Friday, December 28, 2007
Dec. 28 (Bloomberg) -- France bans smoking in cafes, hotels and clubs on Jan. 1, stamping out the habit popularized by Jean- Paul Sartre puffing Gauloises in hazy brasseriesOf course there IS the standard "personal defense mechanism" idiotic reply:
"Maybe we're a bit stupid with our traditions, but we have the right to be as such and I cannot stand the idea of a hygienic, clean, and sorry to say `American style' society," said David Droulez, head of the Friends of Pleasure and Taste Association in Paris, which wants to defend France's "epicurean conviviality."Whatever the hell that's supposed to mean.
Either way whenever you hear the term "American Style ______" you're sure that it's something generally detested, and is as innacurate as their decades of "peasant science" of people telling one another that the black tobacco isn't as bad as the blond tobacco.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
The foolproof design of its long standing "Arab Policy" allows France to avoid this kind of messiness
Delusions abound. That doesn’t stop the NYT’s international “agent of change”, the International Herald Tribune from arranging their priorities in the most foolish manner possible by thinking that can limit the landscape of choices among their fellow travelers to having to make a choice between human freedom and greenie moral vanity.
And since the imposition of the embargo in 1962, and especially with the collapse in 1991 of the Soviet Union, its major economic patron, Cuba's economy has stagnated.Oh the horror! Cubans have to keep gleaning fields, and doing dental work on themselves for the sake of mother earth!
Cuba has not been free of development, including Soviet-style top-down agricultural and mining operations and, in recent years, an expansion of tourism. But it also has an abundance of landscapes that elsewhere in the region have been ripped up, paved over, poisoned or otherwise destroyed in the decades since the Cuban revolution, when development has been most intense. Once the embargo ends, the island could face a flood of investors from the United States and elsewhere, eager to exploit those landscapes.
Cuba has done "what we should have done — identify your hot spots of biodiversity and set them aside," said Oliver Houck, a professor of environmental law at Tulane University Law School who attended the conference.
In the late 1990s, Houck was involved in an effort, financed in part by the MacArthur Foundation, to advise Cuban officials writing new environmental laws.
But, he said in an interview, "an invasion of U.S. consumerism, a U.S.-dominated future, could roll over it like a bulldozer" when the embargo ends.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Let me take the opportunity on this day, as if it should be different from any other, to wish you a spiritually fortifying Ramadan, happy Hannukah (only if you’re into that kind of Kabalah that pop-culture figures fall for), and whatever the heck it is those geeks who want to revive Viking religion do, you know, because, we have to be, like inclusive. Well – except if it seems conventional or your parents believed it. They were, after all Patriarchal and selfish for bringing us into this world, and in spite of the great inequities out there, had the gall to feed us. It makes me grip my dream-catcher on my way to Yoga...
Now let me wish all of the UK a Happy Diwali since that’s not socially inappropriate in the same way as wishing you well for Christmas – which was invented by Coca-Cola and other corporations - *spit* - anyway to sell something that will kill you. Being as how 92% of the population has it as the festive tradition of their culture, we should all look for the shocking, non-applicable, and improbable to distract ourselves with. While we in the civilized west may be told every other day that we ‘have no culture’, at least we take comfort in knowing that the same critics don’t want us to share in that culture to begin with. WHAT culture you ask?
Given the loving ministrations of the promoters of anything improbable as a sort of virtue, that’s a good question.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Environment Canada began issuing a plethora of bad weather warnings for much of the province as last night wore on, forecasting fast freezing, heavy winds and overnight snow squalls. Mild temperatures that led to rainfall across part of Ontario on Saturday and yesterday were being pushed down by strong southwesterly winds gusting up to 90 km/h and sweeping eastward across the province and into Quebec by early morning.
What’s fair or not depends on how European you are. Once again, Microsoft is getting sued in Europe over its web browser, this time by the makers of Opera. The term double jeopardy appeared nowhere in the discourse of course.
Microsoft Corp. was accused of abusing its dominant position in Internet browsers -- the first major new antitrust complaint against the tech giant since it lost a landmark European Union case in September.”Anti-trust” defined by this:
Yesterday's complaint, lodged by Oslo-based Opera Software ASA, a Web-browser maker, followed on the ruling here that confirmed the European Union's power to regulate Microsoft's behavior.
"After four years of no growth, Opera is looking for someone to blame for its failures, and Microsoft is always an easy target. With the Firefox Web browser grabbing as much as 20 percent of the market in some European countries, it is clear that companies can compete and beat Microsoft in the browser market. ... Windows users have nearly unlimited choices for their web browsing and Internet search needs. Windows XP and Vista allow users to choose any Internet search provider as their default provider and to run searches using any browser – including Opera's."It’s all about doing protectionism another way, and in the end, forcing your own population to have to live with it – either in the form of higher prices or limited choices, even if in the case of Opera, no-one is stopping the public from loading it, or the even more successful and free Mozilla Firefox. No matter.
Microsoft said that it is ready to cooperate with the latest proceedings, but it will be deeply unenthused by the prospect of returning to Brussels to defend yet another competition case. In September, the company suffered a bruising blow from European judges who upheld a record €497 million fine. The penalty was imposed on Microsoft for abusing its dominant market position by bundling its Media Player software, used to access video and audio content online, into Windows.It’s about making others’ success unlawful. Case in point: “our trust” trumps “anti-trust” in a bid to provide poor services at high prices.
Amazon.com may not offer free delivery on books in France, the high court in Versailles has ruled.Damages to the Booksellers’ UNION, not anyone actually aggrieved by their “free shipping” thing. This is probably because there is no harmed party to be found.
The action, brought in January 2004 by the French Booksellers' Union (Syndicat de la librairie franÃ§aise), accused Amazon of offering illegal discounts on books and even of selling some books below cost.
The court gave Amazon 10 days to start charging for the delivery of books, which should at least allow the company to maintain the offer through the end-of-year gift-giving season. After that, it must pay a fine of €1,000 (US$1,470) per day that it continues to offer free delivery. It must also pay €100,000 in compensation to the booksellers' union.
Even in a stitched up market within stitched up market, (cartel vs. any startup, France cartel vs. other European entering their market, etc.) that there are more buyers that sellers, and that other than a handful of book-sellers, logistics companies who could just as well be trucking potatoes around, as well as those they’re “protecting” in a puny vertical market, that no-one, no-one benefits from these rackets. Not one consumer, or even the merchant in the long run even benefits from this loony habit of using tribalism one day, nationalism the next, and them a phony anti-trust case the next.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, business needs a little palm greasing to remain as “competitive” as these books peddlers which they know you should read.
AN Indian court overnight ordered police to complete a probe into charges that a bribe was paid in a multi-billion dollar deal to buy Scorpene submarines from a French defence firm.[ ... ]
The Delhi High Court told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to complete its inquiry within three months and report back to a two-judge bench.
The judges also told the CBI to press criminal charges against "accused persons" if it could establish an offence had been committed in the^€2.4 billion ($4.03 billion) deal.
Earlier this month, India said it was scrapping a $US600 million ($700.16 million) deal to buy 197 military helicopters from the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) after allegations of corruption in the bidding process.
India banned middlemen in military deals following charges of bribery in a multi-billion-dollar artillery deal in the 1980s with Swedish firm Bofors.Of course the answer just to this month's thievery will be “but everybody does it!” Erm... No, Spanky. They don’t.