Saturday, April 04, 2009

We Are Red, We Are White, We Are Danish Dynamite!

Denmark's Anders Fogh Rasmussen becomes the next head of NATO, writes Berlingske Tidende (nearly all links in Danish). If finance minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen replaces the George W Bush ally (this [English-language] link seems to be proof that all (?) Bush administration photos seem to have disappeared from Obama's White House web site) as prime minister, as planned, he will be the third Rasmussen in a row (after Fogh and Poul Nyrup Rasmussen) to be prime minister of Denmark (Danish PMs have tended to be known by their middle names, recently — Nyrup, Fogh, Løkke)… In any case, you gotta love a guy who (for whatever reason) cancels a meeting with Barack Obama

Can't Say the California Dude Ain't Got a Point: The Constitution's Right to Show One's Perfectly Toned Upper Limbs Shall Not Be Infringed

Lexington … mentioned that the White House has engaged in a debate with the media about whether Mrs Obama should show her “perfectly toned” upper limbs in public
writes Skip Kilmartin of El Sobrante, California, as he points out to The Economist (a typical lay-off-the-Obamas-or-you're-nothing-but-a-sorehead article, alas) that there is one area in which criticism of Michelle Obama is off-bounds (thanks to the Bill of Writes).
Being familiar with constitutional law, perhaps Barack Obama could put this particular fashion controversy surrounding his wife to rest by referring to the second amendment’s right to bare arms.

All you need is a brush-up and a bit of water on the back of the neck, all better

As mentioned previously, the dog-whistle portion of the recently concluded G20 meetings included laying the groundwork and pre-financing for the UK's inevitable crawl to the IMF pay window. This update brings the situation into clearer focus. While the writing is yet to be on the wall, rest assured the paint is indeed being prepared:

The G20 agreed this week to establish a new scheme, controlled by the IMF, which countries of all backgrounds can go to if they are experiencing financial problems.

That coincided with a concerted push by British ministers to argue that there would no longer be any stigma attached to asking for cash.

The previous Labour Government's bail-out by the IMF in 1976 was seen as a national humiliation and helped sweep the party from power for 18 years.

A senior Cabinet minister said, however, that the new fund would not be like the 1970s version and should not be seen as such. He said there would be nothing wrong if America or Britain used the facility.

He said: "Previously a country would only go if they were in a very bad state. It was a bit like going to accident and emergency to get urgent help.

"This new facility will not be like that. It is a bit more like getting wellbeing care or even like going to a spa to recuperate."
One difference of course is a visit to the spa usually does not end in tears and misery. As to the shame of the forthcoming situation, the indefatigable Tim Worstall delivers the prescient verdict with trademark élan.

There has been "arrogance" and élites have "been dismissive, even derisive"? Sounds like a description of US history lessons taught by leftists…

"There have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive": The Apologizer-in-Chief's words actually sound like a description of the American history courses taught be leftists around the world today (both inside and outside the United States)…

During their meeting in Strasbourg, Nicolas Sarkozy refuses to send more men to Afghanistan — notice the difference in (what turns out to be) the rewritten title (Les sujets abordés par Nicolas Sarkozy et Barack Obama) and the initial one (shall we call the more descriptive title the "cruder" one, which more diplomatic editors toned down?), still visible in the article's URL (sarkozy-confirme-a-obama-son-refus-d-envoyer-des-troupes-supplementaires-en-afghanistan) — and there ain't much Barack Obama can do about it, now that the Apologizer-in-Chief been so busy raving on and on about America's arrogance and how his administration is a step in the direction of multilateralism and now that he has been so busy showing he is "eine Guttermensch" by reason of… his incessant smile.

(But, hey, what can he say; maybe Carla didn't appreciate the iPod or the 25 Zone 1 DVDs… In any event, the Daily Mail has a number of photos…)

Meanwhile, Investor's Business Daily tries to give the Apologizer- and Charmer-in-Chief a basic history lesson.
News reports quoted French men and women hailing the first African-American president of the United States as a hopeful sign for global racial reconciliation.

But is there another reason they're so smitten? Might they be imagining the decline of America and the rise of a Eurocentric multilateralism?

Barack Obama's words to the thousands of squealing young French and German fans at the Rhenus Sports Arena in Strasbourg certainly seem in harmony with such hopes.

"In America," the president claimed, "there's a failure to appreciate
Europe's leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive."

President Obama promised that "America is changing" and that there would now be "unprecedented coordination" in our policies.

He lamented that "we got sidetracked by Iraq"; he extolled the "social safety net that exists in almost all of Europe that doesn't exist in the United States."

And he described the G-20 summit he just attended in London last week as "a success of nations coming together, working out their differences, and moving boldly forward."

But is multilateralism really the great hope for the future that the president and his French and German devotees are convinced it is?

"We just emerged from an era marked by irresponsibility," the president claimed in reference to the global financial crisis.

But when he flaunts his "excellent meeting with President Medvedev of Russia" to begin the reduction of U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles with the claim that working with Moscow will "give us greater moral authority to say to Iran, 'don't develop a nuclear weapon,' to say to North Korea, 'don't proliferate nuclear weapons,' " isn't he actually embarking on a new era of naive foreign policy irresponsibility?

The Russia and Communist China the president wants to "partner" with are directly responsible for giving Iran and North Korea the nuclear expertise and equipment that have empowered those two oppressive terror states to pursue the ability to incinerate a city.

And does the president really believe that Kim Jong-il or the Ayatollah Khomenei respond, as he put it, to "moral authority" the way civilized leaders do?

It's Europe that has things to learn from America, not vice versa.

Europe can learn that with an injection of U.S.-style market competition, French patients need not wait month-upon-month for heart bypass surgery. They can learn that Iran is a clear and present danger requiring force from a united free world, not talk.

While they're at it, they might also learn to express some gratitude for the $13 billion American taxpayers shelled out during the post-war years (over $100 billion in current dollars) to rebuild their countries — after the U.S. came to their rescue during the war itself, spilling the blood of hundreds of thousands to defeat Hitler.

The United States of America is the world's lone superpower — unless and until we choose to relinquish that responsibility.

The last thing our sometime friends and allies across the pond need is a U.S. president bemoaning America's role in the world and serving as an echo chamber to those in Europe who would like to see us weakened or irrelevant.

Money-grubbing swine try to bust union...

...with a twist of course:

The New York Times Co has threatened to shut The Boston Globe unless the newspaper's unions agree to $20 million in concessions, the Globe reported on Friday, quoting union leaders.

The union officials said executives from Globe and the Times, which owns the Boston newspaper, made the demands on Thursday morning in a meeting with leaders of the newspaper's 13 unions, the Globe reported.

"Management told union leaders Thursday that the Globe will lose $85 million in 2009, unless serious cutbacks are made, according to a Globe employee briefed on the discussions," the Globe report said. That compares with an estimated $50 million loss last year, the newspaper quoted the employee as saying.
Heartless capitalistic bastards. The next anti-Wal Mart screed on the opinion pages of the NYT will no doubt be carefully crafted with a healthy dose of nuance.

With the Guardian using tax havens and the New York Times now attempting to bust unions, who knows what is next for our betters in the client media.

Friday, April 03, 2009

The baying mob could not be reached for comment

Just a few weeks after retention bonuses at American International Group became a national scandal, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two mortgage-financing giants that the government rescued last fall, have outlined plans to pay an additional $159 million in bonuses to retain employees in 2009 and 2010, on top of the nearly $51 million already paid out last year.

Anything Wrong in These Pictures?…

There's no inconsistency whatsoever here, of course (and aren't you silly to think so?!)…

Michelle Obama will not curtsy to the Queen of Great Britain (listen to French journalist Agnès Poirier at 1:00) and otherwise bow to protocol, but her husband will bow to the King of Saudi Arabia…

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Those in the know aren't talking

Viewed another way, Gordon Brown may just be making sure the funding will be there when the UK comes rattling the tin cup. If so, a coup for the PM ...... the financing has already been pre-arranged:

The most concrete measures relate to support for the International Monetary Fund, which has emerged as a "first responder" in this global crisis, making emergency loans to dozens of countries.

The Group of 20 pledged to triple the resources of the Fund to $750 billion — through a mix of $500 billion in loans from countries, and a one-time issuance of $250 billion in Special Drawing Rights, the synthetic currency of the Fund, which will be parceled out to all its 185 members.

The countries, in turn, could lend that money to troubled neighbors. The I.M.F.'s members also agreed to lend the proceeds from sales of the fund’s gold reserves to the poorest countries.
Update: Closer to the truth than we imagined it seems.

Just curious

A legit set of queries for those smarter than we. As financial institutions (and non) in the US begin to pay their TARP funds back, where will those funds go? These funds were conjured last year and injected into these firms, to be paid back with interest. Will the repaid funds merely zero out the conjured funds leaving only the interest bit to go into the general funding of the US government?

Or, will these repaid funds (in toto, principal and interest) become "real" and permanent funds going into the general funding of the US government and doled out forever?

Wajda's "Katyn" Is Criticized for Having the Audacity to Juxtapose the Nazis and the Soviets

Le Monde criticizes — in a weaselly manner ("Il faut savoir toutefois que, évoquant des sujets sensibles, Katyn encourt deux types de critiques") — Andrzej Wajda's Katyn for — for what? For the Polish movie's back-to-back justaposition of the Nazis and the Soviets as predators of the national territory!

Russians assassinate 12,000 people with a bullet in the neck — not to speak of their (innumerable) other crimes, inside as well as outside Russia — and one does not have the right to compare the Soviets to the Nazis?! A filmmaker does not have the right to conceive (what Piotr Smolar calls) "an anti-Soviet bomb" ?! Are they joking, or what?! The Yanks have been castigated — and how many times?! — for far less than that!

It would seen that Stéphane Courtois wrote his book for nothing.
Ce film peut aussi jouer son rôle sur la question de la mémoire, qui divise l'Europe : à l'Ouest, on garde une image positive du communisme pendant la guerre ; à l'Est, on a le sentiment d'avoir été abandonné et enfermé pendant quarante-cinq ans ; et dans une Russie hypernationaliste, le communisme redevient une période glorieuse.
Update: Adam Michnik a été "fortement surpris de lire la critique [que Le Monde] a faite de Katyn, le dernier film d'Andrzej Wajda" et de la "troublante ignorance" qu'on trouve dans ladite critique…

French Kids Are Improving Their English — Even Their English (or American) Intonation — But Not Thanks to the Government and Its Schools…

…les ados qui sont accros aux séries à succès telles que "Skins", "Gossip Girl", "True Blood" ou "Desperate Housewives" n'attendent pas qu'elles arrivent en version française sur le petit écran. C'est en version originale qu'ils les dévorent, au rythme de plusieurs épisodes à la file, emmagasinant ainsi une somme de dialogues qui, s'ils ne relèvent pas toujours d'un lexique raffiné, ancrent dans leur mémoire les expressions et intonations anglo-saxonnes.
Thus writes Sylvie Kerviel in Le Monde about teens — "ado(lescent)s" — who cannot wait for their favorite Hollywood shows to come (dubbed) to French TV and prefer watching them (in English) on the web.
"On observe un intérêt différent des élèves par rapport à l'anglais, très probablement lié aux séries qu'ils téléchargent ou visionnent en streaming sur Internet, observe Isabelle, qui enseigne dans un lycée de Sartrouville (Yvelines). A l'oral, ces élèves se révèlent bien meilleurs, l'accent et les intonations sont plus justes, les syllabes sont accentuées convenablement. La musicalité de la langue est maîtrisée plus spontanément."
Anne Eaunîmes testifies:
J'ai un score de 274/300 au TOEFL, et j'avoue que le fait de savoir par coeurs quelques saisons de Friends y a un peu contribué…
Meanwhile, the French are up in arms over the (English) change in name of Lyon's aéroport Saint-Exupéry (price for the change: only 200,000 euros — thanks to [pardon, merci à] RV); and, writes Pascale Santi, France's schools have been invaded by political correctness, where one must no longer say cantine (cafeteria) but restaurant scolaire (school restaurant)… Leading one reader to recall the term that he and his friends had for that institution (while pointing out the obvious reason behind kids' delight with Mickey D's):
La "novlangue" [Newspeak] fait fureur. Dans mon lycée, bien meilleur pour son enseignement que pour sa gastronomie, on ne disait pas la cantine, mais "le goulag". Le chef ne réussissait que le pain et la moutarde. Il ne faut pas s'étonner que les gamins préfèrent les MacDo.

Oh Mo.....

As President Obama renegotiates the terms of American leadership this week in Europe, those of us left at home struggle to get over our affluenza.

The last memo I received on the subject was all about how affluenza was a modern day scourge which would be the undoing of mankind. Struggle? Maureen my dear, per the left we should be absolutely celebrating it's demise.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

An Innocent Man in the Land of Lucid Critics of Those Clueless Americans' Wild West Tactics Is the Victim of a Lynch Mob

"C'est un malheureux concours de circonstances", estime un commerçant témoin de la scène. "Le type n'a pas eu de chance, il avait le même visage que le violeur. N'importe quel père aurait fait pareil." Selon lui, l'incident était inévitable : "Un pédophile était en cavale depuis un an et la police ne réagissait pas. La loi de la rue a dû prendre le relais."
A man resembling a pedophile known as the "stadium rapist" was almost killed by a lynch mob, writes Aurélie Collas in a Le Monde story that includes charges of police not doing their work. (A week after the aggression, the real suspect was arrested.)
Ce sinistre incident s'est achevé à l'hôpital en réanimation : la victime, totalement défigurée, souffre de multiples fractures et contusions au visage, à l'abdomen et aux jambes.

Pay for "performance"?

Politicians and governmentalists continue to make the case for tax havens without even noticing:

While Congress has been flaying companies for giving out bonuses while on the government dole, lawmakers have a longstanding tradition of rewarding their own employees with extra cash -- also courtesy of taxpayers.

Capitol Hill bonuses in 2008 were among the highest in years, according to LegiStorm, an organization that tracks payroll data. The average House aide earned 17% more in the fourth quarter of the year, when the bonuses were paid, than in previous quarters, according to the data. That was the highest jump in the eight years LegiStorm has compiled payroll information.

Total end-of-year bonuses paid to congressional staffers are tiny compared with the $165 million recently showered on executives of American International Group Inc., which is being propped up by billions of dollars of U.S. government subsidies. But Capitol Hill bonuses provide a notable counterpoint to the populist rhetoric and sound bites emanating from Washington these past weeks.
The troughs are full, all is well, send more money.

April Fool

Rationality, logic, nuance, oh so much smarter than you:

With motifs of climate-friendly transport woven into the fabric of the building, the Tricycle Cinema in north London was the ideal location to premiere Franny Armstrong's new film, The Age of Stupid. One story in the film concerns the conflict between a wind energy entrepreneur and his rather self-satisfied and uptight posh local opponents who dislike the idea of any change to the landscape. The posh people win.

Afterwards, in the cinema bar, a slightly intense woman came up to me and asked, "Why don't they make the wind turbines out of glass, then no one would be able to see them?"
92 months and counting before the end of the world funding cycle.

Hey Yanks!

With your 15 April tax day fast approaching we must ask, are you going to be one of the suckers that actually pay?

Health and Human Services nominee Kathleen Sebelius recently corrected three years of tax returns and paid more than $7,000 in back taxes after finding "unintentional errors" — the latest tax troubles for an Obama administration nominee. The Kansas governor explained the changes to senators in a letter dated Tuesday that the administration released. She said they involved charitable contributions, the sale of a home and business expenses.
One rule for the proles, one for the masters. Don't worry, you aren't alone, plenty of piggly-wiggly types in Europe snouting it up too. Remind me again why tax havens are such a idée terrible?

The editors at The New York Times wanted NYT reporter Stephanie Strom to kill the ACORN-Obama story because “it was a game changer.”

The New York Times’ Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications Catherine Mathis … wrote, “In response to your questions to our reporter, Stephanie Strom, we do not discuss our newsgathering and won’t comment except to say that political considerations played no role in our decisions about how to cover this story or any other story about President Obama.”
It could mean nothing, I guess, but… Is it me, or is there anything strange — or should I say telling? — that in a story about the 2008 campaign prior to election day, the New York Times would think nothing of referring to stories about the Democrats' candidate as stories about "President Obama"?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What Stretched-Out American Hands and Tokens of American "Friendship" Give Rise To…

Another world leader — now the allies and friendlies are joining the feast — seems to have understood that showing anger and resentment at America (or at the Anglo-Saxon world) and issuing threats and making demands is likely to bring more obeisance from Barack Obama's we-must-listen-to-your-whining White House (merci à RV)…
President Sarkozy yesterday threatened to wreck the London summit if France’s demands for tougher financial regulation are not met.

…If carried through, [the French threat] would ruin a summit for which Mr Brown and Mr Obama have high ambitions, believing it vital to international recovery.

Mr Sarkozy, who blames the “Anglo-Saxons” for causing the economic crisis, told his ministers last week that he would leave Mr Brown’s summit “if it does not work out”.

A deal to tighten regulation will be one of the key features of the G20 accord but France wants a global financial regulator, an idea fiercely opposed by the United States and Britain. Mr Brown has described the notion as ridiculous.

A Big ¡No Pasarán! Vell-come! To National Review Readers

Unlike our fearless leaders, you do indeed know Jacques.

All too well. I don’t know about you, but I for one am hoping for a roller-derby style body check by the little guy the next time he meets the commander in chief of our unredeemed souls.

A Town Hall Meeting Held by the Citizens of Beautiful Downtown Nowhere

At the G-20 Summit, purporting to about (showing) themselves to be deeply concerned about us, their data points, economists will be doing what they do best. Hitting the sauce and seeking the affirmation of the usual activist-types.. You’ve seen the type. Their groupie-like academic travels as a means to having a world-travelling lifestyle usually enjoyed by people who are successful and productive.

The main stimulus to the world economy forthcoming from the G-20 this week will be the stimulus to the wine industry, especially in France. An untold amount of fine wines will be consumed by preening and grand-standing world leaders admiring and lecturing one another without ever getting to the heart of economic problems.

Otherwise, very little of real import will be accomplished.
But they will all feel so “international”. Pfft. Get a job.

Otherwise the usual teenage girl dramas will continue as a way of convincing the world that certain nations remain relevant. Hint: it’s a nation or culture where the term “former glory” is a thrown around frequently. They are threatening to take their football and go home.
So why the threat? Sarkozy's chest-beating is clearly aimed at a domestic audience.
Big deal. So they call it the “G 19” which is a meaningless attempt to make everyone but the other 6 of the G-7 feel warm and fuzzy at a meaningless travelling circus of an international meeting. The only deference to “expressing an air of modesty” is to hold the meeting in London and not some place like Davos.

‚No pasarán' (sie werden nicht durch kommen)

Outside, of course, people who have never presented any alternative to the things they purport to want to smash (that is to say anything their parents found important, as well as capitalism,) will be stamping their feet, displaying their usual impotent rage, and showing that they have no alternative to it other than advocating miscellaneous features of Marxism. The protesters have always and still know nothing of its’ soul-sucking qualities, but will have one thing in common with the other jet-set groupies inside. They are trying to convince someone of the relevance of THEIR fatuous exercises – the idea that their affection for their cause makes them personally virtuous, exceptional, and intelligent – but in this case are employing the same culture of complaint that so many empty heads have employed over the decades.

Monday, March 30, 2009

It’s Funny How Easy it is to Forget Some Things

While reading an old essay by Orwell in which he defends the reputation of P. G. Wodehouse, something struck me. Not what he wrote about Wodehouse, but about the left’s historic sales-job. It is one that we’re enduring to this day:

It is nonsense to talk of “Fascist tendencies” in his books. There are no post-1918 tendencies at all. Throughout his work there is a certain uneasy awareness of the problem of class distinctions, and scattered through it at various dates there are ignorant though not unfriendly references to Socialism. In THE HEART OF A GOOF (1926) there is a rather silly story about a Russian novelist, which seems to have
been inspired by the factional struggle then raging in the U.S.S.R. But the references in it to the Soviet system are entirely frivolous and, considering the date, not markedly hostile. That is about the extent of Wodehouse’s political consciousness, so far as it is discoverable from his writings.
The controversy surrounding Wodehouse goes back to the Second World War. He was incarcerated by the Nazis upon their “liberation” of Vichy France. To get out of jail early, he agreed to do 4 radio broadcasts for the Nazis.
Nowhere, so far as I know, does he so much as use the word “Fascism” or “Nazism.” In left-wing circles, indeed in “enlightened” circles of any kind, to broadcast on the Nazi radio, to have any truck with the Nazis whatever, would have seemed just as shocking an action before the war as during it. But that is a habit of mind that had been developed during nearly a decade of ideological struggle against Fascism.
Which then and now still compares favorably to the appeasement that sent millions into the clutches of fascism, in any case. But never mind that – there is a fellow countryman to demonize.

Does that sound familiar?
The bulk of the British people, one ought to remember, remained antethetic to that struggle until late into 1940. Abyssinia, Spain, China, Austria, Czechoslovakia — the long series of crimes and aggressions had simply slid past their consciousness or were dimly noted as quarrels occurring among foreigners and “not our business.”

One can gauge the general ignorance from the fact that the ordinary Englishman thought of “Fascism” as an exclusively Italian thing and was bewildered when the
same word was applied to Germany. And there is nothing in Wodehouse’s writings to suggest that he was better informed, or more interested in politics, than the general run of his readers.
For those of you not familiar with Wodehouse’s wit, I beg you to give the old bird a chance. After all, he made fun of the idle rich without, by some magic, fall in the vulgar habit found so often in the UK to demonize and detest – only to find themselves reinforcing those concepts of class that they to this day pretend to be on a Jihad to “smash”.

And yet these demons forever trouble them.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Le monde n'a plus ni besoin ni envie du leadership américain…la prochaine fois, on risque de les oublier [ces Ricains] sur leur continent maigrichon"

To Barack Obama's article in Le Monde, French readers respond by showing their undying friendship for America and their eternal respect for their "American friends"…
J'adore Obama! il doit parfois se demander s'il n'aurait pas du attendre avant de se faire élire Président d'un pays en telle décadence.

Il vient de decouvrir son vrai visage :celui d'une ameriue arrogante et dominatrice ,dont l'impérialisme destabilise la planete et la dominegrace à des satellites comme l'OTANIE mais c'est un colosse aux pieds d'argile dominé par les financiers ce qui causera la perte de ce tigre de papierdollar il est temps pourl'Europe de se reveiller sinon elle sra entrainé ds sa chute

Y a-t-il quelqu'un pour dire à monsieur Obama que le monde n'a plus ni besoin ni envie du leadership américain et qu'on veut bien les aider à se sortir de la merde, parce qu'ils ont vraiment beaucoup d'armes un peu partout, mais que la prochaine fois, on risque de les oublier sur leur continent maigrichon.
Quel leadership? Celui du plus grand fraudeur, du plus gros spéculateur, du plus grand tricheur, de celui qui a le plus nuit à l'économie mondiale?
writes Bernandino before hoping that a handful of countries — including Russia and China (good to know who your friends/allies are!) — stand up to America and to the dollar…

By Special Request

One assumes most readers of this blog are in fact actual tax-payers. While feeling fleeced by your local or national government you are no doubt hoping that at least the chunk of your own money taken from you is being put to some productive purpose. Services such as police, fire, armed services, libraries, a hospital charity ward perhaps. How would you like to know what you are really paying for:

Documents submitted to the Commons authorities show Ms Smith has claimed £150,304 for the cost of running a second home since 2001, including fully fitting it out.

The Sunday Express has seen the documents that show Ms Smith has claimed for virtually every major household item over the past five years, right down to the kitchen sink.

It was a £550 stone model from Habitat. The minister, who earns £141,866-a-year, even claimed for an 88p bath plug.

She had already spent £460 on a dining room table, £704 on a sofabed, and £1,000 on an antique fireplace. She claimed for the cost of coal to burn in it.

Other items included a Hotpoint cooker, at £399 plus £15 connection, a Hotpoint tumble dryer worth £189 and two washing machines in under two years, a £249 Ariston and a Zanussi worth nearly £300.

Her entertainment centre was to include DVD players, two Samsung widescreen televisions and two digital set-top boxes worth more than £1,100.
Of course, all expensed with your tax-payer money. Do keep that in mind the next time you hear the siren sound from the truly deluded claiming the problem is not enough tax being forced out of the individual.

Let 1,000 tax havens bloom before one red penny goes any further.

By the Wåy…

Did Pia Haraldsen, the Norwegian TV prankster whose main joke was to imply that America was so racist it would never elect the likes of Barack Obama, ever have the decency, if not to issue an apology, at the very least, to even partially admit her biases were wrong?

By the way, who among you joins me in supporting James Oddo for secretary of state or ambassador to the United Nations in 2012?

Creative Destructive destruction

When the following two stories intersect it will be interesting to size up the carnage.


Personal income taxes for the upper middle class and the rich are about to skyrocket under a secret, soak-the-wealthy tax deal reached last night by Gov. Paterson and leaders of the Legislature, sources told The Post.

The two-tier tax plan would bring in $4 billion annually, in part by hiking income taxes a stunning 31 percent for all New Yorkers making more than $500,000 a year, the sources said.

A second, slightly lower tier would increase incomes taxes by 14.5 percent for singles earning $250,000 to $500,000 annually and for married and joint filers earning $300,000 to $500,000.

But late last week Mayor Bloomberg was channelling these columns when he said that raising taxes on high earners could drive them from the city. "One percent of the households that file in this city pay something like 50% of the taxes," explained the Mayor. "In the city, that's something like 40,000 people. If a handful left, any raise would make it revenue neutral. The question is what's fair. If 1% are paying 50% of the taxes, you want to make it even more?"
When a handful of producers are responsible for the majority of cash siphoned off by the non-productive, it only takes a few bailing elsewhere for the destructive folly of hyper-taxation to come crashing down.

It appears the thought of cutting spending is off the table (in case you were wondering):

On March 24, Paterson said he may have to drop 8,900 jobs from a state payroll estimated at 199,400, after unions rejected his proposal to eliminate a previously negotiated 3 percent pay increase. The budget presented by Paterson in December totaled $120.1 billion, including federal assistance and capital spending.

Labor unions and advocates for education spending have urged lawmakers to increasing income taxes as a way to avoid cutting jobs or state aid to local schools.
No doubt coming to a town near you soon.

Like the Tough Marine Corps General That He Is, James Jones Speaks His Mind — We Mean, He Speaks the Words the International Community Wants to Hear

De quelle manière les Français peuvent-ils aider M. Obama ?
Answering the questions of Le Monde's Corine Lesnes, James Jones states that
C'est une approche différente. Nous souhaitons avoir un dialogue avec le reste du monde sur les grands sujets auxquels nous devons faire face collectivement. Il s'agit d'une approche qui souligne le respect que nous avons pour tous nos alliés et les pays qui, par leur conduite, s'en montrent dignes. Elle prend en compte le fait que le monde est interdépendant et que les questions d'économie, d'énergie, de climat nous concernent tous. Avec le président Obama, les Etats-Unis souhaiteraient participer au débat en tant que pays qui tient compte de l'opinion des autres.

NYT and IHT Appeal for European-Type Health Care While Finding Obama Again (!) … "Making History"

Lording over the front page of the International Herald Tribune (the New York Times' European edition) on March 27, 2009, is Jim Young's Reuters picture of Barack Obama during his Internet video news conference (the very first, Sheryl Gay Stolberg assures us) before a video screen inside the White House with the question,
Why can we not have a universal health care system like many European countries, where people are treated based on needs rather than financial resources?
Don't you dare tell anyone that the New York Times — which yet again (!!!) found Obama making… history (how many times in the past year?!) — isn't neutral and non-biased and non-partial and entirely objective! :oP

Oh, and how many stories about George W Bush or some other Republican would end with words such as these:
“Thank you so much for all your hard work,” Harriet [of Georgia] told the president. “God bless you.”

The "enormity" of the task that lies ahead?

Can you imagine the snorts and the sputters, had it been George W Bush's verbal mistakes, rather than Obama's, that William Safire recently chronicled?

I strongly believe in the American dream: Danish common sense about "the type of witch hunt that is going on now"

I strongly believe in the American dream: Everyone should be allowed to pursue their goals in life through hard work, dedication and free choice and, just as important, they should be allowed to be proud of what they have achieved.
From Hellerup, Denmark, Peter Guldberg writes to the editor of the International Herald Tribune (last letter on the page, after a series of often much less sensible letters):
Even though I’m from Denmark, for a long time I have thought of the United States as my second home — at least in spirit. I have worked for a large part of my career either in the United States or abroad for American firms. My youngest daughter was born in New York and is an American citizen, a fact of which I am immensely proud.

I strongly believe in the American dream: Everyone should be allowed to pursue their goals in life through hard work, dedication and free choice and, just as important, they should be allowed to be proud of what they have achieved.

It is with this in mind that I feel ashamed when following the current debacle surrounding the A.I.G. bonus payments and reading the resignation letter of Jake DeSantis.

There have been a few low points in American history, which thankfully have been exposed and debated for a long time. Unfortunately, the type of witch hunt that is going on now has the potential to become another one.

It is so wrong that Congress should be allowed to circumvent legally binding contracts in order to cater to mob anger.

Statements made by the attorney generals of New York and Connecticut about making lists of people that should be publicly named and shamed are just frightening.

After the Miracle of the Loaves, What Does Jesus Perform But… the Miracle of the Condoms

Le Monde's ombuds(wo)man (Véronique Maurus) acknowledges the uproar that a Plantu cartoon has caused in the Catholic community, especially in North America, from where thousands of emails have poured in.

To which Le Monde's readers praise the artist's and the newspaper's "courage", promising that they stand behind them and writing such things as
La médiatrice du Mondes a très bien fait de porter sur la place publique ce déchaînement (appréciez) de haine d'ultra-cathos américain…
Surtout tenez bon, on est avec vous et merci à Plantu.

Bravo Plantu et Le Monde. Continuez!
Que d'innombrables témoignages (preux?) pour le courage et la témérité de Plantu et Le Monde

Je ferais quand même remarquer que Steve Killelea n'a peut-être pas tout à fait tort quand il dit (autant à propos de Plantu et Le Monde qu'à propos de (leur)s lecteurs qui se manifestent ici?) que :
Vous n'auriez pas fait ceci contre les principes éthiques musulmans. Vous choisissez des cibles douces parce que vous êtes des LÂCHES

"One Can Understand HAMAS!!"

Au cours des dernières décennies, la paix a paru à portée de main, puis tout est parti en vrille, et je me demande finalement si elle était si proche, cette paix, ou si nous avons rêvé de châteaux en Espagne…
Although he is an Israeli leftist, Amir Gutfreund chooses to tell some basic truths about the Middle East and about Palestine (and about Europe and about UN conferences) in Le Monde, which — needless to say — grates on the readers' nerves (big time)…
on peut comprendre le HAMAS !!
And what brought that about? Listen to Amir Gutfreund:
…il n'y a pas besoin d'être de droite pour sentir qu'un changement profond s'est récemment opéré dans la réalité qui est la nôtre au Proche-Orient. Un facteur nouveau, dont les Européens se sont insuffisamment rendu compte, est intervenu, je veux parler de l'intégrisme islamique … sans conteste, un vent d'extrémisme islamique souffle.

…Peut-on espérer convaincre les Européens que cette mutation a bel et bien eu lieu ? L'espoir, je le devine, est faible. Surtout quand on constate la paralysie qui les saisit dès lors qu'ils doivent affronter le radicalisme musulman. Cet islam-là, indépendamment de ce qui se passe en Israël, tétanise les Européens. Ils le craignent et s'y opposent, mais redoutent plus encore que leur opposition les fasse paraître sous un jour arrogant, raciste, colonialiste. Stigmatiser l'arrivée de la droite au pouvoir en Israël et en faire le noeud du problème, c'est tellement plus facile ! Moi, l'amoureux transi et déçu, je peux déjà imaginer les gros titres de la presse européenne l'année prochaine.

La mise à l'épreuve suivante de l'Europe est pour bientôt. Elle aura lieu en Suisse à l'occasion de la conférence contre le racisme qui a déjà eu droit au sobriquet de "Durban II". J'imagine déjà la scène. Le délégué d'un pays où des fillettes de 8 ans sont mariées de force à des vieillards proclamera son indignation devant la situation des droits de l'homme en Israël ; le délégué d'un Etat qui subventionne la terreur partout dans le monde portraiturera Israël en Etat terroriste.

L'ambassadeur d'une nation où un tribunal a prononcé une peine de viol collectif sur une jeune fille dont le frère avait attenté à l'honneur d'une autre femme dissertera sur la politique scandaleuse d'Israël par rapport à ses minorités. Et celui d'un pays qui fomente la guerre à toutes ses frontières parlera de l'inquiétude qui l'étreint face au bellicisme israélien.

Mais l'image qui serait la plus terrible pour moi, ce serait celle de diplomates européens cravatés écoutant les orateurs avec attention et une mine sérieuse. Ah oui, ils seront beaux à voir, avec leur costume sur mesure, avec leurs bésicles à la dernière mode conservatrice, avec dans l'expression du regard mille ans de civilisation dominatrice.

C'est comme si "on nous retirait notre autorité parentale"

Brigitte Perucca reports in Le Monde on a citizens' revolt against the French government's attempt to put a database on French schoolchildren (Base élèves 1er degré) into operation (although to be honest, at least part of the revolt is not from freedom-loving citizens, but from extreme leftist teachers who don't want illegal aliens' kids to be bothered).
Le logiciel en question se révèle tout sauf anodin : pour la première fois, les écoles se voient tenues de remplir une base de données indiquant les nom, prénom, adresse de leurs élèves, mais aussi leur nationalité, l'année de leur arrivée en France, le suivi médical ou psychologique dont ils font l'objet, leur handicap éventuel.

…Revu et corrigé, Base élèves, qui contient une cinquantaine de renseignements, dote chaque enfant d'un identifiant national élève qui rejoint la Base nationale. Le tout est consultable en partie par la mairie, en totalité par l'inspection académique. Les parents ne peuvent s'y opposer. La plupart des enseignants cèdent sous la pression, quelques-uns résistent contre ce qu'ils jugent être une opération de fichage.

…Des parents s'insurgent, comme Vincent Fristot, de Grenoble, à l'origine du recours au Conseil d'Etat, choqué que ce fichier ait été imposé "sans débat démocratique, sans concertation". C'est comme si "on nous retirait notre autorité parentale", s'indigne Marylou Waligorsk, dans l'Aveyron. "N'importe quel distributeur est tenu de demander notre avis s'il veut constituer un fichier. Pas l'éducation nationale !", s'insurge Béatrice Koehler, dans l'Ain, qui juge choquant que "grands-parents, amis et nounous" se retrouvent aussi "fichés" à leur insu. Mais il est sans doute trop tard : 80 % des enfants sont déjà inscrits sur Base élèves.