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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 8 February

by Fran Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 04:06:02 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

# 1828 – Jules Verne, a French author who helped pioneer the science-fiction genre, was born. (d. 1905)

More here and here

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

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:08:31 PM EST
Ukrainians vote in bitter presidential run-off | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 07.02.2010
Ukrainians hit the polls on Sunday to elect a president in a run-off between Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and opposition leader Viktor Yanukovich with analysts warning that political stability remained elusive. 

Sunday's presidential poll among 37 million registered Ukrainian voters follows a bitter electoral campaign during which opinion surveys were not permitted.

 

Yanukovich won the initial round on 17 January by a ten-percent margin over Tymoshenko.

 

Each candidate, however, has accused the other of trying to rig the vote and analysts warn that after ballot stations close late Sunday their tussle could shift to court wrangles and even street protests.

 

Ukrainians have become largely disillusioned with politics in their country - almost six years after the euphoria of the 2004 Orange Revolution, when the telegenic Tymoshenko helped sweep the pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko into the office of president on the promise of reform.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:11:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ukraine's shift east leaves Poles, Czechs alone in fear of Russia | World | Deutsche Welle | 05.02.2010
The outcome of Sunday's Ukrainian run-off vote will likely improve ties between Moscow and Kiev, leaving Poland and the Czech Republic isolated in their fear of Russia. Germany holds the key to easing those concerns.  

It has become an annual tradition in Europe. Each winter since 2006, Russia has turned off natural gas supplies to Ukraine, which, in turn, has siphoned off gas meant for Western Europe. In each instance, Moscow has blamed the supply cuts on a pricing dispute between Gazprom, the Russian-controlled energy giant, and Ukraine, with Gazprom claiming it is owed millions in unpaid bills. Ukraine has countered that Russia is using energy as a foreign policy tool, to punish Ukraine for aspiring to closer ties with the West.

This year, despite lingering disagreements over pricing, politics might have a hand in bringing this tradition to an end. Last month, Ukrainian voters selected Viktor Yanukovych, a candidate who advocates for closer ties with Russia, to face Yulia Tymoshenko in a presidential run-off election on Sunday. Tymoshenko, a leading figure in Ukraine's Orange Revolution in 2004 - the same revolution that removed Yanukovych from office - and who takes a more cautious view toward Russia, is well behind in the polls.

If Yanukovych wins, Kiev's relations with Russia will be strengthened. This has begun already - last month, Russia resumed diplomatic ties with Ukraine after a five-year lull. Talk about Russian imperial ambitions, common under former president Viktor Yushchenko, will likely cease.

Ukraine's possible shift toward a pro-Russia policy is troubling for Poland and the Czech Republic. Both have pointed to the Ukrainian gas disputes as evidence of Moscow's willingness to use economic resources as a foreign policy tool and of Russia's desire to reestablish its former sphere of influence. Ukraine under Yushchenko was a victim of these ambitions and an ally in lobbying the United States and NATO allies to speak more forcefully against Russia's increasingly strong rhetoric. A Ukraine under Yanukovych, or Tymoshenko, will no longer play this role.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:13:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
dvx:
Ukraine under Yushchenko was a victim of these ambitions

Oh, really, how?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 04:11:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, this article just keeps getting worse better:

Ukraine's shift east leaves Poles, Czechs alone in fear of Russia | World | Deutsche Welle | 05.02.2010

US President Barack Obama has also seemingly abdicated the United States' role of Eastern European champion.


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 05:18:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If we understand "champion" on the level of symbolic posturing, that is true enough, though.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 05:29:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Europe - Yanukovich 'wins' Ukraine run-off

Viktor Yanukovich, Ukraine's opposition leader, has narrowly won the presidential election against Yulia Tymoshenko, the prime minister, exit polls said.

The National Exit Poll, a consortium partly funded by
Western embassies, said Yanukovich had secured
48.7 per cent of Sunday's vote against Tymoshenko's 45.5 per cent.

Another exit poll by ICTV said Yanukovich won 49.8 per cent of the vote against Tymoshenko's 45.2 per cent.

The victory by Yanukovich, if confirmed by official results, marks a remarkable comeback by the 59-year-old ex-mechanic who was disgraced in 2004 by the "Orange Revolution" mass street protests which Tymoshenko led.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:48:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Abuse allegations mount at German Catholic church | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 07.02.2010
The Catholic church in Germany has vowed to probe new reports that claim the extent of sexual abuse by some of its clerics may have been much higher than previously admitted. 

German news magazine Der Spiegel reported over the weekend that at least 10 church employees currently face accusations of sexual abuse. 

The magazine said more than 94 clerics and laymen have been suspected of sexual abuse since 1995. But only 30 of those suspects had actually been prosecuted, the report said, because of legal time constraints on pursuing cases.

The latest reports come amid a widening scandal of serial sex abuse by Catholic priests in Germany.

Earlier this week, Berlin's elite Canisius College admitted systematic abuse of pupils by at least two Roman Catholic priests. between 1975 and 1983 who once taught there.  One of them has reportedly denied doing so.

Suspicions have since emerged at three other Jesuit-run schools, in  Hamburg, Bonn and in the Black Forest region, also dating back to the 1970s and 80s.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:14:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quick, find some homosexuals to persecute.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 06:19:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany steps up hunt for tax evaders | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 06.02.2010
German tax investigators are reportedly in France for negotiations with an informant to buy stolen Swiss bank data on 1,500 alleged tax evaders. The move comes amid reports of a fresh offer of data on tax cheats.  

German magazine Focus reported on Saturday that tax authorities would acquire the controversial data on the weekend in France.

Quoting sources close to the investigation, the Munich-based magazine said the unnamed informant had insisted on a secret meeting in a neighboring country for fear of being arrested in Germany.

Germany is to pay a reported 2.5 million euros ($3.4 million) for the stolen data on 1,500 German clients of a Swiss bank. Reports say the data could potentially yield at least 400 million euros in tax revenues.

The decision to buy the illegally-obtained information has divided the German government and strained relations with Switzerland.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:15:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gordon Brown attacks 'scandal' of Lord Ashcroft donations | Politics | The Observer

Gordon Brown has thrust the issue of Tory party donations to the centre of the election campaign by declaring that the secrecy surrounding its biggest financial backer - Lord Ashcroft - is "a scandal".

In an exclusive interview with the Observer, in which he spoke at length of the need to restore faith in politics following the controversy over MPs' expenses, the prime minister attacked the lack of transparency over the peer's financial links to the Tories, saying it was profoundly wrong.

Delivering his strongest comments yet on the "Ashcroft question", Brown said it was now the duty of journalists and opposition politicians to "press these people for answers". "It's a scandal that we haven't had proper answers about where the [Ashcroft] money has come from and what the status of this person is."

The comments came as Brown, buoyed by last week's deal on the devolution of policing and justice in Northern Ireland and a narrowing of the Tory lead in recent opinion polls, predicted Labour could still win the next election - even with an overall majority. "I'm not complacent, but Labour can still win it," he said. "I'm absolutely sure of that."

He said that, as the economy emerged from recession, people would consider which party had made the right choices during the economic crisis. "I think people will look very carefully at us again and I think they'll make a decision. I've got faith in the good sense of the British people," he said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:16:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ashcroft's position has been a scandal for years, but since he was ennobled under Labour you'd imagine they knew all about that.

The way he has been spending money to buy the election, putting tens of thousands of pounds into the conservative organization in marginals year upon year, is legal but really shouldn't be. The US may not like the recent USSC ruling that corporates can own the political process, but it's absolutely legal here.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 06:24:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Climate scepticism grows among Tories | Politics | The Observer

Most Conservative MPs, including at least six members of the shadow cabinet, are sceptical about their party's continued focus on climate change policies, it has been claimed.

The recent furore around "Climategate" has hardened the views of Tory MPs, many of whom were already unconvinced by the scientific consensus, and has led to increasing calls for the issue to be pushed down the priority list.

Tim Montgomerie, founder and editor of the ConservativeHome website, said climate change had the potential to be as divisive for the party as Europe once was. "You have got 80% or 90% of the party just not signed up to this. No one minded at the beginning, but people are starting to realise this could be quite expensive, so opinion is hardening."

Montgomerie said that while some MPs simply did not believe the science, others felt it would harm the economy too much to focus on policies to reduce emissions. "Some think, 'What is the point in taking all these decisions if India and China and others row ahead?' Nigel Lawson makes the point that 30% of Indian people have no electricity and the Indian government has to give that to them. The cheapest way to do that is fossil fuels."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:37:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To be honest, the idea that the tories were ever going to promote green policies was always completely laughable. Zac Goldsmith (tory green guru) can pretend all he likes, but environmentally the UK goes into reverse gear if the tories get in.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 06:26:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Europe - Serbia seeks to boost weapons trade
News Europe
Serbia seeks to boost weapons trade

Serbia is trying to promote itself as a major international weapons exporter, hoping to boost revenues to $500m this year.

Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq, Egypt and Algeria, are among its biggest clients.

In the past, Serbian arms dealers broke UN sanctions and sold weapons to Saddam Hussein, the deposed Iraqi leader.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:49:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Todays's Süddeutsche:
Eine frühere Tochtergesellschaft der Liechtensteiner Fürstenbank LGT muss einem deutschen Steuersünder 7,3 Millionen Euro Entschädigung zahlen. Ein entsprechendes Urteil fällte das Fürstliche Landgericht in Liechtensteins Hauptstadt Vaduz. Es befand, dass die damalige LGT-Treuhand AG den Kläger zu spät darüber informiert habe, dass seine Kundendaten und die von mehreren hundert anderen Bundesbürgern gestohlen worden waren.
A Liechtenstein court has ruled that a bank must pay a German tax evader 7.3 million Euro, for not warning him in time that his bank data had been stolen and handed over to the Germans. Similar lawsuits are being planned.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 03:49:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:08:55 PM EST
Goldman's chief gets bonus of $9 million in stock | McClatchy

WASHINGTON -- Goldman Sachs' chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein was awarded a $9 million bonus for 2009, but in restricted stock that he must hold for five years under a new policy adopted to quiet a furor over the firm's soaring compensation, the company disclosed Friday.

The 58,381 in shares, which will convert into Goldman's common stock in thirds over the next three years, is a fraction of the figures rumored in the media in recent weeks. One New York paper said Blankfein was to be paid $100 million.

Goldman's other four highest officers -- President Gary Cohn, Finance Chief David Viniar, and vice chairmen John Weinberg and Michael Evans -- received identical awards, Goldman disclosed in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Lucas van Praag, Goldman's chief spokesman, said that Blankfein received no other bonus compensation for his performance in the firm's record-setting year.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:22:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Call the caterer! Bank bonuses a relief in Greenwich, Conn. | McClatchy

GREENWICH, Conn. -- After one of the leanest years in memory, life in this upper-crust enclave is slowly returning to normal. The Greenwich version of normal, anyway.

Caterers' cell phones are ringing again. Luxury car dealers are sending the Porsches out for test drives. An architect is booking multimillion-dollar jobs for his "masters of the universe" clients, titans of Wall Street who've made this leafy Connecticut suburb of New York one of the wealthiest towns in the country.

When the financial industry tumbled, Greenwich's fortunes fell with it. Now, as the federal bailout has helped lift investment banks to surprisingly robust profits, the news that major financial firms will dole out billions of dollars in salaries and bonuses this year came as welcome relief here, even though the rest of the country is still grappling with 10 percent unemployment.

Discreetly, Greenwich is starting to spend money again, and spending here -- where the median household earns $126,549, almost two-and-a-half times the national median, based on 2008 census estimates -- isn't quite like spending anywhere else.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:23:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Senate's Cantwell takes tough approach to big banks | McClatchy

WASHINGTON -- To hear Sen. Maria Cantwell talk, another economic bubble is building as Wall Street banks -- backed by taxpayer bailouts -- continue to play the high-risk derivatives markets rather than extend credit to struggling businesses on Main Street.

Cantwell says that Congress and the Obama administration are just watching it happen. The Washington state Democrat is among the most outspoken members of the Senate when it comes to calling for tough new regulations to rein in Wall Street.

She's not looking to pick a fight with the White House, the Federal Reserve or powerful congressional committee chairmen. She was, however, one of 30 senators to vote against the confirmation of Ben Bernanke to a second term as Fed chairman; she temporarily blocked the appointment of the White House nominee to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; and she's been highly critical of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, the top White House economic adviser.

"We are trying to keep the focus on what needs to be done to get credit flowing and avoid another bubble," Cantwell said in an interview. "Do I wish the White House team was more attuned to these issues? Yes."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:25:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Geithner Says U.S. Will `Never' Lose Its Aaa Debt Rating - BusinessWeek

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said the U.S. is in no danger of losing its Aaa debt rating even though the Obama administration has predicted a $1.6 trillion budget deficit in 2010.

"Absolutely not," Geithner said, when asked in an ABC News interview broadcast today whether a downgrade is a concern. "That will never happen to this country."

Geithner said investors around the world turn to U.S. Treasury securities and dollar-denominated assets whenever they are worried about global stability. That reflects "basic confidence" in the U.S. and its ability to bounce back from the global recession, he said.

Moody's Investors Service Inc. last week said the U.S. government's bond rating will come under pressure in the future unless additional measures are taken to reduce budget deficits projected for the next decade.

The U.S. plans to rein in the deficit once the labor market recovers, Geithner said. In the short run, that means focusing on ways to "make sure that this economy is growing again," he said. The administration says the deficit will shrink over the next four years as more Americans find jobs and the economy accelerates.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:53:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
dvx:
"That will never happen to this country."

You bet. "This country" just happens to run the ratings system.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 04:18:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably not "this country" so much as individual criminals residing therein.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 05:20:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If we consider that the financial plutocracy dominates "this country", and that "this country"'s sole-superpower status is partly mediated by its hegemony over global finance, then we might just stick with the "this country" label (no offence meant to the many decent citizens who are part of the American people).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 09:40:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / UK / Business - BAE to pay $450m to end bribery case

BAE Systems was on Friday night preparing to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay one of the biggest ever fines over alleged corporate bribery after striking a deal to end transatlantic corruption probes that have entangled it for years.

The deal will cost the group almost $450m (£288m) - the bulk of it in the US - but should prevent it from being barred from government defence contracts in the US and elsewhere that underpin its business.

The deal - in Britain's biggest and most politically contentious corporate corruption case- immediately sparked debate over whether BAE had got off lightly after eight years of investigation in London and Washington.

Under the settlement, the first co-ordinated transatlantic deal in a corporate bribery case, BAE has agreed to pay a $400m fine in the US and plead guilty to one charge of conspiring to make false statements to the government in connection with regulatory filings and undertakings.

In Britain, the company is set to pay £30m and plead guilty to a minor accounting offence. Unlike the US, Britain has ruled out prosecuting any individuals.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 02:04:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the consensus view here is that BAE got away with it.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 06:30:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What isn't mentioned here is that the fine ends all existing investigations.

A public trial would have been far more expensive than a fine, and might - allegedly - have implicated senior figures on both sides of the Atlantic, in Europe, and elsewhere.

So it's basically - allegedly - hush money.

Also interesting is the fact that a huge part of the fine is being paid to the US, which - as everyone knows - has a defence sector that is the envy of the world when it comes to business ethics.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 06:25:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Defence spending: Time to attack defence spending | The Economist

HERE'S your latest budget factoid. The freeze on non-defence discretionary spending, should it come to pass, will trim $250 billion off the cumulative deficit over the next ten years. Over that same period, defence discretionary spending will add $284 billion to the deficit.

Spencer Ackerman has been providing some nice graphics over the last few days, illustrating the size and relevance of defence spending. Here's another good one:



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 04:34:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Branson warns of oil crunch within five years | Business | guardian.co.uk

Sir Richard Branson and fellow leading businessmen will warn ministers this week that the world is running out of oil and faces an oil crunch within five years.

The founder of the Virgin group, whose rail, airline and travel companies are sensitive to energy prices, will say that the ­coming crisis could be even more serious than the credit crunch.

"The next five years will see us face another crunch - the oil crunch. This time, we do have the chance to prepare. The challenge is to use that time well," Branson will say.



"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 06:41:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I seem to recall that Branson's companies enjoyed a few good years during the last oil-price run-up because they had purchased huge amounts of oil in advance.
by paving on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 03:24:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The OTHER Reason that the U.S. is Not Regulating Wall Street  George Washington   Zero Hedge

On March 1, 1999, countries accounting for more than 90 per cent of the global financial services market signed onto the World Trade Organization's Financial Services Agreement (FSA). By signing the FSA, they committed to deregulate their financial markets.

For example, by signing the FSA, the U.S. agreed not to break up too big to fails. The U.S. also promised to repeal Glass-Steagall, and did so 8 months after signing the FSA.

Indeed, in signing the FSA and other WTO agreements, the U.S. has legally bound itself as follows:

   * No new regulation: The United States agreed to a "standstill provision" that requires that we not create new regulations (or reverse liberalization) for the list of financial services bound to comply with WTO rules. Given that the United States has made broad WTO financial services commitments - and thus is forbidden by this provision from imposing new regulations in these many areas - this provision seriously limits the policy [options] available to address the current crisis.

    * Removal of regulation: The United States even agreed to try to even eliminate domestic financial service regulatory policies that meet GATS [i.e. General Agreement on Trade in Services] rules, but that may still "adversely affect the ability of financial service suppliers of any other (WTO) Member to operate, compete, or enter" the market.

    * No bans on new financial service "products": The United States is also bound to ensure that foreign financial service suppliers are permitted "to offer in its territory any new financial service," a direct conflict with the various proposals to limit various risky investment instruments, such as certain types of derivatives.

    * Certain forms of regulation banned outright: The United States agreed that it would not set limits on the size, corporate form or other characteristics of foreign firms in the broad array of financial services it signed up to WTO strictures ...

    * Treating foreign and domestic firms alike is not sufficient: The GATS market-access limits on U.S. domestic regulation apply in absolute terms; that is to say, even if a policy applies to domestic and foreign firms alike, if it goes beyond what WTO rules permit, it is forbidden. And, forms of regulation not outright banned by the market-access requirements must not inadvertently "modify the conditions of competition in favor of services or service suppliers" of the United States, even if they apply identically to foreign and domestic firms.

In other words, the problem isn't just that Congress and the White House have sold out to the Wall Street giants.

The problem is also that the U.S. has signed WTO agreements that have given the keys to the too big to fails, and have neutered their regulators.  Even if some politicians tried to stand up to Wall Street - or even if we "throw out all of the bums" currently in political roles - the U.S. would still be locked into the WTO's scheme for helping the financial giants to grow ever bigger and to take ever-bigger and ever-riskier gambles.

....

On the other hand, if the American people stood up for our sovereignty and demanded that the financial giants be reined in, it would be easy to fix the WTO agreements which the U.S. has already signed. Public Citizen notes, "as a legal matter, these problems are easy to remedy ..."

If you want to do something there is nothing like insuring that you are legally required to do it.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 08:41:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're only tied to international agreements if you want to be. The US could walk away if there was any domestic will to do so

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 08:47:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The top bankers don't want to walk away and the people are too spellbound to demand that we do. If the US pulled out it would be the end of that financial regime, but so would it be were the EU to pull out, or just Germany, France and the U.K., but you have the same problem. So it is down the drain together.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 11:44:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The people don't understand what the problem is. Vague resentment against bankers isn't specific enough, because it has been co-opted into not-so vague resentment against government - government being the only institution that could make a difference, but won't, for political reasons.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 06:28:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IOW, spellbound.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 10:34:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rorschach's Journal: Last Night, a Comedian Died in New York...
  Jesse's Café Américain

This was no accident, no act of God. No unforeseen mishap, no simple miscalculation.

Somebody pushed AIG out a window, to collect the insurance. Then they saw the opportunity to extort billions from the Congress and a Presidency in transition by bringing the financial system to the point of collapse. And they took it. And somebody knows who and how they did it.

Somebody knows.

NY Times

Goldman Helped Push A.I.G. to Precipice
By GRETCHEN MORGENSON and LOUISE STORY
February 6, 2010

....

Negotiating with Goldman to void the A.I.G. insurance was especially difficult, Federal Reserve Board documents show, because the firm did not own the underlying bonds. As a result, Goldman had little incentive to compromise.

....

The government would soon settle the yearlong dispute between Goldman and A.I.G., with Goldman receiving full value for its bets. The federal bailout locked in the paper losses of those deals for A.I.G. The prices on many of those securities have since rebounded.


So Goldman did not own the bonds around which the insurance was written---in other words, did not have an insurable interest. More and more, as I once suggested, it looks like a case of taking out an insurance policy on an individual and then putting out a contract to have him killed. Then the NY Fed served as the executor of the estate of the decedent and settled everything in Goldman's interest. How nice for Goldman.  But we should not look back.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 12:23:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Les marchés financiers américains attaquent l'euro - Coulisses de Bruxelles, UE
Selon des informations fiables que j'ai obtenu vendredi, émanant à la fois d'autorités de marché et de banques, une grande banque d'investissement américaine (qui a bénéficié du plan de sauvetage des banques US) et deux très importants hedge funds seraient derrière les attaques contre la Grèce, le Portugal et l'Espagne. Leur but ? Gagner un maximum d'argent en créant une panique qui leur permet d'exiger de la Grèce des taux d'intérêt de plus en plus élevés tout en spéculant sur le marché des CDS, un marché non régulé et totalement opaque, afin là aussi de les vendre plus cher qu'ils ne les ont achetés.

American financial markets attack the euro - Backstage of Brussels, EU

According to reliable information that I received Friday from both market authorities and banks, a large American investment bank(which has benefited from the bailout of U.S. banks) and two very large hedge funds would be behind the attacks against Greece, Portugal and Spain. Their goal? Earn a lot of money by creating a panic that allows them to demand ever higher interest rates from Greece while speculating on the CDS market, a market completely unregulated and opaque.


"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 02:02:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Towards a Euro(pean) Monetary Fund | The Centre for European Policy Studies
The turmoil affecting southern euro area countries (notably Greece) has ushered in the second phase of the financial crisis: that of sovereign default. It is now time to look for a new framework that allows the Union to deal with the failure of one of its members. In this new CEPS Policy Brief, authors Daniel Gros of CEPS and Thomas Mayer of the Deutsche Bank Group argue for the setting up of a European Monetary Fund. One of the tasks of this EMF would be to manage the insolvency of euro area countries in an orderly way.


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 10:45:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC - Gavin Hewitt's Europe: Fear that shadows the euro


"Saving the eurozone will no doubt edge its way onto the agenda at this week's informal summit on jobs and growth in Brussels."

Oh how nice. We'll get around to it when that agenda item comes up for discussion. Frist comes the discussion on the curviture of bananas and the roundness of oranges. Markets don't wait for bureaucracies. They are now lightning fast. The rush to the exit when it comes could crash the Euro in a matter of hours. The EU created a ticking time bomb with the invention of the Eurodollar and it could detonate at any time now.

"The IMF stands in the wings, ready and willing to administer its harsh medicine."

Another naive and vain hope. The world's currency markets trade surpassed a trillion dollars a day many years ago. Anything the IMF or anyone else could try to bolster the Euro would be easily overwhelmed, swamped by the markets. The IMF could bankrupt itself by trying, making it impossible to help anyone else again.

"But say the conclusion from this crisis is that the euro is fatally flawed; that it might survive this storm but will surely be holed next time around. Then, inevitably, the arguments will start as to whether the eurozone needs the equivalent of a single treasury."

Laughable. Knowing that, why wouldn't investors simply get out now while they still can. There isn't going to be a next time. This is it. The first time will be the last time. The Euro is probably as good as dead and buried already. How fortunate for the UK that it still has the pound sterling...or should I say the pound pewter. If the UK were smart, it would quit the EU immediately to get out from under any and all obligations to rescue anyone but itself. And what a payback that would be to France and Germany.

The old adage proves true once again, that the flight to quality means a flight to the US dollar. There won't be any strikes in the US for more government spending. The anger centers around the government spending a lot less. It is said of the US economy that when the US catches a cold, the rest of the world catches pneumonia. What happens when the US catches pneumonia?

The chickens are on their way home to roost. The only question is when will they arrive and how much of their droppings will Europe have to endure. IMO this is all very good news for the US taxpayer and consumer. US markets should eventually do very well too as investment money comes pouring in to its markets from all over the world. Europe had its chance and blew it.

i'm corn-fused...

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 11:16:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought for a minute that was Gavin Hewitt revealing what an utter Europe-hater he is...

But no, it's from the comments...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 12:00:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:09:20 PM EST
RAF 'relying' on drones in Afghanistan | UK news | guardian.co.uk

British forces are relying increasingly on unmanned drones to attack targets in Afghanistan, mirroring controversial tactics used by the US.

New Ministry of Defence figures show the RAF has fired 84 missiles from Reaper drones since they were first deployed there in June 2008, with more than 20 being fired over the past two months.

The RAF has not disclosed the number of US-made Reapers deployed in Afghanistan, but say they will double the total over the next two years. Defence chiefs say they have been slow to recognise their potential, both in a surveillance role and as a weapons carrier.

They are launched from a base in Kandahar, but are controlled remotely thousands of miles away by a squadron of some 90 RAF personnel based at Creech US air force base in Nevada.

The drones can carry out surveillance - what the RAF describe as a "staring eye" - of the battlefield around the clock, far longer than conventional manned aircraft. They are highly suitable in Afghanistan where they are not generally vulnerable to enemy fire, defence officials say.

Once a target has been identified, the RAF remote controllers can instruct the drones to fire their two 500lb laser-guided bombs and four Hellfire missiles.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:19:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran's President Moves Ahead on Uranium Processing - NYTimes.com

AIRO -- Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, ordered the nation's atomic energy agency on Sunday to begin producing a special form of uranium that can be used to power a medical reactor in Tehran, but that could also move the country much closer to possessing fuel usable in nuclear weapons.

The announcement Sunday came after several days of conflicting signals from Mr. Ahmadinejad and other Iranian officials about whether they were ready to reopen negotiations about giving up much of their country's fuel in exchange for enriched uranium from another country. The exchange would allow Iran to meet some of its energy needs, but would ease fears in the West because the fuel sent to Tehran would be in a form that would be very difficult to use in a bomb.

The deal fell apart when it was rejected by the leadership in Tehran.

Mr. Ahmadinejad's order on Sunday may represent nuclear gamesmanship; it is unclear if the country has the capacity to enrich its fuel to roughly 20 percent, from about 5 percent, as Mr. Ahmadinejad was ordering. Doing so would require retooling the configuration of the nation's centrifuges at a moment when Iran appears to have run into considerable technical difficulties at its nuclear plants.

It is unclear if those troubles have been caused either by its own technical failings, or sabotage by Western intelligence agencies, or both. American intelligence officials have told Congress and close allies, in closed briefings, that covert efforts to interfere with Iran's production capability are extremely active.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:22:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why should Iran trust the west ? there was a very similar deal about reprocessing back in the 90s and the US forced its abandonment.

what does 20% get you ? It's pointlessly rich for power but way short of what you need for a bomb ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 06:37:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Palin says she might run in 2012, that Obama can be beat | McClatchy

WASHINGTON -- Sarah Palin said Sunday she might run for president in 2012 if she decides it's good for her family and country.

Fresh from a speech to conservative activists at a "tea party" gathering in Nashville, Palin said that President Barack Obama could be defeated in 2012, that she's gearing up on foreign policy and other issues, and that she would run herself if it felt right.

"I would," she said on Fox News Sunday. "I would if I believed that that is the right thing to do for our country and for the Palin family. Certainly, I would do so."

A paid contributor to Fox News, Palin added, "I think that it would be absurd to not consider what it is that I can potentially do to help our country. I don't know if it's going to be ever seeking a title, though. It may be just doing a darn good job as a reporter or covering some of the current events."

Asked how she would make the decision, the former Alaska governor said she "thankfully" has plenty of time. She noted that other potential candidates for the Republican presidential nomination may know more about the issues.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:26:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Run, Sarah !! Run

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 06:38:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You Betcha!

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 07:39:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If she can stay out of legal trouble that long I'll be mighty impressed.  She's corrupt but also the type of corrupt that gets thrown under the bus.  Her main advantage is that she is the most thorough puppet one could imagine.

If she is elected we deserve our fate.

by paving on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 03:28:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But she plays well on teevee - biro-written crib notes and all.

Obama has hinted he's not running in 2012. If he doesn't, the Dems will be a rudderless ship without sails. Who's going to replace him at short notice? Hillary?

Not that Hillary vs Palin wouldn't be interesting to watch, in a deeply depressing kind of a way.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 06:31:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Has he ? When ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 08:13:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see how she'll get busted for anything, any more than Bush/Cheney were. IOKIYAR

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 08:15:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bleak Portrait of Haiti Orphanages Raises Fears - NYTimes.com

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- The floors were concrete and the windows were broken.

There was no electricity or running water. Lunch looked like watery grits. Beds were fashioned from sheets of cardboard. And the only toilet did not work.

But the Foyer of Patience here is like hundreds of places that pass as orphanages for thousands of children in the poorest country in the hemisphere. Many are barely habitable, much less licensed. They have no means to provide real schooling or basic medical care, so children spend their days engaged in mindless activities, and many die from treatable illnesses.

Haiti's child welfare system was broken before the earthquake struck. But as the quake shattered homes and drove hundreds of thousands of people into the streets, the number of children needing care grew exponentially.

Chronic problems -- like inadequate services, overwhelming poverty and shady orphanages -- have only intensified, while the authorities fear that some of the less scrupulous orphanages are taking advantage of the chaos to round up children in crisis and offer them for sale as servants and sex slaves.

But it took the arrest last weekend of 10 Americans caught trying to leave the country with 33 Haitian children to focus international attention on the issue. While there is no evidence that the Americans, who said they were trying to rescue children in the aftermath of the earthquake, intended any harm, the ease with which they drove into the capital and scooped up a busload of children without documents exposed vast gaps in the system's safeguards.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:30:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Many in Ivory Coast May Be Left Out From Vote - NYTimes.com

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast -- The pictures plastered on school walls all over the country offered a stark reminder of the divisions in this identity-obsessed nation.

On one side were the faces of people the government has deemed true members of society, the ones eligible to vote in the first election here in a decade. On the other side were snapshots of the multitudes -- about a million in all -- whose identities have fallen under official suspicion.

Ten years of war and riots lie behind those fateful doubts, and soon after the pictures went up the astonishment at being excluded gave way to an urgent reality. To vote in the long-postponed election, many of these one million excluded residents had to troop to registration offices, clutching yellowing documents in a race to prove they belonged here. Sometimes even a birth certificate was not enough.

"I was surprised and shocked" to be barred from voting, said Serge Bayoro, 31. Waiting at a vote center to challenge his status, Mr. Bayoro said with quiet insistence, "I'm a pure-blood Ivorian."

Those are loaded words in a country where the contrary has been fatal. After years of violence and delays, Ivory Coast, once West Africa's economic star, is stumbling toward a presidential election. Peace is the hope, expressed over and over in markets and in offices: hold the election and the country can begin to recover. Officials insist that preparations are now ending and that the million residents in dispute, in a country of 18.5 million, will either be integrated into the voter rolls or not.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:32:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tea partiers attack convention - Kenneth P. Vogel - POLITICO.com

NASHVILLE - Four Tennessee tea party activists who said they couldn't afford the $550 tickets to the National Tea Party Convention staged a guerilla news conference just outside of the event to challenge its representation of the movement.

"There are a lot of citizens in the state of Tennessee today who could not afford to be here... particularly in this economy," said Antonio Hinton, a 37-year old tea party activist from Knoxville. "They're just as patriotic. They're just as concerned. They care just as much about what's going on as the folks that are in that room."

The convention's steep ticket price, combined with its top-down organizational structure and the $100,000 speaking fee its organizers paid keynote speaker Sarah Palin all fly in the face of the grassroots tea party movement, Hinton and his three cohorts asserted in a quickly put-together press conference outside the convention hall.

About 40 journalists and camera people from the heavy media contingent covering the convention gathered around the four dissidents in a hotel lobby outside the entrance to the banquet room hosting most convention activities, as curious convention-goers crammed their necks to get a look at the spectacle, after which some challenged assertions made by the four.

All four of the men protesting the convention are part of a recently formed coalition of 34 tea party groups from around Tennessee that does not include the group behind the convention. The four contended the coalition, the Tennessee Tea Party Coalition, is more representative of the conservative populist movement, whose members have nonetheless chafed at being associated too closely with the Republican Party and its political leaders.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:59:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Tea Party movement is a gift for the Democrats if they exploit it properly. But I'm genuinely surprised Joe Lieberman isn't there.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 06:42:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the teabaggers were interested in AIPAC, Palestinians or the Mid-East I expect he would have been. What would be interesting would be if the teabaggers came to be interested in having Israel and AIPAC so involved in US Mid-East policy. But were that to happen, things could turn ugly fast. Ron Paul is no fan of Israel or their influence on American policy, but he doesn't seem to be directly involved.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 07:30:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I dunno, the Paulite libertarians are ideologically different from the rest of the Tea Party movement. If they were to walk it'd probably result in the Tea party becoming more focussed

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 07:42:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How long before the teabaggers secede from the union?

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 07:42:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Amnesty International is `damaged' by Taliban link - Times Online

A SENIOR official at Amnesty International has accused the charity of putting the human rights of Al-Qaeda terror suspects above those of their victims.

Gita Sahgal, head of the gender unit at Amnesty's international secretariat, believes that collaborating with Moazzam Begg, a former British inmate at Guantanamo Bay, "fundamentally damages" the organisation's reputation.

In an email sent to Amnesty's top bosses, she suggests the charity has mistakenly allied itself with Begg and his "jihadi" group, Cageprisoners, out of fear of being branded racist and Islamophobic.

Sahgal describes Begg as "Britain's most famous supporter of the Taliban". He has championed the rights of jailed Al-Qaeda members and hate preachers, including Anwar al-Awlaki, the alleged spiritual mentor of the Christmas Day Detroit plane bomber.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 03:00:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AIUK : Human rights are for all: Response to media article

Amnesty International is being accused in a media article today of putting the human rights of some people above those of others. This is not, and has never been, true. Implicit in the accusation, is the view that we should choose those whose rights we promote. We reject this view utterly. Amnesty International campaigns for all internationally recognised human rights for all people - it is not about their views, their political opinions, their actions - it's about upholding the universality of human rights: these are the inalienable rights of all human beings. As part and parcel of promoting human rights, we also have a long history of demanding that those who perpetrate human rights abuses be brought to justice - whoever they may be.  We make this call because victims deserve to see justice done, to know that the harm done to them has been exposed and to seek reparations. 

Whenever Amnesty International accuses governments or other actors of committing human rights violations - based on our research - they typically make one of two defences.  Either the violation never happened, for example, denying the existence of secret detention facilities or that the victim got what he or she "deserved."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 03:00:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
or, The United States as 18th century Poland

or, Why Paul Krugman misses Newt Gingrich

[USA.Is.DoomedTM Alert]

America Is Not Yet Lost | Paul Krugman - NYTimes.com

We've always known that America's reign as the world's greatest nation would eventually end. But most of us imagined that our downfall, when it came, would be something grand and tragic.

What we're getting instead is less a tragedy than a deadly farce.

<...>

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Polish legislature, the Sejm, operated on the unanimity principle: any member could nullify legislation by shouting "I do not allow!" This made the nation largely ungovernable, and neighboring regimes began hacking off pieces of its territory. By 1795 Poland had disappeared, not to re-emerge for more than a century.

Today, the U.S. Senate seems determined to make the Sejm look good by comparison.

<...>

After the dissolution of Poland, a Polish officer serving under Napoleon penned a song that eventually -- after the country's post-World War I resurrection -- became the country's national anthem. It begins, "Poland is not yet lost."

Well, America is not yet lost. But the Senate is working on it.



The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 04:10:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think his analogy is wrong. In Poland, any member could nullify legislation; in the U.S., that only applies to Republicans. Once the Republicans retake the Senate, they will be able to pass legislation with no problems, quickly providing the grand and tragic downfall he misses.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 07:09:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
gk: Once the Republicans retake the Senate, they will be able to pass legislation with no problems, quickly providing the grand and tragic downfall he misses.

Because the Democrats are more principled or because they are too wimpy to use the same tactics of political sabotage?

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 08:06:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of those two, probably because they are too wimpy. But also because the Republicans are likely to be more ruthless when it comes to changing the rules.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 08:11:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought this was the anthem of Ukraine ('Ukraine is not lost yet')?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 11:45:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mazurek Dąbrowskiego

Ще не вмерла Українa

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 12:18:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
as long as they can steal Russian gas, they'll be fine ;)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 04:11:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arutz Sheva:
A Michigan company that supplies gun sights to Israel and other companies has agreed to provide a kit to remove the "JN8:12" code, a reference to the New Testament passage of John 8:12 that Jesus is the "light of the world." Another type of the company's gun sights is stamped with "2COR4:6," a reference to part of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

[...]

The IDF said it was unaware of the codes until the issue was raised in the United States. The coded gun sights appear on many Israeli rifles as well as 300,000 gun sights in the U.S. army and marines.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 05:16:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Laura Chinchilla to be Costa Rica's first female leader

Costa Rica is set to have its first female president, after election results gave governing party candidate Laura Chinchilla an unassailable lead.

With most votes counted from Sunday's poll, Ms Chinchilla had 47% of the vote, 22 points ahead of the main opposition contender, Otton Solis.

Ms Chinchilla, a former vice-president, has pledged to continue the free-market policies of outgoing head, Oscar Arias.

She has also promised to tackle violent crime, a growing issue in Costa Rica.

"The biggest challenge we face is criminality, violence and drug-trafficking," Ms Chinchilla, 50, told her supporters.

Costa Rica, along with other Central American nations, is increasingly being used as a transit route for drugs smuggled from South America to the US market.

She also responded to criticism that she is too close to Mr Arias, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and that he will continue to control government policies.



'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 07:51:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Why Costa Rica scores well on the happiness index

Pura vida

But does this "greenness" make Costa Ricans happier?

"Yes," says Mr Ulate. "Now I have a simpler, less materialistic life, more in tune with nature."

"We don't have a sensation of death," says Mr Montealegre. "Nothing is arid here, you can see life everywhere."

He points out that Costa Ricans often answer the question 'How are you?' with the phrase "pura vida". It literally translates as "pure life" but roughly means "cool" or "everything's fine".

But amid such upbeat views, Bishop Jimenez is more circumspect.

"I cannot be happy when the number of poor people is increasing," he says.

"And when the government is allowing open pit mining and exercising no control over multinationals growing melons and pineapples. International studies show they are using excessive amounts of agrochemicals."



'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 07:53:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:09:43 PM EST
'Zen' bats hit their target by not aiming at it
ScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2010) -- New research conducted at the University of Maryland's bat lab shows Egyptian fruit bats find a target by NOT aiming their guiding sonar directly at it. Instead, they alternately point the sound beam to either side of the target. The new findings by researchers from Maryland and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel suggest that this strategy optimizes the bats' ability to pinpoint the location of a target, but also makes it harder for them to detect a target in the first place.


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:28:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sounds like they're hedging their bats.

(sorry!)

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 04:39:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Castenada's Don Juan was insistent on the value of 'not looking'. And of course human peripheral vision is much more sensitive in low light. I tried it once running hard through a dense night forest. And sustained no injury ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 04:49:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
sometimes i listen to music more accurately if the front of my mind is occupied reading text!

starrr...ange

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 07:21:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i used to practice run/jumping along big boulders along the hawaiian coast, and building up to it with practice, was able to do it quite fast, and completely 'unthinkingly'.

the art of 'gauging' works better with an indirect focus, i guess, the very act of concentrating on the trees takes away from a bigger flow that enables you to perceive the forest better.

or something batty like that...

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 07:36:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Delays prompt reshuffle at ITER fusion project: Scientific American

In an effort to put the world's largest scientific experiment back on track after delays and cost overruns, Europe is shaking up the agency overseeing its portion of the multinational ITER reactor.

On February 16, Frank Briscoe, a British fusion scientist, will take the reins as interim director of Fusion for Energy (F4E), the agency in Barcelona, Spain, that manages Europe's ITER contribution--the largest of any partner's. Briscoe replaces Didier Gambier, a French physicist who joined the F4E as director when it formed in 2007. Gambier was originally appointed for a five-year term.

The European Union (EU) is also formulating a plan to complete construction on the multibillion-dollar machine in 2019, a year after currently scheduled, Nature has learned.

ITER aims to prove the viability of fusion power by using superconducting magnets to squeeze a plasma of heavy hydrogen isotopes to temperatures above 150 million/degrees Celsius. When full-scale experiments begin in 2026, the machine should produce ten times the power it consumes.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:45:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When full-scale experiments begin in 2026, the machine should produce ten times the power it consumes.

When they can extract 20% of that power as usable power they might have something, but they will likely have to extract significantly more to operate at scale, as 80% of 100 Megawatts would be a lot of "waste" energy, presuming that most of it would be thermal energy. The efficiency would seem to be a major limit on cycle time. Not very practical if one or two cycles melts or disables part of the machine. I don't have any idea how this will be done. Some sort of macro quantum efficiency?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 07:53:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I remain convinced that stray particles from the reactions will shred the containment vessels requiring regular replacement. and those things will be just as hot as any other nuclear waste.

If practical fusion is a technological Friedman unit away (50 years), they're basically admitting they don't have a clue how they're gonna do it. Might as well work on the Star Drive.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 08:12:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ny gut sez this is a giant boondoggle/white elephant, and it burns me up thinking how it'd be if all those squillions had been invested in sun and wind instead.

i suspect that's as close to a free lunch we'll ever get!

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 07:39:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Defusing the Methane Greenhouse Time Bomb: Scientific American

Methane trapped in Arctic ice (and elsewhere) could be rapidly released into the atmosphere as a result of global warming in a possible doomsday scenario for climate change, some scientists worry. After all, methane is 72 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a 20-year timescale. But research announced at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union this December suggests that marine microbes could at least partially defeat the methane "time bomb" sitting at the bottom of the world's oceans.

The conventional wisdom for decades has been that methane emanating from the seafloor could be consumed by a special class of bacteria called methanotrophs. It has long been known, for instance, that these organisms at the bottom of the Black Sea consume methane produced in its deep oxygen-free waters.

What has not been clear is whether these bacteria would be of any use in the event that a special class of ice at the bottom of the ocean is destabilized by a warmer climate. This ice, known as clathrates, or methane hydrates, consists of a cage of water molecules surrounding individual molecules of methane, and it exists under conditions of low temperature and high pressure. These conditions can be found on the continental shelf the world over, but there is an extra large quantity of seafloor suitable for methane hydrates in the Arctic because of its low temperatures and a seafloor plateau that happens to be at the optimum depth for clathrate formation. The Arctic also happens to be more vulnerable to climate change because parts of the poles are warming at least twice as fast as the rest of the world.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:47:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:10:15 PM EST
Gay Marriage Puts Mexico City at Center of Debate - NYTimes.com

MEXICO CITY -- Angela Alfarache and Ivonne Cervantes met at a party 16 years ago and have been a couple ever since, filling their lives with books and writing and friends. After their daughter, Constanza, was born six years ago, they became a family.

Mexican law never saw it that way. Only Constanza's biological mother -- the pair will not say which one gave birth to her because, as they explain, they are both her mothers -- is her legal parent. The law does not recognize the other mother.

In a few weeks, that will change. A new Mexico City law goes into effect March 4 that will allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt children, propelling the city to the forefront of the global gay rights movement.

"We want society to change its chip that says there is only one kind of family," said Ms. Alfarache.

But fierce opposition erupted almost as soon as the law was passed on Dec. 22. In his final homily of the year in Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera said, "Today the family is under attack in its essence by the equivalence of homosexual unions with marriage between a man and a woman." Roman Catholic groups asked the conservative federal government to intervene.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:27:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Los Angeles Suburbs Dig Out After Mudslides - NYTimes.com

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. (AP) -- Crews waded through thigh-high mud to check for gas leaks and survey damage in the foothills north of Los Angeles Sunday as evacuated residents waited to find out if they could return to their homes and start digging out.

Forty-three homes in La Canada Flintridge were damaged and 500 more evacuated Saturday after mud and water overflowed basins and surged into streets, taking furniture, cars and concrete barriers with it. About 70 homes remained evacuated Sunday morning.

''In my 20 years of fire service, this is the first time I've seen this much devastation caused by a weather system,'' Los Angeles County Fire Battalion Chief Mike Brown said while walking past suburban homes with thigh-deep mud in their yards.

Los Angeles County public works crews were using bulldozers and other heavy machinery to move boulders, scoop out catch basins and clear roads.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was scheduled to tour the area later Sunday.

The sun was shining Sunday on barren mountaintops scarred by last summer's wildfires, but forecasters say more rain could arrive by Tuesday.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:33:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chevron hires twelve public relations firms to discredit indigenous Indians in Ecuador
(NaturalNews) In response to an environmental lawsuit filed against the oil giant, Chevron has fortified its defenses with at least twelve different public relations firms whose purpose is to debunk the claims made against the company by indigenous people living in the Amazon forests of Ecuador. According to them, Chevron dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste in the Amazon between 1964 and 1990, causing damages assessed at more than $27 billion.

The company is being criticized by people and organizations from across the social and political spectrum for its unethical behavior in regards to the case. Originally filed in U.S. federal district court back in 1993, the lawsuit was eventually moved to courts in Ecuador at Chevron's behest. Having initially lauded Ecuador's legal system in an effort to have the case moved there, Chevron later changed its mind and began attacking the system when that system found the company liable for damages.

Shareholders are also upset with Chevron for its gross mismanagement of the case in which it has sidestepped the rule of law and employed guerilla-style tactics in a last ditch effort to fend off an unfavorable ruling. Part of this includes hiring Hill & Knowlton, the same firm that represented the tobacco industry during its indictment over tobacco causing cancer, to perform the same task concerning toxic oil contaminants.

Evidence presented at Chevron's trial included over 50,000 chemical samples taken by the company itself which proved that all of its former oil drilling sites are contaminated with toxic byproducts that cause cancer. Many of these wells have contaminated rivers, streams, and other water sources which natives use for drinking water. Despite all the undeniable evidence, Chevron is working hard to cover up the facts and dismiss its responsibility in the matter.


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:57:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is pot legalization push in California a trend that will spread? | McClatchy

SAN FRANCISCO -- It's almost a cliche these days that San Francisco and its sister to the east, Oakland, stand as the primary incubators of some of California's infamously wacky but later transformational social and political ideas.

From the Silicon Valley to Oakland and Berkeley to the Napa Valley -- if it was at first weird, untested, illegal and/or controversial, it probably got its start right here.

Now a small but determined coalition of Bay Area activists and politicos are on a mission to have California be the first state in the union to fully legalize, regulate and tax the use of marijuana - and they're approaching that goal from several different angles.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 02:06:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Will it spread?  Without a doubt.  California is the first to legalize primarily because our state constitution allows for direct initiatives.  The other benefit of this is that the law can be written by non-politicians, which is why the medical marijuana rules, for example, were so vague that local municipalities were able to interpret them without law-and-order types interfering at the state regulatory level.  

The reason it will spread quickly is revenue.  As soon as California legalizes there will be an immediate set of industries that pop-up around it.  If these companies get a head start they will be able to dominate the marijuana business.  It is in the best interest of say, Washington and Oregon, to legalize for business competition reasons.

Also, the citizens of various states will be traveling to California to fill up our tax coffers instead of spending that disposable income in their local economies.  

There is data supporting all of this because prohibition has happened before and also because it still exists in some counties and states to an extent.  The main difference is that marijuana does not have the severe social issues that alcohol comes with.

Naturally, alcohol and cigarette interests (along with the pharmaceutical companies) are the biggest opponents to legalized marijuana.  It's business and they're the competition.

Marijuana legalization will be on the November ballot in California and will definitely be the most interesting thing to happen in this election in the US.  There is a huge underground economy and industry already in place that will spring into action faster than most people can believe.  The cultural impact will also be enormous.

by paving on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 03:35:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
put your comment into a diary? If legalization will occur, it will be a watershed - in one swift swoop overtaking the Dutch who are too chicken to make the final logical step to legalize...
by Nomad on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 04:21:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This would also have an effect on live music. Not that people don't skin up in public already, but I can imagine crowds of stoners listening to stoner music legally creating quite a scene. (Again.)
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 06:40:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Presumably the ban on smoking tobacco in public can easily be extended to marijuana....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 07:06:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Teen Matador Shows Off Skills, Killing Six Bulls in One Day - WSJ.com
A 16-year-old Spanish matador has killed six bulls in one afternoon, pulling off a feat normally attempted only by seasoned veterans and winning trophies for his skill--ears from animals he had just slain.

<...>

Jairo Miguel said bullfighting gives him an irresistible rush from a cocktail of fear, adrenaline and applause from the crowd. Still, sometimes he feels sorry for the animals he kills.

"I feel quite bad when the bull has been good, and you see the expression on his face, the innocence. He has given you his bravery, he has collaborated so that you win praise and people stand in ovation," he said.



The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 04:11:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to `eradicate' their beliefs | Raw Story

A Christian group in Michigan has filed a lawsuit alleging that a package of hate crimes laws named after murder victim Matthew Shepard is an affront to their religious freedom.

Far from the intended purpose of severely punishing criminals who commit unspeakable acts against a persecuted minority group, the religious activists claim the laws are a guarded effort to "eradicate" their beliefs.

Filed by the Thomas More Law Center -- which bills itself as the religious answer to the American Civil Liberties Union -- the complaint claims that protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people "is an effort to eradicate religious beliefs opposing the homosexual agenda from the marketplace of ideas by demonizing, vilifying, and criminalizing such beliefs as a matter of federal law and policy



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 07:37:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Child maintenance agency moves to seize 340 non-payers' homes | Society | guardian.co.uk

Officials have moved to seize the properties of more than 300 fathers who have defaulted on child maintenance payments, in a marked toughening of the approach towards serial non-payers.

More than 200 parents not living with their children ‑ almost all of them men ‑ have also had their bank accounts frozen in the five months since the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC) was given powers to do so.

The measures reflect the commission's determination to improve the record of the much-criticised Child Support Agency, which it took over in 2008 and which it intends to replace over the next four years. The latest figures show that the number of children benefiting from maintenance payments through the agency is exceeding 800,000 for the first time.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 08:39:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:10:40 PM EST
Germany take on Turkey in Euro 2012 qualifiers | Sports | Deutsche Welle | 07.02.2010
Germany, runners-up in the last Euro final, will face neighbors Austria as well as Turkey in Group A of the qualifying tournament of the 2012 European soccer championship.  

Sunday's draw in Warsaw placed Belgium, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan alongside Germany, Austria and Turkey in Group A.

The toughest of the group by far is expected to be Turkey. The Turkish team has a reputation for tenacity and overcoming obstacles, as they did during the 2008 Euro semi-final against Germany, where they almost managed a victory despite a roster shot through with injuries and suspensions. The Germans beat them 3-2 with a winning goal in the 79th minute.

Germany coach Joachim Loew said he expected his team and Turkey to be the group favorites.

[...]

There are three German coaches among the six teams. Besides Loew, former national coach Berti Vogts coaches Azerbaijan, and Bernd Storck leads Kazakhstan.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:18:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sinatra Song Often Strikes Deadly Chord - NYTimes.com

GENERAL SANTOS, the Philippines -- After a day of barbering, Rodolfo Gregorio went to his neighborhood karaoke bar still smelling of talcum powder. Putting aside his glass of Red Horse Extra Strong beer, he grasped a microphone with a habitué's self-assuredness and briefly stilled the room with the Platters' "My Prayer."

Next, he belted out crowd-pleasers by Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck. But Mr. Gregorio, 63, a witness to countless fistfights and occasional stabbings erupting from disputes over karaoke singing, did not dare choose one beloved classic: Frank Sinatra's version of "My Way."

"I used to like `My Way,' but after all the trouble, I stopped singing it," he said. "You can get killed."

The authorities do not know exactly how many people have been killed warbling "My Way" in karaoke bars over the years in the Philippines, or how many fatal fights it has fueled. But the news media have recorded at least half a dozen victims in the past decade and includes them in a subcategory of crime dubbed the "My Way Killings."

The killings have produced urban legends about the song and left Filipinos groping for answers. Are the killings the natural byproduct of the country's culture of violence, drinking and machismo? Or is there something inherently sinister in the song?



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 01:42:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i always felt that song to be quite sinister, even without sin-art-ra singing it....

clever wordplay though, and suitably pompous chord structure.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 04:45:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well the songwriter was interviewed and said that his favorite version was the Sid Vicious/sex pistols one, as it was the only version that didn't treat it as a pompous epic.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 08:55:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I heard that Sinatra liked it as well, saying it was the only version he'd ever heard that didn't do it His Way.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 09:20:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was originally by French songwriter Jacques Revaux, with English words (For Me no one wanted to record. '60s pop (and '70s disco) idol Claude François took it on and rewrote the words with the help of Gilles Thibaut, recording it as Comme d'habitude. David Bowie wrote new English lyrics for it (not good) before Paul Anka heard the Claude François version and bought the US rights, writing the Eng-lang version My Way.

Which among them preferred the Sid Vicious cover, I don't know, but I do (prefer it...).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 10:15:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was reading recently somewhere (maybe The Philippines?) that singing karaoke 'My Way' (Sinatra version) had caused a lot of fights, even shootings. In some bars it was banned.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 12:23:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
maybe a couple of comments higher on the page? ;P


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 05:03:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that was it ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 01:15:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Goa Rape | Bikinis

NEW DELHI, India -- Once upon a time, the beaches of Goa were known for free love. But as a string of high-profile sexual assaults on tourists culminated in the alleged rape of a 9-year-old Russian girl last week, the idyllic strip of sand along the Arabian Sea is fast gaining a fearful reputation.

The answer? According to the state's ministry of tourism, those cute pre-teens in two-pieces are asking for it.

"You can't blame the locals; they have never seen such women. Foreign tourists must maintain a certain degree of modesty in their clothing. Walking on the beaches half-naked is bound to titillate the senses," New Delhi's Mail Today newspaper quoted Pamela Mascarhenas, Goa's deputy director of tourism, as saying Friday.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 02:49:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ghastly.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 06:50:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian - Mark Thomas - Why Britain should declare war on Jersey

Over the last year I have toured the country getting audiences to propose policies they think will change the world, improve their life or just annoy people they don't like.
[....]
The twin themes of revenge and scepticism featured heavily in the audience choices, and last year homeopaths became the focus of attention at a show in Leicester; overwhelmingly the audience voted in favour of the policy that ruled that "anyone who sells homeopathic remedies should be allowed homeopathic treatment only if they have a major illness". In Cheltenham the two themes merged with the suggestion that "Mediums should be imprisoned but with a combination lock. If they and their spirit guides can find the number they are free to go." In London the mob rule element got the upper hand when one show voted that "Noel Edmonds (UK presenter of Deal or No deal) should be beheaded . . . and his head placed in one of 22 sealed boxes."


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 7th, 2010 at 08:19:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arrrgh, just found out, that with my old laptop I can not give any 4's, that is I can give them, but not save them. :-(
by Fran on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 10:20:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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