Saturday, May 23, 2009

What they mean by that ‘Green Economy’

Their motto is “incest is best”.

Naturally, many CEOs are genuinely concerned about global warming. But many of the most vocal stand to profit from carbon regulations. The term used by economists for their behavior is "rent-seeking."

The world's largest wind-turbine manufacturer, Copenhagen Climate Council member Vestas, urges governments to invest heavily in the wind market. It sponsors CNN's "Climate in Peril" segment, increasing support for policies that would increase Vestas's earnings. A fellow council member, Mr. Gore's green investment firm Generation Investment Management, warns of a significant risk to the U.S. economy unless a price is quickly placed on carbon.
But it’s all for the good of man, you know...

UPDATE: link repaired.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Poor journalism, v. XXLVDCI

Being of the jaded and cynical mold, it really takes a lot to chagrin the staff of NP. This article regarding US unemployment = EU unemployment by Floyd Norris ranks right up there in terms of truly poor journalism:

For many years, unemployment in the United States was lower than in Western Europe, a fact often cited by people who argued that the flexibility inherent in the American system — it is easier to both hire and fire workers than in many European countries — produced more jobs.

That is no longer the case. Unemployment in the United States has risen to European averages, and seems likely to pass them when international data for April is calculated.
The article (and the underlying report which serves as the copy) attempts to equate the current US unemployment rate as some sort of fait accompli which is ever-lasting, never-ending and growing at even greater rates of percentage in perpetuity when compared to the current EU15 unemployment rate, all without the "benefit" of the much vaunted European social-safety net which is portrayed as a job-saver vs. the job-killer it truly has long since become. (Yes, that was indeed a mouthful)

The article is poor on many fronts:

1) It fails to mention long-term (ie. structural unemployment) within the very same EU15 of 8.63 percent versus 4.98 percent in the US;

2) It goes to great lengths to differentiate slices of the European Union to compare against in toto US metrics in an attempt to say, "See, the US citizen is even worse off than those crazy socialists yet do not even get the benefit of cradle-to-grave 'care' by the government". The European Union is either a Union in terms of socio-economic comparisons -or- it is not. The only possible current comparisons are some combination of EU27, Eurozone and US, that is it. In for a penny, in for a pound;

3) It cites most information from the benignly noted, "Center for Economic and Policy Research, a research organization in Washington". Sounds official, objective and as pure as the driven snow. If one bases officaldom, objectivity and pure snowism upon an organisation which receives funding from Barbara Streisand;

4) It cribs most information from a CEPR report which claims the following with a straight-face:

"But even when limited to differences in unemployment, the case for the U.S. model was overstated. From the 1990s on, the United States did have lower unemployment rates than several large European economies, such as France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, but many smaller European economies with large welfare states and high levels of labor-market regulation regularly did as well or better on unemployment than the United States."
So, excluding France, Germany, Italy and Spain, which collectively make up 56.8 percent of EU27 GDP, makes for a rational and legitimate economic comparison? Other than the shooting Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

So what are legitimate comparisons (even including non-EU) countries per the CEPR:

"In 2000, for example, at the peak of the late 1990s economic boom, when the U.S. unemployment rate stood at 4.0 percent, Austria (3.7 percent), the Netherlands (2.8 percent), Norway (3.4 percent), and Switzerland (2.6 percent) all had lower unemployment rates than the United States; and rates in Denmark (4.3 percent) and Ireland (4.2 percent) were not far behind."
Shall we even compare GDPs? Populations? Relevancy?

The purpose to this particular NP rant is not that of EU vs. US economic systems. That particular debate and discussion is indeed an enjoyable experience through which both sides can learn from the other, given a complete and honest discussion of the issues involved. What this NP rant is about is shoddy journalism and dubious research cloaked with the false imprimatur of académie, which instead of illuminating and adding to the debate merely opens up wide and vomits squarely in the face of those truly interested in EU-US issues.

Then again, the purpose of such agenda-driven journalism and research isn't exactly designed to enlighten and inform ....

For some reason, the Obama White House believes that the public has a right to know the method of the questions, but not the content of the answers

For reasons the administration has yet to explain, they believe the public has a right to know the method of the questions, but not the content of the answers
says Dick Cheney as he draws our "attention to some points [in the so-called torture debate] that are routinely overlooked", illustrating perfectly why the the Obama White House and liberals want the former VP to shut up.
By presidential decision, last month we saw the selective release of documents relating to enhanced interrogations. This is held up as a bold exercise in open government, honoring the public's right to know. We're informed, as well, that there was much agonizing over this decision.

Yet somehow, when the soul-searching was done and the veil was lifted on the policies of the Bush administration, the public was given less than half the truth. The released memos were carefully redacted to leave out references to what our government learned through the methods in question. Other memos, laying out specific terrorist plots that were averted, apparently were not even considered for release. For reasons the administration has yet to explain, they believe the public has a right to know the method of the questions, but not the content of the answers.

Over on the left wing of the president's party, there appears to be little curiosity in finding out what was learned from the terrorists. The kind of answers they're after would be heard before a so-called truth commission. Some are even demanding that those who recommended and approved the interrogations be prosecuted, in effect treating political disagreements as a punishable offense, and political opponents as criminals. It's hard to imagine a worse precedent, filled with more possibilities for trouble and abuse, than to have an incoming administration criminalize the policy decisions of its predecessors.

Apart from doing a serious injustice to intelligence operators and lawyers who deserve far better for their devoted service, the danger here is a loss of focus on national security and what it requires.

Rare video unearthed

Rare in that both species are normally found with their heads stuck in the sand ....... or elsewhere.

Shady Tree and his Acorns

Just like the late great comedian Shady Tree, working-class stiff/multi-millionaire Bruce Springsteen hasn't changed his act in forty years:

Then, without missing a beat, Mr. Springsteen struck a pitchman’s tone: he and the E Street Band would return to the complex in the fall "to say goodbye to old Giants Stadium." (Those dates are Sept. 30 and Oct. 2 and 3; tickets will go on sale June 1.) "Before they bring the wrecking ball," he crowed, "the wrecking crew is coming back!"

It was a plainly triumphant declaration, if a mildly awkward one, coming as it did before "Hard Times Come Again No More," the Stephen Foster song that has led off every encore on the E Street Band’s current tour. "There are many, many people truly struggling in these times," Mr. Springsteen said by way of introduction, even as some in the audience were no doubt still making mental adjustments to their fall concert budgets.
Just a thought, if an individual actually has a "fall concert budget" it is rather doubtful they are a member of the "many, many people truly struggling in these times" brigade.

Thanks for Everything, Now Beat it

The draft directive was adopted by Parliament under the co-decision procedure by 369 votes to 197, with 106 abstentions.
2007: Spain nags America on a visit to Mexico, indicating that legalities in immigration are wrong, and that “everyone is entitled to a better life.”

2009: With unemployment spiraling Spain, and indeed all of human rights central the EU, legalizes silent mass expulsion and detentions of people no different than those “entitled to a better life” in El Norte.
The compromise reached between Parliament negotiators and the Council on the directive on the return of illegal immigrants was approved at first reading by the full Parliament on Wednesday. This legislation, which is a step towards a European immigration policy, will encourage the voluntary return of illegal immigrants but otherwise lay down minimum standards for their treatment.
Like the freiwillige hilfern der SS, it quickly resorts to old-fashioned European compulsion and displacement of populations en masse.
Then, if the deportee does not leave, a removal order will be issued. If the removal order is issued by a judicial authority which believes the individual in question might abscond, the person can be placed in custody. At present detainees can be held indefinitely in some Member States, including the UK (Ireland has a maximum of 8 weeks), but the directive lays down a maximum period of custody of six months, which can be extended by a further 12 months in certain cases.
Which is sort of a ‘last resort kind of measure, but don’t worry about accusations of Gitmo-hood, that’s reserved for the oh-so-cruel Yanqui satan. But now that they’ve reached that last resort of detention and expulsion, don’t worry about any previous thoughts you might have had about that sort of thing being wrong due to the human rights consequences of disposing of your working-age flunkies, Papito, this last resort is necessary for the preservation of the welfare state. Funny how that ‘human rights’ stuff stopped being important when you couldn’t badger people about it:
Emergency situations

An article inserted by the Council provides for greater flexibility for the authorities in "emergency situations". If an "exceptionally large number" of third-country nationals places "an unforeseen heavy burden" on the administrative or judicial capacity of a Member State, that state may decide to allow longer periods for judicial review as well as less favourable conditions of detention.
Last call for Alcohol! Last Call for human rights! Strangely enough, in Spain, Simians are still doing better than the people doing the donkey work of dealing with the Spanish population’s death spiral. One can only wonder about Padron’s reasoning here, but you have to give them credit for finally being able to differentiate between illegal immigrants and apes, but the notion of choosing one over the other hints at some kind of zoophilic lobbying at work.
Children and families to be detained only as a last resort
Soren Kern has more. As for the brutal, cretinous Anglophones, those peddlers of inhumanity and such:
UK and Ireland have not opted-in

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Furthering the plot

The spiral tightens a bit:

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's today downgraded its outlook for the British economy, saying it had grown increasingly worried about the country's ballooning budget deficit. It also warned there was a "one-in-three chance" that Britain's credit rating may be cut.
As well as makes a few more rotations:

The International Monetary Fund urged the government on Wednesday to act faster once the economy was recovering to get the public finances under control by cutting public spending plans or raising taxes.

Warning that the “success of the current policy package hinges on the continued trust in the sustainability of the fiscal position”, IMF officials called for the government also to specify how it planned to limit public spending, to allocate any surprise tax revenue growth to deficit reduction and to build a broad public consensus for bringing the government books closer to balance.

They also favoured cutting spending plans rather than tax increases to improve the public finances, because the fund believes that evidence from Canada, Australia and Denmark shows lower public spending is the more durable policy.
Tic, toc, tic, toc

My Sentiment Exactly

> 6:00

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Postmodern Parenting for Dummies

In the Netherlands, like the Nether regions that it’s likely named after, pedophilia is tut-tutted as understandable, but this isn’t.

The mayor of a Dutch town says the Belgian army is no longer welcome there after soldiers handed out blank ammunition to schoolchildren.
As if your average Dutch man hasn’t been shooting blanks for a while now.

Belgium's Defence Minister Pieter De Crem called the incident "unacceptable". Blanks can be extremely dangerous because they contain gunpowder. If a blank bullet overheats it can explode, causing burns, blindness and damage to hearing.
Oh please. If the villagers were that hysterical that the “offending” country’s Defense Minister (such as that is) had to get involved, what’s to stop you from suggesting to these kids how much fun it would be to goof around with the blanks in their pockets that they’re probably insisting they don’t have. The little tykes probably think they have nukes thanks to the fit that the mayor, a literal kind of agent of the Nanny state in this case, has pitched.

Children proudly showed off the blank rounds to local television. They also described how quantities of ammunition were left lying around.
Even if you’re inclined to believe anything kids say, they aren’t ammunition. They’re BLANKS you chuckleheads.

Paratroopers were captured on CCTV handing out the blank ammunition to inquisitive children.
Can’t have kids being inquisitive now, can we? I mean it’s not like they ever saw a bullet on TV and realize that they shouldn’t eat it or whack it with a hammer.

Look, they’re KIDS. They’ll be fine, and even if they set fire to an eyebrow, you could always make more of them. Yes, that IS actually possible! Some of them like having siblings, and not being over-protected trophies.

Your diligent “Sky News Team”
also doesn’t seem to realize what
blanks actually look like. Their
photo shows a handful of very
UNBLANK rounds.


Voters, alive

Via Drudge it looks as though the tax-payers of California had the joyous opportunity to raise their own taxes and destroy their own lives. Not surprisingly, they demurred:

An angry electorate soundly defeated a slate of special election budget measures Tuesday, a decision that left Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers holding virtually nothing but a scalpel to deal with California's $21.3 billion shortfall.

Schwarzenegger and lawmakers called the special election in February as part of a plan to solve a $42 billion deficit that had been projected through mid-2010. '

They asked California voters consider a complex mix of spending reforms, higher taxes, borrowing and funding shifts.

Most of the measures were losing by wide margins, with at least 60 percent of voters rejecting them, according to partial returns.
Lest one think the voters were not paying attention, what with all of their "anger":

Voters approved just one of the six propositions, a measure prohibiting pay raises for lawmakers and other state elected officials during deficit years.
Can't wait to see how the "people enjoy paying higher taxes/taxes are the cost of a civil society" brigades spin this one.

Another Moron Thinning Out the Herd for Himself

Elsewhere, we need to mark another moron’s words:

The Obama administration projected that the U.S. economy will expand at a 3.5 percent annual rate by year-end, a rebound that would be almost twice as strong as private forecasters expect.

In the economic assumptions of its 2010 budget request, President Barack Obama’s economic team didn’t change its 2009 predictions for a 1.2 percent drop in gross domestic product this year, slower inflation, higher unemployment and lower market interest rates than a year ago.

As early as the end of this year, GDP may rise at a 3.5 percent annual rate, the same pace projected for all of next year, helped by a $787 billion stimulus package, the administration said in the report today. That’s more optimistic than the 1.8 percent fourth-quarter growth estimate in the monthly Blue Chip Economic Indicators survey released May 10.
Oddly enough, this is a typically French tactic, to release implausibly rosy economic figures on the theory that the buoy optimism. If only they would stick to semi-plausible ones, someone might buy it.

Pots, kettles, accusations, etc

Coming from a member of the Green Party, the irony is rich:

Critics have condemned the rethink on nuclear power, pointing out that many EU parliamentarians are letting themselves be fooled by the nuclear lobby's "climate" arguments.

"If you wanted to be really cynical you could say that the nuclear industry had to invent the whole climate discussion in order to see a chance for themselves," said Rebecca Harms, an MP from Germany's Green party.

"I know of no other case in which a huge industry tries so hard to benefit from a huge global problem as the nuclear industry does in the case of climate change."
Hmmm, no other case of those seeking benefit? Myriad environmental organisations, statists, socialists, anti-caps of all stripes, just a few which come to mind.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Compare and Compare

From one lost land:

The Pledge of the Thälmann Pioneers:

"Ernst Thälmann is my model. I promise to learn to work and to fight as Ernst Thälmann teaches. I will follow the rules of the Thälmann Pioneers. True to our greeting, I am always ready to support peace and socialism."
To another lost land:
The purpose of all this pledging is summed up in the video's grand finale.

Actors Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher begin the closing scene by saying, "I pledge to be a servant to our president and all mankind."
We always seek to know the truth and work for socialism. We fulfill the tasks we take on and stand by our word as pioneers. We strive to make our group a strong community and give friendly assistance to other pupils.

Le Monde's Take on Fallujah: A Regular Battle Between U.S. Marines and… Iraqi Soldiers

Six years after the Iraqi war started, the French still seem to have no understanding of the conflict (beyond, of course, the superficial and the caricatural). In an article in Le Monde about the controversy surrounding Atomic Games' upcoming Six days in Fallujah, Guillaume Fraissard states that the Fallujah battle was between U.S. Marines and… Iraqi soldiers! (And — to no one's surprise — he puts the Americans' "enemy" between quotation marks.)
Autre erreur : pourquoi n'offrir que le point de vue américain ? Pourquoi glisser le joueur dans la peau d'un marine et pas dans celle d'un soldat irakien ? Incarner "l'ennemi" n'est plus une hérésie aujourd'hui dans le jeu vidéo.

Meanwhile (also to no one's surprise), Le Monde has devoted an entire page by Sylvain Cypel to John Russell, the sergeant who killed five comrades while interned at Camp Liberty, near Baghdad's airport. Needless to say, the usual MSM questions come to the surface:
Crime gratuit d'un homme saisi de démence ou acte d'un militaire détruit par son encadrement et une guerre dont on ne perçoit plus le sens ? L'Amérique, une fois de plus, s'interroge. Dès mercredi, sur CNN, l'armée y faisait figure d'accusée.
Needless to say, out of, how many? 100,000? American fighting men in Iraq, John Russell is the one who symbolizes them all, to the last man, as well as America's presence in Iraq. (S'il faut à tout prix un individu symbolique de l'armée US, ne serait-ce pas plutôt Jacob Barton, ce soldat qui a essayé de … protéger ses "potes" ?!) Refrain from reading the final two or three paragraphs if you don't want to get angry by the arrogance of MSM outlets like Le Monde

Monday, May 18, 2009

Kind of Like the Reichstag

The peevish construct in question.
I’m sure it won many awards.

Well KIND OF like the Reichstag, only incompetent and less transparent.
He explained that the main fire broke out in the electric shaft on level zero, but the team first went to level 13, where Mr Barroso's office is located. "We put it out there, but the heat kept on coming from beneath, so we went one floor down and so on until we spotted it on the ground floor."
Or is the Supreme Soviet a better comparison?
The firefighting team used water cannons and fought the flames for about two hours. "It's a good question why the sprinklers did not go off," the firefighter said.
Coincidence? Hell no!
The building's smoke detectors failed to go off until very late into the events, and only after people had already been told to leave the building.
It’s that über-superior Euro-quality control, that superior engineering, that wonderful, highly paid, unionized, stress-free tradesman at work!

See Neelie run. Run! Neelie, run!

I’m sure someone will suggest in the next 8 hours that the fire suppression, smoke detection, and fire alarm systems all failed because the fire alarm panel had Intel inside! - ba-ba-boo-bee!

Where Paranoia Sells Itself

The funny thing about the way this one is being sold, is that the word “roman” or fiction isn’t presented readily, and the cover has the air of oh-so-many screeds of commentary.

Obviously alluding to 9-11, and the conspiratorial theories that are bound up with it. Inevitably, all of these plausited theories point their hints to them having to do with something nebulous cant about the world somehow being after France. As always, your pain is their gain.

From the publisher’s write-up pitching this thing:
Here is the incredible story of an industrial Waterloo in the aerospace industry inflicted by a French-German-American conspiracy fomented by the CIA to maintain the global supremacy of Boeing. A fiction that goes to the heart of the scandals of the last ten years, from the Taiwan frigates to the Clearstream affair, which shines an unexpected light on them too.

The novel blends fiction with reality: Concerned that French aeronautics was threatening the supremacy of American industry, the CIA in 1997 instigated an incredible conspiracy that will plunge you into cold water will become hot enough to kill! This is the famous “frog syndrome.” Immerse a frog in boiling water, and she’ll struggle furiously. Immerse a frog in cold water and raise the heat slowly, and she doesn’t know she’s cooked!

Here is a book that you wont be able to put down until the end. It’s embedded with the history of the last ten years, going right into the heart of the state and industry. We are like the frog, trapped in this reality which takes shape gradually, perhaps even further than this story supposes! The author has, in fact, mixed fiction with facts known to every keen observer, and has both fictional characters from the real adventure of global aviation, to the highest levels of responsibility and industrial policies, France, Germany and the USA.

This story contains not a surprising authenticity. Reached out to show an imbroglio of politico-industrial complex in the heart of a fierce economic espionage, one cannot put it down without saying:

"And what if all of this was true?"
Don’t worry, to the feeble-minded, it will now become true.

Curiously, all of the real scandals Bassi cites are European in origin, and the idea that it can be alleged to “seem accurate” in a world where Airbus has being engineered with tax monies to decades to try to insure supremacy, is a theme we see over and over: Europeans who feel inferior, even in their wealth, success, and protective cocoon wallowing in self-pitying thoughts of their own victimhood.

That fantasies about industry continue to crop up makes sense, because it’s all the reader would think his nation has of value to any of their imagined enemies in the world. They bind up industry and state, use their intelligence assets to the service of state industries, therefore it must be imagined that everyone else does – otherwise the venality of the degree with which it permeates their own society must then become acceptable even in the eyes of the anti-industrial, anti-corporate “humanist”.

It is the same old story of a world after their dear, sweet imagined selves, living innocently in their humble little village, and that all their misery is the cause of a silent force from without, just as it was for the arbitrary and morally empty mythology of the ancient world along the model of: only the people who hate you personally could have invented AIDS.

Amazingly enough, if any of their machinations founded in an incongruous self-importance even were the slightest bit true, they would deserve it.

Minors law prevents the French from following the courtroom drama of the brutal 2006 kidnapping, torture, and killing of Ilan Halimi

In the two and a half weeks since 27 people went on trial [in Paris] for the brutal 2006 kidnapping, torture and killing of a young Jewish man, little has filtered out about the proceedings
writes Meg Bortin.
Despite the sensational nature of the case and the serious issues it has raised — from the rise of anti-Semitism in some sectors of French society to the way the police handled the investigation — the French are essentially unable to follow the courtroom drama because of a law that bans the public and the media from trials that involve minors. …

Missing … is a public engagement with the troubling issues that were raised by the horrifying nature of the crime, in which Ilan Halimi, 23, was kidnapped, bound in tape, hidden in sordid conditions, beaten, slashed, burned and finally thrown into the street after 24 days, only to die of his wounds before reaching a hospital.

“I find it abnormal that the trial is being held behind closed doors,” his mother, Ruth Halimi, said during a break in the trial. She said the defendants were displaying a casual attitude that she found shocking. “The trial should have been held in public,” she said, “so that everyone could know what took place.”

The law mandating that the trial be closed applies to defendants who were under 18 at the time of the crime, even if they are no longer minors. In this case, two of the accused were 17 when Mr. Halimi was kidnapped. Only they can ask that the secrecy be lifted, and they did not do so.

Lawyers on both sides of the case voiced regret.

“The culture of secrecy has no place in a democracy,” said Daphné Pugliesi, who is representing Cédric Birot Saint-Yves, who has been charged with being one of Mr. Halimi’s “jailers.” Ms. Pugliesi asserted that the aim of a criminal trial was “for society to understand the reasons why a grave crime like this one was committed.”

…As a result of the media ban, virtually nothing will be known soon about what is said by the accused — 18 men and 9 women, all French nationals aged 20 to 35 — or the 162 witnesses and 50 experts who are expected to testify before the trial is to conclude on July 10.

…When the trial began on April 29, reporters were allowed into the courtroom for a few hours — long enough to hear [Youssouf Fofana, now 28,] shout “Allah Akbar,” God is Great, and declare his date of birth as Feb. 13, 2006, the day Mr. Halimi was found dying alongside railroad tracks in a suburb south of Bagneux.

…On May 12, according to the Observateur blog, the presiding judge, Nadia Ajjan, appointed two new lawyers to represent Mr. Fofana because of the frequent absence from court of his original attorneys: Emmanuel Ludot, who helped defend Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2004, and Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who is married to the terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal and has defended several radical Islamists.

One of the issues debated since the crime took place is the police’s handling of Mr. Halimi’s kidnapping. [His mother, Ruth Halimi,] asserts in “24 Days,” a scathing book published last month, that the elite Criminal Brigade bungled the case by imposing secrecy during the kidnapping and by missing several opportunities to arrest Mr. Fofana, who made two trips to Ivory Coast while Mr. Halimi was being held.

…Mr. Halimi was kidnapped on Jan. 20, 2006, just weeks after rioting erupted across France in low-income suburbs. Many of the rioters were young people of North African or black African origin, and many were Muslim.Mrs. Halimi said the anti-Semitic aspect of her son’s kidnapping made it all the more imperative for the world to know what was said at the trial.

Le Monde's Normandy Cemetery Articles Manage to Denigrate American Presidents Generally, and Bush and Reagan in Particular

In a Le Monde article on Normandy's Omaha Beach cemetery next to Colleville-sur-Mer, Benoît Hopquin points out how all presidents since Jimmy Carter in the 1970s have paid visits to the Colleville shrine, managing in the process to take a couple of potshots at Dubya.
En 2002, à la veille de l'invasion de l'Irak, George W. Bush était venu ici rallier les Américains à sa croisade contre "le Mal" et inciter les alliés à "défendre le monde contre les terroristes". En 2004, il n'avait pas trouvé meilleur lieu pour organiser un rabibochage avec la France.
That's right: in his eagerness to disparage Bush, Benoît Hopquin omitted to mention that 2004 just happened to be a long-planned event, i.e., the 60th anniversary of Operation Overlord. Furthermore, it appears that Barack Obama's visit (Philippe Duron, maire PS de Caen, … avait déjà fourbi son slogan : "Yes we Caen") led to an ongoing (?) protocol conflict between the White House and l'Élysée… In that accompanying article, Benoît Hopquin manages to denigrate Ronald Reagan's visit 20 years earlier…

Read also about the Apologizer-in-Chief's plan to apologize to the GIs' deadly enemy in Europe during World War II

Nr 20,000: Le Monde's alleged independence is belied by the more or less cleverly disguised subsidies that, to a large degree, keep it afloat

Le Monde celebrates its 20,000th issue, but not all its readers seem convinced by the celebratory mood at France's newspaper of reference; notably one fellow who points out that the daily's alleged independence is belied by the more or less cleverly disguised subsidies that, to a large degree, keep it afloat.
…comme tous les quotidiens français, Le Monde ne connaît pas l'ivresse de l'indépendance que donne le marché car il vit en grande partie de subventions plus ou moins habilement déguisées. La presse quotidienne française cumule le plus mauvais des deux mondes : dépendance de l'Etat (qui a ses intérêts à défendre : vous ne verrez jamais en France pour cette raison un quotidien aussi libéral que le Wall Street Journal) et dépendance de quelques gros annonceurs.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


To the many who preach the nirvana of a hyper-sustainable existence in which every food mile is scrutinised, every kW of power must be renewable, every ounce of consumerism is eschewed and every betterment of living standards is scorned ..... meet Yusuf, he lived the lifestyle for twenty-four years straight:

A Somali on trial for piracy is looking forward to a prolonged stay in the Netherlands, his lawyer says. Five alleged pirates are being tried in Rotterdam starting Monday.

No, Willem-Jan Ausma has never had to defend a client quite like this: one who is quite happy being in prison, and is almost looking forward to being found guilty and sentenced. "For the first time in his life he has access to a real toilet. For the first time in his life he is in a safe environment," Ausma says about his Somali 'pirate' client.

Sure, 24-year-old Yusuf hasn't seen his family in more than four months. "But he intends to send for his wife and children as soon as he is released from prison. He knows he cannot easily be sent back to Somalia. He loves it here in the Netherlands."
When it comes to reality, logic, ration and smarts, I'll put my money on Yusuf over our Western eco-betters any day of the week.

Misery Takes a (Permanent) Holiday

Michael Philips asks 4 simple questions that our society’s lauded “smart people” are normally incapable to getting. He introduces them saying:

Most Harvard and Columbia graduates will get the wrong answers to these four simple questions, including President Obama (who didn't know the language of Austria).
Read on, my pedagogically programmed friends. As far as the garden variety Ivy League graduate is concerned, I’ll leave you with a bit of advice from a wise old civil engineer I once worked for: never hire one. The chances are overwhelming that they have more ambition than intelligence, skill, or eagerness to learn, and that the risk of having one of them screw up your business is too high.