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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 20 April

by Fran Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 02:05:54 PM EST

On this date in history:

1879 - Birth of Paul Poiret, a French fashion designer. His contributions to twentieth-century fashion have been likened to Picasso's contributions to twentieth-century art. (d. 1944)

More here and video

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by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:05:00 PM EST
4.    Food security tops first day of G8 agriculture summit | World | Deutsche Welle | 18.04.2009
The need to ensure global food security and the potential for bio-fuels to curb climate change has dominated talks at the first-ever meeting of G8 agriculture ministers. 

Ministers from the world's eight most powerful nations met on Saturday, April 18, in Cison di Valmarino, near Treviso in northeastern Italy.

Italy's Agriculture Minister, Luca Zaia, whose country currently holds the G8 presidency, said all members agree "something must be done" to safeguard food supplies threatened by sudden price hikes and speculation.

Zaia told reporters the option to increase food stocks to avert such threats was discussed, but a final declaration with specific measures will only be made on Monday, at the end of the three-day meeting.

Germany's Agriculture Minister, Ilse Aigner, said G8 nations would push to come up with specific solutions to ensure greater food production worldwide. These include access to land, water and strengthening "development cooperation" between rich and poor nations, she said.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:07:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That they think biofuels form any part of climate change prevention shows that the vey basis of their thinking is contaminated with corporate concerns. there will be nothing useful emerging from this. If were to survive we need to do it for ourselves, governments will not help. If they carry on like this, they may well hinder humanity's attempts to ride this out.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 03:58:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Govt. = Corporations.  It's a start.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 04:16:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Socialist Royal apologises again for Sarkozy comments | France 24
Opposition politician, Segolene Royal, stirred up more controversy on Saturday when she issued an apology for President Nicolas Sarkozy's alleged comments on the Spanish PM's intelligence.

AFP - French opposition politician Segolene Royal Saturday kicked up a fresh row over President Nicolas Sarkozy's alleged comments about world leaders, issuing an apology for her rival's remarks.

The former Socialist presidential candidate said she wrote a letter to Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero after the Liberation newspaper reported that Sarkozy said at a luncheon with lawmakers on Wednesday that Zapatero was not very smart.

"Perhaps he's not very clever but I know people who were very clever and who didn't make the second round of the presidential election," sources quoted Sarkozy as saying.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:10:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU leaders' personal data leaked after EU-US summit | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 19.04.2009
The Czech EU presidency admitted Saturday that personal data of European leaders who travelled to a recent EU-US summit in Prague had been leaked. 

The Finnish news agency STT reported Friday that a Finnish visitor using a computer provided by a Prague hotel found a file containing passport numbers and flight details, as well as the blood types and allergies of about 200 representatives from EU countries, including the Finnish premier and president.


"We acknowledge that there had been, for a certain period, information on EU delegations participating in the EU-US summit available on a computer where data could have been accessed, in a limited way, by the public," the presidency said in a statement on its Web site.


The presidency said the data had been removed from the computer and the leak was caused by an "unintentional human error of one of our employees." The report identified neither the finder nor the hotel.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:11:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France, Spain arrest ETA military leader, others | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 19.04.2009
A man considered the current chief of the military wing of Basque separatist group ETA was taken in by French authorities on Saturday, and Spain made arrests as well. 

Jurdan Martitegi was arrested along with two other ETA suspects in the eastern Pyrenees region bordering Spain. The raid in the village of Montrauriol was part of a joint operation between Spanish and French police.

French police would only confirm that three alleged ETA members had been arrested, but Spanish media soon got confirmation from government sources that Martitegi, ETA's current military leader, had been the raid's target.

As part of the same operation, a further six suspected ETA members were held during the night in the cities of Bilbao and Vitoria and the town of Renteria in Spain's northern Basque Country.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:12:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
German state proposes gun amnesty after school shooting | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 18.04.2009
A southern German state - the scene of a deadly school shooting in March - is proposing amnesty for people who hand in illegal firearms. 

According to a report to be published on Monday, April 20, in the German weekly Der Spiegel, weapons turned in to authorities in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg would be accepted with no questions asked - provided they have not been previously been used to commit a crime.

Baden-Wuerttemberg's interior ministry confirmed to news agency AP that a working group would consider the proposal on Tuesday.

The initiative to lower the number of illegally owned guns in Germany comes less than a month after a 17-year-old shot dead 15 people in Baden-Wuerttemberg and then himself with a pistol he stole from his parents' bedroom.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:13:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How Gordon Brown became 'The Gordfather' - Telegraph
Gordon Brown has long promoted himself as a man of principle. The reality is very different, and, post-Smeargate, threatens to destroy the Labour Party

Belatedly saying "sorry" was a wretched experience for Gordon Brown. Any confession of regret is a self-inflicted wound, but Damian McBride's embarrassing exposure of the Prime Minister's secret weapon coinciding with the acquittal of Damian Green, the Conservative front bencher, has devastated Brown's tools of trade.

Since 1997, Brown's muted tyranny has efficiently intimidated his allies, political opponents and many of Westminster's inhabitants, including its journalists and civil servants. Like a Mafia godfather, Brown justified his vindictiveness by appearing to murmur, "This is business, not personal".

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:32:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain opens its arms to backbiter Sarkozy - Times Online

Spare a thought for Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister. He is obliged to welcome Nicolas Sarkozy to Madrid with a hug and a smile at the end of the month, even though the crowing French president has insulted him by calling into question his brainpower.

Diplomatic tensions have been bubbling furiously between the two countries since "Sarko" called his mild-mannered counterpart "not very intelligent" during a meeting with a group of MPs. There was relief that Carla Bruni, the singer and French first lady, would be accompanying Sarkozy on the state visit to Madrid on April 27 and 28, as Sonsoles, the Spanish leader's wife, is also a singer (in the opera), and the two are expected to get on well.

"It will help to lighten tensions and contain the indiscretions that Sarkozy is prone to in meetings with other guys," said a commentator in Madrid.

A statement from the Mon-cloa Palace accepted a denial from Paris that Sarkozy had ever called into question the intellectual capabilities of Spain's leader, whose nicknames include Bambi and Peter Pan. But the French newspaper that reported the comment under the headline "Sarkozy sees himself as master of the world" insisted the quote was correct.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:32:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sale of bird feed to be banned in San Marco starting May 1,

Vietata la vendita di grano a San Marco | La Nuova di Venezia | 4.3.08

Pochi giorni ancora e addio foto ricordo con i classici piccioni, una tentazione a cui cedono tutti i turisti, e non solo quelli più piccini. Infatti dal primo maggio, in Piazza San Marco, non ci saranno più le bancarelle che vendono il grano per i piccioni. Il Tar del Veneto, infatti, ha respinto oggi la richiesta di sospensiva, fatta da alcuni venditori, dell'ordinanza del comune con la quale questa attività viene di fatto fatta sparire.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 03:22:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 04:08:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:05:21 PM EST
BBC - Mark Mardell's Euroblog -
Worth voting for an MEP?

Inside the Brussels building of the European Parliament blue banners are strung across the main walk way. "How much should we tame financial markets?" reads one, below the picture of a pussycat and a lion. "How open should our borders be?" proclaims another, beneath a picture of a fortress and a hedge.

Other attempts to persuade us all to go to the polls are the subject of a very funny assault by the Daily Telegraph's man in Brussels, Bruno Waterfield.

But the determination is not surprising. A Eurobarometer poll just released indicates that 28% of those Europeans questioned probably won't vote. A startling 30% in Britain said they definitely wouldn't vote: not "perhaps not", or "maybe" - they have made up their minds they won't cast a vote. That is more than double the figure before the last elections. And 71% of those who had decided, firmly, not to vote said it was because they were not sufficiently informed. So some will blame the media for not reporting enough of the goings-on in the parliament.

But I am not sure it is the whole story. General disillusionment with the EU may be the reason, but this isn't very logical: Conservatives and Libertas are both very critical of the existing structure and want to change it and UKIP want to pull out. So there is no shortage of options for those who dislike the EU in greater or smaller measure.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:17:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The European Citizen: Northern Ireland and the European Elections
Stephen Spillane has posted a very interesting article on the European elections in Northern Ireland. Crudely put, the gist of it was that with the MEP Jim Allister setting up his own party after breaking away from the DUP means that the unionist vote could be spread out over more candidates. This would mean that the traditional 2 Unionist MEPs and 1 Nationalist MEP balance could be changed (but read his article to get a better sense of this with some handy numbers).

As someone from Northern Ireland, I guess I should have said something about the elections here before, but I have to admit that I haven't found the European elections in NI interesting - there hasn't really been any campaigning yet, though I think the candidates are pretty much selected, and the communal divide means that the poll won't even mean that the result can indicate and shift in political opinion in a way that matters in an EU sense or even in the traditional political sense of left v right. Elections in NI are largely still just the popular method of measuring the political weight of (1) each community in comparison to the other (2) each of the parties strength within their own community.

On the other hand, the election is interesting in that it could show developments in these areas, which I have perhaps been wrong to dismiss as not really that interesting. (Perhaps it's more interesting from the outside since it's different from "normal" politics?).
by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:35:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:05:45 PM EST
Atlantic Community:Open Think Tank Article "Greening the Debt"

Jakob von Weizsäcker: It is still possible to stop climate change in this current economic environment. Governments should "green the debt" from their fiscal stimulus packages by repaying it with proceeds from higher carbon taxes and cap and trade systems, improving both economic and environmental sustainability.

12.00 Normal 0 false false false EN-AU X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 * Style Definitions * table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0cm; mso-para-margin-right:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0cm; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;} The global economic crisis and climate change are probably the two signature challenges of our time. Luckily, there are ways to make our responses to these challenges mutually reinforcing.

One approach is to green the expenditures of the fiscal stimulus packages, as called for by the final communiqué of the G20 summit. But the room for maneuver here is limited. An estimated 15 percent of the stimulus packages are already green. And because it is the primary objective of the fiscal stimulus to support the economy in the short run, it is not possible to devote a much larger proportion to the longer term objective of fighting climate change.

However, there is another way to green the stimulus: greening the enormous additional debt due to deficit spending. In 2009 alone, European Union countries will pile up a stimulus debt of around €115 billion, or 0.9 percent of GDP, with the United States adding twice as much - an estimated €220 billon, or 2 percent of GDP. These debts could be "greened" by a firm international commitment to repay them exclusively with additional revenues from CO2 taxes and emissions cap and trade schemes.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:13:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Engine For Green Jobs: Premier Power CEO Dean Marks (Part 7) | Sramana Mitra on Strategy

SM: What is the impact of President Obama's stimulus package going to be on a company like yours?

DM: First it is about the green-collar jobs. We feel we can ramp up very quickly. A lot of other companies have laid people off, but we have held our own while we built up our pipeline. We had such a big Q4, but a lot of it was residential. That is one of the reasons we like residential. They are coming consistently and we are able to move our people around to support them. We picked up a job for a house that is under snow so we have to wait until that melts. We picked up another commercial job in Northern California.

In Spain we had two major jobs this week. There was almost a $3 million job on Monday and a $7 million job today in Spain. We think Spain is going to be 40% of our business this year.

SM: Plus you are picking up a company in Italy.

DM: That should happen by the end of the second quarter.

SM: You are looking at doubling this year? To what extent do you need acquisitions to reach that goal, or will it happen organically?

DM: We are planning on a significant acquisition to accomplish it. We are counting on the one in Italy and then perhaps this one here.

SM: It is essentially a roll-up strategy?

DM: It is. I think that is going to be it. We can cover more geography in California and more in Europe. We think the opportunity in Europe will continue to grow. Greece is coming on strong and we just came back from a trade show in France. We moved into Spain three years ago when folks in Germany were coming down to Spain to do solar farms. In September of last year the feed-in tariff was significantly reduced, so all those people left. It hurt the industry a little. We have always been doing rooftops in Spain and that is what this feed-in tariff was designed for there. We are continuing to go strong and are increasing the rooftop work there.

With the company we are going to acquire in Italy, we see opportunity in the first two years to do ground mount solar farms. We feel the same thing is going to happen there, in which they are going to pull back and focus on rooftops. We will be able to stay in Italy and do rooftops just as we did in Spain.

Chavez gives the US free heating oil, now Obama's generosity sends us solar tech, i love it.

Thanks American taxpayers! One Love...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 09:26:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alistair Darling to publish blacklist of UK's biggest tax evaders | Business | The Guardian

Tax cheats who deprive the exchequer of sums greater than £25,000 are to be named and shamed by the government in a crackdown on evasion to be unveiled by Alistair Darling in the budget on Wednesday.

The chancellor will announce that Revenue & Customs will publish a blacklist of individuals and companies deemed to be serious defaulters, and force small businesses to provide extra information for five years if found guilty of tax offences.

With the Treasury's finances under strain as a result of the recession, Darling believes a scheme used by Ireland since the early 1980s has the potential to raise tens of millions of pounds from those reluctant to have details of their tax offences published.

Offenders can prevent themselves being put on a blacklist by making disclosures to Revenue & Customs or by owning up to misdemeanours when they are already being investigated.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:33:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece postpones the start of summer holidays -Times Online
Bookings down 30%, ferries keep winter pricing - but airlines accused on not passing on savings

Attempts by the Greek government to revive its struggling tourist trade by suspending landing charges are being thwarted by the refusal of greedy charter carriers to pass on the savings to passengers, according to a tour operator that specialises in the country.

The Greek ministries of transport and tourism have scrapped landing, takeoff and stopover fees at Greece's regional airports until September -- which should save the average family about £40 -- but Noel Josephides, of Sunvil, says airlines are keeping the money.

"What annoys tour operators is that we can't pass these savings on to our clients because the airlines are keeping the money," he said. "We've had no notification from any of the charter carriers, such as Monarch, Thomson Airways and Thomas Cook Airlines, that they intend doing otherwise."

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:33:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China seeks more oversight of nations issuing reserve currencies - MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called for more surveillance of countries that issue major reserve currencies, according to published reports Saturday. Wen did not specify the United States in his remarks at the Boao Forum for Asia in China's Hainan Province. But Chinese officials have recently expressed their concern about their country's investments in dollar-denominated assets. "We should advance reform of the international financial system, increase the representation and voice of emerging markets and developing countries, strengthen surveillance of the macro-economic policies of major reserve currency issuing economies, and develop a more diversified international monetary system," Wen said, according to China's official Xinhua news agency. Wen told the conference that China's economy was faring "better than expected." China said last week that its economy grew at an annual rate of 6.1% in the first quarter, a slowdown from 6.8% in the fourth quarter of 2008.
by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:34:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bank Regulators Clash Over U.S. Stress-Tests Endgame (Update1) - Bloomberg.com
Bank Regulators Clash Over U.S. Stress-Tests Endgame

April 18 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Treasury and financial regulators are clashing with each other over how to disclose results from the stress tests of 19 U.S. banks, with some officials concerned at potential damage to weaker institutions.

With a May 4 deadline approaching, there is no set plan for how much information to release, how to categorize the results or who should make the announcements, people familiar with the matter said. While the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and other regulators want few details about the assessments to be publicized, the Treasury is pushing for broader disclosure.

The disarray highlights what threatens to be a lose-lose situation for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner: If all the banks pass, the tests' credibility will be questioned, and if some banks get failing grades and are forced to accept more government capital and oversight, they may be punished by investors and customers.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:35:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Never fear.  They will find a way to BS their way through it.  Have faith in your govt.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 04:21:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nouriel Roubini on US banks
(...) what should we make of the recent sharp rally of banks and financial stocks; of the recent statements by banks such as Bank of America and Citi and other banks that they are making profits in Q1 (before provisioning); of the better than expected earnings results of Wells Fargo that led to another stock market rally on Thursday; and of the recent press reports suggesting that most if not all banks will pass the stress test?

(...) In brief:  banks are benefitting from close to zero borrowing costs; they are benefitting from a massive transfer of wealth from savers to borrowers given a dozen different government bailout and subsidy programs for the financial system; they are not properly provisioning/reserving for massive future loan losses; they are not properly marking down current losses from loans in delinquency; they are using the recent changes by FASB to mark to market to inflate the value of many assets; they are using a number of accounting tricks to minimize reported losses and maximize reported earnings; the Treasury is using a stress scenario for the stress tests that is not a true stress scenario but rather a benchmark of what the economy is likely to look like in 2009 and 2010; a true stress scenario would have considered a much more serious economic downturn.

You're clearly a dangerous pinko commie pragmatist.
by Vagulus on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 05:40:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
when a comic strip explains it in a much simpler way than the financial papers.

Pearls Before Swine

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 04:13:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Zero Percent on Treasury Bills as China, Fed Converge

April 20 (Bloomberg) -- Rates on three-month bills turned negative in December for the first time since the government began selling them in 1929 as investors sacrificed returns to preserve principal. After increasing at the start of the year, rates have dropped 0.20 percentage point since the beginning of February to 0.13 percent on April 17.

Demand for bills is rising again because investors including foreign central banks are snapping up the shortest- term U.S. securities as the Federal Reserve buys Treasuries to drive down borrowing costs in a policy of so-called quantitative easing. China, the largest U.S. creditor, with $744 billion of debt, has questioned the practice and shifted purchases to bills from longer-maturity securities.

"There's a group of investors out there who are looking at what the Fed is doing and the policy action they've taken and the asset purchases, and saying ultimately this is inflationary," said Stuart Spodek, co-head of U.S. bonds in New York at BlackRock Inc., which manages $483 billion in debt. "You're going to invest in very short-term bills because you absolutely need not just the quality but also the absolute liquidity."

China bought $5.6 billion in bills and sold $964 million in U.S. notes and bonds in February, according to Treasury data released April 15. It was first time since November that China purchased more bills than longer-maturity debt.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 01:42:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Southern California office market is hammered by recession   LA Times  April 20, 2009

Vacancy rates have climbed as high as 30% in some areas, and landlords have been offering deep discounts or such perks as a year of free rent as an incentive to sign leases.  

Layoffs, tight credit and other fallout from the troubled economy have battered Southern California's office market, leading to vacancy rates as high as 30% in some areas.  The pain is expected to continue for months, if not years, with vacancies rising even as the economy shows modest signs of recovery, according to industry observers tracking activity in the first quarter.


Desperate landlords in the Inland Empire have begun offering such perks as a year of free rent to attract tenants. In West Los Angeles, owners are steeply discounting the monthly cost of an office -- cutting rates that, ironically, grew so high during the boom years that many companies were forced to move out and find cheaper digs.

Vacancy in Los Angeles County reached 14.3% in the first quarter, up from 11.2% a year earlier, according to a report released last week by Cushman & Wakefield. In Orange County, where demand has been dwindling for more than a year, vacancy ticked up to nearly 18% from 15%.

Among the hardest-hit markets are the Inland Empire, Irvine and north Los Angeles County, all of which have been wracked by the losses of tenants in the troubled industries of mortgage and finance. Vacancies in all three areas have surpassed 20%, a sign of a very weak market. In Ontario and the area around Los Angeles International Airport, vacancy tops 30%

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 01:53:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
3 Trustees of A.I.G. Are Quiet, Perhaps to a Fault  April 19, 2009  NY Times

WASHINGTON -- In an early sign of just how tricky corporate governance has become in the era of taxpayer bailouts, three little-known trustees with no office, no staff and almost no mission will soon be deciding questions that affect the fate of American International Group, the giant insurance company.

The trustees include a retired Wall Street executive, the head of a Texas pipeline company and the chairwoman of a firm in Bermuda that provides administrative services to hedge funds.  Even though the government has bailed out A.I.G. with $170 billion in federal money, and even though the Treasury owns nearly 80 percent of its shares, the voting power is in the hands of the three trustees.

Yet for all their responsibility, the trustees have studiously remained invisible to the public. Even after the nationwide uproar last month over bonus payments made to A.I.G. executives at a time when taxpayers were rescuing the company from collapse, the trustees have said nothing in public about their activities or their plans.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 02:01:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The autodafé of the unsecured creditors is coming to a US bank near you  Ap. 15  FT Maverecon


In addition to looking for money in off-budget and off-balance sheet places (and out of sight of Congress), the US Treasury has also tried to hide true extent of the problems of the US banks.  I addition to supporting the FASB's recent proposals for increasing managerial discretion as to the way illiquid assets are accounted for (that is, condoning the issuance of another license to lie), the Treasury appears to be using the `Stress Tests' announced as part of the Financial Stability Plan, as a mechanism to play for time and gamble for resurrection.[1] I base this on what I have been picking up about the reality of these Stress Tests.

  1.      The actual decline of the real economy thus far is already steeper and deeper than assumed in the Stress Tests.

  2.      The Stress Tests focus on the 40% of the banks' balance sheets consisting of securities, rather than on the 60% consisting of conventional loans.  The securities (including the toxic waste) is where most of the old problems of the banking sector are concentrated, that is the problems incurred as a result of the pre-August 2007 speculative frenzy.  The loan book contains the stuff that will go bad as a result of the steep and deep contraction in real economic activity the US has been in since Q4, but that will not show up in the banks' reports until this summer at the earliest.

  3.      The bulk of the information provided to the authorities by the banks is private information to the banks that is virtually impossible to verify independently.  Too many banks have lied about their exposure too many times for me to feel confident about the quality of the information the banks have been providing as part of these Stress Tests.
I hope I didn't miss this on a previous Salon.  He makes good, non-obvious points about the "Stress Test".

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 02:34:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pretty lame when you don't even update your test to current conditions when those conditions have notably deteriorated.  What use is it to verify that banks are o.k. as of February.  Ignoring the loan book makes the "test" visibly a farce.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 02:38:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What use is it ...

That's an easy one.  Does ET make it to the MSM stage?  Nope.  I wouldn't know this stuff if I wasn't here, and most of the world isn't. It's all for show.  How long will the show last?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 08:52:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent article. Here's the bit about the European Union: the "free market for financial services" is a systemic hazard.

FT.com | Willem Buiter's Maverecon | Ruminations on banking

(3) The repatriation of cross-border banking


In the European Union, the relevant sections of the financial services action plan are now dead and need to be replaced unless we (a) get a single European supervisor and regulator for border-crossing banks and other systemically important financial institutions and (5) create a supranational fiscal Europe capable of dealing with insolvency threats to border-crossing systemically important financial institutions.   Without a single regulator-supervisor and a sufficiently developed `fiscal Europe', the principles of mutual recognition and the "single passport", a system which allows financial services operators legally established in one Member State to establish/provide their services in the other Member States without further authorisation requirements, will not be permitted to operate in the field of banking and other systemically important border-crossing financial institutions and products.  Need I say Icesave? (for a further discussion of the issues involved see the paper by Charles Goodhart and Dirk Schoenmaker (2009), "Fiscal Burden Sharing in Cross-Border Banking Crises" International Journal of Central Banking, Vol. 5, No. 1, 141-165,

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 04:18:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Without a single regulator-supervisor and a sufficiently developed `fiscal Europe', the principles of mutual recognition and the "single passport", a system which allows financial services operators legally established in one Member State to establish/provide their services in the other Member States without further authorisation requirements, will not be permitted to operate in the field of banking and other systemically important border-crossing financial institutions and products.
Absent this requirement, competition in financial services turns into a race-to-the-bottom in terms of quality and, most likely, into massive issuance of "counterfeit" credit.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 12:13:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OpEdNews » The Tower of Basel: Do We Really Want the Bank for International Settlements Issuing Our Global Currency?

In an April 7 article in The London Telegraph titled "The G20 Moves the World a Step Closer to a Global Currency," Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote:

"A single clause in Point 19 of the communiqué issued by the G20 leaders amounts to revolution in the global financial order.We have agreed to support a general SDR allocation which will inject $250bn (£170bn) into the world economy and increase global liquidity,' it said. SDRs are Special Drawing Rights, a synthetic paper currency issued by the International Monetary Fund that has lain dormant for half a century.

"In effect, the G20 leaders have activated the IMF's power to create money and begin global `quantitative easing'. In doing so, they are putting a de facto world currency into play. It is outside the control of any sovereign body. Conspiracy theorists will love it."

Indeed they will. The article is subtitled, "The world is a step closer to a global currency, backed by a global central bank, running monetary policy for all humanity." Which naturally raises the question, who or what will serve as this global central bank, cloaked with the power to issue the global currency and police monetary policy for all humanity? When the world's central bankers met in Washington last September, they discussed what body might be in a position to serve in that awesome and fearful role. A former governor of the Bank of England stated:

"[T]he answer might already be staring us in the face, in the form of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). . . . The IMF tends to couch its warnings about economic problems in very diplomatic language, but the BIS is more independent and much better placed to deal with this if it is given the power to do so."1

And if the vision of a global currency outside government control does not set off conspiracy theorists, putting the BIS in charge of it surely will. The BIS has been scandal-ridden ever since it was branded with pro-Nazi leanings in the 1930s. Founded in Basel, Switzerland, in 1930, the BIS has been called "the most exclusive, secretive, and powerful supranational club in the world." Charles Higham wrote in his book Trading with the Enemy that by the late 1930s, the BIS had assumed an openly pro-Nazi bias, a theme that was expanded on in a BBC Timewatch film titled "Banking with Hitler" broadcast in 1998.2 In 1944, the American government backed a resolution at the Bretton-Woods Conference calling for the liquidation of the BIS, following Czech accusations that it was laundering gold stolen by the Nazis from occupied Europe; but the central bankers succeeded in quietly snuffing out the American resolution.3

The BIS is now composed of 55 member nations, but the club that meets regularly in Basel is a much smaller group; and even within it, there is a hierarchy. In a 1983 article in Harper's Magazine called "Ruling the World of Money," Edward Jay Epstein wrote that where the real business gets done is in "a sort of inner club made up of the half dozen or so powerful central bankers who find themselves more or less in the same monetary boat" - those from Germany, the United States, Switzerland, Italy, Japan and England.

I'm not sure who's in the inner club now,but the above six are virtually all in deficit to the nations who produce raw materials, and specifically, carbon-based energy.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 05:18:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Considering the Basel accords have been a Massive Fail™...

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 05:33:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Zapatero anuncia las ayudas a las 'pymes' que el Congreso aprobó por unanimidad · ELPAÍS.comZapatero announces the aid to SMEs that the [Spanish] Congress approved unanimously - ElPais.com
Ayer el presidente del Gobierno, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, anunció en un acto del PSOE en Valladolid que el próximo Consejo de Ministros aprobará una nueva línea de avales del ICO, por importe de 3.000 millones, destinada a garantizar el cobro de facturas endosadas a obras y servicios municipales. El objetivo, según explicó, es facilitar el descuento de las facturas, por parte de las entidades financieras, al respaldar el ICO el pronto pago del 100% de los importes, informa Laura Cantalapiedra.Yesterday the Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, announced in a PSOE event in Valladolid that the Council of Ministers will in its next [weekly, Friday] meeting €3bn in new credit lines of the Official Credit Institute, aimed at guaranteeing the payment of bills for municipal works and services. The goal, he explained, is to ease the disocunting of the bills by financial institutions, given a timely payment guarantee of 100% of the outstanding amount by the ICO.
La moción aprobada por el Congreso fue presentada por el PP y pactada con PSOE y CiU y, posteriormente, se sumaron todos los demás grupos. El texto inicial de los populares preveía una línea de crédito de 5.000 millones, pero para conseguir la unanimidad, renunció a poner cantidad.The motion approved by the Congress was proposed by the PP and agreed with PSOE and CiU, and later all other [parliamentary] groups joined in. The initial text foresaw a credit line of €5bn but, in order to achieve unanimity, the specific amount was dropped.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 05:44:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aznar engages in good old economic revisionism regarding the causes of the Great Depression.

Aznar reclama al Gobierno que flexibilice el mercado laboral · ELPAÍS.comAznar demands that the Government make the labour market more flexible - ElPais.com
Durante la jornada sobre reformas económicas organizada por FAES, que ha contado con la presencia del ministro italiano de Políticas Comunitrias, Andrea Ronchi, Aznar ha descartado que la actual crisis económica mundial suponga el fin del sistema de libre mercado ni el comienzo de una "gran depresión". Además, ha dicho que la situación no tendrá las consecuencias de la Gran Depresión de 1929 sólo si Europa "no comete los mismos errores" que en aquella década, es decir abusar de un "fuerte proteccionismo que colapsó el comercio" y de un aumento "desmesurado" del gasto público.During the workshop on economic reforms organised by [Aznar's think-tank] FAES, which included the presence of the Italian Minister for EU policies Andrea Ronchi, Aznar has dismissed the possibility that the current worldwide economic crisis cause the end of the free market system, or the start of a "great depression". In addition, he said that the situation won't have the consequences of the 1929 Great Depression only in Europe "doesn't make the same mistakes" as in that decade, that is to overuse "a stron protectionism which hampered trade" and a "disproportionate" increase of public spending.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 11:13:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:06:06 PM EST
France 24 | US boycotts racism conference | France 24
Washington said Saturday, that it will boycott next week's UN conference on racism in Geneva, saying that the draft declaration was unacceptable. In 2001, the US abandoned a similar event over a resolution that compared Zionism to racism.

Reuters - The United States will boycott a United Nations conference on racism next week, the U.S. State Department said on Saturday, citing objectionable language in the meeting's draft declaration.

The United Nations organized the forum in Geneva to help heal the wounds from the last such meeting, in Durban, South Africa. The United States and Israel walked out of that 2001 conference when Arab states tried to define Zionism as racist.

The Obama administration, which kept its distance from preparations for the "Durban II" meeting, has come under strong pressure from Israel not to attend.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:18:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Americas - US boycotts racism conference

The United States has said it will not attend an United Nations conference on racism because the text of the draft final statement contains language it is "unable to support", the state department has said.

Negotiators had been trying to find common ground before the meeting in Geneva, but the US said there were still concerns it would limit free speech and single out Israel for criticism.

"Unfortunately, it now seems certain these remaining concerns will not be addressed in the document to be adopted by the conference next week," Robert Wood, US state department spokesman, said in a statement issued late on Saturday.

"Therefore, with regret, the United States will not join the review conference.''

Washington's decision followed intense lobbying by Israeli and Jewish groups,

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:29:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The first black Prez of the US, a country founded with slavery, is boycotting a conference on racism?  My irony alarm is blaring.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 08:56:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because a conference on racism might criticise Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and the US (or Germany, or Italy) can't countenance that.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 09:07:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, I get that.  I guess the "Israelis" don't want their systematic extermination of the Palestinians to be a hot topic.  Once again, after what the "Israelis" suffered in WWII, my IRONY alarm is off the charts.  What a world.  I wonder, are humans actually TRYING to screw up the planet or is this just the way things go if you don't have a central "brain" coordinating things?  Like a body with all the organs freelancing.  Important information for some reason.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 09:44:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Emptywheel » Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Was Waterboarded 183 Times in One Month

I've put this detail in a series of posts, but it really deserves a full post. According to the May 30, 2005 Bradbury memo, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003 and Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002.

On page 37 of the OLC memo, in a passage discussing the differences between SERE techniques and the torture used with detainees, the memo explains:

The CIA used the waterboard "at least 83 times during August 2002" in the interrogation of Zubaydah. IG Report at 90, and 183 times during March 2003 in the interrogation of KSM, see id. at 91.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:26:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Revolt stirs among China's nuclear ghosts - Times Online

The nuclear test grounds in the wastes of the Gobi desert have fallen silent but veterans of those lonely places are speaking out for the first time about the terrible price exacted by China's zealous pursuit of the atomic bomb.

They talk of picking up radioactive debris with their bare hands, of sluicing down bombers that had flown through mushroom clouds, of soldiers dying before their time of strange and rare diseases, and children born with mysterious cancers.

These were the men and women of Unit 8023, a special detachment charged with conducting atomic tests at Lop Nur in Xinjiang province, a place of utter desolation and - until now - complete secrecy.

"I was a member of Unit 8023 for 23 years," said one old soldier in an interview. "My job was to go into the blast zone to retrieve test objects and monitoring equipment after the explosion.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:27:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Americas - Caracas 'will restore envoy to US'

Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president, has said his country will restore its ambassador to the US, in a sign of warming ties between Caracas and Washington.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas on Saturday, Chavez said that he had already decided on a candidate to assume the post.

"I have spoken to Roy Chaderton [a former Venezuelan foreign minister] and I have designated him as the new ambassador to the United States," Chavez said at the summit, held in Trinidad and Tobago.

"Now we just have to wait for the United States to give Chaderton the approval to take up this important post to direct a new era in relations."

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:30:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Americas | Bolivia gang 'fought in Balkans'

Two members of a mercenary gang said to have plotted to kill Bolivian President Evo Morales were veterans of the Balkan wars of the 1990s, reports say.

Three died and two were arrested in the eastern city of Santa Cruz after police fought a gunbattle with the group.

Bolivian police officials said two of the five fought for Croatian independence. The three others are said to be Irish, Romanian and Hungarian.

They were said to be planning attacks on government and opposition figures.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:33:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Alleged Irish link to Bolivia plot

Three men belonging to a group that allegedly included gunmen from Ireland, Hungary and Croatia died in a 30-minute gun battle with police who foiled an alleged plot to assassinate president Evo Morales, Bolivian government officials said yesterday.

Irish, Hungarian Croatian?

by Loefing on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 02:33:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 03:31:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Strange people. (I forgot to mention that the supposed leader I wrote about in the linkeed thread, Eduardo Rózsa Flores, recently converted to Islam. I should really write a diary about him.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 25th, 2009 at 02:19:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Naomi Klein: Got a Hopeover? A Dictionary for Disheartened Obama Fans | Democracy and Elections | AlterNet
To produce programs capable of meeting the current crises, we are all going to have to stop hoping and start demanding.

All is not well in Obamafanland. It's not clear exactly what accounts for the change of mood. Maybe it was the rancid smell emanating from Treasury's latest bank bailout. Or the news that the president's chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, earned millions from the very Wall Street banks and hedge funds he is protecting from reregulation now. Or perhaps it began earlier, with Obama's silence during Israel's Gaza attack.

Whatever the last straw, a growing number of Obama enthusiasts are starting to entertain the possibility that their man is not, in fact, going to save the world if we all just hope really hard. This is a good thing. If the superfan culture that brought Obama to power is going to transform itself into an independent political movement, one fierce enough to produce programs capable of meeting the current crises, we are all going to have to stop hoping and start demanding.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 01:03:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the superfan culture that brought Obama to power is going to transform itself into an independent political movement, one fierce enough to produce programs capable of meeting the current crises, we are all going to have to stop hoping and start demanding.

And exactly HOW do we do this?  Show me the blueprint, the path through the forest.  Sounds good, but HOW ?!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 04:28:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Audacity of Demanding?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 04:37:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
History may well show that Obama's great accomplishment was to be the first black guy in the White House, and that shot his wad.  In terms of Progress, he may be done.  Kind of sad.  I'll stay tuned but I have little HOPE left, assuming I had any before the election.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 04:45:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:06:35 PM EST
France 24 | Jacques Tati loses his pipe in advertising row | France 24
Posters have appeared in Paris showing iconic French comedian Jacques Tati "sans pipe" - because of a ban on tobacco advertising. The pipe has been replaced with a yellow toy windmill which many see as an overdose of political correctness.

New posters showing iconic French comedian Jacques Tati have caused a stink - because his trademark pipe has been replaced by a yellow toy windmill.


In the original picture, the actor and director of comedy classics such as Mon Oncle and Jour de Fetes is riding a bicycle with his pipe firmly clamped between his teeth.


Tati starred in his own films as Monsieur Hulot, a quixotic character confronting societal changes in postwar France. Mon Oncle was an instant international hit when it was released, and won the 1958 Oscar for Best Foreign Language film.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:11:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Opera singers walk off the job at violent Cologne production | Culture & Lifestyle | Deutsche Welle | 18.04.2009
Just two weeks before opening night singers at the Cologne opera are calling in sick because the staging of the classic production "Samson and Delilah" is too brutal. 

Twenty-eight of the 64 chorus singers and three of the leading voices have stopped coming to rehearsals, according to opera spokesman, Johannes Wunderlich.


Israeli mezzo soprano Dalia Schaechter, who plays the lead role of Delilah, and Samuel Youn, as the high priest, have reportedly thrown in the towel, as has Ulrich Hielscher, who plays the part of the old Jew.


Director Tilman Knabe has set his production of Camille Saint-Saen's Samson and Delilah in the modern-day Middle East, instead of biblical Palestine. The staging includes a bloody machinegun battle and a gang rape.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:14:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This town is good for a lot of things.

Unfortunately, subtlety is not on the list.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 01:46:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Performances are restricted to adults only.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 03:23:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia Serves as Musical Muse for Europeans With an Itch - NYTimes.com

MOSCOW -- One year it was the thinly veiled taunts of a doughy Ukrainian drag queen in silver-sequined accouterments that chafed Russian sensibilities. Skip to next paragraph Related Times Topics: Eurovision Song Contest

This year has brought a Georgian disco troupe with a song poking fun at the Russian prime minister, Vladimir V. Putin, along with a Swedish techno group that recently set off a minor diplomatic dispute with a show featuring Russian soldiers, go-go dancers and a man in a bear suit dancing to the Soviet anthem.

It's all part of an international melodrama, playing out to the pounding, thump-chick, thump-chick of the Eurovision Song Contest, the half-century-old European pop music carnival famous more for its glitter and fluorescent spandex than for its catchy melodies. And more often than not, in recent years, Russia has found itself the butt of the jokes, satires and downright nasty remarks, as artists wrangle over the unresolved complexes and insecurities born of the Soviet collapse and the pains of European integration.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:30:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ocean Dead Zones Likely To Expand: Increasing Carbon Dioxide And Decreasing Oxygen Make It Harder For Deep-sea Animals To Breath

ScienceDaily (Apr. 18, 2009) -- New calculations made by marine chemists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) suggest that low-oxygen "dead zones" in the ocean could expand significantly over the next century. These predictions are based on the fact that, as more and more carbon dioxide dissolves from the atmosphere into the ocean, marine animals will need more oxygen to survive.

Concentrations of carbon dioxide are increasing rapidly in the Earth's atmosphere, primarily because of human activities. About one third of the carbon dioxide that humans produce by burning fossil fuels is being absorbed by the world's oceans, gradually causing seawater to become more acidic.

However, such "ocean acidification" is not the only way that carbon dioxide can harm marine animals. In a "Perspective" published in the journal Science, Peter Brewer and Edward Peltzer combine published data on rising levels of carbon dioxide and declining levels of oxygen in the ocean in a set of new and thermodynamically rigorous calculations. They show that increases in carbon dioxide can make marine animals more susceptible to low concentrations of oxygen, and thus exacerbate the effects of low-oxygen "dead zones" in the ocean.

Brewer and Peltzer's calculations also show that the partial pressure of dissolved carbon dioxide gas (pCO2) in low-oxygen zones will rise much higher than previously thought. This could have significant consequences for marine life in these zones.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 01:46:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is very troubling and disgusting.

For some time, I was under the impression that the Pacific Gyre, as it's called, was full of tangible, plastic garbage. I imagined that intensive backing and forthing by trawlers with nets might manage to clean up the mess [to hell with the cost], but the problem is that seawater and sun break down the detritus into minuscule particles of plastic, which sea life ingests with every gulp.

It is impossible to "pick up" the garbage of the Pacific gyre as one would on terra firma.

Remember this when you reach for a consumer item packaged in plastic or reach for plastic tote bags at the supermarket.


by Loefing on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 02:55:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps it would be easier to gyre and gimble the entire sprawling wabe together, attracting the mass to some logical argument. Then the assembled island can be declared a sanctuary by the ET Tribunal. First on the agenda is to come up with a name as cool as this's twin, The Saragossa Sea.

Then, we can recapture the breaking-down-plastic particles, using their previous momentum to power our servers, and with a little feedback cleverness with the backlash from Newton's 1st, show how we can also power a local train system.

The alternative is to be frustrated by further destruction of the habitat, and to come up with pithy remarks about better uses of petroleum products. Ah~! That's it, we'll discover that by gathering up of this negative jetsam we will have the equivalent of a new find of crude and we can sell the bits off to repay the national debt.

Now if we can just get countries to vie for claiming it against us like they are vying for the North Pole.

[The week can't end well if the Hope-meter is pegged so low during the start.]

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 04:13:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there much sargassum in Zaragoza?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 04:52:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're insinuating, of course, that since Saragossa/Zaragoza was derived from a product in the area, that the new isle should have it's name derived from it's component.

OK; Henceforth and heretofore, we declare our claim on the Isle of Smegmagossa.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 07:51:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I am insinuating that Zaragoza (Anglicised as Saragossa) comes from the Latin name Caesar Augusta and has nothing to do with the algae known as sargaço in portuguese or sargazo is Spanish which is where the name Sargasso Sea comes from.

I find Saragossa Sea intensely amusing, given that Zaragoza is a couple of hundred kilometres inland.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 09:05:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:06:59 PM EST
1.    Italian scientist, turning 100, still works

ROME - Rita Levi Montalcini, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, said Saturday that even though she is about to turn 100, her mind is sharper than it was she when she was 20.

Levi Montalcini, who also serves as a senator for life in Italy, celebrates her 100th birthday on Wednesday, and she spoke at a ceremony held in her honor by the European Brain Research Institute.

She shared the 1986 Nobel Prize for Medicine with American Stanley Cohen for discovering mechanisms that regulate the growth of cells and organs.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:09:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What a beauty!
by Loefing on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 02:58:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry. This doesn't qualify as Klatsch.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 04:02:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know, but I did not want it to get lost in the This and That section. :-)
by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 04:06:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...could get lost here also :-)
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 06:25:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, deGondi, but I find this exchange a little frustrating - I agreed that my placement of the story was not perfect, so why continue to hammer on it.

Why not discuss her achievements, even in the Klatsch section? I was so delighted when I saw this story - about this active, bright and very mentaly present and a wonderful story about a women and here I am having to defend my placement of the story, which I already agreed to was not great. :-(

by Fran on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 at 12:54:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Slumdog Millionaire actress Rubina Ali "offered for sale" by her father - Telegraph
The poverty-stricken father of Slumdog Millionaire star Rubina Ali has offered to sell her for £200,000, it has been claimed.

Rafiq Qureshi, who lives in a one of India's worst slums in the city of Mumbai, reportedly attempted to make an illegal adoption deal for the nine-year-old girl.

"We are considering Rubina's future," Mr Qureshi is alleged to have told a man posing as a prospective buyer.

by Fran on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 12:31:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Cult author JG Ballard dead at 78

The author JG Ballard, famed for novels such as Crash and Empire of the Sun, has died aged 78 after a long illness.

His agent Margaret Hanbury said the author had been ill "for several years" and had died on Sunday morning.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 02:41:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun Apr 19th, 2009 at 06:22:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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