Saturday, June 02, 2007

Call their bluff

If Bush does nothing, it's a sign of American selfishness. If Bush does something, then "Attitudes within Europe hardened on Friday as some politicians and activists accused Mr Bush of trying to wreck next week’s summit ..."

European G8 countries are systematically capable of summoning up unlimited amounts of bravery when it involves risk-free America bashing.

"A comment by Mr Bush to German media that Ms Merkel “will be pleased” with his proposals, which run counter to her own, was seen as provocative."

First they are provoked (looks like they are taking a lexical cue from their own disaffected youth population). Next thing you know, they'll be carrying on like victims.

Where are the 'torture' howlers?

(…asks George Adair…)

Fat, Happy Angst-Ridden, and Stupid

You are what you bleat.

One is a EU super-group of fat-fighters. Formally this is referred to as a High Level Group comprised of a representative from every member state. The group would compile programmes on nutrition, overweight and obesity health issues.

More than 50% of the adult population is overweight or obese in most member states, the EC says. In the child population, an estimated 21 million are overweight, with the number increasing by 400,000 every year.
The beaurocracy is a nice touch, isn’t it? It must be soothing somehow – something to break up the omnipresent anarchy of company and property owner wanting to do what they want with their own stuff from time to time:
Shoe factory workers in southern France took four senior managers captive on Wednesday after the firm announced plans to relocate its production to Tunisia.

Managers of Jallatte, Europe's leading manufacturer of safety shoes, told workers early Wednesday they intended to cut 285 out of 336 jobs across its four French production sites.

Furious at the news, union leaders and workers burst into a meeting in the southern town of Saint Hippolyte du Fort, attended by four top executives, including Giovanni Falco, managing director of the company's Italian owner JAL.

The managers were held captive for several hours, until Falco agreed to push back by three weeks a June 6 meeting intended to kickstart the restructuring plan.
When in doubt, the logical thing to do about a company that can’t break even is obvious: take hostages. It must be the mysterious X-factor in that “most productive people in the world” thing they keep banging on about.

Fat, happy, and stupid.

“Concerned”. Always “Concerned”

The EU is concerned about Google and privacy. So concerned that they’ll go after Google, and possibly, sometime in the future, just maybe, someone else. Why? Because Google isn’t German.

An independent European Union panel has launched an investigation into whether Google Inc.'s Internet search engine abides by European privacy rules.
EU spokesman Pietro Petrucci said Friday that the 28-member panel, which advises the European Commission and EU governments on data protection issues, wants Google to address concerns about the company's practice of storing and retaining user information for up to two years.
"This group has addressed a letter to Google raising a number of questions," Petrucci said, adding that EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini was backing the investigation.
"He considers those questions raised by the letter to be appropriate and legitimate," Petrucci said.
‘Tis their way.
Embedded in Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes's objections to Microsoft's proposals for licensing its technology to rival firms, which she outlined in March, is that her department -- known as DG-Competition -- will decide what is or isn't innovative
As if a neo-com apparachik could even remember what innovation is anyway.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Keepin’ it Real

Tony Blair on rump-Europe’s notion of what alliances really are:

I have real concern that on both sides of the Atlantic there is, in certain quarters, an indifference, even a hostility, to an alliance that is every bit as fundamental to our future as it has been to our past. By this I don't just mean the rampant anti-Americanism on parts of the left. In a sense, that is relatively easy to counter.

It is more a drifting away, occasionally a resurgent isolationism that crosses right and left. In Britain now there are parts of the media and politics that are both Eurosceptic and wanting “an independent foreign policy” from America. Quite where Britain is supposed to get its alliances from bewilders me. There is talk of Britain having a new strategic relationship with China and India bypassing our traditional European and American links. Get real. Of course we will have our own relationship with both countries. But we are infinitely more influential with them if we have two strong alliances behind us.
Indeed. The very fact that one would have to impress a British public whose instincts are generally to follow the precise opposite course in international relations that Blair advocates isn’t so much surprising or telling, but a sign that mainstream European public opinion is not to be taken with much seriousness by anyone – not even these mythical allies to be found in Beijing.

How About a Symbolic Display of Despair Before Selling China More Weapons?

While trying to live a proactive and virtuous existence vicariously through a BD, play hide the weenie:
Set in the European Parliament and the fictitious country Fang Dong, “Operation Red Dragon” is the fictional story of Elisa Correr, an MEP who gets embroiled in a risky and fascinating adventure whilst in pursuit of her parliamentary activities.
Quite implausibly, the story revolves around someone connected with the EU actually DOING something on a fact-finding mission, and trying to keep arms away from a tyrant.

I’m sure you’re excited. Alternative histories can be so entertaining.

Europe showing signs of life

Dead cat bounce.

A Purrfect Love

A tale of betrayal and revenge: A man, his best friend, and the love of his life. When all three come together, tragedy cannot be far away…
The guys of La Baf have decided to enter a short feature (A Purrfect Love, starring Jixie Juny, in her most demanding role yet) in Youtube's Sketch Comedy Contest.

(For the time being, the public is not being asked to vote on the sketchies. Still, if you have time and if you like the movie written by Erik Svane, you might want to consider giving it a (five-star?) rating and/or adding it to your favorites, peddling it around and asking a friend/colleague or two (or three) to do likewise...)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cultural Exception: Exceptionally Paranoid

Radio gaga:

English-language radio stations complained Tuesday they had been refused an FM licence in Paris, a city which currently has Armenian, Portuguese and Arabic broadcasters but not a single English language station.
The BBC World Service, Paris Live Radio and World Radio Paris were all excluded from a shortlist of contenders for licences drawn up by the CSA, the French broadcasting authority.
"It is unknown in the developed world for a major city to not have at least some local radio in English," said Ian de Renzie Duncan, the director of Paris Live Radio, which has broadcast on satellite and cable in France.
"The CSA have just said 'no English radio' on our turf," he said in a statement.
Remember – this is about a frequency auction. It only puts them 9 years behind the US in getting out of the business of micromanaging the airwaves, and they still wrap their brains around the notion of private ownership, let alone foreign-seeming ownership of a frequency. So for the time being, the listener remains stuck with a weak AM signal for the BBC World Service, and nighttime listening on LW and AM from the UK reminiscent of the last century which is only enjoyable if you’re a old-fashioned DXer.

N.B. - Otherwise your choices are cable (pfft!) or satellite if your “quaint” shoebox apartment can see the south-western sky – something which this correspondent happens to experimenting with to making homesickness for North Americans a thing of the past. (Further details will be presented if things start looking promising.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hey, Lefty...

...Redistribute this:

Which of the groups do you think enjoyed big increases in income since 1991? If you read the papers, you probably would assume that the bottom fifth did the worst. After all, income inequality in America is increasing, right?

Wrong. According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study released this month, the bottom fifth of families with children, whose average income in 2005 was $16,800, enjoyed a larger percentage increase in income from 1991 to 2005 than all other groups except the top fifth. Despite the recession of 2001, the bottom fifth had a 35 percent increase in income (adjusted for inflation), compared with around 20 percent for the second, third and fourth fifths. (The top fifth had about a 50 percent increase.)

Even more impressive, the CBO found that households in the bottom fifth increased their incomes so much because they worked longer and earned more money in 2005 than in 1991 -- not because they received higher welfare payments. In fact, their earnings increased more in percentage terms than incomes of any of the other groups: The bottom fifth increased its earnings by 80 percent, compared with around 50 percent for the highest-income group and around 20 percent for each of the other three groups.
Travailler plus pour gagner plus? Oh that would NEVER work! The poor just keep getting richer, and the rich (relatively) poorer.

Monday, May 28, 2007

One of the Best Hang-Out Movies of All Time

On our last day in Cannes, we headed over to the 10:30 pm showing of Rio Bravo, expecting nothing but a simple screening of Howard Hawks's nearly 50-year-old masterpiece.

So it was with no little amount of surprise for the seated viewers when a couple of VIPs showed up, one being none other than Quentin Tarantino, impeccably dressed (cough), who proceeded to give an impassioned introduction to the John Wayne western. (Of course, it is no secret that "Rio Bravo" is one of QT's favorite films…)

Following lots of applause, the Death Proof director sat down in the seat …directly in front of me. The film started, and went on for two glorious hours (with laughter galore after just about each of Stumpy's groans or cackles). Knowing that Tarantino is a comic book/graphic novel fan, at the end of the showing, I handed him a copy of Général Leonardo.

Someone should explain to her that Europeans do not have that very American thing known as disposable income

Latté Leftist ripping off European working poor.

How the French Rate According to Europe's Hotel Owners

Far from being the most nuanced, most generous, most lucid people in Europe (if not the world), the French in a poll turn out to be (at least according to 15,000 polled hotel owners [as well as Paris Express]) the worst in terms of behaviour, politeness, etc…

The Choice of the Irish?

Discovering the meaning(s) behind Jimi Hendrix's discharge (from the Screaming Eagles, no less — maybe the musician can be found on, Benjamin Duffy steps into Collin's Tavern…

Until the Anniversary of D-Day

Until June 6, people can freely access "more than 90 million U.S. war records from the first English settlement at Jamestown in 1607 through the Vietnam War's end in 1975" on the military records of
The collection includes the names and gravestone details of 3.5 million deceased U.S. soldiers, including 2,000 who died in Iraq.

France is isolated within the EU

A little more isolated with every passing day.

It was established on Chiraq's watch, by the way

France's spanking new Commission nationale de contrôle des interceptions de sécurité (CNCIS). With a simple mouseclick, CNCIS operatives can obtain the list of all incoming and outgoing phone calls on a given phone line, the identity of the line's subscriber and all corresponding bank references. They may also obtain the list of all Internet sites visited using the phone line in question. Idem for phone texting and e-mails. Currently handling 300 requests a week for phone line surveillance, the system is designed to handle over 20,000 requests a year. Other systems for voice and texting interception are still in the works.

Very good. I certainly hope all of this is used to listen in on the idiotic American dhimmicrapper yuppies who lounge about Paris sipping their lattés while they curse Bush's dictatorial tendencies and blather on insipidly about how the French sure know how to live.

Patron voyou

Somebody tell that shithead Besancenot that the patrons voyous are not the ones he is ranting about.

Ça nous change des imbécilités humanitaires habituellement proférées par les pédaloïdes qui dirigeaient ce trou

Bernard Kouchner declares that the Lebanese government would be justified in attacking the Fatah Al-Islam terrorists hiding in the Nahr Al-Bared refugee camp.

Time to put up or shut up

Talk is cheap. Actions alone will tell us if Sarkozy is as America-friendly as he sounds.

In Memoriam

Orémus. Tibi Dómine, commendámus ánimam fámuli tui, ut defúnctus saéculo tibi vivat: et quae per fragilitátem humánae conversatiónis peccáta commìsit, tu vénia misericordìssime pietátis abstérge. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.

Sunday, May 27, 2007