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

European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch – 23 December

by Fran Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 12:16:36 AM EST

On this date in history:

1672 - Giovanni Cassini discovers Rhea, a satellite of Saturn

More here


Hi all,

it is now approx. one and a half year since I started doing first the European Breakfast and now the Salon de News almost every day, with only a few short exceptions. This Sunday I realized how much I am craving some leisure time in the morning. Thus I am taking a break from my morning duties until 8 January. The other front pagers are so kind to put the Salon the News up in the morning. I know and appreciate how many of you add links and stories to the Salon and it would be great if you could do even a bit more, to help the other front pagers out.

Thanks for helping out

Fran

Welcome to the new European Salon!

This will replace the former Breakfast Thread. Over time it looked like people show up in cycles, some for Breakfast, though less and less, many for Lunch and some stayed in to the Evening. Thus, a Salon that is open for discussions, exchange, and gossip and just plain socializing all day long, seems to be more appropriate.

The Salon has different rooms or sections for your enjoyment. If you would like to join the discussion, then to add a link or comment to a topic or section, please click on "Reply to this" in one of the following sections:

EUROPE - is the place for anything to do with Europe.

WORLD - here you can add the links to topics concerning the rest of the World.

THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER - is the place for everything from environment to health to curiosa.

KLATSCH - if you like gossip, this is the place. But you can also use this place as an Open Thread until the one in the Evening opens.

SPECIAL FOCUS - will be up only for special events and topics, like elections or other stuff.

I hope you will find this place inspiring – of course meaning the inspiration gained here to show up in interesting diaries. :-)

There is just one favor I would like to ask you – please do NOT click on “Post a Comment”, as this will put the link or your comment out of context at the bottom of the page.

Actually, there is another favor I would like to ask you – please, enjoy yourself and have fun at this place!

This link goes directly to the Klatsch section

Display:
EUROPE
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 12:17:31 AM EST
The Guardian: Religion does more harm than good - poll

More people in Britain think religion causes harm than believe it does good, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published today. It shows that an overwhelming majority see religion as a cause of division and tension - greatly outnumbering the smaller majority who also believe that it can be a force for good.

The poll also reveals that non-believers outnumber believers in Britain by almost two to one. It paints a picture of a sceptical nation with massive doubts about the effect religion has on society: 82% of those questioned say they see religion as a cause of division and tension between people. Only 16% disagree. The findings are at odds with attempts by some religious leaders to define the country as one made up of many faith communities.


(bolding mine)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 01:39:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The findings are at odds with attempts by some religious leaders to define the country as one made up of many faith communities.

this comes from the last census where a significant portion claimed they were christian. Which is probably true, in terms of being culturally christian. As I accept that I am culturally christian myself despite being avowedly atheist, I can see where that comes from. If you've not really got strong feelings either way, most people probably say christian rather than the more emphatic atheist.

I suspect the religionists understand that, but it's too attractive a statistic to ignore.


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 11:26:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian Racism, recruitment and how the BNP believes it is just 'one crisis away from power'

Then I heard a recording of a speech Nick Griffin gave to a closed conference of white supremacists in New Orleans last year. In it he spelled out the party's strategy - and made clear that winning votes is not an end in itself.

After his almost-casual denigration of British Muslims - "the most appalling, insufferable people to have to live with" - Griffin revealed his belief that a period of prolonged recession was certain to engulf the developed world as a result of fuel shortages and global warming. This, he said, would happen soon but it would not be a disaster, rather "a once-in-200-years opportunity".

Far-right parties needed to prepare for this moment of crisis by ensuring that enough people were aware of their policies and had discovered that they were "not crazy-eyed lunatics", he said. If people had considered voting for the BNP, he argued, they would be more likely to turn to the party during a time of immense crisis.

"It will be the beginning of an age of scarcity, an age in which a well-organised nationalist party could really make an impact. And that's the key word - organised. In Britain, we are almost there: we have got this solid 5% block [of support]. Other radical movements in the past, far left or far right, whatever, a couple of years before a crisis have had far less than 5%, so as far as I am concerned, that is fairly satisfactory."

The Guardian ran several excellent pieces on the BNP this week.  You should check them out.  The radical right flourishes in environment of economic depravation, because it is much easier to blame the "other" that inamimate forces and economic ideology.  People overestimate the neo-nazi threat from Germany because of history, but ignore groups like the BNP and Le Pen.  I think that the Germans (at least in the old West Germany) have too much historical guilt to get wrapped up with fascists.  But France and the UK?  

It's the ones wearing bowties not black boots that you have to worry about.  They make the whole thing look respectable.  And they feed on economic dislocation.  Like the 1930's.  Like looks to be coming in our own time if we don't address the energy issues facing us.

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

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 02:03:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ooona King (ex-Labour MP defeated by G Galloway) made a good point on Radio 4's Any questions that many people who vote for the BNP aren't racists, but are responding to local issues that the BNP use as wedge issues. And very often it is housing on which all of the major parties are weak.

Equally, Johann Hari, on thesame prog, made the point that populist tabloids that go large on issues like immigration and the demonisation of asylum seekers create an enabling climate in which the BNP can thrive.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 11:22:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, the local newsletter of the Lib Dems in my Ward also demonises immigrants and asylum-seeker.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 01:50:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmmm, why am I not surprised ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 02:01:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I exaggerate (they are casual references almost in passing, but it is the fact that it can be so casual that scares me). It is a definite disappointment.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 02:04:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Paris court has sentenced Giuliano Ferrara, Great Terrible Architect of Unethical Journalism, to pay a fine of 25,000 euros for having pilfered and published an article from Le Monde written by Antonio Tabucchi, perfidious debunker of Grand Master Silvio.

After stealing his article, Mr. Ferarra, editor of the rightwing political pamphlet, il Foglio, raved against Tabucchi on national prime time. Mr. Ferrara accused Tabucchi of being the moral instigator of  his coming assassination.  Mr. Ferrara continues to enjoy good health despite bouts of bulimia.

It's too bad Antonio Tabucchi's good name continues to be associated with that of Mr. Ferrara.

The sum will not significantly reduce the weight of Mr. Ferrara's Parmalat suitcases.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 02:42:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]

US `has cut too many troops in Europe'

The outgoing head of US forces in Europe says American troop reductions on the continent have gone too far and that plans to reduce numbers further should be re-evaluated.

US troop numbers in Europe have dropped sharply since the height of the cold war. From 315,000 personnel in the late 1980s, numbers have fallen to 100,000 and plans are in train to cut the numbers further, to roughly 70,000.

But in a television interview to be broadcast on Sunday, Marine General James Jones said he thought the drawdowns had gone too far - and that he had officially reported his views to the Pentagon.

(...)

He said the US needed troops in Europe partly so that they could be quickly deployed in trouble-spots in Africa and elsewhere. "I think the emergence of Africa as a strategic reality is inevitable and we're going to need forward-based troops, special operations, marines, soldiers, airmen and sailors to be in the right proportion," he said. The Pentagon had proposed the creation of a new Africa Command to reflect this view, US officials said.

(...)

The experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, into which many European-based US troops have been rotated, has raised questions about whether the Rumsfeld vision of a high-tech military with few boots on the ground fits the type of low-intensity conflicts that the US military is now largely fighting.

I could understand US troops welcomed to help defend Europe. But as forward bases to intervene in other countries?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 04:25:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Airstrip One revisited?

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 04:30:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that it might do the US some good to debate the utility of such an over-mighty military. Theirs is an incredibly militarised society and I don't think it is to their benefit.

Too much of their budget is swallowed by the Pentagon, something like half of the discretionary govt spending is on the military. That cannot be healthy as it distorts every other priority. And what is it all for ? Might does not make right and they've twice had demonstrated that there are limits to what an aggressive and resisted occupation can achieve in securing assets.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 11:39:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The US has been running a War economy since 1940.  

The War economy has been very successful at bringing prosperity, of a sort, to a large percentage of the population here.  Add the benefits of cheap oil and controling 'The Currency of Choice,' both supported and a result of the military machine, to get a nice little Self-Organized System.  Deeply woven into every aspect of American life only a massive disaster - such as World War One did to the British Empire - could start to affect some change.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 12:01:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]

BP under pressure on Kovykta

TNK-BP, the Anglo-Russian oil joint venture, is bracing itself for a full investigation within weeks into its licence agreement for a giant Siberian gasfield as the Kremlin tightens its grip on the country's energy resources.

Russia has used environmental audits and regulatory threats to restore state dominance over oil and gas supplies. This week saw Gazprom take a controlling stake in Royal Dutch Shell's Sakhalin-2 project after months of pressure.

People familiar with the situation said Gazprom's negotiations with TNK-BP were likely to follow a similar pattern to Shell's prolonged battle with state officials and the Russian gas monopoly.

TNK-BP has already offered Gazprom majority control over the Kovykta gasfield, but has insisted that Gazprom should pay for its stake with cash or assets.

Russian authorities have already stepped up pressure on TNK-BP, accusing it of breaking a licence agreement on production levels. The prospect of losing the licence for Kovykta is likely to soften TNK-BP's negotiating position.

Gazprom and TNK-BP have been talking about the joint development of the project for years but have not reached an agreement. Although TNK-BP has a licence to develop the field, expected to supply gas to Asian countries, it cannot do so without Gazprom agreeing to build an export pipeline for the field.

Gazprom, which has a mono-poly over the pipeline network and gas exports, has been stalling negotiations for months. It says it has other priorities.

A deal with Gazprom was required from the start, so BP's position is quite weak in any case, and now they are stuck because, as time has passed, the lack of agreement is making them breach their license.

So I think that this article is actually an attempt to pain the Russians as bullies in the Sakhalin context and try to give BP a bit more leverage. I doubt it'll work, though.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 04:36:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
    That's actually more a response to yesterday's Gazprom/Shell post, but still. Compare the two passages from FT article referred yesterday by Jerome:

The price paid by Gazprom for its control - 50 per cent plus one share - was much higher than many analysts expected. "It is a fair price and it should reduce the shouting about expropriation [of assets]," said Al Breach, chief strategist at UBS Russia.
.....
    In return for gaining control in Sakhalin, Russia approved an increased budget for the project and effectively dropped a series of environmental complaints against it, suggesting these had been little more than an negotiating tactic.

and IHT:


The price Gazprom paid was "below market rate," Alex Kormshchikov, an oil and gas industry analyst at UralSib, said by telephone Thursday.

Analysts said the price valued Sakhalin 2 reserves at less than $4 a barrel of oil equivalent, a benchmark in valuing oil and gas deals, compared to an average of $4.90 a barrel at large Russian oil companies like Lukoil or Rosneft.

Still, Shell's chief executive, Jeroen van der Veer, said he welcomed the stability that an agreement implied, after a turbulent few months when a Russian regulator threatened to halt work on the pipeline, claiming illegal logging and damage to salmon streams.

So, FT emphasizes risk reduction, while IHT found an analyst looking at price only. Tell me more about selectivity in reporting!

by Sargon on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 09:32:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 12:17:55 AM EST
Reuters: U.N. Council to vote on Iran sanctions Saturday

The U.N. Security Council plans to vote on Saturday on a resolution imposing sanctions on Tehran's nuclear work but Russia has not yet signed on to the measure.

After Britain, France and Germany, made some revisions to the text on Friday, Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere of France told reporters, "We meet tomorrow for a vote."

But Russia was not expected to receive final instructions until President Vladimir Putin meets early on Saturday with his security advisers, diplomats close to the talks reported.
Photo

The top news, photos, and videos of 2006.  Full Coverage

"Now we have to go back to capitals," for instructions, China's U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya said.

The resolution demands Tehran end all uranium enrichment work, which can produce fuel for nuclear power plants and bombs, and halt research and development that can make or deliver atomic weapons.

The thrust of the sanctions is a ban on imports and exports of dangerous materials and technology relating to uranium enrichment, reprocessing and heavy-water reactors, as well as ballistic missile delivery systems.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 12:23:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I see the chinese delegate was non-committal, but I can't see them allowing this. They are as loyal to their clients as the US is.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 11:54:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AP: Somali Rivals Fight to Bloody Standstill

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- Somalia's Ethiopian-backed government and its rivals in an Islamic movement fought to a bloody standstill Friday, and geared up for a major push as villagers fled.

Islamic forces who have declared they want to bring the whole country under Quranic rule promised to continue attacks to drive out troops from neighboring Ethiopia, a largely Christian nation that is providing military support to the government.

Late Friday, Ethiopia accused the Islamic movement of crossing into its territory.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 12:27:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Am I the only one sort of hoping the Islamists somehow manage to pull this off, and put Somalia back together as a country?

In the various NYT and BBC internet pieces I read, everybody seems to acknowledge the transitional Baidoa government as the proper and legitimate government of Somalia, simply because it was created by UN fiat.  It has no control over anything, its leaders are despised, and spend much of ther time out of the country.  Yet somehow, it is a grave and fundamentally illegitimate wrong for them to be swept out of power?

I can understand why Ethiopia is intervening.  They would rather have Somalia fester in anarchy, than have their long-time rival get its act together.  Yet somehow, the coverage of the event always seems to take the tack that the Islamic Courts Union should stop fighting, return to talks, etc., not that Ethiopia shouldn't have its troops in Somalia to begin with.

The Islamic Courts Union seems to be carrying out a classic program of state building, and given that they somehow managed to pacify Mogadishu, I have to give them some credit.  Sure, they aren't the most progressive force around, but honstly, feuding warlords has to be the absolute worst situation imaginable.  ANY sort of state seems an improvement.

So tell me, how bad of a person does this make me?

by Zwackus on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 07:02:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Independent: Robert Fisk: Banality and barefaced lies

I call it the Alice in Wonderland effect. Each time I tour the United States, I stare through the looking glass at the faraway region in which I live and work for The Independent - the Middle East - and see a landscape which I do no recognise, a distant tragedy turned, here in America, into a farce of hypocrisy and banality and barefaced lies. Am I the Cheshire Cat? Or the Mad Hatter?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 12:35:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Monde: 'Bush Remains Bush'

"George W. Bush has been repeating this speech since the September 11 attacks and the fall of Saddam ... Nothing indicates that he is ready to contemplate change."

President Bush may not have uttered his last word on the Baker Commission report, but his declarations during the course of a press conference on Wednesday [Dec. 20] can hardly be interpreted as anything other than a final rejection-of-offer. Far from initiating a withdrawal of American troops from Iraq over the coming months, as the report from the bipartisan study group recommends, Mr. Bush announced an increase in the military, particularly in the number of land forces.

The Congressionally mandated Iraq Study Group is co-chaired by former secretary of state James Baker and former Democratic representative Lee Hamilton.

Mr. Bush put forward this new effort in the all-out fight against terrorism, radicals and extremists, while making it understood that the number of troops in Iraq would be reinforced as his military chiefs - and Senator John McCain, who seeks the 2008 Republican nomination - have requested. Fifteen thousand to 30,000 additional troops could join the 134,000 already deployed in Iraq. This increase in manpower would be limited to six or eight months, but the objective is always the same: to obtain a victory which, even George W. Bush agrees, has not come as rapidly as he had envisioned.

---
Condoleezza Rice, who had remained discrete in recent weeks, offered an explanation of the President's reservations regarding the bipartisan report. The Secretary of State explained to the Washington Post that Mr. Baker had developed plans rooted in the past; that he doesn't understand how much the Middle East has changed since he left office; and that he preaches a "false stability" that resembles appeasement with respect to dictatorships like Iran and Syria.

For her and for her boss, these old methods no longer correspond to the state of the world, to the situation in the Middle East or to the mission of the United States. According to them, the United States is never more effective as when it combines power with principle. This is the speech that George W. Bush has been repeating this speech since the September 11 attacks and the fall of Saddam Hussein. Despite the setbacks recorded from Kabul to Baghdad, and despite the war to Lebanon and the bloody Palestinian-Israeli dead-end, nothing indicates that he is ready to contemplate change.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 04:33:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reading the US blogs I sense a feeling of utter desperation at what is happening. Domestically and internationally there just seems no hope of relief from Bush's delusions. And waiting 2 years is ceasing to be an option because the damage and choaos that will likely develop are too awful to contemplate.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 11:58:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bush has managed to alienate just about everybody here - it's a skill, I guess.  

The next 6 weeks are going to be crucial as the Democrats, under Speaker Pelosi, are planning a legislative push to take control of the agenda and push Bush to the sidelines.  A little known fact of the US goverment is Congress can actually run the country, bypassing the Executive Branch.  The key is getting a veto-proof majority in both houses.  It's much harder, of course, but possible.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 12:46:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but they can't evade the veto, they can't challenge the signing statements (veto by any other name) and they have no control over foreign policy except the blunt instrument of fiscal control.

I really fear for the well-being of the USA at the moment cos Bush is becoming a danger, not just to the world generally, but to the people of the USA as well.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 12:53:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It didn't say it would be easy.  ;-)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 01:14:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 12:18:17 AM EST
AP via Yahoo!  Italy fashion industry to fight anorexia

ROME - Italy was once famed for the sultry, full-bodied beauties it contributed to the international scene. A month after the death of an anorexic Brazilian model, the Italian government teamed up with the fashion industry Friday to promote a "healthy, sunny, generous, Mediterranean model of beauty."

The self-regulatory code of conduct aims to fight anorexia among women and the vogue for stick-thin models. It requires models to show medical proof they do not suffer from eating disorders, bans models younger than 16 and calls for a commitment to add larger sizes to fashion collections.

"There's a line between a thin girl and a sick one that is often crossed. Italy, with this manifesto, is committed to recognize this boundary and not cross it," Youth Policy and Sports Minister Giovanna Melandri told reporters.

The code was signed by Melandri and Mario Boselli, president of the Italian Fashion Chamber, which includes fashion houses like Versace, Prada and Missoni. It is aimed at designers, model agencies, makeup artists and others who work in fashion.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 02:01:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea, right. Whilst sunken cheekbones and heroin chic is considered "interesting" as a look, there is no chance that the fashion industry will ever promote health.

Most women in the UK are euro size 40 and above. So creating clothes that only look good on size 20 makes the fashionistas seem short-sighted and clueless.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 12:01:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Come on, Helen, don't you know, there is an inverse correlation, of a perfectly linear nature, between size and beauty.  It's sorta like the Pythagorean theorum or something.  These poor fashion designers are just running up against the laws of physics here.

Ahem.

by Zwackus on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 07:05:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters via Yahoo!  Che Guevara CD case pulled from shelves

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Target Corp said on Friday it had pulled a CD carrying case bearing Ernesto "Che" Guevara's image after an outcry by critics who label the Marxist revolutionary a murderer and totalitarian symbol.

Target had touted a music disc carrying case for Che admirers emblazoned with the Argentine-born guerrilla's iconic 1960 portrait by Alberto Diaz, or "Korda." A set of small earphones was superimposed on the image, suggesting he was tuned in to an iPod or other music player.

"It is never our intent to offend any of our guests through the merchandise we carry," Target said in a statement. "We have made the decision to remove this item from our shelves and we sincerely apologize for any discomfort this situation may have caused our guests."



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 02:07:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, if only the popularity of that Che image was a sign of the growing revolutionary consciousness of America's middle class youth . . .
by Zwackus on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 07:03:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 12:18:54 AM EST
Morning afew, I'm up early to catch a plane back to Blighty, so here for just a minute. Have a good morning.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 12:22:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi Metatone. Where are you flying from?

And a good day to one and all!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 12:37:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good morning you two!  And safe travels, Metatone!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 02:01:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good morning everyone and a good trip home, Metatone
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 04:34:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters via Yahoo!  Judge dismisses suit against Michael Moore

BOSTON (Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by an Iraq war veteran who claimed filmmaker Michael Moore used the veteran's image without permission in the anti-war documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11."

According to court papers, Judge Douglas Woodlock of U.S. District Court in Massachusetts dismissed the suit on Wednesday. It had sought $35 million in damages from Moore, as well as Miramax, which is owned by Walt Disney Co. and several other film companies.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 02:04:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have any of you read anything by Joseph Stiglitz?

Brilliant economist.  

Damning criticisms of market fundamentalism.

I've read some of his later work after his break with the IMF, but I recently picked up a copy of an earlier book called Whither Socialism? that lays out very interesting arguments about the role of information in the economy.

This all started when I went to the libraryh at school to pick up some winter break reading for when I went home to my mother's house. (Dial up, I'm on it now, slow as can be.) I was wanting to put a dent in some Keynes, but I found this book, and couldn't put it down after I picked it up.  I will finish Keynes (General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money up first), but I'm very interested in Stiglitz's ideas about information, and wanted to see if anyone else had read him.  

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

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 02:21:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've got a copy of Globalization and It's Discontents in my To Read pile (for 2 years!) but have only dipped into it here & there.

Wither Socialism sounds like it needs to be added to the pile as well.  (groan)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 11:46:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Same here.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 01:40:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sierra Club's Energizing America


EXPLORERS USED TO AMUSE their European audiences by telling of heathen tribesmen who would panic when an eclipse rubbed out the noonday sun. The natives would scream or pray or make ritual sacrifices to appease the god on whom they had always depended, a god now acting so irrationally. Our chief deity--the cheap energy that has made our lives rich and easy--is about to be eclipsed as well, and the sounds you hear (motorists moaning about the price of gas, politicians loudly insisting that sacrificing wilderness in the Far North will save the day) are no different. Except that solar eclipses pass quickly. This change is forever; fossil fuel was a onetime gift--and the sooner we understand that, the sooner we can go about the realistic task of doing without it.

Much of what passes for discussion about our energy woes is spent imagining some magic fuel that will save us. Solar power! Fusion power! Hydrogen power! But such wishful thinking hides the basic fact of our moment in time: We've already had our magic source of energy.

(...)

An interesting, not to mention unlikely, experiment along these lines began in 2005 when a Parisian investment banker named Jerome Guillet began posting comments on dailykos.com, one of the world's most active political Web sites, where Democratic and liberal activists trade rumors, launch campaigns, and keep track of what Bill O'Reilly is saying. It's not a home for fringe radicals (Nevada senator Harry Reid [D] posts comments regularly), and indeed Guillet first got noticed with a series of posts debunking conspiracy theories that the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was actually aimed at building oil pipelines across the region. "Then I started with the bug of writing there," he explains in Gallic-accented English.

Since Guillet's day job involves analyzing the economics of energy projects, he soon expanded his sphere to explaining the basics of the energy crisis. Before long, others on the site interested in the same issues found themselves working with Guillet to produce, revise, and then revise again a detailed 20-point plan they call "Energize America," a remarkably comprehensive energy strategy that pays full attention to political reality. Currently in version 5.0, the plan proposes ideas ranging from the Passenger Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Act and the Wind Energy Production Tax Credit Act to measures designed to boost telecommuting, experiment with state renewable energy efforts, and put solar panels on 20 million roofs. It's precisely the kind of full-blown proposal that, if adopted, might fundamentally reorient our energy future.

"All of us have our pet projects," says Guillet. "Some of us are fighting for ethanol, some for solar panels. But as a group we're trying to push the idea that there is not a single solution. We need to push everything. And we need to make fossil fuel more expensive and then let people make their choices. Wind in some places. And maybe in some places nuclear can be made to work--it works not so badly in France."

Left to its own devices, the market will give us more coal power plants. "Something that has a high up-front investment and low operating cost--wind--is more expensive for the market to build than something that has high running costs, like coal," says Guillet. (It's the same reason the guy building new homes in suburban subdivisions doesn't put the more efficient--and more expensive--refrigerator in the kitchen.) Energy, he adds, is "a market that needs government intervention, regulation, and interference. And these are all dirty words in America these days. But governments are in the best position to internalize externalities. Governments can say, 'Our society suffers from pollution. If I tax your use of coal, that use will drop, and I'll have more money to build the trains that will cut pollution and to pay for the nurses to treat your asthma.'"

Indeed, though he might not phrase it quite this way, Guillet is describing what could be the most useful technology of all, the one Americans have all but forgotten: the technology of community.

I'll probably have a diary later today on this. The "technology of community" is a better title, but this is the Klatsch section...

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 04:50:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Congratulation, your are really getting heard, or better read. :-)
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 08:46:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, this is an important endorsement..well done

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 12:06:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice one, Jerome. Congrats!
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Sat Dec 23rd, 2006 at 12:20:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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