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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 7 October

by Fran Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:39:32 PM EST

On this date in history:

1913 - Birth of Simon Carmiggelt, a Dutch writer who became a well known public figure in the Netherlands because of his daily newspaper columns and his television appearances. (d. 1987)

More here and here


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by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:40:05 PM EST
Nato commanders to draw up plans to defend ex-Soviet bloc members from Russia - Telegraph
Nato's top military commander has demanded the authority to draw up detailed military plans to defend former Soviet bloc members for the first time since the alliance expanded eastward.

Russia's offensive in Georgia in August exposed the dangers of the Western alliance's lack of contingency plans against an invasion on its eastern flanks.

Political leaders from the Baltics and Eastern Europe have subsequently demanded that Nato fulfil the requirements implied by its "Chapter 5" commitment to defend the territorial integrity of all its members.

General James Craddock, Nato's Supreme Commander, has asked for the political authority to draw up contingency defence plans at a Nato meeting in Budapest later this week.

France and Germany have signalled opposition to the move but Gen Craddock has the strong backing of American and Britain.

But even US officials acknowledge there is a risk that the move will cause a rift within Nato. "This becomes politicised very quickly," a Pentagon official said.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:43:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
O-kay... let Poland and the Baltics have NATO, the rest leave ASAP!

Wait, even that is too risky. Let's just bury this plan.

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

by DoDo on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 03:04:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they haven't already made this plan, like for all other eventualities, they are in dereliction of duty.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 06:15:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[Starvid's Rysskräck Technology™]

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 04:07:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sadly I agree that it is the NATO commander's duty to do this. But to publicize that he is doing this now is reckless political posturing, which is definitely not his job.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 05:02:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Clock ticking on EU sanctions against Uzbekistan - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU sanctions on Uzbekistan expire on 13 November despite the country's relapse into disturbing human rights abuses, with Germany exploiting the EU legal system to try and scrap a visa ban list.

The sanctions package consists of an embargo on sales of arms or equipment that could be used for internal repression, such as razor wire and combat knives. It also forbids the EU entry of eight Uzbek officials and ex-officials, including acting security chief Rustam Inoyatov, tipped as a likely successor for 70-year old President Islam Karimov.

Boiling water: Uzbekistan is infamous for one case of boiling a prisoner alive

The legal instrument covering the measures - which have already been subject to temporary suspensions - expires next month, unless it is renewed by a consensus of all 27 EU states.

Uzbekistan-friendly Germany wants to scrap the visa ban list but to renew the arms embargo, saying the EU must respect Uzbekistan's interests if it wants to forge closer ties.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:45:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iceland unions push government to join euro - EUobserver

Iceland's trade unions want the country to join the euro in return for help in an economic rescue plan, as the island state's government holds emergency talks to shore up its teetering economy.

The trade unions' Pension Fund Association (PFA) has told the government it is ready to repatriate some 200 billion krona (€13 billion) from overseas funds back into Icelandic banks, according to Icelandic public radio.

Iceland's government needs trade union pension cash to put the economy back on track

But the quid pro quo demanded by the unions is that the government apply to join the European Union and adopt the euro, according to reports in the Morgunbladid newspaper.

A PFA memorandum argues the country's deepening financial crisis cannot be solved so long as Iceland holds on to the volatile krona, which has fallen 20 percent against the euro in the last month.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:45:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can they join the euro without being in the EU ? And if they get fast-tracked into the EU I can think of a couple of countries that might have cause for complaint.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 05:04:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They could choose to use the Euro without being in the EU. San Marino, Andorra, Monaco... do already.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 05:11:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They could do it unilaterally, like Montenegro, but I've a feeling this isn't what they have in mind...
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 05:12:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bloomberg.com: Russia Lends Iceland 4 Billion Euros to Save Banks
Iceland got a 4 billion-euro ($5.43 billion) loan from Russia, pegged the krona to a trade-weighted index and nationalized the nation's second-biggest bank after the currency's slump and bad debts crippled the financial system.

The fixing of the krona, at a rate corresponding to 131 per euro, applies for today, according to the Icelandic central bank's Web site. Further moves to boost the currency will be announced in coming days, it said.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 06:06:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain only country where motorists can drink and drive - Telegraph

Despite evidence that it would save lives, the Government has decided against reducing the legal limit for alcohol in a driver's blood.

It was previously planning to reduce the limit from 80 to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, which would put Britain in line with Ireland and most of mainland Europe.

The move was to be supported by the British Medical Association, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Last year, Stephen Ladyman, who was then the road safety minister, said the Government would include in a public consultation the proposal to drop the limit to 50 mg.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:47:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I note that in Hungary, after making negative experiences in road accident statistics, the post-1990 tolerance regime until 0.08% was ditched in January: we are below the EU norm, back to zero tolerance.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 03:15:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain only country where motorists can drink and drive - Telegraph

A quick check in Wikipedia shows that there are other countries where motorists can drink and drive. These include Nepal, Laos, Vietnam, Congo, and Ethiopia, as well as countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia that don't bother with specific drunk driving laws.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 03:52:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's strange, because the original titel of the Link is: Britain only European country where motorists can 'drink and drive' but it seemed tribex didn't copy it fully. :-)
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 03:57:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The headline we can read in the displayed page is not always the same as the title of the html page, and that is what tribext gets.

For this Telegraph story, for example, the html page title is:

<title>Britain only country where motorists can drink and drive  - Telegraph</title>

(That's copied from the html source of the Telegraph page).

This is why, in some cases, tribext doesn't seem to return a headline at all. An example is EUObserver, that always just puts "EUObserver" in the title:

<title>EUobserver</title>

(Copied from the html source of the Iceland story above).

In these cases, as you know, we have to copy in the headline ourselves (or do without). I don't think there's any way someone could automate that task.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 02:51:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is correct. (more or less) There needs to be some automatically distinguishable feature of a title in order for a piece of software to find it. As html wrapper of the title printed at the top of each article vary from site to site, finding it automatically would be very complex and error prone.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 06:06:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I always edit the Tribext title manually.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 06:12:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The headline is a bit misleading isn''t it ? You can still drink and drive in the rest of europe, you just have a lower limit.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 05:07:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Playing poker with the Polish powerbrokers - CNN.com

(CNN) -- Some say Poland is the biggest of the "small countries" in the European Union. Others call it the smallest of the "big countries."

Poland: Fast becoming one of Europe's most exciting countries, says Oakley.

Poland may not yet be one of the '"Big Five" alongside Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Spain. But when it entered the EU in 2004 its population of nearly 40 million totalled more than all the other nine entrants of that year.

Poland was a crucial "catch" for the EU's enlargement program, its arrival boosting the bloc's self-confidence at an uncertain time. And Poland has swiftly proved it can more than punch its weight diplomatically.

Poland was the last country to settle in the fraught negotiations over the EU's latest seven-year EU budget. It was also the last country to agree the constitutional deal in the battle over the now-frozen Lisbon Treaty.

By offering, along with the Czech Republic, to host installations for the U.S. missile defence plan, now officially a NATO plan, Poland has become a crucial focus for the EU's relations with Russia.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:49:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Afghanistan Deployment: German Foreign Minister Wants to End 'Enduring Freedom' Participation - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says he wants to withdraw his country's elite KSK force from Afghanistan. The troops are participating in the US-led "Enduring Freedom," but they haven't been used in three years.

 Elite KSK soldiers training in Hammelburg, Germany. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is calling for his country to end its participation in the United States-led "Operation Enduring Freedom" anti-terror mission in Afghanistan. SPIEGEL reported over the weekend that the foreign minister wants to withdraw Germany's KSK elite forces from Afghanistan.

With his proposal, Steinmeier -- who is the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) candidate for chancellor in the 2009 -- could trigger a new conflict within the grand coalition government, where the SPD is the junior partner to Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:51:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia to test fire cruise missiles for first time since 1984 - Times Online

Russia began the most ambitious test of its strategic bomber fleet in almost a quarter of a century today.

Up to 20 bombers are being sent into the air with full combat payloads to carry out live firing exercises of their cruise missiles. It is the largest display of Russian air power since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Officials said that the bomber runs would test Russia's readiness to deploy its nuclear deterrent. The week-long drill, part of a broader military exercise codenamed Stability-2008, takes place against the background of heightened tensions with the West after Russia's war with Georgia in August.

"During these exercises, for the first time in many years, the crews of Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95MS Bear-H strategic bombers will fly missions carrying the maximum combat payload and fire all the cruise missiles on board," Air Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Drik told RIA-Novosti news agency.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:57:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SPECIAL FOCUS - Financial Crisis continues
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:41:16 PM EST
BBC NEWS | Business | Credit crisis: European turmoil
As European markets fall sharply, the BBC News website looks at some of the countries affected by financial turmoil and what their governments are doing to alleviate the crisis.


by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:43:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hasn't there been a long tradition by the Northern countries to mock their "Club Med" brethren, usually for their poor control over their finances....?

That map suggests that "controlling finance" may be a mixed blessing...

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 04:23:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany Rescues Hypo Real Estate | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 06.10.2008
The German government, together with banks and insurance companies, agreed late Sunday on a new 50-billion-euro ($68 billion) deal to bail out the country's stricken commercial property lender, Hypo Real Estate.

The rescue came following a weekend of frantic negotiations after an earlier rescue plan for the embattled lender fell apart when a consortium of banks pulled out of the deal. That package had a price tag of 35 billion euros.

 

The German finance ministry said in a statement that the new deal will see the financial sector topping up that sum with an additional 15 billion euros.


"With this mutually agreed solution, the institution (Hypo Real Estate) will be stabilized and with it, Germany strengthened as a place to conduct finance in difficult times," the statement said.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:44:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU leaders tear up rules of eurozone - Europe, World - The Independent

Public spending curbs and rules against state subsidies will be thrown - temporarily - out of the window to rescue European banks from the abyss of the global financial crisis, EU leaders agreed at the weekend. Leaders of the four largest European Union economies - Britain, France, Germany and Italy - came up with no EU-wide magic formula, or rescue package, to defend the buckling European financial system.

They did agree, however, that national governments should be at liberty to take drastic action to shore up their own financial institutions, busting EU limits on national budgets and flouting European rules against public subsidies if necessary. Meeting in Paris, the Big Four insisted that national governments must "consult" their European partners before taking action which could harm rival banks in other countries. This was a rebuke to Ireland's decision last week to guarantee all bank savings for two years but also, implicitly, a recognition that other nations may have to take similar action.

But they accepted that the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact - the eurozone rules requiring that national budget deficits should be progressively reduced to zero - should be relaxed. This was a silver lining in the crisis for the French government. Even before the financial meltdown, Paris had been struggling to meet its commitment to balance its budget by 2012.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:46:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well that's a relief, we wouldn't want the French Government to have to renounce its tax breaks for the rich, which as we all know are the seeds of a vibrant trickle-down economy and budget surplus.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 04:11:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Paris had been struggling to meet its commitment to balance its budget by 2012"

That's a misleading statement.

"Paris had not been trying in the least to meet its commitment to balance its budget by 2012"

There, I fixed it.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 04:13:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not a breach of the Growth and Stability Pact, which does include the possibility to relax criterai in times of crisis - it is the invokation of that clause which happened yesterday, ie fully within the rules of the GSP

But that's too complicated to explain and goes against flahy headlines, right?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 04:25:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Particularly by British foreign correspondents in Paris, in this case John Lichfield.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 08:45:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe Moves to Follow Germany's Financial Guarantee Plan | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 06.10.2008
After Germany's surprise decision to protect all personal bank deposits, Britain and other European countries could follow suit. Yet investors remained skittish about Europe's financial future.

Calls for a common European approach to the banking crisis continued on Monday as both the European and Asian stock markets were down sharply in early trading.

Up until this weekend, Germany had stoically opposed issuing a blanket guarantee on all bank deposits despite other countries moving to do so. Yet with confidence deeply shaken after a first bailout for Hypo Real Estate fell through, the German government abruptly changed course on Sunday.

In an attempt to prevent a run on banks, Germany announced it will guarantee all personal bank deposits in the country.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:48:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Financial crises spread in Europe - International Herald Tribune

This article was reported by Carter Dougherty, Nelson Schwartz and Floyd Norris and written by Norris.

European nations scrambled on Sunday night to prevent a growing credit crisis from bringing down major banks and alarming savers as troubles in financial markets spread around the world, accelerating economic downturns on three continents.

The German government moved to guarantee all private savings accounts in the country on Sunday, hoping to reassure depositors who had grown nervous as efforts to bail out a large German lender and a major European financial company failed.

Late Sunday, it was disclosed that new bailouts had been arranged for both of those companies, Hypo Real Estate, the German lender, and Fortis, a large banking and insurance company based in Belgium but active across much of the Continent.

The spreading worries came days after the United States Congress approved a $700 billion bailout package that officials had hoped would calm financial markets globally.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:49:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany Mulls Umbrella Protection for Entire Bank Sector | Business | Deutsche Welle | 06.10.2008
In a step away from its long-held policy of aiding failing financial institutions on a case-by-case basis, the German government is reportedly examining ways to offer a safety net to the country's entire banking sector.

A day after a last-minute rescue of German property lender Hypo Real Estate, German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said safeguards for all financial institutions needed to be considered.

 

"Now we have to try to move beyond Hypo Real Estate's singular solution and try to put an umbrella over all of Germany so we're not mixed up with one case after another," he told German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Monday, Oct. 6. 

 

While there was no guarantee new cases would crop up, he told reporters in Berlin German financial markets remained "highly dangerous" and that all that could currently be done was to keep "other dominos from falling."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:49:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The World From Berlin: Leaders 'Don't Grasp Scale of the Abyss Facing EU' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The EU's failure to agree a unified strategy to tackle the financial crisis shows that its leaders don't grasp how serious it is, write German commentators. It's time for politicians to stop blaming the bankers and to realize that at this point, only the state can avert a very dangerous crisis of confidence.

 French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to differ at Saturday's mini-summit on the financial crisis in Paris. The European Union's failure to come up with a unified approach to tackling the financial crisis at Saturday's summit meeting of the EU's four biggest economies shows that European politicians haven't yet realized the dimension of the risks facing the financial system, write German media commentators.

Governments effectively agreed to go it alone in shoring up troubled financial institutions in their countries -- the wrong response given how interwoven Europe's financial markets are.

The divisions were highlighted on Sunday when Germany became the latest country to give a state guarantee for bank deposits in a move that has put other countries like the United Kingdom under pressure to follow suit.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:50:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]

It's time for politicians to stop blaming the bankers and to realize that at this point, only the state can avert a very dangerous crisis of confidence.

Why not do both? Acknowledge that only the State can provide a solution, AND blame banekrs for the mess (which would mean, naturally, preventing them from ever being in a position to cause such a mess again)


The divisions were highlighted on Sunday when Germany became the latest country to give a state guarantee for bank deposits in a move that has put other countries like the United Kingdom under pressure to follow suit.

errr.... Ireland guaranteed all liabilities of the banks, not just deposits. Germany's measure is rather different.


Governments effectively agreed to go it alone in shoring up troubled financial institutions in their countries -- the wrong response given how interwoven Europe's financial markets are.

Well, we don't know about "wrong" yet, but given the existing regulatory framework, the responsibilities for regulation of banks were explicitly done on the national level.

Will the blame for such non-common regulatory framework put where it belongs? On the euroskeptics, not the euro-proponents.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 04:31:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Free Market Distortion: Germany Fears US Bailout Unfairly Helps Carmakers - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The $700 billion bailout passed by US lawmakers on Friday may amount to indirect aid to America's ailing automobile industry, Berlin fears. Even worse, Germans are furious over a $25 billion handout to carmakers made earlier last week.

 American carmakers like Ford might benefit from the US bailout package. The German automobile industry is unhappy. Twice in the last week, the United States government has reached deep into the American pocketbook in an attempt to shore up the country's economy. And both times, struggling US carmakers have been the beneficiaries. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, the government in Berlin is concerned that fair competition in the automobile industry may have been compromised.

On Friday evening, the US House of Representatives agreed, after numerous modifications and a second vote, to a $700 billion bailout package intended to shore up confidence in the US financial markets. The wording of the deal, however, makes it possible for the US treasury to buy all sorts of troubled loans, including car loans and inventory loans to car dealerships.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:51:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brussels gives nod to German bank guarantee plan - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Commission on Monday (6 October) said Germany's announced plan to guarantee all its bank savings seemed in line with EU competition regulations, adding the situation was different from that of Ireland, which took a similar decision last week.

"The [German] measures seem to be limited to retail bank deposits and so less liable to give rise to distortions of competition," commission spokesperson Jonathan Todd told journalists in Brussels.

Measures announced by Germany are "less liable to give rise to distortions of competition" than a similar Irish plan, says the commission

"In general, retail deposit guarantee schemes for savers can be an appropriate policy response regarding the stability of the banking system," he added.

The comments came after Germany on Sunday vowed to guarantee the deposits of all private savers, in addition to announcing a €50 billion plan to save Hypo Real Estate, the country's second biggest property lender.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:55:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/081006/financial_meltdown.html

As markets around the world tumbled amid fast-spreading anxiety, officials in Washington worked quickly to put the new financial plan into effect and to shovel more money into the banking system.
...Nobody seemed reassured. Chaos in the financial system seemed to be growing by the minute.
..."People are panicked that their bank is going to go out of business. People have just lost a lot of trust in the financial system and in these large institutions," said Anil Kashyap, professor of economics and finance at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business. He suggested the crisis has morphed from a near shutdown in lending to a new, more dangerous phase in which financial and other companies face greater chances of insolvency.

The fear was reinforced by new problems among European banks and fresh worries in Asia of a spreading global recession that would harm the continent's prized ability to export.
...A darkening recessionary cloud is spreading over a nation where two-thirds of the economy is derived from consumer spending and where there have been nine consecutive months of job losses.

Some top economists seemed at a loss for ways to stop the downward spiral.
...Even if borrowing costs were to decline, that doesn't mean banks would be more inclined to lend more freely.

"You can bring the horse to water, but you can't make him drink," said Richard Yamarone, economist at Argus Research. "The panic has so intensified that no matter what the Fed or Treasury throws at it, it may be ineffective. It can be hard to slay the dragon of fear when it takes over the market."

Rob Shapiro, who was an economic adviser to President Clinton, said the crisis in Europe will turn out to be at least as severe as it is in the United States. "Between Europe and the United States, we'll take everybody else with us. And this is reflected in the markets," he said.

Shapiro, who heads the global initiative program at NDN, a Washington think tank, said one step that might help restore confidence would be for the government to set up a program to make direct loans to people facing foreclosures. Another might be for the government to turn all the problem mortgages held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into 30-year fixed rate ones.



Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 11:32:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...said the crisis in Europe will turn out to be at least as severe as it is in the United States. "Between Europe and the United States, we'll take everybody else with us. And this is reflected in the markets," he said.

I call bullshit. These guys didn't have a clue then, and don't have a clue now.

The world has a lot of problems, granted. But the difference between the US and everyone else is the difference of having to eliminate everything and buy a new wardrobe because you have been using it to wrap and hide dead fish and pig excreta, and having to send last nights clothes for dry-cleaning because you saddled up next  to someone wearing the above described clothes.

The US has to get rid of a lot of self-generated smegma using an infrastructure that wasn't built to handle it, while the (some of the) rest of the world has a working social infrastructure and less toxicity to deal with (just the normal climate change disaster, transitions to treating all people fairly regardless of ____, _____, and of course _____, (as versus the reactionaries who want to go back to being special because they've been trained toward squeezing favors out of kings), plus the end of easy oil. No problem.

Conniving business got Reagan elected, who turned the war industry into a few companies (makes the book keeping easier - keeping track of bribes is hard work), then the ex-CIA guy was in charge and when things got too toxic he bailed, but then got his horse horses ass appointed as Commander in Chief so that a final squeezing could be made by the ex-chief criminals at the Carlyle Group before the sunset was declared as private property and sold.

Or, so I am told. I don't really have any feelings about this one way or the other.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 07:18:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.minyanville.com/articles/print.php?a=19357

The most recent flow of funds data shows that total credit market debt is $51 trillion; our GDP is $14.3 trillion. Debt as a percentage of GDP is now 356%; during the Great Depression, it was 260%. This massive buildup of leverage is just beginning to unwind; the pain will be tremendous when it gains momentum.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 12:32:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And :

In 1930, the GNP declined 9.4%; unemployment rose from 3.2% to 8.7%. In 1931, the GNP declined a further 8.5% and unemployment surged to 15.9%. 1932 was the worst year of the Depression, with GNP down 13.4% and unemployment reaching 23.6%.

In case you wonder where we are and how long this can last...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 03:20:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The question that has yet to be answered is whether a severe recession or possible depression is inevitable regardless. The country has a national debt of $9.6 trillion, annual deficits of $600 billion, unfunded future liabilities of $53 trillion, a trade deficit of $600 billion, inflation of 6%, 2 wars costing $12 billion per month, and a weak currency.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 03:24:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's not to like??? Time to go shopping~!

There are plenty of National Parks to sell off, and I bet when push comes to shove, no one will really mind if Florida gets sold to the Saudis or Oregon to the Chinese. Putin can have Alaska back, as long as they do what the Saudis and Chinese and Japanese do, and buy buy buy a lot of US bonds. Japan and Germany seem to like building in the 3rd world sections of the South, so sorry to see you go Tennessee. As their currency climbs, Canada has been working its way up to star status as an exporter to the US, so maybe they'd like the Dakotas (only sold in pairs and they've got to take the expensive draught/flood plains of the Mississippi)...Canada won't want all of that, so eventually, France will be able to buy back the Louisianna purchase like they got Fortis this week from NL.

No problem. The US will all be solvent, holding a bag of worthless hubris. They will keep the 800 off-shore military bases -  there has to be someplace to exile Bush and Cheney and Graham and all the banking and securities and military toys scoundrels who committed treason against the people since Reagan took office.

Let's see if eBay can handle all this, so we can keep the commissions low.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 06:50:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fed Considers Plan to Buy Companies' Unsecured Debt - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON -- As pressure built in the credit markets and stocks spiraled lower around the world on Monday, the Federal Reserve was considering a radical new plan to jump-start the engine of the financial system.

Under a proposal being discussed with the Treasury Department, the Fed could buy vast amounts of the unsecured short-term debt that companies rely on to finance their day-to-day activities, according to officials familiar with the discussions. If this were to happen, the central bank would come closer than ever to lending directly to businesses.

While the move would put more taxpayer dollars at risk, it underscores the growing sense of urgency felt by policy makers in a climate where lending has virtually dried up.

[...]

Buying commercial paper could open the Fed to difficult conflicts of interest, because it would be juggling the goals of protecting its investment portfolio with its traditional goals of promoting stable prices and low unemployment.

"The Federal Reserve really would become the buyer of last resort, trying to jump-start the commercial paper market by taking on credit risk," said Vincent Reinhart, a former top Fed official who worked under Alan Greenspan, a former Fed chairman, and Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman now.



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 Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 03:24:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the hoops they'll go through to avoid outright nationalization... but it will happen anyway.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 04:33:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the ultimate cost will be larger.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 05:14:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:41:40 PM EST
Obama-led US would protect eastern Europe - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - If elected president of the US, senator Barack Obama would not trade eastern European security for Russian help on Iran, his senior foreign policy advisor, Gregory B. Craig, told EUobserver in an interview. Any notion that the US tried to sabotage the Lisbon treaty is "silly," he added.

Barack Obama will be a more "pro-European" president if elected, his advisor says

Mr Obama would be a "much more pro-European president" than his Republican predecessor if elected on 4 November, said Mr Craig - a lawyer who led former president Bill Clinton's defence against impeachment and also worked as foreign policy advisor to former secretary of state Madeleine Albright.

The US and Europe will have to co-operate with Russia in areas where they have "common objectives and common ground," especially on non-proliferation - reduction of the global nuclear arsenal, security of nuclear materials and challenges such as North Korea and Iran - senator Obama's foreign policy man explained.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:44:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
why do I cringe when I read this?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 04:34:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because Change means nothing's changed?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 04:45:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not convinced Obama will be a more pro-europe leader in terms of framing policies friendly to europe. I think he will probably look at reality and decide that, unless he wants to stir the hornet's nest regarding relations with russia,  europe isn't a problem for him right now and he has far too many issues elsewhere to want to add to the pile.

I forecast a welcome spell of detached indifference. Of course that could change if he wants to back the petraus' surge in afghanistan. Europe wants an end to NATO's adventures, not an expansion. It depends how comfortable europe is with becoming the American foreign legion.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 05:24:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia's warships head for exercise with Venezuelan navy - Times Online

Russia displayed its military strength in the Mediterranean yesterday after warships heading to Venezuela passed through the Strait of Gibraltar in the second deployment of Russian naval vessels in the waterway since the Cold War.

The nuclear-powered missile cruiser Peter the Great, accompanied by the Admiral Chabanenko, an anti-submarine destroyer, as well as a reconnaissance vessel and a support ship, are destined for a maritime exercise with the Venezuelan navy.

En route, however, the aim appears to be to demonstrate to the West and Nato that Russia is once again back in business as a blue-water power.

"It's all about strutting your stuff and cocking a snook at the West, in the same way that the Bears [Russian strategic bombers] have been doing since they began patrolling again," said Andrew Brookes, of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:47:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In poverty and strife, Afghan women test limits - International Herald Tribune

BAMIAN, Afghanistan: Far away from the Taliban insurgency, in this most peaceful corner of Afghanistan, a quiet revolution is gaining pace.

Women are driving cars -- a rarity in Afghanistan -- working in public offices and police stations, and sitting on local councils. There is even a female governor, the first and only one in Afghanistan.

In many ways this province, Bamian, is unique. A half-dozen years of relative peace in this part of the country since the fall of the Taliban and a lessening of lawlessness and disorder have allowed women to push the boundaries here.

Most of the people in Bamian are ethnic Hazaras, Shiite Muslims who are in any case more open than most Afghans to the idea of women working outside the home.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:48:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iraq too dangerous for many professionals - Los Angeles Times
BAGHDAD -- Naqi Shakir sits on a sagging mattress pushed against a wall. His wife and two daughters perch on tattered sofas and chairs crowded into the one room of the house with signs of family life: personal photographs tacked to the wall, a TV, books, and knickknacks on dusty shelves.

Except for a folding table and chairs in the kitchen, nearly everything has been sold so the family can bolt as soon as someone rents the two-story home in a relatively safe Baghdad neighborhood.

 At a time when the Iraqi government is encouraging its citizens to return and the U.S. military is highlighting security gains across Iraq, the Shakirs want out. They see no future here for Iraqis such as themselves: well educated, affluent, secular or non-Muslim.

Their imminent departure is a major problem facing Iraq, which has suffered a brain drain in the last five years and is struggling to lure back or hang on to educated professionals.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:54:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama and McCain describe differences on Iraq policy - International Herald Tribune

WASHINGTON: One of the most pressing questions Senator Barack Obama or Senator John McCain would confront if elected president is how to build on the security gains in Iraq at a time when troop levels have begun to drop.

The issue was barely discussed in the debate on foreign policy last month. But in recent interviews with The New York Times the two candidates made clear that they would confront the challenge in starkly different ways.

In the interviews, Obama and McCain offered conflicting visions of how to shrink the American military presence in Iraq, the best way to encourage further political progress there and what it would mean to succeed after more than five years of war.

They also provided some telling clues about how much flexibility the next commander in chief would grant to his generals, including David Petraeus, the former top American general in Iraq who has been named to lead the Central Command, which oversees operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:55:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a strong feeling of déjà-vu with the start of this article.
So much so that I clicked on the link to check that it wasn't a point being made by taking a 4 years old article and changing the names from Kerry and Bush to Obama and McCain.

Anyone else had a similar impression?

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 04:18:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The saddest thing with reading the article is that, just as in Afghanistan, there is no political strategy. Just a vague idea about "victory", defeating terrism and creating a soveriegn state without ever wondering about how what steps are enecessary for such objectives to be achieved and whether a destructive omnipresent military force is the best way to advance such a plan.

What are their goals for the "sovereign" state of Iraq ? Number one...actually, the only one, is the oil law. Y'know the one that gives the US the right to take all of Iraq's oil in perpetuity without paying for it. Some sovereign state !!!

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 05:41:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. to allies: Fight in Afghanistan or write check

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has asked Japan and NATO allies who have refused to send troops to Afghanistan to pay the estimated $17 billion needed to build up the Afghan army, according to U.S. defense officials.

The push to quickly increase the size of Afghanistan's army and spread the cost of the initiative underscores the financial and military strain the war has placed on the United States and NATO members, many also operating in Iraq and elsewhere.

"The faster we get the (Afghan army) to the size and strength they need to be, the less they depend on us for providing security, and God knows we operate far more expensively than the Afghan national security forces do," said Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:56:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
((*jawdrop))

(I notice that emoticons are never used here so presumably I shouldn't include any, but it feels like it should have a visual prop on either side).

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 04:20:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[Cyrille's JawdropTM Technology]
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 10:05:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just wish there was a feeling amongst european elites that matched the sentiments of the population that we should leave the americans to get on with their global belligerence and have nothing to do with it.

I'm quite sure the UK will stump up both lives and cash cos we're totally pathetic. Sarko will bounce up and down with eagerness to help, Merkel might mutter but she'll do the same. Question is, can any other country afford to fund this eternal and pointless profligacy ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 05:31:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Lehman Brothers chief executive faces lawmakers

"What has happened is an absolute tragedy," Richard S. Fuld Jr., chief executive officer of Lehman Brothers, said in prepared remarks. "I feel horrible about what happened."

Rep. Henry Waxman of Los Angeles grills Richard Fuld about compensation he acquired while the 128-year-old investment bank foundered.

By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
12:14 PM PDT, October 6, 2008

WASHINGTON -- The chief executive of Lehman Brothers Holding Inc., whose bankruptcy filing last month dramatically escalated the Wall Street financial crisis, faced angry lawmakers Monday and defended his leadership and the millions of dollars he and other executives made as the company's troubles mounted.

-Skip-

"Based on the information that we had at the time, I believed that these decisions and actions were both prudent and appropriate," Fuld said of his leadership of Lehman. "None of us ever gets the opportunity to turn back the clock. But with the benefit of hindsight, would I have done things differently? Yes, I would have."

-Skip-

But while Fuld said he and company executives did everything they could to protect company, committee chairman, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles), slammed Fuld for earning $484 million in salary, bonuses and stock sales since 2000.

"You're company is now bankrupt, our economy is now in a state of crisis, but you get to keep $480 million," Waxman said, displaying yearly compensation figures on large TV screens in the hearing room. "I have a very basic question for you. Is this fair?"  Fuld said the figures were not accurate and he probably received "a little bit less than $250 million, still a large number, though."

-Skip-

"It seems that the system worked for you, but it didn't seem to work for the rest of the country and the taxpayers who now have to pay up to $700 billion to bailout our economy," Waxman said. "We can't continue to have a system where Wall Street executives privatize all the gains and then socialize all the losses."

More hearings are to come.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 04:00:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At least he's getting paid for his aggro.

FT.com / In depth - Fuld says Lehman victim of short sellers

However, as the hearing came to a close, Mr Fuld slipped into back offices meant for legislators rather than walk past protestors who had gathered at the hearing. When Mr Fuld emerged, the protestors followed him out of the building, shouting: "Criminal!" As he stepped into a waiting black SUV, Mr Fuld stopped, turned and stared at one woman. He then got into the car and was driven away.


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 Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 03:27:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
these aren't show trials. Cos in a proper set of accounting most of these guys would go out to face the cheering crowds, the knitting matriarchs and Madame La Guillotine.

Or their beating hearts ripped from their still live bodies before their heads are paraded down wall street on poles.

Or simply be thrown naked for the baying mob to tear apart.

I'm sorry, but being given a stiff telling off by Waxman ain't in the same league as the justice these guys actually deserve.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 05:46:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All those solutions sound great, but so transitory.

Couldn't some peeling of skin be done so that it regrows and could be peeled again. I'm thinking live TV here, a Nip and Tuck kinda show, but with details of the behavior of the criminal politician, or golden parachuted giant-sucking-sound. I want to watch their families watch so they everyone will understand the pain they have put into the system, and the loss of potential that could have belonged to us all.

Of course I'm kidding about all this, and the fact that I am trying to secure DVD rights has nothing to do with my belief in the goodness of humankind and that we should cause no harm.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 07:40:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But there is a healing catharsis in such violent screaming death. Long drawn-out suffering may have more justice, but could suffer ratings drops.

At the end of it all, there should be blood. Cleaning, cleansing gushers of it to wipe the stain of their crimes from our futures. A bloodied stake through the ambitions of such future filth warning "Look upon our vengeance, ye mighty, and tremble !!"

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 07:56:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alex:It had been a wonderful evening and what I needed now, to give it the perfect ending, was a little of the Ludwig Van.

...

Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now. As I slooshied, I knew such lovely pictures!

Clockwork Orange

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 01:01:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Deal Journal - WSJ.com : Meet Neel Kashkari: The Man With the $700 Billion Wallet

A Goldman Sachs Group alumnus in charge of the nation's economic rescue? How unusual.

Except, of course, it isn't. As The Wall Street Journal's Deborah Solomon reported today, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is promoting Neel Kashkari, the Treasury's assistant secretary for international affairs, to be the point man overseeing the $700 billion financial bailout as the interim head of Paulson's Office of Financial Stability. The full appointment would need Senate confirmation, which is unlikely to come given the short remaining tenure in this Administration.
Separated....

...at Birth?

The move essentially puts a new title on what Kashkari he has been doing since he joined Treasury in 2006-examining the consequences of an economic housing fallout. Kashkari was one of three Treasury staffers-including general counsel Robert Hoyt and head of legislative affairs Kevin Fromer-who stayed up until 4 a.m. last Sunday putting together the $700 billion bailout bill that was shot down by House Republicans the next day.

Kashkari (above left) is an Indian-American who has a few things in common with Paulson (above right). Both are former Goldman Sachs bankers, though Kashkari, at 35 years old, is much younger and was just a vice president-level banker in Goldman's San Francisco technology banking effort when Paulson tapped him to join Treasury. Both also are Midwesterners. Kashkari grew up in Stow, Ohio, and earned a bachelor's and master's degree in engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Paulson was raised in Barrington Hills, Ill. And both sport similar hairstyles- or lack thereof.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 04:08:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a bachelor's and master's degree in engineering

Why do people bother with financial degrees at all?  

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 05:39:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fed Considers Plan to Buy Companies' Unsecured Debt

By EDMUND L. ANDREWS and MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM
Published: October 6, 2008  NYT

WASHINGTON -- As pressure built in the credit markets and stocks spiraled lower around the world on Monday, the Federal Reserve was considering a radical new plan to jump-start the engine of the financial system.

Under a proposal being discussed with the Treasury Department, the Fed could buy vast amounts of the unsecured short-term debt that companies rely on to finance their day-to-day activities, according to officials familiar with the discussions. If this were to happen, the central bank would come closer than ever to lending directly to businesses.

-Skip-

The Fed plan is intended to renew the flow of credit on which the economy depends. Under its plan, the central bank would buy unsecured commercial paper, essentially short-term i.o.u.'s issued by banks, businesses and municipalities.

The market for that kind of debt has all but shut down in the last week, with many major corporations unable to borrow for longer than a day at a time, as banks become more fearful of giving out cash. The volume of such debt totaled about $1.6 trillion as of Oct. 1, down 11 percent from three weeks earlier.

-skip-

Buying commercial paper could open the Fed to difficult conflicts of interest, because it would be juggling the goals of protecting its investment portfolio with its traditional goals of promoting stable prices and low unemployment.

And how is this plan superior to devoting $100 billion to creating 538 new banks, one for each electoral vote and each located in the state or district represented by that vote?  At least the Fed could treat these banks as entities seperat from itself, thereby avoiding conflicts of interest.  Providing commercial paper at reasonable rates could be explicitly required as part of the deal.  Is this too simple?  Someone please explain.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 12:14:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
because "hit" is just as serious as "eat", since the latter is an often-used military term and the latter is just metaphor:

Dropped "h" causes trouble for France's Kouchner - Yahoo! News

A dropped 'h' landed English-speaking French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in trouble on Sunday after he was mistakenly quoted as saying Israel could gobble up Iran if it wanted to.

"I honestly don't believe that it will give any immunity to Iran ... because you will eat them before," Kouchner was quoted by Israel's Haaretz newspaper as saying in an interview about the possibility of Tehran gaining a nuclear weapon.

But the French Foreign Ministry issued a brief statement later saying Koucher had said 'hit' -- meaning carrying out a surgical pre-emptive strike -- rather than 'eat'.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 02:04:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's still worrying that there is a tacit acceptance that such a pre-emptive military strike is an expected and understandable way of bringing peace to the middle East.

kouchner needs to worry about his complicity in what transpires.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 05:50:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]

(CBS) In a sign that the race for president has returned to about where it was before the first presidential debate, the Obama-Biden ticket leads the McCain-Palin ticket 47 percent to 43 percent among registered voters in a new CBS News poll.

The Obama-Biden ticket led by a wider margin, nine percentage points, in a CBS News poll released last Wednesday, before Joe Biden and Sarah Palin faced off in the vice presidential debate. Obama-Biden led by five percentage points on Sept. 25.

In the new poll, the Democratic ticket leads by 3 percentage points, 48 percent to 45 percent, among likely voters.

3%-4% is within the range of error of the polls, and sets the stage for the same stories that were told in 2004-
C'mon, Drew- I need a good rant, complete with plausible stats to explain why this is just a fluke and not the tip of the iceberg , or my day is dead meat.  

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 02:08:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
given that we know the sotry is much better, the tradmed lies may actually serve Obama by preventing complancency.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 05:51:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:42:12 PM EST
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Companies 'need green directors'

Businesses must change their attitude to environmental issues if the tide of ecological decline is to be halted.

That was the message from Valli Moosa, president of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, opening the World Conservation Congress.

The former South African minister said all companies should have directors with environmental experience.

The 10-day IUCN congress in Barcelona will debate global environmental problems and potential solutions.

The organisation numbers almost all the world's governments, environment groups and business representatives among its members.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:46:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Africa | Goat 'condoms' save Kenyan herds

Maasai herdsmen in Kenya have turned to an age-old contraceptive device, the "olor", to protect their precious goat herds from an ongoing drought.

The olor is made from cowhide or a square piece of plastic, and is tied around the belly of the male goat.

It prevents the bucks from mating with the female goats.

The herdsmen are using the device to limit the goat population and ensure there are not too many animals grazing on sparse vegetation.

"We don't want them to breed in this drought," says Mr Ole Ngoshoi Kipameto, a goat owner in Kajiado district.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:46:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dutch city kept warm by hot-water mines - Times Online

In an age of rapidly rising fuel bills the discovery of vast supplies of free hot water sounds too good to be true. But that is exactly what one Dutch city has found to run the radiators of hundreds of homes, shops and offices.

Heerlen, in the southern province of Limburg, has created the first geothermal power station in the world using water heated naturally in the deep shafts of old coalmines -- which once provided the southern Netherlands with thousands of jobs but have been dormant since the 1970s.

Tapping "free energy" marks a breakthrough in green technology by exploiting the legacy of the coalmines that emitted so much pollution and helped to create the climate change emergency faced by the planet.

"With the threat of global warming and soaring energy prices, nobody can afford to sit back," said Riet de Wit, a councillor in Heerlen. "We have proven that a local initiative can provide a local solution for sustainable energy. Moreover, our concept can be adapted by former mining regions all over the world."

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:47:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Chapter of Dutch Art History Ends: A Tobacco Factory Closes, Sheds its Collection - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Cigarette-maker BAT has built up an impressive collection of modern art at its factory in the Dutch town of Zevenaar over the last 50 years. The art was used to keep workers from getting bored. But now the factory is closing, the art is up for auction and many are unhappy.

Cigarette brands Peter Stuyvesant and Lucky Strike will no longer be made in the Dutch town of Zevenaar. The closure of the British American Tobacco (BAT) factory marks not only the end of a major source of employment in the area but also the final curtain for an unusual piece of Dutch art history.

At the end of the 1950s, factory director Alexander Orlow started hanging works of art among the cigarette-making machines. The workers needed something interesting to look at to stave off boredom and increase their productivity, he felt. Orlow went for modern, avant-garde art -- large, colorful and mainly abstract paintings.

It turned out to be the start of a major collection. In collaboration with the directors of Rotterdam's Boijmans van Beuningen museum and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, it has acquired over 1,500 pieces, 150 of which are often loaned to major exhibitions. But on August 15, BAT announced that it would auction off the total collection.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:53:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
End-of-Oktoberfest Statistics: 6.6 Million Liters of Beer, 104 Oxen and no False Teeth - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

It's that sad time of year again -- the Munich Oktoberfest is over. But the annual post-Oktoberfest statistics on beer and oxen consumption make for entertaining reading, as does the list of lost items which for the first time since records began does not include a set of false teeth.

Statistics needn't be boring. In fact they're downright entertaining in the case of the Oktoberfest. Each year after the two-week celebration of beer and Lederhosen ends, the city of Munich provides figures that give an insight into the scale and intensity of the world's biggest beer festival.

 Beer consumption, as always, is the key figure. It declined by 300,000 litres to 6.6 million as a result of cold and rainy weather this year. The number of visitors fell by 200,000 to 6 million.

In fact the weather was so cold that stalls sold 2,000 liters of mulled wine normally reserved for the Christmas market season to men and women freezing in their Lederhosen and Dirndls.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:56:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There has been a railway accident in Hungary today. A commuter train crashed intoa stopped express train in a curve, with the former's driving trailer jumping on and razing the latter's last car (an at least sparsely occupied first-class car). 4 dead, 26 injured.

From what I know so far, it was a result of too many factors that just should not happen. Signals must have been out of order, probably cable thiefs. But in such cases, there are rules on how to drive the commuter train's driver (who allegedly survived unhurt) must have ignored them. (A similar driver irresponsibility led to another accident just two years ago.) I also have an inkling that the standard domestic renovated IC cars aren't up to the best crashworthiness standards -- telescoping shouldn't happen with state-of-the-art cars.

This together is a sign of thorough mismanagement. And to my surprise, indeed the transport minister, the boss of the state railway holding, as well as that of the oversight board resigned today.

(I note that I often do job-related travel on the express trains on that line -- travelling in the 1st-class-car...)

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

by DoDo on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 03:34:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CNN: An eco-friendly way to cool big trucks

The EPA estimates the typical truck idles 2400 hours per year. At $4 a gallon, that's $9600 in annual fuel costs.

They idle at truck stops to keep the AC on. Bluecool is a machine that makes blocks of ice on the road, then a DC low power fan feeds cold air into the cab.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 03:45:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New Scientist: Space rock found on collision course with Earth

For the first time, astronomers have found an object on a certain collision course with Earth. Fortunately, it is so small it is not expected to cause any damage, burning up in the atmosphere somewhere above northern Sudan in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. It may, however, produce a brilliant 'shooting star'.

The space rock, dubbed 2008 TC3, was first spotted on Monday in a survey by the Mt Lemmon Observatory near Tucson, Arizona.

Its brightness suggests it is no more than about 5 metres across - so small it will likely be destroyed in the atmosphere, says Andrea Milani Comparetti of the University of Pisa in Italy.

Rocks of such size are thought to hit the atmosphere every few months, says Steve Chesley, an astronomer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"The event is not unusual - what is unique is that it's been predicted beforehand," Milani told New Scientist. "This is the first time we see something arriving, compute that it's going to impact, and announce it is going to impact before it happens."

The rock is due to hit the atmosphere above northern Sudan on Tuesday at 0246 GMT. It will be travelling from west to east, and may be visible from a few hundred kilometres away.

by lychee on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 05:24:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:42:33 PM EST
Lehman's Golden Parachutes Were Being Secured While Execs Were Pleading For Federal Rescue

WASHINGTON -- Days from becoming the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, Lehman Brothers steered millions to departing executives even while pleading for a federal rescue, Congress was told Monday.

As well, executives who feared for their bonuses in the company's last months were told not to worry, according to documents cited at a congressional hearing. One executive said he was embarrassed when employees suggested that Lehman executives forgo bonuses, and cracked: "I'm not sure what's in the water."

The first hearing into what caused the nation's financial markets to collapse last month, precipitating a $700 billion bailout, opened with finger-pointing and glimpses into internal company documents from Lehman's chaotic last hours.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 02:57:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | England | London | Tattoo gay people, priest writes

A Church of England clergyman has been ordered to remove comments about gay people from his blog, remarks described by his diocese as "highly offensive".

The Rev Peter Mullen, who ministers in the City of London, said he had gay friends and the words were "satirical".



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 Oct 6th, 2008 at 03:11:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not really sure exactly what the difference is between what he said and the pronouncements of other members of the Anglican communion in Africa whom the Archbish of Canterbury has been so keen to accomodate.

Religions are invariably homophobic and prone to outbreaks of eliminationist rhetoric on the subject. This guy's viewpoints aren't extreme in his community, he's only honest enough to admit to them publicly. But then lying about your intentions has always seemed to be a religious virtue as well.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 05:58:46 AM EST
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