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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 3 May

by Fran Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 03:00:25 PM EST

On this date in history:

1469Niccolò Machiavelli, an Italian historian, philosopher, writer, and politician and is considered one of the main founders of modern political science. (d. 1527)

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 11:10:32 AM EST
Demjanjuk loses deportation case

A US appeals court has denied a stay of deportation to alleged Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk, who is wanted in Germany on war crimes charges.

The ruling allows for the 89-year-old Ohio resident to be deported - although the appeals process is not exhausted.

A stay of deportation was granted earlier in April after federal agents briefly removed him from his home.

His family said he was too ill to be moved but the government has filed video showing him walking unassisted.

Mr Demjanjuk denies charges of being a guard at the Sobibor death camp in World War II.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 11:51:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The contrast between their work on this guy compared with their lionisation of the much more guilty but conveniently useful Werner von Braun. Or indeed their non-purusit of those who encouraged torture in Guantanamo.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 3rd, 2009 at 07:32:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well if nothing else I suppose it sets a precedent for when a Spanish judge comes a-calling.

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 May 3rd, 2009 at 07:34:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain has 'irrational' view of Europe, says commissioner - Telegraph
The European Union's enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn has accused Britain of having an irrational and backward looking view on the EU's eastwards expansion and foreign workers.

He launched the extraordinary attack as the EU marked the fifth anniversary of the 2004 enlargement, when 10 mainly Central and East European countries joined.

He likened "scepticism" about expansion, especially in "established" countries such Britain, Germany and France, to sentimentality for the 1960s.

by Fran on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:05:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Umm, it's sentimentality for the British Empire. So it's the 1860s, not the 1960s, they hanker for.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 3rd, 2009 at 07:37:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I took the 1960's reference as a veiled accusation of racism: nostalgia for a pre mass immigration Eden.
by Sassafras on Sun May 3rd, 2009 at 08:01:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Estonians brainstorm their way out of the economic crisis | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 02.05.2009
Governments around the world have been struggling to find solutions to the current economic crisis, but the Baltic country of Estonia thinks it's come up with a winner: let the people decide. 

In many European countries on Friday's May Day public holiday, people from all sides of the political spectrum took to the streets to protest government handling of the economic crisis, and to place the blame squarely at the feet of the banking industry. Protestors in some cities turned violent, and several hundred were arrested.

Estonians approached the day a little differently.

On Friday, Estonians from all works of life joined together in a one day brainstorming extravaganza called "My Estonia". The idea? That normal citizens should contribute to the problem-solving process.

by Fran on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:06:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
protests are useless and pointless. Nice propaganda.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 03:13:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that people have the catharsis of believing that they are being listened to, it will be interesting to see what tangible policies come out of the people's suggestions/problem solving.  Is there an ET citizen in Estonia?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun May 3rd, 2009 at 10:31:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Keep Sweden's Pirate party at bay | Helienne Lindvall | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

It's been two weeks since the people behind the Pirate Bay were convicted of facilitating illegal filesharing in the Swedish courts, and were sentenced to a year in jail and a $3.6m fine. Since then, the Swedish Pirate party has reported that it has more than doubled its membership to more than 30,000 - and its youth party is, it says, now the biggest of any party's in Sweden. But who are they and why should we care?

I've had a look at the manifesto published on their site, and it makes for interesting reading. "Private monopoly is one of society's most dangerous enemies," it says. "Patent is an officially sanctioned monopoly on ideas." Hence, they say, they want to abolish patents - in particular for pharmaceuticals.

They also want to change the copyright laws so that it only applies to commercial use - which makes their support for Pirate Bay a bit confusing, since it is an ad-funded venture that also charges users €5 a month to stay anonymous when uploading copyrighted material. It also begs the question: is using music for political propaganda considered commercial use, since it's not, in effect, a money making scheme? According to the Pirate party's manifesto, copyright for commercial use should last for only five years and DRM (digital rights management) should be forbidden.

by Fran on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:16:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AriRusila´s BalkanPerspective » Blog Archive » UN death camps, EU money, local negligence

I was just watching a film"UN death camps in Kosovo April 2009" about protest which was hold by Roma children living in UN camps in North Mitrovica, Kosovo.  The protesters however were still living, so far 81 has already dead after ten years suffering in United Nations Camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), living in place which is described the most toxic site in Eastern Europe.  Their story gives another perspective related to "humanitarian intervention" implemented by Nato and to international administration implemented afterwards and backed with billions of Euros EU financing.  And this is happening in Europe and in this millennium.

The children hold a protest vigil on International Roma Day.  In the protest, their banners proclaimed "God Save Us from UNHCR" and"Welcome to Kouchner's Hell", reminding Bernard Kouchner - then Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG), now FM of France - about his promise autumn 1999 to move families immediately from toxic camp.

by Fran on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:23:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Campaigners monitored by civil servants | UK news | The Guardian

Government officials have been monitoring environmental campaign groups and then passing intelligence on to the police, according to documents seen by the Guardian.

An internal risk report from the Department for Transport reveals that a unit referred to as the comms directorate ­"continuously monitor[ed]" peaceful protest groups opposed to the expansion of Heathrow airport and then briefed detectives about their findings.

The disclosure is the latest evidence of a wide-ranging crackdown on environmental campaign groups and has been condemned by MPs and civil liberty groups.

Earlier this month it emerged that government officials had handed confidential police intelligence about environmental activists to the energy giant E.ON ahead of a peaceful demonstration at Kingsnorth, the proposed site of a new coal-fired power station in north Kent.

Last week the Guardian revealed how undercover police were running a network of hundreds of informants inside protest organisations who secretly feed them intelligence in return for cash.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:45:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
government is for the large corporations, by the large corporations.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 03:15:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The elder Galbraith may not have been the first or most eloquent person to say this, but that's what The New Industrial State (1967 - 42 years ago!) is about... Just like Macchiavelli's The Prince, Galbraith shouldn't be read as prescriptive but as descriptive.

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 Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 04:15:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Border cut that sparked an exodus

Exactly 20 years ago Hungarian border guards began dismantling the physical barrier along the Hungarian-Austrian border known as the Iron Curtain.

It was an act with huge consequences for other Eastern European countries and eventually the whole of Europe.

Only a tiny section of the Iron Curtain was removed on 2 May 1989 - about 8 km in total, either side of four border crossings between Hungary and Austria.

But it was an act of massive moral and political importance.

Hungary defied its supposed allies in the Eastern Bloc, especially East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania, while the then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev looked on impassively.

The main reformer in the Communist Party in Hungary at that time, Imre Pozsgay, claims the main credit for bringing down the curtain.

"I didn't do anything heroic, but I knew how much we could get away with," he said.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 01:13:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Experts call EU expansion historic success (Deutsche-Welle)

The economic data are convincing. According to figures just released  by the German statistical bureau (Destatis), the economic output of the ten new member states has grown drastically since they joined the EU five years ago.

The inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) of the  new members increased by 23 percent until 2008 when compared to 2004, the year they entered the EU. Slovakia, whose GDP grew by 36 percent topped the list, followed by Lithuania and Latvia whose output rose by more than 30 percent respectively. Even Hungary's economy, which experienced the weakest increase of all new member states with only ten percent, grew significantly faster than the economies of the 15 older member states which registered eight percent.

The strong economic performance by the new members is not the sole consequence of EU membership. Most Eastern European countries had begun to drastically reform and remodel their economies after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and had recorded strong GDP growth long before joining the EU.

So while EU membership wasn't the decisive factor, becoming part of the large European market was a definite boost for the new members. It not only enabled the new countries to sell their products across Europe without any hurdles. It also forced them to adapt their production and quality standards to compete on the international market.

Obviously, the global economic meltdown hasn't spared the new member states. Growth rates have slowed in many countries; some states, such as Hungary, face severe difficulties. Still, when judged by economic standards, the EU expansion is a success.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 01:16:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 11:11:03 AM EST
Grahnlaw: Barroso and I - European elections
Euronews in European elections - EPP backs Barros mandate II tells us:

"The center-right European People's Party has given public backing to the re-appointment of Jose Manuel Barroso for a second term as the president of the European Commission.

The EPP's unanimous decision came at the end of the party's two-day congress in Warsaw, at which it launched its European Parliament election campaign."


What has this backing to do with me?

It is no great surprise that Barroso's own political fraction, the European People's Party (EPP), endorses a new five year term for him at the helm of the Commission.

However, in the spirit of the Treaty of Lisbon and within the possibilities of the Treaty of Nice, I had expected each political party at European level to nominate its own candidate for the post.
by Fran on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:24:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What are Eurosceptic voters really voting for ? - Euros du Village
Merely seducing, or potentially convincing ? A personal analysis of Euroscepticism

With the European parliamentary elections coming up, parties have started preparing their campaign in view of attracting as many voters as possible. At this point in time where it is believed that the European Union finds itself in a crisis, the so-called Eurosceptic parties will undoubtedly be followed very closely by the other political groupings, the media and political scientists. The Euros seize the opportunity to take a closer look at those parties which pro-Europeans fear, but often also ignore. A personal analysis of what Euroscepticism really means.

Indeed, watching the campaign launches by certain Eurosceptic parties on television, I was wondering if, agnostically speaking, I could be convinced by the arguments Eurosceptic parties put forward. And if, on the basis of the often-mentioned manifestos or programmes, I could vote for a Eurosceptic party. This formed the start of a brief research on the party websites of the British UK Independence Party, the French Front National and the Belgian/Flemish Vlaams Belang. I considered these three parties as Eurosceptic parties, although this term is more often misused than used rightly. For this reason, it is perhaps first important to consider what exactly Euroscepticism means, as opposed to e.g. Eurocriticism, Europhobia or anti-EU programmes.

by Fran on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:27:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting article but, based on its own definition, how on earth does UKIP (I am not familiar with the other two) get considered a Eurosceptic rather than an anti-EU party? It is pretty clear about about wanting the UK out of the EU.
by det on Sun May 3rd, 2009 at 08:17:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 11:11:29 AM EST
Obama to host Afghan, Pakistan summit Wednesday

WASHINGTON (AFP) -- US President Barack Obama will host a summit with his Afghan and Pakistani counterparts on Wednesday, the White House said, amid growing US concern over the deteriorating situation in the region.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani leader Asif Ali Zardari will also hold separate talks with Obama as well as a mini-summit, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday.

"The president looks forward to discussing with these two democratically elected leaders how we can work together to enhance our cooperation in this important part of the world as the United States implements a new strategy" for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said Gibbs.

Obama has put nuclear-armed Pakistan, a key regional US ally, at the center of the fight against Al-Qaeda as Washington dispatches 4,000 more troops, in addition to an extra 17,000 already committed, to Afghanistan.

The plan, unveiled in March, includes a focus on flushing out Al-Qaeda sanctuaries in Pakistan and boosting civilian efforts to build up both Afghanistan and Pakistan, notably in agriculture and education.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 11:21:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AlJazeera: Many dead in Pakistan clashes

At least 18 people have been killed in heavy clashes between Pakistani troops and pro-Taliban fighters in northwest Pakistan.

The deaths followed an attack on a security checkpoint in the Mohmand tribal region along the border with Afghanistan early on Saturday.

"The Taliban attack was launched before dawn, troops retaliated and heavy fighting continued until early this morning," Major Fazal Khan, a local military spokesman, said.

Officials said that the dead included at least 16 fighters and two paramilitary soldiers.

In the neighbouring district of Bajaur, armed men took over a house killing at least one civilian and injuring several women, security sources said.

The clashes in the tribal areas come as soldiers in Buner district, just 100km northwest of the capital, Islamabad, battled pro-Taliban fighters.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 11:23:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Burmese junta still shuns survivors of the cyclone

A year after the devastating Cyclone Nargis tore through the Burmese Delta leaving up to 140,000 people dead and further exposing the disregard and inefficiency of the country's military rulers, half a million of those who are still alive continue to depend on hand-outs just to survive.

But the problems facing the beleaguered people of Burma are not just those caused by the fury of Cyclone Nargis's 130mph winds and the surging 12ft wall of water they created. Campaigners say that the authoritarian regime, hidden away in its remote jungle capital, is continuing to imprison people simply for trying to help those affected by the storm.
by Sassafras on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 11:48:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Times: Chinese billions in Sri Lanka fund battle against Tamil Tigers

((On the southern coast of Sri Lanka, ten miles from one of the world's busiest shipping routes, a vast construction site is engulfing the once sleepy fishing town of Hambantota.))

This is where China is building a $1 billion port that it plans to use as a refuelling and docking station for its navy, as it patrols the Indian Ocean and protects China's supplies of Saudi oil. Ever since Sri Lanka agreed to the plan, in March 2007, China has given it all the aid, arms and diplomatic support it needs to defeat the Tigers, without worrying about the West.
by Sassafras on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:02:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Judge David Souter's retirement gives Barack Obama early chance to make appointment to supreme court | World news | The Guardian

Barack Obama will have an early opportunity to shape the direction of US constitutional law after a supreme court justice, David Souter, announced his retirement yesterday.

The departure of Souter - who will leave at the end of the term next month - opens the way for a Democratic president to make an appointment to the country's highest court for the first time in 15 years, but there is likely to be a bitter nomination fight in congress whoever his choice is.

Although the overall balance of the court will not change because Souter generally sided with other liberal justices, his replacement is likely to perpetuate Obama's influence long after the president has left office as the court decides cases around issues from limits on presidential authority after the overreaching of the George Bush years to claims of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

The president has made it clear he favours appointing a justice who will protect abortion rights and who has "a sense of what real-world folks are going through".

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:46:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Outcry as Iran executes artist over juvenile conviction | World news | guardian.co.uk

Human rights groups have renewed attacks on Iran's policy of executing juvenile offenders after a woman painter was hanged for a murder allegedly committed when she was 17. Delara Darabi was hanged in Rasht prison yesterday despite having apparently won a temporary stay of her sentence last month from Iran's judiciary chief, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi.

Campaigners say she was executed without her family or lawyer being informed 48 hours in advance as Iranian law requires.

Darabi, 22, had spent five years in jail after being convicted of murdering her father's wealthy female cousin. She initially confessed to the crime but later insisted that her boyfriend carried out the murder to steal the 65-year-old woman's money. The boyfriend persuaded her to confess, she claimed, by convincing her she would not be executed because of her age.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:47:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Somali pirates seize Greek ship

A Greek-owned ship has been hijacked by Somali pirates south-west of the Seychelles, a seafarers group says.

The Ukrainian crew were believed unharmed in the night-time attack, about 250 nautical miles (463km) from the Indian Ocean islands.

It came hours after a Portuguese warship thwarted an attack on a Norwegian vessel in the Gulf of Aden.

The warship, part of a Nato patrol, destroyed explosives they discovered when they captured the pirates.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:49:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Africa | No pay rises in 'broke' Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, has said the new unity government is broke and can not meet trade union demands for higher wages.

Mr Tsvangirai said no state worker, including President Robert Mugabe, was earning more than $100 (£67) a month.

The unions have called for a monthly minimum of $450 and threatened to go on strike if their demand is not met.

But Mr Tsvangirai told a May Day rally in Harare that the government needed more time to fix the economy.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:50:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Australia outlines military plans

The Australian government says it is to spend more than $72bn (£48bn) upgrading its military over the next two decades.

Key purchases include 100 fighter jets and 12 new submarines, replacing the current fleet of six.

Eight frigates and 24 combat helicopters are also on the list, set out in the country's first defence white paper for 10 years.

The government says it will enable Australia to defend its interests in a changing Asia-Pacific region.

The white paper is entitled: "Defending Australia in the Asia-Pacific Century; Force 2030".

The 12 new hunter-killer submarines - which will be built in Australia - will double the size of the current fleet.

One hundred F-35 fighters will be purchased over the next decade, and funds will also be allocated to counter cyber and electronic warfare.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:55:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Brazil clears Indian reservation

Brazilian police and soldiers have begun an operation to remove non-indigenous residents from an Indian reservation in northern Brazil.

The operation follows a landmark ruling by the country's Supreme Court that the Raposa Serra do Sol reservation should be solely for indigenous people.

The non-indigenous rice farmers and farm workers say they are victims of "legalised robbery".

But the authorities say they will be properly compensated.

In March, Brazil's Supreme Court ruled that the area in the northern border state of Roraima should be maintained as a single continuous territory exclusively for use by the indigenous population.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:55:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | UN warning over Burma cyclone aid

Hundreds of thousands of people in Burma's Irrawaddy Delta still need assistance - a year after a deadly cyclone, the UN and aid agencies warn.

The UN and Burma's neighbours made a $700m (£469m) appeal for reconstruction in February but have so far received pledges of only $100m (£67m).

The UN says it is now allowed to bring in all the staff it needs after an initial ban by Burma's (Myanmar) junta.

Cyclone Nargis killed about 140,000 people in 2008.

More than two million people were left homeless.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:58:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Israel attacks more Gaza tunnels

Israel says its aircraft have attacked tunnels on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt for a second day.

Officials said three tunnels used to smuggle weapons into the coastal enclave had been destroyed.

The raids came hours after Palestinian fighters in Gaza fired rockets into southern Israel, with no reported injuries.

Israeli police said two mortars landed in an open area inside Israel without causing damage or casualties.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 01:14:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More BBC spin.

This is yet more, gross Israeli regional violation.

What does Israel expect, when the population on whom they've placed an absolute embargo is reduced to digging tunnels to acquire means for survival?

What would you do in similar circumstances?    

by Loefing on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 06:50:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Hospital 'hit by Sri Lankan army'

The Sri Lankan army has killed 91 people at a makeshift hospital inside a civilian safe zone in the last two days, two doctors have told the BBC.

The doctors said bombardments from the army had killed 64 people on Saturday, including patients, their relatives and bystanders in Mullivaikal.

About 87 people were injured. Another 27 people reportedly died on Friday.

The army has denied bombing the hospital, saying that Tamil Tiger rebels carried out suicide attacks.

A spokesman for the Sri Lankan army said that although soldiers had heard explosions in the area, they had not fired any shells.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 01:15:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 11:12:03 AM EST
Buffett Dismisses Stress Tests for Assessing Banks

May 2 (Bloomberg) -- Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett dismissed the importance of the government's stress tests of major U.S. financial institutions in helping him assess banks he invested in.

"I think I know their future, frankly, better than somebody that comes in to take a look," Buffett said before the start of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire's annual shareholder meeting today. "They may be using more of a checklist type approach."

Berkshire's second-largest holding by market value after Coca-Cola Co. is Wells Fargo & Co., the biggest bank on the U.S. West Coast. Berkshire also owns stakes in Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp., the biggest U.S. bank by assets, as well as U.S. Bancorp, M&T Bank Corp. and SunTrust Banks Inc. Buffett says he judges banks by their "dynamism" and their ability to gather deposits.

"If you look at Coca-Cola today, for example, and just looked at a balance sheet, it wouldn't tell you anything at all about Coca-Cola," the billionaire investor said. "It's what the product is."

The 19 banks in the stress tests, designed to show whether they need more capital to withstand a deterioration of economic conditions, hold two-thirds of the assets and more than one-half of the loans in the U.S. banking system, according to a Federal Reserve study released April 24.

The tests, originally scheduled for release on May 4, are set to be disclosed after U.S. markets close on May 7, according to a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 11:26:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stress Test May Push 14 Banks to Raise Money, FBR's Miller Says

May 2 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Regulators may compel as many as 14 of the nation's 19 largest banks to raise common equity based on financial stress tests due to be completed next week, said Paul Miller, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets Corp.

Miller, a former bank examiner, said his estimate assumes regulators will require banks to maintain tangible common equity, one of the most conservative measures of capital, equal to 4 percent of their risk-weighted assets over the next two years, to withstand losses in case the recession worsens. The tests, originally scheduled for release on May 4, are set to be disclosed after U.S. markets close on May 7, according to a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and the 16 other banks received preliminary results last week and have been debating the findings with regulators. Officials favor tangible common equity of about 4 percent of a bank's assets and so-called Tier 1 capital worth about 6 percent, people familiar with the tests say. Tangible common equity, or TCE, is a gauge of financial strength that excludes intangibles such as trademarks that can't be used to make payments. Tier 1 capital is a broader measure monitored by regulators.

"When you start talking about 4 percent on risk-weighted assets based on the stress test two years out, most banks will be required to raise more capital," Miller said in an interview yesterday. "I believe it will be as high as 14." He declined to name them.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 11:30:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Buffett faces tough AGM grilling

US investor Warren Buffett says he is expecting to face tough questions on his company's performance as he attends its annual general meeting.

A record 35,000 shareholders are expected at the Berkshire Hathaway AGM, held in Omaha, Nebraska.

The value of Berkshire Hathaway's investments fell by nearly 10% last year and Mr Buffett's personal wealth shrank by $25bn (£17bn).

It was the worst performance in more than 40 years for the "Sage of Omaha".

The BBC's North America business correspondent Greg Wood says Mr Buffett is normally greeted by an adoring crowd at the AGM for this company he has run since 1965.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:52:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Company failures are 'tip of the iceberg'

Insolvency experts warned today that a 59% annual jump in failing companies was "the tip of the iceberg" as official figures highlighted the impact of Britain's plunge into recession on the hard-pressed corporate sector.

Liz Bingham, head of restructuring at Ernst & Young, said: "As worrying as these figures are, this is just the tip of the distress iceberg. Many more companies and individuals are being restructured outside of formal processes and the figures do not include those companies that are effectively dead in the water, but lacking the triggers that force intervention. The number of corporate insolvencies has once again risen significantly, but we fear that the worst is not yet over for many UK businesses as the economy continues to contract and credit remains constrained."
by Sassafras on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 11:38:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Koehler blasts banks for keeping quiet over financial crisis | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 02.05.2009
In run up to presidential race, German president Horst Koehler has hit out at bankers' greed, but is optimistic that the dark cloud of global financial crisis will have a silver lining. 

President Horst Koehler, who is seeking a second term in office, stirred up the battle of words when he slammed the country's financial elite for failing to acknowledge personal errors that contributed to the global financial crisis.

In an interview in Saturday's edition of the tabloid newspaper Bild, Koehler complained that they "have, regrettably, remained silent."

Koehler blamed a lack of financial transparency and supervision for the financial crisis. The 66-year-old, who is the former head of the International Monetary Fund, excoriated bankers as having "tried to sue for multi-million (euro) payments, even though they are personally hardly hurting from the crisis."

by Fran on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:06:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Swiss economy unites to fight youth unemployment. - swissinfo
Economics Minister Doris Leuthard, Swiss companies and trade unions joined forces on Tuesday to combat the growing threat of youth unemployment.

At a news conference in Bern, Leuthard called for increased cooperation so that young people could have a better education. She also advised companies to continue to employ their apprentices after their vocational training.

The call did not fall on deaf ears, with employers and the unions agreeing joint action was necessary to remedy the situation.

Young people, particularly those between aged 20-24, are being particularly hit by the economic downturn. At the end of March, 5.1 per cent of that age group were jobless, compared with an average unemployment rate of 3.4 per cent.

by Fran on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:10:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Other Shoe

Alan Abelson in Barron's cites the analysis of STEPHANIE POMBOY in her MacroMavens commentary, (a subscription service.)  She scoffs at the idea that the current market rally is more than a bear market rally.  She notes the "amount of financial pain being priced into the credit markets" which are shown by the spreads, which have narrowed, but remain "far, far wider than they were at the 2003 cycle lows."  While the common reaction to this among the investment community is that the credit markets are wildly oversold, she thinks it might have something to do with the fact that "an overwhelming portion of some $8 trillion in mortgage debt (or 80% of the total) is teetering on the edge of, or in some state of, negative equity."

Continuing from Alan's column:

As to the Fed's claim that the equity of homeowners as a group stands at 43%, she points out that what the Fed neglects to tell you is that roughly a third of them have their houses free and clear. Lo and behold, some basic arithmetic reveals that 67% of homeowners with mortgages have equity of less than 15%. That, Stephanie comments drily, suggests the "destruction priced into the credit markets hardly seems out of whack with potential reality."

And while, thanks to "the transfer of toxic assets to taxpayers" and the magic of accounting legerdemain, the scarred financials to some significant extent may be spared further pain, the same, alas, can't be said for the nonfinancial sector. Little recognized, she insists, is how much the extraordinary gains in domestic nonfinancial profits from the low in 2001 to the peak in 2006 -- a stunning rise of 388% -- owed to the housing bubble.

"Who in his right mind," she asks, "would believe that explosion in profits during the housing-bubble stretch a mere coincidence and, therefore, in no way subject to the same inexorable decline?" Since we delight in answering rhetorical questions, we'd reckon not more than 95% of the folks who contend we're in a new bull market.

Absent the powerful stimulus provided by the unprecedented boom in housing, she sees a huge hit still in the offing for nonfinancial corporate profits. A worst-case analysis is that such profits would sink to 2003 levels, a further decline of $450 billion, or 54%. Under a less exacting (and frightening) estimate, using their relationship to GDP, they would return to their pre-bubble percentage of 3.5%, which translates into a drop from here of $340 billion, or 41%.

At the end of the day, earnings, to state the obvious, are what makes the stock market go up -- and down. The prospect that they are in for a fresh drubbing is all the more ominous because it's unexpected. As Stephanie reflects, "bear-market rallies come and go, but what makes this one so noteworthy is just how far removed perception is from reality."

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 04:29:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
neolib propaganda still works, as of today.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 05:02:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
During my 40 years in Los Angeles I had ample opportunity to observe friends and acquaintances involved in groups I considered suspect, if not downright cults.  Many of these blew up over that time, one, in part, with my assistance.  One of the things I observed was that those who most benefited from a group or belief system were the last to see that there might be problems with that group.

Among the very last people who will concede that there are problems with the NCE belief system will be most analysts working for brokers and most economists working for banks and other large financial institutions.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 06:09:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Liquidity Really Good for You?   Yves Smith  May 2, 2009

One of the arguments apparently being made in Washington by those who oppose regulation of credit default swaps is that it would reduce liquidity and that of course would be a terrible thing.

My impression is that no one has endeavored to put metrics on this assertion (as in how and where liquidity would be reduced and what the consequences would be). However, just because a certain amount of liquidity is good, it does not necessarily follow that more is always better. Recall Keynes' remark, "When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill done." Excessive liquidity can lead to precisely such an outcome. (Note we recently discussed evidence of harm caused by CDS, and asked readers for examples of where they were beneficial, and what sort of transactions required customization. The response was underwhelming).

We are suffering a hangover from just such a period. One of the comments I have heard from debt market participants in the bubble era was that they were faced with a 'wall of liquidity", tons of money looking for places to park it. And some of that appeared to be the direct result of credit default swaps. CDS allowed banks in Europe to circumvent capital requirements, enabled investment banks to accelerate profits from deals into the current period by (in theory) defeasing risk, allowed banks to extend bigger loans than they would have otherwise by hedging some of the risk. The net effect was that a lot of players achieved higher gearing than they would have otherwise.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 04:54:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 11:12:39 AM EST
IPS: MEXICO:  Swine Flu Fears Take Toll on Pork Industry

...Veratect Corporation, a two-year-old U.S. company that monitors disease outbreaks worldwide, claims it identified the first case of the new virus on Mar. 30 in the municipality of Perote, in the southeastern Mexican state of Veracruz, 800 km from the Mexican capital.

The Seattle, Washington-based company says it reported the cases to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCs) and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) in early April.

A pig factory farm run by Granjas Carroll, a subsidiary of the U.S.-based Smithfield Foods - the world's largest pork producer and processor - operates near the Perote village of La Gloria.

Mexico's health ministry confirmed Wednesday that the first case in Mexico of swine flu - which is a new mix of pig, bird, and human viruses - occurred in Perote, although the first person to die of the disease in this country was an employee of a national tax office on Apr. 12 in the southern state of Oaxaca.

Researchers and activists point to intensive pig farming as a perfect breeding-ground for new viruses.

See LQD: The NAFTA flu.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:09:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Swine of the times: The making of the modern pig--By Nathanael Johnson (Harper's Magazine)

My interest in pig sex began over drinks at a bar in Burley, Idaho. My friend Becky was telling me that she couldn't stand her job at a big hog farm outside of town. Each day she faced an unending line of sows filing into the room where she worked. Occasionally one of the 200-pound pigs broke ranks, knocking Becky down.

"Sometimes they get nervous when you stimulate them," she said.

I set down my beer.


"Yeah, for artificial insemination. Usually if you bring a boar around they'll get in the mood. But if not you just have to get in there and start rubbing away."

by Fran on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:34:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I recall an interview on NPR a while ago with a woman whose job it was to apply an "electro-ejaculator" to eager boars.  Real boars.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 03:00:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Swine flu: two new cases of virus in UK confirmed today | World news | guardian.co.uk

Two new cases of swine flu in the UK were confirmed today, bringing the total number of cases to 15. The latest cases involve an adult in the north-west and a child in the south-east. There are now 12 people confirmed ill with the virus in England and three in Scotland, the Department of Health said.

Both of the new cases are associated with travel to Mexico, the Health Protection Agency said. "Following a thorough risk assessment, no school closure is necessary in relation to the south-east case as the child did not exhibit symptoms while attending school," a spokesman added.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:44:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters: Hong Kong hotel quarantine move stirs controversy

HONG KONG, May 2 (Reuters) - Travellers quarantined in a Hong Kong hotel for a week after a Mexican guest tested positive for the H1N1 flu expressed dismay on Saturday at the tough steps, while an infectious disease expert said the authorities had over-reacted.

Police wearing surgical masks sealed off the Metropark hotel on Friday night after test results on the 25-year-old Mexican man were confirmed, ordering approximately 200 guests and 100 staff to stay in the hotel for the next seven days.
by Sassafras on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 01:55:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Swine flu spread 'not sustained'

There is no evidence of the swine flu virus spreading in a sustained way outside North America, a top World Health Organization official says.

Dr Michael Ryan, WHO Director of Global Alert and Response, praised European nations' handling of cases and said events did not seem out of control.

Mexico has cut its suspected death toll by 75 to 101, indicating the outbreak may not be as bad as initially feared.

The country has ordered a five-day shutdown in a bid to contain the virus.

Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova told the BBC that, based on samples tested, the mortality rate was comparable with that of seasonal flu.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:49:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Outbreak in Mexico May Be Smaller Than Feared

Published: May 2, 2009  NYT

The organization said that 15 countries had reported a total of 615 cases of the infection, officially known as influenza A(H1N1), up from 367 cases late Friday. Dr. Ryan said that several countries in Europe reported additional confirmed cases on Saturday, including France, Germany, Spain, Great Britain, Israel, but he added: "There are a very small number of cases, it is very limited. At this stage it would be unwise to say that those events are out of control."

In the United States, the number of confirmed cases rose to 160 in 21 states, up from 141 cases in 19 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Saturday morning.

But even as Mexico, believed to be the epicenter of the outbreak, found that a little more than half of its suspected cases subjected to detailed tests so far did not actually involve the virus and health officials there believed that the spread of the virus was stabilizing, officials in the United States were more cautious about saying the health risk had decreased.

"Apparently the rate of infection is not as widespread as we might have thought," José Ángel Córdova, Mexico's health minister, said on Friday.

Of 908 suspected cases that were tested in Mexico, only 397 people turned out to have the virus, Mexican health officials reported on Friday. Of those, 16 people have died. Initially, Mexico had reported as many as 2,500 suspected cases, but the number of actual cases could turn out to be less than half the suspected number if further testing follows the same pattern as the original round.

The updated figures from Mexico indicate that about 44% of the suspected cases turn out to be the new flu.  If that percentage holds for the currently suspected 2,500 cases it implies a known total of 1,093 cases with the new flu.  With 16 known deaths from this flu that translates to an estimated mortality rate of about 1.5%, which is far less threatening than it seemed at the start of the week.  At the very least we can hope these trends hold.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 03:37:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Swine flu: the overreaction overreaction   May 2, 2009 10:38 AM, by revere

Laurie Garrett of the Council on Foreign Relations and a well-known authority on emerging infectious diseases was on PBS's Newshour last night and she made a very important but little appreciated point. Mexico has made a major national sacrifice for global public health by shutting down its country and interrupting transmission of disease. The cost to Mexico has already been enormous it will continue to pay in other ways. The reputation of the government has suffered because of the way it handled this -- the lack of transparency, the initial slow footedness (which of course it denies), its lack of credibility in the eyes of its citizens. There will continue to be a halo of risk and danger for an indeterminate time. And there will be the inevitable backlash against the government's actions, which went from cold to scalding hot in a week. We are starting to see this in the US as well: the "overreaction" backlash. So it's important to sort all of this out. What is the Big Picture at this point?


So that's where we are at this moment. There is some evidence from 1918 that cities that acted immediately to interrupt transmission by reducing opportunities for contact ("social distancing") did better than those that didn't. We would of course expect this on common sense grounds as well. That's what Mexico has done -- and I echo Laurie Garrett's point, they have done so at great cost to everyone's benefit. That is what is behind CDC's recommendations that a school be closed as soon as a case is confirmed. There is a cost to that, too. Proms are canceled, to the deep disappointment of the prom go-ers and the economic loss of the venues and ancillary businesses. Exams are delayed. Child care needs for younger students produce a ripple effect throughout the community. And as in Mexico, these costs can produce a backlash if the public doesn't understand why they have been incurred.

The irony is that the overreaction backlash will be more severe the more successful the public health measures are. If, for example, the virus peters out this spring because transmission was interrupted long enough for environmental conditions (whatever they are) to tip the balance against viral spread, CDC and local health officials will be accused of over reacting. It's another example of the adage, "When public health works, nothing happens." On the other hand, if local officials do nothing and things get worse, they will be accused of being slow.

It's not just the current reputation of local officials that concern me, however. If this virus does wane with the summer months (something we expect to happen), it's current mildness and its disappearance may lead citizens and decision makers back into the kind of reckless disregard of public health facts that has produced our current weak and brittle health infrastructure. But flu season will come again next fall, and it would be no scientific surprise if this strain is part of flu's repertoire. Most of the world would still be unprotected unless we spend the interim preparing for the possibility it will reappear in a more serious clinical form (flu viruses are notorious for that kind of change). When I say prepare, I am not just talking about a vaccine, although that will be an important, but difficult< part. We will also need to invest urgently in a health care, public health and social infrastructure to absorb the consequences of potentially large scale absenteeism. We will also need to work out policies that will allow social distancing measures to work (child care, sick leave policy and other issues).

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 11:32:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Naked nude hikers have been banned from Appenzell Inner Rhodes. - swissinfo
The decision by citizens of canton Appenzell Inner Rhodes to ban naked hikers has provided rich pickings for stand-up comedians and satirists.

Simon Enzler, a clothed cabaret artist from eastern Switzerland who uses the topic in his act, talks to swissinfo about what the average Appenzeller makes of it all and wonders where the nudist police are going to stick the SFr200 ($175) fines.

In a world first, on April 26 the traditional open-air assembly in Appenzell, a scenic region in eastern Switzerland, decided overwhelmingly to clamp down on a sudden influx of naked tourists, particularly from nearby Germany.

The government of Appenzell Inner Rhodes recommended the ban, saying the local population was opposed to the "indecent practice".

by Fran on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:12:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters: Pop star's arrest inspires "naked" T-shirts

TOKYO (Reuters) - What's wrong with being naked? That's what a Japanese TV star asked police who arrested him for public indecency when he was found drunk, naked and screaming in a Tokyo park in the early hours of the morning last week.

His words struck a chord with the public and have now become the slogan on a new range of T-shirts sold by online retailer ClubT.
by Sassafras on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 01:58:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Naked t-shirts?

What am I missing here?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 04:25:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The emperor's new clothes?
by Sassafras on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 06:47:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't Get Midwife? YouTube Will Assist - NYTimes.com

LONDON -- It was 2:30 in the morning, and Marc and Jo Stephens were at home in Redruth, Cornwall, when Ms. Stephens realized that their fourth child was about to be born, three weeks early.

Ms. Stephens's history of speedy births meant that there was no way they were going to make it to the hospital on time, her husband said Friday, according to the Press Association news service. Mr. Stephens called a midwife, who said she was too busy at the hospital to come to their house.

The next thing Mr. Stephens knew, his wife was on all fours, the baby's head was showing and events were moving inexorably along. Rather than having a panic attack, grabbing a large bottle of gin or running screaming into the street, Mr. Stephens, a 28-year-old navy engineer, applied the lessons he had learned earlier in the evening when, after his wife began labor, he typed "how to deliver a baby" into the Google search engine on his computer.

"I watched a couple of clips on YouTube," Mr. Stephens said.

by Fran on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:17:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An invention that could change the internet for ever - News, Gadgets & Tech - The Independent

The biggest internet revolution for a generation will be unveiled this month with the launch of software that will understand questions and give specific, tailored answers in a way that the web has never managed before.

The new system, Wolfram Alpha, showcased at Harvard University in the US last week, takes the first step towards what many consider to be the internet's Holy Grail - a global store of information that understands and responds to ordinary language in the same way a person does.

Although the system is still new, it has already produced massive interest and excitement among technology pundits and internet watchers.

Computer experts believe the new search engine will be an evolutionary leap in the development of the internet. Nova Spivack, an internet and computer expert, said that Wolfram Alpha could prove just as important as Google. "It is really impressive and significant," he wrote. "In fact it may be as important for the web (and the world) as Google, but for a different purpose.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 3rd, 2009 at 03:42:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 11:13:10 AM EST
Guardian: Afghans beat English side as village cricket comes to Kabul

The cucumber sandwiches may have been in short supply and many of the spectators ringing the boundary bemused US soldiers, but today a slice of English village green cricket was transported to the headquarters of the west's military mission in Afghanistan.

To roars of approval from a mixed crowd of foreigners and locals, a team from the Ditchling cricket club in Sussex were soundly thrashed by Afghanistan's national side, a squad of former refugees that is rapidly emerging as a power in international cricket.
by Sassafras on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 11:33:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Capa's lost art finally exposed

To the untrained eye, it is just a tattered cardboard box, holding row upon row of photographic negatives. To photography experts it is part of the "Mexican Suitcase", a cultural legend that went missing for 70 years, containing the most enigmatic work of the acclaimed war photographer Robert Capa.
by Sassafras on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 11:41:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Angela Merkel Lingerie Ad Shocks Germany

The AFP reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel appears in a lingerie ad wearing nothing more than a purple matching bra and panties set.

AFP reports that the ad is for an underwear company that is offering a $7 discount on new undies to anyone who trades in an old pair. The slogan of the campaign is, "The country needs new undies."

by Fran on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:07:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 03:28:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And is it a fact that they are all hairless?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 05:03:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Telegraph: 'Alien skull' spotted on Mars

At first glance it looks like a rocky desert - but this image of the Mars landscape has got space-gazers talking.

An oddly shaped space boulder appears to show eye sockets and a nose leading to speculation it might be a Martian skull.

[Torygraph Alert]  And the next thing you know, they'll be wanting to join the EU and swamp us with hard-working plumbers...

by Sassafras on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 02:07:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's probably next to the famous railway sleeper.

(Half way up on the left.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 04:29:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well if they've got trains they're probably part of the EU already, Come think of it my Plumber did look rather green last week.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 07:08:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Look, we all know The Little Mermaid left that there.

Probably the skull as well.  Which makes them carnivorous mermaids. Who have been watching British home improvement programmes and can't get enough of railway sleeper garden features.

by Sassafras on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 07:14:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We're not in Corby any more. Clearly.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 09:24:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
one place, that no matter the situation, I will never, ever, ever live again.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 10:03:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 3rd, 2009 at 05:17:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Art of Invisibility.... or the Invisible Art??!! | NowPublic News Coverage

Normally, the more conventional way of making something dissappear, especially cars, is to destroy them and recycle. However, a totally different approach to making a car disappear has just been attempted and that too successfully.

An art student, Sara Watson who is studying drawing at the University of Central Lancashire made a battered old Skoda "invisible" by painting it so that it merges with the surrounding car park.

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 May 3rd, 2009 at 05:37:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
La Vida Locavore:: The Animals are Getting the Pink Slip (A Bronx Zoo photo and action diary)
At this point 105,029 people have been laid off in New York City but while our loris is a bit slow, there is something very wrong with the richest city in the nation looking for a new home for one of our our cutest animals and many of the other creatures of the night.

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 May 3rd, 2009 at 06:49:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Prince is very easy to read, and a truly interesting book. It holds a lot of universal truths about man, politics and war.

Macchiavelli deserves his fame, abut maybe not the nasty connotations "machiavellian" has taken, because he's not actually cynical, just very observant...

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 05:54:04 PM EST
Niccolo Machiavelli
with Machiavelli knowingly advocating actions which are wrong. Yet, although he explicitly writes that a prince needs to learn how not to be good, he may yet resist the immorality charge. To challenge conventional moral thinking is not thereby to be immoral; and contrary to popular image, The Prince is much concerned with which actions truly are right.

It's a good book, and a good read.

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

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 07:05:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's observant, but remember he was writing about politics and war five hundred years ago.

It's shockingly disappointing that science, art, technology, medicine, spirituality and culture have all been transformed out of recognition and beyond imagination since then - while politcs, war and econmics are the same old same old.

Just because that's the way it's been done for a long time doesn't mean the truths are truly universal, or in any way inevitable.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 09:28:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
any suggestion that it has changed in the past 500 years (or the past 2,500, for that matter: what you write about Machiavelli applies to Greek philosopher as well)?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 3rd, 2009 at 05:18:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did the Greeks or Florentines have unemployment support or a public horror of torture?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun May 3rd, 2009 at 05:52:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's shockingly disappointing that science, art, technology, medicine, spirituality and culture have all been transformed out of recognition and beyond imagination since then - while politcs, war and econmics are the same old same old.

Probably cos these are all about how the human animal interacts with others of the same species and we haven't had a new type of human in several tens of thousands of years. So the song remains the same.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 3rd, 2009 at 08:00:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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