Saturday, July 23, 2011

"I never understood why some people destroyed my career, my life, insulted me while I was the victim"

TO some, she is a frail, tormented young woman who was preyed upon by an influential politician and well-known womanizer. To others, she is a publicity-seeking fantasist. To still others, she is a skillful manipulator who helped foment a plot against the Socialist Party.

Whether fairly or not, Tristane Banon … has become one of France’s most polarizing figures, even to some of her colleagues and friends
writes Maïa de la Baume in her article on the 32-year-old writer who contends that Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her in 2003.
For Ms. Banon herself, the complaint brought an end to years of indecision and turmoil. “It’s liberation,” she said in a phone interview. “It’s the most liberating and violent thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

…In [a L’Express] interview, Ms. Banon said the [DSK] episode destroyed her self-confidence, affected her relationships with men and hurt her chances to find work in journalism. “I never understood why some people destroyed my career, my life, insulted me while I was the victim,” she said.

…after the episode with Mr. Strauss-Kahn, she says she was branded with a reputation. Many in the French media world knew about her accusations against Mr. Strauss-Kahn and feared them, she said. She implied that she was a marked person. “I was hired at a radio station and then a month later, my boss would tell me abruptly that he couldn’t keep me anymore,” she said.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Damn Those Presbyterians!

Pix of the Near Distant Ago

SPON features a set of images of a disused Soviet military hospital in the Brandenburg town of Beelitz, a sanitarium in Oranienburg, and other abandoned structures in what was the DDR by Berlin photographer Axel Hansmann. Is it art or merely deliciously grim scenery?

"Needless to say, America's right is having a field day"

Pour la première fois depuis 1938, la droite s'est emparée du poste de gouverneur ainsi que de la majorité dans les deux Chambres locales. Autant dire qu'elle s'en donne à coeur joie.
So much for respect of the outcome of elections. In Corine Lesnes' Le Monde articles on Scott Walker and the situation in Wisconsin, we are treated to social "traditions" that "date to the Roosevelt era" while members of the left are duly "motivated" while the right — and the Tea Party — are, needless to say, behaving irresponsibly.
Scott Walker n'aurait été qu'un gouverneur parmi d'autres, aux prises avec la crise budgétaire, s'il ne s'était attaqué aux syndicats. A la faveur du passage du budget, il a aboli le droit de négocier par conventions collectives dans la fonction publique, un acquis datant de 1959. "Il a changé fondamentalement cette idée que les syndicats de fonctionnaires ont le droit d'exister", considère le professeur Charles Franklin, de l'université du Wisconsin à Madison, capitale de l'Etat.

Sentant le danger, les organisations de gauche se sont mobilisées, et le Wisconsin est devenu une cause nationale, l'emblème du bras de fer historique qui oppose démocrates et républicains sur le modèle social à l'heure de la crise. "Le Wisconsin a toujours été pionnier pour les conventions collectives, pour les indemnités-chômage, rappelle Peter Barca, chef de file des démocrates à l'Assemblée. Tout le pays nous observe. Les gens se disent : si on peut changer les droits syndicaux dans le Wisconsin, on peut le faire n'importe où."
"Ces élections vont changer le débat jusqu'à Washington, assure Charles Chamberlain, de Democracy for America, une association nationale venue aider les militants locaux. Les républicains, où qu'ils soient, ne seront plus si pressés de toucher aux programmes sociaux s'ils s'aperçoivent de la réaction violente qu'ils engendrent."
From the Obama-loving newspaper, we are treated to the description of a statesman (Scott Walker, needless to say, not Barack Obama) as a politician "without much experience" ("M. Walker, ancien élu local sans grande expérience") and to healthy doses of paranoia about the Koch brothers without apparently noticing the irony in the fact that in the very next paragraphs we learn — but here vast amounts of money from out-of-state is apparently a good thing — that thousands upon thousands of dollars have been spent on recall elections by MoveOn and the AFL-CIO, etc…

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Johnny Hallyday is as French as the baguette, and he has been singing for more than 50 years

It is hard to explain the place [JOHNNY HALLYDAY] has in French life
muses Steven Erlanger from Paris about the French rocker, now 68, who "has survived three previous marriages, kidney stones, a bout with colon cancer and [a] bungled operation on his spine" along with "a couple of suicide attempts, and even an effort at retirement."
— he has done more than 100 tours, sold more than 100 million records, made 47 studio albums and 26 live ones. He has been on more than 2,100 magazine covers, and his Wikipedia entry in French is longer than Jesus Christ’s.

Johnny Hallyday is as French as the baguette, and he has been singing for more than 50 years, bringing Elvis rhythms, energy and glitter to a culture steeped in ballads.

…IN Los Angeles, at least, where he went in part to escape high French taxes, his children are untouched by his celebrity, since few Americans outside the music world know who he is.

Remembering Past Hissy Fits

Remember those endless, repetitious, screamed-hoarse blubbering about the US not having a victory or a postwar plan in Iraq, when in fact they did? We were led to believe that lefties, should they be “forced” to fight a war, and it wouldn’t be “of choice” would at least get that part right.

Wars of choice, however, are fundamentally different. They are normally undertaken for reasons that do not involve obvious self-defense of the United States or an ally.
Fast forward to the truth. Libya is not a war “of choice”. Worse still, Europeans are trying to run it. There is no apparent plan to win, and postwar planning seems to be limited to “you’re on your own, kid - now cough up that light-sweet Brent grade crude”.
In theory, this would all have been worked out before NATO intervened, thus taking ownership of the outcome. And it's possible that someone, somewhere planned all this out. But, if they did, they've been awfully quiet about it.
Elsewhere: an excellent data source is found for the “dead hippy index”.
"German society is changing and it's not easy to be a naturist anymore," said Kurt Fischer, president of the German FKK association (DFK). There are some 500,000 registered nudists and a total of seven million Germans sunbathe naked regularly.

"But the numbers are unfortunately falling by about two percent each year," Fischer told a group of reporters in the Foreign Press Association (VAP) while sitting, fully clothed, at a beach bar in Berlin's government quarter. "Times are tough."

The main problem is the shrinking population, Fischer said.
Aside from a still fetid river cum canal, Berlin’s government district (as if that didn’t describe their whole society), is far enough away from a tropical beach (Club Med Libya, perchance?) to make this look about as silly as most impromptu press events in Germany.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

And WHO makes all of those Solar Panels ?

They would sell their Grandmother for a nickel.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has advised the Greeks to invest more in solar energy to overcome the crisis.
FAZ called him „Sonnyboy Schäuble” for this. I say start singing “Danny Boy” for a continent if they’re going to keep attitudes like that.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Need Some Comic Relief?

Just wait for some Russian scientist (seeking attention) to open his mouth.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Europe: A Paradise for Social Pyromaniacs

Of course no explanation is ever given to bombastic claims like this:

Lack of women in top jobs to cause 'problems' for EU economy
But the well subsidized crow seems to have no problem with threats:
The commissioner said that come March next year she will look to see whether companies have made a "clear, precise and measurable evolution" towards greater gender balance within their walls.

"If yes, there will be no need for European legislation. If no, we will have a problem with the internal market," said the commissioner explaining that major companies who work across the EU will be confronted with different national laws on women quotas.
The Luxembourgeoise, whose only real job outside of government was “journalism” while in various parliamentary posts went on to prattle on about ‘the boardroom’, as if that’s where the economy really was. Really, it’s the imagined prize of getting power quick that the boardroom obsession, the one that assumes that the internal operation of private entities are under the rule of the state.
The commissioner, who wants to boost female boardroom positions to 30 percent by 2015 and to 40 percent by 2020, said she is "completely supported" by internal market commissioner Michel Barnier.
Who is used in this context as if he was an advocate of getting the albatross off from around the neck of business. He isn’t. He’s a Commisariat type like Reding, indifferent about them or anyone else being generous with other people’s resources. They’d all join in to buy off some dickless votes anyway.
She is supported by the EU parliament, which earlier this month said Brussels should make such quotas mandatory. An EU law in an area dealing with employment and social policy is likely to be controversial among member states, however.
The threatening tone is borne out of disappointment at the public not doing what’s “being asked”. So it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy for Viviane’s pet issue of female cronyism that uses government as an enforcing thug.
Although Reding has been increasingly vocal about her campaign, to date only seven companies have signed up to the public pledge, up and running since March.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Pause for Poesy

In fact it’s all about beef

Terribly upset.
It is my birthday today.
No one gave me beef.

"Incoming, small arms fire!"

Frédéric Bobin files a Le Monde story from Afghanistan's Honaker-Miracle Base, named after two U.S. soldiers who lost their lives in combat.Needless to say, it reflects leftist, pacifist tendencies…
Les soldats Christopher Honaker et Joseph Miracle, tombés au combat, ont donné leur nom à cet avant-poste américain butant sur les marches du massif de l'Abas Ghar au coeur de la province de Kunar, dans l'Est afghan, tout proche de la frontière avec le Pakistan.

…Silence, solitude et adversité. La bannière étoilée flotte sur l'enclos de bunkers et barbelés cerné de "hescos", ces paniers en treillage métallique bourrés de cailloux faisant office de fortifications. Au pied du mât, des stèles funéraires égrènent soixante-dix patronymes, soixante-dix gars du Colorado, du Tennessee ou de l'Ohio, morts au nom de la "guerre contre la terreur". Dans quelques jours, la liste s'allongera.