, the immense and turbulent band of savanna that runs across northern Africa, home to some 90 million struggling people.

Darfur was a side trip. Other journalists and aid workers had described how some Darfur refugees in Chad were drifting back to their ruined villages to rebuild their homes. It seemed a rare chance to profile civilians clinging to life in an intractable war zone. With our arrest, we unwittingly became part of that survival story.

For years, foreign correspondents have covered the Darfur crisis by slipping into rebel-held territory from Chad. Sudanese officials in Khartoum are stingy with journalist visas. Thus, much of what the world knows about a conflict that has killed at least 200,000 people comes from quick reportorial forays into the beautiful, lawless, corrugated plains and rocky escarpments controlled by Darfur's half-starved rebels.

Unfortunately for us, those insurgents can no longer be relied upon to guarantee our safety.



Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 12:45:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New York Times: Raise the Gasoline Tax?  Funny, It doesn't sound Republican

Mr. Greenspan was hardly a proponent of raising taxes on energy to encourage conservation, a policy prescription generally associated with the politicians and economists of the left.

Until now. In late September, as he spoke to a group of business executives in Massachusetts, a question was posed as to whether he'd like to see an increase in the federal gasoline tax, which has stood at 18.4 cents a gallon since 1993. "Yes, I would," Mr. Greenspan responded with atypical clarity. "That's the way to get consumption down. It's a national security issue."

...

N. Gregory Mankiw, the Harvard economist who served as chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers from 2003 to 2005, favored a higher gas tax before going to Washington, and has been banging the drum loudly for it since he left.

...

The roster of what Mr. Mankiw calls "economists and pundits with the good sense to have publicly advocated higher Pigovian taxes, such as gasoline taxes or carbon taxes," includes some of the usual suspects --  Paul Krugman, a columnist for The New York Times, and Al Gore, for example -- as well as unusual suspects like Gary S. Becker, the economics professor and Nobel laureate at the University of Chicago.

Andrew A. Samwick, chief economist on the Council of Economic Advisers from July 2003 to June 2004, and a professor of economics at Dartmouth, is a member in good standing. So is Martin S. Feldstein, the intellectual godfather of a generation of Republican economists.

...

But as much as Republican-leaning economists like Messrs. Greenspan, Mankiw and Samwick may think that it's a good idea, the Republican politicians who control the levers of power in Washington think that it's an awfully bad one, even though gas taxes in the United States are far lower than those in other industrialized countries.

...

... because President Bush and his top political advisers are known to be adamantly opposed to any increase in the gas tax, economic advisers haven't pushed it much. ...

THIS highlights a professional hazard faced by academic economists who serve in presidential administrations. They must act as team players who value the overall success of the administration -- even if they don't agree with all of its policies. As a result, economists must often stow some of their policy ideas in an intellectual coat check at the White House gates, where they can be reclaimed upon return to private life.

Or did anyone slip these guys a copy of Energize America?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 12:51:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A significant difference between the U.S. and most other countries is that our fuel taxes are mostly usee for transportation-related projects, like roads. Gasoline tax doesn't go into the general fund here like it does in Europe...
by asdf on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 01:12:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't bought gasoline in the UK since I left 15 years ago.  (generally don't hire/rent a car when I visit)  I'm surprised the tax is that high--$4.24.  What's the price of gasoline today in the UK?  Must be incredible if that is the tax.
by wchurchill on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 02:11:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
85p-90p/litre, depending on location
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 04:28:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe prices are hovering just under the psychological barrier of £1/l and just over €1/l.

$4.24/gal(US) is $1.12/l or £0.60/l.

So, 2/3 of the price of fuel in the UK is tax.

$1/l = $3.79/gal(US)
€1/l = $4.77/gal(US)
£1/l = $7.08/gal(US)

as of today.

Wikipedia: Gasoline usage and pricing:

Norway (Oslo): $7.68/gal on August 8, 2006
UK: $5.58/gal on September 29, 2006
Germany: $5.29/gal on September 29, 2006
US: $2.38/gal on September 25, 2006
Venezuela (Caracas): $0.14/gal on September 29, 2006


Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 05:07:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Prices have been dropping for the last few months. They peaked at around £1/litre in July/August and have been on the way down ever since.

Pump prices follow crude prices almost instantly when crude goes up, but then come down only very slowly.

Usually what happens is one of supermarkets breaks ranks to score some quick cross-over interest, and the others have to follow.

Independent forecourts set their own prices, and they're usually even higher.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 05:40:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Prices and price dynamics in Finland are around the same. A quid a liter is about 1,44 €, whereas here it is now around 1.3 €. I assume the tax levels explain the difference.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 05:53:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wish the US had been smart enough to begin raising taxes, and thus prices, in the '70's.  We would have a lot different vehicle profile today if we had.
by wchurchill on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 03:11:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Look what happened to Carter.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 06:42:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks - that will be my story of the day...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 04:11:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't it a no-brainer for administrations? Demand reduction coupled with increased tax revenues. Hello?

Oh but of course, if you are a dyed in the wool tax cutter....

I will be interested to see if those countries with high fuel taxes start to manipulate the tax when base fuel costs rise painfully. When transport costs start to impact the economic viability of major employment providers, it may make sense to forego some of the revenue (which has been rising anyway)

If, however, you have a low tax component, it doesn't give you much room to manoeuvre eg in the States.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 06:03:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
People have been demanding that European governments reduce fuel taxes to protect drivers from oil price increases.

That is emphatically the wrong policy - this is a genuine market signal (even if there is manipulation of market volatility the base price is genuine) and masking them would only make matters worse in the long term.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 06:10:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree.

Tax manipulation does however have a short term use in stabilising costs for both corporates and homes. It cannot change the long term need for demand reduction/alternative energy needs, but could assist in the transition.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 06:19:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't agree.

The problem is that you can't tax people off car use if you don't give them an alternative. If there is no alternative, they'll simply pay more. This may raise revenue in the short term, but it also has the effect of introducing a rather random car-use tax with random social effects.

While you'll catch the gas guzzlers with this, some people who have to use cars - for example nurses, especially in rural areas - will be unfairly penalised.

A petrol tax only makes sense as part of a wider social transport strategy. Otherwise it's an example of believing in marketism, and the mistaken notion that if you can link a single variable to a single policy factor the wider social effects don't need to be thought through because the invisible hand will magically solve the problem for you.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 12:54:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you want to protect rural nurses, pay them more. If you reduce fuel taxes you reward fuel consumption.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 01:51:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The fuel tax in Norway has actually been decreased somewhat over the last couple of years, to shield the politicians from getting booted out in the prior elections.
by Trond Ove on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 11:43:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Daily Yomiuri Online: Inpex deal not end of the road


Inpex decided to reduce its interests in the development of Azadegan oil field [in Iran] --believed to have the largest reserves in the Middle East--from the current 75 percent to around 10 percent. The decision comes as a number of countries consider implementing economic sanctions on Iran as a means of pressuring it to suspend its uranium enrichment program.

...

conforming to international pressure means that Japan has now been forced to give up most of its stake in a national project to develop its own source of oil--a goal it has been pursuing for many years.

... However, ... Katsujiro Kida, executive senior vice president of Inpex, was quick to insist that the decision was unrelated to the international situation.

"The reason is simply a delay in removing land mines," Kida said. "It was a business judgment made as a private company."

... Progress in Iran's removal of land mines in the Azadegan area was undercutting the main Japanese excuse for stalling.

...

Observers also note that even if sanctions [against Iran] are averted, it would be difficult for Japan to go ahead with development as long as the United States maintains its hard-line stance toward Iran.

...

If sanctions are put in place, China and India will also likely hesitate in developing oil fields in Iran. Oil industry experts therefore believe that Iran was pressing Japan for an early start to development to tie it into the project ahead of sanctions and prevent delays for other, similar projects.

With the Japanese side refusing to be hurried by Iran's repeated demands, the Iranians appear to have decided it was better to restart the negotiations with another party by recovering the Japanese stake, than continue with negotiations indefinitely.

Question for those more knowledgeable about these things:

If sanctions are put in place, China and India will also likely hesitate in developing oil fields in Iran.

And yet this article claims that

the Iranians appear to have decided it was better to restart the negotiations with another party by recovering the Japanese stake

But if the Chinese and Indians would "hesitate" to work with Iran, who else would be a candidate for this "another party"?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 01:16:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All foreign companies have found it frustrating to work on thse Iranian projects. From my personal, direct experience, I'd expect that the negotiations have collapsed on their own, without any link to the sanctions.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 04:10:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WaPo: Advocates Say Illegal Workers Suffer After 9/11 Cleanup

Jose Moncada watched the World Trade Center towers tumble, and, like so many Americans, felt a patriotic urge to help rescue survivors and rebuild after Sept. 11. "It was my time to put my hand on my heart," he said. "It was my time to help somebody."

It did not matter to him that he was an illegal immigrant from Honduras. And that did not seem to matter to supervisors who oversaw the retrieval of human remains and the removal of toxic debris at Ground Zero. They welcomed Moncada and thousands of other illegal immigrants, no questions asked.

Working on the pile for 10 days, Moncada breathed in thick dust, grainy asbestos and foul-smelling gases driven by an angry downtown wind. Now, five years later, he suffers from a hacking cough, nosebleeds, wheezing breath and life-threatening respiratory illnesses that also trouble thousands of legal U.S. residents who worked there.

No one knows how many illegal immigrants worked at Ground Zero in the days after Sept. 11. Immigration advocates claim it was thousands.

[... more horror stories ... ]

In 2004, an advocacy group called Beyond Ground Zero noticed more and more immigrants getting sick. The advocates approached Bellevue Hospital and asked for help. The hospital started an unfunded program that provided care to patients, and last year the American Red Cross donated money to expand the program.

This month, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (R) pledged $16 million over five years to expand the initiative further. Within two weeks, the occupational safety committee received more than 350 calls from immigrants, Calderón said. Newton said 500 people had been screened for medical examinations by her organization, and 700 people were waiting.

But the assistance may have come too late for illegal immigrants who have gone home since working at Ground Zero, advocates and workers said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 06:10:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
boy, it sure rubs in the significance of your sig...

unbelievable....if the american public really ever does find out how much funny business there was arouund 9/11, there will be a public rage and will-for-accountability that will be up there with....i was going to say 'nuremberg', then godwin nudged...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Oct 9th, 2006 at 05:47:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New York Times: Death Squad Fears Again Haunt Argentina


A crucial witness in the trial of a notorious human rights abuser has been missing for nearly three weeks, and authorities and rights groups here say they fear he may have been abducted and killed in a new campaign to intimidate prosecutors, judges and witnesses in cases that have not yet gone to court.

Mr. López vanished Sept. 18, one day before Miguel Etchecolatz, who was the police commissioner in Buenos Aires Province during the right-wing military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983, was sentenced to life in prison.



 
The disappearance of Jorge Julio López, 77, a retired construction worker and former political prisoner, has awakened a host of old fears among Argentines. Some worry that it is a signal of a return of right-wing death squads that were thought to be extinct, precisely at the moment when the leaders of those groups are belatedly being summoned to justice.

"They are sending a message, that they can still threaten, kidnap and kill," said Nilda Eloy of the Association of Former Detainees and the Disappeared, referring to former members of the police, security and military forces that were responsible for the forced disappearance of as many as 30,000 people. "There is a great deal of fear."

Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital, is awash in posters with Mr. López's name and image, some urging anyone with potential clues or leads to call a hot line, and others proclaiming "We are looking for truth, justice, Julio." The government has offered a $65,000 reward for information that can establish his whereabouts or fate, and on Friday night an estimated 100,000 people marched to the main plaza here to call for Mr. Lopez's reappearance.

...

Leaders of some rights groups said they had even returned home from meetings to discuss the López case only to find that they had been surreptitiously recorded, and that messages on their phone machines played back their own words.

...

"The past has not been defeated or overcome," Mr. Kirchner said last month in reference to Mr. López's disappearance, also warning against those who "want to sow fear."

"Let's stay on the alert, Argentines, we can't allow this past to repeat itself," he said.

The government has offered bodyguards to some rights leaders and potential witnesses who may be having second thoughts about testifying in the coming trials.

But some former victims, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they were reluctant to accept that offer because the protection would come from members of the same police forces that were under suspicion in Mr. López's disappearance.




Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 06:22:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wall Street Journal: Tax Tidal Wave (Friday 2006/10/06)

Another round of Laffer Curve debunking in the pipeline?

... the government will soon report that the federal budget deficit for the just-completed 2006 fiscal year fell to about $260 billion.

...

The main cause of the deficit decline -- 90% of it, says White House budget director Rob Portman -- is a tidal wave of tax revenue. Tax collections have increased by $521 billion in the last two fiscal years, the largest two-year revenue increase -- even after adjusting for inflation -- in American history.

...

One place it has come from are corporations, whose tax collections have climbed by 76% over the past two years thanks to greater profitability. Personal income tax payments are up by 30.3% since 2004 too, despite the fact that the highest tax rate is down to 35% from 39.6%.

...

More good news is that dividend-tax payments appear to be up as well, even though the tax rate was lowered to 15% from as high as 39.6%. A National Bureau of Economic Research study found that "after a continuous decline in dividend payments over more than two decades, total regular dividends have grown by nearly 20%" and that this reversal happened at "precisely the point at which the lower tax rate was proposed and subsequently applied retroactively." There hasn't been a purer validation of the Laffer Curve since Ronald Reagan rode off into the sunset.

As for the budget deficit, at $260 billion it is now about 2% of our $13 trillion economy, well below the 2.7% average of the last 40 years. Most states and localities are also afloat in tax collections, and including their revenue surpluses brings the total U.S. public sector borrowing down to roughly 1.5% of GDP.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 06:42:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I refer my supply-side believing friends to Bruce Bartlett's debunking of the Laffer Curve from last March:

The economy has suffered from many recessions in the past and always recovered, usually without benefit of any tax cuts.

    Of course, revenues always fall off when economic conditions are depressed. Economists call this an "automatic stabilizer" that helps recovery. But this is not the same as legislating tax cuts expressly to stimulate growth.

    Anyway, the economic data upon which tax cut supporters rely doesn't really prove their case. If one compares the recovery from the most recent recession to the last one, it is hard to find any effect of tax cuts at all.

I think it still holds up.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 07:05:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is Bruce Bartlett again arguing against the Laffer Curve (again, back in March):


how likely is it that the Laffer curve is causing revenues to rise, as opposed to normal operation of the business cycle? Not much, in my opinion.

First of all, the Laffer curve came to prominence during a period when the top tax rate on dividends was 70 percent, and the rate on long-term capital gains was 40 percent. Economist Arthur Laffer correctly pointed out that a 100 percent tax rate would raise no revenue and that rates close to this would reduce revenue below what a lower rate would bring in. Given the tax rates in existence, it was plausible to argue that a reduction in the top rate and capital gains tax would raise revenue.

However, when President Bush took office, the top rate on dividends was down to 39.6 percent, and the rate on long-term capital gains was just 20 percent -- far below the rates Ronald Reagan inherited. It is very implausible that these rates were in the "prohibitive" range of the Laffer curve, such that a rate reduction would raise revenue.

But even if we grant the theory, how likely is it that the recent rise in revenue owes anything to this effect? Again, not much.

The fact is that it is only in very exceptional circumstances that there would even be the possibility of a tax cut that would so stimulate growth that it would pay for itself. Even the Bush Administration admits this. The 2003 Economic Report of the President  says, "Although the economy grows in response to tax reductions ... it is unlikely to grow so much that lost tax revenue is completely recovered by the higher level of economic activity."

...

Revenues as a share of the gross domestic product fell every year from 2000 to 2004, from 20.9 percent to 16.3 percent. The 2005 increase only raised revenues to 17.5 percent -- still well below their historical average of 18.1 percent of GDP. It seems to me that the normal cyclical expansion after the end of the recession in 2001 has done far more to raise revenue than any Laffer curve effect. Revenues are simply returning to trend, nothing more.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 07:23:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You will probably see it anyway, but just in case - Bonddad
by det on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 12:48:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because, what the hell, you know?

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Sat Oct 7th, 2006 at 11:53:10 PM EST
BBC: Web sale for Bridget Jones' pants

A pair of outsized underpants from the film Bridget Jones's Diary are to be sold on the internet, weeks after they fetched £2,000 at a charity auction.

The pants, which have been signed by actor Hugh Grant with the message "Hello Mummy! Lots of love and kisses", were first auctioned on 14 September.

The sale took place in central London to benefit The Royal Parks Foundation.

Winning bidder Anna Mann said she decided to re-auction the pants on eBay to raise more money for the charity.



Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 12:19:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting that the BBC should use the word 'underpants', rather than the more generally used euphemism 'underwear', or the more specific 'knickers'.

Underpants were exclusively male wear when I live in the UK. Maybe the meaning has changed?

For specificity, I prefer the acronym invented by a friend of mine (so she says). BGKs are big girls' knickers. VBGKs would accurately describe the Bridget Jone's variety.

"She was only the laundrywoman's daughter, but she took me unaware"

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 05:17:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Underpants" is the word Bridget Jones uses.  If you have not read the book or seen the film "Bridget Jones Diary" (the original, not the sequel) you are missing out on a true literary masterpiece.  ... I'm only half kidding.  If was fucking brilliant!

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 11:07:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ABS-CBN:

US recalls ground beef over E.coli worries

- A US meat processing firm is recalling some 2,360 kilograms of ground beef possibly tainted by E. coli bacteria, health officials said, just weeks after several people died from contaminated fresh spinach.

The US Food Safety and Inspection Service announced Friday that the Harlan, Iowa firm Jim's Market and Locker was voluntarily calling back the ground beef shipped to seven midwest states.

"The problem was discovered through microbiological testing. FSIS has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of this product," the agency said in a statement.

Reminder: the particularly virulent strain of E. Coli that recently turned spinach into a killer comes from the over-acid intestines of cattle fed grain-based concentrates and insufficient hay and grass in industrial intensive farming.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 03:41:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminder: the particularly virulent strain of E. Coli that recently turned spinach into a killer comes from the over-acid intestines of cattle fed grain-based concentrates and insufficient hay and grass in industrial intensive farming.

Not a reminder to me, but genuinely news. Can you expand on this? Do you have links?  

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 04:52:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was discussed on last Sunday's Breakfast.

I have since spoken to a cattle technician who confirmed that intensive rearing on concentrates increases intestinal acidity. He was not aware, however, of the risk of a lethal strain of E. coli coming into being by mutation in this environment, nor of the risk of water contamination. There don't appear to have been cases here. (However, this is far from being a solely American problem).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 10:24:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hell of a thing to discuss at breakfast.

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins
by EricC on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 11:13:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's another link.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 12:31:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New York Times: Cat Lovers Lining Up for No-Sneeze Kitties

Jerome, if ever one of those kittens gets lost for good, something to consider...

A small California biotech company says it is ready to deliver the Holy Grail of the $35 billion pet industry: a hypoallergenic cat.

Two cats with a mutant gene that produces a modified protein far less likely to induce allergies.

At the start of next year, the first kittens -- which the company calls "lifestyle pets" -- will go home to eager owners who have been carefully screened and have been on a waiting list for more than two years.

Since it announced the project in October 2004, the company, Allerca, of San Diego, says it has received inquiries from people in 85 countries seeking to buy a cat bred so that its glands do not produce the protein responsible for most human cat allergies.

Cats ordered now will take 12 to 15 months for delivery in the United States, 15 to 18 months in Europe. Cost: $4,000. And owners must pass Allerca's finicky screening tests.

Prospective buyers are interviewed for motivation and warmth, approved as if they were adopting a child. Will they punish if kitty has an accident on the floor or scratches the furniture? Their families and their homes -- from carpets to curtains -- must also be evaluated for allergies and allergens.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 07:52:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BoingBoing: Cat with a EULA

Allerca, a company that is offering genetically modified cats at $4,000 each, makes you "agree" to a EULA before they sell you your puddy tat:

    Purchaser shall not sell or transfer any Cat purchased hereunder to anyone other than an immediate family member, and shall not offer to any person the purchase of a Cat or any genetic material from a Cat, the rights Purchaser may have under this Agreement, or any other right related hereto, without the Company's express written authorization.

The cats are sold neutered.

Update: Patrick sez, "Allerca's headquarters was located in my apartment building, and they were evicted for non-payment of rent a few months ago. There was also an article in the San Diego Tribune, which questions their credibility."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 07:59:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's EULA?
by Fran on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 08:03:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
End User License Agreement -- like the ones you agree to for software.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 08:08:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks! Guess when I have to agree to the ones for software it has different initials, as the agreement is in German.
by Fran on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 08:10:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, Fran, I should have spelled it out.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 08:26:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
End User License Agreement. Most often seen in connection with software, but I suppose Monsanto also "licenses" rather than "sells" their GM seeds?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 08:42:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Innovation, we tell you.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 10:39:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What happens if Kitty has bugs?

Do you get your money back, or do you have to wait for the upgrade?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 01:00:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see you're around. I posted a few other hypotheses [you got my brain twitching!] on the Mg/Ca issue here...

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 05:13:50 AM EST
Ma as an essential ingredient for all life. Hmmmmm - that is a new one. I wonder what the other indespensible components of the Life Recipe are?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 05:23:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Masurium?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 05:26:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My tribute to the Greek god Typos ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 05:31:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Depending on your definition of life, only Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen and Oxygen. The least you can call living is an autocatalytic RNA molecule.

"Magnesium is essential to cell function and is found in every cell type of every organism" tells you nothing about primitive life.

However, it is most likely that life arose in the sea. Sea water is rich in Chloride, Sodium, Magnesium, Sulphate, Calcium, Potassium, Carbon, Bromide, Boron, Strontium and Fluoride [there is an issue of how much this composition depends on the fact that life has been present for billions of years] and you would espect those elements to play a role in Earth life.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 05:35:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An interesting spin-off from the CO2/panic discovery that I wrote about earlier is the theory that large fish living in shallow water dominated by oxygen devouring plant life would have used their forefins to push themselves up above the surface to 'gasp' air (via gills?). Evolutional mutation would throw up 'improved' pelvic fins that would hand out a survival advantage.

The human reaction to sudden increases in CO2 in the environment is the head thrown up and back.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 05:47:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there is an issue of how much this composition depends on the fact that life has been present for billions of years
It is assumed that initially the Earth started out with vast amounts of iron dissolved in the world's acidic seas. Eventually, as photosynthetic organisms generated oxygen, the available iron in the Earth's oceans was precipitated out as iron oxides.
As this happened about 2 billion years ago, clearly primitive life evolved in a very different environment from the current one.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 11:13:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But thanks for the heads up! You caught me at a bad moment - the weekend had kicked in and I resolved to let the brains have some necessary rest and dedicate myself to some strenuous handy work as cutting wood and cooking (on electricity. Not on wood.). But - and this may seem the appropriate moment - when walking the dog yesterday, I amusedly wondered whether I should lift up your string of comments into a diary, title it "Solving the Mysteries of Science on a Friday Afternoon" and use it as a platform to ditch in all kind of new comments and discoveries. It's always a pleasure when you start digging into a subject - something new pops up every time.

I am working, mentally, on a reply, but I also need to get a source right first. Alternatively, have you read Bill Bryson's "A short history of nearly everything"?

by Nomad on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 07:50:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees in the first round of the baseball playoffs, joing the Oakland Atheletics and the New York Mets in the next round of playoffs. The St Louis cardinals and San Diego padres are still playing their first round games. (Hey...its international news! I live in Europe, but October remains my favorite sports month...for American baseball watching! Its a good distraction...)

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 06:21:55 AM EST
btw., who are Alexei Sayle and Jeff Foxworthy?
by Fran on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 08:07:59 AM EST
Alexei Sayle is a icon in the British left wing alternative comedy scene. Superb political satire. (He's a Marxist as far as I know).

In fact, it was a book on the rise of the alternative comedy scene in the UK which I read through the night without stopping at about aged 14, that made me realise the that I was living in a white, middle class, Daily Mail reading version of hell.  It completely opened my eyes to politics and I've never looked back.

I don't know who Jeff Foxworthy is though.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 09:37:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, guess his stuff has not been translated and shown German, Swiss or Austrian TV, at least not when I still had a tv. Maybe now with Sky Channel and BBC it would be possible see him here too - but now I do not have a tv anymore.
by Fran on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 09:47:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jeff Foxworthy is an Amurkan funny man, but I don't know much more: see Wikipedia, as usual...
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 10:34:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, it was a book on the rise of the alternative comedy scene in the UK which I read through the night without stopping at about aged 14, that made me realise the that I was living in a white, middle class, Daily Mail reading version of hell.  

Rather like that rag myself.

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

by EricC on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 11:19:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alexei Sayle: Brilliant British "Marxist comedian".  Was on the classic TV show "The Young Ones."

Jeff Foxworthy: Idiot Red State "redneck comedian".  Famous for dumb "You might be a redneck if..." jokes.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 11:03:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Foxworty's humor is getting very tiresome. I never watched him much.

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins
by EricC on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 11:21:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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