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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch – 11 June

by Fran Sun Jun 10th, 2007 at 11:45:24 PM EST

On this date in history:

1184 BC - Trojan War: Troy was sacked and burned, according to the calculations of Eratosthenes.

More here and here


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In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:38:59 AM EST
Bush: It's Time for Kosovo's Independence | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 10.06.2007
US President George W. Bush rejected Sunday the idea of an "endless dialogue" on the future status of Kosovo, saying the time was ripe to move towards independence for the Albanian-majority Serbian province.

"I happen to believe that it's important to move the process along," Bush told reporters in Tirana, during the first ever visit to Albania by a US president.

"Independence is the goal," he said during a joint press conference with Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha. "The time is now."



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:41:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He said that in Albania?

That will make all of Albania's neighbours really happy.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 04:15:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's wrong with Albania? I think main objections to Kosovo independence and to partition of its land between Albania and Serbia rise not from disregard of Albanian minority in Serbia' rights but why Kosovo only? Why not Corsica, Northern Ireland, Basque country, Serbian Bosnia, Turkish Kurdistan, Iraqi Kurdistan, Abkhazia, Dniestr, Ossetia, Kashmir, Tibet, Taiwan, Quebeque, Hawaii, and so on. United States should adopt Constitution amendement allowing its states to vote for independence. Dictator Linkoln abolished this important right of people to have self-determination as he was abolitionist. England should drop its objections to Scotland and Wales possible independence etc. Would you agree on that?
From my point of view all these modern states with their totalitarian doctrines on sovereignity and borders are just redundant.
by FarEasterner on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 05:38:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's wrong is that Bush just symbolically endorsed Greater Albania, which could be seen as a clear and present threat by Montenegro, Greece and Macedonia.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 05:43:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In India there is similar problem - on partition of Assam in the northeast one nationality Nagas lands were divided between three states. And insurgency after 60 years refuses to die. Generally I am more sympathetic to Nagas view as they say they were never part of British India (they concluded just a friendship treaty) and these lands they inhabited for many centuries. With Albania it's somewhat complicated as both sides claim their priority over the land. For Serbs it's motherland but they should admit Albanians did not appear from nowhere - when Slavic tribes came to Balkans there was some Romanized population (like Dalmatians) and very possibly Albanians are their descendents though they (re)migrated to Kosovo just in recent times. But we should take cautious approach as history was so many times perverted to suit political and geopolitical ends.
by FarEasterner on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 05:55:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just imagine if Bush went to Islamabad and endorsed Kashmir independence "now".

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 06:03:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He'd probably call himself a Wilsonian, except that's got too many syllables for him to pronounce.

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 Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 06:57:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting article on Greater Albania. It's funny that the non-Albanian accused of spreading anti-Albanian hatred is none other than American diplomat Christopher Hill.

In general, the ICG should just stay out of any issue it finds interest in. Trying to resolve WW2 grievances in the Balkans is a can of worms that can never ever be tidied up, and one wonders where was the ICG in the late 80s. Was it concerned about WW2 grievances at that time?

by Upstate NY on Tue Jun 12th, 2007 at 09:21:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Kosovo's "self-determination" is anything like Montenegro's independence

I don't see why some of Kosovo's districts shouldn't be allowed to be independent from Kosovo if they have a Serb majority, and then some of the municipalities there the be independent from Serb Kosovo if they have an Albanian minority and so on.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 06:23:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now you're being thoughtful and intelligent.

While everything is traditionally on the table with Bush, being thoughtful and intelligent is the one thing that reliably seems to fall off and roll under a chair somewhere, ready to be vacuumed up and lost forever.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 07:55:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know that the rules don't apply to the boy-king, but isn't there at least a tradition that these sort of matters are settled internally. The UN can mediate, if asked but by and large most countries have too much to lose from allowing sovereignty to be infringed to encourage it generally.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 09:51:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But why blame Bush only on this when the EU is solidly behind him on it?

Ahtisaari wrote the plan. He's not part of Bush's cabinet.

by Upstate NY on Tue Jun 12th, 2007 at 09:15:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Approves Billions for Galileo Satellite Navigation System | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 09.06.2007
EU transportation ministers have approved the use of billions of euros in public funds to finance the ailing satellite-navigation system Galileo.

Ministers on Friday gave the green-light to plans by the European Commission after the collapse of talks last month to undertake the ambitious project in partnership with private industry

"We need the expertise in this technology and we need the jobs which the sector will generate," said German Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee, whose country is current president of the EU.

All 27 ministers approved the plan, which will require an initial outlay of 2.4 billion euros ($3.2 billion) of public money towards the project's total cost of about 4 billion euros.

This would come on top of the 1.3 billion euros national governments have already committed to Galileo, seen as Europe's answer to the US-operated global positioning system GPS.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:41:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Independence is the goal. The time is now." — Dubya

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 04:30:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU hopes that Galileo will generate at least 150,000 jobs and bring a return of investments of up to 9 billion euros, making it the continent's most lucrative infrastructure project.

China, Israel, the US, Ukraine, India, Morocco and South Korea have also agreed to invest in Galileo.

Because I am so relatively cut off from European newsfeeds, I still was slightly biting my nails on this. Thanks for bringing the good news.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 06:05:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Laudable, yes, but this:

"We need the expertise in this technology and we need the jobs which the sector will generate"

Sounds just a bit too much like the justification of every major high-ticket military project in the last 20 years to be entirely to my liking.

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 Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 06:55:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's one of those odd economic anomalies that Keynesianism only works for big-ticket mil-ind projects.

For everything else it's considered inflationary and a very bad thing.

Still, this is good news - not least because it will mightily annoy the US.

Expect a concerted spoiler campaign imminently.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 07:58:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Fair Trade Blooms in Germany | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 10.06.2007
Producers of cut flowers in developing countries are notorious for providing low wages, toxic working conditions and using child labor. In Germany, fair trade flowers are an increasingly popular way to change that.

Child labor, skin disease and miscarriage are three things that German consumers most certainly don't associate with flowers. But these are part of the daily life at greenhouse operations in equatorial areas.

Many flowers, especially roses and carnations, are imported from lands like Colombia, Kenya and Zimbabwe. During winter, when flower production in Central Europe is nonexistent, foreign exports kick into high gear.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:41:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Description of Selected News

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Vladimir Putin, whose term as Russian president ends next year, does not rule out running again in 2012, a leading Russian daily reported on Saturday.

The future plans of the 54-year-old Putin, by far Russia's most powerful and popular politician, are the hottest topic of the Russian presidential succession.

The constitution limits him to two successive four-year terms in power, though further terms are possible after a break.

Putin has said he will not change the constitution to get a third consecutive term and has already made clear he will not retire altogether after the March 2008 election.

But he has not yet given any details about what he will do. Asked by reporters in the German town of Heiligendamm, where leaders of the Group of Eight industrial nations met on Friday, whether he could run again in 2012, Putin replied: "In theory it's possible and the constitution doesn't forbid it."



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:42:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]

High-Speed Train Links France and Germany | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 10.06.2007
The first high-speed rail link between France and Germany began scheduled services Sunday, slashing travel times and marking a major step towards a truly pan-European rapid transit network.

The service, offering fast connections to Luxembourg and Switzerland, cuts the Paris-Frankfurt journey by two and a half hours to three hours 50 minutes and brings Munich within six hours
of the French capital.

The first scheduled passenger train to whizz along the state-of-the-art new tracks was an Inter-City Express (ICE) train, operated by Germany's Deutsche Bahn, that left Paris at 6:43 a.m. headed to Frankfurt.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:43:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aahh!!! I am looking forward to Friday - when I travel to Paris. My first time trip in a TGV ever. :-)
by Fran on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 09:26:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've only done the eurostar which I'm told is a step down from tgv and that's pretty impressive.

The way the countryside whizzes by is very star-trek viewscreen

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 09:57:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
French Conservatives Ahead in Parliamentary Elections | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 10.06.2007
French President Nicolas Sarkozy's Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and its allies scored a resounding victory in Sunday's first round of the general elections.

Early estimates by several institutes, based on a partial vote count, show the UMP and its right-wing allies gaining 45.6 to 46.4 per cent of the vote Sunday, putting it in a position to grab an overwhelming majority of the 577 seats in the National Assembly, the lower house of the French Parliament, in next Sunday's second round.

 

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:  Socialist Segolene Royal hopes to lead her party after the election

According to the same estimates, the opposition Socialist Party and its left-wing allies look set to take 35.7 per cent of the vote, while the centrist Democratic Movement of Francois Bayrou was seen to draw only 7.3 per cent.

 

In terms of seats, forecasts based on the first round show the UMP and allied parties poised to win 383 to 501 of the 577 seats on June 17.

 

Estimates give the opposition Socialist Party and its allies only 69 to 185 seats next Sunday, with the Democratic Movement credited with 1 to 4 seats.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:46:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wealth gap grows and solidarity fades as rebellion of rich spreads across EU | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited
A convinced "European" at ease in the globalised world of internet banking, Mark has just returned from Budapest and Bratislava and is preparing to travel to Prague.

The 38-year-old expert in IT security for a Brussels bank loves his work and the varied places it takes him, and prizes his cosmopolitanism. "I'm a world traveller," he smiles. But most of all he loves his home of Bazel in Belgian Flanders, a tidy, prosperous red-brick village outside Antwerp. He wouldn't live anywhere else - even though he believes his taxes are being frittered away on poorer parts of Belgium to the south, rather than being spent locally.

Article continues "It would be better to separate into two parts, Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia," he argues. "It's two completely different economies. All our money is just flowing into the south all the time. It's not fair."

Mark's grievance is widespread in Flanders, sustaining the extreme-right nationalists of the Vlaams Belang - Flemish Interest - party, which is campaigning to break up Belgium.

Identical disputes over public money and how to spread it fairly are rife across large tracts of Europe, eroding national solidarity, feeding separatism, encouraging populism, and generating friction between Europe's wealthy centres of excellence and their less fortunate national hinterlands.


 

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:47:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Europe's wealthy centres of excellence

Because all that wealth is of course earnerd and not the result of other government policies, right?


[it is] ... the most successful and attractive cities on the continent that are in the revolutionary vanguard.

Again, that strange inversion of where "progress" and "revolution" are.

Oh, and let's throw a swipe at the CAP while we can:


The expansion of the EU from 15 to 27 countries over the past three years has immensely widened the disparities in wealth, while putting strains on the funds available. For example, a Polish farmer gets only a fraction of the subsidies available to a French farmer.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 03:51:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]

"It's all very well to support solidarity and national cohesion, it's quite another to damage yourself or endanger your own growth," says Mr Guardans of Catalonia. "We only want to receive back what we pay in."


he subscribes to their views on how national wealth should be shared. "The south just takes us for granted, they truly believe in the one-way flow of our money to the south. It's not right. Of course, we need to do something to support the weaker parts of the country. But I don't want to do it personally. It would be better to split up."

 

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 03:53:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All these wealthy separatists [Catalans, Basques, Flemish, Pandanians...] drive me up the wall.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 04:18:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Catalonia became independent, this guy would surely complain that Barcelona is subsidizing the mountain communities of the Leridan Pyrenees.

A note to Mr. Guardans:

Spanish Constitution of 1978

Section 2
The Constitution ... recognizes and guarantees the right to self-government of the nationalities and regions of which it is composed and the solidarity among them all.

Section 45
2. The public authorities shall watch over a rational use of all natural resources with a view to protecting and improving the quality of life and preserving and restoring the environment, by relying on an indispensable collective solidarity.

Section 138

  1. The State guarantees the effective implementation of the principle of solidarity proclaimed in section 2 of the Constitution, by endeavouring to establish a fair and adequate economic balance between the different areas of the Spanish territory and taking into special consideration the circumstances pertaining to those which are islands.
  2. Differences between Statutes of the different Self-governing Communities may in no case imply economic or social privileges.

Section 156
1. The Self-governing Communities shall enjoy financial autonomy for the development and exercise of their powers, in conformity with the principles of coordination with the State Treasury and solidarity among all Spaniards.

Section 158

  1. An allocation may be made in the State Budget to the Self-governing Communities in proportion to the amount of State services and activities for which they have assumed responsibility and to guarantee a minimum level of basic public services throughout Spanish territory.
  2. With the aim of redressing interterritorial economic imbalances and implementing the principle of solidarity, a compensation fund shall be set up for investment expenditure, the resources of which shall be distributed by the Cortes Generales among the Self-governing Communities and provinces, as the case may be.
Maybe that's why Catalans want to be independent. The Spanish Constitution is so unfair.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 04:58:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ditto italy...

'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 Jun 11th, 2007 at 05:35:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to speak of industrial wealth created with migrant labour from the regions that are now presented as "subsidised".

Not to sound like a broken record, but Globalisation is dissolving the Nation State as a meaningful economic unit. Instead of reacting to it by instituting supranational redistribution, we're going to see an end to national redistribution.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 04:23:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The rise of the "region-state" is the thesis of japnese economist Kenichi Ohmae in his book "Tne Next Global Stage". In a way, he supports competition between regions (or networks of regions) at global level.

I share the view that the nation-state is no longer relevant, but it must be replaced by supranational entities ensuring inter-regional solidarity like, so far, the EU has been doing.

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

by Melanchthon on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 07:48:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Suprantional entities are - possibly - good.

But regional competition is definitely bad, because the inevitable result is massive inequality, and/or short-termism, leaving regions prosperous while they're active but despoiled once they start to become expensive.

The more I think about this the more Bretton Woods 2.0 starts to look like a good idea, with capital movement strictly regulated to make sure that capital is physically and socially productive rather than simply parasitic.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 08:02:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Regional competition is a fact and it is growing. The regional level is the relevant level for fostering development by involving local actors. The nation-state is no longer able to regulate it properly. The supra-national level is necessary to regulate the competition between regions, to limit its effects and to redistribute wealth and means.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 08:55:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well it is certainly true that in a world of global corporates utilizing offshore banking arrangments, national governments are effectively powerless to manage their economies in any meanigful way that runs counter to the demands of those corporates.

Even the US is reduced to bribing them, the tiger it rode is now too dangerous to stop.

So yes, we do need the EU to have control of policy. Peter Mandelson admitted a few years back in an interview that the UK was powerless before Murdoch, but the EU might constrain him.

A shame that Blair never did anything to cement the UKs place closer, although it's instructive that he never did. His vanity could never allow him to surrender the power necessary to create a more powerful organisation that he couldn't control.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 10:06:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Be seen to control. It's not as if he was in charge in the UK.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 10:07:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it's what Hunter said over the weekend, in the press there's no perceptual difference between competence and an incompetence where competence is confidently asserted.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 11:07:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Asserted by the press.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 11:53:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scotsman.com News - Politics - Brown faces EU backlash two days into reign

GORDON Brown's premiership could begin with an explosive row over a European treaty set to be agreed by Tony Blair next week.

In the very last days of his term as Prime Minister, Mr Blair will try to sign Britain up to a stripped-down form of the European Constitution that was emphatically rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2004.

The British government has promised that any constitution would be put to UK voters in a referendum. But Mr Blair will argue that the new treaty will not have constitutional implications, merely consolidating and amending existing European rules and not fundamentally altering Britain's relationship with the EU.

Mr Blair is due to discuss the new treaty in Brussels on 21 and 22 June. Mr Brown will be formally declared Labour's new leader on 24 June, and sworn in as prime minister on 27 June.

The Conservatives have now served notice that they will demand a referendum from Mr Brown once he is in No 10. "Any treaty that is about the transfer of powers to the EU must be put to the country in a referendum," David Cameron, the Conservative leader, said yesterday.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:47:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As Brown is a true eurosceptic as opposed to a neoliberal europhile, he won't be able to lead a successful referendum campaign. Thus, Blair's legacy will be another crisis on the European Union treaty and a Tory government. [Remember Cameron wants out of the European Convention on Human Rights and the EU]

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 04:28:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Johann Hari has a great story on the reality behind Cameron's policy pledges

www.johannhari.com

Every time I delve into Cameron's past, I find more evidence of Cameron's real beliefs being drastically at odds with his public image. Look, for example, at the person he employed only a few years ago as his Chief of Staff: a young barrister called Alexander Deane.

Deane campaigns hard against the ban on landmines, saying the civilian-slaying bombs "save lives" and "should be taken up once again". He insistently defends Australian Prime Minister John Howard's actions at Tampa Bay, where he turned away a boat full of refugees fleeing the Taliban and then, when they began to drown, insisted they were deliberately killing their own kids to gain sympathy. Deane says the problem with Britain today is that the middle class have abandoned their mission of 'civilising' the working class and now "adopt the manner, outlook and voice" of "chav Britain".

These are the real views of Cameron's confidantes and staff. Beneath the pretty pictures and "let the sunshine win" word-music, we can glimpse the agenda Cameron would really like to pursue. The party's policy documents reveal that the core of Cameronism is to redistribute money from poor to rich. They will close SureStart centres, abolish £40-a-week grants for skint sixth-form students to stay on at school, and end rights for part-time workers by pulling out of the European Social Chapter. With the money he raises, Cameron will cut inheritance tax - which is only paid by the richest 6 percent - and bring back the huge middle class subsidy of Married Couples' Tax Allowance.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 10:16:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Cameron becomes PM I'll probably get ready to leave the country.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 10:29:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 
Bush feted as hero in Albania as he calls for independence for Kosovo - Independent Online Edition > Europe

George Bush used the first visit by a serving American president to Albania yesterday to make the clearest call yet for independence for neighbouring Kosovo. In a move that will add to the tension between Washington and Moscow - which supports Serbia's claims to the troubled province - Mr Bush said the UN Security Council should quickly decide Kosovo's fate.

"At some point in time, sooner rather than later, you've got to say 'Enough is enough. Kosovo is independent', and that's the position we've taken," Mr Bush told a press conference in the Albanian capital, Tirana.

Kosovo, a province of two million people, more than 90 percent of whom are ethnic Albanians, has been governed by the UN since a Nato-led bombing campaign drove out Serb forces in the mid-1990s. Political leaders in Kosovo are warning that patience is wearing thin among ethnic Albanians and they will unilaterally declare the enclave independent if the UN stalls.

But Russia has split the Security Council by backing fellow Orthodox Christian Serbia in its opposition to Kosovo's statehood, claiming it would set a dangerous precedent for breakaway regions. Serbia strongly opposes the loss of Kosovo, its spiritual heartland dating back 1,000 years, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin told the visiting Serb premier Vojislav Kostunica "with pleasure" at the weekend that he had thwarted Western plans.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:49:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
jeez, bush is adored somewhere....

that should make for some good base-building, at home with the voter base, abroad with those military thingies...

flitting around europe touching fire to fuses, wherever he can find them.

no, george, we don't want to piss off putin, please try to understand.

we appreciate having our asses saved by the usa last century, but it's time tobutt out...

don't you have enough fires to put out at home, without fueling any more over here?

'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 Jun 11th, 2007 at 05:41:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Union attacks Mittal over Kazakh safety

Arcelor Mittal's safety performance at its Kazakhstan coalmines is a stain on the UK, one of Britain's leading trade unions said yesterday after revelations over the weekend that 90 miners had been killed in the company's operations in Kazakhstan since 2004.

Unite said that the safety record and working conditions at the steel group's Kazakh operations were shameful because of the close links that Lakshmi Mittal, its chief executive, has with the UK. Britain's richest man, with a personal fortune of £19 billion, he has his office and home in London and has given millions of pounds to the Labour Party.

Arcelor Mittal defended its record amid criticism from Kazakh miners that they are treated like slaves and enjoyed better conditions in the Soviet era.




In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 04:36:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Waste of Disabled Talent Warning, Wales Online:

The wasted talents of unemployed disabled people are costing the economy billions of pounds, a leading think tank has warned.  Improving the skills of the 6.8 million working age disabled could give Britain a £35 billion boost over the next three decades, according to a Social Market Foundation (SMF) study.  

Only half of disabled people - whose most common ailments are back pain, blood pressure or breathing problems - are currently in work.  The report said that raising the disabled employment rate to 75% - the same as able-bodied people - would benefit the UK to the tune of £13 billion. And ensuring disabled people have "world class" skills by 2020 would raise £35 billion over 30 years, it added.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 06:05:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only half of disabled people - whose most common ailments are back pain, blood pressure or breathing problems - are currently in work.

This is about reversing the policy of shunting people off the unemployment rolls into disability for statistical purposes.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 06:15:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
60 seconds to change the software of a NEDAP voting machine with no possible detection after the fact:

http://www.ccc.de/press/releases/2007/20070609/EPROM_Tausch.mp4

by Laurent GUERBY on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 06:53:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:39:11 AM EST
Muslim graveyard vandalized - Jewish worshippers desecrate Palestinian cemetery, break tombstones, write 'Death to Arabs' on graves  - Israel News, Ynetnews
Dozens of Jewish worshippers desecrated a Muslim cemetery in a Palestinian village near Arial on Friday.

 The worshippers broke some tombstones, and wrote "Death to Arabs" on others. Noaf, a resident of a nearby village, said that the worshippers arrived at the cemetery escorted by soldiers.

 "Several of them entered a nearby Muslim cemetery, broke tombstones, and wrote things on them such as "Death to Arabs". I don't know exactly how many tombstones were desecrated. We were under curfew during their worship time, and they came and did this," he said.

 Rabbi Arik Asherman, head of Rabbis for Human Rights, denounced the incident. "As rabbis, we protest this desecration and are reminded of our pain when such acts are committed against us."

 According to an official IDF response, the entry of Jewish worshippers into the cemetery was authorized in order to allow them to visit the Yeshua Ben Nun tomb nearby.

 



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:41:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had a long comment prepared about the hypocrisy of this lunatic fringe, but it's too painful to post. The hypocrisy of those people who desecrated the cemetary is unbelievable.
by lychee on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 02:19:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Y'know, I still think that if Israel doens't stop their descent into demonisation of muslims and their treatment of them as untermenschen, sooner or later they will have significant politicians demanding a "Final Solution" to the palestinian problem.

These fascists are already baying on the fringes, they need to be wary.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 10:21:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Top Stories
  • "America is facing its worst summer drought since the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression. Or perhaps worse still." "While some of this year's dry weather is cyclical... some of it portends more permanent changes."

  • "The Bush administration increasingly emphasized partisan political ties over expertise in recent years in selecting the judges who decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of immigrants, despite laws that preclude such considerations... At least one-third of the immigration judges appointed by the Justice Department since 2004 have had Republican connections or have been administration insiders, and half lacked experience in immigration law".

USA
  • The U.S. military is making plans to be an ongoing "post-occupation" occupying force in Iraq.

    The centerpiece would be a reinforced mechanized infantry division of around 20,000 soldiers assigned to guarantee the security of the Iraqi government and to assist Iraqi forces or their U.S. advisers if they get into fights they can't handle. Second, a training and advisory force of close to 10,000 troops would work with Iraqi military and police units.
    Translation: 20,000 soldiers "assigned to guarantee the security of the Iraqi" oil. Interestingly -- "with only one major route from the country -- through southern Iraq to Kuwait -- it would take at least 3,000 large convoys some 10 months to remove U.S. military gear and personnel alone, not including the several thousand combat vehicles that would be needed to protect such an operation."

  • Gov. Bill Richardson would leave no U.S. troops in Iraq. "I would leave no troops in Iraq whatsoever... The difference between me and the other candidates is, they would leave troops there indefinitely, and I would not," he said.

  • Massachusetts' Gov. Deval Patrick "became the first governor to march in Boston's gay pride parade, days before an anticipated vote on a ballot question that could bar same-sex marriages."

  • Colin Powell now believes Guantánamo Bay should be closed:

    If it was up to me, I would close Guantanamo. Not tomorrow, but this afternoon. I'd close it... And I would not let any of those people go... I would simply move them to the United States and put them into our federal legal system. The concern was, well then they'll have access to lawyers, then they'll have access to writs of habeas corpus. So what? Let them. Isn't that what our system is all about?
    The only way to save yourself Powell, is to give evidence against the Bush junta. Powell has also twice given foreign policy advice to Sen. Barak Obama.

  • With Nevada's early primary, the state's gambling and entertainment industries are fundraising like never before. Since 2000, the gambling industry alone contributed $50 million since 2000. Small potatoes compared to other industries, but still...

  • "More than 26 million people worldwide have Alzheimer's disease, and a new forecast says the number will quadruple by 2050. At that rate, one in 85 people will have the brain-destroying disease in 40 years, researchers from Johns Hopkins University conclude."

  • Cindy Sheehan sold Camp Casey for $87,000 "to Los Angeles radio talk show host Bree Walker, who will preserve it as a peace memorial and keep it open to protesters."

  • "In choosing to recommend an admiral as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has for the second time given a high-profile job to someone from the Navy -- a service that has, for the most part, worked only on the fringes of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." "The decision has caused some consternation within the other services, particularly the Army, which is doing the bulk of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. There also have been grumblings within the Air Force, whose only current regional command is in North America."

  • Sen. Mel Martinez, general chairman of the Republican Party, "criticized" his party's "presidential contenders Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney... saying their opposition to the Senate immigration plan he and President Bush have championed is 'wrong.'":

    I have to say, on this issue they are falling short... I think it's been too easy for too many people in the Senate and outside the Senate to simply criticize and find fault. No doubt that this is an imperfect product, but at the end of the day, what is your solution? What is your answer? ...The status quo is not good enough... And so whether a presidential candidate or a senator, they need to take the step beyond criticizing and offering a solution.

  • Sen. Joe Lieberman (CT-Warmonger) wants to "strike" Iran.

  • Alaska's congressional delegation will propose a seven-mile road easement through the 315,000-acre Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in exchange for adding "61,720 acres of protected wildlife habitat". The exchange "could become the nation's next big environmental showdown".

Africa
  • "The Hadzabe are believed to be the second-oldest people on Earth" and "one of the last remaining tribes of hunter-gatherers on the planet". They "number fewer than 1,500" and are on the "verge of vanishing" -- "unduly hastened by a United Arab Emirates royal family, which plans to use the tribal hunting land as a personal safari playground. The deal between the Tanzanian government and Tanzania UAE Safaris Ltd. leases nearly 2,500 square miles of this sprawling, yellow-green valley near the storied Serengeti Plain to members of the [Abu Dhabi] royal family, who chose it after a helicopter tour."

    "We want them to go to school," said Philip Marmo, who is Tanzania's minister for good governance and represents the valley in parliament. "We want them to wear clothes. We want them to be decent."

  • "Police in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, have defended their operations against the banned Mungiki sect, amid accusation they used excessive force."

  • "Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi urged the U.N. Security Council on Saturday to finance an African Union (AU) peacekeeping deployment to Somalia, so his troops can withdraw."

  • "President Idriss Deby appeared... to tone down Chad's resistance to deployment of an international military force on its volatile eastern border with Sudan's Darfur region."

Americas
  • "Two drunken soldiers shot dead six civilians, including a nine-year-old boy, after arguing with guests at a party in southern Colombia".

  • In Greenland, "the Jakobshavn Glacier... has doubled its speed in five years and every day dumps enough ice into the sea to supply 20 to 30 New York Cities with water." "Only in recent years did scientists conclude that sea levels are rising twice as fast as they had estimated, said H. Jay Zwally, a senior research scientist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md."

    "We are seeing things taking place in the ice now that weren't expected, that five years ago we didn't even know about," said Zwally, who will spend his 14th summer on the Greenland ice cap this year. "I think eventually Greenland will reach a point that the change is irreversible in the current climate."

  • "An estimated 3 million gays, lesbians, and transvestites paraded down the main avenue of Brazil's business capital Sao Paulo".

  • "More than one-quarter of... Rondônia [State, Brazil] has been deforested the highest rate in the Amazon. Over the years, ranchers, miners and loggers have routinely invaded nature reserves and Indian reservations. Now a proposal to build an $11 billion hydroelectric project" on the Madeira River, which "may have the world's most diverse fish stocks, has set off a new controversy."

  • "Mexican and American officials are talking about how the U.S. government can do more to help Mexico battle drug trafficking" including training and intelligence information.

Europe
  • Admiral Sir Alan West, the former head of the British Royal Navy, " at the time of the Iraq invasion was so worried about the legality of the conflict that he sought his own private legal advice on justification for the war." He "approached lawyers to ask whether Navy and Royal Marines personnel might end up facing war crimes charges in relation to their duties in Iraq."

  • George W. Bush is welcomed by Albania. And, Albania is welcome to keep him.

  • Preliminary estimates give France's President Nicolas Sarkozy's Union for a Popular Movement "41.3 percent of the vote... a score that is expected to give the party between 360 and 470 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly... The main opposition camp, the Socialist Party, received an estimated 27.2 percent, putting it on course for 60 to 170 seats".

  • "Gordon Brown is preparing a radical shake-up of the Labour party designed to give members a say over policy and put them in the vanguard of community projects".

  • "The watchdog for teaching in England... call[ed] for all national school tests before the age of 16 to be scrapped."

  • "A gold-encrusted sword that Napoleon wore into battle in Italy was sold on Sunday for more than $6.4-million at an auction south of Paris."

Asia-Pacific
  • "Floods and landslides triggered by torrential rains in southern China have killed at least 66 people, left 12 others missing and forced nearly 600,000 from their homes... Four days of heavy rains have battered Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan, Fujian and Jiangxi provinces, affecting nearly nine million people".

  • Parti Islam se-Malaysia, "Malaysia's hardline Islamist party is reshaping its image ahead of widely expected early elections, trying to reach beyond its northeastern stronghold, but skeptics are looking for a true change of heart." The party is "banking on the younger leaders to lure back Muslim Malay support, but they still want "to turn multireligious Malaysia into an Islamic state".

  • "Suspected Islamic insurgents opened fire on a school bus... wounding nine people, including eight Muslim teenagers in Thailand's restive south".

  • "Southeast Asian nations are battling a surge in dengue cases, amid signs that climate change could make 2007 the worst year on record for a disease that often gets less attention than some higher-profile health risks."

  • "Research inside China found widespread abuse of workers producing licensed goods carrying the logo of the 2008 Beijing games." "Children and adult workers are being grossly exploited so that unscrupulous employers can make more profit," said Brendan Barber, general secretary of Britain's Trades Union Congress.

  • "House values across New Zealand grew 11.1 per cent more in the three months to May 31 than in the same quarter last year, ignoring efforts by the Reserve Bank to take the steam out of the property market."

  • "Dam levels are unlikely to rise significantly, despite up to 200 millimetres of rain falling on parts of Sydney and the Central Coast since Thursday. In a familiar refrain, the Sydney Catchment Authority said too little of it had fallen over the catchment area."

South Asia
  • Taliban "militants fired rockets on a district town... as President Hamid Karzai was giving an address to elders and residents during a visit to Ghazni Province," Afghanistan. "Afghan and NATO forces... killed 27 Taliban fighters in the Shinkay district of Zabul Province".

  • The number of tigers in India's Melghat reserve "are dropping steadily due to" human interference. "Villages inside the park are being relocated to avert further adverse impact."

Middle East
  • "With a thunderous rumble and cloud of dust and smoke, an apparent suicide vehicle bomb brought down a section of highway bridge south of Baghdad on Sunday, wounding several U.S. soldiers guarding the crossing and blocking traffic on Iraq's main north-south artery."

  • A "relative lull followed a day of heavy fighting" between the Lebanese Army and "the militant group Fatah al Islam" in the Nahr al Bared Palestinian refugee camp.

  • "Masked gunmen from rival Palestinian factions streamed onto the streets to fight their most intense battles in weeks on Sunday in the Gaza Strip, with the weekend toll rising to six dead and 59 wounded. Among the victims was a pro-Hamas Islamic cleric pulled from his home and shot several times in the street after a guard from the rival Fatah movement was shot and thrown to his death from a high building in Gaza City".

Space
  • The space shuttle Atlantis docked with the International Space Station. "A decision likely will be made in the next day or two" if "a peeled-back thermal blanket should be fixed" and if it should " done during one of three scheduled spacewalks or during an extra, unplanned one."

  • "The most massive star known in the universe has been discovered and 'weighed'... The star, part of a binary system, topped the scales at 114 times the mass of the sun."

Paleontology
  • A new "theory of how dinosaurs may have perceived sound" suggested "large dinosaurs' hearing was more sensitive to booms and thuds than squeaks and whistles... Brachiosaurus and Allosaurus probably could hear the deep-toned sounds of other dinosaurs' footfalls from miles away". But, "may have had little or no hearing at higher sound frequencies". Dinosaurs liked to crank the bass.

  • A "comet blast and firestorm could have dealt that death blow to the mammoth and more than 15 other species of large mammals" claimed scientists.

    "The shock wave would have spread across the whole continent," said Richard B. Firestone, a nuclear chemist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California who helped do the research. "This event was large enough to directly kill most everything instantly. Those that survived would have found their food sources devastated, their water polluted, all kinds of things that would have made it difficult to go on much longer."
    Yes, yesterday's OND claimed the woolly mammoths went extinct from inbreeding due to climate stresses.

By the numbers
by Magnifico on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:45:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The U.S. military is making plans to be an ongoing "post-occupation" occupying force in Iraq.

Sounds like The Enclave.

As for this

"with only one major route from the country -- through southern Iraq to Kuwait -- it would take at least 3,000 large convoys some 10 months to remove U.S. military gear and personnel alone, not including the several thousand combat vehicles that would be needed to protect such an operation."

it sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 07:35:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well it's not like there isn't a precedent in this region

Kabul to Gandamak

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 08:11:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"We want them to go to school," said Philip Marmo, who is Tanzania's minister for good governance and represents the valley in parliament. "We want them to wear clothes. We want them to be decent."

We want them to learn to hunt from helicopters for entertainment like civilised decent people do, rather than running around and hunting for food like ignorant savages.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 08:07:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A "comet blast and firestorm could have dealt that death blow to the mammoth and more than 15 other species of large mammals" claimed scientists.

"The shock wave would have spread across the whole continent," said Richard B. Firestone, a nuclear chemist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California who helped do the research. "This event was large enough to directly kill most everything instantly. Those that survived would have found their food sources devastated, their water polluted, all kinds of things that would have made it difficult to go on much longer."

Yes, yesterday's OND claimed the woolly mammoths went extinct from inbreeding due to climate stresses.

But..I thought it was because they woulnd't fit on Noah's ark and so Noah's children had to bid goodbye to them and their dinosaur friends before The Flood.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 10:39:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Mammoth thing is interesting, but how about this?
The explosion may also have spelled the end for the Clovis culture, the prehistoric North Americans who hunted with distinctive stone spearheads that have been found in the bones of the fossils of mammoths and other animals, researchers said. While humans as a species survived the cataclysm, the Clovis culture and its relatively advanced stone tools did not endure.

"At many Clovis sites, like in Arizona and New Mexico, you get the Clovis tools up to the impact layer, and then they never go beyond it," Kennett said.



Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 10:51:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Powell will have to crawl on bended knee from one side of the continent to the other to atone for his silence during the commission of some of the worst acts of aggression since before International law was imagined.

Stupid, too-little, too-late nonsense like this are an insult to our all-too-vivid memories of every crime he covered up.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 10:42:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're talking about My Lai, right?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 10:47:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That as well as everything else.

Interesting factoid : Calley was exposed only by a helicopter gunner, Ron Ridenhour, who was determined that he face justice. An interesting guy, who was part of the Milgram electric shock experiment. He was the only test subject who refused to administer any shocks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron...i/ Ron_Ridenhour


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 11:22:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The wrath of 2007: America's great drought - Independent Online Edition > Americas

America is facing its worst summer drought since the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression. Or perhaps worse still.

From the mountains and desert of the West, now into an eighth consecutive dry year, to the wheat farms of Alabama, where crops are failing because of rainfall levels 12 inches lower than usual, to the vast soupy expanse of Lake Okeechobee in southern Florida, which has become so dry it actually caught fire a couple of weeks ago, a continent is crying out for water.

In the south-east, usually a lush, humid region, it is the driest few months since records began in 1895. California and Nevada, where burgeoning population centres co-exist with an often harsh, barren landscape, have seen less rain over the past year than at any time since 1924. The Sierra Nevada range, which straddles the two states, received only 27 per cent of its usual snowfall in winter, with immediate knock-on effects on water supplies for the populations of Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

The human impact, for the moment, has been limited, certainly nothing compared to the great westward migration of Okies in the 1930 - the desperate march described by John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath.

Big farmers are now well protected by government subsidies and emergency funds, and small farmers, some of whom are indeed struggling, have been slowly moving off the land for decades anyway. The most common inconvenience, for the moment, are restrictions on hosepipes and garden sprinklers in eastern cities.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:46:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]

The most common inconvenience, for the moment, are restrictions on hosepipes and garden sprinklers in eastern cities.

And thus nothing will be done for now.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 03:58:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Same in London and the English South East.

We have a drought and houses don't even have water meters: people pay a flat rate.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 04:30:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most houses built since 1987? or so in the South East do have a water meter in, particularly houses aimed at lower income families.

Strangely enough, articulate rich people have found ways around these planning regulations with some regularity.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 06:00:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words: metering for the poor, flat rate for the rich?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 06:17:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those lawns aren't cheap to maintain, and if they had to pay the full price they wouldn't be able to afford them.

So expecting them to pay makes no sense, clearly.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 08:08:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but in defence of the south East, it's only in the last couple of decades that rainfall patterns have changed to the extent that there are real threats to the aquifers.

That said, government has simply not reacted at all to the reality that they need to discourage development in the south east over this issue. That and the certainty that the Thames Barrier (or any proposed replacement) will be overwhelemed increasingly during this century means that any sensible country would be getting heck out of London, not encouraging even more.

In that context, water meters are like carbon offsets; missing the point entirely.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 10:56:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Down the line, though, there are serious questions about how to keep showers and lawn sprinklers going in the retirement communities of Nevada and Arizona.
Note the question is "how" not "whether".

It is certifiably insane to try to transpland the English grass lawn to Arizona, but that's exactly what the US suburban lifestyle is: certifiably insane.

When we lived in Southern California our landlady (who was a friend) told us that, since we didn't pay for water (!) we should just water the lawn as much as necessary. We were never able to keep the sprinklers running long enough to keep it green out of concern for the amount of wasted water, and it got green by itself every time it rained.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 07:41:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Across the West, farmers and city water consumers are locked in a perennial battle over water rights - one that the cities are slowly winning.

...

In the south-east, the crisis is immediate - and may be alleviated at any moment by the arrival of the tropical storm season. In Georgia, where the driest spring on record followed closely on the heels of a devastating frost, farmers are afraid they might lose anywhere from half to two-thirds of crops such as melons and the state's celebrated peaches. Many cities are restricting lawn sprinklers to one hour per day - and some places one hour only every other day.

The victory of lifestyle over food.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 07:43:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We really need to develop some alternative status signifiers that don't waste useful resources so stupidly.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 07:46:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And make resource wastage a source of social shame.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 07:49:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
precisely because it is obvious to everybody that it is waste?

As in: 'I know it, you know it, and you cannot do anything about it'?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 07:57:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, but we could move it into more useful waste of money, not resources like water. Maybe start a craze for intricate locally hand-crafted totem poles from locally grown woods.

The point about lawns was that in the 18th C (or whenever they originate - I forget) only the rich could afford them because they were labour intensive. Now almost anyone can afford them and they're not a good signifier of wealth at all: they've become a signifier of decency instead.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 08:09:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that the underlying currency isn't conspicuous consumption, so much as freedom from the constraints of nature, and from the influence of others.

Western culture is predominantly solipsistic, and what's valued isn't so much the acquisition of stuff for its own sake, but the fact that the stuff signifies distance from the physical and social world.

This is what neolibs call freedom. It's not about politics or free speech, it's about doing whatever you feel like doing without having to pay any attention to the consequences for other people.

Success means never having to say you're sorry to anyone, for any reason.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 08:15:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Southern California, the signifier of decency should be having drought-resistant plants in your yard. But as you point out, to be decent you have to be high-maintenance.

Other examples of the "English lawn": the tennis court, and the football pitch. And then the "Scottish hills" that Golf is played on. Golf courses are even more obscene, with their fake river meanders and sand banks. Especially in California, Arizona or Southern Spain.

Re: football pitch. I used to be horrified by the thought of artificial grass (as is used for American football). Maybe that's actually a decent solution.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 08:20:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Artificial grass is a decent alternative, assuming that the resource usage involved making it is sensible.

Golf is just an obscenity, except in areas where it's sort of close to the "natural" landscape. (Since the natural landscape in those parts of the world is pretty much trees coast to coast.)

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 08:31:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wikipedia: Lawn is well worth a read.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 09:28:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Approximately 50-70 percent of American residential water is used for landscaping, most of it to water lawns.

Eeep.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 09:35:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I guess in case of need they can make lawn-salad.
by Fran on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 09:36:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like this one
Virginia Scott Jenkins, in her book The Lawn: A History of an American Obsession (1994), traces the desire to kill weeds historically. She notes that the current rage for a chemically-dependent lawn emerged after World War II, and argues that "American front lawns are a symbol of man's control of, or superiority over, his environment."
I think TBG is right and this is not entirely about status.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 09:42:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, some of it is our bizarre cleanliness/control fetish and/or our bizarre conceit that there is a dividing line between the natural and the human. But that doesn't need grass: gravel or something would do fine.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 09:47:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not the signifier that's the problem, it's the mindset it signifies.

You can change the mindset, but it's going to take time, and a massive and probably quite unpleasant retooling of the entire Western value set.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 08:10:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not a "Western" value set at all. Status competition is universal across mainstream human culture.

It is the signifier that matters.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 08:12:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but I'm suggesting there's a reason why one signifier is chosen over another.

And if you change that reason, it's easier to change the signifier to something less damaging.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 11:17:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
when I was in LA I was amazed at how the sprinklers would be on most of the night and in the mornings the roads would be running with water.

All I could think was "this is a desert area, where you're taking water from cannot possibly sustain this"
But LA was built upon the conceit of stealing water from the Central Rockies. Mulholland was a cheating shark and Central California is paying for it.

And now that the population is so huge there is the situation of you can either have the cities keep growing wastefully surrounded by desert, or you limit the waste in the cities and keep the agriculture.
I'm not sure that either is sustainable if these rainfall patterns continue, but if the city is preferred the crunch is gonna come a lot sooner.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 10:51:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scotsman.com News - Latest News - Russia calls for new economic world order

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Sunday for the creation of a new world economic order that gives greater clout to fast-growing emerging nations.

Days after attending a Group of Eight summit in Germany, Putin suggested that club was outdated and failed to reflect a shift in economic power away from the industrialised West to countries like his own.

"If 50 years ago, 60 pct of the world's gross domestic product came from the G7, now it's the other way round, and 60 percent of the world's GDP is produced outside," Putin said in a speech to a major economic conference.

He also took aim at financial organisations such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, saying they were created in "a completely different reality" and had lost relevance in the fast-changing global economy.

Russia is enjoying an unprecedented spell of economic growth that has enabled it to pay down its foreign debts and accumulate foreign exchange reserves of over $400 billion -- the world's third largest.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:48:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shorter Putin: you want to throw Russia out of the G8? Couldn't care less.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 04:13:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Immigration Judges Often Picked Based On GOP Ties - washingtonpost.com

The Bush administration increasingly emphasized partisan political ties over expertise in recent years in selecting the judges who decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of immigrants, despite laws that preclude such considerations, according to an analysis by The Washington Post.

At least one-third of the immigration judges appointed by the Justice Department since 2004 have had Republican connections or have been administration insiders, and half lacked experience in immigration law, Justice Department, immigration court and other records show.

Two newly appointed immigration judges were failed candidates for the U.S. Tax Court nominated by President Bush; one fudged his taxes and the other was deemed unqualified to be a tax judge by the nation's largest association of lawyers. Both were Republican loyalists.

Justice officials also gave immigration judgeships to a New Jersey election law specialist who represented GOP candidates, a former treasurer of the Louisiana Republican Party, a White House domestic policy adviser and a conservative crusader against pornography.

These appointments, all made by the attorney general, have begun to reshape a system of courts in which judges, ruling alone, exercise broad powers -- deporting each year nearly a quarter-million immigrants, who have limited rights to appeal and no right to an attorney. The judges do not serve fixed terms.



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 Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 06:59:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, if only the democrats in Washington could muster any sense of outrage over this. If they could only give even a muted signal that they suspect this might not be a good idea.

Instead, they acquiesce in a business-as-usual Beltway CW way that simply undermines anybody's confidence that they have any comprehension about why people in the rest of the US are disgusted with their government.

I guess that, like the Unitary Excutive, they like the idea so much they can't wait to do it themselves.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 11:00:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh good, more guns dept.:

U.S. Arming Sunnis in Iraq to Battle Old Qaeda Allies - New York Times

BAGHDAD, June 10 -- With the four-month-old increase in American troops showing only modest success in curbing insurgent attacks, American commanders are turning to another strategy that they acknowledge is fraught with risk: arming Sunni Arab groups that have promised to fight militants linked with Al Qaeda who have been their allies in the past.

American commanders say they have successfully tested the strategy in Anbar Province west of Baghdad and have held talks with Sunni groups in at least four areas of central and north-central Iraq where the insurgency has been strong. In some cases, the American commanders say, the Sunni groups are suspected of involvement in past attacks on American troops or of having links to such groups. Some of these groups, they say, have been provided, usually through Iraqi military units allied with the Americans, with arms, ammunition, cash, fuel and supplies.

American officers who have engaged in what they call outreach to the Sunni groups say many of them have had past links to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia but grew disillusioned with the Islamic militants' extremist tactics, particularly suicide bombings that have killed thousands of Iraqi civilians. In exchange for American backing, these officials say, the Sunni groups have agreed to fight Al Qaeda and halt attacks on American units. Commanders who have undertaken these negotiations say that in some cases, Sunni groups have agreed to alert American troops to the location of roadside bombs and other lethal booby traps.

But critics of the strategy, including some American officers, say it could amount to the Americans' arming both sides in a future civil war. The United States has spent more than $15 billion in building up Iraq's army and police force, whose manpower of 350,000 is heavily Shiite. With an American troop drawdown increasingly likely in the next year, and little sign of a political accommodation between Shiite and Sunni politicians in Baghdad, the critics say, there is a risk that any weapons given to Sunni groups will eventually be used against Shiites. There is also the possibility the weapons could be used against the Americans themselves.




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 Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 07:05:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kinda like statistics.

There's dumb, dumber and american military tactics

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 11:01:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:39:34 AM EST
Yoga May Help Treat Depression, Anxiety Disorders - Yahoo! News

THURSDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- Yoga's postures, controlled breathing and meditation may work together to help ease brains plagued by anxiety or depression, a new study shows.

Brain scans of yoga practitioners showed a healthy boost in levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) immediately after a one-hour yoga session. Low brain levels of GABA are associated with anxiety and depression, the researchers said.

"I am quite sure that this is the first study that's shown that there's a real, measurable change in a major neurotransmitter with a behavioral intervention such as yoga," said lead researcher Dr. Chris Streeter, assistant professor of psychiatry and neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine.

She believes yoga could prove a useful tool to help people battling depression and anxiety disorders. "We're not advocating that they chuck their medication, but I would advise that they could use it as an adjunct and see how they are doing," Streeter said.

Her team published its findings in the May issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:45:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was happy to see this and always get a little excited when I am proven right. I knew this for a while, but it is nice to see it "scientifically" proven too.
by Fran on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 09:16:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obits for Rorty:

Todd Gitlin, TPM Cafe: Richard Rorty, 1931-2007

When I started reading Richard Rorty and listening to him lecture in the `80s, I was both refreshed and exasperated. I hadn't read much philosophy since college, and he give me a swift shove out of my dogmatic slumbers.

To be awakened, though, did not mean converted. When he argued that we were against torture not because it violated a universal human right but simply because torture was not what our tribe did (those were the days), I was not convinced. In the mid-`90s, when I was writing about political correctness and the Enlightenment, I was pleased to find evidence (worked up by Norman Geras) that Rorty was mistaken when he thought that Gentiles saved Jews during the Nazi years out of particularist motives (they are coreligionists, fellow members of soccer clubs, etc.), and not universalist ones (they are fellow human beings).

Patricia Cohen, New York Times: Richard Rorty, Philosopher, Dies at 75

Richard Rorty, whose inventive work on philosophy, politics, literary theory and more made him one of the world's most influential contemporary thinkers, died Friday in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 75

The cause was complications from pancreatic cancer, said his wife, Mary Varney Rorty.

Raised in a home where "The Case for Leon Trotsky" was viewed with the same reverence as the Bible might be elsewhere, Mr. Rorty pondered the nature of reality as well as its everyday struggles. "At 12, I knew that the point of being human was to spend one's life fighting social injustice," he wrote in an autobiographical sketch.

Adam Berstein, Washington Post: Richard Rorty, 75; Leading U.S. Pragmatist Philosopher

Richard Rorty, 75, an intellectual whose often deeply unconventional approach to mainstream philosophic thought brought him wide public recognition as one of the leading thinkers of his era, died June 8 at his home in Palo Alto, Calif. He had pancreatic cancer.

During Dr. Rorty's long teaching career -- at Princeton University, the University of Virginia and, most recently, Stanford University -- he championed the application of philosophy beyond academic corridors and hoped to influence public discussions of democracy and liberalism. In 1981, he received one of the first MacArthur Foundation "genius grants."

Such books as "Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature" and "Contingency, Irony and Solidarity" brought Dr. Rorty broad recognition in his field, and his essays for mainstream newspapers and magazines added to his stature.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 02:52:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:39:47 AM EST
Fran still has access problems - this will be a DIY thread.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:40:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good thing you could do it - I've been offline since yesterday afternoon because of storms and have only just got back on.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 01:54:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Has Fran tried using a proxy server yet?
(Or are the problems of a different nature?)
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 05:37:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(We passed on your suggestion from this week-end)

and she can read the site, but it seems to create problems to post stories.

And she still did most of the work for the Salon - she sent us emails with pre-formatted content to post.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 07:56:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, thank you, your link has been mailed to me. And it work nice yesterday evening - I even could post some comments. However, this morning it didn't work to set up the Salon. The coding of the Salon was all messed up when I wanted to post it through the proxy-server. But looks like it was okay when Jérôme did it.
by Fran on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 09:15:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
take out a lot of parasite signs to post it right! Glad I could help.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 10:18:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]

http://www.infoclimat.fr/multimedia/photolive.php?photoid=35238&d=&dept=&region=&mot cle=&start=&auteur=&ord=


Vagues successives d'orages

Celui-ci, précédé d'un vent violent, a donné une forte averse de pluie.

More french thunder pictures here:

http://www.infoclimat.fr/multimedia/photolive.php?d=&s=

by Laurent GUERBY on Mon Jun 11th, 2007 at 03:11:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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