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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 14 August

by Fran Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:49:38 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1926 – Birth of Lina Wertmüller, an Italian film writer and director. In 1976, she became the first woman ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for Directing with Seven Beauties.

More here and here

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by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:27:26 PM EST
Europe's political scandals: Alicante-gate, MP scandals and Berlusconi - the European magazine ~ Cafebabel
Italy's playboy PM, Britain's MP guzzlers and Germany's 'Minister Shameless' (according to the Berliner Zeitung) are sharing the heat: the lull in the traditional summer silly season has prompted mass media coverage of affairs and scandals
by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:34:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and that's just scratching the surface. We have a generation of politicians who expect that high office is simply a gateway to riches. Service is just so ..  20th century.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 03:59:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Putin makes surprise visit to Abkhazia, pledges Russia defense | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 12.08.2009
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia Wednesday, calling on the UN to recognize its independence and pledging billions in military support. 

Vladimir Putin interrupted his vacation on the Black Sea resort of Sochi to visit Abkhazia, vowing to spend at least 15 to 16 billion rubles (325 to 347 million euros; $461 to $494 million) to build military bases in the separatist Georgian region.

"Russia is showing and will show economic, political and if necessary military support to Abkhazia," Putin said in a news conference in Abkhazia on Wednesday, according to Russia news agencies.

Moscow recognized Abkhazia and another breakaway Georgian region, South Ossetia, as independent states last year after a five-day war between Russia and Georgia. Russian troops repelled a Georgian attempt to retake South Ossetia in August.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:37:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Racial Hatred in Election Campaign: Black CDU Politician 'Won't Be Intimidated' By Far-Right Party - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The far-right NPD party is harassing a black member of Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats ahead of elections in an eastern German state and telling him he should leave the country. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, Zeca Schall says he refuses to be intimidated.

A black politician in the eastern German state of Thuringia is being harassed by members of the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) -- but says he refuses to be intimidated.

CDU politician Zeca Schall says the far-right campaign against him is just electioneering. Earlier this week, the NPD released a press statement suggesting they would like to hold "direct talks" with Zeca Schall, a member of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Schall's picture appears next to that of Dieter Althaus, the current state premier of Thuringia, on CDU posters put up in preparation for state elections on Aug. 30. The NPD also described Schall as the CDU's "token nigger."

In the statement, the NPD also said they would like to "encourage" Schall, who came to Germany from Angola in 1988 and who has been a German citizen for the past four years, to return to his homeland and start a new life there. They said that a local should be doing his job. Schall is responsible for issues of integration -- that is, issues involving immigration and multi-culturalism -- for the CDU in Thuringia.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:40:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
People keep saying that this racist uprising is just the last knockings, but I can't help feeling there's something else going on that has infiltrated our culture that has allowed hatred to be legitimised.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 04:03:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
cuz racism is but one of the hydra's heads?

'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 Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 05:29:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of all the predictions, one hopes that you are wrong, but fears that there is something going on that we are not completely aware of.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 05:46:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't help feeling there's something else going on that has infiltrated our culture that has allowed hatred to be legitimised.

when you model a reality to children for a few generations where there is no more time for deep love, tenderness, solid, appropriate boundaries and optimism to better the world, this is what fills that void.

it's easy to see when another animal is traumatised, why so hard with a human, other than humans are practically the only species that kills its own?

all that matters is matter, they said.

hard to keep soul alive in that medium...

'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 Sat Aug 15th, 2009 at 08:36:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU flu panel says schools should stay open

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU experts have said there is no need to stop children going back to school in September to prevent the spread of swine flu.

"There is presently no need to enact pre-emptive mass school closures," the EU's Health Security Committee said in a statement on Thursday (13 August).

It added that schools or classes should be shut down on a case-by-case basis following the detection of an outbreak, however.

"The approach to locally close schools reactively upon infection being found among students, may be beneficial to delay the transmission of the virus," the statement said.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:41:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France plans school closures, remote learning to tackle swine flu crisis | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 13.08.2009
France plans to close all schools and opt for long-distance learning in the event of a widespread swine flu crisis, the country's education minister, Luc Chatel, said in an interview Wednesday. 

"In case of a complete pandemic we are ready to close all of the schools in France," Chatel told the Paris-based daily Le Figaro. "No threshold has been fixed for the closing of a school. It will be adapted on a case-by-case basis," said the minister.

Lessons would be given via the internet and public broadcasting channels, Chatel revealed. Preparations for such a scenario are already complete.

French authorities had, over the summer, worked on distance learning materials that can be broadcast on television, radio and the internet to help students forced to stay home keep up with their classes, he added.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:48:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lost in Translation: English Nazi Slogans Are Legal, German Court Rules - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Using Nazi symbols and slogans is a punishable crime in Germany. But now neo-Nazis may have more leeway after a federal German court ruled that slogans are not illegal if they are translated into another language.

Is a Nazi slogan still a Nazi slogan if it is uttered in English instead of German? Not necessarily -- at least according to Germany's Federal Court of Justice.

This 2006 police photo shows propaganda material seized from the banned Blood and Honour group. In a landmark decision Thursday, the Karlsruhe-based court ruled that using Nazi slogans translated into a language other than German would not, in general, be a punishable crime.

The ruling is linked to a case in which a neo-Nazi was prosecuted and fined €4,200 ($6,000) in 2005 for distributing clothing and merchandising bearing the slogan "Blood and Honour," written in English. With the ruling, the court overturned the verdict against the neo-Nazi, who was not named, but said it could still be possible to prosecute him under other laws relating to right-wing extremism.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:42:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's quite fashionable amongst the slope foreheaded here to write their slogans in german. gothique chic (or is that gothic chique ?)

anyhow, I always wonder at how nationalists can't get their story right. The english language is what foreigners should learn, but we write german amongst ourselves

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 04:06:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nazis are not known for their stringent and clear-headed logic. ^^

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 02:19:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Missing ship may have secret cargo - Europe, World - The Independent
A secret cargo and not just timber may be on board a missing ship whose last known radio contact was with British Coastguards, it has been suggested.

Russia's navy fleet and two nuclear submarines have been scrambled as efforts intensified to locate the Maltese-flagged Arctic Sea and its 15-strong Russian crew.

Experts and marine authorities continue to be baffled that the 4,000-tonne vessel "disappeared" after its last official recorded positioning off northern France on July 30.

Mikhail Voitenko, editor of Russia's Sovfracht maritime bulletin, said the ship, carrying about £1 million-worth of sawn timber from Finland to Algeria, might have been targeted because it was also loaded with an unknown cargo.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:47:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The local bloggers are all up in arms, thinking that this is a Russian maskirovka to show the inadequacy of the Swedish coastguard (the ship was taken between Gotland and Öland), requiring a bigger Russian naval presence, just like the Nord stream pipeline and the "invasion harbour" they are building on Gotland.

Yes, this is the Swedish excuse of a security debate. Either the Russians will invade tomorrow, or there cannot possibly be any kind of a threat whatsoever for the next 1000 years.

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

by Starvid on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 02:23:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / UK / Politics & policy - Ministers consider legislation on bonuses
Senior cabinet ministers are so disappointed with the Financial Services Authority's new pay rules, released this week, they are considering whether legislation may be needed to crack down on bankers' bonuses.

A number of ministers, including Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, are understood to be unhappy with the City regulator's remuneration code, which toned down some earlier suggested measures.

Lord Mandelson thinks the guidelines, intended to reduce reckless risk-taking, have failed to reflect public concerns that the City is returning to "business as usual" after receiving billions in state support.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 02:51:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
no ability to decide on tax levels anymore. Pathetic.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 04:55:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe the government could reinvent itself as an NGO and survive on tax-deductible charitable donations from wealthy individuals and Corporate Social Responsibility handouts. But without taxes, charitable donations wouldn't have tax benefits, so people wouldn't have an incentive to give...

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 04:58:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This post has been nominated for Great Idea of the Year as well as <Snark> of the Year. Please vote your conscience.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 07:06:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:27:50 PM EST
Vacation workers accept lower pay | Radio Netherlands Worldwide

School holiday jobs are earning young people less this year, a survey by the FNV trades union has shown.

In its report, published on Thursday, FNV says that 67 percent of the young workers are accepting lower wages because of the economic crisis. 31 percent of them told FNV that they earned less because there was not enough work.

Chairman Jeroen de Glas of FNV's youth union FNV Jong told ANP that the holiday workers spontaneously told researchers that they often volunteerd to work an extra hour without getting paid; others said they had agreed to lower wages fearing not to have a holiday job at all if they demanded more pay. "That's understandable, but it's not right," the union chairman said.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:31:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rise in G.D.P. Lifts Germany Out of Recession - NYTimes.com

BERLIN, Aug 13 (Reuters) - German gross domestic product (GDP) rose unexpectedly by 0.3 percent in the second quarter, bringing an end to the country's deepest recession since World War Two and boosting hopes of recovery in the broader euro-zone.

The Federal Statistics Office said on Thursday the preliminary quarter-on-quarter rise was led by increases in private and public consumption, construction and net trade, as a slump in imports outpaced a decline in exports.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:33:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French Rises 0.3 Percent, Economy Minister Says - NYTimes.com

PARIS, Aug 13 (Reuters) - French gross domestic product posted a surprise return to growth in the second quarter, rising by 0.3 percent, French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said on Thursday.

"The data is very surprising. After four negative quarters France is finally coming out of the red and growth is returning to positive territory at plus 0.3," Lagarde told RTL radio, shortly before the figure was due to be officially released by statistics office INSEE at 0645 GMT.

Germany also announced a surprise rise in second quarter GDP of 0.3 percent. Analysts had expected both countries to report GDP shrank in the quarter by 0.3 percent.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:33:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UK has to wait as Europe recovers - Business News, Business - The Independent
France and Germany have snapped out of recession unexpectedly early, according to the first estimates of growth released by the European statistics agency.

Both economies grew by 0.3 per cent between April and June, a much better performance than analysts had anticipated and one in stark contrast to the 0.8 per cent contraction seen in Britain. It means that, for now at east, their year-long recession is over.

The news comes just as the German election campaign gets into full swing, with polling day set for 27 September. Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats enjoy a 15 point lead in the opinion polls over their Social Democrat rivals and the evidence that her economic polices appear to be working may further improve her chances of re-election.

The relative strong performances in the euro currency zones two largest economies helped pull the entire region to within a whisker of recovery - economic activity in the eurozone as a whole fell by only 0.1 per cent, dragged lower by the sluggish performances in other large economies such as Italy and the Netherlands. The stabilisation of the European economy comes after a hefty 2.5 per cent drop in output recorded in the first months of this year.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:44:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UK has to wait ?? Till hell freezes over while we continue the neoliberal tendency under Brown/Cameron.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 04:09:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Keynes rescues France and Germany, leaving Club Med behind - Telegraph

Crass Keynesianism has done its job. A blast of fiscal stimulus and "cash-for-clunker" schemes have lifted France and Germany from the depths of recession.

The twin motors of Europe each eked out 0.3pc growth in the second quarter, much to the consternation of their own governments and the International Monetary Fund. The eurozone as a whole shrank 0.1pc. Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, interrupted her holiday to announce that "France was finally coming out of the red". Her country has been cushioned by its big state sector and well-regulated banks. Growth may have been lifted by a bumper crop of Airbus jets, meeting old orders, so caution is in order. Airbus will trim its A320 lines in October. "It is too early to declare victory," said Marc Touati, from Global Equities.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 03:29:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
as opposed to what kind? Or to what kind of neoliberalism?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 04:56:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Euro-zone economy continues to shrink | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 13.08.2009
The economy of the 16 nations that use the euro contracted marginally in the second quarter, even as two of Europe's largest economies, Germany and France, unexpectedly emerged from recession.  

Europe's economy remains mired in recession, with second quarter figures published on Thursday showing gross domestic product (GDP) contracting by 0.1 percent in the euro zone and by 0.3 percent in the European Union as a whole on the quarter. 

The estimates by the European statistical office, Eurostat, dashed hopes of an earlier-than-expected recovery on the continent after two of the EU's biggest economies - Germany and France - both grew by 0.3 percent.

Their performances were offset by those of Italy and Britain, where GDP fell on the previous quarter by 0.5 and 0.8 percent respectively.

However, Eurostat's figures were better than the predicted 0.5 percent contraction between April and June.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:38:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Carbon Credit Trading | Bloomberg | 13 Aug 2009

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. would be barred from a planned U.S. carbon- emissions market or face trading restrictions under proposals by Democratic senators crafting climate change legislation.

At least nine members of the majority party say speculation by Wall Street banks may cause excessive price swings in the cap-and-trade system of pollution allowances at the center of President Barack Obama's plan to curb global warming. ...

House Democrats won passage of a climate bill by giving away 85 percent of the initial pollution allowances to energy producers and users.

The House version would add controls over derivatives both in the new carbon market and in existing trading of energy commodities, such as limiting trading positions and increasing reporting requirements. The bill would let banks trade in carbon markets.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is considering new restrictions on dealers in existing energy markets that may also apply to carbon trading. The commission's general counsel maintains it can act to limit speculation without action by Congress. The Obama administration this week sent Congress draft legislation that would place new limits on derivatives trading. ...

Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael Duvally said the company had no comment. The bank "will continue to act as a market maker in emissions trading," including carbon dioxide, according to an environmental policy paper it issued.

Curbs would apply to any bank that wanted to participate in the U.S. market, including some of Europe's largest carbon traders such as Britain's Barclays Plc, Societe Generale SA of France and Deutsche Bank AG of Germany.

Markets will have inadequate liquidity without bank participation, Bill Winters, co-chief executive officer of JPMorgan's investment bank, said at a July 23 press conference in New York.

Everyone sitting down?

Carbon markets "will die, and the temperature on the planet will go up by a couple of degrees, more than it would have otherwise, and we'll be really sorry about it," Winters said.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 05:12:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good measure. I would prefer just forbidding derivatives rather than restricting participation, but restricting participation will also work out.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 05:45:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
O my goodness. I should think carbon credit derivatives trades farcical.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 11:45:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Next Bubble to Burst Is Banks' Big Loan Values: Jonathan Weil - Bloomberg.com
Check out the footnotes to Regions Financial Corp.'s latest quarterly report, and you'll see a remarkable disclosure. There, in an easy-to-read chart, the company divulged that the loans on its books as of June 30 were worth $22.8 billion less than what its balance sheet said. The Birmingham, Alabama-based bank's shareholder equity, by comparison, was just $18.7 billion.

So, if it weren't for the inflated loan values, Regions' equity would be less than zero. Meanwhile, the government continues to classify Regions as "well capitalized."
...
While Regions may be an extreme example of inflated loan values, it's not unique. Bank of America Corp. said its loans as of June 30 were worth $64.4 billion less than its balance sheet said. The difference represented 58 percent of the company's Tier 1 common equity, a measure of capital used by regulators that excludes preferred stock and many intangible assets, such as goodwill accumulated through acquisitions of other companies.

Wells Fargo & Co. said the fair value of its loans was $34.3 billion less than their book value as of June 30. The bank's Tier 1 common equity, by comparison, was $47.1 billion.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 05:26:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Next Wave of the Financial Crisis Is Coming (And Why)

These excerpts from the most recent TARP Congressional Oversight Panel Report make the risks in the US financial system abundantly clear.

Do you think that the Congress has the will and the ability to act on their recommendation, with the men currently in positions of power on the key Committees? Do you believe that the Obama Administration is capable of reforming itself and effecting genuine change with so many Wall Street denizens forming their policy?

   "In order to advance a full recovery in the economy, there must be greater transparency, accountability, and clarity, from both the government and banks, about the scope of the troubled asset problem."

We are persuaded that the government is waiting for the next wave of failures, or some exogenous event of catastrophic proportion, to provide their rationale to take new aggressive action.  But while the financial oligarchy is in control of the men in power, we doubt that these will be the right steps for the majority of Americans, the US economy, and its debt holders.


Jessie quotes Thoreau:

"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to the one who is striking at the root."

 Unfortunately there are only 538 in Congress and few of them are even hacking at the branches, and even fewer in the administration.  So good luck to us on that root part.

Jessie quotes more from the report:


"...But, it is likely that an overwhelming portion of the troubled assets from last October remain on bank balance sheets today.

If the troubled assets held by banks prove to be worth less than their balance sheets currently indicate, the banks may be required to raise more capital. If the losses are severe enough, some financial institutions may be forced to cease operations. This means that the future performance of the economy and the performance of the underlying loans, as well as the method of valuation of the assets, are critical to the continued operation of the banks.

...If the economy worsens, especially if unemployment remains elevated or if the commercial real estate market collapses, then defaults will rise and the troubled assets will continue to deteriorate in value. Banks will incur further losses on their troubled assets. The financial system will remain vulnerable to the crisis conditions that TARP was meant to fix.

...Part of the financial crisis was triggered by uncertainty about the value of banks' loan and securities portfolios. Changing accounting standards helped the banks temporarily by allowing them greater leeway in describing their assets, but it did not change the underlying problem. In order to advance a full recovery in the economy, there must be greater transparency, accountability, and clarity, from both the government and banks, about the scope of the troubled asset problem. Treasury and relevant government agencies should work together to move financial institutions toward sufficient disclosure of the terms and volume of troubled assets on institutions‟ books so that markets can function more effectively. Finally, as noted above, Treasury must keep in mind the particular challenges facing small banks.

This crisis was years in the making, and it won‟t be resolved overnight. But we are now ten months into TARP, and troubled assets remain a substantial danger to the
financial system.

...Nonetheless, financial stability remains at risk if the underlying problem of troubled assets remains unresolved."


H/T to Naked Capitalism

The report continues in numbing detail. High on the list of pending problems is Commercial Real Estate, which will hit smaller banks, banks that were not required to undergo a "stress test."  Congress mandated that the Commission make reports.  Unfortunately, they are free to ignore them.  But these reports do seem to contain a broad spectrum herbicide for the "green shoots".  But they can always paint the shoots green.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 12:02:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Update: Week Of August 12    Zero Hedge

Foreign holdings of US Securities decreased for the first time in 5 months by $299 million sequentially (weekly) to $2,809.9 billion from $2,810.2 billion in the prior month. Keep in mind in the same time period the Fed purchased over $16.6 billion of Treasuries, indicating that in the last week the Fed was the only purchaser of Treasuries. In a normal environment this would be a very troubling development.

And to underscore that deflation still rules, The Federal Reserve's Monetary Base number of $1,643 billion was a decline of $31 billion MoM. Additionally Deposit Reserves were at $772.6 billion, a $33.2 billion decline MoM (hopefully this simply means that some banks have finally resorted to pushing excess reserves out of the basement and out the door).



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 12:18:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In a normal environment this would be a very troubling development.

But this is not a normal environment, so, no problem?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 12:21:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that's econo-speak for 'Back away from the obvious conclusions, before someone gets hurt.'
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 10:39:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even more gilded - Paul Krugman Blog - NYTimes.com

the latest inequality numbers from Emmanuel Saez, now updated to 2007, didn't get much attention. But they're truly amazing:



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 01:50:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Research Recap » Blog Archive » Happiness Gains Ground as an Economic Indicator
Subjective well-being or the `economics of happiness' measures individuals' well-being and examines its determinants through statistical analysis. Its rising influence among academic economists and policymakers as an alternative, or complementary, measure to growth in per capita income raises questions about its intellectual credibility and policy applicability.


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 02:40:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Americas / Economy & Trade - Sharp drop in remittances to Latin America
Remittance flows to Latin America and the Caribbean will drop by 11 per cent in 2009 to $62bn, the lowest level since 2006, according to research carried out by the Inter-American Development Bank.

"The decline will have a direct effect on more than 1m households in Latin America and the Caribbean, half of which are in Mexico," says the IDB report, published on Tuesday.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 02:54:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:28:22 PM EST
Interrogation Inc. - A Window Into C.I.A.'s Embrace of Secret Jails - NYTimes.com
WASHINGTON -- In March 2003, two C.I.A. officials surprised Kyle D. Foggo, then the chief of the agency's main European supply base, with an unusual request. They wanted his help building secret prisons to hold some of the world's most threatening terrorists.

Mr. Foggo, nicknamed Dusty, was known inside the agency as a cigar-waving, bourbon-drinking operator, someone who could get a cargo plane flying anywhere in the world or quickly obtain weapons, food, money -- whatever the C.I.A. needed. His unit in Frankfurt, Germany, was strained by the spy agency's operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, but Mr. Foggo agreed to the assignment.

"It was too sensitive to be handled by headquarters," he said in an interview. "I was proud to help my nation."

With that, Mr. Foggo went on to oversee construction of three detention centers, each built to house about a half-dozen detainees, according to former intelligence officials and others briefed on the matter. One jail was a renovated building on a busy street in Bucharest, Romania, the officials disclosed. Another was a steel-beam structure at a remote site in Morocco that was apparently never used. The third, another remodeling project, was outside another former Eastern bloc city. They were designed to appear identical, so prisoners would be disoriented and not know where they were if they were shuttled back and forth. They were kept in isolated cells.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:30:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fran:
Mr. Foggo, nicknamed Dusty

cc alert

'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 Sat Aug 15th, 2009 at 08:49:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Americas | 'Dirty war' general found guilty

A former general who headed a notorious detention centre during Argentina's military rule has been sentenced to life in prison for human rights abuses.

Santiago Omar Riveros, 86, commanded the Campo de Mayo military barracks on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

He was found guilty of involvement in the 1976 murder of 15-year-old communist youth member, Floreal Avellaneda, who was tortured to death.

Some 30,000 people disappeared or died in Argentina's 1976-1983 "Dirty War".

Riveros's former intelligence chief, Fernando Verplaetsen, was also jailed for 25 years in connection with the boy's killing.

And four other officers were given jail terms of between eight and 18 years.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:31:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
does anyone know why this guy has been thrown to the wolves ? I'm not complaining, I'd like all such people face a jury of their peers, but it's so unusual that it makes me wonder what's behind it ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 04:12:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
more than a few of the senior people involved in the dictature have been sentenced and jailed. I don't have a list, but would not call it rare.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:02:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Geneva Conventions turn 60 | France 24
With this year marking the 60th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, FRANCE 24's Focus programme looks at whether these texts governing international humanitarian law are applicable in the conflicts of today.

AFP - Conflicts will get ever more "pernicious," the ICRC's chief said Wednesday on the 60th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, as he made a fresh plea for armed groups and states to protect civilians and detainees.
   
"On the 60th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, I make a heartfelt plea to states and non-state armed groups who are also bound by their provisions to show the requisite political will to turn legal provisions into a meaningful reality," said Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
   
"I urge them to show good faith in protecting the victims of armed conflicts - conflicts that in view of the challenges I have mentioned today are likely to become ever-more pernicious in the years to come," he added.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:32:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now Chavez takes a swing at golf - Americas, World - The Independent

He has already railed, to little effect, against the capitalist corruption behind the Yankee Devil USA, evil oil conglomerates, and the craven international media. Now President Hugo Chavez has turned his attention to a still more infuriating target, and one that will win the sympathies of millions of people around the world, whatever their views of Marxism: golf.

The Venezuelan leader is trying to shut down some of his country's best-known courses. It's hardly the worst example of the global bourgeois conspiracy, but he had to start somewhere. "Let's leave this clear," said on his live television programme on Sunday. "Golf is a bourgeois sport."

The two latest courses to be targeted are in Maracay, close to the capital Caracas, and the coastal resort of Caraballeda. If they are closed, no fewer than nine courses will have been shut down since the campaign began in 2006, Julio Torres, head of the Venezuela Golf Federation, told The New York Times this week. Most of them, it so happens, are in oil-producing regions, and therefore linked with an industry once demonised by Mr Chavez for its links with the political opposition, and by extension with those "damned Yanquis".

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:33:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Fight for Iran's Political Future: Revolution Leaders Struggle for Power in Tehran - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

In the wake of a bogus election, the deadly harassment of protestors and squabbling among hardliners, everything seems to have changed in Tehran. Two men could now pose a serious threat to the regime: Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri and multimillionaire Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Sometimes a kiss is more than just a kiss. The kiss in Tehran last Monday was certainly unique, as kisses go.

During the inauguration ceremony to mark his "reelection," disputed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 52, bowed to religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 70, and attempted to grasp his hand to kiss it, but Khamenei turned away at the last minute. When Ahmadinejad attempted to at least embrace the supreme leader, Khamenei turned away again, leaving Ahmadinejad awkwardly facing his shoulder. It was a scene straight out of a low-budget slapstick comedy.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:37:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now Tehran is filled with rumors that Khamenei, seeking a new balance, could persuade the parliament, in the coming weeks, to refuse to endorse the entire cabinet Ahmadinejad has proposed. This would lead to a new election, in which the religious leader could support a presidential candidacy for Ali Larijani, the speaker of the parliament.

That's plausible: I could see it happening, sooner or later. Larijani is a class act, with two smart brothers well-placed as well, apparently.

There was a rumour that Khameini's son - very influential - met the top military/security types with a plan to bump off Ahmadinejad, blame it on the reformists, and then crack down on them.

Tehran's a hotbed of rumours. Not like Washington and London at all.

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

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 09:04:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Israel troops 'shot Gaza civilians'

Israeli soldiers unlawfully shot and killed 11 Palestinian civilians, including four children, who were in groups waving white flags during the Gaza war, a report prepared by the US-based Human Rights Watch says.

Civilians Killed Holding White Flags in Gaza, published on Thursday, is HRW's third publication in five months condemning Israel's actions during the Gaza conflict, following allegations over white phosphorous and drones.

For its part, the Israeli government appears to have launched a campaign to discredit human-rights groups in an attempt to staunch the flow of damaging evidence of war crimes committed during the Gaza conflict.

It has begun by targeting HRW, as well as a local group of dissident army veterans, Breaking the Silence, which last month, published the testimonies of 26 Israeli soldiers who served in Gaza.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:40:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We all know what happened, but until this is pursued in Brussels or a significant european capital it's all so much "he said, she said"

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 04:14:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ecuador vs. Chevron:

Crude: The Real Price of Oil  And that's what makes the case against Chevron a compelling story for film - not unlike the Doe v. Unocal lawsuit or, more recently, Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Shell. Indigenous peoples are gaining access to the legal system to challenge governments and transnational companies and defend their human rights. You might not know their names, but the 30,000 indigenous people who filed suit against Texaco (now Chevron) in 1993 are more than Extras. They are the real-life protagonists.

...And in the other corner!:

Despite growing attacks against foreign investors, the Obama Administration decided to extend Ecuador's duty-free access to the United States under the ATPDEA program (while suspending Bolivia's access). However, in a letter to Congress last month, President Barack Obama warned that "my administration will monitor Ecuador's investment policies to ensure that Ecuador continues to meet its BIT obligations." President Obama also criticized Ecuadorian government meddling in the environmental trial against Chevron. "The U.S. government has encouraged Ecuadorian government officials to refrain from commenting on ongoing judicial cases," Obama wrote, referring to the Chevron case.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 03:29:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:28:50 PM EST
SPACE.com -- Newfound Planet Orbits Backward

Planets orbit stars in the same direction that the stars rotate. They all do. Except one.

A newfound planet orbits the wrong way, backward compared to the rotation of its host star. Its discoverers think a near-collision may have created the retrograde orbit, as it is called.

The star and its planet, WASP-17, are about 1,000 light-years away. The setup was found by the UK's Wide Area Search for Planets (WASP) project in collaboration with Geneva Observatory. The discovery was announced today but has not yet been published in a journal.

"I would have to say this is one of the strangest planets we know about," said Sara Seager, an astrophysicist at MIT who was not involved in the discovery.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:34:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Flying Dutchman: Teen Takes to the Skies in Pedal-Powered Plane - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

At the tender age of 16, Jesse van Kuijk already knew he wanted to fly. But he didn't take flying lessons or train as a flight attendant. Instead, he built his own pedal-powered aircraft and became one of a select group of people to take to the skies under their own steam.

Jesse van Kuijk loves his sister. But lend her his airplane? No way. He's worked too hard and too long on the muscle-powered aircraft -- he's its developer, builder and pilot. Van Kuijk even turned down the professional cyclist who offered to help him get sponsorship for the pedal-powered aircraft he was building.

When asked questions like, "Can I have a go?," the thin, amiable, 19-year-old Dutchman turns tough. There is absolutely no way, he says -- no one else is going flying this machine. No way. And that's that.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:38:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tropical Comeback: Can New Growth Save the Amazon Rainforest? - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Is the Amazon rainforest recovering? New studies suggest that the long-term consequences of deforestation may not be as bad as predicted, as vegetation makes a comeback on abandoned agricultural land.

Felipe Garcia's shack backs up against a wall of forest. "My neighbors abandoned their farm seven years ago," says Garcia, a farmer. "Now the jungle has taken over their property once again." He strokes his round belly, and says: "And if I don't till my field, it'll look the same way in a few years."

Garcia is a member of the Ngöbe tribe, the largest indigenous group in Panama. He is one of the few residents of the small town of Chilibre who still makes a living farming. Most of the local farmers abandoned their farms long ago. "Farming is too hard work for the young people," Garcia complains. "They prefer to work in the capital."

Panama City's office buildings are about an hour's drive away. Chilibre has become a bedroom community as residents choose to commute to the capital. It has also become a field laboratory for botanists and ecologists fascinated by the dense vegetation that has returned to abandoned farms in the former Canal Zone within just a few years.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:39:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:29:21 PM EST
France 24 | Paris pool bans 'burqini'-clad woman | France 24
A Parisian pool has refused entry to a Muslim woman who was wearing a "burqini", on the grounds that the head-to-toe swimsuit broke the pool's hygiene rules. A French newspaper quoted the woman complaining of segregation.

AFP - A Paris swimming pool has refused entry to a young Muslim woman wearing a "burqini," a swimsuit that covers most of the body, officials said Wednesday.

The pool ban came as French lawmakers conduct hearings on whether to ban the burqa after President Nicolas Sarkozy said the head-to-toe veil was "not welcome" in secular France.
 
Officials in the Paris suburb of Emerainville said they let the woman swim in the pool in July wearing the "burqini," designed for Muslim women who want to swim without revealing their bodies.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:32:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Banning her seems extremely petty and blatantly discriminatory. I wonder what they were thinking ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 04:18:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A boy in Bermudas is not allowed to get into a public pool in France, for reasons of hygiene. If I go to the public waterworks ie pool etc, I must wear trunks not shorts. Is that because the French are discriminatory on grounds of religion? Ethinicity?

No, there are rules about keeping the water as clean as possible.

I am really tired of hearing BOLLOCKS about French discrimination against this and that.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 04:27:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
discrimination - against bathing suits. Yet there are some who might see it parallel to something else being discriminated. However, issues of hygiene or of safety, either perceived or real, can and should be settled in the long run in a society with religious Muslims.

Similar case in the Netherlands last year - woman in burqini comes to a public pool, during public hours. The pool staff receives complaints from other people present who felt offended by the presence of the burqini (!). The woman is removed from the pool, and wearing the burqini is next banned on the grounds that a burqini is not considered proper swimming wear (as described by regulations yadda yadda).

Woman in question kicks up media storm. National debate ensues, all the way up to the secretary of sports, who encourages use of burqini to further integration. The swimming pool in question comes around and until today allows burqinis in the pool during public hours. (I am not aware if there then were or currently are "special hours" assigned for Muslim women in Dutch pools.)

The decision to allow or ban were left to the pool's management, which has now resulted in some Dutch swimming pools explicitly forbidding burqinis, and some allowing it. If it's about hygiene or safety, this ambiguity cannot hold in the long run.

by Nomad on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 05:37:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The CDA is adamant about communities setting their own values so that the rural christians can go on living in their own bubbles. It's one of their most cherished principles, as close to a founding princple as any other of the party, and most other parties will go along with it if they have to form a coalition.

This means that regulation in the Netherlands can be profoundly divergent without any internal logic to back that, for a very, very long time.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 05:54:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
think I mentioned values in connection to "safety and hygiene". :)

That would've turned into a discussion about values, while in the case of the burqini in Zwolle it supposedly wasn't. (Ultimately I suspect it of course was about values, but that wouldn't be politically correct to say, and it wasn't by those merits the discussion was measured.)

Hence if the CDA wants to talk about values, they probably won't either, and talk about hygiene and safety and integration instead... The kind of stuff we can actually measure. And facts tend to have a liberal bias...

by Nomad on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 06:20:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True. But those in power will find some excuse to delay fact-based policy pretty much forever. You can always try a different excuse, as long as some municipality ruled by the CDA really wants to forbid this burqini.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 06:28:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
like this, doesn't really help methinks:

France 24 | Paris pool bans 'burqini'-clad woman | France 24

Communist MP Andre Gerin, who heads the National Assembly's burqa commission, called the "burqini" ridiculous and said pool administrators were right.

"We can't allow this. This is proof that there is a political agenda behind such dress," Gerin told Le Parisien.

I don't know the bloke, I don't know whether another butched up job of translating may be playing a part, and what what's more, I know very little of PR strategies - but all too often when a politician insinuates a "political agenda" coming from an adversary, he generally has one himself...

by Nomad on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 06:02:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The French original is here.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 09:33:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's talk about English prudishness, instead.

NY Press: England Doesn't Want to See That

It's a sad day for titillating menswear, as England's Alton Towers water park has forbidden men to wear Speedos.

With the ban, the park's administrators are striving to preserve a "family-friendly atmosphere" by "advising male bathers to wear more protective swimwear such as board shorts." But the families of Alton Towers refuse to be told what it is they want to see. To protest the new rule, some women bathers showed up in thongs. The amount of clothing is expected to decrease as Alton Towers' mandates become harsher.

Meanwhile, many French pools actually require that their bathers reveal the contours of their luggage. Says pool attendant Emmanuel Dormois, "Small, tight trunks can only be used for swimming. Bermudas or bigger swimming shorts can be worn elsewhere all day, so could bring in sand, dust or other matter, disturbing the water quality." Of course! Consider your hygiene, England!


We have to talk about something in the cucumber season.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 06:24:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Swedish city legalizes topless bathing....at public swimming pools

The City of Malmö decision after initially being asked to vote on a motion that would force women to cover up after a feminist group started appearing at pools topless. Instead they voted in an amended version that said that "everybody should wear bathing suits," leaving the door open for topless bathing as long as the woman was wearing a bottom part of a bikini.

A council spokesman told The Local that "We don't define what bathing suits men should wear so it doesn't make much sense to do it for women. And besides, it's not unusual for men to have large breasts that resemble women's breasts."

Topless Swedish bathers: 'They're just breasts' - The Local

In a preliminary action in the middle of last month, seven members of the Bara Bröst network hopped into a pool in Malmö wearing only bikini bottoms. Before long, they were whistled to the side and asked to leave.

Two weeks later, seven more women repeated the feat at Högevallsbadet in Lund. After half an hour's discussion, the women went back to the dressing room before claiming a full refund at the cash desk.

A spokeswoman for the leisure complex in Uppsala articulated why the women were not allowed to bathe topless.

"Swimming pools generally require men to wear swimming trunks and women to wear either bikinis or one piece swimsuits," Inger Grotteblad told The Local.

"There are three reasons for this. First, there is a security aspect, then there is a hygiene issue and finally there is what we call 'prevailing manners and customs'. It is above all this last point which is important here," she added.

Sweden's Equal Opportunities Ombudsman is expected to decide later this month whether or not to take up the case of the topless bathers.

Emphasis mine of course.

I sense a Swedish special coming up...

by Nomad on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 06:30:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, in spite of the new rules, no woman actually do swim topless, for the same reason they don't swim in thongs.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 02:28:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's more:

No more skimpy Speedos, says Alton Towers - Times Online

"The resort is also considering introducing mandatory bikini waxing for men, in a bid to prevent unsightly hair from being on display."

Alton Towers Resort sales and marking director Morwenna Angove, Alton Towers sales and marking director, said: "We feel this small brief style is not appropriate for a family venue so we are advising male bathers to wear more protective swimwear such as shorts."

"We are also looking into offering complimentary male waxing, which will preserve the dignity of all our guests."

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 06:30:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does this bikini-waxing idea extend to backs, armpits, faces, and skulls?
by asdf on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 06:39:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry.

Somebody else stop this madness; I'm going to bed.

by Nomad on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 06:41:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no end to this topic

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Pubic Shaving Trend Baffles Experts

All of the excitement is no accident. Young people have the media to thank for teaching them that normally hairy private parts are practically taboo these days. And study after study -- most of them funded by companies like Gillette, Philips and Wilkinson, who have cashed in on the trend -- are fueling this belief. According to a study conducted by the GfK market-research group that was commissioned by Wilkinson, 61.9 percent of women want men to shave their pubic hair. Similar sentiments apparently predominate among men, as can be seen from another recent study that concluded: "Unshaved women have fewer sex prospects."

Last November, Brähler came out with figures that were considerably more spectacular than his current results. At the time, a study he had conducted among university students concluded that 88 percent of women and 67 percent of men depilated their genital areas. Those numbers have since been circulating throughout the media. But they were based on a survey of only about 300 students at a university hospital. The new poll, on the other hand, provided representative results for the first time from 2,512 test subjects -- and the percentage of young men who said that they shaved their pubic hair precipitously dropped from close to 70 percent to a little more than 20 percent.

Experts are baffled by the phenomenon. "We can't explain it," Brähler says with a shrug. Nor has the newer study erased the world's memory of the older figures. Just last week, the conservative weekly paper Die Zeit declared in shocking, bold letters: "Shaving One's Pubic Hairs Has Become a Strict Fashion Necessity for Over Half of the Population." But if you believe the more recent report, the figure is actually much closer to 18.4 percent.

The Local: Topless bathers conspicuously absent at Malmö pools

Despite winning the right to bathe topless at all of the municipal swimming pools in Malmö, bare-breasted female bathers have remained conspicuous by their absence.

Few women it seems have rushed to exploit a recent ruling by the city's sports and recreation committee, in which it rejected a call for women to be obliged to cover their breasts while taking a dip in local pools.

"We haven't noticed any significant difference. My colleagues and I have not seen any women who have made use of the possibility to swim topless - not while we have been on duty anyway," said Zakrea El-Falou at Aqua-va-kul in central Malmö to The Local on Monday.

Neither has the warm summer weather encouraged Malmö's female bathers to take a stand as the news from the city's outdoor facilities is much the same.

"I haven't seen a single woman bathing topless during any of my shifts," Robert Nilsson at open-air Lindängsbadet said to The Local.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 07:10:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We should be allowed to walk around topless - but not that we will...

Reminds me how the Dutch government killed off aspirations for an independent Frysia by recognising their language - can't recall the full tale exactly.

by Nomad on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 03:22:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
nanne:
Experts are baffled by the phenomenon. "We can't explain it,"

Porn.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:30:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But I thought porn was demand driven...
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 12:01:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the same sense and to the same extent that designer clothes are demand-driven.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 06:02:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fawlty Towers Resort?

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 11:07:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pasty Brits in speedos > Muslim women in waterproof beekeeper suits.

Just sayin'.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Aug 24th, 2009 at 11:40:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hold on, bermudas are not allowed for another very good reason: Being made of a water-absorbent material they get saturated and therefore heavy and thus prone to falling down. Which is offensive to public decency. The hygeine excuse is patently ridiculous given that the dirtiest thing that will get in the pool are the bacteria-fests aka human beings. There is no virus/bacteria that can grow in bermudas that will not accumulate in swimming turnks as well. That's why they're so chlorinated, to kill off the detritus we carry around and which sloughs off when we swim.

Bermudas are not a hygiene issue.

So, where's the issue with a burkini ? IMO it's a ridiculous garment, but if people feel required to wear one what's the problem ? Seriously, what is the problem ? Unless you're expressing a bias against that particular dress code.

Now I'm baised against it myself, but mainly because my understanding of the Qu'ran as explained to me by islamic feminist scholars is that this is not a religious requirement, in fact it may even be against the specific word of Mohammed in the qu'ran. So it's a cultural imposition explicitly designed to reinforce a patriarchal view of the worth of women. But I don't hear that as an reason when others discuss the issue. I hear dog-whistles of something a little less savoury.

Now you can suggest I'm having a pop at France if you like, you aren't the first to do that here, but I don't like the tone of such bannings or comment in national discourse from whichever country I hear it. And it happens in the UK just as much as in France and I don't like it here either. But cos UK commentary on this issue  doesn't make the Salon very often, so you only hear me pop when it's France. Believe me, if this happened in the UK or wherever I'd say the self-same thing.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 04:24:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
can be used as citywear. Banning them is a way to force people to change into actual swimming suits and take a shower in the process. They can also carry a lot of dirt and stuff that may not be dangerous but will make swimming pools dirty because the dirt will simply stay around.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:06:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the burqini is clothing intended for pool use only aka swimming suit, and not intended for streetwear.

So what's the hygiene problem with the burqini?

by Nomad on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:16:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Muslims have cooties.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:18:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That argument does not apply to a woman's full-body swimsuit.

Hey, professional swimmers, both male and female, have used them for their improved hydrodynamic properties (to the point that they have been banned in competition because people swim too well in them).

Here's another reason for a full-body swimsuit: if you're very sensitive to the sun, you may prefer to swim with a t-shirt. I have taken to doing that when swimming at sea.

So, the point of bikinis and men's swimming shorts is not hygiene, it's a fashion involving the desire to show one's body and/or get a tan.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:18:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The point of changing into fairly minimal swimwear and taking a shower before going into a public pool is hygiene, whatever fashion may dictate.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:27:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about taking a shower and then changing into clean swimwear of whatever size?

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:33:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, you propose that to all swimming baths: change the rules, change the showers, the changing rooms...
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 07:32:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]

I think I'm going to buy a professional-grade full-body outfit (such as this here and go swimming in a public pool next time I'm in France, to see what happens...

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 08:45:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about allowing all swimwear?

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 08:48:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is about people taking a shower before entering the pool.

Hence repeating: what's the hygiene problem with the burqini specifically?

by Nomad on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:52:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who said there was a hygiene problem with the burqini specifically? There's a rule in most (that I've seen) public baths that shorts and bermudas are not allowed. If the staff make an exception for the burqini, how long will the bermuda rule hold? This is the context in which the burqini was rejected. Making out that (once again, yawn...) France is discriminating against Muslims is victimisation propaganda.

Perhaps it will become usual that pools announce an exception for the burqini, it wouldn't bother me. But teenage boys who want to bathe in bermudas are sure to kick up a fuss about being discriminated against. Hey, some of them might even be Muslim, so that would give the media something to talk about...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 07:30:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So that's sorted - no hygiene/safety problem with the burqini specifically as a swimsuit.

Shorts and bermudas are not specifically designed for swimming; a burqini is. Conflating the two sounds like a silly slippery slope argument. One just draws the line as one always has done: you only are allowed in the pool with clothes designed for swimming. Which then still excludes bermudas and shorts.

Come to think of it, on what grounds was the woman in question then rejected? For not showering...?

by Nomad on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 08:38:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Officials in the Paris suburb of Emerainville said they let the woman swim in the pool in July wearing the "burqini," designed for Muslim women who want to swim without revealing their bodies.

But when she returned in August they decided to apply hygiene rules and told her she could not swim if she insisted on wearing the garment, which resembles a wetsuit with built-in hood.

Pool staff "reminded her of the rules that apply in all (public) swimming pools which forbid swimming while clothed," said Daniel Guillaume, an official with the pool management.

Emphasis mine... Which actually was the reason why I began digging and asking questions - what motivates a decision to forbid stuff like that? Is it hygiene (apparently not), safety, what?

I'd need to see some underlying logic, and it's not provided in the news clip at all.

by Nomad on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 08:50:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nomad:
reminded her of the rules that apply in all (public) swimming pools which forbid swimming while clothed
What is the definition of clothed here? She was wearing a garment specifically designed as a swimsuit.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 08:52:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the Australian article that was linked to elsewhere in the thread noted that the creator of the Burquni considered the version used by that woman as inappropriate for swimming, as not designed properly...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 02:13:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
anyone else bet that if ET traffic ever chokes the servers, it'll be a thread about burkas?

LOL

'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 Sat Aug 15th, 2009 at 08:55:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In recent years, young people have started with a new disgusting thing, namely wearing their underwear under their swimming trunks, while swimming! Apparently it is beacuse they want people to see the brand on their underwear, or some idiocy of that kind.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:20:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, bermudas are banned for hygiene reasons. No one in France is screwed up enough to worry about a boy's shorts falling down.

My remark about France wasn't personally levelled at you, I was reacting to a news item. I disagreed with you and still do, but I didn't see you as making a comment about France.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:10:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
My remark about France wasn't personally levelled at you, I was reacting to a news item.
A news item from France 24 quoting Agence France Presse. Is this supposed to be an instance of French-bashing? And then, if it is because (as with Spiegel in Germany) they have hired British/American staff to write their English language copy, can we have links to French-language coverage of the story?

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 09:03:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here it is in Le Monde.

Une femme interdite de piscine pour cause de "burqini" - Société - Le Monde.fr  A woman banned from pool for her "Burqini" - Socià been - The Monde.fr
Le cas de cette jeune femme intervient un mois et demi après la mise en place d'une mission d'information parlementaire sur le port de la burqa et le vif débat national qui s'en est suivi. Plusieurs de ses membres n'ont pas manqué de réagir à cette affaire. Le député UMP Lionel Luca a déploré une "provocation lamentable et intolérable". "Il est temps de se réveiller et ne pas accepter cette situation. C'est peut-être une minorité mais le symbole pose problème. Il y a des gourous derrière qui défendent leur propre projet de société", a réagi son homologue communiste André Gerin, président de la mission. "Je trouve étonnant que quelqu'un sorte d'une piscine et convoque la presse tout de suite", a résumé pour sa part la socialiste Danièle Hoffman-Rispal.The case of this young woman takes place a month and a half after the establishment of a parliamentary fact-finding mission on the wearing of burqas and the strong national debate that ensued. Several of its members did not fail to react to this case. The UMP deputy Lionel Luca lamented the "appalling and intolerable provocation. "It is time to wake up and not accept this situation. It may be a minority but the symbol is problematic . There are gurus behind it who defend their own project of society, reacted his Communist counterpart André Gerin , president of the committee. I find it amazing that someone leaves the pool and calls the press immediately" , summed up for her part the Socialist ¨ Danièle the Hoffman- Rispal.

I don't see anything about hygiene in the reactions of these members of the National Parliament.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 09:13:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So? Idiots all over the place seize on to this event to further their BS.

I've said a couple of times now that this is not about hygiene wrt the burqini, but rules in public baths that were originally inspired by a concern for hygiene. Applying those rules is not an instance of "France not wanting to integrate Muslims".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 10:27:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
rules in public baths that were originally inspired by a concern for hygiene
and have since outlived their usefulness and are now used as excuses to harass people for no good reason (given that the hygiene argument doesn't hold in the specific case at hand). The fact that the Muslim woman in case has had the rule enforced differently in May and August is also problematic.

And "idiots all over the place" in this case appear to include "all public officials quoted in the Le Monde piece, from the local level all the way to the Assemblée Nationale with cross-party agreement".

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 10:31:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
And "idiots all over the place" in this case appear to include "all public officials quoted in the Le Monde piece, from the local level all the way to the Assemblée Nationale with cross-party agreement".

In this case, idiocy knows no party lines, obviously. They're using hygiene rules that were set up for valid historical reasons to take a pseudo-grandstand against religious fundamentalism.

Of course, this is backfiring: they're now exposing themselves (and the whole French society with them) to charges of racism and discrimination. Religious nuts must be thrilled.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 11:26:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's time to call BS. That kind of argumentation by the pool management mirrors to what I wrote concerning the Dutch example - it is using rules because they are the rules. End of argument. And I haven't seen anything yet that says the opposite.

A tide of "victimization propaganda" doesn't exclude actual occurrences of real discrimination, but you know that. And let me be absolutely clear: that doesn't say anything about France at large, because it is one swimming pool out of thousands. It does say something about the pool management and perhaps it says something about the current political wind that is blowing.

What does stick me the wrong way is the absence of French parliamentarians who speak for arguments to simply allow people to swim in burqinis. If there is such an abundance of "France discriminates!" memes, then where's the damage control and the PR campaign? Perhaps it should still come, or should I not foster that kind of hope?

by Nomad on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 11:38:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]

What does stick me the wrong way is the absence of French parliamentarians who speak for arguments to simply allow people to swim in burqinis.

Because this, at heart, is grandstanding by a few people that want to make it look like they are oppressed. Well, tough shit, they are in France, all religions are oppressed in France, and the overwhelming majority of French people agree with that, including most "religious" people.

Thus the absence of parliamentarians who speak for these arguments - nobody in France except exceedingly tiny minorities support these arguments. And we like it just that way. And foreigners who call us intolerant can just see us shrug:

<Gallic shrug>

Go save your own Muslims. We don't even have Muslim in France. Only people of Arab or African origin, many of which are French anyway.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 02:18:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
Well, tough shit, they are in France, all religions are oppressed in France, and the overwhelming majority of French people agree with that, including most "religious" people.

This does not necessarily make it right.
by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 02:37:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shorter Jerome: if it's French and looks secularist (even it if is Christian islamophobia underneath), it's right.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 02:48:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you had said "if it's islamophobia underneath" you might have had a point, but your use of the "Christian" qualifier suggests that you have no idea what French secularism is about.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 03:01:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And you're in denial about what the French right is about.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 03:33:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome is not talking from the right wing PoV (we know what their agenda is about), but from the French secular Republican PoV, as you, yourself, point out downthread.
by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 04:14:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know Jerome is not talking from the Right point of view, but whenever someone suggests the French right might be (gasp) Christian he says that's unpossible. Which I don't think it is. Sarkozy is against most of Jerome's cherished Republican values, including secularism, as I guess a lot of the UDF base is, and the whole muslim scare is a great wedge issue to get a chunk of the French left on board with the pan-European Christian Democrats...

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 04:59:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Amen with that, brother. Oops! Christian Freudian slip! Sorry... :)
by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:19:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you Bernard.

Nothing else needs to be said.

by Nomad on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 04:35:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For the record, I am not approving the burqa (or similar devices) wearing, either. And even less of the men behind all this -- there are men behind these women, let's not kid ourselves.

I read somewhere that there are exactly 367 women wearing the burqa in France (Total pop. 55 millions), but the real number is not important: it has become a wedge issue used by the right to get the secular left on board; we are being taken in for a ride.

Using laws or regulations is just playing right in their hand.

We have already debated these ad nauseam before, but I guess we like to debate it over and over again -- or maybe we're just too stubborn.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:39:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what this entire discussion has boiled down to, again, is values. And then to ideologies.

I suspect a reason why we go over this again and again is because we defend these (values, ideologies) with rules, but the discussion ultimately deals with human  values. And only after a long process, when the rules are stripped for inherent logic or found wanting, it is seen there is this bedrock of ideology which somehow always serves to get all hostile at each other - "this is the way we do it, get over it" and add a Gallic/American/Dutch/Swedish shrug.

Which makes it purposeless to question further, as ever when people seem to draw a line of things non-negotiable. But personally, it also gets rather off-putting. I have few convictions in knowing what is right, perhaps that's what makes me almost always uncomfortable when we get to this place. Perhaps it's tone again, I don't know.

Finally, and almost as an aside, one of the major things from this discussion you and Migeru made clear, was something I had hoped to get confirmed by others - my impression how the French left is rounded up by the right's pandering to Republic values, and a subsequent risk that actual discrimination may get overlooked in the process.

Well, that's that then. Goodnight.

by Nomad on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 07:04:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
with two twists:

  1. the French model is specifically and systematically attacked by the Anglo-Saxon dominant ideology, which cannot stand the sight of a comprehensive alternative which works; within France it is overwhelmingly supported. sure, Sarkozy loves to play with this, but he is against all the left and a good fraction of the right too;

  2. discrimination is not really happening this way - it's happening mainly through the insufficiency of opportunities for the kids in poorer suburbs (a good chunk of which are from immigration backgrounds) to join the mainstream - because there is insidious discrimination in hiring, because their schools have a tougher job and are not supported enough, because their suburbs are isolated and cut off from public transport, etc... The debate on the symbolic issues is, as usual, a distraction


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Aug 15th, 2009 at 04:52:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
Go save your own Muslims. We don't even have Muslim in France.

whoa... good luck with that one!

maybe a nice matterhorn pic?

'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 Sat Aug 15th, 2009 at 08:58:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, unfortunately the CW is sometimes relayed by French media. AFP is a global agency.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 10:23:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What the woman who designed the burqini has to say:

Burqini creator pours water on French ban

Ms Zanetti said France was the only place she sold to that had not given her burqini official approval.

"I believe that they just don't want Muslims to integrate," she said.

The whole article is worth a look.

Apparently, allowing Muslims to integrate  =  authorizing this lady's make of burqini.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:23:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
people with an axe to grind, or stuff to sell, jump onto a existing narrative (evil France oppresses the poor Muslims in its midst) and can hide their biases and real purpose easily.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:45:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's focus on the other bit
France was the only place she sold to that had not given her burqini official approval
France is the only country that cares about hygiene in public pools?

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:49:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France is the only country still not (always) intimidated by the stupid Common Wisdom coming out of the US?

Astérix and all that?! ;)

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 06:34:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I still don't see the point of a dress code in public swimming pools that is based on the amounth of cloth one is wearing.

Suppose someone were to go into the changing rooms, strip naked, take a shower, then put on a clean full-body swimsuit. What would be the threat to hygiene?

And, if a large swimsuit is a hygiene issue, why not demand that people swim naked?

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 06:57:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So: an individual changing cubicle with individual shower.

Most users would understandably protest at the added cost to them of equipment that they quite happily go without in the present state of things. This means offering a certain number of these individual facilities while most go through collective showers. Who is to say who may use the individual facilities? Must people prove their religion forces them to wear this or that?

How far must we go to further the fragmentation of public life into communities and individual choices, simply to obey, as Jérôme suggests, the CW from the US/UK (which are not, in any case, as truly multicultural as they like to make out)?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 07:57:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
an individual changing cubicle with individual shower.
No, a communal shower adjacent to each of the male/female changing rooms.

That's standard in most public swimming pools I've been to. In fact, I'd be surprised to find a sports facility that doesn't have showers in the changing rooms.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 08:42:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In most swimming pools you've been to there's a communal naked shower?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 10:28:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One could shower naked in the communal gender-specific showers in the changing rooms.

Or are you telling me the French never strip naked in view of each other in the changing rooms? This, again, has happened in every sports facility I've been to (haven't been to French sports facilities) and nobody ever batted an eye.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 10:34:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Separate male and female communal naked showers. But otherwise - yes.

It's standard issue here. Changing rooms in public sports centres have a shower wall. Nudity is allowed. There are no individual showers.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 10:50:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't think of a leisure centre I have been to that didn't have at least one cubicle for private showering in the female changing rooms.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 04:45:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When the French go to the gym, do the facilities 1) typically not have showers; 2) have a single communal shower for use by men and women indistinctly; 3) have separate showers attached to the male and female changing rooms?

Who said individual showers? What decent sports facility doesn't have showers in the changing rooms?

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 08:47:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gyms are typically private, expensive, and handle relatively small numbers of people at a time.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 10:29:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Municipal sports facilities in Spain and the UK that I have frequented, as well as school-owned (secondary and university level), tend also to be small and have limited facilities, but they do have separate male/female changing rooms, with toilets and showers.

You hint at a scarily low expected level of quality in French facilities...

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 10:37:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
this is a stupid propaganda war. You're the one always pointing out that logic is of no effect against narratives, and you're bringing an avalanche of logical, factual arguments to what is a clash of narratives.

"You're not even wrong" is all I can say.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 02:21:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose you're coming from a secular France point of view but when that POV allies itself with the Europe is a Christian Land Culture warriors against the perceived communitarian threat it is basic civil rights that lose out, and ultimately secularity too.

I suppose you're 100% behind the following left positions:

There are gurus behind it who defend their own project of society, reacted his Communist counterpart André Gerin , president of the committee. I find it amazing that someone leaves the pool and calls the press immediately" , summed up for her part the Socialist ¨ Danièle the Hoffman- Rispal.
But hey, if you're going to meet things with gallic shrug and you're not even wrong, more (wind)power to you.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 02:50:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a Republican position ( a word that may be familiar to your Spanish ears).

I'm not surprised outsiders mistake (wilfully or ignorantly) Republican positions with racist rightwing ones, but you should know better.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 03:05:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Those are left because they are exponded by the Communist and Socialist politicians quoted. The right position is
appalling and intolerable provocation. "It is time to wake up and not accept this situation. It may be a minority but the symbol is problematic
You know I know what Republicanism means and no, in Spanish it means something different, you're talking about 3rd French Republic values which, in their Jacobin suppression of individuality, grate me the wrong way.

We have had this debate before, do you want me to link to it?

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 03:32:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that we disagree on this topic. And I'm not claiming that the French secular position is better - just that it's legitimate and massively supported in France, that a lot of its critics have other intentions in mind than the individual rights of a few people, and that accusations of racism and the like are unfair coming from you.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 04:24:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
accusations of racism and the like are unfair coming from you

Can you expand on the unfairness?

I'm not saying you're a racist, I'm saying you're letting racists off the hook because you think they agree with your Republican values.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 04:49:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's not because they reach similar conclusions to mine using totally different reasoning that I endorse that reasoning. But I refuse to abandon the conclusion just because some racists reached it as well.

I have no illusions about why the racists are jumping on this. That still does not make the républicains wrong and it does not make me an ally of the racists.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Aug 15th, 2009 at 04:45:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair enough.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Aug 15th, 2009 at 04:47:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you read the article, I don't think you'll take what she says too seriously. Nation states have to give her designs "official approval"? Since when?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 07:15:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't understand.

Olympic swimmers, even the French ones, wear full-body swimwear.  And divers, etc.   Unless there is a huge (or hey, even small) star and crescent or other overtly religious symbol on these full-coverage swim suits, I don't understand this policy.

I was at the beach the other day, and it was fascinating to watch everyone.  There aren't many days here when it is warm enough to go the beaches, so when one comes, everyone is out.  Every shape, age, race, and even religion.  A presumably Muslim family with women wearing headscarves sat next to a group of rowdy Spanish speaking kids who sat next to a Russian mother/father/son who sat next to a group of typical American teenage girls intent on getting skin cancer before the age of 20 who sat next to a gay couple.  I'm not making this up.  And everyone was having a perfect afternoon.  It was lovely.  It's a shame the people who implemented the policy debated in this thread have never experienced this or fail to appreciate how precious it is in a world where we're reminded of our differences far more often than of our commonalities.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 04:13:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I googled burquini and took a look at the clothing.  I thought for most of them I'd consider them a bit dangerous to swim in actually, they didn't really resemble streamlined body swimsuits that you see athletes wear.  I could see an argument for not allowing burquinis that have flappy bits round the ankles and loose parts that could catch on pool vents etc.

But I'm from the UK and we have women only swimming hours that provide access for muslim women who wish to bathe without breaching their religious code. This benefits all women who are uncomfortable swimming in the presence of men. The multicultural approach is distinctly different to the French approach and we're arguing from fundamentally different perspectives.  You can't take the French approach and implant it in the UK, or vice versa, the culture is too different in each country.

But of course the whole conversation upthread has been turned into an entirely different discussion so...

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 04:56:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Regular" swim suits with skirted bottoms are actually a bit common, at least in the US.  And any swimsuit or bikini with ties could hypothetically pose a danger of being caught on something.  It seems like the industry and its regulators and consumers should be able to decide if they are safe to wear.  Pool management could always make them sign a legal waiver if that was their real concern, correct?

Don't get me wrong, they look impossibly uncomfortable.  But comfort has both physical and psychological aspects.  I know a lot of women uncomfortable in a bikini.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:15:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
nice one, poemless.

not every idea from the US-UK is anglo diseased!

'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 Sat Aug 15th, 2009 at 09:04:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'L'Européen': new French magazine breaks down concept of 'Europe' - the European magazine ~ Cafebabel
It's defined by a 'French-speaking readership aged between 35-55 who travel at least once a year in Europe'. It launched as a print magazine before the European elections in June 2009, its cover gracing an image of Penelope Cruz amongst others. Now the English e-version of 'The European' is en route, offering you the chance to get `better acquainted' with your EU neighbours. More from chief editor Renard de Chazoumes

At the end of May 2009, the media landscape was covered by the European elections; the editorial staff of the magazine L'Européen preferred to run a story on `Our European heroes' on its front page: Pénélope Cruz, Cécile de France, Lilian Thuram, Carla Del Ponte... Incumbent EU commission president, the Portuguese Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, is the figurehead of those who say nothing. The choice is announced by this new colour editorial press title as Europe `on a day-to-day basis'. The monthly, French-language magazine consisting of a hundred or so pages is crammed with unedited reports, and is available at newspaper kiosks. They've also been allocated their own website. Renaud de Chazournes, the editor-in-chief, tells us more on this new private initiative.  Whilst the written press seems to be crumbling around us, is it not somewhat utopian to launch a new European magazine?

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:36:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Saving Istanbul's historic wooden houses | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 13.08.2009
For centuries, wooden houses have been part of Istanbul's cityscape. But many have been destroyed as large swathes of the city have undergone modernization. Now the city is attempting to salvage its cultural heritage. 

The 19th-century palace of Marine Minister Ahmet Pasa is one of the most impressive Ottoman wooden houses in Istanbul's old town center. Martin Bachmann of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) particularly prizes the intricately-carved wooden ceiling on the building's first floor.

"This house is the best-preserved example of the richness of the Ottoman style of architecture," he explains.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:38:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Berlin commemorates the building of the wall that divided it | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 13.08.2009
The city of Berlin commemorated on Thursday the 48th anniversary of construction of the wall which divided it for 28 years and those who died trying to breach it. 

On August 13, 1961, East German soldiers began to separate their sector of Berlin from the Western enemy. Streets, neighborhoods, and families were separated by a barrier that was to last 28 years.

To mark the anniversary of those first steps towards almost three decades of division, a service took place at the Chapel of Reconciliation, part of the Berlin Wall Memorial center on Berlin's Bernauer Street.

"Every single death was a death too many," said the city's mayor, Klaus Wowereit, at the ceremony.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:48:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY: I don't have any problem with things like living wills, but they ought to be done within the family. We should not have--we should not have a--we should not have a government program that determines you're going to pull the plug on Grandma.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It turns out that I guess this arose out of a provision in one of the House bills that allowed Medicare to reimburse people [sic] for consultations about end-of-life care, setting up living wills, the availability of hospice, etc. So the intention of the members of Congress was to give people more information so that they could handle issues of end-of-life care when they're ready, on their own terms. It wasn't forcing anybody to do anything. This is, I guess, where the rumor came from.

The irony is that, actually, one of the chief sponsors of this bill originally was a Republican, then House member, now senator, named Johnny Isakson from Georgia, who very sensibly thought this is something that would expand people's options [sic]. And somehow it's gotten spun into this idea of death panels.

I've been thinking of Sarah Palin most of today since doing a little fact checking. Sec.1233 ADVANCE CARE PLANNING CONSULTATION. H.R.3200, Subtitle C, Miscellaneous Improvements

(i) An explanation of advance care planning and advance directives, including--
(I) living wills;
(II) durable power of attorney;
(III) orders of life-sustaining treatment; and
(IV) health care proxies

She must feel awful for herself, her baby, and for whomever she imagines still embraces the mystery of death. The media has made her entire family the butt of ridicule for the past year. Few accept death with eloquence.

MediaMatters for example helps to bury the "death panel" under equally ill-advised denials about the duties ascribed to medical personnel that "widely debunked claim that the House health care reform bill would require end-of-life counseling".

Taking the consult is required --if the facility plans on getting Medicare reimbursement for in-patient treatment, 42 USC 1395w qualification of "sufficient" care-- per 42 USC 1395x:(ee) Discharge planning process from (A)a hospital or (E) a hospice, if that SS beneficiary's prognosis is terminal (up or down, no?).

Savor Title 42's procedural reach. It is a formidable 60-year stretch, and you might not think about it otherwise, until your insurer exercises benefit coordination with your compulsory Medicare schedule. Everybody in. If it offends, you have to buy your way out of it.

NAPOLITANO: I mean, at first, I thought that Governor Palin was a little over the top over the weekend when she put on her Facebook the potential for panels of health care professionals from the government to talk to you about suicide and euthanasia. But if you read segments of this bill, the language is so loose, it allows the Department of Health and Human Services to set up panels of experts to advise doctors and patients on various things.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 11:34:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Never mind

"On the Finance Committee, we are working very hard to avoid unintended consequences by methodically working through the complexities of all of these issues and policy options," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement. "We dropped end-of-life provisions from consideration entirely because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly."...

"The bill passed by the House committees is so poorly cobbled together that it will have all kinds of unintended consequences, including making taxpayers fund health care subsidies for illegal immigrants," Grassley said. The veteran Iowa lawmaker said the end-of-life provision in those bills would pay physicians to "advise patients about end of life care and rate physician quality of care based on the creation of and adherence to orders for end-of-life care."



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 11:14:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NYT: Care to Write Army Doctrine? With ID, Log On

In July, in a sharp break from tradition, the Army began encouraging its personnel -- from the privates to the generals -- to go online and collaboratively rewrite seven of the field manuals that give instructions on all aspects of Army life.

The program uses the same software behind the online encyclopedia Wikipedia and could potentially lead to hundreds of Army guides being "wikified." The goal, say the officers behind the effort, is to tap more experience and advice from battle-tested soldiers rather than relying on the specialists within the Army's array of colleges and research centers who have traditionally written the manuals.



You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 04:58:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]


'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 Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:24:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I doubt it.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 09:01:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:29:51 PM EST
Italy's Catholic church 'mortified' by Silvio Berlusconi's private life - Telegraph
Italy's Catholic church feels "unease" and "mortification" at revelations surrounding the private life of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the newspaper of the Italian Bishops' Conference has said.

In its strongest criticism to date of the conservative leader, whose coalition relies heavily on the support of Catholic voters, Avvenire newspaper said the church had sent clears signals over Mr Berlusconi's alleged womanising.

"Have people been able to identify the church's reservations?" wrote Avvenire's editor Dino Boffo.

by Fran on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 02:32:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And in the same breath the CEI issued a very harsh statement against a ruling by the Lazio region's administrative judiciary that knocked down a Prodi(!) government ordinance on religion classes in public schools. Religion teachers are chosen by Catholic bishops according to their autonomous criteria.

The ruling made it simply plain that the Prodi ordinance privileged only one religion thus violating ideological and religious pluralism as sanctioned in the constitution. The ordinance had put credits for religion on par with credits in other disciplines and allowed religion teachers to have equal say within school governance.

The bishops declared that the ruling was a case of "sinister and negative illuminism" and pointed out that there were cultural and historical reasons to justify the unique treatment of the Catholic religion by the Italian state. The interesting argument used by the bishops' council is that Catholicism cannot be put on the same level as other religions because that would cancel diversity and identity. (I suppose that brown people's religions are on another level to preserve their identity- and safeguard the diversity of White European Catholics.)  

Berlusconi's government immediately appealed the case before the highest court as a case of conflict of powers. Good boy, Silvio, show yer christian mettle.  

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 05:19:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"illuminism"? LOL.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 02:31:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Group News Blog
The one that drives me most nuts is the The Katie Browne Workshop. She uses her little girl voice and cutesy dimples nonstop as she shows how to assemble shoddy material into crap nobody will want, or ham-hands her way through recipes that can be found on the back of Campbell's soup labels. She's like the anti-Martha Stewart.

Not that I don't get irritated with Martha, too, where it's all about product endorsement, looking upper class with a glue gun, and skating over the fact you need several large houses to hold all the "marvelous tools" and collections she has. Martha's cooking show, Everyday Food, is a prime example of food porn. The implements and design of the kitchen goes beyond perfectionism into red-alarm OCD, the kind of set Monk would be happy in. The glistening ingredients and shiny pans are nothing you'd find in any real kitchen. The lighting and close-ups are porny, and the instrumental soundtrack used to accompany "technique" -- well, you get the idea. Most of her cooks are obviously chosen for looks as much for cooking ability. Indeed, my knife skills are better than most of theirs, and I'm no professional.

I have two further gripes. I will give her props for the fact that the "everyday" meals presented are closer to what Michael Pollan recommends that we be eating than most cooking shows: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. But the obsessive avoidance of carbohydrates is entirely in line with the current multi-billion dollar diet industry, and is a nutritional disaster. The problem isn't carbs, it's PROCESSED carbs. If you're eating brown rice, real whole-grain bread (no white flour or supplements in at all), organic potatoes, doing bean and grain combos, you will be well-nourished, get full, not have an insulin-spike and start craving fats and sugars, and the other "plants" you're eating will find the essential minerals they need to pair up with to do you good. So for g*d's sake, Martha, let your recipes add in a seven-grain roll, a stone-ground-corn tortilla, or some whole-wheat spinach fettucini.

My other ongoing aggravation is not limited to Martha, it's all the how-to shows where the person doing a demonstration must explain their actions as they go along. I feel boxed in by the anemic and mindless vocabulary of most of these folks. On Martha's shows, the main descriptor of EVERYTHING is "nice". A nice onion, a nice heat in the pan, a nice glaze. Are there not other specific terms for what you mean?!!! Hubert Keller, for whom English is a second language, I'll grant you, simply cannot form a sentence that does not contain "actually" or "of course". Sara Moulton, whom I adore, is way too scattered to be trying to talk and cook at the same time. And all of them, everywhere, should have a buzzer go off every time they say "sort of". Or "kind of". As in "you sort of zest the lemon" -- well, no, you either zest or do not zest. Makes me want to go all Yoda on their asses.

Heaven help you with some of these cooks if you don't drink wine. It is possible to have a palate and not be slugging back the alcohol, you know. And, on a side note, don't tell Joanne Weir if you'd rather not use a certain ingredient in her cooking class, because she will then drown you in it. On a recent episode, a young guy admitted he wasn't that fond of fennel (nor am I, anise and cilantro are STRONG flavors that folks either love or hate, respect that). Joanne got that "I can't hear you" stubborn look on her face, and wound up adding not just slices of fennel bulb, but seeds and chopped frond to every single dish they made that day.


'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 Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 05:39:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
funny pictures of cats with captions

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 10:18:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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