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

European Breakfast - Aug. 21

by Izzy Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 12:21:49 AM EST

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

Albert Einstein


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Europe

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 12:22:33 AM EST
The Guardian:  Brown allies slap down ex-minister's call to scrap inheritance tax

Allies of Gordon Brown yesterday delivered a blistering riposte to a call by the former cabinet minister Stephen Byers for inheritance tax to be abolished.

Mr Byers, the former transport secretary, called for the next prime minister to make the move to reassure voters that the "pragmatic and modernising approach of New Labour" would remain in Downing Street after Tony Blair left office.

But it was immediately stamped on by the chancellor's friends, led by the trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling, who accused Mr Byers of headline chasing. Mr Darling, one of the more cautious of Mr Brown's senior allies, also indicated the chancellor's wish to be given "plenty of time" in No 10 before the next election.

...
The response from Mr Darling and the Treasury was emphatic. "It may make for a headline, but I don't think it makes for a prudent tax and spend policy," Mr Darling said. "Inheritance tax brings in about £3bn a year and if you get rid of it it follows that some other tax has got to go up or you've got to cut public spending, on health and education for example."

The Treasury said the tax affected only 6% of estates, and Mr Byers was wrong to assume that most people with homes valued at more than £285,000 had paid off their mortgages.

One supporter of Mr Brown said: "I don't think Stephen Byers actually believes a word of this nonsense. He's probably just trying to get a bit of attention or stir up some division in the party, but even the most hardcore Blairite MPs think he's lost the plot this time."



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 12:29:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seattle PI:  Pope:  Working too hard harms the spirit

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy -- Working too hard, even for those leading the Catholic Church, is bad for the spirit, Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday as he greeted tourists at his summer residence outside Rome.

During his traditional weekly appearance to bless the faithful, Benedict quoted from writings of St. Bernard in the 12th century meant for the popes of his time on the subject of overwork.

Benedict quoted the saint as advising pontiffs to "watch out for the dangers of an excessive activity, whatever ... the job that you hold, because many jobs often lead to the 'hardening of the heart,' as well as 'suffering of the spirit, loss of intelligence.'"



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 12:34:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is he a terrorist or what?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 03:59:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't knock the Pope, for once he's saying something intelligent...
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 04:36:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the exact same thing?

I'll be taking a brain on those planes. Highly toxic and dangerous. Are they prohibited yet?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 04:39:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
many jobs often lead to the 'hardening of the heart,' as well as 'suffering of the spirit, loss of intelligence.'"

So when did George Bush work hard then ?


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 05:12:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC:  Fatal storm hits Hungary festival

At least two people were killed and 100 injured when a sudden storm hit Hungary's capital, Budapest, as tens of thousands watched a firework display.

The two people killed were hit by a falling tree, officials said.

Hundreds panicked when the rainstorm broke and several people had to be rescued after being thrown overboard when two ships collided on the Danube.

People had gathered on the banks of the river to watch a fireworks display to mark Hungary's national day.

Torrential rain and winds of up to 100km/h (62mph) tore down trees, smashed cars and windows and ripped tiles off rooftops.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 12:51:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo, where are you?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 03:11:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Busy: moving...

But I thought this will be posted (it was on CNN!), so some additional info:

  • 20 August: this is the primary national day. It is St. Stephen's day, meaning the St. Stephen who was Hungary's first Christian king one thousand years ago (a bloody tyrann who turned a loose tribal association of (mostly) free men into a centralised loyal-to-Rome Christian feudal state). It is also New Bread's Day (when traditionally the first bread was made from newly sewn wheat).

  • But as often happens with primary national days, no one can get enthusiastic about it. Instead, the one thing people care about is local events, above all the traditional fireworks in Budapest above the Danube, always at 21h, usually with about a million spectators.

  • About the catastrophe yesterday: a cold front carrying a very strong band of storm hit just when the fireworks began (to the minute). Because my soon-to-be-ex house is on a flat hill, I usually watch from the rooftop, and I saw a fantastic double firework -- e.g. the pyrotechnics down below, and lightnings every half-second, all along the front (which was parallel to the Danube) above it. Then came the strong winds (stronger than the article says: 120 km/h = 75 mph). As there were 1-1.5 million along the Danube this time, the 'evacuation' of the masses took time. Three confirmed dead, two missing from a sunk boat, three hundred hurt (20 seriously) treated in hospitals -- now it appears none of them due to the panic, all due to falling trees and such.

  • Responsibility: as usual here, everyone denies responsibility. The meteorologists did issue a warning, the city major says this wasn't a city- but a state-organised event, police and firefighters also point to the organisers, organisers claim they weren't informed. The latest is that the meteorologists sent their warning by email, which the firefighters only read hours later. Of course, this is no excuse either, the firefighters should have checked weather charts (something I myself have done, and the radar chart from half an hour before clearly showed a strong storm just about to hit, I even called a travelling relative to get off the road).


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 05:05:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some pictures from Index:

Rain and clouds enter between the first fireworks:

Later you barely see the Chain Bridge:

People flee:

Felled trees, mobile toilet on the Pest shore (with the illuminated royal palace on the Buda side visible):

Torn-off catenary for trolley-bus (a lot of tram and trolley lines were temporarily stopped):

Some building damage -- to a long-distance bus station:



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

by DoDo on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 05:21:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
with the illuminated royal palace on the Buda side visible)

Upon closer observation: nah, it's actually a building on the Pest side observed from the Buda side...

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

by DoDo on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 05:24:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gulf News: 'Political honeymoon over for Merkel'

Berlin: She was trying to reach young voters, to show them that Germany's first female chancellor is plugged-in and relevant, despite plummeting personal approval ratings.

Sadly for Angela Merkel, her campaign to curry favour through a political podcast ended in humiliation.

In her internet video address last week, something about her deadpan resume of health and traffic management policies failed to impress many of the 14,000 youthful web-users who logged on to watch.

"Is this a warning about what can happen if you smoke too much dope?'' asked Thomas Bohley, a young blogger.

Others downloaded images of Merkel and embellished them with rabbit whiskers, teeth and ears.

Their reaction was the latest indication that Merkel's political honeymoon is over.

An opinion poll published last week pointed to a slump in the east German's popularity. In January, Merkel was rated as one of the country's most popular leaders, with the record support of 55 per cent of the electorate.

Last Thursday's poll showed her rating had fallen to 37 per cent. Manfred Guellner, the head of the Forsa group which carried out the poll, said that Merkel, 52, appeared to be losing the support of traditional voters.

by Fran on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 01:39:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scotsman: French favourite calls for new revolution

SÉGOLÈNE Royal, the former Socialist minister tipped to become France's first female president, tried to steal a march on her rivals yesterday, making a landmark speech in which she said the country was ailing" and in need of a new "democratic revolution".

More than 4,000 Socialists flocked to the tiny village of Frangy-en-Bresse, in Burgundy, to hear Ms Royal speak at a rally, a week ahead of her party's official conference in La Rochelle.
Advert for the new Scotsman jobs site

Three people were injured as the crowds surged forward to catch a glimpse of the woman most French people want to be their next president. A poll in Dimanche Ouest-France yesterday gave her a 13-point lead over the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy for next year's elections, making her the only Socialist candidate capable of beating him.

The poll showed her rivals for the Socialist party candidacy - including the leader, François Hollande - would all be defeated by Mr Sarkozy.

In her speech, Ms Royal appeared in confident mood, telling her audience: "Later, we will be able to say, 'There were those who were at Frangy and those that weren't'."

She said her programme would be based on reducing unemployment, which she said was at the root of social inequalities in France.

"When the social link disintegrates, the nation loses strength. France no longer wants the arrogance of the government and the rule of cash," she said, denouncing the "brutality of the right" towards vulnerable citizens.

by Fran on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 01:42:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is her rising popularity due to perceptions of her policies or a reaction against some of the dirty tricks done to her ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 05:05:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or is it due to the paparazzi pictures of her in a bikini?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 06:48:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deutsche Welle: EU Tries Balancing Internal Inequality and External Competition

Economic and social differences within Europe have only become more pronounced as the European Union expands. The EU wants to remedy the inequalities and maintain a competitive advantage on the global market -- but how?

European unification began at the economic level with the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community. Fifty-five years later, the economy is still an important aspect of the European integration process today. But the bloc is also trying to ensure social equality between its regions.

"In comparing the European economic model with other economic regions like the US or Asia, it becomes apparent that Europe, apart from the economic dynamic, puts relatively high priority on social equality," said Stefanie Wahl, the director of the Institute for Economy and Society in Bonn. "It tries to realize both goals."

by Fran on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 01:44:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardain:  CIA's secret UK bank trawl may be illegal

A covert programme under which confidential information about British banking transactions is passed to the CIA with the full knowledge of the government may breach both British and European law, the Guardian has learned.

The information commissioner, who is responsible for enforcing the Data Protection Act, is investigating the arrangement, which has seen details of computerised transactions from around the world passed to the CIA in an attempt to spy on the financiers of jihadist terrorism.

The US government has acknowledged that the agency has been receiving international financial records from the Belgian-based co-operative which processes money transfers on behalf of the world's banks. The programme was launched in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

Data handed over each year by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Swift, includes the details of an estimated 4.6 million British banking transactions.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 01:59:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Today Russia will pay back 210 million euros in debts to Finland + payment in kind of 23 million worth of equipment.

The debt was not fully due till 2020, so Russia is saving debt costs by early repayment.

They are rolling in money, and good luck to them.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 02:09:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ROY'S RUSSIAN AIRCRAFT RESOURCE
Finland also plans to obtain high-technology product and special services in the sphere of science and scientific research and experimental design work. Moreover, Russia will repay ahead of time the remainder of the debt to Finland within the framework of the Club of Paris creditors a total of 271.5 million dollars, the PRAYM-TASS agency has reported.

" experimental design work".... keep an eye on this Sven...

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)

by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 09:07:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I will

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 11:33:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian:  'No believable plan' for completion of iSoft work on NHS overhaul

One of the most important pieces of software in the NHS's £6.2bn IT overhaul - which is being developed by iSoft - may miss its already delayed release dates, according to a review by the two consultancies responsible for delivering the systems.
In iSoft's annual report last year, the troubled developer said the programme, known as Lorenzo, was already "on the market" and had been "available" from early 2004.

In January this year, however, it issued a profits warning saying the NHS's National Programme for IT "had been experiencing a significant degree of rescheduling ... as a result, it is now clear that delivery of iSoft application solutions to NHS trusts will occur, in general, later than previously expected". No revised delivery date was given, and the company did not mention progress on Lorenzo.

A month after the profits warning, Accenture and Computer Services Corporation (CSC), iSoft's partners on three NHS contracts covering 60% of Britain, produced their own review of Lorenzo's "deliverability and fitness for purpose".

The review, seen by the Guardian, is highly critical of the Lorenzo software development and iSoft's expectations of a likely release date. Beyond a basic version of Lorenzo, which has been tailored for GPs, the review found "there is no well defined scope and therefore no believable plan for releases".

I'm having alarm bells go off because of the involvement of Accenture, who have figured large in our voter purging scandals and states missing the deadline for various voting reforms.  They were part of Arthur Anderson, of Enron infamy.  They just seem like bad news.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 02:17:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's just another Govt-inspired IT cock-up. I read a book years ago that examined in great detail why Govt software projects fail, wish I still had it so's I could diarise it. But his premise was that the process is flaed from start to finish.

Specified by people who don't know about the capabilities and limitations of the technology they're dealing with.

Designed by people who refuse to understand how current processes work or what they achieve.

Sold off to the cheapest bidder on the understanding that all of the inevitable remedial work to fix that which can't work will be done on a cost-plus basis.

Progress is overseen by people with an interest in ensuring that investment continues, thus backloading all the bad news.

No penalty clauses for poor performance on the contractors, indeed they are rewarded with "fix-it" deals.

and on and on till you're thoroughly depressed.


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 05:11:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ten dead in Moscow market blast

An explosion has killed 10 people - including at least two children - at a Moscow market, Russian officials say.
At least 16 other people were injured in the blast at 1030 (0630 GMT) at the eastern Cherkizovsky market. It brought down a two-storey building.

There are conflicting reports about the cause of the explosion.

According to Moscow's First Deputy Mayor Vladimir Resin, a "makeshift explosive device" blew up. Earlier police blamed a faulty gas cylinder.

Latest reports from Moscow police say a bomb had been hidden in a bag and left in a cafe.




Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 08:28:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
El Pais: "Galicia would not have been able to confront this crisis alone" (21 de agosto de 2006)El Pais: "Galicia no hubiese podido afrontar sola esta crisis" (21 de agosto de 2006)
The wave of [forest] fires in GaliciaLa ola de incendios en Galicia
INTERVIEW: Emilio Pérez Touriño President of the Xunta [Galician regional government]ENTREVISTA: Emilio Pérez Touriño Presidente de la Xunta
......
Q. Unlike you, fellow party and [regional] government members have insinuated the thesis that [there was] an organised plot [behind the forest fires].P. Usted no lo ha hecho, pero compañeros de partido y de Gobierno han insinuado la tesis de una trama organizada.
A. I have spoken with hundreds of people these days. Citizens, Administration staff, firefighters... all tell me: 'President, this is the result of an intentional attack'. To deny it is to deny reality. But what does the Guardia Civil [militarised rural national police force] tell me?: that although there is a causal link there is no evidence of an organisation. Those of us in the Administration cannot make that leap from intentionality or criminal activity, which are clear, to the existence of a plot. I am not going to do the same as Rajoy [current PP national leader, himself from Galicia], who, in 2002 [when he was Aznar's deputy PM], since it was convenient to him, claimed that in Galicia there were organised plots. And not he says that defending that position is immoral.R. He hablado estos días con cientos de personas. Los ciudadanos, el personal de la Administración, los bomberos... todos me dicen: 'Presidente, esto es producto de un acoso intencionado'. Negarlo es negar la realidad. ¿Pero qué me dice la Guardia Civil?: que aunque existe una causalidad, no hay constancia de una organización. Los que estamos en la Administración no podemos dar ese salto desde la intencionalidad o la actividad criminal, que son claras, a la existencia de una trama. No voy a hacer lo que hizo Rajoy, quien, en 2002, como le convenía, afirmaba que en Galicia existían tramas organizadas. Y ahora nos viene con que defender eso es inmoral.
Q. We have been wondering who burns the mountain [i.e. the forests] for decades.P. Hace décadas que nos preguntamos quién quema el monte.
A. That is why we are going to commit ourselves volcar to putting the largest possible number of arsonists at the disposal of the [criminal] justice [system]. We cannot spend our whole lives with Galicia burning and not knowing who burns it. There is a certain [level of] frustration because probably so far nobody has  provided the necessary means or worked intensely to answer that question.R. Por eso nos vamos a volcar en poner a disposición de la justicia al mayor número posible de incendiarios. No podemos pasarnos toda la vida con Galicia ardiendo y sin saber quién la quema. Hay una cierta frustración porque hasta ahora probablemente no se han puesto los medios necesarios ni trabajado con intensidad para responder a esa pregunta.
So there you have it, Galicia has been burning for decades and nobody knows why.O sea, Galicia ardiendo durante décadas y nadie sabe por qué.


Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 08:41:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So there you have it, Galicia has been burning for decades and nobody knows why.

Snigger

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 10:57:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Europeans 'back long work hours'

A majority of people in Europe's biggest economies do not want limits on working hours, a poll by the Financial Times newspaper has indicated.
According to the survey, 52% of adults questioned in the UK said people should have the right to opt out of European Union rules that limit working times.

The survey found that a majority of those in France and Germany also did not want working hours capped.

The poll, which also covered Italy and Spain, found 47% backed limiting hours.

Nothing shocking about this survey.  It's pretty obvious to me from reading ET that Europeans just can't get enough work, workaholics you all are.  ;)

</ducks>

But seriously, anyone have a more snarkless response to this?


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

by p------- on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 08:43:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They didn't ask me.

Actually what it dmeonstrates is the inability of reporters to understand a correlation between hours worked, money earnt and implications for lifestyle. Basically, people on low wages have to work long hours or they dont get to eat as much.

Given that choice, long hours seem preferable.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 11:03:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
World

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 12:22:49 AM EST
Reuters:  Ethiopia relocates 16,000 marooned

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia has rescued thousands marooned by flash floods that have killed nearly 900 people this month, but tens of thousands remain homeless as more rivers spilled over across the nation.

State TV said on Sunday that Ethiopia had relocated 16,000 residents stranded after heavy rains caused rivers to burst their banks.

But officials fear the death toll could still rise rapidly as bad weather and poor access hamper relief efforts. The floods have hit large areas throughout the Horn of Africa nation, displacing some 48,000 people, according to U.N. estimates.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 12:44:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC:  DR Congo outcome forces run-off

A second round of voting will be needed in the Democratic Republic of Congo's landmark presidential poll after none of the candidates won 50% of the vote.
Incumbent President Joseph Kabila took a 44.81% share, while his nearest rival Jean-Pierre Bemba won 20.03%.

The pair will now face each other in a run-off, which is provisionally set for Sunday 29 October.

Prior to the result one man died when fighting broke out between guards loyal to Mr Kabila and Mr Bemba's guards.

The election is the first democratic poll to be held in the country since gaining independence in 1960.

The chief of the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI), Rev Appolinaire Malu-Malu, announced the results on state TV hours later than expected.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 01:01:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New Zealand Herald:  Tuheitia new Maori king

Tuheitia Paki is the new Maori king after this morning taking the throne vacated by his mother.

The eldest son of Dame Te Atairangikaahu had been expected to be the next leader of the Kingitanga movement.

He was announced as successor to his mother by Tuwharetoa paramount chief Tumu te Heuheu after several days of deliberations by the country's tribal leaders and took the throne in a ceremony at Turangawaewae Marae.

Dame te Ata, who will be buried later today, died on Tuesday aged 75.

Te Arikinui Tuheitia Paki, wearing his late mother's feather cloak, sat on the carved throne with his eyes mostly downcast, displaying little outward emotion. He will be known as King Tuheitia.

At the formal Ascension or "Raising Up" ceremony, he was tapped on his head with a bible which began a royal tradition in 1858 when the first leader of the Kingitanga movement was crowned.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 01:06:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I should point out that the Maori King has no constitutional status in New Zealand - or indeed, over any iwi outside the Tainui federation.  Their influence is a matter of mana rather than authority. That said, Te Atairangikaahu had an awful lot of mana, and was widely respected even by republican pakeha like me...
by IdiotSavant on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 10:53:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seattle PI:  Lieberman calls on Rumsfeld to resign

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Joe Lieberman, attacked by fellow Democrats as being too close to the White House on the Iraq War, on Sunday called on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign but said the United States cannot "walk away" from the Iraqis.

Lieberman, the one-time Democratic vice presidential candidate, is running as an independent in his bid for a fourth term since losing the Democratic nomination to newcomer Ned Lamont, who harnessed voters' anger against the war in Iraq.

Lieberman, an early supporter of the Iraq war, said he had called for Rumsfeld to step down in 2003.

"With all respect to Don Rumsfeld, who has done a grueling job for six years, we would benefit from new leadership to work with our military in Iraq," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Lieberman said the Bush administration should have sent more troops into Iraq "to secure the country."



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 01:10:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A perfect case of "too little, too late". Hell, even the Economist (which called DailyKos "indigestible", but mentioned it twice, in their article on Lamont this week) called for Rumsfeld's resignation 2 years ago.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 04:04:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seattle PI:  Military recruiters cited for misconduct

More than 100 young women who expressed interest in joining the military in the past year were preyed upon sexually by their recruiters. Women were raped on recruiting office couches, assaulted in government cars and groped en route to entrance exams.

A six-month Associated Press investigation found that more than 80 military recruiters were disciplined last year for sexual misconduct with potential enlistees. The cases occurred across all branches of the military and in all regions of the country.

"This should never be allowed to happen," said one 18-year-old victim. "The recruiter had all the power. He had the uniform. He had my future. I trusted him."

At least 35 Army recruiters, 18 Marine Corps recruiters, 18 Navy recruiters and 12 Air Force recruiters were disciplined for sexual misconduct or other inappropriate behavior with potential enlistees in 2005, according to records obtained by the AP under dozens of Freedom of Information Act requests. That's significantly more than the handful of cases disclosed in the past decade.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 01:26:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
San Jose Mercury News:  Governor appeals to conservatives on immigration

LOS ANGELES - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger swiped at his Democratic opponent in a speech before California Republicans on Saturday, seeking to convince any doubters that he is the better choice on immigration and taxes.

Even though Schwarzenegger enjoys a comfortable lead over challenger Phil Angelides in early polling, some conservatives object to his recent overtures to Democrats. And many consider his moderate views on immigration too wishy-washy.

He tried to assuage those concerns during a lunchtime speech to 700 of the GOP faithful at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. His take: Angelides holds even less stringent views on immigration.

``Now my opponent wants to pull the National Guard off the border. He wants to give undocumented workers California driver's licenses. His policies are disastrous,'' Schwarzenegger said. ``On immigration, the choice is clear. We say no to weakening our borders and yes to reforming our badly broken immigration system and yes to securing our borders.''



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 01:30:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rocklin and Roseville Today:  Angelides not yet life of own party

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides was in proud partisan company last week as firebrand Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean headlined his San Francisco campaign rally.

Before a raucous crowd at a plumbers and pipefitters union hall, Dean ebulliently hailed Angelides as a man with the "integrity" and "backbone" to stand up for Democratic principles.

Dean was only the latest leading Democrat trying to boost Angelides' fortunes.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton earlier joined him in San Francisco. Former President Clinton led an Angelides fundraiser in Beverly Hills, proclaiming: "This guy's got the heart of a lion."

But in the summer doldrums of the political season, a wrenching question now facing Angelides is whether he has the hearts of average voters in his own party.

A Field Poll in July showed Angelides with a lukewarm 63 percent support among fellow Democrats _ with only 35 percent saying they believed he could defeat Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. A Public Policy Institute of California poll was less optimistic for Angelides, showing him with 54 percent of the Democratic vote and Schwarzenegger ahead in the race by 13 percent.

...
Among Angelides' targeted constituencies, 91 percent of California Democrats and 70 percent of independent voters disapprove of Bush's handling of the war, according to the Field Poll.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 01:36:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Orange County Register:  The taxpayers' new best friend?

Angelides attempts to reframe his campaign by offering select tax cuts. Don't be fooled.

The Wilson tax increase "saved the state from disaster," Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides said in a conference call last week with editorial writers.

He was answering questions about his new economic plan, for fiscal 2007-08, which begins July 1, detailing the tax increases and tax cuts he proposes for the state, should he be elected governor in November.
This is important because his proposed tax increase on the wealthy, raising the top income-tax rate by 1.7 percentage points for three years to get $3 billion in new revenue, is similar to Gov. Pete Wilson's increase in 1991, which also was 1.7 percentage points and which expired in 1995.

However, this time there already is an added surtax, which voters passed in 2004 to fund mental health care, of 1 percentage point on millionaires. So the Angelides tax increase actually would make California's top tax rate 12 percent, which would be the highest in state history; the current top rate of 10.3 percent already is the highest in the nation. He also wants to close corporate tax loopholes,

The other articles about Angelides' apparent lack of support are blaming his tax proposals.  FYI, the OC Register is quite a conservative paper, and the history of California taxes is extremely volatile.  Also, just as an aside, the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) is as brutal an entity as you'll encounter -- they make the IRS look like amateurs.  We'll see how serious this gets.  Fingers crossed for ousting the Governator.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 01:52:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Nation: Congress Poised to Unravel the Internet

Lured by huge checks handed out by the country's top lobbyists, members of Congress could soon strike a blow against Internet freedom as they seek to resolve the hot-button controversy over preserving "network neutrality." The telecommunications reform bill now moving through Congress threatens to be a major setback for those who hope that digital media can foster a more democratic society. The bill not only precludes net neutrality safeguards but also eliminates local community oversight of digital communications provided by cable and phone giants. It sets the stage for the privatized, consolidated and unregulated communications system that is at the core of the phone and cable lobbies' political agenda.

In both the House and Senate versions of the bill, Americans are described as "consumers" and "subscribers," not citizens deserving substantial rights when it comes to the creation and distribution of digital media. A handful of companies stand to gain incredible monopoly power from such legislation, especially AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon. They have already used their political clout in Washington to secure for the phone and cable industries a stunning 98 percent control of the US residential market for high-speed Internet.

Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens, the powerful Commerce Committee chair, is trying to line up votes for his "Advanced Telecommunications and Opportunities Reform Act." It was Stevens who called the Internet a "series of tubes" as he tried to explain his bill. Now the subject of well-honed satirical jabs from The Daily Show, as well as dozens of independently made videos, Stevens is hunkering down to get his bill passed by the Senate when it reconvenes in September.

by Fran on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 01:52:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only reason this may fail is because there are a number of companies with deep pockets who stand to lose from pro-telecom legislation. If the first mp3 related lawsuit (against Diamond) hadn't been aimed at a large-ish corporation mp3 algorithms may well have been banned from hardware systems. I'm not too hopeful on this issue, though. The telecom, automotive, and airline industries have been playing the US political system like a fiddle for many decades.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 03:33:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was Stevens who called the Internet a "series of tubes" as he tried to explain his bill.

How dare they [pretend to] author legislation on things they plainly don't understand?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 06:45:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They prepare all legislation on the basis of well-understood principles. Who is paying me and what do they want me to say ?

Any expertise they might contribute is neither here nor there. As I said on Saturday, the fact that K street are starting to recruit democrats is a cause for concern, not celebration.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 06:54:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Middle East

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 12:23:08 AM EST
Seattle PI:  Israel puts conditions on peacekeepers

JERUSALEM -- Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that countries which don't have diplomatic relations with the Jewish state should not participate in the international peacekeeping force that will police a truce along the Lebanese border, his office said.

Meanwhile, France called for a meeting of European Union countries this week to determine the number of troops they are prepared to contribute to the expanded U.N. peacekeeping force.

Europe has been slow to make any firm troop commitments, and U.N. officials have called on the Europeans to offer more troops to balance pledges from Muslim countries.

During a phone conversation with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, Olmert suggested that Italy lead the international force, Olmert's office said in a statement. Prodi said Italy intends to send a "significant" force and that he would take up the matter with his parliament as soon as possible, the statement said.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 12:38:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters:  UN envoys fear truce may unravel

BEIRUT (Reuters) - United Nations envoys will meet Israeli officials on Monday after expressing fears that a week-long truce between Israel and Lebanese Hizbollah guerrillas might unravel, leading to further bloodshed.

Terje Roed-Larsen and Vijay Nambiar will hold talks in Jerusalem following their weekend visit to Beirut, where they urged both sides in the recent 34-day war to show restraint.

"We are at the tilting edge still," Roed-Larsen warned at the end of the visit. "This can easily start sliding again and lead us quickly into the abyss of violence and bloodshed."

The U.N. is trying to assemble a 15,000-strong international force in southern Lebanon, to keep the peace alongside a similar sized Lebanese contingent which is gradually being unfolded.

The New York-based body already has 2,000 soldiers in the area and, under the terms of Security Council resolution 1701 which ended the war, has committed itself to getting another 3,500 there by September 2.

But so far, few countries have made significant commitments. Some have complained that the rules of engagement under which their soldiers would operate are ill-defined.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 12:42:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Israel asks Italy to lead UN peacekeeping force and defies raid criticism  

Israel warned yesterday that it would continue covert raids in Lebanon despite a UN-brokered ceasefire, insisting it had the right to stop Hizbullah rearming in advance of the arrival of UN peacekeepers.

The warning coincided with the news that the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, had asked Italy to lead the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon and to deploy troops to oversee Lebanon's border with Syria.

One Israeli soldier and three Hizbullah fighters were killed during an Israeli raid in the Hizbullah heartland of the Beka'a valley on Saturday. Israel claimed the raid was to stop the supply of arms to Hizbullah and did not breach the UN ceasefire resolution. However, Lebanese sources said the raid was a failed attempt to kidnap a senior Hizbullah cleric and risked plunging the region back into war.

.....
The soldiers, dressed in the uniform of the Lebanese army, advanced to the home of Sheikh Mohammed Yazbek, a member of the Hizbullah governing council. According to reports the soldiers searched and found intelligence material relating to the transportation of arms from Syria to Hizbullah. As the soldiers returned to the helicopters they ran into a group of Hizbullah fighters. A 30-minute gun battle broke out.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry, said the incursions could continue until the Lebanese army and a new UN force took control of the Lebanese-Syrian border. "In the interim, of course, we can't have a situation where endless amounts of weaponry arrive for Hizbullah, so we are forced to act in response to this violation," he told the Associated Press.

by Fran on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 01:34:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
! (to the part in bold.)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 04:37:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and Hizbollah soldiers wear Israeli uniform sometimes. Are we surprised to see this?

Mikhail from SF
by Tsarrio (dj_tsar@yahoo.com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 07:28:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This and That

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 12:23:26 AM EST
Seattle PI:  On TV:  Spike Lee's protrait of the debacle of Katrina

Beyond the historic tragedy we acknowledge Katrina's aftermath to be, the government's spectacular failure of New Orleans stands as a glaring mark of shame on our country. One of America's major cities is still face down in the mud, with its citizens still uprooted and unable to return home, its true culture under threat of being scattered and Disneyfied.

Spike Lee's HBO documentary, "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts," stands as both a reminder and a dedication to the resilient spirit of its people and their pride in New Orleans' complex, difficult history.

Outstripping those ideas in significance, though, is the film's wealth and breadth of historical accounts and multifaceted analysis. Experts of every stripe illustrate the absurdist levels of bureaucratic bungling that left New Orleaneans to starve and swelter in the broiling heat.

The oral accounts of the city's residents reveal angles otherwise unexamined by the mainstream national media. The poorest citizens, most of them black, have a lengthy, distressing relationship with those levees. Put together, theirs is a tale of a population that has been taken advantage of and abandoned by its country for decades.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 12:57:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters:  The women feel bad, but the guys must feel worse

BERLIN (Reuters) - Two German women complaining on office email about their partners' poor sex drive found the details of their private lives broadcast to thousands after one of them hit the wrong button, Bild newspaper said Saturday.

"Everyone stares at us now and whispers behind our backs," Anica G., a 21-year-old worker at the Federal Labor Office, told Bild.

The emails between Anica and colleague Christina S., with descriptions on how the women try but fail to arouse their partners, were first sent by accident to other colleagues in their department at the Labor Office.

They were then forwarded to thousands throughout the Labor Office and other government agencies and widely distributed by recipients to people across Germany.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 01:17:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sardi: Inappropriate Medicine

It would be obvious, if a person with insomnia went to the doctor and requested a prescription for sleeping pills when they drank caffeinated coffee all day long, that the prescription would be inappropriate. The sleeping pills would only attempt to mask the effect of the caffeine.

If treatment of disease does not address its true cause, and treatment only relieves symptoms, then it follows that treatment will likely produce marginal results. Such is the case in the treatment of blood pressure, glaucoma pressure, blood cholesterol or heart problems as recorded by an electrocardiogram. Inappropriate treatments for these diseases would not necessarily prevent unwanted adverse events such as strokes, vision loss or heart attacks.

Upon examination, it becomes clear that a great deal of the treatment prescribed by modern medicine may help to control symptoms and numbers, but is inappropriate, that is, it does not address the cause of disease. For example:

High blood pressure

Many cases of high blood pressure are caused by elevated blood sugar levels. In one study, 68.5% of consecutive patients diagnosed with hypertension had high blood sugar levels. [American Journal of Medicine 119: 318, 2006] But medications to treat hypertension do not address blood sugar. Instead, they reduce blood pressure by slowing the heart rate (beta blockers), decrease certain chemicals that tighten blood vessels so blood flows more smoothly (ACE inhibitors), or induce excretion of water (diuretics). Many times all of these drugs must be given to control blood pressure numbers. High blood pressure increases the risk for strokes. The age-adjusted rate for deaths from stroke has not been significantly reduced over the past 15 years despite all the medications commonly prescribed. Of interest, the most profound effect on lowering elevated blood pressure is not produced by medications, but by a water fast (average reduction -37/-13 mm Hg systolic/diastolic). [Journal Manipulative Physiological Therapies 24: 335-39, 2001]

Glaucoma

The common form of glaucoma, which is abnormally high fluid pressure in the eyes that eventually may result in damage to the optic nerve and narrowing of the visual field, is caused by a collapse and/or clogging of the fluid drain (trabecular meshwork). This collapse is a result of the loss of hyaluronic acid, a gel-like molecule within the collagen matrix of the eye's fluid drain. [Experimental Eye Research 76: 639, 2004] But the most commonly prescribed anti-glaucoma drug (beta blocker eye drops) does not address this problem, but rather slows the production of aqueous fluid to reduce fluid pressure. Recent studies show this eventually results in the further reduction of fluid outflow from the eye and total dependence upon the drug with slow and inevitable loss of side vision. Researchers are asking for medications that open the fluid drain rather than slow fluid flow. [Investigation Ophthalmology Visual Science 37:1360-7, 1996]

by Fran on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 02:34:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When do we get a diary (from Migeru, presumably) on Poincare/Perelman?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 04:07:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, God, I'm retired!

I'll try to read up on it...

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 06:39:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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