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Weekend Open Thread

by afew Sat Jun 22nd, 2013 at 09:43:45 AM EST

This is it


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Innit?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jun 22nd, 2013 at 09:44:09 AM EST
Flat tire in windy light rain, walked the bike home. Was so looking forward to a Sunday ride in the rain.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 22nd, 2013 at 01:28:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have new commitments which are siphoning up my free time this summer (on top of research, etc.) and hence haven't been able to keep up with the Latin American and Caribbean Briefs in the News Room.  I still haven't given up, but my contributions will continue to be spotty.  For the time being, here are some photos from the big news story of the southern continent.

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sat Jun 22nd, 2013 at 10:34:13 AM EST
Never mind, whatever you can contribute is received with great interest.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jun 22nd, 2013 at 10:45:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently, the right wing sees an opportunity and is trying to hijack the protests in Brasil.

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sat Jun 22nd, 2013 at 11:32:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From mondoweiss.
When we feel our courage, and we say, we will do the right thing against the status quo. When we will stand up for what we really believe is the right and good thing to do. And inside every human heart is a loving being.

Because when we look at a baby, any baby at all, Palestinian, Egyptian, Syrian, Darfurian, we look at that little foot, we look at that chubby little leg, that little ear, and we just want to bite it. We think, that's a delicious little baby. We do. And when that little baby is this big and this big and this big and like David five and full of dreams, we want that baby to be an asset to the leadership that the professor knows is so so necessary.

But that baby is an individual, like you. An individual with dreams and hopes and an ability, the great ability to stand up for what is true and good. With a visionary voice. Just like David talked about. A visionary voice that can stand up for the dream against the lost and pulled-down into the mire of the past, and can say, I will do what is right. Each and everyone of you has that piece of leadership within you.

This is from the conference people have attacked Hawking for boycotting....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Jun 22nd, 2013 at 03:22:25 PM EST
Spent the day traveling. Amazingly the wind was coming from the right direction for once and our bicycles moved almost on their own. Now we are on the farm near the Baltic where we have often been in summer. We have said hello to the pigs, the chickens, the farmers, the new baby, the sheep and the goats, and the sea, and fried plaice (in this order). It only started to rain after we had come home to the farm and opened a bottle of wine. In short, a day as close to perfect as can be. (Tomorrow I will choose one toe which has to make contact with the water, to see how cold it is, though.)
by Katrin on Sat Jun 22nd, 2013 at 03:28:14 PM EST
seeing some vague reports that the guy who ran the initial spraying to keep the Reactors cool at Fukushima has died of Lung Cancer. Don't know how reliable the source is though.

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 Jun 22nd, 2013 at 04:37:39 PM EST
Hm. That would be an unusually fast cancer.
by Katrin on Sat Jun 22nd, 2013 at 05:19:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not giving creedence to the rumor, but radiation poising does have other effects than cancer.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Jun 22nd, 2013 at 05:42:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Did he also happen to be a smoker ?

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sat Jun 22nd, 2013 at 06:16:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. Seemingly Unaware of Irony in Accusing Snowden of Spying : The New Yorker

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)--The United States government charged former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden with spying on Friday, apparently unaware that in doing so it had created a situation dripping with irony.

At a press conference to discuss the accusations, an N.S.A. spokesman surprised observers by announcing the spying charges against Mr. Snowden with a totally straight face.

"These charges send a clear message," the spokesman said. "In the United States, you can't spy on people."

I guess this is why the Onion doesn't exist anymore.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 02:30:58 AM EST
Apparently they are quite outraged that China is spying on them and launching hacking attacks.

The Pope's religious inclinations may come as a shock to them as well

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 07:59:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention the dirty habits of bears in the woods.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 08:58:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And so my tired, two decade old expression of obviousness rears its head once again...

"Does the pope shit in the woods?"

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 09:44:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, if the bear is Catholic.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 10:04:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Statistically, the bear is more likely to be Orthodox. Which may create a theological problem for the Pope if caught short in the woods.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Jun 24th, 2013 at 04:58:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can follow the story in real time on the Guardian's Live Blog .

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 10:19:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Edward Snowden asks for asylum in Ecuador

The NSA whistleblower left Hong Kong on an Aeroflot flight to Moscow, two days after the US charged him with espionage, before applying for asylum in Ecuador

Hope Snowden has considered that he might become a pawn in the ongoing legal war Ecuador is waging with US oil companies in US courts.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 01:55:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Went to a couple of pub beer festivals in London yesterday.

The first turned out to be my pet hate; a pub which hasn't got a clue about how to keep real ale keeping it obviously badly. Also, the bar was filled with people having a wedding dinner, so I felt very out of place.

If you're gonna turn your bar over for a wedding, shut the damn pub for normal trade. It's embarrassing.

The second was quite good in that a new brewery whose beers I have admired had a couple of barrels in the corner for a tutored tasting. Sadly they were both 6% ABV, which is admirably strong, but doesn't make for a long evening.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 07:57:05 AM EST
Guardian - Wine-tasting: it's junk science

Every year Robert Hodgson selects the finest wines from his small California winery and puts them into competitions around the state.

And in most years, the results are surprisingly inconsistent: some whites rated as gold medallists in one contest do badly in another. Reds adored by some panels are dismissed by others. Over the decades Hodgson, a softly spoken retired oceanographer, became curious. Judging wines is by its nature subjective, but the awards appeared to be handed out at random.

So drawing on his background in statistics, Hodgson approached the organisers of the California State Fair wine competition, the oldest contest of its kind in North America, and proposed an experiment for their annual June tasting sessions.

Each panel of four judges would be presented with their usual "flight" of samples to sniff, sip and slurp. But some wines would be presented to the panel three times, poured from the same bottle each time. The results would be compiled and analysed to see whether wine testing really is scientific.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 09:05:34 AM EST
Of course it's not scientific, and afaik has never pretended to be.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 09:11:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He isn't contesting that, more he's referring to the contests which now take place to determine the "best" wines. An aspiration he demonstrates to be utterly flawed

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 09:27:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right. My winemaking friend (we had our annual tasting last Thursday to choose the sixth special cuvée he'll be putting together for us) proudly tells how professional winetasters (plural) identified one of his wines as a Médoc (worth two to three times the price of his).

At the same time though, they were not wrong in their identification of the grape varieties that went into the wine. He says the pros are very good at this.

Establishing rankings, though, is rubbish.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 10:00:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian - Andrew Rawnsley - Does the Tory party actually want to win the next election?

s the Conservative MP Peter Bone secretly in the pay of Nick Clegg? Does he take Lib Dem gold? It is true that no Tory backbencher has been more hostile to coalition than the MP for Wellingborough. And none can compete with him when it comes to being rude about the deputy prime minister, often to his face. But you could take that as further grounds to suspect that he might be a yellow agent. Being nasty about Mr Clegg is how you would maintain your cover if you were a covert operative implanted in the Tory parliamentary party with a brief to cause maximum mischief for David Cameron to the benefit of the Lib Dems.

I'm prompted to wonder about Mr Bone because he is one of the leaders of a gang of Tory MPs who have just mocked the prime minister by launching an "alternative Queen's speech" which, they say, would transform the electoral fortunes of the Conservative party. Many of their 42 proposed bills are from the traditional menu of the right of the Tory party: the restoration of national service, exit from the European Union, the privatisation of the BBC and the reintroduction of the death penalty. They missed a trick, I thought, by not also calling for the resumption of birching in schools, the decriminalisation of duelling and bear-baiting and the relaxation of prohibitions against child chimney sweeps. They throw in a few suggestions that command very widespread support within their party, such as tax breaks to reward marriage, though presumably not gay marriage since another bill calls for a referendum to abolish it.

There are even some quite sensible ideas in the mix, such as putting a cap on the size of the House of Lords. But the eye is most drawn, which was surely their intention, to their most provocatively look-at-me suggestions, which include a bill to ban the burqa in public places and another to rename the late August bank holiday as "Margaret Thatcher Day".

Peter Bone was interviewed on one of the political shows today and seemed very proud of himself, inviting the panel to say which one of his policies was silly.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 09:25:37 AM EST

The above is from this Economist article, which was also discussed in Jerome's latest wind diary.

While the discussion at ET revolved around the electricity spot price, I didn't quite grasp an immediate explanation for the increase on the European industrial electricity prices compared to the USA as displayed in the above graph. The Economist article suggests that the doubling of German industrial electricity prices is a result of rising surcharges due to the expansion of renewables - but what then of the rest of Europe? This is from Wikipedia, using Eurostat data of the year 2011:

The Economist also writes about a 25% increase in German household bills the past three years, but doesn't display a graph to compare the same period with industrial electricity. This is also from Wikipedia, on electricity prices from a standard German household:

Data from Wikipedia calculated an increase of 66% since 1998, but that's based on the electricity price of January 2013, and there's a remarkable jump in comparison with 2012. Even so, a preliminary look suggests an increase of 50% for the standard household, and the contribution of the EEG-Umlage has fifteenfolded since 2000.

Another interesting note is the observed flight of German industrial companies which apply for exemptions, yet the Economist doesn't plot the price of industrial electricity with exemption, so I find it hard to value how much difference an exemption makes. Anyone an idea?

Perhaps I should've made this diary...

by Bjinse on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 12:17:25 PM EST
Perhaps... ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 12:45:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am noting that as far as I can see from up here the Commission is anti low prices.

A few years ago Sweden was one energy market. Then the Commission in its wisdom decided Swedish companies (read Vattenfall) charging danish energy companies a higher price for their load balancing then the average price on the Swedish market was illegal. So Sweden was divided into several energy markets with higher price as one approaches Denmark. There is even a silly cover story (which may or may not have been produced to sooth the Commission) that the lines can not carry so much electricity south and too little is produced in the south. The cover story prompting demands for re-starting Barsebäck.

So net result: higher energy prices in particular in  Scania, increased hostility against Brussels and/or increased confusion in the energy debate. Nice going.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 03:45:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 12:49:01 PM EST
At least within the confines of greater (greatest?) Amurka, that the French can't rock and roll has long been postulated. Now we haf pruf. Direkt from San FranDisco's infamous Bubble Lounge... with no further Adieu... Rue '66.

Obviously, they are the best-dressed bastard children of Brigitte Bardot fathered by the Velvet Underground... still. Need we more proff? An acoustic version of the French pop anthem perhaps?

It's clear from this croissant of a comment, that me don't wish to address the complex web of lies surrounding German industrial electricity prices, being in the middle of the madness.

But at least we know now n'est pas, that the rumors were true. Vraiment?

I can see why they are darlings in  wannabee Frisco, but i would only see them live to meet the soft pseudo sophisticate women in the audience, which word probably derives from French or Latin or some other tongue which can't rock and roll.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 02:26:50 PM EST
French rock ? Ange, Magma and Les Negresses Vertes dispelled that one decades ago

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 04:23:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian - Stephen Lawrence family and friends targeted by police 'smear' campaign

A police officer who spent four years living undercover in protest groups has revealed how he participated in an operation to spy on and attempt to "smear" the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, the friend who witnessed his fatal stabbing and campaigners angry at the failure to bring his killers to justice.

Peter Francis, a former undercover police officer turned whistleblower, said his superiors wanted him to find "dirt" that could be used against members of the Lawrence family, in the period shortly after Lawrence's racist murder in April 1993.

He also said senior officers deliberately chose to withhold his role spying on the Lawrence campaign from Sir William Macpherson, who headed a public inquiry to examine the police investigation into the death.

Francis said he had come under "huge and constant pressure" from superiors to "hunt for disinformation" that might be used to undermine those arguing for a better investigation into the murder. He posed as an anti-racist activist in the mid-1990s in his search for intelligence.

FYI Stephen Lawrence was a young black man who was murdered in a racist attack. The police investigation was marked by police incompetence and corruption (and possible collusion with his murders). So, this revelation is not terribly surprising, in fact it's becoming somewhat more typical of police behaviour than actually catching criminals.

After all, after Orgreave, Hillsborough, secret police, collaborating with Murdoch on hacking and now this. Exactly how are the police making our lives better? It's not as if they ever turn up when you phone up to complain you're being robbed

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 02:47:15 PM EST
Some around here might wish to check out this symptom of the proof that Gilliam's film Brazil was a documentary.   Digby


This McClatchy piece (written by some of the same people who got the Iraq war run-up story so right while everyone else got it wrong) is as chilling to me as anything we've heard over the past few weeks about the NSA spying. In fact, it may be worse:

Don't get me wrong. Eye Two think we should all just go to work in the mourning, stay calm and swallow.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 03:02:41 PM EST
come to thimk of it, eye've lost the receipt for my husband in Frankfurt.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 03:04:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The ratchet of the security state has been permanently tightening for decades.

Soon we won't have to worry about how shit everything is getting. It will be illegal to know or even speculate about how things are. We will all love Big Brother

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 23rd, 2013 at 03:24:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do, I do, I know I do.

Not sure about you, though.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 24th, 2013 at 01:41:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I'm sure you remind your contact

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 24th, 2013 at 02:12:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I get time, there's such a long list.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 24th, 2013 at 03:16:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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