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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 10 June

by Fran Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:43:58 PM EST

On this date in history:

1863 - Louis Couperus, a Dutch novelist and poet, was born (d. 1923)

More here and here


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by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:44:54 PM EST
German Women Earn 22 Percent Less Than Men | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 09.06.2008
A new European Union study shows women in Germany earn 22 percent less than men -- a number that puts the country among Europe's worst gender wage gaps.

EU Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Vladimir Spidla pointed out that in Europe, only Estonia, Cyprus and Slovakia had wage gaps that were as large or larger.

In an interview with German newspaper Die Welt, Spidla noted that the average wage gap across the EU shows women earning 15 percent less than men. The fewer the women in the work force, the lower the average wage, he noted.

The commissioner called for more compatibility between work and family, and for more women in leadership positions. He also called on business to pay equal wages for equal work.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:46:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Wage Gap: German Women Earn a Fifth Less than Men - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

According to Spidla, the large wage gap is attributable in large part to the fact that more women in Germany tend to be part-time workers than in other countries -- and not because they earn less than their male colleagues for doing the same job. "However, the difference is also so high because the share of women in the labor market is much higher than, for example, in Malta," he said. "The smaller the share of women in the job market, the lower, on average, the gap in wages is."

The EU commissioner called on employers to do more to prevent unfair differences in wages, saying employers played a "key role." According to Spidla, this was not only an ethical question, but fair payment would also improve the motivation of employees and lead to productivity increases.

In the last few years the number of women working in the EU has steadily increased: Between 2000 and 2006 7.5 million women joined the labor market, compared to 4.5 million men. Yet, every third women works part-time, while only 8 percent of men do so.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:52:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel Vows to Back French EU Presidency | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 09.06.2008
German Chancellor Merkel has said ahead of a one-day summit on Monday with President Sarkozy in Germany that she will fully support France's EU presidency next month despite ongoing differences.

Merkel told daily Straubinger Tagblatt ahead of a Franco-German summit Monday that Sarkozy could count on Berlin's help on thorny issues such as climate protection and European Union institutional reforms during Paris' six-month stint at the helm.

 

"Germany will support the French EU presidency with all its resources just as Nicolas Sarkozy backed our presidency" of the EU in the first half of 2007, she said.

 

Foreign, Defense, Economy and Environment ministers from both sides are to be present at the meeting in the eastern Bavarian town for a joint ministerial council of the two dominant EU powers. The meetings, which first began in 2003, take place twice a year.

 

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:48:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy and Merkel meet as Paris prepares to take EU reins - International Herald Tribune

STRAUBING, Germany: French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country takes the reins of the European Union next month, said during a visit to Germany Monday that he will need Berlin's help as he pushes for a common EU defense policy and other goals.

The French leader, who met with Chancellor Angela Merkel in southern Germany, credited her with "unblocking" Europe during Germany's turn in control of the EU presidency last year.

"We will need Germany," Sarkozy said during brief remarks upon his arrival.

France takes over the EU presidency from Slovenia on July 1, and Sarkozy said last week that he would use Paris' six-month stint in the EU chair to push for a common defense policy for the 27-nation bloc.

The United States has been wary of the French-led push for a security and defense role for the EU because of concerns it could threaten NATO unity. Sarkozy said last week that France's proposals would not undermine NATO.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:52:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arab countries complicate Med Union plan - EUobserver

A number of Arab countries are worried that if they join the EU's planned Mediterranean Union together with Israel, it would imply a normalisation of bilateral relations, with the Algerian foreign minister stressing that an overall vision for the project still has to be agreed.

The Union for the Mediterranean was proposed by France last year to boost ties with the EU's southern neighbours - and to include Turkey in a political structure seen as an alternative to EU membership.

A number of countries are making waves ahead of a summit set to launch the Mediterranean Union

In March, the bloc's leaders agreed on a final and softer version of the project which would include Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Palestinian Authority, Israel, Libya, Syria, Turkey and Albania.

Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Monaco would also take part.

But Arab countries on Friday (6 June) asked for "clarifications on the consequences" of Israel joining the so-called Mediterranean Union, AFP reports.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:49:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sheesh, that's the whole point of these kinds of EU Neighbourhood Policy initiatives: to get people around the same table.

What can be expected of Europe in the Mediterranean? Nothing much if the countries on the South and East shores don't want to talk to each other.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 04:07:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU energy giants escape forced break up - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / LUXEMBOURG - European energy giants will not be forced to sell their transmission networks as EU economy ministers have adopted a softer line on liberalisation of the union's gas and electricity sector.

A ministerial meeting in Luxembourg on Friday (6 June) saw lengthy talks aimed at boosting competition and cutting prices in the EU's energy market.

The discussions lasted eight hours

The European Commission argues this can be achieved through separation of companies' production and supply wings, known as full ownership unbundling.

But following firm opposition from a group of eight EU states - led by Germany and France - it is now possible for individual governments to choose one of three different models of unbundling.

"On the one hand, I am very happy that we reached a compromise. On the other hand, I am rather sad...I believe that the commission proposal was a very good proposal," EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs told journalists after the eight-hour long negotiations.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:49:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Breaking up the distribution networks is insanity. And separating generation from distribution was what made California vulnerable to Enron's manipulations.

Sanity prevails - for the time being.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 04:09:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the lack of regulation by the Federal Government in energy matters was what made California vulnerable to Enron.  it was also part of a deliberate strategy to make the Governor look bad.  Arnold's ascent to the governorship was long planned and it's documented that they realized he would not hold up well in a full election, hence the recall shenanigans.  Ironically Gray Davis did a great job in the Enron situation by playing equally dirty to Enron.  Had he not acted in the manner he did (hired a couple energy "consultants" to game the market using California money, which is an enormous pile) Enron may well have succeeded in bankrupting the state.
by paving on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 06:31:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it need not be insanity.

If I recall correctly, we unbundled in 1995 and this was the only part of deregulation that actually worked.

Today the grid (or at least the 220 kV and 400 kV parts of it) is owned by the government monopolist authority Svenska Kraftnät (Swedish Powergrid")

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 11:59:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Carbon prices in Europe highest in two years - EUobserver

Carbon prices in the European Union have hit their highest level in two years on the back of spiralling oil prices.

The benchmark EU carbon contract for December delivery of EU allowances climbed to €27.54 on the European Climate Exchange - Europe's bourse for carbon credits - on Friday (6 June), according to Carbon Positive, a carbon offset management company.

Carbon prices are their highest in 25 months

The price is the highest carbon allowances have seen in 25 months, having risen some 40 percent in the last four months alone.

The rise is attributed by traders to the skyrocketing price for oil, which reached $139 a barrel before easing slightly Friday - jumping $10.75 in one day - the biggest single on-day price increase on record. The increase came atop a five percent rise the day before - totalling a $16-dollar hike in two days.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:50:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good news, but why not simply tax carbon?
by generic on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 05:41:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That would make it too apparent to the voters.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 12:00:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And it can only get better once the new carbon quotas start to bite.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 02:21:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The price is the highest carbon allowances have seen in 25 months, having risen some 40 percent in the last four months alone.

The rise is attributed by traders to the skyrocketing price for oil"

This seems so nonsensical to me that I must be missing something.

Here's my take: all things being equal, when oil skyrockets, you'd like to use a little less oil (unless you really want to show that you are loaded and don't care).
Therefore, you are probably a little less willing to pay for the right to burn extra oil. Therefore, all things being equal, a spike in oil should be matched by a (possibly very minor) drop in the price of carbon allowance.

Yet here, traders are claiming that its price is rising because of the rising oil price. Am I dumb or do they have their head upside down?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:48:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dirtier coal substituting for oil?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 04:03:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Possibly over the long run -but december? Would you have time to change the plant you intended to use so that it's designed for coal instead of oil?


Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 04:10:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You feed your coal fired stations more and your oil fired ones less?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 04:16:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I guess. I just don't know where there are immediate substitution opportunities, but they must be around.

That's going to get me ever gloomier -I was at least hoping that high oil prices would trigger some reduction in consumption. If its main effect is increasing CO2 emissions (OK, I realise individuals are not on the CO2 trading scheme so maybe the total effect is a reduction) with extra coal soot to boot, it's no comfort.

Still, the higher those emission permits trade, the better.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:15:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
El-Masri Kidnapping Case: Germany Issues Arrest Warrants for 13 CIA Agents in El-Masri Case - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

German prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for 13 suspected CIA agents in connection with the alleged kidnapping of German citizen Khaled el-Masri.

 German citizen Khaled el-Masri claims he was abducted by the CIA. Now 13 arrest warrants have been issued in connection with the case. German prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for 13 suspected CIA operatives in connection with the alleged abduction of German citizen Khaled el-Masri.

Munich-based Bavarian senior state public prosecutor Christian Schmidt-Sommerfeld said in a statement Wednesday that the warrants had been issued in the last few days. He said the agents are being sought on suspicion of abducting and wrongfully imprisoning el-Masri as well as causing him grievous bodily harm. El-Masri was allegedly abducted in a case of the controversial CIA practice known as "extraordinary rendition," which involves kidnapping terrorist suspects and flying them to third countries to be interrogated.

The prosecutor's office refused to reveal the names of the people sought. However Schmidt-Sommerfeld said in a statement that "the personal details contained in the arrest warrants are, according to our current knowledge, aliases of CIA agents." He added that, "further investigation will, among other things, concentrate on trying to determine the clear identities of the suspects." Prosecutors did not state the nationalities of the suspects. However, according to German media reports, most of the suspects are resident in the US.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:50:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lawsuit demands German government pursue extradition of CIA agents - International Herald Tribune

BERLIN: A group of German civil rights attorneys on Monday sued the German government to demand that it pursue the extradition of 13 CIA agents sought in the alleged kidnapping of a German citizen.

The civil suit filed with a Berlin administrative court seeks to force the German Justice Ministry to demand the extradition of the agents involved in the case of Khaled al-Masri, attorney Wolfgang Kaleck told reporters.

"We are demanding accountability," Kaleck said.

Court spokesman Stephan Groscurith confirmed the suit was filed but could not immediately say when it might be heard.

Al-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, maintains he was abducted in December 2003 at the Serbian-Macedonian border and flown by the CIA to a detention center in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was interrogated and abused.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:53:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What about those germans who knew and collaborated ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 07:18:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny how nobody seemed to care during the time he was kidnapped. Nor in the months after he was freed when he was considered to be acceptable colatteral damage in the GWOT.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 07:17:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe looks at Putin with prudence and respect, and at Bush with indifference - International Herald Tribune

PARIS: Vladimir Putin was in town a little more than a week ago, and George Bush follows in the next couple of days. Their diverging relevance and trajectories at the end of eight years of parallel presidencies mark the era.

If it came down to a few facts, Putin has created an aggressive, hectoring Russia, a seemingly rich country without justice or democratic political life, whose gas and oil resources come close to giving it a chokehold on Europe's energy supply.

Putin's success is in perpetuating his system and himself.

Bush, in the same nutshell, is leaving America with its influence and good will diminished. He has been unable to win a war in Iraq whose best justification, Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib aside, would have been victory. The United States' allies wait for its voters to turn the page.

Europe still hangs on Putin's words regardless of how protocol labels his function - these days, prime minister.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:52:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Putin has created an aggressive, hectoring Russia, a seemingly rich country without justice or democratic political life, whose gas and oil resources come close to giving it a chokehold on Europe's energy supply.

All "facts", no truthiness at all in that sentence.


The United States' allies wait for its voters to turn the page.

 NYT (and Washington punditry) wishful thinking. Abu Graib and Guantanamo will still have happened even when Bush is gone. This does not seem to be sinking in. Trust is gone. You can't just recover it by stopping what caused it to be lost.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 05:06:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect an Obama administration will move to close Guantanamo on the first day.
by paving on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 06:34:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I suspect an Obama administration will move to close Guantanamo on the first day."

I suspect that an Obama administration will not move to close the CIA on the first day.

by asdf on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 08:03:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not enough. Even if, as I expect, Obama does close Guantanamo, it will still have happened. The stain will not go away.

Moving on lets that be. Atonement is what might be usuful.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 01:41:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wishful thinking?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 02:17:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Americans who think electing Obama is enough, or by Europeans or others who expect more?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 04:20:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Both.

People who think all the US has to do to win hearts and minds elsewhere is stop Bush's policies (as opposed to taking steps to actually repair the damage).

And people elsewhere (like you and me) who expect their governments to not grovel to "anyone but Bush".

Atonement will not come because there will be no diplomatic pressure for it (and even then).

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:33:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think what will happen is that an Iraq withdrawal will be turned into a 'cowardly Dems capitulate' narrative, and will lead to a new outbreak of Cheney-ism a decade or two from now.

You can already find delusional wingers blaming the Democratic Congress for selling out the US to the Arabs (sic) and forcing high gas prices on poor hard-working white people.

Getting from there to 'We could have won if only you'd let us' is hardly a stretch.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:50:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe we really need McCain to run the country to the ground so we can have the second coming of FDR in 2012.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 06:50:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In yet another "I'm the token French-hating French column by Moisi:


Obama holds up a mirror to the French

Whatever the result of this November's US presidential election - and it is impossible to predict today - one thing is certain: America, thanks to Mr Obama, has returned to be the emotional centre of gravity of the world, and this time not only in tragic terms as it was after September 11 2001, or in negative terms as during most of the George W. Bush years.

The "emotional center of gravity" of the world. Nice.


What the US has lost in terms of real clout - economically, diplomatically and militarily - it can regain with its votes if, and only if, of course, the candidate of hope can deliver on his promises.

So what are his promises?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 07:32:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Americans can point to this:


Bush Leaves a Robust Atlantic Alliance, After All

Europeans caught a strain of realism. Ironically, the emergence of "a multipolar world" - that great Gaullist dream - was what sobered the Continent's elites about their own relative weakness, and led them back to America. With the rise of non-American powers, Europe was supposed to push its unique brand of multilateralism. But two of the emerging powers, Russia and China, are authoritarian regimes with little time for Europe's utopian model of "permanent peace." The third, India, shows no interest in being allied with an EU saddled with low birth and growth rates.

Europe couldn't find its place in this world. Except, that is, as a partner to the West's leading democracy, the United States. Suddenly gone are the loudly voiced European anxieties going back to the Clinton presidency about an unwieldy "hyperpower." In their place come paeans to shared democratic values, a long common history and the world's by far most lucrative commercial partnership.

"It's a scary world, and Europeans have no choice but to come home to Daddy - and they have elected leaders that know it."

Are they wrong to look at it this way?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 04:23:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is hilarious:
First came a political shift. Anti-Americanism, while a potent cultural and social phenomenon, turned out to be an electoral loser. Its most prominent European practitioners, Germany's Gerhard Schröder and France's Jacques Chirac, were replaced by politicians friendly to the U.S. such as Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy.
Has the WSJ forgotten how Schröder won in the first place?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 04:33:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not hilarious. Prodi has also been replaced by Berlusconi. In the US, Bush has also thrown Powell, Rumsfeld and Rove under the bus and avoided impeachment.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:27:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but very little of this had to do with America, The elections were fought over other issues, with the relations to the U.S being a major factor only in the eyes of the US press. The only time relations with America were a significant factor in an election was in the previous German elections, where Schröder refused to join the Iraq war just before the elections - and won.

I wasn't commenting on the shift among the leading politicians, just on the WSJ's claim that anti-Americanism has become an electoral loser. It's merely become a minor issue, and hence not an electoral winner.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:36:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and Merkel barely wond in the last election.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:40:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But were relations with America much of a factor? She certainly cooled the level of the rhetoric, but was careful not to make any major concessions to Bush, thus making anti-Americanism largely irrelevant. If she had promised to send lots of troops to help the coalition, I'm not sure she would have had such an easy victory.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:47:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a bit of a stretch to call her that. She keeps on talking to Russia, she blocked NATO expansion, she won't commit troops to Afghanistan, etc...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 07:24:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The speed with which she was whipped back into line on the issue of the Missile Shield was scary.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 07:31:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Link? Or could you point me in the right direction?
by generic on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 08:07:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.eurotrib.com/comments/2007/12/20/9957/6026/76

Or just google "merkel missile shield".

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 08:10:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks
by generic on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 08:11:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who cares about the damn missile shield? The Americans obsess over it, and the Germans know it won't hurt and they won't need to pay for it. Hell, the Americans will even strengthen Polish air defenses!

For Germany, what's not to like? Why waste energy on this issue?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 01:47:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because it is stoopid to piss off Russia for no reason.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 01:51:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem as I see it is not that people in the government authorised torture, that has been going on since the Vietnam war. The fact is that a substantial minority of the American people seem to think that torture is entirely acceptable. In fact, judging by what I see, anything done by the military is acceptable and they really do think the Geneva convention is quaint cos america can and should do what it likes. They're the good guys and good guys do no wrong.

We can argue whether the Dirty Harry torture scene or "24" contrubuted to that, but those people haven't gone away and aren't going away when Bush does. As far as they're concerned the only problem with Abu Ghraib was that the liberal press blabbed about it. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas for the military.

And don't worry, I'm aware that 65% of the British public think 42 days detention without trial is brilliant, just as a majority think we should bring back hanging. The same majority that hates Europe and probably wants to leave the EU.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 07:25:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Bernard Chazelle makes a relevant observation:
A Tiny Revolution
The phrase "Shock-and-Awe" is semantically indistinguishable from the word "terrorism." You could say "Fright-and-Terror" instead. Not quite as euphonic but essentially synonymous. Terrorists usually don't refer to themselves by that name. With Shock-and-Awe, Americans did precisely that.

A plurality cheered. Can it happen again?

by generic on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 08:04:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
RIA Novosti - World - Russia, Cyprus say Kosovo self-rule failing to improve stability

MOSCOW, June 9 (RIA Novosti) - Kosovo's internationally backed independence has failed to promote stability in the region, the Russian foreign minister said after a meeting with his Cypriot counterpart on Monday.

Sergei Lavrov told journalists: "Russia and Cyprus have a common vision of the situation surrounding Kosovo. Independence unilaterally proclaimed by the Serbian province has failed to improve stability in the region."

Lavrov said Russia and Cyprus believed Belgrade and Pristina should resume talks to find a solution to the territorial dispute in line with international law.

Markos Kyprianou said Cyprus would not recognize Kosovo, which declared independence in February and has been backed by the United States and the majority of European Union countries.

"Cyprus does not intend to recognize Kosovo as an independent state," Kyprianou said, adding that the decision on Kosovo "should be reached within the UN framework and with Serbia's direct participation."

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:53:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany and France compromise on car emissions - International Herald Tribune

STRAUBING, Germany: Germany and France on Monday smoothed over a dispute about European Union targets for car emissions, calling for a "substantial" period to introduce limits and some leeway on fines for automakers who miss the restrictions.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said she and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France had achieved "an important breakthrough" on a plan that has divided the countries in recent months.

The announcement came as Sarkozy, whose country takes over the EU presidency next month, said during his visit to southern Germany that he would need Berlin's help as he pushes for a common EU defense policy and other goals.

Sarkozy credited Merkel with "unblocking" Europe during Germany's turn in control of the EU presidency last year. "We will need Germany," he said during brief remarks upon his arrival.

Germany, whose luxury automakers likely would be hit hard by tougher emissions standards, has argued that large and small vehicles both must contribute to cuts. France, which makes less-polluting vehicles, has disagreed.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:55:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So nothing will get done. Great.

If German auto makers want to go the way of GM and the German government obliges...

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 04:19:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
1)rich people actually want to buy German cars, and I don't think a few thousand euros of carbon taxes would prevent that, ultimately

2) in any case, see various road tests where a 180hp 5-Series BMW actually gets better mileage than a Toyota Prius. The German cars manufacturers are nowhere near abandoning the field to anyone.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 05:03:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"2) in any case, see various road tests where a 180hp 5-Series BMW actually gets better mileage than a Toyota Prius. The German cars manufacturers are nowhere near abandoning the field to anyone."

You surprize me, Jerome, because that sort of test is an obvious hatchet job. You can't make a fair comparison between a diesel and a gasoline car, especially when they have to meet different emissions standards, and the test conditions were completely uncontrolled. The Prius (like every other car) is designed to optimize a very specific efficiency test (the EPA test cycle), and holding the gas pedal to the floor for a couple of hours is completely irrelevant.

Is it so hard to understand that for a given specific performance point it is more efficient to use a small internal combustion engine supplemented by an electric motor when the extra power is needed? Why Europeans are so against hybrid technology is a mystery...

by asdf on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 08:13:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because for a urbane European, i.e. a Parisian, who commutes by public transportation, holding the gas pedal to the floor for a couple is a more common mode of use, for example when going on vacation, than driving in the city, where hybrid technology makes sense ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 08:30:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. I'll stipulate that a road test consisting of 300 miles of highway driving is not where a hybrid shows its best side. But a 180hp BMW saloon able to do 40-50mpg in such motoring conditions is still pretty impressive

  2. European diesel cars do have, overall, the same kind of mileage as a Prius does, even in city driving conditions, because European motors have long targetted fuel efficiency as a top target. It also helps that European cars are smaller, of course, but even the bigger ones have high MPG diesels.

  3. as linca notes, city driving is not necessarily relevant for many Europeans. I almost only use my car for long distance freeway driving.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 01:45:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's two kinds of people, those that can count to 2, and those that can't ;-)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 01:46:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Expectations low ahead of EU-US summit -  EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The EU and the US are to meet on Tuesday (10 June) to freshen up transatlantic relations, with issues such as Iran, climate change, the current food price crisis and US visa policy on the table.

But expectations about what the bilateral summit can bring are low as US President George W. Bush's term in office winds down.

The two sides continue to differ strongly on the issue of climate change

According to Antonio Missiroli from the Brussels-based European Policy Centre, the summit is unlikely to produce great headlines. "We have the president who is a lame-duck...and EU leaders entirely focused on his two possible successors," he said.

Americans will elect a new resident of the White House in November, deciding between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barak Obama.

In addition, this year's meeting does not deal with any issue that is ripe for a breakthrough announcement, Mr Missiroli said. He also pointed to the politically sensitivity surrounding the Doha development round of world trade talks.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:56:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia and Norway tackle Arctic sea border issue - Yahoo! News

OSLO (Reuters) - Russia and Norway meet on Monday and Tuesday in the hope of making progress in a decades-old dispute over their maritime border in the Barents Sea -- a part of the Arctic that could hold large oil and gas reserves.

Officials have said the Barents Sea could become an important new source of petroleum to supply Europe, but development has been hindered by the dispute.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying: "I am convinced that we will make progress in the negotiations" by the website BarentsObserver.com ahead of the talks with his Norwegian counterpart, Jonas Gahr Stoere.

But Norway said it had seen no sign of progress.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:58:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Environment ministers agree GMO approval overhaul - EUobserver

EU environment ministers have supported a proposal from France to overhaul Europe's approval process for genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday (5 June), the ministers decided that the risk assessment procedures within the GMO evaluation and authorisation system needed to be improved and there needs to be a longer-term discussion of their impact on the environment.

Member states have called for a reform of the scientific expertise involved in GMO risk assessment

"The scientific advice provided by the European Food Safety Agency [the body that carries out the evaluation procedure] is of high quality," said European environment commissioner Stavros Dimas speaking to reporters after the meeting.

"However, we need to strengthen EFSA's capacity to evaluate the risks and take into account changes in agricultural practices and local geographic conditions."

"This decision will help decision-making on GMOs," he added.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:59:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"This decision will help decision-making on GMOs," he added.

Excuswe my cynicism, but I rather fear that in this instance, "better decision-making" means making GMO-friendlier decisions.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 07:15:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fresh names in Tory MEP expenses row - EUobserver

A further three British Conservative MEPs are facing allegations of financial abuse, following the resignation of two fellow members from European Parliament positions last week.

John Purvis, Sir Robert Atkins and Sajjad Karim were named in the UK media over the weekend for using parliamentary expenses to pay family companies and relatives or take private trips.

The European Parliament - are expenses rules too lax?

Mr Purvis, a Scottish MEP who came to Brussels in 1979, has been paying financial services firm Purvis & Co €150,000 a year out of his EU purse. The company is registered at his house and pays him a wage.

Mr Atkins, a former British cabinet minister, used €3,000 of public money for a 2006 trip to the US where he attended his son's wedding, as well as meeting some politicians.

Mr Karim, a former Liberal and the first Muslim MEP, paid his wife €32,000 a year as a staff member, even though she was working as a full-time primary school teacher in the northwest of the UK.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 04:00:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sajjad Karim defected to the Tories when he failed to beat Chris Davies for the #1 spot on their region's list for the 2009 EP elections. As the region is losing one MEP, Karim didn't feel that the #2 spot was safe for reelection.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 04:16:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But given the domestic expenses row, this just further demonstrates that all of our elected officials are on the take. Not only corrupt with public money, but probably on the receiving end of corporate sweeteners.

which is why the British don't trust them. It's the republican thing; they demonstrate by their own behaviour that they can't be trusted, so why trust any of them ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 07:31:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ISN Security Watch - Troubled elections in Macedonia

Early parliamentary elections in Macedonia give the ruling coalition a landslide victory but leave one dead and others wounded.

Following a tense pre-election period that saw dozens of violent incidents, including an alleged assassination attempt on an Albanian party leader, Macedonia is still emerging from a dramatic 1 June parliamentary poll that gave the ruling coalition a landslide victory. But the elections also left one dead and at least eight wounded in gunfire and may well have derailed the country's NATO and EU aspirations. Fraud and violence in Albanian districts

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which fielded an election observation mission through its Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) cited "violence and use of firearms" in the principally Albanian areas in the north and west, although the predominantly Macedonian districts were largely peaceful.

At a Tuesday press conference in the capital Skopje, the ODIHR's head of mission, US Ambassador Robert Barry, said that "commitments to the Council of Europe standards and the OSCE standards in this particular election were not met."

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 04:12:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Europe - France's blunt warning over Irish No

Irish voters were warned on Monday that the rest of the European Union would look at them with "gigantic incomprehension" if they rejected the bloc's Lisbon reform treaty in Thursday's referendum.

Bernard Kouchner, France's foreign minister, said Ireland had benefited more than other member states from EU largesse since it joined the bloc in 1973.

"It would be very, very awkward if we couldn't count on the Irish, who themselves have counted a great deal on Europe's money," he added.

Mr Kouchner's allusion to the billions of euros Ireland has received in EU funds was unusually blunt for a campaign in which other European governments have generally taken the view that it is best not to lecture the Irish on how to vote.

A spokesman for José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, confined himself to saying it was "very important that the Irish people exercise their right to vote".

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 01:29:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kouchner is not helping. You owe us is not a winning strategy.
by generic on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 07:42:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Europe - ECB shrugs off Fed concern on dollar

The fight against inflation in the 15-country eurozone will remain the European Central Bank's top priority even if that clashes with US attempts to prevent a further slide in the dollar, a senior official at the bank made clear on Monday.

The ECB's actions and words "aim at ensuring the preservation of price stability", said Lucas Papademos, the bank's vice-president.

His comments follow US concern over the effect on the dollar of the ECB's warning last week that it would probably increase its main interest rate next month.

The ECB communicates regularly with the Fed and does not intend to create transatlantic tensions. It has also seen other central banks signalling heightened concern about global inflation - and could argue that its plan to raise the main policy rate by a quarter percentage point to 4.25 per cent should not have been a surprise.

Eurozone inflation, at 3.6 per cent, is far above the ECB's target of an annual rate "below but close" to 2 per cent. Inflation is expected to remain above that level significantly longer than previously expected.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 01:31:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"the euro is our currency and your problem"

Finally!

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 02:06:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The ECB has one mandate and one only: price stability. And political pressure can't change that because the ECB is independent and to change its mandate requires a treaty revision.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 02:19:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some over at the WSJ even look at it with envy...


The Weak-Dollar Threat to World Order

Imagine how Americans would feel if we suddenly realized that our most trusted trade partners have been slowly but inexorably imposing a tariff against U.S. goods since 2002 - a tariff now in excess of 50%.

What really stings is that these same trade partners are also our most important allies, in both military and ideological terms. We like to think we share the same moral values when it comes to defending democracy and the virtues of free market capitalism.

How disillusioning to discover that the leading proponents of open global trade - the ones who insist on a "level playing field" - think nothing of adopting policies that render our products overly expensive for their consumers, even as they proffer their goods around the world at inordinately discounted prices.

Now you know how members of the European Union feel these days.

(...)

When the U.S. turns a blind eye to the consequences of diluting the value of its monetary unit, when we abuse the privilege of supplying the global reserve currency by resorting to sleight-of-hand monetary policy to address our own economic problems - inflating our way out of the housing crisis, pushing taxpayers into higher brackets through stealth - it sends a disturbing message to the world.

Why would the nation that espouses Adam Smith and the wisdom of the invisible hand permit its currency to confound the validity of price signals in the global marketplace? How can Americans champion the cause of free trade and exhort other nations to rid themselves of protectionist measures such as tariffs and subsidies - and then smugly claim that U.S. exports are becoming "more competitive" as the dollar sinks?

That's not competing. It's cheating.

The U.S. cannot go on pretending the dollar's fate is somehow beyond our ken. Maintaining a reliable currency is a moral responsibility as well as a strategic imperative. To the extent we force Europeans to bear the costs of fighting inflation unleashed by accommodative Fed policy - higher interest rates and the hidden tariff of currency appreciation - we renege on our shared commitment to democratic capitalism, both in principle and practice. Moreover, we risk causing a rift in our vital alliance at a time when the geopolitical situation most requires strategic partnership.

But that article accepts that devaluation provides a compettite advantage, which is not even the case (beyond in the short term).

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 04:46:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite remarkable. I doubt the US Treasury has ever given a tinker's cuss about any other country in the world when it sets its own policy. Funny how they squeal when the shoe is on the other foot.

After all, they destroyed the British economy in the 70s, and we're supposed to be an ally.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 07:37:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Record gas price to drive up UK energy bills

UK consumers and businesses are set for another steep rise in energy bills after the wholesale price of gas hit a record on Monday, driven up by the soaring cost of oil.

The price of gas for next winter rose above £1 per therm for the first time in the futures market, more than double last winter's average of about 48p per therm.

The rising gas price has also sent the price of electricity for next winter up to £88.25 per megawatt hour, up from an average of about £50 last winter.

Industry executives believe it is certain ,retail energy prices will rise, with some suggesting increases of more than 20 per cent,.

(...)

In 2003, the UK was a net exporter of gas; this year, it is likely to have to import almost 40 per cent of its needs.

That means UK prices have to be high enough to attract gas from the continent through the pipelines from Belgium and the Netherlands, or from Norway, where gas producers have the option of selling into either the UK or other European markets.

In effect, a floor is set under the UK gas price by the continental price, which in turn is largely determined by the price of oil, because most gas in Europe is sold on long-term contracts at prices linked to oil and oil products.

Ah, the joys of markets when you have not planned for the future...

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 07:27:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent - Jeremny Warner - Britain has squandered its North Sea inheritance. Now we are paying the price

Too late now, but Britain has squandered the blessing of North Sea oil and gas by allowing the stuff to be bought up at relatively cheap prices during the years of plenty. With prices now sky-high, there's virtually nothing left to see us through the famine. At no point was any serious thought given to a more strategic use of our oil and gas reserves. We are now paying the price.

Funny how journos all sing from the same hymnsheet isn't it ? Where were they when JaP was saying this 3 years ago. Probably lapping up the predictions of $40 oil.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 07:46:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:45:20 PM EST
Rudd calls for nuclear weapons ban | The Australian

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd called for an end to nuclear weapons as he toured a memorial today to the horror of the world's first atomic bombing.

Mr Rudd started a visit to Japan, aimed at easing doubts about his commitment to the two countries' alliance, with a tour of Hiroshima, where a partially destroyed dome lies as a memorial to the nuclear attack.

The first Australian prime minister to visit the memorial was joined by his wife, Therese Rein, as they laid a wreath and toured a museum documenting the August 6, 1945 attack.

"Hiroshima should cause the world community to resolve afresh that all humankind must exert their every effort for peace in this 21st century,'' Mr Rudd said.

"We, the people of the Asia-Pacific region, should resolve afresh to make this Asia-Pacific century a century of peace and, for the world at large, that we should aspire now for a world free of nuclear weapons.''

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:55:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germans Hope for a New America: Will Berlin's Lovefest with Obama be Shortlived? - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Barack Obama's charisma and youth have won the Democratic presidential candidate many fans in Berlin. Republican candidate John McCain, on the other hand, is seen as a choleric hardliner. But neither of them would cozy up to the German government.

 Presumptive US Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama during an election rally in South Dakota: Germans are now eager to discard their anti-Americanism.

It's a dream, nothing but a dream. And yet it has taken hold in many places around the German capital, in the offices of cabinet ministers and members of parliament, in strategy sessions at party headquarters, around conference tables at the editorial offices of newspapers and magazines, and even in a few of the countless offices of Berlin's federal government bureaucracy.

The dream goes something like this: What if just a small fragment of the American presidential election primary were to spill over into Germany? The enthusiasm, for example, and the vitality, energy and drama that the world's oldest democracy has presented to the global public for months? And what if German politicians would exude just a smidgen of the youthfulness and spirit of optimism that Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, seems to have in abundance?

In the grey bleakness exuded by Berlin's grand coalition government, these daydreams thrive like marsh marigolds on a wetland meadow. Could anyone in the German capital imagine enthusiastic teenage girls wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the likeness of Ronald Pofalla , the general secretary of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), screeching as he takes to the stage? Or newspaper columnists spending time discussing the washboard stomach of a chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD)?

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:57:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lovefest?   67% voting for someone who clearly isn't George Bush hardly seems like a lovefest. The enthusiasm seems more like a media mirage. Maybe even a plant seeing as how often professional Atlanticists are the source.
by generic on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 06:29:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The better Europe gets to know Obama the more they will like him.  That has been the experience of those closest to your point of view within the US.

Due to the restrictive media and cultural climate in the US you will not see Obama take many controversial positions during the election campaign.  All he has to do is not give them an opportunity to jump on him as some kind of "commie pinko radical faggot" and he'll slide in with a landslide and an enormous majority in Congress.  

Behind the scenes and between the lines he is indicating much more than is being said directly.  There are two reasons why the youth vote is so strong for him, only one is their lack of experience with political disillusionment.  The other is that they are picking up what he's laying down.  

Check out this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuFIDJkZ7NQ

That's a DEFINING moment that got a bit of play in the major media but was clearly targeted right at the youth vote.  

Now watch the Jay Z video he's referencing, listen to the lyrics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWLHQ3S-Oq8

US Presidential candidate making a clear reference to a song with these lyrics is an, um, interesting development.  This was no saxophone-on-arsenio moment.

by paving on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 06:52:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]



When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 06:54:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That second video doesn't play when embedded... Here's another version which you also have to watch on the Utube site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFIR5MgsG70 - copyright enforcement?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 06:58:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
copyright enforcement?

Looks like it. It says not available in your country.
by generic on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 07:12:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is an amazing video - Obama is saying "Clinton is a decent individual but she's broken". And the dust-off-your-shoulders thing is very interesting.

Could still be an act just like Bush's Texas village idiot act, but I doubt it.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 02:44:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We'll see. Luckily not being a resident of the US I can defer judgment on his policies until after I see what he actually does when in office.
by generic on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 07:16:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are also only concerned with a small percentage of his policies.  Bush's foreign policy disasters pale in comparison to his domestic policy failings.
by paving on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 07:33:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bush didn't unleash genocidal wars in the US. What domestic policy failures can possibly outweigh that?
by generic on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 07:53:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's still a bit early to say what Bush didn't do
by paving on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 07:58:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bush didn't unleash genocidal wars in the US.  

You seem sure of yourself.  Actually, right now certain populations are being targeted and attritted.  The scale is small, and it is episodic.  If you followed Katrina you already know Bush's policies are targetted and lethal.  

Genocide?  The victims say yes, the perpetrators deny it.  Who are you yourself going to believe?

Yes, we have really reached Monty Python standards of governance.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 09:46:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't deny that, but the scale is important.
by generic on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 07:20:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Saudi Arabia calls for emergency summit as oil prices soar - Times Online

Saudi Arabia today called for a summit of oil producing countries and consumers to discuss how to prevent oil prices from soaring further, following last week's surge to a record high of $139 a barrel.

The country's Information and Culture Minister, Iyad Madani, said that the kingdom would work with OPEC to "guarantee the availability of oil supplies now and in the future".

In a statement following the weekly meeting of the Saudi Cabinet, Mr Madani said the current price of oil was unjustified and pledged action to prevent further "unwarranted and unnatural" price hikes.

The price of a barrel jumped by over $10 on Friday - the largest ever one day increase - as the dollar weakened further and tensions escalated between Israel and Iran, the world's fourth-largest exporter.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:59:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Americas | Pentagon 'urged notes destroyed'

Guantanamo Bay interrogators were told to destroy handwritten notes in case they were called to testify on detainee treatment, a military lawyer alleges.

The lawyer, Lt-Cmdr William Kuebler, said the instructions were contained in a Pentagon operations manual.

He said this apparent destruction of evidence at the prison camp stopped him from challenging alleged confessions in the case of his client, Omar Khadr.

He would use the document to seek a dismissal of the charges, he said.

Mr Khadr - a Canadian - is the only Westerner still held at the jail.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 04:00:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US quits Human Rights Council? | Human Rights Tribune - www.humanrights-geneva.info

Carole Vann/Juan Gasparini/Human Rights Tribune - The news that the US has completely withdrawn from the Human Rights Council spread like wildfire Friday afternoon (June 6) through the corridors of the Palais des Nations in Geneva. There was general consternation amongst diplomats and NGOS. Reached by phone, the American mission in Geneva neither confirmed nor denied the report. Although unofficial, the news comes at a time of long opposition by the Bush administration to the reforms which created the Human Rights Council in June 2006. Washington announced from the beginning that the US would not be an active member but its observer status would mean that it could intervene during the sessions. To date even this has rarely happened.

"We don't understand the reasons nor the timing of the decision", said Sebastien Gillioz of Human Rights Watch. "There have even been some positive signs during this Council. For example Belarus was not re-elected as a member in 2007 nor Sri Lanka this year".

The stupefaction was made greater by the fact the US actively took part in the universal Periodic Review (UPR) process where 32 countries were scrutinized by their peers in April and May. In particular a series of recommendations were made regarding Romania, Japan, Guatemala, Peru, Tunisia, Ukraine, Indonesia and others.

Diplomats are equally concerned. If the current president of the Council, Doru Costea, declined to comment, his predecessor, Luis Alfonso De Alba said that he didnt see any reason to justify such a decision. Several observers mentioned Washington's growing discontentment with the influence of the Islamic and African countries in the Council.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 04:09:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since when has the US had any part to play in Human Rights ? Just cos they think they're the good guy, doesn't mean they don't torture and kill for fun.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 07:50:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Food and gasoline: Soaring prices hit the poor hardest - Local - Kentucky.com
[Carol] Sanders doesn't have a car, but rising gasoline prices are still hitting her hard.

She earns $6 an hour working through a temporary employment service. The temp service provides transportation to and from the job, but the cost of the ride recently went up to $4 each way, or $8 a day.

That means she's at work more than an hour every day before she even pays the cost of getting there and back.

After taxes and transportation costs, Sanders said her take-home pay is about $230 a week.

She is now living in an efficiency apartment and paying $100 a week in rent. And she's putting aside $100 a week in hopes of saving up enough to reunite her family by the time school starts this fall.

That leaves her $30 a week for food. And with grocery prices rising drastically, it doesn't go far.

Sanders said she hasn't bought milk in two or three weeks because the prices have gotten so high.



... all progress depends on the unreasonable mensch.
(apologies to G.B. Shaw)
by marco on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 04:25:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well at least the social safety net will look after her.

Oh, I mean the wonders of charitable work will look after her. Assuming she joins a church or something.

But hey, imagine how much worse her life would be if she was in, say, France. She might very well be unemployed. Better off, but unemployed, and that would be awful.

The US is fucked up, and the rise in oil prices is just exposing that: the plight of the poor has bugger all to do with oil and everything to do with the way the system treats them.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 04:52:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and your conclusion is seriously unfair. We're saying that price increases are inevitable, and their consequences predictable, not that they are nice.

I have been arguing for a gas tax combined with revenue mitigation for the poor (and ideally, investment in public transport and similar infrastructure) for years. Why blame me when I note the price rises that I have been announcing?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 05:09:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not blaming you specifically.  I am just very frustrated that there is not more discussion about how to help these people out.  I agree with you that gas prices have to go up and I also favor a gradual gas tax -- and still do in principle, though we missed the window to impose it in  -- mostly based on arguments you and others have presented here.

However, now that prices are going way up -- the shit is hitting the fan and exposing for all to see how fucked up the U.S. system is, as Colman says -- there needs to be more focus on how to help those who are the most acutely affected and least empowered to do anything about it.

I would like to hear more discussion about just how "Lower payroll taxes, a check per person, you name it" would work in practice.  That is why I linked to that essay about the Metcalf carbon-payroll tax swap idea.  Or about other approaches.

If I missed the discussions, I am sorry.  Please point me to it/them.

... all progress depends on the unreasonable mensch.
(apologies to G.B. Shaw)

by marco on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 05:20:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If a lifestyle is unsustainable, then the number of people leading it must drop and people need to find a different lifestyle.

The question is whether you just let the people who drop out fend by themselves or help them shift to the different lifestyle.

In other words, if you can estimate the amount of money that fuel subsidies would cost, how about spending the same amount of money helping people get different jobs, move, or providing public transport? Subsidies spent to let people continue as before are the worst possible policy because they simply encourage people to do nothing about the root causes of the problem, which then gets worse requiring even more subsidies.

Drew has linked to maps showing the range of fuel expenditure by county is from under 3% to over 13%. If the price of fuel doubles, 13% becomes 26%. The economic organization of those counties where fuel costs are already over 13% of income must change. Subsidizing people now only brings bigger pain later.

If this were a temporary spike there would be a case for subsidies, but that is not the case.

If you want a soundbite, the 1973 oil shock was a direct result of Peak Oil in the contiguous US states. For the last 35 years the US has been importing oil from the Middle East. This now is a consequence of Peak Oil worldwide. Where else are you going to import oil from for the next 35 years? Mars?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 05:39:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where else are you going to import oil from for the next 35 years? Mars?

Not Mars, Titan...

"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 9th, 2008 at 06:44:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, right, we're saved!

Does anyone know at what price the Titan hydrocarbon resource becomes an economically recoverable reserve? And what's the ERoEI of importing oil from Titan?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 06:47:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
3/4  of all asteroids visible from earth have a hydrocarbon content, and they don't have to be lifted out of Titans gravity well, wether its a usable ammount is another question.

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 9th, 2008 at 07:00:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At best they're going to be tar-sands grade.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 07:01:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
shifting a refinery out there that works in vacuum, in those temperatures would be a major feat.

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 9th, 2008 at 07:05:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, as there are methane lakes on Titan, you just have to pull a big hose from there to Earth, et voilà!...

"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 9th, 2008 at 07:15:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Atmosphere entry for bulky loads of methane is going to be an interesting concept... Should make for very nice fireworks !

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 08:35:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Back when I was studying celestial mechanics, one of the problems was the energy released when a body is dropped from outer space to Earth.  

The order of energy dissipated from the change in gravitational potential is greater than the chemical energy contained in anything you might drop . . .

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 09:53:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The economic organization of those counties where fuel costs are already over 13% of income must change. Subsidizing people now only brings bigger pain later.

If this were a temporary spike there would be a case for subsidies, but that is not the case.

Hmm, I should have said subsidizing fuel not subsidizing people.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 02:57:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If this were a temporary spike there would be a case for subsidies, but that is not the case.

I disagree: there's a definite case for temporary, time limited, reducing subsidies to cushion the blow for people in the case of a permanent, sudden rise in prices. We all share responsibility for this fuck-up as a society, so why should people who are living as they were told was appropriate have to suffer unaided?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:02:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, temporary subsidies I can live with. But that's like an ultimatum: we'll give you one years' worth of gas coupons - you have a year to move your family within reach of public transport.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 04:11:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I'd probably go with a five year plan, but pretty much: rapidly reducing support for the current life style with increasing support for the alternative, like creating a public transport infrastructure.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 04:14:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't say unaided:
if you can estimate the amount of money that fuel subsidies would cost, how about spending the same amount of money helping people get different jobs, move, or providing public transport?


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 04:13:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"However, now that prices are going way up -- the shit is hitting the fan and exposing for all to see how fucked up the U.S. system is..."

Perhaps this is good! Perhaps the average American voter will start to see how badly he's getting screwed by the current political system and start to vote for a more leftist policy...

by asdf on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 08:20:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe we need a diary to have a discussion.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 02:27:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the comments and discussion above.  I went to DailyKos yesterday to find a diary that addresses this issue -- after all, it is most acutely an American problem -- but due to of lack of time and the unbelievable number of diaries to go through there, I was not able to find one that really tackles it.

If I can make some time to do the homework, I'll see if I can come up with a basic diary maybe this weekend.

... all progress depends on the unreasonable mensch.
(apologies to G.B. Shaw)

by marco on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 07:40:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm afraid that any solution we here would be likely to suggest would be shot down as Socialistic on DKos.

But one important question is, how many people are we talking about here? The NYT had a map showing Wilcox County, Alabama as the one worst hit by the high gas prices (in terms of fraction of income spent on fuel). That's 13 thousand people in 2500 square kilometres, and the county site is 2250 people.

It seems to be really spread out, but then again it's just 13 thousand people. Even buying them buses wouldn't be that expensive, but probably neither the county nor the state can afford it and the Federal government would have to do it. Aftal all, they can give $30 billion to JP Morgan...

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 07:57:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is not most acutely an american problem: European Fishermen have rioted in Brussels over fuel prices, and long-haul transport truck drivers have staged blockades in the UK, France and Spain (and motorcyclists have also had a protest in the UK). So it is starting to bite here, too.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 08:02:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mind you, most of those problems are related to the disproportionate power of supermarkets who have squeezed the margins of hauliers and fishermen down to nothing.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 08:05:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whilst I agree there is a problem, which as you note, is principally affecting the US, we are seeing the same effects here. Truck drivers across europe are insisting that they should recieve subsidized fuel, depsite the facts that a large number of their journeys are predicated on a cheap fuel model that simply cannot be sustained.

And that's the problem. We have a transport pattern that cannot be sustained, however hard we try. In fact, the very effort to sustain that pattern makes the situation worse. We here are aware that the warning signs have been obvious for years and that work to avoid this could have been undertaken if we'd had governments that think forwardly instead of react backwardly. But no government does this, it's not the western way. Indeed, JaP suggesting gas taxes to encourage new patterns on dKos gets a reaction of outraged disbelief and lectures on the sanctity of the "American way".

Subsidies won't really help, however attractive. If you halve the price of gas, it will encourage the perpetuation of current patterns, not the creation of new ones. Breeding horses might. Building railways will, but that's an effort that's 10 years away.

So for 40 years the US (and UK) have been electing governments that have been increasingly indifferent to the majority population. The contempt the current US administration has for 95% of the electorate is incredible and I guess that it happened so gradually everybody thinks that it's the normal way to be. So the idea that there is a group of people in the Beltway that cares a damn about the poor or even working class strikes me as utterly delusional. You have an eleitst plutocratic govt bordering on authoritarian fuedalism. Nothing we suggest will change that, and nothing can help the American people until that is changed.

Over to you

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 08:13:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Register: Israel electric car project aims to wipe out oil (22nd January 2008)
Sell them like mobile phones, kill oil by 2020

Israel today announced backing for Project Better Place, intended to switch motor transportation from oil to electric, and by a massive coincidence one of the project's prime movers, Shai Agassi of Better PLC, was evangelising at the DLD (Digital Life, Design) show in Munich. His objective, he says, is to "take one country off oil in a way that is repeatable." Israel is that country.

And the model is the mobile phone. Really. The point of choosing Israel, says Agassi, is that doing it in a chaotic country is important, and he claims Israel is the most chaotic nation he knows. Plus there are helpful limits to how far you can drive in Israel - the endurance of a electric car on one 'fill up' is about 200km, and that easily covers the furthest you can go within Israel.

He takes a pretty rational view of how far people are prepared to go to save the planet, and when it comes to cars that's not very far. It's got to be your car, no shares, with performance and size at least equivalent to today's models. It's got to be affordable (which includes image and cred, so lose points for non 'green' Hummers), and it's got to be fairly easy to 'fill up'. That last one's one of the gotchas of electric, and it's Agassi's primary point of attack. So you've got a vehicle that allows people to be green without it actually costing them anything to do so, and you've got the 'filling stations'.

I just heard about this today. Apparently it's being deployed.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 05:41:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Electric vehicles | Charge! | Economist.com
In recent months Renault-Nissan has teamed up with Project Better Place, a Silicon Valley start-up, to introduce all-electric vehicles and a network of charging points in Israel and Denmark by 2011. Now Nissan is going further. Speaking at a media event in Portugal this week, Mr Ghosn said that the time for the mass-market zero-emission car has come. Nissan plans to launch a battery-powered car in America in 2010 and by 2012 the Renault-Nissan alliance will offer a complete range of electric vehicles in every large car-market. And these new battery-powered cars, it claims, will work out less expensive than equivalent petrol models.

Renault-Nissan's new electric-vehicle strategy is, says Mr Ghosn, the culmination of two years' work. It is the product not just of rising fuel prices and the prospect of new emissions rules, but the frightening environmental implications of rapid growth in emerging markets. At the Beijing motor show in April, he observed that "nothing can stop the car being the most coveted product that comes with development"--but that more efficient conventional engines were not the answer.

Technically, says Mr Ghosn, everything is now ready for electric vehicles to enter the mainstream--except for the batteries, in which Nissan and NEC, a Japanese industrial giant, are "investing massively". What matters for all-electric vehicles--as opposed to hybrids, such as the Chevrolet Volt, due in 2010, which can fall back on a petrol engine when the battery runs out--are their limited range and the time taken to recharge their batteries.

Another requirement is innovative business models. Mr Ghosn says the electric version of the Mégane saloon that Renault is building for Israel will come with a lifetime warranty, and payment will follow the model established by the mobile-phone industry. After buying the car, owners will subscribe to a battery-replacement and charging plan based on their anticipated mileage. Recharging will be done at one of 500,000 spots that Project Better Place will build and maintain.

As for Mr Ghosn, he has no doubts. "We must have zero-emission vehicles," he says. "Nothing else will prevent the world from exploding."



"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 9th, 2008 at 07:22:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"We must have zero-emission vehicles," he says. "Nothing else will prevent the world from exploding."

Electric vehicles are only as green as the source of the electricity. And right now, they are powered by lead-acid batteries. Anyone ever seen a lead smelter? A lead mine? how green is that? And the new high tech fantasy batteries will also be heavy metal dependent, no doubt.

by dmun on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 09:21:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And where does the electricity come from? Coal-fired power plants?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 09:27:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you can use pressurized air as your vector, if the car is really light.
That's as good as it gets in greenitude, of course the tank is metal but easily recycled, after its very long life.

You won't do hundreds of miles of course, but then again the car is a spectacularly poor choice for doing hundreds of miles.


Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 10:33:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even that isn't going to be "zero emission", because the compressed air is an energy storage system.

The energy to "charge" it (i.e. compress the air) has still got to come from somewhere...

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 01:10:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, a wind turbine, obviously!

But I was mostly addressing the non-carbon pollution argument.

Anyway, living is not zero emission, we are breathing after all, so to set zero as the target for everything is not going to get us anywhere. Massive reduction is a worthy aim, though.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:11:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not arguing with massive reduction, just adding to the thread of conversation re zero local emissions not being the same as zero emissions.

Breathing, however, is zero emission.  In order to be breathed out, carbon has to have been fixed fairly recently by photosynthesis.  Crops fix it, we eat it (or the animals that did), we burn it, we breathe it out, crops fix it.  It's just the normal carbon cycle and doesn't affect atmospheric CO2 levels at all.

(How much fossil fuel we burn to get that meal to our plates is another matter...)

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 06:15:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Americas | Danger of US downturn 'has faded'

The US economy may have avoided a major decline, US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has said.

Mr Bernanke said the risk of a substantial downturn had "diminished over the past month or so".

Playing down recent unemployment rises, he said a series of interest rate reductions combined with tax cuts was helping the US offset its difficulties.

Earlier, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama attacked his rival John McCain's economic policies.

In his first speech since Hillary Clinton left the presidential race, Mr Obama accused Mr McCain, the Republican party's candidate, of "a full-throated endorsement" of President George W Bush's economic policies.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 01:15:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the oil price is a bubble.

All is xell, go back to sleep.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 01:48:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I knew you would be impressed by this great news! :-)
by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 01:50:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
McClatchy Washington Bureau | 06/09/2008 | U.S. seeking 58 bases in Iraq, Shiite lawmakers say

BAGHDAD -Iraqi lawmakers say the United States is demanding 58 bases as part of a proposed "status of forces" agreement that will allow U.S. troops to remain in the country indefinitely.

Leading members of the two ruling Shiite parties said in a series of interviews the Iraqi government rejected this proposal along with another U.S. demand that would have effectively handed over to the United States the power to determine if a hostile act from another country is aggression against Iraq. Lawmakers said they fear this power would drag Iraq into a war between the United States and Iran.

"The points that were put forth by the Americans were more abominable than the occupation," said Jalal al Din al Saghir, a leading lawmaker from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. "We were occupied by order of the Security Council," he said, referring to the 2004 Resolution mandating a U.S. military occupation in Iraq at the head of an international coalition. "But now we are being asked to sign for our own occupation. That is why we have absolutely refused all that we have seen so far."

Other conditions sought by the United States include control over Iraqi air space up to 30,000 feet and immunity from prosecution for U.S. troops and private military contractors. The agreement would run indefinitely but be subject to cancellation with two years notice from either side, lawmakers said.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 01:33:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:45:46 PM EST
Italian Bishop Refuses Wedding to Impotent Man | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 09.06.2008
An Italian bishop has denied a young paraplegic a church wedding because he is impotent, media in Rome have reported.

Although the man's fiancée is aware of the problem, a spokesman for Bishop Lorenzo Chiarinelli of Viterbo, central Italy, told SkyTG24 television that "no bishop, no priest can celebrate a wedding when he knows of impotence as it is a motive for annulment."

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:47:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hasn't he heard of miracles??? Sheesh.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:48:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A new craze takes summer music festivals by storm: Peace and quiet - News, Music - The Independent

It is being hailed as the sound of summer 2008 but you might be forgiven for not having heard it. For this year the nation's festivals, clubs and concert venues are about to reverberate to a growing craze - the sound of silence.

This is not the kind of quietude that sent Paul Simon spiralling into a long, dark night of the soul, but instead, or so its fans say, it is a liberating and utterly joyful experience, though, to be fair, it is not entirely decibel-free.

The growing fashion for noiseless entertainment will reach its apotheosis at the Glastonbury festival later this month, where some 2,500 revellers will cram into the Silent World stage to party the night away to a series of DJs, bands and even chill out to the occasional speaker.

It follows the success of the Silent Disco movement in which dancers don a pair of radio-controlled headphones as they fling themselves around the floor for a few hours of shared, personal entertainment.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 04:17:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Press Association (UK) via Google News: House sales fall to record low
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said chartered surveyor estate agents sold an average of just 17.4 properties each during the three months to the end of May, the lowest figure since it began collecting data in 1978.

...

New buyer inquiries dropped for the 18th month in a row, but the proportion of surveyors reporting falls eased to 51% more than those who saw a rise, compared with 69% more in April.

The number of people putting their home up for sale fell for the fifth month in a row, with 26% more surveyors seeing a drop off in new instructions than those who saw a rise, the second lowest figure since the question was first asked in 1999.



When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:42:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 03:46:08 PM EST
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Kung Fu Panda chops up box office

Kung Fu Panda has kicked Sex and the City from the top spot of the US box office, early figures have shown.

The animated film about Po, a panda who becomes a kung-fu master to save his jungle from leopard villains, took $60m (£30.4m) in its opening weekend.

Adam Sandler's comedy You Don't Mess With the Zohan opened in second place with $40m (£20.3m), while Indiana Jones's latest outing was in third.

Sex and the City slipped to the fourth spot in its second weekend in cinemas.

by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 04:21:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 
by Fran on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 04:21:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Hat tip Bill Tchakirides.

by Magnifico on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 06:19:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL!!!!  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 06:24:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whoa.

I haven't watched a McCain clip before. But - aside from a minor factual error which absolutely anyone with dementia could have made - he really isn't Mr Zeitgeisty God of Charisma, is he?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 07:41:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Addicted to oil? More like addicted to teleprompters.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 12:05:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
good lord.  The man is a disaster.   I'm so glad he's the Republican candidate :)
by Maryb2004 on Mon Jun 9th, 2008 at 10:27:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Czech Foreign Minister attends Bilderberg Club conference

This year, they dealt with the problem of elimination of nuclear weapons, the situation in Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Islamic radicalism, the relations between the EU and the USA and international financial situation.

Almost 140 persons met in Chantilly such as president of the World Bank Robert Zoellick, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, European commissioner for trade Peter Mandelson and U.S. financier David Rockefeller.

Most Czech politicians, including Minister without Portfolio Cyril Svoboda (the Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) and leader of the opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) Jiri Paroubek, did not know about Schwarzenberg's trip.

"I learnt about it today (on Sunday) and I was furious," Communist leader Vojtech Filip said.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 01:19:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A low-key visit to Germany by Bush - International Herald Tribune

BERLIN: When Chancellor Angela Merkel plays host to George Bush on Tuesday night, it will be well away from the bright lights of the capital, Berlin.

Closeted away in the elegant Schloss Meseberg, the German government guest house north of Berlin where the president will dine with Merkel, Bush on Wednesday will be doing no walkabouts in Berlin and giving no major speeches. Instead, he will use the time talking to Merkel, one of his favorite leaders in Europe, about the Middle East, energy security and Iran.

Some German analysts say this low-key visit to Germany is because Bush is essentially a lame duck president - in addition to the fact that the German media and public are focused with the U.S. presidential election campaign. Bush's successor will be inaugurated on Jan. 20.

"Everybody's concentrating on the incoming president and not on the president in office, which I think is a mistake," said Karsten Voigt, coordinator of German-American cooperation in the Foreign Ministry. "Especially in the field of foreign and security policy, an American president is president until the last day."

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 01:23:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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