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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 29 April

by DoDo Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 03:31:01 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1882 - Werner von Siemens tests the Electromote, the forerunner of trolley buses

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

by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:48:29 PM EST
Obama-style canvassing with France's Socialists - FRENCH ELECTIONS 2012 - FRANCE 24

FRANCE 24 joined a small team of Socialist Party (PS) canvassers working the suburbs of Nimes in southern France as the country gears up for the second round of the presidential election on May 6.

Locally, there is much at stake for the PS. Nimes is the main city in the Gard - the only administrative region in France where far-right candidate Marine Le Pen came top in the first round of the presidential vote.

...Their approach and strategy is surprisingly American in a country where door-to-door canvassing is virtually unknown. For the first time in a presidential campaign, the socialist-party has organised a large-scale effort to draw in left-wing sympathisers who might have otherwise abstained, drawing inspiration from the Obama canvassing method.

Activists are furnished with lists of households in overwhelmingly left-voting neighbourhoods that have abstained from voting in previous elections (not the names) and these form the core of the highly coordinated strategy to target undecided voters.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:48:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hollande calls limiting economic immigration 'essential' - FRENCH ELECTIONS 2012 - FRANCE 24

"In the period of crisis we are going through, limiting economic immigration is necessary and essential," Hollande told RTL radio.

"I also want to fight illegal immigration on the economic front. It is not right that a certain number of employers, in a cynical way, are hiring illegal migrants," he said.

Hollande reiterated his vow to ask parliament to fix the number of immigrants allowed into France every year.

The PS fishing for Le Pen voters – sigh.

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

by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:48:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or, alternatively, protecting labor against illegal wage attacks by business.
by rootless2 on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 08:30:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gaddafi 'agreed to fund Sarkozy' with €50m cheque - LIBYA - FRANCE - FRANCE 24
French investigative website Mediapart reported Saturday that deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi agreed to fund President Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign with a 50 million euro cheque.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:48:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gaddafi 'funded' 2007 Sarkozy campaign - Europe - Al Jazeera English

The government of the late Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi agreed to fund French President Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign with an estimated $66m, a French news website has reported.

The Paris-based investigative website Mediapart on Saturday published what it said was documentary evidence of the illegal campaign funding.

Sarkozy strongly denied the allegations when questioned by French journalists in March and April. He has not yet commented on the latest document released by Mediapart.

France has strict campaign financing laws, banning politicians from taking funding from foreign states.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 02:17:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe Gaddafi agreed but did not follow with a cheque.
That's why he is where ever he is now...
And maybe that's why Sarco was leading action in Libya...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 10:21:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
dead men tell no tales. live ones, seeing ghaddafi buggered by a bayonet, watch their words carefully.

'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 Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 11:56:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Massive van bomb 'ready to go' at Northern Ireland border - Crime - UK - The Independent
A van bomb found near the Irish border contained 600lbs of homemade explosive and was "ready to go", police revealed today.

A senior officer confirmed the device was larger than had originally been estimated and could have caused devastation.

The white Citroen Berlingo van was spotted by a member of the public on Thursday evening after it was abandoned on a border road outside Newry in Northern Ireland.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:49:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by asdf on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 04:46:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tories say they lack 'normal' people to woo working class - UK Politics - UK - The Independent
The Conservative Party needs more people in it who "sound normal" to get its message across to working-class voters struggling to make ends meet, its backbenchers have said.

Robert Halfon, a member of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs, urged ministers to drop their aggressive language about unions and pleaded for a cut in fuel duty to help ordinary families "crushed" by soaring petrol prices.

It echoes fears among party loyalists that the Tories are increasingly portrayed as defending the better-off.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:49:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We will loan out our GOP "normal people." They tend to melt when put in the spotlight, however...
by asdf on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 04:48:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... the Tories are increasingly portrayed as defending the better-off.

How were they portrayed before? Or is the volume on the megaphone just getting louder? Same problem for the GOP here, same type of people ... or whatever they are.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 05:05:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what? you always vote for the plummiest voice, it's how you know they's better'n you, and you always vote for your betters, it's the only sound bet innit?

if you want a leg-up from'em you gots to give 'em the vote, otherwise what would they do? go on the dole, like the rest of us?

cor, strewth, it's bleedin' obvious!

'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 Apr 28th, 2012 at 11:51:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Romania opposition leader to become PM - ROMANIA - FRANCE 24

AFP - Romanian President Traian Basescu on Friday designated left-wing opposition leader Victor Ponta as new prime minister after the collapse of the centre-right government.

"I have decided to task Victor Ponta with forming the new government," Basescu said in a public address.

"Nothing dramatic happened today, this is democracy," he added, stressing that there was "no reason for panic on the financial markets".

LOL.

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

by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:49:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Judge delays tax trial of former PM Tymoshenko - UKRAINE - FRANCE 24

AFP - A Ukrainian judge ruled Saturday that jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko could not be tried in absentia and delayed her hearings in a new tax evasion case until May 21.

The unexpected decision came as international concern mounted over the fate of the former pro-Western prime minister after she declared a hunger strike to protest her alleged beating by three prison wardens.

"The court has ruled that it is impossible to hear the case in the absence of Tymoshenko," Judge Kostiantyn Sadovsky told the hearing after reporting that Tymoshenko could not attend the trial due to chronic back pain.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:49:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Vitali Klitschko on Tymoshenko Case: 'Ukraine Is Becoming Increasingly Authoritarian' - SPIEGEL ONLINE
In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, boxer and pro-democracy activist Vitali Klitschko talks about the worsening situation in his country and the case of the jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko. While he rejects calls to boycott the upcoming European Football Championships, he says the event is a good opportunity to draw attention to the Ukraine government's failures.

He draws an interesting parallel with the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

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

by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:49:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Missiles stationed on residential roof for Olympics - Telegraph

Residents in the private, gated flats in Bow, east London, have received a leaflet warning them that a team of 10 soldiers and police will be stationed at the building - home to 700 people - for the duration of the Games.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) leaflet says the missiles will only be fired as a last resort, said resident Brian Whelan.

He said: ''They are going to have a test run next week, putting high velocity missiles on the roof just above our apartment and on the back of it they're stationing police and military in the tower of the building for two months.

''It's a private, gated community with an old watch tower which is now a lift shaft.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 03:11:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is so cool! The neighborhood kids will love it.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 05:07:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just my thought. ;)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 02:06:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Juan Jose Millas: Un sindiós (El Pais, 27 April 2012)
Desde que los ministros de Rajoy, en especial Montoro y Ana Mato, decidieron explicar didácticamente los porqués de la demolición del Estado, entendemos las cosas mucho mejor. He aquí un resumen, claro como el agua, de sus argumentos: Se pone precio a la sanidad para que continúe siendo gratuita y se expulsa de ella a determinados colectivos para que siga siendo universal. Se liquidan las leyes laborales para salvaguardar los derechos de los trabajadores y se penaliza al jubilado y al enfermo para proteger a los colectivos más vulnerables. En cuanto a la educación, ponemos las tasas universitarias por las nubes para defender la igualdad de oportunidades y estimulamos su privatización para que continúe siendo pública. No es todo, ya que al objeto de mantener el orden público amnistiamos a los delincuentes grandes, ofrecemos salidas fiscales a los defraudadores ambiciosos y metemos cuatro años en la cárcel al que rompa una farola. Todo este programa reformador de gran calado no puede ponerse en marcha sin mentir, de modo que mentimos, sí, pero al modo de los novelistas: para que la verdad resplandezca. Dentro de esta lógica implacable, huimos de los periodistas para dar la cara y convocamos ruedas de prensa sin turno de preguntas para responder a todo. Nadie que tenga un poco de buena voluntad pondrá en duda por tanto que hemos autorizado la subida del gas y de la luz a fin de que resulten más baratos y que obedecemos sin rechistar a Merkel para no perder soberanía. A no tardar mucho, quizá dispongamos que los aviones salgan con más retraso para que lleguen puntuales. Convencidos de que el derecho a la información es sagrado en toda democracia que se precie, vamos a tomar RTVE al asalto para mantener la pluralidad informativa. A nadie extrañe que para garantizar la libertad, tengamos que suprimir las libertades.
There is no god (El Pais, 27 April 2012)
Since Rajoy's ministers, especially Montoro and Ana Mato, decided to explain didactically the whys of the demolition of the State, we understand things much better. Here's a summary, clear as crystal, of their arguments: Health care is given a price in order for it to continue to be free and particular groups are expelled from it so that it continues to be universal. Labour laws are liquidated to preserve workers' rights and the retired and the sick are penalised to protect the most vulnerable groups. Regarding education, we raise university fees through the roof to defend equal opportunity, and we stimulate the privatization of education so that it continues to be public. It's not all, as in order to preserve the public order we give an amnesty to big lawbreakers, we offer a graceful fiscal exit to ambitious tax dodgers and we throw into jail for 4 years those who break a street light. All this deep reform programme cannot be set in motion without lying, so we lie, yes, but in the way of novelists: so that truth may shine. In this implacable logic, we shun journalists in order to face the music and we call press conferences without a questions period in order to answer for everything. Nobody with a minimum of good will will doubt that er have authorised a rise in the prices of gas and electricity so that they end up being cheaper and that we obey Merkel without a peep so as not to lose sovereignty. The day cannot be far when we maybe will decide that planes should take off later so they can arrive on time. Convinced that the right to information is sacred in a self-respecting democracy, we're going to take the national TV by assault in order to maintain information pluralism. It should surprise noone that, in order to guarantee freedom, we will have to suppress liberties.


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 04:41:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I may use a "Britishism" ...

Bloody Brilliant.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 09:53:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He is.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 06:01:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Classic

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:42:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Many of his columns are instant classics. Example.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 11:08:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exclusive: Hunt on the brink as he is accused of misleading Parliament - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

Jeremy Hunt today stands accused of misleading Parliament over his dealings with the Murdoch empire, an offence which would trigger the Culture Secretary's immediate resignation.

As the Prime Minister battled to save his minister, an Independent on Sunday investigation has established that Mr Hunt appears to have misled the Commons on three occasions in his handling of News Corp's takeover bid of BSkyB.

In what could turn out to be the final blow to the under-fire Culture Secretary, a letter written by his permanent secretary, Jonathan Stephens, seen by this newspaper, challenges Mr Hunt's version of events.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 07:25:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why Cameron and Osborne fear losing their firewall - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

When Jeremy Hunt delivered his less than certain Commons statement on his role in the BSkyB bid and the Frédéric Michel emails last Wednesday, David Cameron and George Osborne remained on the front bench next to the embattled Culture Secretary. For more than an hour, the Prime Minister and Chancellor were unable to move - to leave would suggest they were hanging Hunt out to dry.

But their expressions revealed they were less than happy at their position. Cameron, who did not make eye contact with Hunt as the minister arrived at the Dispatch Box, appeared annoyed that he had to show his support. Next to him on the front bench sat Osborne, already grim-faced after news of the UK returning to recession.

Ultimately, however, they could not move because these two men are personally as bound up in the current scandal as the hapless Culture Secretary and his special adviser Adam Smith, who had resigned that morning. This weekend, with Hunt's job hanging in the balance, Cameron and Osborne are weighing up whether to save the Culture Secretary or to force him to resign. The refusal by No 10 to order a separate inquiry into Hunt's conduct shows the balance is currently tipped in favour of saving him. To let him go would be to tear down the firewall between News Corp, with Rupert Murdoch, his son James and Rebekah Brooks on one side, and the highest ranks of the Tory party, with Cameron, Osborne and the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, on the other. The Prime Minister recognises that it is the closeness to the Murdoch empire of these three at the top of government that goes to the true heart of the scandal.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 08:06:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and its 'variety of capitalism': Why Won't Germany Turn? Joseph Halevi's insightful analysis, circa 1995 (Yanis Varoufakis, 25 April 2012)
In the paper (a scanned, and rather heavy, version of which you can download and print here), Joseph argues that the Bundesbank's commitment to monetarist orthodoxy has very little to do with either a psychological leftover of Weimar or some theoretical view on the universal merits of a strong currency as a prerequisite for long term growth. Instead, Halevi argues that to understand the Bundesbank time-honoured determination to tight monetarist policy even in recessionary times, we must first grasp the structure of German capitalism and, in particular, the shifting, agonising, closely-knit relationship between German industry, German finance and, of course, the Bundesbank. Such a close reading of the German economy, and its interaction with the Rest of Europe, with Japan (and later China) and the United States, reveals a clear picture of a major economy that operates as a source of deflation for the Rest of Europe (RoE henceforth).

Halevi's analytical perspective is mainly based on two insights. The first is John Maynard Keynes' view, which he expounded with all the strength he could muster in the Bretton Woods Conference (in 1944), that if the burden of adjustment falls (during a recession) primarily on the deficit members of a currency union, the result will be that the recession will spread to the surplus countries and the union will come to a grinding halt. The second is Michal Kalecki's view (expressed eloquently in a 1946 paper entitled `Multilateralism and Full Employment'[1]) that a recession in the deficit countries may never result in a restoration of the balance of payments (between deficit and surplus countries) even if the exchange rates are fully free-floating and thus adjustable. It all depends, argued Kalecki, on the extend to which the surplus countries' exporters exercise oligopoly power not only within the nations where they are based but also depending on their capacity to extend such price-setting power beyond their borders. It was, in other words, as if Kalecki was writing about the Germany that was to emerge, following the Marshall Plan, in the mid-1950s.

...

Halevi warns his readers time and again against the mistake of associating causally the impressive productivity of German industry with a normative evaluation of its price stability. He challenges the views of two great scholars that he evidently admires: R. Hilferding and J. Schumpeter. The two men had presumed that, because German capitalism had utilised effectively corporatist structures for planning markets, Germany's `trustified' capitalism would be immune to crises of aggregate demand. Halevi challenges this view, arguing with Kalecki that, while trustification and corporatism did give German capitalism a capacity to accumulate and hoard productive capital over and above the level of its neighbours, it does not shield it, in the end, from recessionary forces. Indeed, German corporatism generates recessionary forces from within and has a tendency to export them without.



guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 08:32:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europa programa su resurrección | Economía | EL PAÍSEurope prepares its resurrection - Economy - El Pais
Bruselas prepara una suerte de Plan Marshall, una inquietante referencia histórica que en los últimos meses aparece incluso en documentos oficiales de la Unión, y que da idea del estado de salud de la economía del continente. La UE ultima un proyecto destinado a estimular el crecimiento en los países más castigados. Pero con una condición muy propia de los tiempos que corren: sin que eso cueste dinero, o al menos no demasiado dinero. Bruselas ha diseñado un gran plan de inversión en infraestructuras, energía verde y tecnologías avanzadas, con participación del sector privado, según explican fuentes europeas a EL PAÍS, para conseguir algo parecido a esa cuadratura del círculo que son las políticas de crecimiento sin aumentar la deuda de los socios del euro.Brussels prepares a sort of Marshall Plan, a disquieting historical reference that in the latest months appears even in official Union documents, and which gives an idea of the state of health of the Continent's economy. The EU is finalizing a project destined to stimulete growth in the hardest hit countries. But with a condition proper to the times> this should not cost money, or at least not too much money. Brussels has designed a grand plan of investment in infrastructures, green energy and advanced technologies, with private sector participation, as explained to EL PAIS by European sources, to achieve something akin to that squaring of the circle which is a growth policy that doesn't increase the debt of the Euro partners.

Orwell would be proud.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 06:24:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's now official Spanish policy.

Today there was a day of demonstrations against the cuts by the Spanish government.

El Pais: Rajoy a los que protestan: "Las reformas continuarán cada viernes" (Rajoy to protesters: "reforms will continue each Friday")

Friday is when Spain's Council of Ministers meets.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 07:57:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:50:11 PM EST
Merkel joins calls to spur growth by boosting EIB - ECONOMY - FRANCE 24

REUTERS - German Chancellor Angela Merkel added her voice on Saturday to calls to bolster the European Investment Bank (EIB) and to use EU infrastructure funds more flexibly to help spur economic growth in Europe.

Her comments are part of a new German emphasis on growth-boosting measures to complement painful tax hikes and spending cuts that have triggered a political and popular backlash against austerity across the euro zone.

The change of rhetoric is also a response to the likelihood that Socialist Francois Hollande will win a French presidential runoff on May 6. Hollande has criticised Merkel's emphasis on budget cuts and structural reforms.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:50:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha, another European closet socialist. Next she will be running on the SPD ticket...
by asdf on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 04:53:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Crass Keynesianism...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 02:10:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Greece was not ready for euro admits ex Bundesbank head

Greece should not have joined the euro, a former head of the German central bank, who was central to eurozone policymaking at the time, has said.

But Ernst Welteke, who was Bundesbank president from 1999-2004, told the BBC that none of the eurozone's problems would be solved if Greece left.

He added there should be greater transfer of wealth from richer parts of the eurozone to poorer parts.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 02:47:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And in other recent news, the South should not have seceded to form the Confederacy, says Virginia senator.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 02:13:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. economy eases pace in first quarter, robust growth needed - Xinhua | English.news.cn

U.S. economic expansion eased to 2.2 percent in the first quarter of this year, fresh evidence of the struggling economic recovery, while experts held that additional growth was needed to sustain the job growth and growth momentum.

The department's advance estimate of gross domestic product is a deceleration from the 3 percent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2011, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Friday. The growth rate was largely in line with market expectations.

The moderating pace of economic growth mainly reflected the slower pace of business investment and restocking shelves in the first three months of this year. However, stronger export demand and less spending cuts by the federal government bucked the trend.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 02:50:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:51:07 PM EST
Waterboarding and 'enhanced interrogation' shown to be ineffective - Americas - World - The Independent

An exhaustive and systematic analysis has found that so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" used by the CIA in the early years of the Bush administration to disrupt potential terror plots by al-Qa'ida were largely ineffective.

While a final draft of a report being prepared by Democrat members of the Senate Intelligence Committee has yet to be completed, let alone made public, sources told Reuters the report would give little evidence to demonstrate that the techniques were effective, even in helping to track down and kill Osama bin Laden. It may have instead provided false leads and bogus intelligence.

Who Could Have Predicted?

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

by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:51:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Saudi Arabia recalls its ambassador to Egypt - SAUDI ARABIA - EGYPT - FRANCE 24

AP - Saudi Arabia closed its Cairo embassy and recalled its ambassador following protests over a detained Egyptian human rights lawyer.

The unexpected escalation followed days of protests by hundreds of Egyptians outside the Saudi Embassy in Cairo and consulates in other cities to demand the release of Ahmed el-Gezawi.

Relatives and human rights groups say he was detained for allegedly insulting the kingdom's monarch.

Saudi authorities denied that and said he was arrested for trying to smuggle anti-anxiety drugs into the oil-rich kingdom.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:51:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lebanon intercepts arms ship headed for Syria - SYRIA - FRANCE 24
The Lebanese navy intercepted a ship originating from Libya carrying weapons possibly destined for Syrian rebel forces, security official said Saturday. The cargo contained heavy machineguns, artillery shells, rocket launchers and other explosives.

IMHO the aftermath will be the uglier the longer this drags on and the more weapons will end up in civilians' hands.

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

by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:51:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Police fire tear gas as protesters demand reform - MALAYSIA - FRANCE 24

AP - Malaysian police fired tear gas and chemical-laced water Saturday at thousands of demonstrators demanding an overhaul in electoral policies they call biased ahead of national polls expected soon.

At least 25,000 demonstrators had swamped Malaysia's largest city in one of the Southeast Asian nation's biggest street rallies in the past decade.

The demonstration reflected concerns that Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling coalition -- which has held power for more than 50 years -- will have an unfair upper hand in elections that could be called as early as June.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:51:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sudan arrests foreigners for trespassing in Heglig - SUDAN - SOUTH SUDAN - FRANCE 24
Sudan said it had arrested three foreigners on Saturday for illegally entering the disputed Heglig border area accompanied by a South Sudanese soldier. The Briton, Norwegian and South African nationals were flown to Khartoum.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:51:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Coup leaders release ousted PM, interim president - GUINEA-BISSAU - FRANCE 24

AFP - Guinea-Bissau's coup leaders released the country's ousted prime minister and interim president on Friday after more than two weeks of captivity, allowing the former leaders to travel to Ivory Coast.

The generals now in charge of the small, unstable west African country also pledged a one-year transition back to democracy, a day after regional bloc ECOWAS decided to send hundreds of troops to the country.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:52:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's just say it: The Republicans are the problem. - The Washington Post

Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican, was recently captured on video asserting that there are "78 to 81" Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party. Of course, it's not unusual for some renegade lawmaker from either side of the aisle to say something outrageous. What made West's comment -- right out of the McCarthyite playbook of the 1950s -- so striking was the almost complete lack of condemnation from Republican congressional leaders or other major party figures, including the remaining presidential candidates.

It's not that the GOP leadership agrees with West; it is that such extreme remarks and views are now taken for granted.

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 02:26:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:52:19 PM EST
U.S. News - Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California knocked offline by jellyfish-like creatures called salp

A giant swarm of the transluscent barrel-shaped organisms this week clogged intake screens that are used to keep marine life out of the seawater that is used as a coolant for the nuclear plant.

On Wednesday, PG&E officials reduced power output at the Unit 2 reactor, then decided to shut it down altogether "until conditions improve at the intake structure." The plant's other reactor, Unit 1, had already been shut down earlier in the week for a planned refueling and maintenance outage.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:53:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not an unusual incident. And jellyfish are the winners in waters where too many fish were caught, so we can expect more of that.
by Katrin on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 05:24:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
researchers are mystified by traces of heiroglyphs left on the reactor inlet, the letters clearly written in barbed slime.

OCCUPY!

'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 Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 12:02:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not normally very fond of jellyfish, but in the event of a significant earthquake in the Diablo Canyon vicinity during the duration of the shutdown we may be able to credit gelatinous zooplankton with the salvation of California. I'm sure there's a message in that observation, but I'm not altogether sure what it is.
by Andhakari on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 04:42:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A letter in the FT:

Admission that nuclear is less cost-effective than renewable - FT.com

Sir, The FT is right to feature a debate about whether subsidies should go to nuclear power or renewable energy ("Policy misgivings muddy nuclear's role in greener future", April 21). However, the article is in danger of confusing two things: first, allowing nuclear new build to get the same sort of premium price contracts for supplying electricity as may be given to renewable developers; and second, the government agreeing to "underwrite the costs" of new nuclear build. Renewable developers do not get their construction cost overruns underwritten by government. If the nuclear industry is asking for additional layers of subsidy compared to that given to renewable developers, the nuclear industry is tacitly admitting it is less cost-effective than renewables.

The danger is that nuclear developers may be offered unlimited subsidies to cover any construction cost overruns and that this will be hidden in "commercially confidential" contracts given to them. This would amount to the government giving nuclear constructors a blank cheque on electricity consumers' behalf. What we must demand now is that such moves be made public rather than, as in previous funding streams for nuclear power, hidden from us until it is too late to complain.

David Toke, Senior Lecturer in Energy Policy, University of Birmingham, UK



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:54:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:
this will be hidden in "commercially confidential" contracts given to them. This would amount to the government giving nuclear constructors a blank cheque on electricity consumers' behalf.

the legendary 'halliburton loophole' in the fracking biz...

fukushima the whole sleazy bunch of them

'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 Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 12:15:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nuclear reactors to be constructed - Xinhua | English.news.cn

"We've already started preparation for continuous cooperation in the Tianwan Nuclear Station and, hopefully, will start the work in the second half of this year," Russian Ambassador to China Sergey Sergeevich Razov said recently.

Russia had helped China build two reactors in the Tianwan nuclear plant, in Jiangsu province, which went into operation in 2007. The two reactors, with combined capacity of 2,000 megawatts, are using Russia's VVER 1000 nuclear model.

Russia is going to build two more reactors in Tianwan once China lifts its suspension of new nuclear power plants imposed after the nuclear power plant disaster in Japan last year.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 02:49:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain's hibernating bats avoid deadly fungus killing their US cousins | Environment | The Observer

t has been a satisfying spring for bat expert Lisa Worledge. Reports sent to her from volunteers who have been monitoring Britain's bats as they emerge from hibernation have given a clean bill of health to the nation's flying mammals. In particular, their observations have found no sign of an epidemic of fungal disease that has wiped out almost seven million bats in the US over the past six years and threatens to leave many American species extinct.

Many biologists fear that the infection, known as white-nose syndrome, could spread to Britain, with devastating consequences. "It is a real worry and we keep a very close eye out for any sign of the disease, but so far, happily, we have not seen a sign," said Worledge, partnership officer for the UK Bat Conservation Trust.

Bats are at their most vulnerable from white-nose syndrome while they are hibernating. Hence the decision to have volunteers monitor major sites - caves, old railway tunnels and abandoned buildings - where Britain's 17 species of bat spend the winter. "To date, we have only had good news," said Worledge.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 02:50:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Christian Science Monitor: Natural gas: Should America export its surplus?

What should be done with America's natural gas surplus? Use it instead of high-priced gasoline to fuel cars? Export it? Or just sit back and enjoy the lower prices for industrial and private consumers?

The debate is getting renewed urgency with the federal approval on Monday of a big new liquid natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Sabine, La. - and a conga line of 10 other applicants for their own export permits.....

In its analysis, the agency (EIA) concluded that exports of 12 billion cubic feet of gas each day would raise the price paid by the largest industrial customers in 2018 by 36 percent to 54 percent compared with scenarios in which there were no exports.

To give context here, 12 billion cubic feet is roughly 340 million cubic meters, or 124 billion cubic meters a year. Which  if accurate (I'm sort of hoping either I or the Christian Science Monitor did a math error) would be equivalent to over 70% of present Russian gas exports.

As of March of this year, American natural gas prices were about 1/6th that of Europe and 1/8th that of East Asian countries.  

As one of the primary values of wind is that it has replaced expensive natural gas, it's likely that this wall of American gas will have the same depressing effect on European wind projects as has happened in the US since 2008.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 08:12:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ManfromMiddletown:
this wall of American gas

good description of the senate...

'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 Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 12:17:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exporting the gas as LNG will radically increase the price however, from maybe $2 to $9. Still a great deal cheaper compared to $17 Japan is paying right now.

The way I see it though, is that the most reasonable thing is to convert as much oil-use as possible in the US to gas (including as a motor fuel), and massively expand the gas-based petrochemical industry in that country, and export the petrochemicals instead of the gas. I haven't crunched the numbers though.

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

by Starvid on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 02:19:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One the one hand, I see this as a development beneficial for the wind energy industry in the US.  Even at $9, that's going to change the dynamics of electrical markets in the US.  Suddenly there's an incentive to use wind to cut into gas consumption at peaking plants again.

On the other hand, expanded exports are going to create even more powerful interests for fracking.  And that is going to do a number on the areas where these wells are located.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 06:21:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:54:16 PM EST
German 'Blue Card' to simplify immigration | Germany | DW.DE | 28.04.2012

The United States has its green card, and now Europe is trying its hand at a "Blue Card." An EU directive created in 2009 aims to attract highly qualified non-EU nationals by simplifying entry procedures and residence rights.

While Germany was supposed to implement the directive by last June, it has taken its time - partially because immigration has remained a sensitive topic. That once again became evident when the draft law was passed on Friday, bringing Germany's coalition and opposition into the boxing ring.

The German government is keen to control immigration based on what newcomers bring to the country. Only people with a university degree or "certified qualifications based on at least five years of work experience" are entitled to a Blue Card. There are also minimum salary requirements for getting one.

..."The SPD wants to see highly qualified workers come to Germany, but it opposes dumping wages," said Social Democrat Daniela Kolbe. "This salary threshold is contrary to European law and too low in terms of the employment market."

...Green parliamentarian Memet Kilic had a completely different opinion. He said an IT specialist who needs English for his or her work should not be excluded on the grounds of lackluster German.

...Kilic said that compared to Germany's previous rules for highly skilled workers, the EU-sanctioned Blue Card is actually a step backwards. He especially pointed to the waiting period before skilled workers can acquire a residency permit.

I hesitated whether to put this here or into the Economy section, but methinks even this immigration policy is more about xenophobia than economic rationales.

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

by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:54:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Only people with a university degree or "certified qualifications based on at least five years of work experience" are entitled to a Blue Card. There are also minimum salary requirements for getting one."

What a great policy. Pull the people who could lead a country like Turkey or India or Nigeria or Egypt out of its troubles and bring them to the west, where they will reduce the wages in their respective industry segment. It manages to screw both sides of the equation...

by asdf on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 05:02:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Only people with a university degree or "certified qualifications based on at least five years of work experience" are entitled to a Blue Card  breed.

I can dream.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 05:13:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Try Singapore, they were actually arguing about a policy aiming in that direction over there.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 02:21:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Camorra code is cracked: Letter reveals how jailed boss still ran the mafia - Europe - World - The Independent
Investigators have intercepted a hand-written letter sent to a jailed mobster that has shed new light on the secret language that allows mafia bosses to stay in contact with clan members from behind bars.

...closer scrutiny of the seemingly innocent letter, sent earlier this month to Zagaria in the notorious Novara prison, where he is serving a life sentence for murder, suggests he is anything but out of the loop, according to the author and Camorra expert Roberto Saviano, in an analysis in La Repubblica newspaper.

...A reference to "Uncle Nicola in his gallery" appreciating "everything that he's heard" quite possibly alludes, according to Mr Saviano, to Silvio Berlusconi's former economics minister, Nicola Cosentino, who magistrates want to arrest for presumed Camorra links.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:54:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:55:00 PM EST
DSK: New York sex scandal orchestrated by political opponents | World news | The Guardian

The former head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has accused political enemies linked to Nicolas Sarkozy and his ruling UMP party of destroying his bid for the French presidency by choreographing the scandal that erupted last year when he was accused of assaulting a New York hotel maid.

In an exclusive interview published by the Guardian, Strauss-Kahn stated that he believes the highly public undoing that followed his encounter with the housekeeper in the Sofitel hotel's presidential suite, and his imprisonment on charges of attempted rape, were orchestrated by his political opponents.

While he does not believe the incident with Nafissatou Diallo was a setup, he said the subsequent escalation of the events on 14 May into a criminal investigation that destroyed his chances of winning the presidency had been "shaped by those with a political agenda" and that "more was involved here than mere coincidence".



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 01:55:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like he hasn't yet realized that he should have stopped thinking with his private parts a long time ago...
by asdf on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 05:03:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I like trolley buses.  They are quiet and smoother.  But trams are better still.  Seattle needs more of both.

I've been wondering whether trolley buses with robotic wire finding would be easy.  The bus would have a small battery or ultracap and rather than the complex switching mechanisms for points and crossings, the trolley poles would simply detach and join the new wires.  It would make overtaking easy too.  And cornering.

For wire detection I was thinking something based on electric fields (similar to a theremin) combined with a camera for guidance.

by njh on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 05:27:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would be nice. Methinks radar or ultrasound should be involved to make it all-weather-ready and not vulnerable to direct sunlight.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 05:55:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think theremins are pretty robust.
by njh on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 06:07:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But a sky-facing camera you suggested it to be combined with isn't.

BTW, how familiar are you with theremins? Could one distinguish staying cables and live wires? What s the potential spatial resolution?

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

by DoDo on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 04:11:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But a sky-facing camera you suggested it to be combined with isn't.

I note this comment was also informed with some familiarity with a wire-detection system on a railway measuring car. Measurements are conducted at night only.

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

by DoDo on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 04:13:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably not. But it would make some funky sounds while passengers were waiting for the driver to reconnect the trolley wires.

Actually Theremins work by heterodyning two oscillators, with a mobile conductor changing the capacitance -> resonant frequency of one.

You might be abl to build a wire seeing system aroun one, but I'm not sure it would be robust and reliable enough for full-time use.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 06:44:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, yes, the sky facing camera would need a little bit of care.  Perhaps the best solution would be to use a monochromatic filter and a LED array.  A friend ran a sky facing webcam for his astronomy projects, and direct sunlight wasn't a problem (the sun just saturated out those pixels, even after a couple of years the sun's path was not burnt in).

I use the word Theremin loosely, really we're looking at the electric field gradient which can be detected with a suitable capacitive antenna.  I think you could get a resolution of a few cm with a suitable array.  To separate staying cables (I presume you mean perpendicular wires that are still live?) I think it would be sufficient to have the correct shaped antenna so that it cancels out fields that have a gradient in the direction of travel - intuitively a long antenna will only see variation perpendicular to its axis because it conducts all the variation in the parallel direction to a single value.

I've made a few different theremin like devices, most notably my wildly popular water level sensor: http://njhurst.com/electronics/watersensor/

There are robots which 'see' with theremins.

by njh on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 11:52:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colbert at TIME 100

Of course, all of us should be honored to be listed on the TIME 100 alongside the two men who will be slugging it out in the fall:  President Obama, and the man who would defeat him, David Koch.

Give it up everybody.  David Koch.

Little known fact -- David, nice to see you again, sir.

Little known fact, David's brother Charles Koch is actually even more influential.  Charles pledged $40 million to defeat President Obama, David only $20 million.  That's kind of cheap, Dave.

Sure, he's all for buying the elections, but when the bill for democracy comes up, Dave's always in the men's room.  I'm sorry, I must have left Wisconsin in my other coat.

I was particularly excited to meet David Koch earlier tonight because I have a Super PAC, Colbert Super PAC, and I am -- thank you, thank you -- and I am happy to announce Mr. Koch has pledged $5 million to my Super PAC.  And the great thing is, thanks to federal election law, there's no way for you to ever know whether that's a joke.

By the way, if David Koch likes his waiter tonight, he will be your next congressman.


Other licks:
Also, Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke is here tonight.  Also an instant, instant feminist icon.  Famously tested, testified before Congress, that Georgetown, a Catholic institution,should be required to provide insurance coverage for her birth control.

Now, TIME 100 honoree, his eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan disagrees -- sir, lovely to see you again.

Of course, now some, some critics have said in response to this that if the Catholic church's insurance does not cover Sandra Fluke's birth control, it shouldn't cover Cardinal Dolan's Viagra.

Oh, no, no, no.  Oh, no, no, no, that's called celibacy plus.  That's how the pros do it.  Because chastity is one thing, but it shows true commitment to uphold your vows when you are sporting a crook you could hang a miter on.  Oh, wow, see you at mass on Sunday, sir?

I hope he doesn't become Pope.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 01:08:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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